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Fifteen years after their break-through release Dookie, Californian punk band Green Day still hasn’t forgotten how to put on a show—with the emphasis on show.

Prior to the release of their first album since their self-titled 2006 release, the legendary ‘90’s rock band Pearl Jam graced Europe with a quick, four concert mini-tour this summer. Despite the fact that the band still has a large enough following to have easily filled a stadium, Pearl Jam chose the more intimate setting of Ahoy Sports Palace and Concert Hall in Rotterdam.

Since the advent of iTunes and Amazon MP3 downloads, I’ve purchased more music than I ever have before – yes, including the time I spent working at Tower Records. I feel that these MP3 download services offer fair prices, a good product, great service, and I don’t have to leave my chair – I can shop for tons of music at work even. That is awesome. Here are some of my musical discoveries of 2008.

The Empyrean is fantastic. In this day of iTunes singles and bands who don’t seem to give much thought into the album as a whole, it is nice to have artists like Frusciante around, artists who still cherish the thought of context and song placement. That it was simultaneously released on vinyl is evidence of this; the album feels like something recorded thirty-plus years ago, and yet it still sounds modern–it is an anachronistic relic.

On January 13th, Daniel Davis released his 15th album, Music for Home Offices, Vol 1 via his website, Carl Sagan’s Ghost–and in it, I found a journey through ambient soundscapes dominated by drones and reinforced by melodic sensibilities. A relaxing, if not slightly melancholy, progression from the opening track “What Use Has a Mountain,” to the more up-tempo “Dance of the Broken Robot,” Davis’s album stands up to the test of any good ambient album. After sitting down with Davis’s new album, I immediately had to hear more from the artist himself.

Kiera Chapman A Christmas theme park in England was splashed all over the tabloids here this week. Amidst terrorist massacres in India and economic meltdown, the bleeding hearts that run the red tops still found time to shower their sympathy on the grown men and women who paid £25 a ticket to visit ‘Lapland New Forest’. Appallingly, once inside the ‘winter wonderland’, these poor visitors found that they had not, […]

To some audiophiles, ‘ambient’ is just a fancy, hipper term for ‘New Age’ music. While some may not distinguish between ‘ambient’ and ‘New Age’, or hear the differences between the music of Brian Eno and Yanni, or Harold Budd and John Tesh, and still others wouldn’t give this music more attention than the time they spend in a dentist’s office or a yoga studio, there are distinct qualities that distinguish […]

As November draws to a close, I tend to enter survivalist mode.  I may not have a stockpile of dried foods, a wind-up torch, or an assortment of greasy-looking candles, but I do remove my credit card from my handbag as a symbol of my retreat from the outside world.  In the past, I have spent much of December in self-imposed exile from civilization, avoiding shopping malls, grocery stores, the […]

10.  Mud – Lonely this Christmas If this song isn’t a huge, honking, flashing alarm-lights clue with bells on, I don’t know what is.  And you still don’t know why you’re lonely this Christmas? Dude! 9.   Wham – Last Christmas We can’t help thinking that George Michael’s logic is a bit flawed.  Last year, he gave his heart to a girl who discarded it like a used tissue, so this year […]

The La’s one and only studio release is a bona fide classic made even more special here in this deluxe reissue.