Friday, December 10, 2010

Year-End Lists

As a music-fan/blogger-douche I adore year-end lists. Top 10 local albums, top albums, best songs of the year, best shows, best list etc. This time of year it seems as though everyone has a list for something music-related and I like that. However, I find it annoying that Kanye West's latest LP seems to be topping so many lists this year. First Rolling Stone magazine (remember Rolling Stone?) gave the album 5 stars, then Bitchfork gave it a 10.0 and now all sorts of media outlets are calling it the best album of the year. Now, I know that no publicity is bad publicity so I'm actually promoting the LP simply by writing this bitch-fest but I have a hard time believing that of every album that came out this year it is the best. We can all agree that musical tastes are quite subjective and calling one piece of art better than another is pretty silly but let me give you my top 10 reasons why it won't be topping this blogger's list. In fact, even though I truly enjoy the album I won't be including it in my top 10 albums of the year out of shear principle. With that I give you my 10 reasons why I won't be adding My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to any best of list on this site.

10. Self-Indulgence

Runaway is a great song, it's catch it has a good hook the production is nice but 9+ minutes?!?! I mean, the first 20 seconds is the same note! Also, I don't know about you but once it hits about minute marker 5:45 I just skip to the next track. That outro is just aural masturbation. The video for Runaway, which lasts roughly 35 minutes is the perfect example of Kanye's self-indulgence:

Kanye West - Runaway video via YouTube

9. So Appalled

The 7th track on the LP entitled, So Appalled has several emcees, none of whom can properly pronounce the word, "ridiculous", which is both ironic and irritates me SO much I have to skip the track. I know it's a silly reason but it's a reason why the LP doesn't deserve perfect marks from lazy reviewers.

8. Faux self-deprecation

I'm going back to Runaway on this one again. Even when Kanye is being self-deprecating he's saluting himself. You can't humble yourself and toast yourself simultaneously even if it's tongue-in-cheek. It's like saying, "Sorry you were insulted by what I said." That's not the same as an apology.

7. The Cover-Art

This reason requires no explanation, does this look like the artwork for the best album of the year to you?

6. Pairing Rihanna w/a song in which you hit a woman

The song I'm referring to is track 5 called All of the Lights. The chorus is sung by Rihanna and one of the first lyrics is, "...I slap my girl, she call the Feds..." Ummm, even though Kanye is in character in this song I just find that to be in poor taste to say the least. Also, it's not the only reference to violence against women on the album.

5. Hell of a Life

It's not that track 10 is terrible but it certainly wouldn't be on the best album of the year.

4. You made John Legend sing what?!?!

Like many people, I adore John Legend. He is featured on the track the Blame Game and hearing him sing "I'll call you bitch for short, as a last resort and my first resort, you call me motherfucker for long..." just seems like a waste of his talents.


For those of you who don't know what TLDR means, it stands for "Too Long Didn't Read". When I notice that almost have the songs on your album approach and/or breach the 6 minute mark I'm thinking at least 90 seconds of most of those songs are just wasting my time.

2. Wasting Bon Iver

So, you get Justin Vernon to guest on your record and all you do is bury his vocals and then sample a song of his that uses Auto-Tune? How did this collaboration even occur? Hey, you like Auto-Tune? I like Auto-Tune too! Let's hang out. The first time I heard the beat kick in on Lost in the World it just made me laugh. You made a disco, club-banger out of a beautiful, delicate song? Really?

1. Over-use of the word pussy

From the 2-3 minute sample of Chris Rock going on and on about pussy to Kanye's line about "Pussy and religion is all I need" as a gay man and a feminist I'm sooo over the subjugation of women on this album. You know Kanye surrounding that pussy is a woman, she has a brain and most likely a family and she has emotions too. To quote Kanye himself on this, and other issues of feminist theory: "I don’t know what it is with females, but I’m not too good at that shit"

In conclusion yes I just dedicated an entire post to critique the latest Kanye West LP but what I'm REALLY critiquing is the human-centipede-esque best of lists this year. It's like one magazine is eating and shitting in to the mouth of the next and so on and they're all drawing the same conclusions. I do enjoy Kanye's latest and greatest effort but I don't find it to be the best LP of the year and I think all of these media outlets ranking it number one have short attention-spans to put it lightly. The ten reasons above are why it won't even appear in my 10 best albums of the year list. Also, I just dedicated this entire post to promoting the LP, so I don't really need to include it in any lists, right?

Oh, and Kanye, if you're reading this, you obviously have too much time on your hands, no one reads this website. Don't take yourself so seriously.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

So Much Friday Action

Well y'all, in typical Austin-fashion, there are several great happenings tomorrow evening both locally-focused and touring. DJ Spooky is in town, playing Aces Lounge courtesy of our friends over at Knuckle Rumbler. Somehow, tickets to this event are still available, but Aces isn't the biggest venue so I'd get on that, also you have less than 8 hours to purchase them for the advance price of roughly $15.

Dj Spooky - Vertov Enthusiasm: Sinfonia Donbassa video via YouTube

A few blocks away Austin's-own What Made Milwaukee Famous will be taking the stage at Antone's with the White White Lights sharing the bill as well. You can grab tickets for that show for a mere $10. Doors are at 9:30 for the Antone's show and Frank Smith will be kicking things off at 10:00p.

Frank Smith - Out of Air and Turning Blue video via YouTube

Away from the downtown scene my friends at KVRX are presenting their Holiday Show at the United States Arts Authority. Proceeds for this show benefit the Austin Yellow Bike Project so even if you're not interested in staying for the whole event it would still be cool to pop in just to help out the Yellow Bike folks, just sayin. The line-up for the Holiday Show features some great up-and-coming local and local-ish acts that deserve your attention. This line-up is not set in stone but I have it on pretty good authority if you are planning to attend a few shows tomorrow night that these are the set-times as of now:

Brackett & Co. - Feeling Down video via YouTube

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Free Show at le Scoot Tomorrow

Those of you who know me, know I love free stuff and I'm guessing that you feel the same way. It's with that spirit of gratis that I offer you this RSVP link to see Shapes Have Fangs at the Scoot Inn. The show is sponsored by Sailor Jerry's spiced rum, so who knows maybe the entry fee won't be the only free-ness you experience at the show? If you've never seen Shapes Have Fangs you can expect some jangly, Nuggets-style psychedelic rock 'n roll. You might even stash them in the same bin with another great Austin band, the Strange Boys but maybe with a LITTLE less reverb. Just a little less though.

Shapes Have Fangs - the Desert video via YouTube

Joining Shapes Have Fangs on the bill will be more psychedlic rock from another Austin band in the form of Rayon Beach. I wouldn't put them in the same grouping as Shapes Have Fangs simply because they don't sound as retro to me. Their sound has more sampling, layering and the like. It's not a big leap though from one band to the other, you're definitely going to get your Psych on at the Scoot Wednesday night.

Rayon Beach - Memory Teeth video via YouTube

Bad Sports are traveling down from Denton to play tomorrow night's show. They use lots of reverb on the vocals and their sound is retro but I wouldn't, necessarily, call it psych-rock. To me it has too much chugga-chugga guitar to be psych-rock. It's kind of like if the Donnas were dudes who liked reverby vocals. The Ramones? We'll let you decide!

Bad Sports - All the Time video via YouTube

So, if you want to go out on a Wednesday night and let's face it, you do, don't forget to RSVP at the top of this post and head on over to the Scoot Inn.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Thank you Austin and Beyond! +Random Vids!

When I initially heard about the Austin Blogger Awards I thought it was a very cool idea and very nice of Republic of Austin to give props to those who might, otherwise, go un-noticed. When I filled out the nomination form the only category I thought I had a chance in was the "Best Twitter" category. Unfortunately I was not nominated for best twitter. I guess not everyone is as interested in what Miss Paws is up to as I am. However, somehow I ended up being a nominee in the "Best Overall Music" category. The overall distinguishes my site from the sites that focus more on Austin music, like my personal fav 'Nites Blog or the winner from the local music category, Austin Town Hall.

Friday night, at the Austin Bleet-Up, the awards were announced and thanks to people like you this humble, little, poorly laid-out, one-man-show of a music site was awarded "Best Overall Music Blog". I don't really know how it happened and I'm not going to try to figure it out. I'm just going to say thanks to those of you who voted for me. To those of you who didn't vote for me, thanks for voting for someone else. To those of you who didn't vote at all, way to represent America.

Twin Shadow - Shooting Holes at the Moon video via YouTube

In the meantime, in addition to this blog and my Twitter account I can be stalked on F*c*book and I also have a slightly illegal YouTube channel. The above video is from said slightly illegal channel and features an artist who will, most likely, be featured on my best of 2010 list to be published later this year. You can also look forward (or not) to a special guest best of 2010 list from a certain someone special later in the month.

You can check out all of the winners in this Austin 360 post. You can find all of the nominees here. Also, I expect there will be lots of coverage over at the Republic of Austin and/or Austin Eavesdropper and/or Ultra8201 (Who probably would have won best music blog if they hadn't been a sponsor of the event, thus disqualifying themselves from said award). And/or back at the Austin Blogger Awards site itself.

the Authors - Never Know video via YouTube

I feel very lucky to live in a city whose peers encourage each other rather than cut each other down. Austin truly is a collaborative, inspiring and energetic city and I am most certainly glad I moved here. Sorry, Maine I love you but if I may quote Job from Arrested Development, "C'Mon!"

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