Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009 Albums of the Year Race Begins...

A forum post in the 2009 Albums of the Year Tracking Thread

Prr myspace
Pure Reason Revolution - Amor Vincit Omnia 3x's..different..very electronic, but it's growing on me. #2 already right behind Umphrey's.

Malajube - Labyrinthes..checking this out for the 1st time right now..digging a lot of this. The only concern early is it's not extremely different from their other 2...but they're other 2 albums are both excellent, so ain't-broke-don't-fix-it isn't so bad a mentality.

edit: heard the whole thing. I dig this. Quite trippy and heavy. This could be my favorite 'Jube record already.

Greg's myspace

Greg Herriges - Telluric Currents..really well composed and produced progressive ethno-acoustic-world-folk. Like 4 or 5 awesome songs, with these incredible riffs. "Rama B Good" "Uskudar" "Sabir Khan Song" and the closer "I Hear" are maybe my early fave's. Interesting hearing them recorded like this, after hearing them for a number of years live with him and his extremely talented ensemble. This is a cd for any Prog fan whose into ethnic and acoustic stuff (California Guitar Trio?)

City of Sound - "L'Implosion" - I'm not sure how addicted I will be to this thing long term, but I can't deny I do have reason to go back to it, as the majority of this disc has sections I like within the noisy, dirty, experimental stoner-blues rock. The acoustic and dreamy/psych parts esp..mainly in the last 2/3 of it.


The Rockwells - "Place & Time" ok technically this an '08 disc as it dropped on December 2nd, but I only heard it last week after finding a $5 copy @ Cheapo. The whole thing isn't flooring me yet, but the 2 times I've played it my head turned multiple times. Maybe the most notable, being the last 3 epic tracks. They remind me of The New Pornographers, without a female voice, but maybe more experimental at times. Another possible treasure buried deep under the radar.

So the new Umphrey's McGee album needs a review, but just to mention does hold the top spot in the young AOY's season. But PRR and Malajube could be knocking on the door. I need to do reviews soon about all of them and some of the others there, and some others. In due time.

1st though, I am determined to finally see THE READER and then finally get down some long diatribe/grocery list of my 2008 Cinema Rankings. I think it's close to 40, which for new pictures, may be a record for me. Kind of like 2007 with concerts where I attended something like 45 which also was a record-high for myself.

New TV of course too. Returns and premieres. SAMANTHA WHO? = not returning until late March?..wtf..o well, at least it's not canceled like PUSHING DAISIES and ELI STONE.


Other Lives who used to be Kunek have their s/t debut LP out in March (vinyl) and April (cd)..and are playing THE ENTRY on Friday February 13th. Friday-the-13th..also the same day as Cynic/Meshuggah/The Faceless @ Station 4. Also the same night Terminator returns and Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" premieres. Wtf do I do?..I hate THE ENTRY, but the Cynic+2 show will be packed and more $. But it's probably a 1-time thing for them, but also for Other Lives perhaps. Fuck Fuck Fuck!..I hate it when this shit happens and I have to make a choice! Flip-c-coin or try a venue-jump. Maybe the timing will work. Not really clear on what Delta Spirit are like, who are on the bill as well at the soundproof-less 7th Street Entry.

I probably am going to see Umphrey's McGee on Saturday, January 31st @ 1st Ave and their lack-of-soundproofed-walls. "Mantis" is just too fucking good, and I'm way too addicted to not see at least 1 of their 3-night stand this weekend.

not likely an AotY contender..or top 30 even, but I should copy/paste this from that same topic on mp.com linked above.

Modern Skirts - All of Us in Our Night


This thing dropped on Tuesday like MANTIS, and while it's not blowing me away like the new UM, there is A LOT TO LIKE about it. Catchy, melodic, upbeat Power-Pop in the vein of The Beach Boys, XTC..even some Lou Reed can be heard. About 1/2 of it solid. A nice sophomore effort from this new Atlanta band.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Umphrey's McGee - MANTIS ..a few words..more to come

This album is awesome. The early leader for Album of the Year. They've definitely done a lot with arrangements and layering. Vocal harmonies, strings, epic, energetic, pieces with movements. A great return to form for these guys, and somewhat of an unexpected effort. We'll see how long this record stands up many months from now..how it compares in the '09 Album of the Year race. But it's certainly encouraging, as I plan to get a lot of mileage out of it in the coming weeks/months. Also very cool it was on the recent arrival shelf @ the St.Paul Cheapo for $8 on Sunday, lol. Maybe the fastest ever for a non-promo.

I also still need to hear the bonus tracks which are available as a d/l link with the disc (among other places of course).

More should be written about it eventually, but as a prelim rating.


Random Finds #2


pretty solid, less-is-more, experimental grindcore.
a 19 minute debut LP, lol. They may have surpassed Born of Osiris in the less-is-more department.


Strap the Button

wow..at times these guys KNOW HOW TO DO SPACEROCK! And all their music is available to For Free..plus a bunch of other bands there. I'm just a bit weary how spotty their music is. They have these great, heavy, layered sections that some songs build-to, but the filler is not lacking unfortunately. A lot of their stuff is recorded live there, which may be how they excel most. But when Space Rock is done well, it can be awesome. It's just like many genres, there's a ton of mediocre music made in it.

Farflung..also SPACE ROCK (is it becoming popular?)..saw this band featured on a new site I've been frequenting.

Calla..I'm curious but not expecting too much. They have a energetic darkness to them, yet still being pop. Sort of reminds me of Ours, but more so VAST. I'm not sure if their albums vary too much, especially the vocals..but if the music is good enough, if may not matter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sundance, Gophers beat the Cheeseheads, Galactica

Sundance Film Festival Updates

I should be there..maybe in 2011. I don't love how all their coverage of their OWN FESTIVAL is done ONLY ON THEIR WEBSITE, and not, on, the tv channel itself, lol. Wtf Robert, what happened to those cool "Dailies"??

I mean to try and compile some future blogs about films that I mean to seek out, as I see them every year in the festival coverage. But of course, most years I only am able to catch about 1/2 of them at best.

Gophers beat Wisconsin after playing poor and pressuring the last 3mins. I was saying they should have done that the whole fucking game lol. I mean it rattled Wisconsin in the 1st 4mins, and then Tubby stopped using it. On the positive tho, they did win there for the 1st time since I was a Senior in High School, lol. I am still not buying-in to their 16-1 record entirely as I know how that can be a mirage. But Louisville, Virginia, Ohio State, and now IN MADISON..they are better than many thought. Then again, just look at Tubby Smith's track record: his Kentucky teams would frequently win 25+ games. Tulsa too, and his Georgia teams usually went to the NCAA's..so actually this isn't that surprising. However, those Kentucky teams had more talent perhaps. The player who impressed me the most tonight: Westbrook of course, 29pts can do that. Damien Johnson..key blocks and DEFENSE down the stretch and in OT. and RALPH SAMPSON..that guy could be a stud. Mainly defensively. Maybe not his dad, but I hope he stays academically eligible and remains here all 4 years.

This should be a fun season anyway. And I loved hearing the Sconnie boos..mwuahahaha!

Battlestar Galactica is back finally for the last 10 episodes tomorrow night. Whose the last Cylon?..for some reason I could see it being the President. Makes a lot of sense. Watched McDonnell and Olmos on THE VIEW. Olmos was offered the Jean-Luc Picard role in fact in the 80's.

Kyle XY Premiere on Monday: It's been nearly a year, and to be honest, the premiere was kinda underwhelming and predictable. I did like the fact Kyle's going to be having more powers this season. And the thing with the DJ dude and Latnok could be interesting. It hit me last night, that is the same dude that starred in SEX DRIVE by NEVER BEEN THAWED Director Sean Anders. Perhaps some of the SEX DRIVE cast could guest appear on the KYLE SHOW?

I got a nice list of 2008 movies to post in here soon. And also a slightly more detailed thing about my current favorite band in Kacica.

more music notes...

dredg's album got pushed back to April..Ours=2008 dejavu?

Mute Math was on Leno..on my dvr, will watch before bed.

Pure Reason Revolution's new album some cover art.

new Appleseed Cast song was posted: I haven't heard it yet.

Karnivool's new album title and release date will be announced in the coming weeks as they are finishing up mixing/mastering this month.

Soundscape's album "Grave New World" is done..the whole question about whether it got picked up by a small prog or metal label is the only question. But it'll be announced probably within a month I'd guess, if not sooner.

The new Modern Skirts album isn't bad, but not anything I expect to be a favorite or top 50 likely. But I'm sure I'll hear a ton of much worse records this year. The Brian Wilson elements work for them, even as subdued as much of their music is.

this new German experimental grindcore band Vaulting has a 19 minute full-length they released in 2008. It's very much less-is-more and it works. I think they trumped Born of Osiris's full-22min debut record from 2007.

LOST is back next week..along with some others as the schedule in the last blog shows.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TV Schedule/Movies/Random Finds Preview/First Ave

Psych 1/9
Monk 1/9
Big Bang Theory 1/12
How I Met Your Mother 1/12
Two and a Half Men 1/12
Kyle XY 1/12
Smallville - 1/15
Battlestar Galactica - 1/16
Lost - January 21st
Burn Notice 1/22
Trust Me ...January 26th (on TNT)
Life on Mars - January 28th
Chuck/Heroes 2/2/09
Dollhouse Feb 13th
Terminator - Feb 13th
Castle... March 9th
Reaper March 17th
Cupid - March 24th
My Boys... March
The Unusuals ...4/8 (Amber Tamblyn lawyer show..replacing Life on Mars)

ABC shows w/ no info yet:
Better Off Ted
Good Behavior (Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars new show)

Party Down (also Rob Thomas..a show on the Starz network)

January 25th

February 21st

announced Jan 22nd
Ceremonies Feb 22nd

Sundance Film Festival 1/16-1/25
TV Coverage/Dailies?..last year I recall they did no daily specials, but just did a summary special. And then a lot of content was on the Sundance Website.

One of these years..I will go. Maybe if I started saving now, little-by-little, I could plan for not 2010, but 2011? The cost would probably be close to what Nearfest or ProgPowerUSA would be..with higher hotel + food cost, but not as much music (or DVDs/Merch?) to buy.

Caught some-of (and need to finish up the rest) Art School Confidential last night on Sundance. Ironically, I noticed GHOST WORLD was on local tv for the 1st time ever perhaps yesterday as well. Daniel Clowes getting the air time. I should finish ASC soon and clear it off my dvr. I remember liking it; especially the dude whose sort of the lead's friend in the drawing and sculpture class. I should look up the actor and see what else he's done; he looks and talks very familiar.

Kate Winslet wins: I love her, and more or less loathe Leonardo DiCaprio, as an actor. But maybe if I saw him in something I liked, my mind would change. I am quite eager to see what she gets nominated for with the Oscars. I am thinking now with the siberia-weather out tomorrow night, I'll skip the free-pass for the Toni Collette/Diablo Cody premier episode-movie-theater-advanced-screening and instead try and see "The Reader" in Oakdale. I'm not gonna expect Kate to win, but somehow this year feels different. Sadly, I still think the best thing I've ever seen her in was SPOTLESS MIND..but granted, THAT MOVIE ITSELF is so damn good, it helps a lot.

Once I get around to THE READER and perhaps BENJAMIN BUTTON..(also FROST/NIXON) and 1 or 2 others..I should post some kind of Ranking/Top Movies. I suppose my goal would be no later than the Oscars, but perhaps sometime in the next few weeks. I've been strapped-down and guilt-tripped with time and focus with this move I made. I moved, yes, but I have masses of material to organize and sort. Still, I have like a dozen blogs I want to do, and should do soon. On MLK day perhaps 1 or 2 of them since I'm getting my car maintenanced all day and will likely be at Dunn Bros to kill time.

The next random finds is close as I not only have increased my headphone time with Kacica of course, but also Oedipus and Run Chico Run a bit. But also, I think it'd be worth adding some names I discovered the last portion of 2008 that I never actually got to write about (that deserve it). Beyond those, I can claim 2 new bands I have caught-on to this week already in Strap the Button and The Sedan Vault. Some others as well, and some names I'm also meaning to sample soon. Estradasphere was/is one, and I played a live youtube video yesterday from them. They seem rather folky and almost Zappa-ish. They reminded me of these 2 guys who were Russian or perhaps from some Eastern bloc country doing jazzy folk music @ The Cedar a few years ago. Liars is another..then some stuff mentioned on some forums and some of the end-of-year lists still. Air France and perhaps Max Tundra (the comparisons to Self have me curious).

-A word on 7th Street Entry and First Ave. I enjoyed the Jeremy Messersmith/best Friends Forever/Caroline Smith show the other night, but it would have been a lot more enjoyable I suspect had this local establishment actually had soundproof walls To go along with a typical late start (10pm?, the 1st band started) and the capacity crowd which of course was pretty scarce to find a spot where some if not many of the crowd wouldn't shut the fuck up between and DURING songs.

Much of the sound issues happened at Amanda Palmer in the mainroom last month.

I wanna go see Bloc Party in March, but it's going to take a can't-miss for me to go back there again. If I know another band is playing in the other venue, and I'm even in the least bit on the fence, I will not go. That is probably near if not the least desire club in the town for me to see a concert now. Sorry, but the lack of soundproofing has lowerd their bar even further. I mean I never was that gung-ho about the place to begin-with. The people there and the crowd always seemed very scenesters and often girls who show up, just to be there (and not for the music it self. Those are the ones that spend the entire show walking back and forth and their ears/hands glued to their cellphones. I don't need it, and now multiple experiences with echoing sound from amplifiers during shows just makes me want to avoid that place like the plague even more. I wish someone would go to the people who run First Ave and get in their face about it. Who the hell wants to pay good $ for a concert that you end up hearing pumped in bass from the other side of the wall every 10 seconds. That's hardly getting your money's worth to me and I imagine others. Hopefully they'll get enough complaints to do something about it. But that may be wishful thinking.

ok, I'm horribly rambling..like Kate or Ms.Imogen-Heap-lookalike-golden-globe-winner-Sally-Hawkins, so I'll try and quit before this gets to be even more of a waste of space.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Man..I am continually being blown away by this newly discovered Japanese band. A few months ago Mutyumu, and in the last month Kacica.

I checked out their 2006 self-titled debut today

very moved again!..like Mutyumu, I'm not sure I'll become as addicted as their latest "Mosaic" but fucking eh..this is also without a bad track, and has a ton to like. Memorable and soothing vocals, wonderful textures, catchy riffs, etc..they opened for Minus the Bear in Japan I guess a few years ago supporting this record; and won over a lot of fans. I totally can see why.

Definitely my latest-favorite new band.

I also think it's sort of significant that they became the 100th artist/band I added to the "New Prog" Umbrella list on rym I made. Perhaps coincidence, but I suppose I like to think it was luck/fate/karma or something else :P.

A bunch more names should be added to a near-future random finds entry as I have been checking out a handful of groups over the last few weeks + have many to still check out, especially from many of the Albums of the Year lists I've read.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009: Forecast Music: Studio Albums

The whole albums of the year practice, obsession, addiction, etc..that made 2008 so fun. And actually 2007 a ton of fun as well. But I have to say, I really would love to experience a calendar year that includes an incredible race. I mean where you got big name band or solo artist put out a record week-after-week and the level of quality record left and right comes at you nearly every week.

It sort of happened to an extent in 2007. 2008, it didn't quite get that far, although the last few months got to be a lot more interesting. 2005 and 2002 were the 2 years this decade, that I recall sort of in this process.

2007 did have Kaddisfly on top..Fair to Midland and then a bit later The Dear Hunter gave them a good run. And then September hit and 2 records dropped: Oceansize, which was good, but didn't quite rise up to Kaddisfly's level. And of course, the whole revelation of Between the Buried and Me.

That was around late September.

But '05 you had a nice battle between The Mars Volta and then Porcupine Tree..and then dredg came into the party and in some ways took over. Ultimately, the best records surfaced on my radar very late that year and nearly a year or more later in Coheed and Cambria's GOOD APOLLO 1 and then in 2006 and especially 2007 The Receiving End of Sirens' "Between the Heart and the Synapse. Sadly, neither of those were really around in my playlist, during-the-year, to qualify. But those among a whole assortment of others that I've heard the past few years has made 2005 my favorite year for music this decade. But looking at it, that was still possibly the closest top-heavy race I recall.

2002 I cannot forget though Pain of Salvation's "Remedy Lane" and Dream Theater's "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" kind of duking it out. But PoS ultimately won and was the only classic record I considered that year, during the year. If only I'd known about dredg then of course.

So what my dream is one of these years, we get a really fun battle of a bunch of band's new albums trying to win the most headphone-time from me. Granted, as I wrote months ago, I firmly still believe as evidenced by Apes and Androids and dozens of others new bands whose albums have won-me-over that I am totally unfamiliar with. It's quite possible a bunch of records that will get the most attention from me this year ain't on my current radar. Why? I think it's because I am always trying to find new and original music. That being said, 2009 looks to possibly be the biggest top heavy year of the decade, at least since 2005.

Kevin Gilbert, Soundscape, Ours, dredg, Between the Buried and Me, Pure Reason Revolution, The Dear Hunter all are expected to put out records. Plus my beloved Kaddisfly's new active project "Water and Bodies"..not to mention a ton others that I enjoy and I certainly wouldn't be shocked by a classic record from. Mew, House of Fools, Karnivool, Oceansize, In Vain, Kiss Kiss, Imogen Heap. Vet bands like Dream Theater, U2, Muse, Pain of Salvation. And some intriguing and long awaited debuts from artists like Local Natives, Revere and Between Two Skies.

We'll see..perhaps the unknown bands will still come out on top, but among all these known bands, it could make up a very to-heavy but still deep top 25 records at least. Maybe the 4-star depth will reach in to the top 30?..60 some anticipated albums of known bands (and many known that are not on this list I didn't think to add yet) certainly supports the chances of that. And maybe, 2009 will have the most 5-stars, which would be incredible, but all the more difficult to select a top album. Perhaps co-album-of-the-year? in the last year of the decade?..it might happen.

Here's that current (1/5/09) list of anticipated records with the band's myspace pages linked. The calendar of known dates, more or less through March. And then alphabetical after that (in other words, many of the alphabetized list lower down could be dropping at very different times during the year).

January 20th, 2009

Umphrey's McGee - Mantis

Modern Skirts - All of Us in Our Night

January 22nd, 2009
Greg Herriges - Telluric Currents

February 9th, 2009

Kiss Kiss - The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left

February 10th, 2009

Malajube - Labyrinthes

February 17th, 2009

The Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha

Asobi Seksu - Hush

Feburary (date tba)
In Vain - Mantra

In Reverent Fear - Sentimental Education

Synesthesia - Symbalousa

March 3rd, 2009

U2 - No Line on the Horizon

March 9th, 2009

Pure Reason Revolution - Amor Vincit Omnia

March 24th, 2009

The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love

dredg - tba


Mastodon - Crack the Skye

Fields - Hollow Mountains


Paper Route - tba

Artists expected to release records that have yet to announce release dates/months and most cases album titles.

Agalloch - tba
Battle Circus - tba
Between the Buried and Me - tba
Between Two Skies - tba
Born of Osiris - tba
The Dear Hunter - Act III (subtitle tba)
Doves - tba
Dream Theater - tba
The End - tba
Fair to Midland - tba
Kevin Gilbert - tba
Jimmy Gnecco - tba
Haken - tba
Imogen Heap - tba
House of Fools - tba
Immortal Technique - Revolutionary Volume 3, The Middle Passage
Karnivool - tba
Kaura - tba
Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
The Mars Volta - tba
Scott Matthews - tba
maudlin of the Well - tba
Mew - tba
Midlake - The Courage of Others
Muse - tba
Mute Math - tba
My Latest Novel - Deaths and Entrances
Necrophagist - tba
Neverending White Lights - Act III (subtitle tba)
Oceansize - tba
Orphaned Land - The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR
OSI - tba
Ours - tba
Pain of Salvation - tba
Phideaux - Number Seven - tba
Porcupine Tree - tba
Revere - tba
Soundscape - Grave New World
St. Vincent - tba
Sufjan Stevens - tba
Subterranean Masquerade - In Pastille Colors
3 - tba
Thurisaz - tba
Devin Townsend - Ki
Water & Bodies - tba
Courtney Yasmineh - tba