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Friday, December 25, 2009

The Best 50 Albums of 2009

This year, I have written monthly editions (except for a few months I missed) of my music reviews.  Those reviews contain more detailed descriptions of the albums and many included mp3 downloads.  To read them in more detail, see the Best Albums of 2009 monthly editions.

50. Dark was the Night (Red Hot Compilation) 
49. Drew Danburry – Geraniums [EP] 
48. Blue Scholars - OOF! [EP]

 For our top album, I am actually pairing up both of J. Tillman's LP's that he released this year.  They are VERY different, but I really think they are best digested when taken in tandem.

1.  J. Tillman - Year in the Kingdom + J. Tillman - Vacilando Territory Blues

Song du Jour Nr. 027

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
[download mp3]


Joshua James


Fields and Floods EP

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Song du Jour Nr. 022

More info on Jonsi's (Sigur Ros) solo LP "Go"

the making of “go”

jónsi gets a helping hand in the studio
jónsi’s official site has been updated with the weekly batch of “making of” photos, a video clip from the album’s mixing, and a quick peek into the upcoming tour’s visual inspiration. you can also follow the latest updates on jónsi’s twitter (most recently tweeting about album artwork & his grandmother).

here is what longtime friend and manager john best had to say about jónsi’s solo album and how it came to be:

for years – i mean literally since i’ve known him (10 years now) – jonsi has been beavering away in his kitchen, bedroom or living room making music extra-curricular to sigur ros. to be honest we’d kind of gotten used to these being drawing board propositions only – the ambient album, the electronic album, the pop album, the acoustic album, etc. it’s not that we didn’t doubt his work ethic; these things certainly existed, it’s just that they seemed more conceptual than real; creation to sate jonsi’s enormous energy rather than anything we’d ever have to put on a release schedule. but then last year he went and finished ‘riceboy sleeps’, an album that had existed as a soundtrack to his and alex somer’s artwork far in advance of being an actual record. and then he started on about the *acoustic* album and bounced straight off the back of ‘med sud i eyrum…’ into the studio (alright, apartment) with icelander-by-proxy nico muhly.

it seemed apparent to us that it would be missing a trick to limit a bona fide jonsi solo album to being a small scale acoustic project, so some subtle cajoling and encouragement to reach beyond his comfort zone was the order of the day. we shot the breeze about producers and peter katis’s name came up off the back of his work with fanfarlo and the national. jonsi weighed in with drummer samuli from mum, who he’d heard playing with alex in nordic art supergroup kira kira. suddenly the *acoustic* record wasn’t looking so acoustic after all. from then on it’s been a slow and ineluctable slide towards the full-on, barely contained, glorious mayhem soon to be available on ‘go’.

everything about this record has a seat of the pants feel about it, its wildly shifted focus, the way nothing (including the album itself) had a title til about an hour before the news hit the blogs; the fact that as i type i still have no idea what is going to be on the cover; or that, even though jonsi is currently on a plane to new york to master the record we’ve no clear idea of what order the songs are going to appear in, or even, in some cases, which versions of songs are going to be used. it’s edge of the seat, it’s exciting, it’s infectious. i think we are beginning to sense that maybe jonsi has created something super special here. more than that in fact, i think he has created something really special here. i’m not sure i’ve felt this excited about a project since the time i first heard agaetis byrjun, right back in 1999. holy fuck. are you ready?

- john best, manager, 7 december 2009.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunset Alliance 10 year anniversary concert

Give a gift that gives to many at one time!
Sunset Alliance 10 year Anniversary Celebration (Advance Tickets)

Ticket Link:

Get em mailed right to your friends/family/co-workers!
Introduce them to some bands...and give em something to do to avoid their post-holiday depression!
-Or get yours now so you don't have to bother w/ it later.
-Or forward this to your friends and family and get into this show for FREE!!

Plus, since there is a free cd @ the door, you have given them (or received) an additional gift!

When: Saturday, January 2, 2010.
Where: The Clubhouse, Tempe, AZ (Broadway/E. of Rural)
Details: All Ages, 6:30pm, $10

BEFORE BRAILLE (first show since 2005...last show til 2000-never!)
THE PLAYER PIANO (reuniting from 4 states and 2 countries for this nite!)
FIVESPEED (just barely returned from hiatus w/ new record in works!)
NOVI SPLIT (w/ new EP, Portland,OR & San Pedro,CA's finest!)
THE LETTERPRESS (reuniting to remind us what a rhythm section can do!)
PINEWOOD DERBY (first show since 2002! Unexpected & gr8 reunion!)

That link again...
Ticket Link:

Song du Jour Nr. 021

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mos Def + Talib Kweli do Jimmy Fallon

A veritable Blackstar Reunion backed The Roots and the Dirty Projectors. WOW!

Song du Jour Nr. 019

Believe in Me
[download mp3]



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Vinyl Wishlist

In hopes of driving the Mrs. even crazier, here is my Christmas Vinyl Wishlist:

These are my top 2 choices:

Here are a bunch of others I hope to acquire soon:

Limited Time FREE holiday EP from Joshua James

In the spirit of the Holidays, Joshua James is offering up his Fields and Floods EP (some great Christmas renditions) for FREE.

While you're on his website, why not buy a few of his albums too (they are on for some good sales too)!

Promoting New Music Nr. 01

As of late, I have been recieving promotional materials from up and coming (largely DIY) bands. While I have not liked all of the music they are doing, I love the concept DIY indie bands, and would like to start making a habit of promoting them - regardless of how good (or horrible) they are.

Out of all, there was one with real potential.


They are a 5 piece from Ireland, and claim The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Radiohead as their primary influence. It is worth a listen, and their debut single, Old Age, will be coming out sometime in the new early New Year. It will be featured on their first EP, Felix Squirrel.

You can sample their tunes on Myspace or Soundcloud.

JBT by Elspeth
Moonlight Burns by Elspeth
Lullaby by Elspeth
24 Hour Paramedics by Elspeth
Elspeth - Song For Goodbyes by Elspeth
Old Age by Elspeth


The Shape of the Earth

One other submission which may deserve mention was a band out of Redlands, CA - The Shape of the Earth. They have promise. I would like to hear the vox polished up a bit in the studio, but its worth a listen (via myspace).

Thats all for now.

Song du Jour Nr. 018

Sucker Punch
[download mp3]


Fortune Folds
[download mp3]


Tied to a Million Things
[download mp3]


The Pale Pacific (formerly The Pale)



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jonsi (Sigur Ros) Solo Album details - Go

From eighteen seconds before sunrise:

jónsi - 'go'

debut solo album released march 22nd 2010 (march 23rd north america)

jónsi press photo by lilja birgisdóttir

sigur rós front man jón "jónsi" thor birgisson will be releasing his debut solo album, entitled go, on parlophone records on march 22nd 2010 (xl recordings on march 23rd 2010 in north america). co-produced by jónsi, alex somers and peter katis (the national, interpol), mixed by tom elmhirst in london, and recorded in iceland and connecticut, go is exhilarating, joyful and fearless. the record also features arrangements and piano playing by acclaimed composer nico muhly.

jónsi has spent more than a decade writing epic compositions with sigur rós, creating some of the finest, most acclaimed albums of the last ten years. the choice to make an album of solo recordings came together as a solution to a backlog of songs jónsi had written that didn’t seem to fit within the sigur rós context. the first collection of this material saw its release earlier this year in the form of a record called riceboy sleeps, an instrumental album made with his partner, alex somers. go, however, is a different beast entirely. ecstatic, dramatic and alive, it features jónsi’s signature vocals throughout, with the majority of the songs sung in english.

when he began working on go, jónsi initially though he would be making a low-key, acoustic album until, as he says, "somewhere along the line, it just sort of exploded." that explosion resulted in sheer aural fireworks. not a straight ahead pop record, nor rock, folk, ambient or electronic, it encompasses all of these to create an expansive musical palette that’s been brought to life by jónsi alongside a number of free-spirited collaborators.

chief among these is nico muhly, the philip glass protégé who is renowned for his work with björk, antony & the johnsons, bonnie "prince" billy and grizzly bear. muhly has arranged all the songs on go, bringing strings, brass and woodwind to dance playfully alongside his offbeat piano playing. add into the mix the percussive genius of samuli kosminen, whose original drumming powers many of the songs along, and you have a sonic landscape that bears little relation to anything else around today, yet explodes from the speakers with sheer happiness and wonder, wide-eyed and eager to be heard.

go completes a personal journey for jónsi away from the wordless and near-brutal sonic monoliths of sigur rós’ untitled ( ) album, and is a bold stride beyond the career-redefining pop of "hoppipolla", and even the explosive percussive assault of the last album’s “gobbledigook.” above it all sits jónsi’s voice, which has never been more impressive or breathtakingly arranged; here spectral and wraithlike, there fulsome and gorgeously warm, or other times, his backing vocals swoop and dart everywhere in a giddying array of crazed inventiveness. indeed, go is also one of the most joyous collections of songs you’re ever likely to hear. it’s an album that sounds like an artist entirely out on his own, doing exactly as he pleases, and from the creator of some of this decade’s most inventive, evocative music, we would expect nothing less.

jónsi will be bringing these songs to life with an extensive world tour throughout 2010. for more details on this, along with exclusive jónsi news, music and information, please check out

go tracklist

go do
animal arithmetic
boy lilikoi
sinking friendships
grow till tall
around us

Don't forget to give the sample track Boy Lilikoi a listen!


Boy Lilikoi
[download mp3]



Song du Jour Nr. 015

Friday, December 4, 2009

NEW Jonsi song (from Sigur Ros) - Boy Lilikoi

Entitled Boy Lilikoi, Jonsi just offered up a new track with English lyrics and a light poppy feel.

This comes from his supposed upcoming solo LP on XL Recordings. It sounds promising, but as was the case with his last non-Sigur Ros release, Riceboy Sleeps, this really lacks the depth that grounds Sigur Ros' music. In any case, I will eagerly await the full LP.


Boy Lilikoi
[download mp3]



Song du Jour Nr. 013

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Song du Jour Nr. 012

In honor of the first December flakes of snow falling here - I offer this song.

Grace, the Snow is Here
[download mp3]


The Gloria Record


The Gloria Record EP

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stream J. Tillman live set + interview!

Phenomenal 30 minute set + interview by J. Tillman.


View it HERE at

Fleet Foxes - He Doesn't Know Why video

This video isn't new, but I had yet to post it. I can't wait for these guys to put out a new album.

Song du Jour Nr. 011

On the Death of the Waters
[download mp3]