Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Used To Rule The World: Mike C.'s Favorite Music Of 2008 

Top 10 Albums

1. COLDPLAY - Viva La Vida, Or Death And All His Friends (Capitol)

2. SANTOGOLD - Santogold (Downtown)

3. THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM - The '59 Sound (Side One Dummy)

4. THE ALUMINUM GROUP - Little Happyness (Minty Fresh)

5. TV ON THE RADIO - Dear Science (DGC/Interscope)

6. THE KILLERS - Day & Age (Island)

7. KINGS OF LEON - Only By The Night (RCA)

8. ESTELLE - Shine (Atlantic)

9. THE HOLD STEADY - Stay Positive (Vagrant)

10. FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS - Flight Of The Conchords (Sub Pop)

Top 10 Songs

1. THE KILLERS - Human (Island)

2. COLDPLAY - Viva La Vida (Capitol)

3. ESTELLE FEATURING KANYE WEST - American Boy (Atlantic)

4. THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM - The '59 Sound (Side One Dummy)

5. SANTOGOLD - L.E.S. Artistes (Downtown)

6. CHRIS BROWN - Forever (Jive)

7. NE-YO - Miss Independent (Def Jam)

8. DUFFY - Mercy (Mercury)

9. DAVID BYRNE & BRIAN ENO - Strange Overtones (Todo Mundo)

10. STUDENTS OF THE RON CLARK ACADEMY - You Can Vote However You Like (no label)

I know, I know. Coldplay. Freakin' Coldplay. Surely you think I've gone crazy, or worse, soft.

First off, I never bothered to acquire the band's third album X&Y and still don't have it. Second, I resisted Viva for most of the year. Didn't buy it until the special Prospekt's March version came out during the holiday buying season. I was indifferent to the title track at first, but over time in this historic election year, its resonance was unshakable.

U2 is a band I like as much as the next guy, but they never were among my favorites. So it's odd that this Eno-produced ersatz U2 would ring true to me. But in one of the most unpredictable and wild years of my life--professionally, politically, personally--it was this band, Coldplay, the band whose "Yellow" was the first song I ever possessed in MP3 form, that somehow crafted the best album I heard all year.

It must be noted that, as a result of vast changes in my life, I didn't hear as much new music in 2008 as I would have liked to. Didn't dig as deep as I usually do this past year; time and professional circumstances just didn't allow it. These lists are always fluid over time, anyway, so I'm less afraid of what I might have missed than I might have been in previous years, when I fretted a good deal more over whether a particular album merited, say, a placing at number seven or number eight.

I still maintain that every year is a good year for music. The more time that goes by, the more 2008 music I'll find that I missed during the 366 particular days that comprised the actual year. The future's so bright...

One other note. These lists are me with my "critic's hat" on. They're not much of a reflection on what I play when I DJ out at bars and clubs, and certainly not at private events. Sure, I've been playing The Gaslight Anthem like crazy for months, and some of the more Top 40ish material has gotten spins when warranted by the crowd on certain nights. But a playlist consisting of just these artists probably would sound like a train wreck. Hail hail rock and roll!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

12 Artists I Wanna Play Tonight 

I still need to post my Yankee Stadium wrap-up (saving it for the start of this season)...my best of '08 list...and I haven't written about the great experience I had DJing at Lisa Loeb's wedding a couple weeks back...but I have a cool NYC gig tonight, so I'm adapting a Facebook meme (I know, I know) and posting this up.

So I've got me this big little rock & roll DJ gig tonight at Motor City Bar, one of the coolest bars in downtown NYC. And you know that's saying something, 'cause there are more than a few of those types of establishments around.

When you're DJing, you never know what any given night might bring. A safe bet for tonight, though, is a whole lotta rock and a whole lotta fun with a hint of Detroit edge. I certainly can't give away the playlist before it happens--especially because I don't work from a set playlist. But here, in no particular order, are 12 totally kick-ass artists who I wanna play--and who, odds are, I will play tonight.

1. Ramones
It begins and ends with them. Not the set list in any literal sense. And chronologically, obviously not. But no one really ever rocked more, or better. Gabba gabba hey.

2. Electric Six
As Chuck Klosterman said of their debut, "You will like this album if you like the notion of Van Halen more than you liked any of their actual albums." And they've only gotten better. Probably the most unique-sounding band of the last decade, and not in any highfalutin, pretentious way; they just rock. Bonus: from Detroit!

3. David Bowie
More than anyone, a rock & roll man for all seasons.

4. Devo
Punker than you might remember.

5. The Donnas
They started as Ramones wannabes, morphed into a female Kiss/Mötley Crüe kinda deal, and they do the best covers (Priest, Kiss, Billy Idol) in the known universe.

6. AC/DC
It's a rock night, so it's almost certain that Bon Scott will be in the house.

7. Little Richard
The only artist Bob Dylan thanked by name at his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony is one of the architects of the genre, and his raucous recordings rock just as much now as they did 50+ years ago.

8. Thin Lizzy
As the brilliant Hamell On Trial quipped, "Tonight there's not gonna be a jailbreak SOMEWHERE in the town...it's gonna be at the JAIL!"

9. The Gaslight Anthem
Keeping alive an unforgettable fire lit by everyone from Miles Davis to Bruce Springsteen, while sounding like a more literate Soul Asylum, they made THE rock album of 2008. And they're from my college town of New Brunswick, N.J. to boot.

10. The Supremes
Of all the Motown groups of the '60s, no one's songs sound fresher, sharper--more swinging, more sexy--than these original divas.

11. The Raconteurs
With more than a little help from his friends, Detroit's Jack White has been reinventing himself on records that seem to give more--and rock more--every time you hear 'em.

12. The Stooges
A tip of the cap to the Detroit combo--and their recently deceased guitarist Ron Asheton--who took rock to a whole new level of scary and great.

DJ Mike C.
Tonight! Thursday, February 19
10 p.m. till late

at Motor City Bar
127 Ludlow St. (at Delancey St.)

F train to Delancey St.
no cover

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