Tuesday, December 15, 2009

lost and found

Over the past couple of weeks, as year end best of lists have been trickling out, I have found some gems. These are records I hadn't even heard of or just did not give the time of day when they dropped.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson- Summer of Fear

Miike Snow- S/T

Ida Maria- Fortress Round My Heart

These United States- Everything Touches Everything

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 albums of 2009

I already posted this list for the newspaper but let's toss some youtube links in with the picks.

1. Tegan and Sara- Sainthood

2. Lucero- 1372 Overton Park

3. Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca

4. Manchester Orchestra- Mean Everything to Nothing

5. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavillion

6. The Dream- Love vs. Money

7. Cass McCombs- Catacombs

8. Freddie Gibbs- midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik

9. The xx- self-titled

10. A.A. Bondy- When the Devil's Loose

Top 10 Albums of the Decade

I probably didn't spend as much time as I should have when compiling this list, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
All of the albums here are included for any number of reasons: technical advancements, time they came out in my life, etc...
Hit up the comments here or on fbook with your own lists!

1. Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

2. Radiohead- Kid A

3. Jay-Z- The Blueprint

4. The National- Alligator

5. The Hold Steady- Separation Sunday

6. Kanye West- The College Dropout

7. Spoon- Kill the Moonlight

8. LCD Soundsystem- Sound of Silver

9. Ghostface Killah- Supreme Clientele

10. The Mountain Goats- Tallahassee

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

a decent human being

With the stress of finals and a looming internship interview (keep those fingers crossed) I should be listening to more upbeat stuff, keep my spirits high and all of that.
This just isn't the case after I grabbed David Bazan's newest album, "Curse Your Branches."
The man formerly behind Pedro the Lion took some time away from music the last couple of years as he struggled with alcoholism and his Christianity. Those struggles are laid bare here.
I was listening to the record earlier this morning when my roommate commented on the lyrics not fitting the mood of the music. Bazan writes pop tunes, but these lyrics are all about his inner turmoil. They are full of snark and misunderstanding, making for an introspective listen.

Thursday, December 03, 2009



Click over to the Youtube page when done, the comments are great.

babies and feelings and tears and stuff

Over Thanksgiving break my father and I got down with one of our favorite past times, copping used media.
After he scooped the new Swell Season record second hand, we discussed the film the duo starred in the other year, "Once."
Both of us were huge fans and I commented about a friend who I thought would have loved the film that severely disliked it. Her main beef was the film's contents, its relationship, was too "real."
Each letting out a similar guffaw, we agreed the "real" is what made the film a standout. The "real" is what made the film get two grown men to admit it had them shedding some tears.
Not since then has a film, with a main theme of romance got to me so much as Sam Mendes' "Away We Go."
The cast, the story, the direction, everything is wonderful here.
Sam Mendes' subtle touch guides great turns from John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph as the two play a couple expecting a child, looking for the right place to start their family.
The two leads share a chemistry rare in romantic dramedies, as they actually seem in love. Not in some Hollywood way, but as two people who are so in tune with each others needs and feelings, there is no one else in the world they could be with.
So many aspects of the script set it apart from modern romantic film. Men talk about their feelings and fears, with each other and their significant others. Maya Rudolph's character is a woman who does not want to get married, out of fear and her own principles.
The film also has a great deal of laughs. Alison Janney and Maggie Gyllenhal have super turns in their bit roles, along with Krasinski and Rudolph playing off each other as if they had been a couple for years.
This thing snuck up on me, but it's one of the best films I've seen this year.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

people in nightclubs

Let's chalk that up to failed tumblr experiment #2.
I think I'll just stick around here, bunch of posts still around and most links should be functioning.
Now to the music.

I'm not too familiar with David Byrne's solo work, but "Grown Backwards" is beautiful.
For those who were caught up with Eno and Byrne's record last year, this one is in the same arena. It's all lush string arrangements and varied forms of percussion.
As my roommate Kayli and her friend Katie nap on our couches, the record has turned into the perfect rainy day between class nap soundtrack.

Byrne and Rufus above

Thursday, November 12, 2009

do you feel me coming close?

The new Tegan and Sara album, "Sainthood" is a monster.
I have always enjoyed the duo, but none of its output has immediately grabbed me like this album has.
They jump around from genre to genre, never losing a step in the process. This release finds two artists working at the top of their game and is one of the year's best.
I wrote a quick review for the newspaper's website as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

we've got tea

"Mad Men" finished up Sunday night.
Here's a column I wrote for a class today about the show and its season finale.
It was a real wonderful ep, top five of the series.

"Sunday night was bittersweet.
Audiences were given one of the most satisfying television episodes of recent memory, but now they must wait until the summer for more of the same magic.
"Mad Men" wrapped up its third season on AMC by tying up some loose ends and launching some new beginnings.
The fictional series, which depicts the lives of those working at the Manhattan located Sterling Cooper advertising agency in the 60s has been a roller-coaster of change for the last few months. From the start of its third go 'round, it has been a slow burning mess of emotion, all building up to Sunday's finale.
The series' landscape changed drastically for all of its characters as marriages crumbled, agencies shifted and new alliances were formed. In just forty some minutes of screen time, the show's creators expertly jam packed an episode with shake ups, never giving it a bloated feeling.
This balancing act, of giving viewers closure but so many questions about a series' future is certainly a skill series creator Matthew Weiner gleaned while working on another of this decade's greatest series, "The Sopranos".
The two series share many similar parallels, but one Weiner has not been borrowing much is similarities between the shows' two main characters.
Unlike Tony Soprano, "Mad Men"'s Don Draper is an always suave, rarely if every rattled boss. The character has a temper that is almost always in check and emotions which rarely pop up. He has always kept a wall between those closest to him.
On Sunday, Weiner crashed through that wall.
Audiences are given a new Don Draper. He has to become a man willing to drop to his knees and ask for forgiveness (well, in a calm and collected Draper fashion), while throwing his whole future up in the air to continue with the profession he loves.
There were so many elements this finale got dead on. Not only did it show another side of its rock-solid front man, but it was a bundle of rewards for those who have been paying attention all season.
It is almost painful when a favorite show finishes its time slot and it sinks in these sets and characters will be gone for a whole week. With great television this is always the case and "Mad Men", like all thought-provoking TV, does this expertly.
So, it is a testament to Weiner and the show's writers for rewarding its fans' patience throughout its masterful third season.
However, with those rewards come looming uncertainties about the world within the show's future, which is why its viewers will keep coming back."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

i've got the cure

Sorry about the lack lately. I'm still writing, it's just over here.
As this semester has been flying by I have felt myself begin to enjoy writing film reviews more and more. This week's was an especially great one, the film, not my writing.

I feel like the month of October has been a whirlwind of school and other life stuff. Here's to hoping November gives a bit of a reprieve and I can hit this space up more often. Keep checking I'll be here.

In the meantime, there has been some good tunes coming out in the fourth quarter this year. The new Lucero record, 1372 Overton Park, is wonderful.
I just grabbed the new Tegan and Sara album, Sainthood, yesterday. First listen right now and it is further proof these twin sisters deserve way more props for their pop sensibilities.

Friday, October 09, 2009

i love my job

It's been raining for what seems like an eternity in Carbondale. All this means is I am constantly listening to depressing songs, because that's just what you do when it rains.
Nothing is stopping me from putting on Big Star or something, but cloudy skies and never-ending rain bring out the sad bastard music.
My artist of choice this week has been Cass McCombs. The singer-songwriter's 2009 release Catacombs is a super dark record. The songs are sparse, even when there are numerous instruments being utilized. Each artist is playing his or her part with a hushed intimacy, only adding to McCombs' near whisper vocals.
This is the second in two superb videos created from album tracks, check it out and hate the rain with me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

i've tried to be tough

Tom Breihan nailed it today.
His review of the debut album from Girls hits on all the strong points of the record.
I may not be as in love as he seems to be but it is quite the strong outing. Even though "Laura" jacks the "Sweet Caroline" melody, which in turn is now stuck in my head.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

dig a deep hole

Call it a guilty pleasure. Call it teen girl angst. I really don't care.
Just give me power chords and a strong female voice and I am hooked.
Paramore has these two things like Gaga has dumbed out costumes and I have been radiant since putting this thing on a couple of days ago.
It is impossible to listen to these quick pop-punk blasts without cracking a smile.
I know haters are going to hate, but whatever.
This is a super fun record and I'm jamming it for the time being.

Monday, September 14, 2009

being a threat

It seems like Jason Reitman has come into his own.
I dug on "Thank You For Smoking", much more so than "Juno". My "J" beefs had more to do with the vomit dialogue provided by Diablo Cody than JR's directing.
All of the pre-buzz on "Up in the Air" has got me quite excited. Clooney is always aces and with a cast including: Farmiga, Bateman, Galifianakis and Anna Kendrick this is a near can't miss. Vera Farmiga is an actress who is always great, but the woman never seems to get her due props. Hopefully when this comes out the movie going public will start to take notice.
Everyone, from Wells to Movieline to AICN has been falling all over this thing. The Wells praise is the most intriguing, especially his crowing this the best film of the year, even over "The Hurt Locker".
Hopefully it will make its way to southern Illinois sometime before it grabs a bunch of awards.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

gangsta gibbs

Freddie Gibbs hails from Gary, Indiana. Not really known as a hip-hop hotbed, the city has produced an emcee who is demanding attention right now. His midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik mixtape is in contention for best mixtape of '09.
Gibbs can be as gutter as the rest of any up and coming rappers but he also has the streetwise spit, which harks back to UGK or Scarface or something.
Grab the album from the link above and enjoy, compliments of The Smoking Section.

99 problems and they all...

Well this one was unexpected.
The Cudi debut leaked a bit ago and I am finally giving in. The dude has been nearly under the radar after bursting onto the scene at the beginning of this year. I think this decision has given his new record a sense of mystery since he is not Tweeting non-stop or throwing up junk videos on 2DopeBoyz every day.
"Man on the Moon" works with its slowburning beats and Cudi's medium paced mumble. Themes of space and weed run throughout the album making this the perfect rainy day/chillmode evening album.
Even when he gets all "interesting" like the track with MGMT and Ratatat or spitting over "Pokerface" with Ye and Common, the album does not falter.
I did not see this album being one of my favorite hip hop releases of the year, but it is creeping up there.

Friday, September 04, 2009

i still need you

Good friends, if you are in the 309 Saturday night you better be coming out here.
Three good bands and more than three good times are guaranteed.
Bring a tent, get your camp out on.
See you all there!

Monday, August 31, 2009

shoes without shoestrings

I don't know why I still get so excited for each Hov release. The man is still undoubtedly my favorite rapper but each new release misses out on that feeling that this is an epic event record.
Even with Hov's rhymes getting increasingly boring I still eagerly await new LPs. Even though there will not be anymore moments of sure joy and amazement that came the first time I heard "The Black Album" or "The Blueprint".
The man can still provide noteworthy lines here and there, but each song just feels like a retread of what he has been doing since "Kingdom Come" (save "American Gangster"). Once upon a time Hov was turning phrase like no one else, now he just seems to be content to rhyme about his bank account and to the aid of bolstering his ego.
On the production side, there are some serious high points here and some laughable low points. Kanye's beats further move from what you expect Kanye beats to sound like. For the most part they are minimalist and might have been better served tossing to Big Sean or something. Even Timbo doesn't disappoint the whole time "Venus vs. Mars", a slow burning track that echoes vintage Tim.
The Pharrell track is straight garbage. The man must be cultivating his recent beats with ear muffs on because they lack any semblance of the originality early Neptunes work had.
An artist with as much talent as Hov deserves more dissection and I will be jumping back into this record a few more times.
For now, I am just going to be disappointed and cue up "Ain't No Love".

Friday, August 28, 2009

real conversacion

I have been absent from this space because we have been mad busy over at the Pulse page.
Today I have an interview up with Cassie Ramone (pictured in middle above) of Vivian Girls.
Give it a read and give the band's new album a listen when it drops on 9/8. It is quite the forward leap from the Girls' debut.


bad film

good film

Ever since it was announced that Bret Easton Ellis' book of short stories, "The Informers" was going to be adapted I was on cringe mode.
There is no thread to the stories in the book and it was going to be a daunting task to connect them within a screenplay.
Just as I thought, the film is a mess. It wastes great talent and millions of someone's dollars. It's just flat out bad.

Then there is "State of Play". The film made no money at the box office, but this Americanized version of the BBC miniseries is the type of film that seems to be getting edged out of Hollywood.
There is solid performances throughout, with just the right amount of suspense and intrigue.
Plus it has the newspaper angle going for it and I'm a sucker for anything set in a newsroom.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

make us all get crazy

Go here and grab both albums and hella b-sides from the semi-defunct Ohtis.
My guy Adam has posted them all for free download.
So go, grab and listen up.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

got jokes

Just a few thoughts left out of my review of Judd Apatow's "Funny People", which can be found here.

I saw the film on Sunday night and spent pretty much all day Monday mulling it over in my mind. Coming out of the theater I knew I had enjoyed it thoroughly but over the next 24 hours I was in a pretty bummer mood.
The film is not exactly a comedy and not exactly a drama. It was not as dark as I had expected and there were more laughs than I anticipated. The performances were just so wonderful throughout. Sandler was the best he has been since "Punch Drunk Love" and Rogen turned in his greatest performance to date.
The back and forth between the two actors, whether it was jokes or the serious talk came off as natural. Both of the characters are so unhappy for their own reasons and Sandler's constant chop-busting of Rogen only inflames the friendship.
This is Rogen's film though. His melancholy is an undercurrent to his fascination with Sandler's character and his newfound success. He is also the only sympathetic character in a film full of supreme douche bags.
But it all works. This is one of the best films I have seen this year.
It comes highly recommended, just don't go in expecting "The 40 Year Old Virgin 2".
This is Apatow stepping into another level of filmmaking.

Another thing that has been getting to me is the critics who are jumping aboard the Heigl train of calling Apatow out for his inability to write strong female characters.
Why do these critics never bring up Catherine Keener's turn in "40"? She was absolutely wonderful and not a shrew, or a pushover or whatever.
Even Heigl in "Knocked Up" was not the character she painted herself to be after the fact. She is basically the one responsible character in the film, having a steady job and everything. Also, Rogen has gone on record saying she improv'd half her lines anyway, so where would the fault in her accusations lie anyway?
This is just something I needed to vent about.

Go see "Funny People" tonight. Do not let the running time scare you off, the film does not over stay its welcome.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


When I was younger I used to buy up used CD's all the time. My dad and I would spend hours in record shops, scouring bins for some ace finds.
I remember getting home and popping my new tunes into my stereo and pulling out the insert to peruse the lyrics while listening. Most of the stuff I was buying was Fat/Epitaph punk or ska so these lyrics were TERRIBLY important. I would do this so as not to miss anything, get the whole experience.
Today I watched Armando Iannucci's latest, "In the Loop". I felt the same way watching this film as I did when putting on those used discs. The jokes and wit are flying by so fast I needed some lyrics, or a script would probably be a better service (there wasn't any singing involved to my knowledge).
The film is downright hilarious. Political satire funneled through British snark and some dark as midnight humor. I could sit here and try to pinpoint a favorite performance, but it would be a fruitless endeavor. Everyone is so wonderfully cast, from the main players to the bit parts.
I might just queue it up again.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

i have seen God and his name is...

This is a very interesting read for anyone who has fallen in love with "Freaks and Geeks" before.
It is basically an extremely intricate pitch for those who would come to be involved with the show.
Apatow seems to get all of the credit from the show, but reading this really shows that Paul Feig was the brains behind most of its wonderfulness.

If anything it is an interesting read to see where Feig wanted to take the series had it gone on longer. I am totally content with the way it was wrapped up, but just getting to read where some of these characters would have ended up holds a sense of fulfillment.

ain't supposed to die on a saturday night

A few of my favorite things

Friday, July 17, 2009

does this belong to you?

The recent critical favor thrown Cass McCombs' way for his new work, "Catacombs" is right on.
The album drifts by as McComb's wispy vocals supplement soft instrumentation and dark, depths of the soul lyrics.
The album's highlight, "You Saved My Life" was the first track to immediately stand out upon first listen. It is a testament to McComb's songwriting to have created such an engaging song without letting the instrumentation explode, in say an Arcade Fire way, when the chorus hits.
The track seems to be begging for an outburst of strings or heavy percussion when McCombs belts out "Here I Stand" but the singer-songwriter is content to ride this waltz for five and a half minutes.
Any deviation from the woozy nature of the track would be to take away from its emotional effectiveness.
I know a lot of people are wary these days when Pitchfork throws its weight behind some new music, but McCombs has been doing this for a while now and "Catacombs" may just be his best yet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

meant that much

I really was not expecting a new Jay Reatard record because over the past couple of years he has furiously released new material. It just did not seem like it had been that long since his last proper album, but "Blood Visions" is over two years old now.
"Watch Me Fall" may come as a surprise to those who were not keeping up with all of his singles in 2008, because the sound is much more polished.
It is still steeped in garage and lo-fi goodness, just with less "lo" in that "fi".
The songs are more pop oriented, straying away from the spastic punk leanings of his earlier work.
Reatard can craft a hook and most of the shouted choruses here are so repetitive and catchy they will be popping up in heads for days.
Even if the "pop" tag is something you feel should be nowhere near Reatard, give the record a shot.
The man has put out one pretty good, summer album.

while we were out

Back on that VICTORY tip

I don't have any excuses for my time away from this space.
I've been writing here every week and am taking a class but nothing crazy.
I have obtained a bunch of music over the past couple of weeks and it's time to throw some up here.
This week for the paper I've got a review of the new Owl City, the new Dead Weather and a write up of the season premiere of Entourage.

So, I'm back on it. Please keep checking out "The Block".

Monday, July 06, 2009

get up

This is wonderful.
I won't say too much in this space because I'm getting paid to write about it here.
This is the best film released this summer.
Get out and see it. Depp and Cotillard are amazing.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

between smiles

Idlewild is one of those bands that I always kick myself for never listening to more.
Every time they release new material I listen to the tracks for a few days and then they just fall by the wayside.
But whenever the Scottish rockers pop up on shuffle or something I am never reaching for the skip button.
Whether it be its early guitar-driven more aggressive sound or the melodic, hook happy newer material, the band is usually can't miss.
Its discography ranges from pretty good to great and the newest album, "Post Electric Blues" pushes the band's sound even further into the pop realm, nearly leaving the hard rocking edge behind.
But it works. Vocalist Roddy Woomble (what a name) has an amazing, distinctive voice that sends these tracks to another level.

Monday, June 22, 2009

rip a beat to pieces

Two hugely anticipated mixtapes dropped over the weekend, the first being Wale's "Back to the Feature".
This thing has been pushed back a few times, and the finished form is a pretty impressive product, but not really because of Wale.
Often times it is grating when a bevy of guest spots are put on an album, but the choice to give bars up on each track does not serve Wale well. I will still check for the D.C. spitter since "Mixtape About Nothing" was such an ambitious and rewarding outing, but the rapper consistently gets outshined on his latest.
Perhaps he is saving some real heat rock for his debut, but not much here is outstanding wordplay. Maybe that is why he consistently speaks at the end and beginning of tracks about how he is a "different" rapper.
According to Wale, he is "different" because he is rapping over beats that are not inherently hip-hop, and no one else is doing that right now. Well, the other rapper who dropped an anticipated mixtape this weekend is in fact doing that, and in much more interesting ways.

"B.o.B. vs. Bobby Ray", B.o.B.'s most recent work, is his rapping ego (B.o.B.) struggling against his singing/producing/songwriting personality (Bobby Ray).
When the videos started popping up on youtube with the rapper saying he was straying from hip-hop, I immediately got worried. This type of side-step usually never ends well.
Then there was video of him playing guitar (immediately cringeworthy Wayne guitar plucks popped into my brain) and sitting at a piano. But he seems to have his act together.
The latter half of the mixtape is all produced by the man himself and finds the artist doing more singing than rapping, and he can actually sing. A rarity in hip-hop these days.
The production skills range from near electro-pop to updated reggae grooves to catchy clap-along pop work.
The mixtape's first half finds the rapper doing the same as Wale, grabbing a bunch of dudes to jump on tracks with him, but he actually holds his own, often outshining his guests.
B.o.B. is a terribly ambitious guy, and so far the fruits of those ambitions are pretty sweet.

Links jacked from TSS

Saturday, June 20, 2009

the way she walkin'

This unreleased Ryan Leslie track with ya neighborhood Pusha attached has been making the rounds.
Leslie's 2009 record is my favorite R&B record of the year for sure. The man definitely has a swagger about him, with a serviceable voice and great skills behind the boards he is a bright spot in the world of watered down top 40.
Pusha T is fine here, but him and his brother need to stick to gritty, Neptunes throwback-esque tracks. I don't need to hear the Brothers Thornton rapping about a special someone. They do trap talk, not puppy love musings.
Otherwise the track is fire, give it a try and then grab Leslie's self-titled.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

cuttin' off fingaz

"It's almost as if Ramis and Black and Cera got together and said, "We need to make a movie that will take all three of us down and sully our reputations. We don't want just a blemish -- we want lifelong friends who've seen it to cross to the other side of Montana Ave. when they see us coming. Now, how do we do this?" In this sense, Year One is a success."

Wells slaughtered "Year One" today. I cannot say I am surprised however.
None of the trailers have contained more than a half-hearted chuckle, even with a pretty good cast.
I have been over Cera for years, his wiener-emo shtick got old about halfway through "Superbad". It was tolerable in "Arrested Development" because the rest of the cast was so aces he was not relied upon to hold up every frame.
Black definitely has chops and has done some wonderful work, but before seeing this film I think most people were banking on him not carrying the it.
I'll still be seeing it this weekend for the bit players alone. The Rudd/Cross Cane and Abel stuff in particular.

Also, if you have not clicked on Wells' film blog on the links to the right, do it daily. The man is severely opinionated and often hilarious. It is a great read.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

catfish waiting to be born

The sun came out for the first time in like three days this afternoon.
As I pulled out my iPod and began to make a selection for my walk to a friend's place I scrolled to the perfect piece of nostalgia for my sunny trek.

The Promise Ring released "Very Emergency" 10 years ago this month and the album has aged fairly well.
I remember purchasing the CD back when it came out. I was still in a punk/emo haze and probably just picked it up because they were on Jade Tree Records.
The album was much more poppy than most everything I was listening to at the time, but the hooks were just so plentiful and so catchy. I played this thing so much my discman was probably sick of it.

I probably had not listened to this record since seventh grade before today and as I was letting its sticky,sweet pop melodies invade my ears, I could not believe i did not pull it out sooner.
As my tastes matured over the years this record should have been one of the few which made the transition with my jr. high to high school listening habits. It is a simple record, sonically and lyrically, but not every album needs to be progressive.

Sometimes it is just nice to enjoy some simple, pleasing pop music.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

she was drunk when she met me

Lucero is one of those bands I can listen to no matter what mood I am in.
The band creates perfect updated southern rock, without a misstep in its discography.
Supposedly there is a new album finished and ready for release in the fall.
If the band comes anywhere near you this summer, do not miss out. The dudes tear up live just as hard as on record.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

never meant to make her cry

Deer Tick's sophomore outing was one of my most anticipated records of the summer.
"Born on Flag Day" continues where the band's debut left off, as it is a record full of solid folk and country tunes.
John McCauley's vocals are just as rough as the first go round, lending a rugged edge to the band's vintage sound.

"Flag" is not as immediately enjoyable as "War Elephant" but the record is a definite grower. If it does not click right away, do not fret. There are great songs within, they just take a bit more time to grab on to.

Monday, June 08, 2009

still friends

Todd Rundgren is one of those artists who I know I should I listen to but never really got around to.
I have had a few records on my computer for years, but now I have started really digging into his 1972 masterpiece, "Something/Anything?"
The record was a 4XLP upon its release, so basically a double disc if it came out ten years ago or like two mediafire uploads if it came out today.
Rundgren runs through a whole slew of genres, basically owning each one. Whether it be power pop, or heavy rock, or Motown, or white boy soul the man killed it here.
For those who get all tight in the jeans when Animal Collective start noodling around with studio effects, give this record a listen and know Rundgren was messing with knobs and dials before Panda Bear was out of grade school.

*this is probably one of the best youtubes of all time

Friday, June 05, 2009

james bond in the octagon

"[E]verybody don't sell crack no more, man. I don't sell crack, yo. I ain't movin' no bricks or none of that other shit. I ain't shoot nobody in like ... since the early ‘90s, man. How long you gonna be 40 years old and actin' like you still sellin' cracks and you on the block and you doin' this and you doin' that when times is more serious, man. We in a fuckin' recession, B! Ain't nobody gettin' no money, man! We gotta stop lyin' to ourselves and lyin' to the fans. And the fans gotta stop bein' so dumb and ignorant, and know it's time to talk about grown-man situations. Shit that happen in the real life, inside your household, your love life, your personal life, that's just like, "Damn, it's hard for a nigga to get some money!"

The Wallabee Champ making some great points here.

Now don't get me wrong, I love me some good trap talk, but Ghost is on point here.
The only thing is, not many men in the rap game have the skills to go off on other topics. Their rhyming starts and stops at slanging, cars, women, etc...

Hopefully this just means Ghost is going to bring some serious fire on his next outing and inspire those emcees in his age bracket to do the same.

ya'll illy i'm from illinoise

Hovi's home!!!
First big leak from "Blueprint 3" for months.
It's called "D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) and is produced by No I.D. and Yeezy.
Just a radio rip for now, but it's pretty clean.
This is just the street single. Proper will drop in July and feature Drake.

Drizzy graces this new Mary J. Blige track. I was expecting some ballad, but Mary J. shows up with a banger. Drake's blowing up folks.

The first leak off of Big Sean's upcoming debut features a Kanye verse from a previous track called "Wheely Shit". This one is called "Glenwood", Big Sean is definitely someone to keep an eye out for.

Lastly, a new jam from Columbus, Ohio crew Fly. Union. The group has been making some waves and the great blog, 2DopeBoyz has been riding for them for a bit.
It's called "I Can't Feel My Face".

Links jacked from Nahright and 2DopeBoyz.
Both blogs are a must for daily visits.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

rockin ya mind

The new Mos Def, "The Ecstatic" is what rap heads have been waiting for since the man's classic debut.
Mos sounds like he has something to prove.
Which, in a sense he does.
After two disheartening records, one of which did not even see a proper release and the other being a sad foray into blues and rock, he needed to come back proper.
This is Mos at his most proper. He is rhyming with a passion here over real nice beats from the likes of Madlib and Chad Hugo.
Recent contributor to this site, Luis C. Medina was just saying how he was waiting for a good summer hip-hop release.
Well Mr. Medina, it has arrived.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

it makes me a better dancer

I have watched this so many times since it came out.
Seriously, if you are not up on Galifianakis, this dvd is a great starting point.
The man does uncomfortable, absurdest humor like few others.
Every time I watch the man I miss getting up on stage and attempting some humor. That is one bummer of summer time, there does not seem to be an outlet for that facet of my life.

In last weekend's edition of the Times there was a great piece on the comedian.
It's a lengthy read, but does as a good of a job as words could do attempting to explain his humor.

Monday, June 01, 2009

weekend update

I saw "UP" this weekend and loved it as much as I expected. It is the second best film I've seen in the theater this year.
I'm writing a review for the DE this week, so I'm saving all my thoughts for the space that pays me. I'll get a link up here Wednesday when the review goes online.
Other than that this weekend I spent time with my newest TV obsession and watched a lot of sports.

I'll get on some music tomorrow or later tonight.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gonna miss ya, T.I.P.

It's a special day as Luis C. Medina, head of The Big Dead Sidebar blog has graced us with a piece on T.I.
Along with having mad knowledge on the sports world, Luis also has a passion for hip-hop and graces us with a post on the state of the game with T.I. going in for his 366 day prison bid.
Sit back, relax and revel in the writings of one gifted journalist.

It's not like he's getting the O.J. treatment, he'll only be gone a year. But for 12 months, the game will be without its hottest flow spitter.

T.I. is riding a sick hot streak on the heels of his album "Paper Trail" which had more hits Ray Lewis and more bangers than a Crips-Bloods reunion. He's had guest spots here, there and everywhere. And unlike some rappers (*cough*Wayne*cough*) T.I. didn't slouch.

In the days and months since his sentencing, T.I. has leap-frogged damn near every rapper out there and is legitimately gunning for the No. 1 spot without even touching an autotune.

So who's going to take over while he's gone?

Well, thankfully we will soon be graced with Jay-Z's highly anticipated "Blueprint 3" sooner rather than later. Drake is heating up everyone's speakers, his album should be hotter than Hedo Turkoglu's shooting touch. And if someone can talk Weezy and Yeezey to step away from putting a lil' T-Pain in their voice, maybe they can emerge from the rap side of things.

Until then, we'll be patiently waiting for T.I. to get out and drop a bomb on us.

Besides, we'll still be waiting for Detox anyway.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

VIRAL VIDEO video video video

The viral marketing campaign has kicked off for Apatow's "Funny People".
This first set finds Jason Schwartzman's character starring in a sitcom teaching some ragamuffin youths in an english high school class.
Not a ton of laughs but the people behind this campaign have done a superb job of making this seem so real.
The NBC website is awesome, I wonder if I can really order the first season?

Dimaggio's done it again

When Jay Bennett passed away this weekend I did a whole bunch of Bennett-assisted Wilco listening.
Mostly "Summerteeth", "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and the engineer sessions of "YHF".
My listening adventures then took me to re-visiting the "Mermaid Avenue" records the band did with Billy Bragg.
These two albums are incredibly solid. A veteran musician and a band in its prime, ripping Woody Guthrie tunes.
The trade off of vocals from Tweedy to Bragg keeps things fresh from song to song.
These two records sadly seem to get dismissed when discussing Wilco but are a welcome respite from the stagnation the band seems to be stuck in lately.
Not saying the last couple Wilco records have not been enjoyable, it just sounds like the band is starting to settle into a groove. The days of experimentation seem to be behind them.
But those days have basically been gone since Bennett and Tweedy never could squash their beef and he left the band.
Bennett was a gifted musician and will be missed.

"Airline to Heaven"

sun eggs

I have not wrote about "Party Down" in this space, I did here however.
I just wanted to get the word out there again about this wonderful show..
The things I wrote in the linked article all still ring true as the show finished up its first season last Friday.
Even with the departure of Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge stepped in and absolutely slaughtered the two episodes she was in. The finale showed why the woman shows up in so many comedies (even crappy ones not directed by Christopher Guest).
Also, Ryan Hansen has been consistently hilarious throughout the season. I first noticed him when he was on the bummer of a third season for "Veronica Mars". He basically plays the same character here, but with a lot more freedom. The room to improvise and the chemistry between him and Martin Starr have made him the breakout actor for the series in my opinion.
I am very excited the show got greenlit for a second season, I just hope they can lock up a majority of the cast to come back.
Even if Caplan (please stay!) is not in the mix or if Lynch is not around, the writing and directing are definitely strong enough to carry the show no matter what actors are placed in the cast.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

death of autotune?

I certainly hope so.
This video has Kanye claiming Hov had him go back in the studio to remove all the autotune from "Blueprint 3".
Thank God Hov made this decision. I have complete faith in Kanye's beatmaking abilities, but Jay does not need to be hampered by this overused fad.
Here is to hoping BP3 is a serious classic.

so this is what the volume knob's for

I really do not know what riled me up so much about the AV Club's review of the new Passion Pit album, "Manners".
I guess totally disagreeing with everything written within could be the main reason.
Paul Caine, the critic threw out terms like "mediocrity" and "pop punk", both of which have nothing to do with the debut from the Boston group.
I cannot have beef with someone feeling something is mediocre, but tagging a genre to a band that has nothing to do with its sound is a bit far fetched.
I just cannot say I hear any New Found Glory in the songs Caine transfixes the "pop punk" tag to, one of which being the gloriously epic, "Moth's Wings".

While this is quite the jam, the real crux of the album are the dance tracks.
"Little Secrets" being one of the strongest.

Just a little rant. The album is a pretty solid one and perfect for these sunny summer days.

things not to do

Put on a terribly depressing album while sitting in an apartment all by yourself.
Well, unless it is something as marvelous as "In the Wee Small Hours".
I have been trying to dig a bit deeper into Sinatra's catalogue than before and this one seems like the perfect soundtrack to a humid summer night.
It is more sparse than his other works, but the limitlessness of just a piano and the occasional strings make the melancholy within that much sadder.
Even though the subject matter is inherently heartbreak, Sinatra's vocals are so smooth and pristine, it is almost enough to skate over his somber lyrics.
But, not accepting the downtrodden tunes for what they are is a mistake. Supposedly this record was made when he was totally bummed from his relationship with Ava Gardner dissolving.
When most of us suffer through a breakup we put on some sad bastard music and sift through the pain.
Thank God Ol' Blue Eyes experienced the same heartache, so the rest of us would have something to listen to at our low times.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

leave the kids at home

I just watched "Coraline" again and urge everyone to do the same.
It is such a wonderfully dark and touching childrens tale. I hesitate to call it that because the film is an intense one at times and would be a bit different than showing a kid "Toy Story" or something.
This is not a surprise knowing who was involved with the project. Director Henry Selick helmed "Nightmare Before Christmas" and the original book was penned by Neil Gaiman.
Selick's animation style perfectly encapsulates Gaiman's haunting tale, eventually wrapping everything up with bright, warm visuals.
This film may not get the same burn as Pixar projects, but it should be placed in the same category of high quality animated film.
A supremely enjoyable viewing experience.

Monday, May 25, 2009

slapstick for grownups


The Falcon is a Chicago punk supergroup of sorts. The band is made up of formers members of punk/ska heavyweights Slapstick and the bands that came after it broke up.
Brendan Kelly on the vocals and Dan Adriano on bass should have anyone salivating who loved Asian Man Records when in junior high.
The Falcon's debut, "Unicornography", is basically Slapstick redux, but without the horns. So, the scratched, grating vocals are still intact as well as the brash lyrics and in your face, breakneck punk rawk.

The Falcon- "La-Z-Boy 500"

and for purely nostalgic reasons...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

you should take a wiff of me

"Murder Was the Case" is definitely towards the top of '09 hip hop releases.
Even as Gucci continues his trek towards the mainstream

songs like

make him a force to be reckoned with.
It also helps he's got Zaytoven and Speedy providing him with some of the most interesting beats in hip-hop right now.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Well, not really.
However, this is something to get excited about.
I loved "Stella" when it was on, plus "The State" being nuts and "Wet Hot American Summer" being one of my favorite movies has me checking for dudes all the time.
I only hope Wain is not involved because he's busy doing some stellar directing or something.