Category Archives: Rants and Raves

Time to get excited

Back on  Friday Sigur Rós released some solid info about their upcoming album Kveikur. Not only did they tell us that Kveikur will be released on June 16, but they also released an EP entitled Brennisteinn and a music video to go along with the title track. So if you haven’t heard “Brennisteinn,” or seen the music video to it, here ya go.

So there is a definite new direction Sigur Rós is headed with this song, and that direction is 180 degrees from their last album Valtari. Instead of the very relaxing and borderline ambient stuff we heard, our ears are now blasted with a dark, intense, industrial influenced tune. Sigur Rós hasn’t been dark or brooding since their debut album Von, especially “Sigur Rós,” which is downright frightening at times. So I’m excited to see just how “Brennisteinn” feels in context of the new album. Is the whole album going to be a venture on the dark side? If not, how is Kveikur going to balance out? Only time will tell, so until then we’ll just have to listen to “Brennisteinn” a few dozen more times.

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Here’s Something

James Blake ‘Retrograde’

‘Retrograde’ is the first single off of the upcoming sophomore album from James Blake, Overgrown. From what you just listened to (hopefully you listened to it or else why even come to this page?)  it sounds like it’s going to be a worthy follow up. His mix of soul and dubstep/electronica is the perfect chillin’ music, and is soothing to my soul. Also did I mention that this music video is also pretty cool. You should probably watch it again.


I’m back..

So I was really lazy over the summer. I went to a few really amazing concerts, Sigur Ros, Regina Spektor, mewithoutYou, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thrice, and maybe a couple more. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting about a few of those. I don’t know what it was I just didn’t really work on this blog at all. Now that school is back in session, and I’ve got more of a normal routine I should be pretty regular on the content again. I’ve even started looking into my favorite albums again. There’s a lot that’s changed there but hopefully I can get some more of those albums up for you guys to check out. So, yeah… look for more new content again starting with a new weekly dig.  Lianne La Havas is pretty great and it’s hard for me to imagine people out there that wouldn’t like it, and I mean that every person in the whole world should like what they hear from her, because it’s just good stuff.


Restringing Your Guitar

First and foremost I want to tell you that I am by no means an expert on anything related to guitar, and in most areas I’m barely experienced. I’ve been playing the guitar for a few months now on a guitar I got for free. While the guitar itself isn’t worth much replacing those old strings that have been in place for who knows how long with some new strings would go a long way to improving its sound. These instructions have been written after my first, mostly successful, attempt to restring my guitar. I discovered a few things that I can hopefully help you avoid. I’m also now proof that you don’t need to be a guitar expert to do this yourself. The restringing is not a super hard task, and once you have the tools you need and a new set of strings it shouldn’t take any longer than a half hour to finish. So, let’s get to it.

  • What You’ll Need
    • A set of new strings
    • Wire Cutters
    • A pair of Pliers
  • Picking Out a set of Strings

There are a lot of options out there in regards to the strings you can get. It is not too hard to find a set for $5-7. You’ll notice different gauges on the strings and this relates to the thickness of the strings. The lighter the gauge the thinner the string and the easier to play on, but if you’ve been playing for a while and you’ve got some good calluses on your fingers it doesn’t matter too much which gauge you go for. It seems to be agreed upon that the thicker gauge strings will produce a better tone, but really it’s all a matter of personal preference. As for the brands of strings, D’Addario’s and Elixer’s seem to be the most popular brands, according to Amazon.com, and would be a pretty safe bet. Bronze and brass strings are for acoustic guitars and nickel strings for electric, so there is another thing you want to watch out for. Hopefully that’s enough for you to make a semi-educated decision on what to get.  (If you end up with a pack of four strings you probably bought a set for a bass, I did this on my first try. There’s not much on the packaging to distinguish between bass and guitar strings, at least on the D’Addario packaging.)

Once you have everything ready to go you should probably only need around a half hour to finish the dirty deed.

  1. Loosen the strings on your guitar all the way.
  2. Use your pliers to pull out the plugs holding the strings in at the base of the guitar. Then you can remove the old strings (I couldn’t find a pair of pliers at my place so I popped them out using my claw hammer really easily.)
  3. While the strings are off the guitar it is a pretty good opportunity to give it a little bit of a polishing/dusting. The strings are gone so it’s pretty easy to hit areas that are normally a pain; the fret board and the head. Then when you’re done it will almost feel like you have a new guitar.
  4. Put the new strings in the guitar. The strings should be color coded on the end to tell you which one is which. While you’re putting the new strings in line up the groove inthe plugs with the string and direct it so the string can easily be run up the fret board.  The order of the strings is E, A, D, G, B, E when you’re looking down on the guitar as if you were going to play it.
  5. Thread the top of the strings through the tuners. Tighten the strings using the tuners. Once you’ve got all six strings done you should have a mess of string coming out of the head of your guitar.
  6. Trim down the mess of strings using the wire cutters. You’ll want to wait until after you’ve tightened the strings because if you don’t you might not be able to get the strings as tight as you need. I waited to tune my guitar until after I clipped the strings down with the wire cutters and my little e-string was clipped too short. While I was trying to tune it, it reached a point where it was tight enough that the string slipped out of the tuner, and I was out of luck.
  7. You’re done; with the strings trimmed up you are ready to get back to playing.
    Note: Over the next few days the strings will probably stretch out a bit, and will need to be tuned several times before they settle in.

The Boss is LMFAO worthy too.

One of my favorite pairs of musicians are collaborating again. You know, just getting their wiggles out. Anywho, watch the vid and be entertained.

Bruce Springsteen And Neil Young Sing “Sexy And I Know It” – Music – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.


Top 10 Albums of 2011

This is coming a little later than I fist had expected, I pretty much took the whole month of January off, which led to a few good things, but now we’re pretty much halfway through February. It helped me to get caught up on some bigger releases and led to two albums making it on to my list that weren’t there at the end of December,  Sit Resist and James Blake. Some other honorable mentions I would like to showcase would be The Roots- Undun, Defeater- Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, Laura Marling- A Creature I Don’t know, Slow Runner- Damage Points, and Iron & Wine- Kiss Each Other Clean. There is also another list of 2011 albums that I still need to take some time to listen to namely Pianos Become the Teeth- The Lack Long After, WU LYF- Go Tell Fire To The Mountain, Swarms- Old Raves End,  CunninLynguists- Oneirology, and Youth Lagoon- The Year of Hibernation. Finally hear is my top ten albums of 2011.

10. Radiohead- The King of Limbs

The King of Limbs I’ve already wrote a bit about, but that was quite some time ago. In fact I thing it was my first post on this little blog thing, and here we are almost a year later and this album shows it has some staying power when compared to the already impressive resume that Radiohead has put together. Like I mentioned earlier I feel that this is one of the most relate-able collections of songs this band has released.  “Lotus Flower” lies at the heart of it all being one of the best songs they’ve written.

9. The Dodos- No Color

This album features The Dodos doing everything that they did that made us (me) fall in love with them. They’ve scaled back their operation a bit since their last release, ditching the vibraphone, and leaving us with just Logan and Meric playing their catchy, syncopated indie folk. No Color is a little more see’s this duo more matured, and gives me hope that they’ll be around for a while longer.

6. James Blake- James Blake

James Blake is the breakout artist of 2011. The Grammies might be all about Bon Iver as the Best New Artist, but since when can you trust the Grammies. Anyone that really pays attention to music would know that Bon Iver released an amazing debut album FOUR YEARS AGO. James Blake over the past year released his debut album and three E.P.’s, and did what is always incredibly difficult. James Blake made something fresh and new. He’s come out of the dubstep scene and that’s where his music mostly relates, but he’s mixed things up in a way that’s hard to explain. Hard to explain but easy to enjoy.

7. St. Vincent- Strange Mercy

Beautiful yet psychotic, this album is mesmerizing. It’s messy and fractured and maybe at times seems to go through an identity crisis, but I think that’s exactly what was intended. Strange Mercy takes time to revel in the mistakes and imperfections. Nothing on this album seems like it should work and yet it all does. Annie Clark fuses it all together in an unconventional mix and a midst all the weirdness I can’t help but be totally infatuated.

6. Laura Stevenson & The Cans- Sit Resist

Sit Resist is simply charming. It’s pleasantly simple and straightforward and pulls you in as soon as it begins and I don’t think anyone ever has objected to go where Laura Stevenson and the Cans want to take you. At some point in the middle of the album I’m always surprised by all the different instruments I’ve heard because the feel of the album makes me think all I’ve heard was a guitar and drums and Laura’s voice, but there’s trumpets, violins, banjos, and accordions adding variation all along this pleasant trip.

5. Bon Iver- Bon Iver

I was pretty underwhelmed when I first heard this album. I didn’t think it was anywhere near the quality if Bon Iver’s debut album For Emma, Forever Ago. My opinion has changed a bit as time went by and today I would have to take time to think about which album I enjoy more. I still think I would lean toward the debut, but to say the least, Bon Iver has grown on me quite a bit. The sadness of the debut has dissipated, but we are left with that same atmospheric, gorgeous indie folk, whatever you call it.

4. Thrice- Major/Minor

It’s weird to write about this album knowing now that this might very well be the last album written by this band rather than just their newest album. Over the past decade Thrice have managed to release six full length albums and one four E.P.’s/twenty four songs compilation, each time the managed to change their sound quite a bit, but they’ve managed to hold on to their identity. Major/Minor is no exception. With this release it might have seemed that the goal was to hone in on the basics of rock, because these tracks are infused with blues, and once again Thrice manage to sound fresh and at the top of their game.

3. Thursday- No Devolucion

Just a couple days after Thrice announced their hiatus, Thursday followed suite. I don’t know if you call it ironic or coincidental, but here you have two bands that at the turn of the millennium we’re helping to define post-hardcore bow out of the game in the same week after both releasing critically acclaimed records the same year. With Thursday though I think No Devolucion is the best album of their career. While they started out helping to define post-hardcore, here at the end they blur the edges a little bit and bring in post-rock and other influences.  Now over a decade later they are still showing the way for their peers in a genre that has somewhat stagnated.

2. TV on the Radio- Nine Types of Light

TV on the Radio was a band that I had heard plenty about over the last few years, but it wasn’t until this album came out that I was able to really jump in and experience this great group. The video for “Will Do” totally captivated me and ever time I listen to the song it still puts me in an almost trance. This album is full of surprises and every song brings something different to the table. Whether it’s the easy-going-ness of “Second Song,” or the punchy-ness of “Caffeinated Consciousness” it’s all fantastic.

1. O’Brother- Garden Window

This was a debut I’d been excited about for a long time, and it did anything but disappoint me. It’s a very atmospheric and brooding album. It gives itself plenty of time for it’s ideas to develop and show themselves. It’s sludgy, heavy, deliberate and at time delicate and beautiful. It’s my favorite album from the year among another great year for music. O’Brother is a band that seems to have taken just about everything that I enjoy in music and combined it all together into awesomeness, and speaking of awesomeness, I’ve got to mention their live show again. They’ve blown me away every time I’ve seen them. Tanner Merritt’s voice has a power that just can’t quite be captured in the record. I’m pleased to say that at the end of the month I’ll get to see them again. So there it is. 2011. There was a lot of good things happening and there are some  great looking things on the horizon of 2012 that I’ll try and keep you up to date on.


Changing the way I listen to music.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Spotify or not, you’ve probably been stalking on facebook and seen some fb friends with an endlessly annoying list of songs they’ve listened to through spotify, well I want to tell you about it. There have been a few programs or websites that have had huge impacts in the music industry, Napster for one, itunes for another, Pandora has become a very popular online radio, Last.fm is my online radio of choice, but I think Spotify has the potential to be as big as any of these.  That might be a big statement to make, but I stand by it.

I think it could become the Netflix of music, in a sense. The way people watch movies and listen to music is pretty different. With movies they’re widely advertised and showed in theater to the masses. There are many different places you can stream movies online now, and redboxes are popping up everywhere on street corners, and inside Wal-Marts that pop out movies so you can take them home for a day or two and watch them in the convenience of your home. If there’s a movie out there that you want to watch chances are that you can find it pretty easy. There are a few cases where you might be wanting to watch a foreign film, or a under-the-radar indie film. Now you’re redboxes aren’t likely to have those and you might not even be able to find anywhere to stream it, but chances are you can have Netflix mail it to your home. It might be a few days, but you’ll get it.

Music has always been a little different. In the past when there has been a song you want to listen to, and you want to listen to it at that moment, you’re going to have to own it. Whether you’ve bought a digital copy or you’re one of those crazy people like me that still buys cd’s, or you could use methods slightly less popular with the law, you need to have a copy of that song. I’ll tell you right now that it’s hard to purchase something when you don’t know what it’s going to be like. Sure you might have heard one or two of the singles somewhere, and you might even be able to listen to 30 second previews of the rest of the songs, but that still leaves a lot of time unaccounted for in a 40 minute album. I’ve been surprised many times, and many times it wasn’t a good surprise. It’s now becoming more of a common practice for bands to stream their albums ahead of their release which at least allows you to know what you’re getting yourself into, but these are usually only available for only a week or two. It’s a pretty tough life for someone who loves music, and tries to keep up with it all, but doesn’t do any pirating (feel sad for me).

You don’t have to feel sad anymore though. I found spotify. If you’ve used grooveshark you can think of that, but a lot cleaner and more organized. If you can picture what a grooveshark is, just think of being able to type in any song you want, and then click on that song to start listening to it. You can make whole lists of songs to listen to and it will play them to you in that order rather than spitting random songs that they think are similar to the one you wanted to listen to. It also syncs up with the files you already have on your computer so you can access those in the same program. If you’re a subscriber you can have this same goodness on your mobile phone. Now when I find something that looks interesting I don’t have to wait for a stream, or scour youtube I can listen to it immediately and decide right then and there whether it’s worth my time or I can forget about it. With the amount of music out there it’s already too easy for things to fall into a forgotten abyss. I don’t know if I can articulate how awesome I think this system is. If you’re a person that has never liked listening to the radio then I really think you should try out Spotify. It’s going to really hamper how many cd’s I buy, but I don’t feel bad at all because whatever I listen to royalties are sent to the artist and other’s who are responsible for creating the music. I don’t know any of the details of that arrangement, and I don’t really care all that much, but it makes me happy.

So there’s a plug for my new music playing software. I would also recommend the last.fm app for Spotify for music recommendations. I hope that was somewhat coherent and somewhat convincing to help you in your music listening experience and thanks for reading.