Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brilliant brilliant ........a website that uses 500 key musical components such as "minor key tonality" and "discordant harmonies" to create a you-specific genre of music to suit your personal needs.

Pandora is my new love., to be precise.

For those poor souls unfamiliar, what you can do is log on, and then select "start new station". Type in 10 to 15 artists that you find similar from your unique perspective, and then save the station. Pandora is a program masked as a live radio station that will play the artists you list as well as artists that Pandora determines to be similar. If Pandora misses the mark, the song can recieve a thumbs down rating. If Pandora nails it, the song recieves a thumbs up. If Pandora sends you a song better suited to another station that you have created, you can send the song and artist to that station.
Finally, Pandora has a "bookmarking" feature, which saves the titles of the songs and artists that you are unfamiliar with but would like to find out more about. I have discovered artists such as Ratatat, Helium, Black Sheep, and Little Pepper. This has renewed my interest in discovering new artists, which was an interest that has waned in the last year or so.

If you want to tinker with pandora, here is my suggestion.
Start many stations, and just play them while going through day to day activities. The station is constantly defined by the listener giving the song thumbs up or thumbs down ratings, so click it when you have a strong opinion of a tune.

In case you care, my stations are as follows
70's and 80's underground - Gang of Four, Can, Wire, Pere Ubu - the station leans a little more toward the Cure than I would like, but otherwise, it works out great for me

Alt-Country and Alt Folk - My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Sonvolt -

Angular Rock - Shellac, Jesus Lizard, Helmet, Fugazi - kind of a strange characterization, leans toward the more abrasive, mathy side of rock. Sometimes stumbles into metal, but usually stays on course.

Clever Pop Music - Strokes, White Stripes, Spoon, Belle + Sebastian its hard to keep this one on point, but i'm trying.

Grunge-Punk-Gen X - Mudhoney, Nirvana, Hum, Melvins, Soundgarden - works great, with occasional lapses into seven mary 3 and audioslave.

Indie and Art Rock- Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Blonde Redhead - the broadest station i have, kind of larger sounding "indie" bands -

Instrumental Rock - Tristeza, Explosions in the Sky, Tortoise

Music you can dance to - LCD Soundsystem, Justice, Cake, Soul Coughing - was about to say that i was amazed at how well this potentially-too-broad station worked out for me - then they played "float on" - oh well.

New Orleans blues, jazz, and brass - Dirty Dozen, Fats, Rebirth, Soul Rebels, Bonerama - makes me cry. cuz I miss home. Perfect.

Organic Hip Hop -
Roots, Guru, Tribe Called Quest - Perfect

Slow Core and Minimalism - Low, American Analog Set, Songs Ohia, Smog - not only perfect, but the only way i can hear this kind of music on a consistent basis. Amazing. Right now I'm listening to Big Sewell Mt. by Songs Ohia. Great song.

Wall of Guitars - My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Kinski - self explanatory, hopefully.

anyway, you can see this is my new obsession.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Keeping promises

Is it too self-indulgent to blog about not blogging enough? I'm about to do that.....

Ok, here goes.....................

It's been nearly a month. I tried to keep up with this, and then things got a little crazy!

A while back (may or juneish), I had a mid-twenties crisis. I believed that I was not doing enough productive things. It drove me crazy. I came to the realization that I was 27, and had little to show for it, other than a deli job and an interesting band.

I thought that the way to combat the malaise that I was feeling was to keep the promises I had made to myself in regards to never letting the lazy bug hit me. First off, I've started taking teaching courses through In one year, I should have my own class. I'll tell more about this later.

I have rekindled my interest in Fresh Millions, and am now performing in the Beautiful Supermachines, bring my band total up to 3, which is nearing ridiculousness. I'm writing sports columns for Austin entertainment magazine, and need to get to writing a column for the High hat, as Hayden is patiently awaiting my submission. I spent the last few weeks moving into a beautiful home with my wonderful fiancee. Last week, we also visited new orleans, where I saw friends and family, recorded an album w/ I Octopus, visited 7 reception halls (and found a great one), and visited the church where we plan to wed (Blessed Ceelo's in the bywater)

So I responded to my previous malaise by oversaturating myself with activities. This is really cool, but I hope I don't drive myself crazy.

There are stories to tell. Crazy Whole Foods Guy hit-and-running my car while at work is a good one to tell in the future.

Just not now. Time for bed. Two columns to finish by tomorrow evening.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Batman Begins the Beguine

Batman II - The Dark Knight

Think about Terminator I vs. Terminator II. Terminator I was a dark, well-written action film allotting significant time to character and plot development through dialogue. There were small doses of stunning (for its time) action, culminating in an epic denouement. You cared about the characters, and the suspense killed you.
Terminator II was, of course, superbly epic and filled with action. It was a stunning bubblegum action flick, and the viewer learned about the characters through their actions more than their conversations. This was completely effective because of the talent of the actors as well as the well-crafted script.

In the same way, I feel that The Dark Knight differed greatly from Batman Begins.

The film was nearly three hours long, and due to the phenomenally fast pace and choppy editing, it felt like Christopher Nolan was trying to fit a good 4 or 5 hours of material into this film. If the performances, script, plot development, and art direction (Seriously, I'd have to say that Nolan's vision of Gotham places 2nd to Blade Runner as the coolest looking futuristic city modern film history) weren't completely amazing, this could have easily been a jumbled mess. However, it seemed that Nolan knew what he had in this film; an amazing cast giving perfect performances, and a brilliantly crafted epic story. Nolan directed this movie with a phenomenal amount of confidence, throwing the audience everything including the kitchen sink, while knowing that we were going to devour and savor all 160 something minutes of the film.

The Barton Creek mall was filled with four full theaters at midnight. Due to the monumental advertising campaign, as well as the positive feedback from Batman Begins (maybe my favorite comic-book movie of all time), The Dark Knight had a lot to live up to. The film quite possibly exceeded my expectations.

Heath Ledger's untimely death directly following his "Joker" performance made me WANT him to have given the performance of a lifetime. I'm very happy to opine that Ledger did, completely stealing the show, completely making Jack Nicholson's goofy "Joker" seem about as emotionally disturbing as a care bear by comparison. (while writing this, I realize that many people might find care bears very emotionally disturbing......but trust me, they're really just cute and cuddly. Go get a new shrink if this is a problem for you).

Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine were as great as expected. Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gylennhall were also completely amazing in their new roles. There was not one poor performance in this film. The Dark Knight is hollywood bombast at its finest; an action packed, ADD-inducing epic superhero adventure completely eclipsing most of what has been done before it.

I will go again to see this at the IMAX. Later, I will buy this film and it will become a crown jewel of my DVD collection, so that my future kids and I will watch this together and we will love it.

Spiderman is for pussies.


Another friday afternoon in my sexy world.

My cluttered mind is fully functioning, yet phenomenally disorganized.
Therefore, lists are supercool.

  • Get crack in window fixed (appt. made monday)
  • Call storage space and cancel account (done!)
  • Make all necessary Whole Foods requests off for vacation (done!)
  • Convince Whole Foods to give me a Job Dialogue
  • Contact San Antonio music venues
  • Contact Hole in the Wall, Room 710, and other Austin venues for better shows
  • Find writing samples and send off to entertainment magazine that you are applying for so that you can become a sports writer.
  • Buy a toolbox and some plastic cups
  • Clean your car, Bunch (done!)
  • Clean your room, Bunch
not only do I love lists, they are imperative toward my survival (especially with this giant wedding on the horizon)
Oh, just to let you know, whoever you are, I probably saw Batman: The Dark Knight before you!!
it was great!
nanny nanny naah naa!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Check out 3 tracks from the new Distant Seconds album

The Distant Seconds

"Spectral Evidence"

1. Disembalmed 1:08
2. Throb in Unison 3:38
3. We're Unstoppable 3:12
4. Spectral Evidence 4:15
5. The Manual 2:08
6. Half a Believer 3:39

7. Blacklight 2:01
8. Your Politics 3:19
9. Even the Help are Dancing Now 2:49
10. Build your own Los Angeles 6:12
11. Bridget Bishop 3:18

Recorded at Echo Lab studios, Denton, TX, with Matt Barnhardt (Shearwater, The New Year)

Haiku 7-16

My organic job
Isn't as organic now
Condos are vomit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

31 flavors of compromise

I will begin this blog by stating that I've just recieved the new Distant Seconds record entitled "Spectral Evidence". The Distant Seconds are, of course, my band since Nov. 05...and the album is finally a culmination of our best songwriting in our 2 and a half years. This is, of course, meant to be stated with outright fervent humility; How I really feel about it varies day-by-day. Music being such a passion of mine, its very difficult not to feel varied extremes about performing and writing.

My feelings on the band (and any band I have a vested interest and influence in, for that matter) can vary between rich delusions of grandeur and the pits; one day, I feel like screaming "Listen to our fucking music, its fucking great!" off the roof of the Frost tower..., and the next day, I don't have any clue why I am a 27 year old invested in music at all, and would like to pawn my piano for a pair of oven mitts.

So lately, I'm encountering a phase where I've been going through old blogs, live journal entries, and e-mails. By doing this, I've basically been reading old "messages in a bottle" that i guess i've left for myself. With this new blog, I set out to continue this, so at the age of 32, I can look back and recapture the goofy 27-year old emotions that I used to have.

Good Day,