Showing posts with label 33 and a 1/3. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 33 and a 1/3. Show all posts

Saturday, April 04, 2009

33 and 1/3

Here is the final post for the best of 2007. I am hoping to have the best of 2008 up before 2010.

5. Favourite Worst Nightmare by Arctic Monkeys (Domino)
This is and excellent solid sophomore effort by the Arctic Monkeys. I was quite apprehensive about the Monkeys because of how fast they blew up after their first album. I am surprised that Favourite Worst Nightmare is so good. It is solid from the top of the playlist to the bottom. The Arctic Monkeys possess lots of Gatling gun lyrics, incredibly catchy hooks and clever beats. This House is a Circus is one of the best tracks of the year with that incredible bass line. But I especially love this line:
“Who wants to sleep in a city that never wakes up? Blinded by Nostalgia.”
Best Tracks: Teddy Picker, Do Me a Favour, This House is a Circus and Old Yellow Bricks

This House is a Circus

4. Boxer by The National (Beggars Banquet)
I’d never listened to the National before listening to this phenomenal effort. The National is a five piece Indie band out of New York who play soft music that is almost anthemic in its delivery. This album has great song after great song with beautiful melodies and poignant lyrics. This album will make almost every top 10 list this year and for good reason. I really love this line from Mistaken for Strangers "You wouldn't want an angel watching over you?/Surprise surprise, they wouldn't want to watch"
Best Tracks: Fake Empire, Mistaken for Strangers and Start a War

Mistaken for Strangers

3. New Wave by Against Me! (Sire)
Some call it a sell out but I am too old to care. Big Ell loves music that should be best listened to while drinking, fighting or drinking and fighting. New Wave, would have been number one if Stop wasn’t included. That song is god awful on so many levels. But the rest of the album is filled with excellent songs with lyrics like “Protest songs in response to military aggression.” I missed seeing these guys the last time around and won’t miss them again. But people need to stop the comparisons with the Clash before they get hit by lightning.
Best Tracks: New Wave, Up the Cuts, White People for Peace and Piss and Vinegar.

Up the Cuts

2. Beyond by Dinosaur Jr. (Play it Again Sam)
Guitarist J. Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow finally got back together and I couldn’t be happier. The first half of the album is phenomenal equaling any of their previous collaborations like Your Living All Over Me or Bu. I had no idea that they still had it them to put out such a stellar album. The album kicks off with a thunderous distorted roar with Almost Ready which is as good as a anything they have done. The album rolls along until the sublime Back To Your Heart kicks in. It is easy to tell that Barlow wrote this song as it reminds me of a slightly pumped up Sebadoh song. I can’t wait to hear what these guys will put out next. Plus J Mascis now looks like Gadalf.
Best Tracks: Almost Ready, Back to the Heart, Been There All the Time and Pick Me Up

Click here to hear Been There All the Time

1. In Rainbows by Radiohead (Radiohead)
The most accessible Radiohead release since Kid A and the year’s best in the humble opinion of this writer. So many strong tunes interwoven within the tapestries of modern life or something like that. This album has it all; rocking numbers like 15 Step, Bodysnatchers and Jigsaw Falling Into Place. Grovy tunes like Weird Fishes/Arpeggi. Haunting songs with great bass lines like All I Need and Nude. Thom Yorke even plays piano on Videotape. I believe that in ten years when we look at the best albums from the first decade of the 21st Century, In Rainbows will rank high.
Best Tracks: 15 Step, Bodysnatchers, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Nude, All I Need and Jigsaw Falling Into Place.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Monday, March 16, 2009

33 and a 1/3

I have been listening to 13 Songs and this is a classic. The video isn't bad just pissed that I never got to see these guys.

Fugazi- Waiting Room

Thursday, December 18, 2008

33 and a 1/3

Only 12 months late but here are numbers 10 to 5 for Big Ell's Top for 2007.

10. Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (Rounder)
I initially labeled Raising Sand as an unexpected delight but I have had a change of heart. How can I be surprised that this is a great disc when it features one of my favorite singers, Robert Plant. Plant puts in a subdued performance balancing nicely with Alison Krauss? I have read that this duo may be responsible for the Led Zeppelin reunion going on the back burner which is definitely a good thing.
Best Tracks: Fortune Teller, Rich Woman, Stick with me Baby and Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us

I couldn’t find a decent live performance but here is a link to a video for Gone, Gone, Gone by the Everly Brothers that is a horrible video.

9. Let's Stay Friends by Les Savy Fav (French Kiss)
I heard that Les Savy Fav played the Night Gallery in Calgary a few years back. That would have been sweet as I knew one of the owners and may have been able to get on the guest list. I also knew the bartender and he would have given me cheap drinks. I would’ve been very drunk before Les Savy Fav started and might’ve vomited then passed out. Then I wouldn’t have seen this excellent band and that would not have been so sweet.
Best Tracks: the Equestrian, The Year Before 2000, Patty Lee, Brace Yourself

Patty Lee

8. American Gangster by Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella)
I love Jay Z and this 70s funk inspired treat is sweet. American Gangster flows back and forth and side to side with Mayfield like groves. Like most of Jay Z’s tunes the slow ones are mostly boring except for Fallin with its great chorus. I thought Jay Z was done after Kingdom Come which was largely a piece of shit. This is easily the best Hip Hop album of 2007.
Best Tracks: Roc Boys (And the Winner Is), Fallin, Say Hello, Hello Brooklyn 2.0

Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)

7. Death is this Communion by High on Fire (Relapse)
Death is this Communion is the surprise of the year, by far. I should have known seeing as that they are on Relapse records and Relapse rocks hard. These guys play the heaviest stoner rock this side of Orange Goblin. I can’t get enough of these boys. Angry, tough, fast, grinding goodness. So many great tracks give them all a listen. This is how metal should sound.
Best Tracks: Rumors of War, Waste of Tiamat, Turk and Cyclopian Scape


6. Untrue by Burial (Hyperdub)
Dubtastic beats keep coming and coming from DJ Wiliam Bevan of the UK. I wasn’t sure what to make of it when I first listened to Burial but it grew on me quickly. I love the dub heavy bass beats and the understated lyrics that are on a few tracks. I can’t believe this is his second album. Pick it up if you are into electronic dub music.
Best Tracks: Ghost Hardware, Near Dark, Etched Headplate, Raver, and Untrue


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

33 and a 1/3

Here are albums 15-11 of Big Ell's Top 20 for 2007. Click here to peruse 16-20.

15. Tones of Towns by Field Music (Memphis Industries)

If you haven't guessed it I am not a big fan of pop music. I usually avoid it but can certainly appreciate good pop music when it hits me int he ears. Field Music make great pop music in the vein of the Beach Boys and not the Backstreet Boys. This album is full of the great harmonies, interesting vocal and some ELO like organ to get the kids dancing. This album should be far more popular than it is, buy it damn it!
Best Tracks: Give it Lose it Take it, Tones of Towns, She Can do What She Wants

She Can Do What She Wants by Field Music

14. From Beale Street to Oblivion by Clutch (DRT)

I've tried listening to Clutch before but had a hard time getting into them. Not sure why but probably because I am dumb. I figured they were just another in a long line of boring grunge/metal/alternative bands kind of like the Foo Fighters. I don’t remember why I picked up this album but it is solid from start to finish. The Deep Purple/Nazareth style riffs that were a pleasant surprise and kick ass. Lead singer Neil Fallon is also a revelation with his growling and screaming. I hear some Kyuss and Soundgarden throughout which is always a good thing.
Best Tracks: You Can’t Stop Progress, Power Player, Electric Worry and Mr. Shiny Cadillackness
Electric Worry by Clutch

13. Sound Of Silver by LCD Soundsystem (DFA)

James Murphy and DFA are super cool and have the samples and album collections to prove it. James Murphy is like that guy you knew in college who talked about art theory, played experimental techno and was skinnier than a whippet while wearing an ironic cowboy shirt. He probably had his own show or worked at the cool indy record store, deridng the losers from Epitaph while worrying that the bands on killrockstars will sell out. Oh how I miss college. This is a great album by the LCD Soundsystem but it pales in comparison with their self titled debut. That always happens on every second album, well that is what Mr. Ironic Cowboy Shirt woudl have you believe.
Best Tracks: Get Innocuous, North American Scum, Watch the Tapes

North American Scum by LCD Soundsystem

12. Because Of The Times by Kings Of Leon (RCA)

Contrary to popular belief the Kings of Leon are not the greatest band in the world. The Followill brothers are maturing but haven't managed to put together a solid album from start to finish. Most of the tracks are merely decent but its true value comes from the handful of excellent singles contained within. One such example is Knocked Up which is an excellent song a great haunting melody and incredible vocals by Caleb Followill. I also really dig On Call and Ragoo with their groovy little licks. The song Fans was the Kings Of Leon’s first big hit and is a great single. I hope the boys from Nashville can keep it up.
Best Tracks: Knocked Up, On Call, Ragoo and Fans

Knocked Up by Kings of Leon

11. Ire Works by The Dillinger Escape Plan (Relapse Records)

There aren’t many bands making music like the Dillinger Escape Plan. They mix metal, hardcore, punk, post punk and jazz breaks with finesse, precision, aggression and creativity. The album starts out with the manic ferocity of their older albums but takes a dramatic shift with Black Bubblegum and its falsetto vocals and arena rock chorus much like Mike Patton and Faith No More. The album really starts rolling half way through with Nong Eye Gong. If you are interested in listening to some creative and original, look no further than the Dillinger Escape Plan.
Best Tracks: Black Bubblegum, Sick on Sunday, Nong Eye Gong, Milk Lizard

Black Bubblegum by Dillinger Escape Plan

Friday, November 14, 2008

33 and a 1/3

Seeing that it is almost 2009 it is high time to give you Big Ell's Top 20 Albums for 2007.

20. LP by Holy Fuck (XL)
Canada seems to be leading the rest of the Indy world with lots of top quality bands and tunes. I am not sure how to categorize Holy Fuck but they are easily one of the most original Canadian bands going. 21st century electronica from Toronto with some aggressive instrumentation and the drummer from Blue radio for fuck all.
Best Tracks: Milk Shake, Frenchy’s and Chopper

Milkshake- Holy Fuck

19. The Undisputed Truth by Brother Ali (Rhymesayers Entertainment )
Like I told TGR Albino Muslims rock the mic hard. Now I’ve found out that Brother Ali he is blind and looks a bit like this blogger. The politics are harder than Wellstone and who would have thought that beats like this could come from Minneapolis.
Shit the government is an addict, with a billion dollar a week kill brown people habit.
Best Tracks: Lookin’ at Me Sideways, Truth Is Here, Uncle Sam Goddamn

Truth is Here- Brother Ali

18. 100 Days, 100 Nights by Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings (Daptone)
Listening to Sharon Jones makes me wonder what all the fuss is about Amy Winehouse. Sharon Jones’ late 60s early 70s R&B vocals destroy Amy Winehouse and all the other pretenders out there today. She has the greatest voice in the business and plus you get the incredibly tight Dap-King beats.
Best Tracks: Nobody’s Baby, Tell Me, Be Easy, Keep on Looking and the Collection Song

Keep on Looking- Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

17. Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails (Universal Japan)
I never had a trench coat, not to say I don’t like them but I never had one. I’ve only really listened to one Trent Reznor disc and never got into the industrial music scene. This album by Trent Rezner is excellent even though a few tracks have been over played on local radio. It is supposed to be a concept album and I still like it, what are the odds?
Best Tracks: The Beginning of the End, Capital G and God Given

Capital G- Nine Inch Nails

16. An Ocean Apart by As I Lay Dying (Metal Blade)
More melodic vocals join the lightning quick twin guitar attack on this stellar release by As I Lay Dying. I dig most Metal Blade artists these days as I can’t seem to get enough Metal. My friend on CBC characterized these boys as Death Metal which shows that civil servant intellectuals shouldn’t talk about metal. These boys are straight from the speed metal or hardcore scene with a splash of classic metal.
Best Tracks: Nothing Left, An Ocean Between Us, Foresaken and Bury Us All

Foresaken by As I Lay Dying

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

33 and a 1/3

2007 was a phenomenal year for music. Last year, in the weak 2007, I found it difficult to find even 20 albums to contemplate for my list. This year I have ten honorable mentions that could have made the top ten in 2006. All of these albums are worth giving a listen to and come back in the next few days for the Top Twenty Countdown. What to expect from the top 20. There was more quality electronic music. There are much more high quality hard rock and heavy metal bands; almost like the late 1980s without the hair. There are tons of great rock and roll music from the indies to the majors. The most disappointing aspect of 2007 was weak ass hip hop. Well here are the bands that couldn’t make the cut, in no particular order. Album. artist and record labels for the neophytes.

Honorable Mention

Neon Bible by The Arcade Fire (Merge)

Good, Bad, Not Evil by Black Lips (Vice)

The Big Doe Rehab by Ghostface Killah (Def Jam)

Cross by Justice (Ed Banger/Vice)

Person Pitch by Panda Bear (Paw Tracks)

Return of the Mac by Prodigy (Koch/The Informers)

Era Vulgaris by Queens of the Stone Age (Interscope)

Ear Drum by Talib Kweli (Blacksmith)

From Here We Go Sublime by The Field (Kompakt)

In Defense of the Genre by Say Anything (RCA)

33 and 1/3

The Big Ell Movie

I ganked this from Des' blog and thought it was pretty cool.
Open your itunes/media player/winamp. Press play.
Make sure it's set to random play.
Type the title and artist, then move to the next question, and click the next button, and so on....

The soundtrack for the Big Ell movie:
  • Opening Credits: "Jesus, Etc." by Wilco (sweet, a little slow for me, oh well)
  • Waking Up: "Before the end of the Race" by Sloan (Not bad, a nice ditty from the Canadian indie rockers)
  • First Day At School: "When Fusion Ruled the Earth" by Spiderbait
  • Falling In Love: "A Little More for Little You" by the Hives (funny on so many different levels)
  • Fight Song: "Quality" by Talib Kweli (its no wonder I got my ass kicked)
  • Breaking Up: "Get it Together" by Jurassic 5 (not bad but this was a shit album)
  • Prom: "Selah" by Lauryn Hill
  • Life's Okay: "1970s" by the Stooges (awesome, fucking awesome, life is great!)
  • Mental Breakdown: "Jolene" by Dolly Parton (yes, I rock the Dolly from time to time, fuck you)
  • Driving: "Tainted" by Slum Village (I forgot how cool this track is and it's slow like my driving)
  • Flashback: "Yesterday" by Ray Charles (Yes it is a Beatles cover)
  • Getting Back Together: "Let's Impeach the President" by Neil Young
  • Wedding: "Keep them Coming" by Wayne Wonder (Yes a reggae wedding)
  • Birth of Child: "Rec-Room Therapy" by Ghostface Killah ("Bitches with baby fat swinging that")
  • Final Battle: "Baker Street" by Jerry Rafferty (wow, maybe we fight to the death with saxophones or in the courts)
  • Death Scene: "Kick the PA" by Korn and the Dust Brothers (Not bad, but not great, much like this idea)
  • Funeral Song: "Kon Karne" by MF Doom (funny, as this song has a nice piano run with what sounds like lazers shooting, classy)
  • End Credits: "I Don't Know For Sure" by Husker Du (fucking awesome and a great way to end the movie)
Here is some more Husker Du, cause I know you want it:

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wasting Time

With three posts in a month, Big Ell is on a roll. I will try to keep the momentum going with another installment of Wasting Time. This week I seem to have a music theme developing so I will continue with some excellent music links and videos.

My last post was about the Beijing Olympic theme song. In keeping with group sing a longs for a cause I have included the Hear N Aid All stars. USA for Africa had nothing on these guys. Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford and Don Dokken (among others) on the mic. Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister), Neal Schon (Journey) and Yngwie Malmsteen (among others) on guitars and lead a 3-4 minute long multiple guitar solo. Well here it is:

Back in the early 90s I attended the University of Calgary. I hated the school, thought it was shit and transferred. Traditionally one of the worst schools in Canada I finally have found the straw that broke the university’s reputation. I don’t give a toss about Nash, Game Theory or Minimum Acceptable Offers but Bon Scott kicks Brian Johnson’s ass every day and night from Cairns to Perth.

If you are in a band and play post punk tunes or just dig bands like Fugazi and Jawbreaker this is the amp for you.

The Motor City Madman is at it again. This video from a few days back is freaking hilarious. I can just imagine the reaction by Fox News if Kanye West held an asault rifle and threatened Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani in concert. Gotta love Ted Nugent even if he is insane.

This link has nothing to do with Music but I think I saw a few of these people at Rock Festivals around Taiwan this summer. I think Stalking Cat and Rick Genest work at either Hess or Gram English Centers.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

33 and a 1/3

I have lived in Taiwan for a long time and usually avoided live music like the plague. This was not because I hate live music but because most of the music I heard wasn't that great. Taiwanese-Chinese Pop music , like most popular music, doesn't do that much for me. I also was never very impressed with many of the foreign bands that play at foreign pubs and clubs scattered across Taiwan. These bands actually drove me to start listening to electronic music which I hated before coming to Taiwan. I also live out of the city and rarely make it to the city. As I mentioned before I managed to see a lot of bands this summer and the music scene has improved. Here is a recap of the best bands I saw.

One of the bands that stood out from the rest was Boogie Chillin. I had seen them a few times before but they now have a new lineup. I think the old lineup was better, they had a great singer and also played some funk. I am not a huge fan of the Blues but can appreciate great lead guitar. The new Boogie Chillin has a heavier sound and great guitar. They now remind me a lot of Canadian band Big Sugar without the great suits. They also played a great cover of Grange by ZZ Top at the SOGO Food Fest. They also seemed to have the biggest crowd at Peacefest and the most 'buzz.' Anyway here is a Youtube clip of Boogie Chillin from the now defunct 89K bar in Taichung. This is the old lineup.

One thing I learned this summer is that Folk Music is very popular amongst ex-pat bands in Taiwan. I managed to see and listen to a staggeringly large number of folk bands this summer. One of the highlights was at Peacefest, where a folk singer kept yelling between songs "We need bass player and bongo drums! Come on join the jam! We need bass and bongo drum!" Folk Music usually makes me want to stick ice picks in my ears while pouring peroxide into my eye sockets. So it is hard for me to judge what is good or bad. I just had the overwhelming urge to do this:

I did hear one very good band form Taichung called the Black Lung Inner City Choir. I heard this three piece band three times and they never disappointed. They didn't jam and actually played songs. Their songs had nice melodies, interesting lyrics and they seemed to be having a good time on stage. You knew they had done it before and this wasn't the first time they were on stage. Which must make them the exception and not the norm amongst Taiwan bands. Here is their Myspace site with some songs. I also saw some folk band called "three cat moan," or something like that, who sounded good but I was pretty drunk.

Point 22 is another talented trio from Taichung. I enjoyed them even more each time I saw them. They kind of remind me a little of Ween and Modest Mouse and are tighter than a nun's, well you know the rest. I was sure they had a song with a Deep Purple riff. So I asked the drummer Pete if it was indeed true. He looked at me like I was on crack, nope I was drunk. So I came back and listened to their few tracks on My Space and realize that yes I am an idiot. Although I still think the intro to Bang has some Highway Star style, if only for a few seconds.

I also caught a band that was probably the oldest ex-pat in Taiwan called David Chen and the Muddy Basin Ramblers. They are different from most of the other bands and not because of their age but because they are a jug band. I don't know anything about jug music. The only musician I've seen play a washboard was Skid Roper who played with Mojo Nixon. I implore people to check out this band as they are a ton of fun. They are from from Taipei and played a lively and entertaining set at Peacefest. Here is a clip from Youtube.

One of the highlights of the summer was getting to finally see Rocket Grrl. I have watched a few of their clips on Youtube but never managed to see the power of Rocket Grrl in person. I may have been drunk and sick to death of the onslaught of root/reggae and folk rock but their loud psychedelic jams had me cheering. They are probably the heaviest band in Taiwan apart from another band that sounded a bit like Isis. They also have a stage show, costumes and what appeared to be groupies. They also seemed to piss off all the hippies and ravers which made me very happy. They are worth checking out if they are playing near you.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

33 and a 1/3

Big Ell's Top Ten 2006 II

Here are my top 10 albums of the year. A bleak and dark theme for 2006. Not the much different than 2005 and I am predicting more of the same in 2007. But that's the great thing about music it is always changing and you never know what's coming.

Big Ell's Top 10

10. Converge- No Heroes

Converge is a band that have been around for over 12 years However, No Heroes is the first album I have heard from these guys. I was impressed with their blend of heavy metal and hardcore punk. They almost veer into black metal territory but the speed is a constant. I am not really sure where they fit but it was a nice change to hear such melodic aggression. Now is definetly the time to fill up on the extensive Converge back catalog.

9. Vitalic- OK Cowboy

Vitalic is Pascal Arbez's invented back story of being a Ukrainian trubcka player and occasional gigolo from a family of sea otter fur traders. That just about says it all. Electronic music seems to be getting worse as I get older. Or it is because I am consuming far less drugs. Anyway OK Cowboy bucks the trends in DJ music with some wicked guitar samples over funky hard beats. He seems to have captrued that old Daft Punk like creativity. It even has the best album cover of the year. It sure makes me want to do a mitt full of hard drugs again and again.

8. Pearl Jam- Pearl Jam

Like Sinatra and Sid, Pearl Jam always did it 'My Way.' This is Pearl Jam’s best album in a long time. The first three tracks are killer and represent catchy rock and roll at its finest. This is easily their best album since Ten. They start off fast and angry and then settle down at the half way point. There are also some outstanding stripped down rock tracks for the second half. As always the band plays first rate music. Eddie Veddar's emotional lyrics cap off a great album.

7. The Roots- Game Theory

The Roots are always critical faves and commercial disappointments. Despite moving to Def Jam, Game Theory, is another outstanding album that has failed to deliver commerically. But who really cares anyway that the masses are missing out on. the Roots. The Roots deliver a solid dark album exploring themes of violence, anxiety and despair. Black Thought is at his lyrical best attacking and persuading. Yet they keep it up beat with bouncy with Funkadelic-like beats and energy. Game Theory will take a few listens to grab your attention. Easily one if the best of the year.

6. Gnarls Barkley- St. Elsewhere

Producer Danger Mouse had another big year critically and commerically. Danger Mouse surpassed his successes with the Gorillas with St. Elsehwere. But to be honest Gnarls Barkley would be know where without singer Cee-Lo Brown. Brown took the music world by storm with the best Neo-Soul sound around. St. Elsewhere is one of the most popular albums of the year and easily the catchiest album of the year. It was probably the most remixed album of the year. Crazy was easily the biggest single of the year as well. A huge album that didn’t disappoint.

5. Ghostface Killah- Fishscale

Ghostafce Killah delivered in 2006 with Fishscale. Ghostface Killah is one of the original members of the influential Wu Tang Clan. He apppeared to be losing it with a few sub standard albums. Hip hop is littered with many artists who are one or two hit wonders. It seems that once the downward fall begins it is difficult or impossible to reverse. Well Fishscale reversed this trend in a big way with tons of great tracks. Ghostface loves rapping over fairly obscure 70s soul samples and has some great songs like Shakey Dog and Be Eazy. When Ghostface is on his game very few MCs can compete.

4. Slayer- Christ Illusion

2006 was defintely the year of Slayer with the National Day of Slayer in July and a kick ass comeback album. Slayer hasn’t doesn’t this well since Seasons in The Abyss. The album rarely relents and keeps coming. It is no coincidence that Slayer’s return to the metal elite coincides with the return of drummer Dave Lombardi. They never really replaced him and it is hard to find drummer to match the intensity of Arraya, King and Hanneman. Slayer is one of the few acts that haven't slowed down or sold out. Who else is singing about Terrorism/Islam/Christianity/Iraq. My goal this year is to see them on tour again.

3. The Hold Steady- Girls and Boys in America

Minneapolis rockers, the Hold Steady were a major find for Big Ell in 2006. Again, I blame Taiwan for the fact that it took me three albums to find these guys. They are a kind of mix of the E Street Band, Thin Lizzy, and Husker Du if that is possible. So many top shelf tunes with Massive Nights and Hot Soft Light being Big Ell Faves. They sing mainly about doing drugs and getting drunk, which is fine by me. Better drinking tunes I haven’t heard in awhile. The lyrics remind me a lot of my younger days when I would wake up with my shoelaces on fire on the floor of a bathroom. Then stupidly drive home.

2. Mastodon- Blood Mountain

I blame Taiwan for missing out on Mastodon. I would never have missed Leviathan (their 2004 realease) which is even better than Blood Mountain. Leviathan is a very loud trip. However, Blood Mountain is a slightly different trip with different speeds and tempos but the same intensity. I have been waiting for a band like this for years. Screaming fucking guitars and guttural vocals were the theme in 2006 for Big Ell. I can’t believe how much I liked this album and found myself downloading behind the scenes specials on Youtube. Mastodon is a truly talented group of musicians who rock fucking hard. Hopefully this young band can keep it coming.

1. Clipse- Hell Hath No Fury

This is genius gangsta rap from Virginia produced by the Neptunes. A match mad in hip hop heaven. The cleverest tales of slangin’ crack and pimpin whores since Eazy E. The Thornton brothers and The Neptunes go way back to create remarkable soundscapes over dire lyrics. The Neptunes bare little resemblance to their normal selves. Putting out great beats rather than the rest of the crap they get rich off on top 40 radio. The Clipse has the whole package. But the real strength of this album are the poetic tales that rise and roll throughout. Hell Hath No Fury starts off a bit slowly but really starts moving a 1/3 of the way through. Not one dud song which is unheard of in hop hop these days. Dirty Money, Wamp Wamp, Ain’t Cha, and Trill would all be album defining songs on most discs.

Friday, January 05, 2007

33 and a 1/3

Big Ell's Best Of 2006

2006 was an excellent year in music. When I was writing my 2005 year in review (never finished) I found it hard to find any decent albums to make the list. This year there were lots of top shelf releases in many different genres. It was a nice mix of old, new and with some comebacks thrown in for good measure. For the next few days (I hope), I am going to look at the top releases for 2006. I will begin with the albums that failed to make my final cut.

Honorable Mention:

Eagles of Death Metal-Death by Sexy

Death by Sexy is not the greatest album but has some decent tracks. I am a sucker for anything by Mark Lanegan and Josh Homme (even if he is playing the drums). This album kept me satiated in 2006 for the new Queens of the Stone Age album that is duews out sometime in 2007.

The Falcon- Unicornography

2006 was another abysmal year in punk music. The Falcon was the only punk album under consideration. I long for the return of some decent punk. Punk was the first music genre that I truly embraced. Even though I was suburban poseur it was nice to hear bands screaming and wailing about something. Now it seems that punk rock has been consumed by corporations. Who pump out endless records of stale music for the shitty mall rat poseur set. Anyway, the Falcon rock and do are a throwback to the old days.

Lupe Fiasco- Food and Liquor

This is Hip Hop for the backpack wearing skateboard set. Lots of folks really dug this album and he does flow like a young Jay Z. To be honest I only really liked this album. It does have soem great lyrics and Kick Push is a pretty catchy track even though it is about a love affair between a skater boy and skater girl.

Killswitch Engage- As Daylight Dies

This probably would have made the top ten but I found it in late December and have not listened to it enough. I like the mix of screaming and singing and the brutal guitar riffs are breathtaking. I was never much into grindcore but it seems to be a happy antidote to the sugar sweet soft music I am forced to endure in Taiwan.

Bob Dylan- Modern Times

Maybe I am getting old but I really dug this album. Normally I would rather have my eyes stabbed than listen to any kind of folk music. This is why I pretty much hated most of Dylan’s stuff. I always appreciated his talent but his nasally voice didn't do much for me. But I really liked this album especially when he's perving on Alicia Keys. Dirty old man.

J Dilla (Jay Dee)- Donuts

Donuts is a rapid fire mix of over 30 tracks with Motown beats. I don't think any of the songs last more than two minutes. This album rocks and reminds a bit of Madvillian. Jay Dee died just after its release which seems to happen a lot when you are a hip hop fan. I don't think he was shot by anybody and he will be missed. RIP Jay Dee.

Ali Farka Toure- Savane

I saw Ali Farka Toure years ago at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver. It was a truly excellent show and his new albums is solid. from top to bottom. Savane has many highlights and I am not even a huge fan of the blues. Ali Farka Toure also died this year and will be missed. RIP to Mali's finest, a true bluesman.

TI- King

Like almost every hip hop album TI has plenty of misses but this album also has many hits. The beats are pretty regular, dirty south-timbaland style club jams but TI takes it to another level with his mic stylings. He really shines on a lot of tracks even if the lyrics on many others are inane. If i was cool and had a pimped out caddillac this is what I would be listening to.

Isis- In the Absence of Truth

I had never heard of Isis before this year and they were a revelation. Spacey metal riffs with understated grind core vocals. Kind of like progressive rock for the grind core set, if you know what I mean.The more I listen to this album the more impressed I am. This will take some listening to but it grows on you, like pork floss in your congee.

Muse- Black Holes and Revelations

My friend Lee turned me onto these guys a few years back with their solid album Absolution. This is a solid album and almost made the top ten. They are trying to be different and have all sorts of interesting sounds and influences all over the album. My only problem is that I can't shake the Radiohead flashbacks.