December 31, 2006

Winding Down ’06

Filed under: Life through my lens,Love,Music,Music Review,Personal,Podcast,Writing — base2wave @ 11:25 am

All the important details of the year have been recapped, I won’t waste time with that. I guess that means it’s time for a few obligatory something-something ’06 lists…

A number of the best albums of ’06 [In no particular order]:

  • Waiting for the Time to Be RightThe Brother Kite: Waiting for the Time to Be Right
    Sun-bleached melodies, with a lingering melancholy without being heavy. The album reminds me of ‘Pet Sounds’ if Brian Wilson weren’t so full of himself.
  • Ten Silver DropsSecret Machines: Ten Silver Drops
    I can best describe this album as ‘anthemic’. It has arena heavy drums, swirling guitar sounds, and great lyrics.
  • Tom Cruiseill lit: Tom Cruise
    If I HAD to choose, this album would be my favorite. It’s cosmic road music for a generation that is trying to find home. Somewhere Gramm Parsons is smiling.
  • Everything All the TimeBand of Horses: Everything All The Time
    I suppose this is best described as southern-influenced rock; a indie with a twang, if you will. There’s a comfort in the familiar sadness here.
  • October LanguageBelong: October Language
    This album is skittery and static-y the perfect album to turn on and drift into your own head late at night. Lyrics would have ruined this album, as its swells and distortions conjure create the emotions without manufacturing a feeling.
  • The History of Modern SilenceThe Black Spoons: The History of Modern Silence
    The sophomore album from a trio [well, currently duo] of talented musicians. It’s intelligent, thoughtful rock music with no pretenses.
  • FoiledBlue October: Foiled
    If you haven’t heard Blue October by now, you must be living in a cave [Can I come over and have tea?]. It’s dark, raw, honest rock music. As an added bonus Imogen Heap sings ‘Celebration’ with them. What more do you need?
  • Hallelujah SirensDirty on Purpose: Hallelujah Sirens
    This is an album of jangly indie-pop music, again, probably best suited for late nights alone with bottle of wine.
  • Night RipperGirl Talk: Night Ripper
    Again, if I had to chose, this album would be #2 for the year. It’s a continuous mix mash-up of hip-hop and pop music. Things you never thought could go together somehow mix SEAMLESSLY with one another. A must-have.
  • Movement EPLetting Up Despite Great Faults: Movement
    Apparently as I compile this ’06 was a year of melancholy. This albums is a great mix of organics like a string section, acoustic guitar, and a piano with the blips and bloops of daydreaming synthesizers and gentle, sad music.
  • Eyes OpenSnow Patrol: Eyes Open
    So, sometimes I tend to be a music snob, and I almost missed these guys without giving them a chance. Just a great emotional indie-rock album.
  • With Strings: Live at Town HallEels: With Strings – Live at Town Hall
    I typically HATE live albums, as I’ve rather SEE a band live, but this albums I think captures the intimacy that Mr. E set out to accomplish. You can almost smell the scotch on his breath.

Other notables include Té, Tex La Homa, Metallic Falcons, Brightback Morning Light, Chin Up Chin Up, Amusement Parks on Fire, Blue Sky Black Death, and the list goes on. Hopefully I’ll get around to reviewing ALL of these and more in the next year. Which brings us to our next list…

A Few Things I Intend on Doing Next Year:

  • Write more regularly: Both on my blog and in general. I’m still struggling to regain my previous habit of writing. I caught myself procrastinating too much this year and self-editting to the point of destroying a piece before it’s ever started.
  • Get married. I think this requires no real description.
  • Read more. I got burned out on reading this year due to the high volume of tech blogs I read daily and the general exhaustion from work. I need to force myself to do this. There’s a great deal I want to read, but I just haven’t sat down to do so.
  • Work on some animation. I have these ideas rattling in my skull, I should try to get them out.
  • Take more time for myself. It seems simple, but I am horrid with that. I need to take time to mediate, read, and take care of myself so I can better take care of those that I care about.

Well, it’s time to get dressed and head out to toast the END of the Rockettes. Happy New Year!

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October 22, 2006


Filed under: Life through my lens,Music,Music Review — base2wave @ 11:07 am

I keep writing this and deleting it, again and again. And finally I’ve had a moment of clarity to understand why and subsequently I think it will give me the ability to actually write this. Music is a very spiritual experience with me. I connect with music on a highly emotional level [and talking about emotions is like dancing about architecture] . And last night I had what I can only describe as a spiritual experience [and I don’t intend for that so come off as dramatic as I’m sure it does]. Anyway, last night I saw The Album Leaf in concert.

The first band went on around 9:15-ish. A local band, Sea Surrounds Me. They were… tolerable. Their higher tempo moments were much better, but most of the time they dragged and I was more interested in the my beer and an uncomfortable bar stool. Anyhow, after a five or six song set, they departed and a Lymbyc Systym took stage. I was INSTANTLY captivated by the music these two guys from Arizona made. I’d be hard pressed to compare them to any other band. It’s vaguely shoegazer, if only for the presence of a goodly amount of saw-tooth synthesizer; but they didn’t have the sterility and distance that often occupancies most of that genre. This music had a pulse.

After about 7 songs or so, they cleared the stage, and the Album Leaf’s entourage began reassembling the stage. Some delay occurred getting the AV equipment functioning correctly, but once they had, the lights went out and The Album Leaf took stage. Bathed in the light from the projection equipment showing movie clips and graphics, they began to play and I lost all touch with everything around me. The violin was ethereal, and Jimmy LaValle singing and on several sets of analog synthesizers just totally took me to a place in my mind that I rarely visit. It’s not exactly upbeat music, but still somehow it reminded me of the happy moments I’ve had, and the happy moments coming in the future. During on of the songs light bulbs were projected behind them pulsating in intensity along with the beat of the music. This seemed somehow appropriate, as the music, had massive intensity but still the delicate warmth of a filament; fragile. They placed for what I guess was about and hour and half, and then left the stage only to come back a few minutes later for a few more songs. Regardless, I didn’t want the evening to be over, but I suppose like everything else, it’s all about living in a moment, and experience.

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May 21, 2006

Amusement Parks on Fire: Out Of The Angeles

Filed under: Music Review — base2wave @ 3:57 pm

Out of the Angeles CoverAmusement Parks on Fire: Out of the Angeles

I fear that I’m becoming like my father in more ways than I’d rather admit. I can deal with looking like him. I learned that it’s ok that we act alike. I know it’s genetics to blame that we have the same sense of humour, dry as it may be. But one thing in particular compounds the list of things that keep me lying awake in bed at night; our shared nostalgia for music that fell from the public eye years before. I use to make fun of my old man for his music tastes. He is still listening to aged bands such as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and The Flying Burritto Brothers [I should note that while researching FBB for that link I learned Gramm Parson’s was the front man… Points for that.] But now I find myself reminiscing for bands long since past [The Jesus & Mary Chain, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Dinosaur Jr., etc…]. I listen to a lot of music, but I always find myself going back to old favorites. Maybe that’s why Amusement Parks on Fire is appealing to me. It’s new music that has all the energy and feel of a Shoegazer era long since past.

Amusement Parks on Fire came into the music scene in 2005 with their self-titled record. Despite limited listener exposure, critics largely hailed this album as a reminder of what made Shoegazer so damn good in the first place. Now with their sophomore full release [their first release with a full band], they didn’t try to re-invent themselves on this album. Blistering multi-tracked guitars, skyward synths, reverb-soaked vocals; It’s what made their first album so listenable in the first place. It comes together to make an album I lose myself in. Whether it’s blue shifting down the freeway late at night, drinking a beer on the couch, or coding with my headphones on; I’m somewhere entirely else.

This albums is excellent for anyone who wants it loud but needs a melody to be infused in it too. Amusement Parks on Fire seem to make albums designed to be listened to in their entirety. There are single-worthy tracks, but as a whole everything flows together as one uplifting piece. Heavy guitars & hammering drums surround you in a wall of noise without suffocating you under their weight. The strings and the synths making the album sound more like it’s flying.

Is it breaking some new musical boundary? Probably not. Does that discredit it’s place on my list of the best albums of 2006? Hell no. It’s building on a style that got lost somewhere. Maybe it had it’s time & place, but it’s good to see echoes or reflections or whatever you want to call it in something new.

Maybe I’m clinging on to a time that has since passed. I probably sound like one of those old guys blathering on about how music just isn’t what it use to be. Or maybe I just get nostalgic for music that had a place in my life.

Maybe my old man is cooler than I had thought…

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