Tuesday, October 27

My Own Strange Path

Many things have happened since last time I wrote here. Let's see... I finished school, had a great party to celebrate it, been having fun with friends, joined twitter (have I mentioned that already?) and looking for a job. I have suits!

Guess not "many things," but it seems like a lot. I got an A in the last class I had to take (and the hardest course I've ever taken). So my history-rock star status is unblemished. The job hunt goes poorly however. I can't seem to figure it out but there aren't a lot of positions open for history-rock stars.

On the music front: lots of stuff (which I may or may not get around to talking about) but the highlights of what I've been listening to are:
Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon
Mew - No More Stories Are Told Today, They Washed Away
Times New Viking - Born Again, Revisited
Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms EP

I've been reading a fair bit, mostly silly stuff. Saw a couple of good movies. TV has been good this season, etc, etc... All so boring.

You wanna know what's not boring: watch this!

Maybe more later, when I find a job. If I find a job.

Listening to "You Cried Me" by Jookabox from The Dead Zone Boys. Title is from M83 off Digital Shades Vol. 1.

Friday, September 11

Pursuit of Happiness

Holy Crap!

Thank you Carey. Wow...

Just wow.

Title = Kid Cudi and what you'll be doing when you watch this.

Wednesday, September 9

Parallel Lines

As apposed to catching everyone up on all the lastest in my life, which is pretty much the same, I thought I would share a bit of writing I did recently on facebook. My friend Mike asked me about a line from the new Jay-Z album in which Jay claims to be the new Frank Sinatra. He believed that this should in some way “bother” me, as I assume it did him. My response was a tad lengthy but I had fun writing it. I also encourage everyone to go out and buy the new Jay-Z album, The Blueprint 3. It is a return to form for the artist and I think a strong contender for “Album of the Year.”

This is an argument that I thought you might bring up. I am ready with my answer. Jay-Z Position # 1: "No one on the corner has swagger like us." Whether or not you grant the validity of this statement it is the belief of the parties involved with the track that they, in fact, have unimpeachable swagger. While the term is ill-defined one may assume that in includes categories of behavior such as "pimpin'," "runnin' this rap shit," and the lack of dirt on a person's shoulders. These might translate into: being popular with the ladies, having a successful career (possibly being one's own boss) and having a sense of personal style and panache, both in fashion and general taste.

Jay-Z Position # 2: "I'm the new Sinatra." This lyric, within the context of Mr. Z's first claim, begins to make sense. If one was to examine the three defining features of "swagger" in relation to Mr. Sinatra the parallel is clear. Old Blue Eyes (if you will permit me to use the vernacular) was a cocksman of the highest caliber and he most certainly ran a mini-empire that included the Rat Pack and possible associations with organized crime. Lastly, his style, from the cuff links to the champagne he served, was purposeful and still sartorial. Even if you do not grant that Jay has "swagger" I assume from your concern over his boast that you believe Mr. Sinatra did.

At this point I have demonstrated why Jay-Z sees himself as the new Sinatra but this does not necessarily rule out a third party disagreeing with the claim. My Position #1: Hip Hop, culturally and stylistically, resembles the halcyon days of the Rat Pack. This is both intentional comparison made by rappers and unintentionally accurate in a wider sense. Drinking, womanizing, going to fashionable places with a group of followers (be they a pack or a posse) are all shared activities. They both started with music and became a lifestyle (Jay's mogul status and Frank's "Chairman of the Board" moniker are for more than just musical prowess). Both became the preeminent stylistic vernacular of cool and changed their time period's understanding of the very term cool.

I do not think I have to defend the statement that Old Blue Eyes was the epicenter of the movement. Sure, Hefner, Martin and JFK all exemplify this too but none managed the whole package like Frank did. My Position # 2: The role of Sinatra is filled by Jay-Z. Now, but this leader status comes with a few qualifiers. 1) In our post-Modern world the ability to unify under one style, even within a single sub-genre, is impossible. Jay will, therefore, never be as commercially successful as Frank or seems as "on top of the world." 2) I do not see Jay as being the cornerstone of rap. People did it before him, have done it better than him, and there are artists I like far more but he is iconic. Sean Combs had a chance of being the icon of rap but he has fallen far short. So did Dre but the long silences between releases put an end to that. Everyone else is either: not a mogul, not as successful or hasn't been in the game long enough. Jay-Z is the last man standing.

To conclude: Jay-Z is not Frank Sinatra but he is the new Sinatra in archetype. He is our Sinatra, whatever you think about the image and how it has changed over time there is little doubt in my mind that Jay-Z is under our collective skin. While we may not get a kick out of him, he is about as lucky as one guy gets.

Listening to: “Daylight (Troublemaker Remix feat. De La Soul)” by Matt and Kim from the upcoming NBA Live 2k9 Soundtrack and “Off That (feat. Drake)” by Jay-Z from The Blueprint 3. The post’s title is from Begone Dull Care by Junior Boys (Thanks, Shah!). The picture was taken by me on the way to Salisbury to visit my Granddad last month, taken on the Bay Bridge.

Tuesday, July 14

School Days

"Classes - Part 2 have begun. They seem to be pretty good so far. Bowling is laid back (which is a relief, nobody wants intense bowling) and my Rock n’ Roll class is off to a good start. On the first day of class the professor made a Scorpions joke (as in “Rock You Like a Hurricane) and summed up the history of music in 20th Century America as “dudes getting drunk and stuff happening.” He latter amended it saying “dudes and chicks—gay and straight, black and white—getting drunk and stuff happening. I like this guy.

He breezed by Buddy Holly and paid more attention to Elvis than to Chuck Berry but I can forgive him these things because he made reference today to the fact that Marty McFly was the one that really invented Rock n’ Roll. Anyone who is currently confused should re-watch the first Back to the Future movie. Michael J. Fox’s character plays guitar at his parents senior prom and while he starts off with “Earth Angel” (by the Doo-Wop group the Peguins) he transitions into “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, who is called by his cousin at the dance and told he should sound like this. Then Marty goes all Eddy Van Halen… I laughed quite hard when he explained all this as if it were actually how it went down.

I’m waiting around at school right now for my final class to being: Film Noir and American Culture. Should be interesting. It’s the only class I haven’t had yet but I’m looking forward to it despite the fact that I’ll have to be at school till 9:15pm.

Listening to “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry. I don’t care what anyone says this song has more rock in its little pinky than in the entire Elvis catalogue. Title from Chuck Berry too, off Chuck Berry: His Very Best, Vol. 1.

Monday, July 6

You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)

So we had to make a postcard for Spanish class today to exchange with our fellow “estudiantes.” I think mine turned out well, considering I started an hour and a half before it was due.

The translation of what I wrote is as follows:

Dear (insert name here),
Greetings from Uruguay! You should come here, this place is close to perfect. I’m at my grandmother’s house in the country. The house is very charming with a good view of the mountains. When I come back here another time I hope things are not so strange though. When I got to the house I saw a polar bear, he was sleeping but I ran to the house. My grandmother phoned an astronaut y he came to the house in a Smart Car. The astronaut scared off the polar bear. Come see all of this and not be afraid of the polar bears. If one comes by again I’ll phone the astronaut because he did a good job.

The media was all cut from magazines and I decided to try and explain my decisions via the postcard’s text. I hope whoever gets mine has a sense of humor.

I’m still loving The Handsome Furs. I really want to go to their show this Fridays at the Black Cat. Anyone want to go? Please?

Listening to “Officer of Hearts” by Handsome Furs from Face Control. Title from Dragonslayer by Sunset Rubdown.

Thursday, July 2

On Our Way

Summer classes have been keeping me busy, mostly with talking about New Order in Spanish. I have a few updates worth mention:

The second summer session is going to super-duper hectic: Monday though Thursday in the mornings I’ll be bowling, then head to my history of Rock & Roll class. I already sort of took this class but due to a different departmental listing I get to talk about Chuck Berry in an academic setting again! The historical and sociological implications of the duck walk are terribly interesting…

I need to start looking for my first real job. I’ve had a bunch of jobs, more than a lot of people I know at any rate. Now with the real world looming large I’ve got to figure out what it is that my BA in history has prepared me for. From the casual browsing I’ve done—not a hell of a lot. At least I’m well rounded. Can I get an Amen from the liberal arts people out there?!

New music for July:

“Fresh Like Us” by Chiddy Bang
Sales Pitch: The song uses the hook from Yelle’s “Ce jeu” and they give a shout out to my favorite NBA player / Star Wars character—Rajon Rondo!
Why I love it: It’s got a great summer vibe to it that makes me think of crusing around Potomac in a friends car with nothing to do and nowhere to go, listening to music that was too loud all the while thinking I was so damn cool…

“Lego” by The Maccabees
Sales Pitch: Intensely catchy guitar (like the Dodos or Cut Off Your Hands catchy) and lyrics that include “And the boys chew on Legos / so we can’t build castles or robots / cause the pieces don’t fit together.”
Why I love it: The catharsis at the end, when it gets slower and then builds back up is the best I’ve heard since “Pitch Black Blonde” by JR Ewing. I’m a total sucker for an epic build up and crescendo.

“Pieces of You” by Wolf Gang
Sales Pitch: A near perfect blend of low-fi funk sound and Talking Heads vocals.
Why I love it: I think the sales pitch is more or less my reason. There’s this awesome swirling flute and trumpet portion that sounds fantastic at around the 1:41 minute marker.

Album of Note:

Face Control by The Handsome Furs
Spazy but controlled, electronic enough that it makes me want to shake a groove loose but rock enough to want to play air instruments along with it. I really like the guys voice too. The songs are well produced and written. It’s been a while since those two things have happened at the same time on a record that I’ve liked a lot.
Tracks to listen to: “Legal Tender,” “Talking Hotel Arbat Blues” and “(White City)”

Listening to “Oysters” by Radiant Dragon from the Island EP and “Sleepyhead” by Run Toto Run from their self-titled. It’s the only cover of Passion Pit’s stroke of genius that Morning of Forced Leisure endorses. God damn I love this song, it sounds like Feist and Aaron Copland got together to make a sick mash up of “Past In Present” and the “Rodeo: Hoe-Down” suite. Title from Chiddy Bang.

Wednesday, June 10

Countdown (Sick for the Big Sun)

Well, I’ve had an eventful couple of weeks. Spring 2009 has ended, and the Summer session has begun. I like my Spanish professor a lot— he’s a young-ish guy and seems more hip than any teacher I’ve had before. I think I’ll do okay in the class. I’m not quick with translating in my head and being able to reply but I can do the work so there’s hope. I’m really looking forward to my next round of classes: History of Rock & Roll and a class on Bowling. Sweet!

I’ve also gotten a twitter account. I got sick of Facebook. You can find me by searching “gregpocalypse.” Micro-blogging is sort of dumb but then the status thing on Facebook is too. I’m a sucker for the dumb.

I wanted to explain a comment from a previous post about the summer activities that Nando and I have planned. You see, summer can be a boring time: you either waste or it drags as a child and you don’t get any real summer vacation as an adult. He and I have devised a scheme to try and enjoy one of the last summers that we’ll have as pre-adults (a term that only implies our continued reliance on our parents for food and shelter and not our level of maturity, which would be infantile to adolescent at best…).

It is currently a list of competitions that we shall engage in over the course of the summer. Each face-off can be placed in one of two categories— the direct challenge or a race to find the best. The list of direct challenges include “The Burger-off,” “The Bartender-off,” an homage to the movie Cocktail (on of the greatest summer movies ever) and “The Write-a-movie-off,” though I doubt we’ll actually get to that one. The second group has more potential (as we’ll have to do less). It pits us against each other as we both search for the best whatever it is the challenge calls for. We have currently best bar, best hot wings and best mixed drink (which is under review as it might be incorporated into “The Bartender-off”).

I’m hoping to keep a scorecard and at the end of the summer (on the Autumnal Equinox to be exact) we’ll tally the points and a trophy of some sort will be awarded. The list is a work in progress as we add things and edit but it will be locked in as of the Summer Solstice, or 5:45am June 21st, 2009. I’ll try and post a list of the challenges and keep you updated as things progress.

On the music front I’ve got a couple of recommendations for any interested parties:

Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

I really liked a song of theirs a couple years back (“Long Distance Call”) but I never got into them as a band until a week ago when I picked up their brand-spanking new album. Wow. Some of the best arranged pop rock I’ve heard since Vampire Weekend blew my socks off. Not that they sound anything like Vampire Weekend… they just have incredibly interesting songs that go together as an album quite well. I’m not sure but I think it’ll be on my list of best Albums of the year. It’s a little early for that kind of talk I know, and they wont win the coveted award but this record should be in the conversation as Mike likes to say…

Sunn 0))), Monoliths and Dimensions

When I buy an album I am usually relatively informed about what I’m getting into, I either know the band or have read a review or two. Not always but a lot of times this is the case. With Sunn 0)))’s latest release I had done both. I got it so that I would have some things to say the next time I found myself in Baltimore talking about music (cause it will come up) and I’ve heard all (or almost all) of their other stuff. I think its cool, interesting but not exactly my thing. This album challenged that to a degree that I wasn’t really prepared for. They had been growing more conceptual and for me more likeable (split with Boris and sound-tracking a Jim Jarmusch movie) but this moves things backwards at least a little. Maybe it was the headphones, maybe my mood, but the vocals, which are rather distinct are too Doom-y. I realize this is a ridiculous argument to make., the guys practically freaking invented Doom but I couldn’t get past the silly overdramatic voice that sounded like a cross between a Viking and an Emo kid ………….who ……………. sings……………………………………. like………………………… this………………… I’m going to hold off on judgment until I listen a bit more but right now it looks like a 6.8 to 7.0.

I’ll try and talk about Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, Los Campesinos!, and a few singles next post but for now that’s all.

As a brief conclusion I’d like to offer a public service announcement: save yourself from Twilight. Yeah, I read it. Elizabeth was talking about it and I decided that it didn’t sound so bad. Well it was. I read it in two days. It’s horrible. I feel like a twelve-year-old girl… and by that I mean irrevocably in the thrall of Mrs. Meyer and her repetitive bland prose style. While the story is highly entertaining she writes like I talk: way too much of the same phrases repeated over and over. I thought I was reading an ancient Greek epic ready to see “wine-dark sea” or “clever Odysseus.” It isn’t easy to admit that I’m hooked, but like a recovering alcoholic the first step is admitting that you have a problem. The second step is hitting rock bottom I think, so I’ll be reading the three other books over the following three or four days. Then I’ll make amends and all that other stuff….

Title is from Phoenix’s latest (I thought it seemed appropriate, what with the Summer challenges coming up and all). Listening to “Idumea” by The Sacred Harp Singers at Liberty Church from the Cold Mountain soundtrack and “Hungry Liars (feat. Justin Powers)” by Portland Cello Project from The Thao and Justin Powers Sessions.

Sunday, May 24

Sweat It Out

Summer Listening Picks

Passion Pit, Manners
Selling Features:
1.) A high-pitched voice that evokes Journey in just the right way. 2.) They’re what MGMT wishes they sound like, and everyone fuckin’ loves MGMT, right? 3.) When you name drop them you’ll sound like a cool kid but the music is actually good.
Standout Tracks:
“Make Light” – Sounds like bulls crashing around a china shop while making pop music.
“Sleepyhead” – Anyone who dislikes this song is at least a little crazy.
“Moth’s Wings” – I’ve heard some people get on this band for its silly/sophomoric lyrics but I really like this song for both the music and the content. You be the judge.

Lady Gaga, The Fame
Yes, it’s been out since last year. Yes, I should have heard this record all the way through a long time ago. Whatever… It’s summer-good-time-dance-music and I’m on board.
Standout Tracks (besides the singles, which rock but are obvious):
“Paparazzi” – One of three slower love songs on the album. This is by far the best.
“Starstruck” – She equates dancing/love-making to the production of music, and not “let’s make some sweet music, baby” but “put your hand on my waist, pull the fader / run it back with original flavor / Queue me up, I’m the twelve on your table / I’m so starstruck.”
“Paper Gangsta” – Great piano throughout, and though it’s slower there is a driving quality to the beat that works its way under your skin. The way she calls out the potential suitor by calling him a paper gangsta is fantastic too.

Fuck Buttons, Street Horrrsing
I’m not a huge fan of anyone that has profanity in their band’s name. It seems needlessly stand-off-ish to me. Fuck Buttons has overcome that knee-jerk reaction, in part because it sort of sounds like a term of endearment and because I love their sound. A mix of noisy pop and out-there electro. Not for everyone but I will be bumping it this summer.
Standout Track:
“Colours Move” – The opener of an album is a hard needle to thead: do start with the barn burner that will be everyone’s favorite but not what the album actually sounds like? Maybe you kick off with the artistic instrumental interlude to show everyone how much Pink Floyd has influenced you (please note: I hate when you do this… you get one instrumental every two releases and they should come at the end or towards the end!) Fuck Buttons does both and it kicks ass!

Summertime Singles

The Whip, X Marks the Destination – “Trash”
I heard this on MTVU the other day and had to download it immediately. Sassy electro-pop that makes you want to strut around like a hipster douche. I love it!

Smashing Pumpkins, Special release for Nissan – “FOL”
Its that song from the Genesis Coupe commercial. Sue me…

Shiny Toy Guns, Season of Poison – “The Future Is Where We Belong”
Found in Gossip Girl’s season finale, when Chuck and Blair get together at long last. The moment was sound-tracked amazingly well with this song. Gauzy production, big slow drums, choral back-up and well executed transitions all come together well to make this song into something worth listening to after the television stops working its magic.

Azealia Banks, Youth Offender – “Seventeen”
Using the Ladytron track by the same name this rapper turns it on its head and makes one of the funniest songs to come out of hip-hop since Lil’ Mama’s ode to lip gloss.

Title from The Dream, Love Vs Money, listening to all of the above.

Tuesday, May 19

Have You Fallen Asleep

Things I have neglected to mention:

1.) My birthday was great! Wolverine, a surprise party, awesome gifts—what more could a man ask for? Well… maybe to be 21 again. So far 23 is okay, though. (See picture)

2.) Star Trek was truly entertaining. Not mind-blowing but solid nonetheless. Scotty and Bones were definitely the highlights.

3.) I got to feed llamas on Mother's Day at a party we went to. (See picture)

4.) I’ve got finals. Stressed but dealing. We’ll see.

5.) Summer school starts at the beginning of June. I seem to remember more time in between last year. Spanish here I come!

6.) Coach is back. Nando and I have plans for a summer full of activities (including a summer cook-off, but more on that in another post). Mike and I are hanging out this weekend. Things are good.

7.) Speaking of Mike, that fucking Lakers fan: the Celtics got kicked out of the finals on Sunday going down to the Heat in game 7 at the Garden. It was sad. KG needs to come back next season. Oh, by the way, I really enjoy watching basketball now…

Listening to “Kids” by Chiddy Bang. Title is by Paper Route from Absence… and no, I haven’t.

Tuesday, April 28

We Can't Read Poetry

So I have to give a presentation on Yeats in about an hour and a half. I’m looking forward to it. I knew he would be someone I’d like: angry, drunk, Irish… sign me up, right? I now understand why everyone like him though. Wow, even the crappy early stuff about fairies is entertaining. I particularly like “Sailing to Byzantium,” “Easter, 1916” and “”Second Coming.” Wish me luck with the thing.

I was hanging out with Mike on Saturday and got tons of new music, which was awesome. I also drank way too much for the first time in a while. Strangely I was sick the day after and not the night of, which has never happened to me before. Scotch and soda, you are a cruel mistress. Seriously, they incapacitated me for all of Sunday.

Nando and I watched “How I Met Your Mother” on Friday. He too has caught the horrible disease. I mean… CBS… really!?!? It’s just so damn entertaining. They banter well; it doesn’t seem forced like in so many sitcoms these days. It isn’t just actors waiting to say their next line. I’m not trying to defend it… I just think if you were to try and justify watching it in your head that would be a good point to make.

On the new music front (which does not include the old hardcore and emo stuff Mike and I got this weekend) I have a few notable finds, but I’ll try and keep it brief, just one quick one before I go:

Harlem Shakes – Technicolor Health (Album)
Great band, fun album, cool artwork, sentimental rocker songs (not rock going sentimental, rock that happens to be sentimental, there’s a fine distinction but an important one). They’ve got an all-over-the-place sound that I have been digging lately but they keep it from getting stale or too over-the-top. Four out of five stars…

Listening to “Niagara Falls” by Harlem Shakes, the title of this post is brought to you by Piebald, from Barely Legal/All Ages. The picture is from a couple days ago outside McKeldin Library, I put it in as I am enjoying this taste of summer a lot right now.

Thursday, April 23

Don't Talk About My Music

So Elizabeth told me about this thing: you gather up the twenty-five most important albums of your life and turn this list over to your peers. I guess so they can see what it is you listened to when you didn’t know them.

I’m going to try and do that here, if only because I’m bored and feel like making a list. I think the result will be rather strange. I entirely dropped the person that I was when I went away to school. It was a reinvention but because I went away with four good friends who I hung out with all the time and who call me on my bullshit it didn’t quite work as completely as one might have expected. There are also some truly embarrassing moments here. Please remember that I went through most of my early musical development in a white-breed cultural wasteland.

Anway… here is the list in chronological order as best I can remember (autobiographic not release date):

1.) Genesis – The Best of Genesis
I can remember dancing around to this while my parents cleaned the house in the summer. I was maybe five. I would make them play it over and over again until I was too tired to move anymore. Phil Collins is a genius.

2.) Madonna – The Immaculate Collection
This was the other CD I thought worth busting a move to while they cleaned up. I can still vogue with the best of them.

3.) Elton John – Mad Man Across the Water
“Indian Summer” was the first song that I actually listened to for lyrical content. The music had been around for a while but I think I was seven and suddenly realized that there was a story to the song. I believe this is why I love “Dances with Wolves” as much as I do. And you can’t beat the line: “The New York Times said God was dead, and the war’s begun, Alvin Tosteg has a son today!”

4.) Moody Blues – Moody Blues Greatest Hits
My mom was a huge fan and I really like the sound of violin mixed with pop music. Why she never played me more Beatles when I was little I’ll never understand but this was my first foray into “classic rock.”

5.) Enya – In Memory of Trees
My mom bought this CD for my dad thinking that it had the radio hit “Sail Away” on it. When it turned out that it didn’t contain the single I started playing it. The first three songs still make me feel like I’m eight.

6.) Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
I got my first CD player for Christmas in 3rd grade. I had begged my parents for it since October (when my cousin Terri got her Walkman). The huge 3 CD boom box was awesome but I had no CDs of my own to play. I had recently been allowed to start listening to DC101 (though not in to morning since my mom objected to Elliot’s crude humor) and “Bullets with Butterfly Wings” was everywhere. I thought I sounded awesome and heavy so I asked to go to Tower Records and a sales clerk helped me find the CD. Two discs of mind blowing music later I was sold on the whole grunge thing. I must admit that I also bought the Lisa Loeb debut album and Weird Al Yankovic at the same time but still I think I get points for liking the Pumpkins at age eight.

7.) Green Day - Insomniac
“Basketcase” from Dookie was all over my school in 5th grade so on another trip to Tower (man, I miss that place) I looked for it. All they had was the new release, “Insomniac” so instead of leaving empty handed I went for it. I couldn’t believe how weird it was but I thought it was awesome anyway. “Babs Uvula Who” is a great name for a song… Still one of my favorite punk records.

8.) A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms
A Perfect Circle was the first band I was truly obsessed with. I bought this CD because I liked “Judith” in (I think) 7th grade. I listened to it non stop. “3 Libras,” “Sleeping Beauty,” all of them. For a kid who thought he was never going to kiss a girl APC was full of the longing and lonely anger that I craved. I still think it has some great orchestration.

9.) Lincoln Park – Hybrid Theory
There is no accounting for this radical shift from grunge to rap-metal, I can only say that it was on the radio a lot and I thought it sounded angry, which at 13, seemed a prerequisite for my music—the longing sadness having turned to being pissed off at the world.

10.) Bush – Sixteenstone
I had, without my knowledge, been listening to Bush for a long while on the radio. When I finally figured out how many singles this CD had on it that I loved I bought it sophomore year. I could not stop listening to it, on road trips that summer, on my new portable CD player, everywhere. “Glycerin” is such an amazing song.

11.) Jimmy Eat World – Bleed America
My first “discovery.” I was watching MTV late one night and an ad came on for the Real World or something and I liked the song that played in the background. Well the ad kept on popping up and the song had this catchy guitar and plaintive vocals. I finally looked up what it was on the internet and bought this the next day. I’m still in love with this album.

12.) Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies
My friends in high school listened mostly to techno. I didn’t put any of that on here because it was all via mixes one of them made. Drew (the mixologist) also burned me a copy of this since I was Irish and he thought I would like it. I did… a lot! These guys are still the only band I’ve seen more than twice.

13.) Brand New – Deja Entrendue
While I could try and play this one off like I did Lincoln Park (damn you Shinoda!!!) I stand by this. I bought it my junior year and I credit it and Jimmy Eat World for my love of emo. Without “I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don’t” I’m not sure if I would have been ready for Braid or the Get Up Kids… “Sic Transit Gloria” is also the encapsulation of how I left about girls. I can still remember singing it at the top of my lungs with John Hogan after we had taken over the music one night at a party in St. Mary’s. Good times.

14.) International Noise Conspiracy – A New Morning
Jimmy Streeter threw this at me while we were looking in a record store one afternoon and said: “Hey bitch, this looks like something you would like.” He was very right. Lyrics about philosophy, Guy Debord and breaking the system… I hearted anarchy.

15.) The Clash – London Calling
Senior year saw some pretty big changes in my listening. The ground work had been laid by INC, Brand New, Flogging Molly and Jimmy Eat World in the preceding two years but it wasn’t until someone, and I can’t remember who, told me I might like The Clash that it really happened for me. I bought London Calling and was converted. Everything from “Lost in the Supermarket” to “Hateful” to “Spanish Bombs” blew my mind. I went on to The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, Stiff Fingers, all of it but The Clash was my first true punk rock love (despite loving Flogging Molly they can’t qualify as my first since punk died in 1981).

16.) The Mars Volta – De-Loused In The Comatorium
Watching music videos on Yahoo one day this band came up as a suggestion based on what I was watching before. The song was strange, the singer’s voice was too high-pitched and I couldn’t figure out if the lyrics were awesome or too pretentious even for me. Having listened to the album probably a gazzilion times since that fateful day the music is strange, the singer is too whiny and the lyrics border on un-listenable. But I learned of At The Drive-In because of it and when I told Mike Musser that I liked them a lot he told me of the wonderful world of GSL (which the band members had partial stake in). For that I’m eternally indebted.

17.) Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Here we being the story of my collegiate music experience. It was just another night at St. Mary’s and had climbed up to the third floor of Caroline dormitory to partake in 40s Forties night, in which we dressed up like we were from the 1940s and drank Old English forties. I met Mike that night as he hit on my then girlfriend’s roommate. He made an off hand joke about Joy Division I went back to my room and found it on the network of shared music and have never been the same since. I later claimed that I knew about Ian Curtis and Martin Hannet’s production and all of it before I had come to college but that was me trying to be cool. I sat and listened to Unknown Pleasures all the way through that night and cried my eyes out while the world seemed to crumble around me. (Side note: that was not the first or last time that forties made me emotionally unstable… its worse than red wine)

18.) Party of Helicopters – Please Believe It
As Mike took me under his musical wing the first thing I picked up and really liked was this band. “Good Punk” really spoke to me. I wanted to be all the things I thought a punk should be but couldn’t get behind the fashion. “They’ve got a unicorn on the album over, but I think I’ve been a good punk” was how I made peace with myself.

19.) Xiu Xiu – Fabulous Muscles
That scream in “I Luv the Valley, OH!” haunts my dreams still. “Brian the Vampire” still makes me shake uncontrollably when I hear it sometimes. Xiu Xiu was the most out-there thing I had ever heard but when Mike played it for me and Ricardo at 3am one morning after long bouts of drinking and talking I just got quiet. It reminds me more than anything else of St. Mary’s.

20.) Her Space Holiday – Manic Expressive
When I left St. Mary’s I had fully expected never to see any of my friends ever again but Mike called me up one day and we hung out and he played this for me. I credit “Ringing in My Ears” for getting me through the depression that went along with getting kicked out of school, even though Manic Expressive is maybe one of the most depressing albums ever.

21.) Indian Summer – Science: 1994
I had enjoyed “Angry Son” when it was shown to me freshman year but it took until the Autumn of 2005 for me to figure out that this was among my top 5 all time favorite albums. The blues sample, the crescendo, Indian Summer is why I’m an emo kid.

22.) The Locust – Plague Soundscapes
They are Mike’s favorite band but it wasn’t until I was making fun of them with Shah one night out on the town in 2006 that I really gave them a chance. I went home and played the 23 minute cluster-fuck of an album twice. My head spun, my ears hurt but I liked it. I got, at long last, what Mike saw in them. It isn’t for everyday listening but I love the Locust!

23.) Braid – Frame & Canvas
I can’t really describe how it was that this came into my life. It took me a while but when it happened I was not the same after. It is my favorite album.

24.) My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
See the very first blog post I made on this site for my introduction to My Bloody Valentine. I am fairly sure this is number 2 on the list of all time favorites.

25.) Orchid – Gatefold
Number three. Every song should be a radio single. This is bar rock for kids with white belts. I have never heard lyrics like these. I’ve never wanted to start a band more than when I first heard this record. “Sex sells more records than rock / So let’s fuck and forget / The background hum.” “Buy a book / Read up / I’m on every page.” “And in 1999 all the kids stood in line / And our party’s a bore / And we don’t care / We’ll take Brooklyn over Manhattan any day of the week / Our party’s mystique will be our capability to think.” I get weak in the knees.

So that took too long. I told way too many stories. I had fun though. There is something deeply satisfying about taking stock of your life. For me, my life since turning 16 has been about music. Making this list and listening to all these records again (yes, even Lincoln Park… and I still can’t figure that one out) was like seeing the spot on the wall where your parents would measure how tall you were getting. I’m not saying it was a linear journey but at almost 23 these songs are my lines on the wall—there for all to see how I’ve changed.

The post title is from The Violent Femmes off Viva Wisconsin (Live), and you should feel free to talk about my music... I just thought it worked well as a title.

Monday, April 20

End the Washington Monument (Blinks) Goodnight

Things have been better. End of the semester blues times 10. And it’s pouring outside. Is there such a thing as reverse seasonal depression? I think I just want it to be nice outside so I have a better excuse to go outside and avoid work.

Speaking of which: I went to Baltimore this weekend. That was fun. Mike and I have a music-and-scotch night set aside sometime soon. Though those tend to make me depressed too. Emo kids should not keep the company of other Emo kids, especially when it involves rare Joy Division live recordings. I shaved my beard too. It feels very strange.

I’ve become obsessed with this insipid sitcom from CBS called “How I Met Your Mother.” Its terrible escapism but I’ve been entertained. I can’t say I recommend it for watching but thought you all should know what I’ve been up to.

I do recommend for all the other Spring-time funk dwellers out there: the Silversun Pickup’s new album “Swoon,” the new Peter Bjorn & John album, and the first EP from Mumford & Son. Fuzzed out guitar, minimalist pop and sad banjo music are good for remaining in your bed longer than you have since you were 13.

Favorite lyrics? I’m so glad you asked!

Swoon: “What’s keeping my tounge tied? / I see you when you roll your eyes.” (Sort Of)

PB&J: If you have problems, why don't you go solve them? / At least you wont be so out of touch /
If your a poet, why don't you lift your tong and show it? (Nothing to Worry About)

Mumford & Sons: “Take all the courage you have felt. Waste it on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head.”

Looks like tomorrow so I’ll say good night.

Post from Q and not U

Wednesday, April 1

Something Good

Long time no talk, Interwebs. I’ve been busy lately and that makes me a bad blogger. What’s new, right?

The month of March has been really quite good. Last weekend Elizabeth and I went down to Charlotte, NC to see her family. Her brother is buying a house and her dad was there on business. The rainy drive down on Thursday was rough but there weren’t many people on the road. We got in late Thursday night and went to bed. After getting ready late Friday morning we went to the big mall, in what I think is a neighborhood called Southpark. That might just be the road. Let me tell you, Interwebs, it was the nicest mall I’ve ever been to. Megan (Elizabeth’s sister-in-law) had said that the mall “doesn’t mess around” so I figured it would be nice but wow. It puts Tyson’s Corner (the previous holder of the nicest mall award) to shame. Palatial is really the only I can describe it. If there we a temple built to worship consumerism I would highly recommend they find the architect that did this place.

Even the Cheesecake Factory there was staggering. Vaulted ceilings, huge columns and delicious avocado spring rolls… Friday night we went to a local bar for dinner and I had me first real Carolina barbeque. I’m not a big fan of pork or BBQ sauce but the brisket I got was fantastic. When we got back to Jim and Megan’s house they broke out Rock Band 2 for wii. I’m in love with the game. Character customization has been taken to new highs.

Saturday we had another fantastic meal at Zinc in the uptown (which is where their downtown is) and saw Duplicity at this insane nightclub/theater that had lounge chairs instead of seats. The movie was great, a lot of fun, and had pacing and tone similar to Ocean’s 11 (or 12 or 13, though 11 is my favorite). I also bought a pair of bright blue skinny jeans at Ross (one of two in Charlotte, and we went to both). This was earlier in the day. Before that we saw the new house, a charming craftsman style in an up-and-coming part of the city. There was also a delicious brunch.

We left Sunday and made great time back to DC (going 90 most of the way back helped with that) and you couldn’t ask for better weather. I may have missed the Say Hi show at The Black Cat on Thursday but it was worth it to get out of town for a while.

The upcoming weekend is family-filled too, though this time its mine. Saturday is the papa bear’s 56th b-day and Sunday is Jackson’s 1st. Hopefully it won’t be too painful to spend all that quality time with the people I’m related to, fingers crossed.

The week before was Spring Break, which was sad. A guy I went to school with passed away. I was nice to see some many people from the class come to the funeral. A lot of us went out to a bar the day after to have a drink and raise a glass to the dead. Strange how easy it is to fall back into the same group of people after so long. It seems wrong that we had to be reunited under such circumstances but I’m glad I got see all of them again.

The New Stuff playlist is hot off the presses and April looks good to me. Neon Gold brought me “Your Four Limbs” by Kurran & The Wolfnotes, a haunting voice set on top of a tap-tap-tapping drum and acoustic guitars sings “did you feel the burn, did you, baby?” and later “and how I’d love to assist the burning that rushes to your hips as I turn to dust in the blink of an eye.” Yeah, it’s really good. “Happy Valentine’s Day” by Dishwasher is ill timed but amazing. The lyrics are just “Do You Want To Dance?” by Bobby Freeman but the minimalist instrumentation backing it up and the sound of the voice come together and make it more than just another cover. The coda is a sample from Charlie Brown, I think, in which Charles hopes for a Valentine’s Day card from the Little Red-Headed Girl but is too afraid to check the mail box. Who can’t relate to Charlie Brown? Or at least to Snoopy?

“Optimist vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In)” by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is another highlight. The story in it, one of bank heists, get-away car chases and being on the lam has never sounded so bitter sweet. “Spieltier” by Emperor X is a mid-tempo barn-burner if ever there was. It sounds like driving fast in the country on a summer night with the top down and fireflies whirling around your head. Their other song, “A Violent Translation of the Concordia Headscarp” sounds like that too. Check them out at Said the Gramophone.

Morrissey has a new(ish) release out and “Something Is Squeezing My Skull” has this catchy guitar riff that I can’t seem to get out of my head. I’m a little hit or miss on Morrissey’s more recent solo career. This sounds like something he wrote circa Bona Drag… I may need to get the new album. “Brainiac’s Daoughter” by The Dukes of Stratosphear is a curiosity. I sounds like the Beatles. No check that, it doesn’t just sounds like the Beatles, it sounds like these guys are plagiarizing the Beatles. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a lot of respect for anybody who can replicate that level of pop goodness and I think this song is great, Dr. Dog has the same quality (though in a Revolver-era way as apposed to this more white album-era feel).

Lastly, Peter, Bjorn & John have a new album out called Living Thing. I got two tracks from it: “Nothing to Worry About” and “Just the Past.” The first is just as catchy and fun as anything of Writer’s Bloc. There’s a children’s choir (or at least some high pitched back-up singers that sound like kids) on the chorus and a groove that will be perfect for hot days and lounging in the near future. “Just the Past” is a slower number. It’s sweet at first but not saccharine. Its minimal but well arranged. There is just something about it that bores me. Only a little, it’s a good track, I think it will grow on me. I hope the new album favors “Nothing to Worry About” though, as it seems to be as immediate a hit as “Young Folks” was all the way back in 2006 (has it really been that long?!).

There are a few more to talk about but I’ll give you time to digest these musical morsels before I heap another generous portion of random songs and new releases at you.

Listening to “The Reeling” by Passion Pit (from the forthcoming LP Manners), the post title is a song by Red River from Grassblades.

Thursday, March 12

All of My Days and All of My Days Off

So instead of taking crappy pictures at the Tokyo Police Club show I took none at all! I forgot my camera. My phone died at the concert. And though there are no awesome show pics I did get a really sweet poster from one of the opening bands. The concert was fantastic. Harlem Shakes and Born Ruffians were truly great. Both have a sort of country twang that I have been digging a lot lately.

TPC were absolutely phenomenal. I have had a couple of transcendent concert experiences (Yo La Tengo, Xiu Xiu both times, parts of Say Hi) but few face-meltingly kick ass experiences. This is firmly in the top spot of my “All Time Desert Island Top 5 Rock Your Pants Off Concerts.” They had tons of good new stuff, all the old favorites and the entire line-up doing “Train In Vain (Stand By Me)” as the encore.

In other news: I went to the beach. It was very relaxing to go to Ocean City without the usual crowds. I got the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Converse Hi Top at the Outlets too. I’m reading High Fidelity finally, if you couldn’t tell from the Top 5 reference. So far I quite like it and it seems like the movie was very faithful to the book, at least in terms of dialogue.

Speaking of faithful movie translations of literature: Watchmen was all I wanted it to be. I think. I was so worried it was going to suck but hoped it wouldn’t that my expectations got confused. I think I’ll need to contemplate on it more but overall it was a great rendering of the comic. The editing made sense to me even if I wanted all the deleted scenes. It does lose a lot from nixing the Black Freighter story and the newspaper vendor/kid reading thing is great but that lose is for a reason (people need to consume art for art like it to have a future, as sad as that makes me sometimes). I’d give it a 9.4 overall.

March’s New Stuff playlist has yielded some important finds. Here they are:

“Able To” by Eternal Summers: I cruised around with my sunroof open and the windows down the other day when it was so nice to this song. Feel-good nineties guitar and simple beat that is eminently toe-tapable.

“Spirit Come Back!” by The Constellations: “I came to appreciate the devilish messages you left on my bathroom mirror, now I’m waiting, waiting for you to call. Spirit come back! I miss the chains in the attic.” Just download it (via Said the Gramophone) it’s moving both lyrically and musically. The other songs I’ve since found by the band are also very good.

“A Sad Day for Investors (Astronautalis Remix)by Sole & The Skyriders: A rap song, of sorts, it’s definitely indie but there is something about the line “If we live we live to tread on kings and if we die we die” and the contempt with which he says it that makes me shiver.

“Are You Devo (The Spirituals Remix)” by Shelby Sifers: I’m not entirely sure why this song is so good. It works its way under your skin and makes you hum the strange melody while you walk to do other things. I’m not Devo, Shelby, but I could try to be if you smile at me like I think you do when you sing this song.

That’s it. Spring Break starts at 4:45pm today. Maybe I’ll try and post again soonish…

Listening to “Rumble in the Jungle, 1974” by Casy & Brian and “Dog Meat” by Condo Fucks. Both are raucous, wake-up-in-the-morning songs. The post’s title is a song by AC Newman. And if you were curious, my Top 5 All Time Desert Island Best Wake Up in the Morning Songs are (in no particular order):
1) “London Burning” The Clash
2) “My Favourite Game” The Cardigans
3) “Song 2” Blur
4) “Where It’s At” Beck
5) “Intensify” !!!

Thursday, February 19

Something Good Can Work

As the month of February progresses I’ve been refining some of my opinions about the music it has yielded. Here are some observations:

Of the three bands that I mentioned in the post before last I still enjoy Glasvegas but don’t think they lived up to the hype, love The Joy Formidable even more and feel the same about The Sound of Arrows.

They Joy Formidable are as big a find as I have ever stumbled across. They right tight, exceedingly well produced and catchy pop-rock. They have female vocals that alternate from sexy and direct to gauzy and remote (see “While the Flies” and “My Beer Drunk Soul is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees” respectively, and what a great name for a song that last one is). They have amazing guitar breakdowns and face-melting bass lines (particularly on “Austere”) that remind me of another band with the word “Joy” in their name… The sound is very different but when a bass thinks it’s a guitar and a guitar thinks it’s a keyboard I usually think Joy Division. On occasion they also channel this shoe-gaze vibe that makes me think of My Bloody Valentine’s first album (the song in question is “Ostrich”). If J.D. and M.B.V. are what I think you sound like them you can be guaranteed that I’ll heart your music.

I can’t recommend these guys highly enough. They have past three weeks of fairly constant listening without me getting sick of them.

Glasvegas have one great song (though that might be untrue, I haven’t heard the whole catalogue). “Geraldine” tells a great story, drives well with a big guitar sounds and the band seems to try and replicate that on every other track that I’ve heard. I don’t want to write them off because I do like their sound I just think they need to figure out how to get beyond the one trick pony show. Sound of Arrows is the same, like I said above. I like them, they’re fun. I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy their album but I think they are worth looking up.

Add to the list of February’s notable finds these bands/artists. I’m going to try and keep this brief so it will be confined to the artist’s name, a quick review and the songs that I like.

1.) AC Newman – A New Pornographer’s spin-off band that sounds a little Peter, Bjorn & John. He has a really nice voice, there are violins in some of the songs and he covered “Take Me On” by A-ha!
Listen to: “The Heartbreak Rides,” “Submarines of Stolkholm” and the aforementioned cover.

2.) La Roux – Sultry dance music that has a woman’s voice in it that I can’t shake out of my head some days…
Listen to: “In For the Kill” and “Fascination.”

3.) Ellie Goulding – Singer-songwriter stuff but with a touch of electronic beat and production added. She has hooks that don’t let go and a way of singing a chorus that makes me smile.
Listen to: “Wish I Stayed” and “Guns + Horses.”

Just take my word and listen to these:

“John the Revelator” by Nicholas Jaar
“Pen to the Paper” by PARLOVR
“Astoria, Menthol Lite, Hilltop, Wave of Evil 1982” by Blackout Beach
“Lemmings Anthem” The Oohlas

Listening to “LAX Files” by The Game and “Hero (feat. Keri Hilson)” by Nas because I feel like listening to a little of that G-Rap shit. Post title by Two Door Cinema Club which is another band to look into. The picture in this post has very little to do with anything… it’s the moon from my back yard.

Monday, February 16

The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade

Sorry. No pictures of the Passion Pit show. I seem to only take blurry pictures at concerts. They look more abstract than anything.

The show itself was great. Fantastic set by both the headliner and opener, Paper Route. There were numerous crazy people there, which provided much of the entertainment. White jackets, lots of leg warmers, etc.

We had a lovely Valentine’s Day. I cooked. It didn’t suck. I don’t seem to have food poisoning. I count it as a success.

This weekend we also went to The National Gallery of Art to see the Robert Frank exhibit and walk around downtown. A lot of fun. Except for the loss of a sweater on the way home.

I also found some steady employment with my aunt. Hooray for nepotism! Hooray for free parking, more!

School is getting crazy with reading. I need to start writing papers already. There are two concerts coming soon: Tokyo Police Club and Say Hi. I’ll try and learn to take non-abstract photos for them.

Listening to “Austere” by The Joy Formidable and “Tigress” by Songs: Ohio. Post title is by The Joy Formidable. So good, check it out.

Tuesday, February 3

Unfinished Business

So much to talk about. Let’s start at the start, shall we?

1.) Classes seem to be going well. I say “seems” because I’ve only had one day of school thus far. Tuesday and Wednesday were both canceled due to the Snowpocalyse in D.C. I like how Obama called us all sissies for freaking out about it. Today will be day two and I still haven’t had my History class. Let’s hope Medieval Islamic historiography is as interesting as it sounds! (The last statement was not sarcastic)

2.) I am easily excitable. Anyone who reads this, has know me for a while or sees me walk past something shiny can attest. So it should come as no surprise that the GI Joe, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek movie trailers during the Super Bowl had me acting like a coked up chihuahua. I didn’t watch the game mind you… they appeared soon after on the Interwebs. I suggest you find them and drool along with me.

3.) I urge anyone who takes issue with teramedy (that’s teen-drama-comedy) to skip ahead to number 4. Gossip Girl was fantastic last night. The male protagonist, Dan Humphrey, and his new English teacher pulled “a Letourneau.” This is in fact what the show called it, but it wasn’t nearly as skeezy as you might think. Television is populated by far more attractive people. And they totally "make it" to "With A Heavy Heart ( I Regret to Inform You)" by Does It Offend You, Yeah? which is a pretty sweet doing-it song. There was also a new plot development when Chuck (the nihilistic, super-rich sometimes-villain) stumbled across a secret society that he thought was just the “world’s greatest gentleman’s club.” Also: Blair’s constant misquoting of classic movie lines was highly entertaining.

4.) The “New Music: February” playlist is complete. I haven’t yet made it all the way through the fifty odd songs on it but there are a few early gems to share:

“Geraldine” by Glasvegas – This isn’t a new song, per se, but I have finally relented and given a listen to these Scottish kids. I was apprehensive about the name… something that can turn me away from a band quicker than it should (see: Fiery Furnaces, Arcade Fire, Los Campesinos! until I realized they all do good things). Glasvegas does good things too. An ode to a social worker, with a great hook, a heavy accent (like “I would walk 5,000 miles” heavy)… I’ll take it.

“Cradle” by The Joy Formidable – It’s just so happy and fun, but with a kick-ass bass line and better-than-you-would-expect guitar work. The girl’s voice and the falsetto of her band mates as backing vocals only add. Check them out.

“M.A.G.I.C.” by The Sound of Arrows – The guy is trying so hard to sound like the Pet Shop Boys it’s almost sad. But I love the Pet Shop Boys… so never mind. I think swaying to this song might be required. Spelling things out in the chorus is also a big draw for me.

The Animal Collective album also seems like it would be worth listening to. I’ve heard “My Girls” and “In The Flowers” and both are as strong as anything off Feels. The line in the latter: “there, we could be dancing / and you’d smile and say ‘I love this song’” is one of those song moments that might mean nothing to most people but makes you smile to yourself. I still think that they sound too much like hippies in a meadow but the addition of synth and tighter instrumentation do lessen that repugnant image.

5.) I’m going to Passion Pit at the Black Cat tonight. It’s going to be sweet. I hope to bring back good photos and whatnot.

Listening to “Ostia” by Zu. Post title from White Lies off To Loss My Life (it sounds like if Depeche Mode and New Order had a baby).

Tuesday, January 27



University of Maryland, College Park is closed for afternoon and evening classes.


Title from Pedro the Lion.

November Was White, December Was Grey

Well, it’s day one of the 2009 Spring Semester for me at the University of Maryland. And what a glorious day it is! Snow, sleet and freezing rain are making me wish I lived on Frat Row. For any of you not in the know, Frat Row (the home of UMD’s numerous fraternity houses) is the epicenter of douche-baggery for the Mid Atlantic. Except for Jersey… come to think of it most of the people on Frat Row are from Jersey.

At any rate College Park is open for the first of what I can only image will be many Snowpocalypses this winter. Having consulted with the weathermen of News Channel 8, ABC and CBS, along with my father and the contractor across the street I have decided to stay home.

It was not an easy decision. I dislike missing the first day of classes as they are usually when syllabi are handed out, icebreaker games played and I get to size up my fellow students and our faculty. But I don’t want the last thing I see before shoving off this mortal coil to be I-495. And you know it would be some dumb SUV who thinks 4 wheel drive allows them to break the laws of physics…

So I’ll be missing three classes: 19th Century European Art History, British Lit from Romanticism to Modernism and The Jazz Paradigm, all of which I look forward to taking. Hopefully there will be a lot of absences since it is legitimately bad on the side streets.

In other news my vacation was nice. I found a temp agency that will hopefully get me some work starting in February, and looking back now, I actually enjoyed most of my time off of work. This is definitely the longest I’ve gone without a job since 2004.

I was in DC for the Inauguration. Elizabeth and I didn’t go do the Mall thing as we didn’t want to get up at 4am. We also skipped the festivities that night for fear of long lines and the National Guard invasion. It was a great ceremony though. I think his speech was great. Equally up-front with the citizens of this nation about how fucked we are and soaring with the high rhetoric that Obama always brings to the game.

I’ve given up trying to write a clever Meursault album review so just listen to it. I think it kicks all ass. Additionally check out these releases:

1.) Fleet Foxes - Giant Sun EP
2.) Sigur Ros - the new album, I don’t think I could spell it properly in Icelandic.
3.) Matt & Kim - Grand
4.) Pedro the Lion - Control (an old one but new to me)

As for things to look forward to / look out for:

1.) New Say Hi album in March
2.) Passion Pit at the Black Cat in February
3.) There is a new Cut Off Your Hands Song that kicks ass.
4.) Funeral Party… it’s a band I need to learn more about.
5.) New Peter Bjorn & John album to come.

Listening to “Submarines Of Stockholm” by A.C. Newman. Post title by Say Hi from the upcoming album Oohs & Aahs. It’s a really good song but it makes you feel colder...

Wednesday, January 7

In A Big Country

I’m still thinking about Meursault. It’s definitely one of my favorite albums of 2008. I want to try and do something interesting when I talk about it here and have yet to figure out a clever angle from which to approach it.

I spent a lot of today finding 80’s singles. The joys of being unemployed! I don’t entirely know why I love so much of this stuff. Everything from Fine Young Cannibals to Oingo Boingo to Genesis. Apparently I used to dance to Genesis when I was a little kid a lot. This could explain my love for Peter Gabriel of Phil Collins but there isn’t a lot of hits made between 1981 and 1989 that I can’t get down to. Even Huey Lewis and the New, especially "Power of Love." Though we can chalk that up to Michael J Fox and American Psycho.

I really can’t stop listening to “In A Big Country” by Big Country. I seem to remember hearing on the radio as a little kid and then seeing it in a movie. I can’t remember the name but it was probably starring Andrew McCarthy and involved New York, a montage and a highly unbelievable premise.

Anyway… I love guitar that sounds like a bagpipe. Sing along with me (cause I’ll have this on repeat for the next two or three days):

I've never seen you look like this without a reason,
Another promise fallen through, another season passes by you.
I never took the smile away from anybody's face,
And that's a desperate way to look for someone who is still a child.

And in a big country, dreams stay with you,
Like a lover's voice, fires the mountainside..
Stay alive.

(I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered)

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime.

So take that look out of here, it doesn't fit you.
Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded.
Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming.
Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted.
I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered.

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime.

Happy New Year too!