Unrescuable Schizo feature: Check out our FAVORITE 30 SONGS OF THE 2000S.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Live blogging the 2010 Grammy Awards and Pre-Telecast

As I do every year, I'll be live blogging the Grammy Awards tonight - both the Grammys themselves and the non-televised three-hour pre-telecast in the afternoon.

The pre-telecast is fun because it's where 99 of the 109 Grammy Awards will be presented, including some of the big categories, plus all those obscure categories like Best Liner Notes.

Click the links below for my live blogs of both events.

Live Blogging the 2010 Grammy Awards Main Show

Live Blogging the 2010 Grammy Awards Pre-Show

Also see my Complete 2010 Grammy Awards coverage, with more than 40 feature articles, predictions, and artist profiles.

My prediction? Taylor Swift wins each of the big three awards and pockets five awards total, tying the record for most Grammys won by a female in one night. But the Dave Matthews Band and Kings of Leon have a good shot to be spoilers in the big categories.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Musician tweet of the week: Franz Nicolay

Franz Nicolay, the man with the moustache in the Hold Steady, has left the group after five years. After posting the news on his blog this week, he tweeted the following:

It's like I died, but still get to read the obituaries.

We love Franz. His dynamic keys and on-stage showmanship were some of the best things about the Hold Steady. He'll continue to release solo projects and will probably collaborate with other bands as he's done in the past.

We almost interviewed Franz a few years back but couldn't quite work it out. Perhaps we'll gave that another shot soon.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Another listen: Crushin' by the Fat Boys

I've been unearthing some good stuff on YouTube lately.

Here's a long-lost album track from The Fat Boys. It's the title track from their 1987 album Crushin', and I maintain it's one of the most overlooked rap tracks of the '80s.

Turn your volume ALL THE WAY UP and play it below.

Video clip: Fat Boys - Crushin'

Friday, January 22, 2010

Musician tweet of the week: John Mayer

John Mayer offered a thoughtful tweet on Friday night after the Haiti benefit program:

Don't judge the artists who played tonight with your American Idol brain. They all gave their talent and time.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Musician tweet of the week: Jesse Johnson

He's one of the members of Motion City Soundtrack. This week he retweeted someone else's post, which I find to be the most appropriate tweet anyone made all week:

Jay Leno is a piece of shit.

Who could disagree at this point?


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rodrigo y Gabriela coming to the Byham

I rarely post show announcements, but this one has me giddy: Rodrigo y Gabriela are coming to the Byham Theater on March 2. A presale begins at pgharts.org on January 12. Tickets are pricey - $42.50.

This could well end up being the best concert of 2010 in the city of Pittsburgh. If you don't know who they are, you best get yourself educated!

Video: Rodrigo y Gabriela on Letterman

Friday, January 8, 2010

Musician tweet of the week: Randy Jackson

Big controversy this week when Randy Jackson of American Idol tweeted the following:

Who should win album of the year?? Gaga, Beyonce, Taylor swift, black eye peas or Dave matthews band!! help me!! c'mon

And later:

alright guys... thanks for your help... gotta get back to work ... ya all are amazing!!! HOLLA, ONE!

As Billboard reported, Grammy rules ban seeking outside opinions when it comes to voting, so Jackson's tweets raised some eyebrows. Enough so that the L.A. Times reported a Jackson spokesperson has now denied the tweets were his, claiming instead they came from one of Jackson's assistants.


Some of the tweets in question have been removed, but others remain.


Monday, January 4, 2010

My top 10 CDs of 2009

I've been busy with other things lately (like covering the Grammys), but at long last, here's the ranking of my ten favorite albums of 2009. It looks like a lot of bloggers' lists, with a couple of notable exceptions.

Dishonorable mention goes to Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear, the most overrated album of the year. I'm convinced the praise for that record is mainly a case of bloggers trying to look cool. "Two Weeks" might be the most perfect pop song of 2009, but the rest is rubbish.

10 Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Kid Cudi
"Pursuit of Happiness" is the track that really captured my attention - the idea of recording a psych-rap song with MGMT and Ratatat is something most rappers wouldn't even think of. "Day 'N' Nite" and "Make Her Say" - featuring a Lady Gaga sample - show that Kid Cudi is creative and talented enough to be around for a while.
Essential tracks: Pursuit of Happiness, Day 'N' Nite
Video link:
Day 'N' Nite

9 Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix
It's the favorite band of commercial music directors!
Essential tracks: 1901, Lisztomania
Video link:

8 Raditude, Weezer
I always laugh when people complain that Weezer has gone too pop or too mainstream. Weezer has always been about catchy pop songs. What do you call "Buddy Holly"? Raditude has some of the most inventive, creative songs Rivers Cuomo has ever written, including an Indian-flavored number and that infamous duet with Lil Wayne, "Can't Stop Partying." As Rivers once said, if you don't like it, you can shove it. But you don't like it - you love it.
Essential tracks: I Want You To, Can't Stop Partying
Video link:
(If You're Wondering if I Want You To) I Want You To, Weezer

7 Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective
I've never seen a year where literally every single critics year-end album list has the exact same #1 choice - this one. It's intriguingly quirky - definitely a good record.
Essential tracks: My Girls, Summertime Clothes
Video link: My Girls

6 Sainthood, Tegan and Sara
Aside from one track where it feels like they're channeling Paramore too heavily ("Hell"), the twins made their most listenable album with Sainthood. The album contains some of the first songs they've ever written together; in the past, they each wrote their own material.
Essential tracks: Arrow, Alligator
Video link: Hell (on Conan O'Brien)

5 It's Blitz!, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Finally, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs release a record I can enjoy the whole way through. "Heads Will Roll" might be my favorite track of 2009 - it's nice to see a rock band unafraid to embrace dance music. Even the ballads are good this time around - "Skeletons" is exquisite.
Essential tracks: Heads Will Roll, Skeletons
Video link: Heads Will Roll

4 11:11, Rodrigo y Gabriela
It was only a couple weeks ago I found out that this amazing instrumental acoustic guitar duo released a new record in September. One listen and I was hooked. 11:11 is a tribute record - each song is dedicated to a particular artist, with the songs written to match the style of the artists. "Buster Voodoo" is the Jimi Hendrix tribute; there are also odes to Santana, Pink Floyd, and Dimebag Darrell.
Essential tracks: Atman, Buster Voodoo
Video link: Buster Voodoo (live on Craig Ferguson)

3 Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King, Dave Matthews Band
I may have been the only one not surprised when this was announced as an Album of the Year nominee at the Grammys. Actually, I was a little upset, because the Grammys stole my thunder. Big Whiskey was a brilliant return to form by one of the world's best rock bands. "Shake Me Like a Monkey" was one of their most lively tracks in years.
Essential tracks: Shake Me Like a Monkey, Baby Blue
Video link: You & Me

2 The Fame Monster (Deluxe), Lady Gaga
2009 will forever be known as the year of Lady Gaga, and with good reason. No one else could match her five monster hit singles - "Just Dance," "Poker Face," "LoveGame," "Paparazzi," and "Bad Romance." I'm choosing the deluxe edition of The Fame Monster, which also includes the new 8-song EP containing "Bad Romance," "Speechless" and "Telephone" with Beyonce.
Essential tracks: Paparazzi, Bad Romance
Video link: Bad Romance

1 Grand, Matt and Kim
Twenty-nine minutes of bliss. Spunky, ebullient, carefree... I run out of adjectives to describe the pure fun of the duo's music. Matt & Kim are my choice for 2009 Artist of the Year (that's right... deal with it, Lady Gaga.)
Essential tracks: Daylight, Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare
Video link: Lessons Learned

Other favorites:
Bitte Orca
, Dirty Projectors
The Blueprint 3, Jay-Z
Hot Mess, Cobra Starship
Album, Girls
Tarot Sport, Fuck Buttons
I and You and Love, Avett Brothers

Friday, January 1, 2010

January Pittsburgh concerts

1/23 Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings @ Diesel

Sharon Jones bring sassy old-school soul to the South Side. You'll be as impressed by Sharon's personality as you are by her great pipes. When I saw her a couple years back, she brought a young man onstage and taught him some dance moves to please his woman. It was a funny, memorable moment. This could be one of the best concerts in Pittsburgh all year.

1/31 Motion City Soundtrack & Set Your Goals @ Mr. Small's

Motion City Soundtrack is one of the better modern-day emo acts, even if they don't receive the same amount of press coverage as some of the other bands. They just keep plugging away with a devoted fan base and excellent songs like "This is for Real" and "Even If It Kills Me."

1/31 moe. at Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead
A jam band at Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead? We'll see how this works out. My last moe. experience was a few years back at the WYEP fest on the North Shore and they delivered a satisfying show.

Others to keep in mind:
1/3 Little Feat @ Rex Theater
1/7 Elliot Yamin @ Altar Bar
1/8 Eddie Ifft @ Rex Theater
1/13 Sarah Borges @ Thunderbird Cafe
1/16 Bear in Heaven @ Brillobox
1/22 Jim Brickman @ Benedum Center
1/25 Brandi Carlile @ Mr. Small's
1/26 Theory of a Deadman @ Club Zoo