Thursday, December 31, 2009

favorite album of the year

since i ceased to be a music director, i have really fallen off with what i should be listening to, and montana didn't help. i listened to grizzbear once, on laptop speakers, and animal collective nonce-not once, don't use it-(ok, 'my girls' once) and dirty pros? naw. [phoenix:please don't steal my gf] sooo....the only album from 2009 that i need to big-up is Dinosaur Jr.'s Farm.




i'm not even sure if any of you dig Dino J but i just gotta throw this up there because this is my fortress of solitude, these are the best Mascis tracks maybe ever, its like fucking comfy battle armor, sweet but true and hard. his lyrics are as impossible to parse as ever, he's singing to some girl he misses that he probably never had-thank you J- and his solos, jesus, well he's certainly put up the greatest lead guitar of the last few years and he's making the case for best of the last quarter century. the intuition is unreal. this is the high and lonesome sound brought to now, not some cheesy-ass alt-country-folk horseshit but the sound those MFs woulda REALLY put out if they were around right now. lesson #1: you can fake it when the kids are faking it too. you can't when they're not. not for long.

the only weak part of the album is Lou's tracks, which is a damn shame cuz he put up some fine ones on the last album Beyond. he adds this dark paranoid element that Dino needs, but these are 2nd tier. that said, i love the guy and if you haven't, listen to 'Truly Great Thing' because it is one of the greatest love songs.

Runner-up:: Gaslight Anthem. released at the tail end of 2008, got listened to at least 50 times, never fails to make me feel like a world-beater, this band honestly made me consider sending fan mail. number one if it actually released in '09.

Honorable Mention: Paper Trail (minus"porn star") fuck i love me some TI. yes, well aware that this makes me even whiter. also did not release in '09. did i mention how lazy i am?

Other STUFF I LOVED:
Nurses: Apple's Acre--maybe the best PDX release of the year. nix on the maybe

A Sunny Day in Glasgow: Ashes Grammar--i am not worthy

Volcano Choir:Unmap--BROSEPH Justin. i dug you before these posers. I dig you more than these posers. keep it up you fucking baller.

The Very Best: not as good as the mixtape, but still Jubliant, Defiant, Life-Affirming stuff that makes me get up, smell the coffee and give thanks

Califone: All My Friends are funeral singers--they could be kings. they could have been kings.

Mount Eerie: Wind's Poem--fuck yes more please

Yo La Tengo: Popular Songs--shine on you crazy fuckers

Memory Tapes--i dig, against my better judgie.

Fuck Buttons: Tarot Sport--really really don't want to like these guys. really really do.

The Low Anthem-- fuck i hate it when FlabbyWhiteGuy stuff is actually good. you would srsly put all those other TEA&SCARVES fucks to utter shame if you had chosen a better album title. really, nearly anything woulda been better. call me. inscrutable is my middle name. (David, fyi)

Akron/Family: Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free-- minus some wankery, this coulda been a stonecold Classic.

Pains of Being Pure of Heart: DEAR GOOD BANDS, PLZZZZZ (if you are good) move the fuck out of brooklyn. seriously. i shouldn't instinctively want to hate you this much. also, do you need a harmonica player? i think you do. ttyl

ps recommendations welcome, still playing major catch-up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

latourell falls/twitter CONTROVERSY

the person who stole gentleben on twitter has 4 tweets, all from early last year:

GentleBen

I just found out the new Indiana Jones might feature aliens. Fuck my life.
11:58 AM May 14th, 2008 from web

I hate paying rent. It's thundering and I enjoy it. I'm tired.
4:21 AM May 7th, 2008 from web

Woo! Woo. woo. w. oo. Drunk. only one person reads this.
10:55 PM May 5th, 2008 from web

Criminal law is for assholes.
11:21 PM May 3rd, 2008 from web

can i petition that he is stripped of his username?
-----------------------------------------------

also, it turns out the other Wieden+Kennedy ad spot for Levi's is shot in and around portland. been playing a lot lately. still trying to figure out if the reservoir shot is Mt Tabor or Washington park.



the waterfall/bridge is a hike just a abit up 84, i was thinking that we could give it a go if some people are sticking around for awhile after Christmas. pretty short one, so we won't get snowed in and have to cuddle with doug for warmth. or cut him open with our lightsabers and hide inside

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

I didn't get any autographs so I thought this would be the next best thing.

Look at how close I am to Conan!
Yep, I'm sitting right there.

The show was so awesome!!! I was so impressed by how professional and smoothly run it was despite them trying to make it look spontaneous. Also, the studio is so small! They do some crazy camera magic to make it look huge.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

right across the way from Kazakstan's best fucking banana salesman!



i'm pretty amazed at Paste's grasp of the trends, since they picked She & Him as last year's best album.

ps


in production for britain's Channel 4. i hope the limeys treat it better than we treated arrested development
Goddammit Beavers.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Potluck

EDIT: Ok since no one really came up with a time I'm going to say 2pm Friday at our place. Call or text me and let me know if that works for you and what you want to bring. It goes without saying but all boy/girlfriends are welcome.

I don't know who will be in town but I was thinking we should all get together for a potluck. Maybe the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving? Anyone interested?


ps the last few days during lunch i watched Andy Barker, P.I. which was one of Andy Richter's two failed sitcoms. the whole thing (6 episodes) is on Hulu and Buster from A.D. is on it and like the best part. anyway, i guess i shouldn't feel bad for a guy who's on the tonight show every night, but he's definitely funny enough not to have to be the sidekick all his life. that said, i wish i was around when he was on Late Night.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Stuff and Things

alright, after baby ben finally succumbed to sleep tonight, magda cynda ian and i worked on the pressing issue of our time. who is hot? who indeed.

well i'll tell you!

1. brad pitt (circa '94 and/or A River Runs Through It)
2. brady quinn (Notre Dame QB extraordinaire)
3. paulo (yes that paulo)
4. me*
5. sufjan
6. james franco
7. ben mackenzie
8. new bond guy
9. jon hamm
10. heath

honorable mention:
pat spear
jake gyll (which is what he should go by)

this is my list. there was/is significant disagreement with the female participants. ian remained admirably silent. he may be more straight than me. jury has been eating free pizza on this one. next step- we must assemble a panel of leading experts in the gay community to settle the dispute

throwing it out there: ian and i share remarkably similar opinions on girls. the girls aren't too far off except in their inexplicable hate for emma watson.

*after, y'know, a solid summer of workouts ( as the great philosopher dr. phil once said: if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will either. now where's my velveeta pie? )
------------------------------------------
this is an example of why i think jon stewart will (or at least should be) included in the history books while colbert is a footnote:



how do you spell evisceration? no seriously, blogger had to help me with that one, wasn't even in the spelling suggestion range until the third try.

------------------------------------------

stationary objects cynda has hit: 3.5 (one may or may not be partially papa armstrong's fault)
stationary objects ian has hit: 2
number of phones magda has subjected to significant water damage: 5 (at least)

------------------------------------------

its definitely lame to give props to a commercial of all things, but when they are:

a. produced by portlan's wieden+kennedy (GIVE ME A JOB PLZ!)
b. use ORIGINAL VOICE RECORDINGS of WALT WHITMAN reading his own goddamn poem
c. set in New Orleans
d. this beautiful

you kinda hafta otherwise you're more of a poser, right? maybe? anyway, here is something better than 95% of what comes out of hollywood:



there's another one too, with a different whitman poem.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Craigslist 2: Electric Boogaloo

best of craigslist > portland > Dear Future Hipster Neighbor
Originally Posted: Tue, 11 Aug 01:38 PDT
Dear Future Hipster Neighbor

Date: 2009-08-11, 1:38AM PDT

Dear Future late 20/early 30 Hipster Neighbor from the Mid-west/South/Idaho:

I know you are the coolest kid in Iowa/Ohio/Idaho/Texas/Florida/etc but...

While scanning CL for a cool vintage apartment near Hawthorne or Alberta, a sweet barista job and a new fixie to ride around on once you arrive, please reconsider your decision, and please do not move here.

There aren't any jobs for the people who already live here. Word on the street is that your Stumptown barista job won't last once people find out you are a 30-something college graduate from Ohio.

I heard the eastside is going to break off from the Willamette River and will soon become part of the Couve (aka you will live in something similar to where you currently live, but rainier).

Plus, living in the Pearl or NW is too expensive for your $9/hour barista job. And no cool hipsters live on the SW Side.

Regards,

Your previous future neighbor

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Craigslist

CATBUS

Date: 2008-03-28, 1:15PM EDT

I HAVE A 1995 MO' VAN THAT GOT TRANSFORMED INTO THIS CATBUS. I BROUGHT IT TO A SHOPS AND I WAS LIKE HEY, CAN YOU TURN THIS INTO A CATBUS? SO THEY DID. THEN THAT DAY I DROVE IT HOME. THE CAT BUS ONLY HAS 50K, WHICH ARE ALL HIGHWAY MILES AS I DROVE IT TO WORK 2 DAYS A WEEK AND THAT WAS IT. IT'S IN REALLY GOOD SHAPE AND ALL THE FUR IS STILL ALL THERE. THE STEERING WHEEL HAS A CAT ON IT. IM ONLY ASKING 2900 FOR THE CATBUS BECAUSE ITS REALLY FURRY AND SOMETIMES PEOPLE GET SICK ON IT.

Monday, October 12, 2009

TOY STORY 3

You can see some of the stuff I worked on about 2/3 of the way through. There's a shot with a bunch of daycare toys together... I made the dinosaurs and the burger band and the bear vehicle thing and the helicopter and the fisher price bus on the right and all the little Fisher Price toys. I also worked on the Jack in the Box and much much more that is not shown in this trailer. YOU GUYS HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE WHEN IT COMES OUT IN THEATERS!!!

Also! I found out today that Pixar previews/tests out their movies in Portland! So if some person asks you if you want to watch a secret movie say YES!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Why The Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" May Be My Favorite Song of All Time

Right up front, I'm posting this here because I don't really have anywhere else for it to go. Also, I should note that I feel super-lame being the only one who's posted anything here so often, but...oh well. I like this piece and it has no home. And by the way, if this does anything for you, know that (PLUG!) I write regularly (and increasingly) about movies at the new Rail of Tomorrow. Anyway, here we go.

A week or so ago, a friend asked if I had a favorite song of all time. My stock answer for that question used to be Don McClean's "American Pie," and while it's still a thoroughly great song (and it is...it's one of those songs that sort of bothers me just how good it is), it doesn't hold a special place in my heart the way it used to. And while I don't exactly have some other answer to that question, the song that keeps springing to mind is "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals.

One of the great myths of popular music, constantly debunked and resurrected over and over again, is that pop music is the lowest form of musical expression, and that those who really have something to say, say it with rock, folk, rap, or some other "real, expressive" form. In the back of everyone's mind, though, they know that's bullshit. The same way that film critics eventually realized that some of the greatest achievements in the art form that is cinema were taking place at the medium's lowest rungs (crime thrillers, technicolor melodramas and musicals, westerns...essentially, genre pictures), people who think seriously about music know that many of the great formal achievements in popular music have been the workmanship pieces we've come to know as "pop."

And yet, I have a hard time convincing people that in twenty years, Britney Spears' music will matter. I used to hold many of the prejudices against her that are all too common to pop. Doesn't write her own songs or play her own instruments? And with the gamut of filters and adjustments and tweaking her voice goes through, she barely even SINGS, does she? Doesn't matter. One of the great myths of art is that it needs to come from a single source, and while the process does undermine Britney Spears' contributions to musical history, it in no way undermines the music. It took me a long time to come to be okay with this.

Because, of course, The Crystals didn't write their own songs. Or play their own instruments. And with the revolutionary production process Phil Spector (who is, if anyone, the true artist at work here) put all his work through, their vocals went through something comparable to the amount of adjustment that goes into every second of Britney Spears "singing." The process isn't what's important. Or it is. Either way, the result is what matters (ironically, I would be downright evangelical about the latest Britney Spears album if it weren't for her vocals and the processing they went through).

It's because of everything working against it - pop single, built to sell, girl group, pretty much everything that the term "commercial music" encompasses and usually means "bad" - I really know that "Then He Kissed Me" is probably my favorite song of all time (at least one of them), and one of the greatest songs ever created. The idea that anyone could find it an empty pop concoction is repulsive to me. "Then He Kissed Me" is magic. It's redemptive. It achieves everything music was created to achieve. It's hopeful and romantic. It makes you feel things you'd be too embarrassed to tell anybody. It feels like dreaming while you're awake.

Its deceptively simple lyrics (just as those who know nothing of screenwriting comment only on the dialogue when discussing a film's screenplay, lyrics are the refuge under which the musically illiterate shelter themselves to attempt to discuss songwriting) give way to a melody so wonderful that it, to this day, has never been more accurately described than as a "wall of sound." The two combined make it as though a simple recitation of facts is enough to make the narrator fall completely and totally in love again. The Crystals sing together as though it takes a chorus to create the depth of feeling within one person (and when life it at its most fulfilling, doesn't it?), and The Wrecking Crew find a way, as they always did, to give voice to a feeling, that trait so essential to great music.

From the moment it kicks in after the initial "don, da da don, don, da da don," just keeps getting bigger and bigger until it must simply explode into melody just past the emotional peak, when there is simply nothing left for the narrator to revel in, and she must simply recite what she said before, just as so many people do themselves, lying awake late at night going over a romantic moment in their mind again and again and again. "And then he kissed me....and then he kissed me....and then he kissed me...."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Portland...Great City, or Greatest City?



From KGW (July 30th)...

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It's happened across the country -- traffic signs getting hijacked by computer hackers, and now it's happened in Portland.

A contractor’s traffic sign on the Powell just east of the Ross Island Bridge overnight Wednesday read “Caution zombie strippers."

The sign had been switched off by Thursday morning.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top 5 Nostalgic Songs

These are not the top 5 songs that make me nostalgic (that's a whole other list beginning with "Shook Me All Night Long" and ending with "Come Sail Away"). No, these are the Top 5 songs about the very experience of nostalgia.

Honorable Mention: "The Backseat" - The Gaslight Anthem

5. "Crocodile Rock" - Elton John
4. "In My Life" - The Beatles
3. "Do You Remember Rock n' Roll Radio?" - The Ramones
2. "The Trapeze Swinger" - Iron & Wine
1. "Summer of '69" - Bryan Adams

Saturday, July 18, 2009

graduation open house!

Hey all,

What was going to be a graduation open house with family friends and teachers (due to the combined social circles of the three graduating Colwells) has become a total, crazed free-for-all, so you (Gravy and Internet) are all invited to stop by sometime tomorrow (Sunday) at my house between 4pm-10pm.

Sorry for the late notice, I only started inviting people today, but there will be food, beverages, and ping-pong, possibly all at once.

Hope I see you there, if you all need directions let me know--

Ken

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I cried too, Ron


for different reasons...

If Ron hopes to see him next year does that mean he's planning on dying?

Note: some profanity

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Utah

On my way to Colorado I spotted this:


The Utah highway symbol.
Do you see a beehive or do you see something else?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Camera Obscura

Mark this one as a victory for Portland and for Doug. The Wonder Ballroom is in fact within walking distance of the MAX. I was worried there for a minute, first when I found that the concert was in the NE somewhere, and then later when I was walking around MLK without really knowing where I was. But I found it, on time even, and managed to make it back to the Westside without getting stabbed. I somehow even made the last bus back to the mall, and spared myself a walk. (My brother is willing to drive out in the middle of the night to buy pot, but is not willing to pick his brother up from the bus station) It turns out that MLK is kinda nice at least the Southern NE part. There are indie bars, coffee shops, and of course, the Wonderball room. With my camera broken, I had no ability to take pictures, so sadly, I cannot post any (Which is probably for the best, the band was pretty ugly. Not only are they indie, but they are also Scottish.)

The opening band was three chicks, who were also joined by a guy in a really old orange tuxedo and a bird mask and a boxing glove who banged on the tambourine for a couple songs. They were more or less non-descript for being an all-female opening band, but they did have one really amazing song. They had an amazingly beautiful cello/violin player, who was actually more cute in that indie sort of way upon closer inspection. (As I was standing next to the stage, I had plenty of opportunity for closer inspection) She did have a really nice dress on and blonde hair, I guess that threw my initial impression of her.

Camera Obscura themselves almost verged on disappointing, but then I realized that I really don't like them all that consistently. I love about five of their songs, tolerate half of what's left, and the others kinda just put me to sleep. And I was kinda put to sleep by the 5th song, but fortunately the 6th was one of the ones I like. They pretty much alternated between songs I love and songs that put me to sleep, so I was pretty conflicted going into the penultimate song. (On top of the sleepiness, I was also distressed about the whole having to find a job thing, so my heart wasn't in the concert nearly as much as I would have liked) That song, "Books Written for Girls" just stopped me dead. It was terribly slow, as they can be, but that one song actually was filled with emotion and somehow just changed the show for me, woke me up, and got me really into them again. Up until then, the band seemed kinda like they were just going through the motions, and didn't have too much energy or heart, but it kinda changed at that one song. Unfortunately, it was the next-to-last song, but the encore consisted of "Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken" (a favorite) and some crazy mostly instrumental that I didn't recognize. "Lloyd" was played in the music before the show for some reason, it is the first time I have heard of someone doing that, but it was probably just a cd and they didn't think about it. Of course, I liked the live version better, but you have to admit the album version does sound much cleaner, with the vocals actually intelligible. In all, definitely decent, but I have a feeling, only because they played almost all of the songs that I absolutely loved to begin with. (They didn't play "Suspended from class," which is still my absolute favorite, but they got all the better ones besides that one.) Honestly, without being an avid fan to begin with, I would have been bored and much more tired than I was already. There were plenty of songs that were very entertaining, but even I thought there was too much slowness that i didn't appreciate, except, of course for "Books."

I was going to buy a t-shirt, but I snagged a set list before I left, which I figure to be just as good, and much, much cheaper.

I forget the ranking, but I'd give it about a 80/100.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The White Stripes- Jolene



I always think of songs we should make music videos to, or play in our dream set. This is now on the top of that list.

I don't ask much from you people. Really, I don't. With that in mind, I'd like you to learn the measly 200 words in this song so we can sing it to Pat's mom. Please?


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Row row row your (concrete) boat

Just got back from Notre Dame where the weather was cold and the competition was HOT. Well, not really hot. The competition was a pile of nerds and their concrete watercraft. And guess what? Marquette rose (almost) to the top of the nerd pile this year with a third-place finish in the annual concrete canoe race!



Highlights include a canoe that broke in half in the water, another canoe that kinda broke in half in the water, a canoe collision that kinda broke another canoe, and sitting in a nice fireman's pickup truck to warm up after taking 4th place in the women's endurance race. Also, University of Wisconsin Madison lost, which never happens. The winning team (Evansville) got a standing ovation, we got a little glass trophy, and Marquette Engineering got its most successful concrete canoe in the history of the school. It kind of felt like the Miracle on Ice, only it was the Miracle on Lake St. Mary's. Slightly less ice.

Ben, thanks for stopping by to show your support for this high-stakes, low-speed, heavy-on-the-nerd sport!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mount Eerie



If the Moses of Northwest music is Calvin Johnson, then the Joshua leading us into the promised land is Phil Elverum, the man behind The Microphones and Mount Eerie. His work is (inconsistently) brilliant, and when its on you are listening to some of the truest distillation of place and person ever put to wax. Nothing I've ever listened to reminds me of home as much. If Iron&Wine is the gothic south, then Phil represents the moss-shaggy old/young Pacific Northwest. I haven't connected with his latest work as much- experimenting with metal will do that to me- but with this quiet and humble little release, Lost Wisdom, he snagged me back. While he normally works solo, this one comes from a short and sweet collaboration with K records vet Julie Doidron- her assured voice does a lot to balance out his own- and borrowing smalltown hero Fred Squire on guitar, who seems to be channelling early Crazy Horse if Danny Whitten was trying to lull a baby to sleep- same style, different volume. It was released late in the 2008 game and got virtually no love on the yearsend lists, but because its probably Phil's shortest full-length release (and its start-to-finish great) I think it would be a great intro to one of the most interesting and idiosyncatic guys out there. Longtime fans should catch a few returning lyrical motifs, but I've never heard a prettier set of words from him than in You Swan Go On, unless its when Phil lets his favorite singer Julie take If We Knew... somewhere even he couldn't.

MMmGravy

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Update!!

Oh hell yes!
An update for all y'all (aka, more bragging):

I got an assistantship/internship at CSU as well!

I'll be an Assistant Resident Director in one of the dorms on campus
What does that entail, you say?

It means I get a completely furnished apartment, at no cost! -no utilities, nada
I get to have an "adult guest" live with me as well...so I'm taking the Norwegian with me!
I get meals on campus for free, as does my "adult guest"
I get all of my out-of-state tuition for free
And on top of it all, I get a stipend! (might help with paying for my own insurance...)

So yeah, I got even more than a free ride...and that's flipping sweet

...just had to brag

OH! And I'll be moving to Colorado in late June or early July, so we need to have some sort of shindig before then so I can see all of your beautiful faces!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Karolyn is going to Colorado

That's right. This Summer I'm heading off to Colorado State University (one of the top schools in the nation for this program) in Fort Collins to get my masters in Student Affairs. Yay, more school! wait what?

Anyways,
If y'all don't mind a few lines of bragging:

Out of 196 applicants,
only 40 of us were invited to interview on-campus...
for only 20 spots,
one of which is mine now!

Just thought I'd share the HUGE news.
-Karolyn

p.s. Screw bottled water. Unless you live somewhere where the drinking fountain water is definitely not clear (aka anywhere other than the west). Woohoo fluoride!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Scott Wuz Right

"Coca-Cola of Oregon plans to bottle the Willamette under its Dasani label with a $35 million expansion of its bottling plant in Wilsonville. 'It was a viable source of water,' says Mike Greene, district manager for Veolia Water North America, which operates the plant. 'A very high quality source.'" -The Oregonian

Dasani is the bar skank of bottled waters.

The most amazing thing

Ben, I'm sorry to steal your top post thunder but--

No. No I will not apologize for this. For last night I found the most amazing things, the holy grail of cool shit, in a suburb of Chicago of all places. The picture must be shown.



That's right. That's a claw machine. Full of live lobsters. And if you grab a lobster they will cook it for you. Unfortunately, despite spending like 12 bucks on this machine I didn't get a lobster. I grabbed one, but once it got out of the water it was all like "screw this" and ran out of the claw.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

One of My Favorites Too



My brothers and I watched Conan nearly every night in the summer. Half the time it was repeats from February, but it didn't really matter. Just hope it doesn't change too much. They're bringing back Andy Richter as the announcer, which is exciting because I think most of us weren't watching back when Andy was the sidekick.

ps
Michael Cera just got on board with the Arrested Development movie, and he was the last piece in the puzzle so hopefully that will start production soon.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Gaslight Anthem Up Now

First album:


Last five tracks are all killer, as is 'We Came to Dance'
MMmGravy

Between Album EP:


Good, but no real stand-out tracks.
mMmGravy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Name is Potato

Remember when we had that potato blog?

Lost In Reflections

Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words - Lost In Reflections


I realize that not everyone is into ambient/experimental stuff but you should give Lost In Reflections a try. I actually thought it was pretty accessible, especially if you enjoy post-rock. Hell, they're even named like a post-rock band. There isn't much that jumps out at you but it's kind of haunting. Like a ghost that's been stuck in a house by itself for centuries and now it's finally letting it all out.

If you don't want to go through the full album, I recommend starting with What I Wouldn't Give To Feel Alive (track 3) which sounds kinda like Califone collaborating with Explosions In The Sky.

Rating: MMmGravy (85%)

ps
The fifth track was too big for gmail so it isn't up there

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I dug it

Photobucket

You know he and Sergio would've done it in one try. Though I do love Pau's reaction.

Another thing I loved: the Martin jersey on the earlier dunk.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The '59 Sound

Just uploaded The Gaslight Anthem and their The '59 Sound-

A couple years ago, this would have been the kind of pick I feel like I would have to defend. These guys are very not cool in the traditional way bands and musicians are cool. But they're sort of aware of it, which allows them to play jubliant tribute to a youth with a New Jersey soundtrack. This is their second album and it sneaked by without much attention in mid-December, but I'm not sure it would have really gotten a ton of hipsterblog buzz anyway, seeing as how its a pop-punk take on Bruce Springsteen with the same awkward earnestness that graced the Boss's first three records. Pitchfork.tv had a short interview about their patron saint with lead singer Brian Fallon that says more than I could:



Soundtrack to: Scott driving, A walking, senior year Magda, Ian when he's telling you a story, me riding my bike late to class.
Rating: mMMmGravy

ps
One of the reasons I like last.fm a lot is because it kinda gives me a pulse on how much people actually like a band versus how much buzz they are getting. With 'The '59 Sound, one of Pitchfork's senior guys had the guts to give it an 86%, which would ordinarily earn it a 'Best New Music', or at least a 'Recommended,' but instead the editors withheld that (and the bump it would give) and buried the album as the fourth or fifth of the five daily reviews. But if I'm doing my math right, the last.fm playcounts show, on average, every Gaslight Anthem listener has listened to about 50 of their songs, whereas most buzzed bands see about 10 listens per listener. So clearly something hooks people about these guys and their honesty. If I remade my 'Top 5 Bands I Wished I Was In,' they would be in there.

pps
I just yesterday got my hands on their first album and their EP, which are both very good also, a little bit more raw. If anybody wants I can post those too.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

gravyrangers@gmail.com

hey gravy, i made us an email account awhile back so I could load whole albums up there for you, and would you believe it, but someone out there got mmmgravy@gmail before i did. wild. anyway mmmgravy is the very top secret password so don't give it out k?

The first album up is one of my favorite folk albums discovered last year, Great Lake Swimmers' second album, Bodies and Minds.

You won't be thunderstruck by any means, but its very well-done, honest, low-key stuff and there a couple songs that you'll love (start with Various Stages), so at the very least it will help you get some work done. probably about an MMGravy.

ps
go here:
http://www.greenowl.com/album/esau-mwamwaya-and-radioclit-are

download this:


which is a really fun african, hell, I don't even know, hiphopish creation that just makes me dumbhappy and helped me pull off a herculean finals feat. mMMGravy

pps
everyone is welcome to post there. gmail only seems to be able to handle 3 songs these days per email, hence the replying. also, we could use the email account to have secret ongoing discussions, which is apparently what all the coolest sites do.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Guatemala is Good



Just got back from Guatemala. It was good times. Click on the title for some Flickr photo goodness. Long windedness ensues below.

We left Milwaukee really early on the morning of the 31st and made it to Guatemala through Houston by early in the afternoon that day. It's about a 4.5 hour flight-- just about as long as it takes to get to Las Vegas from here. The difference between the two is night and day. From Guatemala City, we took a chartered bus to Antigua. This is a town that European tourists and hippies LOVE because it is actually one of the best-preserved Spanish colonial towns in the world. Cobblestone streets and all that. Also 2 volcanoes, 1 active. The arch you see in my pictures is in Antigua. The town was nuts because of New Year's. Our local guide, a British expat by the name of Don Mike, explained that at midnight the town is "like bloody World War 3 broke out," and he was right. I have never seen so many fireworks go off in my life! We also saw a guy wearing a truss shaped like a bull running through town spewing fireworks everywhere. I have a picture of that on Flickr.

The next morning we took off to the site of a bridge we would help to construct. This is in Cuatro Centro, Quiche. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive over some bumpy dirt roads to get there. We stayed for a week with the people to help get things started, with a brief stopover in La Garrucha (my water project) to take some tests and measure the flow rates from the new spring boxes. No pipe yet-- but we are hoping for this week. We also got to go to the market in the nearby big city of Joyabaj, which was pretty cool. We checked out a couple of sites for schools that another team will be building in May. The new schools will be a major improvement over the tin-roofed, cornstalk-walled schools that house 90 kids in a single classroom.

After we finished work on the bridge, completing the footings, abutments, and sleepers that other groups would use to finish construction, we returned to Antigua by way of Mixo Vijeo. This is the ruins of a Mayan fortress constructed in the 13th century and burned by the Spanish in 1525. No giant man-eating plants, I'm afraid, but some very cool pictures.

The morning of my final full day in Antigua was spent scaling an active volcano with a guide. We got to see molten lava up close. Some guy even lit his cigarette off of it, and a couple of Germans peed in there for good measure. Being good Wisconsinites, a couple of members of the group drank a Gallo (Guatemala's beer of choice, tastes kind of like crappy Miller Lite) at the top. Then we went and ate pizza because we were all sick of tortillas and beans.



Yesterday was spent traveling. We got our flight from Guatemala City to Houston just fine, but customs was backed up and slow as hell so it was an epic sprint through the airport to meet our jet to Chicago. After all of the customs shenanigans, we had 20 minutes to get from Terminal B to Terminal C via Terminals D and E. I was running with my passport between my teeth, my shoes in my hand, and my belt tied on to the back of my backpack. At one point I outran one of those little golf carts and some dude cheered. Working for a week at altitude (approx. that of Denver) will do that to you!

Hope everyone had a safe (yet drunken) New Year! How did everything go?