Sunday, December 17, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly- 2006 A lot of music came out this year, and some of it happened to be good. Beyond that, some of if was actually even great! Here is my list of what I loved, what I liked, and what I hated about music this year.The Great-1. Casey Dienel- Wind Up Canary (Hush Records) Oh my how do I love this album. Casey Dienel's voice and piano playing blend together in ways reminiscent of the 1920's and 1930's, but also very soothing and fun. I hear some Mirah and some Jolie Holland, and I don't know if those influences are intentional, but it sounds great. I wish her cover of Pavement's "Cut Your Hair" was on here, but even then, I have listened to this album more than any other album this year. People might be thrown off by the pianos carrying this album, but when it comes down to it, this is great music on a great album that comes together in ways entertaining, personal, and perfect for any time of the day.2. Damien Jurado- And Now That I'm In Your Shadow (Secretly Canadian) Damien doesn't make bad records, ever. This album seems like it should have come after Where Shall You Take Me more so than the follow up to On My Way to Absence. The fact that Damien Jurado is now a band and not a solo act comes more into play. Eric Fisher has been with Damien for his past few albums playing various instruments, but now adding Jenna Conrad for vocals and Cello just deepens his sound. "What Were The Chances", is heart wrenching evidence of this. The tale of a man involved with a woman in such a hopeless situation, that the story makes you feel for his unrequited love. I could go on and on about this album, which does feature "Montesano", which is such a peaceful feeling to listen to. This album is certainly my second favorite album of Damien's right after Ghost of David, and that is saying a lot.3. Alexi Murdoch- Time Without Consequence (Zero Summer) If you have seen that Honda commercial and heard that sounds that sounds eerily like Nick Drake and haven't wondered who that is or what that song is called, you should be ashamed of yourself. The song is called "Orange Sky", and that is Alexi Murdoch. Some people would compare him to Damien Rice, but that is really doing a disservice to the amazing talent that Alexi has. His voice is so deep and soulful, and you can't not feel better after listening to this heartwarming collection of songs. If you had to compare him to anyone, most people would say Nick Drake, but if Nick Drake's first album was as good as Alexi's full-length debut, you'd know that there are great things to come. 4. Laura Gibson- If You Come To Greet Me (Hush Records) Wow, I am happy to have discovered Laura Gibson's music this year! No offensive when I say this but, this is the album that Jolie Holland should have made this year. Laura Gibson has really surpassed her Amends EP with a collection of songs that puts you right at ease and takes you to places that make you feel warm even in the cold places. So calming and yet so refreshing; it's not soda, but maybe even a bit better.5. Converge- No Heroes (Epitaph) Holy crap! Not that You Fail Me was horrible by any means, but this album even kicks Jane Doe right in the butt! Funny how almost all of my favorites this year are soft, and then comes Converge with No Heroes, one of the most dirtiest sounding, roughest albums to come out this year. Sometimes a band is good enough to just pull that out of you, and Converge always does with their intensity and storytelling. It doesn't matter if the song is under two minutes or almost ten minutes, from start to finish, this album kills me, and I am thankful for it.The Good-1. Jeremy Enigk- World Waits (Lewis Hollow) This album should have been in "the great" section, but I haven't been in the right mood to fully fully take all of this album in. Enigk has a way of creating soft epics that really take you to other places. His last solo album was more in the vein of Strawberry Fields than Sunny Day Real Estate. And if The Fire Theft album felt like a continuation of Sunny Day's The Rising Tide, this album seems to be the natural progression. The Fire Theft album, while amazing, was a little too epic in parts, whereas World Waits seems to be grand and still touches you in a personal way that the aforementioned could not. The only real downside with this album is having to wait 10 years for it to come out. Don't make us wait that long for the third one.2. Thom Yorke- The Eraser (XL) If you don't like Radiohead, get over it and get this album. If you do like Radiohead, and you loved Kid A, you are going to go ape-poo over this album. Thom Yorke builds compositions out of the obscure and the electronic and puts you into places that are intangible but somehow seem attainable to say the least. I could come up with more ways to say how good of an album this actually is, but you should be listening to it by now.3. The Blow- Paper Television (K) The Blow started out pretty folky, and with every album, they tend to get more electronic. This album is no exception. It gets cheesy enough to be still be cute without being corny, and I love it. I know this band is not for everyone, but for those who get it, you are lucky to have bands like this. "True Affection", is such a good song. This is the kind of album that can be honest without being cool, and that's okay. I like that.4. Rocky Votolato- Makers (Barsuk) Rocky, Rocky, Rocky… you and you amazing voice and great songwriting. This album takes more of a nod to Burning My Travels Clean, than it does to Suicide Medicines, and it shows. Personal storytelling that puts images in your head like a memory from a good time in your life. I hope he keeps going in this direction. Buy this album.The Crap- 1. Wolfmother- s/t (Modular/Interscope) Are you ripping off Zepplin or Sabbath? Or is it that you want to be a third rate TV On The Radio? Please do me a favor and don't try to rock me because it's not working. I think I would have been a lot happier if these guys decided to stay in and write some emo junk.2. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus- Don't You Fake It (Virgin) Even though I consider Wolfmother crap, Wolfmother are rock gods compared to this band. The term "dime a dozen" frequently applies here. The sandwich is set up like this: Crap-Cliché-Crap. Even more ironic is that album's title, because it fits every stereotype of this dying musical genre. In five years, Emo Pop will be regarded as the Hair Metal of it's day and these guys will go down at The Winger of their generation for producing such soulless, bland, void "music". But hey, at least major label help with make them rich enough to be happy coming to terms with it.3. Fergie- The Dutchess (Who Cares) Mindless drones of music that means absolutely nothing. I would rather have Kriss-Kross come back on the MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice 2007 State Fair Tour that listen to this crap. This kid's incorporated star later joined the then soulful, though-provoking Black Eyed Peas who were about promoting consciousness and turned it into "Don't Funk With My Heart", and "My Humps", and made them rich, which you know… money is nice. But "My Humps"?!!! Seriously, what crap is that!? And then a solo album comes out from someone who, seriously, she looks like she used to be a dude. It could be worse though, she could have made those solo records Gwen Stefani put out. Stuff I am looking forward to in 2007- Mirah- put out a new album!The Smashing Pumpkis- TBA, Jimmy and Billy and whoever, it's gonna be good. Guns N' Roses- Chinese Democracy=LOLOLOLOLDamien Jurado's next few albums. Ok, so those are mine, what are yours?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'll get the Hawaii blog out soon..., but in the meantime, I have other stuff to talk about.

Since I have gotten back, I have not adjusted back to local time, and the have gotten no rest whatsoever. Last night, I was driving home, and on the long drive, I put on some ben folds, and started thinking about all the places I have been this year, and none of it was in vain, I got to see great friends and family and really enjoy my times away for what they were.

On the plane ride home, I sat in the very middle of the plane, in the middle seat of the middle aisle. I sat next to a lady with her crying baby, and next to an older man whose son was a missionary.

Apparently, this man's son lived on an island in the middle of the south pacific that had two stores and one hospital, and was barely inhabited.

The idea of this intrigued me very much.

One of my favorite movies is this cheesy movied called "Joe Vs. The Volcano", and if you like it, I already love you.

There is this scene where tom hanks, being intrigued with Meg Ryan's pespective of living free asks her where she would go if she could just take a boat and leave, and she replied "away, away from the things of man." And this idea sounded much like what that old man was telling me about this island out in the middle of nowhere.

Maybe it's my lack of rest, but I want to go to those seldom seen places, I want to know what life is like... away from the things of man.