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Posted by: Dale Franks on Friday, October 07, 2005

Politics is interesting and all, but sometimes you gotta just do something fun. So, I'm taking a little break from politics to talk about music. And, The Lovely Christine is out of town this weekend visiting her son in Arizona, so I have plenty of time on my hands this weekend.

I've added a lot of music to my iTunes library in recent weeks, and I haven't made an recommendations since June. So, I decided it was time to do so again, and throw in my personal Top 20 from the last three months. In the table below, the song titles are all linked to MP3 files I generated for each of the songs. They aren't the full songs, 'cause, that would be wrong, but they are all long enough to give you a complete feel for the songs. On the other hand they are all high-quality, ster3o MP3s that I generated myself (and you know they're quality stuff because I used to be in radio), so crank the knob up and enjoy.

Oh, and by the way, the songs are listed alphabetically by song title, not by my order of preferense, so there's some really good stuff farther down in the table.

Song Info Comments
Artist: System of a Down
Song: Aerials
Genre: Rock
This group is just wierd. Their music is wierd. The lead singer has a wierd voice. And the lyrics of this song are wierd, because I don't think that "Aerials" means what they think it means. I don't even think "Aerials" is a noun, though they use it as one. In fact, I don't think it's even a real word. Still, there's something oddly compelling about this song.

Artist: Bowling for Soup
Album: A Hangover You Don't Deserve

There's nothing deep or profound about this band. But they have a good sense of humor that suffuses their songs, and this is a catchy little tune.

Artist: Coheed and Cambria
Song: Blood Red Summer
Album: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth : 3

Coheed and Cambria have a thematic vision that informs their work. They are a very conceptual band. Their albums are little stories really. OK, odd and confusing little stories, but stories nonetheless. Tthey have an unusual sound, especially their lead singer who sings in a very high tenor register.

Artist: Crossfade
Album: Crossfade
Genre: Rock

This song from their eponymous initial release has a nice, sweet verse, with a hard driving chorus.

Artist: Sugarcult
Song: Crying
Album: Palm Trees and Power Lines
Genre: Alternative

Sugarcult has a very nice sound. They're tightly produced with sweet vocal harmonies.

Artist: The All-American Rejects
Dirty Little Secret
Album: Move Along
Genre: Alternative

For an Alternative group, the rejects have a very Pop-like sound. This is a very catchy song.

Artist: Foo Fighters
Song: DOA
Album: In Your Honor
Genre: Alternative

I like the Foo Fighters a lot. They have a very distinctive sound that pushes a lot of tight power chords. This is a cool song, as long as you don't listen to the lyrics, which are about death. Alternative bands have this fascination with death... Not enough of a fascination to prevent them from sticking around and making hoops of money singing about it, though.
Artist: Three Days Grace
Song: Just Like You
Album:Three Days Grace
Genre: Rock
These guys seem angry at someone. But their anger is very musical, and powerful.
Artist: Queens of the Stone Age
Song: No One Knows
Album:Songs for the Deaf
I have no clue what this song's about. The lyrics don't even make much sense: "We get these pills to swallow/How they stick in your throat/Tastes like gold". I mean, what's that about? But they package their oddity in a very cool song here.

Artist: Staind
Song: Price to Play
Album:14 Shades of Gray
Genre: Rock

These guys are very big on the whole "wall of sound deal". And they do it very well.

Artist: Anthrax
Song: Safe Home
Album:We've Come For you All

Genre: Rock

Now, when you think of Anthrax, you usually think of heavy metal. And this song starts out that way. Then it becomes...something else. Something kinda cool.

Artist: Papa Roach
Song: Scars
Album: Getting Away With Murder
Genre: Rock

This is just good music. Which is probably why it's turned into a hit for them.

Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Song: Since You Been Gone
Album: Breakaway
Genre: Pop

Yeah, I know. I'm embarrassed to put this one in the list, too. I mean, it's Kelly Clarkson, the American Idol girl. But I can't help it. I just like this one.

Artist: Velvet Revolver
Song: Slither
Album: Single Release

Yeah, this is a good song, but really, I'm just putting it in here to redeem myself from the whole Kelly Clarkson, bubble-gum fiasco.

Artist: Trapt
Song: Stand Up
Album:Single Release

This is a very cool song. I love the chord progressions in the chorus, and how it fades into the wall of sound on the verse.
Artist: Foo Fighters
Song: Times Like These
Album:One By One
This is the second Foo Fighters song on the list. The thing I really like about this song is the short, almost atonal bridge they throw in to the chorus. Also, it's got much more upbeat lyrics than the other song on the list.

Artist: Chevelle
Song: Vitamin R (Leading us Along)
Album:Single Release
Genre: Alternative

There couldn't be a bigger difference between the verses and chorus of this song. The chorus just drives.

Artist: Weezer
Song: We are all on Drugs
Album:Make Beleive

What better illustrates the modern sensibilities of popular music than a celebration of recreational drug use? At least here, they celebrate it in a way that makes you tap your feet.

Artist: P.O.D.
Song: Will You
Album:Payable On Death

There's nothing to criticize at all about this song. It just begs to be played with the amplifier turned up to 11, like that guy from Spinal Tap did to his amplifier.

Artist: Audioslave
Song: Your Time Has Come
Album:Single Release
Genre: Alternative

This reminds me of the hard-driving rock of the 1970's. Alternative groups are usually on the cutting edge of music, but this has a very retro feel to it.

Let me know what you think, or provide suggestions yourself, in the comments. And, of course, of you like any of these songs, you should buy them, so you can hear the whole song.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Ah. You’re toward the Britney Spears end of the metal-like spectrum.

Written By: Gary
URL: http://
Porcupine Tree. The best undiscovered progressive rock out there. Current album, Deadwing, is pretty good. Their last, In Absentia, is exquisite. Guitar-based, hard driving, but no screaming metal. Much more disciplined than the metal groups. I’ve done reviews of both their albums on amazon.

They’re touring right now - nowhere close to Nashville, unfortunatly. I’ve been thinking of blowing dough on an airline ticket just to see the tour.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Eh, the Audioslave an’ Weezer are dope, but that’s it. I’d skip all the rest.

Written By: b-psycho
Get all the songs on the Queens of the Stone Age album "Songs for the Deaf". You’ll be glad that you did.

Also, download "This Lullaby" from their latest album.
Written By: Adam
Staind was the band that finally convinced me that all music was shit. The Major League Baseball strike back in the 90s and Dominique Wilkins leaving the Atlanta Hawks was what convinced me that professional sports were a comlete waste of time. I’ve never been in the least interested in beer/port.

I am very dull at parties.

It’s a good thing I like to discuss politics, or you guys would want nothing at all to do with me. :)
Written By: Jon Henke
No hassidic reggae on your list?

I’m totally smitten with this guy: matisyahu

Written By: broslosky
URL: http://
Honestly, I mean no offense, but damn, you really have terrible taste in music. I like your political philosophy well enough, and I’m sure we plenty of the same books on our shelves, but I wouldn’t grab any of the albums by any of those bands out of a bin of free CDs. Well, okay, the Foo Fighters have some decent songs, but the rest...damn.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t tout some new stuff that I have been listening to. Here’s a "best-of the first half of 2005" list I made up a couple months ago:

Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
Okkerville River - Black Sheep Boy
The Zincs - Dimmer
Pernice Brothers - Discover a Lovelier You
Robbie Fulks - Georgia Hard
50 Foot Wave - Golden Ocean
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
Alasdair Roberts - No Earthly Man
Stereolab - Oscillons from the Anti-Sun
Outrageous Cherry - Our Love Will Change the World
Written By: Dan Holway
If you like heavy guitar riffs, pick up some Monster Magnet. And yeah, I hear you on the Kelly Clarkson, why is it so damn catchy!!??? If you like new stuff with a catchy beat, check out Bravery - kinda of punk/rock/dance influences.
Written By: intelrupt
URL: http://
I’m kinda’ with Jon. Also with him on the pro sports scene. I was an every week-end viewer until the Bronco’s Romanowski spit in the SF receivers face. The Latrell Sprewell and many other’s in the NBA made me leave my favorite sport. It’s now March Madness for me.
Onto the music. Dale, not too much there for me although I’m gonna’ link it and send to my son. He’d like it. I like Kenny Wayne Shepherd. This CD is mostly rock. He started out as more blues rock with a great vocalist-Noah Hunt-and you can hear some samples here on Amazon.
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Thnks Billy, for the Porcupine Tree mention. I listened to Deadwing and enjoyed it. Out to buy the CD.
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
tom, not to be repetitious, but if you like Deadwing, I think you’ll like In Absentia as much or better.

I didn’t know one could listen to Deadwing on their site. I bought the CD the day it came out, so I had no need to check. I’ll start pointing people to that. Thanks for mentioning it.
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Really a lot of these cuts remind me of the type of music I was into in the 1980’s and early 90’s. But I guess my taste has changed too much, Now I listen to Blues and reggae and some old school soul. The bush years have made me mellow dude.
Written By: Kyle N
URL: http://
The best Weezer song yet is "The sweater song" you also might want to check out CAKE great stuff. Regards
Written By: Coaster
URL: http://
Hi Dale—

Happened to catch your list. As I said before, I didn’t peg you as a fan of most of these bands? But I don’t know what I’d peg you as liking anyway :)...

I went to a concert Wednesday night—-Amos Lee at a wonderful location called the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. You can actually eat dinner/drink and sit down while the band plays. This experience made me have faith in music again. Maybe I’m getting old because most new music is starting to sound like noise I tolerate (Good lord I’m turning 30 in 3 weeks). BUT I’m a music lover nonetheless....Neo-soul, jazz, blues, pop (Nelly, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, etc...shhh don’t tell anyone :)) AND bluegrass to name a few. If you want some good chill music—-music to read a good book to, music to drink a great glass of wine to....Amos Lee is your man. It doesn’t sound like Amos would be up to your speed, but I would recommend him to anyone.

Written By: Caroline (Jon’s better half)
URL: http://
As I said before, I didn’t peg you as a fan of most of these bands?
Yeah, you seemed surprised when we all all went out and you heard the music I had on my car stereo. When I looked back in my rear-view mirror you had a slightly stunned look on your face when you said, "Hey, that’s Blink-182!"

I bet you thought I’d have some Rachmaninoff piano concerto, or some Miles Davis playing. But, in actuality, the station that Jon does the imaging for play my kind of music.
Written By: Dale Franks
This is the worst shit list of crap songs and crap groups I have ever seen.

Eegad, does this list suck.

What ever happened to groups like Boston, the Beatles, ELO, etc.?
Written By: George Jones
URL: http://
What ever happened to groups like Boston, the Beatles, ELO, etc.?
"I like rap music as much as the next frightened Caucasian, but would it kill you to play a little Foghat?!"
Written By: Jon Henke
What ever happened to groups like Boston, the Beatles, ELO, etc.?
The Beatles? What are you, 80? Crack open a calendar. The ’70s are dead.

ELO. Jebus Cripes.
Written By: Dale Franks
Oh yeah, Caroline, you ARE Jon’s better half. That is some real nice music. My tastes are mostly blues, of all genres, but I also have mountain music, cajun/zydeco, rockabilly, etc. Amos Lee is a real nice addition. I bought Porcupine Tree yesterday but I can justify a purchase of Amos as a disc for my wife. That’s what I like about these music threads. Introduction to something new.
You can listen to Amos here. Scroll to the bottom for audio visual links. There is a interview interspersed with the music on the video.
Thanks Caroline.
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I’m surprised no one mentioned:

Death Cab for Cutie, "Plans"
Sigur Rós, "Takk"
Franz Ferdinand, "You Could Have it So Much Better"
The Decemberists, "Picaresque"
Kaiser Chiefs, "Employment"
Minus the Bear, "Menos el Oso"

I’m glad Sufjan Stevens was mentioned... and almost anything by the Pernice Brothers or Stereolab is surely worth a listen... otherwise, to be frank, this list is mostly indistinguishable from a TRL set full of screaming 13-year olds. If you want wall of sound, download the new Radiohead track (it’s on their website); if you want catchy pop without the vomitous association to American Idol, get the latest Fiery Furnaces album, "EP." Most of the bands in the main entry are just generic alt- and prog-rock, with a smattering of commercial pop for flavor. And that flavor is BLAND, as bland as the new Weezer album.
Written By: Josh
I like some of the same bands you do, Dale. The acoustic version of Outside is my favorite StainD song. The Queens of the Stone Age tune is pretty good. I’m big on Audioslave: What You Are, I Am the Highway and Like a Stone are my faves. Some others:

Original Prankster, by the Offspring

Old AC/DC, with Bon Scott: Livewire and Gone Shootin’

When September Ends and Boulevard of Broken Dreams, by Green Day

That Woo Hoo song by Blur

Written By: Bird Dog
I strongly like Breaking the Cycle by Staind. They do the "wall sound deal" very well. Staind has a lot of feeling in their music, which I love! Although most of you would say differently about their music having feeling, but you must not understand what they’re talking about or just don’t understand pain, anger, and outrage. If you look at Aaron (one of the band members) you don’t have to meet him to know what is driving him on and what is driving on the band.
Written By: Sara
URL: http://
Hey check out this guy named Richard Cheese. He does lounge/swing covers of classic rap and rock hits. Just imagine Frank Sintra singing Beastie Boys, Guns & Roses, NIN, U2, Snoop Dogg, and many more. His new Best Of album just came out on Tuesday. Check it out!
Written By: Jen

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