Monday, January 04, 2016

2015 Recap - Podcasts

Podcasts! They're not just for iPods anymore!

This past year, I continued to listen to and enjoy podcasts. Whether driving to or from work or shooting villians while playing Uncharted 3 online multiplayer, podcasts were there, in a very real, very aural way.

Here were my favorites:

With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus - James Adomian: The Tom Leykis Radio Program

If you know who Tom Leykis is, this is TBS Very Funny. If not, maybe it's still pretty funny!

Comedy Bang Bang - Be My Guest, Literally!

This one features the aforementioned Lapkus as her greatest voice, Ho Ho The Naughty Elf! Ho Ho is mixed in with other great fake guests like Werner Herzog. If you like this and you want more Ho Ho in your life, check out her North Pod episodes with Santa!

The Dead Authors Podcast - L. Ron Hubbard Featuring Andy Daly
(Part 1)
(Part 2)

In the wake of HBO's "Going Clear", Andy Daly performs as Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, as Paul F. Tompkins hosts as H.G. Wells. We had the pleasure of watching Mr. Daly as L. Ron during his stage show in Portland, and that was cool.

The Goddamn Dave Hill Show - Bobcat Goldthwait and Diane Neal

Bobcat and one of the assistant DA ladies from one of the "Law & Order" franchises hang out with Dave, tell some funny showbiz stories, and it's a delight.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 Soundtrack

I do this every year. These songs are what I loved this year, or what reminds me of this year, and are arranged in my preferred listening order. The playlist usually fits on an 80-minute CD, but NOT THIS YEAR! It's slightly longer! I am breaking the rules!

Download the zipped folder here. Or maybe you want to make a Spotify or Google playlist and post it in the comments? You could do that!

If the songs get lost in your media library, just search for the ones with the genre labeled "Dan2015".

Wolf Alice - Giant Peach

A tweet from Buzzfeed and Fluxblog’s Matthew Perpetua claimed this song’s climax was the best musical moment of the year, so I bought the album based on that and good reviews. It is my favorite song on the album, and I understand 10% of the lyrics.

Donnie Iris - Ah! Leah!

This appears in episode 2 of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, as Elizabeth Banks is walking into camp. It sounded familiar, and technology told me that it was this one-hit wonder. “You’re looking better than a body has a right to” is right up there with “Hey, sister, just give me a chance to get next to you” in the pantheon of amazing pickup lines I’ll never get the opportunity to use.

Beck - Dreams

Beck won the Best Album Grammy last year for a repeat of his sad-sack bullshit Sea Change redux, Morning Phase. We need to stop supporting his melancholy music -- leave that stuff to Bon Iver or Sufjan Stevens or whoever. Only one man can turn on Sexx Laws mode like this. We need your exultant funk, Beck!
Craig Wedren - I am a Wolf, You are the Moon

This is the sing-along Paul Rudd’s character leads at the Electro-City after-party, when DJ Skimask is taking a break, I guess.

Def Leppard - Animal

Our kids need to go places when they get antsy, and the city library is one of the places we take them. The kids’ section is basically a playground, which is nice for us but not so nice for the rest of the suckers spending time at the library. The CD racks caught my eye, so I decided I’d methodically make my way through the rock section to see what was in there. I have no idea why libraries get the CDs they do, but I PAY MY TAXES AND I WANT WHAT’S COMING TO ME. I checked out a lot of CDs. Def Leppard’s greatest album was among them.

Torres - Cowboy Guilt

I have nothing to say about this except that I like it.

Sky Ferreira - I Blame Myself

This is a song I like from a 23-year-old model! I picked up the CD from the library when I recognized the cover from a best-of list I read (on the AV Club, maybe?). It’s kinda hard to forget the cover image, because it’s a young model in a shower with her boobs out and everything and she’s all pouty, like, “Oh man, I’m stuck in this hot shower all naked but I’d rather be in the beat lab recording some hot jams!”.

Hot Chip - Huarache Lights

Replace us with the things that do the job better. This is a song about getting older.

Liz Phair - Stratford-on-Guy

I spent a day at the airport in March, waiting to fly. I left the house around 8:30 in the morning and left the ground around 6:30 in the evening. I had loaded up with music from the Fiery Furnaces, who hail from the Chicago area, and planned to immerse myself in that over the trip. But since I had listened to Liz Phair in the previous weeks, she is who ended up popping in my head. I was flying into Chicago at night.

Colin Hay - Next Year People (live on Comedy Bang Bang podcast, January 8, 2015)

This came at the end of the podcast, when I was getting close to my work parking lot. The lyrics and the mood of the song hit me hard - maybe it’s living in Kansas during a drought, growing up on a farm. Holy shit, what a grim song. It’s a wonder I was able to work that day, much less the rest of the year.

Mike Adams at His Honest Weight - Be Free, Live Well
Mike Adams at His Honest Weight - I’m Worried
Mike Adams at His Honest Weight - Findings of Feeling, Findings of Fact

Ok, yes, this is three songs by the same artist on one playlist. It's simply not done. UNTIL NOW. This album was referenced several times by Dave Hill on his podcast/radio show, so I listened to it once on Spotify and thought, "Okay." But then I bought it anyway. And I came to adore these first 3 songs off the album. The majority of my listening in the first 3 months of 2015 was this album, so why not represent that importance in the playlist, guys? WHY NOT?? (I also got to see them live when they came through town in October, settling in for their set after seeing Alcides Escobar knock in Alex Gordon in the 3rd inning of their Game 1 victory over Toronto in the ALCS.

Thee Oh Sees - Web

This jam has some tasty licks.

M.I.A. - Bad Girls

This is the song I will always associate with Shawn's Portland bachelor party.

of Montreal - Colossus

An interview with the singer/songwriter tells me that this song was heavily influenced by Sylvia Plath, which explains why it's kind of horrific. But that bass line is smooth, and the harmonies are nice!

Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian at Best

This is a great song. You can listen to the music it absent-mindedly and love it, or you can amaze at the verbose lyrics. She's said it was partially inspired by "Cannonball" by The Breeders, which is also a great song.

Blur - Ong Ong

Two years in a row for Blur on my soundtrack! This must be why they boys got back together and recorded a new album.

Chvrches - Clearest Blue

Corinne's brother went to Game 6 of the ALCS, opening up a spot for me to see Chvrches, who closed with this song. Bag was also there with his new bride, and we waited on top of the parking garage for traffic to clear, watching Bag's phone as Eric Hosmer battled against Roberto Osuna; the game was only in the 8th inning because of an earlier rain delay. Between the time we decided to shut off the phone and the time we started our cars, Lorenzo Cain had ran from first to home on Hosmer's single. I drove home listening to delightful postgame analysis.

Craig Wedren and Baby - Until Summer

This is in the closing credits of the very same WHAS episode that "Ah! Leah!" is featured. Wedren put a bunch of the WHAS songs on Soundcloud, and I would listen to that playlist quite often at work.

Sleater-Kinney - A New Wave

Some mornings in the weeks after this album was released, I would connect my phone to the living room stereo and rock out. On several occasions, one of the kids would dance along, sticking out their butts in a humorous way and bouncing with their knees. I wanted to shoot video of it but alas, my video-recording device was being used to play the music. This is the struggle of our modern world.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Titletown Texts

Well, I spent a good hour messing around searching for gifs and video clip embeds and photo upload jingle jangle, and I am giving up! If you need a refresh of what happened in the final game of the 2015 World Series, here it is in full, or you can skip to 2:45

So after Harvey "NO WAY!"d and walked Cain and Hosmer doubled Cain in, I sent this text to Bag:

And after Hosmer scored on the wild throw:

And after the Royals onslaught ended and Wade Davis came in to finish things off:

Sadly, Fox did not cut to millionaire Kevin James' sad, Mets-loving face. But we did win the World Series, so that was pretty good.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Take Me Down To Podcast City

When Janet asked me to guess what she would title her Guns N’ Roses podcast, I took ten minutes to think. My best guess was Get in the Ring.

I had additional guesses:

Illusion Users
Can’t Get Enough of that Wonderful Duff
You Talkin’ GnR to Me?
What’s So Civil About Podcasts, Anyway?
GnR - Lies (and Truths)
Slash Fiction

And as it turns out, not of these were correct. However, the lone podcast solely dedicated to GnR I was able to find is named Get in the Ring. Whoa! Great minds think alike! Or, if all of their podcast episodes are the same as the only one I listened to, a great mind and a few not great minds think alike!

I was interested to see how other podcasters had named their fan appreciation shows, but was surprised to find few results in my searches. After the relatively large (and very wonderful!) impact of “U Talkin’ U2 To Me”, I figured I would find a podcast for every big band from the ‘90s, but as far as I can tell, that’s not the case. Pearl Jam podcasts seemed the lone exception --  Evil Little Goats (named after an outtake!) and Given to Cast both exist, but even those seemed to burn out after a few episodes.

I suppose it’s easier to talk about a plot-driven television show than a collection of music, but I still find it strange that we live in a world where every episode of Gilmore Girls gets a podcast, but not every album of Radiohead.

If it’s podcast names that is keeping these would-be shows from existing, allow me to help:

Pearl Jam
Elderly Woman Behind a Counter Listening to a Pearl Jam Appreciation Podcast
Glorified P
Can’t Find a Better Podcast
Stream the Black Circle

Stone Temple Pilots
Podcasts from the Vatican Gift Shop
Art School Girlfriends
The Purple Core
Creep(s): A Stone Temple Pilots Podcast

Creep(s): A Radiohead Podcast
Planet Telex
Kid, A Podcast
OK Computer, Download This Podcast Please

Podcasts in the Attic
Podcasts in an Elevator
Janie’s Got a Podcast
Cryin’ (and Podcastin’)
Podcasting (Is Hard on the Knees)

Come Together: Not a Beatles Podcast, an Aerosmith Podcast

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Still Stellar

I re-watched an episode of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp last night, and while that series was nearly everything I hoped for, I would still rank Stella as the greatest thing that David Wain or Michael Ian Black or Mikey Sho has done. (You likely remember Stella from my January 2005 post about the series being picked up by Comedy Central.)

Fast Company recently interviewed the Stella three, and I have compiled the dildo-related portions, including a Confucius-level final thought from David Wain:

DW: The shorts were pretty raunchy and crazy and unrestrained in just about every way.

MIB: The tone, the absurdity, the dildos—all of it just came pretty naturally. Whatever we thought was funny, we did. The stakes were so low. And the thing with the dildo was, once you buy one, you kind of have to amortize the cost. So we kept using it.

DW: We didn't think the show was nearly as left-of-center as I guess, in retrospect, it was. We thought we were doing the very mainstream, commercial version of what we do. But I suppose that it takes more than abstaining from sucking on dildos to make something truly mainstream.

Jelly remover for photo albums, you guys.

David's Cousin from TheState on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Operation: Crime Against Music

I went to the library on Sunday with the wife and kids, to kill some time in an air conditioned environment. There is a small, kinda strange music section - who knows why they carry the CDs they do - that I browsed, thinking I’d take home a few and rip them for my mp3 collection.

Looking through the Heavy Metal section, I came across a Queensryche album I didn’t recognize that had a few of their hit songs in the tracklisting. Jeff had just texted me a few weeks earlier:
Recipe for blowing this day out of the water: go back and listen to “Jet City Woman”. Hearing this yesterday led me to pay real American dollars to buy a Queensryche album in 2015.
He said it was remastered, so I figured this album was some kind of remastered greatest hits compilation, so I grabbed it.

Before I ripped it later that night, I checked Wikipedia for the story behind this “Frequency Unknown” album. Whoops, it was a cash grab featuring re-recorded versions of their hit songs:
Frequency Unknown is an album released by Geoff Tate's temporary version of the American progressive heavy metal band Queensrÿche. It was released as the thirteenth studio album under the Queensrÿche moniker in a time no settlement or juridical decision determined whether Tate or the other band members were entitled to use the name Queensrÿche.
Listening to the redone hits is like listening to a band that re-formed to tour State Fairs. I will not be archiving these mp3s.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Pronunciation CrISIS

March 24, 2014. An acclaimed cheap restaurant in Chicago’s Chinatown. Across a table of rice, crispy duck, and shrimp in mayonnaise sauce, Janet asks a question.

“So… How do you pronounce your last name?”

(I pronounce my last name)

“Oh, like ISIS?!”

It was a bummer of a realization, but I now own it. When I spoke to a high school class last month, I corrected the teacher’s pronunciation with Janet’s mnemonic. The class laughed and the teacher pronounced me correctly during when introducing me in the following hour.