Saturday, June 07, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 6/7/14

Quote of the Week: I atone you Vic, you’re atoned. (Sarah Manning, Orphan Black)

Song of the Week: Love Is All Around – The Troggs (Orphan Black)

Big News of the Week: 90’s Week: It was 90’s week here at the 9th Green where I counted down the 100 Greatest Songs from the Golden Age of Alternative Rock and even added 25 Deep Cuts as an added bonus. Now that you have seen the lists, you can now listen to them on Spotify, I have embedded them below. The National Geographic Channel was so excited by my list that this week they sent me CD of Sublime’s self titled album. For the kiddies out there, compact disks were how we listened to music in the nineties. It is also possibly they sent me the CD to hype their upcoming mini-series The 90’s: The Last Great Decade?. For those interested, it starts Sunday, July 6 and will feature interviews with Kurt Loder, Vanilla Ice, Matthew Perry, Newt Gingrich, Monica Lewinsky, and Julie Genry of the very first The Real World. Be sure to turn in so maybe I can get a Dodgeball Blu-Ray when they promote inevitable The 00’s: Well That Sucked sometime in the next year or two.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Pilot” Chasing Life, Tuesday at 9:00 on ABC Family

Orphan Black: I have never been a fan of binge watching shows; I actually prefer watching them week to week, giving you time to think about it. But I did watch the ten episodes of the first season over seven days last summer, but now that I am watching week to week, I have found my entertainment level drop this season. One of the benefits of binge watching sci-fi is it is easier to follow things if you just saw it a day (or seconds) before. This season it is hard to follow the science part of the show. And with the clones separate this season also hurts the entertainment value. Until this week, the only time I believe we have seen a clone imitate another clone was the season premiere when Sarah pretended to be Cosima to get into a party. Sarah as Alison was the highlight of the season so far so hopefully they get the clones to interact more in the second half of the season.
You can download Orphan Black on iTunes.

Crisis: Interesting that the kids all think Gibson was forced to kill the kid and none came to the realization that he could be involved. I guess you would not want to think the worst of your father and ignore all the glaring warning signs. Now the question is just how Gibson gets out of the house and reunites with the blood samples. Obvious he has something planned, just what?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Crisis on iTunes.

The Challenge: Free Agents: Who knew Jessica had that in her? I was expecting a blow out that we ended up getting from LeRoy / Cuhutta. But really had she not try to shoot the ball like a free throw instead of a slam dunk, she could have actually won that duel. But the star of the episode, much like the entire season, was Nany who took the worst blow of the challenge and still managed to win. But the best came on the After Show, which was inexplicably absent last week when they desperately needed one to discuss the Nany / Johnny / Cohutta situation. Unfortunately Nany was joined randomly by Devon (granted she did give a very interesting conspiracy against the black contestants this season) not any of the boys, but we did get some good reation shots of Nany looking back at her time on the show so far. I think Nany may have taken Camilla’s spot for the most entertaining contestant of the current generation.
You can download The Challenge: Free Agents on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: Night Like This – LP (iTunes)

New Album Release of the Week: Stay Gold - First Aid Kit

New DVD Release of the Week: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Video of the Week: Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the theatrical release of the first Ghostbusters and what better way to celebrate with quite possibly the greatest movie theme song in the history of cinema (sorry Bobby Brown). The film is coming back to theaters to mark the anniversary but not until August 29 (probably because it is closer to Halloween) and of course that will be followed by a 30th Anniversary Special Edition Blu-Ray which will feature both movies and a Slimer figurine.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Pretty Little Liars, Tuesday at 8:00 on ABC Family: The guiltiest guilty pleasure returns this week after an explosive season four finale of Pretty Little Liars which saw A shoot Ezra who was just about to reveal who A was. Unfortunately the TV Guide description of the episode already spoils his fate in the description for those that cannot wait a couple days to find out.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Around the Tubes: 6/6/14

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Wicked Tuna, Young and Hungry, The Hollywood Reporter Roundtables, A Star-Spangled Story: Battle for America, Grace and Tony, Monogem, Fozzy, Bari Leigh, Major Crimes, Motor City Masters, Penny Dreadful, King of the Nerds, Ascension, and Homeland.

- An age-old battle wages off the coast of Gloucester, Mass., in the icy waters of the Atlantic. As the final weeks of bluefin season approach for the fishermen on National Geographic Channel’s hit series Wicked Tuna, no captain will rest until they climb to the top of the leaderboard to snag the championship. The heart-pounding Wicked Tuna season three finale premieres Sunday at 9:00, followed immediately by the debut of National Geographic Channel’s first live talk show, Reel Talk Live, at 10:00 (tape delayed on the West Coast). Fan-favorite captains and crewmen join host Mike Salk (@TheMikeSalk; sports radio host and Boston area native) before a live audience to answer fan questions, reveal behind-the-scenes scoop and look ahead to the future of the successful Wicked Tuna franchise.

- In anticipation of the upcoming premiere of new original comedy Young & Hungry, ABC Family has launched the Young & Hungry Selfie Sweepstakes. Viewers can enter for a chance to win free groceries for a year. From now through Monday, June 30, fans can enter by posting a “selfie” of themselves on Instagram with their favorite food and include the hashtag #YoungandHungrySelfieSweeps. To be eligible to win, fans may follow the show’s Instagram @YoungandHungryABCF. For more information, visit the

- A&E Network and The Hollywood Reporter have partnered to produce The Hollywood Reporter Roundtables series, featuring Hollywood's leading Emmy-contenders in intimate discussions leading up to the award nominations. The four-part Emmy roundtables will air on A&E Network on June 8 and 15. A&E will premiere the four-part Emmy series beginning Sunday June 8 with two programs, the Drama Actor Roundtable at 8am and Drama Actress Roundtable at 9am. On Sunday, June 15, A&E will air the Comedy Actor Roundtable at 8am ET/PT and Comedy Actress Roundtable at 9am ET/PT. The Drama Actor Roundtable hosts Jon Hamm, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Michael Sheen, Jeff Daniels, and Josh Charles. The Drama Actress Roundtable hosts Julianna Margulies, Claire Danes, Jessica Pare, Keri Russell, Sarah Paulson, and Vera Farmiga. The Comedy Actor Roundtable features top comedic talents Andy Samberg, Jason Biggs, William H. Macy, Matt LeBlanc, Tony Hale, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. The Comedy Actress Roundtable hosts Emmy hopefuls Taylor Schilling, Edie Falco, Mindy Kaling, Zooey Deschanel, Kaley Cuoco, and Emmy Rossum.

- Sung before almost every sporting event in the nation, The Star-Spangled Banner has stirring lyrics and a powerful melody. But many Americans don’t actually know the words or the historic events that inspired them. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s iconic song, Smithsonian Channel will premiere A Star-Spangled Story: Battle for America, an original one-hour documentary revealing the story surrounding America’s National Anthem, on Saturday, June 14 at 9:00. Two hundred years ago, America was a young nation battling the British Empire in a conflict known as the War of 1812. By late summer 1814, the fate of the entire country hung in the balance. Washington was in flames. The President and Congress had fled the city, the American army had collapsed, and conquering troops were burning the nation’s capital. But out of this catastrophic time was born an inspiration and rallying song recognized by every: The Star-Spangled Banner.

- Loretto,TN-based husband-and-wife duo Grace and Tony’s latest Greenroom Session video clip, which went live on yesterday, features Tony’s brother, John Paul White (formerly of The Civil Wars) joining them on a cover of the Grace & Tony song, November.

- Fans of indie-pop, give a listen to Follow You by Monogem:

- Fozzy have announced they will release their highly anticipated, new full-length studio album Do You Wanna Start a War (Century Media Records) on July 22nd! Fans can now pre-order the 12-track album at iTunes and receive an instant download of the song "One Crazed Anarchist."

- Boldness can take many forms. On the one hand, it can mean brazen, fearless, assured; on the other hand, sensitive, intimate, authentic. Nashville-based singer-songwriter Bari Leigh uniquely understands and embraces this duality: it's in her character. It's in both the sweetness and swagger of her music. And, it's at the heart of what her debut album, Tonight, I'm Unchained, is all about.

- As fans of TNT's Top 10 drama Major Crimes prepare for the start of an all-new season, they will get the chance to enjoy a 19-hour marathon of the entire previous season. The marathon will begin running Sunday, June 8, at 2 a.m. and will continue right up until the season three premiere on Monday, June 9, at 9 p.m.

- Motor City Masters is off to the races. truTV's new car design competition series will be at the center of an immersive car-design installation to be located in Pocono Raceway's Fan Fair for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from Pocono 400 during the weekend of June 7-8. Produced in collaboration with Chevrolet and premieringTuesday, June 24, at 10:00, Motor City Masters will bring together 10 experienced designers, with various specialties and backgrounds, all of whom share a passion for car design.

- Showtime has picked up a second season of its critically acclaimed drama series Penny Dreadful, it was announced this week by David Nevins, President, Showtime Networks Inc. The network has given an expanded order of ten episodes to the series. Created, written and executive produced by three-time Oscar® nominee John Logan, Penny Dreadful has been embraced by the network’s subscribers, drawing 4.8 million weekly viewers across platforms since its launch.

- Nerdvana will be searching for its next ruler as TBS has ordered a third season of its unique competition series King of the Nerds. Hosts Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong, who also serve as executive producers, will once again supervise the proceedings as competitors from across the nerd spectrum vie for the ultimate nerd title. TBS has ordered eight episodes for the third season of King of the Nerds, which is slated to air in early 2015. The renewal comes on the heels of TBS's announcement that it has extended its hit hidden-camera game show Deal With It for an additional 10 episodes to air this fall.

- Syfy this week announced that Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town, The Bridge) will star in the channel’s new original, six hour event series Ascension, portraying eponymous ship’s captain, William Denninger. Van Holt joins the previously announced Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) in the intergalactic mystery series; the two will play husband and wife.

- Today, Showtime and Fox 21 announced that acclaimed actors Laila Robins (Bored To Death, In Treatment) and Golden Globe®nominee Corey Stoll (House of Cards) have joined the fourth season of the Emmy® and Golden Globe Award-winning drama series Homeland. Robins joins as a series regular in the role of “Martha Boyd,” the United States Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, who is professional and put together, with a ship-to-ship voice and the personality to match. Stoll will guest star as “Sandy Bachman,” the CIA Chief of Station in Pakistan and a rising star in the Agency's firmament. The series’ fourth season will begin production later this month in Cape Town, South Africa. The network's No. 1 rated series with an average of seven million weekly viewers, HOMELAND will return to Showtime this fall.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

I'm Not Just Some Face You Used to Know

Fire Within - Birdy

Bob Dylan is one of the greatest songwriters in music in pop history, of course you will never see him on a greatest singers list. So it is no surprised that many of his songs went on to be hits for other artists (and in some cases becoming the definitive version) like Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel; Adele even did one of his songs on her debut album. Bon Iver's Justin Vernon is another great songwriter who singing is not as good, and the annoying vocoder does not help, most notably on Skinny Love.

Enter YouTube: an acoustic version of Skinny Love has been done by every wannabe singer with an account. Seriously, simple YouTube search will land you “about 851,000 results.” Of the hundreds of thousands of versions out there, the unequivocal winner of the Best Skinny Love cover came from Birdy. The fifteenyear old British singer gave a classical sound to the song while singing over a sparse piano accompaniment reminiscent to Adele’s Someone Like You.

Her debut album had more of the same, sparse versions of songs that deserved more acknowledgements to mixed results. Songs like White Winter Hymnal (Fleet Foxes) and Shelter (The xx) were almost as beautifully as Skinny Love but it was a complete fail when she tried to slow down and class up Young Blood (The Naked and Famous) and managed to strip the song of all its youthful energy. Something you would never think an actually teenage would do.

At age seventeen, Birdy released her sophomore album Fire Within filled with her own material, some co-written with the biggest producers of the past decade incusing Ryan Tedder, Sia, Dan Wilson, and Mumford and Sons’ Ben Lovett. The US release finally came out this week and is basically the Bristish version with Skinny Love tacked on first and another song from the first album added as the final track.

Predictably Tedder gives Birdy a pop star makeover on Wings and Words as Weapons, the former is as loud and boring as you would expect from a Tedder assisted track. The latter starts out more acoustic, almost Mumford, before overproducing the song making it sound like one of the cheap Mumford style dance songs that are starting to get annoying. The Sia produced song Strange Birds is also predictably Sia in that it turns into the weirdest, darkest song on the album. It sours so high that all it needs is some more strings and it could pass as a Bond theme.

Also playing his part is Wilson, who actually wrote Someone Like You, who helps out on the piano ballad All You Never Say. His other contribution is Maybe, a bouncy acoustic track where for the first (and really only time) in two albums Birdy actually sounds like a teenager and ends up being a much better pop song than the two that Ryan Tedder overproduced. The third track Wilson helped out on, All About You, another sweet and stripped out mid temp song and another album standout. If her first album was showing the world she has a beautiful voice, the second album was trying to fit it within the current pop landscape. Hopefully by the third she find its but she is heading in the right direction when not working with Ryan Tedder.

Song to Download – Maybe

Fire Within gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

25 Deep Cuts from the Golden Age of Alternative Rock

Earlier this week I posted my list of the 100 Greatest Songs from the Golden Age of Alternative Rock. The mid nineties was a time when the music business was so prosperous that even minimal effort could result in a Gold record. I doubt anyone outside of the Deal family could name a second song by The Breeders yet Last Splash still went platinum. I contributed to many of those RIAA certifications (R.I.P. BMG 10 albums for a penny deals that they kept letting you quit and renew for a new batch of albums).

1. Anna Begins – Counting Crows: Not only one of my favorite deep cuts from the era, but one of my favorite songs ever in the history of the world. “Every time she sneezes I believe it is love” meant everything to me in my youth. Still does.

2. The World Has Turned and Left Me Here – Weezer: The Blue Album had the most songs of any album on my list as every song is great. This is my favorite of the rest, just another great teenage anthem.

3. Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana: Quite possibly the greatest performance ever to air on MTV Unplugged.

4. Warehouse – Dave Matthew Band: Record companies are usually good at releasing singles, but for some reasons the singles off of Dave Matthews Band albums are never my favorites. Ants Marching may be my fifth favorite song off their major label debut. The best is Warehouse which only get more epic when you hear it live. And thanks for the band’s penchant for releasing live albums, which will be easy to find because even though they always switch up set lists, there is always a good chance that this song will be represented.

5. Bad Habit – The Offspring: The ultimate road rage song. I probably listened to it way too much while learning to drive.

6. Immortality – Pearl Jam: No list is perfect and my own personal eyeballing of mine is there could have been a lot more Pearl Jam. It is probably after the success of the first album, they decided to step back from the spotlight not making music video or releasing proper singles leaving individual radio station to play their own favorites. Immortality is just the kind of mood I am in right now, but anything on those next two albums is worth checking out.

7. Let Me In – R.E.M.: Those first three R.E.M. albums from the nineties are worth checking out, this is probably the best track on their most fuzzed out album of the trio.

8. Happy Endings – Better than Ezra: I recently read an article where the lead singer suggested that they may have had Goo Goo Doll’s career had they been on a better record label and not one that went under. As a owner of all their albums sans their last I would have to agree as they made some of the best adult contemporary music of the past decade. You can hear them go down that root on songs like this.

9. Sad Songs and Waltzes – Cake: The band had a minor hit with their I Will Survive cover, another stand out on the same album was this Willie Nelson classic. The irony of course was during the alt-rock era, depressing songs were all the rage.

10. I'm the Ocean – Neil Young: The godfather of grunge hooked up with Pearl Jam and made an album which sounded exactly like you expected. This seven minute epic without a chorus is the highlight of the Mirror Ball album.

11. I Love You Mary Jane – Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill: When I first started working on my list I considered some more “alternative” rap song like Insane in the Brain. Instead I will include Cypress Hill’s awesomely weird collaboration with Sonic Youth for the Judgment Night Soundtrack where the two bonded over their love of the sticky icky. The song worked a lot better than their track with Pearl Jam.

12. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – Smashing Pumpkins: In the of the alt-rock heyday, who would have expected the Smashing Pumpkins to start their double album with a sweet, well, melon collie, piano-based instrumental.

13. Sir Psycho Sexy – Red Hot Chili Peppers: The Peppers are weird to begin with, but this was easily their most bizarre track from Blood Sugar Sex Magic. The teenage version of myself loved the lady cop verse.

14. Slide Away – Oasis: That first album was brit-pop gold, this was definitely my favorite non-single.

15. The Wanderer – U2: Nirvana gets a lot of credit for the start of the alt-rock era, but with Achtung Baby, U2 was getting weird at the same time. They got even weirder on Zoorepa which ended with a country euro-trash song featuring Johnny Cash on vocals, a year before his carreer got resurrected with the American Recordings series.

16. Swing On This - Alice In Chains: Who would have guessed Alice in Chain would ever release a song that was actually danceable?

17. Pillar of Davidson – Live: There were plenty of epic songs on Throwing Copper, this song may have actually been the most epic.

18. Bogusflow – Beck: DGC Rarities vol. 1 was a must own by any alt-rock fan with plenty of rare gems. At the time, Beck was heading for one hit wonderdom and this drunken Bob Dylan type song was not going to help him out of that label but was awesome nonetheless. I am still waiting for vol. 2.

19. Mad Dog 20 / 20 – Teenage Fanclub: Fun fact: The first legal drink I ever bought was Mad Dog 20/20. I cannot confirm nor deny it is because of this song.

20. April 29, 1992 (Miami) – Sublime: Humorously the band actually got the date wrong in the actual lyrics song (April 26), legend has it that the take with the mistake was the best so they kept it.

21. Steven's Last Night In Town – Ben Folds Five: There were not many New Orleans inspired tracks during the alt rock era, but this one was really good.

22. Brother – Toad the Wet Sprocket: This was off their “rarities” album which was one of the few albums that was just as good as the “proper” albums in an artist discography.

23. Price to Pay – Blues Traveler: Just great storytelling in this song and of course plenty of harmonica.

24. Carrion – Fiona Apple: The big hits of this album were song of Fiona’s more angry songs; I also appreciate her more subtle songs like this one.

25. Nada – The Refreshments: In the introduction I mentioned how easy it was to get a Gold album, this is one of the few bands from the time that did not manage one and I am not sure why, I really enjoyed both of their albums. Maybe too southern and not enough alternative in their rock. And then too weird for the country crowd. Nada was a great way to end that first album.

Honorable Mentions

Shamrocks and Shenanigans (Butch Vig Mix) – House of Pain: Another rap song I considered for this list, but the Butch Vig version. Vig was fresh from producing Nevermind and a few years away from becoming a founding member of Garbage and gave an alt-rock bent to the song.

Iron Man – The Cardigans: I considered a couple songs by the band for this list but Lovefool was a bit too poppy and Been It just missed the cut (had I expanded the end date by a year, My Favorite Mistake would definitely made the list). But the album was much more weird and darker than you would expect from the group that brought you Lovefool, case in point this trippy cover of the Black Sabbath song.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 6/3/14

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Problem – Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea

When I first saw Ariana Grande, I thought it was a Rebecca Black situation. Not that she was horrible, The Way was pleasurable in a guilty kind of way, but the video looked like mommy and daddy put their 401K into it while Ariana had a creepy dead behind the eyes stare to her and just looked uncomfortable the whole time. It turned out Grande is a real thing, and apparently a kiddie television star despite looking like she had never been in front of a camera for The Way. With her next hit Problem instantly going to number one, she is apparently turning out to be the next big thing. Yeah the new song is also moderately catchy (though I could have done without the rap, sure the Fancy video is kinda of awesome but can we please keep Iggy Azalea from becoming a thing please) still her visuals are uncomfortable. For the music video, she broke out the same awkward middle school talent show routine that was met with a resounding, “Huh?!?” from Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan at whatever award show that was. I know the modern pop star has to front and center in everything they do, but Ariana should really consider pulling a Pearl Jam and just stop making music videos for a while, or at the very least do what George Michael did and just fill your video with supermodels.

Talk (Expletive Deleted), Get Shot – Body Count

People have been throwing dirt on rock as a genre for a while now (myself included) but The Black Keys and Jack White have been putting out great music (even if they will not admit it about the other act) and racking up awards, just last week Coldplay had the biggest album debut of the year. So rock may be on life support, but it still has a pulse. Now heavy metal, that genre has been dead for a while now. Seriously, when was the last time you heard a good heavy metal song? There is probably why you rarely see any act from the past decade or two on That Metal Show. So when Ice-T debuted the new Body Count song on his Final Level Podcast (which comes highly recommended from me), I figured that I would listen to about thirty seconds and then fast forward to Ice talking Dungeons and Dragons again. Except the song actually turned out to be legitimately good. And I not just saying that because I fear the title may come to fruition if I did not like it. And the music video is just as entertaining as a more violet version of the plotline of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. (Fun fact: the I got the (Expletive Deleted) idea from this movie).

Simplethings – Miguel

There comes a time in every singer’s career when it is time to roll around on the beach with an absurdly attractive model in black and white. Everyone can thank Chris Isaak for that. So why is Miguel ending the music video right where should be starting. Is he saving that for his own personal collection?

Bridges - Broods

It seems like every month this year I am posting a new video for Bridges. The last one was the “international version” and this is apparently the “American version.” And much like Lorde’s Royals which the US version has 500% more Lorde, the US version of Bridges actually features Broods frolicking in what looks to be a clothing advertisement geared at teenage girls. Sadly that is how you sell new artists stateside.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The 100 Greatest Songs From the Golden Age of Alternative Rock

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

2. Sabotage - Beastie Boys

3. Would? - Alice in Chains

4. Creep - Radiohead

5. Loser - Beck

6. Undone - The Sweater Song - Weezer

7. Closer - Nine Inch Nails

8. Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers

9. What I Got - Sublime

10. Mr. Jones - Counting Crows

11. Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots

12. Come Out and Play - Offspring

13. No Rain - Blind Melon

14. What's the Frequency, Kenneth? - R.E.M.

15. Santa Monica - Everclear

16. Bullet With Butterfly Wings - The Smashing Pumpkins

17. Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve

18. Run-Around - Blues Traveler

19. Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz

20. Killing In the Name - Rage Against the Machine

21. I Alone - Live

22. Alive - Pearl Jam

23. Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage

24. Bound for the Floor - Local H

25. Peaches - The Presidents of the United States of America

26. Low - Cracker

27. Mysterious Ways - U2

28. Hey Man, Nice Shot - Filter

29. Liar - Rollins Band

30. All Mixed Up - 311

31. Song for the Dumped - Ben Folds Five

32. Pepper - Butthole Surfers

33. Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand - Primitive Radio Gods

34. Not an Addict - K's Choice

35. Criminal - Fiona Apple

36. Drive - R.E.M.

37. Here and Now - Letters to Cleo

38. Popular - Nada Surf

39. Shine - Collective Soul

40. Girlfriend - Matthew Sweet

41. Bad Reputation - Freedy Johnston

42. Heart-Shaped Box - Nirvana

43. Where It's At - Beck

44. The Distance - Cake

45. Cumbersome - Seven Mary Three

46. Self Esteem - Offspring

47. Supersonic - Oasis

48. Possum Kingdom - Toadies

49. Banditos - Refreshments

50. Good - Better Than Ezra

51. Fade Into You - Mazzy Star

52. Ants Marching - Dave Matthews Band

53. Live Forever - Oasis

54. Walk - Pantera

55. Rooster - Alice in Chains

56. Mockingbirds - Grant Lee Buffalo

57. Sleep to Dream - Fiona Apple

58. Spoonman - Soundgarden

59. Round Here - Counting Crows

60. 1979 - The Smashing Pumpkins

61. Spin the Bottle - Juliana Hatfield Three

62. Fall Down - Toad the Wet Sprocket

63. Possession - Sarah McLachlan

64. Fallín' - Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul

65. Desperately Wanting - Better Than Ezra

66. Santeria - Sublime

67. Bulls On Parade - Rage Against the Machine

68. Hitchhiker Joe - Rugburns

69. Longview - Green Day

70. Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead

71. Cannonball - Breeders

72. Everlong - Foo Fighters

73. El Scorcho - Weezer

74. What Would You Say - Dave Matthews Band

75. Ruby Soho - Rancid

76. Everything Falls Apart - Dog's Eye View

77. Say It Ain't So - Weezer

78. Flagpole Sitta - Harvey Danger

79. Push - Moist

80. My Name Is Mud - Primus

81. Battle of Who Could Care Less - Ben Folds Five

82. The Impression That I Get - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

83. Lump - The Presidents of the United States of America

84. Connected - Stereo MC's

85. Naked Eye - Luscious Jackson

86. Lithium - Nirvana

87. Date Rape - Sublime

88. Connection - Elastica

89. Buddy X - Neneh Cherry

90. The Freshmen - The Verve Pipe

91. Einstein On the Beach (For an Eggman) - Counting Crows

92. Buddy Holly - Weezer

93. I Got Id - Pearl Jam

94. Super Bon Bon - Soul Coughing

95. #1 Crush - Garbage

96. All Apologies - Nirvana

97. Big Me - Foo Fighters

98. I Will Survive - Cake

99. Until It Sleeps - Metallica

100. Fell On Black Days - Soundgarden

For the purpose of this list, the Golden Age of Alternative Rock started with the release of Smells Like Teen Spirit and ended when Limp Bizcuit released their first album.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Like Ma Bell I Got the Ill Communication

Ill Communication - Beastie Boys

It seems like every other week this year there has been another twentieth anniversary retrospective of a landmark album (compared to this year where so far, unless The Black Keys album ages well, there really has not been one yet). The most recent much ballyhooed anniversary was for Ill Communication. With Check Your Head, these were the two “weird albums” from the Beastie Boys that fit in very well with the early nineties explosion of hip-hop and alternative rock. After Ill Communication, which is this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame, the trio went back to mostly straight hip-hop for their (presumably) last three lyrical based albums.

Even though the Beastie Boys started out as a punk band and there was plenty of live instrumentations on Check Your Head, no one was expecting Sabotage as the first single off the album. The song managed to rock harder than most songs it shared time with on alt-rock radio stations. Ad Rock just let go of all his anger in three short minutes while the highlight of the song was the MCA bass breakdown which was the highlight of any of their live shows (their performance remains one of the greatest in VMA history). The song sat right in the middle of the album with similar, short, punk songs Tough Guy and Heart Attack Man at the beginning and end o the album.

Of course you cannot talk Sabotage without mentioning the awesome Spike Jones. Lampooning seventies cop shows, the Beastie Boys were game to put on silly wigs and mustaches while sliding across car hoods and tackle each other into pools. I sure there were many people twenty years ago hoping that a real Sabotage television show would air right after Beavis and Butt-Head.

Though in the middle of their live music phase, there are still plenty of great songs on Ill Communication that was closer to the hip-hop end of their musical spectrum. The best is the Q-Tip assisted (one of only two guest verses in the Beastie catalogue, Nas being the other) Get it Together where Tip effortlessly plays off the boys in an old school pass the mic type song. The album also features the rare flute-infused rap track, not just on the album opener Sure Shot but a flute sample also naturally showed up on Flute Loop. Root Down split the difference, a heavy funky bassline with some tight lyrics over them.

After Ill Communication the Beastie Boys stuck to their hip-hop roots with their next three lyrics based albums with the instrumental The Mix-Up, which was more funk based than the punk sounds of Ill Communication. Unfortunately with the death of MCA, this is probably all we will get to hear from the Beastie Boys unless they clean out the vaults. But with albums like Ill Communication, their legacy is more than set as one of the greats of any genre.