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My dad told me to check these guys out. A quirky musical collaboration between National vocalist/lyricist Matt Berninger and multi-instrumentalist Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls.

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (Live on KEXP)

Freaked-out psychedelic madness by way of Melbourne, Australia.

Top 50 Albums of the Past 50 Years

It’s been 50 years since music started getting really good. It was in the year 1965 that both Dylan and the Beatles really hit their stride, ushering in a new era of sonic artistry and experimentation. Here are the 50 best albums of the past half-century (according to consensus):

1. OK Computer, Radiohead (1997)
“Paranoid Android”
“Karma Police”
“No Surprises”

2. The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd (1973)
“Us and Them”

3. Revolver, The Beatles (1966)
“Eleanor Rigby”
“Tomorrow Never Knows”
“I’m Only Sleeping”

4. Abbey Road, The Beatles (1969)
“Here Comes The Sun”
“Come Together”

5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (1967)
“A Day in the Life”
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
“With a Little Help from My Friends”

6. Nevermind, Nirvana (1991)
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”
“Come as You Are”

7. Kid A, Radiohead (2000)
“How to Disappear Completely”
“Everything in Its Right Place”

8. Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin (1971)
“Stairway to Heaven”
“When the Levee Breaks”
“Black Dog”

9. The Velvet Underground and Nico, The Velvet Underground (1967)
“Sunday Morning”
“Venus in Furs”

10. Funeral, Arcade Fire (2004)
“Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”
“Wake Up”
“Rebellion (Lies)”

11. The Beatles (The White Album), The Beatles (1968)
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
“Happiness Is a Warm Gun”
“Helter Skelter”

12. London Calling, The Clash (1979)
“London Calling”
“Train in Vain”
“Spanish Bombs”

13. Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys (1966)
“God Only Knows”
“Wouldn’t It Be Nice”
“Sloop John B”

14. Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd (1975)
“Wish You Were Here”
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts I-V”
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts VI-IX”

15. The Bends, Radiohead (1995)
“Fake Plastic Trees”
“Street Spirit (Fade Out)”

16. In Rainbows, Radiohead (2007)
“Jigsaw Falling Into Place”

17. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
“In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”
“The King of Carrot Flowers Part 1”
“Holland, 1945”

18. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie (1972)
“Ziggy Stardust”
“Five Years”

19. Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan (1965)
“Like a Rolling Stone”
“Desolation Row”
“Ballad of a Thin Man”

20. Doolittle, Pixies (1989)
“Here Comes Your Man”

21. Rubber Soul, The Beatles (1965)
“In My Life”
“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”
“Nowhere Man”

22. The Queen is Dead, The Smiths (1986)
“There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”
“Bigmouth Strikes Again”
“The Boy with the Thorn in His Side”

23. The Wall, Pink Floyd (1979)
“Comfortably Numb”
“Hey You”
“Another Brick in the Wall Part 2”

24. Is This It, The Strokes (2001)
“Last Nite”
“Hard to Explain”

25. Who’s Next, The Who (1971)
“Baba O’Riley”
“Won’t Get Fooled Again”
“Behind Blue Eyes”

26. The Doors, The Doors (1967)
“The End”
“Break On Through (To the Other Side)”
“Light My Fire”

27. Loveless, My Bloody Valentine (1991)
“When You Sleep”
“Only Shallow”

28. Exile on Main St., The Rolling Stones (1972)
“Shine a Light”
“Tumbling Dice”
“Rocks Off”

29. Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan (1966)
“I Want You”
“Visions of Johanna”
“Just Like a Woman”

30. Are You Experienced, The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
“Foxy Lady”
“Manic Depression”

31. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses (1989)
“I Am the Resurrection”
“I Wanna Be Adored”
“Made of Stone”

32. The Joshua Tree, U2 (1987)
“With or Without You”
“Where the Streets Have No Name”
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

33. Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan (1975)
“Tangled Up in Blue”
“Shelter from the Storm”
“Simple Twist of Fate”

34. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac (1977)
“Go Your Own Way”
“The Chain”

35. Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin (1969)
“Whole Lotta Love”
“Ramble On”

36. Ten, Pearl Jam (1991)

37. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis (1995)
“Don’t Look Back in Anger”
“Champagne Supernova”

38. Unknown Pleasures, Joy Division (1979)
“She’s Lost Control”

39. The Suburbs, Arcade Fire (2010)
“Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”
“The Suburbs”
“Ready to Start”

40. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen (1975)
“Thunder Road”
“Born to Run”

41. Grace, Jeff Buckley (1994)
“Last Goodbye”

42. Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, Arctic Monkeys (2006)
“A Certain Romance”
“Mardy Bum”
“I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor”

43. In the Court of the Crimson King, King Crimson (1969)
“The Court Of The Crimson King (Including The Return Of The Fire Witch/The Dance Of The Puppets)”
“21st Century Schizoid Man (Including Mirrors)”
“Epitaph (Including March For No Reason/Tomorrow And Tomorrow)”

44. Let It Bleed, The Rolling Stones (1969)
“Gimme Shelter”
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
“Let It Bleed”

45. In Utero, Nirvana (1993)
“All Apologies”
“Heart-Shaped Box”
“Rape Me”

46. Marquee Moon, Television (1977)
“Marquee Moon”
“See No Evil”

47. Automatic for the People, R.E.M. (1992)
“Man On the Moon”
“Everybody Hurts”

48. What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye (1971)
“What’s Going On”
“Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)”
“Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”

49. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco (2002)
“Jesus, Etc.”
“I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”
“Heavy Metal Drummer”

50. Astral Weeks, Van Morrison (1968)
“Astral Weeks”
“Sweet Thing”
“Madame George”

Love & Mercy


“When you listen to Pet Sounds, use earphones in the dark, and you can hear everything.”

Though I’ve long known that Pet Sounds is considered one of the greatest albums ever recorded, it was not until I watched a film called Love & Mercy that I ever gave the record a proper listen.

The movie depicts two eras in the life of the Beach Boys’ musical genie Brian Wilson. The mid-60s version, played by Paul Dano, is a young man overflowing with sonic inspiration, and hints at the shadow that will eventually swallow Wilson for a while. John Cusack plays the man in the 1980s, when he has become zombified by a mad doctor who badly mistreats Wilson’s mental disease.

While both eras of the picture are compelling, it was the sections that focused on the Pet Sounds sessions that intrigued me the most and made me seek out these songs. I now listen to the album on repeat on my long walk to work, letting it’s whimsical melancholy wash over me like a harmonic ocean.

The movie is worth seeing if only to awaken in you the chance to hear life with new ears.

The Vinyl of My Life


Image credit: Robert Farkas

Ultimate Painting

Formed by James of Veronica Falls and Jack of Mazes, this duo crafts simple and true ’60s and ’70s-inspired guitar pop. Their latest album, Green Lanes, is great bopping-around music.

Influenced by: The Velvet Underground
Similar to: Real Estate

New Music: Other Lives


These guys opened for Radiohead a few years back and yet hardly anyone’s heard of them. An Oklahoma band that sings from the heartland. Haunting strings and ethereal vocals, perfect for a folksy Western soundtrack. New album, Rituals, is that electrified. They’re on tour now, so buy a ticket if they’re coming to your town.

The 20 Best Films of the 2010s (so far)

50/50 (2011)
IMDb: 7.7
Metascore: 72

Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.

A Separation (2011)
IMDb: 8.4
Metascore: 95

A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Birdman (2014)
IMDb: 7.9
Metascore: 88

A washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play.

Black Swan (2010)
IMDb: 8.0
Metascore: 79

A ballet dancer wins the lead in “Swan Lake” and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan – Princess Odette – but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.

Drive (2011)
IMDb: 7.8
Metascore: 78

A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.

Frances Ha (2012)
IMDb: 7.4
Metascore: 82

A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.

Gravity (2013)
IMDb: 7.9
Metascore: 96

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after a catastrophe destroys their shuttle and leaves them adrift in orbit.

Her (2013)
IMDb: 8.0
Metascore: 90

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
IMDb: 7.5
Metascore: 92

A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

Looper (2012)
IMDb: 7.5
Metascore: 84

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.

Melancholia (2011)
IMDb: 7.1
Metascore: 80

Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth.

Skyfall (2012)
IMDb: 7.8
Metascore: 81

Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Take Shelter (2011)
IMDb: 7.4
Metascore: 85

Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
IMDb: 8.1
Metascore: 88

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)
IMDb: 7.1
Metascore: 86

Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their father into their family life.

The Master (2012)
IMDb: 7.1
Metascore: 86

A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.

The Social Network (2010)
IMDb: 7.8
Metascore: 95

Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the cofounder who was later squeezed out of the business.

The Tree of Life (2011)
IMDb: 6.7
Metascore: 85

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents’ conflicting teachings.

Whiplash (2014)
IMDb: 8.6
Metascore: 88

A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Winter’s Bone (2010)
IMDb: 7.2
Metascore: 90

An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.

Wasted Words (already been heard)


“There’s new love, heartbreak, good friends, not-that-much studying and a-few-too-many beers, all written with great wit. Highly recommended.”

“This short novel gives an insightful and emotional perspective of a college student who is an outsider even when he is in a group. The prose is witty and playful, the comedic elements are laugh out loud funny, and there is no doubt this book will touch anyone who has ever felt different.”

“Lucas’s apathy is often frustrating but ultimately heart-breaking as he drifts through life waiting for something that never truly comes. Wonderfully written with an acerbic wit and deep vulnerability, Wasted Words is an ideal read for the many who feel a haunting disappoint in life. Highly recommended.”

“A must read for those with a misspent youth. And for those current adolescents, a road map by which to guide the next years of your life. Enjoy.”

Click here to read Wasted Words.

14 Hippest Songs of 2014

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers
In no particular order…

“Shelter Song” Temples, Sun Structures

“Red Eyes” The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream

“Inside Out” Spoon, They Want My Soul

“Salad Days” Mac DeMarco, Salad Days

“Blue Moon” Beck, Morning Phase

“Weight of Love” The Black Keys, Turn Blue

“Talking Backwards” Real Estate, Atlas

“Cavalier” James Vincent McMorrow, Post Tropical

“Can’t Do Without You” Caribou, Our Love

“Put Your Number in My Phone” Ariel Pink, Pom Pom

“Holding On For Life” Broken Bells, After the Disco

“The Heat” Jungle, Jungle

“Ojai” Ray LaMontagne, Supernova

“Lessons” SOHN, Tremors