Rest in Peace, Gerry Rafferty

4 Jan

You may be gone, but “Baker Street” may well live on forever.

This song was on a mixtape I digitized last year that my late uncle recorded in 1979. Even through all the age and ugly tape hiss, that sax solo broke through like the Sun after an April shower.

Top (Lucky) 13 Albums of 2010

30 Dec

13) Freelance Whales – Weathervanes

According to last.fm, the least masculine thing I listened to all year. The moral is that I’m a sucker for banjo and songs about ghosts.

 

 

 

 

12) The New Pornographers – Together

After excellent solo efforts from A.C. Newman and Neko Case in 2009, the greying power-pop powerhouse proves that they can still bring it collectively.

 

 

 

 

11) Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away

You just can’t shut the finely-crafted folk up. You just can’t.

 

 

 

 

 

10) The Hold Steady – Heaven is Whenever

Franz made like Charlemagne and “got caught up in some complicated things.” Craig tries out his not-so-golden pipes. Nevertheless, it’s still good, if no longer great, in Ybor City.

 

 

 

 

9) Paul Baribeau – Unbearable

Spare solo acoustic honesty. Sweet beard. Winning combination.

 

 

 

 

 

8) Superchunk – Majesty Shredding

Long-absent indie legends return with quality dad rock. Nothing wrong with that. Sweet video for lead single.

 

 

 

 

7) The National – High Violet

Matt Berninger’s voice is still so much cooler than yours. And a few of the songs are just impossible to get out of your head.

 

 

 

 

6) Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks

He’s been upping the vegan punx for 20 years. Sweet video for second single.

 

 

 

 

 

5) Drive-By Truckers – The Big To-Do

According to last.fm, the most masculine thing I listened to all year. Country-tinged tales of working-class America.

 

 

 

 

4) Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

The War of Northern Aggression just got so much cooler. Incidentally, this LP is so long, it spans across approximately five Aprils.

 

 

 

 

3) Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Sad Scottish man rues own youth, denies obvious unhappiness, accompanied by very dense production.

 

 

 

 

2) Frontier Ruckus – Deadmalls and Nightfalls

The folksy, wordy decline of Greater Detroit put to tape. And their best song (“Mona and Emmy”) isn’t even on this album. If it was, there may have been co-number ones.

 

 

 

 

1) The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

The compact one-man tribute to open guitar tunings himself. Nobody really knows what he’s singing about but him, but does it matter? I say no. Keep confounding me, Kristian.

[Video] The Tallest Man on Earth – “The Gardener”

3 Oct

On Friday night I saw The Tallest Man on Earth at the Somerville Theatre, show one of what promises to be a solid October concert-wise (I’m also seeing The Hold Steady and The Extra (G)Len(n)s later in the month). Thanks to the early and decisive action of my friend Adam in purchasing tickets, we had excellent second row center seats for this treat of a performance.

In my usual weekend malaise I stumbled across a video from the show that prominently features (some would even say co-stars) the back of my head. I feel somewhat badly about this surely unwanted cranial intrusion. Back in grade school I towered over many of the other kids, so much so that whenever there was a film shown in class I would inevitably be pestered to slink down in my chair (Hello back problems!) or move to the very back of the room, which was not a great option given my even-then rather poor eyesight. Given the more contemporary visual evidence below, I suppose that the more things change, the more they stay the same, though I am not inordinately tall by any stretch of the imagination.

So to the person who shot this video: I apologize. I also thank you for not making me relive grade school mid-show via a tap on the shoulder and/or quiet vocal reprimand. You were a very good sport.

If you look closely you can watch my seat-dancing via head shake/nod/bob, which closely resembles convulsions, but please do not be alarmed; I am simply bad at any sort of dancing, and something of a buffoon.

[Odds and Ends] Separated at Birth: “The Jock vs. The Rock”

15 Aug

Today’s round pits The Boston Red Sox’ J.D. Drew against The Weakerthan’s John K. Samson.

J.D. Drew

J.D. Drew


John K. Samson

John K. Samson

In related news, Provinicial Route 222, Samson’s follow-up to 2009’s City Route 85, drops September 21st.

[Odds and Ends] On Fantasy Baseball

11 Jul
Ouch.

My season in a nutshell.

This spring was the very first that I seriously engaged in the hallowed ritual of fantasy baseball. It all began with a lengthy drafting process, complete with an internet connection failure scare that forced me to make my last few rounds of picks via a neighbor’s unsecured wireless network.

In the time since that fateful night, fantasy baseball has become an all-consuming pastime for me. Checking stats, matchups, tinkering with the roster. Give me a computer and a few minutes of free time and inevitably I will end up on the ESPN Fantasy site. Yet for all of the effort I have put into my team, it is not very good, 11th out of 12 in my league. Part of that is a function of my passe approach to the team for the first few weeks of the season that dug me a deep hole, and the rest is primarily an unfortunate tendency to pick up a Cinderella off the waiver wire just in time for it to turn into a pumpkin. Yet for all the disappointments, there is simply no feeling quite like claiming a newly called-up prospect before anyone else notices and then watching them succeed (I’m looking at you, Carlos Santana).

"Oye Como Va," indeed.

This joke is getting old, fantasy writers.

I should probably be reasonable and accept my rightful place as an inadequate fantasy owner, and yet even now I still harbour grand delusions of being able to make a run after the All-Star break and finish the year in a respectable, if not necessarily medal-worthy, place in the standings. I could say that in the end all the work put into my team is the real reward, but that would be a cheesy cop-out, because all I really want to do is to make like DJ Khaled and win.

Win-win-win.

[Video] Josh Ritter – “The Curse”

19 Jun

Things I took away from this video:

1) Marionettes are super creepy no matter how old you get.
2) Don’t have a relationship with a mummy.

[Video] Rick K. and the Allnighters – “Sharp Dressed Man”

30 May

Just focus on the drummer. A significant amount of props goes to my bud JoeyLevs for finding this.