Thursday, December 24, 2009

Alright, here's my Top 50 Albums of the Decade.

1. Animal Collective - Sung Tongs
2. Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in People
3. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
4. PJ Harvey - Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
5. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
6. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsytem
7. Radiohead - In Rainbows
8. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
9. The National - Alligator
10. TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
11. The Walkmen - You & Me
12. Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
13. Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
14. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
15. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
16. Hot Chip - The Warning
17. Radiohead - Kid A
18. M.I.A. - Kala
19. St. Vincent - Actor
20. Outkast - Stankonia
21. Stars - Set Yourself on Fire
22. Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant EP/Fleet Foxes
23. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair
24. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine
25. Postal Service - Give Up
26. Mates of State - Bring it Back
27. Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica
28. Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour of Bewilderbeast
29. The Strokes - Is This It?
30. New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
31. Viktor Vaughn - Vaudeville Villain
32. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
33. Sufjan Stevens - Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State
34. The Rapture - Echoes
35. Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye
36. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
37. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
38. Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak
39. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
40. Royksopp - Melody A.M.
41. Menomena - Friend & Foe
42. Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
43. The xx - xx
44. Feist - The Reminder
45. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
46. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
47. Jay-Z - Unplugged
48. Antony & the Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now
49. Le Loup - Family
50. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Mos Def review published on MxDwn!

Black gold mined from all over the world

There’s a lot to say about Mos Def’s The Ecstatic. It’s his best in years, if not ever. Everyone was disappointed (with due cause) in his last few releases, all of which made fans go ‘What the.. ?’ He was busy working on movies and other non-rap things, but where was his next Black Star or Black on Both Sides? Clearly he was fulfilling some contractual obligations but did we have to wait until Geffen let him go? Seems like it, and it was totally worth the wait.

Ecstatic is a statement: “I’m back, I never left, y’all ain’t shit and now I’m gonna show you how it’s done.” In so many words that I just put in his mouth. First off, this album is not a singles record. There are a few standouts that translate beautifully to keep a party poppin’ or dancefloor moving, namely “Twilite Speedball” and “Quiet Dog Bite Hard.” But everything flows so seamlessly; the interludes and found sounds are ingenious. From the Bollywood-influenced opener “Supermagic,” which features a ‘64 Malcolm X quote, to the cockpit-gun-toting-Captain intro to “The Embassy,” it’s with these that Ecstatic garners its well-deserved political descriptors. Mos has always had a curious fascination with injustice and Afrocentricism but it doesn’t always come off as nuanced and classy as it does here.

In fact, with the strongest track on the record, “Auditorium,” which tumbles into its hypnotic head-bobbing beat with a far east intro before Slick Rick delivers a syrupy smooth Iraq-oriented story, Mos delivers his most worldly message. Rick raps to a “young Iraqi kid”: “What’s wrong, G, hungry? / No, give me my oil and get the f#$* out my country!” Other collaborations shine on this record, too. “History,” with Talib Kweli is a standout and harkens back to his earlier days of late ’90s brainy hip hop. “Roses” features a lesser known Georgia Anne Muldrow from Stones Throw Records who kills a bluesy, heartfelt R&B vocal over tickly piano flourishes. Her Angie Stone-inspired soul brings Mos to a softer place where his voice begins to sound better than John Legend’s.

We may not see Mos like this again. His latest and possibly greatest is a momentous hip hop occasion. There are still hip hop artists making smart, nuanced, beat-smart records. We don’t have to pretend to get excited about new Lil’ Wayne records or scream about Jay-Z’s newest blueprint. Hopefully, Mos Def and his friends will keep turning out gems like this one.


Week's WORST! The Starting Line

It’s hard to root against local boys who’ve “made it” ... unless it’s a band like the Starting Line. Does Tallahassee rejoice when Creed rolls into town? Does Atlanta freak out when Collective Soul fills up the Tabernacle or Philips Arena? Possibly. Philly has certainly shown enough love to these central PA boys by buying every single ticket of their two “reunion” holiday shows. After three brutal records of power-emo-punk-pop, the band decided to give the world a breather from their insufferable brand of whine. Sure, they’ve toured with bigger versions of their painful sound like New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday. But a Warped Tour does not a band make. It’s hard to believe there’s still a market for this horseshit. If Dashboard Confessional is the patriarch of emo, the Starting Line are their obnoxious, angsty teenagers.

Tues., Dec. 29, 8:30pm. Sold out. With Valencia + Dangerous Summer. Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011.

Wed., Dec 30, 8:30pm. Sold out. With Envy on the Coast + Algernon Cadwallader. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888.


30 Second Reviews from 12/22

Animal Collective
Be Fall Kind EP

SOUNDS LIKE: Indie kings do it again with a mere five songs in under 30 minutes adding another staple to their catalogue
FREE ASSOCIATION: Intoxicating blend of beats, rounds, collage, choral chanting and noise
FOR FANS OF: Grizzly Bear, Gang Gang Dance, Panda Bear

Live at XX Merge

SOUNDS LIKE: Lovely romp through the Nashville band's collection of soulful, folksy Americana led by a charming Kurt Wagner
FREE ASSOCIATION: That voice, those lyrics, all those instruments, such energy; a keeper
FOR FANS OF: My Morning Jacket, Silver Jews, whiskey

James Pants
Seven Seals

SOUNDS LIKE: Awesome electronic music heavily shaded with drone, nostalgia, hip hop and cleverly whispered smart lyrics
FREE ASSOCIATION: Another Stones Throw gem; 15 tracks of blissed out clever trip hop
FOR FANS OF: Neon Indian, DJ Shadow, grime

Mason Porter
Thunder in the Valley

SOUNDS LIKE: Full-length debut from West Chester boys pickin', clappin', stompin' and singin' some solid bluegrassy folk
FREE ASSOCIATION: Hard to believe they're from the Philly burbs, not the Smoky Mountains
FOR FANS OF: Hoots & Hellmouth, Wissahickon Chicken Shack

Bill Cosby Presents the Cosnarati
State of Emergency

SOUNDS LIKE: Believe it - the Cos co-writes and produces an ultra-legit hip hop record addressing his political/cultural woes
FREE ASSOCIATION: Ced Gee, Jace the Great and Bro Hahz rep hard for Mr. Puddin' Pop
FOR FANS OF: Lyrics Born, political rap, garish sweaters

Thirty Seconds to Mars
This Is War

SOUNDS LIKE: Jared Leto's band is a ridiculous blend of prog metal, emo, pop, aggro rock and screamo (plus eyeliner)
FREE ASSOCIATION: It does feel like more of an effort to not be shitty, but it's tough to take
FOR FANS OF: Chevelle, Deftones, Jordan Catalano

Shock Value II

SOUNDS LIKE: Timbo employs an ultra pop army to shine in front of his tired hiccupy beats that all sound like "4 Minutes"/FutureSex
FREE ASSOCIATION: JoJo & Timberlake, yes, Miley Cyrus & Chad Kroeger? You dick!
FOR FANS OF: Neptunes, Swizz Beats, Jermaine Dupri

Chris Brown

SOUNDS LIKE: The once R&B prince currently in the dog house puts down some bagnin' joints and some yawny slow jamz
FREE ASSOCIATION: PR-wise? Rihanna wins. Record vs. record? Chris might take this one
FOR FANS OF: "I Can Transform Ya," Lil Wayne, the club


30 Second Reviews from 12/15


SOUNDS LIKE: Synthy '70s-style funk mixed with '00s soul/hip hop from an LA producer in with Stones Throw peeps
FREE ASSOCIATION: George Clinton and Grace Jones bore a child who wears aviators
FOR FANS OF: Prince x Knife + P-Funk/Kraftwerk

The Mayfair Set
Young One

SOUNDS LIKE: Noise pop's Dum Dum Girls teams up with Blank Dogs for low-fi psychedelics spiked with goth
FREE ASSOCIATION: Bat For Lashes girl sings for Joy Division and back in the '80s, not now
FOR FANS OF: Vivian Girls, Black Tambourine, feedback


SOUNDS LIKE: Droney electric eerie bliss from Portishead's Geoff Barrow heavy on the spooky and rhythms
FREE ASSOCIATION: Starts slow and steady but eventually blows you away in due time
FOR FANS OF: Clinic, Massive Attack, Radiohead

Paul McCartney
Good Evening New York City

SOUNDS LIKE: Shea Stadium was torn down, they built Citi(group) Field and brought this old man out to make it meaningful
FREE ASSOCIATION: 35 songs on two discs and you let Billy Joel onstage, you bastard
FOR FANS OF: Wings, Greatest Hits albums, corporate fields

Richard Hawley
Truelove's Gutter

SOUNDS LIKE: Soft, sad and beautiful collection from the UK's ex-Pulp guitarist and baritone is single-less but flawless
FREE ASSOCIATION: If it weren't dark and cold this would be a downer, but it is, and it's amazing
FOR FANS OF: Elvis, Cash, Orbison, Hazlewood

Laura Veirs
July Flame

SOUNDS LIKE: Talented singer/songwriter/strummer's first in 2010 is a beauty with stellar guests to flesh out her sound
FREE ASSOCIATION: Her voice and a guitar is enough, but keys and strings make it gorgeous
FOR FANS OF: Cat Power, New Buffalo, Joanna Newsom,

Glee: The Music, Season One
Volume 2

SOUNDS LIKE: Covers by the Fox cast with some bearable (Lilly Allen, Lauper) and others just awful (Van Halen, Stones)
FREE ASSOCIATION: Needed: pubescent faces (and bodies) to make this listenable
FOR FANS OF: A capella, Zac Efron, musicals

Mikkel Meyer

SOUNDS LIKE: Club-friendly blipped out dub from a Danish DJ who loves British, Jamaican, and American hip hop
FREE ASSOCIATION: Imagine robots making their booty clap all sweaty and shiny
FOR FANS OF: Two Fingers, Thunderheist, Dizzee Rascal


30 Second Reviews from 12/8

The Embassadors
Coptic Dub

SOUNDS LIKE: Uncanny gorgeous jazz spiked with hip hop and dub; horns and ambiance barfed up by a DJ
FREE ASSOCIATION: If Coltrane and Tricky had a mutant love baby, it would be funky
FOR FANS OF: Dub jazz, Massive Attack on e

Bad Lieutenant
Never Cry Another Tear

SOUNDS LIKE: New Order oldie teams up with youngns but their youth is drowned out; dated synthy, post-punk rock
FREE ASSOCIATION: You'd think a Joy Division-spawn record would be decent enough
FOR FANS OF: Reunions, nostalgia, emo U2

Home Blitz
Out of Phase

SOUNDS LIKE: Quirky herky-jerky off-kilter punk with weird pauses, messy guitars and loads of energy/balls
FREE ASSOCIATION: Did I hear a Fishtown? This show will be bloody and sweaty
FOR FANS OF: Pissed Jeans, breaking things

The Slew

SOUNDS LIKE: Kid Koala and Dynamite D scratch up a Seattle-inspired grunge rock band into slick turntable hip hop
FREE ASSOCIATION: Plaid-laden booze and spooge was spilled and then scratched up
FOR FANS OF: DJ Shadow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Rated R

SOUNDS LIKE: The moan-songstress is as her sassiest with a lot of cussing and proclaiming how hot she is
FREE ASSOCIATION: Keep spinnin' that domestic abuse scandal into gold, girl, get it
FOR FANS OF: Beyonce, Mary J., Chris Brown hate

Jay Sean
All or Nothing

SOUNDS LIKE: Urban pretty boy wears chains, takes his shirt off and croons very seriously about making girls cum
FREE ASSOCIATION: We see you're trying to take Craig David's spot and it might work
FOR FANS OF: Ginuwine, R Kelly, thin sculpted sideburns

Adam Lambert
For Your Entertainment

SOUNDS LIKE: Super-produced monstrosity of pop with ballads, dancefloor grinders, schmaltz and in-your-face queer glam
FREE ASSOCIATION: Racing towards Liberace status, are we? Not sure that's smart
FOR FANS OF: Britney, Christina, Lady Gaga

Jack Splash
Heir to the Throne, Volume 1

SOUNDS LIKE: Plantlife emcee's got a dirty mouth/mind, bloodshot eyes, tons of swagger and some sick guests
FREE ASSOCIATION: This is Cadillac hip hop with all the trimmings and accessories
FOR FANS OF: Clipse, Outkast, 40s and blunts


30 Second Reviews from 12/1

Kid Sister

SOUNDS LIKE: Debut with Kanye collab, "Pro Nails," might be the record's worst, but Cee-Lo and Estelle show up!
FREE ASSOCIATION: Not sure if she weren't A-Trak's girlfriend she'd even have a record
FOR FANS OF: Santigold, Destiny's Child, raplettes

Daptone Gold
Daptone Gold

SOUNDS LIKE: Tight-knit BKLYN label curates rarities, B-sides and greatest hits of members' stellar soul and funk
FREE ASSOCIATION: Some serious James Brown-inspired modern soul; get down!
FOR FANS OF: Antibalas, Sharon Jones, horns

The Apple and the Tooth

SOUNDS LIKE: Brit beat freak blends folk and glitchy electro; a few new tunes and a bunch of Ambivalence Avenue remixes
FREE ASSOCIATION: Like a Boards of Canada record immersed in a hot tub until it's wrinkly
FOR FANS OF: The Books, Four Tet, M83, Aphex Twin

Echo & The Bunnymen
The Fountain

SOUNDS LIKE: Celebrating their 30th year, the UK foursome put out lukewarm post-punk, new wavey college rock
FREE ASSOCIATION: Once upon a time you were a big deal, but this is like bad Coldplay/U2
FOR FANS OF: New Order vs. butched up Cure

John Mayer
Battle Studies

SOUNDS LIKE: The big-lipped adult contemporary guru pushes the envelope with literate and mild sad sap guitar rock
FREE ASSOCIATION: Love really is a battlefield, John, but Twitter is going to end you
FOR FANS OF: Dave Matthews, Train, James Blunt


SOUNDS LIKE: Montreal's Mike Silver is a producer extraordinaire making rich, chill and infectious electrodub
FREE ASSOCIATION: Disco and modern beats make lounge love during his "Big Love" cover
FOR FANS OF: Crystal Castles, Sally Shapiro

Priscilla Renea

SOUNDS LIKE: Polished, shiny pop queen with drum machines and voice effects makes weirdly irresistable radio hits
FREE ASSOCIATION: A monster created from bits of Kelly Clarkson, Lily Allen and Rihanna
FOR FANS OF: Katy Perry, shamelessness

Light FM
Let There Be Light FM

SOUNDS LIKE: Chicago indie rock heavy on synths, keys, '80s guitars and angst making for a very boring record
FREE ASSOCIATION: Your cheeky lyrics are drowned out by that constantly blaring synthesizer
FOR FANS OF: The Cars, Owl City, cheesy Death Cab