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Dick Danger

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(5 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

I'm moving [04 Jan 2009|06:45pm]
This has gone on for a while, and I'm keeping it around for the old entries, but my primary posting will be in blogspot from now on. It is more mature and less high school-ish. I know some of you are looking for those year-end lists, so go over to Kleeb Verses The World and check it out.

It's been fun!

(this one bud)

Kleeb The Tool Man [15 Sep 2008|07:10pm]
It's now September. My 23rd birthday is around the corner. I've given up all drinking and smoking and eating during the day for Ramadan. I'm teaching drum lessons and tutoring Physics. I'm running sound occasionally and actually attending class. Things are looking up. With a surplus in money, it's time to fix all those things that have been breaking. Let's look at what I've done so far:

Speakers: The 2 Sunn 2-way speakers I picked up in July were only $150 for a reason. They're almost 50 years old. After a few summer parties, they didn't blow out, but the surrounds disintegrated. I ordered some foam surrounds from Parts Express, and after a few grueling hours of gluing, they're working perfectly.

Closet: I have a stand-alone closet that can't seem to handle the weight of my blazers. Some hooks and shoestrings, and we're back in business (for now)

Printer: Turns out this just needed new ink cartridges. And I thought it wasn't compatible with a Mac.

To-Do List:

Bike: Wow is this a work in progress. Already replaced the tires. Paid my $30 dues to join the cycling club so I could work on it with no charge for labor. Need new brake pads, probably a new chain. Want to take it down to a single speed. Need lights. It's going to be a major major overhaul. I'm feelin good about it though.

Turntable: What a disaster. My luxurious Technics turntable has too many problems to list. The arm pulls off before the record ends. The pickups don't work properly, but I think I narrowed that problem down to the cartridge and/or needle. I spray it with loads of contact cleaner and it works properly. If only I could fix the mechanical part. It's almost too much work to play vinyl.

Piano: Yes, I will attempt to tune the free upright piano I got on craigslist. Why? why the hell not.



Also coming up this semester: Building a theremin and in some way or another, getting that 100 watt power amp to power these speakers properly.

I love September. Now, for the annual nail-biting end of the Phillies regular season. Oh and did I mention the Packers are amazing with Aaron Rodgers? Who knew.

Life is great again.

(8 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

Thoughts on Graduating [24 Aug 2008|10:49am]
As the eve of my last semester at Penn State arrives, I can't help but feel despair/loneliness/confusion. I have no plans after graduation. I have massive loans to pay off. I need to travel. I need to live on the west coast. I need to play music again, and take it seriously. My best friends have mostly moved away. I finally feel that I have exhausted my stay at this university.

I'm living in the basement of a house that used to be a sorority house. Half of the house still is, and it creates a strange dynamic. They love love love to drink and party. I'm kind of over it. Last night I sat and listened to records and made some Indian food and felt utterly lonely. This lifestyle isn't for me anymore, especially here in party central.

My friend Shafni suggested I observe Ramadan with him. No drinking, weed, tobacco, impure thoughts, etc for the month of September. Also, no eating or drinking during daylight hours. I think I need something like this to just cleanse my mind and body for a while. I'm going to be 23 in a month and I feel old. I need a change.

With that in mind, I've been going over several options for the future:

1. Take a few years off and SERIOUSLY play music. I have the recording equipment. I have the background. I have musicians that I can work with. I just don't want to be in Wilkes-Barre living in my parents' house. I can get minimal health care and bypass my loans for a bit. This is ideally what I want to do.

2. Get an EE job and pay off as much of my loans as possible. This could be meshed into #1 as well, but I feel like if I had a serious income job, I wouldn't put as much effort into music. It would be ridiculously easy to make ends meet with a formidable company, and I could probably live in any city I want. We could probably afford much better microphones as well. Because of my music tech minor, I could get jobs in any of the following fields and be pretty happy:

-Audio Engineering (microphone and speaker design, digital filter design, amplifier design, etc)
-Recording and Mixing
-Sound Design (Incidental music for theatre, movie soundtracks, etc)
-Live sound


3. Travel - Take time off and travel. Maybe go to Asia, maybe go to Europe. I want to hike Machu Picchu. I want to SEE more things. I've only ever been to the UK and Canada. There's so much more of the world to experience. However, this requires cash money, and that is something I lack.

4. Graduate School - Something I really don't want to do, but if I need more time to figure things out, it might be a good idea. I really can't afford it though. Oh yeah, having a masters in something specific (Audio Engineering) rather than something broad (Electrical Engineering) would probably help.



Now, the second thing to decide is WHERE. This is a short list of cities I've been considering. It is changing daily.

1. Portland - I have never been here. Maybe that is why it's #1. It's environmentally aware, progressive, very liberal, and there's so much NATURE! Mountains, forests, oceans, beaches. Maybe it was the Dharma Bums that pushed this city to #1, but I need more nature than I need culture. Portland probably has a good mix. (Seattle would be fine too. Still need to visit these places)

2. San Francisco - Obviously. Liberal. Bayside. Laid back. North Beach. Haight Ashbury. You really can't beat it. Way expensive though.

3. Washington D.C. - Stock has been rising lately for the nation's capital. Great music. Centralized. Lots and lots of higher education. Public transportation is SO clean. It has a good vibe.

4. Boston - Chowdaaaaaa! I've only been here once but I had a killer time. Really old school, right on the bay. Lots of independent vendors and colonial-style buildings. Also really scholarly. Can't help but throw this one into the mix because it's so damn awesome.

5. Chicago - Despite almost getting killed twice during my vacation here, this place rules. Big city, laid-back feeling. Lake Michigan is nearby. Giant parks. Really awesome mid-west feeling.

6. Philadelphia - The City of Brotherly Love will always hold a place in my heart. The only reason it is so low is because I've been here a lot. I know Philly well, and I don't dislike it. However, I need to experience different parts of the country. Don't want to live 2 hours from home. Maybe in the future. Not quite yet.

7. New York City - eww. Too fast-paced. If I must, I must.


Anyway, hopefully I can pick a good path over the next few months. Until then, it's back to the grind. 12 more credits until salvation.

(this one bud)

Election 2008 [24 Jul 2008|08:20pm]
I have a problem with politics, in that I am both massively interested and completely passive to it simultaneously.

I go through phases where I am literally on fire about my political views. I want people to know what a dire time this is and how Obama is going to save us from certain political doom, yadda yadda yadda. On the other hand, I sometimes feel that it is two sides of the same coin. Or in Harvey Dent's case, one more corrupt side and one less corrupt side. But yes, politics is ALWAYS going to be the enemy and there's nothing we can do about it, no matter who is in office. Politicians will inherently vote within the greedy, money-driven system no matter what. There is no compassion. There is no emotion.

In my lifetime, I have never seen a politician garner as much attention as Barack Obama. It is very scary. He is a celebrity. He is a pop icon. If he becomes president, people will practically worship him. Now, I agree with many of his viewpoints, and I think it is a better idea than electing John McCain, but do politics really matter that much in my daily life? Almost every time I read about politics I get angry, upset, unhappy, or generally depressed. It is never a happy subject. It never brings people together. It is argumentative and pushy. Everyone who has political views is right. Which means everyone else is wrong. Which doesn't leave much room for acceptance. How can such a system be the basis for ruling a country? It has come to the point where Democrats and Republicans REFUSE to even consider the other party. Hell, I remember liking McCain in 2000. Now he's the enemy and I will stop at nothing to block his path to the white house.

The idea of politics is driving the country mad. As this election heats up, more and more people are going to be stubborn and more and more people are going to be angry and upset and close-minded. It's not even about racism as much as it is about red and blue. There's no fence jumping anymore. Your party is set and stone, so start slinging mud to the other side, because whoever looks the worst in the eyes of the media come November will surely lose.

I can't stand politics.

(12 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

Addendum [20 May 2008|03:12am]
While I was waxing philosophically about the last post I made, I was simultaneously creating a cooking blog for poor college students.

www.psupotluck.blogspot.com

Since people our age tend to cook fast and cheap, I figured this would help to expand our makeshift recipe books. If you want to write, give me your email address.

(1 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

Thoughts on Sweden [20 May 2008|12:48am]
Sweden. Brooke's friend John has been visiting this week at Penn State from Sweden. In a few simple conversations, he had quite a huge impact on what has been going on in my life lately.

First off, he has a job lined up back in Sweden in June, but he's traveling around America in the meantime. He had been chopping wood in Maine for a few weeks before PSU, then he's headed to Texas to work on a ranch with a friend for a bit. He's been to Peru, Thailand, London, Spain, and I'm sure most of mainland Europe. We talked about everything, from politics to the environment to music to traveling. However, one thing stuck out most in my mind:

"There's no better feeling than being outdoors in the woods with a good friend, not having to worry about what is going on tomorrow, or what responsibilities you have, or who you have to call. Just enjoying life in the present."

I've been thinking a lot about the "information age." Google. The iPhone. Bluetooth, wireless, and all that shit. It's at the point where you can learn basically anything you want with a few clicks. I think our generation is so caught up in information that we seem to be forgetting relationships, communication, spirituality. Anything deeper than knowledge just takes a backseat.

I want to start meditating. I want to stop the rat race occasionally and just enjoy life. I want to forget that there's a million things to do, for once, and just sit down with someone and talk.

My life seems really superficial. I'm good at a lot of things. I sit down and learn songs on guitar. I go out of my way to learn how to use computer programs. I make an effort to be the best at everything I have to do. As a result, though, I feel really empty.

I'm absolutely terrible at talking to girls I'm into. I don't know if it's awkward, but I just find myself saying all the wrong things. Constantly. I'm terrible at small talk with new friends. I find myself brushing off conversation just because it feels awkward. I try to talk to my sister, because I think she's doing some really cool things, but we've never really been close so I don't know what to say. I also don't really talk to my parents. I know they'd do whatever I ask, but I've just been distancing myself from them, in addition to everyone else.

Is this utter lack of communication skills a result of putting more time into personal knowledge than people skills? Probably. I feel like I've got to take more time with some of the more important things in life. Learning things and attaining knowledge is a very high priority for me, but it's very unfulfilling.

Tomorrow I depart for Montreal to visit Drew. I'm going by myself. 7 hours there and back. I'm hoping this trip will be what I need to clear my mind and gain some sort of life-changing experience. I feel like I'm barely scraping the surface of life. I've dug deeper in the past, and I know there are great feelings down there. I want to be there again. I want to FEEL, not only be satisfied.

(this one bud)

"Nude" Remix [12 Apr 2008|04:21pm]
I spent 2 weeks working on my remix of Radiohead's "Nude."

Tell me what you think of it. I'm not asking you to vote if you dislike it, but votes are appreciated : )

http://www.radioheadremix.com/remix/?id=1362

(3 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

Drainage! [25 Mar 2008|09:35pm]
This is about a week late, but I recently saw There Will Be Blood, and it may be one of the best films ever made. Seriously. I was waiting to post my top 10 for 2007 until I saw this, and it definitely topped the list. Here goes:

1. There Will Be Blood
2. No Country For Old Men
3. Into The Wild
4. Darjeeling Limited
5. Grindhouse
6. Juno
7. Across the Universe
8. Gone Baby Gone
9. 3:10 to Yuma
10. American Gangster

good year in movies. I'm happy. Still have yet to see "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," "Persepolis," "Michael Clayton," and any of the documentaries. oh yeah, and Superbad. So we'll see.

(14 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

The Trip [04 Mar 2008|01:22pm]
I saw Into The Wild last night. I know this is a recurring theme, but my plans are finally cementing for the cross-country trip, especially after seeing this film.

My Nissan Altima is one possession that needs a proper death. The car has been across Pennsylvania several times, it made it through delivery driving for Pita Pit. It took the eastern road trip 2 summers ago through Philly, the beach, and NYC. It has been to Ocean City, MD, Washington DC, and Connecticut, to name a few.

There is no way I'm going to let that car get junked. I've decided to kill it on a cross-country trip in summer 2009. I'm going to drive it until it won't drive anymore. I'm bringing a guitar, some percussion, some microphones, and my laptop. No cell phones, no destination. No motels or hotels. Just want to see the rest of the country. I've never seen the grand canyon or the Colorado river. I've never seen Portland or Seattle. I've never been to the Great Plains. I've never seen Memphis or New Orleans. I've never been to Texas.

I've been getting so caught up in internships and recording and all this nonsense. It's fun and all, but it's all on the surface. I need a life experience.

A few things I have to worry about (that maybe someone can help me out with):

-Health care - it expires at age 23 I'm pretty sure. I know my parents are going to worry about this a lot. Maybe I should too, seeing as I'm going to be in a car for a majority of that summer.

-Loans - is there a way to bypass them without a legitimate job? I definitely will not be able to afford to pay back loans if I have no future in line.

-Money - I will spend Spring 2009 saving up for this trip, but is there an amount of money I should bring? No less than $----? I don't want to get to Nebraska and go broke.

-People - Should I line up places to stay or just wing it? Should I bring people with me? How many? Definitely not taking more than 4 in that car, especially if we have recording equipment.

-Other suggestions?

I've got to get this solidified now, so I can start making arrangements.

(4 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

[04 Feb 2008|12:37pm]
DJing parties rocks. I have a lot of fun. Even when one speaker is blown.

Cooking is amazing. I make fantastic pasta, tofu, wraps, stir frys, etc. It's like second to music.

My living room has a drumset, a guitar and amp, an acoustic, a cello, a saxophone, a keyboard, a moog, 3 harmonicas, 2 microphones, a small conga drum, a Thai whod, some kazoos and shakers. We're going to be recording soon. I love it.

I'm playing vinyls again. The preamp is temperamental. I'm going to order a new one.

My new mac rocks. I owe my life to Apple.

My classes rock. I love every single one of them.

Work rocks. I love meeting local musicians. Buying a guitar very soon.



That said...

Next week is Valentine's Day and I'm sick about it. Someone go on a date with me. I'll cook dinner and we'll watch awesome movies or something. Maybe listen to Van Morrison on vinyl while we play Scrabble or Go or Chess. Just please, no one dumb. I'm sick of dumb girls.

(1 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

[30 Jan 2008|12:54pm]
Man, I know politics have been a drag lately, but I'm all about Barack Obama. He's the man.

(9 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

List Mania [22 Jan 2008|09:07pm]
And now, a bulleted list highlighting my life since the end of Fall Semester:

-Wilkes-Barre Christmas Break! Boredom City

-Matt Gaydos, back from Wisconsin

-The board game Go (you know, from that movie Pi)

-Sweeny Todd: a humorous bloodbath

-Christmas in Connecticut: my uncle gets a Les Paul. I gawk.

-Revello's Pizza!

-The Packers defeat the Seahawks in the snow!

-Juno, a quirky tale about a pregnant indie kid....or, Garden State 2:The Next Generation

-A Vegetarian-Friendly health food store in....Luzerne?

-3 inches of snow on December 31st! Me and Bill and Scatena build snowmen and have snowball fights at Kirby Park

-Drew's Birthday! Cooler filled with absurd amounts of retarded-strong punch

-New Year's Day. We barely touched the punch

-Punch round 2 in Scranton with Bill, Brett, Gaydos, and Matt Silveri. The Bog Rocks. We get plastered

-No Country For Old Men (the book) - a gripping tale about violence in Texas

-No Country For Old Men (the movie) - Would have been better if I didn't know what was around every turn. Still great

-Annie Hall - wish I saw this one sooner

-The Nintendo Wii - worst drug ever

-Super Mario Galaxy - got halfway through in 2 days

-Legend of Zelda:Twilight Princess - got through the first dungeon in 2 days

-The Saloon in Wilkes-Barre: free cheese and crackers!

-Sabatini's Pizza: Best beer in the valley

-Back to State College! It takes me an hour to jump-start the van

-Warabak's birthday, what a mess

-New MacBook! Computers are fun again

-Copying 10,000 songs, a monotonous task

-The Dating Game: girls turn out to be either dumb or dumber. Wasting my time.

-My senior design project: amplifier, effects pedal, or theremin?

-My sound design class: composing or matching songs to movies and plays. What I was made to do.

-My Human Sexuality class: what your 9th grade teacher was afraid to say

-Drinking half a box of wine: Terrible idea

-Impromtu DJing: more fun than I thought

-Sean's birthday: I am now broke.

-Broken dishwasher: I spend most of my day scrubbing plates

-The Packers blow it in the championship game. Figures.

-Health food cooking: I'm very similar to Martha Stewart now.

-Flight of the Conchords: Best show on television

-Logan's Run: the lost Sci-Fi classic

-Akron/Family: new favorite band



So there you have it. The semester has kick-started and I'm pretty pumped about it. I'm motivated, healthy, and positive. Well, except for the binge drinking every night.

(12 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

Health [04 Jan 2008|02:54pm]
When I got home for Christmas/New Year's, I had the most horrendous diet. Still vegetarian, my house was loaded with potato chips, cookies, soda, etc. Not to mention the Christmas feast of cheese dips, stuffed baked potatos, etc, etc etc....

I started reading a lot about healthier diets. I'm vegetarian, but a horrible one. It's not much healthier. I started with black coffee. I drink about 4 cups a day, so drinking it black is essential. The two that have been difficult for me to cut are cheese and friend foods. They're just about EVERYWHERE. It's not like you can go to a bar and order a salad with your beer.

Anyway, I am considering a heavy detox diet. My metabolism is slow as fuck, and I've started running and doing ab exercises daily. Aside from black coffee and beer (only socially), I've narrowed my beverage down to water. I've also started snacking on fruits instead of nachos, etc. I don't think this is enough though. I'd like to thoroughly cleanse my body. I'd also like to stick to a stricter diet than the one I'm on, because I don't feel as healthy as I did when I first became vegetarian. I tend to overeat a lot, and snack on horrible shit like chips or chocolate.

Does anyone have any tips for detox? Stuff that definitely worked, stuff that definitely doesn't, good substitutes or meal ideas? Anything is appreciated at this point. I can't stress enough the absence of cheese, oils, fried foods, etc

I will exchange recipes as well, if you've got em.

(9 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

Top 100 Tracks of 2007 [01 Jan 2008|09:00pm]
Every year on January 1st, the top 100 songs of the year are posted. This year is no different, as I've spent most of the year gathering candidates for today's list. Before we start, here are some old song lists:


Top 100 of 2006
Top 100 of 2005
Top 100 of 2004
Top 100 of 2003
Top 100 of 2002
Top 50 of 2001

100. Wilco - You Are My Face
99. The Minor White - So, Oklahoma
98. Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver
97. M.I.A. - Paper Planes
96. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Colleen
95. Feist - 1, 2, 3, 4
94. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Forever Heavy
93. The Apples In Stereo - Sun Is Out
92. Dr. Horsemachine & the Moneynotes - My Magdalyne
91. Devendra Banhart - Lover
90. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Berlin
89. The Field - Over The Ice
88. Bill Swartwood - Space Being
87. Deerhoof - Believe E.S.P.
86. The White Stripes - Bone Broke
85. Radiohead - Jigsaw Falling Into Place
84. Animal Collective - Chores
83. Kanye West - Champion
82. Liars - Sailing To Byzantium
81. LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great
80. The Minor White - A Change In Season
79. Modest Mouse - March Into The Sea
78. Grizzly Bear - Little Brother (Electric)
77. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
76. Locksley - Let Me Know
75. Minus The Bear - When We Escape
74. The Apples in Stereo - 7 Stars
73. Panda Bear - Take Pills
72. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Sun Lips
71. Wilco - Either Way
70. The Go! Team - The Wrath of Marcie
69. LCD Soundsystem - Us v Them
68. Dr. Horsemachine & the Moneynotes - Body In My Trunk
67. Deerhoof - Matchbook Seeks Maniac
66. Radiohead - 15 Step
65. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Weapon of Choice
64. Menomena - Weird
63. Feist - My Moon My Man
62. Queens of the Stone Age - 3's & 7's
61. The White Stripes - You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)
60. Modest Mouse - Dashboard
59. Liars - Clear Island
58. Spoon - Black Like Me
57. The Go! Team - Keys To The City
56. The Apples In Stereo - Open Eyes
55. Kanye West - Good Life
54. Deerhoof - The Perfect Me
53. Animal Collective - For Reverend Green
52. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Took Out A Loan
51. The Arcade Fire - Antichrist Television Blues
50. Devendra Banhart - Tonada Yanomaninista
49. Minus The Bear - Lotus
48. Dan Deacon - The Crystal Cat
47. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - A Bottle of Buckie
46. Modest Mouse - Spitting Venom
45. The White Stripes - Conquest
44. Radiohead - Nude
43. Of Montreal - Suffer For Fashion
42. LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
41. Battles - Leyendecker
40. The Shins - Sleeping Lessons
39. Deerhoof - +81
38. Minus The Bear - Burying Luck
37. The Arcade Fire - My Body Is A Cage
36. The Apples in Stereo - Energy
35. The White Stripes - Effect and Cause
34. Devendra Banhart - Seahorse
33. Kanye West - Stronger
32. Animal Collective - Fireworks
31. Radiohead - Bodysnatchers
30. M.I.A. - Jimmy
29. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
28. Bill Swartwood - Former Lovers
27. The Field - A Paw In My Face
26. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - La Costa Brava
25. Modest Mouse - Parting of the Sensory
24. Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
23. Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
22. The Apples In Stereo - Can You Feel It?
21. The Arcade Fire - Intervention
20. Devendra Banhart - So Long Old BeanCollapse )
19. The Shins - AustraliaCollapse )
18. Joanna Newsom - ColleenCollapse )
17. Panda Bear - BrosCollapse )
16. The White Stripes - Rag and BoneCollapse )
15. Battles - AtlasCollapse )
14. Modest Mouse - FloridaCollapse )
13. Menomena - The PelicanCollapse )
12. Of Montreal - A Sentence of Sorts in KongsvingerCollapse )
11. Kanye West - HomecomingCollapse )
10. The Arcade Fire - Keep The Car RunningCollapse )
9. Loney, Dear - I Am JohnCollapse )
8. Dan Deacon - Wham CityCollapse )
7. Spoon - The UnderdogCollapse )
6. Radiohead - All I NeedCollapse )
5. Panda Bear - Comfy In NauticaCollapse )
4. Of Montreal - Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean CurseCollapse )
3. The National - Fake EmpireCollapse )
2. Liars - Plaster Casts of EverythingCollapse )
1. Animal Collective - PeaceboneCollapse )

There you go kids. Now I'm going to get back to real life. I'm sick of cyberspace and cyber-lists. Adios.

(13 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

Top 20 Albums of 2007 [27 Dec 2007|04:45pm]
Every year I make a list of my favorite albums of the year and post them here. This is immediately followed by the Top 100 songs of the year. This year was especially great, with releases by most of my favorite bands. It was hard to make a list, and I was forced to leave many great albums off, but I think I included the best twenty. Here are links to the old lists, if you're interested:

Top 20 Albums of 2006


Top 20 Albums of 2005


Top 10 Albums of 2004



So, without further ado, the Top Albums of 2007:




20. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81




I have a problem. I can't get enough stoner blues-rock. If you make an album with gritty, distorted guitars and heavy drums, and then sing raspy lyrics about rebellion, I'm sold. See: The Black Keys. See: Brian Jonestown Massacre. See: Led Zeppelin. On Baby 81, BRMC have again proven that they can make a bad-ass stoner-blues record. “Took Out A Loan” opens with a blues guitar riff, complete with overloaded fuzz and string-bending that shouldn't even be possible. The lyrics, “I took out a loan on my empty heart, babe” don't even really mean anything, but they fit perfectly. “Berlin” kicks it up a notch, straight from the Iggy Pop handbook. Single “Weapon of Choice” has a phenomenal chorus, “I won't waste it, I won't waste my love on a nation.” Anti-establishment? Check. Rebellious? Check. “Killing the Light” (dangerously close to a defunct Wilkes-Barre band of the same name) roars through the pre-chorus with a wall guitars, and then drops into the “Oooh”s of the chorus. The only beef I have with this album is that many of the hooks and riffs sound borrowed. I hear pieces of Fun House, parts of Rubber Factory, and patterns from Give It Back. BRMC have carried on the stoner-rock tradition with Baby 81, but I don't think they have carried it to a new level. Which is fine with me. I have a new record to drive around to with a cigar and aviators come July. Rock and roll.







19. The Field - From Here We Go Sublime




I was never into techno. Songs created strictly for dancing always seemed pretty cheesy, and the beats were never that creative. I avoided techno like the plague. Here come The Field. I was trying to write my final paper for technical writing and I was stressed beyond belief. Surely this techno project wasn't going to help. Was I ever wrong. The Field has created the most soothing, calming music using intricate dance beats and lots and lots of crescendos and decrescendos. I can't even pinpoint a single song on this album. The whole album flows like an ocean, morphing from one song into another with subtle changes. I can only say that this album works as a whole. It's relaxed me during finals week, and soothed me to sleep for the last few weeks. It's great driving music. It's great background music. I guess some may call it trance, though I never really knew what trance sounded like. Some surprises are evident on this album. It ends with the title track, which flows into a reverb-heavy version of The Flamingos' “I Only Have Eyes For You.” The second track, “A Paw In My Face,” relentlessly drives a guitar sample until it slows into Lionel Richie's “Hello.” Of course, these samples only invoke a twinge of familiarity. I was forced to do some research to find out, “Just where did I hear that before?” From Here We Go Sublime truly lives up to its title. If the word “sublime” had connotations with it, other than a reggae-punk band from the 90's, this would be it. Smooth. Perfect. Calm. Subtle. The Field.







18. The Go! Team - Proof Of Youth




This was the first album by The Go! Team that I listened to intently. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed. Horns are prominent over child-like gang vocals. There is no prominent vocalist, and the lyrics are layered into the depth of the music, instead of on top. Xylophones and tambourines are in every song, and guitars and synthesizers carry each song as if it's carrying an all-night party. The one-two punch of “Keys to the City” and “The Wrath of Marcie” is the best part of Proof of Youth. “Keys to the City” is driven by a dark guitar line and a wailing trumpet. “The Wrath of Marcie” bursts into a bright fanfare and an enthusiastic chorus. The pseudo-hip-hop and child-like vocals of the Go! Team remind me of cartoons of my youth. Each song on Proof of Youth could have easily been the theme song to a Nickelodeon show. “Flashlight Fight” even features Chuck D, a surprising change from the high-pitched vocals we're used to. Instrumental outro “Patricia's Moving Picture” is carried by horns and glockenspiel, and is again reminiscent of a commercial for the Letter A on Sesame Street. This album is well-rounded. Each song is extremely youthful and happy, and the only abrupt change comes in the acoustic “My World.” I enjoy the Go! Team because they make me feel like I'm eight years old again.







17. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum




I was introduced to this band no more than a week ago. I was told, “It's all analog synths and vocoders; you'd love it.” Truth to be told, this made a last ditch effort to be one of my favorite albums of the year. I've also heard it described as a psychedelic version of Air. BMSR uses droning analog to their advantage. “Forever Heavy” opens with a steady pulse around a lazy rhythm. Layers and layers of synthesizers smother the already-muffled vocodered lyrics. Supposedly, this album is about witches making candy in the woods. I guess I can see that, but it doesn't even really matter. The dreamy delay and reverb on some tracks (“Drippy Eye”) is accompanied by groovy bass-like synth lines and maracas on others (“Melt Me”). Instrumental “Lollipopsichord” joins a Daft Punk dance beat with ultra-delayed vocals and the occasional gong blast. What may sound like full orchestration is merely synthesizers with different settings. Somehow, merely depending on these cheap sounds is what makes this record work. “Sun Lips” is the standout track here, with a hypnotic melody under “I want to be with you, and the sun will rise.” At seventeen tracks, Dandelion Gum will at least get you through that road trip or late night research paper. It doesn't get dull or uninteresting either, and that is the best part. Had I listened to this a little bit earlier in the year, it might be a lot higher on this list. Needless to say, it's fresh and I will probably listen to it well into 2008.







16. Minus The Bear - Planet of Ice




Since high school, Minus The Bear has represented summer, relaxation, drinking, and cruising around at night. Highly Refined Pirates was my youth anthem. “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse” played at the pinnacle of the Kill The Lights! Tour. Menos El Oso, while a step down from the first, was still impressive. Finger-tapping and “Sunday Blood Sunday” drumming was prominent on both releases. This year's Planet of Ice is a departure from traditional song titles and actually showcases a mature sound while remaining true to Minus The Bear fans. The finger-tapping and technical drumming has taken a backseat to synth drones and catchy hooks. Opener “Burying Luck” surprises the fanbase with some spacey off-time fuzz, and then breaks into the rocking drum and bass groove we're so used to, with a chorus that is driven by drumming on rims. The album is not groundbreaking, for Minus The Bear, but it is not disappointing either. “Part 2” is this album's “We Are Not A Football Team,” and “When We Escape” layers the line “You must be an illusion” over arpeggiating guitar. Minus The Bear shows hints of slipping into prog territory, but stays in the familiar song structures. However, closer “Lotus” is an eight minute space jam that starts with a traditional Minus the Bear structure, and flows into a heavy guitar and drum duel with intense finger tapping. Halfway through, we see a fallout into a Dark Side of the Moon coda, complete with overloaded reverb and organ. The end of the album culminates into a rock masterpiece, with driving drums overtop changing rhythms. The album ends at the pinnacle of this wall of sound, leaving us hungry for the next Minus The Bear album, which will hopefully expand on the prog ideas hinted at on Planet of Ice.







15. Liars - Liars




I didn't get Drum's Not Dead at first. Last year, it was omitted from my year-end list and it wasn't until a camping trip where I played the album around the campfire that I realized its brilliance. Drum's Not Dead dominated my summer, and I anticipated this year's self-titled album much more as a result. That said, Liars is a great follow-up album. Still percussion heavy, the fourth album by Liars manages to resurrect lo-fi garage rock with loads of reverb and distortion. One of the best opening tracks on any album, “Plaster Casts of Everything” drives a brutal guitar riff over the lines “I wanna run away, I wanna bring you too.” Directly afterwards, “Houseclouds” drops into a funky keyboard and tambourine jam that allows you to pick up the pieces of your face that were rocked off after the first track. Creepy drones like “Sailing to Byzantium” are sandwiched between screamers like “Cycle Time,” “Clear Island,” and the almost-too-happy (for Liars) “Freak Out.” Overall, this album makes the next logical step in the Liars' discography. It is serving as a transition between the tribal drumming of last year and whatever distorted, heavy synth-rock is in store for the future. One thing is certain, though. The next release by Liars won't sound anything like this one.







14. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Living With The Living




Since the sno-cone fiasco of 2004 when we played with Ted Leo, I've been more than slightly obsessed. Hearts of Oak and Tyranny of Distance were in rotation for a long, long time. Shake The Sheets was surprisingly amazing. I anticipated a new Ted Leo release for a few years before hearing a few new tracks in the summer of 2006 performed live. Living With The Living is different. There's no stellar standout track, but as a whole the album is great. He stays political, with “Army Bound” ripping apart today's military and “Annunciation Day/Born on Christmas Day” is a two part ode to young soldiers who died young. The message seems much louder on this album than it was on Shake The Sheets. Crunchy and bitter, “Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.” may even overstep the political line, where the message here is more dire than the songwriting. At the same time, non-political songs make a strong impression. “La Costa Brava” is a six minute jewel about traveling through Europe. The chorus is poetic: “Down by the beach, there's a small cafe where we'll hang on for Joan and drink Bonet all day.” As I'm writing this, The Sun Also Rises is on television and I can't help but make a comparison to the beauty of this song. The rest of this album makes a strong impression as well. “The Unwanted Things” is Leo's closest tribute to reggae thus far, and “A Bottle of Buckie” can't hide Leo's Celtic side, with tin whistles making a prominent appearance. Ted Leo refuses to disappoint me. This album is consistent and expands upon his past work. If he ever breaks into the mainstream, he may be the Dylan of our time. His call-to-arms lyrics and catchy songwriting are too strong to ignore.







13. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity




What do you get when you mix off-time percussion and dissident chords with a small Asian female singer? Friend Opportunity was everything I've wanted to hear from Deerhoof. “+81” starts with a horn fanfare and a marching band snare before that wailing guitar takes over. “Believe E.S.P.” uses cowbell and a groovy bassline to set the tempo. However, an abrupt drum fill and some sound effects that sound like I just got a one-up in Mario Bros breaks up the song for an interesting few seconds. “Choco Fight” is a lazy rhythm under the lyrics “Come overseas, my greet will cure your great soul.” Of course, there are some tracks that are just too far out in left field. “Kidz Are So Small” repeats the line “If I were man and you a dog, I'd throw a stick for you” as an off-tempo beat, accompanied by metallic clicks, occasional synth notes, and even dogs barking. However, tracks like “Matchbook Seeks Maniac,” are almost in the vein of a mainstream pop song, with the lyrics, “I would sell my soul to the devil if I could be the top of the world.” The masterful songwriting is sprinkled all around this album, it's just immersed in a sea of noise and off-time rhythms. The combination of these makes for a great album. Opener “The Perfect Me” is a perfect example. The intricate percussion supports the screaming guitar and organ as we build into the chorus of “Cry out! Cry out!” This album makes great use of supplementing catchy riffs with a weird array of random noises and rhythms. Signature Deerhoof. I wouldn't have it any other way.







12. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga




Spoon has been notorious for making albums with three or four great songs and a lot of filler. I was generally unimpressed with 2005's Gimme Fiction and expected to hear a few great songs on Ga Ga Ga Ga, but not a great all-around album. After five albums, they finally proved me wrong. This one is great, beginning to end. Gritty opener “Don't Make Me A Target” sets the pace for the rest, with a driving guitar line, something that is continued on keyboard in “The Ghost of You Lingers.” Perhaps the title Ga Ga Ga Ga is an echo of this repeated rhythm. Standout track “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” echoes horn fanfares during the chorus over bouncy drums and tambourines. “The Underdog” brings back this horn combination between sleigh bells and hand clapping. In between these, there are three tracks chock-full of groove. “Rhythm and Soul” especially proves Spoon's ability to write a laid-back piano melody. In “Black Like Me,” we see a beautifully written acoustic song aided by maracas and the occasional piano, crying “I'm in need of someone to take care of me tonight.” Building into drums, bass, and backing vocals, this is truly the pinnacle of Spoon's career. It is both heart-wrenching and joyous. Spoon is coming into their own. Although no track on Ga Ga Ga Ga can compete with “The Way We Get By” or “The Beast and Dragon Adored,” this album is finally cohesive. No track is boring or uninteresting, and I think it shows a promising future for this band.







11. Devendra Banhart - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon




My 22nd birthday present to myself was a Devendra Banhart concert at the TLA. The king of freak-folk played with an entourage of almost ten, and each musician had the chance to play a song from their own project while also helping out Banhart. He also pulled an audience member up to play one of his own songs on stage, a feat almost never seen at live shows today. After Nino Rojo and Cripple Crow it was easy to see how Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon could disappoint. It is hard to live up to standards already set by your past work. On this album, Banhart attempts to tackle many different styles, from gospel (“Saved”) to doo-wop (“Shabop Shalom”) to samba (“Samba Vexillographica”). While these songs are light and interesting from Banhart's perspective, his expertise remains folk. Stellar “So Long Old Bean” uses acoustic guitar and wood blocks to piece together a great mellow folk song. “Tonada Yanomaninista” is a thunderous anthem about chasing a stork through the South American jungle. Centerpiece “Seahorse” is a three part crescendo from slow acoutic guitar, to a dark jazzy piano and flute riff, and finally into a screaming guitar ending over the lines “I'm scared of ever being born again if it's in this form again.” This album is long, at sixteen tracks, but proves its worth, especially after seeing it performed live. Where Devendra may falter in unfamiliar territory, he makes up in his own. Great album, great performer, great songwriter.







10. Kanye West - Graduation




Did you realize that you were a champion in their eyes? Kanye's answer is “Yes I did,” and his ego is well-deserved. Graduation, the third release by West fails to disappoint, even after his first two masterpieces. Bypassing the Daft Punk-aided smash hit of the year “Stronger,” the other twelve tracks live up to the hype as well. “Good Morning” opens the album lightly, introducing Mr. West and his inevitable graduation in the three part trilogy. Samples from Steely Dan, Michael Jackson, and Elton John make appearances along with accompaniment by Chris Martin from Coldplay, T.I., and John Legend. The songs are better than ever, with the egotistical “Champion” and “Good Life” supplementing the heart-breaking “Homecoming.” Kanye even displays vulnerability in his struggle with fame and fortune in “Can't Tell Me Nothing.” Dropping the skits, Mr. West proves that he is still at the top of his game. Annihilating 50 Cent on record release day only enforced his reign as king of hip hop. I'm still waiting to be let down by a Kanye West album.







9. Apples In Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder




Honestly, the most interesting part of this album is not the music. It is still a great pop album, and one of the year's happiest, but what solidified this for me was Robert Schneider's Non-Pythagorean Scale, which was outlined in an earlier entry (and it's on Wikipedia, if you're that lazy). As a producer who loves analog recording, Schneider became an inspiration for me this year. Mellotrons and vocoders are everywhere. Single “Energy” is flushed with vocal reverb, and remains one of the most euphoric songs of the year. Short transitions like “Joanie Don't You Worry” showcase the Apples' ability to layer electro-pop for about thirty seconds before breaking into their next composition. The keyword on this album is catchy, as “Sun Is Out” and “Can You Feel It?” have been stuck in my head almost all year. “Open Eyes” is a fuzzy stoner-rock anthem amidst the electronica, and the four part “Beautiful Machine” is a pop extravaganza, flowing from bubblegum to acoustic to group vocals and finally the synth-heavy outro. While a fantastic pop album, it feels like the Apples will come into their own once they utilize the Non-Pythagorean Scale more and not just throw it in minute-long snippets that don't really make musical sense just yet.







8. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible




2004's Funeral established Arcade Fire as one of the best orchestral arrangers, with Owen Pallett from Final Fantasy composing strings and percussion players performing on motorcycle helmets, magazine pages, and trash cans at live performances. This year's Neon Bible, recorded in a church, brings back the enormous extravagance of a symphony, from the organ in “Intervention” to the barreling finale of “My Body Is A Cage.” Springsteen-esque tracks like “Keep The Car Running” and “Antichrist Television Blues” bring a new focus to this versatile band, who have proven that they can span multiple genres. The re-release of “No Cars Go” is one of the many highlights of this album, with horns, strings, accordion, and the double vocal line of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne. This album flows beautifully from beginning to end, never sacrificing orchestral arrangement for filler tracks. It's a great sophomore release and well worth the wait.







7. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank




I think when word went around that Johnny Marr joined Modest Mouse, everyone expected the new album to have a completely different, Smiths-influenced sound. Since the sound remained generally the same, and most of Marr's contributions were subtle, this album went generally unnoticed among critics. However, I think this album made a strong impression for 2007. Modest Mouse didn't step backwards in their progression, even if this album isn't as good as the last few releases. The drum and vocals at the end of “Parting of the Sensory” shows Isaac Brock's ability to use freak-folk to his advantage, with a wailing fiddle coming in to supplement. “March Into The Sea” is a great opener, with bellowing waltz drums behind Brock's “Ha! Ha! Ha!” Single “Dashboard” may be the most produced Mouse song to date, with horns and strings under the driving rhythm. While fans of Lonesome Crowded West may be turned off by this production, the direction is interesting and the next Modest Mouse album has potential to be really good or really bad because of it. James Mercer of The Shins highlights “Missed The Boat” and brings a mellow smoothness to Brock's jagged vocals. “Florida” is, in my opinion, the highlight of this album. Bouncing vocals and guitars are broken up by the line “Even as I left Florida.” The end of the song, a half-time jaunt with Brock's ever-rugged lyrics keep pace until the last fall out. We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank is not a great Modest Mouse album. There is a lot of filler (“Education” and “Steam Engenius” leave much to be desired) and it is nowhere close to LCW or Moon and Antarctica. Despite this, a sub-par Modest Mouse release is still better than a lot of the crap out there today. The good songs are great, and make up for a lot of the filler. Besides, this is Marr's first album. Give him some time to leave his mark.







6. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?




What a great album! My first huge surprise of the year. This album is upbeat, dancey, and littered with synthesizer and processed drums. Magnificent “Suffer For Fashion,” bounds through aforementioned instruments at “130 BPM, it's not too slow.” Despite the happiness and giddiness of the synth-pop music, the lyrics on this album have a subtle darkness, evident in “Suffer For Fashion” in the line “If we've gotta go out, let's do it together. Let's all go down together.” Pop masterpiece “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse” is a cry for help about drug dependency, sung in the tune of the catchiest synth line I've ever heard: “Come on, chemical-al-al-als!” Disco-inspired “A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” builds into a 70's dance beat for a minute before beginning with the lyrics, “I spent the weekend on the verge of a total breakdown while living in Norway.” Having these depressing lyrics stuck in your head with the happiest music behind them has been an odd phenomenon that occurred pretty often this year. Twelve minute “The Past Is A Grotesque Animal” finally stops hiding behind the happy pop music. This is a dark, driving, vengeful opus. “At least I author my own disaster” or “Let's tear this shit apart, let's tear the fucking house apart” or “Somehow you've red-rovered the Gestapo circling my heart” are made even more emotional by frontman Kevin Barnes's screams. There are some serious issues that inspired much of this album. At the same time, there are funky basslines and guitar riffs (see: “Faberge Falls For Shuggie” or “Labyrinthian Pomp”) that can only be the result of pop geniuses. This album excels in both the disco-pop that Of Montreal is so good at, as well as lyrics that make you wonder just how bad was that breakup?







5. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver




“I don't know where to begin, we are North Americans. And for those of you who still think we're from England, we're not. No.” Could have fooled me. The advanced dance beats and song structures on the sophomore release by LCD Soundsystem point straight to Europe. Opener “Get Innocuous” takes roughly two minutes to get started, layering beat after beat to reach a perfect driving dance rhythm complete with the deep harmonic vocal line “When once you had believed it, now you see it's sucking you in.” This album cascades into emotional highlights like “Someone Great” and dance masterpieces like “Us v Them.” Filter manipulation is evident in almost every song, tickling my analog affections. “New York I Love You” waltzes the album to a close in a mess of guitar, piano, and phasors. Halfway point “All My Friends” is the culmination of James Murphy's career, lamenting the rock and roll lifestyle and searching for his real friends. "When you're blowing eighty-five days in the middle of France, Yeah, I know it gets tired only where are your friends tonight?” Sound of Silver truly captures the talents of LCD Soundsystem, from their impeccable dance rhythms to their pure emotional ballads.







4. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam




In 2005, Animal Collective released Feels. The first half of the album was an eclectic mix of pop and percussive loops with Avery Tare's screaming on top. Strawberry Jam has taken this style to the next level. “Chores” bounds along between a fast-paced versed fueled by the “Never ever ever....(x32)” and the drawn-out bridge “When there's nooo one waaaatchiiinngggg.” Noah Lennox's brilliant samples float each song through a whimsical world while the lyrics bring them down to earth. “Unsolved Mysteries” croons, “And what a surprise to look in those eyes and find suddenly he is Jack the Ripper.” The one-two punch of “For Reverend Green” and “Fireworks” complete the album, with the off beats and gritty vocals of the former leading into the smooth melodies of the latter. Opener “Peacebone” may also be candidate for song of the year, with a mess of synthesizer noises progressing into a driving rhythm. Strawberry Jam enforces the Animal Collective style of consistently pushing the envelope of music. If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of someone running on gravel as a rhythmic beat. The ideas are endless and this group is so far ahead of the curve. I can't wait to hear what's next.







3. The White Stripes - Icky Thump




Raw guitars and heavy drums. The formula of my youth. I will always have a special place in my heart for pure rock and roll. The White Stripes are no exception, and there's good reason why 2005's Get Behind Me Satan was the best album of that year. After their streak of amazing albums, it was hard to believe that Icky Thump would live up to the past releases. By the middle of the title track, I was dead wrong. This album is even better than the last, with a superb rendition of Patti Page's “Conquest” at the centerfold, complete with mariachi trumpet. “You Don't Know What Love Is (You Do As You're Told)” and “I'm Slowly Turning Into You” showcase Jack White's ability to write phenomenal breakdowns, while “Bone Broke” drives an amazing drum beat over fuzzy vocals and guitar. Experimentation does indeed happen on a White Stripes album, and this time it happens to be bagpipes in the Celtic duo “Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn,” and “St. Andrew (This Battle Is In The Air).” Spoken word comedy about taking used junk is abound on “Rag and Bone,” perhaps one of the coolest songs of the year, and closer “Effect and Cause” is a light three-chord tune about taking responsibility for your actions. This album is great from start to finish. Another classic by a fantastic duo.







2. Panda Bear - Person Pitch




Upon first listen, this album was much too intricate to dissect. I know it made me want to keep listening to it, though I didn't know why. When I hiked through Bald Eagle state park in July and played it on my iPod, I finally got it. Noah Lennox of Animal Collective has created a work of art. One track on this album cannot stand alone. The Beach Boys-influenced vocals, with heavy reverb and harmonies, are accompanied by strange percussive loops and random sounds of clocks, water, subway stations, owls, and machinery. Repetition is evident, with two tracks clocking in at over twelve minutes, but nothing gets boring. “Comfy in Nautica” starts off with an almost Kumbaya-sounding rhythm, and reminds us to “Always have a good time.” Each time I heard this opening track, it made me smile and agree. Fading into the start of “Take Pills” led to a loop of machinery with a prominent tambourine and celestial vocals. This builds into the second half, which might as well have been pulled right off of Pet Sounds. Panda Bear croons “I don't want for us to take pills anymore,” as hand claps and flowing water fill in the gaps in the reverb. With the hoot of an owl comes the twelve minute “Bros.” Harmonies and “Whoa-oh-oh”s trade off with screams, a creepy laugh, and a crying baby. The percussion picks up and the vocals fade away to make room for more layers of loops. Tribal metallic drumming is evident and delayed vocals change the pace for the weird, but the main guitar riff is still there, keeping us sedated throughout the freak sounds. Panda Bear manages to combine the weird with the familiar. It is almost like he took an unreleased Beach Boys album and added random noises to make it his own. The harmonies and vocal melodies are euphoric and catchy, while the loops remain weird and abrupt. I still can't get enough of this album. I hear something new every time I listen to it. The layers are endless and the structures, while repetitive, have enough subtle differences to keep the listener wanting more. This album is well out of the mainstream, but it is pretty accessible if given the chance. I know I haven't even gotten close to sick of it yet.







1. Radiohead - In Rainbows




Ah, the culmination of 2007. The highlight of the year. The discbox. The pay-what-you-want distribution. The four year wait. It was all worth it. Ten tracks of perfection. We must have listened to this album five times a day for at least a month. It was the only thing worth listening to. The insane 15/8 rhythm of “15 Step.” The flowing majesty of “Nude.” The masterful lyrical patterns of “Faust Arp.” Every song is completely different and completely amazing. The drum delay in “Videotape” works beautifully with the piano line. The percussion-heavy “Reckoner” just emphasizes the dropout into a crafted string section. “Bodysnatchers” is the most rocking Radiohead song since “Electioneering” and the most dancy since “Idioteque.” The bassline was the best. “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” showcases the most interesting acoustic guitar I've heard on a Radiohead song, building into Thom Yorke's wailing “Come on and let it out!” Most of the songs on this album build to a thunderous ending, the signature Radiohead move. “All I Need” is the beautiful, depressing Radiohead song we've been looking for, complete with glockenspiel and waves of white noise. This album is happiness and sadness. It is both hope and despair. It encompasses everything Radiohead has defined, and pushes into new territory never before explored. Sitting around on that release date with ten other people and listening to the album on repeat brought some of the most insightful listening I've ever encountered. Drummers noticed odd beat patterns. Guitarists noticed insane processing. Non-musicians noticed the pure bliss of the entire album, and we just wanted more. Surely this wasn't the best Radiohead album. How could it compete with OK Computer or Kid A? Still, the majesty of the album as a whole could not be ignored, and it surely blew away the rest of the competition. For as much of my year was spent listening to Person Pitch from January to October, that amount of time was doubled in the last three months for In Rainbows. It is perfection. Radiohead continues to dominate music, both in talent and industry. The cultural shock felt by In Rainbows was hard to ignore as well. Where will the music industry stand in a few years? They are raising the bar for artists, and many have followed in their footsteps. My hat is off to you, Thom Yorke, Johnny Greenwood, Phil Selway, Ed O'Brien, and Colin Greenwood. So long as you keep making music, my life will be that much better.






That said, I'd like to recognize a few albums that were close to making the list, but just couldn't cut it. Here were some close calls of 2007:

Battles - Mirrored
Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings
Feist - The Reminder
Loney, Dear - Loney, Noir
M.I.A. - Kala
Menomena - Friend and Foe
The National - Boxer
The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky

So until next time, I will be graduating college, moving away from Penn State, and starting a new life. Tune in at the end of 2008 for next year's list.

(3 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

News [28 Nov 2007|09:53pm]
Boston Boston Boston. I can't wait to get to Boston. New atmosphere, old friends, writing music again. Picking up where I left off. I need a change.

I learn a lot at work and in class. I like that they're related. I like that my co-workers understand things like comb filtering, transformers, High-Z, etc. I like playing thousand dollar pianos and learning tri-tones. I like learning tiny differences between tons of guitars. I have all the knowledge and practice to record and play something great. The only thing I lack is a computer.

Let's review a bit. My computer's keyboard doesn't work. The power cord must be duct-taped to the back so it doesn't come loose. It overheats if placed on a flat surface, so it must be elevated. Oh, and I found out it no longer cares for the CD-drive. Its getting to the point where it can't be moved very far because the power cord may jostle loose. I feel like I'm a doctor struggling to keep a dying patient alive. I'm going to be moving all my important files to an external hard drive starting this winter break. If I want to seriously record, a new computer is going to have to be in order.

In other news, I'm looking at electric guitars. We just got a Hagstrom Viking today. I like how it plays, but I'm unsure overall. I like Gretsch semi-hollows. I also like the Ibanez Artcore at the store as well. Anyone have any recommendations? I want it to sound really bluesy and jazzy. A semi-hollow is probably the best bet. I wish I had the money to blow on a guitar haha.

ALT is practically done. 3 week crunch time. It's turning out really good, again. We have a good group of writers and designers. Even if I'm a bad president.

I want to DJ parties again. Someone plan something sweet. I would like to throw a third Christmas party, but I'm worried about being evicted. What do you guys think? Should I risk it? Is it possible to keep low key? No one else wants to have a DJ lately.

Bah, I'm rambling. I'm going back to reading No Country For Old Men, which is the most graphic and awesome book I've read lately. Go buy it, and then watch the movie.

(3 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

Double Deuce [01 Oct 2007|02:28pm]
I've managed to reach the most uneventful age in my life, and despite having NOTHING planned, lots of good stuff keeps happening.

On Friday, Joe, Marietta, Dave Zak, Sean Byrne, and I went to see Across the Universe. It was such a good musical, despite a few cheesy parts. Then we met Warbles and BL and traveled to Chuck's Farm Hippie Trippy Lights Jam Band Festival. It was pretty much everything you'd expect if you typed that into google. I had a decent time. Met some...interesting people, to say the least. We stayed up all night and departed in the morning. A few hours and a few pots of coffee later, I was on the road for Philly.

Corey Brickley, Joe, and I rolled into the TLA about 5 minutes before the show started. I met Laura and Jess and we decided to get a drink instead of see the openers. I was pretty exhausted by this point.

We got inside for Devendra Banhart, and I'm really glad I picked him over Animal Collective. I know AC is probably amazing live, but Devendra put on such a good show. He took breaks from his set so his other band members could play their solo songs and even a dude in the crowd played his own song. It was very communal.

It also progressed throughout the night. He started on classical guitar, playing slower solo stuff. He upgraded to electric and then eventually ditched his guitar for a set of maracas.

SetlistCollapse )

After a delicious Maoz falafel and walking around south street, we headed to sleep in Lansdale.

Sunday, I arrived home just in time to see Brett Favre break the touchdown record. This was immediately followed by the Phillies winning the division. I also won my fantasy game, to get to 3-1.

I went to practice with The Bullet Parade and then got back and shared some beers with Cameron, Ben, Amber, and Sean.

Today, my homework got pushed back to Wednesday, which now allows me to get to Andrew Bird tonight guilt-free. There was a knock on my door 20 minutes ago. 2 movers with a fridge.

-"Rodney says this place needs a new fridge."
-"Wow! I didn't even know we were getting a new fridge"
-"Must be your birthday"

So it's going pretty well. I can get to Andrew Bird and the after party without worrying about homework. Good Life on Wednesday. Test on Thursday but I think I'm almost ready. Then Zitronapalooza friday.

It's an exciting week. Who knew? 22?

(this one bud)

[19 Sep 2007|04:18pm]
I just need to write this all down before I lose track:

September 28th - Chuck's Farm/Across The Universe premiere
September 29th - Devendra Banhart at the TLA
September 30th - my 22nd birthday
October 1st - Andrew Bird at the State Theatre
October 3rd - Bullet Parade opening for The Good Life at the HUB
October 5th - Zitronapalooza

where did all my birthday money go? oh that's right.

(1 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

[24 Aug 2007|06:52pm]
It's been brought to my attention that Devendra Banhart is playing September 29th as well. So here are my two options:

Animal Collective
@ Starlight Ballroom
tix $15

Devendra Banhart
@ TLA
tix $25

who's it going to be? I've never seen either and have been listening to a lot of both. Help me make up my mind.

(2 said "you and what army?" | this one bud)

[17 Aug 2007|01:22pm]
I'm treating myself to a grand 22nd birthday:

September 29th: Animal Collective at the Starlight Ballroom in Philly
September 30th: Nationals at the Phillies, last game of the season

both in philly. Join me.

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