Monday, June 30, 2008
Jay-z feat. Pharrell - I Know (Neon Coyote Remix) [MP3] (via Asian Dan)
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab for Cutie had the all pressure of the indie world on its shoulders when it moved to a major label for its 2005 release, "Plans." The band rose to the challenge. The resulting record was both perfectly polished and beautifully intimate.
"Narrow Stairs" is the antithesis to "Plans." Loose and a bit rough around the edges, the new record feels much more organic than its immediate predecessor. This approach works well on the album opener "Bixby Canyon Bridge" and the eight-minute vamp "I Will Possess Your Heart." But the rest of the album just feels cheaply constructed.
Softer songs always work best for Ben Gibbard's shaky tenor and "Grapevine Fires" and "Your New Twin Sized bed" add some emotion to a surprisingly uninteresting outing. For the first time in their career, "Narrow Stairs" finds Death Cab just going through the motions.
Your New Twin Sized Bed [MP3] (via www.theseanshow.net)
Rating: 2.5 of 4
For Fans of: Pedro the Lion, Nada Surf, Postal Service
Friday, June 27, 2008
I've always loved albums. If I hear a song I really like, but can't get into the rest of the artist's material, I instantly pass on it. I rarely even put those songs on my iPod. Hence, iTunes--and the entire concept of a single--doesn't work for me.
But there are certainly great songs out there. I'm too single snobby. So here's a song I like, based entirely on the song itself:
Pop Levi - Never Never Love [via Stereogum]
Thursday, June 26, 2008
10 years after high school and Ricky and I each have plenty of kids and not enough hair.
I feel like Homer when he said:
Homer: Okay, here's the solution. I want you kids to lock the bedroom from the outside so I can't get out and perpetrate my nocturnal mischief.
Bart: Why don't you just stop taking the pills you hothead?
Homer: Because I'm filled with stress! [smacks him on the back of the head and moans] I've got three kids and no money. Why can't I have no kids and three moneys?
Monday, June 23, 2008
Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
People stopped using "Offspring" and "cool" in the same sentence at least 10 years ago. But the band has continued to steadily release quality records that always manage to contain plenty of punk rock and at least one stupid, radio friendly hit.
"Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace" is par for the course—double time verses with big, catchy choruses. This time around they've added a few softer numbers ("A Lot Like Me," "Kristy Are You Doing Okay") to appeal to the tweener crowd, but for the most part it's still 1993 for this Southern California foursome. The Offspring may not have a lot of cred, but they still know how to write good songs.
Rating: 3 of 4
For fans of: Pennywise, Face to Face
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Traci bought me an Oranje t-shirt for father's day. I wore it today to support the Nederlandse Elftal, but it was not enough to prevent a loss to the Russians. I'm still crying orange tears.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Dutch voetbal always brings out the nostalgia in me. It's been eight years since I walked down Dutch streets painted entirely orange in support of their team--Holland hosted the tournament in 2000. I've never experienced such sports excitement and watching the watching the games with my friends the Bloms, Butler, and Wix was one of the highlights of my mission.
It's been four years since I was sneaking out from my job at the Community College to drive to Provo to watch Euro 2004 on TV with my friend RB. That was a life-changing tournament. Not because of the soccer, but because RB decided to have a kid. (Fortunately, his wife was able to give birth without making us miss any of the games.)
RB was the first of our friends to (purposely) venture into parenthood. When we found out they were going to have a kid, it became time for us to start seriously considering the proposition.
Here we are, four years later, with two little kids. It's 4:00 a.m. and Traci is sitting next to me, giving Curtis a bottle.
Paige loves playing soccer. She dribbles the ball from one side of the backyard to the other, kicks it against the fence and yells "Goooooooooooooal!!!!" So we watch Euro 2008 together and we both cheer when Holland scores. (She just likes cheering.)
For the next round, I'll probably bust out my orange, inflatable Dutch crown, Oranje jersey and wooden shoes. RB has promised to find his Snickers Lucky Pants, the orange promotional whitey-tighteys from 2000. Hup, Holland, Hup!
I basically make no dollars writing for IN Utah This Week. But so far, it's been it's been worth it. I didn't think I'd get to do something cooler than interview the Voodoo Glow Skulls, but on Friday I had a chance to be on the phone with the Alkaline Trio.
Somehow I was able to track down the name of their publicist, so I shot off an email requesting an interview. I was doubtful she'd even respond. She did. I hoped for an email interview at best, and instead was hooked up with a phone interview with Dan Andriano.
The day of the interview, the publicist sent a note that Dan was sick and that I would be interviewing drummer Derek Grant. I was a little bummed that I didn't get to talk to Dan, but Derek was extremely cool.
I asked him about the band's recent cameo on The Hills ("A girl on The Hills' [Audrina] little sister really likes the band, so they came to the studio..." and Matt Skiba's trip to L.A. Ink ("Matt's friends with Kat Von D..." ).
I haven't written up the story yet, but I plan on posting the actual phone conversation here shortly.
Interview with Derek Grant [WMA] (I forgot to push record for the first few seconds. My bad.)
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I would have finished it sooner, had I not taken a break in the middle to read the 600-page autobiography of Slash (you know I can't say know to a good rock 'n roll memoir). Rough Stone Rolling was quite good, if not a bit long-winded at times. I'd definitely recommend it for Mormon folk, but it seemed too detail-heavy to be enjoyable for someone being introduced to Joseph Smith for the first time.
Monday, June 09, 2008
When I walked in the door after work she shouted "Dad, go on eskimo-later!"
"You went on an escalator?" I asked.
"Eskimo-later." She found my question to be more of an offer and headed for the door.
Monday, June 02, 2008
(The Red Album)
That Rivers Cuomo does to me every time. I get all excited about a new Weezer release, just to be disappointed when I finally hear it. The Red Album seemed so promising, especially with the classic-Weezer first single “Pork and Beans.” But Cuomo is being literal when he sings “I'm a do the things that I wanna do/I ain't got a thing to prove to you.”
The Red Album does whatever it wants. The first quarter of the record is quite good, if not a bit odd. After kicking off with the straightforward clap-along “Troublemaker,” the band manages to shove hip-hop beats, hardcore riffage, spoken word, and a soaring finale into the six-minute “The Greatest Man that Ever Lived.” Cuomo even succeeds in name checking both Pat Benatar and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—certainly no easy task—in the pretty “Heart Songs.”
But that’s when things go amiss. Cuomo relinquishes the microphone to his mates, resulting in the countrified “Thought I Knew,” sung by Brian Bell, the ‘90s rock “Automatic” sung by Pat Wilson, and “Cold Dark World” belted by bass man Scott Shriner. It’s nice when you let your friends have the spotlight for a second, but this is b-side material at best. And on an album with just 10 tracks, it’s a shame to throw away three of them. Sadly, this may be Weezer’s worst release.