Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Barenaked for the Holidays (Barenaked Ladies)

From the band for which you can't do an Internet search from work, the Barenaked Ladies, comes Barenaked for the Holidays -- a holiday treat with mainly Christmas tunes, but also including the three Hanukkah songs from their Barenaked for Hanukka EP, and "Auld Lang Syne".

I like gifts that show the giver knows me, and this was one of those gifts. I'm a big BnL fan, and these guys do a great, fun, and (surprisingly) respectful turn of holiday classics and new additions. There's even a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" tune for which (I'm ashamed to admit) I kept waiting for some sarcastic turn. It never came. Which is probably OK.

Overall, a great album I'll be listening to well into the new year.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Legend of Johnny Cash (Johnny Cash)

I'm enjoying The Legend of Johnny Cash.

I'm a big Johnny Cash fan, and if you're not, let us not discuss music together in too much depth. Ever.

Besides classics like "I Walk the Line" and "Ring of Fire", there are
"newer" classics like "The Wanderer" (with U2) and "Hurt" (Cash's cover of Trent Reznor's song).

About the only song of which I'm not real keen is "Highwayman" (which is
weird, since usually any combo of Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson should be a winner).

Oh, and June Carter Cash had a great voice ...

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Bravery (The Bravery)

I'm listening to The Bravery by, uh, The Bravery.

Let me say first that I think I like The Bravery.

The problem is I messed myself up with my one-line summary of their album and style.

I consider The Bravery a Scottish version of the The Killers, which I look at as a pop version of the Cure.

Which in my mind makes them a Scottish pop Killers/Cure. Which is to say, a ethnically Scotts version of a Killers-sounding Cure. Not an awesome Scotts-based cure for pop (which would be really, really nice).

That said, I do like some of their stuff. I particularly like "Tyrant" and "Out Of Line".

So I'll listen to them some more, and see if I can get past my self-induced labeling.

They also smack a bit of Depeche Mode and The Smiths and Morrissey, but that didn't give me the same killer Scottish cure for pop.

Which someone should really come up with ...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Gold (Frank Sinatra)

Man, if you're not up on Old Blue Eyes, I recommend Gold from Frank Sinatra -- and I usually hate budget compilation albums.

The sound quality is great, and has got some of my favorite Sinatra songs ("Young-At-Heart", "Witchcraft", "My Funny Valentine", and "I've Got You Under My Skin").

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Everything in Transit (Jack's Mannequin)

So, I thought I was a Something Corporate fan. Turns out I'm an Andrew McMahon fan.

I've been waiting for Everything in Transit, the debut album from Jack's Mannequin, since I heard "Holiday From Real" on Andy Langer's Next Big Thing this summer.

I already had a Something Corporate's North (I really like "Break Myself" & "I Won't Make You") and Leaving Through The Window (which is actually my favorite of the two -- "Punk Rock Princess"; "I Woke Up In a Car"; "I Want To Save You" could be my personal anthem; I'm still singing "If You C Jordan" about certain high school folks; and then there's "Cavanaugh Park" and "Straw Dog" and ...).

And then I heard "Holiday From Real": "But if you left it up to me \ Everyday would be \ A holiday from real ..."

And then I got the album, and things like "Dark "Blue" ("Have you ever been alone in a crowded room when I'm here with you ...") and "Into the Airwaves" ("I'll send this message through the speakers \ They told me that you moved \ I'll cross this country on a frequency ...").

And McMahon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia in June, and was treated through the summer, had a stem cell transplant from his sister, contracted a hospital-borne virus, is now on the painful mend, Everything in Transit still shipped -- and he blogged about the whole thing.

Check it out on www.jacksmannequin.blogs.com.

And you can listen to "The Mixed Tape", "Dark Blue", "Bruised", and "Miss Delaney" on the Jack's Mannequin myspace.com.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Distort Yourself (Institute)

I'm listening to Distort Yourself by the band Institute, and it'll probably take me a little more time to decide on it.

Overall, I like the vibe, but since I was expecting something different, and Gavin Rossdale's (Bush) guitar and vocals are so distinctive, I keep having American Werewolf in Paris flashbacks.

Though I really like ""Bullet Proof Skin" and "When Animals Attack", they feel the most Bush-like (<JuvenileSnicker/>). I half-wonder if these two tracks are currently so popular, because they remind people of Bush's old feel.

I am struck by several of the lyrics, like this earily prophetic line from "Boom Box":
"If tolerance is dead there'll be no rest for the living."
And by "Tolerance", I mean real tolerance, where people respect individual people's beliefs and ideals without abdicating their personal beliefs or common standards.

I don't mean the new tolerance, that embarrassment that is a call to accept everyone's beliefs and actions, no matter how inane or self- or corporately damaging, and is the song of the psuedo intelligentsia and pseudo bleeding hearts as they get in the way of true passion and heroism and conviction.

And by "Pseudo", I mean the Greek prefix of "false".

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Plans (Death Cab for Cutie)

I'm listening to Plans from Death Cab for Cutie.

I've been liking Death Cab since getting a semi-regular helping of tracks as part of the monthly Official Xbox Magazine pack-in disc.