My favorite 100 albums of all time: #100 ("Information Society")

41i6l9IF6RLThings have been a little too quiet on the blog front lately, so I decided I needed a project that would motivate me to write a little bit each day.

So I decided to compile a list of my "desert island" albums. I'm not claiming these are the best 100 albums of all time, even by my own reckoning. But these are the 100 that, if I could only have 100 CDs (remember those?) or 100 albums on my media player, it'd be these.

The goal? 100 posts in 100 days with at least 100 words (probably more) about each album.

First up? The eponymous major-label debut album from Information Society.

Continue reading "My favorite 100 albums of all time: #100 ("Information Society")"

A Beautiful Chaos

LOVE-by-Cirque-du-Soleil-Valentine-Day-GiveawayHad an evening to kill in Las Vegas after AWS re:Invent, so I went to one of the discount places to get a ticket to see Cirque du Soleil's "Love" show.

Generally speaking, I'm not a musicals kind of guy. Stuff like "Evil Dead: The Musical" or "Bukowsical," sure. But for the most part… meh. Not my cup of tea. I'll appreciate a well-done show, but be almost as likely to turn down tickets to about half the shows that are in production.

But, I've been a Beatles fanatic since I was seven. As a kid, I caught "Help!" on TV one Sunday afternoon, and I was hooked from the first few notes of the title song at the beginning of the movie.

Wasn't entirely sure what to expect from "Love," but figured that with a Beatles soundtrack, it'd be fun even if the show itself was dull. The show was not dull. It was an amazing production. If there was supposed to be anything more than a hint of a story or narrative, I missed it – but the whole thing was fabulous to watch, just a beautiful chaos set to some of my favorite songs of all time.

I knew going in that they'd restructured some of the songs, mixed some together, etc. Wondered if it'd lessen my enjoyment of the show, but I really enjoyed what they did with the music – and the sound system in the place was out of this world. Just hearing the songs in a fully immersive sound system was almost worth the price of the ticket alone.

Definitely planning to see it again if it's still playing the next time I find myself in Las Vegas.

Autumn Is Your Last Chance

I Often Dream of TrainsPerfect song for an Autumn Sunday. One of my favorite Robyn Hitchcock songs – and that's saying something, really. He has an amazing body of work, but this is quiet and beautiful little song that always catches my ear when it's on. I chose a YouTube video of him playing the song live, rather than a "perfect" clip of the song with only the album cover.

 

Of course, Hitchcock doesn't really do straightforward songs – so he doesn't just sing about the pretty colors of autumn:

The leaves
have never looked
as good
as now
(they're going to die)

I love his delivery as well as the lyrics, how he drops his voice on the last line as if to say "didn't you see that coming?"

"Autumn is Your Last Chance" is on "I Often Dream of Trains," which is a lovely, weird little album that features a few instrumentals, some of the weirdest a cappella songs you'll hear ("Uncorrected Personality Traits" and "Furry Green Atom Bowl"), and a few others like "Autumn is Your Last Chance." The title track is another gem that is really worth listening to, and don't be surprised if it gets stuck in your head.

Off to crunch in some dead leaves. Enjoy the song!

New Musical Obsession: Whitehorse

As I get older, I find it harder to find new music. Weird, because you'd think with things like Rdio, Last.fm, and Pandora, I'd be able to uncover all kinds of great new stuff. But I don't have a ton of time to explore, and about 97% of the time when I do, everything falls under the "meh" to "this is horrible" categories.

But when I do find new stuff that I like, it usually hits me like a ton of bricks. That's the reaction I had Friday night to Whitehorse. They opened for Barenaked Ladies at the Peabody Opera House and they were just awesome. Literally got a standing ovation from the folks who actually showed up early enough for the opening act – and that's something I don't recall ever seeing before.

Check out this one on YouTube, I think you'll really enjoy it.

They put on one hell of a stage show, and write some great songs.

Note, there's only two social networks I'll connect with anyone on, and that's Rdio and Untappd. If you're an Rdio user, please hit me up. Have suggestions for music I should check out? Leave me a comment.

This Just In: Ministry is Officially Oldies Music

ministry-psalm-69 Not sure how I missed this. Psalm 69 turned 20 last year. It was definitely one of the high points of mainstream industrial rock, along with Nine Inch Nails' Broken, Pretty Hate Machine, and The Downward Spiral. (For me, anyway. I'm just catching up with Front Line Assembly…)

I'm not a huge Ministry fan, but I really loved this album and caught them live at Lollapalooza in 1992 on tour for Psalm 69 – they killed it onstage and had a massive mosh pit going in the field. (The only performance of the day that matched Ministry was Pearl Jam, with Eddie Vedder climbing the rafters, literally.)

I have checked in with Ministry periodically since then, and nothing they've done since quite lived up to this album, IMHO. Pity, because I'd love another 20 albums like this.

20 years, man. Actually, closer to 21. That's just crazypants. When I was a kid in the mid-70s, we listened to an oldies station a lot – and they played stuff from the 50s and 60s as "golden oldies." So I guess this means that "Jesus Built My Hotrod" and "N.W.O." are officially oldies now.

If you're my age, you may now commence telling kids to get off your lawn.

Amazon Adds Vinyl to AutoRip

Got a PR blast from Amazon today saying that they've added vinyl to the AutoRip program (where you get MP3s automagically via their Amazon MP3 downloads of music you buy on physical media).

That's pretty damn sweet, I have to say. I hope that record companies are doing this independently so that if I buy a record at, say, Vintage Vinyl, I get the same thing.

Pretty appealing. I've thought about collecting Vinyl before, but that would leave me needing to find MP3s or something for travel. If I recall correctly, Yep Roc records (Robyn Hitchcock's label these days) has done this with some of his stuff.

To sum up: Buy a record on Amazon, get a free (and immediate) digital copy you can slap on your MP3 player and a vinyl copy you can spin on the record player occasionally when you want to be all old-timey. (Or just keep it pristine, and hope that it might be something that becomes a collector's item someday.) Smart. As terrible as Amazon has been for local businesses, they do have a habit of offering what users want – when there's competition and they have to make a case for your business.

Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon is 40…

Dark_Side_of_the_MoonEvery year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled lines…

Steve Burnett pointed out on Twitter today that Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon was released in March of 1973. Forty years, folks!

Given that it was already "classic rock" by the time I discovered it (in 7th or 8th grade, I think – though I'd heard much of it on KSHE already), this makes me feel just a wee bit old.

Despite that, I like the fact that I've been listening to this album for decades, and it still hasn't gotten old. It holds up really, really well. (The same can't be said for all of Pink Floyd's work, of course. I've listened to "Atom Heart Mother," and "Ummagumma" maybe twice in 20+ years.)

What albums from 2013 are likely to be worth listening to in 40 years?