Great New Albums for November 2014

All of the top songs and albums posts for 2014 are descending upon us.  And guess what, most of them are crap.  Check out the top Rock Artists of 2014 according to Billboard.  Granted, there are some great rock acts on this list, but in what universe is Lorde considered rock?  And how in the living hell did she top acts like Foo Fighters, Jack White, and Arctic Monkeys?  Also, why am I surprised?  A mainstream list like what Billboard provides is never going to satisfy me.  So on I march making my own lists.  Here are some listen-worthy albums from November.  Stay tuned for my obligatory 2014 lists coming soon.

Dels- Petals Have Fallen

New rap that I like?  It does exist!  This English born rapper, graphic designer, and filmmaker creates music that harkens back to raps heyday.  If you’re a fan of Jurassic 5, The Roots, or Mos Def, give him a listen.  With connections to acts like Hot Chip, you can’t go wrong.

 

Also check out:  RGB,  Shapeshift (earlier album)

 

Ormonde- Cartographer/Explorer

Like St. Vincent?  Fan of Indie Folk and Pop?  This is your album for November.  This isn’t get out of your seat and dance music, but if you’re looking for a soundtrack to chill, they have your number.

Also check out:  A Grande Design, Lemon Incest (earlier album)

 

Circa Survive- Descensus

Heavy at one moment and melodic at others, Circa Survive has a sound all their own.  My attraction to the band lies cleanly in the vocals of Anthony Green.  Dig his high pitched, odd voice.

Also check out:  Schema

 

Foo Fighters- Sonic Highways

Really I didn’t even need any other albums on the list for November.  Because, let’s be honest, I listened to this one like it was my job.  Perfection.  The only complaint I have is it’s only 8 songs.  That’s almost an EP!  I love the story behind the album and the docu-series of the same name on HBO was fantastic.  A must listen and a must watch if you’re a fan of music history and well, music in general.

Also check out:  Something From Nothing, Subterranean, and In the Clear…damn, just listen to the entire album.

 

Happy listening!

new music

Running: An Exploration of Ego and Musical Landscapes

I’ve always enjoyed running.  I can’t really go so far as to say I love it.  It’s more realistic to call it a love/hate relationship.  Some of the reasons it’s pleasurable are also the reasons it can be miserable.  You never win at it really.  You can always go farther.  Or faster.  But it’s reliable.  It’s that friend who meets you every morning with an encouraging gesture and a boost to your ego only to kick you to the curb in 45 minutes when she’s had her fill of your company.  It’s hard more times than it’s easy, but yet I keep coming back.  Because every once in a while you have a day where you do win.  You set a challenge for yourself and then kill it.  And it’s enjoyable and almost, dare I say it, fun.  Today was one of those days.  Maybe it was a good night of sleep or maybe it was the fact that my playlist just kicked ass, but I had a great run.  I launched head on into my day ready to conquer the entire world.

So I thought I’d share my playlist for today.  Because running aside and second only to my husband and dog,  is my love for music (if you’re not a consistent reader of this blog).  Anything good is made great with a soundtrack.  Life needs it and running, at least for me anyway, damn near requires it.    Maybe you can tie up your sneaks and take it for a test drive; universe willing, you too will have an awesome run.

*Small disclaimer, some days I run to a created playlist I’ve painstakingly curated, but mostly I hit shuffle and go where the musical road may lead.  Today was a shuffle kinda day and as you’ll soon see (again, if you’re not a consistent reader of this blog), my musical tastes are all over the highway.

The Cult- Coming Down (1994)

Origene- Sanctuary (2003)

Metallica-  For Whom the Bell Tolls  (1984)

The Limousines- Undercover  (2013)

Ted Nugent-  Motor City Madhouse (1975)

Foo Fighters-  Dear Lover (1997)

Nirvana- Downer (1989)

Full Service- Greetings (2013)

Band of Skulls-  Wanderluster (2012)

Joe Jackson-  Breaking Us in Two (1982)

Dropkick Murphys-  I’m Shipping Up to Boston (2005)

Perry Farrell-  100 Ways (1996)

Goldfinger-  My Girlfriend’s Shower (1996)

Dirty Projectors-  Two Doves (2009)

The Inmates-  Dirty Water (1979)

Cypress Hill-  How I Could Just Kill a Man (1991)

Leftfield-  A Final Hit (2005)

The Four Tops-  I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) (1965)

Douglas Armour-  The Whole World (2008)

The White Stripes-  Hotel Yorba (2001)

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Happy trails and tunes!  Let me know how your run went.

Stay positive and love your life.

-Melissa

Grammy Schmammy: Why This is My First Watch in Over a Decade

The Grammy’s.  You can generally just chalk this night up as one where I’ll be watching something on the DVR.  Seriously, I haven’t watched in, well I don’t remember the last time I watched.  But this year is different.  This year there is a carrot being precarisly dangled in front of my face saying “watch Melissa, magic will happen”.  What is this carrot?  This:

140121-grammys-grohl-qotsa-nin-buckingham

In case you are rock challenged, from left to right that’s:  Josh Homme, Trent Reznor, Lindsey Buckingham, and Dave Grohl.  I’m so damn amped up about this finale that I will be watching the entire Grammy’s this year, minute by miserable minute.

Well, that AND!!!! Queens of the Stone Age are up for two awards this year:  Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album.

All of my excitement over what boils down to several minutes of this several hour long mess got me thinking, “why the Grammy hate Melissa?”  Hmmm, I love music.  I love music a lot.  I love music more than 98% of things in life.  So why wouldn’t I watch music’s biggest award show of the year?  Because they get it wrong so often.  Don’t believe me?

Exhibit A:  Best New Artist

Holy kiss of death.  Go google the winners of this category.  See if it doesn’t yield a lot of who and WTF moments.  How many of these names went on to success?  Want to feel a little more confused?  Look at the nominees.  Oh, shit, that’s how that guy won.

Arrested Development

1993 yielded this list.  All of the music being made and this is what it boiled down to.  Arrested Development is cool.  Their ONE album was great (yes, I know they actually made more albums).  Thank god they took home the Grammy otherwise my heart might have achy breaked right in two.

Remember this year:

Vacated[III]

That was 1990 when the Grammy went to a group that didn’t even sing.  And it wouldn’t be the last time it almost happened:

Christina Aguilera

Brit-brit and here dying goat paired with pissed cat whinings almost won in 2000.  Xtina is still around.  Kid Rock’s gone country.  Susan?  Macy Gray….well there was that one song.

Point is:  for every Beatles (1965) there are (at least) two duds like Starland Vocal Band (1977) and a Marc Cohn (1992).

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Look at these sparkly new artists.

Exhibit B:  Album of the Year

There are some shining beacons of taste and excellence on this list, Rumors; Thriller; Joshua Tree, and then there’s:

1981 Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross

On what planet does Christopher Cross beat Pink Floyd?  I mean, I’m guilty; I love me some Sailing, but let’s get real here.  A Grammy for BEST album?

1997 Celine Dion
Falling into You

I’m gonna throw up.

Let’s move on.

Exhibit C: 

It all boils down to this one, dear readers.  As a 90s teen, I know, deep down in my bones, that the 90s were at least a little about rock.  Right?  Mixed in with the Color Me Bads (nominated for Best New Artist!) there were some minor bands that were well below the radar: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden et al.  You know, because grunge and rock weren’t 90s at all.

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In the 80s and 90s popular music had changed so much that new categories had to be invented:  Best Alternative Album (1991) and Best Rock Album (1995).  I guess the Grammy’s thought, shit, if we’re going to plug along awarding folks like Milli Vanilli, I guess we need to find some way to appease the people who listen to actual music.  And that’s where my rock friends have been hiding in their jeans and tees for years.  Those winners I can surely agree with…right?

1995 The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge

oaifjahgao;pehaqoewt!!!! 1995 and the best rock album went to The Rolling Stones?  For real….it did!  I get they’re rock royalty, but a win, in 95?  No effin way.

1999 Sheryl Crow The Globe Sessions

Dammit man.  That just hurts.  These were the best rock albums of 1999?

The only positive I can really give is that Dave Grohl and his Fighters of the Foo have taken home many a Grammy.  So sometimes they do get it right.  But he’s not the only deserving musician out there making rock.  What gives?

I just can’t figure out what the Grammy’s is based on.  It’s not album sales (though I suspect that has some pull) and it’s not critical acclaim (at least not reliably).  So what is the algorithm?  Quick Google search and…Oh, there’s a “committee”.  Nominations come from the record companies and the public through online submissions.  Weird, I’ve never heard of vote solicitation, so who is voting/nominating?  If it’s the same public watching and bringing us American Idol winners it’s all starting to make sense.  I need to start some sort of change.org project to get my rock loving brothers and sisters to stuff the nomination boxes.

Get it right this year Grammy’s, just a hint.

2014

Bowie, Young, Sabbath, and Zeppelin = music gods.  But this year belongs to QOTSA.

You know, maybe I don’t even want them to win a Grammy because most of my faves are not held to a Grammy standard.  They’re held to something much, much more important, my standards. But then again, I did own a Chumbawamba album.  So……

 

Just kidding!  Give them a damn Grammy!

Who are your favorite nominees this year?

Stay posititive & love your life!

-Melissa

Today:

Listening to: The Milk Carton Kids – Michigan

Oh I totally forgot another major reason to watch this year!  This guy is presenting:

Jared-Leto-Girlfriend