May 29, 2008

Narrow Stairs

Artist: Death Cab for Cutie
Release Date: May 13, 2008
Favorite Lyric(s): "You can do better than me but I can’t do better than you"

Thoughts: In my opinion, Death Cab has so many albums that its hard for them to deviate from their "sound" and still be original anymore. Yet, they manage it. The first thing I noticed when I listened to this album was that there was a kick to it. It's less pop than Plans, but more edgy than Transatlanticism. The record truly is diverse. From the driving Long Division to a slower Talking Bird, each song is different from the last. Listen for the stand out tympani in You Can Do Better Than Me and the talba in Pity and Fear.

I also noticed that more of the songs build to a climax. Obviously the first single I will Possess Your Heart is no exception. Clocking in at just over eight and a half minutes, it is the longest song on the album. The iTunes version also has the radio edit version, for those of you who don't like to wait through a four and a half minute intro. The digital version also comes with two videos, which are worth a watch for hardcore Ben Gibbard fans (video link).

Overall, I like it. A few of the songs sound a little familiar, but the contrast of the rest of the album keeps it fresh. My favorite part is the exit of You Can Do Better Than Me into the beginning of Grapevine Fires. That last daunting chorus fading triplets on the hi-hat, it just makes me smile.

Bottom Line: 88 / 100

Versa anyone?

Oh yeah. I forgot to tell you guys. I bought car a few weeks back. Its
awesome.

May 27, 2008

"At least they have the stars tonight" - Kid Dakota

So I saw the Iron Man movie this weekend. Fantastic. It was exactly what I expected. Lots of action and some amazing gadgets. I thought Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark was perfect. He had exactly the right arrogance and wit that made the movie as funny as it was eye-popping. If you do go, look for the 10 second clip after the credits as well as the standard Stan Lee cameo. I guess in the comics Iron Man has a super-friend named Warhammer. The post-credits clip shows who will play Warhammer in the next Iron Man movie. Really? Are you surprised who it is? He's in everything!

Things I found out this weekend:

  • Facebook is going Open Source
  • ♫ A 16-year-old found a way to decompose plastics bags at a rate 4,000 times faster than nature
  • ♫ An 11-year-old girl was banned from playing Basketball with the boys. Maybe that's because some parents didn't like seeing their sons getting schooled. She hopes to someday make the NBA. [VIDEO!]
  • ♫ Fidler's first child will most likely look like this:
Lastly, I read an article about a child with Asperger's syndrome (high-functioning autism) that was actually voted out of the classroom by his kindergarden class. After getting sent to the principle's office for acting out, the poor kid returned to find out he was voted out of class 14-2.

What the hell?! First off this kid is in KINDERGARDEN! No child should ever be humiliated by their own teacher, especially one that young with a mental disability! For those of you who don't know, my twin brother is mentally disabled. Now, I'm not what you would call athletic, but I've been inches from decking someone twice my size who made fun of my brother. The intolerance in this country appalls me.

May 26, 2008

Memorial Weekend

I thought I would take a page out of John's book and write about my weekend/life.

This past weekend was awesome. On Friday night John made me dinner and we listened to music at his house. Then the next morning we headed to Uptown to roller blade around lake Calhoun. It was great weather for being outside. this week we tried a new path and found ourselves passing under the bus-bridge (Hennepin) in the center of Uptown. Afterward I felt great. My calves still hurt a little, but I can't complain about that.

Saturday night John had his party. It was a fairly quiet party. I guess most of John's friends were out of town for Memorial weekend, and none of our Chicago friends made it either. Of course, there was always John's friend John (I'll call him J for simplicity). I've met J once before at our party Sophomore year at ISU, but I didn't know much about him then. Luckily John filled me in a little before the party, because J had no problems talking about how he got a DWI the week before for smoking pot while driving. Or how the cop found a straw in his glove compartment, which tested negative for coke. But he hasn't had cocaine in 3 years (he was very proud of that). I just could not believe that a guy who graduated from Gustavus in 3.5 years (spent a semester in rehab) would be unemployed, and more or less useless. Otherwise, John's party was low key, but fun.

May 25, 2008

Pandora - Internet Radio

A year ago I was introduced to a music website called Pandora. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I've heard great things about it over the last few months. So I finally tried it, and I was pleasantly surprised.

At it's core Pandora is free internet radio. The great part is that it automatically changes depending on which songs you "thumb up" (like it) or "thumb down" (don't like it). How does this work? It's actually brilliant. Each song has a few of the 400 attributes Pandora uses, and when you thumb up a song, it looks for more songs that have those same attributes. So the more you listen and vote, the better the station.

The part that I like about Pandora the most is that each station is like a dynamic playlist of hundreds of songs. I find myself skipping songs much less when I'm listening to Pandora then when I listen to my iPod. When I want to listen to songs that have electronic influences, Pandora plays Frou Frou, PlayRadioPlay! and The Postal Service. When I want alt. rock with electric guitar, Pandora plays Mae, Anberlin and Jimmy Eat World. This means I just tell it when I am in the mood for, and Pandora takes care of the rest. I get to hear some of the songs I know and love, as well as a bunch that I didn't know, but are similar to bands I already listen to.