Monday, December 29, 2008

Top Albums of 2008, Pt. 2

10. Hercules & Love Affair - Hercules & Love Affair
9. Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances
8. Santogold - Santogold
7. Mates of State - Re-Arrange Us
6. The Dutchess & the Duke - She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke
5. The Envelopes - Here Comes the Wind
4. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
3. Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster...
2. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
1. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours

12/29 Show
See the full playlist here. I added Jay Reatard's "Matador Singles '08" as an honorable mention in the middle of the show. If it weren't a compilation it would have placed highly on my year-end list.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Top Albums of 2008, Pt. 1

12/22 Show
Here it begins, the long-awaited Music is My Girlfriend Albums of the Year list! Monday's show saw me counting down #'s 25-11. Tune in next Monday (the 29th) to hear my top ten.

You can preview nearly all of these songs using the new playlist widget in the left column (Love is All was not available).

(song titles under each album were played on the show)

25. Ratatat - LP3

24. Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow & Blue
Foxes Mate For Life

23. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
Kim & Jessie

22. Sun Kil Moon - April
Lost Verses

21. Jamie Lidell - Jim
Another Day

20. The Mae Shi - HLLLYH
The Melody
Run to Your Grave

19. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Ragged Wood

18. Love is All - A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night
Last Choice

17. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
Each Year
Dying is Fine
Oh, La

16. The Dodos - Visiter

15. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
Courtship Dating

14. Lykke Li - Youth Novels
Breaking it Up
Little Bit

13. Little Joy - Little Joy
The Next Time Around
No One's Better Sake

12. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
In Step
Let Me See You

11. Man Man - Rabbit Habits
Mr. Jung Stuffed
Hurly / Burly

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some Songs I Have Enjoyed

12/15 Show
Following is a playlist full of some of my favorite tracks of the past year. I tried to exclude songs that will be featured during my albums of the year countdown, so don't read this as any sort of year-end best songs of the year list. At the same time, some of these may sneak into my top 20 albums list, so be prepared to hear them again over the next couple weeks.

Next Monday I'll start my albums of the year countdown, probably featuring #'s 20-11. The top ten will then fill my show on December 29th. I have a lot of records to re-listen to before Monday.

Artist / Song
Wolf Parade / Language City
The Mae Shi / Run to Your Grave
Ezra Furman & the Harpoons / We Should Fight
Jay Reatard / You Mean Nothing to Me
War on Drugs / Taking the Farm
Spiritualized / I Gotta Fire
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson / Woodfriend
Everything Absent or Distorted / The Exit Parade
Blitzen Trapper / Furr
Grizzly Bear / While You Wait for the Others
Ra Ra Riot / Oh, La
Lykke Li / Dance Dance Dance
Birdmonster / Born to be Your Man
The Republic Tigers / Buildings & Mountains
The Felice Brothers / Frankie's Gun
State Bird / I Saw the Light
Dr. Dog / Heart it Races
Port O'Brien / I Woke Up Today
Alejandro Escovedo / Always a Friend
The Notwist / Boneless
Parts & Labor / Nowheres Nigh
Hearts of Palm / No Water
Stephan Malkmus & the Jicks / Cold Son
The French Kicks / Said So What
Hercules & Love Affair / Hercules Theme
The Very Best / Get It Up
The Cool Kids / Bassment Party
Passion Pit / Sleepyhead
Empire of the Sun / Walking on a Dream
{{{Sunset}}} / Man's Heart Complaint

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December Doldrums

12/8 Show
December is looking to be a slow month for new music, both in album and mp3 releases. You might notice a wealth of older tracks on today's playlist.

I'm working on various year-end lists, so expect to see and hear about those in the coming days and weeks. I'm looking at Monday, December 22nd for a show featuring my favorite songs of the past year. Monday, December 29th's show will feature my top albums countdown. Program/Music Director Chad Reich will do his album countdown from Noon-2 on the same day.

Not many mp3 links this week, but I have installed a new working playlist on the lefthand column. It plays snippets of each song unless that song is labeled as "featured" (wherein it will play the entire song).

Artist / Song
The Felice Brothers / Frankie's Gun
Billy Bragg & Wilco / Walt Whitman's Niece
Brazos / Mary Jo
Margot & the Nuclear So & Sos / As Tall As Cliffs
Her Space Holiday / Sleepy Tigers
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah / Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood
Gringo Star / All Y'all
The Muslims / Bright Side
Love is All / Rumours
The Willowz / Something
Vivian Girls / Where Do You Run To
The Dutchess & the Duke / Mary
Sun Kil Moon / Neverending Math Equation
Modest Mouse / Gravity Rides Everything
Schneider TM / Reality Check
Wolf Parade / You Are a Runner & I Am My Father's Son
Arcade Fire / Headlights Look Like Diamonds
The Walkmen / Little House of Savages
Los Campesinos! / Ways to Make It Through the Wall
Everything Absent or Distorted / A Form to Accommodate the Mess
Shugo Tokumaru / Sanganichi
The Felice Brothers / Radio Song
Belle & Sebastian / The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner
The Decemberists / Days of Elaine
Spoon / Something to Look Forward To
Little Joy / Brand New Start
Takka Takka / The Takers
Rainbow Arabia / Holiday in Congo
Of Montreal / Gallery Piece
Totally Michael / Don't Stop
The Tough Alliance / Neo Violence
Gang Gang Dance / House Jam

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The State I Am In

12/1 Show
It sure felt nice to be back in the air chair on Monday. I had planned to go skiing Monday morning before my show, but instead spent most of it preparing for my show. I like to think that it was a quality program. You might notice that in the middle of the show I highlighted some tracks my mother rated highly the week prior during the Second Annual McFarren Matriarch CD Challenge (see the post below).

Mp3 links are up as of 12/7. As you'll find out, "I am Fuel, You are Friends" was on fire the last couple weeks.

Artist / Song
Passion Pit / Sleepyhead
Gang Gang Dance / House Jam
Rainbow Arabia / Holiday in Congo
Starf*cker / German Love *by request
Friend / Black Keys (demo)
The Tough Alliance / Miami
Yelle / Ce Jeu
The Umbrella Sequence / Urban Lull (At Once Charmed)
Little Joy / The Next Time Around
Hush Arbors / Water II
The Decemberists / Days of Elaine
The Broken West / Perfect Games (Daytrotter)
The Dutchess & the Duke / Scorpio (Daytrotter)
The Felice Brothers / Frankie's Gun
Matt Pond PA / In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Jonathan Richman / Parties in the USA
Jens Lekman / Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo
David Byrne & Brian Eno / Life is Long
Jamie Lidell / Another Day
Belle & Sebastian / The State I Am In
Vampire Weekend / The Kids Don't Stand a Chance
Elbow / Grounds for Divorce
The Features / GMF
Gringo Starr / Don't Go
Vivian Girls / Damaged
Love is All / Big Bangs, Black Holes, Meteorites
Jay Reatard / See Saw
Parts & Labor / Nowheres Nigh
The Hands / Nothing
El Ten Eleven / Jumping Frenchmen of Maine

Monday, December 1, 2008

the Second Annual McFarren Matriarch CD Challenge

The Challenge:
My brother Kyle and I selected 15 tracks that we thought our Mother would enjoy. Our brother Adam compiled and randomized the songs, replacing any duplicate selections with a track of his choosing. Mom graded each song on a scale of 0 to 5 (including half points). Highest total score wins.

The Songs:
Mom's score follows each song title. G or K indicates whether it was a Grant or Kyle selection. Running score totals are provided, along with number of tracks scored. Mom's comments are provided below each song.

1. Skinny Love - Bon Iver - 3 (G=3/1)
"I enjoyed the music more than the words (later: it sounded like guys trying to sing too high)."

2. Big Easy - Raphael Saadiq - 3.5 (K=3.5/1)
"motown-esque. I could understand the words"

3. As Tall as Cliffs - Margot & The Nuclear So & Sos - 3.5 (G=6.5/2)
"we haven't gotten to the very last note yet...i didn't like the end, the very end"

4. Awake My Soul - Mumford & Sons - 3 (K=6.5/2)
"Parts were a 2.5 and parts were a 3. I liked the instrumental more than the words"

5. Blue and Gold Print - Mates of State - 3 (K=9.5/3)
"All these songs are falling between the 2.5 - 3.0 range. It grew on me."
Kyle in a note to Grant: "I think mom decided if she gives bad scores she won't have to do this again next year."

6. Another Day - Jamie Lidell - 5 (G=11.5/3)
"That was my favorite song so far. I understood the words and I liked the musicality (that's a big word on Dancing With The Stars)"

7. Not on my Side - Cameron Mcgill - 3 (G=14.5/4)
"Too folk-songish."

8. Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo - Jens Lekman - 4 (K=13.5/4)
"I like the beat...could understand most of the words. It was a happy song."

9. A King and Queen - Okkervil River - 4 (K=17.5/5)
Grant: "Shocking!" Mom: "Why? I enjoyed it." [grant didn't think it was poppy enough]

10. Buildings & Mountains - The Republic Tigers - 3.5 (G=18/5)
"I was going to give it a 4, but the instrumentality at the beginning and end went on too long."

11. Lights Out - Santogold - 3 (K=20.5/6)
Mom: "reminds me of someone else." Dad: "wasn't this in a commercial somewhere?" [Yes: the Bud Light Lime ads this past summer]

12. Keep Me On - Bodies of Water - 2.5 (K=23/7)
Mom: "It was a very dreary song, but I liked some of the guitar parts and I pictured the people in all black clothing drearing along" Dad: "It was a dirge"

13. Auctioneer - The Broken West - 3.5 (Adam's filler song)
Mom: "It was happy" Dad: "It wasn't slow and they weren't in black"

14. Parties in the USA - Jonathan Richman - 5 (K=28/8)
"I'm torn...ok, a 5! I enjoyed the familiarity of it"

15. Always a Friend - Alejandro Escovedo - 5 (G=23/6)
"I liked that reminded me of Huey Lewis and the News"

16. John Saw That Number - Neko Case - 2.5 (K=30.5/9)
"2.5...too twangy. The beginning reminded me of my least favorite part of "O, Brother Where Art Thou?" down by the river with the muses and those sirens. But, it had a good beat."

17. You Came Around - Nico Stai - 3.5 (G=26.5/7)
Mom: "3.5" Grant: "It's not over yet." Mom: "oh" "Yes, 3.5. Here's what I say: if they're playing it live, people will start clapping because they think the song is over." Dad: "The music was louder than the words."

18. Foux du Fafa - Flight of the Conchords - 2.5 (K=33/10)
"Soup du jour? It was hard to sing along to, but I liked the music."

19. Hitten - Those Dancing Days - 3 (G=29.5/8)
"Umm, 3. It had a good beat, you could dance to it." [a car from hawaii almost caused 2 accidents during this song]

Intermission: Mom: "I generally prefer songs by guys, and not a lot of pre and post instrumental."

20. Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? - She and Him - 5 (G=34.5/9)
"I liked that song (I know I just contradicted myself)"

21. Keep Sending Me Black Fireworks - Of Montreal - 3 (K=36/11)
"Too many changes in the tempo, it was alright. Parts I didn't like but I liked the chorus."

22. Walking on a Dream - Empire of The Sun - 2.5 (G=37/10)
At the start of the song: Kyle: "whoa" Grant: "Yeah, I'm not sure how this is gonna do." Mom: "2.5" Grant: "Better than I thought!"

23. Darling Be Here - Bodies of Water - 2.5 (K=38.5/12)
"This was an angry black Paso Doble song. Was that the same group [as earlier]?" Grant: "You were lucky to get 2.5 out of that song." Later: "It reminded me of Warren Sapp in black leather stomping around." [another Dancing With The Stars reference]

24. White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes - 2.5 (K=41/13)
"Hmm...that was just an average song. Maybe the one before it should've been lower."

25. Would You - Richard Swift - 5 (G=42/11)
Dad: "I knew she'd like that song." Mom: "It sounded like Little Anthony and the Imperials."

26. Airline to Heaven - Wilco - 4 (K=45/14)
"Bob Dylan-ish. It grew on me."

27. Born to be Your Man - Birdmonster - 3 (G=45/12)
"Easy to understand the words, but I heard something about blood and when your uncle died."

28. I Stand Corrected - Vampire Weekend - 3 (G=48/13)
"I say 3"

29. Life is Long - David Byrne & Brian Eno - 5 (Selected by both Kyle & Grant, so not counted in totals)
"easy to sing along with" Mom to Dad: "Do you agree with me most of the time on these songs?" Dad: "nope."

30. Neverending Math Equation- Sun Kil Moon - 3.5 (G=51.5/14)
"Better than some, not as good as others."

Final Score (14 songs counted for each):
Grant - 51.5 total - 3.68 average
Kyle - 45 total - 3.21 average

Grant wins for the second year in a row!

Songs with that "Motown" sound generally score very well (see: Jamie Lidell, Jonathan Richman, & Richard Swift). We have also learned that Mom prefers: male vocals, intelligible lyrics, shorter & less instrumental songs, and a general lack of dissonance.

Both Kyle and I took more risks than last year, with varying results (but more fun!). Kyle's stubborn love for Bodies of Water didn't do him any favors (although a controversy arose when it was discovered that Adam had failed to replace one of the Bodies of Water tracks, as per Kyle's instructions, with the Heartless Bastards' "Piano Song". It would not have made a significant difference in our final scores). I put Empire of the Sun's "Walking on a Dream" on the mix for a laugh, fully expecting it to score a 2 or below, so I was pleasantly surprised with the 2.5 it received.