Saturday, January 31, 2009

The interweb is fun after you've been on tv...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good Famliy Fun TV

So I think I'll post my overall experience soon. Word! Been a lot of stuff online about us, good and bad, one of my favorites right here:

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Friday, January 23, 2009




But, as I have come to find, things are always subject to change. Good grief. So, it may just be best to check your local listings and/or this link to Fox as it comes closer. Sorry for the runaround, I think I have told people 3 different things in the last week or two.
Thanks to Crystal for the updated update information.

(Read below post for more information on what the heck I am talking about.)
And be sure to check out my Top Ten cuz it is exquisite.

Who says the pink bunny was the only one in it so far? I got me 2 whole FRAMES so far! Magic of slow-mo. Unless your eyes are amazingly fast and superb.

There's one more cool thing. My hands are in the newest Ensign magazine on page 33. (Yes I am being serious.) That's my handwriting on the paper too. 
Eat your heart out, George Castanza.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BEST OF 08: Top Ten Songs and a little American Idolatry Previewage

Question: Are you one of the many millions that behold the media behemoth American Idol weekly? If not... I shall give you a reason to, for this next week or so at least. And if you are, perhaps you caught a glimpse of the following image during the premiere...

Well, that's my buddy Greg, tossing Simon Cowell around like he was a head of lettuce. Ya see, I brought The Greg with me in the summer to try out for American Idol. He was one of a couple methods I used to get noticed. I figured, people notice a 6'4, couple-hundred lbs pink bunny with a beard, right? Infact, it may have worked a little too good in the long run, but come next week we shall see if my other tricks were enough to get us some decent time on one of the most watched programs in television history.

So, if it will amuse you, I invite you to tune in THURSDAY JANUARY 29TH and watch me be famous for, like, 5 minutes or something. Hopefully Greg's pink power doesn't overshadow my OWN awesomeness, but hey...I suppose he is quite a sight to behold, not gonna lie.

So anyways, I'll give you a rundown of my experience and how it all worked next week sometime if you'd like. Maybe before the show actually airs, if I have time. Meanwhile, here's us being badasses with my original gimmick (homemade Simon head and shirt by yours truly) at the tryouts. (Photo by Karlie McKinnon)


All in due time, kids! But, for now, at least allow me to pontificate my music taste on ya a little more, will ya? After all, that was all just a preview for you to prepare... and a shameless attempt at getting you to pay attention to me a little longer.

SO... As started sometime earlier this month, here is the rest of my favorite songs of 2008! Soak them in and enjoy it! (Tryin somethin new to show ya the tracks, the Lala site Hope it works. Lemme know!)


Oxford Comma
(Explicit lyrics)
by Vampire Weekend

Where to even begin with this sucker? From the moment I heard this nugget I couldn't believe my ears. Every element of the tune is 100% pure grade, quality, white meat goodness. Perfect melody, flawless rhythm section, poppy keyboards, and witty lyrics (including two unexpected F-bombs). I can't get enough, das it n' das all. These boys craft some of the best pop-tarts around these days, this being their tastiest. And after all; as the boys say, "Lil' Jon, he always tells the truth."

Couldn't have said it better with my own platinum grill myself.

Lovers In Japan
/Reign of Love
by Coldplay

Now, I know what yer thinking: "Here he goes with his 'Japan' jive again." But, truth be told, I was sucked into this track without realizing its Japan connection initially. Sure, the reference to Osaka and the idea of lovers in Japan (I met my wife there long ago) adds to the sentimentality. It can't be helped! But, really its just another brilliant pop piece from the band. And this one is a two-fer-one! I don't consider the song complete without the beautiful piano balladry of "Reign of Love" to end it. Infact, I just may like that part better. Well done, boys. Again.

Time to Pretend
(Explicit lyrics)

You have probably heard this one in many a movie trailer or tv spot. Its a great party tune. But don't be fooled by the initial playful poetry and Muppet-dance beats. While the first half brags of ditching the real world to make it big and "live fast and die young," it turns out to be a poignant parody of the rock star fast lane. They go from singing about forgetting their mother's and their friends, to missing the comfort of those mothers and the "boredom, and the freedom, and the time spent alone." The party closes with "We'll choke on our vomit, and that will be the end/We're fated to pretend." Its a playfully honest tune, and I can't help but dig it. Can YOU dig?? Party on, Wayne. Party on, Garth. (No, that's not their names.)

You Belong
by Hercules and Love Affair

Lets play another lil game here. This picture features four of the main creative contributors to Andy Butler's GENIUS Hercules and Love Affair dance project. In this photo, there are three males, and one female. Can you tell who is who? Shocking identities aside, this song is definitely one of the best dance songs I have heard in quite awhile, which is saying a lot considering the plethora of great groove tracks in the last few years. Upon first listen I was immediately kicked back to early 90's house music. More specifically, it reminded me of some of my favorite old school video game music of the time (inspired by the genre), namely Streets of Rage on the Sega Genesis. Even more specifically, this song: clickity. I just love this sound! Antony (of Antony & the Johnsons) utilizes his one-of-a-kind vocal style as the perfect backup on the track, and it ends up being every bit as modern and....surprising... as the creators' themselves.

When the Day Met the Night
by Panic at the Disco

Speaking of games, whoever took it upon themselves to guess at last post's secret #16, your answer lies here at #6. That's right, that song (called Behind the Sea) was by none other than Panic at the Disco. What can I tell ya? It has been a unique experience removing my foot from my mouth as I admit these guys are actually pretty durn good at crafting pleasant pop. (I mean, it was bad enough trying to find a somewhat cool looking picture of the dinks). I will go into that more when I discuss their album. Meanwhile, this cut takes the time tested formula made great by many a band from the 60's and flat out gave us this gem. They blatantly mimic the Beatles and early Chicago, its completely over the top, and I love it. I am a complete sucker for well placed strings and horns. So sue me.

White Winter Hymnal
by Fleet Foxes

I am also a sucker for perfectly placed harmonies. And this band nailed those this year, especially in this brilliant number. To add to the magic, keep in mind 4 of the 5 band members sing together to create this harmony. Such a rare treat these days, I think. Singer Robin Pecknold already has a majestic voice box himself, but the rest of the band seems to as well. This song was made to showcase that aspect of their music perfectly. Folk instrumentation wraps around the build up of Beach Boy-ish vocals in a sublime round evoking images of summer during winter, and maybe a little unsettling violence. An instant classic, for sure. And a doozy to see live, too!

Sex On Fire

by Kings of Leon

My first reaction to this song was realizing the vocal melody sounds almost exactly like another great track called "Its Boring" by the group Yacht. Check that link. (Doesn't it??) Either way, it is, after all, a tremendous melody. But it wasn't until I heard it played on an episode of Gossip Girl (yes...I watch that show...ahem...) that it was embedded into my skull permanently. I haven't bought an album because of one specific song in a long time, but in this case I hath done thus. Caleb Followill belts the hell out of this thing. You just wait for him to screech and crack, or explode or something, but he never does. And the clips I've seen of it live are every bit as good as the album. Its just such an epic vocal performance that sneaks into your head, and never comes out. Sexy AND fiery.

by Sigur Ros

The Elves of Iceland return yet again with another masterpiece reaching for the heavens. Though the album itself is more grounded thematically, this track is Sigur Ros at their epic best. Sung in their "Hopelandic" non-language they use on occasion, it builds with just singer Jonsi's angelic voice and his cello bow electric guitar playing. The hymn continues slow and steady for its first half of the 9 minutes, then breaks into a full band climb to the top for a glorious second half. If you have heard the band before, you may have an idea of how that plays out. If not, well here's a good place to start I suppose! Either way, if you have the patience and appreciation to sit quietly and take it in, it is well worth the 9 minutes. And if you don't believe in God now, maybe you will after this.

You Make It Real
by James Morrison

Boy, what I wouldn't give to have pipes like this kid. Maybe then I wouldn't have needed a Simon head and a big pink bunny. James also had one of my favorite songs of '07 with The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore. While that one was a melancholy tearjerker, this is just a great, by the books love song by a British white boy that sounds more like a soulful American black man. But what makes it so great to me is that it came out right as I was winding down my busiest semester yet. As I kept it going all day everyday, this song reminded me of how and why I do it all. So, this tune is dedicated to my wifey Cass. Thanks for makin' it real for me, suga' momma! (Check out the lyrics, Cass posted them on her blog a bit ago.)

Viva La Vida
by Coldplay

It was a very close race for numero uno as it came down to it. I probably could've had the top three tie, but that's no fun, right? In the end, Viva la Vida was just the song I went back to the most (which I did a lot even before it could be heard in every public building at any time in the country) and it was also the one that left the biggest first impression. First single Violet Hill was nice and different for the band, but it didn't do much for me. It was this one that made me remember just how great this band truly is. Like I said, I am a sucker for a well placed string section, and that's basically all this song is. The theme of revolution makes it that much bigger. I had not been that immediately blown away by a Coldplay song since I first heard Yellow. Sure, we've all heard this song "800 and Billion-trillion" times by now. Most of you are probably sick of it. That's what happens with the catchy pop tunes. Difference is, this one also happens to be brilliant. Just play it loud on some great speakers, you'll remember. Long live Coldplay.

Well, there ya have it. My favorite tunes a la 2008. Hope you like!

Friday, January 2, 2009

BEST OF 08: Fav songs 20-11

Well, another year down, another list up!

The last year had some great tunes. And some horrible ones. The historic election had a lot of groups flinging politics like monkey dung, while the Disney kids made way for a barrage of teen sugar pop, some of which wasn't half bad actually. And of course, we can all thank Cher and her 90's hit "Believe" for inspiring T-Pain to inspire every other hip-hop/R&B artist to use the robot pitch-tuning device. UGH! Even the good singers are using it to dumb up their voices, and it pisses me right off. I wish I could go back in time and assassinate Cher. Well... maybe just T-Pain. Less'n he be willin' to buy ME a drank.

Anyway, I have been without an iPod for the last 6 months or so, (the infernal thing broke, of course) and I was surprised to realize how much I really used the thing. So, my music intake was altered some with the combination of stopping my run at the music shop. I found my ways though.

My parameters for these lists are simply the stuff I purchased that had an 08 release date. My goal is just to share the goodness. Other than that, these were the songs I just flat out could not get enough of this year. There were others of course, but 20 is good enough. And not one with pitch-tuning! So on with it!

(You can click the link and stream the song if you have Quicktime. Might take a sec, but keep trying. Or, just right click and download! If yer having trouble let me know. And remember...these are always best played LOUD!)

by Love Psychedelico

I actually first heard this a few years ago, but I never did own it. So, when my favorite Japanese group finally released a collection of their stuff stateside this nugget was included. I did purchase the song via iTunes, and since that counts as an 08 release, it graces the list! A great alt-rock ditty from one o' my fav bands in the world. Spread the Love!

by The World Ends With You

Another Japanese one! Here's a first... this is actually featured on the soundtrack to one of my favorite video games this year, The World Ends With You (Nintendo DS). The whole soundtrack is seriously fantastic, but this one is an immediately gratifying highlight. The production is surprisingly slick and it reminds me of something The Go! Team would do. One more reason to enjoy video games, kids!

by Tv On the Radio

Lookit these guys! Kype Malone (dude on the left with only his eyes showing ) Prince-ifies his way through this beautifully groovy number complete with plenty of synths and SASS. He sings right along side the beat about hope around the corner, and when he says, "The age of miracles/the age of sound/Well there's a golden age/comin' round, comin' round" everything converges into a glorious uproar. Its a gospel spiritual of the future! Age of sound indeed.

by Coldplay

Just when you think you might be sick of Coldplay, they hook ya again. And again. This song was instant for me because of its distinctly Japanese sound in the guitar and drums. Its the soundtrack to "the perfect day," probably in Japan. ("People moving all the time/inside a perfect straight line,"... sure sounds like Japan to me.) Definitely a unique turn for the group.

by ???

Lets play a little game, shall we? If yer like me, some of you may need some convincing before you admit these guys are good stuff. At first, I refused to admit this was good simply because of who performed it. Now I can't get enough. So, I am gonna attempt to create an unbiased experience by not telling you who this is yet. For now, let me just say this is a fabulous pop gem that is shamelessly Beatle-esque and all the better for it. The orchestral instrumentation that flows through the song while guitarist/songwriter takes a spin at the vocals is pop bliss. So, take an unbiased listen, and those of you who already know who this is...SSH! Otherwise, I shall reveal the secret in the Top Ten!

by Vampire Weekend

I'm actually surprised at the abundance of instant gratification this year. This song is no exception of course. Just TRY to listen to this and not bounce on command! My initial reaction was Franz Ferdinand meets Sufjan Stevens. But, now its just Vampire Weekend, pure and simple. Great on first listen, and still great a year after first hearing it. The sign of a perfect pop song. This song also wins the award for Favorite Video of the Year. Check it out!

by Metallica

Oh yeah. Nobody knows their way around a perfectly riffed song better than Metallica. This song fuses the fury of the 80's with the blues infused post-Black Album sound perfectly in my opinion. With a group that's rocked this hard this long, its a great anthem for a group rocking beyond their youth. With fists in the air exclaiming "We die hard," its great to hear the kings still rockin' strong to some of the best riffs they've ever assembled.

by Monkey: Journey to the West

This delightful treat is actually two consecutive tracks off the soundtrack to the Chinese opera project of Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz). It does a brilliant job of putting you smack dab in the middle of this playful pop fantasy. Brilliant, I tell ya! Never figured a Chinese song would out pace a Japanese one on these here lists, but it does so with flying colors. (Best if listened to consecutively, like its one song)

Godan Daginn
by Sigur Ros

Its really not possible for these guys to do wrong in my book. This song is a good representation of the overall “down to Earth” nature of the new album. Its a great elven campfire tune! Anyone else just love the sound of a bass playing chords? I keep thinking this song should be higher on this list, but ya can’t fit more than ten songs in a top ten I guess. (The title sounds like something you’d say after stubbing your toe. “Godan daginn!”)

The Rip
by Portishead

Something about this tune reminds me of an alien computer game I used to play as a kid that scared the hell out of me. Even though it gave me the willies, I kept on playing it. Similarly, I keep coming back to this disorienting slice of genius like an addiction. I absolutely love when that synthesizer creeps its way in as Beth Gibbons extends her longing voice through the darkness. A brilliant, haunting masterpiece.

Well, I shall continue the Top Ten soon! For now, I hope you enjoy these. If there are any problems with the links or whatever, blame the machines. But, let me know.