Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 20 Albums of 2010

I'm only make limited comments (trying for a one-sentence overview of my personal feelings on each album). Also, because I love you, a stream per album via grooveshark.

Salem - King Night

Dark, weird, haunting, and surprisingly heavy - plus they have the additional advantage of being a "witch-house" band whose song titles don't look like windows character map vomited them up.

Salem - King Night

19. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

It's just as sprawling as their other albums. As a result, I didn't know what to think about it at first, but it grew on me with every listen.

Gorillaz - Superfast Jellyfish (feat. Gruff Rhys & De La Soul)

18. Jambo Reign - Blinded By the Bright Lights EP

It's only a three song EP, but all three of those songs are hooky pop-rock the likes of which doesn't get made often enough anymore. Shame they're so unknown that they have no US presence, so I can't get a physical copy of the CD.

No direct music link, hit their MySpace up for additional info.

17. The New Pornographers - Together

They're never going to beat Twin Cinema, but that's not really the point. The highs ("Crash Years", "Your Hands", etc) are higher than the highs on Challengers, and the lows aren't as low as the ones on that album. They might not ever make an album that's awesome front to back, but this one is pretty good.

The New Pornographers - Your Hands (Together)

16. Best Coast - Crazy For You

Yeah, her lyrics are juvenile and way overdependent on weed, boys, and talking cats (wait... what?), but this whole CD just feels like a ocean-view summer, and in the middle of a Minnesota winter, that's never a negative thing.

Best Coast - When I'm With You

15. Vampire Weekend - Contra

A lot of people hate this CD. I'm not entirely certain why. I mean, it's not as straight through solid as their first, but that would have been a tall order. Instead, they served up another great pop CD while branching out a little bit - can't fault them for their results. Forget the haters.

Vampire Weekend - Giving Up the Gun

14. Children 18:3 - Rain's 'a Comin'

Not quite the "stand up and pay attention" notice that their debut was, Rain's a Comin' nonetheless is pleasing from beginning to end. Plus, "Lost So Long" is just epic.

Children 18:3 - Lost So Long

13. Memoryhouse - The Years EP

So, this is "chillwave", then. I like it. Denise Nouvion has the perfect sort of dreamy (but never sleepy) voice that makes this type of music work. Plus the backing music is so hazy and lush that you wish that this could be the soundtrack to every daydream for the rest of your life.

Memoryhouse - Sleep Patterns

12. Spoon - Transference

It's a lot more stripped back than Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (but has a much better album title). It takes a little time to get used to the fact that there are songs ending mid-sentence, as well as sentences being seemingly randomly cut off. Once you get used to the album, though, it's got a lot to give.

Spoon - Who Makes Your Money

11. Dessa - A Badly Broken Code
Add this CD to the list of things I wish would get more popular. Dessa knows when to be vulnerable (as on "Into the Spin"), when to simmer ("Dixon's Girl"), and - most importantly - when to just lay all the cards on the table and be who she is (any of several songs). This girl sits in the underground, while Ke$ha make millions? Absurd.

Dessa - Dixon's Girl

10. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (II)

It's a lot more "tuneful" than their debut, while easing off the abrasion a bit. I don't think that's a bad thing, it might not have the thrill of newness that the first record had, but the songs are stronger.

Crystal Castles - Celestica

9. Jónsi - Go

Sigur Rós sort of toyed with more pop-music sounds at the end of their last CD, so it's not surprising that their lead singer went in that direction. What is surprising is how consistently great it is. It would have been so easy to make this a silly, saccharine album; instead, Jónsi gives the songs depth and life - while still making them undeniably Jónsi.

Jónsi - Animal Arithmetic

8. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

I was lukewarm on Titus Andronicus' first CD. Patrick Stickles voice rubbed me the wrong way too often. In anything, on The Monitor his voice sounds even more abrasive. Yet through better (and certainly more focused) songwriting, this CD is miles past that one. This album contains all the pissed off anthems a malcontent could ever want.

Titus Andronicus - Four Score And Seven

7. Sleigh Bells - Treats

These folks aren't interested in things like subtlety or gentle foreplay... only bass thumping, guitar flashing, "put on some massive headphones and let's fuck shit up" jamming. Most albums quietly wait for you to unlock their secrets... this album kicks down your front door, downs an unmarked bottle of alcohol and starts setting your furniture on fire.

Sleigh Bells - Infinity Guitars

6. Yeasayer - Odd Blood
God, what awful cover art. I'm glad I hadn't seen it before I heard a stream of the album, or else I might have passed over one of the most enjoyable pop albums of the last couple of years. This album has somehow gotten a bad rep, but for the life of me I can't tell why. People hating catchy music these days?

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp

5. Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks
It's almost a little embarrassing that I hadn't really given this band a try until a lot of their music got featured on "Chuck". I'd been missing out on some great raw emotional rock. While this one is a little less raw and confessional than their last (no "Keep Yourself Warm" to be found here), it still has that lyrical edge like only Frightened Rabbit can.

Frightened Rabbit - Nothing Like You

4. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The instant Kanye put "Power" up on his blog, everyone knew that this album was going to be epic. Then the hits kept coming (for free!): "Runaway", "Monster", etc... and the rest of the tracks on the album have no trouble living up to those expectations. The only question is: "How is he going to top this one?"

Kanye West - All of the Lights

3. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

The first time I listened to The Suburbs, I was disappointed. Here was an album that had neither the exuberance of Funeral, nor the bombast of Neon Bible. Needless to say, the disappointment didn't last long. The album picks up strength as it goes, and by the time "The Sprawl II" comes, the sound starts to feel very much like home.

Arcade Fire - We Used to Wait

2. The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever

Best cover art besides that awesome Klaxons album cover. Also, more great rock music by Craig Finn and company.

The Hold Steady - The Sweet Part of the City

1. The National - High Violet

This album is in equal parts depressing ("Sorrow"), creepy ("Conversation 16"), and defeated-sounding ("Bloodbuzz Ohio").

It's also by a wide margin the most affecting and re-listenable album I've heard all year - and it's not all that close a call. Every song on this album strikes me in some way. I don't remember the last time I could say that about a CD. This list is "My Favorite 20 Albums of the Year", not "The Best 20 Albums of the Year", because how could I really say something like that? I've heard a lot of music this year, but I couldn't possibly even scratch the surface of even the genres that I like. I will say this, though, while I can't say what the other nineteen of the twenty best albums of the year are, High Violet is the best album to come out in 2010.

It just is.

The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 20 Songs of 2010

No comments, because I'm dumb like that. However, because I love you, I've made a playlist out of these great songs and shared said playlist on Grooveshark. Go listen - these songs are worth it.

20. Caribou - Odessa

19. Children 18:3 - Lost So Long

18. Foals - Spanish Sahara

17. Yeasayer - O.N.E.

16. The Hold Steady - Hurricane J

15. Crystal Castles - Celestica

14. Cee-Lo - Fuck You!

13. Titus Andronicus - A More Perfect Union

12. Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill

11. The National - Sorrow

10. Crystal Castles - Not in Love (feat. Robert Smith)

9. Sleigh Bells - Tell 'Em

8. Arcade Fire - The Sprawl II: Mountains Beyond Mountains

7. Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can't See Land

6. Yeasayer - Madder Red

5. Japandroids - Younger Us

4. The National - Conversation 16

3. Arcade Fire - Ready to Start

2. Kanye West - Monster

1. The Hold Steady - The Weekenders

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 20 Moments in Music: 2010

20. Sufjan Stevens - "I Want to Be Well"
Sufjan Stevens is not fucking around...

Sufjan Stevens is generally known for lush compositions and tender (some might even say "wussy"), frail singing. From here on out, he'll be known for not fucking around. The first time he said it, I couldn't tell if I had heard correctly. That anyone can still shock with profanity in this day and age is startling. That Sufjan is the one to be doing it is downright shocking.

19. Deerhunter - "Desire Lines"
Fade out

I sort of slept on this song (and CD, sadly). It's too bad, because this song is very reminiscent of my favorite Deerhunter song, "Nothing Ever Happened". It's got a downright catchy chorus, melody everywhere, and the 3 minute breakdown to carry out the song which hits just as you'd be expecting the hook again. This one doesn't have anything quite as rapturous as the synth lines in "Nothing Ever Happened", but it is the very definition of chill, and leaves you ready to play the song over and over again.

18. Brandon Flowers - "Crossfire"
"Lay your body down"

Mr. Flowers probably needs a break, as the last Killers album sucked, as does his new solo attempt. "Crossfire" is actually a pretty good song, though. The chorus is big in that classic Killers way, punctuated by Flowers begging the object of the song to "lay your body down". His voice sells it in a way that he hasn't been able to for at least 4 or 5 years now. Please, Brandon, take a break and come back to music when you're able to make an album with a little more of this, and a little less of... everything else you've been making lately.

17. James Blake - "Limit to Your Love"
That bass

This song is a Feist cover, Feist's fingerprints linger on the song, with the melody essentially unchanged, and a lot of the vocal inflections still exist in James Blake's version, as well. A lone piano backs Blake's soulful voice, and the whole thing feels very minimal - almost skeletal.

Then that bass hits. If you have the song turned up, it literally shakes you. At first listen, it almost seems tacked on and unnecessary. Each subsequent listen has you waiting on pins and needles for it.

16. Das Racist - "Rainbow in the Dark"
" everything plus everything that is not me"

One could be forgiven for thinking that the guys behind "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" might not have very much in the way of a substantial music career ahead of them. Surprisingly enough, both (free) mixtapes they released this year proved them to be excellent wordsmiths and very clever lyricists. My favorite line happens about 3 minutes into Shut Up, Dude standout "Rainbow in the Dark".

"You, you are not me. Me, I am possibly everything plus everything that is not me."

I have no idea why this particular line is the one that stands out, but it does. The flow (which I wouldn't have even thought to give them credit for after Pizza Hut/Taco Bell) is just so right.

15. Sleigh Bells - "Tell 'Em"
Opening salvo

Toward the end of last year, I heard a couple of songs from a new band called Sleigh Bells. They lived in the red end of the EQ spectrum. They featured super-overdriven guitars, and were generally pretty fun to listen to. All the same, I wasn't breathlessly anticipating a full length album full of that particular sound. At least, I wasn't right up until I heard the first 15 seconds of the opening track. A wall of gloriously pumped up bass blasted from the speakers and let me know that, yes, the next thirty minutes were going to be a LOT of fun...

14. Los Campesinos! - "In Medias Res"
"Would this interest you at all?"

Los Campesinos! make their trade in being miserable. There are relatively few songs that are particularly cheerful, and most of those come from their first CD. Toward the end of the opening track of their new CD, the lead singer asks:

"If you were given the option
Of dying painlessly in peace at 45
With a lover at your side
After a full and happy life

Is this something that would interest you?
Would this interest you at all?"

It all becomes a little clearer. Conflict and angst is so ingrained into the lead singer's life that even if given the option to have a life without, he would balk at the opportunity. No wonder the CD is entitled Romance is Boring.

13. Dessa - "Alibi"
99 Problems...

Of course it's a reference to the Jay-Z song, but what really sells it is how she seems so exasperated and disgusted with the concept of the line that she can't even finish it.

"Sometimes it's the plain truth, 99 problem.... rrrrrgh..."

12. The Hold Steady - We Can Get Together
"Heaven is whenever"

"Heaven is whenever we can get together, sit on your floor, and listen to your records."

On the record that line seems decent, when The Hold Steady played this song live at First Avenue, it seemed almost spiritual.

11. Jambo Reign - "Radio Low"
"E-X-E-R-C-I-S-E some restraint"

I have a weakness for singers and rappers who spell things out. It seems lame in theory, and in practice, I'm sure it's not really all that much better, but I still like it. The almost completely unknown Jambo Reign's "Radio Low" seems like a normal entry into the "list of performers who randomly spell out words during songs", until the very end of the song, by which point lead singer is practically shouting the phrase. A great way to end a surprisingly good song.

10. The National - "Afraid of Everyone"
"You're the voices swallowing my soul"

I love The National and all, but they bring up a rather silly dilemma. You see, when a person puts a song quote up on Facebook, it's generally either:

a) a party anthem - i.e. "Got a couple bottles, but a couple ain't enough" or...
b) a horrific and depressing breakup anthem

However, if you were to put up "You're the voices swallowing my soul", you've immediately got some explaining to do (which is sad, because a lot more people should be listening to The National). It does no good to mention the unbelievable drumming that accompanies the line, or the fact that "Afraid of Everyone" evokes a feeling of paranoid despair better than any song in recent memory. Seriously, though... that drumming... Forget Facebook. This is too good for a mere status update, anyway.

9. Children 18:3 - "Lost So Long"
"Rain's comin'"

Children 18:3 goes epic. Who would have figured? They make the album title sound like a foreboding threat and a hopeful promise at the same time. And again, the voices of David and Lee Marie Hostetter blend together in that fantastic male/female harmony they do so well (but never better than they do in the coda of this song). They may never top this, and that wouldn't be a failure.

8. Arcade Fire - "Suburban War"
"All my old friends, they don't know me now"

The Suburbs has been described by the band as "neither a love letter to, nor an indictment of, the suburbs". Nowhere does that statement feel more true than the last minute of "Suburban War". A blast of noise (which reminded one of my good friends of a tornado drill siren) cuts the rest of the song off, then a driving drumbeat starts in as Win Butler sings "All my old friends - they don't know me now...". A sighing look back at the fact that things have changed, and they're not changing back, and it's time to move on.

7. Titus Andronicus - "A More Perfect Union"
"Tramps like us... baby, we were born to die"

Lead singer Patrick Stickles has a unique voice. It could be politely described as a "caterwaul". On the band's first album, his shouting occasionally came off as a little over the top. It still does, only now he's given it a purpose. Nowhere is that more evident than in the first verse of the opening track to the excellent The Monitor. The tension manages to build up the very first verse, until it all spills over with Stickles screaming "tramps like us... baby we were born to die!" as a huge squall of guitar and drums rushes over everything. The result is pure rock and roll awesomeness.

6. Salem - "King Night"
Wait... is that "O Holy Night"!?

The first time I heard this song, I was already creeped out by the slowed down and pitched "I love you" snippet in the beginning, and that was before the huge wave of bass cast its impressive shadow over everything. Most creepy, though, was that damned choir providing the backbone of the song. For a moment, it sounded like something familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. Then suddenly, it hit me. It was "O Holy Night". Salem made "O Holy Night" sound like the creepiest song ever. That's an accomplishment.

5. Yeasayer - "Madder Red"
"Please don't ask me why"

Really, most of this song could be included here. From the "Ooo-oo-ooo-oo-oooh"s in the beginning, to the awesome way the chorus comes in, everything is so spot on. The best part, though, is the ending, where the singer just sort of fades away while singing "please don't ask me why".

4. The Hold Steady - "The Weekenders"
"The theme of this party's the industrial age, and you came in dressed like a trainwreck"

This is the one-liner of the year, from the song of the year.

3. Kanye West - "Monster"
Nicky Minaj's verse

This is sort of an obvious choice, but before this verse I didn't understand what the big deal with Nicky Minaj was. Sure. she was weird, but I hadn't heard anything that made me pay any further attention to her. Then she outshowed Kanye West and Jay-Z in their own song - only she didn't just outshow them, she blew them out of the water. In retrospect, in feels kind of obvious that she's actually the forefront of the song (she gets about twice as much mic time as either Kanye or Jay-Z do), but that doesn't take anything away from her verse. It's an all-over-the-place pillar of "shut the fuck up and listen to me". It succeeds wildly.

2. The National - "Conversation 16"
"Cause I'm evil."

This entire song is ominous, with lines like "[i'll] tell you miserable things when you are asleep" and "you'd never believe the shitty thoughts I think". But things really come to a boil during the bridge: "I was afraid I'd eat your brains..." then "cause I-i-i'm eeeeevil". It doesn't like much on paper, but with the voice of Matt Berninger, and the drumming of Bryan Devendorf backing it up, it feels like something of a self-admission you could make to yourself. It soars even as it admits terrifying things.

1. Japandroids - "Younger Us"
"Remember that night you were already in bed"

For a song about wanting to be brought back to bygone days, "Younger Us" feels alive. It's all about feeling alive and vital like you did when you were younger, so I guess that makes sense. In the midst of the nostalgic mayhem, the lead singer shouts:

"Give me that night - you were already in bed. Said "fuck it" got up and drank with me instead."

The radio edit cuts this line. I can't fathom why they would even bother playing the song at all with the line removed. The song's life beats through the line; it's where the point lies. Namely - "live life to the fullest right now, because now is the time that you'll be reminiscing about later".

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm Not Being Fair...

...I've barely blogged enough this year to push last year's year end music lists off the front page. I know this. We can't do anything about the past, let's move on.

This summer was taken up mostly with Spookymilk Survivor (I finished in third place out of 21, so woot for me!), and absurd pile of work, and various different outdoor endeavors. I know it's not an excuse, I watched a lot of Twins games, I suppose I could have been mentioning those (then again, most of my Twins discussion took place over at the WGoM). I'm not doing a very good job of justifying the continued existence of Nibbishment, but bear with me.

Putting all of that behind us, we're going to move forward. Starting December 26th, I'm putting forth my week-long "year end music list extravaganza", just like I've been doing for years now. I've put a helpful schedule beneath, so that you can pretend to care about this. I'll be doing full write-ups on everything, as always. So if nothing else, it's a good excuse to come and laugh at the fact that I'm not a very good music critic.

Dec 29 - Top 20 Moments in Music: 2010
Dec 30 - Top 20 Songs of the Year
Dec 31 - Top 20 Albums of the Year
Jan 1 - Top 30 Most Listened to Songs of 2010

Okay, so it's less "week long extravaganza", more "desperate bid for attention", but I hope you'll read it anyway. Especially Jester, if only so that he can mock me mercilessly when Lady Gaga inevitably shows up in my "Best Song About Vengeful Sex" category.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Upcoming: Klaxons - Surfing the Void

Myths of the Near Future hasn't really aged all that well. "Gravity's Rainbow" is still a great song, as is "It's Not Over"; but "Golden Skans" and "Atlantis to Interzone"... not so much. The first song from Surfing the Void wisely moves in a different direction from the band's previous work. Still, it's not all that amazing.

So why am I devoting any time to mentioning Klaxons? I have to be honest, it's all in the album cover.


A cat... in a SPACE SUIT. I will buy the album for this reason alone (well, plus the album sounds like it could be halfway decent).

Before anyone says "well, cats have been photoshopped into everything, it's really not funny anymore - besides, I'm pretty sure I've seen cat-in-spacesuit pictures floating around the internet for the last two years", let me just say this. Screw you, this is awesome.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Spookymilk Survivor: Challenge Ten

I briefly mentioned Spookymilk Survivor the other day. At its essence, it's a creative writing contest with Survivor-like rules. Initially, there were three teams, but one team chose to invoke the curse of Nick Punto, and were brutally destroyed. Now there remain two teams of seven (now six) a piece. Challenges are issued every week, with a due date of Saturday night. On Saturday night, Spooky and Beau judge the entries and score them. The team with the lowest score votes out a member of their team.

This week, the challenge was "Fortunately, Unfortunately". Players were given a "seed phrase", and had to build a story, using sentences which alternated starting with the words fortunately and unfortunately.

This challenge taxed me more than any other, actually. In the end, I wasn't particularly pleased with either entry, but I guess everything turned out all right.

Spookymilk had me start out with "I gave up smoking a few hours ago", Beau started me off with the classic "Mary had a little lamb". Here's where I went with each:

I gave up smoking a few hours ago.
I gave up smoking a few hours ago…
Fortunately, I think I’ll be able to go the rest of my life without a cigarette.
Unfortunately, that’s because I’ve been captured by a tribe of cannibals.
Fortunately, the cravings haven’t really started kicking in yet.
Unfortunately, their cravings for human flesh aren’t similarly checked.
Fortunately, I’m thinking I can get these ropes untied.
Unfortunately, after slipping away, I’ve realized I’m trapped on an island, and the only pack of cigs is in the cannibal camp.
Fortunately, I think I can sneak in without them realizing.
Unfortunately, I can see that I was mistaken in that thought, and I’ve gotten myself recaptured.
Fortunately, I’m back to quitting smoking again.

I was trying to loop the story back to where getting captured by cannibals would be preferable to going without a pack of cigarettes. I'm not sure I succeeded, but it ended up looking a lot better than the first few drafts, so I didn't feel too badly about this one.

Mary had a little lamb.

Mary had a little lamb.
Unfortunately, its fleece was worthless, and it was sent to a packing plant.
Fortunately, eco-terrorists attacked, and the truck was driven off the road.
Unfortunately, it came to rest on some train tracks, with a train bearing down.
Fortunately, it was able to jump out of the vehicle in the nick of time.
Unfortunately, the slaughterhouse supervisor was bizarrely single-minded, and tracked the lamb – always one step behind it.
Fortunately, the lamb was able to escape by jumping off the dam and into the river below.
Unfortunately, it came out of the river thoroughly bedraggled, and barely clinging to life.
Fortunately, a girl named Sylvia found the lamb and nursed it back to health over the course of four months.
Unfortunately, both Sylvia and her parents are BIG fans of lamb chops…

I really had no idea where to go with this one. I tried about 5 or 6 different things, but none of them showed any promise, so I ended up making the lamb into Richard Kimble from The Fugitive and bluntly ending it with cookery. I felt bad that I phoned this one in, and I stared at it for a good ten minutes in my outbox looking for inspiration, or at the very least, some way to make what I already had not suck. Nothing came, and I had to leave for the rest of the day, so I sent it off. Not my best, but The Winner Group lives on, anyway!

Next week's challenge is "Video Game Pitch". I'm actually kind of excited about this one. There's a lot of different directions to go with it. Hopefully, inspiration hits me over the head a little harder this week.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ten Random: The "Let's Get Back to Business" Edition

Ten song culled from my library that have been given the "Music to Shoot Stuff To" tag. Essentially, these are the soundtrack to playing Call of Duty with my friends.

1. Jay Reatard - My Shadow - Blood Visions
(Whoa, I could not have asked for a better leadoff track....)

2. Dub Pistols - Something to Trust - Speakers and Tweeters
3. Project 86 - Breakdown in 3/4 - Songs to Burn Your Bridges By
4. MxPx - I'm Ok, You're Ok - Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo
5. Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori - Halo Theme (Mjolnir Mix) - Halo 2, Vol 1
6. Powerman 5000 - Danger is Go! - Anyone For Doomsday?
7. The Go! Team - Grip Like a Vice - Proof of Youth
8. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Baudelaire - Source Tags and Codes
9. Aphex Twin - Windowlicker - Windowlicker
10. Quarashi - Mr. Jinx - Jinx

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Probably Should Have Wrote This Up a Month Ago

Early last month (the 4th, in fact), Branny and I went to see The Hold Steady at First Avenue. We hit up a bar shortly before the event, and had a blast at the show. The Whigs opened, and started the concert off with the infamous "Tomahawk Chop" music - Atlanta bastards. They were actually quite good, and even got a chuckle in when the lead singer "admitted" that Gant fell off first base without any "help" from Hrbek, pulling off his overshirt to reveal a Twins jersey. The Hold Steady came on and killed. Overall, I got hoarse from excitedly shouting along with every song, and the whole night is one of my fondest musical memories.

Courtesy of the Hold Steady Taped Show Archive, I now have the bootleg of the concert. Well, a replay of it, anyway. It seems the Current played the show in its entirety shortly after the 4th, and it was recorded and encoded into VBR-0 MP3 format. The sound quality is quite good, if a little light on the bass. Craig's voice is a smidge rough (especially in the beginning), and the DJ from the radio rebroadcast breaks into the audio in between a couple of the songs to chime in mentioning what it is that you're listening to (he only appears over crowd noise, nothing of importance is lost), but overall, it's a fantastic way to remember a great show at a great venue.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Challenge Accepted

The Jester is (correctly) skeptical about the unzombification of this blog, saying that he'll believe that I'm back when I'm still regularly posting in one month's time.

I'll do you one better, I'll post something at least marginally substantive every day for the entire rest of August. At least once a day, I'll make a post concerning... well... I'm not sure exactly what I'll talk about every day for a month, but I'll make it work.

Also, there will be no more meta-style posts about blogging. The "Blogs About Blogging" tag is jumping up the leaderboard at an alarming rate.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blogging About Blogging

A couple of things...

  • I'm going to change the template of this site, which I've hated since the very beginning (at least it's not as bad as my old Xanga, eh, Jester?) There will be a tasteful banner at the top, and the sidebars will be arranged a little better so as to make Nibbishment seem a little less like a wall of text.
  • I'm thinking about adding a little bit of comment protection. I have two reasons for this.

    1. I'm getting a fair bit of spam, especially since I made that post about the Vista defender issue. That post is by far (and I mean by FAR) my most viewed and commented upon article, and I'm genuinely happy that I was able to help a few people out, but good heavens has it been a magnet for spambots.

    2. I like knowing who says what. When someone hilariously says that he finds it likely that I live in my parents' basement, I want to know who that is, so that I can congratulate him on his deductive powers*. Even if it's just an alias, I'd like to have something to know things by. Until I do so, please utilize the "name" field when you leave comments. You liked the Highway Hunter soundtrack? Sweet. I did, too, but if I commented on your site, I'd totally leave a sign saying "Nibbish was here".
* Although, to be fair, I actually live twenty floors below sea level - in a bunker.
  • Remember that whole "50 Favorite Song Parts" thing I did last year? I was thinking of giving myself some sort of similarly unreasonable blogging task right away. You know, to punish myself for re-entering the blogging fray. I'll think on what that Top 50 list might be. This time, you won't have to wait three weeks for 10-1.
  • Also, as a throwback, behold the mighty dikdik.

CD Review: Neon Bible

This post has the potential to be surprising for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it's been almost a half a year since my last post. I'm sure most of the people who read this blog probably thought I had been kidnapped, and that no one bothered to pay the ransom.

No, the truth is, I just haven't thought of much that would be interesting for others to read. Most of the people I discuss things with are either on my IM, or chilling over at SBG's place. Also, just about any spare creative thought has been going into Spookymilk's Creative Writing Survivor.

The second reason this might be a little surprising is that I'm kicking it off with a review of a CD that's already over three years old. The title isn't a typo, it's time to take a look back at Neon Bible. I loved it back in the day (it was my number one album for 2007), but it's been getting a pretty savage beating by everyone in the wake of the new Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs.

Neon Bible seemed pretty well respected by the populous when it first came out. It got an 87 on Metacritic, which landed it around number seven for the year, and hit a lot of the critics' year end lists (twenty five 'major' top ten lists, by Metacritic's count), and general consensus seemed to be that it was a pretty damn fine package.

This year, though, it seems the only constant thing people have to say about The Suburbs is that it's a 'welcome step back toward the Funeral days'. Many of the places that I've been reading mention how dour Neon Bible was and how the new album thankfully eases up a little bit. So, what happened in the last three years

I think a lot of the dour reputation Neon Bible gets comes from the album opener "Black Mirror". Honestly, I feel it to be the weakest song on the album, and if there's a song that gets skipped, it's generally that one. It sets up the pessimistic attitude, but it almost does it's job a little too well. "Keep the Car Running" just feels like such a perfect album opener, with its soaring hook and driving beat. The light - almost haunting - title track moves perfectly into the massive sounding "Intervention". The songs are all dark and ominous, without much light filtering in, but they're almost all fantastic. In fact, from front to back, I'm not sure I know of another album where I consistently play every song (excluding "Black Mirror").

A couple of listens in, I can tell you that The Suburbs is a great CD, and will be high on my year end list (yes, that means that the lights are coming back on around here - more on that later), but Neon Bible remains one of my favorite albums of all time. I can listen to it today, having heard it countless times already, and still get the same feeling during "Intervention" that I did back in the day. I still whoop and shout to "No Cars Go", and "My Body is a Cage" makes my blood run cold. Detractors should take another listen - in my opinion, Neon Bible is every bit the album Funeral is, maybe even better.

Now. Come to Minnesota, damn it. I missed the last tour because I was busy getting married, and I'd like to check another favorite band off the list.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Suck It, East Coast

Eight years, $184 million - full no-trade clause.

Now let's just hope for no injuries....

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bioshock 2?

More like Bioshock: Big Daddy Edition

I'm about halfway through the game, and I sort of wish I would've rented it. It's fun getting back into Rapture and all, but this game really feels more like an expansion pack than a full sequel. Also, Lamb isn't as charismatic or interesting a villain as Andrew Ryan or Frank Fontaine were.

Oh well.

Also, this is truth. I haven't been able to unsee this since I first gazed upon its visage.