March 26, 2008

New Music Tuesday: Tuesday Mornings & Wednesday Nights

So I broke my recent rule of not buying music via iTunes on Tuesday. I admit it. My one caveat I mentioned was that I would buy exclusives, and that's what got me to give them my money. I bought Counting Crows' Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings from iTunes because there was an exclusive bonus track or two that wouldn't have been included in an Amazonmp3 purchase. I'm impressed with the album. If you don't know anything about it, as the title suggests it's a 2-part album representing the contrasts of Saturday Nights (sin) and Sunday Mornings (redemption). There's beauty, there's emotion, there's some great songwriting. It's hard to believe their last full album came out in 2002. In some ways though, isn't it a little hard to believe that 2002 was that long ago? If you're like many and only buy a few songs here and there, I recommend "Insignificant", "Washington Square" (he's talking about Dublin, Ireland and not Dublin, California, despite mentioning traveling the highway from Dublin to Berkeley[ref]), "Los Angeles" (written with Ryan Adams during the recording of Adams' Gold), "Cowboys", and "Le Ballet d'or"

The whole album is worth the purchase (with or without bonus tracks). Here's the link to Amazon.

Best Actor in a Movie (Drama)

I flipped and flopped on this as I typed it...I'm limiting myself to 5, by the way. Ultimately Daniel Day Lewis won the Oscar and the Golden Globe, but as I mentioned in the previous post, I haven't seen There Will Be Blood yet. (Not to mention it wasn't released in Alaska until well into January of 2008, maybe even February.

George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild
Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Samuel L. Jackson, Black Snake Moan
Joaquin Phoenix, We Own the Night

March 24, 2008

Best Movie (Drama)

A post has been sitting in my drafts folder for months now, and rather than delete it, I'm going to spread it out. Know that these were originally going to come out before the Oscars, but had they, I would have just had to edit them anyway because I've just caught up on some great movies from 2007. FYI - I'll follow Oscar rules and only include work released between Jan 1, 2007 and Dec 31, 2007. But my categories will resemble more along the lines of the Golden Globes to include TV and broader categories. I'm not picking a winner, that's up to you...

To get are my Best Movie (Drama) nominees.

No Country For Old Men
Eastern Promises
American Gangster
We Own the Night
Michael Clayton

For the record I haven't seen There Will Be Blood, yet.Vote for your favorite or your winner or submit one you think I left out in the comments.

March 18, 2008

New Music Tuesday: Catching Up on New Music

If you've been reading me for a while, you know I used to be pretty diligent about posting every Tuesday about the new music that was released that day that I could recommend. It's been a fact you have to go back to September when I bought 3 albums with 3 services (iTunes, eMusic, and Amazonmp3). So this is a bit of catching up on new music over the last few months that I can recommend...because you can be sure that I purchased (or received a demo) all of these selections. And to show progress made since testing the 3 services, I now download the majority of my music via Amazonmp3 and eMusic...resorting to iTunes only for an occasional exclusive or free iTunes plus content.

Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
A very solid post Jason Isbell album with some great contributions from bassist Shonna Tucker.

Cat Power - Jukebox
Another great covers album from Chan. I think I've mentioned her philosophy on covers before, but I tend to agree with her when she sings the way she does.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
I don't think I've read a single review that doesn't compare this album to Iron & Wine or Nick Drake...can't really argue with the comparison, nor can you go wrong being compared to them.

Mike Doughty - Golden Delicious
A great mix of sounds on the follow up to an MKinMotion favorite (Haughty Melodic)...and who didn't have at least 27 Jennifers (Jenns, Jennys, etc) in their school? And a rock n roll blogger on top of all that.

Nada Surf - Lucky
Very solid album from indie rock die hards.

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
As mentioned in a previous post, they've already played the talk show circuit and SNL, and there's still a good chance you haven't listened to their album...go on, give it a shot.

Chris Walla - Field Manual
Guitarist and producer from Death Cab (and Portlander) busts out a great little album with plenty of depth.

Kaki King - Dreaming of Revenge
I'm not sure any one can keep up with Kaki on guitar...definitely good, definitely unique.

Kate Nash - Made of Bricks
There something about her accent...

The Black Crowes - Warpaint
Riche was more excited about this one, but there's plenty about this album that takes me back to Shake Your Money Maker and The Southern Harmony... glory days.

Daniel Lanois - Here Is What Is
To most he's both more known and unknown as a producer of U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, etc, but the guy can put together great songs. Now available via traditional methods as well.

Jason Collett - Here's To Being Here
Another solo album from Broken Social Scene's Jason Collett...but this one feels more like he's into it than some other solo stuff I've heard. I consistently catch myself loving songs as they come up on random on the iPod.

Gary Louris - Vagabonds
I could go on and on about The Jayhawks and Golden Smog...and I I'll cut right to saying this album lives up to what you would assume would happen when an Americana royal does a solo album.

And released this week:
The Dodos - Visiter
These guys opened for Hothouse Flowers back in September 2006 in San Francisco and they've got a great unique sound.
She & Him - Volume One
This is a collaboration of Portlander M.Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel.

Next week I might be too wrapped up in Counting Crows new release to post a review of it...a long time coming. What music has grabbed you lately?

March 11, 2008

Twitter in Plain English [Video]

If you're still not convinced Twitter has any value, this video may not sway you at all...however it does a pretty good job of explaining the value (via the Twitter Blog). After all, if you visit here looking for new posts, you might be looking in the wrong place for day to day content. As always, follow me at

March 3, 2008

A Word About Wilco

I think it says a lot about the music industry to have Wilco play Saturday Night Live...and apparently from plenty of Google searches landing here, there's some hunger for more info about them. Why Wikipedia isn't your first search for info about a band, is beyond me, but I'll indulge you. I knew of Wilco because I knew of Uncle Tupelo, but didn't really give them much of a chance to enter my collective playlist until the summer of 2001. I spent 3 days in North Carolina, and Virginia, with a quick trip to Brooklyn and Boston and spent much of that time listening to Wilco's Being There which at the time was 5 years old (Disc One if you're keeping score at home). In an age when you might find it hard to name 5 successful American rock bands (I challenge you to list your five in the comments), Wilco consistently proves that Rock and Roll can live when it's chasing the edge of innovation. If you've been holding out it's time you give this Grammy winning band a shot.

(Photo from 2005 Austin City Limits Festival)
Clips of the two songs Wilco performed have been uploaded and taken down from YouTube several times over the last few days, so if you're interested in seeing their performances of "Walken" and "Hate It Here" but I've heard some good things about Hulu.

A post addressing the traffic to this blog looking for Wilco info wouldn't be complete without some recommendations. In the days of digital downloads, it makes more sense to list some tracks that will give you a more complete picture of Wilco. Here are my 20 favorite Wilco tracks, not in order of preference, but rather how they would sound good on a CD. Paring down to 20 was tough and even as I dropped them into a playlist I found myself resigning to the fact that I'm leaving out a lot of great music. So check these tracks out and don't be afraid of anything in the Wilco catalog.

A disclaimer: I think Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is to Wilco what OK Computer is to Radiohead, what Joshua Tree/Achtung Baby is to U2, what Vitalogy is to Pearl Jam, what August and Everything After is to Counting Crows...and that bias may show through in my track selection.
1. "I'm the Man Who Loves You" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

"All I can be is a busy sea of
spinning wheels and hands that feel
for stones to throw and feet that run but
they come back home, make no difference
ever known, make no difference
ever known to me"

2. "ELT" from Summerteeth
3. "At Least That's What You Said" (Live) from Kicking Television [Nels Cline makes all the difference, though the studio version holds its own]
4. "Hotel Arizona" from Being There
5. "Ashes of American Flags" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

"All my lies are always wishes"

6. "Hummingbird" from A Ghost is Born

"Remember to remember me
Standing still in your past
Floating fast like a hummingbird"

7. "I Got You(At the End of a Century)" from Being There
Gotta love the tambourine...
8. "Impossible Germany" from Sky Blue Sky
9. "Radio Cure" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
10. "The Late Greats" from A Ghost is Born
11. "Far, Far Away" from Being There
12. "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
13. "Monday" from Being There
14. "Passenger Side" from A.M.

"Hey, wake up, your eyes weren't open wide
For the last couple of miles you've been swerving from side to side
You're gonna make me spill my beer,
If you don't learn how to steer
Passenger side, passenger side,
I don't like riding on the passenger side"

15. "Via Chicago" from Summerteeth
16. "Kingpin" from Being There
17. "Jesus, etc." from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
18. "The Lonely 1" from Being There
19. "Hell is Chrome" from A Ghost is Born
20. "Misunderstood" from Being There

"There's a fortune inside your head
All you touch turns to lead
You think you might just crawl back in bed
The fortune inside your head"

[Bonus Hidden Track] "Poor Places" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Vampire Weekend are scheduled to play SNL March 8, which is an even further trip away from the mainstream.

And by the way I can't figure out why, but I giggled the whole way through the SNL Digital Short with Ellen Page waking up from dreams. Don't know why, but it was hilarious.

Stock up on Wilco at iTunes or