Sunday, November 30, 2008

I've Been Swayed by the Cool (And Procrastination)

So I took down my Thanksgiving post because i couldn't stand looking at the guys face anymore(thanks Pitchfork!.) So here is a link to Flying Lotus' "Parisian Goldfish" video, aka, the greatest thing ever(it still contains flashing lights and is super nsfw):"Parisian Goldfish". Other than that not much is new around here. Kanye is growing on me, Quantam of Solace was awesome, and I continue to digitally wear out Gaslight Anthem's '59 Sound. Don't expect to see many updates in the next week or two though, because I have an outrageous amount of homework due this week, and then finals... so this should be fun.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Brief Possibility of my Favorite Albums of 2008(update)

So the year is winding down and magazines and such are making their year-end lists which got me thinking about what albums I have liked this year. Here is a list of albums in contention that I could remember with help from wikikipedia. They are in "qwerty" order (seriously) because I started off the narrowing process by typing letters into strereogum's "gummy" nomination page. Please let me know if you think there is anything I missed, by omission, or that I may not have given a chance.

Wale - A Mixtape About Nothing
Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
Radiohead - In Rainbows
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
The Game - L.A.X.
The Gaslight Anthem - '59 Sound
T.I. - Paper Trail
TV On the Radio - Dear Science
Islands - Arm's Way
Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
She & Him - Volume 1
Sun Kil Moon - April
Destroyer - Trouble in Dreams
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
GZA - Pro Tools
Kanye West - 808's & Heartbreak
Land of Talk - Some Are Lakes
Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Back Milk - Tronic
Back Mountain - In the Future
N.E.R.D. - Seeing Sounds
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
Kid CuDi - A Kid Named CuDi
Update: I forgot Drive By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark. (whoops)
And here are a few albums yet to come out that I don't want to knock out of contention:

Common - Universal Mind Control
EPMD - We Mean Business
Justice - A Cross the Universe

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some Thoughts While Digesting Kanye and GnR

Well I am apparently Greg Peck today, listening to Guns N' Roses and playing online poker. But besides that I just wanted to put out my initial thoughts of 808's & Heartbreak before I (hopefully) write a full-fledged review of it.

- For the most part it sounds good, not necessarily saying that it is good. The production is pretty solid and I like the sound Kanye is going for. For the most part. There are some missteps so far. On the Glow in the Dark Tour and at Lollapalooza Kanye loved belnding songs together by way of extended outros and interludes. This was alright, but somewhat frustrating live, mostly because i just wanted to hear the next song. These outros show up in a couple of occasions on 808's. Now, he has done this before, Late Registration in particular, but there is a difference here. On Late Registration, the songs were layered with strings, drums, horns and anything Kanye and Jon Brion wanted to throw in there. They were well orchestrated and lush. The outro at the end of "Say You Will" is just 808's some "Exit Music"esque vocals and those pong noises. These aren't very interesting to hear on their own for a minute if they never change.

-The singing. I am not going to talk shit about the singing because it's not the point of the album. Kanye has said he just loved using the Autotune, and he didn't want to stop so he made a whole album. The only times I ahve a problem is when I hear his voice and wish someone else was signing. This realy hit me today while listening to the new "Robocop" with the strings supposedly added by Herbie Hancock(?!). Kanye's voice does not sound right with the strings. Even with the Autotune he sounds like he's in a different key or something than the strings. I could only imagine how much better it would sound if a talented singer was singing that. Kind of had the same feeling with "Street Lights" but I like that song.

-Finally, a thought I should probably save for my review if I want it to be good, but I don't want to forget my point.

In his review of Chinese Democracy for the A.V. Club, Chuck Klosterman, a writer I still like at his most grating, and whom I a aspire to be at his best, talked about how the album was maybe the last of it's format(CD) to have this feeling of anticipation. That the new age of leaks and the fact people have been waiting fifteen years to hear this album give it a feeling of anticipation that is not common in the music industry anymore. I feel as though 808's represents the antithesis of that opinion. Before the whole album leaked, nine out of eleven tacks had leaked individually. Now Kanye claims to have been responsible for a few of those, but I am not totally sure I buy that. The point of Kanye leaking the songs appears to me to be a way of getting initial reaction from listeners and making changes from there. Hence why I have four different version of Love Lockdown on my hard drive and the song was only introduced to my ears two or three months ago. It seems as though Kanye doesn't care about the sense of anticipation due to his outrageous pursuit of perfection. He wants people, all people, to think what he is doing to be the best. I think that hurts the final product. It all feels too calculated. That was the problem with Late Registration, and at this point in time it seems as though that will be the problem for me with 808's & Heartbreak. I think the opposite is what made College Dropout a classic, and still so fun to listen to. There was clearly a genius behind it, and that man had some tracks he wanted to say a whole lot and be important("Jesus Walks.") But there was also a sense of fun in tracks like "Workout Plan" and less of an ego on tracks like "Two Words" where he does not spit the best verse, and maybe even the worst. It appears as though that will never happen again on a Kanye CD. In his current state of mind he cannot allow anyone, at anytime, appear to be at all better than him. Which is good for driving himself, but he can't always be the best. This is something I have just come to realize. Up until very recently I admired his bull-headedness because it defined him. Now I think it is a little ill-conceived, and it is also probably what has led to him being so depressed now. He puts way too much pressure on himself. If he went back to having fun while making great music I think the product will improve and he won't talk about how "lonely it is at the top" and suicide or whatever.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The end of an Era

So someone (John Galligan) asked me to write about the end of TRL, and I will oblige. TRL is a show that now means absolutely nothing to me. Everytime I watch it there seems llike less and less music, plus Damien is a total douche bag. But once upon a time TRL was basically what determined what I thought was cool. I was a fourth grader who had spent his entire life listeneing to oldies/classic rock radio and my parents did not want me to watch MTV. Then they finally let me come home after school without anyone else at home, and I discovered TRL. I thought Carson Daly was the shit at the time. I wanted to host a show that showed all of the coolest songs andhad all of the hottest artists on. Without TRL I probably would have never heard "The Bum Bum Song" or Korn, and the "Freak on a Leash" video basically changed my life. However, even as I hit middle school Igot sick of the fact that they didn't show the whole video and I also realized Carson was a douche.

I realized this around the time Carson started calling Kid Rock "Bob" like they wre fucking best friends and they weren't on tv. But they were on tv, and I doubt they are best friends. Soon I realized TRL sucked and I stopped watching it. Now, I basicaly look back at the couple of years I watched TRL and loved it. New NSync, Britney Spears and all those other 90's pop groups videos basically led what I listened to. But now I realize that what I listened to was deterined by a large group of teenage girls, and that is too bad, because I stil love some of those songs. So in closing I will remember TRL as a show that was great for a couple years of my life, and I'll love it for that, but in all actuality scuked

Monday, November 17, 2008

Killer Parties Almost Killed Me (Again)

I drove to Michigan City and hopped a train to Chicago on Friday for a couple of reasons but the one that made it happen was The Hold Steady. The other was a fantastic addition in my brother who had never listened to either THS or Drive0By-Truckers the other band there. IT was great to spend time with him and also great that he enjoyed a show that he had no connection to.

Now to the show. I am familiar with DBT, but not a huge fan. I like Brighter than Creations Dark enough, but I am not super familiar with their catalog. They did however put on a great show, playing with more energy than I think I was expecting. They skipped over a lot of Patterson Hoods slower, more alt-country songs from the new album in turn for more up-tempo numbers probably because they want to keep the audience energized knowing what THS can do onstage. I was happy about this because I was pretty drunk and basically just wanted to bang out. Which I did. My drunkenness did force me to take a potty break during DBT's set however which caused me to miss most of my favorite song of theirs, "Carl Perkins Cadillac."

This was the third time I've seen THS live, and I think this was the best one I've seen. Less assholes pushing forward and trying to mosh instead of just jumping around, and more people just severely into the music. I mean, here is the set list I ganked from the message boards:
Massive Nights
Constructive Summer
Multitude of Casualties
Stuck Between Stations
The Swish
You Can make Him Like You
Navy Sheets
Banging Camp
Chips Ahoy
Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night
Stevie Nix
You Gotta Dance
Milkcrate Mosh
Stay Positive
Sequestered in Memphis
Lord, I'm Discouraged
Don't Let Me Explode
Slapped Actress

Your Little Hoodrat Friend (w/ DBT)
Chillout Tent (w/ DBT)
Burning For You (w/ DBT)
Ride On (w/ DBT)
Let There Be Rock (w/ DBT)
Killer Parties (w/ DBT)

It was fucking intense. Last time there was a lot from Almost Killed Me, which was okay, but I enjoyed this shows slant towards new songs and Seperation Sunday, their best album in my opinion. The guys of course looked like they were having ablast, with Craig FInn even telling a story about how DBT caused him to start THS and how they just wanted to drink beers and make music. Well they do a lot more than that. Finn's tales of boys and girls in America and all of their messed up little teenage lives can strike chords with any person who has had any issues, even if none of them are as bad as the Hallelujah's or Gideon's. They are outrageously compelling stories that you won't find in any other band. They clearly resonate with fans as well because of how many people scream along with Finn (ahem, myself) at the shows. Everyone around me by the end of the show was a huge fan and was just having ablast, and I wish I could go back.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Holy Shit!

(via videogum)

I mean, well, wow. I usually don't see videos and feel the need to post it here, but this just blew my mind. First of all, how does a person over the age of 15 not know presidents can only serve two terms? I mean, I know all people don't receive the education I have been privileged to have but...c'mon. I don't feel bad for this guy exactly, but for how badly the educational system apparently failed him. I would have never thought a person like this could even exist, someone this ignorant about the voting process actually voting, but apparently they do. I can only hope there are not many more people like this out there. If there are...please don't try and vote, just sit at home.

I mean, This seriously bummed me out, and I have been in a great fucking mood the past two days for obvious reasons. I got a not-so-good test score back but then I got home and watched a much happier video of Barack's acceptance speech and I was giddy for the next, I don't know, 12 hours which put us to right now. It may not help I am writing a paper I don't want to, but this is just pissing me off. Congratulations guy, you may be the worst.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Open Letter to Eminem

Dear Marshall,

I hear you have a new album coming out. That's great bud, I haven't from you in a little while. Hopefully the time off has done you well. I know alot of people take time off to look back and reflect, and I really hope you did that. Because honestly, I don't think anyone wants you to make another album like the last two. But that's besides the point, I have faith. Deep down we both know that you are a spectacular rapper.

I also hear your producing most with some new friends including DJ Premier. Awesome. I also hear your hooking up with some other old friends, Dr. Dre, maybe even Royce Da 5'9" which would be great. People all across the country are going to be listening to this album and putting Royce, an old friend, and also a fellow Detroiter on the album would easily help boost him, as well as the city you are from up. From there, there is only one thing that I can ask of you.

Please put at least one, maybe more Black Milk beats on the disc. We don't need him rapping yet, because he is not up to your high abilities, but there is not a better young producer out right now. If you still care about your city and it's music scene, put Black Milk on the disc. It isn't a stretch to say that the beats will be fire. He will realize the opportunity handed to him and run with it. So while finishing up your next classic, Em, please think of Detroit and it's young talent.

Kevin Mason Doby

Yes We Did

It's going to be a great day

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day, What it Do

Welcome, I voted a couple weeks ago, but today is a big day so I thought I'd post something at least. Hoping Barack can pull through, that would be pretty clutch. Also, after one listen, "Any Way" by Kanye is catchy as shit. Glad to see CuDi is on the record like he said. Other than that, haven't been listening to a bunch of new stuff. Been digging Tronic, the production is pretty crazy. I personally love how Black Milk mixes up the ellectronic style that it appears he was going for, but still used live sounding drum kits. That comes off real well on record.
Also, in honor of Halloween, watched the movie "Suspiria" directed by Dario Argento over the weekend. It was the kind of "horror" movie I enjoy, scary via suspense instead of torture-porn. It still felt trapped in the "horror" genre though, which granted is pretty tough to transcend. That movie and Rotten Tomatoes' list of the best reviewed horror movievs only made me realize why "The Shining" is my favorite horror movie of all time.

To me, "The Shining" does transcend the genre at least in some bits. The cinematography and mis-en-scene is pretty similar in most horror flicks. More shaky cameras, close-ups and such to try and show the fear. The most effective shots in "The Shining" are the exact opposites. The medium to long tracking shots are absolutely beatiful. The Steadicam and gorgeous set design is something that is not present in any other horror movie I have ever seen. "The Shining" uses lots of bright colors in these shots (also not in most horror films, lots of grey) and follow the characters around. These shots expand the feeling of isolation that you know the characters are feeling.Add onto that the fact that the movie is suspensful, scary, and throws a little gross-out in there as well, but never too much.