Sunday, December 31, 2006

Feldheim End of the Year Top 10s

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Top 10 Albums For Providing White Noise

I'm certain that I'm not the only aviator who is emotionally dependent on her I-pod, or for that matter music. Looking back on 2006 I also can't help but think back to 2005, and the fall of 2004 all of which had a tremendous influence on my music needs. Ever since i started law school I've been drawn to and sought out music compatible with the fact that all I do is study in the library. The silence is deafening, the detachment from music is incredibly stressful and unfortunately law isn't the kind of think I've been able to master while multitasking. The end result: several albums that are not only extraordinary musical feats, but also keep my mind focused and impervious to distraction. To all my fellow graduate and professional students, this list is dedicated to you.

10. Run Lola Run -- The Soundtrack

Probably what first comes to mind is that image from the opening credits where the soccer ball is punted into the air as the main title theme begins. What's cool about this soundtrack is that is comes back to a reprise of the main title theme. The albums a little hypnotic but also gets my adrenaline pumping.

9. David Axlerod - The Edge

Thank you Ritter for posting this to the box. Low Rawls You make Me So Very Happy is definitely in contention for greatest song ever.

8. RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke

A fantastic follow up to Deadringer. RJD2 is one of my favorite producers. I had the privilege of meeting him last year when he was performing with Blue Print as Soul Position. I think some people had a hard time with this album because Deadringer was so good and this albums deviates from Deadringer and is a bit more experimental. I say keep an open mind and give it another listen as I think you will like what you hear.

7. The Avalanches - Since I Left You

This is my favorite album of all time and has been for several years now. For those of you who don't know, The Avalanches are a totally awesome hip-hop group native to Australia. Since I left You is crafted almost entirely out of samples mixed together by the incredibly talented DJ Dexter. Perhaps the most recognizable track is Frontier Psychiatrist that found its way into many a European club and the soundtrack to some MTV shows. What's amazing about this album is that I've listened to it regularly for about 5 years now and ever time I listen to it i discover a new break beat that I never noticed before.

6. Pink Floyd - The Wall

Every time I mention to one of my fellow students that I really like listening to The Wall when I study they don't really understand why. Maybe it is because it is one of those established albums that is amusing to criticize. I put this album on my I-pod on a whim while studying for exams second semester of my 1L year just because I hadn't listened to it in a while. It's made an appearance and pretty much only makes an appearance every final exam since.

5. DJ- Baby Anne - Dark Side of the Boom

I posted some musings about DJ Baby Anne a while back. She's my favorite female DJ. Pretty Heavy on the beats, but not too heavy on the lyrics -- Perfect!

4. U.N.K.L.E. - Psyence Fiction

U.N.K.L.E is for the most part DJ James Lavelle (who I will discuss later) and DJ Shadow. This album has got some cool collaborators including Thom York and Mike D. It's a little hip hop, a little house, a little rock and a great barrier between me and the rest of a world. Interesting music fact: while surfing the web i discovered that David Axelrod who also graces this list remixed a track of this album titled Rabbit in Your Headlights, the track featuring Thom York. While almost a decade old, I have a feeling this album will be my next contribution to the box as I think you will all like this album but for different reasons and I'm curious to hear about it.

3. Globalunderground 23 - James Lavelle

James Lavelle is probably best described as a progressive house DJ. His mixes are pretty eclectic with sounds ranging from hip-hop to electronic, alternative rock and world. Amazing!

2. Back To Mine - Nick Warren

Back to Mine features famous DJ throwing together some fo their favorite tracks that generally wouldn't make their way into their live sets. So while you could dance to a couple of the other albums on this list this mix isn't really designed for that. It's down tempo and soothing.

1. Global Undergound #24 Nick Warren

Nick Warren graces my top 10 twice probably because his mixes, while trance, are more complicated and funkier than what usually comes to mind when we think of trance. I discovered this album back in college when amazon suggested that because I liked the James Lavelle mix at #3 I might also like Nick Warren. This mix was recorded in Reykjavik (one of the greatest cities in the world) which makes it even better. Track 4 samples a bit of dialogue from the film Snatch and also has this hypnotic melody that gives me chills.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

R.I.P., James Brown (1933-2006)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Top 10 Albums of 2006 according to one of the Top 10 Jews of all time

"There's no preface to this, let's get down to business"
-Feldheim, spoken in a thick Long Island accent to an unsuspecting victim

1. Joanna Newsom - Ys
Quite simply the most beautiful album of the year. Joanna has followed up her underrated debut with a record that is much more refined - it has five songs. Van Dyke Parks' string arrangements are just gorgeous. The strides that she has taken since her underrated first release Milk Eyed Mender are staggering. Plus you need to be at least a little elite can when you release 5 songs and call it an LP.

2. Destroyer - Rubies
After seeing Destroyer open for the New Pornographers (of which he is a sometime member) I became obsessed. Snatching up every recording I could find. I consider him the best songwriter of our generation. Rubies is probably the most accessible Destroyer album, but it doesn't lack the depth of his other records. It's still brilliant.

3. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I'm Dreaming
See my original review of this for the details -- this album just rocks.

4. Califone - Roots and Crowns
Grungy, grimy, bluesy, jazzy folk rock tinged with electronic blips and loops. The songcraftsmanship (not sure if that's a word) and production on this album is are absolutely incredible.

5. Peter, Bjorn and John - Writer's Block
Pure pop bliss. These guys take influences from everyone from the Velvet Underground to the Flaming Lips to Elvis Costello and the Beach Boys.

6. Liars - Drums Not Dead
A fantastic experimentation in sound. Liars sound like a darker, less tribal sounding, minimalist Animal Collective. This would be a great album if you were trapped in a moist dark cave filled with banshees (e.g. Feldheim). Its alienating and entrancing at the same time. I keep thinking it would make a great soundtrack for Eyes Wide Shut.

7. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
Can you feel the kniii...iiiii.iiiiiife. Can you feel the kniii...iiiii.iiiiiife.

8. Danielson - Ships
If any pop album can be considered an epic -- this is it. Fantastically weird vocal stylings and melodies. It's one of the few really ambitious records that doesn't fall flat on its face..

9. Swan Lake - Beast Moans
An indie supergroup consisting of three of my favorite musicians on the scene today (Dan Bejar of Destroyer, Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes and Spencer Krug of Sunset Rubdown/Wolf Parade). The only reason this did not become the greatest record of all time is due to a lack of cohesiveness -- they can't quite mesh their massive talents together to form the uber-band Swan Lake could've been. The Bejar songs are the real highlights of the album -- proving once again Destroyer is king.

10. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
The man cannot be stopped. The follow-up to 1999's Love and Theft is just as good. Have you guys ever seen him live? There's usually a point in the show where he just glares at the crowd in complete silence. I'm pretty sure its not on purpose, and he's just dead. But he's either God or that cheerleader from Heroes -- most likely God. I have no idea what this has to do with the list or the album, but I don't feel like writing anymore.

After all, I'm a lazy Jew.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Top Tens aside...

...the end of the year is also a time for self reflection.

With that in mind it's seems appropriate to call your attention to this

Back when we were only 7 aviators, one the leader of a terrorist organization...

Back when all of us lived on the same continent

Back when I could actually articulate a reason why I wanted to be a lawyer

Before some of us not naming any names became social loafers...

When we could only speculate about what the future would hold for Feldheim

so now in addition to my originally planned top ten list I'm going to create a list of top 10 songs from 1986 that I will sample when I am earning my living as a word class DJ and not as an attorney. All of this after Finals of course....

As far as making this bigger and better in the year 2007, I think it's about time we got ourselves an intern.

Top 10 last songs on albums if that song is an even numbered track of 2006

1. We’re no Here, track 10 from Mogwai’s Mr. Beast. Not only does this song strike home to every Jew out there for its epic “Walk Across the Desert with the Weight of a Thousand Generations” vibe, but also because I saw it on mushrooms, at Coachella, in the desert, in the summer, and proceeded to get a second degree sunburn from the heat off their tube amps and pinpoint pupilling lightshow. Everything just screams, “IT’S FUCKING REAL, REAL HOT OUT HERE GUS.” This song kept pushing for renaming my list to “Top ten 2006 songs that you want to listen to while driving to kick someone’s ass who really fucking deserves it, or maybe just driving to face the end of the world.”

2. Colorado – yet another last song track 10, this one from Grizzly Bear’s 2006 album Yellow House. I got into this song at the perfect time while commuting up over Mt. Rose Highway during the first Sierra snowstorms of the fall. I was fortunate enough to realize a moment where the highway peaked at 8900 feet, this song peaked at a whimsical climax, and I climaxed at all of these peaks—and for the fact that snow was falling and ski season was approaching.

3. Or – doomsdayish, hopeful, and dark, this album encore is track 12 on Sonic Youth’s Rather Ripped from that blessed summer of 2006. This song represents the kind of evolution that I wished all twenty year old bands would make. It’s too bad that that twenty year old mark hit during the 1980’s for Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan--because they mostly made embarrassingly horrible shit at that time.

4. Album title worthy Spirit, track 10 from Apse’s October 2006 LP debut Spirit--which will get its own record review soon anyway. I’m trying to review only Apse albums if you haven’t noticed. But with regards to this fantabulous track, again it almost made me change my Christmas list to “Top ten 2006 songs that you want to listen to while driving to kick someone’s ass who really fucking deserves it, or maybe just driving to face the end of the world.”

5. Tides (piano) – the contemplative album ending track 12 of the Clog’s Lantern. Now this is the kind of contemplative that could either be considered stalkerishly eerie or paraplegically introspective. Either requires a window and some precipitating weather.

6. No Such Thing as Hearts—a 2006 track 10 good old fashioned smooth landing of Victory at Sea’s All Your things are Gone. Her voice is like Chan Marshall meets Tom Waits, which could be weird, and it is. But the only real side-effect is it just makes your mouth tastes like cigarettes.

7. Mizu Asobi – this pop wonder cocaine epic of Nipon comes clean at the even numbered end of Asobi Seksu’s Citrus. This song is filled with hope, hope of rehab, end of 80’s movies hope. A kind of hope that can only come across by a band with an 85 pound bubbly Japanese girl fronting it. Deerhoof eat your off tempo jerky-ass heart out.

8. El Ciervo Vulnerado – the album decapitating track 8 off of The Mars Volta’s Amputechture. Though this LP screamed “WE SHOULD REALLY TRY SOMETHING NEW GUYS, BUT MAYBE NEXT TIME,” this last track is what I love from TMV. That creepy Mexican feeling that maybe somebody’s drugged and sodomized you in the last 24 hours, but there’s really no way to be sure.

9. Broken Arrow – an ender at track 10, this one is smooth, almost too smooth. Okay I’m reaching on this last one which is off of the Album Leaf’s Into the Blue Again. It’s amazing how many fucking bands fill their albums to the odd-numbered end. Motherfuckers. Basically, I wouldn’t fight you for this one if I had too.

10. America the Beautiful – Neil Young’s CD ending anthemous track 10 from his punch to W’s gut album Living with War. Nothing that special about this track besides breaking a record for the most gospel singers fitted into a recording studio ever.

...Fuck that took a long time. But goddamn it's worth it.

Top 10 Reasons Why The Feldheim is Superior To Pitchfork

We here at the Feldheim represent elitism, we also represent common sense. For your Winter amusement, here it is:

10.) Our website isn't ugly
9.) We don't have banners (read: we haven't sold our musical souls to Corporate
8.) We all went to (and graduated from) Ivy League schools
7.) We are not pretentious, we are elitists
6.) We hate American Apparel
5.) If both of our staffs were to engage in an all out brawl Angela alone could take
out 6 or 7 of them hipsters (combined weight 330). Ritter would just stare at
another 7 or 8 until they folded into themselves. Toonces would finish off
all the nonviolent ones in negotiations
4.) We don't get free albums in the mail, we usually have to illegally download them
3.) We have better senses of humor, and no one checks our work (proofreading is for normies)
2.) Fuck Justin Timberlake, we all know who's really bringing sexy back
1.) We are named after someones snatch. Pitchfork is named after an "agricultural
enhancer/weak ass weapon"

Also.....Notable Mention at 11.)...

11.) Not one of us lives in Williamsburg

Top Ten Ways to Start an Argument

Top-Ten Established Albums that are Amusing to Criticize

People take music way too seriously.

[Momentary pause to permeate the obvious irony of the trying-too-hard-to-be-witty opening statement from this C-Grade music blog-writer]

I am not speaking so much about the role of music in our society, in as much as how emotionally attached people get to their music. The prime example is looking confusedly at the car stereo while your friend frantically scans for “the good part” of the CD of his new favorite band that “you would totally like.” Revel in the awkwardness! Why should your friend be so invested in an album to the point where your douchebag non-chalance could crush his spirit? His mother didn’t hold him enough as a child? His father held him too much? Who cares? Whatever the reason, it can occasionally be amusing to voice criticism of music for the sake of comedic controversy. Here are the top-ten established albums that are the most fun to degrade and thus start an argument:

Note: The credence to be “established” was that it had to be one of Rolling Stones’ Greatest 500 Albums of All Time as it is THE definitive music list from THE most credible music publication on the planet. I fought back the urge to select the blatant warts on the RS list (George Michael, Hole, No Doubt, etc.) or the horribly overrated ones (Devo, The Strokes, The brilliant live recording of Bob Dylan taking a shit, etc.) and chose the somewhat “credible” albums.

Number 10: "Nevermind" – Nirvana

I purposely chose this album as my ‘number 10’ album because “Nevermind” always seems to earn the gratuitous ten-spot on many older music critics’ top-ten-albums-of-all-time list. It’s as if “Nevermind” is the token album that music critics use to prove that they are not completely biased toward the 1960’s and 70’s, and are still “up-to-date” with the new generation (biting their lip because their favorite album by The Who gets pushed out). One could call it musical affirmative action to not discriminate against Generation X.

Grunge music was only a fad-trend that was created as a backlash to the over-stylized 80’s glam-rock era - which in itself was a backlash to the early 80’s new-wave. So, three guys who commercialized suicidal sentimentality (much to the malaise of the surgeon general and concerned parents worldwide) become idolized as ‘brave musical pioneers’ with Kurt Cobain as the voice of America. It’s funny, because Harvard just released some key findings from their genome-decoding project. As it turns out, 98% of all white people share the “Nirvana gene” which allows them to play the bass line for “Come As You Are” even though they may not know anything about the mechanics of a guitar.

Number 9: “Highway 61 Revisited” – Bob Dylan

This album is just plain boring. Especially for an album that marked Dylan’s radical departure from folk to rock, this album is like a prelude to a qualude (potential band name… please don’t steal it).

The lyrics are spectacular and the songwriting is great. However, that sounds like the same two-dimensional praises that people used to give Volvo in the 80’s. “Well, their cars are super-safe and the price range is relatively affordable. But, they have no horsepower and they are designed like hideous Lego cars.” You don’t see black people willingly driving Volvos, nor do you see them willingly listening to Dylan. (No, Jimi Hendrix doesn’t count)

When do you listen to this album? There is not enough bass for it to be a rocking road-trip album, it’s too white to play at a party, and it’s way too funny trying to have sex when drowning in Dylan’s whiney drawl: “How does it feel?” The best time to listen to this album is when it is blasting from a jukebox in a dive bar in Amarillo, TX (or someother rustic hole), or if you are sitting around and smoking joints and drinking imported beers with your English-major friends while they harangue you about the brilliance of his imagery. When in that situation, it's best just to sit there looking bored and then telling your friends, "Hey guys, can we put on that Dylan song where Everybody Must Get Stoned! That's far and away his best song ever! I don't care what any of you Wesleyan kids say."

Number 8: “Master of Puppets” - Metallica

Metallica is the Ronald Reagan of music... see if you can follow: Where as metal music (screwed up conservative ideals) was previously isolated to random factions of the confused and unsupervised, Metallica rose to prominence and brought their music into the mainstream. To maintain their title as "God-annointed saviors of the free rocking world" - they sought out to be the biggest, the loudest, and most obnoxious band that had ever existed. Nevertheless, it completely divided the musical world: On one side you had the middle-American idiots who thought that being angry and pre-emptive fighting were cool (The Republican core), along with the musical technical geeks that thought the solos were genius (rich, white capitalists who find the brilliance in trickle-down economics). And on the other side you had the people that thought the music was too loud and lacked direction (Democratic pussies). But you were on one side or the other, and the Iranians(illegal music downloaders [thank you Lars]) didn't stand a chance.

Tough analogy. But at its core, Master of Puppets is the album that your older brother listened to, got really riled up, and would hold you down and give you "froggers" in the arm and "dead legs" to the thigh. It was made in the mid-80's when Generation X (the most worthless generation ever) was in prime teenage rebellion mode - thus going to waste. Metallica also inadvertantly sparked the worst fashion trend of all time: a black Metallica t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up (to show off a tattoo of a flaming skull or a cobra or some other sexually frustrated graphical connotation), tucked into a pair of tight fitting, ripped Jordache jeans (sans belt), basketball sneakers, and a I-can-wear-my-hair-however-the-fuck-I-want pony-tail.

Just like Californian comrade Ronald Reagan... I am not saying that Master of Puppets is not technically-impressive and a sign of the times, I am just saying that some rich white assholes profited from blue-collar ignorance while pissing a lot of other people off. Be very careful when you criticize this album, you'll most likely get a fist in the face and a Bud (heavy) poured over your head.

Number 7: “A Rush of Blood to the Head” - Coldplay

Making fun of a Coldplay album with you music snobs is like explaining how Derek Jeter sucks to a group of Red Sox fans. It’s a safe call, it’s not necessarily anything original, but still everyone gets enjoyment out of it.

Coldplay is the poor-man’s Police. Both bands released solid albums that had impressive songwriting; tight production; inane, noxiously repetitive lyrics; and a completely unique sound that was intended to inspire suburbanites. But Sting was actually a genius who experimented with song structure and time-signature, while Chris Martin named his kid Apple. The problem is that it is physically impossible to enjoy Coldplay unless you are spooning with some girl that smells like the Gap:
Her: (mellow singing along while playing with your hair) Open up your Eyeees, Open up your Eyeees. You know that my big-sister in my sorority got me tickets to go see Coldplay, but OMG I couldn’t go because I had my COMM exam the next day. LOL!
Me: (seriously) Oh that’s awful!
Her: I know, I really wanted to go!
Me: (confused) Well, no… I meant that’s awful that your big-sister would ACTUALLY get you tickets to go see this shit-show.
Her: What? No, I like Coldplay! Wait, you don’t like Coldplay? (self-consciously now) Why, what’s not to like about Coldplay? They're just like Radiohead, except not as weird, and you like Radiohead. Didn't you put "Yellow" on a mix-CD you gave me once? I mean, the music is so sweet.

Me: That’s only because I’m currently inside of you. Watch what happens when I pull out. (do so)
Her: Oh my God! Oh my GOD! Has he really been singing the exact same phrase for the past two minutes? Can these chord changes be any more obvious? Am I supposed to feel inspired by this slow-tempo, morose chorded, neo-British-yacht-rock? Wait, his kid’s name is Apple Martin? This is terrible. Quick, get back in, get back in! (do so) Ah… (mellow singing again) Lights go out and I can’t be seen…

Number 6: “What’s Going On” - Marvin Gaye

The most amusing reason to rag What’s Going On is because no one really knows this album. People will still defend it staunchly spouting some rhetoric along the lines of: “What man? How can you not like Marvin Gaye? He had so much soul… and like people had a lot of sex to his music and shit. He spread strong social messages about our society and uh… didn’t his father kill him and shit? I don’t know man, you’re probably a racist.” The easy response then is, “Oh OK, name three songs on this album.”

The main issue with What’s Going On is that its baby-making music (BMM) and BMM goes out of style quicker than a pair of Air Jordan sneakers. And once BMM goes out of style it stays out. Otherwise we’d still be “hooking up” while having Boyz 2 Men getting on bended knee. The BMM that you first loved will probably stay with you for the rest of your life. Grand parents still slow dance to Stardust, our parents to Marvin Gaye, worthless Generation-X to Luther Vandross, Richard Marx or some other trash, and we will be slow-dancing to R. Kelly for the rest of our lives.

As a side note and to be gross for a second, What’s Going On is one of the best soundtracks for taking a dump. Try it some time… you’ll see.

Secondary side note, Marvin Gaye singing the national anthem is one of the coolest things ever.

Number 5: “Legend” - Bob Marley

Legend is so much fun to tool on because it's probably the most universally appealing CD ever made. If you put on this album at a United Nations meeting no one will ask you to turn it off (except for maybe Hugo Chavez who has to disagree with pretty much everything).

Don't you hate it when you ask a girl what kind of music she likes and she says, "Oh wow, I don't know... I'm really diverse and I suppose I really like every kind of music. Except for rap LOL!" I mean, she has Legend in the CD book in her Honda Accord (nonetheless an actual store-bought version and not a burnt copy). Wow! You really are so diverse... and worldly! You really do like EVERYTHING! Let's go eat some California rolls and drink some Heineken you jet-setter!

I would say it's almost as bad as the 17-year old "hippie" kid from suburban Pennsylvania who has kind-of-long hair and is wearing sandals (when it's god-damn freezing outside) and a surfer t-shirt on (he has never been) and all he wants to do is be peaceful and smoke some "herb" and listen to Legend and just be "jammin'." Except he is working in the deli and I am home on holiday break and he is taking god-damn forever slicing me my Boar's Head turkey breast and so I start to get antsy and he is just taking his glossy-eyed time while he is whistling the melody to "Buffalo Soldier" and my sister laughs because she reminds me of my Phish-listening days and so I give her a real hard frogger in the arm and she gets pissy, and the dude almost just dropped the turkey... wait maybe I should get some Hot Fries while I'm here... I haven't had them in forever and the cartoon guy on the bag is so funny... Oh come on! Keanu back there isn't even wearing gloves!

Here is a great idea if you are a studio executive. Let's take this amazing, inter-racial Jamaican superstar whose music transcended boundaries, broke stereotypes, and popularized an entire genre of music and let's make a greatest hits album of his whitest, most-American, least-offensive hits. I wasn't being sarcastic… it really is a great idea.

My beef with Legend is that the music on this album is the only Marley that 99% of Americans know. It is one of the best selling Greatest Hits albums of all time and is not wholly representative of his music. Who cares you ask? Well it pisses my crap off when I am going through the aforementioned girl's CD book and see this disk (as her token worldliness) in between Tom Petty's Greatest Hits and Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits. RASTAFARI!

Number 4: “The Wall” - Pink Floyd

The Wall is actually one of the easiest albums to dislike.

Pink Floyd was arguably the most pompous, self-indulgent band of all time... and this album was their magnum opus. The problem is that Pink Floyd, which was originally an artsy, psychadelic band with a loyal cult following, catapulted to super-stardom with the massive success of Dark Side of the Moon. Every single Pink Floyd album was a "concept album" and since the majority of rock music fans are stupid (yeah I said it), they had to keep dumbing down the philosophy to reach more fans. By the time they got to The Wall, their rock opera, they became so dumbed down that they might as well have been dangling a colorful ball of yarn to appeal to their adoring public.

A wall is probably the most overused metaphor of all time (whether it be emotional barricades, exercise fatigue, divisions of capitalist/communist society, etc) and especially during the volatile Cold War years, the Floyd exploited that shit like a celebrity sex tape. It is a mediocre album with lame songwriting (with very few exceptions) and sophomoric lyrics (But it was only fantasy/The wall was too high/ As you can see/No matter how he tried/He could not break free). The concerts were unintentionally hysterical as the most over-the-top musical bastardization since Andrew Lloyd Webber's. Seriously, giant styrofoam bricks, inflatable "characters," and Roger Waters farting his ego all over the stage is a bit much. Yet the album art (a freaking wall) is incredibly tame given Floyd's track record for innovative covers. To top it all off, the movie (which was apparently impossible to watch unless "stoned on reefer") gave faux-philosophical credence to mindless teenagers to rebel against society. Just what we needed.

We don't need no education!

Number 3: “The Ramones,” - The Ramones

The Ramones are undeniably the most overrated rock and roll band to have ever existed. They are, by their own admission, mediocre musicians and elementary songwriters that just happened to be in the right place at the right time. They follow the Chinese industrial model for business success – take a pre-existing idea and do it faster, sloppier, and with less production resources.

It’s a fun listen sure. But unlike Chinese industry, The Ramones are terribly inefficient. I was pissed off when I bought the album from Sam Goody for $18.99 when I was in high school. That was almost four hours of ravioli making at the local Italian restaurant where I was working in the kitchen. The disc is 29 minutes long. That is almost 66 cents (or 12 minutes of kitchen labor) per every one minute of 70’s punk glory. You don’t need to have an Ivy League business degree to know (all though it certainly helps) that is a terrible return on investment (ROI as we say in the biz).

They had style, they represented 70’s New York hyper-nihilism, and they made CBGB’s famous. Yeah, Blink 182 could boast comparable credentials. But, there is no reason to revere them as one of the all time greats of music. I personally just think that New York was getting bitchy because England and Los Angeles were making all of the good music in the 70's and they got pissed off and so the first iconic band that came around from one of the boroughs became canonized. I’ll tell you what, even the most jaded hipster will get pissed when you rag on the Ramones. Which is what makes it so much fun in the first place.

Number 2: “Hotel California” - The Eagles

Where to begin with this one? OK, I’ll start with the positives: The guitar solo in the song Hotel California is actually quite impressive (as Angela had proved), and it is very difficult to sing and play drums at the same time. Um… that’s it.

I would suggest that most people find the appeal of this album in a similar manner as they would enjoy a good Billy Joel or Elton John record. Chances are you like the music because your parents had introduced you to it at an early age and it made for some family theme songs. However, Billy Joel and Elton John both have immensely more talent than Don Henley or Joe Walsh (who, by the way, put on THE single-worst concert that I have ever seen a few months ago in Los Angeles); and are actually fun to listen to.

There is no soul in this album. Not every album needs “soul,” but when you are making a timeless, reflective album… well then there needs some emotive substance behind the record. Kind of like the problem with Los Angeles as a city. Hotel California is a depressing album that is probably “best” listened to when you start dating some state school girl (whom you let choose the music when driving in the car and you feigned interest in this garbage) and you realized that you became stupider by buying into her artistic preferences.

Number 1: “All That you Can’t Leave Behind” - U2

Sure, aging rock stars get a free-pass with their later albums because it’s difficult to criticize rock “legends.” But its particularly annoying when the new album gets such widespread exposure and acclaim that it turns a whole new generation of fans on to the music. I was young and naïve when Aerosmith released Get a Grip and I didn’t know better (and so I still think that its kick-ass out of nostalgia), but All That you Can’t Leave Behind is another story.

Modern Times is a nice album that probably is not going to win Bob Dylan any new, younger fans; but it’s a great treat for his long-time fans who have been craving unheard material. Same goes with Brian Wilson’s SMiLE (not really new), Cat Stevens' new album, any new Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton album, etc. But when All That you Can’t Leave Behind came out, not only did it revitalize U2’s career, it thrusted them to the Best Band in the Universe status. Huh? What? How does a crappy album (at best) not just save a dying band, but makes them the biggest rock band in the world (adored now by two generations and future Ipod buyers)?

The only people that should have been excited by Elevation and The Sweetest Thing are DJ’s at classic rock radio stations who finally get some new material to play, freeing them from their 40-song strict Clear Channel playlists.

There you have it Felds, ten ways to amuse yourself when trying to agree on music with a friend when drunk and standing at the bar's jukebox. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Top 10 Albums of 2006

Jafar proudly presents the now web 2.0 industry standard top 10 list for most remarkable, amazing, inspiring, and fucking awesome albums of 2006. Although Angela feels '06 was unremarkable, I would say it was a solid year, though I feel that '05 and '07 will/did surpass '06. After all, we have Animal Collective and Radiohead to look forward to. Without further rambling, here it is.......your comments are expected.

1.) Joanna Newsom - YS

No surprise here, you all know my feelings on this album. Joanna has cemented herself as the greatest female singer-songwriter of all time. YS has single-handedly transformed the landscape of music, catapulting her into the best among the best of her contemporaries. Now with full control over her vocal range, she finds herself also responsible for the best lyrics of 2006. No other singer-songwriter in their 20s can hold a candle, a harp (or a fucking guitar for that matter) up to this dame.

2.) Jóhann Jóhannsson- IBM1401 - A User's Manual

Unfortunately for you, this album has not even been mentioned on the Feldheim. At #2 it's a good place to make it's debut. This Icelandic composer has composed his way into the soul of every listener with a heartbreaking and emotional record that is just about as moving as anything else I've heard in a long time. An exploration into the relationship between man and machine, it is a touching tribute to Jóhann Jóhannsson's father.

3.) Liars - Drums Not Dead

The Liars decided to bring back a little Rock & Roll for your cerebral cortex in 2006. The Liars cemented their status as one of the most intriguing and vital bands currently making music. Drums Not Dead is a perfect harmony of rhythm, melodies, and vocals......a creative work that will pass the test of time, and finds a way to always sound good........always.

4.) Mogwai - Mr. Beast

Not by any stretch of the imagination the best Mogwai album, but that doesn't even matter. Mogwai are one of the most powerful and awesome bands that has ever existed. Their unique sound and ambitious songwriting will always hold a place in my heart, and they definitely deliver on this record. Vocals return, but instrumentals prevail. Mogwai continue to stay true to who they are and what their music is all about, and we all owe them our thanks.

5.) Xiu Xiu - The Air Force

Walla walla walla walla walla walla hey.

Jamie Stewart is haunted. Don't believe me? Either ask Ritter or give this album a spin. Stewart blends pop, electronica, and gayness? in a way that lets you know what he's thinking and what his dreams (nightmares) consist of. A provocative and powerful album, this one cannot escape mention for 2006. Stewart's most accessible album to date, he is beginning to master his craft, and continues to deliver music that will molest your mind.

6.) The Knife - Silent Shout

Expect a post later on about the importance of the middle class to music. Countries like Sweden, Iceland, and Finland have a large middle class, so expect more and more great music from their neck of the woods. Sweden delivers with a sibling punch of hypnotic electronica that will leave you dazzled. At times haunting, and at others fun, this album is full of hits and has no misses. A departure from their previous album, it's going to be interesting to see where these Swedes take their Machinedrums and vocoders.

7.) Califone - Roots & Crowns

Rutili being Rutili. Simply stunning.

8.) TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Although I do think this album is overrated, there is no doubt it is great. A solid work from a band that seems to fill a certain space in today's music that no one else can.

9.) The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea

One of the more misunderstood and underappreciated bands, The Fiery Furnaces are a band to be reckoned with. Perhaps a bit ahead of their time, Bitter Tea finds itself swept under the rug of hipsterdom. Fear not young hipsters, give it a couple spins and you will begin to realize the brilliance that spews forth.

10.) Danielson - Ships

If you love pop, then you will love Danielson's Ships. An inventive blend of pop with a solid cast behind him. Danielson's godloving doesn't offend the Richard Dawkins' of the world, and manages to make you feel good (or god).

Notable Mention at 11 (Sorry Lucas)...

11.) Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

Bejar is at it again, and he delivers with a mesmerizing album of pop brilliance. If it wasn't for some of the weaker tracks, this album would be up in the single digits.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sesame Streets

Feldheim worthy indeed

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Top Ten Most Unremarkable Albums of 2006

Two Thousand and Six.

It's almost over with. It's been a great year for me, but as far as events, it was frickin boring. No major disasters. Well, scratch that; there was that earthquake in Java or Bangladesh or some Muslim island, but that's Indonesia. I can't even point to it on a map. The only disaster in 'merka, was that big ol' boycott by Mexicans that was incredibly poignant, effective, and made White America hate those fence-jumpers even more. Oh and North Korea fired off some nukes, the PlayStation 3 was released, and the Dems took control of the house.


But music? Double yawn. In my mind, the biggest thing to happen in music this past year was The Big Red Box. The Jew Farm. This very forum itself: The Feldheim. Granted, there's been a couple new albums I discovered this year that have intrigued me, but I've posted most of them here already. Even so, only the Kooks, Men Women and Children, and In Flames were actually from this year. All in all I've been very unimpressed with music in 2006.

"Angela," you ask, "would you say it's been, 'fairly unremarkable?'"

I reply, "Indeed I would!"

So without further ado, here are The Top Ten Most Unremarkable Albums of 2006

10. Peeping Tom
Peeping Tom

It's tough to refute the fact that Mike Patton is a musical and vocal genius. I've pretty much liked all his stuff, from Faith No More, to Tomahawk, to Mr. Bungle. All very different and all utterly ridiculous. While I kinda like the debut album from Peeping Tom, there's something missing. It's dark, groovy, and it manages to amalgamate a number of different styles into a fairly cohesive disc. I guess it just feels like he was bored one weekend, needed to buy more heroin and said, "I suppose I could make an album." It's just sorta half assed. Kinda like this past year.

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

Arctic Monkeys

It seems any British band that sang with accents was a critic's darling this year, and none more so than the Arctic Monkeys. First of all, what a stupid frickin name. What if I called my band The Sub-Tropical Turtles? Or The Mediterranean Birds?

Secondly have you ever heard these morons talk? It might as well be Gaelic.

Thirdly, the album is just not that great. Predictable chord progressions, worthless lyrics, and it sounds like shit I mixed when I was in college, panning over-dubbed tracks around from left to right. I'm all about raw rock, like Death From Above, the Kinks, or Black Flag. But this is just three idiots who fooled gullible people with bad teeth.

8. Last Man Standing
Jerry Lee Lewis

I actually think this is a good album. A stellar album even. I've been a big Jerry Lee Fan since I began playing the piano at age six while you were still having difficulty with two syllable words and not soiling yourself. His original hits were frickin great, but Last Man Standing is a departure from his previous style. And it has more guest appearances than the most recentYing Yang Twins release (those guys is so crunk). Still, with the success of movies like Ray and Walk the Line, maybe The Killer is just reminding us they made a movie about him before it was the cool thing to do. But I can't help but think it's more along the lines of, "I'm not dead yet! I just banged my 13 year-old cousin in the 60's, and blew my career into oblivion and country music where that sort of thing is acceptable."

7. From First to Last
Ahh, Emo, we hardly knew ye. Emo has quite possibly become the third most quickly reviled subgenre ever, trailing only Disco and rap-rock. Listening to this disc, I couldn't tell you if it was Taking Back Sunday or My Chemical Romance or Thursday or The Academy is... or Panic at the Disco or Chicks Don't Dig Me or any of that crap that this guy listens to. It seems like people are turning to more uplifting music. Like #6.

Though I'm not a fan of it, I truly understand the desire for happy music. Who wants to listen to some scrawny guy with a bad haircut, wearing girls' jeans and eyeliner, whining about why he can't get laid when the answer is so easy: stop wearing makeup, get a haircut, get a pair of Levis, and start lifting heavy things in your spare time instead of watching Donnie Darko by yourself and writing poems.

6. Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!
I can't believe shit like this actually passes for a record. And the band name, again. Honestly. For the love of all that is Holy, if you are going to have the gall to name yourselves after a Beatles tune, at least pick a more obscure track. You know, like, maybe one that wasn't a number one hit? Hmm? That's not to say I don't I like a couple songs on Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!. I mean, the whole thing has more hooks than an pirate convention and is catchier than pubic lice.

But speaking of pubes, I truly believe all the guys in this band actually have fuzzy, little, damp vaginas; rather than huge dongs like the guys in Type O Negative or Motorhead or something. Even the cover art is phallic. Just look at it: it's a stubby, ejaculating penis wearing glasses, with an anus farting the band's name. I only wish the majority of the disc sounded as good as the cover foreshadowed. Hilary Duff would tell these guys to tone it down a bit. Just listening to HelloGoodbye, I can feel my testes shriveling in revulsion and the onslaught of a desire to clean something and to purchase strappy footwear. I'll be honest, in darker days, I've admitted to liking Tori Amos to get a little Aroo-ga!, but that's much different to trying to get some some cha-ching! by actually growing a twat.

If I had listened this malarkey in high school instead of Weezer, Cypress Hill, Nine Inch Nails, and Korn, I could be wearing scarfs in the summer and working at a flower store instead of saving the world one child at a time in war ravaged nation.

Rock 'n Roll: For the Sake of the Children®

5. Wolfmother
Great name guys, really. It sounds like a curse word: Wolfmother. Simple. Effective. Australian. The album cover? Also spectacular: A giant lizard and tits. That's rock 'n roll. And the first track. Fuckin' wow. Talk about power: the scream, the RATM riffs and the breakdowns. But then: letdown. The rest of the disc is lame and formulaic in comparison. Why, oh why, would you waste my time, Wolfmother? You're the like the girl who unzips my pants at the bar but passes out drunk once I get her home. Not that the fun necessarily stops there, but one still feels guilty wiping off her stomach and putting makeup on the bruises.

Besides, I know why I liked this the first time around: cause I heard it in 1969 while I was still swimming in an epididymis. Christ guys, you might as well've called yourselves Bismuth Goodyear or Polonium Hindenberg.

With Microsoft ripping off the iPod, Baseball ripping off the Word Cup, this release has 2006 written all over it.

4. St. Elsewhere
Gnarls Barkley
What end of year list would be complete with out this disc? The infectious single blew onto the scene early in the year and pissed the hell out of anyone who heard it before June when it could be heard blasting out the windows of every suped up rice rocket on the road. That said, I think it's a pretty good album, defying genres as seems to be the trend these days. It's a white British DJ and Dirty Souf hip hop star that are making radio pop. Boggles my frickin mind. The question is:

Can pop be pop if no one listens to it?

Cause no one listened to anyhting but track two on this disc.


3. The Loon
Tapes 'n Tapes
Seriously, what is this shit? One website from Wisconsin can make a or break a band? When I think of the center of culture, I think even Juba, New Sudan has a leg up on on the midwest. With all their power and influence, what does Shitfork do? They bring this boring, simplistic noise into the spotlight; a haphazard collection of tracks makes the Arctic Monkey's songs sound coherent and overproduced. This indie underground hit defies explanation and logic and sounds like any other over-reaching indie disc trying too damn hard to be out there and artsy.

But in an age where information is at our fingertips, the very fact that this band could undeservingly be thrust into the spotlight earns it a spot as one of the most unremarkable albums.

2. Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam
15 years into their career Pearl Jam finally releases their self titled avocado. Uh, I mean album. I believe self titled albums should only be the first album: you're trying to get your name out, a reviewer has to say the band name everytime they mention the album. But Pearl Jam is just being lazy. Frankly, I think one would get more enjoyment of stuffing an avocado in a CD player just to see what happens.

See, I love avocados. They are delicious on club sandwiches, tacos, gazpacho, tortilla soup, or summery chilled cilantro avocado consommé with crème fraîche. Ow, my balls! Goddamn HelloGoodbye side effects!

But most of all, 'cados are most delicious mashed up with onions, diced and seeded tomatoes, a little chili pepper, salt and lemon juice, subsequently scooped up with tortilla chips. God, I've been out of the country way too long.

But Pearl Jam has changed that: they've disgraced the purity of avocado. Wall-eyed sheep, no problem. Wall-eyed rear view kick, cool too. A homo-erotic hi-five? Even better. But defacing a delicious alligator pear with tired, repetitive, distended songs about Mookie Blaylock is downright blasphemy. How long are these guys gonna go at their formula? I'm glad they don't give interviews:

"Well you see, Bob," Eddie Vedder would say in his unbearably jittery 'Jeremy spoke in. . .' voice. "Since we released the same album sevens times already, we just figured, why not eight? I mean, when you call you're first Album 10. . ."

But after avocados and fake quotes, you're probably asking yourself, "has this asshat even listened to the disc?"

The answer is: no. I have not.

But I know, just like 2006, this album has brought forth nothing new or interesting.

1. Night Ripper
Girl Talk
Mashups: we've been inundated with them for years, both good and bad. I've said before, I think it all started with Puff Daddy's rip off of the Police. While not officially a mashup, it proved a song could be a hit without any real work. But this disc makes mashing up an art, and it is frankly the best hip hop I've heard since Speakerboxxx. Not because it dubs Diddy over The Pixies, Ludacris over Boston, Biggie over Elton, and David Banner over NIN, but because it's actually sounds good. It's a frickin party in a disc.

The only downside with this format is there's no actual songs, really. There's seperate tracks and stuff, but it's all really just one spasmodic mixed set of random sections that's a blast to sit through and actively experience, but if one is to search for meaning, patterns, trends, or clues, he will leave empty handed.

Wait for it. . .

. . .Just like 2006.