The Top 25 Albums Of 2008

1. Flying Lotus – Los Angeles
2. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
3. Sigur Ros – Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
4. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
5. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
6. Department Of Eagles – In Ear Park
7. Kid Cudi – Plain Pat & Emile Presents a KiD named CuDi
8. Everest – Ghost Notes
9. Deastro – Keeper’s
10. Atlas Sound – Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
11. Portishead – Third
12. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
13. Imaad Wasif – Strange Hexes
14. Fink –Distance and Time
15. M83 – Saturdays = Youth
16. Kings Of Leon – Only By The Night
17. Frightened Rabbit – The MIdnight Organ Fight
18. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
19. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Lie Down In The Light
20. R.E.M. – Accelerate
21. The Whigs – Mission Control
22. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
23. Jim Noir – Jim Noir
24. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
25. Deerhunter – Microcastle

I Buy My Music At Amazon And Amoeba

I suppose this is somewhat of an endorsement, but there’s much more to why I shop at Amazon and Amoeba than the fact that they both offer great selections. And while most of my reasoning is different for each retailer, there is a common thread – I can find anything I want, whether it’s a top Billboard album or a rare, out-of-print album.

If you purchase music online, chances are you’re shopping iTunes or Amazon. I’ve never been a big fan of the iTunes store because I don’t like to be told how I can use my music. I continued to buy most of my music on CD until fairly recently, when unprotected MP3s were being offered at 256kbps from Amazon. Maybe you don’t care that you can only burn your iTunes downloads 5 times. Honestly, I rarely burn them, if ever. I do share a lot of music though. I’m not dumping the contents of my music library on other people’s machines or sharing music via BitTorrent, but I do like making mixes and sharing them. You can’t do that with an iTunes download, unless you opt for the unprotected MP3. That’s always been the deal breaker for me. As much as I like the overall experience of the iTunes store, I think Amazon’s user experience with their MP3 Music Store, is superior to Apple’s. When I shop at Amazon I feel like I’m among fellow music fanatics. The opinions are usually intelligent and substantive, recommendations are usually spot-on and the overall experience is just more pleasant. I’m about as big of an Apple fan boy as you can be, but I won’t be buying my music online from them.

Amoeba is one of the reasons that I love living in LA. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s one of my top 5 reasons. Amoeba is as much a record store as it is heaven on Earth. You can find pretty much anything you want, there’s people that know A LOT about music working at the store and they buy and sell used CDs. Find me a comparable brick and mortar retailer. You can’t. Amoeba is that good. I’m lucky enough to work a few blocks from the Hollywood location (currently the only LA location) and I visit fairly often. Some may find the experience of shopping at Amoeba daunting, and it certainly can be, but if you don’t have a lot of time to shop around, I highly recommend their end caps. The staff picks are so spot on, that a lot of times I’ll just pick something up because it’s recommended. I’ve only regretted doing that once. The used section is remarkable. If you’re willing to hunt, you can find some great albums at awesome prices.

I realize I’m an extreme case when it comes to shopping for music. For somoene that gets pretty much anything for free from the labels, I still spend at least $100/month on music. I want a great experience when I spend that money. For that reason Amazon and Amoeba are the two greatest places to buy music online.

My 15-Minute Meeting with Danny Goldberg

I was reading the Fashion Rocks magazine insert that came with the latest issue of Wired. In it there’s an excerpt from Danny Goldberg’s new book, Bumping Into Geniuses, which got me thinking about the time that I met Danny.

I don’t think my parents were ever really happy with the choices I made once I left the house and went to college at the University of Kansas. My dad always encouraged me though. My hunch is that he didn’t share all of the details with my mom, who was either more disapproving or just quiet about her disapproval. Either way, I didn’t really talk to her about any of it. I always talked to my dad, particularly about the music business. My dad was pretty much responsible for getting me interested in music at a very early age. Instead of fairy tales, he would tell me stories about Barry Gordy starting Motown or Quincy Jones producing a hit record with Michael Jackson. I assume he read books about these people, but now that I’m thinking about it, I never saw any books on them in the house. But there were lots of records to listen to, and I listened to all of them over and over.

As I grew up, I became obsessed with music. Whether it was listening to Casey Kasem‘s American Top 40 or buying punk rock records at Streetside Records in Overland Park, Kansas, I knew I wanted to be a part of music. Since I wasn’t a talented musician and couldn’t sing, I decided that I was going to work behind the scenes. It all culminated when I went off to college and Lawrence, Kansas was probably one of the best places to be in the 90s if you weren’t in Seattle or Athens. I started working at KJHK in the production department and eventually worked my way up to hosting “Plow The Fields,” which was the local music show. I was also a college marketing rep for Sony Music and started as an intern at Red House Recording Studio (now Black Lodge Recording), but what I really wanted to do was to start a label. I asked my dad if I could take some money from my life savings account and with that deposit and an amazing band called Action Man, I started Barber’s Itch Records.

In 1995, I went to New York for CMJ. My dad was always urging me to meet with people when I went to New York, but I didn’t have any connections. My dad was active in the ACLU and served as the President of the affiliate board. At some point, and I can’t remember when, he testified as a psychologist against the PMRC and if memory serves (and it may not), that’s where my dad met Danny Goldberg. I’m sure he talked his ear off too, but he also used this meeting as a way to get me a meeting with Danny in New York, which he did. I vaguely remember meeting with Danny, playing him some music and seeking his advice on how to get acquired by a major or get my artists signed to Mercury. I think the meeting lasted all of about 15 minutes, but I was anything but discouraged. He told me to work hard, get my music out to as many people as I could and only then might something happen, but chances weren’t good. And that small chance was what drove me to keep at my little label. I didn’t sell many records, but it was an experience that I will never forget and it helped me decided what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

Exercising without the gym

I’ve always had trouble motivating myself to exercise. I know it’s good for me. I know I’m not getting any younger, but I’m not fat (though my cholesterol is high now) and through the miracle of genetics, I have a decent build for someone who hasn’t consistantly worked out in years. I want to exercise, but I don’t want to do the work. Apparently there’s a pill now, but I’m not into taking pills. A couple of weeks back I was reading my daily dose of RSS feeds and came upon a pushup workout. It required little time, worked all sorts of muscles and it sounds pretty badass to say you can do 100 pushups, which, if I followed the regimine, I would be able to do in 6 weeks. Sold.

I’m a week in to the workout and while it’s not easy, it’s pretty fun to do and is a great, energetic start to my day. I’m taking a photo of myself after each workout, and will do one of those fancy time-lapsed movies at the end of the 6 weeks. Hell, maybe I’ll go for 200, but I don’t wanna get to far ahead of myself. If you’re curious about what I do pushups to every morning, my choice:

The Black AngelsDirections To See A Ghost
Download from Amazon

In addition to the pushups, I bought a new skateboard over the weekend and plan on skating around Hollywood a little during lunch and to blow off some steam during the day, when possible. It’s a Mark Gonzalez Krooked deck with Independent trucks, Bones Swiss bearings and Spitfire wheels. After years of not skateboarding following a nasty fall, I’m super rusty, but getting my confidence back little by little.

I may need to add another activity in there somewhere, but I’m totally determined to get in shape without stepping foot in a gym.

Everest hit the West Coast

The good men of Everest will be hitting the road, covering the west coast, beginning later this month. They’ll be playing with some other incredible artists.

8/20 San Francisco, California – The Independent (w/ Two Gallants, Howlin Rain, we have a large guestlist so check in with me!)
8/23 San Francisco, California – Outside Lands Festival (w/ Tom Petty, Ben Harper, M. Ward, Devendra Banhart) San Francisco, California
8/24 Sacramento, California – Old Ironsides (w/ Parson Red Heads, An Angle)  Sacramento, California
8/26 Seattle, Washington – Tractor Tavern (w/ Parson Red Heads, Elder Mason)
8/27 Salem, Oregon – The Space (w/ Parson Red Heads, Easterly)
8/28 Portland, Oregon – The Artistery (w/ The Parson Red Heads & Oh Darling)

Related: Check out their photos from the recent European MMJ tour and pick up Ghost Notes at if you don’t have it.

Some current favorite albums

I think about my music listening habits all the time. The music sometimes reflects my mood and I’m fickle as all hell. On to the next favorite band. It’s too easy to find a new band all the time with the amount of music I find online and get turned on to . I make my monthly mixes every month, which reflect my listening habits and sometimes a guilty pleasure or two. And then there’s the albums that I always seem to go back to, some of which you can see reflected in my profile. There have been a lot of great records so far this year and it’s never too early to start thinking about my year-end, best-of list, right?

Deastro Keeper’s
I originally heard Deastro on the free and absolutely amazing Ghostly Swim compilation. The whole thing is pretty stunning and you can’t beat the price. The Deastro album is only available through eMusic for the time being.

Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, you probably will at some point this year. They get compared to Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket, but that’s only because of the lead singer’s voice. The similarities stop there. This band must be experienced live as well. They put on a Majestic show.

Jubilee In With the Out Crowd & Rebel Hiss
Jubilee hasn’t released their debut album yet, but that didn’t stop me from giving them the best $20 I’ve spent this year. If the singles are any indication of what’s to come, this band could be on their way to greatness, which they deserve. Powered by Topspin, this is some of the best rock I’ve heard in a long time.

KiD CuDi A Kid Named Cudi
One of the best hip-hop mixtapes I’ve heard all year and another free album that I would happily pay for. Save your money for his debut, which is due later this year. Everyone is gonna be talking about this dude.