Monthly Archives: January 2016

Ready To Rock (Weekly Playlists)

Two new songs from classic artists are added with the latest update to my  Spotify Weekly Top 40.  Young, old, new band, established artist, what matters is whether you deliver the goods.

Missing songs this week:
The Boards – The Motorleague

New to the Spotify list this week
Dystopia- Megadeth, Sympathy For The Devil – Motorhead, Lightning In The Sky – Devour The Day

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
The Light – Disturbed, Fallen Angel – Three Days Grace, Forget About The Blame – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s more than a dozen new songs including the aforementioned Devour The Day, the next single from Def Leppard, heavy duty rock from Hell In The Club, a heavier sound that we’ve gotten recently from Black Stone Cherry, solid straight ahead rock from The Treatment, and much more. You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

One song debuts and two re-enter with the latest update to my  Spotify Weekly Top 40.  It’s amazing how good rock can sound when you remove all the pseudo-rock

Missing songs this week:
The Boards – The Motorleague

New to the Spotify list this week
In The Dark– 3 Doors Down, Bloody Sunrise- Wayland (re-entry), Crossroads –
I Prevail (re-entry)

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
I Am The Fire – Halestorm, Vice Grip – Parkway Drive, Do You Know Who You Are -Atreyu

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s more than a half dozen new songs including the aforementioned 3 Doors Down, a great new song from Anthrax, new Rev Theory, newcomers The Mighty Sideshow and more. You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

Two new songs added to my Spotify Weekly Top 40 again this week as the rock just keep rolling.

Missing songs this week:
The Boards – The Motorleague

New to the Spotify list this week
Bad Reputation -Adelitas Way, Falling Apart – Papa Roach

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Bloody Sunrise- Wayland, Crossroads – I Prevail

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s more than a dozen new songs including new music from Silvertung, album cuts from Fall To June, First Decree and Longreef, new singles from Bobaflex and Megadeth, and more. You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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2015 Albums of the Year

Sometimes things are predictable, the journey leads you to the destination you expected all along.  Other times when you arrive you end up discovering something that you didn’t anticipate.

The path to my fifth annual albums list had elements of both.

On the one hand the eventual top two albums felt like contenders for such heights upon my very first listen to them months ago.  That’s fairly typical for me, I may not be able to describe what my top album will sound like beforehand but I seem to know it right away when I hear it.  This is the third straight year that has been the case.

On the other hand one of the recurring themes throughout 2015 were the strong showings for established groups, particularly in the active rock niche and in terms of radio airplay.  The year felt at times dominated by groups with a long run of past success.  That’s likely why I was more than a little surprised to reach the end of this process with a list that was over two-thirds composed of artists that had never before made one of my year-end album lists.   That’s not entirely uncommon as the lists go, album cycles and even with a five year history of the list, there aren’t always multiple opportunities for someone to have appeared (for example, this was the first Disturbed album released since I started doing this).  It was still surprising to me given the way 2015 had felt as it played out from day to day.

The outcome also likely highlights my growing sense of disconnect between what radio plays and what is actually good, or what I choose to hear … but that really wasn’t much of a revelation, that’s more like a recurring theme.

As always, I point you toward the description of the list as originally described back in 2011.
“It’s a lot like my college football Top 25, there’s no one absolute factor that puts one entry ahead of another.  I’m not putting artistic merit ahead of fun or chart/sales success in front of my own enjoyment.  And, as always, I apologize in advance for any errors of omission.”

This year’s process was even more exhaustive and extensive than last year with just over 250 albums heard & re-heard, scored & re-scored, ranked & re-ranked.   That isn’t simply a number either, it’s an indication of another of my common themes: the sheer volume of material being released today is astounding, something I believe contributes to the challenges faced by artists, especially new artists, in ever achieving anything that resembles critical mass.  There’s only one pizza, whether it’s a 12″ or a 16″ or a 24″ super deluxe thick stuffed crust, sooner or later if you slice that pie enough times the pieces are too small to be filling.

One other change this year deserves explanation.   The list has expanded to 30 for the ultimately simple reason that I could not find any comfort at all in separating #25 from #30.   I’ve dealt with “ties” or “virtually identical overall impression” every year, but never with this big a group for the final spot(s) that I considered so evenly matched.  Try not to think of it as a cop out — again this year I could have easily expanded the list to 50 or more — just think of it as a good-faith effort to give artists recognition that I feel they well and truly earned.

Also, please be sure to check  my comments that follow the official posting of the Top 25 Albums (and the top 15 EP’s),  there are additional albums worthy of recognition that are included in various sub-categories/genres, including some very honorable mentions for various reasons.

And with all of that now said, I proudly give you Jon’s Three Cents Top 30 Albums of 2015

30) Poynte – Discreet Enemy
29) Reverance – Gods Of War
28) Ugly Kid Joe – Uglier Than They Used To Be
27) Adakain – Never Coming Home
26) Red Sun Rising – Polyester Zeal
25) Stellar Revival – Love, Lust,and Bad Company
24) Queensryche – Condition Human
23) Stryper – Fallen
22) Wilson – Right To Rise
21) Disturbed – Immortalized
20) Papa Roach – F.E.A.R.
19) The Wild – GxDxWxB
18) I Prevail – Heart vs Mind
17) Bullet For My Valentine – Venom (Deluxe Edition)
16) Sunflower Dead – It’s Time To Get Weird
15) Hinder – When The Smoke Clears
14) Eclipse – Armageddonize
13) Tremonti – Cauterize
12) Red Sky Mary – River Child
11) Level 10 – Chapter 1
10) The Bloodline – We Are One
9) Sons Of Texas – Baptized In The Rio Grande
8) Fall To June – Fall To June
7) Like A Storm – Awaken The Fire
6) Bridge To Grace – Origins
5) Saint Asonia – Saint Asonia
4) Longreef – Battle Plan
3) First Decree – This Is Our Rise
2) Five Finger Death Punch – Got Your Six (Deluxe Edition)
1) Trivium – Silence In The Snow

Jon’s Three Cents Top 15 EPs of 2015
15) Dharmata – Cycles
14) Bad Seed Rising – A Place Called Home
13) Soulswitch – RegeneratE
12) Mach22 – Like My Chances
11) Any Given Sin – Forbidden
10) Empire Of Fools – Devil Inside
9) Brother Grey – Eternal
8) Outlaws & Moonshine – 1919
7) Revolve – The Road To Here
6) Sonic X – Fall From Grace
5) Voodoo Vegas – Hypnotize
4) Andrew Watt – Ghost In My Head
3) Everlit – Renovate
2) Stone Sour – Meanwhile In Burbank
1) From Ashes To New – Downfall

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J3C College Football Top 25 (2015 season final)

 

Be part of the most combined points in an official championship game?  Give up over 500 yards?  Give up two touchdowns to a walk-on receiver?  Win another title.

While the method may not have been their usual, in the end Alabama did what Alabama does for the better part of a decade:  win championships.  I don’t think they’ll complain about the method.

Aside from reaffirming that the greatest dynasty run in college football history is still alive & well, the bigger beneficiary of this year’s championship game may be the program that lost.  I’ll admit that I was dead wrong about the Tiger’s chances last night.   Granted, special players like Watson don’t grow on trees and their long-term success depends upon their ability to consistently replace him but I felt like Clemson changed some perceptions with their performance.   They proved that they can compete on the biggest stage of all.   I don’t know how many people believed that before last night.  Changing perception of a program takes times but this game, more than the sum of their entire season even, took several steps in that direction.

Perceptions, that’s as much as anything what you can take away from the 2015 season.   We perceive that Watson vs McCaffrey might turn out to be one heck of a Heisman race in 2016.  We perceive the Big 10 as overrated after an often disastrous bowl season.  We perceive changes that could turn out well (Smart to UGA) OR turn out to be underwhelming (Smart to UGA).   We perceive programs on the rise, such as the one in Knoxville.  We perceive programs in potentially terminal decline, such as the one on North Avenue.

And we won’t know about any of it for sure until we ride the merry-go-round all over again.

With that, it’s time to bid farewell to the 2015 season with something more concrete, something about what you did or didn’t do rather than what might happen later.

JonsThreeCents College Football Top 25
(Final rank & pre-bowl rank before the team name, my pre-season rank follows their name)
1. (2) Alabama (2)
2. (1) Clemson (12)
3. (5) Stanford (19)
4. (6) Ohio State (1)
5. (3) Oklahoma (20)
6. (11) TCU (3)
7. (4) Michigan State (6)
8. (14) Houston (Un)
9. (16) Ole Miss (17)
10. (7) Iowa (Un)
11. (9) Notre Dame (10)
12. (17) Michigan (Un)
13. (19) Baylor (4)
14. (8) Florida State (9)
15. (10) North Carolina (Un)
16. (20) Navy (Un)
17. (18) Utah (Un)
18. (Un) LSU (11)
19. (22) Wisconsin (18)
20. (12) Oklahoma State (Un)
21. (15) Oregon (5)
22. (25) Tennessee (Un)
23. (23) Western Kentucky (Un)
24. (Un) Mississippi State (24)
25. (Un) Arkansas (22)

Dropped out: Northwestern (13), Florida (21),Temple (24)

Teams ranked in the pre-season that finished 2015 unranked:
Auburn (7), USC (8), Georgia (13), Arizona State (14), Georgia Tech (16), Arizona (21), Missouri (23), Boise State (25)

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Three Things (for Jan 9, 2016)

The first installment of the new year for this (highly) irregular feature.  Complete with a bonus-with-purchase fourth item*.

1) I have got to get a Google Glass, or a discreet GoPro, or something.  The frequency of things I’d love to get a photo of but can’t manage without creating a scene seems to be on the rise.   Today’s example was a hairstyle.

I really can’t describe it well enough to do it justice but if you remember the old Football Follies clip where they added sound effects to the helmet being removed to reveal an ENORMOUS afro, well, that would get you in the vicinity.
I’d almost swear I could hear her hairnet screaming for mercy.

2) I may have mentioned this before but it bears repeating:  if your passenger vehicle is so comically tall that it cannot be seen over or around then there should be a law requiring it to be made of plexiglass or some other see-through material.

3) Had an Archie/Meathead doorway moment while trying to leave the takeout pizza place.   And instead of anybody getting mad we both had a good chuckle out of it, all the way into the parking lot.   A good reminder that just because a high percentage of rank strangers I encounter are, ahem, less than enjoyable doesn’t mean that ALL of them are.   Didn’t know the guy but I’d say odds are he’s alright.

Bonus Item) As I waited to pull out of the parking lot out by the road something on the ground caught my eye.   A little pile of airline-sized Fireball bottle.   I don’t mean one or two,  I mean closer to a half dozen.   Now that’s fine I guess but it left me wondering what scenario caused them to be left there.   Did someone just try to clean out their car a bit?  Was there a drinking game?  It seemed like an unlikely spot for anyone to be pre-gaming, although I guess a half dozen shots of Fireball could hold down the tab at the nearby “gastropub”.   Just one of those deals where the “why” ended up being more interesting than the “what”.

 

(Void where prohibited, see store for details)

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Ready To Rock (weekly playlists)

The first week of 2016 finds sees two new songs join my Spotify Weekly Top 40 to begin the new year.

Missing songs this week:
Black Rebel – The Lazys, The Boards – The Motorleague

New to the Spotify list this week
Emotionless -Red Sun Rising, Goodbye– Slipknot

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Anything You Say- The Cringe, The CallingAudiotopsy

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s a half dozen new songs including the latest singles from Red Sun Rising and Slipknot, something new (yes, new) from Vanilla Fudge,  the next single from the always standout Temple Agents, and more. You can find it at this link

Also, if you’re wondering exactly how all of this gets put together – the hows & whys of it – this recent blog entry probably explains more than you ever wanted to know.

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