Sunday, December 31, 2006


#2 Blackpool Lights - This Town's Disaster

I was so glad to hear that another member of the now defunct Get Up Kids was making an album. Jim Suptic sang some of my favorite GUK songs. What he has given us now is a great pop/rock record. I don’t know what the right description is, it might just be straight ahead rock. It is reminiscent of indie rock from the late 80s and 90s. I remember seeing them in Philly this summer with around 20 other people and Jim got up on stage and said “tell those kids that just left to come back because we play that emo that they love so much”. They put on a great show even though the audience was very small, and even played a GUK song. Ok, enough rambling, back to the album. The lyrics are very mature which makes sense since Jim had been writing GUK songs for around a decade. The music varies from faster pop punk tunes to slower rock ballads. This album didn’t leave my cd player for at least a month when I first got it. The New Amsterdams could lose their crown as best band by a former member of the Get Up Kids, but I’ll wait on that until Blackpool Lights release another album.

It’s Never About What It’s About
Blue Skies
Crash Sounds
This Town’s Disaster

Favorite Lyrics:
“A best friend and an honest man
Isn't that what you wanted
Your dishonesty and lack of modesty
Were the traits that you flaunted
You're so emotional
I gave you room to grow
Then you act like a child
I didn't stop you, I could never do that
It's never about what it's about
Even if I knew you'd still walk out”

“Nothing that's good ever stays
Everything withers away
When will you learn
That someday you'll return
As long as you get through today”


#3 As Tall As Lions

WOW! That word pretty much sums it up. They really matured from their last effort to this album. It’s just one beautiful song after another. This is a great chill album. The lyrics are also first rate, often touching on subjects such as finding love and losing love. Dan Nigro’s vocals are some of the best I’ve heard this year. These guys definitely win the “most improved” award this year. I wish more bands on “scene” record labels would take chances like these guys did and record songs that might not fit within the normal formula for the genre.

Love Love Love (Love Love)
Maybe I’m Just Tired
Hidden Track

Favorite Lyrics:
“If love comes your way
don't be afraid
Unlock the box you heart's encased
Hope it wont change
and beware of the games
that she'll want to start playing
Oh, lately babe
I stay awake thinking this life gets lonely
Well maybe I'm just scared
scared to let you go
I want you to know
right from hello
your love just kept me wondering
Well maybe I'm just tired
tired of never knowing”

“heard your broken voice on the telephone
made my heavy heart sink like a stone
and after all this time, i should have known
you'd let me down
right down to the bone
you know you're right, im incomplete
and i could never write down what i mean
and if you told me that the world, was ending tonight
that's alright by me”

Saturday, December 30, 2006


#4 Heavens - Patent Pending

A few years ago I would have hated this album. The two main elements of the album were two things I could not stand. One being electronic drums and the other being Matt Skiba’s voice. I’ve since grown to tolerate the first and love the second. It’s the same old shit from Matt Skiba, dark lyrics and the trademark vocals. The best part is what was brought to the table by the other half of the song writing team, Josiah. Joe supplied some simple yet amazing music which Matt later wrote the vocals for. The songs range from sparse punkish sounding songs to slow ballads. It’s too bad that this is just a one album side project. I’m glad I saw them live when I had the chance.

Patent Pending

Favorite Lyrics:
“Won't you please step inside?
Something to show, something to share
My knife still wants to hide
Deep inside of you
I'll announce the grand prize
Arterial spray-painted carpet
Before your eyes
Better fucking believe it
Take this back
If you really want to
Take this back
I'm counting on you”

“Don't leave just yet
Quiet on the set
Let's give this one more go
Make ourselves ill, poppin' sugar pills
Will swallow nice and slow
Don't leave just yet
We've just had a wreck
I'll need your name and phone
And water for these slow-dying trees
Where gardens used to grow”

Friday, December 29, 2006


#5 The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!

This one really came out of nowhere. THE best straight ahead punk album released this year. It’s got everything you could want: fast tempos, short songs, raspy lyrics with cleaner backing vocals. Oh, it even has a country sounding hidden track. It manages to be a rocking punk album and also have catchy choruses. I saw these guys a few years back on the Plea for Peace tour and liked them but didn’t do more than download a few songs by them. I decided to give this album a shot and I was instantly hooked on it. Just when I think I’m listening to less punk, this and rise against come along and remind me why I love it so much. Buy this album is you feel the need to jump around and break things and want a soundtrack.

Key to the City
The Devil’s Takin’ Names
Recovering the Opposable Thumb

Favorite Lyrics:
“I've never tried that
But I know I don't like it
Or maybe I do I'm just too weak to fight it
Maybe I do I'm just too weak to fight it
Maybe I do I'm just too weak to fight it
Where are you? Where are you?
I hate to let em see me crying”

“Somewhere along the way I lost my destination
And then I ended up in a thousand different places
The road is long tonight
Maybe we'll be somewhere by morning
We're never anywhere, never either coming or going”


#6 Liam and Me - There's a Difference

80’s DANCE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of the best new bands to come out of this year. This band writes amazing pop songs with an 80’s vibe. The lyrics are also a strong point for this band. They just take you over and make you dance around. I don’t know why it took them so long to sign with a label (happened a few weeks ago), but now that they are I expect them to be huge in the New Year. The album is great, but live it’s even better. They are a very tight band and also really nice guys. I was lucky enough to see them 3 times this year, once in Rehoboth (Dogfish Head) of all places. If you like the sound of this and want the album, you better get it on before it sells out. They aren’t printing anymore since they are going to rerecord it for their new label. My only problem with the album is that it is only 10 songs, but this should be taken care of when they rerelease it.

There’s a Difference
Pretty Black Dress
Call the Cops
Take Your Time

Favorite Lyrics:
“Now I can't keep up with you darling cause you're living way too fast.
I don't make a whole lot of money so I gotta make it last.
(Well I've been alone)
I'm waiting up all night while you go out late dancing.
(I've been alone)
You sparkle in the lights and his approving glances, oh yeah.
Gotta know, is there something to tell me?
There's a difference in your heartbeat.
(Gotta know)
All I know is it's driving me crazy,
there's a difference in your heartbeat, baby.”

“Last chance for your pretty black dress tonight,
if its time for goodbyes, then we'll do it in style.
Last chance to be forward and set it right,
it doesn't help that you're looking so nice tonight.”

Thursday, December 28, 2006


#7 Kevin Devine - Put Your Ghost to Rest

Kevin Devine is one of my favorite songwriters out there today. Last year, his album was my #5 favorite album of the year. He’s back at it again with his latest release. His shaky voice just makes the songs seem more sincere than most of what I listen to. This album hit me at the perfect time. The songs just seemed to fit where I am in life. I originally downloaded this album before it had been mastered and I was disappointed in it. I’m not sure if that was because the finishing touches weren’t there or because I just wasn’t in the mood for it. Whatever the reason, I was glad to give it another listen once I had a mastered version. I’m glad I gave it that second chance. Seeing some of the songs played live made them even better. This album seems to capture the strange stage in life that follows college.

Just Stay
Me and My Friends
You’ll Only End Up Joining Them

Favorite Lyrics:
“it's the same corner booth,
the same smith street bar,
the same sour mouths,
and the same empty arms.
forever and ever our lives
on a loop.
it's the same dollar draft,
the same whiskey words,
the same hanging heart,
and the same old scorched earth.
we're further and further
away from the truth.
i wanna stop it.
i wanna stop it.
i wanna stop it.
but it's the only life i know how to live
we make a mess of what matters
give our good grace away
we try to drink the clock backwards
and pretend like nothing’s changed”

“so as i inched towards resolution, yeah, i'm not sure which life feels right. no narrow noose or the wading water will hang in hex or open eyes. i know my brother, he went one way and at the fork i heard him say, "don't you follow. don't go making my mistakes." and i realized what he meant: don't kill yourself to raise the dead. it never works. you'll only end up joining them. it never works. you'll only end up joining them.”

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


#8 Cursive - Happy Hollow

Cursive always have a story or message that holds all of the songs on the album together. This record takes on issues such as the war and organized religion. Although I may not buy into everything they are saying, I still think this is an amazing record. The use of horns and strings is just breathtaking. Their use of minor keys and distortion make for a dark ride and I wouldn’t want anything different. Tim Kasher’s voice is always just a little off which works well with the music. The production turns something that seems like it should be rough around the edges into something clean and tight. This album is great, not just for the music, but for the questions it raises.

Big Bang
Dorothy at Forty

Favorite Lyrics:
“We're not the kids that we once were
We can't be the adults we want to be”

“Original sin, idyllic garden
Some talking snake giving apples away
What would that snake say if he could only see us today?
Ha ha ha!”

Saturday, December 23, 2006


#9 Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat

I got this album around this time last year. Little did I know I would still be listening to it now. This album was a mainstay in my cd player all year. This is the closest thing to country that you will ever hear me listening to by choice (other than the old stuff like Johnny Cash). Something about Jenny’s voice is just soothing. I don’t even know what to call it when combined with the Watson Twins. Seeing them live pushed this album even more into my rotation. This is definitely one of the better side project bands I have ever heard. One of the highlights of the album is their cover of the Traveling Wilburys’ “Handle with Care”, which features Connor Oberst, M Ward and Ben Gibbard on vocals.

Handle with Care
Rise Up With Fists
Melt Your Heart

Favorite Lyrics:
what are you changing?
who do you think you're changing?
you can't change things
we're all stuck in our ways
it's like trying to clean the ocean
what do you think, you can drain it?
well it was poison and dry
long before you came”

“when you're kissing someone who's too much like you
it's like kissing on the mirror
when you're sleeping with someone who doesn't get you
you're going to hate yourself in the morning
it's bound to melt your heart
one way or another"


#10 RX Bandits - ...and the Battle Begun

RX Bandits are one of those bands that I always heard about but never bothered checking out. I am so glad I finally gave them a shot on the new album. It’s the best ska type album I have heard in quite some time. They do a great job of mixing ska, punk and reggae while keeping it original. I can listen to this album over and over and never get tired of it. From the opening untitled intro track, the album just grabs you and won’t let go. At times, the vocal harmonies are chilling. Sometimes the songs even have a prog rock feel except with horns in them too. This album just keeps getting better with every listen. I already moved it up multiple spots since I started making the list.

Only for the Night

Favorite Lyrics:
“Am I crazy because I want to touch your skin?
Is it ludicrous that I’ve got nothing to believe in that was built by human hands or controlled by demand?
So if love is true, let’s burn the factory, take off your shoes it’s time for dancing”

“She says she’s gonna come over tonight
Look like a ghost sound like a whisper shivering down my spine
I’m just a traveling soul, say you’d never leave me low
Tell me you need me so tonight”


#11 Rocky Votolato - Makers

This isn’t the usual music that is known to come out of Seattle. The sparse arrangements are a far cry from the grunge and post punk that the area is known for. It forces you to focus on the lyrics which tell the usual stories of heartbreak and life in general, but somehow Rocky makes them believable. Rocky can write a song like no one else. The honesty in his voice pulls the listener into his world and doesn’t let you out until the album is over. He also points out his own shortcomings in some songs, which is a welcome departure in a genre full of songs that seem to lay the blame on others for the situation that the artists have found themselves in.

She Was Only In It For the Rain
White Daisy Passing
Tinfoil Hats

Favorite Lyrics:
“here's the 1st of many songs you wanted me to write
just for you I hope to god you like it
it's as pretty as it is cruel”

“all those evenings on the back deck of our first apartment
they meant everything but the wind just carried ‘em off
and you can't go back now just a passing moment gone”

Friday, December 22, 2006


#12 Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me

Probably my most anticipated release of the last 3 years. I don’t want to call this a disappointment because it’s a great album. It’s just that after hearing the demos that leaked earlier in the year, I was expecting something different. The album has grown on me with each listen. Although the band has been very tight lipped about the past couple years, judging from the lyrics it seems they have had some rough times. Their song writing is a lot darker than their previous efforts, both lyrically and musically. The songs have all sounded even more amazing live. If you see their new video on mtv2, don’t use it to judge the album. It is the worst “song” on the album and was released as a single to piss off their label. Another problem I have with the album is that the packaging is one of the worst things ever. This album could have been the worst thing I have ever heard and I still would have loved it just because it was something new from one of my favorite bands.

The Archers Bows Have Broken
Welcome to Bangkok

Favorite Lyrics:
“In the choir, I saw our sad Messiah.
He was bored and tired of my laments.
He said, "I died for you one time, but never again"”

“Please don't be technology
Cause I can't turn off your love
Like some cold machine
Don’t feed me scraps from your bed
And I won't be the stray coming back
Just to be fed"

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


#13 Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

This is one of the first albums I was in love with this year. It did not age as well as Bloc Party did last year but it’s still amazing. It just makes me want to shake my moneymaker. They are one of the most hyped bands I have ever listened to and I think they deserved every bit of it. They mix clever lyrics with danceable rock (all the kids are doing it these days). The English accents add another lovable aspect to the music. The album starts off fast and never lets up. The album ends on one of my favorite songs of the year.

A Certain Romance
The View From the Afternoon
From the Ritz to the Rubble

Favorite Lyrics:
“There's only music, so that there's new ringtones”

“Stop making the eyes at me
I'll stop making the eyes at you
And what it is that surprises me
Is that I don't really want you to”


#14 Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler

I have no idea why I downloaded this album, but I sure am glad I did. I liked one of his previous singles but had never gotten into him. This album is pure gold in terms of singer/songwriter type music. Pete has created an album full of great pop songs that he delivers with his slightly shaky voice. The songs are all very chill, it's a great album to just kick back and relax to. This is the kind of music that should be on the radio. It isn't hard to digest and the masses would eat it up. Maybe Pete doesn't want it that way.

For Us
Splendid Isolation

Favorite Lyrics:
“You say your empty mind is easy when it's drugged.
I watched you fall out of bed and scrape up your back. Well, maybe this life is like the drug.
This life is like the drug.”

“Don't want to wake up with no one beside me
Don't want to take up with nobody new
Don't want nobody coming by without calling first
Don't want nothing to do with you”


#15 Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child

This was supposed to be one of my big “sleeper” albums, so much for that. The vocals on this album remind me of Nate from The Format mixed with the guy from Zella Mayzell, mixed with the Rocket Summer, mixed with the guy from Placebo. It’s just a great rock record. There are some slow ones sprinkled in that keep it from rocking you face off completely, which is a good thing sometimes. I haven’t had the record long enough to say much more about it. I may come back and edit this later considering it’s all I’ve listened to lately.

Wolves at Night
Now That You’re Home
Golden Ticket

Favorite Lyrics:
"You're the reason i like losing sleep"

“Am I really that old, ignorant or too slow
to realize that I’ve lost my golden ticket back home?”

"i've got to take what i'm making
and turn it into something
i've got to take what i'm making
and turn it into something
for you
i've got to break what i'm making
and turn it into something
i've got to break what i'm making
and turn it into something
for you
god, where have you been?”


#16 Lucero - Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers

Oh sweet southern rock, how I had missed you. I’m so glad the band decided to add some organ to the mix, it worked out well. I did not give this album enough attention until I saw them live a month or so ago. The album just blows me away. It’s southern rock mixed with some punk backgrounds. Add in the amazingly gruff vocals from Ben Nichols and you have a great formula. You can’t go wrong with songs that alternate between straight ahead southern rock and slowed down tales of heartbreak. The album makes you feel like you should be in a bar down south raising hell. Ben Nichols makes you feel as if he’s just venting to you about his life and there just happens to be some kick ass music behind it. In hindsight I will probably wish I ranked this higher.

I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight
Sing Me No Hymns

Favorite Lyrics:
“I might not be the one
But that's alright
I can get us outta here tonight”

“Tell me why, just why
You had to go
Cause I'm, I'm no good
Out here on my own”


#17 TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

This album is genre-bending. At one point you think it’s electronic and then all of a sudden it’s rocking out (or both at once). One of the key elements that make this album great is the distorted, fuzzy guitar that can be heard in most songs in the background. It creates a wall of noise that everything else builds upon. Tunde Adebimpe’s vocals are reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, so much so that sometimes it is scary. Kyp Malone adds an afro and beard into the equation. Although this does not translate to the record, it is quite the spectacle. The album flows together very well, creating an atmosphere that I can’t quite explain. David Bowie lends some guest vocals to one of my favorite tracks on the album. Although this album isn’t for everyone (Greg), it is worth giving a try. It has grown on me a lot since I first gave it a listen. One of the only downsides to this album is that it does no justice for TVOTR’s live show.

I Was A Lover
Wolf Like Me

Favorite Lyrics:
“I'm locked in my bedroom, so send back the clowns”

“dirty little whirl wind
I am pinned by the heat of your swirl
dirty little whirl wind
descender, destroyer, I’ve found you
you dirty little whirl wind
tangled up in the flesh of a girl”

Sunday, December 17, 2006


#18 Rise Against - The Sufferer and the Witness

"This is noise." That’s how the album begins. What follows is one of the best punk albums this year. Upon its release, it was my #1 album of the year (obviously that has changed). I absolutely love the gruff vocals mixed with the straight ahead punk riffs. They also throw in some great slow songs (such as “swing life away” on the last album and “roadside” on this album) and manage not to kill the mood. The album seems a little less refined than most major label albums, which I think is amazing. This is the album to put on to just rock out. I haven’t heard of anyone not thinking that this album is one of the best of the year. Beware, the album will make you want to drive fast. I’m glad to see a band that doesn’t seem to compromise their artistic vision for a major label.

Chamber the Cartridge

Favorite Lyrics:
“Somewhere between happy and total fucking wreck
Feet sometimes on solid ground, sometimes at the edge
Spend your waking moments, simply counting time
Give up on your hopes and dreams”

“And if strength is borne from heartbreak
Many mountains I could move
And if walls could speak I’d pray
That they would tell me what to do”


#19 Damien Rice - 9

Finally, a new album from Damien Rice and Co. It’s more of the same and I wouldn’t want it any other way. There isn’t a bad song on this album. Each song carries on the tradition of sounding like it should be in a movie (I’m sure some of them will end up there). I’ve always loved the way Damien can shift from soft and delicate to somewhat harder and angry from song to song and it never feels weird or out of place. Some of my favorite moments on the album are when it is just piano and singing. These are some of the most beautiful songs I have heard in awhile that weren’t arranged by Sufjan. I just wish the album had more songs. Let’s all hope the next album shows up faster than this one did.

Me, My Yoke and I
Rootless Tree
9 Crimes

Favorite Lyrics:
“waking up without you,
is like drinking from an empty cup.”

“Oh and she's always dressed in white
She's like an angel, man
She burns my eyes
Oh and she turns
She pulls a smile
We drive around
And she drives us wild”

Friday, December 15, 2006


#20 My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

I really thought I would hate this album. The first few times I heard the single, I was very disappointed. I was completely uninterested in the album until I heard the single on the radio at work a week or so before the album came out. Suddenly my mind was completely changed and I can’t explain why. Once I was able to digest the album in its entirety, it became clear that MCR have embraced their fame and are able to live up to the expectations of most of their fans. Although some people will say that they just ripped off Green Day’s formula for a great concept album/rock opera, I really don’t see why that’s a bad thing. They still create a dark mood as they did with their first 2 albums, but they were able to build on this and create a storyline and great music that goes beyond what anyone would have expected from this release. They still rock out but they also slow it down and vary the tempo throughout the album to make it interesting. Now if I could just pretend I never heard the hidden track…

House of the Wolves
This Is How I Disappear

Favorite Lyrics:
“teenagers scare the living shit out of me”

“Just sleep,
The hardest part is letting go of
Your dreams”

Thursday, December 14, 2006


#21 (+44) - When Your Heart Stops Beating

When I heard the Angels and Airwaves cd this year it made me miss Blink 182 a lot. This album on the other hand, has weakened that blow substantially. This album showed me that Mark Hoppus was everything I loved about Blink. Catchy choruses with great lyrics. That’s all you really need. The songs range from slower rock songs to in your face pop-punk goodness. Some songs even have electronic elements in them. I wish this album had been out in the summer because it would be a great summer album. I’m glad Mark and Travis kept moving in the direction that Blink had been moving instead of trying to be some U2 rip-off band (don’t get me wrong, the AVA cd is enjoyable but it’s not that great). This is one of those albums that I can just put on and rock out to. Sometimes a little pop-punk is all a guy needs. I saw these guys live and Travis was drumming with only one arm….it was nothing short of amazing. I don’t know what that has to do with the album but I felt that it needed to be said.

When Your Heart Stops Beating
Make You Smile

Favorite Lyrics:
“The past is just the future with the lights on”

“If I could, I'd only want to make you smile
If you would stay with me a while”

Saturday, December 09, 2006


#22 Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury

Another breath of fresh air in the rap genre this year came from a duo that has been forced out of the game for a few years. You may remember their last album “Lord Willin’” which included the single “Grindin’”. A record label merger caused the most recent album to be shelved for over 2 years. It was finally released upon the world and what we got was an amazing, lyric driven gangster rap record. Combine that with the entire album being produced by the Neptunes and you have a winner. The signature minimalist yet catchy Neptunes beats are there along with the raw lyrics of the Clipse. They don’t rely on any gimmicks with their music. It’s nice to listen to some rap that doesn’t try to tell you what to do, such as “Lean Back” and “Snap Yo Fingers”. They also chose not to have any filler such as skits or unnecessary guests on every track. The only guests were Pharrell and a few of their close friends. The Clipse are made up of brothers Malice and Pusha T, who don’t shy away from rapping about their time spent selling drugs. The album documents the ups and downs that can accompany being a coke dealer. The entire album is dark, gritty and unapologetic in regards to their association with drug dealing. I read somewhere that the duo has skipped the anti-hero stage and gone straight from being rappers to being villains. I think that’s a fair assessment.

Ride Around Shining
Momma I'm So Sorry
Keys Open Doors

Favorite Lyrics:
"it's like trying to fly but they clippin' your wings
and that's exactly why the caged bird sings"

"I philosophize about glocks and ki's
niggas call me young black Socrates"

"Brain like Teri, face like Eva
I aint forgettin them other Housewives neither"

Thursday, December 07, 2006


#23 Gym Class Heroes - As Cruel As School Children

Another album full of great beats made by a band and not a producer. On top of this are vocals by one of my favorite rappers, Travis McCoy. He can take a topic like myspace and make a great song out of it. I remember seeing this band open for Fallout Boy when I had no idea who they were. I turned to Greg and said “I have no idea what these guys sound like”. We watched them set up their instruments and start playing…..then the rap started. I turned to Greg and said “wasn’t expecting that”. They won me over at that show. I bought their current album and had been highly anticipating something new. They did not disappoint. This album is catchy song after catchy song. I just wish they didn’t have skits (there are only 3), but at least the dialogue in them rhymes. They continue their theme of having a song on their album where Patrick Stumpf (Fallout Boy) sings the chorus which is a sample of an old song. On this album it’s a slight variation of Jermaine Stewart’s “We Dont Have to Take Our Clothes Off” and on the last it was Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America”. This is a great album to just put on and chill or to have on at a party.

3rd Period: New Friend Request
13th Period: On My Own Time (Write On!)
6th Period: Viva La White Girl

Favorite Lyrics:
“We put the F U back in fun.”

Got chicks, all hot chicks
Indie rock chicks, and hip hop chicks
Slim chicks, round chicks
Black, white, yellow, and brown chicks”


#24 The Bronx

Hard. Fast. Loud. I wouldn’t expect anything less from this band. They were the band that recorded their first album “live” in the studio, with a maximum of 3 takes per song. This time they are back with the same album title (or lack there of). Sometimes you just need to listen to some angry rock. This is the perfect album for doing just that. Most of the songs clock in at under 3 minutes, which is all they need to get their point across. The vocals are somewhere between screaming and singing. I guess you could call it yelling. You can tell the band just wants to rock and doesn’t care if it doesn’t sound perfect. There are a few songs on the album that are a little slower than the rest, but they are just as good. The album flows together so well that there are times at the beginning of the album that you aren’t sure if the song changed. I would keep writing but in keeping with the spirit of the album, I’ll keep it short.

White Guilt
Shitty Future
Around the Horn

Favorite Lyrics:
“You're a trainwreck and that’s entertainment!”

“So drag me down to the ocean floor
Cause I don't want to fight no more
Against these tides pulling from all sides
I'm never going back to shore”

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


#25 Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche

Another beautiful album by one of the best song writers/arrangers of our time. This is a B-sides/Outtakes album that is better than most bands’ A material. One thing that kind of annoyed me about this album was that there are 3 versions of Chicago included; although, it did show me that he chose the right one to include on Illinois. Other than that, all of the Sufjan elements are present. You have the odd time signatures, crazy arrangements and a truckload of instruments. If you haven’t listened to Sufjan yet (What are you waiting for?) then this probably isn’t the album to start with. Although the songs were recorded for Illinois, they do not flow as well as his previous efforts have. This album shows that he could pretty much write as many songs as he wants about a certain subject, such as a state, and still keep someone’s attention. Sufjan continues to paint portraits with sound. He is able to convey emotion in almost every story he tells, whether it be a mid-life crisis or author Saul Bellow.

The Henney Buggy Band
Springfield or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in His Hair
The Mistress Witch from McClure

Favorite Lyrics:
“If my father took his life
for the national plan, I don't care
I'm not about to stick my grave with an
apron and a bucket of plans, never ever
I can take the pillow cases
off the yellow pillows,
make a property line from the bed
In the living room, the living room,
the morning papers made the most
out of nothing at all”

“Sound the horn
Make the bed
Pull the cord
Raise the dead”


#26 Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor

I would like to preface this by saying that this would be ranked higher if Lupe did not constantly remind us what the album is called and give shout outs to “F and F” on what feels like every track. With that being said, this album is amazing. One of the best rap albums of recent memory. I’m a sucker for beats that utilize guitars, horns and/or strings. The songs make you move but also consist of intelligent and sometimes informative lyrics. The album is a great window into the mind of Lupe and how he sees the world. He raps about skateboarding and has Jonah Matranga in one of his songs. It does not get much cooler than that. I feel bad that when I heard Kanye’s “touch the sky” I was thinking “who is this guy singing, he’s nobody”. Some of the tracks on the album showcase Lupe’s ability to tell a good story through rap. He tells stories and manages to still make everything rhyme. Did I mention he raps about skating?

Kick, Push
American Terrorist
I Gotcha

Favorite Lyrics:
“He said I would marry you but I’m engaged to the aerials and varials”

“Now come on everybody let’s make cocaine cool
We need a few more half naked women up in the pool
And hold this mack ten that’s all covered in jewels
And can you please put your titties closer to the 22’s”

Saturday, December 02, 2006


#27 Thunderbirds are Now - Make History

Put on your dancing shoes. This album makes you want to move. From start to finish, this album is filled with ass shaking rhythms, catchy choruses and vocals that I once thought were coming from a woman (I was mistaken). The rhythm section and the synth keep the songs pounding forward and the album never lets up. If you are looking for intelligent, catchy music then this is the album for you. If you see me dancing around while driving, this album is probably in the cd player.

(The Making of...) Make History
We Win (Ha Ha)
Why We War

Favorite Lyrics:
" We don’t know what we want but we want it all"

"The things that people say, make me want to take the words right out of their mouths"


#28 Bad Astronaut - 12 Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment

I had heard rumors that “Houston, We Have a Drinking Problem” was going to be the last album by this side-project band, especially after one of the band members died. When I heard that one last Bad Astronaut album would be released, it immediately became one of my most anticipated releases of this year. Joey Cape has one of my favorite voices in rock music. Upon first listen, the great voice was there but nothing on the album really jumped out at me. I just went through the album only half paying attention. It was as if the album was exactly what the title described, but after a few listens I knew it was more than that. It was an album that was released even after a member of the band died during recording. It might not be the best work of the band, but it was a great achievement that it was even finished at all. Even if it is not up to par with their previous release, Joey’s voice combined with some catchy rock was enough to get this album on the list.

Go Humans
The “F” Word

Favorite Lyrics:
“Hey Mom
Hey Dad
Hey Mom
I’m’ Rad”

“It stands to reason and I can't be by myself
It makes no difference who I am
It stands to reason and it's better left undone
It makes no difference what I have
I'm by myself
And you won't call me now”


#29 Sparta - Threes

This is the third album by the underrated half of At the Drive-In (for the overrated half, see The Mars Volta). I would describe this album as At the Drive-In’s “In Casino Out” without the crazy aspects and abstract lyrics. I was hit out of nowhere by this album. I had no idea it was coming out and then…BAM!, it hits me. The disc entered my car stereo while leaving Best Buy and stayed there for a few weeks. The album shifts gears from moderate to fast paced but always manages to rock. On each album, Sparta always manages to create a mood that slowly transforms from one of urgency to one filled with hope. The album starts off in a hurry and pulls you through each song, but by the end it’s as if the listener is floating through the music without a care (with a few bumps along the way). This was a pleasant surprise in a year when my attention was focused more on bands that I had been anticipating for months and even years.

Red.Right.Return. (Straight In Our Hands)

Favorite Lyrics:

“The difference between
finding what you love,
and loving what you've found
Is killing us right now”


Change of Plans

I have decided to just post the albums whenever i sit down and decide to write the reviews. This means that there could be a couple one day and then nothing the next. Just keep checking back or IM me or something and ask if I added anything. You could bookmark the page but that seems like too much effort for something that i update a couple months out of the year.

Friday, December 01, 2006


#30 The Format - Dog Problems

There seem to be two types of people when it comes to opinions on this album. On one hand there are the ones that call it “amazing” or “genius”. On the other hand are those that see it as a huge disappointment. I started out seeing this album as a disappointment. Their previous effort, “Interventions and Lullabies” was a great pop/rock album; it made you tap your foot and bob your head. “Dog Problems” doesn’t quite pull that off, at least the first few times through. This being said, I did not give up on the album. I thought that maybe if I listened enough that I would turn into one of the many calling it “genius”. I found that the first problem that I was having with the album was that I wasn’t a huge fan of the first 2 tracks. They were slow and seemed to drag on, which inevitably led to a decision to give up on the album before it really started. I started skipping to the third track “Time Bomb” to start the album off. This did the trick (I eventually started liking the first 2 tracks as well). The track starts with a Queen-esque high pitched harmony and then jumps around from horn sections to string sections to a chorus that reminds me of “Interventions and Lullabies”. The rest of the album keeps pace and delivers catchy songs with some interesting arrangements. Although I still have not reached the point of calling the album “amazing” or “genius”, I will say that it is a solid effort of catchy pop songs from a band that seems to have a bright future ahead of them.

Time Bomb
Dog Problems
The Compromise

Favorite Lyrics:

“can you hear me?
are you listening?
this is the sound of my heart breaking.
and i hope it's entertaining,
'cause for me it's a bitch.
was it worth it?
when you slept with him?
did you get it all out of your system?”

“open arms are prison cells”


Top 30 Albums of 2006

It's that time of year again. I will begin to post my top 30 albums of the year. I will try to post one a day until new years. I might post the first one tonight which would give me a little wiggle room if I forget to post one. I am going to try to write up a nice review of sorts for each album but who knows how long that will last. Once the albums are all posted I will post my favorite songs of the year and perhaps movies.

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