Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leather Gum Drops

Every week, Stereogum drops a new free mp3.

This week, it's from Omaha-based (Phoenix-born) band Digital Leather.

Usually it's an original tune from an upcoming album or something, but Digital Leather did a cover of MGMT's "Time to Pretend."

Shawn Foree explains that "Stephen and I were talking about synths one day. He mentioned that MGMT used the same machine on 'Time To Pretend' as I did on 'Modern Castles.' ... We decided to cover it. You know, just for fun."

I happen to love the MGMT original and this version is damn good. It's pretty faithful, from the aforementioned synths to the hand-claps in the background.

PHOTO: Sherry Cardino (I don't want Digital Leather to "fucking kill me.")

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Daily Headlines! Pixies, Paramore and Muppets

Today, I got the new Animal Collective EP and finally got a chance to hear Jay-Z's "Blueprint 3" (it came out months ago... I'm a little behind).

I also spoke to Trent Dabbs from Nashville music collective Ten Out of Tenn and singer Jeremy DePoyster from metal heads The Devil Wears Prada. Tomorrow, I'm talking to Chris Carraba from Dashboard Confessional.

Enjoy some music news headlines:

• Sigur Ros is going to score a new film.

• iTunes is offering up a new section of live material. Looks like there's a connection with Live Nation-owned venues.

• Spin checks out the inside of Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig's apartment.

• Spinner picks its best songs of the aughts.

• The Strokes did a new album.

• The Pixies have their own shoes. I'd rather have these shoes without all the Pixies stuff all over them, but that's me.

• Blender examines why bands that never did festivals before are now flocking to them.

• Blender also talks to Art Alexakis of Everclear. Remember them? "Father of Mine," "Everything to Everyone," "Santa Monica" and about 12 other songs were 90s radio.

• Check out Paramore's new video for "Brick By Boring Brick." Hayley Williams looks like she went blonde.

• And for my favorite link of the day: The Muppets do "Bohemian Rhapsody." Hells yes.

From the "fake news" dept.: Nation's Music Snobs Protest Predictable Use Of Metallica, Pantera To Torture Prisoners

Jason Segel is really funny and talented

That headline makes it sound like I have a crush on the guy, but it's honest.

I'll admit to watching How I Met Your Mother every week and having seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall more times than is probably healthy. But they're both great.

To show that he is even more awesome, Segel showed up at a Swell Season concert this week and took the stage. He joined Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of "Once" and sang a song about using his celebratory status to make love to a Swell Season fan; bringing a lesbian friend to his "swanky Los Angeles mansion;" his, uh, personal endowments and even offered up his phone number to the crowd.

In case anyone is wondering, it's 1-315-329-6673.

Anyway, enjoy the video:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Daily Headlines! Adam Lambert, Animal Collective and more

Spent today writing about Christmas, music, Christmas music and trying to get and interview with Anthony Daniels (he's the guy that played C-3PO in the Star Wars movies for all you non-nerds out there).

Anyway, here's today's music headlines:

• Big news of the day is Adam Lambert's racy performance at the American Music Awards. He made out with his (straight male) keyboard player (photo above), grabbed his crotch and did a bunch of other stuff. I didn't see it because I turned off the TV before that. Taylor Swift won the top award. The LA Times blog grades the performances (none of which I thought were very good).

• Spoon changed its album release date, announced a new single and tour dates.

• Scott Stapp from Creed answers questions about leather pants, the band's reunion, his fist fight with 311 and a bunch of other stuff.

• Speaking of Creed, Paste compares the band to the character from "The Office."

• My Morning Jacket was on "American Dad" last night.

• Some Michael Jackson stuff at auction, including the white glove, raised more than $2 million.

• The Avett Brothers have a new music video and a spring tour. And they still won't be in Omaha... Grrr... (I missed them when they were here a few months ago, dammit.)

• Animal Collective has a new mp3 out from their new EP.

• Paste's best of the decade stuff continues on (I think their roundups are much better than Pitchfork's from a few months ago, but that's neither here nor there) with a look at the best movie soundtracks.

Today's Mail: "Just Like You" by Alison Israheta ("American Idol" runner up)

Photo from the Associated Press.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The List: Top 5 Unintentionally Funny Music Videos

Hey folks! I'm starting a new weekly feature called "The List." It's going to be a Top 5/10/20/whatever-number-I-feel-like list that will pop up once a week.

Have any suggestions for what I should cover? Post in the comments, find me on Twitter or Facebook or send an e-mail.

I'll be doing anything from "Top 5 punk albums" to "Top 10 books about music" to "Top 8 Eagles songs that make you want to claw your eyes out."

* * *

For the inaugural list, here's the Top 5 Unintentionally Funny Music Videos.

These aren't from the Foo Fighters or Beastie Boys or Weezer, groups that make music videos that are supposed to make you laugh.

Nope, these ones were supposed to be serious, but end up coming off as ridiculous.


5. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison

Weren't the '80s awesome? Maybe at the time, but watching this video makes me laugh.

Shots of a mostly-naked Bret Michaels sleeping next to some half-naked woman spliced in with backstage video and Michaels in an empty room playing acoustic guitar with a cowboy hat and aviators on.

I guess the video and song are supposed to show that Poison's life was really hard, what with the millions of dollars they were making and good looking women they were with. Favorite moment is Michaels getting his ankle wrapped after a failed rock kick from the drum riser. Real rock 'n roll, buddy.

4. "The Dope Show" by Marilyn Manson

Is this supposed to be freaky or something? The only thing freaky to me is that Marilyn Manson has boobs and apparently no genitalia.

I'm not even sure what the premise for this video is supposed to be. Marilyn-with-boobs gets examined by scientists, then does a press conference in a dress while cops in pink riot gear make out? Yeah, ok.

3. "Video Phone" by Beyonce

She's trying to look cool and it's just not working for her. I mean, the song's pretty laughable by itself, but every time she appears in a new outfit, its just silly. I mean, when Lady Gaga is dressed less ridiculously than you in a video, it's time to re-evaluate.

The dance moves are straight out of a Paula Abdul video. I started laughing out loud when she shoved her ass in the face of one of those men with camera heads and he kept trying to grab it.

2. "Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul

Yeah, the one where she dances with the animated cat (his name is MC Skat Kat, if you're wondering). I guess her "opposite" is an cartoon that can dance.

Coming a year after the live action/cartoon mix of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," the video shows Abdul dancing with the cat, rapping with him and wearing everything from a suit to pajamas to some sort of dress/pants combo. What the hell?

On a related note: this video caused MC Skat Kat to go on and release an album. Seriously.

1. "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meatloaf

What. The. Hell? It's not enough that this song is more than seven minutes long, but Meatloaf is some kind of weird vampire? Yeah, sure.

He kills a few cops, creeps through the woods, stalks a hot chick who's hanging out at his deserted mansion's fountain, croons from his throne, hides from above-mentioned hot chick when she enters the mansion, creepily stares at her while she sleeps, watches as his vampire maidens sex up the hot girl, smashes mirrors and then runs from the cops with the girl.

Exactly what is it that he "won't do" for love? Be uncreepy, perhaps? Refrain from sexually assaulting and/or killing people? You got me.

Mercy Rule is back

It's been about 10 years.

Back then, Mercy Rule was one of those names you heard a lot if you were into local music. They played a lot of live shows and did two CDs on Relativity Records (they were called "God Protects Fools" and "Providence" for anyone keeping track).

After that, they got picked up by MCA records, but in one of those "screwed by a major label" stories, their A&R guy got fired and then they were dropped.

After buying back their already-recorded CD from MCA, they released it on Lincoln label Caulfield Records. It was called "The Flat Black Chronicles."

After Mercy Rule's era ended, Jon Taylor and Heidi Ore created Domestica with Boz Hicks.

Anyway, they're back and playing shows again even though the group's members are now in their 40s. Along with SPEED! Nebraska friends Ideal Cleaners, Wagon Blasters and Jake Joyce McCoy, they're doing a set at O'Leaver's on Saturday (check out the poster above). $5 gets you in, as always.

Check out their band bio page at SPEED! to hear a song sample.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Headlines! Cleveland, I'm slacking and more

I've been slacking on the headlines lately. It's actually something I'd like to compile every day, but I honestly haven't done it for a few weeks.

Well, headlines are back!

• Hall & Oates are going to be on the Cleveland Show this week (Family Guy spinoff). Excellent.

• Blender has an awesome post about the top 8 songs used as Facebook status updates.

• Vampire Weekend's new video for "Cousins" has been all over the Internet today.

• Rod Stewart likes Arcade Fire. Count me surprised.

• The guy from Hot Chip talks about the group's new album and how Susan Boyle was an influence. I don't believe him.

• Speaking of Susan Boyle, her new album is the biggest pre-order in's history.

• Like music? Thinking of it as a career? Go work for Spin magazine as an intern. I couldn't think of too many internships that would be cooler.

• Bonnaroo set dates for 2010. Ticket sales start Nov. 27 (seems a little early, doesn't it?).

• The Decemberists have turned their last album into an animated film.

• This isn't really news, but I've been listening to the new Avett Brothers record a lot today and checked their tour schedule. They're not coming to Omaha, and I don't like that.

• Motley Crue explains how they wrote "Girls Girls Girls." I'm not sure why, but I find this fascinating.

• The MTV Woodies were last night. Does anyone care?

Today's Mail: Brandi Carlile's "Give Up the Ghost" and Dashboard Confessional's "Alter the Ending"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monsters of Folk: Unoriginal?

I got my copy of Paste Magazine in the mail today. It's always a treat, mostly because of the CD sampler they always send along that, month after month, features awesome music.

What caught my eye this time though (aside from the bevy of "best of the decade" lists in the mag) was a simple letter to the editor. In it, an astute reader points out that the foursome of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Dave Alvin, Tom Russell and Chris Smither put out an album and toured under the name Monsters of Folk in 1998.

That's a full 11 years before Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes, Jim James of My Morning Jacket and M. Ward of She & Him (as well as his own solo career) used the name on its album this year.

Here's a Rolling Stone article about the original folks from '98.

There doesn't seem to be any controversy, aside from the Paste letter to the editor and, to my knowledge, no one is getting sued or anything. It's nonetheless interesting.

Was the name used before? It certainly appears so. Does it really matter? I don't think so. You could call the Oberst-Ward-Mogis-James combo Bright Morning Jacket & Him and I still would like the songs on it.

Oddly enough, the foursome themselves make fun of their own name in a previously-published Paste Q&A:
Oberst: Really, when you think about it, band names are so ridiculous. I mean, I can’t think of a good band name.
Ward: I like Led Zeppelin. That’s the only good band name.

* * *

Speaking of the Paste sampler, mentioned above, three Omaha-related tracks made it on the disc (a first as far as I know).

First is "Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)" from the Monsters of Folk. This isn't much of a surprise to me, considering the MoF have been getting lots of write-ups and praise all over the place.

Second is "The Sound" by Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson from his impeccable release on Saddle Creek Records. He's not from O-town, but SC is, so it counts, right?

Third is "Ari Are We" from Capgun Coup off of the Omaha group's recently-released disc "Maudlin." This is pretty wide exposure for a band that still feels like a local band. What I mean there is that while their record is out on Team Love, they still feel like the local group playing local venues and house parties at Hotel Frank. Probably what Cursive seemed like 10 years ago.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Late to the party

Hey folks... Sorry I've been off the blog for nearly a week. It's been a busy week, but I'm back. I'll be posting every day this week with new stuff.

Today, I'd like your help with something. I'm starting a new column in the Omaha World-Herald that focuses specifically on local bands and upcoming shows.

What I don't have is a name. Think of something clever. Think of something silly. Think of something smart. Think of something funny.

If you have an idea, send it my way through the comments, Twitter or e-mail (

If I choose yours, you get a prize. Likely a CD or two or more.

The first column will appear on Thursday, Nov. 19 (that's this week, kids!).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lots of tickets going on sale...

Gather up your ticket money, kids. It could be an expensive weekend.

On Saturday, tickets go on sale for four Faint performances and a show from The Good Life.

In past years, The Faint has done a pair of Sokol Auditorium shows in Nov./Dec. They always sell out and they're always fantastic. Why they're doing four this year and why they're at the Waiting Room (with one show at Lincoln's Bourbon Theatre), I have no idea.

It will be pretty sweet to see the Faint in such a small space. They used to do small shows back in the day, but it's been years as far as I can remember.

The Good Life show will be a good one too. Does this mean that we'll be seeing some movement from Tim Kasher a la new material for the Good Life? We shall see.

On Thursday, tickets go on sale for a Dashboard Confessional and New Found Glory acoustic show.

This is the kind of show where it's really cool if you're into one of those two bands and probably pretty freaking lame if you're not.

I, for one, am pretty surprised that Dashboard is coming back to Omaha after the incredibly weak showing of fans at the Maha Music Festival back in August. All-day attendance was pretty slow, but decent. However, by the time that Dashboard came on, it was down to a few hundred people. Thank goodness (for them) that a few hundred people in Slowdown will make it look at least half-full.

As for the big boys, John Mayer tickets go on sale on Saturday as well. Bon Jovi tickets also go on sale Monday.

I'd like to see John Mayer play a guitar-only show. I'd pay for that. Hearing him play "No Such Thing" (that "run through the halls of my high school..." song) isn't all that appealing to me.

As for Bon Jovi, I don't really care about that either. The old stuff is just OK and the new music is pretty terrible (and I would guess that this show will be half new stuff since they're releasing a new album soon).

Supergroup news!

• Them Crooked Vultures (the Zeppelin-Foo Fighters-Queen of the Stoneage supergroup) put their full album streaming on YouTube today.

For those interested, here it be:

I haven't decided if I like it or not. As usual, this supergroup is not as good as Zeppelin or the Foo Fighters (Point one: no one is as good as Zeppelin. Point two: I don't really like Queens of the Stoneage that much).

The album is out Nov. 17.

• Monsters of Folk (the Bright Eyes-My Morning Jacket-M. Ward supergroup) is still doing it's thang.

They were on Jimmy Fallon the other night:

I'm not a huge fan of that song and I question why the hell they'd play it on national television. You'd think they'd go for something up-tempo that might get viewers interested in the song instead of this goofy, Yim Yames slow jam. But whatever... I'm not involved in these decisions.

And I can't remember if I've posted it in this space or not, but they did a kickass version of Kiss' "Detroit Rock City" on Halloween. Dressed as Kiss. No joke. Watch it.

• In other supergroup news, Chickenfoot continues to be, well, Chickenfoot.

Never heard of them? Yeah, you're not alone. It's Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony from Van Halen, Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Satriani.

Weird combo, right? They're alright. It basically sounds like Joe Satriani was hired as Sammy Hagar's backing guitarist. That's about it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shows this weekend: Capgun Coup and more

Lots of stuff going on this weekend. Top of my list is Capgun Coup's CD release show, which I actually didn't know about until this morning.

The show is at Orifice, the Faint's practice space (or former practice space... I can't remember), 2406 Leavenworth St.

Capgun will perform its new album, "Maudlin," in entirety at the show. $5 cover. "Maudlin" came out on Conor Oberst's Team Love label on Tuesday. Stream the whole album over at Spinner.

* * *

Check out the Meat Puppets on Saturday at the Waiting Room (opening is Little Brazil, who is always a good time). Remember Nirvana playing "Lake of Fire" on MTV Unplugged? Yeah, that's actually a Meat Puppets song.

Curt and Cris Kirkwood sat in with Nirvana for "Lake of Fire" and two of their other tunesand played guitar. Curt is the one who plays those awesome guitar melodies during "Lake of Fire.

These guys also did the song "Backwater," which was a big hit in the 90s.

Anyway, they're still together and their music is better now that it was before, in my opinion. Their new album, "Sewn Together," is really good. Listen to the whole thing at their Myspace page.

You can also read the story I did for the World-Herald, wherein I interviewed Curt Kirkwood.

* * *

Honey & Darling plays over at O'Leaver's tonight. I caught them open for Matt & Kim a month or so ago and missed out on their CD release show recently. If you missed either of those performances, go see them at O'Leaver's.

* * *

If you're a blues person, John Dee Graham is at the Waiting Room on Sunday.

* * *

Rap-rock guys Hollywood Undead are also on Sunday. They wear masks, I guess. I like the song "Undead," but it's probably because it's always playing at sporting events I'm attending and I get a little over-excited. Check 'em out at their MySpace.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Things NOT to do at a concert

There is a thing called concert etiquette.

In general, you just have to be a nice person and not mind getting bumped into a lot. Pretty basic stuff, mostly. But there are some no nos.

Earlier this week, Spin posted a selection of 10 things not to do at a concert from comedian Dane Cook. Cook goes to a lot of concerts, so I thought his list would be an interesting one. Turns out, he was mostly trying to be funny and most of it fell flat ("Don't use a bathroom stall if the prior occupant comes out covered head to toe in their own shit." Hi-larious stuff, right?)

I thought I'd augment his list and present my own.

So, when you're at a concert, DON'T...

... get annoyed when somebody bumps into you. It's a rock concert and there are between 100 and 15,000 people in the same room as you. Bodies are going to touch. There might even be a mosh pit.

... burn me with your cigarette. We're outdoors. You've lit up. Good times, eh? Sure is, until you find it necessary to forget that about 5,000 people are standing all around you and gesticulate wildly while describing how your new bong works and you poke me in the chest with a burning hot ember. Thanks for ruining my shirt and thanks for giving me something I'll always remember from this concert: a small, round burn scar.

... "try to cop a feel of the girl's tit crowd surfing over you." The only one from Cook that I like, although his reasoning is pretty awful. He follows that by saying it's because she'll kick you in the eye with her high heels. I'd say it's more because that's disrespectful and the girl came here to have a good time, not to get felt up by a bunch of meat-heads who don't have girlfriends.

... yell out "Free Bird." First, even if it's Lynyrd Skynyrd, they're probably not taking requests. Second, unless it's Skynyrd, there's no way they're going to play it. Third, it's not 1976 any more and you're not funny. That joke was barely funny then. (An aside: Comedian Stephen Lynch makes fun of his audience for doing it, which is pretty funny.)

... answer your phone and then scream loudly into it that "I'm at a concert. No, Becky... No... I'm at a concert." If this happens during an acoustic show (say, Bon Iver), audience members are within their rights to behead you. Better idea: Let it go to voicemail and then quietly text them to say you'll call them back.

... be one of those "I'm at a concert!!!!" people. We've all done it. We're all guilty. Those first handful of shows were so exciting because, look... that's them... right there! But that doesn't make it any less annoying when you're "woo"-ing and jumping up and down and screaming because "It's MY song!"

... get angry at the crowdsurfers. Yeah, it can be annoying, but your job is to help them not fall on their head/neck/junk. So please don't punch them or "miss" when they float on by. If you didn't want crowdsurfers, you shouldn't be standing within the first 25 feet of the stage.

... pick fights. The idea of mosh pit is to dance around and run into each other at full speed. If, accidentally, someone bumps you too hard, that sucks. But you got into the mosh pit in the first place, so it should be expected. Hitting the guy in the mouth as hard as you can isn't going to help at all and is probably going to stop the concert and get you thrown out.

... let your friend get that drunk. If he/she cannot stand, they are too drunk. If you're in the unfortunate situation of having a friend that gets that drunk, don't leave them on the floor of the venue/amphitheatre or crowdsurf them to the front. Pick them up (read: throw them over your shoulder) and carry them out. You're supposed to be their friend. Get 'em some help.

... throw your shoe/water bottle/cell phone/baby at the band. As it turns out, they don't like to dodge flying objects while they're trying to play live music. You and I can barely play guitar in our basements with no one else around. Think of how hard it is in front of a few hundred/thousand people with beer bottles coming at your head. (Corollary: Throwing a bra onstage is a different matter entirely.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

OEA Award Noms have been announced

The Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards nominees have been announced for the music categories.

It seems like they're getting the categories done right, which is nice. Rock bands in the rock categories, blues bands in the blues categories, etc. I know a complaint in the past has been that bands that don't fit certain categories were getting nominated (and winning) in them.

You can find all the noms over at the OEAA site (scroll down a bit, you'll find them).

The ones that I'm most interested are the categories for album of the year, artist of the year and new artist of the year.

Album Of The Year
Black Squirrels, Paying For Your Pleasure
Brad Hoshaw & The Seven Deadlies, self titled
Cursive, Mamma I’m Swollen
Matt Cox, My Last Dollar
Matt Whipkey, Instant Heart

Artist Of The Year
The Black Squirrels
Brad Hoshaw & The Seven Deadlies
It’s True
Little Brazil

Best New Artist
El Genius
It’s True
Jes Winter Band
Little Black Stereo
Mitch Gettman

Each category has five good choices, so it will be hard for folks to pick. I believe I'm supposed to be part of "the academy" this year, so I actually get to vote (woohoo).

I liked all of the albums in album of the year and went to most of their respective CD release shows. I would place Little Brazil's "Son" in that category because it's damn good. One of my favorite albums this year, in fact.

Artist of the year is an interesting category. You have a lot of bands that did a lot of good things, although they did them in different ways. Honestly, it's kind of weird to compare Cursive and Brad Hoshaw, but that's the Omaha music scene for you.

As for best new artist, I think that's going to come down to It's True and Jes Winter Band. Both have been very buzzed about (albeit for completely different reasons) all year long.

We shall see.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Headlines! Conor show and more

Big news lately is the random Conor Oberst show that was very quietly posted over at One Percent Productions' site. Get your tickets to this one soon, kids, because it's going to sell out fast.

One Percent bills it as a holiday show. Don't know if that just means it will involve Conor singing Christmas songs (he did "Blue Christmas" with his dad at a show a few years ago) or what. Either way, it will prove to be a cool show at an intimate venue.

Onto some other headlines!

• Local fellas Little Brazil put up some live footage from their tour.

• Local group Anniversaire put up a bunch of live photos. They're playing Nov. 14 at the Waiting Room with a bunch of other folks.

• Kanye West gave a shout out to Land of Talk's video for "It's Okay" over at his blog.

• Yesterday, I mentioned Paste's list of 50 best albums of the decade. They have also posted the 50 best movies. (In case you're wondering, I think I'd have about the same to say about this list as I would the 50 albums list.)

• If you're like me, when you hear the song "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel, you can't help but think of "Say Anything" and it's protagonist, Lloyd Dobler. Well over the weekend, some Lloyds got together and held their blaring stereos over their heads.

• Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Live came out on DVD today.

• A website is selling Beatles tracks (which you probably know aren't available for digital download anywhere), but it's probably not authorized to do so.

• I think I mentioned this once before, but Daniel Johnston has a game app for the iPhone. Blender takes a look at his and others'.

• Spin gets "inside" the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack. I have no idea what that means.

• Ever played an absolutely terrible video game, but noticed that the soundtrack was completely bitchin'? I have. Here are seven of them.

• A bunch of new discs are out today, including Nirvana reissue and Weezer's disc, "Raditude," plus a whole bunch more.

Today's Mail: Sinatra: New York, a four-CD, one-DVD set of live Sinatra shows. Hell yeah.


I'm doing some research for a story and came across some interesting info regarding Incubus.

(Don't remember Incubus? Here's a refresher, their song "Stellar":)

Anyhoo, did you know Billboard named them the most successful band of the past decade?

It's weird. You'd think it would be someone else (let's say Jay-Z), who has put out albums to universal acclaim, sold millions, gone on tour, etc.

Nope. It's Incubus.

It is kind of odd. They've put out only 4 albums (one was a compilation/rarities double disc). Granted, each of those records has debuted in the No. 1 or 2 positions on the Billboard charts (the comp debuted at No. 5). For a modern recording artist, that's just ridiculous. No one is that consistent.

They have a rabid fan base who snatch up the records and their concert tickets like mad. Trust me. I know an Incubus-head (-ite? -ian?) very well.

Other bands that seem to be able to do the same thing? 311 comes to mind (I'm working on a story about them right now). Green Day, I think (though I'm not sure if they have a specific fan base so much as they're generally popular). Pearl Jam and Metallica have two of the most ridiculous groups of fans I've ever heard of.

Pearl Jam's albums are consistently top 5 material. So are Metallica's of late (though Metallica has only put out two records since 2000).

It's a weird phenomenon, really. Why Incubus? I'll have to ask that rabid fan I know, see what she says.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Costumes update

Perhaps you read my post about music-related Halloween costumes?

I was out on Halloween (and the night before) and I actually didn't see that many music-type costumes. (I didn't go music-related either. I went as a vampire. Old school-style, not Edward Cullen, wussy vampire.)

I did see a few Michael Jacksons and, to be honest, they weren't very well done. They were all obviously store-bought with very little flair. I would have preferred a zombie Michael Jackson or something like that.

My friend Pat did wear his Slash costume, which he has worn every year for as long as I can remember. I asked him about it and he said he did change his T-shirt. Nonetheless, it was pretty great to see it.

Did you wear a music costume? What was it? Share your posts and pictures in the comments.

Top 50 of the decade

Today, Paste Magazine posted its Top 50 Albums of the Decade list.

It's a decent list. And Paste has an interesting perspective considering that the decade they're covering pretty much includes all of Paste's existence. The magazine debuted in 2002, but they had a website before that.

I love to read lists like this because I always agree with parts while wildly disagreeing with other selections. I guess that's the fun of lists... everyone has their own opinion.

Notable news: Bright Eyes' "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" came in at No. 5. I love this pick because this album has some of the best songwriting I've ever heard. And I'm not a Bright Eyes homer. Conor Oberst has done plenty of stuff that I find abhorrent. But I love this record through and through and it gets spun in my CD player a whole lot.

Other things I like from the list:
• No. 46: Music from the movie "Once"
Fantastic movie and fantastic music from a fantastic duo. The fact that a soundtrack makes this list is astonishing, but the songs in that movie were original and do fit on an album.

• No. 42: Jay-Z's "The Blueprint"
Jay-Z is excellent. This album proved how excellent he could be. Next.

• No. 31: Death Cab's "Transatlanticism"
Paste said: "Indie rock’s biggest stars haven’t stopped making good records, but Transatlanticism was certainly their best." I couldn't say it better.

• No. 30: Damien Rice's "O"
The song "Blower's Daughter" gets me every time I put it in. Rice's haunted voice in that song always rings true for some reason.

• No. 29: Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago"
This album's 9 songs packs in more excellence than most bands do in 9 albums.

• No. 11: The Hold Steady's "Boys and Girls in America"
I loved their more recent effort, "Stay Positive," but this record is the Hold Steady's best so far, in my opinion. Still, I can't wait to hear what comes next.

• No. 2: Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"
Paste's entry tells the story of how the album was made and why it was important, blah blah blah, but it's the music on it that's more important to me. I like me some Wilco, but this album is packed with 11 songs of Wilco goodness. I can listen to "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," "Kamera," "Radio Cure," "War on War," "Jesus, etc.," "Ashes of American Flags," "Heavy Metal Drummer," "I'm the Man Who Loves You" and "Pot Kettle Black" over and over and over and over.

Things on the list I don't like so much:
• What is half of this stuff? Jens Lekman? Pedro the Lion? I mean, I think I've heard of The National before, but that's still pretty freaking random. Maybe it's stuff that went under my radar.

• You can honestly look me in the eye and tell me that the Avett Brothers' "I and Love and You" (which came out a month ago) is the 9th best album in the last 10 years? That is ludicrous. And I understand the hype from Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavilion" (it was, after all, the first very good album to come out this year). But best of the decade? Again, I'm not convinced.

• Radiohead. I'm not a big Radiohead guy, but I get why they're popular. I'm fine as well with them having two albums on the list (the only group to do so, I believe). But why is "Kid A" about 40 spots above "In Rainbows?" Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

• It's cool to make fun of Coldplay, but I've actually started to like them. However, if we're going to put a Coldplay album on the list, why "A Rush of Blood to the Head?" I think "Viva La Vida" was an achievement (both musically and commercially) that went above and beyond what "Rush of Blood..." ever did.

• Amy Winehouse made the list. WTF? You can't be serious with Amy Winehouse. No way that's a better album than (off the top of my head) Jay-Z's "The Black Album," Fleet Foxes' self-titled disc or pretty much anything from Eminem during the same time period.

What do you think? Speak your mind in the comments.