Top Ten Thursday: Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows

janet jackson top pic

Super Bowl halftime shows have had a pretty wide range over the years; starting out with mostly college marching bands and currently sometimes ending up in huge controversy (like the above or M.I.A. last year).  For the past twenty years or so, though, the halftime show has settled into two categories for the most part:  aging rock star or in-the-moment pop sensations.  There just hasn’t been a lot of imagination.  I truly believe, and so do Todd and Wes deep down even though they won’t admit it, the combination of Aerosmith, N’Sync, and Nelly was pretty electric, and a legitimate combination of current and aging talents.  Alas, they didn’t make the list.  Neither did The Who (decrepit), Madonna (mummified), or the Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting combination (puzzling).  In fact, this list is not nearly as strong as we would have expected, so I ripped to some degree on several acts.  Enjoy, and as always let us know what you think in the comments.

10. 2006 – The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones Super Bowl

After the 2004 Janet Jackson debacle (blessing?), the NFL decided to trot out a lot of very “safe” acts for some time.  Hence, a bunch of old bags of bones (stones?) took the stage in 2006 and sounded much smaller than the event demands.  As a consolation, the stage is phenomenal, and Keith Richards puppet-master continues to get paid for his superb work.
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Top Ten Thursday: Best Super Bowl Halftime Shows

Foxygen Review: We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Foxygen
We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, album cover art

After a barrage of EP’s and one full length album (that was released less than a year ago mind you), Foxygen was seemingly just another good garage/indie band that for the most part, I thought would perpetually be flying under the radar. Well with their sophomore effort We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic that was just released last week, they quickly proved that they offer much more than the “under-the-rader” stigma I tagged them with. Uponst my ears hearing the first few sounds of this wistful album, my brain responded by telling me that I must be listening to a Rolling Stones or Beatles psychedelic era recording. The opening track, “In The Darkness” perfectly collides the two worlds of Beatles-esque harmonies and pop vibes with the gritty garage-rock sound of the early Stones. And strap yourself in, because this trip down memory lane certainly doesn’t end there.

Beatles, John Lennon and The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger
^My brains portrayal of a behind the scenes photo of Foxygen in the recording studio.

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Foxygen Review: We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Local Natives Review: Hummingbird

Local Natives

Hummingbird

Local Natives Hummingbird album cover art

Following their 2011 debut Gorilla Manor, Local Natives ranked high on what I would call the breakout-ability scale. On their debut, the Los Angeles indie rock band combined elements from three other indie rock phenoms making a potent recipe for indie rock success. They mixed the orchestrated anthem rock of Arcade Fire, the woodsy folk harmonies of Fleet Foxes, and the feverish Afro-pop energy of Vampire Weekend to make for one of the most infectious albums of the year. Now most bands when faced with a successful debut album, usually take the ingredients of the first album, double the recipe, and end up with a second album that either breaks them big or makes for mixed results. Instead, the Local Natives have made something very different in Hummingbird, which is instead the album the band wanted to make: a quiet, contemplative, and sparkling effort, in response to two years following the band’s debut filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
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Local Natives Review: Hummingbird

How The Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘N’ Roll Review

How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘N’ Roll

Elijah Wald

How The Beatles Destroyed Rock 'N' Roll book review

I realize that LxL doesn’t ordinarily fashion itself as a book club, but extremely good books – and specifically extremely good music books – require our attention. Believe it or not, this isn’t our first book review, as Austin praised Songs of Ice and Fire series about a year ago, the series that has spawned the hugely popular Game of Thrones on HBO. Well, enough of this justification, and on to the review.
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How The Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘N’ Roll Review

LxListening: 5 Podcasts to Pass the Time

podcasts

Without a computer, and an influx of new music, I have been spending most of my “listening” time checking out podcasts to pass the time in the car and at work.  I’ve tried a few music related podcasts, but to be completely honest, I would rather call Wes or Todd for music recommendations than listen to some windbag with a microphone clue me in.  In lieu of music-related podcasts, I have trended more towards comedy podcasts, and have found quite a few that entertain.  Here are five that are more than worth a listen, in order of how much I enjoy them.

5.  The Nerdist with Chris Hardwick

The+Nerdist+tumblr_lioacaC6Ej1qzb1rlo1_400

The Nerdist probably landed the biggest “pull” of 2012 by getting Tom Hanks to agree to do a podcast.  Chris Hardwick does a good job of interviewing his guests, keeping things light, and focusing on the nerdier aspects of each guest.  Hardwick also does probably the best job of any host on this list of bringing in a large range of guests, from comedians to actors to directors.  If you want t hear Ron Perlman talk on his love of Frank Sinatra karaoke or Timothy Olyphant divulge about his early days as a stand-up comic, check out The Nerdist.
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LxListening: 5 Podcasts to Pass the Time

Top Ten Thursday: Best Winter Songs

Top 10 Best Winter Songs

Not sure where your neck of the woods is, but where I am (the Chicago area), it got mighty frigid this week. So in honor of our prickly cold weather, we give you the best songs for this time of year, our favorite winter songs. In evaluating these songs, much like how we evaluated  our top ten albums of winter last year, we tried to find the ten songs that best encapsulate the look, feel, and sound of the season; not just our ten favorite songs that just so happened to mention winter. So without further ado, the ten best songs for this frisky weather.
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Top Ten Thursday: Best Winter Songs

Retro Review: Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor

Titus Andronicus

The Monitor

Titus andronicus, the monitor, album, cover, art

I am without a computer for the short term, and therefore am unable to download new music.  So, from me, you will get retro reviews and other posts that don’t require me having the pulse on all the new releases.  Hopefully, in the meantime, you can stick with me and enjoy what I have to offer.  My first offering along these lines is Titus’ Andronicus’ 2010 masterstroke The Monitor, which I admittedly never came to fully appreciate until the release of their 2012 album, Local Business.  In preparation for the release of Local Business, I decided I needed to dig back into The Monitor as research.  What I found was at that particular point in my life, The Monitor struck a very different chord with me than it did in 2010.  In short, with all the the great releases of 2012 and all the great pre-2012 music in my iTunes library, The Monitor easily my most listened to album of 2012.
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Retro Review: Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor