Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lily Allen and Jesus Jones

Picked up the Lily Allen CD on new music Tuesday at Target since it was on sale pretty cheap. I figured that I like "Smile" and she's gotten a lot of good press from the sources that I trust so I figured what the hell.

Big mistake!!

I have tried and tried but I do not like this album and would not recommend it. The best adjective I can come up with is trite, though maybe amateurish is better. The music is ok, mediocre but ok, but her lyrics and singing are just childish.

Is it just me or does Take What You Take sound like Jesus Jones-era Brit-pop. I just have a whole raft of bands that go through my mind when I here it like Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine or EMF.

And "Friday Night" sounds like and attempt to record a "modern" two-tone song. though I will admit the are somewhat successful with this at least. As a matter of fact the two-tone sounding numbers (like "Smile") are probably the most successful but the others should be avoided .

Don't even get me started on "Littlest Things." I don't even know what they were going for with that song but I would not be upset if all traces of that song were erased from the earth.

I just do not get all the glowing praise that is heaped upon her. To me the album sounds like someone got the idea that rough poorly produced songs equal indie cred or something.

I think I am going to try and dig up some old candyskins now.

Monday, January 29, 2007

radio without the radio

L & I went to see Electric Arc Radio this weekend and it was a ton of fun. Think radio show without the radio, or as they said "dirtier than Keillor"

For those that don't know Electric Arc is a combination of the Lit 6 Project and Creative Electric Studios. I could take the time to try and describe them but I think the strib article probably will do a better job than I could. Unfortunately the strib takes articles down after three weeks so none of the links I checked work. So try this instead.

I will be checking out a couple more shows coming up here on St. Patrick's Day and one in April, and I would recommend getting tickets now if you are at all interested as they will sell out.

Also going on Superbowl Sunday is Lit 6 Story Stage, open mic at the 331 in Northeast. I think I will be checking this out as well as friend and all around bearded gentlemen Brian should be showing up to tell us some fabulous tales. Should be a good time.

Friday, January 26, 2007

the absence of light

I picked up the a couple of new CDs yesterday. I grabbed the new Arbouretum; The Good, The Bad & The Queen; and I grabbed the new Shins on Tuesday so it's a little bit of a music overload for the week.

I was really excited for the new Arbourteum album Rites of Uncovering as Pale Rider Blues has been bouncing around in my head for a while now (I think I got the MP3 a couple months ago). I wasn't familiar with either Arbouretum or David Heumann before this but I am definitely going to check out everything I can find. I love the fact that he seems to let the songs say what they want to say. If they space to grow and develop that just fine-though the Rise would do with a little tightening up in my opinion. Alternately he is not afraid to make a more concise statement as with the superb Ghosts of Here and There or Tonight's a Jewel. Still I can't say enough about Pale Rider Blues. IT is honesty one of the best songs I have heard in years. I highly reccomend this album

I have to admit that The Good The Bad & The Queen was a bit of a surprise. I mean what can you expect from Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Simon Tong, and Tony Allen (oh yeah and Dangermouse on the production too)? I wasn't expecting something amazing but something that was good, and at first that was exactly what I thought of it. However after repeated listens, it's begun to really grow on me and I am liking it more every time. History Song opens up the album pretty much how you would expect it too. Good but nothing special, but as you continue the album just seems to take you to a place and beginning with Nature Springs on to the end of the album, peaking with Green Fields (my pick for the best song of the album) and cruising along to an outstanfing finish with the self-titled final track, it just grabs me and just stays with me. Now granted Behind the Sun sounds like a leftover Gorillaz track the rest of the album really has a feel all it's own, part blur, part Gorillaz, and part something else altogether.

Now I kind of feel like I'm the last person on earth to check out the Shins (especially given the number 2 spot on the Billboard charts), but the songs I heard off their previous efforts just never made me want to dig any deeper. Kind of like spoon, in that their earlier albums just seem to have nothing for me but Gimme Fiction continues to rock my world. Yes even I turn my camera on. Getting back to my point the new Shins is kind of like that for me. To me it sounds like the songwriting is a little more varied from the songs that I have heard in the past or they did a little more with the production. I especially like Spilt Needles and the rather Jam-ish A comet appears.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

cycling goals for 07

I received an awesome cycling training diary for Christmas and it has a place to write down your goals so you can refer to them throughout the year (it's a 52 week diary but since I am a sissy about riding in the cold I will probably only use it for about 8-9 months).

I logged a little over 700 miles last year on my mountain bike and if everything works out I will be getting a road bike this year (06 or 07 Roubaix), so I am hoping to log even more.

Given all this I figured that throwing my goals on here as well as recapping my diary might be an even better way of making me fulfill my goals. So without further ado here they. There may some updates as I think of them but this seems like a good start:

Long range:

Medium range:
- Century Ride
- MS150
- Join Birchwood Cycling team

Short term (this year):
- Purchase road bike
- 1000 miles logged on my bike
- 60 mile charity ride
- Ride public Birchwood rides once a month May-Sept

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Idle Mind

Apparently I am no good at either making lists of items from over an entire year and/or remembering items for longer than a couple months. I already realized I left a favorite of ’06 off of my favorites list and here is another one that I ‘missed.’

Vetiver’s second album To Find Me Gone finally came out this year after giving us the aptly titled placeholder EP Between last year.

Andy Cabic is an unsung central figure in the ‘freak-folk’ movement - recording and playing live with Devendra Banhart for years and when the first Vetiver album came out the group was portrayed as a collaboration between the two (with guest appearances by Hope Sandoval and Joanna Newsom among others), though if you look at songwriting credits you can guess as to who was the driving force in the band.

As the album opens you can hear connections to the English folk scene that produced Nick Drake and Vashti Bunyan among others, but it has a weariness about it that makes it stand out from so many other artists and groups in this new folk/freak-folk scene. Even Idle Ties, a George Harrison-sounding more ‘upbeat’ number has a feeling of weariness throughout.

You May Be Blue, the second song on the album, is probably my favorite song on the album despite being fairly unique to the album. To me it conjures up images of driving across Arizona or New Mexico and the barren landscapes.

Now I hope that I am not making this album out to be glum or uninteresting in any way as I find it incredible to listen to. I think the weariness of it just grabs you and brings you into the world that Andy Cabic is building with his song building.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

merry xmas to me

Now granted I was not exactly expecting a lump of coal in my stocking but this past xmas was a particularly bountiful one which will provide me with hours of entertainment in the coming year. The Amazon wishlist is an amazing thing. It allows all your relatives who have no idea what to get you, the ability to score on Christmas morning, at your birthday party, or for whatever event you are receiving presents for.

It's too bad that I am taking such a big credit load this coming semester because I received an awesome array of books for christmas. I suppose that I can at least veg out and study to the music and movies that I received as well.

Now I just need to convince my family not to spend so much on me. I mean don't get me wrong I love getting all the things on my wishlist but it's kind of ridiculous for people to spend so much on gifts.

And now for the list you may not care about or not but these are the things that I will be all about this year;

- Anthology of American Folk Music
- the classic collection of early american music put together by Harry Smith, who by the way is an amazing guy that really deserves a biopic .
- various: I Belong to This Band
- The latest release from dust-to-digital is a collection of Sacred Harp recordings from the 1920s to today. It is a companion to a film which I am not familiar with but will definitely be looking into. I just found out that there is a group who meet weekly at the UoM Baptist church. I think I will be checking this out in the coming year.
- London Sinfonietta: Warp Works & Twentieth Century Masters
- a great collection of works by some of the top avant garde composers and arranged works by Aphex Twin and Squarepusher

- Vertigo
- the classic hitchcock psychological thriller about obsession.
- Walk the Line
- no need to talk about this. I hope all of you have seen it.
- Sports Night
- Aaron sorkin's first tv show is an awesome look behind the scenes of a sports tv show.
- Once Upon a Time in America
- the classic gangster film from Sergio Leone. This may be my favorite gangster film of all time.
- The Hidden Fortress
- another classic by Kurosawa that was the genesis for the Lucas to write the Star Wars trilogy

- The Book of Dave by Will Self
- what a premise. a cabby buries his rant about this world in his ex-wife's back yard and several hundred years and an apocalypse later it becomes the basis for a new religion and society.
- Songbook by Nick Hornby
- a collection of essays about songs that mean a lot to nick hornby.
- The Obstacles - Eloy Urroz
- two writers each writing stories that appear to be about each other.
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- the classic, which I have never read
- The Essays of Mark Twain
- perhaps the finest american writer.

Add to this a bottle of Deanston 17 year scotch and it was a pretty good xmas.