Thursday, March 22, 2007

More pics

More pictures from the new camera...

Rasta dreams of murder.

Nat dreams of murder.

Nat explains the finer points of darts.

Nat's artsy shot.

Rasta mistakes the camera for food.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's your favorite?

Becca and I were talking last night about Tom Petty, and I tried to come up with my favorite Tom Petty song. He's one of those artists that makes it genuinely fun to think about things like that. So here is my favorite Tom Petty song and my favorite songs from other artists that I have thought of:

Tom Petty
"Even the Losers"

Bob Dylan

Rolling Stones

Joni Mitchell
"Court and Spark"

Neil Young
"Ambulance Blues"

"You Won't See Me"

Elton John
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"

Bruce Springsteen
"Incident on 57th Street"

Tom Waits
"Come On Up To The House"

Van Morrison

Feel free to chime in on any you feel strongly about!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Music Roundup - Late Winter/Early Spring Edition

Is it winter? Is it spring? Depends on the day.

!!! - Myth Takes

I was all prepared to hate this album. It's actually pretty good. They're still a poor man's Liars in my opinion, but whatever. It's good, aggressive dance-punk with a brain. Well, the music has a brain. The lyrics are pretty shitty and uber-ironic nonsense. A few of the songs drop the act, though, and these guys actually make some pretty decent music when they want to.
Best tracks: All My Heroes Are Weirdoes, A New Name, Yadnus, Bend Over Beethoven

Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

HOLY CRAP!! Get this album as soon as you can. I have admitted many times that I have a soft spot for girl group music, but this album transcends any of the trappings of that genre. It's pure, lustful soul music sung by a woman with outstanding pipes. The songs here have an incredible amount of attitude, and Winehouse sings them with all the verve and panache of Janis Joplin. And she sounds like Lauryn Hill, and in my book that's a definite plus.
Best tracks: Rehab, You Know I'm No Good, Back to Black, Some Unholy War

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Thank God. I completely expected this album to suck. They are a little more jaded, a little more ambitious, a little more everything. Funeral was so good that I hesitate to say that this album is going to surpass it eventually, but in my mind it's got a pretty damn good shot. They kept their best and most endearing quality: their sense of urgency, their sense that things are seriously going to get fucked up if they don't make their music. They don't try to hide their passion at all. They are almost as good at that as Broken Social Scene.
Best tracks: Keep the Car Running, Intervention, (Antichrist Television Blues), Windowstill

Bear Colony - We Came Here To Die

I love shoegaze. There, I said it. Waves and waves of guitars (sometimes distorted), mumbled lyrics, etc. Direct precursor to emo. Bear Colony does it really well. They even color outside the lines a bit and mix in some electronic trappings. Ben Gibbard would be proud. Although it makes them a bit too Postal Service for their own good sometimes.
Best tracks: Hospital Room Aren't For Lovers, (At) Breakfast Speeds, Sinking Ships, Aeroplanes and Cocoons

Jesse Malin - Glitter in the Gutter

I keep waiting for Jesse Malin to get some cynicism. For three albums now he has paired couplets like "A new generation and the whole world's shakin', we were born in flames, made our names, suburban homes, make your bones, bite your lip, take the fifth, know your rights, it's you life." Really? It's suburban fist-pumping all the way, stuff high schoolers yell out their car windows in the summer. And God help me, I love it. It sometimes gives me chills it's so cheesy. But I keep coming back for more. He's not a very dynamic or adventurous songwriter, but he knows his way around the scale and can write some nice rock songs. And he gets Bruce Springsteen to contribute vocals to "Broken Radio." How freakin' cool is that??
Best tracks: Don't Let Them Bring You Down, Broken Radio, Prisoners of Paradise, Love Streams

Marnie Stern - In Advance of the Broken Arm

I recommend this album only to the most adventurous listeners. It is dense, tough, discordant, and at points unrewarding. It's also the best album I've heard in 2007. Energy and skill burst out of my speakers every time I put it on. Ms. Stern can shred with the best guitar players alive today. Normally I think that excessive guitar virtuosity hinders songwriting ability, but she uses her jaw-dropping talent to enhance her songs, which are absolutely fantastic as well. This album makes me want to scream, cry, and laugh all at the same time. It's incredible. Get it if you dare.
Best tracks: Vibrational Match, Logical Volume, Absorb Those Numbers, This American Life

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

Don't let the first track fool you. You really can tell that Johnny Marr joined the band. But just like he did in that other band he was in, his playing does not overpower the songs. I used to think that this meant that he wasn't a very good guitarist and that Moz had all the talent. But hearing him on this record makes me think that he's actually pretty brilliant. Isaac Brock's songs are pretty jagged little things sometimes. Marr sews them up, threads his licks through those edges until the songs are, if not tidy, then at least passably upbeat. WWDBTSES is, at first listen, one of the strongest set of songs that Brock and Co. have ever offered up. They explore the more mainstream tendencies that they let us glimpse on Good News For People Who Love Bad News with sometimes spectacular results. Give it a spin (in the car if you can).
Best tracks: Fire It Up, Florida, Missed the Boat, People as Places as People

Panda Bear - Person Pitch

Probably my #2 record of the year thus far behind Marnie Stern. Wild, exhuberant, and earnestly joyous. And this guy comes from suburban Maryland? Really? Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox) is a member of Animal Collective, and you can really hear that influence on this album. It's all over the place in a good way, in the way that leads to musical discovery and creation. The songs never get weighed down by their length or by their ambition. Listen to it. I dare you not to smile.
Best tracks: Comfy in Nautica, Bros, Good Girl/Carrots

That's all I got for now. I just got my hands on a copy of the forthcoming Wilco album, Sky Blue Sky, and all I can say right now is YAWN. But I have resolved to give it a more dedicated listen before judgey judge judging it. Till then, be beautiful to one another.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine annd remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular."
-Edward R. Murrow

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

S-S-S-Something on Creativity...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New camera!

Becca and I bought a camera last night. So far it's great. It's a Sony 7.2 MP Cyber-shot. Here are the best pictures from the first batch of us being retarted. Much more to follow, I'm sure.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Kid Logic

From This American Life, the best radio program in history.

It all began at Christmas two years ago when my daughter was four years old. And it was the first time that she had ever asked about, you know, what did this holdiday mean? And so I explained to her that this was celebrating the birth of Jesus. And she wanted to know more about that, so we went out and bought a kids' Bible and had these readings at night, and she loved them. Wanted to know everything about Jesus.

So we read a lot about his birth and his teaching, and she would ask constantly what that phrase was. And I would explain to her that it was "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." And we would talk about those old words and what that all meant.

And then one day we were driving past a big church, and out front was an enormous crucifix. And she said, "Who is that?" I guess I had never really told that part of the story. So I had to say, "Well, that's Jesus. I forgot to tell you the ending. He ran afoul of the Roman government. This message that he had was so radical and unnerving to the prevailing authorities at the time that they had to kill him. They came to the conclusion that he would have to die. That message was too troublesome."

It was about a month after that Christmas. We had gone through the whole story of what Christmas meant. It was about mid-January, and her pre-school celebrates the same holidays as the local schools. They had Martin Luther King Day off.

So I knocked off work that day and decided we'd play. And I took her out to lunch. We were sitting in there, and right on the table where we happened to plop down was the Arts section of the local paper. And there big as life was a huge drawing by a ten year-old kid from the local schools of Martin Luther King.

And she said, "Who's that?" And I said, "Well, as it happens, that's Martin Luther King, and he's why you're not in school today. We're celebrating his birthday. This is the day we celebrate his life." And she said, "So who was he?" I said, "Well, he was a preacher." And she looked up at me and said, "For Jesus??"

And I said, "Yeah, actually he was. But there was another thing that he was really famous for, which was that he had a message." And you're trying to say this to a four year-old. This is the first time they ever hear anything, so you're just very careful about how you phrase everything.

So I said, "He was a preacher and he had a message." She said, "Well what was his message?" I said, "Well, he said that you should treat everybody the same no matter what they look like." She thought about that for a minute. And she said, "Well that's what Jesus said." I said, "Yeah, I guess it is. I never thought about it that way, but yeah. That is sort of like 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' "

And then she thought for a minute and looked up at me and said, "Did they kill him too?"

Resolution: Think like a kid more often.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

This shit is silly

I just moved over to the "new" blogger, run by Google. Pretty pointless. It doesn't look like anything that you guys see has changed, but I had to give them my Gmail account (which I never use) and now have to use that to sign in. I'll know in a few weeks whether the new CMS is any good, but in the meantime....

Poor form, Google.