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DON’T DOWNLOAD THIS SONG!

Brokencd2

Weird Al Yankovic proves he’s not only a comic genius but a creative and musical one too. He’s offering up the first video and single from his upcoming album for free.

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That’s right, you can download the MP3 for for free right here: http://www.dontdownloadthissong.com/tracks/DDTS.mp3

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Other bands have done that, what makes this so clever and creative? First of all, the song is actually called “Don’t Download This Song” and it’s from Straight Outta Lynwood, due out September 26. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the video to this song is his best video yet, and that’s really saying something. The lyrics are some of the funniest he’s written. Listen closely. My favorite line is at the very end of the song as it fades out.

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You can view the video here:

http://music.yahoo.com/ar-269394-videos--Weird-Al-Yankovic


50 Favorite Albums

Have you ever compiled a Desert Island Discs list of your favorite albums? For the uninitiated here’s how this music geek tradition is supposed to work…If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have 10 CD’s with you, which ones would they be? This old chestnut has almost been rendered obsolete by mp3 players, downloading and CD burning because you have the ability to have CD comps of your favorite songs rather than individual releases, or, better yet, take an iPod with thousands of your favorite songs on it. But, if you’re like me and you still care about the album as a whole, the packaging, the liner notes, lyrics etc…and the album as a format vs. the single, the favorite albums list still has some merit and validity. In many cases an album has an overall concept and the songs are meant to be heard together or in a particular order. I mostly have full albums on my iPod, and even in this singles driven world people still have favorite albums. I may only like one song from an Alan Parsons Project release or the Shrek soundtrack, but I love the entire Smile album from Brian Wilson and the whole Doppelganger album by Daniel Amos.

It’s fun to try and list your favorite albums (records or CDs) of all time. For me it changes from time to time and is very subjective. That’s a given. The list of my favorite albums right now is not the same as it was a year ago. I try to be objective and list which ones I feel are the best overall, but if I go by what I would want to take with me to hear right now, more current stuff might edge out better albums from the past. No one said it is an easy task but it is challenging and fun to do. I’m hoping some of you will click on the comments link at the bottom of this post and list your favorite albums of all time…it doesn’t have to be 40, 20, or even ten…even if you have a list of 5, that’s cool. I love seeing what other people really love to listen to.

My list is below. I’ll admit, I couldn’t just list 10 and it was almost impossible to rank these great albums in any kind of preferential order. I’ve ranked them here, but the number one could change on a daily basis. What this list is not, is an attempt to try and tell anyone what albums are the definitive greatest of all time. Rolling Stone, Spin and Blender magazines do that all the time and it can be irritating because it’s so subjective. These are my personal picks for your perusal, enjoyment, and yes, probably your amusement as well. I would love any feedback on this list that you might have! Feel free to compliment, comment or rip away!

There are some unspoken rules for a list like this to make it a bit more legit and keep it challenging, which are:

·       No compilations

·       No “greatest hits” or “best of” albums

·       No live albums (this one is debatable but many prefer these lists not to include them)

Dr. Shore’s Top 50 Albums of All Time

(as of 8/11/06)

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90125

1. Yes90125

All you power-pop gurus and alternative-emo music elitists that read this blog are groaning or stunned, but this is my most listened to album. It’s the one I never ever get tired of. I like every song on it. It is arguably the best *produced* album ever thanks to the amazing Trevor Horn. Old school prog fans have made a hobby of railing against Yes for this one. Too bad though because they’re missing out on a brilliant album simply because it isn’t old school Yes. It broke records, boundaries and there was nothing else that sounded quite like it. It has amazingly withstood the test of time. A perfect blend of melodic pop, with layers and layers of Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Chris Squire on vocals...I’ve never heard vocals that I liked better on any album before or since. But as always it all comes down to the songs and these are the best written and most melodic songs these guys ever put out.

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Outoftheblue

2. Electric Light OrchestraOut of the Blue

Jeff Lynne’s masterpiece featuring "Mr. Blue Sky," "Turn To Stone" and "Sweet Talkin’ Woman." I love ELO. Jeff Lynne is one of my favorite songwriters of all time and many would argue that this is his best. I like to imagine that this is what the Beatles would have sounded like had they still been releasing albums. Very melodic and lots of orchestration combined with good old rock and roll.

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Doppelfront

3. Daniel AmosDoppelganger

If the rules of the Desert Island Discs list would allow it, I would include all 4 albums in the Alarma Chronicles series here in a 4-way tie, because it’s really next to impossible for me to say one is any better than the other. If I had to rank my favorite bands of all time, there would be a 3-way tie for number one: Daniel Amos, Yes and ELO (which explains the top 3 albums on this list I suppose). I probably listen to these three bands more than all the others on this list combined. But back to DA…The underrated Terry Scott Taylor is one of the worlds greatest songwriters and I rank him up there with Jeff Lynne, Lennon/McCartney and Brian Wilson. Many of you may have no idea who I’m talking about or what this album sounds like. If so, go here now: www.danielamos.com

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Spilt_milk_albumcover

4. JellyfishSpilt Milk

Jellyfish are simply one of the greatest bands of all time. At least they were...Had they had a little more staying power and put out more than just 2albums they probably would be higher than number four on this list. Oh the songs! This band defines the power-pop style and genre as much as Brian Wilson and the Beatles. Both of their albums are worthy of this spot. It’s all hooky and melodic with great lyrics. Influences range from Wings to Queen. What’s not to love? When they toured I saw them every time they played in the Southern Cal ’ area and those are shows that I will never ever forget. Also saw one of their last shows in Nashville just a few days after I was married. My wife loved the fact that we were cutting the honeymoon short to make it home in time to go to a concert. I go back and forth on which of the two albums I like better. For me personally it's often Bellybutton over Spilt Milk, but I think if I looked at it more objectively this may actually be the better of the two.

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Toy_matinee_1

5. Toy MatineeToy Matinee

This album is in somewhat the same vein of Yes’ 90125 album where it just has amazing production, vocals and combines melodic pop with prog influences. Patrick Leonard and Kevin Gilbert delivered a masterpiece. This one will always be in my top ten albums of all time. Kevin’s untimely passing was a devastating blow. His music has really impacted me and I never tire of turning people onto this great album. Kevin really was an underappreciated musical genius.

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Humanradio

6. Human RadioHuman Radio

Human Radio was a one-album wonder (well, only one official release). Coincidently I would describe Human Radio’s music as a cross between Toy Matinee and Jellyfish. All three of these bands seem to appeal to the same fans. Human Radio is on the quirkier side with songs like “Me and Elvis” and “Monkey Suite.” Great songs, vocals and arrangements combined with hooky melodies make this one a must. It’s extremely hard to find now though.

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Magicalmysterycov

7. The BeatlesMagical Mystery Tour

Let the flames and criticisms of my taste begin (more like continue at this point probably). It’s always dangerous to make any kind of statement about the Beatles or rank their work in any way, because you’ll always offend someone. But of all their records (as good as Revolver, Abbey Road and Sgt. Peppers are) this is the one that has more of my personal favorites on it and it is the most enjoyable for me to listen to as a whole. I will admit, that is probably because this is the first full album of theirs that I personally owned. I grew up listening to all of their 45 rpm singles that my mom had but as far as full albums go this is the first one I bought. “Your Mother Should Know” and “Hello Goodbye” are two of my favorite Beatles songs. In fact, this album contains 6 of my all time favorite Beatles songs.

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Smilecov

8. Brian WilsonSmile

I’ve reviewed this album in the past here, and hopefully you’ve heard it all before. How he’s a tortured genius, one of the greatest songwriters of all time, the Beach Boys rule, etc. It’s all true and this is album is a mind-blowing musical journey that has inspired so many for so long. Get it now. Listen. Enjoy.

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Themorus

9. Frank ZappaThem or Us

Speaking of musical genius and mind blowing music…Zappa! Not for everyone. You’re either into it or your not. I think this is his most underrated record and it’s from my favorite period of his, the early to mid 80’s. Steve Vai and Frank Zappa together on guitars! You’ve got to hear it to believe it. With songs like “Truck Driver Divorce” and “Frogs with Dirty Little Lips” Frank was in rare form…even for Frank! My favorite track is actually the long instrumental and somewhat orchestral piece called “Sinister Footwear II” with an amazing guitar solo, cool keyboards and a French horn sound! I've always liked the album cover and packaging on this one as well.

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Rush_movingpictures

10. RushMoving Pictures

"Well-weathered leather, Hot metal and oil, The scented country air, Sunlight on chrome, The blur of the landscape, Every nerve aware"- From the song “Red Barchetta”

This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest rock albums of all times. Tom Sawer, YYZ, Red Barchetta and Limelight are 4 of the best progressive rock songs ever recorded and they’re all here on Moving Pictures. It’s amazing what these three talented guys from Canada have achieved over the past 30 years. Neil Peart is not only the greatest rock drummer I’ve ever seen but one of my favorite lyricists as well, and Red Barchetta is one of his best.

That’s it for the *current* Top Ten. Here’s the rest of the top 50:

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Shamingcov

11. Kevin Gilbert -The Shaming of the True

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Reconciled

12. The Call - Reconciled

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Ctoneonone

13. Cheap Trick - One on One

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Gotanygum

14. Joe Walsh - Got Any Gum

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Petsounds

15. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

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Bangtheearthisround

16. The Sugarplastic - Bang! The Earth is Round

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Outdoorelvis

17. Swirling Eddies - Outdoor Elvis

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Modernromans

18. The Call - Modern Romans

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Threeofaperfectpair

19. King Crimson - Three of a Perfect Pair

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Funinspacecov

20. Roger Taylor - Fun in Space

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Johnwayne

21. Terry Scott Taylor - John Wayne

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Troublewithnormal_1

22. Bruce Cockburn - The Trouble With Normal

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Mrbfront

23. Daniel Amos - Mr. Buechner's Dream

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Bellybutton_albumcover

24. Jellyfish - Bellybutton

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Elotime

25. Electric Light Orchestra - Time

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Fragile

26. Yes - Fragile

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Littleredridinghood

27. Lost Dogs - Little Red Riding Hood

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Subliminalplasticov_1 

28. Self - Subliminal Plastic Motives

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Pinkfloydthewallcover

29. Pink Floyd - The Wall

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Digcov

30. Adam Again - Dig

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Hitchhikingcov

31. Roger Waters - Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking

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Welcomeinterstate

32. Fountains of Wayne - Welcome Interstate Managers

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Cars_1

33. The Cars - The Cars

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Animationcov

34. Jon Anderson - Animation

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Alarmafront

35. Daniel Amos - Alarma

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Fishoutofwater

36. Chris Squire - Fish Out of Water

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Tmbgflood

37. They Might Be Giants - Flood

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Dissociativescov

38. Dissociatives - Dissociatives

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King_crimson_discipline

39. King Crimson - Discipline

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Thegame

40. Queen - The Game

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Clutchingatstraws

41. Marillion - Clutching At Straws

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Girlfriend

42. Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend

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Sticksandstones

43. The 77's - Sticks and Stones

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Third_stage

44. Boston - Third Stage

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Mybeach

45. Surf Punks - My Beach

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Greatdivide

46. Semisonic - Great Divide

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Privatecollection

47. Jon & Vangelis - Private Collection

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Popgoestheworld

48. Men Without Hats - Pop Goes the World

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Suburbanlawns

49. Suburban Lawns - Suburban Lawns

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Littlecreatures

50. Talking Heads - LIttle Creatures

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New Mewsic

Mewcov

Once again there is amazing new music coming out of the UK. I’ve posted about the band Mew here before, but it’s been awhile. Their stunningly brilliant second album And the Glass-Handed Kites has finally been released in the US. Thanks once again to a tip from the world’s foremost Musicologist Jim Worthen, I’ve had the import of this album since it came out last year in the UK and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s melodic, it’s alternative, and it’s somewhat prog, in a Pink Floyd and Radiohead sort of way. But the comparisons end there. It’s so grandiose and adventurous that it’s really hard to define or label. First of all, it’s really one long epic song with 14 sections or tracking points. Don’t let that discourage you though…this isn’t some pretentious prog epic that you have to wade through and make a serious commitment to…the tracks stand up on their own and are each very rewarding in their own right. It’s just cool because they flow together and work as one long epic as well. From the opening hard and driving guitars to the hook-filled keyboards and pristine vocals this one will surprise you. In fact it may be one of the best albums you hear this year, horrible album cover artwork aside.

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Recommended tracks: “The Zookeeper’s Boy” & “Apocalypso”

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Band Site: www.mewsite.com

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Straight Outta Lynwood

Waycov

Weird Al Yankovic. You’re either groaning or smiling at the mention of his name. If you’re groaning, you’ve probably never really given his music a chance or seen him live in concert. He’s got the same band he started with and they are without a doubt one of the tightest groups of musicians and best live bands I’ve ever seen.  The music and parodies are at worst fun, and at their best brilliant. We need Weird Al. He keeps the divas and the overly self-indulgent pop stars on their toes. If we can’t laugh at pop-culture and the Top 40, what can we laugh at? For all you naysayers out there, yes, humor really does belong in music.

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Thanks to a tip from our critical music captain Andre Salles I’ve learned Weird Al has a brand new album coming out (finally)! It’s called Straight Outta Lynwood and the release date is set for September 26th.

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In the meantime you can download a new James Blunt parody called “You’re Pitiful” from his site here: www.weirdal.com

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The Ian Tanner Podcast Nightmare

Itpmlogo_1

The mind of Ian Tanner is a very strange place. It’s filled with wondrously artistic thoughts, stories, music and ideas. His podcast is a window into that world and I love it! He bombards you with loads of morning zoo type liners that are so over the top, zany and cheesy that you just have to smile. The music is first rate. He is an extremely talented artist and producer and he seems to use this podcast as a vehicle to showcase new songs and experiment with sounds and recording techniques. His music sounds like everything from Zappa to The Beatles. From alternative to power pop to prog, this guy is musically talented and his podcast is very entertaining because he’s funny and original. This is one of the most entertaining podcasts I’ve heard. Power-pop fans and Zappa fans will definitely want to subscribe to this one. You can subscribe through iTunes…just go to the podcasts section and do a search for “Ian Tanner” or you can access it via his site here: http://iantanner.podomatic.com/

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Please note: this podcast is not for kids…there are moments of actual honesty here, innuendo and stuff like that. He’s a Zappa fan…you get the picture. He’s also a great guy and a real live artistic genius. The show lengths are about 20 minutes and he averages about 1 show per month so it’s not going to be too taxing. The latest show (episode 9) has one of my favorite Ian songs, a great power-pop tune called "Signed, Witnessed, and Delivered."Go listen and subscribe now…good stuff!

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Links:

www.iantanner.com

http://iantanner.podomatic.com/

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Like A Fox

Likeafox

Amazing new band alert! Like a Fox is from the Philly/Jersey area and their new independent self-titled debut is nothing short of amazing. For fans of quirky, new-wavish power pop, ala Grandaddy’s Sophtware Slump, Like a Fox blends layered synth’s and vocals with quirky and alternative guitars and intelligent production. You can download two full MP3’s from the album at Tripwire (see the link below), and based on those and the clips on the other sites this could be one of my favorite releases of the year.

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Check out these links:

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Tripwire:

http://www.thetripwire.com/news/2006/8/3/band-to-watch-like-a-fox

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Official Site:

http://www.likeafoxtheband.com/

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MySpace:

http://www.myspace.com/likeafoxband

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The Sound of Self on Superman

Superman

If you’re not a fan of Matt Mahaffey or his band Self, you should be. If you are a fan you’ve probably been wondering if we were going to have to wait for another Shrek movie for new material. He’s released numerous b-sides and extras via the web, which are better that most other band’s proper album releases. Now he’s back with an XTC cover on a new Superman related comp from Rhino called Sound of Superman. The band is actually called Royal, but Mahaffey is all over this track and it’s got a real Self-vibe to it. It’s a great tune, not losing the brilliance of the XTC version but adding and updating enough to make it their own. Leave it to the folks at Rhino to come up with a cool comp of all new originals and covers to compliment the Return of Superman movie. Five of the tracks are very good and make this one worth getting. Other standout tracks include The Sun’s wild and quirky version of the Kinks classic, “Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman” and “Sunshine Superman” twisted and made new again by The Films. Some of the other tracks border on the boring with some straight ahead modern rock, including a really bad version of the Flaming Lips classic “Waiting for a Superman.” The average tracks aside, 5 of them are fantastic and the Royal track is a must-have.

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