Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things to check out for in 2009: Music Edition

Before the year ends, I would like to unveil the 10 things to check out for in the year 2009. It looks like it's gonna be awesome year compared to the craptacular 2008. Enjoy.

Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion
Comes out Jan 20, in the USA



Easily the most anticipated album in the indie world right now, the hype for the oddball group's eighth album has reached fever pitch. Accidental leaks, and Deerhunter's Bradford Cox speculating that an email sent out by Deakin was a fake, sent out by a hacker. When was the last time you saw an indie album get this kind of hype. By the way, on the basis of music, Strawberry Jam kicked some ass, so hopefully AC can only improve with this one.

Franz Ferdinand
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Comes out January 26


After making the always sexy Franz fans wait for an unsexy 3 1/2 years, the sexy boys from fabulously sexy Glaswegian group's new sexy album (with sexy album artwork) drops on the usually unsexy date of January 29th, and thus making the sexiest day in the soon to be sexy 2009. The sexy singles "Lucid Dreams" and "Ulysess" are making the long wait worthwhile, for what appears to be a sexy good album. (This just in: the word sexy is offcially not sexy anymore)

Bruce Springsteen
Working on a Dream
Comes out January 27th


The Boss is back with a vengence after 2007's acclaimed Magic. Bruce is coming off much support of Barack Obama's win with the aptly titled Working on a Dream. Expect the usual fist-pumping, working man's anthems and kick-ass vocals as mastered by the Boss. Unlike most aging rockers, the Boss is aging gracefully, both physically and musically. So don't expect an album full of dredge and rewrites like many veteran rockers have put in recent years.

Morrissey
Year of Refusal
Comes out Febuary 16


Despite the rather baffling album cover (watch where you put that hand, buddy), Morrissey is back and continues his rennisiance with Years Refusal. Morrissey, being the classic enigmatic figure, continues to have those mysterious meanings and symbols. What does the baby mean? What does he mean by years of refusal? What is his workout regiment? How does he keep that pompadour up? Anyways, 2009 is summing up to be a good year for depressed shy boys, and crazy Latino fanboys.

U2
No Line on the Horizon
Comes out March 3rd



Eh...
Everyone's Bomb high has worn off, and those douchy photos of Bono surfaced. Gotta let it out though.

Possible Radiohead album

Am I fucking with you? No, I'm not. I swear I saw it somewhere on some site with some news source, but the talk about the new album mysteriously disappeared. However, if a new album does drop, it will most likely kick much ass. Now if they only did that thing they did for In Rainbows...

New Wilco Album

Wilco have been working on a new album, according to Rolling Stone. Don't know much about the content of the songs, but hopefully they bring out the manliness they forgot about in 2007's Sky Blue Sky, which they duefully delievered in the live album, Kicking Television.

New Kanye Album



After the noble failure of 808's & Heartbreak, Kanye promises us with some of his regular clubbangers next year. He just had to get it out. I understand what you did Kanye. It was rather brave of you.

Blur Reunion

Yeah, we know that already. Let's just hope it ain't a one of gig, and they come to America to play. I'll be there.

51st Grammy nomination

I know what you're thinking: "Don't the Grammy's usually suck?" Well this year's ceremony is proving to be it's most diverse selection, and the standards are famously low for the Grammy's. Radiohead and Lil' Wayne vying for album of the year? Shiaaaaaaaaaaat, son.

New Guns 'n' Roses album


KIDDING!!!

Have a very spectacular New Year! I'm gonan see Yo La Tengo and the Feelies tomorrow night. I'll do one on movies soon! I promise!








Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Song No. 1: "Paper Planes"



I love loopholes. God bless singles releases!

And the No. 1 Album is...



In a year filled with disappointments, missed chances, and over hype, 2008 will down as a lax year in music. Fortunately for this Brooklyn-based band, 2008 was the year of TV on the Radio. What's that? You thought it was Coldplay. Go shut into your room with your soccer mom. No it wasn't the year for one pretentious group, but the year of one confident American band. Dear Science is filled with brilliant sounding modern rock, mixed in with other influences. Trumpets seem to proclaim them as the new kings of rock music. It's a triumphant album and 2008's best.









Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Festivus

Song No. 2: "Nothing Ever Happens"



What's that? You just saw Deerhunter? Well, yeah, you did, but the 6 minute track from Microcastle is an instant classic. It's starts off as a 2 1/2 minute alt-rock song, then it transforms into a Neu!-esque jam. It's also one of the finest album cuts from the past few years.

Album No. 2: Deerhunter "Microcastle"


One of the most peculiar bands in America have made one of the year's best records with Microcastle. After their breakthrough, Cryptogram, Atlanta's Deerhunter only gave themselves more room to build-on, with the various influences and the many ideas frontman Bradford Cox has (Cox also recorded a solo album under the Atlas Sound moniker). Ranging from Beatlesesque ballading to Krautrock jamming, Microcastle is one of the most diverse and original records this year. Come for the rock. Stay for the good tunes.

Key Tracks: "Agoraphobia", "Never Stops", "Nothing Ever Happens"

Monday, December 22, 2008

Song No. 3: "Time to Pretend"



You knew this was coming. Like obviously everybody loved this song, and that other song, and like the band and like such. Sure, they're not that goodm but they brought a little something more into the lagging mainstream scene, by making one of this year's most impressive singles. Now it's time to pretend that those loafs in the Midwest will get with the program and stop listening to the sludge of alt-rock past (think 2000, people). Sorry, got a little off track. This is one truly spectacular song.

Album No. 3: "Vampire Weekend"


In all honesty, Vampire Weekend's impressive debut, would be much lower on the list if it came out last year. However, VW made waves with their hyper-literate Afro-beat indie rock, as they managed to score a place on SNL, and other impressive first times. They won people over with their cute, Wes Andersony lyrics and beats, about going to school, and hanging 'round a place or doing something called a Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa. Not band for an indie rock band who wear boat shoes, and look like their waiting to get the crap beat out of them.

Key Tracks: "A-Punk", "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa", "One (Blake's Got a New Face)"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Song No. 4: "Ready for the Floor"



Hot Chip came back with vengeance in 2008 with "Ready for the Floor". The nerd-dance-genius got me on the floor with this quirky dance anthem. Get on the floor everybody. Oh, and this video is definitely in the running of Best Video of 2008. Hands down.

Album No, 4: Sigur Ros, "Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust"


One of the most peculiar success stories of the last decade, Sigur Ros have built a cult following out of their long, etheral, post-rock jams, and their "Hopelandic" gibberish (Gibberish Icelandic basically. Has your mind been blown yet?). Their fifth album is possibly the years most bittersweet as the start off with happy "Gobbledigook" and by "Festival" you start thinking about that time your girlfriend dumped you. Sigur Ros have always been one the world's most interesting bands, but very hard to get into. If you've never heard one Sigur Ros song, then Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust is an album for you.

Key Tracks: "Gobbledigook",
"Inní mér syngur vitleysingur", "Festival"


A Web Comic that I have discovered.


It's a wonderful little comic called Subnormality, an absurd comic made for people like me. It's made by the Canadian cartoonist, Winston Rowntree. Good stuff really. Lot of Canadian things too like hating Nickleback, and hockey references. This one is my favorite of the series so far.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Song No. 5, "Sex on Fire"



If you are my friend, then you know that I used the phrase, "Sex on Fire", to denote something really good, or in some cases, sexy. And who can blame me? "Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon was like, um, Sex on Fire. This was also the only song on their Only by the Night album that I can listen to. It's their most real and passionate song on the album, unlike the other ones on the album. Question: Which Followill sex is on fire? Because you need to see a doctor about that.

Album No. 5: The Hold Steady, "Stay Positive"


Commonly referred to as "The World's Greatest Bar Rock Band", The Hold Steady uphold that title with Stay Positive, their jammy and fun (slightly redundant for this band, right?) fourth album. Times may get tough, but Craig Finn and the Steady just tell us to stay headstrong, and well, positive.

Key Tracks: "Constructive Summer", "Sequestered in Memphis", "Stay Positive"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Song No. 6: "Shut up and Let Me Go"



Thanks to a spiffy iTunes commercial, The Ting Tings single from their crappy album rocked my speakers and my Sansa (yes, i know, how ironic). Unfortunately, the Ting Tings have failed to follow up after this song, but hopefully, they'll make a song as good and as catchy as this little ditty. I know some of you right now want to shut up and let me go. Fine. I see how it is.

Album No. 6: A tie! Los Campesinos! "Hold on Now, Youngster..." and "We are Beautiful, We are Doomed"



Unfortunately, I did not get or listen to Fleet Foxes allegedly impressive debut, and the EP which were both released this year. However, Los Campesinos! trump the impressive album/EP combo with two impressive albums. Yeah, that's right. Two. What's even more impressive is how Los Campesinos give the sophmore album curse a straight up beating. So, No. 6 is reserved for the intense indie Welsh indie rock of Los Campesinos! one of the fine young band around today.

HONY key tracks: "Death to Los Campesinos!", "Knee Deep at ATP", "You! Me! Dancing!"
WABWAD key tracks: "Ways to Make it Through the Wall", "We are Beautiful, We are Doomed", "All Your Kayfabe Friends"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Song No. 7: "Golden Age"



The funky track from the Brooklyn rockers excellent album Dear Science, also surmises the little feeling of hope we got from this election cycle. Whether they intended it or not, you can't deny the coincidence. However, the song fill with it's groovy beat, and the freaking falsetto of Kyp Malone, TV on the Radio have made one of their most accesible songs, and let's hope it brings a Golden Age for the band.

Album No. 7: The Gaslight Anthem, "The '59 Sound"



In my opinion, New Brunswick's The Gaslight Anthem recorded this year's surprise record. Not only that it's a delightful surprise, as The '59 Sound is an album that Springsteen himself would adore. Songs about lost, confused youth, and other Jersey-related subject make this one of the most moving albums of the year. Let's hope for more fine releases from these Jersey punks.

Key Tracks: "The '59 Sound", "The Patient Ferris Wheel", "The Backseat"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sad News: Smiths ain't gonna reunite next year.




Amid the hubbub a few day ago about the possibility of a Smiths reunion, Johnny Marr has come out and said the reunion rumours are "rubbish".

That means the year 2009 will not see Morrissey eat his own testicles. He doesn't really need them anyways...

Song No. 8: "Highly Suspicipous"

My Morning Jacket's rather boring and overrated Evil Urges was filled with songs that would've been B-sides from the very interesting and enticing Z. However, My Morning Jacket least etheral song, and the most out of place of their repetoire, is the funky "Highly Suspicious. MMJ rock out with this Princesque jam, with Jim James freakishly high falsetto, and a guitar solo that is gonna get laid tonight. You too will get lucky blasting this from your car stereo.

Album No. 8: Lil Wayne, "Tha Carter III"


The Brilliant album where Wayne proclaimed himself as the world's greatest rapper. Sure it may seem arrogant, but hell in a year where not to many rapper brought the goods, Lil Wayne delivered. And you know what he may just be the greatest rapper in the world right now. Hell, there hasn't been a real backlash yet against him, like (not-rap-artist) Coldplay has endured. There should be a world governing rap body in the style of FIFA to hand out World Rapper of the Year. Wayne would win it this year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Song No. 9, "Love In This Club"

YES, I THOUGHT THIS SONG WAS STRANGELY GENIUS. DID YOU HEAR THAT KEYBOARD RIFF? IT CAME DOWN FROM CHEESE HEAVEN!!! NOW GET OFF MY CASE!!!

Album No. 9: Bloc Party, "Intimacy"



After the glossy, crappy Weekend in the City, Bloc Party return with the focused intensity of Intimacy. The songs are tight, and some of them have a dancable beat. "Mercury" is the album's highlight, as Kele Okereke yelps as if the world around him was coming down in a furious rage. Great stuff from the Britrockers.

Key tracks: "Mercury", "Halo", "Signs"

Monday, December 15, 2008

And my favorite songs of 2008...

Yeah. Self-explanatory right here.

No. 10 song of the year is "Sequestered in Memphis" by the Hold Steady, from the album Stay Positive.



Oh, my favorite cut from Stay Positive. It's a rocker in the vein of those classics your ma and pa listened to on the AM stations back in the day. And that chorus! So simple and silly it may seem but it's oh so catchy! "Sequestered/ in Memphis/Supeoened/ in Texas". You gotta love Craig Finn and these guys for a song like this.

No. 10: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!"



Complete with his trademark dark gothich lyricism, and rather ironic tunes, Nick Cave delivers a fine, strangely uplifting album with Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!. it's an album that also manages to capture the harsh landscape of Australia, as cave did with The Proposition soundtrack. These songs will get you singing for some strange reason. Nick Cave has made his most catchy album, and it's a welcome addition to the list.

Key Tracks: "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!", "Albert Goes West", "Lie Down Here (And Be My Girl)"

My Favorite Albums of 2008

Since I am not a professional critic, I can't do a true "Beast of" list, so instead I will do a list of my favorite albums of 2008. To sum it up, except for the plethora of reunions, all in all, it was a relatively shitty year compared to 2007. To refresh your memories a bit (well, not really), here are my top 10 of 2007:

1. Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
2. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
3. Radiohead, In Rainbows
4. M.I.A., Kala
5. Justice,
6. Animal Collective, Strawberry Jam
7. Panda Bear, Person Pitch
8. Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
9. Jay-Z, American Gangster
10. The Shins, Wincing the Night Away

As you can see, last year's list had cojones, and variety. Spoiler alert: This year is very alternative, but there are black people! Yes, it's not totally white bread. Sure this year's list doesn't have a Sri Lankan or a band with a member who refers to himself as Geologist, but it's not totally white. Anyways, the next post tonight will have No. 10. Enjoy, and leave comments!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some Early Kraftwerk for Y'all





Even though it aint the wonderfully ridiculous "The Robots" video, this is still absolutly wonderful seeing one of the most influential bands in their formative, pre-electronic years.
It's an absolute wonder that I found these great appearances on German television on youtube. Enjoy them as much as I enjoy them. I wonder if any of those long haired kids in the second video wondered if these strange Germans would do great things later on.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My film haiku =D



Ladies and Gents, I present to you my first film that I made for my Film I Class. It's called Confusion. I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: THE SMITHS ARE SET TO REUNITE




YES, I KNOW THIS MAY BE BASED ON RUMORS AND HEARSAY, BUT I'M A BLOGGER, AND IT SEEMS VERY BLOODY LIKELY THAT SMITHS MAY REUNITE SOMETIME NEXT YEAR. THE BRITISH PRESS HAS BEEN SHITTING STORIES OUT ABOUT THIS, AND I WILL KEEP US UPDATED.

HELL, I MIGHT NOT EVEN SLEEP TONIGHT BECAUSE OF THIS NEWS.

Right now, enjoy the sound of the Smiths:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I am now a full-fledged DJ

After a few months of doing work for the Montclair Student Radio, I am now a full DJ, and I am probably gonna do a winter show, then some spring shows. Really damn happy about this, wish me luck.

I am coming...


In an already awesome week for music, like one particular Britpop band reuniting, Franz Ferdinand release a shit load of info for their upcoming album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. First off, that new album cover is oh-so sexier and more mysterious than their previous cover.

Now they have a big box set in preparation for the album's release, with a crap load of goodies like DVD's and such. I can only describe so much, and I know I will suffer from a stroke just talking about, so I will only show this photo:



This is Criterion Collection sexy. Good stuff boys.

Not only that, they are doing an international tour, but only have a few West Coast dates.

Now I am off to, um, do good things to myself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

BLUR ARE REUNITING!!!



After months of much speculation, Blur, one of the finest bands of the last 20 years, are reuniting for a big show in Hyde Park, London, as confirmed by Damon Albarn himself.

How bout a reunion show in the States, Damon? Is that really hard? I hope you get AIDS and die.

For now, here's a song not called "Song 2":

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Music to get you and me through a day



Call me crazy, but weekends bring me down. I don't get to see my friends, working at a job I don't like, and I feel that the home where I grew up in is no longer the place that I can call "home". It's also finals time. Even though this is rather downbeat, it got me through the day today. Thanks Jarvis Cocker and Pulp.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Time for some Scadenfreude: Coldyplay get sued




Now I may not hate Coldplay, but I think they're vastly overrated and are soft Radiohead imitators. What also drives me crazy about them is how unambitious they are, despite what their behavior suggests.

It also turns out that they are high class plagarists. "Viva la Vida" is not so original as it turns out.

This isn't the first time someone has made these accusations towards the band. Few year's back, Coldplay (lawfully) borrowed the main riff from Kraftwerk's "Computer Love" for their own song, "Talk". However, now that their stock has risen, they are more susceptible to scrutiny. So it's no surprise that someone (Joe Satriani of all people) is taking them to court for song stealing. Not only that, they was much speculation that Chris Martin & Co. also stole from Brooklyn based band Creaky Boards.

When things like this happen, I tend to look down upon the band accused of it, even if they are innocent. I have a problem when rock bands sample in ways like this, and use the said song in a non-post-modern way. It's alright when Beck or Justice does it, because at times, the sample is barely noticable. When a band like Coldplay does it (I'm talking about the legal use of "Talk" for now), it is not as good because it not being used to create new textures.

Then again, it's probably a coincidence that this happened, and the lawsuit is only happening due to their popularity. I mean, nobody sued Pavement when they obviously ripped off Led Zeppelin, with "Rattled by the Rush". (I still love you, SM and Spiral Stairs, btw)





Whatcha think about this?

O, and I'd like to see if anybody else thinks that Coldplay also ripped off drummers:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let's get a little serious here


It has been 4 years since my freshman year, and the last controversial thing had happened at my high school, Old Bridge High School, were the bomb threats. The bomb threats were something that my class could relate to, as we stood outside of the cold in early January, and other times during that year. Then there was a period of dormancy on the controversy front, and then the school began to exude with unprecedented pride starting last year. Around February of that school year, a teacher i used to have that freshman year allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with one of her students. If rumors are true, then I knew the guy and he was in some of my classes last year.

I am totally shocked at what happened at my school. I am not going to discuss the ethics behind this, as we will let our judicial system sort this out. However, I will show my sympathy to both parties in the ordeal, as now they are both going through a horrible time right now. I wish them all the luck in coping with this thing, and these people need their privacy right now.

I also hope that the school will somehow get past this, and move on. I may have not liked the school, but there are people who do like it.

This is rather sad, and I hope we all move on.

Is this season boring or what?

Are you like me who feels that this movie-award season is rather uninteresting. Sure, there are quality movies out there, but nothing as ambitious as 2007's award front runners, like No Country for Old Men, and There Will Be Blood. Even the smaller films had the same ambition as the leaders of the pack, like I'm Not There. This the front runners are rather quiet, and if were talking about directors here, rather unambitious works. Milk returns Gus van Sant to Hollywood territory, after years of making complex films like Gerry and Elephant. The Wrestler, despite all the positive hype, looks like Darren Aronofsky's most reserved work. I am not as excited as I was in 2007. Hopefully, the Curious Case of Benjamin Button returns the season to 2007's ambitiousness. That's my two cents for now.

This video is full of win; Lack of video update

The video for LCD Soundsystem's "New York, I Love You, but You're Bringing Me Down" disappeared off the internet for some weird reason. That, and the prospects of an LCD-Muppets album. Oh well. We always have memories.

Grammy Nominations - I sort of care this time



The Grammy Nominees were announced today and unlike most of the years since the Grammys inceptions, this one is kind of okay. Hell, Radiohead are nominated for 5, count em, 5 awards for the excellent In Rainbows. However, despite the fact Radiohead changed the way music is released, and In Rainbows is nominated for Album of the Year, they have no chance against their greatly overrated lite-brew version of themselves - Coldplay. My girl, M.I.A., is nominated for record of the year for "Paper Planes", but alas, Coldplay. Since the few relevant categories at Grammys are usually the rap & hip-hop ones and the lone alternative album category, this year the alt-album nominees are a little off:

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Modern Guilt
    Beck
  • Narrow Stairs
    Death Cab For Cutie
  • The Odd Couple
    Gnarls Barkley
  • Evil Urges
    My Morning Jacket
  • In Rainbows
    Radiohead
The only album that truely deserves the nomination is In Rainbows. Modern Guilt is so-so; Narrow Stairs is uniteresting, and it continues the myth that Death Cab for Cutie are a great indie/alternative band; People forgot about Gnarls Barkley; and Evil Urges is not so good. Here's who I think should be in the running, in no particular order. It's more then 4, but better than those 4 nominees:

Dear Science
TV on the Radio

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend

Oracular Spectacular
MGMT

Made in the Dark
Hot Chip

Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Sigur Rós

LP3
Ratatat

The Rhumb Line
Ra Ra Riot

The Stand-Ins
Okkervil River

Third
Portishead

That's my shortlist. If you have any comments, wheter they it is civilized analysis, or low-brow insults, feel free to leave them. However, Radiohead deserve the awards they are nominated for the most, and it will be the perfect victory for a band who are constantly changing music. Let's hope I have the same views as the Grammy voting comission. Also, Shame on the Grammys for snubbing TV on the Radio's amazing Dear Science, easily 2008's best record.

The Grammys happen.... I don't really care, really.


Standing in the Shadow of the band that stands in their shadow.