Monday, May 30, 2011


We went to Paige's preschool graduation yesterday, or "congraduation" as she calls it. The class offered up a stirring rendition of the Alphabet Song, and then an uber-jazzy take on Old MacDonald Had a Farm before receiving their well-deserved diplomas.

I couldn't help but feel a little emotional. I can't believe it's already been two years since we shipped Paige off to preschool--first to Miss Margaret's and then to the real deal.
Looking back through my blog archives, I was surprised that I didn't really say much about Paige going to school. We were so worried about it. Worried that she would be scared. Worried that she wouldn't fit in. Worried that she'd have a meltdown if the teacher or the other kids didn't do things exactly the way she wanted them to.

It turns out, preschool has been the best thing that could have happened to her. She's loved learning (and bossing the other kids around a bit) and singing and playing. It's made such a positive difference in her ability to be around new people and new things.

Her teacher has been so sweet with her. She's from eastern Europe and has a very thick accent. That's probably why Paige sometimes tells me she sat on the rug by Ree-chard or is going to play with Kait-leen.

But now preschool is over and it's time to start pre-worrying about kindergarten.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

And the Band Has a Name

The other day, we were having a little family band rehearsal. Curtis was manning the drums, I was on guitar, and Paige was handling vocal and keyboard duties. I love how Paige makes up lyrics as she sings, usually things like "I'm gonna keep on rockin'" and "oh yeah, oh yeah, alright" (she clearly already understands the fundamentals of rock 'n roll lyricism).

After we finished up, I asked her what the name of our band should be. Almost without hesitation, she said, "The Hammers."

Doesn't get any more rockin' than that.

Watch for our debut album in 2013.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Vince Lombardi of Soccer

I (substitute) coached my first soccer game this week. Was I the best coach to ever step foot on the pitch? I'll leave that to the sports historians. But I will say that Paige's first question to me was, "Why are you coaching my team tonight?"

There are probably a few different answers to that question:

Well, my dear, someone needs to bring this team back from a null-3 deficit to eventually tie the game, just as time expires.

Or the regular coach didn't show up and I was the only parent there who didn't have a gaggle of kids with him. (I just had one chubby 3-year-old that I held while I coached.)

Either way, I feel like I left the field with my legacy intact.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Silverstein Good. Sharks Better. Bazan Best.

This week's reviews. Here's the Reader's Digest version.

Silverstein=Paint-my-numbers emo.Still good.
Sharks=Sounds like The Clash. Great if you like The Clash.
Bazan=A tough listen, but worth repeat listens.

David Bazan
Strange Negotiations

Over the past 15-plus years, David Bazan has spent his time praising God, then questioning his motives, and finally breaking up with Him entirely. On his first release since making the evangelical split official (see 2009’s “Curse Your Branches” ), Bazan faces the challenge of writing a record without the Big Guy. “Strange Negotiations” addresses the big question of “what’s next?” Not in terms of religion, but of what it takes to be a good human being. Instead of looking heavenward, Bazan dives deep into his own heart. He sings “I want to level with myself/I want to level with friends/I want to level with my kid/And be at peace with it.” While Bazan’s tongue remains silver, the music is much less polished. A darkness hangs over the record, which is uncharacteristically riff-heavy. Much like his Headphones side project, “Strange Negotiations” requires listener’s full attention and gets better with each listen.

For fans of: Death Cab for Cutie, Rocky Votolato
Rating: 3.5 of 4
Check out: Wolves At The Door (MP3, swear words)


As emo bands go from having broken hearts to having a wife and kids, there is no shortage of growing pains. Some decide to get heavier, some get lighter, and most simply fall by the wayside. Scene stalwarts Silverstein have chosen to stay the course. On any given track of “Rescue,” the band screams up a lung, wields guitars as a blunt-force instrument, and dangles its heart from its sleeve. The band’s songwriting has certainly improved over their decade-long career, but more impressive is their ear for pacing. The record moves nicely between melodic rockers (“Intervention”), straightforward ballads (“Good Luck with Your Lives”), and ultra-heavy dirges (“The Artist”), without ever losing steam.

For fans of: Bayside, Taking Back Sunday
Rating: 3 of 4
Check out: Medication (YouTube)

The Joys of Living 2008-2010

It’s comforting to know that 15 years after the demise of The Clash, the spirit of Joe Strummer is still alive and well. The Sharks, a four piece British outfit, follow The Clash’s model of mixing punk, reggae, and good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n roll. The band makes the sound their own not by musical innovation, but by sheer exuberance. The tunes jump out of the speakers and bounce off the walls, in hopes that someone out there would please just start a circle pit. A compilation of the band’s first three EPs, “The Joys of Living,” couldn’t be a better teaser for an eventual full-length debut .

For fans of: The Clash, Gaslight Anthem
Rating: 3 of 4
Check out: Three Houses (YouTube)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eminem vs. the Deseret News

Remember when I wrote that Eminem review that got the Internet all mad at me?At the time, I was freaking out a bit (in a good way) because that article had more than 2,500 views--which was like 10 times more than any other review I had done.

The other day, I wrote my first article for, a quick little piece about upcoming shows in Salt Lake. Within a few hours, it had more than 4,000 views. Not because of angry Eminem fans, just because KSL is obviously a zillion times bigger than IN

I'm happy for the exposure, but as far as I can tell, I may not get any money from my Zion-leaning friends. So this may be my first and last submission for KSL.

In the meantime, my Eminem review has reached nearly 15,000 views. I believe I was paid $10 for that one.

I'll be financially sound and ready to retire any day now.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Me. On TV.

I showed up at work on Monday to find out I'd be doing a little TV interview with Big Budah. I called Traci to ask if she'd record it.

The clip aired live and the second it was over I got this text from Traci:

"Our kids are freaking out seeing you on TV right now. They love it."

But it wasn't all good. Apparently Paige was very bothered that she was talking to me on the TV, but I wasn't responding. (Rude of me, I know.)

When I got home, they were both very excited to tell me that they had seen me. They were also very interested in knowing how I got on TV. I really think Paige was expecting me to explain the science of video recording and satellite transmission and such, but she had to settle for my response of "I dunno. I just was."

Can't see the video? Here's the link.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

This Week's Music: Screeching Weasel, Pains of Being Pure in Heart, Explosions in the Sky

Screeching Weasel
First World Manifesto

After a 10-year hiatus, Ben Weasel and his band are out to prove they are just as punk as they were when they formed the band in 1986. The 43-year-old Weasel still sounds like he’s singing with his nose pinched closed as he spews sarcasm at his punk rock peers, ex-girlfriends, and young poseurs. The tales are tired and cliche, but with all of the three-chord bounce and high harmonies it’s hard to deny their catchiness. A dozen records into the catalog, “First World Manifesto” is far essential, but does serve as a reminder of why so many bands have been influenced by Mr. Weasel over the past  25 years.

For fans of: Teenage Bottlerocket, NoFX
Rating: 2.5 of 4
 Check out: Frankengirl

Explosions in the Sky [Manifesto Approved]
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

In the era of the highly-compressed MP3 single, Explosions in the Sky make absolutely no sense.  The songs are long, winding, and completely void of vocals. The record clocks in at 45 minutes, with just six tracks. Fortunately, the same things that keep the band from fitting in also allow it to stand out. Over six records, the band has mastered the balance between the meandering, slow build (“Be Comfortable, Creature”) and cacophonous climax (“Last Known Surroundings”).  “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care” should only be listened to one way--in its entirety, from start to finish.

For fans of: Letting Up Despite Great Heights, Caspian
Rating: 3.5 of 4 

The Pains of Being Pure in Heart [Manifesto Approved]

The Pains of Being Pure in Heart have found plenty of inspiration in ‘90s shoegaze alterna-rock. So the choice of producer Flood and mixer Alan Moulder (the dudes that made bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails famous) makes perfect sense. Their influence is immediately apparent on the album opener, “Belong,” which is bathed in fuzzed-out guitars. The rest of the record, however, is more lighthearted, with hooks front and center and Kip Berman’s vocals always thin and dream-like. Both directions work well for the band, but “Belong” may have been even more interesting had the band explored more of a balance between the mega-fuzzy and the ultra-light.

For fans of: Temper Trap, the xx
Rating: 3.5 of 4 
Check out:  Belong

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tate, Lately

This kiddo has already been with us for a month. (For Traci, one long, sleepless month.) Curtis continues to ignore him (probably the best case scenario) and Paige will likely love (nay, smother) him to death.

Here he is at two weeks: