Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, You Filthy Animal

Here is an article from The Week. As a child, Home Alone was one of my all time favorite movies.  I was always highly amused by Macaulay Culkin's ingenuity as he constructed traps for the two crazy burglars. This article calls upon a doctor who analyzed all of the injuries the criminals collected throughout the house of traps.  Even if this article isn't meant to be humorous, I found the academic take on this classic Christmas movie to be amusing and informative.  I will never watch the movie the same way. 

And here is a video from YouTube, just in case you forgot how awesome the traps were.  Ahead of their time, for sure. 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best Songs of 2012: Part 1

Here is part 1 of my list of best songs of the year.  It was complied throughout the year by way of a Spotify playlist.

"Serpents" - Sharon Van Etten (from Tramp
This album was on the "Best of" list for many blogs, but personally, I think this is the one of the few strong tracks on this mostly uneven album. Sharon has a lot of talent and "Serpents" displays that.  Her voice roars through the scathing lyrics. This song is definitely one of the top of the year.

"King of the World" - First Aid Kit (from The Lion's Roar)
These two Swedish sisters are one of my favorite bands of the year.  Their dreamy vocals have a country twinge.  This song is the last track off their incredible album.  It features vocals by Conor Oberst and really highlights the strong voices of both sisters. Its the perfect summer outdoor party track. 

"Give it Away" - Andrew Bird (from Break It Yourself)
Andrew Bird releases consistently great albums.  No one plays the violin like he does. No one's voice is quite like his.   Violin picking notes usher in smooth melodies, followed by a musical pause and Bird's words. His music is accessible yet complicated.  This song is quite a gem.  

"Man on Fire" - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (from Here
As a whole, this album is weaker than their 2009 breakthough self-titled album. But this song makes an impression. It starts off with simple guitar strumming and singular vocals. After some humming and snapping, the harmonies slowly ease their way into the foreground.  Then it becomes an all-out sing along.  The drums are soft and deliberate.  There is a call-and-answer aspect to one of the choruses. If this song is an indication of what this band can do, there is always hope of more great songs to come. 

"Balcony" - Craig Finn (from Clear Hearts, Full Eyes)
When I heard about this album because I love the Hold Steady and mostly everything Craig Finn has ever done.  When it was released, I downloaded immediately only to be disappointed by what seemed to be an album of improvised lyrics. Either way, this track is one of my favorite of the year. It tells the story of a night out where the narrator sees one that he/she used to love.  With a faster tempo, this could easily be one of my favorite Hold Steady songs (if the full band was involved). 

Subscribe to my playlist (link via twitter) for all the tracks.

Friday, December 14, 2012

List: Best Concerts of the Year, Part 1

2012 was filled with a lot of great concerts.  From reunions to straight up rocking performances, this is a list of some of the most memorable ones this year (in no particular order):

Archers of Loaf  (April 26, Bowery Ballroom)
These North Carolina-based indie rockers first broke up in 1998, which means they were around before  I listened to good music.  Having recently discovered them, I was very unsure how I, as a causal fan, would blend in with their hardcore fans. I found that their live set was accessible. They had so much energy and really focused on a lot of the better known (to me) songs.

Governor's Ball 2012 (June 24, Randall's Island)
This year, organizers decided to split up the genres into two separate days.  On Saturday, all of the electronica acts performed. Sunday was full of the more indie-rock bands.

One of the highlights of Day 2 was Explosions in the Sky, an all-instrumental group who famously provided the soundtrack for Friday Night Lights. Fiona Apple was back in action with her unique brand of angst-female rock. Modest Mouse played a variety of songs from their many, many albums. Beck played through the rain and closed out the night will an energetic set that spanned his entire career.

Overall, the festival was a great experience.  It was extremely well organized and the location had many shaded areas to take a break from the heat.  Because the genres were split into two days, the crowd was friendly and meshed well with each other.  I am hoping they draw great bands next year so I can attend for the 2nd year in a row.

Japandriods (June 27, Bowery Ballroom)
This two-person Canadian band packed a lot of punch and energy into their set.  The opener was Cadence Weapon, a Canadian rapper, who really pumped the crowd up for the headliner. Check out their album, "Celebration Rock."  It is one of the best albums of the year.

Dinosaur Jr. (December 1, Terminal 5)
With less-than-perfect sound and a large number of obstructed views, I was not looking forward to this concert. But opener Kurt Vile's brand of freak-rock laid the groundwork for an excellent show at one of the most hated venues in NYC.    

To start off Dinosaur Jr's set, they played "You're Living All Over Me" in its entirety.  This truly great album actually sounded great in this former warehouse/dance club.  For the second part of their set, they played a variety of songs from their entire career.  They also brought special guests on stage like Frank Black, who played Pixies' classic "Tame" as well as a Dinosaur Jr song.  Johnny Marr (of the Smiths) came up for a few tracks.  The band played "A Boy With A Thorn in His Side," to which the entire crowd sang along.  Kim Gordon closed out the set with a incredible version of "Don't." Tommy Stinson (of The Replacements) and Fred Armisen came out for the encore and did a few songs.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Check it out: @SeinfeldToday

For #FF, BuzzFeed posted a link to @SeinfeldToday, a twitter parody account that asks the question "What if Seinfeld was on TV in 2012?"  As many shows of the 90's, some episodes are quite dated.  For example, the gang would've never spent hours wandering around The Parking Garage looking for their car because, now, Kramer would own an electronic remote.  In The Airport, Jerry and Elaine would have just called George and Kramer (on their iPhone most likely) when they landed at either airport.

Some highlights include:

Jerry breaks up with a beautiful woman because she favorites every one of his tweets. Kramer and Newman start a podcast.

Jerry gets in a fight in the Trader Joes line. George's Netflix thinks he's gay. Elaine has to get One Direction tickets for her boss's kid.

: Jerry joins Twitter only to find that a Jerry parody account has 50k followers. It's run by Bania who will stop if Jerry buys him dinner.

Also see, @FakeLouieEps & @fakegrantland