Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This Year in Music Thus far!

So, to be blunt, this year has been blessed by the music gods. The amount of amazing music that has come out thus far is ridiculous, particularly since we are only just past the mid point. It could really only get better were Radiohead, Broken Social Scene, The National, and Los Campesinos! to put out their new albums. In any case here are all the notable releases and a list of the best of the best.

(Somewhat divided by genre and have grades to go with level of awesome):

The Ecstatic by Mos Def (A-)
Born Like This by Doom (A-)
Lp by Discovery (B+)
Sounds of Apollo by N.A.S.A (B)

Punk/Hard Rock (yes I count Pop Punk):
Now We Can See by The Thermals (A)
Fortress Round My Heart by Ida Maria (A-)
Everything to Nothing by Manchester Orchestra (B+)
The Eternal by the Sonic Youth (B+)
Swoon by the Silversun Pickups (B)
Wavves by Wavves (B)
Crack the Sky by Mastodon (B)

Alternative Rock:
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix (A+++)
Fantasies by Metric (A)
It's Blitz by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (A-)
It's Frightening by the White Rabbits (A-)
Actor by St. Vincent (A-)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (B+)
Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective (B)
Grand by Matt and Kim (B)

Singer-Songwriter (Americana as well):
Middle Cyclone by Neko Case (A)
Two Suns by Bat for Lashes (A)
The Crying Light by Antony and the Johnsons (A)
Noble Beast by Andrew Bird (A)
Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear (B+)
Far by Regina Spector (B+)
Working on a Dream by Bruce Springsteen (B)

Junior by Royksopp (A)
Bromst by Dan Deacon (A-)
Fever Ray by Fever Ray (B)
The E.N.D by The Black Eyed Peas (B-)

Bitte Orca by Dirty Projectors (B+)
The Happiness Project by Charles Spearin (B)

Top Ten albums So Far:
1. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, by Phoenix
2. Middle Cyclone, by Neko Case
3. The Crying Light, by Antony and the Johnsons
4. Two Suns, by Bat for Lashes
5. Now We Can See, by The Thermals
6. Noble Beast, by Andrew Bird
7. Fantasies, by Metric
8. Junior, by Royksopp
9.The Ecstatic, by Mos Def
10. Fortress Round My Heart by Ida Maria

Do check some of them out!

Monday, December 22, 2008

27. Sid and Nancy

"But Sidney's more than a mere bass player. He's a fabulous disaster. He's a symbol, a metaphor, he embodies the dementia of a nihilistic generation. He's a fuckin' star."

Note: Until I get to the top ten...most of the films will seem a bit rushed, but this is to finish the project by the new year. I will mainly give details on the highlights, but will be happy to discuss the finer details of several films along the way. On with the show though...

Sid and Nancy is a difficult film to love. It is loud, chaotic, painful, and full of sorrow. It was as if director, Alex Cox, was attempting to make the least likable film possible, but it is from the above descriptions that we find a connection often missed by film: that of the human variety.

Sid Vicious (played by the always brilliant Gary Oldman), of the Sex Pistols, and Nancy Spungen offer a stark contrast to the lovers of generations past. It is their mistakes and descent into misery that one finds something truly human in their interactions. Of course, this is not an ideal situation, few would argue that, but this is a situation that seems far more real than those often portrayed in most love tales (not to knock any, as I have a special place in my heart for films like Love Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary).

What adds to the appeal of the film is the fact that I love music and its history. To say the least, the Sex Pistols have been rather important for the development of punk since their inception in the 1970s. To put it simply, this is the finest film about a music artist I've seen (although Control comes at a close second...if only for the fact that I like Joy Division quite a bit more).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best musical moments of the year!

Top 30 albums of 2008:
1. Spiritualized- Songs in A & E
2. Los Campasinos!- Hold Now Youngster...
3. Portishead- Third
4. TV on the Radio- Dear Science
5. Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes
6. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
7. Beck- Modern Guilt
8. Okkervil River- The Stand-Ins
9. Death Cab for Cutie- Narrow Stairs
10. The Roots- Rising Down
11. m83- Saturdays=Youth
12. Aimee Mann- @#%&*! Smilers
13. Bloc Party- Intimacy
14. No Age- Nouns
15. Lupe Fiasco- Lupe Fiasco's The Cool
16. Girl Talk- Feed the Animals
17. Jenny Lewis- Acid Tongue
18. Kanye West- 808s & Heartbreaks
19. Department of Eagles- In Ear Park
20. Coldplay- Viva la Vida
21. Islands- Arm's Way
22. Santogold- Santogold
23. Burial- Untrue
24. Nine Inch Nails- The Slip
25. The Raveonettes- Lust Lust Lust
26. Cat Power- Jukebox
27. My Morning Jacket- Evil Urges
28. Lil Wayne- Carter III
29. Flying Lotus- Los Angeles
30. Hot Chip- Made in the Dark

Best Concerts:
1. Radiohead
2. The Swell Season, Iron & Wine
3. Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Rhianna, N.E.R.D
4. Rilo Kiley, Sea Wolf

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mr. November

I would like to thank the American populace for voting for hope today. I am excited to see what the next four years have in store for our nation. Congratulations President Obama!

Monday, November 3, 2008


This review will be brief; however, I do plan to expand on it at a later time. On to the film!

It should first be noted that I have a slight bias towards the director of this film, Fernando Meirelles, as he is responsible for both City of God and The Constant Gardener, but with this stated, Blindness is a fantastic film. Altohugh not related to my thoughts on the film, I must say the reviews it recieved are rather shocking, and feel that part of the reason for the spite comes from misconseptions about the film, and this will be brought about shortly.

Although marketed as simply another sci-fi thriller, the film is really a meditation on the nature of man. This is where the problem lies. The main critique on the film appears to be that the film's subject matter is simply to dark, which is difficult to argue with. In fact, if one were to borrow from Thomas Hobbes, the film would basically describe the basic life of man to be "nasty, brutish, and short." While this is all true, one must understand that this is an adaptation of a novel of the same title, by
Jose Saramago, and this film only scratches the surface of what is depicted in the book. This is no complaint, as few would be willing to subject themselves to viewing a film like that.

However, as dark as this tunnel is, the film offers the same glimmer of hope, thus asserting the goodness of man. While natural instinct may make us animalistic, we have the ability to pursevere of these raw sates and keep our humanity. This is the true meaning of the film.

As a quick note, the acting and technical aspects of the film were rather well done, although not nearly as inspired by previous efforts by the directer and crew.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lessons on How to Disappear Completely

So, I make it no secret to those that I know that I absolutely love the band Radiohead. To say the least I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to describing this band....and care rather little about the controversy the fell upon them for the several years when they decided to experiment with the sound that made them endearing to the masses. This sounds can best be seen in the song "Creep"...an anthem for all those that feel alienated and wish to be loved

With a basic introduction out of the way, let us get to the heart of the post: the opportunity to see my favorite living music artists live.* To sum up my experience in one simple phrase: it was religious.

With a a catalog as rich as theirs (seven albums, several solo projects, and plenty of B-Sides), to put together a set list must be particularly daunting. So, they said to hell with it and played the songs the enjoyed from their older albums (played all of their last album, In Rainbows), which made the experience all the better because they really appeared to enjoy themselves on stage. It also helps that they played mainly music from their later albums, like Kid A (my favorite album by the band) and Hail to the Thief.

However the moment of the show....hell of my musical life...came when they came on to play a heartbreaking rendition of my favorite song: "How to Disappear Completely." This is a song that already has the ability to break down the emotions of your humble narrator and to see it live was bittersweet. It is a song that will leave its listener feeling cold, empty, and alone; however, a sense of light seems to stay, thus creating a perfect emotional balance.

Overall the concert was perfect, or as close to it as it gets. I really did not think the band could reach the expectations that I had for it, but I was wrong. Oh...has it never felt so good to be so wrong.

*Favorite musical artist is Elliott Smith, but he is not with us anymore.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Future: Or What Could Be...

So I have finally been given a sign on what I should actually do upon finishing up with this whole college thing. For so long, I have wondered what to do immediately after the dreaded walk up the stage; however, with one email...I know that there may be some resemblance of an idea. What I speak of is the Fullbright program.

In all honesty, I have received information regarding this program since my first year in college (odd considering one must, at the very least, be a senor to even apply), so the program has always been in the back of my head. Other programs that have had this "back burner" status are the "Teach for America" program and Greenpeace; however, neither really offered a an ideal situation (not the best wording, but will have to due for now).

With this program I will have the opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia (paid for by the government) and teach. It is almost too perfect, which means it may be to good to be true, but that is life for you. I guess I should just take a shot and see what happens, eh?

Now to be honest...I mainly write this entry for myself...as I feel as though by simply putting it into writing (albeit over the internet), I will be more determined to actually put the plan into action. So there we have it...a future unknown.