Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Years Ago Today: Pink Floyd releases "The Wall"...

The Wall is the ninth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd. Presented as a double album, it was released on November 30, 1979. It was subsequently performed live, with elaborate theatrical effects, and adapted into the film 'Pink Floyd The Wall'.

The Wall is a rock opera that centres on the character Pink, who is largely based on the band's bassist and lyricist Roger Waters. Pink encounters obstacles throughout his life, beginning with the loss of his father during World War II, continuing with abuse from his schoolteachers, an overprotective mother, and the desertion of his wife – all of which factor into Pink's isolation from society, represented by the metaphorical "Wall" of the album title.

As with most of their previous albums, The Wall is a concept album that deals largely with the theme of personal isolation. The concept was inspired by an event that occurred during the band's 1977 In the Flesh Tour, where Waters' frustration with the behaviour of the audience reached a point where he spat in the face of a fan near the stage. Waters would come to regret his actions and spoke of his desire to build a wall between himself and the audience. The Wall features a notably harsher and more theatrical style than their previous releases. Keyboardist Richard Wright left the band during production of the album, but returned to perform during later concert performances as a salaried musician.

Hugely successful upon its release, The Wall was the best selling album of 1980 in the United States. It is one of the best-selling double albums of all time, and is in the top five best-selling albums of all time in the US.

Suggested listening:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Lindstrøm & Christabelle - "High & Low"
2. Bear in Heaven - "Ultimate Satisfaction"
3. Grizzly Bear - "Cheerleader (Neon Indian Remix)"
4. Atlas Sound - "Quick Canal (Feat. Laetitia Sadier)"
5. Arthur Russell - "The Letter"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

35 Years Ago Today: Nick Drake found dead...

Nicholas Rodney "Nick" Drake (June 19, 1948–November, 25 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician best known for his haunting, acoustic, autumn tinged songs. His primary instrument was the guitar, although he was also proficient at piano, clarinet and saxophone. Although he failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, Drake's work has become more and more listened to and respected, to the point that he now ranks among the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years.

At some time during the night of November 24th/25th 1974, Nick Drake died at home in Far Leys from an overdose of amitriptyline, a type of antidepressant. He had gone to bed early the night before, after spending the afternoon visiting a friend. His mother claimed that, around dawn, he left his room for the kitchen. His family was used to hearing him do this many times before but, during this instance, he did not make a sound. They presumed that he was eating a bowl of cereal. He returned to his room a short while later, and took some pills "to help him sleep". Drake was accustomed to keeping his own hours; he frequently had difficulty sleeping, and would often stay up through the night playing and listening to music, then sleeping late into the following morning. Recalling the events of that night, his mother later stated: "I never used to disturb him at all. But it was about 12 o’clock, and I went in, because really it seemed it was time he got up. And he was lying across the bed. The first thing I saw was his long, long legs." There was no suicide note, although a letter addressed to Ryde was found close to his bed.

Suggested listening:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

150 Years Ago Today: "On the Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin is published...

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, published on November 24th, 1859, is a seminal work of scientific literature, considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title was 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life'. For the sixth edition of 1872, the short title was changed to The Origin of Species. Darwin's book introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.

Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed to explain new findings in biology. There was growing support for such ideas among dissident anatomists and the general public, but during the first half of the 19th century the English scientific establishment was closely tied to the Church of England, while science was part of natural theology. Ideas about the transmutation of species were controversial as they conflicted with the beliefs that species were unchanging parts of a designed hierarchy and that humans were unique, unrelated to animals. The political and theological implications were intensely debated, but transmutation was not accepted by the scientific mainstream.

The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted widespread interest upon its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, his findings were taken seriously and the evidence he presented generated scientific, philosophical, and religious discussion. The debate over the book contributed to the campaign by T.H. Huxley and his fellow members of the X Club to secularise science by promoting scientific naturalism. Within two decades there was widespread scientific agreement that evolution, with a branching pattern of common descent, had occurred, but scientists were slow to give natural selection the significance that Darwin thought appropriate. During the "eclipse of Darwinism" from the 1880s to the 1930s, various other mechanisms of evolution were given more credit. With the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s and 1940s, Darwin's concept of evolutionary adaptation through natural selection became central to modern evolutionary theory, now the unifying concept of the life sciences.

Suggested reading:

Monday, November 23, 2009

10 Years Ago Today: Beck releases "Midnite Vultures"...

Midnite Vultures is the seventh (and fourth major-label) studio album by American artist Beck, released in November 1999 by Geffen Records. Though similar to most of Beck's previous albums in its exploration of widely varying musical styles, Midnite Vultures didn't achieve the same blockbuster success as his breakthrough, Odelay though it was well-received by his fans and critics and continues to receive wide acclaim.

Midnite Vultures reached #34 in the U.S., where it went gold, and also hit #19 in the UK. The album was praised by most critics. Some like Rolling Stone, NME and Pitchfork Media praised the album with 4-star reviews (8.5/10 on Pitchfork). It was awarded the status of 'Universal Acclaim' by MetaCritic with a score of 83/100. but in 2006 was named the 50th 'Worst Album Ever' by music magazine Q, despite the fact that they gave the album 4 stars.

Midnite Vultures was nominated in 2000 for Best Album at the 43rd Grammy Awards.

Suggested listening:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. Beach House - "Walk in the Park"
2. Beach House - "Silver Soul"
3. The Mary Onettes - "Lost"
4. Clipse vs. Cat Power - "I Don't Blame You For Shinin"
5. Animal Collective - "What Would I Want? Sky (BBC Version)"

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Top 10 Weirdest NBA Stops Along the Way...

1. Michael Jordan: Washington Wizards

Jordan in anything other than a Bulls uniform...he should have walked away for good.

2. Rasheed Wallace: Atlanta Hawks

Rasheed earns the #2 spot because he only played 1-2 games total in Atlanta before being traded.

3. Allen Iverson: Memphis Grizzlies

At what point did Iverson think Memphis was the best way to end his career?

4. Hakeem Olajuwon: Toronto Raptors

The interesting thing about "The Dream" playing in Canada is how many people have no recollection of this actually happening.

5. Patrick Ewing: Seattle Supersonics

The look on Ewing's face says it all.

6. Karl Malone: Los Angeles Lakers

The "Mail Man" left Utah in search of the elusive ring...and never got one. All he has to show for it now is one very bizarre year as a Laker.

7. Dennis Rodman: Dallas Mavericks

Rodman on the Mavericks, let's just say this was a failed experiment.

8. Patrick Ewing: Orlando Magic

As if the SuperSonics weren't enough, Ewing packed it up once more and went to the Magic. Remember that really sad elephant you'd see at the circus as a kid? This is that sad elephant.

9. Dennis Rodman: Los Angeles Lakers

Before there was Ron Artest, there was Dennis Rodman. Rodman wore #73 on the Lakers, Artest now wears #37. Coincidence? Hmmm...

10. Shawn Kemp: Orlando Magic

With mounting child support payments to make and a crack habit to feed, why NOT join the Orlando Magic. Sadly, this guy is still attempting to make comebacks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

5 Years Ago Today: "The Malice at the Palace"...

I will never forget sitting at Applebee's watching the whole thing unfold...thinking..."there's no way this actually happening". Still one of the top five craziest things I've ever seen/ever will see in sports.

Album Covers I Hate By Bands That I Enjoy...

James Taylor - Daddy Loves His Work (1981)

No matter how many times I look at this cover, I still wonder who thought this was a good choice?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Old Music (Still Good Music): Guns 'N' Roses - "November Rain"...

On a day such as this...there is nothing better. A true modern classic.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Top 5 Most Anticipated Releases of Fall/Winter 2009...

Here are my top 5 most anticipated releases for the remainder of 2009...

(in order)

1. Animal Collective - "Fall Be Kind EP" (December 8th)

2. Eminem - "Relapse 2" (December 8th)

3. Real Estate - "Reality EP" (December 18th)

4. Birdman - "Priceless" (November 23rd)

5. Clipse - "Til The Casket Drops" (December 8th)

Monday, November 16, 2009

10 Years Ago Today: Dr. Dre releases "2001"...

2001 is the second studio album by American hip-hop producer and rapper Dr. Dre, released November 16, 1999 on Aftermath Records. The album was produced by Dr. Dre, Mel-Man, Lord Finesse, and Scott Storch, and it was recorded during 1998 and 1999. 2001 features guest appearances from rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Xzibit. It is the follow-up to Dr. Dre's debut album, The Chronic (1992). 2001 exhibits an expansion on the G-funk sound of The Chronic, and it features gangsta rap lyrical themes such as violence, promiscuity, drug use, street gangs, and crime.

2001 debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 charts with sales of over 550,000 units. On November 21, 2000, it was certified six times platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America, following sales in excess of 6 million in the United States. Despite some negative criticism towards the album's gangsta motifs, 2001 received generally positive reviews from music critics. The album has been credited with bringing the West Coast hip-hop scene back to the spotlight after years of obscurity, while showing that Dr. Dre could still remain prominent with a new generation of listeners and viewers. 2001 also further established the career of Eminem, who eventually became one of the best-selling rappers of all time. In 2006, Hip Hop Connection named 2001 the tenth best album in hip hop.

Suggested listening:

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. The Fresh & Onlys - "Peacock and Wing"
2. Bear in Heaven - "Ultimate Satisfaction"
3. INXS - "Kiss the Dirt"
4. Blank Dogs - "Three Window Room"
5. Cold Cave - "Life Magazine"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

5 Years Ago Today: Eminem releases "Encore"...

Encore is the fifth studio album by American rapper Eminem. It was set for release on November 16, 2004, but was moved up to November 12, after the album was leaked to the Internet. Encore sold 760,000 copies in its shortened three day opening week and claimed the #1 spot on the Billboard Top 200. The album sold 1,632,000 copies in its first two weeks of release in the United States in November, 2004.

The shock-oriented lyrics in Eminem's previous three albums were toned down somewhat in Encore in favor of a lighter approach. Eminem was already beginning to show this lighter side on The Eminem Show and continued it with Encore.

The album features substantially more production from Dr. Dre than The Eminem Show. The Eminem Show was mostly produced by Eminem and longtime collaborator Jeff Bass.
The cover for Encore, which shows Slim Shady taking a "final bow", is representative of the fact that Eminem would soon plan to retire his alter ego.

The outro to "Encore/Curtains Down" also hints to this, as Slim Shady can be heard shooting into the audience and finally committing suicide by sticking a pistol in his mouth. These events are also depicted in the album's inlay art. The album was also made to seem as though it was recorded live, due to simulated audience claps and chants in some parts. On the front of the CD there is a mock suicide note from Eminem. it reads:

"To my familly and all my friends, thank you for everything. I will always love you. To all my fans, I'm sorry".

Suggested listening:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Albums Covers I Hate By Bands That I Enjoy...

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (2006)

Coming from a band that has had so many great album covers, this was difficult to accept as anything other than a hoax.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. The Fresh & Only's - "Peacock and Wing"
2. Vampire Weekend - "Ottoman"
3. Wolf Parade - "Language City"
4. Young Jeezy - "Still On It"
5. Vampire Weekend - "Everywhere"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yeah...that's right, you tell them Miracle Whip!

If you're young, hip and not into your parents mayo...well do I have something for you: Miracle Whip. Yeah...aggressive advertising for that 18-25 demographic. SOOOO stupid. It's fucking eggs and vegetable oil, not "Catcher In the Rye".

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Music: Real Estate - "Fake Blues"...

The great song "Fake Blues" from Pitchfork Showpaper Benefit Show...

Suggested listening:

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Music: The National - "The Runaway"...

Top 5 Songs I am Currently Listening To...

1. INXS - "Don't Change"
2. Arthur Russell - "That's Us/Wild Combination"
3. Arthur Russell - "Keeping Up"
4. Tears For Fears - "Head Over Heels"
5. Billy Idol - "Eyes Without a Face"