There you go, waving your arms like a girl

I'm pretty sure I'd like Ryan Adams more if I could just keep up with him. The guy puts out like an album a week and it's just really too much. Many of his songs are great, but if any musician needed an editor it's this guy. The world doesn't deserve to hear every little tune you pluck out your guitar, Mr. Adams, unless it's "Summer Of '69" that song was great.

Anyway, today's album is Demolition, released just 364 days after his first solo album, Gold. I didn't buy it back in 2002 because, while I was a moderate fan of Gold, I couldn't bring myself to buy another Ryan Adams album so soon. Like Gold, Demolition is a spotty affair that has some really great songs scattered amongst a field of what other musicians might call filler, but I'm sure Mr. Adams calls little pieces of his soul. He can be dramatic like that. You could edit Gold and Demolition down to one amazing album, but alas!

If someone gives you a copy of Demoltion, don't turn it down. I'm sure you'll find a couple things you like. Otherwise, I suggest waiting for the greatest hits.


I have to tell everybody about my true find of the weekend. After posting it on my Amazon wish list for months with no success, I fianlly purchased The Right Spectacle - The Very Best of Elvis Costello. It's a DVD complilation of every video Elvis has released from This Year's Model through Mighty Like a Rose.

Now, I was happy just to have all the videos but it turns out the DVD also features commentary from the man himself. I spent a lovely evening this Friday listening to Elvis drolly commenting on how drunk he and The Attractions were during almost every video. I guess you have to be a fan, but it was a real treat. I plan to subject many friends and acquaintances to it over the coming months.


Maybe I'll call or write you a letter

Choo, choo! Do you hear that? Yep, it's the nostalgia train pulling in for a nice long stop at the Eileen depot. What album merits a visit from the nostalgia train? It's Deluxe by Better Than Ezra.

Deluxe was released on February 28, 1995, mere months before I was to graduate high school and prime memory making time. Add that to the fact that the first single, "Good" was on the radio every five minutes and it literally became a soundtrack to my life. I've also been a Better Than Ezra fan ever since.

I don't have many really specific memories that go with Deluxe. It just gives me a general feeling of all the excitement and giddiness that goes with graduating. It's funny that I love this album so much because there are some truly horrible songs on here (see "Teenager"). I guess a little nostalgia always helps gloss over imperfections.


Here's a quick installment of NEW MUSIC MONDAY for you. Go out right now and pick up How We Operate by Gomez. It's a little more acoustic than their other stuff but I really think it may be my album of the summer.


No matter what the fashion, you'll always be my style

I got Deja Vu All Over Again from the library a couple months ago, but I guess I never got past the first half. It starts out so strong that I was all "Oh yeah, John Fogerty's back!" I never made it to the song about SUVs. That's right it's all about how computers and lattes, cell phones and the aforementioned vehicles have made us empty shells of humanity. I get it you old hippie, we're all going to hell. Oh well, more Twinkies for me.


Give me gin and tonic

I didn't want to like them. I was a Beatles fan and everything I'd read told me Oasis was just a flash in the pan Beatles knockoff. I was a senior in high school and hadn't really embraced the full extent of my sad and Britishness. I had no idea what the future had in the store.

"Supersonic" was released as a single and I turned up my nose at all those silly rhyming lyrics. They wished they were the Beatles all right. Then, I borrowed the CD from Rishi Kundi. It wasn't doing much for me until the drums kicked in at the beginning of "Live Forever." By the time it was released as a single, I was hooked. Seriously, those drums still give me chills.

I eventually bought my very own copy of Definitely Maybe and it his been a solid companion through the years. It's not all nostalgia either. These are the songs I'm still living my life to and they're great every time.


I hit the city and I lost my band

I know, I know, it's been a long time. Let's just say things have been busy. I've had a very Cincinnati month with trips to the symphony, a Reds game and Kings Island. I also learned that if you run a 5k then ride a bunch of roller coasters, you won't be able to figure out what made you sore. These are true life lessons, people.

I think I've also been a little reluctant to write about today's album, Decade by Neil Young. It's actually a two disk set that has pretty much everything I'd ever want by Mr. Young. That doesn't really explain why I own two more of his albums, does it?

Neil Young is one of those "Great Books" artists for me. Knowing his music is essential to a solid background in rock and roll but it doesn't do much for me. Sure, there are individual songs I enjoy but I sometimes have a hard time figuring out what all the fuss is about.

So I did my required listening today. I mean it's good stuff. Every artist should hope they end of with a body of work this good. Neil Young just doesn't transcend music. He doesn't take me to a new place in my head or make me see things differently so, for me, he'll continue to just be a history lesson.


If I was more continental and less judgmental, maybe I'd believe

I know about Deathray thanks to Golden Shoulders. A few years ago I went to a Golden Shoulders show in Nevada City and Deathray was on the bill, too. I sat politely through many of the songs, but I slowly found myself being captivated by the music. They were winning me over. By the time they were done, I was the proud owner of their 2000 album and their 2002 EP. The band was really sweet and very excited that I bought two CDs. It had been a slow night.

Deathray is made up of many former Cake members, but they really sound nothing like their former band. Think more new wave, like The Cars but with a deep pop sensibility. Sometimes there are few too many electronic pops and fuzz for me, but overall, they have a really nice sound. Their self-titled album has several catchy songs that will get stuck in your head, like "10:15" and "Now That I am Blind." I'm not as big a fan of their EP, White Sleeves, but I'll get to that (much) later.

So here's the moral of this story. Get out there and go see some bands. Give them a chance and if you like their stuff, buy their CD at the show. It will make their night and you might actually end up with a good album or two. It's the circle of life, people.


Listen honey, there's nothing you can do to offend me anymore

A couple months ago we met The Decemberists, the drama geeks of indie music. Today, let me introduce you to the literary magazine staff of indie music, Belle and Sebastian.

The word "twee" is often bandied about when describing Belle and Sebastian's music. It is cute. They write sweet little tunes about the dramas of everyday life. And they're not afraid to rhyme. It's probably singer Stuart Murdoch's vocals that earn that label the most, though. His voice is as soft and wispy as a half sheet of premium toilet paper (How's that for a simile?).

What makes Belle and Sebastian the literary magazine staff of indie rock is their lyrics. Those everyday dramas get poured over and twisted into beautiful and endless couplets. They take pride in all those rhymes which can make them seem thoughtful or pompous. You make the call.

So today's album is Dear Catastrophe Waitress. It's my second favorite Belle and Sebastian album after Tigermilk. Close listeners who also have my last mix CD will spot "If She Wants Me" and another favorite of mine "Piazza, New York Catcher." It's a very listenable album and something I like to break out fairly regularly. Belle and Sebastian are known for their passionate fans, though, I can't really say I'm one of them. Even though I worked for the literary magazine in high school, I never edited it.


It's better when a group isn't playing

After a weekend of endless partying and a couple days of election coverage, it's time to get back to the blog. I'd like to say it was a refreshing break, but grueling is really more the word that comes to mind. There's really only so much beer one can drink in a 48 hour period (and I think Josh discovered that this weekend). Topping it all off with election night pizza is never a good idea either.

So what does Declan have in store for me today? Oh, it's Deadringer by RJD2. I did a little reading and discovered that despite his name, he is not a robot. He's actually from just up the road in Columbus. I still like to imagine he's a robot, though.

Deadringer came out in 2002 just after Moby's follow-up to Play, a bloated pompous album called 18. I mention Moby because that's who RJD2 will remind you of. Moby, but better. Deadringer is everything 18 wasn't. It combines old soul samples with new beats and throws in a few extra treats like actual rapping. The samples are more varied than Moby and the beats are pretty good, too. My only criticism is there seems to be too many mid-tempo songs. Sometimes the tracks just blend into each other too much.

So I would definitely recommend RJD2 for anyone who wonders what the hell happened to Moby. Just let it go and buy an album from this robot guy instead.

My CD shopping list for this weekend:
Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living - The Streets
How We Operate - Gomez
Best Party Ever - Boy Least Likely To
The Loon - Tapes 'N Tapes