2011's Greatest Hits

These are my favorite tunes from 2011.  And this is the obligatory tip of the hat to Chaz Felix for introducing me to the "annual greatest hits" format many years ago.

2007 Edition
2008 Edition
2009 Edition
2010 Edition

Interestingly, all of the following links point to Spotify whereas the previous editions pointed to YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, and elsewhere.  Spotify definitely changed the way I jammed in 2011.

Other than Big Boi (AKA Sir Lucious Left Foot AKA Daddy Fat Sacks AKA Chico Dusty) in January, I can't remember going to a single concert in 2011.  You see!  This is what happens!  This is what happens when you run a start-up and have a kid!

How Far We've Come - Dawes

Such a fun, bouncy tune!  A friend recommended Dawes to me and I listened to the record non-stop for several weeks.

Who? - The Sheepdogs

This would be a fun song to cover.  Very cool harmonies and a hard-hitting bridge.  Evidently the Sheepdogs are kind of a big deal.

Less of Me - Glen Campbell

I read an article about Glen Campbell's struggle with Alzheimer's and the record that he released - "Ghost on the Canvas" - as a goodbye note of sorts.  So I decided that I would like Glen Campbell.  And it didn't take very long. This song is particularly special because I like to sing it to Thomas.

Piggy Jig - Kindermusick

Speaking of Thomas - I have a kid now.  Which means I have to listen to songs like this.  Piggy Jig is actually pretty cool.  Could be a lot worse...and I suspect that it will be sooner rather than later.

Black Tongue - Mastodon

I have a kid, but I still like to kick @ss.

Whole Love - Wilco

At this point, Wilco is like a worn-out pair of shoes that fit familiarly and perfectly every time.  I thought "The Whole Love" was a strong effort.

Fanfare for the Common Man - Copland

I remember blasting this jam in January when we would close a deal at Argyle HQ #1, 331 W Main St, Suite 403, Durham.  We weren't closing many customers earlier this year, so it was always a big deal when we got one!  Luckily, we're closing much more business these days.  And we have way too many employees to distract with deafening Copland.

Judas - Gaga

Not ashamed that I love this song, even though many Argylers made fun of me for listening to it so frequently after it released.

2010's Greatest Hits

Here are my favorite tunes from 2010.  And here is the obligatory tip of the hat to Chaz Felix for introducing me to the "greatest hits" format many years ago.

2007 Edition
2008 Edition
2009 Edition

Acheron / Unearthing the Orb - The Sword
The Sword's "Warp Riders" was my favorite record from 2010.  This is the first track - a blistering instrumental that I jammed a lot while running and working.  And sometimes jammed just for the purposes of scowling in acknowledgment of The Sword's brutal precision.

Older - Band of Horses
A heart-felt country shuffle.  Great lyrics.  Kelly and I listened to this one a lot driving back and forth to Hatteras.

Love Gun - KISS
I used to love mocking KISS and fans of their music.  And then I finally considered the fact that millions of fans can't be wrong, so I downloaded the "Kiss" and "Love Gun" records.  And then I converted.  So over the top and sexual - what's not to love?

Bad Wolf Good Wolf - Caltrop
These guys are based in Chapel Hill.  Excellent stoner metal.  Oft-played while working at Argyle HQ.

Warriors of Time - Black Tide
Love this band - very much a GNR feel to their music.  The "Warriors of Time" video is epic - a cartoon viking, skater punk, and cowboy fight a flying robot horde.  The full version of the song includes a beautiful acoustic intro that I used to soundtrack a 30th birthday video roast I made for my friend Ben.

Alejandro - Lady Gaga
'Tis true - I LOVE Lady Gaga.  Kelly and I saw her performance at the RBC Center in Raleigh earlier this year - we were 5 people back, right in front of the stage and we screamed/danced all night.  Glorious.

Doublecrossed - Valient Thorr
I was sadly underwhelmed by "Stranger" - Valient Thorr's new record this year.  But this song is EPIC and the video is hilarious.  It harkens back to the classic music videos by the Beastie Boys and other late 80s rap acts...except that these dudes are metal all the way.  VT is a seriously hardworking band...and they're nice guys, too.  Still one of my faves.

Ce Jeu - Yelle
Addictive French bubblegum pop.  And a delightfully weird video.

Lobby Party - Ozomatli
Without a doubt, the best concert I saw this year was Ozomatli at UNC's Memorial Hall.  I danced - mostly by myself - for two hours straight.  And the performance ended with a redongo dance party in the lobby.  If you watch very closely, you can see me dancing.  :) 

Daddy Was An Old-Time Preacher Man - Dolly Parton & Porter Waggoner
I've loved country music since I was a little boy and the beautiful harmonies have always been a big part of the appeal.  Some of my favorite country vocals are 70s era man/womon duets like this one from Dolly and Porter.  Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitter are another great pair.

The Startup Soundtrack

I LOVE music.  And I LOVE (so far) starting a company.  The two obviously go hand-in-hand - I spend a lot of time at my desk blasting tunes while I churn through my to-do list.

So here are some of my startup workaholic jams.  I welcome your recommendations for more.


They just don't make 'em like Ronnie James Dio any more.

I find that the The Sword helps me endure Quickbooks.

Detecting a theme? Aggressive music drives aggressive growth.

Sonny Rollins for late night sessions.

Valient Himself

It isn't everyday that the lead singer of your favorite band walks into the bar and says "hi". 

Kelly and I went out to the Reservoir in Carrboro last night to celebrate my friend Chris' 30th birthday.  After we'd been there for a bit, 3/5 of my favorite rock band - Chapel Hill-based Valient Thorr - walked into the joint.  Of course - both Chris and I recognized them immediately and, of course, we both started giggling with excitement.

Lead singer Valient Himself walked by and I greeted him.  And he reminded me that I owe him an email.  I had previously contacted him to commission an ink portrait, which was admittedly just a mechanism to get to meet him and hang out.  Pretty cool that he remembered/recognized me.

We caught up at the bar shortly thereafter.  Talked about how being the lead singer of an upstart (for 7+ years) rock band is kinda like being the CEO of a start-up.  (Ha!)  And discussed the importance of being your own man...and openly telling critics, detractors, etc. to eat sh!t - both literally (in his case) and metaphorically (probably more appropriate in my case).  And we talked about their new record that should release later this year...and how it is less metal, more funk.

Best of all?  Completely nice guy - friendly, appreciative, funny, and absolutely rock & roll.  And it was his birthday, too.

Valient Thorr is touring with Mastodon, Between The Buried And Me, and Barroness.  You should see them.  I'm going to the Raleigh show on April 17.  And I'm wearing my Thorrior armor.

You should buy their record Immortalizer.  You'll be glad you did.  I've been obsessed since the day I bought it.

You better live your life.
This ain't no practice round.
Don't stumbe off the path.
Cause it's a long way down.

Why I Broke Up With Kings of Leon

It was cool to like Kings of Leon in 2005.  Nobody had heard of them and the redneck Strokes sound on "Aha Shake Heartbreak" was really fresh.  You could buy a concert ticket for less than $10.  And they had this weirdo Pentecostal-white-trash background that made their music all the more mischevious.

It isn't cool to like Kings of Leon in 2010.  Kelly and I paid $40/ticket to see them put on a short, boring, ambivalent performance in Cary this past Spring.  They're on pop radio.  They probably wear really expensive blue jeans.  Basically - they've become the antithesis of everything that made them fun.

So I broke up with them.  Actually - I broke up with them the day I heard "Sex On Fire" on the radio.  Kelly will confirm.  We were in her car and the song came on Kelly's favorite Top 40 station:

  • "Is this Sex On Fire?"
  • "Yes."
  • "Well.  I guess that's that."

We'll always have the good times.  Their back catalog will remain in heavy rotation - "The Bucket" will remain one of my favorite songs and their 2nd and 3rd records will always mark fun times around 2005, 2006, 2007. 

They're still a great band and they'll still sell a gazillion records and gazillion concert tickets.  Just not to me.

(Note - I've had similar break-ups with Pearl Jam, Metallica, Modest Mouse, Son Volt, Ben Folds, Beck, and Weezer.  So pretty good company for KOL.)

2009's Greatest Hits

This is always my favorite post of the year - the list of songs that soundtracked the past 12 months.  It always helps me remember fun times, people, and places.  As always, tip of the hat to Chaz Felix for introducing me to the format.

2007 Edition
2008 Edition

Without further ado, the tunes I jammed in 2009:

I Hope the Ghosts of the Dead Haunt Your Soul Forever - Valient Thorr

I listened to Thorr non-stop this past year.  Love love love the tight riffage and the sociopolitical (motivational speaker?) lyrics.  Ironic.  Brutal.  Fast.  Funny.  Awesome in every way.  Excellent workout music.

The 506 performance in Feb was the most fun I had at a rock concert in 2009.  These guys poured their guts on to the stage.  And Chris and I sported our sweet Thorrior denim.

They're based in Chapel Hil, by the way.  I said "hi" to the lead singer - Valient Himself - at the Harvey Milk performance at 506 this year.  (Another mind-blowing concert.)

Ogeechee Hymnal / A Horse Called Golgotha - Baroness

As far as I'm concerned, this piece from Baroness' Blue Record is the absolute best cut from 2009.  (Yes - this qualifies as a "piece" - not a song.) 

LOVE how they take a simple melodic idea in Ogeechee, layer it with chunky, harmonized chords, and then let it feedback as it segues into Golgotha.  The intro reminds me of "...And Justice For All" and the days when it was cool to like Metallica.  After the spacious interlude - which follows the same melody - Baroness blows it away.  Stick around until the end - they let it drone out again and bring it back home.  Brilliance.

If you're not a fan of droning sludge, feel free to skip ahead to ~4:00 - the devastation starts shortly thereafter. 

If you're not a fan of harmonized shouting and face-melting guitar, feel free to skip this one altogether.

(Note - I linked to a live version because I couldn't find the album version spliced together on YouTube.  The layered guitar subtleties on the record are amazing.  HIGHLY recommended.)

The Cup of Lonliness - George Jones

This tune played out the credits of "The Mountain King" episode in Mad Men Season 2.  Don Draper is truly a broken, lonely man.

The Possum's original recording is grittier, more broken-hearted, but you get the general idea from this overly-produced re-take. 

(Yes - the playlist just went from stoner metal to classic honky tonk.  That's the way I roll.)

Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise - The Avett Brothers

I didn't really like the new Avett Bros record when I first listened - I missed the chirpy harmony, the banjos, the redneck vibe, etc.  Then I listened to it again and realized that it is the best front-to-back record from 2009.

"Decide what to be and go be it."  The perfect lyric for a song about a head full of doubt...and a road full of promise.

Boots of Spanish Leather - Bob Dylan

Kelly and I spent 3 weeks in Spain this past Spring.  Which reminded me that I love this song.

Useful Chamber - Dirty Projectors

No Greatest Hits list is complete without a band referred to me by Ben Rogerson.  He gave me a copy of Dirty Projector's "Bitte Orca" one summer afternoon and I promptly listened to it non-stop for weeks.

Any description I write won't do the music justice - so just listen to the entire song and soak in all of its glorious, angular wierdness.

Love Game / Poker Face - Lady GaGa

I love Lady GaGa.  Don't hate.  Really looking forward to her inevitable, spectacular fall from grace in 2010!

Glory Of Love - Peter Cetera

I also love Peter Cetera and the super-sugary love songs that played on easy listening stations in the mid/late 1980s.  (Richard Marx, anyone?)  Peter's performance in this video is almost as awesome as his feathery blonde hair.

Kelly downloaded this song to her phone in the backseat of her parents' Honda CRV on the way back to Stowe Hill from dinner in Pineville one evening this Fall.  She and I laughed like crazy and sang every word.  Her parents weren't sure how to react.

Oh! You Pretty Things - David Bowie

I distinctly remember listening to this song coming home from the Harris Teeter at Meadowmont.  I'm not sure why.  Regardless - I certainly went through a Bowie phase this past Spring.

The Final Countdown - Sorry Charlie

Keep On Loving You - Sorry Charlie

I was in a band in 2009.  And we were kinda awesome.

Here I Go Again - Sorry Charlie

I will never forget this moment.  Charlie had a big intro planned...and I botched it with awful keys...and he further botched it because he got the mic cable wrapped around an amp. 

You still gotta admit that this is pretty epic, especially considering that we rehearsed 2 times before this performance. 

If it looks like we were having fun, it is because we were.

Here's to an even better 2010.

Three Nights At Memorial Hall

Was talking with one of Kelly's co-workers Sunday night re: the recent performances at UNC's Memorial Hall.  I'm pretty sure it was the best - or at least most personally entertaining - run of shows at the venue since the 2005 re-opening:

  • Sonny Rollins - the Saxophone Colossus is 90 years old, can barely walk, can't straighten his back beyond 45 degrees...but he can still blow.  He only showed brief flashes of his brilliance, though it was amazing nonetheless to see/hear such a titan of the genre.
  • Ravi Shankar - another aging master I feel fortunate to have seen.  He can still shred a sitar - no joke.  And his daughters - Anoushka and Norah Jones - are hot.  (Which reminds me to ask Kelly if she'll still love me when I'm in my hanging-out-with-Ravi-Shankar phase.)
  • Bela Fleck/Edgar Meyer/Zakir Hussain - probably the best in the world in the respective instruments - banjo, double bass, tabla.  Really inventive set and jaw-dropping virtuosity.  Plus - they're nice guys. 

(I think there was actually a 4th show somewhere in there...but I didn't see, so it doesn't count.)

The 2nd best string of performances I can think of are the back-to-back Wilco performances in 2006.

Oh yeah - or maybe the 4 nights of Bolshoi Ballet.  :)

Sorry Charlie - Friday Night - Local 506

Join Sorry Charlie and friends for a benefit concert to raise funds for Amani Children's Home, a non-profit home for orphans and street-children in Tanzania - http://amanikids.org.

- Doors at 8PM.
- DJ Lexus kicks off the jams at 9PM.
- L Phrenic follows with his dopest rhymes to date.
- Sorry Charlie closes with ridiculous rock covers.

- $5 tickets. Buy 'em at the door or purchase online.
- RSVP on Facebook.

Rock and roll!

The Craigslist Recession

I bought a new guitar from a guy on Craigslist a few weeks ago.  Great guitar, good price.  I haven't stopped playing it since I bought it.

Thing is...I haven't stopped looking at the Musical Instruments listings on Craigslist, either.  Sooo many favorably priced guitars, amps and whatnot.  (Kelly tells me everyday to stop looking because she knows that browsing leads to buying.)  My hunch is that many of these listings are a lagging indicator of a weak economy - people selling their wanted stuff to pay for needed stuff.

My friend Chris - a professional audio engineer and semi-professional guitar god - claims that the instrument deals listed in Detroit are mind boggling.  I haven't vetted his claim, but I believe him.  Gotta think that the more economically crushed the area, the cheaper the guitars on Craigslist...

Oddly - Compete.com show's Craig's traffic flattening in February:

I would think that the free/used/bartered/borrowed economy would be booming as the broader economy wanes...which means that this should be a boom time for Craig.

Anyone know of an online resource that tracks Craigslist activity?

Speaking of Craig, check out the first comment in this post.  Nice guy, that Craig.

Sorry Charlie

My latest musical project - big rock cover band "Sorry Charlie" - is playing at The Library on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill on Friday, Feb 20 at 9PM.

If you're reading this, you should come out:

Sorry Charlie

*We named our band "Sorry Charlie" because my friend and musical cohort Charlie introduced me to his college buds David and Chris with the thought of forming a band and booking a gig when he returned from an exchange program in South Africa.

David, Chris, and I jammed in early January, found a groove and some common musical interests, and decided we'd cook up a band immediately...without Charlie.

Alex and Brian joined up and we booked a gig a couple weeks later.  We're all in graduate programs - so we have a built-in fan base and expect a nice turnout.

We will kindly extend an opportunity for Charlie to audition for the band when he returns.

Microsoft Songsmith = Endless Comedy

My friend Allen linked me to a NY Times article about Microsoft Songsmith - a new application that takes the words that you sing and turns them into a song by adding drums, instrumentation, etc.

Here is Microsoft's promo video.  Pretty funny in its own right, yes?

The high comedy comes from the community of YouTubers that took the vocals from popular songs and backed them with music from Songsmith.

Here are some of my favorites.  Some are funny, some bizarre - all make ambitious rhythmic statements.  Enjoy - there are many many more on YouTube...

Buddy Holly


Sgt. Pepper


Battery  (Probably my favorite.)


Tom Sawyer  (Geddy's glasses rock.)


2008's Greatest Hits

Last year, I posted the songs that made up the soundtrack for my 2007.  Here is my soundtrack for 2008.

3 Dimes Down - Drive-by Truckers

My favorite track from the latest DBT album, Brighter Than Creation's Dark.  The sloppy guitars and slick vocal phrasing really do it for me.  Plus, the lyrics are pure genius - "Totally screwed while the chicken wing puke eats the candy apple red off his Corvette".

I look forward to seeing the Truckers blow out Asheville in a couple weeks.

Shame - The Avett Brothers

I had never listened to the Avett's before I saw them at Memorial Hall this Fall.  The show was amazing and I haven't stopped listening to them since.

Minglewood Blues - Old Crow Medicine Show

An old song that OCMS does up just fine.  Really wish I could blow a harmonica like this.

Death Goes To The Winner - Harvey Milk
Start Your Digging - Big Business

I listened to these records a lot while working this Fall.  Aggressive music often helps me concentrate - can't really explain it...

I would be remiss if I did not mention that my friend Ben turned me on to these bands and, as per usual, he nailed it.  Hopefully he'll leave his own equally smug Top 10 list as a comment, just like last year.  I'm sure that the new records from Shellac and AstroVan PickUp left a lasting impact on him...

Lords - The Sword
Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians - The Sword

Sweet Jesus - The Sword's new record "Gods of the Earth" is sooo good.  Couldn't believe how tight they were live.

Mutha'uckas - Flight of the Conchords

The Conchords are brilliant.  I sang the chorus of this song endlessly for at least a month this summer.  Just ask my wife.

Bulldozers and Dirt - Drive-by Truckers

I include this one not only because it is one of my favorite songs to pick and sing at home, but also because my friend Charlie and I wrote up some great spoof lyrics for the song and performed it - along with many others - for a packed house (of our classmates) at The Local 506.

Womanizer - Britney Spears

I actually hate this song.  But, because Kelly loves it and because she drives me to school every day and because we have a rule stipulating that the driver gets to pick the music, I've heard it just about every day for the past month or two.  Thus, it makes the list.

Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Guns 'N Roses

This one is on the list for a few reasons:

- I distinctly remember Roberta playing this on the jukebox on an exceptionally fun night at Bub O'Malley's.
- Axl finally released Chinese Democracy this year.
- Evan and I have a halfway completed, halfway ridiculous recording of this song from the Fall that we'll probably finish at some point.

Everything I Do - Whiskeytown

I couldn't get this one out of my head last week, so it is a fitting closer.

Happy 2009.


Axl Rose Killed My Quip

One of the first lessons I learned as a product manager for a start-up software company was that you can't please everyone.  Different stakeholders - sales, marketing, support, customers, executives - have varying priorities and often divergent opinions regarding where the product needs to go next.

This is why product management is hard and product managers are ballers.

One of the first mistakes I made as a product manager for a start-up software company was ignoring the first lesson.  I was the world's worst at telling everyone what they wanted to hear and making sure that their feature was "in the pipeline" and "coming soon".

Boy howdy - have I learned to never make that mistake again.

Many moons ago, there was one feature in particular that "triggered" a strong reaction within our organization.  Some wanted it yesterday, others could not care less because they believed that other projects should take precedence.

My co-worker and I found the entire episode fairly entertaining.  Those begging for the feature didn't really "know" what they were asking for - they just knew it was a box that we needed to check in sales conversations.   My co-worker and I also knew that the application had a long ways to go before we could implement the feature in a way that would fully satisfy customer needs.  Plus, we agreed that other issues should take priority, thus we had no plans to move on the feature any time soon.  Moreover, there were a number of organizational factors precluding me/us from exerting any significant effort to advance the project.

Yet, despite all of this, the feature remained on the product roadmap as a "near term" priority.

My bad.

The borderline absurdity of the situation led my colleague and I to begin referring to the feature as Chinese Democracy - which is the title for the way-over-hyped Guns 'N Roses album that has been 14 years in the making, leaked and "unleaked" several times, unanimously thought to not actually exist, and mercilessly ridiculed in the mass media:

In 2005,The New York Times called it "the most expensive album never made" and the "music industry's most notorious white elephant".

Dr Pepper supposedly offered a free can of Dr. Pepper to everyone in America — excluding former Guns N' Roses guitarists Buckethead and Slash — if Axl would man up and finally release the record in 2008.

Spin reviewed the album in 2006 as an April Fool's joke.

Yet, Axl never shut up promoting the record and the music media never stopped publishing his stupid interviews.

As you might imagine, I reaped endless amounts of smug satisfaction from my little inside joke.

So, given the story I just told, try to visualize my shock/disappointment/laughter when I hear this and read that Chinese Democracy supposedly drops November 23.


So it is goodbye to such a thoughtful, flexible, and beloved wisecrack.

I guess nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain.

Note from the author:  My former employer released the beginnings of the "Chinese Democracy" feature a couple months ago.  All we need is just a little patience.

Shine A Light

Kelly's asleep and I'm watching "Shine A Light" - the new Rolling Stones concert documentary directed by Martin Scorsese.

I can't believe how well Mick Jagger looks, sounds, and moves.  The guy is an ageless wonder.

I also can't believe how unintentionally hilarious Keith Richards continues to be.  He looks like an undead pirate.  You have to wonder if he actually knows what's going on around him.  He doesn't really "play" the guitar on most of the songs - he just throws out a few stabs and noodles about every now and then.  Yet - when coupled with Ron Wood, et al - Keith's sloppy guitar sounds absolutely awesome.

Also - Keith's "harmony" vocal on "Faraway Eyes" - one of my favorite Stones songs - was so bad that I laughed out...and so did he.  Great shot where Mick seems to shoot him a dirty look after a sour line and Keith just laughs.

Best part of the film has been the clips from old Stones interviews:

Reporter:  "What's the last thing that you do before you play a show in front of 100K people?"

Keith: "I wake up."

Great film.  Amazing set, cool photography, and the best rock back of all time in redongo form.  I highly recommend it.

Forever/Never, Fire/Desire

"Summer of '69" came up on my iPod on the way home from work today and this lyric caught my attention:

"Standin' on your mama's porch,
You told me that you'd wait forever.
Oh and when you held my hand,
I knew that it was now or never."

...and it made me think - just how many songs have rhymed "forever" and "never"?  Or used the phrase "now or never"?  Can't we find any other words that rhyme and offer an interesting contrast in meanings?  Is forever/never the most overused couplet in all of song lyric history?

...which made me think that "fire" and "desire" have probably been rhymed more.  Ugh.  I'm pretty sure I dislike fire/desire MUCH moreso than forever/never.

So here's (the start of) a list of all of the songs I can think of that make use of these well-worn lyrical devices. Feel free to chime in with your additions in a comment.  There's gotta be lots more cheesy Michael Bolton-type pop songs to add to the list.*

Forever/Never/Now or never

"Summer of '69" - Bryan Adams
"It's My Life" - Bon Jovi - (Embarrassed that I thought of that one so quickly.)
"Jamie's Crying" - Van Halen
"High Enough" - Damn Yankees
"Right Here Waiting" - Richard Marx - (Even more embarrassing.)
"Live Forever" - Oasis


"Fire" - Jimi Hendrix
"Ring of Fire" - Johnny Cash
"We're Gonna Groove" - Led Zeppelin
"Stand Up and Shout" - Dio
"Misfire" - Queen - ("misfire" is close enough to count...)
"Fuel" - Metallica - ("Give me fuel, give me fire..." - such a terrible song.)
"You Are My One Desire" - Buddy Holly
"Desire" - U2 - (Submitted by Michael.)
"I Want It That Way" - Backstreet Boys - (Ha!  Submitted by Tristan.)
"I Got The Blues" - The Rolling Stones
"Strange Desire" - Black Keys - (Great song, lame lyric.)


*There are.  I know of several, I'm just too embarrassed to admit it.

In Praise of Nerf Herder

iTunes just serendipitously shuffled to "Nosering Girl" by Nerf Herder, my favorite song from one of my most favorite bands from high school. Such a great song and great lyrics:
Yeah she had pretty hair and beautiful eyes.
and a dalmatian jacket...a dalmatian jacket.
And she was the kind of girl who you would give up eating meat for,
No more salami, no more steak or potatoes.
Yeah you would walk on down to the health food store
And buy hummus, and tabouli, and baba ghannouj, and
Ricecakes ricecakes ricecakes!

Nosering girl! I love you!

My high school band, The OHT, could pull off a pretty hot cover of "Nosering Girl" and "Annalee" - another great Nerf Herder song. Jacob - who sang lead on "Nosering" - always cleverly altered the lyrics to say:
As it turns out, she was the cousin of the ex-girlfriend of my good friend Eric, my very good friend Eric.

"Eric" instead of "Steve"! Lyrics and phrasing be damned!  Yes - We. Were. Awesome.

Though "Van Halen" was Nerf Herder's most "popular" and probably their best song, we never covered it because I wasn't good enough to pull off the two-hand tap guitar solo at the end.

2007's Greatest Hits

My friend Chaz Felix just sent me "Felix's Picks" for 2006 and 2007.

Chaz' "Picks" is a collection of the songs that soundtracked his previous year . He typically picks really good music - a fair portion of which I've never heard of, so it makes for a nice diversion from my typical listening habits. Plus, not all of the music is from 2007 - which adds a nice balance to the record. I'm not sure how long he's been doing it, but (somewhere in my house) I have "Picks" all the way back to 2003.

So, in a shameless emulation of Chaz, I present my 2007 picks:

Charmer - Kings of Leon

"Because of the Times" by KOL was probably my favorite new record of the year. I like this song because of the abrasive screeching and angular, almost a-rhythmic, guitar riff.

Dress Blues - Jason Isbell

The best (only?) anti-war, pro-military song ever written. I hated to see Jason leave DBT, but expect that he'll find great success as a solo artist.

Holy Moses - The Drams

The Drams are one of the country's finest purveyors of true redneck rock. Holy Moses is a slow one, but my absolute favorite from an absolutely outstanding record.

Blood and Thunder - Mastodon
Winter's Wolves - The Sword

Back when I had time to workout, these were the songs that put me over the top, "Blood and Thunder" in particular. I expect to have more time to lift - and more time to listen to deliciously repulsive metal - now that the hard part of my MBA program has passed.

Sky Blue Sky - Wilco

The new Wilco record was exactly what I expected, but I loved it just the same. I remember having this song playing in my head while Kelly and I sat on an Italian beach under a beautiful sky right before sunset.

Public Service Announcement - Jay-Z

Yes, this is an old one, but it sports my favorite rap lyric in recent memory: "I check chedda like a food inspector." Plus, I'm pretty sure that this is the song that was playing through the Bronto speakers when Joe - my former boss and company CEO - came by my desk to tell me to "never play that song again".

Can't Get Enough - Bad Company

I went through a strange Camaro-rock phase this fall, largely driven by a new found fascination with Bad Company. Fortunately, it came and went pretty quickly, but stayed just long enough to sear this song in the back of my mind for weeks...

There's a Higher Power - The Louvin Brothers

Kelly and I love these old-timey country songs because the simple two-part harmony makes for great singalongs while we're in the car. I especially like The Louvin's gospel songs because they remind me of my childhood church and my grandmother.

Cirque Eloize

Memorial Hall hosted Cirque Eloize' tonight.

It was absolutely amazing, funny, beautiful, harrowing, shocking, breathtaking, inspiring, etc. I couldn't believe the acrobats' strength, their ability to artfully contort their bodies will hanging 15 feet above the stage, nor their capacity for landing safely on their feet after being hurled into the air.

A DTH reporter asked me a few questions during intermission. I'll link to the article tomorrow if I make his final edit. I offered some memorably stupid DTH quotes as an undergrad - hopefully I won't come off as an idiot this time around.