Thursday, June 25, 2009


In the spirit of summer and awesome music I'm posting my favorite songs right now. I hope you enjoy my summer playlist.

1. Lisztomania - Phoenix
-This french indie-pop outfit has been taking the musical world by storm, playing their music for Conan, Letterman and the like and creating a huge blogosphere buzz along the way. I hope you dig this first song from their new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

2. Corriander - Pomegranates
-Ever since I saw these Cincinnati natives open for my beloved Headlights I had a big love affair with their music. The way they structure their songs and integrate strange timings in to their work is incredible.

3. The Magnificent Seven - The Clash
-Classic Clash. I love that The Clash by the end of their career could do whatever they wanted and still make it awesome and punk as fuck.

4. Cheerleader - Grizzly Bear
-Veckatimest has been on repeat here in the townhome (at least in my basement dwelling) and this song has stuck out as one of my favorites.

5. Knotty Pine - Dirty Projectors with David Byrne
-Since I don't have Bitte Orca (I know, I'm so behind!) I decided to through this offering from the Dark Was the Night comp. on here. It's a fun catchy tune that certainly wasn't detracted by the addition the one and only David Byrne.

6. Kodachrome - Paul Simon
-In honor of the late, great Kodak product which, as Mr. Simon so poignantly sings, brings us the brightest colors and the greens of summer.

7. Sunny Feeling - Wilco
-Oh, Wilco, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways: AM, Being There...Wilco (The Album). That's seven (trust me). This song has such a fun poppy jangle to it that I couldn't resist putting it on my summer mix.

8. My Maudlin Career - Camera Obscura
-I just recently got in to this band thanks to a local record store owner, and I am really glad that I did. The Scottish band put out a fun pop record in the vain of Rilo Kiley and Neko Case. This is the title track from that album.

9. The Ancient Common Sense of Things - Bishop Allen
-Ever since The Broken String burst on to my iTunes in '07 I have been in love with the tunes that this band has been putting out. This song from their sophomore effort, Grrr... is another one of those catchy tunes that they are so good at writing.

10. I Was Once a Loyal Lover - Death Cab for Cutie
-Death Cab is practically obligatory, right? Either way this song is really good.

11. Nothing Ever Happened - Deerhunter
-Noise pop never sounded so good. If you haven't picked up Microcastle yet I'd recommend a trip to a record store or a BitTorrent site.

12. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!) - The Decemberists
-Colin Meloy wrote a folk-rock-opera. How awesome is that? This is one of my favorite songs off their newest work. It reminds me of Sabbath if they were a folk band.

13. Set 'Em Free - Akron/Family
-Another band that I heard about because of the local record store owner. I like the progressive folk style that Akron/Family has. Their experimental nature is interesting set to the folk music genre. This song goes more for the straightforward folk and they do it well.

14. People Got A Lotta Nerve - Neko Case
-Case's latest, Middle Cyclone, is a strong effort and might be her finest to date. Thanks to my friend Pat for turning me on to her music.

15. Right Moves - Josh Ritter
-I love this guy. He's like Ryan Adams older brother or something. He just does his brand of Alt-Country/Folk so well. He really should be bigger than he is.

16. Luna - Fanfarlo
-A fun young British band that has been generating a good buzz across the internet. Their first album, which this song comes from, is available on their web site for only a dollar. You should get it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh, Boredom.

65 Questions You've Probably Never Been Asked...

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
my chest

2. What color is your favorite hoodie?
dark silverish

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

4. Do you plan outfits?
nope, not really. black and brown don't go together, that's the only rule i follow.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?
tired, bored

6. Whats the closest thing to you that's red?

7. Last dream you remember having?
i placed some skinny girl under citizens arrest and was waiting for the police

8. Did you meet anybody new today?
a lot of kids at camp and soccer

9. What are you craving right now?
nothing really. sleep maybe.

10. Do you floss?
i should

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?
hitting a shot in long grass in golf.

12. Are you emotional?
not really

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
probably not, i have a shorter attention span than that

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?

15. Do you like your hair?
it's alright

16. Do you like yourself?
not all the time

17. Have you lost a best friend recently?
not really

18. What are you listening to right now?

19. Are your parents strict?
not really

20. Would you go sky diving?

21. Do you like cottage cheese?
not a ton

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?
minor celebrities

23. Do you rent movies often?
no, i watch them online

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?
umm, not really.

25. How many countries have you visited?
one besides the u.s.

26. Have you made a prank phone call?

27. Ever been on a train?
i was this weekend.

28. Brown or white eggs?
over easy. i don't care.

29. Do you have a cell-phone?
fucking eight year olds at day camp do, of course i do.

30. Do you use chap stick?
when i need it.

31. Do you own a gun?

32. Can you use chopsticks?
not correctly

33. Who are you going to be with tonight?
my pillows

34. Are you too forgiving?
with children

35. Ever been in love?

36. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow?
uh, i don't know.

37. Ever have cream puffs?

38. Last time you cried?
a long time ago

39. What was the last question you asked?
i don't know

40. Favorite time of the year?
opening day/playoffs(if the indians are involved)

41. Do you have any tattoos?
no thanks

42. Are you sarcastic?

43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?

44. Have you ever walked into a wall?
all the time

45. Favorite color?
blue or red

46. Have you ever slapped someone?

47. Is your hair curly?
not even a bit

48. What was the last CD you bought?
lol, i think it was dear and the headlights

49. Do looks matter?
uhhhhhh be more specific

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater?
i don't think so

51. Is your phone bill sky high?

52. Do you like your life right now?
yeah, it's busy, but yeah

53. Do you sleep with the TV on?
i use the sleep timer

54. Can you handle the truth?
um, probably

55. Do you have good vision?
yes, but only after a few seconds. vertical astigmatism.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?
no, i try not to.

57. How often do you talk on the phone
not that often really.

58. The last person you held hands with?
some four year old at soccer when we were trying to form a circle

59. What are you wearing?

60.What is your favorite animal?
grizzly bears

61. Where was your profile picture taken?
1032 waveland ave

62. Can you hoola hoop?
not the slightest bit

63. Do you have a job?

64. What was the most recent thing you bought?

65. Have you ever crawled through a window?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Snap Judgements on Music I Just Downloaded

New Stuff

1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Um, "Best New Music," I disagree. Maybe if I was into drugs. Since I'm not, I'll keep my weird music a bit more musical and a bit less computer generated.

2. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
The bands single "Knife" from Yellow House caught my ear the first time I listened to it, the rest of the album, however, took much longer to be memorable. Similarly "Two Weeks" has stuck itself in my head but the rest of the album is still digesting. Jury's out on this one still.

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
I dig the danciness of this album. That is not a word, but I figured it best described what the New York group has done with this album. It's a bit like an American, chick-fronted Bloc Party album. The only thing about it I don't like has nothing to do with the music. My friend Pat pointed this out: it's called "It's Blitz" but it's not a loud record. This discrepancy causes a bit of mental anguish on my part, and Pat's too I would surmise.

4. Wavves - S/T
I get it, it's kitsch, aggressive and fun. It's loud and there are something like four songs with "goth" in the title. Good hooks and a bit of studio experimentation, it's an alright album. Not great though.

5. Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything To Nothing
Solid sophomore effort. Not much else to say. I like it but again, I don't love it. I loved their first album for a brief period of time, but it grew old. Hopefully this one goes in reverse of that.

Stuff I Missed Out On

1. Miles Davis - Sketches of Spain
This is the deluxe edition which I read a review of on Pitchfork. Since I enjoyed Kind of Blue quite a bit I figured I'd like the follow up as well. Since it raises the question as to whether or not this is even jazz music, I'm sure that I will dig it, and so far no qualms.

2. Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
Nineteen fifty-nine was the golden year of jazz, with Davis and Trane collaborating on Kind of Blue and Monk putting out three albums and also working with Trane it was a year that produced some great music. Mingus, the great bassist and band leader put out this gem and I couldn't pass it up. So far so good.

3. Tom Waits - Incomplete Discography
I selected several of Waits best albums from the past thirty years ranging from Closing Time to Alice. I've got the classic, the strange and the obscure. On this current jazz kick and my long-term love with punk, blues and rock music Waits just makes sense. I'm enjoying his music, not all of it, but I'm listening and finding the gems.

4. No Age - Nouns
I don't like it. I think the reviews of this album were off. It's no longer in my iTunes.

5. The Dodos - Visiter
I should have listened to this sooner. It's been mentioned to me before, I just hadn't gotten around to listening. My mistake, it's good.

6. Brian Wilson - Smile
Good but not the best album ever like so many reviews would have you believe. The one thing I don't like is the new "Good Vibrations." Why change a classic even if it was never properly released on a full length.

7. Frightened Rabbit - Sing The Greys
I loved (understatement) Midnight Organ Fight so I had to download this one as well. Haven't listened to enough of it, but I haven't been disappointed.

8. Josh Ritter - Discography
I got The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter a couple months back and loved it so I had to get all of his older material (see a theme emerging?). I love it, anyone who enjoys a good folksy, country-rock singer-songwriter would love all of this as well.

9. Velvet Underground - V.U. & Nico
It's like the first indie record ever. It's an important album, it's not my favorite, but I do like it.

10. Decemberists - 5 Songs and The Tain
Five Songs is the bands first material they ever released and for being early Decemberists it still has all elements that I love about the band. The Tain is eighteen plus minutes of Irish-folk, progressive indie rock that I love. I'm sure I'll have this one on vinyl soon.

That's all for now, I still need to listen to Matt and Kim, Mos Def, Wilco, Kid Cudi (if it ever comes out), etc. etc.

a farewell

i rowed the length of the maggiore to keep you from any harm. my muscles hurt like never before, but montreaux took it all away.
we can be happy here, with the front a distant memory.
we come from separate continents, but fate brought me to you. your belly grew bigger each week, like our love it did bloom.
we will build a family, we'll build a home.
early in the morning, as i stood right by your side, as you birthed our baby, and we prepared to begin our new life.
i stood right by your side, but fate was not with us that day.
i stood right by your side, but i could not say...

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Impressions: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

I would vote for Conan if he ever ran for political office. No, I don't know his personal political preferences nor do I care. That is because Conan did not lie to us when he left Late Night and he is still the same old Conan.
The pressure was there to change his show, to make it fitting for the 35 and up crowd that tunes in to The Tonight Show and it would have been so easy to tone things down and be a little less...Conan. But right from the start it was obvious that, as promised, there would be no dramatic change: Conan is still Conan.From his trademark hip-string cutting to his tram tour of Universal Studios, Conan picked the Tonight Show up right where Late Night left off.
I must say that Conan took 900 (or 170) lucky, lucky fans on what I would have to wager was the best tour of the studio of all time, a tour that I would have loved to have been a part of. It was signature Conan, reminiscent of the studio tours that Conan took over in 30 Rock during the writers strike.
It was also good to see Max, La Bamba and the rest of the band formerly known as the "Max Weinberg Seven" back in action under the new moniker of "The Tonight Show Band." Everybody's favorite sidekick, Andy Richter, looked like he will make an admirable announcer and even offer more to the show than his voice. For instance, when the top of the 'D' broke off and the camera shots switched between Richter and Conan took me back immediately to the awkward exchanges between Max and Conan.
Having Will Ferrell as the first guest provided a nice flair to the show and his theatrics and personality matched Conan's so well that the jokes about how long Conan will be on the air seemed ridiculous. Plus, Ferrell's line about Twitter, "Forget Twitter, I'm on the CB," was an instant classic.
Overall I am excited to watch Conan in his new time slot for what I believe will be a long time.

Lessons on Life and Love in Wallcoverings

In the one-month plus that I have been gainfully employed by the Menards in Normal I have learned quite a bit. Some of these bits of knowledge is highly trivial, like what lite-rock songs were marginally popular in the late '80s and early '90s or where the toilet seats are located. However, some things I have learned have been very beneficial, and even beyond the wonderful realm of latex and oil paints.
Obviously I can tell you what would be best for your walls or decks and what would be the best way to apply that paint or stain would be. The things I have learned go well beyond work related and in to even more practical applications.
The first lesson I have learned has been a particularly hard one to learn, and I am still learning. That is that nothing is easy and if you want respect you have to earn it. Learning everything there is to know about the multitude of products in our department has not been easy, and I'm not anywhere near where most of my co-workers who have been around for a while are, but I have tried my hardest to absorb as much knowledge as I can and become an asset to the department.
One thing about me is that I dislike feeling like a burden upon anyone almost to a fault. A hard part about starting this job has been having to rely upon my superiors to learn things, which means asking many questions when it may not be the most convenient. About half of the staff has been extremely helpful and kind whenever I ask for assistance and even customers, for the most part, have been patient. Some co-workers, however, don't have that same compassion and understanding, and as a result leave me feeling as if I were in the way. It's been hard, but I have gotten through the hard feelings and perceived impatience and made myself a bit stronger as a person.
That's the first lesson I've learned, that it isn't easy, and I won't have anything handed to me like I may prefer. But if I want this job (which I do, or more correctly need to help pay for rent and food) I have to keep working hard to earn everyone's respect and become a valuable member of Menards, and maybe even get a raise here and there.
The other lesson I have learned in my short time at the store I have learned from the customers. This lesson has no bearing on paint, selling paint or painting anything but it has everything to do with being happy.
In my estimation (which is rough at best), about 75 percent of the couples and 25 percent of single gentlemen (excluding contractors and interior designers) aren't concerned with their purchase as much as they are with how their partner/wife/girlfriends opinion of that purchase.
That's it right there, the key to happiness: if your significant other is happy, you can be happy.
I hope that life, or life in a couple, is that easy. Gauging by the couples I've seen, which includes young couples, small and large families and couples that have been together 40 plus years, it seems to me that all it takes is making sure that the other person is happy. I guess we'll see, but who'd have thunk that I'd learn so much from selling paint.