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Showing posts from 2023

Twenty Twenty-Three

2023 marks not only the 20th anniversary of this blog (an occasion I'm overdue to celebrate), but also 20 years of compiling a playlist of favorite songs to summarize my year in music consumption.  Though I still make an ultra-limited run of physical copies, for the most part this now lives in the streaming world. As such, if you have Amazon Music Unlimited you can listen at this link . The Tracks: 1. Mammoth WVH: "Like a Pastime" 2. blink-182: "Fell in Love" 3. Jonas Brothers: "Vacation Eyes" 4. Kylie Minogue: "Things We Do For Love" 5. Carly Rae Jepsen: "So Right" 6. Semisonic: "All the Time" 7. Caitlyn Smith: "High" 8. Wilco: "Meant to Be" 9. Jenny Lewis: "Chain of Tears" 10. The National (feat. Taylor Swift): "The Alcott" 11. Lufthaus & Robbie Williams: "Unlovable" 12. The Killers: "Your Side of Town" 13. Foo Fighters: "Show Me How" 14. The New P

The Beatles: "Now and Then" (2023)

All the way back in 2008, I wrote a series of  posts covering the recorded output of an obscure 1960s band called The Beatles. Though never especially popular or commercially successful, they managed to release an impressive 13 albums and 2 compilations in a 7-year period. Once I completed those reviews, I promptly forgot all about the Beatles. I was sure that I didn't need to keep tabs on them, because all indications were that they'd never reunite or release any more music. So you can imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I came across a YouTube video claiming to be about the making of a new "final" Beatles song called "Now and Then." And then imagine even more surprise when I learned that this song was not the first new Beatles song since 1970. It's the third! As it turns out, the Beatles had actually "reuinted" to record more music in the 1990s. Though band member John Lennon was killed in 1980, he left behild some unfinished songs

Refrigerated Love: Afterplay (2023)

In May of 2019, the semi-seminal U.K. new wave heavy metal glam rock shoegaze new romantic band Refrigerated Love released their 28th studio album, Prodigal Sunshine   and a retrospective box set called Refrigerate After Opening . It was a triumphant return to the spotlight for a band who had long been justly ignored. Following a summer tour of state fairs in the U.S., the band took time off to relish their middling success. Their plan was to begin a massive European tour in May of 2020.  Well, we all know what happened next. As the seriousness of the COVID-19 virus foisted itself on the world and everything began to shut down, the band initially held fast to their intention to tour. "We have always been an anti-fascist band," lead singer said in a press release on March 19, 2020, "and we will not give in to these attempts to curb our natural born freedom to rock" As venues shuttered their doors, Refrigerated Love continued to be defiant. "We're coming to

Weezer: SZNZ Abbreviated

One of the most oldest and most enticing thought exercises in pop music is: What if (artist) had released the best songs from (double album) as a single disc instead?  Pre-Internet, folks used their cassette decks to create their own truncated versions of likes of The Beatles'  White Album ("Revolution 9" has to go, for sure) and Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (sorry, "Jamaica Jerk-Off"), some out of artistic vision, others because the tape just wasn't long enough to hold all the songs. Now, with mp3s and streaming, we have the ability to curate everything for ourselves, which means even a single album could be reduced to an EP of your faves, with the shuffle feature making it so the order doesn't even have to be the same every time. Here's where I could detour into a healthy digression about the negative consequences of that total freedom, but I'll resist the temptation. Our good friends Weezer - who are not typically known for rest

12 by Pete Droge

Here's the drill: Twelve songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order. This one features... Pete Droge was an unlikely discovery in the early 1990s Seattle music scene: a folk singer with a twang. He released three albums on major labels between 1994 and 1998, got a couple of songs on film soundtracks, made a cameo in Almost Famous, joined supergroup The Thorns, and released two albums and two EPs independently.  Here's a primer, though I'd recommend seeing out 1996's Find a Door in its entirety. It's one of my favorite albums of all time. (If you've got Amazon Prime, listen along here .) 1. "If You Don't Love Me (I'll Kill Myself)" ( Necktie Second , 1994) Works as both a parody of a certain type of song as well as a good example of that same type of song, namely the romantic lament. 2. "Beautiful Girl" ( Songs from the Miramax Motion Picture Beautiful Girls , 1996) This played over the credits of a movie that&#

12 by Matthew Sweet (2002 - 2021)

Sometimes a huge part of an artist's career has not been summarized. Case in point... Matthew Sweet has a couple of compliations out there, but neither of them cover the past couple of decades, a span that has seen him release 8 albums of original material and 3 albums of covers.  I followed Sweet's career religiously early on, with my ardor gradually diminishing after the magnificant one-two punch of In Reverse (1999) and The Thorns (2003) That's not to say he hasn't produced some great work since then, it's just that it requires bit of effort to pick out the gems. Here's my college try: (Two of these albums are not available on streaming servies, so here's a slightly modified version of the playlist on YouTube .) 1. "I Can't Remember" ( The Thorns , 2003) The Thorns was a rootsy, close-harmony early-aughts version of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, featuring Shawn Mullins (of "Lullaby" fame) and Pete Droge (of "If You Don't Lov