Thursday, July 26, 2007

My top five favorite all time songs (for today) & Scientology

Yesterday over lunch I was skimming through the Itunes music store. .
I noticed Jason Lee had a celebrity playlist and was interested to see what this guy likes. He seems like a cool guy, I mean c’mon he used to be a pro skateboarder and has been in some pretty good movies. I liked his playlist for the most part, I later looked on Wikipedia to get a little more Lee info. Holy Shit! Didn’t know Lee was a Scientologist. I’m always kind of let down when I find out people I like are Hubbardites. Ex: Jason Lee, Beck, Chaka Khan. Is that wrong?

Anyway, Lee’s celebrity list got me thinking about my favorite songs.
My hilarious Headline above explains it all. My favorite songs are always leapfrogging each other and sometimes changing. These changes are based on my age, seasonality, work schedule, personal life, and sometimes the newness of an album. Maybe all this changing makes me a bit shallow, but I don’t really care (insert laugh track).

Here are my top 5 right now (today) in no particular order.
Whos got some to share? C’mon just drop em don’t think about it.

Right Click, Save Target As to Download
*The Sea and Cake - Up on Crutches
*George Harrison – Give Me Love
*Pavement - Range Life
*Radiohead - Optimistic
*Modest Mouse – Spitting Venom

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pavement vs. Weezer

Yes, the Headline is shocking but please read on.

Several weeks ago, a couple of friends and myself were discussing music/bands over a few drinks. One thing led to another and next thing you know we're discussing Weezer. I think it all started while a gentleman (hired help) in a bar was acoustically strumming Island in the Sun by Weezer (which, is on a not so stellar 2001 Green Album). Naturally, if Weezer comes up, mention of the Blue Album will soon follow. It did. I was the first to plead my case and say how great the Blue Album is and go on and on about what a great, great album it is and how every track is a winner. Then the question came up - "Well, is it better than Wowee Zowwee?" or maybe Pavement. I kind of felt uncomfortable discussing the two bands together (both kind of the same in some ways, but also so so very different).

Anyway, next thing you know Jim E and Jim V decide to put the two albums head to head. I always like a good music debate and I wanted to be involved at least to add some color if needed.

Quickly, a little background on both bands before we go any further.

Not that they need an introduction but Pavement is a legendary indie rock band from Stockton, CA and known by every skateboarding kid thats ever slid on a pair of vans. They formed in 1989 and continued through the late 90's. They are among one of the first rock bands of the current age to gain a moderately wide degree of success without the support of a major label. A very influential band throughout the late 90's and even today. Since the breakup, Stephen Malkmus solo efforts have been very well received. Personally, I love everything hes done since Pavement (sometimes even more than Pavement...there, i said it). Despite not having tons of commercial success, Pavement does have two albums in Rolling Stones, 500 greatest albums of all time.

You know who they are. A nerdy looking Rock band based out of LA. They formed in 1992 and are still intact today despite losing a few original member (one being Matt Sharp of The Rentals). Their first album commonly referred to as the Blue album received a lot of attention due to Undone (The Sweater Song) and Buddy Holly. Both videos produced by Spike Jonze. Also, this album was produced by Ric Ocasek. This album is rated 297 out of Rolling Stones, 500 greatest albums of all time.

So, back to the question "What's better, Blue Album or Wowee Zowee?"
When it first came up my first thought was to go with the under overall favorite of the two, I already decided in my head that it would be Wowee Zowee.

After listening to them both that next week I changed my mind.

Here is why-
Wowee Zowee has SOME great songs on it, and band versus band I will choose Pavement all day long! But, Wowee Zowee has 18 songs on it and I'd say a handful of them are not necessary at all (maybe should've put them on a B side). It seems like they decided to throw everything recorded onto this album and not waste the tape. I've read from other members they were smoking a lot of pot at the time and just thought everything was that good. Pavement is an amazing story, a lot of what I love about them was their attitude, and the fun in discovering the genius behind the distortion and high pitch Malkmus' screams.

As for the Blue Album, when this album came out (in '94)...I was 15. It was different than anything I was listening to at the time. It was post grunge, and not so deep or serious. It was bedroom rock at its finest. You listen to the album now and its still great. Every track is a winner in my ears. Yes, its more polished but I dont think you blame a band for that.

As I look back now, I feel Weezer carried a little of the same attitude as Pavement but it was more packaged and definitely more marketable.

So, as an album - I vote a band I vote Pavement.

What are your thoughts?

Right Click, and Save as Target to Download

Pavement - Father To a Sister of a Thought (MP3)
Pavement - Grounded (MP3)

Weezer - My Name is Jonas (MP3)

Weezer - Only In Dreams (MP3)

I need something. There it is, The Clientele

I havent listened to much of anything this week, just havent set aside any time to do so.

Although, yesterday on my drive home from work I came across The Clientele on my Ipod. Man, I like these guys. Its great pop music and every listen for me is a guaranteed smile. I've only listened to 2005 Strange Geometry and the most recent God Save The Clientele but both are very very good.

Heres how I'd describe them, breathy vocals, strumming 60's reverb guitar, pop beats, and complex string arrangements in the back ground. That description doesnt sound fun at all.
Really though give them a listen if you havent heard them before. I think anyone would like these guys, even my mom would.

Also, and dont let the fact that they have a song in the movie- The Lake House turn you off.
Right Click, and Save Target As

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Our Love to Admire

Interpol's new album came out this Tuesday, I've been anticipating this one for a while. Some folks like 'em, some say they're Joy Division rip-offs. I dig it.

Yesterday, I had a chance to listen to the album in its entirety. So far, I like it. Its not a giant stretch from their last two albums but from my first couple of listens I will say its just as good as the first album. Their second effort Antics was okay but it just lacked the energy of the Turn on the Bright Lights. Of course, there are great songs on Antics but the album as a whole didnt do much for me.

Vocals on the new album sound better than ever (hell, I even like the album artwork better- see above). The pressure is off on this one, and it seems like they found their focus again. The final song is one worth mentioning and listening too. It sounds like an electric Mariachi guitar on top of a guy singing his heart out. Its a cool song and a great ending. Our Love to Admire sounds best when you listen all the way through. The flow from song to song is excellent.

Its ironic. I'm saying "Its one of those album to listen all the way through" and yet I post singles to download. Hopefully they're good representations of the album. Go buy it.

Right Click, Save Target as to download

Interpol- Rest My Chemistry MP3
Interpol- Scale MP3
Interpol- Lighthouse MP3

Monday, July 9, 2007

My thoughts on Sky Blue Sky

I've heard several people's thoughts on this album, I've read a few reviews and opinions are all over the board. Some look at this as a dissappoinment verus their previous work, some say its the best album the Eagles never made which I think is supposed to be a compliment. I personally dont like Eagles comparisons one bit.

Anyway, I was listening to this album this past Saturday night and realized I have a ginormous crush on it, I mean really strong feelings. I think I'm falling for it.
Let me rewind a few weeks back (insert rewinding tape sound effect here).

My initial listen i skipped through every track looking for something with a pulse, I thought it was boring. The second listen I had drank a few beers and was sitting on my front porch swing on a cool June night before a storm (I realize how completely picturesqe and lame that sounds) but this is when I started to get it. Then, over fathers day I drove to OKC for the weekend to visit my folks. I must've listened to this this album 3 times, I was hooked.....something about it seemed so happy, yet sad, and very fresh to me. Its definitely not a party album. I think this album grows on you the most if you're completely relaxed, by yourself, and just have some time to kill.

Maybe this album isnt as good as their previous work, I really dont know. Maybe its less experimantal, but I really dont think it was meant to be. I'd much rather have a laid-back, genuine, true album versus something forced, with no feeling. I think that would be a disappointment.
Right Click and Save Target as to Download

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Lets not forget about the French......

On the topic of Independence Day, (see last post) I thought it would be appropriate to give a shout out to the French. Many people regard the French as being rude or too proud, even folks who have never set foot in the country.

I think this. There are polite people and rude people. Different cultures behave differently, maybe French just keep to themselves a little more. Yes they're are a proud country and they should be. We're a proud country too. Yes, the French do expect visitors to try and speak their language. (that sounds very familiar)

My point is......we should always stay in good company with the French. They were good pals when were trying to become a country. Its partly because of France that we are a country today. They had a Navy, and they defeated the British at the Battle of Chesapeake. The British surrendered at the next battle (Yorktown) because of this.

Sorry about the silly rant. So, what the hell does this have to do with music?

Well, what better way for you to give our French friends a high five then by listening to some French artists. There is no better way.

On a sidenote, I looked and looked for a song by Gerard Depardieu but couldnt find anything. Instead I had to settle for Phoenix, Stereolab, and The French Kicks.
The French Kicks are in no way from France but they have French in their name and I really enjoy them. Besides, you can't give the French all the credit.

Give me some feedback. Did I come on to aggressive?

The French Kicks - So Far We Are

Monday, July 2, 2007

Fourth of July

Wednesday marks our country's 231st birthday.
I thought it would be fitting to share a few songs from Lawrence, KS based band Fourth of July. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I just found out about these guys last week. Maybe I'm not as cool as I used to be? Anywho, I've listened to the album "On the Plains" and I'm enjoying it very much. For me, it’s reminiscent of early or mid 90's indie rock (Built to Spill, and even Pavement at times).

The band consists of Brendan Hangauer (vocals, guitar), Patrick Hangauer (bass), Kelly Hangauer (keys, trumpet, vocals), Brian Costello (drums), Steve Swyers (guitar), and Adrianne Verhoeven (vocals) formerly of The Anniversary.

So go on, get your "4ofJ" celebration started right by giving these guys a listen.

Fourth of July - Long Gone MP3

Fourth of July - Be Careful MP3