Music Monday: Record Store Day 2014

Posted in Music on March 31st, 2014 by Nick

record2Good news, audio geeks – Record Store Day 2014 (RSD) is less than a month away! For the uninitiated, Record Store Day is a day where independent record stores celebrate the fact that they still exist. That sounds harsh in a way, but it’s a day truly worth celebrating. Bands put out special RSD releases and stores promise to have these exclusives available on the chosen day and to not hawk them online before then for more monies.

This year, RSD ’14 will take place on Saturday, April 19th (aka, Easter Weekend). Even if you’ve never heard of RSD before, be assured that it happens everywhere and not just in major cities like New York or San Francisco. Every state has a list of record stores participating in the fun and you can look them up by state here. Needless to say, if you own a record player or even if you’re simply a collector – RSD is good. Very good.

For a full list of exclusive releases, head here, but I thought I’d showcase some of the records I’m looking forward to getting my grubby little paws on (OK, “grubby” was the first word that came to mind here, but I just went and looked it up and it literally means “infested with fly maggots.” I might as well leave the word in. I’ve already come this far. Yes, I realize I sound like Shoshanna.). Anyways:


JakeBuggJake Bugg – Live at Silver Platters

Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: Island Def Jam
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
More Info:

Recorded live January 20, 2014 at Silver Platters in Seattle, Wash.

Tracks: “There’s A Beast”, “Trouble Town”, “Lightning Bolt”, “Storm Passes”

 

cccCreedence Clearwater Revival – The ’69 Singles

Format: 10″ Vinyl
Label: Concord
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
More Info:

10″ white vinyl of all 4 singles released in 1969 (A and B sides); 120g

Tracks: SIDE 1: “Mary”, “Born On The Bayou”, “Bad Moon Rising”, “Lodi” SIDE 2: “Green River”, “Commotion”, “Down On The Corner”, “Fortunate Son”

doorsThe Doors – Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine

Label: Rhino
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
More Info:

Reissue on amber vinyl of the 1972 Elektra Records release. It was the second compilation by the group and the first release following the death of Jim Morrison. It features the first album release of two B-sides, Willie Dixon’s “(You Need Meat) Don’t Go No Further,” sung by Ray Manzarek, originally on the flip side of the 1971 45 “Love Her Madly,” and the beautiful “Who Scared You,” “Wishful Sinful”‘s flip with Jim Morrison on vocals from a session in 1969. Both are worthwhile additions not found on their first “greatest hits” collection.

fishboneFishbone – Self-titled

Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: Asbestos
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
More Info:

Reissue of their classic first album, available for the first time on LP in nearly 30 years. Contains their hit singles “UGLY,” “Party at Ground Zero,” and “Lyin Ass Bitch.”

 

julieThe Julie Ruin – Brightside/In The Picture

Format: 7″ Vinyl
Label: Julie Ruin Records
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
More Info:

Two unreleased songs , limited to a one time pressing of 2000.

 

 

 

poguesThe Pogues – Live With Joe Strummer

Label: Rhino
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
More Info:

The legendary live show recorded in 1991 at the London Forum during Shane MacGowan’s hiatus from the band with his initial replacement, Joe Strummer. This previously unreleased material is contained in the recently released “Pogues 30″ box which is available in the US only on import. This is the first vinyl, only physical release in the US of this album.

 

VSVeruca Salt – Veruca Salt

Format: 7″ Vinyl
Label: Minty Fresh
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
More Info:

Seether +2 new songs from the original band members.

“Seether,” “It’s Holy,” “The Museum Of Broken Relationships”

 

 

garbGarbage ft. Brody Dalle – Girls Talk Shit

Format: 10″ Vinyl
Label: StunVolume
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
More Info:

“Girls Talk Shit” and “Time Will Destroy Everything” (the latter being a Garbage b-side that has been rumored, but not yet released).

 

 

So that’s what I’ll be looking for April 19th! Again, for the full list, take a peek here.

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC STORES AND SUPPORT ARTISTS!

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Brody Dalle’s Back: Hear the New Single ‘Meet the Foetus / Oh the Joy’

Posted in Music on February 13th, 2014 by Nick

2014BrodyDalle_Press_ChapmanBaehler110214Ever since seeing The Distillers live in 2002 on No Doubt’s Rock Steady tour, I’ve been a die hard Brody Dalle fan. No matter what the project, Dalle has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. After The Distillers disbanded…well, I was sad and moped a lot. But then came Spinnerette – the first of Dalle’s solo efforts, put together with friend and multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes. The album turned out to be a move away from punk and a segue into alternative rock. Dalle seemed less conflicted and bitter, while never shedding her Fuck You-attitude.

Now, she’s back once again, only this time under her own name. The first single has just been released and though it’s more Spinnerette than Distillers, it still has the former punk’s stamp all over it.

Check out “Meet the Foetus / Oh the Joy” here:

The as-yet-untitled album will feature Alain Johannes, Michael Shuman of Queens of the Stone Age, and Shirley Manson of Garbage. It will most likely kick fucking ass, too.

And catch Dalle on tour if you can (c’mon East Coast date!):

02-16-14 Long Beach USA Alex’s Bar SOLD OUT
02-17-14 San Diego USA Casbah SOLD OUT
02-24-14 London UK Hoxton Bar and Kitchen SOLD OUT
02-27-14 Berlin Germany Magnet SOLD OUT
03-06-14 Sydney Australia Entertainment Centre BUY NOW
03-07-14 Sydney Australia Entertainment Centre BUY NOW
03-08-14 Newcastle Australia Entertainment Centre BUY NOW
03-11-14 Perth Australia Arena BUY NOW
03-13-14 Adelaide Australia AEC Arena BUY NOW
03-14-14 Melbourne Australia Rod Laver Arena BUY NOW
03-15-14 Melbourne Australia Rod Laver Arena BUY NOW
03-17-14 Brisbane Australia Entertainment Centre BUY NOW
03-19-14 Auckland New Zealand Vector Arena BUY NOW
03-20-14 Wellington New Zealand TSB Bank Arena BUY NOW
03-22-14 Christchurch New Zealand CBS Arena BUY NOW
08-12-14 Budapest Hungary Sziget BUY NOW
08-17-14 Biddinghuizen Holland Lowlands Festival
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Music Monday: Garbage and Screaming Females – ‘Because the Night’ Cover

Posted in Music on May 13th, 2013 by Nick

It’s no surprise that I think Garbage is one of the best rock bands in recent music history. (No, really. We should all be bowing down to their excellence on a daily basis.) Gushing aside, it’s important that great bands be able to pull off great covers – and Garbage has accomplished this with new pals and up-and-comers Screaming Females on this recent cover of Patti Smith’s “Because the Night.”

The track was recorded for a special Record Store Day 10-inch that the band released in April. With Screaming Females opening for them at the time, the collaboration seemed to be fated. Shirley Manson’s vocals pair well with Marisa Paternoster’s signature scowl – the perfect crooning ying to Paternoster’s angsty yang.  And that’s not even mentioning the mindfuckingly insane shredding that the Screaming Females frontwoman adds to the track.

Check out the official video for “Because the Night” below:

 
The track is available on iTunes and also on the 10-inch in record stores around the country.

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Garbage Live at the Wellmont Theater – 3/20/13

Posted in Live Shows, Music on March 21st, 2013 by Nick

Music Monday was skipped this week, mostly because I was only listening to Garbage on repeat in order to prep for their live show yesterday, March 20, at the Wellmont Theater. It was my fourth Garbage outing and needless to say, it was pretty fucking amazing. So I skipped the post Monday, only to inevitably write about them mere days later. Because they are fantastic. And they’re alive and kicking. And you should love them.

Garbage has withstood the test of time. They survived the grunge period of the mid-90’s and added their own semi-electronic, hyperactive spin to it. They powered through the late 90’s/early 00’s, when music was being dominated by shitty boy bands and lip-synching Britneys. After a hiatus in 2005, the band has returned stronger than ever with their fifth full-length album, Not Your Kind of People, my #3 pick for 2012 (though it probably should’ve been 1 or 2).

The show at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, N.J. might’ve been my favorite set of the four I’ve seen. The band is exuding a happiness and confidence lately, and it’s contagious as hell. Every time they play, you feel connected to them, rather than just their paycheck, a tiny cog in their machine. They’re dark, dismal, enraged, heavy, and filled with attitude and it makes their live show a delight to catch. And they’re sincere and gracious as fuck, and I love that about them too.

Here are a couple photos and videos from the night, including a duet jam with Marisa Paternoster, from Screaming Females. (It’s a cover of Patti Smith’s “Because the Night” that they recorded together for a Record Store Day release). At the very bottom, the full setlist from the show.

Garbage hits NYC Friday with a sold out Terminal 5 show, and then are off to Philly and Boston, which I don’t care so much about because I’m sad I can’t go to all of them. See their show if you can. You won’t regret it.

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Of course, all of these photos and videos were recorded on an iPhone 4. Professional, these are not.

The Setlist:

Supervixen
Queer
Blood for Poppies
Push It
Metal Heart
Control
Why Do You Love Me
#1 Crush
I Think I’m Paranoid
Special
Milk
When I Grow Up
(Fan Shannon on stage)
The Trick is to Keep Breathing
Cherry Lips
Vow
You Look So fine
Only Happy When It Rains
———–
Because the Night (Patti Smith cover) w/Marissa Patternoster
Stupid Girl
Beloved Freak

If Shannon is somewhere out there – I have pics of you on stage! Leave me a comment or tweet me!

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TLW’s Top 10 Albums of 2012

Posted in Music on January 2nd, 2013 by Nick

Happy New Year, gentle readers!

I don’t care what the fogies or hipsters say: 2012 was a great year for music. Music never dies and if you put the time and effort in, there is greatness to be had and discovered. Although this list has quite a few returning favorites, there are also some breakout hits, new artists, and other nuggets of excellence in my Top 10 this year. As I usually disclaim, my Top 10 and subsequent Honorable Mentions are chosen with all of the following criteria in mind: personal faves (cuz this is my blog and fuck you), critical reception, public opinion, and overall badassery. I love all genres equally, so I like to have a list that is representative and eclectic, while still abiding by my ignorant, yet justified creed that Country music is just something that dumb people have imagined in their tiny little brains.

Awkward transition. Enough already, right? Here we go:

10: Walk the Moon – Walk the Moon

Walk_the_Moon_AlbumBased in Cincinnati, Ohio, this four-some Pop Rock outfit is definitely an up-and-comer. Their melodies are infectious, sometimes sugary, but never wavering in attitude. It’s dance-rock at its finest – a definite party starter. The band also gets bonus points for pulling out tunes like Bowie’s “Lets Dance” and Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” live. Their shows are visual representations of everything the album showcases: vibrant riffs, larger-than-life sing-along choruses, and energy to the max. They may be young, but with a successful follow-up, they could very well become the next Killers. I wouldn’t count them out for a second.
Hear Here: Anna Sun, Jenny, I Can Lift A Car

9. Screaming Females – Ugly

Screaming_Female's_Ugly_album_coverScreaming Females leading lady Marissa Paternoster means business. She’s the band’s only screaming female, in fact, screeching and shredding her band through angsty punk and hard rock cuts album after album. Paternoster even made SPIN’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time – no surprise to anyone who’s seen the band’s live show. Ugly is their fifth official effort and is all the proof one needs to recognize these guys as a cohesive rock powerhouse. Though earlier albums are rawer and messier, Ugly shows growth without losing edge. Take a bite, bang your head, scream along.
Hear Here: It All Means Nothing, Doom 84, Extinction

8. The Killers – Battle Born

The_Killers_-_Battle_BornBattle Born is the album The Killers have been waiting to make their entire career. Having started with Hot Fuss, a youthful romp through New Wave and Pop, the band then traversed through Springsteen-esque rock, steel drums, saxophones and more, eventually landing to the Battle Born era of huge Arena Rock songs, bolstered by Flowers’ booming vocals. It’s a slow burn, but those that put in the effort are rewarded with an album that just feels huge, undoubtedly able to fill the large scale arenas and venues that The Killers always wished they would play. In a world where Kings and Keys grow up and gain traction while losing….something…The Killers have grown and matured without ever sacrificing artistic integrity. This album may not land on many top lists from this year, but it should.
Hear Here: Flesh and Bone, Runaways, Battle Born

7. Emeli Sandé – Our Version of Events

Emeli-Sande-Our-Version-Of-EventsEmili Sandé is somewhat of an Ellie Goulding-type story. America will catch up later, rather than sooner and that’s a shame. Sandé has played in both the Opening and Closing ceremonies at the London Olympics. She’s written songs for Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Cheryl Cole, Tinie Tempah, and more. The Scottish singer’s album peaked at number one in the UK shortly after its February release. After all this and countless television appearances, she’s still yet to make a huge “Lights”-like explosion across the pond. Regardless, Our Version of Events is one of the best R&B albums in recent years. Her voice is powerful, packed with the emotion of her own music and lyrics (the singer states that she never wanted to be an artist who performed other people’s music). Though a “new” artist, she sounds wise beyond her 25 years.
Hear Here: Heaven, My Kind of Love, Breaking the Law

6. Tame Impala – Lonerism

Tame_Impala_Lonerism_CoverEvery couple of years an album is released that sounds like it was found hidden in a time capsule buried in the 60’s, yearning for the present day to come to its senses and discover it. Welcome to Lonerism, an album that sounds so intimately connected with the zeitgeist of the past after canoodling with the sounds of The Beatles, The Who, and Pink Floyd, and more. Hell, it even sounds like Floyd members played on this record. Its influences ooze throughout every song, with the support of modern song structures and arrangements, psychedelic keys and synths, and undulating tempos. It zigs and zags throughout its 52-minute trip, dipping into the past and the present, simultaneously. It’s a divine, near-perfect listen. If you missed this one in 2012, you missed out.
Hear Here: Apocalypse Dreams, Endors Toi, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

5. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

Cloud_Nothings_Attack_on_Memory_album_coverCloud Nothings are a great tale of Indie Rock awesomeness. Originally starting as a solo project in the basement of singer Dylan Baldi’s parents house, Baldi recorded in GarageBand and posted on MySpace under several different fake band names. Cloud Nothings was one of them. A couple years, three band members, and one record deal later, Cloud Nothings released Attack on Memory, the third official release, on Carpark Records. It’s everything you’d want from a true indie band: An authentic garage feel, dark and desperate lyrics and themes, and relentless energy as the album unapologetically stomps through a meager 34-minute run. You’ll play it once and immediately spin it again. Though youthful, short and sweet, the album is just as calculated, precise and determined. Look no further than “Wasted Days” – a track about not living up to your own potential and expectations. When Baldi screams “I thought I would be more than this” at the end of the nine-minute rager, you’ll get the chills.
Hear Here: Wasted Days, No Future/No Past, Separation

4. Jack White – Blunderbuss

Jack_White-BlunderbussHasn’t everyone drank the Jack White Kool-Aid by now? Make no mistake, White is a sensational song-writer, musician, and rock star. In fact, he’s one of the few true rock stars we have left. With Blunderbuss, White finally settles into his solo groove with a polished collection of tracks that he wrote, recorded, and produced entirely by himself. He’s one of the few Jack-of-all-trades the industry has left and Blunderbuss goes to show exactly what White is still capable of: White Stripes-esque rockers like “Sixteen Saltines,” slower introspective tracks like “Love Interruption,” and the ever-so-slight twang of the title track. The best part about Blunderbuss? The confirmation that if he can’t scratch an itch with The Dead Weather or The Raconteurs, he’ll set out on his own. There’s seemingly no stopping him and no limit to what the man can do. And only good can come from a restless spirit like White.
Hear Here: Sixteen Saltines, Trash Tongue Talker, Weep Themselves to Sleep

3. Garbage – Not Your Kind of People

garbageFree from the oppressive rule of a major label, Garbage is currently making some of the best music of their career. Impressive, though it’s not like they weren’t around the block before (Butch Vig, anyone?). Releasing this album under their own StunVolume, Not Your Kind of People feels like Garbage circa the 90’s: the production is slick (as always), the drums are mean, and Shirley Manson’s lyrics are dark, foreboding, and real, forging a bond with its audience. And those guitars on “Blood for Poppies”? What’s not to love? A lot of bands calm down by the fifth or sixth album, unplugging their guitars for quieter fare. Garbage are not those kind of people. They’re not afraid to make a balls-out, heavy and electrified track like “Battle in Me,” and I fucking love them for it. These four are a group of seasoned, under-appreciated professionals and Not Your Kind of People deserved way more fanfare, way more critical praise, and way more time in the spotlight than it was given this year. I won’t make that mistake here.
Hear HereAutomatic Systematic Habit, Battle in Me, Beloved Freak

2. Santigold – Master of My Make-Believe

220px-Santigold_-_Master_of_My_Make-BelieveIf Santigold (née Santi White, Santogold) releases an album, you put it on your top albums list. Plain and simple. No other artist is doing what she’s doing on the music scene right now, nor doing it with such grandiose artistry. Master of My Make-Believe picks up right where her debut left off, with beautiful arrangements and funky beats (thanks in part to a slew of producers including Switch, Diplo, Nick Zinner, Greg Kurstin, and more). She’s quite possibly the most eclectic artist of late as well, masterfully blending rock, pop, hip-hop, funk, and more into her own genreless concoction. Whether listening to the fierce, bouncy single “Go!” (featuring Karen O), the airy, lulling “Disparate Youth” or the bass-bumping “Look at These Hoes,” there is no mistake that you’re listening to a Santigold record, no matter how diverse the sound or message. It’s the glory of being caught off-guard; of strapping in and letting her take you for a ride from beginning to end. It’s always a breath of fresh air.
Hear Here: Disparate Youth, Go!, The Keepers

1. Fiona Apple –The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Fiona-Apple-The-Idler-Wheel-album-cover-300x3001When Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel released back in June, I had a pretty good idea that the album would land in my Top 3 this year. As the months went by, I couldn’t shake or match that excitement. I praised it left and right in conversation, at live shows and here on the blog. What Apple accomplished tops anything else she’s ever done: it’s musically complex and puzzling, it’s terrifyingly honest, it’s dark. It’s everything we’ve ever come to love about Fiona Apple and her music, magnified. The album’s arrangements zig when you think they will zag. On first listen, the melodies are hard to grasp, yet they wash over you, leaving listeners with nothing to do but accept them and cling to them. Apple shows maturity here, both in her songwriting and her demeanor. She accepts her life as is without trying to make excuses. She’s come a long way from her “Criminal” days, and The Idler Wheel is Exhibit A, B, and C. Though it feels somewhat unsettling to listen to at times, it’s a sigh of relief that artists are still making music this interesting and this real.
Hear Here: Left Alone, Jonathan, Daredevil

Honorable Mentions: If I wasn’t such a lazy blogger, I’d expand this list to a Top 20. Here are some honorable mentions that I loved this year, but fell slightly short of the Top 10:

Mika – The Origin of Love
Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls
Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Bruno Mars – Unorthodox Jukebox
Nada Surf – The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy
Muse – The Second Law
Chairlift – Something
Green Day – Uno!

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Goodies Giveaway: Garbage – ‘Not Your Kind of People’

Posted in Goodies Giveaway, Music on May 31st, 2012 by Nick

It’s that time again: time to give away some free shit! Here at The Winz, we like to promote albums, movies and TV shows that we truly, deeply support and want to share. Garbage’s Not Your Kind of People is just that: an album to be celebrated from a personal fave of mine.

So a free copy is up for grabs, and it’ll only take you a few clicks to enter:

1) Follow @LittlestWinslow on Twitter.

2) Tweet the following (or RT it from our Twitter page):

#GarbageGoodiesGiveaway Win a copy of the new @garbage album! Follow @LittlestWinslow and RT. Contest details here: http://bit.ly/MbMZza

All entries must contain the hashtag above to be considered. U.S. only, please. Contest will end Friday, June 8 and prize will be sent the following Monday.

Good luck!

*EDIT* – Congratulations to Amy for winning a copy of the new Garbage album! Enjoy! And thanks to everyone who entered!

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New York: I love you, I hate you

Posted in Live Shows, Music on May 24th, 2012 by Nick

Having grown up and attended college in Southern Connecticut , I’ve always had the luxury of having New York City in my backyard. One painless 60-minute train ride, or the equivalent time necessary to slam 3-5 beers, and BAM – I’m dumped smack dab in the middle of the greatest city ever. People literally travel around the world to come to a place I can get to in one measly hour, on a whim. And I don’t have to spend four grand a month on rent to enjoy it.

You surely don’t need me to tell you all of the pros New York has to offer: bars, Broadway….bars! The culture, varying neighborhoods and feel of this city are simply unparalleled. As a music fan and professional concert attendee, living close to New York is a sure-shot way to seeing almost every live act one desires (Connecticut often gets skipped on the road to Boston and vice-versa). It’s an instant-manifestation scenario – think of a band you’re dying to see and it will happen. As much as I love catching shows here, it does come with its own baggage: Pretentious music fans who don’t know how to have fun. And for that, New York, I hate you.

Now hear me out.

Last I checked, people went out for shows to have fun, drink, go crazy, and experience something, not to be dead on the inside and out. At the last three New York shows I went to, the crowd was not only unfeeling, but carried a bullshit attitude with them throughout the entire set. Bands notice this and it can sometimes affect the entire night. Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds noticed this and made quips about it throughout their November 4th performance at Webster Hall. “You know we do this for you guys, right!?” she asked us. For shame!

The crowd at Tuesday’s Garbage show, also at Webster, was just as stale. Shirley Manson took notice. She mentioned New York being a “tough crowd.” “But for some reason…we keep coming back.” As if they have a choice. Still, it took the crowd 15 songs to show any sign of life, even after Manson’s comments. Fifteen!

Live music is a treat, and energy should be cyclical. Artists aren’t mere animals in a cage. Sure, we often pay good money to see bands live and our expectations are usually high. But WAKE UP, NEW YORK. You’ve gotta give a little, to get a little. Show the band you give a shit and if that band cares for their fans at all, you’re likely to witness an unforgettable, mindfucking spectacle.

For the record, this is not to say that I’ve never witnessed a lively New York bunch, but I beg you, New York: Let your hair down. Do your homework and know the music. Forget about appearances. Spare me your humblebrags about how you freelance at Rolling Stone and could’ve been “up there” in the press area (GAG!). To quote Cordelia Chase: “Whatever is causing the Joan Collins ‘tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it.” And once you get over yourself, come find me and say ‘Hi!’. I’ll be the guy towards the front with his arms in the air and smile plastered on his face, having the time of his life.

It is a concert, after all.

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Garbage Returns with ‘Blood for Poppies’ Video

Posted in Music on April 4th, 2012 by Nick

Things that are facts in this very universe:

1) Garbage is better than whatever you are listening to at this moment.
2) Garbage is BACK (!!)
3) …with this new single and video called “Blood for Poppies.”
4) Their new album is out in May and it’s called “Not Your Kind of People.”
5) You should listen to this song. Right. Now.

I love the track, but it definitely had to grow on me. The video makes me think it’s 1995 and I’m still 12 and watching MTV. It’s random, quirky, black and white…all good things.

Thoughts?

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TLW Presents: The Top 10 Albums of 2011

Posted in Music on January 3rd, 2012 by Nick

Hey now – it’s another presumptuous and pretentious Top 10 of 2011 list! Well…yeah. Fuck you. But how can I not? In true Littlest Winslow form, this post is being presented all 2012-style. But hey – last year I posted this in March. (Really, Nick? Fucking March? I couldn’t be bothered to type something up quicker than that? It’s no wonder I have like 10 readers. At least 10!) I’m going to try to keep this short and snappy – and as always – holler at me with your picks or to tell me what an asshole I am.

I’ll put my thing down, flip it, and reverse it.

10. Lady Gaga – Born This Way

It’s hard to leave Gaga off this list. She’s basically like the modern day Madonna – ubiquitous, unavoidable, trend-setting. Although the album A) wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, B) wasn’t as huge as I thought it would be, and C) was slightly too flamboyant, I still have to give the Queen-in-training credit simply for the amount of times I blasted “The Edge of Glory” on repeat in my car while jammin’ to the sweet, sweet sax of Clarence Clemons (RIP). Gaga has staying power, man. You may hate Pop and you may hate her, but she is a head turner. No doubt. Best Tracks: “Marry the Night,” “The Edge of Glory,” “You and I”

 

9. The Decemberists – The King is Dead

The Decemberists are perhaps one of the most consistent bands of our time. Every effort is just as strong as the last. And man, do they pack a punch. All members are multi-instrumentalists and they harmonize like beautiful angels flying oh, so high in the sky. The King is Dead is Indie Folk at its best. In a year that was primarily dominated by Indie Pop and Hard Rock, the Decemberists hold their own here. Ten tracks. Short, sweet, polished. Best Tracks: There are really no throwaways here. However: “Don’t Carry It All,” “Calamity Song,” and “Down by the Water” are a cut above the rest.

 

8. Ida Maria – Katla 

Hands down, the most underrated record of the year. I can’t believe this album didn’t catch here in the states. Katla is fucking badass. Ida Maria showcases her versatility here. From hard rock, to pop, to doowop and swing, to mariachi, to stoner grunge rock…um…you get it already? She’s a Norwegian firecracker who destroyed her debut album with a sophomore effort that is bold, fearless, and in your face. Best Tracks: Look no further than the 9-minute-plus “Devil” to see what she’s capable of. Still hungry? So is she: “I Eat Boys Like You for Breakfast” and “Bad Karma.”

 

7. Wild Flag – Wild Flag

Let’s face it: Carrie Brownstein is the coolest. Besides the fact that she’s a third of one of the raddest riot grrrl/indie rock acts to come out of the Pacific Northwest in the 90′s, and forgetting that she’s now showing off her comedic chops on IFC’s Portlandia, Brownstein and company still have some insane street cred. That’s because the debut album of Wild Flag is completely worthy of any and all of the accoldates its been receiving since its release in September of 2011. Nearly a decade later, Brownstein is still delivering top-notch indie rock full of solid rhythms, tons of keys (!), and bitchin’ riffs. It’s a slow burn that grows on you, and before you know it, you’ll be humming the beats and singing along without the headphones planted firmly in your ears. Best Tracks: “Romance,” “Boom,” “Racehorse.”

 

6. The Black Keys – El Camino

The Black Keys have done it. They’ve tackled mainstream success while still keeping their cred, a feat which lesser bands like Kings of Leon failed miserably at accomplishing. Miiiiserablyyy. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of Brothers, El Camino is incredibly strong. It’s shorter than its predecesssor, sleeker and tighter. A duo going at it alone is always impressive too. You just have to love their vintage garage sound. Best Tracks: “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Run Right Back,” “Lonely Boy.”

 

5. Foster the People – Torches

Man, did I drag my feet on this one. I didn’t want to like it when I heard it, and hell, once I started digging it I still didn’t want to include it on this list. This is clearly the trendy/hipster portion of this countdown. But damn-it-all-to-hell! Have you heard “Pumped Up Kicks”? Of course, you have! How could you have escaped it? It was probably one of the best singles of the year, as well. That song infested my brain, nearly rotting my insides. What should’ve been a one-hit-wonder was backed by an amazing, catchy, addicting, guilty-pleasure-inducing collection of indie-pop melodies that turned out to be irresistable. Best Tracks: “Pumped Up Kicks,” “Houdini,” “Helena Beat.”

 

4. Adele – 21

There’s just something about the simplicity of a girl and her piano. What can be said about Adele that hasn’t been uttered already since the debut of 19? That voice! If you’ve ever heard her open her mouth and haven’t been totally enthralled, you’re dead inside. Sure, it’s an album mostly filled with ballads, which may or may not be your thang, but you’ve got to respect talent. And Adele’s got plenty of it. I’m eagerly anticipating every step of her musical journey. Best Tracks: “Rolling in the Deep” (duh), “Set Fire to the Rain,” “Someone Like You.”

 

3. The Joy Formidable – A Balloon Called Moaning

Hailing from North Wales, The Joy Formidable is a relatively new band that released one of the best alternative rock albums of the last decade. OK…so it’s technically a mini-album (their actual debut The Big Roar hits the U.S. in March). Still, The Joy Formidable’s instrumentation, lyrics, and huuuge sound comes from a power-charged trio led by the pint-sized frontwoman Ritzy Bryan. The sound is just as epic live, even in an arena setting – a platform where smaller bands sometimes get drowned out (Dave Grohl heard them on the radio and nabbed them as an opener for the Foo’s Wasting Light tour). From start to finish, A Balloon Called Moaning amps you up. It’s a record that just excited the hell out of me this year. Best Tracks: “Whirring,” “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade,” “Cradle.”

 

2. Architecture in Helsinki – Moment Bends

If Ida Maria’s Katla was the most underrated record of the year, Architecture in Helsinki is the most underrated band of the year. Moment Bends was released quietly in May here in the states and is probably the best Pop album in the year. Hell, it almost made the #1 spot. It’s a disc you play from start-to-finish. Good for parties, work and the car! Bonus. This five-some boasts a group of talented musicians that even rock such rarities as the glockenspiel and melodica. Horns and keys ablaze, just like in previous endeavors, Architecture’s 2011 release is non-stop fun and their live show backs it up entirely. Best Tracks: “Escapee” was easily one of my favorite songs of the year, “Contact High,” “Desert Island.”

 

1. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Although I put heavy weight on an album’s personal affect on me, whether lyrically or musically, I still believe that the best albums of the year should at least capture a portion of the zeitgeist. Sure, many of the albums on this list may not have accomplished that, but I still feel strongly that the best music of the year should have accomplished something. They should turn heads, be respected equally by critics and fans alike, and be created passionately and honestly. Wasting Light is a great example of this criteria and completely deserves a spot in any Top 10 of 2011 list. Dave Grohl and the Foos went old school on this one, recording the album in Grohl’s garage using entirely analogue equipment until the post-mastering stage. They brought in Butch Vig to produce (Garbage drummer, Producer of Nevermind and countless other records), and had guest musicians such as Bob Mould (Hüsker Dü) and Krist Novoselic (Nirvana). They even tossed a piece of the original master tape into every unit sold (style points!). All of these cool technicalities aside, the album just fucking rocks. It’s one of the loudest and proudest of the Foo Fighters’ career and by far, the best Rock record of the year. The album had a nice blend of radio friendly singles, such as “Rope” and “Walk,” while going balls-out heavy on “White Limo” and “Bridge Burning.” Because of this blend of artistry, production, and killer material, Wasting Light is The Littlest Winslow’s #1 album of the year. Best Tracks: All of ‘em.

As if this wasn’t long enough…here are a few honorable mentions that would’ve made the cut had I had the patience to put together a Top 20:

The Parlor Mob – Dogs
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love
Holy Ghost – Holy Ghost
Cults – Cults
Dum Dum Girls – Only in Dreams
Yuck – Yuck
Mr. Heavenly – Out of Love
Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials

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Shirley Manson Guitar Hero 5 Trailer

Posted in Video Games on August 4th, 2009 by Nick

Dammit! How can I not buy this!?  I’m a Rock Band-er, and having 2 full-band games is just too excessive. A part of me might die inside from not owning this though.

Check out the trailer. Video Game Shirley looks just as badass as regular Shirley.

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