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Showing posts from December, 2008

200. Kaiser Chiefs: Off With Their Heads (2008)

Off With Their Heads, the new album from Leeds band Kaiser Chiefs, finds the band moving forward by looking backward. I occasion my 200th review by doing the same.

By now there's no doubt that the digital revolution has drastically changed the music business. And though album is not dead yet, it's clearly on life support, and has been for awhile. This bugged me enough that I felt the need to defend the albumon this blog. Nearly 4 years later I don't know that I can completely stand by my own words. I'm more and more convinced that the album is a casualty of the digital revolution, killed by a buyer's ability to pick and choose songs.

Some perspective might help. It is tough for me to say this, but I think I'm ready to admit that the album is not the primary way people experience music. It never has been, despite the best efforts of critics and and diehard obsessives like myself. No, the single is king. Downloading didn't cause that, it only made it more appar…

2008: Top Ten

Nada Surf: Lucky

With 3 winning albums in as many tries, Nada Surf continue to be one of the most surprising bands to come out of the mid-'90s. Lucky is a winner from beginning to end. Though it contains many radio-ready tunes, my favorite is Ice on the Wing (any song that mentions the Sopwith Camel wins my heart).






Kid Dakota: A Winner's Shadow

Though I adore Darren Jackson's work in The Hopefuls, I was never a fan of his Kid Dakota persona until this album came along. It spent a solid 6 weeks on repeat in my car. Favorites include Chutes + Ladders, Transfusion, Stars, and Puffy Jackets.






Sloan: Parallel Play

"Sloan are one of the few bands that might not be capable of making a bad album."

Read the rest of the review.






Jeremy Messersmith: The Silver City

Dan Wilson produced this collection of shimmery folk-pop. It's a concept album of sorts about finding magic in the mundane. My favorites are the middle three songs The Commuter, Miracles, and Love You To Pieces. T…

2008: Best of the Rest

This Year's Musical Pet Peeve
Conversing during concerts

Unlisted bonus tracks could win this category every year, as long as artists keep doing them, but I've already railed on that topic.

Instead, I turn my ire toward people who get into loud, long, involved discussions with their friends at concerts while they are standing in close proximity to me.

Steps on soap box.

I understand that maybe you agreed to go to this concert just to have something to do and you may only know one or two songs by the artist. I also understand that alcohol removes some of your self-awareness. I understand that you like to talk to your friends. But, please, consider others who paid their ticket price plus an additional 40% of the face value in Ticketmaster fees to HEAR THE MUSIC, not your conversation. If you want to talk to your friend and drink and hear music at the same time, save yourself some money and go to a bar with a jukebox. The ultimate lesson is one you can apply to all aspects of your lif…

Rock Bottom: The Rolling Stones

The one constant in every established artist's oeuvre is the bad album, the one that's reviled by both fans and critics. Those unlovable albums are the ones this feature, Rock Bottom, is concerned with.

Here's how it works: I've consulted two main sources, the AllMusic Guide (for the critical point-of-view) and Amazon.com (for the fan perspective*). The album with the lowest combined rating from both sources is the one I'll consider the worst. I may not always agree with the choice, and my reviews will reflect that. I'll also offer a considered alternative.Finally, there are some limits. The following types of albums don't count: 1) b-sides or remix compilations, 2) live albums, 3) albums recorded when the band was missing a vital member, and 4) forays into a different genres (i.e. classical).

*A note about Amazon.com. I consider this the fan perspective, because most people who choose to review albums on this site are adoring fans of the artist in question.