My Blog's Namesake: The Jeopardy of Contentment

I meant to post this a while ago but couldn't find an Mp3 of it. This is the song that I named my blog after, 'The Jeopardy of Contentment', by a band called What Made Milwaukee Famous. My first exposure to them was seeing them open for TV on the Radio at an aftershow for the Austin City Limits festival last year. I was also lucky enough to catch them again opening for Dr. Dog at the Bottleneck this past March. I absolutely love this song. It's just so heartbreakingly beautiful and it may be the best "break-up" song I have heard in years. I hope you enjoy it.


New Music: Band of Horses

Just a heads up, you can download the first single, 'Is There A Ghost', off Band Of Horses new album, Cease to Begin, here on their Myspace page. The album is officially released on October 9th.

New Music: Eddie Vedder - Into the Wild Soundtrack

I am getting more and more excited about this movie every day. If you aren't familiar with Jon Krakauer's fabulous book about the disappearance of Chris McCandless, please do yourself a favor and read it. It is one of my favorite books of all time. Sean Penn is bringing it to the big screen on September 21st with Emile Hirsch as McCandless. To add to my excitement Eddie Vedder wrote songs for the soundtrack. You can hear the first song from the soundtrack, 'Hard Sun', here. I really like it and think most of you will too.

Also, just for good measure, here is the trailer. Hope the movie is as powerful as the preview.


Tonight on TV: Feist plus special guests (most likely someone from a indie-rock band you like)

This evening, on The Late Show with David Letterman, Feist will be performing along with special guests. The guests include: Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene), Carl "A.C." Newman (The New Pornographers), Aaron Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, and Scott Devendorf (The National), Nicole Atkins, Grizzly Bear, and Mates of State. After seeing M. Ward play on Conan with guests Neko Case and Jim James (My Morning Jacket), it appears that Indie-Rock is taking a cue from Hip-Hop and featuring as many guests as possible, although I'm not complaining.

Feist Myspace

The 100 Greatest Albums of the 90's: 21-40

21. R.E.M. - Automatic For the People (1992)

This was R.E.M.'s darkest and the most melancholy album at the time of it's release. There is a great amount of orchestral arrangements that give their songs much more depth than ever before. Also, it's the R.E.M. album that has aged the best.

Favorite Songs: Sweetness Follows, Nightswimming, Try Not to Breathe

22. Bjork - Post (1995)

Although Debut is a great album as well, I think Bjork really found more of her own sound on her second solo effort, Post. The production and songs are much more complex and ambitious than almost anything else she's done.

Favorite Songs: Army of Me, Hyper-Ballad, Isobel

23. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

Even considering the fact that I absolutely hate everything they have done in the past ten years, I still had to include Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Even considering all the shitty rap-rock bands they spawned (Linkin Park, Kottonmouth Kings, etc), this album still kicks a lot of ass.

Favorite Songs: Breaking the Girl, Suck My Kiss, Blood Sugar Sex Magik

24. Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes (1992)

Tori's debut album is a piece of greatness that she never quite topped or equalled. Her most intensely personal and emotional lyrics are what really make this record so good.

Favorite Songs: Silent All These Years, Winter, Tear in Your Hand

25. Beck - Odelay (1996)

After Mellow Gold came out and the song 'Loser' was all over the radio I was 99% positive that Beck would be a one-hit wonder. I was very wrong, and, in my opinion, he ended up being more like the David Bowie of our generation. The Dust Brothers and Beck created a wholly original sound during a period when it was hard to find anything original on the radio.

Favorite Songs: Lord Only Knows, Novacane, Devil's Haircut

26. The Afghan Whigs - Gentlemen (1993)

Gentlemen is a masterpiece of raw emotion. Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks might be the only other album that deals with the bitterness and beauty of heartbreak as well as Gentlemen. One warning, it might not be a good idea to give your girlfriend this album as a gift. Just a suggestion.

Favorite Songs: Gentlemen, Debonair, When We Two Parted

27. Sonic Youth - Dirty (1992)

Listening to this album now, it may seem like Dirty was Sonic Youth's attempt to cash in on the grunge trend at the time. But the album can stand up with Sonic Youth's best records.

Favorite Songs: 100%, Sugar Kane, Wish Fulfillment

28. Hum - You'd Prefer An Astronaut (1995)

I always thought that if Weezer had any balls whatsoever, they might sound like Hum. This record contains a lot of heavy, distorted guitars but still manages to be melodic.

Favorite Songs: Suicide Machine, The Pod, Stars

29. Pearl Jam - No Code (1996)

Although No Code didn't receive much critical acclaim, it still ranks very high with die hard Pearl Jam fans. No Code is definitely a departure from the sound they perfected on their first three albums. It seems that Eddie Vedder's work with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on the soundtrack for Dead Man Walking influenced quite a bit of this album.

Favorite Songs: Hail, Hail, Who You Are, Off He Goes

30. Nirvana - In Utero (1993)

When this album came out it alienated a lot of the fans that Nirvana had gained when 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' became the biggest song of the decade. With Steve Albini producing the record, that might have been the point. This album aged so much better than Nevermind that it's not even close.

Favorite Songs: Scentless Apprentice, Dump, All Apologies

31. Frank Black - Teenager of the Year (1994)

This is one of those rare double albums where you don't want to skip any tracks when listening to it. Frank Black continues to break away from the Pixies sound towards more of a pop route, yet still weird enough to please Pixies fans.

Favorite Songs: Headache, Thalassocracy, Freedom Rock

32. Air - Moon Safari (1998)

Air's debut album is a electro-lounge pop masterpiece. Although it is only #32, Moon Safari would probably be one of a handful of albums on this list that I still listen to on a regular basis.

Favorite Songs: La Femme d'Argent, All I Need, Ce Matin La

33. Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine (1992)

Rage is another band I sort of resent for creating a brand of rap-rock that inspired the lowest common denominator of bands to follow. I don't think any of their following albums hit the high note that their self-titled debut did. It's also odd that, no matter how big of a fan I was of them in High School, I still have no desire at all to see them on their current reunion stint.

Favorite Songs: Killing In The Name, Know Your Enemy, Freedom

34. Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted (1992)

Just like Nirvana's Nevermind (but on a much smaller scale), Pavement's debut album created a whole new sound in rock music. Sort of a lo-fi masterpiece, this album really defined the terms College and Indie Rock. If you're a fan make sure you pick up the 2002 reissue of Slanted & Enchanted because it has a whole crap-load of demo's, other recording sessions, and a live show for you to geek out on.

Favorite Songs: Summer Babe (Winter Version), In the Mouth A Desert, Zurich is Stained

35. Jane's Addiction - Ritual de la Habitual (1990)

Jane's Addiction's second album is also the one that really broke them into the mainstream with the success of 'Been Caught Stealing'. Even the worst songs on this album are better than most of the stuff Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro have done since.

Favorite Songs: Stop, Ain't No Right, Of Course

36. Gomez - Bring It On (1998)

It is pretty hard to believe that this won Britain's coveted Mercury Music Prize in 1998 over Radiohead's OK Computer. Bring It On isn't as good but it definitely isn't over-hyped. Gomez does bluesy rock better than most American bands but they never quite improved upon this debut.

Favorite Songs: Get Miles, Here Comes the Breeze, Get Myself Arrested

37. Stone Temple Pilots - Purple (1994)

Stone Temple Pilots debut album was criticized for being a rip-off of the grunge bands of that time. Those criticisms were perfectly valid until they released this follow-up. As much as STP are dogged by critics and music fans, I still love this album and think it deserves its place on this list.

Favorite Songs: Interstate Love Songs, Pretty Penny, Still Remains

38. Pulp - Different Class (1995)

This record is Pulp's enthralling masterpiece. 'Common People' is one of the top 5 songs of the entire decade. Not nearly as appreciated in the States, Pulp became superstars in Europe with this album and deservedly so.

Favorite Songs: Common People, Mis-Shapes, Disco 2000

39. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (1993)

A Tribe Called Quest abandoned the jazz influences from The Low End Theory to create a more mainstream sound on Midnight Marauders. Along with De La Soul, Tribe is responsible for creating a conscious style of rap that flourished throughout the rest of the decade.

Favorite Songs: Award Tour, Sucka Nigga, Electric Relaxation

40. The Breeders - Last Splash (1993)

Just like Frank Black, The Breeders never did anything as good as the Pixies, but they came close. The only problem: 90% of this album is absolutely brilliant, but that other 10% can be pretty mediocre.

Favorite Songs: Cannonball, Invisible Man, Divine Hammer

Concert Announcemen: Spoon

10/03/07 Liberty Hall, Lawrence

I was very excited this morning to see that Spoon is coming back to Lawrence to play at Liberty Hall until I realized that it was the same night as Midlake at the Jackpot Saloon. Spoon is an excellent live band and this will be a great show, especially since their new album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, may be their best ever.

Spoon Myspace


New Music: Animal Collective

Well, if you didn't like Animal Collective before, you probably won't dig them now either. They certainly didn't try to be anymore accessible after the success of 2005' Feels. This is the first video for the song 'Peacebone' off their new album, Strawberry Jam, which comes out on September 11th.
It's kind of disturbing, but so are Animal Collective's albums. That was directed by Timothy Saccenti, who also directed one of the best videos i've seen in a long time, 'Atlas' from the band Battles (which also happens to be one of my favorite songs from this year). Enjoy!

Concert Announcement: Bright Eyes

10/23/07 Lied Center, Lawrence

If you would have told me 4 years ago that I would be excited about Bright Eyes coming to town I would have told you that you're full of shit. I can't think of any other artist I went from hating to loving in such a short time. I finally got over Conner Oberst annoying voice and realized that (especially on his last three albums) he is an amazing songwriter. Conner's most recent album, Four Winds, follows the template left by 2005's I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and is full of great country-tinged folk songs.

I've never seen Bright Eyes in concert before so I don't really know what to expect but I have read a decent amount of positive reviews for his show. And always, the Lied Center is an enjoyable place to see a more laid-back show like this.

Bright Eyes Myspace


Just A Little Update...

I was originally working on posting sample mp3's of the bands I talk about but now I don't think I'm going to. I did however put a playlist that you can stream at the very bottom of this blog that features most of the artists I mention. It also features some of my other favorite songs from this year so far. I will try to keep it updated with every post...we'll see how that goes.

The New Pornographers - Challengers

It was bound to happen eventually. The New Pornographers sound was going to have to develop past the power-pop perfection that Carl Newman had brought for three albums in a row. When I say power-pop perfection I mean that The New Pornographers packed enough great, catchy pop tunes on one album to last most bands an entire career. If you don't already own their first three albums (Mass Romantic, Electric Version, and Twin Cinema) already, please do yourself a favor and buy all three. I promise that you will discover one of your new favorite bands.

On their most recent effort, Challengers, The New Pornographers have continued more down the path tread by Carl Newman's solo album, The Great Wonder. Their guitar fueled tunes are rounded out with horns and strings but never delve into orchestral or chamber pop at all. In fact, the songs are just as addictive, it's just a bit more of a "grower" than their previous albums. Once again, Carl Newman is joined by fellow indie superstars Dan Bejar (Destroyer, Swan Lake) and Neko Case. There is just enough Dan Bejar on NP albums for me to not get tired of him (Destroyer albums can grate on me after a while). Also, if Neko Case is one of your lead vocalists on a few tracks and backup on the rest, you already have an advantage over every other band in existence. Challengers isn't as immediately engaging as their previous albums, but as a long time fan, I'd rather have an album from them that I can sit with for a long time to fully appreciate.

The New Pornographers will be playing in Lawrence at Liberty Hall on November 4th and the show will feature Neko Case.


Movie Trailer: Walk Hard

I wouldn't normally post movie trailers here but this seems like an appropriate one for a music blog. Paul Rudd as John Lennon and Jack White as Elvis: brilliant!

Concert Announcement: Wilco

10/13/07 The Crossroads, Kansas City

This is a very exciting moment for me as I get to tell you about another one of my favorite bands ever that is coming to Kansas City. I haven't had a chance to see them live since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot came out but their new album, Sky Blue Sky, makes me very happy they are coming back to town. Always one of the most consistent live acts around, this concert is not to be missed.

Wilco's Website
Wilco Myspace


Concert Announcement: The Hold Steady/Art Brut

11/13/07 The Granada, Lawrence

After the Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem pairing, this might be the next best tour of the year. The Hold Steady are coming back through Lawrence after playing an amazing (and poorly attended) concert at the Bottleneck last December. Their last album, Boys & Girls In America, was my number two album of the year for 2006. They are joined by Art Brut who just released their second album, It's A Bit Complicated.

I've never seen Art Brut live but on record singer Eddie Argos is one of the few front men that can rival The Hold Steady's Craig Finn as far as lyrical cleverness and humor goes. If you like Rock 'N Roll, don't miss this show.

The Hold Steady Myspace
Art Brut Myspace


New Music: Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight

No review this time, I just wanted to let you know you can stream the entire new album on their Myspace page. It's officially released on August 21st. Also it gives me an excuse to post some pictures of Jenny Lewis.


Concert Announcement: VHS or Beta

12/06/07 The Record Bar, Kansas City

I have been a big fan of Louisville, Kentucky's VHS or Beta ever since their fantastic 2004 album, Night On Fire. Night On Fire took their already danceable beats and added a rock element to it. Apparently their keyboard player has left the band and their sound has had to adapt a bit for their new album, Bring On The Comets (out August 28th). Expect of review here of their new album and check them out in December at The Record Bar.

VHS or Beta Myspace

The Brunettes - Structure & Cosmetics

My first exposure to The Brunettes was seeing them open up for The Shins at Liberty Hall in 2005. I was immediately impressed with their cute pop tunes and especially liked the boy/girl vocal aspect. I picked up their 2005 import-only album Mars Loves Venus at that show and really liked a few of the songs on the album.

With their new album, Structure & Cosmetics, they take a huge leap forward both musically and vocally. Their album opens with what sounds like a Polyphonic Spree song with a choir of voices and a whole lot of instruments that were previously foreign to the Brunettes. It just gets better from there. Their sound has matured so much but they are still creating really sweet and pretty summer-esque songs. You can catch them at The Record Bar on September 21st at 10pm.

The Brunettes Myspace

The Greatest Albums of the 90's: 41-60

<<<<<Previous 20 (80-61)

41. Wilco - Being There (1996)

Wilco's second album finally moves past the Uncle Tupeloesque alt-country sound quite a bit. Not my favorite Wilco album but it contains some of their very best songs.

Favorite Songs: Misunderstood, I Got You (At the End of the Century), Far, Far Away, Monday

42. PJ Harvey - Rid of Me (1993)

PJ Harvey is always emotional and frantic, but here Steve Albini brings a new energy out of her. My only complaint is this one has a bit of filler.

Favorite Songs: Rid of Me, Rub Till It Bleeds, Man-Size

43. Black Star - Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are (1998)
This was smack dab in the middle of what I consider the golden age of underground hip-hop. Talib Kweli and Mos Def are at their finest, and while Talib went on the release many more notable albums this is Mos Def's musical peak.

Favorite Songs: Definition, Brown Skin Lady, K.O.S. (Determination)

44. Tom Waits - Bone Machine (1992)

Tom's most consistently great work since Rain Dogs. It's dark, scary and pretty all at the same time. Although you can probably say that about a lot of Tom Waits records.

Favorite Songs: Earth Died Screaming, Goin' Out West, I Don't Wanna Grow Up

45. Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister (1996)

Almost annoyingly pretty and sweet, B&S's second album is a batch of precious pop tunes. I still can't think of Belle and Sebastian without thinking of "sad bastard" music.

Favorite Songs: The Stars of Track & Field, Seeing Other People, Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying

46. Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

This is the beginning of a streak of fantastic albums by Modest Mouse. They really perfect their jangly, ferocious brand of indie rock with Issac Brock's unmistakable yelps and shouts. I really miss old Modest Mouse.

Favorite Songs: Jesus Christ was an Only Child, Doin' the Cockroach, Bankrupt on Selling

47. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)

This album barely wins the title of best Wu-Tang solo release over Liquid Swords. Cuban Linx is so classic because of the stunning production from RZA.

Favorite Songs: Knucklheadz, Can It All Be So Simple, Ice Cream

48. Ween - The Mollusk (1997)

Ween's ocean concept album (sort of) is fantastic album from start to finish. It's all over the map like any Ween album; from prog to punk to Irish drinking songs and everything in between.

Favorite Songs: The Mollusk, Mutilated Lips, The Blarney Stone

49. Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out (1997)

This is another band that released a long string of damn good albums. Sleater-Kinney has always had great melodies and intense vocals, and here they only improve.

Favorite Songs: Dig Me Out, One More Hour, Words and Guitar

50. Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog (1990)

A "Supergroup" between Soundgarden and Green River (what would become Pearl Jam) that was put together in memory of Andrew Wood (of Mother Love Bone). It only got popular when Pearl Jam blew up, even though Eddie Vedder only sang on "Hunger Strike" and back-up on a few others. When I die if anyone is inspired to write a song for me half as good as "Say Hello to Heaven", I must have lived a good life.

Favorite Songs: Say Hello to Heaven, Times of Trouble, All Night Thing

51. Wilco - Summerteeth (1999)

This is Wilco's "happy" record. It is definitely their most focused and poppy batch of tunes as well. Despite that it might contain the darkest lyrics that Jeff Tweedy has ever penned.

Favorite Songs: She's A Jar, I'm Always in Love, Pieholden Suite

52. GZA - Liquid Swords (1995)

A slight second place for best Wu-Tang solo project but fantastic nonetheless. GZA is by far the best lyricist from Wu-Tang and it definitely shows here. Once again the album is carried by RZA's perfect production.

Favorite Songs: Liquid Swords, 4th Chamber, Shadowboxin'

53. PJ Harvey - To Bring You My Love (1995)

PJ Harvey toned down the guitars on her follow-up to Rid of Me but amped up the songwriting. A little less bluesy than her past albums and her lyrics improved a lot. It also got her on the radio quite a bit.

Favorite Songs: To Bring You My Love, C'mon Billy, Long Snake Moan

54. Massive Attack (1998)

Although most people like Blue Lines better I don't think it holds a candle to Mezzanine. The music is Massive Attack's best and the voices of Cocteau Twin's Liz Fraser and Horace Andy just add to this Trip-hop masterpiece.

Favorite Songs: Angel, Teardrop, Man Next Door

55. The Verve - Urban Hymns (1997)

This one makes the list because it contains three of the best songs in 90's Brit-pop.

Favorite Songs: Bittersweet Symphony, The Drugs Don't Work, Lucky Man

56. Stereolab - Emperor Tomato Ketchup (1996)

Sterolab uses the kitchen sink method as they compile every style of music they may have experimented with in the past. The songs are as catchy as ever, though. By far this is Stereolabs best album.

Favorite Songs: Metronomic Underground, Cybele's Reverie, Tomorrow is Already Here

57. Built To Spill - Keep It Like A Secret (1999)

Built to Spill's pop album. The hooks and guitar brilliance are still there but the songs are shorter and less jammy. One of the best produced albums of the 90's.

Favorite Songs: The Plan, Carry the Zero, You Were Right

58. Sebadoh - III (1991)

To be honest, I don't think I really dug this album very much back in the day. I remember hearing it because I liked Dinosaur Jr. but I really didn't realize how amazing it was until it was re-issued last year. Along with Slanted and Enchanted this is lo-fi indie rock at it's best.

Favorite Songs: Sickles and Hammers, Violet Execution, Truly Great Thing

59. The Jayhawks - Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995)
The Jayhawks went a bit more eclectic and upbeat than their previous albums and it worked. Tomorrow the Green Grass contains some of the best songs they ever played.

Favorite Songs: Blue, I'd Run Away, Real Light

60. Hieroglyphics - 3rd Eye Vision (1998)

Another classic album from my golden era of underground hip-hop. Del tha Funkee Homosapien is the most notable MC here but he is surrounded by a lot of other talent. Having a rap group with eight people can sometimes get a little exhausting (late period Wu-Tang) but it never does here.

Favorite Songs: You Never Knew, Mics of the Round Table, Miles to the Sun

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