Ryan Adams: Gimme Something Good

The new Ryan Adams record is really growing on me.

Apparently, David Letterman’s a fan, too.

I met Gwen about 3 years ago at a Nintendo Brand Ambassador event in Seattle. Didn’t know at the time that she was kind of a big deal. Since then, she’s “blank-slated” (her term) her digital self a number of times. It’s been interesting to watch her build it back up, only to burn it down shortly thereafter.

Here’s an email “interview” I did with her.

Do spend some time checking out her work and offerings while you’re at it.

My 2013 shortlist. Enjoy!

The Smashing Pumpkins: Today

Bored by the chore of saving face.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Set The Ray To Jerry

Here’s how you know you might be at your creative peak: You can release a 28-song double album, but this gorgeous song doesn’t manage to make the cut.

"This next song has three main points. You will be quizzed on your way out of the auditorium tonight, so please pay attention."

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound cover Blackstreet

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound cover Blackstreet

Okay, this is pretty great.

You ultimately realize that the harder you squeeze and hold on to old workflows, the quicker things slip through your fingers.

Here’s a thing I wrote introducing the new essentia creative site. (In case you couldn’t guess, it’s all responsive and stuff.) Please go check it out.

If you need me, I’ll just be over here, listening to this for the rest of this for the rest of the day week my life.

“I tore up the floorboards at H.Q. the other day and came up with this little number on VHS. She holds up well.”

"We have a million fonts, a million colors, and a million piles of shit leaving our fingers all day long. It’s just sad to me, because when you look at this [vintage ephemera], it’s just about communication. One font and a thing called hierarchy."
— Aaron Draplin on the simplicity of vintage design, delivered at the Brand New Conference.

(Source: 37signals.com)

"Imagine Johnny All-Star tells you his father used to throw bottle caps to him to hit in their basement to improve his hand-eye coordination. Great story. But now you’ve got to ask him to describe the basement, to tell you what drinks the caps came from (Yoo-Hoo? Root beer? Ginger Ale?), to tell you if he ever nailed his father in the eye with one of those caps—all the things that turn a generic story into a specific time and place for the reader. The time to think about those details is not when you’re sitting down to write, but as you’re listening and reporting. There are great reporters who are not great writers. I can’t think of any great writer that’s not a great reporter."
— Tom Verducci

(Source: mlb.sbnation.com)

I think year-end “best-of” lists would be so much more interesting if they focused on what the reviewer actually listened to, rather than what they thought they should like. Thanks fo the magic of things like last.fm, this is actually pretty easy.

In that spirit, here are my Top 20 Albums of 2012, based upon actual listens recorded by last.fm:

  1. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
  2. The Long Winters – When I Pretend To Fall
  3. Menomena – Friend and Foe (although I’m pretty sure I just left Spotify running one weekend with this on repeat)
  4. Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness
  5. The Wrens – The Meadowlands
  6. Tame Impala – Lonerism
  7. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (40th Anniversary Reissue)
  8. Morrissey – Live at Earl’s Court
  9. Dr. Dog – Be The Void
  10. R.E.M. – Document (25th Anniversary Edition)
  11. Archers of Loaf – Icky Mettle (Deluxe Reissue)
  12. Rage Against The Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles
  13. Jimmy Eat World – Clarity
  14. Pixies – Doolittle
  15. Pearl Jam – vs. & Vitalogy Deluxe Edition (featuring Live at the Orpheum, Boston MA)
  16. R.E.M. – Green
  17. The dB’s – Stands For Decibels
  18. R.E.M. – Murmur 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
  19. Bob Mould – Silver Age
  20. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska

So, let’s see. Three of the twenty albums on this list (Tame Impala, Bob Mould and Dr. Dog) were originally released this year, and the number one album is old enough to drink.