There are good records...there are great records...and there is "Astral Weeks"

I am starting 2008 off in style buy throwing on Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and spinning it a few times before I call it a night...this is the ONLY record I want to start the year with...i need a good 2008, so 2008 needs a good opening soundtrack.



Goodbye 2007...keep on rockin in the free world

My favorite live musical moment of 2007....

Out swith the with the HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Here is to a rocking 2008 for everyone!! Be safe and my your next 365 days be filled with bliss :-)

The Hebrew hip hop of SoCalled

'Ghetto Blaster' is one of THE most original and infectious records of the year! It probably would have cracked my top 20 list if I would have known that it existed before this morning...i haven't stopped listening to it yet.

He amazingly mixes traditional Hebrew music with elements from hip hop, pop, and rock in effortless's sort of hard to put into words, just listen to these too tracks and let me know what you think...



Kate Nash - "We Get On"

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so the story goes. OK, I may have paraphrased it just a bit, but only to bolster my case. There has just been such great string of UK
female singer/songwriters lately turning their angst into great, hook-laden pop songs.

The one that is currently getting played into the ground at my place is the Kate Nash tune 'We Get On'...i love me some bitterness and anger in song form! The entire LP is excellent as well, 'Made Of Bricks.'


Hello, Blue Roses - 'The Portrait Is Finished And I Have Failed To Capture Your Beauty...'

I think we have an early contender for 2008's 'Album Title Of The Year' award. The actual record itself is pretty darn good too. This is Dan Bejar's(New Pornographers, Destroyer) new project. 'St. Angela' and 'Through The Imposture' are the standout tracks to me...after the initial listen anyway...good, good stuff here.



Paddy Casey - "Grandma's Hands"

You wouldn't think a white Irish guy could pull off covering a Bill Withers classic AND a club anthem from Blacksteet in the same song...and you would be wrong. It works ...really well even!



New Sia...a couple from "Some People Have Real Problems"

Sia will always have a special place in my heart, just because of her song 'Breathe Me.' More specifically, the way that song was used to end one of my all time favorite televisions shows, Six Feet Under. Remember?

She is back with a brand new record...thought I would pass along a couple of tracks...gorgeous stuff.

Skip James - 'Devil Got My Woman'

Taking a second to post a little change of pace. I was just in the mood for some roots music, and not many people play it better than Skip James.

This tune was immortalized in the movie 'Ghost World'...the Thora Birch character becomes somewhat obsessed with this song...easy to see why :-)


Lilly Allen - 'Mr Blue Sky'

Ms Allen covering what is probably my favorite all time ELO song...although 'Don't Bring Me Down' is a close second.


Charlotte Hatherely - "Bastardo"

Video from the debut album of Charlotte Hatherely...former Ash guitarist. Her solo ablum is entitled 'Grey Will Fade'

All The Albums I've Loved Before: "Tim"

I have to come clean on this one. I got to the Replacements party WAY late. But considering that I was nine when this album came out in 1985, don't judge me TOO harshly. Part of it was do to my sheltered musical life growing up in hip hop and metal obsessed Columbus, Ohio and some of it has to do with my lack of a social life. I just didn't know stuff like this even existed. I vaguely remember the 'speaker' videos playing REALLY late at night on MTV, but for years that was my only exposure to the Replacements.

But once I finally ememrged from high school and into the real world, a brave new musical world opened up for me! And The Replacements record 'Tim' was one of the first albums I latched onto! Songs like "Bastards Of The Young", "Left Of The Dial", and my all time favorite Paul Westerberg penned tune, "Here Comes A Regular" are just amazing tracks that totally stand the test of time.




Jens Lekman -Shirin

Courtesy of the brilliant people over at La Blogeteque

All The Albums I've Loved Before: "Live Through This"

Still...after all these years, Hole's "Live Through This" is my favorite disc to listen to when feeling a hint of rage coming on. I have heard ALL the rumors, and I could care less who wrote the songs. Courtney and the rest of Hole recorded the album, and it is always on my short list of all time favorite records.

Lyrics like "Like a liar at a witch trial, she looks good for her age" from Plump, still make me want to drive really, really fast and songs like "Gutless" and "Rock Star" still make me want to sing along with a full blown scream every time I hear them...if that is not the definition of a great rock n' roll record, I have no idea what is!




New Drive-by Truckers - "Daddy Needs A Drink"

Here is something off of the brand new 19 song disc "Brighter Than Creation's Dark" which is forthcoming from the dirty South's Drive-by Truckers. An epic album to say the least...some of the most heartfelt stuff they have ever recorded.

And as much as I love Jason Isbell, the band seems to have soldiered on just fine without his songwriting on this album.


'Thank God I'm getting older and jus learning who I am..."

I was looking back and listening to some old mixed tapes I had made. Not a pretty picture. My musical past is littered with horrible Nirvana knockoffs, bad hair metal, and even worse wannabe gangsta rap. Not a pretty picture.

So tonight I say cheers getting older and learning who we are...with the soundtrack supplied by Tim Easton.

Certain songs... they get so scratched into our souls

I love musical name-checking. You know, when a band name or song title are dropped into a lyric. Snow Patrol's 'Chicago' springs to mind. But this song, 'certain songs' the
name dropping grand champion! A love song to songs.


The World Exploded Into Love

I don't like Christmas music...I mean I REALLY despise the stuff...nothing against the holiday itself, I have just spent TOO many years working in cubicles in offices where 'Frosty The Snowman' was played TOO many times at WAY TOO HIGH of a volume.

But I do like the occasional uplifting tune...and since it tis the season, i thought i would pass one along tonight. So here is Bob Schneider's "The World Exploded Into Love" off of his terrific album Lonelyland.


Glen Hansard - 'Astral Weeks'

In honor of the 'Once' DVD release this week I thought I would post Glen Hansard covering one of my all time favorite songs, from one of the greatest albums ever recorded, of the same name...enjoy!


The Hold Steady...aka, my favorite band on the planet

Just taking a second this Holiday season to immortalize my favorite band in youtube form...thanks for the hours of distraction, motivation, and sheer pleasure over the years are loved!

2007 In Song: "You're Gonna Be Just Fine"

OK...after the bitter love song of the year, I feel obligated to follow up with one of the more soul affirming songs of the year...or at least a song that is TRYING to make you fell better.

Granted, THIS Jacob Miller is not the coolest Jacob Miller on the planet, that nod goes to Jacob Miller of the seminal reggae band Inner Circle...but this Mr, Miller is a fine songwriter in his own right.

This lovely tune can be found on his 2007 album "Who We Are"

2007 In Song: "Cigarette"

Jeremy Fisher and this song specifically(from his 2007 release Goodbye Blue Monday), is responsible for one of my favorite bitter love songs of 2007:

I'll be your cigarette
Light me up and get on with it
I'll be hard to forget
Good or bad Im just a habit
Good or bad Im just your habit

Great, heartbreaking stuff! And in more good news, I just learned that he is opening up for the Jason Isbell show I am going to in January...God bless us, everyone!

New Nada Surf - 'The Film Did Not Go Round'

Here is a beautiful new track off of Nada's forthcoming 'Lucky' LP, to be released in early 2008.



2007 In Song: "Chicago Promenade"

On his first solo disc, Jason Isbell sounds like an artist reveling in the fact that he is free from the shackles of collaboration. You can actually hear the freedom and the energy shine through on this record. After spending years as a contributor to perenial bar favorite, The Drive By Truckers, Isbell has written a great collection of songs for his first record.

'Chicago Promenade' is by far my favorite of these songs. Lyrics like this make it hard not to love:
I took my turn at fixing hearts
But that goes bad before it starts
I'm desperate now, I must say
I'll do the Chicago promenade

If I die now before I'm old
My story will be less than told
There's so much more to suffer through
Before I meet again with you

Heartbreaking stuff...but would you expect anything less from the author of 'God Damn Lonely Love'?


New Matt Pond PA video for 'Locate The Pieces'

Just passing along the new MP PA clip for 'Locate The Pieces'...i dig the cool animation!

All The Albums I've Loved Before: "Sparkle And Fade"

'Sparkle And Fade' is a total time-warp album for me. I use this phrase a lot, probably over use it...but you have to consider the source. I am someone who thinks in song lyrics, and remembers everything, EVERYTHING as being set to a song, All of my best, and worst, memories have a soundtrack. This Everclear album was that soundtrack for a significant amount of time in my life...most of spring and summer of 1995. One of those formative years in my life, no doubt. One of those years where I made a LOT of mistakes, and one of those years I was really starting to turn to music in all times of doubt.

Songs like 'Summerland', 'Pale Green Stars', 'Strawberry' have all served me so well over the years, immortalizing this album on my little music blog doesn't seem like nearly enough, but I am not so well connected, so I do what I can.

'Don't fall down now, you will never get up'




Happy toons, sad tune

Too much free time + a love for sad music + windows movie maker =

Audio Nostalgia: "Shakiyla"

Ah, the Poor Righteous of my favorite old school hip hop crews. It took me NO time at all to fall in love with these guys, their unique sound, and their positive and socially informative message.

PRT were also on of the first rap groups that I ever saw that incorporated live instruments into their music...this was the coolest of the cool to me! Their album 'Pure Poverty', that Shakiyla is on, was, or is, one of my all time favorite hip hop fact I think I am going to go dust it off right now...

Triple word...peace and I'm out of here.

Download Poor Righteous Teachers - Shakiyla.mp3

Audio Nostalgia: : "They Reminisce Over You"

Forget what you have heard. P Diddy's 'I'll Be Missing You' is NOT the seminal hip hop tribute jam for those who leave us too soon. That honor goes to Pete Rock and CL Smooth, with their amazing 'They Reminisce Over You' which is off of the 'Mecca And Soul Brother' record from way back in 1992.

This song never gets old...and sadly, I dust it off for mix cds and playlists that I make anytime a friend passes away. A classic in every sense of the word. Word.

Double word.

Download 16 PETE ROCK & CL SMOOTH - T.R.O.Y.mp3

Audio Nostalgia: Old School Hip Hop Edition

Ok...I am going to show my age here...but I am old, I have accepted this and I am moving on. I caught the RZA's show this past Saturday night at the El Rey in Los Angeles and I have been in a hip hop mood ever since. I thought I would spend a few posts reliving my youth, it all of its incredibly white, midwestern suburban glory!

The first tune that sprang to mind when I thought about this topic was Brand Nubian's 'Punks Jump Up To Get Beatdown.' It's just the sort of anthem that a skinny white kid from Ohio, who has never been in a fist fight in his life, grew up worshiping!

I still catch myself throwing these lyrics around from time to time...usually from the safety of my car with the windows fully rolled up. Don't worry, the ridiculousness of my singing this song isn't lost on me...but what can I say, I love it.

Download Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down.mp3

2007 In Song: 'All My Mistakes'

I am such a sucker for simple, yet powerful, lyrics and songs. Lyrics like this:

"I can't go back, and I don't want too...all my mistakes, they brought me to you"

The Avett Brothers 2007 record 'Emotionalism' is full of phrases like this. Lyrics that you hear and say to yourself "How could this NOT have been in like a hundred songs by now??"

On a record full of great songs, 'All My Mistakes' is my personal favorite. So simple, so ingenious....


Download 09 all my mistakes.mp3


'Juno' was another movie I went into feeling more than a bit skeptical. I am really SO OVER the teen/pregnancy feel good sort of comedy...and for a bit, I had reason to be concerned. Then Ellen Page happened. She is just too talented and too convincing to let this turn into one of THOSE movies. While it does start to overdose from sweetness every now and again, Page always brings it back from the edge with her faux angst and sense of humor. Don't let the hipsters jade you on this one, it is excellent...well worth your time.

Um...i am having mp3 uploading I made this quick, REALLY QUICK, lo-fi video to share the unofficial theme song of the movie 'Anyone Else But You' by the Moldy Peaches. Please don't let the stunning visuals in this video distract you from the lovely song.


The Darjeeling Limited

Like make him leave the house, be social, see movies!

It is true, I was sadly left webless for the past week, but in order to pass the time I was able to catch up on some movies...if you don't mind I will give you my brief two cents on 'The Darjeeling Limited' and 'Juno'...with musical tie-ins of course.


'The Darjeeling Limited'

Seeing a Wes Anderson movie is like visiting an old friend that never really changes at the core, but sometimes has some interesting mood swings. I went into this film a little apprehensive after 'The Life Aquatic' but was quickly put at ease by the opening short film serving as the first act.

You can count on certain things in Anderson movies, and it doesn't matter how many times you have seen them they still make you the obligatory Wes Anderson slow motion scenes, the obligatory Kinks song, the obligatory Rolling Stones song, the obligatory Bill Murray role(no matter how small) and the obigatory dysfunctional romantic relationships.

What a great film, I am still mad at myself that it took me so long to see it...there used to be a day when I would never miss going to see one of my favorite director's newest flick on opening night...doesn't happen so much anymore though. I digress.The story basically revolves around the lives of three brothers in three vastly different places in their lives, but all affected in a HUGE way by their familial past. Owen Wilson as the eldest, has taken it upon himself to reunite the three via a spiritual quest of sorts in India. All three of the 'brothers' were outstanding, especially Jason Schwartzman(who cowrote the movie as well),Adrien Brody plays the dreaded middle child...even Wilson, who has annoyed me more and more latelty, was excellent.

Elvis Costello - "I Still Miss Someone/The Last Town I Painted"

Elvis Costello covering John Cash and George Jones in the same little medley seems like about a good a way to start the week as any.

I love this cover...Costello is by far my favorite Elvis in rock n roll history.


All The Albums I've Loved Before: "Stranger's Almanac"

Wow...I can't believe this record came out 10yrs and about 150 Ryan Adams solo records ago. Yes, the days of humble, Whiskeytown leading Ryan Adams. Not that I don't love his, shall we say, eccentricities, but sometimes I like my rock stars to shut up and play!

Ok...i am done ranting. All kidding aside, this is such a great LP. I still listen to it every few weeks it seems. I don't ever see myself getting tired of songs like 'Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight', 'Losering', and my all time favorite Whiskey song, 'Dancing With The Women At The Bar'...solid alt-country gold they are.



Craigslist Musical Dedication Of The Day

Now this is what I call Instant Karma! Buy 4 Dane Cook tickets and your entire family gets sick!

2007 In Song: "Before I Knew" and "Oh, My Darling"

This submission for my favorite songs of 2007 is doubled up for your listening pleasure. These are by far my favorite two songs of the past year that clocked in at less than 80 seconds. In fact, the only complaint I have about this gorgeous Basia Bulat album, also called "Oh My Darling" is that there isn't enough of it! 'Before I Knew' is one of the best 'first love' songs I have ever heard...even at just over a minute long.

This Canadian songstress has produced one of the most beautiful folk records I have listened to in a long time. Very reminiscent to the Be Good Tanyas with a little Kathleen Edwards mixed in...two of my favorites. Well worth your time to check out,

Enjoy these short, but wonderful songs.


Brian Austin Green rapping...or is it David Silver...I don't think he even knows anymore

At some point in his,ahem, 'music career' former 90210 alum Brian Austin Green actually started to think he WAS his character...uber-talented songsmith David he thought it would be a good idea to record a rap record...he, of course, was wrong.

Sorry in advance...but I had to post this...if I have to see it, so does everyone else.

Glen Hansard channeling Van Morrison

I never get tired of seeing or hearing Glen strum his heart our on that old Tamaki guitar...i think at the Swell Season show I sawhe said he has had it since he was 14.

Thou Shall Not...

I just got home, and my roomates were watching Madonna's 'Truth Or Dare'...AGAIN!

Every once in awhile I have to post this in order to keep my understand.

Swedish Band Of The Week

D'oh! With all of this year end stuff...i almost forgot one of my favorite weekly features here in my little corner of cyberspace. The world famous 'Swedish Band Of The Week' segment of my blog...but I remembered JUST in the nick of time.

This week's band is Sahara Hotnights from Robertsfors, Sweden. Four beautiful Swedish girls making great garage inspired power pop...what's not to love?

Here is a clip for 'Hot Night Crash' of the 2004 LP 'Kiss And Tell.'

2007 In Song: "Your Love"

Hmm...I guess I would call this my guilty pleasure of 2007. I mean it is a cover of the 80's band 'The Outfield' I think by law it HAS to be filed under guilty pleasure!

But if you can get past that connection, its a beautiful song...on a beautiful record. Emma Burgess' 'Swim' is where you can find this hidden gem.

Enjoy. Oh copy of this is an evil Itunes i am using this IMEEM streamer thing...sorry.

Lucero - 'Ain't No Sunshine'

Just wanted to share Lucero, one of my favorite bands on the planet, covering one of my favorite songs of all time...Bill Wither's 'Ain't No Sunshine'



2007 In Song: "Dust On The Window"

Low's beautifully sad 'Drums And Guns' is another album that most definitely made my 'best of 2007' list, and I would be remiss if I didn't include a song from it.

'Dust On The Window' features the haunting vocals of Mimi Parker over a lush, haunting soundscape...a gorgeous track



2007 In Song; "The Opposite Of Hallelujah"

No 'best song of 2007' list of mine would be complete without a song from Jens Lekman's glorious album(easily one of my favorite of the year) 'Night Falls Over Kortedala.' The only hard part was picking which was a toss up between this one, 'Postcard To Nina', and 'Shirin.'

In the end I chose 'Hallelujah.' I just love his way with words, and this tune really showcases that. Long live Jens!


2007 In Song: "Werewolf"

Go ahead and pick your adjective for this song...weird, haunting, ethereal...just don't leave out great. 'Werewolf' is my favorite track off of Brooklyn band Cocorosie's spring release 'The Adventures Of Ghosthorse And Stillborn.'

The spoken word-like main vocals, mixed with the gorgeous chorus...all set to the otherworldly sounding music all adds up to one of the most beautifully unique tunes of 2007.


The closet thing you will ever get from me resembling a Chrstmas song!

It has Christmas in the title...that counts right? Not a holiday song so much, but Okkervil River's 'Listening To Otis Redding At Home during Christmas'(off of the 'Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See' LP) is still a great song.

And it borrows the chorus from my all time favorite Otis Redding song, 'I Have Dreams To Remember' it gets major bonus points from me.

Enjoy your audio Xmas card.


2007 In Song: 'Old Man Chicago'

Alberta Cross are am amazing London based band. 'Old Man Chicago' is my favorite track off of their March release 'The Thief And The Heartbreaker.'



2007 In Song: 'So Long'

If there were such a thing as 'Anthem Of The Year'...Jason Anderson's 'So Long'(off of his August release 'Tonight') Gets my vote. The New Hampshire based singer/songrwiter also gets my vote for penning the simplest, yet most beautiful lyric of 2007: "The best thing in the world is to love someone and they love you back."

That mantra is sung near the end of the song and is repeated,louder and louder, until it erupts into what sounds like a small choir shouting it out into the night. One of the most uplifting things I heard all year long.



2007 In Song: 'Angela'

This edition of my favorite songs from the year past is brought to you courtesy of Brooklyn, NY's 'Oakley Hall' and their album 'I'll Follow You.'

'Angela' is one of the more country-rooted songs on what is a wonderful record. I am realizing that I am even worse at writing song reviews than I am at reviewing entire albums! I think I will just let the song speak for itself...



2007 In Song - 'Cocaine Lights'

I am going to try and highlight two or three songs a day for the next week or so that were my absolute favorite of 2007.

First up is the gorgeous lo-fi dirge 'Cocaine Lights' by Phosphorescent(singer/songwriter Mathew Houck) , a heartbreakingly beautiful tune off of the album 'Pride'



All The Albums I've Loved Before: 'Mighty Joe Moon'

I can't believe I never saw Grant Lee Buffalo live. I FINALLY saw Grant Lee Phillips for the first time on Dec 1 at the Aimee Mann holiday show...he still sounds incredible(and who knew he was SO funny) I have been listening to GL Buffalo's second record, 'Mighty Joe Moon' nonstop since. This record takes me RIGHT back to my first couple years spent out of high school...this was practically the soundtrack for
for those years.

Originally released in 1994, 'MJM' is the perfect showcase for the amazing voice of Phillips. It soars in the more up beat songs like 'Lone Star Song' and it will break your heart on tunes like 'Mockingbirds' and 'Honey Don't Think.' An unbelievably poignant collection of songs, and an essential LP to have in the collection.




The Lemonheads - 12/01 - The Troubador

Ah...last night's Lemonheads show was like the mid 90's all over again! And I mean that in the best possible sense.

Evan Dando stumbled and mumbled(literally) his way through a non stop set of sing along favorites! I know almost every song they played by heart, and I am not sure I understood a lyric all night. This isn't a complaint mind you, just a fact. That is the beautiful thing about rock n' roll, its not meant to be perfect. Since I spent most of the mid 90's in college, and many times in some altered state or another, that is how I most fondly remember the Lemonheads anyway!

Dando only stopped to attempt to speak to the crowd once that I remember...taking a second to blast the new Dylan bio-pic 'I'm Not There'...he didn't like it, not at all. But I wouldn't put TOO much stock into a film review by a guy who spent like 5 minutes trying to get his jacket sleeve untangled from his guitar's tuning knobs...yeah, Mr. Dando was HAMMERED! And I loved every sloppy second of it...good times, good times.

The boys played all the hits, 'Shame About Ray', 'Down About It', 'Confetti', 'My Drug Buddy'. The end of the show was my own personal favorite moment...when Dando graced the stage alone then played three acoustic tunes, including one of my favorites, his cover of Vic Chestnutt's 'Frying Pan.' Then he slammed down his acoustic guitar(not in a Pete Townsend 'FUCK THE MAN' kind of a way, but more like a 'Oh man, I forgot...there are more drugs upstairs' kind of way) and literally RAN up the steps at the side of the Troubadour stage. Looking confused he and the band came back for an impromptu version of 'Freebird' as requested by some heckler(a very original heckler at that) and a couple of more songs and just like that it was 2007 again.

Thanks for the time warp though fellas, it was a wonderful night of rock and nostalgia.

The 2nd Annual Aimee Mann Christmas Show - 11/30/2007 - The El Rey Theater

"Holy Christ they packed a lot of you in here!"

And with those ironically appropriate words, Aimee Mann welcomed the crowd and the show was off and running. I have to say, this was one of the most unique and most enjoyable shows I have ever been lucky enough to see.

It was a freewheeling affair that kept rolling at a super quick pace and never, even for a second, got anything close to dull. The format of the show was like that of an old time radio variety hour...think a holiday themed, much hipper 'Prairie Home companion.' Aimee was on stage and playing most off the night, mostly Christmas tunes...a mix of old classics and her original stuff from her Xmas album released last year.

The evening was sort of tied together with a brilliant three segment short film that Mann put together. The premise of the short was Aimee's struggling to find celebrities to come to the El Rey for the big Hollywood edition of the Christmas show. Some classic cameos by Ben Stiller, Will Farrell, Patton Oswalt, Bob Oedenkirk and many many more. Comedian and sort of emcee Paul F Tompkins did a killer 20 minutes or so of stand up as well.

Guests including Amos Lee, Nellie McKay, Jackson Browne, and Grant Lee Phillips each came out for a couple of songs each. The highlights for me where the incredibly charming Nellie McKay singing 'Feminists Have No Sense Of Humor' and Jackson Browne's
amazing version of Steve Earle's 'Jerusalem'...but noting topped Amos Lee singing a heartbreaking rendition of John Prine's 'Christmas In Jail.'

Who knew live Christmas music could be SO much fun!