Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fighting for Candy Canes: Songs of 2011

Its the time of year when I put together my favorite songs for the year. If you are having a hard time finding any of these, send me an e-mail, I'll point you in the right direction!

01 Good Times Bad Times, Led Zeppelin
This is the first year I’ve put a Zeppelin song on my list, which shocked me when I realized it. This song was the first song on their first record, and therefore, I thought it was a great way to start this year’s list. Face it, this song rocks.

02 Bizness, Tune Yards
I knew this song was going on the list the first time I heard it. I love the horn section and the rhythm. It’s a very pleasant plea for life.

03 Loosers, The Belle Brigade
This song seems to be an answer to Beck and Radiohead. A new looser anthem! The feel good song of the year! It does have a swear in it. Sorry.

04 Crown of Love, The Arcade Fire
Funeral. The album I should have been listening to years and years ago. I guess I didn’t give it a chance because the guys from U2 absolutely loved it. This year it has been in heavy rotation. I had a hard time choosing which song, because Funeral is an extremely cohesive album, so pulling a song out of it feels odd. My wife has pointed out that I love songs with tempo changes. Maybe that is why I chose this one.

05 Do-Wacka-Do, Roger Miller
How can you not love this song? How can you not be jealous of a guy driving a Cadillac full of girls and cash? Proceed with caution. This tune can get stuck in your head, and if you find yourself singing the tune a lot, you may really get under the skin of your loved ones.

06 Maker, The Moth & the Flame
Thanks James Krause! He took me to a Fictionist concert in Logan where The Moth & the Flame played. Fictionist was great, but I really got sucked into the Moth & the Flame. A few weeks later the album came out. I think it has to be the best “Utah Band” album I’ve ever heard. I really appreciate the interplay between the guitar and the organ. Here comes another song with a change in tempo.

07 Greenback Boogie, Ima Robot
I don’t know why I like this one, I just do, so deal with it.

08 One Red Thread, Blind Pilot
Yet another change in tempo! This song just feels right. Nothing complicated going on, it just sits right with me.

09 Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes
I’ve been listening to the fleet foxes for a while, always thinking they had potential, but I think most of their songs have felt a little lacking in overall direction, so when I heard this song I was very pleased. Musically, it has great direction. Lyrically, it’s even better. I love the concept of these young guys (they are quite young) grappling with what they have to offer the world, and really wanting to contribute in some valuable way. This might be the best song of the year. (Another tempo change. I think my wife is right.)

10 Stranded, The Walkmen
I love the horns and melody on this one. I can thank KEXP for playing this one. This song sounds like it belongs to one of the old crooners.

11 Dawned On Me, Wilco
Wilco’s latest album is probably the best since Ghost is Born. You can tell on this song that Jeff Tweedy’s outlook is somewhat sunny these days, which has been known to take the proverbial wind out of the sails of many great bands. I think this song still manages to maintain a great vibe and edge.

12 Know Better Learn Faster, Thao With the Get Down Stay Down
This song comes from another album under the same name that I just keep coming back to. I really had a hard time choosing which song I should choose, it’s a great little album. I kept thinking “wow, this song reminds me of Andrew Bird. I finally googled it. Yup, Andrew Bird worked with Thao on the track.

13 Jodi, The Dodos
Hang on for your life. This song doesn’t ever let you catch your breath, much like many songs from the Dodos. This song feels like hipster punk. Hey, a new genre!

14 House of Diamonds, Bowerbirds
Sometimes there is just something special about a chord progression. For me this is one of those. I just can’t help getting sucked into the mood. It’s got a nice little chorus as well.

15 Jean Genie, David Bowie
I had no idea this was David Bowie! When I looked it up, I was surprised. It’s just not the kind of sound I associate with him. That being said, if David Bowie was going to do old school blues rock, this is definitely what you would expect.

16 Home, The Moth & the Flame
Another song from the Moth & the Flame. This is meant to send a message: listen to Moth & the Flame. I love the sentiment of this song.

17 One Sunday Morning, Wilco
12 minutes. That is a long song, and yet I don’t get tired of it. I’m not really quite sure why.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Barnum & Bailey Christmas

So, Every year some friends and I choose the songs that we've really enjoyed in the year, and put together a little mix CD. Here is this years list, complete with cover art. Check out these songs!

Open spaces, Johnny Greenwood- This year I went on a real classical kick. I listened to an NPR list of 50 top classical albums. I read about all the composers in the list. Then I never returned to it. This track was not among the music NPR suggested, but I think it was the catalyst for my classical listening.

The Clap, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down- I like clapping ever so much, and I originally wantedthis to start the compilation, but I felt that Open Spaces fit their better. Consider “Open Spaces” and “The Clap” as the “overture.”

See Fernando, Jenny Lewis- While I don’t see myself partaking of “a bottle of suds” anytime soon, I think I’d be more tempted if it were offered to me by Fernando.

Start A War, The National- I love this track. I love this voice. This was the first of two groups that I discovered this year only to realize that Chris had recently posted music from them on previous compilations. The other band was Vampire Weekend. I like how this song could have so easily erupted, and somehow didn’t. It’s right on that edge.

The Breeze, Dr. Dog –I don’t know exactly why I like this track, I just do, so stuff it.

Please Do Not go, Violent Femmes – This was the year that I the Violent Femmes made a somewhat unexpected return into heavy rotation. Do you realize how old this music is? It reminds me of high school, but in reality, it should remind me of kindergarten.

Truckin,’ Grateful dead- I don’t get the Grateful Dead. Never have. But I like this song.

Lomhlaba Kawunoni, Ladysmith Black Mambazo- I first heard Ladysmith Black Mambazo when I was just a little kid, and loved them right away, although I had no idea to whom I was listening. It was only this year that I discovered the secret behind those great African vocals on Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” Ladysmith Black Mambazo were brought into the studio, but they’ve recorded a bunch of stuff on their own. What an incredible sound. Since we had an overture, let’s call this the “entr'actes”

People are strange, The Doors- “Women seem wicked when you’re alone.” Truer words were never spoken (well, with the exception of “leggo my eggo!”). The Doors are weird. Jim Morrison was whacked out. I guess that is why I love them so.

You got yr. cherry bomb, Spoon- Give me a steady upbeat tempo & I tend to be hooked. I love the horns on this track. I also am aware of the fact that it causes my foot to tap involuntarily.

Where is my mind, the pixies- I watched a Pixies documentary this year. What a cool band. I had a really hard time choosing a track, but in the end, I couldn’t resist playing my favorite from days gone by.

Acid tongue, Jenny Lewis- Jenny Lewis says it how it is, and apparently she is a liar. So am I, sometimes.

World news, local natives- I could have put several tracks from Gorilla Manor on this list. James & I hired lawyers & spent several thousand dollars working up a mutually favorable agreement in terms of who got which song. Clearly, I hired the better lawyer.

Laminated Cat, Jeff tweedy (sunken treasure)- And you thought I might put together a compilation list that contained no Jeff Tweedy. Ha. Think again. Laminated Cat became my favorite song to play on the guitar this year. I love these lyrics despite my general optimism. “Springtime comes and the leaves are back on the trees again, snipers are harder to see, my friends.” (Chris, be warned.)

Like the Ocean PT 1 & 2, the Besnard Lakes- I liked these 2 tracks. The rest of the album sounded about the same. These tracks almost got deleted. The reason they stuck on is that they used a guitar technique that got heavy use on “Loveless,” by My bloody Valentine. I like it when things go a bit out of tune for a moment or two.

Band on the run, Wings- James & his wife joined my wife and I for a trip through some of the best music of the last 50 years- Paul McCartney Live! It was an excellent concert, and Sir. Paul, my third favorite Beatle, was incredible. I’ve always liked this track; probably more than anything else he has done post Beatles.

I’m waiting for the man, the velvet underground- This is also the year that I finally realized what the deal was with the Velvet Underground. I guess I just had never given them a good listen. I almost put “Heroin” on the list, but in the end I wanted something a bit more upbeat.

Pretty Birds, Fictionist- I usually dislike local bands in Utah. They tend to either be really heavy, trying to buck the Utah culture, or they tend to sound like another happy day in happy valley. Fictionist is a local band that I think deserves international attention. This is a live (in studio) performance of Pretty Birds. I tried to get a better copy, but failed. This was recorded off of YouTube, but I think the soundis pretty good.

I stand corrected, Vampire Weekend- Frankly, I could have put 60% of the Vampire Weekend album on this list, and maybe one track from Contra. As a whole, listening to Vampire Weekend (the album) is such a great mix of sounds, and the drumming is incredible.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Audrey & Bethany love their cousins! We were so glad they came up to spend a few days. Everyone got to spend some time bike riding :) eating good food, and I had a riot shooting with all the lovely ladies!

(ps, you can full-screen it) and here are some of my favorites too..

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Am I crazy, or what? I feel, at my age, I should know better. I know there are only 24 hours in a day. I know there are only 7 days in a week. Why then do I set out to accomplish so much more than I can ever manage? Ha ha. For example, I started out with the idea of sewing a simple quilt for our two girls, which then turned into 2 more complicated quilts, which then turned into 4 quilts and hosting an I-Spy Kitty cat fabric swap. (2 more spots if anyone or their girls like cats) Also, trying to figure out a way not to have to cut out dozens of butterflies by hand (anyone have a Sizzix Big Kick?) And then all of the other daily things that should be required of a mother, but I love it all. Truly, I love being where I am and couldn't have better girls in the world. So, maybe someday I'll try being more practical, but for now I'm having too much fun.

Friday, July 16, 2010

going private?

I've been thinking about making this a private blog for a long time, and maybe now is the time to do it. I'm not really worried, but I guess I'll be able to be a bit more liberal with some information. Ooh... that sounds exciting, huh? No, I don't have anything too interesting that we're concealing, but I suppose I will leave it at that :) I'd like to say I'll post more often... but let's be honest, I probably won't.
So if you would like to be added to the illustrious list, send us your email. Really, we're happy to share and are not picky at all about who views our blog, as long as we know who you are.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hmm.. I guess we haven't posted for a while. Yes, we are still alive and now radon free in our house, which is nice.... Also, we are mostly healthy (which I hesitate to post this as it seems whenever I admit we're all healthy something changes). We've gone camping (see Doug's "dads pics") where Bethany spent most of the time swinging and Audrey got to enjoy her cute cousins. We had fun watching fireworks with some friends and talking about taking photos, and BBQ'ing at the Cache Valley Cruise-In, which was interesting, and we saw some fun cars (including the "monkey car" which was the girls favorite). I started a quilt with the original idea from obsessively stitching who does an awesome job breaking it down for those of us who don't sew. As always, I made it more complicated and time consuming and will probably be working on it for several more weeks, but we will see how it goes... I'm not sure if I will like the quilts, but at least the girls will. We hope to get out and play more this summer in this nice weather and hopefully our garden will finally do some growing. I haven't taken any photos for a long time and hope to remedy that soon for the next post in a month or two :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

poison in the air, flowers everywhere

Turns out our lovely home contains radioactive gasses, from the breakdown of uranium to be precise. Radon baby. Radon is the 2nd highest cause of lung cancer. Apparently this may be more common in quaint little Cache Valley than one might expect. We now know that several people in our area have radon problems in their homes as well. Looks like we'll be installing a mitigation system. It might be worth it to check your own homes.