Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade - #1

Arcade Fire - Funeral

They might not have changed music forever with this album or pioneer their own genre or won the Nobel peace prize, but Funeral was the best album for its unique ability to rock out when talking about death, for it's accessibility combined with its indie cred, for the fact that it never gets old despite revealing new wrinkles with every listen, and for the fact that no other band came out with rocking music with so much raw emotion combined so many interesting images that create a sort of post-apocalyptic childrens' book world. What other album can you find some much zaniness combine with so much authentic emotion, so much rocking, complex tunes about death? The bottom line is that if this record is not on your best of the decade list, you probably have bad taste in music.

Honorable Mentions
  • Appleseed Cast - Mar Vitalis - The Bear in park by the sea in my heart will never die 
  • Sigur Ros - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust - Sigur Ros is always good, but it is even better when you don't fall asleep before finishing the album.
  • Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People - Anthems for a seventeen year old still makes me feel cold in my bones after listening to it over and over in my apartment in Japan without centralized heat.
  • Sufjan Stevens - Illinois - I almost went to college with him, way better than going to high school with Clay Aiken. 
  • Los Campesinos! - Hold on Now, Youngster - Sometimes I wonder if this band is from another planet. 
  • The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike - Who knew manic cheerleader music could sound so good? 
  • Frightened Rabbit- The Midnight Organ Fight - These guys remind me of Yo La Tengo in the fact that they are smarter, more indie, and more classy than almost anyone else out there. 
  • Latterman - No Matter Where We Go - Like Sun Kil Moon, this is another pick that no one else probably agrees with, except this time not even Joey. However, few other bands make better upbeat music with a purpose than this record. 
  • The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot - When I got this record for Christmas, we listened to it during breakfast and mom and dad got freaked out by the crazy robot talk in the 2nd track. Then mom spilled orange juice in a bowl of sausage and Christmas was ruined.

A Christmas Song Just For You

I noticed that you guys weren't really in this Christmas spirit yet this year (it's just around the corner like a crazed psycho killer, after all), I decided to make this special Christmas song just for you. May it make your heart pound in a way that does not induce vomiting.

Christ Kitty Web Comic Pt 5

Christ Kitty does acid. AKA: Joey experiments with MS Paint.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christ Kitty Web Comic Pts 1 - 4

God lets loose Christ Kitty and his brother Bruce Springsteen upon the world.
Christ Kitty does some one's taxes for a nominal fee.

Christ Kitty works on getting his Pilot's License .

Christ Kitty returns the favor he owes Barack Obama.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade - #2

Outkast - Stankonia

In these days, the word masterpiece is throw around all the time (mostly by talking heads in the media who use it to refer to anything popular that happened more then 5 years ago--popular things less than five years old are called instant classics). Of all the great albums of this decade and on this list, I would say the top three on my list are the only ones that can be considered masterpieces (although Tryanny of Distance is close). However, few albums encompass the idea of a masterpiece better than Stankonia. This album is from a once in a generation artist creating their magnum opus. This album twists and bends so many other genres of music like mixing different colors of playdough together, except instead the ugly grey lump that was the outcome when I was a kid, Outkast created a playdough sunset of layered colors. This album is so many things at once: fun, thought-provoking, slick, sexy, innovative, accessible, danceable, intelligent, and socially aware. Many of the songs sound different with different styles and tones, but that is part of their brilliance: in the eccentricities they are held together by being smarter and more creative than anything else out there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade - #3

Sun Kil Moon - Ghosts of the Great Highway

I'm sure some critics would disagree with this album being on the list. In fact, of all the best of the decade lists I have read, none of them included this album on their list. This is downright criminal. It seems like a curse cast across Sun Kil Moon by an evil sorcerer that they are as unappreciated as their as music is breathtaking. Just like my father, I like to listen to music that I like over and over again often for years. But I make no apologies for this albums high placement on the list. If anything it is listed too low. Of all the many bands I've listened to repeatedly in this fashion, the album by Sun Kil Moon is the only one that can still give me chills at every listen. The songs, and especially "Glen Tipton," evoke a quiet, but beautiful nostalgia, the realization that time passes and life changes and learning to find comfort in this fact rather than sorrow. "Glen Tipton" should be considered one of the wonders of the modern world--how can a song about boxing and watching old movies on television and the death of a friend leave me feeling so calm and comforted. Listening to this album is a spiritual experience for me. It reassures me that there are powerful forces out of my control in the universe and makes me think of how I am fortunate to live in a world of Ohio and a gentle moon and fathers who stay up late watching movies. This album is a reminder of my own powerlessness in the universe, while at the same time empowering me with insight and purpose.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade - #4

The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

It was a difficult choice between this record and Mass Romantic to represent the pornographers, but I've thought this album a bit more consistent and packing more of my favorite tunes. I really couldn't fault someone for preferring any of the other New Pornographers albums to this one; they have been one of the most consistently amazing bands of this decade. Here are the facts:

1. Aliens listen to The New Pornographers.
2. No one would give a shit about online colleges if it wasn't for The Bleeding Heart Show.
3. This album has a cool sort of post-modern story telling quality to it. These songs seem like stories and even if they don't make logical sense, you feel like you are leaving something behind at the end of the song just like at the end of an excellent novel.
4. When Justin first looked up this band he almost got kicked out of college for searching for them.
5. This album has a certain sweetness. Not like sweetness from eating too much Halloween candy, but like sweetness when you are eating a lot of fruit recently and that makes apples taste better.
6. You see so many of those behind the music episodes where the band mates hate each other and can't stay together, it is kinda nice to see a band made up a members from others bands that are able to get along so well and be able to make such incredible music. Or maybe they hate each other and the good music comes out of the conflict. Hmmm

Anyway, there is really so much to like about this album and the pornographers in general. If only they would return my letters and emails . . .

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade - #5

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - The Tyranny of Distance

Throughout the decade, Ted Leo has stayed true to his sound and his vision to the point that some critics fault him for a last of originality and musical evolution. I don't understand this criticism of Mr. Leo considering the convicition and passion of his musical vision and the fact that his albums have been consistently amazing throughout the decade.However, no album was better than Tyranny of Distance, Leo's breakout album from 2001 which declared his purpose with the fervor of two hundred pygmy hippos. This album approaches music as if it is a life-sustaining force, like water or bacon, as if Leo and the Pharmacists would all shrivel up and die if music disappeared from the world. Aside from making modern pop punk bands look foolish, the urgency is this record combined with prophetic and poetic lyrics makes this album more like a declaration of existential purpose than mere entertainment. How many bands can you say that about?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade - #6

Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antarctica

This album is an epic subconscious journey through the unconscious redneck-pop culture of today's average American. I've listened to these songs over and over since early this decade and they never get old, they never lose their freshness (damn that cottage cheese in the fridge). Just listening to 3rd planet makes me feel like I am flying through the sky observing people walking into and out of a shopping mall like it is all of hazy dream. How many other songs could you say this about? There are so many amazing songs on this album, it may just be that the 8th best song on this album is probably better than the 8th best song on an album in the last 20 years. Even as Modest Mouse slowly turns more and more into the Bare Naked Ladies with their more recent albums, it's hard to ever be mad at a band that made an album this good.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade - #7

TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

TV on the Radio is a rare example of a band in this modern indie age that sounds totally original, like their music is carving out beautiful new cross-genre, but still unique territory. Every song on this record is full interesting twists and turns that surprise and delight around every corner. From the post-apocalyptic hand-clapping doo woop lyrics to to the awesome howling guitars and enchanting piano to the hair styles of the band, everything about Return to Cookie Mountain sounds fresh and unchained. The creativity, craft and ambition drips from every pore of this record which makes me ache along with the songs and then ache to hear them again once they are over.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SAT Pratice Question Time

 According to the diagram above, which of the following statements is safe to assume?

A.  Fish sticks are only delicious on Thursdays.
B. Your mother doesn't love you anymore.
C. Only those who are resurrected from the dead can serve in the U.S. house of representatives.
D. Local Townspeople can be identified by their flaming hats.

The Top Ten Albums of the Last Decade - #8

The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America

When I first heard the Hold Steady, I thought they were kind of hokey. And they were, but the more I listened to them, the more I couldn't stop listening to them. Once I got passed the initial impression of the lead signer with the prominent voice signing about sometimes goofy topics like your little hoodrat friend, I saw the kickass musical prowess and the epic Springsteen-like communities behind their songs. Then, a few years later, I heard this record and it blew me away at first listen. There were fewer throwaway songs and the lead signer's voice had been toned down so that the instruments could shine through. Every song rocked out, every lyric sounded inspired by a lifetime on the scene and "Stuck Between Stations" brought it all together like only great rock songs can. The best compliment I can give this record is that it makes my heart beat, that it makes me want to be part of the scene under the railroad bridge dancing and drinking.