Outsider Status

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I just love The Hold Steady more and more: http://www.boysandgirlsinamerica.com/

I shouldn't lose faith so easily in them. They know what they're doing.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The doubters all were stunned, heard louder than a gun, the sound they made was love

So, this weekend, the Emmy will be announced, and I don't really watch too much TV, but some shows I like are involved, so I'll do the predictions thing:

Best Drama


Best Comedy

Two and a Half Men

Best Variety/Music/Comedy

The Colbert Report

Best Actor in a Drama

Kiefer Sutherland - 24

Best Actor in a Comedy

Steve Carrell - The Office

Best Actress in a Drama

Frances Conroy - Six Feet Under

Best Actress in a Comedy

Julia Jouis-Dreyfus - The New Adventures of Old Christine

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

Alan Alda - The West Wing

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Jeremy Piven - Entourage

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

Sandra Oh - Grey's Anatomy

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Megan Mullally - Will & Grace

Best Individual Performance in a Variety Program

Stephen Colbert - The Colbert Report


Overall, I think it's gonna be a mixed bag of deserving winners, and bizarrely terrible choices. Like every Emmy Awards show.


I saw Little Miss Sunshine, by the way. I liked it. I didn't love it, and there were a couple of moments that felt way too calculated/forced, but the performaces really helped. I do wish that Alan Arkin and Stephen Colbert had gotten more to do.

As I said to someone else the other day, Junebug is a better family dysfunction comedy, and it's a great deal subtler than LMS. Watch that too.


Songs that I can't stop listening to:

Mew - "Apocalypso" & "The Zookeeper's Boy"

The Decemberists - "Sons & Daughters"

Akron/Family - "No Space in This Realm"

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - "New Year's Kiss"

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - "A Minor Place"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Shine on you crazy space debris

Too big for a moon
Too oblong an orbit for a planet

"Bolt like a horse", not "Bold like a whore"

Occasionally, I deem it necessary to make a list. I try not to do it too often any more, because it's basically a cheap, brainless way to take up space on the internet, but I can't help the compulsion sometimes.

So, tonight, I have decided to make a list. Forgive me.

Ten great songs of the past six years that prove that women still exist, despite what rock radio would have you believe...and Amy Lee doesn't count

A self-explanatory subject, I suppose. Limited to one per artist, mostly because I'm only making this a top 10. This is not a list entitled "my definitive list of the best songs by women in the past six years". This is just an off the top of my head list of 10 great songs sung by females. Enjoy.

10. Deerhoof - "Panda Panda Panda" (2003)
Satomi Matsuzaki makes this song. The guitars are basically a Sonic Youth rip-off, but her woman/girl yelpings and off-key coos manage to transform a throwaway track into a classic example of why I fucking love Deerhoof.

09. Missy Elliott - "Work It" (2002)
I had a religious moment with this song once. I've never been the same.

08. Yo La Tengo - "Let's Save Tony Orlando's House" (2000)

07. Bjork - "Who Is It?" (2004)

06. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Maps" (2003)
Sure, it's the single. But I don't really like the rest of the band's music. I don't think I will ever be able to listen to a full YYY's album without wanting to switch it to The Pretenders. However, this song is fantastic, and Karen O really fucking sells it.

05. Cat Power - "He War" (2003)
Chan Marshall is crazy, but she knows how to strum that guitar.

04. Imogen Heap - "Hide and Seek" (2005)
Seriously, vocorders rule.

03. The Concretes - "You Can't Hurry Love" (2004)
I can't put my finger on why this song is so addictive, but it still grabs me when I listen to it. I think it's the singer's voice combined with the crazy horns on the build up to the chorus.

02. The New Pornographers - "Letter from an Occupant" (2001)
I don't think I'll ever get over how damned perfect this song is. Don't try to make me, it won't work.

01. Joanna Newsom - "Peach, Plum, Pear" (2004)
If you know me, you knew this was coming. I am madly in love with Ms. Newsom, and I am especially wrapped up in her voice. I know, it's weird; but I love it. And when I have twenty layered Joanna's screaming (chipring?) at me, I love it even more.

Monday, August 21, 2006

We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon

Sorry I haven't been posting with any frequency, but I've had some of those "real life problems" that keep me away from this little laptop, and this piss-poor excuse for a blog. However, today is a sick day, so I have nothing better to do than to sit here, typing.

Actually, there are probably a multitude of "better" things I could be doing. I have a college application to fill out. I also could stand to do some charity work. Maybe a gym visit.

Fuck it.


So, Pitchfork did their top 200 songs of the 1960's, and it's a pretty god list. Any top 50 that includes "Waterloo Sunset", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", and "These Days" is okay by me.

Two Bonnaroos ago, I saw The Allman Brothers play "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", and it was one of my favorite moments of the festival. That song is just so damned good.


So, The Crane Wife keeps getting better. I am still in love with "The Crane Wife 3", but "Sons & Daughters" and "O Valencia" are also pretty much golden. Then again, "The Island, Come and See, The Landlord's Daughter, You'll Not Feel the Drowning" is pretty damned good, and "When the War Came" has really grown on me. Damn it, everything on this album is great.

What I find funny, is that the album contains some of The Decemberists' prettiest songs, but the tone is so much darker than usual. The characters on this one have more in common with Lesley Anne Levine than Billy Liar; but then "Sons & Daughters" wraps everything up with such optimistic aplomb. Sigh. I love this album.


I'm also enjoying the freat out that is Akron/Family's Meek Warrior. I've heard grumblings about how dissapointing it is, but, for me, it far exceeds whatever expectations I had for the band.

Perhaps their self-titled was too subtle for me, but I think that the energy they exhibit on most of this album suits them better than the slow build-ups and wanking from their last one. I especially love "Love & Space" and the title track. I wonder how this is going to be recieved when it comes out.


I'm preparing myself for the worst. I thnk I may not be that into the new Hold Steady. Seperation Sunday is one of my favorite albums of recent memory, and this new leaked track, "Chips Ahoy", comes nowhere near fufilling my expectations.

It's not a bad song, but I am not digging the backing vocals, and even Craig Finn sounds like he phoned this one in. I bet it's incredible live, but the recorded version just sounds kinda flat. Even the lyrics aren't as top-notch as I've come to expect.

I'm holding out hope that this is just a fluke, but I have to accept that I may be dissapointed.

This is a sour thought, considering how much The Crane Wife exceeded my expectations.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

These temps, they're like wolves!

I haven't posted in a damn long while. Life is chaotic and my brain is scrambled. I can barely think of any cogent thoughts on pop culture. Right now my brain is doing pretty much what Mr. Darniell is doing over there. It's pooped.

But I must be strong enough to post at least one or two thoughts.

Pitchfork Festival

I ended up going to Chicago (a city I have never been to) alone for the weekend, which was more fun than intimidating. The first day of the festival was hot and not terribly engaging. I really enjoyed Band of Horses; The Mountain Goats were pretty good, but I wasn't crazy about the song selection considering that they only had 30 minutes to play (play "The Murder Song" for 7 or 8 minutes, but don't play a single track from The Sunset Tree? Am I just not hardcore enough of a fan to appreciate that?). Destroyer was reasonably good, but I was tired at that point.

The second day was infinitely better. Tapes n' Tapes were darned peppy, and the one-two punch of Danielson and Jens Lekman made me extraordinarily happy. Jens decided to be a bro and play "You Are the Light", and I really respect that. I've never really listened to The National, but the singer reminded me of Ian Curtis. I could go either way on that. I love Drum's Not Dead, and I was sitting under a tree in the shade when Liars played, so it was pretty much heaven. Then a lull came. I was pretty tired, and Aesop Rock and Mission of Burma weren't doing too much for me. I was hoping Devendra would be my savior, but I can't say that I loved his set. I didn't mind it, I suppose. It was fun, and he looked goofy. He also sang "Doo Wop (That Thing"). Yet...the love's just not really there. Yo La Tengo pretty much kept the pattern up. But I got a little drunk for Spoon, and it was paradise from then on out.

Guess what I'm listening to right now

The Crane Wife!! It's so different than Picaresque, or, in fact, anything they've done. The pop tunery of Picaresque is replaced by Tainish choruslessness.

How many words did I make up in that last sentence?

In defense of Girl Talk's Night Ripper

Guys. Let's forget this whole "gimmicky" thing. Isn't one man's gimmick another man's concept? This album is just plain awesome. The musicality of the mash-ups is pretty top notch, admit it.

The Pipettes aren't that great

I've been hearing about how awesome this album is since it leaked, and I have not been able to get that into it at all. You are all insane and/or stupid.

That may seem like unnecessary immaturity, but I promise you it is not.

Weeds is a great show

I finally caught the last few episodes of the first season, and I am so happy that I did it just in time for the new season. The Emmy nominations were hilariously bizarre this year, but they did have some painful ommisions. Mary Lousie Parker is incredible. How is Jane Kazmerskkfjfn in any way more deserving of this nomination than MLP? Seriously, someone explain this to me.

Anyways, I love the use of The Mountain Goats, I love the "punishment light", I love the Godfather references, and I love Elizabeth Perkins (the emmys got that right). What I don't love, is that Showtime shows so many plot developments of the new season in their promos. That is unnecessary. I'm already pumped, thank you. You don't need to coax me in by giving away plot details.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

all wrapped up in a bottle of wine

(brief, descriptive, disconnected sentences don't count as reviews, I suppose)

Lily Allen - Alright Still

A really fun, messy pop album. Her persona is charming as hell, and she's at her best when she's most ridiculous. "Alfie" has become my favorite song of the summer.

TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

My favorite TVotR album, by far. So much more fun than their last one. This breezes by in a really weird way. "Tonight" is absurdly good.

Girl Talk - Night Ripper

I shit my pants when Neutral Milk Hotel came on. I'm such a nerd. It may be gimmicky, but it's also really fun. It's at least worth a listen.

Frightened Rabbit - Sings the Greys

Damned good stuff. Sometimes simplicity can be a relief.

The Futureheads - News & Tributes

Less barbershop quartet harmonies, which is a damned shame. Good, but not as addictive as the first.

Howe Gleb - 'Sno Angel Like You

I probably need to give this a few more listens to get over genre nervousness.

Matthew Freidberger - Winter Woman/Holy Ghost Language School

I'm just gonna hope that he gets over his rut and gets back to evolving and changing with every album. After Blueberry Boat, he got stagnant. He needs to direct his attention toward a guitar and drums. This "toy music" is getting old. But I do like Bitter Tea, EP, and Rehearsing My Choir. It's just that, frankly, Matt, you are beginning to repeat yourself. And when you take up two disks doing it, it hurts me.

Mission of Burma - The Obliterati

This is my first MoB experience (a bizarre omission in my musical history), and I am in love. I'm gonna sniff out the back catalog as fast as possible. This is a pretty great album unto itself as well.

The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely

Of course I was gonna be dissapointed with anything after The Sunset Tree. That is one of my favorite albums. Ever. This is very pretty. But it's boring and unexceptional when compared with what Darniell proved himself capable of last year...and the years before that too. My least favorite Mounain Goats album, methinks.

My Morning Jacket - Okonokos

My Morning Jacket may be my favorite live show ever. This live album illustrates why that is. There's a DVD due in the Fall as well. I cannot explain how awesome they are live. Please check this out. If you can, find their 32 song set from Bonnaroo this year. It's an even better example of their awesomeness.

The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes

They're pretty good. But it wears thin really early on. Not a fantastic album, but great for mixes and such.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oh my god! You teach ethics?

For those of you (like me) who love the X-Men, and wish to Baby Jesus that X3 had been better, I have a solution for you.

Go to Barnes & Noble, or Borders, or a comic book store, and find the published collections of Joss Whedon's work on The Astonishing X-Men. The title is still being published, but the first two story arcs are available in their complete forms.

Part of the plot of X3 was taken from Whedon's first arc with the book, called "Gifted". Like the film, the comic deals with the discovery of a "cure" for the mutant gene. However, unlike the film, the comic manages to keep its focus and deliver on the promise of its premise (hmm, there's a tongue-twister there, somewhere).

The second arc involved the X-Men facing the enemy that knows them better than any other: The Danger Room. It sounds cheesy, but Whedon manages to keep hold of the reins, and turn a bizarre conceit into a classic villian.

The reason I bring all this up, is because the rumor mill is grinding in regards to possible X spin-offs. The one that I'm most excited about is Magneto's history, but that's mostly due to Ian McKellen's performance, which, unfortunately, might be relegated to the sidelines, due to the flashback-heavy premise. However, a close second would be the rumored movie centering around Emma Frost.

For the uninitiated, Emma Frost began her career as a sworn enemy of the X-Men. She is one of the four most powerful telepaths in the X-Universe (Professor X, Jean Grey, and Cassandra Nova being the others), and a former member of the Hellfire Club (an ancient organization similar to Skull & Bones, but coed and post-academic). In the past ten years or so, she has allied herself with the X-Men, and has even become co-headmaster of the school with her boyfriend Cyclops. She is a complex, strong, and fascinating female character, and her starring role in Whedon's books illustrate this better than any other writer has. She could be the basis for the best female-oriented comic book movie yet.

However, my biggest reservation about this possible project is that Hollywood has no clue what to do with strong comic book females, and the makers of the X movies have so far illustrated a lack of creativity when it comes to telepaths.

The solution? Hire Whedon! The man is the guru of female heroes, and I'm sure he would relish being able to transfer his Emma to the big screen. Sure, he may be a little busy, what with the writing of his X-Men comics, his Buffy comics, the Wonder Woman screenplay, and whatever else he has up his sleeves, but he is the ONLY writer I would trust to capture Emma Frost on the big screen. In the Astonishing X-Men, he always finds a way to use Emma's powers in creative, interesting, and logical ways. He does not shy away from her dark and sexual nature, nor does he use her as a simple male fantasy of the "bad girl". He is what Emma has been waiting for all her "life".

Please, Hollywood. Consider my plea.