Saturday, December 25, 2010

What's on my Best of 2010 mixtape?

Publish it! No more changes or tweaks! Here is my Best of 2010 mixtape. Please note that the tracks appear in no particular order as far as rank is concerned, but are arranged in the order I prefer to listen. 15 tracks made the cut, which is limited by how much I can burn onto a CD. If you would like the 1.1 hour long mixtape, please let me know.

Please understand that the list is only from music I've actually heard. There is no way for me to have a comprehensive list like actual music critics. If 2010 is anything like 2009, I will soon have to make a "Part 2" playlist from all the songs I discover in 2011 that were actually from the previous year. From reading a bunch of Best Of lists already out there I will be picking up more 2010 albums from the various gift cards I've received (i.e. The National, LCD Soundsystem, Mumford & Sons). The list has two motivating factors: to be a snapshot of what I was listening to at that time (and also what concerts I had attended) & to highlight a couple songs or acts that may be new to people who don't follow music as intensely. I love Best of Lists that include unknown acts - I need them to help me discover new music.

Picking the "Song of the Year" was increasingly difficult as I had a nice opportunity to see many of the mixtape songs live. Typically, hearing a song that I really like live has a way of elevating it to a new plateau in my mind. Land of Talk's "Quarry Hymns" was the leader in the clubhouse. I was highly anticipating their new album, and loved their performance of this song when they came through town. Broken Social Scene's 2010 album was not their best, and my dual love of "Sweetest Kill" and "Texico Bitches" basically split the vote in my head. Even though I heard both songs performed live, only one could make it to the mixtape - and none of them would be able to vie for Best Song of 2010. A late charge was made by Freelance Whales' "Generator (Second Floor)" which might have been controversial because some sources has it as a 2009 release. Allow me to pitifully confess: one of the reasons I wanted to see them live earlier this month was knowing how tough of a time I was having picking the Best Song this year and wanted to have my doors blown off hearing it live. It was a great performance, but not enough.

Yeasayer was a huge find for me this year. At one point, not seeing them when they were here in late April was my largest regret of the year. Thankfully, I will be seeing them December 30, which is too little too late for "Ambling Alp" to get the push it would've needed. Therefore, the biggest regret of 2010 was not seeing Foals. Buy me many strong drinks and I'll tell you why the night of their sold out Lincoln Hall show is the worst night of my 2010. However, don't let my personal misadventures take anything away from the overall excellence of that album - with "Black Gold" being my favorite track.

If it wasn't for the emotional baggage at no fault to anybody (especially Foals), their album would've won Best Album in my mind. But instead the accolade goes to the debut effort by Beach House. There are many songs of theirs I love, but have chosen "Walk In The Park" for the mixtape.

I will always remember playing Drake's "Fancy" for MySister in my car between a Wedding Ceremony & Reception in Milwaukee and watching the awe inspiring SNL performance of "Power." The selections by Flying Lotus and The Walkmen were hidden gems from free albums legally downloaded (in these cases from NPR and Spin magazine).

Awarding the Best Song of 2010 meant having to go back to the reason why I love mixtapes: sharing music I don't think the recipients have heard yet. There was one song I made sure was included on most mixtapes this year: "No Big Deal" by S Dot Schumacher. It was a song that hit true from first listen and doesn't feel any less false more than 10 months later. A song that dropped just before the artist turned 30, it's a hilarious mirror held up to the common actions of single women that I know all too well. It is the only song that I feel needs to be embedded in this post and if there's one song I want you to hear this year, it is it:

Sadly, one of my favorite musical moments of 2010 isn't included in the mixtape. As you can see, nothing from Girl Talk's excellent All Day effort made the cut. Since Gregg Gillis dropped his latest album for free download, his track "Down for the Count" was on my working playlist for the very fact that when I first heard the section that played Young MC's "Bust a Move" over Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" I was punching the [increase volume] key on my keyboard repeatedly - almost upset that there wasn't a level 11. It was kind of like Jack Bauer clicking his empty gun at Victor Drazen at season 1's conclusion. However, the Girl Talk album really is best listened to as an entire album, with the "tracks" acting only as arbitrary navigation points - it's tough to sandwich in the gem.

If you are reading this, I would love to see your Best of 2010 list - especially if it includes songs that I have never heard! And let me end this with a quick repeat: If you would like the 1.1 hour long mixtape, please let me know.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How did I get on ABC's Nightline?

I wasn't the only one at the 9th Annual Lebowski Fest in Louisville, Kentucky.
Nightline correspondent Jeremy Hubbard was there with a camera crew.
Four months plus later, the piece was finally aired last Friday night.
The segment is an excellent, brief, explanation of Lebowski Fest. (Please go watch it)
You might still be confused as to why people like me love that movie to this extent, but at least you'll know a little more about our party.

I was in the background twice. Both more unspectacular than the next (my camera is completely covering my face in one - however the picture was worth it!)

I'm wearing a green shirt and a large straw hat ("Obviously, you're not a golfer") located just under the armpit of eventual Best Costume Winners, "Stranger in the Alps"

To understand both of those references requires an insane amount of knowledge of The Big Lebowski.

The piece ended on our bowling lane. I was throwing rocks with a great trio from Cincinnati which included the eventual winner of the "Best Walter" costume award. You can see me setting up for a superior camera angle.

I was more than ecstatic to sacrifice a chance for vanity to get the picture and capture a great moment for Bob.

I got both a Before and After!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Do you want 3 reasons to watch Breaking Bad?

This is my plea to get those who are not watching Breaking Bad to take the opportunity to start.
AMC is going to systematically start replaying the entire series during the overnight, DVR friendly, hours starting this Friday.

Here are 3 reasons, I could list more, but I don't feel like writing (and know you don't want to read) too long of an essay.

#1 Bryan Cranston
He's the actor that plays the lead role of Walter White. But if you haven't seen the show you probably have the narrow minded perception of The Dad from Malcolm in the Middle. In an unfortunate coincidence, the first 3 minutes of the show's first episode (embedded below***) features Cranston in tight white underwear briefs not unlike the kind he wore in the former Fox sitcom's opening title sequence. The comparisons, in character and every way imaginable, end there. Bryan Cranston is the three time defending Emmy winner for Best Actor in a Drama Series for this role. If you are someone who loves Jon Hamm in Mad Men, Hugh Laurie in House or Michael C. Hall in Dexter - know that Cranston has beat them all three years in a row. It's not a fluke. It's real. (side note: Aaron Paul won the Best Supporting Actor Emmy this year to complete the Actor sweep for Breaking Bad)

#2 There are stories of good people doing bad things and bad people doing good things - but this show is neither.
Breaking Bad is a perfect name for a show that shows deconstruction. The story is of a man becoming something new, something worse, and the journey that leads to piece after piece falling apart to the detriment to himself and all that come into his association. It's haunting in its reality. Breaking Bad is not a comedy. Although there are traces of tension relieving black humor from time to time, this show is not positioned as a distant comedy like Weeds (a show that, as its poor timing circumstances must hurt, also has suburban domestic drug dealing as a main plot driver).

#3. The cold opening sequences
Every episode of Breaking Bad contains a bonus short film that happens to air immediately before the opening credits, or at least that's what it feels like to me. Instead of describing this point further, here is how the show began it's first*** episode...

***2013 UPDATE:
The original YouTube video doesn't exist anymore - I was only able to find a French dubbed version, which if you are like me and have seen it enough times it doesn't matter... But if you haven't seen it, I hope it makes you want to watch the real version more (since it seems especially daunting not knowing what Walter is saying!)

I sincerely hope you'll want to continue watching after this tease and set your recording devices. It's going to be a wonderful trip for yours truly - as I've only seen these episodes a few times and can't wait to pick up on the nuances I have certainly missed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

He fixes the cable? (It's video, Dude.)

Oh my, what a beautiful web address it is:
Go watch that video.
Go watch that video. (Mr. Lebowski asked me to repeat that)

I knew they were coming.
If you read* my posts, you knew it too.
You'd think I had one leg longer than the other - the amount of circles I walked around that Nightline camera crew for I attempted to get into the background of more shots that I could count... I succeeded twice.

Paused DVR glory! You're allowed to blink once as long as you don't blink the second time I appear in the background.

It was great to see friends like the entire "Chinamen with Lebowski's Legs" Philly foursome get a moment in front of the camera. However, it was an utter shame the famous Mrs. Jamtoss fell victim to the red pen of Nightline's editor.

The highlight of the overall strike of a piece was it's conclusion. I was on the lane with the eventual "Best Walter" (and Trivia 2nd place winner I might add!) and pictured the before and after of the most clutch roll in Lebowski Fest history!

Dios mio, Bob.
*If you haven't read my posts... I guess you just weren't listening... but I do recommend at least two of my posts from this past July:
My Favorite Picture From the 9th Annual
My Top 5 Garden Party Pictures[TQ]

Do you support Child Abuse?

You got me Internet, I hope you're happy.

This whole "change your FB profile pic to a cartoon from your childhood" might be a total sham - or even worse.

A Facebook spokesman said: "We’re concerned with the suggestion that paedophiles could use this successful viral campaign to target young people. This is not the case."

What made me change my profile pic? Especially when I'm very confident I'm in the top 5% of those in regards to level of profile picture selection obsession? Let's take the easy route and blame MySister (sidenote to MySister: sorry).

She sent me a text message wanting help changing her profile picture. (I had cropped and chose her current one.) So after telling her an easy way, I decided I might as well change mine as well because it was a weak moment and didn't want out of that party. The movement to change to these cartoons seemed more popular than the movement to change to a celebrity look-a-like. I'm thankful that I didn't follow suit with that fad (some of us can't stand our supposed doppelgangers).

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children probably liked the attention, but I don't know if they saw any more funds because of it. They got a Twitter follow from me this evening - even if it was out of total guilt for being a sucker.

Time to go back to the profile pic of my choosing, and the revamped Facebook Profile that is going to make it hip to complain about Facebook again. By the way, who still remembers the old design? FB is here to stay. If Jesse Eisenberg couldn't take it down, who could?

Learning of this was a bit of a downer for me today. If you, like me, need a pickup - here's a new video by Pretty Lights:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Do you really love "travel"?

It's 2:53 AM as I begin this post. While staring at the inside of my eyelids I had a thought - a fake conversation that I'm never going to have in reality. It compelled me to bump my computer out of its sleep and type.

A note to any body who happens to read this with two x chromosomes and is not currently in a relationship - you may want to stop reading now. Also, if you are additionally someone who hasn't yet ruled out me as being potentially attractive - I wholeheartedly beg you to stop reading. what do you like?
I love travel, love.
Oh? Where have you gone?
Nowhere yet, but it's a high priority. It's a goal, I know I'll do it.
I'm sure you will.
Are you being sarcastic?
No, that's a sincere comment... but... Would it be more accurate to say that you love the idea of travel?
Or is your love a blind faith based love.
You don't like travel?
It's great, the limited places I've been.... It's not Rome, but have I mentioned what a gem of a discovery the city of Louisville was?
It's not the same, you haven't been to Europe.
Have you?
You know what I mean.
I have friends that sincerely love to travel - they've been places like Spain and China - it's a thrill for them to be surrounded in a culture that's not American. I think it gives them a perspective on their life.
What's your point?
Is it an escape? What is the fuel behind your passion? My theory is that you are in love with the concept or the idea of travel and since you haven't traveled you obsesses on it's thought.
Wow. You are so cynical.
What if I told you I loved skiing.
Do you?
No. But if I said I did, you'd believe me - right? It's a perfectly normal activity to say to enjoy.
But what if I said I loved skiing, but have never been skiing - wouldn't that be odd?
But you could still want to go skiing. I've never been skydiving but totally want to someday.
Okay, that makes sense - but you don't say you love to skydive and I don't say I love to ski... By the way, I do want to ski someday.
What's wrong with you?
I'm not done with this skiing thing yet. It's a luxury to me, the activity. My family had a few vacations growing up, but it was almost based around a family reunion or wedding. And to be blunt, skiing is an expensive venture - our family wasn't jetting off to Aspen on holiday. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Maybe you can go as far as to think I have a bit of jealousy over those that have skied? I don't know, you know?
Oh go screw yourself.
Why are you so adamant against travel?
I'm not against travel. The highlight of my last month was booking my next airplane ticket. The out of proportion importance of travel, especially among people who haven't traveled to the extent of their preaching baffle me.
Look, I'm not a shut-in. Can't you see how if someone went to the Paris of Kentucky and enjoyed it that it would be safe to assume that it would be more enjoyable on a larger extent? That is why I want to go to Asia and Africa... I've already been to Alabama.
That makes sense.
No shit.
Goodbye. You really have that asshole switch don't you? No wonder you're so great at getting a first date and couldn't get to a fourth without a passport and a map.
They told me my passport would arrive in four to six weeks.
Good luck with that.