Sunday, November 29, 2009

Non Sequiturs

My friend Scott upgraded his Kindle this week to the new DX model and ended up selling me his Kindle 2 for $140. I am loving it so far. I am generally a paper loving book person, but my small place does not lend itself well for storage of books. The scale tipped in favor of the Kindle after I bought the new Stephen King novel, which weighs 4 lbs and is over 1200 pages. It looks like a small coffee table. The first book I downloaded was Await Your Reply by Don Chaon, and I also downloaded some classic books for free. These were books in the public domain, and were uploaded by a group of people wanting everyone to have access to these books. It's been a lot of fun playing with the Kindle, and I look forward to uploading more and more books. It doesn't hurt that bestsellers are $9.99. I am hoping I will not get into too much trouble.

It's been a very nice long holiday weekend, which I have really enjoyed and have really needed. I avoided shopping at the malls and basically anywhere that large crowds would gather. I think it was a pretty good decision. Hung out Thanksgiving day at my friend Steve's with Ken, Kurt, David, Rob, and Rob's friend Dan. The food was great and the company was very nice. We ate, drank, played Rock Band, and watched some football. I enjoyed everything but the football of course. The rest of the weekend was spent with Chris just relaxing. It is going to be difficult going back to work tomorrow, but I am definitely well rested.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Head

"Why should we feel bad for what we've done?
We still got the taste dancin' on our tongues.
Love the smash and grab of our goings on.
We still got the taste dancin' on our tongues."

Wild Beasts
"We Still Got The Taste Dancin' On Our Tongues"

"In darkness
Where my dreams are all too clear
Darkness, darkness
Filled with all the sounds of fear
I hear voices (don't turn out the light)
Calling far away
I see shadows (don't turn out the light)
Moving, changing shape"

The Human League

"When I was checking vitals
I suggested a smile
you didn't talk for a while
you were freezing

You said you hated my tone
it made you feel so alone
so you told me I had to be leaving

But something kept me standing
by that hospital bed
I should have quit but instead
I took care of you

You made me sleep and uneven
and I didn't believe them
when they told me that there
was no saving you"

The Antlers

Appealing Things

Thanksgiving with good friends and no drama
Kurt's puppy Tater (even with the whining)
Chipotle burritos
My Amazon Kindle
Books for $9.99
Having a work project during the holidays
Cooks Warehouse
Still fitting in my 28" jeans after not going to the gym for 8 weeks after surgery

Annoying Things

The job market
Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Videos of the Week

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and hope you all had wonderful meals and wonderful times with friends and family. Here are the latest videos that are diverting my attention:

This is part one of a ten part documentary about the rise of synthesizers in British pop music in the late 70s and early 80s. It is an impressively thorough overview.

One of my favorite bands of the year, though I will say that I am not loving their name. This is a bright, bubbly track with some pretty subversive lyrics. Reminds me a lot of bands I listened to while in college. I miss those days in Athens.

I will definitely be seeing this movie the minute it comes out. Directed by my major crush Tom Ford, the movie is an adaptation of a Christopher Isherwood novel starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, with costumes and sets by Ford himself. Looks very elegant and beautiful. Huge Oscar buzz for Ford, Firth, and Moore.

My friend Matthew loves this band and I have never really found them appealing. I bought their new cd Bitte Orca on Pitchfork and his recommendation and had a profound sense of meh about it. I even gave the cd many more listens then I normally would on the hopes I would click with it. No luck. I set it aside and forgot about it. But for some reason I kept humming something in my head and couldn't figure it out, until I realized it was this single. I couldn't stop playing it, and now the rest of the cd has grown on me. Curses!

Infectious new single from Vampire Weekend's upcoming cd Contra. Very similar to their current sound but with a little more muscle and backbone. Definitely whets my whistle to hear the new cd, and gets my hopes up for a spot on the Coachella festival stage.

Delightfully surreal video supporting a collaboration between Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck.

The xx, one of my favorite bands of this year as noted in countless blog posts, is heavily influenced by post-punk bands like Joy Division, Bauhaus, and The Cure, but are also heavily influenced by artists such as Aliyah, which can be discerned by The xx's complex and intricate drum programming. Aliyah died far too soon, but she left a wonderfully rich body of work. This is one of my favorite songs from her, a collaboration with Timbaland.

Jerry Fuchs, drummer for !!!, recently passed away due to a freak accident. Here is a video in remembrance of him.

Delicate folk ballad from Antlers. The album Hospice is a sleeper that keeps growing on me.

Amazing video from Jarvis Cocker. Brings the album cover art to life.

Another brilliant, twisted video from band of the year Grizzly Bear. They can do no wrong this year.

Icy synth pop reminiscent of bands I grew up with. The cd is not as good as I would like it to be, but it is growing on me.

Beautiful song and video from Wild Beasts' first cd. I think the first cd is far too eclectic and mish-mashed, but they have really consolidated their strengths with their latest cd. I do love this song though, and the line "we are so many tiny pieces."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The XX Live

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Kurt and I went to see the latest buzz band from England, The xx. They played at a new club in East Atlanta called Bar 529. We bought tickets several months ago for $8 and were surprised that it was so cheap for a band that has received pretty much glowing reviews across the board. Neither of us had been to this club before and had no preconceived ideas about what it would be like, but assumed that it would be a small club with a capacity of about 250-500 people. Well, upon entering, it was apparent we had grossly misinterpreted what this experience would be like. Instead of a small club, we realized we were in a smurf club. The club, if you could call it that, was smaller than my loft, which is only 954 square feet. I felt like were were going to see this band in my living room.

Once we got over our initial shock about the size of the club we decided to just go with it and enjoy some good music. The show was supposed to start at 9, but as most small club shows are, the opening bands (and there were two of them) did not even take the stage until after 10, so I knew it was going to be a very long night. And to make matters worse, the club was filled with a vast array of Hipster Douches.

To define this, we look to

n. A uniquely annoying breed of hipster that is particularly skilled at ruining culture. Found in cool cities like Austin, the hipster douche takes self-irony and uselessness to a whole new level. Often seen wearing a flip brim cap and plaid, the hipster douche may pass judgment on (or ignore) anything under the sun with absolutely no knowledge of it. One may not, however, criticize him.

These were all wearing the latest Hipster Douche uniform: knitted skull cap, thick horn rimmed glasses, hipster t-shirt, hoodie, skinny jeans, and Chuck Taylor All-Stars. They all stood around drinking their PBRs and looking distant and bored. They were insufferable. I wished the club had been bigger so as to have been able to ignore them. Not happening this time.

The first band was a local trio called Living Rooms. They were three Hipster Douches standing in front of an array of sampler pads, playing a pretty derivative melange of electronic music. It was nothing that couldn't be found on an Animal Collective or Atlas Sound cd. I was pretty unimpressed by them. The vocals tended to be moaned monosyllabic words that really didn't convey anything concrete. They played a very long set and I was about over it. Thankfully it ended.

The second act was Jon Hopkins, an IDM producer from England, who has produced acts as big as Coldplay, Massive Attack, Brian Eno, and Herbie Hancock. He creates nice downtempo beats with a slight dissonance, however, this was nothing that could not be heard on releases from Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, and Chris Clark. He was behind a large bank of sampler pads and other electronic manipulation devices. It look interesting, but you could tell it was more prerecorded from his laptop than him actually creating the music live. After the second song it started to get repetitive, and thus boring.

Finally, The xx came on at 12:45am. I have not been out to a show that late in a long time. I am far from old, but I was definitely wishing I was snug in my warm bed. But this is one of my favorite new bands and I was determined to stay up and see them. I knew they couldn't play that long since they only have one album out.

They are now down to a trio and I was interested in seeing how they translated their music without their rhythm guitarist and keyboardist. I was glad to say that she was really not missed. There were a few places where you could hear the missing guitar parts, but other than that the sound was impeccable. And the percussionist picked up the missing keyboard parts and sounded amazing.

It was great to see them in such an intimate setting. There was almost no separation between band and audience, and it truly felt like you were seeing a band in your own home. Here are several clips posted on Youtube from the show, which will give you a good idea of what we witnessed.

After the less than spectacular opening bands, The xx put on a very good show playing every song off the cd along with a handful of covers. They do not have a dynamic live show, but in its stead we were given a show full of impeccable musicianship and amazing rapport. There was a sense of danger and lurking sexual tension between the two singers which added to the performance. They are supposed to come back to Atlanta next year with the Swedish band JJ, and will play the much larger venue, The Earl. I am considering going to see them in a better venue. And they are also slated to play Coachella which I am going to with Kurt, Dan, and Mikey. I can only see them getting bigger over time, and I can say in my best Hipster Doucheness that I saw them in a tiny club with 50 people back in the day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Non Sequiturs

Was a lovely weekend with perfect weather. Lots of sun, not a cloud in the sky, and temperatures only in the low to mid 70s. Days like that always make me thankful I live in Atlanta. On Saturday, I went with my friends Ken, Darren, and Scott on a road-trip up to Helen, GA. Helen is an interesting town. Nestled in the North Georgia mountains, it is a strange Germanic village, replete with German architecture. It looks like a typical German village, one of course designed by a lot of country redneck folk. There is nothing authentic about it, but it is always worth a drive. The people watching alone is priceless, not to mention the tacky t-shirt shops and lots of shops selling candy and "arts and crafts." I didn't take many pics, but here are a few from the trip.

In order from left to right, Ken, Darren, and Scott overlooking the river in downtown Helen.

My friends Darren (the short one with his back turned) and Scott (the tall, handsome bear) looking out on the river that winds its way through the sleepy town of Helen.

Strange tray of rings at one of the many gem/jewel shops. I thought the slogan on the outside of the box was worth showing. If only it was as easy!

It was a beautiful day. We stopped at a roadside stand outside of Helen on the way home and I bought some raw honey for my boyfriend Chris and also got him some hot sauce that had a pug on the label. He has a silly, sweet pug named Shiloh. Of course, Ken and I had to get some fried pies as well. Apple for me and chocolate for him. At Scott's request we also stopped at the Dawsonville outlets and watched, in awe, as Scott power shopped for two hours. It was fun, with lots of really bad people watching.

Saturday night, we all went over to my friend Kurt's house to play Rock Band in honor of his birthday. The hit of the night was Chris who stunned the crowd with a brilliant rendition of Weezer's "Sweater Song." It was a fun night spent with really great friends.

Today was another gorgeous day. Had coffee with the boys then spent the afternoon with Chris. Came home and worked on my resume. I am actually looking at other jobs outside the legal field and needed to retool my resume to reflect other experience I have in addition to my legal experience.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Head

"Love comes close
But chooses to spare me
Death comes close
But ceases to take me
I want to twist, the knife a bit deeper
To siphon the love from the hearts of the leaves and
Look outside, world is exploding,
Stay inside, still never knowing.
Taking cover, with each other,
Sleeping off the century Oh-oh."

Cold Cave
"Love Comes Close"

"I stumble and fall
Over your gaze and your call
I stumble and fall
It's dreary echoing, sounds in the static hall."

Clan of Xymox
"Stumble and Fall"

"You're dying for the hope is gone
From here we go nowhere again
I'm trapped in my face and I'm changing
Too much
I can't climb out the way I fell in."

The Cure
"Piggy in the Mirror"

"I’m gonna take a stab at this
Surely we’ll be alright
Make a decision with a kiss
Maybe I have frostbite
And when I shuffled on back home
I made sure all my tracks in the snow were gone
Tissue and bone it was a tryst
This isn’t a gunfight
Checking it off of my list
Unable to write
Five years, countless months and a loan."

Grizzly Bear
"Ready, Able"

Appealing Things

Beautiful Fall days with friends.
Figuring out the next step.
Rock Band with friends.
Road side stand fruit pies.
Seth McFarlane

Annoying Things