to eleven

An Open Letter to 2011 by jason

Dear 2011,

You know what? You weren’t half bad. I often look at each new year as a chance for things to get better, but as far as years have gone, you were fairly decent. I mean, sure, we lost some musicians like Amy Winehouse, Heavy D, Warren G, but you know what? To quote a British Sit Com: “Death isn’t the handicap it used to be.” Just ask Tupac and Elliott Smith.

We also had some bland pop music, like that one song with the autotuned guy bragging about his car and asking a girl to come back to his place. You know the one I’m talking about, right? But every year has bland pop music.

However, we had some really good music, too, as my top 10 list and Jayson’s top best of list will attest. And even the bad music, such as Loutallica’s Lola, was entertainingly bad. “Hallucinaaaaaaation! Hallucinaaaaaaaation! I thought you were listening!” Heh.

And in 2012, we’re planning on moving the site over to a different server, getting another writer or two, and generally shaking things up at both To Eleven North and To Eleven South. This all means that we may look back at 2011 as “The year before shit got all fucked up.” That is, unless the 2012 apocalypse is the real one and we die before John Cusack can save us. Or, you know, if SOPA passes. Or that kid in North Korea launches nukes.

Damn. 2012 is looking worse and worse, isn’t it.

It is with this in mind that I say, “Don’t leave us, 2011.”

When the ball drops in Times Square, I sincerely hope the numbers light up to say “2011” again. We could really stand to have another one of you.

So stay if you will, but go if you must, and know that you were a good year.

To Eleven

The Bargain Bin by jason

Well, it’s been a while, guys. Last week was Bargain Bin week, but we ran our Soul Khan interview instead. If you haven’t seen it, check it out; it’s a good interview.

Anyway, in today’s Bargain Bin, I’m plugging my data into J.A.Y.N.O.V.A., to To Eleven supercomputer, which uses the jaynova Bargain Bin algorithm to derive a score based on how much enjoyment I get from the album and how much I paid for the album ($5.00 or less). I just asked J.A.Y.N.O.V.A. if it was ready, and it says “bleep bloop gronk!” I’m not sure what that means. Let’s do this.

The To Eleven Institute of Music Research staff monitors J.A.Y.N.O.V.A...or does it monitor THEM???

Elliott Smith-Either/Or. Kill Rock Stars, 1997.

I was so glad to find this one in the Bargain Bin. I used to have a copy of Either/Or saved to my hard drive, but I switched computers and lost it. Musically, it bridges the gap between Smith’s early work (just him and a guitar) and later work (with full instrumentation.) I’ve only heard one of the later albums, and I wasn’t a fan, but this one’s great. “Speed Trials,” “Alameda,” and “Rose Parade” are the songs I think of when I think of this album, but really, there aren’t any bad songs here.

So what’s J.A.Y.N.O.V.A. say? Well, if I’m right, “Gronk Whirr Bing, Beep Beep” means that this one gets 9 out of 10. It’s going into heavy rotation at the To Eleven Institute of Music Research, Ghettoton branch.

The Murder City Devils-Empty Bottles Broken Hearts. Sub Pop, 1998.

The Murder City Devils make awesome rock n’ roll to fight to. I haven’t fought to it…I’m a lover, not a fighter, but if I were to get into a fight, “Left Hand Right Hand” would hopefully be playing. I freaking LOVE the creepy organ thing they’ve got going on a lot of the songs…it’s one of the defining things about their music. Again, there are no bad songs, though “Left Hand…,” “18 Wheels,” and “Johnny Thunders” are the ones that come to mind.

But yeah…if you like hard, fast rock that is not The Metal, you’ll like this. I like it. It’s really good.

I put the CD into J.A.Y.N.O.V.A., and my computer went out, got drunk, and slept with a hooker. I’m giving this an 8 out of 10.


New Release Tuesday by jason

It’s Tuesday, again: the day the record store calls out it’s siren’s song, guiding my bank account into the rocky reef of poverty. Or something like that. Anyway, a bunch of stuff came out this week, and I can’t afford to get most of it. ‘Tis a tale of woe, to be sure.


Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3-Propeller Time
I’ve been listening to Robyn Hitchcock ever since Perspex Island, and he’s only gotten better. I haven’t gotten any of his releases with The Venus 3, which is something I should go correct immediately. I briefly met Robyn Hitchcock once. It was weird. Ask me about it sometime.

Murder by Death-Good Morning, Magpie
I already have this one on vinyl. We’ll have a review up soon. I SWEAR. Jayson’s going to write it, but he ordered from Vagrant Records, and so he has to wait until the end of the week because he has the worst luck, like, ever that’s the way these things go. Anyway, I briefly met Adam Turla once. It was cool. Ask me about it sometime.

Elliott Smith-Roman Candle
Great album. It’s being released on Vinyl, along with From a Basement on a Hill. I want this. I briefly met…no. No, I didn’t.

There are some other albums that I’d be interested to hear, like the new Slash album, Melissa Auf der Maur’s new one, and that thing by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. But I have to show some restraint, right?