Well, I've spent a good chunk of time on these past few blog posts, hope you've enjoyed my opinions on the music of 2008. Its been fun reflecting on the new stuff that has come out. I wanted to crank these out before Christmas festivities/mad flights to the frozen tundra of the Midwest begin, so here are the best records of 2008:
5. Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago When craving jangly folk rock with falsetto harmonies I'll take this record over 'Fleet Foxes" any day of the week. Moody melodies, clever songwriting, retro guitar sounds with a very subtle but solid rhythm section. These songs will be spinning for quite a while.
dig: "Skinny Love"
4. Nigeria Rock Special: Psychadelic Afro-Rock and Fuzz Funk from 1970s Nigeria I usually don't like to include re-issues when talking about new music but listening to this CD is like uncovering a historical document of exciting grooves. Much of this stuff has never been released in the states before so it might as well be knew. While you can hear slight echoes of African funk pioneers Fela Kuti and Hugh Masekela these Nigerian interpretations of Western psychedelic funk are pure gold.
dig: "Adieu", "More Bread To The People"
3. The Raconteurs Consolers of the Lonely There's a breakdown in the song "Salute Your Solution" where the bass guitar is drenched in distortion riffing in front of incredibly deep drum groove, the vocals enter:
"And I got what I got all despite you, And I'll get what I get just to spite you ..."
Every time I hear it I want to pump my fist in the air and scream "F***K YEAH!!!" Rock n' roll is not dead, indeed.
dig: "Salute Your Solution", "You Don't Understand Me", "Hold Up"
2. TV On The Radio Dear Science Probably the most lauded indie record of the year landing it #1 on lists from Rolling Stone, Spin, and The A.V. Club and for good reason. Its so hard to describe TVOTR, I can only try by saying they are an experimental art rock band, they cover so many idioms and reach for so many different things yet are grounded by Tunde Adebimpe's (who starred in the movie Rachael Getting Married as the husband-to-be, btw) haunting falsetto, creative samples, and grinding drums. It is so artful yet groovy, its no wonder why critics love them. 'Dear Science' is their most melodic effort to date proving the band can crank out a hook with the best of them. While the melodies are softened, their edge is not. This is a great record from a truly great band.
dig: "Golden Age", "Dancing Choose"
1. Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band Season of Change This is my favorite jazz record in a long time. It is unique in that the focus is on the broad, sweeping, and epic compositions. The melodies are song-like and beautiful set behind slow backbeat grooves. Blade is a drummer of the highest caliber and while there isn't as much of a focus on improvisation in most of the tunes, each member of this fantastic ensemble still shines. I can't say enough about the writing and group concept on this album. This is only the second Fellowship record in the past ten years, hopefully we won't have to wait that long for another.
dig: "Rubylou's Lullabye", "Stoner Hill", "Alpha and Omega"
10. Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple Solid second record from MC/vocalist Cee-Lo and DJ Danger Mouse. I love the way this group blends beats and songwriting. Cee-Lo's vocals get stronger as well.
dig: "Blind Mary", "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?"
9. Del The Funky Homosapien The Eleventh Hour Not much to say about this one, just a good hip-hop record from legendary Oakland underground MC Del. Best rap record of the year.
dig: "Raw Sewage", "Situations"
8. Jenny Scheinman Crossing The Field, Jenny Scheinman I'm cheating with this one because while Scheinman simultaneously released both records they are quite different from each other. 'Crossing ...' is the violinist's collection of original compositions featuring a fantastic band and string arrangements. She is one of the most unique composers and soloists in jazz and it shows with this record. At the other end of the spectrum, her eponymous release features not her violin but her voice. It is a collection of Americana featuring traditional folk tunes, songs by Lucinda Williams and Tom Waits among others, and originals. Her voice recalls Carly Simon and while not the most gifted singer around the honesty in her voice lends itself well to these songs.
dig: Crossing The Field "I Heart Eye Patch", "That's Delight" Jenny Scheinman"I Was Young When I Left Home", "King of Hearts"
7. Pat Metheney Day Trip, Tokyo Day Trip EP I've been waiting for this supergroup of Metheny, Christian McBride, and Antonio Sanchez to record for a couple of years now and they've finally delivered. Metheny has a very specific and unique composing style and the players augment his tunes wonderfully; great solos, great group interaction. The Live EP is even more dynamic than the LP.
dig: Day Trip "Calvin's Keys", "Let's Move" Tokyo Day Trip "Back Arm and Blackcharge"
6. She & Him Volume 1 Most of us cringe when we hear about actresses turning to singing but Zooey Deschanel did it splendidly. She sings (reminding me of Neko Case at times) and wrote all of the songs but country/folk producer M. Ward really shines throughout the record. Its a blend of 60's pop, country tunes, and melodic folk ... a really fun album that landed them at #1 on Paste's year-end list. I can't wait for Volume 2.
dig: "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?", "I Was Made for You"
15. Murs Murs For President Member of seminal hip hop group Living Legends and one half of L.A./Minneapolis act Felt, Murs has been a big figure in underground L.A. hip hop for some time now. I should note for those of you who aren't familiar with a lot of rap that this isn't like the stuff you see on MTV. 'Murs for President' (along with the other hip hop records on this list) isn't about "bling and bitches". Its intelligent rap ("The Science" is fantastic urban social commentary) with creative beats and rhymes. This is Murs first record on a big label. I don't think it made as big of a splash as it should have.
dig: "The Science"
14. Black Kids Partie Traumatic Black Kids became an indie sensation with their first EP 'Wizard of Ahhs ...' which was only available on MySpace and at their live shows. For this, their label debut, the ditched the lo-fi experimental sounds of the EP and polished up their tunes to attempt some pop success. What followed was an unfair online backlash particularly from music site Pitchfork who was among the first to champion them (although it did land at #4 on The New York Post's Year End List). I dig the record, not as much as the EP, but there are some good retro pop tunes here with interesting lyrics.
dig: "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You", "Love Me Already", "Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)"
13. Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes In contrast, Fleet Foxes' debut has been the subject of media praise landing them #1 on lists from Stereogum and Pitchfork. There are few albums you will hear more glowing reviews about. I like the record. The ethereal vocals and folk-ish melodies are nice although I think some are a bit over-impressed by the harmonies. My biggest gripe? No groove, baby.
dig: "White Winter Hymnal"
12. No Age Nouns No Age are indie-media darlings as well. They are an experimental punk drum/guitar duo from L.A. who have crafted an original sound around the scene at downtown club The Smell. I appreciate the record like a work from a modern sculptor. Fascinating in its artistic endeavor but nothing I'd want to listen to or look at every day.
11. Rachael Yamagata Elephants ... Teeth Sinking In To Heart Yamagata's sophomore record is more subdued and maudlin than her first, but the melodies and songwriting are good enough to ensure that the slow tempos and mood don't make everything sound the same. There's a great duet with Ray LaMontagne.
20. Atmosphere Sad Clown, Bad Spring #12 #12 in the 'Bad Clown' series of EPs from the Minneapolis-based hip-hop group Atmosphere. Comprised of rapper Slug and DJ Ant, Atmosphere has been on the scene for a long time cranking out great tracks. They also released a full-length LP this year "When Life Gives You Lemons Paint That Shit Gold" which I need to check out.
19. Margot and the Nuclear So and So's Not Animal, The Daytrotter Sessions I've blogged about Margot numerous time before. The Indy-based Indie band's debut 'The Dust of Retreat' ranks among my all-time favorites. After recording a large batch of tunes for their big label debut, the band and record company were at odds as to what to release. The band chose the songs for the album 'Animal' which is only available on vinyl. 'Not Animal' is the collection of songs the label chose. The record is good, but I feel like I'm missing out and wonder if it could be even better had their been a more singular vision. 'The Daytrotter Sessions' is a fantastic live acoustic set from the band. I hope there are more records in these guys' future, they are one of the great indie acts around.
dig: Not Animal, "Broad Ripple is Burning" Daytrotter, "Bookworm"
18. Brad Mehldau Brad Melhdau Trio Live This trio has been at it for a long time. This live record by no means re-invents the band but it is nonetheless a great collection of tunes featuring some great playing.
17. Be Your Own Pet Get Awkward, Get Damaged EP Get Awkward is a female-fronted punk band from Nashville, lots of rockin' fun, great melodies, great spirit. 'Get Awkward' is their second full-length LP. The accompanying EP is comprised of songs "too violent" to put on the LP so the label would only release it online (sounds like a marketing ploy to me). In a true punk move, the band broke up mere months after the album was released.
dig: Awkward "Bitches Leave" Damaged "Becky"
16. Guns n' Roses Chinese Democracy After over a decade and over $14 million in recording costs, we were finally privy to the much-delayed 'Chinese Democracy'. I expected the worst. How good could it be if Axl didn't want to release it? To my surprise this is a solid rock record throughout. Good songs, good riffs, good solos, good singing. I suspect that all of the delays allowed Axl to tinker with the tracks for too long because much of it sounds over-produced. It does lack the strong melodies and hooks of other GnR records but the artistic spirit of the 'Use Your Illusions' records is taken to the next level.
I'm counting down an exhaustive Top 25 records of 2008, I hope to finish the list before I leave for Indy on Thursday. After each entry I will include one or two definitive tracks from the record for you to check out if happen to be interested. There are quite a few more albums I wish I could have picked up, but I think the list is pretty solid regardless. So let's jump in.
25. Steinski What Does It All Mean? Retrospective 1983-2006 Steinski is a highly influential hip-hop DJ active in the 80s. He was a part-time musician with a full-time job, after winning a re-mix contest from Tommy Boy Records in 1983 he started re-mixing records in his free time and many DJ greats site him as an influence. His tracks are collected here for the first time (and perhaps the last due to licensing issues ... ahh, the golden age of sampling!)
dig: "The Payoff Mix"
24. Living Legends The Gathering Living Legends is a collective of MCs and DJs primarily from the West Coast including greats like Murs and Aesop. Their tracks are definitive West Coast underground hip hop. 'The Gathering' is solid through and through.
dig: "War and Peace", "After Hours (Extended Euromix)"
23. Paul Westerberg 49:00 Westerberg is the lead singer for post-punk icons The Replacements, this solo outing is one continuous track that strings together songs with interesting and experimental production. From Wiki: "On July 17, 2008 it was announced that on "June 49" (July 19) Paul Westerberg would release an album with 49 minutes' worth of music for 49 cents. The album, 49:00... Of Your Time/Life, was released on July 21, 2008. A few weeks after 49:00 was released, it was taken down from Amazon.com and TuneCore store. In its place, Westerberg released a song titled "5:05" (in reference to the fact that 49:00 was really 43:55 long, 5:05 shorter than 49:00). From the lyrical content of "5:05," it is believed that 49:00 was recalled due to copyright issues in the ending cover medley."
22. Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Bassist/vocalist Spalding was the "it" girl in jazz this year, much hype accompanied her debut even performing on Letterman. She incorporates world rhythms and sings in different languages. Its a good record, but it may be more hype than hip. I've heard her live show is fantastic though.
dig: "I Know You Know"
21. Times New Viking Rip It Off If you've never heard Noise Pop before Times New Viking is quite exemplary. Pop hooks combined with lo-fi, dirty, loud guitar riffs and sounds. Good stuff but the EQ on the record can be a bit much after a prolonged listening.
My movie watching took a huge dive this year. I hardly saw anything. And I always have a hard time with my year-end movie lists because the best movies are technically released at the end of the year but are not released to the general public until early the next year before Oscar time. 'There Will Be Blood' is probably the best thing I saw this year, but it actually came out in 07. But here are my thoughts on the best of o8:
1. Dark Knight Returns You expected something else?
2. Iron Man Dark Knight was only slightly better
3. Forgetting Sarah Marshall I saw this in the theaters and again on a plane over the summer. It was just as funny on a 6 inch x 5 inch screen ... that's the true test of a good movie.
4. JLA: The New Frontier Seriously, I'm not typically a huge fan of comic book movies, but there were just some damn good super hero flicks this year. New Frontier is an animated movie you can catch on Cartoon Network that is really great; the story, the voice-acting, the animation style, everything.
5. Rachael Getting Married Saw this one last week, dug it except for all of the hand-held camera stuff which made me nauseous (of course). There is some good stuff here every family can relate to.
Honorable Mentions: Tropic Thunder, The Hulk
Now head over to Top Five and tell us your favorite movies of the year.
Everyone head over to wKHM to read a special guest spot yours truly wrote on one of my favorite records ever. So ch-ch-check it out.
It's weird, I had never even heard of 'Emmit Otter's Jug Band Christmas' until I met my wife but lo' and behold its a Christmas favorite of many (even though I maintain it doesn't really have much to do with Christmas). But it wasn't popular enough to overtake 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' which won the What's Your Favorite Christmas Special? poll with 5 votes. 'Emmit' and 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' tied for second with 3 votes. 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' finished in the cellar. Dig the new poll.
I have a really busy week ahead of me, lots of playing with friends and hitting jam sessions before heading home. I have a really fun gig this Friday. If I haven't mentioned it, work has been SLOW since returning from NYC. Not as many holiday parties this year, a lot of musicians are feeling it. The poor economy affects us all! But the countdown to Christmas and our trip back to Indy is on and I'm really looking forward to both.
1. The Wire No surprise here. It could be argued that this fifth and final season is the weakest of the show's run. But even if that's the case its still head and shoulders above anything put on T.V. I miss this show. Truly one of the greats.
2. The Office Still a solid show in its fifth season. I loved the storyline with Micheal's girlfriend Holly (Amy Ryan from the The Wire!) and was a little sad when they broke up. Funny stuff.
3. The Daily Show Fantastic and funny election coverage. Although the show is mostly humor and jokes, there is more political insight then you'll see on any other show.
4. 30 Rock
Liz: We need to get these guys! Don't you know the Postmaster General?
Jack: I do, but we had a falling out over the Jerry Garcia stamp. If I wanted to lick a hippie, I'd return Joan Baez's phone calls.
5. True Blood I could go on and on about how this guilty pleasure is more like a soap opera than an HBO drama but the story is so engaging it just keeps you on your seat. Instead I'll point out that on Mr. Skin's Top Celebrity Nude Scenes of 2008, True Blood holds the #1 and #3 spots.
6. Weeds A big point of departure from the rest of the series. The show became much darker this year with the family moving to the Mexican border so Nancy can smuggle drugs in larger quantities. Her affair with a corrupt Tijuana mayor was intriguing.
7. Californication Many fans of the first season hated the second season but I loved it. There was a storyline involving Hank's manager who gets into producing porno that was a bit too outlandish, but the main story was really great. Looking forward to another season.
8. Big Love What began as an interesting show about a polygamist family trying to cut ties with its former cult while living mainstream lives turned in to a dramatic and gripping weave of storylines. But speaking of outlandish, I fear the next season might turn in to a Mormon Melrose Place.
9. Chowder Funny kid's cartoon. Milo loves it. Much better than Spongebob.
10. Kath and Kim Still kind of on the fence about this one. Funny, but not a must-watch the day after it airs.
You can tell us your favorite T.V. show of the year at Top Five.
December is upon us, the time when we stuff ourselves full of Christmas pies, cookies, and other treats only to swear all of them off a week later in a promise for a healthier New Year. Looks like some of us are actually getting a head start.
If you are serious about getting healthy next year and are looking for that final, heavy, greasy meal as a "last hurrah" may I present to you the most appalling yet intriguing recipe I've ever seen on the internet. Ladies and gentlemen:
The end of the year is upon us, can you believe it? Each December I think the same thing, in some ways it seems like the year has flown by and in others it seems like 2007 was a decade ago. 2008 was an amazing year for many reasons and so I begin a blog series on my favorite stuffs of the past twelve months. After each entry I'll link over to a corresponding post on Top Five where you can share your Best Of the year as well.
With the scope of American Pop Culture being so vast and varied, one thing we all have in common are celebrity crushes, they usually start when we are kids (who remembers Soleil Moon-Frye? *sigh*). But each year there is a new crop of headline-making celebs who make us think "I wonder what it would be like to make out with them!?!" Here are Lyman's Celebrity Crushes of 2008:
1. Sarah Silverman Hilariously funny, cute, and curvy with a propensity for okay-looking chubby guys it is no wonder why so many men love Sarah Silverman.
2. Morgan Webb Webb is the host of tech channel G4's popular video game review show X-Play. A beautiful girl who digs video games ... I shudder to think how many geeky fanboy stalkers she has. And despite how her sexed-up, airbrushed photos in Maxim that accompany her monthly column "The Game Goddess" appear, I think she has a very natural look that you don't see too much on TV these days.
3. Jenna Fischer I know, I know, crushes on Pam are so three-years-ago, but I can't help it, she's just adorable. And the new season of The Office has been fantastic. How many folks knew she's originally from Indiana?
4. Kristin Wiig This SNL funny-lady has been getting more and more popular after her hilarious role in Knocked Up last year. This is her final season on SNL, she was also one of the few funny things in the movie Ghost Town.
5. Rachael Maddow I know, I know, this one is weird. Really weird. So weird I'm not even going to post a picture. Sure, she's gay ... but she's also really, really cute. And even though I usually hate TV political pundits, she is pretty cool. Makes sense, right? Right? ... anyone? ...
Who are your top crushes of 2008? Tell us over at Top Five.
In the spirit of letting every man defend himself by speaking on his own behalf, I found the following article pretty interesting. From The New York Times
The Real Bill Ayers by William Ayers
In the recently concluded presidential race, I was unwillingly thrust upon the stage and asked to play a role in a profoundly dishonest drama. I refused, and here’s why.
Unable to challenge the content of Barack Obama’s campaign, his opponents invented a narrative about a young politician who emerged from nowhere, a man of charm, intelligence and skill, but with an exotic background and a strange name. The refrain was a question: “What do we really know about this man?”
Secondary characters in the narrative included an African-American preacher with a fiery style, a Palestinian scholar and an “unrepentant domestic terrorist.” Linking the candidate with these supposedly shadowy characters, and ferreting out every imagined secret tie and dark affiliation, became big news.
I was cast in the “unrepentant terrorist” role; I felt at times like the enemy projected onto a large screen in the “Two Minutes Hate” scene from George Orwell’s “1984,” when the faithful gathered in a frenzy of fear and loathing.
With the mainstream news media and the blogosphere caught in the pre-election excitement, I saw no viable path to a rational discussion. Rather than step clumsily into the sound-bite culture, I turned away whenever the microphones were thrust into my face. I sat it out.
Now that the election is over, I want to say as plainly as I can that the character invented to serve this drama wasn’t me, not even close. Here are the facts:
I never killed or injured anyone. I did join the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, and later resisted the draft and was arrested in nonviolent demonstrations. I became a full-time antiwar organizer for Students for a Democratic Society. In 1970, I co-founded the Weather Underground, an organization that was created after an accidental explosion that claimed the lives of three of our comrades in Greenwich Village. The Weather Underground went on to take responsibility for placing several small bombs in empty offices — the ones at the Pentagon and the United States Capitol were the most notorious — as an illegal and unpopular war consumed the nation.
The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be — and still is being — debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war.
Peaceful protests had failed to stop the war. So we issued a screaming response. But it was not terrorism; we were not engaged in a campaign to kill and injure people indiscriminately, spreading fear and suffering for political ends.
I cannot imagine engaging in actions of that kind today. And for the past 40 years, I’ve been teaching and writing about the unique value and potential of every human life, and the need to realize that potential through education.
I have regrets, of course — including mistakes of excess and failures of imagination, posturing and posing, inflated and heated rhetoric, blind sectarianism and a lot else. No one can reach my age with their eyes even partly open and not have hundreds of regrets. The responsibility for the risks we posed to others in some of our most extreme actions in those underground years never leaves my thoughts for long.
The antiwar movement in all its commitment, all its sacrifice and determination, could not stop the violence unleashed against Vietnam. And therein lies cause for real regret.
We — the broad “we” — wrote letters, marched, talked to young men at induction centers, surrounded the Pentagon and lay down in front of troop trains. Yet we were inadequate to end the killing of three million Vietnamese and almost 60,000 Americans during a 10-year war.
The dishonesty of the narrative about Mr. Obama during the campaign went a step further with its assumption that if you can place two people in the same room at the same time, or if you can show that they held a conversation, shared a cup of coffee, took the bus downtown together or had any of a thousand other associations, then you have demonstrated that they share ideas, policies, outlook, influences and, especially, responsibility for each other’s behavior. There is a long and sad history of guilt by association in our political culture, and at crucial times we’ve been unable to rise above it.
President-elect Obama and I sat on a board together; we lived in the same diverse and yet close-knit community; we sometimes passed in the bookstore. We didn’t pal around, and I had nothing to do with his positions. I knew him as well as thousands of others did, and like millions of others, I wish I knew him better.
Demonization, guilt by association, and the politics of fear did not triumph, not this time. Let’s hope they never will again. And let’s hope we might now assert that in our wildly diverse society, talking and listening to the widest range of people is not a sin, but a virtue.
Hawaii. And that's where we will be come the third week of the new year. Because of savvy departure times, Milo qualifying as an infant for free travel by less than a month, and frequent flyer miles our flights are very inexpensive which is nice since Carrie might go on strike next year. Yikes! More on that later. Needless to say we are all very excited for the trip. Indianapolis, L.A. and Kona all in the span of three weeks. It will be like a whirlwind geographical biography.
This week's poll on best way to Christmas shop has closed in a dead heat with "Online" and "Slowly" both finishing in first with three votes. "Black Friday" finished second with two votes and "Months in Advance" and "Dec. 23rd" both finished with one. I myself am a slow shopper picking up gifts here and there in my typical relaxed, procrastinating style. My wife however is one of the lunatics who voted for Black Friday. Dig the new poll.
Ball State University lost the MAC Championship game last night ending their historic run and a chance at a perfect season. It was an ugly loss where their defense looked inept and their high-powered offense was stifled. A sad way to end the season. Had they won they would be in discussion for a BCS bowl game, now they won't even get an invite to the Motor City Bowl and will instead be relegated to a lesser game.
But it has been a fantastic season for the Cards. Lets hope this year provides the foundation for a competitive football program.
I saw some great music in November both in NYC and here at home, let me tell ya' all about it:
Jenny Scheinman Scheinman is a fantastic violinist who has been getting a lot of exposure in jazz circles recently and rightfully so, she is a wonderful, unique, and creative musician. Jazz violin often suffers from too much technical flash and pyrotechnics but not enough substance, Scheinman is the complete opposite of that stereotype. While she is no slouch technically her improvisations are clever and melodic. She does not play many jazz cliches as many of us often do, her vocabulary is rooted in Americana and bluegrass as well as jazz.I saw her at the Village Vanguard and she knocked my socks off, besides being a great musician she is just gorgeous with an uncommonly handsome face and the body of a model. Her looks are only part of her stage presence though, she is truly captivating while playing. You might remember me gushing over a pianist named Jason Moran in the past, well Jason is in her band and it was my first time seeing him live too. The show was fantastic and one of the best I've seen in a while.
Cecil Taylor Pianist Cecil Taylor is one of the fathers of the avant-gard/free jazz genre. To most folks who don't listen to much else besides popular music (nothing wrong with that btw) his music would either sound confusing or childish much like when you see a Jackson Pollack painting for the first time and think "that's not art, I could do that." But Taylor has a unique and beautiful musical vocabulary that is all his own. He is older now and doesn't tour much so I jumped at the chance to see him at the Village Vanguard. He was playing in duet with a drummer/percussionist. I was astounded by his playing, there were no licks or cliches that resorted back to, music was free-flowing from him the entire night. I always thought that his stuff was freely improvised but he actually had some sheet music in front of him that was in some kind of script I didn't recognize. This isn't the type of show you want to see again and again in a short amount of time but it was fantastic nonetheless.
Dos Dos is a band comprised of bassists Mike Watt and Kira Roessler. Watt is a iconic bass player and punk figure, he used to play with the Minutemen, fireHOSE and has his own solo projects. Roessler played in the legendary punk band Black Flag. I didn't know much about the show before going, the show was at a pizza parlor where a buddy of mine used to work and was free (how punk is that?). The show was really interesting, Kira sang a little but mostly it was just the two basses rocking out. You would think a show like that could get really old really quick but they had a lot of neat arrangements worked out and the styles of the songs they played were really diverse. After the show I did a little more research and found out the two used to be married. I'm not going to run out and buy all of their CDs but I'd certainly see another show.
-The Colts won an ugly game today but with the team in the state it is in this year I'll take any win and be happy about it. They have very quietly strung together 5 impressive wins are in great shape to make the playoffs. It has been a great turnaround from a terrible start.
-The new Guns n' Roses album is good. Seriously. I'm not even joking. Considering the record was supposed to be ready in 1999, I expected the worst. But its good. For real.
-I miss True Blood and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
-The Lakers look unstoppable. I went to a game last weekend. Wow.
-Looks like Obama is going to name Hilary as Secretary of State. Good call. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. HA!
-This week's poll of "favorite Thanksgiving dish" has wrapped up and Pie totally kicked ass with 5 votes, stuffing and Yams both had three and Cranberry Sauce had one (I'm expecting it came from the wife). Turkey was putting up a total blank and looked to get shut out but rallied with one late vote. Check out the new poll.
-Ball State has crept up to #12 in the BCS Standings. Maybe they crack the Top 10 after a win next week but there's no way they get in to a BCS Bowl unfortunately.
-I played volleyball again today for the first time in a long time. My body is sore. Ouch.
During my trip to NYC I hit up a couple of art museums as I usually do the first being the New Museum in the West Village. I'd never been to to the New Museum before, it is a nice place with a great, modern look. The exhibition that was recommended to me to see was of portraitist Elizabeth Peyton. She is a rather popular contemporary painter who first received notoriety for painting pop culture icons from photos including a great series on Kurt Cobain. She is fantastic and brings a real innocence and beauty to all of her subjects. This self-portrait stood out to me:
I also checked out MOMA which was a mere three blocks from where I was staying. There were big Miro and Van Gogh exhibitions but I had to skip them because of time and instead hit the contemporary floors (see a trend? I tend only to want to see contemporary art for some reason). There was a wonderful exhibit on art in the last four decades that I really dug. There was video, painting, sculpture, everything. I really liked this two part piece by Matthew Barney. The first photo tells the story of two lovers, their narrative is interrupted by this lubricating plastic that is filling the room. The second sculpture is actually of that same plastic as it filled the room and toppled over one of the walls:
There was also a photo exhibit of Michael Subotsky's. The photographs were of a poverty-stricken town in South Africa. Moving stuff.
Before you go thinking I'm this smart art aficionado I should say that audio guides are a wonderful thing (the audio guides at the New Museum were actually iPod minis, what a great idea) and I highly recommend them any time you visit a museum.
Has there ever been a Thanksgiving turkey dinner that actually started on time in the history of our country? Think about it, when was the last time the Thanksgiving turkey was done early? I'm convinced that everybody's food coma comes not necessarily from eating too much but from being so incredibly famished by the time the food finally is served that their metabolism is super low and their bodies can't take it. And that's not to mention how drunk you are from drinking a couple glasses of wine or beers on an empty stomach waiting for the bird to be cooked. The good part is that Thanksgiving is the only meal where the food arrives on the table two hours late and nobody complains or says a word about it.
Late dinner or no, Carrie, Milo and I had a fantastic Thanksgiving. Here's the dessert I made; Cranberry-Charged Pumpkin Pie topped with a Ginger Cookie, Almond, Walnut, and Cranberry Crumble:
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. I'm thankful for all of my family and friends who have enough interest in my little life to stop by my blog and listen to what I have to say.
Now go make a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and mayo. That's a meal that can be prepared in no time.
I have a good buddy named Pasta (seriously) that is a fantastic cook. He, along with countless hours of Food Network, sparked my interest in cooking and taught me everything I know about it. Pasta has recently been working Craft Services on a couple of film sets making and serving food for the cast and crew. He had two gigs that overlapped each other so he needed somebody to make food for him one day, thus began my first gig as a professional chef.
For lunch; chicken cacciatore, penne pesto, and a big sald, for dinner; beef roast, baked beans, cornbread, and potato salad. I had to cook in Pasta's kitchen as his house was closer to the set meaning the food wouldn't have to travel as far so I didn't have all of my weapons which I would have preferred, but besides that I had a real blast cooking. The reviews from the cast and crew were great and the director said it was some of the best beef she had ever had.
If this music thing doesn't work out, I have something to fall back on ...
The Backbeat has returned. The hiatus has been good, it was nice not having to 'worry' about the blog, but after a while I started feeling the urge to publicly vent and share once again. There are some obvious changes; we are starting with a clean slate with a brand new URL and Layout (the old blog will remain only for the archives), I hope you like the new format I might still be tinkering with it for a while. Also, comments about "hot-button issues" will be moderated from now on (if ya don't know, this means if you leave a comment it won't appear on the post until I approve it), this is a drag because of my travels I can go days without being online and the conversation won't resume without me, but its worth it for my peace of mind. I'm going to rule with an iron fist! If you don't like it, drum up traffic to your own blog! Besides that, not much will be different. My "whatever is on my mind/where I am travelling" posts will remain.
So who won the election? I haven't heard. I kid, I kid. Of course I know Obama won (go Indiana!) and let me tell you, I am so happy my secretly Muslim candidate got elected so he can single-handedly turn our great Democracy into a Socialist state with the help of his many, many terrorist friends. Oh! Kidding again!
In all honesty, I've done a lot of cool things over the past few weeks and we have a lot of things to catch up on. #1 on that list was the night of November 4. I had a really amazing experience when I was in New York the night of the election. I hurriedly posted this note on Facebook the next morning:
I'm in NYC on tour at the moment and on Election Night I had a gig with the boss and the boys. Before our set I was anxiously watching the television and saw Pennsylvania turn blue--after the show I saw Ohio turn blue and knew that an Obama victory was a very real possibility so I hurried down to Rockefeller Center (by myself as the other guys in the band were still hungover from the night before, lame!).
If you watched NBC then you know that Rock Center was decked out for their election coverage. Flags, enormous TVs, lights, cameras ... I thought there would be a real mix of political supporters and that it might resemble a sporting event with McCain voters cheering and Obama voters cheering, but the crowd was for Obama all the way. Not long after arriving NBC projected Obama the winner and everybody went crazy; couples embracing, people jumping and cheering, the crowds chanting "YES WE DID! YES WE DID!" I tooled around watching everyone so happy and experiencing the same overwhelming emotions, I met two girls from England who were just as happy as anyone else. When Obama gave his acceptance speech the crowd of hundreds (thousands?) was absolutely silent as tears streamed down so many faces.
The crowd dispersed not long afterward but I wasn't finished celebrating so walked down to Times Square, talk about a celebration. There were folks dancing in the streets, hanging out of car windows screaming and honking their horns, mass cheering and chanting, and an overwhelming sense of relief, hope, and optimism. A few years ago I had the unique experience of being in downtown Milan when Italy won the World Cup this is the only thing I've seen in our country that has come close to that.
But I still wasn't done celebrating so I headed to a favorite Scottish Pub and had one of my favorite Scotches and slowly watched more red states turn blue on the electoral map.
What a night.
And to think, there are some Obama detractors who think all of this enthusiasm is a bad thing. We have become so jaded to our political process that showing emotion and hope for a candidate brands them as "style with no substance" or simply a "celebrity". Well record numbers of voters showed up and Obama won in a landslide, that type of change does not happen because of personality alone.
We've taken our future in to our own hands folks, today is a new day in history.