October 29, 2007

Tomorrow night:

Hallowindie Tuesday Night @ SLU's Billiken Club

Featuring one of the better (read: GREAT) local bands, Jumbling Towers and Menomena. Totally 100% FREE.

I've seen that it starts at 8p and I've also seen 9p. Who knows, it doesn't really matter because it's sure to be an awesome show and it's totally free and the SLU Billiken Club is better than WashU's Gargoyle Club (personally).

My buzz:


If I had to pick a band that's buzzworthy by my own standards...which are obviously completely superior to MTV's Buzzworthy standards, I'd pick Rogue Wave.

I saw them at SXSW 2006 and thought that they were alright. But I listen to them now and I really really enjoy it. It makes me a bit melancholy because I didn't fully enjoy them like I do now and because I didn't get to stay for their whole set. Around that time last year was a really rough time for me, too, but SXSW was amazing and an overall great experience. So, it's a little melancholy and a bit happy...so, bittersweet. I really love listening to them, though. I'd suggest checking them out because you'll like them, too. Then grow to love them, without taking about a year and a half to fully appreciate your love for them.

October 26, 2007

Buzzworthy, brah!


I've been watching MTV today only because America's Next Top Model is on. While I'm watching I notice these commercials with these oddly familiar looking girls talking about family life and childhood. These commercials don't explain who these women are, though we are supposed to recognize how buzzworthy they are without introductions or anything of the sort. These pseudo-commercials then break and bleed into another commercial for an MTV produced television show (something starring Run of Run DMC).

Anyway, the first time I saw them I thought out loud "Is that...Tegan and Sara? No...it can't be, right? What is this?" and waited for another. Nothing was revealed until the third time I saw it and I reassured myself that it was and checked out MTV's website. Once on the site I found out that Tegan and Sara have been chosen as the MTV Buzzworthy Band of the Week. WOW.

What an honor. I think. I really don't know how to feel about this. Not like it's going to do anything but I haven't decided if it's a good thing for them or not...

October 17, 2007

Damn weather

I'm wearing long sleeves today.

I'll be wearing shorts tomorrow as it will be 84º outside.

Yes, I live in the midwest and they're projecting mid 80s for highs in the middle of October.

I'm pointing my finger at you, Captains of Industry.

TV killed the everything star:

I won't deny it; I love television. The problem lies in multiple reasons, such as a) not enough time in the day and b) quality has been replaced by quantity in the television (media) world. I really don't watch a lot of TV, but when people ask me "What's your favorite TV show?", I have an extremely hard time answering. Instead of just picking one show and moving on I think long and hard and usually give out a shit load of answers. This makes me sound like all I do is sit in front of the television with a gaping maw and keep my brain shut off to anything intelligent. Well, I've tried my best to justify what I watch and hope that people can understand that these are about the only shows I watch in any given week and more importantly, why I watch them. Enjoy!

How I Met Your Mother - When this show was about to come out I only had two reasons to tune in: Alyson Hannigan (because she's cute and quirky and there was no way she could possibly be as nerdy as her flute-toting character in American Pie) and Neil Patrick Harris (Hello, Doogie Howser M.D., early 90's alert! You know you watched it, too). The shows tagline, "A love story in reverse", felt a bit too hokey and awkward for me to just drop what I was doing and watch. Howerver, every week after the first airing I made damn sure I did drop everything to watch. It's almost disturbing how much these characters are like my group(s) of friends. While at times the plot or character development are cheesy, predictable or every so slightly questionable, the remainder of the show makes up for those few and far between moments. How can you say "no" to a love story that is pretty believable, though dramatized/romanticized, especially for its target demographic of the 20 and 30-somethings caught up in love and relationships. The show is a prefect balance of the portrayal of your life - the disgusting cutesie couple madly in love, the tragically single and desperately trying, and the overzealous love to hate/hate to love sexaholic maniac best buddy who knows it all. Men and women alike can appreciate the show for its ability to relate to and draw from your own life. The show strips away all the superficialities, quirks and anecdotes by showing what really happens in relationships as well as other friendships, work and the leisure life of people our age. Plus, they admirable try to remain modern by throwing in references to indie rock bands in the most nonchalant of ways, such as referencing Wilco in attempts to woo women and get them to come back to the apartment for the night...

House M.D. - Basically I love the character because he's everything I'm not while saying all the same things to people the same way I'd say them. Only I have a bit more tact and he gets away with all of it. House is a smart-ass jerk who gets away with everything because he's a smart-ass jerk, which, as we all know, hardly ever works in real life. Mix in the strangest of strange medical maladies and patients and you've got yourself a shitstorm that I'm about to bring out the popcorn to watch. Competing desires and actions, character development and ridiculousness in general make this show hard to miss.

Law and Order:SVU - Special victims are what America lives for and sadly...I'm no different. However, I will admit that lately (this season especially), SVU has come to stand for Sexual Victims Unit. While sometimes strange (read: hard to believe) and confusing due to its complexities, this show is probably one of my biggest television guilty pleasures. The acting really isn't the best, but you can't expect much from a show that casts Ice-T seriously. I do love the bad acting, though, especially from Ice-T.

LA Ink - Kat Von D is one crazy bitch and that's why everyone loves her, including me, a fellow tattooed and nutty bitch. Everyone also loves the tattooed freaks. Oh, and watching rebellion on television and following the "new thing". I thought that Miami Ink might be a great segueway to a bit more acceptance of the tattooed, but those guys regrettably furthered the image of the tattooed as "freaks", "weirdos" and "hoosiers" (without sounding like the lady from Save Ferris). While LA Ink doesn't actively try hard to be heartwarming or life changing (or mind changing) it's a lot easier to swallow than the 'roided up craziness that Miami Ink was.

I'm breaking here to give you a rest. I'll continue tomorrow. Hopefully it's still relevant then but it probably wasn't in the first place.

October 15, 2007

What are words for, when no one listens anymore?

America! SlamDunkStalin and I am reunited!

...this is news to someone, surely. Or not.

Of interest this week is the Blender list of the Top 40 Worst Lyricists in popular music.

October 14, 2007

Newish Releases I've sunk my ears into

Stalin writers try to be cutting edge in terms of new releases in books and music, but sometimes life bogs us down and we get backlogged. Jenn barely has enough time to play sudoku and mess around on Facebook; Furge is doing whatever Furge's do; I refuse to read new releases because I hate getting swept into hype and superficially liking a book.

So what am I endorsing by listening to it?


Radiohead In Rainbows
I didn't really like Hail to the Thief. I think Radiohead is a very overhyped band, despite having a career defining masterpiece like OK Computer in their discography, three good-if-not-great albums (The Bends, Kid A, and Amnesiac), and then Pablo Honey and Hail to the Thief out as well. It's not like the hype isn't deserved.
Then they go and decide to release their new album digitally for whatever price the consumer is willing to pay, sans label support, then giving fans the option of spending $80 for a massive box set containing an array of goodies best described as a fanboys wet dream. So without releasing a single note, the album became highly anticipated. What the fuck do you make of that kind of shit?
Well, it's damn good shit. I'm not a great reviewer and I'm not going to try and glowingly describe in excruciating detail the lush orchestral sounds that litter the second half of the album. No, I'm going to tell you to fight the hip notion to hate what everybody else likes and get this album.


Maritime Heresy and the Hotel Choir
I really loved the Promise Ring. I kinda tolerated Cap'n Jazz. I enjoy Maritime. Davey von Bohlen plays with words in a bedeviling, cute-as-hell kind of way that makes me mad that I didn't think of it first and no matter what band he's in, I will probably have a fanatical following for it.
I acquired Heresy and the Hotel Choir in that kind of "friend of a friend of a friend" kind of way and will have to find that person and thank them. I felt the last album had a little melancholy ring to it and I feel that vibe has been stripped away. It's a lot more of a happy-go-lucky kind of album and it feels familiar, but not in that "the only reason Smirnoff vodka won the New York Times vodka taste test was because it reminded the reviewers of getting smashed in college" way. Please buy this.

October 10, 2007

Huzzah!

After almost a year of struggle (against the scrub-time kulaks wit' no game), I hereby announce my tenancy on SlamdunkStalin.

Mad Link Ups

I was checking out the awesome Sethy's Road Life blog and noticed a wee bit of silent love coming this way.



Aww. If you had an RSS feed, it would so be in my Google Reader.

Sorry for the self-congratulation. Our previous semi-mention was when Jenn posted the picture of herself doing her best Amy Winehouse impersonation at Louie's West in Norman and having Christopher the Minister from Sirius Left of Center channel 26 say he saw a picture of this girl online looking all weird.

Unless there are other pictures similar to Jenn's out on the web... you're welcome.

Also, we seem to be having log-in problems with one of our contributors, so, it's a two horse show until we figure out what's going on with that. I'm on it, Cameron.

October 9, 2007

St. Louis Culture Bloggin'

After moving to St. Louis I wrote about some different places to go to.

Well, the Riverfront Times have released their annual "Best Of" and made a mockery of my pithy attempts at... anything.

I figured I would go through and drop a few of the places I will be visiting when time and money fully allow and a little on why.

Best Liquor Store - Randall's Wine and Spirits. Somebody will need to replace the huge void left by not being able to drive a few minutes and pick up a Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar. I'll miss you, Joe's.

Best Sushi - Nobu's. I've gotten use to suburban sushi from shopping centers. I need to step up.

Best Mexican - Señor Pique. No more Tacos San Pedro and truckloads of Mexicans means no more legit Mexican food for Paul. I'm not about to trust El Maguey, either.

Best BBQ - 17th Street Bar & Grill. Oklahoma does BBQ pretty damn well. I hate to admit it, but the farther north you go the less delicious the BBQ becomes. I'm going to trust champions more than I will trust local chains Bandana's or Super Smokers.

More next time! Enjoy the links and be envious!

October 5, 2007

I have seen the light.



I'm a recent convert to hockey. It coincides with starting to date Jenn in 2002 and subsequently attending my first St. Louis Blues game. Not to say I don't have a pedigree for hockey. My mom, her grandma, and so on, all call/ed the hockey hotbed of North Dakota home (no, I'm not being facetious. The University of North Dakota Fightin' Sioux hockey team is one of the best college teams in the country).

With the recent collapse in popularity of the league, a lot has been said about how to improve ratings. The NHL has made rule changes to try and make games more high scoring (which I disagree with on a fundamental level) while taking their games from ESPN to the mighty Versus Network, so, cut off their nose to spite their face.

I propose another person's idea. Promotion and relegation. It's been done in soccer around the world for over one hundred years. Sure, it's not "fair" that Leeds United from Leeds, England, the third largest city in England, are toiling in the equivalent of AA (League One), but they fell apart faster the Expos and paid for being such a terrible team.

The reality is that having 30 teams in the NHL is too much and a talent and monetary drain on the league. Realistically, five to ten of those teams need to go. This is how it's done:

But how do you ditch teams without looking like you're waving the white flag? You contract through relegation.

Tomorrow, issue a press release that says you will eliminate the five teams with the worst records at the end of the 2008-09 season. Then, don't answer media phone calls for a couple of days. After you've milked your moment in the PTI/SportsCenter/talk-radio sun, watch as teams scramble for players. This process will be grossly unfair: The wealthy teams will buy up the talent and the struggling teams will get scraps. Sure, a few teams will spend way above their ability to pay. They'll do it, though, because their very survival will be on the line.


Teams (read: owners) will be mad that they will no longer be able to field an underperforming cash cow anymore (read: Chicago Blackhawks). They'll likely sue. Other owners will have their pride bruised and try to spend enough to stay up or, if they go down, spend enough to get back up.

This could work, you know. But it'll never happen. Disrupting the status quo? Not in America. Fans would rather keep their shitty team going, rewarding them with high draft picks, than ever consider the thought of them not existing anymore or being sent down a level. I didn't realize that this was how businesses operated in the American economy. Seems a little socialistic, eh, comrades?
That doesn't carry the same kind of terror it once did, does it? Darn.

Were you there?

I can't wait until the day that my grandchildren look up at me from where they've gathered at the foot of my rocking chair and eagerly ask where I was during the Fundy Cock Craze of 2007.

There are four different links there.

Here's a list of some of the kiddy fiddlers, if you care. Source is questionable at best.

October 1, 2007

Babes in Rockland:

Sadly, though not a lesbian, I've had babes on the the brain a lot lately. Not just any kind of babes, though. In my mind, the best babes are women who rock and rock hard. My favorite band used to be Rilo Kiley, who was fronted by (easily) one of the best broads in the game (at least in my mind, but I'm also not stupid/ignorant). While Jenny Lewis still (kind of) rocks pretty hard and is a gorgeous woman it's time to examine some of the other beauties in the indie rock world.

Annie Clark:
Obviously, it's easy to see why she's so hot right now. Not only does she play guitar, she plays it well. Alongside her guitar playing, she sings out hand crafted genuine lyrics in a gorgeous and flirty soprano voice. It is absolutely true that she speaks of what it is like to be in the mid-20's in America while also remaining a true romantic of our time. How can you not like someone who has played in Sufjan Steven's touring band AND The Polyphonic Spree? Also, Annie and I are kinda hair twins. Hers is a lot more tame than mine...but I'll be damned if it's not as cute as a button, just like the rest of her. A quirky young woman who knows how to rock, what's not to love? This fellow midwesterner better be at SXSW 2008 or else I'm considering just not going at all.

Leslie Feist:
I thought I was the only one who was all up on her shit, then Apple came out with their newest campaign for the new generation of iPod Nanos (with the extremely pointless, useless and unnecessary teeny tiny video screen). Sadly, I have a soft spot in my heart for Canadians, which is partially why she gets my vote for a Babe in Rockland. She, like Annie Clark, is more than just a "solo" artist and performs with Broken Social Scene. For a time, Feist lived with roommate Peaches, which only adds to the cool factor.

Anyway, everyone is all over that infectious jazz tinged indie rock and I'm not one to argue. I'm loving it a lot and really, to be honest, just can't get enough. I'm hoping I haven't missed my chance to see Feist.

Stefanie Drootin:
I'm sure a few people are scratching their heads trying to come up with where they've seen or heard this name before. Now a transplanted Californian living in Omaha, Drootin has made a name for herself cheifly by being the bassist for The Good Life and Art In Manila. Stefanie performed in the Bright Eyes tour that featured an all woman band backing him up in 2003 before Tim Kasher asked her to become a permanent fixture in The Good Life. According to her myspace, Stefanie has been working on a solo album this past summer and I really can not wait to hear the results.

I had the great fortune of attending last weeks The Good Life show at WashU here in St. Louis. I've seen Cursive six times before but never had the chance to see The Good Life. It was nothing short of phenomenal. As a fellow bassist I couldn't help but watch and listen continuously to Stefanie throughout the show. I spoke with her afterwards about the band, the tour, the new Good Life LP (Help Wanted Nights), and about her bass (which is a freaking sweet Aria Pro II and I totally want one now).

My personal honorable mentions also go out to:

Kori Gardner (Mates of State)
Khaela Maricich (The Blow)
Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam (M.I.A.)
Lily Allen
Chandra and Leigh Watson (The Watson Twins, who backed Jenny Lewis while also having their own act)
Laura Burhenn (Georgie James)
Maria Taylor

Who would you pick and why? I'd be really interested in hearing who else is out there.