Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lifter Puller’s Fiestas + Fiascos

When I started listening to Lifter Puller, they had already broken up and The Hold Steady was already in full swing (they had just released Separation Sunday—another album that’ll make an appearance on this list).  I first heard The City on Film’s cover of Secret Santa Cruz, and hey, if Bob Nanna likes ‘em, they must be good, right?  First time I listened to them, I hated them—loathed them.  I tried The Hold Steady, it was even worse! 

Craig Finn’s voice was abrasive and obnoxious, the music was strange, but interesting, but the words were what caught my attention.  What a strange way to write a song.  They stayed on my computer for a long time, I would listen to them, hate them, and then a few weeks later I’d notice them in my library and check it out again.

Something eventually clicked, and it definitely had something to do with Fiestas + Fiascos.  This ridiculous vocal style really did work with these insane songs about drugs and clubs and murdered raver kids.  I was the only person I knew who liked this band for a very long time. It was definitely worth the effort and I highly recommend that you give them a chance, even if it takes a few tries.

Are there any albums like this for you that took a few tries before you actually enjoyed them?

Below is my friend's Alex and Ava when we played a show in Austin, summer 2009.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paul Baribeau’s Grand Ledge

Adam - I'd love to go to Dia de los Toadies, I just never have time or money it seems like.

Jacob - I highly suggest checking them out, although it certainly doesn't make you any less of a musician for not having heard them yet. I had never heard Weezer's Pinkerton until a couple months ago (more on this in a future post) and I made it okay up till then.

Next album, Paul Baribeau's Grand Ledge.

It’s really amazing how certain albums seem to find you at just the right moments in your life, right when you need them most.  I had just gone through a bad break-up and was moving back home when I first heard this album. And that was apparently what Paul was going through when he wrote this album.

Aside from helping me through tough times, this is just a damn good album.  The DIY scene is still pretty young, but I feel that once it becomes the new “Indie,” this album will be one of the classics.  It just goes to show you that you can make an incredible album with just an acoustic guitar and the right words. And it doesn’t even clock in at 20 minutes!

I was fortunate enough to see Paul play at 1919 Hemphill a little over a year ago (I wanted to play that show so bad!), and it definitely made it into my top ten shows of all time.  If you’ve never known the ecstasy of crowding around one man and his guitar (I was an arms-length away) with 30 of your closest (and sweatiest) friends you’ve never met singing along at the top of your lungs, well, you’re missing out, is all I can say.

I wish I had a picture from that show to put below, but alas…. So here's a picture Sally took of some flamingos at the Ft. Worth Zoo.

Your turn, tell me about a favorite show you’ve been to—the sweat, the bruises, etc.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Toadies' Rubberneck

I’m still here, I promise. Thank you Wyatt and Jacob, I really appreciate your comments and they’re pretty much the sole reason I decided to try to keep going with this.

Now, on to the matter at hand….

This album marks the first time I ever really fell in love with an album as a whole put together piece of work.  I probably listened to my Rubberneck CD a good 2000 times through during my time in high school.  I was a very angry young man then and the Toadies worked as sort of an outlet.  If there’s anything you can say about Todd Lewis, it’s that he really is a master of channeling rage. 

Like the rest of the albums on this list it marked a turning point in my musical journey.  I got this album as a freshman in high school as a Christmas present (thanks mom!). I was still listening to radio rock at this point (and would continue to do so for a couple more years), but when I started listening to the Toadies I felt like it was okay that I had so much anger, and here was a way to focus it and not let it take over my life.  This eventually led to all music becoming an outlet for me in some way or another.  I guess that’s a lot to say about a band that’s just okay by most people’s standards.  Say what you will about the Toadies, but this album is damn good and will always be, no matter how mild-mannered I may become.

What do you have to say about these hometown heroes?

Here's a picture of me and some friends from high school, on a boat.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bob Dylan’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Okay, so I’ve been a bit lazy, and it doesn't help that I have a big whopping 1 comment so far, but I’m resolved to do this, even if I’m the only one reading.

So this album was really tough to pick--it and Highway 61 Revisited were soooo close, but Freewheelin’ won out in the end, primarily due to quantity. Every song on Highway 61 is a fantastic piece of art, but so are the songs on Freewheelin’, it just had more songs. It’s got the “protest songs” like Blowin’ in the Wind, Masters of War, and A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall, and also the totally heart wrenchingly sad songs like Don’t Think Twice it’s Alright and Girl from the North Country. 

On a personal note this album will always stick with me because I had it on almost constant repeat, along with another album on my list, two summers ago when I spent a month at my dad’s house in Georgia unwinding and finishing writing the last five or six songs on my The Holy Family concept album, that will one day hopefully get to be heard by lots of people.

So leave me a comment and tell me what's your favorite Dylan album.

Below is a picture from that summer. We took a trip to visit the University of Virginia. While there we went to a vinyard and tasted wine.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Top 15

So I got the idea to do a series of blogs based on a Facebook meme that just recently started floating around again. The rules are as follows:

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends,including me, because I'm interested in seeing what albums my friends choose.

Blah, blah, blah.... So anyway, I thought I'd turn into a blog series, 1 album every couple of days, with an explanation of what makes it important to me and why you should own it if you don't already.

We'll start with an easy one: Brand New's Deja Entendu.

Everyone's who's going to read this probably already has it and has their own reasons for loving it, so for me, it was most importantly a turning point in my musical evolution. I still remember the day I went out and bought it--not the exact date or anything, but I do remember how it all went down. I bought it at Best Buy along with Alien Ant Farm's second album.  I had seen the video for The Quiet Things that No One Ever Knows and thought it was pretty cool. But after the day that I brought that album home, I think listened to that Alien Ant Farm album start-to-finish maybe once, and from then on I was hunting for music in a new direction. 

Everyone who loves this album thinks each track was written just for them. Which speaks to the simultaneously personal yet universal nature of Deja. It was uncompromising in its effort to evolve from the old Brand New Sound, yet still very catchy and accessible. Some of my favorite memories from high school are of me and my friends belting out the lyrics of Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't while driving around Fort Worth.

Let me know some of your favorite Brand New related memories in the comments.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


So, the first post. I guess I want to start by talking about why I’m starting this blog and why I desperately want you to read it (and I mean that with the strictest of sincerity; I’ll explain presently).

Part 1

I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible. From experience I know that the longer the post is the less likely people will read it. And I do want you to read it. Partly because my ego craves it and partly because that's how things get off the ground. I'm relying on you, my friends, because you're the people I know and love, and who I hope will support me.

So why did it take me so long to finally get around to actually starting this? For the past 8 or so months I’ve been spinning my wheels. My college degree hasn’t done much for me, and my true aspirations of either getting my band listened to by a larger audience or writing a novel are still very unfulfilled. This makes me sad. So I have to do something. And right now, this is that something. I constantly get thoughts stuck in my head about music or books or life or whatever, and I spend lots of time thinking about these things. But often I’m unable to get things expressed vocally, in writing, in songs, or otherwise. I have always been very much a listener. Expressing myself through talking is a skill I don’t have. I can write for miles and form my thoughts the way I wish I could more directly, but lately I just haven’t.

I read a quote from Brian K. Vaughan. He said, “ ‘Writer’s block’ is just another word for video games. If you want to be a writer, get writing, you lazy bastards.” Well, I don’t play that much video games, but I have been lazy, and I really need to get back to writing. Starting now.

Part 2

I’ve always been sort of obsessed with titles for things. I tend to try and figure out the exact best title for songs, etc. I’m often able to just say, “Okay, that’s good enough,” and then move on with my life, but sometimes I just have to have that perfect title, because I know every time I get it just right, it makes me so happy and proud of myself. I feel like I got it right this time.

While I was trying to come up with a title I was looking at Wikiquote for quotes from Jack Kerouac; he had a couple that mentioned accepting the feeling of being lost and acknowledging that a lot about life involves being lost. Which has become a very pertinent sentiment in my life lately. “Get lost” is a very short, simple phrase that is so often used that I really only think about it as a command to tell someone to leave. I love those sorts of phrases, especially once I start thinking about it from other angles.

Now, for the most part this blog will probably be focused on music, a thing in which I so regularly find myself very lost, but more than likely I’ll stray into other categories as well. I’ve already planned out a few, but I’ll happily take some suggestions. I’d love to get input from others, and hopefully someday this can grow into a sort of group effort. I think that would be pretty cool.

Okay, I think that’s about it. Stay tuned for my top 15 albums of all time. So if you managed to read through all of this I appreciate it more than you know. I really do need you to understand how important this is to me, and if this doesn't really sound like something you'd be interested in, then tell a friend who you think might be.

Also, I may also post random photos that I just really like, from time to time. The one below is of the marquee at the Masquerade in Atlanta, GA where I saw The Dear Hunter for the first time with my little brother.