Monday, November 28, 2005

Live Music Picks 11/28-12/1

There's a lot of style over substance, some aging rockers and something for everybody on Thursday. That's Languis pictured at the left.

The Subways / Group Sounds / Living Things / Circus Minor @ Spaceland [FREE] - For the early adopting trend watchers. This is the place to be seen tonight. The Subways are another hyped British band. Group Sounds are from NYC, don't take themselves too seriously a and are on the dance rock side of things. Living Things are local major label dudes who seem like they take themselves pretty seriously. This is the last night of Circus Minor's residency. What have you got to lose?
Download Group Sounds' "Things Fall Apart"
Download Group Sounds' "Goodbye"

Paul McCartney @ Staples [SOLD OUT] - For the rich folks. I've never seen him and I would love to see him but it's just too much money for a show in a basketball arena.

Donovan @ Wilshire Ebell Theatre [$38-43] - For the aging hippie with disposable income who can't get into Paul McCartney. I love Donovan but I don't know if he's still good? Has anybody seen him recently? He's celebrating 40 years as an artist with a new book, a box set and a tour. "Jennifer Juniper" and "Catch the Wind" are just two of his great songs.

Super Furry Animals / Caribou @ The Avalon [$20] - For the psychedelic pop fan. I'm surprised this isn't sold out yet. They've got a rabid fanbase and put on a good live show. Caribou (f/k/a Manitoba) are a pretty good indie electronic band. Should be a fun show and the artists aren't completely over the hill (although SFA probably peaked five years ago).

The Subways @ Cine-Space [$5] - For the trend chasers. If you miss them at Spaceland and can deal with the nightmare of going out in the Cahuenga corridor, then here's the show for you. It's also DJ Steve Aoki's birthday. Have you ever noticed that a lot of really rich people have creepy relationships with their siblings? I even saw it on Six Feet Under.

The Cribs @ Spaceland [$12] - For the trend followers. Pitchfork absolutely hated their album, but I think they're probably being too harsh (even though I haven't heard it). They play a lot of big shows in their native England with Kaiser Chiefs, Maximo Park and Franz Ferdinand.
Download The Cribs' "Baby Don't Sweat"
Download The Cribs' "Another Number"

Paul McCartney @ Staples [SOLD OUT] - See above

No-Neck Blues Band @ Spaceland [$8] - For fans of weird psych, avant-garde music. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth said they're "the best band ever in the universe."
Download NNCK's "The Doon"

Tristeza / Languis @ Knitting Factory [$10] - For the post rock fan. Languis is a popular local band and part of the Plug Research scene. Their recent live performances have impressed me (their CD is decent but I'm really looking forward to their new stuff). Tristeza is a like minded instrumental San Diego band.

gogogo airheart/ The Joggers @ the Echo [$8] - For the indie dance crowd. Gogogo Airheart are a San Diego band with a post punk sound (probably influenced by Gang of 4 way before most of these bands were influenced by Gang of 4). The Joggers are similar.

The Mae Shi / Japanther @ The Smell [$5] - For the punk rock crowd. The Mae-Shi are a local band I've written about before. Don't know anything about Japanther.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Music Picks for the Rest of the Week

Kingsbury Manx / The Standard / The Heavenly States @ Spaceland [$8] - Here's a show for the indie rock fans. Kingsbury Manx is a mellow indie band from North Carolina that's been around for about six years. The Standard is a much more dramatic, less guitar pop inspired band from Portland. The Heavenly States are poppy band from Oakland with a serious Beatles homage on the first song from their new album.
Download the Kingsbury Manx's "Pelz Komet"
Download the Kingsbury Manx's "Over the Waves"
Download the Standard's "A Year of Seconds"
Download the Standard's "Metropolitan"

Deerhoof / Paul Williams @ the Echo [EARLY SHOW @ 6:00PM] [$12] - Here's a show for fans of more challenging, experimental indie music. Deerhoof tends to give me a bad headache.

Tom Vek @ Troubadour [$12] - Here's a show for people who are bored with watching guys stand and play guitars without much stage presence. He plays some dancey music informed by rock.
Download Tom Vek's "I Ain't Saying My Goodbyes"

Eat some turkey and then go to see WALK THE LINE or HARRY POTTER. WALK THE LINE is pretty good, but not great. Joaquin Phoenix does a good job and Reese Witherspoon does a great job. I think it either needed to be 20 minutes shorter or 40 mintues longer - some of the stuff just didn't work. I haven't seen Harry Potter yet.

I don't see anything worth seeing. Go buy some records at Aron's Records. They're going out of business and everything's on sale (at least 20% off).

Jason Falkner @ Troubadour [$12] - For serious pop music fans. Pedigreed songwriter who was a member of the Paisley Underground band The Three O'Clock, Jellyfish, The Grays (with Jon Brion) in addition to putting out his own stuff. He's also worked with Eric Matthews, Brendan Benson, Beck and probably a bunch of other people.

Castanets / Phosphorescent @ Hotel Cafe [?] - For the indie folk fans. I haven't been to the Hotel Cafe in ages but this is one to get excited about. A couple of bands with good songwriters, folk mentality and a subtle twang. Download some tracks and see for yourself.
Download Castanets' "All That I Know"
Download Castanets' "Three Days Four Nights"
Download Phosphorescent's "Joe Tex, These Taming Blues"
Download Phosphorescent's "I Am a Full Grown Man (I Will Lay in the Grass All Day Long)"

The Muffs @ Spaceland [$10] - For the pop-punk fan. The Muffs have been making catchy music on the L.A. scene for over a decade.
Download the Muffs' "Wish That I Could Be You"
Download the Muffs' "Prettier Than Me"

Milemarker / Kodiak @ the Echo [$10] For the emo kids. Milemarker sounds like they own a Fugazi record or two (just listen to "The Banner to the Sick") . They probably own some Promise Ring too. Kodiak sounds a little too Jimmy Eat World for my tastes.
Download the Milemarker's "The Banner to the Sick"
Download the Milemarker's "Cryogenic Sleep"

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tonight's Music Picks (sorry so late)

For a holiday week there's a decent amount of stuff to do tonight (this is way too late, so I'm rushing through it)....

Neko Case @ Barnsdall Gallery Theatre - I prefer her work with the New Pornographers, but her country stuff is nice too.

Depeche Mode @ Staples Center - I saw them front row center stage about 10 years ago. I think this would be anti-climactic.

Broadcast @ the Troubadour - I've got the new album but haven't listened yet.

Mike Stinson @ the Echo [FREE] - Gram Parsons spirit lives on.

Live Review: Arctic Monkeys

I couldn't resist the hype and went to the Arctic Monkeys show on Friday at Spaceland. There was definitely electricity in the air. Lots of kids lined up in front of the club trying to get in and every music industry weasel in L.A. (and some from NYC) inside. Army Navy opened the show. Their music wasn't bad at all but they didn't have much stage presence. Pretty much straight forward rock that seemed to be influenced by mid-80s college rock. The venue was only about half full during their set. It started to get a little more crowded for the Tyde. Several of the members of the Tyde have been in bands for over 20 years and countered the fact that most of the crowd probably didn't want to see them by playing a mostly upbeat set. They sprinkled in a few songs from their upcoming album with old songs about surfing, smoking pot and being in bands. The crowd was mostly respectful but not overly excited.

Excitement grew and the crowd jockeyed for position after the Tyde finished. The sold out crowd was finally evident and attention turned to the stage. I knew very little about the Arctic Monkeys and was immediately shocked by how young they looked. My first impression was: this looks like the captain of my high school soccer team grabbed three guys from the team, bought some Libertines' records (they didn't exist at the time) and started a band. I couldn't hate them and it made their inane lyrics passable. Of course they sing about stupid stuff because they're just kids. But then I remembered Jackson Browne was the same age, 19, when he wrote "These Days" and "Somewhere There's a Feather." Well, Jackson Browne they're not, but they're definitely better than the Vines. It was very appropriate that they made their L.A. debut the same day that Harry Potter opened because the lead singer bears a resemblance. They actually have some potential but the British press is mental. Advice to major labels: if there's a bidding war sit this one out. Advice to band: enjoy the hype and take as much money as you can off the labels. Maybe one day you'll be doing blow with Kate Moss.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

Loads of stuff going on this weekend.....

Arctic Monkeys / The Tyde @ Spaceland [SOLD OUT] - For the A&R executives. Arctic Monkeys are probably the most hyped band on the planet right now. They're blowing up in the UK and on the cover of NME. Tickets were going for $60-$100 a pop on Ebay. Their performance on KCRW should be archived soon. Will they live up to the hype? Probably not....

Art Brut @ The Echo [$12] - For the early adopters. They played a sold out show at Spaceland last night, but last I checked (noon today) there are still tickets for the Echo. Another band with huge hype that doesn't even have an album out domestically.

The Old 97's @ The El Rey [$22.50] - For Texans. They played last night too. Can they fill the El Rey for two nights at these ticket prices with this competition?

Dandy Warhols @ Avalon [SOLD OUT] - For poseurs (just kidding). I actually liked a few of the Dandys' songs before I saw DIG! But now I never wanna hear them again.

Subtle @ Knitting Factory [$15] - For the Anticon/backpack rap/intelligent stoner crowd. The Knitting Factory seems to have a lock on this sorta entertainment.

Shout Out Louds / The Sun / The Rosebuds @ Troubadour [SOLD OUT] - For the regular folks. I've seen the Shout Out Louds a few times already. Pretty good stuff. The Rosebuds are on Merge Records. The Sun did some gimmicky thing and released their album on DVD only? What if you don't have a DVD rom on your computer? Does it work? I guess they must want you to go on P2P networks and get the audio files for free?
Download the Rosebuds' "Boxcar"
Download the Rosebuds' "Blue Bird"

dios (malos) @ the El Rey [$13.50] - For the indie rockers with an affinity for rock history. As I've said before, I really like these local guys. They know how to write a good song.
Download "Feels Good Being Somebody"
Download their Beck cover "Asshole"

The New Amsterdams @ Spaceland [$10] - For the melodic emo fan. The Get Up Kids are probably better known, but this is the same dude. From my college town. Go Jayhawks.

Space Mtn @ Sea Level Records @ 4:00 PM [FREE] - For local music supporters. Very connected local band with pretty female vocals. What little I've heard sounds like it's right in the middle of Juliana Hatfield and Cat Power. While you're there pick up a vinyl copy of the Sufjan Stevens (it's finally out).

Black Heart Procession / Marjorie Fair @ Spaceland [$15] - BHP make lush and moody music for the David Lynch fan (I'm just ripping off their old press releases for that).

Hella / Dillinger Escape Plan @ the El Rey [$18.50] - For fans of experimental noise rock that you don't have to be ashamed of liking. Total in your face NOISE.
Download Hella's "We Was Just Boys, Living in a Dead Ass German Shepard"
Downlaod Hella's "Madonna Approaches R&B Blonde Wreckages"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Live Music Options

Another action-packed night in L.A.

@Spaceland: Art Brut [$11] - For the trendy folks (maybe the same people who saw Moving Units last night?) . Heavy buzz band and Pitchfork darlings. Smart ass lyrics.

@ Knitting Factory: The Album Leaf [$12] - For the intellectual stoners. On the Sub Pop label.

@ The Wiltern: Spoon [$23.50] - For the indie rocker. Haven't we all already seen Spoon three times on this tour? They just keep coming back to bigger and bigger venues.

@ The Echo: Limbeck / Satisfaction [$8] - For sunny, alt-country fans. If you like pop and you liked Ryan Adams before he sucked, then this is your pick. That is, if you're not going to the El Rey.

@ the El Rey: The Old 97s [$19] - For the rest of the sunny, alt-country fans. I've just seen them too many times to get excited about it anymore. I'm sorry

@ House of Blues: Stryper [$25] - For Christian metalheads from the 1980s. To hell with the devil!

4th Quarter

Guess what? It's 4th quarter, so that means all the record labels are trotting out greatest hits, live albums and box sets. How predictable. Even the indie labels do it. I'm surprised people keep buying these greatest hits packages. It's just as easy to make your own (or download the best tracks from ITunes). There's a new Beastie Boys greatest hits package (the last one came out six years ago in - wait for it - 4th quarter). Unfortunately the Beastie Boys haven't put out much good music in the last six years. Capitol also put out a new John Lennon greatest hits package. The Beatles are always a gold mine, so they also reissued George Harrison's CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH. Major labels are such an easy target....

Wilco's KICKING TELEVISION: LIVE IN CHICAGO - I was interested in buying this when I thought it had a DVD with it (even though most live DVDs tend to be incredibly boring). Instead it's just a double CD. Live albums very rarely capture the excitement of being there (get it? Being There?), with a few exceptions (the Who LIVE AT LEEDS, Descendents LIVEAGE! and HALLRAKER!, etc.). Anyway, this thing retails for $24.98. No thanks. I'll save my money for concert tickets the next time they're in town.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy SUMMER IN THE SOUTHEAST - This is the rare exception to the live disc thing; it's actually much better than seeing Will Oldham in concert. Why? Reason 1: Because he's backed up by a live band. Reason 2: His voice doesn't totally give out about half way through the show (because it's a bunch of highlights of different performances). Reason 3: He actually sounds like he's having fun (even howls like a wolf at one point and makes a joke about having clown in his eye). I still can't condone the $17.98 sticker price, but if you're a fan I'd pick it up on sale.

What's your favorite example of a record label milking the fans of their A-list talent during the holiday season? Green Day? Dave Matthews Band? Eminem?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Enterainment Options: Wednesday

Here's a rundown of some live music happenings tonight in L.A.

@Spaceland: The Shore / The Fictions [$8] - For the regular folks. Comparing The Shore's first album to the Verve is probably fair. The Fictions sound really poppy/hooky.

@Troubadour: Ben Lee [$14] - For the aging indie rocker. Never very exciting live, but I did like that BREATHING TORNADOES album that came out on Grand Royal in 1999. And Noise Addict wasn't bad for a 13 year-old kid.

@ Avalon: Moving Units [$20] - For the dancey/energy drink crowd.

@ Fonda: Jello Biafra w/ the Melvins [$15] - For aging poli-punks. I was a huge Dead Kennedys fan in Junior High, but I haven't heard any of his new stuff in a very long time. I do know they cover Alice Cooper on the new record.

@ the El Rey: Cut Chemist /Breakestra / People Under the Stairs [$21.50] - For the backpack/white hip-hop kids. A friend recently gave me a bunch of his hip-hop mixtape albums. Pretty good stuff.

@ House of Blues: James Brown [$68] - For people with a lot of disposable income.

@ Silverlake Lounge: Peter Walker / Fly Better Broken [$5] - Peter Walker's album is out on Dangerbird Records (local label and home of Silversun Pickups and Sabrosa Purr). He's got Justin and Joey (Beck's old rhythm section) and Wilco-outcast Jay Bennett as guests. What I've heard sounds like a raspy voiced singer-songwriter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Live Entertainment Options

Tonight's Live Entertainment Picks:

Rhett Miller / Janeane Garofalo @ Largo - Unfortunately this is part of the Greg Proops Chat Show. I'm not a big fan of Greg Proops. I do like Rhett pretty well and Janeane quite a bit. I think dinner reservations are all booked, so you've gotta get there early and stand at the bar.

The 88 @ Amoeba 7:00 PM [Free] - Another chance to see the hardest working band in L.A. for free before their Troubadour show on 12/2.

Great Lake Swimmers @ Spaceland - Mellow, moody stuff but it sounds pretty good if you're into that sorta thing.
Download "Various Stages"
Download "Bodies and Minds"

Kansas @ House of Blues [$35] - Just kidding.

Live Music Review: Brendan Benson

I made it out to the Brendan Benson show at Spaceland on Sunday night. I'm not that familiar with his recorded music but I enjoyed his live show. Nothing spectacular - just solid power pop. He's got a pretty crowd.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Night Picks

It's Monday in Los Angeles and there's some cool stuff to check out.....

David Cross / Patton Oswalt @ Largo [$5] - I'm sure David Cross will be ranting about Fox television. Ask him if Arrested Development is cancelled for good this time. Patton Oswalt is very funny too and has a new show on Comedy Central ("Comedians of Comedy").

Urge Overkill @ Viper Room [$20] - It's an acoustic set and it's at the Viper Room, but if somebody picked me up, drove me over there and bought me a ticket (and maybe a couple of drinks) I would definitely go.

Kennedy / Diamond Nights @ Troubadour [$10] - Lots of faux glam and falsettos.

Also free shows at Spaceland, the Echo and Silverlake Lounge....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

I know this is the laziest blog ever. But I gotta go pick up some barbeque.


Death Cab For Cutie / Stars @ Wiltern [sold out] - I've seen DCFC a bunch of times and really have no need to see them again, but maybe you do? I like the latest stars album pretty well. Odd that they're touring together since Stars sounds so similar to Postal Service (the lead singer of DCFC's other band).

The Clientele / Radar Bros. @ Knitting Factory [$12] - The Clientele is one of the most boring live bands ever. It's soft rock. I really do like the Radar Bros. I met my lady friend at a Radar Bros. in-store. Hooray for me.

DCFC / Stars @ Wiltern [sold out] - You and Seth Cohen have fun.

Brendan Benson / Silversun Pickups @ Spaceland [$15] - I need to hear more Brendan Benson. I hear he's doing an album with Jack White from the White Stripes. The Silversun Pickups are one of LA's biggest little bands right now. This should be a good gig for them.

Why? / Aqueduct @ Knitting Factory [$12] - I don't know anything about this, but I know a lot of people will be there. Part of that Anticon thing.

Brendan Benson @ Spaceland [$15] - see above

David Allan Coe @ Key Club [$23] - I like outlaw country but he scares me. Some of his old stuff is great.

Styrofoam / Dntel (DJ set) @ Knitting Factory [$10] - Don't know anything about Styrofoam but it's part of that Morr music thing. Dntel is making a truckload of money right now selling his Postal Service songs to commercials.

Live Music Review: My Morning Jacket

Last night was the My Morning Jacket concert at the Henry Fonda Theatre. I've seen them a couple of times before (Avalon and Austin City Limits festival). I've also seen Jim James perform with M. Ward (good) and Conor Oberst (terrible) and I saw him take part in the Gram Parsons tribute show at Universal. The crowd last night was definitely the frattiest. Lots of button up shirts - kind of what I imagine a Dave Matthews concert must look like. As my friend TTTMNS pointed out, I didn't even know that fanbase existed in Los Angeles.

They started off strongly with two songs from the new album. Jim's voice sounded great. He was a little hoarse on KCRW in the morning, but got it together for the show. I was really enjoying myself except for one problem - a total gaylord frat boy dancing and bumping into me. This guy was dancing in the exaggerated way that black comedians in the 1980s danced to make fun of the way white people dance. Completely ridiculous. Luckily he moved out of my range after a few songs.

They made it through pretty much all of the new album and played a bunch of their better older songs ("Run Thru," "Dancefloors," "Golden," "One Big Holiday"). During the hard rockin' songs the drummer and bassist tossed their hair around like Metallica. I think Jim had his shoes on the whole time. There were some too-slow moments, but overall they sounded great and made good choices. If you can tolerate their audience I recommend seeing them in your town.

Live Review: Early Man & Fu Manchu

I ended up going to the Early Man/Fu Manchu show at Spaceland on Wednesday night. I was really curious about Early Man and I don't go out to see metal very often so it seemed like a good opportunity. Early Man was pretty good. Their website states they're a duo, but they're touring with an extra guitar player and a bass player. The lead singer couldn't quite reach the Rob Halford notes that he hits on the record, but he was complaining about being sick "I think I have AIDS or something." I probably won't rush out to see them again, but I enjoyed myself. If they play a small venue with a small cover charge I recommend seeing them.

I've never listened to any Fu Manchu but kinda knew what to expect. Their style is not something I regularly listen to, but I can't deny their powerful live show. They are extremely tight and rock very hard. They've been playing quite a few local shows lately, but still brought out a good crowd. There was actually a mini-pit during one of the songs (and their fans aren't kids) - not something you see at Spaceland very often.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Morning Jacket

Tune into KCRW - 89.9 FM in the L.A. area or - for a live set from My Morning Jacket today at 11:20AM. Also go see them tonight at The Fonda [$20.50]. The new album is so much more focused and easier to listen to than earlier albums. They've always put on a great live show (if you catch them on the right night). It'll be my second night in a row seeing the power of the Flying V guitar (after Early Man last night).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Live Music Pick: Early Man

Early Man / Fu Manchu @ Spaceland [$12] - If you're into Ozzy-era Black Sabbath and early Judas Priest then you might like Early Man. They might be full of shit or they might not be, but it's played in an irony-free way. The bullshit detector goes off because they're signed to Matador Records and their demo was recorded by Matt Sweeney and Russell Simmins of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Also one of the dudes is named Mike Conte. Either way it's a hard rockin' duo.

Listen to some songs on Myspace

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene will be playing live on Morning Becomes Eclectic today at 11:15 AM. Tune in at 89.9 FM in the L.A. area or online at

They're also playing live tonight at the Henry Fonda Theatre (tickets are over $30 with all the evil ticketmaster fees). Buy tickets. I've seen them live a few times (the first time at tiny Silverlake Lounge and the most recent time at the huge Austin City Limits festival). They're worth checking out.

The new album has five really good songs, seven good songs and two decent songs. They just tend to get a little indulgent in the studio.

Monday, November 07, 2005

November Residencies

I'm not too excited about any of these but maybe I'm wrong. They're all on Mondays and they're all free. That's one of the Chapin Sisters putting on her boots in the picture. Check it:

@ SPACELAND (don't forget about the $2 PBRs)
Circus Minor - I've never seen this band but I just listened to some clips on myspace. Their press release mentions Joy Division, Black Heart Procession and Joy Division. I guess I hear a little bit of that. Tonight they're playing with Most Serene Rebublic who are on Broken Social Scene's label and have gotten some pretty good reviews.
Download Clouds
Download Picture in My Head

@ The Echo
It's a dual residency: I See Hawks in L.A. and The Chapin Sisters
I See Hawks in L.A. is a local alt-country band. I've seen them at Taix Lounge a coupla times. Not really my cup of tea (and I'm a big Gram Parsons fan). The Chapin Sisters did a Sunday night residency at Spaceland a few months ago. They're three girls with pretty voices and minimal acoustic guitar. They got some KCRW airplay with a cover of Britney Spears' "Toxic."

@ Silverlake Lounge
Fielding - I've never seen them. The LA Times compared them to Travis and the Get Up Kids - I guess that's not unreasonable.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

Worth checking out?

John Vanderslice and the Wrens' Charles Bissel @ Knitting Factory [$12]

I haven't listened to JV all that much, but a lot of my friends are huge fans. It's interesting stuff and he's a good producer too.
Download Exodus Damage
Download Trance Manual - Sufjan Stevens fans should like this

The Wrens' last album was really solid, seeing the lead singer solo should be good. If you miss tonight's show, the Wrens will be back at the Troubadour on December 3rd.
Download Everyone Chooses Sides

Yes Me to Death and Johnette Napolitano @ the Ramada Inn [$5] - Yes Me to Death are some cool local girls (currently in search of a new bass player and drummer). Johnette Napolitano was the lead singer of Concrete Blonde.

The Lovetones and The Clean Prophets @ 1269 Gallery [Free] - The Lovetones are friends with Brian Jonestown Massacre and want you to know it.

Japanese Girl Night @ King King [$8] - Always a lot of fun. TsuShiMaMiRe, Amppez and Red Bacteria Vacuum

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Top 10 Albums of the 1990s

Here's the top 10 albums of the 1990s in reverse order....

10) My Bloody Valentine LOVELESS - This may be the #1 album for making out of all time. The lyrics don't get distracting, the music is lush. It all melts together so I'm not going to pick a track. You should also own ISN'T ANYTHING (it may even be a little better - but it came out in the 80s).

9) Spiritualized LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE ARE FLOATING IN SPACE - Total gospel drug album. One of the best tracks is "Electricity." You should also pick up PURE PHASE and LASER GUIDED MELODIES.

8) Wilco SUMMERTEETH - Early Wilco stuff set off my bullshit detector (like a lot of alt-country). It sounded like a guy singing with an affected southern twang. But my old roommate forced this down my throat and made me forget about AM. This is the only Wilco I like all the way through. My favorite track is "I'm Always in Love." You should probably also pick up BEING THERE and YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT has its moments.

7) Belle and Sebastian IF YOU'RE FEELING SINISTER - So wimpy but so good. This album has the best Stuart Murdoch songs, so it's my favorite. The best song is "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying." Other albums to own: TIGERMILK, PUSH BARMAN TO OPEN OLD WOUNDS, THE BOY WITH THE ARAB STRAP and DEAR CATASTROPHE WAITRESS (in that order).

6) Elliott Smith EITHER/OR - He was really the first singer/songwriter I ever got into. I went to a little record store in LA called No Life records (early 1997?) to see Pete Krebs and Elliott opened the show. I was hooked and saw him pretty much every time he played LA over the next three years (and then in Austin a coupla times). My favorite track was (I'm a little sick of it now) "Say Yes." Other albums to pick-up (in order): XO, ELLIOT SMITH, FROM A BASEMENT ON THE HILL and FIGURE 8.

5) Luna BEWITCHED - This ranking might be a little high but I used to listen to Luna a lot. I've always been a sucker for Dean Wareham's monotone voice and his sense of humor. "California (All the Way)" has shown up on the most compilations over the years. You should also own PENTHOUSE and LUNAPARK.

4) Beck ODELAY - This is the highest ranking record that I never listen to at all anymore. It had its day. The best track is probably "Devil's Haircut." I also like MELLOW GOLD and SEA CHANGE.

3) The Flaming Lips THE SOFT BULLETIN - Some people like the early stuff better, but this is the peak for me. The best song might be "Race for the Prize." I also like CLOUDS TASTE METALLIC, HIT TO DEATH IN THE FUTURE HEAD, TRANSMISSIONS FROM THE SATELLITE HEART and YOSHIMI BATTLES THE PINK ROBOTS.

2) Teenage Fanclub BANDWAGONESQUE - Great power pop. I really like "What You Do To Me." I would also buy: SONGS FROM NORTHERN BRITAIN, 13 SONGS, GRAND PRIX and even HOWDY!.

1) Pavement CROOKED RAIN, CROOKED RAIN - Kinda defines indie rock. "Range Life" is a great song. SLANTED & ENCHANTED is pretty perfect too. But you should go ahead and get WOWEE ZOWEE and BRIGHTEN THE CORNERS too.

So there you have it. Don't even think about arguing with that list.....

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Top 20 Albums of the 1990s

In response to some complaints that my top 10 list looked artificially critic-friendly, I'm going to post my top 20 albums of the 1990s. Again, I only picked one album by each artist. Here they are in reverse order.....

20) Slint SPIDERLAND - Very influential album in certain circles (post/math/indie rock). They toured fairly recently and it reminded me how great this album is. My favorite track is "Good Morning Captain."

19) Fugazi 13 SONGS - Fugazi meant a lot to me in college (probably the band I listened to most/traveled farthest to see live). I don't listen to them much anymore, but every once in awhile it still hits the spot. My favorite tracks are Ian MacKaye's. The best one is "Waiting Room." Other albums to pick up from Fugazi are REPEATER and STEADY DIET OF NOTHING. And don't forget about Minor Threat's COMPLETE DISCOGRAPHY.

18) Neutral Milk Hotel IN THE AEROPLANE OVER THE SEA - This is one of those albums that's probably a little bit overrated but I still really like it. You've got to listen to it non-stop for about two weeks to get into it. Hard to pick a key track since they all flow together but maybe, "Two-Headed Boy"?

17) Guided By Voices BEE THOUSAND - I'm far from the biggest GBV fan on the planet but I've listened to them and seen them live my share of times. This is their most consistent record. My favorite track is "I Am a Scientist." Other albums worth owning by them: ALIEN LANES and UNDER THE BUSHES UNDER THE STARS.

16) Sebadoh BAKESALE - I'm a huge Lou Barlow fan. I don't know what his legacy will be? Will he be remembered forever or just by guys who went to college in the mid-90s? My problem with most Sebadoh albums is that I'm not a huge Jason Lowenstein fan, but on this record I even like his songs. My favorite track is "Rebound." Other Sebadoh albums to check out are: III, BUBBLE AND SCRAPE and HARMACY.

15) Yo La Tengo PAINFUL - I had a roommate in college who drilled this shit in my head non-stop. Headphone music. My favorite track is the second version of "Big Day Coming." Other YLT albums to check out are: ELECTR-O-PURA, MAY I SING WITH ME, FAKEBOOK and I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE.

14) Built to Spill THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH LOVE - This one has a lot of great love songs. "Car" is a song I like to listen to all the time. Other albums to check out: PERFECT FROM NOW ON and KEEP IT LIKE A SECRET.

13) Sugar COPPER BLUE - Very underrated band. I listened to this album all the time in college. My roommate brought them to play at school and I got a chance to meet Bob Mould (he was very nervous before going on stage). I actually prefer this Sugar stuff to the Husker Du albums because I wasn't a huge Grant Hart fan. My favorite track is "If I Can't Change Your Mind." Also pick up FILE UNDER: EASY LISTENING and BEASTER.

12) Dinosaur Jr. GREEN MIND - I'm a bigger fan of the post-Lou Barlow Dinosaur Jr. J Mascis' cracked drawl may not be everybody but I've always loved it. My favorite track is "The Wagon." Also pick up WHERE YOU BEEN and download "Freak Scene."

11) Radiohead THE BENDS - Great guitar rock before they got experimental. Solid all the way through. My favorite track is probably "Fake Plastic Trees." Also get your hands on OK COMPUTER.

Stay tuned for my top ten albums of the 1990s.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Live Music Pick: American Analog Set

American Analog Set @ the Knitting Factory [$12] -

I've been a casual American Analog Set fan for the past decade or so. I really like their first couple of albums but haven't listened to them much lately. Apparently this is their last full-fledged tour (but they insist they're not breaking up). If you're not familiar with their music, it's really mellow, headphone stuff (drone-pop?). If you're a Galaxie 500 and Stereolab fan it might be of interest to you.

Download Immaculate Heart i [from the new album on Arts & Crafts]
Download JR (demo) [demo from the new album

There are a couple of other shows tonight:

The Magic Numbers @ Troubadour [$15 - the early show is sold out, but looks like tix are available for the late show] - I'm very unimpressed with the songs I've heard. I don't like his voice at all. Go at your own risk. They did a set on KCRW this morning and the best part of it was the Beyonce cover (but David Byrne already did it a lot better).

Kennedy @ Largo - Good, silly fun.

Watch Your Mama video
Download Mama Made Me a Pimp