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52 Albums or Burn!

A new year is a good time to start doing new things, so I decided to set in motion a rather ambitious project. It’s somewhat inspired by Jason Kottke‘s 52 magazines or bust-project where he has got the bright idea to read a new magazine every week for a variety of reasons.

I quote:

1) I’m hoping magazines will be a welcome change from books and weblogs, 2) I want to explore some new subjects/viewpoints, and 3) why the hell not?

Looks like same reasons to me. But I’m more interested in music than in magazines, so I decided to explore the huge universe of music instead. I’ll pick up a new album every Friday for the rest of 2004. Including today. I went for something semi-safe not to overdo it at the first go. So I picked up something I’d heard of, Jim Stärk. It’s had two spins in my CD player so far tonight, and so far it’s Minor Majority, only even more quiet. Great for lazy days in the hammock. I realized that I’ve heard a couple of the songs on the radio. So far it doesn’t sound like this is my new favourite album. I could probably write a lot about this, but I don’t think I’ll do that until I’ve listened to it some more. Maybe it grows on me.

To have some real fun with this project, I need your help. Do you have a favourite band no one has heard of? Or is it some main stream music I don’t think I like that I’ll love? Maybe you even have a band yourself? Please drop a comment. It doesn’t matter if I have to order it from a web shop in Guatemala. As long as they take Visa. And now I can buy stuff like Stacie Orrico and blame it on this project. Sweet! I would’ve talked to a doctor about that thing in your face, Stacie.

And now for something completely different.

I called someone in Bergen about a job today. You could call it an unofficial phone interview, and I think it went reasonably well. They wanted me to send them my college and university diplomas, and they would call me back on monday for a longer chat. Let’s hope I hear something. Bad thing about this job: It’s in Bergen, which is not Oslo, and I hardly know anyone there. Good things: Semi-secure and more money. But there is no reason to ponder now.

Tomorrow: Throw away the to huge collection of empty glass bottles and tin cans that are piling up under the sink, yeah, I still recycle, try to find the hidden gym at NRK and do my best to get some good seats for next weekends screening of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Good luck with that. Then bug someone if I feel like it.

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42 Comments

  1. I’ll probably end up there anyway. Thanks for the tip. I don’t think that Sean Paul is my cup of tea, but some of the point with the project is to broaden my musical horizon, so I’ll give it a try.

  2. wait! no! i was kidding! veeegaaaard!

    on another note, though, it occurred to me that this is a pretty costly game to play. 52 albums at, say, us$15 a pop… that’s nearly us$800 for a year.

    also, when it seems that not playing means you do inherit the family fortune, any economic rationalist will tell you which is more sensible. :P

  3. It’s a costly game to play, but I’ll play it. Maybe I’ll save some of the records labels from going bankrupt.

    And when it comes to the family fortune, it’s not much to inherit there anyway…

  4. I don’t know how weird you like your music but :

    “The Mollusk” by Ween is pretty good, it does tend to leap from genre to genre though.

  5. Chinatown — The Be Good Tanyas
    In The Belly Of A Whale — Danny Michel
    Blue — Joni Mitchell
    Left & Leaving — The Weakerthans
    Alone At The Microphone — Royal City

  6. You can’t go wrong with anything by Modest Mouse (artsy indie rock) or Built to Spill (less artsy indie rock) or Talib Kweli (hip hop) or Spiritualized (space/heroin rock) or The Shins (indie pop)

  7. some bands i enjoy that not enough people have heard of:

    ted leo and the pharmacists
    spoon
    and you will know us by the trail of dead
    bishop allen
    broken social scene
    kings of leon
    decemberists
    stellarstar_
    the black keys
    raised fist
    the kills
    the postal service
    von bondies
    dirtbombs
    tangiers
    ok go
    lamb
    ladytron

    hmm… that’s all i can think of for now. i usually listen to 3 or 4 new albums a week. good times :)

  8. Sufjan Stevens’ album Michigan was pretty amazing this year, and is unique.

    When the holidays roll around again, Merry MeXmas by El Vez is underrated.

  9. If you want to be exposed to LOTS of new music, check out Songfight; musicians have one week to record their interpretation of one or two titles (and the number of titles is likely to grow again soon) and then all of the songs are posted in a huge orgy of sonic goodness (with some badness mixed in). At the moment it’s basically the equivalent of 3-4 new albums’ worth of music a week. All for free.

  10. My favorite album is still Joe Henry’s Shuffletown, even after almost ten years. Lazy hot summer day singer/songwriter stuff, so defer the purchase until July or so. Mazzy Star’s She Hangs Brighty wouldn’t be a bad choice then either.

  11. The following are essential:

    Slint
    Explosions in the Sky
    cLOUDDEAD (despite the dodgy capitalisation)
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor (despite the dodgy punctuation)
    Aaaand… If you’re feeling very crazy, 90 Day Men – (It(Is)It) Critical Band.

  12. You should check out Molotov’s Donde Jugaran Las Niñas?, a Mexican rap-rock group. Think of Molotov’s Dónde as Mexico City’s answer to Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

  13. “a promise” or “knife play” by xiu xiu (i guess, whichever title strikes your fancy more, i can’t recommend one over the other)

    and to the person who recommend hawksley workman, good call!!

  14. the constanines – shine a light
    the shins – chutes too narrow
    the postal service – give up
    decemberists – (both of their excellent albums) Her Majesty, and Castaways and Cutouts

  15. Constantines – Shine a Light
    Erase Errata – At Crystal Palace
    The Blood Brothers – …Burn, Piano Island, Burn!
    Ova Looven – 58:34
    The Party of Helicopters – Please Believe It
    The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium
    Mono – One More Step and You Die
    The Rapture – Echoes
    Spoon – Kill The Moonlight
    Low – Trust
    Jazzanova – Remixed
    Cat Power – You are Free
    The Postal Service – Give up
    Ex Models – Other Mathematics
    John Zorn/Naked City – Radio
    Shellac – At Action Park
    Ruins – Hyderomastgroningem
    Silkworm – Libertine
    Liars – They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top

  16. well. there’s certainly no shortage of indie rock recommendations here, is there? I’d like to second the Call and Response and Built To Spill recommendations.

    but my personal favorite artist, for the last couple years now, is The Kingsbury Manx. Check out their latest (and third) album Aztec Discipline (review)

  17. Check out my top ten for 2003 –
    (4 US, 3 UK, 3 Norwegian):

    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Take Them On, On Your Own.
    Johnny Cash: American IV
    Gillian Welch: Soul Journey
    The White Stripes: Elephant
    John Foxx & Louis Gordon: Crash And Burn
    Goldfrapp: Black Cherry
    Mogwai: Happy Songs For Happy People
    Flunk: For Sleepyheads Only
    Supersilent: Supersilent 6
    Erlend Øye: Unrest

    The same Top Ten 2003 with comments at http://www.halvorsen.org/arts/music/styles/rock/othree
    and pointers to three good albums available in full online (Flunk, Øye and Faultline) at
    http://www.halvorsen.org/arts/music/styles/rock/electronica/triotron

    Hal

  18. If u can get Billy Cobham: A funky thide of Sings (the atlantic “original sound” version) i think u’ll be happy.

    Also try early 70’ties Genesis and King Crimson.

    And don’t forget the Beatles! “Revolver” and “Sgt. Pepper” are still impressive today.

    And Deep Purples “Machine Head”.

    And…etc

  19. (apologise for the non norwegian keyboard i have. so there will bee a few dobbel aa’s but anyway.)

    i recommend
    jygeri – by Gaate,
    Outrospective – by faithless,
    toxicity – by system of a down,
    poodle hat – by weird al yankovic (real funny)
    book of secrets – by loreena mckennitt

    enjoy. they are all very good.

    take your time leave mine alone!!!

    PS i recommend you should read Oryx and crake by margaret atwood aswel…

  20. Are you still keeping up with your project? eight months in hows your muscial outlook? i would recommend Formica Blues by Mono, im not sure exactly what it is, but its great. Quite relaxing and chilled. fabulous!

  21. Um… The project kind of stranded early. I’ve bought a few albums this year, but far from the number I should’ve bought.

    Anyway, I’ll have a look at your recommendation.