Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Songs for Rainy Days

It's been rainy here lately (until today), which I enjoy.

So here's the mix that's been rattling around my truck, PC, or player for the last several days, keeping in tune with the weather:

Friday, September 29, 2006

Not the Red Hot Chili Peppers

I noticed today that every time a Red Hot Chili Peppers song comes on the radio, I turn it off.

I realized this has been going on for months.

I'm not sure what happened. I think at one time I actually liked the Peppers. Now I don't. I really don't.

Hey, lookit this -- my first meta-anti-review.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

Where's Neil When You Need Him?

Where's Neil When You Need Him? is a compilation album featuring songs about and inspired by characters and events created by Neil Gaiman, creator of The Sandman franchise, author behind American Gods, Anansi Boys, and the guy who put the poetry into the english version of the Princess Mononoke film.

The album is like looking at the totality of Gaiman's work -- it's quirky and diverse and really out there. For many folks, Tori Amos may be the only recognized artist, and, honestly, for me her song is the least compelling on the album.

I like the poppy "When Everyone Forgets" (ThouShaltNot), the weird "Mr. Punch" (Future Bible Heroes), the Jane Siberry-like "Raven Star" (Lunascape), the compelling "A Fish Called Prince" (Deine Lakaien), and the haunting/poetic "Even Gods Do" (Thea Gilmore)/"Coraline" (Rose Berlin)

And, for fans, the album includes deep liner notes from Neil Gaiman and new artwork from Sandman staple Dave McKean.

Full track listing:
  1. Rasputina - Coraline
  2. ThouShaltNot - When Everyone Forgets
  3. Tapping The Vein - Trader Boy
  4. Lunascape - Raven Star
  5. Deine Lakaien - A Fish Called Prince
  6. Thea Gilmore - Even Gods Do
  7. Rose Berlin (feat. Curve) - Coraline
  8. Schandmaul - Magda Treadgolds Märchen
  9. Hungry Lucy - We Won't Go
  10. Voltaire w/The Oddz - Come Sweet Death
  11. Future Bible Heroes - Mr. Punch
  12. Razed in Black - The Endless
  13. The Cruxshadows - Wake the White Queen
  14. Ego Likeness - You Better Leave the Stars Alone
  15. Azam Ali - The Cold Black Key
  16. Joachim Witt - Vandemar
  17. Tori Amos - Sister Named Desire (Remastered Version)


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Has Been (William Shatner)

I've been listening to this again all week, mainly because I'm looking at turning one or two of the songs into acting monologues.

Check out my original thoughts here, and realize, this CD just got better with age (amazing; I didn't know that happened to CDs).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oingo Boingo, Codeine, Cracker

While listening to a "flashback" radio program, I got jazzed about hearing Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party".

I don't listen to CDs much, since my library has been ripped to my computer for digital jukebox goodness. While listening to Boingo on the radio, though, I realized that I hadn't listened to that album for a long time.

I went home and, sure enough, the entire Dead Man's Party album was missing. I dug it out of the closet, and while ripping it to the hard drive, wondered what other albums I'd missed. I found two more: Codeine's The White Birch and Cracker's Kerosene Hat.

Kerosene Hat has some good stuff, and is alternatively quirky, rocking, and mellowing. My particular favorites are the entertaining "Movie Star" and the downing "Take Me Down To The Infirmary". Most people probably know Cracker (not "Uncle Cracker") from their radio single "Low".

Speaking of mellowing, there's probably not a better album for this than The White Birch. I have fond memories of college days, getting back from the gym in the wee hours of the morn, and letting Codeine (the band) bring my heart rate down while I tried to regain fine motor control. Great to listen to alone in the dark (as long as you're not even moderately depressed).

And Oingo Boingo? Freaking Danny Elfman? Amazing and prolific and talented. The entire album moves me, with the "No One Lives Forever" and "Stay " being particular favs. And "Same Man I Was Before". And the titular "Dead Man's Party". Because it's good. And I like to say "titular".

I actually went to the Oingo Boingo fairwell concert, and took a close friend who was a HUGE Oingo Boingo fan (huge in liking them; tiny in skirt size). It is a blast to go to an amazing concert with someone of the same band-passion level (too little, and I feel like I'm wasting a ticket, and too much and I feel kind of guilty that I don't like them as much), and we were such good friends that I didn't feel obligated to put out at the end of the evening. So there was that.

So that's my mini jukebox for this week. Pretty cool to find great, forgotten albums ...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Halo 2: Original Soundtrack Vol. 2

I'm listening Halo 2: Original Soundtrack Volume 2, which (for me) is much better than Volume 1.

The orchestral pieces on Volume 2 are much more refined and better mixed (Vol. 1 was a marketing release to build hype for the game, and many of the pieces weren't complete yet).

Also, composer Marty O'Donnell arranged the pieces in suites, to better evoke the epic sense of the Halo story and universe -- and does it to pretty good effect.

Interestingly, in the interview, O'Donnell mentions he writes a lot more piano than ever makes it into the Halo games. But then the Halo 3 E3 teaser trailer came out ...

You can check out an interview about the Volume 2 soundtrack with O'Donnell music4games.com.

There are getting to be some genuinely good game musical scores out there -- Halo/Halo 2, Fable, Grim Fandango, American McGee's Alice, BLACK, Final Fantasy, etc.

Good stuff for folks who like good musical scores ...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Back Room (The Editors)

I'm continuing my new New Wave The Bravery/The Killers/New Morrissey/etc. kick with The Editors album, The Back Room.

I'm digging it, and I feel like it's got some more depth than The Bravery, and lyrically is maybe a little more meaningful to me.

I think I may be starting to listen to a little too much of this same vein of music though, as I'm starting to lose my nuanced ear as I flip through the different artists -- which isn't fair, because they really are pretty diverse.

Head over to Amazon.com for snippets of all of the album's songs, or to the band's official site for some full songs and videos.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Stubbs the Zombie -- The Soundtrack

I don't know how a small game from a new studio (albeit founded by Halo's daddy) scores a soundtrack like this, but I'm OK with whatever they had do (hey, it doesn't affect how I sleep at night).

The soundtrack is basically covers of 50s songs, and is absolutely brilliant.

Since Stubbs the Zombie (the game) is set in a utopian future -- but a utopian future from a 50s perspective -- covers of 50s tunes by today's artists (and top hanger-ons) like Ben Kweller, The Raveonettes, Death Cab for Cutie, The Dandy Warhols, The Flaming Lips, and others totally fits the vibe, and the tunes are slick.

Really, only Rose Hill Drive's "Shakin' All Over" and Phantom Planet's original "The Living Dead" seem a little disjoint from the rest of the album. Hey, are Phantom Planet's whores for soundtracks or what? (I mean "whore" in a good way. Hey, as an actor-slash-comic book junkie, I'd be in every comic book movie if they'd let me; but Mr. Lee never calls.)

The other thing I really appreciate about this album is the audio quality -- the sound is crisp, and pretty normalized (but not muddied) across tracks. Not like The Punisher Soundtrack.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

12 Songs (Neil Diamond)

I'm listening to Neil Diamond's new album, 12 Songs.

I've listened to Diamond since I was young, and play a bunch of songs on guitar (there was an unfortunately ostracisizing moment where I played a medley of Jonathan Livingston Seagull songs in a grades school talent show).

But I'd kind of fallen away from him.

There was the cover to 12 Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, where he was wearing white pajamas, and sitting on a pink couch.

And then there was the day before he turned 40 or 50, he announced he was taking himself and his family deep into the desert, so he didn't have to hear the media all over the world announce his birthday. Nobody cared. (In retrospect, it was probably a smart marketing move, because nobody did care -- until he made the announcement; then he was back (for the day) on the radar.)

So, when 12 Songs came out, and was produced by Rick Rubin, I guess I was hoping for something like what came out of Rick Rubin's reminding the world that Johnny Cash mattered in 2002's American Recordings.

But, this is a little different. This is trying to make schlock matter.

It kind of works.

There are some good tracks, but I've got a bad taste in my mouth from "Hell Yeah" -- what could have been a new anthem for individualism is just self-serving and ... flat.

I'll give the album more time, but I'm a bit disappointed, overall. I'll probably pull "Hell Yeah" from my library, and see if I enjoy the album better.

And, yes, I went from the Punisher Movie Soundtrack to Neil Diamond.

That's how I roll, Dawg.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Punisher (Soundtrack)

I like sound tracks and musical scores.

I'm a comic book fanboy.

I've been wanting to listen to more visceral music.

I'm listening to The Punisher Soundtrack.

I'm a Nickleback fan, and "Slow Motion" scratches an itch. It, along with "Still Running" (Chevelle), "Time for People" (Atomship), and "In Time" (Mark Collie) are my favorites on the album.

I'm not so much of a fan of verbal bludgeonings from Drowning Pool's "Step Up"; Hatebreeds' "Bound To Violence"; and DamagePlan's "Ashes" kind of falls apart when guest vocalist Jerry Cantrell stops singing.

Label Wind-Up Records seems to be doing something right on the soundtrack (and especially comic book soundtrack) fronts, with The Punisher, Elektra, Fantastic Four, and Walk the Line (will someone please make a graphic novel of Johnny Cash's life?).

And in the interest of full disclosure, I have not yet seen The Punisher movie.

I still have a very bad taste in my mouth from the Dolph Lundgren version ...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Nirvana

I'm hearing a lot of Nirvana lately.

Not intentionally, but for the last month or so, if I listen to the radio in my truck or while running, I seem to get 2-3 Nirvana songs thrown at me.

I was a Nirvana fan, then Kurt Cobain did his fans, his loved ones, and himself a disservice by bailing on a life he thought was too tough -- or he was too messed up at the moment to realize it wasn't all that bad.

So I went away for a while, then came back. There's some good stuff there.

Other than "Rape Me." That's a stupid-ass song.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Halo: Combat Evolved (musical score)

For me, the Halo: Combat Evolved musical score is one of the best game sound tracks out there.

Martin O'Donnell is genius, and bang-for-the-buck wise, this is a way better value than the Halo 2 score (which rocks on its own, but has far fewer orchestral pieces).

And it just takes me back to the game that got me to buy the Xbox in the first place ...