• Top Ten : 2/11/08 - 2/17/08

    Feb 19 2008, 22:11

    ..February Eleventh to February Seventeenth (2008)..
    So this one's late. I suppose that was inevitable, given my various flaws. Oh well, not like anyone was waiting for it anyway...

    1. ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (19 plays)
    That thing about the books? With the covers, and all that stuff? Y'know, about not judging them?Turns out all that's pretty true. Because, not only are these guys not the metal band I was sure they must be, but they are fast becoming one of my absolute favorites. Not that I have anything wrong with metal (and actually listen to quite a bit of it), but these guys are like this awesome indie band with the oftentimes huge and sweeping songs, I swear I was nearly out of breathe the first time I heard Will You Smile Again?.

    2. Badly Drawn Boy (18 plays)
    My first experience with Badly Drawn Boy was years ago, when my younger brother was pretty into trance and chillout music. He'd buy Ministry of Sound samplers and CD's by bands with names like Carbon Blue and Dance Left Feet. One night he showed me a remix of the song Once Around the Block and I thought it was incredible. A while later I found The Hour of Bewilderbeast lying around the house after he had bought it and snagged it away to have a listen for myself. I wasn't quite expected the difference in the remix, going from some mellow little electronica piece with a totally sweet hook, to a sort of rustic singer-songwriter song with a general catchiness to it. It took me a little to completely fall in love with the real Badly Drawn Boy, but I eventually did, obviously.

    3. Efterklang (15 plays)
    How come all these bands that I didn't like at first keep showing up here?

    4. Muse (13 plays)
    So many of Muse's songs have appeared to me throughout my life. Whether it be in the form of animal chase music during a latenight drive, an awesome skate video song, or an anthem played over the radio at work, they've seriously been playing along in the background for years and years. These particular thirteen plays can be chalked up to the newest album, Black Holes And Revelation, which I a purchased a little over a year ago at a BestBuy in Danvers, MA while on my break at the arts and crafts store.

    5. Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly (13 plays)
    Every year I go to New Hampshire with my family. I for some reason can't remember what the hell the name of the town is that we stay in, but it doesn't matter. There's a town close by called Keene, and in that town there's a little shopping mall. Inside the mall, there's a small bookstore called Toadstool Books. And then, right there inside that little bookstore, in that mall in Keene, New Hampshire right next to that considerably smaller town that I can't remember the fucking name of, there is a music section. Four years ago, I was looking through it, and I finally bought Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea by PJ Harvey, an album which I'd been thinking of buying for a while after hearing Good Fortune in the trailer for Brain_Fear_Gone. I finally bought it that summer four years and I couldn't stop listening to it the entire week I was there. A year later I was in the same place, only this time I decided to buy Eye to the Telescope by KT Tunstall. And while I wasn't nearly as taken by it as I was with Stories, I still loved it quite a bit. So on the next year, I decided to make it a point, a tradition, to find another artist whom I wasn't really familar with to buy the CD of and fall in love with. On this particular year, I had absolutely no idea whose to buy. I had been thinking about buying each of the previous two before I actually did, but this year I was going in blind. While browsing through the selections, I saw a number of notable artists (none of which I can remember at this point), but none that just felt right. It wasn't until I was thumbing through the miscellaneous "G" section that I saw this album. Band names are a big thing to me, as much of the time they end up being my initial attraction to an artist. After picking up the CD and reading the review bits on the sticker and seeing the term "folktronica," I was totally sold and the rest was history. I'm now eagerly awaiting the sophomore album which is due out within a month or so.

    6. Feist (11 plays)
    Leslie Feist has the best music videos of all time. Every one of her videos just make me so happy. From the brilliantly huge choreography of 1 2 3 4, to the almost somber elegance of My Moon My Man, and the dreamlike wonder and joy of Mushaboom, to the over-the-top celebration of her newest single, I Feel It All, she just nails it every time. In general, I really love music videos, and I'm always excited to find a new one from Feist.

    7. The Beatles (10 plays)
    Up until this week I had nearly 80 gigs of music on my computer, but not a single Beatles song. Have you guys heard of them? They're pretty good...

    8. Fields (10 plays)
    You're not the only one, bringing money home. Breaking backs in soil, wasting lives in toil.

    9. Mute Math (10 plays)
    I kept hearing their single Typical on the radio at work, and loved it, but I couldn't figure out who it was. For some reason I kept thinking like The Rolling Stones or someone old like that. It wasn't until one day when I heard the DJ say what it was that I realized that I have in fact had the album on my computer for like, several months.

    10. Defiance, Ohio (10 plays)
    I had a small vendetta against this band a loooong time ago because I was a punk rocker and there was already a band called Defiance that was cool. It wasn't until recently that I really got into folk punk and realized how awesome (and how much more awesome) they are.

    And that's that. I'll try not to let the lateness happen again, but really, who's gonna stop me? You?! I doubt it.
  • Top Ten : 2/3/08 - 2/10/08

    Feb 11 2008, 6:46

    ..February Third to February Tenth (2008)..
    And we're back. This week is kinda interestin' because there were a bunch of ties, which oddly enough, hadn't ever come up before (or at least if it had, I hadn't noticed)...Also worth mentioning: in a rare lapse of form, I'm posting this a day earlier than I originally said I would. Go me. Apparently the weekly top artists are updated much earlier on Sundays than I thought they were. Cool. Let's see if I can keep it up...heh heh...

    1. External Menace (24 plays)
    My undisputed three favorite bands/artists are The World/Inferno Friendship Society, PJ Harvey, and these guys. I don't listen to nearly as much punk as I used to, but External Menace will always be at the top of my list. They've got the perfect combination of anger and honesty, actual emotion (mainly in some of their lyrics), catchy singalong choruses, some equally catchy guitar riffs, and even a couple ska songs in there too...A band that I am truly more than proud to rock the backpatch of.

    2. Idlewild (15 plays)
    I read recently that their guitarist fractured his hand while the group was working on their new album. The official reason given is that he was "play fighting." Okay okay, understandable. If there's anyone out there who hasn't gotten hurt play fighting I'd like to meet you, then I'll real fight your face into the dirt because you're probably no fun at all. But anyway, play fighting is the reason that's been given. However, I think it's just slightly odd that this happened while in the process of writing a new album. Maybe what really happened is that he just rocked way too hard and there's a big cover up now, because they don't want us to know how hard this new album will actually rock? Whoah.

    3. Deerhoof (14 plays)
    I didn't like these guys at first. I first expected them to be some country-folkish band. Y'know, cuz of the name...I mean, that makes sense, right? Deers, what with their hooves and all, tend to dwell in country-like rural settings, where many a folk tend to dwell also. So this clearly is a logical conclusion to jump to, right? Well they're not. They're like, nearly opposite that. With their kooky blips and bleeps, their oftentimes hard to discern song structures, and quite regularly frightening and outlandish vocals, they are very much not the southern gent plucking out songs on his acoustic about whiskey and dirt roads that I for some reason assumed they would be.

    4. Animal Collective (14 plays)
    Another band I really didn't like at first. And although I do realize now that I actually like them quite a bit, I think it's only fair that I chalk their prescence this week on this list, at least partially, up the fact that I feel asleep while listening to Feels and woke up halfway through Sung Tongs, the album that Windows Media Player started playing next...

    5. St. Vincent (11 plays)
    Oh shit, I wasn't expecting this so soon...I didn't think I'd need to think of something to say about an artist I just talked about, and pretty much had nothing to say that first time either. Well...she's still pretty awesome. Although, since last week I've noticed many additional nuances to her sound. The usage of a midwestern vibrophone in tracks...okay...I'm definitely lying...sorry...

    6. Tilly and the Wall (11 plays)
    I heard about these guys through Last.fm's Similar Music channel for the band Now It's Overhead. Worth noting is that Now It's Overhead isn't on my list this week. Hmmm...

    7. Destroyer (11 plays)
    Between these guys, Destroy, and Destroy Destroy Destroy, I think it's safe to say that we can stop using that word in our band names now.

    8. The Mountain Goats (10 plays)
    I sometimes have this problem where no matter how many times a bit of information is repeated, I just can't get it to stick in my brain. It happens a lot when I'm reading, it happens a lot when I have to inventory comic books, and it happens with certain musicians. Like no matter how many times I listen to them, later on I can't remember what they sounded like. Such was the case for about the first two months I had Mountain Goats music on my computer. But now if somebody asked me if I liked them, I could be like "Yeah, they're totally rad. And I can absolutely remember what they sound like."

    9. Pretty Girls Make Graves (9 plays)
    The token veteran band of the week. That is to say, out of the ten bands that showed up the week, these guys are the ones I've liked the longest. I first heard them in a skate video a while back. It was the Fifty 50 team video, Juiced. It's definitely a sweet video, but quite short. If I remember correctly (which I more than likely don't), most of the it was synced (sunk?) to rap, until the final section. That of one Mr. Chris Farmer. Not only was that section the best in the video because of Farmer's incredible style and trick vocabulary, but because of the inclusion of this band's song, Come on Golden Pond.

    10. Islands (9 plays)
    I fell asleep during this too...really just for a chunk in the middle though. I listened to the beginning then some of the end, though. That bit in the middle was nothing but fodder that more than likely osmosised itself into my brain and made me dream of indie rock and synthesizers.

    And there you go. Two consecutive weeks of me acting like I have any idea what I'm talking about when it comes to music. What can I say? I know what I like, and I know what I hate. And I know about all that stuff.
    Wait a second. No. That doesn't accurately describe me at all...
    Well fuck...
  • Top Ten : 1/27/08 - 2/3/08

    Feb 6 2008, 7:09

    I decided to start this little thing, mostly as a way to get myself into working on a schedule. I tried it before with a blog, but that ran out of steam real quick because they always ended up being so long and I could never decide what to write about. So I came up with the new idea to make a little journal entry every week (Monday night, hopefully, at least after this one) and talk about each one of the bands that shows up in my top ten for the previous week. Nothing specific, just anything that I feel can relate to each band. So let's get into this bitch:

    ..January Twenty-Seventh to February Third (2008)..
    I got into a lot of new music this week for some reason. Actually, many of the artists that show up here are ones that I'd never heard before, so hopefully I'll be able to find something interesting to say about each...

    1. Billy Bragg (34 plays)
    For some reason, before ever hearing him, I had, in my mind, written Billy Bragg off as some sort of nazi or rascist. I have no idea where this stigma came from. I think it was perhaps during some adventures throughout my youth spent on messageboards, particularly one of the webcomic Nothing Nice To Say. I feel like someone may have mentioned his name, someone else possibly posted a picture of a man standing in front of a confederate flag, and my naive brain, as perforated as it had become by lengthy periods spent on the internet, put two and two together and got five, so to speak. So it wasn't until earlier this week that I actually gave him a listen (after finding out that he wasn't in fact, any of the things I thought), and discovered that he is actually quite good.

    2. Youth Brigade (32 plays)
    These guys are cool. I used to have a shirt of their's that said "Guns are for Killing" on the back, and I remember being hesistant to wear it to a friends house because I was under the impression that his father was an avid hunter. I have no idea where that shirt went to, as is what seems to happen to so many of my shirts...

    3. Frank Turner (30 plays)
    I'll admit it: I download music illegally. Quite often, in fact. And in large amounts. Now, I have a number of rules and philosophies when it comes to the acquisition of this material, but for the most part I just go nuts. One thing I try to adhere to though, is to not download somthing if it has the potential to hurt the artist. Now I know that sounds a little paradoxical, as downloading music for free is pretty much doing just that. I don't really feel like getting into it too much, but in most cases I figure that they're not getting my money anyway, because chances are I'm not going to buy the CD. If I download the music, they're at least getting another fan that will go to shows, and buy merch and albums in the future. The reason I'm talking about all this is because I downloaded Frank Turner's Sleep Is For the Week and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's seriously very awesome. It wasn't until after a number of listens that I visited his site in search of lyrics that I read the bit about him not wanting people to download his music. This sort of threw the whole thing into question, and brought me to realize that, if I really have to keep this up, I really should only be downloading from artists it won't affect, i.e. Ones that are already hugely successful, or ones that are already broken up. The problem I have though is that I am one broke bastard and I can't afford as much music as I'd like. But I realize that the whole downloading thing is pretty dick-move to begin with, and if I'm gonna keep it up I need to regulate it a bit more.

    4. Beirut (25 plays)
    I don't know how I made it this long without being into this Beirut. It is so unlike anything and so fantastically fantastic. It's people like Zach Condon that make me hate myself for having not even a fraction of his talent.

    5. The Soviettes (23 plays)
    I used to say that everyone had at least one band that only they liked, and I would claim that for me it was the Soviettes. This was during my by-the-book punk phase, and I think I mostly said it as a coping mechanism to make myself feel better for liking a band that wasn't hardcore streetpunk.

    6. Zebrahead (22 plays)
    One of my oldest friends (whom I've sadly fallen out of touch with) used to be into these guys a looooong time ago and he suggested them to me. I downloaded Waste of Mind, (using Napster, probably) fell in love, and bought the CD of the same title shortly after. One of my favorite concert memories is going to a club in Boston called the Axis with a bunch of friends with the intention of seeing a friend of a friend's band open for Alien Ant Farm. The show was sold out when we got there, and so out of curiousity we checked out who was playing at the neighboring club, the Avalon. And in some serendipitous twist of fate, it happened to be Zebrahead and Reel Big Fish in what turned out to be one of the most fun shows I've been to. Sidenote: I bought a Zebrahead shirt at this show, which has since also been lost.

    7. The World/Inferno Friendship Society (17 plays)
    It's going to be hard to come up with things to keep saying about these guys, as I'm sure they're going to be showing up here quite frequently. So I'll start with this: I'd been trying to see them for a long time and for whatever reason I kept getting screwed out of it. I finally made it last Friday, and without going into crazy detail, it was easily the best show of my life.

    8. Sleater-Kinney (14 plays)
    When I get into something, I tend to skip the essential stuff and bury myself deep right away. For instance, when I started listening to punk I never really got into [artisit]The Sex Pistols or The Ramones, and just headed right for bands like The Casualties and [artistThe Unseen, then from there tried to go as deep in as I could. There are lots of examples of this, but when it comes to music in general, there are a number of important bands that I've never really heard. I've been working to fix this problem on all fronts, and my recent interest in Sleater-Kinney, while I'm not sure if they'd actually be considered essential at all, is a result.

    9. St. Vincent (13 plays)
    I had expected St. Vincent to be a bunch of sweet soft songs performed by a sweet soft girl. While it is often sweet and soft, they are simultaneously dark and unsettling and even abrasive at times. Really really fucking good.

    10. Against Me! (12 plays)
    A lot of people think New Wave sucks. And that Against Me! are sellouts. And blah blah blah. Now I'm not an "original fan" or anything, I've been into them since about the time the As the Eternal Cowboy was new and I've greatly enjoyed all of their stuff (although I never listened much to Searching for a Former Clarity). I don't think they suck, and I don't think they're sellouts. That's all.

    So there you have it. Volume One of my weekly top ten list thing. Here's to Volume Two next week.