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September 29th, 2011

RELEASED THIS DAY is my new column at The SNS Post. In this series, I look at the slate of new releases for the week and point out some of the highlights. Then, I take a look back at music released on this date in past years, to see what commonalities might be found from music old and new. So far I've done 4 postings, once a week, and I'm really enjoying the process. Go see!

March 16th, 2011

It's been a couple of months since updating my music blog with the Year Of The Day: 2010 post. One more year remains to cover -- 2008 -- and I'll get that out soon.

What to do next? YOTD was a way to blog as well as a way to organize my listening habits, so I'm thinking up other ways to group the music I love thematically. I'm edging up on 50,000 songs in my iTunes library, so alternate org schemes for listening are welcome breaks from pure random shuffle or listening by album.

Posts focusing on particular artists are commonplace in the blogosphere, and "random album" or "random song" seems like a copout. A few series ideas:
  • by instrument make & model - songs which all feature Fender Stratocasters, or Premier drumkits, or Selmer saxes, etc.
  • released this day - for example, March 16: Pulp, THIS IS HARDCORE (1998); Marvin Gaye, I WANT YOU (1976); Sufjan Stevens, SEVEN SWANS (2004); Men Without Hats, RHYTHM OF YOUTH (1982); Jackson 5, "Never Can Say Goodbye" (1974), etc.
  • under the influence - choosing one of my songs and tracing other songs, ideas, or events that influenced it (without hopefully ruining the mystery of the song and giving away all my secrets...)

I'll keep thinking it over and would welcome comments on these or other ideas.

January 11th, 2011

Year Of The Day: 2010

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Year Of The Day: 2010

Having cancelled my eMusic subscription this year, this may be the last year-end list of its kind. I wonder how my album-centric bias may alter by 2011's end...

TOP TEN ALBUMS:

  1. Josh Ritter, SO RUNS THE WORLD AWAY

  2. Field Music, MEASURE

  3. The Posies, BLOOD/CANDY

  4. Robyn, BODY TALK

  5. Deerhunter, HALCYON DIGEST

  6. Spoon, TRANSFERENCE

  7. Alejandro Escovedo, STREET SONGS OF LOVE

  8. The Choir, BURNING LIKE THE MIDNIGHT SUN

  9. Grinderman, GRINDERMAN 2

  10. The Lost Dogs, OLD ANGEL



SECOND TIER (11-30) ALBUMS:

  1. Hans Zimmer (featuring Johnny Marr), INCEPTION

  2. Antony & the Johnsons, SWANLIGHTS

  3. Big K.R.I.T., K.R.I.T. WUZ HERE

  4. Swans, MY FATHER WILL GUIDE ME UP A ROPE TO THE SKY

  5. Faust, FAUST IS LAST

  6. Cee Lo Green, THE LADY KILLER

  7. The Clientele, MINOTAUR

  8. Eric & Magill, ALL THOSE I KNOW

  9. The Fall, YOUR FUTURE OUR CLUTTER

  10. Jónsi, GO

  11. The National, HIGH VIOLET

  12. The New Pornographers, TOGETHER

  13. Oval, OH

  14. Robert Plant, BAND OF JOY

  15. Rose Elinor Dougall, WITHOUT WHY

  16. Sade, SOLDIER OF LOVE

  17. Serena Maneesh, NO. 2: ABYSS IN B MINOR

  18. Elvis Costello, NATIONAL RANSOM / NATIONAL RANSACK

  19. Brian Eno, SMALL CRAFT ON A MILK SEA

  20. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, THE BRUTALIST BRICKS



10 OTHER NEW ALBUMS I GOT THIS YEAR:
Belle & Sebastian, WRITE ABOUT LOVE
Broken Bells, BROKEN BELLS
Eels, END TIMES
Eels, TOMORROW MORNING
Frightened Rabbit, THE WINTER OF MIXED DRINKS
Kanye West, MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY
Lætitia Sadier, THE TRIP
Laura Veirs, JULY FLAME
Peter Gabriel, SCRATCH MY BACK
Pink Martini, JOY TO THE WORLD

ALBUMS I'VE HEARD PARTS OF AND KNOW I REALLY REALLY WANT:
The Books, THE WAY OUT
Boston Spaceships, OUR CUBEHOUSE STILL ROCKS
Erykah Badu, NEW AMERYKAH PART TWO: RETURN OF THE ANKH
Janelle Monae, THE ARCHANDROID
Jennifer Knapp, LETTING GO
Marnie Stern, MARNIE STERN
Mike Patton, MONDO CANE
Patty Griffin, DOWNTOWN CHURCH
Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3, PROPELLOR TIME
Sam Phillips, MAGIC FOR EVERYBODY
Sarah Harmer, OH LITTLE FIRE
Sat. Nite Duets, ONE NITE ONLY
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, I LEARNED THE HARD WAY
Shelby Lynne, TEARS, LIES AND ALIBIS
Tracey Thorn, LOVE AND ITS OPPOSITE
Valgeir Sigurðsson, Draumalandið
Yellow Ostrich, THE MISTRESS

SONGS THAT ARE PERFECT JUST ON THEIR OWN:
The Baseball Project, "Cubs 2010"
Devo, "Fresh"
Katy B, "Katy On A Mission"
Prince, "Sticky Like Glue"

SONGS THAT MAKE ME WANT TO INVESTIGATE THE ALBUM:
Ash Reiter, "Stumble And Fall"
Joanna Newsom, "Esme"
Laura Marling, "Alpha Shallows"
Light Pollution, "Good Feelings"
The Living Sisters, "Hold Back"
Los Lobos, "Tin Can Trust"
The Nels Cline Singers, "Floored"
Nina Nastasia, "You're A Holy Man"
Owen Pallett, "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt"
Sharon Van Etten, "Don't Do It"

WHATEVER THEIR VIRTUES, I AM ALLERGIC TO:
The Arcade Fire, THE SUBURBS
Vampire Weekend, CONTRA

December 9th, 2010

Year Of The Day: 2000

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In the yeeeeeeeeeeeear two thousaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand...

I was living in Champaign, starting the year on a temp assignment at White Cap, Inc. (a plastic bottlecap factory), then hiring on at Urbana Free Library in the circulation dept.

This was the first full year of my first marriage. And I was at a new job, in a new town. So... basically, I kind of didn't know what I was doing, all year long.

In December, I interviewed for a support analyst job at Endeavor Information Systems, and thus began my Chicagoland odyssey, still in progress...
the soundtrackCollapse )

November 30th, 2010

Year Of The Day: 1993

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The middle of my Houston experience found me playing with my band Gordian Knot, most frequently on the UH campus and at Munchies but also at the Mucky Duck, the Blind Pig, Zelda's...

Issues of band direction and an excess of new material led me to work on my first solo album of "real songs" (as opposed to my experiments in high school), with Mike Switzer producing on his 4-track and the lovely and talented Judi Brown providing her usual haunting mezzo harmony. The album was called RIPPLES and can be downloaded for free here. It was a blast to make.

In fact, generally I had a great time that year, apart from the angstAngstANGST of maintaining a long-distance relationship... Also, between playing in a band, hanging out with other musicians, and our dorm ritual of watching MTV's "120 Minutes" I was actually up-to-date on new music.
see?Collapse )

November 11th, 2010

Year Of The Day: 1988

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I discovered almost all of the music on this list after the fact, my head being stuck firmly in classic-rock-land as I entered my 3rd year of guitar lessons. One example of the coming change in taste (see Year Of The Day: 1989): the release of Jimmy Page's OUTRIDER was a major event for me at the time, containing as it did the first Page/Plant co-write since the end of Led Zeppelin. A year later and I wouldn't have even noticed.

Still, a weirder strain of music was clearly somehow finding me (or I, it). My first band, Noyzez, released its first cassette, entitled SOMONE IS WATCHING [sic]. Kurt Mann, James Purcell & I threw ourselves into an hour of all-too-original material. My guitar teacher at the time, Tom Spahr, agreed to be taped for a mercifully short guitar duet called "Frowning Totalitarian Blues". It's really weird to me that when I was listening only to classic rock I was making such atonal music, when later I would listen primarily to skronky weird noise and only be able to write four-minute formula rock songs.

Anywho, here's a whole big list of music that (a few big pop hits and metal albums aside) I might've discovered in 1988 if it had been 1989.
clickyCollapse )

October 29th, 2010

From Reckless Records, Wicker Park location, Chicago.

vinyl, 99¢ each --
Dixie Dregs, WHAT IF (1978)
The Smithereens, GREEN THOUGHTS (1988)

CD --
Cocteau Twins, MILK & KISSES (1996): 99¢
The Style Council, OUR FAVOURITE SHOP (1985): 99¢
Rose Melberg, HOMEMADE SHIP (2009): 49¢

October 19th, 2010

Year Of The Day: 1977

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In 1977, I turned 4. I saw STAR WARS -- more than once, but I don't remember how many times. I do remember that when the Death Star exploded -- the most awesome event I'd ever seen in my life -- I looked over to see that my Dad was snoring.

Disco, cokey folkies, extra-bloaty late-period prog, arena rock, weird combinations of all of the above -- and of course the tonic for all of it: punk.
list-o-maniaCollapse )
We're in the home stretch of Year Of The Day posts -- only 4 or 5 to go before I've covered every year in my collection...

October 14th, 2010

Year Of The Day: 2007

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I was engaged. I got married. We honeymooned in Belgium and France. Everything else is a giant awesome blur.

I didn't make a year-end top albums list, but this mid-year top 25 list pretty well serves as one. Manic Street Preachers would have moved up to #5, and from offlist Radiohead, St. Vincent, Over The Rhine, Josh Ritter and Iron & Wine would have leapt into the top 15, with Maria Taylor and possibly Stars Of The Lid and Julian Cope coming into the top 25. The Laura Veirs, McCartney, and Lucinda Williams albums would've dropped off -- didn't stick so well.

A big year for artists with "Black," "Field," or "Great" in their names...
and there was LOTS of music...Collapse )

October 2nd, 2010

from Permanent Records, Chicago:

99¢:
Richard Thompson, ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM (1985)

CDs ($1 each):
The Apples In Stereo, #1 HITS EXPLOSION (2009)
The Apples In Stereo, ELECTRONIC PROJECTS FOR MUSICIANS (2005)
The High Llamas, COLD AND BOUNCY (1998)
Linoleum, THE RACE FROM THE BURNING BUILDING (2000)
The Reputation, THE REPUTATION (2002)
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