Thank you so much

to whomever found this blog by using the search string: “seattle mariners lose”

I hope you eventually found whatever you were looking for.

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#99: ‘Permutations’ by Amon Tobin

#99. Amon Tobin – Permutations [1998]

The ebb and flow of electronic music over the last decade has pretty much left the average American with a view that electronic is pretty much Moby, the Chemical Dudes, Aqua and those firestarting people with the crazy hair. And really, if you believe radio (well, again, American radio), that is what it became for mainstream listeners. This is, of course, the equivalent to saying that if you’ve heard Mozart, you’ve heard all classical (not to say any of the aforementioned electronic artists are like Mozart in any way shape or form), and that conclusion is dead wrong. If you are one of those people who do not think too highly of electronic but like music on the whole, I suggest you swallow your pride (or ego) and find yourself a copy of Permutations (or if you can’t find that, album #105, Bricolage work be a welcome substitute). Brazilian DJ/artist/musician Amon Tobin has been on the forefront of electronic for years, yet no one really knows who he is short of the Splinter Cell fanatics who got into his soundtrack to the videogame a few years back. All in all, this is a shame. Tobin mixes acid jazz, film noire, drum and bass, jungle and ridiculous musical allusions into a hypnotic blend that transcends the sadly short-sighted electronic genre and makes music that, unlike Prodigy and the like, doesn’t sound dated within 10 minutes of hearing it. Permutations still sends chills down my back when I pop it in driving down the highway at night where you half expect a fleet of UFO’s to come down and make away with my car. It is creepy, it is surreal, it is enthralling and might change your view on electronic from here on in (even if there isn’t much left of the genre).

Excellent tracks: Escape, Like Regular Chickens, Nightlife, Sordid, Reanimator, Bridge

EG100 Score: 77.29

Erik Gonzalez 100, #100 ‘The Lonesome Crowded West’ by Modest Mouse

So, here is the first in the Erik Gonzalez 100, list of my 100 favorite albums of all time. Remember, this isn’t supposed to be a “best” or “important” or “influential” albums list, just the albums that I have liked the most over my 31 odd years. If you want a refresher on how I scored the albums, see my introduction to the EG 100. Specifically, the equation for each album looks like this:

((4*GS)-((BS)+(0.25*FS)))^3+R^2+2*T+0.5*A+0.75*O

Where, GS = good song proportion, BS = bad song proportion, FS = filler song proportion, R = repeat listening ability, T = timelessness, A = album art, O = place in the artist’s oeuvre.

The score is weighted heavily towards the quality of the songs and the ability to hear said songs over and over, thus being a “favorite”. An album with a perfect score on all accounts would score a 196.5. To give you an idea of the range, the #1 album scored a 162.1 out of 196.5, while #100 scored 77.06.

And here we go!

Special Note 7/29/08: Due to the fact that I’ve discovered it will take me a long time to write ten of these summaries before posting, we’re trying a new strategy of posting them one at a time. Enjoy!

#100. Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

I distinctly have this memory of not having any idea what to make of Modest Mouse when I first heard the band when I was in college. Sure, lots of the “people who mattered” were talking about the band in hushed voiced, trying to guard the band for themselves, but whenever I tried to sit down and listen to The Lonesome Crowded West, I was struck with the, well, cacophonous and amateur sounding nature of the whole endeavor. Not really sure what to do with this information, I decided just to ignore Modest Mouse until it went away. Needless to say, this tactic didn’t work too well, and no sooner than had I purchased the 3 CD Matador retrospective Everything is Nice did I finally heard “Heart Cooks Brain” with fresh ears – well, in that I had no idea it was Modest Mouse. And times being what they were, I was very surprising to discover this was the “Modest Mouse” I kept on thinking was a bunch of rabid monkeys banging on instruments (in a sense, they are). I finally, at that point years after its release, break down and buy The Lonesome Crowded West and each listen makes me like it more and more. Admittedly, it is not an easy album to listen to as music goes. Isaac is fairly aggressive and angular at times, both lyrically and musically, but at other points the band puts together some fabulous, dare I say, pop songs (all the hipsters gasp). It was pretty much after The Lonesome Crowded West came out that Modest Mouse began its rapid rise to the top of the pop charts and even added a Smith along the way, but if you really want to start at the right place in their career, this album is where to do it.

Excellent tracks: “Heart Cooks Brain”, “Out of Gas”, “Trailer Trash”, “Jesus Christ was an Only Child”, “Cowboy Dan”, “Truckers Atlas”

EG100 Score: 77.06

And so it begins … Erik Gonzalez 100

So, starting tomorrow I will be posting the Erik Gonzalez 100 in segments of 10, working our way up to the top over the next few weeks. I’ll have commentary on each album, so it might take a few days between entries. Feel free to comment on any of my picks or comments.

I thought as a teaser, I’d list my numbers 110-101 as sort of a “just missed.” It might give you an inkling of what is to come (and to show how hard it is to make the list and try to make it be something beyond a qualitative list … heck, a lot of these albums might have easily made the top 100).

  • 110. AC/DC: Back in Black
  • 109. Beastie Boys: Check Your Head
  • 108. Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes
  • 107. Chemical Brothers: Exit Planet Dust
  • 106. New Pornographers: Mass Romantic
  • 105. Amon Tobin: Bricolage
  • 104. The Streets: A Grand Don’t Come for Free
  • 103. Guns ‘N Roses: Appetite for Destruction
  • 102. The Roots: Things Fall Apart
  • 101. Quasi: Featuring ‘Birds’

The rest will be coming soon!

Back from Canada …

So, I’m back from my lovely conference in Canada. Vancouver is a real nice city, I have to admit it. If you ever go to Vancouver, be sure to do the Grouse Mountain Grind if you enjoy deathmarches up mountainsides.

I had a chance to see Tullycraft live in West Seattle last week and you should see them live, too! They’re a heckuva a lot of fun. I also got to go to some real record stores, so I purchased to my heart’s content. What did I purchase? Good question!

(Loosely ranked by how much I’ve liked them so far)

  • Shearwater – Rook
  • Hercules & Love Affair – S/T
  • Ratatat – LP3
  • Tilly & the Wall – O
  • Coldplay – Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
  • Sigur Ros – Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
  • Wolf Parade – On Mount Zoomer
  • Dan the Automator – 2K7

Anyway, I will be starting my Erik Gonzalez 100 this week, so stay tuned for that!