Friday, December 23, 2011

Live Ledge #46: Drunk Punk Xmas

Please excuse any typos, as I've had a few whiskey-cokes. Tonight's special Christmas show is not the one to play for family functions (last Sunday's Rural Ledge-ucation fits that description). No, put this on at full blast after you've returned home from the festivities. It's the longest live show to date, and could have been stretched another hour (at least). It's also the last Ledge of 2011! Grab this via iTunes, Stitcher, or directly HERE!

1. Morphine, Sexy Christmas
2. Eux Autres, Teenage Christmas
3. The Dogmatics, Xmas Time(It Sure Doesn't Feel Like It)
4. Dirtbombs, My Last Christmas Downer
5. Helen Wheels, White Christmas The Band That Stole Christmas
6. Guided By Voices Father Sgt. Christmas Card
7. Boston Spaceships, Christmas Girl
8. The Figgs, Father Christmas
9. Fleshtones, Champagne of Christmas Stocking
10. Buzz Zeemer, Psychedelic Santa
11. Minus 5, Your Christmas Whiskey
12. Davie Allan & The Arrows, Santa On The Run
13. Bayside, Angels We Have Heard On High
14. Groovie Ghoulies, Christmas On Mars
15. Osaka Popstar, The Christmas That Almost Wasn't
16. Vice Squad, Merry Xmas Everybody
17. Goldblade, City of Christmas Ghosts (featuring Poly Styrene) City Of Christmas Ghosts
18. Dressy Bessy, All The Right Reasons
19. The Blackhearts & Special Guests, Silent Night
20. Shonen Knife, Space Christmas  
21. The Dollyrots, Santa Baby
22. The Vacancies, The Elf Song
23. Angry Snowmans, Blitzen Bop
24. Angry Snowmans, Ebeneezer Uber Alles
25. Fucked Up, Do They Know It's Christmas?
26. The Tabaltix, Don't Believe In Christmas
27. Los Gatos Locos, Father Christmas
28. Bamboula, I'm Getting Pissed For Christmas
29. The Kraneos, Run Rudolph Run
30. The Hentchmen, Merry Christmas Baby
31. Hasil Adkins, Santa Claus Boogie
32. King Salami & The Cumberland 3, Black Santa
33. Brendan Hanlon & The Bat Men, Christmas Party
34. Rev. Tom Frost, Santa Bring My Baby Back(To Me)
35. Rocket 455, Santa Ain't Coming For Christmas
36. The Buff Medways, Merry Christmas Fritz
37. The Celibate Rifles, Merry Xmas Blues
38. Fear, Fuck Christmas
39. Descendents, Christmas Vacation
40. Dwarves, Drinking Up Christmas
41. The Cannibals, Christmas Rock 'N 'Roll Christmas
42. Untamed Youth, Santa's Gonna Shut 'Em Down
43. The Four Corners, My Gift To You (It's Me)
44. The Fall, No Xmas For John Quays
45. The Wedding Present, Step Into Christmas
46. The Damned, There Ain't No Sanity Clause
47. Billy Childish, Dear Santa Claus
48. The Hot Rods, Santa's Too Drunk To Drive
49. The Kaisers, Merry Christmas Loopy Lu
50. The Connection, Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna To Fight Tonight)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rural Ledge-ucation #36: Christmas

It's probably not a shocker to anybody that I'm not a fan of traditional Christmas schock. There's few things harder to deal with than the sappy, MOR holiday music I must endure whenever I enter a retailer after around November 10 or so.
That's doesn't mean, though, that I hate ALL Christmas music. Today's show is the types of tunes that do bring a smile to my face, and quite honestly this is my most varied show ever! There's a bit of soul, blues, country, folk, singer/songwriter, and (of course) a bit of alternative rock. Most importantly, outside of a couple of tracks there are NO novelty songs.
Seriously, this is the perfect soundtrack for shopping, wrapping, or even opening Christmas presents. Subscribe via iTunes, stream it through Stitcher, or directly download it HERE!

1. Loudon Wainwright III, Christmas Morning
2. James Brown, Merry Christmas I Love You
3. Detroit Junior, Christmas Day
4. Count Sidney & His Dukes, Soul Christmas
5. Andre Williams, Sorry Mr. Santa
6. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Ain't No Chimneys In The Projects
7. Leroy Carr, Christmas In Jail-Ain't That A Pain
8. Seasick Steve & The Level Devils, Christmas Prison Blues
9. Butterbeans and Susie, Papa Ain't No Santa Claus(Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree)
10. Lightnin' Hopkins, Santa Downer
11. Huey "Piano" Smith & Clowns, Rock N Roll Santa Claus
12. E (from The Eels), Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
13. Matthew Ryan, It's Christmas Time
14. Josh Rouse, Christmas With Jesus
15. Steve Earle, Christmas In Washington
16. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, Time of the Season
17. Aimee Mann, I Was Thinking I Could Clean Up For Christmas
18. Bill Janovitz, Please Come Home for Christmas
19. My Morning Jacket, Christmas Must Be Tonight
20. Jerry Lee Lewis, I Can't Have A Merry Christmas, Mary (Without You)
21. Johnny Cash, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
22. Buck Owens & Susan Raye, Tomorrow Is Christmas Day
23. Linda Cassady, Is Santa Claus A Hippy?
24. Loretta Lynn, Christmas Without Daddy
25. Thin White Rope, Christmas Skies
26. The Long Ryders, Christmas In New Zealand
27. Scott Kempner, Merry Xmas, Baby
28. The BellRays, Merry Christmas Baby
29. Harry Lee, Rockin' On A Reindeer  
30. Becky Lee Beck, I Want a Beatle for Christmas
31. Chuck Berry, Merry Christmas Baby
32. Shane MacGowan & The Popes, Christmas Lullaby
33. The Pogues, Fairytale Of New York
34. Tom Waits, Silent Night/Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis

Friday, December 16, 2011

Live Ledge #45: Best of 2011

You've probably all seen my extended list of the best albums, reissues, and live releases of 2011. If not, scroll down the page. Tonight's show is a bit of a countdown of that manifesto, with tracks from almost half of the releases included in the show. This is a keeper, so download it NOW via the iTunes store, stitcher, or directly HERE!

1. The Magnolias, American Dream
2. HeadCat, Something Else
3. Lydia Loveless, Jesus Was a Wino
4. Old 97's, I'm a Trainwreck
5. The Barreracudas, Baby Baby Baby
6. Motel Beds, Bat Naps
7. Title Tracks, Turn Your Face
8. Blitzen Trapper, Fletcher
9. Big Troubles, Misery
10. Male Bonding, Tame the Sun
11. The Ettes, Excuse
12. Bare Wires, Back On The Road
13. De Keefmen, Told You Once Told You Twice (Take 1)
14. Dwarves, Looking Out For Number One
15. Cloud Nothings, Not Important
16. Telekinesis, Please Ask For Help
17. Obits, You Gotta Lose
18. J Mascis, Not Enough
19. Deer Tick, Let's All Go To The Bar
20. Yuck, Get Away
21. Art Brut, Lost Weekend
22. Drive-By Truckers, Go-Go Boots
23. John Doe, Don't Forget How Much I Love You
24. Tommy Stinson, Meant To Be
25. Wild Flag, Romance
26. The Black Keys, Lonely Boy
27. Redstockings, Unrequited Love
28. Fucked Up, The Other Shoe
29. Archers Of Loaf, What Did You Expect? (Merge 7" Version)
30. The Rolling Stones, Tallahassee Lassie
31. Tom Waits, Get Lost

Hudson's Best of 2011, Pt. 4: Best Albums #1 - 20

In many respects, this is a year similar to the last few years. Despite the drum beats of friends and music experts decrying the state of music, I'm able to find tons and tons of material worthy of making my year-end list.
Yet there is one main difference between this year and the last few - many artists who would normally find themselves near the top of the list didn't make the cut. Sorry, but I was bored by the latest Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket, and Steve Earle releases.  Others that were strong enough to make the list found themselves farther down than usual (Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes, etc.). Were they disappointing albums or were there just an abundance of even better releases? I'd say it was a bit of both.

1. Tom Waits Bad As Me. His first album in seven years is also in some respects a look back at a legendary career. Yes, the "clankety-clank" of recent albums is still present, but it's mixed with the gravelly crooner style of his early days. The result is one of the best albums of his career, and certainly the best album of 2011.

2. Fucked Up, David Comes to Live. A punk rock opera? Ok, Green Day did the same thing a few years ago but this band manages to tell their story without resorting to arena rock cliches. This isn't a band for everybody, but once you get used to Damian Abraham's wounded growl you'll be hooked. Also of note is the "companion piece", David's Town, featuring guest vocals by various friends of the band.

3. Black Keys, El Camino. Despite the presence of all star producer Danger Mouse, the latest by Akron, Ohio's greatest band since Devo is a bit of "back to basics" release with plenty of nods to 70's glam and hard rock.

4. Wilco, The Whole Love. Almost ten years after the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album pitted them against conventional major label wisdom Wilco is finally a true indie band. Their first self-released album is also their best since that album, as The Whole Love combines Summerteeth power pop, YHF experimental noise, and even a bit of A.M. country-rock for one of their strongest albums ever.

5. The Decemberists, The King Is Dead. The Decemberists are so good that even their weakest album make the top 5. This is a back-to-basics album that is reminiscent of Reckoning-era R.E.M. that is certainly not as clever as 2009's The Hazards of Love but is still an essential part of their discography.

6. Wild Flag, S/T. An all-star collaboration between former members of Sleater-Kinney, Helium, Quasi, and Stephen Malkmus's band whip up a shitload of noise that stands tall with anything each member had previously recorded.

7. Tommy Stinson, One Man Mutiny. Recorded during breaks between Guns 'n' Roses tours, Tommy Stinson's first album in a few years has a loose Faces-ish feel harkens back to the greatly underrated Bash and Pop album.

8. John Doe, Keeper. John Doe can do no wrong. That is all.

9. The Feelies, Here Before. Twenty years after their last album, The Feelies act like they never broke up. Here Before is a natural progression from 1991's Time For a Witness, utilizing acoustic and electric instruments to create sonic landscapes that sometimes require multiple listens to appreciate.

10. Buffalo Tom, Skins. Their second album since their mid-2000's comeback sits comfortably next to their acclaimed 90's albums.

11. Drive-By Truckers, Go Go Boots. Recorded at the same time as last year's more rockin' The Big To-Do, the tracks on Go Go Boots is both more soulful and twangy than its predecessor.

12. Art Brut, Brilliant! Tragic! Recorded in just two weeks, and once again produced by Frank Black, Art Brut's latest is in many ways just a carbon copy of their previous releases. Instead of singing about The Replacements, though, they're now "crooning" odes to Axl Rose and Martin Kemp.

13. John Paul Keith, The Man That Time Forgot. Possibly my favorite discovery of the year, as the former V-Roys guitarist combines elements of Tex-Mex, garage rock, rockabilly, soul, and even a hint of jazz-blues.

14. Glen Campbell, Ghost On the Canvas. Ok, I'll admit that if it wasn't for the inclusion of two Paul Westerberg songs (and a Guided By Voices cover) I probably wouldn't have paid attention to this album. For his final album (Glen is suffering from Alzheimer's), Campbell's son has selected tracks that create a perfect swan song to a legendary career.

15. The Jayhawks, Mockingbird Time. Another great reunion of one of my favorite bands. While the resulting album may not be as strong as Hollywood Town Hall or Tomorrow the Green Grass, I'll always be a sucker for the harmonies of Mark Olson and Gary Louris.

16. Yuck, S/T. Yes, I know they're just a Dinosaur Jr. ripoff. I don't care. It rocks.
17. Deer Tick, Divine Providence. After three albums of pretty typical twangy Americana, the band turns up their amps for what is possibly the most Replacements-ish album of the year. Obviously, that's something I'd like.

18. Dave Alvin, Eleven Eleven. The story of this album is that Alvin supposedly "threw away" everything he had learned throughout his 30 year music career. Instead of creating during "down times", for this project he wrote and recorded while on the road. He also (apparently) mended fences with his brother Phil, who sings with Dave on three tracks. The result is his best album in close to 20 years.

19. Lucinda Williams, Blessed. There was a time when a new Lucinda Williams album was an event. That hasn't been the case for quite some time, though, but Blessed is easily her best album since Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.

20. J. Mascis, Several Shades of Why. Although primarily an acoustic album, the latest solo release by the Dinosaur Jr. leader isn't all that much different than a proper band album. Yet it's nice to hear Mascis' rasp without the usual ear-piercing guitar leads.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hudson's Best of 2011, Pt. 3: Best Albums #21 - 40

21. British Sea Power, Valhalla Dancehall. Brighton's best band (are their others) backtrack a bit from the over-polished production of their last two or three albums in favor of the more straight-up sound of their debut, The Decline of British Sea Power.

22. Obits, Moody Standard & Poor. Sure, there's nothing on here that ranks with band member's best moments in Drive Like Jehu, Edsel, or Hot Snakes, but Obits' second album is still one of the best "rawk" albums of the year.

23. Matthew Ryan, I Recall Standing as Though Nothing Could Fall. After an album of introspective tunes (2009's Dear Lover), on this album Ryan expands not only his lyrical themes but his musical accompaniment.

24. Telekinesis, 12 Desperate Straight Lines. The second album by Michael Benjamin Lerner's one-man band is much darker than their debut but is no less catchy.

25. Middle Brother, S/T. The lead singers of Deer Tick, Dawes, and Delta Spirit come together for a one-off bar-band collaboration that clearly inspired the more raucous sound of the latest Deer Tick.

26. Bright Eyes, The People's Key. After a couple of albums under his own name (and the Monsters of Folk collaboration), Conor Oberst brought back the Bright Eyes moniker this year for possibly his most fully realized collection of songs.

27. Cloud Nothings, S/T. One year ago, 18 year-old Dylan Baldi was living at home making lo-fi EP's of catchy noise-pop. This year he made it into a real studio, and while the results may be missing the muddy hiss, the pure pop bliss remains the same.

28. Centro-matic, Dandidate Waltz. Will Johnson's 10th album under the Centro-matic name doesn't stray far from their earlier releases. One could say it's a bit more upbeat than the last couple of albums, but it's still guitar-centric Americana at its best.

29. The Dwarves, Are Born Again. After seven long years, one of punk rock's most notorious acts is back with a vengeance! Those easily offended need not apply!

30. Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring For My Halo. Every year there's a few albums that can be called "sleepers" - dismissed at first as "boring" but gradually pushing its way into your consciousness. This year's album of that sort is the fourth album by Kurt Vile, who has seen himself compared to almost everybody - Tom Petty, Psychic TV, Animal Collective, Neil Young, etc. What could possibly be the uniting element of those acts? Well, besides Vile, I guess.

31. R.E.M., Collapse Into Now. It was probably the right time for R.E.M. to call it quits (many would say it should have happened 20 years ago), but at least they went out on a high mark. No, this is no Murmur, Reckoning, or even Document, but it's still a pretty strong collection of primarily punchy pop-rock. Thanks for 30 years of musical service.

32. Bill Callahan, Apocalypse. Whether it's under his own name or the Smog moniker, Bill Callahan releases are always at the very least interesting. Recorded live in the studio, the songs are so full of surprises they even sound like they were created on the spot.

33. Black Lips, Arabia Mountain. Months after its release, I still don't quite get how this infamous Atlanta garage band hooked up with Amy Winehouse producer Mark Ronson. While many longtime fans are dismayed by their new (semi)-glossy sound, the tunes are as catchy and irreverent as before.

34. Portugal The Man, In the Mountain of the Cloud. Apparently, this Alaskan band has been around for quite some time. I didn't discover them until some of my favorite rock critic twitters went nuts on the day this album was released. How to describe them? Hmmm, that's tough. I hate to state the name "Coldplay" but imagine if they were somewhat psychedelic, energetic, and in no way pretentious? I guess they wouldn't be Coldplay then.

35. De Keefmen, S/T. Classic, traditional garage rock from the Netherlands. What more needs to be said?

36. Bare Wires, Cheap Perfume. Because the vinyl version is a 10" some would call this an EP. Not this kid, as ten songs makes a full album, even if only one crosses the three minute mark. Yes, this is another noisy, punk-ish, garage-y treat that I'll never tire of hearing.

37. Thurston Moore, Demolished Thoughts. Like the recent J Mascis solo album, this is pretty much a Sonic Youth album played primarily on acoustic guitars. Beck produces this project, but keeps the sound pretty organic.

38. The Horrible Crowes, Elsie. Gaslight Anthem leader Brian Fallon's side project appears to be a place to release the songs that don't fit that band's "Americana punk".  He has called this his "night-time music" project, and many of these (primarily) piano-based tunes is definitely more soulful than the tunes he records for his day job.

39. The Ettes, Wicked Will. Southern-based noisy garage rock, sprinkled with retro elements from the 50's, 60's, and 70's.

40. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Mirror Traffic. Possibly inspired by the Pavement reunion, the latest Jicks album features some of the most playful and, dare I say it, fun songs since the heyday of THAT band.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hudson's Best of 2011, Pt. 2: Best Albums #41-60

41. Chuck Ragan, Covering Ground. It's a weird but welcome trend - former hardcore and punk rock vocalists becoming singer/songwriter troubadours. The former Hot Water Music leader's third album makes a strong case for his being the top of the heap in that ever-growing gang.

42. Male Bonding, Endless Now. It's long been established I'm a sucker for Jesus and Mary Chain-inspired noisy pure pop. Male Bonding breaks absolutely no ground but I can't help but revel in its sugary sweetness.

43. Big Troubles, Romantic Comedy. Speaking of sugary sweetness, the second album by songwriters Alex Craig and Ian Drennan features the production genius of Mitch Easter (Pavement, Velvet Crush, Marshall Crenshaw, Game Thoery, R.E.M., and his own band, Let's Active). Imagine the perfect storm of 60's Brit Pop, 80's Paisley Underground, and 90's lo-fi indie.

44. Ryan Adams, Ashes & Fire. I expected so much from this album, Adams' first without the derided (by me, at least) Cardinals since 2004's Love Is Hell. While it has enough moments to make this countdown, so much more was expected...especially since it's produced by Glyn Johns (Who, Beatles, Stones, Clash). It's a fine album...but that's about it.

45. Blitzen Trapper, American Goldwing. Like Deer Tick's new album, Blitzen Trapper drop most of the folk and country elements of their prior albums and focus on the "rawk". Like Deer Tick, it may also be the album of their career.

46. A.A. Bondy, Believers. Another great collection of dark, haunting tunes from the former Verbena lead singer.

47. Title Tracks, In Blank. More tasty lo-fi garage pop fuzz from the former leader of Georgie James and Q and Not U.

48. The Wooden Birds, Two Matchsticks. Another creeper of an album whose slowcore mix of subdued guitars, atmospheric grooves, and traditional folk-pop becomes irresistible after multiple plays.

49. The Mekons, Ancient & Modern 1911-2011. 35 years after their formation, The Mekons show no signs of retiring. Their latest album may be their for ambitious yet - a look at how similar our society was exactly 100 years ago. Not being a historian, I can't vouch for their findings, but I definitely appreciate the passion.

50. Motel Beds, Sunfried Dreams. There's more to Dayton, OH than the Black Keys, Devo, and the Deal sisters. Well, there's at least one more music act in that fine city, as this fine sunshine pop-rock goodness is worth the trip to bandcamp. The site, not the cheesy movie cliche.

51. The Barreracudas, Nocturnal Missions. I can't beat this quote I found on Amazon, "somewhere between The Heartbreakers (Petty) and The Heartbeakers (Thunders)...Nocturnal Missions blends elements of dirty 70's glam and the radio-friendliness of Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour". Yes, this is Hudson music.

52. Crooked Fingers Breaks in the Armor. The latest release by former Archers of Loaf leader Eric Bachmann (hmmm, maybe former should be stricken since they're now back together) is a tad less folky and atmospheric than his previous releases under the Crooked Fingers moniker.

53. Old 97's, The Grand Theatre Volume 2. Renting out a concert hall to work on material worked so well on Volume 1 that a year later we have a second set of twangy power folk-pop. Both albums rank up there with anything the band has put out in their lengthy career.

54. John Wesley Harding, The Sound of His Own Voice. For his 19th album (!), Harding gathered together a bunch of his pals (including Peter Buck, Rosanne Cash, Laura Veirs, and all of The Decemberists) for his most lively and entertaining album in quite some time.

55. Lydia Loveless, Indestructible Machine. Talk about a family affair. The guitarist is her husband, and the drummer is her father (no word on any relation to the bassist). Together they create the kind of punkish country rock that seemed to disappear around 2001 or so.

56. HeadCat, Walk the Walk...Talk the Talk. What do you get when you put Motorhead's Lemmy, Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats, and rockabilly legend Danny B. Harvey in a studio? This take-no-prisoners, clearly alcohol-inspired blast of rock 'n' roll past and present!

57. Garland Jeffreys, The King of In Between. What a welcome return after a 20 year recording hiatus (besides a couple of European-only releases). Few songwriters capture the essence of New York as Jeffreys (or at least to this non-Easterner), and this album stands tall next to his late 70's classics.

58. The Love Me Nots, The Demon and the Devotee. Yes, another collection of catchy garage rock. Add a sultry female vocalist and I'm all in!

59. The Magnolias, Pop the Lock. Fifteen years after their last album, Street Date Tuesday, the most overlooked Minneapolis band of the 80's and 90's is back. It's unfortunate, though, that the only reason we have more great music from them is due to their own fundraising efforts through Kickstarter. It's like they never left, though, as they continue to conjure up the spirits of their Minneapolis brethren The Replacements, Husker Du, and early Soul Asylum.

60. Glossary, Long Live All of Us. I've always wanted to check out this band, but never got around to it. Seeing their latest release perched near the top of many of my friend's lists enticed me to finally do just that. I'll definitely be checking out more in the near future...mainly so I can come up with an apt description of their soul/funk/country/folk/whatever sound.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hudson's Best of 2011, Pt. 1: Reissues and Live Albums


1. Rolling Stones, Some Girls. You never forget your first. Some Girls isn't my favorite Stones album, but it was the one that took my Mick/Keith virginity. Almost everything that has musically happened to me since then can be traced to this Budget Tapes and Records purchase. This year's reissue adds a bonus disc of a dozen more tunes, and unlike most of these types of releases there isn't that much of a drop in quality in the outtakes (there's actually dozens of other tunes that could have been included).

2. The Kinks Reissues. Yes, the Kinks catalog has been reissued even more than Elvis Costello's. Yes, I have multiple copies of each of these albums, but these are the definitive versions of their 60's releases. Besides both mono and stereo versions of each album, the discs are filled with outtakes, demos, and BBC sessions, all wonderfully remastered by producer Andrew Sandoval.

3. The Jayhawks Reissues. Two of Americana's greatest albums, Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass, get the expanded reissue/remastering treatment. Tomorrow is the highlight of the two, with an extra disc of previously unreleased demos.

4. Archers of Loaf, Icky Mettle. A true underrated classic - one of the greatest college rock albums of the 90's - gets the double disc treatment. I loved it then; I love it even more now.

5. R.E.M., Life's Rich Pageant. R.E.M.'s fourth full-length album marks a pivotal point in the band's history, as Peter Buck's jangly guitar is replaced by power chords and Michael Stipe's vocals are pushed higher into the mix. This is also one of their most underrated albums, and a second disc of demos makes this essential to any fan.

6. The Beach Boys, The Smile Sessions. Forty-five years after the recording sessions a version of the infamous Smile has finally been released. Is this what Brian Wilson intended? I doubt if even he knows at this point, and while it's not quite the classic that could have changed the music landscape it is still an interesting curio of the era.

7. Crass Reissues. There's certainly something odd about the idea of expanded reissues of the Crass catalog. After all, they were anti-capitalist anarcho-punks; the original D.I.Y. punks (or close to it). I'm shocked at how great these low-fi albums sound over 30 years later, and anybody who calls themselves a punk should spend some time with these recordings.

8. Nick Cave Reissues. Cave's more recent albums were given the remaster/remix treatment, and since they all made my recent end-of-year lists it's automatic they're included here.

9. Nirvana, Nevermind. 20 years ago Nirvana changed the way radio AND record companies did business, and although they took back control by the end of the 90's there was a time when we all had a glimmer of hope. This box set includes tons of previously unreleased goodies, including an "unpolished" version of the album and a blistering concert recorded in Seattle.

10. The Jesus and Mary Chain Reissues. Like most of this list, the entire catalog gets the double disc treatment. Like most of this list, they're all essential.

11. The Who, Quadrophenia. The last great Who album gets the box set treatment, although for the price Townshend is a bit stingy with the extras. You get the original double disc set plus two discs of demos, and a surround sound version of about half of the album. Oh yeah, and a book. For over $150. They wonder why people download.

12. Giant Sand Reissues. Over the next couple of years, over two dozen albums by Howe Gelb and his Giant Sand collective will be reissued with bonus tracks. Few people need the entire catalog, but Chore of Enchantment, Black Out, and Valley of Rain are among some of the albums worth checking out.

13. Johnny Cash, The Bootleg Series. Another year, another set of "new" Johnny Cash releases. This year saw three double disc sets of previously unreleased material, and honestly they're all worth owning. The first two volumes consist of demos and outtakes, while volume three is live recordings from such settings as the Newport Folk Festival, Vietnam, and a special concert for President Richard Nixon(!).

14. Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here. I'm no fan of post-Barrett Pink Floyd...except for this one. While the rest of the world went nuts over expanded versions of The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon, this is the album I was waiting for.

15. Graham Parker, The Bootleg Series. Parker self-released his own bootleg series this year with two five-disc boxes of concert recordings spanning his entire career.

Live Albums:

1. Rolling Stones, Some Girls Live in Texas '78
2. Rolling Stones, Brussels Affair. Despite their well-known love for money, the Stones have always resisted raiding the vaults for new product. Yet in the last two years we've seen expanded versions of two albums...and now these live releases. Some Girls Live in Texas is a blistering show that's heavy on SG material and light on "greatest hits", and as many have noted this was their "last great tour". Brussels Affair is one of the great Stones bootlegs, and producer Bob Clearmountain spent some time remixing it before allowing Google Music to sneak it into their store with little fanfare. It's only five bucks so nab it now!

3. Rhett Miller, The Interpreter Live At Largo. Now this is a fun release. Instead of the usual mix of solo and Old 97's tunes, this live album consists of nothing but covers. Wave of Mutilation as an acoustic track? American Girl? Brilliant Mistake? Waterloo Sunset? Oh yes, I'm there.

4. The Stooges, Raw Power Live: In the Hands of the Fans. There was admittedly a deluge of live Iggy releases this year, including a box set of recordings from his entire career. I'll give the edge to this CD/DVD of the entire Raw Power album, recorded at the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in September 2010.

5. The Cure, Bestival Live 2011. Although The Cure have a number of live albums, this is the first that has been an entire performance from beginning to end. I doubt that many people in the early 80's would have predicted that Robert Smith would still be donning the lipstick and poofy hair 30 years later, but it still works for him.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rural Ledge-ucation #35: Winter

There's few things I despise more than weather chat. Nothing bores me more than the "what do you think of this weather" question that I have to endure whether it's hot, cold, raining, snowing, or just perfect. But I'm also a hypocrite, so now that we've had our first blast of winter temperatures it's time for a show based around "winter" songs. So here you go - garage rock, power pop, and singer/songwriters performing songs about this much despised part of the year. Stream this through stitcher, The Ledge android/iPhone app, or directly HERE!

1. The Rolling Stones, Winter
2. The Housemartins, I Smell Winter
3. The Ocean Blue, Frigid Winter Days
4. Dumptruck, Winter
5. The Coral, Walking In the Winter
6. The Apples In Stereo, Winter Must Be Cold
7. Jonathan Richman, Winter Afternoon By B.U. In Boston
8. Garland Jeffreys, Coney Island Winter
9. Mark Olson, Winter Song
10. Kristin Hersh, Winter Learn To Sing
11. Paul Kelly, Wintercoat
12. Josh Rouse, Winter In The Hamptons
13. Leonard Cohen, Winter Lady
14. The Fall, Winter
15. Superchunk, Winter Games
16. The Tripwires, Flowers of Winter
17. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!, South For The Winter
18. Neil Young, Winterlong

Friday, December 09, 2011

Live Ledge #44: Leftovers Again?

Whenever I put a show together, it's inevitable that I end up with an extra thirty to sixty minutes of music. Tonight's show collected most of the leftovers from the last few shows. Along with those "rejects", there's also a preview of Pop the Lock, the new album by The Magnolias. Released this past Tuesday, it's their first album in fifteen years, and was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Great to see this underrated Minneapolis band back on the record shelves! For more info on this album (along with the band's history, discography, news, etc.), head HERE!
Nab this bastard at the usual locations, or directly download it HERE!

1. Charles Bukowski, Are You Drinking
2. The Hardcount, Whiskey & Wine
3. Dave Edmunds, Girls Talk
4. Nick Lowe, American Squirm
5. Elvis Costello & The Attractions, I Stand Accused
6. Material Issue, Ballroom Blitz
7. The Backsliders, Last Call
8. The Love Me Nots, I'm Gonna Be Your Girl
9. Junior Varsity, My Boyfriend
10. Nikki & The Corvettes, I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
11. Obits, You Gotta Lose
12. Rocket From The Tombs, Anna
13. Baby Astronauts, Just About To Lose It All
14. Motel Beds, Go Go Make Yourself
15. Husker Du, Sunshine Superman
16. Replacements, Fox On The Run
17. Replacements, Hold My Life
18. Perfect, Yap Yap
19. The Magnolias American Dream
20. The Magnolias, Top of the Charts
21. Suburbs, Love Is The Law
22. Len Bright Combo, You're Gonna Screw My Head Off
23. The Mekons, Dance and Drink the Mekons
24. The Fall, Nate Will Not Return
25. Wild Billy Childish And The Spartan Dreggs, Are You A Wally? (Or Are You A Smooth?)
26. The Delinquents, All Talk And No Action!
27. Jonny Chan and the New Dynasty 6, A Girl as Sweet as You
28. The Mystreated, There's a time
29. Cannibals, I Wanna Be Your Man
30. The Mortals, Making Time
31. The Mortals, Last Time Around
32. Kwyet Kings, David Watts
33. The Jolt, Route 66
34. Ty Segall, Cherry Red
35. Total Babes, Like They Always Do
36. Gaunt, Jim Motherfucker

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Rural Ledge-ucation #34: Product

A pessimist would look at the end-of-year barrage of box sets, reissues, live albums, and compilations as pure cash grabs by artists and their record companies. Yeah, it is, but as an obsessed music consumer I have another view. It's an opportunity to create more piles in my CD room, and also fill my external hard drive with even more tracks that I'll forget I own!
Today's short show primarily highlights some of these recent releases, along with a couple of albums that will quite possibly have a high ranking in my Best of 2011 list. Oh yeah, and there's a live Replacements track that I played for Drazzle (I can never say no to playing them, right?). You know the methods to get this show, or just directly download it HERE.

1. Big Troubles, Misery
2. Wilco, I Might (Demo)
3. The Decemberists, I4U & U4ME (Home Demo)
4. Giant Sand, Shiver
5. The New Standards & Friends, I Want You to Want Me
6. The New Standards & Friends, Love is the Law
7. Frank Turner, On a Plain
8. Rhett Miller, California Stars
9. Rhett Miller, Queen Bitch
10. Replacements, Nowhere Man
11. Tom Waits, Last Leaf
12. The Rolling Stones, We Had It All
13. Paul Kelly, I'll Be Your Lover
14. Matthew Ryan, All The Wild Horses
15. The Cure, Boys Don't Cry

Friday, December 02, 2011

Live Ledge #43: It's a Mod Mod Mod World

Between Mojo's coverage of the Quadrophenia reissue and Simon Reynolds' dismissive opinion in his latest book, Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past, I've been obsessed with the mod culture of BOTH the mid-60's and late-70's. Tonight's show covers both of these periods, along with some other stray tracks. Subscribe via iTunes, stream it via Stitcher, or directly download it HERE!

1. Squire, It's a Mod Mod World
2. The High Numbers, I'm The Face
3. The Who, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere
4. The Yardbirds, Talkin' 'Bout You
5. The Rolling Stones, Tallahassee Lassie
6. The Small Faces, Come On Children
7. The Action, I'll Keep On Holding On
8. The Attack, Any More Than I Do
9. The Kinks, Too Much Monkey Business
10. The Shots, Walk Right Out
11. The Move, You're The One I Need
12. The Creation, How Does It Feel To Feel?
13. Vince Taylor, My Baby Left Me
14. Downliners Sect, Brand New Cadillac
15. Eddie Cochran, Nervous Breakdown (Version 2)
16. Chuck Berry, Reelin' And Rockin' (take 1)
17. Link Wray, Money
18. The Jam, When You're Young
19. Secret Affair, Time For Action
20. Purple Hearts, Perfect World
21. Purple Hearts, Frustration
22. The Jolt, Mr.Radio Man
23. Beggar, Don't Throw Your Life Away
24. Merton Parkas, Plastic Smile
25. Merton Parkas, Tears of a Clown
26. The Shamrock, The Mods Are Alright
27. Chords, Maybe Tomorrow
28. Squire, Semptember Gurls
29. Heavy Times, Electronic Cigarette
30. The Kaisers, I Want To Be Your Driver
31. undertones, Family Entertainment
32. Kilburn & The High Roads, Upminster Kid
33. Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Blockheads
34. Tenpole Tudor, Swords Of A Thousand Men
35. Sex Pistols, The Great Rock And Roll Swindle
36. De Keefmen, I Need Help!