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Cumming

Friday, July 29, 2005


If you read any blogs at all then this probably isn't new to you, but Scottish "star" Alan Cumming has a new cologne out for men called simply Cumming. Clever. If that wasn't enough, he made the following commercial, which is the most embarassing thing I've ever seen. If you thought the R. Kelly video was amazing, wait till you see this. I dare you not to cringe.

Cumming

Posted by Chad

Pixel Revolt



John Vanderslice is back with a new album, the follow-up to 2004's outstanding "Cellar Door". This one is called "Pixel Revolt" and is being released on August 23 by Barsuk Records. The early reviews are that this is one of the best written pop records of the year and the simple yet beautiful first single, "Trance Manual" lends weight to that statement. Thanks to his official site you can download the single for free below. Also thrown in, is "Pale Horse" from the last album, just because it's awesome. Enjoy.


Trance Manual
Pale Horse

Posted by Chad

TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET

Thursday, July 28, 2005

I could sit here and try and explain how amazing the "Trapped In The Closet" series is, but I'd do it no justice. None. R Kelly has released a series of 5 videos regarding a twisted magnolia/crash-like love 5-angle that will blow the mind. It is perhaps the most hilarious thing, next to "Wedding Crashers", that I have ever seen. The acting is obviously top-notch, some of the best uses of finger-pointing for emphasis ever. I wanted to do a whole review, but really, I'd just make a fool of myself. This is amazing. Witness for yourself.

CHAPTER ONE
CHAPTER TWO
CHAPTER THREE
CHAPTER FOUR
CHAPTER FIVE

Go Vegan


Who knew Bryce Dallas Howard was a vegan? She eats a raw foods vegan diet. Yikes. Anyhow, although "Manderlay" is kind of a screaming hunk of shit, she is interesting and has serious potential. Besides, she's beautiul and intelligent, so we like her. Blackbook likes her too and has a very cool article on her this month. I cannot link to it because Blackbook thinks it's too good to have an online version of itself. Go buy it.

Relive the Glory!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


As you may or may not know, I appeared on the game show "Ultimate Film Fanatic" this past year. My episodes were taped back in October and premiered on the Independent Film Channel back in February. I had viewing parties to celebrate and those that came over experienced game show tension and entertainment of the highest order. Battling movie nerds of all shape and background, it was a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs that culminated in a head to head showdown refereed by none other than Kid Notorious himself; Robert Evans.



Now, IFC is rerunning the episodes and you have one more chance to catch all the glory. My first episode is the Southwest Regional Finals, where I took on other Los Angelenos for a ticket to the final round. It wasn't going to be easy and I may or may not have won (hint- I did). Tune in and see it all go down. Here are the times (all in Pacific Time)

Friday July 29 7:30pm & 10:30pm
Saturday July 30 4:00pm
Tuesday August 2 7:30pm



Posted by Chad

USS Anderson



Field Maloney (is that a real name?) has written an interesting article over at Slate.com that ponders if Owen Wilson was the chief ingredient in making Wes Anderson movies good. I agree with most of it, but found it an interesting read all the way through. Check it out.

Click here to read the article

Posted by Chad

SHUTTERBUGS: Episode 2


I'd only be punishing you if I didn't tell you there was A NEW EPISODE OF SHUTTERBUGS. Enjoy bitches.

MTV Video Music Awards

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
MTV announced the nominees for its 22nd Annual Video Music Awards this week and it is a fairly standard group of picks. Here are the nominees for the categories that I give a damn about.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

"Speed of Sound" COLDPLAY
Directed by Mark Romanek
"Jesus Walks" KANYE WEST
Directed by Chris Milk
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" GREEN DAY
Directed by Samuel Bayer
"Drop it Like it's Hot" SNOOP DOGG
Directed by Paul Hunter
"Hollaback Girl" GWEN STEFANI
Directed by Paul Hunter



BREAKTHROUGH VIDEO

"Mosh" EMINEM
Directed by Ian Inaba
"World on Fire" SARAH McLACHLAN
Directed by Sophie Muller
"Feel Good Inc." GORILLAZ
Directed by Jamie Hewlitt & Pete Candeland
"Vertigo" U2
Directed by Alex & Martin
"Lose Control" MISSY ELLIOTT
Directed by Dave Meyers & Missy Elliott



BEST DIRECTION IN A VIDEO

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" GREEN DAY
Directed by Samuel Bayer
"Blue Orchid" WHITE STRIPES
Directed by Floria Sigismondi
"Get Right" JENNIFER LOPEZ
Directed by Francis Lawrence & Diane Martel
"Vertigo" U2
Directed by Alex & Martin
"Lose Control" MISSY ELLIOTT
Directed by Dave Meyers & Missy Elliott



BEST EDITING

"Speed of Sound" COLDPLAY
Edited by Adam Pertofsky
"What You Waiting For?" GWEN STEFANI
Edited by Dustin Robertson
"Best of You" FOO FIGHTERS
Edited by Nathan Cox
"Get Right" JENNIFER LOPEZ
Edited by Dustin Robertson
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" GREEN DAY
Edited by Tim Royes
"Untitled" SIMPLE PLAN
Edited by Richard Alarcron



CINEMATOGRAPHY

"Speed of Sound" COLDPLAY
Cinematography by Harris Savides
"Untitled" SIMPLE PLAN
Cinematography by Michael Bernard
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" GREEN DAY
Cinematography by Samuel Bayer
"Vertigo" U2
Cinematography by Omer Ganai
"Ocean Breathes Salty" MODEST MOUSE
Cinematography by Danny Hiele
"Blue Orchid" WHITE STRIPES
Cinematography by Chris Soos



The awards are taking place on Aug. 28 in Miami and will be hosted by P. Diddy.

Posted by Chad

seven new songs of mount eerie



You may or may not be a fan of Phil Evrum's The Microphones/Mount Eerie. If you're not, I'd urge you to give "The Glow Pt. 2" a serious listen. If you are, I came across "Seven New Songs of Mount Eerie". A very limited EP recorded for a tour of Australia last summer. The release was miniscule, simply 196 CDRs which they sold during the tour. They quickly sold, and have been impossible to find since, although if you were lucky a copy might pop up on Ebay for some sort of staggering, unholy sum, but otherwise you were out of luck. However you can now download the whole album here for free.

Common Genius


I'm gonna tell you something, and you can pay me back later, WILLIAM SHATNER IS A GENIUS. Seriously. Listen to his version of Pulp's COMMON PEOPLE and you'll understand.

REVIEW: "Last Days"



If you were to say that every moment of actual dialogue from the film was used in the 2 minute trailer, I might not argue with you. In the end, this is both the good and bad of "Last Days". We find Gus Van Sant completing his self-proclaimed "trilogy of death", flat-narrative explorations of the valleys, not the peaks. Within these three films (Gerry, Elephant, Last Days), we find life magnified, studied at it's very essence, with a fine eye, an a extremely intricate focus. Whether figurative or literal, we witness characters who are lost, and must wander towards some indeterminate location where revelation is held. "Last Days" continues this theme, allowing us to watch, in gruesome fashion, the unravelled tumblings of a man absolutely awash in the sea that is his own life. We find a man, Blake, who's days do not seperate from his nights, his friends do not seperate from his acquaintances. He simply stumbles throughout his estate, and the sorrounding forest, mumbling, rooting through his own mess, and attempting to somehow find a cure for what is eating him from the inside out.

"Last Days", much like the first two films of the trilogy, is very slow, very methodic, overlaps moments, blurs time, and ends in death. We are never allowed to experience the glimpses of life and narrative that briefly intersect with Blake. In my personal opinion, "Elephant" was a failure of Van Sant's lovely form, and sadly, "Last Days" carries forward in some of the faulty attributes. The first being Van Sant's hap-hazard attempts to show two people connecting. He did it in "Elephant" with John and his dad, he does it here with Blake and Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, playing a label rep. Sadly, he does not let his aestethic style inspire his character interactions and let relationships build as they do through silence and circumstance in "Gerry", and through mis-alignment, like we see in the wonderful scene between Blake and a Yellow Pages salesman in "Last Days". I found myself wishing Van Sant would let the strange justice of life dictate relationships, instead of having the kids converse as they do in "Elephant" or having the agent say "Have you told your daughter you're sorry you're a rock and roll cliche?"

Also, we again see Van Sant using overlaps and redundancies in narrative. This is perhaps the most obnoxious of traits carried into "Last Days" from "Elephant". It made a certain amount of sense in "Elephant", helping to build momentum and give a sensation of a gathering tide. Yet I still feel it's very sophmoric and obvious, and Van Sant is above it. We find this overlaps in "Last Days" as well, but in circumstances which serve even LESS a purpose (how about none) than they do in "Elephant". If there is one amazing trait in Van Sant as a director, not counting his breathtaking cinematic eye and style, IS HIS PATIENCE. Why can't he be patient enough to let time and music and environment do this work for us, instead of overlapping scenes to no new effect?

I'll end my critical inventory by saying that, in my opinion, "Gerry" is the purest form of what Van Sant is aiming for. It is him at his best, without trying to comment on pop-culture (columbine, cobain). "Gerry" is a unique, flawless work of a pioneer. "Last Days" and ESPECIALLY "Elephant" are an exceedingly intelligient and stylized director pandering to a hipper audience who may have not had the soul to appreciate "Gerry".

Now, allow me then to say that "Last Days" is absolutely one of the most outstanding films of the year thus far, despite any gripes I may have with it. It very much reminds me of "Brown Bunny", in the best of ways. Actually "Last Days" is similar to "9 Songs" as well, in that it's intimate nature, and the high demands it puts on it's viewers, create a profound outcome that is more of a long term reward than anything. After drifting throughout the small universe in which Blake has isolated himself, barely hearing him mumble, encountering his house guests as ghosts almost, seeing him working out the puzzles in his mind... we feel complex, we feel compelled and we feel somehow attached to this very distant character.

Upon walking out, you may feel confused, a bit exhausted, but you'll find yourself ruminating on the film, images, sounds... things left over, still bubbling up in you. Somehow, Van Sant and Michael Pitt make us feel how empty, and tough, and cold, and unforgiving the world is for Blake, and when we finally hear the bells rise to a crescendo, and Blake looks up and beyond us, there is a strange freedom, and some sort of universal sigh felt for the man left to wander about his own life, wondering what has become of it.

Reviewed by Keegan DeWitt

REVIEW: "Nine Songs"



It seems strange to have such an affection for a film that is so flawed and fails in so many areas. Either way, I really really enjoyed Nine Songs, a relationship drama told strictly through sex. First, we'll list the failures. The acting of our female lead is a bit suspect and makes her, in the end, unlikable. The photography, although intimate and immediate, suffers from it's DV quality and makes you wonder how beautiful this film could have been shot with the eye of perhaps... Lars Von Trier's dogma lense. Most importantly, the movie relies on two ingredients that in the end prove a bit useless. We are reliving the story in memory via the male lead as he travels through antarctica. Although it is an interesting metaphor and a captivating landscape, it seems almost entirely unneccesary. We hear him say "you can be clostraphobic and agoraphobic all at the same time, much like the bedroom." Secondly, and most important, the live music is inconsequential, although good. The actual image quality is low, the songs play for too long, the lyrics apply to the narrative not at all, and the bands all flirt with one style (Michael Nyman being the exception). I must say, there is an outstanding version of "Jacqueline" by Franz Ferdinand.

Now let me tell you where the film succeeds. We experience two young, naive, selfish personalities infatuated with one another, and the idea of one another. This is expressed in the most immediate and intimate fashion: SEX. We see two people in the prime of a relationship, in which the most sex is had, and as much as possible, however possible, symbolizing favors, trust, forgiveness, revenge, and all the other facets of a relationship. These scenes also succeed because of their length, the total lack of music, and the director's willingness to let them exist without explanation. Although these two characters are not even particularly likable or explained to us, we end up feeling as if we've shared something very deep with them, solely based on the extent to which we are asked to hang with them throughout the long and graphic and no holds barred sex scenes.

It may seem sick, but by the end, as a graphic fellatio scene ends with actual ejaculation, you have become so acclimatized to this topic, and it being our main source of communication, that there is an almost unspoken dialogue between all parties. Instead of feeling offended, we feel love for the privacy of the moment, for the trust and sharing that happens there. Instead of feeling aroused, we feel compelled by the motives, interested in the roles played and mindful of the moment shared.

By asking that you step into a theater, with total strangers, and watch many graphic sexual encounters, many unexplained and without the usual hollywood ramp-up, you have signed over a certain amount of control and comfort as an audience-member, which in the end, offers a truly unique experience of the "love story". When all is said and done, "Nine Songs" evoked a truly unique and loving response from me, in spite of the fact that as a film, it fails in many areas. I would not say that many films should be made like this, but I would say that it is flirting with a new form of love story that is raw, beautiful and in the end, no matter how many times it fails, honest by the sheer default of it's topic.

Reviewed by Keegan DeWitt

AIM Fight

Monday, July 25, 2005


AIM Fight is a website that lets you go head to head with other AIM users to find out who is more popular. They claim to have a mathematical system that searches through every buddy list currently signed on to find out which name appears on more buddy lists or something like that. You can check out the description at the site. The important thing is, I kicked Keegan, Marc, Brendan and Aaron's ass when I tried it.

Fight!

The Right Price


Jennifer Aniston's ex boyfriend is auctioning off love notes on ebay. That's a bit ridiculous.

hotel lights



In the summer of 2001 I was poking around in the basement of an East Village record story during my lunch break when I bumped into Darren Jessee. I was holding "Green Album" by Weezer and "Amnesiac" by Radiohead, which I'd just found in the used cd section. He was holding a couple of Violent Femmes records (the story was selling of their entire vinyl collection at ridiculously low prices). I'm normally reluctant to say anything to musicians, actors, and other celebrities or quasi celebrities that I see around town. But I felt like Darren Jessee probably never gets recognized in New York City, and I really did genuinally love Ben Folds Five. So I cleared my throat and said "Hey I just wanted to let you know that I really like your music". He thanked me and didn't seem too irritated so I ask him what he was up to now. "Oh I'm just living up here in New York, playing a few shows trying out some songs," he said. I told him, "I'd keep my eyes out for one of his shows". I bought my weezer and radiohead cds and he bought his violent femmes records and we went our seperate ways. A year or so later I saw something about about Darren Jessee playing a solo show in Chapel Hill, but I had class so I couldn't go. That was the last I heard of Darren Jessee until recently, when thanks to my friend Jonny Gillette, I came across Jessee's last project, Hotel Lights. A band Jessee formed with Archers of Loaf drummer Mark Price among others. Jessee writes the songs and plays guitar. The sound is much different than Ben Folds Five. Much sparer, much nearer to Alt Country. They released their self titled debut last fall, although they seem to be without a label presently. Which seems a tad unjust as it feels much more worthy of an audience than Ben Folds saccharine "Songs For Silverman. Click below to visit the Hotel Lights website, or preview the album at cdbaby.com.

hotel lights
preview the album

Extreme Dodgeball

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Make sure you check out this weeks episode of "Extreme Dodgeball" on the Game Show Network because my buddy Greg will be competing along with his New York Bling teammates. That's Greg in the black headband there. He may or may not have won $5,000. The only way you'll find out is if you watch.

If you live in LA, head out to Big Wangs off Cahuenga north of Sunset where all the players will be watching on the big screens. 10pm Eastern, 7pm Pacific.

Posted by Chad

Champeens



The United States beat Panama 3-1 in a penalty shoot out after playing 150 minutes in a scoreless dead heat. It was a hotly contested battle, with both sides looking the better team at certain points, but in the end, Panama could not convert from the spot.

This was the third time the US has won the Gold Cup after also taking the crown in 1991 and 2002. Once again, it was not broadcast on any American station. Oddly enough, its not because they don't like the non-commercial friendly format, because ESPN2 inexplicably decided to show a friendly soccer match between the US women's team and Iceland today at the same time.

US Men in the Gold Cup final or US Women in a non-competetive match against Iceland? Hmmmm.

Posted by Chad

From James Thurber's The Pet Department


Q: No one has been able to tell us what kind of dog we have. I am enclosing a sketch of one of his two postures. He only has two. The other one is the same as this except he faces in the opposite direction. - Mrs EUGENIA BLACK

A: I think that what you have is a cast-iron lawn dog. The expressionless eye and the rigid pose are characteristic of metal lawn animals. And that certainly is a cast-iron ear. You could, however, remove all doubt by means of a simple test with a hammer and a cold chisel, or an acetylene torch. If the animal chips, or melts, my diagnosis is correct.




Q: My husband paid a hundred and seventy-five dollars for this moose to a man in Dorset, Ontario, who said he had trapped it in the woods. Something is wrong with his antlers, for we have to keep twisting them back into place all the time. They're loose. - MRS OLIPHANT BEATTY

A: You people are living in a fool's paradise. The animal is obviously a horse with a span of antlers strapped on to his head. If you really want a moose, dispose of the horse; if you want to keep the horse, take the antlers off. Their constant pressure on his ears isn't a good idea.




Q: Our gull cannot get his head down any farther than this, and bumps into things. - H. L. F.

A: You have no ordinary gull to begin with. He looks to me a great deal like a rabbit backing up. If he is a gull, it is impossible to keep him in the house. Naturally he will bump into things. Give him his freedom.


Posted by Aaron

Blah blah blah



Blah blah blahbetty Lance Armstrong blah blah bleh blah Tour de France blah blah blah blah blegh bleh blah wins blah blah blah blah blah blah again.

Posted by Chad

New Trailers

WALK THE LINE, sadly, looks kind of like a remake of Ray.

Photos of Me for You


I'd say THIS is a cool way to convince someone to marry you.

Ashes On The Highway


David Dondero has an outstanding song off his 2003 release "The Transient". I'm always excited about handclaps. Listen to his song on NPR's site for the best albums of 2003.

Brinkley, Arkansas


NPR provides us with a moving and inspiring compilation of citizen's describing the place they love, with a song that Sufjan Stevens wrote especially for them. At times sad, at times funny, it's a truly unique listen.

LISTEN HERE

Ulysses

Saturday, July 23, 2005


I was just listening to the song "The Falcon" by Ulysses and I thought I should put it on the blog. I knew very little about Ulysses so I thought I should do some research before I posted to give the impression that I knew quite a bit the whole time. The song is from their debut album which is called .010 and was released last October by Eenie Meenie Records.

The band is made up of four members who met in Lexington, Kentucky, the most notable of which is Robert Schneider (of Apples in Stereo and Marbles fame, not Deuce Bigalow and The Animal fame). That's about all I cared to learn because what I already knew was more important, and that is that this song is good.

The Falcon

Posted by Chad

the heartless bastards



The Heartless Bastards "Stairs and Elevators" is my favorite album that didn't make our top ten list. They're a three piece from Dayton, Ohio that plays good old fashioned dirty rock n' roll thats raw and full of energy. Lead singer and guitarist Erika Wennerstrom has a voice that sounds like P.J Harvey meets Patti Smith with a little bit of Robert Plant. If you like rock n' roll check, out 'Onions', one of the standout tracks on the album, or find out more about the band and their label, Fat Possum Records by by clicking on the links below.

listen to 'onions'
the heartless bastards
fat possum records

Discovered too Late

When submitting my top ten list for the collective top ten I left out two deserving albums -- Because I hadn't heard them yet! Now I can set the record straight. I know Brendan is planning to post a list of albums that each individual thinks should have made it, but I think these two albums deserve a post of their own.




The first album is Be by Common. Amazing. I've liked some of his past work, but this is a big leap forward. The album deals with serious issues without being heavy handed. Common's delivery hits the right marks every time. The production on the album is near perfect without being overly slick. And the guest artists pull their own weight. What's not to like? Below is a link to watch the video for "The Corner". You may have already seen it on MTV, but check it out if you haven't.

The Corner




The second album that I neglected is Man-Made by Teenage Fanclub. I avoided it because I was worried that it would be depressing crap from a band that used to be good. Not so. It's slightly hit and miss, but there's some solid stuff here. Plus this is just the kind of thing that appeals to me. Download "It's All in My Mind", maybe it'll appeal to you too.

It's All in My Mind


-Aaron

Some Cities



The latest Doves album came out in the US on March 1st and little has been heard of or from it since. I don't know what it is about this band that people aren't liking, but I see no reason for them not to be at least as popular as Travis or Grandaddy (both of whom in the grand scheme aren't even that popular). For some reason, they're not though and this album spent two weeks on the top 200 album charts and has been gone ever since. There has been lots of talk about best albums of the year so far and this was definitely going to be on my ballot for most overlooked, but now I'm even going to take it up one notch. This is my number one album of the year so far. That's right, better than Coldplay. I can't encourage you enough to go out and buy it.

Take a look below at the two videos they've released for their singles. The "Black and White Town" one got a lot of talk because it was directed by Lynne Ramsay of "Ratcatcher" fame, and it's a fantastic video. The "Snowden" video isn't nearly as good, but the song is better (perhaps my favorite on the record) and it will give you an almost exact idea of what their show was like when Brendan and I saw them last month.

Snowden Video

Black and White Town Video

Posted by Chad

sidney crosby

Friday, July 22, 2005


Sidney Crosby the greatest hockey prospect since Mario Lemieux will be a Pittsburgh Penguin. The Penguins won this afternoons NHL draft lottery, giving them the number one pick in next weeks draft, which they will use to draft Sidney Crosby. Click on the link below to read more.

penguins win right to draft junior phenom

Gold Cup



The United States played a difficult semi-final match against Honduras last night in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Despite being played in New Jersey, most of the 41,000+ crowd was there to support Honduras. And for the first half it seemed like their support was helping. The United States played dismally and in no way resembled the team that had just a few days earlier been ranked number 6th in the world (an all-time peak for the country).

Mario Ivan Guerrero opened the scoring in the 30th minute for Honduras by driving a short range shot low and past Casey Keller. The US went to the locker rooms at half time 1-0 down and looking rough. And the beginning of the second half only started off worse. In the 59th minute, coach Bruce Arena was ejected for disputing a non-call with one of the linesmen. He was forced to watch the rest of the game on TV and pace nervously, awaiting an embarassing defeat.

In a coincidence he will likely downplay, once Arena was gone, the US came much more alive on the field. Four minutes from the final whistle, the US finally took advantage of all their pressure and John O'Brien slotted home the equaliser. With heavy fatigue, the prospect of playing a 30 minute overtime must have seemed too much of a hassle because in the dying seconds Oguchi Onyewu headed in a cross from Landon Donavon and sealed a spot in Sunday's final for the US.



An unconvincing last gasp win, but a win nonetheless and they will now face off against Panama for the Gold Cup. It sounds like a good game, but I wouldn't know because NO AMERICAN CHANNEL BROADCASTED IT! Come on, America! You broadcast darts and billiards, but not the fucking semi-final of the Gold Cup? If they don't have the game on Sunday, I can always catch it on Telemundo.

Posted by Chad

Top Ten Albums of the Year (So Far) Part 2

Here is the second half of GO-GC's collective Top Ten Albums of the Year (So Far). I've listed each album as it's own post so that you can comment on individual albums, if you like. Look for a final post listing our favorite albums that didn't make the cut, tomorrow.

5. M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us



For me this album feels like an epic, soaring ride through the night sky. Like I've been whisked from my bed and am floating above the world. I think it's fantastic. Keegan would be on the very opposite side of the spectrum. He says, "This album garners perhaps TWO tracks worth listening to a year from now. It's fucking over-produced, dramatic, space pop bullshit and it's so PITCHFORK it makes me wanna puke. Sadly, I like this record, but it should be NO WHERE NEAR A TOP TEN LIST. EVER." Marc is a bit more even handed in his assessment. Mr. Ripper thoughtuflly explains that, "although not in my top ten, I'm actually glad this made the list. Made the rounds on my most played on its release but I've kind of forgotten about it It starts strong and dwindles a bit, I feel." Aaron perhaps too busy listening to old That Dog albums has only gotten around to listening to a few tracks, but that doesn't stop him from passionately declaring them "fucking good", and expressing the hope that when he "gets around to listening to the whole thing it holds up". Chad is "surprised how much he liked it". As am I knowing how openly he detests the French. If you care to give a listen to "Saft", then click on the link below to stream it.

stream safe

4. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Matt Sweeney - Superwolf



I always like Will Oldham better in theory than in practice, connecting to several tracks but not his records in their entirity, until his recent "Master and Everyone", which I consider his finest work to date. Previously, I suppose I'd found his arrangements and production so stubbornly sparse and antagonist as to almost keep the listener at an emotional distance. However, "Master and Everyone " was every so slightly warmer, and that was all I needed to really be affected by an entire Oldham album. Superwolf, his collaboration with Mr. Sweeney sees him returning to the darker sound of earlier albums such "I See A Darkness" and "Ease on Down the Road", an interesting twist is the presence of Sweeney who provides the occasional hard guitar. Overall I'd say the album finds a focus and streamlined Oldham venturing into darker more dramatic territory than "Master", but w/ out the detours in indulgence that can found on some of his albums. As I decided to be particularly (and probably unnecessarily) verbose in describing my feelings for this album, it's a good thing that everyone else decided to be relatively brief in their appraisals. Marc simply says, "good stuff" (Marc has also be heard to say this regarding a particularly generously packed bowl, but that's neither here nor there). Aaron offers this assessment "good but not great" (I think several girlfriends had similar things to say about Mr. Katz). Keegan hasn't heard the album but doesn't hesitate to refer Mr. Oldham as "a pimp" (I couldn't agree more). Despite (I believe) having not heard one track from this album, Chad seems to possess a great of vitriol towards it angerly castigating with the bluster of a Fox New commentator, "Fuck Bonnie Prince Billy, Fuck Pitchfork, and Fuck You". I'm not entirely sure who the 'you' is intended for, but it seems unlikely Chad will be listening to this album any time soon. However if you want to click below to hear "My Home Is the Sea", then feel free.

listen to my home is the sea

3. M.I.A. - Arular



This is perhaps the most divisive album on the list. I would admit that I've not been able to listen to the whole thing. I've tried on several occasions but have lost interest. I've heard Galang on LA's Indie 103.1 a few times and while i usually don't change the station I'm not exactly compelled. But, until I hear the whole album I feel like I'd regret offering any sort of opinion beyond what I've already said. For instance last year I heard only a track or two from Kanye West's album, and since I wasn't immediately struck by it, I dismissed it, then later heard the whole thing and realized it was brilliant (and come to think of it wouldn't mind hearing it again). Chad's not afraid to wax hyperbolic dubbing her "the most overrated artist of the millennium". Our reluctance to embrace the album is negated by the praise Keegan, Aaron, and Marc heap upon it. Aaron, aware of the hype tosses aside is reluctant to hop on the bandwagon, but can't help himself. "Fuck it, I like it", he says, "Maybe it's not the greatest thing ever and maybe there is too much hype, but it's a boatload of fun. One of the most enjoyable albums of the year. Marc while a bit disappointed in her live show is equally satisfied by the record, "M.I.A. clearly delivers on this one, out of control good." The most effusive praise is reserved for Mr. Dewitt, who personal list this album topped (he even offers her a bit of career advice). The album "is original, intelligent, sexy and important. if she doesn't sabotage herself, she could be hugely succesful. i can't find the words for how pleasing this record is." Check out several Keegan approved tracks, by clicking the link below , and see what you think.

to preview arulary

2. Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs



I remember looking through some pictures at my grandparents house when I was younger. They were of my parents, aunts, and uncles, probably circa the late 60's early 70's. And wow did they seem embarrassing at the time. Who would ever wear their hair like that I wondered. My god those pants are hideous I thought. The closest I've come (I think) to providing such fodder for my future children, nieces, and nephews was my involvement in the neo-swing movement of the late 90's. Neo-swing, what a bad idea. I would insist that I was a fan of bands like Royal Crown Revue and The Squirrel Nut Zippers, who were creating complicated serious music that owed debt to the swing bands of paste, rather than the cartoony caricatures of swing music like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin' Daddies that briefly flooded the mainstream culture. In any case. There may be some embarrassing pictures. So to do this day I can't listen to the Squirrel Nut Zippers (although they probably never deserved to be lumped in with other 'neo swing' bands) without grimacing a little. I had a similar reaction to early Andrew Bird, when Aaron introduced me to him several years ago (Andrew Bird played in The Squirrel Nut Zippers for a bit). Additionally I felt like his music was style over substance. He was clearly a talented musician. I wasn't questioning his craft, but it seemed like he was perhaps hiding behind this sort of stylized sound swing/jazz sound, afraid to get personal. However, to his great credit Bird has evolved immensely. Moving away from the Zippers nouveau swing to the more original and distinctive sound, that his work now bears. He's stripped away any artifice, recording his last two albums in a barn in Western Illinois with only a few musicians, and so on both stark "Weather Systems" and now on "Mysterious Production of Eggs" we're left primarily with his voice and virtuoso violin work. It's exciting to watch an artist mature and evolve. In fact this the one album that we seem to universally like. Marc loves Weather Systems and thinks that "he'll have much trouble topping that album as it may just be one of the top ten best albums ever (Marc provides us with our daily dose of hyperbole) however, he does a bang up job trying." It seems this one album Aaron has heard has confidently throws done this assessment " What we have here is my favorite album of the year so far. Andrew Bird has been great since the beginning, but it's still amazing how much his sound has evolved. I think he's also grown as a performer. I've seen him a few times now and last time I was blown away. In any case, this is the only album I feel really strongly about that's come out this year." Keegan too is a fan declaring the album to be "Outstanding. Patient, beautiful, subtle and the fulfillment of a huge amount of talent." Finally, one wonders what does Chad think? Chad while he would probably prefer to be listening to the Doves is willing to concede that this album is "good stuff". So is this album indeed fantastic. Listen to "Sovay" the albums second track, by clicking on the link below.

listen to sovay

1. Sufjan Stevens - Come On Feel The Illinoise



When I have to make lists of what music I like, I tend to base it largely on what I've listened to the most as I feel like that's the most honest way to assess how i feel. So that I'm not swayed by what I think I should like, or what I wish I liked. Based on that criteria. Sufjan Steven's new album is my clear cut number one album of the first half of the year. Marc agrees, as it tops his list as well. Marc is a Sufjan Stevens fan of such passion that he'll not hesitate to correct anyone who mispronounces his first name. So when he says "Best one yet." It's not to be taken lightly. He continues "Unlike Coldplay, Sufjan seems a sure thing to not disappoint. Shows us he could write about anything and make it soar with tracks like John Wayne Gacy, Jr. This album is clearly #1 in 2005 without a fight, and I just don't see anything on the horizon contending to take its place. Keegan has mostly praise for it as well "This album signals the only songwriter to really take a brave step into the larger shoes of an elliot smith type. This album eclipses ALL his others, is worth a thousand listens, and is timeless, despite the fact that the instrumental interludes are too many and too long." For reason they don't specifically articulate Aaron and Chad, are to varying degrees a bit less enthusiastic about this one. Aaron offers this, "Yeah, yeah. Sufjan Stevens. I don't know what to say about this. It is good and I did vote for it as my second favorite of the year, but fuck, it's not THAT good. I find myself skipping around to a few songs when I listen to it. I think I've listened to it as an album only once. This deserves to be on a top ten list for sure, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable if it was number 8 or 9." So Aaron feels uncomfortable with it topping the list. Chad must really feel uncomfortable with it being perched at number one as he has this to say,"If you guys stopped fighting over who got to suck Sufjan's dick for five seconds you'd realize the album is just alright". Well Chad I think this album is more than alright. For me this is the one album I've heard all year that's not afraid to think big. That said Sufjan Stevens is at his biggest and best when he writes songs that are simple, personal, and narrative, that take advantage of his talent as a writer of prose, it's then that you feel his heart is really in it, that he really means it. Songs such as "Casimir Pulaski Day" about a girl dying of bone cancer or "The Predatory Wasp". Even in his larger more sprawling songs such as "Chicago" the moments that resonate the most are the personal details he adds such as the line " I was crying the van". The albums not perfect. I'd agree with Keegan that there's too much filler. I think Stevens sometimes has a tendency to be a little cute, as he demonstrates with coordinated outfits he and his band member out fits insist on wearing during his live shows. But this is a big, bold, grand, sweeping, moving record, and it deserves to be celebrated. Click on the link below to listen to "Casimir Pulaski Day".

listen to casimir pulaski day

Me Read Book #1


I read. A lot. The written word is the only drug as titillating to me as the reefers. Thusly, after devouring a book I'm normally left with potential geyser of thoughts that lays rumbling inside like a demon. Every now and then I'll unleash the demon:

NOTE: If you find that, after reading said review, you too which to trapse across the well-worn pages, just drop me a line. I love forcing my tastes onto unsuspecting folks, hence my contributions to this blog.


Today's book: Last of the Donkey Pilgrims by Kevin O'Hara

Back in 1979 a Vietnam vet hippie felt lost. He held American and Irish citizenship (not unlike Hairyass Haritgan) yet didn't feel any real connection with either culture. Leaving his wife back in the states he went to to visit family when he stumbled upon the idea of "dragging an ass around the ring". What followed was a counter-clockwise, year-long trek across Ireland with nothing more than a cart and a lovable donkey named Missy McDermitt.

For the most part the book is a breezy travelogue and love letter to the Ould Sod. O'Hara was a bartender so his writing skills aren't exemplary but it's difficult to not get wrapped up in the atmosphere he inhabits along his way. He doles out tidbits of Irish history succinctly but at times these bits seemed forced. The true gems are the people of Eire, which is really the focus of the book. He tries to implement as much of the history of the land by visiting historic sights but it's difficult to gain a better idea of a country by describing ruins. The book comes alive as night falls on each evening as most of the time Mr. O'Hara has no idea where he'll be sleeping. He plugs along at a pace that averages about 5 miles a day, delighting youngsters and ending up drinking with locals. The tales he's told by the firesides of Ireland are worth their weight in potatoes.

Overall it's a light, enjoyable book that will make you yearn for less hatred- and terror-filled days. O'Hara is embraced by the country and welcomed wherever he goes, leaving the reader with a warm feeling in the pit of the tummy. This may also be from the several pints of Guiness that go exuisitely well with the book. You know what, from now on, when I review a book, I'll also tell you what drink goes best with it, if for no other reason than I'm a raging alcoholic.

Through the glimpses into all that made up the storied past of Ireland, you get a sense of patriotism that isn't so scary. You also get a better idea of the Irish than you would by watching the bad guy from Charlie's Angels II: Full Throttle.

**originally posted by Smizzy Clizzy

Ouch



17 year old American diver Chelsea Davis hits her face today at the World Swimming Championship in Australia. Kudos to the photographer who was totally on the ball and got this shot.

-Chad

Racial Profiling and Freedom of Opinion

I'm having a hard time responding to the extreme reaction I've received due to my "You Can't Descriminate When Your Dead" post. I have plenty of opinions and emotions regarding the length to which people have gone to express their anger. All I will say is that I view the post as an expression of an emotion at the time, not a political statement, and I have little taste or patience for political debate, especially within this blog. I appreciate everyone's willingness to comment on the post, I don't, however, enjoy the collateral reactions and the use of the post to grandstand politically. Most importantly, I just wanted to say that I meant it as a quick expression of frustration, and should have not stepped into political territory. I, personally, will not approach political topics in the future in the blog, because I don't have any interest in debating them. I feel dissapointed in the purpose of the blog currently, because initially, for me, it was a means to express funny little emotions I would experience throughout the day. This post has proved that no longer a possibility. That is dissapointing and makes me question the purpose. I never wanted a blog of simply politics, or reviews or such. I wanted it to continue as an expression of personal quirkiness and taste. I guess, in theory, political agendas could be perceived as that, but they hold no interest to me.

Sadly, I feel this brings me to a point where my interest is no longer in the blog. I have enjoyed the ride and look forward to where it may end up.

Signing off

--Keegan DeWitt

Summer Anthems

LFO. Nada Surf. Primitive Radio Gods. These three bands have something in common, and it's not that they all rock my Livin' in the 90s CD from Time-Life Records. They all had hits that were infectious enough to bore into the cultural collective for a brief respite during the long, languid days of summer.

Which leads me, inevitably, to ask: what's your summer anthem? It could be that track you can't stop repeating on your iPod for this current vernal timeslot, or just a old favorite, perhaps the song that was playing at sleepaway camp back in the summer of '93 when you kissed a boy (Aaron).

For me and mine, this summer I've rediscovered The Boss. My parents are seeing him 20 rows close this Sunday which makes me insanely jealous, but then again, I do not hold music so dearly as the rest of the authors do.

My summer anthem for 2005: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen.

What's yours?

By the way: kudos to Brendan "Cauliflower" McFadden for being the first person to ever post a comment about one of my entries. That simple act caused me to change my gay joke above from the Fads to Katz.

**Originally posted by Smizzy Clizzy

Google Moon

If you've been blessed with the efficiency of using google maps for all your travels, you'll be interested to know that Google Moon is now in place (someplace you will probably never go) and they have NASA landings marked, although it mostly just looks like a lot of gray terrain with some craters here and there. That's the moon for ya! For a special surprise, zoom all the way in on any place on the map. To view it (or plan a destination), click here.

--marc

Tallarico: Lord Among Men



If you've seen Aziz Ansari Punched A Wall, Aziz's amazing show at UCB where he tells the story of lost love, leading to serious inconvenience and injury, you know about Tommy Tallarico. Tallarico is a composer for VIDEO GAMES and his message board features prominently in Aziz's routine. Anyhow, I thought some of you might like to take a look. Tallarico offers love advice like no other. And obviously, go see the show, Aziz's that is, on the 30th. I just might be there, and I'll drag Aaron and Marc for a second time as well.

False Charges


Andy Roddick is shooting an AMEX commercial at the hotel today. Maybe I should have Aaron come down and ask him if this is really his penis.

Another Gripe


Also let me toss a stick of dynamite Terrel Owen's way. Recently, TO has said that his current SIX YEAR and 49 MILLION DOLLAR deal with the Eagles, get this... isn't good enough to feed his family. He's also said that if Philadelphia doesn't want to just ignore the fact that they currently have him under contract and pay him more, he'll demand a trade or figure out a buy-out scenario. "It doesn't bother me, When it all boils down to it, I'm doing what's best for my family. Not to stir anything up, but I don't really have to play for the Eagles, to be honest. I can go play with any other team and still be productive.

You Can't Discriminate When You're Dead


Today is the first full day of random bag searches for anyone riding New York area transit. This morning, I see the news interviewing all these people complaining about racial profiling. Can I simply say this: fuck off. Seriously, New Yorkers spend so much time arguing just for the sake of arguing. Can we just search the bags please, and as many as possible in a timely fashion. EVEN IF the cops were racially profiling people, who gives a fuck, lets just make sure they search EVERYBODY. Granted, as has been said by the lovely Kim Stefans, I am a douchey white boy, but I still would rather there be rampant racial profiling (even though there won't be) than have someone bomb the L train as I ride in it under the east river. Feel me? I love all people, and sure, I'd love to dance with them like I'm in a coke commercial on a hillside, but I also would like people to stop wasting my time with this Political Point-Counterpoint, all while they are shooting suicide bombers on subway platforms in London.

--Keegan