Thursday, November 20

Make This Work

You may have noticed, if you could still find this place, that the URL has changed. What was is now and better for it! Spinny the Kid was a nickname of mine way back in high school and I’ve used it intermittently since then for screen names and such. I happened to google “spinnythekid” a few days ago and found a rather troubling result. My blog came up along with an entry from It included seven definitions of the term “spinny.” The best are numbers 1, 3 and 7. I’ll restate them here:

1.) Spinny – From south west England, mainly said if someone is confused about something. Spinny also means strange, tripping, odd, mysterious, unfamiliar.

3.) Spinny – The feeling you get after play a video game for at least three straight hours, usually an RPG. It’s a feeling hard to describe, almost as if you’ve checked out of your life for a while and then were suddenly thrown back in.

7.) Spinny – A small, fat, Italian kid who has a unibrow.

The first is appropriate. The second is how I feel a lot. And while I have nothing against small fat Italian kids with the misfortune of growing only one eyebrow I do not count myself among them. As #7 is the only noun I decided to change it up. A new look and a new URL. And pictures for the first time in the last post! Yes it certainly is exciting. Web 2.0 I mean. This blog is rather quotidian…

Listening to my post title which is a song by The Magistrates.

Monday, November 17

Half Asleep

Weekend = good.

1.) Went to m83 / school of seven bells show at black cat. SVIIB was amazing. Elizabeth bought their CD "Alpinism" and after a couple runs through it I've been converted. Where do I sign up for their school? M83 was great or at least exactly what I expected. I have strange feelings about them. At times I think its sublime, transcendent music that moves pop onto a stage where chords tell sweeping epic stories and drums beat out secret knowledge and rhythm in equal parts. John Hughes speaking directly to me. Other times it all seems like self-indulgent monotonous europop that tries way to hard to evoke the 1980s. Depends largely on the song... I think the show managed more of the first and less of the second. Even the over-the-top "Kim and Jesse" was fun. The concert was technically on Thursday but since I didn't do anything on Friday it counts as weekend. Pictures are from a sitting break during M83's set and the School of Seven Bells performance, respectively

2.) Went to see the new Bond movie with my pop. It was good. The reviews have been negative (they seem to think there wasn't enough classic Bond stuff) but I think the new, darker, antihero 007 is alright. I tend to like everything newer, darker and more antihero-filled so I may not be the best person to ask. Watch Casino Royale first. The new one picks up moments after the last one ends. I couldn't remember some of the finer plot points and was a little lost for a couple minutes. Not seeing the first Daniel Craig Bond will leave you scratching your head.

3.) Very little else. I watched reality TV, got stuck in traffic for almost two hours while protesters demonstrated against the G20 meeting on Connecticut Avenue. I got a wedding present for my cousin. There wasn't a lot to this weekend but that was what was so nice about it.

Oh. I got fired from my job too. The economic apocalypse and everything. I'm bummed but its cool. I didn't really want to work at a hedge fund for the rest of my life. The hours and pay kicked ass though. Like... a lot. So job hunting will begin shortly. My two best bets are nepotism or working in retail again. Don't you wish sometimes you could apply to be awesome for a living? Nothing to grand, just an entry level gig, say "Junior Consultant - Being Cool Department." I'd want to work my way up to middle management eventually though: "Lead Project Supervisor - Totally Boss Division." A man can dream...

In further music related news my monthly playist creation that I call "New Stuff: fill in the month" has been completed. November has born some sweet fruit. After culling through the music blogs for about five days here is what I think you should know about:

"Shotting Star" by Bag Raiders - The name of the band is hilarious and the song is great. Blips and glitches frame the uptempo melody while the vox sings out plaintively. I like the contrast. While nowhere near as good it reminds me of a sad Pet Shop Boys song that you can dance to. The build up and the song's climax changes the tone though and it turns into an above average dance track. Worth a listen if you're into that sort of thing.

"A Thousand Eyes" by Crystal Antlers - I read somewhere that "crystal" is the new "wolf" for band names this year. I like all the crystal bands: Crystal Castles, Antlers and Slits. These guys are a low fi guitar outfit from Long Beach. This song is my current fav by them. Slow guitar that quickly build as the chorus ramps up then crash back down works well for them. It has that grungy but layered quality that first attracted me to the White Stripes without really sounding much like the White Stripes...

"Lovesick" by Friendly Fires - Pop, pure and simple. Friendly Fires (along with Crystal Antlers) blew up at CMJ this year and a lot of people are writing about them both. Take this all with a grain of salt. They aren't doing much new but they do it so very well. "Paris" has been in rotation since I was alerted to their existence a while back in January. This newer find has everything "Paris" had going for it (catchy as fuck, fun vocals, great orchestration) but seems a little more "get-up-and-go." Just what the doctor ordered. One complaint: a little repetative at the end. You could trim by 45 seconds and lose nothing.

"Tuff n' Stuff" by Giantess - Epic synth got me to sit up and pay attention to this song on my first listen. It sounds like it should be sampled in a mainstream song... like a Chris Brown song. Then it turns into a rap song! By a group called Giantess. I was confused too. Okay it isn't Dr. Dre (there is an extended R&B breakdown and they sound white) but it all somehow comes off well. Okay. Its a little long and the R&B breakdown turns out to be the chorus which could be shorter but I stand by this song. Its too catchy not to.

"Sweet Disposition" by Temper Trap - The plucky guitar at the beginning, the crooning totally gay club hit vocals, the drums pulsing away-- you think this song is going to be a cliche and then it surprises you. It turns into somethings sweeter, more sincere. The two voice harmony in the chorus and the reemergence of the opening plucky guitar divorce it from its reference points, the anchors that would have made it a cliche. I have no idea who they are but Temper Trap have made my favorite song of November 2008.

"Bathroom Gurgle (Filthy Dukes Remix)" by Late of the Pier - Electronic for sure Late of the Pier does interesting things with a genre that is quickly becoming overrun with overnight blog-fueled success. I can't exactly figure out what it is that have going for them. I like the tempo changes, I like that they don't seem to sweat the big names' style (i.e. sound like Passion Pit or Crystal Castles). I like the sassy vocals. But it isn't anything that hasn't been done before. They're just solid. This song in particular illustrates this I think. Check them out. The line "put your hands in your waistline and move your body to the bassline" is just good fun.

I seem to be listening to a lot of dance music lately and I can't figure out why. Usually I like light fun pop in the summer, mid 90s emo in the autumn, New Order and other 80s synthy goodness in the winter and for spring a smattering of grindy screaming and noise-pop. Or at least that has been to equation I've followed since freshman year of college. There are exceptions to every rule (I love listening to Joy Division in the summertime) but the past year has been totally out of whack. The spring was all about etherial pop or folk, this summer was full of indie dance tunes and rap, and fall has seen guitar driven rock, more folk a lot of dance-- indie or otherwise. I'm not complaining I just wonder why. If you have any ideas please feel free to let me know.

Listening to "Glad I Met You" by Cut Copy. The title is from School of Seven Bells. Find them, listen, thank me later.

Tuesday, November 11

Let's Celebrate

I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the past three days. I find myself humming walking to class. I it sing under my breath while I file things at work. I jam out… hard… to it in my car everywhere I go.

“We’re like: love and train fare
we made monsters but monsters don’t scare
you (we) worked for weeks but the conscience never came
we made zombies to fight your zombies
and now they stare each other out in the sanctuary on saturdays
Brittany says ‘I don’t drink but if I did I’d get smashed and head for the library’
well I do drink, and I’ve done that and I still owe the money
how the champagne girls sit on and the stand and look out through the crowd
and nothing is wasted or compromised
the champagne girls won’t get you in
its like love and train fare…”

The song is call “Champagne Girls I Have Know” by Johnny Foreigner. The band seems custom-made for me. Guy/girl lyrics that are both shouty and melodic. Disjointed guitar parts that can’t decide how they want to go. All the while an electro anthem blares away letting everyone know this is a song to dance to. They write lyrics like, well… those above. Missed them at CMJ in NYC but whenever they come around next they cannot be missed.

Also in rotation:

Does It Offend You, Yeah? (if the Killers did electro-dance)
Laura Marling (singer/songwritery, great music video)
School of Seven Bells (alternating lounge and ethereal)
Duchess Says (grimy dance with screamed girl vocals)
Miles Anthony Benjamin Robinson (better live than recorded)
Free Moral Agents (hip-hop, jazzy goodness with Hooverphonic overtones)

All are for sure worth checking out. Except maybe Ms. Marling. I like “Ghosts” a lot. Its catchy and sweet. She sing “its not like I believe in everlasting love” like she does and to me its endearing. To others it’s cheesy.

I’ve been reading for English class. I know, shocker. “Babette’s Feast” by Isak Dinesen was quite good. Now I have to write a thesis using a school of lit crit. Marxism is easiest for me. Economic units help me make sense of the chaos that is story telling. New Criticism and postmodernism might be fun to try. Reader response seems pointless to me and why I hate English classes so often. Its like validating all the freshman who talk about their feelings all the time. Don’t they know that’s what bloging is for? I think I’ll go with the Feminists on this one. For once, it seems like the easiest way to go…

Listening to Underwear Reverb by Free Moral Agents. Post title is in honor of my two year anniversary with Elizabeth and by The Homosexuals (playing at the Velvet Lounge on Thursday, I’ll be at the M83 show. Spaced out French pop music instead of angular post-punk… the best kind of post-punk—a hard trade off)

Thursday, November 6

One Month Off

New classes for springtime:

HIST408N – History & Memory in Medival Islam
Wednesday 10:00am – 12:00pm
My senior methodology class that I have to take. I also needed a non-Western focused class (cause otherwise I’d be a racist?) so this seemed like the coolest. Representation is a cool concept and I think it will factor in heavily judging by the course name.
Excitement Level: 6/10 I have to take it and it could be awesome but there is a 40 page paper due at the end of it.

ARTH346 – 19th Century European Art History
Tuesday & Thursday 12:30pm – 1:45pm
I’m slightly terrified of this class. My high AP score junior year of high school was the last time I thought about Art History. I have a feeling the stuff I do understand will be great and most of the content will whiz by my head at surreal speeds. Ha ha. I’m hilarious.
Excitement Level: 7/10 sometimes that is also the Dread level score…

ENGL379R – The Jazz Paradigm
Tuesday & Thursday 2:00pm – 3:15pm
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this professor and the class. I couldn’t google him with any success and he seems like the only UMD English teacher without a bio on the department website.
Excitement Level: 9/10 Talking about Jazz as culture is so cool. Plus: A good reason to listen to Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk

ENGL312 – British Literature: Romanticism to Modernism
Tuesday & Thursday 3:30pm – 4:45pm
I have no idea what this will be like. It replaced a sociology class on gender that I thought better of at the last moment. The teacher is supposed to be nice, and I like some authors from this period. T.S. Eliot is really the only one I know well but we’ll see.
Excitement Level: 5 to 6/10

This will be the first time since 2005 that the amount of history classes I take have been outnumbered by the other subjects… I hope I can handle it. After a Spanish class over the summer and possibly a Germanic Studies course in Scandinavian Women (also over the summer and yes it is a real class) I will be done. I’ll be a graduate, an alumnus, a former student. No more homework, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks!

Also on my mind lately but unrelated: moving somewhere not on the east coast, taking up a trade, the various pros and cons of nepotism and OBAMA WON THE ELECTION!!!!!!

Laura Marling is worth checking out. She’s got the whole singer songwriter been there done that thing going on but I like her voice a lot and the video for “Ghosts” is amusing. With lyrics like “Lover please do not / fall to your knees / it’s not / like I believe in/ everlasting love” I was bound to like. Haven’t heard the whole album yet but its at least youTube worthy…

Battle Star Galactica is sweet. And addicting. Ceylons are awesome. I’m a nerd…

Listening to Intimacy by Bloc Party. New album. Highly recommend it.