Friday, December 31, 2010

Shopping at the pretend grocery store at the West Valley Rec Center.

Best Music of 2010

As is always the case, I find an album that I get excited to put atop my Best Of list, only to discover that it was released the previous year. So, before I start, let me give a little shout out to the 2009's "Weathervanes" by Freelance Whales, the album that I loved the most in 2010.

And now back to the list for this year, though I'm sure I left some things out.


Best repeat listen 
Tokyo Police Club - Champ
Long a fan of Tokyo Police Club, I was disappointed with the almost childlike feel of their new record. But when I saw them perform the material live, my mind was instantly changed. I have been singing "Favourite Colour" ever since.
Favourite Colour

Best 32 minutes of getting yelled at
The Thermals - Personal Life 
Shouty and brash, the best albums by The Thermals always feel like a pummeling. The band has smoothed out some of the edges over the years but "Personal Life" still operates in verbal attack mode.
Never Listen to Me

Best invitation to the dance floor
Taio Cruz  - Rokstarr
Taio Cruz may need some spelling lessons, but he's teaches the class on getting the party started. "Rokstarr" is textbook good times -- big beats, bigger hits, and an ultra-trashy duet with ultra-trashy Ke-dollarsign-ha.

Best turning of that frown upside down
Rogue Wave - Permalight
Rogue Wave is usually so delightfully melancholy. "Permalight" shows the band is just as impressive when they channel their efforts into upbeat, danceable indie rock. 
Solitary Gun

Best solo album that sounds like a full-band album
Brandon Flowers - Flamingo
It's a bit softer and a bit twangier than a Killers album, but Brandon Flowers brings the same knack for high drama and catchy hooks to his debut solo release. 

Best local band hitting the big time
Neon Trees - Habits
It's great to have known them as a local band, but it's even more exciting to see our very own Neon Trees hit the big time, with huge singles "Animal" and "1983." 

Best hip-hop crossover
B.o.B. - The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Mr. Ray is just as comfortable gettin' down and dirty with rap heavy hitters like T.I. and Lupe Fiasco as he is singing with Paramore's Hayley Williams or Weezer's Rivers Cuomo. 
Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo)

Best getting back to basics
Alkaline Trio - This Addiction

This may not be the best record Alkaline Trio has put out in the last few years, but it's nice to hear them strip some of the goth away from their once-raw sound.
American Scream 

Honorable Mentions

Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life
Streetlight Manifesto - 99 Songs of a Revolution: Vol. I
The National - High Violet
Matt & Kim - Sidewalks
Jimmy Eat World - Invented
Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World
Deftones - Diamond Eyes
Bad Religion - The Dissent of Man
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Apache, The - Apache, The 


Best thing to come out of Utah County
Drew Danburry - Goodnight Dannii
The curiously titled "Nirvana, by Kurt Cobain" is not about Nirvana or Kurt Cobain. But both the band and the deceased icon should be pleased to be connected to such a beautifully sad song about giving your love to music and not getting any in return.
Nirvana, by Kurt Cobain

Best use of a Rihanna hook
Eminem Love the Way You Lie
Rihanna is the best part of any song. She's even better when she's teamed up with the only artist in a more dysfunctional relationship than herself. (Second best use of a Rihanna hook; Kanye West, "All of the Lights.")
All the Lights

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ah, the Google Search

Of course, one of the best reasons to have a blog is Google Analytics. What's more fun than seeing reports of where your visitors are coming from and what they're searching for?

For years, the search that brings the most folks to the Manifesto is some variant of "Shauna Thomas Fox 13." (It's usually something like "Shauna Thomas Nude," "Shauna Thomas Softcore," etc.) Clearly there are still a lot of people interested in the former morning reporter's role as "Party Girl #3" in Bikini Hotel. (See the original post here.)

But I just ran across another search tonight that's waaaay on the other end of the spectrum - "law of chastity gospel principles lesson." I'd forgotten about this post called "Gettin' Down with the Law of Chastity." I hope the poor Googler didn't go then on to read my next post called "Stickin' It to Chastity" where I offered up this gem:

"You could always put a piece of candy in your mouth and then spit it on the ground and say 'Who wants it now?!'"

I don't think the lesson would have gone over real well.

Though I am flattered that my post shows up on the same page as links to, LDS Living, and the School of Abraham, it's kind of a buyer beware situation. Sorry, internet.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Order: Nirvana Albums

At age 12, my musical world was forever shaped by Mr. Cobain. Though I don't spend a lot of time listening to Nirvana these days (though I did recently commission Ty to get me a bunch of the Outcesticide bootlegs--thanks, Ty), I still happily get sucked in to reading every Kurt Cobain book that gets published.

As an aside, if you haven't checked it out, I'd highly recommend the documentary About a Son. After watching it, I finally let go of my Courtney-killed-Kurt beliefs. And it made me incredibly sad. ["An intimate and moving meditation on the late musician and artist Kurt Cobain, based on more than 25 hours of previously unheard audiotaped interviews conducted with Cobain by noted music journalist Michael Azerrad for his book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana."]

At any rate, here's how I would rank Nirvana's proper releases:

In Utero

I would rank the live stuff thusly:

MTV Unplugged in New York
From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah
Live at Reading

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So What? I'm Still I'm Rockstar.

Paige used to tell me that she wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up. Now she says she wants to be a singer. Women. Always changing their minds.

Seeing that she refuses to let me even take her picture, I had to be super sneaky with the video camera to capture this performance of her reworking of "So What?" by Pink.

I must admit, she's not kidding when she declares, "I've got my rock moves."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reviews: Kanye West, Kid Cudi

I was very much looking forward to Kanye's Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy, thinking it would be his greatest masterpiece (though it would be hard to beat 808s, which I found amazing). Alas, it was not nearly as dark or twisted as I had hoped for. For all of the work he put into it, much of the record falls flat for me. (Read my full review here). Nevertheless, there are definitely some moments of awesomeness.

Make sure to check out All of the Lights (feat. Rihanna) and Runaway.

I also gave a listen to the new record by Kanye's protege Kid Cudi. After a great debut, Man on the Moon II is a real drag. There was very little that I loved here (see full review) but I do like the moody title track Mr. Rager.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Weezer - Jamie

I was more interested in watching the Weezer show than recording it, but when they busted out Jamie (one of three b-sides including You Gave Your Love to Me Softly and Susanne) and Rivers came into the crowd right in front of us, I figured I best get out my Flip camera. Here's a few seconds of the song.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sometimes your bathroom sink is filled with monster trucks.

In Order: Weezer

I've obvs. been thinking a lot about Weezer lately. Here's how I'd rank their albums (best on top):

Pinkerton (1996)
Blue Album (1994)
Green Album (2001)
Raditude (2009)
Make Believe (2005)
Red Album (2008)
Hurley (2010)
Maladroit (2002)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Best Part of Coming Home from Vacation

I tucked Paige into bed my first night back from New York. I heard her softly say, "This is best day ever."

"Why is this such a good day?" I asked.

"Because you're home from your vacation."

Melts a dad's heart (not unlike a blue sucker).

In Order: Television Comedy

Of shows I currently watch on TV, I would rank them thusly, in terms of funniness:

1. Modern Family
2. 30 Rock
3. The Office

Keep in mind, we're talking this very moment, not historically or collectively.

Strangely, the order changes when I rate on the order in which I enjoy the shows:

1. Modern Family
2. The Office
3. 30 Rock

Comedies (excluding The Simpsons) have a short life-span. Generally, by the third season, most of the good stuff has already been squeezed out. Hence, the perfectness of Arrested Development.

*As an aside, I really tried to like Community, giving it a shot for almost the entire first season. Just can't get into it. I love The Soup. I loved the episode with Vaughan, the boyfriend with small nipples. I even like the girl who plays Annie (mostly because I like her as Trudy on Mad Men). But all the parts just don't form a whole for me. There, I said it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Order: Cake

If I were to rank Cake album's in order of how much I like them (favs on top), I'd have to say:

Fashion Nugget (1996)
Motorcade of Generosity (1994)
Comfort Eagle (2001)
Prolonging the Magic (1998)
Pressure Chief (2004)

Cake is a band I like, but not one I spend a ton of time thinking about. As I look over their discography, I'm reminded that other than the solid-throughout Fashion Nugget, the makeup of most Cake albums is half great songs, half so-so songs.

Nevertheless, I anxiously await the arrival of Showroom of Compassion next month.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ice, Ice Baby

I think I overestimated how good of an ice skater I was 8 years ago--the last time I wore a pair of skates, or 20 years ago when I took lessons at Murray Park.

I struggled just to stay upright at Central Park, but it was still a great time. And talk about a magical afternoon. I witnessed both a marriage proposal and an 8-year-old's birthday party.

I have no photos of these events, due the no-cameras-on-the-ice policy. Ty may have some. He got busted not once but twice for exposing his contraband picture machine. It's a miracle he didn't get us kicked out of the rink (or New York City itself).

Memories Make Me Want to Go Back There

The Weezer show was everything I could have hoped for. Sooo good. They started off with a "time machine" set--rockin' hits from each of their albums, starting with "Memories" and working their way back chronologically. (Standouts were the three b-sides You Gave You Love to Me Softly, Susanne, Jamie.)

Pt. I was high energy and fun--Rivers running around in the crowd, etc.--followed by an intermission, where long-time manager Karl showed a slideshow of band memories (awesome).

Pt. II was all business.

They played Pinkerton in it's entirety, without saying a word. It was straight-forward, note-for-note, and perfect. Every song was amazing and, just like the record, got even better at the end.

When they reached Butterfly, I still wanted more but knew there was nothing left. Rivers apologized. In song. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorrr-er-y."

And then to walk out of the club after an amazing show and into the lights of Time Square? Pretty amazing.

(Best. Christmas present. Ever. Thank you, dear wife.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I just paid for a coat check for the first time in my life. This concert better be good.
I'm on my way to 1996. I hope it's as good as I remember.
I am about to pay 21 dollars to ice skate in Central Park.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Office...Live

After Tim and I spent the afternoon shopping, Ty arrived from PA. We met up with Ty's buddy and Noah for dinner and then went to a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade. We were pleased to see that Gabe from The Office was part of the improv team. He's a lot funnier and swearier in person.

Let's Hear It For New York

We were on the subway from the airport and of course the first song we heard was "Empire State of Mind."

The second subway train we rode had some sort of vomit on the floor.

Let's hear for New York, New York.

No Sleep Til Brooklyn

I cannot sleep on airplanes. It is 2 in the morning, I have watched two hours of Mad Men and still nothing. Oh, so tired.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feels Like Christmas Eve

Traci bought me the best Christmas gift of all time - tickets to see Weezer in New York. And this isn't any just any Weezer show. They are playing Pinkerton in it's entirety. Could I ask for anything more? I don't believe so.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hey Josh McDaniels, I Feel Ya

Much like the ailing Denver Broncos, I was not able turn the season around this week. I am now 1-13.

Q&A with Santa Claus

Old Saint Nick made a guest appearance again this year at the Primary Christmas party. In the past, Paige has wanted nothing to do with the guy (other than freely accepting his gifts, of course).

This is the first year that Paige has gone to the party unattended, so when I picked her up, I was curious to see how it went. I was able to gather that she did, in fact, sit on Santa's lap and that she asked for a Tinkerbell doll. But I didn't get this part of the story, which was delivered to Traci by one of the other moms.

Apparently, when she got on his lap, she put Santa on the hot seat.

"I just have one question," she said. "Why are elves invisible?"

Santa didn't address the why as much as the how.

"They wear invisibility belts."

Paige was content with the answer.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Song of the Day: The Kooks - Sway

Generally, not a fan of whiny British voices. But the Kooks have got everything I need. Seriously, so good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Music Reviews: Matt & Kim, Weezer

Matt Kim - Sidewalks

Matt & Kim, aka the happiest couple in rock ’n’ roll, have always loved to get down. At the end of each show, they ditch their punk rock keyboards and drums, turn on the drum machine, and come out in the crowd to get the dance party started. “Sidewalks” is like the soundtrack for the afterparty. The record, the duo’s third, was made for the club. The hooks are as catchy as ever, but this time around, the usual bare-bones arrangements have been injected with a heavy dose of production — most notably huge hip-hop beats. There a bunch of great songs here (“Block After Block,” “Cameras,” “Red Paint,” “Wires”), but the record’s glossy sheen smooths out many of the wrinkles that make this band so fun to listen to. These songs will likely play better live, when they’re stripped down to the simple keyboards and drums that have induced booty-shaking for the past half decade.

Rating: 3 of 4

Weezer - Death to False Metal

You best watch your step or you’ll trip over a new Weezer album —the band has put out four in the past three years. “Death to False Metal” is a collection of newly recorded, old material. With any b-sides disc, you expect a few things: One or two good songs, some OK stuff, and a few weird ones. Probably the biggest disappointment with “False Metal” is the lack of the last category. The record begins with two catchy toe-tappers (“Turning Up the Radio,” “I Don’t Want Your Loving”) before falling into the formulaic mediocrity that has plagued each of Weezer’s past few records. It would be nice to hear some grand gestures, even if they were great disasters —just to know the band is still trying. Unfortunately, the only deviations from the norm are the slightly nu metal “Everyone,” the trudging cover of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” and the spacey “Autopilot.” Still, there are a few rough gems (check out the moody “Trampoline”) and, for a b-sides album, that’s all you can really ask for.

Rating: 2.5 of 4

Thursday, December 09, 2010

"You're Just Not Good at Fake Sports"

That's what my friend (and Fantasy Football league commissioner) Kaleb told me when I when I dropped to 0-8 this season. I thought the ninth week would be my week. It wasn't. Or maybe week 10 or 11. They weren't.

13 was, in fact, my lucky number. I am now 1-12-0.

What a turnaround! And I made it without having to fire my coach mid-season (though I hope it works for my beloved Broncos).

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Internet Counseling

There's not a whole lot of sibling love at the Sutherland home right now. It's to the point where I was just thinking I should look to the internet for help--maybe Google something like "fighting kids help." But then I was wondering if I'd get a bunch of pages helping me fight kids. (A skill I may need, if I can't get things worked out between Paige and Curtis. Curtis can already take me down, if I'm not watching.)

The Triumphant Return of Max Power

Baby number 3.
I tried to convince Traci not to find out if it was another Paige or another Curtis.
She agreed to the plan.
But I knew she's never go through with it.
Ultra sound.
"Yes, of course, we'd like to know what kind it is."
Another Max Power.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Letter to the Big Man

Dear Santa,

Here is what I want for Christmas. I want a new DS because we don’t have a DS yet. Some paper because we don’t have any paper to use. I want the Sorry game. And for Christmas I want a Tangled movie. You are good at giving presents to every kid who is good. Giving presents to the kids who are good is your job.



Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Do I Love America? Do I Love Barack Obama? Do I Love Chia Pets? You Betcha.

I do love America. And this may be the best commercial in the history of liberty and justice.