Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

18 Years Ago Today: Miles Davis Dies in Santa Monica, CA...

Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music including cool jazz, hard bop, free jazz and fusion. Many well-known jazz musicians made their names as members of Davis' ensembles, including John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Cannonball Adderley, Gerry Mulligan, Tony Williams, George Coleman, J.J. Johnson, Keith Jarrett and Kenny Garrett. Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Miles Davis died on September 28, 1991 from a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure in Santa Monica, California at the age of 65. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, NY.

Suggested viewing:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Teengirl Fantasy - "Portofino"
2. Real Estate - "Fake Blues"
3. Wild Nothing - "Cloud Busting"
4. Liars - "Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack"
5. KiD CuDi - "Soundtrack 2 My Life"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Old Music (Still Good Music): Madonna - "Borderline"...

This is for sure: "Borderline" will never stop being great.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

10 Years Ago Today: The Get Up Kids release "Something To Write Home About"...

Something to Write Home About is an emo-indie album by The Get Up Kids, released on September 21, 1999. The album was a financial success, peaking at #31 on Billboards Heatseekers 200 albums chart in North America, and gathered a great amount of critical acclaim. Something to Write Home About is the first Get Up Kids album to include James Dewees playing keyboards.

After The Get Up Kids' previous album, Four Minute Mile brought major label offers, the band decided to stick with an indie label and sign with Vagrant Records for their next album after a short and unproductive time with Mojo Records. Something to Write Home About is, however, slightly more radio-oriented, with catchy choruses and hooks.

At the time the band signed onto Vagrant Records, the label was still primarily a much smaller independent label. Before the album went into production, the label's co-owner John Cohen had to borrow money from his parents, who mortgaged their house in order to fund the production of the album. At least one of the songs were inspired by the band's tumultuous split with Doghouse Records.

The album was recorded over the course of two months at the Mad Hatter Recording Studios in Silverlake, California. It was produced by Chad Blinman and Kansas City musician and producer Alex Brahl, who would later go onto co-found Curb Appeal Records with Get Up Kids guitarist Jim Suptic.

Suggested listening:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. KiD CuDi - "Soundtrack 2 My Life"
2. The Killers - "Losing Touch"
3. Real Estate - "Fake Blues"
4. frYars - "Morning"
5. Atlas Sound - "Quick Canal (Feat. Laetitia Sadier)"

Friday, September 18, 2009


Suggested listening:

Landscapes (2009)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

5 Movies That Even I am Surprised I Haven't Seen Yet, Vol. 4 (1988 Edition)...

I've seen a lot of movies in my life...and through the years I have attempted to see many of the films considered to be "culturally important" by film critics. I have had years to see the movies listed below, however...they have been continuously pushed further down the list of "I need to see that someday".

1. Twins

2. Rain Man

3. A Fish Called Wanda

4. Mississippi Burning

5. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Let's Go All The Way"....

I want the Patriots to wear the throwback uniforms for the remaining home games. Also, I am nominating this as the official theme song for the Patriots 2009-2010 season:

Jim Carroll: 1959-2009...

James Dennis "Jim" Carroll (August 1, 1950 – September 11, 2009) was an author, poet, autobiographer, and punk musician. Carroll was best known for his 1978 autobiographical work The Basketball Diaries, which was made into the 1995 film of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll.

Carroll was born of Irish descent and attended Roman Catholic grammar schools from 1955 to 1963. In fall 1963, he entered public school, but was soon awarded a scholarship to the elite private school Trinity School (New York). He entered Trinity High School in 1964.

Apart from being interested in writing, Carroll was an all-star basketball player throughout his grade school and high school career. He entered the "Biddy League" at age 13 and participated in the National High School All Star Game in 1966. During this time, Carroll was living a double life as a heroin addict who prostituted himself to afford his habit. By age 13, Carroll was using heroin, but was also writing poems and attending poetry workshops at St. Mark's Poetry Project.

Carroll attracted the attention of the local literati, and published his first book, Organic Trains, at age 17. Several of his poems have been published in such magazines as Paris Review and Poetry. In 1970, his second collection of poems, 4 Ups and 1 Down was published, and he started working for Andy Warhol. At first, he was writing film dialogue and inventing character names; later on, Carroll worked as the co-manager of Warhol's Theater. Carroll's first publication by a mainstream publisher (Grossman Publishers), the poetry collection Living At The Movies, was published in 1973.

In 1978, Carroll authored The Basketball Diaries, an autobiographical book concerning his life as a teenager in New York City's hard drug culture. Diaries is an edited collection of the diaries he kept between the ages of twelve and sixteen, detailing his sexual experiences, high school basketball career, and his addiction to heroin, which began when he was 13.

Carroll, 60, died of a heart attack at his Manhattan home on September 11th, 2009. On September 13th (the day his death was announced), it was stated that he was at his desk working when he died.

Suggested viewing:

Monday, September 14, 2009

5 Years Ago Today: Arcade Fire releases "Funeral"....

Funeral is the debut full-length album by Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire, released on September 14, 2004 in North America by Merge Records. It was given its title because several band members had recently lost members of their families: Régine Chassagne's grandmother died in June 2003, Win and William Butler's grandfather in March 2004, and Richard Reed Parry's aunt in April 2004.

Preliminary recordings for Funeral were made during the course of a week in August 2003 at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal, Quebec, and the recording was completed later that year.
The album produced 5 singles. The most successful, "Rebellion (Lies)", peaked at #19 on the UK Singles Chart. The album received wide critical acclaim and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Alternative Music Album. It was ranked eighth in Bob Mersereau's 2007 book The Top 100 Canadian Albums.

Initial critical response to Funeral was very positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 90, based on 30 reviews. Allmusic reviewer James Christopher Monger gave the album a rating of four and a half stars out of five. He described it as "brave, empowering, and dusted with something that many of the indie-rock genre's more contrived acts desperately lack: an element of real danger." Rock critic Robert Christgau gave the album an A-, saying that Funeral was "...too fond of drama, but aware of its small place in the big world, and usually beautiful."

Suggested listening:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Jay-Z - "Empire State of Mind (Feat. Alicia Keys)"
2. Jay-Z - "Run This Town (Feat. Kanye West & Rihanna)"
3. Jay-Z - "Real As It Gets (Feat. Young Jeezy)"
4. Atlas Sound - "Quick Canal (Feat. Laetitia Sadier)"
5. Goth Star - "Pictureplane"

Friday, September 11, 2009

8 Years Ago Today: 9/11...

The September 11 attacks were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.

(at least...this is what we're told to believe)

I am a strong believer in the "9/11 was an inside job" theory:

9/11 conspiracy theories are assertions that the September 11 attacks in 2001 were either intentionally allowed to happen or were a false flag operation orchestrated by elements within the United States government. The most prominent claim is that the collapse of the World Trade Center and 7 World Trade Center were the result of a controlled demolition rather than structural weakening due to fire. Another prominent claim is that the Pentagon was hit by a missile launched by elements from inside the U.S. government or that a commercial airliner was allowed to do so via an effective stand down of the American military. The common prescribed motives are the use of the attacks to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, to facilitate increased military spending, and to restrict domestic civil liberties via the Patriot Act.

Further reading:


Suggested viewing:

the song I was listening to before and after I learned of the attacks:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Music: Air - "Sing Sang Sung"

New album 'Love 2' due out 10.6.09:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blueprint 3....

The Blueprint 3 is the eleventh studio album by rapper Jay-Z, released in the US on September 8, 2009. It will be the final installment in The Blueprint trilogy, preceded by the critically acclaimed The Blueprint (2001) and the commercially successful The Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse (2002). On May 20, 2009 Jay-Z confirmed that he bought out the remainder of his contract from Def Jam Records in order to start his contract with Live Nation, and therefore The Blueprint 3 will be released under Roc Nation and distributed by Atlantic Records.

Most of the album's recording took place in Hawaii with the aim to avoid the leakage, Kanye West protege Mr. Hudson explained to the The Times that he "won't get bothered there" compared in a major city such as New York City or Los Angeles. Jay-Z told Rolling Stone his method of selecting producers, "If Timbaland makes ten great tracks then he produces the album, if Kanye West makes ten great tracks then he produces the album; if he makes three, I'll take three. I let the music dictate the direction". However, judging by the final track listing, it appears that West is producing the majority of the album, with Timbaland only producing three tracks. Jay-Z also mentioned in an interview with DJ Semtex that his favorite song on the album is a song titled "Empire State of Mind".

Suggested listening:

Suggested viewing:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Jay-Z - "Empire State of Mind (Feat. Alicia Keys)"
2. Jay-Z - "Real As It Gets (Feat. Young Jeezy)"
3. Jay-Z - "Young Forever (Feat. Mr. Hudson)"
4. Atlas Sound - "Eros"
5. HEALTH - "Before Tigers (CFCF Remix)"

Monday, September 7, 2009

10 Years Ago Today: The Magnetic Fields release "69 Love Songs"...

'69 Love Songs' is a three-volume concept album by The Magnetic Fields released in 1999. As its title indicates, the album is composed of 69 love songs, all written by Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt. The album was originally conceived as a music revue. Stephin Merritt was sitting in a gay piano bar in Manhattan, listening to the pianist's interpretations of Stephen Sondheim songs, when he decided he ought to get into theatre music because he felt he had an aptitude for it. "I decided I'd write one hundred love songs as a way of introducing myself to the world. Then I realized how long that would be. So I settled on sixty-nine. I'd have a theatrical revue with four drag queens. And whoever the audience liked best at the end of the night would get paid."

On seven occasions (five in the United States and two in London over four consecutive nights) The Magnetic Fields performed all 69 love songs, in order, over two nights. Several of the lavish orchestrations are more simply arranged when performed live, due to limited performers and/or equipment.

The variety of 69 Love Songs also derives from the many song genres that Merritt raids and filters through his own sensibility. Merritt has said "69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It's an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love". Some of the genres are obvious, as in the songs "Punk Love", "Love Is Like Jazz", "World Love" and "Wi' Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget". Other songs indirectly reference some of Merritt's favorite artists, including Fleetwood Mac ("No One Will Ever Love You"), Cole Porter ("Zebra"), Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark ("Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits"), The Jesus and Mary Chain ("When My Boy Walks Down the Street"), Billie Holiday ("My Only Friend"), and Irving Berlin ("A Pretty Girl is Like...").

Another way of understanding 69 Love Songs is through Merritt's praise of an artist (Laurie Anderson) who "write[s] heartbreaking melodies with words that make fun of heartbreaking melodies." Consider "Yeah! Oh, Yeah!" where Stephin and Claudia, playing jilted lovers modeled closely on Sonny & Cher, sing their complaints to one another, overplaying and overstating their grievances such that their words become garish declarations of woe ("what a dark and dreary life / are you reaching for a knife?") to which the other character isn't really capable of responding but must still follow in tone ("yeah, oh yeah"). The lack of a firm distinction between content (what is sung) and form (the way it is sung) implies that this couple lives and dies by virtue of how persuasively they can sing to one another, and illustrates the persistent Magnetic Fields songwriting device of trapping a character within the conventions or formalities of a genre.

Several of the songs bend genders as well as genres. For example: a man sings "He's going to be my wife" ("When My Boy Walks Down the Street") and "the princess there is me" (Long-Forgotten Fairytale"). Other common themes include place names (e.g. Washington, DC; Lower East Side; North Carolina; Paris; Venice), animals (e.g. bear, goldfish, jellyfish, rabbit, bat, dog, boa constrictor, cockroach), as well as themes common throughout Merritt's work (e.g. the moon, dancing, rain, and eyes).

Suggested listening:

13 Years Ago Today: Tupac Shakur Shot in Las Vegas, Nevada...

On the night of September 7, 1996, Shakur attended the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. After leaving the match, one of Suge's associates spotted 21 year-old Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson, a member of the Southside Crips, in the MGM Grand lobby and informed Shakur. Shakur then attacked Anderson. Shakur's entourage, as well as Suge and his followers assisted in assaulting Anderson. The fight was captured on the hotel's video surveillance. A few weeks earlier, Anderson and a group of Crips had robbed a member of Death Row's entourage in a Foot Locker store, precipitating Shakur's attack. After the brawl, Shakur went to rendezvous with Suge to go to Death Row-owned Club 662 (now known as restaurant/club Seven). He rode in Suge's 1996 black BMW 750iL sedan as part of a larger convoy including many in Shakur's entourage.

At 10:55 p.m., while paused at a red light, Shakur rolled down his window and a photographer took his photograph. At around 11:00-11:05 p.m., they were halted on Las Vegas Blvd. by Metro bicycle cops for playing the car stereo too loud and not having license plates. The plates were then found in the trunk of Suge's car; they were released without being fined a few minutes later. At about 11:10 p.m., while stopped at a red light at Flamingo Road near the intersection of Koval Lane in front of the Maxim Hotel, a vehicle occupied by two women pulled up on their right side. Shakur, who was standing up through the sunroof, exchanged words with the two women, and invited them to go to Club 662. At approximately 11:15 p.m., a white, four-door, late-model Cadillac with an unknown number of occupants pulled up to the sedan's right side, rolled down one of the windows, and rapidly fired twelve to thirteen shots at Shakur. He was struck by four rounds, with bullets hitting him in the chest, the pelvis, and his right hand and thigh. One of the rounds apparently ricocheted into Shakur's right lung. Suge was hit in the head by shrapnel, though it is thought that a bullet grazed him. According to Suge, a bullet from the gunfire had been lodged in his skull, but medical reports later contradicted this statement.

At the time of the drive-by Shakur's bodyguard was following behind in a vehicle belonging to Kidada Jones, Shakur's then-fiancée. The bodyguard, Frank Alexander, stated that when he was about to ride along with the rapper in Suge's car, Shakur asked him to drive Kidada Jones' car instead just in case they were too drunk and needed additional vehicles from Club 662 back to the hotel. Shortly after the assault, the bodyguard reported in his documentary, Before I Wake, that one of the convoy's cars drove off after the assailant but he never heard back from the occupants.

After arriving on the scene, police and paramedics took Suge and a fatally wounded Shakur to the University Medical Center. According to an interview with one of Shakur's closest friends the music video director Gobi, while at the hospital, he received news from a Death Row marketing employee that the shooters had called the record label and were sending death threats aimed at Shakur, claiming that they were going there to "finish him off". Upon hearing this, Gobi immediately alerted the Las Vegas police, but the police claimed they were understaffed and no one could be sent. Nonetheless, the shooters never arrived. At the hospital, Shakur was in and out of consciousness, was heavily sedated, was breathing through a ventilator and respirator, was placed on life support machines, and was ultimately put under a barbiturate-induced coma after repeatedly trying to get out of the bed.

Despite having been resuscitated in a trauma center and surviving a multitude of surgeries (as well as the removal of a failed right lung), Shakur had gotten through the critical phase of the medical therapy and was given a 50% chance of pulling through. Gobi left the medical center after being informed that Shakur made a 13% recovery on the sixth night.While in Critical Care Unit on the afternoon of September 13, 1996, Shakur died of internal bleeding; doctors attempted to revive him but could not impede his hemorrhaging. His mother, Afeni, made the decision to tell the doctors to stop. He was pronounced dead at 4:03 p.m. (PDT). The official cause of death was noted as respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary arrest in connection with multiple gunshot wounds. Shakur's body was cremated.

Suggested viewing:

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Top 5 Richard Linklater Films...

Richard Stuart Linklater (born July 30, 1960) is an Academy Award-nominated American film director and screenwriter. Linklater was born in Houston, Texas. He studied at Sam Houston State University and left midway through his stint in college to work on an off-shore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. While working on the rig he read a lot of literature, but on land he developed a love of film through repeated visits to a repertory theater in Houston. It was at this point that Linklater realized he wanted to be a filmmaker. After his job on the oil rig, Linklater used the money he had saved to buy a Super-8 camera, a projector, and some editing equipment, and moved to Austin. It was there that the aspiring cineaste founded the Austin Film Society and grew to appreciate such stylized auteurs like Robert Bresson, Yasujiro Ozu, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Nagisa Oshima, and Josef Von Sternberg.

(in order)

1. Dazed & Confused (1993)

2. Scanner Darkly (2006)

3. Waking Life (2001)

4. Slacker (1991)

5. Before Sunrise (1995)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"But if our paths never cross"...

Great song, great video...

I am a sucker for anything with a Fleetwood Mac sample:

Suggested listening:

Picture Plane - "Goth Star" (2009)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

10 Years Ago This Month: Modest Mouse Changed My Life Forever...

This month marks 10 years ago that the band Modest Mouse was introduced to my life. It would be impossible for me to explain the vast depth and weight of the emotional attachment that the music of Modest Mouse has created in my life over the last decade. I own every album, I've seen them live nine times in four states, I've met all three original members of the band, I've had numerous conversations with lead singer Isaac Brock, I've spent countless hours listening to their songs on cassette tapes, CD's and MP3's. I've seen the band progress from a straight on indie-rock three piece touring the United States in a old beat up van to a progressive indie-rock six piece touring the globe in large buses and airplanes. After 13 plus years of existence, Modest Mouse is still the most unique and important movement in independent rock today...and still the most important thing to ever happen to my life.

My journey as a Modest Mouse fan started on a weekday while working at Karma Records in the fall of 1999. I was a 19 year old, living my dream of working at an independent record store. At the time, I was a fan of mostly classic rock, classic rap and pop/rock and I was growing increasingly tired of listening to the same songs over and over. I needed a change in my life...and that change came in the form of a compact disc by the band Modest Mouse. "The Fruit That Ate Itself" was playing on the speakers in the store when the song "Dirty Fingernails" caught my attention. I turned to my co-worker (Justin Kreitzer) and simply asked..."who is this?!", his reply..."Modest Mouse".

Isaac Brock and I after the Murat show in Indy: 11/12/07

The music of Modest Mouse entered my life at a time when I needed something to shake me up, and help to form my jumble of thoughts and emotions. The lyrics and sounds of complete desolation combined with the desire to be alone without being left alone were the keys to a new exploration of myself. I found that the songs began speaking louder and louder to comfort my angst and misunderstanding of the world. As the months passed, it became clear that this band and their music would provide a steady and welcome companion for my journey ahead.

Eric Judy and I after the Murat show in Indy: 11/12/07

On the verge of turning 20 years old, I was nine months deep into the world of Modest Mouse when I made the four hour trek to Chicago, Illinois to see them live for the first time in May of 2000. If I thought I was a big fan before seeing them live, I knew for a fact that I was an even bigger fan after seeing them belt out all the songs that I had grown to love and connect with. After the show, I stood outside and hoped to meet the band. 45 minutes later, lead singer Isaac Brock strolled out with Heineken in hand (this wasnt his first, or even sixth of the nite) and we spoke of their music and their travels before they had to make their way to the next stop along the way. As the years went on, I rarely missed an opportunity to see them live.

A decade later, I am now 29 years old. I still love Modest Mouse as much as I did when I first fell in love with them in the winter of 1999. This band has shaped my life in a way that nothing else ever could have. My outlook on life and my understanding of who I am as an individual in this world can be directly tied to the time in my life where I discovered the music of Modest Mouse.

Words simply cannot express the depth of my emotions for this band. I am who I am today largely because of them. At several points in my life Modest Mouse has helped to push me through difficult situations. At several points in my life Modest Mouse has helped me to understand that I will never completely understand. At several points in my life Modest Mouse has pushed me away from the people I love. At several points in my life Modest Mouse has drawn me closer to the people I love. At several points in my life Modest Mouse has given me the inspiration to "float on". At several points in my life Modest Mouse has given me exactly what I needed and I thank them for that.

p.s. Justin Kreitzer, I am eternally grateful for the introduction to Modest Mouse. Never forget that...because I never will.

My all time favorite Modest Mouse lyrics:

from "Blame It on the Tetons"

Everyone's a building burning
With no one to put the fire out
Standing at the window looking out...
Waiting for time to burn us down
Everyone's an ocean drowning
With no one really to show how
They might get a little better air
If they turned themselves into a cloud...

Suggested listening:

Interstate 8 EP (1996)

This is a Long Drive... (1996)

The Fruit That Ate Itself (1997)

The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)

Building Nothing Out of Something (1999)

The Moon & Antarctica (2000)

Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks (2001)

Good News for People Who Love Bad News (2004)

Baron Von Bullshit Rides Again (2004)

We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (2007)

No One's First, And You're Next EP (2009)

Suggested viewing:

some of my favorite MM videos...