Tuesday, January 24, 2012

John K. Samson - Provincial

Ok, so I screwed up on the Craig Finn solo album.

It will be a different story with the new solo album from John K. Samson. Guy is an amazingly talented and consistent songwriter. I simply don't understand Pitchfork's indifference towards The Weakerthans' albums.

Yes buddy can be verbose, but the quality of the songs can easily make you forget about it. Although I have to admit I didn't get Reunion Tour because I thought it would be more of the same from Reconstruction Site.

But now Forkchop owes John K. a good review.

Look for a 7.7 for this album about Manitoba.

Porcelain Raft - Strange Weekend *

Porcelain Raft eh? Never heard of em!

I'll try 7.8.

Actual rating: 7.4. Point differential: 0.4.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Craig Finn - Clear Heart, Full Eyes *

I'm back again. It's been an eventful two months since I last rapped at ya (ht: JA again) but I'm back with my two cents on a new album by some guy I've never heard of - Craig Finn (sp?).

I'm joking of course. The new solo album by Craig Finn is easily the biggest deal on Pitchfork so far this year. Craig and his band are Pitchfork darlings and I'm not afraid to tell you one of my favourite recent groups. One of the most reliable bands out there. When you're in the mood for The Hold Steady you can put the albums on shuffle and you're going to get exactly what you need.

But when you're not in the mood for what I like to call booze-punk or Hold Steady-inspired drinking, apparently this new solo album by Craig Finn might be just the tonic you need for your tonic and tonic.

It's gonna be interesting. I have always thought of Finn as a lyricist first and a musician second, so to hear an albums' worth of songs totally by him will be different. I haven't heard any of it yet, so I'm preparing myself to be surprised. My iTunes credits are waiting for this one on Tuesday.

Anyways, down to business.

Not that it's any indication of how a solo album will be judged, but I should note that only one of the Hold Steady's five albums has ever been rated lower than 8 by The Fork. That one album was Heaven is Whenever, and it got a 6.2. A little harsh if you ask me, but hey what do I know about album reviewing? My thing is predicting album reviewing.

And in that area, I am the Big Cheese. Not to be too arrogant or anything.

My point is, Forkchop loves Craig Finn. And while a huge part of the Hold Steady's appeal is Tad Kubler's gigantic guitar work, Clear Heart, Full Eyes will absolutely be judged on its own merits. And as a student of "good" music and a master lyricist, the only way Finn will get anything lower than 8 for this album is if Celine Dion reviews it. If I had to give an exact guess, I would say 8.0.

Let's leave it at that.

Actual rating: 6.0. Point differential: 2.0.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow *

Let's see, there's snow, precipitation, flurries, flakes, um...sleet?

Anyways I don't know why I bother. Is this even on that other site's radar? They weren't sold on Kate Bush's last original album (6.4), and I know nothing about this one so have nothing to go on.

In fact I know very little about Kate Bush other than the big songs off Hounds of Love. Remember the video for Cloudbusting, with Donald Sutherland? Awesome! I'm not ashamed to say I still play Running Up That Hill and Cloudbusting on occasion.

According to Wikipedia, Rolling Stone says this new album "finds a universe of emotions in its wintery theme – a sort of virtual snowglobe..."

Seriously! Guess the editor was off that day. That sounds fucking stupid!

I'm going to throw out a 7.2. That's pretty average.

Actual rating: 8.5. Point differential: 1.3.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Los Campesinos

One of the Campesinos told me via twitter that my website idea is terrible. Hey! Who died and made you an expert on website ideas!

But the comment (heartless and cowardly as it was) began a period of serious self-reflection on my part. And I'm pleased to say I have emerged from this period as a much stronger person.

It would be easy to pack it in, knowing how Los Campesinos! feels about my website, but that wouldn't be fair. It would leave a huge hole in the Pitchfork-rating-prediction area. There are people out there - three daily unique-page-views worth of people - who rely on me for what I do. I can't leave them lost like newborn puppies to search out other sources of album rating predictions. There are no such other sources.

So I'm going to keep doing what I do. And if Los Campesinos! doesn't like it, well, that's too bad. Deal with it. Stop obsessing already!

In the meantime I was off by 0.1 on the band's new album! Pretty good!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Fucked that up! I was way off. I wouldn't make a good music reviewer obviously. I'm not objective enough.

That's why I do what I do.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tommy Stinson

Just wanted to recommend the latest album from Tommy Stinson to my tens of readers. It's called One Man Mutiny.

Here's a link to arguably the best post-Replacements song. And here's a cool live version.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

R.E.M. - Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 *

I used to love this band so much back in the day. It was my first taste of "alternative" (along with the Violent Femmes), and I still pull out the old "LPs" once a year or so.

But I never got over what happened in the 90s.

While I do think fans of R.E.M. are usually pre-Out of Time or post-Out of Time (barring the few songs from Document and Green that were played to death), Out of Time isn't the band's worst album from the 90s, in my opinion.

Out of Time was actually pretty good once you got over a few songs. It was still "alternative" music. If you think back, alternative hadn't quite become mainstream at that point and there were enough indecipherable lyrics and jangly guitars on the album that it still had a passing resemblance to the R.E.M. of old. Yes Losing My Religion made the band huge the same way Stand made it huge in 1989. But it was still modern rock, not mainstream rock. I'm not one of those insufferable fools who will say "Shiny Happy People killed R.E.M."

Automatic for the People was more of the same for me. It was the anti-grunge R.E.M. There was more crap on there, but no more or less than what was on Out of Time.

What really killed R.E.M. in my opinion was Monster. I bought it, listened to it exactly twice, and have never played it again. Then the insufferable E-Bow the Letter came out from New Adventures in Hi-Fi and I was officially done with R.E.M. Hard to believe that was 15 years ago.

Which brings us to now and what is apparently the final R.E.M. release - a greatest hits compilation of sorts. One convenient release for fans of what I call the Two R.E.M.s - pre-Out of Time and post-Out of Time.

I wouldn't buy this release, simply because I intentionally didn't buy most of the albums represented on the second disc, and everything I want on the first disc I already have. Plus, even the early parts of the band's career are not well represented on this one. If you're reading this and you are seriously thinking of buying an R.E.M. compilation, buy the one that came out in 2006 that focuses more thoroughly on the band's early years.

However I will happily predict the rating this one will get on that other site. It's easy actually: it will be 7.8.

Actual rating: 9.4. Point differential: 1.6. Oops!


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness *

I have been digging Sirius XM U for the past couple of months, where this band's new singles have had the shit played out of them. It's reaching a point where I'm getting sick of the new one (By Your Hand), but you can't deny the poignancy of a line like "I'm not sure if it's love anymore, but I've been thinking of you fondly for sure."

Anyways these guys are as typically indie as you can get - they have more than the normal number of band members, they share last names, and there are boys AND girls in the band. Crazy. These factors and more likely explain the love from Pitchfork. The band's three albums all hover around the 8.3 mark over at that other site.

Why mess with a good thing?

Let's say 8.1 and go get a coffee.

Actual rating: 8.0. Point differential: 0.1.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Atlas Sound - Parallax *

Y'ever see Walk Hard? It's one of my favourite movies. "You don't want none of this dirty old Cox."

Anyways this guy Bradford Cox is like hipster-indie royalty. I have the first album he threw together as Atlas Sound. I like it. It's good. And I'm not just saying that to impress you.

PF really liked it too, blessing it with an 8.6 when it was released. It gave the next album an 8.2. Both received the coveted "Best New Music" label.

There will be more of the same for the new one. We're predicting an 8.4 around these parts.

Actual rating: 8.7. Point differential: 0.3.


Justin Bieber - Under the Mistletoe

PF won't review this. We all know it. But the people are asking what I think, and I hate to disappoint the people. They are the reason I'm here, doing what I do with remarkable irregularity.

Let's just say 3.3.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Radiohead - The King of Limbs *

A quick one here...9.3.

Actual rating: 7.9. Point differential: 1.4.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Decemberists goodness

Well holy shit! Looks like I still got it.

My prediction for the new album from the Decemberists was so close...so tantalizingly close. It's going to make my Top 10 list!

I guess it's like they always say: once you learn how to predict the Pitchfork rating for upcoming releases you never really forget!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Decemberists - The King is Dead *

I'm a little out of practice.

But I have to start somewhere. The first prediction of the new era is the new Decemberists album, The King is Dead.

Now I'll admit, I hate this band. I find it boring, and Colin Meloy's voice makes me want to do bad things.

But this new album is apparently country-informed.

Which does sound promising.

Unfortunately I don't think it will be the good type of country-informed. I'm pretty sure this album will continue the Decemberists brand of what I like to call douchebag-indie.

But it isn't about me. It's about the rating.

I'm predicting a 7.1.

Actual rating: 7.2. Point differential: 0.1.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back again

It's coming back.

It's been almost three years since Mr. Tower last pontificated in these parts.

It's an astoundingly long time. So long, in fact, that when Mr. Tower last posted, Eliot Spitzer was still banging high-class hookers. Now he's hosting a show on CNN with some weird-looking old broad.

It's a different world.

Albums have been released. Presidents of all colours and religions have been elected. Seasons have changed, changed again, then changed a few more times.

And of course Mr. Tower is older and wiser.

But he's also less up-to-speed on music. The last album he bought was Robyn's Body Talk Pt. 2. And he's not even into Robyn. He bought it based on Pitchfork's love of Robyn. But he liked both pts. 1 and 2.

It's shameful actually, how quickly one loses touch with music if one takes oneself out of the scene for a few months. Mr. Tower doesn't even know what genre is big these days, but word on the street is the Arcade Fire is somehow involved.

So consider this the end. The end of the Predictfork hiatus. The end of Mr. Tower's time in the musical wilderness. The end of me talking in the third person.

It is a new beginning.

Welcome to the new beginning.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark *

Gotta get this up before PF gets its review out. We predict a 7.2. Actual rating: 8.2. Point differential: 1.0.