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Escape

Posted on Friday, January 16th, 2015

Dave!I'm not much into health food.


   

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Categories: Music 2015Click To It: Permalink  3 Comments: Click To Add Yours!  

   

Bullet Sunday 421

Posted on Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Dave!Don't be sad that my trip to California delayed your favorite post of the week... because Bullet Sunday on Monday starts... now...

   
• Weekend! Had such an amazing time in San Diego for Jester's birthday weekend...

Jester's Birthday Weekend San Diego 2015
Thanks to Chuy for the Group Photo!

A nicer bunch of people you will not meet.

   
• Heart! Speaking of Jester... a song he wrote with Matthew Hayes is being performed by Kenyth Mogan in a clever Wizard of Oz inspired video... with a twist. Jester appears as Scarecrow, by the way...

And here's a behind the scenes making-of video for the video where Jester (Aaron) explains the origins of the song...

I love having talented friends!

   
• Horror! One of the biggest surprises from this past weekend was attending the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Ken Cinema...

Dave at the Rocky Horror Picture Show
Newspaper and squirt gun ready! Thanks to Jester for the Photo!

I haven't "done" the Rocky Horror in 25 years. I remember a lot of the audience participation lines... but I was surprised by how much everything has evolved. There were plenty of current pop culture references (Justin Bieber?) to be found, and a lot of stuff had been added. Hopefully it won't be 25 years before the next time... it was a lot of fun.

   
• Carrots! Best episode of Billy on the Street ever!

We have the coolest First Lady ever.

   
• Sausages! Whilst having Sunday Brunch at the marvelous Cafe 1134 yesterday, I was introduced to the fact that Soy Chorizo exists. It was absolutely wonderful in my breakfast burrito, and made an ordinarily boring egg and cheese entrée into something flavorful and amazing. Now I just gotta find it local.

   
• Spock! As I was flying home today, I learned the Leonard Nimoy has been hospitalized for chest pains. Wishing him the speediest of recoveries. Nothing would make me happier than having him make a third appearance in the Star Trek reboot.

   
And that's the end of the bullets, everybody!

   

Memphis

Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Dave!There have been three times in my travels where I have forgotten my camera.

The second was Austin, Texas, in 2002 where I was visiting the terrific Hard Rock Cafe that used to be on 6th Street. This was an especially painful mishap, because the cafe closed before I could get back and document this amazing property. I did manage to find a disposable camera at a local drug store, but all the photos turned out terrible.

The third was while visiting Osaka, Japan in 2003, where I managed to purchase a cheap plastic toy camera at the Universal Studios Osaka gift shop to get shots of the new Hard Rock Cafe there.

And the first time?

When I visited Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee way back in 1995. And, despite returns to Memphis over the years, I never went back.

So my grand plan today was to run out to Elvis's house... THIS TIME WITH MY CAMERA... and take some photos. Except when I got up this morning I realized that, when it comes to Graceland, once is enough for me... photos or no photos.

And so I was off to Hard Rock No. 163, bitches!

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Tennessee

As always, I was prepared for the worst. Yet another ugly hipster Hard Rock with only a smattering of memorabilia. Which would be a real slap in the face for Memphis, because their previous cafe was so awesome. So imagine my surprise when I visited this new property and found that the new location is in a primo vintage building with plenty of history and character... and they had a decent amount of rock-n-roll memorabilia to make it actually worth your time to visit!

Nice.

The Hard Rock is located at the head of famous Beale Street. The location is hopping at night, but fairly sedate in the daytime...

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

Beale Street Memphis Tennessee

The one big tourist attraction in Memphis I haven't done yet was to visit Sun Records, which is the birthplace of rock-n-roll. And home to some very famous musicians. Like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many, many others...

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Sun Records Memphis Tennessee

Well worth a stop if you're ever in the Memphis area. The tour cost me $11.50 and lasted 40 minutes. Our guide was fantastic, and really made the place come alive.

And that's now I spent my only day in the city.

And now? I'm going to dinner at Faiqa's house and you're not!

UPDATE: Uh huh...

Dinner with Faiqa

   

Shell

Posted on Friday, March 27th, 2015

Dave!It happens all the time.

Find a band you like one minute and they drop off the face of the earth the next. I can find no word from Father Tiger since December (their website hasn't been updated in almost a year).

Kind of sad about that, as I thought for sure 2015 would be when we finally get a first full album out of the band...

Hopefully they're just busy in the studio and haven't had time to post updates?

Oh well.

In other music news... the best news I heard all day... Duran Duran has an album coming out in September through Warner Bros. Records that will reunite them with genius producer Nile Rodgers!

Few bands have remained as consistently good with their music than Duran Duran. Their last release (way back in 2010), All You Need is Now, was as amazing as anything they've ever released. If we'll be getting more of the same this time around, I'll be very happy to add them to my Best Of 2015 list.

   

Hippies

Posted on Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Dave!Say what you like about Miley Cyrus and her dipshit antics, but the girl can definitely sing.

And she's generous. She created the Happy Hippie Foundation to raise funds and awareness for homeless youth. To support the organization, she's had some fairly impressive guest stars join her for a series of "Backyard Sessions" to drum up publicity for the organization.

The latest, a cover of Neil Finn's Don't Dream It's Over by Crowded House... featuring Miley and Ariana Grande... is just beautiful. It's been my jam all week...

Sadly, it's not for sale anywhere I can find.

So in case you too decide to "acquire" it off YouTube and need some cover art for your MP3, here you go...

Don't Dream It's Over Happy Hippies Backyard Sessions

And if you want to kick a few buck to Happy Hippies to support the very worthwhile work they do, that would be good too.

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Bullet Sunday 435

Posted on Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Dave!Don't dream it's over... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Selfie! As somebody who narrowly avoided getting smacked by somebody unable to control their selfie-stick this past week, I applaud Pizza Hut for their PSA...

When I have completed my bid for world domination, possession of a "selfie stick" will be punishable by death. If somebody ever smacks me with one of these things, that stick is going straight up their ass.

   
• Wha-?!? CatDuck!

   
• Reality? The Briefcase, a new "reality TV" show on CBS, is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen on television... and that's saying something. "Let's exploit people with financial troubles for entertainment value!" — Holy shit. THIS is where we're at? Really?

The concept of the show is that a struggling family is given a briefcase full of money and introduced to another struggling family. They then have to decide how much of the money to keep and how much to give to the other family. BUT LITTLE DO THEY KNOW... the other family was given a briefcase full of cash too! Oh the drama!

You just KNOW that eventually one family is going to keep all the money while the other family will give all the money, creating a briefcase super-villain family that will be absolutely crucified by social media. As if keeping free money you desperately need is some kind of pure evil. I bet this show does gangbuster ratings. Human beings are the absolute worst. Fuck CBS for this disgusting, horrific exploitation of the poor.

   
• Wait! New music just dropped from one of my favorite bands, Postiljonen...

Beautiful, as always. Can't wait for a new album to hit!

   
•Giddy! Twelve. More. Days.

YOU CAN PLAY AS A LEGO DINOSAUR, PEOPLE!

   
And that's all the bullets we have today... move along, there's nothing to see here...

   

Beer

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Dave!Sometimes things just come together as if by magic.

Or divine intervention.

You've probably seen this viral sensation of Dutch punk singer David Achter de Molen (from the band John Coffey) catching a beer in mid-air while crowd-walking...

But you might not have seen the video interview with the guy who hurled the beer, which is almost as good...

Buy that man a drink.

UPDATE: It's science, bitch!

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Apple Music

Posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Dave!Well, gee, where do I start.

In summary: Apple Music is a poorly-executed, bug-ridden, embarrassing pile of crap that is sadly typical of the utter shit that permeates anything to do with iTunes. If you've already got Spotify, there is nothing to see here. I'd argue that Apple's execution of a streaming music service is actually worse than Spotify in just about every sense. After the three-month free trial is over, I'll be dumping Apple Music like the steaming turd it is.

Shall we begin?

  1. Apple Music "iCloud Music Library" corrupts your iTunes data. Ever since activating Apple Music, everything has been completely fucked for me. Clicking on one song plays another. Album art is a jumble. Songs are missing. There seems to be no end to the bugs that Apple Music is responsible for. Apple's "fix" for the problem seemed to have worked... but then I started having problems again (even though I turned iCloud Music Library off). It is entirely possible that I have lost some of the CD music rips I entrusted to iTunes Match, and I am very, very pissed about it.
  2. Apple Music has made the iTunes UI even more stupid. iTunes has a user interface which is about as bad as it gets. And then along comes Apple Music to make things far worse. It took me forever to figure out how the fuck to even get to Apple Music, because it's under a tab titled "For You." What the bloody hell "For You" (suggestions for music you might like) has to do with a streaming service I have no idea. But any time you search Apple Music for a song, you pop back into "For You" again, so there it is. Why the fuck Apple calls it "Apple Music" but labels it "For You" is anybody's guess because it's just so damn idiotic.
  3. Apple Music "For You" suggestions are shit. Seriously? Apple has access to every damn song I own, which means they know exactly what I like to listen to. But does their "suggestions" reflect that? Not in the least. It's filled with shit I wouldn't dream of listening to. I mean, Lady Gaga? Really? But here's the real problem... you can "love" a track, but you can't "hate" a track. If you can't "hate" a track, how in the hell is Apple Music ever going to learn what you don't want to hear?
  4. Beats 1 Radio is worse than Clear Channel. I never understood how a "worldwide radio station" could manage to appeal to everyone. Turns out it can't. Either the music being played is the same Top 40 playlist trash you can get off a regular radio... or it's some esoteric crap I have zero interest in. After a day of listening, only rarely was I listening to something I actually enjoyed.
  5. Apple Music Connect is just so lame. After Apple canceled their rather embarrassing social media music experiment "Ping," they seem to have brought it back with less features as "Apple Music Connect." Basically, it allows you to keep in touch with the artists you like. And those you don't like. Connect automatically subscribes you to any artist with an account that happens to be in your library whether you want them to or not. I have a song in my library by Avril LaVigne... don't ask me why... maybe it was free or something, because I don't care for Avril... but that was all it took to have Apple subscribe me to her feed. So now I'm stuck having to waste time UNFOLLOWing Avril and most of the other artist appearing in Connect. Or at least trying to. Clicking UNFOLLOW doesn't work most of the time. Lame.
  6. Apple Music is missing some important music. Want to listen to some Prince? I don't blame you. So go start up some Prince on Apple Music! I'll wait...
  7. Apple Music makes everything more difficult. Seriously unintuitive. Things that are effortless on other services are confusing, complex, and time-consuming with Apple Music. I was so confused at one point that I was Googling for help. That's when I ran across this gem. Just pathetic. Did anybody at Apple actually test this shit?
  8. No Sonos support. Blergh.
  9. All the iTunes bugs are still there. Having to sign in to iCloud over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again? Yep. And what about movies that want to download no matter how many times you delete them? Yep. And being forced to download a movie to watch it instead of just streaming it? Yep. ITunes Store still being brain-dead about movies you've already purchased? Yep. Purchased movies not showing up in your "My Movies" tab? Yep. iTunes Match titles not being available every time you start up the app until you logout then log back in then turn Match back on? Yep. Random crashes? Yep. None... NOT ONE of the many, many bugs that plague this pile of shit have been addressed with the latest "Apple Music" edition. Pathitic.
  10. The new icon is butt-ugly. Well, it is.

I have no clue as to what's happening at Apple these days. More and more they just can't seem to get their shit together. Apple Music is just one more failure in a series of failures, and it's getting tiring.

I shouldn't have to work so hard to be an Apple fan.

   

Bullet Sunday 451

Posted on Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Dave!Every little thing the reflex does leaves you answered with a question mark, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

• Red! "Attend a live concert by a band I love at Red Rocks Amphitheater" has been on my bucket list for a very, very long time. So long, in fact, that I was ready to compromise and go see ANY live concert at Red Rocks the next time I was in Denver. "Even Nickelback?" you may be thinking. Yes. Even Nickelback. Fortunately, long-time blogging friend Howard let me know that Duran Duran was going to be playing tonight, so I got to fulfill my original bucket list item the way it was meant to be fulfilled.

• Rocks! And let me tell you, Red Rocks is a frickin' amazing place to see a concert. I only had my iPhone, so any photos I post can't really do it justice, but here you go...

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

For much, much better images of this breathtaking venue, a Google search is a good place to start...

• Clean! The first opening act was Clean Bandit, a group I've never heard of before...

Not bad at all.

• Chic! The second opening act was Nile Rodgers and Chic. This could have been a bit of a snooze, but Nile Rogers pulled from the unfathomably huge stable of artists he's worked with to unleash a truly amazing set. I'm Coming Out, Upside Down, We Are Family, and even a brilliant rendition of David Bowie's Let's Dance were all there and just amazing. They even did Daft Punk's Get Lucky! Wrapping up with La Freak and Rapper's Delight didn't hurt. Fantastic performance.

• Durans! And then it was time for Duran Duran and they were amazing. Simon Le Bon has lost absolutely nothing over the years, and the show was everything you could hope for... including a setlist that had them playing a great mix of new stuff along with the hits everybody wanted to hear...

  1. Paper Gods. Title track off their latest album.
  2. Hungry Like the Wolf. One of their most well-known songs.
  3. A View to a Kill. The band's James Bond effort from the movie of the same name (and one of my favorite D2 songs).
  4. The Reflex. A long-time popular cut for live shows that works perfectly every time.
  5. Come Undone. The first track of three taken from "The Wedding Album" and one of my favorite songs... not just for Duran Duran, but ever.
  6. Last Night in the City. Not the strongest track from Paper Gods, but it was well-received.
  7. What Are the Chances? A beautiful, haunting song off Paper Gods that I was very happy to hear, as I thought for sure it wouldn't make the cut. If only we could have gotten Butterfly Girl and Face for Today. as well.
  8. Notorious. Not one of my favorites, but it always plays really well live.
  9. Pressure Off. My favorite track off of their latest album.
  10. Planet Earth. One of their first hits and best songs.
  11. Ordinary World. One of the incredible tracks off "The Wedding Album" that rejuvenated the band for the masses.
  12. (Reach Up for the) Sunrise. A lone contribution from Astronaut, a seriously underrated album.
  13. The Wild Boys. Classic song for sing-along that I'd just as soon have them skip in favor of another song, but there's not denying it was a fun addition to the set.
  14. Danceophobia. An okay track off Paper Gods, but no guest appearance by Lindsay Lohan, sadly.
  15. Too Much Information. Another wonderful track off "The Wedding Album" that killed it live.
  16. Girls on Film. My favorite of their earliest work.
  17. White Lines (Don't Don't Do It). Goes over really well live thanks to a good crowd participation hook.
  18. Save a Prayer. Another sing-along favorite that was very well received.
  19. Rio. Arguable the most popular song from "classic" era Duran Duran, it was a really nice close to the show...

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

All in all, and amazing night by one of my favorite bands!

• Off! If you haven't run out and purchased Paper Gods yet, it's an album well worth your time. Half the tracks I love, and the remainder aren't terrible. My favorite track, Pressure Off, is now stuck in my head...

So, yeah... if you have the chance to see Duran Duran live in concert, I'd definitely do that.

• Blergh! All was not perfect at Red Rocks, however. The sound, which was awesome for Clean Bandit and Chic, kept muffling in and out throughout Duran Duran's entire set. It was very frustrating given just how amazing Simon Le Bon was belting out the tracks.

And, oh yeah... whomever designed the lighting for Duran Duran's stage show should be shot. Half of their set was spent staring not at the band... but at a huge fucking bank of lights that blinded everybody trying to see the show. THIS is what I was staring at for way too long...

Red Rocks Amphitheater!

Incredibly annoying, and I wish bands would be more mindful of BLINDING THE FUCKING AUDIENCE, because this is not the first time this has happened to me.

   
And... that's a wrap!

   

Bullet Sunday 453

Posted on Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Dave!The weekend may be ending, but the fun is just beginning because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Bond? Oh Lord. Worst. Bond. Theme. Ever. Seriously... who saddles James Bond with this whiny shit? I cannot believe that the same director who used Adele's amazingly powerful masterpiece Skyfall in his previous film would follow it up with this crap... AND I DON'T EVEN LIKE ADELE!

My expectations are running very high for Spectre, but listening to this mind-numbing drivel has me seriously questioning why. Hell, if Mendes wanted a song called Writing's On The Wall for his movie, I'm sure OK Go would have been happy to re-work their vastly superior song...

Ugh. Just ugh.

   
• JELL-O! Leave it to The Slo-Mo Guys to crank out yet another entertaining video...

Everything really IS better in slo-mo!

   
• Restless. Absolutely gutted that Catherine Coulson, "The Log Lady," has passed away just as they were finally getting around to filming new Twin Peaks...

Log Lady

She has one of my favorite character introductions of all time...

You will be so very missed in the upcoming Twin Peaks revival. Rest in peace, ma'am, the owls are quiet at last.

   
• Water! Liquid love on Mars? Thompson Twins called it...

But can you drink it?

   
• Derp! Pretty much...

It burrrrrrns.

   
• Family! This photo of a father making sure his daughter's step-father was a part of her wedding was the best thing I saw all week...

Fathers
© 2015 Delia D Blackburn Photography, and thanks for sharing such a fantastic moment.

The story here is just great, and proves that people don't have to be horrible to each other all the time. If you want to see an interview with the fathers in question, here's your link.

   
Until next week... buh bye.

   

Pressure

Posted on Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Dave!It's been a fairly stress-filled week.

I don't know that my weekend will be any easier, but at least I have a quick trip to look forward to on Monday.


   

And now? Nachos!

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Bullet Sunday 456

Posted on Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Dave!Don't worry... blogging isn't as dead as they say, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Jones. I do not have the vocabulary to adequately express how much I'm looking forward to Marvel's Jessica Jones on Netflix this November 20th...

If it's even half as good as Davedevil was, I'll be ecstatic. Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter (as LUKE CAGE!) look to be knocking it out of the park.

   
• Outrageous. And so it turns out the shitty Jem and the Holograms movie adaptation is, in fact, shitty. Which was foretold by many, many people after watching the trailer...

IT'S NOT FUCKING ROCKET SCIENCE! RESPECT THE DAMN SOURCE MATERIAL OR FAIL!

   
• FAKE! Nothing like getting excited over a ton of five-star reviews on an item you're needing from Amazon... only to find out that every last one of them were from people who either got it for free or received a discount for their "honest and unbiased" review. Well screw that. Your "honest and unbiased" review is overwhelmingly positive because THAT'S how you get chosen to get free stuff for reviews! They're not going to choose people who are critical of the things they write about to review their product. I absolutely loathe this shit.

   
• Dull. Seems almost eerily accurate...

Dell. The pink slime filler of computer companies.

   
• Comeuppance. Oh. How sad for the price gouging little fucker.

   
• Force! This has got to be the single best video game commercials ever made...

The magic of video gaming is that it has the ability to put you in a fictional universe made real. Many video games have been advertising along these lines... this is the first one to absolutely nail it.

   
And I'm off. In the meanwhile, here's probably the cutest thing you've seen all week.

   

Moon

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Dave!

Last night was my first time seeing Walk The Moon live.

It was also my first time seeing a show at the Nob Hill Masonic Center.

Hopefully it won't be my last for either one. Thanks to Jester for inviting me to such a fantastic show...

The Masonic San Francisco

The Masonic San Francisco

The venue is right across from Grace Cathedral...

The Masonic San Francisco

The evening began with an opening set by Holy Child, which I had previously seen live when I was in San Francisco for Betty Who. They were followed by a band I had never heard of before called Saint Motel...

Saint Motel

I really, really enjoyed their set. Saint Motel is an amazing live band. Wasn't as impressed with their studio albums, but maybe they'll grow on me.

The main act was Walk The Moon and they were fantastic...

Walk the Moon

You can get a taste of what they're like live in this video for Different Colors...

They are best known for their hit single Shut Up And Dance...

I was worried that my favorite song off their latest album was skipped, but We Are the Kids came along in the encore...

If you ever have the chance to see Walk The Moon live, it's an opportunity you absolutely should not pass up.

Back to real life.

   

Bullet Sunday 454

Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2015

Dave!Thanks to Home Automation Week, Bullet Sunday is on Monday and starts... now...

   
• The 1975! Definitely a highlight of my week... if not a highlight of my entire year... was flying to San Francisco so I could see The 1975 in concert with Jester. This has quickly become one of my very favorite bands, and their live show did not disappoint. Not only did they play tracks from their flawless debut album, there was plenty of amazing new stuff off their forthcoming one. Like my favorite song of the night, Change of Heart...

I was very surprised by how fantastic their stage set was. It's dead simple... consisting of a large video screen and four video columns... but it's what they DO with it that made the show so spectacular. If you have a chance to see them in concert (which might be tough... they're selling out everywhere) by all means give them a shot.

   
• Elephant Walk! When I was on vacation in Africa last year, my first stop on safari was at Ruckomechi camp in Zimbabwe. It's a beautiful reserve in a region known as "Mana Pools" and is billed as "The Elephant's Favourite Camp" because elephants are roaming around everywhere. They were always around, and you are constantly running across them throughout your time at camp... I even found an elephant in my shower once. For the most part, if you leave the elephants alone, they leave you alone. Just don't approach them. And absolutely do NOT get near a baby elephant unless you want a momma elephant getting annoyed with you. I loved having the elephants around, and never once had any problems with them. Which is why I was surprised to see this viral video going around of an elephant attack that was most definitely shot at Ruckomechi camp. I ate at that very table...

While this incident is alarming, it also has to be exceedingly rare, because thousands of guests (including me) have been through Ruckomechi Camp without incident. Hopefully this won't dissuade people from visiting, because it is easily one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life.

   
• Star Wars! I have no intention of seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens while the hype is still running high. While I love Star Wars, that's greatly overshadowed by my hatred of people at the movies now-a-days. Used to be you only had to worry about people talking during the film. Now you've got mobile phones, which has made things even worse. I'm doing my best to avoid spoilers for The Force Awakens, but am still getting excited by the build-up to the movie. And this video by Jimmy Fallon with The Roots and stars of Star Wars is pretty awesome...

   
• Feeding! Probably one of the funniest things I've seen all year...

Ghost Mom

   
• Kitten! And now, before I go, the most heartwarming thing I've seen all week...

Amazing. I love happy endings like this. Best of luck, Lazarus!

   
Enjoy the rest of your Monday, everybody!

   

Murray!

Posted on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Dave!I was fairly excited to see A Very Murray Christmas, but ultimately found it too odd for my tastes once I finally got around to watching it. But there were enough really good parts to make it all worthwhile.

My hands-down favorite? Miley Cyrus singing Silent Night.

Say what you will about Miley and the swarm of controversy that surrounds her, but the girl can sing...

Things like this are why I make no apologies for being a huge Miley Cyrus fan.

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Audio15

Posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Dave!And here's the last of my "Best Of 2015" lists for the year.

Not a bad twelve months for music I like, actually!

   
THE TWELVE BEST...

#1 Arcadia by Mackintosh Braun
Often times, I determine my favorite album of the year by factoring how many plays it registers on iTunes adjusted for the number of months its been released then further adjusted to reflect how new music gets a ton of listens the month after release. It's a scientific approach for something that's not at all scientific. This year, Duran Duran came out on top. Which makes sense, I love their latest album and listen to it constantly. But, in the end, my heart was telling me that Mackintosh Braun was my top pick. They took their EP from last year (my #2 album) and built on it in beautiful ways. The EP track In Reverse is still my favorite song off the album, but Holding Pattern comes a very close second. Everything they touch is melodic and magical and my infatuation with their sound hasn't diminished one bit. If you are a child of 80's pop like I am, they are well worth checking out.


   

#2 Paper Gods by Duran Duran
After the misstep that was Red Carpet Massacre, I feared that one of my all-time favorite bands was slipping off my radar. But then they hit back hard with All You Need Is Now, which I liked quite a lot. Was it a fluke? Apparently not. Paper Gods is one of their best albums in years, and the fact that they're brave enough to partner up with other artists (like Nile Rodgers, Mr. Hudson, Kiesza, and Jonas Bjerre) has reinvigorated the band and made them more relevant for modern audiences and old fans alike. The perfect example is Pressure Off, which has Simon teaming up with Janelle Monáe for pop brilliance that cannot be denied. And then the band goes into a different direction entirely with the most beautiful song of the year, What Are the Chances. With practically no missteps on this album, my faith in Duran Duran has been fully restored. If you had given up on the band, Paper Gods is essential listening.


   

#3 Music Complete by New Order
My love of New Order is firmly planted in their formative years. The band was such a massive part of my musical education that their early hits define "New Order" to me. And yet... their later stuff never fails to impress. Republic, Get Ready, and Waiting for the Siren's Call were all excellent releases and maintained my love of everything they do. Now they've blessed us with Music Complete which has only served to cement their genius status in music history. It's an eclectic blend of pop, rock, dance, and electronica that couldn't come from anybody else. Tracks like Plastic, Tutti Frutti, and Superheated are everything I could ask for from the band.


   

#4 New Glow by Matt & Kim
The fact that so many commercials have opted to use Matt & Kim's sound to pitch their wares has done nothing to diminish the indie spirit that permeates every track the band releases. That they're not afraid to experiment in new directions keeps their music fresh, even if it doesn't always pan out for older fans who are firmly entrenched in the Grand era. With New Glow, everybody's favorite musical duo took a welcome step back on a few tracks while continuing to push forward with others. This has resulted in an album that's a little uneven, but no less fun than what I've come to expect. Not surprisingly, Matt & Kim continue to push the envelope with their music videos, often coming up with genius visuals that rely on imagination instead of budget to wow their fans.

   

#5 Dark Sky Island by Enya
While I've been a huge fan of Enya since her debut, Ive grown a little Enya-indifferent over the years. I buy everything she comes out with, but don't remember falling in love with an album since The Memory of Trees back in 1995. Fortunately, for whatever reason, I'm really digging Dark Sky Island. It's got that hallmark Enya melodic construction that defines her beautiful music, but it also feels more... more... this time around. It's like she's gone from reaching for the stars to reaching past the stars for what heaven must sound like. But it's not just the way she sounds, Enya has something to say.

   

#6 Art Angels by Grimes
Claire Boucher, AKA Grimes, is one of those artists that has been a little difficult for me to love through her first three albums. It's not that I couldn't appreciate the experimentation she was going through to find her sound, it's that it went in directions I just couldn't follow. So when Art Angels dropped, I didn't make an effort to take a listen. But then all this critical acclaim started being heaped upon the album and I couldn't stay away. Yes, it's weird in parts... but in wonderful ways. If you're not a Grimes fan... or have yet to experience Boucher's music... this is probably the way to get introduced.

   

#7 Recreational Love by The Bird and the Bee
While I've been a fan of the band for a while, The Bird and the Bee never really got to the point where I was anticipating what comes next. Then came their Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates album (with Shirley Manson on backing vocals for Maneater!) and everything changed. Now comes Recreational Love, and it did not disappoint. I can honestly say that this album has made me a fand of the band and I am most definitely looking forward to what comes next. Playful, fun, brilliant pop stylings that's earned a space in my musical rotation.

   

#8 Froot by Marina and the Diamonds
This album came out of nowhere when Howard mentioned it as we were headed to the Duran Duran concert at Red Rocks. The only thing I knew about the band is that I think I once passed by them at some kind of record signing. Interested to know what had Howard so excited about a band, I gave Froot a listen. And was captivated. It's beautifully constructed and every song feels fully refined but oddly raw at the same time. Good, good stuff.

   

#9 Dopamine by BØRNS
After releasing Seeing Stars on the EP Candy, I became an instant fan of BØRNS for his melodic pop sensibilities and fun lyrics. I also became anxious to get my hands on his debut album, which dropped back in October. Turns out it was worth the wait... though didn't quite live up to the hype I had built around it. Still, a lot of really good songs that get a lot of iTunes play.

   

#10 A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay
Coldplay is pretty much the law of diminishing returns in music form. Yes, I like the band. Yes, I think they can make good music. Yes, they're latest album is worth listening to. But the band just isn't evolving. They released Ghost Stories last year (which I liked quite a lot) and this is just more of the same. Which would normally be a good thing, but I'm starting to get tired of Coldplay. In ten years will I even be able to remember which song was on which album? Probably not. Step it up, guys.

   

#11 Introducing Darlene Love by Darlene Love
It's frickin' Darlene Love. With her first non-Christmas album in 27 years. What more do you need to know?

   

#12 Before This World by James Taylor
It's frickin' James Taylor. With his first album of original material in 13 years. What more do you need to know?

   

And, that's a wrap. Really looking forward to new music in 2016!

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