Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot 2010

It's Sound Opinions's annual Thanksgiving  Turkey Shoot! Jim and Greg give thanks by taking out this year's biggest musical disappointments.

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The digital music site eMusic has angered some listeners and labels in recent weeks. They moved from subscriptions to a tiered pricing model similar to iTunes that will include higher priced major label songs. After making this announcement, three of the biggest indie labels in the business decided to take their music elsewhere. Domino Records, Merge Records and the Beggars Group, which includes Matador, XL, Rough Trade and 4AD, have not elaborated on their decision to leave, but Jim and Greg suspect it's because of this new deal with major labels. In their statement, eMusic explained that this change was necessary for their long-term sustainability.

What's the best music town in the country? Some would say Chicago; some would say Seattle; but according to, it's Austin, Texas. Austin has always touted itself as the live music capital of the world, and now they've got this to back it up. In their survey of live shows per capita, Songkick also put Madison, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Denver in their Top 5. Some surprising winners, especially when you scan down to find that New York and L.A. didn't even make the cut. And it's interesting to note that these cities had lower average ticket prices than bigger markets.

Sound Opinions Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot 2010

It's time for the annual Sound Opinions Thanksgiving Turkey Shoot! It's the perfect way to say thanks...thanks that we never have to listen to the year's biggest musical turkeys again. There are plenty of lousy records released each year, but calling some of those out would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Since we're shooting turkeys here, Jim and Greg only pick out albums that they expected to be much better. Here are this year's biggest disappointments:

Jim’s 2010 Turkeys

  • Tom Petty, Mojo
  • Sleigh Bells, Treats
  • Christina Aguilera, Bionic

Greg’s 2010 Turkeys

  • Kings of Leon, Come Around Sundown
  • Bettye LaVette, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
  • Peter Gabriel, Scratch My Back

Listener’s Turkeys

  • Kyle from Minneapolis, MN: Joanna Newsom, Have One On Me
  • Lynn from Alpharetta, GA: Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
  • Corey from Adel, IA: Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave

The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story Bruce Springsteen

The Promise: The Darkness On the Edge of Town Story

Bruce Springsteen fans are always hungry for more of The Boss, and they get it with the release of a new box set, The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story. But what about folks who don't belong to the "Cult of Springsteen"? Greg loved hearing the reissue of the 1978 album. The previously unheard recordings illustrate Springsteen's sound right after his hit Born to Run. It's a mix of the romanticism of that record and the leaner, meaner rock of Darkness. Greg gives it a Buy It rating. Sound Opinions listeners know Jim is no Bruce-lover, but he counts Darkness as one of the better albums. Going back to these unreleased tracks, it's even clearer what an anomaly it was. The songs on the The Promise reissue are full of the Born to Run era, over-the-top schmaltz. So Jim says Trash It.

Epic Sharon Van Etten


Jim and Greg both saw singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten perform at this past year's Pitchfork Music Festival. And while Jim was unimpressed, Greg highly anticipated this new album, Epic, which does not disappoint. Van Etten's first record was largely about a troubled relationship. On this one, Van Etten is much stronger and more confident, even in her orchestrations. Despite Jim's feelings about Van Etten's Pitchfork show, he loves this album – all seven songs of it. Very few women in indie rock have pipes like this singer. Epic gets a double Buy It.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!