Monday, February 29, 2016

The Oscars.

I have no complaints.

Chris Rock nailed it.

Mad Max: Fury Road did really well.

The Best Acting awards seemed to go to the right nominees.

The Best Picture upset was a pleasant surprise.

Wait, I have one complaint.

How the fuck does the worst Bond theme song of all time lose out to a truly impassioned piece of art penned by Lady GaGa and Diane Warren?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The BRIT Awards tribute to Bowie put the Grammys to shame.

This is everything the Grammys David Bowie tribute should have been. His actual last touring band giving an instrumental nod to his vast catalog and a mind-blowing full performance of a single song.

Also, getting heartfelt intros from Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman doesn't hurt either.

After watching this and comparing it to the American treatment of Bowie's legacy I think you'll be saying Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow, indeed.

[Thanks to Jen for passing this along to me.]

Keeping odd hours.

Current view.
Most nights I'm asleep by 10 p.m. or so. But then I'm up again at 2 a.m. or so. And can't get back to sleep. So that means I spend a lot of time in the twilight, silent hours that see no movement; at least near my house. I see turbulence through my social feeds—recognizing many I know are still actively working, even, in jobs that often start at 11 p.m.—and I feel disconnected. So much activity while I feel held in suspension.

I am no longer part of that life. And haven't been for quite a while. But I'm also still unable to adapt my sleep schedule to that which an average person would call "normal." The plus side is that it allows me to take in an immense amount of TV, RSS feeds, and catch up on reading those physical things called "books"—but the down side is that weird disconnection of feeling you're the only person on earth for one fifth of the day.


I actually just looked through the music on my computer, searching for something to sort of tie this together. End this fragment of an observation in something that felt like a conclusion, even if it was clumsy, since I can't quite find where this particular thought is supposed to land in any way that feels satisfactory. But nothing hit home. Felt right. Felt appropriate.

Maybe I'm forcing it. Let's try again.


Nope. No song feels right.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


My mom turned 70 last week, and when I spoke to her on her birthday I playfully teased her about being old. She pointed out that she didn't feel old, and asked me what age I felt I was. It turns out we both felt pretty much exactly like we did in our mid-30s. Despite being decades apart in age we both felt roughly he same age. We're both wiser, but we both still have a youthful outlook. Well, youthful-ish.

It's not like I had never made this connection before. I'm self-aware enough to get that. But there was something more concrete about having this conversation with my mom.

I'm getting older. And to a lot of people I'm probably already "old." That's a weird thing to struggle with for someone like me.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

BJ the Chicago Kid is 'Turnin Me Up.'

The entire debut album from BJ the Chicago Kid is worth your time, but the standout tracks are easily  the extremely sexy "The New Cupid" and the wildly funky "Turnin' Me Up." The latter especially calls to mind the glory days of earlier output from Motown, the label BJ's on. So spin it and starta little dance party at your desk or on your couch or, if you're lucky enough, under the sheets with someone you dig.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sick day.

Mich and I are both home sick today. The non-stop activities of the weekend never gave our immune systems a chance to kick into gear so maybe a day of just laying low and resting will help both of us get back into gear.

I hate wasting vacation days on actually being sick. Blerg.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A feel good song for this glimpse of spring.

Photo via LissA's Facebook page
Usually the notion of someone trying to cover Gorillaz would fill me with dread, but this laidback little slice of eletro-pop by filous and LissA manages to do the song justice.

That's it. That's all I really have for now.

Now, if you're in Chicago, go back to staring out your office windows, wishing you were outside enjoying this 55ยบ February weather.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Kanye West takes a second to cool down and remind everyone he's a human who makes mistakes and misstatements.

After weeks of unleashing a firehose of shade, boasts, begging and unfortunate declarations on his Twitter feed, yesterday Kanye West did something truly unexpected. West stopped, took a breath, and displayed the human core that so many people find most appealing about him.

Also, West's new album is finally streaming on his website, so you no longer need a TIDAL subscription to hear it. This could be in advance of him finally releasing a downloadable version within the next couple of days. West has posted the full album credits on his site as well, in case you'd like to dig into the long list of his collaborators.

 And don't forget to check out my review of The Life Of Pablo if you haven't yet!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Kanye West review is live.

Photo via Kanye West's Twitter
Read my review. Quickly. Before Kanye releases yet another version of The Life Of Pablo with yet another different tracklist or something.

You think I'm kidding?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


You have to be kidding me.

Thank god I downloaded the damn thing before he took it off sale. Also, this.

Maybe I wasn't so far off on the "album being a fluid thing" thing? I will say it's making it really hard for me to review since a) if it's not done how can I review it? and b) the context within which to evaluate it constantly fluctuating and changing with Kanye's actions hour by hour at this point.

At least we all know one thing: this will probably rend up being the biggest music story of the year. And I'm sure Kanye wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Rediscovering 'The Man Who Fell To Earth.'

Over the weekend I watched The Man Who Fell To Earth three times. Twice it was just randomly playing on the TV when I woke up in the middle of the night and turned it on until I felt sleepy again. And the third was because after watching most of part of it twice I needed to see the whole thing from beginning to end.

I still think it's a criminally overlooked piece of cinema. There is a lot of great stuff in it, and yes the story feels a little fractured but if yo watch the original cut (and especially if you read the book) things make a lot more sense. But the movie is more about the feel f the moments, and the humanness (even the distant Bowie) of the characters. And it also captures a moment in time, a very '70s moment, despite it ostensibly being a science fiction film.

The other thing I discovered this time around is just how fabulous the soundtrack is. It's incredibly varied but every musical piece, even the ones meant to provide a visual / audio dissonance, fits the movie perfectly. It's too bad an actual soundtrack with a all the music was commercially released.

Also, sadly, it's long out of print. I have no idea what Criterion hasn't re-released it. Luckily I still have the DVD version, but I'd love to upgrade. If you have cable you can stream it on ENCORE. If you don't , come on over and I'll have a viewing!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Pablo!

I can't tell if this is a challenging new paradigm or a really botched roll out, but the Kanye West situation with The Life Of Pablo's release is just bonkers. The only good news, aside from him seemingly keeping his own album hostage? The news he's basically doubling the length of the album. Which is good news because yesterday's "listening party" revealed a work that felt a little half baked in too many places, and I think Kanye is better than that.

Image via Kanye's Twitter
Maybe we're just in an era where albums are fluid things instead of final, static works of art? These are things I will explore in my review .... providing the album every actually comes out.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Stress cracks.

It's been a trying week on a number of levels but I'm starting to feel like I'm catching up with everything (and everything is finally starting to adjust to me). I actually do enjoy juggling as much as I do in my life—I'd be terribly bored if I wasn't this busy—but even I am not a robot that can plug away non-stop.

Maybe I'll take a little "me time" and listen to the livestream of Kanye's new album later today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bust a move with New Move.

Portland's Jesse Bettis traffics in sounds under the name New Move. The dude may have a beard but there's nothing Portlandia about his tunes. Instead of hipster noodling the band's self-titled debut delivers classic and timeless power-pop.*

Over ten songs he delivers catchy, crunchy melodies and an occasional blast of baritone sax (which when employed actually sounds more like a sawing wave of growling distortion that actually creates lovely but rugged counterpoints to the melodies floating overhead).

Stream New Move below and consider throwing in a few bucks to download it and get a CD or LP.

*Yes, I know Portland isn't populated by only hipster bands. I was making a joke.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cities paying for stadiums to attract sports teams is total bullshit.

That's why this guy is my hero. He bought a local ad in St. Louis during the Superbowl and highlighted just how badly professional sports franchises fuck people over.

[h/t/ The Beachwood Reporter]

Monday, February 08, 2016

Getting my bearings.

It was a heck of a weekend, followed up by an early client meeting to kick off the work week, which means I missed out on my Monday morning workout. Oddly the gym really helps center me—must be something about starting the day off right or at least with a solid, positive routine—so I'm feeling a little off balance tonight. Maybe retiring early to ensure I get a full eight hours is in order?

Also, how much of an old man do I sound like?!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Mass Gothic is massively good.

Mass Gothic is playing a Schubas tomorrow. You should go if you can. His debut is one of those albums I am most digging so far in the new year.

Here's a taste, Now go buy some tickets.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

One last time for School Of Seven Bells.

School Of Seven Bells went from being a trio, to a duo, to being a single and final studio project. The band effectively ceased to exist with the passing of Benjamin Curtis—a shocking development and a perfect example of someone who is truly talented being plucked from the earth far too soon—but Alejandra Deheza quietly finished the record they had been working on when he grew ill.

That album, SVIIB, is actually peppier and poppier than one would expect to come out of the trying circumstances surrounding its genesis. But there you have it.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Seriously... with David Bowie.

Dave strikes again with an excellent find! He forwarded me this excellent BBC production that takes interviews with David Bowie and reconstructs his career from it's genesis through the '70s.It's excellent.

And the interview is only available for 30 days so after you stream it below, I highly recommend downloading it for posterity.

I'm going through a bit of a Bowie phase, obviously. Immediately after his death I couldn't listen to any of his music or interviews. It's that weird period of shock when you're simultaneously numb and afraid to expose yourself to the person you're mourning for fear it'll erupt in emotions you can't focus. It's a period of avoidance and denial. But I'm finally shifting into the phase where I submerge myself in celebration of the difference the deceased made in my life (and so many others).

Anyway, enjoy the interview.

UPDATE: Apparently you can't embed the BBC player on a U.S. website? So definitely go and download the interview now!