Blur: Blur 21 Box Set

When you look at the entirety of the Blur catalog, however, as you can upon the release of this exhaustive reissue celebrating the group's 21st year, you will rediscover why Blur should always be considered–pound for pound–the best London rock band of the last two decades. And for those who cannot afford the $150 for the 18-CD, 3-DVD super deluxe shebang online or at your finer local record shop, obtaining it piecemeal is just as noble, if not more so in the fortunate event you have enough spare cash to invest in new music altogether let alone upgrades of your favorite records growing up.

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B List: 10 Bands That Should Go Unplugged

[Originally Published: April 14, 2011]

Back in 1989, when MTV was still living up to its Music Television title, the cable network debuted a show with a simple premise called Unplugged. Artists from a wide variety of genres would perform acoustic sets in front of a small audience. By 1992 the show had produced a #1 single (Mariah Carey’s I’ll Be There) and a #1 album (Eric Clapton’s Unplugged) and dozens of memorable performances.

MTV’s Unplugged is currently in its 21st season with Lykke Li, Train and Adam Lambert among the latest batch of underwhelming performers visiting the show. It’s been quite some time since an episode of Unplugged has generated lots of buzz and we’d like to see that change. For this week’s B List, I’ve put together a list of ten acts I think would kill on Unplugged…

10. Fleet Foxes

While appearing on Unplugged wouldn’t exactly take Fleet Foxes out of their comfort zone since frontman Robin Pecknold usually plays an acoustic, we would love the whole band eschew electricity for a set of pastoral folk-rock.

READ ON for nine more acts that would revitalize Unplugged…

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Intermezzo: Gorillaz’s iPad App

While the future of Gorillaz may be unclear, the band is still putting out product. On Monday the animated act put an iPad app up for sale through iTunes called

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3GM: Top Musical Moments of ’10

Seems like this time of year everyone is making a list of some sort.  Worst this and best that.  We wanted in on that action.  You’ve been waiting, longing even, to hear our opinions, we know, it’s ok.  To keep it short: 2010 didn’t suck.   Here are Three Grown Men’s favorite moments of 2010:

Jonathan Kosakow’s top musical moments of 2010

3. Joe Purdy – “4th of July”

I stumbled upon Joe Purdy by way of coincidence, luck and lack of other choices.  The right place at the right time, he was playing his guitar alone on stage in one of the larger tents at the Mile High Music Festival this past August in front of a large crowd.  Nobody else happened to be performing at that moment.

His beard struck me first, long and unkempt, hiding his face just like his dark sunglasses.  His talent struck me next: a solemn and reminiscent voice, both lyrically and vocally, I thought of Ryan Adams and Ray LaMontagne; and a simple but catchy way of playing the acoustic guitar with single notes and melodies mixed into chord strums, I thought of Neil Young, among others.  I was able to learn through his onstage mumblings that he is somewhat of a loner, and recorded his latest album alone in a shack in Arkansas.  I went home tired and dirty later that night and found the album streaming online.  4th of July is simple: a lot of good songs.

2. Keith Richards – Life

For all the years he’s been in the spotlight, Keith Richards has somehow managed to stay somewhat of a mystery to the public.  There are hundreds of stories floating around about him and his time on the road, but he has rarely, if ever, confirmed or denied them.  Life is exactly that: a confirmation and a denial.  Keef tells you everything, from the street he grew up on as a child to whether or not he had a voluntary blood transfusion to rid his cells of heroin. His memories of the Stones’ first gigs and their many recording sessions, his obsessive and detailed knowledge of the music that inspired them, and his reasoning for playing a 5-string guitar.  It’s all in there: the music and the life.

READ ON for more of 3GM’s Top Musical Moments of ’10…

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Friday Mix Tape: HT’s Top 25 Albums

Since we’ve spent the entire week recounting our favorite albums of 2010, and quite frankly you’re probably tired of reading about them, seemed like a no-brainer to end the week

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HT 25 Best Albums of 2010: Numbers 1-5

For the second consecutive year at Hidden Track, we concocted our innovative little experiment for the year-end Best Albums list. Instead of picking the old fashioned way – subjectively – we opted for something a little different: a collaborative, collective list that incorporates the opinions of everybody here at HT.

To begin, we devised an all-encompassing list of well over 100 nominees, whereby most everything our contributors recommended made the list. Then we invited our crew of writers to independently and blindly vote on the whole list on a scale of 1 to 20 (20 = five stars). We ended up with varying degrees of familiarity with the nominees as some folks voted on just about everything, while some just a few. From there, we deployed our egghead algorithm for rating albums: (two times the average rating) + (the total number of votes). At that point, we took the top 25 highest scores and presto: the Hidden Track 25 Best Albums of 2010. No bullshit, no big opinions; just the results.

We’ve come to the end of our week long countdown, let’s check out our Top Five…

5) LCD SoundsystemThis Is Happening

Sounds Like: Dance Yrself Clean, I Can Change

Key Tracks: Modern spacefunk, Talking Heads with an indie twist

The Skinny: James Murphy and company’s third full-length finds the eccentric front man exploring the benefits and trappings of stardom accompanied by the funky dance-pop we’ve come to know and love. Not at all a departure from the first two records, This Is Happening takes the LCD sound in a slightly more laid-back, introspective direction. Gone are some of the dancehall sounds in favor of a more organic, live band-sounding approach which brings the seemingly more personal material to life beautifully. Murphy’s impassioned vocals are direct and honest, particularly on the monstrously catchy single I Can Change. This record has all of the things we love about LCD – the Talking Heads-esque bounce, Murphy’s staccato delivery, thick, ever shifting soundscapes – but with a maturity and comfort that shows Murphy growing as an artist and a person.

READ ON for the final four albums in our countdown…

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Bloggy Goodness: Gorillaz Free Xmas Album

As we previously reported, the Gorillaz have been celebrating the holidays with an advent calendar on their website, which each day revealing exclusive band-related content. With just ten days to

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Bloggy Goodness: The Jayhawks Return

Back in 2005, the members of influential alt.country act The Jayhawks decided to go on an extended hiatus after touring behind their seventh studio album, Rainy Day Music. In the

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