Apr 30, 2008

np: "I Will Not Apologize" - The Roots

I'm only on my first listen, but damn if this new Roots album isn't sounding really good. Game Theory was a nice bounce back in the right direction after the lukewarm Tipping Point, and this only continues the upwards trend they've been on lately. Lots of quality collaborations from most of the usual suspects, but more important this time around - they actually sound like the angry, socially conscious group they've always positioned themselves to be. They aren't just touching on the obvious topics either, delving into stuff like the white perceptions of today's black man thanks to BET and television. There has always been touches of this type of socially aware content on all their records, but never before have they sounded so focused and intent on delivering the message. Pretty impressive. Oh... and the beats are tight as hell. I won't go as far as saying these guys are horribly underrated, but I'm not sure that enough people appreciate the quality game these guys are still bringing this deep into their career.

I've got my review of the new Be Your Own Pet album up over at Static, quite a fun little record that I was eagerly awaiting. I was a little nervous about how they'd follow up such an exciting debut, but I think they pulled it off quite ably. Jemina Pearl is one hell of a performer and she's really coming into her own as a songwriter, I'll be curious to see how they continue to evolve as a band.

My Cubs may have slipped into second place after a rough week, but as I type this they are walloping the Brewers by a score of 19-5. Where the hell did this team come from? I'm loving it!

Apr 20, 2008

np: "Music Now" - Frightened Rabbit

Okay, I've been slacking. I promised a mix of my favorite music from the first three months of 2008. No, still don't have that. But I do have a really, really good reason why. My spare time over the last week has been filled up with another writing project, one that I'm pretty excited about. That's about all I will say until things become a little more final, but I'll definitely post more on this later.

On the non-music side of thing, I'm just really enjoying the play of my FIRST PLACE Chicago Cubs. What team is this? Averaging 8+ runs a game? Blowing out opponents left and right? I'll take it, but unexpected to say the least. Let's hope this is only the beginning of a great season. If only the Yellow Ledbetters, my fantasy team, were doing that well. Jimmy Rollins is now my fourth player to hit the DL this season, along with nearly half of my pitching roster (Soriano, Garza, and Kazmir). I'm floating in the middle of the pack, performing well below my roster's talent level. But as long as the Cubbies keep this up, I'll be happy. Provided the tickets show up in tomorrow's mail, I'll be at Wrigley tomorrow night.

Apr 7, 2008

Fifteen steps, then a sheer drop...

I really don't have anything terribly exciting to report on today, I don't even have my First Quarter 2008 mix done and ready to share as I thought I might. As usual, the real world interfered and kept me focused on a few more important things. Yeah, I know, this should be a priority, right? Anyway, if you are really jonesin' to read my thoughts about music - jump over to Static and check out my review of the surprising (to me anyway) new Spring Heel Jack album.

In what I consider to be one of the big music related news stories of the week, if not first half of the year, Pitchfork's much ballyhooed Pitchfork.tv beta site went live today and man is it a doozy. Packed with music videos, live performances, interview, exclusives, and a full-length feature documentary; there is enough sate just about any much fan out there. My experience was glitch-free and I was stunned by the high quality of the content on offer. More surprisingly I saw a grand total of ZERO ads - banner, pop-up, or otherwise. It made for a very pleasant first visit, but will it remain so clean and clutter-free? Let's hope so, I'm thinking this is a fantastic development for music on the internet. Head over and give a poke around, I recommend the awesome Jay Reatard live set as a starting point.

I'm not sure if my good mood stems more from a successful work presentation today or the Cubs winning again (despite their best efforts to blow a seven run lead) and pulling above the .500 mark. Either way, I'll take it.

Apr 3, 2008

Grace Under Pressure...

In celebration of the Cubs finally wrapping up their first win of the season, here's several songs from a band that continues to slide under the radar here in the States. I've been loving Elbow's understated take on epic pop since their first album, Asleep in the Back, but they seem to only get better with each new album. They've got another one, The Seldom Seen Kid, out later this month. Cop it.

Elbow - "Grace Under Pressure"
(taken from Cast of Thousands)
Elbow - "The Everthere" (taken from Leaders of the Free World)
Elbow - "Mirrorball" (taken from The Seldom Seen Kid)

Oh. By next week I hope to be able to post my 2008 First Quarter Mix, a compilation of songs from the first three months of this year that I've absolutely adored. I know. Now you're all excited.

Apr 2, 2008

yep, another shuffle post...

You can blame the Cubs and their 0-2 start for this one. Or my fantasy team's lackluster day. Or an annoying client. Whichever. I'm just not in the mood to post much of anything tonight.

Yo La Tengo - "Alrock's Bells" (taken from Ride the Tiger)
The Cure - "Catch" (taken from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)
Iron & Wine - "The Night Descending (demo version)" (later version taken from The Sea & The Rhythm)
Grateful Dead - "Dupree's Diamond Blues" (taken from Aoxomoxoa)
Eels - "It's a Motherfucker" (taken from Daisies of the Galaxy)
The Knife - "Rock Classics" (taken from Deep Cuts)
R.E.M. - "Parakeet" (taken from Up)
Dinosaur Jr - "The Lung" (taken from You're Living All Over Me)
Disco Inferno - "Lost In Fog" (taken from It's A Kid's World)
Spoon - "Plastic Mylar" (taken from Telephono)
Spoon - "Believing is Art" (taken from Girls Can Tell)

Quite an interesting shuffle, if a little uninspiring. Two mediocre songs from well below average albums by artists I really love (Yo La Tengo, R.E.M.) and an absolutely horrible song by someone I otherwise love ("Rock Classics") keeps this one pretty boring. Props to the Eels and Dino Junior songs though, two of my favorites from both bands. That demo version of "The Night Descending" is fantastic, I like it much better than the souped up version that came out on the EP. And, yes, iTunes really did spit out back-to-back Spoon tunes to wrap up the shuffle.