Friday, January 15, 2010

New Blog

I have a new blog. It's here. Thanks for the memories.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

This is the end.

As the decade draws to an end, I have decided to complete this blog's run as well. 640 or so posts is a lot of material. I think I've said enough at this URL.

No, I am not cowering to my detractors. Though they have criticized the content and premise of my blog with little or no original thought of their own, they are not the sole reason to end living in misery. I have probably posted longer than I intended just to spite them.

I will continue to blog elsewhere. Right now I am deciding which of my blogs are worth keeping and which should be digitally burned forever. Plus, I have an idea for a new blog that is more thoughtful and universal in it's message. A link will be posted here in a few days once it's up and running.

Thank you for reading, commenting, and participating in this little experiment. It's been fun. I love you all.

Leave any good byes, pleasant memories, or good riddance in the comments. I probably won't respond, but I'll read every one.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009: The Year of Lists - Best Singles

Here's my list of the year's best songs. I won't say much about any of these songs and just let the music speak for itself. Also, I put them in no order as this list is even more fluid than an albums list. Not all of these tracks were released as singles, but they are all good, taking up residence in my head at various times this year.

Animal Collective - "My Girls"

Animal Collective "My Girls" from Chad von Nau on Vimeo.

Matt & Kim - "Lessons Learned"


Phoenix - "Lizstomania" / "1901"

Phoenix - 1901 - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Pomplamoose - "Single Ladies" (Beyonce' cover)

The Thermals - "Now We Can See"

The Thermals "Now We Can See" (music video) from What Rabbit on Vimeo.

Wavves - "No Hope Kids"

Wavves "No Hope Kids" from Pete Ohs on Vimeo.

St. Vincent - "Actor out of Work"

St. Vincent "Actor Out of Work" from Logan Hefflefinger on Vimeo.

Antony and the Johnsons - "Aeon"

Yo La Tengo - "Here to Fall"

White Rabbits - "Percussion Gun"

White Rabbits "Percussion Gun" Music Video from White Rabbits on Vimeo.

Dirty Projectors & David Byrne - "Knotty Pine" (Sorry about the video. All the other choices were low-quality live performances with the intro cut out.)

Atlas Sound - "Walkabout"

Bon Iver - "Blood Bank"

Japandroids - "Young Hearts Spark Fire"

Girls - "Lust for Life"

Girls - Lust for Life from Myles Cooper on Vimeo.

Grizzly Bear - "Two Weeks"

Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks from Suspicious Sounds on Vimeo.

Dirty Projectors - "Stillness Is the Move"

Camera Obscura - "French Navy"

Camera Obscura "French Navy" from Left | Right Hand on Vimeo.

The Flaming Lips - "Convinced of the Hex"

Convinced of The Hex / Flaming lips from BECH on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009: The Year of Lists - Tina Roselle

Tina appeared on my radar a while back with some comments here and there. I finally followed the hyperlinked trail to her blog, A Ravenous Horde. She's done what I would have liked to do with this blog which was to make it a full-fledged local music blog. Between previews and reviews of local shows, Tina fits in regular commentary on current music trends as well as some free MP3's. It's good stuff. Go read it now.

This is the part where I give you a disclaimer. I do not support blogging over lunch. You'll get crumbs between all the keys. That and I do not agree that Tina half-asses her blogging. Oh, and I'm not sold on the Andrew Bird record.

As a lunchtime blogger, I’m usually throwing a daily post up while throwing a sandwich down. This half-assedness extends, unfortunately, to my album listening—I never buy whole albums these days, which is why people who continue to take the time to purchase vinyl impress me. I am not so ambitious, cool, or artistically supportive. While lacking time, attention, and money, I also happen to love music. This doesn’t mean I know how to write about it, but I do my best. I started A Ravenous Horde ( in September after living here in Columbia for a year and stealing mp3s unabashedly in my time away from editorial servitude at the university. Blogging is a way for me to satisfy my mix tape and writing obsessions and learn a little something about people making music now.

If I had purchased 10 albums in 2009, they would probably have been these:

  1. Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest
  2. Le Loup, Family
  3. The Antlers, Hospice
  4. We Were Promised Jetpacks, These Four Walls
  5. Portland Cello Project, The Thao and Justin Power Sessions
  6. Great Lake Swimmers, Lost Channels
  7. Andrew Bird, Noble Beast
  8. Kings of Convenience, Declaration of Dependence
  9. Blind Pilot, 3 Rounds and a Sound
  10. Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca

I was hoping Rogue Wave had released something in 2009, but no dice. For the record, making lists makes me cranky. The second I make one, I wish I could add or remove something. I’m already slightly dissatisfied with this one, which is why I’m wrapping it up before I change my mind again.

Brief bio: Tina Roselle, thirtysomething educational editor/media designer, former Chicagoan, wannabe cellist/runner/cyclist about town.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Revinylization Project: Year in Review

I bought a lot of vinyl this year. The picture above is only a portion of the records I accumulated in 2009. Missing are the old, used, and reissues, but the picture still gives you a taste of how much vinyl was dropped off at my house by the UPS lady. Even with a few releases yet to be released, I bought a lot of records.

And I was good at sticking to the vinyl, so to speak. I bought one album (Beirut) accidentally on CD, another only available on CD (Clem Snide), and a small handful via iTunes. Of course, the fact that most of the vinyl was accompanied by MP3 codes or CD's only encouraged me to buy more. It was simple commitment despite the fact that this town no longer has a reliable source of vinyl. Insound and all their pre-order deals saved the Revinylization Project.

The toughest part was actually listening to the music. The stereo is kept in the basement and I spend most of my time upstairs or in the car. Those albums without a portable option just didn't get many listens. The listening grew easier as Lucia grew up and often requested to go to the basement to play in the area we set up for her. (Before you call child protective services...or vinyl protective services, you should know that the basement is finished.)

As the year comes to a close, many of you have submitted lists of your favorite albums of 2009. (And some of you still have yet to deliver on your promise.) I too have created my own list. As top-10 lists tend to be, this one is fluid. You may find inconsistencies with my best of the decade list, but this is mainly due to oversight and the changing direction of the wind. I may have a completely different list tomorrow. For now, this is what I've got and I'm standing by it.

I sometimes refer to this album as He and Her. Of course, Zooey Deschanel has less to do with this record than Ward had to do with the She and Him debut, but you get the point. The record is good and I have not given it it's due time.

This record didn't grab me right away, but it's a grower. The band's nod to early nineties alt rock draws me back every time...That and Cambria Goodwin's voice.

This married duo put on a great show at Mojo's this year. The energy from that show has held up on vinyl. Say 'yes' to perestroika dance/synth rock from Canada!

"Here to Fall" grabs me every time. The rest of the album holds up as well. I predict with some time and further listening, this one will rise on my all-time list. It's the most complete albums YLT has done in years.

I can't listen to this very often because it's that kind of good. The album is truly effectual. Antony's voice is not of our post-modern society. It defies definition and I defy you not to feel something when this record plays.

I'm always slow with the Brandon Cox bandwagon, but I'm here to tell you that I get it and I'm on board. Sadly, the creator of such brilliant material is not long for this world.

I fully admit it. this one is all hype. And I haven't liked the Flaming Lips for years. Nothing I've heard makes me think that this is a bad album or even one that doesn't belong in my top-5. Let's hope I feel the same after a few listens.

I normally avoid compilations, but this one is too good to pass up. It's one of the few that understands both quantity and quality. I even like the My Brightest Diamond track and I hate her.

I was so close to making this my number 1, but for reasons specified below it sits in the second slot. There's still some part of me that listens with my gut and my gut tells me to like this band. I know that it's beer and lifestyle music, but it's good beer and lifestyle music.

Sometimes the best pick for your year-end list is the most obvious. This record was talked about before Animal Collective were a band. And somehow, it lived up to the hype laid upon it. No one makes music like this. No one. Not Radiohead. Not TV on the Radio. And certainly not Wilco. They sound like no one. They sound big and twisted, unraveling and cross, triumphant and just plain brilliant. How could I not pick this record. It's lasted nearly the entire year without me growing tired of it. I don't even know if I need to hear another record by Animal Collective. This will do just fine.

Others considered for the list (in no particular order):
  • Monsters of Folk
  • Camera Obscura
  • Matt and Kim
  • Dinosaur Jr.
  • Swan Lake
  • Grizzly Bear

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009: The Year of Lists - John-Paul

John-Paul provided me his Last FM profile for his biographical information. So, I'll let it do the talking for me.

In Dark Trees is American experimental ambient and post-rock artist, John-Paul McFarland. The moniker is taken from a Brian Eno song. IDT also features Logan Epps and Michael Hopkins live.

IDT joined the mid-western co-op arts label, Yards and Gods in 2008. Y&G also features Nonreturner, Ursus Arctos, Prize Wolf, Ptarmigan, Burger Kingdom, Cpt. Captain and The Makeouts/The Pale Family.

McFarland also played bass and guitar in fellow Y&G band, Nonreturner, from 2007 to 2009, and recorded on the band’s self-titled LP.

All albums are available for free download @ the Y&G website (, or you can download songs for free individually here at

Now, on to the albums. I will provide no disclaimer as John-Paul gives little opinion besides his picks which are solid and say enough without commentary. Now, on with the music...

Best Albums 1999-2009 (in chronological order)

Labradford – E Luxo So (1999)

Godspeed You Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000)

Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself inside-Out (2000)

Radiohead – Kid A (2001)

A Silver Mt. Zion – Born Into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward (2001)

Eluvium – Lambent Material (2004)

Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped (2006)

Do Make Say Think – You, You’re a History in Rust (2007)

Deerhunter – Microcastle (2008)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009: The Year of Lists - Kristen

Kristen and I go way back, but we haven't really been able to get to know each other until the past couple of years or so. We met many years ago at a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion show. I approached Kristen and her friend because they were acquaintances of my roommate. We all had a nice time, but I spent the night wondering which woman I should ask out. Being the indecisive person I am, I never asked out either woman. Luckily, it all worked out for the best as I found R and they each found someone, respectively.

Today, Kristen lives in the ATL with her partner (whom I hear is rather cool in his own right) where she manages a shoe store. You could read her blog if she would ever post something, but you might have more luck following her on Twitter. She too submitted a list to my little project, demonstrating some insight into music not yet found at this URL. Sure, these aren't my opinions, but I wish they were.

It seems like I consumed a good deal of music in 2009, but I struggled to find ten albums that stood out as "must-haves." I consulted other "top 10" lists online, Pitchfork...that whole deal, but the albums that kept popping up on those lists (with the exception of maybe 1 or 2) just left me with the following reaction: a big fat "meh."

I said to myself "Why look at what others pick & why not just pick your own? After all, isn't that the point?" That said, I decided on the following metrics: Can I listen to this album on repeat? And: Can I listen to one or more songs on this album on repeat? If I found that to be the case, I had a winner. Here are the ten albums that made the cut.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - "Up From Below"
This has to be one of my hands-down favorites of the year. Yes, you can call it a "hippie Arcade Fire," but I really think they're more than that. Songs like
40 Day Dream and Home fill me with pure joy, and I think any album that can do that in a year like 2009 is pretty darn amazing.
Song Worth a Repeat: 40 Day Dream and Home

Blakroc - "Blakroc"
This album is a late addition to the list, but I couldn't
not include it. Indie darlings Black Keys collaborating Roc-a-fella's Dame Dash? WIN. Add in Mos Def, Q-Tip, Jim Jones, Raekwon and NOE? Quadruple WIN. The mix of jangly psych-tinged guitars and stellar MCs works in a sleazy & utterly satisfying way. The album is fun all the way around. You can't help but dance. [Here's a hint, though: buy the album at your local indie record store. It comes with a great track,Coochie, featuring Ludacris & old Ol Dirty Bastard tracks that you can't get on the iTunes download. Bonus is helping out your local indie retailer.]
Song Worth a Repeat: Ain't Nothing Like You

White Denim - "Fits"
This album made the "can listen to the album on repeat 4 times over" metric like no other album on the list. Know why? It changes gears so many times it's more like listening to a great playlist rather than one album from one band. Eclectic and electric are two words I'd use to describe it. Come to think of it, "Fits" is a perfect title for a band that seems to suffer from Tourette's -- but totally in a good way. Psychedlia, sleaze, brooding bass a booty call you can keep going back to. Fun and different at every turn, but definitely not one to take home to mom.
Songs Worth a Repeat & a Spot on Speed-dial: Mirrored and Reverse and Syncn

Generationals - "Con Law"
Everyone and their mom will have the Girls "Album" album on their top 10s, and I agree -- it IS good. But I don't know....for 60s-style, twee-tinged bubblegum pop, I find the Generationals' "Con Law" album about ten times more satisfying. Plus, this album makes me shake my booty. Who could ask for more? It's a summer-soundtrack sort of album, and everyone needs one of those in his collection.
Songs Worth a Repeat & a Booty Shake: Nobody Could Change Your Mind and When They Fight, They Fight

Deastro - "Moondagger"
Put down the Animal Collective and Passion Pits albums, and pick this up...right now. Granted those are good; but seriously, this is one of the criminally overlooked records of 2009. Deastro is the alter-ego of 22-year old Detroit native Randolph Chabot. For someone from a town so downtrodden, these songs shimmer with sheer positivity. Its an electro-pop album that feels more like mini-symphonies than superficial hipster, soundtrack schlock.
Songs Worth a Repeat: Biophelia and Vermillion Plaza

The Horrors - "Primary Colours"
The Horrors' second album was an early contender for my 2009 top 10...perhaps too early, which is probably why it will escape a lot of other lists. Nevertheless, its a great album by the East Londoners. Yeah, they're hyped...yeah, they went through a not-so-successful garage stint in 2007...but this album is killer. It's tight. It's sensual and noisy and gothic without being gloomy. It's Joy Division-esque without being an obvious knockoff. Definitely an album to crank up in the car or while getting ready to go out at night.
Song Worth a Repeat: I Can't Control Myself

Malcolm Middleton - Waxing Gibbous
Former Arab Strap frontman, Aidan Moffat, comes back with a second solo album, and I love the result. He's still a cantakerous, irrascible Scotsman, but his latest effort seems less gloomy than past works. A few songs are positively perky! Fans of his Arab Strap works will love some of the slower songs on the album, while tracks like
Red Travellin Socks and Shadows will delight pop fans -- and perhaps conjure up a few Shins comparisons. Give it a listen...pretty soon it will be on repeat on your stereo, too. Guarantee it.
Song Worth About 10 Repeats in a Row: Subset of The World

Polvo - "In Prisms"

Personal disclaimer: I'm from Lousiville, KY. Post-rock/math-rock bands form the soundtrack to much of my teenage and adult life. It's in my blood. Therefore, a major band of the 1990s math-rock scene's reunion effort is more than likely going to end up on my "best of" list. It's an EASY PICKUP if it's as good as this one, too. I see Polvo's first album in over 11 years as not just a great reunion album, but a redefinition of their work into something even better than before. It also signals a real return to rock after a decade of electropunk, poppy dance bands, 80s throwbacks, and bearded neo-folk. I'm ready to rock again. How about you?
Song Worth A Repeat and a "Praise the Rock n Roll Gods, We're Back!!": Beggars Bowl

Phoenix - "Wolfgang Amadeus" I finally list one that's on a lot of other lists. (Most of them, actually.) I won't add a lot of commentary here, since everyone else probably summed up this album better than I can. I'll just say that I really like the album. I want to hate it since that Chrysler TV commercial featuring "1901" is on every other minute, but I just can't. I can't help but sing along to "Lizstomania" everytime it pops up on the ipod. (Just ignore the fact that I probably get half the lyrics wrong. Silly Frenchies.)
Song Worth a Repeat: Lizstomania and Fences

The Middle East "The Recordings of the Middle East - EP"

I know I knocked the bearded neo-folk subset earlier, but this EP stands outside of that criticism. I'm still ready for rock's return, but in the meantime this album fills a little niche in my heart. It's just five songs long, but it stands out as one of the strongest, meatiest albums of the year. I listened to it about six times in a row the other night, and it made the stress of this year just seem to melt away...if only for the couple of hours' worth of listen. If you do anything based on this list, make sure you check out this video for the song "Blood." A masterpiece...and oddly the most joyful song about death I've ever heard.

Song Worth Repeating: Blood