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Instead of actually producing CD's this year, I did my best-of mix as a set of MP3's included on my year-end DVD. But despite the fact that this could have allowed me to just include as many tracks as I wanted, for whatever reason I still restricted it to two CD's worth of time, mixed it out, etc. In a nice show of what's happened to the music industry in the past few years, all but one of these 44 tracks are available via the iTunes store -- the missing one is from a now-defunct local band, though the other now-defunct local band managed to get their stuff online. When compiling the links for the songs, I was surprised to find how many of them also had videos available at the store -- this year's version may, be sheer coincidence, have more actual singles on it than any other edition.

Disc One:
  1. White Rabbits, "The Plot"
  2. Modest Mouse, "Dashboard"
  3. The Noisettes, "Scratch Your Name"
  4. The Box Social, "kcmo"
  5. Rooney, "I Should Have Been After You"
  6. Kaiser Chiefs, "Ruby"
  7. Robbers on High Street, "Across Your Knee"
  8. Eisley, "Taking Control"
  9. Motion City Soundtrack, "It Had to Be You"
  10. Idlewild, "No Emotion"
  11. Immaculate Machine, "Nothing Ever Happens"
  12. Locksley, "Don't Make Me Wait"
  13. Testa Rosa, "Ollie & Delilah"
  14. The Bird and the Bee, "La La La"
  15. The Icicles, "Chasing Fireflies"
  16. The Apples in Stereo, "Sunndal Song"
  17. The Super Eights, "If You're From Illinois"
  18. Pale Young Gentlemen, "Clap Your Hands"
  19. Dinosaur Jr., "This Is All I Came to Do"
  20. Maritime, "Pearl"
  21. Bloc Party, "Song For Clay (Disappear Here)"
  22. Nine Inch Nails, "The Great Destroyer"

Disc Two:

  1. Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer, "I'm a Rock and Roll Mess"
  2. Dethklok, "Better Metal Snake"
  3. Yourcodenameis:Milo, "Understand"
  4. Foo Fighters, "Long Road to Ruin"
  5. Baby Teeth, "Taste the Wine"
  6. The New Pornographers, "Mutiny, I Promise You"
  7. The Rentals, "Little Bit of You in Everything"
  8. The Brunettes, "If You Were Alien"
  9. Bishop Allen, "Corazon"
  10. The National, "Slow Show"
  11. Minipop, "Ask Me a Question"
  12. The Eames Era, "Dear Gabby"
  13. Of Montreal, "Gronlandic Edit"
  14. Dolores O'Riordan, "In the Garden"
  15. 1997, "Garden of Evil"
  16. The Cacti Hi-Fi, "Texas"
  17. Arctic Monkeys, "Fluorescent Adolescent"
  18. Spoon, "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb"
  19. Sleeping in the Aviary, "Pop Song"
  20. Kristin Hersh, "In Shock"
  21. Kaddisfly, "Campfire"
  22. Piebald, "We Cannot Read Poetry"

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink




  1. Cake, Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle
  2. Baby Teeth, Intolerable
  3. The Hush Sound, Lions Roar
  4. The Brunettes, Brunettes Against Bubblegum Youth
  5. Matt and Kim, Yea Yeah
  6. Sleeping in the Aviary, No Socks
  7. Kid, You'll Move Mountains, Old Trust in Young Youth
  8. The Apples in Stereo, 7 Stars
  9. The Villains of Verona, Debut
  10. Pale Young Gentlemen, Me & Nikolai
  11. Eisley, Go Away
  12. Minipop, Like I Do
  13. Heligoats, Movieguns
  14. Stars of Track and Field, Exit the Recital
  15. Testa Rosa, Weather Underground
  16. The Long Winters, The Commander Thinks Aloud
  17. The German Art Students, Civil War Reenactor
  18. OK Go, Don't Bring Me Down
  19. System and Station, Honesty
  20. Bound Stems, Refuse the Refuse
  21. The Box Social, Pay Attention
  22. The Hold Steady, Chillout Tent
  23. White Rabbits, Sea of Rum
  24. Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer, Can't Stand It
  25. Apparently Nothing, Reason For Leaving
  26. Maritime, Hours That You Keep
  27. Locksley, Why Not Me
  28. Jail, New Noise
  29. Robbers on High Street, Love Underground
  30. The Flaming Lips, Ta Da / Race For the Prize

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Music ... Permalink




Matthew Yglesias links to a New Republic essay on the "new atheism," and agrees that it is self-defeating:

In a raw power struggle between people who, like Harris, want public schools "announce the death of God" and those who want them to indoctrinate us all in the Gospel, the numbers aren't on the side of the non-believers and the outcome is unlikely to be a happy one for anyone. The liberal consensus, by contrast, has served the country well and undermining it from the point of view of ideological atheism is really no better than undermining it from any other direction.

This is essentially a version of the backlash argument that "serious" liberals have used to undermine their "fringe" compatriots for the past several decades. It derives, I suspect, from the fruits of the Nixon era, and all the Brokaw-ian beliefs that certain liberals hold about 1968. As the story goes, the country turned to the right as a result of all those dirty fucking hippies that behaved so horribly at the Democratic National Convention, among other places. Since then, leftist "extremism" has been the boogeyman that has scared the Democratic Party toward the center and allowed the Republicans to push ever rightward in response. Thus, countenancing the idea that secular society ought to be, in practice, secular, is seen as the kind of thing likely to destroy the liberal consensus and take tolerance of atheism with it. This is sort of ridiculous on its face, as atheism has simply never had a seat at the liberal consensus table in the United States -- this was, for decades if not centuries, a passively Christian society until very recently. When people began to suggest that the First Amendment had something to say about that, things moved toward secularism for the most part, and the Christianists dug in their heels. This is a lot like what happened leading up to 1968, when blacks, women and other political minorities stood up and demanded to be given their due. What people tend to forget about 1968 and how horrible it all was for the Left, is that a lot of what was sought was achieved back then. The way it was achieved was by fighting for it. Similarly, respect for secularism won't be achieved by people who pretend that secularism doesn't matter or who are afraid to acknowledge their own beliefs, as well as the logic behind them. And if you don't like the tone being taken by activists without much to lose individually, maybe you should hook up with the national political leaders who actively support secularism, particularly when it comes to issues like the Pledge of Allegiance court case. Actually, there aren't any of those, but thank God for that liberal consensus, eh?

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Politics ... Permalink




A couple of friends' new band, the Dan Andreas Fault, will play their first show next Tuesday at the King Club. They're opening for the Attack Ponies, showtime is at 10:00. They're supposedly kind of Wilco-ish, though obviously I haven't heard them yet. Still, I'll be there and you should too.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
Around Madison ... Music ... Permalink




In one of Amazon's recent sales, I picked up Veronica Mars seasons one and two for $25 each, and have been working my way through the first one over the last couple weeks. I haven't seen most of these episodes since they first aired, and I'm really struck by how well it holds up. A show like this, it's possible that there's nothing there for rewatching, but there are a lot of layers to dig into and the fun little beats that I remember are still fun. By the time you get past about the eighth episode, all the little wrinkles have been ironed out and it's smooth sailing. It's really one of the awesomest things in the canon of modern TV.

posted by Aaron S. Veenstra
TV ... Permalink