Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The Top Five Albums of 2004

Tom Waits - Real Gone
This album probably qualifies as my favorite of 2004. Tom Waits' music here is exhilarating and a total thrill to listen to. He manages a progressive sound without leaving behind the storytelling and melodic creativity that makes his stuff so great. Somehow he manages to keep things sounding very organic on this album even as he employs remixing, DJ, and superb guest musicians including guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist Les Claypool. This is the best album released this year.

Medeski Martin and Wood - End of the World Party (Just in Case)
MMW experimented with a new approach on this disc. They invited John King (Dust Brother /producer on the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique and Beck's Odelay) to contribute heavily in the creation and mixing of this album. What results is perhaps MMW's most accessible acid/funk jazz for the casual listener in years. A great disc and an experiment that pushed their sound succesfully and worked out quite well.

Black Keys - Rubber Factory
The Keys' third album is great (already reviewed earlier on this blog). They've kept with the bleedingly raw blues-rock that made the first two albums interesting, but definitely moved on in the sounds and mixes department. They are able to recycle the heavy blues-rock sound of the 70s and make it sound original. I can't put my finger on how they do this, but they do it.

Groundtruther (Hunter, Previte, & Osby) - Latitude
This is by far my favorite stuff that Charlie Hunter (8-string jazz guitarist [plays the bass line as well]) has ever done. He's always been a very talented guitarist, but his stuff (studio especially) can tend to be slightly anti-climatic. This disc, thanks largely to Bobby Previte, finally seems to overcome that. I heard the two live (w/ DJ Olive) before I heard the disc and it was one of the best shows I've been to in a long time. Bobby Previte is a stellar drummer and composer and seems to push Hunter in ways that really gets his creative juices flowing. A warning: this stuff can really get out there - but man, it's cool.

Wilco - A Ghost is Born
Here is a very good album. It has been compared all over the place to Wilco's previous - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. YHF was the "in" critical darling a year or two ago. To be honest, I think YHF was overhyped and this effort surpasses it in listenability and songwriting. This album is much more subtle and minimalist, but that might be the very thing that YHF needed to truly be great. Some of the tracks here have a very Neil Young/Crazy Horseish sound, while others sound downright Beatlesesque. That is - there is nothing new here, it's the songcraft that makes this a great disc.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Rivalry Time

The Holy War is Coming !!! And it ain't gonna be pretty. The Crimson Utes should leave the Cougars feeling a little... blue.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Popular & Plural

Let me start by saying that I was worried during the wee hours of this morning when Kerry was refusing to concede Ohio, when it looked inevitable that he would lose. I was afraid he was going to try and drag out the inevitable, and try and make this vote look less legitimate to at least the fringe of America and other countries. Moments ago Kerry conceded Ohio, and the presidential race. That showed class.

Who 'da thunk Bush would win by 3-4 million votes (we'll have to wait for all absentees, etc. to come in to know the exact count), giving him a solid popular vote, and a plural vote!

I'll be honest, while I was as nervous as the next democrat ;) about this election, I felt fairly certain the President would win. I did not expect, however, that he'd be the first President since his father in 1988 to take a majority vote as well.

My question now is why mainstream media is getting so BAD at calling elections from their polling (pre-polling, and maybe more importantly exit polling). I swear just watching the big networks at night gave me heart burn at best and depression at worst. :)

When you looked at, you saw that over recent weeks and months, Bush's average across all polls never really dropped below 2 points. I constantly pointed this out to others, wondering all along why mainstream media doesn't consider the trends across all polls. Rather, every individual negative poll for Bush became the headline of the day.

Anyway, I'll quit venting about that, bc I know most of the people on this blog think republicans' opinions about this is reflective of their 'inherent paranoid nature.' ;)

I am glad to announce, however, that the Red Sox are not the only team to put to bed a long standing curse. Bush and his team debunked the Red Skin's curse!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Does Bush have a higher IQ than Kerry???

Now this was classic!

Last night I was watching MSNBC, where they featured an interview by Tom Brokaw, with John Kerry. At one point in the interview Brokaw flat out brought up a recently published report where some people got the aptitude tests for both Bush and Kerry, from when they entered the military, and from there somehow deducted each of their IQ's. As it turns out, they estimated that Bush had a higher IQ than Kerry. Brokaw then asked Kerry what he thought of this report.

Kerry's response: 'I question how they caculated that IQ?'

I thought it was a funny moment in the interview. But, does anyone agree with me that Kerry could have handled this a little better, or more graciously? He actually, to me, seemed slightly taken back by the question from Brokaw, and definitely seemed cocky by shooting back that response.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Tomorrow is the big day!

Okay everybody, tomorrow is the day. I'm pretty excited, as I think this election is going to be extremely interesting, to say the least. Here are some important things to remember before going off to the polls: Mainly, I just urge everybody to be honest and forward thinking when they vote. Don't buy into spin and spurious facts. Most of us here are LDS. Ask which candidate's policies are most in line with Gospel principles as we understand them. Does war lead to peace? For those of us in Utah, is it right to amend a Constitution to fall in line with what your religion believes, without regard for the people who don't share your faith (or your sexual orientation)? You know, the country tried to do the exact same thing to Mormons back in the 1800's. Is it okay now? Anyway, make sure you get out to the polls and don't take any excuses from people who don't. At the very least, if you vote, you retain the right to complain about the winners later.