• 2007: Best Of

    Gen 12 2008, 17:41

    Finally. I weeded through a list of about 40 albums. It actually makes me really happy that this took me so long even though there aren't really any surprises lurking in my top 11, I knew if i let it sit any longer the order might drive me mad. So here we go folks.

    11.
    I'm not really giving much (any) credit to Britney here but these producers are top notch. I like my pop music but rarely would it make a Best Of list. However, this is one of the best dance-pop albums in a really long time. It's nearly perfect, too bad they put Britney's name on it.

    10.Johnette Napolitano- "Scarred"

    Leader of Concrete Blonde releases her proper solo album and it's just as kick-ass and powerful as anything you've heard from her, if not more. The opening track "Amazing" is one of the best songs to come out last year.

    9. Carina Round- "Slow Motion Addict"


    8. Patty Griffin- "Children Running Through"

    Let's ignore the album cover shall we? This is technically probably #10 on my list but it's Patty so she gets cool points. Not her strongest album but the good stuff is so good it erases any clunker that may have slipped in there.

    7. Bloc Party- "A Weekend in the City"

    Just a solid, smart rock album.

    6. Patrick Wolf- "The Magic Position"

    This album takes me through highs and lows within seconds of each other. I don't know what the magic position is but I'll stay in it :-)

    5. The White Stripes- "Icky Thump"


    4. Tegan & Sara- "The Con"


    I could not be happier with this new sound for T&S, their last few albums have left me a little underwhelmed. THere's only one bad song on this album ("Floorplan" sounds like a bad Metric ripoff)the rest is pure love.

    3. Ryan Adams- "Easy Tiger" / "Follow the Lights" EP



    Ryan just never stops! Thank god.

    2. Rasputina- "Oh Perilous World"
    Of Montreal- "Hissing Fauna..."

    [url=http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d111/cathedralheat/ofmontreal.jpg nofollow=yes]http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d111/cathedralheat/ofmontreal.jpg[/url]

    Rasputina finally finally finally got it right in the studio. Capturing a sound more true to their live shows with this concept album. The final half of this album just blows me away.

    And the Of Montreal album just kicks so much ass I can't explain it.

    1. Kristin Hersh- "Learn to Sing Like a Star"

    Need I say more?

    ------------

    Honorable Mentions:
    Feist- "The Reminder"
    Over the Rhine- "Trumpet Child"
    Noe Venable- "Summer Storm Journals"
    Kelly Clarkson- "My December"
    Modest Mouse- "We Were Dead..."
    Nellie Mckay- "Obligatory Villagers"

    Concerts of the Year:
    The White Stripes
    Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
    Johnette Napolitano

    Discovery of the Year:
    Laura Nyro & LaBelle: "Gonna Take a Miracle"
    seriously, check that album out

    it was a good year.

    BlackoutScarredSlow Motion AddictChildren Running ThroughA Weekend In The CityThe Magic PositionIcky ThumpThe ConEasy TigerOh Perilous WorldLearn to Sing Like a StarThe Trumpet ChildSummer Storm JournalsMy DecemberWe Were Dead Before The Ship Even SankObligatory Villagers
  • 2006: Best Of

    Dic 12 2006, 3:31

    It's that time of year again. And let me tell you, this year's list was 900 times harder than 2005. My Top 10 Albums of the Year list are purely emotional and not technical at all. A few albums had to be dropped and that hurt me, especially the one I loved the most. And then there were a lot of albums I didn't pick up because I was tired of that artist at the time so...here we go. All the Hipsters (i.e: Lindsey) lists are the same this year and I'm proud to say my albums got past them with the exception of a few. Regina Spektor was left off merely because her album "Soviet Kitsch" was far superior yet it made NOONE's top list and the less-amazing "Begin to Hope" made EVERYONE's list...and that ain't right ya'll. so here we go.


    TOP TEN ALBUMS:
    #10: TIE
    Ripley- "Outtiasite"
    The Ditty Bops- "Moon Over the Freeway"
    ]]
    These were the two albums I couldn't bare to get rid of. Ripley is an unknown band in New York and The Ditty Bops gained fame from opening for Boring Amos on her last tour. Equally, they have released FUN albums that contain songs that continually remind you that there are bands out there who make music you've never heard before.

    #9: Tanya Donelly- "This Hungry Life"

    I commend Tanya for taking a new approach to recording this album. She recorded it live but it's not a live album. However, you get the feeling that Tanya is totally comfortable in this setting. Her voice is stronger than ever and so are her songs. I was scared that after she had her baby she would fall into the Sarah Mclachlan/Boring Amos set but with "This Hungry Life" she showed she still knows how to shake an audience. It's a solid album that isn't getting any attention and that's ashame.

    #8: Sarah Harmer- "I'm a Mountain"

    When I first got this album I listened to it once and dismissed it. Four months later it played randomly and I was hooked. Sarah takes a more bluegrass approach to her songs and it works really well. I actually think this is the genre that fits her the best, she covers Dolly Parton like it's her own and she brings her own folk-stylings to this genre like she invented it. It's pretty amazing. I'm glad i gave this album another chance.

    #7: M. Ward- "Post Secret"

    Not an album I listen to much, to be honest. However, it's brilliant. M. Ward's songs transcend the Bright Eyes / hipsterstryingtobeBrightEyes genre by merely taking a few musical chances and it works. This is by far my favorite male singer-songwriter right now and for a guy to even break into my Top 10, much less ABOVE Tanya Donelly should tell you how great this album is.

    #6: 50FOOTWAVE- "Free Music"

    It's an EP. It's brilliant. 50FOOTWAVE is a band that are totally willing to give you their music, whenever and wherever you want. And they aren't necessarily a new band. Founder Kristin Hersh is a star from Throwing Muses and for her solo music but this new punk band she has created is breaking boundaries everywhere. They released this EP on their website...free for everyone. Never intending to release a hard-copy, fans pressured them to release a cd version and so they did...but for retail price of around $4.00. They are definitely using the internet for their benefit. Not to mention, the music is damn good. Hard-rocking, great lyrics, and just great to turn up and rock out to. Check it out because it won't cost you anything.

    http://www.throwingmusic.com

    #5: The Killers- "Sam's Town"

    I tried to resist the Killers. I didn't buy their debut album. that song about "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" was my ring-tone for awhile but that's about my extent with the band. Something told me to buy "Sam's Town". I wanted to see what they did next. And the critics hate it. I, however, think it's a perfect rock album. Sure, it screams "we listen to a lot of Bruce Springsteen"...but who the hell cares??? Bruce doesn't sing like eyeliner boy, Bruce writes better songs...but The Killers created a rock album that you can play start to finish and not get bored with. That doesn't happen very easily.

    #4: Gabriela Kulka- "Out"

    Who? Right. I'm so honored to have tripped over her music. This Polish singer/songwriter shares a love for Kate Bush yet is able to take that love and make it into music that sounds completely fresh. Her album "Out" is full of lyrics that will have your head spinning, melodies that will stick in your head for years, and a persona that you wish more artists would develop. Gabriela is not afraid of her music, seriously this album is amazing. You can buy it at CDBABY.com and I suggest you do it.

    #3: Shawn Colvin- "These Four Walls"

    Shawn Colvin has always been a favorite of mine. Her albums have usually been full of half masterpiece/half throwaway (except for her debut "Steady On"). So when she release "these four walls" i was very excited to hear the half masterpiece songs...however, I found myself playing this album over and over and over without skipping a single track. Shawn is vulnerable and much less poppy here than on her last release. Those who just hear "Sunny Came Home" are depriving themselves, this is the album of the year...behind the other two haha.

    #2: Dixie Chicks- "Taking the Long Way"

    Controversy can shut the hell up. I don't like country music normally but I have always felt a connection with these three girls. Not only was their first single "Not Ready to Make Nice" one of the best songs of 2006 but they released an album that is as strong as the single, and that doesn't happen often. They have a stronger rock-edge in the production but it is still purely Dixie Chicks. It's a perfect, emotional album, I had no idea I would love it so much.

    #1: Cat Power- "The Greatest"

    I'm scared when artists say "I'm going to record with the people that inspired me" because it usually ends up being a hack-job. But somehow the Memphis Rhythm Band got Chan Marshall to not be crazy long enough to record the best album I heard all year. Every song is orchestrated perfectly and she manages to capture the sound and feeling of the blues legends perfectly. Memphis was the best thing to happen to Cat Power. -----------------------


    Songs of the Year:

  • Short Blurb (about albums i've been meaning to write about)

    Nov 2 2006, 20:45

    Juliette and the Licks: "Four on the Floor"
    I have to say that I haven't exactly given this album enough time, or even really a full spin but my initial reaction was it sounds more like a METRIC album than a Licks album. For the record, if I wanted to listen to METRIC I would.

    Daphne Rubin-Vega: "Redemption Songs"
    DRV's Myspace



    Of course, Daphne can do no wrong in my eyes but really, even though I've been waiting for this album for years it did not disappoint. Her voice is suited for rock/pop and she is a great songwriter. "Citizens of the World" still blows me away.

    Gabriela Kulka: "Out"
    Gaba's myspace

    Gabriela is one of the most fascinating artists I've ever come across, her songs remind me a lot of Terami Hirsch's, musically they are pretty different but they both write and record songs that take on a new life every time you listen to them. Recently this album has been on heavy rotation and each time I have a new favorite song. She knows how to get into your brain and if that's your bag (oh yeah i said bag!), buy this on CDBABY and never look back haha.

    **She even has Free Mp3s available on her Last.FM page**

    Ripley: "Outtasite"
    Ripley's Myspace


    I have a lot of trouble describing this band to people, their sound is just so different to me. Their myspace describes them as "The Pretenders in bed with Blondie" if that helps at all. Anyway, it's catchy power-pop with a very unique twist and Alice Ripley's voice is perfect. Go check them out.


    Tanya Donelly: "This Hungry Life"

    Instead of just going into the studio to record her new album, she recorded it in a live setting, so you get a Tanya that is much freer to experiment with her voice and the way she plays and that shows on this album. The songs are some of her best and really there's not a song to skip here. Can't go wrong.


    I think that's enough for now.
    Go forth and listen!

    Daphne Rubin-VegaAlice RipleyRipleyGabriela KulkaTerami HirschMetricJuliette and the LicksOutOuttasiteTanya Donelly
  • Shawn Colvin- These Four Walls (first listen)

    Ago 22 2006, 8:25

    I've always been a huge fan of Shawn Colvin's simple yet heart-wrenching folk-pop. Her first album "steady on" is a masterpiece and her studio albums since then have had moments of greatness as well.

    Her last studio album (besides the lullabye one which I don't count) had 3 songs worth listening to, it sounded far too much like she was trying to come up with some radio play after the success of "Sunny Came Home".

    Now she's back and fiestier than ever with "These Four Walls". Here, Colvin is taking all the moments of brilliance from her past studio albums and turning them into a cohesive mixture of folk-pop, acoustic ballads, and a few hard-hitting electro-folk numbers.

    She's back with a vengance with help from long-time producer/song-writing partner John Leventhal as well as Patty Griffin who provides backing vocals on "Cinnamon Road".

    The first single "Fill Me Up" may sound a little polished at first but really it's a better pop song than "Sunny Came Home" and it won't leave your head for awhile.

    The album has many moments of darkness and I think that's what drew me to it at first. Shawn doesn't hide her emotions and she is most accesible when it's just her and an acoustic guitar singing lyrics that Ryan Adams would be proud of.

    All in all, this is a welcome return. A nice mixture of "Steady On" and "a few small repairs" with enough new Shawn to keep it interesting instead of making you return to the old albums.

    Definitely something to pickup when it's released next month.

    Shawn Colvin
    Patty Griffin
    Sunny Came Home
    Fill Me Up

    Steady On
    A Few Small Repairs
  • Ani DiFranco: Reprieve

    Ago 10 2006, 3:58

    Ani DiFranco





    One word: YAWN.


    Reprieve
  • Jewel: Goodbye Alice in Wonderland (First Thoughts)

    Apr 24 2006, 17:39

    Jewel

    I've listened to it only three times through so these are very early thoughts and I know for a fact that first thoughts on an album (especially Jewel's) are usually clouded by excitement of the idea of new music from the artist.

    If you saw Jewel on tour after "0304" she talked alot about how the new album would be very "lo-fi", leading fans to squeal in delight of a more stripped down Jewel. Well, sadly that is very far from what "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland" turned out to be. If anything, this album is "This Way 2". Luckily, "This Way" was Jewel's most cohesive album of her career.

    The production is lush and sometimes a little too glossy to really let the lyrics and vocals shine like they need to. For the most part though, the production is very consistent which is a new idea for Jewel and works to make the album a whole.

    She opted to hit her backcatalog a lot more than I expected on this album (even redoing "Fragile Heart" from her last album...and it sounds about the same). Not a bad move except that some hardcore fans may be upset at new renditions of "Satellite" and "Long Slow Slide". "Satellite" has turned into a heavy rock song that actually works really well and I'm excited to hear live with a band.

    The new songs, save for lead single "Again and Again" and the catchy "Drive to You" haven't really made much of an impression on me. They sound a bit like rejects from Liz Phair's latest album.

    The album closes with another old song "1000 Miles Away", the most "lo-fi" song on the album and Jewel really gives power to the vocal instead of letting the production overpower or mechanize it.

    Jewel's studio albums are normally inconsistent, noisy, and heavy with bad bad bad production but overall "Goodbye" takes her in the right step of getting heard on the radio again and regaining her place as a heavy-hitter in the pop music world.

    Let's hope I can still listen to this album in a week.

    Goodbye Alice in Wonderland
  • VD Special

    Feb 14 2006, 9:57

    Word on the street is that Music cures your VD woes (tee-hee). So head on over to http://www.cathedralheat.com and fulfill your music needs for this funny little holiday they call Valentines.




    Jennifer HollidayAnn-MargretAmy CorreiaSheila NichollsJann ArdenSpice GirlsThe Go-GosWilson PhillipsFeistBettie ServeertMelanie
  • www.cathedralheat.com New Mp3 blog

    Feb 8 2006, 21:24

    I'm all for growing trends. And lately I've had all this music that I'm trying to get out there and so I figure the best way is to start a MP3 blog (like all the other cool kids). I even got my own domain and place to host the mp3s so that's exciting right? Anyway...

    1) Not the Spotlight can be found at http://www.cathedralheat.com

    2) My first post is Patrick Wolf (duh). I plan to do theme days, random fun stuff, etc. etc. So spread the word to music communities or whatever.

    Check it out. It's all very new so it's not very pretty or anything right now. If any of you have Mp3 blogs you would like me to link to on the site then just let me know.
    Patrick Wolf

  • Last.FM Top Fans

    Feb 1 2006, 18:17

    I don't think it makes much sense that the Top Fans of an artist are calculated by the Rank in a user's Top Artists chart instead of the # of plays.

    And that folks, is all I got right now.

    Last.fmLast.fm
  • Jill Sobule and Cyndi Lauper MP3 (must have!)

    Gen 24 2006, 18:21

    If you go here:
    http://www.jillsobule.com/showandtell.html

    you can download a great quality MP3 of Jill Sobule and Cyndi doing "Mexican Wrestler" live. It's just gorgeous and one of my favorite Jill Sobule songs.

    You're being stupid if you don't :-)

    Jill Sobule
    Cyndi Lauper
    Mexican Wrestler (live)