Dec 30, 2003

np: "leave the biker" - fountains of wayne

it's been awhile since i've pulled out the debut by these guys, and it's only gotten stronger in the downtime - if that's even possible. FoW really know thier way around a hook, and i really consider them to be my favorite pop band ever. i discovered them shortly before the debut came out, thanks mostly to my Pumpkins obsession being in high gear in the mid-90s. i had read that James and D'arcy were putting a label together, Scratchie Records, to distribute some of the bands they wanted to get out there. FoW, along with Fulflej and the Chainsaw Kittens, were among the first albums released on the imprint. being the obsessive that i am, and having a hook-up at a local record shop, i was able to pick up all three albums around the time they first came out. Fulflej's Wack Ass Tuba Riff at least got the wack part correct and Chainsaw Kittens really didn't hold my attention all that long. but i loved Fountains of Wayne from the first moment "Radiation Vibe" came flowing out of my headphones. fucking pop bliss. which was odd for me at the time to enjoy because in addition to the Pumpkins, i had recently discovered June of 44, Rachel's, Rodan, and the glories of the Touch and Go/Quarterstick post-rock thing going on. pop was the last thing i was looking for at the time. but when something is that damn good, you don't fight it. you just enjoy. i'll never forget the mornings walking to class with "Survival Car" and "Joe Ray" blaring through my headphones.

on another FoW tip, i had the weirdest thing happen to me when i left work. i had a certain line from "Hey Julie" bouncing around in my head all day and it would not go away no matter how hard i tried. sure enough i leave work, get in my car, turn on the radio, and that exact same line came back at me immediately. "no i'll never make it through without you around". that's great pop music right there folks.

Dec 28, 2003

np: "hold and it will happen anyway" - liars

three highly anticipated releases for early 2004 have been leaked online, and i've been enjoying all three of them today - Xiu Xiu's Fabolous Muscles, Liars' They Were Wrong So We Drowned, and The Walkmen's Bows and Arrows. The Walkmen album is my favorite so far, it hit me from the first listen on a level that the debut album didn't. that one took me some time to get into, but Bows had me hooked from song one. the Liars album is also fucking excellent, more of the post-punk madness that we've grown to love from the band. "They Don't Want Your Corn, They Want Your Kids" is a stand-out, but the whole album is excellent.

on the Christmas front, it was a pretty good year for gifts. i finally got a turntable, but the needle was so worn down that i have to track down a new one before i can actually use it. so if anyone knows where i can pick up a needle for a Pioneer turntable, hook a brother up in the comments section. i also picked up the GBV box set with some Best Buy gift cards, and i'm enjoying the shit out of that. i haven't had time to watch the DVD yet, but all of the music included is excellent. speaking of DVDs, i'm going to be watching those for the next several weeks and still not get through everything i received. in addition to the previously mentioned Ben Stiller Show, i also got The Sopranos Season 4, Mr. Show Seasons 1-3, X-Men 2, and Pirates of the Caribbean. yeah, that one.. i fucking loved Johnny Depp's performance. the best summer blockbuster of the past couple years by a longshot.

anyway, i hope y'all enjoyed your holidays and have a happy and safe New Year's Eve.

Dec 24, 2003

oh, and as an addendum to that last post. the Sufjan Stevens was one of the two albums in the Pitchfork Top Ten that i hadn't heard, not out of the whole list. there's a lot more i hadn't heard in the lower ranks of the list. for those of you curious, the other top tenner i haven't heard is The Lemon of Pink. and unless someone can give me a convincing argument for it, i don't plan on it any time soon. i just wasn't feeling Thought for Food at all last year, and i don't see my opinion of The Books changing any time soon.
np: "say yes! to michigan" - sufjan stevens

this album was one of the two albums in the Pitchfork Top 50 that i hadn't heard, so i figured i would give it a listen. that and the fact that a person from a messageboard i frequent, whom i madly respect when it comes to music, was hyping it to no end. i'm liking the sound of it so far, but i can tell its one of those albums i'm going to want to sit down and spend some quality time with. i enjoy records like that from time to time. and i gotta admire the guy's plan to record one of these albums for every state in the union. take that, 69 Love Songs.

speaking of Pitchfork, the latest year-end list has done its job and managed to stir up quite a bit of talk throughout the net - a good deal of it for the choice of album of the year, but more for what's lacking from list. the White Stripes were a quite noticeable omission, until you check back and see the 6.9 score the reviewer gave it. more striking was the fact that quite a few favorably reviewed albums failed to make the cut - Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pretty Girls Make Graves, and the New Pornos to name a few off the top of my head. as far as The Rapture snagging album of the year - i don't agree with it being considered the best of the year, but at the same time i can almost see the reasoning behind it. Echoes was definately a major indication of the swing towards danceable indie rock that has been going down in the past few years, and thanks to "House of Jealous Lovers" it was also the most high-profile. i have a feeling that it's going to be one of those albums that is looked back upon as a touchstone in the shifting of the indie rock gears, for better or for worse. but when it all comes down to it i can't back it up as album of the year because, let's face it, there were some downright less than mediocre songs on there. and imho, several kick ass tracks and several weak tracks don't make for the best thing of any given year. just my two cents.

and with that, i'm out for the next couple of days. so i wanna wish y'all a happy holiday, whatever one you choose to celebrate. and even if you choose to celebrate none at all, enjoy your time off of work you heathen.

Dec 23, 2003

np: "the bear" - my morning jacket

my Christmas spirit is rapidly fading away tonight. i sat down to enjoy my annual viewing of Christmas Vacation, when it was spoiled about halfway through by my neighbors upstairs blasting bass and rattling my shit enough to keep knocking my already loose A/V connection out. fuckers. and it's not so much just the bass that's annoying me, it's the constantly pounding on the floor and bouncing a ball on the kitchen floor. it's not a good start, everytime they start up with this noise level it goes on until 3 or 4 in the morning. some of us do have to work on Christmas Eve actually. and complaining is no use, the last time i tried to nicely ask them to keep it down they pretended not to speak English and shut the door in my face. fuck, i hate to sound like a boring old fart... but there's a reason i moved away from a college campus.

oh well, one half of a work day to survive through and my insanely busy Christmas celebration begins. i'll have to rush out to my grandmother's house for dinner, followed by a gift exchange at my dad. then Christmas morning i have to get up early and head over to my mom's for a quick brunch and then on to my girlfriend's parents' for dinner. not to complain though, it's kinda nice to have so much to do on the holiday rather than just sit around with annoying relatives for hours on end. just a wee bit nervous about meeting her parents though.

so what did i ask for from Santa this year? well an IPod would be the shit, but i'm not holding my breath on that one. i'll just be happy to finally get a working turntable, since that was the main gift i've been hinting at for months. other than that, there's not a whole lot i've been looking for. those so inclined to learn a little more about what a boy like me wants, you can check out my wishlist.

alright, it just got even louder upstairs. i'm going to go shove my head in the closet and slam the door several times.

Dec 22, 2003

np: "losing my edge" - lcd soundsystem

so i broke out the hipster dancing shoes and picked up DFA Compilation #1 last night. some really cool shit on there that i'd not heard, including this LCD song that probably has the best lyrics ever on any of the disco-p(h)unk songs yet.

i'm so hyped for Christmas now, i don't know what has pushed me over the edge over the last week, but something did. i think the kick-ass presents from the girlfriend over the weekend helped quite a bit - tickets to a Chicago Wolves game and The Ben Stiller Show DVD. that shit is classic. i saw one episode back when it originally aired and always wondered how it disappeared so quickly. stupid television executives. how could you go wrong with a cast of Andy Dick, Stiller, Bob Odenkirk, and Janeane Garofalo? not to mention David Cross on the writing team. or the cameos from Todd Bridges, Run-DMC, Bobcat Goldthwait, Flea, Dennis Miller, and Garry Shandling. or U2: The Early Years. or Amish Studs. because really, what's funnier than comedy skits involving the Amish? nothing.

Dec 21, 2003

Top 100 Singles of 2003
i'm not exactly the best at remembering what was by definition a single per se, but here's what i consider to be some of the best songs of 2003:

100. Ambulance vs. Ambulance – Blood Brothers
99. Harmonic Generator – The Datsuns
98. What We Do – Freeway w/ Jay-Z & Beanie Siegel
97. Made You Look – Nas
96. Like Glue – Sean Paul
95. Art is Hard – Cursive
94. Ladyfingers – The Fever
93. Lyric – Zwan
92. Frontin’ – Pharrell Williams w/ Jay-Z
91. We’ve Had Enough – Alkaline Trio
90. Shatterday – Vendetta Red
89. The Jump Off – Lil’ Kim
88. Girl’s Not Grey – AFI
87. I Luv U – Dizzee Rascal
86. Fall Back Down – Rancid
85. California Waiting – Kings of Leon
84. Signals Over the Air – Thursday
83. Still in Love Song – The Stills
82. Rock Your Body – Justin Timberlake
81..Fix Up Look Sharp – Dizzee Rascal
80. I Get Along – The Libertines
79. Black Jettas – Ima Robot
78. We Don’t Play Guitar – Chicks on Speed
77. Quattro – Calexico
76. Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt – Mars Volta
75. I Can – Nas
74. The Leaving Song Pt. 2 – AFI
73. Earth Shaking Event – Cex
72. Hands Down – Dashboard Confessional
71. Beware of the Boyz – Punjabi MC w/ Jay-Z
70. Gay Bar – Electric Six
69. Go to Sleep – Radiohead
68. Stop – BRMC
67. We Used to be Friends – Dandy Warhols
66. La La La (Excuse Me Again) – Jay-Z
65. That Great Love Sound – Raveonettes
64. 21 Questions – 50 Cent
63. Deliverance – Bubba Sparxxx
62. Franco Un-American – NOFX
61. Lucky Star – Basement Jaxx w/ Dizzee Rascal
60. She Sends Kisses – Wrens
59. Tear It Up – Andrew WK
58. Out of Time – Blur
57. Blueside – Rooney
56. Fight Test – Flaming Lips
55. Hey Julie – Fountains of Wayne
54. Stunt 101 – G-Unit
53. A.D.I.D.A.S. – Killer Mike w/ Big Boi
52. Change Clothes – Jay-Z
51. The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows – Brand New
50. She Kissed Me (It Felt Like a Hit) – Spiritualized
49. Burning Photographs – Ryan Adams
48. P.I.M.P. – 50 Cent
47. Run Into Flowers – M83
46. Feeling This – Blink 182
45. Jacknuggeted – Manitoba
44. The Best of Jill Hives – Guided by Voices
43. The Hardest Button to Button – The White Stripes
42. Get Your Hands Off My Woman – The Darkness
41. Hendrix with KO – Manitoba
40. Sister Savior – The Rapture
39. This is Our Emergency – Pretty Girls Make Graves
38. The Golden Path – Chemical Brothers w/ Flaming Lips
37. Got Some Teeth – Obie Trice
36. Milkshake – Kelis
35. A Certain Cemetery – Pretty Girls Make Graves
34. Santa Cruz (You’re Not That Far) – The Thrills
33. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
32. Swing Swing – All-American Rejects
31. Bad Day – R.E.M.
30. Crazy in Love – Jay-Z w/ Beyonce
29. The Seed 2.0 – The Roots w/ Cody Chestnutt
28. Pass That Dutch – Missy Elliott
27. There There – Radiohead
26. Nighttime Anytime (It’s Alright) – The Constantines
25. The Future Freaks Me Out – Motion City Soundtrack
24. Danger! High Voltage! – Electric Six
23. The New Year – Death Cab for Cutie
22. Comin’ Round – Bubba Sparxxx
21. So Says I – The Shins
20. The Way You Move – Outkast
19. Where Have All the Rudeboys Gone? – Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
18. I Believe in a Thing Called Love – The Darkness
17. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight – The Postal Service
16. 12:51 –The Strokes
15. Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake
14. Beautiful – Snoop Dogg w/ Pharrell Williams
13. Ghettomusick – Outkast
12. Stand Up – Ludacris
11. In Da Club – 50 Cent
10. Gossip Folks – Missy Elliott w/ Ludacris
9. Move Your Feet – Junior Senior
8. Hurt – Johnny Cash
7. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne
6. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service
5. Ignition (Remix) – R. Kelly
4. Me & Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard - !!!
3. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
2. House of Jealous Lovers – The Rapture
1. Hey Ya – Outkast

Dec 17, 2003

np: "christmas time for my penis" - the vandals

Christmas spirit all up in herre, holla. nothing like a novelty song to make the spirits bright y'all. really though, i'm all about the Christmas songs this week from the classics to the new school. i mean, honestly, how have we made it this far without a Christmas song from the Darkness? shit is tight. and mad props to my boy over at catchdubs for hooking me up with some overlooked gems these last couple of days. and while i'm throwing around props, send some over to Lisa Oliver over at Stylus, for not only bringing some new blood to that site, but also for laying the smack down on those annoying ass people at shows.

and one anti-prop while i'm at it... how fucking hard it is for people to label the goddamn songs correctly on file-sharing programs? i know i shouldn't be bitching, free and all, but come on people get that shit straight. just throwing the name of someone in the general genre of the said tune is not helping. aight, i'm done.

on to happier things... i've finally scheduled my time to see Return of the King. i haven't been this excited for a movie in a long fucking time. and The OC tonight was hot as usual, cheesy ending and all. Seth was pushing the dork boundary a little too far tonight, but that's why we all love him. but damn, any episode with Aunt Haley rockin' the tank top and panties is good in my book.

Dec 15, 2003

np: "Blue Christmas" - Bright Eyes

i'm in the Christmas mood tonight finally, took longer than usual to happen. i think it was the snow last night, the wrapping of presents, and the shopping at Woodfield yesterday. which wasn't as horrendous of an experience as i was afraid of. i hate that mall on an ordinary day, so i dreaded going this close to Christmas, when it was guaranteed to be "asshole to elbow" as my dad is fond of saying. but my girlfriend dragged my lazy ass out of bed and we were there before 9 in the morning, so it wasn't quite so bad. i finished up my shopping there, with an excellent score of this for my little brother. that's the hot shit right there.

and, as happens every year, i picked up something that should have been on my Top 50 without a doubt. i always find something shortly after i finish my list that is very deserving of a place, and this year it was Bubba Sparxxx's Deliverance. i wasn't a big fan of that single of his off the first album, so i admit i was totally sleepin' on this one. i did check "Comin' Round" thanks to P-Fork, but i figured there was no way in hell the whole album could be that good. but due to the $9.99 asking price at Le Boutique de Tar-jay (that's Target up in herre), and this review, i thought it was worth a chance. and goddamn, it was well worth the money. granted the whole album is not as good as "Comin' Round", and i still think its the best track on the thing, it is nonetheless a great hip-hop album from start to finish. the southern vibe complete with harmonicas seems so far beyond a gimmick for Bubba now, and works damn well with his flow. and the top-notch production from Timbaland is off the hook.

in other hip-hop news, i dled the leaked Eminem EP tonight, and its got some good shit on it. i recommend "Can-I-Bitch" if y'all want to hear a sample. a hilarious dis track aimed at Canibus with a beat not too far removed from "Without Me", this is by far the best thing on the 7-song EP.

Dec 10, 2003

Top 50 Albums of 2003 Part V (The Top Ten)

aww shit, the moment that someone, somewhere has been waiting for. although i'm not quite sure who that "someone" is. maybe it you...

10. Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic
this one was set to hit my top ten long before the tragic van accident earlier this year, and it saddens me to realize this is all we'll ever get to hear of this band. Cheap Trick, Big Star, and lots of punk attitude rolled up in to one big ball of piss and vinegar. i love this album.

9. Jet - Get Born
save it, this shit is hot. the influences are all over the map - AC/DC, Oasis, Cheap Trick, Iggy Pop, and yes they are as obvious as a hard-on in a speedo. but who cares when a band can bring the action like this? immediately catchy, worthy or repeated listens, and one of the best debut albums of the year. will the flame burn out like Oasis? or will they prove there's more where this came from? either way, i for one will be paying attention.

8. Pretty Girls Make Graves - The New Romance
i love it when a highly anticipated second album just blows away the debut that i have been digging on for over a year. Andrea Zollo is by far the most engaging female vocalist on the scene right now, and "A Certain Cemetery" is one of the best tracks of 2003. check it, now.

7. Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
what more can be said about Radiohead at this point? they didn't go back to the pure guitar rock of The Bends as hinted at, and they didn't go on and make Kid C either. what they did do, was combine the best of both worlds to make yet another excellent album.

6. The Shins - Chutes too Narrow
Oh, Inverted World was an amazing debut, but the band managed to top that by cleaning up the fuzz and coming up with some beautiful melodies. in a perfect world "So Says I", "Saint Simon", and "Kissing the Lipless" would be burning up radio charts around the world. instead they'll just have to live on in infinite repeat in my head, which is what every great song should aspire to be.

5. Manitoba - Up in Flames
this album is pure poetry to me, capturing the bliss of a summer spent with nothing to do perfectly over its course. it's IDM that doesn't forget the heart that is essential to making a great album.

4. The Strokes - Room on Fire
it's the little touches that keep this from being just another Is This It?, the keyboard emulating guitar solo on "12:51", the drum machine imitating beats, and the "who gives a fuck lyrics" that suit Julian's voice to a 'T'. it's not breaking new territory, but what it does do is prove that the debut was no fluke, and the garage kings of NYC weren't just a flash in the pan.

3. The White Stripes - Elephant
how do they do it? how do two people turn such simplicity into some of the best rock music on the radio right now? how can a mediocre drummer and a mediocre vocalist come together to throw down such a wide variety of tunes that really make you feel something? because Jack White has an amazing ability to reach down into the primordal stew of rock and roll history and pull out something that is timeless, classic, and brand new all at once. simply put, "Seven Nation Army" is the best rock song of the last five years. and that's just the beginning of this wonderful album.

2. The Postal Service - Give Up
on paper, this looked like it could have been one of the most vomit-inducing records in eons. Ben Gibbard whining heart-on-sleeve lyrics over Jimmy Tamborello's beats? please. but it works, because Gibbard brings some of the most honest and emotion-enducing lyrics of his career and Tamborello provides the instrumental base that weaves it into pure gold.

1. Outkast - Speakerboxx/The Love Below
Speakerboxx alone is among the top hip-hop albums albums of the year. brilliant lyrics, pounding beats that rise above the pack, and the little touches that has made Outkast the best in the game. check "Bowtie", "Ghetto Musick", and "War" for further proof. then you package that with one of the best mindfucks in hip-hop history and you get the best album of the year - hands down. Andre 3000 shifts into overdrive, becoming the Prince/George Clinton/Miles Davis/Al Green cross-pollination result that we've all been waiting for (we just didn't know it). i think it was the "My Favorite Things" cover that clinched it for me. who else would have been able to turn that jazz standard into a key moment on a fucking hip-hop record? nobody but the kings.

Dec 9, 2003

Top 50 Albums of 2003 Part IV (20-11)

we crack the Top 20, and i have a little to say about each one this time.

20. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Hearts of Oak
a great power-pop album that deserved to be all over rock radio, if only the wonderful two-tone tribute, "Where Have all the Rudeboys Gone?". this is my first exposure to Ted Leo, but it left me wondering why the hell that happened.

19. Jay-Z - The Black Album
not Jigga's finest moment, check Reasonable Doubt or The Blueprint, but a strong supposed finish to his recording career. the lack of guest artists makes this a grand statement that holds up very well. it's a pleasant surprise to hear new producers putting up some of the greatest tracks, while The Neptunes just seem to coast along on rep. "99 Problems" is essential for Rick Rubin's production, while "Lucifer" is for my favorite sample of the year.

18. Prefuse 73 - One Word Extinguisher
some of the best hip-hop beats found on any album in 2003, and an enjoyable listen from start to finish. i don't know what genre i would classify it as, other than saying it's most definately worth a spin for anyone into hip-hop, IDM, techno, or just plain interesting instrumental music.

17. Kings of Leon - Youth and Young Manhood
bringing the southern boogie to the garage rock revolution, these four boys bomb like the Allman's without the extended jamming. this album is enough to make you realize that Southern rock never should have completely died out.

16. Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash
i've never been a huge Jaxx fan, but they've always managed to smuggle a single into my radar with each release. this album breaks that pattern, as it's filled with great tracks that get me in the clubbing mood. great collaborations from Siouxie Siuox, Dizzee Rascal, and others keep it interesting. and JC Chasez proves that J-Tim isn't the only N*Syncer that can get his groove on.

15. The Decemberists - Her Majesty
this band blew out of nowhere for me with two albums catching my ear in 2003. the proper release from this year continues the tradition set by the debut EP and first album, beautiful chamber-pop with intelligent lyrics without sacrificing on melody.

14. Wrens - The Meadowlands
wow, wow, wow. i'm not sure what else to say about this album. this was another first intro to a band for me this year, and i was enthralled upon first listen. i can tell this is a challenging, always interesting release that will pop up in rotation for some time to come.

13. 50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Trying
quite simply put, this is the best hip-hop album of 2003 by a longshot. "In Da Club", "Wanksta", "20 Questions", and "P.I.M.P" blew up the radio in the 0-3, but there could have easily been 2-3 more successful singles off the album. 50's engaging flow and top-notch production from Dre, Em, and others keeps this off the hook from beginning to end. the lack of weak skits is also a big plus, keep it on the music yo.

12. Notwist - Neon Golden
technically a 2002 release, but this one didn't get a domestic issue here until spring and didn't hit my ears until this year. beautiful lap-pop that sticks with you on an initial listen, but begs you to come back for more and wallow in the goodness.

11. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell
overall quite a successful debut for this over-hyped band, proving that they are capable of bringing the noise over a full-length. "Maps" is one of the most beautiful songs of the year, and the Karen O's backing boys prove that there is far more to this band than just an engaging lead singer. i'm looking forward to seeing where they go next.

Dec 8, 2003

Top 50 Albums of 2003 Part III (30-21)

cause i know y'all is waiting for this shit.

30. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism
29. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Take Them On, On Your Own
28. Four Tet - Rounds
27. Junior Senior - D-D-Don't Stop the Beat
26. Kid Rock - S/T
25. Ryan Adams - Rock n Roll
24. Mogwai - Happy Songs for Happy People
23. Missy Elliott - This is Not a Test
22. Explosions in the Sky - The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
21. The Constantines - Shine a Light
Top 50 Albums of 2003 Part II (40-31)

on with the show...

40. Songs: Ohia - Magnolia Electric Co.
39. The Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium
38. Grandaddy - Sumday
37. Blur - Think Tank
36. The Thrills - So Much for the City
35. The Rapture - Echoes
34. Fountains of Wayne - Welcome Interstate Managers
33. The Darkness - Permission to Land
32. Idlewild - The Remote Part
31. The Libertines - Up the Bracket

Dec 5, 2003

Top 50 Albums of 2003 Part I (50-41)

so here goes my list for the year. i'll be publishing it in 5 parts, to keep some drama up or whatever. with no further ado, away we go...

50. Cex - Being Ridden
49. The Blood Brothers - Burn Piano Island, Burn
48. The New Pornographers - Electric Version
47. Rancid - Indestructible
46. Earlimart - Everyone Down Here
45. Holopaw - S/T
44. Rooney - S/T
43. Dead Meadow - Shivering King and Others
42. The Raveonettes - Chain Gang of Love
41. Thursday - War All the Time

stay tuned for the remainder of the Top 50 for the year.

Dec 4, 2003

np: "storm vibrations" - guided by voices

yes, the week of GBV continues here at viaChicago. i don't know exactly what provoked this, but everytime i turn around i find myself popping in another disc. i'm not a long-time GBV fan, in fact it was with the purchase of Earthquake Glue that i've really begun my interest in all things Pollard. GBV has just always been one of those bands that i've always been aware of, even if i'm not listening closely. my earliest memory of them is having a friend include "The Official Ironman Rally Song" on a mixtape back in the year Under the Bushes... came out. i fell in love with that song, playing it over and over as it drilled its way deep into my head. still one of my favorite tracks of the '90s. after obsessing over the song for a week or so, i decided to hit the Champaign record shops and pick up something by this band with the funky name. with finances tight at the time, i was stuck picking up the only used item i could find, King Shit and the Golden Boys, having been lost forever from it's proper place in the Box set. i guess i just wasn't ready for that early GBV yet, as i only listened to it a couple times before passing it on to the forementioned friend. other than that i remember listening to Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes in my architecture studio a couple of times when the Rusted-Root obsessed frat boys were out for the night, leaving the indie kids in full reign of the studio disc player.

studio. wow, just typing out that last line has brough a full on flood of memories of sophmore year in Flagg Hall. i was there, as were most others, between every class and after dinner until 2 or 3 in the morning every night - not to mention the 13 hours per week we were required to be there for class. it seemed like hell at the time, but looking back it was one of the greatest bonding experiences of my life. i'll never forget the people i shared sweat, blood, tears, pizza, beer, and other substances with during those long nights. and of course architecture students just seem to love music, so that was never in short supply. agreeing on music was another thing, but i think a lot of musical tastes were discovered and nurtured those two semesters. without that studio time and Annie, my very own indie-rock goddess, i never would have discovered bands like Smoking Popes, Rachel's, Slint, Rodan, or June of 44. but as i think back on those days, there's certain albums that stick out in my mind as being played over and over during those long nights, for good or for bad.

Reservoir Dogs soundtrack a fun album for three o'clock in the morning, at least the first four or five times. but, as most of us discovered, not the thirtieth. we ended up having to hide this from one kid because that was the sole album he would play when his turn came around.

Tom Petty - Wildflowers this will probably always be my favorite Petty album simply because of this period of my life. it always seemed to get slipped on around 4 or 5 in the morning during an all-nighter, as we actually sat down and started to work despite the tiredness creeping in. it seemed a very fitting soundtrack for those hours.

Mad Season - Above this was a surprise hit amongst nearly everyone in the studio, although to this day i can't figure out why. don't get me wrong, i think it's some of Layne Staley's better vocal work, but it surprised me just how much everyone embraced this one for those late nights.

Rusted Root - When I Woke this album was hugely popular with the frat boys in the studio, and i'll admit that at one time i loved the hell out of that album. but i think it was studio that also ultimately killed it for me.

those were the albums almost always on at some point or another in the studio and will forever be linked with that year of my life. but like most other music fans, we ofter got obsessed with just one song - no matter how much other people hated it or not. "Fee" - Phish, "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (acoustic version)" - Pearl Jam, "Regulate" - Warren G & Nate Dogg, "Oh Carolina" - Shaggy, "In the Meantime" - Spacehog, "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe" - Whale, and "Been Caught Stealing" - Jane's Addiction are just a few that come immediately to mind.

when i grew sick of the studio banter and shitty music selections, i always seeked comfort in my over-sized Sony headphones and drowned myself in my own tunes. and that year was mostly about the Pumpkins. Mellon Collie had just dropped that year, and i could not take that thing out of my Discman. there was always something new to wrap my head around and soak in with that masterpiece. Siamese Dream also got huge amounts of airplay for me, as i rediscovered that album after putting it away for most of my freshman year in favor of my big hip-hop fling.

how about you, dear readers? any songs or albums that completely take you away to another time or place? a time that may have sucked, but you still get a weird sense of nostalgia for when you hear something? the comments work, share if you have a good story. thanks for reading.

Dec 3, 2003

np: "stop dat" - dizzee rascal

so yeah, i'm way behind in finally getting around to check this guy out, but i'm glad i finally did. well deserving of all the hype and praise. in fact, i'm gonna get my pre-order on from Matador asap. although i do feel like i should be listening to this in a system with way more bass than my computer speakers are capable of putting out.

so it's time for another confession here, i have to admit my insane obsession with The OC. yup, i'm a sucker for cheezy FOX drama and this show is providing all the pure Velveeta that i've been lacking since Melrose Place went off the air. i never got into anything after the first season of Dawson's and Felicity was just way too Lifetime network, brought to you by Tampax for me. but The OC? horrible acting goodness. although i'm digging the shit out of Seth, he of the blatant hipster references. let's see, tonight he name dropped Death Cab, Bright Eyes, and The Shins and the soundtrack even featured Conor's cover of "Blue Christmas". he's a fairly entertaining character, which more than makes up for the pure acting black hole that is the kid who plays the main character, Ryan Atwood. good god, he makes Luke Perry look like fucking Humphrey Bogart or some shit. i don't know what is so addicting about the show really. horrible acting and plotlines more predictable than an ABC after-school special. i so knew Ryan and Luke would end up best friends somehow, even though that whole plotline with his dad was completely dropped after a week. maybe it's the fact that the writer's aren't afraid of making fun of their own show, throwing in references to Ryan's wooden acting and Seth's comedic presence. sure, the self-aware irony thing is nothing new, but interesting in prime-time drama anyway.

so glad i have a girlfriend understanding of my addiction to that show, because i'm sure it wouldn't exactly be scoring me macho points right about now. but we all have our weaknesses - some have crack, some have shopping, while i just have my thing for watching rich kids have completely unrealistic problems in a beautiful setting.

Dec 2, 2003

np: "crutch came slinking" - guided by voices

i sure do love me some Bob Pollard, yesiree. i was tempted to ask for this for Christmas, but no one in my family would have a clue where to get it. i've learned the hard way not to ask for much music from my parents. as much as love them, they figure it doesn't exist if they can't pick it up at the local Wal-Mart. not to mention the time i asked for Pink Floyd's The Wall when i was in my whole junior high classic rock phase, and my mom got me the horrible Live in Berlin verison. i didn't have the heart to tell her anything though. but mad props to her for the Smashing Pumpkins box set back in 1996 though, that was the bomb. probably the Christmas gift i use the most frequently to this day.

i peeped out Spin's Top 40 of the year today, it's not half bad. Spin seems to have their finger on the pulse far more than any other mainstream rock mag. the top 10:

1. White Stripes - Elephant
2. Outkast - Spearkerboxx/The Love Below
3. The Strokes - Room on Fire
4. 50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Trying
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell
6. Jay-Z - The Black Album
7. Thursday - War All the Time
8. The New Pornographers - Electric Version
9. Missy Elliott - This is Not a Test
10. Radiohead - Hail to the Thief

but what the fuck were they on putting Metallica's load of shit at number 11? did Lars threaten to sue them too? jesus. but much love for showing Ted Leo, Dizzee Rascal, Pretty Girls Make Graves, The Darkness, Kings of Leon, and the vastly underrated Brand New album some love in the Top 40.

Dec 1, 2003

np: "let's get known" - the unicorns

damn this shit it tight. it's like mid-period Flaming Lips mixed with the recent '60-pop/indie revival thing going on, but without sounding completely redundant. i was tempted at fisrt to say it's like what would happen if Mr. Wilson dropped loads of acid and wrote whatever shit floated to his mind, but that would be wrong. i think its more like the Byrds being transported to a magical dimension where they are cross-bred with the Lips and come out in all sorts of poppy glory. g'yeah. all up in your grill with that hot shit.

so this and the new Missy are two recent releases that are going to be shifting shit around on my Top 50 list. just when i thought i was fucking done with the damn thing. i'm tempted to throw down my list of top singles of the double-ought trizzle, but i don't listen to the radio enough to know exactly what was a single or not. so i might just list out some of my favorite songs of the year, most of which just happen to have been singles.

on the more personal tip, three months and things are still going really well with the girl. she's not one for being all mushy and shit, but it's the little things she says that makes me fall even more for her. last night was one of those. so yeah, i'm pretty damn happy with the way things are going right now.