Monday, December 31, 2007

11 Albums That Made My 2007

I still feel like I didn’t spend enough time with some other records, but I wanted to get this thing done before the new year came (close call). Of course, the jamboree can keep rolling into ’08. It’s too much fun to stop now, and we have yet to hear from some past contributors. Show us your lists, friends.
–Thom McMahon IV

11. Bodies of Water – Ears Will Pop And Eyes Will Blink
A glorious batch of catchy, triumphant symphonies. These four young folks sing their hearts out and make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

10. Alasdair Roberts – The Amber Gatherers
Mr. Roberts’ albums have been alternating between traditional folk songs and original folk songs. His new one is of the latter type, but you might think these had been handed down through the ages if you didn’t know any better. He has a gift for writing timeless melodies. The tone is much lighter than that of his last album (which was all songs about death). In fact, some of these songs sound like lullabies. Perfect to play on the stereo when you have a baby crawling around the room.

9. Blonde Redhead - 23
A nearly perfect collection of dream pop. Not groundbreaking stuff — just masterfully executed and thoroughly enchanting.

8. Caribou – Andorra
Pulsing, psychedelic wonder. Essential listening for a drive through the wilderness. Dan Snaith’s last album sounded a bit inconsistent to me. This is a strong return to the majesty of his Up In Flames record — back before some Dick forced him to stop using the name Manitoba.

7. Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala
Mr. Lekman gets my vote for best songwriter to emerge in the 21st century thus far. His music is frequently sublime. His lyrics are sharp and hilarious, and English isn’t even his first language. This album has some of his strongest tunes, but I feel like it loses some magic in the middle. Still, I would highly recommend this and all of his other output to anyone who enjoys charming, playful pop.

6. Panda Bear – Person Pitch
Sure, he sounds like a Beach Bro from way back when. Why shouldn’t he? More accurately, this album evokes a drug-induced dream of some of Brian Wilson and company’s finest work. Gorgeous harmonies, high on reverb, flowing comfortably across warm and friendly waters. This is the best trip I’ve ever been on.

5. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
The first time I heard this record, I thought Kevin Barnes had lost it — and he just may have (12-minute-long “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal” provides some convincing evidence). But after about 10 times through, these tightly wound, emotionally revealing outbursts had soaked through my skull and left me addicted.

4. Marissa Nadler – Songs III: Bird On The Water
I’ve already used the word “haunting” once in describing Ms. Nadler’s music, so I’ll try not to do it again. She has one of the most moving, elegiac voices that I’ve heard, and the stark arrangements on this album provide the perfect atmosphere for it. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that she left me misty-eyed on a recent winter eve. Haunting. Damn.

3. Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity
Deerhoof is one of the more distinctive-sounding bands out there, and they manage to sound fresh with each new album. They’re talented musicians, and their songs are fairly complex, yet they sound playful and innocent. It’s an unusual contrast that’s due in large part to Satomi Matsuzaki’s child-like voice and apparent lack of a grasp on the English language. Ultimately, though, it’s the abundance of savory hooks that keeps me coming back for more.

2. Cass McCombs – Dropping The Writ
Mr. McCombs’ last album was a fairly ragged, low-fi affair; this one sounds more polished, more mature even. Of course, you won’t be hearing any of it on your local adult alternative radio station. But you should. The songwriting is impeccable, and his falsetto reaches incredible highs that will send chills up your headphone cords.

1. Battles – Mirrored
This is rock music as found in the wild, as opposed to the all-too-common domesticated incarnation of the genre. The album is an intoxicating stew of unusual sounds and rhythms. It might sound challenging, but it ain't math homework — just some good, clean, disorienting fun. Surprising, amusing and heavy. I have Battles in my life, and I'm loving it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Some of my favorite things by James F. "Boots" Donnelly...

Albums of the Year
Lawrence Welk - Forever: The Best of Lawrence Welk
Sons of the Pioneers - Cool Water (& 17 Timeless Favorites)
Henny Youngmen - Take My Album Please (Or Two Sets for the Price of One)
Boxcar Willie - King of the Hoboes
Jodeci – Forever My Lady

Favorite Movie – Cocoon III

My favorite prune juice – Sunsweet

Favorite hard candy – MacTavish’s Butterscotch Candy

Favorite food – Tapioca

Favorite football moment – Red Grange’s 6 TD game against Michigan (18-October 1924). Still as magical a moment as ever. Kids these days just can’t match the speed and toughness of the Galloping Ghost.

Favorite Dance – The Charleston I performed at the Murfreesboro Elks Lodge Dance Off in July with Millie.

Worst College Football Idea: The playoff. It’s bad enough they got rid of ties and created the BCS. Now they want a playoff? What happened to the good old days of teams going 8-1-2 and winning the national championship by playing the #7 team in a bowl game?

Best move they should make for the 2008 Summer Olympics: Adding college football as a sport. We’d kick the asses of those commie pinko Russians and finally get a leg up in the Cold War. Wait a minute, it’s in China? Maybe 2012, since we’ll obviously be boycotting 2008.

The best moment in baseball for 2007: Appalachian St. beating Michigan.

I would like to wish everyone a happy 2008. Spring practice is right around the corner, as well as national signing day, so don't worry. Labor Day weekend is right around the corner!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

2007 Mix - Paul Bost

Instead of coming up with some sort of list, I instead decided to create a mix conveying my favorite songs of the year (plus a couple from previous years). I've sent everyone on the email list a link from where you can download the mix (edit; here's the link:; it's a big file and, unfortunately, it's one file (I tried to separate it into different tracks but my editing software was being a bitch about it). Some of the edits are pretty simple, whereas on others I endeavor to actually do some Steve Aoki shit (minus the gorgeous hangers-on). Check it out, if you get a chance. It might actually be a good workout mix, minus the last two songs that sort of slow things down (which may be appropriate for some post-running stretching/meditation).


(1) Night of the Furies - The Rosebuds
(2) $20 - M.I.A.
(3) St. Tropez - Golden Bug
(4) Kidz Are So Small - Deerhoof
(5) Hold On - Holy Ghost!
(6) Wow - Kylie Minogue
(7) Finer Feelings - Spoon
(8) Ice Cream - New Young Pony Club
(9) I've Still Got You (Ice Cream) - Pissed Jeans
(10) Tout va pour le mieux dans le pire des mondes - Les Breastfeeders
(11) World - The Bee Gees
(12) Coke & Wet - Spankrock
(13) Kill the Messenger - Karl Blau
(14) Come One Come All - Noonday Underground
(15) Mr. Me Too (Z.A.K. Remix) - Clipse
(16) Failsafe - The New Pornographers
(17) Can't Tell Me Nothing - Kanye West
(18) Bright Lights, Big City - Jim Jones feat. Max B.
(19) Isn't Life Strange? - The Clientele
(20) On the Wings - Citay

Friday, December 21, 2007

Daniel Dowd's 2-0-0-7

First of all, I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts, as always.


-Wilco Sky Blue Sky. - Not many people I know or spoke with liked this one, but I liked it. I needed some mellow this year. I also love Nels Cline, though I almost think he overpowers Wilco live to the point of being a detriment. Almost. I like the song on and on and on

-New Pornographers Challengers – Another album I felt many didn’t like upon discussing with them. I enjoyed this quite a bit after listen 3 or 4, especially go places.

-Andrew Bird. The last two albums. - I finally stopped being lazy and soaked in The Mysterious Production of Eggs and had a little time away from Andrew for awhile, then dove into the new one. I love them both. I listened to Andrew Bird the most in 2007.

-Deerhoof Friend Opportunity - This was my favorite album of the year. It was also my favorite show of 2007. I can’t get enough of Deerhoof in every way.

-Of Montreal Hissing Fauna…-I wore this one out and enjoyed the song Gronlandic Edit the most. This album and Wilco seemed to have fitting themes for me.

My favorite films
No Country For Old Men
Silver Jew
The Darjeeling Limited

Favorite live shows
Animal Collective
TV on the Radio
Stumbling upon a sort of Blind Faith reunion on PBS

I also liked…

My daughter’s strange, sudden, sponge-like absorption of Black Sabbath.

The Sopranos ending. Yes! My favorite episode was the next to last episode Blue Comet.

Watching some English Premier League for the first time. Being a Mets fan I have to say that I really enjoyed watching the EPL. I still have the 1000 yard stare.

Best parts of the Mitchell Report…
Roidger Clemens
Mo Vaughn being “afraid of the big needles.”

Facial Hair of the Year

I didn’t really notice any great facial hair this year. I guess it’s Arthur Blank, owner of the Falcons...

The favorite hairs in my household were our family debates as to whether the guy from Big and Rich had deodorant dust on his armpit hair in the opening credits of ESPN’s College Gameday. I said no, my wife said yes. I thought it was the sunshine reflecting off of the fair locks of Big or Rich’s armpit. Tivo happened. Slow-mo happened. It was heated and lasted many weeks. I gave in and said it was deodorant.

That marital spat finished second this year to the spat of trying to determine whether Don McLean of American Pie fame pronounces his name “Mc – Leen” or “Mc – Layne.” We went over Don McLean youtube clips like it was the Zapruder film. I won with “Mc-Layne.”

So, armpit hair of the year goes to…Big? Or is he rich?

I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year and late December holiday of choice. May your respective 2008s be filled with all things good.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Adam Willis' Year In Music

I didn't want to be the last to post again this year, so I tried to throw together my list as best I could. Like Paul and others, I think I listen to "albums" a lot less than I used to. I've also realized that I listen to a good deal more new "old" music than actual new releases, so that affects what I've listened to a lot. Here goes:

Favorite Singles of 2007:
-"D.A.N.C.E.", Justice- I think I heard this early enough that it was still cool to me and still cool for me to like it.
-"Players Anthem", UGK & Three Six Mafia- The best of Texas Hip Hop. Put a little South in your Mouth!
-"Bittersweet Poetry", Kanye West featuring John Mayer- Hidden track on Graduation, I'm as surprised as anyone else to feature John Mayer in my favorite singles of the year. I liked this album a whole lot and it probably falls just shy of making my top albums list. Either way, I think this is my favorite track. Keyshia Cole!
-"Irreplaceable", Beyonce- This gets in my head at least once a week and is in fierce competition with that "No One" Alicia Keyes song for favorite R&B traffic sing-a-long, but Ms. Keyes song is too new for me to make a judgement.
-"The Underdog", Spoon- Indie Rock single of the year. Those spanish horns really put me in a good mood.
-"Grace Kelly", Mika- I thought this was a self-referencing Queen song I'd never heard before when I heard it on the radio the first time. Definitely my number one sing-s-long of the year. Anything with a high-note I can strain to of this caliber is A-OK.

Favorite Albums of 2007: (There are 8)

8-LCD Soundsystem, "Sound Of Silver"- I was a lot crazier about this album than the first for some reason. It's at the bottom of the list because i wish it had ended right before that crappy New York song. Perfect until then for me.
7-Wilco, "Sky Blue Sky"- I got this when it first came out and kind of shelved it until later this year. The first half or so of this one could be my favorite recordings they've ever done. I'd almost swear it was recorded in 1975.
6-Apples In Stereo, "New Magnetic Wonder"- I'm really grateful to Elijah Wood for starting a record label to release this album. Vocoder always wins.
5-Junior Senior, "Hey Hey My My Yo Yo"- I know this actually came out a couple of years ago, but it was finally released in the US this year. I think they should be the biggest band on pop radio. I'm not sure why they aren't.
4-Spoon, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"- In reality, my Top 4 albums could possibly all be tied for number 1. They all very equally shared the most listens of the year for me. This album is over quick and I frequently would start it over immediately afterwards.
3-Dr. Dog, "We All Belong"- Maybe they're channeling the Beatles, maybe they're channeling The Band, either way they are pop craftsmen. Also, I'm a sucker for male harmonies. The album is equally good to me as the EP "Takers and Leavers". I consider them as one.
2-Of Montreal, "Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer"- I know it's dark and over-dramatic, but I really, really dug it all year long. I needed someone to replace Beck's Midnight Vultures-era Prince imitation and it was superbly done here.
1-Panda Bear, "Person Pitch"- This slowly grew to be my number one album. Although "Strawberry Jam" would be very high on my year's list, it's the soft layers of Brian Wilson production on this album that make me want to be on acid. On a plane. Reclining. Also, my favorite album cover of the year. It's certainly a complete package.

I look forward to rereading this list next year to see how my opinions of 2007's albums have changed.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

For Your Aural Pleasure 2007

First, let me say that I’m really looking forward to checking out your guys’ musical selections. Last year, I ended up purchasing albums by The Knife and Junior Boys and loved both of them (thanks, Thom!).

Favorite Albums of 2007
6. "Once" (Music From the Motion Picture) - fantastic movie with a fantastic soundtrack

5. Linkin Park, "Minutes to Midnight" - Initially, I felt that this album was too musically schizophrenic - with the band taking a "let’s throw all these disparate musical ideas against the wall and see what pieces of spaghetti stick" approach...or something like that. By year’s end, I really enjoy 8 of the 12 tracks. The other four still consistently meet the ">>" button of my iPod.

4. Danny Dementor, "Where’s Your Hood At?" - If you like the Harry Potter series or just silly good hip-hop/pop music, then this is for you.

3. The Shins, "Wincing the Night Away" - I found this to be a very relaxing and welcome escape from the stresses of year two in law school.

2. Britney Spears, "Blackout" - say what you want, but this album truly is a cohesive, well-produced album of pop/dance gems tarnished only by the distracting personal antics of the Britster herself. If she had focused her energy on this album, I believe she really could’ve had a Mimi-esque comeback with it. America is very forgiving. U-S-A! U-S-A!

1. Nine Inch Nails, "Year Zero" - this deserves much more attention than it received. Hands down my favorite album of the year. It was a pleasure listening to this one from beginning to end.

Favorite Ballads of 2007
8. "Breathless" by Shayne Ward (from Breathless)
7. "Soulmate" by Natasha Bedingfield (from N.B.)
6. "A World to Believe In" by CĂ©line Dion (from Taking Chances)
5. "Slideshow" by Rufus Wainwright (from Release the Stars)
4. "Shadow of the Day" by Linkin Park (from Minutes to Midnight)
3. "Homeless" by Leona Lewis (from Spirit)
2. "The Night Sky" by Keane (from The Night Sky)
1. "Say It To Me Now" by Glen Hansard

Favorite Tracks of 2007
10. "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse
9. "Black Jacks" by Girls Aloud
8. "Red Rabbits" by The Shins
7. "Almost Easy" by Avenged Sevenfold
6. "Straight Lines" by Silverchair
5. "Let It Die" by Foo Fighters
4. "Do I Disappoint You" by Rufus Wainwright
3. "Like A Drug" by Kylie Minogue
2. "Gimme More" by Britney Spears
1. "Given Up" by Linkin Park

Wishing you all the best in 2008!

Colin's Favorite Tracks (Sort Of)

I'm pretty sure most of these can be downloaded (or at least streamed) for free and legal from various interweb locations. Unlike Thom, however, I will not be providing you with many links. But you're smart and good at computers. Go find them yourselves.

by Colin F. McCormick

16. Lavender Diamond - "Rise In The Springtime"

15. Bat For Lashes - "What's A Girl To Do?"

14. Air France - "Beach Party"

13. Architecture In Helsinki - "Heart It Races"

12. Shout Out Louds - "Tonight I Have To Leave It"
Maybe I only like it because it sounds exactly like The Cure.

11. Thieves Like Us - "Drugs In My Body"

10. Hot Chip - "My Piano"

9. Super Furry Animals - "Run-Away"

8. Justice - "Phantom"

7. Jape - "Floating"

6. Cass McCombs - "Pregnant Pause"
I need to listen a bit more to this fellow.

5. Menomena - "Wet And Rusting"

4. Sally Shapiro - "I'll Be By Your Side"

3. Vampire Weekend - "Mansard Roof"
I've already sneaked a listen or two to the forthcoming debut LP from these African-influenced New York preps. It's pretty great stuff, but we'll see if the hype holds up long enough for it to show up on everyone's 2008 list.

2. The New Pornographers - "My Rights Versus Yours"
The rest of Challengers left me a little flat.

1. Beirut - "Elephant Gun"
Also gets my vote for best music video of the year.

Colin's Favorite Albums

I always hesitate to call these lists "best of" because there is still so much I haven't gotten the chance to hear. I'd like to take a closer listen to those Jens and Cass gentlemen, for instance. But I guess that applies to just about everybody, so this is what you get from me.

by Colin F. McCormick

17. Bright Eyes - Cassadaga
A thick coat of production gloss has rendered Connor Oberst a relatively edgeless version of his former self. That said, he'll still win you over if you're a sucker.

16. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
A bold and passionately personal examination of (possibly) meaningless life as art. Also wins the prize for most interesting insertion of "Sloop John B."

15. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
It's great stuff, but I feel like most people went a little more ga ga over this album than I did. But hey, I'm not gonna be a baby about it. Sorry.

14. Band Of Horses - Cease To Begin
I love Ben Bridwell's voice. And while this folksier effort didn't resonate with quite the same degree of emotional impact as last year's Everything All The Time, I'll take what I can get.

13. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
The level of grandeur much of this album shoots for may have required a bit too epic a trajectory for The Arcade Fire's own good. But what it does manage to accomplish is still compelling in its own right.

12. The Clientele - God Save The Clientele
It may be slightly more upbeat than The Clientele's previous material, but God Save's hushed, understated melodies lilt by so unassumingly, you might fail to notice just how lovely they can be.

11. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
The Shins' earlier albums were driven by their charming youthful spontaneity, and the more mature Wincing sounds a little constrained by comparison. Still, this album contains several legitimate gems, and even some of the best melodies they've ever released.

10. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
Deerhoof seem to have somehow finally gotten a firm handle on their unique haphazard style, and they've honed it well on this great haphazard album.

9. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
When Balkan gypsy music this convincing is blaring and bellowing from a 21-year-old New Mexico native, it's surprising, to say the least. But Zach Condon infuses his songs with just enough Western pop sensibility and charm to quiet the questioning and make them instantly enjoyable.

8. Dan Deacon - Spiderman Of The Rings
"I try to write music that I think if like really cool six-year-olds got together...and they were like, 'Let's write the most awesome music ever,' this is hopefully what I hope they would come up with." When Dan Deacon gave that description of his style during an incredible (and inexplicable) TV appearance in 2005, Spiderman Of The Rings was still more than two years away. The aesthetic, however, holds true, and he's come surprisingly close to realizing his most-awesome-music-ever goal. "Wham City" is easily one of the best tracks I heard all year.

7. Radiohead - In Rainbows
With all the hype surrounding the style of its release, I feel like I heard little about how good this album actually is. It's classic Radiohead, without feeling at all rehashed or tired. Maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough.

6. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Sam Beam has continued the fleshing out process he began on the Woman King EP, and Iron & Wine is now a far cry from its solo bedroom project roots. This folksy album is beautiful and haunting.

5. Caribou - Andorra
These songs are just solid pop melodies at their cores, but they are wrapped in insistent, driving percussion, and dipped in a sparkling coating of psychedelic ambience. It's a delicious concoction.

4. Battles - Mirrored
Technical prowess coupled with innovative, progressive songwriting make this one of the most interesting and enjoyable albums I've heard in a long time. Could this be the music of the future?!

3. of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
I always assumed post-romantic separation albums were gloomy and sullen, consisting mainly of guys crying into acoustic guitars (see Beck's Sea Change). Such is not the case for Kevin Barnes, who here takes us on a wild journey through his hurt and frustrated (yet extremely hyperactive) psyche. The album progresses from bouncing, frenetic pop confusion through a 12-minute cathartic bout of rambling bitterness, and finally settles on flamboyant, Prince-esque, funked-out sex jams. Despite the recent ridiculous Outback Steakhouse campaign (among other advertisements), and long-winded rants in support of selling out, Kevin Barnes managed to craft my most listened-to album of the year, and the best of Montreal LP to date.

2. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Awash in reverb-saturated ambience, Person Pitch is hypnotic, dizzying, uplifting, and gorgeous.

1. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
I read that the title for this album was chosen after one of the members opened an airline packet of strawberry jam during a flight. The idea was that, like jam, their music is starts with something as natural as a strawberry, say a catchy hook, and processes it to such a degree that its appearance and texture are rendered so unnatural as to seem almost alien. Well, if you've ever eaten jam, you know that end result, bizarre as it appears, is extremely sweet.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2007: A Year in Albums - Paul Bost

It seems like as the years go by, the album becomes less and less relevant. I mean, I still buy a lot of albums but it seems that I rarely listen to them in their entirety. There are exceptions, though, like when I'm driving cross country and I can't stand one more hour of Jim Rome. It's then that I remember that the album's a legitimate artistic form, like a triptych for painters or a pieta for sculptors. Yeah, this sounds like gobbledlygook, but the point is this: there's still something to be said for the album and the merits of full and repeated listening.

That said, I think the best of these albums have great stand alone tracks and a cohesive quality that sets them apart. Also, if there was anything that I paid attention to this year more than any other year, it was vocals. I like Archers of Loaf and Dinosaur Jr. as much as the next guy (unless the next guy's wearing Doc Martens and an SST t-shirt), but vocals should be more than an afterthought; just like a great melody can save shitty lyrics, a great voice can salvage an otherwise unremarkable song.

Lastly, as if you care, there are some older artists that have been getting much more airplay in my house than the following artists, but they didn't put out albums this year (that I know of, at least). Still, I'd feel remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed the music of Bad Brains, The Left Banke, Tony Allen and Afrika 70, and Linda Ronstadt.

Enough w/ the preamble . . .

Top 20 Albums of 2007

1) Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity
2) The New Pornographers – Challengers (their serious record) w/ extras ordered from Matador (unreleased tracks and demos, the Christmas e.p., and a yet to be uploaded live concert)
3) Cass McCombs – Dropping the Writ
4) Gonzales – Solo Piano
5) Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (comeback player of the year)
6) Panda Bear – Person Pitch/Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
7) Brad Laner – Neighbor Singing
8) The Clientele – God Save the Clientele
9) The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
10) Grinderman – Grinderman (album opener of the year)
11) White Williams – Smoke (funniest sounds of the year)
12) Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
13) Sloan – Never Hear the End of It
14) Bill Callahan – Woke on a Whaleheart (song of the year: Sycamores)
15) The Shins – Wincing the Night Away (great first half of the record but loses steam after "Red Rabbits")
16) Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (the Satanic Panic in the Attic era was far too short)
17) The Rosebuds – Night of the Furies
18) Dr. Dog - We All Belong and Takers and Leavers
19) Citay – Little Kingdom

Good Listens
The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse
Blonde Redhead - 23 (sounds good, but also like they're treading water)
Celebration – The Modern Tribe (talk about vocals elevating a song - holy guacamole!)
Dungen – Tio Bitar
Enon - Grass Geysers . . . Carbon Clouds
Field Music – Tones of Town
Future of the Left – Curses (best lyrics of any album this year)
Joan as Police Woman – Real Life
Les Breastfeeders – Les Matins de Grand Soirs (I bought the Hives album but I like this Hives album more)
M.I.A. - Kala
Michio Kurihara – Sunset Notes
No Age – Weirdo Rippers (aah, memories . . . to some of us, The Smell is known less for No Age and more for Extreme Elvis)
Pissed Jeans – Hope for Men
Santa Maria – Santa Maria (Michelle McMahon: check this out if you haven't already; I think there's a Concretes connection there)
Sissy Wish – Beauties Never Die
Slow Six – Nor’easter
St. Vincent – Marry Me
White Stripes – Icky Thump

I still haven't picked up the following albums, so these are officially on my Xmas list:

Wilco – Sky Blue Sky (the fact that I've heard this, like it, and love the band makes not having this record a crime)
The Fiery Furnaces – Widow City (this sounds pretty similar to E.P., which is the only thing I've ever really liked by them)
Meg Baird – Dear Companion
Boris and Michio Kurihara - Rainbow
The Good, The Bad, and The Queen (w/ my new found love for Tony Allen, perhaps the best supergroup lineup ever)
LCD Soundsystem - Sounds of Silver

Top 10 Systematic Theology Books We Read in 2007 by Matt Stephan and Katie Byron

10. Theology for the Community of God—Stanley Grenz: A great and exhaustive overview of Evangelical systematic theology, based on the premise that the Kingdom of God is manifested through community. Everyone should own a copy of this book.

9. In Our Image—Miroslav Volf: A free church ecclesiology developed over and against Eastern Orthodox ecclesiology (Zizouilas) and Catholic ecclesiology (Ratzinger), and in dialogue with feminist ecclesiology that seeks to give proper place to both individual and community, thus reflecting the trinity.

8. Jesus and Judas—Ray Anderson: An imaginary conversation between Jesus and Judas in the time after the resurrection when, according to Matthew, many of the saints rose from the dead, which demonstrates that Jesus' selection of us as disciples is stronger than our rejection of him as Lord.

7. The Mediation of Christ—Thomas Torrance: In assuming the role of Israel, argues Torrance, Jesus performed the divine role(s) of revelation and reconciliation through a two-fold movement of bringing God to earth and humanity to heaven.

6. God of the Oppressed—James Cone: In arguably Cone's most influential work, he continues to develop his thesis of what it means to be black and Christian, culminating in the theodic argument that God is on the side of the oppressed.

5. Most Moved Mover—Clark Pinnock: This book outlines openness theology, the view developed against a Calvinist view, here painted as representing our Heavenly dictator, that the gift of free will is a prerequisite for a loving relationship between humanity and God. Therefore, because God no longer holds all the power (he has granted some to us: free will) he can be influenced by our intercession.

4. She Who Is—Elizabeth Johnson: A feminist discourse on the study of God, Johnson argues that a female image for God is just as appropriate (and inappropriate) a metaphor for the Holy One.

3. The Return of the Prodigal Son—Henri Nouwen: This book is life transforming, focusing on each character in Luke's Prodigal Son parable. Nouwen details the ways in which we are like each character and most importantly, need to become more like the Father.

2. Resident Aliens—Hauerwas & Willimon: A more communal recapitulation of Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship set in late 20th century America.

1. Becoming Human—Jean Vanier: This is an amazing book, explaining the struggles every human being faces, such as loneliness and rejection, which compel us to exclude others. Vanier describes the ways we are called to become truly human, as was Christ, by overcoming our fears and living in community. It is a beautiful book in which we discover our common humanity.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Soapy's Obsessions in 2007*

(Soapy's only a little bit older than Tommy, so his faves are only slightly more sophisticated.)
10. Watching Tila Tequila.
9. Chewing slippers, rainbow flip-flops, stairs, tables, and cell phones.
8. Eating Wendy's vanilla frosties.
7. Running away from Paul.
6. Pooping.
5. Farting.
4. Spooning Paul.
3. Bone zoning.
2. Going to the dog park and getting slobbered on.
1. Eating sticks!
* as recounted by Sarah Luppen

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top 10 Older Alternative Rock Songs that Deserve More Radio Airplay than "Tainted Love" - Paul Bost

10) "I Know What Boys Like" - The Waitresses
9) "Roam" - The B-52s
8) "Headache" - Frank Black
7) "Do the Vampire" - Superdrag
6) "Natural One" - Folk Implosion
5) "Crash" - The Primitives
4) "Possum Kingdom" - The Toadies
3) "Your Woman" - White Town
2) "In the Meantime" - Spacehog
1) "Epic" - Faith No More

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My Favorite Things To Do In 2007, Tommy McMahon

I’ve only been in the world since January 11, so this is really a list of my favorite things to do in my life so far.

10. Eat Cheerios
9. Pull garbage out of garbage cans
8. Put my fingers in the paper shredder
7. Slide around the carpet on book covers, CDs, or record sleeves
6. Splash in the bath
5. Kiss myself in mirrors
4. Flush toilets
3. Eat biscuits
2. Pull cords out of electrical outlets and then try to put them in my mouth before Mom or Dad sees me
1. Crumple newspapers

2007: Whatcha gonna do with all that tripe?

For now, here are some of my favorite YouTube clips from this past year. For the most part, they come from The Soup, which is hilarious!

Merry Chrismukkah!
-Richard P. Steelman, Jr.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Dozen MP3s And A Little KFC

Two humble offerings from me for now. I’ll be back in a while with an albums list. Too much to listen to.
-Thom McMahon IV

MP3 JAMBOREE: Best Free Downloads

12. Ghost – Caledonia
This will make you want to grab a spear and run through a jungle in search of something to kill. Although by the end of the song, you may want to kill yourself.

11. The Curtains – Go Lucky
An understated — sneaky, even — pop gem.

10. Richard Swift – Paisley Park
Reminiscent of another great “park” song: the Zombies’ “Beechwood Park.”

9. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Sun Lips
The band name seems nonsensical, but this song does feel something like flying through a gauzy rainbow. Psychedelic, in other words.

8. White Williams – New Violence
A white man playing guitar and drums simultaneously in a room full of malfunctioning keyboards.

7. Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
New Yorkers playing guitar pop at a street festival in Congo. Their debut album, which comes out in January, should be hot.

6. Marnie Stern – Put All Your Eggs In One Basket, And Then Watch That Basket!!!
Spiraling out of control has never sounded so cute.

5. Yeasayer – 2080
Some sort of futuristic dub ensemble playing an Irish jig.

4. Marissa Nadler – Diamond Heart
Haunting folk from a young woman who sounds like the daughter of Leonard Cohen and Joanna Newsom.

3. Bodies of Water – These Are The Eyes
This was apparently made by young people who were cut from their high school choir, so they started their own choir in the guise of a rock band. Triumphant!

2. Sally Shapiro – I’ll Be By Your Side
You know that hotel made out of ice in northern Sweden? If there’s a dance club there, this is what they play non-stop. Icy perfection.

1. Jens Lekman – Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo
Will make you laugh, dance, and become nostalgic for rural Sweden.


BONUS LIST: Least-Appetizing Ads Seen In KFC Windows

5. “Triple Dip Strips!” – I’ve heard of double dipping, but triple dipping? How many times do you have to smother these things in sauce before you can get them down? Three times.

4. “Fish Snacker!” – Since when is fish a snack? And since when is it appropriate for Kentucky Fried Chicken to serve fish?

3. “Kids’ Laptop Meal!” – Nothing says nutrition like a portable computer. I guess they e-mail your kids their drumsticks and coleslaw.

2. “Free Mega Mash!” – This is apparently what Mega Man eats when he has a hankering for some greasy, whipped potato product. And when he’s broke.

1. “Boneless Variety Bucket!” – So there’s no bones, but what is there? I just picture a bucket of bones.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Let's Get This Jamboree Rollin'!

Welcome back, folks. As 2007 winds down, let's all take some time to think about what moved us during the year. Tell us what were your favorite (or least favorite) albums, movies, concerts, donuts, or anything else that appeared in the past 12 months. Check back often to see what others have to sing about, and comment as you please.

If you'd like to review what went on last year at this time, take a look below this post. We'd say it was a strong turnout in 2006. Let's make more magic.


Thomas A. McMahon IV
Paul A. Bost I

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Adam "Gunny" Willis' Music Year In Review

Greatest Singles of the Year
5. “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” Scissor Sisters (as discussed, why are they not bigger in America?)
4. “Black Magic” Jarvis Cocker (2nd Best Sample of the Year)
3. “Hip Hop Is Dead” Nas (Best Sample of the Year)
2. “What You Know” T.I. (The King. Greatest Hip-Hop Anthem of the Year)
1. “Crazy” Gnarls Barkley (Inescapable, but definitely the most infectious and brilliant dance song of the year and probably one of the best singles of the past 10 years. Sorry.)

Honorable Mention Albums of the Year
4. Bishop Allen’s Monthly EP Experiment (a favorite band of mine, dropped from their label embarked on an ambitious project worth mentioning out of it's sheer ambition)
3. Jarvis Cocker Jarvis (A very good return to form from Harry Potter star and former Pulp frontman. Will most likely get more listening in the year to come. (see Greatest Singles above))
2. Beck The Information (as with the next album on the list, this was a very decent album by an old favorite. Leaps and bounds above Guero for me, some fantastic songs but all in all lacking in spirit.)
1. Flaming Lips At War With The Mystics (Disappointing but very good. It's altogether possible that I will grow to like this album much more somewhere down the road. But maybe not.)
Top 10 Albums of the Year
10. Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor (Kanye protege of sorts delivered a fantastic hip-hop album about Buddhism and skateboarding, I think, while Kanye did the soundtrack to MI:3. And seriously, that's one of the best rap monikers around.)
9. Phoenix, It’s Never Been Like That (Best Strokes Album of the Year. They have wonderful hair and wardrobes. I'm a sucker for French pop and they know how to deliver it. This time they delivered it as rock n' rollers instead of as Steely Dan and it really grew on me.)
8. The Walkmen A Hundred Miles Off (No comment. I just liked it.)
7. The Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury (They continue to be the greatest rap duo around and live up to any and all hype they receive. This album is way dark compared to their previous major label release. They rap about dealing drugs and appear to continue to do both in equal amounts which holds more credibility for me than every other rapper who "quit the game" and survived to utterly sell out and make mediocre rap albums, movies, tennis shoes and designer jeans.)
6. Band Of Horses Everything All The Time ("The Funeral" is probably the indie single of the year and deservedly so. Lots of people already mentioned this album's merits so I'll agree. This one grew on me all year long and I continued to revisit it throughout 2006.)
5. Girl Talk, Night Ripper (Is it called sampling, mixing or mashing-up? This PB recommendation was a mind-blower and I burnt it and gave it to a young British commercial director I worked for in the hopes that he would enjoy someone else's music which I copied and gave to him so much that he would give me a big break into the industry. Still waiting for that, will let you know.)
4. Peter Bjorn & John, Writer’s Block (I waited too long to pull this one out of nowhere and my thunder was stolen and apparently a lot of other people had also heard this album. Probably my new favorite band.)
3. Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat (I'm pretty sure I downloaded this album before it was out in 2005 and put it on my list last year. Oops. Either way, it deserves to be on two years running for me because I've listened to it that much. I clearly have a greater love of country music than even I thought. This album is also a real "wife-pleaser" of a CD.)
2. Grandaddy, Whatever Happened To The Fambly Cat (You might think this made the list because they're one of my favorite bands and they officially broke up this year with this release, and that might have something to do with it. Either way, it made Ryan McNeill cry and has many times gotten me pretty damn close. It's a tie with number one as far as most listens of the year.)
1. Belle & Sebastian, The Life Pursuit (You know what, it's a perfect album and it would appear that they have completely come into their own as far as songwriting goes. Nobody does twee better, and this one is honestly less twee than ever and provides some really timeless, perfectly crafted pop songs. Finding Thom McMahon and an inebriated and shirtless Paul Bost at their fantastic Hollywood Bowl show was a highlight of the year.)

Adam Willis

Adam "Gunny" Willis' General Year In Review

In writing something of this nature, I tend to dwell on my decision for too long. The main reason for this is that having a limited amount of time and money for buying/"buying"(downloading) music, watching movies, reading books (ha!), watching television and generally participating in cultural studies restricts the pool from which I can draw. Therefore these year end lists would probably be more accurate a few years down the road after I've had the chance to watch more DVDs and listen to more CD releases from the year in question.

The lists on this blog alternately make me feel good and bad about my tastes in pop culture. I hope the following best-of-lists of my own will impress you and make you feel ashamed for not nearly being as cultured as I am. Sorry for the length of this post. Enjoy!

Best Movies I Saw in 2006
7. Wassup Rockers! (maybe not the 7th best, but very enjoyable and influenced me to take up skateboarding too late in life)
6. Borat
5. The Departed
4. Half Nelson
3. A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints
2. Brick
1. The Fountain

Worthy Acting Performances Worth Mentioning In Which The Film Itself Did Not Make The Top 7
Sasha Baron Cohen- Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (I still stand by my comment of this being a "Peter Sellers-worthy comedic performance)
1. Isaac Laskin- Art School Confidential (most shocking recognition of an actor on screen, and most Malkovich scene-stealing performance of the year)

Best Movie Trailer of the Year
1. Marie Antoinette (the initial teaser featuring New Order's "Age of Consent")
View Trailer

Best Television Shows of the Year
4. MTV's Two-A-Days (my lack of interest in the past few Real World Seasons, Real World/Road Rules Challenge-esque shows, and the latter 2 Seasons of Laguna Beach provided a gaping hole in my youth culture "reality" programming which this show filled. There's nothing like High School Football and High School Drama. Also, those Alabama jocks had the best uniform hairstyles of the year.)
3. 30 Rock (Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin. Fantastic.)
2. Saxondale (Steve Coogan's latest BBC Comedy, see it now before it is made into a watered down, slightly less-funny American version for NBC)
1. Sopranos Season 6 (I can't help being on the bandwagon, it's great.)

Most Un-funny Television Show of the Year Which The General Public As Well As Multiple Friends & Family Find Funny to My Lack of Understanding
1. My Name Is Earl (Jason Lee is much smaller in real life than he appears on screen.)

Most Cliche Celebrity Sighting Observation Used In This Best-Of-List
1. Celebrities are always smaller in real life.

Facial Hair of the Year
1. Beards

(This was such a ridiculously long post, that I have split it up into 2 to look less obnoxious.)

Adam Willis