Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Favorite Music of 2011

So someone hasn't blogged much recently, huh? Anyways, there are plenty of reasons for that--namely that I just don't really want to--but I still feel compelled to share my favorite music of the past year with you all over the internet. I'm not gonna write fancy writings telling you why I like this music--just suffice it to say that I like all this stuff because it's good, in some way or another.

These lists were especially tough to compile because, while there weren't any songs or albums that jumped out as being "the best", there was a veritable buttload of really nice releases in 2011 that deserve mention on this here blog (and on other blogs and magazines and stuff). There's not really an overarching theme to the music--we're post-genre, aren't we?--and there wasn't an exact science in choosing what albums/songs went in which order. Mostly I just picked the things that I listened to the most and provided the most intellectual/fun/emotional fodder for me in 2011 (which is why it's not a coincidence that my number one song and album are by the same artist). So, anyways, after the jump you'll find my sixty favorite albums, ninety favorite songs, thirty favorite reissues/compilations, and fifteen favorite EPs of 2011. They all rule. Happy new year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Favorite Acts at ATP

So I went to ATP Asbury Park a.k.a. All Tomorrow's Parties a.k.a. I'll Be Your Mirror a.k.a. whatever on Saturday. It was unbelievable. Best festival I've attended. I don't want to write much on account of I'm currently taking a break from an Iliad essay I'm writing, and I don't want to start, you know, like, typing "Geoff Barrow" instead of "Achilleus"... Okay, so here were my favorite acts. (You'll notice I saw a ton of people; this is because ATP makes it easy to at least see, like, twenty minutes of almost everyone, which is awesome. (Also, I'd like to state that everyone I saw was good, so the rankings are a little arbitrary.))

1. Portishead (pictured above)
I mean, it was their first East Coast show since 1998--their mere presence was going to make this the best set of the day. But they also sounded really freakin' great: heavy, dark, soulful, and with plenty of turntable breaks and a truly goosebump-inducing rendering of "Wandering Star." Beth Gibbons sounded great and looked like she was having a ball of a time, which was pleasant to see. The fact that they curated the amazing lineup earns the band another handful of bonus points.

2. Swans
Unfortunately I had to cut out after an hour of Swans to get ready for, well, Portishead--but an hour of Swans is an hour well spent. This is assuming your definition of "well spent" involves getting blasted with a wall of distortion and chimes by a band that looks as ugly as it sounds (seriously, the band members all look like escaped convicts, Gira (wearing a cowboy hat) included). Truly, though, they just sound so damn good.

3. The Pop Group
I had kind of forgotten how much I love The Pop Group until about ten minutes before their set. And then I was like, "The band that made Y is about to play their first show in thirty years..." Play a show, they did. They were manic and angry and fun and LOUD. Mark Stewart is one of the most imposing--he's humongous!--and awesome frontmen I've seen, and the band was able to recreate the dub-punk-jazz sound they helped pioneer very well live.

4. Battles
Battles is only this low because I'd seen them before. Even without Ty Braxton, though (who was present last time I saw them), the band was absolutely incredible. They're able to be more precise than everyone while still being heavier than everyone (except, well, Swans). The energy emanating from a Battles show could power my computer, which, coincidentally is in dire need of power right now...

5. Colin Stetson
Like I said, my computer's running low on battery, and I need to write at least a little more of this essay--so I'll keep it short. Colin Stetson plays a mean saxophone, but what struck me about his show was it felt more like a Steve Reich thing than a Peter Brotzmann thing.

6. Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog
Ribot is one of the best guitarists I've ever seen live, and Shazad Ismaily is in his band--and that dude just rules.

I also saw Beak>, The Horrors, Silver-Qluster, and Ultramagnetic MC's--all of whom were quite good. Mazel Tov, Portishead and the creators of ATP. I'll be back next year.

Oh yeah! I also met Jim Jarmusch on the train ride there. Damn!

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Favorite Things (9/30)

Hello, all. So, Spotify is still really cool--but in somewhat accordance to the Slow Listening Movement, I've vowed to stop downloading so much until I've actually, you know, listened to everything. This means I've been doing a lot of listening. A lot of this lot of listening has been directed, though, at finding songs for my new radio show--that's right: my radio show (well, my and my friend's). It's called That Thing, and it's on WBAR from six to eight EST every Friday morning. (The shows'll be archived in case you don't feel like waking up...) Anyways, the show essentially just plays soul from the mid-50s to mid-70s. You should listen one time.

Betty Davis - "If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up"
Brian Eno - "Windows 95 Startup Sound (11 Minute Loop)"
David Bowie - Stage (Live, Boston 1978)
Disco Inferno - The 5 EPs
Hawkwind - Space Ritual

Ike & Tina Turner - "Funkier Than A Mosquita's Tweeter"
Iron Butterfly - "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"
The Last Poets - The Last Poets
The Meatmen - We're The Meatmen... And You Suck
Mikal Cronin - "Apathy"

Twin Sister - In Heaven
Ty Segall - "Finger"
Ultra Vivid Scene - "It Happens Every Time"
Van Dyke Parks - Discover America
Various - Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Favorite Things (9/18)

"Did she say there was other guys there? Did she say there was other guys there? Were there other guys there? Well, tell me this: how the fuck she know I was with them other girls then?"

I rediscovered R. Kelly's under-appreciated masterpiece, "Real Talk," this week--but my most important musical find is much more earth-shattering, believe it or not. It's Spotify. I got it a few days ago, and it's changed everything; all I have to do is click and drag to get all the free, legal music I want on my computer. It's overwhelming, but it's beautiful. Anyways, it's resulted in a lot of new Favorite Things for me, so this edition of My Favorite Things will include not fifteen, but thirty selections. Enjoy.

The Angels of Light - Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home
Curtis Mayfield - "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below, We're All Going To Go"
Cybotron - Clear
Dalek - From Filthy Tongues of Gods and Griots
Danny Brown - "Monopoly"

Deerhoof - "Goin' Up The Country (Live)"
Depeche Mode - Ultra
Don Cherry - "Brown Rice"
Essential Logic - Fanfare In The Garden
The Fire Show - Saint The Fire Show

Fire! with Jim O'Rourke - "Are You Both Still Unreleased?"
The Flirtations - "Nothing But A Heartache"
Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Henry Cow - "Guider Tells of Silent Airborne Machine"
Jackie Wilson - "Higher and Higher"

The Jesters - "Love No One But You"
Jocy de Oliveira - A Musica do Secolo
Kevin Drumm - Sheer Hellish Miasma
Lightnin' Rod - Hustlers Convention
Minutemen - Paranoid Time EP

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Tender Prey
R. Kelly - "Real Talk"
Slim Harpo - Raining In My Heart
Thee Oh Sees - Castlemania
Tom Ze - Estudando A Bossa

UGK - "Underground"
Vandermark 5 - "Further From The Truth (For Walker Evans)"
Willis Earl Beal - "Blue Escape"
The Wonders - "That Thing You Do!"
Youth Lagoon - "July"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Favorite Things (9/3)

I've been in college nearly a week at this point, and while I have plenty of time to listen to music, I don't have plenty of time to acquire new music. So my favorite things of the past fortnight or so are things we've all heard before--but that doesn't mean they're not good. Anyways, these are them. (I don't feel like including YouTube links anymore...)

Alice Coltrane - Journey In Satchidananda
Alvarius B. - Baroque Primitiva
Amen Dunes - Through Donkey Jaw
Balam Acab - "Oh, Why"
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go

Crass - Stations Of The Crass
Curtis Mayfield - "Pusherman"
Cut Hands - Afro Noise 1
Eagles of Death Metal - "San Berdoo Sunburn"
Expo '70 - "Close Your Eyes And Effortlessly Drift Away"

George Harrison - "Isn't It A Pity"
Laurel Halo - Hour Logic
Prurient - "Palm Tree Corpse"
Terius Nash - "Wake Me When It's Over"
Sun Araw - Ancient Romans

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Favorite Things (8/20)

I haven't been blogging. That's okay; there's more to life. But I still like music, don't you worry--and this, listed below, is the music I've liked most recently. Some of it has just come out, some of it is old but I'm hearing it for the first time, and some of it is music I've liked in the past and am now revisiting. It's just fifteen pieces of good stuff.

Perhaps this is a feature that will pop up with some frequency on Il Buono, but I don't want to make any promises, because broken promises are disappointing, and I don't want to disappoint my legions of faithful readers... Anyways, here's some great music (listed in alphabetical order).

Autechre - Tri Repetae
Bobby Beausoleil & The Freedom Orchestra - Lucifer Rising OST
Chet Baker - Chet Baker Sings

Eternal Tapestry & Sun Araw - Night Gallery
The Germs - G.I.
Lightning Bolt - Hypermagic Mountain

Missy Elliott - "Work It"
Ricky Nelson - "Fools Rush In"
Rip Rig & Panic - God
White Mystery - "Overwhelmed"

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Favorite Acts at Lollapalooza 2011

The picture above is of Sebastien Grainger, bleached out drummer of Death From Above 1979--but more on that later...

Low expectations going into this year's Lolla; there just weren't many good artists playing. I'd like to say that my expectations were wrong, but--and I think you know where this going--they weren't. I made through all of Friday without seeing a great performance. Saturday and Sunday were better, but only in spurts. In a festival increasingly smitten with its own corporate ego (and humongous DJ tent), great live music has seem to fall a little by the wayside.

Yes, Lollapalooza as a festival has grown to be somewhat miserable. Between the giant logos above the stages, the bro-tastic (a.k.a. nauseating) football-field-sized Perry's tent, the near-unwalkable length of the park (I'm lazy...), and the crowd, which has far too high a contingency of lax bros and broettes, as well as people who've actually been tricked into thinking that Eminem is the greatest rapper ever. The only things that tend to make all this stuff tolerable are the food (Bonsoiree, Kuma's, Franks n Dawgs, etc.), the presence of my friends, and the presence of (usually) several truly great musical performances.

Well, as I've already mentioned, that last part--the musical aspect--was in shorter supply than ever this year, and, as a result, I'm only listing my six favorite acts of the festival whereas I usually do my top twelve. (Granted, there were some people I missed that I probably would've liked due to scheduling conflict or just oversight--and those regrets will also be listed below.) Anyways, these six shows were indeed quite good and helped mix up the monotony of lugging myself across the park to see forgettable indie bands and, uh, Cee Lo Green (terrible). They helped make 2011's Lollapalooza, as much a clusterfuck as it was (on several levels), actually a very fun weekend. Yes: fun.

But, alas, it wasn't the music, really, that made Lolla so enjoyable. Spending a weekend in Grant Park with all your friends is an undeniable recipe for happiness. While walking past Buckingham Fountain on Friday, my friend and I noticed that we hadn't seen any good music--but look at that freakin' skyline and this freakin' fountain and who we're with--how could you not be having an amazing time? This was a sentiment we spoke aloud, and a man walking next to us chimed in with fervent agreement. Look past the corporate vomit and you realize that there is no other place you'd rather be on a weekend in August.

And, before we count down the music, an anecdote: Sunday at around 5:30, it began to pour. Yes, excessive rain when there's no shelter may be looked upon as a bad thing (and it certainly was for both my phone and my newly-autographed Titus Andronicus LP), but a few of my buddies and I chose to soak (ha! pun) it in. We took off our shirts and shoes, climbed to the top of a small hill near the stage where Explosions In The Sky were set to play in about an hour, and began to slide down the hill--feet first, head first, somersaulting, rolling, etc. Before we knew it, an army of shirtless men (and some shirted women) followed suit. At least fifty people were talking advantage of this wet, grassy hill. A group of (intoxicated) guys rounded up the festival's trash cans and stacked them like vertical bowling pins as the group of hill sliders crashed into them and knocked them down. It was very communal, very in the spirit of what a music festival should offer. (Because we weren't dirty enough, my friend and I then proceeded to dance around in straight-up mud for a bit.) And then came the music--Explosions In The Sky--and it was beautiful, even if I'm not really a fan.

Anyhow, now it's time to actually look at the six best acts of the fest, and everybody knows what number one is...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Favorite Paul McCartney Songs

I saw Paul McCartney perform at Wrigley Field on Monday, and it was amazing. Now, I'm a sucker for reunion/old-person rock concerts (largely because I mostly listen to old music), but McCartney's show was even better than most. The man brought it for nearly three hours without stopping. His voice sounded good, the band sounded good, and, though the sound was a little muddy as it rang through Wrigley Field at the beginning, the best ballpark in the world turned out to be a pretty solid music venue.

Granted, it's a little easier to put on a good show when you're working with the material McCartney was. Few people can play a three hour set during which everyone in the crowd knows just about every word to every song. Sir Paul's catalogue is completely stacked--from his dozens of Beatles hits to handful of actually-good solo/Wings/Fireman tunes--and he showed that off in fine form (and with fireworks!). Post-show adrenaline forced me to prove how stacked his catalogue really is by compiling a list of my forty-five favorite Macca-penned songs.

Yes, all forty-five of the songs below are Beatles songs. McCartney's solo career has definitely had some high points, and I know and enjoy several of his hits--"Live and Let Die," "Jet," "Band On The Run," "Wonderful Christmastime," some others--but I don't have even close to as good a connection with any of his post-Beatles output as I do with this batch of Fab Four tracks.

Each of these songs was solely or primarily written by McCartney--and just about every one also features him on vocals. I think you'll notice as you look (and hopefully listen) to the songs listed below that McCartney not only wrote many of The Beatles' best songs, but he also has a very musicaly diverse canon. Many people think Lennon was the creative one, the visionary--but these songs (and many, many others) help illustrate McCartney's dedication to pushing the boundaries of pop music. That said, no matter how somber or druggy or psychedelic, there's a sweetness that runs through each song, a sincere quality that only McCartney really possessed among Beatles--and, really, a strength unique to him among almost all songwriters ever.

Many people think John to be by far the better songwriter of the two. I agree that he's better--his superior solo output and "Tomorrow Never Knows" prove that case--but not by far. Not at all. He and Paul wrote such amazing stuff--and evolved so much--because they were more or less equals, the two best songwriters in the world, each trying to figure out how to top the other. There's really no need to compare (everyone knows George is the best anyways). Just listen to these songs. Bask in the glow of (possibly) the greatest living pop songwriter--and, if possible, see him on his next tour.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Favorite Acts at the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival

I switched from brown line to pink again this year--my fifth year, I believe--to get to Union Park for Pitchfork's annual music festival. The festival, as always, was plenty o' fun and had a better vibe, less crowds, and, of course, better music than a certain other, much larger festival held in Chicago. Granted, the rise in corporate sponsorship at Pitchfork was a little disappointing, as was the heat on Sunday, but neither of those things can truly put a damper on seeing some of modern music's greatest acts back to back to back to back.

The lineup this year was overwhelming; there were too many people I wanted to see. As a result I was moving around a lot, catching half a set here, a song or two there. Because of this, in my rundown below, any set that I saw and paid close attention to for over half the time is eligible to be listed. Anyhow, have a look at my twelve favorite acts this year, listed in order. While some acts certainly disappointed, I think these folks below really brought it and made Pitchfork once again the best weekend of the month--and probably the summer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

It's the fourth of July! America! Patriotism! Fireworks! Barbecues! The Au Pairs! The Germs! This Heat! ... Okay, so those last three exclamations may not be as universally tied to today's holiday; I think most patriots will be listening more to Toby Keith et. al. at their cookouts this afternoon. But not Il Buono! I've put together a nice little playlist--long enough to cover a barbecue, short enough to allow you to go see Cave tonight at Millenium Park--to help get us all in that ra-ra-go-America-fuck-the-British mood. Each of the songs has something 4th-of-July-related in its title, although very few, as far as I understand, are actually in support of this country or about American independence. But that's okay because they're great songs... Enough blabbering, here's the list. Go out and support your country.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 Mid-Year Report

Hey. How are you? I'm good. I graduated a couple weeks ago, and then I went to Italy, and now I'm home and catching up on all the music I've missed; unfortunately, people do in fact release good music while you're on vacation. Go figure. Anyhow, seeing as it's currently June 25 in the Central time zone, which in my estimation is right around the middle of the year, I thought I'd publish a semi-brief mid-year report recounting my favorite albums, tracks, and other stuff of 2011 so far--and also say what I'm looking forward to for the rest of the year. Below you'll find twenty albums; forty songs; four EPs, reissues, and "other"s; and assorted other musical, er, things. Everything is listed in alphabetical order. So, without further ado, here is the best music of the first half of 2011--or at least what I think the best music is...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Post Without Substance

I just didn't want to not post anything at all in May. And while this post is hardly more--perhaps less, actually--worthwhile than a completely blank post, I thought I'd write something even if it was truly without substance. So, here is a substance-less post for now. Hopefully I'll hit you with some substance this summer. Album/Song of The Month have been updated and are, as always, on your right. I may not be writing as much lately, but music is still cool, f.y.i.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Revisiting My Favorite Albums of The 2000s

Notice there's no parenthetical "again" following the titular decade. This is because, drumroll please*, I have not yet before revisited my Favorite Albums of The 2000s list. When I published it at the close of 2009 (and the 2000s as a whole), that was the first and only publishing. But, oh, how the times have changed. In the roughly sixteen and a half months since I released that list, I've heard many new albums--new as in I hadn't heard them before, not as in they recently came out--and reflected more on the old ones. As such, I have a new list. (Granted, one that's pretty similar to the old one...)

As I said many times in several different ways when I initially counted down my favorite albums of this past decade, I have a special attachment to the '00s. I have such an attachment on account of it's the only decade I've lived all the way through, and, as much as I love to wax nostalgic about the '90s, it's the decade during which I truly grew up and began to appreciate the music on this list and every other published on this blog. So, while I may tell myself that the music of the past is "better" music (and perhaps I'm right), there's something about this music, on these albums, that makes them far more enjoyable, identifiable, and meaningful than even the best records from the '70s. I heard many of these when they first came out. I read the reviews. I went to the store. I bought the CD (or record or mp3). And if I didn't hear them within weeks or even days of their release, I heard them maybe a year or two later. This is the music of my generation. Animal Collective is our Beatles, and TV On The Radio our Rolling Stones. (Don't hold me accountable for those analogies; I'm just trying to make a point...)

And so here is the list: 204 albums, all released from 2000 to 2009, presented in a fully overwhelming/overwrought bulk of text. Enjoy.

Record Store Day!

So yesterday was, of course, Record Store Day. To celebrate, I visited five or six of my favorite local independent record stores (plus a super awesome Numero Group-sponsored pop-up store) and, well, bought records. This post serves several purposes: 1) to inform you all of the Record Store Day's wonderfulness, 2) to list the new music I acquired that you may want to acquire too, 3) to tell you about some of Chicago's finer establishments, and 4) to let me share a great moment in my life. And thus, the saga of my 2011 Record Store Day begins...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Revisiting My Favorite Albums of The 1960s (Again)

So one year ago tomorrow, if you recall, I published this. In case you don't recall and don't feel like reading that (which would be perfectly understandable; it's very longwinded) I'll give you the highlights. Basically it said that my tastes in music change and I also hear new stuff all the time blah blah blah I'm republishing my Best Albums of Decades albums list! Yeah!

This time around, though, I'll spare you the color-coordinating and whatnot--and by spare you, I mean spare myself; that took me a long time. I also don't think I'll be writing too many (or any) explanations. The albums can speak for themselves, and, to be honest, I don't think the lists have changed too much. The major difference is that I'm including 102 albums instead of 90. So there.

Everyone knows the music of the '60s. Even if you weren't actually there, experiencing the music firsthand like James Murphy was, you're very familiar with the various strands of rock and pop and soul and jazz that were really created in the '60s and have since gone on to influence the music of every succeeding decade. Though there was certainly interesting music before the 1960s, there was a sort of synthesis of innumerable great concepts and ideas that were put into play during this particular decade. And, of course, this is the decade in which the album really became important. Prior to the '60s, albums tended to just be catalysts for singles. When the notion of the album as an art form was established in the early to mid-60s, music--especially rock n' roll--was changed for the better forever.

You'll notice different types of music on this list than on, say, the 1980s one. No hip-hop on account of it didn't exist yet. There's a lot more jazz on account of the '60s were the best decade ever for jazz. There are a lot of Beatles album on account of they're the greatest and most influential band probably ever. As such, though, this is a tricky list to put together. How does one compare the music of Peter Brotzmann and that of The Rolling Stones? They're both musicians like apples and oranges are both fruits, which is to say they're of the same family (or, perhaps, genus) but certainly not the same species. Well, I compared them anyways, and, spoiler alert, in this particular instance, The Stones came out ahead with Satanic Majesties. (Sorry for the clauses in that last sentence...) Anyways, enough talk. Here's the list.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Revisiting My Favorite Albums of The 1970s (Again)

So one year ago tomorrow, if you recall, I published this. In case you don't recall and don't feel like reading that (which would be perfectly understandable; it's very longwinded) I'll give you the highlights. Basically it said that my tastes in music change and I also hear new stuff all the time blah blah blah I'm republishing my Best Albums of Decades albums list! Yeah!

This time around, though, I'll spare you the color-coordinating and whatnot--and by spare you, I mean spare myself; that took me a long time. I also don't think I'll be writing too many (or any) explanations. The albums can speak for themselves, and, to be honest, I don't think the lists have changed too much. The major difference is that I'm including 102 albums instead of 90. So there.

The 1970s: what a decade! Seriously though, as cringe-inducing as most mainstream '70s culture was, its counterculture was unparalleled. What the brilliant music of the '60s had touched on (psych, free jazz, proto-punk) was fleshed out and explored fully in the '70s by artists of all races all over the world. There was a backlash to the Age of Aquarius, and it manifested itself in some pretty crazy music--seemingly beginning as soon as the calendar switched over to 1970. Step back and think about how violent, aggressive, and, most of all, unprecedented The Stooges' debut was. That was released in 1969. By 1970, they released Fun House, which was doubly as violent, aggressive, and unprecedented. Sly & The Family Stone, who broke ground in terms of integration--both racial and musical--in the late '60s, gave us the dark, free There's A Riot Goin' On by 1971. Just two years removed from the happy hippy days of the '60s. Fast forward to the second half of the decade: This Heat, Wire, The Pop Group, Suicide, Throbbing Gristle... You get my drift? "Tomorrow Never Knows" has nothing on the manic-ness and disturbed angst of the music of the late '70s. This is serious stuff. And seriously good. Punk, post-punk, new wave--not to mention krautrock, deep funk, electronic, and, er, Nick Drake. The 1970s are modern music. Enjoy the albums.

Revisiting My Favorite Albums of The 1980s (Again)

So one year ago tomorrow, if you recall, I published this. In case you don't recall and don't feel like reading that (which would be perfectly understandable; it's very longwinded) I'll give you the highlights. Basically it said that my tastes in music change and I also hear new stuff all the time blah blah blah I'm republishing my Best Albums of Decades albums list! Yeah!

This time around, though, I'll spare you the color-coordinating and whatnot--and by spare you, I mean spare myself; that took me a long time. I also don't think I'll be writing too many (or any) explanations. The albums can speak for themselves, and, to be honest, I don't think the lists have changed too much. The major difference is that I'm including 102 albums instead of 90. So there.

So this post will count down my 102 favorite longplayers from the 1980s. Though I didn't get to witness the '80s firsthand, I've watched enough VH1 and John Hughes movies to get the gist of the decade. Bright colors, Molly Ringwald, et cetera. I've also sampled a lot of the decade's music, from its love-it-and-hate-it-simultaneously cheese pop to its early hip hop to its more darker bits of post-punk, new wave, and proto-indie rock. That last category--"post-punk, new wave, and proto-indie rock"--is arguably my single favorite musical subgenre ever (assuming it's considered a subgenre; it's pretty nondescript, after all). Which makes '80s music really excellent. I don't have much else to add--just read through the list, I guess. Happy April.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Revisiting My Favorite Albums of The 1990s (Again)

So one year ago tomorrow, if you recall, I published this. In case you don't recall and don't feel like reading that (which would be perfectly understandable; it's very longwinded) I'll give you the highlights. Basically it said that my tastes in music change and I also hear new stuff all the time blah blah blah I'm republishing my Best Albums of Decades albums list! Yeah!

This time around, though, I'll spare you the color-coordinating and whatnot--and by spare you, I mean spare myself; that took me a long time. I also don't think I'll be writing too many (or any) explanations. The albums can speak for themselves, and, to be honest, I don't think the lists have changed too much. The major difference is that I'm including 102 albums instead of 90. So there.

This specific post is, as you can glean from its title, about the 1990s. The 1990s were this weird decade that happened a long time ago but because the people who were young during it are now young adults who produce the indie movies and write the blogs that we all watch and read, we are inundated with references to it, whether that means flannel shirts, shoegaze, Pete & Pete, etc. The thing is, I am sort of one of these people. I'm a little on the young side--I only saw Pete & Pete in syndication--but I definitely identify with the culture of the '90s. As such, the music of the '90s is some of my favorite. I love trip-hop. I love shoegaze. I love acid house. I love post-rock. I love Nirvana. So here goes: my favorite albums of the 1990s. Again. (A sidenote: in the spirit of the '90s I'm going to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor tonight at The Vic. Woo-hoo!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Favorite English Songs

Hey, everybody! Long-time-no-impersonal-interaction-over-the-internet! How've you been? I've been pretty good--except I'm gonna be better than pretty good next week, on account of I'm going to the United Kingdom! I'm leaving for London on Saturday, and I'll be spending the following eight days in London (seeing art, being a tourist, buying stuff) and Abergavenny, Wales (farming, hiking, birthing lambs). Neat-o!

Anyways, to get me hyped up, I decided to make a super-awesome playlist with my favorite English songs--English as in from England, not as in songs that are sung in English. When I set out to make the list, I was just going to do a hundred songs, but it quickly got out of hand and became 450. Oops. Whatever.

England (and the U.K. in general) is one of the two most relevant countries in the short-lived history of modern music. (The other is America, of course.) For whatever reason, the blokes across the pond have, for the past fifty or so years, made some of the best and most influential rock, pop, dance, experimental, etc. From British Invasion rock n' roll to psychedelic to punk to post-punk to new wave to shoegaze to acid house to trip-hop, English music has shaped the cultural landscape--dare I say--even more so than American music. (Because I'll also be in Wales, I tossed in a couple Welsh bands: Young Marble Giants, etc.)

So the playlist is just that: a playlist. It's in alphabetical order by artist and, rather than painstakingly type each song below, I've copied my iTunes into the blog. (It's amazing what the computer can do...) The songs aren't necessarily exactly my 450 favorite songs; that list would have about a hundred Beatles tunes. I tried to also give a good picture of what British music is as whole--where it was, where it's going. Enjoy, and next time I see you I'll probably be wearing tweed and have bad teeth.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Song of The Day #199

"La Luna" by Holger Czukay

I don't think this is related to Soon Over Babaluma's awesome "Come Sta, La Luna," but it's still, well, awesome. Comprised of forty-five minutes of pulsating, unusually ominous Kosmische drone, "La Luna" sounds especially relevant as acts like Emeralds, Expo 70, and Oneohtrix Point Never continue to trace from the template Czukay and his contemporaries constructed over thirty years ago. (Obviously the YouTube link is not the whole song. Not even close. But it'll give you a good idea.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Song of The Day #198

"Across The Great Divide" by The Band

Starts beautiful, turns endlessly catchy. Just a rollickin', knee slappin' good pop song from Canada's premier southern United States band. Or rather, Band.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Grammys, Il Buono Style

(In a perfect world, this post would have been published before last night's Grammys, but, well, this isn't a perfect world I guess. Bummer.)

The Grammys are music's biggest honor. Unfortunately, they're 99% irrelevant and anyone who truly values music does not take them seriously. Except me; I love the Grammys. Granted, I love all awards shows, but I especially dig the Grammys because, well, they're about music. And I like music.

All that said, I know that the Grammys largely suck (for lack of a better word). The music performed and nominated is, nearly without fail, terrible. Rather than a celebration of creativity, the Grammys are a celebration of corporations. But that's okay. Right? Right. Last night's show, though, managed to be a little more worth-watching than past years'. What with Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year and Janelle Monae stealing the show in front of millions and Mick Jagger not dying... It was a comparatively entertaining and relevant telecast. Sure we had to sit through Lady Antebellum winning an armful of awards and Barbra Streisand doing whatever Barbra Streisand was doing, but it was all worth it. I think. Yay Grammys.

Enough waxing pathetic about the Grammys; let's get down to business. As I said before, "The music performed and nominated is, nearly without fail, terrible." (Yes, I just quoted myself exactly.) So I decided, because I have a large music library and plenty of spare time, to make my own version of the Grammys--you know, nominees and winners for most of the major categories. So much good music from the past year was snubbed, and I thought it would be nice to give it some recognition. (Keep in mind: the cutoff dates for the Grammys are basically 11/09 and 11/10. That means, sadly, that My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, among some other things, is ineligible. (Some of the prereleased singles, though, are eligible. I think.))

I leave out some categories, and I combine some categories. Unfortunately, even in my version, lots of great music is excluded. Oh well... I chose the nominees based on what I think fit the category and also what I think deserved recognition. I chose the winners based on both which I genuinely liked most and which I thought would make a nice acceptance speech. Those are in italics. Without further ado...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Song of The Day #197

"Manic Depression" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Trying to continue the push towards SOTD 200. Trying to post more frequently. Happy SAG Awards.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Song of The Day #196

"It's Your Thing" by Cold Grits

Alas, second-semester-seniordom has rendered me so lazy I don't even have the will to take three minutes to craft Il Buono's Song of The Day posts. But, as of today, January 24, I will try to keep up the blog a little better. Today's SOTD is "It's Your Thing," which is an organ-driven, more or less instrumental (there's some unintelligible humming and mumbling) funk jam from Cold Grits, may sound familiar seeing as it's sampled on Kanye West's "POWER." Great sample notwithstanding, though, "It's Your Thing" is a great song, fraught with wah and grease like any good funk tune from a band with "grits" in their name should be.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Song of The Day #195

"Maria Callas" by Christian Marclay

The only thing more beautiful than a recording of Maria Callas's voice is several recordings of her voice played at the same time in warped speeds on records that are broken and stapled together and stuff. Right? Well, sort of. Christian Marclay does just that--the many recordings I mean--and creates, with Ms. Callas's voice, a very bizarre but nonetheless beautiful track.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Song of The Day #194

...and we're back! After a much needed vacation (yes, even bloggers who write blogs that are high on brevity and low on readers need vacations), Il Buono should be pumpin' out Songs of The Day at a, well, daily rate as usual. Today's song isn't necessarily a song--a piece perhaps, or an aural story. Whatever you call it, it's awesome. "The Dead Flag Blues" was the first I ever heard from GY!BE, and it struck me like few other pieces of music ever had. (That I was alone in a dark basement when I was fourteen blaring it at a deafening volume may have had something to do with it...) Regardless of circumstance, "The Dead Flag Blues" was, and still is, so affecting less because of the story it tells--a horrifying story narrated by an Anton Chigurh soundalike--and more because the swirling, spiritual cacophony that envelops the narration pulls the listener (a.k.a. you) into the story. You're trapped. When that train comes, you feel like you're standing on the platform, you know?