Song of the Day: “Chinatown” by Destroyer

This song sticks to me like greasy foods to my arteries. It is upbeat, yet a tad laid back. And there’s a horn in it. And it sounds like a saxophone somewhere as well. And once I start groovin’ I hear a female voice that compliments very well with the lead singer’s.  The video is sooooo 80s.. but I still love it. It’s off their album “Kaputt.” The album ALMOST made my list but I had so many contenders.. If they come to your town, check them out. Do be a dear and take a listen? K? Obie kaybie..

 

 

 

Blogging is Fundamental, but not so much were the Worst Albums of 2011.

Ok, there were as many crappy albums released as much as there were good ones. I admit that. And I’m not going to go into detail about what I thought was crappy. We’d be here allllll day and far be it from me to keep you all from your jobs because of my very very long lists. I shall just give you TWO.. yes just TWO of my top worst albums. I’m sure I will get heat from it. But honestly, I don’t care. These two albums sucked. It proves just because you can sing anything, doesn’t mean you should sing EVERYTHING. And also, please people, leave the egos at the door. Please. Enough already. Save your energy for great albums, not albums that illustrate how you can afford many trips to Paris and such.

1. Watch the Throne – Jay-Z/Kanye West

You know when I read that these two were going to record an album together I thought, “well, there is something I didn’t expect.” The two powers in rap, Jay-Z and Kanye West, together. In one studio. I can’t even imagine how great this will be – in rhyme delivery. In production. In everything.

Boy was I wrong.

This album is just an album of fluff. It’s an album of braggadocio and quite frankly I think it was put together just because.. they have nothing better else to do. They can do anything at this point and the fans, like myself, will generally eat it up. But in the end, all it did was just show me and others who aren’t so fortunate, how to feel bad for not having the cars, the money, the homes, the private jets, the fur coats, the last minute purchases, the haters who are jealous, yada yada yada.. Honestly guys, I would have expected better from you two. It seemed more like how can one outbrag on the other. We all know that in rap music, you MUST have some bravado. You must have high esteem in order to be taken seriously as an artist. However there’s a difference between trying to illustrate that point, and just bragging for the sake of bragging. I won’t even list the worst songs. The whole album was a stinker. The ONLY saving grace, was the production. Maybe if Kanye had just stuck with the production aspect and not taken on the lyrical delivery, maaaaaybe the album could have been saved from my list. Alas.. no.

2. Beyonce’ – 4

This might seem like a slam towards the royal couple of Hip-Hop. But this album was just weird. The songwriting was just horrible. She shouts. I remember when she used to sing. But she SHOUTS.. specifically on “I Care”, “Rather Die Young,” among others. My goodness lady. We get it. You can sing circles around folks but the shouting has to go. The production is good. The beats are good. But the singing is just way too over the top. There’s a line in “Best Thing I Ever Had” that says “It sucks to be you right now”.. really Beyonce? That’s a real lyric? Really? What happened to your songwriting? Is this the best you can do? I love you. I do. I really do. I’ve been a fan since Destiny’s Child. But at some point lady you have to take a break. Go back to basics. Now, that being said, “Love on Top”.. that’s one of two keeepers. Very upbeat. Very dance-y. I think everyone can rock this one.  The tune “End of Time” could easily be a Destiny’s Child outtake. Same drum beat. But still a keeper. But alas, two songs don’t save an album.

Now, that is not to say I’m not a fan of any of these artists. Because I am. And I probably always will be. However sometimes taking a loooooong break and returning to form is a good thing. Not one of them has anything to prove anymore. They can afford the rest. Maybe their next conquests will be better than these.

Blogging is Fundamental: And so is the list of 2011 Top 30 Albums

Well this has been QUITE a rollercoaster of a year for music. Dance music was HUGE, indie acts crossed over, and rap..still sucked. But there were a few gems that slipped through the incredibly thin cracks. All in all, this was a great year for music. My ears for the most part were pleased, and so were my speakers whenever I played something with heavy basslines. Overall I give the year a B+. Now some of you will completely disagree with my choices. That’s fine. Some of you might not have even HEARD of these bands. And that’s what I’m here for I believe. So expand the mind a little will ya? So buckle up and hold on for a random, random list..While I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination, I follow my tapping feet and my shaking booty. They lead the way. So sit back, relax, and rant and rave or smile at my choices. Don’t worry, you won’t be quizzed on this later.

30. Niki and the Dove – The Drummer

While this is just an EP it packs quite a wallop truth be told. Swedes do it best it seems and the trio provides a loud pulsating sound that grabs onto you and puts you in a trance and throws in a little r&b for gits and shiggles. You don’t know which way to go all you know is you want them to lead the dance way.

Key Tracks – The Drummer, Last Night

 

29. Pack A.D. – Unpersons

This album really blew me away. With a combination of rock and blues, they are definitely the quinticential garage band’s garage band. You can easily hear The White Stripe’s influence, as well as Flat Duo Jets with the growls and and the hollers. What else do you do when the relationship goes down the drain? Sing the pain away and get your growl on. Seek your revenge. Call the person out. Make the rock loud. And they did all of the above. You break up with someone? Put this album on. I guarantee you will feel better.

Key Tracks – Haunt You, Rid of Me, Seasick

 

28. Blood Oranges – Coastal Grooves

I don’t know much about Dev Hynes other than he loves rhythmic melodies and is completely influenced by 80s dance and new wave. It’s got great guitar lines and his voice is strong. It’s a cd that can be played after winding down after clubbing. It can be played in your car, or even at a party. Dev does most of the guitar strumming and a wonderful player he is. The music is clean and fun. And sometimes after the day is done, that’s all we need, something fun.

Key Tracks – Champagne Coast, Instantly Blank (The Goodness), I’m Sorry We Lied

 

27. Luke Bryan – Tailgates and Tanlines

While I’m not a big fan of country, there is usually an artist in the country department that makes the list for me. Luke Bryan, in addition to being easy on the eyes, has concocted a perfect pop country album. There is nothing particularly earth shattering about this album, but what he does he does well, just providing melodic country music that sticks with you and gets the feet tapping.

Key Tracks – Country Girl (Shake it For me), I Don’t Want This Night to End, Harvest Time

 

26. Mint Julip – Save Your Season

This album is difficult to discuss. The music is incredibly haunting. And incredibly mismatched. One minute you want to dance on the table and the next you want to..well.. hug someone followed by a “I love you man.” It’s just a great sounding record. Just listen for yourself.

Key Tracks – Days Go By, Save Your Season, Letting Go

 

25. The Kooks – Junk of the Heart

This is anything but junk. It’s kind of different from their previous albums. It sounds a bit more mainstream, but that’s not a bad thing at all. They’re not reinventing the wheel, they just want to make a good album you can listen to again and again. So far, no complaints here.

Key Tracks – Mr. Nice Guy, Taking Pictures of You, Is It Me

 

24. Foster the People – Torches

Ok, Pumped Up Kicks aside, this is an EXCELLENT record. Absolutely. It’s upbeat. It’s quirky, and gets my toes tapping. I mean, what else do you need? And it’s got piano. They make piano sound cool. Heck yeah!

Key Tracks – I Would Do Anything for You, Don’t Stop, Miss You

 

23. Mister Heavenly – Out of Love

Melodic harmonies, hard rock, and yet kinda sounds like it could be played in the 50s. I even detect a wee bit of the rockabilly. I was thoroughly surprised. The band is made up of members of Modest Mouse, the Shins, Man Man, and Unicorns. I guess with that cosmic slop, I should have known it was going to be good.

Key Tracks – Harm You, Charlyne, Doom Wop

 

22. Penguin Prison – Penguin Prison

Just makes me wanna dance dance dance. For reals. The new wave pays a visit. Synths, done in the right way, can really make an album stellar. And this.. was done in the right way.

Key Tracks – Don’t Fuck with My Money, Something I’m Not, Pinocchio

 

21. The Kills – Blood Pressures

Listening to this band makes me OWN blood pressure go up. It’s very loud, dark, and dirty. Just plain dirty.. with a hint of blues. This duo never disappoints. I just wish it was longer. Just an excellent album. I leave it with my jaw to the floor.

Key Tracks – The whole damn thing.

 

20. Zola Jesus – Conatus

Zola makes the best choir in the world sound miniscule in comparison. Her voice is just overwhelmingly loud. It’s beautiful music. Not music to be heard everyday, but she is definitely definitely quite the treat to listen to. Her music is atmospheric, etheral, and romantic. My dream? To put her in the studio with Florence and the Machine. Can you IMAGINE what will happen?

Key Tracks – Vessel, In Your Nature, Swords

 

19. Rihanna – Talk That Talk

Aaaah yes. RiRi. She has returned. Again, with another set of r&b and dance hits. They hit harder with every album. On this one she definitely explores the club scene a little more than previous efforts as well as the sexual bravado… And her voice fits perfectly with the beats. She’s come a long way from her first album and I look forward to hearing where she takes her music next. “Drunk on Love” has been on repeat on my pod for days.

Key Tracks – Where Have You Been, We Found Love, Drunk on Love, Roc Me Out

 

18. The Chain Gang of 1974 – Wayward Fire

I’m kinda an 80s junkie, even though I remember the 90s more vividly from beginning to end. This album could easily have been played in heavy rotation in the 80s. It’s a great combination of new wave, rock, and guitars that made the 80s what it was. Plus, it’s a fantastic title for a band no? Chain Gang of 1974. I mean, who DOESN’T love this name??

Key Tracks – Devil is a Lady, Heartbreakin’ Scream, Matter of Time

 

17. Childish Gambino – Camp

Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, is a nerd. And he illustrates that in this album. He illustrates how he grew up, fitting in a world that didn’t necessarily accept him because he wasn’t the stereotypical Black person one sees on tv or the media or in music. He loves his parents, he realizes how lucky he is, and he’s funny. I can kinda relate to that;-) It’s funny, it’s refreshing, and I like it. I hope he sticks around for a long time.

Key Tracks – Bonfire, LES, You See Me

 

16. Designer Drugs – Hardcore/Softcore

SO. LOUD. I CAN. BARELY. HEAR. MYSELF. DO. ANYTHING. MUCH. LESS. TYPE!!

Key Tracks – Leather Gang, Crazy for You, Riot

 

15. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

The Shredding Queen on this one… she is an excellent guitarist. It’s a break up record. Or the picking up the pieces after breaking up with someone. It’s quite quirky. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect. Thank you Annie. I could go on and on about this, but I won’t. It’s good. It’s very very good.

Key Tracks – Cruel, Cheerleader, Champagne Year

 

14. Antigone Rising – 23 Red

The ladies from Long Island, NY, have returned with a very upbeat and incredibly catchy collection of songs of rock and a twang of country. It’s a feel good album that was perfect for the summer whether relaxing at the beach, driving with friends, or doing your best air guitar and air drumming in your living room. The quartet possesses high energy, beautiful melodies, and heartfelt songwriting. It’s a treasure and a must have..

Key Tracks – No Remedy, Everywhere is Home, You Say You Want to Leave (Circles), Gracefully

 

13. Washed Out – Within and Without

The man is Earnest Green. The album? Beautifully textured and layered. It leaves you with a push and pull between summer lounging and dancing.

Key Tracks – Eyes Be Closed, Far Away, Within and Without, Call it Off

 

12. Camo and Crooked – Cross the Line

If you like drum and bass, and needle drops, this one is for you. The end:-) Thank me later.

Key Tracks – Funk You, Make the Call, Portal

 

11. Lisa Bianco – Momentum

The long awaited second cd was worth the wait. The crunchy guitars make you want to jump up and slap yourself, your mom, and the little dog that keeps yapping. She’s loud, bold, and unapologetic. From beginning to the end of this record, you are taken on an emotional ride of hope, love, frustration, and satisfaction. Big thumbs up from me.

Key Tracks – Breakin’, Erase You, Big City Lights, Low

 

10. Lady Gaga – Born this Way

The Ga doesn’t disappoint on her second full length masterpiece. She returns proving (as if there was any real doubt) that she has the chops, and the right production team behind her to carry her voice into the world. I kinda dig it. More power to her.

Key Tracks – Government Hooker, Marry the Night, Heavy Metal Lover

 

9. Wild Flag – Wild Flag

This is not a superteam. It’s a combo of great musicians from Helium, the Minders, and Sleater-Kinney, who happen to be friends. They’re in your face, they’re loud, they are awesome. Period. If you listen to Wild Flag, you are left twitching on the floor wanting more of the wails and crunchy sounds of guitarists Mary Timony and Carrie Brownstein. One word to describe it? Incredible.

Key Tracks – Romance, Glass Tambourine, Electric Band

 

8. The Black Keys – El Camino

The Ohio boys return again for a new album. It mixes garage rock, soul, and a bit more rock edged than Brothers. It’s fast paced and if anyone can make the loud, it’s these two. Dan’s guitar wailing just makes it even MORE worthwhile.

Key Tracks – the whole damn album

 

7. Swedish House Mafia – Until One

Whaaaat? I can’t hear you!! That is what I usually say when I listen to this album because the beats are so loud and addictive it’s hard to concentrate. The whole album is just wonderful from beginning to end. I turn up the volume and twitch again with glee. The synths make this album and the mix is just perfect. All hail the new Kings!

Key Tracks – the whole album, especially In the Air

 

6. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

It’s gorgeous, it’s lush it’s 80s revisited just on a grander dance scale. It’s a great gem to the ears.

Key Tracks – Intro, Midnight City, Claudia Lewis, Year One, One UFO

 

5. Mute Math – Odd Soul

Cheesus Crust I love this album. It’s loud, unapologetic, rocky, melodic.. the adjectives can go on and on. They really upped the ante with this album. And it shows. The production is sleek in some  areas and distorted in others. But yet it completely works. This could easily have been played in the 70s and they could have easily opened for Led Zep in LZ’s heyday The lead singer, Paul Meany, shouts like he found himself some religion and wants to share. It’s just a beautiful work of art to dance to. Get on the good foot, and get this album.

Key Tracks – Aliens, Odd Soul, Equals, Pyrtania

 

4. Betty Wright w. the Roots – Betty Wright: The Movie

Betty returns from a ten year hiatus with a wonderful r&b album with the Roots in tow. The production is completely old school for the most part, and there is nothing wrong with a little old school. Her voice hasn’t skipped a beat. While there are a few guest stars on the cd (Lil Wayne and Joss Stone), Wright is still in control, singing about happiness, heartbreak, and maturity. R&B singers of today should take a page from Betty’s book. They could learn a thing or two.

Key Tracks – Whisper in the Wind, Grapes on a Vine, So Long, So Wrong, In the Middle of the Game

 

3. Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials

Well, Florence and the gang returns. Her vocals are as bold as ever, accompanied by organs and drums. You get the feeling that you are listening to hymnals but you only WISH church hymns were as exciting as Florence makes them sound.  She’s empowering, elegant, and at times completely melancholy and dramatic. But all the while ALWAYS entertaining. And she’s only 24.

Key Tracks – Shake it Out, What the Water Gave Me, Breaking Down, Seven Devils

 

2. Lupe Fiasco – Lasers

For a man who didn’t want this album to be released due to record company interference, this was a stellar set. Lupe writes about triumph over tragedy, fighting for what is yours, problems within inner cities, and the government, while maintaining his own sanity and dealing with his place in life and in music. It is quite a feat to take on, and Lupe does it tremendously well. This was quite the stand out, in a year where rap music was in major yawnapalooza. Thank you Lupe, thank you.

Key Tracks – Words I Never Said, Till I Get There, The Show Goes On, Break the Chain, All Black Everything (a particular gem, where he creates a fantasy of what ifs..)

 

1. TIE. Friendly Fires – Pala; Adele – 21

Before you say it, yeah I have a tie for #1. I love these albums equally. Friendly Fires saved my summer with an upbeat, dancey, r&b influenced collection of songs that got the butt shaking and  the brush in my hand doubled as the best mic in the world to sing along to their music. It is the best pop dance album this year hands down. And Adele, well.. when you can convey heartbreak as powerful and emotional as Adele can, you are most definitely.. winning. Her voice is just stunning, absolutely stunning and tugs at the heart strings like nothing else I’ve heard this year. This was her year, as it should have been. Perfect mix of soul, emotion, and pop. FF and Adele delivered in two different ways, but equally just as effective, to me anyways.

Key TracksFriendly Fires’ Pala: Show Me Lights, Hurting, Pala, Live Those Days Tonight, Blue Cassette

Adele’s 21: Rollin’ in the Deep, Someone Like You, Rumour Has It, Set Fire to the Rain, Take it All, I’ll be Wating

 

Aaand a little round of applause for the ones who JUST missed my list but deserve a serious shout out:

Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

Feist – Metals

DJ Shadow – The Less  You Know, the Better

The Roots – Undun

Yuck. Yes there is a band called Yuck. And they’re not yuck. not in the least.

Kelly Clarkson – Stronger. Gotta love the pop. The sweet sweet pop. #TeamClarkson

Whew. That was a LOT of music to narrow down to 30 choices. My ears hurt. My brain hurts. But if next year is anything like this year, then I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m going to have some wine and listen to these albums again.

Rock on everyone. Happy new year.

 

Song of the Day: City and Colour’s “Coming Home”

Hello friends.

Sorry I’ve been a bit out of the loop with blogs as of late. I have had a lot of things to deal with in the past month. But I shall return shortly with a new set of reviews, including my end of the year list, and a couple of podcasts. So stay tooned for what’s to come. Until then, I will tide you all over with a lovely performance by a man I saw this past Saturday named Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, in Washington D.C. He came equipped with a live band, but this clip is just him, acoustically, with rich vocals, and with fellow fans singing along. It was a beautiful song, and a beautiful night.

Enjoy fellow music heads. Expand your minds, listen, and love.