Thursday, August 31, 2006

Descendents giveaway

Here's something new for me. A giveaway. A very cheap giveaway mind you, but it's good karma nonetheless.

I bought a new car recently. It's dark in colour. I have an extra Descendents bumper sticker. It is also dark in colour. Dark bumper stickers don't work on dark cars. I have ordered some new Dents bumper stickers. In the meantime, I figure I might as well get rid of this one. Street value: $1 USD.

To get it, just leave a comment guessing which Descendents song I am listening to right now. Of course, the song will be over by the time you submit your guess, but I have made a note of it and won't cheat you out of what you so rightly deserve should you be correct.

I know it's a cheap prize, but it's cool, will make you look cool(er), and the Descendents rocked.

The Roots: Not even close

Well OK I was close - off by 1.4 - but not as close as I thought I'd be. I really thought this would be the one that would give me that elusive first exact prediction. But alas, no fucking way. Gotta be patient. Gotta keep going. One day it'll come.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another Top 5 victim

Due to my close prediction of M. Ward's new album (see below - Aug. 18), Frank Black will be dropped from Mr. Tower's Top 5. So sorry Frank! Better luck next time!

Er, where was I? Oh yes, I was off by 0.3 on the new M. Ward album. Pretty good, but again, I erred in not using the average rating for previous reviews. I might have had my first exact prediction, because it was bang on again. Do you think my average rating technique is patentable? Cause this blogging for free thing is really not very rewarding. Financially I mean. Spiritually it's great.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Roots - Game Theory *

Game Theory: Formerly just the name of one of my old favourite bands, now also the name of what is being hailed by some people as rap album of the year.

It appears this album will be huge. One of the biggest of the fall, and there are a lot of potentially huge albums coming out between now and Oct. 3. In fact, if this isn't the top review on PF tomorrow I'll shit myself. 9.1. Actual rating: 7.7. Point differential: 1.4.

Now I'm off to find my box of old cassettes, Lolita Nation before bed.


Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler

What has happened to PF's alphabetical list of artists reviewed? I can't find it anywhere. Maybe it's gone. Anyway, my few minutes of research on the site didn't locate any genuine Yorn content. There was one generally critical reference that suggested Yorn should be despised by hipsters even more than Ryan Adams sometimes is. Why does PF do that? It hurts its credibility.

Me, I'm not a huge Yorn fan. I find him a bit too tame. The truth is these days if I am not blown away in seconds then I rarely stick around to see what else the artist has to offer, which is sad I know, but what can you do? There is a lot of music to listen to and very little time to do it.

I don't actually think this one will get reviewed, but I've been wrong before. (Except, of course, in predicting where I Can't Explain would show up in the list of PR's Top 200 songs from the 60s!) I will say 5.5. Actual rating: pending. Point differential: TBD.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mountain goats

I should have trusted the average-rating technique for the new Mountain Goats album. The average rating was 7.5; the new album got a 7.6. So my daring 8.3 prediction was 0.7 off, which is still respectable. Besides, what's the point of living if you don't take chances every once in a while, you know what I mean?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Another close one

I think we all knew the new Thermals album would be reviewed today. During a busy week for new releases, it is probably the biggest for Fork readers. Now, how many of us predicted the Fork's rating of the album within 0.3 points? That's right, my latest close prediction means there is a new Number 3 in Mr. Tower's Top 5!

(Meaningless statistic that 88 per cent of males over the age of 24 believe to be true 48 times out of 50: Cumulative total is 12.5 after 11 albums; an average per album difference of 1.13.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Eric Bachmann - To the Races *

I haven't followed Eric Bachmann at all since the Archers of Loaf broke up. So going to his myspace page and hearing two very folky tunes from this new album was a bit of a surprise. The last time I heard him sing was on a live Archers recording I have; his normally gravelly voice sounds extra gravelly. But I liked the new songs. As I get older I find I am grabbing albums like this more often, while the stacks of classic old stuff like Icky Mettle collect dust. Predicted rating for this one: 7.4. Actual rating: 6.9. Point differential: 0.5.


Friday, August 18, 2006

M. Ward - Post-War *

Back at it.

Wow, PF really likes M. Ward. He has received an 8.3 and 8.2 for his past two albums, and his latest single got four stars. I can't decide whether to pick higher or lower for his new one. I'll say 8.5. Actual rating: 8.2. Point differential: 0.3.


I Can't Explain

Well PF, that was fun. It was a nice break from predicting whole albums. Let's do it again next year, except with something even more obscure. I have started putting together my list of Top 200 soprano saxophone solos. You do the same, and we'll see what we come up with. I think we both know who will be #1.

In the end, 12 of the 21 songs I predicted made PF's list. That is impressive enough. But wait, it doesn't stop there: I also correctly predicted four songs that would appear in the Top 10. And, just in case that's not enough, my predicted ranking for I Can't Explain was bang on! Admittedly, I did not put a lot of thought into my predictions, they were more just done at random with some shuffling about at the end, but that's still damn impressive.

But just as I was sitting here reading the list and being very impressed with myself, I realized I missed Like a Rolling Stone. That was bad! Very very bad!

Did I mention I Can't Explain was bang on?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Getting closer

A few more of my predictions showed up on PF's list today of songs 60 to 21 from the 1960s. My closest prediction so far has been The Sound of Silence; I was off by 12. One thing this exercise has proven: my knowledge of 60s music and singles leaves something to be desired (altough it's still more impressive than my knowledge of 70s music and singles).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Showing promise mid-week

Three days into the 1960s Top 200 marathon, and only one of the songs I picked has made the list. To me, this is a sign of good things to come. There are 60 songs left in the Fork's list, and I've got about 20 predicted songs left in my list, most of which should make the cut during the next two days.

But who knows. I really thought Mrs. Robinson would be higher than 94 for two reasons, both attesting to its relevance to people like me: The Lemonheads cover was excellent and popular - probably still one of the only Lemonheads songs many people are familiar with - and of course The Graduate, which every film school student is familiar with and every indie-rocker has seen. After all, "films" (more commonly referred to as "movies" by everyone except film school graduates, movie critics and pretentious wankers) go hand-in-hand with indie-rock.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Rolling with it

PF threw me a curveball today: no new reviews all week. Instead, a five-day feature on the 200 songs from the 1960s that most resonate with my g-g-generation. How these songs are decided upon is a mystery to me, but in a desperate attempt to stay current I'm running with it.

I've come up with a quick list of songs that I think will almost certainly make it, along with my predicted ranking out of 200. Unfortunately I missed any of today's songs - Numbers 200 - 150 - because the Fork somehow forgot to give me a head's up!

Mr. Tower's randomly predicted list of some of PF's top 200 songs of the 1960s:

Your Time is Gonna Come - Led Zeppelin (90)
Ticket to Ride - Beatles (76)
Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel (49) Actual ranking: 37
Last Train to Clarksville - Monkees (21)
Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf (20)
Happiness is a Warm Gun - Beatles (17)
The Kids Are Alright - Who (15) Actual ranking: 34
Ruby Tuesday - Rolling Stones (14)
My Generation - Who (13)
Tomorrow Never Knows - Beatles (12) Actual ranking: 19
Fortunate Son - CCR (11) Actual ranking: 17
Daydream Believer - Monkees (10) Actual ranking: 54
I Can't Explain - Who (9) Actual ranking: 9
No Fun - Stooges (8)
God Only Knows - Beach Boys (7) Actual ranking: 1
Sympathy for the Devil - Rolling Stones (6) Actual ranking: 39
She Said She Said - Beatles (5)
Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel (4) Actual ranking: 94.
Wouldn't it be Nice - Beach Boys (3) Actual ranking: 7
A Day in the Life - Beatles (2) Actual ranking: 5
I Wanna Be Your Dog - Stooges (1) Actual ranking: 16

There is some reasoning behind a few of these rankings. If you want to discuss feel free to comment and I'll add my two cents. I may add a few more as the week goes on.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely *

Don't ask me why, but I really like this album title. Get lonely. Like I said, don't ask me why. It's one of those many things I don't have the vocabulary to properly explain. The Mountain Goats is fortunate enough to have been reviewed numerous times by the Fork. I think for this one I will take the average rating for regular studio albums, apply it to the new release, and see what I end up with.

Some shockingly simple calculations give me an average of 7.5 over the course of the band's five PF-reviewed full-length studio albums. Personally, I'm impressed that a band (or guy) this prolific has never scored lower than 6.7 with PF. Based on the average rating of 7.5, and the fact that the review of a track from the new album got four stars, I'm predicting an 8.3 for this one. And just to raise the stakes a bit, I'm predicting it will be rated as "Best New Music." Let me know if you think I'm getting too cocky. Actual rating: 7.6. Point differential: 0.7.


The Mars Volta - Amputechture *

I am going out on a limb here: PF does not like The Mars Volta. Its last album received a 2.0. I have never heard any of its songs, and based on what PF tells me (all of which I believe and regularly regurgitate to strangers as if it was my own opinion), I am not likely to seek any out. Ten minute + songs? No thank you. Anything more than 5:00 and I find it generally becomes repetitive wanking. Recent PF news and track reviews don't give me the impression this one will fare much better than 2.0, but it will not, of course, get 2.0. That would be wrong, not to mention lazy on the Fork's part. It will instead get 2.1. Actual rating: 3.5. Point differential: 1.4.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Chris Whitley / Jeff Lang – Dislocation Blues

Normally I’d say this would be ignored completely, but as the last album Whitley recorded before he died I think it stands a chance. I loved Automatic back in the day. 6.9. Actual rating: pending. Point differential: TBD.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Not bad...

My Comets on Fire prediction (July 21) was close, off by 0.5. That's enough for it to take over the last spot in Mr. Tower's Top 5. (Non-scientific note: cumulative point differential of 12.2 after 10 predictions, or...just getting out my calculator, alright, let's see here...1.22 per prediction.)

I'd like to thank largeheartedboy for providing an excellent weekly list of cd releases. It saves me having to scan the Billboard list, which isn't always accurate, and other countless locations.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Daughters - Hell Songs *

Never heard of it, but it sounds interesting. Prediction: 7.2. Actual rating: 6.7. Point differential: 0.5.


Matthew Friedburger - Winter Women / Holy Ghost Language School

Mmmmm, fried burger. WW: 7.4. HGLS: 6.8. Actual rating: 5.0. Point differential: 2.1.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Big Sleep - Son of the Tiger *

Yes I'm getting a bunch of September releases out of the way while I have a few minutes tonight. It'll be a few weeks before we know the outcome of this one. I predict a 7.6. Actual rating: 6.1. Point differential: 1.5.


Emily Haines - Knives Don't Have Your Back *

Another definite PF review. If it's from Canada, and it has anything to do with Broken Social Scene, it will be reviewed on PF. Not that Emily Haines isn't outstanding in her own right. I predict an 8.2 for this collection of indie-rock weepers. Actual rating: 7.3. Point differential: 0.9.


Guess who's back?

My attempt to use Towerian Logic to predict the rating for the new Long Winters album was surprisingly effective. I was only 0.2 points off, bringing my cumulative point differential to 11.7 after nine albums reviewed (average of 1.3 per album in case you're keeping track). My confidence is nearing an all-time peak! I will hold my head high today, and possibly part of tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I was very close in predicting Telephono wasn't among the classic Spoon releases, but my perspective on Soft Effects was seriously impaired by the brilliance of Waiting for the Kid to Come Out.