Radiohead

Best of 2016: Music & TV

In the age of social media (read: barrier-less entry to digital publication), our end-of-year world is overran with a bevy of bovine best-of lists that subjectively say nothing about music or art. I have often considered forgoing the practice. But truth be told I am a man of traditions and patterns. Since 2010 I have been making such subjective lists and cannot turn back now.

But I do promise to simplify.

This year, I’m talking just music and TV. (If you find yourself curious about the books I’ve read this year, however, follow me on Goodreads (Goodreads is still a thing, right?)).

Top 5 Records

2016 was a weird year for mainstream music. Rock was fueled primarily by mega-bands from previous decades (Blink 182, Green Day, Metallica), hip-hop spent its social currency on Kanye West drama, and pop-music decided to just wait it out for a new Taylor Swift album. Beyonce, I suppose, did something interesting with pop music, but there isn’t much else to hear. Where mainstream music failed, indie-music (used here as a sweeping genre) and new independent artists (across all indie-music genres) soared.

Almost weekly, there was a new artist or band or group making waves. Car Seat Headrest, Big Thief, Julien Baker, Margaret Glaspy, Kevin Morby, Nice As Fuck, to name a few at top of mind.

With Apple Music and Spotify and Amazon Music and now Pandora Unlimited — streaming services becoming commonplace for the listener — there’s little excuse to miss out on all this great new music. But these tools don’t make keeping up any less overwhelming. In fact, having access to everything, I find, makes it worse. At the end of the day, you have to find what works for you — those albums that connect from start to finish and demand repeat listens — and fit in the other stuff when you can.

So what are my favorites from the year? There are many reasons that the following list of albums stood out to me as “favorites” (originality, longevity, boldness) but the best metric is this: I refused to delete their files from my phone. (more…)

Advertisements

Micro-filming with Adobe Premiere Clip: My life in 4 short videos

About a month ago it occurred to me that I carry a super computer in my pocket. My phone, that is. It’s a smart phone that connects me to the world and offers me every little bit of information from anytime in history, much like a community garden – all knowledge ripe and for the taking. And the phone is powerful. I can pinpoint my friend’s exact real-time location, no matter how far away from me he or she lives. I can record music. I can film movies.

98% of the time I use my phone to check email.

When I want to be fancy, I post a picture to Instagram.

That’s about it.

With fresh eyes, then, (the unlimited potential of my phone revealed to me), a query clobbered my restless mind. What if the ’90s version of myself were to get ahold of an iPhone? What would I have done with it?

Certainly, I wouldn’t have wasted battery power reading stranger’s status updates.

Enter ‘Adobe Premiere Clip’

What if I were to film the most boring moments of my life and then try to make them interesting?

I’m sure there are many movie-making apps available to the mass public. iMovie, for instance, is probably the most popular (I have some familiarity with the desktop version). Adobe Premiere Clip, however, happened to get in front of my face at the right time. This powerful video-producing app allows you to record, edit, add music, adjust tone and color — all from your phone. (more…)

Media-Thon Monday (3)

Welcome to the third edition of Media-thon Monday. This is where I share my favorite pop culture finds from the week with you lucky folk. Checky checky it out.

The Call of the Wild

I came across this great little surf video of Big Sur/CA 1 called, “The Call of the Wild.” It’s majestic. It’s inspiring. It’s thirty minutes away.

Why am I leaving here?

For poetry lovers, you’ll hear Robert William Service’s poem of the same name recited throughout the film. Great stuff. Originally spotted this video on the great blog, Arcsurf.

Arrested Development

It’s back! Netflix held true to its word and premiered 15 new episodes of the formerly cancelled groundbreaking Fox sitcom. (Despite posters, trailers, and guarantees, I still never thought it would happen). Only a few episodes in, I must say it’s not exactly what I expected. The first couple episodes are quite slow and hard to follow.

I am, however, still pleased with what they’ve made. The writers (& team) manage to surprise viewers at every turn; this is, generally, my most sought after attribute for film and TV. The AD team has recaptured some of the energy of the original, all the while harnessing new.

A great post from AD’s twitter:

Check out the new season now on Netflix. If you never got into this show, now is a good time.

Green Lincoln, Amazon Mp3

Amazon MP3 is increasingly becoming the only way I purchase music. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my vinyl records and hope to have a Jimmy Page sized collection some day. Until then, I’ll have to settle for Amazon. In case you didn’t know, Amazon features 100 albums for $5 every month.

Yes, we’re almost into a new month. Go buy Radiohead’s Kid A for $5, then check back in another week for a whole new set of albums that will only cost you a green Lincoln. The current list is HERE.

Temple Run 2

TempleRun2-1

I’m not a huge “gamer.” I own a PS3 but use it mostly for Netflix and updating things. Once, maybe twice a year I’ll buy a game and get really into it for a week or so. A real moderate.

That said, I’m completely obsessed with Temple Run 2. There’s just something about adventure, the Indiana Jones/Uncharted theme, that I really, really like. It’s a game built for the iPhone (I think Andriod as well); so yes, I’m finally making good use of my phone. Here’s what you do. You run, duck, slide, turn and collect coins. Sometimes a giant monkey thing chases you. It’s awesome.

Yes, he’s a red head. All the better.

Your Guess is as Good as Mine

_

Have you watched the new Arrested Development season yet? Your thoughts? Any good albums on the $5 list you’d recommend?

Prometheus Review: The Great White Hype

Expectations. They ruin everything. Relationships, fake meat, summer blockbuster movies… I often think about how often expectations factor into the general film review. This brings up a couple issues:

Can critics honestly review an over-hyped movie?
If they have bias, should we throw out the entire review?
Is it possible to honestly review an overhyped movie?

Remember Radiohead and that little album In Rainbows? There was a nine day notice of its release. Remember what happened? It was an instant classic. In Rainbows was every where, making the band more money than any album of theirs before ever. It was adored by fans across the board and revitalized the group into a new decade.

So this begs the question: What if Radiohead gave us six months notice? Would the response have been the same or would our expectations have ruined it?

With that in mind, I’d love you to stop, take a moment, and think about Prometheus. You might hate it, you might love it. Most people seem to state it as a “missed opportunity” from director Ridley Scott to revamp the sic-fi genre and create a new classic. To me, that sounds like insider movie-critic bull shit.

I disagree with just about all of it. 

Recently, I watched Prometheus for the first time (yes, six months later). My expectations were gone. My appetite was ready. All I wanted was a solid science-fiction film to break my routine of Psych on Netflix and fill me with wonder. So my wife and I rented the Blu Ray and loved almost every minute of it.

Are there problems? Of course. The characters do stupid stuff, nothing really makes sense or is explained, the aliens look a little funny… It’s not perfect by any means but why would I expect it to be?

Explanations

I had a good friend once tell me, “signs take all the guess work out of life.”

This can be true for movies as well. Why are we obsessed with knowing all the answers? I’ve always been intrigued by movies that don’t explain everything. It’s more realistic. I’ll give you a good for instance: Why would we know where the Cloverfield alien was from? Wouldn’t we all just run for our lives in utter chaos?

Speaking of aliens.

Prometheus was a great film. I don’t have a rating system, but if I did, it would be 4 weird white alien guys out of 5. After seeing the blu ray special features, there is a little frustration over the choices of deleted/alternate scenes that could’ve explained better or added more substance. But when all is said in done, we must take what Ridley Scott chose as the final cut and make our opinion.

It’s definitely not perfect. But beautiful, scary, introspective? Yes. And I would call that good art.

4 weird white alien guys out of 5.

Best of 2011: Music and Beer

For those of you who can’t get through the holidays without reading someone’s opinion on insignificant products in regards to the wide spectrum of life, here is my “best of” list.

Really though, I believe it’s a healthy practice to look back on oneself at year’s end. Rediscovering and reflecting over what I’ve spent my money, time, and ears on over the course of a year is something I’ve always enjoyed.

Now that it’s almost over, were the things my heart desired worth all the fuss? Did it last more than two weeks in my Ipod? (Yes I’m still rocking an Ipod, not Ipad, Itouch, or Iphone. I’m cool like that).

As I get older, I find myself not purchasing as much music or seeing as many movies as I used to. So this year, I decided to include some other things I’m starting to enjoy, including but not limited to: beer, old vinyl records, as well as disappointing albums that made me want to punch walrus’ in their teeth. (more…)