Thursday, December 30, 2010

Column: Some resolutions are easier to keep than others

You may not remember, but near the close of 2009, I wrote a list of music-related resolutions. They weren’t necessarily for me, but some suggestions for readers who wanted to do some cool musical stuff.

Well, I also tried to follow them, though I accomplished some better than others.

Here, I give you the basic rundown of the list along with how I did with each resolution.

Go to a music festival.
Success. I went to several, including big guns South By Southwest and Lollapalooza as well as smaller local fests Maha Music Festival and the Concert For Equality.

Hang out after the show and try to meet/get autograph from/take picture with/join the afterparty of your favorite musician. Last year, I met Ben Nichols from Lucero, Ben Kweller and I ate lunch next to Marcus Mumford from Mumford & Sons. I did not attend any afterparties, though.

Make it a goal to go to 1/2/10 show(s) a week/fortnight/month. I didn’t exactly have a goal in mind for myself, but I never go to enough shows. This one will definitely be on next year’s list.

Finally sit down and listen to the Clash’s entire catalog.
I didn’t do it with the Clash, but I did make my way through all of Tom Petty’s albums in chronological order for a story previewing Petty’s show at Qwest Center Omaha in June.

Pick up an instrument (and put down Guitar Hero) and learn a few songs. This year, I started taking guitar lessons again.

Start a band. Nope, didn’t do this one, but I did jam a little with other folks.

Road trip to see a band that is skipping your town.
I went to see the Hold Steady in Lincoln, though they had already played Omaha. I guess I did go to SXSW and Lolla and saw a whole lot of people who didn’t come to Omaha.

Try something new (in the realm of music genres, that is). Honestly, I listen to just about everything here at work, so I think I covered this one.

Listen to an album. With this, I meant that you should really listen to a whole album, not just play stuff on your iPod while you work out. Again, my work duties covered this one.

Read a book about music. Among others, I read “I Slept With Joey Ramone” by Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh; “Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock and How It Changed a Generation” by Pete Fornatale, a fascinating book about the festival in the words of people who were there; and “The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage” by Roxana Shirazi, a feminist author who has quite a few racy tales involving her exploits with rock stars you’ve probably heard of (and some you haven’t).

Send a fan letter. Do e-mails to band publicists count? If no, then I missed this one.

Experience “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” — sync up Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” with “The Wizard of Oz.” I did this in high school, but not so much in the last decade.

Stay tuned for next week’s column, where I’ll pose some new resolutions for myself (and you) to try out.

* * *

You can read this column in the GO magazine in paper's today and also on

Also in this week's GO is a story on Cowboy Mouth, who plays Saturday at the Waiting Room.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hear Nebraska launch parties

Looks like everyone's getting a music/entertainment site. If you've been paying attention, you've seen the new efforts from the fine folks at Omahype and Hear Nebraska. They've both got some great stuff, so keep them on your radar.

Anyway, Hear Nebraska is a not-for-profit effort by Andy Norman, a former Reader editor (my old editor, in fact) and a pretty swell dude. The organization is trying to highlight Nebraska music - Lincoln and Omaha and elsewhere - and is doing a great job so far.

Check out the two official launch parties:

Saturday, Feb. 4 at The Sydney in Benson, Omaha: Little Brazil, Mercy Rule, Ideal Cleaners

Sunday, Feb. 6 at Duffy's in Lincoln: Conduits, Kill County, Down with the Ship, Manny Coon

Both gigs are at 9 p.m. and cost $5 at their respective venues. A portion of the proceeds from each will benefit Hear Nebraska.

[UPDATE:'s Andy Norman informs me that the Omaha launch party date has been changed to Friday, Feb. 4. On Feb. 5, there was a similar show at Slowdown and no one wants to compete, so they changed the date to the 4th.]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Concerts of 2010: Were you there?

 Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds performs at the Maha Music Festival. (Photo by Chris Machian/The World-Herald)
In a given year, I see at least a couple hundred bands perform. I’ve never counted (maybe I should), but I know it’s a lot. Some shows I see for my job and others I hit up just for fun.

It’s hard to pick the very best, but I whittled down the list from 2010 into something a little more manageable: Eight.

I'd love to know your favorite shows of 2010. Post them in the comments.

Shows are listed in the order they happened.

South by Southwest in Austin, Texas – March 17-21

One of the largest music festivals in the world, where I made tons of discoveries and saw lots of bands that never came to Omaha. Favorites were Frightened Rabbit, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Free Energy and Titus Andronicus.

Maha Music Festival at Lewis & Clark Landing, Omaha – July 24

Maha delighted with a  lineup that included Superchunk, Spoon, Ben Kweller and The Faint, a solid indie-leaning fest. We were graced with great weather and some fantastic performances, which put the fest solidly on the map in its second year.

Concert for Equality in downtown Benson, Omaha – July 31

While the day was about protesting an immigration law (remember that?), for me, the music was the highlight. Cursive put on a powerful performance, Bright Eyes played some of my favorites and a reunited Desaparecidos would have blown the roof off the joint if it weren’t an outdoor show.

Rush at Qwest Center Omaha – Aug. 25

I never really understood those people who rave about Rush until I saw this show (and sat next to Rush fans who would make raving lunatics look like sane people). Wonderful musicians, fun show.

Lollapalooza at Grant Park in Chicago – Aug. 6-8

Who played at this show? Seemed like everybody. The three-day festival had some of my favorite groups (Green Day, Soundgarden) as well as some new discoveries (Jukebox the Ghost, Mumford & Sons). I had a great time, even if I did want to saw off my own feet after standing and walking for three days straight.

The Pixies at the Orpheum Theater, Omaha – Sept. 16

I never had the pleasure of seeing the Pixies the first time around. One of modern rock’s seminal bands, the group decided to play the entire album “Doolittle” in Omaha. I was impressed.

Roger Waters performs “The Wall” at Qwest Center Omaha – Oct. 26

You see footage of some legendary concerts but realize that they’ll never happen again. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” was one of those events. But former Floyd bassist/singer/songwriter Roger Waters decided to bring it back and bring it to Omaha. It was everything I wanted it to be, but even cooler because it was happening in front of me. I’ve never seen a more epic, theatrical music performance.

Jeff Daniels at the Holland Performing Arts Center, Omaha – Nov. 4

The “Dumb & Dumber” guy is more than just a few laughs. He’s a songwriter, too, and a brilliant one. He mixed funny tunes with heartfelt ones, and his everyman nature made you feel like you were watching a buddy fool around with a guitar in your living room. I’ll be first in line for tickets the next time he comes back.

Monday, December 27, 2010

More new tunes from Bright Eyes: "One For You, One For Me" and "A Machine Spiritual (In The People's Key)"

"The People's Key"
[ UPDATE: At the request of Saddle Creek Records, the two songs have been taken down. Apparently, the songs weren't authorized by the band. I am assured, however, that new tunes will be available soon. ]

Apparently, Bright Eyes has been pushing its upcoming record, "The People's Key," pretty hard. Interviews are popping up and the band showed up on KRUU FM in Iowa to talk about the new record.

The first single, "Shell Games," was revealed last week and now the group has dropped two new tracks: "One For You, One For Me" and "A Machine Spiritual (In The People's Key)."

Everything I've heard from the band's new release (so far) sounds a whole lot different from the past sounds of the band, focusing more on synths and guitar than country-esque crooning and acoustic melody.

"The People’s Key" will drop Feb. 15th via Saddle Creek Records, but you can pre-order the album now (with all kinds of limited-edition goodies)

Top Albums of 2010: The 25 very best

Just glance at the top of my desk and you’ll see how much music is released in any given year.

Hundreds of CDs are piled in one corner, while a couple hundred more are in boxes on the floor. Even more are in some file cabinets.

But they’re not all great. Many aren’t even very good.

No matter what the year, some recordings stand out above all else. They’re the ones that make you dance, make you go to a show or make you feel something.

Here it is, the best albums from 2010:

10. Superchunk, "Majesty Shredding"

Since Superchunk put out the record “Here’s to Shutting Up” nearly 10 years ago, I was afraid that the group was taking its album title seriously. But this year’s news that the band was touring (through Omaha, no less) with a new record was good indeed. And this album from one of the rockingest of indie rock groups shows that they haven’t lost the touch. From the feedback on the first note of “Digging for Something” to Mac McCaughan’s high and catchy croon, to the chorus of “Everything at Once” (which didn’t leave my head for days), I hope the next album (and tour) doesn’t take another nine years.

9. The Hold Steady, “Heaven Is Whenever”

With “Heaven Is Whenever,” The Hold Steady delivered 10 more dude rock anthems perfect for listening to while swilling a couple cheap beers and jumping up and down in a sweaty crowd. This time, the power-chord rock group reflects on getting a little older: what it was like to live in the cool part of town (“the parts with all the bars and restaurants”), dating a younger chick (“You’re a beautiful girl and you’re a pretty good waitress”) and trying to get people to understand your rock ‘n’ roll problems (“Some writer’s by the fridge, said he didn’t make the gig.”)

8. It’s True, “It’s True”

It’s True was the band that everyone in Omaha was talking about, making it one of the year’s local success stories. Local shows were well-attended and the group got some buzz at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. It also dropped an album in April. Then, after being named one of the main stage acts at the Maha Music Festival, the group decided that gig would be its last. Still, the noise-rock group left a lasting impression with its self-titled, self-released album. The combo of ‘50s-pop doo-wop harmonies and Adam Hawkins’ ethereal voice singing “Don’t ask me if I still get lonely” on “Take This One From Me” gets me every time.

7. Kanye West, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”

Where did this record come from? Fresh off of the mediocre album “808s & Heartbreaks,” as well as his well-publicized interruption at the MTV Video Music Awards, West made a record better than we thought he ever could. Good rhymes, great beats and some catchy hooks keep this very surprising album spinning in my CD player over and over.

6. Ben Folds and Nick Hornby, “Lonely Avenue”

Who knew Hornby (author of “High Fidelity”) was a songwriter, too? And a dang fine one at that. Folds, a talented musician and producer, took Hornby’s words and added music and voice to them. The result is a roller-coaster ride of classic pop music. Sad stuff in “Picture Window” (Hope … has no place in days like these”) is followed with semi-serious yet funny lyrics in “Levi Johnston’s Blues” (“I say mother-in-law, no, we ain’t getting married.”) Another unexpected triumph.

5. Tim Wildsmith, “Little Armor”

Tim Wildsmith proved that a guy whose name starts with C and rhymes with Honor Noberst isn’t the only talented songwriter in town. Wildsmith put his full songwriting talent – and his musical chops along with his band’s — into creating this record. The love he puts into these rock songs comes out in every tune. The songs are moving whether they’re performed by a full band or just by Wildsmith himself, and that’s good’s songwriting.

4. Titus Andronicus, “The Monitor”

With every song on this album, Titus Andronicus goes for epic. It’s like every loud, sweeping song you’ve ever heard crammed into one record. Oh, and it’s about the Civil War. They must be feeding something weird to the kids in Glen Rock, N.J., because I have no idea how these guys funneled that much energy into this album – and their live shows – and managed to stay standing.

3. Mumford & Sons, “Sigh No More”

When Marcus Mumford sings “It was not your fault but mine/I really (messed) it up this time” in the song “Little Lion Man,” you really feel for him. Because you’ve been there. And Mumford’s lyrical writing and the band’s acoustic, bluegrassy leanings really put the oomph in the songs. They’re at once toe-tapping and heartbreaking.

2. The Mynabirds, “What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood”

When Laura Burhenn set out to make a new album, she said she wanted to do something that was like Neil Young making a soul record. She accomplished at least that much, but also left the studio with quite an amazing recording. I’ve seen the Mynabirds live more times than I’ve seen any other band this year, a testament to the Burhenn’s voice, the band’s talent and the strength of these songs.

1. Frightened Rabbit, “The Winter of Mixed Drinks”

If you’re curious what it’s like to be an insecure, questioning, loving male in the 21st century, you should talk to Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchinson. “The Winter of Mixed Drinks,” a season we’ve probably all lived through, is the band’s third effort and its best. The Scottish group’s album has the drive of a Coldplay record and the lyrical nuance of someone like Conor Oberst, who entertains you while still making you understand exactly what he’s trying to convey. When Hutchinson gets to “Nothing Like You,” a tune sang toward a former lover, you know just what he means (even if you’ve never lived it yourself) when he sings “She was not the cure for cancer/and all my questions still asked for answers/There is nothing like someone new/This girl, she was nothing like you.”


Those weren’t the only good albums released in 2010. The following 15 are those that were great, but didn’t quite fit in the top 10. They’re listed here in alphabetical order.

»Band of Horses, “Infinite Arms”

»The Black Keys, “Brothers”

»Blitzen Trapper, “Destroyer of the Void”

»Cee Lo Green, “The Lady Killer”

»Eminem, “Recovery”

»Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now!, “Fixin’ the Charts, Vol. 1”

»Free Energy, “Stuck on Nothing”

»Girl Talk, “All Day”

»Jenny and Johnny, “I’m Having Fun Now”

»New Pornographers, “Together”

»Satchel Grande, “Dial M For Mustache”

»Sleigh Bells, “Treats”

»Spoon, “Transference”

»Tim Kasher, “The Game of Monogamy”

»Yeasayer, “Odd Blood”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Music: "Shell Games" from Bright Eyes' "The People's Key"

I'm actually off this week, but I have to share this news: Bright Eyes dropped its first new song from The People's Key."

Stream the song here:

It's a driving tune and a little more rock than I would have expected from the band, but that's kinda what Conor Oberst said last week about the record. It's not really the country/folk stuff, but filled with guitar and keyboards.

I like it.

And if they keep up this kind of quality, I think this record will do well.

If you give Saddle Creek Records your e-mail address, you can download the song using the widget below.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Photos: Holiday Throwdown at Slowdown

Photo by Chris Machian/The World-Herald
Check out a big ol' slideshow from last night's Holiday Throwdown at Slowdown by the OWH's one-and-only Chris Machian.

Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds got some friends together on Friday night at Slowdown for a little bit of an indie holiday party.

With the stage all decorated in Christmas lights, a tree and a little Santa Claus, the place was downright festive.

Then things kicked off with Rob Walters reading William S. Burroughs' "A Junky's Christmas" while Burhenn played keys in the background. So, you found out what kind of night it would be pretty quickly.

It was kind of an informal setup. Bands (or individuals from those bands) rotated on and off stage with three-or-four-song sets. All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Honeybee, Bear Counduits (a combo of Bear Country and Conduits), Flowers Forever, the Mynabirds and others were all in and out.

The finale included just about everyone onstage.

My favorite set was that of Jason Meyer-Cusack, of Talking Mountain fame. He sang a few acoustic renditions of his cute-pop Christmas songs and then finished with "The Abominable Abdominal Snowman." The song - about a friend/snowman who just wants to work out - led into a version of the Cuterthans' "My Brother Likes Math," a tune I've always liked but haven't heard in years.

The place was packed in, too. By about 11, there wasn't a lot of room to move.

It was a fun night. I'd love to see it replicated, and not just for Christmas. No reason not to have a little informal sort of showcase night like that every once in awhile.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Red Sky Music Festival: Get ready for some summer fun

So, I'm assuming that you've heard the big news: the Red Sky Music Festival is happening.

If you don't know, read the news. It's enlightening.

The folks at the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (that's MECA to you) are planning the six-day shindig for July 19 to 24 this year.

Two stages will feature "revival bands" and local groups during the day, they say, followed by some big-name, top-level artist inside TD Ameritrade Park at night.

It's a big festival and it has pushed around the Maha Music Festival, who was planning to use the same weekend and is now looking for another date to hold their indie fest on the riverfront, and for good reason.

I think it's going to be cool to have a big fest like this. But I also think it's going to be cool to have Maha, too.

I hope Maha persists. And I hope they knock it out of the park this year. They have the potential to be a competitor with and an alternative to Red Sky.

A few years ago, you'd think, "Man, it would be cool to have a music festival in Omaha." Now, we have two.

Maha's going to have to work hard to not get drowned out by all the noise created by MECA's festival. But if the festival distinguishes itself by offering a solid lineup and a good location, then it will be fine.

I mean, personally I'd rather see a few nights of Spoon, Sharon Jones, My Morning Jacket, the Flaming Lips and Phoenix than Jimmy Buffett, Justin Bieber and Tim McGraw, but that's me.

But, I have to be honest and say that this is a Good Thing for everyone. It gets more people to north downtown, it gets some exposure for local bands (hopefully they have a good way of picking them) and it gets people to more shows.

Frankly, it's probably good for Maha in the end anyway by getting people around here used to festival shows and used to north downtown.

Anyway, stay tuned for Red Sky lineup info and ticket prices.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bright Eyes announces tour, but no dates in Nebraska

Excited for the first big Bright Eyes tour in more than three years? Me too, except it's not coming to Nebraska.

At least, the announced dates (13 in all) to support "The People's Key" don't include any dates near to home for the Neb.-based band.

Oh well. I'm guessing these aren't the only dates they'll be playing. Also, I'm confident that Bright Eyes/Conor Oberst doesn't really see Omaha as his core audience any more. They're not exactly a local band any longer.

Anyway, here's the dates, including another show at Radio City Music Hall after the first one sold out.

3/2     The Fillmore Miami Beach    Miami, FL
3/3     House of Blues                        Lake Buena Vista, FL
3/4     Tabernacle                                         Atlanta, GA
3/5     Thomas Wolf Auditorium      Asheville, NC
3/6     The National                           Richmond, VA
3/8     Radio City Music Hall            New York, NY
3/9     Radio City Music Hall            (SOLD OUT!)
3/10   House Of Blues                       Boston, MA
3/11    State Theatre                          Portland, ME
3/13    Sound Academy                     Toronto, ON
3/14    Royal Oak                              Royal Oak, MI
3/15    Vic Theatre                             Chicago, IL
3/17    Ryman Auditorium               Nashville, TN

* * *

Update: Apparently Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds will be in the band. Aside from Mike Mogis, Conor Oberst and Nate Walcott (who's been slumming around with Broken Bells of late), I have no idea who else will be up there.

A safe bet for drums would be Clark Baechle from The Faint, who did drums on the record and played with Bright Eyes at the Concert For Equality.

Tim McMahan mentioned it earlier and I was thinking the same thing: This little jaunt ends right at the start of South By Southwest. Bright Eyes' triumphant return to the Austin scene? Seems likely.

Haven't talked to the Saddle Creek folks about South By quite yet, but I assume they'll be having a showcase once again and you best bet that Bright Eyes will be a part of it.

It would be a great opportunity to shed some light on the label's lesser-known, but very talented groups.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Listen to me sound like I know what I'm talking about (sorta)

Sorry about the "no post" yesterday. I have something for you today instead.

I was asked to be on "The Weekly Grind" radio show on Saturday. Since it's broadcast early on Saturday mornings, I don't know how many of you could actually listen live.

Anway, you can download it now.

I talked about my job at the OWH, this here blog, Jeff Daniels and the like.

Check it out.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Release: Rural Alberta Advantage putting out "Departing"

Saddle Creek Records is on a roll.

Today, they dropped the news that Rural Alberta Advantage will release "Departing" on March 1.

I really enjoyed the band's first album, "Hometowns," which was re-released by Saddle Creek in 2008. Pitchfork actually gave it an 8/10, which is one of the highest ratings I've ever seen given to an SC release.

"In a way, it's more personal stories about Alberta," frontman Nils Edenloff told "Songs like 'The Breakup' -- it's referencing a lot of places in Fort McMurray and a lot of memories I have, and that moment when winter shifts to spring and the ice breaks. And 'Good Night,' every line in that is about Fort McMurray."

"Departing" tracklist:

1. Two Lovers
2. The Breakup
3. Under the Knife
4. Muscle Relaxants
5. North Star

6. Stamp
7. Tornado '87
8. Barnes' Yard
9. Coldest Days
10. Good Night

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stream new Low Anthem song, "Ghost Woman Blues" (mixed by Mike Mogis)

The Low Anthem
Shortly before I did a big profile on Mike Mogis and his ARC studio (check that out here) back in May, indie rock group the Low Anthem told Paste that their new record would be mixed by Mogis.

Why? Apparently, Bright Eyes' "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" blew away the band.

"It knocked my socks off,” Low Anthem frontman Ben Knox Miller told Paste.

When I encountered Mogis in the studio on a spring afternoon for our interview, I caught a tiny bit of the new album. Apparently, he had just gotten the record and had begun mixing it that morning.

I really liked the Low Anthem's last record, "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin," so I've been interested to hear what they've come up with.

Today, we get to hear the fruits of the band's labors. The track "Ghost Woman Blues" - a slow, contemplative, eerie tune - sees the light of day.

You can stream it right here:

I really like the track. If the rest of the album, "Smart Flesh," is as good as this, we'll have a damn good record on our hands. The album will drop Feb. 22 on Nonesuch.

You can download "Ghost Woman Blues" after the jump.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grammy noms are out, I'm not impressed

Fresh on the heals of Paste's best of the year list are today's Grammy nominations, the official "best music" awards.

Seems like everyone was nominated, at least according to all the e-mails I've been getting today.

We'll get to the actual categories in a minute, but the most interesting tidbit to me is that of 542 total nominations in 109 categories, 273 went to artists on independent labels.

1) 542 nominations?! Holy cannoli... That's, um, a lot. If I put out a record next year, maybe I'll be nominated for a Grammy.

2) 273 for indies? That's more than half. Granted, the guys nominated for contemporary jazz album or best instrumental soloist performance (without orchestra) aren't putting records out on Sony. But that's still a lot.

Let's take a look at the big categories, shall we?

Record of the Year (This one goes to the performer and/or producer of the best song.)
"Nothin' On You" by B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
"Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem feat. Rihanna
"Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green
"Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
"Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum

Um, could we think of a more mainstream list? I think it's cool that "Fuck You" is on there, but nearly every one of those artists had a better song on the album they released. Ugh. Moving on...

Album of the Year (Goes to the artist and/or producer of the best album.)
"The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire
"Recovery" by Eminem
"Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum
"The Fame Monster" by Lady Gaga
"Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry

I give props to Arcade Fire for scoring a huge nomination by one of the little guys. Awesome. Superb work. And congrats to Merge Records, too. But Katy Perry did not put out one of the five best albums of the year, let alone one in the top 25. Gross.

Song of the Year (Goes to the best songwriter, which is not necessarily the performer)
"Beg Steal or Borrow" by Ray LaMontagne
"Fuck You" by Cee-Lo Green, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars
"The House That Built Me" by Tom Douglas, Allen Shamblin (performed by Miranda Lambert)
"Love The Way You Lie" by Alexander Grant, Holly Hafferman, Marshall Mathers (Eminem & Rihanna)
"Need You Now" by Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum)

Again, not feeling it here. Move on? Good idea.

Best New Artist
Justin Bieber
Florence & the Machine
Mumford & Sons
Esperanza Spalding

Bieber? Oh, come on. Drake I understand, but Florence & the Machine is only on there because of the MTV awards show they performed on. Mumford & Sons is a damn fine pick and a very surprising one to me, at that. I hope they win, but they won't. Who in the hell is Esperanza Spalding??? If she wins, I'll eat a raw egg. Then I'll upload the video here. Promise.

Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocals
"Ready to Start" by Arcade Fire
"I Put A Spell On You" by Jeff Beck, Joss Stone
"Tighten Up" by the Black Keys
"Radioactive" by Kings of Leon
"Resistance" by Muse

I'm surprised by the amount of good stuff in this category, which is why I included it. It's actually a good mix of expected and unexpected for me. Kings of Leon feel like they're in here because of their last album, not their current one, but the inclusion of Muse, Black Keys and Arcade Fire is pretty stellar.

Best Alternative Music Album
"The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire
"Infinite Arms" by Band of Horses
"Brothers" by the Black Keys
"Broken Bells" by Broken Bells
"Contra" by Vampire Weekend

This is generally the category I care about most since it usually highlights an indie-ish band. Phoenix won last year. Arcade Fire is going to win this time around. I don't really doubt that considering they were nominated for best album. These are all good choices, though certainly not my top five. But it's a pretty good representation, I think.

So, that's the big ones (in my opinion). Close to the date, I'll list about 20 of the pop/rock/rap categories and list who I think should win and who I think actually will win. I went about 50/50 in my choices last year.

Overall, I think it's pretty lackluster, but that's usually my opinion of the Grammys in general. The awards almost never go to who deserves them and neither do the nominations. Where's the nom for Sleigh Bells or Blitzen Trapper? They both put out better records than Katy Perry.

Oh well. Just 73 days until the awards are given out. I'll bitch about it more then.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Albums of the Year: Lists are starting to drop

It's that time of year... Year-end lists are beginning to drop.

Today, it's Paste Magazine's that is making the rounds. Check it out.

I think it's pretty good and highlights a lot of my favorite albums, though not exactly in the order that I would list them in. I liked the No. 1, but it wouldn't even make my top 25.

But that's just me.

What were your favorite albums that were released this year?

I have a large list that I have to whittle down as well as a couple albums that I still need to get to. But I really want to know: What are your favorites? What would be on your list?