Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Willys Y2K9


Hope everyone has had a nice year. Didn't it go by in a blink? Here are my Favorite ALBUMS of the year. The year started with a bang album-wise then ended up being a "singles" kind of year. Some great stuff came out this year, but it was an off year for me. I was really struggling to find 15 albums that I loved....and were worth this. I admit there is much I missed the 2nd half of this year, b/c I was insanely busy.

These were good, though....


Best of 2009

(in order for me)

Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Animal Collective – Meriweather Post Pavilion

Pains of Being Pure At Heart – (s/t)

Black Lips – 200 Million Thousand

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz

The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love

Passion Pit – Manners

The XX – (s/t)

Peter Bjorn & John – Living Thing

Julian Casablancas - Phrazes for the Young


Honorable Mention

Cass McCombs – Catacombs

Grizzly Bear – Veckamist

Karen O & the Kids – Where the Wild Things Are (OST)

Arctic Monkeys - Humbug

The Dead Weather - Horehound


Y2K Willy Singles

Singles (50)

Top 15

1901 – Phoenix

My Girls – Animal Collective

Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Short Fuse – The Black Lips

Skeleton Boy – Friendly Fires

Everything With You – Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Dominoes – The Big Pink

11th Dimension – Julian Casablancas

Listomania - Phoenix

Let’s Go Surfing – The Drums

Little Secrets – Passion Pit

Cousins – Vampire Weekend

It Don’t Move Me – Peter, Bjorn & John

Big Bills – Flosstradamus ft Caroline Polachek

Quiet Little Voices - We Were Promised Jetpacks


The Rest of the Pack

Plain Material – Memory Tapes

Answer to Yourself – The Soft Pack

Ring Ring – Sleigh Bells

Islands – The XX

All Is Love – Karen O and the Kids

Young Adult Friction - Pains of Being Pure at Heart

She’s Got Me Dancing – Tommy Sparks

Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z ft Alicia Keys

Lalita – The Love Language

Eid Ma Clack Shaw – Bill Callahan (SMOG)

I Wanna Kill – Crocodiles

Summertime Clothes – Animal Collective

The Fear – Lily Allen

Hi-Fi Goon – Throw Me the Statue

Little Bribes – Death Cab For Cutie

Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

Coast of Carolina – Telekinesis!

Deli – Delorean

In This Lonely Town – Jeremy Jay

I’m Confused – Handsome Furs

California On My Mind – Wild Nights

I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Walkabout – Atlas Sound ft Noah Lennox

People Say – Portugal. The Man

Wind Phoenix - Cymbals Eat Guitars

Games for Days - Julian Plenti (Paul Banks of Interpol)

Space and the Woods – Late of the Pier

Brandy of the Damned (Mark Ronson Remix) – Nickel Eye ft Wale

Poem Party – The Strange Boys

People Got a Lot of Nerve – Neko Case

Never Had Nobody Like You – M. Ward ft Zooey Deschanel

Oh No – Andrew Bird

Crying Lightning – Arctic Monkeys

Got Nuffin – Spoon

Treat Me Like Your Mother – The Dead Weather

Warm Hearts of Africa – The Very Best ft Ezra Koenig

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas !!!


Hope you all have a wonderful day!
(thank you very much)


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Είμαι πίσω



"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter"


-John Keats

Monday, August 17, 2009

Narcissism


Let's take a step aside for a moment friends.

Do you even see all the internet outlets we as a society subscribe to?

- Facebook
- Twitter (not I - kill me if I ever twitter)
- Blogs
And on and on...

With my 7 posts in less than 72 hours (I did them on purpose leading up to this - I tried to make a post for anything that crossed my mind), vanity is at a premium.

All of these "things" we do are riddled with narcissism. Twitter is the worst. How many different ways do we need to pat ourselves on our backs and affirm our sense of self-importance? Yikes. I'm as guilty as any. I love music and love to talk about it. No one is here to talk to me about it, so I just put it out there. I love it. I don't think I'm better than you (as far as you know). I just wanted someone to talk to. It's sad more than anything - all of these things. Facebook used to be a place to re-connect with friends. It has become an avenue to announce when you are "waking up", "feeling cranky", "partying like a rock star", "going to bed" etc etc....(btw, twitter, real original). Blogs are a pulpit for you to pour out your mind. It's your own column in your own paper. Who cares what we think? Who cares what I think? This blog is going private later this month - private as in non-existent. It's what it has become anyway. Just some food for thought, kids. Eat it up! I can't handle it anymore.

You're so vain....

Signing off for good for now.

It's been fun...
-W

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weak-end Wrap Up


The 1st weekend of Premier League is in the books. Some surprises. Some boredom. Either way, it's good to be back. For the most part, it was a weekend of reminders:

- Arsenal year in year out plays the most beautiful football in the world. The are a treat to watch. No one maintains possession or passes with more precision. Tip of the cap to Arsene Wenger and Cesc Fabregas (6-1 over Everton!)

- Moneybags Man City began with a win, but the fact remains that they have a 2nd rate coach at best. He'll never handle all the ego at Ewood Park.

- Fulham began with a win for once. Portsmouth looks headed for the drop.

- Liverpool is painful to watch. One of the best strikers in the world (Fernando Torres), and they can't even get the ball to him. They've lost all their depth (who's your back-up striker? Veronin!?!). Glen Johnson looks promising.

- Rafa Benitez is not a good manager. I don't know how he breaks the colts, but it doesn't work. You can't live and die by the injury time goals. Terrible. Should've been sacked 2 years ago....

- Lucky breaks for Man U and especially Chelsea - 1-0 and an injury time winner respectively.

- Tottenham Hotspur look like Arsenal. Great moves by ol' Harry.

It's gonna be a good one. Come on Fulham! Wheel out the cannons for Arsenal, b/c they are in class form!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

They're So Money, Baby


So, I just stumbled upon this brother/sister trio from Camden Town, UK today. Apparently, I was late to the dance. They are in a time warp somewhere between 1930 and 1950 with Cab Calloway. They are cool cats for sure! I give you - Kitty, Daisy, & Lewis

Download - "Put the Kettle On" mp3

Let's Kick It

The day my wife has come to dread is upon us. English Premier League begins today. Oh, how 12 weeks flew by. My fantasy team (Darjeeling United) is ready, and my Fulham Cottagers better be, too. So many quality players left the premier league this summer (read: Cristiano Ronaldo). Manchester City (the other Manchester club) was bought by an Arab Emirates group and used their cash to bring in everyone under the sun to a perennially average club. My team, Fulham, qualified for the Europa League and will be playing mid-week on the mainland. Can't wait to see the new clubs that were promoted (Burnley, Birmingham City, Wolverhampton) and the new faces that have come to England (Alberto Aquilani, Jozy Altidore, Yuri Zhirkov, Thomas Vermaelen). It's a long way to May. For those who still haven't caught the fever, look out it's more contagious than H1N1....

Feel free to click the link above and join the fantasy league, Pabst United. Commissioner Murphree will be glad to welcome you!

Friday, August 14, 2009

No One's First, and You're Next


Modest Mouse is one of those staple indie bands. After what seems like 7 or 8 albums, they have mainstream appeal and still have the street cred to boot. Obviously, their breakout moment came with 2004's Good News For People Who Love Bad News and the hit single, "Float On" (for fans of that song just FFwd to the next track, "Ocean Breathes Salty" is one of my favorite MM songs). They continued with more of the same on the 2007 follow-up, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (did you know both albums were recorded in good ol' Oxford, MS?).

The other week, Modest Mouse released an EP collection of outtakes from these albums, No One's First, and You're Next. Leading up to the release of this EP, the band systematically released the songs on limited edition 7". And like a psycho, I bought them all. Now I'm bummed, b/c I have no reason to by the EP. Yet, part of me is driven to purchase it.... Did I mention I have a problem? That's like buying enough baseball cards to complete the set and saying, "you know I think I'll buy the box set". After all this, the songs are just OK. "Satellite Skin" is a winner. The rest are what they are - songs that didn't make cut for the albums. One of the last tracks is noteworthy, because Heath Ledger directed a video for it before his death. He didn't finish it, but his production company did in his memory. Check out "King Rat" just for Heath and take this EP for what you will. The critics seem to like it.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

We Go To Some Concerts...


Last week was a crazy week. It was my last week in clinic before things close up for the rest of August. Nevertheless, I didn't exactly coast into the break. I was doing surgery all day everyday up until the last moment. On top of that, I went to concerts Wednesday and Thursday night. After Arctic Monkeys on Wed with some friends from school, Whit and I went to Fenway Park Thursday for an evening with Paul McCartney. Surreal.

Arctic Monkeys was a great show. A huge band in Europe with a good following here, the Monkeys are playing in small clubs for this US tour. A band that could easily sell out 2 nights at the Orpheum was playing a club that is more like a Cracker Jack box. Awesome! (except that despite my best efforts it sold out even before the pre-sale went public - what? And I was left with my worst enemy - Stub Hub) Regardless, it was worth it and a once in a whatever chance. They blew the doors off the place. Their new album, Humbug, doesn't come out until later this month. It was produced by Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme (amongst others), and it shows. Humbug is a candy over in the UK (I'm guessing like a Werthers) that requires some time to get through to appreciate (just like this new album - thanks Russian Mp3 site....). Here are some pics I took with Whit's camera (no flash allowed...) of the band, me, John Mayer, etc. I tell you about Sir Paul after the jump.

Hey, Hey, they're the Monkeys...
Me and John Mayer
Alex Taylor
video

We Go To Some Concerts II

Fenway Park is an American icon. Paul McCartney is simply an icon. Put them together, and I just black out. We are Beatles freaks (I know. Who isn't? Joe Pat....). We had a freakin Beatles cover band for our wedding. Obsessed much? Paul did not disappoint. He played for 2 1/2 hours with 2 encores! Plenty of Beatles hits were sprinkled throughout along with Wings and solo stuff that LBH, I was not down with. Highlights for me were "Back In the USSR" with communist/cold war paraphernalia flying across the screen behind him, "Something" on mandolin with a tribute to George (that's his song ya know - but apparently they wrote it together on mandolin - the one he played that night!), a solo "Blackbird" and an abbreviated "A Day in the Life" albeit sans John but amazing. Whitney really loved "Live and Let Die" with all the explosions and fireworks, "Paperback Writer", and "Drive My Car" (even though she wasn't revved up yet). Even "Jet" and "Band on the Run" were pretty good as far as Wings songs go.

Set List:

Drive My Car
Jet
Only Mama Knows
Flaming Pie
Got to Get You Into My Life
Let Me Roll It/Foxy Lady
Highway
The Long and Winding Road
My Love
Blackbird
Here Today
Dance Tonight
Calico Skies
Mrs. Vanderbilt
Eleanor Rigby
See the Changes
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
I'm Down
Something
I've Got a Feeling
Paperback Writer
A Day in the Life / Give Peace a Chance
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

Encore:
Day Tripper
Lady Madonna
I Saw Her Standing There

Yesterday

Curtain Call:
Helter Skelter
Get Back
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band / The End

The man was bouncing around and playing with the crowd as if he was a Twentysomething. Pretty sure my wife would have left me for him in a heartbeat.
He's a charmer!
It was a magical evening, and one for us that we'll never forget!
Here are some highlights.
Hey Jude
video
(Please excuse the tone deaf people next to us)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Well, I Bet that YOU Look Good on the Dancefloor...


(this is a teaser)

Last night's Set List @ the Paradise - more pics/videos/details to come

1. Pretty Visitors
2. This House Is A Circus
3. Brianstorm
4. Still Take You Home
5. Da Frame 2R
6. Dangerous Animals
7. Crying Lightning
8. Fluorescent Adolescent
9. Cornerstone
10. The View From The Afternoon
11. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
12. Leave Before The Lights Come On
13. Potion Approaching
14. If You Were There, Beware
15. Red Right Hand (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds cover)
16. My Propeller
17. Only Ones Who Know
18. Do Me A Favour
Encore:
19. Secret Door
20. 505

video
My finger was inadvertently over the mic
(&%$# &%$#!),
so sorry for the muted quality on this one....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Memo to Washington:


"To do two things at once is to do neither"
- Publilius Syrus

Sorry to get political on everyone, but with all that Obama and the rest of congress are doing with hedging their bets on so many agendas we are doomed to fail in all pursuits. Health care, the recession, energy crisis/DUFO(that's dependence upon foreign oil - it's the new WMD....), the war, the auto industry/"cash for clunkers" and on and on.....not to mention all the jaunts around the world to shake the hands of leaders everywhere. Why is our country in a dead sprint to fix problems that didn't happen overnight and sure wont be fixed in that manner? How the hell are we going to pay for all this? No one knows? Well, let's just do it, and we'll figure it out later. Sure worked for the stimulus/bailout. Sorry for the cynicism. As I watch Meet the Press with Harold Ford, Jr. and earlier this morning Larry King with Ann Coulter on youtube - MAN! I want to shoot them both! Nausea ensues....

(thanks, Ignacio for the quote)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Let Me Tell You 'bout My Town


I love that Dirty Water - Boston your my home!
Many thanks to my lovely wife who spent 2 hrs yesterday driving to Braintree to get our insurance stamp of approval and then spending another 3 at the DMV to get our new "fancy plates" - VERY NICE!


(Speaking of)
I was 0-2 on Red Sox games this year. We went 2 weeks ago with Jim "Moon" Burrough, and apparently he brought the golden horseshoe. The Sox dominated with a run filled explosion 12-8. We finally got to hear "Dirty Water". Here we are at the end.


Here is a shoddy wannabe bandstand with one of the worst lip-syncing jobs ever by the Standells, Boston's own little 60's garage band. Whenever the Red Sox win a game, this song plays promptly upon the last out.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Last Time (promise)


(500) Days of Summer was very good. Not excellent or anything but highly enjoyable! You all should see it, and remember - "This is not a love story". Great songs/cast/story. It does lag in the bridge a bit, but all is well when you leave. We especially loved the faux-Truffaut French vignettes and dream sequences - look for Han Solo - that's all I'm saying!

Proust said, "On n'aime que ce qu'on ne possède pas tout entier"

We only love what we cannot wholly possess

True 'dat, Marcel.....
Boy, does that apply to this flick...

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Halvesies - Part II

Here's Part II of my 1st half of 2009. Bon Apetit!

The Thermals - Now We Can See
1st grabbing my attention with their album F*&^*&n-A years back, the Thermals were a Sub Pop staple. You know how I love Sub Pop. NWCS is their debut for Kill Rock Stars. Nothing changed but the label. Thermals purists will say they're not as hard as they once were. For me it's as fuzzed out as ever with a bit of pop tinge. The Thermals don't really sing. It is more of talking over fuzz. The title track "Now We Can See" has a recurring Oh, Wee, Oh, Wee, Oh chant for you that is fun. "When I Died" gets the album going with a ruckus akin to their last album, The Blood, The Body, The Machine. While this NW threesome may sound political with their words, they really could care less. Just sit back and enjoy the rock of it all (like "We Were Sick").

Passion Pit - Manners
Boston has had plenty of music through the years and here comes another. While they will never be an Aerosmith, maybe they can at least garner some attention. The buzz/backlash has followed them from the get-go when they dropped the song "Sleepyhead". One of so many DIY indie bands that have appeared over the last 10 years that have made their own steam, PP are better than CYHSY (the bar by which they're measured in my mind). Much like CYHSY, PP has a singer with a strange annunciation to say the least. "Little Secrets" is one of my favorite songs of the year and has a children's choir chorus that doesn't sound like some creepy Pink Floyd opera ala PB&J. The whole album is pretty fun musically, but again like CYHSY - can you handle the voice of the lead singer?

Strange Boys - ...And Girls Club
More garage rock? Yup! SXSW was abuzz this past spring waiting on these local youngins' to take the stage. Already a staple locally in Austin, they were set to unveil themselves to the nation. Slamming out bluesy rock that you could've made in your bedroom, the Boys have more than a "Poem Party". For some more retro garage, bend an ear to the aforementioned track and others like "No Way for a Slave to Behave".

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Well, have we saved the best for last? Maybe. Maybe this will be the best of the year (not likely - but one of the best). These Versailles fellas have drawn the masses in the states, finally. "1901" is one of their best yet. "Listomania" could be one of the better songs of the year. "Lasso" is representative of the rest of the album - just plain fun pop rock. "Armistice" winds down a great album and leaves you thirsty for more.

Various Artists - Dark Was the Night
A compilation for the benefit of AIDS research put together by the brothers Dessner of the NYC band, the National. With contributions of nearly everyone, this comp is worth a listen. The list on contributors reads like a 00's indie rock all-star team. Check it out HERE.




Here are the ones that the jury is still out on for me.
"Near misses"

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Please whale? My German is not up to snuff, but that is what I hear. Weird and good but not as good as Merriweather Post Pavilion.






Death Cab For Cutie - Open Door EP
Actually, this is worthy of the list, but it is only 5 or 6 songs. Great companion to last years Narrow Stairs. Check "Little Bribes"






Telekinesis - Telekinesis!
This one man band from North Carolina found acclaim from Death Cab guitarist Chris Walla. He went on to produce this debut with good results. Try "Tokyo" or "Coast of Carolina"






The Love Language - (S/T)
Yet another North Carolina upstart. This Wilmington attache is the brainchild of one man ala Telekinesis. While not the power pop they wield, TLL is a combo of Old 97's and the National with good results. This was my favorite "near miss". Can't go wrong with "Lalita".

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Halvesies - Part I

Where in the world did 2009 go? I mean I know it's only half-way gone, but it is GONE!
Maybe it hasn't been the banner year for tunes that some years have been in the past, but we still have 6 months to go. These are my favorites. There are albums looked over and forgotten, so please give me a clue on what you loved that I missed. Not to mention, there are so many albums I wanted to buy and never did (Andrew Bird, M Ward, AC Newman, Lily Allen, Bill Callahan (SMOG), Grizzly Bear, and Wilco and on and on....notice my prejudice against solo artists, bear bands and wilco, apparently....)

In No Particular Order
(except chronological)

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
I've spoken my piece on these weirdos. Can one look past previous sins and transgressions (Prospect Hummer with Vashti Bunyan, I'm looking at you...) to accept their crowning achievement? I guess so. Even with all the hype and backlash/sell-out talk, it's still a great record. "My Girls" is the best song of the year (arguably). "Brother Sport" and "Summertime Clothes" are tons of fun. It is one of those albums that despite your greatest desire to click FFwd on your CD player/iPOD - DON'T. This album is meant to be heard all together and straight on through. It is bizarre but beautiful.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - (S/T)
These Brooklyn scenesters were a breath of fresh air back in January. While fresh air, it had an air of familiarity. As I listen to this record, I always feel like I've heard it before. The album opener says it all: this band is a "Contender" for album of the year. It is the record that I has received the most repeat plays. The standout tracks are "Everything With You" and "Young Adult Friction". All the songs sound pretty similar. Their familiarity could place them in the 80's or now or even in 1994/1995 in something as lame as the Empire Records soundtrack. Regardless, you can enjoy it all no matter the year.

Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand
The Black Lips are my quintessential garage rock band. They sound like the house band/soundtrack to some obscure 60's or 70's B-movie or horror movie. Weaving the sounds of surf rock and garage into the Stones via the Troggs, the Kingsmen, the Sonics on down to the Standells. While this album does not reach the greatness of 2007's Good Bad Not Evil, it has grown into my heart. "Short Fuse" is one of their best songs bar-none and one of my favorites of the year. "Drugs" and "Let It Grow" are that B-Movie sound I was referencing. "Starting Over" and "Take My Heart" show they came to rock your sock-hop. After watching Grease last night with Whit and the Bear, I think the Black Lips are what the T-Birds would listen to if they were really as hard as they thought they were....

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
A blitz indeed! This album comes out of the gate firing (and does trail off/falter towards it's conclusion). Much like the Killers debut years ago, the 1st half is good enough to make this album worth it. "Zero" starts you off with it's Miami Vice drum line harking back to the "Y Control" days of YYYs. Not letting up "Heads Will Roll" keeps it coming with a fury that almost makes you want to dance. No one wants to dance with me, so I'll dance with myself as per usual. They could only get better after the disappointing Show Your Bones years ago. "Skeletons" ironically shows their bones and softer side. With the coolest frontwoman in rock, Karen O, the YYYs just may have some staying power.

Peter Bjorn & John - Living Thing
After making one of the better pop rock albums of the year/decade in 2007, PB&J (isn't that fun to say?) were screaming for a slump. They almost did. With championing crys from the likes of Kanye West et al leading up this release, I couldn't roll my eyes enough. Then it came. Gone was the bright and shiny ideals of Writer's Block and in was the industrial scaryness of Living Thing. I was put off for sure and disappointed. I've given this album time it didn't deserve, and I now appreciate it. "It Don't Move Me" has become one of my favorite songs of the year. I can even tolerate "Nothing to Worry About" with its creepy children choir chant. In the end, this album sounds like an experimental Paul Simon album in the vein of Krautrock (or Kraftwerk). These Young Folks are bizarro but respected.

Crocodiles - Summer of Hate
These San Diegans (thank you Ron Burgundy) have been praised by some and derided by others as rip-off hacks. Some (ahem, Pitchfork) have gone as far as to pick apart every intro, verse, chorus and bridge to discuss which sound/band they were plagiarizing at that moment. Take your pick. Pick your side. I did. I like them. Pick which band you think they're ripping off. It's likely a band you've never heard. Therefore, it's new to you! (how many of you own and worship Jesus & Mary Chain - Psycho Candy? exactly!). "I Wanna Kill" is a fuzzed out song that was meant for summertime. Enjoy.

More to come tomorrow (Part II)
Here are some highlight songs from these albums today.
Voila!