Archive for February, 2010

Bon ApeTit

February 25, 2010

When a muse strikes, it is truly a thing of beauty. Music certainly can strike a chord in the heart of any poet during the midnight hours of winter, and after a good shovel and a long listen on the iPod today I am pleased to bring you something of a short playlist of the week I have put together, along with the inspiration of many others. The beautiful thing is music is all about collaboration and kindling human relationships, and I hope you have the chance to pirate some of these songs and enjoy them in their entirety, for the sake of mankind.

I leave you with a recent Twain (whose Jersey Shore name would be Sammi C, f.y.i.) quote I came across which says something like the difference between good work and piss work is like lightning bolts and lightning bugs. Let the skies ignite.

The Magnetic Fields- California Girls: Its anthemic, heavy, catchy, and not Coldplay. Fantastic. No synth from a primarily synth based group, creative! Gay lead singer, even better for capturing that Brian Wilson sound. The song itself touches on some sociocultural sentiments I definitely agree with(see They breath coke and have affairs with each passing rockstar), but don’t go lyric hunting and crank up the volume to appreciate those distorted guitars.

Japandroids- Crazy/Forever: Ok, now its really time to crank the shit out of your headphones. This is an intensely heavy jam (think Brian Jonestown, but cleaner) from an extremely talented loud sound, semi-punk rock band. It simply kicks ass, and the great thing is it doubles as both a stoner noise burner and a UFC pre-match entrance song. If only this had been written before Gladiator…

Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., aka Jay Reatard- My Shadow: For those unfamiliar with the signature Gibson flying V of Jay Reatard, if there is one song from this list to find, this is it. He rips, shreds, screams, shakes and soars through cords in his quick pop conceptions, and his craftsmanship has made noisy music extremely accessible. Unfortunately the world of music and man lost Jay to over intoxication earlier this year and his work has to be referenced in the past tense, but his truly independent spirit and grit determination have/are/will inspire musicians for generations to come. Rest well Jay.

Surfer Blood- Swim: Enough of the somber reminiscing of what has been, let us shift gears to an up and coming band emerging from West Palm, FLA. Straight up, this is a cut to the gut, lo-fi surfer rock at it’s finest. Some bands of this genre tend to overdue the production and get lost with synth, looping and dubbing, but this is guitar heavy bonzai pipeline stuff. This fresh new indie band screams in celebration at overcoming the impending struggle with this single, and sex wax aside, this is a sick lick to enjoy.

Yeasayer- Strange Reunions: Odd Blood, Yeasayer’s sophomore offering, has received mixed reviews. Some say it is too out there, diverging from the folksier, more guitar heavy schtuff that got them noticed. I say that with their limited body of work, lets let them keep exploring. Brooklyn may be able to emerge from its snooty, vegan enriched scene strapped to the backs of these chaps. This song has a warm Animal Collective feel (maybe because everything I like does these days, woe is me). Clapping for percussion, psychedelic synths, warped vocals and poppy engineering gives this song a vibe unto its own, and I applaud both this song and their entire album.

The Thermals- We Were Sick: The industry inside on these dudes is that their most recent album after leaving SubPop Records is only a step in the ascent of the 2010 upcoming release, and I personally am excited. You almost feel guilty listening to it because it has some emo eccentricities, but it is punk pop at its best, one of music’s greatest conundrums. We Were Sick is a song I would march to, and I look forward to finding them at a festival this summer.

Four Tet- Smile Around the Face: From deep into the bowels of my techno pop archives, inspired by a recent album released by Kieran Hebden under the pseudonym Four Tet, I present to you Smile Around the Face. If you like Dan Deacon outside of his cup loving lizard, or are interested in refined electronic music, press play. Pure bliss. I mean, if this track is unsuccessful in accomplishing its goal neatly outlined in the title, then you are having an extremely bad day. The nasty little synth and electronic melodies that  blend with simplistic, clean cut drum beats and funky high pitched gospel loops might even get you clapping by song’s end.

Washed Out- You’ll See It: Another lone wolf techno whiz, another disturbingly catchy track that might have even been able to get John McCain elected (if Sarah Palin had stripped to it). Hazy, distorted, danceable synthpop. That just sounds fun to listen to, and it is. Side note- this guy produces/mixes/lives/makes macaroni via his parents basement, so if you have the dough buy a disc or a vinyl and lets get a starving artist laid. 

Cloud Cult- Lucky Today: 2005 was a solid year. Both Four Tet and this serving of Cloud Cult emerged from the chaos of 9/11 + 4, and this is really a song of hope in the post apocalypse. The key to what makes this music good doesn’t lie in a singular element, but rather in the effect produced when rap beats are fused with folksy, violin laced guitars in the midst of uplifting vocal harmonizations. I saw them live in South Bend a couple of years ago, and though I don’t remember this song appearing in the show, they completed a full painting during the set and really played an out there gig, and I delighted in the weirdness it as it fit my mood perfectly. (want more, check out “Chemicals Collide”)

The Black Lips- Cold Hands: When I first heard of the Lips, given the name, I could understand how I could have missed them when running through my music library. Black Keys, Black Crows, BlackStar, Blacroc, Flaming Lips…you get the picture. What I couldn’t believe is that these guys belong with all those aforementioned names. I love them, flat out. They are the new 13th Floor Elevators, these self described “flower punk” pranksters from Georgia who use condensed psychedelic chords in perfect blend with drunkenly ominous vocals.

Super Bowl XLIV- 10 for 10

February 9, 2010

Readers,

Let me first start off by congratulating the Saints (not that they were waiting for my comment) on their 31-17 victory over the Hoosier Horses Sunday night. I also want to thank them for keeping the first half a low scoring affair, and holding the Colts on their final drive on a fourth down stand, keeping my under call on a 53 1/2 point spread. The Saturday before, I ended up rolling in a high speed convoy out to the West side of Chicago to drink fine import beers and make wagers with my oldest compadre around. Our collective enthusiasm for the upcoming finale for the NFL season created a rabid energy in his folks’ living room, and soon enough pens and papers were out and betting strategies were being solidified.

I have to admit, at his first bequest at Game Winner I wanted to take the Colts, and leaned that way heavily until he said he wanted the Colts in the coin toss. I then decided to go whole heartedly on the Saints in the coin toss, and proceeded to pick them as my ultimate winner. Instead of doing the standard bets, my amigo and myself decided to spice up the event and make a 10 bets at 10 dollars a bet, hit or miss type of system. He would call a bet, and I would have first stab at the outcome. Like I said a few import ales had been consumed, as well as some other mind enhancing cracker jacks, so the betting became a bit outrageous.

Some memorable calls:

The WHO close with: me- Won’t Get Fooled Again, mad matt- Baba O’Reiley. I made the original bet, so when he called Baba O’Reiley I thought I was done for. Then it occurred to me that silly CSI SVU BBC whatever the hell ya call it show was a CBS program, and had Won’t Get Fooled Again as the intro song. Suddenly I was a lock, and sure enough Pete Townshend hooked me up, open flare shirt and all.

National Anthem sung by American Idol contestant: me- No, mad matt- yes. I had to play the odds on this one, but I knew I was dusted when I didn’t recognize the chick singing it or her name, but her look was all to familiar of the American Idol female prototype. Good call for the Swede.

First pop commercial: me-Pepsi, mad matt- Coke. Brittany Spears’ boobies were shaking around my head at this call. Pepsi didn’t field a commercial for the whole game. I guess those fourth quarter numbers weren’t enough to field some celebrity skin this SuperBowl ad season, what a shame.

Ultimately, I ended up taking six of the ten bets and pocketing twenty smackaroos to cap the 2009-2010 pigskin season. The season as a whole treated me pretty well, but there’s always room for improvement for next year. There were patches where my dedication wavered and I didn’t make as many comments to you as I would have liked, but this season has been rough on us all. And don’t forget the fresh hordes of green fans with their pockets bulging waiting for a fleecing, and who better to do it than yours truly. Maybe if you stick around for the ride, I’ll flip you some of the action.

Keep steady the path good friends, and we will keep all the news, sports, sex, drugs, and American dreams you can handle within your reach. Good luck, and drive safe.

Mahalo

An Old Post Re: New Fox News Correspondent

February 6, 2010

Dear Reader,

I am feeling lazy tonight. I am drunk on tacos, the room is dark, and it is nearing 4 in the morning. This is a dangerous combination, and without the proper amphetamine substitute, these factors will inevitably lead to sleep. Oh well, time for another cigarette and a random aside.

I have been watching ALOT of Glenn Beck recently, just to get an understanding of the man. Huffington Post is admittedly on my personal blog roll, and they always seem to be trashing GB and his cronies at Fox. I cannot figure it out. They blame FOX’s numbers on  their narrative of fear and socialism, and I agree that there is a total entertainment factor in these principles. But look at the American audience, look at what religion and the Bible belt and the Pat Robertson’s and polarizing assholes of this country have done to our society. If you don’t go to church and have a marriage approved by the church, you aren’t to be trusted. If you don’t let your faith eek into your politics, you betray it. There is a lot going on here, certainly more than just the American celebrity obsessed society infatuated with rumor and entertainment. We have other issues, and they need to be addressed by our new generations of good tax paying, educated citizens of the world.

SO after this pledge to take arms, I ask you to give this old editorial I wrote a gander. I had a few good laughs at what I thought of Sarah Palin, FOX’s latest correspondent and Alaska’s most recent fleeing governor (she also likes to teaparty). Enjoy, and sleep well!

The last couple of weeks of bloodshed are indicative of any final push towards the 2008 presidential elections between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, as it is time for them to lay all their cards on the table. I have been watching the presidential and vice-presidential debates with my cronies off-campus, and am trying to educate myself about the candidates by checking online blogs and investigating each of their websites. I’m actually getting rather giddy over voting for the new leader of the free world, and I want to make a somewhat educated decision in November, as I’m sure most people do. Basically, I’m not claiming to be any kind of political analyst, but this is America and I got my two cents to toss around.

I didn’t know much about Sarah Palin when Mr. McCain selected her as his vice-presidential candidate, and a week ago if you asked me about her I would’ve been able to tell you she said something not so coherent during a Katie Couric interview and was getting slammed by SNL (video is hilarious; try to find the one with the split screen comparison). As a democrat this was all good and fun, but I did want to get to know more about her beliefs and policies. I mean she did say she was going to work hard for Joe 6 pack, so maybe for Mike 12 pack she would work that much harder.

I know she was selected for political reasons, and the GOP wanted some one who people could easily relate with. She’s a hard working mom, small town resident, doesn’t have a lot of ties to Washington and she is committed to family values. I mean a great deal of Americans can relate to these criteria, and you could see how most people, upon first glance, could make her their flag-bearer.

But my friends be weary, initial impressions and quick Wikipedia glance over’s will not suffice for getting to know the real Sarah Palin. First of all, she has openly stated the Iraq war was “a task from God” and that it fits into “God’s plan.” I’m not writing this article to bash her religious views, but quite frankly this is a dangerous mindset. Aren’t the extremists who we are going after claiming the same type of thing? I don’t want a potential commander in chief getting into a conflict and reassuring me this is “God’s plan,” and if I pray enough none of our soldiers will get harmed.

Did you know she is one of the most far right when it comes to the abortion issue, but at the same time she is for the death penalty? She talks about promoting a culture of life but supports a practice that has the potential to kill innocent Americans for crimes they hadn’t committed. I don’t really care if your pro-life or pro-death, but I ask that if you go to one side all the way, make sure you include all the relevant issues.

And this takes me to quite possibly the most outrageous thing I have learned about Sarah Palin. Over the past years, Palin has associated herself with the Alaska Independence Party (AIP), an organization based on the movement for Alaska to become a separate entity from the United States. She even spoke at their annual convention this year. Are you serious? She supports a secessionist group of Wild Bill Coyotes who want to be “self-sufficient” by hunting moose and removing their ties of the greatest democracy in the world?  I could understand how Alaskans might be jealous since they didn’t get a go with the rest of us during the Civil War, but honestly.

The more I read the more outrageous it gets, and the more scared I become that this lady could one day lead our country. I quote Matt Damon in that it would be like “a really bad Disney movie” if she got elected, however I think it wouldn’t end with finding Nemo but finding ourselves in some serious trouble, at home and abroad. Sarah can take Alaska over a Secessionist Bridge and she can keep her eyes locked on Vlad P, but this lady should really only be in Washington, D.C. as a tourist on vacation.