Thursday, December 20, 2007

Albums of the year

By no means is this meant to be some professional critic’s list but rather simply my list of the albums I enjoyed the most over the course of the past year. Enjoy.

Daft Punk “Alive 2007”

Some of you may remember my raving on about the Daft Punk show I saw in Vegas back in October. This is the reason why. This was taken from a show they did in Paris in June and it will rock your pants off. It's layer upon layer of the thickest beats and sleaziest breaks only the best in the business could deliver. From atop a glowing pyramid. Between “Touch it/Technologic” and the 10-minute freakout of “Prime time of your life/Brainwasher/Rollin’ & scratchin’/Alive’” and the wicked show-closer “Human/Together/One more time/Music sounds better with you”, it’s the best thing I heard this year. Seriously. Check this:

Radiohead “In Rainbows”
The boys dust off the guitars, lose the skittering and rediscover emotions other than paranoia. And record some of the best songs of their career. Even the distribution broke new ground.

Kings of Leon “For the Times”

From “Knocked Up” right on down through “Arizona”, there wasn't a bad one in the bunch. This album was easily the best southern album of the year. Unless you count Band of Horses.

Band of Horses “Cease to Begin”
The Band moves from Seattle home to Charleston and records another stunner of an album about ghosts and oceans and unseasonably warm weather and love gone right and wrong. Stellar. Hearing a lot of these songs last summer at the Hollywood Bowl helped.

Modest Mouse “We were dead before the ship even sank”
Wow. I listened to this one non-stop during the early part of the spring as I was hatching my plan to escape from Atlanta. The one-two punch of “Parting of the sensory” and “Missed the boat” was for me the best of the year. And "Fire it up."

Panda Bear “Person Pitch”

I bought this album the week I got to LA during a trip to Amoeba as the summer was kind of beginning and it captured it all in song. “Bros” may be my single of the year.

Arcade Fire “Neon Bible”
During my aforementioned “escape from Atlanta” this album was like the light above my bed. I must have listened to it 100 times during at least as many runs around as many blocks as it all came down.

Amy Winehouse “Back to Black”
Like most Americans I heard her name sometime last spring and as soon as I heard her voice, I was hooked. And like everyone, I hope she cleans it up because I wanna hear more of it.

Spoon “Ga-ga-ga-ga-ga”
The Austin boys make the album of their career with more great songs like “Black like me”, “Eddie’s Ragga”, and the incomparable “My little Japanese cigarette case.” Wall-to-wall stellarness.

Battles "Mirrored"
Most of you probably won't notice I slipped this into the list after initially publishing of the original list. But this one is good. They're like the Daft Punk of rock and roll. Math rock? Whatever it is, it rocks.

Britney Spears “Blackout”
Just kidding. That bitch is whack.

The Good, the Bad and the Queen “The Good, the Bad and the Queen”
My man, Damon Albarn, rounds up the best in the bidness and makes the album we’d all been dreaming about. Here’s hoping that’s not a one-off project ‘cause I think they were just getting started.

LCD Soundsystem “Sound of Silver”
I bought this album the day it came out and heard “Get Innocuous.” That was it for me. “All my friends” ended up being my favorite song on the album but they all rocked.

Honorable Mentions:

Andrew Bird “Armchair Apocrypha”
Oddly beautiful. Same story about seeing him at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Shout out Louds “Our Ill Wills”
Swedishly beautiful

Interpol “Our love to admire”
Claustrophobically beautiful

Wilco “Sky Blue Sky”
Mellowly beautiful

Feist “The Reminder”
Liltingly beautiful

M.I.A. “Kala”
Worldly beautiful

The National “Boxer”
Melancholy-ly beautiful

Ryan Adams “Easy Tiger”
Sadly beautiful

Arctic Monkeys “Favourite Worst Nightmare”
Rockingly beautiful

Justice “Cross”
Frenchly beautiful

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I was no math major, but....

Forgetting for a minute the system-wide train wreck that is the Spears family, am I the only one who’s been reading all this news about Britney Jr. and been all like “hey, didn't it use to be some sort of illegal something or another for a 19 year old to have sex with a 16 year old?” Maybe there's been some changes in the law. Or maybe kids really are growing up faster these days.

But of course they’re both white and not that poor black kid in Atlanta who spent a couple years in jail for a similar misstep. But still. Whatever keeps you in the good graces of the church, I suppose. Speaking of...

My favorite part of this whole thing has to be how Lynn Spear's book on good parenting is getting’ the ol’ heave-ho as a result of her…how should I put this…less than stellar parenting. Gee, you've got one daughter who's frikkin' insane and now the other's knocked up at 16. Do tell, Lynn, what is your secret to raising such fine Southern girls?

Ooops, indeed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pork Barrel

While this picture isn't necessarily the reason I won't be voting for Mike Huckabee, it's certainly not helping.

Matching shirts? You gotta be kidding me. Only in Arkansas, kids. Only in Arkansas.

However, his son's appearance does beg the question about his recent gun-packing incident: was the gun purposely concealed or just merely lost on his person?


And for kicks, here are some outtakes of titles for this post:

Outside the beltway.

Reaching across the aisle.

Big Government.

No Child Left Unfed.

The Digestive Branch.

Log Cabin Republican Syrup.

Belly Surplus.




I (heart) Applebee’s.

Grand Ole Son.

And just to take the gloves off a little more, "floating cross" or not, what's up with the Huckster's left eye?

Is it a crafty play to always be looking to the right? Merely a misalignment? Looking out for his son? Hard to say.

Discuss again.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A box of tampons and some Marlboro Lights

Despite only being like ten years old, this song has pretty much become a holiday tradition back home in Texas. Some of you have probably heard it. It’s called “Merry Christmas from the family.” It’s funny and yet it’s a solid little tune with a fun little chorus. And Robert Earl Keen’s just a good dude and a Texas original so you can’t go wrong there.

Of course my family is perfect but I understand there are a few that aren’t. This is a song about one of those.

Almost makes you wanna crack a Shiner. Should you wanna buy it for some crazy reason, buy the "Live No. 2 Dinner" version. It's the best.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hey, hey, what can I do?

Perhaps I was wrong or a little harsh on the Led Zeppelin reunion show yesterday. Lord knows I've been wrong before. After all, I wasn't there. David Fricke was. I tend to trust his opinion.
The Rolling Stone Review

Who am I kidding? I'd totally go see 'em if they ever came to town.


"I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war...I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East and encourage the worst, rather than the best, impulses of the Arab world and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Queda. I am not opposed to all wars. I am opposed to dumb wars."

Any idea who might have said such a thing in Chicago on October 2, 2002?

It was the junior Senator from Illinois.

Stay tuned...

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's been a long time...

I gotta admit that I'm not one to get too worked up about a reunion show. If there's one thing that makes for a rockin' good live show it's years of playing together night in and night out. Not taking 27 years off and then hoping it comes together like it's 1975 at the Garden again. Without the suspicious fifth member in Robert Plant's pants, of course.

Pink Floyd, The Police, Van Halen—it's been a big few years for the reunion tour. But I still think some things are best left as they were. I mean, if you wanna see Zep at their peak pop-in "The Song Remains the Same", I say. But it's still kind of exciting to see them lace 'em up again. So like everyone, I was curious to see what tonight would bring.

Here, directly from the NME website (with their notes, not mine), is what the 2007 version of Led Zeppelin played tonight at the O2 Arena in London:

'Good Times Bad Times'
'Ramble On'
'Black Dog'
'In My Time Of Dying'
'For Your Life'
'Trampled Under Foot'
'Nobody's Fault But Mine'
'No Quarter'
'Since I've Been Loving You'
'Dazed And Confused'
'Stairway To Heaven'
'The Song Remains The Same'
'Misty Mountain Hop'
'Whole Lotta Love'
'Rock And Roll'

Some weird choices in there—like "For your life" and "In my time of dying." It sounded like it was good but I'd argue probably not as good as a few lads who still bring down houses around the world to this very day. A few guys by the names Jagger, Richards, Wood and Watts.

I'm just sayin'.

And all apologies for taking a few days off from these pages but work's been a bit bananas lately and when it hasn't I've been relaxing and not catching up on my Christmas shopping. Which reminds me, I need to get on that bidness.

Like now.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Memo from the Ice Breaker's marketing department to the Ice Breaker's product development department

So, yeah. How should we put this? You made a product that looks like bags of coke. Or crack. Or heroin. Or other stuff we probably don't want to be associated with.

Please revise.

Thank you.

(P.S. yeah, this product really exists)