Monday, January 26, 2009

Best of 2009 (WAY Better Late Than Never Edition)

It took a long time to write this, mainly because I was busy, but also because 2008 was one of the worst years in popular music ever. Seriously, would anyone even give a shit about Britney Spears 15 years ago? She would have been Paula Abdul, big on the radio but no one else would give a fuck. Anyways, heres hoping for a better 2009.

Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend
I hate hype as much as the next guy, so I went into this disc more scared than that chick in “The Blair Witch Project“. The cover of Spin before an album even comes out…come on! I guess Chuck D was wrong thing time, and the album delivers. VW somehow succeeds in mashing up the best parts of New Wave energy with an African beat and making pure pop like “A-Punk” and “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance.”

Kings Of Leon- “Only By The Night”
We continue our story where the four kinsman set out to claim their homeland with epics about sex on fire girls who rock R&B tunes and like to be used. Would it shock you if I told you that the boys DID actually conquer (album hits #4, “Sex On Fire” hits #1 Modern Rock)? KOL always had the skuzzy rock thing down, but by making an album full of slow burning rockers, they morph into the monster rock band that was always lurking.

The Roots-”Rising Down”
Dark, political, questioning pretty much everything that has happened from 9/11 on, “Rising Down” is also catchy as hell at points. Jams like “Get Busy”, “I Can’t Help It” and “I Will Not Apologize” deserved to be bigger hits, but the pop audience doesn’t want to hear about African Genocide even if it is rapped in a funky little sonic wrapper. Overhyped Weezy has to declare “Motherfucker I’m ill” but this is an unspoken truth for Black Thought and the rest of the crew.

The Gaslight Anthem- “The ‘59 Sound”
Sometimes wearing your influences on your sleeve is a good thing. These gutter rats from Bruce’s neighborhood made the best Jersey album (and maybe the only Jersey album) since “Born To Run” by telling stories about young friends passing on and rough boys with sailor tattoos. Some may claim rip off, but it feels authentic and life affirming at once.

Little Joy- Little Joy
A summertime mashup of 60s pop, garage rock and Brazil that had the misfortune of coming out in the fall, when all that was cold and the grills weren’t cooking. Who would have thought songs so light and catchy as “Brand New Start” would have come from a dude who used to date Drew Barrymore?

The Hold Steady-”Stay Positive”
In which our hero, a hometown lad from Cakeeaterville, decides to quit writing about Gideon, Charlemagne, and Holly and starts writing about other nameless characters. Everything meshes oh so well, and “Lord I’m Discouraged” stings harder than any power ballad has in years. But then, the lad tells us to “Stay Positive” and dammit, I will.

“Electric Feel” MGMT
This song takes some of the best things from the past 25 years (“Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush, day-glo, the term “baby girl”, falsetto vocals sung by fey boys) and puts that shit in a blender set to Frappe. The result is as awesome as an Orange Julius when they could still throw the raw egg in.

“My Drive Thru” Santogold, Julian Casablancas and Pharrell
One should turn off the radio when they hear that a song was commissioned for shoes (Chucks in this case). But one washed up artist (Pharrell) one MIA (Mr Stroke) and one hype princess (Santogold) make a mash up jam that sounds like summer and could make a dead man shake it like Ben Stiller.

“I’m Not Over” Carolina Liar
To paraphrase Goat Boy, “Hey, remember the 90s?” That was a magical era in rock radio when one trick ponies could throw out that one big radio song and then disappear (see Possum Dixon “Watch The Girl Destroy Me“, The Nixons “Sister” and Tripping Daisy “I’ve Got A Girl” for examples). Well, Carolina Liar did just that this year, putting out a glimmering pop song about a girl they aren’t over “just yet.”

“Sex On Fire” Kings Of Leon
All churning and wanting and fiery fucking, this is finally the radio hit the true believers knew that KOL would write.

“Highly Suspicious” My Morning Jacket
Where the hell did this come from? Hairy southern rockers get all Symbolina on our collective ass, and drop the choicest funk since god knows when. Peanut butter pudding surprise, indeed.

Reissue of the Year:
“Pacific Ocean Blue (Legacy Edition)” Dennis Wilson
When one thinks of music in California in the 70s, one tends to dwell on the excesses of Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. Dennis Wilson was all about excesses in life, but his music was tender and pure and not full of those demons. Dreamlike at times, always beautiful, it puts the former Beach Boy in the same category as his brother Brian: genius.

Video of the Year:
Erykah Badu “Honey”
Previous Badu videos don’t really stick out in my mental video library. “On and On” may have been a Levis commercial. “Tyrone” was live. And there may have been one with Common where he wore a crocheted sweater. But the “Honey” video rocks, with the setting being a local record store and Badu taking the place on such classic album sleeves as “Maggot Brain” “Three Feet High and Rising” and “Let It Be.” And the song grew on me too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Little BHO

I managed to sneak watching the swearing in today at work. I got a little choked up knowing that my boy won't be in office ever again. I mean, what will he do without a country to ruin? Sit on his ranch in Crawford and watch the Rangers I assume. Too bad daddy is an Astros fan, could spend some quality time with the old man before he croaks. How old is Ol' 1,000-Points-of-Light anyway?

In other, non world changing once in a lifetime news, today I got cut off in line at Target by some bitch who forgot shampoo. Her son was waiting by her goods and I was next in line. The stupid broad cut me off, and in the process, appalled her son. "There's people in line!" the kid said with embarrassment. To which his walking birth canal said "People my ass." Made me feel pretty fucking shitty...

But, I cheered up immediately when I overheard an older guy at the gym, in the middle of a conversation about glow in the dark golf balls, say the following:

"Oh yah, ya know my son-in-law Tyrone is playing in da Super Bowl in ah coupla weeks. He plays for da Pittsburgh Steelers. Tyrone Carter, went to da U."

For as much shit as I talk about this state, its things like that that keep me here. How fucking unassuming can you be to just off hand mention that your relative IS PLAYING IN THE FUCKING SUPER BOWL!!!!! If one of my relatives ever accomplished something like, oh, say PLAYING IN THE SUPER BOWL I would be wearing a shirt screaming about it. Ah, good old fashioned Minn-E-SOH-Tans.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Know Noriega, The REAL Noriega

For something that happened when I was cognitive of the everyday world, I know very little about the U.S. invasion of Panama. All I remember about it was that Manuel Noriega looked like the main terrorist in "Executive Decision," he pushed a lot of weight, and my uncle used to brag about being part of the peacekeeping force (which is like me bragging about getting to the Chinese Buffet after the wontons are gone).

One thing that interested me was that the U.S. forces played music to force Manny out of the Vatican embassy (where I think he was seeking amnesty). Here is Uncle Sam's hype ass playlist:

I'm not gonna lie to you, this may be the hottest government sponsored playlist ever. And they were taking requests! How 80s! I can just hear John London saying "Its a Boot Manny Weekend on 101.3! The phone lines are open, 989-KDWB, caller 13 gets Bon Jovi tickets for February 12th at the Met Center and the new Richard Marx cassette. Here's Kix with "Don't Close Your Eyes!"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You Don't Have To Be A Star Baby...

Last year, I picked up a copy of the 1992 NBA All-Star Game at the Bryn Mawr garage sales. Due to a lack of a VCR in my house, I didn't get a chance to watch it until today. It was pretty entertaining. Take a look at the rosters HERE:

The only players who seem really out of place (to me at least) are Michael Adams and, to a lesser degree, Otis Thorpe. Honestly, when Bob Costas was doing the introductions for Michael Adams, I had no clue who he was. Otis Thorpe was always a role player, but the West was pretty weak in those years (the Wolves, Clippers, Mavs, and Kings were all horribly atrocious) so hey.

-Hammer saying that he was rooting for his main man Doug West in the Slam Dunk Contest.
-Bob Costas presenting the Shaq vs Laettner battle for the 12th spot on the Dream Team as a tossed off aside. If that fight for the spot were happening today, ESPN would dedicate at least 45 minutes of programming to it per day.
-Commercials for Oldsmobile, Vikingland GMC, and the Worlds Toughest Rodeo at the Met Center (Sponsored by Dayton's and FINA).
-Jeff Passolt on KARE 11 News bumpers every 15 minutes.
-Michael Bolton singing the National Anthem. His hair was so fried it looked like he was enrolled at Aveda for five years
-Isiah kissing Magic before the game. Yeah, I know everyone thought that this was cool at the time (and it was probably, you know, furthering peoples tolerance for those with HIV or AIDS) but I still get weirded out every time I see it. Because it had been going on for years before Magic was diagnosed. And Magic never really, you know, looked comfortable with it.
-Some dork ass in the crowd had (obviously planted) signs that said "Where's HARE Jordan?" and "The Magic is Back." He kind of looked like a young Phil Jackson.

Unfortunately, the tape cuts out at about the 3 minute mark of the 4th quarter. FORTUNATELY, whomever taped it taped an episode and a half of Beavis and Butthead from MTV in 1993. Now that's what I call value added!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Boys Do The Boogie Woogie on the Corner of the Street, Yeah

Had quite the night out last night. Started out at NE Palace, where I (unfortunately) drank tallboys of PBR and some strange Wop like concoction called NE Punch. But I did get to karaoke. I sang "No More Mister Nice Guy" by Alice Cooper and "Rebel Rebel" by Bowie solo, and did "Regulate" with Jeff (which got called "fooking brilliant" by a British guy, thus fulfilling one of my lifelong goals of getting called brilliant by a Brit). Big Chrisitan kept trying to make me sing "Too Drunk to Fuck" by the Dead Kennedys, but Mr. Hill instead did "Pussy Control" and there was to be no more nookie songs for the evening. Oh, and some Heggies were consumed.

Then I headed to Legends (after getting lost over by the Saint Paul U of M campus). Drank a shitty beer and a shitty G&T, and owned the dartboard. At bar close, I heard "Rock And Roll Train" by AC/DC on KDWB, which blew my feeble mind so much I had to hit up the dollar menu at T-Bell. Then, end scene. Quite a wild night, to quote JCM.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Tonight at the hallowed Fridley Junior High, the Nature Boys Basketball Club were defeated by 49. Still, this is better than the other drubbings we have taken this year, and it was only a few points worse than the Thunder loss to the Wolves across town. Looks like this team is on the up and up...

Oh, and RIP Carl Pohlad. Yeah right. Cheap old fool couldn't even put a roof on Target Field or ever give the Twins the missing piece for a Series title. If reincarnation is real, I hope Mister Pohlad gets brought back as a parking space at Rosedale for the ghost of Kirby Puckett to pee on.

The Cuts (Not Too Shabby B-Ball Edition):
"Love Is the Law"- The Suburbs
"Hair of the Dog"-Nazareth
"Oblivious"-Aztec Camera

Friday, January 02, 2009

Love, Love Love Me Already, I feel old. Or maybe just really hung over. That could be it. Mixing Windsor, cheap Champagne and keg beer that tastes like an ashtray does that to a man sometimes. Oh well, at least I have tomorrow off and hopefully I can get something accomplished. Today all I have accomplished was watching the Winter Classic, parts of the Rose and Orange Bowls, and seeing that girl from Heroes krump with Beyonce's sister (and somehow finding the krumping really hot).

Hopefully my 2009 will be much more eventful than today. With trips to Cancun and Chi-city to see the Twins/Cubs, it certainly looks so.