I've been pleased by the response to my Listful Thinking series by friends and readers. I've gotten more comments on these than many other pieces I've written and I'm getting suggestions on bands and themes to consider for future editions, such as Toad The Wet Sprocket. Ahh, Toad, we do go back a long time and have traveled many, many miles. We traveled many miles in the city of Atlanta to see one of your reunion shows. Oh, Atlanta is not far from Huntsville but we spent untold hours lost trying to find the venue and again trying to find
Recently in Playlists
In which our hero selects his Top 5 Toad The Wet Sprocket songs...
The best from a unique band whose run ended prematurely...
u·nique: yo͞oˈnēk/ adjective 1. being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. A puppy is kicked every time someone modifies the word "unique." It's a binary state, like pregnancy (not that I have much experience). You either are or you aren't. Morphine is and it's only one of the many reasons I cherish this band. There are many ways a band could hope to achieve the noirish, nocturnal, narcotic sound that is Morphine but I've never heard a band take this approach. Who forms a rock band and says, "Yeah, we're not going to have any guitars"? Mark
In which our hero revisits a major Fanboy crush and agonizes over his Top 5 Guster songs...
I had a Fanboy obsession with Guster with the release of their 2006 LP Ganging Up On The Sun. For at least a year, I listened obsessively to them and championed their cause with various internet outlets of my writing past (some of my best and some of my most embarrassing output). I don't have the same religious fervor I did in 2006 but they remain a consistent part of my musical diet and vital part of my life's soundtrack. Gusterhhoids will have their pitchforks and torches out when they notice I have nothing from Lost & Gone Forever on
By request, our hero selects his Top 5 Counting Crows songs, mixing the obvious with surprises...
It's difficult, these Top 5 lists, and that's part of what makes them fun! One of the challenges for me is whether or not I should be ruthless about it and take my Top 5 songs regardless of how representative they are of an artist's work or if I should strive for balance. Friend and BBS collaborator Stephanie encouraged me to take a swing at Counting Crows, so here it is, by request. I like all their records and love some of them. I could do Top 5 lists for several of their individual records and still leave coveted songs
In which our hero agonizes before selecting his Top 5 Wilco songs...
I was a little late to the Wilco bandwagon, having hopped not long after the arrival of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. That record arrived in 2001, so while I don't go back to the beginning, I suspect there are many who came on board after I already had my seat. The band has gone through numerous lineup changes over the years and now Wilco is really Jeff Tweedy's really awesome playground. He comes up with ideas and has incredible musicians capable of executing and occasionally improving upon them in the studio and on stage. I've bought every Wilco record. I've purchased
Grunge Week at Blinded By Sound, Vol 5: Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam was easily the most difficult band to condense to five songs owing to the fact they have easily the deepest discography of the Seattle bands. They went through a succession of drummers and had some bumps along the way but never disbanded and rarely took extended breaks. Pearl Jam remained the top musical priority of the four founding members who remain at the band's core. Because this was such a difficult list to compile, I expect to get CRUSHED by Pearl Jam fans for the songs I selected and those I didn't. Similar to what I said with
Grunge Week at Blinded By Sound, Vol 4: Soundgarden
Soundgarden would at times dominate my listening but never held the title as being my favorite of the so-called Grunge bands. I always liked them and they never fell out of favor but they never reached the summit with me. Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were the most obviously influenced by classic rock. They remind me of Black Sabbath's music with Zeppelin's frontman, stirred with a bit of King Crimson to get that prog rock influence that lurks. I may get some stick for not referencing their earlier works and that's probably fair. Loud As Love is a good record and
Grunge Week at Blinded By Sound, Vol 3: Nirvana
Grunge Week continues with the torchbearers of the movement, the mighty Nirvana. I don't have to spend much time explaining the impact this band had on the world or their legacy; it's unassailable. I am consistently reminded they are even better than we think they are when I return to the records. There was so much hype and noise surrounding Kurt Cobain and the casualty too often was the art. The only thing sadder than the loss of so many great songs still to be written is the tragic loss of the life of Kurt Cobain itself. There weren't as
Grunge Week at Blinded By Sound, Vol 2: Screaming Trees
I said at the beginning of our Grunge Week feature that Alice in Chains is frequently my default answer for Favorite Seattle Band and they are but Screaming Trees will forever have a special place in my heart and it starts with the voice of Mark Lanegan. His work with Screaming Trees is incredible and yet he eclipsed it in his solo career and that is saying something. I've also got a special place in my heart for this band because of Barrett Martin. My love for Trees made me curious to follow what he was doing when he started
Grunge Week at Blinded By Sound, Vol 1: Alice in Chains
Welcome to Grunge Week at BlindedBySound! It's a series within a series this week as I do my Top 5 songs from my Top 5 Seattle bands of the '90s. I'll first unveil the bands and then each day this week you'll get my Top 5 songs by them and your chance to give me yours! The bands you'll be reading about this week are Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Screaming Trees, and Soundgarden and Alice is batting leadoff. Longtime readers know I lived in the Puget Sound area at a time when these bands were becoming big in
In which our hero denounces Chester Bennington, Linkin Park, and lists STP's five best songs...
I got on a Stone Temple Pilots kick recently because I got excited when I saw they were playing in nearby Birmingham. Then I remembered Scott Weiland has been replaced by Linkin Park's Chester Bennington. I can't tell you how much I don't want to hear someone else sing Weiland's vocal lines other than to say I didn't buy tickets. He already channels and mimics so many other singers. Having someone imitate his imitations seems pointless. Besides, I don't really like Bennington's voice or Linkin Park's music. All the talk of STP did get me to go back to the
My Top 5 Tears For Fears songs... today.
So picking up with my '80s dalliance from earlier in the week... Amigos, this is a difficult task, naming my Top 5 Tears For Fears songs because there are too many songs missing from this list! I furiously crossed titles off and added new ones only to cross those out and replace them with a previously struck item or another song entirely. The only way I could make myself settle on these five is if I put in the following disclaimer... these are my Top 5 for today. Ask me tomorrow and some of these stay while others are likely
Listful Thinking: The '80s didn't entirely suck and here are 5 songs to prove it!
The '80s are a bit of a lost decade for me, musically speaking. I didn't get to experience much of it as it was happening due to parental restrictions. Looking back after the fact revealed, frankly, a lot of rubbish. No decade is bereft of music with merit and today for reasons unknown to me, I'm in the mood to sift through it and share a few of my favorites with you. I tried to stay away from bands like Duran Duran, who I love, who had a series of big hits. These aren't one-hit wonders and the songs aren't
Five great songs from rockers who stopped playing God and instead sang about Him...
Like it or not, love it or hate it, God is everywhere. Even if you don't think there is a God, enough people do, or were at least raised to, that we often find religion at the center of art. This has been true since the Middle Ages, and it is no less true today in the great medium of rock and roll. Early American rockers like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins all came from charismatic Christian traditions, making their inclination to gyrate a bit while telling it like it is all the more natural. Johnny Cash
In which our hero reflects on high school, baseball, dating, and Huey Lewis' Top 5 songs...
Yesterday it was Elton John in this feature and today it's Huey Lewis & The News. Let's get... random... I am prepared to admit the following: I liked Huey Lewis & The News when I was a kid in the '80s There are a few songs ("Hip To Be Sqaure," "Bad Is Bad") that make me embarrassed to admit I liked Huey Lewis & The News even though I was a kid and it was the '80s Five of those songs still hold up today This basic bar band from Frisco somehow ended up with a record deal and a
In which our hero selects Elton John's 5 Best songs...
The premise of this series when I introduced it several months ago was to dash off the 5 best songs from artists whose work I admired but weren't on heavy rotation at Hathaway Radio, if you will. Maybe they weren't on heavy rotation because I don't actually like the artist all that much but grudgingly admit they had at least 5 songs worth remembering. That's clearly not the case with Sir Elton John. John will always be a bit of an enigma to me. His musical career and public persona have confounded us all at times. I don't know why
One of the many advantages to being me is the occasional opportunity to hear new music before the rest of the world at large. I wouldn't trade that privilege for the world but there is the tiniest downside to it: I can't direct my dear readers and friends to an album when fanboy exuberance overtakes me because the record isn't yet available. I find myself in that situation once again regarding the debut album from Vaudeville Etiquette, Debutantes & Dealers, but I can't be silenced. I am in love with this record, these songs, and this band so I've gone
A Top 5 list to honor Madonna on her 55th birthday...
Madonna strikes me as a cold, dour bird - someone who takes herself much too seriously and never appears to genuinely enjoy anything. At the beginning of her career, this wasn't really an issue. Never more than an average singer or dancer, her gimmick was her originality and genuine lack of concern about what others thought. She did, said, sang and wore what she wanted and as a result launched multiple trends, becoming a true cultural icon of the '80s and early '90s. Her music was fun, if she wasn't, and she was at least interesting. But the years have
My Top 5 Blur songs
I was late to the Blur party, owing mostly to the fact they never had as many US hits in their heyday as their countrymen Oasis, who I absolutely love. Good things come to those what wait and I did eventually discover the brilliance of Blur and deeply admire the depth of their catalog. To that end, I've tortured myself by limiting myself to a mere 5 songs from their voluminous discography which will stand as my Top 5 Blur songs. Parklife: Oi! Oi! Fucking Oi! Phil Daniels, bitches! What a fucking great song this is and it's completely mental.
A second helping of Randy Travis' best songs...
Okay boys and girls, it's time for our next installment in the "Randy Travis is more than a footnote and cautionary tale" lesson we started last week. Let's take a look at his bread and butter: Heartbreakingly poignant, honest and accurate love songs. "I Told You So" - Much like in the last Randy Travis Top Five list, no list is worth a damn if this isn't listed as the Number One heart-wrencher in his repertoire. "Suppose I called you up tonight and told you that I loved you, And suppose I said "I wanna come back home". And suppose
Narrowing The Divine Comedy's best to 5 songs is nearly impossible, but here it is...
Trying to pick your favorite song by The Divine Comedy is like asking Mama Kardashian to choose her most pointless child to whore out: there's just an embarrassment of riches to select from. Chances are you're not familiar with The Divine Comedy and the brilliance of the man behind the band, Neil Hannon. Sadly, I don't share the talent of the other contributors here for writing beautiful sentences that convey through mere words the often immense feelings and vibrant imagery that music can summon. Nor do I have the technical expertise to describe their sound. So forgive me as I
In college a buddy of mine bought tickets to see the Grateful Dead in Birmingham. He asked me if I wanted to go, but I was short on cash and there were tests to study for so I said no. I'll catch them next time I figured and let him have his fun. The year was 1994. Jerry Garcia died a few months later. The Grateful Dead never came 'round again. To know me is to know I am a Deadhead. I've been kicking myself ever since that day I said no. You'd think I would learn a lesson from
Randy Travis is a country music legend whom burst onto the scene in 1986 leaving an indelible impression and helping change the face of country music at the time, ushering in what has been referred to as the neo-traditional style which was born as a reaction to the perceived blandness of mainstream country music and pop-country acts such as Anne Murray and Ronnie Milsap. Randy was born in Marshville, NC and after a tumultuous childhood fell into the right situation at the right time after he won a local talent contest and the owner let him cook there by day
5 of the best from one of the best...
I distinctly remember the buzz surrounding their magical, misunderstood debut Licensed To Ill and like most kids, the first song I heard from them was the classic single "Fight For Your Right." I remember dubbing a copy on cassette from a friend, sneaking it into the house (no way my parents were letting me buy this one!), and repeatedly listening to it. They were pretty far from most of what comprised my middle school listening and I didn't know what to make of it. Heather is our resident Beasties expert and she may well school me on how wrong I
Listfully Speaking - Albums That Got Away: Stevie Wonder, Black Sabbath, Marvin Gaye, The Band, Patti Smith
Here are 5 albums I'm ashamed to admit I haven't heard...
So many great albums and not enough time: that's the theme of today's Listfully Speaking. The first edition of this series was my Blues 101 list and the first five albums I would hand someone looking to explore the rich beauty of the blues. They are so amazing it makes me sick that I let so many years of my life go by without hearing them. The universal catalog of song is voluminous and grows every year; the challenge of exposing myself to and absorbing it all is daunting and probably impossible but it's worth it to fight the good
You didn't ask but I found 5 good songs by Bryan Adams. You're welcome.
One benefit to having flawless taste in music is never having to write a "guilty pleasure" list or be embarrassed when you admit to liking certain songs. This is going to shock you, boys and girls, but Bryan Adams was not always a wanker. No, really. It's true. I'm not saying he was all the way good, only that he wasn't always a total wanker. I hear you. Yes, he wrote some utter shite and schmaltz and right you are about all those fucking movie songs. I can't defend anything about the Robin Hood movie or song. "Have You Ever
I'm not a hardcore Mellencamp fan but here are 5 songs you have to know...
BlindedBySound staffer, friend, and loyal sidekick Melinda dubbed me Encyclopedia Nerdicus after suffering through a bevy of my obsessive, opinionated, (and in my mind at least, informative) rants about music and my addict's mentality when it comes to building my musical library. My best friend 11, himself an occasional contributor here, is astonished that my collection boasts albums by artists I don't even like all that much. What can I say? I'm destined to die poor, amigos. So what the fuck does that have to do with anything? I got to thinking this week about songs I can't live without
When I wrote the April edition of this column I mentioned having hope that I might get May's article out at the beginning of June. Here we are in the middle of July and I'm just now getting to it. All I can say is that I'm sorry and offer some tepid explanation.My wife teaches at university and as the spring semester starts winding down I always have these dreams of how wonderful it will be when she's off for the summer. I fantasize about all the free time I'll have. I smile thinking about all the movies I'll watch,
5 albums to help begin your journey through the blues...
I had no help when I began my journey through a century of blues. I had no compass or map but this was a trip I needed to take and I was willing to risk getting lost. That didn't happen too many times but I did have a few missteps while also repeatedly striking gold. The journey continues but here's a little travelogue for those of you considering booking your own blues vacation. This is my Blues 101 list of 5 Blues Albums You Must Own. A music with such a rich, deep tradition has innumerable entry points. This isn't
So, in tribute to a great singer and a great song, let's all take moment to touch ourselves, both for our health and a little bit of cheeky self-entertainment.
While there's nothing like immersing yourself in an album full of fantastic tracks by a much-loved artist or band, there's also nothing like the giddy thrill of hearing that one-hit wonder from years ago as you're flipping around the dial. The sad news of the recent death of Chrissy Amphlett brought back memories of one of the most remarkable of the latter. The year was 1990 and the song was 'I Touch Myself' by The Divinyls. While Madonna was touring the world on her Blonde Ambition tour, singing about being spanked ("Hanky Panky") and flaunting her wizard's-sleeve-vagina at every opportunity,