Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Favorite Albums Released in 2007

1. Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
2. Feist - The Reminder
3. Voxtrot - Voxtrot
4. The National - Boxer
5. St. Vincent - Marry Me
6. Field Music - Tones of Town
7. Great Northern - Trading Twilight for Daylight
8. Elliott Smith - New Moon
9. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
10. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Honorable Mentions: Soundtrack - Across the Universe, Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger, Stars of Track and Field - Centuries Before Love and War

Blasts from the Past that found their way into my iPod: Dire Straits - Dire Straits, Jackson Browne - Late for the Sky, Joni Mitchell - Blue

What a wierd year for me finding music. I'm sure your top 10 is very different than mine. If you post yours let me know.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Into the Wild

Sean Penn's thoughtful, beautiful-to-look-at tour de force is well worth your time.
Questioning society, authenticity, and the search for the heart in life, this film and its protagonist grab you by the throat. Shot in DV, 8mm and videotape for various effect, "Into the Wild" is also interesting to look at. The acting of Emile Hirsch is oscar-worthy. The dieting to achieve the physical effect of looking like the ematiated Christopher McCandless at the end of his life is doubly effective due to the superb acting on Hirschs' part. William Hurt is perfectly cast as the overbearing father and Vince Vaughn turns in a strong performance as the midwest farmer Wayne Westerberg, proving he can act beyond the buddy picture. Hal Holbrook shows up deep in the spiritual heart of this movie to offer some hard-won wisdom to the young Alex Supertramp.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Recording Under Way

Finally, finally recording material for a new album.
Worked feverishly on four songs last weekend and hope
to finish those this week and start 2 more this weekend.
In the mean time here is an unfinished but still nice little
instrumental titled "Heart Shaped Conversation No. 2" Download Mp3

More soon...

Carolina Basketball Begins

Ok, not a big secret that I'm a Tarheel fan. Preseason games in Chapel Hill are the one chance that fans have to sit in the padded seats of the first level of the Smith Center. We even ultimately wound up on the second row. You do have to show up early to get the good seats though. As hoped (and usual) the UNC won this game against Lenoir-Rhyne handily after a well played first 10 minutes for the visitors. Carolina wound up winning easily 107-52.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Josh Ritter, Eric Bachmann, Maria Taylor and... Pylon

I'm going to start with the headliner at the Cat's Cradle and work backwards I think.
Alt-whatever veteran Josh Ritter brought his lengthy tour for his CD The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter the the Chapel Hill last night with with all of the elan of someone who was just starting a tour, their first tour ever. Wide-eyed and astonished at the overflowing appreciative crowd, he kept thanking us for just showing up. The band, attired in 50's suits and porkpie hats began with a bang blasting through "Minds Eye" from the new CD with its clash-like opening chords. Other up-tempo notables were "Open Doors," the extra-chunky "Rumors" and "Still Beating". As raucous as it was it was the quiet moments that ultimately won the day. A drop dead gorgeous version of John Prine's "Mexican Home" was the first clue as to how versatile this show was going to be. "Temptation of Adam" and finally a beautiful version of Bruce Springsteen's "The River" done at the front of the stage off-mic sung to the pin-drop-quiet-audience who were reverently quietly singing along for the first encore.

Eric Bachmann's set was fluid, interesting and well-played. The former Archers of Loaf songwriter and guitarist was in fine voice and performed in an interesting duo format. Using loops, extra drums, megaphones, violin and electric and acoustic guitar
and sometimes singing in spanish to full effect, this set was engaging enough to make me find out more about Eric's solo records.

Maria Taylor was the surprise of the night for me. Elegant in person and voice, this poised young siren can really write and sing. A very effective duo of drums and a bass/guitarist as backup and as vocalists, this band really was in service to the songs.
If you get a chance to see Maria, don't miss it.


So after leaving the Cradle and strolling to the 506 to see Pylon hoping they were still playing, I lucked out. The Athens stalwarts were rocking the nearly packed bar 80's style. Decked out in red t-shirts that said "cool," Pylon still embodies the 80's indie spirit. Their clear, heavy, poppy sound entirely in tact, it was a pleasure to watch the crowd throb along. Highlights included "M-Train" and "No clocks".

Monday, November 5, 2007

Whats on the Shuffle

I have been really enjoying ambient music while exercising lately and I've found a wonderful website that offers the music on a pay-what-its-worth basis.
The Thinner/Autoplate netlabel has some wonderful ambient artists worth checking out at

Marsden Jules - Golden
krill.minima - urlab auf balkonien
Faulter - Taumelflug EP
Paul Keely - Sussex Blue EP
krill.minima - Zwishchen Zwel und einer sekunde

The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson reaches for deeper shades in his latest film The Darjeeling Limited.
Written with Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman and featuring strong cameos from Natalie Portman and Anjelica Houston this is a less kitchy version of Wes Anderson.
The shift in tone suits this subject matter completely helping push the story and not the ephemera center stage. Yes, the soundtrack is still fabulous and yes there are some of the undeniable "Andersonesque" touches (small diorama like shots setup up with preciously placed items for maximum effect, funky art, interesting "collections" that sum up the essence of a given character). Schwartzman projects deeper inner quality in his role than in any of his previous work. The short film by Anderson preceding the main feature is an interesting twist as it is a true prequel to the film itself.