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2010 in review

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 15 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 57 posts. There were 65 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 48mb. That’s about a picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was March 13th with 480 views. The most popular post that day was Pearl Jam performs for Conan’s Tonight Show debut.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, search.aol.com, twitter.com, google.com, and hypem.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for gorillaz, daft punk, pearl jam, noodle gorillaz, and justice.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Pearl Jam performs for Conan’s Tonight Show debut June 2009

2

Justice vs. Daft Punk January 2009
5 comments

3

Gorillaz premier demos for upcoming album January 2009
1 comment

4

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 2010 Mojo Tour setlist from Red Rocks June 2010
1 comment

5

Coldplay offers free live album download May 2009

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Written by David Young

January 14, 2011 at 7:02 am

Posted in Music

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Top 10 albums of 2010

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When it was all said and done 2010 was a good year for music. There was a lot of growth in the industry and creativity with musicians and albums. For the first time in a few years I struggled to narrow the list of albums that could make this list rather than build one’s that could qualify. Those below are what made the cut from a bountiful year in music.

10) I Am Not A Human Being by Lil Wayne


 

 

 

 

It was a big year for Weezy F Baby. While in prison he released a No. 1 hit record here and justly so. I Am Not A Human Being picks up where Tha Carter III left off. Standout beats, twisted rhymes and Wayne’s lyrical acrobats make for an entertaining listen.

 

9) Sea of Cowards by The Dead Weather


 

 

 

 

Jack White wasted little time with this follow to the band’s debut Horehound. This time the result was a harder, dirtier stripped down Dead Weather, if that was even considered possible. Growling guitar riffs and thick bass are the backdrop to White’s scathing vocals. Crossing between several genres – blues, rock – this is a fantastic album.

 

8 ) Broken Bells by Broken Bells


 

 

 

 

When James Mercer of The Shins and Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, of Gnarls Barkley teamed up for this side project no one really knew what to expect. The result was nothing like either’s respective bands. Instead it delivered a mellow quirky journey with Burton’s beats and Mercer’s expanded vocals. Funky, funk and easy to listen to, the Broken Bells broke new ground with this collaboration.

 

7) Infinite Arms by Band of Horses


 

 

 

 

Airy, moody, mellow, all those are things one would expect from a Band of Horses album, and they are thick through and through these 12 tracks. Yet, somewhere the group found a deeper truth in their songs present here. The melodies are classic and catchy, but more than that the band has matured and the end result is truly grand.

 

6) Transference by Spoon


 

 

 

 

Spoon has a distinct sound. Fans are sure to lock onto their trademark sound and Britt Daniel’s signature voice in the matter of a chord or two. This album is no exception; however there is something special here. It is hard to define, which is what makes it so good, but even for Spoon this is an exceptional album, and that is really saying something.

 

5) High Violet by The National


 

 

 

 

Stark and striking and it is beautiful this is the first time The National has really shaken their indie sound to make a truly solid album from start to finish. It drags, at points, but in all this is a spectacular collection of songs, best enjoyed in the company of a lightning storm miles from civilization.

 

4) Mojo by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


 

 

 

 

Petty has been making hit records longer than many people who attend his shows have been alive. He’s got it down. So how does a bonafide rockstar like Petty keep things interesting? Take the gloves off. Petty recorded this album straight off the studio floor with all instruments recorded simultaneously and few overdubs. The result is a range of bluesy deep tracks that reflect Petty raw.

 

3) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West


 

 

 

 

Love him or hate him for his on and off stage antics, West has an uncanny ability to make hit records. With this tortured gem, West throws a little bit of everything into the pot and then adds his anger, hostility and a large dose of ego and viola something that has never been heard before. Good in spots and great in others, this album has a little bit of everything.

 

2) This is Happening by LCD Soundsystem


 

 

 

 

While The Sound Of Silver is still the standard for James Murphy, This is Happening was a breakout this year for the pop scene with unparallel beats and lyrics. Songs such as “Dance Yrself Clean” and “You Wanted a Hit” are instant classics with an air of familiarity, yet uniqueness, that only Murphy’s master craft can provide.

 

1) Plastic Beach by Gorillaz


 

 

 

 

Innovative, creative, groundbreaking and damn catchy just begin to scratch the surface of Plastic Beach. The Gorillaz not only braved new ground on this album, they built a whole new island forming collaborations with some of the best musicians around the globe. The end result is a kinetic masterpiece that will only be truly appreciated with time.

 

2009 Top 10 Albums

2008 Top 10 Albums

Written by David Young

December 26, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Merry Christmas from the Gorillaz

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To celebrate Christmas the Gorillaz have released a free album today online.

The album titled “The Fall” was recorded entirely on the road over the course of the band’s recent tour on an iPad.

Funky stuff here, enjoy.

Tracklist:

  1. PHONER TO ARIZONA
    Recorded in Montreal on 3rd October
  2. REVOLVING DOORS
    Recorded in Boston on 5th October
  3. HILLBILLY MAN
    Recorded in New Jersey and Virginia on 10th and 11th October
    Additional Guitar: Mick Jones
  4. DETROIT
    Recorded in Detroit on 13th October
  5. SHY-TOWN
    Recorded in Chicago on 15th October
  6. LITTLE PINK PLASTIC BAGS
    Recorded in Chicago on 16th October
    Additional Keyboards: Jesse Hackett
  7. THE JOPLIN SPIDER
    Recorded in Joplin on 18th October
    Additional conversations with: Darren ‘Smoggy’ Evans
  8. THE PARISH OF SPACE DUST
    Recorded in Houston on 19th October
  9. THE SNAKE IN DALLAS
    Recorded in Dallas on 20th October
  10. AMARILLO
    Recorded in Amarillo on 23rd October
  11. THE SPEAK IT MOUNTAINS
    Recorded in Denver on 24th October
    Stream and forest recorded in Santa Fe on 25th October by Mike Smith
  12. ASPEN FOREST
    Recorded in Santa Fe on 25th October and in Vancouver on 3rd November
    Additional Bass: Paul Simonon
    Additional Qanun: James R Grippo
  13. BOBBY IN PHOENIX
    Recorded in Phoenix on 26th October
    Vocals and Guitar: Bobby Womack
  14. CALIFORNIA AND THE SLIPPING OF THE SUN
    Recorded in Oakland on 30th October
    Train station announcement recorded at LA Train Station.

 

Written by David Young

December 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

Posted in Album Review, Free download, MP3s, Music

Tagged with

Gorillaz take center stage in Denver

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Sometimes there is a concert, no- a spectacle, which is so good it is just head and shoulders above anything else out there.

That show belonged to the Gorillaz on Sunday, as the collaborative hyper dub hip-hop group took center stage at Denver’s Wells Fargo Theatre as part of their new world tour.

This is the Gorillaz first proper tour where they have shelved the animated band – Murdoc, 2D, Noodles and Russel – in turn placing frontman Damon Albarn, of Blur, and his army of musicians up front and displaying Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett’s, creator of Tank Girl, animation on big screens above the stage.

The evening began promptly with N.E.R.D taking the stage to warm up the crowd.

Pharrell and company did a standout job of getting the crowd on their feet with a mix of the group’s dance-friendly beats.

The highlight of the set would have to be when they dove into some of the new material off their “Nothing” album that came out this week.

Hypnotize U, their latest single produced by Daft Punk was spectacular live, and the inspiring God Bless Us All, was a mellow interlude to some of their classics that really got the crowd jumping.

The stalwart Rock Star-Poser provided the group a little room to improvise and a scalding bass solo. The two drummers also played off each other well to create a cacophony of beats. In all, most nights N.E.R.D. would be a suitable main course, but this was not most nights.

By the time the lights dropped and the screens lit up revealing a HD animated Murdoc the anticipation was palpable.

Following the skit with Murdoc cursing 2D and his banjo and the “warm-up band” about to take the stage, which were in fact Albarn and company.

From the moment Albarn hit the stage to the backdrop of a giant neon Gorillaz sign, the crowd lost it.

An orchestra outfitted in sailor suits to coincide with the band’s recent release “Plastic Beach” gave way to Snoop Dogg’s video on the big screen for Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach.

Albarn immediately jumped onstage front and center as Snoop Dogg faded and dove into the “Demon Days” Last living Souls with video of zombies wandering the desert on the screens.

Not having his animated persona between him and the audience was no hindrance for Albarn who can play the part of a rock star to a T. From start to finish, in a red and black striped shirt, leather jacket and jeans, he bounced around the stage playing a variety of instruments and singing.

After a nice rendition of the classic 19-2000 with Rosie Wilson, Bobby Womack made his first appearance on their new single Stylo. With the song’s video featuring Bruce Willis as an assassin hunting down Murdoc with a giant six-shooter playing, Womack’s airy voice was spot on. Albarn stepped in with a distorted mic to fill in the bridge. It was amazing to see the song come together live.

Following a beautiful version of Rhinestone Eyes, it was De La Soul’s turn to get down with the funky Superfast Jellyfish. Hewlett’s animation flashed across the screens overloading the senses making it hard to watch the performance and art.

De La’s intensity on the quirky disjointed song was not to be outmatched. The group stuck to the new material with Empire Ants featuring Yukimi Nagano, a soulful song that led to the introduction of Bootie Brown on Dirty Harry.

Brown, sporting a blue wind breaker suit, brought fresh intensity to the stage unleashing his signature rhythm while Albarn bounced around the stage with him.

Bashy and Kano made their first appearance on White Flag following an extensive intro by the National Orchestra for Arabic Music that is touring with the group.

Two British rappers sounding off against and Arabic orchestra may appear odd, and it is, but the Gorillaz make it work. Albarn waved a giant white flag on stage before handing it off to an audience member who ran around the theatre with it.

For the mega-hit Dare Rosie Wilson came out, and the theater exploded with bass. Glitter Freeze brought the intensity to another level with the pulsating beat that increases and is only punctuated by the “glitter freeze” chorus. Albarn threw in the raucous Punk from their debut album, which was a nice treat.

Then, because the Gorillaz must just have their own jet to transport their traveling troupe, the Clash’s Mick Jones came out for Plastic Beach. The funky electro track saw Albarn jumping up on the speakers reaching out to the crowd, while Jones sat back and strummed away.

The evening wrapped up in grand fashion; with a one-two punch with the smash hits Feel Good Inc. featuring De La Soul followed by Clint Eastwood featuring Bashy and Kano.

Feel Good devolved into a frenetic mix of raps bouncing of each other and Maseo’s crazy signature laugh that required his entire body to unleash over and over.

On Clint Eastwood Bashy and Kano ran out into the crowd. In the third row, we found ourselves in the middle of the show. As the duo bounced the beat back and forth to Albarn on stage, a random guy in an orange pimp suit climbed on Kano, who appeared more than a bit concerned.

The two were good sports through snapping photos with fans as they spit out the lyrics to what is most likely the band’s most popular song.

The night came to a close with Womack signing Don’t get lost in heaven as Albarn played the piano.

I had held off on seeing the Gorillaz until I could actually see the band members, rather than animation, and it was well worth it. Albarn and his crew of talented musicians are creating some of the most progressive music out there.

Notable tracks I would have liked to have heard include the new single Doncamatic, Bill Murray, Kids with Guns and White Light.

The animation and films on the screen was compelling, and abundant. Hewlett created enough original art to fill the entire two plus hour show.

Hands down it was the best show of the year.

Full setlist

1. Welcome to the world of the plastic beach
2 Last living souls
3 19-2000 (with Rosie Wilson)
4 Stylo (with Bobby Womack)
5 On melancholy hill
6 Rhinestone eyes
7 Superfast jellyfish (with de la soul)
8 Tomorrow comes today
9 Empire ants (with Yukimi Nagano)
10 Broken
11 Dirty harry (with Bootie Brown)
12 el manana
13 White flag (with Bashy and Kano)
14 To binge (with yukimi nagano)
15 Dare (with Rosie Wilson)
16 Glitter freeze
17 Punk
18 Plastic beach
19 Cloud of unknowing (with Womack)
20 Feel good inc ( with de la soul)
21 Clint Eastwood (remix with bashy and kano)
22 Don’t get lost in heaven (with Womack)

*Playlist courtesy of Eric Young

Written by David Young

October 29, 2010 at 8:43 pm

You pick’em

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It’s October and you know what that means.

That’s right it’s time to start sorting through this year’s releases to narrow it down to a list of the top ten.

It’s been a year of stellar music, which is why I am enlisting the help of my trusty readers. Below are a list of 15 albums that could be considered the best releases of 2010.

Your job simply vote for your favorite album, or leave a comment of those I have left off this list.

Enjoy:

Lil Wayne “I Am Not A Human Being”

The National “High Violet”

Jonsi “Go”

Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More”

Gorillaz “Plastic Beach”

Spoon “Transference”

Band of Horses “Infinite Arms”

LCD Soundsystem “This is Happening”

Arcade Fire “Suburbs”

Broken Bells “Broken Bells”

Eminem “Recovery”

MGMT “Congratulations”

Yeasayer “Odd Blood”

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers “Mojo”

Local Natives “Gorilla Manor”


Gorillaz release new single

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The Gorillaz officially released their first single “Stylo” off of their new album “Plastic Island” today.

A catchy track filled with synth beats and Damon Albarn’s signature funky lyrics, “Stylo” features Mos Deaf and Bobby Womack.

Built upon a steady electric beat and a gentle cooing noise, the trio brings the song to an apex with: “It’s the love of electric/it’ll be flowing on the streets/night after night just to get through the week/sometimes it’s hard.”

“Stylo” leaked online earlier this month whereupon Gorillaz animated lead singer Murdoc Niccals posted the following message on his Twitter account:

“A leak! A leak! Plastic Beach has sprung a leak! One of those Russian pirates has put a bullet hole on my island! My single’s leaked! STYLO!”

It is the first new music the band has officially released in three years since “D-Sides” dropped in 2007. The cartoon band, which will headline this year’s Coachella Festival, are slated to release the third album in March 9.

This time around the Gorillaz album will feature: Snoop Dog, De La Soul, Lou Deed, Little Dragon and Gruff Rhys.

“Plastic Beach” tracklist:

1. “Orchestral Intro”
2. “Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach” (feat. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
3. “White Flag” (feat. Kano Bashy)
4. “Rhinestone Eyes”
5. “Stylo” (feat. Bobby Womack and Mos Def)
6. “Superfast Jellyfish” (feat. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul)
7. “Empire Ants” (feat. Little Dragon)
8. “Glitter Freeze” (feat. Mark E Smith)
9. “Some Kind Of Nature” (feat. Lou Reed)
10. “On Melancholy Hill”
11. “Broken”
12. “Sweepstakes” (feat. Mos Def Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
13. “Plastic Beach” (feat. Mick Jones Paul Simonon)
14. “To Binge” (feat. Little Dragon)
15. “Cloud Of Unknowing” (feat. Bobby Womack)
16. “Pirate Jet”

Written by David Young

January 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Gorillaz release new Bananaz film

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bananaz

Gorillaz Bananaz film

The Gorillaz have always been a band shrouded by a degree of mystery.

Hiding behind their animated alter egos, Blur front man Damon Albarn and Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett have been left their own devices to create some of the most innovative progressive music projects out there today.

However, a new film called Bananaz provides a fascinating behind the scenes look at the making of the Gorillaz over the better part of the past decade.  

Rumors of this film have persisted for years; however it was finally released on Babelgum.com, a website that airs the documentary for free.

Over the course of the hour and a half film Director Ceri Levy follows the duo from its inception through its rise to the top of the industry and completion of its second album Demon Days, a period of seven years.

The film is truly fascinating for any Gorillaz fan, as it provides never before behind the scenes views of Albarn recording and Hewlett drawing the now famous characters.

Levy follows the rise of the band showing its most intimate moments from signing the Gorillaz contract with EMI, a far different experience than how the Gorillaz biography The Rise of the Ogre depicts it, to recording their first album in what appears to Albarn’s home studio.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the film is watching the artists struggle with the concept of an animated band and when to be in character and when to be themselves. Managing the parallel worlds was a complex matter.  After one of their first interviews, Albarn rants how Americans just don’t get it telling Hewlett that Americans like things explained to them.

Aside from Albarn’s frustration with America, the duos anti-pop sentiments are present through the film as they constantly make fun of pop icons like Justin Timberlake and MTV. At the same time the band makes two appearances at the MTV Awards showing they must secretly want the mainstream s approval. Hewlett rants against NME magazine at one point saying he doesn’t even want his art on the magazine’s cover.

It’s unclear how serious the two are at any given moment because they joke around quite a bit. Its clear Albarn and Hewlett’s dynamic bring out the best in each other.

Aside from the intriguing look inside the psyche of the minds behind the Gorillaz, the musical aspect is spectacular. There is an entire treasure chest of footage here showing the recording of the two albums and music videos.

Albarn plays the bass, piano, keyboard, flute and everything in between in the film that also features collaborators Del La Soul, D12, Dangermouse, Ibrahim Ferrer, Bootie Brown, Simon Tong and Dennis Hopper.

This is by far the most comprehensive look at the Gorillaz creators to date. It is filled with fascinating facts such as “Dirty Harry” came from an unfinished album called Demo Crazy that Albarn made on his last tour with Blur.

The album ends with the Gorillaz show at the Apollo, completing a compelling journey from the bands modest beginnings of two-dimensional drawings to the top of the music industry with some of the most advanced shows and images used by a band to date.

One overarching theme Albarn makes clear throughout the seven years is that he only cares about the music and everything else doesn’t matter, which is why the Gorillaz have been able to span such an expansive musical soundscape.

Perhaps the only fault of the film is there is a sense that it could be at least an hour longer as there are clearly things that happen off camera. Throughout the film the duo appear to accumulate injuries as they have bandages on their faces. And by the end of the film it looks as if Albarn has lost a tooth.

This is a must see for any Gorillaz fan.    

 

Watch the film now at http://www.babelgum.com/gorillazgobananaz. The DVD will be available in June.

 

 

 

 

 

  

Written by David Young

April 25, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Music

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