Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SOTD: "Pretty Girl" - David Ryan Harris

Good voice + Good song + Good guy = Recipe for success.

Top 10 Favorite Concert Experiences of 2008

2008 was a pretty good year for me on the live music front, I was able to see quite a few shows in a variety of settings. Small clubs, large clubs, arenas, bars, tents, east coast, west coast, I really got a nice mix of throughout the year. Looking back, there were some real highlights that stick out in my mind and I'll try to share a handful of them.

10. "Ruby Soho" - Rancid at Irving Plaza

I had waited years to see these guys and especially this song in concert. Just a real fun show, great crowd....bunch of diehards.

9. "Let Me In" - REM at Madison Square Garden

This has been a favorite of mine for a long time and not a song I expected to hear on their summer tour. This version was stripped down to basically an acoustic guitar medley, a really cool arrangement. This song made the show for me.

8. "Champions of Nothing" - Matthew Good at The Highline Ballroom

It had been 7 years since I had last seen Matthew Good in concert, he just doesn't come around very often. This show was just down the street from me so I was beyond excited that he was finally playing. Hard to pick a single bright spot, there were many highlights for me but this is a really cool song.

7. "When Your Mind's Made Up" - The Swell Season at Radio City

I just loved the movie "Once" and this was my favorite song from the soundtrack. Jule and I lucked out with 2nd row seats for this show and seeing it performed live in Radio City was just a tremendous experience.

6. "Wonderlust King" - Gogol Bordello at The Coachella Festival

The last two years, I've traveled out to California for The Coachella Festival with four buddies......JayO, JayT, Dave and Chris. Without question, both trips have been some of the greatest times I've ever had while seeing live music. Coachella is really something hard to put into words.....try to imagine seeing an amazing collection of bands, surrounded by great friends and fans in an absolute paradise and you've got Coachella. If you're a fan of going to shows, this is something I'd say you should definitely give a shot.

Anyways, this was our first time seeing Gogol Bordello and we had all heard good things about their show. They ended up being one of our favorite acts of the weekend, people were having a blast during their set. At one point the singer Pink was running around in the middle of a large dance circle. Good times!

5. "Smile" - Pearl Jam in Hartford

Really, really tough to pick one song or moment on this tour, I was lucky enough to see 5 shows on the Northeast leg. Hartford was a really special show, many fans feel it was the best of the tour and it's hard to argue. "Smile" is a pretty rare song so it was a real treat to hear it at my home-state show, my brother Andy and I really had a great time at this one.

4. "The Wolves" - Bon Iver at Town Hall

I wrote about this song/performance about a week ago but it was really one of the best things I saw this year. The combination of Justin's voice and Town Hall's acoustics was the perfect mix, just beautiful stuff.

3. "Time to Pretend/Kids/Electric Feel" - MGMT at The Coachella Festival

We saw many great bands this past year, but this was one of the most fun parts of festival. I don't remember the exact order of the songs, but they saved all three to play one after another and everyone was just having a blast. You can't see us in the video but rest assured that we're square in the middle of that crowd. "Kids" is probably the song that kind of defines Coachella 2008 for me, just a ton of fun.

2. "One Big Holiday" - My Morning Jacket at Radio City Music Hall

This show was the best concert I saw all year and one of my favorites of all time. One of the great rock anthems in probably the best venue around, hard to beat this one. Unbelievable energy all around, especially during this song......felt like the roof was going to fly off Radio City. I was seated on the right side of the orchestra, right under the side steps where Jim James ended up playing during the song, pretty amazing stuff. Leaving the show everyone was pretty much shaking their head how good it was. EPIC.

1. "Waiting on the World to Change" - John Mayer (& friends) at Jones Beach

I feel like this has to take the top spot for me, it's not every day that you get a chance to stand on stage with a bunch of friends at Jones Beach and sing to several thousand people. One of the coolest and most unique experiences of my life. I'm pretty sure this will be the last time John and I ever share the stage, but regardless it will be something I'll remember forever.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SOTD: "I Never Want to go Home" - The Whigs

Here's a pretty cool song by a band called "The Whigs"........the lead singer's voice reminds me a bit of Dave Grohl.

Top 10 Albums of 2008

In my opinion, 2008 was kind of a strange year for music. I felt like many of the heavy hitters didn't particularly deliver but if nothing else, we had some great breakout albums. I feel like some of these new artists will be around for awhile so that's a great thing for the future.

One thing I try to ask myself when putting a list like this together is, "Can you put the album on and just let it play?". That's such a rare thing nowadays, and it certainly doesn't pertain to everything on the list, but I think this is a good collection of albums that are pretty solid from start to finish. I was able to get my list down to about 20 albums but only wanted 10 to make the cut.

I hope you enjoy the list and would love to hear your feedback/personal favorites from the year. Here we go.....


This was one of my most anticipated albums of the year, I was really excited to get my hands on it. Although there are some GREAT songs on it, I felt like the album is slightly lacking as a whole. I feel like it never really gets into a rhythm and you have some real highs, but also some lows. One thing I like about the older My Morning Jacket albums is that they seem to really flow, I just feel like this time around it never gets that cohesion going. I think that it starts out pretty strong and has a really solid finish, but I just think the middle of the album is a bit lost. Songs like "Smokin' From Shootin'" and "Touch Me I'm Going To Scream (Part II)" are as good as anything I've heard from these guys, so there's still some real good stuff to listen to here. Knowing what they're capable of, I'll still be excited for their next release.


I kind of stumbled upon this record early in the year through some friends who work for ATO Records. Not only was I pleasantly surprised, but I found myself coming back to this album numerous times throughout the year. They really remind me of the type of band I grew up listening to in high school, kind of that late 90s alternative rock sound. "Right Hand on my Heart" was the first song I heard (and it immediately grabbed me), but I'm a huge fan of "I Never Want to go Home" and "Sleep Sunshine". This is a pretty good album that I don't think quite got the attention it deserves......nice job by this trio from Athens, GA.


This was another album that was early on my radar in 2008. I had seen her perform in mid-2007 with Mark Ronson and really liked her style and sound, I told anyone that would listen to look out for her. I think she did a great job with her debut, I love the flow and energy to the album....I rarely find myself skipping around. Even if you haven't picked this disc up yet, I'm sure you've heard at least a few songs through the various advertising campaigns they've been featured in this year. I feel like she's just getting started and I'm anxious to see what she follows up with next, but this will hold me over for awhile.


I have a hard time thinking back to when I first heard about MGMT, I think it was sometime in mid-late 2007. I first heard "Time to Pretend" somewhere and starting searching out other songs by the band. At the beginning of 2008, I found out they were playing Coachella and got the release and the rest is history. I don't know how you'd classify them, maybe electropop/dance.....hard to say but the music is fun and catchy, sometimes that's all that should matter. This is a really listenable album, songs like "Kids" and "Electric Feel" carry the load and the other tracks are nice compliments.


I have seen and read several top 10 lists already this year and I expect to see a wide range of bands, albums, etc. One thing I do not understand is that I haven't seen this record listed ANYWHERE. This is a really good album, with some powerful songs and lyrics. I'll admit that it took me awhile to get into these guys but they put out some great music, especially when you consider they're just a duo! One thing I love about this band is that since they're only two guys, you can really focus on the drums and guitar. Sometimes with albums things get too muddy and this is the exact opposite, you're able to sit back with a pair of headphones and appreciate all the individual parts. I think this is a fantastic album and certainly one of the best of the year.


I got into this album late in the year and if I had spent some more time with it, it may have even been higher on my list. Probably one of the great albums put out this year that you can just sit back and enjoy.....don't think there's a bad song on the record. When I first listened to this record, I felt like I had been a kid going through my parent's stash of vinyl in the basement of our old house. Just has a vintage sound to me, very warm and full. "White Winter Hymnal" and "Blue Ridge Mountains" are the songs I hear people talking about but my favorite is "Ragged Wood", what a great tune. I'm looking forward to spending more time getting into this one and I think we're in for some great things from these guys in the future. It may not be 1991, but maybe Seattle's Sub Pop Records is looking strong with these guys on board.


I pretty much loved this album from the first time I heard it in January when it was first released. It's easy for me to put this one so high because I have really played it a lot throughout the year. After my first listen, I remember telling people that it reminded me of Paul SImon's "Graceland" version 2.0. I guess it was the mix of Pop with African beats but that's the closest thing I could compare it to, really a unique style that I hadn't heard in years. I really like their sound, very creative work and I'm looking forward to their future work.


I might be cheating with this record a bit since it's a live album of mostly older material, but I guess that's the advantage of running your own blog. Matthew Good is one of my favorite singer-songwriters and I've been awaiting a live album like this for years. There are so many good songs on this release that it's hard to pick favorites, but the live version of "Blue Skies Over Badlands" is one of the greatest things I've ever heard (I've probably played it over 500 times since getting it a few months back). Good has several solid albums but I like that he's finally able to show off some of his range and the overall strength in his voice that sometimes doesn't come through on the studio releases. Even though he's had a hell of a career in Canada, I'm not sure he'll ever catch on in the US, but I think he puts his best out there this time around, really a high quality piece of work.


I've been a fan of these guys for several years now and really liked a lot of their previous work. "Only By The Night" was the album that sealed the deal for me, I just love it. I think it's a great mix of songs, various tempos, layers, etc. I feel like I'm reading a great book with each chapter telling a different tale while still staying within the story line. "Use Somebody" blew me away when I first heard it, just a great rock song. "Cold Desert" is not only my favorite song of the year, but has become one of my favorite songs of all time. To me, Kings of Leon just seems like a band that gets better and better with each release and I think they did a hell of a job with their latest.


Well, this is about as good an album as I've heard in a long time. A couple friends of mine tried to get me to listen to Bon Iver early in 2008 and for whatever reason, it took me until the summer to sit down and give it the proper time......but I'm glad I did. There isn't one bad track at the album and just an amazing collection of songs, one after another. What's been interesting is that I seem to have a new favorite song each month, first "Lump Sum", then "Blindsided", then "The Wolves", on and on. It's just a beautiful piece, the vocals are's proven to be the perfect soundtrack for some long walks alone through the city. "For Emma, Forever Ago" just seems like an album that will stick with me for years to come, and remind of the year that was 2008.

Monday, December 29, 2008

SOTD: "Your Hand In Mine" - Explosions In The Sky

NYC Area Concerts week of 12/29

12/29 Matisyahu @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
12/29 Gogol Bordello @ Webster Hall
12/29 Patti Smith @ Bowery Ballroom
12/30 Matisyahu @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
12/30 Gogol Bordello @ Webster Hall
12/30 Patti Smith @ Bowery Ballroom
12/31 DJ Tiesto @ Roseland Ballroom
12/31 Lady Gaga @ Webster Hall
12/31 Gov't Mule @ Hammerstein Ballroom
12/31 Patti Smith @ Bowery Ballroom
12/31 My Morning Jacket @ Madison Square Garden
12/31 A Place to Bury Strangers @ Mercury Lounge
12/31 Crystal Castles @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
12/31 Blonde Redhead, Islands @ Terminal 5

Top 10 Songs of 2008

Here are my favorite songs from the year, some tough decisions but here you go.....

10. "Say Aha" - Santogold

"It's alright, cuz everything they say
Doesn't make no sense
It's that time
I'm picking up my ass"

9. "Strange Times" - The Black Keys

"Sadie, dry your tears
I will be the one
to pull you through the mere
before you come, before you come undone

Strange Times
Are Here "

8. "M79" - Vampire Weekend

"It's going to take a little time
While you're waiting like a factory line
I'll ride across the park
Backseat on the 79

Wasted days you've come to pass"

7. "Stop" - Ryan Adams

"Slow down
You don't have to talk
Lie down
Slow down
It's not your fault
Look around
There's so many of us
So many of us
You are not alone Ever Ever Ever


6. "Lump Sum" - Bon Iver

"Fit it all, fit it in the doldrums

(Or so the story goes)

Color the era

Film it's historical"

5. "Smokin' From Shootin"- My Morning Jacket

"Do you live your life on the road?
Yeah losing that I'm loving
Asking for nothing
Runnin' from something that isn't there, oh"

4. "Use Somebody" - Kings of Leon

"I've been roaming around
i was looking down at all i see
painting faces, building places i can't reach

you know that i could use somebody
you know that i could use somebody
someone like you"

3. "Kids" - MGMT

"Control yourself
Take only what you need from it"

2. "Cath" - Death Cab For Cutie

"And soon everybody will ask
What became of you
'Cause your heart was dying fast
And you didn't know what to do"

1. "Cold Desert" - Kings of Leon

"I've never ever cried when i was feeling down
I've always been scared of the sound
Jesus don't love me, no one ever carried my load
I'm too young to feel this old"

Friday, December 26, 2008

SOTD: "Love, Reign O'er Me" - Pearl Jam

Here's my last pick, from the 2006 Christmas single.

Happy Holidays everyone! I'll close out the final week of 2008 with a variety of top 10 lists. Have a great weekend.

PJ Christmas Singles (Part V)

The last batch of Christmas singles......the final four: 2004, '05, '06, '07. Love the 2005 artwork, probably my favorite.

Hope you've enjoyed these!

2004 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 2004

2004 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 2004

2005 (FRONT)


2005 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 2005

2006 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 2006

2006 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 2006

2007 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 2007

2007 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 2007

Thursday, December 25, 2008

SOTD: "Santa God" - Pearl Jam

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! From last year's single, 2007.....

PJ Christmas Singles (Part IV)

Here is part four of the PJ Christmas singles: 2001 (Double), '02, and '03. I don't remember why but in 2003 they actually went full size on us, luckily it didn't get crushed in my mailbox. Thank you USPS.

2001 (FRONT & BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 2001


PJ Christmas Single 2001

2002 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 2002

2002 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 2002

2003 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 2003

2003 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 2003

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

SOTD: "Angel" - Pearl Jam

From the 1993 Christmas single. Happy Christmas Eve......

PJ Christmas Singles (Part III)

The next group of Pearl Jam Christmas singles.......1998, '99. 2000. Enjoy!

1998 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 1998

1998 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 1998

1999 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 1999

1999 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 1999

2000 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 2000

2000 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 2000

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

SOTD: "Soldier of Love" - Pearl Jam

Here's one from the 1998 Christmas single.....

PJ Christmas Singles (Part II)

Here's the next three Christmas singles.......1995 (Double), '96, '97. The 1997 single was split with the REM fanclub, one song by each band.

1995 (FRONT & BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 1995


PJ Christmas Single 1995

1996 (FRONT)

PJ Christmas Single 1996

1996 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 1996

1997 (FRONT)


1997 (BACK)

PJ Christmas Single 1997

Monday, December 22, 2008

SOTD: "Let Me Sleep (It's Christmas Time)" - Pearl Jam

From their first Christmas Single, 1991.

PJ Christmas Singles (Part I)

One cool thing about being in the Pearl Jam fanclub is that annually around Christmas (sometimes a bit later), you'll receive a 45 in the mail. It usually consists of two singles, often unheard rarities, recorded sometime during the year. This week I'll be profiling my full collection, 16 Christmas Singles (not including 2008 which hasn't been received yet).

I'll also choose five songs from the various singles as "Song Of The Day" for the whole week, there's some good stuff on these that I think you'll enjoy.

Here's part one......Christmas Singles 1991, 92, & 93.

1991 (FRONT)

Pearl Jam Christmas Single 1991 (Front)

1991 (BACK)

Pearl Jam Christmas Single 1991 (Back)

1992 (FRONT)

Pearl Jam Christmas Single 1992 (Front)

1992 (BACK)

Pearl Jam Christmas Single 1992 (Back)

1993 (FRONT)

Pearl Jam Christmas Single 1993 (Front)

1993 (BACK)

Christmas Single 1993 (Back)

NYC Area Concerts week of 12/22

Kind of a quiet week around town but if you're in the city next Saturday night, I'd recommend the Ryan Montbleau show. I went to college with him and he's a real good guy, and damn talented. I'm happy to see that he's doing well, should be a great show at Bowery.

12/22-23 Matisyahu @ Webster Hall
12/23 Wu-Tang Clan @ Hammerstein Ballroom
12/25 Matisyahu @ Webster Hall
12/26 Kimya Dawson @ Bowery Ballroom
12/26 Virginia Coalition @ HIghline Ballroom
12/26 Nas @ Hammerstein Ballroom
12/27 Ryan Montbleau Band @ Bowery Ballroom
12/27-30 Matisyahu @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Friday, December 19, 2008

SOTD: "Rudderless" - The Lemonheads

One of my favorite albums ever is The Lemonheads, "It's a Shame About Ray". There are so many memorable tracks and it's one album that's really stuck with me over the years and gets constant play on my ipod.

It's a tough call but this is probably my favorite song from the album ("My Drug Buddy" comes in a close 2nd)........

Thursday, December 18, 2008

SOTD: "Antichrist Television Blues" - Arcade Fire

Most of you are probably familiar with the Arcade Fire but if you're not, definitely give them a shot. "Neon Bible" was one of my favorite albums released last year and their show at Radio City Music Hall was one of the best I've ever seen. They've been laying low lately, hopefully working on a new album. I'm looking forward to whatever they have in store for us next.

Relentless 7 @ Mercury Lounge - 12/11/08

Last Thursday night (Friday morning), I went downtown to see the Relentless 7 at the Mercury Lounge. For those of you unfamiliar with the group, Relentless 7 is Ben Harper's new side project. The gig was billed as a "late show", doors at midnight, R7 on at 1am. The Mercury Lounge is a really small venue, I'd guess they can hold maybe 150-200 people max and the room was just about full to capacity.

I've gotten to see Ben many times over the years and it was great to see him in such an intimate venue. The R7 is more of a pure rock band and a slight departure from his work with the Innocent Criminals. Ben seemed to really love the lead singer role (he was more animated than usual) and at times it felt like we were watching a guy rock out in his garage with a bunch of buddies. One thing that was strange for me was going to a show without knowing any of the material, but a couple songs stuck out, specifically "Fly One Time" and "Boots Like These". Overall it was a pretty cool show and I'm looking forward to the official release.

Here's the setlist:

Number With No Name
Shimmer and Shine
Lay There and Hate Me
Fly One Time
Keep It Together
Dressed In Black
Skin Thin
The Word Suicide
Boots Like These
Up to You Now

One other interesting thing was that I spotted photographer Danny Clinch before the show and during the set on stage taking a bunch of pics of Ben, the band and the crowd. I'll be interested to see what happens with those....

Here's a couple video clips I found online and some pictures I took......



R7 @ Mercury Lounge

R7 @ Mercury Lounge

R7 @ Mercury Lounge