Archive | Top 5 RSS for this section

Top 5 Things Worth Raising

5. A Glass

Nothing better then a well-timed toast.

4. Your Voice

When you want to be heard, just saying.

3. The Stakes

Every good story does this, so should you.

2. Cain

If raising your voice doesn’t work, give ’em a little hell.

1. The Roof

You can tear it off, or raise it up, your choice.

Top 5 Female Vocalists

(ANGELIC IN VOICE AND IN SPIRIT)

5. Victoria Legrand

Victoria Legrand

Words like haunting, husky, and ethereal are fine ways of describing Beach House’s Victoria Legrand’s vocals. But her raspy range can soar, especially when accompanied by the seductive arrangements of her backing band. Legrand continues to put out albums and songs that showcase her beautiful, hoarse, angelic voice, and we continue to enjoy them.

4. Kate Bush

Kate Bush

While it’s true that Kate Bush may be most well-known today for her single “This Woman’s Work,” (courtesy John Hughes and American Idol), Kate Bush has put out nearly ten LP’s featuring that strange, glassy voice, and has been recording music since 1975 (two years before I was born). After a life break, she is back with a new album and proof that the greatest gifts age well with time.

3. Mimi Parker

Mimi Parker

It’s chilly in Duluth, MN. But upon the icy shores of Lake Superior was borne the chilling falsetto of Mimi Parker, one half of the two-headed mastermind that is known as Low. Check out this clip if you would like to hear what it sounds like to actually freeze the sun.

2. Lisa Gerrard

Lisa Gerrard

Lisa Gerrard, Australian by way of Ireland, conceived of her band Dead Can Dance with English songwriter Brendan Perry back in 1981. She has amassed an outstanding catalog of solo and collaborative work as well, and chances are that you’ve heard her music in some of your favorite films (Heat, Black Hawk Down, The Insider, The Passion of the Christ, Man on Fire, to name a few). Her voice is an elegant, other-worldly contralto that is hard to describe with words. Better to just listen, and enjoy.

1. Elizabeth Fraser

Elizabeth Fraser

Without question one of the most special vocalists of this or any era. Her falsetto is unique unto itself and brimming with a magical trill that sends shivers up your spine. Her work with Cocteau Twins has produced some of the most mesmerizing and distinctive music ever made. In a sense, her band epitomized the 4AD sound throughout the bulk of the 1990’s.

TOP 5 WORST MAKEOVERS

(CELEBRITIES ONLY)

Mickey Rourke

5. Mickey Rourke – Rourke reportedly states that his plastic surgery was a means to simply correct the imperfections caused by years of amateur boxing. Fair enough. Nose job, no problem. Cheek implants, not really necessary, but I hear he broke a cheekbone. But the lip implants, face lifts, etc. seem to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Leona Helmsley

4. Leona Helmsley – “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” Ms. Helmsley was a tax evading hotel billionaire, and something of a tyrant. The Queen of Mean served 18 months in prison (reporting to the clink on, you guessed it, April 15… tax day). She saved enough of her fortune to succesfully mangle her face, however, before passing away from congestive heart failure at age 87.

She left most of her $4 billion estate to her own charitable trust, $15 million to her brother, $10 million each to two of her four grandchildren. The other two received nothing (allegedly because they did not name any of their children after their grandfather Harry). However, she did set aside $12 million to her dog Trouble. Aww!

Joan Rivers

3. Joan Rivers – Once the sidekick to late show legend Johnny Carson, Ms. Rivers has been the guinea pig for plastic surgeons since the late 80’s. But when her husband committed suicide just one week after she left him (she was having liposuction when she received the call), some speculated she spent many years and dollars trying to reinvent herself, to be somebody she never was: beautiful.

She is unabashed about having work done, and believes you should spend your money on you (literally). “Better a new face coming out of an old car, than and old face coming out of a new car.” Oh, the irony.

Donnatella Versacé

2. Donnatella Versace – Since taking over for her late father Gianni, Donnatella has undergone a series of interesting procedures, the most notable being her lip augmentation, which looks to me like two inntertubes stuffed under her skin then inflated to the point of bursting. Botox forehead, breast implants, and who knows what else, we sort of have to question the taste of this couture fashionista, do we not?

Michael Jackson

1. Michael Jackson – The recently deceased (cause of death wildly speculative though still under investgation) King of Pop is obviously the most extreme case of a makeover gone awry. We all know of his troubled youth, his abusive father, and his never-ending desire to be a child at heart. But we also know that he used to be a black man.

One of the most important black men in history, as a matter of fact. He brought people of every shape, size and color together in rejoice. All of the infamy did nothing to assuage the troubles lurking beneath the surface. A severe addiction to pain killers, and what many speculate to be a passion to shed his ethnicity, lead to a series of incrementally damaging surgical procedures.

Not only did he lose the ability to not look startled, the ability to smell through his undersized triangular nostrils, and the ability to grow facial hair on his cleft chin without looking like a prepubescent criminal, but he also bleached his skin from head to toe supposedly in order to match the pigment loss caused by an apparent case of vitiligo, a condition also suffered by Chris Smith of the 90’s rap duo Kriss Kross.

Top 5 Songs of 2009

(AT THE CLOSE OF THE FIRST QUARTER, THAT IS)

 

Top 5 Songs of 2009 Q1

5. “You Are the Blood”
Sufjan Stevens

If this is the direction Sufjan is taking his new material, he may just be album of the year worthy. Of course he may pull that off no matter what he decides to put out. This song—one of the stand-outs from the very stand-outish compilation Dark Was the Night—is so glitchy nasty filthy, and irresistable, I want to go swimming in the La Brea Tar Pits. “You are the blood, flowing through my fingers.” Maybe this is his way of purging all those damn Christmas songs from his blood stream?

 

Top 5 Songs of 2009 Q1

4. “Blood Bank”
Bon Iver

The only thing I have to complain about is that we have to wait so long for a follow-up LP from Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver. I had the good fortune of seeing him play in Chicago earlier this year, and he played “Blood Bank” for the crowd. It’s such a great song. It finds Vernon leaving his falsetto behind for the most part, and showing us that even in the lower register, he can belt out emotionally connected, harmonious stories of love found then lost then found again.

 

Top 5 Songs of 2009 Q1

3. “My Night with the Prostitute from Marsailles”
Realpeople (Beirut)

I suppose the song title does kind of relate to the lyrics, but don’t let your prejudicial ways write this one off. It’s a poppy keyboard and synth-driven romp across the back streets of France, in search of some medicine that will remove this catchy tune from your cerebellum. Good luck with that. “And I won’t mind, what she decides to swear by.” Good lyrics to boot!

 

Top 5 Songs of 2009 Q1

2. “Brothersport”
Animal Collective

Take that Vampire Weekend. Who needs an “Oxford comma” when it “Sucks that daddy’s dumb”? Seriously though, I feel like Paul Simon and the Beach Boys got together at an LSD party and sang a prophecy of a future band who would one day distort and continue their legacy for generations to come. These guys just keep on getting better, it’s ridiculous.

 

Top 5 Songs of 2009 Q1

1. “Two Weeks”
Grizzly Bear

This is the live version Grizzly Bear played last year on Letterman. The studio recording will show up this May (ahem) and I can only imagine it will be even more glorious and addictive than this version. From the hypnotic keyboards to the inclusion of “malaise” in the lyrics to the fact that my daughter loves it as much as I do… yeah, this might be a tough one to knock out of the top spot.

Top 5 Grizzly Bear Songs

(FROM LAST NIGHT’S SHOW @ BAM)

Apparently my “okay” review of Grizzly Bear last night ruffled some feathers. I wanted to follow up with a positive post about the show, and share with you my top 5 songs from the setlist:

 

5. “Colorado”

As I mentioned above, this song also suited Droste’s reverbed crooning perfectly. “What now what now what now what now what?” The chorus had me transfixed and entranced, if I can be both at once. A very good song and performance.

 

4. “Central and Remote”

The original song on the Yellow House LP already had some excellent arrangements. The way this song ebbs and flows is perfectly suited for some exciting moments with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the band did not disappoint.

 

3. “Deep Blue Sea”

I still feel that Rossen stole the show, I just love the guy’s voice. This song, from the Red Hot Organization’s Dark was the Night album, really showcased his songwriting and vocal prowess. “And it was mama, that got drowned in. In that deep, deep blue sea.” Tragic.

 

2. “Ready, Able”

Droste sounds a bit like Jens Lekman during the first half of this song, in a good way. I found myself a little uninterested at first. But once the drums kicked in and the chorus took over, I was hooked. “They go we go, I want you to know, what I did I did.” Repeat. And again, and again. More lush, haunting lyrics, and Rossen’s falsetto harmonies later on… just lovely.

 

1. “Two Weeks”

I really was into the keyboard riff that drove this song. I remember them playing this one on Letterman a little while ago, and they did the song justice at last night’s venue. The song, for me, is a great demonstration of all of the band’s allure. Macabre barber shop harmonies, experimental arrangements, and wonderful vocal flourishes wandering back and forth, coming into focus just when you think you might lose them.

 

Songs I found a little flat include “Dory”, “Foreground” and “Reprise” (though I did enjoy the banjo playing on the latter).

Here are the other two songs from my list, though not from last night’s performance: “Deep Blue Sea”, and “Two Weeks”.

*Thank you to One for the Good Days, for the mp3’s above.


Top 5 Films I Haven’t Seen

(BUT VINCE THINKS I REALLY SHOULD.)

Top 5 Unseen Films

5. Let the Right One In (2008)
Director: Tomas Alfredson

Vince: Two kids, ones a vampire both in love. What a great plot. This film is beautifully shot, a stunning and original horror film.
Ryan: I actually really want to see this. It was not at many theaters and I didn’t get a chance to see it when it was out. I’ll be renting this DVD.

 

Top 5 Unseen Films

4. Reprise (2006)
Director: Joechem Trier

Vince: Really fresh movie making. One of the few movies that can make you happy, sad, happy, sad every 15 minutes.
Ryan: Sure, why not?

 

Top 5 Unseen Films

3. Paris, Texas (1984)
Director: Wim Wenders

Vince: This is one of my favorite movies. A great achievement in style, characters, film making.
Ryan: Seems like a boring but beautiful film to me. And the protagonist, Harry Dean Stanton (he’s in Big Love now I think), I find to be somewhat turnoffish.

 

Top 5 Unseen Films

2. Before Night Falls (2000)
Director: Julian Schnabel

Vince: Beautiful movie. Rich with texture, great film making, amazing story. Javier Bardem’s performance is stunning, one of the best true story reenactments that I have ever seen.
Ryan: I like Javier Bardem, but that Julian Schnabel dude really irks me in interviews. I don’t know why. I’ll give this film (and his Diving Bell films) a chance, eventually.

 

Top 5 Unseen Films

1. The Wrestler (2008)
Director: Darren Aronofsky

Vince: No explanation needed here. Hands down one of the best movies this year. Mickey Rourke, Darren Aronofsky, Pro Wrestling and Marrisa Tomei are enough to get me in the theater.
Ryan: This one is heavy on my radar, as in NEXT UP. I want to see it before the Oscars so I can firmly say whether or not Slumdog is as unbeatable as I think it is.

Top 5 Cover Songs of 2008

(MOSTLY MELLOW COVERS, MIND YOU.)

 

5. Coldplay (Joe Satriani)
“Viva la Vida”

Since the lawsuit is for plagiarism, I will go on a limb and preemptively call Viva la Vida… a cover of Joe Satriani’s 2004 song “If I Could Fly”. But only to make a joke. Hardy har. I don’t really like either song though, but it made for a good giggle, right?

 

4. Mark Kozelek (Low)
“Lazy”

Surprise surprise. Mark Kozelek on a Liftingfaces Top 5 list. But seriously, this is a good cover, and here’s why: Who would have thought Mark Kozelek would take a song by Low and actually make it happier? Not I.

 

3. Adem (Aphex Twin)
“To Cure a Weakling Child / Boy/Girl Song”

Aphex Twin’s original “Girl/Boy Song” is one of my favorite songs ever. So I spotted the carnivalesque plucking in Adem’s medley straight away. He managed to make this work, adding in vocals from a different Aphex Twin track. In a word: wonderblissfullness.

 

2. Calico Horse (Radiohead)
“Idioteque”

I’m a sucker for taking up-tempo songs and dipping them in molasses (see my number 3 cover), and this is no exception. I’m not as tuned into Calico Horse as a band, but this cover jumped out at me and clung to my black designer sweater like my golden retriever’s tail hair. Ummmm, yeah, okay, moving on.

 

1. Yael Naim (Britney Spears)
“Toxic”

This was a clear winner for me. You’ve probably heard it already, but who cares, listen again…and again and again. It goes to show that underneath the caked on foundation and fake eyelashes and silicone breasts of pop music, there are actually some good songs.

Top 5 Christmas Songs

(HOLIDAY TRAGEDIES)

5. “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas” by Barry Gordon
Normally a bratty kid would deserve coal in his stocking without further thought. But I can’t help but hear undertones of parental neglect, thus leading to a child’s need to act out, running beneath the playful lyrics. I feel for him, I know that pain.

4. “Snow Angel” by Over the Rhine
A song about a woman whose lover falls onto the snow and dies. A Merry Christmas indeed. The singer, Karin Bergquist, told me she had to record it in pieces, from the end to the beginning, because she kept breaking down. You can blame her husband Linford for that one.

3. “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” by George Rock
On the surface, this song doesn’t sound that tragic. But when you think about it for a minute, it’s sad, because you and I both know this kid isn’t getting his teeth in time for the holidays.

2. “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits
So sad you want to laugh, this love letter from a (you guessed it) hooker in Minneapolis, to a guy named Charlie, is tragic indeed. She bares her soul to this man, but can’t even keep half of her lies straight. Turns out she just wants some money. Go figure.

1. “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer” by Dr. Elmo
It’s bad enough grandma got drunk and then got trampled by a reindeer, but grandpa watching football on the couch as if nothing even happened? Man that’s cold. The ultimate tragedy, presented in a darkly comedic format.

Top 5 Star Names

(THE ONES IN OUTER SPACE)

5. MIMOSA (350 Light Years)

4. JOB’S COFFIN (100 Light Years)

3. DERF (100 Light Years)

2. SHAM (500 Light Years)

1. TELESCOPIUM (75 Light Years)

Top 5 Shark Attack Locales

(RECORDED SINCE 1700 A.D.)

5. California, United States (113 attacks, 15 fatal)

4. Queensland, Australia (103 attacks, 38 fatal)

3. New South Wales, Australia (140 attacks, 61 fatal)

2. Natal, South Africa (214 attacks, 41 fatal)

1. Florida, United States (577 attacks, 13 fatal)

-->