Monday, December 18, 2006

Butch Slap's Top 10 Albums of 2006

Here they are... the albums I enjoyed most this past year. Actually putting them in sequential order is always a tricky endeavor, as day to day my opinion shifts. For example, the past week I've been listening to the Black Angels record quite a bit, and am tempted to slide it up a couple notches. At some point you've just gotta call it, and say it's done - whether it's a silly list such as this or something more life affecting. Anyhoo, the 10 songs below make quite a playlist, so enjoy!


1. Sparklehorse
Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain

mp3: Shade and Honey



2. Bob Dylan
Modern Times

mp3: Thunder on the Mountain



3. The Decemberists
The Crane Wife

mp3: Shankill Butchers



4. Black Heart Procession
The Spell

mp3: The Spell



5. TV on the Radio
Return to Cookie Mountain

mp3: Dirty Whirlwind



6. The Black Angels
Passover

mp3: The First Vietnamese War



7. Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint
The River in Reverse

mp3: The Sharpest Thorn



8. French Kicks
Two Thousand

mp3: So Far We Are



9. The Black Keys
Magic Potion

mp3: Strange Desire



10. Pink Mountaintops
Axis Of Evol

mp3: Lord, Let Us Shine



Honorable Mentions:

Cat Power - The Greatest

Beck - The Information

Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

Bonnie Prince Billy - The Letting Go

Ray Davies - Other People's Lives

Band of Horses - Everything All the Time

Monday, July 17, 2006

Songs: Ohia

I was reminded of how much I like this band this past weekend. I won’t get into a full-fledged bio as a quick visit to AMG will tell you what you need to know, but at the heart of Songs: Ohia is prolific singer/songwriter Jason Molina. And yes, his high, fragile voice does have an uncanny resemblance to Neil Young in both tenor and lyricism (I’d say that’s a compliment). Take a listen to two of my favorite tracks: “Captain Badass” off 1999's Axxess & Ace, and “Farewell Transmission” from 2003’s Magnolia Electric Co, which is also the moniker he now records under since that release.

Songs: Ohia - Captain Badass

Songs: Ohia - Farewell Transmission

Monday, July 10, 2006

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Here’s a quick post just to drop an amazing song on you that appears on Nick Cave’s latest release Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. It’s a double CD, and posted below is “Breathless,” which appears on the Lyre disc. It’s probably one of the most accessible songs he’s ever written—acoustic, sweet, tuneful—just a beautifully crafted love song with of a hint of darkness buried underneath it all. It’s AAC encoded, so you’ll need iTunes to listen. Enjoy, it’s a terrific song for the Summer.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Breathless

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Starbucks Triple Skim Vanilla Whack Job

As I make my way to work each morning down Madison Avenue, I often stop in my corner Starbucks for a nice Americano. Well a couple months ago, I began to notice a strange, wild-eyed woman becoming a fixture in the corner window seat. As the days and weeks passed by, I couldn’t help but become fascinated.

Each day she wears the same ratty fur jacket and Ugg-like boots, regardless of the spiking heat and humidity, and sits with her shabby personal belongings strewn about. Her hair is a long, witchy salt and black pepper—with the proper amount of matting, fitting for bag lady. She parks a wire shopping cart next to the table and reads a newspaper so close to her face that her nose is the only thing keeping the ink off her eyeballs. She occasionally “talks” on her cell phone, although I have reason to believe it may not actually work.

Since the warmer weather has set in, she’s taken to enjoying a bit of refreshing fruit for breakfast—an entire watermelon split in two—every morning. It crowds her small table and draws stares, but she devours it unphased with the complimentary plastic flatware. You wonder why the staff at Starbucks doesn’t chase her away. But I gather that she is a paying customer, as she nurses a venti something-or-other for the better part of the day.

Now my intention is not to be cruel in describing this woman to you. And sure there are plenty of crazy people in NYC. But I find it interesting that she wants to cash in on that Starbuckian vibe and culture. In a way it is an odd testament to the allure and ubiquity of the brand. And what is truly curious is that since I’ve started talking about her with coworkers, she has become a bit of an unwitting celebrity. We recount our sightings, and during an important creative meeting recently, about ten of us pattered on about her for a good ten minutes. Can you imagine? It’s funny how you just never know who’s talking about you.

Anyhow, since this has become a thing, I felt the need to document her on film. So I set about trying to snap a picture in the most inconspicuous way possible. This proved more difficult than I anticipated. I started with my camera phone first, which was not up to the task. I just couldn’t get close enough without tipping my hand. So I decided to take more drastic measures, and brought in my small digital snapshot camera. Again I was failing miserably, as I made many attempts to get the shot without being discovered. Finally…success. I know it’s a bit blurry, but it kind of adds to the whole mystique.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pink Mountaintops

Somehow, Black Mountain slipped past my radar, and I came upon Stephen Mcbean's Pink Mountaintops recently. Needless to say, I'm smitten with the stoner ease of "Axis Of Evol"... all buzzy and hazy. Made me reverse engineer, and pick up the first, self-titled Pink Mountaintops effort, which is terrific, as well the Black Mountain record. Check out the track below, and thank me later.

Pink Mountaintops - Lord, Let Us Shine

Meet Wally

Here's our dog Wally. He has many aliases depending on his mood: Wallace, Wallito, Mr. Mushnick, Dr. Barkenstein, The Wallinator, Dark Shadows, etc. He's a Smooth Tri-Color Collie. I think they look so much different than the rough (Lassie) variety. We've had him for about nine months. He's the best...great disposition, cute as all get out. His vices? He likes to bark, although not obsessively. And he likes to chew paper products, like napkins, tissues, even wood, which in the end is a hell of a lot better than a nice pair of shoes (my wife would concur).

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Black Heart Procession

This San Diego band has a new album out called "The Spell," which is really great. In fact, their last two records (Amore Del Tropico precedes) have both been completely solid. Basically all tracks are winners. However, If you're unfamiliar with the band, I'd recommend you fall in love with them the way I did, with a track called "A Light So Dim" off their second LP simply titled 2. This album is more stripped down and a bit uneven compared to the recent releases, but this song is just stunningly beautiful, emotive, and grim at the same instance.

The Black Heart Procession - A Light So Dim

Inaugural Post

So... funny how it's taken me so long to get a blog up, seeing as how I'm a writer and all. But that's probably why. It's like being a professional chef. After slaving over a hot stove for hours on end (or a hot laptop in this case), usually the last thing you want to do is cook for the fun of it.

But I guess there have been enough times that I've read blogs from losers that have nothing to say. So pehaps I could be one of those losers. Really though, I dig music. Mostly alternative/indie, and actually used to DJ at a college radio station for quite awhile back in the late 80's and part of the 90's. So hopefully I can share some stuff, and help a few people make some new discoveries. Oh, this image is by an illustrator named Esao Andrews who does amazing work. His site is really well designed too, so take a look.

www.esao.net