Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Return (And the 2008 Toasties)

Well, the ransom has finally been paid and Mister Toaster has safely returned to Toaster Talks, Blogosphere. Thanks for those who sent love notes and nail files during his extended absence.

On programming note: It is official. The Toaster Talks, due to residual laziness, will no longer be a weekly publication. Instead, we hope to post regular reviews and mixes on a not-so-weekly basis. Let's start with this year's Toasties (below). Next up is the Top 100 Songs of 2008 and the Top 10 Albums of 2008.

Toaster Odds and Ends Awards 2008

Best Band Name: Alphabeat

Worst Band Name: She & Him (sic)

Best Album Name: Albert Hammond, Jr., Como Te Llama?

Best Song Title: The Very Most, "When Not Being Stupid Is Not Enough"

Best Comeback From Oblivion: Lindsey Buckingham

Biggest Let-Down: Matthew Sweet

Best Follow-Up to Greatness: Okkervil River

Biggest Surprise Love: Fleet Foxes

Best Summer Song: The Hold Steady, "Constructive Summer"

Best Winter Song: TIE: Kathleen Edwards, "Buffalo" / Fleet Foxes, "White Winter Hymnal"

Best Attempt at Bringing Despair Down All Around Us: Death Cab for Cutie, 76-minute intro to "I Will Possess Your Heart"

Best Album to Get Blotto To: The Hold Steady, "Stay Positive" (I think this category was made for The Hold Steady)

Worst Moment by a Great Artist: The wearing sexual deviance on Of Montreal's Skeletal Lamping. (We get it, guys.)

Best Opening Act: Okkervil River (for The New Pornographers)

Incident/Artist That Yielded the Most Cases of Music Blogs Losing Our Respect: The inclusion of Bon Iver and MGMT on so many 2008 best-of lists when they were clearly around last year.

Biggest What-the-Fuck?: All the "Fuck"-named bands.

Biggest Where-the-Fuck-Have-They-Been? (or, They Released an Album in 2008?): Keane

Most Concise Song: Jay Reatard, "Always Wanting More"

Most Imitated: Feist

Most Anticipated Albums of 2008: A.C. Newman, Franz Ferdinanad, Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, The Decemberists, Doves, Neko Case, Condo Fucks

Worst Lyrics: Britney Spears, "Womanizer"

Best Lyrics We're Not Sure We Understand: Fleet Foxes, "White Winter Hymnal"

Best Live Show of 2007 (Witnessed by The Toaster Talks): Okkervil River / The New Pornographers, April 22, Beachland Ballroom

Best Marketing Concept: Nine Inch Nails, like Radiohead if they had released 85 albums and given away a lot of it for free

Worst Marketing Concept: The gross gold vomit on the Santogold record

Best Soundtrack: Slumdog Millionaire (thanks to the inclusion of M.I.A.)

Best Release from a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer: TIE: R.E.M., Accelerate / Brian Wilson, That Lucky Old Sun

Best Song That Scares the Shit out of Me: Still M.I.A., “Paper Planes," because it's still everywhere

Biggest Tragedy: Mister Toaster's kidnapping and subsequent period spent as bait for ransom.

The Andrew Bird Eerie-but-Damn-Catchy Award: Frightened Rabbit


Worst Album Name: Beyonce, I Am...Sasha Fierce

Consistency of Quality Award: Beck

Most Successful Attempt to Reach Beatlesque Hugeness: Coldplay, Viva La Vida Or Death And All of His Friends

Best Song Co-opted by Apple: The Submarines, "You, Me and the Bourgeoisie"

Best Side Project: TIE: She & Him (M. Ward); The Fireman (Paul McCartney)

Most Topical: Young Jeezy (feat. Nas), "My President"

TOASTIES on hiatus (at least in 2008)

Worst Release Date
Best Release Date

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Closer Look at the Top 10

Another year over.

Due to overwhelming demand, I'm posting a few of the top tracks from 2007's top 100 songs. The plan is to resume regularly scheduled programming next week.

No. 10
LCD Soundsystem, "All My Friends"

Many folks had this as their number 1 or 2 song of the year, and it's hard to disagree with the sheer awesomeness of the song. Still, if you know me, you know that any song longer than 4:30 starts to make me twitch. This is one of the rare exceptions where I can actually handle the length (not to mention the repetition) and still come out loving the song. A top 10 placement for a song this long is like my voting for a Republican. Sure, I knew it'd happen someday, but it would have to take something out of this world to get me to do it. "All My Friends" qualifies, with its incredible lyrics that hits everyone going through the quarter-life crisis as hard as a best friend's wedding (the wedding, not the movie).

No. 7
Iron & Wine, "Flightless Bird, American Mouth"

It's not a surprise that Sam Beam put out another great album. This track is one of the prettiest songs he's ever written, and it puts a beautiful cap on what came to be one of my favorite albums of the year.

No. 6
Patrick Wolf, "The Magic Position"

The magic in Patrick Wolf's 2007 release started to wear off a bit by the end of the year, I think in part due to the rise of Andrew Bird's album starting to win me over. Something about the two of them remind me of each other and so it's hard not to compare. But "The Magic Position" is one of the year's best tracks hands down, and I've never wavered on that. Right down to the happy ringing note at the end, it borders on perfection. Love songs this catchy or well written don't come around very often anymore, and I'm glad to see so many people take note when one did.

No. 5
Spoon - "The Underdog" - The only Jon Brion-produced song on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, this song is directly responsible for my picking this album up. I've always enjoyed watching Spoon from afar, but something about "The Underdog" got me excited, probably because I have this problem where I view everything I do in an underdog-versus-establishment paradigm.

No. 2

Band of Horses - "The General Specific"

Band of Horses made the best album of the year in 2007, and it wasn't hard to pick my favorite song from the bunch (picking among the other songs was MUCH harder). This song has the whole kaboodle here - great harmonies, a melody that fucking soars, an simple, yet driving instrumentation and a little humor to boot. Only the Arcade Fire hit me harder last year with their No. 1 song, "Keep the Car Running."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Best of 2007: Songs 100 to 1

OK, finally. It's a little late, but I made it extra good to make up for it. That said, there are no links until next week. If you'd like to see a particular song posted, let me know and I'll get on it.

100 >> Tunng, "Take"
99 >> Okkervil River, "Plus Ones"
98 >> The National Lights, "Midwest Town"
97 >> Deerhoof, "The Perfect Me"
96 >> Windmill, "Plastic Pre-Flight Seats"
95 >> Rihanna, "Umbrella (feat. Jay-Z)"
94 >> The New Pornographers, "Myriad Harbour"
93 >> Dntel, "Roll On (feat. Jenny Lewis)"

92 >> They Might Be Giants, "The Mesopotamians"
91 >> St. Vincent, "Now Now"
90 >> Kanye West, "Stronger"
89 >> Jens Lekman, "The Opposite of Hallelujah"
88 >> Of Montreal, "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger"
87 >> Pelle Carlberg, "I Love You, You Imbecile"
86 >> Chromeo, "Fancy Footwork"
85 >> The National, "Fake Empire"
84 >> The Shins, "Australia"
83 >> Voxtrot, "Introduction"
82 >> Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew, "TBTF"
81 >> The High Llamas, "The Old Spring Town"
80 >> Nina Nastasia & Jim White, "In the Evening"
79 >> Black Lips, "O Katrina!"
78 >> Iron & Wine, "Carousel"
77 >> Andrew Bird, "Fiery Crash"
76 >> Immaculate Machine, "Jarhand"
75 >> Bruce Springsteen, "Radio Nowhere"
74 >> Blonde Redhead, "23"
73 >> Basia Bulat, "The Pilgriming Vine"
72 >> Super Furry Animals, "Run-Away"
71 >> Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, "Sons of Cain"
70 >> Matt Pond PA, "Wild Girl"
69 >> New Buffalo, "Cheer Me Up Thank You"
68 >> The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, "Aspidistra"
67 >> Band of Horses, "No One's Gonna Love You"
66 >> Deer Tick, "Dirty Dishes"
65 >> Aqueduct, "As You Wish"
64 >> Bon Iver, "Re: Stacks"
63 >> Christine Fellows, "Nevertheless"
62 >> Beirut, "Elephant Gun"
61 >> The Fratellis, "Whistle for the Choir"
60 >> Wilco, "What Light"
59 >> Dinosaur Jr., "We're Not Alone"
58 >> Ryan Adams, "Everybody Knows"
57 >> Field Music, "In Context"
56 >> Maria Taylor, "Lost Time"
55 >> Patrick Wolf, "Bluebells"
54 >> Son Volt, "The Picture"
53 >> The 1900s, "When I Say Go"
52 >> The Shins, "Turn On Me"
51 >> Arctic Monkeys, "Flourescent Adolescent"
50 >> Southeast Engine, "Ostrich"
49 >> Dear and the Headlights, "It's Gettin' Easy"
48 >> Modest Mouse, "Dashboard"
47 >> The Sheds, "Reflection of the Sun"
46 >> The Thrills, "The Midnight Choir"
45 >> Okkervil River, "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe"
44 >> Let's French, "Genevese"
43 >> Justice, "D.A.N.C.E."
42 >> Moonbabies, "Take Me to the Ballroom"
41 >> LCD Soundsystem, "Watch the Tapes"
40 >> The National, "Start a War"
39 >> The Weakerthans, "Tournament of Hearts"
38 >> M.I.A., "Paper Planes"
37 >> Stars, "The Night Starts Here"
36 >> Immaculate Machine, "Dear Confessor"
35 >> Of Montreal, "Suffer for Fashion"
34 >> The Innocence Mission, "Into Brooklyn, Early in the Morning"
33 >> John Vanderslice, "White Dove"
32 >> The New Pornographers, "My Rights Versus Yours"
31 >> The Polyphonic Spree, "Section 22 (Running Away)"
30 >> Blitzen Trapper, "Wild Mountain Nation"
29 >> Kings of Leon, "Fans"
28 >> Seabear, "I Sing, I Swim"
27 >> Jens Lekman, "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo"
26 >> Arcade Fire, "Intervention"
25 >> Beirut, "The Penalty"
24 >> Tegan and Sara, "Dark Come Soon"
23 >> Deer Tick, "Diamond Rings 2007"
22 >> MGMT, "Time to Pretend"
21 >> The Broken West, "Down in the Valley"
20 >> Band of Horses, "Is There a Ghost"
19 >> The National, "Mistaken for Strangers"
18 >> Bishop Allen, "Rain"
17 >> Feist, "1234"
16 >> Bowerbirds, "In Our Talons"
15 >> Art Brut, "Pump Up the Volume"
14 >> Tunng, "Bullets"
13 >> Andrew Bird, "Heretics"
12 >> Of Montreal, "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"
11 >> The Weakerthans, "Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure"
10 >> LCD Soundsystem, "All My Friends"
09 >> The Fratellis, "Flathead"
08 >> The Shins, "Phantom Limb"
07 >> Iron & Wine, "Flightless Bird, American Mouth"
06 >> Patrick Wolf, "The Magic Position"
05 >> Spoon, "The Underdog"
04 >> The New Pornographers, "Challengers"
03 >> Christine Fellows, "The Spinster's Almanac"
02 >> Band of Horses, "The General Specific"
01 >> Arcade Fire, "Keep the Car Running"

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Top Songs Snowed Out

Dear readers,

A fitting end to 2007, I must say. The top 100 songs list is complete, but it is not where I am. I am snowed in at an apartment in Cleveland; it is in a house in a nearby suburb.

I promise to find a way to post the list tomorrow.

-Mr. T