Sunday, January 3, 2021

CugeRock 2020 Year End Playlist

Hello! It's been a while since my last post and I guess "some stuff" has happened since. Major happenings. Thank God my family and friends are healthy and safe. I wish the same to you and yours. 

So...spending the past 10 months indoors, out on the back porch or back yard was very much conducive to listening to new music and exploring new bands, genres etc. 

Thanks to Spotify I have discovered so many bands and sounds that I've compiled into a massive playlist over the past year. That said, instead of a "Top Albums of the Year" post I thought I would whittle down this 200+ song collection to a 60 song CugeRock 2020 year end playlist and share out. 

This playlist consists of some new bands (to me) with new tracks from 2020, new bands with older tracks, a few old favorites with new tracks and old tracks alike. Like 2020 this playlist is all over the place. The bands, tracks and albums are below (no particular order/ranking). You can access the playlist HERE

This past year reinforced to me how much music is therapy and how much I love seeing live shows. Man, I miss them so so much. Please support "Save Our Stages" if you haven't already. 

I hope you enjoy these songs as much as my family and I have (yes, our almost 4 year old son is a dance machine - See track #50). 

I will once again quote Mike D from the Beastie Boys...

"I've been through many times in which I thought I might lose it. The only thing that saved me, has always been music."

Here's to brighter days, more music and the return of live shows in 2021. XOXO

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Cugerock Top 10 Albums of 2018...and a few stragglers

Hey Cugerockers! Well...I'm now resigned to the fact that this blog has turned into more of an annual listacle of my top albums of the year.  I can do better...

True, I had a lot of "life" thrown at me these past few years but now there is no excuse. I hope to hit up more shows and explore more tasty tunes this year I promise. 

Here are my top 10 albums of 2018 and a few honorable mentions. It was a pretty good year for music. A few new entrants on heavy rotation that were SO GOOD as well as some fresh/much anticipated LPs from some relative veterans. Enjoy!

1. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs

I am obsessed with this band. I heard their French Press EP a while back so I was pacing the room waiting for this full length to come out. Please, please, please buy all of their recordings...NOW.

2. Snail Mail - Lush

I saw 19...yes 19 year old Lindsay Jordan interviewed where she talked about influences like Sonic Youth, Future Islands etc. Her sound validates. She gives me hope for the future (blocking out of my mind every SNL music guest featured over the past 5 years)

3. The Breeders - All Nerve

One of those albums that keeps coming up on my shuffle that takes me aback. Still got it Deal sisters. Bravo.

4. Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy

Re-recorded/re-arranged from 2011. These guys are so ridiculously good and the songwriting is something unique that's hard to compare to anyone past or present...maybe Pavement.

5. Gorillaz - The Now Now

I finally saw Gorillaz in concert last year at the Barclays in Brooklyn with my sister Amy. We hadn't done an old school brother-sister NYC show outing in a long time and it was amazing. One of those life changing, unforgettable sonic experiences. "Sound on"...

6. Interpol - Marauder

This album didn't get much love from the press but I think its great. It's nowhere near the last record (El Pintor) but solid. I'm going to see them live in NYC this weekend with aforementioned Car Seat Headrest and Snail Mail as openers. Its like the "CugeRock Tour" am I right? Guys? Hello?

7. F**ked-Up - Dose Your Dreams

I am a such fan of these guys. Canadian hardcore that have matured their sound over the years. One of the best live shows I've seen. DYD is an offering definitely outside of their comfort zone but they've stayed the course in making an truly outstanding record.

8. Cursive - Vitriola

A welcome surprise from one of Omahas finest as I wasn't loving their last record. Vitriola is a return to form.

9.  Screaming Females - All At Once

Another established punk rock outfit that waited a good 3 years to crank out another record and it was worth the wait. New Jerseys finest showed up. Plus Brendan Canty from Fugazi guest stars on one of the tracks which not many bands can boast. I still haven't seen them live but after hearing this latest gem I must get to one of their shows this year.

10. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Sparkle Hard

I'd say a mellower than usual Malkmus record to round out the top 10 but I dig it. The Jicks never disappoint.

Honorable Mention:

Superchunk - What a Time to be Alive

One of my favorite bands of all time. This album is more punk and obviously born out of Trump-era angst but a good listen to blow off some steam.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen - Merrie Land

News of this album came out of nowhere as this Damon Albarn led super group hadn't put anything out since the groups inception over a decade ago. TOTALLY different sound from the last record but worth a rotation. Damon rarely steers you wrong (see #5 above)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cugerock Top 15 Albums of 2016 - 1st Half of 2017

Sorry folks. I know it's been awhile. I would say in the past 18 months I've experienced the absolute highest of highs and darkest of lows in my life thus far. That being said I quote Mike D of the Beastie Boys...

"I've been through many times in which I thought I might lose it. The only thing that saved me, has always been music."

This was also the quote submitted for my high school yearbook that never made it to print unfortunately. #FunYetSadFact

Let's recap the great albums from the last year and a half. Young indie upstarts mixed with modern rock mainstays, old punk legends and shoegaze revivals. Enjoy and PLEASE keep buying music.

1. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

2. Descendents - Hypercaffium Spazzinate

3. Yuck - Stranger Things

4. The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions

5. Tennis - Yours Conditionally

6. Spoon - Hot Thoughts

7. Fleet Foxes - Crack Up

8. The London Suede - Night Thoughts

9. Slowdive - Slowdive

10. Land of Talk - Life After Youth

11. Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam - I Had a Dream That You Were Mine

12. Nada Surf - Stay Who You Are

13. Real Estate - In Mind

14. The Thermals - We Disappear

15. Tegan & Sara - Love You to Death

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Cugerock Top 10 Albums of 2015

Music helped me get through a lot of tough stuff personally this year. Old and new artists alike. Here are the top new albums from 2015. Most were on heavy rotation throughout the year while others debuted late in the game.

Thanks to all of the friends and relatives that recommended some of the below.

2016 is going to be a great year for tunes. Lots of new albums and a few reunions on tap.

"Rock and/or Roll"

1. The Dodos - Individ

2. Sleater Kinney - No Cities to Love

3. Blur - The Magic Whip

4. Hop Along - Painted Shut

5. Baroness - Purple

6. Tame Impala - Currents

7. Martin Courtney - Many Moons

8. Swervedriver - I Wasn't Born to Lose You

9. Beach House - Depression Cherry

10. Metz - II

Honorable Mention (Pacific-Northwest Edition)

Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves

Built to Spill - Untethered Moon

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Belle & Sebastian + Real Estate @ Radio City Music Hall (6/10/15)

Credit goes to Brooklyn Vegan for capturing some great shots of the show last night.

Our seats were in the mezzanine but there really wasn't a bad seat in the house. Its freaking Radio City people. Here are some of my pics. 

The set list spanned the catalog which was awesome. 

Nobody's Empire
I'm a Cuckoo
The Party Line
The State That I Am In

Dirty Dream Number Two
Perfect Couples
Piazza, New York Catcher
The Cat With the Cream
If You're Feeling Sinister
The Wrong Girl
Dear Catastrophe Waitress
If You Find Yourself Caught In Love
The Boy with the Arab Strap
I Didn't See it Coming
Sleep the Clock Around

Lazy Line Painter Jane
Judy and the Dream of Horses

The State I Am In, If You're Feeling Sinister and Boy with the Arab Strap were the tops in my mind. I was also surprised and delighted they played If You Find Yourself Caught in Love. The big screen background was like nothing I've even seen, I have never seen Real Estate but they were so good.  

I haven't been to Radio City since the Beck Midnite Vultures tour and B&S at the Hammerstein Ballroom in the early 2000s. Real Estate actually mentioned that same show as the last time they saw them...which was cool and didn't make me feel old.

Speaking of, I was introduced to B&S in college. I heard the Boy with the Arab Strap album and was hooked. Real Estate came to me more recently in life but I'm equally hooked. Both have such distinct vocals and signature sounds. Place them both in Radio City...fuggettaboutit.

Couldn't ask for a more "Perfect Couple" 


Check out an older Cugerock post which features a an Pitchfork documentary on If You're Feeling Sinister

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cugerock Top 14 of 2014: Best Albums of The Year

I think the theme of 2014 (for me at least) is "still got it" with stellar releases from long running indie favs like The New Pornographers, Spoon and Interpol coupled with the long awaited return from veterans like DFA 1979, Unwound and Braid. A few more contemporary bands like Tennis, Cloud Nothings and Real Estate came forth with solid records as well to round out the list. Enjoy!

1. Spoon - They Want My Soul

2. New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers

3. Braid - No Coast

4. Real Estate - Atlas

5. Interpol - El Pintor

6. Unwound - No Energy

7. Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

8. Tennis - Ritual in Repeat

9. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

10. Fucked Up - Year of the Dragon EP

11. Peter Matthew Bauer - Liberation!

12. Strand of Oaks - Heal

13. The Men - Tomorrows Hits

14. Tokyo Police Club - Forcefield 

Honorable (aka had to) Mention

Fugazi - First Demo

Not new music but a new release showcasing rough drafts of some legendary tracks.


Great year for music indeed. Looking forward to the highly anticipated cuts from Sleater Kinney, Modest Mouse, Belle & Sebastian and others in early 2015...oh and Star Wars :)

Happy New Year!!