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Archive for November, 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kingblind Top 15 Albums on 2005 (The near misses)

In the middle of our countdown we wanted to let you know about the near misses in our top 15 records of the year. They are some fine, fine records that are totally worthy of your hard earned cash. Soooooo let’s take a look.

Beck:: Guero
With this, his eighth proper album, Beck has shed himself of Sea Change’s need to shelter himself in his songs. We have our urban craftsman back, to stir the dust in sampled record grooves and unearth for us, again and again, the new in the old and vice versa. Post-every-post, we have Beck. Welcome back old friend
Que Ondo Guero:: (MP3)

The New Pornographers:: Twin Cinema
Twin Cinema is another great pop album from the New Pornographers, a release that’s crammed with so many memorable melodies that the bumpier moments fade into the background.
USE IT:: (MP3)

Go Team:: Thunder, Lightning, Strike
Thunder, Lightning, Strike is simply amazing. It is filled with boundless, glorious noise, sewing together flamboyance, quirkiness, sturdy sampling, and a well-traveled feel that can take you anywhere you want to go.
Bottle Rocket:: (Music Video .WMV)

Iron & Wine + Calexico :: In The Reins [EP]
If it was a foregone conclusion that the long-awaited Iron & Wine/Calexico team-up wouldn’t result in anything revelatory (or incendiary, as it were), it was almost as inevitable that it would be rewarding all the same; safe, not sorry, sad and elegant as ever.

M.I.A.:: Arular
M.I.A.’s debut record is both intensely urban and aggressively modern. The group’s sole member, Maya Arul, infuses her blend of hip-hop and chunky electro with raw, tribal overtones and a healthy dose of sex appeal. There are elements of world music here, in Arul’s multilingual vocal as well as the tonal shifts and instrumentation (like the drone that opens up “Hombre”). Her delivery uses a variety of yelps and tics full of street-wise confidence and bratty energy. But there’s also an appealing melodic sense, like early Neneh Cherry or Miss Kitten when she’s not in diva mode. M.I.A. doesn’t really sound like anybody; the music is just experimental enough to wiggle out of easy comparisons. The IDM-style bleeps and beeps of “Galang,” for example, give an already catchy song extra punch. The only problem with the record, a common flaw for debuts, is a sameness from track to track which robs it of the ability to surprise. Still, Arul is hugely talented and her abundant originality packs a wallop.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 Top 15 Albums of 2005 (#9 thru #5)

Well folks here it is… our final top 15 albums of 2005. From 38 writers in 8 countries we have tallied all the votes, crunched the numbers and POW… this is it… broken down into 3 groups (15 to 10. – 9 to 5. then 4 to 1.) Here is our list. And just in case you are wondering, the number 1 was a real bitch. We thought that a tie might be in order, however, we did finally decide on just ONE… Well enough talking.. ONTO THE LIST!!! Number 9 thru number 5

5) LCD Soundsystem:: S/T
In the same way that Trail of Dead’s Source Tags and Codes was a homage to Sonic Youth and other ’80s underground favorites, LCD Soundsystem is also a tribute of sorts. To all of the great electronic and alternative artists that are finally getting their due (The Fall, Can, This Heat, Brian Eno, etc), this album is a direct product of their contributions. Only the very best can pay tribute without coming off as total poseurs. James Murphy has paid his dues for years and played an important role in bringing his musical heroes back into the popular consciousness. And while LCD Soundsystem is grounded in the past, quality and talent make it an album deserving to be listened to for years to come.
Tribulations:: (Quicktime Music Video)

6) Kanye West:: Late Registration
West blew up last year with the bling/backpack synthesis of The College Dropout, the preppy-fabulous debut smash that people still can’t stop arguing about. For some, Dropout proves hip-hop is in a rut, as an example of what everybody else isn’t doing; for others, it proves hip-hop is still evolving, as music nobody outside hip-hop could make. Whatever your pet theory on the state of hip-hop, Dropout gave you a challenge, flaws and all. But Late Registration is an undeniable triumph. And an easy choice as one of the best albums of 2005
Golddigger:: (MP3)

7)Animal Collective:: Feels
Feels is a big, daring collection with recurring themes of psychedelia, folk-rock, prog-rock, jazz, and modern classical composition. Above all the album is cohesive and tangible. This music spreads out ethereally, pulsates, and is ambitious and strange, punctuated by echoes of George Harrison, Brian Wilson, and Motown. Animal Collective seems more inspired by the elements within, rather than in an imitation of that music: There are bombastic drums that would be at home on Pet Sounds on the dynamically thrilling “Grass,” and on “Flesh Canoe” there are guitar voicings taken from the pages of Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. Perhaps the loveliest of domestic love songs exists in “Purple Bottle,” a relaxed transitional ripple that has not one but three build-and-release crescendos. Lead by Avey Tare, AC can be gentle and engulfing, but then will just as easily bare its teeth, even on a beautiful washy song like “Bees” where fright mingles with an rusted autoharp, a spare confluence of harmonized voices, and tucked-in, dreamy synthesizers. On “Daffy Duck” AC tries on a late-’90s Aphex Twin mood, just without the metallic, chrome coldness, and that idea envelopes into an identifiable heart-on-sleeve yearning. Feels should restore faith in the idea that rock musicians can take time and create complete albums that are equally bold, inventive, and meaningful–a far cry from the current vogue of releasing a collection of disparate singles as an album.
Grass:: (MP3)

8) Wolf Parade:: Apologies To The Queen Mary
Apologies to the Queen Mary is a diamond in the rough – though the rough is duly eclipsed by the shine of the diamond. Despite its filthy surroundings, it is plainly glorious for all to see.
You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son:: (MP3)

9) My Morning Jacket:: Z
It’s both rare and marvelous to hear a good band make its first really great album. This hasn’t been an era for disciplined, focused LPs, which makes listening to My Morning Jacket’s Z—with its 10 fantastic tracks packed tightly into 47 minutes—so bracing that it’s hard to trust. Maybe Z is all surface, and will tear easily with repeated use. And isn’t it kind of choppy? My Morning Jacket usually follows a smoothed-out boom-and-twang sound, but Z is all over the map stylistically, and the songs don’t fit together too neatly. Or maybe they do. Better play it again. It’s not hard.
Wordless Chorus:: (.Mov Audio)

Monday, November 28, 2005 Top 15 Albums of 2005 (#10 thru #15)

Well folks here it is… our final top 15 albums of 2005. From 38 writers in 8 countries we have tallied all the votes, crunched the numbers and POW… this is it… broken down into 3 groups (15 to 10. – 9 to 5. then 4 to 1.) Here is our list. And just in case you are wondering, the number 1 was a real bitch. We thought that a tie might be in order, however, we did finally decide on just ONE… Well enough talking.. ONTO THE LIST!!!
Number 15 thru number 10

10) The High Strung:: Moxie Bravo
How do you lose one of your guitarist and song writers and then figure out how to do it all as a trio?? Personally I have no idea… But the Detriot trio The High Strung has and in the process they have quickly become one the best bands around.. their latest record “Moxie Bravo” has all the best bits of the early Kinks and The Who all wrapped up in one brilliant package.. Great .. Just flat out great.
A Real Meal Ticket:: (MP3)

11) Paul McCartney:: Chaos and Creation in the backyard
It is far and away the most solid record he’s delivered since the mid-’70s. His decision to make the album with producer Nigel Godrich, known for his work with Radiohead, Air, and Beck, is just as significant as it looks on paper, in addition to making Chaos and Creation one of the best-sounding albums of McCartney’s solo career.
Jenny Wren:: (MP3)

12) Queens of the Stone Age:: Lullibies to Paralyze
Simply put, there is no other rock band in 2005 that is as pleasurable to hear play as QOTSA — others may rock harder or take more risks, but no one has the command and authority of Queens at their peak, which they certainly are here. They are so good, so natural on Lullabies to Paralyze that it’s easy to forget that they just lost Oliveri, but that just makes Homme’s triumph here all the more remarkable. He’s not only proven that he is the driving force of Queens of the Stone Age, but he’s made an addictive album that begs listeners to get lost in its ever-shifting moods and slyly sinister sensuality.
In my head:: (Music Video)

13) Crooked Fingers:: Dignity and Shame
The fourth full-length installment from Eric Bachmann & Co., Dignity and Shame is twelve powerful songs of love, lost and found, illustrated by Bachmann’s heartbreaking yet newly hopeful lyrics. From the bold trumpet and decidedly Spanish mariachi guitars on the opening instrumental Islero to his trusty lap steel and sparse, captivating piano notes, Eric Bachmann and his Crooked Fingers continue to redefine a sound that simply cannot be pigeonholed.
Call to Love:: (MP3)

14) Antony & the Johnsons:: I am a Bird Now
As whole, the record is hardly notable for its special guests; the beauty of Antony’s singing, the ferociousness of his delivery, the profundity of his songs, and the unflinching nature make the disc truly transcend such. Just the fact that this beautiful record evokes so much emotion and opinion (both postive and negitive) is truly an astounding task.
You are my sister:: (Music Video)

15) Gorillaz:: Demon Days
Less accessible than its eponymous predecessor, it creates a darker, less cartoonish world where hip-hop, brit-rock, electronica and Dennis Hopper monologues all seem perfectly at home. Great stuff.
Feel Good Inc:: (Music Video)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Kingblind’s Top 15 Albums of 2005 UPDATE is busy finishing our top 15 albums of 2005.. We will return on Monday with the complete list… Enjoy the holidays.

Kingblind Downloads

The Mars Volta:: Scabdates

New York Dolls/ Johnny Thunders:: Street Trash

Drive-By Truckers: 2005-07-26, Cincinnati

Sun Kil Moon:: Tiny Cities (Album Review)

At the risk of being excoriated repeatedly by The Modest Mouse Club, I must first admit that the only record I own of theirs is Good News for People Who Love Bad News, perhaps the most displeasing entry in the band’s catalogue for fans, and I haven’t listened to that for, like, three months. I know, I know. It’s criminal that I would dare examine Sun Kil Moon’s Tiny Cities without first understanding the preexisting emotional resonances of the songs included. It’s criminal because I’m encroaching upon a space from which I have actively sequestered myself. It’s criminal because it took Mark Kozelek to show me that behind Isaac Brock’s disconcerting, awkward vox is a strong lyrical foundation. But here’s the thing: all that doesn’t really matter.

It doesn’t matter because there are two types of tributes: those that are merely rote rehashes (you know, Eve 6 cover bands and such) meant solely to evoke happiness through precise nostalgia and those that view music as a reconstructive endeavor—those that see each note and lyric of every song as conditional appearances. Neither supercedes the other when they encounter a tyro’s ear, but the latter possesses the most puissance because of its transformative nature. Song is best viewed as an incomplete science offered by its creator as a challenge to all of us; a challenge to unravel, to decipher, to deconstruct, and especially to reconfigure. Tiny Cities, while lacking in certain respects, does all these.

A striking feature of the entire album is its brevity. Ghosts of The Great Highway was marked by density and extension, layered narratives and visceral characters, presented no more wondrously than in the 14-minute opus of “Duk Koo Kim.” With a total run time a little over 30 minutes, Tiny Cities requires a paradoxical speed to understanding the tales described since songs seem to blossom as quickly as they furl. Sometimes you feel that this was definitely to the album’s detriment, especially on “Space Travel Is Boring.” The orchestral support never feels as though it was offered the chance to expand the sonic parameters and was instead thrown in almost without consideration. “Dramamine” presents the same phenomenon, since when the backing band enters there’s only a little under two minutes left and the piece has exhausted its transformative effects. The collapsed nature of the album is a bit surprising given Kozelek’s historical strength with extended soundscapes.

This still doesn’t terribly dilute the album’s aggregate impact, and many will surely appreciate the ease with which the lyrics and themes of the originals were translated into the acoustic environ. Kozelek doesn’t seem to derive the strength of the songs from public foreknowledge—except, perhaps, on his quotidian rendition of “Ocean Breathes Salty”—and instead employs his own strengths and, this is key, interpretations. Slight inflections and vocal emphases create perceptible changes in mood and tone and Kozelek once again does both deftly, so though he may not have written the songs themselves, he is undoubtedly the source of each one’s momentum.

In the long run, however, Tiny Cities should not be considered anything more than an interesting exercise of Kozelek’s tiniest muscles or a musical junket into slightly different territory. This fact is especially true for those of us who appreciate the man more than the message and even the opposite. Cover albums are tricky things because they conjure some of the most vivid memories and tell you to consider only the contours while the rest is reformed. The greatest impediment to the endeavor may ironically be those that are the most appreciative of the songs since they will be the least open to the process. I’m particularly dispassionate about Modest Mouse’s efforts, and even with Kozelek’s laudable work on this outing I feel that something more robust could have emerged had the roots been original.

Monday, November 21, 2005

MC5 in Federal Court !!!

All is not well in Detriot rock city.. CLICK TO READ

Kingblind Downloads

Mark Eitzel:: My Pet Rat St Michael

Clem Snide:: A Parable

Sufjan Stevens:: The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts

Link Wray Dead at 76

Link Wray died in his Copenhagen home on November 5th at the age of 76. Sometimes credited as the ‘inventor’ of the power chord, Wray was an important figure in rock music, especially in the aesthetic development of subversive and underground forms of rock music. He was buried in Copenhagen on Friday, November 18th, with his family in attendance.

Wray’s most famous song was “Rumble,” which became a success in 1958. Despite its relative tameness today, the discordant sound of the single back then was enough to get banned by many radio stations. Though he didn’t win over conservative music listeners, he influenced everyone from John Lennon and Quentin Tarantino to Pete Townsend and John Kerry.

In addition to the power chord (a mainstay in punk and heavy metal), Wray was also known to experiment with the clarity of sound. As stated on his official website: “Link virtually invented fuzz tone by deliberately punching holes in his amplifier speakers. He was also a true pioneer of the use of distortion on instrumental rock recordings.”

Wray continued touring the latter part of his life, playing 40 concerts in America this year alone. He is survived by his wife Olive and son Oliver Christian Wray. Please visit Wray’s official website for more information.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Kingblind Downloads

Mogwai – Peel Sessions

Elliott Smith: 1999-04-05, Columbus

Spoon:: July 16th, 2005 at Coney Island (Siren Festival) in Brooklyn, NY

Pete Doherty’s Ex-Manager Erased From ‘Albion’ Video

The man accused of selling pictures of Kate Moss snorting Cocaine has been digitally erased from Babyshambles new video.

The original version of the ‘Albion’ video contained a snippet of Pete Doherty and James Mullard walking in Trafalgar Square together.

But Doherty’s ex-manager Mullard – allegedly linked to the leaking of the ‘Cocaine Kate’ snaps – has had his face disguised in the video.

Mullard can now only be seen as a pixilated image in the promo.

Despite the allegations, Mullard has consistently denied any involvement in selling the snaps, and sees him being erased out of the promo vid as petty.

He told the London Evening Standard: “It is annoying. It is so petty.

“I think the record company did it believing it would be a feather in their cap keeping Pete happy. But Pete isn’t a vindictive person and I don’t think he would have ordered it.”

‘Albion’ is released on November 28.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Kingblind Downloads

Clash City Rockers (live, .mov)

Pearl Jam w/ Sleater-Kinney:: Harvest Moon (Neil Young Cover)

Wolf Parade:: You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son

Richard Hell and the Voivods:: Love Comes in Spurts

Dangerdoom:: The Mouse and the Mask (Album Review)

Though oddball MC MF Doom and DJ Danger Mouse are staunch advocates of the hip-hop underground, they’ve both flirted (or are currently flirting) with mainstream acceptance: DM made the CNN crawl with his now infamous Grey Album mash-up of the Beatles and Jay-Z, and is now getting maximum verbiage for the new Gorillaz album, and Doom was a member of 3rd Bass/major-label approved outfit KMD, and has contributed verses and beats to a host of heavy-hitting albums (Ghostface Killa, etc.) over the past few years. Fans of all shapes and sizes have drooled at the prospect of a collaboration between these two outrageous talents, but it almost seemed like too perfect an opportunity, leading some fans to wonder whether the dream would be better than the reality. A cross-marketing effort with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, The Mouse and the Mask is a whirligig of sidewinding production and Doom’s alien flow, enhanced by a host of cameos by characters from Space Ghost, Harvey Birdman and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Rather than detract from the funkified weirdness, the guest spots from the Adult Swim crew actually add to the craziness — in some cases, as with Master Shake’s series of angry/pensive voicemails, they provide a thematic thread in which Doom can get lost. From a base hip-hop level, The Mouse… features some of Danger Mouse’s most adventurous beats to date, surpassing even the rhythms he formulated for Jemini and Cee-Lo. Freed from the constraints of Gorillaz’s commercial reputation, he appears here a man reborn, unleashing an unrelenting torrent of bass-booming tracks that utilize cartoon string sections, jerky time signatures and backwards-looping spliff-wasted samples. Doom makes a perfect vocal foil; his avuncular flow and lunatic ramblings wrap phantasmagoric tales around DM’s beats and hooks, his tongue still flapping as it’s ripped out of his face by boogeyman breaks and hairpin hooks. The album’s concept could well have turned into a forty minute commercial for the network; it’s a testament to the two artists’ abilities that they integrated talking food, bumbling superheroes and birdman lawyers into their stew so smoothly. “A.T.H.F.” is Doom’s paean to Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but it’s delivered with such tongue-twisted aplomb that it’s difficult to discern its actual meaning without a lyric sheet. “Space Ho’s” features a hilarious back-and-forth between Doom and Space Ghost, with SG sounding like an agitated Bill Curtis as he fights to keep his show from falling into the hands of the masked villain. “El Chupa Nibre” and “Old School” are largely devoid of cartoon cameos, but their beats wiggle and squirm as if they’re being devoured by fire ants, while a marijuana-crazed Doom wrestles with his psyche and tries to beat the bugs out of his brain. Not since Prince Paul first unleashed 3 Feet High and Rising has a hip-hop album come out of leftfield with such commercial potential — but then again, that’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from these guys. The Mouse and the Mask won’t be everybody’s cup of tea; crunk crazies and clubbers probably won’t have the patience to digest it, but then, they probably don’t watch Adult Swim, either. (– Jason Jackowiak)

Hives Hot To Record New Album

Swedish rock act the Hives has begun working on material for its next studio album, which it hopes to have ready for a fall 2006 release via Interscope. “It’s so new,” frontman Pelle Almvqist said of the latest Hives songs. “We haven’t played any of the songs live yet, but there’s some really good ideas floating around.”

The group just finished a tour of Japan and Australia, likely the last shows it will play in support of its 2004 album “Tyrannosaurus Hives.” That set debuted at No. 33 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 171,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

“We’re not too fond of time off, actually,” Almvqist says. “We’re in this band because we like being in it, and time away is good so you don’t burn out, but I’ll give it two weeks before we want to start working again.”

Although the details haven’t been finalized, the artist says the Hives are mulling a new approach for the next album, “because the last three albums have been done the same way, with the same guy just recording us. We want to get the songs in order first but then we’ll do it some way different. We don’t really know how yet, but we have some ideas about different producers or recording it in a different place.”

Fans will be tided over with the Nov. 22 release of the DVD “Tussles in Brussels,” which Almvqist says has “all the building blocks of a good, proper Hives show,” plus a cover of Dion and the Belmonts’ “Born To Cry.” The DVD is rounded out by new videos for “Abra Cadaver” and “A Little More for Little You” shot in Memphis by director John Michael McCarthy.

Almvqist recalls, “We’d always wanted to do something with him, and we said, ‘Do you want to shoot a video? We have seven hours before sound check.’ And he said he really wanted to, and he’ll make two! So we made two videos in seven hours, but they both turned out really cool. If you have a good idea, you can do it pretty quickly. It doesn’t have to cost $1 million, either. Same thing with making records, actually.”

Also included is a faux Hives documentary narrated by Little Steven Van Zandt. “Apparently Bruce Springsteen saw us on TV and kind of introduced Steven to us, which is weird enough as it is,” Almvqist says with a chuckle. “When they got to Sweden on an E Street Band tour, they looked us up and had us come down to the show. We’ve been friends since.”

The tongue-in-cheek film was a reaction against typical “behind-the-scenes” footage of bands, according to Almvqist. “We bought like 10 or 12 DVDs before we made this to see what other bands had done, and most band documentaries keep to the formula,” he says. “Oh, we’re at a radio station doing an interview! Let’s film that! We’re meeting a crazy fan. Let’s film that! We’re shooting out the window of the van while traveling. Let’s film that! We just said that anything as far removed from that as possible would be good, so we made a movie.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Which Ministry album are you?