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.

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