Pitchfork Best-of-Site List

My list of top albums since the Pitchfork site’s debut is up at http://peopleslist.pitchfork.com/list/57dee1f7/

You can make your own list here.

I was surprised at some of the records I had to enter – Pavement’s Brighten the Corners, Neutral Milk Hotel’s On Avery Island, The Afghan Whigs’ Black Love – which got Cory wondering about the demographics of current Pitchfork readers.  I started reading Pitchfork in college, and just never stopped, so I had assumed that the main audience is my peers (the kids would have their own sites, or just use the FaceTweet(tm) ), but now I wonder if it’s actually younger.

The list is a weird mix of records I love and that have been widely influential or culturally significant, and records I just plain love.  That’s how Hang-Ups got ahead of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.  I also didn’t stress the actual rankings much, after the top 10; they’re rough, so don’t flip if it looks like I put something timeless (Stankonia?) below something I just like a lot (Perfecting Lonliness).  I might agree with you!

Finally, I had a tough time with bands that have made several great records, but didn’t have an easy choice for Their Best Ever.  The Arcade Fire was the hardest one of these.  All three of their albums are really good, and they definitely deserve a high spot on my list, but I wasn’t going to put them all up high, so I put Funeral up there and tacked on the others toward the end.  Jimmy Eat World was a pickle, too.  I wanted them on the list, but couldn’t choose between Bleed American and Clarity, which I love and think are important for different reasons, so I included both, which gives them more weight than they should have, but seemed like the best compromise.

Anyway, it was fun, and I’m looking forward to the results.  If you do your own list, comment here & include the link!  -h

Shipbuilding Co. Almost Here

Earlier this spring, I got to master the new Shipbuilding Co. record (out Aug. 21), and one of the songs, “St. Elizabeth,” is streaming over at Greyday Records.  Shipbuilding Co. is masterminded by Mike from Head of Femur, and shares some DNA with that band, but the players he recruited for this album add great twists to his 60s-influenced pop sound.  Enjoy, and if you like “St. Elizabeth,” I can promise that the album holds many more nuggets of catchy goodness for you!

Honoring Sally Ride

Scientist, professor, and first American woman in space Sally Ride died on July 23.  If you haven’t reminded yourself of her place in our history since then, her Wikipedia page and the Sally Ride Science site are good starts.

I remember learning about Ride in early elementary school, and getting a strong sense that what she was doing was significant; something we would look back on for its own sake, and also as a symbol of women’s empowerment.  Her example stuck with me.

There are several reasons I named my solo band after her, but the important thing now is to share, explicitly, that I think I have done it in good faith, to draw attention to her life and work.  Too many of my peers, on first hearing the name, confuse her with Christa McAuliffe, and while McAuliffe deserves the recognition, I would not use her name for a band.  My point is that Sally Ride’s story still needs to be told, and my aim is to be one who tells it.

If anyone from Ride’s family or the Sally Ride Science organization want to discuss the use of her name, I invite them to contact me via the comments on this post or privately through this website’s profile and messaging functions.  If I’m hindering them in any way, I want to know, and change.

Before every SR album I’ve released, I’ve thought about what Ride might think of the music if she heard it.  I haven’t changed anything because of that, but I’ve made sure it’s all stuff I think she could respect.  Not knowing about her partner at the time, now I’m even happier with my decision about the Teacher and Barman’s relationship in Boots.

I lose probably a couple hundred dollars per year on the band, between website hosting, maintaining my gear, and setting no price on our albums.  If that ever changes, I will certainly arrange for a percentage to go to Sally Ride Science.

Her life, work, and story are the important things.  Learn something new about her today, and speak for her when you have the opportunity.