Friday, September 30, 2011

top 5 for the week of 30 september 2011

1. young galaxy - blown minded

2. lower dens - i get nervous

3. neutral milk hotel - where you'll find me now

4. st. vincent - surgeon

5. twin sister - bad street

Thursday, September 29, 2011

stream the new ringo deathstarr ep

Austin's shoegaze / lo fi act with the hipster name just released an LP in February but they've already got a 4 song EP called Shadow on the way in November. Nylon Magazine has it available to stream a full month in advance. Unfortunately, they won't let me embed the soundcloud so you'll have to follow this link to hear it.

The title track is easily my favorite of the 4. There's something a little bit grungy about it and the m/f vocal pairing is evocative.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a resurrected beatdown from the trash can of history

Am I the only one looking forward to the Guardian Heroes remake for XBLA? Of course I'm not. Looks like there's finally a release date for this Sega Saturn class: 12 October. You'll definitely catch me throwing away hours and hours on the branching storylines of this side-scrolling beat 'em up instead of researching for any of my 3 papers this semester. Here's a trailer to get you stoked.

While I was in London over the summer, 4 upcoming XBLA games caught my eye: Bastion (beat it), D&D: Daggerdale (played the demo), Orcs Must Die! (5 October), and this one. In just a few short weeks, I'll finally close that open appointment on my iCalendar.

Maybe in the meantime, I can write up a brief review and some impressions of Bastion for the 3 people in American on XBLA who haven't played it.

simpsons! (in minecraft)

A remarkable remake of the widely recognized opening from The Simpsons. But why is Dewey Largo naked?

So far both Star Wars trilogies, Indiana Jones, Batman, Harry Potter and Rock Band have gotten the Lego treatment from Traveller's Tales. How long until we see America's favorite yellow family[1] rendered in block form having madcap adventures?

[1] Sorry, All-American Girl. Apparently, I also need to seek out Mr. T and Tina. No, not "pity the foo" Mr. T but Pat "Mr. Miyagi used to be a cook on Happy Days" Morita. It's recognized as the first tv sitcom about an Asian American family on American TV. Query: why did all Japanese guys on TV in the 70s have the last name Takahashi? Were they all brothers or something?


Here's a movie in parts about (apparently) America going broke after the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of China. To make ends meet, America hosts a telethon. That's what we need, Obama. Jerry Lewis can get us out of this crisis. Declare America one of Jerry's Kids. Seriously, though, after I get time to watch the movie, I'll review it. But you can enjoy it now in segment form.

George Carlin narrates.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Saturday, September 24, 2011

new track from twin shadow

Twin Shadow debuted a new track called "Changes" on KCRW. Unfortunately, in my lameness, I can't absolutely confirm this is the new song they've been playing at recent shows (Atlanta, ACL), but I think it is. Here's your opportunity to download and listen to it yourself.

Twin Shadow - "Changes" by Pretty Much Amazing

Friday, September 23, 2011

top 5 for the week of 23 september 2011

An extended top 5 based on 3 days at ACL.

sept 18
1. arcade fire - ready to start

2. fleet foxes - white winter hymnal

3. death from above 1979 - you're a woman, i'm a machine (christian aids remix)

4. broken social scene - sweetest kill

5. the walkmen

sept 17
1. telekinesis! - awkward kisser

2. twin shadow - tyrant destroyed

3. phosphorescent - the mermaid parade

4. cut copy - lights and music

5. iron & wine - naked as we came

sept 16
1. wild beasts - the devil's crayon

2. reptar - stuck in my id

3. smith westerns - weekend

4. bright eyes - bowl of oranges

5. santigold - lights out

And a bonus video
* stars - your ex-lover is dead

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

the execution of troy davis

I moved from one state that takes pride in killing innocent people to take up domicile in another which feels the same way. Today, pending intervention from the governor, Georgia will put to death a man that no rational person can say is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But the law isn't about justice.

A US Supreme Court judge (that's the joke, folks) recently wrote in an opinion that it was not only legal but appropriate to put an innocent man to death if it takes place in accordance with the judicial apparatus of the State.[1] Seriously, the US Supreme Court says it's ok to knowingly execute an "innocent" man. We are watching the erosion of the legitimacy of the American legal system one innocent person put to death at a time.

This is not justice. This is a miscarriage of justice.

My heart goes out to Troy Davis and his family.

19:26 It looks like a delay has been ordered for the execution. It's not a stay so the execution could still happen tonight. In this case, justice delayed may *NOT* justice denied.
19:31 Here's livestream coverage of what's going on with the execution.
19:46 It looks like it's a 1 to 7 day reprieve. That means Troy can still be executed as early as tomorrow.
22:30 US Supreme Court denies the stay. Execution of Troy Davis will go forward. May happen tonight.
23:08 Troy Davis has been murdered by the state of Georgia.

[1] The quote from Justice Scalia in his 2009 dissent to the unsigned Supreme Court opinion ordering a Georgia trial court to re-examine the evidence that could prove Troy Davis' innocence states:
This court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

dueling with pigeons

Usually the failblog has just been failing in recent days but this one is genuinely amusing. I hope they washed their hands after dueling because pigeons are filthy animals.

Monday, September 19, 2011

ACL 2011 - 3rd day

The Mullet's Festival Guide for Not Being Lame at a Festival

Rule 13
If you shine your laser pointer all over the stage and at the band, you are lame, I hate you, and when I'm resurrected as a tiger I will hunt you down and bite off both your hands.
It was hot today. Super hot. Not many rain clouds hung over Zilker Park unlike the previous two. It did sprinkle for a little bit around 5:30 but not enough to thoroughly chase away the heat or provide much shady relief. A nice breeze blew sporadically. When it did, the wind felt good. It didn't blow enough.

Today, 18 September, I saw at ACL:

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (Detroit)
2. The Walkmen
3. The Airborne Toxic Event (Los Angeles)
5. Chiddy Bang
6. Broken Social Scene (Canada)
7. Death from Above 1979
8. Fleet Foxes
9. Social Distortion
10. Hayes Carll
11. Empire of the Sun
12. Arcade Fire

I started out day 3 by watching Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. who regular readers may recognize from the track 'Nothing But Our Love (Kasper Bjorke remix)' that's been in the top 5 of the week before. They weren't quite as dance-y as I had hoped. Still, a lot of fun and danceable. They threw out popsicles to the crowd half-way through the set which made them really popular on a hot Austin summer day. They also covered Steve Winwood's 'Higher Love'.

Split the next hour between The Walkmen and The Airborne Toxic Event sets. The Walkmen reminded me of a countrified Rod Stewart for some reason. I've seen The Airborne Toxic Event before at 101x Fest at Emo's[1] a few years ago. There's some inexplicable about them that I really like. They covered 'I Fought the Law' and dedicated to LAPD, the London Metro cops, and the police of Athens, GA who recently "detained [them] against [their] will." Definitely a fun set.

Finally managed to catch Broken Social Scene live. I tried to make something happen when they toured immediately after the release and in support of 'Forgiveness Rock Record.' This will be one of their last shows before going on indefinite hiatus. While I did enjoy watching their show streamed live via youtube several months, actually seeing them in person is much, much better. I guess that's the influence of the crowd rather than sitting at home listening while working on your 1L brief.

Death from Above 1979 brought the day's brief rain. They also brought bad news. They played Emo's last night. It will be the last show performed at Emo's because the venue is being dozed this Monday. What the hell happened, Austin? Emo's was one of the premier live music venues in Austin and a long-standing and venerable institution of the Austin music scene. Punk acts, metal, hardcore, post-hardcore, indie and more passed through the doors of its two stages and played for one of the few all ages crowds left in the city. I've been going to Emo's for nearly a decade and a half. I've seen a lot of good shows there in college and after and made a lot of good memories there. You will be missed, Emo's.

Hayes Carll has great stage banter. He told a story about appearing on Leno and was surprised the crowd didn't boo him. That night's guest was Kathie Lee Gifford. Then he related a tale about almost appearing on Letterman. He flew to NYC to speak with his manager and to try to make it happen but ultimately got passed over in favor of another band. Stuck in NYC for the night, he decided to tune into Letterman to see who that night's celebrity guest would be. It was the complete lineup of the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. But at least he got to meet Kathie Lee Gifford.[2]

The guy from Empire of the Sun smashed his guitar up all crazy rocker style at the end of their set.

I saw Arcade Fire in May in Austin with Explosions in the Sky. I'm not sure what it was, but I liked this year's Grammy winners a lot more this time around. It's not because I'm more familiar with their music. Neon Bible and the Suburbs were much more heavily in my rotation back then. Weather was also nicer. And they played substantially the same set tonight and 4 months ago.

Maybe it's because I was pissed off because my (ex)friend made me miss most of the Explosions in the Sky set.[3] Was there a horn section in May? I think there was. I don't like horns much. That and they played the songs straight up this time instead of trying to stadium rock-it.

They're traveling with the same stage setup I saw in May. That's the two screens angled together to look like an old-style movie theater marquee complete with a line of lights around each marquee. There's also a larger screen below them. Because they played on the Bud Light stage, the stage where all the major headlining acts played this year (Kanye, Stevie Wonder), two screens flanked the stage where ACL camera crews projected feeds from their various cameras.

I can't say enough about how different my experience was seeing them this time. I really, really enjoyed the show. Win Butler quipped that Austinites are "horrible dancers." He also dropped a hint that another major Canadian band may be going on hiatus after finishing up their scheduled tour dates. At the close of the show, Win said that we won't be seeing them for a couple of years. That sounds like more definite plans than 'until we record another album.' Did I miss some announcement? Just thought I'd share.

UPDATE 19 September: I've gone back and added some links to songs for the various artists I saw over the weekend. I'm starting with day 3 and working backwards. It will be a slow process because I'm also a busy 2L and a weekend of fun is a week's worth of hell in makeup work. Keep in mind, just because it's linked doesn't mean it was actually performed during ACL.

[1] RIP Emo's.
[2] He says he plans on retiring that story after tonight.
[3] Don't fret, faithful readers. I'll be seeing Explosions again on 29 September at the Tabernacle in Atlanta.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

ACL 2011 - 2nd day

A second day of rain at ACL. It was much needed to quench the Austin drought but also helped cool off the show. And it was a good, hard rain, too. It's amazing how different being soaked from rain feels from being soaked in your own sweat. Rain definitely feels better.

Today, 17 September, I saw:

1. Telekinesis! (Seattle)
2. The Antlers
3. Twin Shadow
4. Phosphorescent
5. Young the Giant
6. City and Colour
7. Alexander
8. Iron & Wine
9. Fitz and the Tantrums (Los Angeles)
10. Cut Copy (Australia)
11. TV on the Radio (NYC)
12. My Morning Jacket

Telekinesis! was fantastic per usual. As a rule, I usually don't listen to the bands I'm going to see that day beforehand. But Telekinesis! (Michael Benjamin Lerner) is such addictive, poppy fun that I broke that rule today.

Twin Shadow was great, again. I just saw him last week in Atlanta at the EARL with Diamond Ring. I have the Atlanta t-shirt for his Clean Cuts tour (each city is treated to its own hairstyle by George Lewis, Jr.) but didn't want to be "that guy" at the show. But George's ACL cut was very similar to the Atlanta. I believe it was basically the same set list including a new track they've been working on.

I could be wrong, but I think I caught a glimpse of Kurt Vile peeping from backstage during the Phosphorescent set. It *was* raining and my glasses were covered in rain.

Per the recommendation of an (ex)friend, I went to see Fitz and the Tantrums. They are energetic, interactive, and proficient musicians, but I just wasn't feeling their "neo soul" flavor. It's nothing against them. I just prefer my dance music with more snyths and drum machines. They did play covers of The Raconteurs "Stead, As She Goes" and the Eurhythmics "Sweet Dreams."

But I did enjoy the heck out of Cut Copy. And you can bet yours that I shook my hiney off. Really wish I could make the time to see them in Athens, GA in a week and a half. They're playing with Washed Out at the recently restored Georgia Theater.

I've never been a big fan of the studio recordings of My Morning Jacket. Seeing them live, however, is a different story. While I'm certainly not going to drop my life and follow Yim Yames et al around a la Stan Smith[1], I did thoroughly enjoy MMJ. The backdrop was a giant eye (or maybe a sun, I dunno, it was kind of vague) and behind the band were 5 rectangles that displayed various flashing designs in lights. It didn't compare to the stage production values of the Kanye show. But who could? Kanye always gotta do it bigger than everybody else. That's how Kanye ego do. For the last third of the set the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans joined them onstage.

One day of ACL left. Tomorrow's headliner is the Arcade Fire!

[1] American Dad S5E07 My Morning Straitjacket

Saturday, September 17, 2011

ACL 2011 - 1st day

The Mullet's Festival Guide for Not Being Lame at a Festival

Rule 11
If you immediately seek shelter when it rains, you are lame, I hate you, and when I'm resurrected as a tiger I will eat your face.
Rule 47
If you wait until 3 or 4 in the afternoon to show up because you only care to see the artists who have released platinum albums, you are wasting your time and my space.
Today, Friday 16 September, 2011 was the first day of ACL. I saw:

1. Theophilus London
2. Wild Beasts (London, UK)
3. Reptar (Athens, GA)
4. Secret Sisters (Alabama)
5. Fool's Gold
6. Smith Westerns (Chicago, IL)
7. Cave Singers (Seattle)
8. Kurt Vile and the Violators
9. Cold War Kids
10. Bright Eyes
11. Santigold
12. Pretty Lights
13. Kanye West (Chicago, IL)

There were some sound troubles during the Smith Westerns show effecting the leading mic. Cullen Omori let his disgust show through as he backed away from the mic and visibly cursed. He also quipped that his friend 'feedback' had voted when he asked the audience question and the mic acted up. But overall, the set was stellar.

Kurt Vile also had some sound problems (different stage) at the very beginning of the set. He had to stop to fix them, which ate up some of his set time. The ACL folks wouldn't add any more time to his set, much to his obvious frustration. I suspect he had been saving 'Smoke Ring for My Halo,' the title track from his recently released LP, until the end but it got cut off.

The end of the Santigold set saw her inviting up several young women from the audience to dance, including a young girl of probably about 5 or 6 who had been standing offstage. Oh, and apparently we can look forward to a new Santigold LP very soon.

The stage setup for Pretty Lights was great. It consisted of several skyscraper mockups of different sizes with projected lights to look like the windows and exterior of the building.

Kanye was Kanye. The stage included a huge, faux-stone backdrop of carved angels and lights. His set was divided into 3 acts. Kanye opened with Dark Fantasy. Behind the stage, the curtain fell to reveal the carving but no Kanye. Dancers (probably 20 or so) appeared on the stage but no Kanye. And then he emerged from the middle of the crowd on a cherry picker to sing "can we get much higher" while looking down on the crowd.

Mr. West complained that he had to cut his stage banter short in order to get all the songs in because Austin was enforcing a 10pm curfew on ACL. Several songs in Act 2 were cut short to accommodate this. However, he did play 'Love Lockdown'and 'Heartless' from 808s and Heartbreak, 'Jesus Walks,' and 'Gold Digger.'

Act 3 was the extended stage production of 'Runaway,' 'Lost in the World,' and just a snippet of 'Hey Mama' as he had run over the 10pm curfew. Apparently this was the last time this version of 'Runaway' will appear on the stage. Overall, it was a good mix of old and new tracks, singalongs, and crazy stage choreography. I've never seen Kanye perform in another city, but he gushed on Austin, stating that he had never been surrounded by so many beautiful people and having a lot of fun because we knew all the songs and the words. But maybe he says that to all the cities.

It rained early in the day, in the middle of the Theophilus London set, for about 20 minutes or so. A good part of the afternoon was overcast but the day was warm without being hot. I got a little subburned. Hopefully we can have another good day of weather tomorrow.

Friday, September 16, 2011

top 5 for the week of 16 september 2011

My birthday! I'm at ACL. Hope you are, too.

1. here we go magic - tunnelvision

2. belle and sebastian - expectations

3. jj - new work

4. tame impala - why won't you make up your mind

5. girls - vomit

Clips to come soon.

Friday, September 9, 2011

top 5 for the week of 9 september 2011

Whoops. Sorry about that. The top 5 has been fixed.

1. cloud nothings - even if it worked out

2. telekinesis! - coast of carolina

3. la sera - never come around

4. little red - get a life

Get A Life by littleredmusic

5. wye oak - holy holy

Friday, September 2, 2011

top 5 for the week of 2 september 2011

1. best coast - sun was high (so was i)

2. crystal stilts - shake the shackles

3. com truise - sundriped

4. ringo deathstarr - so high

5. dale earnhardt jr. jr. - nothing but our love (kasper bjorke remix)