Songs for Peace: LxListening

songs-for-peace

Frankly, 2016 has been an awful year. It has felt like every news cycle brings a new tragedy: black lives being taken from police brutality in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, police being shot in Dallas, and ISIS attacks in Baghdad, Istanbul, Orlando, Brussels, and San Bernadino. Fear, hatred, and anger is the language of the day and in the U.S. Election and Brexit.  Voices of ignorance and arrogance drown out those of love, courage, and unity.

While there is still certainly plenty of reason for protest and fighting for justice, sometimes we all just deeply long for peace and for all the madness to end. Music can bring a sense of healing and peace of mind like nothing else.

These for the most part aren’t anti-war or protest songs (we’ve been there before), but these are songs pointing to a brighter future, plain and simple. So for myself and anyone who needs a little bit of hope, here are my favorite songs for peace.

Listen on Apple Music

Listen on Spotify

 

Songs for Peace: LxListening

The 10 Best SNL Musical Performances

LxL_TopTenThursdays_02_900x300SNL_season_40_title_card

This weekend, Saturday Night Live will celebrate its 40th season with a big 3-hour anniversary special (strange enough on Sunday), featuring legendary cast members like Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, and Will Ferrell in addition to famous hosts and musical acts like John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney and more. In its 40 years, Saturday Night Live has been the gold standard in comedy, but has also produced its fair share of legendary performances mirroring some of the most important moments in music history. From the birth of grunge to helping catapult Kanye into a megastar, Saturday Night Live has been home to some of the greatest live music performances. So here are our 10 favorite performances.
Continue reading “The 10 Best SNL Musical Performances”

The 10 Best SNL Musical Performances

The 10 Worst Grammy Offenses – or How We Learned to Loathe the Grammys and Love Music Again

LxL_TopTenThursdays_02_900x300

Grammys are worthless

Editor’s Note: With the Grammys coming up Sunday, we thought it best to re-run our favorite list about the consistently terrible award show.

 

It’s no secret, or even a matter of opinion at this point. It’s just a cold hard fact. The Grammys suck. Everyone knows and understands this, yet somehow, they still exist. Not only do they exist, but they exist on a larger than life scale. Yet not once have I ever heard someone in real life or media claim that the Grammys have ever held any sort of relevance in the music world … Ok, I take that back … I DO remember hearing hipsters last year claiming that Arcade Fire was “breaking barriers” and “proving something for indie musicians” when they won that worthless hunk of fake gold for whatever bull-spit category they won it for. In contrast, I also remember hearing Nickelback fans rant and start a blogspot called “Who the F*$k is Arcade Fire”. I think it’s fair to say that neither of these stereotypes should represent music anyways. Anyone who cares about music realizes that Grammys hold as much value as my MC Hammers savings account. It’s quite literally a song and dance put on by the record companies to maximize profit in an industry that isn’t very good at making profits anymore. So they do what they can, and exploit what songs made money in television commercials that year, and pray that people still think their input is worth anything.
Continue reading “The 10 Worst Grammy Offenses – or How We Learned to Loathe the Grammys and Love Music Again”

The 10 Worst Grammy Offenses – or How We Learned to Loathe the Grammys and Love Music Again

Elvis Costello & The Roots Review: Wise Up Ghost

Elvis Costello and The Roots
Wise Up Ghost
Elvis Costello and The Roots, wise up ghost, Album Cover

Last year we all fell in love with the collaboration efforts of an old legend and a young genius, when David Byrne teamed up with St. Vincent to release Love This Giant. It was one of the better collaboration albums in recent years, and one my favorites of 2012. This year, we are gifted another equally jarring, but equally great combo with the release of Wise Up Ghost, a collaboration between Elvis Costello and The Roots. This is a collaboration that I don’t think many people would have ever predicted would happen, but one that is easy to fall in love with. After meeting each other on the set of Jimmy Fallon, the beloved legend and the hip hopsters from Philly decided to embark on a series of recording sessions, that after a full year of efforts will be released tomorrow. And if you knew what was good for your ears, mind and soul, you would not hesitate to acquire a copy.
Continue reading “Elvis Costello & The Roots Review: Wise Up Ghost”

Elvis Costello & The Roots Review: Wise Up Ghost

Top Ten Thursday: Album Three Peats

Top Ten Three Consecutive Great Albums

 

The great Chicago music podcast “Sound Opinions” had a really good baseball themed episode about music “Grand Slams”, where a band released four excellent albums in a row. While we won’t rip them off directly, since it’s the basketball playoffs, 2/3rds of LxL is in Chicago, and MJ won 2 three-peats, we thought we would give to you the best three-peats to start a career, or the top ten artists who started their career with three great-to-perfect albums. Not to mention Vampire Weekend just released their third and best album, making them a wonderful candidate for this three-peat list. So here we go.

 

10. TV On the Radio

The Albums: Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, Return to Cookie Mountain, Dear Science
TV On the Radio, Album, cover art, dear science, cookie mountain, youth
In my opinion, the Brooklyn noise-rockers got severely underrated at 10. TV On The Radio released three of the best albums of the aughts, albums that howled, swooned, burned, and celebrated in front of their apocalyptic sound.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Album Three Peats”

Top Ten Thursday: Album Three Peats

Top Ten Thursday: Worst Grammy Offenses – or How We Learned to Loathe the Grammys and Love Music Again

Grammys are worthless

It’s no secret, or even a matter of opinion at this point. It’s just a cold hard fact. The Grammys suck. Everyone knows and understands this, yet somehow, they still exist. Not only do they exist, but they exist on a larger than life scale. Yet not once have I ever heard someone in real life or media claim that the Grammys have ever held any sort of relevance in the music world … Ok, I take that back … I DO remember hearing hipsters last year claiming that Arcade Fire was “breaking barriers” and “proving something for indie musicians” when they won that worthless hunk of fake gold for whatever bull-spit category they won it for. In contrast, I also remember hearing Nickelback fans rant and start a blogspot called “Who the F*$k is Arcade Fire”. I think it’s fair to say that neither of these stereotypes should represent music anyways. Anyone who cares about music realizes that Grammys hold as much value as my MC Hammers savings account. It’s quite literally a song and dance put on by the record companies to maximize profit in an industry that isn’t very good at making profits anymore. So they do what they can, and exploit what songs made money in television commercials that year, and pray that people still think their input is worth anything.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Worst Grammy Offenses – or How We Learned to Loathe the Grammys and Love Music Again”

Top Ten Thursday: Worst Grammy Offenses – or How We Learned to Loathe the Grammys and Love Music Again

Craig Finn Review: Clear Heart Full Eyes

Craig Finn

Clear Heart Full Eyes

Craig Finn's Clear Heart Full Eyes Album Cover

So you caught me. I’m actually reviewing this album because I love the title so much since the wife and I have been watching heavy doses of Friday Night Lights. Even though I really love a couple Hold Steady albums (the primary band that Craig Finn reigns from), their last couple albums didn’t exactly strike excitement out of me as Craig Finn’s sing-talk can wear on you over time. For those who don’t know, The Hold Steady are hailed by some as “The Best Bar Band in America”, as their brand of guitar-driven classic rock mixed with Tad Kubler, Craig Finn, and Franz Nicolay’s balls-to-the-wall playing style makes for a really fun live show. Finn in a very Springsteen-ian way, interweaves stories of troubled boys and girls in America (a la the album, Boys and Girls in America), with lines of great insight and some of great humor.  This makes for an odd but alluring mix of straight-forward rock mixed with complex and often poetic story-telling.
Continue reading “Craig Finn Review: Clear Heart Full Eyes”

Craig Finn Review: Clear Heart Full Eyes