July 30, 2010

Top 40 Beck Songs

A list of my favorite Beck songs. In the words of Beck, "Please enjoy, HELL YES."


40. Gamma Ray

39. Broken Train

38. Totally Confused

37. Gold Chains

36. Dark Star

35. Rental Car

34. Soldier Jane

33. Think I'm In Love

32. Soul Suckin' Jerk

31. Qué Onda Guero?

30. Profanity Prayers

29. Jack-Ass

28. Deadweight

27. Diamond Bollocks

26. Peaches & Cream

25. Missing

24. Nobody's Fault But My Own

23. Lazy Flies

22. Girl

21. Paper Tiger

20. Hotwax

19. Debra

18. Loser

17. Static

16. Novacane

15. Tropicalia

14. The Golden Age

13. Pressure Zone

12. Milk & Honey

11. Cellphone's Dead

10. Nicotine & Gravy

9. The New Pollution

8. Beercan

7. Lord Only Knows

6. Sexx Laws

5. Cold Brains

4. Timebomb

3. E-Pro

2. Mixed Bizness

1. Devil's Haircut

Almost made it:
Bottle of Blues
Fuckin' With My Head
Lost Cause
Black Tambourine
Modern Guilt

July 23, 2010

Wavves - King of the Beach

Sound-a-likes: Jay Reatard, Surfer Blood, Free Energy, Male Bonding

There's no doubt that Nathan Williams is a decent song writer, and this shines on songs like When Will You Come, Baseball Cards, and Mickey Mouse, which stick out from all the noisy, guitar-rock happening, long enough to keep me interested and make the album more diverse. However, some of the vocals and lyrics on King of the Beach tend to come off as a little bratty and irritating, like on the chorus of Post Acid, or in the songs Take On the World and Green Eyes; "I still hate my music, it's all the same......my own friends hate my guts, so what, who gives a fuck". I just wish he'd lighten up a bit and/or write better lyrics.

And I know Williams wanted to make a different record when he adopted Jay Reatard's old backing band, but I'll admit, I miss the fuzz and lo-fi. It's what made his second album Wavvves so original and embracing to me. But regardless, this is still a fun record, and his ability to write catchy, empty-headed surf rock tunes still makes King of the Beach worth a listen.

For those of you who, like me, enjoy the distorted side of Wavves, problem solved.


July 20, 2010

Wolf Parade - Expo 86

As genre names continue to become less and less relevant and we are bombarded with terms like “post-grunge-new-wave” and “retro-art-pop/rock,” one line that is a little less gray is that between pop and rock. A good pop record is supposed to be popular, thus its name. Rock, on the other hand, you don’t have to like, in my opinion. Along those lines, a good indie pop should be listenable to a large audience,while a good indie rock (there go those genre names again) band fits a smaller niche. That doesn’t mean it can’t be very good as well, mind you. Over the past couple years, bands like Handsome Furs and Sunset Rubdown have set the bar pretty high for their indie rockers, so Wolf Parade had some big shoes to fill. Unless, that is, you consider that Wolf Parade is just Dan Boeckner of Handsome Furs and Spencer Krug of Sunset Rubdown and a couple other guys (sorry Thompson and DeCaro, you’re more than a bit overshadowed here). What Boeckner’s Handsome Furs excellent 09 release needed was a just little more substance while what Krug’s Sunset Rubdown needed was perhaps a little less. Wolf Parade are the perfect combination of the two. They cut out the crap, took out the trash, or whatever you want to say. They tidied things up for a record that allows them to live up to their basically-a-super-group status. Although I am a bit wordy myself, I am a fan of conciseness (see The Strokes for definition), one thing that Expo 86 is not. The 55 minutes tend to ooze by, but the quality of whatever is oozing generally makes up for the continuous five and six minute songs. An important thing to keep in mind is that Expo 86 is a rock record characterized by lots of guitars and some pretty hefty riffs, be it labeled indie-rock, post-grunge-punk-rock, or whatever. It will either be enjoyed and played until your CD scratches to death or immediately rejected and occupying space in your likely already full trash bin.
Either way, it’s a solid all-around record.


July 14, 2010


Louis C.K. has been one of my top favorite comedians for a long time that no one appreciates. Louis had a short lived show on HBO, "Lucky Louis," that was a demented version of Family Matters, that was tragically canceled after 16 episodes. Now, Louis is back with a show on a basic cable network, written, directed and produced all by Louis himself. He brings his stand up in every episode (like Seinfeld with more profanity) and he also works in his dismal sense of humor into the plot line of the show that makes it a total cringe-fest. I love Louis style of self hatred comedy, but sometimes it is a little too depressing to see Louis try to succeed at something every week and fail every time.
My Review: B


Stars - The Five Ghosts

One comment that really frustrates me goes along the lines of “This band’s new
album doesn’t sound like them at all.” This comment leaves me asking, “Well, if
they don’t sound like themselves, then who does?” A new album may not sound
like a previous one, but a band’s sound changes. Just ask Beck. So, does The
Five Ghosts sound like our favorite Set-Yourself-on-Fire–Stars? Not really. But
does it sound like them? Of course.
On The Five Ghosts, Stars drop the saxes and trumpets and pick up some
synthesizers with the volume knobs stuck on mellow. Amy Milan and Torquil
Campbell still find their groove as they kick (or gently push, rather) Ghosts of to
a great start with Dead Hearts, which should be grouped with some of their best
stuff. For me, Stars falter for the first time in their career on Wasted Daylight,
where the similarities to alt-poppers Metric are almost unbearable (check out
Help I’m Alive and compare). However, Stars return to some of their best on
I Died So I Could Haunt You. More complaints would be raised about Fixed
pertaining to how Stars may be looking to duplicate ‘05 hit Ageless Beauty if the
song just wasn’t so catchy. We Don’t Want Your Body picks up the tempo before
the quite poor He Dreams He’s awake. The album slumps on Changes where
there is a bit too much Amy Milan, who really works better with Campbell than
without him. A sequence of surprisingly memorable tracks close out the album,
with The Passengers being a personal favorite, where above point is verified
about Milan and Campbell. The cute The Last Song Ever Written still leaves
space on the album for an up-tempo How Much More and an unfortunately
forgettable Winter Bones.
Stars’ sound is still showing signs of healing after the loss of the brass section.
However, we are dealing with Stars, a band who have a knack for writing neat
albums, ones that complete thoughts and feel more natural from beginning to
end as they hit their highs and lows with no sense of urgency.
Stars are slowly confirming themselves as some of the best indie-poppers in
the business as fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene have started to misfire.
Another all-around display from Stars earns quite decent marks.


July 12, 2010

Top 40 Albums of 2009

The closing of this decade ended up clocking out many a decent album. One I was really excited about, Face Control by the Handsome Furs, had some pretty IMPORTANT funky house tracks. Another IMPORTANT album of the final year of the Double-Zeros was the new Passion Pit album, Manners. I remember when Passion Pit was just some unknown group . Now look at 'em. I heard one of their songs in a commercial and they're practically famous. I have a feeling alot of these rising indie bands are going to play a part in the coming trends of the next decade. I'm glad Animal Collective was first, (Good work julian) I thought they had a really sweet style. Overall, we heard from alot of great bands this year that made it on the list. Neon Indian, the Decemberists, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, blah blah blah you can read the list. Bands like these make us remember this past ten years fondly, as we enter another decade of new gismos and gadgets, yet more IMPORTANTly, new groovy music for us to get down to.
Special thanks to our friend Jon for doing this supercool Top 40 image.

40) Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall

39) Royal Bangs - Let it Beep

38) Islands - Vapours

37) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

36) Metric - Fantasies

35) The Love Language - The Love Language

34) The Most Serene Republic - ...And the Ever Expanding Universe

33) DM Stith - Heavy Ghost

32) Beirut - March of the Zapotec

31) Handsome Furs - Face Control

30) Andrew Bird - Noble Beast

29) Why? - Eskimow Snow

28) Peter Bjorn and John - Living Thing

27) M. Ward - Hold Time

26) Dead Man's Bones - Dead Man's Bones

25) The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love

24) Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us

23) Memory Tapes - Seek Magic

22) You La Tengo - Popular Songs

21) Passion Pit - Manners

20) Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms
Like 80s music, except more captivating and addictive. And more synthy.

19) Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
The Antlers (overly-dramatic singing) meets St. Vincent. Meets Islands. Briefly encounters The xx.

18) Various Artists - Dark Was the Night
When terrific bands and performers like Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, Bon Iver, The National, Feist, Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, Spoon, Andrew Bird and more get together, they make one double-album called Dark Was The Night.

17) The Thermals - Now We Can See
Loud and often obnoxious, Now We Can See is a great blend of in-your-face instrumentals and a couple tunes that lay off the noise (a bit).

16) Atlas Sound - Logos
Bradford Cox's second solo album is more alive and, at times, acoustic than his stuff with Deerhunter. Also, Walkabout (with Noah Lennox of Animal Collective) and Shelia are both catchy tunes not to be overlooked.

15) The Antlers - Hospice
I have never been so excited about an album about someone dying.

14) Thee Oh Sees - Help
A few words can describe the Thee Oh Sees' second studio album: Loud, fun, raw, rock, singing, guitars, songs, music, and loud.

13) Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Neko's powerful and naturally-smooth vocals make this album a classic, despite it having a half-hour cricket fest at the end.

12) Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains
This album has some pretty nifty guitar riffs, and a very big sound. Don't see why the cymbals should be eating the guitars.

11) Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM
Most of these songs clearly show Beck's influence. That's why IRM is awesome.

10) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
A great debut from the really promising shoegazing indie poppers.

9) Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue
Dreamy and floaty, funky and poppy, one guy mixes it all together in a delicious, soupy pot that is Ambivalence Avenue.

8) Micachu and the Shapes - Jewellery
Too quirky for her own good, Micachu and her gang The Shapes bust out their miscellaneous and catchy beats on a homemade guitar, a bowed instrument fashioned from a CD rack, a vacuum cleaner, and other various wacky instruments.

7) The xx - xx
One of my top picks. Both fresh and easy on the ears.

6) Dan Deacon - Bromst
Fun fact: This fast-paced energetic kick-of-an-album has a bunch of long, but pleasing songs. And one really bizarre and outfitting 3 minute song with overlapped vocal tracks.

5) Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Intricate melodies, falsetto voices, a nice bass, Veckatimest has it all. This is a must-have for this holiday season, so come on down--nevermind.

4) Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

3) Phoenix - Wolfgang Amedeus Phoenix
Although one might object to the lack of depth in the Frenchmen’s album, you really can’t escape the catchiness and likability of their songs.

2) Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Zany, slightly weird, and beautifully disorganized, Dirty Projectors deliver another satisfying record.

1) St. Vincent - Actor
Although her need to overpower her brilliant music with fuzz still confuses me, she is still definitely one of a kind.