Sunday, January 13, 2013


Bruce by Peter Carlin (Bruce Springsteen Biography)

Bruce means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  His legacy and its impact on American society is as big as any musician.   This book paints a good picture of who he really is.  ….. News flash…. even heroes aren’t perfect (Bruce has struggled with depression since the mid eighties… really?  Bruce?)  … That said….  I have a greater appreciation for Bruce and his music after reading this book.  I enjoyed it.

Of course, whenever you read these books, it’s impossible not to revisit the music.  Some quick thoughts on that:

1.     The Wild, The Innocent, & the E-Street Shuffle – His best in my opinion.  My Mom used to play this record when I was a little kid.  It’s fun, party music, which I still prefer to serious, political Bruce.
2.     Born in the U.S.A. – Anyone who grew up in the 80’s knows every song on this and more than likely loves all of them.
3.     Born to Run – Just as good as Born in the U.S.A. if not better.  This is where his popularity blew up and never came down.

Honorable mention- Bruce and the E Street Band shine live.  Their CD, Hammersmith Odeon- Live 1975 is great.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
(Video from YouTube)

Tame Impala - Lonerism
Rating: 90%

One of my favorites in a long time.  Trippy rock.  Sounds a lot like Revolver-era Beatles, without sounding like they are purposely biting retro style.  Some songs to check out: "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" .... "Mind Mischief" .... "Keep On Lying"  .... This is all I've been listening to in my car (other than Mike & Mike) for the last 2 weeks, which is saying a lot, given my bad case of musical ADD.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Top Ten Albums of 2012 (According to Ryan O'Brien)

1. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

2. Grizzly Bear - Shields

3. Tame Impala - Lonerism

4. Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits

5. Large Professor - Professor @ Large

6. Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse

7. Royal Headache - Royal Headache

8. Vinnie Paz - God of the Serengeti

9. Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls

10. The Sword - Apocryphon

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Top Ten Beastie Boys Albums (according to Ryan O'Brien)
1.  Paul's Boutique - A record that could never be made again.  The amount of samples on this would be impossible to pay for today.  Back when beat-jacking was the norm, this was the pinnacle of what would later become the "mash-up."  They sampled James Brown, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and a million other obscure records.  What makes this so special is the low-brow beats on some of the songs... Car Thief, Egg Man, High Plains Drifter, What Comes Around.. it's about as chill as rap could ever get.
2.  Check Your Head - Cemented them as real musicians.  Loud punk rock, chill lounge jams and of course the b-boy rap they were known for.  There is no 1-2-3 like this on any other record by anyone... Pass the Mic (b-boy), Gratitude (punk), Lighten up (chill)... and it has So What You Want, their best song.
3.  License to Ill - Fight for Your Right... No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn.. Paul Revere...  They were crazy beer drinkers and they were immature, which is what made this so fun.  They'd never be this stupid again.
4.  Hello Nasty - The Move... a return to the b-boy style, yet this time, more mature.. I think this one has aged well..
5.  Ill Communication - A sequel of sorts to Check Your Head.  They pulled the b-boy-punk-chill combo to diminished returns, though it was more popular than anything that had put out post-License.
6.  The Mix-Up - A lost gem, though they don't rap or sing on it.  Fresh instrumentals throughout.
7.  To The 5 Burroughs - Uninspired
8.  Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 -  Should not have been made.  MCA was not well.  This sounds mailed in.

Compilation wise, Solid Gold Hits is solid, but I think the 2 disc The Sounds of Science is a better move, it's more versatile and more listenable.

Top Ten Albums by The Beatles (according to Ryan O'Brien)
1.  Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Of all them, this is the one that you can still listen to all the way through every time.  Rolling Stone calls it the best album ever made and it's hard to argue.  What still gets my attention though is A Day In The Life... I read the news today... he hadn't noticed that the lights had changed... the lyrics to that song are one of the reasons the Lennon-McCartney team is touted as the best ever.
2.  White Album - A hodgepodge of ideas from all 4 members.  It's all over the place but that is what still makes it fresh.  Back in the USSR, Ob-La-Di, Guitar Gently Weeps... classics. .... And my favorite Beatles song of all time .... Blackbird.  The Best.
3.  Magical Mystery Tour - Fully loaded.  This is almost a greatest hits on it's own, which it sort of was when it came out as a soundtrack back in the day.  Purists don't count it as a "Beatles Album" because it contained mostly singles that had already been released at the time.  Either way, this may be their best album.  The only reason it isn't #1 is because Sgt. Pepper's and the White Album are more interesting over the long term... Make sense?
4.  Revolver - Eleanor Rigby .... and Tomorrow Never Knows was 30 years ahead of its time.
5.  Rubber Soul - Revolver's twin .... here is where they started getting weird... and good
6.  Abbey Road - Their real last album, it was made after Let It Be.  The song suite at the end with the leftover 1 minute songs that they taped together is awesome.  The Beasties copied their idea at the end of Paul's Boutique and it worked there too.
7.  Please, Please Me - Their first and my favorite of the early pop albums.  And it ends with Twist and Shout.... Bueller..... Bueller
8.  Let it Be - Good, but to me it's cursed by a "break-up" vibe.  The last release.
9.  A Hard Days Night - I don't listen to it a lot, but it's a fun one.
10.  Help - same as #9
11.  With the Beatles - meh
12.  Beatles for Sale - ... meh

Still looking for a place to start?  There are lots of compilations.  My advice, skip #1's and get the "Blue Album" double cd.  That is the one to own if you are only getting one.  If you are downloading, focus on the Blue Album tracks + Blackbird + Tomorrow Never Knows + Twist and Shout + Happiness is a Warm Gun + Birthday ... you can make a solid party mix for people of all ages.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012