Friday, April 23, 2010

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two Years of This Kid

And we still like him.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dear Amazon

The fact that you recommended I buy the new Train CD shows that you don't even know me at all. And you said we were friends.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Recent Rock 'n Roll-isms

Let's see. I've interviewed some bands.

LIGHTS, the Canadian synthpop-tress who is opening for Owl City on Monday night.

OK Go, the band most famous for making YouTube videos, including this wacky contraption.

And I've written some reviews.

The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers (Dreamy, instrumental synth tunes. Good but not great.)
Midlake - The Courage of Others (Downtrodden and flute-filled, I was surprised by how much I liked this one--at least the first half.)
MXPX - Left Coast Punk EP (More of the same from MXPX. I really love "Shanghaied in Shanhai.")

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Thursday, April 08, 2010


Curtis showing off his physique at the Target.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Paige hates to clean up.

Last night, I tried to make her pick up all of the markers and paper that she'd left all over the kitchen table so we could eat dinner. I told her that if she didn't, she'd have to go into time out. Not only did she refuse, but she ran off to her bedroom. A few seconds later, she returned with yet another marker and piece of paper and started drawing.

"Paige, I told you it's time to clean up!" I said, as I grabbed the marker out of her hand.

"But, da-add. I was drawing a circle with an X on it that says 'No time out!'"

You can't blame her for trying.


Things to Say

Curtis's speaking skills are really starting to come along. While it's nice to be able to communicate with him a little better, it's also annoying when you have to hear "Want fries, Daddy. Want fries NOW, Daddy!" for a half-hour straight while you sit in the parking lot of Famous Footwear, waiting for your life to pick out a pair shoes. We can't drive anywhere without that kid wanting fries.


On the Back Porch

Paige and Grandma having a harmonica jam session.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Broken World

I was sitting in cubicle land, wearing my shirt and tie, when the excellent Millencolin tune "Broken World" popped up on the iPod shuffle.

The chorus goes like this:

I'm gonna get out of the broken world
I'm just about to discover new land
Get out of the broker world and start a band.

With his Swedish accent, it sounds like Nikola Sarcevic is singing "get out of the corporate world and start a band."

I hear ya, brother.

Millencolin - Broken World (YouTube)


Friday, April 02, 2010

The Secret Identity of Silversun Pickups

I generally only post full interviews here if I've talked to a band I really like or have had a really good chat. I got both with Silversun Pickups.

If for some reason you haven't yet checked out this band, you're missing out.

Here are some places to start.

Lazy Eye
Panic Switch

Silversun Pickups
April 5, 2010
E Center

It would seem that attending your first Grammy Awards ceremony would be accompanied by any number of highlights -- mingling with celebrities, hanging out with great musicians or, you know, being recognized as one of the best band's in the world. Nah. For Silversun Pickups' singer and guitarist Brian Aubert, the best part of the evening was assuming a false identity at an afterparty and talking to Daft Punk about "Tron."

"The Grammys weren't even something we were romantic about," Aubert says. "I don't mean that in a snarky way, I just mean that it wasn't even on our radar." And the band certainly wasn't ready for the barrage of ridiculous interviews that came with it. "I think I was asked who my favorite Hollywood crush was." Though it was a tough call, Aubert chose Tina Fey.

"[The Grammys] were getting a little boring, but the Kings of Leon had a very wonderful afterparty that actually saved the entire night," Aubert sayss. "Daft Punk was there and I got to talk to them for a half hour. I realized halfway through that the reason they were talking to me for so long is that they thought I was Caleb from Kings of Leon."

He admits that he didn't do anything to correct their misconception. "[Instead], I talked to them about 'Tron' as much as I could," he says with a laugh. After continuous questions about the remake of the classic '80s sci-fi film, one half of the French electronic duo finally said, "You know we're not responsible for the movie. We're just responsible for the music, so I don't want you to be mad at us if the movie stinks." Aubert told them he was well aware of that fact and just kept asking questions.

"Finally, after a half an hour they asked me a question that only Caleb could answer. I kind of did the French exit and left." There's clearly no shame in Aubert's game.

In a way, The Grammys summed up in one night what Silversun Pickups have experiencing for the past three years. Despite having no aspirations beyond playing the music that they love, the L.A. four piece has garnered a whirlwind of critical acclaim and commercial success with their two full-length albums.

"We never thought we'd ever be on the radio," Aubert says. "So when things started getting on the radio for [our debut album] 'Carnavas,' we thought it was a fluke." The band thought the attention would quickly die off but their second album, "Swoon," has made an even bigger splash. (Their first single "Panic Switch" reached the top spot in Billboard's Alternative Songs category.)

"When bands ask for us advice about how to get on the radio we just don't have it," Aubert says, baffled. "The only advice is to think you're never going to do it."

"Swoon" is very much the anti-radio record. The songs are long, winding and filled with tension. The dark, shoegaze-y melodies are better suited for the Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine '90s than the Miley Cyrus 2000s. The record demands repeated listens and gets better with each one.

"The making of the record was such an intense period. From beginning to end, it took us about a year. We just racked our brains and scraped every metaphor until there were no more metaphors left," Aubert says of the Swoon sessions. "We didn't even think it was going to get done at one point -- it seemed like such a mountain. And then right when it was finished, it went to radio right away. Once that happened, it became a roller coaster. It's just been so fast, such a whirlwind. It's been amazing. We've been amazed that things have continued on so well and things have only gotten crazier."

The craziness has included worldwide touring, ranging from intimate club settings to massive arena rock ventures like their current outing with Muse. "Of course we really love doing our own shows where we can get into all the different dynamics of the records, but we also like opening shows like these because it's a whole other experience. It keeps us fresh because we're just part of this big circus. You don't think of it as trying to prove yourself. You just think, 'There are 18,000 people here, one of them's going to like us.'"

Despite the nonstop touring, the band is still enjoying the moment. "I think we're still having a love affair with 'Swoon.' In a weird way, it's still very new to us," Aubert says. When that newness wears off and the band begins to feel that they need to reinvent the record on stage, that's when they know it's time to start working on a new record. "That hasn't happened yet. When that happens, you shut down and go home for a while and live for a bit. When you have the chance to actually listen to yourself, when things are quiet and kind of mundane and normal, that's when your brain starts to speak. But here, it's hard to hear yourself." And then he adds, with another laugh, "There are a lot big amps."

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Spring Time in the SLC

This is why I don't put my winter clothes away until June.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Good Year for Punk Rock

Though it seems like they may have gone the way of the buffalo, there's still some pretty good punk rock coming out these days.

Alkaline Trio took a break from gothing-out on their new record This Addiction. Here's the title track:

Paige and I are both in love with this Motion City Soundtrack, despite listening to it thousands of times to together. Here's "A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)":

And let's not forgot Bouncing Souls 20 year anniversary record Ghosts on the Boardwalk. So good.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Got a New Job

I have to wear a tie.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Mopy Music Recommendation: Rocky Votolato

Despite never having heard his music, I decided to interview singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato for two reasons:

1. My friend Noah is a fan
2. He plays at the Velour in Provo a million times a year

The result was that I met a really nice fellow and I found out Noah (sometimes) has good taste in music .

Here's my article.

And here's the opening track from his highly recommended new album, True Devotion.

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Dear Mr. Obama

Because I've been up to my eyeballs in extracurricular work lately, the Manifesto has been sorely neglected. For my first post back, I'd like to offer up this plea to our president.

Now that's democracy at it's finest! Thanks to Kaleb for the pic.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

After coming home from a 7 am meeting on a snowy Daylight Savings morning, it's nice to see your kids all cozy in the bed, watching Yo Gabba (and learning how to beatbox).

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

This Week's Reviews: AA Bondy, Lights, Cub Country

Another decent week for music. I love this A.A. Bondy record. If you like the ultra-slow/quiet indie country stuff, you'll want to give it a listen.

Those hoping for a girl version of Owl City should check out Lights. She's from Canada. I'm sure you can guess how I feel about that.

And here are the links to my reviews:

A.A. Bondy - When the Devil's Loose
Lights - The Listening
Cub Country - Stretch That Skull Cover and Smile

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alkaline Trio Show Review / I am Not a Stripper

Alkaline Trio

In the Venue
February 24, 2010

I was not hired as a stripper for last night's Alkaline Trio show, despite what the band may have thought.

Going to concerts is infinitely more difficult once you have kids. Despite having to make some complicated babysitting arrangements, I thought I had everything worked out so I could check out Alkaline Trio, one of my long-time favorite bands. As it got closer to showtime, however, plans got disrupted a bit and I thought I might miss it. And the last thing I wanted was to drive to the club just to have to turn back around because it was already over. Then the light bulb turned on--though I had never met him, I had the tour manager's cell number!

I texted the following:

"Carlos, this is Spencer from In This Week. Has Alkaline gone on yet?"

This seemed like a pretty straightforward question. But I guess I was wrong.

"Are u the stripper?"


I responded that fortunately, for everyone's sake, I was not.

With no further response from Carlos, I headed to In the Venue, hoping I hadn't missed the show. Though I tried to concentrate on just making it to the venue on time, I couldn't help but wonder what Alkaline Trio would be doing with the male stripper they were apparently expecting.

When I got to the club, I was happy to see that the band had just started. The boys were pounding through "Dine, Dine My Darling" from their new record, and though they were playing in front of their usual heart-and-skull backdrop, something didn't seem right. What was with all the balloons and party hats? It turns out, rock stars have birthdays, too.

Matt Skiba was happy to celebrate his 34th birthday with his Salt Lake City fans, especially because it meant plenty of birthday shots between songs. He handled the liquor just fine, but he really got thrown off his game when, five seconds after starting a new song, the house music came on (Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison," no less) and his band abandoned their instruments. His face lit up when the band's crew delivered him a Batman cake, with candles blazing. His joy turned to a bit of fear when he saw the male Hot Cop approaching him for a lap dance.

"I saw a cop on the stage out of the corner of my eye," Skiba said after the encounter, with a smile. "I thought I was getting arrested for swearing or something. I didn't realize it was Officer Sexy."

After the impromptu birthday celebration, the band returned its focus to music, rocking through eight albums of material. The largest chunk came from 2003's "Good Mourning," including "We've Had Enough," "One Hundred Stories," "Continental," and "Fatally Yours." But the definite highlight of the night was "Nose Over Tail" from the band's debut EP, when Matt Skiba shouted "I want to make it really," and the crowd enthusiastically responded in unison, "I'd love to rub your back."

Sounds like the end of a great birthday. Stripper or no.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

At Family Band Practice

Curtis was playing drums and Paige said, clutching her microphone, "Nice beat, Curtis. Nice beat."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fanfarlo 2.0 + This Week's Reviews

I'm now to the point where I've written for IN long enough that I'm interviewing bands for the second or third time. Last week, I did my second interview with British band Fanfarlo, who are playing here on Saturday.

I talked with the mandolin-playing girl wearing the superflous bowties. You can read the interview here. She gets bonus points for making reference to Dr. Tobias Funke.

If you like Arcade Fire, you should definitely check 'em out.

Also, here's this week's album reviews:

Phantogram - Eyelid Movies (Recommended, if you like Massive Attack)
Ke$ha - Animal (Recommended, if you like Bring it On)
Drew Danburry - Goodnight Gary (Recommended, if you like long beards)

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Another One off The List: Matt Skiba

Last week, I was able to talk to another one of my favorite bands. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with Alkaline Trio front man Matt Skiba. (This was actually my second interview with the band. I interviewed drummer Derek Grant last year.)

I've found that I am actually much less nervous to talk to my rock and roll heroes than bands I've never heard of. Since I own all the AK3 records and have seen them live a bunch of times, it's not hard to come up with a list of things I'd like to ask them from a fan's perspective. If it's a band that's new to me, I have to do a lot of research just to avoid sounding like an idiot.

Mr. Skiba, with his smoker's voice, was very cool and easy to talk to. He was the first rock star to ever start the conversation by asking me where I was and what the weather was like. A small guesture, but I found it very endearing.

We chatted about the band's punk rock beginnings, their recent gothic leanings, and the record label they just started. Very cool, very personable.

My article is here and if you want to listen to the full, 20-minute interview, I've included it below.

Matt Skiba Interview [WMA]

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Like Looking in a Mirror

Thanks to an old VHS tape at my mom's house, Paige is now enamored with the Fisher Price Little People. (I couldn't find any clips of the show in English, but here it is, dubbed in Italian. I'm bummed. It still has the lame opening song, but not the super creepy, Aaron Neville version.)

It's not surprising that Paige's favorite character is Maggie, the girl with the curly hair. (Especially since she looks like a miniature version of the five-year-old Traci.) Every time Maggie comes on the screen Paige says, "There's Maggie. She looks a bit like me. She's got currrrrly hair."

She's said this so many times that I barely even notice it anymore. But it did throw me off when she told me who I look like.

"I think you look a bit like Michael."

Michael? Really? Huh.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

7th Inning Stretch

This weekend, our family room turned into a baseball diamond (in addition to a mess). Paige found the baseball bat that I bought her last summer and decided it was time to play. After about 5,000 pitches, she was getting pretty good at hitting it--or rather, I was getting really good at throwing the ball the directly at the bat. Not surprisingly, she exclaimed with delight, "I'm really good at baseball!"

"You sure are," I responded.

"Do you know what's my favorite sport?"




Monday, February 08, 2010

Hannah Montana on My iPod (And I Dont' Like It)

Paige's 15-year-old aunt has outgrown her Hannah Montana CD, but was kind enough to pass it on to Paige. Now Paige is singing and dancing right along. While this is certainly annoying, it has also reopened a recent wound.

I was so excited when I had finally saved up enough money to buy a copy of some recording software called Cubase. That means we would not only be able to finally finish the Johnny Tightlips album that we started three years ago, but it would actually sound good.

You see, the new version of the software comes an autotune feature. I had beautiful dreams of taking my crappy voice and electronically manipulating it into the angel voice I imagine it to be. (Or possible just goinging the T Pain autotune route.)

After spending several late night hours trying to figure out to use it, I realized the reason I couldn't get the auto to work was beacause I DIDN'T HAVE THE FEATURE!!

When I was researching my Cubase purchase, I quickly realized I'd only be able to afford the "Education Edition." But I compared it side by side with the full edition and it looked like it'd have everything I'd need. Apparently, I was wrong.

So, I sit with Paige, listening to Miley Cyrus's perfectly-pitched voice and just want to kill myself. Or Miley Cyrus. Or both of us.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New Reviews: Temper Trap, Story of the Year, Surfer Blood

The Temper Trap - Conditions (Highly recommended)
Story of the Year - The Constant
Surfer Blood - Astro Coast (Pretty good, worth checking out)

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Stupid Manifesto, Ruining Bring it On

No more internet for me tonight. Apparently, I can't blog and watch Bring It On at the same time. I'm only 20 minutes in and I'm already lost. Which ones are the good cheerleaders? Why is the main girl falling in love with the guy from the other team? (Doesn't she understand that their could be disastrous consequences when the team goes to regionals?) Why are they saying things like "cheer-barrassment?"

I'm starting it over from the beginning.

Alright, Jay-Z, You Got Me

So, lately I've been questioning Jay-Z's claim of being the greatest rapper alive. I finally checked out his "On to the Next" video and, though I am still not a huge fan of the song itself, I definitely have to give some props for the video.

Tonight, Hova earns from me the coveted "rapper with the creepiest, unrap rap video" award. Congratulations.

I fear that I will have nightmares about my sneakers bleeding milk tonight.

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Bring It On - It's Getting Soooo Broughten

Tonight is a special night. It's the fifth installment of Bring It On night. That's right, the fifth. Though episodes two and four were a bit disappointing, I have high hopes for this one. I think the only reason it went straight to DVD was because it was too awesome for the theater-going crowd to handle.

Review to follow...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jay-Z vs. Napoleon Dynamite

Jay-Z's Unplugged album just popped up on my shuffle. Now, I like Jay-Z just fine. But the fact that he considers himself
"the greatest rapper alive"--and more importantly, that this is so widely accepted--seems weird to me.What does that mean, exactly? What makes a person the greatest rapper alive?

Most records sold? That's Eminem. (Tupac's sold more than Shady, but he's, you know, "dead.")

Best storyteller? I choose Andre 3000.

Best hairdo? Kid 'n Play get my vote.

Most complex rhyme structures? I dunno. Me?

The rapper with the hottest wife? He definitely gets the title there.

I don't really think you can define these things. It reminds of the part in Napoleon Dynamite where Uncle Rico is showing Kip his homemade football movie:

Uncle Rico:"So what do you think?"
Kip: "It's pretty cool, I guess."
Uncle Rico: "Oh, man I wish I could go back in time. I'd take state."
Napoleon: "This is pretty much the worst video ever made."
Kip: "Napoleon, like anyone can even know that."
Uncle Rico: "You know what, Napoleon? You can leave."
Napoleon: "You guys are retarded!"


Nikola Sarcevic

For almost a year, I've been kicking around the idea of a music blog that only features albums that are good from start to finish. I still haven't gotten around to it. But if I had, this record would be on there.

Though there are a few lesser moments in the middle, Millencolin singer Nikola Sarcevic sure put out a great debut solo album in 2004, Lock-Sport-Krock. The bookends, "Lovetrap" and "Vila Rada" are the best moments.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Vampire Weekend is for Smart Kids, Bouncing Souls is for Dummies

I just finished writing my record reviews for the week when I noticed something interesting. I was using Google Documents to the type the thing and I clicked the word count tool to make sure I had met my guidelines. Each of my reviews was about the same length, but the reading level was quite different.

My Bouncing Souls review--a punk rock record by a band that I absolutely love--is written at a 6th grade level.

The Vampire Weekend review--a good album by a band that sings about diplomats' sons and other WASP-y things, and who drives me a little bit crazy--is at an 11th grade level.

While I'm not bothered that I generally write like a 12-year-old (come on, it's rock 'n roll, not rocket science), it's weird that you have to write like a 16-year-old to talk about a snooty band that college kids like.

And now that you're so curious about these incredible reviews...

Bouncing Souls
Ghosts on the Boardwalk

In 2009, The Bouncing Souls celebrated two full decades as a band by releasing a new digital track each month. "Ghosts on the Boardwalk" serves as the proper album release, and also shows that the years have been kind to the New Jersey foursome. Songs about throwing toilets off the roof or falling in love with a buddy's mom have given way to more introspective tunes, but the invincible punk rock spirit remains. That's not to say they've lost all their immature ways. On the cleverly titled "Badass," they simply shout all of the things worthy of being deemed badass, including, among others, "Black eyes! Muscle cars! Metal!" More than just documenting the 20th year in their career, "Ghosts" is a solid reminder of what an amazing band The Bouncing Souls have become. And the great songs just keep coming.

For fans of: NOFX, Rise Against
Rating: 4 of 4

Vampire Weekend

Expectations have always been extremely high for Vampire Weekend--in 2008 they appeared on the cover of Spin Magazine, before they had even released a record. Fortunately, their debut was successful in both living up to the hype and delivering undeniably catchy tunes about yachts and ivy league colleges. Wisely, Vampire Weekend stay on the same course with "Contra." Afro-pop beats are plentiful and singer EzraKoenig's voice floats beautifully above his polo shirt and plaid shorts. The band pushes their boundaries a bit with the herky-jerky rhythms of "California English" and the electro and falsetto-infused "White Sky," without straying from its strengths. These college kids are smart.

For fans of:Ra Ra Riot, Ramona Falls
Rating: 3.5 of 4

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This Week's Music

the xx - the xx (Recommended)
Reel Big Fish - Fame, Fortune and Fornication
Chuck Ragan - Gold Country (Recommended)

And an added bonus...

My interview with Reel Big Fish singer Aaron Barrett

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Boom Boom Pow

Traci told me this story, so try to imagine Traci's librarian voice when you read it.

Curtis spent the morning walking around carrying an empty wrapping paper roll. I couldn't figure out why he kept calling it a "boom." Until he hit me with it and exclaimed, "Boom!"

The end.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

This Week's Music

I'll save you the trouble of reading the reviews. Here's the lowdown:

As usual, there' s a couple of great tracks on Alicia Keys' record, Snoop Dogg doesn' t have much to say other than that he's a extraordinary lover, and Robbie William's album is a snooze fest.

Alicia Keys - The Element of Freedom (Recommended)
Snoop Dogg - Malice N Wonderland
Robbie Williams - Reality Killed the Video Star

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Paige's Video Pics

Here are some of Paige's recent YouTube favs:

The Raveonettes - Last Dance

Weezer - If You're Wondering

Yo Gabba Gabba - Party in My Tummy

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Best of the Decade: 27-55

I don't why this has taken me so long to post. Wait, I do. Laziness. Here are some more records I loved in the 2000s, in really no particular order:

27. The Hives - Veni Vedi Vicious (2002)]
28. Imogen Heap - Speak for Yourself (2005)
29. Evan Dando - Baby I'm Bored (2003)
30. The Kooks - Inside In Inside Out (2006)
31. Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Movement (2006)
32. Mike Doughty - Skittish/Rockity Roll (2004)
33. Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Like Bad News (2004)
34. Motion City Soundtrack - Even If It Kills Me (2007)
35. MXPX - Panic (2005)
36. New Found Glory - Coming Home (2006)
37. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
38. Postal Service - Give Up (2003)
39. RX Bandits - The Resignation (2003)
40. Say Hi to Your Mom - Impeccable Blahs (2006)
41. Styrofoam - Nothing's Lost (2004)
42. Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends (2002)
43. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine (2006)
44. Up, Up, Down, Down... - Girls' Names EP (2006)
45. Yellowcard - Underdog EP (2002)
46. Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell (2008)
47. Alkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch Fire (2000)
48. Bouncing Souls - How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2001)
49. Akon - Freedom (2008)
50. The Killers - Sam's Town (2006)
51. Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me (2006)
52. Bruce Lee Band - Beautiful World (2005)
53. Does It Offend You, Yeah? You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into (2008)
54. The National – Boxer (2007)
55. Fanfarlo – Reservoir (2009)

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Holland is Calling...Literally

I was busy shaping young minds this morning (at Jadee Talbot's second grade class), when my cell phone rang. I didn't answer it, but the caller left a voicemail.

"Hello, this message is for Andre Smith. This is Mr. Steenblik at the Netherlands Consulate."

I was excited that the Netherlands Consulate was calling me, but sad that I wasn't Andre Smith. I called back to let them know that they'd left the message on the wrong phone number. A secretary answered.

"Hi, I just received a call from Somebody Steenblik, but I think he had the wrong number."

"Oh, do you know which Steenblik called you? Everyone here is named Steenblik."

Apparently, "Steenblik" (which translates to either Stone Look or Stone Can. I choose Stone Can) is the "Smith" of the Lowlands.

"Um, I'm not sure. I guess I could listen to the message again and call you back."

"That would be great."

I listened again.

"Hi, I listened to message. It was Mr. Steenblik."


And that's when I should have said, "I'm looking for a job or internship in The Netherlands where I can live there for the summer with my family but have plenty of time to do sightseeing all around Europe."

But I didn't.

"Well, tell Mr. Steenblik I said 'Hi.'"


Recess was over. Back to shaping young minds.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Oh, Inverted World

This is what you have to go through just for your doctor to tell you your cough will go away on its own so stop being a baby.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Best of the Decade: 1-26

Taking on a whole decade wasn't easy, but here's a stab at my favorite albums of the 2000. I didn't have any real rules when I put this together, other than only selecting one album from any given artist. I didn't worry about choosing records that were the most important or critically-acclaimed or whatever. Mostly, their the albums I spent the most time listening to or that have additional meaning for me. Also, I didn't put a whole lot of time into the actual numerical rankings.

I wrote the little album descriptions for IN. I certainly would have written them differently had I only done this for my blog. But it took so long that I don't want to go through that again, especially since I'm not getting paid.

And, without further ado...

  1. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism (2003) Death Cab became the poster band for indie rock, thanks to this absolute masterpiece. From the opening rock of “The New Year” to the yearning closer “A Lack of Color,” every note is perfectly placed.
  2. Nada Surf - Let Go (2003) Though they disappeared after their '90s novelty hit "Popular," Nada Surf quietly reemerged with a spectacular collection of understated songs about fruit flies, roller coasters, and Bob Dylan.
  3. Daft Punk - Discovery (2001) With "Discovery," Daft Punk morphed from talented knob-turners to larger-than-life robots. The duo successfully blurred the line between human and extraterrestrial, and more importantly, made all life forms dance.
  4. Samiam - Astray (2000) I didn't know that punk rock could song so sad, so utterly hopeless. Samiam was emo before emo, in a good way.
  5. Kylie Minogue - Fever (2002) Every track here is a dancehall masterpiece. Perfect.
  6. The Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004) The Arcade Fire proved two things with their debut album: A) With great songwriting, rock music can sound just as good with violins and accordions and B) Sad songs never go out of style.
  7. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American (2001) After perfecting meandering atmospherics on their first two records, Jimmy Eat World took a more direct approach on “Bleed American.” Every song was direct and finely crafted.
  8. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free (2004) Who would have thought that one of the decade’s best rap albums would come from a white British guy? Mike Skinner's concept album about losing and rediscovering love and his 1,000 British Pounds infinitely expanded hip hop's borders.
  9. The Format - Dog Problems (2006) – When it comes to a breakup, there’s nothing worse than deciding who gets to keep the dog. This Arizona duo tries to mend broken hearts with pop rock songs that flirt with rock opera.
  10. The Strokes - Is This It? (2001) With their leather pants and tight jeans, The Strokes were the antithesis to all things nu-metal. Though they seemed like they were from some indeterminable place in history, everyone knew that time was cooler than the now.
  11. Bad Religion - The Process of Belief (2002) When co-founder Brett Gurewitz came back into the fold, Bad Religion found a renewed vitality, writing some of the best punk rock songs of their three-decade career.
  12. Millencolin - Pennybridge Pioneers (2000) Swedish punks Millencolin took the art of California skate punk to the next level on their third LP, mixing in just enough rock ‘n roll to blaze new trails.
  13. Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb (2003) Former Catch 22 front man Thomas Kalnoky singlehandedly raised ska from the dead with incredibly catchy horn lines, speedy punk rock guitar, and his raspy, rapid-fire vocals.
  14. Outkast - Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2003) "Hey Ya!" alone was enough to make this double disc great, but track after track of wonderful absurdity is what made it amazing.
  15. Pedro the Lion - Control (2002) With this concept record about righteousness and infidelity, David Bazan solidified his spot as one of the best storytellers in indie rock.
  16. Matt & Kim - Matt & Kim - (2006) Who needs guitars, anyway? Lovey dovey couple Matt & Kim make delightful dance punk with beat-up keyboards and a three-piece drum set.
  17. Weezer - Green Album (2001) Though Rivers Cuomo hides his heart on this one, the hooks were just too huge to hide.
  18. Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak (2008) TAuto-tune was already played by the time Kanye put it on his record, but he found a way to use it not as a gimmick, but as a tool to turn his broken heart into robotic steel.
  19. Dashboard Confessional - Swiss Army Romance (2003) Chris Carrabba may be responsible for spawning hundreds of lousy copycat bands, but it’s a small price to pay for this heart-on-sleeve emo-fest. This is the real deal
  20. Saves The Day - Stay What You Are (2001) This is how an emo record is supposed to sound—soft, loud, nostalgic, slightly hateful, and more than anything, sincere.
  21. Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds and a Sound (2008) The album rarely rises much beyond a whisper, giving it a hauntingly beautiful aura. Here’s hoping that the follow-up will be as impressive as this debut.
  22. Bishop Allen - The Broken String (2007) For “The Broken String” no instrument was off limits, even if no one in the band really knew how to play them. The record’s simplicity and eagerness is matched only by its memorable tunes.
  23. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) He takes low-blow shots at his mother, dreams of killing his wife and shoving her body in the trunk, and inspires fans to do the same. In 2000, Eminem was both musically crazy and real-life crazy. The crazy ones always make the best music.
  24. Silversun Pickups - Carnavas (2006) Silversun Pickups’ first LP picks up right where Smashing Pumpkins’ “Gish” left off, with nasally vocals and fuzzy guitars. The band skillfully gives each song the room to wander to its destination.
  25. Iron & Wine - Woman King (2005) By this point, Sam Beam had already released plenty of gorgeous country tunes, but adding dirty Appalachian rock into the mix opened up an entirely new side of Iron & Wine.
  26. Hot Hot Heat - Make Up the Breakdown (2002) At the turn of the century, indie bands were hell bent on making kids dance. Hot Hot Heat easily made the best dance-rock record of the decade.

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I'm feeling lousy today but still had to teach the Young Men. After my lesson I went into the nursery to get Curtis and take him home with me.

The kids were listening to a story, but when I scanned the chairs I couldn't see him anywhere. Then I looked at the front of the class and saw one kid standing on his head. "Come on, Curtis," I said as I shook my head. "Let's go."