Meat Puppets opening for Built To Spill

Just in case you missed the last two times the Meat Puppets came through the Lawrence/Kansas City area in the past year, here is another chance to see them. Meat Puppets will be opening for Built To Spill when they play their show at the Madrid Theatre on March 17th.


Concert Announcement: Bowerbirds/Phosphorescent

03/07/08 Jackpot Saloon, Lawrence

This is another fabulous concert pairing. The eclectic folk of North Carolina's Bowerbirds is perfectly matched with opener Phosphorescent. I'm not as big a fan of Bowerbirds but I can attest that New York's Phosphorescent (Matthew Houck) released one of the most hauntingly beautiful albums of the year, Pride (which was also #31 on my 2007 albums of the year). Check both bands out at The Jackpot on March 7th.

Bowebirds Myspace
Phosphorescent Myspace

Concert Announcement: Tokyo Police Club

03/20/08 Jackpot Saloon, Lawrence

Another great concert announcement for the area, Canada's Tokyo Police Club will be making their way through Lawrence on March 20th. Tokyo Police Club hasn't committed anything amazing to record yet but they play fun, upbeat indie rock very well. Their 2006 EP, A Lesson In Crime, did contain two really great tracks though: 'Shoulders and Arms' and 'Be Good'. Make sure you check them out at The Jackpot if you can.

Tokyo Police Club Myspace


The Best Albums of 2007

50. The Brunettes - Structure & Cosmetics

49. Grinderman - Grinderman

48. Oakley Hall - I'll Follow You

47. Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch

46. Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War

45. Celebration - The Modern Tribe

44. Vietnam - Vietnam

43. Minus Story - My Ion Truss

42. Dr. Dog - We All Belong

41. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights

40. Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover

39. The Broken West - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On

38. Explosions in the Sky - Suddenly I Miss Everyone

37. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

36. Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation

35. White Rabbits - Fort Nightly

34. Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends

33. Handsome Furs - Plague Park

32. Simian Mobile Disco - Attack Sustain Release

31. Phosphorescent - Pride

30. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

29. St. Vincent - Marry Me

28. Feist - The Reminder

27. El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead

26. Pharoahe Monch - Desire

25. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

24. Caribou - Andorra

23. Kevin Drew - Spirit If...

22. Kanye West - Graduation

21. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

20. I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona

I'm surprised this isn't on more best of lists. I know it's a bit over-the-top happy at times but it's full of really great pop songs. I like this more than any of the Polyphonic Spree albums.

19. !!! - Myth Takes

Myth Takes is a huge improvement from !!!'s last album. It's an amazing party record but is interesting enough to keep you coming back.

18. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky

I know this is in my top 20 of the year but I also almost included it on my most disappointing albums of the year too. It is still a really enjoyable record; no amazing songs but it's all solid. I just want them to make something as spectacular as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot again, even though it's highly unlikely.

17. Menomena - Friend or Foe

This was one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. As the year passed I just kept coming back to this album again and again. There is a bit of contained chaos on this album with the experimentation turning out some great pop tunes.

16. The New Pornographers - Challengers

Challengers is by far The New Pornographers least catchy and immediate album ever. Although it doesn't slap you in the face right away like their three previous albums, it's the first time I have had to listen to a NP album multiple times before it really sank in. Which in their case, is a step in the right direction if you want to keep things interesting. (Read More Here)

15. Miracle Fortress - Five Roses

This was the last edition to my best of list. I got it off emusic a few weeks ago and was putting this list off because I knew it was great, but needed to listen a few more times before deciding where it would fall. If I had more time, it might even move up a few spots. This is excellent stuff.

14. The Rosebuds - Night of the Fluries

The Rosebuds decided to change up their sound a bit and released a near perfect synth pop record. They however are one of the few bands to accomplish this without having a rehashed, retro feel to it.

13. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I am pretty sure that Spoon hasn't ever released an album that wasn't really good. As far back as my Spoon catalogue goes, there isn't a weak album in the bunch. They continue the streak (and improve upon the almost-great Gimme Fiction) with this year's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Spoon is actually beginning the get the mainstream attention that they deserve.

12. Okkervil River - Stage Names

No lead singer/songwriter is able to express so much emotion in a song these days as Will Sheff. Although I think 2005's Black Sheep Boy was overall a better album, this is definitely more accessible. (Read More Here)

11. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin

One of the biggest surprises of the year for me was Band of Horses album, Cease to Begin. I absolutely loved their debut album and just didn't think that they could duplicate that feeling for me. Not only did they release another great album, but they did it without making a carbon-copy of their first one.

10. The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters

Listening to The Twilight Sad makes me wish I had a Scottish accent. The Twilight Sad are able to pull of being loud, noisy, melodic and beautiful all at the same time.

9. Wax Fang - La La Land

This wins the award for favorite discovery of the year for me. Wax Fang could be one of the next great Rock N Roll bands in the tradition of Drive-By Truckers and My Morning Jacket. They aren't on that level yet, but we'll see what they do in the future. (Read More Here)

8. Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals

Making this list made me realize how many great debut albums were released this year. Yeasayer are able to make complex and infectious music without seeming pretentious at all. Once again, these guys could end up being huge. (Read More Here)

7. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Anyone that was disappointed with this album most likely didn't give it a chance. It would be nearly impossible for them to release another Funeral and, to be honest, who really wants that. Although the highs aren't as high on this album, it is still a solid statement.

6. Battles - Mirrored

I usually tend to run from the description "Instrumental Math-rock" as fast as I can. I'm glad I didn't with Battles though. One of the most interesting albums released this year, Battles bring so much to the table, it's hard to keep track of it all. Bonus points for one of the best songs and video's of the year ('Atlas') and one of the best shows of the year (@ The Record Bar).

5. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

As good as Beirut's debut album was, this blows it away. Zach Condon is turning out to be the most promising songwriter of this generation. Do me a favor and buy this album, almost anyone will find something to love, regardless of your taste in music. (Read More Here)

4. The National - Boxer

The National seems to be the critics and blogger's darling this year. Although it's still not as perfect of an album as 2005's Alligator, it's pretty close.

3. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver

Even though LCD Soundsystem's debut album was great, it doesn't come close to Sound of Silver. It's dance music that even people that don't usually like dance music will still enjoy. Bonus points for having two nominees for song of the year ('Someone Great' & 'All My Friends').

2. The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse

Any other year and this probably would have been my album of the year. The Besnard Lakes have every facet of music that I love: haunting male-female harmonies, songs that build into epic finales and Canadians.

1. Radiohead - In Rainbows

I can't express how happy it makes me to put a Radiohead album at number one on my albums of the year. Like many music fans my age Radiohead have been a favorite of mine in my most formidable years. Unfortunately they haven't put out an amazing album like In Rainbows since 2000's Kid A. Although their albums since have been good, nothing has been this impressive. In Rainbows contains some of the prettiest songs Radiohead has ever released and it's able to sound like Radiohead without treading the same teritory as their previous efforts. (Read More Here)

The Most Disappointing Albums of 2007

Let me make things clear, these are not anywhere close to the worst albums released this year. A lot of these aren't even the worst album I bought this year (except RJD2). There are only the albums that I am most disappointed with. If you feel there are any glaring omissions, please feel free to add. In no particular order:

Air - Pocket Symphony
Possibly the worst Air album ever. This one is just plain boring and it's hard to imagine these are the same guys that made Moon Safari.

RJD2 - The Third Hand

Congratulations to RJD2 for stepping out of the shadow of (err) DJ Shadow and doing your own thing. Unfortunately he was much better at making beats.

Ween - La Cucaracha

Of course this is nowhere near one of the worst albums I've heard this year but it is by far the most disappointing. A friend described it very well: There are a lot of songs I like but not any that I love. As a huge Ween fan, not wanting to go back and listen again is one of the sure signs I just not digging this album.

Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City

Once again, this is not a bad album, but after their debut almost anything that followed would be a disappointment. Some of these lyrics are really bad though.

Interpol - Our Love To Admire

Here is my assessment of Interpol's career thus far: First album, all great songs. Second album, 2 or 3 great songs and 3 or 4 okay songs. Our Love to Admire, 2 or 3 okay songs.

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

I can't hate on Modest Mouse for being successful. This album has a few good moments but overall it seems Modest Mouse might be getting boring.

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight

If I had to put money on it I would guess that this will be the last Rilo Kiley album. Jenny Lewis was far more successful (and had better songs) on her solo album that she ever was with Rilo Kiley. It might end up being a very sad album to go out with.


Concert Announcement: Blitzen Trapper

04/12/08 Jackpot Saloon, Lawrence

Here is another great concert announcement as Portland's Blitzen Trapper will be coming through Lawrence on April 12th. Their album,Wild Mountain Nation, although spotty at times, will definitely make my albums of the year list. The title track is a candidate for song of the year.

Here is the video for 'Wild Mountain Nation':

Blitzen Trapper Myspace



With all the new Concert Announcements recently make sure you check out The Jeopardy of Contentment's Concert Calendar. You can view it HERE or click on the link on the right side of your screen. Of course it doesn't include every show in the area, just the ones we think are worth checking out.

Concert Announcement: Black Mountain

03/20/08 The Record Bar, Kansas City

There has been a good amount of concert announcements already for next year, and they seem to be pouring in now. The most recent is Vancouver's Black Mountain. My old roommate turned me on to their first album, 2005's Black Mountain, and I've been a fan ever since. They mix Black Sabbath sized riffs with jangly psychedelia. They have a new album, In The Future, which comes out on January 22nd. Catch them live at The Record Bar on March 20th.

Black Mountain Myspace

Concert Announcement: A Place To Bury Strangers

03/08/08 The Record Bar, Kansas City

New York's A Place To Bury Strangers are a band that has received a lot of hype this year. After Pitchfork gave them a glowing album review they became the darlings of bloggers and critics alike. With enough distortion filled guitars to make My Bloody Valentine jealous and with an almost shoegazing quality to them as well they are definitely right down any hipsters alley. A Place To Bury Strangers will be playing at the Record Bar on March 8th with worst band title nominee Holy Fuck.

A Place To Bury Strangers Myspace


Concert Announcement: The Mars Volta

01/25/08 The Beaumont Club, Kansas City

I may be wrong here but The Beaumont seems like an awfully small place for The Mars Volta to be playing at. The Mars Volta are one of two bands that spawned from the break up of At The Drive-In (the other being the less popular Sparta). I can only listen to them when I'm in the mood for some really intricate music. With influences ranging from prog to jazz to psychedelia, they are definitely an interesting band to say the least. I've heard their live shows are amazing, but have only seen a live performance from the Coachella DVD, which was pretty damn impressive. They will be touring to support their fourth LP, The Bedlam In Goliath, which comes out on January 29th.

The Mars Volta Myspace

Local Music: Roman Numerals


The first band featured in my local music section here are none other than Kansas City's Roman Numerals. I'll admit, I'm a bit late jumping on the bandwagon for this group. Roman Numerals self-titled, debut album came out last year on KC's Anodyne Records. Consisting of members from some other great local bands (Shiner, Season to Risk and Dirt Nap) the band formed after playing a Joy Division tribute show. Although they have a new-wave dance revival feel to them, they are much better than most bands one would compare them too. If you are looking for some great local music, make sure you pick up their album. I finally got a chance to see them live this last weekend opening for VHS or Beta and I am kicking myself for taking so long. You can tell by listening to them live that they are all seasoned musicians. It was their last show of the year but you can be sure there will be some shows in the area again next year. Here is a great blurb about their album from The Pitch and hopefully it will give you a feel of their music better than I can.

Roman Numerals Myspace


Concert Announcement: Explosions in the Sky

03/28/08 The Granada, Lawrence

The Granada looks like they are continuing to bring quality shows again next year. Hearing that Explosions in the Sky are playing the Granada made me very happy, especially since their show last year at the Bottleneck was extremely crowded and, according to one of the bartenders, sold out in a week or two. I know I say this quite a bit but if you aren't familiar with this Austin band please go immediately and purchase their 2003 album The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. It is without a doubt one of the ten best albums of this decade so far. Live Explosions in the Sky are a sight to see and put on one of the best sounding shows you are bound to see.

Explosions in the Sky Myspace

Concert Announcement: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

01/29/08 The Granada, Lawrence

It is truly sad that the train wreck that is Amy Winehouse is more and more famous by the day while Sharon Jones is still relatively obscure. In fact, Winehouse enlisted Jones' backing band, the fabulous Dap Kings, for her past tour. Sharon Jones' voice is reminiscent of the classic Motown sound and the Dap Kings talents possibly exceed the session bands from that era as well. This is a live show that is not to be missed!

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings Myspace


Concert Announcement: Built To Spill

03/17/08 The Madrid Theatre, Kansas City

Having another great band announce a concert at The Madrid is a good sign. Hopefully this will give Kansas City a venue to compete with Liberty Hall and The Granada in Lawrence. Built To Spill will be playing there next March and if you are a fan, make sure you see them live because Doug Martsch is a monster on the guitar.


Best Shows of 2007

15. The Besnard Lakes 3/27 @ The Jackpot Saloon

Although this was a show where they opened up for someone that isn't nearly as talented as them, it still was a memorable show. Although they sounded a little bit tighter when they opened for Peter Bjorn and John last month, seeing a band play at the Jackpot is always going to be a more enjoyable experience. The Besnard Lakes are going to end up very high on my best albums of '07 as well.

14. The Black Angels/Vietnam 4/19 @ The Bottleneck

This was one of the better concert pairings of recent memory. Vietnam and The Black Angels sounds and looks are both trapped in previous decades and not in a bad way. Vietnam may not have been amazing but they were solid live. The Black Angels however were loud and intense as always and if this show hadn't been an early one, it might have ended up a bit higher on the list.

13. The Veils 8/01 @ The Replay (Review Here)

12. Cold War Kids 3/04 @ The Bottleneck

Although I got tired of Cold War Kids latest record, Robbers & Cowards, pretty quickly, they put on an amazing live show. The absolutely tore up a sold out Bottleneck show. They are one band I would make sure I caught live again, regardless of my opinion of their records.

11. Dr. Dog/What Made Milwaukee Famous 3/10 @ The Bottleneck

Another great pairing. I was a casual Dr. Dog fan before this but afterward I was sold. What Made Milwaukee Famous is what sold me on this show though (I even named this blog after a song of theirs).

10. Neko Case 4/06 @ Liberty Hall

I will pay good money to see Neko Case sing in any capacity; Opening for Rufus Wainwright, playing with The New Pornographers and of course in her headlining shows. Neko has the best female voice in country music since Patsy Cline.

9. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals 10/02 @ The Uptown Theater (Review Here)

8. Dan Deacon/Video Hippos 6/29 @ The Jackpot Saloon

If you've ever read about a Dan Deacon show, from my experience I can attest to the fact that what you read is probably true. Deacon's shows are a party and no matter who you are it's impossible not to dance and it's impossible not to have an amazing time.

7. Midlake/Minus Story 10/03 @ The Jackpot (Review Here)

6. Explosions in the Sky/Paper Chase/Eluvium 3/31 @ The Bottleneck

The Explosions in the Sky show officially wins the title for the most crowded I have ever seen The Bottleneck. Eluvium was okay, but were kind of easy to ignore. Paper Chase were MUCH better than the crap show they had played at Jackpot a few months earlier. Explosions in the Sky were one of the best live bands I've seen in a while. If you have an opportunity to see them, don't miss it.

5. Wilco/Andrew Bird 10/13 @ The Crossroads (Review Here)

4. Hot Chip/Tortoise 6/16 @ The Granada

Hot Chip and Tortoise weren't even on tour together when this show occurred. I can only assume that they both happened to be coming through town at the same time and decided to share a billing. Tortoise bored the crap out of me but Hot Chip more than made up for it. Hot Chip may be the geekiest looking band I have ever seen, but they put on a hell of a dance party as well.

3. Battles 7/10 @ The Record Bar

A Battles show is definitely a treat. Seeing the intricate music they make performed live is impressive considering how much there is going on with only four members. Watching drummer John Stanier play may be worth the ticket price alone. Look for Battles album to be very high on my '07 list as well.

2. TV on the Radio/Subtle 3/17 @ The Voodoo Lounge

My third time getting to see TV on the Radio play in the span of a year was the best show of the three. As a live band TVOTR has grown by leaps and bounds and can now really surpass the intensity of their records. Having Subtle open was icing on the cake. Avant-garde rapper Doseone's "rock" outfit were the perfect pairing with TVOTR and they helped make this the second best show of the year.

1. Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem 9/28 @ Starlight Theatre (Review Here)