Saturday, December 22, 2007

november notes and recommendations

honestly, kind of a disappointing month...if it weren't for the avett brothers I might not have bothered with a november post at all.

*the avett brothers, "emotionalism": really beautiful folky harmonized nostalgic melodies. hints of neutral milk hotel and augie march. one of the things I like about this album is the use of second vocal melodies that are actually different melody lines, not just harmonized lines. there's also something remarkably genuine about this album/this group.

bear in heaven "red bloom of the boom": some 70s confusion, kind of reminds me of earth opera with its randomness. after a few listens, it starts to make more sense, but I don't think you'll ever have an "aha" moment where you really get what's going on in this album.

burial, "untrue": I'm sort of confused by this album. I think the first 4 minutes of it are great, and then after that, there are no more surprises. can someone explain to me what is supposedly so great about this album?

*Efterklang "parades": this group reaches actual musical composition and with the horns and strings, reminds me of sufjan stevens. this one's a bit of a deviation from their last album - a bit more evolved, but I couldn't really explain in what way. think richard einhorn's voices of light - only more calm and melancholy.

georgie james "places": sort of going for a new pornographers "power pop" thing here (catchy, upbeat). but the only good songs are the female-sung ones, which remind me of camera obscura.

disappointed by this month:
bonnie "prince" billy & the grizzly bear ep

Sunday, November 25, 2007

goodbye quincy.

quincy: Feb. 18, 1998 - Nov. 22, 2007. (sorry, no photo). best dog ever. it's total crap that dogs don't live as long as humans.

Monday, November 19, 2007

october album notes and recommendations

beirut "the flying club cup": as always, beirut makes me feel like I should be wandering down a european brick road, overhearing street musicians and music from cafes.

* bon iver "for emma, forever ago": you've got to let this sink in a bit, it doesn't take on the first spin. but really, it's worth it to play it a few times. he may be using cliche chord progressions, but geeze, he does it well. best listened to when inexplicably depressed or missing someone.

chromatics "night drive": slow 80s dance music. the title of the album is actually amazingly appropriate.

* phosphorescent, "pride": if the music on this album assumed a tangible form, it would either be wind or a rocking chair. I just mean, the album exudes a kind of nuanced, calm, peaceful movement like wind. kind of reminds me of iron and wine.

**radiohead "in rainbows": ah, yes. and just in case you've forgotten, this is what professionals sound like. LOVE IT.

saturday looks good to me "fill up the room": review to come; I haven't gotten my hands on it yet.

scott walker "and who shall go to the ball? and what shall go to the ball?": so the question is, where do compositions that are a cross between contemporary-classical and indie-avante guarde-experimental fit in? I stuck down O'rourke's 52 minute work several months ago...and this 4 movement work seems to fit in the same non-category category...but, I actually enjoyed this one. is it because rather than one exasperatingly long piece, it's broken down into 4 movements? maybe.

sir richard bishop "polytheistic fragments": meditative. I wouldn't really be recommending this album, except for the spanish guitar/latin music influences, which are great. the pentatonic uses, I could do without (mainly because I admittedly just don't really understand them).

stereo total, "paris-berlin": this music is great fun, if a bit formulaic. no idea what they're saying, but who cares? images that come to mind: super mario brothers, french people in tokyo, and hello kitty. I think you need only listen to a few songs at a time, otherwise it's sort of like sensory overload (you know: seizure inducing)

sunset rubdown "random spirit lover": more of the same from Krug, but good nonetheless.

* the deadly syndrome "the ortolan": ballad type songs, good balance of instruments. nostalgic. this is a really really great first album - I can't wait to hear their next. and yes, ok, they do sound a bit like arcade fire at times, but they are good in their own right.

the mabuses "mabused": pop/rock/blues/70s music/lots of other stuff. layers of instrument lines, but without getting messy. and after a 13 year silence. really, an enjoyable album.

most disappointing this month:
band of horses "cease to begin"

Friday, November 16, 2007

people 7

"what I mean to say is...."
"for example..."
"well, have you considered...?"
"hm..I hadn' thought of...."
why are you taking pictures of me?

Monday, November 12, 2007

some AACMers at the velvet lounge, november 9th

P.S. rumor has it the jazz showcase will re-open in the spring in printers row.

Monday, November 5, 2007

halloween reflections

now that the halloween festivities are over, I wanted to announce my favorite costume for this year: the woodmen building. yes, someone showed up as the second tallest building in omaha - and claimed he got it at a mall in Florida...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

recent recommendations

movies: I recommend the darjeeling limited, but rushmore is still THE BEST wes anderson film.

books: I recommend white noise by don delillo, but not manhattan transfer by dos passos (despite what greil marcus says).

life: I recommend reducing your spending significantly, unless purchasing ridiculous plastic halloween figures for your yard. especially figures of the decapitated sort. to be left up year-round.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

bob dylan at the qwest center; 10/26

listening to bob dylan's music reminds me that 1) the harmonica is the best instrument ever and 2) I'm only skipping along the surface. (sorry about the blurriness - it was a hasty effort at the threat of being escorted out for having violated the "no camera" rule. boo)

Friday, October 26, 2007

new home; before and after images

it's amazing what a bit of paint and some furniture can do. not completely done unpacking and setting up, but I'm tired of hearing some of you people bug me for pictures (ahem, aubrey).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

realized today

1. the line between childhood and adulthood isn't as clear as I had expected it would be

2. there is way more external (i.e. friendships, location, etc) continuity between childhood and adulthood than I thought there would be, and way less internal (i.e. definition of self) continuity between childhood and adulthood than I thought there would be.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

september album notes and recommendations

broken social scene presents kevin drew "spirit if": so, the thing about solo album spin-offs is that you always want them to surprise you with a new sound or new trick - they ought to somehow depart from the band's last album (otherwise, why go solo or have collaborated in the first place?). a good example of nice solo departure is sam prekop's solo albums departing from the sea and cake albums. here, the solo album is kind of falls short - it's basically just another BSS album, which, well who knows, might be what everyone wants anyway.

devendra banhart "smokey rolls down thunder canyon": as usual, distinctly unique from the music that's out there. but, I think this album is one of db's weaker ones.

* emma pollock "watch the fireworks": former singers/songwriter of the Delgados', first solo album. totally great songs, fun to listen to, etc. actually, they are the kind of songs where when you first hear them, you feel like you've heard them before. might be my favorite album of the month. all songs appropriate for singing in the shower.

the good life "help wanted nights": well, it's good and I like it, but I wish tim kasher would go in a different direction or do something different from his other albums. this album is just like - in quality and sound - his other albums, when one expects and hopes a musician's sound to mature over time.

jose gonzalez "in our nature": acoustic guitar, folk-ish singing. pretty good album. very similar in sound and feel to his last album. rainy day music.

iron & wine "the shepherd's dog": pretty good, but I still maintain that I&W really benefits from the type of collaboration heard on "in the reins" (with calexico) - necessary to interrupt the slight sense of monotony on all iron and wine albums. (monotony of melody, that is...this album has fuller more complicated and varied composition, but the melodies remain distinctly pretty, but not extremely interesting, as is typical of non-collaborated I&W albums)

les savy fav "let's stay friends": I generally don't like LSF, but they start to approach, on this album, something I might almost like - that is, they're sort of toning down the harsh post-punk sound. only, why is emily haines on this album too? can someone explain to me why she is everywhere these days?

library tapes, "hostluft": quiet, swarming sounds and scraps of piano melodies. I kind of love the name of the band too. eluvium and stars of the lid and phillip glass type of minimalism.

manu chao "la radiolina": first time I ever heard manu chao, years ago (thanks bk) I had no idea what to make of it, and certainly never expected it to end up on the overly-concerned-with-hipster-hipsterness-pitchfork. anyway, listening to this album is kind of a "fun," "multicultural" experience. (?)

shocking pinks, self-titled: same disjointed, more rhythmic-than-melodic feel as broken social scene. intentionally interrupted and incomplete.

shout out louds "our ill wills": I almost turned the album off after the second song, but good thing I didn't - it gets better. don't expect the same upbeat songs like their last album - this album is about heartbreak.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

just to clear up any confusion:

autumn is by far the best season. this is true even if you refer to it as "fall"

Friday, September 28, 2007


I wonder if I'll be disappointed when I see the real thing

Monday, September 17, 2007

july/august album notes and recommendations

art brut "it's a bit complicated" - ok, this is up here mostly because of the british accent, but there's also a certain charm to the very simplistic lyrics accompanying the art-rock music: "people in love, lie around and get fat. I didn't want us to end up like that. this isn't the first time you've fallen apart, now you're indulging, and just playing a part" or "I know I shouldn't - is it so wrong? to break from your kiss, to turn up a pop song?"

au, self-titled: pastoral minimalist music. the first track has a really impressive build-up, which I like even if it is a cheap trick. the rest of the album is like one big sigh.

augie march, "moo you bloody choir": another great album from one of my favorite aussie ballad-singing bands. although very good, it doesn't top their last album, "strange bird" - mostly because it's missing a banjo song. (yay banjos!)

caribou, "andorra": creative texture, diversity of sounds. maybe a bit vague and unremarkable in retrospect, but was enjoyable to listen to.

earlimart, "mentor tormentor": polished autumnal music for cold days indoors. all in all, a very "nice" album, but I wish they'd kick it up a little more.

emily haines & the soft skeleton "what is free to a good home?": it's a little slow, so it takes a few listens before it sinks in. it's good ,but I think emily haines really needs collaboration to make a completely appealing album. her voice is great, but her music is a bit too delicate without influences of others. but, I think it's still a good solo project.

*joan as police woman, "real life" - debut album! beautiful voice, great melodies. simple, but nice piano lines. voice sounds like cat power. indie soul music (?)

Linda Thompson, "Versatile Heart" - folk-rock, the song "versatile heart" is really great, but it gets a bit boring after that.

mekons, "natural": I haven't really been following this band (this is their 26th album!), but I like this avante-guarde-post-folk-whatever music on this album. it's very, jon langford is a pretty cool guy. I think I met him once. either that or I saw him once. one of the two. he has a big head.

laurie anderson, "big science": a very the books-like combination of noises and voices, and voices used as noises, and noises used as voices. I enjoyed listening to it, but I'm not sure if I'll ever really feel inclined to pick it out of all my music to listen to again. I might want to give that old laurie anderson cd my dad bought me years ago (but which I, at the time, disregarded as "weird") another try

metric, "grow up and blow away": some combination of blonde redhead and electrelane. it's a god damn pity some of these songs have been licensed for polaroid commercials. also, emily haines is kind of everywhere (broken social scene, her own solo project - which isn't as good as this), so that makes me want to resist liking them.

nina nastasia & jim white, "you follow me": there's actually a remarkable balance between vocals and music in this album..its nice to hear an album where the vocals are actually almost used as another instrument, rather than being backed up by instruments. good composition.

*okkervil river, "the stage names": THIS ALBUM IS GREAT. go buy it. (my enthusiasm is probably partially due to having seen them live the other night. maybe even entirely due to that).

prinzhorn dance school, self-titled: sounds like the fall. interrupted, abstract, repeated art-punk..?

spoon "ga ga ga ga ga": expectedly great, but I still like "girls can tell" better.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

you'll be missed, nate.

April 13, 1914 - September 16, 2007

a wonderful person who devoted his life to his family, taught me words like "mashugina," and encouraged a good sense of humor - especially when it came to making fun of jeff (in good fun, of course). he had a pretty good go at it...and will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

At the Joslyn Art Museum the other day, this 20-something year old girl actually walked up to one of the Monet paintings (snow at giverny), reached out, placed her finger on the painting, and slowly ran her finger down the length of the painting. When told not to touch the artwork, her boyfriend (presumably) turned and said "see?" at which point she giggled and unapologetically apologized to the protection officer.

what is wrong with some people!??

Friday, August 31, 2007


kid 1: so, you know how most people have a best friend that they hang out with all the time?
kid 2: yeah...
kid 1: do you want to be my best friend?
kid 2: sure.

why isn't adult-life this simple?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

well hello, Nebraska

Hi Everyone. After lugging my stuff across several states, accidentally destroying my car (long story), and likely losing many of my belongings along the way, I have left Chicago and Madison and am now a resident of Omaha, NE. To celebrate/mourn leaving town, I spent a good deal of my summer trying to really appreciate Chicago, which entailed looking up at the buildings, driving around aimlessly, and going to museums (basically, being a tourist). I took tons of pictures and had planned on a "goodbye chicago" post with select photos, but critical parts to my desktop computer, where those photos are currently stored, are M.I.A. so, instead, I'm leaving you with these pictures (not of chicago. clearly.):

P.S. July album reviews are not ready. I'll probably collapse July and August together. I just bought the new augie march album, though, which I'm pretty excited about.