Monday, December 21, 2009

Put Your Hands On The Wheel...Let The Golden Age Begin

Ohh 2009….you gave us so much!

Susan Boyle’s warbling, Rhianna’s bruises, generic “R.I.P. Michael Jackson” t-shirts, Jon and Kate’s despicable hairplugs and mom cut and Tiger Tiger Woods Y’all. Twitter got wittier and jaded folks now express their longings through Facebook posts. People worried about getting some popular flu as we awaited a long winded, but eventually stunted Health Care plan. It’s the end of a simply fucked up decade.

A decade that makes the 90’s look like R.E.M.’s Shiny Happy People was played on repeat to the dot com boom and Bill Clinton’s transgressions. We will now forever be: Post 9/11 America. A nation supported on shrugging shoulders as we wake up to the 2010’s, sleeping with one eye open. We formerly woke up to nightmares of metropolitan rubble and bloated bodies floating past looters of underwater cities. But these nightmares must soon turn to stories we share or keep close to our chests watching the next decade rise or fall like a fiery sun.

Look past the Obama backlash (it’s arrived and going to get worse). Look past ‘sexting’ and social networking. Look past recession small talk and people becoming famous for wanting to be famous. Look past your Blackberry and iPhone. Look past celebrity infidelity. Look past the past.

So here is my list of the best of 2009! (I am possibly going to compile a best of the decade list…possibly)



Bat For Lashes, Daniel

She is trying to reinvent the music video era for the Youtube generation, which is amazing and needed, but I am still going to watch the Jersey Shore…MTV is good for at least SOMETHING these days. Beautiful lyrics about an obsessed women over dreary synth beats. You wish a significant other longed after you like this.

Kid Cudi, Remix of Pokerface by Lady Gaga

I know…the misogyny in this song is borderline threatening, but man if it doesn’t make me try to dance well. Cudi burst onto the scene with a personal album about a lonely stoner bent on revenge, but will it last? It all depends on when people start hating hipster-hop and whether or not he wants to continue to sing about gold chains.

Animal Collective, In the Flowers

These guys struck a cultural nerve this year by releasing an album that didn’t make people think about taking mushrooms and regretting it. The jump this song makes at 2:31 makes me want to drive my bike into a snow bank while maniacally laughing.

DOOM, Gazillion Ear

The best rapper alive releases an amazing new album that I wrote about earlier in the year.


Sunset Rubdown, Drangonslayer

If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with this band. This is by far their poppiest and most accessible work to date, but they remain the same. Why? Because Spencer Krug’s lyrics will trump whatever direction they take without overtaking georgeous musicianship.

Lyrics from You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II):

And if there are two eyes in my head,
there are four seasons in a year,
and reflections on the water of a burning yellow sphere.

‘nuff said…

(Video above is Sunset Rubdown playing at the office)

Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca

Where the fuck did this come from? This album rattled my bones with borderline absurd tempo changes and R&B sensibilities. The 3 female vocalists make beat boxing and DJ equipment sound obsolete. I can’t stop listening.

DOOM, Born Like This

DOOM dropped the MF and started quoting Bukowski. I think that is all I need to say.

Swan Lake, Enemy Mine

Three beasts get together, write songs about dead friends, lost love and growing old. I am still deciphering the lyrics, but I am not even sure if I really want to. Previous blog mentions.


This is the year that I actually started watching TV shows regularly, and I picked a great season.

In 5 words of less:

Community on NBC: 2nd best ensemble cast EVER. (Arrested Development is number 1 kids)

Parks and Recreation on NBC: Aziz Ansiri and Aubrey Plaza

Modern Family on ABC: Hilarious and not self aware

Intervention on A&E: Prepare to cry alot

Jersey Shore on MTV: The Situation and Pauly D


Stark Trek

Sizzled from the pulsating opening sequence and didn’t lose an ounce of steam. J.J. Abrams found the perfect way to explain a franchise reboot without ruining the franchise: TIME TRAVEL! Why didn’t someone think about his before?

Where The Wild Things Are

The confusion of childhood has never been realized like this. Spike Jonze continues to make films with an ethereal quality, while being grounded in humanism. James Gandolfini’s performance as Carol is just as good as anything he did on the Soprano’s.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Stop motion animation, Wes Anderson, Roald Dahl and George Clooney. How could this not be good? Anderson’s trademark touch is evident without being overbearing.

Other exciting ‘09 things:

The MUPPETS ARE BACK! They have a Youtube Channel. In this world of CGI ‘puppetry’ the Muppets still manage to have more soul than an Avatar.

This amazing picture of Al Gore:

She must not believe in global warming...poor lil girl

Have a wonderful holiday, thanks for reading, and lets move forward.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I believe in growing old with grace

I was recently asked to compile my best blogs for a family member. Being selfish I considered them all the best and held off for a couple days. How could I pick the best since 2004? My incessant rambling was sometimes done when I was working a 4 a.m. shift at a radio station. The city slept and I crawled in the office pumped with coffee, eyes bloody from never sleeping, but I wanted to log on. I work a lot of holidays and noticed I wrote one almost every Christmas Eve. I wrote them when nobody was around.

Did you all think I was too self-serving? Was my current mental state glowing behind the digital format? Did my lack of writing skills and grammar make you click the ‘X’ after reading the first few lines? I hoped not. I hoped.

As this summer sizzles along and Philadelphia turns into a tropical state, I haven’t written. The computer has spent many nights staring back at me, blank faced, winning the contest.

A friend of mine, whose thirst for life and adventure I greatly admire, told me never to stop. We were enjoying a cigarette outside a local bar on a drunken Wednesday when he did nothing short of grabbing me by the shoulders and shake my ogre-like frame.

“I’m serious. I was going to sit you done before I left, but you can never stop. You need to keep it up.”

I shook my head and stared at my sneakers.

This year has been filled with wild changes for everyone around me. People continue to get married and have children. People have lost jobs and worked from the ground up to make it happen again. People have lost love, and lost themselves in the process. I have cheesily labeled 2009 as ‘The Year Of Change.’

I moved out of the top floor of tree house I was living in for 3 years. On my last day at the place my car caught on fire as I was driving outside my house. A small trail of fire was left behind my ’92 Camry like a failed time travel experiment. I was left alone with my hands stuck to my skull as the fire department doused my engine. The smoke traveled high and my stomach dropped amidst the chaos. Was it symbolic? Or just awful timing?

I thought soon after that it would be the perfect short story for my blog. I had so much to talk about. So many visuals, but this happened two months ago and my computer grew even dustier. I figured people were sick of hearing me tell the story in person anyway.

So I sit here and read the things I have written to you all before and I wanted to smash my computer with an axe. I want to smash the words and send them scattering across my desk. Black glowing letters would skip across the carpet, be stepped on and eventually thrown away. Microsoft Word would disappear from my desktop and I would just watch YouTube forever.

I decided to put the axe back in the garage with the rest of the tools.

It’s for my friend who went to Cairo because he needed a ‘Jump in some cold water.’ It’s for my family and their massive hearts. It’s for my friends who are happily married and living in beautiful homes. It’s for my friends who are engaged, living life by the seat of their pants and loving every second of it. It’s for my friends who sit at bars and talk to women with confidence. It’s for the music and movies that move me, and my hope that they will move you too. It’s for my car that blew up and my new form of transportation: a red Mongoose bike. It’s for wanting to find love and hoping it never goes away. It’s for sweating inside your apartment without central air, hoping that someday you will reach a point when this is never a problem. It’s for living paycheck to paycheck. It’s for growing old. It’s for remembering what its like to be 12 again.

It’s for all of you.

I write when nobody is around to remember you all. So I would just like to say, thank you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

But like all fireworks and all sunsets,we all burn in different ways

Is Summer officially here? It’s hard to tell amidst the random balls of weekday lighting and unbearably hot weekends. It’s all a bit confusing, but so is walking down the street for some people. If the change of a season can bring anything…its enlightenment!

So I am going to selfishly share with you some things that have occurred to me as we dust off the t-shirts and become self conscious about pale skin and body types.

NAT GEO Channel

Great channel, perfect couch potato television because you can convince yourself you are actually ‘learning something’ while doing nothing. There are programs on NAT GEO that remind us how beautiful the world can be, but they are now grossly outnumbered by shows about the end of the world. Not only are they filled with impending doom, but they are littered with crappy CGI to illustrate their morbid sensibilities. Is a gamma ray really going to start shooting out of the Milky Way, vaporizing the East Coast? According to NAT GEO it is, so hold onto your fucking hats!

Just look at this list of uplifting titles:

The Whale That Exploded (I wish I made this one up)
How to Kill a Planet
Exploding Las Vegas
Dino Death Trap
Seconds from Disaster: Crash of the Comet
Osmosis Jones
Who Really Killed Jesus?
Hitler and the Occult
Deadliest Planets

I am not going to stop watching, but could we up the happy a bit? I need more shows about the importance of prehensile thumbs or a 9-foot-tall Lithuanian who prefers to shun the spotlight of the circus. NAT GEO, I love you, please stop talking about the end of days. We know the world is crumbling around us, just find a way to make it more exciting.

Suggestions for new NAT GEO shows:

How to Avoid Hipsters: The Definition of a Meaningless Subculture
The Plus Side of Pirates and Pirating
Monkeys, Dinosaurs, Meerkats and other Totally Awesome Things
Pandas: Falling and Staying In Love
Search for The Elusive Narwhal
Chimps Who Don't Attack Humans

More Enlightenment:


I don’t have any fancy movie channels at my tree house, but I do have about 17 Encore channels. There is such a wide range of films from all genres. I am so hooked I have just about abandoned my DVD collection. Here are some films I have discovered while enjoying the ENCORE catalogue:

Ladyhawke (1985):

Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer are medieval lovers who have been cursed by an evil priest. Rutger turns into a Wolf at night and Michelle turns into a Hawk by day. This curse must be lifted so they call on a petty thief, Matthew Broderick, who goes by the name: Mouse.
The score is amazing as well as some beautiful scenery. The only problem is the ridiculous amount of crying Broderick does throughout the movie. It’s simply odd and distracting.

Little Murders (1971):

A girl brings home her latest boyfriend, Elliot Gould, to meet her parents. This is done against the background of random shootings that had just begun in NYC.
Elliot Gould plays a pretentious artist so full of himself and oblivious to others that you have to imagine his character birthed Eli Cash of The Royal Tennenbaums. It was also directed by the amazing, Alan Arkin.

Rumble Fish (1983):
Wow…this movie is absolutely stunning. It can be watched without sound it looks so gorgeous. I don’t know how this was received by critics when released, but I am guessing they considered it an ‘experimental’ film by Coppola. Matt Dillon does lonliness so well, but Mickey Rourke crushes it from the moment he rolls up on his motorcycle. PLEASE check this one out.

Don't go see Christian Bale scream and yell at Terminators all summer long...just watch ENCORE.

Rourke In Rumble Fish

Gould in Little Murders

Rutger In Ladyhawke

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I am the bow, and I am the arrow

Remember those toys from above? They are the gnarliest, noisiest, stinkiest punk rock party favor for any male under the age of 13. They reportedly forced a Florida couple to throw their child through a bay window. They brought nothing to the table but flinching grandmothers and disapproving adults, but they sucked you in. They sparked a bit and smelled like fireworks, which made them even cooler, because we know that fireworks lead to nothing but glass eyes.

You could smash them together for about 15 minutes before the blast ended. They would eventually turn chalky and stop working.
On March 24th two albums were released into the world like Blast Balls, but they will blast forever. No dusty leftovers.
DOOM (he dropped the MF) and Swan Lake released albums on this Tuesday from heaven and both crash through like hail storms just before the spring.

The albums are two wildly different genres. DOOM samples Charles Bukowski and spits about the possibility of Batman and Robin being gay while poking fun at flashy shirtless rappers. Swan Lake is comprised of three wailing beasts, which stand apart but still seem to be in awe of one another. They may dissimilar musically, but both show their strengths through wily lyrics.

DOOM’s lyrics come across like the answers to the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle. His raps are images in a Viewmaster, somewhat disconnected, but they all shine in their own right. He has caught some flack for using older beats and releasing songs that have been traveling the web for over a year, but it never feels stale. DOOM smashes every song, well two don’t even feature the masked man rapping, leaving you laughing and wondering why more artists don’t have minds like his.

Swan Lake also travels between your eyes with imagery so vast and haunting that it will sit with you long after the songs stop playing. Swan Lake is considered an ‘indie supergroup’, but lets just consider them super. All three songwriters bring loaded guns in their respective songs amongst masterfully arranged background noise. Never has the tragedy of getting old sounded so beautiful without feeling sorry.

So I would like to thank Music and the start of spring for bringing ‘blast balls’ onto my Ipod and making the change of the seasons feel like actual change.

Thanks for Ben Bowens for the Photoshop work.

I mentioned Viewmaster above and I am SHOCKED that I haven't seen a v-necked hipster toting one around. These pieces of plastic gold are perfect for hipsters. They are retro and cheapy looking, perfect for a dissaffected culture that stands for nothing. Kids with $50 American Apparrel Hoddies should have these things hanging from thier necks with pictures from the Sword and the Stone for all their friends to see.

"Hey check this out! Too bad I can't fit the 'picture discs' inside my jeans, but this is sooooo transgressive. Pass me a shitty beer that I am not drinking for the taste!."

-Hipster with Viewmaster

Sunday, March 22, 2009

You Are A Waterfall Waiting Inside A Well

Some believe we put too much stake in films.

Hollywood endings are Hollywood because they are far removed from reality. We rarely find true love in the end. Longing lovers rarely stop each other before boarding a plane to embrace before the credits of life roll. One man won't save the universe, and animals will never talk like us. Life is longer than two hours and isn't considered a form of escapism.

Fuck that.

Movies should move you like music or any other medium. Yes, life rarely imitates film, but isn't that our fault? Do we expect to much out of people? Are we always setting ourselves up for dissapointment? aren't a fool if you think your life will play out like a teen comedy as a high school senior. You aren't a madman if you think you will save everyone from a burning bus. Maybe these moments in film are future blueprints stored away in our brains for later use. False hopes may be realized through film and real dreams can be seen even after the screen goes black.

Put stake into everything...

Here are some some great movie moments for all the haters:


"You are what you love, not what loves you." If that doesn't ring through your head, you might need to get dumped. Just ask someone to kick you in the midsection if this makes no sense to you. It's one of the coldest lines EVER. (Cold meaning cool)

Stand By Me

River Phoenix crushes this scene. Do we ever stop to think about how those 'bad kids' feel when they are the first ones questioned? Sometimes we take for granted how deep the minds of children are. We all weren't that jaded then were we?


First off the score of this scene gives me the chills everytime I hear it. I wish it started playing as soon as I get in my car everyday for work.

This is Shymalan's best film and it was WAY ahead of it's time regarding the post 9/11 superhero genre of today.

"I should have known way back know why David? BECAUSE OF THE KIDS! They called me Mr. Glass."


You knew I was going to give Rushmore a shout...come's a modern American Classic. Murray doesn't even need to speak at the pool scence, his Budweiser swimming trunks say it all. Who doesn't like to see relationships rise, fall and put back together anyway. Life does work that way sometimes...

"You're the king of the dumbest fucking kingom!" The Foot Fist Way is already a cult classic. It's one of the darkest comedies/character you will ever see, and will require multiple viewings. Danny McBride is also gearing up to rule the movie world at the moment too. I wish him the best of luck.

American Beauty

There are alot of pricks out there who call this movie shit now. In this internet age of fickledom, we grow tired quickly. People might call this ending contrived, unrealistic, or hopeless. Don't you want to relive great moments before the credits on your life roll? And if these things don't happen, at least you saw it happen to someone else.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I would let you in here if I could, but I really don't know how...still trying to figure it out

A social phenomenon needs to be studied. It affects all of us. The awkward and confident jerks suffer from the same symptoms. I am speaking of the ‘Awkward Bar Walk Away’, which shall be referred to as AWBA from now on. The AWBA happens just about every night we go out to a crowded bar filled with clinking Miller Lite bottles and drunk folks pissing off their significant others. The flat-screens glow and we walk around in circles saying hello to friends and people whose names have slipped our minds. Fists are pumped. Cheeks are kissed and shots are downed. But we all suffer…we all do.

You see someone from high school and say hello, do the usual “How ya been, what the fuck are you doing these days? Can you believe this recession?” small talk bullshit. The conversation usually hits a peak within minutes. The glass ceiling is made of plexi-glass and you can’t bust through anymore. There are no more questions. No more answers. Just the worst stale silence you could ever imagine. You both might even look away several times hoping to see some tragic event, which would entail you to run away from the conversation. You hope a friend slips and falls or perhaps you desire for someone to yell FIRE, but there is no escape. The bathroom…you ask. Sure it’s a good excuse, but it’s been done before, and how many times can you use that in one night and if the bathroom is far and has a line winding through the bar…is it really worth the effort? Bottom line, you can’t tell everyone you don’t want to talk to that you have to pee again.

How do we cure this? This AWBA that plagues us all? Some people just rudely say fuck it, and turn the other way without a goodbye. Some tough it out, and sweat through a 20 minute conversation of the same question being asked in 20 different ways. Some of us just avoid all contact, and park our asses at the bar and look nowhere but down at your drinks.

The worst port of the AWBA is the moment before you both part ways. You might even offer and handshake before saying goodbye, but it’s never smooth.


“All right……um……it was good seeing you (head scratch as you stare at your feet). Good luck with work. (look away). Good seeing you….um….OK.”

I suggest an unspoken head nod/wave. We should all be aware of the AWBA and how to avoid it. Just look at the person…no physical contact and nod or wave from afar. Stay tight with your group of friends and don’t waver. Let the people you don’t want to see come to you, but make sure you have your people around. Stand near your crew the whole night. It’s an easy escape, and a reason to simply, turn your back, and walk the fuck away.


The title of this awful blog is of course a song lyric, and it is from the latest release from IRAN. A band composed of Aaron Aites, who according to most pretentious music websites, should be a familiar name in all indie rock households. Kyp Malone, of TV on the Radio, is also part of this outfit and the main reason I checked them out the first place. It was produced by Dave Sitek, who is on his way on becoming the next Brian Eno and its just beastly. I could call it atmospheric, cinematic, Beach Boys on lo-fi, hissy art-rock, but I would just sound like a dick. It's the album's ability make you think you are hearing something completely different without wandering to far away. While some songs start off like a breezy surf melody, it might change sonically, but the feeling of the songs is never lost. It could be the lyrics and sometimes howling by Malone and Aites, but I never felt alone. The lyrics aren't filled with imagery of slithering snakes and dancing lemurs. They are direct and poppy, kind of like the FIRST Weezer album. (Kind OF) When Aites screams about losing his confidence in one of the songs, I didn't want to tell him to shut the fuck up. I just wanted to tell him everything was going to be cool.

The lyrics are self-aware, without dimming their creativity. IRAN doesn't need to trick you with their approach. They simply come clean, well as some might say...a bit 'hissy.'

I have decided to leave you with a video and some pictures:

Amazing band, with lyrics that aren't so easily interpreted.

Pics by my man TDHef...he got a sick new camera: