Category Archives: Personal

My Favorite EPs

In music, albums and singles are praised all the time–whether it be at the Grammys or by an arts and entertainment magazine or just some dude’s blog.

However, EPs (extended plays for you those of you not with it), the no man’s land between singles and albums, often go unrecognized. After thinking about it, I confirmed that I did, in fact, listen to enough of them to put together a little list.

These are the ones that have stuck with me.

Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988)

I imagine when all the hair metal bands in LA heard this, they just collectively shit their pantaloons.

Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are the bands that get credit for starting the grunge movement, but Mudhoney was really the heart and soul of that scene. Before the success of Nevermind, this is the record that put Sub Pop on the map.

Mission of Burma – Signals, Calls and Marches (1981)

I remember hearing “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” for the first time and thinking this is one of the best things I’ve ever heard.

Mission of Burma were all trained musicians (in a scene where that wasn’t necessarily positive) and thus knew where to bend the rules. The complex compositions (relative to contemporaries) and strategic use of noise and feed back created a one-of-a-kind sound you’re not likely to forget.

Minor Threat – Minor Threat (1981)

When you get into punk music there are a few bands you’re required to listen to, Minor Threat is one of them.

It only clocks in at about 9 and a half minutes, but Minor Threat’s first EP is a powder keg of aggression and exuberance.

At this age, it’s hard to get behind some of the youthful righteousness of the EP. But, when I have a rough day at work, “I Donna Wanna Hear It” is the perfect form of catharsis.

Fugazi – Furniture (2001)

Fugazi is another Ian Mackaye band that seems to be required listening. The band was rooted in punk but moved away from the brevity and bluntness of the hardcore scene.

I think most Fugazi fans might be inclined to favor the band’s first self-titled EP or Margin Walker, but it’s always been Furniture for me.

It’s only three songs, but it’s 8:51 of brilliance. “Number 5” is one of my favorite instrumental songs because it’s so unrelenting.

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My Favorite Albums of 2013

Honestly, I could have done a better job with the music listening in 2013. However, I still got around to listening to a decent amount of albums. Most of them were from bands I already liked, so I guess I’ll have to expand my horizon in 2014.

*Also, it should be noted these were my favorites of 2013, not necessarily the objectively best albums of everything released last year.

British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy

I’m a sucker for this stuff. British Sea Power is one of many bands that picked up where post-punk bands from the 80s left off. Machineries is a little mellower than their earlier stuff, but “Machineries of Joy” and “Loving Animals” prove that’s a good thing.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Fly by Wire

I don’t know why it took me so long to get into SSLYBY. They’re from Springfield, Mo., and I probably missed lots of awesome shows while I was at Mizzou. Anyway, they’re catchy as ever on this album.

Local Natives – Hummingbird

Local Natives are one of the bands I think of when I hear “indie band.” I had a chance to see them in Asheville at the start of 2013 but didn’t go, and I’ve been kicking myself since.

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Here’s the thing about Scotland: If it produces a rock band, I’m going to like it. Orange Juice? Yup. Teenage Fan Club? Sure. Franz Ferdinand? Of course. We Were Promised Jetpacks? Naturally. Frightened Rabbit? You’re goddamn right.

This is another band that I had a chance to see but didn’t. Man, I am a stupid idiot.

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404 Boys vs. the Raccoon

I’m willing to bet I’ve seen a raccoon closer in person than you have. It’s a weird boast, I know.

Let me explain. My senior year of college I lived in a big (somewhat decrepit) house with three friends. I would guess it was built sometime in the early 1900’s.

Said house.

Said house.

It had some great features (an elegant spiral staircase, a big porch) and some not-so-great features (no air conditioning on the second floor). However, its shortcomings were mostly bearable…until the second semester of school.

One week, my roommates and I heard scratching sounds coming from parts of the wall and ceiling. They were never prolonged, but each of us heard them at some point. I thought that squirrels might have found their way into the roof from one of the adjacent trees–at least, that’s what I hoped. But, as long as it was only scratching, we didn’t think too much about it. There was copious amounts of cheap beer to drink after all.

This is what everyone means when they say “beast mode,” right?

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The Lost Art of Getting Lost

Pete Holmes has a bit about Google in his act that I enjoy. He says, “I have Google on my phone now and it’s ruining our lives. I don’t know if you’ve noticed…it’s ruining life…because we know everything. But we’re not a lick smarter for it. We just know.”

I tend to agree with Pete. I call him Pete because we’re friends. Well, I listen to his podcast every week, which is as close to friendship as some people get these days.

But that’s neither here nor there.

His point is that our collective sense of wonder is dissipating into the ether. I’ve noticed this in one area of my life particularly: Directions.

It could be worse.

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Pizza Ad Campaigns Decoded

Pizza is a staple of any 20-something’s diet, especially college students. However, lately, I’ve noticed how ridiculous national pizza chains’ advertising is.

Pro tip for you pizza big wigs out there: People in America will always eat pizza. Always. But, if you insist on continuing to waste your money, I’ll let you know what you’re really saying to us.

Domino’s: Hey guys, we really don’t suck anymore! Really!

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Domino’s got a boost from some not-so-subtle product placement with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.

That allowed them to coast through the rest of the ’90s and most of the ’00s shoveling out below-average, cardboard-crusted pizza for elementary-school birthday parties and drunk college students.

Subtle.

Then came the proliferation of the Internet. Suddenly, entitled jerks with nothing better to do could tell Domino’s (and anyone else who would listen) just how much they sucked. Domino’s realized the jig was up and this was the result:

Their current TV commercials are so desperate that it’s difficult to watch. Domino’s is basically the guy at the bar after last call hopelessly trying to get someone–anyone–to come home with him.

Unfortunately, not even coeds eight vodka Red Bulls deep really want to eat Domino’s pizza.

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