Thursday, December 28, 2006

WXPN Top 50 Countdown - Day Two

43. Los Lonely Boys - Sacred

Trip: Los Lobos Lite… tastes great but it’s definitely, definitely less filling.

Michael: Is Sacred nothing? Zzzzz.

42. Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Live at the Fillmore East

Trip: No argument from me on the quality of this record… the performance is stellar. But people… c’mon! Was 2006 that lousy a year that you had to vote for a 36 year old performance with no previously unreleased songs? If you voted for this – run out right now and buy The Hiders’ Valentine or Centromatic’s Fort Recovery, two 2006 releases that won’t be too big a shock to your system.

Michael: A prediction for 2007. The XPN countdown will consist entirely of new albums by Radiohead and Dar Williams, plus four-dozen previously unreleased live recordings by Neil and the Stray Gators, the Shocking Pinks, the International Harvesters, the Trans band (featuring the greatest vocoder solo of all-time), and the Bluenotes, plus an eleven-CD career-spanning live Crazy Horse retrospective (four discs with Danny, seven with Poncho).

41. Slo-Mo - My Buzz Comes Back

Trip: Not my cuppa really, but a pleasant listen on the radio today. Mike Brenner can play.

Michael: I don’t know about the full album (and, frankly, I don’t feel compelled to find out), but the slow-burning title track is a keeper.

40. Damien Rice - 9

Trip: I had shied away from Damien Rice as just too dang melodramatic. But I loved his recent FAN and the single from this record, “9 Crimes”. But this dude definitely needs a pie in the face… lighten up bro. Extra credit and major props for Lisa Hanigan… amazing singer and my current crush.

Michael: Though Rice is a tad delicate for me, I understand his appeal and acknowledge his talent. I just wonder why, after owning the XPN airwaves with his previous effort, this one gets comparatively lukewarm response.

39. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America

Trip: Okey dokey - the current “greatest band in America” makes their third great record in a row and reinvents classic rock with an indie twist and uber-quotable literary lyrics. Their # 39 showing is more a comment about WXPN’s constituency than a comment on this teriffic band.

Michael: Only thirty-eight spots too low. There is precedent for the masses being so stupefyingly, bone-crushingly wrong. In 1997, OK Computer placed behind offerings from the likes of Dar Williams, Huffamoose, Jeb Loy Nichols, Bruce Cockburn and Kim Richey. Let’s talk about this one in ten years.

38. Beth Orton - Comfort of Strangers

Trip: I love Beth Orton and the haziness and ache of her voice. You might say she’s a female yin to M Ward’s yang. But this release had some lazy songwriting and not nearly up to the earlier standards she set for herself.

Michael: Roughly the thirty-eighth best album I bought this year (actually, I’d probably place it somewhere in the forties), so I can’t quibble much with the placement. Orton can be strikingly good at what she does, but I didn’t find many memorable tunes here.

37. David Gilmour - On an Island

Trip: You gotta be kidding me with this hookless stew of mindless noodling and epic boredom. I’m gonna pretend Willie Nile’s fine Streets of New York placed here. There… now I can sleep much better.

Michael: Gilmour can sound good playing the phone book, and, unfortunately, that what he sounds like he’s doing on the few tracks I heard from this long-player.

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