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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

The Hold Steady’s Boys and Girls in America is only $1.99 on AmazonMp3!!!!!!!!

In music, recommendations, remarkable discoveries on March 22, 2009 at 8:50 am

I love The Hold Steady.  I love this album.  It is one of the best albums of the decade (if not all time) and you should go buy it.  Why, you ask?  Well, because today it is only $1.99 on AmazonMP3!!!!  Craig Finn is one of the best songwriters out there, so you should give them a chance.  By the way, for those of you who go to Calvin, you should go see them at the Festival of Faith and Music.

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Check out The War on Drugs

In music, recommendations, reviews, videos on March 15, 2009 at 10:28 pm

No, not the government campaign or the Barenaked Ladies song.  They’re a really cool new band and I’ve been digging their album, Wagonwheel Blues.  Great stuff.  I’m excited to see them at the Festival of Faith and Music.  Here’s a video:

Musically speaking, 2009 trumps 2008.

In music, recommendations on March 4, 2009 at 6:01 pm

The folks at NPR: All Songs Considered said it, and I agree.  While there were definitely some great albums in 2008, on the whole, 2009 has it beat.  We’ve already had a ton of great releases and still more to come.  Here are some winners in the order they were released:

Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (1/20)

Antony & the Johnsons – The Crying Light (1/20)

Bruce Springsteen – Working on a Dream (1/27)

M. Ward – Hold Time (2/17)

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (3/3)

U2 – No Line on the Horizon (3/3)

We still have the new album from the Decemberists later this month, a live cd/dvd documentary by The Hold Steady in early April, and a new Wilco album sometime later this year.  I’m sure there is much more that I’ve left off, but I think we can all agree that this is a great year for music.

By the way, U2 is on David Letterman every night this week.  The first two nights have been incredible, so I would watch the rest if I were you.


The Avett Brothers cover Springsteen’s “Glory Days”

In music, videos on February 25, 2009 at 3:21 pm

This is awesome.  I had wanted to check these guys out for a while and this is a great cover.  You should check out some of the other videos on Springsteen’s site.

STREAM THE NEW U2 ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!

In music, recommendations, remarkable discoveries on February 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm

You can listen to No Line on the Horizon on the band’s MySpace page!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go buy the new M. Ward CD.

In music, recommendations, reviews on February 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm

It’s great.  It’s called Hold Time and you should buy it.  Here we find Ward continuing his exploration of the roots of American folk, blues, pop, rock, and country.

Warning: Ward is not for everybody, but if you like good music, it would be a wise decision to give him a shot.  This is probably the best (read: most accessible) place to start for M. Ward beginners.

Watch him perform his new single “Never Had Nobody Like You” on Letterman:

Bruce Springsteen is Working on a Dream

In music, recommendations, reviews on February 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

If you have ever talked about music with me sometime during the past year or so you probably discovered that I have a mild obsession with Bruce Springsteen.  There are times that I will even make outrageous statements such as, “Bruce Springsteen is the greatest songwriter in the history of American music.”  Needless to say, I love the Boss (not romantically of course).

While his new album, Working on a Dream, has gotten extremely mixed reviews across the board (ranging from 5 stars from Rolling Stone to 1.5 stars from Slant), I think that it is most definitely a worthy addition to the Springsteen canon.  It certainly lacks the angst of earlier albums, but the stories are still there.

“Outlaw Pete” and “Queen of the Supermarket” are without a doubt the two most polarizing songs on the album.  In “Outlaw Pete,” the main character is literally a born criminal, and in “Queen of the Supermarket,” we meet a man who is so beaten down (thematically, classic Springsteen), that his only consolation is seeing the “beauty behind the counter.”  While they might be odd at first listen, within the context of the world that Springteen has sang about since Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., these songs add depth and color to an already great collection of songs.

Production-wise, Working on a Dream is the most interesting Springsteen album in years.  The Brian Wilson influence first found on Magic is continued and, dare I say, perfected.  The melodic bass lines found in “Working on a Dream” and “This Life” are 60s influenced pop at its best.  On the bluesy “Good Eye,” Bruce finally found a place for the vocal distortion that he has been experimenting with on the live version of “Reason to Believe.”  “This Life” and “Kingdom of Days” are gorgeous, and “The Last Carnival” and “The Wrestler” are a somber, but perfect way to end the album; the former a eulogy for recently deceased E-Street band member Danny Federici and the latter a bonus track from the film of the same name.

Overall, Working on a Dream is a great album.  While it will never be remembered as a classic album in the realm of  Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Nebraska, or Born in the U.S.A., it is most certainly classic Springsteen.   Many will disagree with me, but I will even say that it will be considered among the best albums of 2009.  I highly recommend it.

Best Albums of 2008 – The Definitive List

In music, recommendations, reviews on January 1, 2009 at 2:55 am

I am the first to admit that I am a pretentious weiner that likes to lament the current state of popular music.  However, in a year full of auto-tune, there have been many beacons of hope.  I now present to you the definitive list of the best music of 2008.  I have to be honest though.  I’m not sure whether I should have done a top 5 or this top 10.  For the next few weeks I will probably flip-flop my opinions as to which deserve the 6-10 rankings and which deserve to be “Runners Up”.  Nevertheless, here is my imperfect list.

Top 10 Albums of 2008

  1. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
  2. Lucinda Williams – Little Honey
  3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
  4. Kathleen Edwards – Asking for Flowers
  5. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cardinology
  6. Ray LaMontagne – Gossip in the Grain
  7. Ron Sexsmith – Exit Strategy of the Soul
  8. Sigur Ros – Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
  9. Coldplay – Viva La Vida or Death & All His Friends
  10. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Runners Up

Other Notable Releases (that are as good if not better than some on the top 10 list, but due to not being “studio” albums, were not included)

Reissue of the Year

Calvin College Student Activities Office made one the best decisions ever.

In music, recommendations, remarkable discoveries on December 16, 2008 at 5:22 pm

After a relatively uneventful (in my opinion) season of concerts, Calvin College SAO have finally stepped it up.  I was hoping that they would blow my mind with the lineup for the Festival of Faith and Music and although they haven’t announced all of the concerts yet, having The Hold Steady play makes the whole year feel better.  Not only are they one of the best bands in America right now, their album Stay Positive is a serious contender for my favorite album of the year.

Kathleen Edwards – Asking For Flowers

In music, recommendations, remarkable discoveries, reviews on December 5, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Kathleen Edwards is an artist that I’ve heard about for a long time, but never actually took the time to check out.  A few days ago, I bought her most recent album, Asking For Flowers.  It’s one of the most simply poignant albums I’ve heard in a long, long time.  Check it out.  I thought I had figured out my Top 10 albums of 2008, but now I’m going to have to do some rethinking…