Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top 30 Songs of the 00s (Part 2)

Ten years is a long time. At the beginning of this decade I was 11 years old, still living in the great city of Philadelphia, and probably listening to a lot of Foo Fighters. Now I'm 21, live outside the city, and listen to much better music. I also have a beard. One thing that is important to note about every song on this list is that at one point or another, I was obsessed with every one of them. Every one of these songs became the only songs I would listen to for days on end, as I dissected the meaning, searched for live videos, and imagined myself in the band (I am a nerd).

The order in which these songs are listen is a bit strange. I'm not necessarily saying #7 is better than #9, or that #21 has less worth than #20, but this is the order that just seemed natural to me, and it's my list so I will do whatever I want. Also worth noting, all songs had to be released between 2000-2009, this explains the absence of my number one song of 2009, since it doesn't get full release until 2010. I let it slide on that list, but not on this one. Enjoy, and zip file coming soon.

Jim Adair's Top 30 Songs of the 00s:

30. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova Falling Slowly
29. Delta Spirit People, Turn Around
28. The Antlers Bear
27. Felice Brothers Frankie's Gun
26. Tegan & Sara The Con
25. The Shins New Slang
24. Cold War Kids Hospital Beds
23. The Mountain Goats This Year
22. Wilco I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
21. Beirut A Sunday Smile
20. The Hold Steady Killer Parties
19. Radiohead Everything In Its Right Place
18. Fionn Regan Put A Penny In The Slot
17. Iron & Wine Jezebel
16. Rilo Kiley Does He Love You?
15. Josh Ritter The Temptation Of Adam
14. The Good Life Album Of The Year
13. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Maps
12. Bon Iver The Wolves (Act I & II)
11. The Avett Brothers If Its The Beaches
10. Pela Waiting On The Stairs
9. The Roots The Seed 2.0
8. Death Cab For Cutie Transatlanticism
7. Elliott Smith In The Lost And Found
6. Colour Revolt Mattresses Underwater
5. Sigur Rós Hoppipolla
4. Ryan Adams Oh My Sweet Carolina
3. Arcade Fire Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
2. The National All The Wine
1. Sufjan Stevens Majesty, Snowbird

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 30 Songs of the 00s

The decade is coming to an end and it's time to unveil the list of my favorite songs of the past ten years. Trying to capture the essence and meaning of the 00s in a single paragraph will simply not work. Nor am I willing to write a complete, year-by-year recap of my life and times and how they correlate with my music selection. The decade was what it was. I've changed so much as a person since Y2K and still to this day. I mean, I pretty much grew up; I was an adolescent, teenager, and now, I'm a young adult. With those changes came a much needed, personal revolution in music taste. Trying to explain my predilection of songs in the early-goings of this decade is another thing that simply won’t work, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that each one of them holds a special place in my past. All these songs were carefully chosen and placed in this order. They have all meant something important to me, from my years in middle school, high school, and college; spanning the events in my life from experiences, relationships, and even athletics (and also faith, friendships, death, and other essentials of growing up). And let's not forget pop culture, including TV and film. That's pretty important.

However, I will elaborate just a bit on one choice. I feel I owe it to the reader. My number one selection was a clear choice. I heard that song in the summer of 2005 and it changed how I felt about music. From there on out, I discovered bands and sounds I had never heard of and they completely changed my outlook on the world. Music began to mold me; it still does and most likely always will. That's why I so passionately want to make a career out of my love for music. From a TRL fed novice, to a late Sunday night Subterranean addict, and finally to a college radio disc jockey and blogger, this is me and my decade list, for what it's worth. Enjoy.

Mike Pop's Top 30 Songs of the 00s:

*Note. Here are MY rules: Can't repeat a band or artist and all songs must have been released either on CD, as singles, or as free downloads from 2000-2009.

30. Matt Pond PA – Closest (Look Out)
29. Tegan & Sara – Nineteen
28. Cold War Kids – Hang Me Up To Dry
27. Wolfmother – Joker & The Thief
26. Tokyo Police Club – Your English Is Good
25. Coldplay – Speed Of Sound
24. Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life
23. Arctic Monkeys – I Bet That You Look Good On The Dance Floor
22. Tool – Schism
21. dios (malos) – I Want It All
20. Pinback – Penelope
19. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
18. The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It
17. The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
16. Frou Frou – Let Go
15. Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
14. Blink 182 – Always
13. The Strokes – 12:51
12. Pearl Jam – Life Wasted
11. Modest Mouse – We've Got Everything
10. Bruce Springsteen – Life Itself
9. Coheed & Cambria – The Velourium Camper I: Faint Of Hearts
8. Secret Machines – Lightning Blue Eyes
7. Interpol – C'mere
6. Motion City Soundtrack – Time Turned Fragile
5. Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending
4. Big D & The Kids Table – LAX
3. Radiohead – Videotape
2. Daft Punk – Digital Love
1. Bloc Party – Always New Depths

Albums of the 00s come next week.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

1 Half Of NMTM On RXP Tonight!

A dream has come true for yours truly, if only for one night. Remember my ranting in months past about how New York City's 101.9 RXP saved my faith in mainstream rock 'n' roll radio? Well, Sunday night DJ and host of Anything, Anything, Rich Russo, has invited me to come in and see his show live tonight, from 9-11. I'm hoping we get the chance to talk a bit about college radio, the state of rock music, favorite artists, and more. It should be one experience I'll never forget and certainly a late Christmas present. Tune in tonight via their web-stream at And for more on Rich's show, visit his site here. See ya then!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry X-Mas From NMTM!

Merry Christmas to all and happy birthday to Jesus. Bring on the booze, discomfited family parties, and warm clothes that finally fit my awkward, lanky frame. Thanks, Santa!

Julian Casablancas - "I Wish It Was Christmas Today"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2009 (Part 2)

2009 was a big music year for me. On top of attending a few concerts and our radio show being nominated for an award, I reached a personal milestone this year: 25,000 songs in iTunes. As ridiculous as it may seem, I'm a bit of a collector, and I hope to hit 30,000 soon. But here are my top ten records of the year. One was recommended by a friend of my brother, one was sitting at the top spot for months before being unseated, and one involves an MTV Best Kiss Award Winner.

Jim Adair's Top Ten Albums of 2009

10. Dead Man's Bones Dead Man's Bones
On top a spectacular live show, and the ambience of the album, the gothic doo wop of Ryan Gosling and Zach Snyder is hard to ignore. At times sounding like the zombified Temptations and a baby Tom Waits, his album was easily the biggest surprise of the year for me. The group's self-titled debut spent a lot of time being hummed and whistled around my apartment. The children's choir adds an amazing extra layer to the music and the songwriting, though often simple, never sounds forced or stale.

Recommended Tracks: Pa Pa Power, Paper Ships, My Body's A Zombie For You, Dead Hearts

9. The Mountain Goats The Life Of The World To Come
John Darnielle may just be the world's best living songwriter, and he proved it once again with this record. I spent a good chunk of this year listening to Mountain Goats live bootlegs, and falling in love with much of their earlier stuff, but the music John is putting out now is no less realized or beautiful.

Recommended Tracks: Psalms 40:2, Ezekiel 7 And The Permanent Efficacy Of Grace, Romans 10:9, Genesis 3:23

8. The Thermals Now We Can See
Following up their spectacular 2006 record The Body, The Blood, The Machine couldn't be an easy task for Hutch and Kathy, but they have proved themselves now to the some of the most consistent musicians around. "The world has ended and the Thermals have the soundtrack to your post-apocalyptic kegger," I wrote down in a notebook on first hearing this record, and the words still hold true all these months later.

Recommended Tracks: Now We Can See, I Let It Go, We Were Sick, When We Were Alive, When I Died

7. Discovery LP
One of only two crossovers from Mike's list and mine, this album is one of the most heard ones on my list. The standard, go-to party soundtrack of the semester, the Ra Ra Riot/Vampire Weekend collaboration definitely worked some magic. Starting with a mid tempo synth-jam, following with more of the same, hitting a guest vocal from Dirty Projectors' Angel Dreadoorian, and one from VW's Ezra Koening, and even tackling a Jackson 5 cover, "LP" keeps variety in mood and theme while not doing so in sound.

Recommended Tracks: Orange Shirt, Swing Tree, Osaka Loop Line, I Want You Back (In Discovery)

6. Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca
One of the only albums in a while where I can say I really haven't heard anything else like it this year. There really is no other band like the Dirty Projectors, and the success they have achieved this year was well deserved. Even having a song covered by Solange Knowles couldn't ruin their momentum (it would've crushed mine). They also released an EP and played a brand new song of Jimmy Fallon (one of my favorites of the year).

Recommended Tracks: No Intention, Cannibal Resource, Stillness Is The Move, Remade Horizon

5. Passion Pit Manners
Probably the biggest explosion of the year, Passion Pit's rise from blog sweethearts to mainstream success happened overnight for some people, but to those who had Manners early on, we could see it coming. Hailing from Boston, (not Brooklyn) the band put together a collection of jams both slow and fast, but almost completely infectious. This is a band who's future I will be watching closely, and I doubt this is the last we've heard from them.

Recommended Tracks: Eyes As Candles, The Reeling, To Kingdom Come, Little Secrets

4. Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I don't care who you are or what song you topped your end of year lists with, 1901 was undeniable THE JAM of the year. Without question, 1901 and Lisztomania were a 1-2 punch the caliber of which very few albums or artists had this year. Sounding just as good on record as live, the Parisian group's sudden rise to success after years of toiling away in the indiesphere was well earned. Also as a side note: it's "Fold it, fold it, fold it, fold iiiiit"

Recommended Tracks: 1901, Lisztomania, Rome, Love Like a Sunset, Fences

3. Bat For Lashes Two Suns
The beautiful, Björk like music on Natasha Khan's second release hit me early on in the year, and Daniel sat as song of the year until two weeks ago. Even without understanding the overarching storyline or theme or whatever, the music is just good. And in a year filled with low-fi, no-fi, and all other shitty bullshit genres, Natasha Khan was unafraid of effects, layering, production, and singing out.

Recommended Tracks: Daniel, Moon And Moon, Good Love, Sleep Alone, Two Planets

2. St. Vincent Actor
Annie Clark, my love, how you were able to top your debut Marry Me is beyond me, but you did it. The songs on Actor are layered, loud, and beautiful. From the sting accompanied The Bed to the raucous Actor Out Of Work, Annie Clark was able to craft an album that is both raw and refined. This album sat in the number one spot from the first listen until September, when it was dethroned.

Recommended Tracks: The Bed, The Party, The Neighbors, Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood, The Strangers

1. The Antlers Hospice
From the first time I heard this record, I knew it was something special, but it wasn't until after a few months that I even considered it for the top spot. An overall theme of hospital life carries throughout the record (morgues, abortions, cancer wards) that keeps it human. The album is both heartbreaking and beautiful, fragile and powerful, mystical and tangible. Lyrically, this is the best record on this list, vocally it is in the Top 3, and musically it is number one by a mile. This is the only album from this year that has a chance at making the top ten of the decade list coming up next week. Do yourself a favor, no matter how you listen to music, put some headphones on, close your eyes, sit in the dark, and listen to this record from beginning to end, you will not regret it.

Recommended Tracks: Wake, Bear, Sylvia, Two, Kettering, Shiva, Atrophy

Honorable Mention: Bon Iver Blood Bank, Various Artists Dark Was The Night, Strand Of Oaks Leave Ruin, Cursive Mama, I'm Swollen, Jamie T Kings And Queens, Leonard Cohen Live In London, and The Avett Brothers I And Love And You

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2009

2009 was a surprisingly awesome year for music. And not just for alternative rock and music created by independent artists, but even some of the biggest bands in rock put out albums this year that cemented their legacy. Also, we're all witness to how pop music is acquiring more experimental, electronic and dance backgrounds. I like to think the biggest surprise of 2009 was music generated out of Brooklyn, NY, a music-scene that exploded early in the year and propelled young bands into the mainstream, thanks to the TV, film, and the hipster army. With all of this happening in 2009, I’m very much looking forward to the next year and the decade to come. Here are my favorite albums put out this year:

Mike Pop's Top 10 Album of 2009:

10. M. Ward Hold Time
M. Ward’s songwriting, in my opinion, is like a knowledgeable elder retelling stories to young people and his voice is cordial and soulful. Hold Time is his follow up to 2006’s breakthrough Post-War. And though he commonly works along side Zooey Deschanel in indie folk duo She & Him, it’s great to hear him go it alone (even if Mrs. Zooey Deschanel Gibbard did contribute on two songs; it’s good to have friends).

Suggested Tracks: For Beginners (AKA Mt. Zion), Jailbird, Rave On (Feat. Zooey Deschanel), and Epistemology

9. The xxxx
Pitchfork media nailed the band’s gimmick on the head when staffer Andrew Gaerig wrote of the band's debut record, "The xx are four 20-year-olds from South London who make predominantly slow, furtive pop music, mostly about sex". This band is young and brilliantly basic, as silence becomes the band's 5th instrument. Though they lost keyboardist-guitarist Baria Qureshiduring during the demanding fall tour, I'd say The xx had one of the best debuts of the year.

Suggested Tracks: VCR, Crystalised, Basic Space, and Night Time

8. Matt & KimGrand
A lot can be said for the sound a duo can put out in the 2000s. I like to think it began with The White Stripes and ends with Matt & Kim. If the torch was indeed passed, then Matt & Kim truly elevated the assumption that two musicians using infectious keyboard beats, sing-a-long chants, and a steady percussion section, can turn out a great record. The lead single may have risen to fame due to a recent hip-hop mash-up, but I’ll remember Grand, as a whole, as one of the most likable albums of the year.

Suggested Tracks: Daylight, Cutdown, Lessons Learned, and Don’t Slow Down

7. DiscoveryLP
Mark my words, with the critical acclaim this indietronic collaboration of Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend and Wes Miles from Ra Ra Riot received this year, the duo will put out another record before long. Things seemed to click for these two on LP: the songs are catchy, fun to move to, and haven't been ruined by the media (yet). I think Jim would agree that this album is addicting and quickly becomes the life of any party once cued up.

Suggested Tracks: Osaka Loop Line, So Insane, Swing Tree, and Carby (Feat. Ezra Koening)

6. Arctic MonkeysHumbug
Once hailed as England’s next big thing, this alternative rock band took a dark turn in 2009. Not for any particular reason other than perhaps reflecting on growing up hopelessly hopeful and in love, in Sheffield during the late 90s and early 00s. The songs on Humbug are more personal, deeper, and sulkier than in any past effort, but it works well for the quartet. Some would say a band’s third album is a make-or-break release, but I believe the Arctic Monkeys already made it to the big times with their first album in 2006.

Suggested Tracks: My Propeller, Crying Lightning, Cornerstone, and Pretty Visitors

5. Big D & The Kids TableFluent In Stroll
One of many bands that appear on this list that I witnessed live this year, Big D & The Kids Table took on the subject of love and relationships with the summer’s coolest ska record. I usually enjoy my ska tunes focusing around topics like binge-drinking or attending the hippest party on the east coast, but I am not fighting the direction of this album. Picking up a dub style and female-backing vocals, while dropping the in-your-face punk rock edge, gives us an intimidate take from Boston’s finest.

Suggested Tracks: Doped Up Dollies On A One Way Ticket To Blood, Not Fucking Around, A Kiss A Week, and I,I,I

4. Sonic YouthThe Eternal
Sonic Youth is a band that is eligible for The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and without a shadow of a doubt, I know they'll get in one day. What the band does for alternative music, as well as guitar rock and sound distortion, will be praised further in the future. They've been putting out records since the early 80s, and in the late 00s, they’ve definitely proven a point: if a band can somehow stay true to a form that’s worked in the past and can channel creativity through experience, then an older band can compete with any young guns on the scene today.

Suggested Tracks: Sacred Trickster, Antenna, Malibu Gas Station, and No Way

3. Dirty ProjectorsBitte Orca
Dirty Projectors had the biggest breakout of the year and I claim this for many reasons. One is the band's connections. I think David Byrne sees a lot of early Talking Heads in this group and that’s why he’s so compelled to work with them. Another is the band’s stage presence. They've hit up all major late night shows and wow the audience every time with their uncanny vocal stylings. Lastly is the 2009 record that brought the band undeniable success at the mainstream indie rock level and should prompt respect from every other band making music today.

Suggested Tracks: Cannibal Resource, Temecula Sunrise, Stillness Is The Move, and Useful Chamber

2. Bruce SpringsteenWorking On A Dream
How could you not hop on The Boss's train this year? The Working On A Dream tour will go down, in many fans' hearts, as one of the best tours in recent history. The later 00s finds Bruce Springsteen reflecting on a simpler life. It’s glorified, but reasonable. The man and his band have done it all in the world of rock and continue to silence doubters. I will forever kick myself for not seeing him when I had the chance. I just hope to God that their will be another tour, to coincide with another brilliant Boss record, in the years to come.

Suggested Tracks: Working On A Dream, What Love Can Do, Life Itself, and The Wrestler

1. Neko Case Middle Cyclone
The tiny, red-headed songstress put out her 2009 record in March and solidified her reign as queen of alternative-country rock. In a year where country music's spotlight shined on female vocalists, Neko Case added the most powerful voice to the obscure genre all year. Her album is an easy-listen, from start to finish, released in a year and time when most people could benefit from a deep breath. Her tunes are conversations, reflections, poems, and prose. She can do all of this on her own and once again, I kick myself for getting hooked onto this record late and not seeing her live at All Points West in August. Middle Cyclone is a concentrated record that hits deep and leaves you floating. And that's why it’s my album of the year.

Suggested Tracks: This Tornado Loves You, People Got A Lotta Nerve, I'm An Animal, and Red Tide

Close Calls:

Dave Matthews Band Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King
Jay ReatardWatch Me Fall
Pearl Jam Backspacer
Wilco Wilco (The Album)
Yeah Yeah YeahsIt's Blitz!

Wish I Heard More...:

Japandroids, Grizzly Bear, Major Lazer, Passion Pit, and Tegan & Sara

Next Week: Top 30 Songs of the Decade

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 30 Songs of 2009

It's finally time for NMTM to jump on the bandwagon. All the other music blog sites in the known universe have posted their "Best Of" lists and now it's our turn. 2009 was a great year of breakout artists, return-to-forms, and indie anthems that will be debated on and praised for years to come (here's looking at you, Animal Collective). Low and behold our favorites. We'll have a new list every Monday until January 4th. This week, it's our Top 30 Songs of the year. Let us know your thoughts; do you agree of disagree? Enjoy:

Mike Pop's Top 30 Songs of 2009:

*Note: Here are MY rules: Can't repeat a band or artist and all songs must have been released either on CD, as singles, or as free downloads in 2009. Jim's list is coming shorty.

30. Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension
29. Discovery – Swing Tree
28. The xx – Crystalised
27. M. Ward – Epistemology
26. The Books (Feat. José González) – Cello Song (Nick Drake Cover)
25. Echo & The Bunnymen – Do You Know Who I Am?
24. Major Lazer (Feat. Mr. Lex & Santigold) – Hold The Line
23. Franz Ferdinand – No You Girls
22. The Drums – Let's Go Surfing
21. Editors – Papillon
20. Bon Iver – Brackett, WI
19. Matt & Kim – Lessons Learned
18. Sonic Youth – Antenna
17. Dirty Projectors – Cannibal Resource
16. Animal Collective – My Girls
15. Death Cab For Cutie – Meet Me On The Equinox
14. Big D & The Kids Table – Not Fucking Around
13. Dave Matthews Band – Why I Am
12. Pearl Jam – The Fixer
11. Silversun Pickups – Substitution
10. Vampire Weekend – Horchata
9. Imogen Heap – First Train Home
8. Jenny Lewis – See Fernando
7. Phoenix – 1901
6. Wilco – Wilco (The Song)
5. Neko Case – This Tornado Loves You
4. The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
3. Arctic Monkeys – My Propeller
2. Coldplay – Life In Technicolor II
1. Bruce Springsteen – Life Itself

Jim Adair's Top 30 of 2009:

*Note. Same rules as Mike.

30. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Heads Will Roll
29. Asobi Seksu Familiar Light
28. A.A. Bondy I Can See The Pines Are Dancing
27. Say Hi Hallie And Henry
26. Strand Of Oaks End In Flames
25. The National So Far Around The Bend
24. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart Young Adult Friction
23. The Thermals When I Died
22. Discovery So Insane
21. Justin Townes Earle Can't Hardly Wait (The Replacements Cover)
20. Grizzly Bear While You Wait For The Others
19. Dead Man's Bones My Body's A Zombie For You
18. Wale (Feat. Lady GaGa ) Chillin
17. Wild Light California On My Mind
16. St. Vincent The Strangers
15. The Mountain Goats Psalms 40:2
14. Morrissey Something Is Squeezing My Skull
13. Bon Iver Blood Bank
12. Wilco Wilco (The Song)
11. Dirty Projectors (Feat. David Byrne) Knotty Pine
10. Cursive From The Hips
9. Company Of Thieves Oscar Wilde
8. Passion Pit To Kingdom Come
7. Phoenix 1901
6. Beirut My Night With A Prostitute From Marseilles
5. Jamie T. Sticks N Stones
4. Pela Juarez
3. The Antlers Bear
2. Bat For Lashes Daniel
1. Yeasayer Ambling Alp

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 11, 2009 (Playlist)

December 11, 2009 (Playlist):
"Our Thirty-Fourth Show: Semester Finale/2009 NMTMies!"

Favorite New Artist/Band Of The Year:
Passion Pit – The Reeling
The Drums – I Felt Stupid
Indie Rock Goddess:
St. Vincent – The Party
"Allen Reed Memorial Cover Of The Year":
The Books (Feat. José González) – Cello Song (Nick Drake Cover)
Jim Adair’s NMTM Lifetime Achievement Award:
Black Flag – Rise Above
"Punk Trunk!" Finale:
The Clash – Janie Jones
Favorite Song That Each Other Played On NMTM:
The Specials – Ghost Town
Discovery – Swing Tree
Favorite Unreleased Song:
Pela – Juarez
Favorite Pop/Dance Song:
Chromeo – Night By Night
Favorite Album Of The Year:
The Antlers – Sylvia
Neko Case – People Got A Lotta Nerve

Breakthrough Artist/Band:
Phoenix – 1901
Kings Of Leon – Notion
Favorite Live Show Of The Year:
Dead Man’s Bones – Pa Pa Power
Blink 182 – Reckless Abandon
Favorite Return To Form:
Cursive – From The Hips
Mike Pop’s Song Of The Semester:
Alice In Chains – The Rooster
Favorite Song Of The Year:
Yeasayer – Ambling Alp
“Mighty Might Boss-Tune”: Bruce Springsteen – Life Itself

Listener Of The Year:
Redneck Jeff

Thumbs-Down Awards
Worst Artist Of The Year: 3Oh3!
Worst Song Of The Year:
Black Eyed Peas I Got A Feeling
Kelly Clarkson My Life Would Suck Without You
Worst Person Of The Year:
Kanye West

Background music consisted of various songs by artists and bands that were played on our show throughout the semester.

2009, an epically awesome year, both in the world of alternative music and college radio. Yours truly and Jim Adair were proud to present the second annual NMTMies, honoring the best in alternative and indie rock in 2009. The planning of the show did take quiet a while, but it was totally worth it in the end. Some said it was our best show yet. We certainly got a dozen phone calls throughout the two hours. Thank you to everyone to tuned in, called us or IMed us. The show is nothing without the listeners and fans. Based on 2009 and snippets of what I've heard already, I expect 2010 to be just as awesome as 2009 was. We hope you've enjoyed the semester and get ready for our epic return in late January. Updates and our "Best Of" lists will all be up on the blog. Good luck on final exams, happy holidays, and we'll catch you in 2010 with more great sets. Thank you!

"If I don't see you, in a long, long while, I'll try to find you, Left of the Dial." - Paul Westerberg, The Replacements

St. Vincent - "The Party"

Chromeo - "Night By Night"

Bruce Springsteen - "Life Itself"

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Attempt To Get Into The X-Mas Spirit: Part 1

Christmas is so mainstream.

Thanksgiving came and went. I filled up on some really great home-cooked meals, met up with some friends from back home, and even made a few bucks at my regular job. But even before my family members and I sat down for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas was in mighty form. Special sales, lit houses, those eerie 1970's clay animated Christmas specials on TV, the whole shebang. And now Christmas is batting a 1,000. The university and community is cluttered with seasons greetings decorations and even on KUR, every commercial break sees a holiday liner. For me, X-Mas couldn't feel further away.

I like to blame my workload. Senior year hasn't been as easy-going as anticipated. Did you know the library stays open until 12 am? Neither did I, until I was scrambling to get a project completed earlier this week. Finals week, stress and the run-a-round of campus life hasn't quite made me a Scrooge, but it hasn't made me anything, really. Maybe I'm looking for an end to it all.

With the show completed until 2010 (despite our second annual Christmas Special, which I'll talk about in another post), I find myself in a weird spot. What can I look forward to before and after Christmas? I need a little help finding joy in the season.

One person that has been a beacon of hope through all of this otherwise pitch-black holiday season for me, has been none other than Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan? Bob Dylan. He's got a new Christmas album out now, titled Christmas Is In The Heart and one song is a very cool remake. "Must Be Santa" is the name and it's all about Kringle coming to town. Not my favorite X-Mas tune ever, that comes later. But I do enjoy it and maybe you will, too. Reminds me of how much I looked forward to Santa delivering presents on that silent night. My favorite was writing to him on the Eve. The illusion sold and it's just something I always loved doing.

Bob Dylan - "Must Be Santa"

So enjoy the video for it. I feel like an alternative rocker in 1994, wishfully hoping for a simpler time. But then again, I've been thinking that way as soon as I entered college. But this sort of thing will continue until I get in the spirit, or the holiday passes and I'm cool with it. We shall see.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Finale/NMTMies Are Tomorrow!


The grandest spectacle on college radio is coming to 88.3 FM KUR tomorrow night, and if you haven't heard already, it's hosted by yours truly, Mike Pop, and Jim Adair. Oh yes, the gruesome twosome of Never Mind the Mainstream will be hosting the second annual NMTMies, featuring the best of alternative music in the year 2009. We've got a star-studded line up of artists and bands receiving awards, along with our "thumbs-down awards", going out to undeniably the worst people who roamed our planet and made ear-bleeding, brain-hemorrhaging music/noise/rubbish in 2009. We'll have another shadower (crossing our fingers for Melissa, again) and we're taking calls and instant messages all show long. We love honoring those who contributed so much to the world of indie rock; and rest assured, our voting has been well thought out, debated on, and decided upon. The poster looks snazzy, we're wearing bow-ties, and it's going to be one of the greatest editions of our show. Please tune in, as we will be signing off until late January 2010. We'll be thanking all of you for supporting us throughout the semester, as you have in semesters past. We'll catch you tomorrow night for one helluva a finale!

Zero 7 - "End Theme"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crazy Week Prompts Lazy Post

It's the week before final exams, so I'm busting my butt trying to get reports, essays, and kits completed before this weekend. It sounds like a lot, but that's fine by me, because while others are taking sit-down finals, I'll be drinking ice cold alcoholic beverages during the early hours of the morning. So that's why posts will be limited. In fact, I'm actually writing from KU Library's Mac Lab (a first for yours truly). But here's some headlines for you:

1. Vampire Weekend gets experimental on new track "California English (Part 2)".

2. Billy Corgan gives the public a tune from his upcoming 44-song release.

3. Eddie Veder is getting hitched.

4. And finally, SPIN Magazine released their version of the Top 40 Best Albums of 2009. SPOILER ALERT: It gets enough Animal Collective.

All stories can be found on both Stereogum or Pitchfork. Peace.

The Godfathers - "Birth, School, Work, Death"

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 4, 2009 (Playlist)

December 4, 2009 (Playlist):
"Our Thirty-Third Show!"

Echo & The Bunnymen – Do You Know Who I Am?
Health – Die Slow
The Raveonettes – Breaking Into Cars
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Even Heroes Have To Die
Surfer Blood – Swim (To Reach The End)
Spoon – Written In Reverse
Bear In Heaven – Lovesick Teenagers
Warren Zevon – Lawyers, Guns, & Money
*"Punk Trunk!": Sex Pistols – No One Is Innocent
*"Punk Trunk!": The Thermals – Power Doesn't Run On Nothing
*"Allen Reed Memorial Cover Of The Week": Nirvana – Molly's Lips (The Vaselines Cover) (Live)

*"The Mighty Mighty Boss-Tune": Bruce Springteen – Growin' Up
Living Colour – Behind The Sun
Avett Brothers – Slight Figure Of Speech
Headlights – Secrets
Phoenix – Rome
Passion Pit – Let Your Love Grow Tall
Charlotte Gainsbourg – Heaven Can Wait (Feat. Beck)
Major Lazer – Hold The Line (Feat. Mr. Lex & Santigold)
Cold War Kids – Audience Of One
Motion City Soundtrack – Her Words Destroyed My Planet

*Background music consisted of various dance and electronica tunes from the 2000s. They ranged from Alan Braxe & Friends to Ladytron. Tunes to make you move your feet.

What can we say about our penultimate (second to last) show that hasn't been said about the rest of our stellar shows this semester? Even after being away one week for the Thanksgiving break, we can honestly say it was a great Friday evening of alternative and indie rock on college radio, 88.3 FM KUR. However, we can say this: with only three exceptions, every song we played was oven fresh. Young America demands new music! We kicked things off with some lo-fi and dance pop numbers, then busted out the "Punk Trunk!" to give the show some D.I.Y. attitude. Next we followed that up with our other two special segments back-to-back and brought it on home with some of most anticipated music to come in 2010. Big thanks to our second-time shadower, Melissa, who may be new to KUR, but has certainly found her footing on our program. Next week is the grand finale. Your hosts present the second annual NMTMies, spinning the best in alternative music 2009 had to offer and giving out awards to artists and bands that won us over this year. You do not want to miss this show! Thanks again for tuning in and be sure to tune in next week for another great set.

Bear In Heaven - "Lovesick Teenagers"

Nirvana - "Molly's Lips (The Vaselines Cover) (Live)"

Cold War Kids
- "Audience Of One"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grammy Nominees Posted

The Grammy nominees for this year were posted last night on the show's web site. I guess you can say they're the 2010 Grammy's...even though the music was from 2009. Anyway, I'm rooting for all rock bands this year. Especially MGMT, Silversun Pickups, and of course, Bruce Springsteen. And say what you will, but I still support Coldplay and Kings Of Leon after their big releases. "I've never liked them". Oh bullshit. Here's the link for all the fields and categories. And there are plenty of them. Imogen Heap and Neko Case are also up for a few. One of them better walk away with the nod! Stereogum staffer Scott put it best when he said, "The 52nd annual event airs 1/31 on CBS and I gotta feeling that there will be a Michael Jackson tribute."

Michael Jackson
- "Man In The Mirror"

The Penultimate Show Is Tomorrow!

The 33rd installment of NMTM is also the penultimate, as our semester here at KU reaches crunchtime. We've only got one more show after this one, which will be our annual awards show, titled "The NMTMies". But for the program tomorrow, we've got a really cool line-up for you. New music via Bear In Heaven, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Echo & The Bunnymen, Headlights, and The Raveonettes. Plus, we've got a rare, live cover from Nirvana that we'll spin during the second hour. And we'll have our usual segments that you've grown to know and love, like the "Mighty Mighty Boss-Tune" and the "Punk Trunk!". All of this, news, discussions, studio call-ins, and more coming your way TOMORROW, 6-8 PM, web-streaming live @ Tune in for best alternative and indie rock on college radio!

The Raveonettes - "Breaking Into Cars"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pitchfork Wants Your...Opinion?

I know, right? They'll probably just use it later to bash your ideas and make you feel horrible about your taste in music. I could be wrong. They are one of the premiere alternative music web sites and I enjoyed filling out their poll. The poll itself is filled with fancy, hipster lingo, for all of you out there who are into that sort of... thing. Just look at the section "Trend You Wish Would Go Away". Clearly made up genres, but I guess they have that power now. Fill it out and be heard. Hopefully.

Los Campesinos! - "We Are All Accelerated Readers"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Post-Turkey Weekend News/Hello December

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Weekend, because you know, like the turkey itself, the festivities last much longer than Thursday. It all pretty much goes down on Wednesday night (let's not go there for this blogger; I don't think I can show my face in Morristown, New Jersey again). Did any of you go shopping on Black Friday? I'm sure it must've been a zoo at Best Buy. Well, I hope you got the gifts you wanted for your family, friends, or yourself. I, on the other end, slept. And worked a few days, too. I'm thankful for much needed sleep, money for nothing, and new music. This leads perfectly into...

Spoon has a new record coming out. It's called Transference and it's due out in the middle of January (the 19th, to be exact, via Merge). It seems like we're giving up on December entirely and focusing on January here in the music community. But anyway, besides "Got Nuffin", which has been around since the summer and we played on the show, we're being treated to a new one. Unsure if this will be a single, but get a load of "Written In Reverse". People are saying its the kind of music you can expect at a bar. Really? "I don't know about that, Clark." But it is good. And just when you think it's over - surprise. It goes on.

Spoon - "Written In Reverse"

In more S-related news, The Strokes are coming back! "Gonna be a bright - bright - bright - sun shinin' day!" KUR's own Andy Pal would love to hear this. They are getting back into the swing of actually being with one another in January, for possible recordings and live shows. The big news is that they will be headlining England's Ise Of Wight Festival on June 12th. It'll be the first live show the band's done since October 2006 (if they don't play anywhere before then). That's a pretty distance away. But if they do get back into the studio sometime soon, I hope we hear something like this.

The Strokes - "Soma"

Finally, in NMTM news, the end is near, my friends. The show is coming to screeching halt in 2 weeks and we're preparing for it with our "best of" lists. We'll also throw together our NMTMies for this year, which, if you remember from last year's award show, it's a lot of fun. So keep it here for constant updates as 2009 packs up its bags and moves out of its parent's house.