Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Proof That Emo is Dangerous! Gasp!

I wish my lawn was Emo so it would cut itself.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Monday Morning Shuffle: The Brevity Edition

Alright, i've gotta keep this short. There's a ton of crap going on right now. I hope i don't get carried away.

Also, for those of you just tuning in, i don't pick these songs. I open iTunes, hit shuffle and then click play and i write about the first 5 songs that come on. Some times the songs are awful, or it's a skit or a repeat and i'll skip them but 99% of the time, these are the first 5 songs that i hear on a Monday morning. There seemed to be some confusion about that and i just wanted to clear things up.

1. Ah Me - Griffin House, off of Lost and Found
I think i talked about Griffin House way way back when i first started this blog but i'm just now getting into him. It's all part of that guy and a guitar folky music phase i'm in right now. This CD is awesome and really soothing to listen to. I highly recommend it. And if you need it, just ask. Also, if anyone watches Grey's Anatomy and knows what the name of the song that was playing at the end of last week's episode is, would you please tell me because it's awesome. I've rewatched the end of the show on my DVR 3 times just to hear it. Pretty sure it's Damien Rice but if anyone can confirm that, i'd appreciate it.

2. Your Boyfriend Sucks - The Ataris
You know who else sucks besides your boyfriend? The Ataris.

3. Total Eclipse of the Heart - The Dan Band, off of the Old School Soundtrack
So this was definitely one of the funniest scenes in Old School and i really hoped that the band from the movie was a real band and not just actor's playing in some Hollywood construction. And my wish came true. They're a real band and they cover songs that had female vocalists...pretty hilarious really. I also have a version of them doing Lady by Styx, which isn't a girl lead singer but still awesome.

4. Streets of Laredo - Johnny Cash, off of American IV: The Man Comes Around
I've mentioned Robert Earl Keen in this space a few times and he has a reference to this song in his latest CD that i didn't put together until just now. Weird.
Anyway, this is a great song on a great CD. I recently picked up American III and American V, so my Cash collection is starting to get very respectable. I'm looking forward to the Top 5 Cash songs post. Want to do it first Nole?

(Let the record show that Ben Folds - Rockin the Suburbs came on next and i skipped it because it was on the shuffle last week. The odds of that happening are 1 in 4,652.)

5. Trouble - Alicia Keys, off of Songs in A Minor
Are all of the songs on this CD in A Minor? Any music theory students out there that want to tackle this question? (These are the thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools.)
I haven't had a chance to listen to this entire CD yet but to say that it's critically acclaimed would be an understatement.
This would also be a good time to mention that girls who can sing and play the piano are so unbelievably sexy. I once really thought i had a chance with Alicia Keys. I definitely thought we'd get married. Hey, we still might, who knows? She was so good looking in that video she did with Mos Def. And it helped that Mos is absolutely the man. I want to be his friend too. I think he'd be cool to kick it with. (Mos, if you're reading this, call me? And can you give my number to Alicia too? Thanks man, you're the best!)

Sorry for being brief. I got's me too much shit to do. I'll be better next time.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Monday (ok, Tuesday) Morning Shuffle: La Guardia Shared Music Edition

Ok, here’s the deal. I’m sitting in La Guardia Airport in NYC after a terrific four days in the cold and exhausting, yet absolutely amazing and exhilarating city of New York. Most of my time was spent with my friend Courtney who, with her girlfriend Sonia, has one of the biggest CD collections I’ve ever seen. I spent a considerable portion of time (and disk space) loading music on my computer that I needed or otherwise didn’t have. I could have really done some damage if I had more time but all in all I loaded over 500 new songs and I’m pretty stoked on it.
Also, I’m sitting at the gate and there are a few other people on their laptops with iTunes open and broadcasting. If you aren’t familiar with this process, you can broadcast your iTunes so that other people with wireless connections can see and listen to your library. They can’t take it from your computer, although I’m sure there’s a way, and I might have to look into that.

So in order to mix things up a bit, I’m borrowing the Monday Morning Shuffle (it is Monday afternoon but I won’t have internet until 1 am Phoenix time, or in about 12 hours, and by then it will be Tuesday)….anyway, I’m borrowing the shuffle from the library of John Hein. I’ve looked through his music and given him a back story and decided that it will make for an interesting shuffle. So here we go.

1. Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind – Yo La Tengo, off of I’m Not Afraid of You, And I Will Kick Your Ass
I don’t have this CD and I’ve never heard this song before, but that’s what is going to make this fun. This song checks in at over 10 minute so I hope our boy John doesn’t get up and go anywhere or turn his computer off. (I wonder if he’s listening to my music too? Weird.) So anyway this song starts off with a super catchy little riff and a nice little guitar section in the beginning and I’m really liking it. I finally fixed my Bose headphones (thanks duct tape!) and everything just sounds so amazing through these. I know they’re expensive but if you like music and you travel or use headphones a lot I highly suggest these. If you turn in some miles you can easily redeem them. They are so choice.
Aww…damn. No sooner did I say I hope John doesn’t turn his computer off then he disappears. Oh well. We’ll start over using my library.

1. The Best Deceptions – Dashboard Confessional
Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about John Mayer (here) and I said how I was a fan when it was just him and his guitar? Well it’s pretty much the same with Chris Carraba and Dashboard. I just liked them better when it was just him. Throw in the full band and backup singers and it just loses some of its pain and bite and significance.
I liked this song when I was a freshman in college and angry but now…eh.

2. Clean – Incubus, off of Make Yourself
Wow, this must be the freshman in college mix or something. Anyway, I really developed a love for Incubus over my freshman year of college driving back and forth from Boulder to Breckenridge every weekend. I thought Brandon Boyd’s lyrics were terrific (i.e. I need a map of your head/translated into English/so I can learn to not make you frown/I’d feel better if you’d vent/put your frustrations into 4-letter words/and let them all out on mine, the most weathered ears in town.) and I thought the combination of a DJ spinning and rock guitars were really interesting and novel. Then rap-rock came to power and completely blew the originality of that whole sound and Incubus jumped the shark. And that’s all she wrote for me.

3. Castles Made of Sand – Jimi Hendrix, off of The Ultimate Experience
Back in 7th grade when I developed my fascination for classic rock, Jimi was one of my first loves, and how can you not? I mean seriously, what could I possibly say about Hendrix that hasn’t been said. Nothing.
But that won’t stop me from saying that what I remember most about this song is listening to it on the patio of this restaurant in Northern Arizona. We were up near the Grand Canyon doing some fishing below the damn. I was really young and I was hanging out with my uncles and dad who at the time were all infinitely cooler than me and I just thought it was awesome that I got to hang out and listen to Jimi Hendrix with people who could have legitimately seen him in concert.
Well there’s not a ton to do at night in that part of the country so they sat around and drank beers (I had a soda) and we bet on how many cars would pass during a span of time. Someone would call out something like 7 cars over the next 15 minutes, everyone would synchronize watches, throw a few bucks on the under or the over and we’d sit and count. The best fun is the kind you make yourself.

4. The Boy Who Destroyed the World – A.F.I., off of All Hallows E.P.
Random that this song came on because Ron, Nole and I were just talking about it the other day at breakfast in Vegas. I’m not sure how it came up, I think Nole was talking about music he was getting back into and mentioned this EP. Then I mentioned that playing Tony Hawk my sophomore year of college completely ruined this song for me because it just got played over and over. That lead to a discussion of the other music that was on the Tony Hawk 3 soundtrack and a general discussion of great video game music altogether. Then we went and found an awesome $5 single-deck table and won a bunch of money and went to the trade show late. An enjoyable morning all around. Later that night, some of us met Karim Campbell, the pro skater, outside of a strip club near the Hard Rock (we had walked over there to catch a cab instead of waiting in line at the Hard Rock. Promise.) Karim had his own character on the game, and that’s about as intertwined as a day can get.

5. The Watcher – Dr. Dre, off of Chronic 2001
Man I LOVED this CD my senior year of high school. Danny and I used to blast this when we had to pick our little brothers up from marching band practice. I think we just liked the shock value and boy did we have it. As the band kids were coming into the parking lot we were soon surrounded by Ron, Nole, Jack, etc who proceeded to jump on the running boards of my suburban and rock the shit out of it with Danny and me inside. We were ghost riding the whip way before it was cool (wait, is it even cool now???). Anyway, this album reinvented and revitalized Dre, led to the rise and fall of Eminem and will eventually lead either The Game or 50 Cent being killed in a rap feud. Good times!
And in other news, after the Mos Def concert the other night we were feeling really inspired and traveled back into Manhattan to go to a great Jazz club called Garage. We had been there that morning for jazz brunch, which was extremely cool. Mimosas, Bloody Marys, good food and great music. Well anyway, we went back that night to see the Jonathon Batiste Trio (there were 5 of them, go figure). Batiste is a 19-year-old Julliard student from New Orleans who is maybe the best pianist I’ve ever seen. I mean, words can describe it. I love jazz, but I’m not the most skilled listener of it. I really don’t know what to pay attention to and I usually use it more for background music that anything. So I’m sitting there talking to my friends, having some wine and casually listening when I just feel the vibrations in my feet, and then notice as they move up my legs, twist up my spine and shut my mouth. After about 30 minutes, the entire table was silent as we listened to Batiste absolutely rock the piano and his group just slide through solo after solo. He has some albums out and I think I heard that he will be coming out with some more very soon. Keep an eye out for his stuff, and also, support your local jazz club and musicians. Look around your city; there’s gotta be at least one.

Oh yeah, and this dude just sound next to me listening to a tape on a WalkMan….old school brother, old school.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

College Dropout Vs. Late Registration

But first, i had the opportunity last night to attend the Mos Def concert in Brooklyn. When i heard he'd be playing in his home town and i would be nearby i knew i had to go, but i really had no idea what to expect. My friend Mark used a few connections and a few well-placed bribes to get us in and as we made it to our seats, we realized we'd be in the 8th row. A piano player comes on stage and starts playing, then a DJ, then a bassist and guitarist. Three Saxophones come in stage left and a tuba, a souzaphone, and 2 trombones come in stage right. Then a drummer, then three horns and then Mos himself. So to recap, i saw Mos Def in his hometown of Brooklyn at a 500 capacity opera house in the 8th row in front of a 17-piece live band. It would suffice to say that this was one of the best concert experiences of my life. More on that later.


Alright, a few weeks back I posted some less than kind words about George Bush’s favorite rapper, Kanye West. Ron took this opportunity to A. ask why I didn’t like Kanye’s second CD as much, and B. to unveil his theory on hiphop which claims that almost every hiphop album is 1/3 good, 1/3 guilty pleasure and 1/3 bad. It would seem that Kanye’s albums fit this philosophy to a T so while on a flight to New York (my plane smells like Cat pee…seriously, don’t fly ATA) I took the opportunity to listen to both of them straight through and make some notes and see if I couldn’t explain why I liked the first CD so much and why I hate the second one. Here goes:

The College Dropout album has a few things that make it great. First, it was a novelty. It was a happy sounding, feel good, non-thug sounding album. I say non-thug because there was no rap feud, no fabricated story about the artist having been shot 9 times, there wasn’t a ton of buzz about it, it came out of nowhere, it was kind of an underdog story. This was especially prevalent when the first single released was Through the Wire. I first caught on to this song because the video told the story of Kanye’s car accident and he actually laid the vocal track down with his jaw wired shut, which you know, is just a little bit impressive.
But the more important thing was that you had an artist wearing LaCoste shirts and sweater vests, rapping about jesus and making fun of the normal rap video, which – and I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way right now – appealed to white people. Now I’m not saying this is the only reason that the CD is good but am I going to identify more with a rapper who at least tried to go to college and dresses a little preppy or Akon? Maybe you don’t want to admit it but I think you know the answer.
OK and now that we have the race issue dealt with we can just talk about the music. The beats on this CD are epic. Spaceship, Get Em High, The New Workout Plan and Breathe In Breath Out are hot. There’s just no other way to explain it. No matter what he’s saying in the lyrics, the beats pop and gets you to nod your head and as Saul Williams says, if you’re nodding your head back and forth that’s the universal sign for “Yes, I agree with this.” And nothing gets the head nodding more than Jesus Walks. I mean, put your head phones on, put this song on and tell me that you’re not walking in stride to this beat and nodding your head to it. I used to pump this song walking from class to class at ASU and it just felt good. There’s something to be said for that. That beat is just epic and that song, no matter your religious affiliations, just feels like something higher.
Also, the College Dropout theme is mentioned in almost every track…I mean, this is as close to a rap theme album as I think we’ve ever had. It pervades the entire album and gives it this kind of cohesiveness that most albums (even rock) don’t have.
In addition to Kanye’s rhymes, which are really, really, really good, he throws in cameos from Jay-Z, Common, Jamie Foxx and Talib Kweli, who, if you don’t know, are some of the hardest hitters in hiphop today.
There was just a passion and cohesion to College Dropout. The whole thing fit and it made sense and it was completely catchy from song to song. And there were some stupid skits but they at least made sense in the theme of the album. (What these skits did to affect the higher education aspirations of thousands of African American students remains to be seen and won’t be discussed here, but it deserves mentioning.)
One of the last tracks, Family Business, almost feels like an extra effort on the CD but it does a decent job of ending on a high and optimistic tone after an album that despite being fun and poppy, actually dealt with some pretty heavy issues. And then Last Call is a little cherry on top with Jay-Z laughing in the studio and my favorite rhyme of the entire frickin album, “I went to the malls and I balled too hard, They said, 'oh my god is that a black card?'/ I turned around and replied why yes/but I prefer the term African American Express. "
Top notch.

Moving on to Late Registration. I have to admit that I was seriously looking forward to this CD and I had such huge expectations for it that maybe there was no way it could satisfy me. But when you hear that first few minutes with another Bernie Mack intro and the super-sick echo of the “Mr. West!” part and it breaks into that beat, well I just thought that maybe lightning had struck twice. But for some reason the first song drags…the beat is really hopping and then the piano comes in and it just slows the whole thing down. I felt like this CD just had to come out rocking track one, side one, and it didn’t. Even Kanye’s lyrics seem to lack enthusiasm on this song. But still, I was willing to keep listening.
So then you hit next and Touch the Sky just flies out of the box and rolls along and it’s almost like this song should have been the first track on the album. He gets Lupe Fiasco (who is awesome) into the mix and everything should be kicking ass. Well it doesn’t. It’s a self-congratulatory, self-absorbed, egotistical, product-placement driven club track. That’s it. And then pulling out the Evil Kneivel reference with Pamela Anderson (and I can’t believe I’m saying this but Pam was the token white girl in the rap video here…Maybe I’m reading too much into it but the video seemed to be saying, I’m the hottest black musician in the world and I’ve got all of your white girls loving me too…I don’t know. Seemed weird at the time.)
So then we move on to Gold Digger which is a great track. Great beat, great hook, tongue-in-cheek subject matter, Jaime Foxx, all the crucial ingredients to another good Kanye track. And I really did like this song but bottom line is that it’s a club track, plain and simple. If this song had some good tracks around it then it would have lasted a lot longer, but it’s carrying the whole album at this point. (Total Guilty pleasure)
One of the worst parts about Late Registration are the skits…they’re absolutely awful and appalling and appealing to the very lowest common denominator. They bug me. Let’s move on.
Let’s see if Ron’s theory holds up here:
Good Songs: Drive Slow (I’m being generous), Touch the Sky, Bring Me Down
Bad Songs: Crack Music, Heard Em Say, All of the skits, My Way Home (sorry Common), Roses, Addiction, We Major, Hey Mama, Celebration, Gone, We Can Make it Better
Guilty Pleasure: Gold Digger, Diamonds From Sierra Leone

So by my count, that’s 3 good songs and 2 guilty pleasure songs out of 21 …sure doesn’t add up to even thirds in my book, but I’m being hyper-critical and I do see where Ron was coming from on this philosophy. I’m interested to take a look at some other albums that I like and see how it applies.
In the end, Late Registration just lacked continuity, took itself too seriously and tried to do too much for my taste. Some of the beats start out great and the some other sound or track gets added in and it messes it up. And it’s not that the subject matter was any lighter in the first CD, because it wasn’t. And I applaud Kanye for tackling topics like the diamond trade (although making a song like this and then having a huge blinged out chain around your neck is more than a little suspect) and Kanye’s sarcasm and facetiousness about topics like gold digging and video ho’s make him endearing. But this CD was just slow and boring for me. Maybe it was out of order a bit but you can’t blame anyone but K. West for that either.
Sophomore albums are tough, especially when your first album was as good as it was. Hopefully Kanye will bounce back in a big way on his 3rd (I’m not holding my breath…I think the success has gone to his head and he may be lost for good.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle

First off, the Grammy's sucked as usual. My dad was pissed that the Dixie Chicks won so much because they're commie pinko leftists but really they just had a great CD and a terrific producer and really did deserve to win a bunch. Also, i suggested that if my dad didn't enjoy protest music that he should take every album he has from every Vietnam era band he liked and just go ahead and burn them. Moving on.

Secondly, i really enjoyed the conversation about the Top 5 British Bands of all time. And yes, i missed a big one with Queen. They deserved to be up there in both lists. A great band, very influential and one of my favorites. It was a blinding error and i'm embarrassed for making it. Most of the time, these postings are just crap off the top of my head, but i actually went and did some research on the British Top 5 post and i really thought i had considered everyone who deserved the influential spots. For instance, I had initially written The Clash in at #5 before realizing that The Sex Pistols totally paved the way for The Clash...it would be like saying that Green Day was in my American Punk Top 5 but the Ramones weren't...So yeah, somehow Queen slipped through the cracks but thanks to Nole for bringing it to every one's attention.

Also, my lack of knowledge, experience and appreciation for Radiohead has been very well documented on this blog so i can't really believe that anyone was surprised i left them out. I'd have been a total poser for putting them in at all. It's a problem, i admit it, and i'm working on it, i promise. In the meantime, i would really like someone (Laura, Kate, Courtney i'm looking at you) to do some research and put some thought into just who and what Radiohead has influenced. The other bands we all named paved the way for other bands that followed with a swath as wide as a thousand bulldozers and i'm interested to see what bands or what sounds specifically can be traced back to Radiohead and also why they stop there and can't be traced THROUGH Radiohead to someone else. You have your mission, go forth, wreak havoc.

On with the shuffle:
1. Tunnel of Love - Dire Straits
I like it when the shuffle throws me an 8 minute song right off the bat so i can actually listen to it and type at the same time. It seems like i always get some crazy 2:15 song and i have to pause to finish my commentary about it and it just messes with the flow of the entire shuffle.
Anyway, Dire Straits kicks ass...and now that i think about it, i think they may be in my Brit Band top 5 after all... i originally had them at 6 -8 but now that i'm listening to this song, i might like their body of work overall more than i like The Who, or The Beatles. I'm not saying they were a better or bigger band, i'm just saying that on a song by song basis, i think i'd rather listen to "Money for Nothing" than "Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy" or "Sgt. Peppers"...i don't know, maybe, that's a pretty bold statement and one that may not be true by this afternoon. We'll see.
Anyway, this song has this rolling feel to it that would make it a good running or driving song. It just keeps flowing over its 8 minutes interspersed with little solos and guitar licks and Mark Knopfler's incredibly cool sounding vocals that sound like he's breathing out a puff of smoke every time he opens his mouth. Talented band, and an underrated one at that. If the depth of your Dire Straits knowledge is Money For Nothing or hearing Romeo and Juliet on the soundtrack of "Can't Hardly Wait" give me a call and i'll get you hooked up.

2. Chicago is So Two Years Ago (acoustic) - Fall Out Boy
I'm not sure where i downloaded this from but the quality is awful. You can barely hear Patrick Stump's vocals over the little scenster kids clapping and singing awfully off key while imagining how the lyrics perfectly apply to their own little broken-heart high school romances. In fact, this is horrible, i'm clicking next.

3. Red Rabbits - The Shins, off of Wincing the Night Away
I'm flying to NYC on Thursday and this CD is at the top of my play list for the 6 hour flight. I'm very excited. In fact, let's do a quick top 5:
Top 5 new (to me) albums i'm most excited about listening to on the way to and from NYC
1. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
2. The Killers - Sam's Town (surprisingly good)
3. Norah Jones - Not Too Late
4. The Beta Band - 3 E.P.s
5. Johnny Cash - American V

Yeah, and just listening to this song for the first time, i can tell i'm going to enjoy it. I hope the rest of the CD is like this. The new Shins strikes me like the perfect album to chill out to on a plane while reading a large chunk of Audacity of Hope (sorry i'm so far behind guys). These guys should call Natalie Portman every damn day and thank her.

4. The Man in Me - Bob Dylan, off of The Big Lebowski Soundtrack
Hilarious song, hilarious movie. They did such a good job on the music in that movie that i can't listen to a single song on the soundtrack without automatically picturing exactly what's happening in the movie. And isn't that what a soundtrack is supposed to be about? Just total symbiosis between the two mediums? That's what i thought.
Anyway, what more can i say about Dylan or the movie? Not a lot i feel. But i will mention this joke from Bill Maher: "Bob Dylan is the voice of our generation and he can't argue with that. We didn't really have a choice in the matter. If we had a choice wouldn't you think we'd pick a better voice than his?"

5. Rockin' The Suburbs - Ben Folds, off of Rockin' the Suburbs
It makes sense that i'm going to see Courtney in NYC this weekend and she's the one who introduced me to Ben Folds and to this song. Courtney and I took a class our freshman year in Colorado called U.S. Race And Ethnic Relations...which we both affectionately remember as Race Relations Boot Camp. What an awful semester. Although Courtney and I will both admit that we learned more about race and privilege and our own thoughts and prejudices than at any other time in our lives, it was just an amazing way to be absolutely torn down at your core and be told that everything you've known about your race and your upbringing and your opportunities were just complete false or worse, that you've only had the opportunities you had been given at the expense of someone else. So this song really hit me at the perfect time in life... "Y'all don't know what it's like/being male, middle class and white./Y'all don't know what it's like/being male, middle class and white. It gets me real pissed off and i wanna scream/It gets me real pissed off and i wanna scream, It gets me real pissed off and i wanna scream, 'FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
Yup...that's pretty much exactly what it felt like at the time. Isn't it amazing how music can do that?

Alright, big week this week. Vegas tomorrow with Ron and Nole, then NYC to see Courtney and others. I can't make any promises about more posts this week but i've got a lot of ideas and i'm hoping that i can find a really cool coffee shop to sit in with my laptop and iPod and just be so stereotypical that it hurts. So don't be surprised if you see 3-4 more things this week.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Brit Band Top 5

My good friends Kevin and Neil have been meeting for some quality "guy time" every week and talking about music and life and probably a ton more. I haven't been able to meet up with them yet (stupid work) but Kevin has filled me in on a couple of their topics. Here's Kevin's list of Top 5 British bands:

Kevo: "I don't know if you have done this one before but you missed this top five at applebees. Top five british bands.

3. Led Zeplin
4. Coldplay

Any arguments?"

And to Kevin, i say, "Yes i have arguments. Isn't that what this whole blog thing is about?"

So here we go. First, if you're going to say "Top 5" anything, i've always felt that you need to qualify your criteria a little bit. And usually that criteria can be broken down into two main sections.
1. Are they in the Top 5 because you like them?
Or 2, are they in your Top 5 because they're influential and had an effect on the rest of the musical universe?
These things matter.

So here are my Top 5 British bands, first by larger influence and second by how much i like them.

Top 5 British bands who made an undeniable influence on musical history (With Apologies to Radiohead, Eric Clapton/The Yardbirds, The Who, Jethro Tull):

1. Beatles
2. Led Zeppelin
3. The Cure
4. Pink Floyd
5. The Sex Pistols

And here's The Top 5 based on the British bands i like:
1. Led Zeppelin
2. Eric Clapton
3. Jethro Tull
4. The Who
5. The Beatles

So yeah, in both of my Top 5's, Coldplay, Radiohead and Oasis don't even sniff #5. They'd probably be in the top 10, but that's not what this site is about now is it?

Alright, now it's your turn for arguments. I expect to hear something back this time.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle: The Long Band Name edition

There's a lot to take care of this morning before we actually get to the shuffle.

First thing, after my Kanye Sucks post last week, i found this video today with Common's new single featuring, of course, Kanye:

I really like it when these two work together (The Food off of Common's Be album was the shit.) and this song is really no different. I definitely feel it and i can't wait for Common's new CD, even if Kanye is going to manhandle and take over every song he's on. Common balances him out pretty well i'd say. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Also, i found a record store in Flagstaff this weekend that was going out of business and had a bunch of music on sale for 20%-25% off and of course i went nuts. I always feel justified in buying a ton of music at once because usually i'm just stealing it and i feel like i'm all square with the recording industry by buying 5 CDs a year. So here's what i picked up and i'm really excited to load them all onto the iPod and dive in.
The Beta Band - The Three E.P.S (and if you don't recognize the significance of me buying this CD in a local indie record store and talking about it on this blog then you need to go rent High Fidelity right now and watch it until you get it.)
Johnny Cash - Super Hits (This isn't an official Cash album, just one of those random compilations. It had some good songs on it and some that i haven't heard before so i picked it up.)
Johnny Cash - American V (Nole recommended this CD a long time ago and since i stole American IV i thought it was the least i could do for Johnny's estate.)
Death Cab for Cutie - We Have The Facts and We're Voting Yes (I'm a big fan of Plans, but my overall Death Cab knowledge and context is lacking, so i picked it up.)
Thrice - Vheissu (I know, i'm really late on this one but the Dustin Kensrue solo CD has me digging back into Thrice a bit. I already listened to it on the way home from Flag, and i like it so far.) And here is Dustin's performance on Letterman the other night, just for fun:

Talib Kweli - Quality (On VINYL bitches. Yeah, beat that. I already have this CD but the chance to have it on wax for 25% off was just too good to pass up. And yes, having this album makes me cooler than you. Now all i need is a record player and i'll be good to go.)
Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Yes, i missed this by about 7 years but so what? I've recently gotten back into the Fugees -- and all of their spin offs -- and knew that i really needed to give this CD a lot of attention. Why hasn't she done anything else recently? Come on Lauryn, come back, we need you.)

Let me know if you want me to send you any of these albums for your own collection. I'm hoping to start posting a weekly wish list for music and hopefully we can all start sharing and not buying as much (To kick the wish list off, i heard the new Andrew Bird album leaked last week. Someone get their hands on it and send it to me eh?)

Also, the new Fall Out Boy is streaming on Myspace, if anyone is interested.

On with the shuffle:
1. Plush (acoustic) - Stone Temple Pilots
Between stints in rehab and time spent with former members of G&R, Scott Weiland made some damn good music. This is one of my favorite songs of the grunge 90s, right next to Pearl Jam - Jeremy. It has a really catchy chorus and i just help but sing along. The acoustic version here is really nice. Just one guitar and Scott, whose voice sounds better here than it did on the actual album version.

2. Suzie Q - Credence Clearwater Revival
Ahhhhh the Credence. They just remind me of Big Lebowski no matter what and there's nothing wrong with that. This song has a kind of Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog feel to it for me. It's like, i like it once i'm listening to it, but if i don't get passed the first couple seconds then i'm just never going to listen to it. It has a cool sound to it, and it's a fun song when in the presence of people named Suzie, but that's about it. Upon closer inspection, i really do like the beat and the guitar in this song. I'm actually surprised that no rapper has sampled the drums yet. It would be a pretty mellow track. This is why i need to become a DJ.

3. Mess - Ben Folds Five, off of The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
This was my first Ben Folds song. My good friend Courtney gave me this CD freshman year of college because she said it reminded her of me. Which is interesting seeing as though this is easily Ben Folds' most depressed CD. I guess i was a little more sad and Emo at that point of life, which is too bad, but hey, i'm still here and it seems that i made it through OK.
This song really did catch my ear because at the time, i was a complete Mess. It fit, and the sound and feel of the song is one of those that just affects your heart when you hear it. I think my most poignant memory of this song is being really damn drunk on a vacation back in Phoenix and Erika had to drive me home in my own car (how she got home, i can't remember) and i just remember being effected by this song and yeah. Deep semi-painful memories there. Let's just move on.

4. On My Own - Black Eyed Peas, off of Bridging the Gaps
Imagine a time before London Bridges, before My Humps, before that cracked out little whore Fergie forsook her Kids Incorporated upbringing and began teaching completely inappropriate lyrics to every kid in America between 8 and 17. Can you picture that time? Yes it existed, and once upon that time a hip-hop group called the Black-Eyed Peas made an album so socially conscious and thought-provoking that their label wouldn't even release it. My God, how they've fallen.
Bridging the Gaps is a bad-ass album from a group that used to tour with Ozomatli and J5. This song includes vocals from Les Nubians and Mos Def. Do you think Mos would be caught dead on a Black-eyed Peas album now? Let's hope not.
It really makes me sad what's become of this band. They used to be awesome, now, well...we know what they are now.

5. Stadium Arcadium - Red Hot Chili Peppers, off of Stadium Arcadium
This song reminds me so much of Californication that it's almost disheartening. It's almost as if they have a formula for writing title tracks or something. It starts with some mournful, yet catchy, guitar riff, in comes the drums, then Keidis' voice with some profound and obscure lyric. They really are quite similar and i just noticed that today for the first time.
Well i won't let one little realization ruin this song for me. It's no secret that i really like this album and the title track here really does fit the whole ebb and flow of the entire 2-disk set. Another thing i really find myself enjoying about this song is the harmonies in the chorus. Flea's voice actually adds a ton of texture to this song (and on Make You Feel Better, another good song on the album) and it really sounds like the whole band is singing and believing in what the song and the band is about. I like it. A lot. Now, a little variety would be good for next time.

More this week. Promise this time. I've been saving up some good topics for a while. Keep an eye out.

(I didn't realize this until now but 4 of 5 bands in the shuffle today have 3-word names, and the 5th band has a 4-word name. Weird. We know not the insanity of the shuffle button.)