Saturday, December 12, 2009

JK's Best of 2009

2009 was the hardest year of work, not surprisingly, that I've ever had. That's not necessarily a bad thing at all, I've been very fortunate, it's just an adjustment. Unfortunately, it's also meant that I haven't been able to keep up with this blog very often and I suppose that's unlikely to change either. Despite it all, I still managed to listen to a lot of music this year and the result was very promising. I can't say the same about live shows this year, aside from standouts such as Band of Horses/Arbouretum at Carnegie Hall and Dark Was the Night at Radio City, I witnessed a lot of good shows but few great ones. Hope lies ahead in 2010 with Yeasayer in January, home to Charlottesville to catch Drive-By Truckers with my dad, and Muse/Silversun Pickups at the Garden in March. Here were my favorites from '09:

20. Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti is...Skyscraper
19. Brakes - Touchdown
18. Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
17. Fanfarlo - Reservoir
16. Various Artists - Dark Was The Night
15. ...Trail of Dead - The Century of Self
14. Harlem Shakes - Technicolor Health
13. Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
12. Drummer - Feel Good Together
11. The Maccabees - Wall of Arms
10. The Antlers - Hospice
09. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
08. Them Crooked Vultures - s/t
07. Doves - Kingdom of Rust
06. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns
05. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
04. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
03. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
02. Mastodon - Crack the Skye
01. Grizzly Bear - Veckatamist

21. Suckers - It Gets Your Body Moving
20. The xx - Crystalised
19. Editors - Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool
18. The Maccabees - No Kind Words
17. Monsters of Folk - Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)
16. Franz Ferdinand - Lucid Dreams
15. Arctic Monkeys - The Jeweller's Hands
14. Clues - Ledmonton
13. Them Crooked Vultures - No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
12. The Rural Alberta Advantage - The Ballad of the RAA
11. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll
10. Phoenix - 1901
09. White Rabbit - Percussion Gun
08. Grizzly Bear - While You Wait for the Others
07. Arbouretum - False Spring
06. Phoenix - Lisztomania
05. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Hysteric
04. The Flaming Lips - Worm Mountain
03. Passion Pit - Moth's Wings
02. Drummer - Mature Fantasy
01. Bon Iver - Brackett, WI

Update: I forgot one of my favorites so I'm making a last minute adjustment and adding Arbouretum...

03. Suckers - Suckers EP
02. Blitzen Trapper - Black River Killer
01. Puscifer - "C" Is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here) EP

Thursday, December 03, 2009

AV Club's Best Films of the '00s

I'm a sucker for these lists, especially when they come from sites that I have a lot of respect for. AV Club presents their list of the best films of the '00s, something that seems too overwhelming for me to attempt. Memento is my definitive favorite so it's nice to see that one come in at number 5. One thing that is clear is that I have not seen nearly enough of the films in the top 50.

Top 10:
10. Children Of Men (2006)
09. The New World (2005)
08. Capturing The Friedmans (2003)
07. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
06. Spirited Away (2001)
05. Memento (2000)
04. No Country For Old Men (2007)
03. There Will Be Blood (2007)
02. 25th Hour (2002)
01. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

JK's Best Albums of the 2000s

I started putting this list together back in August, shared it with NF, put it aside for awhile, and finally put the finishing touches on it today...I think. Albums that came out this year are tough to consider because they've haven't quite set in yet. Then again, I'm listening to so much more music now than I did 9 years ago, it's hard to say how much I will come back to albums released this year.

Update: I had to make a couple corrections based on more reflection.

Here are my favorites:

50. Drive-By Truckers - Southern Rock Opera (2001) Ryan Adams - Gold (2001)
49. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (2008)
48. Sigur Rós - Ágætis byrjun (2001) Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism (2003)
47. The National - Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003)
46. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive (2008)
45. Band of Horses - Everything All the Time (2006)
44. The White Stripes - De Stijl (2000)
43. Drive-By Truckers - The Dirty South (2004)
42. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (2004)
41. The Black Keys - Rubber Factory (2004)
40. Muse - Origin of Symmetry (2001)
39. Mastodon - Crack the Skye (2009)
38. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine (2006)
37. Spoon - Gimme Fiction (2005)
36. Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
35. Drive-By Truckers - Decoration Day (2003)
34. Radiohead - Hail to the Thief (2003)
33. Constantines - Shine a Light (2003)
32. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (2007)
31. TOOL - Lateralus (2001)
30. Radiohead - Amnesiac (2001)
29. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest (2009)
28. TV On The Radio - Dear Science, (2008)
27. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America (2006)
26. Doves - The Last Broadcast (2002)
25. My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves (2003)
24. Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica (2000)
23. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema (2005)
22. The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
21. Dismemberment Plan - Change (2001)
20. The White Stripes - Elephant (2003)
19. Muse - Absolution (2004)
18. TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain (2006)
17. Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)
16. The Strokes - Is This It? (2001)
15. The National - Boxer (2007)
14. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (2005)
13. Queens for the Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf (2002)
12. The Wrens - Meadowlands (2003)
11. Cloud Cult - Advice for the Happy Hippopotamus (2005)
10. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
09. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells (2001)
08. Broken Social Scene - Your Forgot It in People (2003)
07. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (2005)
06. Beck - Sea Change (2002)
05. The National - Alligator (2005)
04. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)
03. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes (2002)
02. Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)
01. Radiohead - Kid A (2000)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

One More Reason to Love Muse

Glenn Beck Praises New Muse Album – Muse Ask For Retraction

If that wasn't enough, here's another example: An Italian TV show asks them to lip sync "Uprising," the band disagreed, so all three members switched places to "perform" the song. Unfortunately, the video has been pulled but Matt Bellamy on drums hamming it up for the camera was absolutely classic.

The new album is growing on me. There are 3 really bad songs on it but I'm happy with the rest. I'm sure they picked up a lot of new fans opening for U2 on this stadium tour so I'm hoping they come back soon for a headlining tour. Few bands bring it on the stage like they can.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Mars Volta @ the Palladium, 08.30.09

A minute into the Morricone suite and the mob begins to push. Closer.

"Omar coming. Omar coming."

Ikey Owens initiates the mayhem and from the opening notes, the crowd knows its done for. Cedric in peak form, Omar on interstellar overdrive. Tighter and heavier than ever before.


"Son et Lumiere"
"Inertiatic E.S.P."
"Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)"
"Viscera Eyes"
"Halo of Nembutals"
"Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus"
"Desperate Graves"
"Eunuch Provocateur"
"Drunkship of Lanterns"
"The Widow"
"Wax Simulacra"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The National @ the Wiltern, 08.29.09

Raw and unwound from the opening bars of "Runaway". Halfway through "Mr. November" and Matt Berninger's clawing his way to the middle of the art deco theater. A lone light searches. Camera phones float in the dark. The brothers Dessner come unglued at the strings in front of him. Behind him. Twisting through the crowd hitting every word on the way. Standing above the crowd. Screaming. Reeling.

"I won't fuck us over. I'm Mr. November."


"Runaway" (new)
"Start a War"
"Mistaken for Strangers"
"Secret Meeting"
"Baby, We'll Be Fine"
"Slow Show"
"Vanderlylle Cry Baby" (new)
"Squalor Victoria"
"All the Wine"
"Apartment Story"
"Blood Buzz Ohio" (new)
"Fake Empire"


"Green Gloves"
"Mr. November"
"About Today"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures

How much longer until I can hear a damn song? 30 seconds is not enough, damn it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pearl Jam's Backspacer Cover Art

Plug in the pieces here to join in on the treasure hunt. I can't find 4 and 7.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Only in New York...

...can you literally walk outside of work to see Sir Paul McCartney performing live. I just caught the last 30 minutes of his performance on top of the Late Show marquee at the Ed Sullivan Theatre. He ended with "Back in the USSR."


Of course, I forgot my phone when I was on the street and could actually see him but I did take these photos from our office floor. Unfortunately, that tree is covering the stage. Letterman tonight.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Pearl Jam Tour Dates

Nothing in NYC...yet.

Ben Harper and the Relentless7 will open the West Coast dates. That essentially guarantees a performance of "Indifference."

Sept. 21: Seattle (Key Arena)
Sept. 22: Seattle (Key Arena)
Sept. 30: Los Angeles (Gibson Amp.)
Oct. 1: Los Angeles (Gibson Amp.)
Oct. 6: Los Angeles (Gibson Amp.)
Oct. 7: Los Angeles (Gibson Amp.)
Oct. 9: San Diego (Viejas Arena)
Oct. 28: Philadelphia (Spectrum)
Oct. 30: Philadelphia (Spectrum)

More at Billboard.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Best music of 2009 so far (AV Club)

AV Club staff weigh in on their favorites of the year.

My favorites off the top of my head: Grizzly Bear Veckatimest, Mastodon Crack the Skye, Dinosaur Jr. Farm, Yeah Yeah Yeahs It's Blitz!, Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Brakes Touchdown, Doves Kingdom of Rust, Harlem Shakes Technicolor Health, ...Trail of Dead The Century of Self, Dark Was the Night, Dark Night of the Soul, Franz Ferdinand Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, Silversun Pickups Swoon, The Antlers Hospice, Arbouretum Song of the Pearl.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Song from The National

A new slow jam, tentatively called "The Runaway" via Q TV.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Band of Horses @ Carnegie Hall, 6/11/09

My first visit to Carnegie Hall and it's for a rock show. Why am I not surprised. As we were all exiting the venue I overheard an older gentleman say "looks like the dress code has changed with the younger crowd." Classic. We were there to see Arbouretum, who embraced the acoustic theme and turned down the "doom-folk" for a very good set. I really think this band is so close to putting out an amazing record. Dave Heumann is very talented and has an amazing voice.

The Band of Horses performance felt special and they were truly appreciative of the opportunity to play in this storied venue. They mixed in a few new songs and put a new spin on some of the greats from their first two albums. I was absolutely blown away with their rendition of "Funeral."

Set List (via):
Part One
Marry Song
Why You Never Get Older
Window Blues
A Song For You (Gram Parsons Cover)
Compliments Down
The Great Salt Lake
Weed Party (in double time)
Wicked Gil (in half time)
The Funeral
New Song (by Tyler Ramsey)
No One’s Gonna Love You
Unknown Song
Ode To LRC (Ben Bridwell & Tyler Ramsey)
Detlef Schrempf
The General Specific

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Dinosaur Jr. "Over It"

This album is ridiculously good.

TV on the Radio @ Central Park Summerstage, 6/5/09

The steady rain last Friday was enough to scare away my lady and I was admittedly on the fence throughout the day. It only took the first few notes of "Love Dog" over a sea of umbrellas to know that I made the right decision. TV on the Radio have made great strides in their live performance since the last time I saw them. Having Antibalas on horns throughout adds a lot more depth and energy to the set and the band hit their stride early on and never let up. Then again, they can do no wrong in my book.

Set List:
Love Dog
Wrong Way
Blues From Down Here
Halfway Home
Golden Age
Wolf Like Me
Staring at the Sun
Red Dress
Shout Me Out
Dancing Choose
Family Tree
Young Liars
A Method

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Doves @ Terminal 5, 6/4/09

Really, what's not to love about Doves. Outside of Radiohead, I can't think of another British band that has been as consistently great this decade (Muse also comes to mind). Kingdom of Rust is no exception. While it doesn't quite reach the highs of "Cedar Room" or the insanely catchy songs on Last Broadcast ("There Goes the Fear," "Pounding," "Last Broadcast" etc.), I think it may be their best yet. Unfortunately, Terminal 5 ruined what should have been their triumphant return to NYC on Thursday. The drumming tempo was off for about half the show and the sound never felt quite right. Great bands persevere and despite the negatives, it was great to have Doves back on the scene. I really hope it's not another 4 years before they're back again.

Winter Hill
Almost Forgot Myself
The Greatest Denier
Kingdom of Rust
Black & White Town
The Outsiders
Caught By The River
The Cedar Room
Here It Comes
Last Broadcast
There Goes The Fear

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pearl Jam on Conan

So, the album is supposedly called Backspacer and the song could be called "The Fixer." Whatever it ends up being, I'm excited and despite poor sound quality, the song last night is a good one. If that was the album cover in Conan's hands, I dig it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Green Day @ Webster Hall, 5/19/09

This show was an absolute blast. Apparently, Green Day have evolved into a six-piece live band. I had no idea. Thankfully, they didn't play the entire new album because the first set felt a bit flat at times (although I could have gone for my favorite new track "Horseshoes and Handgrenades"). "Jesus of Suburbia" was intense and I'm amazed that I can still remember words from songs that I haven't heard in 15 years. "80" was far and away my favorite song from Kerplunk. Such nostalgia...

I actually took some pics last night and will get them up here soon.

SET 1:
21st Century Breakdown
Know Your Enemy
East Jesus Nowhere
Before The Lobotomy
Last Of The American Girls
Murder City
Viva La Gloria (Little Girl)
The Static Age
21 Guns
American Eulogy (Mass Hysteria/Modern World)
See The Light

SET 2:
American Idiot
Jesus Of Suburbia
St. Jimmy
Coming Clean
At The Library
Surrender [Cheap Trick]/ Bastards of Young [The Replacements]
King For A Day/Shout [The Isley Brothers]

Updated with some photos:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dark Night of the Soul: The CD That Wasn't

Absolutely ridiculous.  This is an awesome album that people should go out of their way to hear. Unless I missed it, I haven't seen how this is planned to be released in the States but I am definitely curious to see the photographs that Lynch has put together.

'Revenge' (featuring The Flaming Lips)
'Just War' (featuring Gruff Rhys)
'Jaykub' (featuring Jason Lytle)
'Little Girl (featuring Julian Casablancas)
'Angel's Harp' (featuring Frank Black)
'Pain' (featuring Iggy Pop)
'Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It)' (featuring David Lynch)
'Everytime I'm With You' (featuring Jason Lytle)
'Insane Lullaby' (featuring James Mercer of The Shins)
'Daddy's Gone' (featuring Nina Persson)
'The Man Who Played God' (featuring Suzanne Vega)
'Grim Augury' (featuring Vic Chestnutt)
'Dark Night Of The Soul' (featuring David Lynch)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Green Day

Green Day, for a period of time in the early nineties, was one of my favorite bands. I owned (still do, actually) 39/Smooth and Kerplunk and was proud of that. I lost interest in them around the time of Insomniac only to give them another shot (along with the rest of the world) with American Idiot. I've never seen them live before so when I saw that they announced a show at Webster Hall this week, I had to give it a shot. 60 bucks later, I got a ticket. This is a band that's sold more than 60 million albums playing in a 1400 capacity venue. I am pumped.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Franz Ferdinand @ Roseland, 5/7/09

This has been a crazy week.  3 shows, our co-op board interview, and one of my all-time favorite players gets suspended for 50 games.  I'm exhausted.  

Wow, Franz Ferdinand put on one hell of a show. There really isn't much to say beyond that. They bring a UK arena rock swagger that can even make Roseland appear to be a great venue.

Bite Hard
Dark Of The Matinee
No You Girls
Tell Her Tonight
Turn It On
The Fallen
Walk Away
Twilight Omens
Do You Want To
Take Me Out
What She Came For
Lucid Dreams
This Fire

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ben Harper & The Relentless7 @ Webster Hall, 5/5/09

To paraphrase Ben Harper last night: "I've heard a lot of requests for Sexual Healing and Burn One Down. I ain't going to play any of that shit anymore. I'm not a human jukebox." He says before busting into a flawless version of Queen's "Under Pressure." That's not exactly an easy song to pull off but they absolutely nailed it. 

This may be a new band for Ben Harper but he still has nearly 20 guitars at his disposal on stage. They led off the night with Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times" and BHIC tune "Better Way" before rolling through all of the songs from the Relentless7 album (with one Fight for Your Mind track for the die hards in the audience) . They took songs from a pretty good album and made them great in a live setting.  It's part of what makes Ben Harper such an amazing performer.  After technical difficulties marred "Fly One Time" he asked the audience whether it was ok to do it again.  They did and it was well worth it.  It's one of the better songs on the album and BH wanted to get it right.  

Good Times, Bad Times
Better Way
Number With No Name
Shimmer and Shine
Lay There & Hate Me
Why Must You Always Dress in Black
Skin Thin
Fly One Time x2
Keep It Together (So I Can Fall Apart)
The Word Suicide
Boots Like These
Another Lonely Day
Faithfully Remain
Under Pressure
Up To You Now

Monday, May 04, 2009

Dark Was The Night @ Radio City, 5/3/09

Photo by Rev Avissar @ Tripwire

My hat is off to Bryce and Aaron Dessner for putting together an incredible 3+ hours of music last night.  Dirty Projectors started the night with a few songs, the last of which was the David Byrne collaboration "Knotty Pine."  I like that song quite a bit but the others didn't do much for me.  My Brightest Diamond was out next to sing an incredible version of her Nina Simone cover, "Feeling Good" with The National as her backing back.  Matt Berninger then joined to kick off a 4-song set.  They began with "Slow Show," and then a piano driven new song called "England," followed by "So Far Around the Bend" and then another new song called "Vanderlylle?? Crybaby" featuring a rare (for the National) guitar solo from Justin Vernon and backing vocals from Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond).  Both of the new songs were excellent and now has me completely pumped for a new album.  Dave Sitek was next to perform his DWTN tune. I saw Kyp Malone before the show but he didn't make an appearance on stage. David Byrne closed out the first half performing three songs from past Red Hot compilations: "Don't Fence Me In," "Dreamworld: Marco de Canavezes" - with Justin Vernon, and "Waters of March (Aguas de Março)" - duet with Feist (pic above).

Bon Iver started the second half with a four song set. I loved the song that he did on DWTN but prior to that I've never really taken much interest in his music. He completely won me over last night. He's an immense talent. In addition to "Brackett, WI" he performed "Blood Bank," "Big Red Machine" (also from DWTN) with Matt Berninger, and "Flume" (also with The National). Feist followed with a 4 song solo set including "Train Song" with Justin Vernon and Sharon Jones brought down the house with the Dap Kings. Good cause. Good times. Now if I could only find my No Alternative cd...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coachella 2009: Part I

Definite: The Black Keys, Franz Ferdinand, Paul McCartney, The Hold Steady
Potential: Girl Talk, Beirut, Silversun Pickups
Ringer: Leonard Cohen
Victim: M. Ward (The Black Keys)

Definite: TV on the Radio, Mastodon, Drive-By Truckers, Cloud Cult, Band of Horses
Potential: Fleet Foxes, Thievery Corporation, Chemical Brothers
Ringers: Liars, Henry Rollins
Victim: Blitzen Trapper (DBT's), MSTRKRFT (Mastodon)

Definite: Okkervil River, Lupe Fiasco, Peter Bjorn & John, Clipse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Cure
Potential: K'naan, The Kills
Ringer: My Blood Valentine
Victims: Fucked Up, The Gaslight Anthem (Okkervil River)

The Once and Future Kings

Blood, sweat and b-side love. I am officially back on the Bloc.

"One Month Off"
"Trojan Horse"
"Hunting for Witches"
"Positive Tension"
"Waiting for the 7.18"
"Song for Clay (Disappear Here)"
"Ion Square"
"The Once and Future King"
"So Here We Are"
"The Prayer"


"This Modern Love"
Next stop: Indio, CA.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Dead Weather @ Bowery Ballroom, 4/14/09

Well, it should come as no surprise that Jack White is also a good drummer.  I'm a Jack White fan first.  I love The White Stripes and like The Racounteurs.  I don't expect The Dead Weather's music to compare to either but it was one hell of a fun show.  I'm still giddy over seeing White in a 550 capacity venue and as I, and everyone else, had hoped, he picked up the guitar for one song to remind all of his rock star worthiness.  That will be my fondest memory and was well worth the price of admission.  While the talk going in was on White, I think everyone walked out last night completely floored by Alison Mossheart.  I don't even love her voice but it's impossible not to be awed by her commanding stage presence.  The band played like they've been together for years (as many of them have).  It was uncompromising rock n roll and I'm certainly not going to complain abou that.