Friday, October 25, 2013

Twelve Songs I'm Constantly Listening to These Days

So I've been a bit busy with work these days.  Primarily I've been going back into my Portable CD case and listening to all of those albums I've reviewed but haven't had time to listen to further.  It's not like I have drafts of 11 reviews I just don't have time to get around to.  That would just be silly.

Another setback with reviews is a purely technical issue.  Simply put:  I can't get any of my reviews off the device I recorded them on, except to re-do them all by hand.  Very annoying.  If any of you have experience with this particular issue, I would really appreciate any support you could offer.  It's called the "Portable Analog Pulp Enhanced Rewriteable" device ("Paper" for short).  I can't even find an interface on this sucker for the life of me, and my penmanship is TERRIBLE.  Perfect storm.

In and around the Portable CD listening, there are a few songs that have caught my attention and grabbed hold.  Here they are (as always) in alphabetical list form:

1. The Beatings - "Other Side" (2002) -- I could not find a clip for this one.  But let me tell you, it is GOOD.  Also, I think this is NOT the Boston group The Beatings, as I could not find this song on their website.  If anyone knows more, please comment below or email me.

2. Beulah - "Sunday Under Glass" (1999).  Purty.

3. Black Breath - "Murder" (2008).  For Bubba and Scott K. mainly. Enjoy the screaming!

4. Devo - "Post-Post-Modern Man" (1990).  This one was sparked by Ben and Robyn's marital music issues.  Good times.

5. Gang of Four - "I Love a Man in Uniform" (2005).  This is the Return the Gift version, which begs the question as to why they did not record the original this way.  Awesome.

6. Gem - "Only a Loan" (1995).  Rawk.

7. Joy Division - "Digital" (1979).  So I'm a little late to the entire Joy Division catalog (despite Yves and Scott B. pushing me in that direction with various albums to listen to). Don't look at me like that.  

8. The Kills - "Future Starts Slow" (2011).  Once every few years, I hear a song on a television show that makes me immediately run to iTunes.  So thank you to Person of Interest for this one.  Now get rid of Shah and get on with it.

9. Lush - "Light from a Dead Star" (1994).  Haunting.

10. North Atlantic Oscillation - "One Good Reason" (2012).  This is a Bob Mould cover, and if you didn't think there was going to be at least one Bob Mould-related item in this list, you have not been paying attention.  (And for the record, Bob Mould is Bob Mould.)  

11. Andy Taylor - "When the Rain Comes Down" (1986).  Miami Vice meets Duran Duran, yo.  In 1987, I bought Andy Taylor's solo album Thunder on cassette, think that "Thunder" was the meteorlogical hit that I was into.  Wrong.  Of course, it only took me 25 years to realize this song was the soundtrack-only cut I loved at the time.  Who the hell releases two rain-related songs in two years?  Asshole.

12. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - "Under the Hedge" (2001). The song actually ends at 3:15.  But it is the best thing I have ever heard them do, and probably where I start and stop with this band.  (Sorry, Denis.)

- Snilch

Monday, July 29, 2013

Corridor - Real Late (2011)

Dear Corridor:

First of all, there is no damn way I am accepting the capitalization of "corridor - REAL LATE," which is how it comes up in iTunes.  This is a 99% deal-breaker out of the gate, you jackasses.  I'm not joking here -- I almost didn't listen to the damn album simply based on that.

Second of all, that stupid capitalization MAKES NO SENSE as the music behind it is totally smart, very restrained, basically virtuoso folk rock.  It really pisses me off that this is so good, as I am pretty sure (based on capitalization alone) that you guys wear Miami Heat hats with a flat brim, backwards, and slightly tilted to the side.  (Yes, I just described the worst kind of human being.)

Therefore, for the love of all that's holy, accept what you are -- folk maestros crossed with world music leanings -- and stop pretending you are some stupid punks.  You are clearly better than that, so just get rid of that diamond-studded nose ring and get on with it.  It's a great album; accept your "real musicianship" status.  I know it's frightening, but you can be grown-ups now to match your music.

Corridor - "Objective Lens"

Thank you in advance for stopping your campaign of pissing me off.  Please continue in the music vein, however.  It's quite excellent.



CD Placement Rating:  CAR cd CHANGER.  Jerks.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Re-post: The Fireman - Electric Arguments (2008)

With Paul McCartney coming to town and some of my new readers attending the show, I decided to re-post this review from 2009 for their interest.  Enjoy!

As The Beatles release two new box sets and Rock Bandit seems appropriate to review Sir Paul McCartney's side project. I'm just going to come out and say it: this is McCartney's best post-Beatles album, at least for me. After the breakup, I prefer John Lennon and George Harrison, and never liked Wings, so from my perspective this is not going out on a limb; on the other hand, I've never heard anything I'd call "best" from McCartney before this. 

The Fireman - Dance 'Til We're High

It's raw, it's moody, it's got a snarl to it; even the vocals are rough and jagged. I really enjoyed it, and it's quite a surprise to see Sir Paul so edgy in his old age. Thanks for turning me on to this, Andrew!

CD Placement rating: Portable CD Case.

- Snilch

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Screaming Blue Messiahs - Gun Shy (1986; re-released 2009)

You may have figured out I like The Screaming Blue Messiahs.  And if not, you can read here, here, or here. Synopsis:  it's rockabilly with an emphasis on rock.  

Their formula is simple but effective, and innovative in its simplicity.  Despite having a "sound," they are "same-ish" (as opposed to "same-y") by playing around inside the formula without completely breaking out of it.  This is symbolized by "Talking Doll," where a relatively simple guitar and bass lines combine to make the song a harmonious musical standout.  Or the added guitar line in "President Kennedy's Mile" -- it's not going to cause smoke to come out of your ears, but it's the right addition to the song.  Sometimes you don't need to overthink these things, people.

The Screaming Blue Messiahs - Wild Blue Yonder

If they had hung around, perhaps they would have turned out like Pennywise, slowly grinding themselves into a flattened piece of sameness.  Considering they broke up almost 25 years years ago, we'll never know.  Which is too bad, actually.

CD Placement Rating:  Portable CD Case.

- Snilch

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kyle Andrews - Robot Learn Love (2011)

This has some serious promise -- just check out "Make Me Feel Human," "Lazer Tag with Imaginary Friends," or "The Search for a Heart," which are electronica/light rock/pop gold.  This album suffers from a lack of consistency throughout, making it ultimately good, not great. 

It's not bad by any stretch, just not something that I'll listen to except for the highlights.  Just a little too bubblegum.  But there is WAY too much promise here to ignore Andrews moving forward -- I'll be very interested to hear his next album.

CD Placement Rating:  Sell-back 1

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Galactic - Ya-Ka-May (2009)

Eric Salt recommended this a few years back; I wrote a review for it and five other albums (including Abraham Inc. and Frank Zappa), which was lost due to a combination of an accidental deletion and general blogspot idiocy.  (Probably more operator error, to be honest.)  I was depressed enough to avoid re-reviewing this until now.  (Probably more lazy, to be honest.)

In any case, this starts off as a Cuban party, then turns into r and b/funk/pop/conga reality.  The sounds are very smartly placed; the musical tone is generally happy and uplifting, but contains both remorse and at times even anger.  They're agnostic musically, which means they will add touches of any musical style to move the narrative along.  And it's clearly a melting pot of musicians and vocalists that drive the whole thing forward, so each song sounds a little different.

Galactic - Heart of Steel

It's a great collaborative and collective effort, without mis-steps along the way.  Music is strong like bull.

CD Placement Rating: Portable CD Case.

- Snilch

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Making Friendz - Social Life (2011)

Summary:  this is very promising electronic pop from an up and coming artist.  

Here is some free advice that the band probably doesn't need, nor do they probably care.  But as you all know, that won't stop me.  

So... three things:  

  • Some of the lyrics are just way too over the top intercourse-y.  Be a little more suggestive.  For instance, "Just take off your clothes/Don't make me cry/I wanna be inside you" is about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
  • You write nice guitar/keyboard riffs, which is good.  You repeat them pretty much as-is in other songs, which is not good (unless, of course, you are the late, great Wesley Willis, and writing songs like "Casper the Homosexual Ghost" or "I Whupped Batman's Ass," in which case it's actually expected).
  • Just keep at it and you'll figure it out.  There's really good stuff here.  Just cut out all of the bad parts, and replace them with good ones.  See?  Simple.  
Now I put in this official video, but BEWARE:  you'll likely find it gross and NSFW.  (Turns out you are a prude.)  It is a great song, though, so if it bugs you, just hide the viewer and listen instead.
Making Friendz - Situation

At their best, they sound like a slightly less clever Bikini Kill or Le Tigre; at their worst, they sound like a bunch of undersexed (or oversexed) teenagers channelling Ministry's first album.  But this band has a ton of potential and are worth watching.  If they put it all together, they will be great.

CD Placement Rating:  CD Rack.

iTunes Recommendations:  "Situation," "Reject Me," "Symphony."

- Snilch

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Masters of the Hemisphere - Maybe These Are the Breaks (2011)

I get a ton of music from Terrorbird, and usually don't have the time to listen to all of it.  But if I have to wade through hours of crap to find a gem like this album, it's totally worth it.

Sounding like a mix of The Shins with a touch of Sonic Youth, Derwin Deez, and The Cure, this is pop music at its sugary sweet best.  While at first listen it sounds like just simple grooves and sounds, there's more to it here:  the music does not pander to the listener, and instead dictates the action.  

It's impossibly happy for having an edge and a real feel to the music.  Think piano, guitar, and harmonies play over a solid if not spectacular rhythm section; it's got enough universality to be easily translatable to almost anyone, yet enough of a musical vocabulary that you won't be ashamed of it as a indie snob (like me).  The only thing I will say bad about this is that it slightly drags about halfway through.  But that is a minor point; it's a great album.

Masters of the Hemisphere - Watch It Go Away

Considering this is their first release in eight years, I may have to check out some of their first four albums.  This is the type of band that I don't think I would hate if I heard on the radio every day, which is where they belong.  And improving the radio landscape while doing so.  

CD Placement Rating:  Car CD Changer

- Snilch

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Wrens - Silver (1997)

Back before their Chinese Democracy-like delay in releasing the follow-up to 2001's masterpiece The Meadowlands (which has still not happened), The Wrens actually prolifically released three albums between 1997 and 2001.  This is their debut; it's cool to hear the embryonic beginnings here, but it's really not up to par with their later work.  

Denis turned me on to these guys, but I know he agrees:  avoid this one, but FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, GET OFF YOUR ASS AND PICK UP THE MEADOWLANDS.  WHY HAVE YOU WAITED 12 YEARS TO BUY THIS ALBUM?  WHY???

Just for that I'm not even giving a clip from Silver.  Here's something from The Meadowlands.  WHY DO YOU MAKE ME DO THIS?

The Wrens - Hopeless (from the album The Meadowlands, which you do not even own, you jackass)

Oh, and see them live if you can, they are great.

CD Placement Rating:  Sell back 1.

- Snilch

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Watercress - Pirates on the Vitamin Seas (2000?)

After years of rumor and dead-ends, I finally found this long-lost, unreleased album by one of Ireland's finest bands. Leah managed them toured them in North America a few times, and tuned me (and everyone in our office) on to what I still feel was the consistently best live band I ever saw. Fun, energetic, quirky, and inventive, they came and went way too fast, with only a cassette-only (!) album, a full-length CD (Bummer, their only really proper release), and several EPs to show for it.

And this, their follow-up to Bummer, which was recorded but never released.  And it's obvious why.  This is much more conventional and subdued than their previous recordings and live performances; it still has a high musical IQ, but ultimately it's just not that interesting.  It's a snapshot of a band that was just moving in a different direction, a competent but sad period at the end of the sentence.  You expect a scream; what you get is a whimper.

But they had their moment.  I hope you saw them when they were around.

CD Placement Rating:  CD Rack?  Say it ain't so, but really it's more like Sell-back 1.  Ugh.

- Snilch

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Frank Zappa - Hot Rats (1969)

One of the last long conversations I had with Brian at a former, disastrous place of employment ended with him saying, "Wait a minute. You haven't heard Zappa's Hat Rats?  I can't talk to you anymore," and then hanging up. Well, he'll have to find a new excuse now.

Musically, it's well-choreographed insanity.  It really should not all work together -- it's a "kitchen sink" approach instrumentally -- but it does, gently moving discordant musical ideas and conflicting sounds into a harmonious union.  

Not convinced?  Why not watch a video of a radio ad?

Frank Zappa - Hot Rats Radio Ad

Smart and sharp, it's a rock symphony.  It's arranged as such, juxtoposing different styles of virtuoso playing into a smooth finish. The lengthy songs (three are 9+ minutes long) don't seem self-indulgent, but rather an exploration of moods and shapes.

Frank Zappa - Son of Mr. Green Genes

To sum up:  if jam bands were all like this, we'd all love Phish. Fans of Mars Volta (and I'm looking at you, Dan) will see where that band came from on this one.

CD Placement Rating: Car CD Changer.

- Snilch

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Black Angels - Phospherene Dream (2010)

Hello 1970s vocals:  meet 1960s psychedelic rock with a modern feel.

Phospherene Dream has a shoegazer garage vibe but with more of a Jesu meandering feel.  It's like a more more laid back Black Rebel Motorcycle Club had met Pink Floyd, taken it out for a few drinks, had some laughs, and even called back the next morning.  And "laid back" is probably a lazy misnomer; think "deliberate and purposeful psychedelia."

This is a really enjoyable listen front to back as an album:  it's a slow, steady dirge you just do not want to see end.  That being said, this is not for everyone -- likely target Mrs. Snilch Report surprisingly dislikes this quite a bit.  

But for me, just listen to "River of Blood."  It's epic.

The Black Angels - River of Blood

As Denis would say:  "Rock."  Word.

CD Placement Rating: Car CD Changer.

- Snilch

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shabazz Palaces - Black Up (2011)

This was recommended by AMG.  Maybe hip-hop has grown up and I haven't.  Or maybe it's just not very good.  Either way, I would just rather listen to Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising, or DJ Shadow's Entroducing than this.


CD Placement Rating:  Pile of Death.

- Snilch

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Goes Cube - Another Day Has Passed (2009)

A few weeks back, as I watched the snowplow dump snow from my neighbor's unshoveled apron onto my clean one for the third time in less than an hour, I realized I needed to take a break from shoveling before that throbbing vein in my neck blew up.

So I settled into my bathrobe, bunny slippers, and NKOTB*-branded couch, and began to mellow considerably.  Now I just needed the prefect soundtrack to match my current state.  And drown out that plow, which I could hear coming down the street for pass #4.

Immediately, Goes Cube sprung to mind.  How could it not?  With soothing songs like "Another Day Has Passed," "Grinding the Knife Blade," and "I Hold Grudges," I knew I was just a couple of S'mores and some warm milk away from peace and tranquility.  Featuring mellow, melodic death metal underpinnings and soothing primal rage screams, it's what those "in the know" use to quietly lull themselves to sleep.

Goes Cube - "I Hold Grudges"

Okay, if you've listened to the video, you realize this is less Lawrence Welk and more a really angry Jesu or the lead singer from Face to Face with a chip on his shoulder.  So we'll drop the pretense here.  Utilizing a formula of switching back and forth from mid-tempo rock to thrash screaming (see Pennywise, System of a Down, Rise Against, Grade, etc.), Goes Cube crosses a gloomy tone with interesting melodies, finishing it off with both excellent musicianship and production.  It's really heavy tone done right.  If you like Mars Volta, just check out the title track and you will be hooked.

There's a small window for this kind of music for me, but this hits it.

CD Placement Rating:  Portable CD Case.

- Snilch

*New Kids on the Block, of course.  S'up?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NCAA Conference Tournament Viewing: Why You Should Root for the Favorites

For many of you, this will be the first time you have watched college hoops since last year.  For others, sadly, that time has not yet arisen.

So here is my advice for you all:  as you watch these smaller Tournaments, root for the favorite.  Every favorite.

This goes against the grain of the natural instinct we all have as fans:  seeing the Cinderella story, the impossible dream, the buzzer beater that gets the ugly kid into the big dance.  But the fact is that if every regular season conference champion won their tournament, the four play-in games would all feature 20+win teams (as opposed to the 20 LOSS Liberty team that has already qualified this year), and the back-end of the field would be much, much deeper.  And we’d still consider them Cinderellas, as who would expect a team from the Atlantic Sun or Big South to do anything anyways?

To me, this is the logical path towards a 16 beating a 1:  when a senior-laden squad from some tiny school that would typically be a 15 or 14 seed gets shoved back to 16, because the upsets by lower ranked teams in conference tourneys don’t happen.

My final point:  we don’t remember the thrilling conference tourney buzzer-beaters from years.  We do remember Tournament buzzer-beaters.

There are some exceptions, obviously.  Seeing chaos in the larger tournaments is a lot of fun, especially as upsets of the bigger teams does not take them out of a bid.  And if you have a rooting interest in a smaller school; self-interest wins out, obviously.

But in all other cases:  in one-bid leagues, hope the better seed wins.  It’ll make the real Tourney that much better, and Cinderella will still be attending in any case.  She'll just be tougher to get into the carriage at the end of the night.

- Snilch

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Mötley Crüe - Too Fast for Love (1981, re-issued in 1999)

When That Metal Show did their "Top 5 Debut Albums" list, they listed some very respected bands: Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Guns 'N Roses, and Metallica. The fact that Mötley Crüe not only made the list, but were slotted at number three ahead of GNR (which my brain immediately processed as "HERESY!") as "the best Mötley Crüe album" meant that I had to take a listen.

In fairness, I only own two Crüe albums:  Shout at the Devil and Saints of Los Angeles.  And that was all I ever really needed, to be completely honest.

I've gone back and forth on this one.  An initial headphones listen had me loving this album, but subsequent listens have wavered dramatically.  There's definitely something here as a "straight rock album," but it seems to be lacking a great single or the sophistication to be really at that next level.  And yet I waver even on that.  There's something going on here.

In many ways, this is the most un-Crüe effort of their career:  it's more classic Sunset Strip, almost like early Ratt with Vince Neil on vocals. (To that point, Ratt may have ripped off the riff for "Come on and Dance" for "Lack of Communication" to boot.  Of course, on "Too Fast for Love" and "Toast of the Town" the Crüe ripped off the Sex Pistols.  Sharing is caring, people.)  Side note:  it's shocking how reserved Tommy Lee's playing is, as he would develop to one of the greatest drummers ever but you would never know here.  

Also, there is a surprising amount of cowbell.  As in "an alarming amount of cowbell."

Having heard the non-remastered YouTube videos compared to the cleaned up production, I'd say that this is one remaster you need if you want to continue listening to it.  The original video sound is just wretched.

Now it's time for our newest segment, 5 Questions with The Snilch.  (Editor's note:  This would be the lazy man's way of ending this review.)

  1. Is it better than Appetite for Destruction or Van Halen I?  In a word... no.
  2. Do you have a reason why That Metal Show would rank the album so highly?  I'd say that it's probably like The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band or Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade -- if you got that album when it came out, there's a "time and place" element that blew you away at the time, as it was a revolutionary statement in the moment.  But ultimately Rubber Soul or New Day Rising might have more legs to stand on its own as a musical piece as time goes on. 
  3. So in other words, you don't know.  That's not even a question, jackass.
  4. No need to get cross with me... Is it their best album?  Well, from front to back it is the most consistently good album they ever put together... but, before you get started with me, yes, I'm ducking the question.  How about this:  is it the first Crüe album I will reach for when I go back to listen to them in two months?   Probably not.  It'll be vying with Saints of Los Angeles for second behind Shout at the Devil.  And that probably says it all.
  5. Wait... did you just ask yourself the fifth question as part of your response?  What is wrong with you?  Do you not even get the basic concept here?  First of all, you asked three questions right there.  Second, question #3 was not even a question.  Third, I appear to be arguing with myself, which seems odd.  I don't get a lot of sleep.
CD Placement Rating:  Portable CD Case.

Compilation/Reissue Ripoff Index:  Non-existent.  If you like this album, you need the remaster for the 175% improvement in audio quality.

- Snilch

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Vintage Trouble at TT the Bears - March 5, 2013

While I struggle with my next blog post, Denis and I hit the Cambridge, MA scene last night, with one goal in mind -- to prove we were not THAT old.  (Spoiler alert:  it turns out we are.)

But thanks to Alan's recommendation, we were lucky enough to get into the sold-out show for Vintage Trouble.  The scene was set outside TT the Bears with the custom Vintage Trouble tour bus, sponsored by... Supercuts.  (Pictured here -- if I get a photo from Denis with the Supercuts logo I will post it here.)  If you see these guys, you will realize how ironic that is.

Opener Leogun got one of the best receptions for an opening band you will ever see in Boston.  And they deserved it.  A great compliment as an opener on this bill, their mid-tempo combo of rock and pure enthusiasm made their jam-band feel from a three-piece really work.  Definitely worth seeing again; I will have to keep an eye on them.

Vintage Trouble's set was an old-time revival meeting celebrating rock and r&b.  I've never quite heard the guitar tonality they were producing in that acoustically challenged room at TT's -- it was awesome.  Slow songs had energy, quicker songs had fury.  A great group of musicians, with a absolute showman of a lead singer who managed to get Cambridge fans to interact with the band.  On a TUESDAY.  (If you've ever seen a show in Boston, you'll know how rare this is on a weekend.)

Fantastic energy, fantastic playing, great songs that never seemed to end (partially because they would "stop" for applause, then get the audience to sing along to the chorus  and go back into the song again), and just a fun show.  It would have been great to see the encores... but it was a Tuesday, and we were old.

Merch rating:  I bought their CD (and should have bought Leogun's too).  I will definitely watch them next time, although by that point they will at least be at the Paradise, perhaps even the House of Blues.  I would have bought a t-shirt as well if I didn't leave; next album is bought without waiting to hear how good it is.

- Snilch

P.S. If you want to get a taste of what these guys are like, check out their appearance on David Letterman (below) earlier this year.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Johnette Napolitano - Scarred (2007)

While the name "Johnette Napolitano" may not mean anything to you, the name "Concrete Blonde" certainly will.  "Joey" was a top 20 hit, and a number of other songs ("Caroline," "God is a Bullet", "Still in Hollywood," "Ghost of a Texas Lady Man," etc.) made them a huge act in the late 80s/early 90s prior to their breakup in 1993.  The have gotten back together a few times (even releasing two albums in the 2000s), but have generally been under the radar since their original breakup.

Napolitano, in the meantime, has been busy.  She's a sculptor, a poet, and (still) a musician (both her own releases and soundtracks).  She has released three other solo albums besides Scarred, but those were improvised and primarily electronic.  Thus far, this is her only true studio release.

Disclaimer:  I enjoyed the Concrete Blonde sound but cannot really be considered a fan; I don't own any of their albums.

That being said, let's get right to it:  it's great.  It's good enough that I wish I had heard it when it came out, as opposed to just discovering it now (six years later).  Napolitano's voice sounds better and clearer than ever, and it's evident that the songs are close to her heart:  at many points it's as if she's vocalizing a raw wound (in the best possible way).

After a few listens, I called this "uneven," but since then it has grown considerably on me.  I'd highly suggest a headphones listen on this one:  there is a lot of TLC in the production that you might otherwise miss.  As for the songs:  "Scarred" is a haunting picture of regret, anger, and sadness.  (Think Shelby Lynne's cover of "Mother" with more angst.) "Save Me" shows Napolitano at the top of her lungs best.  "Everything for Everyone" is a great confessional rocker.  "Amazing" sets the table for the album, with a well thought out  musical plan combined with a display of her amazing vocal range.

But the crown jewels here (for me) are "Just Like Time" and "I'm Up Here."  The former is pretty reserved in the context of the album, but it's an 80s/90s top 20 song that just happened to be created in 2007.  It's also the most Conrete Blonde-ish siong of the lot, which may be why I like it so much.  Great lyrics, smartly packaged musically.

"I'm Up Here," (which I have included here) on the other hand, is damn raw.  It's also all over the place, with plenty of twists musically and lyrically -- the refrain doesn't even hit until over two minutes in.  It's probably my favorite song:  deceptively simple, but unbelievably powerful. 

In the end, the music is very good, but the vocal performance is transcendent.  Amanda Palmer is the only other vocalist that comes to mind that regularly delivers this kind of emotion, but Napolitano does so with an out of this world register.  It's a great comeback and hopefully not the last one.

CD Placement Rating:  Car CD Changer.

- Snilch

Friday, February 08, 2013

Songs to get you through Winter Storm Nemo

Today we'll be counting down the Top 10 "Snow/Winter Weather Storm Songs" in honor of Winter Storm Nemo. These are winter songs, so tropical/rain songs ("Rock You Like a Hurricane," "Rain," etc.) are not under consideration.

I'm giving bonus points for songs that are actually ABOUT weather. (On Twitter, I also timed this so the songs could be listened to between tweets.)

So let's get started.

10: "It's a Cold Night for Alligators" by Roky Erickson and the Aliens. (And indeed it is).

9. "Cold as Ice" by Foreigner.  (You can opt out of the ad.)  Not necessarily about weather, so classic song drops a bit.

8. "The Weather" by Built to Spill. Great song; we're now moving into ones that are actually more weather-related.  (This is actually from the album Ancient Melodies of the Future, which means our YouTube uploader was very, very lazy.)

7. "Ice Cold Ice" by Hüsker Dü.  It's kind of about the weather, right?  Right?  (You had to know Bob Mould was getting in here somewhere.)

6. "Snow Day" by Fossil. This is so obscure that there's no uploadable content for it. It's all about the joys of a snow day.  Rest assured, it's a great song.  Rest assured.  

5. "Blizzard of 77" by Nada Surf.  A favorite of Scott's, which is good enough for me. We are now fully ensconced in actual weather songs.

4. "Hazy Shade" of Winter by The Bangles.  Sadly, I did not know this was a cover until just now.  Don't look at me like that.  (FWIW, the YouTube clip sounds like it was recorded off a warped vinyl copy.)

3. "Like the Weather" by 10,000 Maniacs.  Ruined  Immortalized forever by my freshman roommate Sean's drunken warbling Bahstahn rendition. It went something like this: "Shiver in me bones just tinking... about the weathaaaah." (And yes, "tinking" is spelled correctly.)

2. "The Sound of Winter" by Bush.  A great song by a band who finally figured it all out 15 years later.

And at #1... drum roll please....

1. "Snow" by jj72.  It's just awesome. Such angst and confusion, it's really quite brilliant.  A long-forgotten Scottish Irish band.

That's my list... so what did I forget?