Crow’s Short List 2016


Andy had a very metal year.  List is also short and sweet!

1. Metallica – Hardwire … Self Destruct

2. Anthrax – For All Kings

3. Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake

4. Opeth – Sorcerss

5. Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional

6. Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence



2016 List of lists…


Hello all, time for my yearly blog post.  This time my good friend Andy is going to post his top ten list long side mine.  If your reading this you already know how awesome a year it was for music.  Most might even say it was the only good thing to happen this year, but that opinion I’ll leave to you.

My year in music was jam packed and diverse.  Seems every year I open up to more forms of music.  I actually took a course related to classical music this past fall.  It was very interesting indeed.  Well with out further ado…

Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool  and Aurora’s  All My Demon’s Greeting Me as a Friend.  

These two albums were most definitely top albums of the year.   Radiohead as always put out an amazing album.  Anyone who knows me isn’t surprised that this album is here.  Aurora was a new artist I discovered in the wake of the death of David Bowie.  YouTube suggested her cover of Life on Mars.  I was immediately in love with her powerful voice.   I was lucky enough to get to see here this year down in Boston and even go a poster and record signed!

Fruit Bats’s Absolute Loser and The Glory of the Fruit Bats

Yes, that is two separate releases from Eric D. Johnson.  Absolute Loser was a more traditional release, while The Glory of the Fruit Bats was a Record Store Day exclusive.   I found myself leaning pretty heavy on the Alt Country sound this year.

Bon Iver’s 22, A Million

It took me a little time to get into this one, Justin is pushing into some interesting territories.  It seems something new unravels each time I listen to this.

Andrew Bird’s Are You Serious

This came out in April but I didn’t really give it a listen until late in the fall.  It has by far been my most played album in the last few months of the year.  I’m still kicking my self for not seeing him when he came to Portland!

Frightened Rabbit – Painting of a Panic Attack 

Got to see them live this year!  Amazing intimate show at Port City Music Hall.

Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

Late dicovery from most the end of the world end of year lists,  amazing guitar driven album!  I gotta get the on vinyl soon…

The others:
Hinds – Leave Me Alone
Mitski – Puberty 2
Eleanor Friedberger – New View
Juliette Lewis – Future Deep
Lady Lamb – Tender Warriors Club
Metallica – Hardwired…to Self Destruct
My Dying Bride – Feel the Misery
Suicidal Tendancies – World Gone Mad
The Temper Trap – Thick as Thieves
Wilco – Schmilco
Xiu Xiu – Plays the Music of Twin Peaks
Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger
Weakend Friends – Crushed
Beverly – The Blue Swell

I could write a lot about the above, but I’ll spare you.  Check them all out!

See you next year!

KidAJoe’s Top Picks for 2015

2015-12-12 11.43.30

Here we  go with another edition of my favorite albums of the year. Unlike how I felt last year, this year was full of great music. This year had a bit more of a female flavor, which is just fine with me.

Top 10:

  1. Lady Lamb, After – One and two are pretty interchangeable in my book.  I pushed Lady Lamb into the top spot for a couple reasons.  Mastermind, Aly Spaltro is from Brunswick, Maine, so I have to root for a local artist!  Second reason is that my two beautiful six year old twins girls love her as much as I do.  Check out Cal and Mal singing Violet Clementine CalNMal sing Lady Lamb.
  2. The Staves, If I Was – I didn’t know much about these ladies until I read that Justin Vernon was producing  their new album.  I took some time to listen to Dead & Born & Grown.  I instantly fell in love with their harmonies. Based on my Last.FM account The Staves outplayed the next artist on my list by over 150 scrobbles.  That must say something…
  3. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit – Discovered Miss Barnett via a NPR’s live stream from this years Courtney Barnett – SXSW Music Festival Down in Austin Texas.  This raw performance and amazing lyrics drew me in. Her Aussie drawl also adds another small piece that makes this record so cool.
  4. Screaming Females, Rose Mountain – Sometime big things come in little packages!  That is certainly the case with Marissa Paternoster, the petite lead singer of this trio.  I had the pleasure of catching them live at the Space Gallery in Portland.  I was blown away by both her powerful vocals as well as her impressive guitar skills.
  5. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities To Love – This was certainly a return I was excited about.  I had previously dabbled in the world of SK, but No Cities To Love enabled me fall completely in love with these ladies.   The first time my girls heard them, I told them about SK being an all female lineup.  They both just looked at me with puzzlement in their faces.  I then gave them a short and sort of basic lesson in the Riot Grrrl movement.  It all starts somewhere!!
  6. Florence and the Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – My wife had already referred to Florence as “your girl” whenever a song of hers came on.  Well ‘my girl’ put out probably my favorite record yet!  Such a good mix of songs that sometime pull at your emotions and other times just make you want to dance.
  7. Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color – Again another strong entry from a band I had previous love for.   A lot of people rave about how powerful Adele’s vocals are, but I personally think that Brittany Howard blows her away.
  8. Will Butler, Policy – Will finally breaks the girl party that is my top seven.  (other than a few band members)  This was one of the records I grew into a bit.  Of course coming in the shadow of big brother Win Butler isn’t exactly easy.  (Will is a member of his brothers band, Arcade Fire, for those out of the loop)
  9. Joanna Newsom, Divers – This is another album that probably needs multiple listens to really open up.  I’m still unwrapping this one otherwise it might have actually pushed itself higher on the list.
  10. Wilco, Star Wars – In another year an album this strong would be near the top.  Mr. Tweedy surprised us with another strong record.  But then again Jeff might just have the Midas touch!
Honorable Mentions:

Lower Dens – Escape From Evil, The Myndabirds – Lover Know,  Noun – Throw Your Body On The Gears And Stop The Machine, San Cisco – Gracetown, Metric – Pagans in Vegas, The Dead Weather – Dodge and Burn, Bjork – Vulnicura

Crow’s Tiny Tunes 2014

Here is my list for 2014,  It was a tough decision on what to include and not to include.  My list is not in any order .  It ranges from Death metal to rock and some in between.   Let me know what you think 🙂 Check out
Alcest you will probably like it .   They have moved away from metal much like Opeth which is also made this list.
1) Iced Earth – Plagues of Babylon

2) Alcest – Shelter (former black metal band )

3) Beck – Morning Phase

4) Opeth – Pale Communion

5) Wolves in the throne room – Celestite

6) The Black Key – Turn Blue

7) Arch Enemy – War Eternal

8) Jack White – Lazaretto

9) Karen o – Crush Songs

10 ) Pink Floyd – The endless river

11) AC/DC – Rock or Bust

12) Neil Young – A Letter Home

13) Neil Young – Storytone

14) King Diamond – Dreams of Horror

The weird wonderful world of 2014. (Best of)

2014 Top Two Albums

Great googly moogly!  Another year gone and another busy January.  Thanks to Blizzard 2015, I have the time today to finally post my favorite albums from the past year.  I really had a hard go this time around.  I really didn’t find this to be an overly strong year.  Either way, with out further adue…

St. Vincent – Eponymous:  Annie Clark created a masterpiece.  She combined her artier indie cred. with some pretty catchy pop hooks.  She also is a pretty interesting and talented guitarist to boot.  This one and First Aid Kit were by far the most played albums on this list.

First Aid Kit – Stay Gold:  As mentioned above this album was in heavy rotation.  I love these girls voices and harmonies.  Based on what I read of all the other top 2014 lists, this was the most underrated album of the year in my opinion.

Metronomy – Love Letters:  This one definitely falls into the indie pop category.  Much like there first album the songs are very catchy.  The thing I love about these guys is that they seem just a little of kilter.  I love weirdos!

Beck – Morning Phase:  Beck’s new record was one of my most played records of the first half of the year.  At some point it seemed to not draw me in as much.  The fact that is a pretty mellow album probably didn’t help, as I was frequently in the mood for something more upbeat.  Still makes it at the top because I do return to it and enjoy it greatly.

The remainder of this list really falls into the category of albums that I spent some amount of time with but couldn’t really say I loved enough to call them favorites.   I guess the fact that I didn’t repeatedly come back to them signaled to me a lack of true love.  Maybe with some more time a few of them will stand out a bit more…So the honorable mentions are:

Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain, Jack White – Lazeretto, The Bots – Pink Palms, Triptykon – Melana Chasmata, Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita, The Unicorns – Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere, Broken Bells – After The Disco, tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack, Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love, The Flaming Lips – With A Little Help From My Fwends, Luluc – Passerby

What do you think?

Crow’s Favorite Albums for 2013

Sorry for the delay…70 hours work weeks get old!  Here is my buddy Andy’s top albums for 2013.

1) Dream Theater – Dream Theater   –  I have gotten into prog metal in the last few years and this album shows just how good they are.   Dream Theater still puts out amazing albums
2) Neil Young – Live at the Cellar Door –  This album is pretty cool and of coarse a live album.  I dont know if the album was recorded in 2013 but it was released in 2013 .

3) La Yo Tengo –  Fade –  A indie rock band from Hoboken, New Jersey which I have love for a long time.  I was listening to them back in high school before I got into punk rock.

4) Deicide –  In the Minds of Evil  –  A Death Metal band that is right up there with Cannibal Corpse who paved the way for America Death Metal bands.   This album starts off kind of thrash metal and by half way its pure death metal.

5) MGMT – MGMT – Another great album by indie band.  Its not my favorite MGMT album but Its good if I am in the mood to listen to it.

6) Bad Religion – Christmas Songs –  Traditional Christmas songs

played punk .

7)  Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)   Porcupine Tree are one of my favorites and Steve’s solo work is amazing.

8) Suicidal Tendencies – 13 –  I am surprised you didn’t pick this one.  Pretty solid album.

9) Yeah Yeah Yeahs  – Mosquito –  I also agree that this album is great to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs more back to there roots.  I was not impressed with much of there electric period.

10) Iron & Wine – Ghost on Ghost – Just recently started to listen to this album and like it.

11) Christopher Lee – Charlemagne: The Omens of Death – That’s Correct the Actor from Lord Of the Rings Movies plays  Heavy Metal. Should I mention he is the oldest to play this form of music (91 years old).

12) Black Sabbath – 13 –  I am very surprised this did not make anyone list.  How could this be missed.  This album is a true master piece with Sabbath returning to there dark sound.

KidAJoe’s Top Albums of the Year 2013

KidAJoe’s Top Vinyl for 2013

I cannot believe that another year went by so quickly.  I feel like it was just yesterday I was trying to get this blog rolling, now it’s been dead for a whole calendar year!   I certainly wish I could find the time to keep it up but I obviously have other priorities.    So this list is for my boys in the “Four North Men Of The Rockpocalypse” group on Facebook.

It was an amazing year in music.  It was completely impossible to make a top 10 list, so I’ll just list a bunch of my favorites in no particular order.

  • Kanye West, Yeezus – I’m guessing that this one is not on any of my friends year end lists.  I’ve never really given Kanye much of a chance in the past.  The two main reasons are:  I’m not usually to into hip hop and Kanye West  is a complete jack ass.   That being said, I gave this one a chance partially out interest to finally see what he is all about as a self proclaimed “creative genius”.   The first couple listens I was really jolted by the oddness of the tracks, and had almost written it off.  But then a week or so later I put it back on after not being able to get lyrics from the song “New Slave” out of my head.  In the next few weeks I hardly listened to anything else.   I hate to admit it, but this just might be my favorite album of the year.
  • Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City – This is another one of those albums that took me a little bit of time to latch onto.    Ezra Koenig is such an amazing lyricist and writes some pretty catchy indie pop.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito – I love my Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I love that they went back to there rock/punk roots on this one too!  I even had the pleasure of seeing them live this year.  Karen O. is fn crazy on stage.   I was surprised that this one wasn’t on any other lists I’ve seen this year.
  • Quasi – Mole City – Probably one of the most overlooked indie bands of my lifetime, (even by myself for a time) Quasi put out yet another strong album.  If Yeezus isn’t number one, then this one was.
  • Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record – Another amazing song writer, who I had the benefit of seeing live this year.  The sad part was that I was one of about 30 people at the show.  In Miss Friedbergers defense it was a whopping 8 degrees outside that night.  In any case, one half of the Fiery Furnaces put out a pretty cool indie rock album.  This just proves to me that her brother Matt isn’t the only “artistic genius” in this family.
  • Typhoon – White Lighter – This album crept up on my out of no where.   I had previously fallen in love with there EP Hunger and Thirst, but for what ever reason the band had fallen off my radar.  I had fallen behind checking my weekly email of album releases when discovered this release.  I quickly fell in love with this one and will have the pleasure of seeing them in March at Port City Music Hall in P-town.
  • James Blake – Overgrown – Mr. Blake’s  (not to be confused with Mr. Blunt) sophomore output was not a dud.   Still amazed that I can love something that relies so much on synthesizers and autotune.  Just proof that even the worst inventions can be made cool.
  • Kim Deal – Solo Series – This wasn’t actually an album, but a series of 7″ singles from the former bassist of Pixies.   The trilogy of singles quickly became a main stay in my playlist rotation this year.
  • Volcano Choir – Repave – Justin Vernon is a god.  Enough said.
  • Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rival – Noise Pop?  I think that is what they have been dubbed.  Regardless Sleigh Bell is best listened to with the volume turned up to 11.
  • Arcade Fire – Reflecktor – I have a love/hate relationship with this album.  I think it is pretty cool “art pop” that sometime just goes on way to long.  A lot of  songs drone off with the main lyric just repeated over and over for several minutes to end the song.   It is good in practice, but the fact that so many songs on this one tend follow the same exact formula makes the album slightly boring.   So the question is: “Did I add this one because it was a good album or because it was the Arcade Fire?”  Something I guess I’ll have to reflect on in 2014.
  • Haim – Days are Gone – Anyone who knows me at all, know that I’ve been in love with the sister’s Haim since I saw them on Mumford and Son’s Gentlemen of the Road tour.  Most of the songs on this were not new to the Haim realm, so listening to this one initially didn’t contain many surprises.   It will be interesting to see what 2014 will bring for these girls.  I know they are huge in the UK and are getting lots of press in the US.  I also have tickets to see them in Boston in May!
  • Lorde – Pure Heroine – I figured I would book end this list with the two most main stream outputs.  Lorde stormed onto the national stage like crazy this year.  (something I predicted I might add)  If you have only listened to her hit single “Royales” you are missing out.

Other albums worth checking out include:  Foxygen – We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic,  Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II,  Atoms for Peace – Amok, They Might Be Giants – Nanobots, Suicidal Tendencies – 13,  The Flaming Lips – The Terror,  Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere,  The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars,  Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks,  Arctic Monkeys – AM, Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt, and The Avett Brothers – Magpie and the Dandelion.

In creating this list I have noticed about 10 albums by artist I love that I still haven’t had a chance to listen to.  So I guess my 2013 still has some surprises uncover.  If you want to listen to my favorites from the year on Spotify follow this link.  I invite you to tell me what you think of my list and/or to post your list for the year 2013!

2012, The year the world ended.

2012 Record of the Year

So some of you may have seen my list of ten albums of 2012 on our new blog Four North Men of the Rockpocalypse.  If you are one of those who hasn’t yet, go check out the three other North Men and see what they thought the top albums of the year were.  Remember we are four completely different guys with four greatly varying opinions, so the lists should be pretty interesting.  You should also be careful, you may just discover something new…

Here, I will get into a little bit more details on to what I liked so much about some of the albums I chose for my version of the list.  I will be very interested in seeing if any albums I picked even make it onto any of my counterparts lists. Anyway, here I go…

1.  Fionna Apple – The Idler Wheel – This albums was one of my biggest surprises this years, although most of that was probably self inflicted.  I may have had a unfair bias against Miss Apple from my youth.  (a misguided one at that)  I have since discovered that she has an amazing catalog of albums.  Like much of the music I like I need to contain substance.  This album was both passionate and even abstract at times.

2.  Jack White – Blunderbuss – Does anything Jack White touches not amazing?   Mr. White has an incredible way of taking classic american sound and taking modern spin on the sound.  He is constantly stealing from the past while creating something new and fresh.

3. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant – I did love this giant!  I couldn’t stop playing this album for a while.  I even frequently would start this one right from the beginning after listening to once. It’s funny, I didn’t even know who David Bryne was before this, so this album opened the door to the Talking Heads. It is now one that I am happy to have passed though this door.  The music has so many layers, and it makes me want to get up and dance.  Not much I listen to does that.  Now I finally see why so many artists love them.  

4.  First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar – I was in love with these young ladies even before this record came out.  These ladies have such beautiful harmonies!  I love the modern Folk movement.  I still find the lyrics so mature for such young song writers though. 

5.  Grizzly Bear – Shields  – At the beginning of 2012 I  thought for sure that this would be #1 on my year end list.  As you can see it isn’t, and I actually wonder if their previous album Veckatimist may hurt them.  Veckatimist is certainly one of my favorite albums of all time and it may have made it hard for this one to live up to.  All together, I obviously did like this album if it is here, but it just wasn’t as cohesive as Grizzly Bears previous album.  

6.  The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter – These brothers are so good.  They much like Mumford (and the Lumineers) bring that old time country sounds a modern feel.  These albums just make me feel warm and fuzzy and I do like me some bluegrass.

7.  Heartless Bastards – Arrow – This is the only album in my top 10 that I did not discover on my own.  A special thanks to Andrea Civello for introducing me to this blues group from Ohio.  It is a very soulful album, and is somewhat is the realm of the older Black Keys albums.

8.  Mumford & Sons – Babel – See both 5 & 6, that pretty much sums up this one.

9.  Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill – I have always been fond of Neil Young.  Despite varying opinions of his more recent albums,  I have been quite a fan of everything he releases.  You really never know what your going to hear out of him next.  The first track on this album alone is worth giving this one a listen.

10.  Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror  – This on just rips.  If you put this one on, be sure to turn it way up!

Honorable mentions: The xx – Coexist, Cat Power – Sun, The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet, Poor Moon – Poor Moon, The Shins – Port of Morrow, Lisa Marie Presley – Storm & Grace, Muse – The 2nd Law, The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Biggest suprise by far is Lisa Marie Presley.  She has always just been a pop artist until now.  Storm & Grace actually had a lot of substance, and was nothing like you would expect!  The Lumineers came to me from another blog I follow,  You Hear that?.  I was instantly in love.  Then this band blew up!  It’s amazing the trend of great music in the mainstream realm at present.  Last one I’ll mention is Poor Moon.  Another great folk record coming from former members of the Fleet Foxes.  I just missed seeing these guy this past summer.  Poor me!

If you would like to listen to these on Spotify here is the link…

So what do you think?  Am I crazy? Amazing? Crying? Living on the Edge?  Tell me what you think!  And share your top albums with me too!

Four North Men of the Rockpocalypse

The Rockpocalypse is upon us.

Well, my dear friend Chauncey has started a group on Facebook called “Four North Men of the Rockpocalypse“.  It is the brain trust of four boys from northern Maine and our wild opinions of what is good, bad and ugly in the music world.  To start the this new chapter, we have organized the release of our top ten albums of 2012.  The list will be released this Sunday, January 13th at 8 PM (EST).  It should be a pretty eclectic bunch of list since we all have varying taste in music.  I invite you to visit and like our new page and to come see what we have to say about 2012.

I will be posting my short list over on the Facebook page, but if you want to read more about my choices you can also see a post on this blog that will coincide with the release of the lists.   It is my hope that this new project will help me revive this small music corner I have created (and neglected).  Maybe I can even con my new partners to write a post or two here also…

Anyway, See you tomorrow…

Jiggy Jiggy Joe

Hello friends . The prodigal son has returned.  I just needed to google that to discover exactly what it actually meant.  I’m not necessarily wasteful or extravagant , so at any rate . . .

As you have seen it really has been some time . I get on “kicks” and the most recent one was a new career . This one suffered in consequence . Well given that my cousin commented she “always looking for new tunes and I have been sick of the mundane .” to a recent facebook post , I reasoned I need to get back on my horse .  I am hoping this is like riding a bike .

Since my previous post I’ve been to a couple of terrific shows . First of all we attended Mumford and Son’s first stopover on the Gentleman of the Road tour . It was a stunning day here in Portland . Eight band took to two stages over more or less 8 hours . Heading in I had been psyched to check out St . Vincent and Mumford , however knew little to nothing basically relating to nearly all the other bands on the tour . I enjoy new music that being said I made sure to get there early so I could explore some new sh !t . The musical combo that stole my heart that day ( and still possesses a tight grip it currently ) was a group of three sister from California that call themselves Haim . Initially I had been curious about how they coined this name , but down the line discovered that Haim was their last name . They actually have only one digital EP released titled Forever . I’ve listened to this modest three track sampling of the band again and again since my first encounter with these lovely ladies however I still believe it pales in comparison with experiencing them live . I recommend taking a listen to the EP, but also checking out about the video of an acoustic performance of the song Go Slow .

More recently I got to see Ben Harper at the State Theater here in Portland . It was the second show this year that I been to with my sister , the initial one being the Black Keys back in March. Ben Harper is truly one of my younger siblings most loved performers , thus she was seriously fired up in the days leading up to the show . I had been excited at the same time , just simply not as much as her . For this tour Ben was on tour all by himself , his the stage setup consisted of approximately 20 or more stringed instruments resting on stands , and the performance consisted of Ben pretty much randomly choosing one of these brilliant instruments and performing a song from his extensive catalog . For the most part the set was an acoustic one , however occasionally he did play one of his electrics .
In addition to an amazing overall performance was the fact that this was the show that never ends.  Ben took the stage took the stage approximately an hour and a half before departing from for the first time . The crowd , as you would expect , cheered him to return on stage . He then performed for about one more hour before leaving the stage a second time . The crowd had started to thin a bit , however the remaining 2/3rds continued rock the place . Ben came back again for an additional hour long set ! I very seriously believe he would have played longer had it not been for the midnight noise ordinance in P-town . He actually performed his final song after midnight without a mic and only his acoustic guitar inhand . According to he played a total of 33 songs . It was insanly fun and super exciting to share one of my sisters favorites with her!  I somehow promised her Dave Matthews, which I may live to regret doing, but that is another story…

Check out one of the many gems from the night below.  It is a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City.