68 posts from December 2007
I stopped by and visited some friends at Business Week last week and they filed this short show with me in their conference room. I wish they had embed code so you don't have to click thru to their site to see it, but I couldn't find it anywhere. We talked about the economy, it's impact on tech, Facebook, bubbles, IPOs, and stocking wishes. It's about 7-8 mins long.
The New Pornographers are band made up of Canadian indie rockers who get together from time to time, make a record, and tour. Think Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young circa 2007. The frontman is AC Newman, but he shares the vocals with Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, and Dan Bejar. Like CSNY, the result is a diverse and wonderful sound featuring layered melodies.
This year they put out one of the best records of the year, called Challengers. My daughter Emily called it the record of the year. I am not ready to give it that label, but it's certainly in the top 10, number 9 actually.
One of the things I love about this record is the variety of songs on it. Dan Dejar's Myriad Harbour is certainly one of the best songs of the year. But so is Kathryn Calder's Adventures In Solitude. I would also add Unguided and Go Places as standout tracks.
This record was loved by everyone in our home and logged a ton of plays on our sonos system. If you haven't check it out, you really should.
I am getting a ton of them from my feedblitz emails (the service that emails out links to my posts every day).
They made me think about turning them on for my email address too
But funny enough between my blog post and twitters about being away, and everyone being on vacation, it seems uneccesary.
One morning this spring, I was doing my early morning thing; email, reading blogs, writing blogs, with the Hype Machine in the background and suddenly I was listening intently to a song that commanded my attention. That song, called Jesus For The Jugular, was my introduction to The Veils and their record, Nux Vomica.
I went through a period this summer where Nux Vomica was all I listened to. There is something urgent and intense about this music that comes directly from the leader of The Veils, the lead singer and songwriter, Finn Andrews. He’s very Morrisey-like in his writing, singing, and delivery. In fact, the bonus track, Night Thoughts Of A Tired Surgeon sounds like it comes right off of a mid-80s Smiths record. Maybe that’s why I like this band and this record so much.
But The Veils are not a Smiths clone. They’ve got their own vibe, their own energy. The Gotham Gal and I witnessed it first hand at Bowery Ballroom this summer and came away impressed.
If you like your music delivered with both melody and intensity, check out this record. I am sure glad I did.
On the left sidebar, about half way down, there is a player called Streampad.
It looks like the picture to the right.
That player allows you to listen to all the mp3s I post to this blog in a playlist.
And if you click on the icon on the lower right of the streampad player, it will popup into a new window and you can listen for as long as you like.
As I roll out my top 10 over the next couple weeks, the player will fill up with songs from my favorite records of the year.
GIve it a listen.
A bunch of my favorite bands put out records this year that I really enjoyed but none jumped out at me as Top 10 material. When I looked at my last.fm play history and my rhapsody play history, it's clear that these records were a big part of my listening this year so I feel like I should give them honorable mention. So here they are:
We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank - Modest Mouse - Old school Modest Mouse fans would say they've mellowed, new fangled Modest Mouse fans would say it's not as listenable as Good News. I say that anything that Isaac Brock and crew do is just fine with me. And the addition of Johnny Marr makes them even better. Top tracks include Dashboard, Fire It Up, Missed The Boat, People As Places, and Invisible.
Sky Blue Sky - Wilco - I've read a lot of Wilco fan bloggers who think this album was disappointing. It certainly is not as adventurous as Yankee Hotel or Summerteeth, but I really enjoy the 70s soft rock sound (think Steve Miller or Steely Dan). And I particularly like the growing importance of Nels Cline's amazing guitar playing in the band and on this record. I also love the way this record was the soundtrack to a series of volkswagon commercials. Top tracks include Either Way, Impossible Germany, Hate It Here, Walken, and What Light.
In Rainbows - Radiohead - All the buzz is about how they released this record via a "pick your price" offer using the web. I loved the way they did it and wish every band would release their music via drm free mp3s directly from the band's website. What got lost in all the talk is that this is the best record the band has made in a decade and there are several songs that are classic Radiohead, including my favorites Weird Fishes and Jigsaw.
Wincing The Night Away - The Shins - This record was on many of the top ten lists I saw in the past couple weeks. I was tempted to put it on my list too. But I was really into it last year (got a pre-release) and I petered out on it early on this year. My favorite tracks on this record are Red Rabbits, Split Needles, Phantom Limb, and Girl Sailor.
Ga, Ga, Ga, Ga, Ga - Spoon - Another record that was on many top ten lists I've seen. I like their new funkier sound. And I'd really like to see them live. But the record is uneven and I find myself playing a few tracks off of it a lot more frequently than I play the whole record. The two tracks that I absolutely love are Underdog (from the movie soundtrack - I never saw it) and Cherry Bomb. I also really like the opening track, Don't Make Me A Target.
Boxer - The National - This one is really tough to keep of the top 10. It was on the cusp along with two or three other records, but given that it kind of fit into "solid records by bands I love", it ended up here. It also pales just a bit in comparison to The National's prior effort, Alligator. But Boxer is a super record, and features one of the best tracks of the year, called Apartment Story. Fake Empire and Start A War are also excellent.
I used to wait until I got back to my computer to check the replies to my posts on Twitter (via the replies tab).
But yesterday, I took Jack’s advice and started tracking myself on Twitter. I suppose hard core twitterer’s know this trick but somehow it had eluded me.
Now whenever someone replies to my post, I see it on my phone and can reply back.
In one day, Twitter has gone from a fun way to microblog to a full blown communication system. And it’s a world of difference.
If you are like me and slow to pick up stuff like this, give it a try. I think you’ll find it to be a great way to talk to your friends on twitter throughout the day. Just make sure you have unlimited text messaging.
In case you've never used track, just send a text message to twitter that says: track yourtwittername
That should result in a message back telling you that you are now tracking your twittername.
The Blogging On The Road category returns. For the next two weeks, I'll be blogging from Down Under.
Our family boards a plane tonight at 5:30pm and a day and a half later, we'll be in Sydney, Australia.
As usual, I'll be blogging the trip, but this time, it will be a mix of blogging here, twittering, and tumblloging at fredwilson.vc. But mostly, I'll be hanging with my family, relaxing, and enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of Australia.
Jessica has taken on the role in our family of finding new bands to fall in love with. She found The Shout Out Louds a couple years ago and they've become a staple in our home. This year she found a bunch of bands and two that stand out are Bishop Allen and Vampire Weekend. Vampire's new record is amazing, but since it doesn't come out until January, it won't be on this year's top 10 list.
Bishop Allen's The Broken String is a fantastic record. It might have been in my top 10 except for the fact that we just started listening this month and I just don't know how it will stand the test of time.
I heard The Decemberists, Ben Kweller, and The Magnetic Fields in their music. It's smart pop and it's easy on the ears. This is the kind of record that you listen to a few times and then all of sudden you find yourself singing along.
The catchiest song on the record is Click, Click, Click which I blogged at fredwilson.vc. Give it a visit if you want to hear that song.
For those looking for a taste right here, here's a song called Rain.