November Banner and Music

That crazy "life" thing has been getting in the way of updating the blog again, but things are starting to creep back to normal.  Lots to talk about concerning family and work life, but before diving into that rigamarole, it's time (again) for the Banner and Music Updates!

The whole site got a facelift - I know I tend to change every couple of months, but right now I'm trying to de-clutter a lot of my life, and I wanted the site to reflect that.  Most everything is still here, but hopefully I've achieved a more streamlined, clean look to everything.  I know, it's a little dark, and that may change, but now I'm just going to run with it.

After reviewing MR. FROST and relating the movie sharing experience with my friend jason, I heard back from him, telling me one of my film choices was Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's CITY OF LOST CHILDREN - a film he admitted that left him a bit cold.  I had the opposite reaction: I immediately fell in love with it's fantastic colors, exaggerated images and wonderful performances.  Unlike a lot of other science fiction or fantasy films, the world feels completely realized, inhabited by a cast of characters ripped from the brains of Lynch, Gilliam, and Jones (Chuck, that is).  Jeunet has since gone on to be one of my favorite filmmakers, and this was the film that introduced me to him.

Between the preceding paragraph and this one was a break of roughly six hours, ad I'm working on only three hours sleep from the night before, so I'll touch on the Head Music section a little more briefly than usual.  

Of course, it bears noting that absent from the list but very much in my ears are Blue Record and Axe to Fall from Baroness and Converge, respectively.  Along with Mastodon's early year Crack the Skye release, they'll definitely be making my year-end best list.  Sadly, I doubt they'll be on Pitchfork's, though...

Despite the rash of great rock music that's come out in the last few months, I've been on a hip-hop kick lately - especially The Roots.  I know liking The Roots is the "cool, White Guy" thing to do, but when they come together, it's just spectacular.  I've been running the entire discography constantly in my Pod, but Rising Down got the nod here for the ridiculously good title track featuring Mos Def as well as for the fact they named their album after an obscure William T. Vollmann book.  That.  is. Awesome.

New Slayer Record.  What more needs to be said?  I'm still getting into this, but so far the verdict is the playing and songwriting on World Painted Blood is miles better than what was on their "comeback" record Christ Illusion, mainly because Kerry King unclenched his buttocks and let the rest of the band write some songs for a change.  But the production feels a little thin and when you're arguably the biggest metal band in the world, you should sound a little beefier.

I await each new record by Tegan and Sara with a joy typically reserved for things like a delicious key lime pie or a luxurious back rub.  I was knocked off my feet from the very first song I ever heard, and each album has had more and more to look forward to.  Sainthood hasn't quite had the same impact yet, but I'm hoping that with a few more listens it'll catch on like every other record has.

Hiss and call names all you like, but I give Wolfmother a pass.  They play the type of 70's laid back stone rock I grew up with, and they play it well.  It's not rocket science, it won't change the world, but like Jet (a band that does exactly the same thing, just cops a different sound), they make me feel good when they're on.  Plus Cosmic Egg is a bitchin' record name and sports a bitchin' cover to boot.

I only just discovered Alexi Murdoch after seeing the breezy-easy AWAY WE GO.  He's got a Nick Drake voice that works for me, and the production on Time Without Consequences, his debut album from a year or so ago, feels large and expansive, encompassing a very modern (a la Iron & Wine) folk sound mixed with some fun 60s psychedelia.  Great chill-out music.

Finally there's Between the Buried and Me.  I don't know if the "Math Metal" card gets played too much any more, and it really doesn't make much sense to play it here, either.  BTB&M play a ferocious mix of metal, prog, and straight-up rock that goes in 101 directions at once, yet still feels cohesive for all its disjointedness.  As much as they get compared to genre setters like the Dillinger Escape Plan, I think a closer touch is a band like Candiria, who effortless wove jazz and hip-hop into their metal assault.  Here, it's more Queen and prog, but The Great Misdirect works, even when you suspect it shouldn't.

And that's it.  What's been playing in your head lately?