Monthly Archives: March 2015

Song of the Week: “Townie” by Mitski

Song of the Week: Mitski / “Townie”

Just discovered this New York singer. I don’t know why I can’t get this song out of my head. I find the video hard to stop watching too. Maybe I’ll try to listen to her entire album if I can get past this song.

Mitski on Bandcamp

Mitski on Twitter

Top 10 Albums of 2005 — Interpol is watching

Last week, I looked back at 30 years ago with the Top Albums of 1985. To continue the trend of the halfway point of each decade, here are the Top Albums of 2005, which was a pretty underrated year in music.

Click on the album titles or covers to hear the album, key tracks or a music video from the album.

Since I’ll be unveiling tons of charts here over time, I figured why not release one each Sunday. Upcoming charts include Top Albums of 1975 (March 21), Top Albums of 1995 (March 28), Top Albums of 1965 (April 4).

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1

Interpol Antics
Possibly my favorite album of the 2000s when all is said and done — so that’s saying a lot. Most people consider Interpol’s first album Turn on the Bright Lights as their classic, but as much as I also like that one, this one is a notch above for five songs alone. In fact this entire album is greatness for the songs “Lengths of Love,” “Not Even Jail,” “Slow Hands,” “Evil” and “C’mere.” Listen to all of those songs many times in headphones with no other distractions. The album itself says it best: “Makes me want to pick up my guitar, and celebrate the myriad ways that I love you.” And I don’t even play guitar!

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2

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Another album that will go down as a classic of the 2000s for many reasons. Among them the way it was independently released and picked up steam by word of mouth. People have tried to compare this album to other things, but you really can’t. From Alec Ounsworth’s distinct voice, convoluted Stipe-ian lyrics, and interesting circus-like melodies, it’s an album that feels like a greatest hits for hipsters. In the good way, of course.

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3

Giant Drag Hearts and Unicorns
Annie Hardy, the woman who is basically Giant Drag, might be the single weirdest person I’ve ever talked to, and her music is definitely not for everyone. But 10 years later I still love the weirdness of this album, which somehow is still melodic. Too bad Hardy hasn’t yet been able to do something like this since then.

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4

The Go! Team Thunder, Lightning Strike
Admittedly, this is one of the most unexpected albums to appear on any of my top albums charts. It’s like part cheerleader chant, part funky R&B and all fun. I have been told this has to be listed in the “guilty pleasure” category because it’s so campy. While that may be true, all I know is this album loud on the headphones is the best for mowing the lawn in the middle of July. And that’s saying something in the Arizona heat.

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5

The New Pornographers Twin Cinema
One of another great album from The New Pornographers, one of the top five bands of the 21st century. “Twin Cinema” is one of the classic openers of the last 15 years, and the band still plays a lot of these songs live. It’s not my favorite New Pornographers album — that would be 2003’s Electric Version — but this is almost as good.

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6

Doves Some Cities
Doves had a nice run of albums in the mid-2000s, and this is one of them.  Again, like the New Pornographers, this album isn’t as good as the one before it (in this case 2002’s The Last Broadcast), but it’s still great in its own right. “Black and White Town” still gets me moving. (And no, I don’t mean to the dancefloor.)

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7

Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine
When it comes to genius album percentage, Fiona Apple is nearly batting 1.000% and that’s saying something. Extraordinary Machine, her third album, seemed like it took forever after 1999’s masterpiece “When the Pawn…” but in reality it was only six years. It was definitely worth the wait, however. It also gave me my first exposure to Zach Galifanakis in the genius video for

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8

Supergrass Road to Rouen
This by the far the most different album in the catalog of the great Supergrass. It’s also their first album that needs a few listens to fully appreciate. But you can definitely hear musical maturity after all those years of youthful energy.

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9

The Soundtrack of Our Lives Origin Volume 1
One of my favorite live bands of the 2000s delivered another rocking album in 2005. These Swedish guys never gave us Origin Volume 2, but that’s OK because this one is good enough. Too bad most people in America only know them from wrestling since “Big Time” is the theme song for one of the shows. (I’m glad I don’t know which one!)

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10

The Magic Numbers The Magic Numbers
These guys look a little rougher than the sweet music they produced. There are two men and two women in the group. I know they’re either married or related or divorced or just really good friends. I’m not really sure all these years later. But this album still stands up as worthy enough to just make the chart.

Honorable mention

  • Belle & Sebastian Push Barman to Open Old Wounds
  • Coldplay X&Y
  • The Dandy Warhols Odditorium or Warlords of Mars
  • Franz Ferdinand You Could Have It So Much Better
  • Fruit Bats Spelled In Bones
  • Gorillaz Demon Days
  • Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings Naturally
  • LCD Soundsystem LCD Soundsystem
  • My Morning Jacket Z
  • Sleater-Kinney The Woods

“Billboard” books are bibles for music nerds

If you’re a music nerd like me, you’ve probably consulted a Billboard music chart at some point in your life.

One of my favorite books in my collection that I refer to often is The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. I have the edition charting everything from 1955 to 2000. That’s good news since last year I started collecting 45s, with the goal to find every Billboard No. 1 single between 1955 to 1990.

51haquUmfpL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ 51hloSY-X3L._SL500_SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Why those years you ask? Well, it’s simple to me.  The rock-and-roll era is generally acknowledged to have gone mainstream in 1955 — mostly from the Bill Haley and His Comets single, “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock.”

I graduated high school in 1990, which pretty much ended my mainstream radio listening days, so it felt like a good ending point. Plus, how many vinyl singles were actually produced after the ’80s? I’m guessing not many, so why bother looking.

In addition to collecting singles, I recently received all of my dad’s vinyl albums. Of course, that meant I needed a Billboard albums chart book. So I decided to visit some record stores that sell books and see what I could find.

To my amazement, Revolver Records, the first store I checked (and the same place I bought my vintage record player last year) had a pristine used copy of The Billboard Book of Top 40 Albums, covering the years 1955 to 1994. And only five bucks. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Time to nerd it up.

Mets beat Braves to open spring with hope

All in all, the New York Mets’ 8-2 win over the Braves on Wednesday was an outstanding way to start the 2015 season.

Although it means less than nothing, it always feels good to beat the Braves anytime.

Here’s a Grab Bag from the first day of exhibition games:

  • Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis sure looks like he wants to make the team with his 4-for-4 performance and one of the better beard growths during the offseason.
  • It was disappointing to hear Daniel Murphy’s comments about homosexuality after former player Billy Bean (no, not the Moneyball Billy Beane … I already looked it up) visited the Mets to talk about “inclusion.” But I felt better about the whole thing when I read Bean’s amazing response to Murphy.
  • I know I’ve said it before and I really hate jinxing it, but I just have a really good feeling about this season. The law of averages are on our side, right?

Elle King / “Ex’s and Oh’s”

Elle King / “Ex’s and Oh’s”

Somehow SNL-alum Rob Schneider’s daughter has turned out to be one of the best fresh faces on the music scene. This single is awesome, and so is Elle King’s “don’t-give-a-shit” attitude.

It will be interesting to see how far this lady can go. I also recommend her debut album, Love Stuff, which is already on my top albums of 2015 list.