Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Morning Studio Session

It was pretty much like this (and like that and like this and uh)

I spent the morning at the recording studio. But alas, I was not laying down fat tracks. Instead, I was listening intently as the talent (that's a fancy word for the lady with the nice voice) recorded such exciting voicemail intros as "For claims and appeals, press 1."

Working at insurance is very glamorous.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Album Reviews: Elway, Rural Alberta Advantage, One AM Radio

I get choked up just thinking about this clip.


I’ll admit it. The only reason I checked out this Colorado band was because they’re named after my favorite Denver Broncos quarterback. The fact that the band delivers a solid debut album is just an added bonus. The strength of “Delusions” rests in its looseness. Elway churns out barroom punk rock in the vein of Hot Water Music or early Alkaline Trio, propelled by gruff vocals and catchy hooks. Though the record walks a path littered with broken hearts, the gang-vocal “whoa-oh-ohs” give an undeniable hope that everything is going to be okay. “Delusions” may not be wildly inventive, but still makes a great first impression.

For fans of: Lawrence Arms, Gaslight Anthem
Rating: 3 of 4
Check out: Passing Days (YouTube)
(And don't forget to watch the magical moment of "The Drive" by John Elway himself, shown above.)

Rural Alberta Advantage

A good band name should give a hint of what kind of music you play (see Megadeth, Sonic Youth, Geto Boys). True to its name, Rural Alberta Advantage gives off an earthy feel, but not in a Fleet Foxes, we-are-the-forest kind of way. “Departing” sounds more like a Bob Dylan record-- if he were to hole up in a cabin to make a dance record. The album is driven by a palpable tension between the vocals and the music--a singer who sounds like he should be accompanied by a banjo and a jaw harp, but instead fronts a band where the drums jump on the upbeat, xylophones plink joyously, and synthesizers sneak around in the background. It should be a mess, but somehow it makes perfect sense.

For fans of: Fleet Foxes, AA Bondy
Rating: 3 of 4
Check out: Under the Knife (YouTube)

The One AM Radio
Heaven Is Attached by a Slender Thread

Analog synths. Horns. Handclaps. “Heaven Is Attached by a Slender Thread” has all the makings of a typical dance record. But The One AM Radio doesn’t really do typical. Despite the upbeat ingredients, band leader Hrishikesh Hirway drenches the collection in lyrical melancholy. Somehow, the sadness just can’t compete with the persistent bounce. The album’s best track, “Plans,” ricochets off the walls like The Postal Service and “In a City without Seasons” feels like it was and conceived on the beach at sunset. There are brief moments with the music matches the solemnity of the message (see “The Heat”) but for the most part, despite his frowny face, Hirway can’t keep his feet from dancing.

For fans of: Hot Chip, Styrofoam
Rating: 3.5 of 4
Check out: Plans (YouTube)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Curtis Gets His First Tattoo

(Or view the video here.)

Much like with any tattoo, he regretted it just minutes later. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Song of the Day: The Naked and Famous - Young Blood

I'm a sucker for music that makes me feel like I am in high school, about to embark upon the most important night of my life.

This is ironic because in high school, the most important night of my life may have been the time Matt Slivka and I (the two un-muscle-i-est guys at MHS) decided to go to ShopKo and buy our first-ever wife beater tanktops and wear them around the SugarHouse Movies 9 on a cold January night.

How's that for a music video idea?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Grilled Cheese Incident

Curtis. Always mildly disgusting.

Curtis refuses to eat grilled cheese sandwiches. He will, however, eat "boy cheese sandwiches."

Me: Who wants a grilled cheese?

Curtis: I don't want a girl cheese. I want a boy cheese sandwich.

Luckily, the recipes are pretty similar (I just have to mix in a few more monster trucks and construction vehicles.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Return of the Little Firecracker

Curtis and Tate are almost exactly three years apart. Here's a little comparison of the two at three months old - wearing the same shirt and enjoying the 4th of July parade in Murray (the pics also serve as an evolution of Traci's little sister Makell).

Curtis is obviously a bit chunkier and I forget how red his hair was when we he was a little guy
Thankfully, Tate is more mellow than the other two have been.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Rock 'n Roll Photo Pass: Demystified

Two feet away from CAKE's John McCrea

One of the perks of being a barely-paid music critic is that I get to go to a lot of shows for free. When I work with a band's publicist on a concert preview, they usually ask if I want to be on "the list" for the show. When people think of the list, they immediately imagine Wayne and Garth hanging out backstage with Alice Cooper.

Alas, nay. (Though I did get to hang out on Streetlight Manifesto's bus once. Coolest. Experience. Ever.)

It just means that I show up at the venue and say to the ticket person or whoever, "I'm on the list." They find my name -  on an actual list - and let me in without paying. While this sounds great, about every fourth time, my name hasn't really made it to the list, which results in no small amount of awkwardness, especially if I've brought a friend with me.

Sometimes I'm also offered a photo pass. If asked in advance, I say I don't need one. The reason is two fold:
  1. I just have a crappy little point-and-shoot camera and I'd feel dumb standing up on the stage taking photos with it. 
  2. I have no idea what such a pass entitles me to. Do I go on stage? Do I poke around in front of the band? Do I hold my pass up (again, a la Wayne's World) and work my way to the front of the crowd?
 So when I'm given a press pass at the door, I just stick it on my shirt (to look cool) and do nothing with it.

At the CAKE show a few weeks back, I was handed a pass. I decided to finally be a man and take some pictures. I bravely walked up to a security guy standing by the stage and said, "Where can I go with this photo pass?"

He looked blankly at me and shrugged his shoulders.

Eventually, another lady come up and said, "You can take pictures at the front of the stage for the first three songs."

So I did. I stood in front of the lounging-on-the-grass crowd at Red Butte garden and pretended like I knew what I was doing. Not looking like an idiot became more difficult once I was standing next to a photographer from SLUG magazine, who did know what he was doing. But I hung in there.

For about 90 seconds.

About halfway through the first song, I had taken a dozen or so pictures, which seemed like more than enough. I went back to seat, successfully having overcome my oh-so-life-threatening fear of photo passes. I am a changed man.

One of my photos is above. The SLUG guy's pics are here. I feel like I held my own.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Why I Am the Best Dad Ever, According to Paige

"Because you reach down my toys when they're up high."

Monday, July 04, 2011

A Beautiful Mind, Anyone?

This is what Paige has done to the walls in her room. At this point, it's adorable. If she starts seeing messages in the pictures, it will be frightening.

Friday, July 01, 2011