Month: March 2011

Listening booth — Josh Fix, “The Water in My Brain”

Listening booth — Josh Fix, “The Water in My Brain”

Listening Booth, Music
Today's edition of the listening booth is special for me, as it celebrates the most important event in my life thus far. On this day one year ago, my son Justin was born. It was about this time that I was really getting into the full-length debut from Josh Fix, Free At Last. As I drove back and forth to the hospital in those few days when time seemed to freeze, this album was in constant rotation. For that reason, I will always associate Free At Last with my little man. It doesn't hurt that it's also one of the best power pop albums I've heard in years. One song that resonated in particular with me is "The Water in My Brain." That melody lodged itself in my brain for weeks, and has never really left. One day I will share it with Justin and hope he loves it as much as I do. Happy ...
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 4

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 4

Music
When I started this series I honestly had no idea R.E.M. was on the threshold of releasing yet another studio album, Collapse Into Now. And as much as I would love to check out the new album, I think I'm going to hold off for a bit. I'd like to continue down the path I started in order to get a better perspective of their output so I can approach the new record with more than an outsider's mindset (unlike what I had when I reviewed Accelerate). We're up to album number five, Document. It's the last studio disc R.E.M. released on the I.R.S. label, and it is the group's first major commercial hit. My first thought as "Finest Worksong" got underway -- HELLO big rock production! My second thought -- Hey, so that's what Michael Stipe sounds like when he faces the microphone! Document ...
Commercials I Hate — Chobani Real Love Stories (Stephen)

Commercials I Hate — Chobani Real Love Stories (Stephen)

Advertising
I don't want to hate these new Chobani "Real Love" spots. I happen to be a real-life Chobani consumer, and have been for a few years. So imagine my disappointment at seeing this complete dork on my TV: OK, so let's talk about the most obviously annoying aspects of this spot: Dude can't even pronounce the name of the company correctly. What the hell is Trobani? He shovels that yogurt down his gullet with the same grip a kid uses to eat a bowl of cereal. Hey jerkoff, how about putting the bike away and learning a little table etiquette? I don't know if it's sadder that this guy might have actually biked 80 miles to visit a yogurt factory, or that he brags about it.
Album cover of the week: The Outer Limits

Album cover of the week: The Outer Limits

Album Cover of the Week, Music
This week we step into the world of progressive metal with an entry from Canada's own Voivod -- one of the truly excellent metal bands to emerge in the 1980s, and one that never achieved the crossover success they deserved to in the United States. From 1993, it's The Outer Limits. OK, maybe not so impressive is it? But the really cool thing about this cover is that when the album was initially released it came packaged with 3D glasses, in order to properly look at the front cover and booklet images. There is another issue of the album that ditches the 3D effect, and it's pretty neat too. The credits for The Outer Limits artwork are: Art direction: Vartan Design: Ron Larson Illustrations: Michael Langevin
Sunday Jazz: Happy birthday to Sarah Vaughan

Sunday Jazz: Happy birthday to Sarah Vaughan

Music, Sunday Jazz
Today would have been the 87th birthday of legendary jazz vocalist Sarah Vaughan, born on this day in 1924 in Newark, New Jersey. Known alternately as Sailor, Sassy, and The Divine One, Vaughan got her start in music by playing piano and singing in her church choir. She dropped out of high school in her junior year to concentrate on her musical career, and in 1942/43 she won first prize during an Amateur Night performance at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater. Sarah Vaughan's career remained active, if not always commercially successful, throughout most of her life. Even when she was not recording she was touring extensively. She won the Grammy for Best Female Jazz Vocal Performance in 1983. In 1989 she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and she died on April 3, 1990, a week after her 66th ...
Here’s some stuff I enjoyed this week

Here’s some stuff I enjoyed this week

Internet, Links
Here’s a fresh batch of some quality interweb finds I’ve come across over the last 7 days: A rundown of the 15 best Burger King ad campaigns by Crispin Porter + Bogusky: Long live the Burger King! (AdFreak) Tommy Shaw sits down for an awesomely candid and funny interview about his career in Styx. Hint -- it involves lots of drugs. (The AV Club) It came from Reddit -- the Good Intentions Axe Murderer / Dating Site Murderer Meme. (Next Round) Here's a less-than-memorable Budweiser slogan from 1922: "Stimulates the Appetite - Assimilates the Food." (Shorpy) You just know this couple owns every Meat Loaf album and knows all the words. (Awkward Family Photos) So how does Libya's air force compare to the coalition's? (National Post) A series of excellent "Historically Hardcor
Here’s your trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger

Here’s your trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger

Movies
Some day I'll get past my irritation over the fact that Marvel's next movie labels Captain America as "The First Avenger," even though any self-respecting comic book geek knows that Cap didn't join the Avengers until issue #4. But today is not that day. Still, the trailer for Captain America: The First Avenger looks pretty damn cool. See? That is pretty damn cool. It makes sense to me that this film takes place during World War II, as Captain America in modern times was always an uncomfortable character to watch. Much like Superman, he was born during a period in our history when the lines of morality were much clearer. My memories of ol' Cap as the leader of the Avengers were mostly feelings of annoyance over how he held the team back from really kicking ass. Of course, even tha...
Album review mini-roundup: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Duran Duran, and Jim Noir

Album review mini-roundup: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Duran Duran, and Jim Noir

Music
Alison Krauss & Union Station, Paper Airplane (Rounder Records) -- Even if Union Station's brand of bluegrass and sweet country pop isn't your cup of sassafras tea, you need to listen to this at least once. Krauss has one of the most beautiful voices in music, and you should never pass up a chance to hear her. Turn off your cell phone, sit down, relax, and let the beauty of tracks like "Lay My Burden Down" and "Dimming of the Day" take you away. Paper Airplane is a subdued affair, and not exactly what you'd play at a party, but the performances are top notch and the production is warm and intimate. There is a little more grit on the songs led by Dan Tyminksi (whose voice many will recognize as the man actually singing George Clooney's parts on O Brother, Where Art Thou?), but "Dust ...