Monday, December 31, 2007

Matt Costa - Songs We Sing (Independent Release)

Yet another one of my beloved California songwriters, Matt Costa released this twelve track gem independently in 2005 and then later re-released on Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records label with a few differences in the track listing. Embodying Johnson, as well as Elliott Smith, Sam Beam, and countless other acoustic musicians, Costa has his work cut out for him if he is to create something that he can call his own, while moving into the forefront in this generation of songwriters. He accomplishes this, quite exceptionally actually, by fashioning a fine mix of subtle folk tones and creative, introspective harmonies that create for a spirited listen. Combine all this with great production quality, and the album has become a staple in my acoustic mix on the 'Pod. Standout Tracks: "Astair," and "Sunshine." Rating: 9/10



Sunday, December 30, 2007

Crime in Stereo - Is Dead

As promised in my Top-10 post, here's Crime in Stereo's "Is Dead." The Long Island-based trio molds an album that screams with impressive energy, reminiscent of the same garage punk qualities that perpetuated The Movielife and I Am the Avalanche. I don't quite know why I find this album so addicting, but it has been the only thing I've listened to for the past 24 hours or so. The choruses are enduring, especially on "Animal Pharm" and the production quality is top-notch, while not being overbearing. It's a great listen through the cans, and probably just as good smashed against the stage. For me, it's everything I look for in a great punk album. Standout Tracks: "...But You are Vast," "Unfortunate Tourists," and "Vicious Teeth." Rating: 10/10

Animal Pharm


Saturday, December 29, 2007

MY Top Albums of 2007

EVERYONE is doing it, and being a sucker for peer-pressure, I now provide you with my own rendition of the top-10 sick albums that have been rocking my world for the past year:

11. Dustin Kensure "Please Come Home"
-Yes, I know I just said "Top-10" and now I have an 11. This one is worth the list, and I actually wrote out everything below this, and realized that this was what I considered the FIRST great album of 2007 (being released in January). The Thrice frontman's solo effort has longevity for the simplicity of the tracks, because I have been listening to it quite often for what amounts to be the entire year. Definitely worth the addition to my top-10. Er, 11.

10. Paramore "Riot"
-I guess this is their "breakthrough" album, but I really am happy for this band, because I think they're onto something great, a sort of younger generation's No Doubt, and yes, I realize I'm not the first to make this comparison, but that's what I grew up listening to, and I use it as an honor to Paramore; they keep the beat tight, lyrics sincere, and sound loud.

9. Thrice "The Alchemy Index (Vol. 1 & 2)"
-Experimental first-half of their four-album masterpiece, Thrice has stumbled upon something great and intruiging, and it leaves me wondering what is in store for 2008. I'm not a genius, but I think that's the whole point of a great record: make the listener come back for more.

8. Rocky Votolato "The Bragg & Cuss"

-Not only did I drive 3 hours each way to see him play in West Virginia, but the fact that it was completely worth it serves as a testament to Rocky's musicianship and song-writing ability. The album is posted somewhere on this blog.

7. Crime in Stereo "Is Dead"
-A last, last minute addition, I just finished listening to the album this morning. So, while it hasn't been "rocking my socks" all year, it has the dubious distinction of beating out everything I've listened to over the past 12 months, all with one listen. I'll post it very shortly.

6. Kanye West "Graduation"
-Just a great album. The one thing for which I respect many of the mainstream artists is their ability to cope with anticipation and national/world-wide criticism if their album does not deliver. Kanye's not only delivered, but it also delivered big, fulfilling the hype while being one of the most anticipated albums of the year, in any genre.

5. Motion City Soundtrack "Even if It Kills Me"
-While reading other blogs/websites top-album lists, this effort was either on the top list, or the "biggest disappointment" list. While personal preference is the force behind most of these lists, I put it on my "tops" because of the pop-sensibility and the well-constructed sound that carries over from Commit This to Memory.

4. Cassino "Sounds of Salvation"
-Like some of the aforementioned gems, I've already explained why this is first-rate. And, they're so indie, they don't have any pics to upload.

3. Hot Rod Circuit "The Underground is a Dying Breed"
-Yeah, I just read that they broke up, which is disheartening because this album made my top-3 of the YEAR. OF THE YEAR...52 WEEKS...365 DAYS. And then they break up. Thanks for that. Maybe I'll come with a "Biggest Disappointments of 2007" and put the band itself at number one.

2. Lost Ocean "Lost Ocean"
-I'm not putting this album on because I know the keyboardist, and I'm trying to promote their music (although that could be considered an ulterior motive). This album is brilliant, and I can't believe that any band from my hometown could come up with an album that seamlessly integrates so many harmonies and sonic ideas with a soundscape that is varied, yet straightforward and easy to listen to. To be honest, this was the last album I bought, not only to support my friend, but it was the last one I decided was worth 10 bucks. Independent and hopeful, Lost Ocean knows where they want to go, and they take the listener with them.

1. Against Me! "New Wave"
-Through this album, I discovered this band, and they are my greatest find of the year. I know they've been around for a long time, and I know that more likely than not you've liked them "way longer than me." That being said, fuck you, I'm now a fan too. Between the guitars, drums, bass lines, and throaty vocals, this album has everything that I would want in an album. I realize that I only gave it an 8.5/10 on my review, but as far as what's been constantly playing on the iPizzle, Macbook, at school, in the car, on the plane, look no further than this album. It just puts me in a good mood, and I guess that's all you can want from something that is your passion.

This is probably my last post of this year, unless something comes up. Here's to a sick 2008, and albums to match.

Cat Power - Jukebox

Chan Marshall's 8th studio album is very, very impressive. And in true cookie-cutter review format, I shall explain why:

First, I have to admit that I have listened to Cat Power only a handful of times in my music-listening career, but as I find my symphonic horizons constantly expanding, I oftentimes look to older, more established artists to guide me in new directions. Cat Power is one of these new slants. Soulful, with a smokers-lounge voice that leaves you floored, Chan Marshall croons through 12 tracks with all the slow, wistfulness a "broken heart" can afford. The only downside to the album is the ability to get lost in the tracks; although they do transition nicely, they also are all similar sounding, which creates more of an ambient quality (with the notable exception of Aretha, Sing One for Me and I Believe in You). I suggest picking it up and having a listen. You never know when you'll be studying or full of loneliness, which this album is perfect for. Standout Tracks: "Metal Heart," "Lost Someone," and "Song to Bobby." Rating: 9/10

read the comment below...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Matt the Electrician - One Right Thing

Matt the Electrician, a West Coast based singer-songwriter, fits perfectly into my collection of acoustic artists, whom I've grown to love. All the elements to create a great album are present in this product, his fifth studio album. Matt delivers his music with sincerity, singing about love, California, and his dog. Tackling life's joys and sorrows, he moves from one subject to another without even a hint of force, floating between tracks in an effort that makes the album sound like one, detailed story. What really sets him apart from other artists in the genre is his ability to make the most simplistic ideas or thoughts appear to be something much great, through his picturesque lyrics and palliative instrumentation. I'm adding the link to his webpage, because while I normally "endorse using these links to preview albums before buying," I whole-heartedly believe that this time. Small-time artists who are not well known often have a hard time getting compensated for their work, so I urge any readers/listeners to either buy his other albums, or go see him live. I have yet to see him live, but every review I've read says its an amazing show. Standout Tracks: "Left Coast," "My Dog," and "Last Poem for My Girl." Rating: 9.5/10

In the Waves


Friday, December 21, 2007

"So this is the New Year"

Some blogging items:

-I added a shoutbox for comments, concerns, questions, requests, or any links to other music blogs that have actual mini-reviews, and not just my two-cents. So please, please use it. Just so I know that someone, somewhere is using this page.

-Oh, and if you want Rob & Big (season 2) posted, let me know and I'll get on that as well.

-I'm going to try and switch up my link hosts as well, see if I can get you guys some faster downloads.

-I know I posted Good Will Hunting awhile back, but I'm not sure how well that worked out for people, so let me know if you had any problems (either by commenting here, or using the shoutbox). I'm thinking of expanding this blog to include some of my favorite shows (basically Rob & Big, and The Office). And maybe a movie or two. I need to see what works for everyone.

-Switching to .rar files...Zip files are cool and all, but I like .rar files better for compressing albums/media. If I posted the link for WinRar (or UnRar for Mac OS X), would everyone be down for using it? Again, let me know.

-That should do it. Expect more music, as I'm bored, and doing nothing BUT listening to music.

Happy Holidays,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Bouncing Souls - The Gold Record

The Bouncing Souls have been around for a long time. And when a band has been around for a long time, you start to wonder, "man, is their next record going to be a load of shit because they've grown accustomed to a corporate society?" With The Gold Record the answer is 'nope.' The album starts of with "The Gold Song" which is undeniably Bouncing Souls-ish, fast, and anthemic. and impressive. "Letter to Iraq" is taken from an actual soldier's letter from Iraq, and put to a fast-paced blitz of drums and guitar. I'll admit, they do slow it down a bit on "The Pizza Song," and "Lean on Sheena." The latter was undeniably my favorite song of the last year. The guitars are kept tight, the vocals are harmonized and everything is well-constructed throughout the song. Actually, the entire album on a whole is built this way, which makes it probably my favorite Bouncing Souls album to date, which is amazing since they're celebrating their 20th year of existence. 20 YEARS. It's just one more reason why I think Jersey (and the bands that hail from the state) is the California of the East Coast: surf and punk. I mean seriously. Plus there's the boardwalk, beachside communities, and their very own Compton (Camden, which is actually worse than Compton). Standout tracks: "Pizza Song," and "Lean on Sheena." Rating: 10/10

Lean on Sheena


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jonathan Coulton - Unplugged

This guy is awesome and makes being a nerd, at least appear to be cool. Of course, being an Unplugged album, it's just him and his guitar, and funny songs that bring out the dork in you. Songs range from killer robots to IKEA, and everything in-between. It's silly, but catchy and fun to listen to, and if I were a contributing editor to Popular Science, I would write about these things too. I'm not going to rate it, because some people are going to hate it, and some will love it. Either way, it's just a funny album, in my humble opinion. He probably won't win any awards or be the new face of MTV, or fuse for that matter, but it's refreshing. If you hate it, blame my buddy Kevin for telling me about it. Standout tracks: "Millionaire Girlfriend," and "The Future Soon."

Millionaire Girlfriend


Monday, December 17, 2007

Michael Ian Black - I am a Wonderful Man

Not music this time, but a comedy album. I saw it in the ever-so elitist "Alternative Press," and since I couldn't find anything else to listen to, I decided to try comedy. It was a good choice. I mean, I can't really compare it to other to comedians...I suppose it's less "in-your-face" than Dane Cook, and perhaps a little more offensive than many other comedians (George Carlin-ish). I think it's funny, you might too. Music will follow shortly, I have 3GB of new shit, so there HAS to be something that needs to be posted. Standout tracks: "Satanic Messages," and "Walk it Off." Rating: 8/10

Walk it Off


Sunday, December 16, 2007

lack of updates

sorry there's been a lack of soon as i find something worthwhile, i'll post it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Iron & Wine - The Creek Drank the Cradle

Since it's finals week and all, here's some great music with which to study. Sam Beam, who is Iron & Wine, created what I consider a masterpiece in 2002's The Creek Drank the Cradle. Sounding like he mixed the album on a tape recorder, he bares his soul through voice and guitar. Don't be fooled, this isn't a Dashboard-wannabe...instead he sings of life and death, love and loss, through scenic lyrics revolving around nature. Even the title itself conjures up a rustic, folk picture...something that could be hanging from a wall in a cabin high in the mountains. The fact that the mastering on the album is minimal is a testament to the musicianship he encompasses. Listen and love...then study. Standout tracks: "Bird Stealing Bread," and "Upward Over the Mountain." Rating: 10/10

Upward Over the Mountain:


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

John Ralston - Needle Bed

John Ralston's debut album on Vagrant Records took me awhile to get used to. I don't know if that's a good quality for an artist, but after a few months of listening to it on and off, I actually think it's a decent album. Like his label-mate Chris Carrabba/Dashboard Confessional, Ralston utilizes the acoustic guitar and the emo lyrics. His voice is more on the heavier side a la Elliott Smith. It's a decent album, not one of my favorites, but worthy of a download and a listen. Standout tracks: "Gone, Gone, Gone" and "When We were Cats." Rating: 7.5/10

Gone, Gone, Gone:


Saturday, November 17, 2007


Sorry there aren't any updates as of late. But I'm heading home tomorrow, so I'll add albums from there.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Straylight Run - The Needles, The Space

So I have the option of getting a head start on my Irregular Warfare paper, thus preventing a last minute flurry of bullshit writing like my capstone, or post new blogs. I choose the latter. Straylight Run's second full-length (Prepare to be Wrong was an EP) is very impressive; John Nolan (formerly of Taking Back Sunday) leads a talented group, including his sister who provides the perfect balance, not only as a higher voice within songs, but also on the tracks that she provides the lead vocals. Production quality is somewhat raw, but I think it brings the listener closer to the artist when they're not hiding behind a shit load of post-production (most pop). Michelle Nolan's voice is not biting or whiny, but rather soft and intriguing. The songs are a mix of traditional Straylight ("The Words We Say"), but tempered with some new, experimental ideas ("How Do I Fix My Head"). Standout tracks: "The Miracle that Never Came," and "Still Alone." Rating: 8.5/10


Monday, November 5, 2007

Against Me! - New Wave

It wasn't till the summer that I really started listening to this band, which is unfortunate because I've deprived myself of years of quality music-listening time. Against Me! are pioneers in their own category (hardcore-altcountry), so it's really hard to compare them to other bands. My dear friend JJK says this about Against Me!: "It's a really positive and upbeat. Makes you wanna throw your fist in the air and go crazy." I agree. Tom Gabel's throaty, shredded vocals are reminiscent of Mike Ness with a bad sore throat, but creates the perfect backdrop for shout-out-loud choruses. The first single off the album, "Thrash Unreal," has an incredibly simple, addicting beat. Try it. It's more on the hardcore side, but you may enjoy it. Standout tracks: "Thrash Unreal," and "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart." Rating: 8.5/10

Thrash Unreal:


Friday, November 2, 2007

This Is Your Captain Speaking - Storyboard

Oh post-rock. This genre never ceases to amaze me, because all the musicianship of normal bands is cut in half by funneling the vocals into instruments. Seriously. Post-rock bands sing with their instruments, a sort of rhythmic serenade with crashing guitars and splitting drums. To provide an artistic touch to this review, the songs are what I would call "breathtaking." For those that do not know what I speak of, think Explosions in the Sky. C'mon, EVERYBODY knows them. Friday Night Lights...ring a bell? Fall asleep to this stuff. Or sit back and just take it all in. Every song basically tells a story...BUT WITHOUT VOCALS. Either they suck at singing, or they're wise beyond their years and realize that an individually plucked Emaj through tons 'o reverb can relate to the listener (you) better than some whiny emo kid singing about shit he's never experienced because he's in a band and gets more ass than you or me. Post-rock. Amazing stuff. Standout tracks: "A wave to Bridget Fondly," and "Angels." Rating 9/10



Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Color Fred - Bend to Break

I like this album. A lot. Fred Mascherino, of both Breaking Pangaea and Taking Back Sunday fame, recently split from TBS to pursue his solo career, which was probably a good thing. Well, Elliott Smith breaking away from Heatmiser was also a God-send. In any event to gain a frame of reference for this album, think about the back-up vocals for TBS, except all the time. To be honest, it's Taking Back Sunday, minus Adam Lazzara. That's the only way I can describe it. There are even parallels to TBS ("I'll Never Know" sounds just like "New American Classic"). So, I suppose I'll have to knock this album for creativity, although supporting instrumentation on this album is much better than TBS or Breaking Pangaea. The latter of the two was just rough, rough music. Bend to Break is a nice showing of the talent that Mascherino has, both as a songwriter and as a musician. I'm giving it a good rating because it sounds like TBS, and I like TBS. Conversely, if you don't like Taking Back Sunday, don't bother downloading it. Standout tracks: "If I Surrender," and "Complaintor." Rating: 9/10

If I Surrender:


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coming Soon...

-Say Anything "In Defense of the Genre"
-The Color Fred "Bend to Break"
-This is Your Captain Speaking "Storyboard"

and whatever else I feel like posting. Say Anything is loading as I type, so expect it up tonight or tomorrow. 6 pages left on the capstone...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Moneen - Are We Really Happy with Who We are Right Now?

I had this album, but never really paid very much attention to it, as I have 132.58GB of music, and one playlist ("iLikey") which I really listen to. Except for trying to discover and analyze new music (or at least new to me) for this little blog here, I just stick to my "iLikey" playlist. But this album was requested, and I felt like writing up a little review (I've actually been on a roll for the last hour), so here it is. Moneen's second album is pretty much angry. It's even in the name of a track ("Start Angry...End Mad"). The easiest way to describe the sound is by comparing them to other bands, which typically is the case with music reviews, so I'd say the production quality of The Movielife/I Am the Avalanche, though a bit more harmonized than Thrice or the old Thursday. Off-key tonalities and a more aggressive, almost screamo, barrage from Kenny Bridges vocal cords really come through on the title track. They are tempered, however, by a softer melodic side on "I Have Never Done Anything for Anyone that was Not for Me as Well." The album provides a good contrast of what I like to call the sub-screamo-pop-a-thon. I just made it up on the fly, but I think it aptly describes this great album. The only downside to AWRHWWWA? are the excessively long, descriptive song titles (and title). So, for the Standout tracks, I'm just picking the shortest ones (you'll probably download it anyways, so choose your own): "Start Angry...End Mad," and "With this Song, I will Destroy Myself." Rating: 9.5/10

Start Angry...End Mad:


Saves the Day - Under the Boards

Should I be writing my capstone? Yes. But Courier New just added 8 pages to it, so I think I'm money. Therefore, I shall provide you with the link to Saves the Day's new album Under the Boards. I think it's alright, but to be honest, everything since Through Being Cool and Stay What You Are has been a relative disappointment from the band. While I'm all for bands "growing up," I tend to like them because they have a particular sound. Case-in-point: The Ataris. What the fuck is that monstrosity called Welcome the Night? On another note, I spelled monstrosity right on the first try. So, I'd say this album is somewhere between the brilliance of Stay What You Are and the crap that was In Reverie. Don't get me wrong, I love Saves the Day, but at the same time, I love music and am not one to stick by whatever a band produces because they hit a mid-life crisis and need to "expand" musically. I like you for what you were, and while I realize changing your music to meet the capitalistic needs of the mainstream may be what "the man" wants you to do, you're losing fans, and the quality of music is probably sub-par. Okay, my soapbox is about to break, so here's my "expert" analysis of this album: More poppy and upbeat than the two previous albums, but still not up to the quality of SWYA (both lyrically and in production). I will adjust the rating accordingly. Thanks for reading the rant (if you haven't already skipped to the link). Feel free to comment on any thoughts. Standout Tracks: "Can't Stay the Same," "Bye Bye Baby," and "Because You are No Other." Rating: 7/10.

Because You are No Other:


Monday, October 29, 2007

Angels & Airwaves - I-Empire

Tom Delonge and company are back with "I-Empire," the follow-up to their somewhat summer smash of yesteryear. It has much the same sound as "We Don't Need to Whisper," perhaps a little more on the anthem side. The oftentimes over-production adds to larger-than-thou sound that emulates from my speakers. The band tries to beef up their musical abilities (at least to me) since the last album, which is always a good thing. They also move away from religion for the most part... now, I'm a church-going individual, but I tend to stray from Jesus music. I like to keep the separation of church and rock. In summary, this album is exactly like the first one. Standout tracks: "Everything's Magic," and "Secret Crowds." Rating: 9/10


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cassino - Sounds of Salvation

Acoustic folk-rock at it's finest. Every now and then I'll surprise myself by finding a new band on a random purchase or download, but that's not very often. I randomly happened to stumble across a demo track by this band, and was instantly a fan. The dynamic duo of Nick Torres and Tyler Odom seamlessly blend poetry with a the intricate harmonies of a southern sound. Great for studying, relaxing, and sleeping. I think the album cover personifies the record: broken-down, quiet, dirty and barefoot, simplistic, and peaceful. Standout tracks: "Governor," "New Jerusalem," and "Platano." Rating: 10/10


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Kennedys - Special K EP

Holy shit, this EP is amazing for spontaneous dance parties. It wasn't my ears that first discovered this band as much as my eyes, because they were on some small-ass Warped Tour side-stage in the back corner, but were wearing the most ridiculous outfits ever (super tight short-shorts, 70's clothes, and crazy wigs). I was hooked...mostly from the short shorts. Once he started into his set, I was even more blown away from the absurdity of the group, but in a good way. As far as MC's go, he's original. Originality counts for quite a bit in my book (which is ironic since I've been posting a ton of pop-punk lately), and his energy and crowd appeal don't hinder that either. I'd say in the past 6 years, I've bought less than 10 cd's. This is one of them. If you're kinda iffy right now, download it anyway, it's an EP, which means it's a really small file (less than 30mb). Do it and dance your little heart out. Standout tracks: "Your Mama," and "Karate." Rating: 8.5/10.


Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - The Dust of Retreat

Continuing on my indie kick, I bring you an 8-piece band that also has as many words in their name. They bring a slightly depressing album, delivered in rhythmic sound that somehow leaves me feeling a little better than when I started listening, which I suppose should be the goal of all bands. The Shins come to mind, except a little slower, more folk, and sometimes bordering on insane ("Paper Kitten Nightmare")...perhaps with a little Decemberists thrown in. Being an 8-piece band, Margot does really well musically by not flooding the speakers with extraneous noise. That's where the production comes into play, and is where the band really shines. Again, think The Shins. I think I'm done with indie for awhile, hopefully this should hold you over. Standout tracks: "Jen is Bringin' the Drugs," and "Talking in Code." Rating: 8/10.

Immoor - The Thievery of Your Own Things

It took me forever to find this album online, which is why I'm giving it to you now. Hailing from the great state of California, Immoor provides a healthy dose of indie-electro-pop, a la The Postal Service, but with more post-production on the vocals. Upbeat and catchy, I'd say it's a good addition to any collection. Hit it up for homework, sleeping, or staring at your capstone paper for hours on end. Standout tracks: "Bows and Arrows," and "Unit 371." Rating: 8.5/10


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Elliott Smith - Either/Or

So, I really don't know what to say about this album, or artist, other than he's one of the greatest songwriters of my generation. The amount of emotion and pain in his voice completely blows me away. Simplistic and beautiful, it resonates of acoustic indie, blues, and folk, with an edgier lyrical base that's juxtaposed nicely against his quiet tone and soft spoken delivery. He "committed suicide" by stabbing himself twice in the heart, but that's up for debate (I think his girlfriend killed him). I mean, honestly, who stabs himself in the heart...twice. Through all the sadness, "Say Yes" has to be one of the most truthful, lyrically profound songs that has ever reached my of those songs where you think that it was written especially for you. If you download one album from here, click this one. Standout tracks: "Ballad of Big Nothing," "Between the Bars," "Angeles," and "Say Yes." Rating: 10/10


Mayday Parade - A Lesson in Romantics

It's 2:04am. I started a gourd of yerba mate about 30 minutes ago. I have 0/30 pages written for my capstone. And I'm posting this album. It's emo-pop-punk. Yeah, I know, shit right? Maybe it's the time, or the caffine running through my system, but I think this is pretty good. Well, maybe just good. New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, and a little Panic! at the Disco comes to mind. When I think in terms of that, I'm automatically dropping the rating to a seven. Sorry, but two of the three aforementioned bands I cannot stand, and NFG is decent at best (their latest release is pretty good). That's neither here nor there. If you can stand any of those bands, try Mayday Parade. If not, get it anyways and judge it for yourself. It's okay to admit to liking those bands, I have a thing for Avril Lavigne. I'm not even shitting you. This post is all over the place, but it's early, and I don't care. Standout tracks: "Take This to Heart," and "Jamie All Over." Rating: 7/10


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Will Hunting

While everyone loves music, I figured I'd switch it up and post one of my favorite movies. It's about a wunderkind (Matt Damon) from Boston, a self-taught genius who works as a janitor at MIT. He solves an impossible theorem, is discovered by a professor (Stellan Skarsgard), has to see a psychyitrist (played by Robin Williams), falls in love but doesn't know it with a Harvard girl (Minnie Driver), and has the most loyal friends ever (Affleck brothers). It was produced by Kevin Smith, who's basically the man (created Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob, Chasing Amy, etc) and written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the former being in most of Kevin Smith's movies. On Matt and Ben as writers: "You know whenever I was making a movie with Ben Affleck he'd always come up to me and ask why I hadn't written the scene this way, or that way...and I'd always tell him, you don't like it, then write your own fucking script. So he did, and he won an Oscar." The writing is brilliant, the acting is superb, and the plot is down-to-earth. I could watch this movie everyday, and I have for the past couple days. It's also on my iPod for mobile watching. That's how much I like it. Rating: 10/10

Download all the links to the same place, open up "Good Will" and then unzip. I had to split the movie/zip into multiple parts in order to post it.


link 1
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Monday, October 8, 2007

Rocky Votolato - The Bragg & Cuss

Ever since I heard Rocky Votolato, I've been on an alt-country trip. I'll admit it. This genre, with twangy guitars and simple percussions, impressive songwriting, and often tortured voices highlight many songs. Rocky is no different, with lyrics ranging from love and death, to whiskey. With a harmonica in hand (or on a neck-holder), he's a one-man band, and watching him live is even more impressive. I wouldn't say this is a career-defining record, but it's solid. I'll post Makers later, because I think that is the quintessential Rocky album. Standout tracks: "Lilly White," and "Red Dragon Wishes." Rating: 7.5/10


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hot Rod Circuit - Sorry About Tomorrow

Hot Rod Circuit's 2002 album Sorry About Tomorrow is a catchy, indie rock album full of wonderful hooks and great choruses. Definitely a sing along album, the band presents a finely crafted record that straddles the line between obscure and mainstream. It's been 4 years since I found these guys, and oddly enough, this is the album that won me over. To be honest, it was the insanely addicting riffs and lyrics of "At Nature's Mercy" the honesty of "Knees." If anything, you can download the album for those two songs and add them to a sweet mixtape to give to your sweetheart...which makes me realize that it takes me longer to make a mixtape for a girl, than the duration of the actual relationship. Either I suck at relationships, or my mixtapes are fucking amazing. Mayhaps I'll post one that you can give to that significant other, and claim it as your own. Standout tracks (other than the aforementioned two): "Cool for One Night," and "Consumed by Laziness." Rating: 9/10


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Owen - At Home With

While I love expanding people's musical horizons, sometimes I feel selfish and want to keep some of the more indie music to myself, to lay a sort of claim to it, like Death Cab before they were on The OC. In any event, I don't think Owen (comprised of guitarist Mike Kinsella) will ever become that popular, so might as well share his musical prowess. His lyrical and acoustic guitar skills are pretty amazing, and to see him play live is even better. Plus he likes great beer. Need to fall asleep? Queue up this album, and hit the pillow. Standout tracks: "The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi" Rating: 8/10


Monday, October 1, 2007

Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism

I'm going to assume (much like Sublime) that most everyone already has this album. Ben Gibbard, in my esteemed musical opinion, is one of the best songwriters of my generation. Guitar, bass, synthesizer, and drums...he is a master of lyrics and music. Plus, he created the biggest asshole song ever in "Tiny Vessels." Surprisingly, I'd say it's the most truthful lyrics I've ever heard. Standout tracks: "Title and Registration," and "A Lack of Color." Rating: 10/10


Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends

I wrote a review for this album way back when it came out, and I forget what I said about it, other than it was rad. One of my favorite songs ever is on this album, and while it is punk-emo (perhaps punkemo?), it's great to rock out to. It has an edgier sound than their newer, more popular stuff, but to me, the rougher the tracks, the better it is. If anything (and my friend Benji would agree), download it for "You're So Last Summer." (Other) Standout Tracks: "You Know How I Do," Cute Without the 'E'," and "Great Romances of the 20th Century." Rating: 10/10


The Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home About

It's emo, which is short for emotional. If you wanted to listen to emo, I'd highly recommend this album. Thank goodness for broken hearts and Matt Pryor (of New Amsterdams fame). The lyrics are pretty good, and no matter what emotional shit you're feeling, Pryor makes you feel a little better about yourself because he's probably experienced worse. Just a warning, he sings in a whiny voice, which some people may shy away from. But it's emo, so you can't expect much more than that. Standout tracks: "Action and Action," and "I'm a Loner Dottie, a Rebel..." Rating: 10/10


Ramones - Ramones

The "kings/supreme allied commanders/czars/presidents/commander-in-chiefs" of punk. Any style of punk. Any topic, any tempo, anything. Everything you hear today, including every single one of my previous posts (minus perhaps Kanye) can go back to the Ramones. Those CBGB shirts that you see? The Ramones made that hole in the wall famous. U2, Nirvana, Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, KISS, Green Day, The Offspring, and countless others all claim this band as a heavy influence on their music and their lives. And this album started it all, and is by far their best work. Standout tracks: "Blitzkrieg Bop," "53rd and 3rd," and "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World." Rating: 10/10


NOFX - Punk in Drublic

Ahhh...NOFX. They're the grandfather's of punk (assuming the Ramones and the Clash are the kings). Plus, they're the oldest bastards still on the Warped Tour, which has become quite the over-commercialized high school hangout. In any case, this album is what opened me up to punk, not pop-punk "I think you're pretty," but punk "what the fuck is wrong society today?" rock. I'd say 8 out of 10 people won't like it. And that's one of the reasons why they're so badass. Standout tracks: "Linoleum," "Leave it Alone," and "The Brews." Rating: 10/10


Alkaline Trio - From Here to Infirmary

Originally from Chicago, and moving to San Francisco, Alkaline Trio are the original My Chemical Romance, minus the cocaine addiction. Punk rock at it's darkest, they move from Satan, to girls, to...well, back to Satan. Matt Skiba says he does it for the attention (he's really an atheist), but it does make for some great rock and some graphic lyrics. I recommend it if you like energetic, raw punk, My Chemical Romance, or a combination of both. Standout tracks: "Mr. Chainsaw," "Stupid Kid," and "Armageddon." Rating: 10/10


Sublime - Sublime

Sublime's self-titled album. This was my second CD I had ever bought. Ever. I'm assuming everyone has it already, and if you lost your copy, get it here and enjoy. Standout tracks: all of them. Rating: 11/10


Blink-182 - Dude Ranch

Alternative Press just said this was one of the most influential albums of the 1990's. Together with Green Day's Dookie, Blink-182 forever cemented skate-punk into the mainstream. Rudimentary chords, and lyrics that sound like they were written by a sophomore in high school, Tom Delonge, Mark Hoppus, and Scott Raynor (this is pre-Travis Barker) took the basics of punk and applied to to girls, parents, and how much school sucked. This seriously sounds like a well-produced demo tape. But for some reason, it's amazing. Standout tracks: "Dammit," and "Josie." Rating: 10/10


Brand New - Deja Entendu

Brand New's second full album is nothing short of genius. The band provides a harder edge to their pop-punk sound, and on some tracks border screamo. Tempering the faster-paced songs are more instrumental, lyrical based sounds that are placed ever-so-carefully among the track listing. Even with the disparity between song temps, the album flows effortlessly from start to end. This one is on my all-time list. Standout tracks: "The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows," and "Play Crack the Sky." Rating: 10/10


Rancid - ...And Out Come the Wolves

I've decided to post the albums I have personally thought of as perfect-10's. You probably disagree with me, but this is my little shindig, so I can like what I want. First, to counter all the pop as of late, here's Rancid's ...And Out Come the Wolves.

Classic punk/ska from the famed East Bay. Political, snotty, rough lyrics about heroin, girls, and government are conveyed by an even rougher voice in Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen. The crazy thing is, for a punk band, the amount of musical talent is pretty extraordinary. Complex bass lines, screaming guitars, and a blitzkrieg of drums highlight and punctuate this album. Standout tracks: "Roots Radical," "Time Bomb," and "Ruby Soho." Rating: 10/10


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lux Courageous - Reasons That Keep the Ground Near

More indie than pop, Lux Courageous rocks with sonic overtones and even more important subtle undertones that are hard to pick up the first time you listen. Their use of pianos, slow, articulate drums, and rhythmic and well-placed fills and stops create a super detailed musical picture that makes the band so damn good. Songs range from the slow, emotional ("Seatbelts are Saviors") to the upbeat, quicker ballads ("Safe at Last"). This is my personal reccommendation. If you don't like it, delete it. If you do like it, well, that's why I'm doing this. Standout tracks: "Wearing Dangerous," and "Barely Enough." Rating: 9.5/10


Motion City Soundtrack - Even If It Kills Me

If I were you, I'd skip the summary, and go to the link. This album has articulate, original lyrics, built upon a base of pop. While I realize I've been posting poppy albums lately, frankly, I don't give a fuck. This is catchy, witty, and outdoes everything they've done in the past (and what many other bands have done in the past as well). I've listened to this album at least once a day since I got it. Download it, and you might, too. Standout tracks (among all the great tracks): "It Had to be You," "Broken Heart," and "Antonia." Rating: 9.5/10