The Olden Days, When This Site Still Called Itself Unbelievably Retarded

Thursday, December 30, 2004


First off, I forgot to give props to top40.about.com's top-hundred-CD's article last night, considering it's from About.com and it's way too mainstream for my liking.  I would have covered it, but there were sixty-two (that's right, 62, you're not reading that incorrectly) links in last night's article and I do have more of a life than to waste eight more minutes for article #63.  Note that these sixty-two links are about three-quarters of what would have been covered last night had I included every article I came across that was usable for this compendium.  I'm that stupid, yes.

All-Baseball.com/Will Carroll Presents... | There's something about this list (about television this time) that makes up for WCP's rather redundant foray into music journalism.  That thing, by the way, is the inclusion of shows like Cheap Seats and My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss in a top-ten list.  I wish that kind of decision-making was applied to WCP's music article, 'cause mainstream music (and much of the "underground" music scene, to be honest) doesn't seem to embrace dark horses anymore.  At least television still has those under-the-radar phenomena that become popular and/or embraced because people like what they're watching as opposed to the mix of hype and personal tastes that wafts around popular music like like a fog.

By the way, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development are two of the most overrated shows I've seen this year.  I don't understand why people are so gaga over the shows as if they could save situation comedy from itself just by being funnier than Everybody Loves Raymond.  Also, Eco-pons.

Florida Sun-Sentinel | Just like a woman to recommend emotional dramas and romantic comedies.  I'm not sexist, by the way, for those ready to whip out the Oxygen Card at me.  Still, this woman seems to be an apologist for romantic comedies that do poorly at the box office, as if critical adoration is supposed to translate into commercial box-office success just like that.  Uh, sometimes the audience isn't wrong, you know.  I can't stand people who tell me what I should like anyway.

BallerStatus.net | I can't get past the fact that somebody thought BallerStatus was a great name for a website, or that it's Google-accredited as a news source.  I don't care how good this article is, the site's called BallerStatus for shit's sake!  Hell, the name's worse than Unbelievably Retarded!  I should know as I am the king of bad names.

BBC News | Another article on how digital music players (specifically the iPod) are the epitome of "cool" these days.  Look, I don't own a digital music player.  They're still way too expensive and don't have the functionality to play any formats besides MP3, AAC and/or Windows Media Audio.  Also, using the .wma format is just wrong considering that format's rather mediocre for music anyway.  Let me know when there's a digital music player on the market that's less than $50 and plays Ogg Vorbis files, mmmkay?

Washington Post | This somehow escaped the Registration Gestapo of the Washington Post SS.  The band being covered is Chromeo and the hipster-speak seems to genuflect toward these guys playing some sort of throwback dance music with weak guitar riffs and sub-G-Love-&-Special-Sauce "rapping."  I don't understand why being so self-consciously dorky is considered a good thing in music these days, but then I'm the one considered to have terrible music tastes.  Maybe it's me.

City Pulse (Michigan) | Local best-of music rundown from Lansing, Michigan (I assume.)  The writing's full of that self-important wankery that befalls some music writers, but at least the paper's doing its part to promote its local music scene.  Still, all that hyperbole - this is the sort of thing I'm supposed to be emulating?  How the hell can people bullshit like this and still feel proud of their work?  So much shilling, man, it hurts my brain a little bit.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Hawaii) | Hawaiian music top-ten from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.  Nice to see the Hawaiians appreciate their culture while not flowering up the music descriptions to the point of unreadability.  Hawaiian music will never be my thing but at least someone's trying to spread knowledge of the local music culture there.  The paper's like a no-bullshit version of City Pulse.

Box Office Prophets | Reviews of Three Punk DVD's, as the byline reads.  Self-explanatory, yes, but you should care about this article as it's more punk than you are.  OI! OI! OI!

Metro Santa Cruz (California) | It's nice to see someone include Metallica: Some Kind of Monster in a best-of, but is the reviewer including this because he sees metal musicians as dumbass macho mullet types until proven sensitive or is he looking at the film objectively?  I haven't seen this film, but it seems to come up in best-ofs now and then and I'm curious to know if this is more than a music DVD gone "legit."  Not that I like Metallica, of course.

New York Press | My favourite article of the year.  It's about the College Music Awards, which sounds like one of the worst awards shows ever if J.R. Taylor's description of it is any indication.  It's sponsored by the US Navy, which makes about as much sense as naming a serious urban music site BallerStatus.  Incorrigible.

Phillippine Star | Usher's #1 on the Billboard charts, but this article at least runs down the top twenty albums and singles sold in North America during the December 2003-November 2004 time period.  Unfortunately, I also get to look at Usher's abs.  Yeah, it's his singing that sold 7.1 million copies, riiiight...

PopMatters Best-Of Lists Tim O'Neil Matt Cibula Stefan Braidwood | Top-ten/best-of lists/articles from PopMatters music critics, which are all entertaining despite the differing tastes and the feeling I get that Matt Cibula might be a bit of a dick.  Still, the site doesn't make me want to eat half a human head Tora-style (I dare you to get that reference) like most of the other mainstream-oriented music sites I visit, and that's saying something.

Pulse of the Twin Cities (Minnesota) | The year in Twin Cities hip-hop.  Apparently there's a hip-hop scene in Minneapolis/St. Paul, which isn't all that surprising considering hip-hop's mainstream popularity and positive-image spin.  Now a death metal scene in Minneapolis, wouldn't that be something?  If memory serves me correctly, AmRep noise rock was big there for a while.  What's the big trend in Minnesota now, anyway?  I'm hoping not a shitty one.

Pulse of the Twin Cities | A review of a bog-standard alt-rock CD.  I've covered Tom Hallett's work before and I'm not exactly fond of the man's ranting-for-500-pages reviewing style.  Still, at least the man's telling it like it is, which is what an arts reporter/columnist should do.  Hallett needs to actually swallow his Xanax, though, 'cause his columns read like a fifteen-year-old who has just discovered meth.

Newark Star Ledger (New Jersey) | The usual fawning-over-critically-acclaimed-albums top-ten dross with the world's most fawning headline.  Wow, rock still has edge?  Next you're going to tell me grass is green.  You're crazy, man.

The Scotsman | Worst scenes in Scottish film, huh?  Okay article, I guess, but considering Mrs. Doubtfire is on the list I can hardly call the article great.  When these newspapers do a best/worst-of, they usually come up with a few choices that make absolutely no sense.  I wouldn't even call Mrs. Doubtfire Scottish just because Robin Williams is using Generic English Accent #4 throughout the film.  I mean, The Scotsman's got a Haggis Hunt contest going on and there's a platypus as a mascot!  Who's less Scottish now, ya punters?!

Seattle Weekly | Mix-tape article covering the "best" of the Seattle music scene in 2004.  No points for guessing that the paper works in a reference to Modest Mouse, but it's all indie-oriented and this article probably won't appeal to non-Seattle music fans anyway.  Still, Sub Pop's absent from this list and that ain't not bad.

Stuff.co.nz (New Zealand) | Jane Bowron's article devolves into a bunch of personal best-ofs five seconds in, but that's okay.  I like anecdotes about television and these are great, especially the one about fifteen drunken Santas punching motorists in the face.  It's stuff you can't make up in a million years.

Can somebody make a .wmv file of this incident?  I'm being totally serious here, I want to see this.

The Trades (Oregon) | Best/worst-of article from what I assume is an Oregon trade magazine.  The best-ofs are lame, but the worst-ofs are worth a read.  I know, my negativity again.  Give me a break, I'm not going to kiss Green Day's ass just because critics like American Idiot.  You know me better than that.

Village Voice "We'll Always Have Paris" Michael Atkinson's Top 10 List | I know I'm just glossing over The Village Voice's output.  I just don't like the paper's style of criticism, rife as it is with American "indie" love and that unwritten law that if a film isn't meant for the well-meaning arthouse crowd, it ain't worth shit in a handbasket.  Really, I've seen these types of film wonks in person.  They're generally (keep in mind this is a generalization) dead between the eyes and/or trying to fit in with the "in" crowd.

Richard Linklater's a god now, by the way.  You should know that, peon.

Up & Coming Magazine (North Carolina) | Top five DVD list.  No surprise that Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King grabs top spot, even though four DVD's of Peter Jackson worship does seem kind of excessive.  People like excess these days for some reason.  I blame greed.

Warwick Beacon (Rhode Island) | Strictly middle-of-the-road best-of list from a Rhode Island newspaper.  Nothing exciting to report, I'm afraid.

Detroit News | Standard date-by-date rundown of pop cultural news happenings during 2004, but whenever I see that headline I'm always thinking of some terrible CBS soap-opera commercial where some voiceover guy is whispering "[INSERT CRAPPY SOAP HERE] is turning up the HEAT" while shirtless himbos kissing aged bimbos appear on screen in soft-focus lighting.  That isn't good when I liken a newspaper article to a soap-opera commercial.  Man, headline writers must be too bored to work for their jobs these days, eh?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


First off, thanks to the guy at No Rock'n'Roll Fun for giving me a post promoting this little compendium.  I always appreciate publicity.  Anyone who doesn't, granted, is a liar and isn't trying hard enough to impress people, but still.

Also, I've had Avant crash no less than five times today while doing this post.  I know it's asking a lot of a browser to parse thirty-six articles at a time, but it can do the job.  Still, there's so much JavaScript to parse with these things.  I swear Sun Microsystems is going to kill my patience yet.

Cleveland Plain Dealer | There's something about the term "wardrobe malfunction" that I can't stand and anyone using it is doomed to have a lame writing style.  Still, this reviewer redeemed himself by recommending Toots and the Maytals.  About time people gave a toss about that band.

Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio) | This actually isn't a bad review of the 2004 music year.  It's nothing unexpected, granted, but at least someone finally admitted that this Franz Ferdinand/Interpol etc. thing is part of a hipster-oriented trend.  I was waiting for someone else besides me to say that.

Grand Rapids Press (Michigan) | Standard bit of best-of blather.  I've been saying for years that Relapse has become as much a major indie label as Century Media and Nuclear Blast, and now there are certain mainstream music critics that are slobbering all over Mastodon's Leviathan.  Everyone that ignored me before needs to apologize to me now.  I know most of you see me as the well-meaning but "ugly" man, but you listened to and followed the pretty liars and got burnt.  You got exactly what you deserved.

Boston Globe | I thought Ty Burr's article was awesome - mainstream-oriented it is, yes, but the article's fairly well-written and at least the man seems honest enough in his selections.  He also doesn't give away his political bent like a lesser journalist would, chastizing both Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Passion of the Christ for being too didactic.  This man isn't a god (no man is), but he knows his article isn't a bully pulpit for his political stands either.  I'm glad this man is doing his job.  It's all I ask for.

Boston Globe | Concert sales down, album sales up - and you people thought file-sharing was going to be the death of the industry.  It amazes me that some people see a benign thing like file-sharing as more malevolent than it really is, but at least it gives hope to the people who claim(ed) that music sales were (and are, long-term) softening because music was/is, as a whole, stagnating.  It isn't, really, but there are always going to be people who believe the "it's on a major label so it's better than this local band's product" fallacy.  I'd go deeper into this but, y'know, time constraints.

JAM!/Canoe/Toronto Sun | Bog-standard 2004 rundown.  Note the mention of William Hung, the Yoko Ono of this generation (well, minus John Lennon's endorsement anyway.)  HE SUCKS, IT'S AMUSING!  Just goes to show that anyone can release anything and become a cottage industry in oneself with the right spin.  I know people are saying he's being manipulated by his father, but I don't think Hung is that stupid considering Ashlee Simpson exists and has the same amount of talent.  ZING!

Denver Post | Jazz rundown of 2004.  I admire this article simply for mentioning John Zorn.  Jazz music always seems to be less trend-oriented than pop music.

Denver Post | Tip for Richard Baca: dividing your list into top ten national and local lists becomes a little redundant when Touch & Go, a regional indie distributed nationally, has a pick in the "national" column and Alternative Tentacles (also a regional indie and national distributor) has two picks in the "local" column.  The same general conceit seems to have affected Elana Ashanti Jefferson as well and it's really gay.  How am I supposed to take you two seriously when you're doing something like this?

East Valley Tribune (Arizona) | HBO is a maverick cable network?  What?  Are you on crack?

I know it's lazy of me (lazy being a relative term in this case), but instead of linking to Indianapolis Star's entertainment section, I'll just highlight the film and pop music subsections.  I thought the articles were good, and it cuts the time spent writing this article to four hours and fifty-five minutes.  Yes, I do take that long to write blog articles sometimes.

Sunday Herald (UK) | Mercury Prize winners, feted both sides of the pond, is there no end to the achievements of Glasgow’s greatest pop export?  Of course there's an end to Franz Ferdinand's achievements.  Quit worshipping false gods, guys.

Miami Herald | I like Evelyn McDonnell's honesty.  Her reach is too mainstream for my tastes but at least she puts herself and her tastes on the table like she should.  Is doing this too much for some critics?  Man.

Chicago Sun-Times | Roots music rundown.  I can't really make fun of it considering I'm not a roots music fan, but roots music people are generally more decent writers than pop music writers.  This article is entertaining enough if you like that sort of music.

Chicago Sun-Times | See above, but for the blues genre.

London Free Press (Ontario) | Local rundown of London, Ontario's top ten albums of 2004.  Kittie's on here, but don't hold that against James Reaney.  He's at least doing his job, which is all I can really ask of music critics.

Lexington Herald Leader (Kentucky) | Is it just me, or is my brain so addled by doing this article that I consider this man's putting Steve Earle at #1 on his top-ten list a brave gesture?  Still, he seems to be the only one to do that so far so he seems more credible than 90% of the music critics I tend to talk about here.  Man, this is a long article isn't it?  Oy.

San Jose Mercury News | Jamie Foxx is a breakout star?  I want some of that crack so I can be as deluded as Charlie McCollum.

Metro West Daily News (Massachusetts) | Why is it the standard "metal reviewer" here likes the likes of Killswitch Engage and Slipknot?  Can't we be a little more imaginative than that?  Then again, he does write for the Boston Herald...

The Age | Melbourne, Australia live-show rundown.  Hilltop Hoods are going to reach the North American mainstream by 2005-06, mark my words.  Also, note how big The Flaming Lips have become these days.  Who would've guessed?

New York Daily News | iPods and mash-ups are the two biggest music trends of 2004 according to the Daily News.  One's a fad and the other has been around since forever under different names.  I'm not saying any more, you'll have to figure this out for yourself.

More constraining for time: since I can't be arsed to comment on everything I read here, here are some links from the New York Post (music videos; film) and the Northwest Indiana News/Munster Times (film; music.)  I'm not too fond of these two papers so it's better to lump them like this than to give each article a summary/comment.  It's only unfair, right?

Chicago Sun-Times | Latin music rundown.  I'm not familiar with the genre at all, so I can't comment on this.  You know I've been at this for two hours now?  It's true!

Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa) | Standard A&E best-of with Janet Jackson's NIP SLIP at #1, to the surprise of no one.  No wonder this paper's called the Quad-City Redundancy.  That's an in-joke that I know only three people will ever get besides me.

Rocky Mountain News (Colorado) | Mainstream-oriented best-of list/rundown of the year with a scary amount of Prince worship.  There should be a law limiting the amount of ass one should kiss when dealing with The Man Born to the Purple.

San Diego Union-Tribune/SignOnSanDiego.com | I know the Quad-City Redundancy had its own "quotes of 2004" selection, but this article is of a better quality than Quad-City's lumpen mass of shite.  It doesn't have any furshlugginer Sex and the City quotes, either.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | This might be an intelligent article, but what the hell happened to the parsing on this thing?  There are strikeouts everywhere and some of the sentences have been shot to hell.  Who proofread this?

Chicago Sun-Times | Another number-one for Steve Earle.  He seems to be one of the few people on the top-ten lists that deserves the spots he gets.  The man is simply beyond trends.

The Japan Times | Here is the definitive list -- albeit a bit fuzzy (it's been a tough few weeks of pre-Christmas partying) -- of the best albums of 2004. I wish there were more Japanese bands here...  It's your list, man, you're not obligated to list The Libertines ya know.  Sort of sad that Japanese hipster favourites take a back seat here to overplayed North American hipster favourites, but I can only do so much to stop this trend.

Seattle Times | This man thinks the music business is in a slump but concerts were fantastic.  Why, then, are album sales up but concert ticket sales way down?  Answer me that, Admiral Butthead.

Toledo Blade (Ohio) Music DVD | I think the Toledo Blade is one of the better newspapers out there covering the arts and I want you to read these two articles to see why I think this.  I'm surprised the writing's this good at the Toledo Blade, honestly.  Expect the unexpected!  CARDCA...sorry, my bad.

TV Barn | TV Barn's best of 2004.  The previous sentence said it all, really, but anyone who gives Amish in the City a best-of nod has more balls than almost anyone else out there.

Redlands Daily Facts (California) | The title of this article refers to animation.  This man's best-of includes one animated feature.  Methinks the title of the article should have been thought through a little more.

Canoe/Edmonton Sun | Best paragraph of 2004: Saying there's no good music being made is like complaining about makin' out: a good experience is entirely dependent on how much work you're willing to put in. So, yes, if you get all your discs from the radio and major-label-push axis, it's been an abysmal year: lacking creativity, mainly derived from the decade-plus-old sounds of grunge, hot country and gangsta rap, with a slight mainstream lean towards the whole White Stripes-Hives thing. This is hardly the entire story, of course...

You are my new hero, Fish Griwkowsky.


Ladies and gentlemen, that was just December 26's output.  I'm not done yet.  This is easily the most lengthy marathon run I've ever done and I don't intend to do this again.  What kind of idiots release these articles on Boxing Day, anyway?  Don't worry, the official cut-off time for this article is 8:00 AM on December 28, 2004.  I'm crazy but not overly so.

Anyway, let's start with December 25's output...wait, there were no articles on December 25 worth worrying about...screw it, here are some links I saved that day plus yesterday's jackpot wad and this morning's headlines.  Why do I do this?

AlterNet | Worst journalistic practices of 2004 (link from Fimoculous.)  Not including, of course, some of what I've just linked to.

Edison Research | Link from Fimoculous.  Hint: the songs that made a difference in 2004 are ones that set radio trends.  This simple list never changes its formula no matter what year it is.

The Onion A.V. Club The Year in Swag Cheap Toy Roundup | I link these because my favourite top-10/best-of list, the Least Essential Albums of 2004, doesn't seem to exist yet.  If The Onion A.V. Club stopped writing these articles, why?  Even these two articles can't fill the void left by that feature, fellas.  Now I have no reason to even read The Onion A.V. Club.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | Blech, another #1 for Usher.  Methinks this critic is a rap fan, and a mainstream one to boot.  I just hope he's not white.

Webuser (UK) | Happiness in Magazines by Graham Coxon was named best music release of the year by Amazon.co.uk.  Okay, I'm glad Amazon.co.uk picked a relatively obscure musician for its best-of #1 pick but really, that's just scary.

antiMUSIC.com | Ooh, some just-hired wonk from antiMUSIC references a bunch of mainstream shit and calls it a "year in review!"  Watch as he takes a broad stab at blogs and Janet Jackson!  Wow!  What shitty writing!  What attitude!  What's next?

Centre Daily Times (Pennsylvania)/AP | Tellingly, both movie critics referenced here don't write for the Centre Daily Times.  Somehow, I'm not surprised.

CNN.com | "The best albums" I "didn't hear," eh?  I've heard of Isis, Tegan & Sara and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists.  Still, I haven't heard any of the albums mentioned in Tyson Lex Wheatley's list so the man's technically right.  Wow, he must be psychic and shit.

Daily Yomiuri (Japan) | Standard mainstream-oriented "favourite web sites of 2004" article, although I haven't been to Radio Locator before so this article was fairly useful.

icNewcastle (UK) | This is the first list I can remember this year where someone actually refers to Kelis.  Was that "MY MILKSHAKE BRINGS ALL THE BOYS TO THE YARD" song released this year?  If so, why would I even want to listen to her album if I can't even stomach that single?  Really...

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Denver Post | Music DVDs are becoming big business these days.  Considering I can't swing a cat without hitting a music DVD by now, colour me unsurprised.  With mini-reviews!

San Jose Mercury News | We meet again, Mr. Kava.  I want you to give me ONE...MILLION...DOLLARS.

The Republican (Massachusetts) | This man's reviewed 250 albums this year and has culled his top 10 from those 250.  Standard list, but at least this gives you an idea of how narrow these lists are considering these people don't even scratch the surface of the music scene to begin with.

New York Post | Magazine reviews.  Spin's artist of the year is Kanye West, while Modest Mouse is Spin's band of the year.  I'm not surprised, but does this mean Spin is alternative again or is the mag just hopping aboard new trends?  My money's on the latter.

Vancouver Province | Article about Zulu Records.  It's nice to see the store covered, and the top-ten of one employee has Einsturzende Neubauten in that list, but there's somewhat of a hipster snobbery to this article.  Makes sense - I'm a music snob and so are the employees at Zulu Records.  I just hope they're not jerks in person, though.

The Scotsman (UK) | HMV has a Poll of Polls that combines every top-ten list from mainstream music critics and wads it into a top-twenty cobbler.  Kind of takes the dark-horse candidates completely out of the running, doesn't it?  Redundant.

San Diego Union-Tribune/SignOnSanDiego.com | Another best-of list.  The same choices.  Man, 2004 really is one of the dreariest years for mainstream music in recent memory, isn't it?

Belfast Telegraph (UK) | Article about the Scissor Sisters.  Blech.  What is so appealing about disco-rock fusion, anyway?  Is it the irony?  The camp?  Homosexual leanings, mayhaps?

Korea Herald (South Korea) | Ever want to know what's popular in South Korea?  After eighteen million articles of the same old same old, I do.  Apparently Korean film is a growing business, and wouldn't it be strange if I start importing Korean horror films to the American market?  It probably won't happen, but that film degree I'm working on better become useful by now or else...

Biloxi Sun Herald (Mississippi) | Pop-punk hit the big time this year?  Uh, is it 1994 again?  Pop-punk's been around and popular for damn near a decade, so I'm wondering where the truth in Jessie Weiss' statement is.  Still, she's a teen so I excuse her ignorance.

USA Today | U2 is #1 on USA Today's top-ten music list.  Yeah, I'm taking that seriously.  Gannett papers, can you ever take them seriously?

Detroit Free Press | 1. What's the point of this article?  2. Do you know how much this article sucks?  3. Is Julie Hinds even going to read this?  4. If she does, will she sue me or just insult me?


Saturday, December 25, 2004


One of the annoying things about the (subscription) tag at the end of certain papers Google News lists is the fact that some of the papers are so spotty about what they'll allow you to access.  I was going to include lists from the Anchorage Daily News as I could initially access the articles freely, but as soon as I got the registration screen I had to go through their convoluted registration process.  The process was so irritating that I have to give a big thumbs down to ADN for that reason.  There is no way that paper should be asking me to refine my personal data twice so they can appeal to "better" advertisers.  Merry Christmas to you too, dimwits.

New University Paper (UC Irvine, California) | This list has a date of November 29 but I'm including it here because it somehow floated to the 19?th spot during a Google search for best-of lists.  I'm just amazed the article made a comeback considering I haven't seen it before in the six days I've been doing this holiday compendium.  "Emily" likes Incubus, by the way.

Kansas City Star | Dig the play-on-words headline, it's real fine.  A rundown of 2004 from a Star music writer?  I thought the Star didn't exist considering I haven't seen anything actually from this paper until now.  Colour me shocked.  Apparently the paper did its best-ofs on December 9.  Why do people start with this shit at an earlier date every year?  Pretty soon, we'll be running down the year on July 12 and the networks will be saturated with reruns of Frosty Returns for three months.  Sheesh.

The Age | Another Age article, this one about technology.  It's all love for the Firefox browser this year, and I frankly have to admit I've bought into the hype as well.  The browser's as good as everyone says it is - well, it crashes sometimes for me, but then I put it through hell.  At least it isn't crashing every three seconds like Opera 6 did.

Scoop (New Zealand) | A Guns & Roses greatest hits collection was this country's number two seller this year?  Isn't it cheaper to just buy the few albums G&R released through used record shops?  Who the hell is still starved for G&R material at this point, anyway?

Chicago Sun-Times | Richard Roeper (i.e., Ebert's bitch) with his list of best and worst Christmas songs.  The man has no taste if he thinks Elvis' "Blue Christmas" is one of the worst Xmas songs ever - especially since he likes Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song."  Man, that song was funny in 1993 but it's so old-hat by now it's practically an institution.  I get it, Sandler's Jewish, let's move on.

Palm Beach Post (Florida) | Best of 2004 list on television.  Kevin Thompson likes Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's Weekend Update team-up (and he's the only one who does) but he hates talking anteaters.  I don't get this man.  At least his column's decent, which is an amazing feat for a mutant aardvark.  It is!

Southern Voice Online | World music article highlighting two bands.  Personally, I never understood the appeal of Zap Mama but that's just me.  I'm not a world music fan at all, but I think I've heard the band and wasn't impressed with them.  Heh, the "cynicism" I display in these articles - they sure do make me look like a grinch, eh?

Newsday (NY) Country Top Ten (Glenn Gamboa) Top Ten (Rafer Guzman) Pop (Overview) | Newsday comes out with some articles and top tens that aren't too thrilling but hey, this is what mainstream music has wrought these days.  I prefer my music more under the radar than this.

Myrtle Beach Sun News (South Carolina) | The best outdoors books of 2004 - not my thing at all, but it's always nice to see Ted Nugent succeed in the literary world - well, as literary as a redneck gun nut like him can get, anyway.  The man is who he is.

Arizona Republic | "Top CDs bend rules, blend genres."  Oh, let's just fawn over these bands, eh?  Amazing how a man can write such piffle and not bend the rules when it comes to writing a best-of list.  By the way, Jimmy Buffett isn't even close to topping the country charts yet - though his continued existence as a musical entity stymies me.

Fimoculous.com | Some other site is doing what I'm doing and the site's been doing this for longer than I have.  Still, this site probably does it better than I do so I defer to Fimoculous' link-finding abilities.  Wonder if I'll show up on this site's trackbacks list.

Seattle Times | Tom Scanlon wonders if Death Cab For Cutie will blow up like Modest Mouse did.  You know they will, the band's only been overhyped for more than half a decade.  Why people think it's all sweetness and light for a local band to make it big I don't know.  Seattle's overrated as a music city anyway.

The Scotsman | See above, but replace Death Cab For Cutie with Sons & Daughters and/or Snow Patrol, Modest Mouse with Franz Ferdinand and Tom Scanlon with Fiona Shepherd and it's almost the same article as the one I mentioned above.  Music writers tend to move in lockstep with current trends.

CNNmoney/Reuters | Without a doubt, 2004 saw the debut of some great new products, like a cell phone that tracks blood sugar levels and digital music players that show how fast you run.  That's the beginning paragraph of an article about best and worst gadgets of 2004 and I immediately have to question why these two products are considered "great."  At least the Reuters people got it right questioning the existence of Scentstories.  Now that's a terrible product if ever there was one.

Chicago Tribune | Standard best-of from the writer of the Chicago-area top ten list featured in this blog.  I appreciate the effort, and I sense Greg Kot's at least trying to do something different with this list.  Still, it's sad that the only "metal" inclusion on this list is an Isis album.  I've never understood the appeal of Isis - it seems these indie/metal crossover bands file the edges off their music and impress the mainstream music critics when they do it.  Maybe I misunderstand the intentions of these bands.  I'm probably just an asshole, though - assholes like me have to question everything all the time.  It's such an annoying tic.

Canoe/JAM! Showbiz | A surprising nod to a band called The Concretes for JAM! Showbiz's album of the year, but the top-ten list is scuppered when Jon Cook throws up a bunch of crap about Sweden being the home of certain stereotypical things (IKEA, blondes, meatballs.)  Brilliant, dumbass.  Have you not heard of Swedish death metal or anything?  Man, music critics.

TMCnet.com | Finally, I finish this list with some GameSpot nods for Best Games of the Year.  Amazing how the one true surprise hit of the list (Katamari Damacy, WACKY AND JAPANESE YOU KNOW) has been totally made mainstream by now.  Doesn't matter, I don't play video game systems that often anyway.  I just can't see myself wasting thousands of dollars on this stuff.  Then again, I'm an unpopular Luddite by comparison.  Take from that what you will.

Friday, December 24, 2004


No time for chatter today, I've got a load of links to lay upon you.  Check it, bitch.

Orlando Sentinel | Great opening, good #1 choice for best live show of the year, then it devolves into the usual mediocre choices one expects from newspapers like this.  I love the fact that the columnists included Drowning Pool in their worst-of live show choices just because the band's Drowning Pool.  Professional columnists, indeed.  Someone actually got paid to be lazy, amazing.

Broward New Times (Florida) | Rob Harvilla starts the article thusly: Ever find yourself missing the word alternative as a concept, a signifier, a lifestyle?  No I haven't, Harvzilla.  I haven't missed alternative since I grew out of it around 1997-8.  "Alternative" was always a catch-all term for that self-consciously "weird" but still marketable lifestyle/music/etc. that appealed to middle-class people with suburban backgrounds and a fair bit of disposable income.  Now that term is reattached to the gay subculture, as it was and always should be.  I prefer to live in the now.

LA Weekly | Lists, lists, lists from LA Weekly's list issue.  I'd like to slap Greg Burk upside the head, though, for liking Yngwie Malmsteen in 2004.  Why anyone still cares about that wanky guitarsturbation expert is beyond me.  At least the Burk (me funy) is allowed to express his opinion, though, and liking W.A.S.P.'s The Neon God is a more courageous stance than what I've seen from 19 out of every 20 music critics at this point.

TampaBay.com | Bog-standard list with every predictable pick correct and present (aside from Sonic Youth being on this list - that's just wrong.)  I'll admit I have a thing for The Killers' "Somebody Told Me" but these lists could easily be written through a not-too-complicated HTML application.  Just wad some meaningless tosh in with some Javascript that randomizes names like Kanye West and Green Day and you're in business.  I wonder if 75% of the critical mass even exists, really.

The Age (Aust.) | A "Sticky Carpet" run-through of Australia's music scene in 2004.  How sad that the yobs are looking for the "new Jet."  The band's almost destined for one-hit-wonder status here and Australia's looking for the next band to cross over into North American shores.  Jet is destined to become the 2000's version of silverchair, honestly.  As long as it's not an Australian version of Usher that breaks through, though...

Christian Science Monitor | For some reason, I have no problem with this top-ten film list even though it's pretty mainstream by my standards.  Still, I like David Sterritt's writing so I excuse it.  He seems to mean well even though the choices on this list aren't too adventurous.

Slate | I'm not the jazz fan and I don't know who is among the people who read me.  Still, here's an article focusing on jazz, and because someone included a John Zorn album on this list I give the article an okay.  You can't fake a love for one of the more experimental jazz artists on the planet, you just can't.

East Bay Express (California) | Some guy (Harvzilla, again) talks about Jesus and how The Man-God is appropriated by bands for cheap shock value.  That'd be nice aside from Harv being a total fucking idiot about how he writes the article.  Isn't it funny how the man lists PM Dawn's Jesus Wept as a title being of cheap shock value when PM Dawn are one of the more Christian-oriented, spiritual rap duos out there?  D'oh!  Hey, Harvzilla, I write about a music that uses Jesus references for shock value all the time.  Man, I never thought I'd find a worse music critic than Ben Rayner but there he is.

Chicago Tribune | Top ten Chicago indie album rundown.  The choices are from the usual genres that newspapers tend to focus on (rap, indie etc.) but at least the paper focuses on the Chicago scene.  I'm glad to see some papers do their job in promoting their city scenes.  More people should follow this example.

Canoe/Toronto Sun | Rundown of the Toronto club scene circa 2004.  MC5 love comprising one paragraph, good.  Ian Blurton ass-kiss the next, bad.  I fail to see the undying love for Ian Blurton, considering the man's never going to become more than a Canadian indie-scene footnote.  Then again, I'm not part of the crowd that showers him with golden praise so who the hell am I to comment, eh?

all-baseball.com/Will Carroll Presents... | Why the hell would a baseball site do a top-ten music list?  Worse still, why does this list seem exactly the same as most of the other lists I've had time to peruse?  This is the best music anyone could find in 2004?  This is why I'm cynical about the mainstream music scene.  It just seems way too conservative these days.

Chart | "Stupidest music news of 2004," says Chart.  I started URMN because I know it gets far stupider than this.  Man, shouldn't Chart's selections focus on, oh...the independent music scene?  No wonder Exclaim! continues to kick your asses.

Fart again | "Rock royalty" figures and their thoughts on the perfect moments of 2004.  The guy from The Golden Dogs has the best line out of anyone on this list.  It's more universal, see.

Boston Phoenix | Article about Boston's amazing year.  I love the tone of this article - essentially, it's one big and loud "SUCK IT BLOOMBERG!" to New York City.  This is like the journalistic equivalent of the characters Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch used to play a few years ago.  I wish the city would shut up about its inferiority complex to New York.  Detroit has more class than these motherfuckers.

Top40-Charts.com | What kind of name is SPiT LiKE THiS and what sort of honour is it to be #8 in a Ker-fuckin'-rang poll anyway?  Just looking at the band name is enough to make me assume this band sucks - staggered capitals give the quality away.  I bet the band plays rap-metal.

Everett Herald (Wash.) | Top ten in television.  There is absolutely nothing in this list I couldn't see coming from a mile away - especially that love for Desperate Housewives.  That show seems like American Beauty with chicks, and yet it's called original.  I don't get it.

More lists from LA Weekly: One Two | Lawrd, do they do this every year?  If so, good.  Keep it up.  The world needs more honest top ten lists.

Kansas City Star/AP | A list of the best DVD's of the year.  Nothing surprising, granted, and I'm not going to refrain from commenting on this list just because I saw The Station Agent a while ago.  Honestly, DVD's are more worth it for the television releases that are coming out - finally, the really obscure stuff gets the medium it deserves.

The Capital Times (Wisconsin) | Surprisingly, Rob Thomas throws out a few curveballs in this top ten list.  Still, there's nothing surprising about it - there's still that Wilco/Loretta Lynn love.  Tom Waits appears a lot on these lists, which is saying something either about Waits or the people who deify him.

As I come near the end of this article, there are some articles I can't really say much about.  In order to save time and burn off some of the less exciting and/or controversial things Google has linked to, I lazily present these articles to you without comment as these articles are slight and/or I don't have time to read all this shit:
Pulse of the Twin Cities (Minnesota)
Sydney Star-Observer (Australia)

Fort Smith Times-Record (Arkansas) | Article about the best in Christian rock.  I honestly can't comment on this considering I don't follow the Christian rock scene.  I'm such a secular berk.

Bedford Times-Mail (Indiana) | Another look back at 2004 through the eyes of Indiana folk.  Wow, Reverend might be right.  Indiana folk might just be the stupidest folk in America if this article is any indication.

St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota) | Another best-of, here divided into local and non-local sections.  Still, I'd love to throttle whoever thinks 3 Inches of Blood is a good band.  I don't know which band is less deserving of ink, them or The Darkness.  Man, extreme metal's just that much safer from being co-opted these days, isn't it?

Hershey Chronicle (Pennsylvania) | This best-of is better than most considering the man writing this seems to be more punk-friendly than most music critics.  Some of the selections are dodgy but I have to give Todd Thatcher credit for avoiding a lot of the pinfalls most critics make in choosing their albums.  Still, is Green Day's newest really that good?  I'm just curious.

Metro Weekly (Washington, DC) | Another best-of-year nod for Green Day, although George Michael gets the Booby Prize (HA, HIM TOUCH BOOBIES) for worst CD of the year.  Was it really that bad considering this article is from a gay/lesbian weekly?  Well, I keep hearing this awful George Michael song on the radio whenever I'm forced to listen to my local pop station and I thought that single of his was from 1997.  Every time I hear it I sing "I wank in men's stalls" and see toilets in my head.  You fags can have him.  Wham!  Bam!  Thank crap this blog article's over.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Well, I've decided to try some headhunting look for other people to help contribute to parts of the UR "empire" (shit knows I can't do this alone, it drives me crazy.)  So far, I seem to have gained another URMN contributor in Rogue from TheDDT, so I'm curious to know where the hell this development goes.  I'm technically still the only person who ever posts here - man, Reverend's coming out with new shit, too, so what's the story?  Man, I just don't have the charisma for this Interweb thing.  Then again, I'm not Hitler either.  Things even out.

Also, this will now be simulcast on The UR Blog proper - 'cause URMN's popularity is now far beyond the other blog's at this point.  Go figure, huh?  I should've stuck to the Hockey Lockout Compendium even though that did get redundant after four days.  Ah well, at least it helps keep interest in my writing going.  Man, I need to begin an opium habit, I'm such a bint these days.

Technorati has uncovered some other music blogs that are talking about the Top Ten lists of certain newspapers - said blogs can be found here, here, here and here.  I haven't checked the blogs out aside from Each Note Secure, but it helps with my trackbacks.  Each Note Secure has a list of Top xx's, by the way, check them out and laugh at this friggin' music industry for being so callous.

Man, I'm going to have Mike Espen come after me, aren't I?  Screw him, it's my shill.

ChartAttack.com | Lerd, a list of editors' picks from Chart.  Aaron Brophy's the managing editor of the mag, too.  Man, why do I manage to stick my foot in my butt when insulting people?  I'm sure he's a great guy in person, but I still can't stand his reviewing style...anyway, the usual college-rock choices, nothing too shocking or surprising here.  At least an indie-centric magazine recommended indie-centric choices.  That's better than newspapers doing the same thing, though that's saying very little considering how much Chart sucks up to the music industry.  The right tongues are in the right bungs when it comes to that mag...

CNN International One Two Three | "What are the greatest hits' greatest hits?", CNN asks.  To be honest, this is a good list of best-ofs.  There's no bullshit, no filler, no snarky personal opinion involved in this article.  Mark Carroll and Jeff Green just get right to the point and try to cover as many genres as they can.  Hell, they involved The Cramps in this list.  That counts for a recommendation right there.  Good job!

Chart is also trying to get music recommendations from musicians for their readership.  Today the Chart guys interviewed Finger Eleven members James Black and Rich Beddoe as well as singer-songwriter/True North signee Joel Kroeker.  Nice fluff, but please let Finger Eleven die.  I can't believe the dessicated corpse of the Rainbow Butt Monkeys is allowed to continue making music.  I really can't stand that band.

The Japan Times | The usual best-of list you've seen before, but the Japan Times crew seem more fair in their selections as they're not as inundated with North American-based hype as papers are here.  It makes me wonder why none of the musical choices on this list are Japanese, though.  You'd think Japan would hype its own indigenous culture more considering how it's cornered the market on "WACKY SHIT!"  Man, those cultural differences, they're an endless source of novelty aren't they?

Stuff.co.nz | A review of New Zealand hip-hop in 2004 - basically an excuse to kiss the asses of Scribe and Misfits of Science some more, granted, but there are other paragraphs talking about (retch) Band Aid 2004 and Andre 3000.  New Zealand's music industry is worth $146 million a year, by the way, with $5 million in exports.  The trend seems to point to the export industry growing, by the way.  I smell a coming fad.

ObviousNews.com | Usher's four singles were #1 for 27 (according to the article, at least; it might be 28) of the 50 weeks of 2004 that have elapsed so far.  The man's even replaced Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey for consecutive weeks at the top of the Hot 100 chart.  Totals like that are honestly disturbing as hell to contemplate.

Top40-Charts.com | AFI's at it again by telling film fans what it found to be the most significant events of 2004.  To be honest, I agree with all of AFI's choices except for the FCC suddenly becoming a cultural force.  With television growing up as an artistic medium, Howard Stern decamping to Sirius and the Internet being what it is, the FCC is a toothless old biddy by now.  So the FCC's finally catching up to the IBA's model.  Yippie shit.

Radio Sargam (India) | What is the best soundtrack and song of the year?  I don't know, since I'm not Indian and I don't follow Bollywood at all.  Still, I'm including this article because...well, because I'm a gigantic asshole.  If you don't like the article, tough shit.

National Catholic Reporter | The best films of 2004 from the National Catholic Reporter's flim critic (misspelling intentional.)  Most of the selections are of foreign films and my more metal-oriented audience will be pissed off that I'm listing something from THOSE DUM CHRISTAINS YARR HAIL SATAN, but apparently this guy lists what he calls an upbeat movie about female genital mutilation here.  I never thought I'd see those two concepts together, but there you go.

Christian Science Monitor | More non-music lists, this one about books.  See, I know I'm deviating from the point of this blog, and I don't care.  You need to learn your ass some edumacation, y'all.

Cleveland Free Times | Here we go, back on subject.  This is a list of music books, and it really does seem like the field isn't that great this year if Guy Oseary getting masturbatory with a few of his music "friends" is considered one of the best music books out there.  Then again, Oseary's book has that irony factor going for it.  That man's the poster child for all the wunderkinds that find amazing, unbelievable success in their field before they're twenty.  We're all watching men like him for the schadenfreude factor, aren't we?

Georgia Straight (BC) | So sue me, I thought this list was entertaining.  Yeah, the list doesn't go deeper than any other indie-oriented list featured on this site, but at least somebody out there isn't at all impressed with Wilco and Le Tigre's latest missives.  About time someone told it like it is and didn't go out of his/her way to kiss the rectums of so-called sacred cows.  Also, I want to review this Tard band.  Those guys must sound absolutely delightful.  I'd love to see their wheelchair slam dances.

The Scotsman (UK) | The bog paper comes up with its theatre review of the year.  I'll just say I'm listing this because there's a play about Delia Derbyshire and I like the Doctor Who theme.  It's things like this that keep me from writing for the mainstream Canadian metal mags.  I do take a delight in shitting on your expectations.  Did you know I've developed a taste for anime now?  It's true!

AZCentral.com via Billboard | What an utterly cutesy title this article has.  Hey, Melinda Newman, you're not Dr. Seuss so stop aping him.  Anyway, this is a rundown of the year in music, so there's nothing too surprising here.  This might be the worst year for the mainstream music medium since 1990, really - not that I'm too worried, considering my tastes are a little more refined anyway.  People really should start buying independent music more, 'cause some of it's cheap as hell for the quality one gets.  Then again, I would be biased, right?

Kansas City Star via the Philadelphia Inquirer?! | Bog-standard best-of with the usual suspects all present and correct on the printed page.  U2 IS RIPPING OFF JESUS JONES, PEOPLE!  WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THAT?

By the way, I'm being "funny," so don't start with the arguments about how I'm wrong and how U2 is the best band ever.  The band stopped being real after War - not that they weren't fake before, of course, but I just can't stand Bono.  He's like Sting with an attitude - I mean the music Sting, by the way.  The wrestling Sting at least had a few good matches behind him.  Too bad he's a born-again Christian now, he's just pissing on his legacy by joining things like the WXO.

Yes, I'm lapsing into tangents, MOTHER!


New York Post | Not strictly a "best of," but a list of Christmas best-ofs.  I know my centrist ass should hate this article just because it's from the New York Post, but any list that lists both Trans-Siberian Orchestra and John Waters has to be commended - well, it's a step above Photoshopping weasel heads on the bodies of French delegates, anyway.  Don't get me wrong, the Post is a shit paper but sometimes diamonds get squeezed out of lumps of coal y'know?

Wisconsin State Journal | Probably the most honest "best of" list I've seen in the past two days, not because Madison is in the middle of heartland America but because Tom Alesia's making no pretensions to being "hip."  I love how the man brags about Big & Rich opening for a Q106 benefit show.  Funny how adding rap to country becomes reality nine years after Tommy Davidson jokes about it on MadTV.  Art seems to parody sketch comedies an awful lot sometimes.

Monterey Herald (California) via AP | Nekesa Mumbi Moody throws out a bit o' filler for the slack-jawed yokels out there.  Pretty much as insignificant an article as one would expect from the wire services, really.

Stuff.co.nz | Standard best-of from New Zealand, but it's pretty good and the sole overrated album on the list isn't enough to make me hurl insults at it.  December 19 was a good day for decent music articles, to be honest - it was like the music critics were doing their job instead of jumping on bandwagons or whatever the hell it is they do with their time.  Aside from reviewing music, of course - that must take, what, 2/3 of their available time?

San Jose Mercury News | Local best-of from San Jose.  There's something for everyone - a lot of bands to check out here...even if the occasional Machine Head and Green Day choices seem to show up on this list.  They're blips on the radar, though, so ignore at will.  With hyperlinks!

The Chattanoogan (Tennessee) | Mainstream, mainstream, mainstream.  Honestly, the only thing worse than a best-of compiled by an indie-centric pop critic is a best-of with the usual suspects all present and correct.  There has to be a better choice for a #1 album than motherfucking Usher's Confessions.  The man does not need to become 0.01% richer through this.

Financial Times Pop World Jazz Classical | Financial Times comes through with a load of selections.  I have nothing to say about the world, jazz and classical lists since they aren't in my field of expertise, but the pop list is the standard mainstream-oriented dross that you've seen fifteen hundred times already.  I know this is from a paper aimed at a mass audience, but saying Franz Ferdinand and U2 came up with the best albums of the year is not an adventurous thing to say considering the miles of blanket coverage these bands get already.  Thumbs down, Ludovic Hunter-Tilney.

Maclean's via AP | It's Nekesa Mumbi Moody (lawrd, what a name to be stuck with - all African until the Moody whitens it up) at it again, recommending pretty much the same choices one would expect.  Usher grabs another top spot here, adding to the list of accolades this man rarely needs at this point.  Give the woman(?) half a point for her focus on the black rock scene, but it just seems an insult that Danger Mouse appears on this Top 10 at all.  Wow, a mash-up artist that takes a rapper and a backing track from The Beatles and creates a new "album" from it?  Shit, Jay-Z using the Annie soundtrack as a backdrop for one of his missives was bad enough.

San Francisco Chronicle | A best-of from Derk Richardson, who seems too much an old hippie for my tastes but puts out a valid best-of here.  I don't understand why he hypes up Drag City so much here, considering the label's been around for something like ten years or so.  Still, Mr. Richardson identifies Anti-/Epitaph as a "boutique label" so he seems to understand what he's talking about.  About time I saw someone identify the biggest punk label going for what it is.

The Age (Australia) | I like this man's style.  Half of this article is about him talking about what it's like to be a critic, which may seem self-serving but dammit, Shaun Carney speaks the truth.  Still, he's not the perfect music critic - after all, he recommended Lambchop, an act that has had its share of accolades and write-ups in independent media.  Still, at least the man was sincere in his recommendation, which accounts for more in my mind than anything else I expect from a music critic.  What is this Triple J, though?  Dear crap, Jeff Jarrett doesn't own a radio station in Australia does he?

Yes, that's an in-joke.  No, you won't get it.

London Telegraph | Another mainstream (for Britain, anyway - which means we Yanks and moosefuckers'll hear about these bands in about five weeks) best-of list.  After all, a Mercury Prize nomination automatically makes people assume an album is hot shit there, regardless of whether or not the band being nominated actually deserves the nod or not.  That prize is like a Grammy with actual "street cred."  We'll all be sick of hearing the name Zutons by April 2005 here.  Mark my words.

IFCtv.com | IFC's top films of 2004 - because it's from the Independent Film Channel the selections won't be that independent and most of the films here have mainstream distribution anyway.  Then again, what would one expect from furshlugginer Rainbow Media, anyway?  Major cable consortiums should never lay claim to supporting "independent film," but what do I know.

Guardian Unlimited (UK) | Almost indisputably the best, most insightful article out of the sixteen I've linked to here, but that's because The Guardian has a good writing staff that doesn't talk down to the reader.  Also, they seem to talk about what people might actually care about in this article, like the impending death of Top of the Pops.

I've seen the TOTP revamp, by the way.  After seeing it, I'm not surprised the show's on the death of being cancelled.  Granted, it's not like the show hasn't been threatened with cancellation before so I expect it'll be around until sometime around 2015.  Not that I watch BBC Kids, granted, but shit is shit.  What else can I say?


It's that time again (okay, it isn't that time again; I'm pulling clichéd phrases out of my ass - they hurt coming out of there, but that's not the point.)  It's time to go through the 2004 best-of lists, laugh at the lack of initiative coming out of most music critics, and slag the people for being so controlled by common music trends.  Personally, I hate best-of lists - after a while the choices get to become so predictable one could set a watch by them - U2?  Modest Mouse?  Wow, that's "out of the box" thinking - way to push the envelope, kick it up a notch and other managerial doublespeak.

Anyway, here's a little something to start off the compendium.  Heh, maybe it won't become as predictable as the hockey compendium was - I doubt it, though.  Music critics tend to be, ya know, conservative and too mainstream-oriented to affect real change.  Gotta keep the capitalist machine running now 'cause Modest Mouse won't sell themselves, will they?  The music scene's all about shifting units anyway, not something crazy like...oh, say, art.  Fuck that myth right into the ground.

AZCentral.com - lawrd, here we go: that mix of critically-loved favourites and bands excessively hyped about since when they damn near formed.  Honestly, Franz Ferdinand?  The Libertines?  U2?  Honestly, I know this guy is an indie/college-chart-following nonce just by looking at his tastes in music.  About the only surprise to me is the inclusion of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists on this list (and maybe MF Doom, but he's been given so much press by alt-hip-hop fans that they damn near put him on a pedestal.)  Other than that, yer basic trend-oriented "top-ten" list.  There's nothing here that you won't see anywhere else.

Las Vegas Mercury - instead of one critic I'd like to slap upside the head, there are five.  The "metal" guy, not surprisingly, actually likes the same hardcore/grind crossover names I've seen other "metal" critics like for at least three years (Neurosis, Pig Destroyer, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon.)  The sad thing about this list is the fact that some of the music critics start off well, focusing on bands that haven't been overexposed by the alt-crit media.  They then degenerate into that unquestioning love of The Hives, Arcade Fire and Eagles of motherfucking Death Metal.  I'm not expecting a guy to like Iron Bitchface and Loretta Lynn on the same list, but could we change the formula up a little?  Thanks.

SPIN! - Urg.  There's nothing I'd rather do than buy albums just because some faceless berk from Spin thinks they're cool - Converge?  Shit, could people stop recommending this band?  I'm not saying they're a bad band, but the name is like one of the first one hears when getting into metal and/or hardcore music.  The name's become a virtual catchword of poseurism.  Yes, I'm inventing words, MOTHER.

The Olympian (Olympia, Washington) - early contender for the Ultimate Mark Award for Believing The Hype goes to Matt Dorison for this series of paragraphs:

Across the board, 2004 was a fascinating year for music, a bona fide year of the underdog.

Many of the bands that serious independent rock fans have been hoping would make it big -- such as Modest Mouse, Death Cab For Cutie and The Shins -- finally did, thanks to exposure on shows such as "The O.C.," which nearly single-handedly spawned (or respawned) mainstream America's fascination with everything "indie."

But what indie kids have known all along is that the real cache of independent rock wasn't so much that mainstream America didn't get it, but instead that "corporate America" could no longer dictate what music people listen to.

What a load of shit - "indie" music is one of the most corporate things going.  It gets constantly fêted by almost every mainstream newspaper in North America, is considered to do no wrong, has an utterly mainstream fanbase and has its cache of established labels that are owned or distributed by major labels or, in some cases, national independent distributors.  So it's finally established and entrenched itself on an international level - fine, I can handle that.  Just don't tell me Neko Case and Modest Mouse haven't been shoved into the limelight since 1999, because those names have been given enough press to choke the hype pipeline.  Shit, I'd love to see one of these rock-crit guys give this much press to their own scenes.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Tune in tomorrow when I give Eminem's "Mosh" a 10/10 for existing.  I'm not a bitter man who hates everything indie, by the way.  I just can't stand the duplicity of the North American mainstream rock-crit scene.  Gives me gas.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Lately I've been sidling myself into other avenues besides music and it seems to come to my attention that I have too much stuff these days, so I've decided to get rid of a ton of CD's that I no longer listen to.  I'm quite serious about this as I have about 300-400 CD's in my collection and I just can't keep them all anymore.  If anyone's interested in buying some CD's from me over the next few months, let me know as I'm going to try to sell them on Ebay or other avenues.  I'm going to make a long list of what I'm getting rid of later for The UR Blog/URMN, but most of the pieces of music I own are up for grabs.  Considering this stuff has accumulated since 1999, I really want to make room for other things and possibly pass things on to other people.

Anyway, more news as I pass it along.  Send me an email, perhaps, telling me what you're looking for.  I don't have much room for CD's anymore and I'm doing this as a Christmas thing.  Hopefully there'll be some interest in this.

Friday, December 10, 2004



Good LORD, that is one of the most garish ads I have ever seen. This came from one of those endless spam mails that try to get you to order Cialis from some dot-info site or some jumble of random letters that passes for a domain name like ruhuh.qowpertiur.ws. There isn't really anything notable about the selling of Cialis from spam mailers, but those fucking orange highlights on a monochrome picture and the use of the most annoying font ever is really, really pushing it. Still, this thing inspired me to come up with my own Cialis ad, seen here.


Pretty good, huh? Don't forget to credit me by linking to my Cialis site. You'll be glad you did.