Category Archives: Music

Reinventing the Mixtape

I used to pride myself and trumpet my ability to craft a good mix CD. However, the process of burning CDs and sending them out seems cumbersome and inefficient. Additionally, the hands of father time have begun to affect my ability to keep up with the times and the latest music trends. Here’s a good article by the Onion detailing how painstaking the process can be. Just when, I though I could never arrange again, Muxtape comes along to save the day which allows you to discover new music and share your latest mix with friends. Great functionality and I like how they used the Tumblr platform. One drawback is that it does not seem to accept MP4s. Click below to here a mix I found.

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Your daily Paxil

Feeling a little blue Tobias? Just listen to the jolly Swedes that form I’m from Barcelona. Excited to check out if they bring all 29 geeky members to the show at Independent on April 29th.  I’m a complete wuss but wager I could beat up this entire squadron at one time.

Arcade Fire, Tiger Woods and The National

I am in Austin for the City Limits Music Festival this week and having a fantastic time. Props to Sam for hosting a bunch of us in his apartment while he has to contend with a brutal workload from his MBA program.

I will be dedicating an article to what a tremendous city Austin is however, first I must drop a little note about the Arcade Fire. I have been listening to the Arcade Fire religiously for about 3 years and their performance at Coachella in 2005 still stands as the best live performance I have ever had the good fortune of witnessing. The band’s popularity has soared in recent years, and I believe they have the ability and hunger to become a massive band on the scale of U2. Whenever I see a band I really admire begin to approach these levels of popularity I must admit that I become somewhat remorseful that soon they will be featured on an iTunes playlist with Maroon 5 and Daughtry. However, it’s not like I’m that edgy myself as the two music festivals I have participated in this year were attended by countless thousands. Essentially, I am a poseur whose musical tastes at one time could be considered eclectic but now seem to be skewing towards the Starbucks catalogue. It was virtually impossible for Arcade Fire to recreate then energy and thrill of that legendary Coachella performance but the tireless touring of the band has paid dividends as they easily held the huge audience in the palm of their hand. Perhaps, they lacked the “Holy Shit! People really like us!!” vibe they had a couple years ago however, the confidence and maturity of the band is readily apparent. They remind me of Tiger Woods sans the humungous white teeth and Buick. Although, he is a bit of a dork and might be a robot, the dude comes through in the clutch every single time. Every time the Arcade Fire perform they manage to turn the mutha out, give me goosebumps and put a weird grin on my face that is a mixture of admiration and envy.

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As brilliant as the Arcade Fire was they were not even my favorite act of the weekend. The National were simply spectacular. They have a brooding style that is distinctive, intelligent and would be perfect in a dimly lit, smoky venue. I was somewhat unsure how their material would translate to a festival setting, especially since they were scheduled to play in the middle of the day and not at night. Luckily, we decided to make the commitment of an 8 hour day to catch their performance in the baking heat and we rewarded for our perseverance. The National gave a passionate performance and the massive sound the band produced was nothing short of stellar. They even altered the tempo of the songs to play to the audience a little more. The National are a band at the height of their powers so make sure you catch them if they roll into your town. I was actually surprised that my girlfriend Kathleen was still hanging out with me at the end of the show and not fighting to get backstage so engrossing was their 1 hour set. It was also amusing that the lead singer kept mentioning how hot it was but was still outfitted in the standard skinny jeans. He would have looked pretty ridiculous singing songs of heartbreak and despair in cargo shots and rainbows however.

Ryan Adams is Better than me

The average person, myself included tends to have an inflated sense of value or worth. I am sure that my estimation of my intelligence, wit, and other attributes is probably a good 15-20% than the actual reality. However, occasionally even somebody with a substantial ego, who resides in their own little universe where they will always be the alpha planet must realize when they are simply outmatched or bested. Last night, I went to go see Ryan Adams play in what could only be described as a “charming” theater in Beverly Hills. The crowd was a little more animated than the standard “cooler than thou” audience these types of shows tends to attract. On another note, this might have been the best looking crowd I have seen at a show since an “Air” show in Downtown LA in 2001 where I am to this day convinced I was by far the ugliest person in the entire room.

I digress however, Ryan Adams was nothing short of “quacktastic”, as my friend Miggy and fellow Adams aficionado would say. I guess he is no longer boozing/ pill popping and it reflects in the renewed vigor of his voice. The lighting for the show was a perfect backdrop and the Cardinals may be the smoothest, tightest backup band around right now. It’s safe to say that once he came on stage every boyfriend in the audience ceased to exist to their girlfriend. Kathleen was gushing such effusive praise throughout that I thought I might have been transported to the “NKOTB – Hangin’ Tough” tour. I can’t blame her though as the cunning bastard played an incredible set, while making witty pop culture references to Glenn Danzig, Barbara Gordon from the Batman comic book, and then announcing to the crowd that he was on “Lady Patrol”. Well played sir, well played. He transitioned seamlessly between rock, alt-country, blues and then would kill the audience with his wit. Son of a bitch! I figured he must be hilarious because he dated the outrageously funny Parker Posey and I had seen him live a couple of times so I knew he was a great performer however, the man is simply at the height of his powers right now. BTW, if anybody can find a link to the letter that Adams wrote to Pitchfork Media a couple years back please ping me with it. It is brilliant! Yep, Ryan Adams is better at just about everything than me except fantasy football, and I’m just fine with it. Below are two testaments to his brilliance. Jesus, who sounds like the Joey McIntyre fan now…. Shoutout to Kolby and Amanda for getting us those vodka sodas in that terrible bar line that resembled a craps table. Below is his latest video.

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Why I love LA or at least like it…

Yesterday, I was in LA for the Decemberist concert at the Hollywod Bowl and was reminded why La La land,while annoying and overbearing to many, never fails to be entertaining and completely amusing.

4:35 pm – Met up with Andy at Whole Foods in West Hollywood to discuss a couple of ideas to improve our respective blogs. I think they were at least 30 soap opera actors in the store at all times. It’s the only grocery store where more than 50% of the cashiers could be on the verge of landing a pilot or have a script in development. Andy got excited when he got to snap a pic of an Olsen twin wearing what seems to be the carcass of an ostrich and boxer briefs. After our meeting I made a decision to do more cardio at the gym.

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6:15 pm – Had dinner with Kathleen at Cha Cha Cha. Great tapas and mojitos. Our waitress looked like she was straight out of the L Word. Kathleen thought she looked like a participant in America’s Next Top Model. The one they make cut their hair which inevitably causes a nervous breakdown and the world’s most annoying human aka Tyra Bank’s telling us about her confronting her fear of dolphins.

7:30 – Almost get into an altercation with a scalper who accused me of trying to steal his “leads” because I had two extra tics I needed to unload. Then he tried to broker a deal with me. I ended up selling to his leads. Felt kind of guilty at first, but then decided that capitalism was at work. The scalper looked like Bushwick Bill. I remind myself to never work his corner against out of respect for the man that brought us “My Minds Playing Tricks on Me” and “Damn it feels good to be a Gangsta”.

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8:15 pm Band of Horses performs first. They are pretty good live, sort of like a Shins/My Morning Jacket sound. I don’t rave about many things however, I could enjoy myself at the Hollywood Bowl even if subjected to the horror of a Carlos Mencia/Dane Cook double bill. The place is nothing short of fantastic in the summer. Andrew Byrd comes on next and I am impressed. He switches between playing the violin, guitar and whistling. This dude has more talent in his clavicle than I have in my entire body. I kind of want to punch him. The Decemberist come on next and their sound blends perfectly with the LA Philharmonic. I thought the Arcade Fire were dramatic, but these guys are hardcore thespians. The type that sat at the end lunch table in the high school cafeteria and always seemed to be laughing and having more fun than anybody else while in school. I am pretty sure the organist teaches high school music in her spare time. (Actually Kathleen said that) Their artistic flair annoys these two guys sitting in front of us to the extent their immediately get up and leave. I loved these guys “Alice in Chains” retro look. I am pretty sure Eric Stolz would play the guy on the left in a TV movie. The best part was that they shared a bucket of popcorn the entire time.

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11:oo pm – As we speedwalk in a desperate attempt to beat traffic, we see a brother and sister duo covering “Dark Side of the Moon” on the sidewalk complete with flashing lights and synthesized electronic audio enhancements. They are awesome and can’t be a day over 15. I think the dude is dressed like some sort of wizard. It puts a smile on my face. I give them a buck for their efforts.

11:20 pm – Hollywood and Highland is a nightmare. I can’t believe tourist get tricked into coming here and they end up taking pictures of Lorenzo Lamas’ star on the Walk of Fame. This deserves its own column. I truly think this area might be hell on earth.

12:00 pm – Listen to Ryan Adam’s new album Easy Tiger on the way home. (see below) It’s good, sort of “dad rock”, but good. Ryan Adams gets a lot of flack but anybody that dated Parker Posey is cool in my book. Man that kid in the wizard outfit was cool……

Taking it to the Streets

Given that it is approximately 10:00 pm PST on Friday night and I am laying contentedly in bed blogging, it is obvious that I lack the necessary street cred to tell others what is “cool” at the moment. However, even an anti-social dork such as myself knows that Gregg Gillis aka “Girl Talk” and Montreal are cooler than a polar bear’s toenails. Yes, I admit I found this on Pitchfork Media, but hey I’m pushing 30 and need to depend on resources like this as a crutch nowadays. For those of you who don’t know, Girl Talk has received increasing press over the past couple years for his ability to mash up a diverse range of artists from Biggie to Elton John. Additionally, congress has even used him as an example as how copyright laws will be established given that he sampled 66 artists without permission on his last album. Is it a new creation or blatant use of another artist’s material? Many DJs have pulled these mashup stunts before however, what separates this particular individual is the frenzied party atmosphere of his live show. It’s like indie kids feel they can dance without fear to hip-hop when this dude is playing his set. ” Look that dude’s even skinnier and paler than I am, and he’s playing the music! Now I can pretend I’m in Making the Band 4 without fear of ridicule!” Actually, Gillis does not even use the 1’s and 2’s instead preferring to bang away at his Mac. Recently, Girl Talk performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, where he was armed with a mobile contraption armed with wifi capability that allowed him to take his act from the tent to the alleys and sidewalks aided by screaming Canucks and an alarming amount of glow stick/necklace contraptions. Below is the video. While he does throw a hell of a party and I highly suggest his mix cds to liven any dance floor or keep the blood flowing at the gym, I find it amusing how the concept of a white face on mostly black music makes it suddenly acceptable for hipsters who usually watch shows with arms folded and a nonchalant gaze to all of a sudden become an MC Hammer backup dancer. Also below is a vintage Hammer. If that dude staged a reunion should I would be there in a heartbeat. It at least must be better than the police debacle.

30 is the new 24…

2006 was the year of the wedding while it appears that 2007 is the year of the 30th birthday party. Below is a mediocre video I made of Sam Brown’s 30th birthday party aka “Sam Olympics” in San Diego. The editing is sloppy, transitions poor/nonexistent however, the music ain’t half bad, plus Garrett and Sara have some classic moments, and Sam’s outfits are nothing short of incredible. He should break them out in Austin at his MBA program later in the year. Also below is a link to Erik Eccles and Pat Holman’s 30th b-day party, which was a much healthier, well rounded, adult celebration. This is reflected in the better production quality of the video on the uber cool video sharing/editing site Jumpcut where Erik was the CFO before they were gobbled up by Yahoo. Most of my friends are using the 30th b-day party to harken back to the days when the nights were longer, the revelry much more intense, and the hangovers did not last a fortnight. Coincidentally, all these people went Boulder where the Peter Pan syndrome seems to be a constant. (not in a Michael Jackson type fashion fortunately) My 30th is coming up in a few months, and I am already getting the paxel, prozac and Coppola Chardonnay lined up for my usual b-day depression. Speaking of which a shout out/big up to Kathleen, Bluto, Jeff, Kaley, Gov, Mitch, Amanda, my mom, Andy, Navid, and anybody else I might have missed for my whining, feeling sorry for myself session I went through the past few days. (You guys are the best) It’s over and thanks for putting up with my “Kobe Bryant” moments. Also below in a Grizzly Bear video for their song “The Knife”.

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Erik’s 30th (sorry no embedding for jumpcut allowed)

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