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2010 Music Lists

Friday, December 9, 2011

10 Actually Good Songs on Metallica's Despised Load and Reload Albums

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 2:54 PM

It's not that bad. Really.
  • It's not that bad. Really.

As we celebrate Metallica's 30th Anniversary, it's time to reexamine a popular mindset among critics and fans of the most enduringly popular band in metal history: Many believe that all four of Metallica's 1980s albums were unimpeachable classics, and that after that, the band members cut their hair, hired a pricey behavioral therapist, sued their fans over Napster, and were never worthwhile again. You're not going to get any argument from us on the first part -- Metallica's first four records are mostly excellent. But to completely write off the second act of the band's career is a sad oversimplification. Sure, the Napster thing wasn't a good look for a band that built its fanbase in the early '80s on the circulation of bootleg tapes. And granted, Metallica did make two of the worst albums by a major act in recent memory, 2003's St. Anger and last month's collaboration with Lou Reed, Lulu.

But we'd argue that the band's two post-Black Album records, 1996's Load and 1997's Reload, are somewhat underrated. Recorded during many of the same sessions and released a year apart while Metallica were on tour, Load and Reload were warmly received by critics at the time, but they've since taken their place among the most reviled work of Metallica's career. These albums are stripped-down and streamlined, without most of the extended solos and complex song structures that defined the group's earlier work. They're both plenty self-indulgent regardless, totaling nearly three hours in length (and a good part of that run time is filler). But between the two, there are some gems that make them worthwhile. Yes, really. Check out these 10 songs.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Five Great Reissues from Last Year That You Haven't Heard Yet

Posted By on Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 4:18 PM

2010 continued 2009's heavy schedule of reissues, with release of spruced-up editions of Exile on Main St. and the Apple Records catalog being flogged as mainstream news items. Geezer rockers of course take this as definitive proof that today's music sucks. Premature post-postmods like Patton Oswalt, writing at, bemoan the seeming permanence of geek retro-culture generally. But as the definition of contemporary music slips from something new to something new to you, the prospect looms that we may never leave the 20th Century alive. The year 2010 summoned the following worthy shades out of our rockist heritage.


Lothar and the Hand People, Presenting... (Mircowerks)

Cultural memory of this Theremin-wielding quintet never entirely died despite an almost complete lack of chart action for its two Capitol albums. This 1968 debut is often cited as one of the most bizarre major label releases of the decade. Mutant ancestor of Seventies electronic rock, this mix of Brill Building-pop and Beefheart Kool-Aid will likely be hauled up in the far-distant future as evidence postpunk preceded punk and everything everyone will know by then is, in fact, wrong.

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Top 6 Songs To Avoid If You Want To Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Posted By on Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Are you one of those hopelessly optimistic people who decides to transform yourself into a better human every time a New Year rolls around? You may have been brimming with enthusiasm for your resolution as the clock hit midnight last Friday, but we're guessing that, by now, the cracks are probably starting to show. So, just to make life a little harder for you, we've compiled some songs that'll make you want to do all the bad things you just gave up. Have fun with that!

6. "Fuck You," Cee-Lo Green

Never, in the history of the world, has a song been written that makes cursing such an utterly gleeful exercise. The closest we had before was the bit at the end of "Killing In The Name" by Rage Against The Machine (, but that was all angry and whatnot. "Fuck You" is pure, unadulterated fun and literally impossible to not sing along to. So, if you're in the process of trying to clean up that potty-mouth of yours (we're guessing you've got a child who's learning to speak - you're the only ones that do such things), prepare to throw a whole heap of quarters into the nearest swear jar.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Top 10 Tracks of 2010, Apparently a Good Year in S.F. Rock

Posted By on Tue, Dec 28, 2010 at 9:54 AM

All hail the Fresh & Onlys, local proprietors of one of my favorite songs of 2010.
  • All hail the Fresh & Onlys, local proprietors of one of my favorite songs of 2010.
No, this isn't some not-so-sly effort at hometown boosterism. Three of my favorite songs from this year just happen to come from artists who nominally call S.F. home. Seriously. Anyway, some of the others on here are expected, some not so much, and at least one is probably pretty embarrassing (guess which!). So mock me in the comments, if you're so inclined. Here they are, then, the 10 tracks that made my 2010...

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Monday, December 27, 2010

On the Fascinating and Often Listenable Feedback Loop That Was 2010

Posted By on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Japandroids at the Fillmore
  • Japandroids at the Fillmore

Ah, twenty-ten. Two thousand and ten. Two years before our state warps and crackles and slides into a boiling sinkhole that used to be the Pacific Ocean. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. There was a pretty good Sage Francis song called "The Best of Times," and I reviewed the album it was on, and then someone wrote a review of my review of that album in which he took me to task for "infectious punctuation" and other infelicities. My head hurts. My eyes hurt. My heart hurts a little, because lord knows it was a plenty disheartening year. But my ears, curiously enough, are still going strong.

I've already rounded up my most listened-to albums here, in some cases looping back here for elaboration, and posted a mix of some highlights here. (That's my most listened-to albums of 2010, mind you, not perennial old flames like Third Eye Blind and Ready To Die. Let's leave them out of this.) So below please find a few elaborations, emendations, reconsiderations, irresponsible impressionisms, and the like. Also maybe a cat video. I can't promise there won't be a cat video.

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My Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2010, Starring Ty Segall, Flying Lotus, and Some Dude They Call Yeezy

Posted By on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 8:47 AM

The tussle of 2010, for me, was wrestling with albums that I loved, but which lacked that elusive quality of "importance," and records that felt fresh and ambitious and exciting, but weren't the kind of thing you want to listen to all the time. This list, then, is a compromise: the top five (after the jump) are all albums that ranked high on both hierarchies, while the bottom five are a mix of the deliriously enjoyable along with records that seemed to help forward the style and cause of pop music in 2010. Here we go:

A musical snuggie for the shoegaze set, this 10-song wash of melancholy and reverb was the year's coziest soundtrack to a chill anything. I don't quite understand this record's seductive appeal, but repeated listens have taught me never to discount the endlessness of it.

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The Top 6 Weirdest Actor Cameos in Music Videos

Posted By on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 7:00 AM

What did we do on Christmas after we'd eaten a mountain of food and watched a giant stack of movies? Looked for actors in music videos, of course! Here are six of the weirdest cameos big-name actors have made in music videos.

6. Christopher Walken in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon Of Choice"
Up until this came out, we'd mostly associated Walken with being fantastically creepy. He was that guy who'd pop up in your nightmares, grab your hand, refuse to let it go and tell you how you were going to die. Undoubtedly cool, yes, but did anyone imagine - even after the hilarious SNL skits - that we'd ever see him like this? He's still a tiny bit creepy here (this video makes us half wish Jack Nicholson had had a similar outburst in the middle of The Shining) but mostly we just can't believe his prancing and tapping and hip-jiggling here. Oh, Walken, you spooky, spooky lunatic -- our love for you knows no bounds.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Five Best SF Concert Posters of 2010

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Before the modern art snobs chime in, by "best concert posters," we mean the most absurd and awesome ones we found at S.F. shows this year:

Dam Funk - July 1 @ Mezzanine:
Don't gamble with your funk. Go for the damn king every time.


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The Top 10 Bay Area Hip-Hop Albums of 2010

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 9:27 AM

2010 has been a pretty good year for Bay Area hip-hop, if only because it saw the next generation of local rappers come into its own, eager (and maybe even ready) to put the

Bay back on the national radar once again. Even after the death of hyphy,

rappers here just continue to get weirder and weirder, falling in love

with abstract, synthesized beats as they rhyme about weed, outer space, and Paris Hilton. Not that that's

not a bad thing.


10. Moe Green - Rocky Maivia: Non-Title Match

One of 2010's newcomers, Vallejo's Moe Green kicks things off by sampling

dubstep producer Skream's remix of La Roux's "In For The Kill." This is the

new Bay, where emcees and producers are influenced as much by the Internet

as they are by the local legends they grew up around. From there, the

album only gets better as Green's smooth, boastful rhymes skate over a

variety of sonic styles; drum-heavy slaps, jazzy, Madlib-esque beats, and a

touch of East Coast boom-bap. You can tell Moe Green hasn't fully come into

his own quite yet, but Rocky Maivia shows that the future is bright for this


MP3: Moe Green -- "Search Party"

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Top 6 Most. Irritating. Christmas. Songs. Ever?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 5:32 AM

Oh dear God, is there a worse time of year for music than Christmas? We certainly don't think so. Walking into anywhere public right about now is like having our ears pelted from on high by sleigh bells (no, not that duo from Brooklyn -- we quite like them) and snowballs filled with glass. But! Being the gigantic masochists that we are, we decided this week to take a stab at figuring out the worst of the worst. Here then, are the top six most annoying Christmas songs of all time.

6. Bruce Springsteen, "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"

Sorry Bruce, we know you're not technically one of the worst offenders, but we simply hold you to a higher standard than the rest of the world. If you weren't so infallible the rest of the time, we wouldn't be so horrified by this. But we simply don't understand how you go from being such a stickler for detail during the making of the Darkness On The Edge Of Town album (please, readers, see the HBO documentary on the subject asap. if you haven't yet) to performing this monstrosity, in a fluffy red cowboy hat, like it ain't no thing. It is not befitting of a songwriting genius of your magnitude, it makes the Baby Jesus cry, and don't even get us started on the "Ho, ho, ho" noises.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"