Thursday, July 19, 2012

Album Review: Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel... (2012)

Fiona Apple's brutal honesty can be summed up in one lyric that she keeps howling on "Every Single Night," the introductory song to "The Idler Wheel..." (there's more to that album title, but I'm not attempting to type that all out,):
"Every single night's a fight with my brain."

And because of this honesty she possesses and that she is able to express the borderline insanity that we all feel within ourselves, Apple is probably one of the most universally relatable musicians of our time, music genres be damned. Rappers love her. Jazz enthusiasts love her. Even the teenage girls working at your local ice cream shop blasting Ke$ha, are secretly jamming out to "Fast as You Can" in their cars. Apple has been MIA for SEVEN years. She posts on her website she's making an album one day and the music news websites go mad! Who else in the music industry really has this same ability to cause such a stir? Not a lot of people.

"Every Single Night" is stripped down and unmerciful. It starts off really slow, with her voice as demure as can be, and ends with her on the verge of belting out what she's been trying to say throughout the song, "I just want to feel everything."

"Daredevil," "Valentine" and "Jonathan" come next with soul, passion and pure rawness. Instruments especially on these three songs are very minimal but this album in general doesn't really have too much going on except for Apple's voice and piano. That's why in "Werewolf" when there's a random 2 minute cry of kids whooshing over your speakers, you pay attention to it. "Valentine" is probably Apple's only successful attempt to a happ(ier) love song. She also pulls a Taylor Swift on "Jonathan" but trust me, it's done way more tactfully. It's about Jonathan Ames, creator of the HBO series Bored to Death and ex-boyfriend of Apple. It's not necessarily a "break-up" song but more so an homage to their relationship.

She looses a little steam in the middle, which is a common occurrence with Apple, to be honest. I think she has such a specific world, that to be involved in it for an entire album can get a little exhausting for the listener at times. But it's worth it for the end: "Anything We Want" and "Hot Knife." "Anything We Want" sounds the most reminiscent to Apple's previous work and more developed with instruments and harmonies. Not to mention, it holds a pretty catchy beat throughout the song, with an "I've Been Working on the Railroad" motif. "Hot Knife" is a song that will probably be what The Idler Wheel... will be remembered by. It's like the stars aligned the day Apple and her sister, Maude went into the studio to record this. This 4-minute round WILL blow your mind the first time you hear it. And I'm pretty certain of that. It almost sounds like they could have done this song in one take, both Apple and her sister just seem so determined to finish, almost like a competition.

Apple is consistently good throughout her career and it's because she doesn't care about genres - music boundaries don't consume her. Because like I said before, her fanbase is so vast, she herself might not know how to categorize herself. My only disappointment with The Idler Wheel... is that we'll probably have to wait another seven years for her to produce something. But like this record, it'll probably be worth the wait.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Album Review: Best Coast - The Only Place (2012)

Ever since Best Coast released their full length debut, Crazy For You, (Mexican Summer, 2010,) there are two things you know about Bethany Consentino and Bobb Bruno: 1) you never know who their drummer is at any given point and you probably never will and 2) their favorite music effect is reverberation (or “reverb”). Or should I say “was”? Because their sophomore album on Mexican Summer records, The Only Place, doesn’t have a trace of it.

When you first hear the album, you’re stunned, maybe even a little upset, if you’re a really big Best Coast fan. Consentino has said that she initially used the reverb to hide her voice because she always thought she wasn’t a very talented singer (Source) but if anything, it was their trademark and it enhanced their laid back, surf pop sound. Even though this is true, The Only Place has some staying power after the initial shock passes. It’s definitely something that will grow on you as you keep listening. You’ll be listening to “Up All Night” while brushing your teeth one day thinking, “that’s actually really good!”

The duo starts with an upbeat, but almost a little too upbeat, anthem for California with the same title as the album. It’s as catchy as “Call Me Maybe” but it’s probably the weakest song on the record. It’s very repetitive lyrically and instrumentally. The three songs after that, “Why I Cry,” “Last Year,” and “My Life,” are lyrically very impressive, for Consentino. You can tell she’s getting more comfortable with word play (“What a day this year has been/what a year this day has been” in “Last Year,”) and being more emotionally direct in her lyrics: “My mom was right/I don’t wanna die/I wanna live my life,” in “My Life.” A huge step forward for the band and a sign of Consentino being more confident.

The last half of the record have much more slower songs. “How They Want Me to Be,” “Dreaming My Life Away” and “Up All Night.” Since “How They Want Me to Be” and “Up All Night” were previously released as demos by Consentino and Bruno, it’s interesting to hear the final product and how different they are. This is probably due to working with Jon Brion, previous producer of Fiona Apple and Kanye West. The slower songs seem to be where you can detect his influence.

“Do You Love Me Like You Used To” is the highlight of this album. With reverb and other effects they’ve used in the past, it could have possibly been the highlight of Best Coast’s career, so far. When a song can represent everything that the band embodies, they seem to always be the best songs and “Do You Love Me Like You Used To” is one of those songs. “Boyfriend” on Crazy For You is another example of that. The only weakness of “Do You Love Me Like You Used To” is the repetition of the lyrics, like “The Only Place,” but the last verse almost makes up for it:

I’m always running down the street/I don’t remember what it means to be me/I’ve left all of that shit behind/But still I seem to loose my mind.

Haven’t we all felt that? The image Consentino puts into the listener’s head is so striking because it’s so raw and specific.

It will be interesting to see if Consentino and Bruno bring back reverb in their future music. For now though, it would be okay, I guess, if they didn’t bring it back. I guess. After listening to this for almost a month every day, it’s clear that Consentino and Bruno don’t have to duck under their reverb distortion pedals no longer. But reverb would still be nice.

Rating: 9 out of 10

x-posted on Scene Point Blank.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Listen to The Idler Wheel on NPR!

Listen HERE! The Idler Wheel comes out June 19...but now thanks to this service NPR offers, you might have it a lot sooner, if you know what I mean. When will artists learn? NPR First Listen is notoriously the leak of death!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Vlog Post #1

Songs that have been used for this video (in order):

Best Coast "Sun Was High (So Was I)"
Best Coast "Do You Love Me Like You Used To?"
Best Coast "Better Girl"
Le Tigre "What's Yr Take on Cassavetes?"
Beach House "Zebra"
Beach House "Wild"
The White Stripes "Rag & Bone"
Jack White "Love Interruption"
Beastie Boys "So What Cha Want"
Beastie Boys "Intergalactic"
Foo Fighters "Hey! Johnny Park"
Foo Fighters "Ain't it the Life"
Foo Fighters "Long Road to Ruin"

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jack White's New Record Streaming on iTunes Tonight

Jack White's solo debut (weird to call it a "debut" because let's be real, it's going to be the same ol' shtick...) Blunderbuss will be streaming on iTunes tonight starting at 9pm. You'll be able to access the link on his website here.

Blunderbuss comes out April 24.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coachella is this weekend!

I was perusing the set times on Coachella's website. Check out how long it is - 12 noon - 12 midnight. That's 12 hours of rocking - quite a deal on that ticket, if you ask me. Although, being the old 24-year-old fogey that I am, I don't know if I'd be able to stay that long.

Some Coachella highlights include The Black Keys, GIRLS, The Deer Hunter, The Horrors, Radiohead, Bon Iver, The Shins, Andrew Bird, Laura Marling, Florence and the Machine, Girl Talk, Justice, At The Drive-In, Wild Flag, The Hives, Santigold and Gotye!

Happy Coachella-ing!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Album Review: Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear (2012)

Say Anything are a band who does the opposite of what you think they're going to do. For example, when they have an album titled, Anarchy, My Dear, you'd think it would be eleven tracks of fast, 3 guitar chord melodies that talk about disorder and chaos. Instead, frontman Max Bemis is singing love songs to his newly aquired betrothed again, Eisley guitarist and vocalist Sherri Dupree Bemis.

His songs with Dupree Bemis are some of the best on the album, to be honest ("So Good," "Overbiter"). But if she's on the next album, it's the last straw for me. It will officially be considered musical PDA. Just sayin'.

A lot of the songs on Anarchy, My Dear are even more understated than their last album, the 2009 self titled and their last album with RCA Records (they're on an indie label called Equal Vision now). So the fact that the band decides to name THIS album Anarchy, My Dear is very unexpected. Even a rebuttal to 2004's "Admit it!!!" called "Admit it Again," is anything but anarchic, except for maybe the lyrics - "Don't wanna hear about how the latest Rihanna single is a post-modern masterpiece," a personal favorite.

Anarchy isn't necessarily all that Say Anything are about. They're also about catchy hooks with a twist and this album most certainly has that. It starts with "Burn a Miracle." I'm a sucker for clapping songs, so I loved it within the first five seconds of listening to it. In true Max Bemis fashion, you're not quite sure what he's talking about but you know that it means something. "I once courted a boy/He looked a lot like me/But his eyelids were destroyed," he starts with.

Like I said before, the gems on this album are "So Good" and "Overbiter". "So Good" is very "Cemetery"-esque (from their 2009 self titled album), Bemis singing with his wife about love and looking "good," something that isn't hard for either of them. "Overbiter" is a bit experimental for them with the funky piano arrangement. Bemis and Dupree Bemis have a good chemistry, I will give them that. It's a tit for tat motif that work really well for them. "Overbiter" describes (at least I think it describes,) a dream Max Bemis has about basically, what he envisions a perfect life to be. Dupree Bemis squeals in the chorus, "and you're the right boy, at the right time" (Forgive me but, gag me with a spoon!)

"Sheep" is another highlight of this album, where Bemis cries "It's my life and I'll live it without you!" which at first has a little goth feel to it but then fades out as they continue with their pop punk familiarity (too bad they didn't try a traditional goth song!) The best part of this is the bridge, where the pace changes, "Mara & Me" style: "You're everything I wanted/You're everything I needed/Everything I wanted/I've gotta let you go." The song after this, "Peace Out" is an honorable mention but kind of an unforgettable song.

I haven't listened to Say Anything's debut album, Baseball, but I've come to realize that there's a pattern with Say Anything albums: amazing, solid but not as amazing, amazing, etc. ...Is a Real Boy and their self titled, to me, go in the amazing category. In Defense of the Genre and this one would go in the other one. Hopefully the pattern will continue and we can have their next effort in the amazing category.

Rating: 7 out of 10

x-posted on Scene Point Blank.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's also have a new disc out today...

Here's the album art. Their fourth (or fifth, if you count Animal/Not Animal! two separate records - I do,) full-length is called Rot Gut, Domestic. Immediately, the question that rings through my mind is: Why? I feel grossed out just typing the words. Also, I'm not sure, but it looks like their pulling a When the Pawn... with this. Is the Black font included in the title? Funny I was just talking about Fiona on here. I'll get back to you when I find out.

Anyway, it's on their own label again, Mariel Recordings, so it's going to be hard to get a copy. I haven't listened to it yet - has anyone else? Give me your thoughts via comment!

I have listened to Anarchy, My Dear and all I have to say's typical Say Anything, which means it's awesome.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Once again, Say Anything sneaks up with an album release!

I was late on their last album release, now I'm late again with Anarchy, My Dear out March 13 (next freakin' Tuesday)! Here's the cover art:
Photo courtesy of

Sounds like it's going to be good! I love that they have a song called "Admit It Again" in reference to "Admit it!!!"

Album Review: Good Old War - Come Back as Rain (2012)

The first time I heard Good Old War, I heard them live - probably the best way to listen to them, in my opinion. Their harmonies, melodies and musical arrangements are way more impressive that way. They were opening for Guster and after their performance of "My Own Sinking Ship," I was sold on them. (All I have to say is, I'm glad I spent $25 on seeing a mediocre band with my friends so that I could discover a band that was anything but!) So the next day, when I first listened to Good Old War's Only Way to Be Alone and their self titled straight through, I thought, much to my chagrin, "Eh. Way more impressive live. There are a couple gems in there, I guess." But then, I synced it to my iPod and I listened to it in the car. I started getting some of the songs stuck in my head at work. Then I listened to it when I was on the elliptical. Then I listened to it on the car ride back home. And that's when I was officially hooked and started to actually look forward to the next time I could listen to it again. Come Back as Rain has not been an exception to this pattern.

For some reason, Good Old War's music seems to grow on you. Listening it for the first time, you don't hear the complexities that make this band great. The way Keith Goodwin, Tom Arnold and Dan Schwartz's voices blend together so harmoniously, for example. Or how at the end of a lyric in the chorus of "Looking For Shelter" on Only Way to Be Alone, the melody goes up a note instead of down. If you're a newbie to this Philly trio, I would suggest not giving up on them too quickly.

Anyway, Come Back as Rain!

The guys start off strong with "Over and Over" and "Calling Me Names." Both very reminiscent of "Coney Island" from Only Way to Be Alone - ridiculously catchy, simple but meaningful lyrics, intricate harmonies and makes you want to dance around your room. Then, probably one of my favorite Good Old War songs of their career so far, "Amazing Eyes," which is very Crosby, Stills & Nash-ish, if you ask me (specifically, their self titled debut...before that Young guy came along). Also, the line in "Amazing Eyes," "The right one's suspicious and the left one wants my love"? Musicians kill for a lyric like that! Another favorite of mine is "There's nothing like sleeping alone so much," from "Come Back Home."

Some other highlights include, "Touch the Clouds (Taste the Ground)," "It Hurts Every Time" and "Loud Love." You can tell that they've spent quite some time on this album. Really, every song on the album is polished and utterly flawless - they couldn't have recorded the songs more perfectly.

I know I've heard that their sophomore self titled disc isn't as well liked as Only Way to Be Alone, their breakout debut. I can see why that is, but I personally like both the same. However, I do feel that with the self titled, they weren't exactly sure where they were going with it. I think they were trying to still find their sound and experimented with a more folkier vibe on a couple of songs. Now that I've heard Come Back as Rain, I call the self titled their "transition album." Come Back as Rain brings their sound full circle and it also proves that they have staying power. If they keep making music like this, the band will be around for a lot longer than people think.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Fiona Apple Record Out in June (Allegedly...)

Read more about the new Fiona record that she's been trying to release HERE!

And my response to Prefix's headline is: Obviously, you didn't know what the entire album title for When the Pawn... is when you created that headline. Here's the entire eight line poem, just for kicks:

When the pawn hits the conflicts, he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he'll win the whole thing 'fore he enters the ring
There's no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won't matter, cause you'll know that you're right

All I gotta say is, it better come out in June. Let's not make this another Extraordinary Machine and have to wait eons for it. Actually, who am I kidding, it kind of already is. She's been talking about releasing this album since like, 2007.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You must not know what I mean, you must not know what I mean...

Sleigh Bells have covered Beyonce's "Irreplaceable". Listen to it here. That is all.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Album Review: Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror (2012)

Derek Edward Miller and Alexis Krauss start this record like it's a Van Halen concert. They're tricking you into thinking that maybe after the Skins commercials that had everyone humming "Kids," after the Williamsburg and Pitchfork royalty fame, and after all the music festivals they attended last year, they were going to take things in a different direction - maybe a little more heavy metal. Before Reign of Terror came out, the band even described the album as "heavy, immense, and huge." Sounds pretty metal, to me. But instead, they hit you again with a distorted, loud, synthesized ballad with Krauss' eerie, soft almost Marilyn Monroe-esque tone - "Born to Loose" and that's when you start to feel the relief of something familiar.

A sophomore album needs to be tactfully done these days if you want to even make a third album. A lot of fans are complaining because the record is too "safe". I too, would have liked to see this record be a little more experimental than it is, but I think Miller and Krauss are smart and they're going to do everything they can so they don't suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. They're going to do what they do best and they do it well on Reign of Terror.

Speaking of them doing what they do best, that brings me to the next track, "Crush" which is an thrash infused version of Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" with an attitude. "Leader of the Pack," "Comeback Kid" and "Demons" come next which are all fast, loud and actually, lyrically inspiring without being cheesy (for Sleigh Bells, at least. If you've heard their debut album, Treats, you'll know their lyrics aren't exactly what I'd call deep. Not necessarily a bad thing though). I've heard that "Comeback Kid" is actually about something that happened that was tragic and hard to deal with this past year in Miller's life. You would think that this would warrant a more serious feel to the song, but it's actually one of the more upbeat, party sounding songs. The lyrics, however, will give you a little hint - "I know you tried so hard, but you can’t even win / you gotta try a little harder, you’re the comeback kid."

Remember that song on Treats, "Rill Rill" formerly known as "Ring Ring" when they originally wrote it? There are a lot more "Rill Rill" influenced songs on this album than their last and they're also some highlights of the album. "End of the Line," "Road to Hell" and "D.O.A." are three of the best songs on this album. They're a lot more intricate with their sound, using different instruments and arrangements to create it. Krauss' voice is used as an instrument, even. It almost has a shogaze sound where the instruments blend together with her voice. I predict that their third album will actually have more of this sound - I think this was their way of experimenting with this record.

One thing that will always ring true about Sleigh Bells is their rough attitude and their eagerness to party. I guess they're like Van Halen in some ways, after all.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Episode 15 - Stef Preston Talks Music

Listen to the podcast HERE!

AND please do yourself a favor and become a regular listener to my friend Dennis' podcast and avid reader of his blog, D Money Mania. Thank you.

Top 10 of 2011 (Almost Three months late)

You thought I just forgot, didn't you?
Oh no, I just wanted to be sure that I was picking the most accurate and superior top 10 for 2011!

For me, 2011 was the year of pure, unapologetic, distorted, I'm-going-to-record-this-in-my-basement-so-fuck-off Rock. There was a slight drought in music during the beginning of 2011 but the Summer really picked things up for me when Death Cab for Cutie and Bon Iver's albums came out. It was also the year of unknowns and new artists for me. Laura Marling, The Joy Formidable, The Civil Wars - all really amazing bands who debuted their talents to the world in 2011 and who I know will have long-lasting careers (if they're smart, of course. You never know!)

Anyway, here they are... (Finally. I know. Sorry.)

10. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
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It's a shocker that Joy Williams and John Paul White aren't romantically involved. Or at least dated in the past. The chemistry this dynamic duo has are dead on for alt-country perfection. My only complaint is that they "OOOOHHHH" WAY more than anyone ever should. Ever.
Exhibit A: the self titled track, "Barton Hollow":

Calm it down for the sophomore album, will ya?

By the way - another amazing song to look out for? "My Father's Father"

9. Bright Eyes - The Peoples Key
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The eighth studio album from Conor and his Bright Eyes crew, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott, was a nice surprise during the beginning of the year slump. The album was released on February 15, which also happens to be Oberst's birthday, to mixed reviews. In fact, a reviewer from No Ripchord is quoted as saying, "There's not a lot fundamentally wrong with The People's Key; it's just that we know Bright Eyes can do better." But isn't giving this a listen way better than any processed Pitbull song? I think yes. Therefore, it is on my list. Well, there are other reasons too, obviously - "Shell Games" and "Ladder Song."

8. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
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If Ryan Adams comes out with an album during the year, it's pretty much a given that I'm going to include him on my list. I really appreciate the fact that Adams is producing solid material consistently since he's been clean and since his marriage to singer/actress/whatever else Mandy Moore. It was a strange combination and I was weirded out at first, but she seems to be a really good influence on him and they do a killer duet on this album called "Come Home."
Another cool tidbit - Adams was apparently very inspired by another artist on my list, Laura Marling. If you know anything about Marling, you'll know she's also a huge Ryan Adams fan so it's nice to see two artists appreciating each other equally. He got his hands on a copy of her sophomore album, I Speak Because I Can, and started re-writing almost all of the material he originally wrote for Ashes & Fire. On discovering Marling, he's quoted as saying, "I thought: 'For fuck's sake.' I literally threw out 80% of what I had. And it felt good, to ask: 'What am I really capable of?' I felt competitive again to write great songs."

7. Foster the People - Torches
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I really like Foster the People, okay?! And I'm not going to tip-toe around that anymore! They were the band people loved to hate in 2011. With "Pumped Up Kicks" being on the radio every other five minutes, I could see why. And unfortunately, "Pumped Up Kicks" in the background of everyone's daily morning commute didn't exactly entice people to give them a further listen. Torches is actually a really interesting album. It also sounds A LOT different from "Pumped Up Kicks." "Pumped Up Kicks" is like a fish out of water on this album...totally doesn't fit. Sometimes when I'm listening to them, I forget that I'm not listening to MGMT - Mark Foster sounds a lot like Andrew VanWyngarden. Speaking of Mark FOSTER, that's probably my biggest pet peeve about this band. For some reason, the fact that they named the band after their lead singer just rubs me the wrong way. Key tracks include "Helena Beat," "Houdini," and "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)".

6. The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
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The Joy Formidable are officially a powerhouse that cannot be torn down, in my eyes. The Big Roar was just that, a big roar in the music industry that couldn't be unheard or avoided in 2011. When I wrote that previous sentence, this album was at #8 but now that I'm realizing how much I love it, I've changed it to #6!
"Whirring" owned the Rock radio waves throughout the year, with it's peak position on the Billboard US Alternative Songs chart being higher than any of their other songs at #7. Not to mention, "Whirring" stayed in the Top 10 for pretty much, the entire year. Their latest single, "A Heavy Abacus," has gotten positive reception within alternative rock radio as well. If this hasn't swayed you to listen to The Big Roar, how about a lead singer with the name, Ritzy Bryan? How about that? You can't help but wonder what someone named that would produce, I bet.

5. Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys
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This record was experimental...for Death Cab for Cutie. I need to specify, for Death Cab for Cutie. I think part of it has to do with the influence lead guitarist Chris Walla had on producing the record and being more of a collaborator to the Rivers Cuomo of the band, guitarist and vocalist Ben Gibbard. I personally liked Narrow Stairs way better than this album but they're definitely in the right direction and it's confirmation that this band isn't going anywhere fast. For more on my feelings about this record, check out my Scene Point Blank review that I did last year.

4. Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know
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I feel in love with this girl in 2011. Love, I tell you. (I fell in love once and almost completely! I had to!) For someone being so young (22 years old,) and accomplishing so much already, (A Creature I Don't Know is her third album,) it's evident that her career will bring nothing but good things. Pitchfork reviewer Joshua Love is quoted as saying, "Often with Marling it's not entirely clear whether these songs are springing forth from a 21-year-old Englishwoman or some deathless, wandering spirit." (See my views about this review HERE). I gather that he thought this was a bad thing - I think it's awesome. The fact that you can't tell an artists age solely from her music, says to me, that this is a universally relatable musician who can touch people of different age groups in different ways that suit them. That's a pretty interesting and almost impossible feat to accomplish and for a musician, it's something that they should find pride in knowing that they have the ability to reach that many people, which Marling continuously does with her music and A Creature I Don't Know is an example of that.

3. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Self Titled - Whatever the hell it is...)
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Justin Vernon has had a good year. Let's hope the curse that's linked to the Grammy award for Best New Artist doesn't effect him. His self titled album, also sometimes called Bon Iver, Bon Iver, is reminiscent to his breakout record, For Emma, Forever Ago but there's some musical growth there in Vernon that can't denied when listening to it. Vernon experiments a lot with other instruments on this album - electric guitars, trumpets, organs. It's not exactly the #1 record for 2011, like everyone else seems to think it is, but it's up there.
Also, I know this may be closed-minded, but I find it ridiculously offensive that people didn't even know who he was until he won Best New Artist at the Grammy's. Like, really? He worked with Kanye West and is on a number of different songs on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Didn't hear about him then? His music has been in movies upon movies and tv shows. You really haven't heard of him ONCE? I don't know. Maybe that's unfair of me but I think it's really weird people are getting all up in arms about how he won and they don't even know who he is. I guess people are way more into their little genre boxes of music than I thought!
If you want to know more about my feelings on this record, check out my Scene Point Blank review.

2. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
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This damn album. I've been listening to it a lot again lately and it's just as good as the first time I heard it. In my eyes, it's the Foo Fighters' masterpiece - all recorded in Dave Grohl's basement. It's funny, because when you hear that, you get the sense that they're playing in some dingy, cold, unfinished basement but when it's Grohl's basement, it probably looks something like this, with all those amazing songs he's written in the past and all. The first half of Wasting Light is probably the best song writing Grohl has ever done. It's unapologetic, honest, torn down and unmerciful. They deserve all the recognition they received at the Grammy's and I hope they continue to make music like this and I think there's a good probability that they will - it seems like Grohl and his gang are at a point in their careers where they feel like: A) they can do whatever the hell they want and experiment and b) they're exactly where they've always wanted to be musically and lyrically. I'll elaborate more on B - I feel like this is the album they've been trying to make throughout their entire career but haven't been able to make because of something that only they know and I don't - it could have been various personal issues, lack of musicianship or whatever. But with Wasting Light, they were ready. And they did it. And they did it well.

1. The Black Keys - El Camino
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Oh, El Camino. I'm pretty sure you all already knew that this was going to be my #1. I was contemplating this album and Wasting Light for a while actually, which is why this list was delayed for so long. But I chose El Camino because at the end of the day, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are kings amongst men and they are changing rock music as we know it. Actually, Steven Hyden from the A.V. club eloquently wrote something in an opinion piece about the recent Black Keys-Nickelback controversy and it kind of mirrors what I'm trying to say:
"While I appreciate much of what’s happening in indie rock at the moment, El Camino reminds me how much I miss straightforward rock records that are made for a mainstream radio audience and are actually really good. That’s the kind of album that got me into music in the first place. More than anything, rock desperately needs gateway bands right now, groups with roots in the music’s history that can get on the radio and compete in the pop marketplace while building on rock’s continuum. The Black Keys want to be that band, and I’d like to see them pull it off."

YES. THANK YOU, Steven Hyden. This is why The Black Keys are so important. They're doing just what Hyden described. And with what they're doing with their music, they're also changing the way we view current rock music and trying to push the boundaries popularity from bands like Nickelback has given current rock music. They're going to perform at Madison Square Garden - and they're going to do it their way. They're not going to placate to corporations (even though a nice car commercial check is nice once in a while for them, I know,) or to anyone else - as long as they're true to themselves and are making music they love, they're happy. Not only are they making the music they love, but it's also GOOD music and really well done. It's the best of both worlds.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Nicki, Nicki, Nicki...

What is up with this hoe? All of those multiple personalities inside of her are giving her poor judgement!

Dennis has a Podcast

Look out for Episode 15 on my friend, Dennis' website, Dennis has a Podcast! I'm the guest host and we're talking about music!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Check this out!

Happy 2012! First post of the year!

The AV Club had this series of articles going on in early 2011, "My Favorite Music Year" where authors chose and wrote about their favorite year in music.
Here's the link:

It made me think about what my favorite music year would be. Obviously, my mind goes straight to the 1960's but I don't know if I could pick a specific year. If it were "My Favorite Music Time Period," that would be a given. But if I had to pick a year, I'd agree with Genevieve and Erik and say, somewhere around the early 00's...maybe 2004 or 2005.

But then again, the late 90's were awesome too. It was the start of the Foo Fighters' popularity, Smashing Pumpkins' Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Eminem, Blink 182's prime era, Janes Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, all the pop music that came out...

This is quite the difficult task.

Also, don't worry, I'm still working on the Top 10 of 2011!