Friday, July 11

A Lifetime Of Music.

A Lifetime Of Music.

Over on Will's blog, he decided to make a list of his favorite albums for every year that he's been alive; a fun little meme that's apparently making the rounds as of late. He shot an e-mail my way suggesting I do the same, presumably so he could poop all over my superficial tastes and set the wet mass ablaze with familiar embarrassment and pungent failure.

Nonetheless, I will oblige and hope that you do the same in the comments section over the next few days (the conclusion to the Mix-Tape reviews will arrive next week). Bear in mind that this isn't a list of your favorite albums of all-time, but rather a list of what your favorite album was for each year of your life. I immediately saw the difference in the two when I got to 1996 and realized that I bought about 80 amazing records that year. My total collection currently stands at around 3000 albums, so this took me a little while.

Also realize that this is absolutely impossible to do accurately from memory and 100% reliant on personal tastes, so let's try to stay loose on the 'OMG!! I can't believe you didn't include this! BOOZERZ!' business. Just something fun to piss away the end of the workweek.

Please enjoy. Here we go!

Favorite Album: Everything Falls Apart - Husker Du
Runner-Up: Milo Goes To College - Descendents

Favorite Album: Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
Runner-Up: War - U2

Favorite Album: Hatful Of Hollow - The Smiths
Runner-Up: Out Of Step - Minor Threat

Favorite Album: Flip Your Wig - Husker Du
Runner-Up: Tim - The Replacements

Favorite Album: Reign In Blood - Slayer
Runner-Up: Licensed To Ill - The Beastie Boys

Favorite Album: Louder Than Bombs - The Smiths
Runner-Up: Pleased To Meet Me - The Replacements

Favorite Album: It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
Runner-Up: Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A.

Favorite Album: Disintegration - The Cure
Runner-Up: Energy - Operation Ivy
Honorable Mention: Doolittle - The Pixies

Favorite Album: 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours - Green Day
Runner-Up: Allroy Saves - ALL

Favorite Album: Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
Runner-Up: Nevermind - Nirvana

Favorite Album: Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Runner-Up: Kerplunk! - Green Day

Favorite Album: Siamese Dream - The Smashing Pumpkins
Runner-Up: August And Everything After - Counting Crows
Honorable Mention: Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - Wu-Tang Clan

Favorite Album: Dookie - Green Day
Runner-Up: Weezer ('The Blue Album') - Weezer
Honorable Mention: The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails

Favorite Album: Insomniac - Green Day
Runner-Up: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness - The Smashing Pumpkins

Favorite Album: Pinkerton - Weezer
Runner-Up: All Eyez On Me - 2Pac
Honorable Mention: 1977 - Ash

Favorite Album: Whatever And Ever Amen - Ben Folds Five
Runner-Up: The Colour And The Shape - Foo Fighters
Honorable Mention: Anywhere But Here - The Ataris

Favorite Album: Hello Rockview - Less Than Jake
Runner-Up: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
Honorable Mention: Keasbey Nights - Catch 22

Favorite Album: Through Being Cool - Saves The Day
Runner-Up: Something To Write Home About - The Get Up Kids
Honorable Mention: Clarity - Jimmy Eat World

Favorite Album: Relationship Of Command - At The Drive In
Runner-Up: Left And Leaving - The Weakerthans

Favorite Album: Stay What You Are - Saves The Day
Runner-Up: The Moon Is Down - Further Seems Forever

Favorite Album: For Young Electric Pop! - Polysics
Runner-Up: You Forgot It In People - Broken Social Scene
Honorable Mention: Dial-A-Song - They Might Be Giants

Favorite Album: Reconstruction Site - The Weakerthans
Runner-Up: Give Up - The Postal Service
Honorable Mention: Frengers - Mew

Favorite Album: Funeral - Arcade Fire
Runner-Up: Poison Arrows - Communique
Honorable Mention: Satanic Panic In The Attic - Of Montreal

Favorite Album: The Sunlandic Twins - Of Montreal
Runner-Up: Illinois - Sufjan Stevens
Honorable Mention: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

Favorite Album: Cum Laude! - The Velvet Teen
Runner-Up: Audition - P.O.S.
Honorable Mention: And The Glass-Handed Kites - Mew

Favorite Album: Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
Runner-Up: Reunion Tour - The Weakerthans

Sound off in the comments section, share your picks and enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, July 10

CDP Mix-Tape Trade 3 Wrap Party (Part 2).

Mix-Tape Trade Wrap Party.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I've managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Exchange #3. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight the mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the remainder of the week, I'll be doing just that. Please enjoy.

Mix #6 - "Killer Sandbox Covers" - by Benjamin.

The Skinny: Another slice of the Killer Sandbox pie, chock-full of bands that descended from the, er...Descendents Family Tree (ALL, Pollen, The Pavers, Drag The River, etc.); most of them doing covers of other bands from the Descendents Family Tree. If Fort Collins, Colorado were suddenly blown off of the map for some reason, I'm certain that Benjamin would never have a reason to purchase a new album ever again.

The Highlights: Saves The Day's pitch-perfect cover of The Descendents 'Cheer;' made more amazing when you figure they were about 15 years old when they did it, ALL's version of Kenny Rogers' 'Ruby,' and the Bad Astronaut cover of the Smoking Popes 'Megan,' which is one of the most perfect rock songs ever written, in my opinion.

By The Way
: There is an awesome version of 'Jessie's Girl' included in this mix, covered by the amazingly talented (and therefore broken up) Pollen. However, now that I have a real-life friend and acquaintance named Jesse, I find it extremely uncomfortable to listen to it. Is that weird? Either way, I've always thought the guitar on that track was killer.

Additional Notes
: Benjamin was kind enough to include a second disc, containing the original versions of every song on his Mix. This was unexpected and a nice touch for the collector nerd in me. I especially got a kick out of hearing the original, French version of 'Seasons in the Sun.'

Mix #7 - "Covers From Caveman: Vol. 1" - by Caveman.

The Skinny: Some classic covers that became more famous than the originals, a few new takes on truly iconic groups and only a couple ironic moments make for a very well-rounded CD, considering that there are only 11 tracks on it.

The Highlights
: The Polyphonic Spree's version of David Bowie's 'Five Years' and the brilliance of Jimi Hendrix on 'All Along The Watchtower.'

By The Way
: I had no idea that the Beatles covered 'Twist And Shout.' Guess I'm an idiot.

Additional Notes
: Caveman has promised me that 'Volume 2' will arrive to CDP Headquarters any day now. As a way to tide me and the Missus over, he sent along a box of Mike-N-Ikes, which the Missus heartily consumed without sharing.

Mix #8 - "Covers You Know By Heart" - by Mike Hoss.

The Skinny: Mike likes good, solid music, written by good, solid songwriters, and it always shows in his mixes. There isn't a loser in the bunch, here; these are covers of influential songs by bands that are even more influential.

The Highlights
: Josie Cotton's saccharine-infused cover of 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker,' featuring a children's choir and handclaps galore, Ben Folds Five managing to make 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head' even more beautiful, and Teenage Fanclub doing what they do best on 'Mr. Tambourine Man.'

By The Way
: This mix is a whopping 19 tracks that last a shade over 80 minutes; that's a spicy meatball. Also, he mistakenly wrote that Weezer covered 'Uptown Girl,' when it was, in fact, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes. This saddened me, because I thought I was about to hear an extremely obscure Weezer cover of a Billy Joel song.

Additional Notes
: Hoss tells me that he had thought of the 'Cover Mix' idea before I even presented it as the theme for Mix Trade #3, and was pretty much finished with it instantly. I believe him, but I hope that he also comes up with a decent idea for Mix Trade #4, because I'm tapped*.

(*I already have an idea for Mix Trade #4; no e-mails, please.)

Mix #9 - "Don't Worry, Matt - I Got You Covered!" - by Reese.

The Skinny: Mix-Tape Exchange rookie Reese hit the ground running, showcasing a wide array of genres, bands and covers. Risks were taken, respectable status was achieved and the crowd went wild. The beats were driven and it was loaded with soul and overall positive vibes.

The Highlights
: Not one, but two tracks by The English Beat! Reese likes second-wave ska! I love this girl! Also, a dreamy cover of the Smiths' 'Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before' by Mark Ronson and a Def Leppard cover of Blondie's 'Hanging On The Telephone,' which marks the first Def Leppard song I've ever enjoyed.

By The Way
: Her mix was titled as such, because Matt was the original recipient of her mix. That, or she thinks that my name is Matt. It's all good.

Additional Notes
: Reese is sending me and the Missus a couple of The Dark Knight theatrical posters, the mere thought of which is dampening my pants as I type this.

Mix #10 - "Mixalicious" - by Hilbelink.

The Skinny: A lot of fun, a lot of ska, a lot of late 90's punk bands covering late 80's new wave bands. Right up my alley.

The Highlights
: An absolutely stellar cover of 'Enjoy The Silence' by Failure, Reel Big Fish making 'Hungry Like The Wolf' hilarious, and a Save Ferris version of 'Come On Eileen' that is unapologetically one of my favorite covers of all-time. Sonic Youth's cover of 'Sexual Healing' was pretty rad, too.

By The Way
: Depeche Mode and Duran Duran covers account for 8 of the disc's 21 tracks. I also personally own 16 of the 21 tracks, thus making it impossible for me to accurately review said mix.

Additional Notes
: "Do you have the new Depeche Mode album?" "Yeah...but it sucks!"

Thanks much for reading; sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.


Wednesday, July 9

CDP Mix-Tape Trade 3 Wrap Party (Part 1).

Mix-Tape Trade Wrap Party.

Finally, after two weeks of sifting, listening, drinking, typing and deciphering handwritten track listings, I've managed to make it through all of the Mix-Tapes that were so generously sent to me for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Exchange #3. Thank you very much; I appreciate it.

I wanted to take a brief moment to spotlight the mixes that were sent to me, as a small way of saying thank you. Therefore, for the remainder of the week, I'll be doing just that. Please enjoy.

Mix #1 - “Covers” - by Domsar.

The Skinny: Heavy on acoustic, live and bootleg performances of mostly modern classics, the mood ebbs and flows with covers both heartfelt and tongue-in-cheek. I don’t know how Domsar manages to throw such a ‘Milwaukee feel’ into all of his mixes, let alone a collection of covers, but he’s done it again.

The Highlights: Goldspot’s version of Modest Mouse’s ‘Float On,’ My Brightest Diamond belting out Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good,’ the Carleton Singing Knights a cappella rendering of Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Chicago,’ and the William Shatner/Joe Jackson take on the amazing Pulp track, ‘Common People.’

By The Way: I should also mention The Corrs live performance of R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts,’ but the track itself is so monumentally beautiful that it’s damn-near considered cheating to cover it. It's like David Archuleta singing 'Imagine' during the American Idol finale; borderline unfair on all levels.

Additional Notes: There were two Richard Cheese tracks on this mix; an artist that showed up more often than even Me First & The Gimme Gimmes as far as ‘mandatory ironic cover songs’ went. Domsar is a really nice guy; I'll see to it that we see a Brewers game together by the end of the season.

Mix #2 - “Lizzle To Ma Cizzles” - by Carrot Duff.

The Skinny: A broad mix of big songs covered by mostly big bands.

The Highlights: A reggae cover of Radiohead’s ‘Karma Police’ by Easy Star All-Stars, the timeless ‘Man Who Sold The World’ performance by Nirvana, and a beautiful acoustic version of ‘Hey Ya!’ by Obadiah Parker.

By The Way: There was a Stevie Ray Vaughan cover on this mix, but I skipped it with extreme prejudice, due to fact that Stevie Ray Vaughan is AIDS to my ears. Also, Johnny Cash’s cover of ‘One’ is a combination on par with Peanut Butter and Jelly in terms of absolute devestating perfection.

Additional Notes: Carrot Duff included a handwritten note, essentially mocking the fact that he has Sugar Puffs breakfast cereal as his house, and I do not. Duff, I will be checking the CDP PO Box daily in anticipation.

Mix #3 - “The Covers Project” - by FeverBlue.

The Skinny: A very eclectic sampling of genres, bands and styles across the board; plenty of classics intertwined with groups I’ve never heard of before, somehow culminating in an above-average mood and theme.

The Highlights: Petra Haden’s wide-eyed and adorable version of ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,’ the Smashing Pumpkins’ well-known version of ‘Landslide,’ a back-to-back pairing of the Talking Heads and Siouxie & The Banshees, and the dreamy closing number of ‘I Melt With You’ by Nouvelle Vague.

By The Way: FeverBlue included the Bangles’ cover of ‘Hazy Shade of Winter,’ which absolutely made my day. I’ve always been an unapologetic fan of this track; that guitar lick with the pounding snare is freaking badass. Why it hasn't yet shown up in a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game is beyond me.

Additional Notes: FeverBlue accompanied his mix with a handwritten postcard, and I appreciated that. It took me a half hour to decipher what he had written, but the sentiment was just the same.

Mix #4 - “Sherry’s Cover Mix” - by Sherry.

The Skinny: A heaping helping of 90’s alternative bands covering classic influences from all over the radar.

The Highlights: The Muffs’ popular version of Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids In America,’ Leslie Feist tackling the Bee Gee’s ‘Inside and Out’ in spectacular fashion, and Letters to Cleo sexing up the Cheap Trick standard, ‘I Want You To Want Me.’ This album featured more female artists than I’ve willingly listened to in months.

By The Way: Much like my bashing of Stevie Ray Vaughan, I’ll continue to gain no friends by mentioning that Janis Joplin means absolutely nothing to me, nor does her ‘Me & Bobby McGee’ cover. I honestly think that she was horrendously overrated and probably smelled like crap.

Additional Notes: Sherry listens to a lot of chick music and John Mayer. I still don’t know what to make of this.

Mix #5 - “Untitled” - by John Jenkel.

The Skinny: A pop-punk heavy mix, loaded with a lot of fun, tongue-in-cheek and up-tempo classic cover goodness. Perfect for a drunken summer deck party.

The Highlights: An inspired (and hilarious) cover of ‘Tiny Dancer’ by Dave Grohl for the Late Show with Craig Kilbourne, and various other 80’s send-ups by the likes of Pennywise, the Ataris, Gob and Good Riddance.

By The Way: This mix contained yet another cover of ‘I Melt With You,’ officially making it one of the most-covered songs I’ve ever heard. I mind this none, however, as it is a great song.

Additional Notes: I made a last-minute exception to let John into the trade, after his brother pleaded with me for about an hour to include him. He wasn't supposed to know that.

Thanks much for reading; sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.


Monday, July 7

Welcome To Devil's Lake. Go To Hell (Redux).

Grillin like a villain.
(I want to let everyone know that your favorite Blogger Boy is doing okay, but he has some things that he needs to work out right now. Until he gets his mind right, please enjoy this CDP Flashback Post from July 5, 2007. Thank you, and please take a moment to join the CDP Blog Network on Facebook.)

I may be stating the obvious here, but I've never been a huge fan of Independence Day. I don't like fireworks, I don't like going outside in July, and I'm merely tolerating America on a day-to-day basis. To me, it's just another paid holiday. But yesterday, me and the Missus (along with Ben & Sherry) headed out to Devil's Lake State Park for an afternoon of grilling, drinking and throwing pine cones at crows.

The drive through southern Wisconsin was beautiful as always, taking in incredible hillsides and other Ice Age artifacts along the way. True to idiotic form, however, I assumed that we were the only people brilliant enough to come up with the idea to spend our Fourth of July at Devil's Lake. We were wrong, but nonetheless found a nice tree to set up camp under.

Ben got things going on the grill.

Grillin like an ass.

When Vegetarians grill out, it's slightly different than when most normal people throw down. Hamburgers become veggie burgers, hot dogs become veggie dogs, and steak becomes sweet corn. For as healthy of an alternative as vegetarianism is, I was more than winded after only 30 seconds of tossing the football around. The fact that it was about a brazillion degrees didn't help any.

I did my best to stay hydrated by sucking down a massive batch of Bomb Pop that I whipped up just for this trip. It's a refreshing Summer drink that consists of grenadine, lemonade and about a quart of Blue UV. At least, the concoction that I mixed did. It gave me the strength I needed to play a strenuous game of Bocce ball and eat over 5 pounds of both potato and macaroni salad.

Drinkin like an ass.

I didn't wear my commie shirt for any comedic effect on Independence Day, it was just a coincidence. Also, it wasn't a coincidence, and I'm only suggesting it was to cork the cryholes of those who don't think it's funny. It is funny, and you can kind of see my right nipple in that photo. I bought it at Urban Outfitters, so you can assume that it's incredibly thin and more than a little overpriced. But that's the price you pay for wanting to look like a douchebag.

As I slowly slipped into a coma, we did some people-watching, which included no less than an hour of a severely overweight woman attempting to fly a kite. By herself. Honestly, for over an hour. I then set my car alarm off from 20 yards away when a little girl rode her bike past it. I was trying to get her to actually fall off of the bike, but I was still pleased with the results.

Veggie patties ahoy!

After most of the alcohol had been drank and the food properly digested, we said goodbye to Devil's Lake and hit the nearest Go-Kart track. If there's one thing more fun than driving Go-Karts on the Fourth of July, it's doing it whilst partially hammered.

Just the four of us had the entire track to ourselves, which we tore up like nobody's business. For the sake of protecting their egos and social status, I will not tell you how badly I destroyed the other three contestants. Let's just say that I looked like Toad and Toadette rocking the Daisy Cruiser in Mirror Mode with the Pink Kart (if you got that reference, you're officially invited to my next Mario Kart party).

Just a reminder; today's post is brought to you by rocks.

Rocks. Nature's rock.

Rockin the rocks.

It's times like this that I feel very fortunate to live in Wisconsin. We have so many different formations and varying degrees of land here, that you get to take in a lot of the nation by never crossing state lines. It's not perfect, but damn, I've never once thought that Wisconsin wasn't anything short of awesome.

After a long day outside, we headed back to CDP Headquarters, where we realized that Ben had left his keys back at the campsite, almost an hour away. This happened because they got dropped onto the ground at some point by accident. We verified this by zooming in on one of our photos, CSI-style.

Have a look at this unassuming photo of our post-lunch mess. Everything seems innocent enough, but what's that metallic object buried in the grass?


We'd better zoom in for a closer look. Can we get a magnification on this?

Oh noes!


Looks like someone's going to be sitting at my house tomorrow afternoon, waiting for their wife to get home from work. I sure hope I didn't throw my metal detector away.

So, Fourth of July week is drawing to a close, leaving me relatively unscathed. I got minimal sunburn, no hangovers to speak of and nothing but good stories to tell. I genuinely hope that your week has been as good as mine. If it hasn't, I guess I don't give a crap.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.