TSU Old Archives

Local Natives on La Blogotheque

by Ariel

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I’ve always loved La-Blogotheque. As the site that originally turned me on to the Fleet FoxesThe Tallest Man on EarthArcade Fire, and Delta Spirit, I owe much of my current musical taste to them.

And so, I must share their Local Natives sessions with you. As always, the video and the music are both emotional, beautiful, and perfect.

Yim Yames: Valentine’s Day Show

by Ariel
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When Jim James plays a solo show, you know it’s gonna be something great. This past Valentine’s Day, Mr. James, or Yim Yames as he tends to go by these days, put on a fantastic solo show in Louisville, KY where he played a mixture of My Morning Jacket songs, and awesome covers (including a beautiful version of “Just The Two Of Us”).

Much thanks to Yonah for sending me the show. Enjoy.

I Will Be There When You Die
Only Have Eyes For You
Just The Two Of Us
Tonight I Want To Celebrate With You
Wonderful (The Way I Feel)
Bermuda Highway
The Right Place
Look At You
His Master’s Voice
Wonderful Man
Blue Moon
Take My Breath Away
It Beats 4 U
Knot Comes Loose
True Love Ways
Good Morning Dove
Smokin From Shootin
All The Best

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Feb 25, 2010 (5 days ago)

I’ve Got Bugs!!!!!

by Ariel

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These days, there’s a lot in my life revolving around bugs. Beyond to obvious roach issue that every New York resident is familiar with, there’s another Bug reference that I hope to be able to share with you in the coming weeks.

Until then, enjoy the tracks.

Pearl Jam – Bugs (Audience Boot)

The Flaming Lips – Buggin’

A Tribe Called Quest – Buggin’ Out

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Feb 22, 2010 12:35 AM

Elliott Smith Live in DC (4-17-98)

by Ariel

It’s always the best who die young. Elliott Smith may very well have been one of the greatest songwriters of our generation, but his life was cut tragically short by two self inflicted stab wounds to the chest. Like many great musicians, his life was dominated by alcohol and drug abuse, which translated into fantastic songwriting.

Check out this bootleg, and enjoy the man at his absolute best.

Division Day
Waltz #2
Between The Bars
Southern Belle
Jealous Guy
Say Yes
Oh Well, Okay
No Name #4
Rose Parade
Pictures Of Me
Some Song
Biggest Lie
St. Ides Heaven
Care Of Cell 44
Speed Trials
No Name #3

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Feb 19, 2010 10:01 AM

Ben Sollee @ Joe’s Pub in 2 Weeks

by Ariel

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In case you don’t follow my Buzz and/or Twitter feeds, you may not yet be aware that Elana and I will be attending the Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore concert at Joe’s Pub on the evening of March 6th.

For those who don’t know, Ben and Daniel just released a new album called Dear Companion, and it’s just fantastic (review to come). I’ve heard great things about his live performances and I’m excited to check it out.

If you’re interested in coming, here’s the info:
March 5 – 7PM
March 6 – 9:30 PM
Tickets: $20

Hope to see you there!


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Feb 17, 2010 6:51 PM

Local Natives: Gorilla Manor

by Ariel

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Ten years from now, when compiling my list of Top Albums of the 10s, this is going to be up there. I’m going to be saying that one of the best albums of the decade came out just a few months into the decade, and I’ll use this post as proof that I predicted it.

Hailed by Pitchfork as Grizzly Bear of the west coast, Local Natives is in many ways an LA version of their Brooklyn-based brethren. Their album is even called Gorilla Manor, which recalls the name Grizzly Bear. It’s kind of like The Black Keys and The White Stripes; both bands are duos with similar names and similar stripped down sounds. But coincidences are coincidences, and all four of these bands are fantastic. While Local Natives does crossover with Grizzly Bear in terms of vocal stylings, their music is quite different with an unbridled happy aggression that is usually absent in most of today’s indie rock.

In many ways, Pitchfork is right; Local Natives truly are the west coast surfer punks to the ivy league, boat shoe, button down shirt tucked into khaki wearing Grizzly Bear of the New York area. Just as Kerouac couldn’t truly realize himself until he made his way out west, NYC indie rock needed that raw California emotion to reach its potential. Gorilla Manor is that realization.

Check out the tracks, check out the album, and please enjoy the music.

Local Natives- Sun Hands

Local Natives- Warning Sign

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Feb 15, 2010 8:07 PM

Monday Blues

by Ariel

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Monday’s are never fun. Monday’s are even less fun when the rest of the world has off. Columbia University, however, decided that President’s Day was not important enough to give us an extended weekend. So I came home from the snowy wonderland that was Baltimore, and ventured down to school.

After class, I headed to the pool to try to kick out 25 laps. It just wasn’t to be. Besides for the fact that my body gave out after 15 laps, I had the most annoying swimmer sharing my lane. As he was swimming slower than me, I tapped his foot to indicate I’d like to pass him, yet every time we got to the wall, he wouldn’t let me past. When he finally let me go by, he decided that it was time to speed up and kept slapping my foot. So I let him pass me again, at which point he decided to slow back down. Eventually I gave up and hit the showers, only to find out that the hot water had run out.

Then my equipment in my lab wasn’t working, and I got home to a full garbage and a sink full of dishes. Today has been a Monday for the ages. Here’s to hoping Tuesday’s a bit better.

Buddy Guy – Stormy Monday Blues

Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughn – Stormy Monday Blues

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Feb 15, 2010 2:05 AM

The Avett Brothers: 7/20/05

by Ariel

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I’ve recently been taken by The Avett Brothers. I dabbled a bit in their most recent album. Then saw them on Austin City Limits. And now, I’m just hooked. Something about them is just captivating and sounds refreshing and new every time around.

Check out this bootleg from 2005.

Pretty Girl From Annapolis
Please Pardon Yourself
At The Beach
Pretend Love
A Lover Like You
Pretty Girl From Raleigh
Pretty Girl From Matthews
Distraction 74
Left On Laura Left On Lisa
Old Joe Clarke
Pretty Girl At The Airport
Nothing Short Of Thankful
New Love Song
Sixteen In July
Salvation Song
Hesitation Blues
I Killed Sally’s Lover

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Feb 11, 2010 12:48 AM

A Blizzardy Mix

by Ariel

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And the snow keeps on storming.

My class today was cancelled, but so is the bus that I was supposed to take home to Baltimore for Shabbat.

Anyway, here are a few wintry tracks to listen to while staying cozy and warm inside. In case you’re wondering why I included “Wish You Were Here,” it’s because of the blizzard-like winds at the end of the track that always make me feel a bit cold inside. It’s the perfect song for wanting to curl up with some hot chocolate.

Kings of Leon – Velvet Snow

Explosions in the Sky – Snow and Lights

The Tallest Man on Earth – The Blizzard’s Never Seen the Desert Sands

State Radio – Barn Storming

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

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Feb 6, 2010 8:30 PM

Radiohead: Haiti Benefit (1/24/10)

by Ariel

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A few weeks ago Radiohead played a show in LA to benefit Haiti. While the audio quality isn’t perfect, it’s the most recent RH live show. So enjoy!

Faust Arp
Fake Plastic Trees
The National Anthem
Karma Police
Kid A
Morning Bell
How To Disappear Completely
A Wolf At The Door

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Feb 5, 2010 4:26 PM

Brooklyn Brooklyn Take Me In

by Ariel

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The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You

Load the car and write the note
Grab your bag and grab your coat
Tell the ones that need to know
We are headed north

One foot in and one foot back
But it don’t pay, to live like that
So i cut the ties and i jumped the tracks
For never to return

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I’m in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

When at first I learned to speak
I used all my words to fight
With him and her and you and me
Oh but its just a waste of time
Yeah its such a waste of time

That woman shes got eyes that shine
Like a pair of stolen polished dimes
She asked to dance I said it’s fine
I’ll see you in the morning time

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape im in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
What you were then, I am today
Look at the things I do

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I’m in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

Dumbed down and numbed by time and age
Your dreams to catch the world, the cage
The highway sets the travelers stage
All exits look the same

Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
I and love and you
I and love and you

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Feb 4, 2010 8:24 PM

Owen Pallett: Heartland

by Ariel

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For those of you already familiar with Owen Pallett and Final Fantasy, forgive me; this album is my first exposure to his music under either moniker. And while I will have to check out his FF stuff eventually, right now I’m spinning Pallet’s new album Heartland and I’m liking what I’m hearing.

My first thoughts are a cross between Animal Collective and Andrew Bird; broad luscious soundscapes that include th electronic hippieness of the former and the looped violins and soothing vocals of the latter.

I haven’t listened closely enough to the lyrics yet to make much of them, but Pitchfork seems to think that “these twelve songs are monologues from Lewis, an “ultra-violent farmer” in a world called Spectrum, as he tries to come to grips with his own creator, Owen Pallett.”

But the best thing about this album to me, is how it sounds better on each subsequent listen. Each time I spin it, I like the songs more, and find more things to love about the album and Mr. Pallett.

So please check Owen Pallett out, and as always, enjoy the music.

Owen Pallett – Midnight Directives

Owen Pallett – Keep The Dog Quiet

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Feb 3, 2010 11:21 PM

Surfer Blood: Astro Coast

by Ariel

This is what Vampire Weekend would sound like if I had my way. But this isn’t VW, this is Surfer Blood. This is the band that should be garnering all the critical acclaim, all the blogger hatred, and all the indie rock kid obsessions.

Surfer Blood’s debut album Astro Coast is filled with indie rock gems that don’t get repetitive and sound nothing alike. This is an album full of funky rhythms, grungy guitars, polished vocals, and upbeat fun music. But what makes this a true standout indie album is the guitars. The interwoven parts can’t be deciphered as rhythm or lead; they can only be defined by their greatness and brilliance.

This is a band that has set down their potential for greatness. Yet, unlike certain other bands that will remain nameless, Surfer Blood’s long reaching style that can’t be clearly defined or pinned down shows a maturity and breadth of musical abilities. We can only hope that this will lead to more awesome music down the line.

For now, check out Swim, the single released last year, Harmonix, my personal favorite off the album.

Surfer Blood – Swim

Surfer Blood – Harmonix

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Feb 1, 2010 11:59 PM

The Masses Are Kind Of Stupid Sometimes

by Ariel

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[Editor’s Note: I was asked this week to respond to an article on The Vertex Blog that put forth the idea that Coldplay’s most recent album Viva La Vida was an inadvertent soundtrack to the hit TV show Lost. While I have never watched Lost and probably never will, I imagine that the request came based on my general anti-Coldplay stance. Here goes:]

I will never like Coldplay. It won’t happen. And for exactly the same reasons, I will never like the TV show Lost. It’s not that either of these forms of entertainment are bad. It’s not even that I bear a personal grudge against them either; Chris Martin never insulted my intelligence and I’ve never watched more than five minutes of Lost – not nearly enough time to allow me a vendetta against the program.

It’s just that I’ve lost faith in the opinions of the masses. This is a populace that gave Taylor Swift the Grammy for album of the year. This is a nation of TV watchers that pushed Conan out in favor of Jay. This is a nation of imbeciles that wants their music boring and their comedians predictable. In truth, I can’t speak about Lost as I’ve never watched an episode, but from what I’ve heard it’s not all that different from other network dramas; a show based on a weird hitch that favors plot turns over acting and storylines, and tends to get more confusing and less entertaining in later seasons, as the writers attempt to raise ratings by substituting writing for non-believable events. Now, in a perfect world, the masses would see through this. In a perfect world, formulaic shows likeHousePrison Break, and (dare I say it?) Lost would get terrible ratings and would fall off the air after a season. But it’s Arrested Development that ends up getting cancelled. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I’d lost my faith in the public’s ability to appreciate good television.

The same goes for bands like Coldplay. But with music, it’s a little more complicated. In general, at least in the rock music world, bands need to impress s lot of people to get attention at all. It’s not as if there are a limited number of channels and TV shows and all you need to do is impress TV execs. In the music business, you need to impress record execs, bloggers, concertgoers, and CD buyers. Needless to say, Coldplay did this. But to put your faith even in the music loving community is dangerous. Because for every few that the masses get right, there are so many that we get wrong.

Here’s the problem; once the masses like you, their opinions are sealed. They like you as you are, and never want you to change. They want you to record the same album with similar songs over and over. What would Radiohead be if they creatively peaked with Pablo Honey? Or The Beatles had they recreated Please Please Me over and over?

You see, everyone loves Coldplay. And everyone loves Vampire Weekend. And everyone loves Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear and Kings of Leon. And when everyone loves you, the easiest thing to do is keep doing what you’re doing. This works surprisingly well. The general populace wants bands to put out familiar safe albums that sound like the last one. This is the populace that loves Jay Leno because they know what joke he’s going to say before he says it. This is a populace that loves Taylor Swift because she’s cute, writes simple songs and will always stay that way. (And if you saw her duet at last night’s Grammy’s with Stevie Nicks, it was clear that the elder stateswoman’s voice is far better than Ms. Swift’s, and sadly, Taylor will probably never mature to the point where she can sing like Stevie.)

Coldplay, in a big way, fell victim to this rut. They put out a pretty good debut album; it wasn’t revolutionary, but it certainly showed promise. Vampire Weekend did the same; I was a bit annoyed with the songs, but they showed promise of a talented band that could go somewhere. And both of those bands, drunk on the fumes of their popularity, decided to take the easy way out and create more of the same, knowing full well that the majority of music fans would eat it up. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit. Maybe these bands just aren’t as talented as it seemed when they released their debuts; maybe those first albums showed the limit of their songwriting abilities. Whatever the case, neither of these bands has put out a musically relevant song since their first albums.

Animal Collective, it seems, has been able to avoid this. By their nature, they happen to be an ever evolving band, both musically and sonically; painting broad textures of sound that are always different and always a dream to listen to. Kings of Leon have continually changed and adapted their sound, I only hope that they don’t fall into the U2 rut that marked their last album. Grizzly Bear too needs to avoid falling prey to the sirens of success, and will hopefully continue to adapt their sound, and give us great music.

So there you have it. I don’t hate Coldplay. I just don’t care about them anymore. They’re no more musically relevant than any other one-hit wonder. Just because they were able to blow our minds once, doesn’t mean they’ll do it again. So if predictable music is your game, then by all means, listen to Coldplay. But if you want something that rocks, or something that blows your mind, then do yourself a favor and listen to something real. Challenge a band to do something cool, something new. Listen to something worth listening to. Because, we only have so many years to crank out the jams before our ears blow out. How about we spend that time with some quality music.

Animal Collective – What Would I Want? Sky

Grizzly Bear – While You Wait For The Others

Kings of Leon – Closer

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Jan 31, 2010 12:56 PM

Fleet Foxes: Live in the Netherlands

by Ariel

CSNY was known for their harmonizing. Their live shows, however, were unable to replicate the pristine vocals that were captured on the albums.

The Fleet Foxes are a band that can recreate those harmonies in concert. If you don’t believe me, then give the tracks a listen to.

Sun Giant
Sun It Rises
Drops In The River
English House
White Winter Hymnal
Ragged Wood
Your Protector
Crayon Angels
Oliver James
He Doesn’t Know Why
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
Blue Ridge Mountains

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Jan 29, 2010 12:45 AM

J.D. Salinger, Dead At 91

by Ariel

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Jerome Davis Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, Nine StoriesFranny and Zooey, and many other great works of fiction died today at the age of 91.

To the literarily inclined, Mr. Salinger was one of the greatest. His unique writing style was patently American, and his sparse dialogue wasn’t just unique, but was representative of the speaking and thinking style of many of the teenagers that he was writing about.

And while the author spent most of his life as a recluse (his last work was published in 1965), he remains one of the greatest American authors of all time.

Miles Davis & John Coltrane – Fran-Dance

Okkervil River – Singer Songwriter

Wilco – Ashes of American Flags

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Jan 27, 2010 9:36 PM

New Music: The Tallest Man On Earth

by Ariel

At the beginning of this year, I compiled a list of bands I love, who are supposedly releasing albums this year. The Tallest Man On Earth was on that list, and I’m happy to share this gem of a song with you.

The new album, to be called The Wild Hunt is going to be released on April 13th by the label Dead Oceans. The label’s website had the following to say about the forthcoming album:
With unbridled excitement, we bring you The Tallest Man on Earth’s second LP, The Wild Hunt. It is all here: The words. The voice. The melodies. Ten perfect songs.

So there you have it. Check out the track, and as always – enjoy the music.

The Tallest Man On Earth – The King Of Spain

(thanks to AD for the track)

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Jan 26, 2010 5:24 PM

Radiohead: Lotus Flower

by Ariel

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I know it’s a few days late, but here’s Lotus Flower from Radiohead’s Haiti benefit this week.


Check out Stereogum’s coverage here.

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Jan 25, 2010 9:21 PM

Ticketmaster – Live Nation Merger

by Ariel
The Tickets Are Our Masters

It’s finally happened, and it’s not good. After months (years?) of debate, the Justice Department finally gave the two ticket giants the go ahead to merge and form a monopoly.

While it’s upsetting, this shouldn’t be a surprise. With the large record companies unable to make a buck by selling albums, the next obvious money maker in the music industry is the live show. The worst part is, while music fans were able to get around sky-high album prices by illegally downloading the tracks, it’s going to be tough to get into concerts without purchasing a ticket from one of these monoliths. So we’ll continue to purchase tickets, and the price will continue to rise, with the big guys getting the largest cut, and the rest of us wallowing in the pit empty wallets and bank accounts just because we wanted to see a few of our favorite bands.

As Jim DeRogatis put it in his 2003 book Milk It:
[Woodstock ’99] set a new low for the blatant disregard of live music fans as anything but willing sheep ready to be fleeced for every last dollar while being bombarded by the forces of marketing.

He’s right, but what else can we do? Those of us who love music, and aren’t writers or don’t have friends in the industry will always have to shell out cash to see our heroes. And to tell you the truth, I can afford it. But it’s the teenage fans who can’t. It’s the young music fans, the ones usually most passionate about the bands and the songs, who are going to be shafted by this deal.

For more info on the merger, check out Rolling Stone and The Wall Street Journal.

Here’s to hoping this decade doesn’t destroy the concert like the last one destroyed the recording industry.

T. Rex – Monolith

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit (12-31-91)

Sonic Youth – Teen Age Riot

The Who – Baba O’Riley

Grace Potter – Ticket To The Show (7-23-06)

Pink Floyd – The Show Must Go On

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Jan 24, 2010 11:57 AM

Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison: Live

by Ariel

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Looking back at this recording, it’s tragic to think how these two artists’ lives were cut so tragically short. At the time this show was bootlegged, Hendrix was 25 and Morrison was 24. Both would be dead before their 28th birthdays.

So we’re seeing two revolutionary artists at their prime, and the show does a great job of reflecting this by portraying each of these characters at their musical extremes. Hendrix’s guitaristry is fiery and fierce, as he plays his Strat like no one else can. Morrison’s vocals are dark and frightening, and he uses the microphone to express his frustrated poetry.

Check the show out, it’s a gem of a classic bootleg, and I’m proud to be bringing it to you.

Red House
Wake Up This Morning and Find Yourself Dead
Bleeding Heart
Morrison’s Lament
Tomorrow Never Knows
Uranus Rock
Outside Woman Blues
Sunshine Of Your Love

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Jan 24, 2010 2:08 AM

Eddie Vedder: My City of Ruins

by Ariel

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As many of you remember, Eddie Vedder performed Bruce Springsteen’s song My City of Ruins for the Kennedy Awards at which Springsteen was honored. While the entirety of the song wasn’t played on the broadcast (a verse was cut out), it’s now available from iTunes, with all the money going to benefit Haiti.

So, get off your butt, click the link if you haven’t already, and buy the song. It’s for a good cause, and it’s pretty freaking amazing.

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Jan 21, 2010 9:03 PM

The Death of the Record Store

by Ariel

There are so few left. So few true record stores left in this world. While the album may or may not have died, the record store certainly has. Sure, there are a few hanging on for dear life, but most are gone.

In 2006, Tower Records filed for bankruptcy and shut down many of their stores, including the one in downtown Manhattan. While Tower was a large chain, it had a small record store feel to it, selling more obscure and rare records and always hosting live music.

Enter No Longer Empty, a a group of artists and art lovers who set up exhibits in vacated storefronts in New York City. In the former Tower Records building on the corner of Broadway and 4th, NLE has set up an exhibit calledNever Say Goodbye, using a number of artists’ depictions of classic albums, including tile versions of Nevermind and London Calling, a glitter encrusted version o Bowie’s Space Oddity, and Miles Davis’ Bitched Brew featuring what looks to be Jay-Z on the cover.

So, while the record store may have died, art is alive and well. Open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays until February 13th, make sure you head down there if you’re in the New York area.

Enjoy the pics, and, as always, enjoy the music.

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Jan 20, 2010 11:06 PM

Turn up your radio and let me hear the song

by Ariel

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Van Morrison – Caravan
Counting Crows – Caravan

And the caravan is on it’s way
I can hear the merry gypsies play
Mama mama look at Emma Rose
She’s a-playin with the radio
La, la, la, la…

And the caravan has all my friends
It will stay with me until the end
Gypsy Robin, Sweet Emma Rose
Tell me everything I need to know
La, la, la…

Turn up your radio and let me hear the song
Switch on your electric light
Then we can get down to what is really wrong
I long just to hold you in my arms so that I can feel you
Sweet lady of the night I shall reveal you
Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher radio
Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul
La, la, la, la…

And the caravan is painted red and white
That means ev’rybody’s staying overnight
Barefoot gypsy player round the campfire sing and play
And a woman tells us of her ways
La, la, la, la…

Turn up your radio and let me hear the song
Switch on your electric light
Then we can get down to what is really wrong
I long just to hold you in my arms so that I can feel you
Sweet lady of the night I shall reveal you

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio
Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul
So you know, So you know it’s got soul, So you know it’s got..
So you know it’s got soul. so you know it’s got soul
Turn it up now! Turn it up
One more time!
So you know!
One more time! One more time! One more time! One more time!

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Jan 20, 2010 1:04 AM

Lou Reed: Metal Machine Music

by Ariel

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Do not listen to this album. Do not download the song, and please do not stream it. It’s not worth your while.

Well, now that I’ve got your attention, here’s a bit of background: I’ve recently attained a copy of Lou Reed’s album Metal Machine Music. I had read Lester Bang’s take on this album years ago, and have been wanting to hear just what he was talking about. To quote Mr. Bangs:

You know when you get so tense and anxiety-ridden that all the nerves in the back o your neck snarl up into one burning ball? Well, if that gland could play music, it would sound like this album.

The album is four tracks of nonsensical feedback and distortion. It’s a mess. It’s annoying. It’s offensive to the ears. Yet, after a while, it becomes somehow soothing. Seriously. A minute and a half into the first track, and you’ll want to punch yourself in the head. But four minutes in, and it almost turns into peaceful background noise; white noise if you will.

Mr. Reed claimed that there was symphonic harmony to this album. He claimed that every sound, every nuance of amplified sound fed back into itself was planned and perfectly written out. Mr. Reed was full of shit. But while he didn’t create a masterpiece of sound, he did pave the way for many other bands to create beautiful music using distortion. Without this album, there would never have been Sonic Youth. There never would have been Pavement. There never would have been My Bloody Valentine.

What makes my discovery of this album so much more exciting is that I just received an email from school informing me that the Fireworks Ensemble, under the direction of conductor Ulrich Krieger, will be performing this album at Columbia’s Miller Theater using classical instruments. I’m intrigued as to how it will sound, and totally would go if it wasn’t on a Friday night.

So, if you must, give the first track a bit of a listen, but don’t say I didn’t warn you; it sounds like crap.

Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music Part I

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Jan 19, 2010 5:02 PM

Pearl Jam Lollapalooza Rumors

by Ariel

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There are rumors about that Pearl Jam may be playing at Lollapalooza 2010. I’m not sure where The Sky I Scrape got their information, but here’s what they’ve heard:

a little birdie told me that PJ, Them Crooked Vultures and Soundgarden will be performing/headlining at Lollapalooza this year. this is just what i was told. nothing officially confirmed though.

I scoured the PJ forums and tracked it down to here.

Two Feet Thick, however. pointed out that this wasn’t an official moderator tweet.

So there you have it. You can choose to believe, not believe, or not care. Just keeping you updated on the info. More as it comes.

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Jan 18, 2010 12:18 AM

Ben Sollee: I Can’t

by Ariel

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Ben Sollee – I Can’t

This ain’t the life I thought I’d live
This ain’t the home I hoped we’d make
This ain’t the path I thought I chose
This ain’t the sky I’d hoped we’d see
This ain’t the tree I thought would grow
This ain’t the god to which I pray
This ain’t the song I thought I’d write
These ain’t the words I want to say
I can’t be your man

This ain’t the flag I thought we’d raise
This ain’t the wind I’d hoped would blow
This ain’t the ship I thought would sail
This ain’t the rose I’d hoped would bloom
This ain’t the play I thought we’d stage
These ain’t the hills I’d hoped we’d roam
This ain’t the sword pulled from the lake
Yours ain’t the heart I want to break
But I can’t be your man

This ain’t the end I thought it’d be
Are you someone I’ve loved before
In this the song the caged bird sings
Is there some law I choose to ignore
This is a faith I must defend
I’ve tried, I can’t pretend
There is a hope I must contend
We’ll find the thread with the strength to mend
I can’t be your man

Least not this time around
And it’s something unpredictable
Like where a leaf might fall
And it’s something unrestrainable
Like a rooster’s morning call
I can’t be your man

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Jan 17, 2010 12:16 AM

Miles Davis: Antibes Jazz Fest 1969

by Ariel

With Chick Corea on electric piano, Wayne Shorter on saxaphone, Dave Holland on bass, and Jack de Jhonette on drums, this Miles Davis set shows him at his most electric. His playing is fierce and unparalleled, and his fabulous backing band keeps up brilliantly.

Enjoy the show.

Spanish Key
I Fall In Love Too Easily
Miles Runs The Voodoo Down
No Blues

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Jan 15, 2010 12:27 AM

Jay Reatard Remembered

by Ariel

After reading through the comments on Stereogum’s article about Jay Reatard’s passing, I feel like I owe him a more complete eulogy.

No, I haven’t listened to much of his music. And no, if you asked me to name a song of his, I probably couldn’t. But that’s not the point; the point is that someone died. This death is no more important than anyone else’s, but now that we’ve heard about it we owe him our respects. Sure, he may have been a douchebag who abused his body chemically and didn’t take care of himself. But that doesn’t mean he was a bad person, and it doesn’t mean we should trash his memory.

So, to honor his memory as a musician, here’s a few songs to check out. Let’s celebrate his life by being inspired and moved by his music even now that he’s gone.

Jay Reatard – Always Wanting More

Jay Reatard – No Time

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Jan 14, 2010 5:27 PM


by Ariel

As you all know, catastrophe struck Haiti this week when an earthquake ravaged the already impoverished city of Port au Prince. The relief efforts are only just beginning, and a lot more help and support is going to be neccesary.

Here are a few ways to donate to the cause:

  • Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to RedCross relief efforts
  • Donate via Oxfam
Additionally, Régine Chassagne of The Arcade Fire (who has roots in Haiti) has urged fans to help as much as possible. Read her letter here, and please give as much as you can.

The Arcade Fire – Haiti
Andrew Bird – Natural Disaster
Pearl Jam – Tremor Christ (2-6-95)

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Jan 14, 2010 5:06 AM

Computer Down

by Ariel
Breaking News:

My computer is officially down. While trying to clear some space on my laptop I deleted Open Office, which I rarely use anyway. Suddenly, Microsoft Word wouldn’t open and I was unable to open any executable files.

I’m currently trying to restore my computer to its factory settings (and writing this post from my phone). Hopefully everything will be back up and running in a few hours and I’ll be able to post some stuff for y’all.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Jan 13, 2010 8:48 PM

R.I.P. Jay Reatard

by Ariel
Jay Reatard died in his sleep last night in his Memphis home.

I didn’t love his music all that much but he was a well respected musician and will be sorely missed.

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Jan 12, 2010 7:08 PM

The Mountain Goats: Psalms 40:2

by Ariel

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I briefly posted about these guys late last year, and also put their latest release in my top albums of 2009. But if you haven’t checked them out, please do now; their songs are wonderful.

The Mountain Goats – Psalms 40:2

Pulled off the highway in Missouri and low our hearts were heavy laid
Made for the chapel with some spray paint for all the things we’d held in secret
Lord lift up these lifeless bones
Light cascading through the windows
all the rainbow’s heavy tones

He has fixed his sign in the sky
He has raised me from the pit and set me high

Left that place in ruin, drunk on the Spirit and high on fumes
Checked into a Red Roof in stayed up for several hours and then slept like infants
In the burning fuselage of my days
Let me mouth be ever fresh with praise

He has fixed his sign in the sky
He has raised me from the pit and set me high

Each morning new
Each day shot through
With all the sharps small shards of shrapnel
that seem to burst of me and you

Head down towards kansas We will get there when we get there don’t you worry
Feel bad about the things we do along the way
But not really that bad
We inhaled the frozen air
Lord send me a mechanic if I’m not beyond repair

He has fixed his sign in the sky
He has raised from the pit and he will set me high

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Jan 11, 2010 10:12 AM

Delta Spirit: People, Turn Around

by Ariel

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Delta Spirit – People Turn Around from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Delta Spirit – People Turn Around

Eighteen and jaded with guns in their hands
They were fighting for freedom, and just what is that?
Bills to the banks and food for the kids
Money for college, but couldn’t get in
Made all the grades, but got taken to task
By a man in an alley wearing a mask
Screamed and she begged as the people walked by
The man he just laughed and the woman she cried

Well it’s time all you people turn around
For the life we’ve been living, messing around
The blood we’ve been spilling will bleed us dry
The life we’ve been killing is the life like mine

The needle is sweet and the snow it is pure
The pain I’ve been hiding from, I’m finding a cure
The night it is warm, well the light it is cold
The family I’m robbing, I’m calling them home

It’s time all you people turn around
For the life we’ve been living, messing around
The blood we’ve been spilling will bleed us dry
The life we’ve been killing is the life like mine

My heart it is thumping the veins they’ve been blue
The blood that’s been pumping still hasn’t met you
The beard that I’m growing, not fully grown
The years are not coming the way I thought they would
I’m hoping and waiting for something to sing
Like the angels in heaven, the bones on the street
Hoping for love to find a new voice
The song that’s needs singing has already been sung before

It’s time all you people turn around
For the life we’ve been living, messing around
The blood we’ve been spilling will bleed us dry
The life we’ve been killing is the life like mine

It’s time all you people turn around
For the life we’ve been living, messing around
The blood we’ve been spilling will bleed us dry
The life we’ve been killing is the life like mine

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Jan 11, 2010 2:11 AM

Vampire Weekend: Contra

by Ariel

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Something needs to be clarified: I don’t despise Vampire Weekend. I did not hate their first album, nor do I entirely entirely hate their second album, Contra. Sure, I disliked them in concert, and probably won’t pay to see them again. But I don’t hate them, and think that they have what to contribute to music.

That said, I do not like their music all that much. I can listen to about 1/3 of any one of their songs before I feel like someone’s trying to force feed me a popsicle and it’s getting all over the place, and not in the 3rd grader eating a fudgesicle kind of way where it’s cutely smudged all over his face, but in the awkward middle aged man on the train with ice cream stains on his shirt and fingers. Their music is an unwelcome sugar rush that seems more fitting on a Radio Disney album than on the radio.

Before all of you VW fans try to drive a stake through my heart (yes – that vampire pun was intended), let me take a step back. I do think that they are a unique sounding band. I also think that they are talented songwriters and musicians. I just happen not to like their brand of music. And this is fine. I’m ok with it, and I hope you are too. I guess I was hoping that they would depart from this childish style for something more appealing to my ears. They did not, and thus the band and I will remain at a distance.

In their review, Pitchfork states that “Vampire Weekend sound like they’ve fallen in love with what they started and are hugging it tight without shame or apology.” I guess I just really wanted to like this band and this new album. Maybe someday my ears will change their opinion of the band and their style. Until then, I’ll sit back and listen to something else.

…Hmmm. This wasn’t much of an album review; it was more of a tirade against a style that I dislike. So, if you want to check out the album for yourself, please stream it on their My Space page. Hope you enjoy it more than I did.

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Jan 8, 2010 11:05 AM

New Animal Collective: Brothersport

by Ariel

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I just saw this video promoted both on Stereogum and on You Aint No Picasso, so I guess I’ll share it to.

Like most AC music, the video is a real trip. The only think I can really compare it to is a Jon Hopkins video screen at his live shows (check him out if you can!).



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Jan 6, 2010 7:00 PM

The Allman Brothers Band: Live at the Beacon (3/14/06)

by Ariel

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To those of you who have been religiously following this blog for the past two years – I apologize. Almost two years ago to the day I posted this concert for the few who were reading this blog in its humble beginnings. But now, as we’ve grown, it’s high time to post this show again. Plus, the Allmans will be returning to New York this Spring, but not to the Beacon Theater; this year they will be performing at the United Palace Theater, in Washington Heights – right around the corner from me.

One of the more exciting things about this to me, is Gregg Allman’s desire to use Wash-Hi as a hangout during their few week tenure at the venue.

The band is also looking into other ways that it could make the Washington Heights neighborhood more familiar to its itinerant followers, who might not have spent much time there. Mr. Allman said he and his colleagues might rent a bar there during the residency that would offer “a safe, safe place to get loaded or talk to the pretty women — do the things that us guys do.”

While I’m not really in the business of “getting loaded and talking to the pretty women,” I do think it would be pretty cool to have the Brothers hanging out in the neighborhood.

This is the show I attended when The Allmans graced the Beacon four years ago. It’s been a while, and I think it’s time for me to see them again.

Midnight Rider
Firing Line
Rocking Horse
Gamblers Roll
Trouble No More
Into The Mystic
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
What The Hell Is Going One
19 Years Old
Got My Mojo Working
Leave My Blues At Home (Drums)
No One Left To Run With

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Jan 5, 2010 1:56 AM

Soundgarden: Live in Denver

by Ariel

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With the news that Soundgarden is reuniting, it’s high time to post some of their music. I found this bootleg of a ’96 show in Denver, CO, and though the sound isn’t perfect, it shows a band with a well honed live sound; a bootleg that belongs in this series.

Searching With My Good Eye Closed
Let Me Drown
Pretty Noose
Burden In My Hand
My Wave
Ty Cobb
An Unkind
Fell On Black Days
Helter Skelter
Boot Camp
Rusty Cage
Black Hole Sun
Blow Up The Outside World
Search and Destroy
Slaves and Bulldozers
Never The Machine
Jesus Christ Pose

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Jan 3, 2010 11:09 PM

The Year in Review

by Ariel

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166. It’s the magic number. It’s the number of posts from 2008. It’s also the number of posts from 2009. Funny how these things work out.

It’s also been a great year for albums. And a great year for concerts. And a great year for music in general. Here’s a sum-up of the posts relating to all of those this year.

Concerts (that I’ve attended)

Albums (that I’ve reviewed)
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Jan 2, 2010 8:07 PM

My Morning Jacket: New Years Eve 2009

by Ariel

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Last New Years Eve I attended one of the best parties ever; My Morning Jacket’s concert in Madison Square Garden. And even though the New Year has come and gone, I figured I’d share this concert with you as a part of the bootleg series. Enjoy!

intro music – What Are You Doing
Move On Up (Curtis Mayfield)
Evil Urges
Off The Record
The Way That He Sings
Thank You Too
I’m Amazed
You’re All I Need (marvin gaye)
Express Yourself (charles wright)
Wonderful Man
Lay Low
Phone Went West
Look At You
Smoking from Shootin
Touch Me Part 2
Run Thru
The Wanderer (Dion)
new years’ countdown
Celebration (kool & the gang)
Get Down On It (kool & the gang)
Wordless Chorus
Highly Suspicious
Islands in the Stream (Dolly Parton)
Bring It on Home to Me (Sam Cooke)
Cold Sweat (James Brown)
One Big Holiday
Auld Lang Syne (sung by Jim James)

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Jan 1, 2010 2:03 PM

Soundgarden Reunion!

by Ariel

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At midnight last night, as 2009 slid into 2010, Chris Cornell posted the following on his Twitter page:

The 12 year break is over & school is back in session. Sign up now. Knights of the Soundtable ride again!www.soundgardenworld.com

It seems like the wait is finally over, and the boys will be either getting back into the studio or heading out on the road in the coming year. I guess that’s what Eddie Vedder meant when he said that Pearl Jam may not be coming back for a while; it would be pretty hard for them to play without Matt Cameron, drummer for both Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

Unless of course PJ and SG tour together and Matt plays both sets… Here’s to hoping!

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Dec 31, 2009 9:00 PM

Top 50 Albums of the 00s: 10 – 1

by Ariel

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50 – 41 can be found here
40 – 31 can be found here
30 – 21 can be found here
20 – 11 can be found here

Drumroll please for the TOP 10 ALBUMS OF THE DECADE (imho)

10. Eddie Vedder – Into The Wild (2007)

I know one of my rules this list was no soundtracks, but if you look closely at how I formulated the rule, you may notice that I stated that “Nocompilation-style soundtracks” are eligible for this list. And yes, I did that precisely so I could include this album. Because it is, in fact, an album much greater than the movie. I’m pretty sure no one knew that Ed had such a folksy quality to him until this album was released. A true folk rock troubadour, Eddie astounds listeners with his beautiful fingerpicking and his longing vocals. This album contains 11 gorgeous songs, all sung and played impeccably. What’s more, this is the album that led to the Eddie Vedder solo tours, and if you’ve seen any of those shows you know that this album deserves a place up on the mantle as one of the best.

9. The Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)

This band is Canadian. Which explains all the French in their songs. I guess in my idealistic indie world The Arcade Fire would actually be French, it just seems to fit so well. I have no idea why, but they just seem like Frenchmen to me. But onto the music: This album takes indie rock to the next level. Instead of sad sorry derivative music that encompasses a lot of stuff classified as indie, this album is anything but repetitive. Sure, it sounds gorgeous and somehow familiar, but try to equate this band or this album to anything else, and nothing comes up. At every twist and turn we get a new style and a new sound, all without sounding forced or fake. From simple violin riffs to crunchy distortion, this album spans every genre and is an overwhelming presentation of creativity at it’s best. The Arcade Fire has earned the right to be in a class all their own. This is the album that bought them that right.

8. The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely (2008)

The premier prophet of our generation, Jack White strikes again. After successfully conquering the world and our ears with The White Stripes, Mr. White neither burned out, nor did he fade away. Nay! He turned around and decided to create a new band, The Raconteurs. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a raconteur as “the narrator of an anecdote or story, esp. a person particularly skilled in this role.” Mr. White and his bandmates are truly this. But their mode of storytelling isn’t a book or story hour at the library; it’s music. The album name comes from a quote on the side of the Washington DC Post Office that reads: “Messengers of sympathy and love, servants of parted friends, consoler of the lonely, bond of the scattering family, enlarger of the common life.” This album truly lives up to that; a unique sound, but familiarly based in the blues and in storytelling. Jack White knew that we, the music fans, needed something deeper than the brashness of the early 00s. He knew that at the heart, all we really wanted were some freaky bedtime stories set to music.
Well now you heard another side to the story
But you wanna know how it ends?
If you must know, the truth about the tale
Go and ask the milkman
Thanks for the milk, Jack.

7. Kings of Leon – Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004)

This is the album that solidified the Kings as rock gods in Europe, though America wasn’t quite ready for them yet. Ironically, it’s the patently American South sound that makes KOL great, but we can’t seem to appreciate that. This is a sophomore album for the ages, described by the band as the hangover after the party of their first album. And what a hangover it is. These road-tested warriors are chock-full of stories from their travels, about girls, drinking, and good ole Southern fun. Sons of a preacher they may be, but this album is about as far from religion as we can get. Caleb Followill’s voice also shows it’s first glimpses of brilliance with his recognizable growling screech that simultaneously makes listeners feel the urge to clear their throats and chug a bottle of bourbon. So sit back and listen to the raw guitars, the ever rawer vocals, and be delighted by this unbelievable band, and eve unbelievabler (sic) album.

6. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)

This is an album full of love songs. Strip away the computerized drum beats, the electronic sounds, and Jonny Greenwood’s tinkering, and you’re left with with Thom Yorke’s lyrics about love, life, and loss. But that’s not Radiohead, and that’s not this album. In Rainbows is another leap in the innovative machine that comprises this band. It’s another step forward and another push to change the state of music and creativity. We can listen to the simply beautiful sounds of pop music, or we can listen to the haunting beauty of Radiohead, which is both beautiful on the outside and the inside. This album is a just that; a collection of songs that are both catchy at first listen, and magnificently revealing on each subsequent spin. One of the happier sounding Radiohead albums, Thom Yorke and co. continue to excel at the creation of music as art – and continue to push the envelope creatively, artistically, and beautifully.

5. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)

The guys at Reprise Records must be kicking themselves for this one. Upon hearing the record for the first time, the execs at this Warner Bros subsidiary complained that there was no single, and subsequently dropped Wilco from their label. The album has since gone gold, and Wilco has proven to be a huge force in the music business, releasing successful album after successful album. This album, however, takes the cake as Wilco’s best. Though the album was written before 9/11, it has a haunting post-catastrophe feel to them, with titles like Ashes of American Flags, and two tall buildings on the cover art; it’s almost as if Jeff Tweedy and co. put out this album as a consoler in the potential event of a tragedy. Well, ten years down the line these songs are still just as heartfelt and as meaningful as they were when they first came out. I would like to salute the ashes of American flags. We salute you too, Wilco. Salute your brilliance. Salute this albums beauty. And salute you, for changing the face of music as we know it today

4. My Morning Jacket – Z (2005)

The glory of My Morning Jacket was solidified with this album. Every single song is an absolute winner, and more importantly, this is the album where we see Jim James and co begin to explore their experimental jam-band roots, combining the sound they had already become known for with a newer type of sound that’s not quite definable; it’s alternative, jam band, progressive, and folksy all at the same time. It’s also on this album that we first see Jim James as the master of all trades that he is, with the golden pipes, the rhythm guitar efficiency, and the lead guitar mastery that he shows over and over again, song after song. We are the innovators, they are the imitators wails James during Wordless Chorus, the album’s opener. And it’s all too true. This album is one of the most significant declarations of musical innovation this decade.

3. Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)

One of the best rap albums of all time, Shawn Corey Carter’s The Blueprintwas one man’s statement to the world that he was the greatest there ever was. Take into account the fact that this was all amid two pending criminal charges, and numerous feuds with other rappers, and it’s astounding that Jay-Z still had that much confidence in himself and in his abilities. But I guess when you’re the best, you know it. Angry at times, soulful at others, Jay-Z abandons gimmicks and some of his more poppy radio friendly beats, and just raps. His beats are catchy and his rhymes are smooth. Backed mainly by producers Kanye and Just Blaze, the Brooklyn native lets it all out on this one, rapping about his court cases, girls, and family. This unabashed approach strikes the listener deep and combined with unforgettable backing tracks, forces the listener to return to this album over and over again.

2. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)

Noises. Lots and lots of noises. And yet, they sound so beautiful. Having already released three successful albums, Thom Yorke and Radiohead decided that it was time to buck the trend once again, and step out of the arena of rock music and into the world of creation; not just the creation of new songs or a new album, but the creation of an entirely new sound. The album opener Everything In Its Right Place sets the tone for the musically absurd with vocals that ooze into some sort of song. Kid A is pure cacophony, but in a weirdly good way. From there, the album just keeps getting both stranger and better. The creative genius of this band is quite apparent in their ability to craft patently unique songs that are both unfamiliar and familiar at the same time. This was the album that changed Radiohead. This was the album that changed music.

1. The Strokes – Is This It? (2001)

That first sound says it all. It sounds like a tape recorder trying to rewind something as its batteries are running out.  I’m pretty sure this wasn’t The Strokes’ intention with the sound, but I see it as the death rattle of all the bad music that defined the late 90s, before we hear the first ever Strokes drumbeat, and damn it if it doesn’t sound absolutely glorious. And looking back, I think everyone who came of age in the 00s can relate all to well with this album. Is this really it? Isn’t there more to life than the monotony that defines the everyday? I remember the first time I heard a Strokes song –Last Nite. It was in my dad’s car on the way to school one morning, and I kept thinking that the opening of the song sounded exactly like the interlude in Tom Petty’s American Girl. But once the song began, it was clear that this was very different from anything else I’d ever heard. That year, at least once a week the song would be on during our seven minute morning drive to school, mostly when we were getting into the car, with me always hoping that the post-verse break was the one before the solo and not the one right before the song ended. I felt a connection to this band unlike many other bands I’d heard before. This was my music, and this was my band. Is This It? was the thesis statement for the entire decade, and the saving grace for a generation starved for music would be theirs and theirs alone.

HAPPY 2010!

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Dec 31, 2009 12:57 AM

Top 50 Albums of the 00s: 20-11

by Ariel

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50 – 41 can be found here
40 – 31 can be found here
30 – 21 can be found here

20. My Morning Jacket – It Still Moves (2003)

While not my favorite MMJ album, this one has a ton of amazing hits, and all of them translate amazingly live. From Magheeta, to Dancefloors, toGolden, to… Ok, before I name every single song on the album, I’ll stop and just let you know that I love all of them. This is MMJ’s first true masterpiece. Just to focus on my favorite song off the album, let’s shmooze about One Big Holiday. Everything about the song is perfect. We have the intro riff that sounds like something out of an AC/DC song (specifically the song TNT) that moves ever so delicately into the main riffage, which is potently grungy. That riff then descends into a perfectly alternative verse chorus combo. I’m not sure if it’s the crazy combo of styles that gets me going, but something about this song is just so good. Listen, and if you don’t agree, you’re just wrong. This isn’t opinion, it’s fact.

19. Ben Harper – Both Sides of the Gun (2006)

It’s not really fair to look at this as one album, but we will anyway. This is one of Ben’s most mature and best written albums. To give you a bit of background, this is a double album, the first of which is softer acoustic songs (a-la Ben’s first two albums) and the second of which is his heavier stuff (a-la Ben’s later albums). It’s rare that I’ll listen to a double album all the way through, but this one can’t be done any other way. The soft side opener Morning Yearning sets the stage with the heartbroken wake up call of a stranded lover waking up without his beloved. The rest of the side continues with the same theme of sad longing songs. By the time we get to the second half, Ben has transformed into a changed man, ready to take on the future. Is Better Way about moving past a relationship or changing the world? Depending on whether you see the song in the context of the entire album or on it’s own changes your perception of the track. Black Rain, is obviously about the floods in New Orleans, while Please Don’t Talk About Murder While I’m Eating could be about anything. The album closer, Serve Your Soul, sounds eerily like Led Zeppelin’s When The Levee Breaks. Possibly Ben equating the theme of the songs with the levee them in Black Rain? I’m not sure, but I sure am glad that he’s given us such a beautiful album open to such vivid interpretation. It’s pretty freaking awesome.

18. The Black Keys – Rubber Factory (2004)

This album was recorded in an abandoned warehouse in Akron, Ohio, and hell if it doesn’t sound like that. Gritty. Dirty. Messy. Bluesy. The duo of guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney sound larger than life on this blues workhorse of a third album. I’m not sure what’s more amazing: that two musicians can produce such a full sounding album, or that these white boys from Akron can play the blues so damn well. It’s certainly not your father’s blues, but there’s no other way to describe it. This album exemplifies everything great about the Keys. When The Lights Go Out10 AM AutomaticGrown So Ugly, and Aeroplane Blues all prove why this band is so great, and why this album deserves a spot in the Top 50. No bones about it, this is a modern blues band that just plain brings down the house. So flip on the album, crank it up, and watch your neighbors complain. Then invite them in to listen, because no one can really resist this band; they’re too darn good.

17. Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (2006)

They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said ‘No! No! No!’
Oh Amy, how we love you. You sing like you’ve been smoking and drinking since you were born, which, considering your binges and gaunt figure, sounds about right. Amy’s sophomore album is without a doubt her best, and the one that introduced most of the world to just how soulful her voice can be. But beyond her voice, her lyrics and songwriting skills are unparalleled in the pop world; no one else can do it as well as Amy. Always in the tabloids for her famous binges and public displays of debauchery, Amy is that tragic artists who uses drug and alcohol abuse as her muse. But we’re willing to forgive all of that, as long as she continues to put out amazing albums like this one.

16. Radiohead – Amnesiac (2001)

No other band in the world goes so far off the deep end experimentally, and manages to succeed and gain even more fans. Radiohead never goes about anything conventionally. Amnesiac, the second album from the studio sessions that produced both it and Kid A, is the second and possibly more approachable of the two album. I personally love it. It’s quirky and thought provoking. We have weird instruments, radio clips, and sounds that can’t be placed. But that’s just me; I love stuff like that. I love it when guitars get stranger and stranger, and the music keeps me guessing, almost to the point where it’s bothersome. I love that stuff. I’m just not sure what the masses (the same masses that ate up NSync and Britney that year) see in this album. This album is one of my favorites ever. And apparently the world agrees. I just have no idea why.

15. Kanye West – The College Dropout (2004)

First things first. Kanye West is a douchebag. We knew it long before he stole the mic from Taylor Swift. We even knew it before Bonnaroo when he cried to the promoters that Pearl Jam played for too long. How did we know? I think it had a lot to do with those sunglasses, but we knew. Either way, he’s a damn good producer and an even better rapper. Not all of his songs are perfect, but this was one of the first times a producer successfully made the switch into rapping and that itself is admirable.Jesus Walks is one of the best rap songs of all time. I don’t care that he’s being annoyingly preachy. I don’t even care that he’s self referential or that he uses a line from Happy Gilmore. What matters is that this song is unbelievably good. As is the rest of the album. So continue to hate Kanye all you like. Just remember that he kind of is as awesome as he thinks he is.

14. Pearl Jam – Binaural (2000)

I’ve always derided this album as one that lacked flow. And while I don’t entirely disagree with that thought, I do think this is one of Pearl Jam’s best; certainly the best of this decade. Let’s start with qualifications: every song on this album is amazing (except of course for Evacuation which is nothing short of horrid in my opinion, but hey – you’re allowed one crappy song per album). The two opening rockers Breakerfall and Evacuation set the stage for the album, before letting Light Years lead us swirling away from the grunge and into PJ experimental territory; experimental but with a pop-like quality. The Mike McCready solo-fest Nothing As It Seems follows, which is basically 5 minutes of McCready soloing away; over lyrics written by…Jeff Ament? Betcha didn’t see that one coming. Thin Air is another calm rocker, which uses Ed’s reaching vocals to take it from an ok track, to a superb one. Insignificance is an PJ gem, and the first time the band took advantage of Matt Cameron’s unique staccato drumming style. Of The Girl falls in the purely experimental category, and Grievance is one of those songs that sounded ok, until we all heard it live, and our heads were blown clear off of our bodies. Rival is the sleeper pick of the album, one that I barely noticed until recently, but rocks with a patently Vitalogy feel to it. Slight of HandSoon Forget, and Parting Ways close off the album calmly and quietly – leaving the listener wanting to hear just a bit more of the grunge that started it all, forcing us to flip the record back over to side one and start all over. And that, is the mark of a great album.

13. The White Stripes – White Blood Cells (2001)

This album changed the world. This album (along with a few others) helped usher out the terrible albums that marked the end of the 90s, and helped return brash guitar music to the forum. Listen to Fell In Love With A Girl, and try not to think about the summer of 2001, or the cool lego music video. This was a band that knew how to play their instruments (at least Jack did). They just chose not to. It’s almost as if Jack White knew that rock and roll needed to be saved, and he knew that we needed simplistic guitar rock to do it. So he put a hold on his blues rock, and like a stranger with a piece of candy, enticed us to come into his van and join him in his musical journey. Well, once we heard the first few notes, we were hooked and music was saved. I’m pretty sure Jack White is a prophet, and this album is the proof.

12. Radiohead – Hail To The Thief (2003)

Many people have told me I’m crazy that I like this album better thanAmnesiac. But this is my list, not theirs (I’m talking to you, Avi Sher). I know that this album is a bit more approachable, and maybe I like it more because it was one of the first Radiohead albums that I truly enjoyed. Or maybe I really like when songs have two titles. Or maybe the album is just awesome. Sit Down, Stand Up (Snakes & Ladders) just really does it for me. . A microcosm for an actual rainy day, before the rain actually has begun, the song builds up and churns, like the clouds gathering for a storm, leaving the listener anxious about what is to come. And it keeps building, until we finally feel the first drop. But there’s no full release yet, and we keep building and building until the clouds finally break and the raindrops, the raindrops is repeated over and over. The entire album is a storm of brilliance and poetic beauty. Just listen for yourself.

11. Eminem – The Eminem Show (2002)

This was the best selling album of 2002. A rap album by a white guy that sold more than any other album in 2002. That’s a big deal. But screw stats; listen to the songs. Em rhymes better than almost anyone else in the business and this album has him at his absolute best. This is a guy who somehow transcends race while at the same time flaunting the card in every song and lyric. But what’s amazing about his rapping not only that he annunciates every single word, but that he tells stories with his songs. It’s not the classic rap structure of a few cool sounding words followed by a chorus; it’s storytelling. Eminem’s songs actually make you stop and think. And while I ignored this album for quite some time, I’ve gotta thank Elana (I think it was Elana…) for turning me onto this one. It’s one of the best.

More tomorrow…

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Dec 30, 2009 8:51 AM

Top 50 Albums of the 00s: 30-21

by Ariel

1 person liked this – you

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50 – 41 can be found here
40 – 31 can be found here

30. Okkervil River – The Stage Names (2007)

This album quite possibly had the greatest blog hype of 2007; it was uncanny how many bloggers loved this band, and how much I initially hated them. But at a certain point, something clicked. At a certain point I began to appreciate and fall in love with this band’s distinct style and sound. From the rhythmic Unless It’s Kicks, to the bass driven A Hand To Take Hole Of The Scene, to the soft flow of A Girl In Port the album is chock full of terribly catchy songs. Emotionally riveting at times, the album also includes nods to earlier bands and songs, most obviously the references to 96 Tears and 99 Luftballoons in Plus Ones, and the Beach Boy’s homage at the end of John Allyn Smith Sails. But while the album may have some lyrical familiarity, the music is anything but, as this band has taken great strides to be original, innovative, and amazingly musical.

29. TV On The Radio – Dear Science (2008)

“It sounds like Flight of the Conchords,” complained my roommate Sammy, as I blasted this album in our apartment while cleaning up one Friday afternoon. But while Brett and Jermaine of FOTC write comical songs, TVOTR seems to want to be taken seriously. And so we shall take it. The new-age sound that this band has created is both futuristic and punk-tastic at the same time; using electronic sounds almost as much as their regular instruments. When your band’s guitarist lists his main instrument as “programming,” there’s bound to be a lot of computer generated sounds in your music. Why is this album so good? Precisely because it sounds like nothing else, yet is so unbelievably approachable at the same time. Brilliance.

28. Green Day – American Idiot (2004)

When Yocheved, Gilad, and I bought tickets to see Green Day during the summer of 2004, I didn’t expect to see a great show; I just wanted to relive these pop-radio heroes of my youth. And then they proceeded to play an unbelievable show that was not only impeccably performed, but with the energy of kids half their age. What else should I have expected? American Idiot was just that; an brilliantly crafted album with the angst and energy of kids in their 20s. The idea of a rock opera about middle American kids was brilliant, especially in a time when America was becoming quite disillusioned with itself and it’s place in the world. The fact that the songs actually rock takes this from an album that tries hard, to an album that’s one of Green Day’s best.

27. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (2008)

These guys can do no wrong. This album is hailed (by idiots mainly) as one of their worst. Yet it manages to boast songs like Evil UrgesTouch Me I’m Going to Scream, Pt. 1Pt. 2Librarian, and Aluminum Park. I’m sorry, but even if this is MMJ’s worst album, it’s still better than 90% of everything else out there. This is the album where MMJ continues the experimental stance they began with 2005’s Z, and brings their wackiness to new heights, all taken even higher with Jim James’ angelic vocals. On a recent episode of American Dad, Stan becomes obsessed with the band to the point where he refuses to listen to any other music. The fact that that doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to me only furthers the point that these guys may very well be the best band in the world right now. Peanut butter pudding surprise!

26. Drive-By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera (2001)

This is an album that unabashedly focuses primarily on the members of the band having never had the chance to see Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert. Sure, along the way we touch on high school drunk driving, Alabama politics, race issues, and AC/DC, but this band’s love for the Southern rock icons is proven and shown with absolute certainty. This is straight up whiskey music, and all of the songs drip of Jack Daniels (a drink that this band enjoys swigging from bottles onstage). The transition of the few spoken word songs into their full band counterparts is a crafty way to introduce the listeners to the topic in the upcoming song, and has an eerie haunting quality to it. The album lives up to it’s name: a true opera of Southern rock.

25. Jet – Shine On (2006)

Many people hate this band. The same goes for this album. Some go as far as to liken it to a chimp urinating in its own mouth. While I have no idea what Pitchfork really meant to say with that video, I do know that I disagree with everyone who has bad things to say about this band. True, their rock songs are straight forward and basic, they still manage to inject a certain amount of grit that other bands just can’t seem to mimic. Additionally, this album features two of the band’s most beautiful piano ballads in Kings Horses and Shine On. The songs show a maturity that wasn’t noticeable in the band a few years earlier. With this 2006 release, the band songs are a bit more carefully written, the melodies sharper, and the guitars tighter. Pitchfork: you guys have no idea what you’re talking about.

24. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008)

A chorus of angels. No other term better describes this bands sound. The jangly acoustic instrumentation coupled with heavenly harmonies give this band a Levite (Bible joke!) quality that few others possess. The hippie-bearded-acoustic-jangliness that defines this band’s sound takes what Iron & Wine was trying to do a step further by incorporating full harmonies, instead of one hoarse guy’s vocals. Listen to the intro to Blue Ridge Mountains and try to convince yourself that this is only a few guys harmonizing, and not an entire choir. Their voices and instrumentation take on identities of their own and tend to soar high above the plane of reality. As the song works its way past the first chorus, the music just explodes with a beautiful sonic boom, a microcosm for this band’s explosion into our lives.

23. The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love (2009)

On July 6th, when reviewing this album, I implored my readers to “Buy this album right now. I’m not kidding. It’s that good.” Almost six months later, I still agree with every word I said. Their Homeric epic poem of an album is a masterpiece of storytelling and musicianship. The different musical themes for each character in the story makes this an album that’s both interesting and familiar the whole way through. Completing a task like this is not an easy one, and The Decemberists executed it with class, elegance, and musical brilliance. The Crane Wife, my foot. This is the best Decemberists album.

22. Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)

Most people know Kanye’s Stronger, featuring Daft Punk. What most people don’t know is that the song comes from Daft Punk’s 2001 albumDiscovery, and Kanye basically just added his own backbeat and a few limited raps to Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – an amazing song in its own right. The funniest part of it all is that the original Daft Punk version also features other bands’ samples, making the Kanye version a twice removed sample. In truth, I know very little about electronic music, and even though Wikipedia hails this album as marking a “shift in sound from Chicago house… to disco, post-disco, and synthpop,” I can’t say I really know what that means. What I do know is that this is an electronic album that even I can love, making this album either a failure in that world, or a huge success in the contemporary one. I’m gonna go with the latter.

21. The Black Crowes – Lions (2001)

What makes this album so great is that it shows a more explorative Crowes. The sound is less classic rock, and more…well, more everything else. We have the grungy Midnight From the Inside Out, the anthemicCome On, the gospel Soul Singing, and the undefinable Young Man, Old Man. And even the straight forward rockers sound somewhat different from the regular Crowes song structure. Greasy Grass RiverCypress Tree, andLosing My Mind all have a bit of a different feel, while at the same time being quite obviously Black Crowes songs. Having seen the Crowes in concert, it’s easy to see these songs fitting perfectly into the rest of their repertoire. It’s only when you take a look at this album as an entity that you see this new and amazing direction that the Crowes chose to take with this one.

Sorry for the delay on the list. Time for a bit of sleep… I’ll post the next ten tonight. Till then.

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Dec 29, 2009 1:37 AM

Top 50 Albums of the 00s: 40-31

by Ariel
50 – 41 can be found here

40. The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)

While White Blood Cells established The White Stripes as a force of minimalistic alternative rock, Elephant showed a band who’s repertoire went deeper than three power chords and a bass drum. Winning a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 2004, Jack White could finally show his true colors: as a bluesman. But then again, this wasn’t your father’s bluesman. This also wasn’t your Stevie Ray-esque clone. This was a bluesman who had used the same 12 bars as Muddy, Buddy, and B.B., before veering off into extraordinary venues. While at this point we had no idea of Jack White’s musical genius, with our hindsight bias it’s quite easy to see this album as him solidifying his position as a rock god.

39. Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass (2007)

I’m by no means a big hip hop or rap fan; I can’t even define the difference between the two genres. But every now and then, an artist comes around that just forces me to sit down and listen. This album was my introduction to Aesop Rock, the stage name of the MC Ian Matthias Bavitz, and I was immediately hooked. The way he raps, annunciating every syllable while at the same time allowing the words to slowly roll off his tongue is unmatched by any other rapper that I know of. None Shall Pass features a the rapper’s 5th full length album, and it shows him at his most mature; better beats, better rhymes, and better flow to each of the songs. If you haven’t checked him out yet, it’s time.

38. John Butler Trio – Grand National (2007)

From the opening banjo riff of Better Than to the last acoustic jam of Gonna Take It, the John Butler Trio released a cornucopia of acoustic jam rock music with 2007’s Grand National. We’ve got love songs (Daniella,Caroline), political rants (Used To Get HighGov Did Nothin’), and plain old feel good tracks (Funky TonightGroovin’ Slowly). This album also sees JBT depart from being a band focused on acoustic jams, and allowed them to explore the art of the slide-infused blues rock. Devil Running, a perfect example of this, features the intertwining of rhythmic drumming with John’s almost angry slide guitar. The combination is both brilliant and amazing, as the power chord driven chorus pushes JBT’s music to new heights; but not without intricate fingerpicking to bring things back home again. This album shows the band at their absolute best.

37. Deer Tick – War Elephant (2007)

There’s nothing like whiskey infused blues country rock to get your motor running. Deer Tick combines these styles flawlessly, all the while, seeming to have wisdom and grit well beyond their 20 years. Somehow, this band plays and sings as if they’ve already experience a life full of pain and angst. From the country jangle of the album opener Ashamed, to the drunken rock of Standing At The Threshold, Deer Tick uses their debut album to establish themselves as future mainstays of the Southern/country rock scene, joining forces with bands like the Drive By Truckers and The Black Crowes, and using as many overdriven guitars as they can, as much voice box straining as humanly possible, and enough Tennessee Mash Whiskey to fill a barn.

36. Counting Crows – Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings (2008)

Adam Duritz is an emotional wreck. We know. That’s part of why we like him anyway, so stop using that as a reason why we shouldn’t listen to his music anymore. For those of you stuck in 1994, CC have moved well beyond the innocent ballads of August & Everything After into the madly self aware rock songs of Saturday Nights. Unable to commit to anything, Adam Duritz puts his heart and soul into the first side of this two part album, baring his soul clear about his own sin, disillusionment, and the inevitable fall from grace that accompanies every hypothetical Saturday night. The second part of the album tones the music down a bit, wherin Adam awakes on a Sunday morning sick to his stomach at what occurred the night before. But instead of being immediately cleansed with sweet acoustic songs, we’re informed that the heartbreak is still there, and now it’s time to slowly pick up the pieces of life again. This emotional rollercoaster of lust, love, self hatred, and forgiveness, while somewhat ignored by critics, is pure poetic and musical genius.

35. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest (2009)

It’s psychedelic. It’s bluesy. It’s indie. It’s pop rock. Truth be told, Grizzly Bear’s third album is all of these things. Southern Point introduces us to their jangly harmonies and melodies, coupled with acoustic rock brilliance. Then Two Weeks takes things up a notch with that catchy piano riff (though the video is a bit too creepy for my tastes). The rest of the album follows suit, with song after song of catchy well written tracks. In the summer of 2008, I spent an evening listening to the sounds of Grizzly Bear echo in the Camden air, as the sun set over the Philadelphia skyline. Then, knowing very little about them, I was convinced that this band was destined for greatness. Veckatimest is the next step in that direction.

34. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (2006)

Stories set to music are amazing, and The Decemberists have an uncanny knack at successfully telling them. According to band leader Colin Meloy, the story is as follows:
It’s a story about a peasant in rural Japan who finds a wounded crane on an evening walk; there’s an arrow in its wing. He revives the crane and the crane flies away. A couple days later, a mysterious woman shows up at his door and he takes her in. Eventually they fall in love and get married. But they’re very poor, so she suggests that she start weaving this cloth which he can in turn sell at the market—the condition being that when she’s weaving it, she has to do it behind closed doors and he can’t look in. So this goes on for a while and they actually become kind of wealthy. But eventually, his curiosity gets the best of him and he looks in at her while she’s weaving and it turns out that she’s a crane and she’s been pulling feathers from her wings and putting it into the cloth, which is what makes it so beautiful. But him having seen her breaks the spell, and she turns back into a crane and flies away. That’s the end.
If you have the time, give the album a listen to. Whether you love stories or just great music, this one’s totally worth your time.

33. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007)

Indie rock gods The Arcade Fire’s second album, Neon Bible, while not the innovative genius of their debut (only because they already did it) kind of defines the decade for me. Alternative rock in the 90s was just grunge music with a few major chords. Alt rock of this decade was offered in grandiose nature such as this. While I’m not taking a pot shot at my fave decade (90s), I do think that everything this band touches turns to gold immediately. Songs like Neon BibleKeep The Car Running and Ocean of Noise are at the same time easy to listen to, exciting, fun, and inspiring all at the same time, The Arcade Fire will hopefully continue to wow us with amazing albums like this.

32. Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha (2007)

This is Bird’s masterpiece. Perfectly crafted songs, all accompanied by harmonies, violins, and most importantly – whistling. The way he weaves his melodies with his violin, layering sound over sound, noise over noise, until the listener can’t even tell what they’re listening to anymore, is astounding. His mastery of his loop pedal is only matched by his virtuosic mastery of the violin. Toeing the line between uncomfortable and majestic, Bird creates songs that are both peaceful and intriguing at the same time. He’s an artist unmatched by many of this generation, and this is only talking about his studio offerings; his live shows take him to an entirely different plane occupied by only the best. So please, listen to this album; you’ll hate yourself forever if you don’t.

31. The Strokes – Room On Fire (2003)

I was heading back to Israel, having returned home for a few days to celebrate my brother’s Bar Mitzvah in Baltimore. An avid Strokes fan, I discovered that their sophomore album would be released just days after I left the US. Distraught and disappointed, I consoled myself with the fact that I would be able to hear it in just a few months when my parents were scheduled to visit. And then fate struck. Wandering London’s Heathrow Airport during my stopover, I waltzed into a music store, and discovered Room On Fire sitting on a display. Could it be? Was it possible? Apparently, the album was released earlier in Europe, and I, your humble narrator, was able to benefit from this pre-release. I immediately purchased the album and popped it into my Discman (this was before first iPod, when I carried a book of 300 CDs everywhere I went). From the first notes, it was sonic love. The entire album picked up where Is This It? left off, making me, and my ears, quite happy on the flight back to Israel. Unless you don’t like being happy, you should listen to this album right now.

10 more tomorrow….

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Dec 27, 2009 4:35 PM

Top 50 Albums of the 00s: 50-41

by Ariel

1 person liked this – you

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So it begins…

50. Explosions In The Sky – How Strange, Innocence (2000)

Most fans of this band will deride my choosing this Explosions album as their lone appearance in my top 50 list. But there’s something beautifully juvenile and gorgeous about the recording. The quality is shoddy, and the buildup jams aren’t as intricate as they become on later albums. But there’s something pure about this album. There’s something that touches home about a group of high school kids just recording their own music, unsure of the future of their own band, with all of the beauty and innocence of youth open and visible in their music. This is the emotional yearnings of a bunch of teenagers, put to instrumental jams, and it’s so damned beautiful.

49. Wilco – A Ghost Is Born (2004)

The final cut on Wilco’s 2004 offering opens with the lyrics: “The greatest last track of all time.” And they might be right. This unbelievable followup to the groundbreaking Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (more on that later) features Jeff Tweedy and co. at their absolute songwriting best. From the piano ballad-turned alternative crunch of At Least That’s What You Said, to the soft billowiness of Hell Is Chrome, to the endless churning of Spiders (Kidsmoke) to “The greatest last track of all time,” (The Late Greats), Wilco once again proved that you don’t need radio-friendly singles to be a great band. Just amazing albums.

48. The Strokes – First Impressions of Earth (2006)

To many music fans, it’s as if The Strokes only put out 2 albums. Everyone knows about Is This It?, and most musically aware folks are pretty familiar with Room On Fire as well. But ask fans about FIOE, and they’ll either respond that they didn’t know The Strokes put out a 3rd album, or that they listened to it and hated it. Well, bullocks to all of you! The only problem with this album is that it came after two unbelievable albums. Brushing aside this album would be akin to ignoring Hail to the Thief just because it followed Kid A and Amnesiac. Take a step back and look at this album in the context of music. Then listen to the album the entire way through, and try to tell me that it’s not one of the best of the decade. I dare you.

47. Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams (2005)

Jack Johnson is not my favorite musician. His acoustic writing style is not my favorite either. But I think he’s got a number of things going for him. First of all, he ushered in an entire genre of relaxing indie-acoustic rock, and managed to do it without seeming annoyingly emo. Secondly, he doesn’t consider himself a great musician. He’s a surfer, and a filmmaker, and a musician. He plays acoustic guitar well, and writes chilled out songs. He doesn’t think he’s changing the world (Coldplay) or the best blues guitarist since SRV (John Mayer). I’m not sure why this effects my impression of his music, but I guess it just makes it more palatable. And songs like Better Together and Banana Pancakes are just too good to ignore.

46. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium (2006)

It’s never easy to release a double album. On the belated hells of 2002’s By The Way, when RHCP succeeded at releasing a relevant 28 song album, something unheard of in this day and age. With singles and mixtapes dominating airwaves, and album sales at all time lows, releasing a double album takes a combination of confidence and gumption. RHCP has both, and neither were misplaced. The album screams open with Dani California, followed by the gorgeously arpeggios of Snow (Hey Oh). From there, the album spans all of RHCP’s styles; from the funk tracks, to the ballads, to the straight rock songs. Winning a Grammy for Best Rock Album in 2007, this is one of RHCP’s strongest offerings ever.

45. Pearl Jam – Backspacer (2009)

Well, what can I say that hasn’t been said. Clocking it under 37 minutes, the album is a grunge rock mini-masterpiece; exploding out of the gate with three raucous tracks, before taking a step out of the classic PJ form with the new-age Johnny GuitarJust Breathe takes us all back down to earth with “Into the Wild” inspired Ed-Ved fingerpicking. The album continues with the highs of Amongst the Waves, followed by the Wishlist-esque Unthought Knownwhich then explodes into Supersonic, a song with possibly the best PJ bridge ever, courtesy of Mr. Stone Gossard. Speed of Sound brings us back to the soft stuff, before we’re introduced to Force of Nature, a seemingly standard rocker that just keeps on revealing more and more of itself on each subsequent listen. The album closes off with the tear-jerking ballad The End, a dying man’s heartbreaking last words to his family. To those who thought Pearl Jam was a 90s band, start rethinking that. This is a band for the ages.

44. State Radio – Us Against the Crown (2005)

The band’s first full length album is quite possible their best. After departing from Dispatch, vocalist and guitarist Chad Urmston started his own band, State Radio. Focusing on political lyrics and reggae beats injected into alternative music, Chad and co. released Us Against the Crown in 2005, and followed it up by touring relentlessly the next few years. The album features some of the band’s best songs, including: Mr. LarkinCamiloRight Me Up, and Man in the Hall. One of the best alternative bands to emerge in this decade, SR continues to tour and release albums that somehow manage to go under the radar of major labels and magazines. Too bad; this is a band for the ages.

43. Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (2008)

It’s not everyday that such a revolutionary album comes out. DJs and those in the know just claim that Greg Gillis was the first guy to start using the pre-made “cut it and match it” technology, and that he himself isn’t much of an artist. But that’s really the point of great artistry: I too could’ve stuck a bicycle on a stool, but Duchamp is famous because he did it first. Same goes with Girl Talk. Now, beyond the innovation, this guy straight up knows how to mix and match great songs. With a minimum of 15 different samples on every single track, Gillis astounds and amazes listeners with his ability to combine so many great songs into one that’s just fun to dance to. It may not be your father’s music, but damn if it isn’t awesome.

42. The Vines – Highly Evolved (2002)

At the height of the supposed “garage-rock” revival, The Vines released their first album. The album switches back and forth between hard rock and psychedelic ballads, from Get Free to Autumn Shade. Songs like Mary Jane take listeners on a Pink Floyd inspired trip, while 1969, a seeming straight rocker, creates something of a sonic freakout, by speeding up the song more and more, until the listener is just begging for the release, wherein the too fast riff fades out in a scream of feedback, only to be brought back by a groan and overdriven guitars. Musically, the album is both innovative and amazing. While it was lumped together with bands like The White Stripes and The Strokes, this Vines album only shares one thing with those other two artists: a step away from nu-metal and pop-punk, and back to straight forward rock.

41. Audioslave – Audioslave (2002)

Lets just start off with the basics. Both Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine were better bands. But this wasn’t just a band. This was a supergroup. Combining the vocal power of Chris Cornell with Tom Morello and his rhythm section, Audioslave’s self titled debut album was a musical powerhouse, even if it did sound kind of like RATM with a more-singy/less-rappy vocalist. From the opener Cochise (what does that even mean?), the album exploded with straight-forward rock songs, featuring the patented Tom Morello guitar fidgetry. While I Am The Highway actually sees Morello playing a straightforward solo, the rest of the album relies on the tested and approved screechy sound method, with Morello rubbing the strings while flipping the pickup switch back and forth. Sure, this album isn’t Superunknown, and it isn’t Evil Empire. But if we can get past those two bands, we’ll be able to see this album for the rock masterpiece that it is.

Tomorrow: Albums 40-31

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Dec 27, 2009 3:35 PM

The Death of the Album & Attempted Murder In The Music Business

by Ariel

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The album should have died. Music should have been reduced to mixtapes and singles, with the art of the full length studio offering going the way of map reading and newspaper folding. Just to take a step back and bring you up to speed, I’m pretty sure that the recording industry tried to kill music in the 00s. This was not a cognitive decision, nor can one single action be pointed to that tells us why or how albums came under attack.

The decade started off brightly for the music industry, with ‘N Sync selling 2.4 million copies of “No Strings Attached” in 2000. Record execs sat back, and smoked their cigars; confident that they had discovered the perfect formula for pop music, and thus the perfect money making machine. But what they forgot, was that the people don’t want a a formula; they want music. This, in essence was the fatal error of the record companies, and what led to both the destruction of the recording industry, and a musical revolution.

While it’s impossible to point to any moment in time when this happened, let’s take a trip back to 2001, when Wilco presented Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to their label, Reprise Records. Certain execs are said to have hated the album, and unable to find a ‘decent’ single to release, they decided to drop Wilco from the label

The album, hailed as one of the best of the decade by Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NME, Paste, Uncut, and many others, wasn’t good enough for Reprise Records, a small subsidiary of Warner Brothers Records. It was probably more important for Reprise to release Mandy Moore’s self titled offering that year, an album which she herself admits “sucked.” But then again, Mandy had singles, while Wilco did not.

Pushing aside the fact that Pot Kettle Black, Jesus, etc., and Heavy Metal Drummer all should have been viable options for singles, what’s most frightening is that one of the greatest albums of the decade (ever?) was almost never released, because it was deemed un-radio friendly. Wilco, unwilling to let this ruin their plans for alt-rock domination, gained rights to the album, and began streaming it for free on their site.

Music 1, The Man 0.

And suddenly, the industry began to decline sharply. The record industry responded by releasing singles, and selling tracks one at a time on Amazon, iTunes, and a myriad of other sites. Bands responded by writing great albums and touring relentlessly. And so, the distance between the artists and the labels was again widened.

In 2006, Pearl Jam broke away from Sony to release their self titled album. This past year, Backspacer was ranked 11th best album of the year by Rolling Stone, and was only distributed by Target, and small record stores.

Music 2, The Man 0.

Radiohead released one of the best albums ever in 2007 by offering it for free on their website. When they eventually released physical copies of the album, it still sold surprisingly well, proving that people want to own good albums.

Music 3, The Man 0.

Girl Talk released 2008’s Feed the Animals for free on his MySpace page. Not only did this take a shot at record companies by sampling music from their artists without compensation, but it was in Time Magazine’s top ten albums of 2008, #24 in Rolling Stone’s top 50, ranked 16th best album of the year by NPR listeners, and #2 of 2008 according to Blender magazine.

Music 5 billion. The Man 0.

And so it goes. Record companies think the populace wants pre-packaged pop, music responds with what we truly want. Record companies think we want our music one song at a time, music responds by creating albums of amazing artistic expression.

Just yesterday, my own brother in law made the claim that this decade featured the death of the album. So Shua, I implore you to go through this list of albums, and then try to reform that opinion. No two decades are the same, but what the 00s proved more than anything, that no matter what – music will never die, and the art of the album will continue to exist, as long as there are people out there who love music.

The first installation of the Top 50 Albums of the 00s will be posted in just a few. Try to keep your pants on until then…

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Dec 24, 2009 6:52 PM

Top 10 Albums of 2009

by Ariel
Drumroll please!

10. Steve Earle – Townes

In memory of his mentor, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle put out this album full of covers. From the patently country White Freightliner Blues, to the harsh blues of Lungs, Earle does a fantastic job paying tribute to his hero and his friend.

9. U2 – No Line on the Horizon

“Get on your boots. Sexy boots.” Needless to say, the first single didn’t sound promising. And then the album came out. Opening with the anthemic title track, the studio offering explodes with a U2 that I haven’t seen since the 90s. Soaring at times, humbling at others, the entire album runs from the gamut of human emotions, from the religious, to the personal, to the purely sexual; a strong offering from a band that never seems to let up.

8. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

While not the epic masterpiece of 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha, Noble Beast is a whirlwind of sounds and excitement. Once again, Mr. Bird has almost single-handedly created a symphony of sound using his violin, a guitar, his voice, and his beautiful whistling. Fitz and the Dizzyspells, Oh No, and Effigy are all tracks worthy of an Andrew Bird greatest hits CD, thus making this album a highlight of 2009.

7. Silversun Pickups – Swoon

I never wanted to like the Silversun Pickups. Something about this so-called “grunge revivalist” band rubbed me the wrong way. And then I heard Swoon. Sure, he sounds just like Billy Corgan. Ok, so they all sound like the Smashing Pumpkins. But who cares? The Pumpkins stopped putting out good records 10 years ago; the Silversun Pickups are just picking up where they left off. Highlights include There’s No Secrets This Year and Panic Switch.

6. Wilco – Wilco (the album)

This is a band that can do no wrong; Jeff Tweedy’s voice is just too damn sweet. Every single emo-rocker is trying to get pack the emotion that Tweedy seems to get into every word, and none of them come close. And he does it packaged under the pretense of alt-country rock. From the ironically self aware Wilco (the song) that opens the album, to the ballad – Everlasting Everything – that closes it, Wilco has managed to stay both relevant and musically brilliant.

5. The Mountain Goats – The Life of the World to Come

While I only recently discovered The Mountain Goats, their 2009 release blew me away unlike many other albums I’d heard this year. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a powerful voice, singer/songwriter John Darnielle uses the Biblical themes of his songs to chastise and inspire his listeners; a fiery preacher singing songs of hope, love, and faith to his devoted parishioners. I too, Mr. Darnielle, have become a believer.

4. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

It was just about a year ago when this album was leaked. By the first day of 2009, most bloggers had concluded that this would be the best album of the year. Not wanting to be swayed by their excitement, I decided to give the album a listen myself. Now, while it’s not necessarily the best album of the year, it’s certainly up there. Songs like In the Flowers, My Girls, and Summertime Clothes have this uncanny ability to captivate listeners, both confusing and delighting them. This wacky LSD-infused circus explodes in your ears and leaves you wondering when the freak show will be returning to your town next.

3. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

It’s psychedelic. It’s bluesy. It’s indie. It’s pop rock; truth be told, Grizzly Bear’s third album is all of these things. Southern Point introduces us to their jangly harmonies and melodies, coupled with acoustic rock brilliance. Then Two Weeks takes things up a notch with that catchy piano riff (though the video is a bit too creepy for my tastes). The rest of the album follows suit, with song after song of catchy well written tracks. In the summer of 2008, I spent an evening listening to the sounds of Grizzly Bear echo in the Camden air, as  the sun set over the Philadelphia skyline. Then, knowing very little about them, I was convinced that this band was destined for greatness. Veckatimest is the next step in that direction.

2. Pearl Jam – Backspacer

Well, what can I say that hasn’t been said. Clocking it under 37 minutes, the album is a grunge rock mini-masterpiece; exploding out of the gate with three raucous tracks, before taking a step out of the classic PJ form with the new-age Johnny Guitar. Just Breathe takes us all back down to earth with Into the Wild inspired Ed-Ved fingerpicking. The album continues with the highs of Amongst the Waves, followed by the Wishlist-esque Unthought Known which then explodes into Supersonic, a song with possibly the best PJ bridge ever, courtesy of Mr. Stone Gossard. Speed of Sound brings us back to the soft stuff, before we’re introduced to Force of Nature, a seemingly standard rocker that just keeps on revealing more and more of itself on each subsequent listen. The album closes off with the tear-jerking ballad The End, a dying man’s heartbreaking last words to his family. To those who thought Pearl Jam was a 90s band, start rethinking that. This is a band for the ages.

1. The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love

On July 6th, when reviewing this album, I implored my readers to “Buy this album right now. I’m not kidding. It’s that good.” Almost six months later, I still agree with every word I said. Their Homeric epic poem of an album is a masterpiece of storytelling and musicianship. The different musical themes for each character in the story makes this an album that’s both interesting and familiar the whole way through. Completing a task like this is not an easy one, and The Decemberists executed it with class, elegance, and musical brilliance. The Crane Wife, my foot. This is the best  Decemberists album.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
  • Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King
  • Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 – White Lies for a Dark Time
  • Jay-Z – The Blueprint III
  • Sonic Youth – The Eternal
  • Deer Tick – Born on Flag Day
  • Truckstop Coffee – For Dear Life
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Dec 23, 2009 12:44 AM


by Ariel

The end of the year is always an exciting time for bloggers; when we get to compile lists of our favorites of the year. The end of the decade is almost too much for me.

What should I include in my Top 50 Albums of the 00s list? What bands make the cut? Should I include Christina Aguilera just because Elana told me the album is amazing? Should I base this on my favorite albums, or the albums that I think are the best. Is there a difference between them? Should there be a difference?

There’s so much to take into account. In one instance of my Top 10 Albums of 09 list, I had Backspacer ahead of Vekatimest. Yet, Grizzly Bear’s offering was included in my Top 50 of the 00s, while this PJ album was left out. It’s tough to keep all of this straight, especially when I’m not entirely sure what albums I like better. And how do I even judge a band like Pearl Jam in relation to everyone else? I know I’m going to be biased when it comes to judging their albums, so how do I compensate for that? And should I?

To try to keep things simple, I’ve created a few rules for determining which albums are up for contention:

  1. No live albums. If I didn’t have this rule, my list would be Nirvana’s Live at Reading, and 49 other Pearl Jam bootlegs.
  2. No compilation-style soundtracks. This means what it sounds like. Almost Famous is out of the question, while Into the Wild and There Will Be Blood are fair game.
  3. No Greatest Hits albums. Sure, Fall Out Boy’s Greatest Hits wasn’t really in the running anyway, but in case you were concerned, now you know it’s out for sure.
To give you a little preview as to what’s to come: Before the week is out, you will be presented with my Top 10 Albums of 09. Then, Sunday through Thursday, I will be posting the Top 50 Albums of the 00s in descending order: 10 a day, for 5 days straight.
So there you have it. The end of a wonderful decade of music coincides with the end of a wonderful year of music, which can only be celebrated with…
Stay tuned…
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Dec 18, 2009 2:28 AM

New York City Cops

by Ariel

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As many of you may know (via Tweets and FB status updates) my amazing girlfriend Elana got me The Strokes’ album Is This It? on vinyl for Chanukah. Besides the fact that this makes her the coolest girlfriend ever, it also gave me a new Strokes song that I previously hadn’t owned.

New York City Cops, a track mocking NY’s Finest, was cut from the US release of Is This It?, as the album came out soon after 9/11. It was, however, included on the British release of the album, and on all vinyl editions. I myself had heard a few live versions of the song, but never the original studio cut. (I know, Hanan, it’s sacrilegious that I hadn’t heard it until now.)

So, to prevent y’all from having to have the same NYCC deprivation that I’ve had all these years, I present to you the studio cut, and The Strokes at their finest.

The Strokes – New York City Cops

Buy The Strokes @ Amazon.com

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Dec 16, 2009 3:09 PM

Colbert and Alicia Keys

by Ariel

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I’ve got no words for this one. It’s just too good.


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Dec 11, 2009 2:49 AM

Where Did You Sleep Last Night

by Ariel

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Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night

My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me,
Tell me where did you sleep last night.
In the pines, in the pines,
Where the sun don’t ever shine.
I would shiver the whole night through.
My girl, my girl, where will you go?
I’m going where the cold wind blows.
In the pines, in the pines,
Where the sun don’t ever shine.
I would shiver the whole night through
Her husband, was a hard working man,
Just about a mile from here.
His head was found in a driving wheel,
But his body never was found.
My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me,
Tell me where did you sleep last night.
In the pines, in the pines,
Where the sun don’t ever shine.
I would shiver the whole night through.
My girl, my girl, where will you go?
I’m going where the cold wind blows.
In the pines, in the pines,
Where the sun don’t ever shine.
I would shiver the whole night through.
My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me,
Tell me where did you sleep last night.
In the pines, in the pines,
Where the sun don’t ever shine.
I would shiver the whole night through.
My girl, my girl, where will you go?
I’m going where the cold wind blows.
In the pines, …the pines,
……… sun,
I shiver the whole, night through!

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Dec 11, 2009 2:49 AM

Phonograph Fridays

by Ariel

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In an effort to post more often, I’m going to try a new feature on the blog where on Friday’s (when possible), I’ll post just one song and it’s lyrics. Usually it’ll be if the lyrics grab me in a particular way. I’ll try to stay away from analysis, just stick to the music and the words.

Suggestions for what we should call this feature are welcome.

Right now it’s at Phonograph Fridays, but I know that kinda sounds dumb, so please leave your suggestions in the comments.

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Dec 10, 2009 10:30 AM

Blogaversary: 2 Years and 1 Week Later

by Ariel

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Thanks to Avi forgetting his own blogaversary, I realized that not only do he and I have the same blogaversary, but that I missed mine as well.

It’s been 2 years and 1 week since that first post, inspired by the Lollapalooza episode of The Simpsons when Homer was introduced to Billy Corgan:

“Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.”
“Homer Simpsons, smiling politely.”

And now, on this belated two-year-anniversary, it’s time again to post about the Smashing Pumpkins. Yes, it’s true that Billy Corgan was recently seen with Jessica Simpson. And yes, this makes the lyric “Emptiness is loneliness,” all the more ironic, considering he’s seeking a relationship with an actress who has little in the brains department.

But, despite the fact that I just dedicated the last paragraph to BC’s personal life, it’s basically irrelevant to me. Sure, I know a ton about the intricacies of pop music and the persons involved in it; but as any true follower of this blog knows – it’s all about the music.

Looking back at my comments from over two years ago about the Pumpkins, I still agree with everything I said:

There’s something about their music that just soars. It’s crazily heavy, and it Corgan’s voice is screechy at times (understatement?)- but the music just seems to soar. Not sure how he does it, but it’s fantastic.

Two years later, the fact that I’m still this passionate about this blog (and even still agree with some of my earlier comments), coupled with the fact that I’m getting around 500 hits per day, makes me just want to continue doing this for a long long time.

Smashing Pumpkins – Muzzle

Smashing Pumpkins – Silverfuck

Buy the Smashing Pumpkins @ Amazon.com

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Dec 9, 2009 2:29 PM

Electrochromic Devices What?

by Ariel

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Just finished presenting my Electrochromic Window research project in Optical Systems class. Gotta love spending 1.5 weeks doing research, and getting results just hours before the deadline. Ahhh. Science.

Wilco – Hell is Chrome (buy @ Amazon.com)

Guster – Window (buy @ Amazon.com)

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Dec 8, 2009 6:53 PM

John Lennon: 29 Years Gone

by Ariel

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Twenty nine years ago today, John Lennon’s life was tragically cut short. It’s tough to write about such a prolific and influential musician, if only because there’s too many accomplishments to focus on in too few years. While he’s not my favorite Beatle (George Harrison takes the cake there), he incidentally did compose most of my favorite Beatles tracks.

Unwavering in his vision; dedicated to his position as a musician, performer, and artist; and both the voice and the guitar of more than one generation; John Lennon and his music will forever remain alive in our hearts, minds, and ears.

Rest in peace, John.

Ben Harper – Strawberry Fields Forever

Our Lady Peace – Imagine

Elliot Smith – Because

Stereophonics – Sgt. Pepper’s Reprise

The Black Crowes – Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

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Dec 6, 2009 11:08 PM

Pearl Jam and Neil Young: 6/24/95

by Ariel

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Just today, I received an email from a TSU follower who wanted to know if I had an mp3 of Pearl Jam and Neil Young performing Cortez the Killer in 1995. He was, of course, referring to the famous San Fransisco show where Eddie came down with a stomach bug and couldn’t finish the set, only to be relieved by Neil Young, who proceeded to pound through an entire set of his songs (including Rockin’ In The Free World twice) with PJ as his backing band.

The show happens to be one of my faves, and, since I’m pretty sure I’m allowed to post old PJ boots that aren’t for sale on their site, I’ve decided to post the entire show for y’all.
Pearl Jam
Neil Young w/PJ
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Dec 3, 2009 10:18 AM

Phish: Live at the Garden (12.2.09)

by Ariel

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Last night, I had the sincere pleasure of attending my first ever Phish concert. There’s something truly magical about the first time you see a band; especially one as hyped up as this. You’re not really sure what to expect and because of that, nothing can disappoint.

The show, in a word, was beautiful. Surprisingly, I recognized most of the songs from the set, and was even treated to a bunch of my favorites: Suzy Greenberg, Cavern, Chalkdust Torture, Harry Hood, Tweezer (and the reprise), and a stunning cover of The Beatles’ A Day In the Life.
While “true Phish phans” may not see this as one of the best shows, it was perfect for me. One review on the LivePhish.com site puts this at the worst show of the year, claiming that “the real fans with a minimum of 150 shows under their belt can tell the difference between good and bad.” Not sure what that guy’s problem was. Maybe they didn’t play enough rarities. Maybe their energy wasn’t up to par. Maybe he was just in a worse mindset than every other night of the tour.
And so we see the beauty of a first show: there’s nothing to compare it to. The lights, the sounds, the ambiance; everything is totally new. And so, I’m finally beginning to understand what all these nutso Phish fans see in the band and the shows. Are they my favorite band? Not a chance. Is this the best live show I’ve been to? Not ever close. But I do see what it’s all about, and for that I’m grateful that I was in attendance and able to experience the glory that is a Phish show.
Thanks Julez for giving me your 2nd, to all the weirdos in our section (I’m talking to you Akiva!) who made the show that much more entertaining.
Here’s Suzy Greenberg from last night’s show.
And check out this great video of Peaches en Regalia:


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Nov 26, 2009 10:42 AM

Sonic Youth: Live in Williamsburg

by Ariel

Nine years ago, at my first ever concert, Sonic Youth was supposed to open for Pearl Jam. A personal emergency ensued backstage, and the band was never able to take the stage. During the beginning of Pearl Jam’s set, Eddie Vedder addressed the crowd as to the situation:

“I’m real sorry that you didn’t get to see an incredible band that you may never have seen before and hopefully you’ll have a chance to see again.”
Last night, that chance came.
At around 5PM yesterday, I decided to check Craig’s List to see if there were any tickets left to the show. It was Sonic Youth’s last night in New York City, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to check. I easily found cheap tickets, and soon Yoni and I were off the the show. We arrived early and made it pretty close to the front. When a mosh pit broke out during the opener’s set, we were able to squeeze our way even closer to the front; about 2 or 3 people from the stage.
Finally, perfectly positioned in front of the drums, not 5 feet from the stage, we witnessed these kings of noise rock and the alternative music movement take the stage. And suddenly, a sound filled the room unlike any other. It was noise, but it was melodic too. It was loud, but it was also beautiful. There were times when I could tell who was playing what, and times when I was so confused that all I could do was look up at Kim Gordon and grin.
Now, just to take a step backwards, I’m not the hugest Sonic Youth fan. I enjoy their music, but I wouldn’t say I know it well. I’ve listened to the new album, and enjoyed it, but didn’t fully digest it to the point where I knew the songs well. But despite that fact, and despite the fact that last night’s set was sampled primarily from 2009’sThe Enternal (sans a few Daydream Nation tunes in there), I was still able to connect with the band, and get totally immersed in the music.
From the radio/cassette player Thurston Moore had hooked up to his amp to create weird noises, to the delay pedal Lee Ranaldo had attached to his mic stand, to an array of metal objects used as pics, to a violin bow; the show was filled with weird but gorgeous and creatively brilliant sounds.
Towards the end of the show, when Thurston Moore jumped into the crowd for the third time that night, the one guy between me and the stage couldn’t resist getting a chance to get close to his idol, and he left his coveted spot up against the stage. Disbelieving, I quickly moved in, and settled myself in the closest position I have ever been for a concert.
While the band may not have connected emotionally with the audience (no eye contact, high fives, and the only time we were addressed was when Kim told two kids to stop fighting – she’s such a mom), they certainly were immersed in the music. Throughout the entirety of the symphonic cacophony (I know that’s an oxymoron, but it’s the only true way to describe their sound) of the show, the band never ceased to appear totally lost in the sounds they were creating. They seemed almost possessed.
In all, it was a great way to start my Thanksgiving break. If you get the chance to see them, make sure you go; they are not an act to be missed.
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Nov 25, 2009 1:30 AM

Jay-Z: Empire State of Mind

by Ariel

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Jay-Z is a genius.

I know, I know. I don’t usually post hip hop songs. I know very little about the genre, and won’t pretend to preach on a subject that I’m ignorant about. But sometimes, you hear a song that’s just so good that you’ve gotta share it with the world. Thankfully, I’ve got this blog to do that.
From the few times I’ve listened to The Blueprint III, I’ve liked what I’ve heard. (And I just used the word I’ve three times in that sentence; grammar is weird.) But I just want to focus on one song for now: Empire State of Mind. (Thanks Elana, for bringing the song to my attention.)
The song subject is pretty basic: it’s Jay-Z’s tribute to his hometown of New York City. But everything about the song screams perfection. From the beat, to the lyrics, to Alicia Keys’ unbelievable vocal contribution; the song is a musical masterpiece.
So check out the track, and the video with Alicia Keys from the American Music Awards. You shan’t be disappointed.


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Nov 24, 2009 1:28 PM

Pearl Jam: Immortality

by Ariel

I was recently asked by a fellow PJ fan what my favorite Eddie Vedder song was. It didn’t take too long for me to respond with: “Immortality… but with the original lyrics.

So here it is for you: Eddie’s supposed eulogy for Kurt Cobain, had it’s premier on April 11th, less than a week after Mr. Cobain’s life was tragically cut short. This version is from the very next night, and one of the few times they played it with these lyrics.


Pearl Jam – Immortality (live)

I could take the sun
I could call the couple anyone
I won’t tell the comfort in the world
I can’t take it off
I won’t say, “Enough, it’s not my fault”
I won’t care, there’s something in the wind

Take me as I am
I don’t need this
I die just to live

I could paint the moon
I could reflect light into a room
If I could, the fortune all be there (?)
I could paint it all
I won’t say, “Enough, it’s not my fault”
I won’t call the altar in the air

Take me as is
I don’t need this
I die just to live

I can’t take a walk
I won’t fight this world
I won’t save it all
It is not my fault

Take me as is
I don’t need this
I die just to live
I won’t stay long
I’ll be long gone
I die just to live…

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Nov 23, 2009 7:48 PM

Band of Horses: Bonnaroo 2009

by Ariel

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Nov 20, 2009 2:34 AM

Deer Tick: War Elephant

by Ariel

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I posted about these guys a few months ago, and then again in a recent post; but that’s not going to stop be from taking a gander at War Elephant, Deer Ticks 2007 debut album.

It’s always tough for me to pin down this genre. It’s not quite Southern rock and it’s not quite indie. It’s not really alternative and it’s not exactly country. I guess I’d have to call it Whiskey Rock. As long as there are a bit of southern and country rock influences and the singer sounds like he’s been drinking and smoking since age 5, it counts as Whiskey Rock to me.
On to the album.
It’s a beautifully raw offering of binge drinking country rock music. It’s an album that hears vocalist/guitarist/songwriter John McLauley shriek the words:
And if you don’t drink your milk young man
You know it will turn sour
And I watch sixty minutes go by
Hour after hour
Now, to you, those lyrics may not mean anything. But when you hear them in Not So Dense (3:25 into the song) you’ll know why they’re so important. There’s a haunting quality to his voice that makes you believe everything he says, and forces you to listen closely.
And that’s what makes music great.
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Nov 15, 2009 10:53 PM

Rage Against the Machine: The Battle of Dusseldorf

by Ariel

Sometimes, I’m a complete musical ignoramus. Take Bruce Springsteen’s classic The Ghost of Tom Joad. In this weeks Rolling Stone Magazine, on the cover article’s photo page, the collage contains a picture of Tom Morello with the caption: “Tom Morello added punk energy to Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad.” The article is about the historic concerts to celebrate the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th birthday. But that isn’t what this post is about.

I, your humble blogger, had no idea that Tom Joad was a Bruce song. Years ago I had heard a live version of Rage Against the Machine playing it, and had just assumed it was one of their rare songs that they only brought out in concert. Come to think of it, I don’t think the song has even crossed my mind in ten years. But I do know that I always just assumed it was a RATM song.
Shows what I know.
Anyway, to celebrate Rage’s amazing intensity, their politically charged lyrics, and the insanely innovative guitar playing, here’s a RATM bootleg. Enjoy!
RATM: The Battle of Dusseldorf
Testify (live)
No Shelter (live)
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Nov 12, 2009 2:06 PM

Zac Brown: Live at the CMA Awards

by Ariel

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All I can say is wow. I had heard good things about the Zac Brown band, but hadn’t had a chance to check them out yet. At least until this morning when Elana sent me this video from last night’s CMA Awards (and no, that’s not the Country Music Award Awards, like I originally thought, the A in CMA stands for Association). Un. Freaking. Believable.


And get excited. Because there’s sure to be more ZB posted in the coming weeks.

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Nov 11, 2009 10:04 PM

Pearl Jam: Just Breathe

by Ariel

To the chagrin of some, and to the joy of others, I haven’t been posting all that many Pearl Jam mp3s in recent months. This is mostly out of fear of a lawsuit. Sure, I know what I can and can’t post, but I’d rather let things settle and avoid any unnecessary confrontation.

But when the band posts widgets like this on their site and asks bloggers to post them, well, I can’t say no.
So, if you’ve heard the album, then just enjoy the coolness of the widget. And if you haven’t, then by all means, listen to the song! It’s just plain wonderful.
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Nov 11, 2009 1:01 AM

Year One

by Ariel

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Today marked the first anniversary of the day Elana and I started dating. That’s right; I’ve been going out with the same lovely lady for over a year now. It’s pretty freaking awesome. So in her honor I present this post to mark the end of our first wonderful year together. Here’s to many more.

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Nov 9, 2009 11:58 PM

Forgotten 90s: Volume 6

by Ariel

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It’s been quite some time. Over a year, actually. But worry not, because the 90s will never die. Never. I mean, look at the music scene. Pearl Jam’s new album is ruling the charts, Alice in Chains is touring, Weezer is putting out an album, and on top of all that Nirvana just came out with a live album and there are rumors of Soungarden getting together for a tour.

Ummm… is it 1994 again? Because it sure seems like it. So, to celebrate that, let’s listen to a few more of those 90s radio songs; some more obscure than others. Because flannel is back, and along with it comes that music we grew up on, and will always love.
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Nov 9, 2009 3:56 AM

Grizzly Bear: Boston 8/14/08

by Ariel

The first time I heard Grizzly Bear was quite possibly one of the most relaxing experiences of my life. We were in Camden, NJ, for a Radiohead concert. Grizzly Bear, the openers, took the stage as the sun began to set on the Philadelphia skyline, highlighting the beauty of a city I never thought could ever be pretty.
And then this mellow oozing music started flowing from the stage. Maybe it was because it was the end of the summer. Maybe it was the environs. Maybe it was the people I was with. All I know is that I instantly fell in love with Grizzly Bear.
So, I present to you this bootleg. While the sound quality isn’t the greatest, it’s the best of all the Grizzly Bear shows I’ve been able to find today. Enjoy!
Grizzly Bear: Boston 8/14/08
2 Hud (Cheerleader?)
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Nov 5, 2009 5:57 PM

Nirvana: Live at Reading and 12.31.91

by Ariel

Interested in hearing what all the hype was about (and by hype I refer to Will Leitch, former editor of Deadspin,tweeting about listening to the album 13 times the day it came out), I decided to purchase Nirvana’s recently released Live at Reading album.

[On a side note, I purchased it from my iPhone, directly from the iTunes store. Having only had the phone for a few months, this was pretty cool to me; being able to purchase and listen to an album while walking around the streets of Manhattan.]
And so, I began listening to the album that Mr. Leitch listened to at least 13 times on November 3rd by 5:10 PM (ahhhh, the amazingness of Twitter), and was patently unimpressed, at least to start out. Not because Nirvana isn’t an unbelievable live band. Nor because the sound isn’t great or because Kurt sounds bad. Actually, what initially turned me off was how right Kurt sounded. This was Nirvana; a band that prided themselves on insane degenerate shows where anything could happen. Where was the improvisation? Where was something new?
To me this just sounded like From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah, a great live album, but we’ve already heard it. What was this album adding?
And then I heard Sliver. When the vocal line is supposed to go high, Kurt seems to try to reach it, but can’t manage to, due to his mangled vocal chords. But instead of settling for singing the song an octave lower, Kurt kept switching between high and low. And even when he reached the high notes and didn’t need to go low anymore, he continued to change it up. Whether he was giving his vox a bit of a rest or was being innovative with the song, I couldn’t care less. All I care is that this song sounded different.
And he did it again with Smells Like Teen Spirit. This was the song that they were supposed to play perfectly. This was their radio hit, the song that garnered them all their fans. But instead of playing it right, Kurt mangled lead guitar parts in the intro, setting the stage for a bit of a different take on the song. Now, the rest of the song, was pretty much the same, but it’s that live band innovation that makes it worth listening to.
And that’s really the case with any band’s live albums; for most bands, once you’ve heard one you’ve heard them all. But when the bands manage to change it up every night and keep the audience on their toes, that’s when we get live albums that are truly worth listening to.
For your listening pleasure, I present to you a New Year’s 91/92 bootleg from Nirvana’s set at a concert featuring Pearl Jam, them, and Red Hot Chili Peppers as the headliners.
Nirvana: 12/31/91
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Nov 5, 2009 2:56 PM

Server Down

by Ariel

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Sorry guys. My server finally crashed and burned. Or, they decided to redo their entire company without telling anyone. So now, none of my files exist anymore, and my account has been downgraded. I’m going to upgrade to more bandwidth soon, but it’s going to take a bit longer to upload all the files for previous posts.

But sit tight, and the music will be back before you know it.
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Nov 2, 2009 3:37 AM

Pearl Jam:Philadelphia 10-31-09

by Ariel

When we finally boarded that SEPTA train for the Saturday night show, after the Sabbath had ended and we were able to begin making our way to the concert, Gilad and I took a look at Friday night’s setlist. As we read, we began to groan. Tremor Christ. Deep. The Mama-Son Trilogy. Breath. Sonic Reducer. Baba. Jeremy with strings.

But we saw they hadn’t played Satan’s Bed yet. Or Crown of Thorns. Or Glorified G. Or Bugs. OK, so they’re not actually going to play Bugs, I told Gilad. Eddie probably hasn’t touched an accordion since they recorded Vitalogy. There’s no way he still knows how to play it. Gilad nodded in agreement, and we turned our attention to a list of songs they still hadn’t played yet. We soon arrived at The Spectrum for the last ever show, humming Rats, just hoping for a great show and a great night.
We would not be disappointed.
The show started off with a bang, as instead of playing one of their usual slower openers, the band began the arenas destruction by ripping the roof off with a raucous version of Why Go. That was followed by Last Exit, a rocking gem from Vitalogy, and Corduroy, which is always a crowd pleaser. Severed Hand, The Fixer, and Elderly Woman (“I just wanna scream…. HELLO!!!!!!!!!!) came next followed by one of my faves of Riot Act – You Are (which, for those of you who were following my tweets know, I totally called). Next we heard Amongst the Waves, which sounded a million times better here than it did in the previous boots, and Even Flow, a song I have heard at every one of the ten PJ shows I’ve been to. Then things started to get crazy.
The band whipped out Pilate, a song that they’ve played all of nine times, and not since October of 2000. Next was Unthought Known, which I was so excited to hear, and is an unbelievable live song. Daughter followed, and finally Mr. Eddie Vedder addressed the crowd.
He began speaking about all the rumors about playing till 2 AM (“We would, but they stop selling beer at 1130”) and the one about the special guests (“Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young ain’t fucking coming!”). Vedder went on to introduce the only special guest of the night; an elderly gentleman named Charlie who had been working at the Spectrum since it first opened his doors.
Johnny Guitar in all it’s Stooges-esque glory followed, and then we saw a guy in a rat costume scurry across the stage and that familiar bass line started as the band launched into Rats. After that we were treated to I’m Open (sans the spoken word part), Out of My Mind (B-side to Not For Your), and I Got Id.
At this point, I was certain the first set would be over. I Got Id was the band’s 16th song, and they usually play 16-17 song first sets. And then Matt Cameron kicked into that beautiful drum intro, and Eddie launched into the anti-gun tirade that is Glorified G, a song I’d been waiting to hear since I first fell in love with the band. A hauntingly beautiful Black followed, with “We Belong Together” tagged onto the end, and then the set finished off with Insignificance and Life Wasted. 21 songs. Not too bad.
The second set began as per the previous nights with Just Breathe and The End accompanied by a string quartet. Both songs are unbelievably emotional, especially The End, and the strings only made those emotions more evocative and the song better. Low Light and Speed of Sound followed. And then it happened. Eddie called the strings back out, and Jeff was handed his Hamer 12 string bass. As the opening riff to Jeremy filled the arena, the cheer was deafening. All I could think of was the Mexico bootlegs from 03, and Yonah’s comments about them: “Those Mexicans love their Jeremy.” Well, apparently Philadelphians (is that what they’re called?) do too, because the noise in the Spectrum during the song was unbelievable. The band continued with Inside Job, after which Stone, Mike, and Boom left the stage.
What would be played next? Having disappeared to the side of the stage to get a new instrument, Vedder returned carrying an accordion. Could it be? Gilad and I started freaking out, as Eddie, accompanied by Jeff on cello and Matt on maracas, began playing (butchering) the never before played Bugs. Frustrated and initially struggling with playing such an obtuse instrument while singing a song he hadn’t sung in 15 years, Eddie almost stopped the song during the first few lines, threatening to smash the accordion if it wasn’t so damn nice of an instrument. To the crowd’s delight, Eddie decided to give the song one more try and the trio made it through the song, while off beat and on different rhythms for parts, successfully – marking the first and only time the song has ever been played, and most probably the last.
The set finished off with unbelievable versions of Spin the Black Circle and Porch – some of the best and heaviest songs the band knows.
At this point we had hit 30 songs, which is the goal for any PJ show, but this band was still going. They came out for the third set in full Devo costume, with the yellow plastic suits and the red stack hats, and Eddie carrying a huge whip. With full 80s robot dancing (mostly Boom and Mike) the band played a flawless version of Whip It. Got Some followed, after some technical difficulties in starting the song, and then Eddie took the mic to introduce the next song.
“This one’s older than all of us.”
Could it be? Would they play it?
And before I could grasp what was happening, Stone played the opening chord to Mother Love Bone’s Crown of Thorns. I’d be lying if I wasn’t tearing up during the song, thinking of Andy Wood, his tragic life, and the amazing beauty of the songs he wrote.
Before I could even come down from that high, they launched into Satan’s Bed, followed by the Sweet Lew, the Lost Dogs track on which Jeff raps, Mike plays bass, and Eddie plays rhythm with a basketball. Oh yea, and this was the first time it was ever played.
Next we were treated to a rare encore version of Do The Evolution, followed by Betterman, which Eddie prompted by saying “We’ve just gotta play this one.” And right he was, as the entire crowd complied and sang along at the top of their lungs effectively tearing the place down. After that, Jeff and Stone switched instruments and Eddie grabbed a harmonica and PJ played Smile.
Alive followed, which was unbelievable as always, and then Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The Free World began, as the room was filled with red, white, and blue confetti and balloons. The band tried to say goodnight after that, but due to chants of “one more song!” (an actual real encore), Pearl Jam gladly obliged, as Mike grabbed his battered sunburst Strat, and tucked all of Philadelphia into their sleeping bags with a final Yellow Ledbetter.
To try to sum up the show would only leave me coming up short. It was a tour-de-force of amazing concert songs, mixed with absurd rarities, all tied together by one of the greatest live acts of all time.
At 3.5 hours and 41 songs, this was the longest Pearl Jam show ever (except for “the experiment” in Boston in 03, but that had a pre-set, so we’re not counting that).
With Bugs and Sweet Lew, it featured two debuts of songs that will probably never be played again.
It featured a fantastic city, with amazing fans.
It featured a legendary venue, and the end of an era.
But most importantly, it featured one of the greatest bands of all time.
Thanks for an amazing 19 years, Pearl Jam.
Thanks for 10 amazing shows.
Can’t wait until next time.
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Oct 30, 2009 2:27 AM

Pearl Jam: Philadelphia 10-28-09

by Ariel

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So it’s 630, and were still waiting on Stevie to make it to the Lower East Side so we can head out to the show. I begin nervously pacing around Yishai’s living room, trying to convince myself that well make it to the spectrum before the ticket window closes at 915, and my 10 club tickets are lost forever. At 634 Stevie calls to tell us he’s right around the corner, and me, Elana, Yishai, and Gitler bolt out of the apartment to hop in the car.

We drive through Brooklyn to avoid the parking lot that is the Holland tunnel during rush hour and make it out of the city in pretty good time. According to our friendly GPS, our ETA in Philly is 820, which will give us lore than enough time to pick up our tickets and get to our seats before PJ goes on.

And then we hit traffic. Turns out that it’s really important to turn three lane into one at this hour of the night; no matter that no actual construction is going on. And our ETA keeps rising. 825. 830. 840. You can feel the anxiety and impatience in the car, beginning to reek up the small sedan, as we all begin sweating, wondering if and when we’ll actually arrive at this show. At around 830, we finally make it past the construction that forced three lanes into one and begin burning some serious rubber toward Philly. Our ETA is now a nervous 843 and somehow still rising.

At 854 exactly, we finally pull into an unattended Spectrum parking lot (as the attendants had probably abandoned guarding the entrance hours ago, after all the sane fans had already arrived. So it’s 854 and the ticket window is supposed to close at 915, but who knows if they’re going to close it early. So Elana and I, the only ones who need to pick up 10 Club tix from Will-Call, bolt from the car and literally sprint around the outside of the entire building until we find the window.

“Schwartz,” I pant, totally out of breath.
I hand him my drivers license.
“Sign here.”
I sign, and quickly glance at the tickets. Section 213, row 15, seats 9 and 10. Sweet.

We run through security, and run straight into our section, which was thankfully right where we entered the building. As we enter the arena, the commemorative Spectrum video is playing on the screens. We fumble through our row to claim our seats, the lights turn down, and we hear that familiar thunderous roar, as the Rocky theme plays over the loudspeaker, signifying the band’ entrance. We get to our seats, and before we even have time to get our bearing we hear Matt’s sticks pound four short times on a tight high-hat, and the band rips into Animal.

The concert just took off from there with show stopper after show stopper. As Stevie put it, it was Yield night at the Spectum, with GTF, Wishlist, No Way, and Push Me Pull Me (first time since 98). And they played Greivance. And The Real Me. And Porch. And Lukin with strings. And Johnny Guitar Watson Starin’ At Me. And so many more.

My brothers, who hadn’t been to a show since last year weer a section over from me and Elana, and we spent the whole show just exchanging looks of excitement as they kept playing our faves. Garden for Gilad, Just Breathe for Ezra, Gone for Elana, and for me…


The show was unbelievable, as they always are. Can’t wait until Saturday night. Only time will tell if they actually go “All Night.”

Finally, much thanks to Stevie and Yishai for taking care of transportation, and props to Steve for confusing the t-shirt salesman to the point where we were able to buy 4 shirts for $20. Can’t wait to do it again with you guys.

Till then, cheers.

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Oct 26, 2009 2:29 AM

U2: Live in San Jose

by Ariel

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So I’m sitting here, pretending to do my homework, and watching the U2 live concert broadcast on youtube. And what amazes me the most is their ability to still seem to emotionally connect with an absurdly sized crowd.

The song that makes me realize this is, of course, Sunday Bloody Sunday. Larry Mullen Jr. sits down behind the drum kit after having spent the previous song running around on the monstrosity of a stage with a little bongo drum. And the beat begins. Thumba dumba dum, chika thumba dumba dum, chika thumba dumba dum, chika thumba dumba dum. And The Edge joins in the that instantly recognizable riff. And the cameras shoot to Bono, who is handed an American flag. He takes the flag, lays it on the ground of the stage, and curls up on the ground next to it. And as he begins to sing the politically fiery lyrics, he seems to be almost weeping over the flag. Is he crying over America? Are they tears of sadness or joy? And is this all part of an elaborate act, or is this really who Bono is?
Chuck Klosterman has an article about Bono where while driving around with the singer, Bono decides to pick up a few teenage hitchhikers who sit in the back of the Lamborghini, starstruck and unable to speak in the presence of such a star. And Klosterman ponders this just this point; is this really who Bono is? Or is it just an act? And when you get down to it, he asks the most important question of all: Does it really make a difference?
And as I sit here, viewing this “claw” stage structure that wights 170 tons and takes 120 trucks to carry from show to show, and has created a tour that has cost this band more than it has made them, I can’t help but think, that whether or not Bono is for real, what’s for real is his ability to take a situation where everyone in the Rose Bowl should feel disconnected from the band, and transform it into a personal and emotional performance, where even those of us watching from home are able to feel a connection to the band.
This is the mark of a great band, and one that truly knows how to put on a live performance. As I’m writing, the encore break has ended and the song One has begun.
Did I disappoint you
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
For all intents and purposes, the commercial machine that is U2 should leave a bad taste in our mouth, but somehow they manage to transcend that and leave us wondering why other bands can’t be this big.
Enjoy the boot.
U2 @ San Jose Arena: 4/20/01
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Oct 23, 2009 5:21 PM

The Mountain Goats

by Ariel

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It’s been a while since I was honestly moved by new music. This past week, while cramming for my Data Structures midterm, I put on The Mountain Goats’ new album The Life Of the World To Come. The album is 43 minutes long, and I spent those next 43 minutes barely touching my work; unable to stop focusing on the beautifully simple melodies and emotionally poignant lyrics.

Apparently The Mountain Goats have been around since 1991, but for some reason I only heard of them a few weeks ago. Prompted by a positive review on either Stereogum or Pitchfork (I can never remember which is which), I decided to check out their new album. While the album is supposedly Biblically themed, with each track based on the Bible verse in it’s title, it’s clear that this album departed from Christianmusic long ago. Whatever singer/songwriter John Darnielle’s original religious inspiration was, the album has since transformed into a beautiful collection of evocative stories that force the listener to stop and think.
So please check out the songs below, and listen carefully to both the simplistic but beautiful music, and the lyrical pictures that Darnielle paints for the listeners.
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Oct 22, 2009 3:06 PM

Happy 19th Birthday, Pearl Jam

by Ariel

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19 years ago today, a young band, calling themselves Mookie Blaylock played a one-off show at a small club in Seattle. The band, having risen from the ashes of the demise of their previous attempts at stardom, would soon change their name to Pearl Jam and would explode along with the rest of the grunge scene.

But while the rest of the grunge movement has succumbed to death, breakup, and overdose, Pearl Jam remains a formidable force in rock music; releasing a Number One album, getting radio airplay, and still selling out concerts. This is a band that was, and continues to be, a powerhouse in rock and roll music.

Here’s to another 19 years. Cheers.

Pearl Jam @ Off Ramp Cafe: 10.22.90

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Oct 21, 2009 9:03 PM

My Morning Jacket Covers

by Ariel

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One of the things that makes MMJ shows so exciting is the fact that you know they’re bound to whip out three or four random cover songs a night. We’re not talking Pearl Jam style covers where you can expect something from Neil Young or The Who. We’re not talking Phish style covers where you can expect one weird but predictable hip hop song. (And here’s where the onslaught of Phish commenters is bound to begin.) We’re talking about a totally random song; a-la the Bruce Springsteen random audience request method, except for the fact that the band (seemingly) chooses and plans the covers themselves.

At the New Year’s Eve show Elana and I attended almost a year ago, the band played no less than eight cover songs. It was kind of ridiculous, and kind of awesome. It’s really cool to hear a band play their own songs, but sometimes it’s even cooler to hear them play the songs they love. There’s something amazing about listening to Jim James’ version of Hot Fun in the Summertime, and knowing that he probably spent hours of his childhood trying to copy Rose Stone’s high pitched vocals. Or hearing them play Lovin’ Cup, or any of the other fantastic songs that they choose to cover.
Because when a band plays their own songs, there’s a separation between the band and the audience. They wrote the tunes, and we love them. But when a band plays covers, we’re all in it together; we’re all fans of the same songs. Whether or not James sprinkles his sets with so many covers deliberately to tear down that barrier between performer and audience is irrelevant. The fact remains that at the core, we’re all fans of music, and that’s what brings us all together.
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Oct 19, 2009 1:56 AM

Bon Iver: Bonnaroo 2009

by Ariel

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It’s really late, and I can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong with my Computer Science homework. Yet, here I am – posting for y’all.

It’s rainy, and I feel sick and tired, and thus I share with you this Bon Iver bootleg. It’s sad. It’s depressing. It’s rainy day moody music. It’s perfect.
Bon Iver @ Bonnaroo 2009
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Oct 15, 2009 2:43 AM

It’s A Girl!

by Ariel

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My sister just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and so I’ve become an uncle. It’s a pretty exciting time for the family, so I thought I’d put up a tribute post.

Enjoy, mazal tov, and congrats!
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Oct 13, 2009 11:39 PM

Islands in the Ghetto

by Ariel

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Sometimes I’m a bit of a music ignoramus. Exhibit A: Last New Years Eve’s My Morning Jacket concert [Edit: I love how many capital letters are in a row in this sentence] during which the band covered a song called Islands in the Stream. Now, any self respecting music fan should know that this song written by the BeeGees, and made famous by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. But of course, I just kept hearing the chorus to Ghetto Superstar over and over in the song.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m a huge fan of either Kenny Rogers or Dolly Parton; in fact I care very little for either one of them. HOWEVER: when a song is covered by one of your favorite bands (My Morning Jacket), or when a song’s chorus is used in a hip hop track (Ghetto Superstar), or even when that hip hop song’s copied chorus is sampled in a mash-up (Girl Talk), it is our responsibility as fans of music to pay the original performers their due, and listen to their original version. We don’t have to like it, or even listen to it again; but I think that if one song had the ability to influence these three other songs, then we may as well hear what it’s all about.
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Oct 12, 2009 9:36 PM

Waffles Request!

by Ariel

Hey Readers,

I’ve been sharing music with you guys for almost 2 years now. And I don’t like to make requests from my users, but I figured this one can’t hurt.
Does anyone have a waffles.fm invite that they would be willing to send my way?
If so, email me at yaschwartz@gmail.com
NOTE: If people start spamming the comments section with their own requests, I will kill this post. Please be courteous to both the writer, and the readers of this blog.
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Oct 12, 2009 7:35 PM

Girl Talk: Live at Yale

by Ariel

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The holiday season is finally over, and with it comes a return to regular posts… that is until midterms begin, which happens to be Wednesday. But don’t worry, because we have this sick Girl Talk bootleg to whet your collective appetites for the time being. Thanks to YANP for posting this boot, and enjoy!

Girl Talk: Live at Yale
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Oct 8, 2009 5:01 PM

Pearl Jam: LA Tour Highlights

by Ariel

I can’t got this far into a tour without giving a few updates; especially after the 4 nights just played in LA. The 3rd and 4th shows in particular (10/6 and 10/7) stand out with amazing setlists, rarities, and special guests.

Tuesday nights show was pretty standard; until the second encore that is, when they played Once, Footsteps, Hunger Strike with Chris Cornell, and closed the show with Jerry Cantrell filling in on Alive.

Before last night’s show, rumors were swirling that the band would be pulling out a few deep cuts. And cut deep they did, playing Alone, All Those Yesterdays, Crown of Thorns, and MC5’s Kick out the Jams (again with Cantrell filling in).






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Oct 8, 2009 9:57 AM

David Byrne: Bonnaroo 2009

by Ariel

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In an effort to post as much as I can this week, I’m going to share a bootleg that I just recently heard for the first time.

It should be noted, that I have never considered myself a David Byrne fan; at most I’m a casual Talking Heads listener (in that I enjoy their music, but don’t listen to it too often.) But on a whim, I decided to check out Byrne’s set from Bonnaroo this year. Needless to say, I was not the least bit disappointed. Byrne’s songwriting talent is only exceeded by his fantastic live performance. So check out the boot, enjoy the classics, get excited about some of the songs you haven’t heard before (unless of course you’re a real TH or Byrne fan), and be happy that there are still great musicians out there doing what they love, and well.
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Oct 8, 2009 12:20 AM

State Radio: Let It Go

by Ariel

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[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by my brother-in-law Shua, who happens to be a State Radio superfan, as well as the person who introduced me to their music.]

I am a State Radio “superfan”. It’s quite hard for me to be objective about this band’s music; I usually find myself to be overly critical, and obviously I am almost just as often awestruck. I’d also heard many of the songs on this album before, because Chad Urmston (frontman) prefers to test out his new songs on the road long before recording them in the studio – leaving fans (like me) who collect concert recordings with months (and sometimes years!) of anticipating how the album versions of these songs will sound. In order to try and combat this handicap, I refrained from listening and even singing State Radio songs for about four months prior to receiving the album. While this certainly didn’t cure my subjectivity in either direction, it did help – and I’m hoping that you will see the benefits as you read further.

Try as hard as I could, I simply could not find a song on this album that I wanted to skip. Nonetheless, the album definitely has some moments that are far stronger than others. Here’s a look at its strongest moments:

The whole album features terrific coordination between the three band members (Chad on guitar, joined by Chuck Fay on bass and Mike “Maddog” Najarian on drums). The ebbs and flows of Mansin Humanity show a band that has all its members on the same page, and all playing extremely well. The song’s opening riff grabs you right at the beginning, and continues to do so when it shows during later parts of the song, matching the lyrical content perfectly – the song describes the desperate and failed attempts of a diplomat in Turkey to warn the world about the Armenian genocide after World War I.

The bass solo, bridge, and outro of Arsenic and Clover rock harder than any song in the band’s catalog up to this point. The song describes Chad’s confused emotions as a young adult visiting Zimbabwe, having contracted some sort of local disease and being told that the only cure was drinking a concoction containing arsenic. I had seen the tremendous intensity in this song when they played it live, and it is definitely captured in the studio.

Knights of Bostonia has an Irish punk rock feel, a la Dropkick Murphys. It tells the story of young kids in Boston fighting to keep the summer around and not have to go back to school in the fall. The opening accordion and swelling drums that carry the song from the intro into the body of the song are definitely a highlight – and the song is just plain fun.

True roots reggae form is shown in Calling All Crows, Bohemian Grove and Evolution, but pulled off better in the latter, which describes a theoretical evolution of society into one where all levels of humanity become more and more kind towards one another. Bohemian Grove’s catchy protest chorus (“don’t need your world control, and the opinion of the inner elite”) and the genuine hope shown in Evolution affirm this band’s right to be described as one of this generation’s strongest links to the reggae tradition of Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley and The Wailers.

Held Up By The Wires is recorded well enough to make you believe that the band is playing for you in your living room. This is absolutely a must-listen, period. The song is about “the indomitable human spirit”, and that is displayed quite accurately in its power and punch.

The harmonica playing in Blood Escaping Man was a surprise, as in the 7 years that this song has been played live it had never been played with a harmonica involved (excluding shows between the recording and release of the album). I find it quite enjoyable; it gives the longtime fan favorite more muscle and brawn than it had before. The story being told is a fictional addendum to The Odyssey – As Penelope waits for Odysseus to return, there are suitors pressuring her to choose them over him, trying to convince her that he will never come back. She tells her late teen male servant that she would rather choose him over the suitors, but the servant convinces her that she should really wait for Odysseus – whom he has seen in town dressed up as a beggar, showing tremendous sacrifice and ability to not judge people by their look. The storytelling together with the harmonica echoes Bob Dylan in the best way possible.

Still and Silent recalls Us Against the Crown’s Man in the Hall lyrically, but far outdoes it musically. The intricate structure and spirited outro make for an excellent song.

And now for the weak moments:

The ending of Doctor Ron the Actor – This song descends into a mess of horns and distortion that is just hard to understand.

The lyrics in Calling All Crows – Those of us who follow the live recordings know that these lyrics were changed from “it’s a veritable revolutionary rookery” to “said the rebel to the revolutionary – come with me.” Dumbing down lyrics is rarely a good idea.

The production of Bohemian Grove – The bubblegum backup vocals in the chorus and poppy use of keys and synthesizers make this song hard to listen to. It’s probably hard for power trios to know how much is too much when it comes to production, but they should have realized that this was too much.

The chorus of Let it Go – Why a band known for intelligent lyrics would choose to make a chorus with 3 words repeated over and over is beyond me.

The various unoriginal snippets along the album – 2:48-3:00 of Mansin Humanity sounds too much like 1:00-1:10 of The Shins’ “Fighting in a Sack”. 2:58-3:20 of Doctor Ron the Actor sounds like Green Day, which is almost never a good thing. The vocals in the verses of Let it Go sound too much like Eddie Vedder (except for the fact that they are intelligible).

All in all, this album is more subtle than sledgehammer, and therein lay its strength. Previous songs by this band have been titled Guantanamo, CIA, Fight No More Forever, and Fall of the American Empire – and focused on specific political topics. Nearly all of Let it Go is more personal than political. Indeed its biggest failures come when the songwriting becomes preachy. This band has tremendous talent, and is still quite young. This album will not go down as their best work, but it’s getting there. It’s closer to Rubber Soul than it is to Sgt. Pepper. Musically, this is by far their best album yet – Chuck and Maddog are absolutely on top of their game, and Chad is not far behind. The restraint shown in most of the songwriting coupled with the tight musicianship make for an album just short of classic.

Track Listing:

“Mansin Humanity” – 5:07

“Calling All Crows” – 3:38

“Doctor Ron The Actor” – 4:02

“Arsenic & Clover” – 3:06

Bohemian Grove” – 4:35

Knights of Bostonia” – 4:26

“Let It Go” – 3:12

“Evolution” – 3:55

“Held Up By The Wires” – 4:37

“Blood Escaping Man” – 3:32

“Still & Silent” – 4:06

“Indian Moon (Reggae) (Hidden Track)

*Physical copies of the cd contain a front-ended bonus track called Sybil III, and I strongly urge all who can to acquire that song through any means possible…

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Oct 6, 2009 7:17 PM

[Bootleg] The Derek Trucks Band: 8-13-09

by Ariel

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I know I haven’t been great with the Sunday boots lately, but those of you who keep the Jewish holidays are probably aware that during years like this, all of our Sundays are taken up by holidaying, and thus no posts. Add to that too much homework and many trips to and from NY (to Baltimore three times, to Chicago once) and we have good reason for me to be sparse on the posting.

But nonetheless, I would like to post a few boots this week to make up for it. To start things off we have The Derek Trucks Band show from the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival this summer (read the initial review here). It won’t be too hard to enjoy this one – Derek’s Gibson SG was on fire that night.
The Derek Trucks Band: 8-13-09
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Sep 30, 2009 1:08 PM

Phish vs. White Stripes

by Ariel

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It’s always fun when you have two song riffs that are exactly the same. Elana brought this one to my attention: Phish’s “Sample in a Jar,” and The White Stripes’ “The Air Near My Fingers.”

Obviously, Phish released their song first; their album Hoist came out in 1994, while Elephant by the White Stripes came out in 2003. It’s possible that Jack White wrote his song before Phish did, and it’s even possible that Trey Anastassio was hanging out in Detroit in the early 90s, and heard Mr. White play an early version of his song in a small open-mic in a ratty coffee shop. And as much as I’d like to give creative credit to Jack on this one, I’m going to have to side with Phish; everything points to them having written their song first.



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Sep 23, 2009 3:13 AM

Shopping Music

by Ariel

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Elana and I were shopping in Frank’s Market tonight when a song suddenly came over the loudspeaker. Both of our ears immediately perked up, as we both racked out brains for who was singing. Sure, the guy singing backing vox was clearly Jack Johnson, but who was singing lead?

We got back to my apartment, and quickly searched for a Jack Johnson song with with word “cry” in it (via the Hype Machine).
This is what we found. Hope you enjoy the song as much as we did.
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Sep 22, 2009 2:07 AM


by Ariel

My brother where do you intend to go tonight
I heard that you missed your connecting flight
To the Blue Ridge Mountains
Over near Tennessee

You’re ever welcome with me any time you like
Let’s drive to the countryside
Leave behind some green-eyed look alike
So no one gets worried, no

But Sean don’t get careless
I’m sure it’ll be fine
I love you
I love you
Oh brother of mine.

Good luck tomorrow, Gil. You’re gonna be great.
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Sep 21, 2009 12:15 AM

Pearl Jam: Backspacer Review

by Ariel

I can never really tell, right when the album comes out. My over excitement about hearing new Pearl Jam material prevents me from being an entirely unbiased reviewer of the material. But then again, I certainly felt something for this most recent offering that I hadn’t felt for any of the past three albums. Binaural had fantastic songs, but lacked flow. Riot Act had great flow, but isn’t the best in terms of quality songs. Avocado was a great return to their punk roots, but still seemed a few steps short of greatness.

Enter Backspacer. Gone is the Bush dynasty and with it Ed Ved’s political rants- some of which were turned into sub-par PJ songs (see: “Bushleaguer”). As anyone who has heard the first single, “The Fixer,” has noticed, it almost sounds as if Eddie is happy. Anyone who has followed Pearl Jam throughout their career knows that most of PJ’s songs are either sad or angry; happy is not an adjective usually associated with this band, and it’s weird and almost unnerving – but in a good way.

The album explodes in a way we haven’t seen since Ten and Vitalogy. (PJ buffs may argue that Binaural had three hard rockers to open, but I will respectfully counter that the relative uselessness of Evacuation as a song renders that album’s explosiveness a moot point.) First we have “Gonna See My Friend,” (or as Yonah calls it “Gonna Punch My Friend in the Face,” due to it’s hard-rocking nature, and how it makes both of us want to run around screaming and hitting things – in a good way. Eddie’s vocals are howling in a way that recalls songs like Deep, Rats, and Leash, and the overall speed and raunchiness of the song makes it a dream as an album opener. We’re lead directly into “Got Some,” Eddie’s stab at post-modern self referential bullshit, as he croons that we, the listeners, just want to hear a rock song – so here’s a rock song. The lyrics may leave what to be desired, but the song punches right on through leaving the listener salivating for more, which we get with “The Fixer.” Now, many PJ fans have derided this song as sell-out, radio-friendly, bullshit that has no purpose on a Pearl Jam album; from the perfectly distorted intro, all the way through to the sing-along chorus. But then again, most of these fans haven’t seen the song live yet. While I don’t particularly love the studio version, the song takes on an entirely new identity in concert. The distortion is more grungy, the piano licks in the chorus more pronounced, and the sing-alongs just so damn awesome. So take my word for it, the song straight up rocks.

Which takes us to “Johnny Guitar,” a song written from the perspective of a young music fan who falls in love with a model on an album cover. Both lyrically and musically, the song ventures into areas that the band hasn’t touched before. The story is weird, but probably biographical. The music sounds like something off an early Stooges album, and Eddie seems to be doing his best to sound like Iggy Pop. It’s not classic Pearl Jam, but it’s entertaining and innovative, and therefore awesome. Just Breathe is a continuation of “Tuolumne” from the Into the Wild soundtrack, and takes the album’s pace down a few steps as Eddie sings about life, love, and loss.

At this point, the album changes from just being a great hard rock album, to a fantastically constructed masterpiece with beautifully composed songs. “Amongst the Waves” quickly establishes itself as the catchiest song on the album, and one of the most beautiful. Brendan O’Brien’s influence can clearly be seen in the music, while the guitars remain sparse until the chorus- letting bass, drums, and organ dominate the verses. The opening lyrics set the stage for the poetry that marks the rest of the album:
What used to be a house of cards
Has turned into a reservoir
Save the tears that were waterfalling
Let’s go swim tonight, darling
The song explodes into an immensely catchy chorus, with both Mike and Stone rocking out hard- letting the song crescendo beautifully and perfectly. After dropping back into another verse and chorus, Mike lets loose and entertains us with a perfectly written solo (yes, that’s right – Brendan made Mike actually write out the solo to that song, as opposed to letting him wing it like he normal does) which continues into the outro choruses, during which we see not one, but two vocal-inflection brilliances on Ed’s part.

“Unthought Known,” follows, with a musical buildup that mimics a lyrical one. We open with one guitar and a lone person’s thoughts. That sound is expanded with the addition of guitar and organ, as the lyrics move from being inside one’s head, to walking along a road. Another guitar joins in the music, as another character enters the song – the lover or partner. Now the love moves from the road up into the air, as the keys pound more heavily. Suddenly, Matt’s drumming takes a turn, as the story takes off into the sky, past the moon. Now, the song has reached it peak, and as there’s no higher for either the song or the lyrics to ascend, the music continues jamming, while Eddie croons “Nothing left,” over and over again. The song ends with another quick buildup, but this time the moon, the path, the dreams are all combined in one verse, where Eddie joins everything together. As for the poetic analysis of that, I’ll leave it up to each listener to determine for themselves.

“Supersonic” stole the riff from “Mankind,” but no one cares. Not only does the song rock my socks off, but the slow jam interlude that Stone breaks out at 1:20 is so freaking good that I’m nervous I may wear the grooves off the record for that part. “Speed of Sound” seems to be one of those songs that fans will never agree on. I love it, but many seem to hate it. The atonal intro melody just makes the beautiful vocal lines that much more gorgeous, and the full band version is a huge improvement from Ed’s solo version.

The final two songs, are probably some of the most beautiful and haunting poetry that Ed has ever written. “Force of Nature” starts off like a standard rock song, with a trademark Matt backbeat, and a groovy lead guitar intro (which I’m guessing is Stone, but have no way of knowing). The story begins about from the perspective of a woman who is described as a “force of nature,” who is “letting go,” and quickly shifts to a “common man” who seems to be desperately trying to save his love. The first chorus uses some of the most vivid imagery I’ve seen from Ed yet:
One man stands the edge of the ocean
A beacon on dry land
Eyes above the horizon
In the dark before the dawn

The story continues using the analogy of a hurricane to describe the storm that is his love to this woman can’t seem to hold on anymore. He’s waiting for her to come back from something. Did she leave him? Did she lose her mind? Did she die? It’s unclear from the lyrics, as we’re only privy to Ed’s description of this man’s tragic loss of his love.
Suddenly, the song shifts to the first person, and we hear Eddie’s editorial on the situation:
Makes me ache
Makes me shake
Is it so wrong to think
Love can keep us safe?

While I’ve only scratched the surface of the poetry of the song, it’s the music that truly carries the message through. The song is perfectly structured, and has one of the most beautiful choruses I’ve ever heard.

Which brings us to “The End.” From the first time I heard it, bootlegged from the Eddie solo shows, it was clear that Eddie was back in full form. In an almost “Off He Goes” style of a ballad, this time it seems that this is a love song not to a lover, but to us – the fans. While this is probably not PJ’s final album, it seems that the end may be coming.
What were all those dreams we shared those many years ago…I’m just a human being…I just want to hold on and know I’m worth your love.
This is entirely my own opinion, but I would like to think that this is Eddie’s gift to his fans, a song written for them, about them. He seems unsure about the future, but if this is it, then it’s certainly been a fantastic ride.
Give me something to echo in my unknown future, you see, my dear, the end, comes near, I’m here, but not much longer.

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Sep 18, 2009 4:08 PM

Happy New Year

by Ariel

Hey folks. I know I haven’t posted much this week, but it’s been an insane past couple days, filled with the new Pearl Jam album, my first couple problem sets of the semester due, the official Chicago PJ boots released, and, oh, did I mention that Backspacer leaked?

Well, all my work coupled with having listened to the album too many times to count (though I would estimate it at about 25 so far) kept me away from the blog. But here I am, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, and the beginning of our holiday season.
So, to ease ourselves into these weeks of holidays, here’s the a few holiday songs. Cut up those apples, dip them into the honey, and toot your horns (shofar). Enjoy.
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Sep 12, 2009 10:52 PM

Pearl Jam Update

by Ariel

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Hey loyal listeners.

So, I’ve had another run in with the Pearl Jam management. Not sure if it was because of the mp3s, or the hidden links. Either way, I’m probably going to have to hold back from posting PJ for a while, as per Rob’s threat:
“This will be the last courtesy contact, future emails will come form our lawyers.”
So, for now we’re probably going to have to limit our PJ posts until I find out exactly what I can and can’t post.
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Sep 11, 2009 2:49 PM

Pearl Jam Backspacer Leak

by Ariel
[Edit: The links and mp3s have been taken down at the request of Pearl Jam’s management.]

Finally. Sure, it’s only a week before the album is to be released, and the PJ people probably let it leak themselves. But who cares? I’m currently listening to the album in its entirety for the first time, and I’m loving it. It’s a but more upbeat and happier than their previous offerings, almost with Yield-esque feel to it.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to get in trouble for posting this, but I’ve gotta share one song with you guys. So far, this is my favorite off the album. Enjoy!
Pearl Jam- Amongst the Waves (Alt Download)
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Sep 9, 2009 9:43 AM

Covering Pearl Jam

by Ariel

1 person liked this – you

A lot of people (read: obsessive PJ fans) enjoy focusing on the myriad of covers that Pearl Jam has played over the years; from The Who and Neil Young, to The Ramones and The Clash, to The Dead Boys, CCR, Thin Lizzy, Bruce, Mother Love Bone, and tons of others. But fewer people turn that model inside out and search for the bands covering Pearl Jam.

Sure, we all remember when Aaron Lewis from Staind came out with that live cover of Black (in which he did Eddie’s higher pitched “I take a walk outside” thus prompting a generation of nu-metal fans to believe that Mr. Lewis invented this little vocal ditty, when in fact it was Eddie himself). And a few of us remember when The Gaslight Anthem covered State of Love and Trust on Letterman not too long ago. [Edit: Gaslight Anthem played 59 Sound on Letterman, not SOLAT. SOLAT was covered by them a few times in concert.] But who else is there?
I searched around and found a few more- but not too much. P.OS.’s hip hop version of Why Go is amazing, and it fits perfectly as the song is driven primarily by bass and drums anyway. Seether covered Immortality note for note- even down to the solos. And of course, Ben Harper doing Indifference without Eddie isn’t as awesome, but is still a cool interpretation of the song.
So check out the tracks and if you know of any other bands covering PJ, let me know in the comments.
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Sep 8, 2009 11:33 AM

School’s Back in Session

by Ariel

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The semester is about to begin. I’m sitting here in 545 Mudd, more than 12 minutes early to my first class of my final year of schooling. This will probably be, the last time I’m this early for a class…ever. But, I figured I’d start off the school year on the right track.

So here’s a few ‘back to school’ songs for y’all. Enjoy!
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Sep 7, 2009 12:29 AM

Pearl Jam: 8-24-09

by Ariel

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Sorry for keeping you waiting, but this weekend included many birthday celebrations (thanks E!) and I had little to no time to dedicate to the blog. But here it is: Pearl Jam Night 2 in Chicago. Enjoy!

Pearl Jam: United Center, Chicago (2009-08-23)
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Sep 3, 2009 1:55 PM

The Anniversary of the Day of My Birth

by Ariel

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So, I know I may have promised you guys the Monday night PJ show from Chicago, but I’m going to digress a bit from the norm, as today is the anniversary of the day of my birth. Yes- it’s my birthday.

Now, last year I wrote about turning 23, and how no one likes you at that age (at least according to Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Tom DeLonge). It was written primarily because that was the only birthday song I could find about turning 23. It seemed apropos at the time, and I regret nothing.
However, turning 24 is not so simple. I know no songs that either applaud or discredit the decision to turn 24. I searched ‘Birthday’ in my iTunes and I came up with the following three results:
1. The Beatles- Birthday
2. Pearl Jam- Happy Birthday
3. State Radio- Stalling/Happy Birthday
I’m not posting the first because there’s just something way too cliche about that song. Maybe it has to do with the fact that my mother would frequently sing that song on our (me and my siblings’) birthdays when we were children. Also, I don’t like the song; it’s annoying.
The next two songs are from audience bootlegs when the band requested that the crowd sing happy birthday. I also happen to have posted the Pearl Jam one in yesterday’s post- but not because of it’s birthday reference, but because it was part of that bootleg.
I won’t post My Generation because the whole hope I die before I get old idea just seems funny in light of the fact that both Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry are both in their mid-60s.
Now, the only significance of this birthday is that I’m officially in my mid-20s. This means, that I’m not really a young man anymore; I’m starting to actually reach the age where I’m expected to be a grownup. And so, I present to you the following two songs. Enjoy.
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Sep 2, 2009 11:42 AM

Pearl Jam: 8-23-09

by Ariel

I’m feeling like sharing today. And thus, I present to you night one (part one?) of Pearl Jam’s stint in Chicago last week. And if I’m feeling up to it, I may even post night two tomorrow.

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Aug 31, 2009 8:25 PM

Grace Potter: 7-23-06

by Ariel

Sorry for the brief hiatus from posting. After getting home from Chicago and posting about PJ, I spent the rest of last week watching The Simpsons and occasionally popping my head in at work. Then, this past weekend was spent at home in Baltimore for some quality family time, and a pretty freaking awesome wedding last night.

But now I’m back in NYC, and have no excuse not to post. So, to make up for not posting any bootlegs this Sunday or the last, I’ll share this special one with you. I’ve always thought Grace Potter had a fantastic voice, and have always been glad that she decided to use it for good rather than evil (read: blues rock rather than pop). Sure, some of her studio stuff sounds a bit poppy, but this show from Baltimore’s Artscape Festival in 2006 was recorded following the major label release of the second album Nothing But the Water, and before the pop leanings of 2007’s This is Somewhere.
So download the boot and check out Grace in concert (something that I intend to do eventually).
Grace Potter: 7-23-06
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Aug 25, 2009 9:54 PM

Pearl Jam in Chicago: August 23-24, 2009

by Ariel

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As Tony drove us back to West Rogers Park last night, we sat in his back seat speechless. We were on our way back from the second show of Pearl Jam’s two-night stint at the United Center in Chicago, and for once, words failed us.

But let’s backtrack first before we get into the details. Frequently, people ask why I go to more than one Pearl Jam show per tour. I politely explain that the band has taken a cue from performers like Bruce Springsteen, and they change up their sets from night to night. I would tell people this partially because it was true, and partially to assuage my own guilt from spending so much money to see this band so many times.
And then Chicago happened:
2 nights
56 songs
Only 7 repeats
Let me say that again, in case you missed it:
Only 7 repeats
This wasn’t two separate shows in the same city, this was one 2-part show. It was a marathon 4.5 hour concert, with a 22 hour encore break in the middle. It was a concert to be remembered and cherished.
Part 1 was an energetic show with a recognizable, but far from standard setlist. Opening with the calm and beautiful Long Road, the band sampled from their radio hits (Corduroy, Alive, Dissident, Small Town, Given to Fly, Even Flow), their early hard rock tracks (Rats, Why Go, Spin the Black Circle, Rearviewmirror), their lesser known gems (Come Back, Save You, In Hiding, Man of the Hour, Long Road, God’s Dice, Insignificance, Life Wasted), rarities (Sad, Smile), their upcoming album Backspacer (The Fixer, Supersonic, Got Some), a bit of Neil Young (Needle and the Damage Done) and The Who’s epic album Quadrophenia (Love Reign O’er Me, The Real Me).
The show was a powerhouse of energy and emotion, as Jeff Ament dedicated it to a good friend who had recently died. The encores were the show’s strongest point, and the night ended on a high as Mike McCreadyplayed us out the doors as the house lights went on with Yellow Ledbetter.
Thus endeth part 1.
Part 2 began similarly calmly, with the Mike driven Hard to Imagine. The band followed that up with Corduroy, after which Eddie turned to the crowd smiling and said:
‘What day is it? Is it Monday? Well, it feels like a Sunday night crowd. It’s definitely more of a Sunday night crowd than last night’s crowd,’ to which the crowd erupted. The next thing we heard were the opening drums to In My Tree (the old good version) and after that things began to get crazy. By the end of the first encore, we had heard 5 songs off of Vitalogy including Nothingman, Last Exit, Whipping, and Not For You; we had the first Brother in the US since the early 90s; we had heard killer versions of Grievance, Alive, Do the Evolution, and Porch; we had heard a beautiful rendition of Black with ‘We belong together’ at the end. And that was only thefirst encore. There was still one to go.
The second encore began with Boom on Wasted Reprise, then straight into Betterman. By the time Stone played the first chord of Crazy Mary, it was already 10:58 PM, with only 2 minutes until the assumed 11 PM curfew.
But the band continued with State of Love and Trust.
And we thought they were finished.
But the band turned on the house lights, and continued with Fuckin’ Up.
And then we knew they had to be finished- the house lights had already gone on, Mike and Jeff had switched bass and guitar, and Eddie had traded a tambourine for a blonde wig- what else could possibly happen?
But Mike took his guitar back, and rocked us all to sleep with Yellow Ledbetter.
To quote Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune: (Eddie Vedder) “didn’t so much sing the songs as detonate them.”Kot’s got it on the money. This wasn’t a concert- it was an explosion; an explosion of energy, emotion, great music, fantastic songs, and a band and their following- both of whom never seem to want to let up.
Night 1 Pics

Night 2 Pics

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Aug 19, 2009 6:07 PM


by Ariel

So, I’m off to Chicago tomorrow morning for the weekend to hang out with Elana and her family, and to see Pearl Jam. I probably won’t have time to post between now and when I get back, so here’s a few Chicago tunes to tide you over.

Kate Voegele- Chicago

Buy BenWilcoCSNY, and Kate @ Amazon.com
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Aug 19, 2009 1:06 PM

Pearl Jam: Supersonic

by Ariel

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Supersonic, a new song off Pearl Jam’s upcoming album Backspacer, was played for the first time ever last night at the PJ show in the O2 Arena in London, England. This song wasn’t just played live for the first time, but was actually the first any non music insider had heard the track.

So, check it out for yourselves.
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Aug 18, 2009 4:02 AM

It’s 3AM And I Want to Go To Bed

by Ariel

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Well, I’m up at the crack of dawn for the ride to Cornell for a research presentation conference thingy. I’d give more details, but I just slept for 2 hours, and my mind isn’t all there. Uch. I just want to get back into bed.

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Aug 17, 2009 4:15 AM

Woodstock: 40 Years After

by Ariel

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Billed as an “Aquarian Exposition in White Lake, NY” no one really knew what to expect with the festival that presented itself as “3 Days of Peace and Music.” 60,000 tickets were sold to the event, and the promoters expected around 100,000 people would show up. When 800,000 people attempted to make the trip (many of whom never actually made it to the festival) the promoters were forced to let the torn down fences lay as they were and declared it a free festival.

Following the event, Jimi Hendrix, the highest paid performer at the festival penned the following poem about the monumental concert:
500,000 halos outshine the mud and history.
We washed and drank in God’s tears of joy.
And for once, and for everyone, the truth was not still a mystery.
So, on this 40th anniversary of the show, check out the tracks from the original concert, the 25th anniversary show in 1994, and the 30th anniversary show in 1999. (I just wrote the word anniversary 3 times in one sentence.) The original festival paved the way for the dozens of music festivals that now exist. And, even though there were those who thought the festival was a complete disaster (Baba O’Riley was The Who’s tirade against the ‘teenage wasteland’ that the 3 days of music created), overall the concert was viewed as a successful revolutionary endeavor that changed the face of live music as we know it today.
Woodstock 1969
Woodstock 1994
Woodstock 1999
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Aug 16, 2009 3:45 PM

Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes): 7-11-09

by Ariel

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This fantastic solo show by The Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold shows what a talented musician and singer Robin truly is- from his solo songs, to covering FF’s material, to his beautiful covers; this entire concert is an absolute pleasure to listen to.

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Aug 14, 2009 2:20 AM

The Derek Trucks Band: 8-13-09

by Ariel

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A lone Gibson Les Paul guitar sits in the middle of the stage, a tribute to it’s namesake who had just passed away early that day. Directly to the left of the guitar stands Derek Trucks, celebrated slide guitarists, just 30 years of age, of the lengendary Allman Brothers Band, and his very own Derek Trucks Band. His bleach blond hair slicked back in a tight ponytail, Derek’s glass slide glides along the strings as his unique bluesy style emerges from his amplifiers, lighting up the night at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors summer concert series.

The night began with two fantastic openers. Snehasish Mozumbder and Som opened the evening with his Indian mandolin music, and in addition to playing mezmerizingly beautiful music, also kept me entertained by announcing the time signatures of each song before he played it, and by playing the only double necked mandolin that I’ve ever seen.
Snehasish was followed by Jake Shimabukuro who rose to semi-fame through YouTube with his performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps on a ukulele. Genuinely overjoyed to be playing on the Lincoln Center stage, Jake’s face beamed throughout his entire performance, which was incredibly gorgeous (the performance, not his face- though he’s not bad looking). The control Jake has over his instrument is astounding, and both his original songs, and his arrangements of other songs were all inspirational.
Just before Derek was to come onstage, the normally calm Lincoln Center crowd surged forward and transformed the aisle in front of Row 1 into a standing room only section, forcing everyone else in the venue to get up on their feet as well (though I don’t imagine anyone could actually remain seated during a Derek Trucks show). The security guards seemed confused, as if no one had ever broken the no standing rule at a show there before, and were forced to let the standing room section remain.
Opening their set with the traditional blues song Leavin’ Trunk, Derek and his band were to spend the next two hours playing straight edge slide blues to a very appreciative crowd. A few songs into the performance, Derek invited Ravi Coltrane, son of celebrated jazz saxaphonist John Coltrane, onstage to play. In addition to Les Paul’s passing, Rashied Ali, a drummer in John Coltrane’s band, had also passed away. While Ravi and Derek were trading licks, Eric Krasno of the funk/jazz trio Soulive was wandering around the side of the stage. Derek immediately motioned for Krasno to join in the jam onstage, and he picked up the Les Paul that was sitting onstage (which is why you can’t see the LP in the picture up above) and played a few songs with the band- including some amazing call and response head cutting with Derek.
After seeing Derek twice with the Allmans, and this one time with his own band, I can confindently say that Derek is the best slide guitarist I’ve ever seen, and one of the best I’ve ever heard. The joyful noise (pun intended) that emanates from every note he plays is patently his own style, as is his intricate fingerpicking technique. And when he really gets going- the sounds that he can make are heavenly. So please, if you get the chance, check Derek out in concert. It’s a must see for any true blues and music fan.
All photo credit goes to Julie Schneider. Thanks Julez!

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Aug 12, 2009 10:09 PM

Summertime Heat

by Ariel

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It’s so freaking hot outside. Anyone taking the subways in NYC this summer, or trying to save a bit of cash by sleeping without the AC knows what I’m talking about. It’s when you take a cold shower and still come out sweating. It’s when you dread leaving work because it means going home to a hot apartment. It’s when naps are no longer worth it- because even if you manage to fall asleep in the heat, the cold sweat you wake up in negates any benefit. It’s when you start collecting sweat stains the second you walk outside.

This is New York City, and it’s the summertime. So drink it up, before long we’ll be complaining about how bitterly cold it is here.
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Aug 11, 2009 2:05 PM

Jonny Greenwood or Stone Gossard

by Ariel

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Is it just me, or does Stone Gossard look like Jonny Greewood these days? They’re even wearing the same shirt.

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Aug 9, 2009 3:01 PM

Pearl Jam: Live @ Lollapalooza 1992

by Ariel

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For our second Lolla boot of the day, we’re digging deep into the Pearl Jam archive to pull out one of their 1992 Lollapalooza shows. For those of you who don’t remember, Lollapalooza used to be a traveling festival- not a one shot deal.

The band had a ton of amazing, albeit short, shows on the festival tour. Not all the boots have amazing quality, but this one seems to capture both the sound of the show, and the ferocity of the band.
So, to celebrate both Pearl Jam’s first show of 2009 last night, and the 2009 Lollapalooza festival, enjoy this boot from August 7th 1992 (almost 17 years ago to the day), from the Great Woods Center in Boston.
Pearl Jam: Live @ Lollapalooza (Boston 8-7-92)
Download a .zip file of the entire show (zip file taken down to preserve bandwidth)
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Aug 9, 2009 2:01 PM

Radiohead: Live @ Lollapalooza 2008

by Ariel

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As Lollapalooza 2009 comes to a close tonight, I figured it be apro pos to post not one, but two Lollapalooza bootlegs. We’ll start with Lollapalooza 2008 with healiner Radiohead’s set.

The quality of this boot is fantastic, the setlist is stellar, and the band was on fire that night. Check out 15 Step, National Anthem, and Idioteque for highlights.
Radiohead: Live @ Lollapalooza 2008
Download a .zip file of the entire show (zip file taken down to preserve bandwidth)
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Aug 9, 2009 4:00 AM

Pearl Jam @ Virgin Fest

by Ariel

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So, Pearl Jam kicked off their tour last night in Calgary, headlining the Virgin Fest there. The set looked pretty killer, with gems like Brother and The Real Me (The Who). The set was cut short due to curfew, but if you add Release (which wasn’t played) and all the crossouts (Comatose, RVM, and Corduroy) then this sounds like a pretty freaking awesome show.

Getting excited for Chicago and Philly. Here’s the setlist for those interested.
Main Set: Why Go?, All Night, Dissident, The Fixer, Got Some, Severed Hand, Sad, Unemployable, Even Flow, Rats, Save You, Given To Fly, Daughter/(WMA), Down, Small Town, Do The Evolution, Alive

Encore 1: Betterman, BROTHER!!!, Black/improv, Spin The Black Circle

Encore 2: Crazy Mary, THE REAL ME!!!, Yellow Ledbetter

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Aug 6, 2009 11:22 PM


by Ariel

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OR: Why Radiohead is the greatest band on the planet

There’s a reason that Radiohead is one of the greatest bands of all time. And the song Videotape, the final track off In Rainbows, is a perfect example of what makes this band so fantastic.

The song begins with just Thom on the piano, playing four simple chords over and over. His vocals join in after about 4 bars of piano. And it sounds like it could be any band’s slow ballad to end off an album. Sounds conventional, even. Then the bass and guitars join in- another conventional move- making it sound like this is going to be a pretty radio-friendly song.
But then, as a listener, you realize something is making you uncomfortable. Something isn’t right with the music. And you realize that the song has been repetitive all the way through. The chords haven’t changed. The melody is the same. The song is just repeating itself over and over.
And as that nagging feeling festers inside your head, the layered backing vocals and drums kick in. The vocals start spiraling in an almost mesmerising way, and before long, the drums are sounding a bit weirder than drums should sound- like a tom roll from another planet.
Thom’s voice jumps back in over this and before long, the guitars drop out and it’s just those same four piano chords and the drums with a bit of bass for good measure. And soon we have a bit more of the drums, this time an odd timing on the high hat, moving to the snare, with the otherworldly tom roll continuing the entire time.
And finally you realize that what started as a simple melodic pop song has developed into a perfectly orchestrated track that’s at the same time confusing and soothing. It’s a love song that is both conforming and unnerving.
And this is Radiohead’s brilliance- they have this ability to incorporate intricate and complicated music into simple songs. That’s not to say they’re complicated for the sake of being complicated. What it says is that theyr write songs that can be both appreciated by the radio-listening populace, and the music nerds alike. Like the Beatles before them (at least with their older stuff), Radiohead manages to consistently appeal to both the common-man and the musicologist with each of their albums. This is truly greatness when it comes to music, and Videotape proves that they’ve got it.


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Aug 4, 2009 3:14 PM

Summertime Blues

by Ariel

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Every now and then, you get than feeling where you just need to listen to some blues. Not because you’re sad, or feeling down- but because you just need to hear that pure raw soulful music.

So crank up these tracks and enjoy the beautiful summer day.
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Aug 3, 2009 3:00 AM

The Decemberists: SXSW

by Ariel

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The first time I heard The Hazards of Love, the new album by The Decemberists, was when I first listened to this bootleg from 2009’s South By Southwest (SXSW) festival, where they debuted the album in it’s entirety. This was quite a feat, considering the fact that most of the bands at SXSW are limited to half hour sets- creating audiences that are expecting to hear a few of the performers’ hits, before moving on to the next act. For The Decemberists to play for an entire hour, and not play any hits until the encore, was a gutsy move that proved brilliant.

So check out the set, which contains the entire album, plus 2 more songs in the encore. Enjoy!
Decemberists @ SXSW
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Jul 31, 2009 2:53 PM

Happy Weekend!

by Ariel

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So, the weekend is almost upon us, and what a weekend it’s going to be. The 3 week period of mourning for destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem has ended for us Jew-people, and it’s time to crank the music back up, and start listening to those weekend appropriate songs.


The Black Crowes- Good Friday

Harpo- Homeward Bound (Od M’at Shabbat)

The Honey Tongue Devils- Sunday Morning Blackout

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Jul 29, 2009 4:44 PM

Speed of Sound

by Ariel

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Diverging from the short punky songs, and catchy ballads of the past few albums, Eddie and PJ seem to have created a gem with this new song. The rumors going around are that this is only an Eddie demo, and that the album version will sound different; this is entirely possible as he seems to be the only musician and vocalist on the track. The rhythm is definitely Eddie, and the lead could be him as well. Similarly, the lead vocals are Ed, and the backing vox sound like him too.

So- what do we think of the song?

In the vein of the Into the Wild soundtrack, the song opens with Eddie’s fingerpicked guitar, quickly followed by his vocals. But while the three second guitar intro sounds like something that could be found on the movie, once Ed begins singing, we’re quickly thrown off by the slightly atonal chord and melody. Some listeners may find this disconcerting; I’m hopeful that this is a Pearl Jam that is ready to begin challenging their fans and listeners again.

But besides that bit of dissonance in the beginning of the verse, the rest of the chords and melody flow beautifully. The song gently builds up during the chorus, with Ed’s own backing vocals lending depth to this otherwise simple song.

The lyrics to me are almost Kafka-esque in their claustrophobic nature; putting the protagonist in the song stuck in the darkness, looking towards the light, with either the inability or the lack of desire to reach it; unsure whether the voices in his head are real or imagined; all made more confusing by the contrast between a slow beautiful song and a title that evokes speed. The atonality combined with the beautiful melody seem to also be playing on this notion of “holding tight to a dream of distant light,” while at the same time being painfully aware that we’re “waiting on a sun that never comes.”

As a solo offering, this song has quietly grown on me over the 14 times I’ve listened to in the past few hours. We’ll see how it turns out with the rest of the band.

Pearl Jam- Speed of Sound

Yesterdays, How quick they change
All lost and long gone now
Want to remember anything moving at the speed of sound
With the speed of sound

And yet I’m still holdin’ tight to this dream of distant light
In that, somehow I’ll survive, but this night has been a long one
Waiting on a sun that just don’t come

Can I forgive what I cannot forget
And live a lie?
I could give it one more try

Why deny this, drive inside, just looking for some peace
Every time I get me some it gets the best of me

Not much left, you see

And yet I’m still holdin’ tight to this dream of distant light
In that, somehow I’ll survive, but this night has been a long one
Waiting on a word that never comes

A whisper in the dark
Is that you or just my thoughts
I’m wide awake and reaching out

It’s gone so quiet now
Could it be I’m farther out

Movin’ faster than the speed of sound

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Jul 29, 2009 4:44 PM

Pearl Jam on Sporcle

by Ariel

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Check it out!

PJ quiz on Sporcle here!

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Jul 29, 2009 2:44 PM

Pearl Jam Artwork Game

by Ariel

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If you want a free PJ download and have time to go around searching the web, go tohttp://www.pearljam.com/backspacer/art/ and play the Pearl Jam artwork game.

The PJ people have hidden the album artwork on various websites. In order to play, add the name of the website after “art/”
Example: If you think there’s some art at target.com, then type

Just to give you a headstart- target is not one of the sites. To start you off, try a couple of music magazines, and electronics magazine, and a search engine that isn’t google.

Happy gaming!

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Jul 26, 2009 10:34 PM

Pearl Jam: 10-4-96 (Charlotte, NC)

by Ariel

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Well, it’s Sunday bootleg time again, and I finally got a PJ request that I have- so I’m going to share this one with you guys. This show was commenter JStock’s first show, and he’s been searching for the boot ever since. And, as it’s a pretty solid setlist with good sound quality, I couldn’t help but post this one.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to wish Elana a happy birthday for the next hour and a half.

Pearl Jam: 10-4-96 (Charlotte, NC)
Long Road
(Getting to be Friends)
Last Exit
Spin the Black Circle
Hail, Hail
In My Tree
Not For You
Better Man
Red Mosquito
(Two Steps Back)
State of Love and Trust
Gloria speech
Who You Are
Even Flow
I Got Id
Leaving Here
Daughter/The Real Me/Noise of Carpet
Yellow Ledbetter

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Jul 23, 2009 10:19 PM

Monsters of Folk

by Ariel

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So, Monsters of Folk is coming, and it’s quite exciting.

For those not in the know, Monsters of Folk is the moniker that Conor Oberst, Jim James, and M. Ward chose for their very own supergroup. In this era that’s experiencing an enjoyable revival of folk music, it’s exciting to see these talented singer/songwriters all collaborating on one project.

Besides Say Yes, the song that’s free for download on their website, I haven’t found any other songs anywhere. As the album release date (9/22) draws sooner, hopefully more songs will be found.

For now, check out this song, and the tour dates listed below.

Monsters of Folk- Say Yes

Monsters of Folk tour dates
10/13: Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum
10/14: Portland, OR Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
10/15: Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre
10/17: Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
10/18: Los Angeles, CA @ The Greek Theatre
10/20: San Diego, CA @ Spreckels Theatre
10/21: Phoenix, AZ @ Orpheum Theater
10/22: Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
10/28: Omaha, NE @ Holland Center
10/29: Minneapolis, MN @ Orpheum Theatre
10/30: Chicago, IL @ Auditorium Theatre
10/31: Louisville, KY @ Louisville Palace Theatre
11/02: Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
11/03: Boston, MA @ The Orpheum
11/06: New York, NY @ United Palace
11/08: New York, NY @ Beacon Theater
11/09: Philadelphia, PA @ Academy of Music
11/12: Stockholm, SE @ Philadelphia Church
11/14: Berlin, DE @ Huxleys
11/15: Copenhagen, DK @ Vega
11/17: London, UK @ Troxy
11/18: Paris, FR @ Elysee Montmartre
11/19: Koln, DE @ E-Werk
11/21: The Hague, NL @ Crossing Border
11/22: Antwerp, BE @ Crossing Border

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Jul 20, 2009 5:55 PM

New Pearl Jam: The Fixer

by Ariel

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Pearl Jam released The Fixer, the first single off their upcoming album Backspacer, today. After close to 20 listens, the track seems to be a bit more…happy than most PJ songs. It’s short, poppy, and definitely different. Still unsure what my thoughts are…

Leave your thoughts on the track in the comments.

Pearl Jam- The Fixer

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Jul 19, 2009 1:52 PM

Drive-By Truckers: Vic Theater (5/19/05)

by Ariel

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DBT is a band that has taken the folk-country genre (see yesterday’s post), added just more than a pinch of electric blues, and led the musical style to it’s next step. Far from alternative country, and even further from radio-friendly rock, these southern rockers sound as if they were weaned at the feet of Steve Earle and Lynyrd Skynyrd- combining the rock of the latter with the country of the former.

Check out the show, and let us know what you think of them.

Drive-By Truckers: Vic Theater (5/19/05)
One of These Days
Lookout Mountain
Decoration Day
Feb. 14
Gravity’s Gone
Never Gonna Change
Aftermath U.S.A.
Carl Perkins’ Cadillac
Easy on Yourself
Dead, Drunk, and Naked
Guitar Man Upstairs
Ronnie and Neil
The Living Bubba
Marry Me
Tales Facing Up
Goddamn Lonely Love
18 Wheels of Love
Women Without Whiskey
Do It Yourself
Danko and Manuel
Putting People on the Moon
Let There Be Rock
The Day John Henry Died
Zip City
World of Hurt
People Who Died

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Jul 18, 2009 10:50 PM


by Ariel

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I know little about Steve Earle, and even less about Townes Van Zandt. Most of what I know about both of them, I read in an article in a recent issue of Rolling Stone. I know so little about Steve Earle that when I saw his picture in the article, I was puzzled as to why the actor who played Walon (Bubs’ sponsor) on The Wire was gracing the pages of my magazine.

And then I read the article, and learned the story of two folk troubadours who lived the true lifestyle; a lifestyle that centered around addiction, storytelling, and music. But while these friends shared their penchant for alcohol and heroin, they also shared an ability to dig deep into their souls, and write and perform country and folk music unlike anyone else.

Those who claim to appreciate country music, and immediately rattle off Dixie Chicks, Rascal Flatts, and Jason Aldean as their favorite artists, are not listening to the same country music that these true-blood musicians were playing. This music isn’t rock with a dab of fiddle, this is pure folk-country; music tainted with the pain of the blues. This is the legacy of Johnny Cash, of the true dark personas, of the internal turmoil of the soul being wrung out in the only way these artists know how- with a guitar and their raspy, smoke addled, voices.

On the album Townes, Steve Earle takes his favorite Townes Van Zandt tunes, and covers them with the respect and admiration of a true friend and mentee. So check out this album, and open your ears and hearts to music that may be a bit darker than what you’re used to, but can also be more beautiful than anything in the world.

Steve Earle- Pancho and Lefty

Steve Earle- Where I Lead Me

Steve Earle- Lungs

Buy Townes @ Amazon.com

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Jul 14, 2009 10:53 PM

The Fixer Commercial Clip

by Ariel

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[Note: This blog post was linked on Stereogum here]

Tonight, Fox aired a commercial during the All Star game which featured 30 seconds of Pearl Jam’s forthcoming song The Fixer. It’s kind of had to hear, but towards the end, you can hear Eddie’s voice clearly.

The song sounds pretty good and upbeat- can’t wait to hear the entire thing.

Pearl Jam- The Fixer clip 1 (alt download)

Pearl Jam- The Fixer clip 2 (alt download)

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Jul 14, 2009 9:53 PM

Yim Yames: Tribue To

by Ariel

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When George Harrison passed away in 2001, Jim James, folk music troubadour and bandleader of My Morning Jacket, recorded a few of his favorite Harrison tracks under the quirky yet clever moniker Yim Yames.

I have no idea where these tracks have been for the past eight years, nor do I know why James has decided to release them now, although it could have something to do with his two upcoming folksy releases: the highly anticipated Monsters of Folk album, with fellow folk rockers Conor Oberst and M. Ward, and James’ own upcoming solo album.

But none of that really matters. What matters is that these songs sound brilliant- James’ voice and guitar playing do both justice to the originals, and also innovate in a very Jim James way. Six of the tracks are currently available, and the rest of the album, to be called Tribute To will be released on August 4th.

So enjoy the music, and keep your ears out for the rest of the album.

Yim Yames- Long, Long, Long

Yim Yames- My Sweet Lord

Buy Yim Yames: Tribute To

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Jul 12, 2009 4:53 PM

Pearl Jam: Seattle (12/7/93)

by Ariel

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So… only one guy actually commented with a bootleg request, and it happened to be a show that I don’t have. That kinda sucks, and I feel like I’ve let him down, but hey- not every show was recorded; you can’t recreate a recording that doesn’t exist.

Anyway, I decided to dig deep into the vault for a late 1993 show- one in PJ’s hometown; Seattle. This showcases the band after they’ve had major success with their sophomore album Vs. with the band almost going platinum in it’s first week of sales. This commercial success confirmed in the eyes of the media that this quintet from Seattle wasn’t just a one-hit-wonder, but they were truly a force to be reckoned with.

But we don’t care about that stuff, and neither did the band (or at least they professed not to). What the fans cared about were the shows. Eddie had since gained a reputation for climbing all over the stage during his shows, using his mic chord to pull himself up into the scaffolding, and jumping out into the crowd. As early as 1991, Pearl Jam had proven themselves as a “must see” band, as their wildness at their shows was only made better by an incredible tightness and massive live sound, a feat rarely achieved by young bands.

By 1993, their show had only gotten better. So check out this homecoming show, one that starts off with a bang, ripping through Go, Animal, Why Go, and Deep to start things off. The sound quality is pretty good and the band just sounds incredible.

Pearl Jam: Seattle (12/7/93)
Why Go
Glorified G
Daughter/Golden Years/Across the Universe
State of Love and Trust
Ed Talking/Don’t Touch Me There
Rearviewmirror (Song Stopped)
Ed Talking

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Jul 11, 2009 10:38 PM

The Tallest Man on Earth

by Ariel

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They say he sounds like Dylan. And it’s true; he does. Sometimes, it almost sounds like he has a better voice that’s being curtailed so that he can sound more like the epic songwriter. But then again- who would actively want to sound like Dylan- a great tunesmith, but an average songwriter at best.

So, we’re going to have to compare this man to Dylan, because there’s no way to view his music independent of the man formerly known as Robert Zimmerman. While his songwriting isn’t in the same league the master, his guitar playing is much better. His album is well crafted, and his singing is also a bit better than Dylan’s (in my opinion). So, you can brush this guy off as a Dylan clone, or you can get excited that people are going back to writing music in the style of our favorite singer/songwriter/poet/civil-rights-activist.

PopoutTallest Man on Earth – The Gardener – A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.
The Tallest Man on Earth- The Gardener

The Tallest Man on Earth- The Blizzard’s Never Seen the Desert Sands

Buy The Tallest Man on Earth on Amazon.com

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Jul 10, 2009 6:35 PM

Pearl Jam Voting

by Ariel

Hey y’all. So.. it seems I’m not as below the radar as I thought. I have been asked to remove them by Rob, who it seems works for Pearl Jam. The email went a little something like this:

Yitzchak Schwartz,
Please remove the two EV songs that you have on your blog http://troubledsoulsunite.blogspot.com/2009/07/new-pearl-jam.html.
I was hoping you’d get the hint when I removed them the other day, guess not.
As stated on your blog:

And if you represent an artist and would like a song taken down, please contact us via email.

So, I’m contacting you via email. Please remove the songs and links from your blog.

EV has requested that no recordings be made of his solo shows. Please respect his wishes.

Anyway, in my overwhelming excitement for the Pearl Jam shows that I’m heading to Chicago to see in the end of August, coupled with the fact that the band just announced a mini-tour (where I will hopefully be making the drive down to Philly to attend), I’ve decided that it’s time to start posting some old school PJ bootlegs. And, as I am a man of the people, I thought I would let you, the fan, decide what shows I post.

Here are the rules for voting:
1. The show cannot be one that was released as an official bootleg.
2. The show cannot have been a live album that was sold in stores.
3. Basically, if you can buy this show in a store or online- I’m not posting it.
4. Please leave your requests in comment form.
5. DO NOT EMAIL ME WITH YOUR REQUESTS. And if your show doesn’t make it, feel free to beg me to post it in the comments, but ONLY in the comments.

So start thinking about that show you saw in 92 or 98 or whenever, and I’ll take your requests, and decide which ones to post.

Let the games begin!

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Jul 9, 2009 7:33 PM

More Bandwidth!

by Ariel

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Ok people. Now’s when I ask for a little something in return. I hate to do this, but I’ve gotten so many complaints about running out of bandwidth, that I decided to leave it up to you- the reader.

Here’s the long and short of it: More bandwidth costs money. I’m a poor student, and have very little to spare. I’m already spending $25 a year for file hosting and bandwidth- but that only gives me 10 gig of bandwidth per day. For $50, I can get 25 gig of bandwidth per day.

So I leave it up to you, the reader. If I get $50 in donations in the next few days, then we can say goodbye to out bandwidth issues. If not, we’ll stay at 10 gig per day- which is just fine as well. From my perspective, I don’t really care. This one’s in your court.

Jet- Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Patti Smith- Free Money

Olin & the Moon- Turn Me Into Money

Buy JetOlin, and Patti @ Amazon.com

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Jul 8, 2009 1:58 AM

New Pearl Jam

by Ariel

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[Edit: Files have been removed at the request of Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam]

Well folks, I may get in a ton of trouble for posting these for you. Lately, PJ has been pretty strict with blogs posting stuff from Eddie’s solo shows, but I think I’m far enough under the radar to get away with this one.

First things first. Eddie played a new song called The End in Philly on June 12th. According to Visions magazine (or this translation of the article), this is the final track on the upcoming album. Unclear how it will sound with the full band, or if Eddie will just do it solo, but for now- it sounds pretty great.

Moving along to the show in Honolulu on July 2nd, Eddie debuted another song that is supposed to be on the new album, entitled Speed of Sound. Again- sounds great acoustic, but not sure how the full band version is going to look.

Enjoy the tracks while they last. I’m guessing this post will be taken down shortly.

Eddie Vedder- The End

Eddie Vedder- Speed of Sound

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Jul 7, 2009 12:56 AM

The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love

by Ariel

It’s actually surprising that so few bands venture to undertake what The Decemberists have done with their latest album, The Hazards of Love. In a day and age when the internet has super-saturated the amount of available music, it’s a wonder that bands don’t come up with innovative ways to make their music stand out. While The Decemberists have enough of a unique style to stand out based on their musical innovation alone, they still managed to put themselves in a league populated by bands like The Who, composers like Beethoven, and epic poets like Homer.

The theme is one that is mentioned often, but rarely executed, and almost never successfully. The Who created their rock opera with Tommy- but the story didn’t exactly make sense. Green Day attempted it with American Idiot, but again- not a story that flows well. But The Decemberists, well, not only was their execution perfect, but their “rock opera” was more of an epic poem set to music. For the entire story, check out this link here, or, listen to the album and figure it out for yourself. I want to focus more on the execution of the feat than the story itself.

What stands out as brilliant about this artistic venture is the musical themes that are obviously constant throughout the album. Like the great classical composers would do with their symphonies, basing entire pieces of music on one recurring motif, and expanding on that to create long unique pieces that somehow sound familiar yet original the entire way through.

Each character in the story has their own “theme music” that is evident in every song about them, lending distinction to the different parts of the story, while at the same time letting the listener know that this is a character they have already met. To further this point, the band makes use of numerous vocalists of both genders- giving each protagonist in the story their own unique voice- literally.

What ensues is a masterpiece of modern music; an album for the ages that is beautifully constructed and perfectly executed. Musically, The Decemberists have expanded their pallet, as this album is their heaviest to date, yet still stays within the confines of “folksy” most of the way through.

Buy this album right now. I’m not kidding. It’s that good.

The Decemberists- The Hazards of Love 1

The Decemberists- The Queen’s Rebuke/The Crossing

Buy The Decemberists @ Amazon.com

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Jul 1, 2009 9:59 PM

Cage the Elephant

by Ariel

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to apologize for the continued screwup with my files and server. Things are up and down there, and I’m beginning to look into using new guys, but that would involve the tedium of moving all my files, and would also cost me money. And so, unless the donations start pouring in, we’re probably going to have to sit this one out, and you’ll have to be satisfied with my writing during the time being. And on to the album review.

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine (Julez) sent me a track by a band then unknown to me. The song was called No Rest for the Wicked, but a band that went by Cage the Elephant. I listened to it a few times, and quite enjoyed it. The vocalist reminded me of a cross between Dylan and Jason Mraz, in a very strange sort of way (as he sounds like neither of them), using Dylan’s unique half-speaking/half-singing approach to vocals, coupled with Mraz’s lyrical ADD- throwing as many words into as few beats as possible, making him sound pretty much like a five year old who can’t decide whether the need to urinate outweighs the story he wants to tell you, and ends up trying to relate as much information as quickly as possible before he urinates all over his self… in a good way. (He also looks like Beck.) The music is likewise enjoyable, sounding a bit like The White Stripes album, White Blood Cells, with it’s garage rock guitars and stocattoed rhythms.

A few days later, I was watching a live webcast of Bonnaroo while eating my Sunday breakfast, and realized that the band I was watching was Cage the Elephant. I was quite entertained by the eccentric frontman’s stage antics, and I spent a while just watching him flounder all over the stage in a red spandex bodysuit (the top half of which, due to the Bonnaroo sun, he was forced to remove, leaving the audience with a hilarious picture of a man still trying to run around the stage, while also holding the bottom part of his jumpsuit up at the same time), as his band crunched and grinded through the songs along with him.

So of course, I procured for myself a copy of the album, and gave it a few listens to. For a band’s first offering, this one is pretty good. Mind you, they do need to expand their sound a bit. Some of the songs sound drastically similar, and a few are patently boring. But when they’re on, they’re on. Songs like No Rest for the Wicked, and In One Ear are both musically invigorating, as well as lyrically though provoking. On Free Love, the guys channel the passion of Hendrix and the intensity of the Chili Peppers, on this drum heavy and funk-a-licious (sic) track.

The album is thankfully free of any ballads (the closest being the Strokes influenced Lotus, and the fact that the song sounds Strokes-ish is proof enought that it is definitely not a ballad), as this is a band that knows what they do well, and didn’t try to throw in any cheesy “I miss my girlfriend” slow songs for fans to stick up their lighters to. These guys seem content for their fans to go nuts, mosh, and bob their heads while the band themselves go nuts onstage.

So check the album out; I freaking love it, and so should you. And I’m sorry for not being able to post any mp3s at this time, but here are a few videos for you to check out. Peace.



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Jun 25, 2009 7:17 PM

Rest in Peace, Michael

by Ariel

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Writing obituaries is probably the hardest thing I do on this blog. Yet, it’s probably the best way to deal with losses like this.

I must admit; I don’t feel as personally hit by this one as I did a few months back when Leroi Moore passed away. I was never the biggest fan of pop music, and though I do have a copy of Thriller on record, I wouldn’t put Michael Jackson up there with my favorite musicians.

That being said, this one still hurts. He was, without any question, the unrivaled King of Pop. What he did to popular music was revolutionary. Starting out in the family-centric Jackson 5, it was soon clear that Michael stood out from his siblings. He broke away from the family band in 1971 at the ripe old age of 13, and began one of the most brilliant careers of any popular musician anywhere.

He was an entire entertainment package- from his voice, to his songs, to his dancing, even to his controversial persona in the public eye. He became one of the earliest crossover musicians to be fully accepted by all music fans, effectively breaking down color barriers in music. He changed pop musicianship from just being a singer to being a performer. Where Elvis shook his hips, Michael took that a step further, as he changed the face of dancing in music- something that all pop musicians have striven to imitate, with most coming up short.

Possibly the most popular musical icon of our generation, Michael will be sorely missed by fans of music everywhere. Rest in peace, Mike.

Michael Jackson- Will You Be There

Michael Jackson- Thriller

Michael Jackson- Black or White

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Jun 23, 2009 10:46 PM

[Bootleg] Andrew Bird @ Radio City Music Hall

by Ariel

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Last week I saw Andrew Bird put on a fantastic performance at Radio City Music Hall. (Check the review here.) And, as I did not post a bootleg this past Sunday, coupled with the fact that I just found the boot of this show, whose quality happens to be stellar, I thought it apropos to post the show for y’all.


Andrew Bird: Radio City Music Hall
Fiery Crash
Opposite Day
Fitz and the Dizzyspells
Oh No
Skin Is, My*
Scythian Empires*
Tables and Chairs
Don’t Be Scared
Fake Palindromes

* with Calexico

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Jun 22, 2009 6:34 PM

Backstage at Aerosmith and ZZ-Top

by Ariel

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[Editor’s note: This is a guest post written by my younger brother Gilad, who attended the Aerosmith/ZZ Top show last night at Nissan Pavilion.]

So it’s two thirty in the morning, my hearing is severely impaired and I just got home from the craziest show of my life. Aerosmith and ZZ Top; backstage; on stage for the show. What could be cooler? I know what you’re thinking- How the hell did Ariel’s brother, albeit an awesome and great looking brother, get the hook up for this? I’ll tell you the tale.

To give you some background info, my oncologist’s sister knows the guy who runs Nissan Pavilion so I got hooked up to hang around with him all day before the Aerosmith show this past sunday.

The first part of the day was pretty chill. I met the guy Ryan who runs the place, and we chatted a bit, and he remarked “Yeah hopefully you’ll have a pretty cool night” Little did I know….

So after meeting some of the staff, and driving around in the golf cart through the backstage area, taking care of some misc. stuff, we headed to the Aerosmith meet and greet, which the Aerosmith people graciously let me go to. At this point in the day I learned that my oncologist’s sister also knows Aerosmith (?) or something like that. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to meet them, get a picture and get my one item signed. I actually was put at the front of the line, before the two kids who won the guitar hero contest (they were kinda weird), and before the two dozen other people who probably payed close to three thousand dollars for the same thing I was about to get for free. I guess I’m pretty lucky.

Here’s where it gets cool. I walk up to the guys by the picture tent, and Steven Tyler immediately signs my hat. I hand my ticket to a decidedly dazed and confused Joe Perry, which he signs, and as we get ready for the picture I proceed to have the greatest conversation of my life.

Steven: (jokingly) Hey they say I have a zit on my face
Me: Nah man, you look great

Steven: Yeah, so do you, so do you

(Picture Taken)

Steven: Hey man, so are you doing ok?

Me: Yeah I’m doing great, thanks…

Steven: So where are you sitting?

Me: VIP Box 203
Steven: (aloud) Let’s this guy on stage for the show….

WTF?? It seems as though Steven knew why I was there and was informed of my medical situation. How did that happen? And in a move that displayed his graciousness and good heartedness, he immediately upgraded me to the best seat in the house.

I waited until the meet and greet was done, and I went with some of Aerosmith’s guys backstage to get me a pass to get on the stage. I then proceeded to the VIP box they had to watch ZZ Top open the show.

Now for the music…

I never really ‘got into’ ZZ Top. They’re just one of those bands that everyone loves to listen to and that plays good southern rock blues. In my VIP box I had a pretty good view of the stage, and the sound was damn good. The word I’d use to describe their sound is heavy; you feel the thickness of the strings and the deep, grungy, booming riffs crankin’ out of the amps. I wasn’t familiar with all of their songs, but they were all similar and pretty rockin’. After a finale that included La Grange and Tush, I decided that ZZ Top puts on a decent live show and was satisfied with their set.

Just a little bit about the atmosphere in the box. If you’ve ever been in a VIP box you’ll know its a totally different atmosphere than a lawn seat or even a regular pavilion seat. There are chairs around tables and waitresses that come around bringing food and drinks. To me it was very strange; it almost seemed as if the music was an afterthought, sort of like music to accompany dinner. I’d probably rather be in a regular seat during a concert (although I can’t really complain). The other thing that drove me nuts was the abundance of fat middle aged women getting drunk and trying (horribly) to dance. It really was not the greatest sight to see but I guess it’s inevitable at a concert like this.

So ZZ Top finished and there was a 45 minute break in between the bands, since Aerosmith has a shitload of equipment to set up. I met up with Ryan again, and we headed into the back again to get me set up on the stage. I got set up in a seat that was literally right on the side of the stage. About ten feet in front of me was the spot where the bass player would be jamming all night. [Editor’s note: Mike’s side of the stage. PJ fans know what I’m talking about.] I was seated next to a disabled lady named Cathy (I think it was Cathy, or Kathy) who was clearly a huge Aerosmith fan. When I told her this was my first show, she looked at me like I was nuts. The roadies helped us settle into our little area and told us that we definitely had the “best seats in the house”. There was a huge black curtain in front of us that pretty much blocked our view of most of the stage, but we were assured it would go down once the band got out. I felt like the kid from Almost Famous when he gets whisked backstage for the Stillwater show. Crazy.

Aerosmith walked onstage to Bob Dylan’s ‘Everybody must get stoned’ [Editor’s note: the song is actually called ‘Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35′], and the crowd happily sang along, reveling in the apparent condoning of drug use and drenched in the excitement of the oncoming foray of rock n’ roll. As Aerosmith started playing the chords to ‘Train Kept a Rollin,’ the huge curtains came down and we were struck with an incredible view of the stage and the 14 thousand fans in the stands and lawn. It was a surreal experience, and it kept getting better. They played hit after hit, including the full album ‘Toys in the Attic.’

Throughout the show Steven periodically would come to the right side of the stage and sing directly to Cathy, myself and the rest of those lucky enough to be on stage. But the best part of the night came during ‘Walk This Way’. Steven screamed Cathy’s name and ran over to let her sing a verse of the song with him, finishing off by giving her ‘a little kiss, like this.’ I took a picture with my phone (since my camera died halfway through the set) and the look on Cathy’s face directly afterwards was one of pure joy. She was so happy that her idols had granted her this opportunity, and she had shared in the rock star glory.

After the first set ended, Joe Perry came out and did a guitar battle with his Guitar Hero character who played on the big screen. The real Joe Perry eventually won, as the video game version burst into flames, and the rest of the band ran on stage to perform an encore of ‘Rag Doll’, and ‘Come Together’ (which kicked ass). When the show ended I chilled with Ryan and drove around the parking lot in our golf cart, hanging out with drunk chicks. I finally drove home at midnight, and here I am trying to retain the glory and excitement of the night. I have my pictures, autographs and backstage passes to remember the night by, but nothing will match actually being there.

The music, the rock stars, the experience was amazing; truly once in a lifetime.

[Editor’s note: Check out the video from the show. If you look to the little ramp on the left side of the stage, you can see some people sitting behind it. Gilad is the one in the black t-shirt with his arms crossed. Pretty sweet, considering that when I saw Aerosmith at the same venue back in ’01, I was in the back of the lawn section.]


Aerosmith- Come Together

ZZ Top- La Grange

Buy Aerosmith and ZZ Top @ Amazon.com

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Jun 20, 2009 11:50 PM

Andrew Bird: Radio City Music Hall

by Ariel

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It was my first time at Radio City Music Hall, and what stood out most to me were the bathrooms. I ventured downstairs to relieve myself after catching a few songs of opener Calexico’s set, and was taken aback by the amazingly luxurious bathroom that stood before me. There was an entire room with couches and comfy chairs leading into the room with the stalls, urinals, and sinks. This has absolutely nothing to do with the music itself, but it did exude the sense of high-class-ness (sic) that a venue like Radio City Music Hall represents.

It seemed that Andrew Bird himself was taken aback by the quality of the concert hall as well. A few songs into his performance he informed the crowd that “I don’t even know how we got here.”

Mr. Bird may not have been sure how he arrived to the venue (whether he was referring to literally being unsure of how he arrived at that night’s show, or he was speaking more existentially- being not quite sure how his solo career had brought him to such a prestigious venue) but he sure as hell put on a fantastic show.

This was my first time seeing Mr. Bird in concert, but I had been forewarned that his shows were something special. As an avid concert-goer, I took these words with a grain of salt, skeptically thinking that he couldn’t possibly be that great. I mean, it’s just an guy looping his violin- what’s so special about that.

And then, we began to hear music from behind the curtain- a sweet piercing violin sound. The curtains rose to reveal Mr. Bird standing alone with his violin perched neatly beneath his chin, playing the intro to Darkmatter. (Note: this seems to be something of a debate. Some setlists claim that a song entitled Sweetbreads was the opener. It seems that Sweetbreads is an earlier version of Darkmatter, and that it was that version which opened the show on Thursday night.)

But what made the show so amazing was Mr. Bird’s command of the music. He would begin each song by playing a short piece on his violin- either in the classic under-the-chin method, or turned sideways like a mandolin. After looping the piece, he would proceed to loop another piece on top of that. Sometimes more violin, sometimes some whistling, and other times some guitar. After all his looping was finished, he would proceed to play the entirety of the song with his band- continually aweing the crowd with their amazingly tight musical talents.

And beyond the music, his voice stands out as incredible. He has a soaring voice that filled Radio City quite well; at times piercing, at times sensual- but always incredible.

Though, I think I need to stop. Not because I have nothing more to say, but because I can’t quite think of how to say it. You can listen to his studio tracks, live bootlegs, watch youtube videos- but none of that can come close to actually seeing him live. This is one of those shows that you need to attend to properly understand. So, for lack of being able to competently describe the hold Mr. Bird and his bandmates had on the entire crowd for close to 2 hours, I will just implore you to see him live yourself. It is certainly something to be experienced.

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Jun 18, 2009 7:37 PM


by Ariel

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A few things I wanna let all of you guys know:

  1. The Eddie Vedder show was reblogged yesterday by the Pearl Jam superfan site Two Feet Thick. Check it out here.
  2. In less than an hour, I’ll be headed down for the Andrew Bird show at Radio City Music Hall. For those of you going, it’s bound to be an amazing show. For those not, look forward to a review coming up soonish.
  3. My file host is down again. I keep trying to get in touch with them, but they are being quite difficult about everything. If anyone has suggestions as to a better server, lemme know.

Other than that, things are pretty cool. Listening to Olin and the Moon’s new album, starting to like Silversun Pickups, and have recently discovered the amazingness (sic) of Cage the Elephant. Oh, and one more thing- Eddie Vedder played a new song at a few of the solo dates this tour. Once my files are back up, that one will be shared with you as well.

Till then, enjoy the music.

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Jun 16, 2009 10:11 PM

Eddie Vedder: Lyric Opera House Baltimore (2)

by Ariel

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It’s always difficult to transmit ones feelings about an experience to those who themselves have not experienced it. And so, I’ve always had trouble with concert reviews, especially when I’m writing for people who may not have seen this particular artist in concert themselves. Yet, when thinking about the Eddie Vedder solo show I attended last night, there’s only one word that comes to mind to describe the night:


My brothers and I arrived at the beautiful Lyric Opera House at 645PM for a show that officially began at 730, to ensure that we’d be able to buy as much merch as we wanted (an awesome poster for me, and t-shirts for them). The doors to the theater opened at 7, and we were greeted by ushers who handed out playbills; and so from the outset, it was clear that this was no ordinary concert- this was to be a night at the theater.

By the time Eddie came on a bit after 830 (Liam Finn opened the show- but more on that in a later post) the place was almost entirely filled up. When the lights finally went down, and the curtain came up, there was a mad rush through the theater doors, as the rest of the concert-going patrons filed in and quickly found their seats. Eddie walked out to thunderous applause.

A bit about the stage- a few stools, plush armchairs, a chair in the shape of two feet (you kinda have to see that one to know what I’m talking about), his amp with the bat-like wings on the top, a tiny bass drum box, and a few guitars, and a bottle of wine. Yet, instead of taking swigs directly from the bottle, Eddie had a glass with him, and it seemed that this touch of class was a microcosm for the entire night. Instead of a mosh pit, there were velvet seats, and instead of the crowd standing the entire time, Eddie urged everyone to sit down with him and enjoy the evening. And besides for the annoying drunken hecklers and their annoying screams of “play State of Love and Trust!” and “hey Eddie, I wanna party with you,” to which he responded- “what the fuck do you think we’ve been doing all night?” besides for those minor annoyances, the evening was successfully transformed from a rock concert into (in Yonah’s words) “a night at the theater.”

And sure, all of that added to the overall ambiance, but what made the show truly stunning was the music. Eddie opened with Walk the Cow, before segueing into a verse of Brain Damage (Pink Floyd) as an intro to Sometimes- by which time Eddie’s vocals began to truly shine through as brilliant. He moved onto Trouble, and then into Around the Bend, but not before heckling right back at the locals with his idea for a new song: “the words are ‘I’m from Baltimore and I’m an asshole,'” a jest that the crowd received in good humor, laughing along with Ed. From there Eddie played one last Pearl Jam song (I Am Mine) before moving into his Into the Wild tunes. He began that section of the show by letting the crowd know that Chris McCandlesses (the young man who Into the Wild is based on) sister was in the crowd tonight, hearing the songs live for the first time. It seemed as if letting us know that gave him a bit more energy to sing the songs, as he launched into (yes, I’m going to use the word again) stunning versions of Far Behind, No Ceiling, Guaranteed, and Rise. He then pulled out the Tom Waits classic Picture in a Frame, followed up by You’re True, and Open All Night by Bruce. And suddenly things were kicked up a notch- Driftin’, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, Let My Love Open the Door (!!!), Parting Ways, a beautiful sing-along version of Small Town, and a glorious acoustic rendition of Porch.

Thus endeth set 1.

The second set (first encore?) was riddled with guests. First Ed brought out Jerry Hannan for Society (Jerry wrote the song), then Liam Finn for Throw Your Arms Around me, and EJ Barnes for Golden State. Eddie continued on his own with Forever Young (as a happy birthday song to anyone who has a birthday in the coming year), Wishlist, and a hauntingly perfect version of Arc- pulled off with the aid of a looping machine, over which Eddie dubbed at least ten different vocal tracks. He finished Arc, and let it continue to play on a loop as he walked to the edge of the stage and shook hands with everyone lucky enough to be that close.

As the curtain went down, a few people headed for the exits, but most expected him to come back out with Liam (drums and vocals) and EJ (vocals) for a closer of Hard Sun. Not one to disappoint, Eddie returned in full force with this meager backing band, leading the entire crowd in the (finally) stand up sing along.

The show was a basketful of goodies for any PJ fan, with Forever Young, Throw Your Arms Around Me, and Let Love Open My Door. But beyond those covers, what made this show was Ed’s impeccable playing and singing, and his ability to command a room as a lone man on a stage. From heckling back at the hecklers, to telling stories about his 2 year old daughter questioning his lyrics (check it out here); this was an exceptionally special night for everyone in attendance.

If you get the chance to check Eddie out for his solo act, get off your butt and do it. It’s not the same as the full Pearl Jam experience, but it’s certainly something not to be missed.

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Jun 11, 2009 9:46 PM


by Ariel

So, my girlfriend’s sister and brother in law came in for the weekend. Being the awesome boyfriend that I am, I offered to watch their two young children while the girlfriend and her sister went out to a show. And while the 6 month old went to sleep right away, the 2 year old spent close to an hour crying for her “Ima,” “Daddy,” and just plain “out!”

She’s since cried herself to sleep, but in her honor, a ‘crying’ playlist is in order. Enjoy the songs!
P.S. I realize Cryin’ by Aerosmith would’ve been a perfect fit for this playlist- but I’m just not feeling it tonight. For some reason, I haven’t been so into Aerosmith lately. I apologize for those of you who are yearning for some Joe Perry/Steven Tyler action, but it’s not coming from me tonight.
Buy Ben HarperJack Johnson, and TV on the Radio @ Amazon.com
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Jun 8, 2009 12:17 AM

Jose Gonzalez: 930 Club (10/2/07)

by Ariel

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It’s Sunday, and that means another bootleg. This time, we have a Jose Gonzalez show from the 930 Club in DC. For those of you unfamiliar with Gonzalez’s work, this boot is a must listen to.
He crafts beautiful melodies with his classical guitar, over which he lulls listeners with his soothing tenor. His music is beautiful, captivating, and an overall pleasure to listen to. So check out the boot, and fall in love with this neo-folk genius.
Jose Gonzalez: 930 Clun (10/2/07)

All You Deliver
Stay in the Shade
In Our Nature
How Low
Down the Line
Killing for Love
Cycling Trivialities
Deadweight on Velveteen
Time to Send Someone Away
Small Town Boy

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Jun 5, 2009 6:54 PM

Dave Matthews Band: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King

by Ariel

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I haven’t bought a DMB album since 2000’s Everyday (an album which I quite enjoyed). I guess I saw them more as a live band than anything else, and didn’t feel any need to purchase their studio recordings. But for some reason, last night I decided to go out on a limb and iTunes their new album. I had heard some pretty good reviews of the album, and wanted to see if the hype was well deserved.

Additionally, this is the first album released since the tragic passing of saxaphonist Leroi Moore, and I knew that it was dedicated to his memory.

I could not have been more pleasantly surprised with what I heard. This band has taken an entirely new direction with this album. It’s as if recording the album in New Orleans forced the band to incorporate bluegrass and delta blues into the music- leaving them with a record that sounds as if it was soaked in a liter of whiskey before released to the public. But beyond the bluesy grooves and banjo fills, the horn section- sans the late great Moore- sounds staggeringly different.

The album opens up with the instrumental Grux, a recording of Lerio just noodling on his horn, while Carter adds a bit of precussion in the background. The album then kicks into high gear with Shake Me Like a Monkey, which opens with piercing trumpets- a stark contrast to Leroi’s constant saxaphone drone that marked DMB songs until now. Whether this was just a result of no longer having Lerio in the band, or an intentional departure, it’s clearly a new direction for this band’s sound. Shifting to the first single, Funny the Way It Is, the band moves back into familiar territory- even the horns sound Leroi-ish. Lying in the Hands of God sounds like a song Coldplay would’ve written if they were talented. Skipping ahead a few songs to Squirm, Dave and Co. pull out the big guns with this heavy blues track, before the hoedown jam of Alligator Pie. Seven has Dave using his voice creatively and Time Bomb begins slowly but gets insane about two and a half minutes into the song. (Actually, if I’m being totally honest- the riff played at the end of the song sounds mysteriously similar to The Rolling Stones’ song- Bitch, a track that DMB covered last summer. Hmmm.) The album ends off with two more chillers- My Baby Blue and You and Me, (which itself ends with a jam that sounds like a Leroi phrase that was looped over and over- and kinda sounds a bit weird).

So that’s my track by track analysis. But the album as a whole rocks my socks off. These guys rocked the Beacon Theater on Monday night, and the entire show is on Hulu. Check out the show, because these songs seem to translate quite well live.


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Jun 3, 2009 7:35 PM

Dave Matthews Band: Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King

by Ariel

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I haven’t bought a DMB album since 2000’s Everyday (an album which I quite enjoyed). I guess I saw them more as a live band than anything else, and didn’t feel any need to purchase their studio recordings. But for some reason, last night I decided to go out on a limb and iTunes their new album. I had heard some pretty good reviews of the album, and wanted to see if the hype was well deserved.

Additionally, this is the first album released since the tragic passing of saxaphonist Leroi Moore, and I knew that it was dedicated to his memory.

I could not have been more pleasantly surprised with what I heard. This band has taken an entirely new direction with this album. It’s as if recording the album in New Orleans forced the band to incorporate bluegrass and delta blues into the music- leaving them with a record that sounds as if it was soaked in a liter of whiskey before released to the public. But beyond the bluesy grooves and banjo fills, the horn section- sans the late great Moore- sounds staggeringly different.

The album opens up with the instrumental Grux, a recording of Lerio just noodling on his horn, while Carter adds a bit of precussion in the background. The album then kicks into high gear with Shake Me Like a Monkey, which opens with piercing trumpets- a stark contrast to Leroi’s constant saxaphone drone that marked DMB songs until now. Whether this was just a result of no longer having Lerio in the band, or an intentional departure, it’s clearly a new direction for this band’s sound. Shifting to the first single, Funny the Way It Is, the band moves back into familiar territory- even the horns sound Leroi-ish. Lying in the Hands of God sounds like a song Coldplay would’ve written if they were talented. Skipping ahead a few songs to Squirm, Dave and Co. pull out the big guns with this heavy blues track, before the hoedown jam of Alligator Pie. Seven has Dave using his voice creatively and Time Bomb begins slowly but gets insane about two and a half minutes into the song. (Actually, if I’m being totally honest- the riff played at the end of the song sounds mysteriously similar to The Rolling Stones’ song- Bitch, a track that DMB covered last summer. Hmmm.) The album ends off with two more chillers- My Baby Blue and You and Me, (which itself ends with a jam that sounds like a Leroi phrase that was looped over and over- and kinda sounds a bit weird).

So that’s my track by track analysis. But the album as a whole rocks my socks off. These guys rocked the Beacon Theater on Monday night, and the entire show is on Hulu. Check out the show, because these songs seem to translate quite well live.

Additionally, DMB will be on Jimmy Fallon tonight, so be sure to tune into NBC a few minutes before 1:30 AM EST to catch the performance.

Dave Matthews Band- Funny the Way It Is

Dave Matthews Band- Squirm

Dave Matthews Band- Alligator Pie (Cockadile)

Buy Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King @ Amazon.com

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Jun 3, 2009 1:16 AM

Pearl Jam: Holiday Single

by Ariel

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These guys have been all over the blogs as of late. Last week, about 300 unemployed Seattleites were “hired” to be extras on the music video of an unknown band. The band turned out to be Pearl Jam. Then, just yesterday, the guys debuted the Get Some, a new song off the forthcoming album (supposedly to be called Backspacer) on the debut of Conan Obrien’s new Late Show.

But that’s not what this post is about. We can discuss the new song later; first things first- the Pearl Jam holiday single finally arrived. I finally had a chance to give it a spin tonight, and was quite happy with what I hear. I’m mostly excited because both songs are acoustic, and thus game to be played at the Eddie Vedder show I’m going to in two weeks’ time. Santa Cruz is a chilled out rocker and Golden State is a beautiful duet between Eddie and Corin Tucker.

I feel particularly connected to listening to the single at this time, as I just returned from my 25 hours in LA a few hours ago (I had a friend’s wedding there). So, the California theme of the single definitely resonates with me.

So check out these tracks, try to get to an Eddie show, and keep your eyes and ears posted for some new PJ.

Pearl Jam- Santa Cruz

Pearl Jam- Golden State

Buy PJ @ Amazon.com

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May 31, 2009 12:13 PM

Fleet Foxes @ The Black Cat (7/7/08)

by Ariel

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It’s been a few weeks since we’ve done our Sunday Bootleg series. From moving apartments, to finals, to weddings- it’s been quite a busy past couple of weeks. But now I’m back, with a fantastic Fleet Foxes show from the Black Cat in DC last July.

What’s truly amazing about these guys is how spectacularly perfect their harmonies are. When going through my father’s records a few years ago, I came across a copy of CSNY’s live album, 4 Way Street. The first track I listened to was Find the Cost of Freedom, one of the greatest vocal songs of all time. But while the studio track is pristine, the live rendition left what to be desired. Not so for Fleet Foxes.

This was my greatest surprise when hearing this boot for the first time. I was astounded by their ability to perfectly recreate the layered vocals on every single song. There were no cracks, no off key slips, no pitchiness; none of that.

But don’t take my word for it, check out this beautiful concert for yourself.

Fleet Foxes @ The Black Cat
Sun Giant
Sun It Rises
Drops In the River
English House
White Winter Hymnal
Your Protector
He Doesn’t Know Why
Crayon Angels (Judee Sill cover)
Oliver James
Blue Ridge Mountains
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

Buy Fleet Foxes @ Amazon.com

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May 30, 2009 10:12 PM

Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest

by Ariel

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Grizzly Bear’s latest offering, Veckatimest, is the next step for all indie rock- the right direction for a genre of music that seems to have been stagnating in depressing acoustic ballads and balladeers for the past few years.

With this album, Grizzly Bear has properly positioned themselves amongst the leaders in this new indie movement- amongst the movers and shakers, not the posers. This Brooklyn based, Banana Republic poster boy style band looks a bit like Vampire Weekend on the outside- but has something entirely different going on on the inside. What stands out about their sound is how well the songs seem to flow with each other. The rhythms are tight and well constructed; the guitars sharp and distinct, and the vocals almost syrupy.

Take, for example, Two Weeks, the second track on the album. With chiming harmonies that would not sound out of place in an Apple ad, GB uses original rhythm styles and spares instrument placement to get this song. They could’ve easily used the same chords to write a boring acoustic song- with one vocal track singing the words that, frankly, I haven’t even taken the time to listen to- as every time I listen to this song, I’m captivated by the rest of the music. But they didn’t. They went a step further- taking this from one guy’s solo effort- to a track that has the touches of every member of the band (all of whom have fantastic voices, by the way).

And maybe that’s just it. That’s exactly what this second coming of indie rock is all about. We’ve heard the Elliot Smiths, and the Garden State soundtracks, and all the sad bastard music that goes with it. (I’m excluding Bon Iver, because I love his sad bastard music- but that’s a topic for a different post.) What we want now, is full band indie rock. Creative, innovative, and tasteful- we want bands that are doing new things, that are stretching the boundaries of music as we know it.

With vocals harmonies as good as anything by CSNY or Fleet Foxes, a psychedelic drone reminiscent of Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Black Angels, and original rhythms unlike anything I’ve heard before- Grizzly Bear has stuck indie rock gold with his new offering. Apparently, Radiohead knew what they were doing when they had these guys open up for them on last summer’s tour. It’s about time the rest of us followed suit and gave these guys the credit they deserve.

Grizzly Bear- Southern Point

Grizzly Bear- Two Weeks

Grizzly Bear- About Face

Buy GB @ Amazon.com

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May 27, 2009 12:47 AM

The Gaslight Anthem: State of Love and Trust

by Ariel

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Ok ok. This band isn’t the greatest. They sound like a cross between Allister and The Dropkick Murphys. Fine. I’ll admit it- I kind of like these guys’ sound. But that’s not what this post is about. We’re not going to talk about the skeleton in the closet that is my love for pop punk with nostalgic lyrics and sing-along choruses. We’re going to talk about Pearl Jam.

Why? you ask. Well, because this New Jersey band has been covering Pearl Jam’s classic track State of Love and Trust. They did it on Letterman (see the mp3) and in Milan (where, amazingly- the entire crown in the pub seemed to know all the lyrics. Pretty cool for a song that doesn’t appear on any of their albums. Check that one out on the video)

So, you may love these guys, and you may hate them- but we can all agree that they do a pretty rocking cover of State of Love and Trust.


The Gaslight Anthem- State of Love and Trust (Letterman)

The Gaslight Anthem- The ’59 Sound

The Gaslight Anthem- I Coulda Been a Contender

Buy TGA @ Amazon.com

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May 22, 2009 6:17 PM

Siamese Dream

by Ariel

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There may be those of you who disagree with me, but I’m pretty sure that Siamese Dream is the Smashing Pumpkins’ greatest album. Don’t give me Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Don’t give me artsy music videos. Rewind to pre- shaved head Billy, and to before every emotionally messed up teeny bopper out there owned the Zero t-shirt. Take a trip back to the Pumpkins’ second album.

This was an album wrought with depression, band fighting, and drug abuse. Bassist D’Arcy and guitarist James Iha had recently broken up. Corgan was suffering from depression and had just been through a nervous breakdown. Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain was hopelessly addicted to heroin. And Billy’s perfectionism didn’t do anything to help the band dynamic. Convinced that D’Arcy and Iha were sub-par musicians, Billy would overdub their parts- confident that he could do it better than them, and to ensure he got the sound he was looking for.

While the album ended up a ton of money over budget, and was released long after the expected release date, it all seemed to be worth it. Billy’s obsession, along with the guidance of produced Butch Vig, allowed this album to revolutionize the alternative sound, taking it beyond Seattle grunge, and extending it to noise rock a-la My Bloody Valentine. The heartfelt lyrics on the album clearly express Billy’s depression during this time, and the soft acoustic inspired ballads sound painfully true.

For the amazing noise, check out the middle section of Silverfuck, which basically chills for 3 full minutes, before kicking back into high gear with a wall of noise. For the quieter stuff, check out Sweet Sweet.

But wait- you may ask. Why am I reviewing this album now? Isn’t it 2009? This album came out in 1993, a whole 16 years ago. Well, to be honset, I just found a cheap copy of the record in a Barnes and Noble, and as it’s one of my more favorite albums of all time, I figured I’d purchase it. I’ve been listening to it non-stop since than, and figured I’d share with you a few of my favorite tracks. Enjoy!

Smashing Pumpkins- Silverfuck

Smashing Pumpkins- Geek USA

Smashing Pumpkins- Sweet Sweet

Buy the Pumpkins @ Amazon.com

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May 17, 2009 12:14 AM

The Arcade Fire: Ziggy Stardust for the 21st Century

by Ariel

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I was walking to school last week, listening to The Arcade Fire when I had a musical epiphany. Now, The Arcade Fire’s music could fit into more than a few musical genres; yet, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone describe them as glam rock. But I saw it, and apparently David Bowie did as well.

See, the epiphany I had was that of the obvious connection between The AC’s album Funeral, and David Bowie’s revolutionary The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

I’m going to take a step back for a second. In general, I do not think The Arcade Fire would be considered glam rock; I don’t even think that Funeral is a glam rock album. But there are certain moments that sound hauntingly similar.

It’s going to be difficult to convince you (the reader) of this fact, but I implore you to listen to both albums and then make a decision for yourself. But even before I do that, I’ll try to make a few comparisons. Both albums begin with slow wide open songs, before kicking it up a notch. But the strongest similarities, in my eyes, are in Bowie’s songs Soul Love and Moonage Daydream (which sound more like one two-part song than two distinct tracks) and The AC’s Wake Up. Both songs open similarly- vocally and harmonically. And both songs have 2nd parts that kick it up a notch and speed things up.

If you don’t believe me, just ask Bowie himself. As I began to do a bit of research for this post, I googled “the arcade fire and david bowie” to see what came up. I surprisingly came up with 231,000 hits. Apparently, Bowie was the one who discovered The Arcade Fire and, in the words of Wikipedia “brought them to the attention of label oweners.” So it was Bowie who basically made them popular beyond the blogging world.

But what did Bowie see in them? Why did he decide to take this young band under his wing and to ensure their major label success? Obviously, because of their similarities. Bowie heard a 21st century version of Ziggy Stardust and wanted to make them as popular as possible.

If you disagree with me, then you’re probably wrong, but you’re welcome to leave comments and insult my intelligence (as I have yours).

The Arcade Fire and David Bowie- Wake Up

The Arcade Fire- Five Years (David Bowie cover)



Buy Bowie and TAC @ Amazon.com

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May 15, 2009 4:36 AM

The Decemberists on Jay Leno

by Ariel

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Here’s a band I never really got. They always struck me as a boring carbon copy indie rock/folk band- nothing all that special, and certainly undeserving of all the press they’ve been getting.

That is, until I saw them on Jay Leno tonight. Where I always imagined them sounding sorta like a lame version of Joni Mitchell, they played “The Wanting Comes in Waves,” a song off their new album, a song that began like slowly, but built on itself until the band sounded like the demon child of Janis Joplin and Sonic Youth, between the female vocals rocking out the end and the noise rock feedback at the end of the track.

I’m not entirely sure what these guys used to sound like, what the rest of their new album sounds like, or what they’re trying to sound like. But this song is money. Just plain money


Buy The Decemberists @ Amazon.com

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May 13, 2009 8:02 PM

Fleet Foxes

by Ariel

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Why does this always happen? Time and again, every reputable music blog hails some unknown band, I give them a listen and decided they’re crap, only to come back months later and realize these bloggers were right on. It happened with Okkervil River, and now again with Fleet Foxes.

Actually, to set the record straight, my friend Max first told me to check these guys out over a year ago. I listened, thought they were boring folk rock, and dismissed them as another popular indie band with little to no talent, that I could never lover.

Fast forward to last week when, with my discovery of La Blogotheque, I found a video of Fleet Foxes singing Blue Ridge Mountains in an abandoned university rotunda in Paris. The mesmerizing vocal harmonies and acoustic instrumentation immediately grabbed me, and made me realize that this was a band to be contended with.

Now, my goal with this post is to describe the album to you, so as to convince you to give it a listen. The beautiful harmonies are reminiscent of CSNY; they have that rare ability to perfectly layer vocal harmonies. The actual songs sound like a cross between folk rock, and bluegrass. But while much of the music in those genres tend to rely on simplistic musicianship and lyrics, FF are anything but that. Their lyrics are smart and well thought out; they speak about love and life and tell stories quite well. Yet, I doubt that one discerns the actual words the first go around- not because they’re not prominent in the music; this is basically folk rock, vocals and lyrics are the driving forces behind most of the songs. Nay, a listener may miss out on the actual verbiage because the music itself is so overwhelmingly beautiful. Simple guitar parts are layered with mandolins and keyboards so expertly, that the vocals sometimes get lost in the music.

But not always. My favorite song on the album, Blue Ridge Mountains, is quite the opposite. Beginning with simple open chords, vocalist Robin Pecknold’s vocals prominently drive this gorgeously constructed song. Keys join in for most of the first verse, before dropping out for the vocally led interlude, which is surprisingly dissonant- lending more evidence to the fact that these guys seem to know what they’re doing musically. And then things take off. The entire band joins in as Pecknold’s voice soars high above the jangling music below him, carrying the entire song on his coattails. Not to say the instrumentation itself is somehow subpar; the song would stand on it’s own had it been an instrumental. Yet, the stunning vocals lift the song even higher.

This is a band that has a clear grasp on their talents, limitations, and what they’re trying to do with their music. I could go on describing each and every song on the album like this, but I’d rather you let the music inform you own opinions of them before I attempt to do so.

So give these guys a listen. And then go out and buy a copy of the album; this is one worth owning (thanks E!).

Fleet Foxes- Blue Ridge Mountains

Fleet Foxes- Sun It Rises

Fleet Foxes Your Protector

And here’s the La Blogotheque video I posted the other week, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet

PopoutFleet Foxes – A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Buy FF @ Amazon.com

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May 13, 2009 2:20 AM

My Morning Jacket: Lousisville, KY (11/23/05)

by Ariel

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And so, the school year has finally drawn to a close. If you’ve been wondering where I had gone, and why there had been few posts in the past week or so- it’s because finals and moving apartments have been dominating my life. But don’t despair! I’m back, and it’s summertime- so I will hopefully be posting more often than I’ve been doing lately. And don’t worry about me going away on any extended vacations; I spent all my money on Pearl Jam tickets this summer, so I’ll be spending the rest of my time working off those bills in my lab at Columbia.

But enough about me, back to the music. We skipped the Sunday bootleg, so I’m going to give you one on Tuesday night (or, possibly Wednesday by the time all these files get uploaded). I recently realized that I have not posted any full MMJ shows. (I know I recently posted a Jim James solo show, but that’s a different animal altogether.) This is quite the tragedy, as I frequently praise their amazingness (sic) as a live act.

As I write up this post, I’m listening to this boot for the first time. The sound quality is pretty good, and Jim’s voice sounds spot on (or as spot on as his unique falsetto can be). So give it a listen, and lemme know what you think.

My Morning Jacket: Louisville, KY (11/23/05)
Wordless Chorus
It Beats For You
One Big Holiday
What a Wonderful Man
I Will Sing You Songs
Lay Low
Off the Record
Louisville Pride
I Will Be There
At Dawn
Run Thru

Buy MMJ @ Amazon.com

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May 7, 2009 11:14 PM

Pearl Jam in Chicago

by Ariel

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So, PJ will be playing 2 dates in Chicago at the end of the summer, on August 23 and 24. I will be roadtripping out there for both show with a few friends. And here comes the first ever TSU contest! Well, it’s not actually a contest.

Basicaly a friend of mine is buying 10-Club tickets, but isn’t sure if he has a second person to go with him, as it’s difficult to find people willing to make the drive from the east coast to the mid-West. As PJ requires it’s club members to purchase tickets in pairs, if he wants to get the presale tickets, he’s going to need to buy 2 tix, and fast- as the presale runs out tomorrow night.

So, if you’re at all interested, comment with your information, and we’ll see if we can hook you up.

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May 7, 2009 4:22 PM

The Real Heaven is a Porch Filled With Monkeys and Me

by Ariel

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I recently came into possession of the entire Pearl Jam catalog. Now, you may ask: shouldn’t he already have every studio album that PJ has put out? I mean, c’mon- he seems to post them all the time. If I was that much of a fan, I would have all of their albums.

So let me rephrase- I just came into possession of every existing Pearl Jam recording. This includes not only the bootlegs that they’ve been releasing since the 2000 tour, but every unofficial audio and video bootleg as well- amounting to around 100 gig of Pearl Jam.

Now, the only challenge is to sort through it all, a challenge that I am excited to spend way more time than is healthy, doing. Today, I’ve listened to two 1994 shows the Orpheum Theater show in Boston on April 12th, and the Bayfront Amphitheater show in Miami on March 28th. Now, while the Orpheum show is a classic- choc full of rarities as Eddie allowed the crew to make up the setlist, it was the Miami show that caught my attention- specifically with this rendition of Porch.

The version begins quicker than than any other I’ve heard (and I’ve heard a fair share) and the band sounds incredibly crisp as well. And then, they took it to another level. While the band jams out, instead of climbing precariously into the rafters (as he was known to do) Eddie begins singing. It’s difficult to make it out in the beginning, and then it becomes clear that he’s singing The Pixies song: Monkey Gone to Heaven. And if this wasn’t enough, he launched into the Who’s classic The Real Me.

So check out the track, and revel in the wild boar-like intensity of the song.

Pearl Jam- Porch (Miami 3/28/94)

The Who- The Real Me

The Pixies- Monkey Gone to Heaven

Buy PJ, The Who, and SY @ Amazon.com

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May 6, 2009 12:24 PM

Delta Spirit

by Ariel

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And finally, we’re back. Mp3s are up and running (for now, at least), and I can finally share some great music with you.

For some inexplicable reason, during finals I tend to fall in love with tons of new music. This semester has been no different. Thanks, primarily to La Blogotheque, I’ve been listening to a ton of new bands- most of whom I will post about eventually. But today, I would like to do a post on a San Diegan (yes, San Diegan is the correct term for people from San Diego) band called Delta Spirit. These raucous rockers play their instruments with a sense of their own impending mortality- as if if they don’t play loudly or intensely enough, something terrible may happen. So they “throw down the mic” (figuratively) on every song, playing with the intensity of a coke addict with a penchant for soulful northwestern folk rock.

Now, I realize that calling them “soulful northwestern folk rock” may immediately convince you that these guys sound exactly like Neil Young: he sings soulfully, is from the northwest (is Canada NW?), and definitely plays a ton of folk rock. Yet, this is an entirely different brand of northwestern folk soul, or as I like to call it- NWFS.

So check out the videos (of course, from La Blogotheque) and the mp3s (yay! we can post mp3s again) posted below. And if you think these guys suck, then I truly feel for you, because if that’s the case, chances are you have a lump of coal where your heart should be, and a soul that’s devoid of all feeling. And if you give them a second listen, and still don’t get it, then watch the video and pay close attention to the singer’s face as he sings. It’s pretty freaking amazing.

PopoutDelta Spirit – People Turn Around from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Delta Spirit- Gimme Some Motivation

Delta Spirit- People, Turn Around

Delta Spirit- Trachcan

Delta Spirit- People C’mon

Buy Delta Spirit @ Amazon.com

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May 5, 2009 6:47 PM

Iron and Wine- Boy With a Coin

by Ariel

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So, the file host is still being annoying and not allowing me to upload. Additionally, it’s reading week- so I’m kind of really busy. But in the meantime, check out this beautiful video. I’ve never really been into Iron and Wine, but after this video, I’m definitely going to check out more of their stuff.

Iron & Wine- Boy With A Coin

Buy I&W @ Amazon.com

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May 3, 2009 9:23 PM

La Blogotheque

by Ariel

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Since the file host is down again, I figure I might as well post a great website that I just discovered. For anyone who likes good music, and good film- this site will be a gold mine. La Blogotheque features filmmaker Vincent Moon’s avant garde music videos with various famous artists. Basically, Moon and these musicians walked around the streets of Paris and they played while he filmed. But these aren’t just any live videos- each one of them has something more.

He’s got Animal Collective playing an enchanting rhythm on a shopping cart pushed by a random dude, Jason Mraz playing It’s A Lovely Day with a homeless man on the street, The Arcade Fire playing Neon Bible in an elevator, Andrew Bird just playing as he walks through the streets, and many more that I have yet to watch.

But beyond being cool videos, what exactly does is the point of the videos? What propels Mr. Moon to make these videos? And even further, what propels the musicians to agree to these videos? And I think the answer is quite simple: this is art. While I don’t think this is the future of music, it’s an interesting direction to take music. The convolution of creative cinematography and beautifully crafted rhythms fits impeccably well together in all of Moon’s videos. Moon wants to create something unique and entertaining, and all of these musicians seem to want to be a part of it.

So check out the site, and here are a few of the videos for your viewing pleasure:

PopoutFleet Foxes – A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

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Apr 29, 2009 11:51 PM

The Deadly Snakes

by Ariel

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I love searching through my iTunes, and discovering entire albums that I’ve never yet listened to. The Deadly Snakes are such a band. I’m pretty sure a friend of mine (Paul Adam) gave me this album, but at the time, I had no space on my iPod and thus- never really got around to listening to it.

So I have them a listen to today, and discovered an amazingly eclectic band. The Deadly Snakes were formed in 1996 for a one-time gig at a friends birthday party, but decided to continue on as a band, and eventually became pretty popular in the Toronto scene. Their sound is something of a mix between psychedelic rock, country/Americana, and straight up blues. Whether this is an effect of their not being able to decide on one specific genre, or an impressive ability to cross-over different styles, is something for you to decide.

But if you want to, you’re going to have to give them a listen to first.

The Deadly Snakes- Debt Collection

The Deadly Snakes- High Prices Going Down

The Deadly Snakes- So Young & So Cruel

Buy The Deadly Snakes @ Amazon.com

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Apr 27, 2009 1:33 AM

Andrew Bird: Live @ the 930 Club

by Ariel

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I guess it was only a matter of time before I was to come under the enchanting spell that Andrew Bird casts with his music. Every aspect of his music is incredibly appealing. As a classically trained violinist (thanks E!) Mr. Bird is able to integrate sounds into his songs, that most rock bands are unable to utilize. But beyond his virtuosic instrumental talents, his singing/whistling too, is quite stellar. Using a voice that sounds at times like Thom Yorke, and at other times like Jim James (thanks again E!) Mr. Bird has a voice that convinces a listener to listen closely, because this guy has something soulfully important to say. Ok, he may be singing about board games or loving his own songs- but, as with many great musicians and songwriters, his message isn’t driven my words. The lyrics are merely an additional media to help carry his music to the masses. It’s the sounds themselves that are important. What Mr. Bird has to say isn’t expressed in a textual message- it’s in a passionate whistle, or in a whimsical yelp, or in a shredded violin run.

This is music at it’s purest. It isn’t lyrical poetry or storytelling. It’s pure unadulterated musical greatness. And it’s glorious. So check him out, and be sure to listen to this concert from this past February, recorded in the 930 Club in DC. As you will soon see, while his studio recordings are phenomenally well done, it’s as a live musician that he truly shines.

Andrew Bird: Live @ the 930 Club

Water Jet Cliche


Oh No


Natural Disaster



Not A Robot, But A Ghost




Fitz and the Dizzyspells



Fake Palindromes

Why? [Encore]

Tables and Chairs [Encore]

Buy Andrew Bird @ Amazon.com

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Apr 24, 2009 1:46 PM

Eddie Vedder Links Re-Posted

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Hey peoples. Now that my files are working again, I uploaded the EV show onto my file hoster. They should be much easier to download now. Check it out.

Again, sorry for the temporary inconvenience, and hopefully we’re back up for good.

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Apr 24, 2009 11:40 AM

Deer Tick Throws Down The Mic

by Ariel

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I was listening to a podcast of a Raconteurs show when I heard NPR’s Bob Boilen announce that “Jack White threw down the mic.” While it soon became clear that Boilen was making a literal reference to White having actually thrown the microphone (along with it’s stand) to the floor, following the conclusion of their set, at first I wasn’t so sure. At first, it seemed to me like some sort of creative way to desribe the intensity of the performance.

And then it occurred to me that music journalists, critics, and bloggers are always trying to come up with new ways to describe the music they hear. Striving to be creative and original is something that isn’t always so easy when it comes to using words to paint an audial picture. Some writers have a knack for it. Those who frequent this blog know of my obsession with Lester Bangs, and much of my fascination stems from his unique style of critical prose and his ability to express how he feels about a particular song/album/artist/ band.

I too, am always looking for new musical idioms; new ways to describe the sounds I hear and wish to share with you. So, I think it would be appropriate to describe Deer Tick as having “thrown down the mic.” Comprised of only a guitarist, a drummer, and a cellist (celloist?), their infectious sound combines folksy blues with a vocalist who sounds like he’s been smoking for the past 70 years- an incredible feat considering these guys are in their 20s. Basically, these guys have crafted, and phenomenally well at that, old-man country blues songs. That they’re able to sound like geriatric alcoholics is only a testament to their incredible talents. Check ’em out, and celebrate the fact that my file hosting server seems to be back up. More blogs for everyone!

Deer Tick- Easy

Deer Tick- Still Crazy After All These Years

Buy Deer Tick @ Amazon.com

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Apr 21, 2009 12:08 AM

Eddie Vedder: Live in Chicago

by Ariel

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So, as many of you hopefully know, Eddie Vedder will be playing a handful (well, a few hands full) of shows early this summer. To my excitement, he decided to play two dates in my hometown of Baltimore, MD. The venue is the beautiful Lyric Opera house, and on June 15th, I will be one of 2564 lucky fans in attendance. I may not have the closest seats, but the venue is small and intimate enough that every seat in the house is bound to be amazing.

In preparation for this exciting show, I’ve decided to share an amazing Eddie boot from last year. This is his second Chicago show, the last date from his solo tour last summer. Enjoy.

Eddie Vedder: Live in Chicago


Girl From the North Country

I Am Mine

Dead Man Walking

Brain Damage

Masters of War

I Can’t Explain

Setting Forth


No Ceiling


Soon Forget

I’m One


You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away

Elderly Woman

All the Way


Throw Your Arms Around Me




Let My Love Open the Door


Hard Sun

Buy EV @ Amazon.com

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Apr 19, 2009 11:27 AM

Web Sheriffs and Musical Freedom

by Ariel

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Music, in our glorious era of technological advancement, has done nothing but surge forward. The internet has been able to literally bring music to the masses; allowing bloggers in Kalamazoo County to listen to bands from Finland, without forcing the fan to travel to Europe, or the band to do a world tour.

Yet, despite all the glory that the internet has to offer in terms of spreading music to the masses, something you would assume both the fans (for obvious reasons) and the musicians (for popularity reasons) would appreciate, not everybody is so happy about the state of digitized music these days.

Just yesterday, I was reading an article in Rolling Stone Magazine about a Web Sheriff. Apparently, bands like Animal Collective, Van Morrison, and Prince have hired this individual to remove links to their leaked music, websites that contain photos of the band, and in Prince’s case, even a photograph of a fan’s tattoo of Prince’s likeness.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I do not purchase every single song that I have on my computer. And I love getting leaked albums early. In the past few months I’ve listened to leaked copies of Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, U2’s No Line on the Horizon, and Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest (review post coming). And I know this may make me guilty of certain copyright laws, and who knows, the Web Sherriff may be coming for me next.

So let’s start with the basics. I realize that musicians need to make money, and I realize that selling music is how they do that. And I don’t want to go around justifying my downloads- that seems apologetic, and I hate that. But I don’t understand bands that aren’t willing to give away their music for free, at least for a time. Take bands like Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, and Girl Talk. All of these bands offered their new albums for download, allowing the fan to choose the price. Present this money-making scheme to an economics and they’ll laugh at you. But somehow, it worked. Radiohead fans were so grateful for a new album, that many of them decided to pay for an album they could’ve gotten pro-bono. Maybe they looked at it as a donation to the band. Maybe they saw it as a ‘thank you’ gift for writing some of the best music of all time. Or maybe they just felt guilty receiving a piece of art without paying for it. Whatever it was, Radiohead actually made money on these free downloads.

But let’s say they didn’t. Take Girl Talk, for whom fans probably weren’t as willing to shell out a few bucks. What did he lose by offering the album for free? You could say he lost potential sales, but then again, he also probably gained a ton of fans. I myself never would have made it to a Girl Talk concert had I not downloaded his album (legally, on his site). Girl Talk probably wouldn’t have received the positive press that he did after deciding to give away the album, had he tried to sell it. He probably wouldn’t have sold out Terminal 5 in Manhattan three nights in a row either. So, while he may have lost a bit in the CD sales department, he gained a ton in fans and concert income.

And I think that’s the point. Digital music, in my opinion, should be free. If fans want an actual copy of the album, with album art, thank yous, and a lyric sheet, then they can pay for it. If fans want see a band play their album live, then they should pay for that. These are tactile things that can be bought and sold, and these are things in demand. But digital downloads, mostly due to the fact that they can be copied so easily, with no actual cost, make them harder to sell, and harder to convince people to buy.

But while this is something for the musicians to decide for themselves, it’s at the Web Sheriff that I direct this post. There is nothing as despicable as a man who’s job it is to go around the internet, sending threatening warning emails to young music fans who truly love the music they’re listening to, and are doing whatever it takes to get that out there to the masses. These are the biggest fans out there, and some bands and their Sheriff are taking huge shits on these kids; kids who have no way of fighting back, who have no way of knowing that it isn’t the least bit illegal to post picture of Van Morrison, or pictures of Prince tattoos.

Who do these artists think they’re fighting? Do they think these are seedy music haters, sitting in their basements, contriving ideas of how to destroy the music business? No. These are music’s biggest fans. These are they kids who love the bands, who buy Rolling Stone magazine, who follow the bands all summer on concert, who write loving posts about their heros. These are the kids who are getting music out to the masses- something the record companies seem to be at a loss to do.

As Lester Bang’s beautifully put it; “The ultimate sin of any performer is contempt for the audience.” So today, I raise my glass to all those music bloggers out there. Let’s drink to their continued success, and to the failure of Web Sheriffs everywhere.

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Apr 14, 2009 12:40 PM

Spin the Black Circle

by Ariel

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There’s something magical about buying a new record. Ripping off the plastic covering, spreading the cardboard open, sliding the vinyl disc out. The album art, the creative inside casing, the Thank Yous, the excitement of putting the record on the player and dropping the needle down. There’s just something about it that makes listening to music so amazing.

Now, dissenters will claim that no musical quality can come close to the digital prowess that CDs can offer. And they’re totally right. As an electrical engineering student, I know the science behind analog and digital. Everything I’ve learned should tell me that CDs should sound superior to records.

The problem is, they don’t. Sure, sometimes there’s a bit of hissing or buzzing if the record is dusty or if the needle is dirty. But the overall sound is warmer, richer, and more enjoyable to listen to. One of my Professors, the very one who taught us everything we know about digital and analog systems, after going through all the specifics of digital music sampling, and after explaining to us how digital is the best way to accurately recreate the sound; after all this he threw up his hands and admitted that he still thinks records sound better.

Maybe all of us record listeners are shutting our ears for the sake of nostalgia (and for myself, nostalgia for a time before I was born). Maybe we just want to like records because it allows us to snub trendy mp3 players for chic cool turntables.

All this could be true. Yet, as I sit here listening to my newly purchased copy of Radiohead’s In Rainbows on vinyl, it somehow sounds better than it has ever sounded before. Better than listening to the mp3s that were sampled at 160kbps through my $150 headphones. My speakers are emitting a warm sound that seems to envelop the entire room. Sure, the drums may not be as sharp as they are on a digital copy, but the rest of the sound seems to be superior.

“But wait,” you interrupt. “Even if a record sounds better, I’d rather have a way of getting it onto my iPod.” Herein lies the biggest pitfall (in my opinion) of record sales. Portability of music is probably the most important thing to people nowadays. Take a look at headphones, for example. Over-ear headphones are cheaper than in-ear ones, and the sound is also exponentially better. Consumers, however, prefer the in-ear buds, which allow more portability. So, for someone who doesn’t want to illegally download a digital copy of an album they just purchased, records seem to be a pretty silly purchase.

I would concur, though I myself think that as long as I’ve purchased a copy of the album, be it in analog or digital form, I should be able to download a digital copy of the album. I think that it should be the responsibility of the record companies to provide record purchasers with digital copies to go along with their analog purchase. The buyer just spent 20 bucks on a record- throwing in some digital downloads would be nice. And it’s not like this would cost the record companies anything- downloads are absolutely free.

My Morning Jacket has taken this a step further. Included in each of their records (at least in the ones that I saw in Record and Tape Traders) is a CD copy of the album purchased. Wow! What innovation! How corteous of them! They took my download idea a step further and actually included a physical CD. When I saw this, I put down my $12.99 CD of their 2003 album It Still Moves and picked up the $19.99 record and CD combo and marched right to the checkout counter.

While paying for my two records (In Rainbows and It Still Moves, in case you’ve already forgotten) I realized that both of these bands found a way to give their fans free digital copies.

Radiohead brilliantly gave them away for free on their website. I say brilliantly, because tons of fans still decided to purcahse the album. In Rainbows had the most sales of any record in all of 2008. It could be that all Radiohead fans are pompous audiophiles who refuse to listen to anything digital, or it could be that these fans were so appreciative of getting an amazing album for free that they were willing, nay, wanted to go out an purchase a copy of the album.

And MMJ’s decision to include CDs with their records is just another all-star move by an all-star band. If you’ve ever been to an MMJ show, you’ll know that these guys are all about the fans. When these guys played MSG on New Years, they seemed genuinely overjoyed to be playing such a venue on such a night. They were like little kids, and they kept thanking the fans over and over again. So, the fact that these guys decided to give a little bit back to their fans is no surprise to me.

So, musicians, we’ll make a deal with you. We’ll stop downloading all of your music and we’ll purchase your records. Just make sure to throw in some digital goods along with the package.

Radiohead- Like Spinning Plates

Pearl Jam- Spin the Black Circle

Olin & the Moon- Records

Buy RadioheadPearl Jam, and Olin & the Moon @ Amazon.com

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Apr 13, 2009 1:13 PM

Indie Rock Cred

by Ariel

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Or: The Death of True Music Elitism

I was sitting in the Yeshiva College writing center the other week, when I overheard a few professors discussing how much easier academic research is, now that everything is on the internet. And it got me thinking about how Al Gore’s invention affected not only one’s ability to research more accurately and efficiently, but it also changed media as we know it.

Due in part to the fact that I’m currently reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, his magnum opus of a novel that explores (among many things) the addictive aspects of entertainment, media and entertainment have been on the mind.

Back in the day, in order to watch TV or movies or listen to music online- you needed to either stream them, or download them; both illegal. Movies and television have made bold steps in the right direction, with sites like Hulu that allow interneters to stream media along with commercial breaks. Music, however, doesn’t seem willing to make that next step.

Yet, while those who make internet music laws don’t seem to be budging, those sharing music on the internet are at the forefront of the industry, and seem to be the new critics that rock radio has desperately needed for the last ten years.

When I grew up, I got all of my music from the radio. The system worked well when 98 Rock and WHFS played Pearl Jam, Nirvana, STP, Weezer, and the Pumpkins. But when bands like Puddle of Mudd started getting absurd amounts of radio play, I was forced to settle for classic rock radio. Not to say there’s anything wrong with classic rock, I just don’t aspire to the belief that rock died in the late 60s or early 70s. I believe that great music continues to be made, and will continue to do so as long as creative and emotionally distressed people are out there to create it. The key is being able to find it.

Which brings to light the music blog world. In the past three years, I’ve probably been exposed to more music that I never would have heard of had I not begun perusing what the internet had to offer. I never would’ve known about Girl Talk, would never have given My Morning Jacket a second chance, and certainly wouldn’t have discovered bands like Daft Punk, Animal Collective, Andrew Bird, Band of Horses, or The Arcade Fire.

But while this exposure is great for both bands and fans, it takes something away from the music. True music geeks used to be able to haughtily snub us radio folk, chiding us by saying that the music we were listening to was nothing compared to the stuff they liked. We never really knew where they got their music from- I myself can’t imagine discovering this stuff withtout the internet. But somehow they found it and were able to throw it in our faces.

These ivory tower, greasy haired, Licorice Pizza loving, geeks would retreat to their musical nerderies and would revel in the fact that they listened to bands with true indie rock cred, and that somehow, because of that, they were better people. But today, in the day of sites like Stereogum and Pitchfork, where bands like Animal Collective are hailed, and radio starts like Miley Cyrus snubbed, what exactly does indie cred mean anymore?

In a word- it means nothing, just as it should. To asses somethings worth based on it’s unpopularity is counterintuitive, and shows little faith in mankind’s ability to assess good art. Art critics don’t complain that Picasso is too famous, nor do literary nuts complain that Hawthorne sold too many novels.

So yes, while I understand that sometimes it sucks for the fans when bands start playing larger venues, try not to complain too much. Sometimes it’s nice when good art is appreciated by the masses, and it’s always cool to be able to claim that you saw The Beatles before they were famous. But tell anyone that spent their life listening to the radio that you saw Captain Beefheart before he was famous, and a blank look will register on their face- a look that says:
a. Who the hell is Captain Beefheart?
b. If he was famous, I’d probably have heard of him?
and c. Why are you telling me this?

And so, here are a few bands or songs that you’ve probably never heard before. Because isn’t that the point of this whole blog thing? Oh, and if you have heard any of the songs before, let us all know about your musical awesomeness with a comment. Cause (sic) us writers love comments, and don’t see nearly enough of them.

The Whipsaws- 60 Watt

TV on the Radio- DLZ

The Pixies- Monkey Gone To Heaven

Buy these guys @ Amazon.com

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Apr 12, 2009 12:20 PM

Okkervil River live in DC: 9/30/07

by Ariel

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And next in our Sunday Bootleg Series we have…. Okkervil River!

Okkervil River puts on a fantastic live show. I’ve only seen them once, but they managed to blow me away. So check out this show, and next time they come around, make sure you’re in attendance.

Okkervil River: Live in DC
A King and A Queen

It Ends With A Fall

No Key, No Plan

The Latest Toughs

A Girl In Port

Song of Our So-Called Friend

Plus Ones

A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene

Unless It’s Kicks


So Come Back, I Am Waiting

Our Life is Not A Movie, Or Maybe

For Real

John Allyn Smith Sails

A Stone

Okkervil River Song


Buy Okkervil River @ Amazon.com

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Apr 8, 2009 2:15 AM

The Exodus, In the Style of Metallica

by Ariel

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Wednesday night marks the anniversary of the Jews Exodus from Egypt. To celebrate that fact, let’s remember the Exodus in the best way possible- through the medium of metal music. Metallica, in their song Creeping Death, retold the story of the final plague- death of the firstborn. While the theme of death is in no way foreign in Metallica’s music, the Bible is.

So let’s celebrate this holiday by listening to these guys’ artistic interpretation of the final and most deadly of all of the plagues. Happy holidays!

Metallica- Creeping Death

Buy Metallica @ Amazon.com

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Apr 6, 2009 10:59 PM

Jim James @ Newport Folk Festival 2008

by Ariel

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My Morning Jacket may very well be the best live band consistently today- a fact that I’ve said before, and one that I will probably repeat over and over. The band’s ability to interweave their well written songs with exciting jamming is something that no one does as well as them. As such, one might think that a solo show by Jim James, MMJ’s frontman, would leave what to be desired.

Surprisingly, this isn’t so. Similar to Pearl Jam’s frontman Eddie Vedder, James manages to put on an exciting solo show, despite missing the backing of his phenomenal live band. James’ reworking of MMJ’s tunes sounds great, and this show is a ton of fun to listen to.

Jim James @ Newport Folk Festival 2008
Tonite I Want To Celebrate With You

Sec Walkin

It Beats 4 U

Wonderful (The Way I Feel)


Look at You


Bermuda Highway

The Way That He Sings

What a Wonderful Man

When You Are Who You Are


Smokin’ From Shootin’



Buy Jim James @ Amazon.com

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Apr 5, 2009 7:07 PM

The Black Keys: Live @ the 9:30 Club

by Ariel

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It’s Sunday afternoon, and time for another bootleg. Not sure if this is going to happen every Sunday, but I’ll do my best to keep it up.

This week, we’ve got a boot of the Black Keys, ripped from an NPR podcast of their May 18th 2008 concert at the 9:30 Club in DC. After hearing this boot, I desperately want to see the Keys in concert. To recreate such a unique brand of heavy blues in concert would be impressive with a full band; it’s nothing short of incredible with just a guitarist and a drummer.

Not too much more need be said about this boot. The quality is great and the band sounds awesome, and so- I implore you to download this boot. You won’t be disappointed.

The Black Keys: Live @ the 9:30 Club
Girl On My Mind

Set You Free


10 A.M. Automatic

Same Old Thing

Stack Shot Billy


You’re the One

Strange Times

Oceans and Streams

Your Touch


Remember When (Part B)

I’m Glad

No Trust

I Got Mine

Psychotic Girl

‘Till I Get My Way

Buy the Black Keys @ Amazon.com

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Mar 31, 2009 2:40 PM

Obadiah Parker

by Ariel

There’s a pretty decent chance some of you have heard of Matt Weddle, the singer-songwriter-guitarist for the folk trio Obadiah Parker. You may have heard his cover of Outkast’s Hey Ya, on which he took the hip hop track and transformed it into an acoustic masterpiece.

Well, if you liked that one, check out the cover of Radiohead’s Idioteque. The sound isn’t the greatest, but the track is quite amazing. I implore you to give this one a chance, even if you’re bored by the piano intro. The meat of the song is just fantastico (sic).

Thanks E!

Obadiah Parker- Idioteque

Obadiah Parker- Hey Ya

Buy Obadiah Parler @ Amazon.com

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Mar 30, 2009 4:28 PM

Monday Morning Covers

by Ariel

On this deceivingly cold Spring Monday afternoon, I think it’s time for a few phenomenal cover songs. I have nothing else to say, partially because I have no desire to ramble about these bands right now, but mainly because class has begun, and I should start paying attention.

Screaming Trees- Tales of Brave Ulysses (Cream cover)

John West- Umbrella (Rihanna)

The Black Keys- She Said, She Said (Beatles cover)

Buy these guys @ Amazon.com

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Mar 29, 2009 1:20 PM

The Raconteurs: Live @ Glastonbury 2008

by Ariel

This is a band that I’ve been pining to see in concert for a very long time. Hearing this boot only makes it worse. This short set (which is even shorter in mp3 version, as 4 songs seem to be missing from my version of the show) is amazingly energetic and charged. This is a band that whose sound and talents fit so perfectly in a live setting. Their musicianship is honed and phenomenal, they work off each other well, and they just rock so freaking hard.

So, if you’ve never heard their live stuff, or even never heard of them before- crank up your headphones and check this boot out; it’s sure to blow you away.

The Raconteurs: Live @ Glastonbury 2008
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Mar 27, 2009 1:36 PM

Radiohead with the USC Marching Band

by Ariel

I’ve been meaning to post this song for a while, but never got around to it. For those of you who watched the Grammy’s you probably saw Radiohead’s phenomenal performance of their song 15 Step, accompanied by the USC Marching Band.

The percussive heaviness of the song makes it the perfect one to play with an entire marching band. So check out the video, and 2 mp3s of the live track below. It’s two different versions, and I’m not sure which one I like better, so I’m posting both of them. You decide which one you like. Enjoy!

Radiohead- 15 Step (w/USC Marching Band) [1]

Radiohead- 15 Step (w/USC Marching Band) [2]

Buy Radiohead @ Amazon.com

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Mar 26, 2009 3:36 PM

The Kinky Wizards

by Ariel

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What is this?
It’s Vince and Justin.

Who’s that?

The little skate fuckers.

No way.

Yes way.
It’s really… it’s really fucking good

Ever since I first saw High Fidelity, I totally agreed with John Cusak and Jack Black’s characters: the song really was good. But I had no idea who wrote it, what it was, or where I could find it. Until today.

Apparently the song, which is attributed to Vince and Justin’s band The Kinky Wizards, was written by a band called Royal Trux. I don’t know very much about the band or any of their other songs, but this one is pretty damn awesome.

Royal Trux- The Inside Game

Buy Royal Trux @ Amazon.com

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Mar 25, 2009 8:46 PM

Pearl Jam: Revisited

by Ariel

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This week, Pearl Jam finally released their long awaited remixed version of their debut album Ten. And it’s about freaking time. The band had been begging producer Brendan O’Brien to remix the disc since the band was working on their sophomore album Vs. (Sic– I’m really not sure how to put a period at the end of a sentence when the last word in the sentence has a period in it. Should it be Vs. or Vs..?)

Yet, while the band wanted the album redone, O’Brien was hesitant, as he didn’t want to mess with such a classic album. And there’s something to be said for that. There’s something to be said for listening to music in it’s original context, with all the errors and issues that go along with it. There’s something much more musically fulfilling about listening to a Dylan record, where you can hear him catching his breath and his fingers scratching the strings, than a Boston record that’s been overproduced so many times with so many guitar tracks that it almost sounds fake.

But then again, by remixing the album, PJ wasn’t producing it further; they were taking a step back. The original album ended up being overproduced, with their heavy grungy sound being a bit muffled with syrupy reverb, and cutting back the edge from the vocals, drums, and guitars. When comparing the original album to the remixed version, it almost sounds like the tone knob had been turned down for the past 18 years, and suddenly O’Brien cranked it back up- allowing us to finally hear all the secrets Ten had to offer.

The remixed version is grittier in every way, but probably most in terms of drums. I noticed it during my first listen-through, and Rolling Stone commented on it as well in their latest issue: Dave Krusen was an absolute beast. So to give a feel for what I mean, check out these two drum heavy tracks.

Pearl Jam- Why Go (remixed)

Pearl Jam- Deep (remixed)

Buy Pearl Jam @ Amazon.com

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Mar 23, 2009 8:44 PM

The Dead Weather

by Ariel

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Jack White can’t seem to do wrong. Whether he’s playing loose garage rock and tight blues with the White Stripes or straight up rock and roll with the Raconteurs, here is a guy who always adds his own flair of musical talent to whatever project he’s working with.

So, of course, it’s not surprising to hear that he has a new band- The Dead Weather. While touring with The Kills this summer, Jack White teamed up with Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence, and Kills’ singer Alison Mosshart to record Are ‘Friends’ Electric, a psychedelic rocker by Gary Numan. With White taking his long forgotten place behind the drumkit (the first instrument he learned), Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Fertita soon joined their ranks to even out the band.

Their music sounds both familiar and new at the same time, taking it’s cues from both of White’s former bands, but adding a unique psychedelic feel to some of the songs, and a distincly late 60s/ early 70s fuzz sound to the tracks.

So check out this third offering from Jack White, who seems to be falling into the role of the musical visionary with more ideas whirling around his head than time or bandmates to actualize them.

The Dead Weather- Are ‘Friends’ Electric

The Dead Weather- Hang You From the Heavens

Buy The Dead Weather on iTunes

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Mar 18, 2009 12:41 PM

Ben Harper: Live @ Bonnaroo 2007

by Ariel

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It was almost two years ago when I first heard this bootleg. I was sitting in my sister’s Ramat Aviv apartment, jet lagged out of my mind from arriving in Israel two days before. So, at 2 in the morning, instead of sleeping, I was watching a live video broadcast of Bonnaroo. When I tuned in on my computer, Ben Harper was in the middle of an amazing rendition of Dazed and Confused with John Paul Jones. I quickly began to rip the video so that I would be able to retain the audio. And thus, I came into possession of part of this bootleg.

But it wasn’t complete. I had missed the first half of the set, and the songs were interrupted whenever the video feed stuttered or went silent. I tried to retrieve the rest of the set by ripping YouTube videos (you’ll remember this,Tokayer), but all the videos were in two parts, leaving me with a few mp3s of half of a song.

So I spent my days listening to half a bootleg. I myself had from halfway through Black Rain until the end of the set, with a few inopportune sound breaks in the middle, but mostly pretty decent audio quality. But Ben’s performance was so stellar that I was willing to listen to this cut up recording.

In the back of my head, however, I knew there was a good recording out there. Somewhere. And it took me years to find it.

Actually, I began looking for and found it last night, all in the span of a few minutes. So here it is, for your listening pleasure. And make sure to check out Ben’s killer vocals on Dazed & Confused and the amazing jam/bass solo on Black Rain.

Ben Harper: Live @ Bonnaroo 2007

With My Own Two Hands

Ground On Down


Gold To Me

Please Don’t Talk About Murder While I’m Eating

Diamonds On The Inside/Tomorrow Is A Long Time

Steal My Kisses

Don’t Take That Attitude To Your Grave

Waiting For You

Dazed & Confused (with John Paul Jones)

Black Rain/Inner City Blues

Burn One Down

Get Up Stand Up (with Ziggy Marley)

Better Way

Buy Ben Harper @ Amazon.com

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Mar 17, 2009 1:11 PM

St. Paddy’s Day

by Ariel

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Drunken Irishmen are the best kind of Irishmen. And St. Paddy’s Day is the best day of the year to meet a drunken Irishman. Well, truthfully, most are drunk throughout the year- it’s the rest of the world that decides to drink today. So, chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re not a drunken Irishman (my apologies to any drunken Irishmen who are fans of this blog).

So to channel your Irish drunkenness, grab a bottle of Jameson and have a listen to this playlist of Irish drinkin’ songs. Oh, and if you’re a fan of HBO’s The Wire, you’ll appreciate the first track.

The Pogues- The Body of an American

Dropkick Murphys- I’m Shipping Up To Boston

Flogging Molly- Tobacco

Whiskey In The Jar (not sure who this one is played by, but it’s a classic Irish drinking song)

Buy The Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, and Flogging Molly @ Amazon.com

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Mar 16, 2009 5:03 PM

50 Songs Esquire Wants You To Listen To

by Ariel

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Or: Why It’s a Bad Idea to Trust a Fashion Magazine’s Music Advice

Beyond the obvious grammatical faux pas of starting each paragraph of the article “50 Songs Every Man Should Be Listening To” with the word Because (example: “Because these reunited Brooklyn-based alt-country pioneers are staging two comebacks- one for themselves, the other for the kazoo.” referring to the song Me No by Clem Snide), Esquire has gone out on a limb to not only advise it’s readers to listen to some pretty horrible music (new Guns N’ Roses, new Metallica, any Coldplay at all) but their reasons for listening to the songs run the gamut from being straight up absurd, to downright offensive.

Chuck Klosterman advises Esquire readers to listen to a song by Benji Hughes based on the way the musician appears on the cover of his album. “The moment I saw the cover, I knew: I was going to love this music.” Now, don’t get me wrong; I love Klosterman’s writing. His breadth of knowledge of popular culture makes his writing immensely entertaining, and usually allows him to have pretty astute analyses of music and musicians. But then again, only half of his writing actually seems to take itself seriously; the rest of it is mostly incomprehensive dribble about his inability to cope with women and reality. So chalk this one up as one of Chuck’s misses, because to judge the quality of an album or song by the cover art is as absurd as deciding to buy a dog because you think the dog food package looks cool.

But it gets weirder. The 13th song that “Every Man Should Be Listening To” is Sex on Fire by….James Morrison? WTF? Didn’t Jim Morrison die in 1971? Upon further internet based research, it has come to my attention that there is a British singer-songwriter (whose parents must have been huge Doors fans) who plays soft acoustic pop. Now, I admit I know very little about his musical abilities, or how well he plays this song. But cmon! The Kings of Leon just put out (in my opinion) their most listenable album to date. It may not be their best, but it’s certainly their most approachable, as evidenced by them finally getting radio recognition in the US- most notably with the single SEX ON FIRE! Not only is the song amazing, but the entire populace of the US seems to agree! Why would Esquire tell me to listen to a boring (I’m assuming) acoustic version of such a solid song?

But let’s move on to where it gets downright offensive. Describing Dear Wife off My Morning Jacket’s Live from Las Vegas album, Esquire opines: “Because this live recording of a previously unreleased tune doesn’t offer the My Morning Jacket trademark high-pitched vocal. (We’ve never gotten the falsetto. And we don’t want to get the falsetto.)” Now, I can understand being of the opinion that Jim James sings strangely, or just not liking the band at all; I myself wasn’t a huge fan for a while (see MMJ post). But then again, the weird vocals are such a huge part of what this band is about. Right now, MMJ is probably the best live band out there (all you Phish fans out there can start your screaming now, but I’m standing by my opinion) and so much of what they do is based on Jim James’ unique voice. If you don’t like his voice, fine- you’re missing out. But don’t for a second try to make the point that this band would be better off if he sang just like every other boring band out there. These guys are different and have a great thing going for them.

While there are many more decisions that I disagree with, I will commend the editors of Esquire for posting songs by Dan Auerbach (When The Night Comes), The Raconteurs (Old Enough), and Mos Def (Quiet Dog), three great bands/artists who do not get nearly enough recognition. The rest of the suggestions look like a cross between a Top-50 Hit radio stations daily playlist, and last weeks posts from Pitchfork, two forms of media that I try my best to ignore. (Sidenote: I do check Pitchfork from time to time, but I find their offerings to be repetitive and boring, a la Sufjan Stevens and M. Ward.)

So while the editors of Esquire may have had a few “hits,” try not to give too much credence to the rest of the article; after all, these are the guys who tell us how to dress and which cocktails will impress our friends the most. Music, understandably, is not exactly their forte.

My Morning Jacket- Hot Fun in the Summertime (live @ Bonnaroo) [Sly and the Family Stone cover featuring a healthy dose of Jim James’ falsetto]

Dan Auerbach- When The Night Comes

The Raconteurs- Old Enough (live acoustic)

Mos Def- Quiet Dog

Buy Dan, The Raconteurs, and Mos Def @ Amazon.com

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Mar 15, 2009 2:30 AM

Josh Dion Band: Bowery Ballroom 9/6/08

by Ariel

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So, I just discovered that this boot exists. I hope that this will give you guys a bit more of an idea of what this band is all about. Those of you who read first post about these guys and downloaded the tracks may not have understood what I liked about this band. Sure, they’re a great pop rock band, but some of you out there may have been wondering if there was anything beyond that.

Here it is. These guys happen to put on an amazing live show. Me and a few friends discovered them when we went to a Pete Francis show (he sucked pretty badly) last September. We arrived early and walked into the venue as a shaggy bearded guy wearing an ascot sat down at the drums, and proceeded to lead his band through an immensely entertaining set. I have never seen anyone play pop rock drums with more intensity. With his beard and hair flying in all directions and his sweat spraying the first few rows of fans, he led his band through a tight but rowdy set of catchy songs. As Ilan put it “I’ve never seen anyone go beserk on the drums like that before.”

So try to listen to the drums, and imagine the weirdo in the picture going psycho on his drum kit while playing sweet sounding pop.

Josh Dion Band: Live @ the Bowery
Line ’em Up


Walking On Stilts


Makin’ My Livin’

The Wind

Take the Time

Buy JDB @ Amazon.com

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Mar 13, 2009 4:30 PM

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club

by Ariel

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As of late, I’ve been on something of a roots music bender. So, as any self respecting (deprecating?) music critic, I was forced to think about the music, and specifically what I liked about it. So I racked my brain, trying to understand how I could love both the intricate electronic rock music brilliance of a band like Radiohead, while at the same time appreciate loose, raw, blues-folk.

And then I realized that it’s the Americana aspect of the music that appeals to me. It’s the ability to scorn perfection in favor of doing something different. It’s the desire to be a Norman Rockwell or a Jack Kerouac, and to rewrite the rules of art- and to throw away convention for passion. This is what the blues has always been about, and this is what Slim’s has been doing for years.

So check these guys out. I think they’re pretty awesome, so you should too.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club- An Introduction to the Power of Braces (Arms)

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club- Children of the Lord

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club- Boom Magalina Hagalina

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club- An Introduction to the Power of Braces (Faith)

Buy SCAT @ Amazon.com

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Mar 12, 2009 9:29 PM

These United States

by Ariel

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Ahhhh, Spring Break is finally here. You know what that means, all you TSU fans: I’ll be posting every day! Ok, so I’ll probably end up getting lazy, but I’m going to do my best to bring you music that you’ve probably never heard of, all break long.

And, to get things started off, we have These United States. This is just straight up solid blues-folk music (let’s call it blolk) with a hint of Americana roots rock, and a pinch of soul. Their more rocky sound is reminiscent ofThe Whigs and The Henry Clay People, while their folksy influences scream of bands like Olin & the Moon(though, as O&tM is a failry unknown band, I think it’s safe to say that they aren’t actually one of TUS’s influences).

So check them out, and make sure to listen carefully to Honor Amongst Theives, as the band pronounces the H in the word “honor,” something I find both gramatically appealing, and highly entertaining.

These United State- First Sight

These United States- Honor Amongst Theives

These United States- Twelve Gates to the City

Check out their website here, and buy their CDs here.

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Mar 11, 2009 8:44 PM


by Ariel

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Thanks to Josh, it has been brought to my attention that I have yet to post any 311. So, I’m not gonna lie, Josh could do a much better post than I’ll be able to do, as my exposure to this band ended shortly after the release of their self titled album in 1995. Sure, I’ve heard the singles off the later albums, but never really delved into them like I’ve delved into this album.

So here they are: my favorite tracks off 311 by 311. Enjoy.

311- Down

311- Hive

311- Don’t Stay Home

Buy 311 @ Amazon.com

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Mar 9, 2009 12:57 PM

The Roots (again)

by Ariel

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Some of you may have noticed that last week’s The Roots post got mysteriously deleted. Not sure exactly how that happened, but here it is again:

So, Conan Obrien is moving up in the ranks, and Jimmy Fallon, former SNL star, is taking his place at the late late show. Though Fallon’s comedy may still be awkward in a not so funny way, and his interviewing skills need a bit of work, there are two things that have so far redeemed the show in my eyes.

First, on his second show, he had Jon Bon Jovi on as a guest. As a devoted hater of Bon Jovi’s music as the worst of the worst of what music has to offer, JBJ’s appearance on the show was a blessing in disguise. Not only did he not perform (thank goodness), but he mentioned that he was in the studio earlier that day with Richie Sambora, and had to cut out from writing songs for the new album in order to make the show. And thus, his appearance on the show effectively is going to delay the date of that album’s release.
Sadly, they did have a member of the audienece sing “Dead or Alive” for Jon, which culminated in Jon getting up with her and singing along. Thankfully they only sang the chorus.
But the second, and more important exciting fact about the show is that The Roots are the house band. This isn’t Kevin Eubanks and the Tonight Show Band, or The Max Weinberg 7- both bands that were created as house bands for late night shows; this is an already existing band. The tightness factor of a band that has spent years on the road with each other, honing both their performing skills and their ability to play well as a band makes them the most exciting band to watch, 5 nights a week.
So, check these guys out. Their unique brand of full band hip hop is a refreshing change from majority of the musicians in the genre who rely on sampling and computer generated beats.
For added excitement, try to catch drummer ?uestlove’s (pronounced questlove) obsessive Twittering during the show. You can follow his compulsive statuses here.
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Mar 7, 2009 11:25 PM

Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood- Live @ Electric Ladyland

by Ariel

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Here’s a good one: What’s the probability that I would decide to listen to post this bootleg given I listened to it while studying probability?

Let’s define B as the event that I decide to post this bootleg and A as the event that I listen to it while studying probability.
Five midterms this week, in addition to Purim and the Fast of Esther. Should be a rockin week, although the probability that I post daily is going to be much closer to 0 than to 1.
So I hope this boot will tide your appetites until I am finished with my midterms. Enjoy.
Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood: Live @ Electric Ladyland

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Mar 5, 2009 3:30 PM

The Roots

by Ariel

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So, Conan Obrien is moving up in the ranks, and Jimmy Fallon, former SNL star, is taking his place at the late late show. Though Fallon’s comedy may still be awkward in a not so funny way, and his interviewing skills need a bit of work, there are two things that have so far redeemed the show in my eyes.

First, on his second show, he had Jon Bon Jovi on as a guest. As a devoted hater of Bon Jovi’s music as the worst of the worst of what music has to offer, JBJ’s appearance on the show was a blessing in disguise. Not only did he not perform (thank goodness), but he mentioned that he was in the studio earlier that day with Richie Sambora, and had to cut out from writing songs for the new album in order to make the show. And thus, his appearance on the show effectively is going to delay the date of that album’s release.
Sadly, they did have a member of the audienece sing “Dead or Alive” for Jon, which culminated in Jon getting up with her and singing along. Thankfully they only sang the chorus.
But the second, and more important exciting fact about the show is that The Roots are the house band. This isn’t Kevin Eubanks and the Tonight Show Band, or The Max Weinberg 7- both bands that were created as house bands for late night shows; this is an already existing band. The tightness factor of a band that has spent years on the road with each other, honing both their performing skills and their ability to play well as a band makes them the most exciting band to watch, 5 nights a week.
So, check these guys out. Their unique brand of full band hip hop is a refreshing change from majority of the musicians in the genre who rely on sampling and computer generated beats.
For added excitement, try to catch drummer ?uestlove’s (pronounced questlove) obsessive Twittering during the show. You can follow his compulsive statuses here.
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Mar 2, 2009 3:47 PM

Gogol Bordello

by Ariel

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There’s something uncannily hilarious about Easter-European punk rock. I’m not sure exactly what makes this style of music so funny; it could be the singer’s heavy Russian accent, their absurd lyrics, or just the overall weird musical combination of polka and punk rock. But something about this music makes me crack up.

So, on this snowy Monday (on which I sadly have both school and work) take a break from whatever you’re doing, and get ready to be be weirded out, and highly entertained at the same time. Oh, and much thanks to Yonah for pointing these guys out to me, and to Joey for dumping them on my hard-drive all those months ago.

Gogol Bordello- East Infection

Gogol Bordello- Strange Uncles From Abroad

Buy Gogol Bordello @ Amazon.com

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Mar 1, 2009 10:41 AM

My Bloody Valentine

by Ariel

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Getting turned onto new music, or more specifically- music you’ve never really heard before, is literally (sic-hehe) one of my favorite things. It’s like there’s an entire world of awesomeness out there to be tapped, that I’ve yet to experience, and when someone opens a new musical world for me, I get quite excited. Normally, however, that person is a friend, or a musical acquaintance; it’s rare that the guy who gets you into new music is the random guy living on your couch.

But that’s how it went for me. From mid-September until mid-October, Joey/West Coast Joey/New Joey/ Joey on the Couch spent most of his days on my couch, either prostrate or sitting up- but rarely moving from there the entire time. Of course I’m exaggerating, but thinking back, he did spend an absurd amount of his waking hours sitting on that couch, which isn’t as strange as it may seem at first, as our couch happens to be quite comfortable.

All that aside, before Joey sadly “moved out” and found his own place in Queens, he took my external hard drive and loaded it up with a ton of music he insisted that I listen to. Of course, it took me until last week- more than four months after he moved out- to actually begin listening to his musical gifts.

One of the first bands I dumped on my iPod was My Bloody Valentine, a band I knew very little about except that they were some sort of punk band in the 80s that put out one record, and then broke up for all time. Well, apparently I knew less about them than I had thought, because almost all of the information that had been in my head was wrong.

MBV put out 2 albums in their career, the second of which, entitled Loveless, came out in 1991. Following the release of this album, the band went into the regular emotional and mental fallout that usually follows good artists after completing a masterpiece at a young age, and were unable to record a followup album. It had seemed that this young masterful band would go the way of so many other musicians, burning out way too soon, that is, until last year when they suddenly began touring the festival circuit once again, and have spoken about releasing a new album sometime soon.

But while their disappearance and subsuquent reappearance gives a mystique and aura to band that music fans seem to salivate over (It’s part of the uber music nerd-fan syndrome that causes these greasy haired obsessors to scan record stores for rare and “only released in Japan” Smiths singles; harcore music fans love nothing more than to be listening to something that only they can listen to. They love to elevate their own selves by having a copy of some random basement tape, that probably never got released because it sounded horrible, because then their supposed level of superiority in this subculture is once again heightened, to the chagrin of all the other music freaks. I myself am guilty of this as well, which is probably why MBV was the first band that I decided to check out from the list of 40 that Joey put on my HD), it’s actually their sound that makes them stand out.

Their sound if complex in a confusing way in that they basically make lots of noise, and somehow form melodies out of it. But that’s really only the half of it. There’s a ton going on in every one of their songs, and each one seems like an artistic masterpiece, not only because it sounds great, but because at first listen, you realize that there are so many levels to the song, which can be overwhelming at times.

Some may argue that these guys just combined pretty vocal melodies with heavily overdriven guitars. I say that even if that was all they had done, their music would’ve been noteworthy, as to accomplish that feat is no simple task. But in my opinion, their music is so much more, from the churning rhythms, to the melodies that lull you into a false sense of comfort, to the blaring guitars that continue to loop and repeat thoughout the song, giving the album a discomforting yet peaceful appeal.

My Bloody Valentine- Only Shallow

My Bloody Valentine- To Here Knows When

My Bloody Valentine- Soon

Buy MBV @ Amazon.com

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Feb 26, 2009 1:56 AM

The Doors with Eddie Vedder

by Ariel

Here’s a classic boot that’s been begging to be posted every since I laid my hands on it. When inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the remaining members of The Doors performed three songs with Eddie Vedder. With those immensely large and troubled Lizard King shoes to fill, Eddie stepped it up and gave a stunning performance, paying homage and tribute to his hero- Jim Morrison.

The Doors (with Eddie Vedder) – Roadhouse Blues

The Doors (with Eddie Vedder) – Break on Through

The Doors (with Eddie Vedder) – Light My Fire

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Feb 24, 2009 7:02 PM

Breaking The Norm

by Ariel

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On my way home from school today, in the elevator at the 168th Street station, I noticed that the lady standing to my immediate right was sending something of an amused smile my way. For a few seconds I was confused as to what I could be doing that would be entertaining to her, and then I realized it: my headphones were on a bit loud, and I’m pretty sure that she was amused that the very white and very Jewish looking boy next to her was listening to Snoop Dogg, circa 1994.

Personally, I think everyone should be comfortable listening to whatever they like. There’s a phenomenal ad on the NYC subways for a music downloading service that shows a bunch of different people sitting on the subway listening to music. Yet, pasted on top of each person’s face is the album cover of whatever music they’re supposedly listening to. So we have the businessman listening to the gangsta rap, the young black kid listening to Dylan, and a few more people seemingly breaking through the stereotypes of what they “should” to be listening to.

So ignore what you’re supposed to be doing. Because music isn’t about fitting into expected molds or about what everyone else tells you to do; it’s about breaking the rules and doing what you want. Rap and rock may be very different genres in terms of musical style, but they do share this ideal of rebelling against the norm and going against the grain.

Here’s a few more songs off the playlist I was listening to:

Snoop Dogg- Gin and Juice

Notorious B.I.G.- Juicy

Coolio- Gangsta’s Paradise

Blackalicious- Sky is Falling

Mos Def- Do It Now (feat. Busta Rhymes)

Buy Snoop, Biggie, Coolio, Blackalicious, and Mos Def @ Amazon.com

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Feb 23, 2009 11:45 AM

Dan Auerbach

by Ariel

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Dan Auerbach, lead guitarist and singer for the blues rock due The Black Keys, has recently come out with a solo offering; a disk of his own. The tracks sounds very much like the Keys’ stuff, but without the heavy percussion, which makes sense- as this album features all (sic) the members of the Keys sans the drummer.

So, whether you’re looking for some chilled out gritty blues, or just some softer Black Keys tunes- check these tracks out, and for those of you in NYC, check him out next week at the Bowery Balroom (March 3).

Dan Auerbach- Heartbroken, In Disrepair

Dan Auerbach- Whispered Words

Buy Dan Auerbach @ Amazon.com

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Feb 23, 2009 11:45 AM

Dan Auerbach

by Ariel
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Feb 19, 2009 7:58 PM

Review: The Steps- The Steps

by Ariel

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Hailing from Austin, Texas, The Steps have created a retro brand of rock that sounds something like the lovechild of Jet and The Strokes that was dropped on it’s head as a baby, and then began smoking crack to nurse itself back to health- in a good way. There’s something both raw and tight about their music; two sounds that at first glance would seem to be contradictory.

The album is a whirlwind of short fast songs (with the longest clocking in at 4:01) and it screams of youthful exuberance that’s normally only found in a band’s first offering. They shy away from ballads, and just provide balls to the wall rock and roll. It’s refreshing to see a young band like this, willing to just rock out to their hearts’ content. So check these guys out and enjoy the song.

The Steps- Give it Up

Most of their upcoming tour dates are in Texas, but in case any of you readers hail from that part of the country, go check them out- they’re bound to be a great live band.

February 10 – Charlottesville, VA / Bel Rio
February 12- Charlotte, NC / Milestone
February 18 – Austin,TX / Stubbs w/ Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights
February 19 – College Station,TX / Fitzwilly’s w/ Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights
March 5 – Austin,TX / Pangea w/Fastball< March 19 – Austin,TX / SXSW Music Festival May 2 – Austin,TX / Pecan Street Festival w/The Boxing Lesson, nelo, more…

Check out their site for more info @ www.wearethesteps.com

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Feb 19, 2009 10:10 AM

U2- No Line on the Horizon

by Ariel

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So the new U2 album is due out in about 2 weeks (March 3rd) and it’s supposed to be a good one. From what I’ve heard (sic) it’s something of a return to The Joshua Tree era, but with a bit of a heavier edge. Basically, it sounds like everything Coldplay has come up short trying to achieve in the last ten years. To put it simply, only U2 is U2, and this album certainly has that stamp in it; in a way that’s been missing from some of their last few albums.

So check out the title track, and purchase the album when it comes out; it will definitely be worth the money.

U2- No Line on the Horizon

Buy U2 @ Amazon.com

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Feb 18, 2009 1:34 AM

State Radio: February 16th 2009 (Bowery Ballroom)

by Ariel

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Living in NYC is amazing for those who love to frequent concerts. Not only do you get to see tons of bands, but you get to see your favorite bands numerous times, which is awesome because you become familiar with their onstage antics, and get to brag to your friends at the show that this is the n¬th time you’re seeing this band, thus raising your music-cred in their eyes, or at least making them think you’re a pompous elitist asshole.

That being said, it’s not all fun and games. See, when you end up seeing a band too many times, you start to construct lists in your head of songs you’ve never heard them play, and you NEED them to play those songs at the show, or else the show becomes a disappointment. They could’ve put on an amazing show, with a kick ass setlist, but you, sitting on your ivory tower of concert greatness, can’t seem to appreciate that anymore. No, not you. When asked if you liked the show, you have to respond with something like: “It was pretty good, but not even close to when I saw them 5 years ago, back before they were big.”

Now listen up, dear readers; I’ve put this entire post in the second person up until now in order to make it seem like I wasn’t talking about myself. And in truth, that person is only partially me. Part of me only wants the rarities, and wants to brag about all the shows I’ve been to, but there’s still the rest of me that will love any well played show.

Which brings me to last night’s show: State Radio. These guys are tied with Pearl Jam for the highest number of shows I’ve seen from a single band (6), which means I should probably rank them as one of my favorite bands. But let’s focus on why this band is still able to wow me after having seen them so many times.

State Radio, headed by Chad Stokes/Chad Urmston/Chetro, and backed by Chuck Fay on bass and Mike Najarian (Mad-Dog?) on drums, did something I’d never before seen a band do. They showed everyone that they cared. How? You ask. How did they do this? Well, I’ll tell you.

First of all, they did one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen a band do. Before the show, they had “How’s Your News” open up for them. “How’s Your News” is an MTV program that run by 5 reporters with mental and physical disabilities. The crowd was treated to a 15 minute clip from their latest show, and then saw their band perform 4 songs with Chad. To see a band like State Radio supporting a cause such as this, to the extent that they brought them out at their show was amazing.

After “How’s Your News” played, State Radio took the stage and ripped through an awesome setlist (which is now in the hands of my girlfriend), and they brought the HYN guys out to play along on a few more songs.

But what really surprised me was what happened after the show. The band didn’t retreat backstage, nor were we forced out of the venue by the ushers. Everyone sorta hung around and chilled with the HYN band, reporters, and staff, and with the guys from SR. I myself got one of the drum sticks which I giddily brought up to each of the guys in the band asking them to autograph it for me. I felt like a 4th grader, but it was just so much fun. One of my friends got his yarmulke autographed by the band (also on the beanie are the signatures of the member of the John Butler Trio), and we just all chilled around for a while- enjoying the company of a bunch of wonderful people.

So yes, I can be an elitist sometimes, and every once in a while I’ll be disappointed with a show. But when something as fun and as awesome as this comes around, it would take a real negative Nancy (yes, I just used that cliché) to walk away feeling gypped.

So, here’s to great bands, great causes, and great people.

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Feb 14, 2009 7:10 PM

Valentine’s Day Playlist 2009

by Ariel

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While presenting some of my choices for a V-Day playlist, a friend of mine commented that some of the songs don’t seem appropriate for the day. When I questioned her questioning of my choices, she responded by telling me that “When I think of V-day, I don’t think of missing someone; of being sad.”

That being said, I think this “holiday” works both ways. I’m not really sure what it started out as, or how it developed into a commercialized day filled with chocolates, teddy bears, and roses- but it somehow has come to be a day for those in relationships to express their feelings for each other. For me, it’s merely my mother’s birthday (which makes buying birthday flowers for her quite a hefty expense) and not much more. But I nonetheless constructed a playlist of some of my favorite love songs- not neccesarily happy songs about successful relationships, but songs sung by those in desperately in love. Sadly, most of those songs happen to be sad ones, about loss and longing. And I think, im some ways, this fits in with a realistic approach to such a holiday- one that on the outside is supposed to look picture perfect and happy, but could be extremely sad to one who has recently lost a loved one.

Now, humble readers, try not to read any of my comments into my own personal life; these are merely my musings on the art of the love song and how such a day could be both emotionally amazing for some, while demoralizing to others. So, this day, I suppose, is a microcosm for love songs in general. The emotion is there in all of them, it’s just a matter of how we relate to it.

Counting Crows- Goodnight Elisabeth

Nirvana- Where Did You Sleep Last Night

The Dire Straits- Romeo and Juliet

Jack Johnson- Better Together

Pearl Jam- Black

They Might Be Giants- New York City
Buy all of these guys @ Amazon.com

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Feb 13, 2009 10:44 AM

Modest Mouse

by Ariel

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And once again, I’m retreating to the vault of songs Yoni introduced me to on that mix; songs I never would’ve had access to back when I was in high school. God only knows where he found them. So, while I do have a bunch of MM on my computer, this is the song I choose to share with you- because it’s the one that was shared with me.

Modest Mouse- Polar Opposites

Buy MM @ Amazon.com

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Feb 12, 2009 10:09 AM


by Ariel

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Again, I’d like to bring back a song from an indie band I learned about in high school, and then neglected to find anything else about afterward. I’ve head a bunch of songs by these guys, but this is the only one I like. So if you read this post and think “holy crap, this guy is crazy, this band has so many better songs!” then tell me. Post a comment and let me know what I’m missing. Until then, I’m going to enjoy this song by a band who curiously named themselves after the European International Police.

Interpol- Obstacle 1

Buy Interpol@ Amazon.com

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Feb 12, 2009 2:32 AM

The Flaming Lips

by Ariel

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I really know very little about this band,very little beyond the two songs that Yoni put on that mix for me back in 12th grade. I do know, however, that these songs are pretty awesome, and that their live shows are often accompanied by confetti, cool costumes, massive prop hands, and giant life-sized hamster balls. That should be more than enough to get you to check out these 2 tracks.

The Flaming Lips- Feeling Yourself Disintegrate

The Flaming Lips- Buggin’

Buy TFL @ Amazon.com

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Feb 9, 2009 12:09 PM

Grammy Disappointment

by Ariel

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As expected, the 2009 Grammy’s were a huge disappointment; with mediocre bands winning it all, and phenomenal bands getting snubbed once again. Like middle school student council elections, the Grammy winners tend to be the “coolest” and most popular artists, as opposed to the best.

Let’s begin with Exhibit A: Radiohead. “In Rainbows” was, without a doubt, the best album of the last 10 years. First of all, it was listenable; even the most boring music fan who lives and breathes the repetitive pop-rock jingle jangle and chord progressions could appreciate this album. Somehow Yorke, Greenwood and Co. managed to create an artistically important, yet approachable album. But many albums this year were easy to listen to. Where “In Rainbows” departed from the rest of the pack was in their innovation and pure musical genius. To not give Radiohead “Album of the Year” for this revolutionary offering was akin to The Godfather II not winning an Academy Award. It was a disgrace, and only speaks to how little actual musical art matters in competitions such as these.
Exhibit B: Best Rock Album. Now, I’m aware that the Grammy people felt the need to give Coldplay at least one award. Sure, they suck and their music is boring, but for some strange reason, people love them. (I have a theory that it has to do with most people being boring themselves, but for the sake of time and space, I’ll discuss that at a later date.) So give them Best Pop Performance (which they actually won). Give them something that they deserve; not Best Rock Album- that’s a smack in the face to rock music. There were two other amazing rock albums up there for the award: The Raconteurs’ “Consolers of the Lonely” and Kings of Leon’s “Only By The Night.” (And I know, many of you think that this KOL album was a departure from their regular sound, and in a bad way. I politely disagree.) Both of these albums were rock and roll masterpieces, and both of them define why rock music is still alive and well. Coldplay does not.
Exhibit C: I can’t really complain about this one, because lost to Radiohead, a much more deserving band, but I still think My Morning Jacket should’ve won something. I admit that “In Rainbows” was the Best Alternative Music Album of the year, in addition to being the Best Everything Album of the past ten years, yet “Evil Urges” was a phenomenal offering from MMJ- one of fasted rising bands. So don’t give them Alternative Album- create a new category for them. Have them win Best Live Band, or Best Epic New Years Eve show. I don’t care what they win, but these guys deserve a Grammy for something, cause they kick so much ass in the music business.
Exhibit D: Song of the Year. Why oh why did this go to Coldplay for Viva la Vida? That song was not that good. I could sit here and list twenty five better songs from the last year (don’t worry, I won’t) that should’ve won before Viva la Vida.
There were, however, two saving graces of this year’s awards:
1. Allison Krause and Robert Plant won a bunch of awards. Now, I know a few of those awards should’ve gone to Radiohead, but I’d rather competent, talented, and innovative musicians should them out, as opposed to Coldplay. So, at least there’s some ideal of talent recognition going on at these awards shows.
2. Kings of Leon- Sex on Fire. This song, thankfully, won Best Rock Performance by a Group or Duo with Vocals. As stupid as that category is, at least someone is giving these guys their due; a band that has long deserved recognition in the US, and is finally getting some.
There you have it, my rants, my raves, and why I think the Grammy’s will always be stupid. It doesn’t matter who you have performing, if you give the awards to all the wrong people. It’s akin to having a Teacher of the Year ceremony, inviting the best Professors to speak, and then awarding the kindergarden teacher. It would be a smack in the face to education, just like the Grammy’s, year after year, continue to show us all why no one in any position of influence knows anything about music.
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Feb 5, 2009 10:18 PM

Joey: This One’s For You

by Ariel

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Fire is one of those things that’s a pretty awesome musical theme, but sometimes sucks in real life. So, in memory of 910 Eileen Street, I would like to dedicate this post to you, Joseph. If you need a place to crash, my apartment is always open; as you know well, our couch is often frequented by persons with your name. So Joey, this one’s for you.

  • James- Laid
  • Talking Heads- Burning Down the House

  • Ben Harper- Burn One Down
  • Link Wray- Fire and Brimstone
  • Nirvana- Lake of Fire
  • Buy these guys @ Amazon.com

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    Feb 2, 2009 8:23 PM

    Nice Girls Singing Gangsta Rap

    by Ariel

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    There’s something amazingly disquieting about someone like Nina Gordon (formerly of Veruca Salt) singing a song like “Straight Outta Compton.” This late 80s cut from retroactive rap supergroup N.W.A just seems to fit amazingly well with Nina’s sweet sounding pipes- that is until you listen to the actual lyrics.

    But who cares? Put on your headphones (in case you’re listening at home and your mom is opposed to nice girls dropping the f-bomb) and crank up this track. It’s bound to bring a smile to your face.

    Nina Gordon- Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A cover)

    Buy Nina @ Amazon.com

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    Feb 1, 2009 11:12 AM

    State Radio to Play Bowery Ballroom

    by Ariel

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    For those of you music fans out there in NYC, let it be known that State Radio will be playing the Bowery Ballroom on February 16th. Tickets went on sale this past Thursday and you can get them at ticketmaster.

    State Radio- Mountain

    Buy SR @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 31, 2009 10:11 PM

    Kings of Leon: January 29th 2009 (MSG)

    by Ariel

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    There’s something magical about the venue. Sure, it’s not the most intimate of settings, with it’s 20,000 person capacity, and standing up next to your seat doesn’t even come close to moshing around with a bunch of people you’ve never met before (yes, I wasn’t able to secure floor seats). But there’s just something about a band playing their first ever show at Madison Square Garden. Granted, these guys just headlined England’s legendary Glastonbury Festival in ’08, but that was across the pond. For their entire careers, these guys were unable to match their amazing success in Britain; at least not in a mainstream way.

    Which brings us to Thursday night’s show. Selling out MSG, this just months after this band was opening for Pearl Jam on the first half of their tour, is an amazing step forward as to their popularity in this country. They have, as is colloquially said “made it.” But making it comes with a price. Sure, the band was overjoyed that they were able to play such historic venue, but many fans are somewhat less excited.

    With the release of 2008’s Only By The Night, many fans claimed that KOL were taking their raw unabashed Southern style rock and were selling out for a more radio-friendly sound. And at first glance, it’s hard to argue with them. They were playing 100,000 people festivals, had a song featured on Gossip Girl, have been nominated for a few Grammy’s, and of course- just sold out Madison Square Garden. But while this may seem like selling out to many fans, to me this is just an amazing new direction in their sound. With their new album, they somehow managed to combine their toxic mix guitar driven rock with a soaring arena style sound that brings to mind both U2 and the Smashing Pumpkins. To call this “selling out” is merely to sell this incredibly talented band short.

    The show opened up with a wall of guitar feedback as the band launched into Crawl, an incredibly heavy rocker off their new album. The setlist was peppered with a well thought out mix of new and old songs, with Caleb’s voice soaring on some of the newer material, and screaming on much of the older stuff. And while some of the songs probably would’ve sounded better in a smaller venue, say at the Bowery Ballroom, but newer songs like Sex on Fire and Use Somebody were nothing short of transcendental (not the best word choice, but it’s the best I’ve got right now).

    In the infamous words of those guys from 311, “Fuck the naysayers because they don’t mean a thing because this is the style we bring,” the Kings of Leon should continue to bring it like they’ve always done, and should continue to let their sound develop in the amazing ways it has for their entire careers.

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    Jan 29, 2009 6:39 PM

    The Whigs

    by Ariel

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    In about an hour, I’ll be heading down to Madison Square Garden to see Kings of Leon in concert. While I’m really excited to see them, I’m also pretty excited to see the opening band- The Whigs.

    A band that I recently discovered, these guys have a pretty rocking sound- something in between Centro-matic and Jet, with a hint of White Denim here and there. So check out these tracks for now, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about them after the show.

    The Whigs- I Got Ideas
    The Whigs- Right Hand On My Heart

    Buy The Whigs @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 29, 2009 2:20 AM


    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    Ben Gibbard- Carolina

    Every scream went bleeding through these paper walls
    And all the make-up in the world couldn’t hide the scars
    I leave today, I’m packing light: a suitcase, some toiletries
    The rolling hills and willow trees of Carolina wait for me

    You never learned, the rules have changed since we were nine
    This isn’t school, boys don’t assault the girls they like

    The taste of blood, the claim of love
    these two will here on cease to be Sprouting from your fists and tongue ’cause Carolina waits for me

    Fields of grain go whipping by from the window seat
    I’m drifting in, I’m drifting out catching up on sleep
    I couldn’t get indentured since the very crest of 17
    I left my keys and broken dreams ’cause Carolina waits for me

    I will never forgive a single day
    Mile markers seem to call my name and say,
    “You’re safer now through every town, we’ll light your way in reflective green” All the way, the entire state of Carolina waits for me

    Buy Ben Gibbard @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 27, 2009 7:30 PM

    Album Review: Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion

    by Ariel

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    You never know what to do when music blogs promote an album as “The Best Album of 2009” during the first week of 2009. So when Stereogum decided that Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective was “The Best Album of 2009” on January the 5th, a mere 5 days into the new year, I figured the album was worth taking a listening to.

    And while I doubt that this album will be my fave of the year, it certainly warrants a listen or two.

    If I was forced to describe the sound on the album, I would call it a sugar-coated circus on acid. They sound like an overly poppy of Explosions in the Sky, but not pop in the plastic sense, pop in the sense that this album could is both radio friendly, and musically significant. The songs are innovative and complex, but the sound is easy to listen to. There are moments that are reminiscent of Sgt. Pepper’s style Beatles, even though the music is an entirely different style.

    So check these guys out, and decide for yourself whether or not this album deserves the title, The Best of 2009. Plus, the album is named after one of my favorite music venues- Merriweather Post Pavilion- where I saw my first ever concert.

    Animal Collective- In The Flowers

    Animal Collective- My Girls

    Animal Collective- Summertime Clothes

    Buy Animal Collective @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 25, 2009 9:31 PM

    I’ll Rise

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    Ben Harper- I’ll Rise (Based on Maya Angelou’s poem)

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter twisted lies

    You may trod me down in the very dirt

    And still like the dust Ill rise

    Does my happiness upset you

    Why are you best with gloom

    Cause I laugh like Ive got an oil well

    Pumpin in my living room

    So you may shoot me with your words
    You may cut me with your eyes

    And Ill rise

    Ill rise

    Ill rise

    Out of the shacks of historys shame
    Up from a past rooted in pain

    Ill rise

    Ill rise

    Ill rise

    Now did you want to see me broken
    Bowed head and lowered eyes

    Shoulders fallen down like tear drops

    Weakened by my soulful cries

    Does my confidence upset you
    Dont you take it awful hard

    Cause I walk like Ive got a diamond mine

    Breakin up in my front yard

    So you may shoot me with your words
    You may cut me with your eyes

    And Ill rise

    Ill rise
    Ill rise

    Out of the shacks of historys shame
    Up from a past rooted in pain

    Ill rise
    Ill rise

    Ill rise

    Buy Ben Harper @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 24, 2009 7:36 PM

    Crash Course in Brain Surgery

    by Ariel

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    In honor of my brother’s recent release from the hospital, here’s a few “head case” songs to honor the staples in the back of his head.

    Metallica- Crash Course in Brain Surgery
    Rage Against the Machine- Bullet In The Head

    Buy RATM and Metallica @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 21, 2009 8:22 PM

    Inauguration 2009

    by Ariel

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    In honor of yesterday’s historic inauguration, here’s a quick playlist to commemorate the event.

    Goo Goo Dolls- America Girl (live @ The Concert for NY)
    moe.- Captain America (live @ Nissan Pavilion)
    Jimi Hendrix- Changes (live @ The Fillmore East)
    John Mayer- Waiting on the World to Change

    Buy these guys @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 20, 2009 10:30 AM

    Drive-By Truckers

    by Ariel

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    First things first: the Drive-By Truckers have one of the coolest band names of all time. I’m not sure I really need to say anything else about these guys; I’m going to assume their awesome name will speak for itself…

    Actually, I must admit that when I first began listening to this band, about six months back, I was quite unimpressed. I had bought their most recent offering “Brighter Than Creation’s Dark,” and decided that I disliked the album before I even made it home from the record store. I went as far as to return the album without even loading the songs onto my computer; apparently I disliked it that much. A few weeks later, when a friend asked if I wanted to come see them in concert, I politely declined, informing him that I didn’t really like their sound.

    Oh, how our musical tastes develop. Maybe it was the song I heard the other day that opened me up to their guitar driven country rock. Or maybe it was my emotional state of mind that allowed me, at that point in time, to appreciate everything I missed less than a year ago. Whatever caused my sudden change of heart, I was hooked.

    They have an awesome blend of country and southern rock that somehow sounds original in a world of Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Black Crowes rip offs. These guys have managed to create their own original niche in that genre without stepping on anyone’s toes, or stealing any material.

    So check these guys out, and check out these live tracks from the legendary Vic Theater in Chicago. If you want the full show, you can get it here.

    Drive-By Truckers- One of These Days (live)

    Drive-By Truckers- Feb 14 (live)

    Drive-By Truckers- Aftermath USA (live)

    Drive-By Truckers- Dead, Drunk, and Naked (live)

    Drive-By Truckers- Let There Be Rock (live)

    Drive-By Truckers- The Day John Henry Died (live)

    Buy DBT @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 9, 2009 2:40 PM

    It’s Ok

    by Ariel

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    I sit here bewildered at everything that’s going on. Those of you who know me and my family personally will understand that we’re going through some tough times, and things don’t seem to be getting better.

    So, while everyone has their own way of dealing with things, music is the only way I know how to deal with stuff. And even though it’s not really going to be ok, we still need to tell ourselves that.

    And when you go to bed at night, you try to tell yourself ‘It’s gonna be ok.’
    But last night I was thinking that, maybe it’s not.
    It’s getting harder and harder to say ‘It’s Ok.’
    So will you help remind me?
    If I say ‘It’s OK’ will you say ‘It’s Ok?’

    Pearl Jam- Daughter/It’s Ok

    Buy Pearl Jam @ Amzon.com

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    Jan 8, 2009 5:05 PM

    Power Drainage

    by Ariel

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    Alas, my laptop charger is busted. Home in Baltimore for vacation, my charger has become loose, and no longer charges my computer- forcing me to share a desktop computer with the rest of the family. And thus- I have been unable to post for the past few days.

    So, here’s a little short post, using the music on the family computer, and I should be back in full force soon enough.

    Nirvana- Drain You (live)

    Buy Nirvana @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 6, 2009 4:10 AM

    Stream of Consciousness: From Jack Kerouac to Miles Davis

    by Ariel

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    One of the greatest things about writing a blog is being able to ramble on incoherently. Just writing “stream of consciousness” style, and letting the thoughts that run through your head get put down on paper; or at least typed down into a word file.
    I recently finished “On the Road,” the literary masterpiece written by Jack Kerouac. The book is considered to have laid the stepping stones for the “beat” culture and writing style. Kerouac writes in sentences that are way too long for their own good; like an overly excited kid who moves on to the next sentence before finishing the first. Kerouac’s leaping from idea to idea in the span of a few sentences bewilders the mind, and reminds the reader of the wonderment and amazement that comes with childhood, and the selfish mind of an adult who still thinks he is a child. And this, is exactly what Kerouac is; an overgrown child who can’t seem to think of anyone but himself. It is, an effect of the soul searching lifestyle and journey; anyone whose primary focus is to find themselves must definitely be selfish. Yet, selfish doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In Kerouac’s world, his selfishness is necessary for his existence, and fuels his incredibly attractive writing style.

    And while his storytelling is great, and his travel descriptions evocative, his real strength lies in his ability to write about music; specifically about jazz- the style that is most commonly associated with the beat movement; the style that fits most happily with stream of consciousness writing, as it itself can be thought of as a stream as well- a stream of instruments, ideas, collaboration between different players, between different sounds and feelings; the jazz that weaves in and out of different thoughts and modes taking the listener from one side of the world to another in the span of a few phrases. Kerouac has the ability, just like jazz does, to transform his reader from wherever they happen to be reading him, to his world, by painting his pictures so vividly, and by enticing his readers to allow themselves to be lost inside his childish mind of excitement, drama, and appreciation. It’s at this point, where the boundary between music and writing is broken, and the reader forgets if they’re reading a description of music, or hearing the actually music and merely thinking Kerouac’s thoughts in their own minds. When the hands forget they’re holding a book, and the mind forgets it’s piecing together streams of words into ideas- this is when the stream of consciousness takes over and convinces us that we are truly hearing the moaning of the horns, the keys, the brushes; the entire band- as we let ourselves get lost in the sounds; in the smoke that surrounds the bar as the band plays late into the night and the early morning, into the sounds, the sadness, the yearning, and all the other emotions that jazz brings along with it.

    Read the poetry of the beatnicks, the books of it’s founder, and the music of it’s master; and let yourself get lost in the stream that is our consciousness.

    Miles Davis- Blue in Green

    Buy Miles @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 5, 2009 2:42 PM

    My Morning Jacket: New Years Eve 2009

    by Ariel
    Editors Note: This post was taken down by the RIAA due to copyright infringement. All the mp3s, however, are from a bootleg recording- not from the album, and thus are permissible to post.

    My Morning Jacket continues to amaze me. It wasn’t too long ago when they were a little known band, opening for Pearl Jam on their 2006 summer tour. Fast forward two and a half years later, and these guys are selling out Madison Square Garden for a marathon 3+ hours New Years Eve show.

    The band was dressed to the nines, emerging from backstage a bit after 9PM, wearing black tuxedos and top hats. But this was to be expected from a band that posted the following on their website a few weeks before the show:

    We invite and encourage everyone coming to the new years show to “dress to the nines,” in your finest and classiest party wear: suits/tuxedos, frilly dresses/luxurious ballgowns, top hats and canes, 2009 glasses, etc – as we intend to really “class up the joint” and celebrate the monumental year that 2008 was, whilst gazing forward to the thrills and chills that 2009 will hold.

    A class act like no other, these alternative rockers have been on the rise since they began their careers in Louisville, Kentucky in 1998. Five albums and ten years later, MMJ has generated a dedicated fan base due to touring incessantly and gained a reputation as a band that would regularly play sets at least 3 hours in length.

    Between 9:15 and 12:50 on New Years Eve 2009 (sans a 20 minute encore break before the New Years countdown) MMJ entertained concert-goers with their innovative brand of alt-rock, with tinges of southern rock and country combined with a jam-band attitude towards playing live. Selecting songs from 4 out of 5 of their studio albums, the band also peppered their set with a wide range of cover songs, from Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home” to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream.” This combination of jammed out classics and fun covers led to an amazing show that beyond being well performed was just plain fun.

    So check out the posted tracks- they’re from the actual show (Higlights:Nicole Atkins’ backing vocals on “You’re All I Need”, the jam at the end of “Touch Me Pt. 2”). If you want the entire show, you can download it here.

    My Morning Jacket- Evil Urges (live)

    My Morning Jacket- Off the Record (live)

    My Morning Jacket- Gideon (live)

    My Morning Jacket- You’re All I Need (Marvin Gaye) [w/Nicole Atkins] (live)

    My Morning Jacket- Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 2 (live)

    My Morning Jacket- One Big Holiday (live)

    Buy MMJ @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 5, 2009 12:44 AM

    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

    by Ariel

    For once, I can’t seem to find the words to put down on paper. Words, my foremost mode of expression escape me at the moment. But maybe it’s better that way. Music always has been what this friendship was based on. So even though you’re leaving town for a far off land, take this music as a parting gift. From mutual acquaintance, to concert buddy, to great friend- this one’s for you Jenn.

    Dexter Freebish- Leaving Town

    David Gray- Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

    Olin & the Moon- Hello Goodbye

    Zox- Leaving Me

    Radiohead- Fake Plastic Trees

    Buy DFDGOlinZox, and RH @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 4, 2009 10:01 PM

    The Simpsons Rain It Purple

    by Ariel

    It’s a classic Simpsons moment. In Special Edna (Season 14, Episode 7) Little Richard (and not James Brown, who happens to be pictured above) guest stars as himself to present the Teacher of the Year award. Here’s how it goes down:

    (Little Richard enters the stage)
    Homer: Purple Rain!!

    Little Richard: Shut up!

    Homer (to Marge): Oh my God, Michael Jackson just told me to shut up!

    Ahhh. The show is amazing. So here’s a bit of MJ, LR, and Prince for you to sink your teeth into as you wait forthis episode to load.

    Little Richard- Heeby Jeebies

    Prince- Purple Rain

    Michael Jackson- Black or White

    Buy MJ, LR, and Prince @ Amazon.com

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    Jan 3, 2009 8:09 PM

    My Morning Jacket: New Years Eve 2009

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    My Morning Jacket continues to amaze me. It wasn’t too long ago when they were a little known band, opening for Pearl Jam on their 2006 summer tour. Fast forward two and a half years later, and these guys are selling out Madison Square Garden for a marathon 3+ hours New Years Eve show.

    The band was dressed for the occasion, emerging from backstage a bit after 9PM, wearing black tuxedos and top hats. But this was to be expected from a band that posted the following on their website a few weeks before the show:

    We invite and encourage everyone coming to the new years show to “dress to the nines,” in your finest and classiest party wear: suits/tuxedos, frilly dresses/luxurious ballgowns, top hats and canes, 2009 glasses, etc – as we intend to really “class up the joint” and celebrate the monumental year that 2008 was, whilst gazing forward to the thrills and chills that 2009 will hold.

    A class act like no other, these alternative rockers have been on the rise since they began their careers in Louisville, Kentucky in 1998. Five albums and ten years later, MMJ has generated a dedicated fan base due to touring incessantly and gained a reputation as a band that would regularly play sets at least 3 hours in length.

    Between 9:15 and 12:50 on New Years Eve 2009 (sans a 20 minute encore break before the New Years countdown) MMJ entertained concert-goers with their innovative brand of alt-rock, with tinges of southern rock and country combined with a jam-band attitude towards playing live. Selecting songs from 4 out of 5 of their studio albums, the band also peppered their set with a wide range of cover songs, from Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home” to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream.” This combination of jammed out classics and fun covers led to an amazing show that beyond being well performed was just plain fun.

    The show went on until close to 1AM, when the band closed out their stellar performance by making up the words to singing Auld Lang Syne (“May all acquaintance be forgot… and whatever the rest of the lyrics to this song are…”) as the crowd happily applauded

    So check out the posted tracks- they’re from the actual show (Higlights:Nicole Atkins’ backing vocals on “You’re All I Need”, the jam at the end of “Touch Me Pt. 2”). If you want the entire show, you can download it here.

    My Morning Jacket- Evil Urges

    My Morning Jacket- Off the Record

    My Morning Jacket- Gideon

    My Morning Jacket- You’re All I Need (Marvin Gaye) [w/Nicole Atkins]

    My Morning Jacket- Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt. 2

    My Morning Jacket- One Big Holiday

    Buy MMJ @ Amazon.com

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    Dec 31, 2008 1:57 PM

    Top 10 Concerts of 2008

    by Ariel
    And here they are; the 10 best shows that I attended in the year of two thousand and eight.

    10. The Josh Dion Band (September 12)

    These guys surprised me with their catchy pop-rock songs, and impressively entertaining live show. Check out the review here.

    9. Arrested Development (July 17)

    This show was just a load of fun, as this early 90s hip hop group apparently still has it, and is still able to rock the stage, and the mic, like they were always know to do. Check out the review here.

    8. Kaki King (April 9)

    Kaki King is one talented guitar player. Her virtuosity and sheer brilliance of play was exemplified in this amazing live show. Check out the review here.

    7. Foo Fighters (February 19)

    Dave Grohl is a BAMF. No questions asked. If you get the chance, see these guys as soon as you can.

    6. Dave Matthews Band (June 4)

    Check out the review here.

    5. Counting Crows (March 26, October 30)

    Every time I see this band, I’m blown away by the emotional journeys that Adam Duritz takes his audience on every time he performs. Check out the reviews here and here.

    4. Girl Talk (November 18)

    Girl Talk was one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been to in my life. If you’ve heard his albums and you appreciate them, you gotta check out his live show. There’s nothing quite like a long haired, shirtless dude- sampling and mixing tracks on his laptop, while the entire audience goes crazy both on the floor, and on the stage.

    3. Okkervil River ( October 7)
    Any band that totally rewrites one of their songs in honor of the Presidential debate that was going on that night is awesome in my book. Okkervil River totally redid “The President’s Dead” changing the lyrics to The President’s live on Fox 5… The show just went on getting better from there. Check ’em out sometime if you get the chance.

    2. Radiohead (August 12)

    As expected, Radiohead blew me away with their amazing live show. Check out the review here.

    1. Pearl Jam (June 22, 24, 25)

    As I’ve said many times before, Pearl Jam’s live show is a religious experience. In this respoect, the shows I saw this year did not disappoint. Check out the reviews herehere, and here, and next time they come around- make sure you see them.

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    Dec 30, 2008 11:33 PM

    Favorite Posts of 2008

    by Ariel

    Reading back on my words over the past few days, I’d like to share with you my top 5 favorite posts of this past year (in no particular order).

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    Dec 27, 2008 7:38 PM

    Top 10 of 2008

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    Two thousand and eight has been a great year for music. We’ve seen albums released that we never thought we’d see (Metallica, Guns n’ Roses, AC/DC). We’ve seen chilled bands rock out (Counting Crows) and heavier bands take it down a notch (The Black Keys). We’ve been pleasantly surprised (Olin & the Moon), utterly disappointed (Coldplay), and absolutely blown away (Radiohead). So, to remind you of what made this year great, here are my personal Top 10 of 2008. Please feel free to agree, disagree, hate, scream, or yell obscene comments at me. I’m always interested to know how you guys take my opinions. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 of 2008:

    10. Metallica- Death Magnetic

    As a Metallica fan since the early days of my youth, I felt it necessary to include this bands first original release in over 10 years. Yes, that’s right, I’m not including St. Anger as one of their albums- it just wasn’t them; it wasn’t their music. And this is why Death Magnetic deserves a spot in the Top 10 of 2008; because it signifies a great band returning to do what they do best- record heavy metal music. The album may not be that innovative, but it sounds like a nice amalgam of all of their previous studio albums.

    Metallica- The Unforgiven III

    9. Okkervil River- The Stand Ins

    This second half of what was initially intended as a double album may give off the impression of being full of B-sides. With the first half called The Stage Names, an album titled The Stand Ins could easily be perceived as second rate songs; it’s anything but. The album stands out on it’s own as another great release from a great band that we can expect to see great things from in the future.

    Okkervil River- Lost Coastlines

    8. The Black Keys- Attack & Release

    Ths album is just plain killer. The furious twosome takes a step back from their heavy raw-blues sound, and plays songs that go much deeper than that. You can still hear their guitar/drums blues rock tracks here, but they’ve integrated more of a Zeppelin feel to the blues this time; allowing themselves the opportunity to write more ballady and meaningful songs. Feel free to check out the review here, and the track below.

    The Black Keys- Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be

    7. Olin & the Moon- 40 Miles of Bad Road

    Having just discovered this band courtesy of 9 Bullets, and having reviewed it a few months back, I don’t feel so much of a need to rejustify this bands position on the list. But I will go and restate the fact that these guys are phenomenal songwriters, and have broken onto the list of my favorite bands of the year. Check out the review, and the track.

    Olin & the Moon- Call Me Up

    6. My Morning Jacket- Evil Urges

    I’ve recently become enamored with these guys, partly becuase I have tickets to see them New Years Eve in Madison Square Garden, and partly because of their amazing take on alternative rock. Their vocals may be awkward sometimes, but they just plain rock, as this album clearly shows.

    My Morning Jacket- I’m Amazed

    5. Girl Talk- Feed the Animals

    Girl Talk just blows me away. While his albums are only secondary to his live shows, they do a great job of replicating what he does so well onstage- sample, mix, match, and DJ the hell out of all styles of music. This album was released for free on his MySpace page and is amazing to listen to. If you’re ever wondering what to put on at a party you’re hosting, this album is guaranteed to turn some heads.

    Girl Talk- Play Your Part (Pt. 1)

    4. Counting Crows- Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

    The Counting Crows are one of the bands that always sound better live than in the studio- not because they record poorly, but because their live shows are done so well. This album, however, managed to capture the emotional intensity of Adam Duritz’s live repertoire. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve heard so many of their recordings where Adam explains the emotional aspect behind the album, but I also think that he’s more in touch with his emotional instability on this album than he’s been in a long time. Check out the review here.

    Counting Crows- Hanging Tree (Live)
    3. The Raconteurs- Consolers of the Lonely

    The Raconteurs are one of the bands who will save rock and roll. This album was amazingly brilliant in it’s raw brutal energy, combined with a straight up rock and roll sound. Their musicianship is stellar, and the only thing holding them back is the fact that they’ve only released two albums so far. If this album is a sign of things to come, the music world is in good shape.

    The Raconteurs- You Don’t Understand Me

    2. Kings of Leon- Only By the Night

    While their previous releases have been more focused on their Southern Rock roots, this is the album where KOL expands their horizons and incorporates U2-style ballads with soaring vocals into their unbridled southern style cooking. Some hardcore fans think this is a step in the wrong way. I would argue that this is the only step to take, and that these guys have probably just released the best album of their young careers.

    Kings of Leon- Use Somebody

    1. Radiohead- In Rainbows

    I know that this album was released online in 2007, but I didn’t really give it a chance until 2008. Also, it wasn’t released in hard copy until 2008, thus justifyiung its position on this list. Without a doubt, this is the best album of 2008, maybe of 2007, 2006, or even all the 2000s. Radiohead manages, time after time, to wow us by pushing the boundaries of what music can be, while at the same time still managing to be listenable. These guys always have been, and always will be, the forerunners of where music should be, and they will lay the ground for the direction music will take for many years to come.
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    Dec 25, 2008 1:51 PM

    Headbanging May Be Harmful To Your Health

    by Ariel

    Well, Captain Obvious has struck again- this time in the form of a study published by Australian scientist Andrew McIntosh. According to an article in the New York Times:

    flailing along to a headbanging song (with an average tempo of 146 beats per minute) can cause “mild head injury when the range of motion is greater than 75 degrees”; at faster tempos the risks can range from headaches to strokes. The study concludes that listeners can reduce the risk of injury by wearing protective gear, headbanging to every other beat or “replacing heavy metal with adult oriented rock.”

    So on this lovely Christmas morning, make sure to bang your head to this one.

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    Dec 24, 2008 7:43 PM

    Given To Sign

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    This amazing video was brought to my attention yesterday (thanks Elana!) so I figured I’d share it with y’all.


    The whole thing is pretty amazing, I’ve never before seen someone sign at a concert, and the fact that someone who is deaf would come to a Pearl Jam show just speaks to the raw energy emitted by the band- an energy that exceeds sound waves and moves beyond that.

    So enjoy the video, and enjoy the song.
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    Dec 21, 2008 9:16 PM

    Eight Crazy Nights

    by Ariel

    The festival of lights is upon us again, and as usual, I forgot to get myself a menorah before the holiday began, which forced me to use a makeshift candelabra constructed out of shot glasses, olive oil, and wicks. But still, to celebrate Chanuka this year, let’s listen light-filled songs, and get in the holiday spirit.

    The Rolling Stones- Shine a Light

    Explosions in the Sky- Snow and Light

    Pete Yorn- When You See the Light

    The Black Keys- When the Lights Go Out

    Buy The Stones, Explosions, Pete Yorn, and The BK @ Amazon.com

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    Dec 18, 2008 5:57 PM

    Guest Post at 9B

    by Ariel
    Hey guys- the new post will be coming soon, as finals have finally ended.

    In the meantime, I want to draw your attention to my guest post at 9-Bullets, one of my personal favorites when it comes to the world wide bloggingdome.

    So keep your eyes peeled for the new post, and check me out at 9B.

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    Dec 17, 2008 7:06 PM

    The Who Examines Your Zipper

    by Ariel
    Or: The WXYZ

    The picture you see should, if you are a fan of classic rock, look familiar to you, but somehow off. It is, in fact one of the pictures from the photo shoot for The Who’s classic album- Who’s Next.

    As the story goes, the photographer wanted this monolith on the album cover, and the band spent most of a day taking all sorts of pictures around the concrete protrusion. At the end of the day, however, everyone was still unsatisfied with the photos taken. So the band proceeded to urinate on the structure, leaving four wet spots. This is the shot that made the album cover, complete with urine stains and band members zipping up their flies and rebuckling their pants.

    Enjoy this new look at a classic album cover you probably never looked at in this manner before, and enjoy this classic Who track from the Monterey Pop Festival.

    The Who- A Quick One (While He’s Away) [Live]

    Buy The Who @ Amazon.com

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    Dec 16, 2008 3:28 PM


    by Ariel
    Hi all. I realize it’s been a few weeks since the last post, and that I seem to keep saying that I’ll try to write more often, but midterms turned into reading week, which has turned into finals.

    The best time for me to write, however, is in that hour before each final, which I set aside as relax time for myself (if I can afford it). So, as not to spend all of my hour creating this post, I’m just going to post a pretty good track by Centro-Matic, a band that I’ve posted about in the past.

    So check them out, check out the new track, and wish me luck in my circuits final.

    Centro-Matic- Circuits to Circuses

    Buy CM @ Amazon.com

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    Dec 5, 2008 8:39 AM

    Rock and Roll is Dead and it’s Vampire Weekend’s Fault

    by Ariel

    I stood there, watching a sea of over-happy preppy-children bouncing up and down, sometimes even waving their hands, all in unison, as the band played their jumpy indie pop, that, despite the fact that it sounds pretty decent on album, just sounded empty, repetitive, and boring onstage. “At least all their songs sound familiar to me,” I thought to myself, trying to salvage at least something from the night, trying desperately to get into the show, and not to be that bitter disenchanted guy; the one who everyone knows is a music snob, and is just too much of an asshole to let his guard down and just enjoy the show. “If their songs sound familiar, then I must know them, and I should be able to get into it.”

    And then I realized- it’s not that I knew their songs, it’s that I knew a few songs; and all the rest follow exactly the same formula: high pitched guitar intro, keyboard based pre-chorus with the drums taking a bit of a break, and then a guitar driven (and I use that word lightly) chorus with a penchant sing-along “whoa-o-oh” or some sort of falsetto wailing. Every song. One, after the next, after the next; with the happy-go-lucky prepsters bouncing up and down the whole way through, as if they had no idea that they were just listening to the same exact track on repeat for an hour.

    “An hour,” you might say to me, while reading this slightly negative review, “they surely played for longer than an hour.” Alas, it was not to be. They went on at 9:15 PM, left for the encore at a few minutes to 10, and were off by 10:15. One hour. That’s even less than Coldplay played for- and that was a free show. I don’t care if they only have one album worth of music. If I’m paying $25 (plus the cursed Ticketbastard fees) I expect more than an hours worth of entertainment.

    While I was somewhat happy to be free of the claustrophobia that can occur while surrounded by indie-rock “Guy Smileys” for so long, and I was quite relieved to find that the show let out early enough for us to catch the express A train back uptown, it’s the principle of the matter that I speak of; play some covers (and that crappy Fleetwood Mac song that they did cover (Everywhere) does not count- it sucked), extend your songs, go into some jams- DO SOMETHING, but do not, and I will repeat this for emphasis- do not play a concert for only an hour. Congrats VW- you sold out two nights in a row, but if you want to keep your fans, you’re going to need to play for a bit longer, and make it a bit more interesting.

    And it all boils down to this one point. Sure, I could’ve ignored the annoying fans had the band actually done something interesting at the show. What they did, quite adequately, if not exceptionally, was recreate- exactly- the sound on the album. It was as the band got all dressed up, grabbed their instruments, stood onstage, and lip synced and played while someone played their CD. There was no innovation, no jamming, no extended songs, no interesting covers- nothing too exciting.

    But that’s exactly what I should’ve expected. This isn’t a band that’s looking to make it big on a tour following. Looking around in the crowd, those weren’t the type of fans they had already wooed. These were radio fans, the everyday music listener, who will go to one concert a year, maybe, if the band they’re currently in love with happens to stop off in their city. These fans have been force-fed VW via the radio waves and their favorite DJs, and have responded in kind.

    So what’s going to happen when it hits the fan? Sure, they’ll come out with a new album soon, and it’ll probably have one or two popular singles. Hey, maybe it will be the next Dark Side of the Moon, and I’ll look back at this post, laughing at myself for my immaturity, claiming that at this show I “just didn’t get them” in order to save musical face, and not look like a total douchebag in case I turn around and decide I like them. That may happen, but I highly doubt it. These guys have two options in front of them: they’ll either make it huge on the pop rock scene, and will jump straight to playing shows at huge venues that will be attended by teeny-boppers who’s parents will be willing to shell out the $70 they’re going to charge for tickets, or- they’ll fade into one-hit-wonder obscurity, popping up ten years from now when bloggers do “Remember the 00s” posts, and we’ll all listen with forgetful nostalgia, wondering where they went wrong.

    Well, I’m telling you right now- this band went wrong with their live show. If they would do it right, and try to gather a following of live music fans- the losers who will come back and see their favorite bands over and over, instead of radio music fans- the cool kids who’re gonna jump on the next big thing the moment it hits the airwaves, forgetting what they loved about their last favorite band, if VW does that, then they’ll survive. If not, then it’s goodbye yellow brick road for these guys.

    And what’s so sad, is that there is a ton of potential in these guys, and it’s so obvious that they’re being stunted by the record companies to keep their songs short, radio friendly, and poppy, instead of brash, exciting, and innovative. Their music has no swagger, it has no punch, and thus it will never save the world.

    Lester Bangs spent twenty years of his life trying to convince us that rock and roll had died. Right now, I’d have to agree with him.

    Vampire Weekend- Mansard RoofVampire Weekend- Cape Cod Kwassa

    Buy VW @ Amazon.com

    Miles Davis: Music as Emotional Instability

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.

    This famous quotation, attributed to Louis Armstrong, kind of sums up everything jazz is about, and why it makes so many people pissed off- while they claim it’s just a bunch of pretentious dribble. See, in the eyes of an academic, anything (and everything) can be quantified, analyzed, and understood. Someone with a PhD in Astrophysics can appreciate the musical genius of Beethoven, as they understand that there is something mathematical and calculated behind his music; structure, a theme. In short, the music is scientific, and thus logical.

    But then there’s jazz- the musical style that is anything but scientific, anything but calculated, anything but understandable. And sure, all academics will claim they love jazz, and love listening to Miles, Charlie, and Louis- but much of this has to do with their own pretension, and their desire to see themselves as cultured and high class. Secretly, they disdain the music, and more importantly, themselves, for not understanding it, and for not being able to properly appreciate it. They’ll brag to their friends that they own a copy of Kind of Blue on vinyl, while all the while they’ll hate playing it- just in case their 10 year old son creeps into the room while it’s on and cries out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, in the form of a “this music sucks,” leaving them without any coherent or proper response to their kid. They live in fear of the unexplained, and their own inability to explain, and thus jazz music is the manifestation of their greatest and deepest fears.

    And this is exactly why they’ll never get it. Because jazz isn’t about understanding; it’s not about a specific song structure, or a specific meaning. Jazz is a free form art, which is about pushing the boundaries. Not like other genres, where the development of music occurs when an artist decides to take the style to the next level; nay- jazz itself is always being pushed; during the song, throughout the jam- the entire genre is based on the lack of structure, and the idea that a song is never truly finished. And this is why people have such a problem understanding jazz; because it’s like life. If a kid came up to you and said “Can you explain what life is about to me?” you would be dumbfounded. “Life…” you would stammer, “is about…” And you wouldn’t really have an answer- because there is no one answer. It’s about living, it’s about experiencing; it’s about emotions and feelings and everything else that happens. So, to define jazz as a combination of notes with a given time, would be horribly underselling the product. Because it’s so much more than that.

    Miles Davis, in particular, wrote some of the saddest music known to man. There’s just something about his horn that speaks, nay yearns, from the deepest part of his soul. Without being able to properly explain it (and thus I won’t even try) I’ll just quote my favorite music critic, Lester Bangs:

    Make no mistake, Miles understands pain- and he will pry it out of your soul’s very core when he hits his supreme note and you happen, coincidentally, to be a bit of an open emotional wound at that moment yourself. It is this gift for open heart surgery that makes him the supreme artist that he is.

    I myself cannot, in any way, shape, or form, give a better explanation of why Miles Davis sounds so amazingly good. And this is why I love to write about music, because it forces me to listen more intensely, and to try to understand what I truly love about it.

    So on this one year anniversary of this blog, I present to you this Miles Davis bootleg; because this stuff, more than anything else, is why I love music- the combination of virtuosity, talent, beautiful sounds, and emotional instability. This is music, and this is life.


    Kurhaus, Scheveningen, The Netherlands – April 9, 1960

    So What

    On Green Dolphin Street

    ‘Round Midnight


    The Theme

    Buy Miles Davis @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 30, 2008 2:25 PM

    A Y&SL Tribute Post

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    Your dedicated blogger returns! No, I’m not back in the USA just yet, but sitting in my sister and brother in law’s apartment in Israel, secretly typing up a tribute post for them as they pick up dinner with my younger brother. I picked a few of their favorite bands, and then picked some of my favorite songs by those bands- a good compromise, if you ask me. So yea, even though I kinda hate G. Love, this song still makes me laugh.Tomorrow (Monday), I will return to the America and will try to resume my blogging duties amid the whirwind of final projects and preparing for final exams. So, as I sit here, trying to enjoy the last hours of my vacation from the freezing weather of New York City, and the debilitating pressure of the final few weeks of school, I’m listening to these four songs; to relax, to enjoy, to chill. You should, in my opinion, take a break from your life, and do the same.

    Red Hot Chili Peppers- Scar Tissue

    Counting Crows- Hanginaround

    G. Love- My Baby Got Sauce

    State Radio- CIA

    Buy RHCPCCG Love, and SR @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 25, 2008 3:49 AM

    The Aeroplane Flies High

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    In about 12 hours from now, I’ll be boarding an aeroplane headed for the land of Israel, to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of a cousin of mine over the upcoming Thanksgiving vacay. So, despite the fact that midterms have finally ended, I will once again be gone for a week, and will probably not be posting again- unless I find a good internet connection over the ocean. But until then, enjoy these flight pattern songs.

    The Black Keys- Aeroplane Blues

    Smashing Pumpking- The Aeroplane Flies High

    Red Hot Chili Peppers- Aeroplane

    State Radio- Wicker Plane

    moe.- Plane Crash

    Buy The Black KeysSPSRmoe., and RHCP @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 18, 2008 1:14 AM

    Girl Talk: Concert Tomorrow

    by Ariel

    I’m going to see Girl Talk tomorrow night at Terminal 5 (and Jenn- if you forget the tickets, I’ll kill you). This will be his final night in NYC on this tour, having sold out all three shows he played here.

    If you’ve never heard him, check out my earlier post about him here. If you know who he is, then you’ve probably already downloaded this album (he posted it for free on his website). But if you haven’t then check out these tracks, and get mad jealous that you’re going to be missing a sick show tomorrow night. [Ed. note: By the time I got around to posting, it was already the day of the concert. Oh well.]

    Girl Talk- Shut the Club Down

    Girl Talk- What It’s All About

    Buy Girl Talk @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 16, 2008 11:01 AM

    Sunday Morning Mixtape

    by Ariel

    I know I’ve been slacking on the posting as of late, but I’m going to try to step it back up, despite having way too much work to get done. Either way- check out this Sunday morning mix. Just make sure not to listen to the last track until you’re fully ready to pounce out of bed, cause it’s going to wake you up whether you like it or not.

    Counting Crows- On Almost Any Sunday Morning

    The Velvet Underground- Sunday Morning

    Bob Dylan- Medicine Sunday

    The Honey Tongue Devils- Sunday Morning Blackout

    Buy CCVUDylan, and HTD @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 12, 2008 9:28 PM

    Southern Blues for the Wintry Weather

    by Ariel

    I know I know- it’s been almost a week since my last post. Midterms this week and next, tons of homework, figuring out next semester, along with everything else just seemed to keep piling up this week, preventing me from having the time or energy to sit down and write this post, which I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time now.

    Now, I discovered all (or at least 2 out of 3) of these bands on 9-Bullets, the same blog that opened me up to Olin & the Moon (a band that so many of you seemed to like). These bands play the southern blues like it always was… no, no- that’s not true. These guys play the souther blues like it would’ve been played if those musicians had more in their guitar arsenal than a beat up acoustic guitar, and a knife to slide up and down the strings. If someone had handed Robert Johnson an electric guitar, I doubt Clapton’s version of Crossroad Blues would’ve come out; nay- he would’ve been playing something more like these guys play- straight up electric southern blues rock. Kinda sounds like exactly the type of music a band like the Black Crowes would play (which may explain why the first two bands sound almost exactly like them). But all similarities aside, these are two great bands, that play and sing the blues like it was meant to be played and sung.

    So, while the weather outside may be frightful, curl up inside with these warm southern tracks, and imagine yourself lazing on a porch somewhere in Alabama, rocking on your rocking chair, sippin some whiskey, and just enjoying the sounds.

    The Honey Tongue Devils- Down Here

    Moreland & Arbuckle- Gonna Send Ya Back To Georgia

    Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed and the True Loves- The Satisfier

    Buy HTDM&A, and Eli Reed @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 6, 2008 8:46 PM

    Timeless Classics vs. Historical Revolutions

    by Ariel

    Shared by you


    Accepting The Fate of the Space Time Continuum

    Having finished my homework early this afternoon, and presented with an unprecedented break before my next class, I made my way over to the Columbia Bookstore, where I bought Songbook by Nick Hornby, a book I’ve been meaning to buy for quite some time now. The book, which is a collection of essays about some of Hornby’s favorite songs and what they mean to him, has surprisingly good musical analysis given that it was written by a novelist; though, anyone who’s read High Fidelity already knows that Hornby is something of music snob himself.

    While I don’t want to review the book itself, I do want to touch upon a topic he brings up during one of the essays. He briefly mentions the difference between hearing a song in it’s historical context, versus hearing it at a later date. While talking about Dylan, he says:

    “I regret never having heard any of the songs at the right age, in the right year. What must it have been like to hear “Like a Rolling Stone” in 1966, aged nineteen or twenty?”

    He goes on to admit that when he was nineteen in 1976, he heard “White Riot” and “Anarchy in the UK,” but he brushes those singles off as unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

    I want to take this discussion in two directions: First, I want to discuss whether hearing Dylan contextually is any more significant than hearing The Clash or the Sex Pistols at the onset of the punk revolution. Second, I want to attempt to deal with the question of what kind of song is more important; the historically relevant song in during that time period, or the timeless song, whose greatness exceeds the bounds of time?

    In terms of the folk rock rebellion versus the punk rock insurgency, I would argue that both of these music revolutions were just as important in the history of music. Sure, the folk rebellion was more socially conscious- as these musicians used their music to try to change the world for the better, yet, where the onset of folk rock was innovative in a political sense, the punk rock revolt was novel as a sociological revolution. Here were a bunch of nihilistic teenagers who wanted nothing more than to get drunk, stoned, and maybe play some rock music. The hippies and folksists had San Francisco, and the punks had New York and London. Both movements were significant in their own right, but it’s always easier to look at the revolution that you missed as the more important one- the grass truly is always greener in the other decade. (Pun very much intended.)

    What I’m talking about here is not songs that are specifically historical, but whether it’s cooler to hear a revolutionary song when it’s revolutionary, instead of studying it years later. And this is where the issue comes up: should we enjoy music more because we heard it in a specific context, or should we separate context from music, and judge the song/band on it’s/their own right?

    One might argue, at first, that the latter choice is ideal, despite the difficulties one might come into separating their emotions from what they like about music. We should, as good music critics, be able to judge music outside of history, which should allow us to properly analyze the music for what it is, and not what it’s connected to. But that is, in my opinion, quite impossible. See, we like music because of the context, and attempting to like it outside of that is almost taking all the fun out of listening. Would I love Pearl Jam as much had I not grown up in the 90s? Possibly, but I’d guess not. These guys inspired me during my adolescence, and thus I have a deeper, albeit unscientific, connection with their music, and the entire Seattle sound that accompanied it.

    So yeah, I can appreciate the Rolling Stones not having heard them redefine rock and roll in the late 60s just as much as I can appreciate The Velvet Underground without having been part of the avant-garde art and rock scene either. But I imagine it was probably cooler to have been there when it happened.

    The important thing, however, is to not live during your own musical era lamenting that you didn’t grow up in a different decade, but to find the great music of your own years, and someday brag to your kids that you were a fan of “insert band name here” band before they became famous, and you were there at the historic gig at the “insert concert venue here.” That’s kind of what it’s all about.

    Bob Dylan- Like A Rolling Stone

    The Clash- White Riot

    Sex Pistols- Anarchy in the UK

    Buy DylanThe Clash, and the Sex Pistols @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 5, 2008 8:14 PM

    Olin & The Moon

    by Ariel

    I love it when I find an amazing band that no one I know has heard of, and I’m able to share them with the world. I first heard of these guys while perusing Nine Bullets, one of the blogs I tend to peruse on a daily basis. In the past 9B has provided me with some amazing southern style blues, but this is the first time I’ve found such a folk rock gem on their site.

    These guys’ country styling reminds you of Wilco, while the sincerity of the lyrics makes you think of Dylan and the Counting Crows. But, where I think this band truly excels is in the way the singer sings. Sure, the music and the words are good- but it’s the vocals that truly make these guys stand out.

    The album switches between solo acoustic songs, on which just an acoustic guitar and vocals is present, and full band songs, which also tend to be dominated by the vocals and acoustic guitars. Beyond that, I really don’t have much to say about this album, as even though I’ve listened to it six times in the last two days, it’s one of those albums that you can listen to all the way through without thinking much about it; it’s just sort of there- but in a really good way.

    So check out the track’s I posted. And if you want the whole thing, you can probably still get it here.


    Olin & The Moon- Sleep

    Olin & The Moon- Turn Me Into Money

    Olin & The Moon- Hello Goodbye

    Buy Olin & The Moon @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 4, 2008 3:14 PM

    Election Day 2008

    by Ariel

    Returning home after voting this morning, I got the idea to construct a politically charged playlist. Everyone knows that musicians love using their music as a platform for projecting their political views on others, so I figured I’d find some liberal songs, some conservative songs, and construct them into an Election Day playlist.

    But I forgot one little thing.

    I forgot that there are no conservative musicians, or at least, if there are- they tend to keep their mouths shut.

    Music and rebellion always have gone hand in hand. As far back as La Marseillaise– the French national anthem which began as a rallying cry of the French Revolution, mankind has always used music as a way to express their discontent with the powers that be.

    So, while I’m unsure why this is, the fact is that most political songs tend to be anti-establishment or at least revolutionary to some degree.

    In this respect, whatever your political leanings are- check out this Election Day playlist. If you’re a hardcore conservative- then take these songs for their predictable ironic appeal. And if you’re a left wing liberal wacko (my dad’s term, not mine), then take these tracks to heart. But whichever side you choose- don’t forget to vote, cause if you don’t- you’re stupid, and no one likes an idiot.

    State Radio- Democracy in Kind

    Pearl Jam- Know Your Rights

    John Butler Trio- Gov Did Nothing

    CSNY- Ohio

    Rage Against the Machine- Township Rebellion

    Radiohead- Electioneering

    Jimi Hendrix- The Star Spangled Banner

    Buy SRPJJBTRATMRadiohead, and Hendrix @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 3, 2008 11:04 PM

    Atumnal Musings

    by Ariel

    It’s time to whip out the sweaters, put on the wool socks, and start layering. Oh, how I love the autumn; from the falling leaves, to the warmth of cashmere, to the brisk cleanliness of the morning breeze. This is the best of all the seasons, and here’s a playlist to listen to as you hold your head up high and brave the cool air on these chilly November mornings.

    The Vines- Autumn Shade

    The National- Mr. November

    Firekites- Autumn Story

    Willy Mason- When the Leaves Have Fallen

    The Rosebuds- Leaves Do Fall

    Gun n’ Roses- November Rain

    Buy The VinesThe NationalFirekitesWilly MasonThe Rosebuds, and GNR @ Amazon.com

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    Nov 1, 2008 9:25 PM

    Counting Crows: October 30th 2008

    by Ariel
    It was supposed to be a quiet acoustic show. He was supposed to be worn out from playing a week full of shows while tormented by the flu. At the end of Wednesday nights show, after putting on what was supposedly an amazingly energetic concert, Adam Duritz, announced to the band that he was sick and tired, and that the next nights show would have to be a quiet acoustic performance.

    He came out looking sick and disheveled, in a Dead Boys t-shirt and a wool ski-cap. Followed only by guitarist David Immerglück, it looked for a second like Adam was actually going to live up to his promise of an acoustic set. But it was not to be. After a beautiful rendition of “Blues Run the Game” by Jackson Frank, Adam called the rest of the band out, and they began to grind through an amazing set list, which included rarities like “Up All Night” rockers like “1492” and “Hanging Tree” and a few of my personal favorites like “Saint Robinson in his Cadillac Dream” and “Round Here” (both of which I had never seen the Crows perform before).

    This was the third time I’ve seen the Crows in concert, but easily the best performance I’ve ever seen them put on, both in terms of the setlist, and in terms of the intensity of the performance. Songs about heartbreak and loss can very easily get old and tired- with the lyrics sounding cliché, and the audience feeling more embarrassed for the singer than sympathetic towards them. Maybe it’s because we assume that the topics of the songs aren’t real and we’re able to distance ourselves from feeling emotion when hearing them.

    Not so with Adam Duritz. Every word that comes out of his mouth sounds like it was ripped straight from the depths of his love scorned heart. It’s not just the words he sings, but the way he sings them, and how his onstange antics make you believe that he’s letting you in on a little secret about his tragic love life and his inability to maintain a relationship. He stood onstage clutching at his heart, and you believed it actually hurt him to sing the words he was singing. By the end of the show, he seemed more emotionally exhausted than physically worn out. This is a guy, who puts 100% into every lyric, and gives everything his all; because that’s the only way he knows how to give. When you’re songs come straight from the heart, sometimes it hurts to sing them.

    And the crowd eats it up, because we all have a little bit of Adam inside of us. A little bit of that tortured soul that just needs to come out. A little bit of emotionally instability that needs to be verbalized, shared with the world, screamed on top of a mountain, and expressed to millions and millions worldwide. We can all connect with his lyrics, because we’ve all been there before.

    She says can’t you see me?

    Can’t you see my walls are tumbling down?

    Can’t you see my walls are crumbling down?

    Can’t you see my sun stopped spinning around?

    And can’t you see that sky turned black and brown?

    And can’t you see that moon go flashing round?

    And can’t you see me?

    And can’t you see me?

    And can’t you see me?


    What makes Adam Duritz so attractive to music fans isn’t that we can sympathize with his predicament, but we can empathize with it. It’s why we started listening to music in the first place, and when we hear him go off on his passionate lyrical tangents, we can’t help but feel some deep seeded connection to what he’s going through.

    Blues Run the Game
    Up All Night
    All My Friends
    Perfect Blue Buildings
    St. Robinson In His Cadillac Dream
    Good Time
    High Life
    Hanging Tree
    Round Here
    Friend of the Devil
    Time and Time Again
    Sullivan Street
    You Can’t Count On Me
    Big Yellow Taxi
    Rain King
    The Ghost In You

    Buy the Counting Crows @ Amazon.com

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    Oct 28, 2008 9:40 PM

    Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Live at the Fillmore

    by Ariel
    Or: A Definition of the word Raw as it pertains to music

    Indie rock (real indie rock- as in bands independent of labels) always seems to share one thing in common; a dedication to the music that they love making- regardless of any (or no) critical acclaim. These bands refuse to compromise, and sadly, many of them spend their entire careers struggling to support themselves as semi-successful musicians.Not so with Neil Young. After achieving commercial success alongside Stephen Stills in Buffalo Springfield by age 22, the band broke up, and Young began his solo career. Not having to worry about writing radio-friendly music, but already famous enough to sell records, Young was able to do what he wanted, and was able to succeed at it. Writing raw, guitar driven music with politically infused lyrics, Young released album after album of music that should not have been commercially successful- but still somehow was.

    However, Young’s most important work wasn’t accomplished in the studio, but on the stage. Backed by his band, Crazy Horse, these guys took the jam band aesthetic, stripped it bare, passed it through a reverse low pass filter (not actually a real thing), and then stuffed it as full of feedback as humanely possible. Neil is definitely not the most technically talented lead guitarist, but what he lacks in ability, he makes up in raw emotive playing. To best describe Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s sound, I would equate them to the antithesis of Boston; instead of perfectly played lead guitars layered five billion times, these guys’ have songs that guttural appeal of a first take- it may not be played perfectly, but it damn near sounds what perfect would sound like if we all had the ability to channel our passions into electrically amplified instruments.

    NY&CH’s shows at the Fillmore East in March of 1970 magnificently portray the raw (I keep trying to find another synonym for the word raw, but nothing seems to come close to describing what I’m trying to say) and unbridled jamming of this band. For those of you who want to hear Neil really cook, check out the solos on Down by the River and Cowgirl in the Sand. I don’t care if Young’s pure talents were nowhere near that of a Hendrix of a Clapton- this album shows why his name should be up there with the rest of the greats.

    [Edit: As per Dan’s comment, I realize that I had posted the entire album. I had posted the 6 songs I had off the album, assuming I only had about half of it, when in truth- those 6 songs were the entire album. So, in order not to have an entire “for sale” album posted, I’ve taken down 2 of the tracks.]

    Neil Young and Crazy Horse- Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

    Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Down By the River

    Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Come on Baby Let’s Go Downtown

    Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Cowgirl in the Sand


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    Oct 27, 2008 6:58 PM

    An Entourage Mix

    by Ariel

    Creating a great TV show is not an easy thing, as anyone who watches some of the crap that somehow makes it onto network television can plainly see. However, there is one network that is able to, time and again, create the best shows out there. From action (The Wire) to comedy (Flight of the Concords) to drama (Entourage), these guys write the best stuff out there.

    What makes these shows so great, beyond the great writing, is the attention to detail. Rome, a show about, well, ancient Rome, lasted only two seasons, as each episode was costing the network the price of a small budget movie; creating elaborate costumes for an army of 10,000 extras every single episode will put you out a pretty penny.

    But what I want to focus on is the music in these shows, particularly in Entourage. This season in particular, I’ve noticed that the music in each and every episode is so perfectly hand picked for the moment it’s played during. I’d love hearing Fake Plastic Trees anytime, but at a pivotal moment, when it seemed like Vince and Ari might be breaking up made me damn near break down in tears. See- music has that ability to make us feel certain feelings, and when it’s played at the opportune moment, even if the feelings we’re feeling are projected from some fictional character- the music makes it seem real.

    Here’s a short playlist of some of the gems that the Entourage guys have been throwing into this seasons episodes:

    Blind Melon- Change

    Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band- Electricity

    Cream- Tales of Brave Ulysses

    Radiohead- Fake Plastic Trees

    Neil Young- Only Love Can Break Your Heart

    Buy Blind MelonCaptain BeefheartCreamRadiohead, and Neil Young @ Amazon.com

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    Oct 26, 2008 9:53 PM

    Kings of Leon

    by Ariel

    I was recently accosted by a friend who thought my blog has turned elitist and fake. She claimed that I seemed to be conforming to the musical opinions of all critics; that instead of actually promoting my own true musical loves, I was merely trying to project an image of the “music critic” and that it was that image, more than anything else, that I was striving for with this blog.

    Well, I’m going to go out on a limb this post, and let you all know, that I love this band solely because of their sound. Yes, that’s right. I’m not trying to impress anyone. I’m not trying to project an image about myself. I’m not trying to make it look like I know more music than you, the reader (because I probably don’t) nor am I’m trying to convince you that the music I like is better than the music that you like (because that’s probably not true either- unless of course you’re a die hard Britney Spears fan. In that case, I can say, without a doubt, that this music is better than that). I started this blog to share music with my friends, and that’s what it’s going to continue to be.

    So listen to the Kings of Leon. Not because I’m telling you to. Not because “music critics” think they’re good (they may or may not- I really have no idea). Listen to them because they have an amazing sound and are just an all around great band. These guys have heart, they have soul, and most importantly they have grit- and the guts to play awesome music in a world full of crappy pap. And if you’re going to be in the NY area this coming January 29th, buy some tickets to see them rock Madison Square Garden. I know I did.

    Kings of Leon- Tranny

    Kings of Leon- Fans

    Kings of Leon- McFearless

    Buy KOL @ Amazon.com

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    Oct 20, 2008 12:20 PM

    Buddy Guy

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    Or: Why Music Can Have Intangibles Even Though Baseball Can’t

    Some music is beautiful for it’s technical perfection; for it’s impeccable composition and performance. But then again, that’s not what music always about, is it.

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve read a number of quotes about how music and art are the things that humanity was given to make life beautiful. The acts of creation and improvisation that take place in music are simply a microcosm for how humanity expresses itself. Thus, it is precisely music that makes us human- and to not listen to music, would be to deny ourselves our humanness.

    That being said, music can express two, sometimes divergent, human abilities: intelligence and emotion. Some musicians use their technical knowledge to construct brilliant compositions. But that music can only touch you so much. Sure, we can all appreciate the brilliance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (quite possibly the most beautiful piece of music ever written), but what it has in technicality, it lacks in soul.

    Now, soul is one of those intangibles that can’t quite be described. I feel like a hypocrite, because whenever I hear baseball analysts talk about intangibles- like “clutch hitting” and being a “team player” I (as any good FJMreader would do) patronizingly laugh at them from my statistically infused ivory tower; unable to understand why they can’t seem to fall in love with a stat like VORP, or why they still seem to think RsBI are important. But I digress.

    When it comes to music, there obviously are intangibles, because we’re not dealing with a scientific phenomenon, but an emotional one. Music is, and always has been, at it’s root, an emotional exercise. Because of this, there’s a certain intangible that we like to call “soul” that some musicians have, and some just don’t

    The blues, is one of those genres of music that revolves around this idea of soul. You can hear the emotion not just in the singers voice, but in the wail of the guitar. It’s the genre of music that first said, it’s not about how many notes you play- but how you play the notes that you choose to play.

    Of all the Chicago bluesmen, however, one stands out in my mind as one of the guys who most energetically and successfully, took the ideals of the acoustic delta blues, and applied them to city life- electrifying the genre without losing any of the heart or soul in the process. Hailed by both Clapton and Hendrix as their personal favorite bluemen, Buddy Guy happens to be my favorite as well (though, I imagine my opinion is less valued that the two former guitarists).

    So, in the timeless words of Guy himself, “Let’s get back to the blues.”

    Buddy Guy- One Room Country Shack

    Buddy Guy- The Things That I Used To Do

    Buddy Guy- You Give Me Fever

    Buy Buddy Guy @ Amazon.com

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    Oct 16, 2008 10:45 PM

    Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers or Pure Unadulterated Fun

    by Ariel

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    This band is not technically good. They really don’t boast anything at all. They’re not popular, as in- on the radio. They’re not popular amongst music critics. They don’t do anything particularly amazing, besides for play good pop rock and put on fun live shows (which I can’t really still attest to, as I haven’t seen them live in about three years).

    I was talking to my roommate tonight about why we like good “insert art form here,” and why we consider it to be good “insert same art form again.” I was raving about the brilliance of “An American Tale,” when I thought about “Fargo” (not sure what the connection in my mind was- but if you’re a psychologist, you could probably do a number on my head). I asked Kelin if he ever saw it, and he said he did, and didn’t like it- but wants to see it again because he would probably appreciate it better now. At which point I asked him if he thinks that we, as self proclaimed appreciators of higher art forms, force ourselves to like certain authors/bands/artists not because we actually enjoy their work, but because we feel like we should like it, as connoisseurs of the arts.

    Now, don’t take this too far. I’m not saying that I can convince myself that I like something, and go from hating it entirely to becoming obsessed with it. However, I do think that if it’s something that we are told we should/would appreciate, we put more effort into liking it- which may defeat the purpose of being a truly good critic.

    But if I was only concerned with high arts, then I would never appreciate a band like this. I like them for nothing other than the fact that they’re pure unadulterated fun. So listen to this band- not for how they took their influences and created an entire new genre of music; not because of the influence they’ve had on Western culture in the dawn of the 21st century, and certainly not for their virtuosic talents. Listen to these guys, because deep down inside- the music we like the most is the stuff that just sounds good to us.

    Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers- Days

    Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers- Start the Day Early

    Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers- Thirteen

    Buy SK&tS @ Amazon.com

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    Oct 13, 2008 3:20 PM

    I Will Hold A Candle Till It Burns Up My Arm

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    Just the other day, I was talking to my brother, and he mentioned how he loves the second verse of Indifference, by Pearl Jam.

    You mean- 
    I will hold a candle till it burns up my arm

    I asked.

    I’ll keep taking punches until their will grows tired.

    So when we ourselves can’t verbalize the words that get us through the day, we turn to our poets, or musicians, and our lyricists to do it for us. Eddie always has been able to, and always wil have that power.

    I will stare the sun down, until my eyes go blind.
    I won’t change direction, I won’t change my mind.

    This one’s for anyone who needs something to hold onto right now.

    Pearl Jam- Indifference
    (Not my favorite version, but from the first PJ show we saw together, so it’s got that emotional hold on me.)

    Buy Pearl Jam @ Amazon.com

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    Oct 10, 2008 4:00 AM

    New Radicals During the Holiday Season

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    I’d like to start of by apologizing for the lack of posts as of late, and also apologize in advance for what will be another weak week or two.
    The combination of the Jewish holiday season with a Columbia University courseload has proven more than I thought I could handle.
    So, give me a few weeks, when midterms are over, and the holidays are through, and I promise I’ll be back up and running on the daily schedule I was keeping to earlier this year.

    Here’s a quick track that I’ve loved ever since I heard it on Scrubs that time. Yes, the band is the New Radicals- headed by that guy who always wore that silly hat, and sang ‘You Always Get What You Give.’ But this song is much better, so try to ignore his poor fashion sense (at least in terms of head coverings) and appreciate the beautiful pop song that this is.

    New Radicals- Mother We Just Can’t Get Enough

    Buy the New Radicals @ Amazon.com

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    Oct 5, 2008 12:51 AM

    Phish: Reunion 2009

    by Ariel

    Anyone music fan who frequents the interwebs on a regular basis, will know that the Phish reunion is old news. But I’ve been bogged down with schoolwork (which I still have tons of to do: If anyone can help me with my Data Structures homework- lemme know in the comments. Constructing a boggle solver is no fun when your Intro to Java course was horrible) so this is the first chance I have to post about it. As of Thursday, jam band gods Phish announced that they’ll be reuniting for three Virginia shows this coming March.

    Now, for many music fans, this is the Holy Grail. Especially those high school kids who recently discovered that they love jam band music and the “culture” that goes along with it (hmmm…) and lament the fact that they were still in grade school when Phish went on hiatus last, and for all intents and purposes, seemed to have broken up.

    I am not one of those fans.

    My relationship with Phish is a much more causal one. Similar to my take on the Grateful Dead (the original jam band, whose shows Phish supposedly models theirs after) – while these guys are known for their incredible concerts- I prefer their studio offerings.

    You could shrug this statement off by claiming I just don’t like live music, and prefer the cleanliness of a studio recording. That would be entirely false. There are certain bands (like Pearl Jam and the Counting Crows, to give two examples) of whose studio catalogue I almost entirely ignore for their stupendous live selections.

    So yes, I do think it’s odd that the only Phish stuff I don’t automatically skip over when shuffling on my iPod is stuff from Pictures of Nectar, Lawn Boy, or a few other of their studio albums that I enjoy listening to; yet when Hampton Comes Alive shows up, I always tend to get bored (what’s the deal with the Audience Chess Moves?) and end up moving on to the next song after less than a minute of listening. (Like I said before, it’s the same thing with the Grateful Dead: I love American Beauty and Skeletons in the Closet [despite the fact that true music fans shouldn’t own “Best Of” compilations, this was the first Dead album I purchased, so I’m going to stand by it] but it’s rare when I’ll listen to any of their live stuff – except of course tracks off Europe ’72. Hmmm… I guess this equation has been disproved, and rendered moot and uninteresting.)

    And herein lies the conundrum placed before me: Do I assume that my dislike for their live albums will translate into a dislike for their actual live show, and ignore this semi-significant reunion by not even attempting to obtain tickets? Or do I think that in order to properly appreciate this band, I need to actually be there- that I need to be in attendance to witness this purported greatness?

    So, as any self respecting concertgoer would do- I registered for the possibility to buy tickets early (which really means, that if I win this chance, I’ve already purchased the tickets- God, these guys are smart business dudes). If all goes well, I will be in attendance, and will be able to report back to all of you on my opinion as to whether these guys actually deserve their spot as the best jam band since the Dead (which I guess, is no big deal in my book, as I don’t see the Dead as such an awesome jam band either).

    Oh, and one more thing about this band. Can people stop saying they love Farmhouse? It’s probably the most generic pop song written by a band whose strong suit was diverting from that tired genre. With great cuts like Cavern, Horn, and Guelah Papyrus- this is a band that should not be known for their only song that follows a traditional G, D, Em, C song structre.

    Phish- Cavern

    Phish- Horn

    Phish- Guelah Papyrus

    Buy Phish @ Amazon.com

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    Sep 28, 2008 9:16 PM

    Happy New Year’s

    by Ariel

    Hmmm. I’m not really sure if the phrase “New Year’s” should have an apostrophe or not. Either way, the Jewish New Year- ראש השנה- is this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. So, to celebrate, it’s time to post a few songs about the coming New Year.

    Death Cab For Cutie has become one of the most popular non-indie indie rock bands (meaning, that they fall into the musical genre of indie music, but are in fact signed to a major label, and are thus not actually independent. But despite their extreme popularity, they happen to be a pretty good band. [I realize making a statement like that makes me sound like a pompous music elitist who thinks that only unpopular bands have any musical merit. I know there are tons of good bands who are famous- basically every classic rock band; but in recent years, the trend seems to have been that the most popular bands are the worst. I could blame it on the insane commercialization of music- but then again- the record companies are trying to sell a product- so what’s popular is ultimately going to be based on demand. I could fabricate a conspiracy and claim that there are a bunch of rich music haters out there who pay off radio stations so that they play only the worst music- kind of like a payola scandal out of a bad comic book; but that would be ridiculous even for me. So I guess I’m going to base it on the lack of taste of the populace, which probably stems from the fact that they’re looking at music as something to entertain them, as opposed to a work of art. But enough about that- more about the band.] Ben Gibbard (their lead singer and possibly a guitar player as well) is one of the best contemporary pop music songwriters, and their music is poppy enough to sound cool on the radio, and interesting enough to make it listenable to the elitist music fan.

    U2 on the other hand, holds an itneresting place in the world of popular music. I have always loved this band and their arena rock sensibilities. Their songs just always seem to soar, and I can’t really imagine hearing them anywhere but in a huge arena with tons of screaming girls (which is something I wouldn’t normally enjoy- but for U2 it seems like it would have to be that way to work). Now, many musical purists don’t seem to like U2. I have no idea why, and won’t try to come up with a reason. Sure, Bono has changed his tune over the years; going from the extremely anti-commercialization pop icon who was too cool for school, to the entertainment economic genius- running some of the most lucrative tours in recent years, to the budding politician- one of the few celebrities who’s opinion is actually valued in the wide world of politics. But change should be why people love Bono, not why they hate him. To change is to be confident enough to say “I was wrong, and I used to think that way, but now I think this way.”

    And we’ve come full circle, because that’s exactly what the New Year is about. Reevaluating values, rediscovering beliefs, and rediscovering ones self. So listen to the music, and even if you don’t happen to be Jewish, use this Rosh Hashana as a chance to take stock- because you don’t have to be part the Tribe to do that.

    Death Cab For Cutie- The New Year
    U2- New Year’s Day

    Buy U2 and Death Cab @ Amazon.com

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    Sep 24, 2008 9:33 PM

    State Radio

    by Ariel

    Shared by you

    It was in an attempt to hear Dispatch that I discovered this band. In the winter of 2006 (I think it was then) I headed down to Irving Plaza to hear a “Relief Project” concert, which was going to be headlined by Pete Francis, Braddigan, and State Radio. Each of those three groups was headed by one of the guys from Dispatch, so I was kind of hoping for something of a reunion.

    While the guys did get together to play a song (Here We Go) to close out the show, this was not the highlight for me. The highlight was hearing State Radio, for the first time. Well, I lie. Hearing Dispatch was amazing, and State Radio’s sound that night was a bit off. But, it did open me up to one of my favorite bands, and for that I’m pretty grateful.
    Headed by Chad, one of the primary songwriters for Dispatch (which doesn’t say much- as all 3 of them wrote songs, but Chad wrote some of the better ones, like The General, Time Served, and as far as I know, Elias), State Radio has slowly been building up a pretty strong following- at least where I see them, in New York City. While I don’t neccesarily like the fact that they’re lately been playing larger venues- Terminal 5 instead of The Bowery- it does testify to the growth of their fan base over the past few years.
    I’ve seen them 5 times (and Jenn was there at every show) over the past few years (putting them #2 to Pearl Jam in bands I’ve seen the most), the last of which was at a large venue in Camden opening for the Dave Matthews Band. While it was weird to be so far from the stage at a show of theirs, and to be one of the few people who was singing along to every word, it was really cool to see them playing for such a large audience.
    So check these guys out. Their brand of indie rock stays clear of the emotional acoustic stuff that you may be used to; they’re more of an alternative rock band that happens to be independent. Enjoy it, and check them out when they rock out Terminal 5 on Thanksgiving weekend.
    Oh, and if you just noticed that the song titles are slightly political- they are. Chad loves singing about his uber-liberal political beliefs. If that bothers you, try to ignore it and focus on the music.
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    Sep 22, 2008 7:38 PM

    Band of Horses

    by Ariel

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    Every once in a while, I discover a band that blows me away. In a genre as tired as a salmon after fighting upstream to spawn (who, by the way, thinks he’s just going to relax after his long trip fighting current, bears, and fishermen; little does he know, he’s about to die) indie pop seems like it’s been supersaturated these days. I imagine it was similar with the folk explosion of the 60s. It must have gotten to the point where people thought “Ok! Enough Dylan. Enough Joni Mitchell! Just write me a fucking rock song already!” I’ve felt that way about this indie rock phenomenon that has gripped emotional music fans. “I’ve heard the Shins, I’ve heard enough Joshua Radin. Just give me some more bands like the Strokes!”

    But that’s when I discover a band that reminds me why I started loving this whole ridiculous indie rock scene in the first place. It’s a style of music that’s able to incorporate beautifully crafted pop songs, with poetic lyrics. Where Band of Horses deviates from the norm is in the fact that they actually rock out on some of their songs. Not in a Raconteurs kind of way; more like in a Explosions in the Sky kind of way, with churning electric guitars that slowly build up, and suddenly, you realize you’re listening to a pretty rocking song. Though, while Explosions refrains from using vocals in their music, these guys almost use their layered vocals as extra instruments, just adding to the whole of the musical harmony.
    So, if you’re looking for a new band to fall in love with, these guys would be a wonderful choice.
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    Sep 21, 2008 10:20 PM

    Forgotten 90s: Volume 5

    by Ariel

    The 90s have been over for more than 8 years. But that doesn’t mean I’ve ever stopped loving any of the music from that time period. I think with time, I’ve only become more and more attached to it. So back from a few months ago- it’s time to revive the Forgotten 90s posts.

    So back, with volume 5- it’s those songs that you hoped would die out with the decade that wrought them. Think again my friend. They’re back, and ready to rock your socks off. Which of course, would be impossible, because you’re probably wearing a clunky pair of Dr. Marten’s. But who cares? Put on your flannel shirt, rock the Docs, and nostaligafy yourself with these rocking tracks.
    Buy SpongeBNLSilvercharBeck, and Collective Soul @ Amazon.com
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    Sep 17, 2008 8:03 PM

    Richard Wright: 1943-2008

    by Ariel

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    It seems that a bunch of my posts of late have been about death, yet here we are again. A few days ago, Richard Wright, keyboardist and founding member of The Pink Floyd succumbed to his battle with cancer. He was 65.

    But I don’t want to talk about death and the tragedies of music. Sure, Wright died younger than he should’ve, and he died of a disease that no one should have to endure, but he didn’t die as we expect all musicians and artists to. He didn’t tragically leave us at the all too young age of 27. He didn’t lead a life of misery, and finally succumb to drug abuse, or throw it all away by committing suicide. He lived, a full long life, albeit cut short by disease.

    A few years ago, I read Chuck Klosterman’s book “Killing Yourself to Live.” The idea was to travel around the US, visiting the sites where famous musicians died, and write a book about the connection between death and music. While I don’t remember what Chuck’s conclusion was (in fact, all I really remember from that book was being angry that he took such a great idea and used it as a forum to vent his relationship issues instead of actually exploring the concept) I’ve been mulling over the idea for a few days. For some of us, this loss leaves us with a feeling of emptiness and forces us to confront the reality of mortality. Adam Duritz wrote Richard Manuel is Dead about such an experience. For others, it’s like the loss of something external- like if you lost your iPod: you can’t listen to it anymore, but it’s hardly tragedy.

    I think the sense of loss is directly related to the connection you have with the musician’s work. When John Lenon died, an entire generation mourned; not because he was necessarily a good person, but because there was some emotional connection that everyone had with his music. It was the first time that people truly believed the Beatles would never reunite; until then, the option was alive in every fan’s head, despite the band members’ continued insistence that it would never happed.

    This is the loss I felt when I heard the news about Richard Wright. The Pink Floyd has always been the holy grail of live shows for me; after my dad took me to my first ever concert (Pearl Jam), I asked him what he thought of it. He responded “it was pretty good, but nothing compared to Floyd on The Wall tour.” Those words put me in eternal awe of my dad and the concert’s he went to.

    And Floyd was always one of those bands that could’ve gotten back together. Hendrix, Bonzo, Keith Moon, and John Lenon were all dead before I was born. But everyone from Floyd was still alive; the only thing keeping them from reuniting were the conflicting egos of David Gilmour and Roger Waters. But in my head, those guys were going to work it all out, and the band was going to get back together for the most amazing reunion tour of all time. Sure, my dad and people of his generation would say that they weren’t nearly as polished as they used to be, and that the shows used to be better. And I would nod in agreement, not really caring, because I would be seeing The Pink Floyd in concert!

    In 2005, I thought I may get my wish. I mean, they got together to play the Live Aid show. Maybe they would do a full fledged tour. Who knew?

    But alas, Richard Wright has passed on, and with him, my hopes for a Floyd reunion. Because we hope against all hope for that which seems impossible; but it’s only death itself that actually forces our improbable hopes to come to a halt.

    But instead of mourning the loss of potential, let’s celebrate the his life, his ability to craft some of the most amazing psychedelic songs ever, and his place in one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk this earth.

    Here’s to you Mr. Wright.

    Pink Floyd- The Great Gig in the Sky

    Pink Floyd- Us and Them

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    Sep 16, 2008 12:54 AM

    Pearl Jam: Live in Atlanta (4-3-94)

    by Ariel

    It’s been a while since I’ve done a Pearl Jam post, so I feel like I can get away with this one.

    As one of the greatest live acts of all time, it’s tough to pull out any single show as one of Pearl Jam’s greatest of all time. Yet, here I am, about to do just that.

    Now of course- I haven’t heard a recording of every single show, but I do have quite a number of them on my iTunes. The show that I’m about to post, is one of the best recordings/most intense shows that I’ve ever heard. Eddie is stellar, the guitar playing is amazing, and the sound quality is out of this world. If you’ve never downloaded anything Pearl Jam of mine, please take this show. It’s a guaranteed good time.
    The Show



    Even Flow


    Why Go



    Glorified G





    State of Love and Trust





    Better Man

    Elderly Woman


    Satan’s Bed


    Sonic Reducer



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    Sep 14, 2008 2:38 AM

    Top 5 Songs About Death: A DFW Tribute Post

    by Ariel

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    As many of you probably know by now, David Foster Wallace sadly took his own life this past Friday night. While death, and especially suicide, is not a foreign subject in any art form, it still feels like a punch in the stomach whenever you hear the world has lost someone who created for a living, someone who was able to share their art-form with the rest of the world, and influence countless individuals and fans.

    I myself know very little about DFW. My roommate Avi is a big fan of Wallace’s work, and being that we’ve lived together for over a year, I myself have read many of Wallace’s short stories and essays. While he’s not my favorite author, I was always able to appreciate the uniqueness of his writing style, and thus I think it appropriate to honor his life with a “Top 5 Songs About Death” post.

    Now, this idea is not mine. I stole this from High Fidelity, when Laura’s dad died, and the guys make up a Top 5 Songs about death list in her honor. I feel like I should post their lists, but Rivka still hasn’t given back my copy of the book, and I don’t feel like pulling out the DVD right now. So here are my top 5 songs about death. Listen. Enjoy. And post your suggestions in the comments.

    Pearl Jam- Crazy Mary

    Dave Matthews Band- Gravedigger

    Temple of the Dog- Say Hello 2 Heaven

    Aimee Mann- Just Like Anyone

    Nickel Creek- The Lighthouse’s Tale

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    Sep 12, 2008 1:03 PM

    Black Sabbath

    by Ariel

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    It’s funny how most of the music world credits Led Zeppelin with inventing “heavy metal” while they somehow forget about Black Sabbath. Actually, most self proclaimed music elitists make the claim that Sabbath was merely copying Zeppelin- pointed specifically to Tomy Iommi’s lead guitar style as derivative of Jimmy Page’s blues infused guitar rippery.

    But if you listen to Black Sabbath, and truly listen to them for what they were, you’ll get a different impression. Black Sabbath began as blues band called Earth, before adopting worship of the occult into their lyrics and changing their name. And yea, Jimmy Page also had a weird obsession with all things pagan, but I’m pretty sure Ozzy beat him to that punch.

    As for their playing styles and their cultural impacts, the bands couldn’t be more different. Zeppelin was the first arena rock band, playing heavy music to the masses- but they still retained their status as sex symbols. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant stood onstage with their shirts wide open, long hair flowing everywhere, and they looked like rock gods.

    Not so with Sabbath. These guys didn’t appeal to the teenager looking for a sex symbol, but to the introvert who just wanted to wear his big headphones and listen alone. It’s no coincidence that William Miller, the socially awkward fictional journalist from Almost Famous was asked to write up 1000 words on Sabbath as his first assignment. This was metal that appealed to the nerdy, the quiet, the lonely, and the strange.

    In this way, it’s Sabbath who truly invented heavy metal- a genre that has been dominated by self proclaimed freaks. If you still don’t buy it, just think about it in these terms. Who would fit in better at Ozzfest? Black Sabbath (who still frequently play there)? Or Led Zeppelin?

    The answer is obvious. So reconnect with your inner freak, sit in the corner all alone, and crank some Sabbath on your headphones. It’s bound to be a great time.

    Black Sabbath- Paranoid

    Black Sabbath- Jack the Stripper (Fairies Wear Boots)

    Black Sabbath- The Wizard

    Buy Black Sabbath @ Amazon.com

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    Sep 11, 2008 11:43 AM

    Radiohead: September 11th 2001

    by Ariel

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    I’m trying not to say anything. I mean, what the fuck are you going to say after today? There’s absolutely nothing to say.”To merely recall the facts, the play by play of the day, seems like we’re selling our memories short. People say that time heals all wounds; well, that’s because time numbs our emotions. But when we want to remember, we need to find ways to reopen those wounds- to relive, not just the facts, but also the feelings that we felt.

    While the rest of the world was figuring out that the planes that crashed into the towers were indeed hijacked by terrorists, Radiohead had begun to play a concert in Berlin. It’s clear from the audio recording of the show that the band knew very little about what had happened, and apparently the crowd knew less.

    “So who here doesn’t know about it?” asks Thom Yorke following a stellar rendition of Pyramid Song. “Everybody knows that I’m talking about…you don’t know what I’m talking about? You don’t know about the aeroplanes in America? Somebody tell ‘em. I’ll tell ya.”

    The crowd remains mostly silent though Thom’s speech; as if this is news to them- which it probably was. Thom himself is still unclear on the number of planes that crashed, and his version starts with two, and then jumps to seven, before settling on four.

    From the nearly silent crowd, you can hear one disbelieving fan scream out “Bullshit!” expressing what we all felt on that day; that feeling of denial that stems from not wanting to believe what we’ve just heard.

    We’re not scaremongering

    This is really happening

    But that was just one of the many feelings that permeated the day. We went from denial and disbelief, to anger, to depression, to that horrible feeling of helplessness. And it was the helplessness that brought us together. It was helplessness that forced us to sit together in front of the television, just watching in silence. It was helplessness that made us cry; that made us weep.

    I remember going home, and just sitting in my room, listening to the radio, and quietly strumming along on my guitar. 98 Rock was taking requests from listeners, listeners who kept calling in and telling the DJs why this particular song was the one getting them through the day.

    At my first ever concert, Sonic Youth was supposed to open for Pearl Jam. It was announced that th