Sunday, December 23, 2007

Here comes the future and you can't run from it, if you've got a black list I want to be on it, while I'm waiting for the great leap forward

My top ten this year sounds more like a troll's top ten more than anything. The long tail of music brings a lot of great stuff, but it also brings a lot of noise and trendy stuff. As I get older my filters just aren't working as well, and I find myself heading back to go ol' 'meat and potatoes' land. A special thanks for the music of The Cure, my mom really likes them :)

I look over list after list, and most of the stuff is the same, and here's what I start thinking. Radiohead, please go back and make 'The Bends' part two, I'm not big on 'In Rainbows', although I'm sure it will grow on me. Someone hand me a copy of 'Neon Bible' so I can see what the hub-bub is about, and cool kids, try out Yann Tiersen, and suddenly you go, oooo, that's Beirut's more soulful daddy.

The long tail of pop music fuses together instruments such as the trumpet and accordion and such, the question begs, just cause you can half-way play these instruments, should you? So put on some cool clothes and a skinny white belt and let the show begin.

Here's what's been on heavy rotation this year on my electronic devices. This year, it really is a tie between the top ten, for I truly loved everything below. Probably not too objective, and always leaning towards the favorites :)

Travis - The Boy with No Name -- I've been with them since they opened for Ben Folds at La Zona Rosa in 1997. They were out in the audience and we were lucky to chat with them. They asked us what we thought of the spice girls. A night that stays with me forever. Ten years later they are still churning out hits, same three chords, no nonsense, controlled passion. Battleships, the song of the album gives us the lyric, 'when will you figure it out, that you're always right little darling.' Both introspective, outrospective, you come away from this album smarter than you did coming to it.

Paolo Nutini - These Streets -- All I can say about this dude is that he's a little pimp daddy. The songs he are sultry and romantic. They give me the feel I've traveled everywhere and I have an affinity to home. 'Back up loneliness and hello tenderness, I've been waiting for your call for so long,' I've picked up the call, even if it's Saturday night and I was hoping it wasn't for me.

Mark Knofler - Kill the King Crimson -- True Love will never fade, the album grabs me from the first lyric, and for the most part, the album never dips. Listening to this album gives me hope of 'following a trail a bread crumbs to where i need to be.' It's the album you dance to with your honey in the living room, glass of something alcoholic and letting the songs take your imagination away. Listening to the chords and progressions from the man who brought us the 'Sultans of Swing,' I wonder if he's still got the earring and wonder where he gets all the soul.

The Soundtrack of our lives - A Present from the past -- Just some DAMN GOOD rock and roll, the song 'Galaxy Gramophone' was ringing through my thoughts for 3 months this year. Listening to these guys gives my head a much needed 'shake' and I'm always interested in where all the thoughts are going to land again, kinda like one of those cheesy snow globes. If pop culture demanded more from music, these guys, with great lyrics, imagination and killer melodies that are consistent and deviant within conformity, they are your boys. The in-store performance at Waterloo years back still is VIVID in my mind.

Mason Jennings - Simple Life -- In short, unbelievable album, probably the album I've listened to the most in 2007. It's the best 'just a guy and his acoustic' album I've ever heard, and I've heard a lot of 'guy with acoustic guitar' albums. The sincerity cannot be shaken. He's from Minneapolis, my girl is near there, hence a strong emotional bond there, but rest assured, Mason holds his own and then some. He reminds us the little details derail your dreams, to awknowledge your demons, make concessions to them, and life falls into place. I'm reminded of him everytime my crackberry rings with the soothing tune of Lilacs.

Sondre Lerche - Dan in Real Life Soundtrack -- Man o man, my boy Sondre did wonders on this soundtrack, and I can't wait to see the movie. He teams up with Regina Spector (one of last years favorites) to bring us a cute little that says 'be careful you fool, there are certain rules, even for a fellow like you' which makes me understand, even those who are cool enough to transcend social boundaries with the opposite sex, there still are some 'rules of engagement' -- Another great lyric 'you who replaced every beat that was false,' rings in my head. Sondre is such a great writer that based on anything you feel, you can pull something out relative to and sum up a very complicated feeling.

Babyshambles - Shotters Nation -- People often tell me, 'why do you like these guys so much' and instead of saying 'whatever dude, you been reading gawker too much,?' I just list it all out. For the people who have lack of attention span, listen to the intro song 'Carry up the Morning,' and what you hear is a sinister guitar, a great backbeat and an extremely intelligent individual. I think its 'undergrounds' greatest publicity stunt, lets show Pete doing drugs and give everyone the perception I'm about to lose it. Pete will be jammin' 10 years into the future just as he's been jamming forever in the past, writing great song that fuse mysterious situations with nostalgia, love and confusion. From the opening song to the 'Lost art of Murder', you'll hear some ripped off licks, but most importantly, you'll hear good tunes with gems of wisdom especially 'Get off your back, you're just killin time,' and 'I lost my thorn in paradise.' The line with Pete that always sticks, 'We'll die in the class we were born, a class of our own.'

Elliot Smith -- New Moon -- The first 3 - 5 minutes of an Elliot Smith listening session I'm short of breathe, and he takes my soul to a place that it can never go alone. Deemed a songwriters songwriter, you won't get any dissenting opinion from me. It's somber, relaxing and soothing and getting biblical for a moment, I'd gander that Elliot Smith died so that many people could live. Elliot's cover of 'Thirteen' makes Wilco's version sounds that cover guy at your local bar. He's been vendictive in the past (I love that by the way), but this double set presents the peaceful side, and we can only hope that Elliot is someone beyond that New Moon making wonderful tunes we can all enjoy with him one day.

Gotan Project - Lunatico -- New, old, progressive, traditional, its all here. I've done translations to the songs, what they are saying is cool too! I wasn't sold of the folks from Argentina until ACL festival this year, where I see a hot girl singing with 3 violins, a man on classical guitar, the dreaded accordion and two DJ's droppin in the bass in the background. It's a perfect arrangement.

The Veils - Nux Vomica -- The album is an emotional rollercoaster, it rocks, it's sad and everything in between. I love the 'image' of this band, I love the raspy voice and 'Under the Folding Branches' is one of the most powerful songs I've heard this year. I don't know much about The Veils. They seldom make lists or blogs or anything like this (at least what I've seen), so they feel much more personal to me, and that's hard to find in the music long tail.

Sondre Lerche -- Phantom Punch -- I'd have to say this is my favorite of all. Why? The man's soul is un-tarnished, and this shows in his speech, antics and most importantly in his song. He captured my perceptions of Bergen Norway and won serious accolades with me in 'Two Way Monologue' and now he's on to fry other fish. Airport Taxi Reception is the bomb, anyone leaving something they love, weather it a person, location, etc, etc will identify with this song. It's that chaos of running to get to where you need to go, and then standing still. This song captures the running part, i.e., I need to get where I'm going, but I'm still thinking of 'it.' Tragic Mirror presents a song with a person in both worlds of human though, and in many cases, this song rings true the words 'the more you know, the less you understand.' Finally, 'after all' presents the lyrics 'I like you too much after too little time, I hold back my hearts crazy rambling.' The guitars sound like butterfiles dancing around in your stomach, that feeling everyone has, is captured perfectly with the jazz box style guitars they haul around.

Song of the 'year' to go along with the music book of the year. The Cardigans from kcrw 'and then you kissed me' go with the book 'love is a mix tap.'

Best hip hop album of the year Talib Kweli's Eardrum, and the two greatest greatest hits albums are Elvis Costello's 'The First 10 Years,' and The Libertines - Time for heroes, The Best of the Libertines.

Best EP of the year, M Wards 'To Go Home' a great cover of headed for a fall, and cosmopolitan pap, EXCELLENT song. On a side note, Ward covers of Daniel Johnston are INCREDIBLE.

Hats off to audio learning including history of the united states, history of Hitlers empire, fear and doing away with it, mans search for meaning, philosophy and the intelligence of emotions amoung others for making me smarter :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So This is Christmas, And What Have you Done, Another Year Older, and a New One Just Begun

Tidings to catalog on the blog for future generations. What's been occupying my thoughts in no particular order.

1 -- Normalcy -- Amazing how having the right person in your life clears your mind, puts it at ease, gives you something to look forward to, gives you support and guidance, and in my case provides the foundation while I go for the empire.

2 -- Six Sigma Blackbelt -- Time consuming it is, probably the sole reason 'the blog' has taken a hit. Instead of coming home and 'thinking about things', I pop open this 1,000 page fine print book and do some reading. Going out? What is that anymore?....and all things considered I'm feeling fine about it.

3 -- Christmas -- When I was a little kid, the vivid memory from Christmas eve was playing GI Joe vs Gobots by our gas stove, while everyone was asleep, not really understanding why I got all these presents, but what the hell, Leader 1, go kick some a$$. All the hustle and bustle and 70 degree weather, please help me look back at this one day and find the beauty in Christmas. Help me 'see the other side.'

4 -- War is Over -- All this talk of who wants this and who wants that and listening to my favorite Christmas song reminds me that things NEVER change when it comes to humans. Emanuel Kant had one foot in relativism and one foot in romanticism, and he's one of the 'coolest' people to ever walk this earth, my thoughts are with him.

5 -- Absolutes -- It's the year I trade in extremes, understand the status quo, and work within the game to improve the game, the players, the world around me, and most importantly myself.

6 -- Social Networks -- It's amazing, the year where 'you' are the person of the year. That means people are becoming more and more self absorbed as the tools and technology get better for integration. Its that damn yin and yang thing coming back. It's amazing how people won't aggregate relevant information to their peers, but they sure will put pictures on them dancing on tables and getting drunk at the club. I send email out frequently, and never get a response, I guess everyone is too damn busy.

7 -- Assumptions -- I've run into so many people and have had so many friends that assume they know what other people are thinking. I've fell victim of that many times this year too, and I'm glad to finally nip that problem in the bud. Well that line that assumption is the mother of all f*ckups is correct. I'm glad to have someone special near me that is a great communicator and knows who she is, that way we communicate on a fundamental level. If you can co-exist peacefully there, it's a sign of good things to come.
What a year, a year where I've taken self-enrichment to a different level. It's been a year I've been able to progress in quantifiable ways as a human being. Most importantly it's been a year in which I've been able to focus on what's important, and that's made a world of difference.

Stay tuned for my top 10 albums of the year,
maybe not all from this year, but I found out about them this year, so I'm counting them.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

give me peace of mind and trust, don't forget about the rest of us

You know, I used to be a troll about politics. I used to get caught up in what's left wing and right wing politics, what media supports what, etc. I used to muse about how one party talks of torture and Jesus, and the other global warming and social programs. Now I let the tribal nature of us gravitating to political parties and the white noise of society behind.

My intiuition says the cost of negativity counts and this proves to me that when politicians want to sling mud, there are a group of loyalists, including myself who will stand up and be counted.

I just support the person who my intiution tells me to support. I've done blogs and other cool digital ways of supporting. Now it's time for yard art in Shiner, and if I had a yard in the city, I'd do the same.

Check out my brother Ronnie with the Obama sign :)

March 4th is the Texas caucus, before that I'll be having some bbq's and beer sessions in support of my candidate, putting my money and time where my mouth is, and doing it with conviction.

My hand goes out to the dignified man from Kansas running a clean race for the presidency.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Look Around Could It Bring Somebody Down If I Never Made a Sound Again

Ahhh, Superdrag, the first time I saw these fellas was 1995 opening for Ben Folds, I can't believe its 12 years later, and while back in the day, the happy tunes got me bouncing around in mosh pits, well, kinda mosh pits, and now they have me thinking about something else.

Overused corporate phrases, but for now just this comes to mind.

Often times you'll get the following answers 'it is what it is' and 'Yes and No.' I used 'it is what it is' every now and then, and I'm trying to break myself of the habit, for often times I don't feel that's an appropriate answer, and I think its the easy way out. YES AND NO in an answer totally baffles my mind. Can't the asker / answerer slice that question a little bit thinner?

I'll leave it with a favorite quote from a wise old sage 'When all is said and done, there will be more said than done.'

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Santa Clause if You Can Hear, Can I Please Change my Mind, I Don't Want that Bucking Horse

Christmas in its pure form, generally speaking is people wanting to be with their families and friends. However its turned into black Friday, stress, bills, budgets, what do I get for who, and in a mad rush, the personal nature and the personality of the holiday has been stripped, not to mention where did all the religious aspects of it go?

Signs of hope is seeing my brother in law toil away with his yard decorations, seeing kids enjoy decorating the tree, and just the general comfort enjoyed by the companionship.

Even the Shiner family has spirit, my brother climbs to the top of the house to outline the frame. Very nice, and this is the BACK of the house, the one mom walks through when she enters, he did it for her, not for the Jones's.

As for me, its the fiber optic tree once again :)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

And I Won't Let that Bring Me Down, There's a Lifetime Left of those Days Around

Hallettsville Courthouse, beautiful during the XMAS season.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt

Kurt Vonnegut watched the firebombing of Dresden as a POW. Can you imagine that, the life and experiences lead certain individuals? Vonnegut explains it well.

Francis Scott Key, looking out of his confinement saw this, not old glory, but 15 stars and 15 stripes. One thing working with it all, I see a rich history of battalions, regiments, and other factions of these forces.

The Garrison that protected Baltimore, just one.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Damascan Road’s my transistor radio

Sometimes I get worked up about 'how messed up everything is right now' in politics, but after 20 hours into a 100 lecture series on the history of the United States, I have a different tune, a much different tune.

I believe every red blooded American should be exposed to this, especially the types how are embedded in political parties to a fault. Factions of special interests with a 'limited life' turned into political parties that lasted past these interests that would dissolve. One thing about American politics, nothing ever dissolves, and certainly nothing ever gets settled.

The 'ideology' of the time of the creation of the country was virtue, commerce and liberty and with it all came corruption, hence the dreaded 'checks and balances.'

The divide was from the beginning between Hamilton and Jefferson, Hamilton set up the economy, Jefferson was a country boy who thought banks were the devil and didn't like the tax on whiskey from his farm products. Since then the next in line thought he was going to 'fix' what the other person had 'broken.'

What makes me so proud of this country is that it was broken from the beginning, and look where we are at. Pretty damn good for a mix of unemployed, criminal and homeless coupled with corporate greed that was 'dumped' here in the first place. The world turned its back on the people that came here during colonization, for various reasons, and the history and heritage is deep and rich.

We learn the pendulum has always swung both ways, for better or for worse.