Sunday, April 28, 2013

You're Rich

I'm long overdue catching up on new music, an issue that I will be addressing in the next post.  In this post, we celebrate your faith, your risk-taking skills, and your ability to Constanza.

You were -$25,460.

$30,000 on the Bulls -2 1/2 vs. the Nets -- WIN

$30,000 on the Grizzlies -3 1/2 vs. the Clippers -- WIN

$55,000 on the Pacers +2 1/2 at Atlanta Hawks -- OOPS

$110,000 on the Thunder -1 at Houston -- WIN

After all of that, you have won $73,540.

It turns out that the key to winning is the double-pronged strategy of (1) panicking and (2) rapidly increasing our bets as we chase our losses.

Who knew that sports betting could be such an easy game?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

And Now . . . We Strike!

Things have been going quite well lately in the world of basketball betting.  Before last night's games, you were losing $8,960, if you were following my advice.  After those games, you lost another $16,500--ouch--to leave you down a grand total of $25,460.

Consider all of those bets a "trust-building exercise."

Today is when you cash in!  Congrats on making it this far.

$30,000 on the Bulls -2 1/2 vs. the Nets.  A lock.  Guaranteed by the Lord God Himself who appeared to me in a vision after I facepunched myself a half-dozen times.

$30,000 on the Grizzlies -3 1/2 vs. the Clippers.

$55,000 on the Pacers +2 1/2 at Atlanta Hawks.

$110,000 on the Thunder -1 at Houston.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Before Last Night's Games: +$1,380

$440 on Bulls -3 1/2 vs. Brooklyn Nets

$7700 on Clippers +4 1/2 at Memphis Grizzlies

$2200 on Bucks +7 1/2 vs. Miami Heat

You lost them all.  

After Last Night's Games: -$8,960

This loss amount is entirely satisfactory and part of your plan.  You've got them right where you want them.

Ready?  Sell your house and make these bets:

$22,000 on Celtics -2 1/2 vs. New York Knicks.  Because the Knicks are likely to win.

$11,000 on Nuggets PK at Golden State Warriors.  Because you have $11,000 to bet.

$16,500 on San Antonio -5 at Los Angeles Lakers.  Because the sun came up today.

If you miss with these--and you probably will--you'll inevitably have thoughts of throwing yourself from the top of the nearest tall building.  

Don't do that yet!  We've got a few more weeks of picks.  You've got to get more money.  Do it any way that you can.

By the way, how did you get yourself into this?  

It isn't wise to associate yourself with gamblers.  They're nihilistic and morally bankrupt.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Before Constanza: -$4,400

After Constanza: +$1,380

$220 on Oklahoma City -11 1/2 vs. Houston Astros--Another Loser

$5500 on Pacers -7 vs. Atlanta Braves--Win $5k

$1100 on Spurs -8 1/2 vs. Los Angeles Lakers--Win $1k

After such a wildly successful night, I wondered: What would have happened if you had not Constanza'd?

Well, the Constanza method requires two things, (1) for you to pick the team that I think will lose (spread-wise), and (2) for you to bet a lot if I have zero faith and to bet a little if I have great faith in my pick.

So, I would've picked the Houston Rockets, and you would've made my big bet on that game.  So either way, no matter which strategy I pick, you're suddenly a winner?  Odd.

I had no faith in the Atlanta Hawks, but you would've picked them for a small amount.  So once again, you lose my small bet.

But I once again would have picked the Lakers with a medium-strength bet.  There the difference lies.  Instead of winning my $1,100 bet, you would've lost it.

* * * 

Now comes the real question: What do you do next?  You got your money back, plus a little bit.  You're welcome.  The natural reaction is to want to be careful now, stinging from your recent losses, and therefore to place small, conservative bets on these next games after careful deliberation and a nearly scientific weighing of the strengths and weaknesses of each team.

Therefore, under the Constanza method, you make bigger bets and I give my picks less thought.

This will guarantee success for you, unless it fails.  Then you will have no one but yourself to blame.

But don't think about that.  The point now is to think less.  

Without further ado, we move on to tonight's picks:

$440 on Bulls -3 1/2 vs. Brooklyn Nets.  Analysis: Brooklyn is more talented--wait, think less.  Pop Tarts is tasty.

$7700 on Clippers +4 1/2 at Memphis Grizzlies.  Analysis: Memphis is a town in the South.

$2200 on Bucks +7 1/2 vs. Miami Heat.  Analysis: Red beans gives me gas.

If tonight's bets are successful, you will now be in GodKing Mode.  Invisible to police, immune to all laws, invulnerable to illicit drugs--which means that you can enjoy them to your heart's content without worry of addiction--and wildly attractive to all women.

However, due to the Constanza method, your best play is not to take advantage of any of these benefits.  Instead of robbing banks and stealing a race car, which you will then launch onto the nearest yacht offshort and then proceed to bang all of the women aboard--oh cool, this is Mila Kunis's boat--while high on crack, you should sit at home and watch reruns of Barney Miller, a DVD that you paid a healthy sum for back in 2008 but which you could have downloaded for free with a decent internet connection.  Wojo makes that show.

Co.  Stanz.  Uh.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time to "Constanza"

Before nightmare began: -$1,760

$2,200 on Heat -14 1/2 vs. Milwaukee Bucks--Oops

$330 on Celtics +6 1/2 at. New York Knicks--Faceplant

$110 on Nuggets -8 vs. Golden State Warriors--Another loss

Yes, that's right, you have lost with every single pick over the last two days.  Congrats.

After nightmare: -$4,400

Time to kidnap the small child of a rich family.  Once you get the ransom, it's time to Constanza.  That's right; I'm going to decide on the winning pick, and then I'm going to choose the opposite team. And if I intended to bet a lot, I will double-Constanza and bet a little.  If I meant to bet a little, I will bet a lot.

In this way, I will be risking the maximum money on the games in which I have the least faith.  

$220 on Oklahoma City -11 1/2 vs. Houston Astros.  I feel completely convinced that Houston is due for a big game.  This is a lock, worth betting the value of an upper-end used car a lower-income small child.  Instead, we double-Constanza by selecting Oklahoma City for a small amount.

$5500 on Pacers -7 vs. Atlanta Braves.  I don't know what a Pacer is.  I also feel--for no apparent reason--that Atlanta is due, but this is only a vague feeling.  Therefore, because I feel that Atlanta will win with almost no confidence, I am confidently placing my highest bet so far on the Pacers, a team that I couldn't care less about.

$1100 on Spurs -8 1/2 vs. Los Angeles Lakers.  I have a fair-to-middling feeling that the Lakers will finally get into this series, or that's what they will think until they lose by a point or two.  Because this is what I honestly think will happen, I choose the Spurs in what is likely to be a blowout.

If this doesn't work, we'll just reverse Martingale our money back . . . or go completely broke by the weekend.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nightmare Time?

When things get bad, they get real bad.  That's the first line of a book in the Bible.  Forget which.  But that book was written about you.

First, instead of being down $693 before last night's games, you were actually down $753.  (Forgot to count the vig.)

Then last night happened.  And may I say, last night you really shit the bed.

$1,002 on Nets -4 1/2 vs. Chicago Bulls--LOSS

$5 on Grizzlies +5 1/2 at Los Angeles Clippers--LOSS

You shit the bed and didn't even bother to clean it up.  Time to buy a new bed.  You're down $1,760.  

How are you gonna get it back?  

Even if you knock over a 7-11, you aren't likely to make off with that kind of cash.  

Well, if you can get the money for today's games, there is redemption for you.  Here are the picks:

$2,200 on Heat -14 1/2 vs. Milwaukee Bucks.  Because the Bucks are Canadian, and as Mudwig pointed out, this is basketball, not hockey.

$330 on Celtics +6 1/2 at. New York Knicks.  After the Boston Marathon bombing, the Celtics will have something to prove.  

$110 on Nuggets -8 vs. Golden State Warriors.  Some big dude on the Warriors got injured.  Sometimes that kind of setback makes a team play harder.  But this is the Warriors, who are looking for excuses to fail.

It isn't nightmare time yet for you.  If your teams lose, 7-11s and gas stations won't do it for you.  You'll have to knock over a Walmart near dinner time.  And let me tell you, I don't think that's a one-man job.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oh Man You Did It This Time

Before last night's games, we were +595.  Now look what you did.

$250 on Hawks +6 1/2 at Indiana Pacers--YOU LOSE

$412 on Lakers +8 1/2 at San Antonio Spurs--YOU LOSE

$5 on Heat -13 vs. Milwaukee Bucks--WINNER (of five dollars)

$631 on Rockets +10 at Oklahoma City Thunder--YOU LOSE

So, you decided to win five bucks, and then you decided to lose $1,293.  

Why did you do that?

Now, instead of winning $595, you are losing $693 overall.

Nothing to do but try to get it back.  Good luck with that!

There are only two games tonight.  Here they are:

$1,002 on Nets -4 1/2 vs. Chicago Bulls.  Because we are chasing our losses, the reasonable move it to increase our bet sizes until we reach a state of panic.  You might have to knock over a liquor store.  If so, I recommend one that is not near the police station.  Also, Bulls are aggressive animals, prone to getting caught in nets.  Easy game.

$5 on Grizzlies +5 1/2 at Los Angeles Clippers.  In the past, the Clippers used to be a perennial loser.  For this reason, I am pretending that the Clippers are terrible today.  It just feels right.  And while it is true that the Grizzlies also used to be perennial losers, bears are my favorite animal.  I'm not sure what a Clipper is.  A type of boat?  That's goofy.  Bears would totally destroy a boat, if it happened to be transporting honey.  Even if it was not transporting honey, boats tend to transport people, and people are edible to grizzlies, if the grizzlies are hungry enough.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Total Failure

$1000 on Celtics +7 at New York Knicks -- PUSH

$500 on Warriors +7 1/2 at Denver Nuggets -- I WIN

$100 on Nets -4 1/2 vs. Chicago Bulls -- I WIN

$5 on Grizzlies +5 at Los Angeles Clippers -- YOU LOSE

My recommended bets for Saturday's games were above.  The Celtics-Knicks game was a push.  Denver failed to cover the spread, so our Warriors won.  Our Nets covered, stomping Chicago.  

However, your Grizzlies got destroyed, and you lost five dollars.

So far, we are +$595, which could have been +$1,605.  I blame you.

* * * 

Predictions on Sunday's games:

$250 on Hawks +6 1/2 at Indiana Pacers.  I don't know any players on the Hawks, except for Josh Smith.  Their anonymity intrigues me.  Therefore, I pick them.

$412 on Lakers +8 1/2 at San Antonio Spurs.  I hate the Lakers more than any other team.  I don't want them to get blown out, because it won't hurt them as much as a one-point loss.  Therefore, I pick the Lakers because I want to intensify their suffering as they lose by a Tim Duncan free throw.  Is Tim Duncan still on the Spurs?  Fuck you, Lakers.

$5 on Heat -13 vs. Milwaukee Bucks.  I can't name a single player on the Bucks.  That would intrigue me, if the Bucks were the Hawks.  Instead, the Bucks are the Bucks.  That makes me uncomfortable, because the Bucks are from Milwaukee, and I'm not sure which state Milwaukee is in, or even if they are located in the United States.  Because the Bucks might be Canadian, I pick the Heat.

$631 on Rockets +10 at Oklahoma City Thunder.  The Thunder are going to win every playoff game they play in this series by four points.  Therefore, I take the Rockets.  Because of plus ten.  Which leaves six.  Which is good.  If we pick the Rockets, that is.  And we do.  Logic!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

As the Semester Rolls Along

I find myself getting busier and busier as the semester rolls along, and this semester seems worse than any of the previous ones.  Perhaps that is only my imagination or my ability to forget how busy past semesters were.

In any case, I find myself busy most of the time now, and it manifested itself, as it tends to do, in sickness.  Illness is my body's way of telling me that I'm not being lazy enough.

And so, instead of writing the next Quincy chapters, I spent my days off doing very little.  Despite that, I remain sick.

The busy semester looks like it will force me to reevaluate my Quincy schedule.  Up until this month, I was able to add two or three new Quincy chapters every week.  For April, it has taken me slightly longer than a week to put up one new chapter.

Nevertheless, I have already imagined the ending, and I have the plot mapped out, with a little bit of wiggle room in case I run into something more fun than what I had planned.

On the movie front, I watched a flick last night called "Holy Smoke," which starred Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel.  It is a movie by Jane Campion, of The Piano fame.  Anyhoo, two notable moments occurred in the movie, and I can't decide which one of them is more disturbing.  Maybe I should ask my students on their next quiz.

Question: In the movie Holy Smokes, which you haven't seen, which is more disturbing: Kate Winslet, in a moment of full frontal nudity, urinating down her leg, or Harvey Keitel wearing a red dress, red lipstick, and cowboy boots and lusting after Kate Winslet, who has just pissed herself?

(A)  A naked Kate Winslet pissing herself
(B)  Harvey Keitel in a red dress lusting after a urine-covered Kate Winslet
(C)  They are equally disturbing
(D)  There is nothing disturbing about any of that

Friday, April 19, 2013

If I Am Ever at the World Series

If I am ever at the World Series . . . and then I suddenly wake up in a hospital bed with Bradley Cooper next to me and a photographer taking our picture, I will know that I am screwed.

The over/under on my condition at that point will be "Lost 1 Leg."

If instead of Bradley Cooper, it is Ashley Judd, then I'm good.  I just lost a toe.

If it's Tom Cruise, I've got nothing left under the hospital sheets.

If it's Mila Kunis, then I've just got my head left.  And how am I living with just a head?

I guess my point is this: If I ever see a World Series game, I never want to wake up in a hospital bed with a celebrity standing next to me.

How could that ever be good?

Basketball Picks

$1000 on Celtics +7 at New York Knicks

$500 on Warriors +7 1/2 at Denver Nuggets

$100 on Nets -4 1/2 vs. Chicago Bulls

$5 on Grizzlies +5 at Los Angeles Clippers

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Basketball Predictions

If you followed my last round of predictions, which took place during the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl, you bet it all on the 49ers and subsequently lost all of your money, a decision which was rash and foolish.  What were you were doing getting advice from an anonymous dude on an Internet blog and then betting money on it?

By now, you have likely saved a little bit of money.  If you want to get rich, take the following advice:

1.  Don't think

2.  Obey everything I say

Bet half of your money on the Spurs to make it to the Finals.  Right now, they're about 7 to 1.

Bet the other half of your money on the Heat to make it to the Finals.  Right now, they're about 5 to 7.

In the meantime, you should be borrowing from friends in order to place bets on individual games, which I will be talking about in future posts.

By the way, I have not watched a single basketball game in its entirety all year.  I saw part of one game last week.  It was the first game that I had seen in over a year.  I recognized only about four of the players combined on both teams.

All that trivia aside . . . let's get rich!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Album Capsules--Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter

The Beast in Its Tracks


A review of this album in the Boston Globe really hit the mark by comparing this album to Beck's Sea Change.  Both are post-breakup albums full of intensely personal acoustic songs.  Aside from that observation, the only other thing that comes to mind is that the music is less odd than the cover art.  Good album, but really, what's up with this picture?  Is his shirt on fire?  Or are some body-dwelling plants sprouting from his shoulders?  In any case: why?  Terrible.

Album Capsules--James Blake

James Blake



I just don't get this dude.  He's reviewed well on numerous websites, and he's got a unique-sounding R&B-inflected voice.  When he's backed by piano, he verges on gospel.  When he's singing over a drum  machine, the music tends to have the moody, haunting sound of dubstep.  But there aren't any hooks.  There just seem to be lots of stand-alone moments when you think, What an interesting voice this guy has.  But where are the songs?  Is this guy allergic to anything catchy?  I guess you could argue that this music is super mellow, late-night fare, and so therefore the listener will be too tired to tell the difference.  If so, I guess I'm just not a fan.  Here's "Retrograde."

Album Capsules--Steve Mason

Steve Mason

Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time


If you're like me, you learned about the Beta Band when John Cusack announced that he was going to sell a half-dozen of the band's Three EPs during the movie High Fidelity, at which point he started playing "Dry the Rain," and everyone in the record store began to bob their heads in unison.  Steve Mason was the unspoken leader of that band.  With this solo effort, you can spot Beta Band's imagination, variety--from rap to gospel to "folktronic"--catchy hooks, beautiful melodies, and solid, introspective lyrics.  "A Lot of Love" is probably the album's best song, but it's not available on Youtube--wtf?--so here's "Lonely," a solid tune backed, apparently, by gospel singers.  What a fun album this is.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Album Capsules--The Knife

The Knife

Shaking the Habitual


This album is confrontational, experimental, and scary.  It is amazing.  The only album I've ever heard that seems remotely similar to this one is their last album, Silent Shout, which came out seven years earlier.  Led by a female lead singer who howls like an alien in a language that resembles English only remotely, the music is carried along most of the time by tribal beats and an assortment of unnerving keyboard sounds, a frightening amusement park ride that is suddenly interrupted in the middle of the album by a 20-minute ambient drone fest that, like a quiet Hitchcock scene, builds tension rather than releases it.  At the end of this double-albums 77(!) minutes, you might end up feeling like you just experienced a horror movie, one of the few well-made ones.  "Full of Fire," below, is one of the best songs, even though the video is boring.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Getting Elected Mayor and Quitting Smoking

I quit smoking 12 days ago.  I used a 14-milligram patch (the middle size, for any nicotine patch enthusiasts out there) for the first week, but I couldn't tell if it was helping me.  The first day I spent walking from room to room absentmindedly.  I'd walk into the kitchen and just stand there, wondering, Why am I in this room?  Then I would walk to another room and think the same thing.

I spent a large part of that first day just walking from room to room and wondering why I was standing there.

I stopped using the patch three or four days ago.  I haven't noticed much change.  About twice a day, I get a strong craving.  About a dozen times a day, I get a mild craving.  All in all, it's not so bad.

I need to always make sure to remember the first couple of days, which are always tough.  When I'm going through those days, I always wonder, Experiencing this degree of mental frustration, how is it that I ever choose to start smoking again?

Answer: I forget what withdrawal is like.

In other news, my brother-in-law got elected mayor of a small South Dakota town.  He won by the basketball-like score of 97 to 83.

Once he announced it on Facebook, I wrote the first reply:

Awesome!  Now you can go to war with other towns.

He deleted it within fifteen minutes.

I have to remember that he's a public official now, with all of the duties that that entails.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Album Capsules--Low


The Invisible Way


In some ways, Low is like Yo La Tengo.  They both make indie music; they've been together for a long time; they are anchored by a husband-and-wife team who take turns with vocals; and they are strong bands.  Produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, The Invisible Way puts the vocals firmly in the forefront, to excellent effect, especially on tracks like "Plastic Cup" (Youtube clip below) and "Just Make It Stop."   Described on as "an institution in slowcore" and as "the slowest of the so-called 'slowcore' bands," Low is better described as a mellow band known for its excellent harmonies.  That's it.  Why make up shit like "slowcore" and "sadcore?"  A good starting point for this band is the excellent Things We Lost in the Fire from 2001.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Album Capsules--Bilal


A Love Surreal


I did not expect to like this album.  It falls under the label "Adult Contemporary R&B."  I figured that if they mean Sade, then it could be fun.  But all kinds of crap gets the label "Adult Contemporary R&B."  Use your imagination and you can come up with 180 examples without much effort.  This album isn't crap.  Bilal normally does guest vocals for other albums, without spending much time making his own.  In this case, it's mellow, "cool" music that withstands--and grows with--multiple listens.  He's the only musician I know that layers his vocals more than Kate Bush.  Neither of these tracks gets mentioned in other reviews, but I favored "Lost for Now" and "Never Be the Same," the latter of which is below.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Album Capsules--Suede




If you're a fan of Suede, perhaps you're a little bit leery of a comeback at this point.  After all, they're greatest hits have already come out.  So they're dead, right?  Bloodsport has plenty of solid, weighty, earnest album tracks, but nothing that really screams hit--nothing, in any case, that approaches "The Drowners," "Metal Mickey," or "Animal Lover."  The glam, for the most part, has melted away, leaving behind seriousness--and capable, well-made songs.  So, basically, this album will be a decent addition for Suede fans, but it isn't likely to create new ones.  Behold--"Barriers"!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chapter 32

is now done.  That fuckball Trebek is back.  Hopefully, I can string a few of these chapters together over the next week.  I hope all is well in your world.

Album Capsules--Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode

Delta Machine


Yes, Depeche Mode are still making albums.  No, they aren't any good.  Yes, this album sounds like their earlier releases.  No, there are no hits on this one.  Yes, they sound like they're mailing it in.  No, I don't regret listening to it.  Yes, I would regret listening to the whole thing twice.  In the remaining space, I just wanted to say how excited I am that the Knife has come out with a new album.  Also, this dude named Bilal made a pretty good album, which I will be reviewing in the not-so-distant future.  And I just downloaded the new Suede album.  I wonder if it is any good.  Crossing my fingers.  Below, I have chosen the first available track from Youtube for this listless, boring, piece of shit album.

Album Capsules--Chvrches


Recover EP


Listening to glo-brite Chvrches after hearing the gloom of the new Flaming Lips album is enough to induce a facial tic.  This album differs from the electro-pop of the eighties, though, in a dubstep sounding drum machine.  They've claimed to be influenced by Kate Bush, who was always much bigger in England than in the States, but it's really hard to find the influence in these few tracks.  They've also made it clear that another influence is the Knife, but Chvrches simply isn't that good.  Throughout, the music sounds so earnest, uplifting, and happy.  Anyhoo, this is their first EP.  Too early to tell if they'll be any good.  But a decent start.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Album Capsules--First Quarter of 2013

Pursuing my newest hobby with my usual obsessiveness, I've checked out 51 or so new releases this year.  They are ranked below on a descending scale from "great" to "trash."

As for notable albums, the new Strokes album is horrible!  So bad.  The new Flaming Lips album is not as good as I was hoping.  And the Rhye album is really good.

I just watched the movie "Bonnie and Clyde."  Have you seen it?  For me, it was one of those movies that I had heard a lot about, and that I felt that I should see, but I just never got around to watching it.  It was really good.  Definitely worth checking out.

It's happy go lucky, then randomly violent, then happy go lucky again, then randomly violent again.  You know what's going to happen, but somehow they make it seem unlikely.  Then it feels inevitable.

I am in the midst of spring break at my university, which essentially means two weeks off from work.  Or that's what it should mean.  Instead, I keep getting emails from a student, the President of the Economics and Finance Club, a club that I supervise.  Every single day, there is more work.  

These club members have big plans, and big plans are always harder to pull off than small plans.  For example, they want to have something called Finance Day, but that takes a lot of administrative steps that normally wouldn't exist at a regular university.  

If they want music played at the event, that music has to be vetted by higher-ups in the university.  (We can't have any lyrics critical of religion, the country, or the university, for starters.)

I won't bore you, except to say that every basic step needs approval from at least three people.  So we'll see if anything happens.  

Meanwhile, all of their midterms are sitting on my desk, ungraded.

But no complaints.  I am, after all, on vacation.  It's mostly relaxing.

In the meantime, Quincy is getting delayed.  I am planning to get another chapter done tomorrow.  I was hoping to pump out five or six chapters between now and next Saturday, when my vacation ends.  Not sure if I'll get there, but four would be nice.

And now . . . music!  If I were making a top ten list so far, I'd just scoop them off the top, in order.  I feel like I've made mistakes with some of these "grades."  I get the feeling that a readjustment will soon be in order, for a few albums in particular, like Phosphorescent (better than 68/100), Rhye (probably better than 82/100), and Autechre (worse than 82/100).  Anyhoo, here they are.

Koze--Amygdala (90/100)

Youth Lagoon--Wondrous Bughouse (88/100)

Foxygen--We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (88/100)

My Bloody Valentine--MBV (87/100)

Yo La Tengo--Fade (85/100)

Atoms for Peace--Amok (84/100)

Devendra Banhart--Mala (83/100)

Matmos--The Marriage of True Minds (83/100)

Wooden Wand--Blood Oaths of the New Blues (83/100)

Waxahatchee--Cerulean Salt (83/100)

Rhye--Woman (82/100)

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds--Push the Sky Away (82/100)

Autechre--Exai (82/100)

Nosaj Thing--Home (81/100)

Grouper--The Man Who Died in His Boat (81/100)

David Bowie--The Next Day (81/100)

Mogwai--Les Revenants (81/100)

Parquet Courts--Light Up Gold (80/100)

Jim James--Regions of Light and Sound of God (80/100)

Iceage--You're Nothing (79/100)

Indians--Somewhere Else (79/100)

Mountains--Centralia (78/100)

Local Natives--Hummingbird (78/100)

Autre Ne Veut--Anxiety (77/100)

Ex Cops--True Hallucinations (77/100)

Toro Y Moi--Anything in Return (77/100)

Broadcast--Berberian Sound Studio (74/100)

Night Beds--Country Sleep (74/100)

Johnny Marr--The Messenger (73/100)

Justin Timberlake--The 20/20 Experience (72/100)

The Men--New Moon (72/100)

A$AP Rocky--Long.Live.A$AP (72/100)


Foals--Holy Fire (71/100)

California X--California X (70/100)

Four Tet--0181 (70/100)

Phosphorescent--Muchacho (68/100)

The Flaming Lips--The Terror (68/100)

Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory--Elements of Light (67/100)

Widowspeak--Almanac (67/100)

Jacco Gardner--Cabinet of Curiosities (66/100)

Frightened Rabbit--Pedestrian Verse (66/100)

Sally Shapiro--Somewhere Else (64/100)

Suuns--Images Du Futur (64/100)

Chelsea Light Moving--Chelsea Light Moving (64/100)

Brokeback--Brokeback and the Black Rock (57/100)

Various Artists--Trance (Motion Picture Soundtrack) (56/100)

Clinic--Free Reign II (48/100)

Everything Everything--Arc (46/100)

Jamie Lindell--Jamie Lindell (16/100)

The Strokes--Comedown Machine (7/100)

Album Capsules--The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

The Terror


Today is album review day, I guess, but I'm on vacation and it's fun playing new music all day long.  (Capsules of new albums by the Strokes, the motion picture soundtrack for the new movie "Trance," and Justin Timberlake were all added today.)  Anyhoo, The Terror is like walking into a haunted house full of interesting sounds but no real songs.  It drones, it's got authentic boogeyman sounds, looping synthesizers, and a dark tone.  But it's a constant battle between boredom and the unexpected parts meant to be scary.  Perhaps the most optimistic assessment is that it's a "difficult" album, a "grower," one that I will come to appreciate in time.  Maybe, if I had a six-album collection.  I just listened to four below-average albums back to back to back to back.  At least drinking beer is a necessary part of the process.

Album Capsules--The Strokes

The Strokes

Comedown Machine


This album is either an early April Fool's joke or else a-ha locked these guys in the bathroom and recorded this album, or else the band has basically just thrown up its collective hands and said, "Fuck it, let's collect one more time from suckers who think we will ever be as good as our first album."  As a bonus feature, each time you play the album, the entire band shits in your ears, calls it music, and then hopes that you will pay for it.  Play most of these songs and, except for "All the Time," you won't recognize the band.  You'd probably guess that Comedown Machine is a compilation of B-sides of a bunch of one-hit wonders from the eighties.

[EDIT: At Grrouchie's request, here's a song from the album.]

Album Capsules--Various Artists, Trance Motion Picture Soundtrack

Various Artists

Trance (Motion Picture Soundtrack)


It may say "Various Artists," but nine of the 16 tracks are by Rick Smith, a musician that Danny Boyle has turned to before for soundtrack music.  And the music basically sounds like a movie soundtrack, full mostly of electronic music--you know, where a song called "The Heist" is hyperactive and one called "Sandman" (by Kirsty McGee, live version below) sounds like a lullaby (and is a highlight).  The music directly serves the purpose of the movie--and little more.  What I mean is, this is not like the Garden State or the Lost in Translation soundtracks, both full of excellent tunes deserving multiple replays.  This album has a few nice tracks.  That's about it.  And if I had to guess based purely on the soundtrack, I'd say that this flick isn't even worth Redbox-ing.

Album Capsules--Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

The 20/20 Experience


So this is how it feels to get in touch with my feminine side.  Well, that and wearing women's underwear.  And having sex with men.  Okay, I haven't experienced those latter two things, but if I listen to this album enough, I fear that I might.  All kidding aside, with another Timbaland-assisted album, Justin Timberlake surprises here by forgoing the standard four-minute single with 12 tracks over 79-plus minutes, averaging more than 6 1/2 minutes per tune.  With many of the retro pop soul tunes, he ends with a lengthy "outro," often with an entirely different melody or, with "Suit & Tie" (video below), rap by Jay-Z.  Aside from song length, this is a typical, well-made pop album.  You know, the type of album from which you pluck a song or two for a mixtape . . . for someone who wants to get in touch with their feminine side.