Monday, December 28, 2009

SVIIB

Let's just say School of Seven Bells made one of my favorite albums of all time last year (Alpinisms). I am beyond ready for them to release something new. Until that time, I will be content with their tour updates and photos, and the occasional video that should come my way. I double-dog-dare you to watch this full screen, although you just may toss mad cookies.

School of Seven Bells - "My Cabal" from Ghostly International on Vimeo.



Stay tuned for upcoming adventures, including my head-first dive into old-school photography. Hope to have some major blogging time after the new year. Stay safe and happy on this December 31st!

Ciao, peeps.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What time is it, you ask?

It's time for my top 25 albums of 2009! This is a list of 25 albums I can listen to start to finish, over and over. And have. And will continue to do so! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, if I don't make it back before then.

Every one of the albums featured here also has a song somewhere on my top songs list, so for the sake of saving time, scroll down and click any artist you like from the songs list, and it'll take you straight to their page.

25. Karen O and the Kids Where The Wild Things Are
24. beat radio safe inside the sound
23. Metric Fantasies
22. Mayer Hawthorne A Strange Arrangement
21. Wilco Wilco (The Album)
20. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson Breakup
19. Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca
18. jj jj n.2
17. Liechtenstein Survival Strategies in a Modern World
16. Mew No More Stories...
15. Bat for Lashes bat for lashes
14. Faunts Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.
13. The Very Best Warm Heart of Africa
12. Pains of Being Pure at Heart Pains of Being Pure at Heart
11. Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career
10. The Dodos Time to Die
9. Gliss Devotion Implosion
8. The Big Pink A Brief History of Love
7. Beirut March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland
6. Fruit Bats The Ruminent Band
5. Andrew Bird Noble Beast
4. The Boxer Rebellion Union
3. Great Lake Swimmers Lost Channels
2. Grizzly Bear Veckatimest
1. Neko Case Middle Cyclone

Monday, December 7, 2009

90 favorites of 09

So here’s my long-awaited Fave Songs of 2009 list. I have to say, I lost a little of my enthusiasm about my list once I saw how many of the same songs my significant other had. But like he said, we are together so much that many of our musical tastes overlap. We didn’t talk too much about which songs were on our lists prior to this week, so it’s a testament to good music that we have many of the same top songs. It’s funny though, that we’d love the same albums, but different songs. My North Carolina roots make me lean a little more towards folk and bluegrass sounds in some instances, and although I detest “radio-country”, I love the sound of a fast-picked banjo (playing in the background while I enjoy collards, sweet potatoes, and Aunt Hazel’s handmade biscuits).

I hope you enjoy my list as much as I’ve enjoyed compiling it. E-mail me your address and I’ll send you a copy. Don’t miss Brad’s fabulous 2009 list, *(click here)* and let me know if you’d like a copy of his and I’ll send both!

You’ll see many of my selections that were random free downloads from blogs. I’ll try to provide links for those I remember. Some of my frequented blogs (music and otherwise) are listed in the left column. Also, Insound will send you free mp3’s of the week when you sign up on their site. A great way to sample new upcoming music.

*Link to KEXP*

Each artist name is a link to their music, so if you want a taste of what each sounds like, click away…

90. Sondre Lerche / “Good Luck” / Heartbeat Radio
I discovered Sondre Lerche in a package download of multiple Canadian artists.

89. Yppah / “Gumball Machine Weekend” / They Know What Ghost Know
The Morning Show on KEXP. John Richards and Cheryl Waters fill my workdays with musical goodness.

88. Drummer / “Feel Good Together” / Feel Good Together
Just got this album from Brad. Haven’t had much time to listen to the whole thing yet, but this title track caught my attention right away.

87. Gui Boratto / “No Turning Back” / Take My Breath Away
Entirely electronic, mostly instrumental, and over 7 minutes long, this song would have never been discovered had I not taken a long mountain bike ride with my iPod on shuffle. Trying to fiddle with an iPod while dodging pine trees on singletrack is impossible, leaving me no choice but to listen to the entire thing. I’m glad I did!

86. Florence and the Machine / “Rabbit Heart [Raise it Up]” / Lungs
The chorus is intense and gave me chills the first time I heard it. Her voice can sound a little like Sarah MacLaughlin when she sings high notes, which can be a great or terrible thing depending on your musical preferences, HOWEVER the electronic aspect gives her a completely modern and non-Lilith Fair sound.

85. Jay-Z [Ft. Alicia Keys] / “Empire State of Mind” / The Blueprint 3
Not the biggest Jay-Z fan in the world, but I do love Alicia Keys… her chorus and her piano made this song a must for my list this year.

84. The Horrors / “Who Can Say” / Primary Colours
My favorite breakup song of the year. There’s a hilarious part at the end that makes me laugh out loud every time: “And when I told her I didn’t love her anymore, she cried. And when I told her, her kisses were not like before, she cried. And when I told her about the girl that caught my eye, she cried. And then I kissed her with a kiss that could only mean goodbye.”

83. The Whitest Boy Alive / “High on the Heels” / Rules
Sounds as if it could have been recorded on my 1988 Casio keyboard, with the standard melody on a loop. So simple and poppy. Love it.

82. The xx / “Heart Skipped a Beat” / xx
It took me a while to get into this album, but I love this stripped-down song.

81. Pomegranates / “Everybody, Come Outside!” / Everybody, Come Outside!
Get past the beginning hollering, and it’s wonderful. I heard Pomegranates first on KEXP this spring.

80. Jeremy Enigk / “Late of Camera” / OK Bear
Brad shared this album with me. Takes me back to my flannel shirt-wearing Eddie Vedder-obsessed middle school days. I like how there’s some softness (ie piano and strings) in between heavy guitar riffs. Because let’s face it folks, we’re not flannel shirt-wearing middle schoolers anymore. I do still looooove Eddie Vedder though.

79. YACHT / “The Afterlife” / See Mystery Lights
Read a really good review on a music blog, and love this fun song. If anyone can figure out why the chorus sounds so familiar please let me know – it’s been bothering Brad for months.

78. Iran / “Evil Summer” / Dissolver
Heard Iran for the first time on KEXP. Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio formed Iran this year and this was a great summer song for me to blast in the car, windows down, sans air conditioning, because VW’s are so expensive to fix. A true meaning of “evil summer.”

77. DOOM / “Gazzillion Ear” / Born Like This
DOOM reminds me of old-school Wu. Or Gravediggaz, if you want to take it back even further. A beat, a rap, and no fancy stuff. Makes me want to get “ODB LIVZ” on my license plate.

76. Dan Deacon / “Padding Ghost” / Bromst
Pure fun. Makes me want to drink 3 Red Bulls and dance the night away. The chipmunk-esque vocals are golden.

75. Julian Plenti / “No Chance Survival” / Julian Plenty is… Skyscraper
Although I’m a fan of Interpol, I had a hard time getting into this album. This song is undeniably pretty, and although it makes me somewhat forlorn, it deserves a spot.

74. BLK JKS / “Skeleton” / After Robots
One regret about my list this year is the lack of reggae music, one of the staples in my life. I had a hard time finding quality reggae this year with the exception of SOJA and local favorite The Prisoners. This song has some nice reggae roots, but don’t let the first half fool you, there is some serious rockin’ at the end.

73. The BPA / “Seattle feat. Emmy the Great” / I Think We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
The chorus of this song is infectious. And although I’m pretty much always politically apathetic, the upbeat lyrics and message makes me feel a little hope for the US of A.

72. beat radio / “sleepwalking” / safe inside the sound
I recently downloaded this album based upon a blog recommendation. Haven’t been able to devote too much time to it yet, but I really dig this song.

71. Phosphorescent / “Reasons to Quit” / To Willie
I heard this song on KEXP and downloaded the album immediately. I haven’t been able to wiki the album title meaning yet but I assume (and hope) it’s “to” Willie Nelson. Such a good, sobering song.

70. Elvis Perkins in Dearland / “Shampoo” / Elvis Perkins in Dearland
Another KEXP-provided epiphany. I looked for months for this album and finally found it in the spring. I’ve listened to it all year and still love it. “Black is the color of a strangled rainbow.” A great folk song, complete with harmonica solo.

69. Neon Indian / “Terminally Chill” / Psychic Chasms
Downloaded this album based on Pitchfork’s recommendation. This song immediately stood out for me, as it reminds me of Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime”, which happens to be my favorite Christmas song of all time. This song will make me happy year-round.

68. Viva Voce / “Midnight Sun” / Rose City
Harmonies on this song are beautiful. Viva Voce rocks.

67. M. Ward / “Jailbird” / Hold Time
This whole album is great – it was hard to choose just one song. M. Ward doesn’t disappoint.

66. The Bird & The Bee / “meteor” / Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future
I have to admit that B&tB would’ve been much higher on my list had the album come out later in the year, as I wore it out by the end of the summer. The entire album is very good.

65. malajube / “dragon de glace” / labyrinthes
A French-Canadian group, I downloaded this album along with Coeur de Pirate. Although I don’t speak French, I love the music, and the “a-ha’s” throughout the song, which I can happily sing along with. Shoutout to my cousin Sarah who kicked ass in French immersion camp this summer – I’ll be sending all these albums to you for interpretation.

64. Matt & Kim / “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” / Grand
I may be the only person on the earth that’s not a huge fan of Matt & Kim, so I was skeptical when Brad told me how good it was. I gave it a listen and this song had me singing along right away. Still not my absolute favorite band, but this song rules.

63. Annie / “Songs Remind Me of You” / Don’t Stop
Heard this on the Morning Show on KEXP. Apparently John Richards is a fan, and any band that’s alright with John Richards is alright with me. I’m not generally into club music, but this song is contagious.

62. A.C. Newman / “Like a Hitman Like a Dancer” / Get Guilty
Another album that I played to death this year. Good start to finish.

61. Islands / “Vapours” / Vapours
This song has a retro feel for me. The guitar riffs seem Dick Dale inspired to me. Happy and beachy.

60. Wild Beasts / “We Still Got the Taste Dancing on Our Tongues / Two Dancers
When I first heard “Hooting and Howling” (see Brad’s list) I laughed. Until I found myself singing it the next day. And the next. Although I can’t make it through most of the songs on this album, this track makes me wiggle in my seat.

59. Passion Pit / “The Reeling” / Manners
I downloaded Passion Pit’s EP Chunk of Change last year, and eagerly awaited this year’s release. Manners doesn’t disappoint.

58. Yeah Yeah Yeahs / “Soft Shock” / It’s Blitz!
One of the best albums of the year for me. Karen O is pretty much the coolest, most outrageous rock female since Bjork’s days of swan dresses.

57. Black Moth Super Rainbow / “Twin of Myself” / Eating Us
Brad got me into this album, it’s a great listen when in need of a nice long daydream or spell of relaxation. I like to listen to it at work where I daydream. Just kidding.

56. Gliss / “Morning Light” / Devotion Implosion
One of my most-played albums of 2009, I’m devastated that I missed them when they came to the Boot this summer. *Frown*

55. Mew / “Repeater Beater” / No More Stories Are Told
Pitchfork recommended this album, and although the album is not entirely my speed, this song rocks my face off.

54. Say Hi / “One, Two … One” / Oohs & Aahs
I first fell in love with the single “November was White, December was Gray” on KEXP this spring. After listening to the entire album, I find I enjoy listening to this upbeat track even better. The consistent peppy beat and keyboard notes in the background are what I love most.

53. Akron Family / “River” / Set Em Wild Set Em Free
Kind of like Okkervil River with the singer from They Might be Giants. Just my take on their sound, which is grrrrreat!

52. Peter Bjorn and John / “Nothing to Worry About” / Living Thing
Although this album isn’t as strong as Writer’s Block, there are a few solid singles, including this poppy track, complete with children singing background in the chorus. As you will see in some other songs on my list this year, I pretty much heart hearing little kids sing. Better than I do, I might add.

51. Bell / “Magic Tape” / Magic Tape b/w Housefire 2.0
This track may be a little hard for some to get into, but Olga Bell has one of the best voices I’ve heard. She should be coming out with a full length album in 2010, and I’ll pretty much travel to the ends of the earth to see her live at some point. I downloaded her EP last year for $5 and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

50. Doves / “Kingdom of Rust” / Kingdom of Rust
This title track has a little bit of a line-dancing style beat throughout the song, and Andy Williams’ voice in the chorus is heavenly. Still gives me chills.

49. Emmy the Great / “Dylan” / First Love
One of my favorite folk singers, I will be listening to this album for a long, long time. This song is one of the most upbeat on the album.

48. Telepathe / “So Fine” / Dance Mother
The first time I heard this song I thought “this may end up on my favorite songs list.” That was approximately 75 listens ago, and it climbed higher on the list every time. Absolutely infectious.

47. Taken by Trees / “My Boys” / East of Eden
A female spin on Animal Collective’s “My Girls,” this track is light and whimsical. Guaranteed to make you want to run right out and build adobe slabs for your boys.

46. Karen O and the Kids / “All is Love” / Where the Wild Things Are
I cannot get through this soundtrack without tearing up. It fits the movie perfectly, and even though many people may disagree, the movie fit the book perfectly as well. See previous blog about the movie. Guaranteed to be my favorite soundtrack of all time.

45. Alela Diane / “White As Diamonds” / To Be Still
A true bluegrass and folk artist, Alela Diane’s voice is magical to me. I do have to say that I prefer the stripped down sound of last year’s Pirate’s Gospel, but To Be Still is a true gem.

44. The Veils / “The House She Lived In” / Sun Gangs
I haven’t listened to the album much, but this song come up on a shuffle and I was instantly a fan. Must’ve been a Brad download…

43. BROWN RECLUSE / “Rainy Saturday” / The Soft Skin – EP
Here is another fantastic new group. Hope to hear more from them in 2010.

42. Starlight Mints / “Natural” / Change Remains
The chorus gets me amped every time. An overall snazzy song to jam out to.

41. Wilco / “You Never Know” / Wilco (The Album)
Although “You and I” was my early favorite, I played it out early on. Not to mention Feist’s voice wore on my nerves after a while. “You Never Know” emerged as my top song with light piano sounds in the background. This album is one of my faves of the year.

40. White Rabbits / “Percussion Gun” / It’s Frightening
How can you not love a song with such killer drumming in the beginning?

39. Monsters of Folk / “Baby Boomer” / Monsters of Folk
This track is my favorite from MOF with it’s upbeat melody. Combining M. Ward, Conor Oberst, and Jim James is a surefire way to create a killer album.

38. Girls / “Lust for Life” / Album
This song grows on me with every listen. If I’d gotten it earlier in the year it would’ve definitely been much higher on my list. Favorite line: “I wish I had a suntan, I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine. I wish I had a beach house, then we could make a big fire every night.” I absolutely can’t wait to sing along (loudly) with this in my car next summer: windows rolled down and beach bound.

37. Papercuts / “Dictator’s Lament” / You Can Have What You Want
This hazy lo-fi track makes me VERY sad that I missed them live when they opened for Camera Obscura last month. I will be eagerly awaiting their return to VA.

36. The Temper Trap / “Sweet Disposition” / Conditions
I recently downloaded this album after hearing them on, you guessed it, KEXP. Hopefully they will be touring extensively in the near future, as I’d love to see them live.

35. Bibio / “Ambivalence Avenue” / Ambivalence Avenue
The layering of instruments in this song is subtle, and it’s amazing that when you listen intensely you can only hear guitar, piano, and a single drum. And heavenly voices of course.

34. Great Lake Swimmers / “The Chorus in the Underground” / Lost Channels
Although the rest of the album has much less direct bluegrass sound, this song stood out for me because of the beautiful banjo/fiddle combination. Amazing.

33. Fitz and the Tantrums / “Winds of Change” / Songs for a Breakup, Volume 1
This is a great EP, and I am excited to see old-school bluesy R&B making a comeback in a big way.

32. Metric / “Help I’m Alive” / Fantasies
I heard this single on KEXP last year, and eagerly awaited the release of the album early this year. One of the best albums I have to listen to while running, the intense electronic beats combined with Emily Haines’ voice is unstoppable. Although I’ve listened to it a million times, I cannot sit still while this song is playing. I have a mega girl crush on Emily Haines. The track “Gold, Girls, Guns” was a close second to this favorite.

31. The Big Pink / “Velvet” / A Brief History of Love
It was really hard to choose one song from this album. One of the best albums of 2009 for sure.

30. John Vanderslice / “C&O Canal” / Romanian Names
I’ve been fond of John Vanderslice since seeing him in the Beulah documentary A Good Band is Easy to Kill. He’s just so nice. Don’t let the light poppy melodies of this track fool you however. It’s a song about sweet revenge, sang to an ex-lover who broke the news in a Dear John letter. “I tracked down your friend, won her heart over slowly, then, I walked away. Hope it gets back to you some day. La-la, la-la-la-la.”

29. Thao with the Get Down, Stay Down / “Know Better Learn Faster” / Know Better Learn Faster
Strings, finger-picking, and Thao’s distinct voice is a winning combination. It was very hard to choose one song from this album.

28. Yeasayer / “Tightrope” / Dark Was the Night
I think everything Yeasayer touches turns to gold. Including the Dark Was the Night soundtrack.

27. Point Juncture, WA / “Sick on Sugar” / Heart to Elk
I bought this album directly from the band the end of 2008 after hearing it on KEXP. I was ecstatic to find out the album was formally released in 2009, so as to share it with you. They are available on iTunes now, and you should proceed to your internets and buy it. I hope they end up in VA at some point, because rest assured, I will be there. If not, a trip to the west coast is just as appealing.

26. Dead Man’s Bones / “Pa Pa Power” / Dead Man’s Bones
I don’t generally fall for hot actors who start bands (ie 30 Seconds to Mars and Dogstar). BUT, Ryan Gosling is a talented musician who happens to be a hot actor. This entire album features a chorus of children, and is hauntingly incredible. Again, children singing makes me happy, even on dark albums.

25. Loney, Dear / “Summers” / Dear John
Every time I listen to this song I find myself turning it up louder and louder. The lyrics speak of the end of summers and growing up and moving on from people you used to know. It could easily be melancholy given the lyrics, but the accompanying music renders it hopeful instead.

24. K-Os / “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman” / Yes!
Piano sound familiar on this track? That’s because it’s the song “California” feature on the OC many years ago. This album came to me this summer in that same Canadian artist bundle with Sondre Lerche and BROWN RECLUSE. It seems destined for radio success, and although I hate seeing punks at Patrick Henry Mall pumping music they think they discovered, it’s nice to see talented artists get recognition for good music.

23. Mayer Hawthorne / “Maybe So, Maybe No” / A Strange Arrangement
Another album destined for mass popularity, I searched high and low for this album for weeks after reading a random blog recommendation. It is nice that despite having the probability of becoming a major lady-killer (just listen to his voice….like honey) he created a fun, silly video for this single, including none other than hilarious Rob Drydek skateboarding around southern Cali. Check out Brad’s list for a video of him performing live on KEXP. That man’s got talent, ya’ll.

22. Delorean / “Deli” / Ayrton Senna EP
This track is a little less repetitive than “Seasun,” but a great EP all the way around. “Like the time I spent with you girl – with you girl.” Infectious.

21. The Dodos / “The Strums” / Time to Die
This album is my 2009 Fleet Foxes. I love every song, and such wonderful lyrics throughout! The little dings of the xylophone top it off quite nicely.

20. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson / “Search Your Heart” / Breakup
Recommended by my friend Diana from college, and this album restored my faith in Pete Yorn and made me like Scarlett Johansson even more.

19. The Boxer Rebellion / “Soviets” / Union
One of my favorite albums of the year, this track is pretty mellow, but his voice is amazing.

18. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart / “Come Saturday” / The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The opening guitars of this song get me amped every time. Every song on this album is great.

17. St. Vincent / “Marrow” / Actor
I just dare you to get through the pretty strings at the beginning. The beat in the background should be a hint of what’s coming. Such a buildup, and then St. Vincent wails. Girl power at it’s greatest. She performed this live on Austin City Limits and I was in awe of her.

16. Bat for Lashes / “pearl’s dream” / bat for lashes
After watching Natasha Kahn’s (aka Bat for Lashes) documentary a month or so ago, this song has climbed steadily up my list. I don’t get tired of hearing it. See previous blog for video and more.

15. Dirty Projectors / “Stillness is the Move” / Bitte Orca
A couple of months ago I posted a blog with a video of the ladies of Dirty Projectors on the Jimmy Fallon show, and since then I can’t get enough of them. Their harmonies are unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Seriously, not even a middle school chorus can touch them.

14. Camera Obscura / “Swans” / My Maudlin Career
I have to admit that I played this album to death earlier this year. I had a 6-disc IN THE TRUNK cd player in my car, so I listened to this over and over. I got pretty tired of the album. Until I saw them live. I now have fond memories of Collin and I dancing in the aisle while Molly, Brad, and Catherine pretended they didn’t know us. I don’t know that I’ve seen a band perform exactly the way the album sounds. It was magical.

13. Julian Casablancas / “11th Dimension” / Phrazes for the Young
This list made my top 20 pretty much on the first listen. This song makes me dance around in my car like the idiot you like to hate on at traffic lights. Hater.

12. The Very Best / “Warm Heart of Africa [feat Ezra Koenig]” / Warm Heart of Africa
I searched high and low for this before finally buying it on iTunes. This whole album is rich with authentic musical traits of Africa and reminds me much of the music I studied in my college music class. Every year I have a tradition of listening to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole while wrapping Christmas presents, however this year The Very Best may take over.

11. Beirut / “My Night With the Prostitute from Marsaille” / Realpeople Holland
What can I say about Beirut other than incredible? Oh yeah, fantastic, wonderful, fabulous…you get the idea. When I first heard this on KEXP I almost died it’s so good. His voice over a club beat and all the layers of sound typical of his style really took it to a new level for me, audibly speaking.

10. Liechtenstein / “Roses in the Park” / Survival Strategies in a Modern World
An all-girl Swedish pop group – they are great! Very retro feel.

9. Animal Collective / “Summertime Clothes” / Merriweather Post Pavilion
It’s a little surprising this is only #9, but I think this is another one I overplayed early on. The album is sure to be one of the most critically successful albums of 2009, as it should be.

8. The National / “So Far Around the Bend” / Dark Was The Night
I love The National. I love this song. Favorite line: “You’ve been humming in a daze forever, praying for Pavement to get back together...” This was obviously written before the announcement of Pavement’s reunion concerts next year in NYC. Did I mention I’ll be there? Even more reason to like this song.

7. Mos Def / “Auditiorium Ft. Slick Rick” / The Ecstatic
Mos Def is great, but to me, Slick Rick is one of the all-time best hip hop artists ever. All you rap experts can say what you will, but Slick Rick’s voice is one of a kind. The subject of a soldier in Iraq being told “get the f*ck out my county” is a touchy topic, but Mos Def gets his point across without being preachy or abrasive.

6. Neko Case / “This Tornado Loves You” / Middle Cyclone
I can already tell you this is my #1 album of 2009. I’m madly in love with Neko Case, in a purely platonic way of course. Don’t know that I’ve heard better imagery in another song, likening a woman in love to a raging tornado. An amazing song.

5. jj / “things will never be the same again” / jj no. 2
If you don’t get happy listening to this song you have no soul.

4. Fruit Bats / “Beautiful Morning Light” / The Ruminent Band
One of the most romantic songs I’ve ever heard. I get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I hear it.

3. Andrew Bird / “Oh No” / Noble Beast
I cannot say enough good things about Andrew Bird. Don’t know that there is a more talented individual out there. Saw him on Austin City Limits and seeing him play a loop, record it, play it back while picking up a second (then third, and fourth) instrument and layering the sound as a one man band was phenomenal. Not to mention his whistling is top notch. I hope hope hope I see him live one day.

2. Faunts / “Feel.Love.Thinking.Of” / Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.
Don’t know that I’ve ever been more addicted to a song than this. I think I’ll still be listening to this when I’m 80. I can’t get over the 80’s keys layered with their soft voices.

1. Grizzly Bear / “Two Weeks” / Veckatimest
Before seeing GB live in October, I may have chosen a different song for my list. “Southern Point”, “Cheerleader”, and “All We Ask” were big contenders, as I’m a fan of their more slow songs. BUT, after seeing GB play “Two Weeks” live with Victoria LeGrand from Beach House singing backup (as she does on the album), this song became my #1 with no competition. I wish they featured Ed Drost's voice more often. I strongly suggest you see them live.

That’s my list! If you’d like a copy, send me an e-mail at amber.macarthur.05@gmail.com with your address and I’ll send a cd along with some fairy dust and unicorn tears. Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Coming soon...

My 2009 Favorite Songs list!

I'm just finishing the list and sorting according to how much I love each one. Here's a sneak peek at some of the folks making my list:

-Beirut
-Great Lake Swimmers
-Alela Diane
-Taken by Trees
-White Rabbit
-Bibio
-The Big Pink
-Metric
-Akron Family
-Mew
-K-Os
-Temper Trap
-Brown Recluse

If you'd like a copy of the list when it comes out, e-mail your address to me. There will be 100 songs on my list to provide hours of entertainment for you and friends, should you choose to share it. I hope to have a complete playlist posted by the end of the weekend. Unfortunately there is a lot of good music being released these last few weeks of the year, so I'm making last-minute additions.

Hope you all have a great day - I'm off to participate in my company's physical fitness challenge. I just wish an Aggro Crag were involved.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Updates, Galore!

Hello peeps,

I wanted to post a bit about what I'm doing these days, as well as some of my most recent musical explorations, so here we go.

Halloween - The Halloween costumes came out perfect. All of the sewing injuries were worth the final product. Here's a picture of BK and I in them:


Future appearances of the shark - You will undoubtedly see the shark costume again, as I have signed up for 2009's Polar Plunge to benefit Virginia Special Olympics, and plan to wear the shark costume when I submerge myself in the frigid Atlantic Ocean next February. Care to donate to this great cause? Click here :)

Volunteerism - I am still with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and have been assigned a new "Little" named Julia. She is adorable and we've had lots of fun so far. I hope to form a lasting friendship with her. I have also joined the Kiwanis Club of York. Many people ask, "what is Kiwanis?"...well, do you remember the Key Club in high school (or Keyettes for the ladies), or Circle K in college? Well, these are divisions of Kiwanis for younger folks. My grandparents have been members of Kiwanis for years, and it's a good way for me to spend some time with them and do some good things in the community as well. I'm excited and inspired to be associated with such a caring group of people! If you're interested in joining, click the link above or send me an e-mail for more deets. Meetings are held the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month.

MUSIC!!! - So there are many new albums that I've downloaded recently, and I'll give you a brief summary of a few:

Liechtenstein ~ an indie-pop girl-group from Sweden, these ladies harmonize very well and their music is upbeat and happy. (album Survival Strategies in a Modern World released May 2009)

Mayer Hawthorne ~ an old-school Motown-style R&B singer, Mayer Hawthorne is my new John Legend. (album A Strange Arrangement released October 2009)

The Very Best ~ reggae, world, and pop all mushed into one sound. This album is fantastic and will keep me feeling warm and fuzzy all winter long. (album Warm Heart of Africa released September 2009)

If you're interested in hearing more from any of these amazing musicians, let me know, or request a copy of my Top Songs of 2009 List, coming soon. BK talked me into making a 'top songs list' for this year, and I've decided to do 100 songs instead of 40, basically because I'm an overachiever in every sense of the word. ;)

Concerts - So as I previously mentioned, I will be attending Camera Obscura's show this Saturday in Norfolk. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings will be coming to The National in RVA in December, and I'll be there as well. And although it's a long, long, ways away, I'll be seeing Pavement's reunion concert in Central Park next September. Not sure what I'm more excited about: Pavement, or the fake Prada bags I'm destined to buy in NYC. (j/k, j/k!)

I have a few topics in mind to blog (rant) about in the coming days (weeks?), so I'll try to be back soon, so as not to keep you on the edge of your seats for too long.

xoxo

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Time to Bat Your Lashes

Meet Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes. I watched her 48-minute documentary this afternoon, and she is pretty much the bees knees. You can watch a documentary of the making of her 2009 album Two Suns for free on Pitchfork for *one week only*, so click here to watch it before it's gone!

Here's the video for "Pearl's Dream", which will undoubtedly be in my top songs of 2009 list (if the vid below doesn't play click here to go to you tube).



Back to work on the Halloween costumes! I swear, I've had more injuries from making these costumes than 4 years of field hockey (sans broken nose). I have poked myself with many a needle while sewing, gotten numerous papercuts while putting together BK's Eagle Lord headpiece, and burned myself with countless globs of hot glue (hotter than hell's hot tub ya'll). I will need a mini-vacay after these masterpieces are complete - good thing yet another bogus federal holiday is coming up in November!

Hope you enjoyed the Bat for Lashes video. Natasha Khan is my second-favorite saucy indie chick (next to Emily Haines).

Have a spook-tacular Halloween! Sorry, had to say it...

Monday, October 26, 2009

A weekend in movies...

Rawr!
This weekend I saw two incredible movies. The first: Where the Wild Things Are. The majority of people I've talked to that have seen it did not like it. I became very discouraged last week as more and more people were telling me that it sucked. Then I talked to a friend of mine, and she told me: "The people who hate this movie do not enjoy art and music in the same way that we do." This gave me hope (thanks Lori!), and I can confirm that after seeing it Saturday afternoon, it is most definitely one of my top 5 all-time favorite movies. Indeed, WtWTA is now amongst the ranks of Goonies, The Princess Bride, Wit, and Mary Poppins. For those who say the movie is "dark"... "depressing"... "not for kids"... "scary", I have one question: have you read the book? It was dark, scary, and depressing in 1988... and that was ok back then. Why are (some) parents so quick to sugar-coat everything nowadays? I think if I had a child I'd read the book to them when they were small and let their imagination run "wild" with it, and give the movie to them when they were much older. I found the movie extremely touching and Karen O & the Kids' soundtrack is incredible. Here's a link to the single "All is Love." I've also become very fond of Karen O's rendition of Daniel Johnston's "Worried Shoes," as it is a wonderful fit for the movie/soundtrack. I'm just proud that I only cried (hard) once during the film...

Ég elska þig Sigur Ros
A slightly angry colon kept me in the house Saturday night, so Brad and I watched the Sigur Ros documentary Heima(translation: "Home") I Netflix'd a while back. The band played a series of free, unannounced shows throughout Iceland and filmed segments of beautiful scenery set to their music. Well, I only wish it had made it to the top of my queue sooner, because it was amazing. Here's a clip:

I strongly suggest you watch this. It left me with a desire to surround myself with nature and art and music, and even more, to go to Iceland. Unfortunately tickets to Iceland are $1200, so at this point in my life I may have to settle for a bangin' wool sweater made there...

Well, I hope you all had a great weekend. Being that it's 2:45am and I have to be at work by 8:30, I am going to attempt to sleep again. My body is all out of whack after the weekend (I just couldn't sleep until I wrote this blog), so I predict fatigue throughout the day tomorrow. I will be sleepily listening to Sigur Ros, dreaming of the black sand beaches of Iceland.

Goodnight friends!

Monday, October 19, 2009

instead of Hank Williams Jr...

I've never seen anything like this video. The music is beautiful. If only the NFL played neo-classical during MNF games...

Ólafur Arnalds - Ljósið (Official Music Video) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

a little something to warm up your weekend...

Hello!

To combat the rainy, barely 50-degree weekend we're looking forward to, I thought I'd post a link to download a free track from The Very Best's Warm Heart of Africa. Listening to this is sure to keep you nice and toasty this weekend. Or you can buy a Snuggie. It's your call. Click here for the free download.

xoxo,
~Amber

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Grizzly Bear and Beach House

So I saw Grizzly Bear and Beach House at the Norva last night. Here are some highlights, and a couple of fuzzy photos taken on my Blackberry (crackberry?). I was hoping to have some great video/sound footage to share but BK's camera died 2 pictures into the show...

First, Beach House was amazing. Seriously. Victoria Legrand's voice is just as poweful and pretty live as it is on the albums. The new Beach House record will be out early 2010 on Sub Pop. Want to know how I knows this? I bought their album Devotion on vinyl for Brad last night, and was lucky enough to get Victoria to autograph it later in the evening. She was super cool and "saucy" and informed us of their upcoming album. They played a few songs from it last night and they were really really good. Really. Here's a blurry photo of their set - if you want more click here or check out the video below.





Grizzly Bear started soon after the Beach House set, and I totally called it that they would open with "Southern Point" from their 2009 album Veckatimest. It was a great song to start off with in my opinion - the build up to the chorus got everyone in the audience amped. I have to say that I have somewhat of a crush on Ed Droste. His voice on "Two Weeks" is amazing, live AND on the album. They brought Victoria Legrand (from Beach House, see above) back out to sing background vocals on "Two Weeks" as she does on the album, and they also played the upcoming single "Slow Life" from the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack. Here is a low-quality photo from last night's show!



Need more Grizzly Bear?(as you most certainly should) Click here and check out the video below for "Two Weeks", which could also be a public service announcement warning children about the improper use of sparklers on the 4th of July...



I'm currently torn on which Grizzly Bear track will make my top 100 of 2009 list, as there are three that I love equally but for different reasons. Hope you check out both Beach House and Grizzly Bear, as they are amazingly talented bands.

Camera Obscura is coming next month to Norfolk and I won't be missing them, as their 2009 album My Maudlin Career has rarely left my ghetto, 6-disc-in-the-trunk-CD-player.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hello Again!

Sorry for the absent summer- a lot of work and a little traveling have hindered my blogging abilities. I am working on some upcoming blog topics, but wanted to post an amazing video of one of my new favorite bands: Dirty Projectors. The ladies of the group make this special for me, as they harmonize like nothing I've ever heard before (consider them 2009's Fleet Foxes or SVIIB). Thanks to BK for sharing this vid - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.



Don't believe all of those sounds are coming from them and not keyboards? Go to the article and check out the second video of them performing the same song in the dressing room.

I'm working on my top songs of 2009 right now, and thus far I've got 60 songs on the way to 100. I'll be sharing some of the new (and not so new) music I'm discovering along the way. Check out some of the websites I've listed to the left if you want to explore some new music and other neat things.

Looking forward to a mini-camping trip this weekend, and I hope to blog again soon, as long the Wii doesn't take over my life (which is very possible considering Super Mario Galaxy is the coolest game... in the galaxy).

Have a great week blog friends!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July Update

Hello! I have finished ALL my work today, so I'm going to spend the last few minutes of my workday writing a short update on all things Amber-related.

First, I PASSED the PHR exam last Monday! I really doubted I'd pass it, especially with a 60% pass rate. All the studying I did in the last couple of months must have helped, although I admit I could've been more prepared. I just have to wait for the official results in the mail. Hopefully a computer hacker didn't play a cruel joke on me by putting up a "PASSED!" screen at Prometric.

Second, I was finally assigned a little sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Amijah and I have had two outings, and have had a great time getting to know each other. She is 6 years old, very smart, and has endless amounts of energy. I love her already, and am excited to spend more time with her.

Third, I went on a small business trip to Beaufort, SC last week. It's about an hour south of Charleston and an hour north of Savannah. My dad went with me to keep me company on the 7+ hour drive down, and we had a great time. It's hard not to with all expenses paid. We went to a decent seafood restaurant with an incredible view:

On our second day there we went to the small downtown waterfront with probably a hundred unique stores with everything from monkey soaps to sweet modern art:

(the photo does not do this piece justice)

On the way back from SC we stopped (I mean, took a 3 hour detour) by my great-aunt Hazel's house in coastal NC. There is no place for me like Aunt Hazel's house. I have great memories of spending time there as a child, so I love to be there. I let my dad read an old favorite book of mine, "The Story of Little Black Mingo", which I look at every time I go there. It's so wrong to cherish this book, but it amazes me to think of a time when these types of books were standards in many homes. In defense of the story, Little Black Mingo, messed up stereotypes aside, kicks some major ass at the end of the book, and I think I mostly enjoyed the blown up crocodile at the end. :)

Kickball: After 3 games, Rainbows and Lollipops is undefeated thus far in the season. We'll see how far we can get!

That's all for now, thought I'd leave you with some of my most recent camera phone pics.

Here's one of my doggie. I try not to gush over her but I think she's pretty much the best dog ever:


Here's Brad sniffing melons at the grocery store:


And the grand finale! I saw this total douchebag riding his motorcycle a while back... His license plate says "GTN LD" Seriously??? I think anyone who needs to put that on his license plate is probably NOT getting laid. That's really all I can say about it. I was pretty grossed out, thus risked a minor traffic accident to get a photo of him.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quick Post before the Weekend!

Hey there peeps - Happy Friday!

Some updates on what's up with me: still haven't heard back from Big Brothers Big Sisters... maybe my speeding ticket last year is affecting this???

Kickball!
Played (AND WON) our first kickball game of the season last night. Highlights: Mariah's fantastic rainbow wristbands for all of us, Brad busting his ass rounding 2nd base, me trucking Dale at home plate, a shoe kicked off while kicking (tie your laces homies!), lightening, thunder, and a Walk of Shame player managing to step on the ball, double-kick, and fall down a slight hill in one fluid play.

The turnout at Bay Haven was incredible - 2 cornhole sets and much drinking and debauchery. I'm surprised their taps didn't run dry. Hopefully this will continue throughout the season, however I predict my productivity at work on Friday's will be pretty low until the season's over!

PHR Exam:
Duh-duh-duh! Only 11 days until I take the Professional of Human Resources certification exam. I will be cramming until then - wish me luck!

Video of the Day:
This is from the same Justin Timberlake SNL from a month or so ago. This is actually my favorite video from the show:


Hope you all have a killer weekend!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Blog or Not to Blog

I haven’t written anything lately because I’ve been a little pre-occupied with stuff. I only say “stuff” because I don’t want to bore you with the mundane parts of my life that take up the majority of my time. That being said, I wanted to put up a little blog with some things that I have done / come across in the last few weeks.

First, I went to Baltimore and realized how little of the world I’ve seen. I was totally uncomfortable being ‘outside my bubble’ of VA. Brad called me a fraggle, which made me really depressed, but also determined to get out and see more places. SO, that’s what I’m going to do! Even in places I go every day, I’m going to try and do new things more often.

Second, I went to Ikea for the first time as well. What an experience! For someone like me, who loves perusing home and garden mags daydreaming about how my “grown-up house” will look, it was the coolest place ever! The maze of rooms that are set up mesmerized me. The only suggestion I have is for parents to limit the amount of time they keep their kids in that store. It took us about two hours to get through the store and pay, and I cannot imagine trying to take a child on that journey – it’s just too boring for kids. So the kids that are so bored make other shoppers miserable by running them over with shopping carts (which happened to me on two occasions) or simply squealing and shrieking, until their parents move on into the children’s area. Seriously parents, use a little common sense here.

Old Possibly New Music:
I listened to my old iPod today at work, and realized that I’ve been so caught up in new 2009 music that I’ve deprived my ears of some excellent older music. Maybe some of this will be new to you, or maybe you’re a music-omniscient-Wikipedia-head and know everything already…

The Morning Benders (Talking Through Tin Cans) I picked this up randomly last year and it is one of my absolute faves. This album got me through some tough times in 2008 and it’s still great. Here is a video of theirs:


Anthony Hamilton (Southern Comfort) Working at the public library can help one venture into new books and music. I saw the cover of this and thought it may be interesting, not to mention Mr. Hamilton is apparently very popular in R&B world. I’m a huge John Legend fan, and I love this album. Very romantic and sexy on many songs.

At the Drive-In (Relationship of Command) I hadn’t listened to this in many years, but loved it then and still love it now. I am also a fan of The Mars Volta, but am more loyal to ATDI.

Keyshia Cole (The Way It Is) This is one of her earlier albums, not as polished as Just Like You, but I think that is a good thing. This is Keyshia Cole before anyone and everyone wanted to guest star on her songs (Missy Elliot, P. Diddy, etc).

Paramore (Riot!) A guilty pleasure – this album gets me pumped up and even though the lyrics can be cheesy at times (their lead singer is only like 16 years old people), the up-beat guitar riffs make me want to go mosh amongst middle schoolers. (Do they even call it moshing anymore?)

RZA (Bobby Digital) I probably should not have been listening to this at 16, and even at 27 I feel like I’m too young to listen to this. The fact that I’m a girl most likely has something to do with it, as some of Bobby D.’s lyrics make anyone with (or with respect for) a va-j-j cringe. In spite of x-rated lyrics, I still love Bobby-bobby-bobby… diji-diji-diji!

Ziggy Marley (Love is my Religion) Ziggy Marley puts me in a good mood pretty much anytime. Although he will surely never be a legend like his father, his positive mindset on life helps me think positively as well.

Junior Kelly (Greatest Hits) Another favorite reggae artist. His voice is distinct and I pretty much love every song I've heard from him.

Big Sister Coming Right up!
No folks, my moms isn’t preggo (thank goodness because there is surely something in the water around here!), however, I will be joining Big Brothers Big Sisters soon. I had my interview last week, so as long as my background check comes back ok I should be assigned a little sister in the coming weeks. I originally wanted to sign up while I was in college, but just couldn’t make the time. Now I’ve got a lot more free time on my hands and want to do something good with it. Hopefully it won’t play out like Role Models, because I would not be cool with a little kid stealing my car or making me attend Dungeons and Dragons reenactments. Maybe I’ll borrow a chester molester van to pick up my little sister for the first time just to freak her parents out. j/k j/k

ART!!!
Brad and I have started a shop on ETSY to sell art! Click here to check it out. We will be opening up our store to friends and family with handmade items and art to sell, for a nominal fee for our time. If you have original art, jewelry, handmade clothing or pretty much anything, let us know!

New additions to the family:
After the death of Ike and Tina more than a year ago, I didn’t think it possible to open my home to more hermit crabs. So instead I opened Brad’s home. (Although I’m still planning on “taking them in to my office” at some point. Wink wink.) The two new hermies are Lily aka Dangerous Person, and Jarrod aka Eagle Lord. If you haven’t seen Eagle vs. Shark you will not understand these names, but you should check it out because it’s pretty much hilarious.

I’m sad to report that Eagle Lord has passed away as of this morning. It is possible that by choosing the two smallest hermit crabs in the tank at Wings, I actually chose the two weakest of the pack. Hopefully Dangerous Person won’t meet the same fate (especially considering the fact that I pimped out their cage with all sorts of cool hermit crab gear).

Since I’ve been so slack on videos lately, I thought I’d leave you with one I just discovered today from a Pandora mix.
Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Uh, oh!

I can't believe it's been over 1 month since I've blogged - sorry peeps! Darn productivity at work! While I'm preparing a new blog post, I wanted to give you a little something to possibly make you chuckle. It made me laugh hysterically, but I can find humor in almost anything. Until we meet again...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Question of the Day

I'll keep this short: Why do people leave hang up messages? Chances are they already know they're not going to leave a message before someone's voicemail starts, so why not just hang up BEFORE the beep?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

video of the day

Here is a video from an Of Montreal concert. I saw this show in Richmond last year, and it was truly one of the best concerts I've ever been to. This video also happens to be my favorite song from their 2008 album Skeletal Lamping. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wicked Awesome!

I love hearing folks say, "Wicked Awesome!"... This has nothing to do with the topic at hand this evening, I just thought it had a nice ring to it. Sorry if this may seem to jump around, but I have a bunch of things on my mind tonight, tonight, tooooonight. Toniiiiiiiight, tonight. Striiiings, striiiings, striiiiinnnngggs.

First, the maintenance man in my building = Dwight Schrute. We had an hour-long test of our fire alarms last week, and every time he'd come over the loud speaker saying "this is a test, this is only a test" I'd find myself imagining staplers entrapped in jello. Every maintenance man I've ever known takes himself very seriously, with the exception of one: Les.

I worked with Les all through high school and college, and he was the coolest maintenance man ever. Seriously. Throughout my obnoxious teen years and trouble-making college years, Les was always nice. In fact, the only time I ever saw him get pissed was when we'd feed the ducks (I even snuck them inside once). Can't say that I blame him - who would want to scrub duck shit off the sidewalk? One time, on a really slow day, he let me go up on the roof, which was very adventurous for being at work. He offered to let me toss pumpkins off the roof at Halloween because no one wanted to be at work. That never happened, but just the fact that he mentioned it was cool in my eyes. He was an old school hippie - he recalled seeing Jimi Hendrix live in Virginia Beach in the 60's, and I never heard him yell at anyone. I saw his assistant drop a commercial light bulb on his head, shattering into a million pieces. He never even raised his voice. Once, while moving some plants around after an open house event, I got the facilities golf cart stuck in some double doors, and Les came to the rescue and helped me get it out before any of the managers noticed. He played in a cover jam band and drove an old station wagon (not a creepy chester molester wagon though). Ultimately, I think he was fired, but I had already moved on at that time, so I'm not sure. I'm guessing he is still practicing maintenance at some other business, as fixing things was obviously his calling. So next time some douchebag maintenance dude yells at you or treats you like an idiot because you don't know the difference between flourescent and HID light bulbs, think of Les, the coolest maintenance man ever.

Now, on to a list of two types of things: things that are bad, and things that are bad-ass. This list was inspired by my recent enjoyment of Important Things with Demetri Martin on Comedy Central. I'm going to list one of each. There are only five that I have right now, so please supplement this list in the comments section if you have something to add.

1. Things that are bad: chester molester vans.
1. Things that are bad-ass: El Caminos.

2. Bad: certain types of mustaches.
2. Bad-ass: Snagglepuss.

3. Bad: Paula Abdul 2009.
3. Bad-ass: Paula Abdul Reeboks from the 80's.

4. Bad: Mullets (fem-mullets included).
4. Bad-ass: Sweater shavers.

5. Bad: Miley Cyrus.
5. Bad-ass: Radiohead dissing Miley Cyrus at the Grammy's.

I was hoping to include photos of my broken finger (THANKS AND A SHOUTOUT TO BRETT SHANKLES!), but unfortunately my phone is too slow to send pictures, so hopefully I'll be able to post that sometime in the coming days. Not like any of you are super anxious to see a swollen "stinky pinky", but it's my blog isn't it???

I will leave you with the coolest 80's hair metal video. Thanks to Brad for sharing this gem.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Tunes for a New Season

Happy Spring blog-reading peeps!!! I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the music I’ve been listening to lately. Here are some great new releases, plus a couple of disappointments:

-Alela Diane (To Be Still): I stumbled upon Alela Diane’s poorly updated blog (Wandering Stillness, featured in my blog list below), and decided to check out her music. Her first album, the Pirate’s Gospel, is good, and I was instantly mesmerized by her voice. Think of her as a more tolerable Feist. Her voice is distinctly different and folky, but without too much of the up-and-down quivering of some other voices.
-Neko Case: (Middle Cyclone) was something that had to grow on me, and it did. It took me at least three full listens to get hooked. Now it’s one of my favorite albums of 2009 thus far.
-Bishop Allen (Grrr): This was a huge disappointment for me. I was really looking forward to this album, and I’ve only listened to it once all the way through. It was just boring.
-Wavves (Wavves): I heard a random Wavves song and my first thought was ‘ugh, noise’. However, I’ve listened to multiple songs and have to admit it is growing on me. I’m looking forward to making it through the entire thing.
-Elvis Perkins in Dearland: I’ve only heard a couple of songs on KEXP, and I WANT this! It’s been out for a couple of weeks now, and I'm working on acquiring it.
-Metric (Fantasies): I’ve been anticipating this album since the end of last year when I heard “Help I’m Alive” on KEXP. Once I get that beat in my head it won’t stop, and Emily Haines’ voice is like crack. I just got the album last weekend, and have yet to give it a good listen (besides my sad attempt at jogging on Sat and Sun). I am predicting that I will love it, but I doubt any of the songs will suck me in like “Help I’m Alive” did. Here is Metric playing an acoustic version:

-Animal Collective (Merriweather Post Pavilion): After hearing “Summertime Clothes” and “My Girls” on KEXP, I was all about this album. I made a note to self to download it. Brad found the right version last weekend (you have to make sure you get the studio album, not a live version), and it lives up to the critical acclaim. It takes me to another place, without foreign substances.
-A.C. Newman (Get Guilty): This is ok, there are a few songs that I really like, but I probably couldn’t make it through the whole album without skipping a track or two… or three.
-Camera Obscura (My Maudlin Career): I heart Camera Obscura. I heart this album.

So I guess you've noticed that a lot of the new music I'm listening to I first heard on KEXP. This is the best radio station on the planet. (Thanks Brad, for telling me about it.) I just wanted to say something short about public radio and pledge weeks. I listened to the dj's on KEXP for a week and a half during the spring pledge drive, and finally made a donation with a day to go in the drive. I felt at the time that they 'bugged' me into donating, but then I thought about all the joy I receive by listening to the diverse music they play. I've heard so many different types of music, from artist that don't even have albums in stores, that I'd never have heard if it weren't for their live radio stream. It really makes my workday more tolerable. SOOOO, I just want to say to those that complain about pledge drives and refuse to donate, but continue to listen to public radio - get off it. Seriously, if you want to continue to be able to listen to something that's not complete mindless crap, donate some pocket change to keep those stations going. That is all. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

A mini-blog for you...

I will be working insane hours over the next couple of weeks, but I wanted to post a couple of interesting things for entertainment purposes only.

Here is a brand new video from Camera Obscura... new album out April 20th. Hopefully I will be able to get it early, because I'm excited about how awesome it will be.



This next video is totally random, but as promised in my very first blog, it is of the New Jersey Nets senior dance team. Before watching the video, I thought I'd provide you with a snip of a song from a Beastie Boys song, called Boomin' Granny, that proves old chicks can be hot:

"because I saw ya in the checkout line...
Ya dropped your coupons, and you were lookin' fine
Sophisticated, and so mature
I couldn't really care if you're 50, or 74
because I want ya,
and I need ya.
Boomin granny you can be my teacher.
And I could be your pet, bet.
Listen old lady I'm gonna make ya sweat!"

So, as promised, here ladies and gentlemen, is the NJ Nets Senior Dance team, featured on GMA. (yes that is Lil Jon they are dancing to). Follow this link and stare off into space for 30 seconds while they play their commercial, then enjoy. (Sorry to post a link instead of embedding the video but couldn't find an alternate source).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Craziness Caught on Camera... phone.

People have been using camera phones for years now, and although I try to act like I don’t think it’s cool, I do. I love being able to capture randomness on camera at the drop of a hat. It’s so much more discreet than a regular camera too, because no one can tell whether you’re taking a photo or trying to figure out how the hell to work your phone. I thought I’d share some of the photos currently gathering dust on my phone.

~Rainbows and lollipops

I took this one morning back in January from my office window. Sent it to the Daily Buzz but they didn’t choose it for the weather pic of the day. Jerks. If only I’d have sent them the photoshopped version with Brett and his magic wand…


~Mustache ride, anyone?

Recently I was eating lunch at Panera with my boss, and saw this guy sitting a good ways away. Luckily I have a zoom on my camera phone AND my boss is cool enough to pretend that I was taking a photo of her. Gotcha mustache man!

~Christmas cookie gone bad

My mom and I were decorating Christmas cookies for the guys at work, and my mom’s creative juices started flowing on this wannabe snowman. It went from bad to worse. Looks like a snowman from South Park.

~Funny animal photos
Mr. Cat at Brad’s house has a lot of personality. He also has a lot of teeth. This is him sleeping...

Mr. Cat also has large pupils… looks like a space cat or something from Gremlins.

Lance likes to eat things, especially paper. Just this evening, what I hoped was my credit card bill was actually Jackie’s baby shower invitation. Don’t worry Jackie – I’m still coming! :)


~Lunch lady
Nicole and I were having lunch at Taphouse when we saw an older lady hobbling up the sidewalk. She looked as if she were coming in from working the streets all night, complete with fur-lined stripper boots. Next thing we knew, she was laid out in the middle of the street! No, I did not jump up to help her – I grabbed my phone to take a picture.

Then, because she was blocking traffic flow on Queen’s Way, a landscaping crew stopped their truck to get out and help her. The photo below is of them helping her up and escorting her to the sidewalk.

To this day I swear she’s Tay-Tay’s girlfriend.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this venture into my cell phone photo album. Until next time, dear blog friends, good night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Today's Video

I figure I'd post videos once in a while when I don't have time to write full blogs. This one is from School of Seven Bells, which pretty much hasn't left my iPod since the end of last year. I love them.



Stay tuned for an upcoming blog, hopefully by the end of the weekend! Hasta luego, baby.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

V-day Movies

Just in time for Saturday- some movies that would be fun to watch on Valentine’s Day. This is not your traditional movie list like the one I posted earlier (from everythingvalentine.com), because you can get those anywhere. These are movie suggestions for people wanting something a little different on Valentine’s Day. I came up with 5 movies myself. And just to be fair, I’ve consulted a panel of three handsome young gentlemen to come up with the other 5.

Amber’s 5:
1. The Princess Bride - this is my favorite movie, and includes an epic love story.
2. Slumdog Millionaire - for those of you who don’t mind paying $10 for a movie ticket, this is probably your best option for Valentine’s Day at the cinema. It has won about a billion awards so far this year, and is probably the best love story in theaters right now that won’t leave you feeling depressed.
3. When Harry Met Sally - It’s quirky, funny, and was made before Meg Ryan plastic-surgeried herself into an alien. The discussion on faking orgasms and Meg Ryan’s resulting scene is classic.
4. Jaws - Never a better time to snuggle up with someone than facing a deadly (albeit mechanical) great white shark. Unfortunately I watched Jaws movie when I was 5 years old, so I still worry Jaws may be able to make his way into the ground water under my house and burst through the foundation to gobble me up. Sad, but true.
5. Purple Rain - Prince is a bad-ass, plain and simple. The alley scene when Prince is on a motorcycle and runs over a guy is the best. “What’s the password?!?!”

Guy’s 5:
1. High Fidelity says BK - A great story of heartbreak, forgiveness, and coming of age. The perfect flick for music lovers.
2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall says BK - Why? Hilarious. Full frontal MALE nudity. Mila Kunis. Enough said.
3. “Anything Tarantino” says BG - While I questioned this statement at first, I agree that Kill Bill vols 1 & 2 are two movies I wouldn’t mind watching any day of the week. Sure to please men (violence) AND women (Uma Thurman kicking serious rump).
4. True Romance says AF - I love this movie, and can’t believe it’s 16 years old! Christian Slater is hot, not to mention Brad Pitt playing the best stoner roommate ever. “Boy meets girl. Boy kills girl's pimp. He must have thought it was white boy day.”
5. This was a draw between BK’s Big suggestion, and AF’s Army of Darkness - Totally opposite on the spectrum of genre, but both valid V-day movies. Big is fun, and since love and romance are supposed to be fun, this could inspire all sorts of ideas amongst couples. (trampoline in the bedroom anyone?) Army of Darkness, as AF put it, “has fighting, revenge, torture, chases, escapes, romance, miracles... It is like the princess bride with necromancy.” How could I argue with a Princess Bride reference?

I hope these movie suggestions give you ideas for your V-day movie adventures. All three gentlemen on the panel agree that porn is another option, although I’m not sure females would agree on that. Unless it’s in HD at Frankie’s house, of course! Speaking of, why not install a stripper pole in your living room and call it a day?!?!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Says Ike to Tina: "Don't be so crabby!"

This week marks the first anniversary of the death of my beloved hermit crabs, Ike and Tina. They didn’t live a long life, by any means, but they did leave their mark on the world.

It all started when Nicole and I were in Nags Head, the second weekend in September, 2007. I decided after much deliberation that I was ready to open my home to a hermit crab or two. We went to Wings and there were SOOOO many hermit crabs to choose from. I wanted a boy and a girl (at least shell-wise…I have no idea how to tell a hermit crabs sex). I decided to make it easy and get one pink crab with one blue crab.

Duet names kept flowing through my brain: Captain ‘n Tennille, John and Yoko, Sonny and Cher, Garfield ‘n Otie, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton… you get the idea. Ultimately I chose Ike and Tina. There was just such a spark between the two of them. Explosive, even. That weekend proved to be a challenge for the newly-bought hermits. A tropical storm careened into the Outer Banks, and even though Ike and Tina were safe in their plastic palace with food and a wet sponge, they obviously worried about all of their crab relatives out there in the sand-holes on the beach.

I was just glad I saved them from immenent death by being the off-season hermit crabs at Wings.

We left Nags Head the next morning, and once we were home, Ike and Tina settled into daily life. They loved being taken out of their cage and roaming free, and soon learned that Hazel sniffing their shells was not anything to panic about.

Unfortunately, in January of 2008, I found Ike and Tina had passed away. The details of this tragedy have been buried so deep in my subconscious that I cannot even talk about it. So please don’t ask. A beach burial was in order, so after work one afternoon Nicole, Bly and I met at Buckroe Beach in Hampton for a short service. I will be eternally grateful to Nicole and Bly for braving the 30 degree weather that day. It was only fitting that we were all together again, remembering our times at the beach the previous September. We buried them in the sand, and painted a tombstone on the seawall by the second volleyball post.

A few tears were shed, mostly involuntarily due to the gale force winds, but we have since moved on. I know that Ike and Tina are in crab-heaven surfing warm waves and bathing in the sun. R.I.P Ike and Tina September 8, 2007 – January 30, 2008.

Monday, January 26, 2009

my reaction to seeing a unicorn...

This is how I would react if I were to ever see a unicorn:

Valentine's Day on a McBudget

Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I thought I’d offer some ideas for romancing your special someone. Obviously, things like The Melting Pot, Cartier diamonds, and the ***Lelo Pleasure Object*** are great ideas, but in case you haven’t noticed, we are in a recession. Here are some ideas for a budget-friendly Valentine’s Day that is sure to leave your partner speechless:

Dinner

Start the evening off right. Go to McDonalds and purchase a bunch of McNuggets. Cut them into heart-shapes. Make sure to have a variety of McDonald’s dipping sauces to try. Some locations may charge you extra for the sauce, but it’s worth it. There are people out there who are prone to have a melt-down without sweet ‘n sour sauce, only to find them at the bottom of the bag, and you just do not want to deal with that on V-day. If you absolutely can’t afford the extra sauces, just go in 5 seperate times and tell them you forgot to ask for sauce when you went through the drive-thru “just a minute ago.”

Romance movies: With movie tickets at $10 each, who can afford dinner and a movie anymore? If you can’t even afford to rent a DVD, just go to your local public library and check one out- it’s FREE with a library membership. Click here to find your local public library. Need ideas for the perfect movie? Everythingvalentine.com rated their top 10 V-day Movies:
1. Casablanca (1942)
2. Notting Hill (1999)
3. It Happened One Night (1934)
4. Romeo and Juliet (1968)
5. West Side Story (1961)
6. French Kiss (1995)
7. Like Water for Chocolate (1993)
8. A Room With a View (1986)
9. The Princess Bride (1987)
10. Gone with the Wind (1939)
In the coming days I will post my own top 10 movies for Valentine’s Day!

The Bath Seat

I was standing in line at my Rite Aid pharmacy and saw this. A man behind me in line sees it at the same time and says to his super attractive girlfriend “I could think of a bunch of ways to use that.” I thought to myself, “how clever! This guy really knew how to stretch his budget!” No way is he going to spend $300 on some scary sex swing. And, if he happens to have a grandma or grandpa on Medicare he could probably snag one for FREE!

The Conair Heat Massage Tool

I don’t think further description is necessary. Also available at your local Rite Aid.

Those are just some ideas for creating a special and memorable Valentine’s Day. If you think of something I have left out, please add your suggestions to the comments section.
xoxo

P.S. Have you had your Pat Smear this year?