Sunday, December 16, 2012

Frank Politics! Three steps to ending gun violence...

If I became president the first three things I would do are enact the following edicts...

1. Every school (public and university) must spend at least twice as much on mental health services as they do on sport programs.

2. Convert at least half of the churches in the US to mental health facilities.

3. Make all guns illegal. Citizens can exchange their firearms for tasers, baseball bats, pepper spray or other non lethal defense.

Did I miss any? Please continue the list in the comments.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Musical Advent Calendar Day Seven - Beachwood Sparks : Tarnished Gold

After an excruciating eleven year hiatus Beachwood Sparks return to the always barren psychedelic country indie pop scene. I know there are many "roots rock" or "alterna-country" or "shit kicking pop dust bowl ballad" type bands out there but no other contemporary band captures the feeling of the Sweetheart era Byrds like Sparks. They don't just emulate but build upon the style, stripping away the linear storytelling of later era Byrds and infusing it with early Byrds songwriting.  So glad to see them back.

Musical Advent Calendar Day Six - Magnetic Fields : Love at the Bottom of the Sea

Big surprise the new Magnetic Fields album is amazing.  Unlike Distortion and Realism which each musically tackled their respective titularity, Love gets back to the sythn/acoustic swap of their earlier work. More of the same? Yes, but no one writes a song like Stephen Merritt and the world continues to become a lonelier place. We need all the bitter sarcasm we can get.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Musical Advent Calendar Day Five: Air : Le Voyage Dans La Lune

An amazing score to the restored version of the 1902 French film. The music here is more reminiscent of  the duo's earlier work (Premiers Symptomes) than their work on The Virgin Suicides or anything else lately. It is nice to hear them get back to their moon roots. Oh yeah and the chick from Beach House comes in at the end. Such a good album. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Musical Advent Calendar Day Four: Aaron Freeman : Marvelous Clouds

If you grew up in Austin during the nineties and smoked cigarettes with the cool kids behind HEB then you were undoubtedly a Ween fan. I took music way too seriously in high school so I often scoffed at the silly duo and their drug fueled, scatter brained psychedelic pop. It was still devastating to hear  that they finally broke up  this year. Aaron Freeman aka Gene Ween went and got sobered up, broke up the band and released  this beautiful collection of songs originally recorded by 60's poet/troubadour Rod McKeun. This collection lacks the tongue in cheek approach one might expect from the author of such songs as Spinal Meningitis (got me down) and Bananas & Blow. These tunes all have a cathartic feel to them and were obviously chosen with great care. They dabble in the abstract and poetic, but the souls of the songs are all perfectly articulated by Aaron's interpretation. He sounds like a man who has been through some shit but has not given up on music. Most of my friends who still listen to Ween seem to hate this album, labeling it as a soft rock snooze fest. They can piss up a rope cause this album is fantastic.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Musical Advent Calendar Day Three: Daniel Johnston : Space Ducks

This year the famously unstable and genius Daniel Johnston quietly released what might his greatest collection to date. Perhaps the fact the album is an official soundtrack to Daniel's comic of the same name left some critics smirking at the cover art instead of actually listening to the album. The title tracks does in fact deal with Space Ducks and their quest to free Austin of all of the creepy people, but the rest of the album is classic weirdo heartache. What is so special about this album it that we not only get to hear Johnston's classic piano/guitar/vocal warble delivery of his heart pulverizing tunes but also we are treated to current artist rendering his words as their own. Lavender Diamond's track 'Moment of Laughter' and Elanor Friedberg's 'Come Down' are both tear jerking and remind us just how great of songwriter Johnston is.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Musical Advent Calendar Day Two: Gravenhurst : The Ghost in Daylight

Gravenhurst has one big pot that he uses to create a delectable musical stew fit for the Fall months. Throw in a bit of Nick Drake, a pinch of Massive Attack, a hearty dose of The Clientele and voila you have one of the hardest albums of the year to pin down. At it's core The Ghost in Daylight is a grand British folk album, but unlike most that tackle the genre he is unafraid to mix it up stylistically. Haunting and brooding but never pretentious. At least not by my standards which I'll admit are pretty loose. The sprawling second track The Prize wins it's own prize as one of my favorite tracks of the year. If you are a fan of Elliot Smith but wish he would have experimented with some different genres this album is for you.

Musical Advent Calendar Day One: Peaking Lights : Lucifer

Peaking Light's follow up to  last years 936 follows in the same low key dub formula that made their debut so well received. Each song is a slow burn, a dubby bus ride through a smokey back alley in search of a club you will never find. Great stuff to relax out to. With all the blog hype 936 relieved I am not sure why this release did not receive equal praise. That's the fickle indie music 'press' for you, always ready to move on to the next thing.