Category Archives: music

Lists of Everything

Fallen Angel

I could have tried to be clever and called this post “Listomania” to reference Phoenix, but I’m not that much of a douchebag. Instead, I’m just presenting to you the 100% scientifically accurate lists of the Top 101 Songs of the Decade, the Top 104.1 Songs of 2009 (in honor of the late WBCN), and the Top 10 Albums of 2009. Also, check out my 2009 in Review note on Facebook here.

If you don’t like it, sit and wait for Pax’s lists that are TBA.

Top 10 Albums of 2009

Worst Album: Muse – The Resistance
10. Kylesa – Static Tensions
9. Have Nots – Serf City USA
8. Cage the Elephant – Cage the Elephant
7. New Found Glory – Not Without A Fight
6. MC Lars – This Gigantic Robot Kills
5. Rancid – Let The Dominoes Fall
4. Anti-Flag – The People or the Gun
3. Lamb of God – Wrath
2. Billy Talent – Billy Talent III
1. Psychostick – Sandwich

Top 104.1 Songs of 2009

104.1. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – You Left Right? (Pin Points And Gin Joints)
104. Clutch – Motherless Child (Strange Cousins From The West)
103. Big Business – Ayes Have It (Mind The Drift)
102. Kittie – Falling Down (In The Black)
101. Les Claypool – Bite Out Of Life (Of Fungi And Foe)
100. Franz Ferdinand – No You Girls (Tonight: Franz Ferdinand)
99. Atmosphere – C’mon (Leak at Will)
98. Brand New – At the Bottom (Daisy)
97. Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning (Humbug)
96. Marilyn Manson – Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon (The High End Of Low)
95. A Fine Frenzy – What I Wouldn’t Do (Bomb In A Birdcage)
94. Lady Sovereign – So Human (Jigsaw)
93. Biffy Clyro – The Captain (Only Revolutions)
92. Lunatica – The Incredibles (New Shores)
91. Static-X – Terminal (Cult Of Static)
90. The New Alibis – The Otherside (Hard Promises)
89. Hockey – Too Fake (Mind Chaos)
88. Dethklok – The Gears (Dethalbum II)
87. Delain – Control The Storm (April Rain)
86. Death by Stereo – I Sing for You (Death Is My Only Friend)
85. Amberian Dawn – Shallow Waters (The Clouds Of Northland Thunder)
84. The Decemberists – Won’t Want For Love (Margaret In the Taiga) (The Hazards Of Love)
83. Idlewild – Readers & Writers (Post Electric Blues)
82. (hed) P.E. – Tow The Line (New World Orphans)
81. Suidakra – Feats Of War (Crógacht)
80. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Lonely Road (Lonely Road)
79. Regina Spektor – The Calculation (Far)
78. Tori Amos – Not Dying Today (Abnormally Attracted To Sin)
77. The Raveonettes – Bang! (In And Out Of Control)
76. NOFX – Best God In Show (Coaster)
75. Florence And The Machine – Kiss With A Fist (Lungs)
74. Hedley – Cha-Ching (The Show Must Go)
73. Chevelle – Jars (Sci-Fi Crimes)
72. Atreyu – You Were The King, And Know You’re Unconscious (Congregation Of The Damn)
71. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero (It’s Blitz!)
70. The Bravery – Hatefuck (Stir The Blood)
69. cKy – The Boardwalk Body (Carver City)
68. August Burns Red – Existence (Constellations)
67. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson – Relator (Breakup)
66. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Tenure Itch (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart)
65. Kasabian – Underdog (West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum)
64. Bomb the Music Industry! – It Shits!!! (Scrambles)
63. AFI – I Am Trying Very Hard To Be Here (Crash Love)
62. Converge – Dark Horse (Axe To Fall)
61. The Enemy – Elephant Song (Music For The People)
60. All Time Low – A Party Song (The Walk of Shame) (Nothing Personal)
59. Arch Enemy – Pilgrim (The Root of All Evil)
58. Metric – Stadium Love (Fantasies)
57. White Lies – From The Stars (To Lose My Life)
56. Lily Allen – Everyone’s At It (It’s Not Me, It’s You)
55. Muse – Guiding Light (The Resistance)
54. Insane Clown Posse – Bang! Pow! Boom! (Bang! Pow! Boom!)
53. Collective Soul – Welcome All Again (Collective Soul)
52. The Thermals – When I Died (Now We Can See)
51. Tegan & Sara – Hell (Sainthood)
50. stellastarr* – Warchild (Civilized)

Continues after the break…

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Friday Random 10: Moons Over Mars Edition

Last month we brought you the sad news that our brave Mars robot — Spirit — was stuck in some deep sand on the surface of Mars with little hope of escape. The poor guy is still trapped there, but was recently able to make even more history by taking this photograph of the twin moons of Phobos and Deimos orbiting the red planet:

As you can see from these images — the first time these moons have ever been photographed from the surface of Mars — Phobos and Deimos are plainly not made of cheese. Rather they are giant floating skulls — the remnants of a once-proud civilization of 5,000 foot tall space aliens. Just kidding. They were faked in a sound stage in Burbank.

The songs:

Brackett, WI — Bon Iver
Dominos — The Big Pink
Twilight Galaxy — Metric
Holidays in the Sun — Sex Pistols
I Won’t Be Found — The Tallest Man on Earth
On A Plain — Nirvana
Omaha — Counting Crows
Hank — Jay Bennett
Lines — Tapes N Tapes
Together — The Raconteurs

Bonus Video:

Out of the Blue — Julian Casablancas (Live at Le Grand Journal)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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The day the (free) music (almost) died

According to Wired, today marks the 10th anniversary of the music industry’s lawsuit against file-sharing site Napster.

You may remember that Napster’s defense in the suit, before laying down and playing dead, was that it did not give away copyrighted music — rather it provided a platform for users to share their own files with each other. The RIAA’s argument was that Napster was a bunch of fire demons with cloven feet who were sure to turn the nation’s children into gay communist ax murderers.

After suing Napster for everything it had, the RIAA turned its fire on Bertelsmann, the German media conglomerate that had loaned Napster money:

The lawsuits accused Bertelsmann of copyright infringement for propping up Napster financially with loans totaling $85 million. The lawsuits claimed the firm wanted “to preserve Napster’s user base for Bertelsmann’s own commercial advantage.”

At the time of the loans, Bertelsmann’s chairman, Thomas Middelhoff, explained that “Napster has pointed the way for a new direction for music distribution, and we believe it will form the basis of important and exciting new business models for the future of the music industry.”

Bertelsmann paid millions of dollars to settle the claims. The media concern agreed in 2006 to pay the world’s largest label, Universal Music Group, $60 million to settle the allegations. EMI got an undisclosed amount in 2007, and Warner Music Group settled that same year for $110 million.

The music industry has come a long way since the original Napster lawsuit. Not only has it recognized the promotional value of easily-copied digital music files, but it has engineered a successful shift in its core business model to compensate for the corresponding decline in CD sales.

Hahahaha, just kidding — they’ve been suing the shit out of college students and stay-at-home moms.

Oh, and stiffing the talent.

Witness the saga of Tim Quirk, bassist for Too Much Joy. Recently Warner Music sent Quirk a royalty statement that allegedly accounted for digital sales of the band’s music. The statement showed that Quirk’s band had earned a grand total of $62.47 over the prior five years (which was simply subtracted from the band’s “unrecouped” advances*). This is where Quirk’s day job helped him get to work:

Here’s the thing: I work at Rhapsody. I know what we pay Warner Bros. for every stream and download, and I can look up exactly how many plays and downloads we’ve paid them for each TMJ tune that Warner controls. Moreover, Warner Bros. knows this, as my gig at Rhapsody is the only reason I was able to get them to add my digital royalties to my statement in the first place. For years I’d been pestering the label, but I hadn’t gotten anywhere till I was on a panel with a reasonably big wig in Warner Music Group’s business affairs team about a year ago.

I knew that each online service was reporting every download, and every play, for every track, to thousands of labels (more labels, I’m guessing, than Warner has artists to report to). And I also knew that IODA was able to tell me exactly how much money my band earned the previous month from Amazon ($11.05), Verizon (74 cents), Nokia (11 cents), MySpace (4 sad cents) and many more. I didn’t understand why Warner wasn’t reporting similar information back to my band – and if they weren’t doing it for Too Much Joy, I assumed they weren’t doing it for other artists.

So a major player in the industry that spent years and millions attacking its own best customers has yet to build a reliable system for reporting to the artists how much they’re selling or not selling. Then when someone pesters them for real numbers, they sit on the request for a year and send him a half-assed statement that is clearly, indisputably wrong. And they know he’s a music industry insider, so they can’t possibly think they’ll get away with it.

In conclusion, the music industry is so hopelessly stupid it makes the newspaper industry look like Google. Oops. Bad choice of words?

Dec. 7, 1999: RIAA Sues Napster [Wired]

* Here is Quirk’s explanation of how advances and the concept of recouping works:

A word here about that unrecouped balance, for those uninitiated in the complex mechanics of major label accounting. While our royalty statement shows Too Much Joy in the red with Warner Bros. (now by only $395,214.71 after that $62.47 digital windfall), this doesn’t mean Warner “lost” nearly $400,000 on the band. That’s how much they spent on us, and we don’t see any royalty checks until it’s paid back, but it doesn’t get paid back out of the full price of every album sold. It gets paid back out of the band’s share of every album sold, which is roughly 10% of the retail price. So, using round numbers to make the math as easy as possible to understand, let’s say Warner Bros. spent something like $450,000 total on TMJ. If Warner sold 15,000 copies of each of the three TMJ records they released at a wholesale price of $10 each, they would have earned back the $450,000. But if those records were retailing for $15, TMJ would have only paid back $67,500, and our statement would show an unrecouped balance of $382,500.

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Friday Random 10: Jersey Shore Edition

Last night marked the debut of one of the television season’s most anticipated shows, the regrettable “Jersey Shore” on MTV. Basically the premise of this show is to follow a group of the stupidest guidos on the planet as they dog-paddle through their shallow existence at a certain outpost in New Jersey — official maligned home state of Pax Arcana.

I did not see the premiere episode last night, but I checked up with Gawker’s live-blog-in-the-comments to get an appraisal of the event. I got as far as this:

DID HE JUST PUNCH A GIRL IN THE FUCKING FACE?!

Some critics say “Jersey Shore” is anti-Italian, since it glorifies the worst stereotypes of young Italian-American culture. I partly agree, since I know several meatball slurpers — our own Perry Ellis is one! — who do not ritualistically cruise around with spiked hair and oversized sunglasses and punch girls in the fucking face. On the other hand, holy SHIT you should have seen my high school. Just filled with knuckledragging ziti weiners like this. Christ almighty, I’ll take a pugnacious newsboy hat-wearing Boston mook moron any day of the week over these greasy bastards. No offense, Perry.

The songs:

Walls in Time — Bob Mould
Two Times Blue — Debbie Harry
Fame Throwa — Pavement
One PM Again — Yo La Tengo
Pink Turns To Blue — Husker Du
Get Older — Dan Deacon
XMas Curtain — My Morning Jacket
Lucifer’s Jigsaw — Jaydiohead
Baltimore — Steven Malkmus and the Jicks
Big Love — Broken Social Scene Presents… Kevin Drew

Bonus Video:

Fake Empire / It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop — Frightened Rabbit

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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Friday Random 10: Fading Spirits Edition

mars_spirit

Sad news from Mars this week as NASA officials are openly questioning the future of the Spirit rover, which has been cruising the surface of the red planet for six years. It’s not out of batteries or anything. It’s just kind of, well, stuck:

In April, Spirit’s wheels broke through a hard crust on the Martian surface and encountered loosely packed fine sand beneath. Initial attempts to drive the rover out ended up with it instead sinking deeper into the trap.

Engineers set up a sand box at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and positioned a sister rover inside to try to figure out a way for Spirit to free itself.

“We’ve pretty much exhausted all the possibilities, all the things that we can do on the ground,” rover project manager John Callas told Discovery News.

With the cold Martian winter on its way, the Spirit could be in danger of dying if it can’t get out of the soft sand and toward the sun — where its solar panels could collect enough energy to keep it alive during the winter. I think I speak for all robot enthusiasts when I say “Beeeep boop, brave Spirit. Beep boop beeeeeep.”

The songs:

Save us S.O.S. — Hot Hot Heat
My Little Corner of the World — Yo La Tengo
Naked as a Window — Josh Ritter
Everybody Knows that You Are Insane — Queens of the Stone Age
Hold Time — M. Ward
Bright Lights — Pete and the Pirates
Dominos — The Big Pink
How To Fight Loneliness — Wilco
Your Southern Can is Mine — The White Stripes
Let’s Not Shit Ourselves — Bright Eyes

Bonus video:

Brooklyn Zoo — Ol’ Dirty Bastard (Kind of a requiem on the 5-year anniversary of his death)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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Friday Random 10: Hair-pulling edition

I was going to use this space to make some hay about New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert’s pageant of moloko and ultraviolence that was featured on Sportscenter last night. But I don’t have much to say beyond “SHIT!” and “YIKES!” and “OUCH!”

elizabeth_lambert

Turns out Lambert has been suspended indefinitely for her offenses, which — if you haven’t seen the video — include but are not limited to: punching, karate chopping, hair pulling, tripping, flailing, flaying, impalement, and the occasional forearm shiver. The thing is she was not penalized for any of these things during the game — though she did draw a yellow card for arguing.

All in all I say an indefinite suspension is a bit excessive. I say that because this chick scares the piss out of me, and I’m pretty sure she could kick my ass. Aside from that I’m all man, baby.

The songs:

Not Alone — Dub Trio
Different Names for the Same Thing — Death Cab for Cutie
No Karma — Jaydiohead
Dance Hall — Modest Mouse
Reoccurring Dreams — Husker Du
Werewolf — Cat Power
I’ll Decorate My Love — Jay Bennett
Too Drunk To Dream — Magnetic Fields
I Lost You — The Walkmen
In Cairo — Hot Hot Heat

Bonus Video:

January Wedding — The Avett Brothers (Because that show at the House of Blues was awesome)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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Friday Random 10: You can’t overestimate Gerry Callahan

Father Scott

On my delicious nine-minute commute this morning, I got to hear the dulcet tones of Gerry Callahan say the following on EEI (paraphrased):

“You can’t overestimate the importance of the return of Brett Favre to Green Bay.”

Oh, Gerry, Gerry, Gerry. I’m afraid you don’t know me well. Watch how I overestimate this:

I say the return of Brett Favre to Lambeau Field is 12 times more significant than the invention of the cotton gin. Lewis and Clark trekking west? Bitches. Genocide in Africa? I wouldn’t bother myself with such trifles when I can spend my mental energy on imagining what the 650 lb. McCarthy couple thinks about some old guy throwing around a leather ball for three hours.

Am I being petty? Of course. But this is one annoying verbal tick that needs to go away. I don’t just mean in sports. News, politics, finance, whatever. Just say it’s interesting, or this means more to Wisconsinites than the local grocery stores’ buy 12 wheels of cheese get one half-off sale (OK, that’s also and overestimation.) You can always overestimate stuff and always sound stupid.

Like, for instance, you’re at a conference for work but have a tickle in your throat so you stay in your hotel room the whole time, but then stay up late tweeting about the World Series. In that case, you’re probably overestimating the effect of your sickness. Either that or you’re just a disgrace to your Viking ancestry.

UPDATE: Related: Via @Adam_Schefter on Twitter: True Factoid: What was “Minnesota Avenue” in Green Bay was officially renamed this week “Aaron Rodgers Drive.” That’s pretty awesome.

The songs:

I And Love And You, The Avett Bros.
Gimme a Sign, Ryan Adams
Pennyroyal Tea, Nirvana
Billie Jean, Michael Jackson
A Fond Farewell, Elliott Smith
Faithfull, Pearl Jam
Made You Look, Nas
Gone Gone — NYC, Conor Oberst
Sunlight, Harlem Shakes
Play Your Part (pt. 1), Girl Talk

Bonus video:

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