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Friday, Mar 28, 2014
And I know you'll never believe I play this as though I’m all right. If life is but a dream, then wake me up. The latest from Queens of the Stone is this week’s Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: There are a couple of things from my formative years that I still find myself drawn to, despite my better judgment. I’ve long since moved away from the shock rock, the gratuitous riffage, and mindless jabbering of so many of the hard rock, neo-hard rock, alternative rock, industrial rock, and metal bands whose posters used to hang on teenage Mendelsohn’s walls. And yet I sometimes find myself gravitating to those musical elements that, for better or worse, are a part of my musical history. Strike the right tone, bring the heavy guitar licks, and I might give you a chance. If your name happens to be Josh Homme, so much the better, because if it is, I will inevitably listen to whatever album you just made and, more often than not, I will like it — a lot.


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Friday, Mar 21, 2014
It's the time of the season when love runs high. In this time, give it to me easy and let me try with pleasured hands to talk about a 1968 psychedelic milestone. A misspelled masterpiece is this week’s Counterbalance.

Klinger: As I said a few weeks ago, I spent my formative years fascinated by the lists and ratings and reviews that issued forth from the typewriters of those earliest rock writers—the early rumblings of what would eventually form the Great List, that conglomeration of Best of Lists that has formed the basis of our little Counterbalance experiment. And all throughout that time, there was one curious little album that would keep popping up as an underrated classic, the ZombiesOdessey and Oracle, which was released in early 1968 but given new life when “Time of the Season” became a surprise hit more than a year later. Back in the ’80s, the LP seemed to be somewhat hard to come by, so I let it slip away from my must-listen list for a number of years. Much later, when access to music became as basic as a municipal utility, I finally got around to digging into it, and I have to say that I fell pretty quickly in love.


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Friday, Mar 14, 2014
You know I'm bad at communication, it's the hardest thing for me to do. And it's said, it's the most important part that relationships will go through. So let's just listen to this pop record — it's this week's Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: It’s no secret that I have a soft spot in my heart (or head) for well-executed pop music. So when I pulled up the best of 2013 list on AcclaimedMusic.net, I was pleasantly surprised to find Haim’s Days Are Gone hovering just outside of the top ten. Haim, for the uninitiated, are three sisters, Este, Danielle, and Alana, who hail from California and have been playing music together for most of their young lives (the oldest sister, Este, is 27). These young ladies got their start as part of a family rock group, playing cover songs with their parents at local events. Este and Danielle then went on to spend some time in various other projects including a stint in a prefabricated pop group and various backing roles for a who’s-who in the indie rock world. With the addition of youngest sister Alana to the roster, these ladies finally got around to doing the proper rock group thing and released Days Are Gone.


Full disclosure time — this is probably the last time I will ever listen to this record. But for the past couple of weeks, it has snowed non-stop in my locale and Days Are Gone is about as close to sunny SoCal as I can get so I will take it. And honestly, it’s hard to dislike this album, Klinger. It is a studio masterpiece and a rolling call book of nearly every pop music convention to grace the airwaves for the past 40 years. I am simultaneously thrilled and sort of disgusted that I am thrilled by this record. But before I put down this guilty pleasure, I wanted the chance to subject you to its unrelenting effervescence. You told me last week that you like effervescent pop. Is this effervescent enough for you?


Tagged as: counterbalance, haim
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Friday, Mar 7, 2014
Lo they did rejoice, the bright and pure of voice. And the wrong shall fail and the right prevail. A 1978 (or 1974) cult classic is this week's Counterbalance.

Note: For those of you keeping score at home, Counterbalance has stepped away from the most acclaimed albums of all time and is instead examining the role of critical acclaim more broadly, using a wide range of albums as examples. Do not be alarmed.


Klinger: I must confess, once we made the decision to untether ourselves from the chronology of the Great List, I felt a little like a kid in a candy store. But with unlimited choice comes unlimited uncertainty. Where to begin? I found myself still thinking in terms of those albums for which critical acclaim is still inextricably tied to their overall cachet. And that led me right to Big Star.


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Friday, Feb 28, 2014
Keep that list of who to thank in mind, and don’t forget the rich ones that are kind. A critically acclaimed 2013 LP from New York indie rockers is this week’s Counterbalance.

Note: For those of you keeping score at home, Counterbalance has stepped away from the most acclaimed albums of all time and is instead examining the role of critical acclaim more broadly, using a wide range of albums as examples. Do not be alarmed.


Mendelsohn: The last couple of years have been fun and educational, Klinger. We spent over four years digging through the Great List — we made it through 160-some entries and now we are going to switch it up for a while with our own picks. Freed from the shackles of the Great List, I didn’t really know what to do so I returned to my new music addiction. Truth is, I’ve been away too long. I have no idea what’s hot but I wanted something I new. So I just went to AcclaimedMusic.net, home of the Great List, and checked out the Best Of list for 2013. I recognized some names, found some new things, and saw a couple of albums I had already picked up this year (I still snuck in a new record or two, even if I was supposed to be faithful to the Great List).


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