Best Albums of the Decade - Addi's Version

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

This is a list I did NOT want to do. Remembering how hard it was to do my best albums of all time, and on top of that, realizing how much I want to change on that list. But, considering that I could not stop writing this list in my head, I figured I would just bite the bullet. This was actually easier than I thought it was going to be, surprisingly. I hope you enjoy. (Reminder, this is my personal list, not a categorical list).

I apologize, I have decieded to include youtube clips rather than reveiws. They are awesome clips, some live, some videos, some acoustic, but they will take a bit to load.

Ok, their are 50 videos below. I would love if you watched them all, but I realize that would be silly, and only I would do that. So, here are my quick recommendations on which videos you should watch based on quality of clip alone.

Howie Day "Sorry So Sorry" Live
Slow Club "It Doesn't Have to be Beautiful" one of my favorite music videos of the year.
fun. "All the Pretty Girls" music video
The Dodos "Fools" live
The Temper Trap "Fader" music video
Paolo Nutini "Last Request" live
Cold War Kids "We Used To Vacation" live and acoustic
Secondhand Serenade "Its Not Over" live and acoustic
Justin Nozuka "Save Him" live
Why? "A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under" amazing music video.
Atmosphere "Guarantees" music video
Arcade Fire "Wake Up" live

*Side Note: I will be re-writing my best albums of all time list. I rediscovered a few and a few more have fallen out of favor. Biggest example of this is Eminem’s albums spotted at number 4.

2010 Worst New Years Resolutions

So last year I wrote a very controversial ode to the worst New Years Resolutions- alright, really it was probably read by like one person (go check it out, it's funny!)- so this year I decided to follow that up by writing an equally poor list of New Years Resolutions for 2010. We're moving in to a new decade and the following resolutions are sure to start you off on the, er, wrong foot. These are all real resolutions from the New Years Resolutions section of 43

10. Spread Racism: Awesome. Way to spread the love in the new decade.

9. Tacos: I'm not even sure what to say here. Tacos is your resolution?

8. Put a Muffin up my Bum: That's ambition!

7. DS more: Unless this was written by my 9 year old cousin, Fail!

6. FIND MEMBERS: This could only have been written by a cult leader.

5. Connect people wanting to fall in love with people wanting to lose their virginity: I'm not even sure what the motivation is here.

4. Avoid running in all marathons: Wow. Now I'm not saying I disagree with this but why not make it like, "try to run a 1/4 mile" or something.

3. time travel back to the year 50 where I started tornado kicking: What? No, really, what?

2. quite tabacoo: How about learn to spell first?

1. Earn a MaryKay career car: I'm signing up right now.

Amendment to Best Songs of the Year.

>> Saturday, December 26, 2009

I have added "Brooklyn" by Wakey!Wakey! as number 13. I do not know what I am going to be removing as of now. I will keep you posted.

Best Songs of 2009- Stevie's Version

>> Saturday, December 19, 2009

So in response to Addi's 2009 best songs here is my version. There are a couple of overlaps but mostly they're different lists. Enjoy!

The best music in my iPod that you’re probably not listening to, but you should.

>> Friday, December 18, 2009

This I my list of underexposed music. Bands that do not nearly the attention they should. And it’s a real shame. This is listed in order of amount of plays, not necessarily by the best or preference, just who I am currently listening to the most. Just as a rule, I am going to try to avoid local bands, because, that is just not really fair, I mean, how are you going to listen to that band down the street from me?
I will give little notes about each band. Enjoy.
Los Campesinos!
First, seriously? how are people not catching on yet! A chaotic little big rock band from Cardiff, Wales that is energy personified. Every melody bleeds enthusiasm. This is my most anticipated record for 2010.
Slow Club
My favorite record from 2009 and maybe my favorite band overall right now. Another band from ‘cross the pond that is making a big noise, but this time with little numbers. Great stuff.
Right Away, Great Captain
This is a side project of the lead singer of Manchester Orchestra. The songs feel a bit old fashioned but in an fantastic way. Overflowing with nautical roots, this is the best kinda “theme” album.
The Civil Wars
I recommend you download their free, live at Eddies Attic album to understand the understated beauty that is this band. It’s a little country, it’s a little folk, and it is 100% great. Click here for that free record download.
One-Eyed Mule
Another brilliant rockband from Denmark. This is good oldfashioned Rock n’ Roll! From songs like “Where You Don’t Belong” and “Sad Little Love Song” this is the kind of pulsating rock that makes you want smoke a cigarette.
Yes Please
Is composed of a singersongwriter that considers herself a duel citizen of both Olympia and San Francisco. Sadly, she is no longer recording under this name, but the album "For Now, for Then, for Them" is very special. An artist that was born to be featured on Gray’s Anatomy.
Hey Marseilles
Broke my rule. Local. But very, very good. A seven piece band composed of multi instrumentalists. A full sound. But not an overplayed sound.
Ray LaMontange
I am always surprised when I mention the Bearded Musical Messiah and someone doesn’t know who I am talking about. But, I guess, somehow he has flown under the radar. One of the most soulful and engaging singersongwriters out there.
Nico Stai
Unopon reviewing my ipod for this list, it shocked me how often I have listened to this little indie rocker from LA. But his EP’s from the last couple years have been in heavy rotation on several playlists.
Choir of Young Believers
Simple and lovely. This rock band from Denmark have an amazingly haunting sound that you have to hear to grasp and appreciate.
Jon McLaughlin
Ok, this guy is Disney. And if I would have listened to his singersongwriter pop rock before I saw him in concert I am not sure I would have liked this. But the man killed it live and it made his record so much better. And every nowandthen it’s good to indulge in sugar poprock.
A newer band and an honorable mention on my 2009 list. It’s another ensemble band. I guess I have a trend these last couple years. Great lyrics and catchy as all get out. Enjoy “The Walls Are Coming Down”
Rah Rah
This band is hard to find real info on, outside of a crappy myspace page, some blogs of their album being avail on itunes there is not an abundance of knowledge about this band. But the album Going Steady, and the song ”My Guarantee” is incredibly pleasant.
*Apparently, Rah Rah has changed their name to Turning Heads. Thus the lack of info.
Jack Savoretti
Jack had an album that was lost in the shuffle with the Ray LaMontagne’s and Damien Rices of the world. Now this album is not as strong as, by a long shot, as these other artist, but there is a couple AMAZING songs on here. Listen too “Chemical Courage” and “Soldier's Eyes”

Best Songs of 2009

>> Thursday, December 17, 2009

I realized, after completing my year in music, that no one in their right mind is really going to read all that. So, with that in mind, I have republished what you probably did not see. My best songs of 2009 list. This time, I have included audio or video tracks so you can understand why I picked what I picked.
I tried to find official videos whenever possible, if that was not available, I used one of my favorite musical resources, lala. I hope you enjoy. Feedback is very welcome.

Baker’s Dozen: Best Christmas Movies

>> Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I think I have a broader definition of “Christmas Movies” than my co-blogger Stevie. If you look at her list, which I suggest that you do, because it is both really good and incredibly wrong, you will notice some glaring differences. For example, all her movies are about Christmas, while some of mine use Christmas as the backdrop to a non-holiday story. I still consider those to be Christmas movies, and some of the best in the genre.

I hope you enjoy. Best Christmas moments below, thanks to IMDB.

13. Bad Santa

Kid: Your beard's not real.
Willie: No Shit!It was real, but I got sick and all the hair fell out.
Kid: How come?
Willie: I loved a woman who wasn't clean.
Kid: Mrs. Santa?
Willie: No it was her sister.

12. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jack Skellington: [singing] And on a dark cold night, under full moonlight, he flies into the fog like a vulture in the sky!
[in a deeper tone]
Jack Skellington: And they call him, Sandy... Clawssss...!

11. Gremlins

Kate: Now I have another reason to hate Christmas.
Billy Peltzer: What are you talking about?
Kate: The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn't home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That's when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.

10. Miracle on 34th Street

Fred Gailey: Your Honor, every one of these letters is addressed to Santa Claus. The Post Office has delivered them. Therefore the Post Office Department, a branch of the Federal Governent, recognizes this man Kris Kringle to be the one and only Santa Claus.
Judge Henry X. Harper: Uh, since the United States Government declares this man to be Santa Claus, this court will not dispute it. Case dismissed.

9. Home Alone

Kevin McCallister: This is extremely important. Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back. No toys, nothing but Peter, Kate, Buzz, Megan, Linnie and Jeff. And my aunt and my cousins. And in a few years time, my Uncle Frank. Okay?

8. Edward Scissorhands

Kim: Before he came down here, it never snowed. And afterwards, it did. I don't think it would be snowing now if he weren't still up there. Sometimes you can still catch me dancing in it.

7. Go

Simon Baines: They can't evict you on Christmas! Then you'd be ho-ho-homeless!


Todd: What do you want for Christmas, Claire?
Claire: ...I don't know.
Todd: You wanna get laid?
Claire: No.
Todd: No, you don't wanna get laid, or no, you do, but you don't wanna get laid - with me?

6. A Christmas Story

Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Meanwhile, I struggled for exactly the right BB gun hint. It had to be firm, but subtle.
Ralphie: Flick says he saw some grizzly bears near Pulaski's candy store!
[everyone stares at Ralphie]
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] They looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears

5. Love Actually

Mark via signs: With any luck, by next year - I'll be going out with one of these girls.
[shows pictures of beautiful supermodels]
Mark via signs: But for now, let me say - Without hope or agenda - Just because it's Christmas - And at Christmas you tell the truth - To me, you are perfect - And my wasted heart will love you - Until you look like this.

[picture of a mummy]
Mark via signs: Merry Christmas.

4. Scrooged

Frank Cross: I want to see her nipples.
Censor Lady: But this is a CHRISTMAS show.
Frank Cross: Well, I'm sure Charles Dickens would have wanted to see her nipples.
Carpenter: You can barely see them nipples.
Frank Cross: See? And these guys are REALLY looking.

3. Die Hard

[Reading what McClane wrote on the dead terrorist's shirt]
Hans Gruber: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho."

2. Elf

Buddy: Sounds like somebody needs to sing a Christmas Carol.
Jovie: No way.
Buddy: The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.
Jovie: Thanks, but I don't sing.
Buddy: Oh, well, it's just like talking, except longer and louder, and you move your voice up and down.
Jovie: I *can* sing, I just choose *not* to sing. Especially in front of other people.
Buddy: If you can sing alone, you sing in front of other people. There's no difference.
Jovie: Actually, there's a BIG difference.
Buddy: No there's not. Wait...
[Starts singing loud and off-key]
Buddy: I'm singing/I'm in a store/and I'm siiiiiingiiiiing!/I'm in a store/and I'm siiiiiingiiiiing!
Gimbel's Manager: HEY! There's no singin' in the North Pole!
Buddy: Yes there is!
Gimbel's Manager: No there's not!
Buddy: We sing all the time!
Gimbel's Manager: No you don't!
Buddy: Especially when we build toys!
[Back to Jovie]
Buddy: See?

1. It’s a Wonderful Life

George Bailey: [praying] Clarence! Clarence! Help me, Clarence! Get me back! Get me back, I don't care what happens to me! Get me back to my wife and kids! Help me Clarence, please! Please! I wanna live again. I wanna live again. Please, God, let me live again.
[it begins to snow again]
Bert: [shouts] Hey, George! George! You all right? Hey, what's the matter?
George Bailey: Now get outta here, Bert, or I'll hit you again! Get outta here!
Bert: What the sam hill you yellin' for, George?
George Bailey: You...
[suddenly stunned]
George Bailey: George... Bert? Do you know me?
Bert: Know you? Huh. You kiddin'? I've been looking all over town trying to find you. I saw your car plowed into that tree down there and I thought maybe you - hey, your mouth's bleeding. Are you sure you're all right?
George Bailey: What the...
[licks the corner of his lip and checks his mouth with his hand]
George Bailey: Ha, ha, ha, ha! My mouth's bleeding, Bert! My mouth's bleeding! Zuzu's petals... Zuzu...
George Bailey: [checking his pocket] There they are! Bert, what do you know about that! Merry Christmas!

Honorable Mention

The Ice Harvest

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Ref

A Year in Music: Best Albums of 2009

>> Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Year in Music: Best Albums of 2009.
First and foremost I need to ask for forgiveness for my absence from this glorious blog. I have been devoid of a computer for the last 6 months and the itch to write nearly killed me. So, you have my profoundest and sincerest apologies. With that in mind, I fear that my ability for string coherent words together to form witty one-sided banter may be a bit on the rusty side, so bear with me while I gain my bearings.
This year, for the first time in many years, seemed insignificant. One day bled into the next until this year felt like last. Stretching within my own confines proved to be a fruitless task, this year was doomed to be nothing special, static, and forgettable. Understand, this is not a bad thing; quite possibly, it is something to celebrate. No news is good news. My life, for the first time in years, was dramaless and boring. Dramaless and boring, is great for one thing. Losing oneself in those true inner passions. Rediscovering exactly how discovering something feels. This was my year in music. A year of discovery. And it was bountiful.
In 2009 I purchased a total of 144 albums and EP’s, 58 of which were actually released between November of 2008 and December of 2009. That is 58 new recordings from this year alone that made this year anything but forgettable. And, yes, I did, purchase all of these. And yes, this is where all my money goes. It’s better than a drug habit, although, sometimes it’s hard to know the difference.
As 2008 progressed, I took a noticeable step away from my standard singersongwriter persona. I started to really appreciate music that took real chances. Music that tried something new and of value. Leaning more and more towards the Los Campesinos! and The Dodos of the world, I started to purchase records I never would have considered two years ago. This was just the start of a hell of a journey.
This year was about taking chances in safe places, between the left and right side of storytelling headphones. I hope you enjoy. I will do a quarterly review of this list to track the changes that are sure to follow.

Best of Christmas Movies

>> Friday, November 27, 2009

What with Thanksgiving being over for, oh, 5 seconds the whole world seems to have transformed in to Christmas already. Even though the temperature outside is 50 degrees the windows are painted with ice and snowflakes and consumerism abounds. With that in mind I'd like to remember the high points of Christmas, namely awesome Christmas themed movies. Here's a top ten list of some of the best.

10. The Santa Clause

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas

8. Miracle on 34th Street

7. Fred Claus

6. Elf

5. Home Alone

4. A Christmas Story

3. It's A Wonderful Life

2. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Best Performance by a Mustache on a Celebrity

>> Saturday, October 24, 2009

Inspired by Adam's wayward ability to creep me out with unneccesary facial hair and prompted by Lindsays idea to make a best of list I have put together a smattering of the best (and worst?) of mustache madness. Rather than rank these bad boys I've categorized them below. Note that while some of these fine staches were created for movie roles many were the result of personal (bad) choice...

The "I'm a pretty boy who is tired of being pretty" -stache:

The "I can barely grow a stache" stache:

The "Mustache Ride" -stache:

The "Porn-Stache" -Stache:

Extra Credit:

To be continued...

A Comparative List

In my last entry I posted the Time magazine 100 Best Novels of all Time. To contrast that I thought I would post the Newsweek Top 100 Books of All Time which took a different approach (i.e. not just taking the opinions of two Time magazine critics and rather selected books from the top book lists) including non-fiction and fiction as well as books published before 1932 and I found this one to be a little more, um, modern reader friendly. And yet many of my favorite books were missing and I hadn't read more than a handful (okay 26). Thoughts?
Once again, note: *I've read it, **I own it but haven't read it yet, ***I plan on reading this someday.
War and Peace (F) Leo Tolstoy 1869
1984 (F) George Orwell 1949 ***
Ulysses (F) James Joyce 1922 *
Lolita (F) Vladimir Nabokov 1955 *
The Sound and the Fury (F)William Faulkner 1929 ***
Invisible Man (F) Ralph Ellison 1952
To the Lighthouse (F) Virginia Woolf 1927
The Illiad and The Odyssey (F) Homer 8th century B.C. *
Pride and Prejudice (F) Jane Austen 1813
Divine Comedy (F) Dante Alighieri 1321 *
Canterbury Tales (F) Geoffrey Chaucer 15th century
Gulliver's Travels (F) Jonathan Swift 1726 *
Middlemarch (F) 1874
Things Fall Apart (F) Chinua Achebe 1958
The Catcher in the Rye (F) J. D. Salinger 1951 *
Gone with the Wind (F) Margaret Mitchell 1936
One Hundred Years of Solitude (F) Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1967***
The Great Gatsby (F) F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925*
Catch-22 (F) Joseph Heller 1961**
Beloved (F) Toni Morrison 1987*
The Grapes of Wrath (F) John Steinbeck 1939 *
Midnight's Children (F) Salman Rushdie 1981
Brave New World (F) Aldous Huxley 1932
Mrs. Dalloway (F) Virginia Woolf 1925
Native Son (F) Richard Wright 1940
Democracy in America (NF) Alexis de Tocqueville 1835
On the Origin of Species (NF) Charles Darwin 1859 (bits and parts I've read)
The Histories (NF) Herodotus 440 B.C.
The Social Contract (NF) Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1762
Das Kapital (NF) Karl Marx 1867 (bits and parts I've read)
The Prince (NF) Niccolo Machiavelli 1532
Confessions (NF) St. Augustine 4th century
Leviathan (NF) Thomas Hobbes 1651
The History of the Peloponnesian War (NF) Thucydides 431 B.C. (I'm sure I've read part of this)
The Lord of the Rings (F) J. R. R. Tolkien 1954
Winnie-the-Pooh (F) A. A. Milne 1926*
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (F) C. S. Lewis 1950*
A Passage to India (F) E. M. Forster 1924
On the Road (F) Jack Kerouac 1957*
To Kill a Mockingbird (F) Harper Lee 1960*
The Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version. NA*
A Clockwork Orange (F) Anthony Burgess 1962***
Light in August (F) William Faulkner 1932
The Souls of Black Folk (NF) W. E. B. Du Bois 1903
Wide Sargasso Sea (F) Jean Rhys 1966
Madame Bovary (F) Gustave Flaubert 1857
Paradise Lost (F) John Milton 1667
Anna Karenina (F) Leo Tolstoy 1877
Hamlet (F) William Shakespeare 1603*
King Lear (F) William Shakespeare 1608 *
Othello (F) William Shakespeare 1622*
Sonnets (F) William Shakespeare 1609*
Leaves of Grass (F)Walt Whitman 1855 (bits and parts I've read)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (F) Mark Twain 1885 *
Kim (F) Rudyard Kipling 1901
Frankenstein (F) Mary Shelley 1818
Song of Solomon (F) Toni Morrison 1977
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (F) Ken Kesey 1962*
For Whom the Bell Tolls (F) Ernest Hemingway 1940 *
Slaughterhouse-Five (F) Kurt Vonnegut 1969 ***
Animal Farm (F) George Orwell 1945
Lord of the Flies (F) William Golding 1954*
In Cold Blood (NF) Truman Capote 1965
The Golden Notebook (F) Doris Lessing 1962
Remembrance of Things Past (F) Marcel Proust 1913
The Big Sleep (F) Raymond Chandler 1939
As I Lay Dying (F) William Faulkner 1930
The Sun Also Rises (F) Ernest Hemingway 1926 *
I, Claudius (F) Robert Graves 1934
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (F) Carson McCullers 1940
Sons and Lovers (F) D. H. Lawrence 1913
All the King's Men (F) Robert Penn Warren 1946
Go Tell It on the Mountain (F) James Baldwin 1953
Charlotte's Web (F) E. B. White 1952 *
Heart of Darkness (F) Joseph Conrad 1902
Night (NF) Elie Wiesel 1958
Rabbit, Run (F) John Updike 1960
The Age of Innocence (F) Edith Wharton 1920
Portnoy's Complaint (F) Philip Roth 1969
An American Tragedy (F) Theodore Dreiser 1925
The Day of the Locust (F) Nathanael West 1939
Tropic of Cancer (F) Henry Miller 1934 *
The Maltese Falcon (F) Dashiell Hammett 1930
His Dark Materials (F) Philip Pullman 1995
Death Comes for the Archbishop (F) Willa Cather 1927
The Interpretation of Dreams (NF) Sigmund Freud 1900 (bits and parts I've read)
The Education of Henry Adams (NF) Henry Adams 1918
Quotations from Chairman Mao (NF) Mao Zedong 1964
The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (NF) William James 1902
Brideshead Revisited (F) Evelyn Waugh 1945
Silent Spring (NF) Rachel Carson 1962
The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (NF) John Maynard Keynes 1936
Lord Jim (F) Joseph Conrad 1900
Goodbye to All That (NF) Robert Graves 1929
The Affluent Society (NF) John Kenneth Galbraith 1958
The Wind in the Willows (F) Kenneth Grahame 1908
The Autobiography of Malcolm X (NF) Alex Haley and Malcolm X 1965
Eminent Victorians (NF) Lytton Strachey 1918
The Color Purple (F) Alice Walker 1982*
The Second World War (The Gathering Storm; Their Finest Hour; The Grand Alliance; The Hinge of Fate; (NF) Winston Churchill 1948