Myspace playlist #5, cut the blog part, blah blah blah...read the others if you're confused
Here are songs from my top ten albums of the year, in ascending order (umm...ascending in quality, descending in numbers..). Though there have been some GREAT releases this year, it got pretty sparse near the end, and this was done pretty quickly as I might not have time for the rest of the year so I might have forgotten some. My top five, however, are incredibly solid releases.
10. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
It may sound weird for me to say that I'm incredibly disappointed when talking about one of my top ten albums of the year. However, I fully expected The Gaslight Anthem's latest to be fighting for the top spot on this list. Sink Or Swim, their first full length released on last year, is one of my favorite albums ever. So my hopes probably were a bit too high for it. The lyrics are still amazing, but the music has no lasting value and I absolutely DESPISE that damn echo they put on EVERY SINGLE SONG. It still beats most everything out there, but I know for a fact Fallon and the others can do better than this.
9. The Loved Ones - Build & Burn Pretty Good Year
If this album had been released later this year, it probably would have earned a higher spot on this list. But as I haven't listened to it in a while, aside from the awesome "Louisiana" it loses some places due to apparently having much lasting value.
8. Able Baker Fox - Voices October
I have a difficult time telling people why I like this album so much, it's one of the reasons I've never written a review for it. There's not a song on the album that I dislike, though at the same time none of them particularly stand out, which is why it's on the bottom end of my list.
7. Useless ID - The Lost Broken Bones Blood Pressure
The only Pop Rock album even slightly interesting to be released this year comes from a group of guys who live in Israel. Who would have guessed?
6. Iron Chic - Demo 2008 Time Cop
Ok, so it's not necessarily an album. But Iron Chic are a band featuring members of one of my disbanded favorites Latterman, so I cheated. They sound like a mixture of Braid and (you guessed it) Latterman. How great is that? Also of note is the band Get Bent, but I did not want to include two demos on here. They're both great, though, and free to download.
5. The Plastic Constellations - We Appreciate You Stay That Way
I had no clue that The Plastic Constellations were still around and releasing music. Well, I guess technically they aren't as they broke up sometime early this year after the release of this album. However I did not find out about it until last week. This might be getting an artificial boost thanks to finding it only recently, but they improved upon their already great sound and I think I will be listening to it for quite a while.
4. Have Heart - Songs to Scream at the Sun The Same Sun
Yes, they are a Hardcore band. And believe me, generally speaking I don't listen Hardcore music (hardcore influenced is different, however). But Songs to Scream at the Sun is just a great album, and brings Hardcore to another level. There is not a weak song on here. I will say, though, that "Bostons" is by far my favorite. I didn't include it on this though because it is on my upcoming "Hard Rock" list.
3. LaGrecia - On Parallels My Lightning
2. The Riot Before - Fists Buried In Pockets You Can't Sexy Dance To Punk Rock
The only band on this list to come completely out of nowhere and blow me away. I can't get enough of this album. They also led to my discovery of Fake Problems, another good band with an upcoming release. I will say, however, that "I Have My Books" is a terrible, terrible song.
1. Polar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just Disappear Convinced I'm Wrong
This song is actually the closer to the album, and perfect for it. It's the entire reason I did this playlist in ascending order. I actually received this album a day after Christmas last year, and my review of this album was easily my most successful. However, it was not officially released until 2008. As such, it gets put as 1 on both this year and last year's list (it tied with Sink Or Swim last year). I still listen to most of these songs all the time, a year later. Stadt is one of my favorite vocalists (if not THE favorite) releasing new music. Their previous EP and Demos set the standards for this band incredibly high, but unlike The Gaslight Anthem they managed to pull it off. The amount of feeling they put into each and every song simply amazes me and I have nothing but respect for these guys. Coincidentally, they seem to be good friends with The Gaslight Anthem as they've been touring with them for the past year.
Hmm...this was a bit lacking the humor area. Sorry about that. If it makes you feel any better, pretend I'm wearing a clown nose ("You're not already?" ).
As always, this is not a "top" list, just a playlist of what I could build from the myspace music search feature. The rant is for free.
So, my next theme is Pop. You'll notice (or you won't and I'll point it out for you) that, unlike my other lists, this is mostly older songs. The reason being, I have mostly ignored this style of music for the past few years.
Why? Well, feel free to read this overly-long rant or, if you don't care, just go ahead and skip to the music..
Let me start by saying I don't judge people by the music they listen to. Obviously I'm glad when I find someone who enjoys (some of) what I listen to. In fact, it's kinda sad how happy I get when someone likes a recommendation I give them. On the other hand, while I despise country music in general, if that's your thing...I really don't give a shit. Just don't make me listen to it and we're cool.
The same concept applies to terrible pop rock bands, of which there are plenty. However, I have absolutely no problem in saying bands such as Plain White Ts, Boys Like Girls, Cartel, and Yellowcard disgust me. How the members can look themselves in the mirror every day (and I'm sure they do this quite often) and then go on to make their empty, insipid music is beyond me. There are a lot of bands out there I don't enjoy to listen to, but at least for most of them I have a little respect for what they're doing. I certainly could not be in a band. Mostly because I've never picked up an instrument in my life.
Why these bands in particular?
Well, OK, to be fair...maybe if most bands have been given the opportunity to whore themselves out like the aforementioned bands have they would take that opportunity in a heartbeat. But you'll notice that the band who would probably be at the forefront of any mainstream pop rock list is missing. I speak of Fall Out Boy. As much as their music annoys me, it's fairly obvious the band loves what they're doing, and are doing it in spite of the success they have had.
And that's really all it takes for me to accept their music. I could list what exactly these bands have done to piss me off, but that would make this much too long and I don't want to pick on these bands, I'm just using them to make a point. I'll also point out that, at one time, I enjoyed and respected Yellowcard and Cartel's music. Their actions have led me to think otherwise, and I'm not sure whether or not that's affected how much I like their new releases. I really don't think it has. On the other hand, Plain White Ts and Boys Like Girls are flat out terrible and have always been terrible. Why does my opinion matter? It doesn't. It's a stupid blog, after all.
So, anyways, here's a list of pop songs from bands that don't make me throw up in my mouth a little:
In The Valley Of The Dying Son by House of Heroes
Yes, I know I said that most of the things on this list is older, but this song is actually from House of Heroes' new release The End Is Not The End. It's pretty good, too, and is probably the only pop rock album I've listened to lately. A lot of respect for this band.
Holiday by Valencia
Also a new song from their new album. I actually haven't listened to it yet, but they don't have any of their older songs up from what I could find. This song seems pretty good though.
Magnolia by Name Taken
Easily my favorite pop rock band, even though they broke up a while ago and only have one full length to their name. Luckily for everyone they have plenty of songs released before that full length, which in my opinion are better than the ones on their actual album...not to say it's a bad album at all. I picked "Magnolia" because I think it gave a good example of their harder sound as well as influences from their full length. I really was ecstatic to find my favorite Name Taken song "Motionless" on here, but I don't think it really defines their sound. There were rumors that they would be reuniting a while back, I don't know what happened to that.
Monsters by Matchbook Romance
One of the first bands I stumbled upon on this internet, back when they were The Getaway on the old Mp3.com, and when I actually liked the stupid whiny voice/screaming combo. Fortunately Matchbook Romance seemed to grow up with me on Voices (after a boring first release). Unfortunately they broke up after releasing it.
Heart Transplant by Punchline
Yes, this is shitty quality. There were 50 different versions of this song on Myspace and every one I went through was terrible. But it's still their catchiest song, so..This band has had a few notable lineup changes, and it is reflected in their music. They had a new release but it has completely failed to catch my attention. I would definitely recommend checking out either Action or 37 Everywhere before their new release, using this song as an example.
The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows by Brand New
Ah, Brand New. At first glance the band seem to be pretentious, and their fans complete pricks. However if you're paying attention to their songs you'll notice a certain self-depreciation that, along with their ability to successfully change their sound, makes them great. Unfortunately my favorite song "Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't" isn't on here, as it's a good example of this. Not sure if they're still around, though...
Save Your Ship by Broadway Calls
A solid pop band. Not my favorite song, but I thought it worked best with the playlist.
Truth Is by Over It
Over It have released quite a few solid albums but seem to be constantly overlooked. Their music is a bit more complex than the average pop band, though they seem to have lost more and more of that distinctive quality with each release. This song is from Silverstrand, which I would say is as close as it can get to their overall sound. Another band that I'm not sure if they're still making new music or not...
100 Resolutions by The Lawrence Arms
Though they lean a bit more heavily on the punk side of pop punk music, I was able to sneak them in here thanks to this excellent song from their B-sides album.
Six Strings by A Verse Unsung
Pretty fierce for a pop band.
I originally had LaGrecia on here, but Shevchuk's voice doesn't really work with the rest of these songs. Plus, the two whole songs on here by them, though still solid, were not my favorites. Which is unfortunate, because it's one of the best albums released this year.
Next will probably be my "Hard Rock" list, though it still needs some work.
The second (third on Myspace) of my themed playlist selections. Remember, these are based off of what I can find via the Myspace playlist creator, not a top 10 list.
Sorry for the stupid theme title. I wasn't really sure what to call this one. First I wanted to make up a word so I was going with "Positivosity". But unfortunately it's really difficult to find a great song with positive lyrics. I would have had to really stretch to get a full 10 bands on there. Anyways, I decided it's not really what I wanted to do. I wanted to make a list of the bands that gets your heart pumping, the kind that you blast in your car in the morning to wake you up.
My Bedroom is Like for Artists by Latterman
This is the band that made me want to write the positive theme. Really, I could have put any of their songs on this and it would have fit in perfectly. It was really disappointing when they imploded and a certain letter from a band member really put a damper on their music, it is only recently I have begun to listen them again. But damn, this song is great.
The Bouncing Souls
Yeah, I know the idea is to list a song. I actually originally had another band on there (sorry Troubled Hubble!) but when writing my intro it hit me, how do I not have a Bouncing Souls song on here? It's the fucking Bouncing Souls; they got me into this type of music. I'll probably put up "Manthem" if it's available because it works best with the theme.
Float On by Modest Mouse
I wasn't going to put "Float On" on here, seeing as how everyone and their Mom knows it. But I felt my playlist was lacking without it. So No Trigger gets bumped.
The Painter by I'm From Barcelona
I actually feel fairly guilty about liking it's song. It's just way too...happy...which I know is kind of weird considering the entire purpose of this list. I mean, I could be in the middle of this fantastic rant, and the song comes on and I can't help but smile like an asshole who actually enjoys the morning. It pisses me off.
So ends my positive bands.
Don't Wanna by Dead to Me
Their full length was alright, but never really caught my attention. But "Don't Wanna" from their new EP is really good, and probably what is getting the most plays on my drive to work recently. It's a tough job to hit that perfect music spot of half asleep/pissed off and put a good spin on it, so it earns a spot on this playlist.
True Crime by The Riverboat Gamblers
I would love to get completely plastered and go to a Riverboat Gamblers show. It just seems like it'd be a great time. Sober, not so much.
Brother Mayor of Bridgewater by The World Inferno/Friendship Society
My Pint by The Bastard Suns
Probably the only band I discovered through my review stint at AP.net. The best way to describe their music is a Reggae-Celtic-Punk hybrid. This particular song doesn't have as much of a Reggae influence as the rest of their songs...so it depends on what you like. But yeah, this is what I play Friday's after work. Then I get home and take a couple of shots before finding something to do. Hmmm.
Fred's Got Slacks by The Flatliners
Ska with no horns! Genius. Also, the vocalist sings blazingly fast. He slows down for the much more serious The Great Awake, if you're not a fan. But I am. The less decipherable the lyrics are the better is the general rule I live by.
Most Miserable Life by Polar Bear Club
Finally I work my favorite band into a list! Though they are the most somber band I can currently think of (hell, look at the song title), "Most Miserable Life" does a great job of getting you fired up. Easily my favorite song. Ever.
Ok, this thing started on my Myspace blog due to their new playlist feature. But, as it's music related, I figured I might as well post it here because some people might get some use out of it. The original list wasn't actually serious and much more humorous, but I chose to be a little more serious and began doing this with certain "themes". Just remember this list is confined to the music I could find ON myspace, and is not really a "top of" list. "Top" lists are completely stupid and pointless, as no one can agree on them. Which is why I've never made one. Yet if you constrain yourself to a SPECIFIC set of rules, these lists become useful. So here it goes. Of course, it helps to have the playlist right there, but it is what it is.
First up, Folk Rock. I'll go ahead an preemptively point out I'm in no way putting the following bands in the "Folk Rock" genre. Merely that they show some influence from what could be described as "folk" music. That's why I'm calling it a theme, damn you. I have no interest in arguing genres with anyone. Though I'll gladly point out why people who would are a complete waste of our precious, precious air.
As always, these are in no particular order:
Louisiana by The Loved Ones
Their first full length was boring. Really. Straight up pop-punk. I thought they probably should stick to releasing EPs, but I was proven wrong with the release Build and Burn. And why? They branched out. "Louisiana" is easily one of their best songs, and admittedly one of the few with the southern/folksy vibe to it. So it makes the list, but don't expect their other songs to be the same.
We Are Wild Stallions by The Riot Before
A band I only recently discovered, but they've put out an extremely solid folk-punk album in Fists Buried in Pockets. A good, angry album that does exactly what it's supposed to. Though I will say "I Have My Books" is a ridiculously terrible "song", if you can call it that. I had to burn a copy of the cd without it just so I didn't have to skip over it all the time.
Honk and Wave by Limbeck
Who doesn't love Limbeck? Probably Fascists. Disappointing sophmore album, but they picked it right back up again in their self-titled. They really haven't topped Hi, Everything's Great, and I don't expect them to. Why this particular song? It reminds me of a feeling I get every time I drive past a particular apartment complex.
10 Ton Jiggawatts by None More Black
I'm admittedly pushing my theme with this one, but oh well. The description of this band doesn't really matter. Either you like Jason Shevchuk's vocals or you don't. If you enjoy this song be sure to check out releases from LaGrecia and Kid Dynamite, his former bands. They're pretty different actually, Kid Dynamite being a melodic hardcore band and LaGrecia more pop-oriented, but what I said holds true.
Shrapnel by American Steel
This band will probably show up on a lot of these lists. They do a great job of mixing their influences. "Shrapnel" is my long-standing favorite of theirs.
Born and Raised by Fake Problems
Had heard this young band's name around for a while, but never gave them a listen. I'm glad I did, as How Far Our Bodies Go is a fun album that never gets boring.
Come What May by Attack in Black
Attack in Black used to be a hardcore band. Pretty crazy to think about, because they turned around to abruptly release one of the best albums of 2007 in Marriage.
Idle Idylist by Tim Barry
Tim Barry of the band Avail. Though I have to say I prefer Avail by far, I really enjoy this song. Mostly due to the lyrics.
Lullabies by Defiance, Ohio
I probably should have put this band first on the list, because their sound best describes what I'm trying to get across in my theme. They have a little bit of everything, including violin, harmonica, piano, blah blah blah. Some of their songs have a little too much going on for me, but otherwise they're pretty good. I know they used to release their stuff for free, not sure if that's still the case or not.
Sink, Florida, Sink by Against Me!
This list would not be complete with what is probably the most popular of the Folk-influenced bands. Though Against Me! had a disappointing release with their newest, their old stuff is still gold. I hope they get back on track.
What's next? A couple of "theme's" I'm working on are Instrumental, Amped Up, and Hot Water Music. These may change, but just an idea on what to look out for in the future.
I’ve never seen much of a purpose in writing an internet blog. It just seems odd to me that other people would care about the random opinions of someone they’ve never met, and most likely will never come into contact with other than the internet. I mean, sure, I submit music reviews to this website but that’s for a specific purpose. And that purpose is to attract people’s interest in bands that generally go underappreciated. The band is what's important, I'm just the middleman. In the past I’ve more or less ignored the blog phenomenon as I never understood the reasoning behind it. But then it hit me. Why the hell do I care?
And yes, you over-curious and bored blog readers have just stumbled onto an internet blog about blogging. Blog.
I’ve had way too much time to myself the past few months, thanks to moving to a new city where I don’t know anyone who lives closer than 1 hour away. And so there have been all these thoughts bubbling around inside with no real way to take the heat off of me. I figured this would be worth a shot.
I probably should say where all this is coming from. This all occurred to me while I was writing a review for Blacklisted’s Heavier Than Heaven, Lonlier Than God (hey, look, it does have something to do with music!). A point I made in the review was how great the heavily introspective lyrics were. But if these lyrics are about some guy in a band’s personal feelings, why exactly are they so great?
And if you really stop and think about it, some of the best lyrics read like they could be coming from the author’s personal blog; albeit they are in slightly different formatting (not to say I even come close to comparing to a skilled lyricist, or anyone else for that matter). What’s more, though I personally favor positive lyrics (Latterman!), I’ll willingly admit the most touching lyrics tend to be depressing.
But why do we as people give a flying fuck about how depressing some artist’s life was/is?
I guess it all comes down to shared experiences. People need to know that others feel the same way they do on certain subjects. Not exactly a startling revelation, I know, but it really isn’t something I’ve put a whole lot of thought into until now. People generally like to think of themselves as being independent. But, really, nothing could be further from the truth.
I’ll go ahead and put a cap on this experiment, no need to get too carried away on my first attempt. If I do this again I’ll find something more interesting to write about. Maybe about why College is a load of shit. I’m much more amusing when I’m angry.