Dec 25 2011

Honorable Mention Albums of 2011

We’ve discussed the overrated and the disappointing, but there were also a ton of albums in 2011 that were absolutely great. Since I only make a Top 50, there were several I felt deserved recognition, but had strong superior competition. Here, in alphabetical order, are 25 of the best albums of this year that just missed the final cut. Spotify/Download/Buy links provided below.

Battles – Gloss Drop

Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

The Cars – Move Like This

Cheeseburger – Another Big Night Down the Drain

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

Clams Casino – Rainforest EP

Cults – S/T

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

DJ Quik – The Book of David

Dom – Family of Love EP

Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – We’re New Here

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

J Mascis – Several Shades of Why

Cass McCombs – Humor Risk

Panda Bear – Tomboy

Pictureplane – Thee Physical

R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now

Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What

Martin Solveig – Smash

Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/The Dream

Shugo Tokumaru – Port Entropy

White Denim – D

Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers

Nov 23 2011

Currently Digging: R.E.M. – Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage

R.E.M. doesn’t exactly have a prolific career; after all, they were around for thirty years and gave us fifteen fair-to-classic albums in that time. Ryan Adams is prolific, Paul McCartney is VERY prolific, Bradford Cox is becoming prolific. R.E.M. are merely consistent…..speaking in terms of level of output. The sound of that output, however, has been anything BUT consistent. One listen to this career-spanning anthology will give you an idea of just how many curveballs the Athens-based group threw at their fans.

What’s remarkable about this compilation, now that the band is officially through and we can observe their legacy as a whole, is, even though it highlights the ups and downs of a legendary band’s career, the whole thing is GREAT. Like, really, really great. Even tracks from lackluster points (Up, Reveal, Around the Sun) sound appropriate, and remarkably sharp, in this context. And of course, the major hits are here, surrounded by strong tracks from incredible albums. I think it’s apparent everything R.E.M. put out up through New Adventures In Hi-Fi is just fantastic. With the exception of “A Month of Saturdays,” the new tracks are great examples of a band who have aged well and matured their songwriting to levels of sheer beauty.

Consider Part Lies a testament to the immense songwriting talent in R.E.M., a band that was great even when they had been better before. And consider Part Lies a musical reminder to all of us that we really don’t know what we have until it’s gone.

Oct 27 2011

Watch: REM – We All Go Back to Where We Belong

REM have broken up, and so it is the end of an era. As a final hurrah, the group is releasing a career-spanning retrospective Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011, dropping November 15th. Below are two videos for the group’s final song, to be featured on the collection, “We All Go Back to Where We Belong.” The first video features Kirsten Dunst, and the second has John Giorno.

Sep 21 2011

Rocking Retro: REM – New Adventures In Hi-Fi

So R.E.M. broke up today. And that’s a drag, but at least they left us a plethora, years and years worth, of awesome music. I remember when I got New Adventures In Hi-Fi, far and away my favorite R.E.M. album, and one of their most underrated. I won a free CD from a radio station, I was ten years old, and I had never heard of the band before. The lady highly recommended it to me, and since I wasn’t particularly interested in anything else they had, I took it. Later that night, riding home with my parents, I listened to it in the car in the dark. From the Western-tinged “How the West Was Won And Where It Got Us” to the hypnotic “Leave” to the mellow “Electrolite,” I was curiously hooked on this album. I love that radio station lady. And thanks to her, I’ll always love R.E.M.

Listen to New Adventures In Hi-Fi on Spotify.

Apr 8 2011

Government Shutdown Mixtape!

Happy Friday! Tonight at midnight, the government may very well shut down because the GOP wishes to throw women’s rights under the bus. Surprise!  Here’s a mix I’ve compiled in celebration of our country’s (and our economy’s) impending doom.

REM – It’s the End of the World As We Know It

OFF! – Panic Attack

Green Day – American Idiot

Public Enemy – Fight the Power

Rage Against the Machine – Guerilla Radio (live)

Mar 13 2011

Sunday Night Videos 3/13/11

Mar 6 2011

Sunday Night Videos 3/6/11

Sep 6 2010

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 180-171

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

180. Ok Go – Get Over It

Before they were Internet phenoms jumping around on treadmills, OK Go was a brilliant, quirky power pop group tearing up the mainstream rock radio airwaves.  “Get Over It,” the band’s debut single, is quite possibly the loudest, brashest, angriest thing they’ve ever done. And while they’ve maintained their knack for punchy, catchy songs, this track is a raucous introduction from their best album.

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Apr 16 2010

Save It For a Rainy Day

It’s dreadful and wet here in the LBK – the city famous for NO draining system.  The streets are flooded and there are holes in my shoes.  Time to turn the heater back on.  But on the plus side: Rainy Day Playlist!  These tracks will get you wet.  Promise.

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Apr 11 2010

Random Web Findings – NME, Twitter, Deftones, Etc.

NME’s 50 Awesome Music Movies – missing Be Here to Love Me, and a little British, but still a pretty cool list.

The Twitter Pack: 20 Tweeters You Should Be Following – other than @whiteycorngood, of course.

Huffington Post’s Top 10 Hipster Schools

Ten Film Critics You Should Follow On Twitter

The 8 Most Absurd Music Bans of All Time

Five Reasons I’m Still Not Paying For a Music Subscription Service

R.E.M. turned 30 this week.  Rolling Stone had the best tribute to the group.

And here’s the video for Deftones’ “Rocket Skates,” the first single from Diamond Eyes, out in May.