Archive for the ‘ brian ’ Category

Colbert, Kyl, and Planned Parenthood or, Wine Coolers, Strange Beds, and Duckie Mobiles

Stephen Colbert, as everyone now knows, is incredibly awesome.

He is more proof (as if we needed any) …

(couldn’t embed, so here is a link)

Proof. Awesome, awesome proof.

I suppose when you are tossed a big, fat meatball right down the middle of the plate in the form of “not intended to be a factual statement”, it is hard not to hit it out of the park. In this case Colbert absolutely demolished it. Oh, and then there’s the whole Walgreen’s thing. W. T. F. My goodness … do these people hear what comes out of their mouths??? But thank God for them, their stupidity, and thank God more for Stephen Colbert!

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Childish Gambino – “Freaks and Geeks”

We’ve already written about him many times, and have pointed to his awesomeness. He needs no real introduction. Via his Twitter account, @MrDonaldGlover, Donald Glover, aka, Childish Gambino announced that he has an EP coming out in March. He released the track listing … and oh yeah, he leaked one of the tracks. It is straight dope, dog. Ha, but seriously, it’s some of his best work all around. The beat is fresh and minimalistic, his lyrics and wit are as sharp as ever, and his flow is amazing. You can see the track listing, cover art, and listen to the track, “Freaks and Geeks” by clicking on this link

 

History of Rap

[ Via Paste Magazine ]

They call it the awesome of the day, but this would be awesome every day.

In this video, we have French beatbox master Eklipse work his way through a history of rap, using only his insane beatbox skills … I can’t say anything else, just watch the awesome below …

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just getting started, part two. [music, the many lists of 2010.]

Whew, it’s been a long time hasn’t it, friends? I bet you thought we’d let the lists fall by the wayside. Alas, that’s not the case, we just got really distracted and never got this post finished. Hopefully we can finish up all the lists by the end of the month. It would just be silly to be releasing lists about 2010 in March.

In case it was so long ago that you forgot, this is part two of our list of albums that got us really excited about the future of bands who should have long careers left in front of them.

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6. Phantogram – Eyelid Movies

B: I remember the first time Scott and I heard Phantogram. We were sitting at one of our favorite cafes in the old neighborhood, (doesn’t the phrase, “the old neighborhood” sound awesome?), Citizen, and one of the baristas/waitresses put on Phantogram. We had no idea who it was at the time, but I remember Scott commenting on the trancy/hip hop sounding beat that opens “When I’m Small” (ironically, enough). Then, the music kicked in over the beat, and we were smitten. The female vocals, the guitar, the keyboards, the harmonies, they are married together so well by this duo. More recently, I’ve heard some negative things about their live show, but you know what? Fuck it, I don’t see how Phantogram’s live show would be lacking in any way. They make fun, awesome music!

S: As Brian says, this band is just one of the lasting gifts Citizen gave us. If you live in the Seattle area, you need to try out their crepes. Savory and sweet alike, they’re delicious! Anyway, in agreement with Brian’s story, by the time the third song started playing I realized I just had to know who this band was. I had no idea who they might be, but I knew I was falling in love with them. Brian headed downstairs and inquired about who was playing, and Phantogram entered my lexicon forevermore.

According to wikipedia, fellow Upstate New York musician, Matthew Loiacano, (New York State represent!!) called their genre “street beat, psych pop.” Yup, that’s perfect, let’s go with that. This music is perfect for so many occasions: watching it rain, reading, sitting at your laptop in a coffeeshop, doing the robot, looking at sexy pictures of the Mara sisters. Yet, whatever activity you might engage in while listening to Phantogram, that activity will be accompanied by a healthy dose of head nodding.


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7. Caribou – Swim

S: Wow, we sure did pick a ton of electronic music this year. I guess it was just a good year for the genre.

I’d never listened to Caribou before this year, even though Daniel Victor Snaith has been around for a long time, first as Manitoba, then as Caribou. [via@wikipedia]

Between Seattle coffeehouses and emusic’s constant ravings, it was impossible to escape this album. That’s a fact for which I am enormously grateful. Unlike the other electronic acts we’ve mentioned so far, Caribou is more traditional. He’s more what you would expect when you hear the genre mentioned. He also represents the absolute best of what the genre can offer. According to last.fm, “he incorporates electronic psychedelia, krautrock rhythms, and breakbeat drums and creates a swirling, lush, musical panorama” Yep, I don’t really have anything to add to that.

B: “Lush” and “swirling” were the exact adjectives that first came to mind when I heard Caribou. Actually, I don’t know that I can sum up their sound better than last.fm. “Musical panorama” conjures up such rich imagery. The album art, even, gives you a sense of what you’re in store for with Swim. It’s like a carnival funhouse at times, with its distorted synths, and rotating speaker effects. Listening to the album is like spinning, but alternating fast and slow. And it won’t make you dizzy, but will make you want to get up and move. I suppose now would be a good time to look into Daniel Victor Snaith’s older stuff, and then buy everything new he comes out with from now on.

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8. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

B: First off, one of the best songs of the year is “Helicopter”.

If I can attempt to describe Deerhunter’s sound on this album: It’s like lo-fi bedroom pop with noise pop elements. Subdued and nuanced. Bradford Cox makes an album that feels like it was recorded in a bedroom, with manufactured reverb and quiet vocals, but sounds like a record full of space. I am reminded a bit of the Magnetic Fields at times, and the Pixies other times. I know I just did this, but I hate comparing because I feel it takes away from the originality of the music. The music is good. It sometimes sounds like other good music. Deerhunter is good. Buy this album.

S: You know those movies about best friends who fall in love? The one where there is never a love at first sight moment, but instead two people who fit together and everyone can see how perfect they are but the two of them, until one day, for some reason or another, they realize they could never consider living another moment apart… that’s how I feel about this album.

There was never a moment when I was listening to it and lightning struck and thought, “Who the hell are these guys?!?” Instead, it was a slow-burning movement that grew without me realizing it, until now I want this album on my playlist, I need this album on my playlist.

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9. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

B: I feel like it’s inevitable. I can hear them now, “Mumford & Sons are the British Avett Brothers.”

Sure, there are similarities in instrumentation and vocal harmonies, but Mumford & Sons aren’t some band ripping off another band’s sound (they aren’t!). They are fucking legit. Serious musical chops. And amazing literary lyrics. A long, bright future lies before them!

S: These guys are wonderful. I couldn’t really believe how much I loved this album on the very first listen, and more all the time with each listen afterward.

I think we may have dodged the bullet Brian was talking about, with them being compared to other bands, because at this point that probably would have happened already.

However, sadly, there is still the Christian bullet to dodge. Most bands can’t get away with being Christians while maintaining indie cred. Sure, it happens, like with Sufjan, but it’s rare.

You can always get away with using biblical metaphors for story-telling, like Sam Beam, Leonard Cohen, Josh Ritter and M. Ward. The problem comes when people start to realize you might actually believe the things you’re saying beyond pure metaphor.

Forget the fact that everyone creates art from a certain vantage point, that everybody hold a worldview full of bias and presuppositions. Our culture isn’t big on nuance, even hipster culture. So, understanding the difference between evangelicalism and faith isn’t always at the forefront of people’s minds.

Mumford and Sons do have some sort of faith, the specifics of which I am ignorant of, and I don’t care enough to look deeper into it. Their music can easily be heard from a universal level, with songs about life that jive with a person of faith, like myself, an agnositic, or an atheist stuck alongside me in the human condition.

To be honest, the lyrics that have gotten the most flack only indicate the ignorance of the harsher critics. The lyrics in question are quoting folks like Steinbeck and Shakespeare (the title of the album, for instance, is Shakespeare). The first line on the album is / serve God / love me / and mend /, but they aren’t quoting Billy Graham or Pat Robertson here, that’s Shakespeare dumb-asses.

“Serve God, love me and mend. There will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste.” -Much Ado About Nothing

Stop assuming all people of faith are as illiterate as Sarah Palin and… well… read a book.

I know, that’s the second time in the last few weeks that I’ve bitched about that, I promise it’s the last time for a while. I just get really tired of ignorance and fundamentalism, especially when it’s parading around as “reason.”

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10. Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III)

S: The fusion of R&B, Hip Hop, Pop, etc. is bound to continue. It’s not going anywhere. Fortunately, if it looks anything like Janelle Monáe, we’re all in good hands.

While on one side of the spectrum you have absurd, semi-coherent ramblings and garbage music of Will.I.Am and The Black Eyed Peas, you still have the other side of the spectrum, and Janelle Monáe is that side of the spectrum’s rightful queen. My friends, Long Live the Queen!!

Sure, the concept album is nothing new. Nor is the album as rock opera. Yet, Monae upped the ante, with a three suite Hip Hopera that refuses to bow to cliche, genre, stereotype or whatever other limits you might have in mind. For this ambitious and well-achieved story, Metropolis, she draws from lots of various influences, although most clearly from the 1927 silent film of the same name.

There are all sorts of messianic themes, lots of sci-fi (obviously),and loads of musical talent. All this in the service of her greater message, which appears to be speaking out against prejudice and marginalization of ‘the Other.’ Oh yeah, and dancing, lots and lots of dancing.

Monáe really is a singular talent, and I really hope it isn’t long before she blesses the world with another record.

Embedding is disabled on the video below, but you would do well to watch it at YouTube.

B: Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. She is quite the woman. You’d be hard pressed to find a person of equal talent and ambition in the music industry today … especially one who seemingly flies under the radar. Sure, she’s received some commercial success here and there, but it is in no way in proportion to the quality of what she’s released. Just look at some of the artists Scott mentioned above … Will.i.am? C’mon, if awards and recognition were based solely on talent and quality of product, this chucker would be on the streets somewhere, and Ms. Monae would have to have a house dedicated solely to the housing of awards. And she’d be living the high life, and performing at the Super Bowl halftime show (how awesome would that be for the world?!) Listen to her music! It is brilliant.

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11. Childish Gambino

S: I’ve written about Donald Glover before, and I can assure you I’ll write about him again. He’s a wildly talented young artist best known as Troy on Community.
It honestly doesn’t make sense that he’d be as talented an emcee as he is.

He’s not a joke emcee, but his rhymes are still hilarious because his turns of phrase are so cleverly turned. It proves to me that I don’t need Hip Hop to be conscious, I just need it to be smart.

I wonder if perhaps through the various creative outlets he utilizes, Glover is baring different parts of himself to the world. If so, Hip Hop is his venue for articulating his love of vice; mostly the classics, like sex and alcohol. Whatever the case, this is not a novelty project that I listen to from time to time out of mere amusement. This is as good as the rest of the Hip Hop I listen to, and better than the garbage most often on the radio.

B: Donald Glover is the man. On what other hip hop album do you get sincere props dropped to Tina Fey?

Maybe you know him from his writing days on “30 Rock”, maybe you know him from his comedy troupe, “Derrick Comedy”, or maybe you know him for what most people do, Troy from “Community”. However you know him, be prepared to know him differently. Be prepared to know him as Childish Gambino.

Childish Gambino first came onto the radar of RtM when he released two different mix tapes earlier in 2010. He rapped over indie songs. And it was good. Really good. Surprisingly good. You can download them for free here and here.

You wonder where he finds the time and the talent to do all that he does. Between his writing, his standup act, his role on Community, he not only writes all the lyrics for his tracks, but he makes the beats and produces too. He is a phenom. Like Scotty said, it doesn’t make sense how good he is at everything he does. Let’s hope he doesn’t burn out from doing too much. Can’t wait for the next mixtape to drop!

It’s impossible to pick a Childish Gambino song to include, fortunately, you can download it all for free so that makes it easy to listen for yourself. Here he is rapping over a Grizzly Bear song.

Also, here he is showing he can make music that isn’t Hip Hop, that is still great.

My Favorite Books I Read in 2010 (aka, I didn’t read enough last year)

Scott is a machine when it comes to consuming media of different types. And I don’t mean mindlessly consuming media like some idiot who watches primetime CBS. He consumes, and critiques. He delves into it … looking through a pair of finely tuned lenses. You all have seen the brilliant stuff he’s written on here about everything from Kanye to China Miéville, and many things in between … why am I saying all of this??? Well, for one, to kiss his ass because I don’t have a non-music list up yet, but the other reason is to comment on my own lack of consumption … especially when it comes to books.

Last year, I read maybe ten books. Maybe more. But not many more. Luckily, because I live with such well read, lovely people, the quality of these books was high to quite high.

So, here they are, my three favorite books I read in 2010 … (apologies for overlap with Scott’s list)

1. The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak


I suppose in some twisted way, it makes sense that a book that is so painfully human is narrated by Death.

Like Scott, I wept and sobbed tears of the bittersweet variety over the last thirty pages or so. The way Zusak employs the theme of duality, both of people and of words, is breathtaking. The book is so filled to the brim with truth. In the end, when I did find myself sobbing at the pages, it wasn’t so much because of tragedy, but because the hope was so overwhelming in the midst of tragedy. Read this book!

2. No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy


I read four of McCarthy’s works last year: the above mentioned No Country …, The Road, Blood Meridian, and a play called “The Stonemason”. Each word, each paragraph, page, chapter; each book I read, further cemented Mr. McCarthy as one of my favorite authors. To be honest, the choice of No Country was completely arbitrary. Any of his works could be on my list. Scott already spoke of the sparse writing style McCarthy uses in The Road, and it is no different in No Country. Most of us have probably seen the Brothers Coen adaptation on the silver screen. Yes, they are brilliant filmmakers, and it certainly helps when the story you are adapting is so perfectly written. Chigurh’s menacing, stoic demeanor jumps off each page. The tension is perfectly built. McCarthy wrote one of the most terrifying villians in literature in the character of Anton Chigurh.

3. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers

I have already written about this book a bit here. But I want to reiterate a few things.

You know when you read something, watch something, see something that so intensely resonates with your soul that you cannot shake it for weeks, even months? That was this book for me.

It’s a book about searching. A book about learning and understanding yourself. The struggle to be understood by your peers. This is what I got from it, ultimately: we are all very different. We come from different places, backgrounds, experiences. We may never see eye to eye on certain things. We may never resolve differences that may exist between us, but when it comes down to it, we are all people. We are all lonely at one time or another. And maybe it is that longing that will always bring people together despite their differences. Maybe I missed a point that was devoid of hope … but I’ll stick with hope.

Epic. Meal. Time.

So I know the gauntlet has been thrown down by Scotty, and my book list from 2010 is forthcoming … but this couldn’t wait …

The evolution of the cooking television show. Julia Child. (Washington’s own) Frugal Gourmet, Yan Can Cook, Emeril, Rachael Ray, along with a plethora of others. In fact, the market is damn near oversaturated now, if not there already. The problem is, a lot of them are the same. These chuckers are all cooking the same shit.

Well, the gangstas over at Epic Meal Time, are cooking up something very, very different. These motherfuckers cook shit you ain’t never thought of … because these douchebags aren’t chefs, they’re just a bunch of dudes … from Canada.

Presented for your approval: Epic Meal Time.

just getting started, part one. [music, the many lists of 2010.]

This list has been in the works for far too long, as we’ve been adding more and more bands. Thus, here is part one, and we’ll get your part two very soon. Promise.

These are bands that are still early in their careers, maybe this is their first album, maybe it’s their sophomore work, either way, they’re artists on the rise. Each of these bands has us crazy excited to see what comes next, in what will hopefully be long careers marked by innovation and talent.

1. The Local Natives – Gorilla Manor

Brian: The Local Natives make catchy indie pop tunes with tight harmonies, and catchy melodies. I’m trying hard not to compare them to other bands, but that proves be to a bit hard, anyway. Scott does a fantastic job of articulating this better than I could.

The record is really catchy. I feel like The Local Natives are one of only a handful of bands (a large handful, considering how many bands are out there) that can make an album full of songs where none deserve to be skipped. Every song could be a hit.

Scott: I got this album thanks to last.fm. “Sun Hands” kept playing on my listener radio, and before I knew it, I’d bought the CD and was hooked. With all the bands I’ve been hearing about forever, only to finally get around to listening, it was nice to have a band come completely out of left field like this. They weren’t on my radar at all, and I went from having never heard of them to having them constantly in my playlists in mere days.

Gorilla Manor reminds me of Vampire Weekend, in that the band plays with various “World” rhythm styles at times. The album also reminds me again of Vampire Weekend, and also of Grizzly Bear, in that they are at once fun and earnest. According to Wikipedia, they are actually at times referred to as a sort of “West Coast Grizzly Bear.” Which, in one sense, is fair, while in another is a bit too dismissive of what The Local Natives bring to the table.

Either way, this album is good listening!

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2. Holy Fuck – Latin

B: Holy Fuck are a different type of electronic band … when you think of the electronic genre, maybe you first think of instrument loops and programmed elements. Holy Fuck does whatever they can to leave those conventions behind for live instrumentation. This aspect almost lends an organic, improvisational feel to their music as compared to more traditional electronic acts.

Latin, Holy Fuck’s latest offering, is fun and energetic. It possesses the raw, live feel of a show, but it is also polished and tight. They seem to have found their niche, and are clearly excelling. It is very safe to say that we here at RtM are excited to see what else Holy Fuck comes to the table with moving forward.

S: Holy Fuck offer exactly what I would expect from a band called Holy Fuck, a fun, sexy, electronic party in musical form.

Like Brian said, you won’t find electronica here. We get a band who avoids that overused subgenre to remind us all that electronic music is far bigger than music for a rave, a big part of it is using real drums and bass. It sounds like these guys love playing music together, and the fun they have making it works its way into your earholes and keeps your mind-grapes juicy.

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3. Lay Low – Farewell Good Night’s Sleep

S: Sparse, gentle, adorable American folk/country… from Iceland. Lay Low is great music for the dreary days of Reykjavík or Seattle.

Like so many great artists, this music can be the soundtrack for a broken heart. Not angry, no wallowing, this is a lullaby, a gentle kiss to see you off to sleep in the hopes that things will be a little better in the morning.

B: I agree. Lay Low’s music is  bluesy, folky, and country all wrapped into a nice little package that sounds like the music you’d hear on 1970s AM radio. She plays music that sounds old, and seems to sing from the heart of an old soul. The way the record was recorded sounds as if it should be played on vinyl and would totally blend in seamlessly when played after that George Jones record your dad used to play.

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4. Yeasayer – Odd Blood


S: I fell fast. I fell hard. This love was made to last forever.

I’ve already written enough about this album here.

B: These guys are pretty awesome. We knew this after 2007’s All Hour Cymbals. But, if there was any question, they’ve left no doubts now. Odd Blood is a complete album. It is dynamic in its pacing and contrast. There may not be a better pair of back to back songs than “Madder Red” and “O.N.E.”, though each track prior and after is pretty damn awesome too. The trajectory of Yeasayer after their first two albums is straight up, with no slump in site. To quote Spin magazine’s review of Odd Blood, “Where did this come from, and what’s coming next?”

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5. Breathe Owl Breathe – Magic Central

B: Beardy, caped goodness.

Apparently, Breathe Owl Breathe have been known to wear capes while performing. Lead vocalist Micah Middaugh has a pretty epic beard (even by indie standards). I will not be convinced otherwise that these two factors lead to the greatness of this band. Magic Central is an album full of acoustic guitars, cello, banjo, and soothing male/female vocals. It’s lovely Michigan-made music that sounds like it was made in and for the Pacific Northwest.

S: I’ve already done this with Local Natives, but I need to give credit where credit is due. Whereas I got into The Local Natives because of last.fm, I discovered Breathe Owl Breathe thanks to the greatest radio station in the universe, KEXP. Afternoon DJ Kevin Cole kept playing their music and singing the praises of this year’s album, Magic Central.

I enjoyed “Dogwalkers of the New Age” enough to pick up the whole album, and the rest is history. Brian’s right, you can practically hear the beard in Micah’s vocals, which are sweet and soft and perfect for story-time. I have really terrible insomnia, but I bet that if this man read to me every night, I would be sleeping peacefully in no time.

Really folks, this is beautiful stuff.