Songs of the Day: "Hold On", "Two Satellites" & "A More Perfect World" by Mary Beth Maziarz

>> Sunday, January 29, 2012

I have never been able to understand how Mary Beth Maziarz did not become the biggest thing in the world. I was so sure, for so long, that at some point in my life I would be able to claim I heard her first when her songs stumbled onto the radio, or I'd be able to venture out to a show at The Triple Door in Seattle to standing room only. It was one my certainties. But 13 years after first gracing upon her, she is still my little secret.

"Hold On" by Mary Beth Maziarz

"Two Satellites" by Mary Beth Maziarz

"A More Perfect World" by Mary Beth Maziarz

Song of the Day: "Your Guitar" by Jennifer O'Connor

>> Saturday, January 28, 2012

I love songs like this. It's like we're in on some secret. Powerful in the quiet. This doesn't so much feel like a song, but a journey. This song has haunted me since I first listened to it. And all I have wanted to do is share it. I hope you enjoy.

"Your Guitar" by Jennifer O'Connor

Song of the Day: "Fathers Be Kind" & "I Don't Wanna Die Anymore" by Ivan & Aloysha

>> Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sorry I have not been as active as I would like to be on here lately, I would like to give you an excuse about my new schedule at work, or the stormy weather or whatnot, but honestly, I got sucked into a book. Not the most exciting thing ever, I realize, but I'm not a liar.

Anyways, I was not planning on posting anything today, but while doing my weekly internet rounds, I stumbled across some great live and acoustic song in a book store. How awesome is that?! Combining my two favorite things, music and books! Match made in heaven. Thanks Sleepover Shows!

Ivan & Aloysha have been bounced around on this blog for some time now. And for good reason, Tim Wilson may have my favorite voice in the Northwest. And the way the harmonies intermingle with his lead is brilliant. I cannot wait until this band's upcoming full length release finds its way into my collection.

"Fathers Be Kind" by Ivan & Aloysha

"I Don't Wanna Die Anymore" by Ivan & Aloysha

Re-Review: Noah and Abby Gundersen at The Big House in Ballard 1/13/12

>> Sunday, January 22, 2012

My head is still spinning. I have never been so hung up on a show in my life. And I have been to my fair share of shows. But, now, 9 days later, I am still all about the Noah and Abby Gundersen Show. And now, more importantly, I can get you hung up on it as well. The awesome gents over at This City Rocks are giving you an inside look at this once in a life time show, with some stunning videos.

This show is nearly impossible to overstate, but I tried too in my original post. Here are some of the snippets of what I sputtered. 
100 music lovers, truly loving music. Musicians truly giving everything. This was not one of those shows at a clinky bar where the music was just the noise trying penetrated the hum of drunken conversations. This was a show for honest to goodness audiophiles. I have never heard a crowd so quiet, so attentive, so in love with the sounds that were radiating off the stage. I am not sure I have ever experienced anything like it.

I want to preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Noah Gundersen. However, he was not the star of the show last night. Abby Gundersen stole my heart. Not in the creepy, "I'm a 30 year old fat guy, crushing on the belting beauty" kind of way. Just musically, she simply stole my heart. It took seeing them live to realize, that although Noah is the front man, and deservedly so, Abby is the soul of the group. He writes amazing songs, and can easily bring them to life all on his own, but she makes those same songs stagger, and buckle at the knees.

He can make a crowd rise up, she can make them soar.

They are the perfect pair.

The passion they both played with was unparralled and vibrated throughout the entire building. It was truly an experience that I will not soon forget.
And, now, with the help of This City Rocks, I am so happy to let you in on the secret that was The Big House show.


"Poor Man's Son"

"Ledges" (if this new song is any indication of what is to come, Noah will rule the world)


Song of the Day: "To A Poet" by First Aid Kit

>> Friday, January 20, 2012

I know, I know, I know. I have been all about First Aid Kit on this blog lately. But when you have released the best record of 2012 so far, you are bound to get recognized. Granted, its very early in 2012, but that means shit. Both The Civil Wars and Jessica Lea Mayfield released records in February last year, and they both landed themselves on my best albums of the year 2011 list. I have just as high of expectations for The Lion's Roar. It is a choice record, so get used to seeing it on here.

"To A Poet" by First Aid Kit

Songs of the Day: "A Hole The Size Of" & "Scream" & "Borrowing Cars" by Nico Stai

>> Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pent up. Cooped up. Fed up. I have been locked in my home for nearly a week now. On an island apartment surrounded by a frozen ocean. And for some reason, the only thing that makes this isolation bearable is my tunes. Especially Mr. Nico Stai.

"A Hole The Size Of" by Nico Stai

"Scream" by Nico Stai

"Borrowing Cars"

Song of the Day: "The Falling Snow" by Damien Jurado

>> Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So, this lovely song is not at all about actual snow falling. But it's just so beautiful, and simply seemed to fit the mood of the day. Like the world is holding their breath.

"The Falling Snow" by Damien Jurado

12 in 2012 Series: Most Anticipated Albums Part 2

And now we continue our series we're calling the 12 in 2012. Our top 12 books/music/movies/[insert other awesome thing] to look forward to in 2012.
Today: Most Anticipated Albums! Part 2
Addi posted his here yesterday and by request, here's my version. As always we agree on about 2. -Stevie

12. The XX - Title TBD
Listologies has long been a fan of The XX, even when we feared that they had broken up for good. I'm hoping that this next album will A) be awesome B) not have one song played repeatedly over and over on the radio as if the rest of the album doesn't exist- yes I'm talking about "Crystalized" and yes I'm talking to you The End.
"Islands" {acoustic 2010}

11. The Fray - Scars & Stories
Yes I know, everyone and their kid sister listens to The Fray now but I still love them. They're like my guilty pop pleasure. I still love Cable Car and probably always will (and thank god its finally off the radio). By now you've probably heard their first single "Heartbeat" which is just okay for me but I'm digging this track so maybe it'll be promising afterall?
"The Fighter"

10. Ben Kweller - Go Fly a Kite
He rocks. Nuff said. Go listen here to an awesome musical collage of the heads/tails of his new album and enjoy a little cover of Today by the Smashing Pumpkins by BK in BK!
"Today" {Cover: Smashing Pumpkins 2007}

9. Andrew Bird - Break it Yourself
I would be remiss not to include Andrew Birds latest (sure-to-be) masterpiece on my albums to look forward to in 2012. 14 new tracks and the only preview I've seen is 30 seconds and I'm already psyched. This will be one to buy on vinyl and listen to on surround sound.

8. Damien Jurado - Maraqopa
The first time I saw Damien Jurado was 2001 with Rosie Thomas (what a pair!) then Addi and I saw him again in 2010 with The Head and the Heart. I'm sure you're thinking, wait, Listologies is excited about a Singer/Songwriter?? And yes, I'm still a card carrying Jurado fan, not only is he a Seattlite but the first song I heard from Maraqopa is haunting in that Jim Morrison kind of way that always sweeps me off my feet.
"Nothing is the News"

7. Nelly Furtado - Lifestyle
I've been a fan of Nelly Furtado FOREVER. Seriously, this is one artist that I can honestly say I knew about before all my friends. In fact she kind of said it herself! In late 2000 I fell in love with "I'm Like a Bird" (c'mon, I was a college freshman) and won concert tickets to an acoustic show at Benaroya Hall Symphony Hall- about 100 people max, Nelly Furtado, Sister Hazel and Shawn Mullins (Addi will never let me live it down that I didn't bring him). I get in line WITH Shawn Mullins to have Ms. Furtado sign my CD and after talking she says "you're like my first real big fan!" to which yes, you could dismiss as something you say to everyone, except fast forward to her 2006 release party in NYC and she remembers me! So there you have it, my geek out moment.
"No Hay Igual" {2006}

6. Santigold - Master of My Make Believe
I heard that Santigold was finally making a follow up to her 2008 Santogold album that made LES Artistes the track I played most that summer. Getting info on the new album however was work until literally 24 minutes ago when she released her first single off of Master of My Make Believe "Big Mouth" - going to give it a few more listens before I make up my mind...
"Big Mouth"

5. Fiona Apple - Title TBD
Those of you that are long time Fiona Apple fans know that this is quite possibly just a part of the rumor mill although Metacritic has it listed as a 2012 release (Billboard, MTV, even the New York Times had a release date of 2011 so...) There are at least a half dozen Free Fiona forums, sites, and even the #freefiona #ReleaseFiona on Twitter and yet her website seems untouched by the likes of Fiona herself or her captor, I mean music label, Sony Music. In the mean time, another conspiracy, is this "Elle J" really Fiona? Listen for yourself...
"The Runaway" by Unkle {2010}

4. Temper Trap -Title TBD
As Addi stated on his Most Anticipated Albums list here Temper Trap is very hush hush about their new album set to come out in June. If you've been to some of their live shows it sounds like they may have played you some of the new stuff but haven't gotten down to naming anything yet. I'm hoping that TT 's latest album can stand up to Conditions, as I too am afraid of the sophomore slump. The band working with Tony Hoffer (Beck, Phoenix, Goldfrapp) bodes good things.
"Sweet Disposition" Live from SXSW

3. Regina Spektor - What We Saw From the Cheap Seats
I have come to expect only amazing things from Regina Spektor. Perhaps most famous for that intro to (500) Days of Summer, she's popped up on our site before, here on my Best of the Decade list at #17 and here on the Best Songs of 2009 at #8 & #1(!!!) I can only hope that What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is as good as Far was in 2009.
"Us" {2009}

2. Lana Del Rey - Born to Die
SNL performance aside I die over Lana Del Rey. Her pouty lips, the awkward calamity that is her music videos, her haunting vocals (thanks sound engineers for the awesome reverb work!) I think she's going to have two camps: the ones that love her and the ones that hate her. I'm standing firmly on the love her side. Can't wait to get this on vinyl.

1. The Shins - Port of Morrow
Admittedly I'm a huge Shins fan. Always have been. One of my biggest regrets in life is leaving for NYC the same weekend The Shins played a free show at my University. Like Addi often says with his favorite bands (see every band that Addi thinks he invented) I'm a little sad about The Shins mainstream blowup particularly after Garden State (Zach Braff is kind of a genius). This is a long anticipated album for me and I'm hoping it will be a grown up return to Oh, Inverted World.
"Simple Song"

Other albums to look forward to...
First Aid Kit
Mumford and Sons
The Decemberists
Neon Trees
Magnetic Fields
Best Coast
Dirty Projectors

12 In 2012 Series: Most Anticipated Albums

>> Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And now we continue our series we're calling the 12 in 2012. Our top 12 books/music/movies/[insert other awesome thing] to look forward to in 2012. 

Today: Most Anticipated Albums!
Side note, this list was very hard to narrow down. I could do a list of 50 albums I'm excited for, so if you notice something missing, understand that I mean no disrespect to your favorite band or anything, it was just hard to choose and I had to go with my gut.

12. Jason Mraz - Title TBD
I know it's not cool to like The Mraz, but I have yet to pick up an album of his that I didn't like. And I don't care if that makes me slightly uncool. I don't share music on here to be cool. I share music because I can't not share music. It is my nature. And, liking Jason Mraz is apparently in my nature. And, damn, he can write a song.
"I Won't Give Up"

11. Clock Opera - "Ways To Forget"
Clock Opera stormed the castle that was my 2011. Their song Belongings blew me away and landed near or on top of all my 2011 lists. And this new song, from their upcoming album has my hopes very high.
"Once and For All"

10. Choir Of Young Believers - "Rhine Gold"
This Danish's 2009 release is one of the strongest records I have heard in years. Although I enjoyed this record that year, it did not climb any of my lists. It has taken years to see how valuable this album is to my collection. Out of all the albums from 2009, aside from Slow Club, The Temper Trap, and The Swell Season, this is the album I listen to the most. I cannot wait to see what they do next.

9. Nico Stai -Title TBD
OK, so this is just a rumored release, but it needs to happen. Nico released his full length in 2006, a coulple EP's in 2008 and then silence since. And it's killing me. He has the most unique voice and lyrics out there right now, and he needs to make new noise in 2012.
"Borrowing Cars" (from 2006)

8. The xx - Title TBD
I am torn here. I am very excited for this record, but the sophomore slump has been well documented.  With a band this talented, and given the fact they have taken appropriate time and not rushed things, I have faith this should be a success.
"Open Eyes" (Demo version

7. First Aid Kit -  The Lion's Roar
These Swedish sisters took to Omaha Nebraska to record their follow up album. And from what I heard of it, I could not be more excited. The ladies have really matured, but not lost their voice. I think this is a shoe in for the year end lists.
"The Lion's Roar"

6. The Temper Trap - Title TBD
This album is only mentioned in hushed tones around the internet. This is a band that scares me, this is a band that I fear will suffer the sophomore slump. However, they have recruited Beck's producer Tony Hoffer, so that is a step in the right direction. I am hopeful.

5. fun. - "Some Nights"
I'm gonna be honest, I am having a little trouble not holding the sudden popularity of fun. against them. They were always one of my little secrets. And my second favorite band of 2009. Their album Aim and Ignite still rocks my world. But, I am going to swallow my pride and accept that very soon, if not already, fun. is going to be a name on everyones lips.
"We Are Young" 

4. John Mayer - Born And Raised
Another uncool album to look forward too, and I should really put this lower, especially with how disappointing I found Battle Studies. but considering how much I have LOVED all of this guys other releases, I can't help but be super excited.
"Born And Raised"

3. Lemolo - Title TBD
This Seattle duo has stolen my heart for well over a year now. But, with very little studio stuff released, it has been a long year. Finally that wait is nearing its end. The lovely ladies have announced they have finished all but the mastering/mixing of the album, and it should be released shortly. I expect super big things from these ladies. And you should too.

2. Noah Gundersen - Title TBD
This is fresh news. While at the show on 1/13/12 (which you can read about here) he mentioned that he and Abby are heading to the studio next month to start work on their new record.  (And I am making an assumption that it will be released in 2012 to include it on this list.)I could have shit my pants right there. He played 2 or 3 new songs, and he is just getting better and better. It's kinda hard to believe.
"Fear Thou Not" (I'm guessing on the title)

1. Right Away, Great Captain! - The Church of the Good Thief
Andy Hull can do no wrong in my eyes. No matter if its with Manchester Orchestra, Bad Books, Solo or with RAGC, he can do no wrong. This album is going to be something special, as it is the final chapter of a trilogy of records about a sailors long journey home. Every song off the previous two records stills my soul, and I expect nothing less of this one.

Other Albums to look forward too, listed randomly. 
Lana Del Rey
Mumford and Sons
Allo Darlin'

Song of the Day: "How To Disappear Completely" by Radiohead

>> Sunday, January 15, 2012

Generally speaking, I am not a Radiohead fan. I know, most of my blogs are about indie music and whatnot, so admitting this is kinda sacrilegious. But, if I'm anything, I'm honest. However, you will notice I said generally. If you read my Best 100 Songs of All Time list (which I'm itching to rewrite, as it was from 2008), you would notice that two of their songs landed in the top 20. So, when they do a song right, at least right in my mind, they really get it. Anyways, this is number 17 from that list, and my personal song of the day. But, no, I am not depressed.

Side note, this song is featured in one of my all time movies, Live As A House. Check it out if you haven't seen it. It's grand.

"How To Disappear Completely" by Radiohead

Show of the Day: Noah and Abby Gundersen with Zach Fleury at The Big House in Ballard

>> Saturday, January 14, 2012

OK. I am going to do my best to not over sell this. I am going to do my best to not make a bigger deal out of this than I should. But, I am not sure I can help it. Last night, at about 7pm I set out upon the night to see a show, to listen to some music and to have a decent evening. Last night, at 7pm, I had no idea. 

What I saw last night was so much more of an experience than a show. It was not a concert for a concerts sake. It was special. It was real. It was jarring, impactful and flat out defied the definition of music. 

I know that sounds pretty incredulous. But picture this:
And this:
100 music lovers, truly loving music. Musicians truly giving everything. This was not one of those shows at a clinky bar where the music was just the noise trying to penetrat the hum of drunken conversations. This was a show for honest to goodness audiophiles. I have never heard a crowd so quiet, so attentive, so in love with the sounds that were radiating off the stage. I am not sure I have ever experienced anything like it.

Oh, side note, if you ever get a chance to see a show at The Big House in Ballard, you must jump. That room is magic, intimate and incredible. 

But, now on to the music itself. Opening for Noah Gundersen was half-musician half-comedian Zach Fleury, who, to be frank, I had only slightly heard of prior to last night, via the YouTube clips below. These are poached from one of my favorite local music clipparies, Ballad Sessions. And those clips are fantastic and all, but he was even better in person, interacting with the crowd, feeding off of them as he fed them. It was a great introduction to a fella that I am going to make a point of tracking from here on out. Damn impressive sir.
"Paraffin & Down" by Zach Fleury

"Sophie Sleepless" by Zach Fleury

And that was just the start....

I want to preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Noah Gundersen. I have been for a little while now. I am not going to claim that I was the first on his bandwagon, but I will claim that not alot of people have been singing his praises as loudly as I have lately. However, he was not the star of the show last night. Abby Gundersen stole my heart. Not in the creepy, "I'm a 30 year old fat guy, crushing on the belting beauty" kind of way. Just musically, she simply stole my heart. It took seeing them live to realize, that although Noah is the front man, and deservedly so, Abby is the soul of the group. He writes amazing songs, and can easily bring them to life all on his own, but she makes those same songs stagger, and buckle at the knees.

He can make a crowd rise up, she can make them soar.

They are the perfect pair.

The passion they both played with was unparralled and vibrated throughout the entire building. It was truly an experience that I will not soon forget.
Sadly, video from last night has not yet surfaced, So, I am going to go with some generic, yet amazing videos. However, as soon as the videos do come about (which as you can see in the photo above, there was a full on camera crew, so that is bound to happen), I will update with a new blog. Anyways, enjoy.

"Moss On A Rolling Stone" by Noah & Abby Gundersen

"Avalanche" by Noah & Abby Gundersen (my favorite song, and played at my shouted request!)

"Poor Man's Son" by The Gundersen Family (sadly, it was just Abby and Noah last night, as the rest of the family did not partake, but it was still chillingly spectacular, and a video I cannot wait to see. The "Oh, Family..." lines turned into a giant stomp fest and sing-a-long. Really special.)

Song of the Day: "Orange Sky (Four Songs EP Version)" by Alexi Murdoch

>> Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I know this song is all but played out. It has been everywhere since it was released on the Four Songs EP in 2002, but, today, as I sit and write non blogged words about imperfection and intertwined salvation's, and I need this song. So, apologize that it is not in my normal shtick, veering off the path of new and interesting, and back into something comfortable. It's like falling into bed with an old lover.

"Orange Sky (Four Songs EP Version)" by Alexi Murdoch

Song of the Day: "Amanaemonesia" by Chairlift

>> Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I have been working on another 12 for 2012 for the upcoming album releases when I realized I have not share this excellent song that I have high hopes for in '12.

This is by far the best bad music video I have seen in years. The lyrics don't make any sense at all. And yet I love every single min of it.

"Amanaemonesia" by Chairlift

12 in 2012 Series: Movies (Comedies, Musicals, Dance Flicks and Stuff)

And now we continue our series we're calling the 12 in 2012. Our top 12 books/music/movies/[insert other awesome thing] to look forward to in 2012. 

Today: Movies (Comedies, Musicals, Dance Flicks and Stuff)!

12. Chronicle (2/3/12) 

Cast: Michael B. Jordan (not the basketball player, the actor from Friday Night Lights and Parenthood TV Shows), Dane Dehaan, Alex Russell, Michael Kelly
What's it all about, yo?: Three Seattle highschool students discover something that gives them superpowers. And they don't heed that whole, "great responsibility" adage, and their lives start to go out of control. It's like a comedy/action/drama/thriller all rolled into one.

11. Men In Black 3 (5/25/12) 

Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Emma Thompson, Josh Brolin, Alice Eve, Bill Hader, Rip Torn,
What's it all about, yo?: Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to MIB's early days to try and stop the assassination of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones).

10. Project X (2/3/12)

Cast: Thomas Mann is the only actor I have heard or or seen, the rest is a bunch of up and comers and unknowns.
What's it all about, yo?: 3 senior nobodies in highschool decide to throw a party to get remembered. THe party spins out of control. Preview looks fun. It's from the director that did Old School and The Hangover, so that gives it a bit of cred.

9. 21 Jump Street (3/16/12) 

Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Johnny Depp
What's it all about, yo?: It's a reboot of that show from the 80's that is now a running punchline. Basically, some misfit cops are sent back to highshool to blend in and find out where the new drugs are coming from.

8. Moonrise Kingdom (5/16/12) 
Cast: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand
What's it all about, yo?: There is not a lot out there about this movie. Hell, I can't even find a decent set picture or ad for it. But it's a Wes Anderson flick, and the cast is more than top notch, so it's bound to be another classic.

7. ParaNorman (8/17/12)

Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, John Goodman, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Casey Affleck
What's it all about, yo?: Animated flick about a strange little kid that can see and communicate with ghosts. Yeah, kinda like The 6th Sense, but only kinda. Soon, the whole town starts to see things as the town comes under siege by attacking zombies and ghouls,

6. Step Up 4Ever (7/27/12) 
Cast: A bunch of dances turned actors again, this time pulling in one of my favorite all time dancers from So You Think You Can Dance, Kathryn McCormick. I am sure, yet again, that other SYTYCD dancers will be gracing the screen as well.
What's it all about, yo?: Here is the IMDB lowdown: "Emily arrives in Miami with aspirations to become a professional dancer. She sparks with Sean, the leader of a dance crew whose neighborhood is threatened by Emily's father's development plans." Sounds like a cross between Breakin' 2: The Electric Boogaloo and Center Stage, but in Miami.

5. Brave (6/22/12) 

Cast: Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Kelly Macdonald, Craig Ferguson
What's it all about, yo?: Hunger Games meets Braveheart meet Robin Hood, but with an Irish girl. It's Pixar, and it looks really, really good.

4. Rock Of Ages (6/1/12)

Cast: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Bryan Cranston, Malin Akerman, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Will Forte
What's it all about, yo?: Based on the smash Broadway hit, this movie adaptation looks very promising. It's set in 1987 LA and its about two youngins chasing their dreams to become rock stars. Oh, and it's a musical.

3. The Five-Year Engagement (4/27/12) 

Cast: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Brie, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt, Chris Parnell
What's it all about, yo?: The happy couple gets engaged, the happy couple moves to the Midwest, it gets cold, they delay the wedding, several times. Hi-jinks ensue.

2. Wanderlust (2/24/12) 

Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Malin Akerman, Ray Liotta
What's it all about, yo?: Moving from NYC to a hippy commune due to a case of sudden loss of job syndrome, makes for spectacular on screen entertainment.

1. This is Forty (12/21/12)
Cast: Megan Fox, Jason Segel, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Melissa McCarthy, John Lithgow, Albert Brooks, Charlyne Yi
What's it all about, yo?: Judd Apatow is back at it, checking in again with Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann as the happy-ish couple, Pete and Debbie from Knocked Up. With Jason Segel and Megan Fox in the mix, this could be a really, really funny moive.

12 in 2012 Series: Movies (Drama/Action)

>> Monday, January 9, 2012

And now we continue our series we're calling the 12 in 2012. Our top 12 books/music/movies/[insert other awesome thing] to look forward to in 2012. 

Today: Movies (Drama/Action)!
12. Dark Shadows (5/11/12)
Cast: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Grace Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green.
What's it all about, yo?: So, Johnny Depp is like a vampire that gets buried alive in 1772, only be be released in 1972 to find that the world has changes without him and that his family estate is filled with his dysfunctional family members. Oh, and it's Tim Burton directed. That makes 8 movies collabos with Depp and Burton. Oh, and it is a remake of a 70's tv show.

11. Looper (9/28/12)
Cast: Joseph Gordon- Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
What's it all about, yo?: This one is a bit tricky to explain, and it's mostly the cast that gets me excited to see it. OK, key points. Time Travel. JGL is a mob hitman. JGL and Willis play the same guy in different time lines. At some point JGL is hired to kill Willis, thus killing his futureself, and, in turn, himself, that's how the time loop works. Sounds confusing right, well apparently, its the first time travel movie in years that makes sense when you watch it.

10: The Bourne Legacy (8/3/12)
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz
What's it all about, yo?: I know its sacrilegious to support this movie with Matt Damon off the project, but I am a big fan of Jeremy Renner and I have complete faith that he can pull this off. This is not a recast, a reboot, a prequel or a sequel. It is about a different CIA agent named Aaron Cross and I expect it to be pretty damn good.  

9. The Gangster Squad (10/19/12)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte, Giovanna Rivisi
What's it all about, yo?: Based on a series of articles in the LA Times that chronicled a special unit in the L.A.P.D. in the 1940's that was created to stop east coast mobsters from moving into LA.

8. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (1/20/12)

Cast: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn
What's it all about, yo?: So, Tom Hanks dies in one of The Towers, and his wife and son are very sad. His son, in a way of handling his grief searches NYC to find a lock that matches a key his father left behind. It is the final puzzle his father is needing him to solve. Looks like it's gonna make you cry.

7. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (12/14/12)

Cast: Evangeline Lilly, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Eligah Wood, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen
What's it all about, yo?: So, Bilbo Baggins, young this time around, sets out on one of his legendary journeys to face off with a dragon, this time accompanied by a camp of Elves, Dwarfs, Humans, Wizards, and whatnot. It sounds an awful lot like The Lord Of The Rings, and I guess it is. But since when is that a bad thing.

6. World War Z (12/21/12)
Cast: Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox, Mireille Enos
What's it all about, yo?: Brad Pitt is a UN employee that is traveling the world interviewing people and trying to stay ahead of a zombie pandemic that is quickly sweeping the world. Loosely based on the book, this is a highly anticipated adaptation that will divide its fanbase.

5. The Great Gatsby (12/25/12)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Tobey Maguire
What's it all about, yo?: You're joking right? Read the book.

4. Django Unchained (12/25/12)
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sacha Baron Cohen, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russell, Jamie Foxx.
What's it all about, yo?: Quentin Taratino and that cast? Are you kidding me?! I don't even need to know the plot. But if you care, it about a slave rising up against his former master to free his wife.

3. The Avengers (5/4/12)

Cast: Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlet Johansson, Samuel Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders
What's it all about, yo?: If you don't know, I feel a little sorry for you. It the comicbook of all comicbook movies. Bringing together, Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor and The Incredible Hulk to form S.H.I.E.L.D. and save the world. Directed by Joss Whedon.

2. The Dark Knight Rises (7/20/12) 

Cast: Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman
What's it all about, yo?: It's eight years later after Batman took the fall for Dent's crimes, and there is a new big bad in Gotham, taking over the city and overrunning the police. So, the Dark Knight rises and stuff.

1. The Hunger Games (3/23/12)

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravits
What's it all about, yo?: I am so stupidly excited about this that I am not even sure I could start to explain it. Luckily the preview above does a very good job of the basic story. I urge all of you to read the book, and get excited.

Honorable Mention:
Snow White and The Huntsman
Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2
Hanzel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

12 in 2012 Series: Books

>> Sunday, January 8, 2012

And now for a new series we'd like to call 12 in 2012. Our top 12 books/music/movies/[insert other awesome thing] to look forward to in 2012.

First up: Books!

12. Arcadia by Lauren Groff (March 2012) {Fiction}
Groff's second book, this one about a 1960's Utopian commune struggle to survive.

11. Fairy Tale Interrupted: A Memoir of Life, Love and Loss by RoseMarie Terenzio (Jan 2012) {Non-Fiction}
Written by John F. Kennedy Jr's personal assistant, they're publicizing this book as an unlikely friendship by a girl from the Bronx and a "vertitable prince." I'm more intrigued by what it must have been like to work for the Kennedy family and the last year in JFK Jr's life.

10. The Gaggle: How the Guys You Know Will Help You Find the Love You Want by Jessica Massa (June 2012) {Non-Fiction}
A real girls guide to the post-dating world, Massa explores your gaggle; the guys in your life you may or may not be romantically linked to and how they can lead you to love. This is not so much self-help as it is the book-form of the all the talks you and your girls have over drinks every weekend.

9. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (April 2012) {Non-Fiction}
Self-proclaimed Bloggess Jenny Lawson recounts revealing and sometimes embarrassing moments from her life. I'm hoping this will be equal parts Chelsea Handler and David Sedaris.

8. The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan by Michael Hastings (Jan 2012- out now) {Non-Fiction}
I'm not usually a war genre reader in fiction or in non-fiction but this novel by the same author that wrote The Runaway General (published in Rolling Stone) was generating fan fare far before its release this week.

7. The Recognitions by William Gaddis (rerelease Feb 2012) {Fiction} Technically I cheated with this one. Previously published in the 50's Gaddis prophetically writes about our current reality in a startlingly correct way.

6. The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus (Jan 2012) {Fiction}
Language as a weapon becomes both metaphoric and literal in this Twilight Zone-esque novel about a family in upstate New York.

5. The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty (Jan 2012) {Non-Fiction}
As a lover of both Soul Coughing and Doughty's solo works I'm psyched he wrote a novel that will let me in to what makes this guy tick.
4. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult (Feb 2012) {Fiction}
Those of you that keep up with me know that I've read nearly every Jodi Picoult book so it's only natural that I plod along on to the next one. Early reviews aren't stellar but I'm holding out that this will be a return to her early work.

3. No One Is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel (Feb 2012) {Fiction}
A small Romanian village attempts to imagine away the war... intriguing! Let's see how that works out for 'em.

2. Farther Away: Essays by Jonathan Franzen (April 2012) {Non-Fiction}
If you've read Franzen's "Freedom" then you'll understand why I'm anticipating his collection of essays and speeches on both personal and environmental concerns.

1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (May 2012) {Fiction}
I never thought I'd be enraptured with dystopian YA novels and yet here I am pining after the follow up to last years Divergent. Liked Hunger Games? This is next series to read.

Song of the Day: "Back To Where I Was (live)" by Eric Hutchinson

>> Friday, January 6, 2012

I think there is a mistake here. I distinctly remember sharing this guy on the blog here in the past. I think something has gone wrong here on the internets, because there is no other way to explain how I would have screwed up this badly.

I love me a singer songwriter, I have no shame in that. Hell, I wrote a whole blog about the 33 best John Mayer songs. And this lad has been one of my favorites since 2009. He is one damn good songwriter, check out the lyrics for songs like "Oh!" or "OK, It's Alright With Me" and you'll see. I especially love his live album "Sounds Like This Live" which is where this track comes from. I really hope you enjoy this one, it holds a close place in my heart.

"Back To Where I Was (live)" by Eric Hutchinson

Song of the Day: "Skin" by Zola Jesus

>> Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sorry for the late song of the day, or song of the night I guess, but I just finished watching Grey's Anatomy (episode 810) and it was one of the best musically infused episodes I can remember watching. Every song played off the moment in exactly the right way. It is something the show has always been great at, but this episode exceeded all others.

This song, from the end of the episode killed me. I will not spoil the episode for all you DVR'ers out there, but wow.

I have heard rumblings about Zola Jesus for a while, but I never took the time to delve, I regret that now. This is a great song off a special album.

"Skin" by Zola Jesus

Song of the Day: "A Lion's Roar" by First Aid Kit

>> Wednesday, January 4, 2012

There are always a couple albums that before the year starts I look forward to gleefully. Last year, I was ultra excited for the Slow Club, Summer Camp, The Civil Wars and the Manchester Orchestra records. This year, starts out much like that one. As there are several albums that are making me giddy before they are even released, including Chairlift, Right Away Great Captain!, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Pickwick (hopefully), Lemolo (hopefully), Choir Of Young Believers, and the featured band today, First Aid Kit.

This is a sister duo that I fell in love with back in 2009, and 2010. In fact, they landed themselves firmly on my best albums of 2010 list, and it was a well deserved spot. I still listen to that record frequently. They are playing a show in Seattle on my birthday this year, and you know I am going to be there, hoping to see another Faceplant Keyboard Solo. If this song is any indication of how good their upcoming album (Jan. 24th release) is going to be, it is going to be a hell of a 2012.

"A Lion's Roar" by First Aid Kit

Song of the Day: "Once and For All" by Clock Opera

>> Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This is just one of the several amazing new tracks that are giving me hope for 2012. I have a few more that I am hoping to share tomorrow. If I can get over this little blogging dryspell. I don't know what brought on this little, no-blog-mood, but I'm getting out of this funk if it kills me. There is just too much good music to share.

"Once and For All" by Clock Opera

Banned Books: A Book Club

>> Monday, January 2, 2012

I've wanted to start a banned books book club for a long time now. Maybe it's the educator in me that appreciates a persons choice to read what they want. Perhaps it's the writer in me that believes that a writer has the choice to express themselves in ways that others might not find appropriate. Or maybe it's that I've always had it in me to challenge the system (insert evil villainous laugh here). Either way I decided to do some research...

Did you know that 48% of challenges sent in to American Library Association for banning books is done by parents? Most of these are due to a sexual nature of a book followed up by offensive language. Other topics that might find a book on the chopping block are violence, being too religious OR not enough ("anti-family"), and not being appropriate for the age group of readers. Fascinating! Now I'm inspired to read them even more! Moving on...
So I looked up the top books that have been Banned or Challenged in this decade (thanks Office for Intellectual Freedom!) and here are the Top 10 contenders for 2010:

1. And Tango Makes Three by Richardson and Parnell

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

3. Brave New World

4. Crank

5. The Hunger Games

6. Lush

7. What My Mother Doesn't Know

8. Nickel and Dimed

9. Revolutionary Voices

10. Twilight

Kind of surprising? I thought so too. Other notable banned books from this decades list: The Color Purple, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, My Sister's Keeper, Harry Potter, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

So a few of these I've already read (Twilight/Hunger Games) and a few I find less interesting so I took a few from this decades other banned books list and created my own Banned Books Book Club To-Read List or the BBBCTRL, hmmm.... maybe I'll need to give that some thought. Here goes:

Banned Books Book Club To Read List
AKA The Listologies Let's Read Banned Books List

And Tango Makes Three
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Brave New World
Nickle and Dimed
Revolutionary Voices
Olive's Ocean
Go Ask Alice
The Chocolate War
The Kite Runner

Want to join? Email me at and I'll send you the info. Here's to a fight the man kind of 2012.

Up and Coming Book List 2012

>> Sunday, January 1, 2012

Can I give my first confession of 2012? As a reader I was a total fail for 2011. I committed to reading something like 30 books which at the time seemed really tame for me and it worked out to be that I read like half that. Now to be fair, as a teacher I actually read a bazillion books a year however they're mostly made up of titles such as "Knuffle Bunny" and "Messy Bessy" and not so much the latest Haruki Murakami novel. So without including the countless childrens books I read and professional texts my pleasure reading total came down to something closer to 15. With that being said I've now entered the Good Reads 2012 Reading Challenge with a more realistic goal of... 15. Yes the same number I read this year. Now I hope that when I redo this list next year I will be happy to state that I exceeded this total. Then again, I could start including the many blogs I read everyday as part of my reading time right??

Those of you that haven't read it before here is my former column on The Up and Coming Book list and here

The 2011 List included...

Buddha: A Story of Enlightment – Deepak Chopra
The Dive from Clausen’s Pier – Ann Packer
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
Open House – Elizabeth Berg
The Liar’s Club: A Memoir – Mary Karr *read a different Mary Karr book instead
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
The Friday Knight Knitting Club – Kate Jacobs
The Life Before Her Eyes – Laura Kasischke
The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield
Go Ask Alice – anonymous
Life is a Mixtape: Life and Loss, One song at a time – Rob Sheffield
Life is So Good – George Dawson
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
Flower Children – Maxine Swann
The Bright Forever – Lee Martin
Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life – Steve Martin
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen *read it*
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson
Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins *read it and the sequels*
One Day by David Nicholls
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Room by Emma Donoghue
What Alice Forgot by Loriane Moriarty

Hmmm... clearly I didn't get to a lot of these books but I did read the following as well: Where She Went by Gayle Forman, Flying Changes by Sara Gruen, How To Train Your Dragon (not my usual kids stuff so I'm including it as I did read it outside of my classroom), Lit by Mary Karr, Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro Kazuo, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult, Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, and Vampire Academy (I know, I know, for shame) #2-4.

2012 List now includes...

Divergent by Veronica Roth *read it today- I'm off to a good start*
The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
Add More ~ing by Gabrielle Bernstein
Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein
This World Needs Your Kid by Craig Keilburger
Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Carrier by Bonnie Rough
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore
Uglies by Scott Westerfield
Loving Che: A Novel by Ana Menendez
Always Looking Up by Michael J Fox
Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson
Matched by Ally Condie
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult
The Gaggle by Jessica Massa

Yes I realize this list has more than 15 books but I like to give myself options. See something I really should be reading? Comment! I love a great book suggestion!

Here's to not failing your New Years Resolutions right out the gate!