Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Top 100 Singles of the 1990s

So, over on a message board, we had a poll on what were the Top 100 Singles of the 1990s. Here is my list, there are some rather large oversights (Who knew Jawbreaker had two awesome singles in the 90s in "Fireman" and "Chesterfield King"? Not allmusic, that's for sure). Anyways, here's my list.

01. Bjork - Hyperballad
02. New Order - Regret
03. Natalie Imbruglia - Torn
04. Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You
05. Phoenix - Too Young
06. Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy
07. Badly Drawn Boy - Once Around the Block
08. The Get Up Kids - Action and Action
09. Underworld - Born Slippy [NUXX]
10. Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta
11. Primitive Radio Gods - Standing Outside A Broken Phonebooth With Money In My Hands
12. Pavement - Gold Soundz
13. Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
14. Elastica - Stutter
15. Foo Fighters - Everlong
16. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get
17. Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight
18. Ben Folds Five - Brick
19. Bjork - Possibly Maybe
20. Smashing Pumpkins - 1979
21. Phoenix - If I Ever Feel Better
22. The Afghan Whigs - What Jail Is Like
23. Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees
24. SIANspheric - I Like the Ride
25. Refused - New Noise
26. Yo La Tengo - Tom Courtenay
27. Godspeed You Black Emperor! - Moya
28. Moby - Feeling So Real
29. The Cranberries - Linger
30. The Cranberries - Dreams
31. Bjork - Joga
32. Yo La Tengo - Sugarcube
33. Sleater-Kinney - One More Hour
34. Bjork - All Is Full of Love
35. The Roots featuring Erykah Badu - You Got Me
36. Underworld - Jumbo
37. Foo Fighters - My Hero
38. Tom Waits I Don't Want To Grow Up
39. Liz Phair - Supernova
40. The Jesus and Mary Chain featuring Hope Sandoval - Sometimes Always
41. The Flaming Lips - Race For the Prize
42. Jay-Z - Hard Knock Life
43. The Wedding Present - Montreal
44. U2 - Stay (Faraway, So Close)
45. Beck - Jackass
46. Bjork - Hunter
47. Pavement - Range Life
48. Built To Spill - Carry the Zero
49. Everclear - Santa Monica
50. Weezer - The Good Life
51. Looper - Impossible Things
52. Underworld - Dark & Long
53. INXS - Beautiful Girl
54. Lauryn Hill - X-Factor
55. Ol' Dirty Bastard - Shimmy Shimmy Ya
56. Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out)
57. Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box
58. Smashing Pumpkins - Today
59. The Dismemberment Plan - The Ice of Boston
60. Aphex Twin - Come To Daddy
61. Archers of Loaf - Web In Front
62. Cat Power - Nude As the News
63. Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
64. Radiohead - High and Dry
65. Pavement - Stereo
66. Aphex Twin - Windowlicker
67. Underworld - Moaner
68. New Order - World
69. Superchunk - Driveway To Driveway
70. The Afghan Whigs - Can't Get Enough of Your Love
71. Radiohead - No Surprises
72. Ben Folds Five - Battle of Who Could Care Less
73. U2 - One
74. Sonic Youth - Superstar
75. Sloan - Coax Me
76. Radiohead - Karma Police
77. Pulp - Common People
78. DJ Shadow - Midnight In A Perfect World
79. U.N.K.L.E. featuring Thom Yorke - Rabbit In Your Headlights
80. Pavement - Shady Lane
81. Daft Punk - Around the World
82. Len - Steal My Sunshine
83. Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You
84. Nada Surf - Popular
85. Forest For the Trees - Dream
86. Pavement - Cut Your Hair
87. Weezer - El Scorcho
88. Bush - Glycerine
89. Mogwai - Angels vs. Aliens
90. Portishead - Glory Box
91. Savage Garden - Truly, Madly, Deeply
92. The Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be
93. Bjork - Venus As A Boy
94. The Rentals - Waiting
95. Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U
96. Slowdive - Slowdive
97. Green Day - When I Come Around
98. REM - What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
99. Nirvana - All Apologies
100. Weezer - Undone (The Sweater Song)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Come on! Come on!"

Hey, I'm going to try and do some semi-daily (read: less than weekly) content on here. It's a simul-post from another message board, so if you're following me from there, my apolly-woggies, you've probably already seen this.

Giant Sand “Shiver”: Beginning with a whispered “Come on come on” this song has such a beautiful melody, and Howe Gelb’s vocals have never sounded better, all smoky and weary like he’s resting on his back porch, looking out over the desert landscape of his Arizona backyard. I’m completely puzzled why this hasn’t been the theme to some TV dramedy or hip indie film. I can honestly say I’ve never really enjoyed any other album by Giant Sand or Gelb’s solo projects (God, that one is almost unlistenable). But, this has such a sweetness, such a resignation to it. I love the sadness of the lapsteel when it comes in, the weird loopy sounds in the background, and for me it doesn’t get any better than when he says “Never mind, gonna find…” and a whispered female vocal echoes it back at him. That entire “Chore of Enchantment” album is really deserving of your (and my) attention.
As always, drop the "x"s.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's A New Year and I'm Back...Kinda

I love, love, loved 2005. It seems like every couple of minutes there was another amazing album being discovered (I'm head over heels in love with Rachel Stevens' album right now, I listen to it all the way through almost daily) with many of my current favourite bands releasing albums (Sigur Ros, Death Cab for Cutie, m83, The Jim Yoshii Pileup, Broken Social Scene, Decemberists, Daft Punk, Kanye West). I had low expectations for 2006, though, as the only bands off the top of my head releasing stuff that I had any interest in was Mogwai and (supposedly) Built To Spill. Yet January has already come with a bang, and there is some pretty great music already. Since Spin has already done a fine job hyping the upcoming Mogwai album, I thought I'd shed some light on some other corkers for 2006.

Beth Orton "The Comfort of Strangers" (Out February 2006): I've often been on the fence about Orton, sometimes loving songs of her's "Concrete Sky", other times being bored with her, and occasionally finding her collaborations even more interesting ("The State We're In" her vocal turn with The Chemical Brothers is pretty transcendant). But I'm not even 5 songs into this one and I'm in love. I'll include a YSI here of my favourite song, so far, "Conceived" which starts with a ridiculously catchy bass and high hat (hi-hat? I couldn't tell you which is right), and then a gentle acoustic strumming and her vocals, and finally some piano and I'm suddenly sitting outside on a June morning, looking up at the sky. The best description I can make is that this song makes me feel...warm?

{Yousendit guideline. Copy, change the two x's to t's, past and there you are}


Ester Drang "Rocinate" (Out January 24th): Hmm, I remember a few years back when I was pining for Jets To Brazil, so I was scouring their website for any news (still haven't hear any) and saw that they had mp3s by Ester Drang. At the time I was trying to keep up on any and everything emo and downloaded them, only to find out they were nothing like emo, but instead more of a lush, poppy indie band. Kind of like The Prom, if you've ever encountered them. Then, I forgot about them, until I came across this album and thought I'd give it a spin and...Wow! This is really good, full-on indie-pop music. I'm hearing soaring guitars, pianos, violins. It's really really lush and fun, and interesting. Here'a YSI of one of my favourite songs "Valencia's Dying Dream".


Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins "Rabbit Fur Coat": (Out January 24th) Jenny Lewis is the singer from Rilo Kiley. Still with me? Good, because this sounds nothing like Rilo Kiley. There seems to be a real backlash against Rilo Kiley, though I'm not sure why, I think they have some of the catchiest indie rock going. But, this doesn't sound like indie rock. This is Jenny Lewis releasing a solo album of solo country material. It's all really fun and great as she's really giving it and using her voice better than she ever has before. Picking a song off this album was harder than either of the previous two, because I really wanted to pick one that is catchy, but shows off the countryness of it, while also showcasing her voice, so I went with "Rise Up With Fists" which has all of those elements, it might not be my favourite (Or maybe it is...) but it's really good.


Hey, and if anyone has any problems with mp3s I'm offering up, feel free to hit me up at my email the_shrine(AT)hotmail.com and I'm cut it out promptly. My goal is to excited, not exploit. Pretty good, eh? I just came up with that now.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I promise I'll get back to this on a semi-daily basis at some point

but, for now, movie reviews...
Peter Boyle as Muto from The Cat Returns

-Izo (directed by Takashi Miike): I came to Miike by way of "Happiness of the Katakuris", which I would probably peg somewhere in my Top 10 favourite movies of all-time, so I find it funny that he's developing a bit of a reputation in North America as that guy who does the really fucked-up violent movies. I find it funny because the ultraviolent and taboo-pushing movies (Ichi The Killer, Visitor Q) are not my favourites, it's the ones that are a little more wacky and less over the top (Katakuris, Dead or Alive 1 (still haven't seen the sequels), and City of Lost Souls). So, when I read about Izo, I was excited. I thought for sure it would be a wacky, over the top type of movie considering it was directed by Miike, starring Beat Takeshi and no holds barred fighter/pro wrestler/actor Bob Sapp!!! Instead, what I got was a pretty dreary and depressing meditation on the futility of existence. This is, by far, one of the most confusing films I have ever seen, probably the most legitimately confused I have been during a movie since Mulholland Drive. It opesns with Izo, who we later learn is a samurai ordered by his lord to go on a killing spree, hanging from a cross being stabbed repeatedly with spears. Izo becomes a demon and moves freely throughout different eras of Japan and basically kills everyone in his path. Seriously, that's pretty much the movie in a nutshell. Someone stops Izo, yells something like "Damned ghost!" "Evil spirit!" at him, Izo cuts them up. There is some typically Miike-esque gore, a woman being chopped in half at the waist holding herself up between two trees as blood pours out of her, a guy getting sliced diagonally across the chest with his top half just sliding off. There are some pretty striking visuals, too, like Izo wandering through a field of flowers, and falling sideways through a wedding. But, at its running time (over 2 hours), it's just too dreary and repetitive to work very well. I was thinking about backing off of my Miike love since this is the 3rd movie of his in a row that has left me a little cold (Yakuza Demon and Gozu being the two others), but news from my brother that Miike is at the helm of either the latest in a long line of Halloween sequels, or perhaps a Halloween remake, has me excited, I will admit.And, while we're on the sort-of subject, has anyone else seen the preview for Takeshi Kitano's next directorial project "Takeshis' "? In it, Kitano plays himself who meets his blonde doppleganger (played by himself) and he begins to hallucinate that he is the other guy. It looks pretty damned funny, I must say.

-Melinda and Melinda (directed by Woody Allen): This is the year I finally got around to giving the Woodman a try. I’ve seen 6 Allen movies this year, before this one, and they’ve ranged on the scale from loved (Mighty Aphrodite), liked a lot (Manhattan), enjoyed (Annie Hall, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hannah and Her Sisters) or were okay (Sweet and Lowdown). So I was excited to see Melinda and Melinda when it came out, but missed it in theatres because it only played locally for less than a week. So I looked forward to the DVD release and finally got to see it this week and…well, there’s a new movie for the bottom of the scale. The premise is kind of neat, that, at a dinner party, one man brings up a story and then two others retell the story, one as tragedy, one as comedy. But one of the problems of the movie is that the comedy is just head and shoulders above the tragedy. The appearance of Chiwetel Ejiofor almost salvages it, he and Chloe Sevigny both play their parts very well, but it’s just not enough. The story has no real end, certain characters are just grating, and important events seem to happen off-camera. The comedy portion is much better, thanks mostly to Will Ferrell who actually pulls off the Allen dialogue better than anyone outside of Woody, himself. Roger Ebert describes this as a movie that is more about the creative process, itself, but, to me, it feels like a throwaway movie. Ebert states that Allen’s name has become an albatross and that if the movie were released with anyone but Allen’s name on it than the critics would’ve fallen all over each other to praise it, but I think it’s the opposite. If anyone but Allen’s name were attached to Melinda and Melinda, it would’ve received almost no press, and, likely, would have never been made. I truly believe that it maybe was born out of a dinner conversation, because those conversations, while engrossing if you’re involved in it, are rarely of much interest to anyone who wasn’t there.

-Palindromes (directed by Todd Solondz): Another interesting idea, a movie about a girl whose name is a palindrome, Aviva, who is played at different points by different actors (at one point she is a 6 year old African-American, then a red-headed pre-teen, than an older brunette, than a 200lb African-American woman, and, even, Jennifer Jason Leigh) in a story about how human beings never really change. But, jeez, is it moody! I mean, I know I know, it’s Todd Solondz, but even still, this is one HEAVY movie. It tackles quite a bit of issues head-on: teenage pregnancy, suicide, abortion, pro-lifers, Christianity, the killing of abortion doctors, pedophilia, teenage sexuality. Aviva gets pregnant early on, runs away from home, ends up at a cheery Christian refuge, helps a guy kill an abortion doctor. There are still some trademark Solondz jokes here, such as the movie opening with the funeral of Dawn Wiener, his heroine (of sorts…) from his first movie Welcome to the Dollhouse. And the movie looks good, it is really well shot. But, it’s just such a downer. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it on this particular day. I will probably watch it again at some point down the line, and wouldn’t dissuade anyone from seeing it, but I can’t really recommend it, either.

-The Cat Returns (directed by Hiroyuki Morita): Why didn't I watch this sooner?!?! I had no idea what it was when it came out, so I looked it up and saw a bunch of reviews proclaiming it as uninspired or even the worst of the Studio Ghibli movies, so I stayed away from it and just picked up Porco Rosso and Nausicaa (which for some reason, I still haven't watched). But, it was finally moved into the catalogue rental section a couple weeks back so I thought I'd give it a try and it's spectacular! Sure, it's not quite on the level of Miyazaki's best works Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, or as good as Takahata's best Grave of the Fireflies (I think that one is SG), but it's still pretty great. It reminds me a lot of Kiki's Delivery Service in that it's not transcendant, and won't really stick with you for hours afterwards, but it's a fun flick which will put you in a good mood. What helps it is its running time, just 75 minutes. At too much longer it might start to get a little dull, but it's perfect at its length. I watched the dubbed version, mainly because I wanted to hear the Baron with a British accent, and was blown away by what a great job Anne Hathaway does as Haru, and how freaking amazing Peter Boyle is as Muta. Maybe it's just because I have a number of cats, myself, but I loved this movie and it genuinely made me laugh out loud three or four times, and, frankly, what more can I ask for? Highly recommended. So, whatchu got?

Friday, September 09, 2005


I haven't done a movie write-up in a while. So, here we go...

3-Iron (Dir. by Ki-Duk Kim) So, for some reason, my local big corporate Video renting chain has gone all crazy and stocked a ton of new Korean DVDs coming out. I remember, bored one day, watching the preview for 3-Iron and thinking it looked neat, so I spotted it on the shelf last night and picked it up, and...well, it just might be my movie of the year (Technically it's 2004, but, like Old Boy it only saw its North American release this year, so, I'm counting it.).It's directed by the same guy who directed the also pretty sublime Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring, Ki-Duk Kim, and it's a pretty fascinating little movie. The main guy (I doubt his name is ever given, I didn't catch it if it was) is one of those guys whose job is to hang those irritating menus on people's doorknobs. He drives this expensive-looking motorcycle around, but his job, it turns out, is only a front for his favourite passtime. Later in the day, he comes back by and looks for someone who has left the menu on their door, meaning they are not in. He uses his little break-in kit, goes inside, doesn't steal anything, but, well, fools around. He takes pictures on his digital camera of himself in front of family portraits and other pictures. He fixes a kid's toy gun then uses the pellets to pop the balloons in his room. After breaking into a variety of homes, he breaks into the home of Sun-hwa, and while going about his business (cooking lunch, re-assembling their scale, masturbating to pictures of Sun-hwa), he's started to find that Sun-hwa is still at home and watching him. She has been badly beaten by her husband, and there is quite a scene where he confronts the abusive husband, armed only with a 3-iron (I presume) and whole bunch of golf balls. Sun-hwa follows him, and together they take off on his motorbike, and she joins in the breaking and entering fun with him. Of course, the close they get, the more careless they get, and they finally get caught. Sun-hwa goes home with her husband, and the guy (who IMDB is saying is named Tae-suk in the movie) is imprisoned. Tae-suk waits in jail and plots a way out and back to Sun-hwa.What's most striking about this film is that Tae-suk and Sun-hwa never speak to each other. Other characters yell at them, threaten them, beat them, but between the two only Sun-hwa ever utters a word, and it's only a sentence at the end. Rather than a violation of people's trust, their sneaking into different people's places can be seen as an attempt to connect with others in this modern age of alienation. The film is gorgeously shot, and everything looks spectacular. In spite of the write-up, it's a very gentle film, a real mediatation on love. And the ending is says soooooo much without one word.It's really amazing. I think it just might have the edge, so far, on Kung-fu Hustle, Sin City, Broken Flowers, Howl's Moving Castle and Old Boy for me. I can't say enough good things about it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"My arms miss you/My hands miss you"

-The Long Winters, Ultimatum

Hey, I'm on Myspace now!

I'd like to offer up that my mouse is not working very well, and that is the reason for the absence of any frequent posts, but that would be a bald-faced lie. I haven't posted b/c
a) It's oh-so sunny out and I'm enjoying the summer
b) No music is interesting me too much right now
c) I'm lazy
(If you picked B, I'm afraid you lose).

The Long Winters "Ultimatum" {LINK}

The Long Winters are a pretty spectacular band that deserve to ride Death Cab For Cutie's certain to be succesful coattails to some semblance of mainstream success. If you doubt their greatness, go buy "When I Pretend To Fall", one of the very best releases of 2003 (and that was a very good year). This song is a neat little one, it starts with some gentle acoustic plucking, but then the chorus with the quoted above "My arms miss you/My hands miss you" then it quiets down some with sparse guitar, cymbal rolls, and strings, then the chorus comes back. And, thusly, it comes and goes. And then it ends with strings. And you can never go wrong ending it with strings. (from the forthcoming EP of the same name, according to barsuk it drops October 11).

CocoRosie "Noah's Ark" {LINK mp3's somewhere toward the bottom of the righthand side}

Last year, about this time (Well, actually, much earlier) Fluxblog hipped me to the existence of this band with the surpremely sublime "Butterscotch". The song made the best possible use of the trading off childlike voices, sounding all at once sweet, yet still sort of sexy. I was excited to track down the album, but not only did nothing live up to the early promise of "Butterscotch", it never even came close. The songs all ran together, by fourth or fifth track, I'm ashamed to say I was leaning pretty heavily on the skip button. But "Noah's Ark" is a big improvement, the sound changes up enough to keep you guessing, and to keep you from getting bored.

This song is good, arguably the best off the album of the same name (challenged only by the awesome "Bisonours" with its badass French rapping). "Noah's Ark" has a really good beat, a REALLY good beat. It's rare to find indie rock (is this indie? I guess...) with a beat that keeps me bopping my head (at least, anything outside of Spoon that is, I dare you to not bob and weave while listening to "I Turn My Camera On" on the stereo, turned loud, when no one is around). The voices sound sweeter than ever, and there is quite a bit going on in the background, weird voices, sounds, effects. It's a pretty darned dense little song. Definitely worth your time.

The New Pornographers "Use It" {LINK}

The first time I heard of the New Pornographers (to be referred to as NewPorn from this point on), was when Canadian music magazine Exclaim! was riding them pretty heavily in one of their year-end issues. I was never a big Carl Newman fan (A Zumpano song/video that I absoultely loathed prety much cemented this), and they were Canadian, so I didn't pay them much attention. See, here in Canada, we have this tendency to celebrate mediocrity, b/c of the mere fact that it is Canadian. Give a Canadian magazine/radio station/Muchmusic to bands that are equal in every way, shape or manner, and they will always praise the Canadian one and ignore the other. Elsewhere, this would be criticized as "narrow-minded", "Nationalistic" or "American", but b/c we're Candian, it's referred to as "CanCon". I can't begin to describe the sheer amount of crappy Canadian alternative bands that have been shoved down my throat for years (up until about a year ago when it became crappy Canadian "urban" acts(Keisha, I'm looking at you)). Anyways, the point is, I would've probably listened if the New Pornographers were from Sweden or Texas, but the fact that they were (are? for the most part?) Canadian, means that I really didn't give them a second glance. Fast-forward a couple of months, and a compilation of Vancouver bands, features The New Pornographers "Letter From An Occupant" (sorry, couldn't find an mp3) and the song was tremendous. Neko Case's voice all at once soared and sounded like a cartoon character. But, everything that has come after has been a disappointment. I know everyone gets excited about the newest NewPorn release, and I wish I could share in that excitement, but I just have never quite dug them.

But, then this song came along, and now I'm back on the fence. I love the way the second voice comes in to echo on the "Use it tonight-i-i-i-ite". I want to believe I can love again, NewPorn, but I've been burned before.

Oh yeah, and it's not officially out anywhere, yet, but you really need to get that Iron& Wine and Calexico EP. Iron & Wine already have my favourite song of 2005 in "The Trapeze Swinger" which appeared on the "In Good Company" soundtrack, but I gotta say "16, Maybe Less" is really close. Really really close. I mean, close.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Smattering of Summer Songs

I thought I would cannibalize a post I made on a message board and turn it into my first post in quite some time, on here. I had Norton problems, and laziness problems, and the it's too hot to sit indoors and type problems. But, anyways, on with the show.

What I've be listening to lately:
The Most Serene Republic-Content Was Always My Favourite Colour: It's two songs in one! The first is like a much fuzzier Postal Service song, in fact the singer sounds a great deal like Ben Gibbard, but there are more scratchy guitars and jutting keyboards. Then it fades out almost completely into just handclaps and repeated lyrics before going into part two which is built around some fervent acoustic guitar strumming, faster vocals, and a good solid drumbeat. I was going to buy this the other day and am not sure why I didn't. I will surely pick it up tomorrow.

SIANspheric - The Stars Above: It's SIANspheric, so it's spacey, dreamy. Echoey, haunting vocals over a dreamy, lilting guitar. Best at night in the car, or by day near rivers,lakes, streams.

Boys Night Out-I Got Punched In the Nose For Sticking My Face In Other People's Business: The next big thing in Canada. Boys Night Out are one of those fashionable screamo/emo/hardcore/something else groups getting lots of media. They have a new album out and there are mp3s off it at ferretstyle.com, but I prefer this song from the older album, mainly because of the bomb-ass title. I heard their old songs were about serial killers and the like, but I can barely ever understand the lyrics, anyways.

Amusement Parks On Fire, Smokescreen {LINK}:I've been hearing quite a bit about them and hadn't been blown away until I caught this one. A really good shoegazerish song. Big, fuzzy, layered guitars and echoey vocals. I heard all the members were still ridiculously young, too.

Portastic - I Wanna Know Girls: Since, sadly, Superchunk are a near non-entity now (and just as they were getting fascinating, too!), Portastic is going to have do for now. There is a new album out, I hear, it doesn't matter to me, because I have never, ever turned up a single Portastic album, execpt for one ep that inexplicably ended up in bargain bin at a long since bankrupted punk rock store (the EP is all covers of Brazillian songs, very tasty!). And, really, it's not a bad thing that Superchunk is gone, b/c Portastic is really good. "I Wanna Know Girls" sounds like exactly where Superchunk was headed anyways, fun, jangly pop songs with great lines like "My love weighs a ton."

I'm Spent