Monday, December 31, 2007

B's Pick: Favorite Album of 2007

As I told McCrank, I am hilariously not up to date when it comes to 2007 releases. Besides the fact that I don't know what came out when, I don't think really even kept up with new stuff this year, since I was away from the radio and pretty busy with this and that throughout. New Year's Resolution #375? Stop listening to the Specials' ST over and over and get on that new music! And not just the new Rancid B/C-sides release :p (here's where I scream: my GAWD I can't get enough of Rancid!)

I do however still want to do something, so here is my favorite album of the year, which is, and this should come as no surprise. . .

Tim Armstrong's A Poet's Life. Ignoring the sortakinda corny title, this is a great release. At first I wasn't so sure about it- "Into Action" was admittedly ridiculously energetic and catchy, but on my first listen, I figured it was just like the Bastards/Transplants releases- fabulous music with lotsa bragging. In general, I don't have a problem with that style, but at the same time I was very pleased, when I finally took the time to listen to the lyrics (during the commutes over the summer to work = downtown LA = Dodger Stadium = lotsa time in the car), to find that this was not the case. Rather, Tim gives us some surprisingly sweet love songs to girls and cities, a history lesson or two, and overall solid music and lyrics, including one of my favorite opening lines--"Wake up, you sonuvabitch," which is in the running for favorite Tim line, along with "fuck the motherfucken backstabbin cunts." (I actually wanna apologize for linking to the videos, I'm not too fond of them, or the obsession with the Threshold-y filter or whatever that is.) Most telling, though, is the fact that I am still listening to the record over and over again, and not just a few songs, but the whole fucken thing. Tracks on here consistently make it onto mixes, my gym/jogging playlist, and I even have it on my desktop for easy access in the morning while I get dressed. Even after listening to this thing a bazillion times (and I indeed have, the tracks are in my Top 25 with "bazillion" under the play count), it's still fresh, exciting, and ridiculously danceable, singalongable, and fun.

Runner-up was Patrick Wolf's The Magic Position-- dramatic and sweet and lovely, and a good example of how Wolf continues to refine and mature across albums.

I'm interested to hear others' favorites from this year, or if you posted a list on your blog-- lemme know :) I'll try to put together a link list; I'm gonna be pretty busy with the whole housecleaning before guests come thing, but if I can't do that before the new year, I'll still get one up. Retrospectives rock.

and and and-- I wanna take a sec and say thanks to everyone who has taken the time to stop by and lemme know how things are going, especially the pretty boys and girls who are always there for me blog-style both here and at your own awesomely awesome blogs-- you know who you are <3

Have a happy (and safe) New Year! I'll be watching the parade ("Bogaard’s Beijing Float of Shame") and the football games (uh, boo-hiss to USC, sorry guys) with my Hint of Lime chips. Happy New Year!


Friday, December 28, 2007

back from outer space

Hey everyone!

Sorry about that sudden prolonged absence. I had a bazillion things planned to post before the 25th and none of it got done; I also had this great idea for the 12 days of Christmas and now I can't remember it. I do have an excuse starting from the 14th, when I had my first final: the final period continued til the 21st. I was gonna say that finals bitchslapped me, but in all honesty, finals kicked me in the shins, knocked me down, rubbed my face in mud, and ran off laughing, then I spent my first 2 days back home frantically Christmas shopping, or rather, driving around to do Christmas shopping.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that all are enjoying these random weird work days in between the 25th and New Year's. Music will be up soon, and I'm playing catch-up with responding to comments, so things are kinda all over the place right now. We should be back up and running again with a new post-Christmas layout, hopefully before the New Year, which is a lot closer than I realize. . .


Friday, December 14, 2007

Gwen sez Oi to the World and, dude, Aren't Asians Great?

Good cover, Gwen's voice really suits the frantic nature of the song, though I prefer the original with the wacky opening and faux accent. I was never hugely into No Doubt, and I liked Gwen's solos stuff in the beginning until you couldn't get out of your house without hearing that banana song, plus the whole Harajuku girls things was just weird (in their contracts, they aren't allowed to speak English in public.
Then check MadTV's take on the Sweet Escape, rewritten as "Aren't Asians Great." Bobby Lee is, as always, fabulous, especially as Connie Chung, who makes an appearance here. I feel that MadTV is much funnier, more creative, and wilder than Sat Night Live, not only writer-wise but cast-wise; much more flexible and into the material. (It's been a long time since SNL's heyday.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Toy Dolls: Best of

Toy Dolls! The old link is dead is my logic but in all honesty it's an exercise in procrastination (and spreading the magic of music.) I'm not sure how to describe them. Funny? Cute? Check out the heavenly chorus in "My Girlfriend's Dad's a Vicar" or James Bond's hair secret in "James Bond Lives Down Our Street" or the ever-popular "Nellie the Elephant." Enjoy!

A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra

Little Frankie "Stool-pigeon" Sinatra refused to take off his Christmas wreath, insisting that he was the ghost of Christmas Present. As it was less than a month before Christmas, the sheriff of Bergen County let him keep it on.

Seeing as how yesterday was Ol Blue Eye's birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to post a Sinatra Christmas album.

But first, a big thanks to all for the feedback!-- I think I'll use Sharebee and perhaps post the additional URLs generated by Sharebee in the comments. And three cheers for the Bing Brigade (the Crosby Brigade?) We now all know kung-fu by default in support of Der Bingle- hellls yeah. Plus, the Big Christmas Stocking has exploded and there are now a few Crosby records over at Ken's! I have more Crosby albums at home, so I'll hopefully be posting those when I get back to sweet, warm Los Angeles. Who knew I'd ever understand that "California Dreamin" song?
Please see comments for additional links :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bing Crosby: Christmas Classics

The Latest Victims of the sayNA Santa hat treatment. [pic source]

Urgh. Ok, one of those days. Fell asleep at 11 last night and woke up at 3 really confused, so I was supposed to get up at 6 to start work, but I slept til 9. . . so I had a big write up planned up for this album and now I'm seeing it not coalesce at all. The same could be said for the portfolio pieces I'm trying to put together and my command of the English language. So here's the rundown.

1. Bing Crosby: best male vocalist in all of History. (Yeahh, don't argue. I'll fightcha. I know kung-fu.)
2. Bing Crobsy singing Christmas songs? He even makes Frosty the Snowman sound good. And I really don't like that song. So yeah, when it's called Christmas Classics, they really are.
"I used to tell (Sinatra) over and over," said Tommy Dorsey, "there's only one singer you ought to listen to and his name is Crosby. All that matters to him is the words, and that's the only thing that ought to for you too."
But don't take my and Tommy's word for it! Here's Christmas Classics with Bing Crosby. (Sorry, no Louis, I'll get some of his stuff up later. I liked the picture.) This is the olddd 10-track one that I have been listening since I was young-er.
p.s. What do you pretty holiday people think of using Sharebee? I like the idea of having an option, especially with the recently crazy inflated in-between download wait-times. Do people have trouble with it or does it usually work?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tom Waits does Christmas

And it's what you'd expect.

Tom Waits' stuff is amazing. Not only are his songs auditory Experiences (capital E), they're also like short stories, with rising and falling action, characters, and vibrant details-- the lyrics beg to be read along with the song so that you can catch everything.

Tis the season [updated]

It's always a lot of fun when common themes run through the blogging community, and this is definitely in full swing with the approach of the holidays. There's some great great great stuff out there, and I wanted to take a minnit to point y'all towards some highlights. This is by no means comprehensive and I'll be posting in this vein as the month goes on, but hopefully you'll find something exciting!

  • Giant Robot's Big Christmas Stocking;
  • Gimme Back My Head has last year's badass Advent Calendar up, and we're currently on Xmas Mix watch;
  • JustGoodTunes has an amazing array of Christmas music. I'd like to recommend A Gene Autry Christmas. (Autry's 1949 recording is an early definitive version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," a song I actually don't really like along with "Frosty the Snowman." Oooh you Scrooge- bah!)
  • The Vintage Place's A Classic Christmas includes Judy Garland's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (written for the excellent film Meet Me in St Louis), some Crosby, Andrews Sisters, Rosemary Clooney, and other good stuff;
  • Regnyouth's Yulefinds;
  • Roggelstroe's Christmas gift to us is the ABC Shrek the Halls special. Okay, so I watched it and I liked it. I'm a closet Shrek fan (mostly of the 2nd two movies) and this Christmas special was pretty much what you'd expect. I know I linked to McNamara's snarky review, but I'd like to recommend it on different grounds: it's cute.
  • *New* The triumphant return of Adam of the amazingly creative Rebeldog Comics. He's got "a special Christmas Beatles mix for all [us] misfit toys out there"-- yup, that's you and me. So head over, cos where else are you gonna find the Beatles, the Grinch, and Yoko Ono all in one track + awesome album art?
And, of course, if any of you lovely holiday peoples have anything up that you would like to spread the word about, please do!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fresh Prince Christmas Show in 3 Parts [Youtube]

This one isn't as good as the decorating one from the first season, so I'll be keeping an eye out for that. I'm not sure what season this is from. The family goes skiing and gets robbed. Best parts? When the kids are tied up, Will with the star on his head, and the little cousin still playing video games. KIDS today I sware!




Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bing 'n' Bowie

I'm surprised that it's taken me this long to bring Mr Bing Crosby (oh my I love Bing Crosby and this is my authority speaking: one of the greatest vocalists ever. And this is Artie Shaw: "The thing you have to understand about Bing Crosby is that he was the first hip white person born in the United States.") into the Christmas postings.

This is a classic odd couple scenario, with an adorably awkward set-up, some great self-aware cracks, and Bing's typical end comment ("Pretty thing, ininit?"). I only discovered it a few years ago so it's now my traditional Youtube search come December-- others out there will remember it coming out. Fans of each singer seem to like it and fans of both get way excited, so here it is, kick back and enjoy :)

Aaand, to ruin the mood but mostly fyi, the LATimes has a great rundown of the Facts Behind the CIA Tape Inquiry, so if you're interested but have like me just started to follow the events, it's a great place to start.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Happy Christmas (War is Over)

1980: John Lennon fatally shot by deranged fan
On this day in 1980, British musician John Lennon—who rose to fame with the Beatles and had a successful solo career—was murdered outside his home in the Dakota building in New York City, causing a global outpouring of grief.

It's taken me a long time to get into John Lennon's solo work, and even now I can't claim to be deeply into it. I've got the requisite The Very Best of, which I will be posting today, but beyond that and Plastic Ono Band, and the fact I do like listening to his stuff, I'm not doing the whole gotta get everything and listen to all of it thing. But, since Lennon was shot and killed on this day 27 years ago and since The Very Best of includes his "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)", which really is a nice song unless you're my dad who hates Yoko Ono's voice and picks it out from all the little kids who sound like Yoko Ono, I figured it was doubly appropriate. So take your pick; if you've got the first, you'll have the other, but the opposite might not be the case. Either way, enjoy!
And, as it's the year of its 40th Anniversary, here is. . .

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dec 7 1941

Oh snap, guys. I totally forgot it was Dec 7. Here's the trailer for Tora! Tora! Tora!-- great film, though another of those long weird old trailers :)

If you're interested in the racial aspect of the Pacific War, check out John Dower's excellent book War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. Another very interesting book written by Saburo Ienaga, who caused quite a stir in Japan, is Pacific War, 1931-1945.

You can listen to FDR's War Declaration on Dec 8, which includes the famous "a day that will live in infamy" as well as an outline, delivered with fantastic simplicity and effectiveness, of the Japanese advance across Asia-- though expansion had began waay back in the day, this was the start of what would be the GEACPS. (My prof, trying to describe the image that appears on the right of that link: "So we have an image that makes very rosy the idealized relationship of Japan, China, and the Manchu-- Manchukuo-- so you have the girl on the left, the girl-- is that a girl? Is the other one a girl? Um. . . anyway.") FDR's stark rhetoric at that part of the speech I think is incredibly evocative of the stunning speed and success of the Japanese expansion in the first six months of the war.

Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas

It seems that if you have an Ella Christmas album it's this one, but I hope this will be new to some. Actually, I take that back. Hopefully you've been listening to this for years and haven't been missing out on a thing, cos this record is fantastic. As compared to Ella's Christmas Album, the Swinging Christmas offers hElla a lot more room to have maneuver and have fun and consequently makes for a more vibrant and Ella-y record. Don't get me wrong, they're both great, but as David Sprague notes, the album was made in 1960, "at the peak of her interpretive powers," and the creativity, flexibility and general kickassability of E Fitzgerald is all there. And the cover is absolutely adorable.

More Bat Bitching from B

Hrrmm. Comment est-ce qu'on dit, I'm completely fucked! I have a French final oral today, which is hilarious because these classes definitely don't prepare you to speak on such topics as "France and Terrorism" and "Existentialism" or, as in my case, "The hagiography of Collaboration After the War in 5 Phases and how the Situation in Former Colonies in East Asia Denied the Two Most Important Aspects of the Collaboration Healing Process, Time and Flow of Information, as Seen in the Case of Vietnam," which, in fewer words is, "You dumbass it's your own fault you coulda talked about Sartre," nor does the class account for paralyzing stage fright/public speaking ineptitude, which, in my case, will not only make me completely forget how to par-lay fran-cais the moment I step in front of the class but will also make me forget how to talk English.

Uh, I Think the point of this, besides the usual bitching and procrastination and attempt to write more about myself than about poor awesome Ella up there, was to say that blogs are putting up absolutely fabulous Christmas posts, and you've probably been checking those all out, but if not, there's some really great stuff. I hope to put a few recommendations together, so stay tuned.

Same bat time. Same bat channel. Same bat thing.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Throne of Lies

Hey kids. Spectacularly fucked and totally pooped, so I'm just gonna post this clip, spread some holiday cheer, and go to bed to "get up early to work on my paper" (ie, continuously hit my snooze button until it's suddenly ten minutes before class).

The always awesome Ken left a gorgeous gift in the comments of the Advent Sunday post that I have been listening to non-stop, so do check that out, and take a look at the beautiful Christmas write-up he has over at his place. The gift, without giving away too much, is Breton Celtic music. How awesome is that!

Floodlit Footprint has a fab Ella Christmas album up, so take a look at that if Ella's your lady. I'll be posting a different Ella album hopefully soon.

And, uh, this is just funny and totally geeky and sorta immature. . . but you guys already knew that about me :p

So, hope your week is going well, the music will pick up again soon, and enjoy yet another clip from Elf.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bad Brains S/T

So, I guess I bit off more than I could chew on Sunday, make that yesterday, too. Still working on stuff that I should have finished over the weekend, end of the year, everything's piled up! Oh no!

Here's a break from the Christmas music for some Bad Brains, the guys who invented hardcore, who I guess are called the Soul Brains now? (. . .) I'm not super-into hardcore, so if you're like me and you want a punkrock primer/hagiography besides your friend going "Hey, I remember that. Yeah, it was awesome," in reference to some show he/she/it might or might not have seen which just proves to you that he/she/it is way old because he/she/it goes, "Huh. That was before you were born. . .", check out American Hardcore, which is available in both film and book (AH: A Tribal History) form (I recommend the film, didn't make it through the book though it was interesting, I think it's cos I was on an airplane, kinda skipped around to the bands I like.)
For fans of hardcore, many would agree that the holy grail of the genre is Bad Brains' self-titled album, originally released back in 1982 as a cassette-only release on ROIR. The ensuing years after its initial release haven't dulled the album's fury and rage in the least, and it's still impressive how the band can switch gears from red-hot hardcore to cool reggae dubs in the blink of an eye [allmusic].
Here ya go! Enjoy :)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Advent Sunday & a pair of feckin' women's knickers!

Thought I'd pick something appropriately Advent-y (which I guess means priests, Advent calendars and jokes about football coaches who I don't know about though I guess the guy is with the Galaxy team now?) Hopefully I'll get some music up later in the day. I should say I can almost guarantee it, since I'll be working on a paper and we all know what that means. . . I will procrastinate like a motherfucker. But first I hafta finish reading about a scary Cambodian prison and Jesus as mother (maaad boobage in that article, man).

Saturday, December 01, 2007

BYO Split Series Vol 3: Rancid & NOFX

"No surprise here, it's a split decision, with the true winners being the listeners."

You all know about my deep and abiding love for norcal punkers Rancid, but I hafta admit that NOFX is a band that I have only peripherally liked, as in I like the stuff they played on the radio back when they played bands like that (which was way back with "Franco-Unamerican"). So- I will be remedying that as soon as my rapidshare limit expires (heh-hey).

Vol 3 of the BYO Split Series has Rancid and NOFX going at one another's songs and is produced, I believe, by Brett of Bad Religion. The NOFX boys do a good job of coming out of left field without losing the source material's sentiments, if it be genuine or satirical ("But that's nothing compared to the hilarious indignities visited upon "Radio." NOFX tarts it up in reggae rags, then insults it with a Jamaican accent so faux, it makes Miss Cleo sound convincing." Haha.). I'm guessing this is from Fat Mike. From the nofx site.
It was BYO's idea to do this thing, but it was Lint's idea to do each others songs, and that's what this thing is. Rancid doing 6 NOFX songs and NOFX doing 6 Rancid songs. I think it turned out pretty good. . . I didn't try to do Matt's bass riffs cuz they're too hard to figure out. We also changed a few chord progressions here and there cuz, why the hell not. We didn't change any lyrics though, well just a few by mistake. It's actually pretty hard to make out what Lint sings on Corazon de Oro. I gave it my best shot.
Besides that they bring their sound, which can never get old, to the NOFX tracks, I can't say much for Rancid's work since I'm not familiar with any of the original versions besides "Bob," so I'd love to hear what people think. But whatever way you lean, it's a very fun record, so if you haven't grabbed it yet and you like at least one of these groups, give it a try! (By the way, who is singing on "Don't Call Me White"? He sounds like a muppet. And everyone goes now, Bridget, you think everyone sounds like a muppet.)

Santa's Comin'

Hey lovelies. I adore this movie. I didn't think I would, but I do. Happy start of December/freezing cold weather/start of finals- oh no!


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