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.