Wednesday, December 21, 2005

'Tis the Season, part deux: More year-end lists!

The floodgates have opened and the year-end lists are pouring in! Check out some of these 2005 wrap-ups for a feel of how critics are responding to the last year's batch of new records:

  • Rolling Stone weighs in with a typically populist (and kinda silly) Top 50.
  • PopMatters' Top 50 is much more reasonable-- not only do they throw an interesting curveball for their #1 slot, but they didn't forget about Andrew Bird!
  • The Boston Globe mixes the predictable with the surprising in their year-end wrap-up. (Another Andrew Bird sighting!)
  • The Onion AV Club counts down the year's best albums, best cover songs, and pretty much anything else they can think of.
  • The editors of Amazon.com count down their Top 100.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Musical Graffiti 12/20-- Dylan! Over the Rhine!

I know, I know-- I'm waaay behind on reporting music news. And for that I apologize-- it's been awfully busy here at Reveal headquarters, and I'm just now finding time to get back into blogging.

So, most of you have probably heard most of these headlines already, but for those who haven't...

1. Bob Dylan... radio DJ? Yep... it seems that ol' Zimmy is getting his own XM Radio show. Pretty darn cool, but there are two things that keep me from being as excited as I might otherwise be. First, I'm too poor to afford XM Radio at this point. And second, I'm still wondering... where the $#&% is his new album?!?

2. And speaking of Dylan... did you hear that one of his songs has been transformed into a musical? The times, they are a-changin' indeed.

3. Over the Rhine puts on another spectacular Christmas show at the Taft Theater.

'Tis the season...

It's that time again.

2005 is winding to a close, and arts writers everywhere are compiling various lists of their favorite things from the past year. Music journalists are no different, as evidenced by the staff of Pitchfork Media. Pitchfork's list of the 50 best albums of 2005 went online today, along with their lists of the best singles, videos, and live shows of the year.

Their pick for Album of the Year? It may surprise-- well, actually, it probably won't surprise anyone. Pitchfork's entire list is oddly predictable this year, and their #1 pick is the same album that everyone else seems to be picking.

For what its worth, my own Top 10 list will be online sometime within the next week. I already know which albums I'm picking, and I can't wait to share the results with you-- I think some of you will be surprised. (Especially since some of my picks I haven't even reviewed yet...)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

It's official: Bono is the man.

Thanks to Jeffrey Overstreet for tipping me off to the most thrilling news story I've heard in ages.

TIME Magazine traditionally selects one person to be its Person of the Year, but this year they've split the honor three ways. The 2005 Persons of the Year include Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and... yep, you guessed it...

BONO.

MSNBC has the story here. And, if you'll permit me a moment of editorializing... WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The return of Reveal Music!

Be honest-- you all thought that I had sold my soul-- or at least pledged all my time-- to CT Movies and this infernal film reviewing business, didn't you?

Well, I wouldn't blame you. It's been since October since I last wrote a music review. But I'm finally kicking the Reveal Music page back into action tonight, with a pair of brand new reviews:

Bettye LaVette-- I've Got My Own Hell to Raise

and...

Richard Hawley-- Cole's Corner

Hopefully there's much more where that came from. I hope to review a handful of other noteworthy 2005 releases by Christmas-- and then my Top 10 list will be posted! Stick around, audiophiles-- I really do write non-movie related stuff, I swear!

Critical Condition: Beck! Bettye!

Just in time for the holidays, it's... new music from Beck! Or, rather... newly packaged music from Beck!

Pitchfork weighs in on Guerolita, the new set of remixes from the Guero album, and it sounds like the results here are mixed:

His fierce glint fading, it's becoming increasingly clear that Beck is no longer able to freely revel in the youthful dalliances that made him famous more than a decade ago. Guerlito's standouts prove that proper taste and a good ear can be just as valuable as songwriting to a multi-tasker like Beck, but even for an artist this venerable, a remix record is still a remix record-- generally uneven, part enlightening, and part skippable.


Meanwhile, Rolling Stone finally discovers the new Bettye Lavette album:

At their best, cover albums are a balance between familiar material and fresh interpretation. Here, Bettye LaVette, the veteran Detroit soul singer known for her 1965 marquee single "Let Me Down Easy," adds a twist: All these numbers were written by women. LaVette connects with the country soul of Dolly Parton as well as Sinead O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got." But it's Lucinda Williams' "Joy," a lyrical trip in search of stolen happiness, that suits LaVette's seen-it-all voice best. Hell to Raise is this year's Van Lear Rose: an often thrilling testament to a wonderful female talent undimmed by time.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Eels... no strings attached.

Here comes another entry for the ol' Eagerly Anticipated in 2006 list. Paste reports:

Vagrant Records will release a CD and DVD set, Eels with Strings: Live at Town Hall, on Feb. 21, 2006.

The recordings feature frontman Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, with his seven-piece backing band, which includes an all-girl string quartet. This release follows this spring's Blinking Lights and Other Revelations double-album.

For what its worth, my review of Blinking Lights can be found here.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Musical Graffiti, 12/4-- New album updates from Minus Five, the Shins.

Yeah, I know... Christmas is still two weeks ago, so looking ahead to the new year is just silly. But 2006 has a ton of promising new music in store for us... including the self-titled album from The Minus Five-- or, as they're calling it, The Gun Album. 'Cause really, how could you go wrong with a band that boasts members of REM, Wilco, and the Decemberists? Paste has the scoop on the new record, due February 7.

And in other news... it sounds like the Shins are gradually finishing up their third album-- which will hopefully prove once and for all that Death Cabe for Cutie is not, in fact, the most enjoyable indie pop band around.