Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Albums Of 2009

  1. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Slumberland
  2. Death - ...For The Whole World To See, Drag City
  3. Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall, Matador
  4. Built To Spill - There Is No Enemy, Warner Bros.
  5. Sonic Youth - The Eternal, Matador
  6. Dinosaur Jr - Farm, Jagjaguwar
  7. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains, self-released
  8. Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine - The Audacity Of Hype, Alternative Tentacles
  9. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast, Fat Possum
  10. Future Of The Left - Travels With Myself And Another, 4AD
  11. Entrance Band, Ecstatic Peace
  12. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career, 4AD
  13. Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know, Rhino
  14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz, Interscope
  15. A.C. Newman - Get Guilty, Matador
  16. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns, Parlophone
  17. Lacuna Coil - Shallow Life, Century Media
  18. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone, ANTI-
  19. Vivian Girls - Everything Goes Wrong, In The Red
  20. Jemina Pearl - Break It Up, Ecstatic Peace
  21. Megadeth - Endgame, Roadrunner
  22. Mission Of Burma - The Sound The Speed The Light, Matador
  23. Slayer - World Painted Blood, American/Sony
  24. Iggy Pop - Préliminaires, Astralwerks
  25. Dark Was The Night: A Red Hot Compilation, 4AD

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Of '00s

Everyone else is doing it, so why not me?

Top Albums Of The Decade
  1. The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic, 2000
  2. Nina Gordon - Tonight And The Rest Of My Life, 2000
  3. Lacuna Coil - Comalies, 2002
  4. The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, 2007
  5. A Perfect Circle - Mer de Noms, 2000
  6. The Distillers - Coral Fang, 2003
  7. Elliott Smith - From A Basement On The Hill, 2004
  8. Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk, 2001
  9. Mark Lanegan Band - Bubblegum, 2004
  10. Foo Fighters - In Your Honor, 2005
  11. Jay Reatard - Matador Singles '08, 2008
  12. Elliott Smith - Figure 8, 2000
  13. Ministry - Houses Of The Molé, 2004
  14. The New Pornographers - Challengers, 2007
  15. Sonic Youth - Murray Street, 2002
  16. Explosions In The Sky - Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever, 2001
  17. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP, 2001
  18. The Darkness - Permission To Land, 2003
  19. Danzig - The Lost Tracks Of Danzig, 2007
  20. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven!, 2000
  21. Billy Idol - Devil's Playground, 2005
  22. Fucked Up - The Chemistry Of Common Life, 2008
  23. Ministry - Animositisomina, 2003
  24. Shakira - Laundry Service, 2001
  25. Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf, 2003
  26. Jay Reatard - Blood Visions, 2006
  27. Poe - Haunted, 2000
  28. Be Your Own Pet, 2006
  29. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, 2007
  30. Broken Social Scene, 2005
  31. Fucked Up - Hidden World, 2006
  32. Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse, 2004
  33. Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, 2007
  34. U2 - All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2000
  35. My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult - The Reincarnation Of Luna, 2001
  36. Elliott Smith - New Moon, 2007
  37. The Distillers - 2000
  38. Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life And Death, 2006
  39. R.E.M. - Accelerate, 2008
  40. Death - ...For The Whole World To See, 2009
  41. Beyoncé - I Am...Sasha Fierce, 2008
  42. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away, 2007
  43. Shakira - Oral Fixation, 2005
  44. Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward, 2008
  45. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad Of The Broken Seas, 2006
  46. A Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band With Choir - Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upwards, 2001
  47. Ministry - Rio Grande Blood, 2006

Top Songs Of The Decade
  1. “King's Crossing," Elliott Smith from From A Basement On The Hill, 2004 (Elliott Smith)
  2. "Casino Nanaimo,” The Besnard Lakes from Casino Nanaimo, 2007 (Lasek/Goreas)
  3. "For All These Things That I Have Done,” The Killers from Hot Fuss, 2004 (Brandon Flowers)
  4. “The Rat,” The Walkmen from Bows + Arrows, 2004 (Barrick/Bauer/Leithauser/Maroon/Martin)
  5. “3 Libras,” A Perfect Circle from Mer de Noms, 2000 (Keenan/Howerdel)
  6. “Halo,” Beyoncé from I Am...Sasha Fierce, 2008 (Knowles/Bogart/Tedder)
  7. “Knockers,” The Darkness from One Ticket To Hell...And Back, 2005 (J. Hawkins/D. Hawkins/Poullain)
  8. “Stan,” Eminem featuring Dido from The Marshall Mathers LP, 2000 (Mathers/Armstrong/Herman)
  9. “Party Hard,” Andrew WK from I Get Wet, 2001 (Andrew Wilkes-Krier)
  10. “A Sorta Fairytale,” Tori Amos from Scarlet's Walk, 2001 (Tori Amos)
  11. “Threshold Apprehension,” Black Francis from Bluefinger, 2007 (Charles Thompson)
  12. “Mass Romantic,” The New Pornographers from Mass Romantic, 2000 (A.C. Newman)
  13. “Vicarious,” Tool from 10,000 Days, 2006 (Carey/Chancellor/Jones/Keenan)
  14. “Supernatural Superserious,” R.E.M. from Accelerate, 2008 (Buck/Mills/Stipe)
  15. “Haunted,” Poe from Haunted, 2000 (Danielewski/Elizondo/O'Brien)
  16. “Safe Home,” Anthrax from We've Come For You All, 2003 (Benante/Ian/Bello/Bush/Caggiano)
  17. “Underneath Your Clothes,” Shakira from Laundry Service, 2001 (Mebarak/Mendez)
  18. “City Of Angels,” The Distillers from Sing Sing Death House, 2002 (Brody Dalle)
  19. “No Way Back," Foo Fighters from In Your Honor, 2005 (Grohl/Hawkins/Mendel/Shiflett)
  20. “Heaven's A Lie,” Lacuna Coil from Comalies, 2002 (Biazzi/Coti Zelati/Ferro/Migliore/Mozzati/Scabbia)
  21. “Wonderboy,” Tenacious D from Tenacious D, 2001 (Black/Gass)
  22. “Something That You Said,” The Bangles from Doll Revolution, 2003 (Hoffs/Peterson/Caffey)
  23. “Die Dead Enough,” Megadeth from The System Has Failed, 2004 (Dave Mustaine)
  24. “Death Threat,” My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult from Death Threat, 2009 (Nardiello/Daley)
  25. “Idle Hands,” The Gutter Twins from Saturnalia, 2008 (Dulli/Lanegan)
  26. “No W,” Ministry from Houses Of The Molé, 2004 (Al Jourgensen)
  27. “Just Like A Pill,” P!nk from M!ssundaztood, 2001 (Moore/Austin)
  28. “Cold, Cold Rain,” Danzig from The Lost Tracks Of Danzig, 2007 (Glenn Anzalone)
  29. “See/Saw,” Jay Reatard from Matador Singles '08, 2008 (Jimmie Lindsey)
  30. “Walk On,” U2 from All That You Can't Leave Behind, 2001 (Clayton/Evans/Hewson/Mullen)
  31. “Runnin' (Dying To Live),” 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G. from Tupac Resurrection, 2003 (Shakur/Wallace/Harvey/Winter/Mathers/Resto)
  32. “Sex On Fire,” Kings Of Leon from Only By The Night, 2008 (C. Followill/J. Followill/M. Followill/N. Followill)
  33. “Zero,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs from It's Blitz, 2009 (Chase/Orzolek/Zinner)
  34. “Futurama,” Non Phixion from The Future Is Now, 2002 (R. Braunstein/W. Braunstein/Manzanilla)
  35. "Devasation," The Besnard Lakes from The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, 2007 (Lasek/Goreas)
  36. “Los Angeles Is Burning,” Bad Religion from The Empire Strikes First, 2004 (Graffin/Gurewitz)
  37. “Unforgiven,” The Go-Go's from God Bless The Go-Go's, 2001 (Caffey/Wiedlin/Armstrong)
  38. “Demon Speeding,” Rob Zombie from The Sinister Urge, 2001 (Cummings/Humphrey)
  39. “Coin-Operated Boy,” The Dresden Dolls from The Dresden Dolls, 2004 (Amanda Palmer)
  40. “Mojo,” Peeping Tom from Peeping Tom, 2006 (Patton/Nakamura)
  41. “Missed The Boat,” Modest Mouse from We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, 2007 (Brock/Green/Judy/Marr/Peloso/Plummer)
  42. “Christmas Lights,” Nina Gordon from Bleeding Heart Graffiti, 2006 (Nina Gordon)
  43. “The Age Of Innocence,” Iron Maiden from Dance Of Death, 2003 (Murray/Harris)
  44. “Bruiser,” The Misfits from Cuts From The Crypt, 2000 (Gerald Caiafa)
  45. “You're The Only One,” Maria Mena from White Turns Blue, 2004 (Mena/Solvang)
  46. “Oxygen,” Soul Asylum from The Silver Lining, 2006 (David Pirner)
  47. “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” The Darkness from Permission To Land, 2003 (J. Hawkins/D. Hawkins/Poullain/Graham)
  48. “Fake Palindromes,” Andrew Bird from The Mysterious Production Of Eggs, 2005 (Andrew Bird)
  49. “The Laws Have Changed,” The New Pornographers from Electric Version, 2003 (A.C. Newman)
  50. “Closer (My Love),” Entwine from Gone, 2001 (Hanttu/Heikkonen/Miettinen/Mikkola/Tauriainen)
  51. “That Teenage Feeling,” Neko Case from Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, 2006 (Neko Case)
  52. “Sherri,” Billy Idol from Devil's Playground, 2005 (William Broad)
  53. “Lose Yourself,” Eminem from 8 Mile, 2002 (Mathers/Bass/Resto)
  54. “Vincent O'Brien,” M. Ward from Transfiguration Of Vincent, 2003 (Matt Ward)
  55. “Right Where It Belongs,” Nine Inch Nails from With Teeth, 2005 (Trent Reznor)
  56. “Kissing The Lipless,” The Shins from Chute Too Narrow, 2003 (James Mercer)
  57. “Thrown Idols,” Airiel from The Battle Of Sealand, 2007 (Wrenn/Osbourne/Rungger/DeBrizzio)
  58. “Archetype,” Fear Factory from Archetype, 2004 (Bell/Herrera/Wolbers)
  59. “Like Eating Glass,” Bloc Party from Silent Alarm, 2005 (Lissack/Moakes/Okereke/Tong)
  60. “My Idea Of Fun,” The Stooges from The Weirdness, 2007 (R. Asheton/S. Asheton/Osterberg)
  61. “Red Red Red,” Fiona Apple from Extraordinary Machine, 2005 (Fiona Apple Maggart)
  62. “Saints Of Los Angeles,” Mötley Crüe from Saints Of Los Angeles, 2008(Feranna/Michael/Ashba/Frederiksen)
  63. “Capt Midnight,” Tomahawk from Mit Gas, 2003 (Denison/Patton/Rutmanis/Stanier)
  64. “Yasmin The Light,” Explosions In The Sky from Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever, 2001 (Hrasky/James/Rayani/Smith)
  65. “Umbrella,” Rihanna from Good Girl Gone Bad, 2007 (Carter/Harrell/Nash/Stewart)
  66. “Fire Department,” Be Your Own Pet from Summer Sensation, 2006 (Abegg/Orall/Stein/Vasquez)
  67. “Broken,” Bruce Dickinson from The Best Of Bruce Dickinson, 2001 (Dickinson/Ramirez)
  68. “Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (A Better Day),” Broken Social Scene from Broken Social Scene, 2005(Benchetrit/Canning/Cranley/Drew/Millan/Peroff/Shaw/Whiteman)
  69. “Easy Way Out,” Elliott Smith from Figure 8, 2000 (Elliott Smith)
  70. “Teen Angst,” M83 from Before The Dawn Heals Us, 2005 (Anthony Gonzalez)
  71. “Do It Again,” Nada Surf from The Weight Is A Gift, 2005 (Caws/Lorca/Elliot)
  72. “The False Husband,” Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan from Ballad Of The Broken Seas, 2006 (Isobel Campbell)
  73. “Count On My Love,” Liz Phair from Somebody's Miracle, 2005 (Phair/Shanks)
  74. "Times Like These,” Foo Fighters from One By One, 2002 (Grohl/Hawkins/Mendel/Shiflett)
  75. “Cult,” Slayer from Christ Illusion, 2006 (Kerry King)
  76. “Bring Me To Life,” Evanescence from Fallen, 2003 (Moody/Lee/Hodges)
  77. “Kim Gordon And The Arthur Doyle Hand Cream,” Sonic Youth from Sonic Nurse, 2004(Gordon/Moore/Ranaldo/O'Rourke)
  78. “You Rock My World,” Michael Jackson from Invincible, 2001(Jackson/Daniels/Jerkins/Jerkins/Payne)
  79. “Civilize The Universe,” Ozzy Osbourne from Black Rain, 2007 (Osbourne/Wielandt/Churko)
  80. "September Sun,” Type O Negative from Dead Again, 2007 (Peter Steele)
  81. “Baiting The Public,” Fucked Up from Hidden World, 2006(Abraham/Cook/Falco/Haliechuk/Miranda)
  82. “Gentle Sons,” The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, 2009 (Berman/Feldman/Naidus/Wang-East)
  83. “Doublewide,” Corrosion Of Conformity from America's Volume Dealer, 2000(Keenan/Weatherman/Dean/Mullin)
  84. “Don't Bother,” Shakira from Oral Fixation Vol. 2, 2005 (Mebarak/Christy/Spock)
  85. “Anything Goes,” AC/DC from Black Ice, 2008 (A. Young/M. Young)
  86. “Under Your Spell,” Amber Benson from Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling, 2002 (Joss Whedon)
  87. "Down To Earth,” Peter Gabriel from Wall-E: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2008(Gabriel/Newman)
  88. "Gone Inside The Zero,” Rollins Band from Nice, 2001 (Garfield/Wilson/Mackenroth/Blake)
  89. "Criminal Piece,” Ted Leo + The Pharmacists from Shake The Sheets, 2004 (Ted Leo)
  90. "You Know You're Right,” Nirvana from Nirvana, 2002 (Kurt Cobain)
  91. "Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé from B'Day, 2006 (Knowles/Björklund/Eriksen/Hermansen/Lind/Smith)
  92. “Challengers,” The New Pornographers from Challengers, 2007 (A.C. Newman)
  93. “Don't Stop,” The Rolling Stones from Forty Licks, 2002 (Jagger/Richards)
  94. “Naked As We Came,” Iron And Wine from Our Endless Numbered Days, 2004 (Sam Beam)
  95. “Your Time Has Come,” Audioslave from Out Of Exile, 2005 (Commerford/Cornell/Morello/Wilk)
  96. “Revival,” Soulsavers featuring Mark Lanegan from It's Not How Far You Fall, It's The Way You Land, 2007 (Lanegan/Machin/Glover)
  97. “Y Control,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs from Fever To Tell, 2003 (Chase/Orzolek/Zinner)
  98. “Lateralus,” Tool from Lateralus, 2001 (Carey/Chancellor/Jones/Keenan)
  99. "Bam Thwok,” Pixies iTunes exclusive single (Kim Deal)
  100. "Lieslieslies,” Ministry from Rio Grande Blood, 2006 (Al Jourgensen)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Best Year In Metal Debate

I have found myself recently getting into Slayer more than I have in my life and it brought up a question in my head: What is the greatest year for Heavy Metal music?

Was it 1981, with the arrival of the NWOBHM and other new bands:
Mötley Crüe - Too Fast For Love
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary Of A Madman
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
Def Leppard - High 'N' Dry
Iron Maiden - Killers
AC/DC - For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

Kind of impressive but hardly earth shattering or plentiful enough to be considered the greatest. Maybe 1983:
Def Leppard - Pyromania
Iron Maiden - Piece Of Mind
Metallica - Kill 'Em All
Mötley Crüe - Shout At The Devil
Dio - Holy Diver
Ozzy Osbourne - Bark At The Moon
Slayer - Show No Mercy
Motörhead - Another Perfect Day

Um, no. Especially with terrible records from Black Sabbath and AC/DC (the albums don't even deserve mention) that year and it being just the beginning for Slayer and Metallica. Most metal heads will point to 1986 and, with this list of classics and strong efforts, who can argue:
Metallica - Master Of Puppets
Slayer - Reign In Blood
Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?
Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time
Ozzy Osbourne - The Ultimate Sin
Samhain - November-Coming-Fire
Europe - The Final Countdown (!?!)

While that is a landmark year for metal, I contend that 1988 was actually better in terms of album quality and quanitity. Metallica came back with their commercial breakthrough (and arguably better album, though I don't believe so). Slayer returned with another thrash lesson, while Megadeth and Iron Maiden had better efforts than their '86 albums. Ministry is a bit of a stretch since all of their previous efforts were techno.

Metallica - ...And Justice For All
Iron Maiden - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Megadeth - So Far, So Good, So What
Ministry - The Land Of Rape And Honey
Slayer - South Of Heaven
Ozzy Osbourne - No Rest For The Wicked
Anthrax - State Of Euphoria

So, while I do believe that Master Of Puppets is the finest masterpiece of any on all these lists, I think the output of 1988 is more impressive. Any submissions, comments, votes?

Friday, December 18, 2009

In The Spirit Of The Holidays...

I felt that taking shots at low-fidels was kind of jerky. As a result, I converted this very limited edition vinyl of the You Weren't There: A History Of Chicago Punk 1977-1984 to MP3 and posted it here for your listening pleasure. Personally, I recommend the tracks by Strike Under and Trial By Fire. Some of the tracks are of questionable quality but, I assure, you that is because of the source material. Almost none of these songs were done in proper studios but is an important historical recording nonetheless. Hopefully, these songs will make you want to see the very well-done documentary of the same name. There are plenty of Steve Albini gems in there. And yes, that is J. Yuenger from White Zombie in Rights Of The Accused. That was his first band. Enjoy.

  1. "Wham Bam Son Of Sam," Tutu & The Pirates
  2. "Gacy's Place," Mentally Ill
  3. "Who Are The Boys?," Buzzards
  4. "Surf Combat," The Way-Outs
  5. "Reactor," Painterband
  6. "Elephant's Graveyard," Strike Under
  7. "Dark Rooms," Da
  8. "Eyesore," Subverts
  9. "Spy Guy," Toothpaste
  10. "They Love War," End Result
  11. "Tojo [Demo]," Naked Raygun
  12. "Rocks Of Sweden," Trial By Fire
  13. "I Got Mine," Articles Of Faith
  14. "Anti-Pac Man," Negative Element
  15. "Slump Shot," Verboten
  16. "Fuckup," Rights Of The Accused
  17. "Big Big Sky," Savage Beliefs
  18. "Bounty," Nadsat Rebels
  19. "Lipsynch To The Go-Go's," Seismic Waves

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009's Year In Re-Issues

When compiling this list, there are a few things to remember. There is the rarity factor (Was the source material readily available or was it out-of-print?) and, of course, the quality of the material.

  1. My Bloody Valentine - Before Loveless
  2. Nirvana - Live At Reading
  3. You Weren't There: A History Of Chicago Punk 1977-1984
  4. The Beatles Remasters
  5. Def Leppard - Pyromania: Deluxe Edition
  6. Nirvana - Bleach: 20th Anniversary Edition
  7. The Jesus Lizard - Head/Pure/Goat/Liar/Down
  8. R.E.M. - Reckoning: Deluxe Edition
  9. Iron & Wine - Around The Well
  10. Pearl Jam - Ten Redux
Before Loveless is a vinyl-only (sorry, infidels) collection containing four extremely rare EPs (Strawberry Wine, Ecstasy, Feed Me With Your Kiss, and You Made Me Realize) re-mastered and fantastic. They sound nearly as great as the Isn't Anything and Loveless vinyl re-masters (another dig at American CD and MP3 shoppers). The previous difficulty to find this material makes this tops.
Live At Reading is the best live album of the year and a long overdue addition to the Nirvana catalog.
You Weren't There (available as a limited edition LP/DVD set) is a fine collection and initiation for anyone interested in the underappreciated Chicago Punk Scene of the '80s. With all rare tracks, like The Way-Outs' "Surf Combat," (later recorded by Naked Raygun, who also appear) and "Elephant's Graveyard," by the mighty Strike Under, it's a must.
Do I really need to explain The Beatles?
Def Leppard's Pyromania is a landmark album where the band perfected their blend of heavier aspects with pop savviness. The live performance from the L.A. Forum that accompanies the deluxe edition is top notch.
Bleach is merely the prelude of things to come from Nirvana. There are some gems but the newly released live tracks are great. The same goes for R.E.M. 's Reckoning. It is not an album the caliber of most of their '80s catalog but the live CD from Chicago's Aragon Ballroom makes this special.
The re-mastering of The Jesus Lizard's Touch And Go Records output is at the same time unnecessary and wonderful. The albums sound fantastic but the additional tracks have already been issued on the Bang compilation (except "Pop Song," which is a nice rarity) and the albums were still in print. What would be more helpful is for Capitol Records to muster up the balls to re-issue Shot and Blue, which were way underrated.
Iron & Wine has been most prolific in their career when it comes to non-album tracks which makes the Around The Well compilation worth having. There are fantastic covers of songs that you would never consider them doing (Flaming Lips' "Waitin' For A Superman," and New Order's "Love Vigilantes,") as well as the great original b-sides ("Call Your Boys," and "Kingdom Of The Animals,"). And yes, included is their amazingly somber rendition of The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights,". Sam Beam and company can make even the peppiest tune break your heart.
As if this list wasn't grunge-heavy enough, Pearl Jam's Ten Redux came out this year. the re-mastering was all well and good but an audio recording of the Unplugged performance would be hanve been better.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review Round-Up

I had some technical difficulties in the past couple of months (computer died) that kept me from posting. So, here are some grades I had missed:

Alice In Chains
Black Gives Way To Blue


Ghostface Killah
Ghostdini: Wizard Of Poetry
Def Jam


Monsters Of Folk
Monsters Of Folk
Shangri-La/Rough Trade


Them Crooked Vultures
Them Crooked Vultures


Reviews: Metal Edition


I know that I'm a bit late on this one but in a year where two thrash metal giants release albums as strong as these and with a supergroup making (good) noise, it seemed best to wrap them together. Everyone knows the story by now about the genesis of Megadeth and how it roots in founder Dave Mustaine's jealousy and anger towards wiping Metallica off the planet. For the better part of this millenium, Mr. Mustaine should have rested easy, as his former bandmates experimented themselves into near irrelevence. With Risk closing out the '90s and The World Needs A Hero starting this decade, it seemed as though the mighty 'Deth had lost its way. But despite being "born again", Mustaine has proven to be reinvigorated since his sleeping accident that almost took away his ability to play guitar. He has followed those "efforts" with now 3 strong, politically charged albums: The System Has Failed, United Abominations, and Endgame. While the band most likely will never reach the heights of Countdown To Extinction again, there is certainly nothing to be ashamed of in this present incarnation. The musicianship is as tight as in the Rust In Peace era and the material is nearly as strong. This is a relentless assault that you don't mind being hit with. And speaking of relentless...

World Painted Blood

Admittedly, I have never been much of a Slayer fan. I have seen them perform and it is quite an experience but being put on record seems to bottle up their fury. This album, somehow, pulverizes me just the right way. Slayer has zero pop sensibilities. Their idea of a chorus is to slow down enough so that the listener can maybe catch a few of Tom Araya's yells so that they know the song title. Dave Lombardo is easily the best drummer in metal and the guitars of Hanneman and King serve their purpose. Their strength as a band is their unrelenting beating upon the eardrums almost forcing a listener to submit, maybe, rather than enjoy. Well, I give. I give. And I enjoy.


I know I said "supergroup" but bear with me. The lineup is Scott "Wino" Weinrich from Saint Vitus, Dale Crover of the Melvins, Scott Kelly of Neurosis, and Al Cisneros of OM. I realize this is hardly a who's who of metal but, believe me, the combo shows a lot of promise. Crover has been a solid drummer for over 20 years and Weinrich was a fixture at SST Records in the glory years, so there's definitely some cred here. While definitely slowing it down from the thrash legends reviewed above, there is a dirge quality to the tracks reminiscent of Black Sabbath along with growling that is far more overtly evil than the wailings of Osbourne or Dio. A solid debut from grizzled vets that doesn't outdue any of the bands mentioned here but will make them sleep with one eye open.

The Grades:

  1. Dialectic Chaos – 7.7
  2. This Day We Fight! - 8.0
  3. 44 Minutes – 6.7
  4. 1320' – 8.4
  5. Bite The Hand – 7.2
  6. Bodies – 7.4
  7. Endgame – 7.5
  8. The Hardest Part Of Letting Go...Sealed With A Kiss – 8.3
  9. Head Crusher – 8.6
  10. How The Story Ends – 8.8
  11. The Right To Go Insane – 8.2



  1. World Painted Blood – 8.5
  2. Unit 731 – 7.3
  3. Snuff – 7.1
  4. Beauty Through Order – 7.4
  5. Hate Worldwide – 8.1
  6. Public Display Of Dismemberment – 7.8
  7. Human Strain – 6.7
  8. Americon – 8.4
  9. Psychopathy Red – 8.0
  10. Playing With Dolls – 7.6
  11. Not Of This God – 8.3



  1. Solar Benediction – 7.8
  2. Pyramid Of The Moon – 7.1
  3. Blind For All To See – 6.7
  4. The Architect – 8.0
  5. Science Of Anger – 8.6


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jemina Pearl - Break It Up

Jemina Pearl
Break It Up
Ecstatic Peace

For those of you who may not know who Jemina Pearl is, she was the lead singer of the short-lived and wonderfully exuberant Nashville punk band Be Your Own Pet. BYOP was raucous, fun, and had songs about food fights, safety pins, and zombies. While a very young band (members were in their late teens and early twenties), they had boatloads of attitude and the chops to back it up. The first release by any of the members since the break-up, Break It Up (purely coincidental and unintentional) continues Jemina Pearl's slow vocal maturation a la Karen O becoming less of a yeller and screecher and adding more actual singing to her repertoire. What happens is a bit of a mixed bag.

In BYOP tradition, there is a classic song title recycled for a brand new, lesser tune. Like BYOP's "Stairway To Heaven,", "Band On The Run," doesn't come close to living up to the original but it is entirely unrelated. While this doesn't quite live up to the efforts of her previous band, Break It Up does have some real gems like the duet with Iggy Pop and "Undesirable," which lead me to believe that Miss Pearl does have a future on her own. The album as a whole, while not spectacular, is really fun and has some truly enjoyable moments.

Track Grades

  1. Heartbeats – 8.5
  2. After Hours – 7.4
  3. Ecstatic Appeal – 8.6
  4. Band On The Run – 8.2
  5. I Hate People (feat. Iggy Pop) – 9.0
  6. Looking For Trouble – 7.2
  7. Retrograde – 7.5
  8. Nashville Shores – 6.6
  9. No Good – 7.7
  10. D Is For Danger – 7.3
  11. Selfish Heart – 8.4
  12. Undesirable – 9.2
  13. So Sick! – 7.9


Built To Spill - There Is No Enemy

Built To Spill
There Is No Enemy
Warner Bros.

Built To Spill has always sounded to me like a Neil Young-fronted Pavement. But being a relative newbie to the canon of Built To Spill, having only heard their major label efforts (and finding them mostly uneven or lackluster), I am extremely impressed with There Is No Enemy. This is easily one of the most consistently great albums of the year and that has not proven to be a strength of most of their albums. The pattern I have noticed with Built To Spill is that the success (not commercial but musical) of an album is largely dependent on how much of an iron fist founder/guitarist/vocalist Doug Martsch rules with. His stranglehold of the songwriting provides a clear vision and this one is a message of reflection. Whether this was a conscious effort or just what happened to be on Martsch's mind is not clear but, with the longest layoff between albums in the band's history, it is hard not to believe it is intentional. The result is a resounding success that proves again that Built To Spill is worthy of their loyal fanbase. If anyone has jumped off the bandwagon in recent years, it's time to get back on.

Track Grades

  1. Aisle 13 – 8.2
  2. Hindsight – 9.5
  3. Nowhere Lullaby – 7.8
  4. Good Ol' Boredom – 9.6
  5. Life's A Dream – 8.3
  6. Oh Yeah – 8.6
  7. Pat – 7.6
  8. Done – 8.5
  9. Planting Seeds – 9.2
  10. Things Fall Apart – 8.4
  11. Tomorrow – 8.3


Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Entrance Band

The Entrance Band
The Entrance Band
Ecstatic Peace

This, the fourth full-length album from guitar virtuoso Guy Blakeslee, is a revelation. I had the good fortune of seeing Entrance, now The Entrance Band, with full-time contributors Paz Lenchantin (ex-A Perfect Circle, ex-Zwan) on bass and the über-talented Derek James on drums open for Sonic Youth earlier in the year. In the months following, I found myself trying to hunt down all of the albums I could and was largely disappointed in what I had gathered.

I first acquired 2004's Wandering Stranger and based on the covers that Blakeslee chose, I expected an effort the likes of Chris Whitley and instead heard something far more amateurish. Then there was Prayer Of Death and it contained at least a hint of the brilliance that I had seen in concert, including the track, "Grim Reaper Blues," (which has been changed a bit for this album with more clear sound). There was still something missing here and I do believe Blakeslee has found it with a now full-time collaboration with Lenchantin.

With Lenchantin and James in tow, Blakeslee concentrates on actual songcraftsmanship more than just guitar improvisation and the results are startling. Or they would have been had I not seen it before me months ago. The standout tracks that they knocked out that night ("M.L.K." and "Lookout!") are no less impressive on record and there are some welcome great new tunes as well ("Lives" and "This Is Why"). The presence of the Entrance Band is understandably missing from their live performance but not the power. Definitely a band on the rise and a force to be reckoned with.

Track Grades
  1. Lookout! – 9.0
  2. M.L.K. – 9.2
  3. Still Be There – 8.1
  4. Sing For The One – 7.5
  5. You're So Fine – 6.3
  6. Grim Reaper Blues (Part 2) – 8.8
  7. That Is Why – 9.2
  8. Lives – 9.3
  9. You Must Turn – 7.3
  10. Hourglass – 7.9

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Times They Are-A-Over

It has become painfully obvious to my ears during the listening of Together Through Life that Bob Dylan has shriveled into a completely unlistenable artist. I don't even know what the hell it is that I'm listening to. I do know that it has earned the lowest rating of anything I have bothered to review before: a 3.4 out of 10. I feel as though I am on a train, listening to a band of drunken hobo stowaways that are picking tobacco out of their teeth. The fact is this: Dylan is recording past the point of his musical importance.

This is not to say that Bob Dylan should stop recording. A legend of his stature and resume should be able to do whatever he wants. He's earned it. This is more about reviewers tripping over their own lips as they press them to his cheeks. Come on, guys. Be honest with yourselves and the reader. You can't possibly think that this album deserves 4 stars or above, maybe out of 10 but not out of 5. I would assume that these major (and obsolete) rock magazines just find the one reviewer on their staff that is so hopelessly sentimental that they can't help but give the latest album by whatever “legendary” artist a glowing review. They couldn't possibly be honest and risk hurting these dinosaurs' feelings. I'm looking at you, David Fricke.

The problem is that the majors put artists like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Dylan on pedestals above contemporaries (Lou Reed, David Bowie, or Black Sabbath) even though the latter's music has meant far more to my generation, directly or otherwise. That is not to say that Reed and Bowie haven't made some clunkers. They certainly have. But the magazines have even dismissed truly interesting albums like Bowie's 1995 concept album, Outside. It received no airplay anywhere outside Downers Grove, IL's 88.3 and that's because I played it a ton on my show. Sorry that it didn't have any real radio hits but it was a strong album, brilliantly produced with studio genius Brian Eno. And it doesn't stop with the old timers. The writing scene is littered with pieces and reviews on newer bands they are told to like by record companies and highly placed hipsters. I suppose I can't say it is all the writers' fault because they are dictated to as well. Again, I'm looking at you, David Fricke.

So, again, no disrespect to Bob Dylan. He is a true legend but let's not let that cloud his contemporary output. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all-time but when he played for the Washington Wizards, he was a shell of his former self. Just keep things in perspective and keep your standards high. Just because an artist like Bob Dylan belongs on the Mount Rushmore of rock and roll doesn't make everything he does gold. On the other hand, you can't give him a pass just because he's old. You have to look at a record as its own entity. And maybe it isn't my or anyone else's place to judge someone else's art. But I know what I like, and this sure as hell wasn't it.

Here are some other more favorable ratings that I was too lazy to write full reviews of:

A.C. Newman: Get Guilty – 8.15
John Fruciante: The Empyrean – 6.3
M. Ward: Hold Time – 7.42
Andrew Bird: Noble Beast – 8.28
Mastodon: Crack The Skye – 7.79
Revolting Cocks: Sex-O Olympic-O – 6.44
Dark Was The Night : A Red Hot Compilation – 7.65
Lacuna Coil: Shallow Life – 8.11
Camera Obscura: My Maudlin Career – 8.23
Neko Case: Middle Cyclone – 8.07
Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz – 8.20
Iggy Pop: Préliminaires – 7.67
PJ Harvey & John Parish – A Woman A Man Walked By – 7.15

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall

Jay Reatard
Watch Me Fall

It certainly has been a long, strange career for Jay Lindsey. The Tennessee native has nearly completed the circle he began with his first band. The Reatards had punk songs with pop sensibilities but a rawness and honesty not heard in pop punks like Green Day. The Reatards' sparse production and subject matter kept them from major media conscience. They were more of less angry Germs.

Then came numerous other projects, including the tremendous Lost Sounds. But in recent years, Lindsey set out on a solo career while reclaiming his Reatard moniker. The songs are very similar, complete with hooks and minimal production. Only now, the guitars are toned down. But that hasn't lightened Jay's garage punk attitude. He has a specific idea as to what his records should sound like and hasn't wavered. Watch Me Fall is Jay Reatard continuing to deliver on the promise he showed on 2006's Blood Visions. He has only gotten better as his singles collections from last year have proven. Could he finally be ready for world domination? Not if he can help it.

Track Grades
  1. It Ain't Gonna Save Me – 8.5
  2. Before I Was Caught – 8.7
  3. Man Of Steel – 8.0
  4. Can't Do It Anymore – 8.2
  5. Faking It – 8.1
  6. I'm Watching You – 8.8
  7. Wounded – 9.1
  8. Rotten Mind – 9.3
  9. Nothing New – 8.4
  10. My Reality – 8.7
  11. Hang Them All – 9.2
  12. A Whisper (There Is No Sun) – 9.4

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dinosaur Jr - Farm

Dinosaur Jr
LP/CD/2xCD (Ltd. Edition)

Don't let the hugging tree cover fool you. J Mascis & Co. have come back to blow you away. This, the follow-up to last year's original lineup reunion, is a romping good time. Like Beyond, Farm starts off with a bang and peters out a bit here and there. Dinosaur is, and always has been, at their best when Mascis's guitar cuts loose and Lou Barlow and Murph follow his lead. Not to diminish the power of the original line-up but, just as Mascis seemed to feel throughout the '90s, Barlow's songwriting contributions would be better served on a Sebadoh release. His songs really just tend to distract from Mascis's. Truth be told, the band sounds even more in lockstep this time around. This is in no small part due to the rhythm section playing. I may find Barlow's songwriting less interesting but the nuances of his and Murph's playing liven up the sound of the band that was missing for over a decade. Quite a sound to behold.

Track Grades

  1. Pieces – 9.6
  2. I Want You To Know – 9.4
  3. Ocean In The Way – 8.5
  4. Plans – 8.2
  5. Your Weather – 7.5
  6. Over It – 8.8
  7. Friends – 8.6
  8. Said The People – 8.3
  9. There's No Here – 8.4
  10. See You – 7.7
  11. I Don't Wanna To Go There – 8.6
  12. Imagination Blind – 7.6


Friday, July 03, 2009

Marilyn Manson - The High End Of Low

Marilyn Manson
The High End of Low

It has been well-documented of the self parody that Marilyn Manson has become. The curse of trying to live up to his image has tainted his work ever since 2000's Holy Wood. His message is much more effective and interesting when he is at his most honest instead of painting himself as society's number one pariah. Manson's tales of personal struggle ("Devour," and "Running To The End Of The World," are far more arresting than his childish word play (most other tracks).

In recent years, the musicianship in Manson's albums has suffered. Now, former bassist/guitarist and musical director Twiggy Ramirez (a.k.a. Jeordie White) has returned to try to write honest to goodness rock songs (with a little help from former Nine Inch Nails drummer, Chris Vrenna). The fault in most of the songs is in fact Manson's limited lyrical and vocal scope. Like his last few efforts, there are only a few tracks that can hold the listener's attention for more than 30 seconds. The music is the most interesting since 1998's Mechanical Animals but Manson himself stands in the way of most of the tracks' success. The one ingredient that helped him overcome his abilities was his fury and that is largely missing, along with the intrigue.

Track Grades

  1. Devour – 8.3
  2. Pretty As A ($) – 7.0
  3. Leave A Scar – 6.3
  4. Four Rusted Horses – 7.4
  5. Arma-goddamn-motherfuckin-geddon – 6.4
  6. Blank And White – 5.8
  7. Running To The Edge Of The World – 9.4
  8. I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies – 6.6
  9. WOW – 4.8
  10. Wight Spider – 5.3
  11. Unkillable Monster – 8.3
  12. We're From America – 7.2
  13. I Have To Look Up Just To See Hell – 7.0
  14. Into The Fire – 7.5
  15. 15 – 6.8


Explosions In The Sky Live: Thursday, July 2nd 2009

This being the 10 year anniversary of Explosions In The Sky, the precocious Texans celebrated with a tour. Before the Chicago show, I checked out the merch table and found a curious item. The out-of-print CD of The Rescue, an installment in the Travels In Constants series from Temporary Residence Records lied there on the table labeled "Limit One". Needless to say, I plunked down my $15 and was instantly in a good mood. The Congress Theatre was packed but I found a seat in the very back of the balcony. I caught the last three songs of the set by Jason Lytle and was a little bored.

Then, Explosions took to the stage and were captivating. Their music is very easy to get lost in. Their beautiful cacophony was just loud enough to drown out the yammering harpies standing against the wall behind me. It is very impressive the way they keep their set moving amidst tuning changes, with only Michael James switching instruments from bass to guitar and back again. No matter the instrument, James provides the thunder along with Chris Hrasky's drums. Munaf Rayani and Mark Smith's guitar weave a textured tapestry over everything. They provide the beauty to James and Hrasky's beast. Their set was a fine mix encompassing at least two tracks from each of their full length albums. Converted fans as a result of the band's work on the soundtrack to Friday Night Lights only had the extended version of "Your Hand In Mine," that appears on 2004's The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. The performance was powerful and flawless and benefitted from the fact that they weren't supporting any one album but celebrating their entire career. And we were right there with them.

The Setlist

  1. Memorial
  2. The Birth And Death Of The Day
  3. A Song For Our Fathers
  4. Your Hand In Mine
  5. Snow And Lights
  6. Greet Death
  7. A Poor Man's Memory
  8. Catastrophe And The Cure
  9. The Only Moment We Were Alone

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sonic Youth Live: Saturday, June 27th 2009, Tour's Opening Night

As you may have guessed from an earlier post, I am a huge fan of Sonic Youth and I had the great pleasure to see them kick off their latest U.S. tour at the Vic Theatre in Chicago. They were, at the very least, incendiary. Not since seeing the Stooges reunion tour have a seen such a focused fury from rock elder statesmen.

Now a five-piece (again), with former Pavement bassist Mark Ibold in tow this time, Kim Gordon had the freedom to rock the mic, dance, or even play guitar instead of just bass duties. She demonstrated much more showmanship than in the past when she was hampered by her instrument, and Ibold's presence live, as well as on the latest record, allowed that.

Gordon, with husband and guitarist Thurston Moore, guitar guru Lee Ranaldo, classic punk rock drummer Steve Shelley, and Ibold rattled off 10 of the 12 new tracks from The Eternal including the raucous "Sacred Trickster," and future classic "No Way," along with what Moore referred to as "hits" like EVOL's "Tom Violence," and "Bull In The Heather," from 1994's Experimental Jet Set and No Star. Unlike most bands their age, Sonic Youth doesn't revel in the past so much. Their preference is to show they've still got teeth and plenty of bite left. The beauty of them as a band is that even though they're coming up on 30 years together, they still feel as though there is some, er, sonic landscape that they have yet to explore and mine. Even when delving into the back catalog, what they pull out are more hidden gems like "The Sprawl," and "Hey Joni," from 1988's Daydream Nation instead of the more obvious "Teen Age Riot," or "Silver Rocket,". The complete omission of 1990's Goo was a tad upsetting. They also played no tracks recorded in the previous 13 years, preferring instead to go all the way back to "The World Looks Red," from 1983's Confusion Is Sex and Sister's "Pacific Coast Highway," was another very welcome surprise.

The old tunes fit in really well with the predominantly new set, proving that Sonic Youth is just as vital and viral today as any other day in their history. It was an honor to be a part of such a small piece of it.

The Setlist

  1. Sacred Trickster
  2. No Way
  3. Poison Arrow
  4. Calming The Snake
  5. Tom Violence
  6. Malibu Gas Station
  7. Antenna
  8. Leaky Lifeboat (For Gregory Corso)
  9. Hey Joni
  10. Anti-Orgasm
  11. Massage The History
  12. Pacific Coast Highway
  13. What We Know
  14. The Sprawl
  15. Bull In The Heather
  16. The World Looks Red

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know

Heaven & Hell
The Devil You Know

As a huge Black Sabbath fan, it took me a long time to warm up to Ronnie James Dio but I am proud to say that I am on board. While this album is subpar when you consider landmark albums like Sabbath's self-titled debut, Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Vol. 4, Heaven And Hell. and Mob Rules. Those albums basically were the invention of heavy metal as we know it. For that, I can cut them some slack. However, they don't need much. While it is true that this album doesn't match up with classic Black Sabbath, the fact is nothing can. This album is much stronger than what any other bands can cull together these days. So I say, check it out and enjoy.

Track Grades
  1. Atom And Evil – 8.5
  2. Fear – 7.9
  3. Bible Black – 9.2
  4. Double The Pain – 8.8
  5. Rock And Roll Angel – 7.8
  6. The Turn Of The Screw - 7.4
  7. Eating The Cannibals – 8.6
  8. Follow The Tears – 7.7
  9. Neverwhere – 8.3
  10. Breaking Into Heaven – 8.0
Overall Grade=8.22

Future Of The Left - Travels With Myself And Another

Future Of The Left
Travels With Myself And Another

The lasting question I get from the sophomore effort from Future Of The Left is, “What if Jello Biafra was the lead singer of Les Savy Fav?”. The results are somewhere in between Dead Kennedys and Les Savy Fav. The album's musical content and subject matter are extremely enticing. The vocals detract from the music a bit but they do punctuate the lyrical content. Travels With Myself... is a very topical record focusing on the issues the Dead Kennedys and Bad Religion have been mining for 30 years but doesn't even approach being stale. Speaking out on government, big business, and Catholicism are timeless practices. It certainly helps to do it tongue-in-cheek. Overall, this is a very strong and furious effort that is worth picking up.

Track Grades

  1. Arming Eritrea – 9.0
  2. Chin Music – 8.7
  3. The Hope That House Built – 7.8
  4. Throwing Bricks At Trains – 7.5
  5. I Am Civil Service – 9.2
  6. Land Of My Formers – 8.6
  7. You Need Satan More Than He Needs You – 7.7
  8. That Damned Fly – 8.2
  9. Stand By Your Manatee – 8.1
  10. Yin/Post-Yin – 8.0
  11. Drink Nike – 8.1
  12. Lapsed Catholics – 8.3

Overall Grade=8.27

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult - Death Threat

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
Death Threat

Just as I was ready to give up on TKK, they posted Death Threat's title track on their Myspace page. And I was hooked. While that track is perhaps their best in 20 years, the rest of the album fails to sniff the greatness of that track. The band relies far too much on wah guitars, synth bass, and porn flick rhythms. I understand that that's the idea but the band's greatest strength has always been their mix of sex, drugs, and evil. After their disco nonsense on Gay, Black & Married and their lackluster Casio keyboard fest, The Filthiest Show In Town, the only thing the band seemed to have going for it was cool album titles. TKK's entire career has been peeks and valleys. They began with classics like “Kooler Than Jesus,” and Confessions Of A Knife (top 5 all-time Wax Trax release) and sunk with Sexplosion. But even that album yielded the gem, “Sex On Wheelz,”. Every record would have at least one stand out track until 2005. And a career, of late, that consists of far too many re-mix albums shows they haven't been trying. Hopefully, this isn't a peak but more a crawling out of a valley.

Track Grades
  1. WitchPunkRockStar – 7.2
  2. Invasion (Of The Ultra Modelz) – 6.2
  3. Death Threat – 9.9
  4. Spotlite Hooker – 6.0
  5. Lone Road – 7.0
  6. Who R U Now? - 5.2
  7. Foxxy Rockit – 5.0
  8. The Ultimate Nude – 4.8
  9. Bottoms Up – 6.3
  10. Psychik Yoga – 6.6

The Jesus Lizard - Inch

The Jesus Lizard
Touch & Go
9x7" Set

The Jesus Lizard was an immensely important and powerful band in the '90s. This collection is really just a sampling of their fantastic catalog and was available only on Record Store Day. It's definitely more of a collector's item as you can get these tracks on CD on the Bang compilation and the Goat and Liar albums. In fact, if you don't have those, are interested, and are still reading this, what are you doing? Go get them. Bang is available everywhere. Liar is available on vinyl here. Goat will be re-issued and remastered by Shellac's Bob Weston and released 9/22/09.

Track Grades

  1. Chrome – 9.0
  2. 7 vs 8 – 8.8
  3. Mouth Breather – 9.4
  4. Sunday You Need Love – 8.4
  5. Wheelchair Epidemic – 8.7
  6. Dancing Naked Ladies – 8.6
  7. Gladiator - 8.3
  8. Seasick - 8.2
  9. Puss – 8.8
  10. Glamorous – 8.5
  11. Deaf As A Bat – 8.6
  12. Lady Shoes – 8.7
  13. Killer McHann – 8.4
  14. Bloody Mary – 8.9
  15. Monkey Trick – 9.2
  16. (Fly) On (The Wall) – 8.5
  17. White Hole – 7.7

Overall Grade=8.63

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
S/T, Young Adult Friction, Everything With You
LP/CD, 7", 7"

I am going to be hard-pressed to find a better debut this year, or most years. As a child of the '80s and fan of My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus & Mary Chain, this is quite a treat for me. Shoegaze has had a bit of a revival with bands like Airiel and others delving back into that territory. But no band has done so beautifully and melodically as The Pains. Each song drips with sweet sadness. Every year, a new band comes out that I want to champion. Two years ago, it was The Besnard Lakes. Last year, it was Titus Andronicus. Though those bands didn't exactly blow up, I have a really good feeling about these guys. I should enjoy them now before everyone knows them and I couldn't care less anymore.

Track Grades

  1. Contender – 9.5
  2. Come Saturday – 9.3
  3. Young Adult Friction – 8.9
  4. This Love Is Fucking Right – 8.9
  5. The Tenure Itch – 9.1
  6. Stay Alive – 9.2
  7. Everything With You – 9.4
  8. A Teenager In Love – 9.0
  9. Hey Paul – 9.5
  10. Gentle Sons – 9.8
  11. Ramona (B-side of Young Adult Friction) – 9.2
  12. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (B-side of Everything With You) – 8.8

Overall Grade=9.22

Sonic Youth - The Eternal

Sonic Youth
The Eternal
Double LP/CD

Since this site is going to be devoted to reviews primarily, there is no better way to start than with Sonic Youth. SY is the one music artist that I respect more than any other. That coupled with the fact that this is their first album on an indie label since Daydream Nation (or as I like to call it: The Alternative Bible) and this should have been an instant classic. While it is certainly not that, The Eternal does measure up to their recent output. The album also serves as kind of a cross-section of the band's history with songs that song like they could have come from several different eras of their career. There are also more prevalent traces of influence on SY than there seemed to have been in a while with musical reference to Television (the interlude on “Antenna,”) and literal to the Germs (Bobby Pyn was the original stage name of Germs singer Darby Crash). There are some bonafide gems on this record. “Sacred Trickster,”and “No Way,” are potential anthems. While not the ultimate triumphant return to indie that The Eternal was billed, the fact is that Sonic Youth has never wavered in their approach to making records. And there is no need for a triumphant return when you've never really gone anywhere.

Track Grades

  1. Sacred Trickster – 9.7
  2. Anti-Orgasm – 7.8
  3. Leaky Lifeboat (For Gregory Corso) – 8.4
  4. Antenna – 8.9
  5. What We Know – 7.8
  6. Calming The Snake – 7.6
  7. Poison Arrow – 9.1
  8. Malibu Gas Station – 8.2
  9. Thunderclap (For Bobby Pyn) – 9.3
  10. No Way – 9.2
  11. Walkin Blue – 7.5
  12. Massage The History – 8.7

Overall Grade=8.52