Trouble Thinking

August 16, 2012

Hey Listen to All This Shit

HEY! Listen.

-Ben Sollee is a Cellist, he’s quite good! He’s a singer-songwriter who basically sings stuff that would be tired and a bit annoying if it was a dude with an acoustic guitar but sounds pretty awesome with a cello. He’s pretty neat! I’d check him out by clicking the thing below here:

-In Case of Emergency is a podcast! It’s cute! That’s really the main drive of my continued listening. In Case of Emergency is several of your friends having a silly conversation in the background of a party. It rarely gets me rolling on the floor, but the presentation and topics manage to consistently entertain and just generally feel like a cup of cocoa. It’s completely worth listening to all of them! All of the premises are equally funny, which is impressive! You’d think they would run out. Check it out here: http://icoecast.libsyn.com/

-Comedy Bang Bang is both a show and a podcast! But the podcast is something you can listen to immediately, so you should! It’s so good. I highly recommend finding any and all that include Paul F. Thompkins as a guest because he’s fucking amazing. The premise of the show is basically one actual guest, and one fake-person guest played by a comedian. They’re long, they’re consistently both in-character and out of character funny, and it’s just a good time to be had. It’s a great way to be introduced to a wide variety of comedic talent as well! Give it a listen at http://www.earwolf.com/show/comedy-bang-bang-podcast/ and in the meantime look at this clip from the show, it’s awesome.

-The Alex Bellegarde Trio is cool! They play well, also there’s a regular jam session thing that I guess I got to see without having any fucking clue what was going on. I distinctly remember being in the bathroom thinking “jeez, the sax is really loud” and coming out to find someone practicing right outside the door, getting ready to go on stage! It’s cool, you should go. Be more respectful than I was! I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have, I didn’t really understand it, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Check them out at: http://www.myspace.com/alexbellegarde Also check out a neat thing on the Jam Sessions! It’s got a lot of music too.

That’s it! Listen to a bunch of neat stuff, have fun you crazy kid.

September 28, 2011

It’s Expensive to Live in Hollywood

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , — Durandal @ 11:41 pm

So this is a piece of music I expected to hate: It’s a self-indulgent song about the place every musician thinks is interesting!

But, no it’s actually a pretty good bit of a thing, have a listen to it.

I am going to check out his other stuff. Won’t you?

August 8, 2011

Bastion Soundtrack Online for Free/Pay What You Want

Filed under: Game News, Music — Tags: , , , — Durandal @ 3:12 pm

This is some great fucking music. I mean, I’m not nearly enough of a dorknozzle to go about arguing that the theme to Final Fantasy is actually totally fun to listen to. But Bastion’s soundtrack has been on repeat for a while now in the background. It’s got this really nice cowboy-exotic-folksy… I don’t know shit about music. It’s really nice to listen to and all the tracks are good. It’s not cloyingly “a game soundtrack”. It’s just awesome music that happens to have been included in a game.

Give it a listen, pay for it if you want some extra stuff!

Oh and the game is supposed to be hot shit as well, so give that a go on XBLA for $15 and soon on Steam.

June 22, 2011

New Music Time!

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , — Durandal @ 10:25 am

I’m pretty sure my taste in music is awful, it’s just this gnawing in the back of my mind that tells me I’m listening to the horrible fourth-string ripoff of something that was passe 20 years ago.  Listening to music comes with a field of sonic regret briefly aligning waveforms to take the form of an unimpressed baby-boomer.

But I found a solution! Well, two solutions. One is realizing that all of you are so much fucking worse. I mean really, you guys. Jeez. No one is into Hanson anymore, that’s so 2009. The second part of the solution is listening to dinky local stations that play weird unpopular stuff. The one music rule I know is if I’ve heard of something before you, I am the winner.

So here’s a couple of songs I think are pretty fun from a band I think I’m now into called “The Parting Gifts“.

“Bound to Let Me Down” sounds pretty similar to early-ish Beatles stuff, it’s neat.

“Sleepy City” is upbeat and folksy and doesn’t overstay its welcome so that’s nice!

January 17, 2011

I’ve A Horse Outside

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , , — Durandal @ 5:27 pm

So I was made aware of this by an article posted to the internet remnants of the failed humor magazine “Cracked”, and I really really enjoyed the hell out of it.

It is a music video by Irish comedians “The Rubberbandits” about having a completely bitching horse.

It has, apparently, been seen by about 5 million people already, because it came out a while ago and is actually at the top of the Irish charts. But I figure the odds that anyone who regularly checks Trouble Thinking is able to find a thing that is good before I do are incredibly low. That is why I am here for you.

Connected to the video is this radio show excerpt where one of the Rubberbandits discusses the concept of “satire” with some enormous horse’s ass who cannot understand that when one of the creepy-looking thuggish antagonists in the video expresses the sentiment that you should drink and do drugs in front of your children, he is not meant to be emulated. Some people need their hands held.

As Gladstone mentions, it’s a pretty impressive display of satire that manages to be equal parts insulting, funny, and uplifting. Plus, the song is actually a surprisingly singable bit of pop.

June 14, 2010

Regarding The Only Band That Matters

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , — Chris @ 11:43 pm

One of the greatest parts of music is discovery. Uncovering some new song, album, band, or entire genre which you hadn’t before been exposed to, and just becoming overwhelmed as it changes your entire listening-life forever.

Recently, I have discovered The Clash. Their whole discography had only been around for my entire life, plus about ten years. Whatever. It’s all new stuff to me.

Well, not all new stuff. I’ve known of The Clash, obviously. I’m not entirely oblivious. I’d heard “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” “Rock the Casbah,” and “London Calling”—it’d be basically impossible to live in our culture and not get exposed to those songs, they’re pretty ingrained at this point.  Furthermore, I’ve actually owned the album London Calling for somewhere around five or six years at this point, but, who doesn’t own London Calling? It’s one of those albums everyone owns, its greatness so well-known it is taken for granted. I know that I had. I’ve listened to it for years, always enjoyed it, but for one reason or another, never really thought about the band behind it.

At least until a couple months ago when, driven by forces unknown, I felt compelled to see what else the minds behind London Calling had produced. First, I picked up their self-titled, debut album. Hard and fast, The Clash sees the band at their most stylistically punk. The lyrics are still powerful today, and while generally uncomplicated, songs like “Career Opportunities” and “London’s Burning” will stay trapped between your ears for days at a time, demanded to be listened to over and over.

Next, I grabbed Combat Rock, home of previously mentioned perennial favorites “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Rock the Casbah.” The rest of the album is pretty great as well, though doesn’t reach the level of London Calling—it lacks a sort of cohesiveness that London Calling has. Still, overall a good album, and “Straight to Hell” is fucking excellent.

Then, came Sandinista!. For those who don’t know, Sandinista! is The Clash equivalent of jumping into the deep end—a triple album covering a plethora of divergent styles, released only a year after London Calling; it is nothing but bizarre, genre-schizophrenic madness. It is simultaneously the least and most punk thing ever.

What follows is not an intellectual dissection, but pure emotional reaction.

It’s kind of amazing, even the parts that are no good (and they are there). A common criticism of Sandinista! I’ve read, is that it’s one good album in three albums worth of music, and that’s probably true, but what interests me, is I bet if you asked around, everyone would give you a different list regarding what that good album consisted of. Sure, songs like the “The Magnificent Seven” and “Police on My Back” would probably universally make the cut, but what about others. Like this song.

Listen to that. That is “The Sound of the Sinners.” It is a no fooling gospel song, as recorded by The Clash, and I fucking love it. Only three years previous, The Clash’s lead off single was this song, “White Riot,” and then they went and recorded something like “Sinners;” or this. Or this.

The album is so diverse, it’s like The Clash decided to absolutely push their artistic abilities to their limits, just to see if they could do it. It doesn’t always work (there are a couple covers of their own songs on this album—as sung by children), but when it does, the results are spectacular. The only other band I can think of that has this sort of growth in so short a period of time is The Beatles. The more I listen, the more I see how The Clash could get away with calling themselves “The Only Band That Matters”—it’s true.

May 20, 2010

Vast Maaaaan

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , , — Durandal @ 2:33 pm

Vast Aire is a rapper I think is pretty okay and also apparently reads too many comics.

Who name-drops Vicki Vale, or the Green Hornet?

Although it’s unfortunate that apparently he and the Weathermen are angry at each other, I found him from his collaborations with Aesop Rock.

Oh goodness jeez his new group is the League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

March 29, 2010

Album Review – Plastic Beach by Gorillaz

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , , , , — Chris @ 6:16 pm

It’s a little strange to realize that the Gorillaz have been around for ten years now. Created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, and “Tank Girl” artist Jamie Hewlett, the Gorillaz, as a band, are represented by four Hewlett drawn cartoon characters; a device which allows Albarn to keep the illusion of an actual band, while in reality, collaborating on each album with whoever the hell he wants. It’s an experiment that probably should never have worked as well as it does, and it is a testament to the quality of the Gorillaz’s output that the premise has become so well accepted by the general listening public. Just the other day I was listening to the radio on my drive home from work, and “Stylo,” the first single off the band’s new album Plastic Beach, had just finished playing, when the DJ mentioned that there was a countdown on the Gorillaz’s website, one which she was hoping was leading to an announcement of a new tour schedule. Instead, however, it ended up simply being a countdown to the bassist Murdoc’s birthday. She did not mention, or imply, however, that that’s all just a tad bit silly, seeing as Murdoc is not a real person.  It’s an amazing, grand scale success of suspension of disbelief that Albarn and Hewlett have been able to get us all past the novelty of a cartoon rock band, and simply accept the mystery.

Though to still call Gorillaz a “rock band” at this point probably does Albarn, Hewlett, and company a disservice. While the group’s self-titled debut album was certainly a sort of alt-rock effort, infused with the occasional bit of hip hop, each subsequent work has moved them further and further away from such a label.  Their second release, Demon Days, featured rap much more heavily, but also included excursions into electronic dance music (on the tracks “White Light” and “DARE”), as well as the equal parts surprising and splendid Dennis Hopper spoken word track “Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head,” among other hard-to-define-genre-wise songs.

Now, with Plastic Beach, the Gorillaz find themselves moving further towards the electronic. I suppose it’s only appropriate that an artificial band would develop a more synthetic sound, I only wish it were more exciting. While not necessarily “bad,” Plastic Beach is easily the weakest Gorillaz album to date. The first half of the album is promising, with stand out tracks including “White Flag,” a hip-hop piece by rappers Bashy and Kano, book-ended by marvelous instrumentals from the National Orchestra for Arabic Music, and “Superfast Jellyfish,” a funny and catchy take-down of junk food advertising featuring De La Soul. About halfway through the album, however, Albarn and Co. seem to lose momentum, and it all just becomes…dull.

I have no qualms with mellow music, and Blur’s more chill songs were some of their best (I’m looking at you “No Distance Left to Run”) , but these tracks run straight past “mellow” and venture right into “boring” territory. While the back-half Plastic Beach occasionally comes up for air and regains interest on the surprising and welcome Lou Reed contribution “Some Kind of Nature,” or the second Little Dragon collaboration “To Binge,” much of it fails to hold your attention. “Sweepstakes,” featuring Mos Def, and “Glitter Freeze,” featuring Mark E. Smith, are the worst offenders in this category, songs which seem to go on forever, yet serve no purpose whatsoever.

All in all, Plastic Beach isn’t a bad album by any means; while half the album is indeed quite tepid, the other half is certainly worth listening to. I suppose that’s the risk when you have with a band that’s actually more a series of collaborations than an actual band. Still, it’s good to see that Albarn is still working to expand his sound, and while Plastic Beach is a little bit of a dud, there are still two other excellent Gorillaz records floating around out there (not including all the b-sides and remixes), and I look forward to whatever it is Albarn and Hewlett decide to produce next from their cartoon quartet.

Addendum: You should definitely check out the band’s video for “Stylo;” it is delightfully insane. I can best describe it as “Bruce Willis tries to kill the Gorillaz.” Just watch.

March 7, 2010

Give it a Listen: Dear Science by TV on the Radio

Filed under: Music — Tags: , , — Chris @ 6:07 pm

I have to admit, I feel like a bit of a phony writing about music. I don’t know how to play any instruments, I am a hopelessly tone-deaf singer, and what little exposure I’ve had to musical theory has left me passed out on the floor with blood dripping from my ears. Furthermore, my knowledge of the music “scene” is woefully pathetic, so much so that I’m not even sure if “scene” is actually any sort of proper terminology, or if it’s just something I’ve imagined. I don’t regularly read any music publications or websites, and mostly I just alternate between listening to whatever music I currently own, the local classic/hard rock radio station, the local alt-rock radio station, and, when I’m feeling adventurous, Pandora. In short, I am the definition of a layman. As a layman, I don’t often find myself exposed to totally awesome musical acts that others have known about for embarrassingly long periods of time until much later than excusable.

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