The 10 Best Summer Albums

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Beach Boys Summer Fun

Editor’s Note: This list was originally published in 2012, but works for any hot day, regardless of year.

So here we are, deep into this relentlessly hot and sticky summer of 2012, and hopefully you are enjoying it as much as we are. It’s the time of the year for swimming pools and popsicles, baseball and biking, and sweating your ass off not matter what, no matter where. Thus we bring you our favorite albums to accompany such occasions. What makes a summer album you ask? In our opinion it is somewhat upbeat, but not overly so. Something that you can groove too whether you’re too hot to do so or not. Since I was a young lad, Austin was only knee high to a grasshopper, and Wes was just a Pooh-cub scrounging for honey, there have always been these certain songs, artist, and albums that have always left their impression on our young summers. So we decided to list out some of our favorites. Making a particularly strong appearance are some favorites from the nineties. We aren’t really sure why, but I suppose some nineties artist just really know how to set the tone for a particular summer mood. Please feel free to tell us what does it for you …
Continue reading “The 10 Best Summer Albums”

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Artist Profile: Benjamin Booker

benjamin bookerWanting to focus the entirety of my Jack White show review on, you guessed it, Jack White, I decided to forgo even mentioning opener Benjamin Booker.  This dude is straight legit.  I’m not really going to give much of an in depth profile here, as all my insight would be straight plagiarism from other people’s articles.  But I would like to give you a little insight into an artist that could be poised to break out (if you don’t already consider opening for Jack White “breaking out”).
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Kings of Leon Review Royale: Mechanical Bull

Kings of Leon

Mechanical Bull

Kings of Leon Mechanical Bull album cover art

Wes’ Take

Southern rock family Kings of Leon was once a band loved and cherished by all three of us at LxL, but the band spoiled quickly following their commercial breakout Only By The Night, even landing our #4 slot on our Bands Breaking Bad list. Their last album Come Around Sundown was a full-on nosedive, and now they return for the first time in 3 years with Mechanical Bull, an album that marks a bit of a return to their original driving rock ‘n’ roll sound, but with middling songs and a posture as if the band is going through the motions.
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Top Ten Thursday: Bands Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad Transformation for Bands

While we may not be a TV blog, we still love and adore Breaking Bad, the suspenseful AMC drama that returns this Sunday for the final half of its last season. For those who haven’t seen the show, the concept is essentially to take a squeaky clean good guy and moment by moment, slowly turn him into a criminal maniac: taking Mr. Chips and turning him into Scarface. So we thought which musicians have followed a similar transformation from good to bad, but when we mean bad, we don’t mean evil: we mean just plain crappy. So without further ado, here are our top ten bands that broke bad.
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Top Ten Thursday: Best Artists of the Aughts (2000-2009)

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This was a particularly tough list to put together.  On average, order one of our Top Ten lists takes about 45 minutes.  Over an hour and a half into our last meeting, we still only had the top six ironed out for this one.  We ended up just individually ranking the final eight candidates individually, and normalizing the results to select the final four on the list.  It worked out though, and I didn’t even have to swan dive off my balcony, as I threatened several times throughout the meeting.

So let me tell you a little bit about our decision making process in selecting the top ten artists of the first decade of the new millennium.  It was about as simple as weighing quantity and quality.  To some degree, we also factored in the amount of lackluster material an artist had working against them.  In the end, ever artist in the ten had at least three good to great albums during the decade.  Painfully, M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem, and a few others didn’t have the consistent presence throughout the entire decade like most others on here and missed out.  Also, great artists like Beck, Ryan Adams, Spoon, and Bright Eyes just missed out because while they had the quantity, their highs just weren’t quite as high as others on the list.

So there you have it.  Enjoy the read, and as always let us know who me missed, left off, or mistakenly included.

10.  The Strokes

the strokes, full band pic

The Strokes were one of those rare bands where the product lived up to all the hype preceding them.  They produced some refreshingly honest pop music that ushered a whole new group of fans into “indie” music.  Beneath the surface of The Strokes instantly accessible music were simple but perfect harmonies, taking them beyond what was expected of an early-20’s rock outfit in the early 2000’s.
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LxListening: A Total Cluster Cuss

serious man, movie, screen grab, coen brothers

Sometimes our LxListening segment will have a certain theme or tone … this week I got nothing. Nothing but a cluster cuss of great tracks that is. Some have yet to be released, some have just been released, and some have been released for a long time. In any case, they are all fantastic, and have found their way into very heavy rotation in my playlist lately, and to be honest some of these tracks won’t be leaving that playlist for a good while. Listed in order of newest-to-oldest, here we go:
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Top Ten Thursday: Sounds of Summer

Beach Boys Summer Fun

So here we are, deep into this relentlessly hot and sticky summer of 2012, and hopefully you are enjoying it as much as we are. It’s the time of the year for swimming pools and popsicles, baseball and biking, and sweating your ass off not matter what, no matter where. Thus we bring you our favorite albums to accompany such occasions. What makes a summer album you ask? In our opinion it is somewhat upbeat, but not overly so. Something that you can groove too whether you’re too hot to do so or not. Since I was a young lad, Austin was only knee high to a grasshopper, and Wes was just a Pooh-cub scrounging for honey, there have always been these certain songs, artist, and albums that have always left their impression on our young summers. So we decided to list out some of our favorites. Making a particularly strong appearance are some favorites from the nineties. We aren’t really sure why, but I suppose some nineties artist just really know how to set the tone for a particular summer mood. Please feel free to tell us what does it for you …
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Sounds of Summer”