Best albums of 2013: No. 5-7

The Music or Space Shuttle? braintrust rolls out its top albums of 2013 this week! Today we unveil our individual picks for #5-7. We’ll reveal our top 10 throughout the week, culminating with our top pick on Friday, Dec. 20. Don’t miss our picks for #11-20 and #8-10.

Todd

#7: Sigur Ros, Kveikur

kveikurIf I had only one word to describe the amazing Sigur Ros record Kveikur, it would be “Brennisteinn!!!!” Brennisteinn happens to be the epic opening track of the album and quite a bit of a departure from most of their other music. It’s much harder and more aggressive than the uplifting movie soundtrack fodder that they have released in the past. Cameron Crowe must have used their entire discography in that We Bought a Zoo movie.

Brennisteinn!!!!” was also the mantra of your favorite MoSS? writers during our trip to Chicago to see Jonsi and the boys live at the UIC Pavilion. Well, that was usually followed up by our lame attempt to recreate the deep bass drop that starts out the song. “DUHHNNNNNN!”

What a show that was. Probably the best concert, musically, that I witnessed all year. Other live shows this year may have been filled with more booze and interesting characters, but none could touch the sonic and visual experience of Sigur Ros. Chris wrote a great MoSS? Pit entry about it. You should check that out if you haven’t already. Then you should run directly to wherever Jonsi is playing his sideways electric guitar with a violin bow and see him perform.

#6: Haim, Days Are Gone

Haim_-_Days_Are_GoneI first heard Haim while surfing the internet late last year.  I ran across the video for their song “Don’t Save Me”, a catchy little pop tune that became a mainstay on all of my 2013 playlists. It even snagged a spot on the MoSS? January mix. They piqued my interest right away. How could you not be interested? 3 talented and attractive sisters that make great music? Yes please.

I feel for their father though. Have you seen the hair on those girls? It’s long and there’s lots of it. It must have been a full time job for him to de-clog the drains around his house. I have a wife and one daughter and have enough problems in that department. Can you imagine the havoc created with their plumbing when their monthly cycles sync up? The horror.

Throughout the rest of the year the ladies released several more singles and got massive airplay on indie radio channels.  Every song seemed to be better than the next. If I had to pick a “Song of the Summer” this year, their single “The Wire” would have to be it. By August it seemed obvious that Haim would be at the top of my best of the year list. The only problem was that they hadn’t actually released an album yet. The girls must have known they were running out of time because in late September they released Days Are Gone to help cement their place on my list.

#5: Arcade Fire, Reflektor

reflektorI was pretty worried about this one before it came out. The last Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs, had the great honor bestowed upon it as my pick for #1 Album of 2010. It eventually won the slightly less prestigious Grammy for Album of the Year. Could the new record live up to the hype? When the first single “Reflektor” was revealed I thought it was good, but was again worried. If this was to be the best song on the album, Win Butler and company were in trouble.

A few weeks before the album was released Arcade Fire was the musical guest on SNL. They played the previously mentioned “Reflektor” and a new song to me at the time “Afterlife.” Both fine but again I was not exactly blown away. My wife and I stayed up a bit later that night because after SNL there was to be a half hour special featuring more live performances of new songs by Arcade Fire. By minute 2 of the first song on the special “Here Comes the Night Time” all my fears were brushed aside. My wife and I were smiling and couch dancing throughout the entire 30 minute show. Here is link to the whole show if you want to recreate our experience…

As you can probably extrapolate from my ramblings, I loved the album after its eventual release. I was lucky enough to score pretty good pre-sale tickets to the Arcade Fire show in Kansas City next spring. The ticket says formal attire or costume required. My wife has been working overtime with her “Bedazzler” to create the perfect jewel encrusted suit coat for me to wear. If you are at the show, look for the bald guy in the white suit with a sparkling red phoenix bursting out of a blue tuna can.

Chris

#7: Burial, Rival Dealer

rival dealer coverI’ve always found it peculiar that music fans bought the idea that Four Tet and Burial were the same person. I mean, Four Tet is pretty good and all—I put Beautiful Rewind in my top 20, after all—but Burial is playing on a totally different level. If you told me Four Tet was Burial’s younger brother, that could gain some traction with me…

Burial continues to show he is the master, especially since he abandoned the LP format and has run with the EP concept (his last four releases, starting with the absolutely brilliant Street Halo). These roughly half-hour chunks of Burial’s universe (scratchy texture, muted female voices, off-kilter percussion, ominous synths) sound otherworldly.

And on Rival Dealer, Burial deals with some extremes, in my view. The title track might be the single-most propulsive song he’s ever created; the bass lunges forward when in the past it might be fine to just sit back and set the chill vibe. The Burialesque “hollow” percussion (think woodblock) is absent, relying on quick work on the high hat. And even the vocal sample screams at you: “I want to love you more than anyone!”

The “short” song, “Hiders,” strips away the beat completely, leaving the listener with a rather clean vocal track and a nice keyboard line that soars right alongside the voice. And “Come Down to Us” is possibly the best long-form collage he’s tried on these EPs, better than “Ashtray Wasp,” better than “Rough Sleeper.”

I don’t know if I can handle a complete LP of Burial awesome, and if he delivers an EP or two each year, well, that works for me.

#6: Sigur Ros, Kveikur

kveikur coverLast year, I ranked the latest offering from Sigur Rós (Valtari) in this very spot, #6. I was so happy to see the band return from hiatus; nothing else can explain why I ranked that album as high as I did. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special either. I wanted to believe that it was something in the same vein as ( ), but really it was more the sound of a band that had just overdosed on Quaaludes. (I would probably substitute Andy Stott’s Luxury Problems if I were to revise my 2012 list.)

But in 2013, they lost a band member and gained some serious edge. What an about face…and what a welcome change. I echo everything Todd says above about “Brennisteinn,” and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The title track and “Isjaki” are incredibly upbeat numbers; “Stormur” has the sort of ethereal vibe one looks for in Sigur Rós but maintains the energy of the album; it sort of reminds me of “Staralfur” from the wonderful Agaetis Byrjun. The clanging and brass of “Hrafntinna” provide a nice comedown from the opening blast of “Brennisteinn” and “Rafstraumur” is one of those songs that builds on a simple vocal and turns into something loud, almost in the same styling as an Explosions in the Sky tune.

And don’t let the funky song titles or Jonsi’s Icelandic lyrics scare you away: even those of us whose fluency is limited to English and “Spanglish” have no problem singing along to these tunes.

So yeah, I won’t regret putting this at #6 this time next year. In fact, that this album only made it to #6 on my 2013 ranking shows just how great this year has been in my opinion. (And yes, read our “From the MoSS? Pit” entry from Sigur Rós’ Chicago show.)

#5: Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe

chvrchesI should repeat one of my closing lines from the Sigur Rós entry: that this album is only #5 on my list shows just how great 2013 was.

Often times I find myself really liking “the deep cuts” from albums. Sometimes that’s just because the singles are oversaturated, whether that be courtesy of SiriusXMU or licensing to commercials or what have you. Sometimes I just find the interesting experiments of non-singles to be more intriguing than the catchy hooks.

The thing about this album, for the most part, is that you could throw a dart at the album’s track listing and whichever song you hit, you have a potential single. The songs are all that well crafted, yet diverse enough that the album doesn’t sound like you accidentally hit the “repeat one” button on your music playing device. The songs that are billed as the singles (“The Mother We Share,” “Gun,” “Lies,” “Recover”) are outstanding in terms of upbeat vibe and great vocals/lyrics; other songs such as “We Sink” and “Tether” and “Under the Tide” show no dropoff.

What separates this album from other great-but-not-GRRRRREEEAAAAAT offerings (not to pick on them, but let’s say Cut Copy) is the emotion that comes through. That’s not just limited to the vocals, although that’s where the primary difference lies. Lauren Mayberry’s voice really speaks to one’s heart, whereas Cut Copy lyrics seem to just keep the party going. (Again, I like Cut Copy, but I don’t know that I ever feel much connection to the words.)

I’m afraid these guys have become too big for something like Mission Creek. I’d love for the festival organizers to prove me wrong…

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MoSS? Monthly Mixtape: January 2013

101

Side A : Todd’s Picks

1. Solange, “Losing You”

2. Haim, “Don’t Save Me”

3. Wampire, “The Hearse”

4. Youth Lagoon, “Dropla”

5. Lily and Madeleine, “These Great Things”

Side B : Chris’ Picks

1. Colleen Green, “Time in the World”

2. Iceage, “Coalition”

3. Bird Call, “Phantom Limbs”

4. Glass Theory, “Take Your Time”

5. Burial, “Truant”

MoSS? Presents…The Top Albums of 2012, #20-11

MoSS Albums 2012

Todd’s 20-11

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

#20. Heems, Nehru Jackets/ Wild Water Kingdom

#19. Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror

#18. The Men, Open Your Heart

#17. La Sera, Sees The Light

#16. Nude Beach, II

#15. Echo Lake, Wild Peace

#14. Hospitality, Hospitality

#13. Michael Kiwanuka, Home Again

#12. Beach House, Bloom

#11. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange

Chris’ 20-11

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

#20. Black Moth Super Rainbow, Cobra Juicy

#19. Lone, Galaxy Garden

#18. School of Seven Bells, Ghostory

#17. The Men, Open Your Heart

#16. Colleen Green, Milo Goes to Compton

#15. Japandroids, Celebration Rock

#14. Wild Nothing, Nocturne

#13. El Perro del Mar, Pale Fire

#12. Frankie Rose, Interstellar

#11. Burial, Kindred

Previous installments:

Best Songs of 2012

MoSS? Best of 2012 Mixtape

MoSS Songs 2012

Side A: Todd’s Favorite Songs of 2012

1. Tanlines, “Brothers”

2. Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”

3. Grimes, “Oblivion”

4. Best Coast, “My Life”

5. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Baby”

6. Field Mouse, “Glass”

7. Frank Ocean, “Pyramids”

8. Wild Nothing, “Shadow”

9. Memoryhouse, “The Kids Were Wrong”

10. Tegan and Sara, “Closer”

Side B : Chris’ Favorite Songs of 2012

Burial, “Kindred”

Crystal Castles, “Plague”

Earl Sweatshirt, “Chum”

First Aid Kit, “Emmylou”

Japandroids, “The House That Heaven Built”

Ke$ha, “Don’t Think Twice (It’s All Right)”

Rhye, “The Fall”

Sleigh Bells, “Comeback Kid”

Tennis, “Origins”

The xx, “Swept Away”

MoSS? Presents… The Undisputed Top Albums Ever, #60-51

Yep, we’re making a list. Two separate lists, actually, so the above graphic is a bit misleading. Accounting for the limited overlap in Todd’s and Chris’ lists, it’s more like the top 174 or something like that.

Anyway, after months of scientific analysis, hours of listening and re-listening to albums from years gone by, we have arrived at a definitive list of the top albums ever recorded. Our research is not open to interpretation, but you’re more than welcome to complain about the fact that your favorite albums aren’t on this list; we’ll simply respond by telling you that your favorite records aren’t really all that good.

Here are some spoilers: you’re not going to find the typical hipster stuff like Neutral Milk Hotel or Slint or even stuff one/both of us actually likes such as DJ Shadow or Pavement. This isn’t Rolling Stone so you’re not going to find Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Pet Sounds at the top. Wham’s Make It Big was snubbed.

We’re not going to roll it all out at once; no sense rushing through all this quality music! But Music or Space Shuttle? is gonna be pretty busy over the next two months.

That’s enough of an intro. Let’s get on with it…

Chris’ #60-51

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

60. Jose Gonzalez, In Our Nature

59. The Breeders, Last Splash

58. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Source Tags and Codes

57. Burial, Street Halo

56. Radiohead, Kid A

55. Duran Duran, Duran Duran (1981)

54. Explosions in the Sky, The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place

53. Cults, Cults

52. N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton

51. Pixies, Surfer Rosa

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

#55: Duran Duran, Duran Duran

duran duran front coverWhen you are 10 years old and living in a town where the main music supplier is the Pamida store on the edge of town, you find yourself struggling to get your hands on a cassette from a band’s back catalog, even a band as current in 1984 as Duran Duran. If you wanted to buy Arena or Seven and the Ragged Tiger, no problem. Even Rio could be found from time to time. But the band’s eponymous 1981 debut? The Pamida staff isn’t that savvy.

But there are ways to get what you want. In my case, you agree to go shopping in nearby “metropolis” La Crosse, Wis., with your mom and your little brother and be good THE WHOLE TIME. Then, and only then, will my mom take me to Musicland and buy me the elusive Duran debut.

It was a struggle. This meant having to walk through the women’s sections of Dayton’s and JCPenney and Younkers and Maurices and god knows what else, but also not picking on my little brother while killing time surrounded by blouses and slacks. But I was on a mission, and it was successful.

And well worth it, I might add. Not only did I now possess the songs “Girls on Film” and “Planet Earth,” but I was introduced to the deeper cuts that define this album as a New Romantic masterpiece. “(Is There) Anyone Out There” is a wonderful blend of spiky guitar, atmospheric keyboards, and plucky bass. “Careless Memories” is a rock song that uses the right touch of keyboard and percussion flourishes. “Sound of Thunder” is probably the standout track on the more avant garde Side B of the album, a song that has more in common with stuff like the Cure and Joy Division than any of the “totally ’80s” stuff like Bow Wow Wow or Kajagoogoo, even though Duran Duran is often lazily categorized with the latter. If you don’t believe me, check out album closer “Tel Aviv,” a song that will defy most people’s conventional thinking about the band. (And a song that makes a wonderful soundtrack during a family vacation in the Rocky Mountains, with its soaring keyboard, guitar, and vocal effects playing against the backdrop of Colorado’s snow-capped rocky peaks.)

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking the songs you’d find on Duran Duran’s Decade or Greatest albums, but the band’s debut shows an intelligence behind the band’s glamour image that goes ignored by music fans and historians alike.

#52: N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton coverI landed a copy of this album when I was 15, and I swear it took me probably six months to get past the first three songs. Not because I couldn’t stand more than 15 minutes of gangsta rap in one sitting…far from it. It’s just that as soon as “Straight Outta Compton,” “Fuck tha Police,” and “Gangsta Gangsta” had run their course, I’d immediately hit the stop button on the boom box and rewind to the beginning, and repeat that trifecta of street knowledge.

Eventually I found the gems later in the sequencing (“Dopeman,” “8-Ball,” and the preview of Ice Cube’s solo work, “I Ain’t Tha 1”) but the opening three songs, had they been released alone as an EP, might have carried Straight Outta Compton to immortal status.

Ice Cube’s opening flow on the title track is still mesmerizing, even if the language isn’t nearly as shocking now as it was to a 15-year-old northeast Iowa boy (maybe it should be more shocking to me now as a 38-year-old father?) who thought Tackle-Hoops-playin’ Theo Huxtable was flush with street cred. MC Ren was a decent change-up to Cube…not as confident, but just as crude.

If Ren was the change-up, Eazy-E was the 12-6 curveball. This high-pitched voice talkin’ big about being tired of gettin’ jacked up by the motherfuckin’ police or being a brother who’ll smother your mother or drinkin’ Olde English 800 like a madman and steppin’ into the party and dissin’ yo ho and his boyz in the hood keepin’ him cool…WTF (as in WHO the fuck) is this? Did Cube and Ren let their little brother drop some knowledge? Is he on here because he has the best name of the bunch? (The dude with the worst name, DJ Yella, comes off as nothing more than Dr. Dre’s understudy; the guy with the oddest name, The Arabian Prince, I’m not sure he actually says more than 10 words throughout the album.)

And wasn’t I a little bit intimidated by his stuff despite sounding like Alvin, Simon, or Theodore?

I couldn’t relate to much being said on this album, but I was just one example of the thousands (millions?) of suburban kids who found themselves fascinated by the raw language and the sweet beats laid down by Dre and Yella. And this was more punk than anything considered punk at the time, the perfect music for a teenager looking to rebel against something, anything. Even in Waukon, yo.

In my opinion, once Cube left, N.W.A. went south in a hurry, at least in retrospect. (I hung around for the 100 Miles and Running EP, but then I was out.) But I’ll always go back to Straight Outta Compton to get my gangsta nostalgia on.

Todd’s #60-51

(click play button below to sample these 10 albums)

60. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

59. Alice in Chains, Jar of Flies

58. Arcade Fire, Funeral

57. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy

56. Nada Surf, The Weight is a Gift

55. Van Halen, 1984

54. Ice Cube, Death Certificate

53. The White Stripes, Elephant

52. Pixies, Surfer Rosa

51. Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

#59.Alice in Chains, Jar of Flies

I bought this EP on a very cold February day back in 1994. I must have come into some money that day because I remember buying three other CDs at the same time. Fine. Since you are all so curious, I’ll tell you what the other three albums were; My first copy of The Clash’s London Calling, David Bowie’s Changesbowie, and Tori Amos’ Under the Pink. Quite the odd collection there.

Let’s get back on track shall we? I was never a huge Alice in Chains fan. I enjoyed a few songs from Facelift and there was a time when you couldn’t get away from their album Dirt. Every “bro” in town was listening to that one since Poison wasn’t making records anymore. I just wasn’t as into them as some other bands from that era.

That attitude changed one day as I was driving to work with a friend. As we got on the road, he threw in a new CD and told me to take a listen. After the first few bars of track one, I was hooked. I asked who the band was and didn’t believe him when he said it was Alice in Chains. Of course, it was obvious as soon as the perfectly harmonized vocals of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell came in during the first verse of “Rotten Apple.”

Hey Ah Na Na
Innocence is over
Hey Ah Na Na
Over

The whole EP seemed completely different than other Alice in Chains releases. From the acoustic songs like “Rotten Apple” and “Nutshell”, to the instrumental “Whale and Wasp”, this was an Alice in Chains I could get into. Jar of Flies owned my Sony Discman for the next few weeks. I don’t think I even opened up that Tori Amos record until April.

#51. Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak

Nothing fancy here. Hard driving bass and drums. Overpowering guitars. Wild, growling vocals. Early Kings of Leon was straight up “we don’t give a fuck” rock and roll. Not to disparage the newer KOL music too much, but it does come across a bit more polished than the tunes on Aha Shake Heartbreak. Now enough praise for these guys. The record’s great, cool lead vocals, sexy lyrics… blah blah blah.

Why the KOL hate on a post praising their album? Because I’ve heard each of their songs so many times that I’ve lost all enjoyment in hearing them. It wasn’t me playing them over and over, but I am to be held responsible. I created a monster. A 5’2″, brunette haired, KOL listening monster.

For most of our relationship, my wife has enjoyed the same music as me. On occasion, I will introduce her to a band that we both enjoy equally, but usually I like a band and she is neutral. That’s how it started with KOL. I really liked Aha Shake and she seemed to enjoy it too.

The next Kings of Leon record, Because the Times, came out and the same thing happened. We both liked it, but she never would have chosen to listen to it on her own. Then came the fourth KOL release, Only By the Night. I got a “totally legal, not pirated” advanced copy of that record and could tell it was going to be big. There were several songs on it that just screamed “radio hit.” And big it was. You couldn’t turn on an FM station without hearing “Use Somebody” within five minutes. This is where I witnessed the early KOL addiction signs from my wife. Let’s go over the addiction checklist from a pamphlet I found on the topic.

-Frequent, bordering on obsessive KOL listening?…Yes

-Listening to KOL by yourself?…Yes

-Unable to listen to any other groups music?… No

-Internet Stalking of Band Members?…No

-Internet Stalking of Band Member Spouses/Potential Murder Victims?…No

Man was I relieved. She only got a 40% on that test. I quit worrying and everything was fine for awhile. She stopped listening to Only by the Night and we enjoyed many other artist’s albums for a year or so. Then came that home-wrecker of an album, Come Around Sundown. God bless her, she resisted at first. She even said she didn’t like it, but she slowly wore down. How could she resist. They write lyrics that are like catnip to rock loving girls everywhere. Every song seems to be about how a guy likes a girl and wants to fight some other dude so he can be with her.

Example:

The song “Pickup Truck”

Hate to be so emotional
I didn’t aim to get physical
But when he pulled in and revved it up
I said, ‘you call that a pick up truck?’
And in the moonlight I throwed him down
Kickin’ screamin’ & rolling around
A little piece of a bloody tooth
Just so you know I was thinking of you
Just so you know ohhhhh

Well, after that it was all over. We’re talking 100% percent on the KOL addiction test. Those KOL supermodel spouses better watch out. My wife is watching and waiting. If I read in the paper one day that one of those lovely ladies “accidentally” tripped and broke her neck, I will know my wife won’t be coming home for supper anymore. I may have to host an intervention or hire one of those therapists that “de-program” cult members. I’m praying for a band break-up. That could be the only thing that saves her.

Previous installments:

#100-91

#90-81

#80-71

#70-61

Best. February. Ever.

Frankie RoseThe shortest month of the year is often one of the quietest in terms of musical awesomeness. There’s usually little love for the ear canals within two weeks on either side of Valentine’s Day.

2012, though…I don’t know if it’s the Mayans’ prognostication or just some happy accidents, but music blew up in February.

Van Halen returns with Diamond Dave. This is how things should be. (Not that the album is anything to write home about, but DLR belongs in Van Halen.)

Burial puts out a half-hour EP of beats that retain classic Burial traits AND manage to sound as fresh as ever.

Frankie Rose (seen at right in that sexy shot) puts out Interstellar, an album that would have dominated its release date if not for…

Reign of TerrorSLEIGH BELLS! REIGN OF TERROR! THE ALBUM CONTAINING “COMEBACK KID” AND “BORN TO LOSE” AND “CRUSH” AND “DEMONS” AND “D.O.A.” AND EVERY OTHER INCREDIBLE TUNE WITHIN THIS COLLECTION OF DOMINANCE (except “Road to Hell,” which is the closest thing to a clunker they’ve ever made).

Sleigh Bells also hit SNL on Feb. 18 and, most importantly to yours truly, announced on Feb. 28 that they’ll play a show in Iowa City this spring. #FUCKYEAH

The Sleigh Bells/Iowa City news hit the same day School of Seven Bells completed its trifecta of incredible albums by releasing Ghostory, while Memoryhouse put out a full-length album just two days before a scheduled show at The Mill (a.k.a. a night out for the Music or Space Shuttle? lads).

If this month is indeed a 10 (or, in Spinal Tap terms, 11), how do previous Februarys stack up in terms of music?

Naturally, I’ve made a chart.

a line chart that maps out how awesome the past 31 Februarys have been in music

How did this line take its shape? The primary data is listed below.

1982

  • Ozzy Osbourne is arrested after urinating on The Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas

1983

  • “Menudomania” comes to New York as 3,500 screaming girls crowd Kennedy Airport to catch a glimpse of Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, who are playing six sold-out shows at the Felt Forum
  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller album hits #1 on the US charts, the first of 37 (non-consecutive) weeks it would spend there on its way to becoming the greatest-selling album of all time
  • Sonic Youth releases Confusion Is Sex; U2 wages War (but Styx did release Kilroy Was Here and Kenny G deployed G Force)

1984

  • Elton John marries studio engineer Renate Blauel (lulz)
  • Recovering from the scalp burns sustained a month earlier, Michael Jackson wins eight Grammy Awards out of twelve nominations, breaking the record for the most Grammys won in a single year
  • The Smiths release The Smiths; I receive my first cassette (the Footloose soundtrack) for winning the St. Pat’s Grade School spelling bee

1985

  • Well, we got the following albums: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder; Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair; Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston (I just poured some out)

1986

  • Absolutely nothing of worth happened, although March 1986 saw Master of Puppets, Black Celebration, 5150, Please, and the single “Live to Tell”

1987

  • The first five Beatles albums are released on CD
  • Again, no good new albums, although March shone once more with The Joshua Tree, Among the Living, and Sign o’ the Times

1988

  • Jacko buys Neverland
  • Leonard Cohen releases I’m Your Man

1989

  • Um…well…David Coverdale weds Tawny Kitaen

1990

  • Billy Idol badly hurt in motorcycle accident, sees role in The Doors minimized
  • Shake Your Money Maker (sweet); Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em (ayyyiiiii)

1991

  • James Brown released from jail after high-speed, two-state car chase
  • Dinosaur Jr. releases Green Mind

Courtney, Dave, and Kurt1992

  • Vince Neil becomes a race car driver
  • Kurt Cobain marries what’sherface
  • Tori Amos releases Little Earthquakes; Pantera unleashes Vulgar Display of Power; “Bohemian Rhapsody” gets new life via Wayne’s World soundtrack

1993

  • Oprah interviews Jacko, we learn about his whitening disorder
  • 2Pac dares white people to buy his second album (Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.)
  • Radiohead puts out the album they’d probably rather forget
  • 311 releases Music
  • Duran Duran comes back with the VH1 crowd via “The Wedding Album”
  • Joey Lawrence puts out an album (whoa!)

1994

  • Shannon Hoon gets thrown out of the American Music Awards
  • Green Day drops Dookie; Pavement puts out Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

1995

  • Tommy Lee marries Pamela Anderson
  • Jewel launches her pre-poetry career by releasing an album

1996 (possibly the most eclectic data in this collection)

  • Former Milli Vanilli band member Rob Pilatus is hospitalized when a man hits him over the head with a baseball bat in Hollywood, while Pilatus is attempting to steal the man’s car
  • Take That split up!
  • Prince marries Mayte Garcia
  • Snoop beats a murder rap
  • 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me receives a middling review from some nerd in the Iowa State Daily

1997

  • Phish Food is born; Jacko’s first son is born;  the Spice Girls’ chart-topping career is born
  • Blur releases the album with the “Whoo-hoo!” song
  • Anal Cunt releases I Like It When You Die (sounds charming)

1998

  • Elton John knighted
  • Neutral Milk Hotel puts out that seriously overrated In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (it’s good, but c’mon…)

1999

  • Gov. Jesse Ventura declares “Rolling Stones Day” in Minnesota
  • Eminem drops Slim Shady LP; Roots go with Things Fall Apart

2000

  • Santana wins 8 Grammys
  • The Cure releases their last good album to date (Bloodflowers)
  • Smashing Pumpkins release that MACHINA piece of crap

2001

  • Manic Street Preachers play Cuba
  • Jack Johnson releases Brushfire Fairytales
  • Los Embarasados allegedly release Tem Graca por Nome on Feb. 30 (according to Wikipedia)

2002

  • U2 performs at the Super Bowl
  • Britney Spears puts out the Crossroads soundtrack; Norah Jones releases the inexplicably popular Come Away with Me

2003

  • Lana Clarkson found dead at Phil Spector’s pad; he’s eventually found guilty of second-degree murder. His wall of sound will have bars on the windows for 19 years
  • A fire at a Great White show kills 100, including one of the guitarists
  • 50 Cent talks about gettin’ rich or dyin’ tryin’

Janet's wardrobe malfunction2004

  • The wardrobe malfunction seen by millions
  • Billy Corgan blogs his feelings about D’Arcy (“mean-spirited drug addict”) and James Iha (Pumpkins’ breakup was his fault)
  • Kanye is a college dropout, according to his debut album’s title

2005

  • Blink-182 goes on hiatus; Korn guitarist quits after finding God
  • Bloc Party releases the excellent Silent Alarm

2006

  • One for the history books: White Lion bassist James Lorenzo joins Megadeth
  • Belle and Sebastian release another lame album (The Life Pursuit)

2007

  • Chris Cornell tells Audioslave he needs to be emancipated because of musical differences
  • Bloc Party spends A Weekend in the City; Explosions in the Sky release All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

2008

  • Beach House releases Devotion

2009

  • Bone Thugs n Harmony crashes MySpace by posting a new song
  • Pains of Being Pure at Heart release stellar debut; the brothers from the National curate Dark Was the Night; the Black Keys singer had enough time to put out a solo album

2010

  • “We Are the World” is remade for Haiti benefit
  • Joanna Newsom spends three discs enjoying the hell out of people (Have One on Me)

2011

  • Yuck drops Yuck; lots of disappointments (Bright Eyes, Radiohead, PJ Harvey)

As you can see, February 2012 is clearly the best February ever. It’s science. AND SLEIGH BELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Best Music of 2011: #6

Nostalgia, UltraTodd: Frank Ocean, Nostalgia, Ultra

The Odd Future member’s first solo effort. Got me listening to some hip hop for the first time in years. Here is “Swim Good” the song that made me stop and listen.

 

Street HaloChris: Burial, Street Halo

Yeah, it’s an EP, but when the three songs are worthy of inclusion in one’s top 20 songs of the year, it’s hard to deny it. Love the title track, but “NYC” is fast becoming my fave of the bunch. More music coming in 2012…