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November 2006
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January 2007

The 50 Worst Artists in Music History

I typically try to avoid Blender Magazine at all costs. This is a sensationalistic rag (it’s Maxim Magazine’s version of Rolling Stone) that tries so hard to pander to young adults by being hip for hip’s sake it’s sickening. If you happen to love Jesus or prog rock, this is the magazine dedicated to hating everything you believe in and telling you you’re an idiot. Nice. Don’t get me wrong, if there are two groups that cry out to be mocked its Evangelicals and Prog fans! Blender goes out of its way and overboard though. I can only take so much of the elitist god hating, prog hating crap that they spew, but they did get one thing right…people love lists. I’m addicted to them myself so I find myself, from time to time, suckered into Blender’s sensationalistic, intolerant little world because they constantly make up lists…Top 100 albums of all time, Top 500 songs of all time, etc. After reading their lists, you get the impression they purposefully put them together to stir things up and create controversy, not to show us what they personally feel are the greatest, so I take them with a grain of salt. I recently discovered one of their earlier lists however, called “The 50 Worst Artists in Music History,” and it’s pretty funny. There’s a certain validity to many of their picks, but again it’s obvious they were just trying to generate noise with some of their entries. I definitely disagree with a number of their choices and once again they go out of their way to slam prog rock. I will freely admit that I personally love a lot of prog, and I think Rick Wakeman is one of the best performers I've ever seen and he's as nice and as funny as he is talented. Rick does a whole lot more than 'play two keyboards at once' and it makes me wonder if they've ever even seen him perform live. But regardless, he's had his moments of prog excess and the fact that he has a sense of humor about that and would be the first one to point that out kind of takes the wind out of their critical sails. The funniest part about this Blender list is the band quiz at the end. I laughed out loud at that. If you haven’t already seen this one check it out:


And then make sure you didn’t miss my Best of 2006 list… Where I’m not afraid to actually list my personal faves. I don’t list what’s hip with the critics or the kids just to try and get street cred’ or prove how cool I am (I know this seems like a weird concept to the Blender staff).

Here’s a link to my Top CD’s of 2006 list:


It’s that time of year again, when all the critics and music fanatics share their picks for the best new albums released during the year. This was one of the hardest years for me yet. I usually have a pretty good sense of my 10 favorite albums of the year, but this year it seems there were only 5 or 6 sure things and about 15 other really great records that I found hard to rank. It was a great year, but too many really good albums yet not as many that jumped out of the pack.


Another huge problem for me was the fact that the best album released this year (in my humble opinion) is not even eligible for my year-end list. I’m talking about The Beatles Love album. That was far and away my favorite release of the year. But because it’s not technically new material I don’t feel it meets the Top Ten list criteria. Frank Zappa’s Trance-Fusion is another record that came out this year that would have made it, but it’s all live recordings and it was recorded years ago, so that’s out. There is yet a third album that probably would have at least made my top twenty and that’s the new Weird Al Yankovic album called Straight Outta Lynwood. No matter what your opinion of comedy or novelty records, if you’re a fan of music and you have a sense of humor, you have to love Weird Al and this is one of his best. I just wanted to mention those 3 albums because they are exceptional and I recommend them highly but for one reason or another they don't meet the Best Of list rules.


On to my year-end lists…


Dr. Shore’s Top Ten CD’s of 2006


1. The FeelingTwelve Stops and Home (UME/Interscope)

Pure-pop brilliance. Heavily influenced by 10cc and pop of the 70’s. Hooky and fun. It doesn’t get better than this.


2. The SlipEisenhower (Bar/None)

A sleeper that snuck up on me! I picked it up on a whim late in the year and it’s been hard to stop listening. Hard to describe…quirky indie-rock with guitar, piano, keys and great melodies! You’ve got to hear this one!


3. PivitplexThe King in a Rookery (Hawley)

This is alternative power-pop done right. Beatle-esque with Brian Wilson style vocal arrangements mixed into great alternative rock with beautiful melodies and infectious hooks. This is exactly the kind of music I love.


4. Lost DogsThe Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees (independent)

Songs... It’s all about great songwriting and melodies. Those of you that know me know my love for Terry Taylor and his many bands (Daniel Amos, Swirling Eddies, etc.) but on this one he gets help from Derri and Steve of The Choir who contribute heavily this time around.


5. MewAnd the Glass Handed Kites (Sony)

If you like Pink Floyd, Muse, Yes or early Radiohead you must get this album. It sounds exactly like none of those, but fans of those bands will appreciate the artistry and originality.


6. FairThe Best Worst-Case Scenario (Tooth and Nail)

Aaron Sprinkle should be a household name. His production and songwriting are fantastic. This is his first outing with a band in awhile after putting out 3 great solo albums. Alternative Rock with a great pop sensibility and the songwriting will blow your mind.


7. David MeadTangerine (Tallulah)

Another Power-pop gem…highly recommended to fans of Crowded House. It’s beautiful, hooky and fun.


8. Jars of ClayGood Monsters (Essential)

Forget anything you’ve ever heard from or about this band. This album is fantastic and should probably be higher on this list. This is easily their best. Stylistically it covers the orchestral alternative pop and rock genre and again, the best thing about this one are the great hooks and melodies.


9. KeaneUnder the Iron Sea (Interscope)

I love Keane. Beautiful keyboard pop…Nuff said.


10. Mute MathMute Math (Teleprompt/Warner Bros)

The final commercial release of this album didn’t do the original indie version justice. But either way it’s a great album with all sorts of early Depeche Mode influence mixed into U2 style rock with some weird prog and pop sprinkled throughout.


The rest of my top twenty…


11. Woven Hand - Mosaic

12. Roger Joseph Manning Jr.The Land of Pure Imagination

13. Cheap TrickRockford

14. Persephone’s BeesNotes From the Underworld

15. BeckThe Information

16. Starflyer 59My Island

17. WiselyParador

18. Badly Drawn BoyBorn in the U.K.

19. GrandaddyJust Like the Fambly Cat

20. Belle and SebastianThe Life Pursuit