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…free download right here.

Learn more about Pretty Lights here.

You had me at free,

-Shady

…are these five albums:

1) Disc One of Bob Marley’s “Songs of Freedom” four-CD collection

2) Charlie Parker’s “Yardbird Suite: Volume 2”

3) Radiohead’s “Kid A”

4) Nina Simone’s “Nina Simone Sings the Blues”

5) That Handsome Devil’s “That Handsome Devil”

What are you folks listening to?

Working it,

-Shady

Like a lot of people, I have a habit of associating music with the seasons. The Beastie Boys, for example, are good summer-listening music, while Dave Brubeck sounds best during the three frigid months of winter.

My favorite batch of music is what I like to refer to as “fall music.” I don’t know what it is about this music that makes it sound better during autumn, but (at least in my brain) that fact exists nonetheless.

Listed here (in no particular order) are my top ten favorite albums of fall. Some of them you’ve more than likely heard, while others might be a little more obscure. I encourage you to give all of them a listen, especially before December 21st.

If you have any of your own personal fall favorites, be sure to list them below in the comments section.

SHADY’S TOP TEN FAVORITE ALBUMS OF FALL

1. DJ Shadow “Endtroducing…”

2. Air “The Virgin Suicides: Original Motion Picture Score”

3. Moby “Play”

4. Rjd2 “Deadringer”

5. Nine Inch Nails “The Downward Spiral”

6. Radiohead “Kid A”

7. Portishead “Dummy”/”Portishead” (tie)

8. Plastikman “Consumed”

9. The Roots “Things Fall Apart”

10. Marvin Pontiac “The Legendary Marvin Pontiac”

Tricky and Tool are eleven and twelve,

-Shady

…mostly because if I had to hear “Creep” (or any other song from “Pablo Honey”) one more goddamn time, I was going to kill someone.

Years later, after “The Bends” and “OK Computer” were released, I would roll my eyes when people began to spout off about how awesome they had become, how they had reinvented themselves and were the future of music as we knew it. I chalked it up to a lot of hype, figuring they’d go the way of most other early nineties alterna-bands, showing up on a VH1 special about one-hit wonders to reminisce about their heyday of “Creep.”

Nowadays, I’m older, (slightly) wiser, and a lot more willing to listen to music with an open ear. Because of this, I have to admit that I’ve been absolutely and utterly wrong about Radiohead, their career and their music.

For me, the awakening began with Thom Yorke’s guest appearance on the track “Rabbit in your Headlights” from the UNKLE album “Psyence Fiction.” I loved that song, listening to it over and over again; in doing so, it began to dawn on me that maybe there was more to Thom Yorke than just a whiny voice.

In 2000, a friend burned me a copy of “Kid A,” and I began to tell people that I still didn’t like Radiohead, but that they had created a pretty superb album. And then “Amnesiac” hit in 2001, and someone gave me a burn of that disc. And then “Hail to the Thief” was released in 2003. And so on, and so on.

And so I feel I must take a moment here to make amends:

Dear Radiohead,

You most certainly do not suck. I was just a stupid kid.

I apologize. Please forgive me.

Sincerely,

Justin Shady

It’s now safe to say that I’m an actual fan of Radiohead, which means that I was excited to hear that their first six albums were being re-released as collectors editions this year. This past March, the band’s first three albums were released in two editions (“Collectors Edition” and “Special Collectors Edition”), but I didn’t receive any of them for review.

Luckily, I did receive “Special Collectors Edition” sets of “Kid A”, “Amnesiac” and “Hail to the Thief”, all of which were just released a few weeks back.

Each set includes two CDs and one DVD. The first disc in each set is the original full-length release. The second CD in each set contains rare live performances and concert recordings; included are performances from BBC Radio One, sessions from Canal+ Studios, and a 2003 recording from the “Jo Whiley Show.”

The DVDs in the sets serve as a scrapbook for the band from 2000 to 2003. Collecting live performances from “Later… with Jools Holland” and “Top of the Pops”, as well as a few promotional music videos thrown in for fun, Radiohead fans are given a glimpse into the evolution of the band during this time.

If you’re a fan of Radiohead, chances are you’ve already picked these up. If you’re not a fan of Radiohead, you should really reconsider it. Take it from a recovered Radiohead hater.

I was the creep,

-Shady

…okay, that was a lie.

But I’m going to try and keep these reviews short because I have a shitload of them to do! (Even after this batch, I have a stack of thirty or more sitting here waiting to be listened to.)

So… lez go!

AmpLive “Rainydayz Remixes” – Here’s the story: Bay Area producer/DJ AmpLive takes select tracks from Radiohead’s latest album, “In Rainbows,” and does sweet remixes of them featuring the likes of Del the Funkee Homosapien, Too $hort and Chali2na, among others. Since it was an unauthorized remix, AmpLive gives it away for free online. The greedy corporate douchebags at Warner/Chappell Music catch wind of this and deliver a pretty little cease and desist to AmpLive, telling him to pull said tracks from the Internet. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke catches wind of this and gives his blessing to the album, demanding that Warner/Chappell lay off. Knowing well enough not to piss off a guy who makes you a ton of money, Warner/Chappell rescinds the cease and desist, and whimpers away like a crying bitch with a skinned knee. And now, thanks to AmpLive and Thom Yorke, you can download this eight-track gem for free right here. Enjoy! (NOTE: My friend Lille pointed out that this was actually released a long time ago, but I just came across it and thought I’d share. Free music is always good.)

Raphael Saadiq “The Way I See It” – Long before the world knew him as Raphael Saadiq, this R&B musician was better known as a member of both Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl. With this, his third solo outing, Saadiq has created an album of soulful harmonies that give a shout-out to an era in music that existed long before Raphael was even born. According the Internet, this disc was actually released late last year, which means I somehow missed it along the way. But I’m glad it finally fell into my lap because it’s found a reoccurring spot in my CD player.

Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones “Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones” – My favorite album of this batch! Aceyalone has taken his hip-hop roots and buried them deep into the ground of old doo-wop and soul! The album features upbeat tracks that are guaranteed to get some radio play, but also a few smoothed-out songs that you’d swear were produced decades ago. And I don’t really care one way or the other about swearing in music, but Acey stayed true to the genre and left each and every track curse-free. Quite a feat considering there is so much to swear about in the world today.

Isaac Hayes “Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)”/”Black Moses” – Another great set of classic albums remastered! Kids might know Isaac Hayes only as Chef on “South Park,” but long before those days he was the sound of pure and concentrated sex, laying his smooth baritone voice over classic tracks like “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Music To Make Love By.” Originally released in 1971, “Black Moses” features all of the songs and medleys that made it one of Hayes’ most well-known albums (outside of the soundtrack for “Shaft,” of course). And just like the vinyl before it, the Digipak folds out into a cross shape to showcase Hayes in all his Christ-like glory. “Juicy Fruit (Disco Freak)” from 1976 isn’t as well-known, but the seven tracks on the disc feature Hayes at his sexiest, especially on “The Storm is Over.” And the art is just as fantastic, featuring Hayes in a swimming pool being surrounded by six women wearing little more than a Carmen Miranda-style head of fruit. The best part? The photo on the back showing Hayes joyously jumping out of the water with a huge banana in his mouth. Even if you own one of his greatest hits collections, these albums were meant to be heard from beginning to end without pause… preferably with a nude member of the opposite sex… in a hot tub… and with a lot of exotic oils and candles and small mammals and whatnot.

Marcio Local “Marcio Local says, ‘Don Day Don Dree Don Don’: Adventures in Samba Soul” – An Afro-Brazilian blend of dance and soul, Marcio Local mixes classic South American percussion with American influences, like hip-hop and disco. It reminds me of a more scaled-back version of a fellow Luaka Bop alum, Los Amigos Invisibles.

Architecture in Helsinki “That Beep” – I like the Australian-bred, Muppets-gone-wild act Architecture in Helsinki, and I’m especially looking forward to their next follow-up to 2007’s “Places Like This.” Unfortunately, this five-track single release does little for me. Featuring the single “That Beep” and four remixes, there just isn’t that much here, and the best version on the disc is the original release. On top of that, two of the four remixes are by the same DJ team (Radioclit). Was it that hard to find four individual people to remix the song? For me, this is just a not-that-tasty (or filling) snack as I wait for their next main course (their upcoming full-length, “Vision Revision”).

Bruce Springsteen “Working on a Dream” – Springsteen is a weird one for me. When I was younger, I loved his “new” stuff and didn’t get the appeal in his old songs. Now, as an adult, I no longer like those glory days of “Born in the U.S.A.” and cling to his older, more folk-driven work. This new album is a blend of both, mixing his old sound with his really old sound. And it features the track from “The Wrestler,” which I surprisingly do like. Still, nothing on this album is as good as seeing him bang his nuts against a television camera while broadcast live to an audience of 100 million.

Ace Enders “When I Hit the Ground” – I don’t know what it is about me, but I’ve just never found any of the late nineties/early 2000s alt-rock acts that exciting. Ace Enders is better known as the frontman of The Early November, and while this album is an attempt at going in a different direction, we’re given just a bunch of the same old, same old. If you dig The Early November you’ll dig this because it’s that similar. But if you’re like me and are tired of alt-rock pop tunes that all sound the same, avoid it.

John Williams “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark”/”Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”/”Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” – In the past I’ve been known to give composer John Williams a lot of shit for creating music that all sounds the same. Of course, he has the last laugh because he’s loaded and I’m a poor fuck, but whatever. But these three remastered soundtracks from the Indiana Jones trilogy (I don’t count that “Crystal Skull” turdfest as being an Indiana Jones movie) made me realize something: This is the music I grew up listening to, and because of that I’m nostalgic for it. Each disc includes the original soundtrack, along with numerous previously unreleased tracks, the best being the “Temple of Doom” soundtrack that features eleven new songs. (My favorite is track 19–“Water!”–mostly because I think it has a funny name.) If you’re an Indy nerd, you’re going to want to get rid of your other soundtracks and pick these up, because these are the quintessential releases! Until they release another set a few years from now that has even more unreleased material, of course. Also, and this is an art dork thing, but the packaging on each CD is pretty nice, each coming with a sixteen-page booklet. So my apologies to John Williams… even though I still can’t tell the theme songs to “Superman” and “Star Wars” apart.

Asobi Seksu “Hush” – This duo of James Hanna (guitar/vocals) and Yuki Chikudate (lead vocals/keyboards) are a slightly more psychedelic rock version of Stereolab. It’s a solid effort with some great experiments in sound, but a few of the tracks play it a little too closely to the radio-pop line (“Sing Tomorrow’s Praise,” “Transparence”), and this breaks the album’s momentum. If they can abandon all “safe” tracks on their next album, they may very well be on to something.

Phoenix Rising “Ascension” – This disc starts off a little too New Age-y for me, but by the third track it shifts a bit and becomes more about the individual instruments being used and less about the genre. Phoenix Rising is the Bay Area-based duo of Wendy Loomis (piano) and Monica Williams (flute). It’s not something I would seek out because my likes typically don’t lie in the realm of piano/flute combos, but each of the disc’s seven tracks are an appreciated departure from the wave of indie-pop that has flooded mainstream America.

Knox Bronson “The Seasons” – A beautiful and brilliantly mastered four-track instrumental work that bridges the gap between the orchestral and symphonic, and the subtle digital realm of acts like Plastikman. Each track (coming in around the fifteen-minute mark) represents a different season, and Bronson has somehow managed to rip apart summer, fall, winter and spring, and put them back together in the form of a song. One of the best of this batch.

The Vox Jaguars “The Vox Jaguars” – When I first saw the photo of the Vox Jaguars I thought, “They look like kids!” But that’s just something all old fuckers say, right? Then I read their press release. Guess what? THEY ARE KIDS! With two members listed as still being in high school, I was afraid as I put their CD in my player. But you know what? They’re not bad. This Santa Cruz-based punk quartet reminds me of the Canadian group Born Ruffians, both in their lyrical delivery and style. And sure, they have a long way to go, but this four-track EP is a great start for any band, especially when you consider the fact that most of them can’t even vote yet.

Roxy Epoxy and the Rebound “Band-Aids on Bullet Holes” – The CD that got sent to me for this release was freakishly warped and my player couldn’t read it! Sorry, Roxy!

The Irish Experience “Green Energy” – I guess this would be considered a hybrid of sorts when it comes to Irish music, mixing a classic Celtic sound with some instrumentation that is anything but. Overall, the Seattle-based Irish Experience seems to have a pretty good grasp on the genre, but I wish they’d learn to get rid of some of the electric and synthesized sounds they have going on. I’m not an Irish music purist by any means; I love Flogging Molly, for example. But unlike Flogging Molly, this group seems to be going for more of a natural sound than their punk-influenced brothers. Because of that, the unauthentic elements stand out that much more. To their credit, though, they don’t bog the music down with unnecessary lyrics. Instead, they let the instruments speak for themselves, which is just the way I like it.

-Shady

Old Poop!