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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Full Albums:

  • Action Bronson, The Program EP
  • The Clash, The Clash and The Essential Clash
  • Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
  • Faces, A Nod is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse
  • Foster the People, Torches
  • Friendly Fires, Pala
  • Genesis, Invisible Touch
  • Ghostface Killah, Apollo Kids
  • The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • James Pants, Welcome
  • Jay-Z, American Gangster
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne1
  • Ladyhawke, Ladyhawke
  • LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening!
  • Led Zeppelin, IV
  • Michael Jackson, Thriller
  • Pearl Jam, Ten
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Mecca & the Soul Brother
  • The Police, Reggatta Da Blanc
  • Queens of the Stone Age, Era Vulgaris
  • Spoon, Transference
  • Steve Winwood, Back in the High Life
  • The Strokes, Angles
  • Tame Impala, Innerspeaker
  • Television, Marquee Moon
  • Tom Vek, Leisure Seizure
  • TV on the Radio, Nine Types of Light
  • The Weeknd, Thursday2
  • Wu-Tang Clan, Legendary Weapons

Random Excellence:

  • The Beatles, “Tomorrow Never Knows”
  • Public Enemy, “Anti-Nigger Machine”
  • Otis Redding, “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)”
  • Interpol, “Untitled”
  • Craig Mack, “Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)”

Songs of the Week:

  • Seasick Steve, “Whiskey Ballad” and “Back in the Doghouse”
  • Yeasayer, “O.N.E.”
  • Led Zeppelin, “When the Levee Breaks”3
  • Cults, “Oh My God”
  • Trae the Truth, “I’m On”

Reviews:

1. I don’t know if it’s because I really don’t like Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, but I just don’t understand why people like Frank Ocean. Maybe he’d be okay without the AutoTune, but the fact that I still have to complain about that makes it pretty frustrating that it’s still happening.

2. I like this a lot, but I don’t think it’s as good as his first effort. I also have a pretty hard time listening to “Life of the Party.” It kind of feels like production stepped up, but quality control wasn’t there to match the effort. I kept hoping for “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” or “The Morning” and I think the closest I might have gotten was “The Birds Part 1.”

3. I was listening to IV at work when this song came on. It was the first Friday between the earthquake and Hurricane Irene so I wasn’t thinking far enough ahead for it to be topical enough for the latter, but is just begged to be put on repeat. I think I’ve loved that song since I first heard it and I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving it.

Comment:

I think the two things I might need to fix in my life most right now are probably gym time and sleeping time. I’m pretty sure I need to get back in the gym again before this whole weight thing spirals out of control and so I can at least try to start playing some team sports or something. But the bigger issue might be the sleeping.

Sometimes I’ll wake up with the kind of headache I’d get after a night of drinking, even though I haven’t been drinking. The lack of sleep will slow down work like I’m actually hungover. I think I’ve heard of or read studies that suggest that a lack of sleep is just as detrimental as being hungover, but I’ve written some of my best work-related stuff while actually hungover.

It’s a confusing situation: do I spend the rest of my weeks poorly slept and exhausted in the hope that I can keep writing good stuff at work or should I try even harder to get a good night’s sleep and write some relatively okay stuff with a clear head? The exhaustion leads me to believe I should just get some more sleep and there’s the off chance that my well slept brain might dive into its recesses to extract some hangover writing tips or something ridiculous like that.

Then the gym stuff’s on me–just gotta start going. Maybe I should pick up some ibuprofen first…

Full Albums:

  • Action Bronson, The Program EP1
  • The Cool Kids, Tacklebox2
  • Cults, Cults3
  • Deftones, Adrenaline4
  • Foster the People, Torches
  • Gorillaz, Plastic Beach
  • Incubus, If Not Now, When?5
  • Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne6
  • Oasis, (What’s the Story?) Morning Glory
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • Seasick Steve, You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks7
  • Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life8
  • Television, Marquee Moon9
  • Tom Vek, Leisure Seizure and We Have Sound
  • The Weeknd, House of Balloons

Random Excellence:

  • Van Halen, “Ice Cream Man”
  • The-Dream, “Rockin’ That Shit”
  • The Rolling Stones, “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”
  • Pearl Jam, “Satan’s Bed”
  • Driver F, “Two Words, Mr. President: Plausible Deniability”

Songs of the Week:

  • Trae the Truth, “I’m On”
  • Warren Zevon, “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”
  • The Police, “Message in a Bottle”
  • GZA, “Investigative Reports”
  • The-Dream, “Mr. Yeah”

Reviews:

1. One of my coworkers recommended this to me because they thought he sounds a lot like Ghostface Killah, and he’s very right. Everything from his pacing to his pronunciation to even his production sounded distinctly like this dude hails from Shaolin. Yet, he’s a white dude from Queens, so maybe that isn’t that far off…suuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

2. Holy shit, if I ever meet these dudes who call themselves the “L.A. Leakers,” I’m probably going to punch them in the face. There’s more of them on this mixtape than The Cool Kids. Every time I start enjoying a song, boom, “BROUGHT TO YOU BY BY BY THE. ELL. AY. LEAKERS.” Sure, that’s an incredibly punny name and I’d be proud of it, too, but you’re not a musician. The way you guys spin it, you’re a couple of dudes with a computer. And if you’re really a couple of DJ’s, I get the impression you have to make mixtapes because no one will hire you to show up and scream “L.A. LEAKERS” in their ears.

3. I’m not really sure what happened here. I think the lead singer’s supposed to be extremely pretty, so they’ve got that going for them? I was incredibly frustrated in the beginning because it reminded me so much of that bullshit Best Coast, but I was incredibly surprised when I stumbled upon “Oh My God.” I should probably give the whole thing another listen because if I like at least one song, they don’t suck as much as Best Coast.

4. Ever have one of those days where you just need a whole bunch of filthy, maddeningly distorted metal riffs and bass lines paired with an incredibly adept but not excessive drummer laced with a layer of furious lyrics? This was a great way to end a terrible day.

5. Man, remember when they were good? There were that alternative rock band who were secretly playing with all the precision (and chords) of a jazz band. Now they just make me want to sleep. Or remaster this album with some distortion pedals. If not now, then hopefully next album?

6. I honestly felt a little weird about some of the content. The contrast between a man doing way too much coke and a man who somehow got away with selling too much coke is a little jarring. Like Kanye’s looking over in the booth with his best “See? I know what you’re talking about!” grin on to impress Papa Hov. Some of the songs are really quite incredible (“Lift Off,” “Gotta Have It,” “Who Gon Stop Me” and “Why I Love You”), but some of it is bizarre and cringe-worthy (“That’s My Bitch”–what would Beyonce say! For shame, Kanye. For all time. FOR ALL TIME!). And the exclusion of “H.A.M.” is just as ridiculous as rapping in Pig Latin (Ed Note: Better swine-related joke for this sentence, tk).

7. Sweet Blessed Mother of Moses, what an album. Some of it might be a little cheesy, but listening to “Whiskey Ballad” at 4AM on a Sunday while walking home in the rain is nothing short of the very definition of the blues. And then following that song with “Back in the Doghouse” is just sheer genius. Indeed, Seasick Steve, why, oh why, would you ever be in the doghouse–on an album about an old dog stuck in his ways–if you’re drowning your sorrows in whiskey? But sure, follow that with some songs about marriage; mistakes are part of life and, hopefully, Mr. Steve learned to kick the habit before he set himself up for some more blues. Whatever it is you’re doing, maybe you don’t need some new tricks because these ones are sure as hell working.

However, I’ll admit I don’t really need the hobo stories. I just want more music.

8. I’m obviously not the only person who loves this album. This is the first time I’ve ever heard Stevie sing most of these songs, but not the first time I’ve heard any of them. I think just about all of the songs here have been lovingly sampled by almost every rapper in existence. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just nice to hear the originals. “Black Man” and “All Day Sucker” are just incredible.

9. I went out and bought this album a ring. No calls; we’re on a honeymoon.

Comment:

Sometimes I pull my head up from my desk and wonder what the hell I’m doing with myself. Just about everything I love requires no more than a computer, a keyboard, the Internet and some excellent programs, but it feels like there are so many restrictions and absurd disqualifications. “Oh, you haven’t written expandable flash copy before? That’s strange.” “This is your first copyediting test? How have you never taken a copyediting class?”

I feel like all of my responses for this an other things is probably along the lines of, “I like all of these things and I guess I haven’t restricted myself to any one profession because years of being forced to freelance in an imploding industry during a recession allowed me to wear many hats; but the difficult part of wearing all those hats is being told, ‘Well, now you have to choose just one.’ I would pick just one in a heartbeat, but I’d like a salary and benefits first. I’ve shown I’m good with words and I have a track record of rising to occasions; I’m not sure I need to jump these hurdles. I listen and I adapt. I’ll be here, let me know.”

Maybe that’s a little harsh on potential employers, though. Maybe it really is my own fault for not just manning up and taking a copyediting course.

Full Albums:

  • Adele, 21
  • Beyonce, 41
  • Chamillionaire, Badazz Slow Mixes2
  • Driver F, Chase the White Whale
  • Friendly Fires, Pala
  • The Gaslight Anthem, ’59 Sound
  • GZA, Liquid Swords
  • The Hold Steady, Almost Killed Me
  • James Pants, Welcome
  • Julian Casablancas, Phrazes for the Young
  • Justin Timberlake, Justified
  • Kings of Leon, Come Around Sundown
  • Mayer Hawthorne, A Strange Arrangement
  • Meth, Ghost and Rae, Wu Massacre3
  • Oasis, (What’s the Story?) Morning Glory¬†4
  • Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  • The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main St
  • The Roots, How I Got Over
  • Three 6 Mafia, Most Known Unknown5
  • Tom Vek, Leisure Seizure
  • UGK, Ridin’ Dirty

Random Excellence:

  • A Tribe Called Quest, “Jam”
  • The Strokes, “Someday”
  • Robyn, “Stars 4-Ever”
  • Jay-Z, “It’s Alright”
  • Girl Talk, “Set it Off”

Songs of the Week:

  • Trae the Truth, “I’m On”
  • Kendrick Lamar, “Vanity Slave”
  • Jay-Z, “Can I Get A…”
  • The Clash, “Police on My Back”
  • The Afghan Whigs, “Come See About Me”

Reviews:

1. If she’s going to keep singing her pants off like that, she’s going to have to do it in my apartment. But seriously, she’s really quite good and this album was surprisingly solid all the way through. However, certain songs stick out above and beyond the rest. It’s not that the rest of the songs are bad or too slow or something, but that “End of Time” is heartfelt and a whole bunch of fun to dance to. “Countdown” is catchy and lovely. “Party” is phenomenal and stuck in my head.

2. I’m very concerned that, despite his talent, King Koopa is destined for one-hit wonder status. The constant mixtape assault, however, gives me the hope to feel like he just might not be. It’s the same model that’s been working for people like Lil Wayne, Big K.R.I.T., Gucci Mane and Yellawolf: make the mixtape rounds for a while so everyone knows you can rap while getting your name out. So I get the impression, when he raps over all these newer tracks, that he’s aware of what’s going on right now in music and where he needs to be. Now all he needs is a bunch of producers he trusts to whip up some hot shit so he can just lay back and murder every track. That’s all I want, at least.

3. To use their words about their album, “I want it right now. Gimme my fuckin’ shit–Chicka Blaow!”

4. Everyone you know loves every song on this album. Maybe some are too long, maybe some eyebrows are too big, but it’s just chock full of awesome songs and nineties nostalgia. Though the latter’s there, I think this is an album that just might transcend that era because the songs are so good–it’s going to be around forever.

5. They were about to win an Academy award. The production is just so good and so consistent, I don’t think they’ll be able to do it again. This is them at the height of their skills. Before the reality TV show and before it was just two dudes. Stay fly, Juicy J and DJ Paul. Stay fly.

Comments:

All this talk about production reminds me about how productive I still need to be. Sometimes seeing people screw up so terrible, despite how they hold degrees from schools I want(ed) to go to, pushes me a little harder. The combination of chipping away at a giant to-do list and knowing I can work harder and (write) better than some people has been giving me the impetus to just keep pushing ahead. They’re not going to do it for me or anything, so it’s all on me to keep improving myself.

You should probably get some bread and olive oil while reading that paragraph above. So you can make some grilled cheese. I disgust myself.

Full Albums:

  • B.B. King and Eric Clapton, Riding with the King
  • The Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. II
  • The Black Keys, Brothers
  • Clipse, Til the Casket Drops
  • Foster the People, Torches
  • Friendly Fires, Pala
  • Ghostface Killah, Apollo Kids
  • The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • Santogold, Santogold
  • Saves the Day, Stay What You Are
  • Tom Vek, Leisure Seizure
  • The xx, xx
  • Yelle, Pop Up

Random Excellence:

  • A Tribe Called Quest, “The Hop”
  • The-Dream, “She Needs My Love”
  • Prince, “Cinnamon Girl”
  • Kings of Leon, “Camaro”
  • Interpol, “Barricade”

Songs of the Week:

  • The Wildbirds, “It’s Alright Now”
  • TV on the Radio, “Caffeinated Consciousnesses”
  • Tom Vek, “Too Bad”
  • The Knux, “F!re (put it in the air)”
  • Driver F, “I Have Better Things to Do Tonight than Die”

Reviews:

Huh. It appears this week I literally didn’t listen to a single album I haven’t heard before. I guess I should point out that Riding with the King, though incredible, definitely reeks of being a bunch of covers. I think it must be incredibly hard to have a unified album when only one song on an album is written by both of the guitarists playing on it. Don’t get me wrong, every song is incredible; it’s just that they’re great individually, not as a cohesive unit.

Comment:

I think I guessed right last week: though this week was crazy, it was also crazy fun. I had a great time with some genuinely great people, but this week I definitely need a bunch of indoor time so I can catch up on some work. That sounds weird to me, too, but I definitely need to do it. Like get some new, ill beats. Oy vey with the obligations and stuff.