In Space, Perhaps We’re All Oddities

•February 11, 2010 • 1 Comment

Have you ever had the smell of blood in your nose? It’s all dried up and won’t bleed out, but it’s just there.  It’s acidic and you wonder if the air is unusually dry.  You even worry a little bit. Is there something wrong with me (besides the obvious)?

No one person can bring you happiness except yourself. That’s tricky though, b/c it’s perfect human nature to rely on others and to hurt when you do —  and they let you down. Then we go through periods of time where we consciously say to ourselves that we are not going to pursue seriousness with anyone or anything. We’re just going to be. If it’s fun, great. If it’s more, well, that’s great too. Maybe that line of logic is passive, misleading and destructive. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

I’m going to make the best of this weekend. A weekend for lovers. I have spent more V-Day’s alone than with someone. It’s hard thinking about your place in the grand scheme when you feel on the outside for a weekend. The weekend is supposed to be a time of recharging the batteries. But my batteries have been on some sort of a mid-level hum for awhile now. So in some ways, I feel this weekend I could be idling.

I have plans on Saturday though and I’m pretty damn excited about them. Again it’s one of those situations I’m going into with eyes open completely and the full intention of just having fun. I think it will be and that my eyes will still be open well after and that a smile may creep up on this face.

There’s a time for seriousness but for now, I’m keeping the blood at bay, and tears to a minimum. If I sweat a little, that’s O.K.

The Waiting Room

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This was written back at the end of November…

Your child is here, on this table, confused
‘How did I get here? Why is it so cold?’
It’s dark and the time is unrecognizable
‘When will I regain consciousness? When will life be ready for me again?’
In the past year, his life has been a fit of stops and starts
The brain processed what it could and the heart tried to handle the rest
But it’s a stifling air that’s caught in his lungs now
Losing the words to express it, or the ability to even speak up as time goes by, crippling
‘When will I regain consciousness? When will life be ready for me again?’
A set of rhythms are all that hold him in place, these days
Threatens to splinter apart at the loss of sound
And cry…just let the tears stream
The overcast skies show no mercy, they’re just as unjust as this feeling
‘My life has no sense to it. How do I ask for credibility now?’
So easy to dissolve without a loving gaze
The embrace is gone, ability to erase began too long ago
This is what becomes when invisibility takes place
Search for the soul, in a sense
So many sights unknown, you’ll forget what he looked like when he’s gone
Time does it’s part along with the shovel

American Names/Canyon Behind Her

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

1-05-10

I stared out our front window this morning at the monstrosity of a house that was built last year across the way. It sticks out like a sore thumb in our neighborhood and I believe it carried a price tag about 3x as much as any of the houses around here. A new family recently moved in after it sat on the market for a few months.

Anyways, as I stared out at that house I thought about where I was a couple years ago. There was a youthful optimism that, like it or not, Melanie helped bring out in me. Maybe it wasn’t Mel at all. Maybe it was just being in a relationship that I thought was going somewhere. Maybe one day I will have that again. But the days of the calendar have changed, and this is today. I’m back to being unsure of what I want – I’m just older now.

2-09-10

What an incredible difference one month makes.  Going out on dates with four different girls, settling into something that could’ve been incredibly ‘comfortable,’ with the last one, only to have rug ripped out at the last minute.  It was no one’s fault.  I mean, the big guy upstairs has lessons for me, and I realized that what I want isn’t going to be found in someone else’s arms, thoughts or heart.  They’re going to have to want me for me – warts and all.

I now have no prospects – no line on the horizon so to speak.  I’m praying that the company I interviewed with a couple weeks ago wants to give me a shot and that at least I can get back on my feet and my head into a new game.  The heart can wait for now.  The joker asked ‘Why so serious?’ — maybe he was on to something…

Polaroids

•February 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am un-linked.  I mean, I have plenty of connections but I’ve spent a lifetime trying to connect and interchange various parts of them in different ways as my life as marched onward.  As I walked the dog today, I forgot to thank God or the world lifeforce for my daily ritual litany.  Maybe I was too sad.  Maybe too distracted.

Sometimes I worry if I’m not consistent with my ‘Thank You’s’ for my blessings that all of them will wash away.  I’ve learned though that, thankful or not, they can all be taken away.  It’s what you do in the wake of such things that determines whether or not you’re strong enough to survive.

I was told today that I didn’t need somebody but that someone else in her life did.  This has to do with relationships – choosing to end one and start another; or to stay in the one you’re in.  I am not overly passive, nor do I give up easily.  That being said, I don’t fight for things/people/etc where there is no clear-cut way of getting through to them.  It’s never black and white, but sometimes some things are.  I know, without any shadow of a doubt, that I’m better for this girl than the guy she was with.  I know, beyond all belief, I could make her happy and treat her right and wanted to.  I also know the older I get, the older my potential mate becomes.  Due to that fact, and with age, it becomes harder to find someone who isn’t so completely damaged by past relationships.  I’m seeing it more and more – the other person only wants to give half the effort b/c they’re afraid of being hurt again.

I choose to put my cards out on the table b/c I’m not a fan of being hurt, but I’d rather it happened sooner than later.  The more time you invest in something, only to have it blow up in your face, is only inviting miserable, dark times into your life.  Since I’m 34, I realize I only have 2/3’s of a life left to live.  Why would I want to be miserable for any period of it?  I mean, I’m still struggling to make sense of the big picture.  The only way that seems possible is by breaking down all the smaller pictures, or discarding photographs that fail to develop properly.

Some connections fade like those undeveloped negatives.  I’m choosing to see through it and move on.  There’s more film and more memories worth making with those who want to remain in frame.

Top 100 CD’s (2000-2009) –> #1 through #10

•December 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

#10: Iron & Wine/Our Endless Numbered Days (2005) — thank you, Sam Beam for coming into my life one warm Spring day with your quiet charm, soft-spoken melodies, and heart-warming spirit. You single-handedly revived folk music in the 21st century and paved the way for a number of would-be independent singer-songwriters. Check out: ‘Each Coming Night,’ ‘Sodom, South Georgia,’ and ‘Passing Afternoon.’

#9: Metallica/St. Anger (2003) — I’m probably going to get a lot of shit for this one, but this is one of my favorite Metallica albums because it’s so raw and unrefined. I love the fact that the drums sound like shit. And yeah, it sounds like it was recorded in a garage. And it was again produced by Bob Rock. There were a lot of demons exorcised on this recording. And when I’m angry – this is a good album to put on and roll the windows down and just scream along to. Check out: ‘Frantic,’ ‘St. Anger,’ and ‘All Within My Hands.’

#8: Nine Inch Nails/With Teeth (2005) — when NIN returned six years after The Fragile and five years into the 21st century, the fanbase was rabid for what Trent had cooked up in a vastly changed musical landscape. In my mind this is the apex of NIN’s existence, exploring all of it’s sound in such a complete way. While they may have started as an industrial band, Trent and Co. round out the aural textures on With Teeth and is stands as one of the greatest albums of the decade. Check out: ‘All The Love in the World,’ ‘Only,’ and ‘Right Where It Belongs.’

#7: 30 Seconds to Mars/A Beautiful Lie (2005) — perhaps having Jared Leto as their frontman has helped to provide a cinematic framework for their music. They have an almost cult-like following to their sound, so something must be working. I’m ashamed to admit I still have not seen them live and feel cheated because of it. This is an album that lyrically and vocally hit me right between the eyes – at times aggressive, at times soft…but always epic – which is exactly what rock is supposed to be. Check out: ‘Attack,’ ‘The Story,’ and ‘From Yesterday.’

#6: Dredg/Catch Without Arms (2005) — another album where critically the band gets blame for becoming too commercial. There’s not a lot of distance between number one and number six in terms of the decade’s greatest albums and this was definitely a decade-defining album in my life. For anyone who feels anything from music – this is a must own. The textures explored throughout this album are much more complex than one gives them credit for. Again, this is a lyrical album that has evoked both tears of joy and of pain. The framework created along with those lyrics is equally potent and powerful. Check out: ‘Zebraskin,’ ‘Planting Seeds,’ and ‘Matroshka (The Ornament)’

#5: Audioslave/Audioslave (2002) — mixing parts of legendary 90’s groups RATM and Soundgarden? An odd pairing but the world is up for it. While the creativity only lasted three albums in four years, it was their opening salvo that is chock full of radio and arena staples. Not a bad song on the album and it stands up completely some seven years later. Check out: ‘Cochise,’ ‘Shadow on the Sun,’ and ‘I Am the Highway.’

#4: Placebo/Meds (2006) — Placebo is one of my all-time favorite bands and picked up the slack once the Pumpkins left the stage in 2000. They released four studio albums, a covers record and a greatest hits collection in the decade. While 2003’s Sleeping with Ghosts is still the bands best-seller stateside, Meds will over take 2001’s Black Market Music as #3 here in the U.S. shortly. Meds boasts cameos from Alison Mosshart (Kills/Dead Weather) and Michael Stipe (R.E.M.). There are no less than six to seven singles on this album and it translated brilliantly live. Easily accessible but never forgettable. This is the crown jewel in the discography to date. Check out: ‘Drag,’ ‘Blind,’ and ‘Pierrot the Clown.’

#3: Jimmy Eat World/Bleed American (2001) — this is one of the greatest albums, ever(.) From the rocking lead off one-two punch of ‘Bleed American,’ and ‘A Praise Chorus,’ to the 2001 radio staples ‘The Middle,’ and ‘Sweetness,’ – every track on this album is better than the last. Your head bobs to each pop gem. I dare anyone to listen to this album and not be reminded of a simpler time where radio singles still mattered. While haters can say this was force-fed down our throats (I didn’t like ‘The Middle,’ at first) the pop genius of the sum is equal to its parts, ultimately. This album and (#2) on my list, DID define our decade…so here’s to the boys from Tempe, AZ

#2: My Chemical Romance/Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004) — this band changed my life when I saw them live on the inaugural voyage of Taste of Chaos in 2005. All I knew of them at that point was that they were like the poster boys for Hot Topic. I’d gone to see The Used, KSE and Senses Fail. But it was Underoath and MCR that blew me away and MCR definitely stole the show. I immediately had to pick up the album. The band just kicked ass at channelling The Misfits and the Pumpkins. They brought rock n roll back to something important on this album. Perhaps they tried a bit too hard on the follow-up, but they still garner my respect for one of the finest albums of the decade. Check out: ‘Helena,’ ‘Give ‘Em Hell Kid’ and ‘Thank You For The Venom.’

#1: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals/Cold Roses (2005) — heartache provides a tender backdrop for this double-album. Ryan has my nod for artist of the decade and it’s on this release that he turned heads (and ears) from a casual listener to earnest ones. With each listen of these two discs I gain something new, whether it be a new insight from the lyrics or my ears pick up an aural nuance. He channels Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and Dylan on this release. That’s some pretty heady company. This album also represents a sea change and maturity in my musical tastes this decade. I’m working on a project now that will be unveiled early next year recounting the Top 100 of the 90’s and you’ll see what I mean. In the interim – please check out this album. There are too many tracks for me to list that you need to check out…but ‘Cherry Lane,’ ‘How Do You Keep Love Alive?’ ‘Easy Plateau’ and ‘If I Am A Stranger,’  should get you started.

Top 100 CD’s (2000-2009) –> #11 through #20

•December 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

#20: Yeah Yeah Yeah’s/Fever to Tell (2003) — You could describe this album in one word: ‘Maps.’ Perhaps that’s enough to do it justice, but it’s also important to denote the power of Karen O. In alterna/indie/rock music, there really wasn’t anyone this decade who stood out and waved the flag wider or louder. Fever was the shot across the bow and their discography continues to challenge listeners as they’ve continued along. Check out: ‘Rich,’ ‘Maps,’ and ‘Y Control.’

#19: Gnarls Barkley/St. Elsewhere (2006) — it was a chance duo that for all intents and purposes, gelled cosmically. Some would say, ‘Well, Gorillaz worked – and these guys have a sense of humor about them – so it makes sense.’ I remember sitting in a meeting and hearing ‘Crazy,’ for the first time and telling my colleagues ‘This is f-ing brilliant!’ The whole album is a masterpiece to me and I think the music industry needed a story like this one (and Buckcherry) in 2006. Check out: ‘Crazy,’ ‘St. Elsewhere,’ and ‘Smiley Faces.’

#18: Incubus/Morning View (2001) — I could’ve cared less about this band prior to this album. That said, the collective brilliance of this mainstream studio album holds up over time. It rocks, it sways, it swoons, it muses, and feels a lot like a view of the horizon in the morning overlooking a vast body of water. Pretty large. Check out: ‘Nice to Know You,’ ‘Wish You Were Here,’ and ‘Aqueous Transmission.’

#17: Slipknot/Iowa (2001) — no album personifies pure rage as loudly and as boldly as Iowa. Whereas a band like Godsmack became a parody of themselves as the decade progressed and weakened the power of their first two albums, Slipknot and Ross Robinson proved to be a lethal combination in the studio and live, for that matter. No matter how stressed I got at TWEC, all I had to do was put my headphones and turn this one up (usually to the dismay of co-workers). Check out: ‘People = Shit,’ ‘Disasterpiece,’ and ‘Heretic Anthem.’

16: Interpol/Antics (2004) — Admittedly, I got on the Interpol bandwagon late and this was the first album I discovered thanks to the video for ‘Evil.’ This band is great at layering sound – just take ‘Evil,’ as an example, the bass bobs along, the guitars jangle, the keyboards soar in the chorus and ramble with the guitars midway through, all while the drummer holds the beat. As a whole, Antics is a brilliant brooding piece of music with spooky brilliant lyricism. Check out: ‘Evil,’ ‘Take You On a Cruise,’ and ‘Slow Hands.’

#15: Bon Iver/For Emma, Forever Ago (2008) — as a fan of music for over 20 years, my tastes have changed but remained pretty broad. But ever since I was a kid, growing up listening to Neil Young or The Boss there was a simplicity of just listening to a man with a guitar. Justin Vernon follows the lineage and created an album last year of stark vulnerability and beauty. Even if nothing he does again compares, this nine-song diary is a testament to a long, cold winter. Check out: ‘Lump Sum,’ ‘Skinny Love,’ and ‘The Wolves (Act I and II)’

#14: Queens of the Stone Age/Songs for the Deaf (2002) — every time I hear ‘No One Knows,’ I just wanna rock out. The head bobs like crazy it’s just a fun party song. This is the purest QOTSA record since their debut…while at the same time expanding their sound. To date, it’s their masterpiece. There’s a classic rock grandiosity of the ‘Untitled’ fifteenth track as well. I never get tired of this album. Check out: ‘No One Knows,’ ‘Go With The Flow,’ and ‘Untitled.’

#13: The Bravery/The Bravery (2005) — the best 80’s throwback album of the decade. Possible the best party album too. No matter where I am, my head bobs whenever I hear a track off this album. The lyricism isn’t anything brilliant but the upbeat mood and tone of the band’s first album has neither been repeated, nor replicated by the band or anyone else for that matter. Check out: ‘An Honest Mistake,’ ‘Fearless,’ and ‘Unconditional.’

#12: Josh Todd/You Made Me (2004) — the mantra ‘Sex, Drugs, Rock N Roll’ has never been embodied more than on this record. During Buckcherry’s hiatus, JT put out a solo record to little fanfare and ado. But to those of us who knew about it and made it out to the tour, well, we lived it up. Probably one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. This album is a must play at ’11,’ – it’s better than anything Buckcherry has put out, to date. Check out: ‘Broken,’ ‘Circles,’ and ‘Straightjacket.’

#11: Mudvayne/L.D. 50 (2000) — I’m a big fan of showmanship in Rock N Roll. When Mudvayne hit the scene in 2000, they were just four guys with facepaint from Peoria, Illinois. But even seeing them at Saratoga Winner with about 10-15 other people, they still played as if the room were filled …to capacity. The music was never more intense than on this disc, before they lost the facepaint and gimmickry and the music became a commercialized parody of itself (though the new disc holds some memory of the riffs that got them noticed) Check out: ‘Dig,’ ‘-1’ and ‘Prod.’

K-Bo’s Top Ten (& Other Things) Re-Capping a Year of Music in 2009

•December 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Preface:
Not a banner year, personally. It’s been about 20-24 months since I remembered what complete happiness was like, so I have to figure I’m do for some light at the end of a tunnel at some point. This Top 10 rounds an interesting decade in both life and music. It’s fascinating what my list is littered with this year as opposed to in 2000 – definitely a growth pattern, I think. In any case, they make up K-Bo’s Top 10 for 2009….love it or leave it…

Just missed the cut:

11. Chevelle/Sci-Fi Crimes (SONY): The brothers Loeffler have been churning out music now since just before the turn of the century and really landing on the map of modern rock in 2002. Commercially, they’ve been quite successful, but save for Wonder What’s Next never have really produced an album that’s been truly memorable. They have a sound that’s their own and very riff-heavy, but not ‘memorable.’ I thought Vena Sera (2006) was a complete dud and probably then end of good music from these guys. So imagine my surprise when Sci-Fi Crimes came out and grabbed me by the jugular again. Maybe I won’t remember the album in 10 years, but ‘Jars,’ ‘Shameless Metaphors,’ and ‘Sleep Apnea,’ hold my attention this year.

The Top 10 in reverse order…

10. Joshua James/Build Me This (ADA/Intelligent Noise): If I had to pick one word to define this album, I think ‘tender,’ would be apt. Joshua is a tender storyteller and musician, as evidenced on tracks like ‘Pitchfork,’ ‘Daniel,’ and ‘Lawn Full of Marigolds.’ At the same time he’s got a fire about it that smolders on ‘Weeds’ ‘Benediction,’ and ‘Black July.’ This is the kind of music you listen to around a campfire while gazing up at the stars. Lyric: ’I’ve got a cold black coffee on the right side of the bed/I picture you sleeping there next to me with your toes all painted red/and the misty grey sky morning hovers over your head/so will you meet me in the middle/like you said…’ (‘In The Middle’)

9. Thrice/Beggars (Fontana/Vagrant):. Dustin Kenrue’s band of merry vagabonds keep getting better with age. There are proponents and opponents to the album format these days. This band has done an array of things, but how do you come back to the album concept after four EP’s? These guys found little problem doing just that and in doing so, came up with their finest collection since 2002’s Artist In The Ambulance. They’ve taken everything they learned over the course of those EP’s and applied that here into one cohesive piece. It rocks, it ruminates, and it muses. Lyric: ’My heart is filled with songs of forever…’ (‘In Exhile’)

8. Killswitch Engage (ADA/Roadrunner): Finally, on their third album, KSE live up to the potential I’d hoped they had. This is arena rock in 2009 in all of its anthemic glory. Howard’s vocals soar, Adam’s melodies outshine the darkest corners, and the drumming is spot on.. These guys should be out on tour with either Metallica or Slayer right now. Lyric: ’What will it take to escape you?/Is this what you wanted?/To see me humbled?/Is this what you asked for?/The final word?’’ (‘The Return’)

7. William Fitzsimmons/The Sparrow and The Crow (Fontana/Downtown): some music is like a sea change in your life. I’ve found that a man and a guitar can say just as much as a fully plugged in five-piece with backing orchestra. Fitzsimmons hails from a cold, rural part of Pennsylvania and holed himself up to write one of the darkest break-up albums known to man. This album came to me late last year (despite it’s 2009 physical release) as I was coping in my own life with such a thing and connected with me. My collection would be incomplete without this piece of art. Lyric: ’It’s a lonely place to live with just a ghost/There is love left in my life I will see/But you still hurt me…’ (‘You Still Hurt Me’)

6. Dinosaur, Jr/Farm (ADA/Jagjaguwar): Before Nirvana, there was Dinosaur, Jr. That was 16 years ago in my mind…and in MY mind, my formative years took place just before the alternative era…I was listening to the Pixies by way of the U2 Zoo TV tour, and naturally found myself turned on to Mascis and Murph and the 1993 commercial breakthrough, Where You Been? …this was back when MTV played videos, kids. ‘Start Choppin,’ and ‘Out There,’ garnered several spins in the tape deck (yes, remember walkmen? No, no the band…) Jump ahead to today and they’ve never sounded so good (with Barlow back in the fold)…every song a testament to why J Mascis should be recognized for the guitarist and songwriter he is. Lyric:’I’ve got nothing left to be/Do you have something for me?’ (‘Plans’)

5. Alice In Chains/Black Gives Way to Blue (EMI/Virgin): No disrespect to Staley, but as a cohesive, fantastic sounding album from track-to-track, this AIC release takes the cake! Some of Cantrell’s best writing. Duvall is a welcome, accepted edition. I don’t think they could’ve written a better comeback. Lyric: ‘Fading out by design/consciously avoiding changes/curtains drawn, now it’s done’ (‘Black Gives Way to Blue’)

4. Placebo/Battle for the Sun (Fontana/Vagrant): This is, hands down, my favorite band of the decade. Continuing in the polished vein of 2006’s MEDS album, it would seem the band has found it’s niche in alterna-rock culture. More songs for boys like me with hearts on their sleeves. Lyric: ‘Now that I’ve stared into the void/so many people I’ve annoyed/I have to find a middle way/a better way of giving…’ (‘Bright Lights’)

3. Pearl Jam/Backspacer (Independent Release): Their fourth studio album of the decade, but first in 13 years with Brendan O’Brien. This is the PJ I know and love. The band with a mission on its record to rock fast with abandon while at the same time writing songs with a sensibility to them. The other three albums over the past 10 years lacked a consistent theme. To some that was considered cool. Sometimes I like straight lines in my album rock. Lyric: ‘See the path cut by the moon/for you to walk on/see the waves on distant shores/awaiting your arrival/dream the dreams of other men/you’ll be no one’s rival…’ (‘Unthought Known’)

2. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson/Break Up (WEA): O.K. we all know the story – Pete woke up one morning and decided to do a duets album. Save for the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss record, there haven’t been too many duets records this decade that have been able to truly cross lines and blow …people away. As with anything over time, this album is an update on a theme, but it works (addressing both the past and present musically) – in the end, it’s a beautifully crafted pop album. Scarlett’s voice is truly a gift and a great foil and muse for Pete’s music. In a nutshell, it just works. Lyric: ‘There’s a place around the heart/that you wish for/when you pretend it’s never there/what are you livin’ for?’ (‘Clean’)

1. 30 Seconds to Mars/This Is War (EMI/Virgin): Epic grandiosity wins out for me. 30 Seconds to Mars succeed in every way that Angels vs. Airwaves never did. Their love of their fans (and ability to incorporate them into the overall sound and direction of this album) is awe-inspiring. Can’t wait to see the band translate this live and, I think, as a listener that should be a key component of an album – How it translates live (as in you can’t wait to see the sound in action). Lyric: ‘We both could see/crystal clear/that the inevitable end was near/we made our choice/a trial by fire/to battle is the only way to feel and/ /I fell apart/but got back up again…’ (‘Alibi’)

Best of The Rest:
Julian Plenti/…Is Skyscraper
Von Bondies/Love, Hate and Then There’s You
Therapy?/Crooked Timber
Silversun Pickups/Swoon
Dredg/The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
P.O.S./Never Better
Jay-Z/Blueprint III
Iron & Wine/Around The Well
Ben Harper & Relentless7/White Lies for Dark Times
Fever Ray/Fever Ray
John Frusciante/Empyrean
Dredg/The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
Depeche Mode/Sounds of the Universe
Arkaea/Years in the Darkness
The Editors/In The Light of This Evening
AFI/Crash Love
The Bravery/Stir the Blood
Prodigy/Invaders Must Die
Miike Snow/Miike Snow
Yeah Yeah Yeah’s/It’s Blitz

Best Songs of the Year:
Alice In Chains ‘Check My Brain’ – song of the year…
BlakRoc feat. Mos Def ‘Stay off the F*cking Flowers’
Blessthefall, ‘Hey Baby, Here’s That Song That You Wanted’
(The) Bravery, ‘Hatef*ck’
Chevelle, ‘Jars’
Depeche Mode, ‘Wrong’
Dredg, ‘The Information’
Grizzly Bear, ‘Two Weeks’
Jay-Z, ‘Empire State of Mind’
Julian Plenti, ‘Only If You Run’
Joshua James, ‘Annabelle’
Killswitch Engage, ‘In a Dead World’
Lady Gaga, ‘Bad Romance’
Marilyn Manson, ‘We’re From America’
Miike Snow, ‘Animal’
Pearl Jam, ‘The Fixer’
Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson, ‘Relator’
P.O.S. ‘Purexed’
Placebo ‘Kings of Medicine’
Silversun Pickups, ‘There’s No Secrets This Year’
30 Seconds to Mars, ‘Kings and Queens’
Thrice, ‘In Exhile’
Von Bondies, “Pale Bride’
William Fitzsimmons ‘You Still Hurt Me’
Yeah Yeah Yeah’s ‘Heads Will Roll’

Biggest Disappointments/Worst Albums:
1. Blue October, Approaching Normal: maybe that’s the problem – normal is boring in rock…
2. The Killer and the Star, Self-Titled: great concept, Scooter rocks, but not very memorable – and live the songs don’t translate well at all…
3. U2, No Line on the Horizon: their least memorable album of the decade as it fails to rock in any memorable way and the tunes, despite being produced by the same team that worked on Joshua Tree, are just flat out boring…

Reality Check in ’09? (Things I looked forward to at the end of ’08):
1. U2 – See above.
2. NIN – missed out seeing them with Jane’s Addiction due to NARM, couldn’t score tix to their final shows. Sadness prevails at the end of an era…
3. Black Light Burns – Supposedly album #2 was finished. Then Wes tried to get into Marilyn Manson. That didn’t work out. So now he’s back with Fred Durst (something he told his fans he’d never do…) Thanks for being as consistent as a politician.
4. Placebo – a solid record (as evidenced by my Top 10) – the North American tour (which was to feature a tour date here in Clifton Park) got derailed. Slow sales over here may derail further chances of a tour and I’m afraid they be another band that’s ‘really big over in Europe.’ So much potential though.
5. DROID – haven’t really heard anything from that camp in 2009. Maybe 2010 is a re-launch/rebirth year. Maybe Deftones will take ‘em out on the road.

Looking forward to in ’10?
1. My Chemical Romance: Butler says this is a return to raw rock. Personally I think it’s time for them to kill the dramatics a bit and just go straight up. Could be pretty exciting if they do.
2. Ryan Adams: A radio silent year for this prolific artist. One has to think he has something new up his sleeves pretty soon.
3. Interpol: New album apparently in the can and was recorded this past Spring. Which would’ve been around the time of when the Julian Plenti album came to fruition. They say it’s a return to form (which we hear a lot of these days.) Paint me optimistic.
4. Low vs. Diamond: I don’t know if they’ve begun writing for their follow-up but I hope so and look forward to the direction they take.
5. Bon Iver: How much of a sabbatical will he take this winter and what will he come up with for proper album #2?