Daily Archives: December 31, 2010

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LeftCoastLady’s Favorite Music from 2010

(To see the original entry in all its non-modified glory, please visit Dimple and a Smirk (dot) com.)

In looking back on the music of 2010 that entered my ears, I listened to a lot of house/dance/electronic. Moving one’s ass is always a good thing. I also listened to a lot of comedy albums this year. In fact, this will be the first time my “best of” list will include comedy albums. If I had done this last year, Jim Gaffigan’s King Baby would have blown away most of my music selections. I’m almost embarrassed by the number of times I’ve played tracks from the album this year.

But enough of that, let’s get on to my favorites from 2010!

Favorite Albums:

The Lady KillerCee Lo Green
Before the album was released, everyone was abuzz about “F**k You” and rightfully so. It’s catchy, makes you smile, and includes a handful of f-bombs. The good news is the rest of the album is just as great and in some places, even better. If there is such a genre as alt-R&B, then Cee Lo is part of it. It may be cliché, but this album deserves all the praise it can get. Cee Lo’s take on Band of Horse’s “No One’s Gonna Love You” is so good, I may start listening to his version more than the original. And I love the original version to pieces.

Brothers – The Black Keys
Will the bluesy boys from Akron, Ohio, ever put out a less than awesome album? Highly doubtful. If your foot doesn’t start tapping beginning on the opening track, “Everlasting Light,” you may need to loosen up a bit. If your hips aren’t swaying on the second song, “Next Girl,” you may not have a pulse. When I first heard “Next Girl,” I knew I would be blasting it a lot. Oh goodness, what a great fucking song. There are a lot of contagious songs on this album — “Howlin’ for You,” “The Only One,” and well, all of them. Also, go see the Black Keys perform live. One of the best live bands around, that’s for sure.

Record Collection – Mark Ronson & The Business Intl.
What happens when a sought-after producer puts out an album that includes collaborations with artists such as Duran Duran, Boy George, D’angelo, Miike Snow, Q-Tip, among others? Awesome things happen, that’s what. The title of the album is appropriate because it feels like a carefully-crafted mix tape. “Bang Bang Bang” and “You Gave Me Nothing” will get you on the dancefloor while “Someone to Love Me” will make retreat to a seat on the side because you don’t have a dance partner.

Pete YornPete Yorn
See the review I wrote back in September. I’ll add this: I cannot wait to see PY perform live in support of this album in a few months. It will also be interesting to see whether or not married life affects his future musical output.

Let It GoBill Burr
Bill Burr is an angry man and that’s why I like him. I like to think his anger allows me to walk around and not rage at everyone and everything. You’ll laugh out loud at his observations on people because there’s a good chance you’ve encountered some of the same situations. Thanks to Bill Burr, you can hear what it sounds like if you were to act on what you’re really thinking.

I Learned the Hard WaySharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
When I first picked up this album back in April, I knew it would be on my year-end “best of” list. It’s as if by pushing “play” I was transported back in time to the era of Motown girl groups and bands who wore matching suits. Sharon’s voice just pours emotion into the lyrics. You feel her heartache on tracks like “The Game Gets Old” or on, my favorite track, “Window Shopping.” Likewise, the Dap-Kings work in tandem with Sharon’s voice to fully make the songs deliver their punch. On the instrumental track, “The Reason,” you really get to hear the Dap-Kings as they deliver a song that is just…groovy. No really, it has a great groove.

Crazy For YouBest Coast
The opening track “Boyfriend” sucked me in. If the rest of the album wasn’t great, “Boyfriend” would have been at the top of my favorite songs list. The album is full of catchy sugar pop music — check out “Our Deal” and “Honey” — that makes you want to sit on a beach blanket while writing in your diary about your new crush.

Timeless PulseCollioure
While listening to a Deep House Cat podcast, I fell in love with a song called “La Vague.” That sent me on a search to learn more about Collioure, a Japanese downtempo/lounge group. With limited vocals on the songs, the listener is left to fully appreciate the music, which is lush, exotic and perfect for a chillout session.

III/IVRyan Adams & The Cardinals
I’ve only had this double album — on beautiful, gorgeous, colorful vinyl — for about two weeks, but yes, it’s really that good. What’s essentially a collection of B-sides can put to shame a lot of A-side albums on the market these days. The album has some great little gems on it like “Typecast” and “Gracie.”

When I received Transference, I wasn’t sure where to set my expectations. Could they really do another Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga? Yes and no. With songs like “Who Makes Your Money” and “Got Nuffin,” I found the album to be a closer relative to soulful grooves found on Gimme Fiction. One of my favorite tracks is the sleepy “Out Goes the Lights.”

Honorable Mentions:

As I Call You Down – Fistful of Mercy
Dhani Harrison, Ben Harper, and Joseph Arthur. That’s three kinds of awesome merged into one group. For a debut album, it’s fairly solid, however, where it falters is in trying to maintain some of the singular qualities of each musician’s individual artistry. When I listen to the album, I can hear each member’s contributions, but I also (selfishly) wanted to hear them push beyond that and deliver something unique to the album.

I really wanted to like this album more than I currently do. I wanted to love it, especially after the less-than-stellar Our Love to Admire. The couple of songs I heard prior to the album’s release — “Barricade” and “Lights” — gave me hope, but as a whole, the album left me longing for a band that put out Turn on the Bright Lights and Antics. Yes, I’ve become one of those types of fans, which is sad, because I’ve loved Interpol for a long time.

Winner WinnerJessi Campbell
Because of my frequent comedy album purchases, Jessi Campbell’s album came up as a recommendation. I’d never heard of her before the recommendation. I listened to the album with tempered expectations, but oh my, she’s quite funny! I’m looking forward to hearing more from her in the future.

Favorite Songs (excludes songs from favorite albums):

“Blackbird and the Fox” – Twilight Singers feat. Ani DiFranco
“Rolling in the Deep”Adele
“Not Giving Up On Love (Armin van Buuren Remix)” – Armin Van Buuren vs. Sophie Ellis Bextor
“O.N.E.” – Yeasayer
“Together Alright (MTV’s 2010 Club Mix)” – Martijn ten Velden & Red Carpet
“Vanity”Christina Aguilera
“Our Summer”Dragonette
“Back It Up (Melleefresh vs Jerome Robins Velvet Fog Mix)” – SpekrFreks vs. Billy Newton Davis
“Why Like This”Teebs

Songs I rediscovered this year and now realize it may be some of the most perfect songs ever recorded (2010 edition):

“Home”Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Yes, I know this song was only released a year ago, but it’s an earworm that finds its way into my head frequently.)

“So Close”Hall & Oates

Take Some…Leave Some” – James Brown

What I’m looking forward to music-wise in 2011: New Twilight Singers (Dynamite Steps), new PJ Harvey (Let England Shake), new Adele (21), hopefully more new Ryan Adams, attending live shows all over the place, including Pete Yorn and Twilight Singers, and, of course, discovering more new music that I can rave about to anyone who will listen.

How to Survive a Hangover

Well, it is that time of year again. Even those of us who don’t regularly indulge usually toss a couple back, and for those of us who do it can often end like this:

No matter how good our intentions, New Year’s Eve is an invitation to taunt the liquor gods, and that means paying the price the next day. In the spirit of kindness, I am posting my time honored method of easing the hangover pain so that the first day of your new year won’t be utterly painful.

I know that there are many so called “natural” and vitamin remedies that are supposed to help a hangover, but they are all bullshit. Hippies don’t know shit about drinking, put down the crystal and let a professional help you.

Get all of this stuff together tonight. Once you are in the throes of a hangover you won’t want to leave the house and you probably shouldn’t because you will look like shit anyway.

For this method you will need the following:

36 oz. of water

2 anti-inflammatory tablets of your choice (I like Alleve).

2 pieces of bread

2 grams of decent weed

One comfy pillow and blanket

A cable TV hookup or a Netflix account

Phone number to a good pizza place or really good leftovers that are easy to reheat

2 cans of Coca-Cola (absolutely no substitutions on this)

The Night Before

It goes without saying that you can avoid this by not drinking excessively in the first place, but that is for little  girls and  it is a long time until the MLK weekend, so fuck it. I can also tell you to stick to one type of liquor, but you inevitably will mix bourbon with champagne and will end up doing a shot of absinthe that someone brought back from a holiday in Europe. Again, fuck it. You should drink some water before you go to bed, but if given the chance to get some nasty from whomever you wind up with, skip the water and go for the sweet loving. Rest easy knowing that you will survive the consequences of your foolish behavior. Again …

The Day of Battle

Step #1: Try not to sleep more than a couple hours later than your usually waking time because that makes your body confused and you’ve already pissed it off enough. If you are sleep deprived you can nap later.

Step #2: Shower, or at least wash your face. You smell awful.

Step #3: Drink one of the Cokes. It should be ice cold. Drink it slow.

Step #4: After 15 minutes, toast the bread and eat it (use butter if your stomach isn’t too upset). Drink 12 oz. of water with it.

Step #5: Wait about 20 minutes. Smoke some weed. If you smoke cigarettes you should have one at this point. I know, I know, you are going to quit, but today is not the day. Leave that shit for next week.

Step #6: Now is the time to take a tylenol or whatever. Your stomach will appreciate that you waited.

Step #7: Watch a couple of hours of TV while snuggled in your blankey on the couch. I recommend Law and Order, Futurama, the Twilight Zone, or Star Trek. All of these will probably be on marathons tomorrow or you can get them on Netflix. Avoid porn, horror movies (this is not the time to finally see Hostel), anything really sad (alcohol is a depressant). If you must watch sports you are going to have to choke down a couple of cans of mid-priced domestic beer to make watching your favorite team blow another great season  possible.

Step #8: Take a nice nap. Try to keep it under an hour so you won’t fuck up your sleep schedule and turn into a vampire.

Step #9: Take the second anti-inflammatory with 12 more oz. of water. Return to the couch for more movies (maybe there is something good on Lifetime).

Step #10: Drink the last Coke and smoke some more weed. At this point you should be ok to eat some real food. Try cheese pizza, chicken soup, or pasta with a red sauce. Avoid carbonara, salad, Indian food, anything too spicy. Don’t make your stomach even angrier.

Step #11: Return to the couch and slowly drink 12 more oz. of water. See what Benson and Stabler are up to. Check in on CT and make fun of everyone else for a having a hangover.

Step #12: By this point you should be able to go on with your day, but if you can stay on the couch do it. Avoid phone calls from family, annoying internet arguments, or anything else unpleasant. This is the first day of the New Year, you have 364 more days to be irritated.

Step #13: Profit! You win at drinking. Now don’t do that again!!!

Have a wonderful New Year!

Nothing Is Special Anymore – Why Movie Rentals Suck

Have you noticed lately that your Netflix (or Redbox, Blockbuster, etc.) movies aren’t as feature packed as they used to be? The movie studio overlords had a problem, the rental houses only have to buy a disc once and then they can send it to hundreds or thousands of people. The studio oligarchy would much rather that individuals pay $30 each for individual copies of those movies. A new plan was needed.

Enter the “movie only” copies of DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Let us take the money making machine that is Twilight Eclipse as an example.

Your kids already forced you to take them to see it in the theater for $12 a pop plus snacks.  Now the whole point of getting the DVD or Blu-ray is to watch the special features, so they put it on their Christmas wish list.  Grandma goes to Best Buy and gets them the only copy they have left, the single disc DVD.  The back of the box doesn’t list any features, but granny doesn’t know anything about the schemes of movie studios.

Your kid and her friends just want to watch the commentary where the pale face Brit tells what it was like to make out with Miss Dead Eyes.  But it’s not there.  So, you march down to return the stupid thing (open box returns are fun) and you are presented with a well stocked after holiday shelf where you find the following:

1. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Two-Disc Special Edition) DVD
2. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Single-Disc Edition) DVD
3. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Single-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray on a flip disc
4. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Single-Disc Edition) Blu-ray

Can you guess which one has special features, or which features each one has?  If you said number 1 and 3 you’re win a prize (that being the ability to hear Miss Dead Eyes attempt to emote).  Further, can you guess which are the only ones the studios will sell to the rental companies?

This leaves only one question.  What took them so long?