Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 50 of 2010

I actually contemplated not doing a top 50 this year. The last half of 2010 was a bit of a mess for me, and these disruptions had some effect on my listening pattern. Reasons for listening to music obviously change over time... and some of the choices below reflect both a long term sea change and a short term mind set. That said, good music is good music n'est-ce pas?

Some caveats: The Postdata record that made it to #1 below came out some time in 2009 (I think) although release info is pretty spotty.  I only heard it a couple of months into 2010 and loved its low key atmosphere and open mic / room sound recording.  When I began re-listening to it in late summer early fall it was the songs' focus that really hit home.  There were days I'd play it in the store 4-5 times back to back (which isn't hard given it's brief duration).

There are at least two albums that might have made it in to the list (and I'd thought about wedging them in somewhere on principle) and those were Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me and Sufjan Stevens' The Age of Adz.  The former sat like a brick in my iTunes all year long, constantly in that "I'll give it a good listen when I have the time" pile.  Apparently I never had the time because I've yet to listen to it all the way through.  The Sufjan album did get a few spins post release and initially I was really happy with it.  He seemed to have found a way to meld the quiet singer/songwriter side of his discography with the orchestral and ambitious side of things.  And the he added weird heavy keyboard to the mix on top of it all.  But with each new listen I got less and less certain about my feelings towards the album.  It had moments of pop hook nirvana that made me very happy... but they came a little gummed up by the blobular synthesizer sections that surrounded them.  I started asking the question to myself, "Are these songs actually good?"  That's the point I was at while making the list... so I decided to just leave it off until I'd answered that question to my satisfaction.

The rest of the list is the usual mix of long time favourites (Damien Jurado, Will Oldham, John Darnielle), new weird and daring directions that caught my ear (Emeralds, oOoOO, Oneohtrix Point Never).  There were good but not great albums by other favourites (Antony and the Johnsons, The National) and surprises by others that were better than expected (Superchunk, Arcade Fire).  I'm sure there are titles that some of you will argue for that I missed, that always happens, and some that might seem overly obscure and put on for their cool points... I hope this isn't true... but I can neither confirm nor deny.

I welcome debate, questions, insights... here in the comments, over on our Facebook page or live in person (even better)>

01 Postdata - S/T (Silly Old Songs)

02 Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest (4AD)

03 Sam Amidon - I See the Sign (Bedroom Community)

04 Beach House - Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

05 Extra Lens - The Undercard (Merge)

06 John Grant - The Queen of Denmark (Bella Union)
07 Superchunk - Majesty Shredding (Merge)

08 Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt (Dead Oceans)

09 Mice Parade - What it Means to Be Left Handed (FatCat)

10 Damien Jurado - Saint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian)

11 Arcade Fire - Suburbs (Merge)

12 Woods - At Echo Lake (Woodsist)

13 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and the Cairo Gang - The Wonder Show of the World (Drag City)

14 Oval - O (Thrill Jockey)

15 Gayngs - Relayted (Jagjaguwar)

16 Perfume Genius - Learning (Matador)

17 S. Carey - All We Grow (Jagjaguwar)

18 Male Bonding - Nothing Hurts (Sub Pop)

19 Megafaun - Heretofore (Hometapes)

20 Emeralds - Does it Look Like I'm Here? (eMego)

21 Tame Impala - Innerspeaker (Modular)

22 Scout Niblett - The Calcination of… (Drag City)

23 ANBB - Mimikry (Raster-Noton)

24 Gonjasufi - A Sufi and a Killer (Warp)

25 Warpaint- The Fool (Rough Trade)

26 Sun Kil Moon - Admiral Fell Promises (Caldo Verde)

27 The Books - The Way Out (Temporary Residence)

28 Black Angels - Phosphene Dream (Blue Horizon)

29 CocoRosie - Grey Oceans (Sub Pop)

30 Halves - It Goes, It Goes [Forever and Ever] (Hate is the Enemy)

31 A Silver Mt. Zion - Kollaps Tradixionales (Constellation)

32 Sylvain Chauveau - Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated) (Type)

33  The National - High Violet (4AD)

34 Felix - You Are the One I Pick (Kranky)

35 Women - Public Strain (Flemish Eye)

36 Walkmen - Lisbon (Fat Possum)

37 Sightings - City of Straw (Jagjaguwar)

38 Barn Owl - Ancestral Star (Thrill Jockey)

39 Local Natives - Gorilla Mansion (French Kiss)

40 Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM (Elektra)

41 Three Mile Pilot - The Inevitable Past is the Future Forgotten (Temporary Residence)

42 oOoOO - oOoOO (Tri-Angle)

43 Oneohtrix Point Never - Returnal (eMego)

44 Adam Franklin and Bolts of Melody - I Could Sleep for a Thousand Years (Second Motion)

45 Ghostkeeper - S/T (Flemish Eye)

46 Laurie Anderson - Homeland (Nonesuch)

47 The Lower Dens - Twin Hand Movement (Gnomosong)

48 Antony and the Johnsons - Swanlights (Secretly Canadian)

49 Efterklang - Magic Chairs (4AD)

50 Play Guitar - S/T (Youth Club)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trip-hop god Tricky stranded near Sarnia, Ont.

"borrowed" from

The weather in eastern Canada has been nutso, to put it mildly. Buckets of snow have blanketed southeastern Ontario, with the Sarnia area getting the worst of it. As this site has been reporting all day, about 300 motorists were stranded on Highway 402, unable to circumvent the great gobs of the white stuff.

The Toronto Star is reporting that one of those marooned travellers is British musician Tricky, whose tour bus was en route to a show in Chicago. The gravel-voiced trip-hop legend and his crew apparently found hospitality in the home of John Prins, a generous chap who has apparently put up 29 stranded people in his house. Prins also had no idea who Tricky was.

In case you're reading this site, John, we thought we'd showcase a couple of Tricky's classic cuts. And for you, Tricky: stay safe!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I was just putting another 20 CDs in our much-imitated "New Arrivals / Used CDs" section... and as I was alphabetizing the stuff it struck me: GAWLDURN IT we have a super sexy / filler free bunch of titles in just now.  I mean... if all you had in your collection were these 50 CDs then guests in your home would look at you with a respect usually reserved for crossing guards and Canadian news anchors.  I mean... CHEGGIT OUT:

Chet Baker - Jazz Essentials (Verve)
Beck - Guero (Interscope)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Take Them on Your Own (Virgin)
James Brown - In the Jungle Groove (Sony)
Neko Case - Fox Confessor (Mint)
John Coltrane - Stellar Regions  (Impulse)
John Coltrane - Sun Ship (Impulse)
Elvis Costello - My Aim is True (Ryko)
Deep Purple - Best of / Smoke on the Water (Universal)
Bob Dylan - Good as I Been to You (Columbia)
Eels - Souljacker (Universal)
Evangelicals - The Evening Descends (Dead Oceans)
Faith No More - Introduce Yourself (Slash)
Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man... (Rhino)
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (Westbound)
The Go-Betweens - Oceans Apart (Yep Roc)
Half-Handed Cloud - Stowaways (Asthmatic Kitty)
PJ Harvey - Uh-Huh, Her (Island)
John Lee Hooker - Best of  (MCA)
Led Zeppelin - IV (Atlantic)
Modest Mouse - Good News for People... (Epic)
Monster Magnet - Powertrip (A&M)
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (Sire)
Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms (Lefse)
Pearl Jam - Vs. (Epic)
Various - The Pentangle Family (Castle)
Tom Petty - Mojo (Reprise)
The Pogues -  If I Should Fall From Grace...  (Island)
The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely (WB)
The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers (V2)
REM - Dead Letter Office (IRS)
The Replacements -  Tim (Sire)
The Roots - Rising Point (Def Jam)
The Roots - Phrenology (MCA)
Paul Simon - Concert in the Park (WB)
Pharoah Sanders - Black Unity (Impulse)
Slint - Spiderland (Touch and Go)
Sufjan Stevens - Michigan (Asthmatic Kitty)
T.Rex - Electric Warrior (Reprise)
Rufus Thomas - Best of (Rhino)
Toots and the Maytals - Best of (Island)
U2 - Best of 1980-1990 (Universal)
Van Halen - II (WB)
Tom Waits - Rain Dogs (Island)
Tom Waits - Mule Variations (Anti-)
White Stripes - Elephant (V2)
Wilco - A Ghost is Born (Nonesuch)
Frank Zappa - Over-nite Sensation (Ryko)
Frank Zappa - Mothers, Filmore East June 1971 (Ryko)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stereogum’s 50 Most Anticipated Albums Of 2011

"Borrowed" from Stereogum
To tackle the cliché head-on, if you’re a big music fan, every year is a good year for music. People (and their Droids) seem more cynical than ever, but only a true curmudgeon could make it through any given 12 months without liking anything (well, the mid ’90s had a couple grim moments). That said, 2011 appears to have more than enough to keep even the angriest amongst you smiling amid the steady unemployment, nostalgia-act reunions, oil spills and explosions, celebrity sickness/divorce/death, chillwave, and even Glee.
Kanye West and his Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy owned the latter part of 2010 — with the news of his five-song 2011 Watch The Throne collaboration with Jay-Z, he may very well own a chunk of next year, too. Speaking of owning: 2010 — also known as the year post-Merriweather Post Pavilion — was a somewhat quiet one for Animal Collective outside of ODDSAC and Avey Tare’s Down There. The next one brings us the next best thing to a new AC collection, Tomboy, Panda Bear’s much anticipated followup to 2007’s Person Pitch. We’ll also have the first proper Aphex Twin full-length since 2001’s Drukqs. In the time after Richard D. James paused, guitars have definitely taken a bit of a backseat in many corners of underground music and for the general listener — think chillwave, witch house, death disco, homemade GarageBand mashes, the sampled guitar-rock of Girl Talk, etc. With this landscape as his backdrop, it’ll be interesting to see how much further James, a popular electronic musician even non-electronic music fans have always liked, can spread his reach. (He’s said he’s recorded six albums worth of material since we last heard from him, so it’ll also be interesting to see how much these outside shifts have influenced his own output.) As far as other long waits, it seems Strokes IV will see the light of day in 2011, or at least that’s what the @band says. All in all, the old guard is well represented in the following list: The Cars, Beastie Boys, U2, Foo Fighters, etc. (What year is this again?)
Speaking of our list: We chose the 50 most important or enticing. And while it’s limited primarily to releases that have been confirmed, we have made a few assumptions (e.g., that the Wrens and Avalanches will finish their Chinese Democracies).
Click on an artist name for recent news, and in some cases MP3s, from these forthcoming LPs.
  • …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Tao of the Dead Part I: Tao of the Dead (2/4 via Richter Scale)
  • Akron/Family – S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT (2/8 via Dead Oceans)
  • Damon Albarn/Flea/Tony Allen Project – TBA
  • Asobi Seksu – Fluoresence (2/15 via Polyvinyl)
  • Banjo Or Freakout – TBA (via Rare Book Room)
  • Battles – TBA
  • Beady Eye – TBA
  • Beck – TBA
  • Black Lips – TBA
  • Bon Iver – TBA
  • BRAIDS – Native Speaker (1/18 via Kanine Records)
  • British Sea Power – Valhalla Dancehall (via Rough Trade)
  • Burial – TBA
  • Cake – Showroom Of Compassion (1/11 via Upbeat)
  • Coldplay – TBA
  • Cornershop – Cornershop & The Double ‘O’ Groove Of>
  • Crystal Stilts – TBA
  • Danielson – Best of Gloucester County (2/22 via Sounds Familyre)
  • The Death Set – Michel Poiccard (via Ninjatune)
  • Deerhoof – Deerhoof Vs. Evil (1/25 via Polyvinyl)
  • DeVotchKa – 100 Lovers (2/15 via ANTI-)
  • Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots (2/15 via ATO)
  • Ducktails – Ductails III: Arcade Dynamics (1/10 via Woodsist)
  • East River Pipe – We Live In Rented Rooms (2/15 via Merge)
  • Esben & The Witch – Violet Cries (2/8 via Matador)
  • Explosions In The Sky – TBA
  • Matthew Friedberger – Solos (Jan, March, May, July, Sept, Nov via Thrill Jockey)
  • The Feelies – TBA (Spring via Bar/None)
  • Lupe Fiasco – Lasers (2/14 via Atlantic)
  • The Forms – Derealization (2/15 via Threespheres/Ernest Jenning)
  • Peter Gabriel – New Blood
  • The Get Up Kids – There Are Rules (via Quality Hill Records)
  • The Good, The Bad, & The Queen – TBA
  • Gorillaz – TBA
  • Islands – TBA
  • Jane’s Addiction – TBA
  • Talib Kweli – Gutter Rainbows (1/25 via Talibra)
  • Jens Lekman – TBA
  • Low – TBA
  • The Luyas – Too Beautiful To Work (2/22 via Dead Oceans)
  • MEN – Talk About Body (2/1 via IAMSOUND)
  • Mister Heavnely – TBA
  • Neon Indian – TBA
  • Noah & The Whale – TBA (via Lost Club/Mercury Records)
  • Beth Orton – TBA
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – TBA
  • Sic Alps – Napa Asylum (1/25 via Drag City)
  • Tape Deck Mountain – Secret Serf EP
  • John Vanderslice – White Wilderness (1/25 via Dead Oceans)
  • VEGA – TBA
  • White Lies – Ritual (1/18 via Fiction)
  • Wild Flag – TBA
  • Win Win – Win Win (Vice
  • Patrick Wolf – TBA (via Hideout)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Big Little Profile: John Darnielle

Despite an unnecessarily large record collection there are actually very few artists / bands that I can say I've stuck with unfailingly over the last 30 years of serious listening.  I thought doing a few (relatively shallow) in depth profiles of these choice folk might serve to broaden their appeal.  First up John Darnielle.

First exposure

I think the first release was Nine Black Poppies on Emperor Jones ... followed quickly by Sweden on Shrimper records, both in 1995.  This was the heyday of the micro-indie label and lo-fi production... and the Mountain Goats had that in spades.  Most of the tracks on these two releases were recorded live to two track on a recorder whose condenser mic also picked up the sound of the tape motor whirring.  This whir was always loud on the intro and extro of the tracks.  The key track for me on these releases had to be "Cubs in Five" on Nine Black Poppies.  It's lyrics were all about the massively improbable coming to pass, like "Bill Gates will single-handedly spearhead / The Heaven 17 revival," with the chorus being a big, sappy "And I will love you again / I will love you  like I used to."  This couplet was the topic of debate between an ex and me on whether the line was meant as sarcasm or magical affirmation.  I'll let you guess who sided with what.  The other stand out track that I still love on Sweden is the atypical Casio keyboard track "California Song," another lovesick ditty with the lines like "I know that in California the waves break on the beach / and I know that the foam on the breaking waves is as white as household bleach" and "You treat me badly / I love you madly / You really got a hold on me."  Damn.

Cementing the Deal

Darnielle obviously had a geyser of songs coming out of him with 5 albums between '95-'97 plus enough cassettes, 7" inches, magazine compilaton tracks etc. to later fill up three compilations of early songs (Protein Source of the Future Now, Bitter Melon Farm and Ghana came out on 3 Beads of Sweat in 2002 with a combined total of 81 songs).  But the album that cemented the deal for me from this early period was Full Force Galesburg on Emperor Jones.  Its more focussed, still a mixed bag of lo & hi fi recording styles but with a heart-on-the-sleeve truth coupled with acerbic wit that carried Mountain Goats torch from here on out.


After another small handful of lo-fi releases spread across a few labels Mountain Goats joined the venerable 4AD and got a boost to their production as a result.  First out of the gates was Tallahassee, Darnielle's ruminations of love gone wrong through a variety of lenses, including a hyper-dysfunctional couple he long ago invented as both muses and mouthpieces for his malaise.  The revelation for many fans came with 2005's Sunset Tree.  For the first time Danielle came out from behind his characters and travelogue songwriting and wrote in his own voice, or rather in the voice of his teenage self suffering through a destabilizing relationship with his abusive step-father.  It revealed very clearly his ability to turn the emotionally complex and harrowing into hook-loaded pop tunes. 

Extra Credit

Most recently, besides a form-confirming late 2009 release on 4AD called Life of the World to Come, an album about death with biblical quotes for titles (not as heavy as that sounds), Darnielle revisited a partnership began in 2002.  Then called The Extra Glenns, he and Nothing Painted Blue's Franklin Bruno released a great album called Martial Arts Weekend.  This year they've appended the band name to The Extra Lens and put out an even better effort called Undercard.  After TMG's conceptually grounded efforts this topic-hopping free for all is a welcome sight.  Though the topics are mostly grim [abandoned suicide attempts ("Some Other Way"), evangelical hypocrisy ("How I Left the Ministry")  and financial collapse ("Rockin' Rockin' Twilight of the Gods"), for example] their handling is again played for uptempo satire by and large.  A super-subdued cover of Randy Newman's "In Germany Before the War" is the album's spirit animal and keynote.

In Summation

There's no bad point to start your own consideration of the Darnielle oeuvre... but here is a short list of recommendation that shine a little more brightly:

Full Force Galesburg (1997)
All Hail West Texas (2002)
Tallahassee (2002)
The Sunset Tree (2005)
Life of the World to Come (2009)
Undercard (The Extra Lens) (2010)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rough Trade Shops list of Top Albums of 2010

"Borrowed" from Artrocker

Here's the Rough Trade Shops list of Top Albums of 2010

1. Caribou - Swim
2. Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
3. These New Puritans - Hidden
4. Caitlin Rose - Own Side Now
5. Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy
6. Darkstar - North
7. Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM
8. Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner
9. Wild Nothing - Gemini
10. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
11. Broken Bells - Broken Bells
12. Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo
13. The National - High Violet
14. Emeralds - Does It Look Like I’m Here?
15. Beach House - Teen Dream
16. Voice Of The Seven Thunders - Voice Of The Seven Thunders
17. Perfume Genius - Learning
18. Crocodiles - Sleep Forever
19. The Black Keys - Brothers
20. The Morning Benders - Big Echo
21. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
22. Salem - King Night
23. Brian Eno - Small Craft On A Milk Sea
24. Dylan Leblanc - Paupers Field
25. Joanna Newson - Have One On Me
26. Matthew Dear - Black City
27. Warpaint - The Fool
28. Liars - Sisterworld
29. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
30. John Grant - Queen Of Denmark
31. Konono No 1 - Assume Crash Position
32. Smoke Fairies - Through Low Light And Trees
33. Surfer Blood - Astro Coast
34. Villagers - Becoming A Jackal
35. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
36. Mount Kimbie - Crooks And Lovers
37. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
38. Best Coast - Crazy For You
39. PVT - Church With No Magic
40. Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can
41. Vampire Weekend - Contra
42. Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep
43. Yeasayer - Odd Blood
44. Midlake - The Courage Of Others
45. The Soft Pack - The Soft Pack
46. Sleigh Bells - Treats
47. O Children - O Children
48. Glasser - Ring
49. Zola Jesus - Stridulum 2
50. Holly Miranda - The Magician’s Private Library
51. Sea Of Bees - Songs For The Ravens
52. JJ - No3
53. Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise
54. Twin Shadow - Forget
55. Gonjasufi - A Sufi And A Killer
56. Bear In Heaven - Beast Rest Forth Mouth
57. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
58. Cours Lapin - Cours Lapin
59. Darwin Deez - Darwin Deez
60. School Of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire
61. Beach Fossils - Beach Fossils
62. Shit Robot - From The Cradle To The Rave
63. Jonsi - Go
64. Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be
65. Belle And Sebastian - Belle And Sebastian Write About Love
66. Chilly Gonzales - Ivory Tower
67. Connan Mokasin - Please Turn Me Into The Snat
68. Holy Fuck - Latin
69. The School - Loveless Unbeliever
70. Tobacco - Maniac Meat
71. Dios - We Are Dios
72. Allo Darlin’ - Allo Darlin’
73. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
74. Male Bonding - Nothing Hurts
75. El Guincho - Pop Negro
76. Oneohtrix Point Never - Returnal
77. Kort (Kurt Wagner And Cortney Tidwell) - Invariable Heartache
78. Solar Bears - She Was Coloured In
79. Free Energy - Stuck On Nothing
80. Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz
81. Kings Go Forth - The Outsiders Are Back
82. Grinderman - Grinderman 2
83. Dan Michaelson And The Coastguards - Shakes
84. Stornoway - Beachcomber’s Windowsill
85. Tamaryn - The Waves
86. The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt
87. Four Tet - There Is Love In You
88. Magic Kids - Memphis
89. Marina And The Diamonds -Family Jewels
90. Mystery Jets - Serotonin
91. Black Angels - Phosphene Dream
92. Danger Mouse And Sparklehorse - Dark Night Of The Soul
93. Fool’s Gold - Fool’s Gold
94. Frankie Rose And The Outs - Frankie Rose And The Outs
95. Aloe Blacc - Good Things
96. Drums Of Death - Generation Hexed
97. Am - Future Sons And Daughters
98. Field Music - Field Music (Measure)
99. Hot Chip - One Life Stand
100. Time And Spacemachine - Set Phazer To Stun

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Fredericton 100

There's an element of archeology / anthropology to stocking a used vinyl store.  I often find myself looking at a layer of petroleum-based materials, most of which were deposited in the basements and hobby sheds of Southern NB about 25-30 years ago.  A couple of things are abundantly clear:  Sam the Record Man and A&A and whomever else did their vinyl vending back then... apparently didn't have to worry about variety.  This is proven in the seemingly endless supply of certain records that have been troubling our 99cent bin (and our regular shelves) over the last 20+ years.  While it would be great to have a flow of Led Zeppelin and Beatles and Pink Floyd (or conversely Velvet Underground, P.I.L., Cure, Ramones,  Iron Maiden, etc.) titles streaming through the door... it just isn't the case.  To whit, I present to you THE FREDERICTON 100.  Unscientifically generated, these are the one hundred most common titles... ones that almost every collection containing more than 50 records seems to require at least a handful... and some collections over 100 that seem to contain almost all.  Enjoy... and check see if your collection is THE FREDERICTON COLLECTION.  (By the way... we do still take most of these titles for stock... just don't expect to get rich off of them).

01 Fleetwood Mac - Rumors
02 Supertramp - Breakfast in America
03 Bob Seger - Against the Wind
04 Al Stewart - Year of the Cat
05 Elton John - Grt Hits Vol II
06 Police - Synchronicity
07 Genesis - Duke
08 Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell
09 Eagles - The Long Run
10 Cars - Candy-O
11 Various - Secret Policeman's Ball
12 Kenny Rogers - Greatest Hits
13 Carol King - Tapestry
14 James Taylor - Greatest Hits
15 Joe Walsh - But Seriously Folks
16 Roger Hodgson - Eye of the Storm
17 Aldo Nova - S/T
18 The Romantics - In Heat
19 Rough Trade - Avoid Freud
20 Santana - Greatest Hits
21 Cat Stevens - Greatest Hits
22 UB40 - Labour of Love
23 Jon and Vangelis - Short Stories
24 Styx - Pieces of Eight
25 Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
26 Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door
27 Simple Minds - Once Upon a Time
28 Human League - Dare
29 Roxy Music - Avalon
30 Simon and Garfunkel - Greatest Hits
31 Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells
32 Loverboy - Get Lucky
33 Bryan Adams - Cuts Like a Knife
34 Prism - Armageddon
35 Payolas - Hammer on a Drum
36 Boomtown Rats - Fine Art of Surfacing
37 Big Country - The Crossing
38 GTR - S/T
39 Honeydrippers - Vol. 1
40 U2 - Unforgettable Fire
41 John Cougar - Uh-Huh
42 Rod Stewart - Blondes Have More Fun
43 The Doobie Brothers - Greatest Hits
44 Foghat - Fool in the City
45 Toronto - Girls Night Out
46 Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers
47 Eric Clapton - Slowhand
48 Bruce Cockburn - Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws
49 Hall & Oates - H20
50 Steppenwolf - Greatest Hits
51 The Who - Tommy
52 Heart - Dreamboat Annie
53 Cheap Trick - At Budokan
54 Jackson Browne - The Pretender
55 Peter Frampton - Frampton comes Alive
56 Three Dog Night - Hard Labor
57 Wings - Wings Over America
58 Boston - S/T
59 Rolling Stones - Tattoo You
60 Nazareth - Greatest Hits
61 Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow
62 Def Leppard - Pyromania
63 Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives of Henry VIII
64 Steely Dan - Aja
65 OST - Saturday Night Fever
66 Jefferson Starship - Earth
67 ELO - Greatest Hits
68 Commodores - Greatest Hits
69 Joe Jackson - Look Sharp
70 Seals and Croft - Greatest Hits
71 Chicago - Greatest Hits
72 Lynyrd Skynyrd - Gold and Platinum
73 10 CC - How Dare You?
74 The Pretenders - S/T
75 Bob Dylan - Slow Traing Coming
76 Alan Parsons Project - I Robot
77 America - Greatest Hits
78 Moody Blues - The Other Side of Life
79 Burton Cummings - Woman Love
80 BTO - Four Wheel Drive
81 Duran Duran - Seven and the Ragged Tiger
82 David Bowie - Let's Dance
83 Gerry Rafferty - City to City
84 Michael Jackson - Thriller
85 ABBA - Arrival
86 Grand Funk - We're an American Band
87 Steve Miller Band - Greatest Hits
88 Gino Vanelli - Brother to Brother
89 Beach Boys - Endless Summer
90 Dire Straits - Love Over Gold
91 Kinks - State of Confusion
92 Quiet Riot - Metal Health
93 Jethro Tull - Aqualung
94 Bad Company - Straight Shooter
95 Bryan Ferry - Bete Noire
96 Harry Chapin - Sequel
97 The Bells - Stay Awhile
98 Box of Frogs - S/T
99 Charlie Daniels Band - Million Mile Reflections
100 Emerson Lake and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Waking up the slept on... Vinyl Recommendations

Here are a couple of titles that have been snoozing in the sealed vinyl bins for a short while.  Both come with the Backstreet seal of approval:

Grails - Doomsdayer's Holiday Temporary Residence)

This Portland outfit started out on Neurot records, though their sound was as much steeped in Eastern European gypsy folk acoustics as it was Western hard rock modes.  On their fifth full length they reach into the darkness for their inner Sabbath and pull out a creepy blues n raga beast that lives up to it's menacing title.

Listen to "Reincarnation Blues"
It retails for $22.98 +hst at Backstreet in Fredericton

Pan.American - Quiet City (Kranky)

As leader of Labradford Mark Nelson explored the shadowy fissure of avant rock previously etched by folks like Popul Vuh to Brian Eno.  His side project, Pan.American, concentrated mainly on minimalist electronics, but this fourth full length saw him enlisting a tastefully austere ensemble of acoustic sidemen to accompany his bleeps and ticks.  It's moody late night music for sodium flare and closed circuit television surveillance.

Watch "Quiet City":

The album retails for $16.98+hst at Backstreet Fredericton.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Have Nothing "On Michael Jackson."

Saturdays are weird.  To whit, we just had in three young people in the 14-18 year old range, who collectively bought about 25-30 records, spending a total of $54.  Many were from our 99 cent or 5/$1 bin, obviously.  A sampling of what they bought:

Styx - II
George Thorogood - Bad to the Bone
OST - Fame
Air Supply - Greatest Hits
Alan Parsons Project - I, Robot
Hall and Oates - H2O
Wham - Make it Big

...and now I have 60 year olds wondering what a CocoRosie is, and if we "have anything on Michael Jackson," (which I diplomatically do not respond to sarcastically).  Saturday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Watch Ariel Pink Play a Glowing Sewer Mutant

"Borrowed" from Pitchfork

Watch Ariel Pink Play a Glowing Sewer Mutant on Sci-Fi Internet Television Show "The Multinauts"

Earlier in the year, we reported that bedroom-pop kingpin Ariel Pink would make a cameo in an episode of "The Multinauts", a new internet sci-fi television series. The first episode of the series, titled "Flashback", features the Pink cameo and is now online. Pink actually plays two characters and gets a significant chunk of camera time in the episode.

"The Multinauts" is an affectionate parody of old zero-budget, amiably ludicrous sci-fi shows like "Doctor Who". It comes soaked in VHS fuzz and packed with knowingly awful special effects. There's also a mohawked, fetish-gear-bedecked villain named Oysters Rockafeller, which should give you some idea of what you're in for here.

Pink plays a glowing sewer mutant, delivering lines like, "The vibes are burning my cortex." He also dons some stupendously ridiculous headgear and performs his song "Flashback" with Haunted Graffiti at an interstellar dance party. I have to commend the band's professionalism; they keep playing even as a bloody lizard-monster attack kills most of the guests at the party. A character on the show calls them a "saga-wave" band, which, as genre descriptors go, isn't bad. As an actor, Pink is about on par with the rest of the show's cast, which means he probably won't step to an Oscar podium anytime soon.

You can watch the full episode below. Be warned: It could be considered NSFW, especially if you work in an office that frowns upon unbelievably fake-looking gore.

Posted by Tom Breihan on October 13, 2010 at 11:25 a.m.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Superchunk - Majesty Shredding

"Borrowed" from Cokemachineglow


Majesty Shredding
(Merge; 2010) 
The members of Superchunk are getting older, yet their music hasn’t really aged since 1990. It’s still, impressively, music brimming with the urgency of youth. Majesty Shredding, their first album since 2001, represents a return to their classic sound following a period of experimentation in the late ’90s. It helps that they haven’t been collecting dust: Majesty Shredding is unbelievably fresh for a band whose members could conceivably have parented many of today’s young indie rockers. However, Superchunk’s seasoned professionalism manages to sneak through in the form of carefully controlled, airtight arrangements. The album is irresistibly catchy indie rock through and through, but a bit more chaos and less control could make it something great.
Majesty Shredding starts off with a bang and barely comes up for air throughout its full forty minutes. It’s relentlessly bouncy, from “Digging for Something”’s chorus of “Oh-oh-oh!” to the excellent, tightly wound “Crossed Wires.” The guitars are crunchy but clean, the leads stringently melodic, and lead singer Mac MaCaughan still projects a breathless, powerful wail. This may seem by the numbers, but Majesty Shredding is at its heart the sound of a band having fun, and loving what they do. There’s passion here, and it’s why the album holds up so well on repeat listens.
The best songs on the record are less pure pogo-ing pleasure and more anxious. “Fractures in Plaster” is a classic angst anthem, and “Learned to Surf,” with its two short and sweet verses, manages to turn a looping, repeated chorus into something interesting, changing emphasis and melody. “When I learned to walk,” MaCaughan sings, “you know humans roamed the earth / I can’t hold my breath anymore / I stopped sinking and learned to surf.” It’s these kind of slightly off-kilter generalities that Superchunk specializes in. While late-career reunion albums are often pigeonholed as reflections on aging, settling down, etc., the beauty of Superchunk is that it’s only as personal as it needs to be. These melodies and lyrics could be the soundtrack to anyone’s problems, and we’d all like to think they suit ours the best.
Majesty Shredding is an energetic return to form for Superchunk, and they’ve retained the sound that made them indie stars on records like No Pocky For Kitty (1991) and Foolish (1994). The band is less lo-fi and noisy, perhaps a little bit too precisely packaged. They’ve lost some of their rougher edges, but it doesn’t do as much damage as you might think. The passion is still there, surging through MaCaughan’s voice and Jack McCook’s guitar. And that’s what will keep listeners coming back to these indie rock survivors time and again.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Belle and Sebastian contest


Do you know how to write about love ? Are you a huge Belle & Sebastian fan ? Well, Think Indie and Matador records has a contest for you. The first 10 people to buy the new Belle & Sebastian download “Write About Love” out Oct 12 (Link will go live on that date) from Think Indie will get a code that allows them to enter a special contest. The code will be emailed to you after your purchase (not immediately, we aren’t NASA). The contest is a 300 word essay contest about love. The band will judge the entries. The winner will have Stuart Murdoch fly into your town. He will hang with you for the afternoon and then write a song about you. That song will be featured on a limited edition seven inch.

To recap, buy download, get code, click banner below and follow instructions. Good luck and good writing.


Friday, August 13, 2010

An oddly (ir)regular occurence:

When someone new comes into the store, after they get the initial geographical derangement and visual overload reactions out of the way, they settle into either browsing or specific searching.  The specific searchers usually beeline for a specific letter in whatever section they choose and commence flipping.

Now the browsers usually get a "was there anything special you were looking for?" whereas I let the specific searchers come up empty before I ask the same question.  What's surprising is the variety of branches off of this seemingly simple query:

(1) They answer "no" despite the fact they were clearly scouring through "C," came up empty, and then were standing their with a puzzled/dissatisfied look on their face.

(2) They answer "yes" and tell me the title... and we do have it but in a different section, i.e. they were looking in Rock and it's a Jazz title, or a Local Artist release... or they were looking in the New stock and we have it used.

(3) They answer "yes," tell me the title and we don't have it in, but we agree to special order it for them.

(4) They answer "yes," tell me the title and we don't have it in, but we agree to special order it for them, only to find out they need it for a wedding/birthday/bar mitzvah in three days time.  Not possible.

(5) They answer "yes," tell me the title and we don't have it in, and when we offer to special order it for them they say no... don't bother.

(6) They answer "yes," tell me the title, I tell them it may be in the used section, they look through and don't find it, I'm pretty sure it is there so I look through and do find it, they look sheepish and buy it.

(7) They answer "yes," tell me the title, I tell them it may be in the used section, they look through and don't find it, the two friends with them look through and don't find it... I'm busy with a customer at the counter and they leave before I'm done, but after the store clears I check out the section (which isn't huge) and sure enough, there it is.

(8) They answer "yes," tell me the title... and I point it out to them in the New CDs they just looked through, but then they say they were looking for a used copy (despite the fact they looked through the new stuff for it), and when I find we also have that they say, well really it was a vinyl copy they hoped to find (which is even more dubious since they were nowhere near the vinyl)... so when I produce THAT they are forced to fall back on something like, "well, if it's still here when I get paid next week..." or "I'm not sure that's the one my boyfriend was looking for... he might have that one."

(9)  They answer "yes," tell me the title and I kill them.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


"Borrowed" from Vice

While I stood in line to piss at Six Flags New Jersey–taking a break from the Sean Hannity Freedom Concert this weekend–I witnessed the following: A brown-skinned kid (probably Indian, maaybe Arab) got behind me to use the bathroom. Behind him, two grizzled guys with bandannas tied around their heads, sporting beards freshly bought “Freedom Tour” t-shirts, started talking very loudly to each other.

“Little Obama Osama better not take long–I gotta piss!” said the first, loud enough for the kid’s father to hear, who yanked his son up by the arm and dragged him to (presumably) another bathroom. The guys laughed smugly as the brown kid was carted off. 

For all the claims that the current wave of populist anger is primarily just repurposed racism, this was the only first-hand evidence I witnessed.  Aside from that, I got a heaping dose of “American Exceptionalism” and a really sweet Ronnie Van Zandt t-shirt that cost me $30. 

Tea baggers are big into t-shirts. People wore a lot of anti-Obama, anti-big government, anti-immigration t-shirts. My favorite said “Yo quiero papers?” and had a picture of the Taco Bell dog on it. I asked the guy wearing it where it was from, and he told me he made it himself, and that I could buy them on his website. He gave me his card, but I lost it.

There was an official merchandise table with a large sign that read “Freedom Gear.”  Freedom gear includes $35 jerseys, $23 polos, and the $50  “Freedom Package,” which comes with a hat, shirt, and autographed Sean Hannity book. When I made a joke, the person selling merchandise yelped that “freedom certainly isn’t free” (echoing the sentiment of a button I saw worn by many in attendance), and then when I tried to buy something he ignored me and asked for the next in line. Owch.

I also missed opener Charlie Daniels (bummer), but contemporary Christian pop megastar Michael W. Smith was a huge hit. He stood alone onstage playing his keyboard, and people were genuinely moved by his banter, especially when he talked about hanging out with the president–not the current president, obviously–his 200-acre farm, his wife, and how much he loves this country.  He sang an incredibly schmaltzy song that he dedicated to all the troops, dead and alive, and as he hit the song’s high note, like a sign from the heavens, a flock of Canadian geese flew majestically overhead. People went absolutely apeshit.

Smith then led us in a stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful” that I was too afraid not to sing. I did however forget to remove my hat (which I’m still not sure is customary for this song), and the old woman next to me elbowed me and advised me to do so. 

After Smith played, I walked outside to get a bottle of water and looked at all the black families having a great time while the white people were busy being visibly and audibly angry at whatever the hell they are angry about (taxes, guns, having to pay for parking).

I have never been to a show that made me feel like as much of a cracker. Even though I was there as a spectator, I knew I was part of the problem. 

I walked back into Sean Hannity, standing in front of two big American flags and tossing tiny footballs to the crowd.

Of all the big mouthed conservative pundits, I think that Sean Hannity is probably the worst. Glenn Beck is a flaccid little man, but at least he’s entertaining.  Rush is funny (plus the pills!), and Bill O’Reilly is probably a total pussycat in real life. Hannity just seems like a goon, and he doesn’t care about hiding that part of himself, which makes it all the more goony. 

During the show, he came on stage to babble about how he doesn’t need “tax funded teleprompters” like Obama, and that real change is coming soon. He also thanked God for Fox News, which got an uproarious standing ovation, second only to the geese. 

Hannity finished yakking and introduced a group of children who had parents killed in the line of duty. It was really sad, but also pretty exploitative. Some dude who had been yelling “Freebird” the entire evening waited until the kids were all finished being introduced, and then yelled it again as soon as they were off the stage.
Finally Hannity asked if we were ready to hear “Sweet Home Alabama.” People cheered and he then told us to get on our feet for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The one dude yelled “Freebird” again.

I wasn’t sure what to expect out of Skynyrd. I think that in terms of great 70s rock, there aren’t many bands that can hold a candle to them. I could wax on about how awesome bands like Ram Jam and Cactus are, but honestly, they all suck a fat one compared to Skynyrd.  We all grew up screaming “Freebird” at concerts for a reason: because there was a time when Skynyrd was fucking untouchable.

But that was a band from a different era–with all due respect to Lynyrd Skynyrd 2010, they probably shouldn’t be calling themselves Lynyrd Skynyrd. As far as I can tell, there are no original members playing with the band and Johnny Van Zandt, little brother of Ronnie, looks and sounds like a guy who has been doing blow and drinking straight Jack for about 30 years without break. Which, to be honest, I wouldn’t really fault him for.  

They opened with “Workin’ for MCA,” and people kind of looked at each other and shrugged. My calculations tell me most casual Skynyrd fans know Sweet Home, the ‘Bird, and pretty much nothing else. People danced for the first few seconds, and then it was a tranquil sea of bored-looking white folks. A lot of them started to leave. Many of them were old.

It occurred to me than that regardless of how sour I felt toward the evening, the audience, my country, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, that the band had at least achieved one truly rock n’ roll thing: they pissed off the seniors. I guess certain things never really change, and I’m glad that the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band taught me this valuable lesson the night I hung out with the Tea Baggers.

Read the rest at Vice Magazine: DEAR VICE - TEA BAGGIN’ WITH SKYNYRD - Viceland Today

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Listeners Pick 2010's Best Music (So Far)

"Borrowed" from NPR All Things Considered
gorillaz cover

1. Plastic Beach

  • Artist: Gorillaz
  • Album: Plastic Beach [Deluxe Edition] [CD/DVD]
  • Song: On Melancholy Hill

national cover

2. High Violet

  • Artist: The National
  • Album: High Violet
  • Song: Bloodbuzz Ohio
black keys cover

3. Brothers

  • Artist: The Black Keys
  • Album: Brothers
  • Song: Everlasting Light
broken bells cover

4. Broken Bells

  • Artist: Broken Bells
  • Album: Broken Bells
  • Song: The High Road
lcd soundsystem cover

5. This Is Happening

  • Artist: LCD Soundsystem
  • Album: This Is Happening
  • Song: All I Want
vampire weekend cover

6. Contra

  • Artist: Vampire Weekend
  • Album: Contra
  • Song: Taxi Cab
beach house cover

7. Teen Dream

  • Artist: Beach House
  • Album: Teen Dream
  • Song: Zebra
mumford and sons cover

8. Sigh No More

  • Artist: Mumford & Sons
  • Album: Sigh No More
  • Song: The Cave
spoon cover

9. Transference

  • Artist: Spoon
  • Album: Transference
  • Song: I Saw the Light
sleigh bells cover

10. Treats

  • Artist: Sleigh Bells
  • Album: Treats
  • Song: Rill Rill
local natives cover

11. Gorilla Manor

  • Artist: Local Natives
  • Album: Gorilla Manor
  • Song: Camera Talk
yeasayer cover

12. Odd Blood

  • Artist: Yeasayer
  • Album: Odd Blood
  • Song: Ambling Alp
new pornographers cover

13. Together

  • Artist: The New Pornographers
  • Album: Together
  • Song: Moves
flying lotus cover

14. Cosmogramma

  • Artist: Flying Lotus
  • Album: Cosmogramma
  • Song: Do the Astral Plane
she and him cover

15. Volume Two

  • Artist: She & Him
  • Album: Volume Two
  • Song: Ridin' In My Car
band of horses cover

16. Infinite Arms

  • Artist: Band of Horses
  • Album: Infinite Arms
  • Song: Older
jonsi cover

17. Go

  • Artist: Jónsi
  • Album: Go
  • Song: Animal Arithmetic
the knife cover

18. Tomorrow, In A Year

  • Artist: The Knife
  • Album: Tomorrow, In A Year
  • Song: Annie's Box (Alt. Vocal)
broken social scene

19. Forgiveness Rock Record

  • Artist: Broken Social Scene
  • Album: Forgiveness Rock Record
  • Song: World Sick
sharon jones and the dap kings cover

20. I Learned the Hard Way

  • Artist: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
  • Album: I Learned the Hard Way
  • Song: Money