specials 2006

SOOPie Awards

As 2006 comes to end, Jim and Greg take a look back at the year in music — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and give out their annual“Soopie Awards.” Here are this year's winners:

From all of us at Sound Opinions, Happy New Year!

Go to episode 57

Christmas Spectacular 2008

It's the Sound Opinions Christmas Spectacular! Every year Jim and Greg hand the show's reigns over to the official Sound Opinions holiday music curator, Andy Cirzan (aka DJ Lo-Fi). By day, Cirzan is the Vice President of Concerts at Jam Productions, the largest independent concert promoter in the country. But by night, Cirzan scours the earth to find rare, and often times wacky, holiday music to add to his collection. This year is no exception.

  1. "Holiday Proclamation…"
  2. Dick Huemer & Camarata, "Futuristic Christmas Tree"
  3. Patty Marie Jay, "Space Age Santa Claus"
  4. Donna & the Dees, "I Know There's A Santa Claus"
  5. Duke Ellington Orchestra, "Dasher"
  6. The Sisterhood (by Eugenia), "I'm Santa Claus"
  7. Magnus T. Cook, "Snow Bunny"
  8. Margo Guryan, "I Don't Intend To Spend Christmas Without You"
  9. The Wilson Sisters, "Little Klinker"
  10. Israfel's Son, "Rudolph Pouts"
  11. "Snowkenstein Speaks!"
  12. Sylvia Reid, "Christmas Rock 'N Roll"
  13. The Mar-Teks, "Twinkletoes"
  14. Ben Hinds, "All I want For Christmas Is A Go-Go Girl"
  15. The Free Design, "Shepherds & Wisemen"
  16. Lalo Schifrin, "Joy To The World"
Go to episode 55

Turkey Shoot 2006

Every Thanksgiving, Jim and Greg like to get out and shoot some turkeys. But don‘t worry — these turkeys deserve to die. This year’s nominees for most disappointing album are:

Go to episode 52

Box Set Gift Suggestions

This episode of Sound Opinions isn't all negative. Jim and Greg also provide you with some holiday gift suggestions for the music lover in your life. They recommend wrapping up the following box sets:

Here are some other box sets to check out:

And for DVD fans:

Go to episode 52

Touch and Go Records

This week Jim and Greg wanted to take a look at one of the music industry's most important independent labels: Touch and Go Records. Touch and Go recently turned 25 and celebrated with a three-day bash at Chicago's Hideout Block Party. Over the course of the show, you‘ll hear why Jim and Greg wanted to focus on this modest Chicago label. You’ll also hear from the founder himself, Corey Rusk, and a number of the label's artists, including Scott McCloud from Girls Against Boys, Janet Weiss from Quasi (and formerly Sleater-Kinney), Ted Leo, David Yow from Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard and recording engineer and musician Steve Albini of Big Black and Shellac fame.

Touch and Go's founder Corey Rusk is known not just as a tastemaker with an incredible ear for talent, but also as one of the most honest businessmen in the biz. This is what separates Touch and Go from other labels, major and independent alike. Rusk's business model, which doesn't shy away from the Internet and which relies merely on trust and a handshake, has kept it going for 25 years, helping it to outlive its peers. Labels like Twin/Tone in Minneapolis, which launched The Replacements, SST in California which launched Black Flag and Hüsker Dü, and I.R.S. in which launched R.E.M. and The Go Go's, all emerged in the early '80s after punk's mainstream explosion and before alternative's reign. However, Touch and Go is the only one of the bunch not only to stay in business, but to do so successfully and independently.

The best way to understand the label's significance is to sample some of the music. You'll hear these songs in our short-but-sweet montage of Touch and Go music:

  1. Killdozer, "Hi There"
  2. Girls Against Boys, "Kill the Sexplayer"
  3. The Dirty Three, "Doris"
  4. Jesus Lizard, "Mouth Breather"
  5. TV on the Radio, "Dreams"
  6. Butthole Surfers, "Fast"
  7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Art Star"
  8. Calexico, "Cruel"

Touch and Go has put out a lot of music over the past quarter century, but Jim and Greg both manage to pick their single favorite T&G tracks. Greg goes first and chooses "Stage 2000" by Seam. Touch and Go is often thought of as the place to go to for loud, hard-edged punk music, and that is certainly true. However, their roster is actually quite diverse, and there are a number of bands like Seam, who are making beautiful, soft, melodic music.“Stage 2000”is on Greg's favorite Seam album, The Problem With Me. That album was recorded with Chicago producer Brad Wood, best known for producing Liz Phair's classic Exile in Guyville.

Jim's Touch and Go pick is "Kerosene" by Big Black off their 1985 album Atomizer. Though Atomizer was initially released by Homestead Records, Big Black moved to Touch and Go a year later, and the label reissued the band's entire catalog. So we'll let Jim slide on this one — especially since no one has been as closely associated with Touch and Go as Big Black founder Steve Albini. Albini came to Chicago to study journalism at Northwestern, and Jim can hear this sensibility in his lyrics. Songs like "Kerosene" are essentially sensationalistic tabloid stories backed with thrashing noise-rock.

Go to episode 43

MTV's Silver Anniversary

MTV turns 25 this week. To celebrate (or perhaps mourn), Jim and Greg discuss the station's impact on the music industry. To kick off the dissection, Sound Opinions surveys the opinions of festivalgoers at Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival.

Go to episode 36

Songs About Money

This week on Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg play their favorite songs about money. It's a show honoring public radio's favorite season—the spring pledge drive.

Go to episode 17