Anytime I don’t know what to listen to and my iPod is running out batteries, I go to old favorites. On YouTube.

One of those go to favorites is: JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound’s “Baltimore Is the New Brooklyn”

Personally, I love the dancers. Be prepared for more video finds. I think I’ll be taking another hiatus from review writing.


Nickel Eye – Time of the Assassins (Rykodisc)

With a deep steady bass line, Nikolai Fraiture introduces himself as a solo performer (away from the Strokes). While his singing sounds lackadaisical, the bass line is tight and inviting. Mixing rock/pop with some folk and blues, Nickel Eye creates a sound different from the Strokes, but not entirely new.

Now, while I don’t hate it, it leaves something to be desired.  Time of the Assassins reminds me of any little band who plays the music because of pure enjoyment but playing loft gigs to friends in feeble attempts of being discovered. It is interesting to hear the bass as a leading instrument, but his vocals are weakest element and diminishes any effect the bass playing creates.

Although, he plays the bass, doublebass, harmonica, guitar and whistles on this album, it’s still not enough to be raved about. Personally, I feel the construction of the songs would better suit the Strokes instead of lack as a solo project. No doubt that Nick Eye has talent as a bassist, and now he can be recognized as a song arranger. Some songs have a groove that is compelling, once you accept the vocals will not match the beauty of the instrumentals.

Track Listing:

1. Intro*
2. You and Everyone Else*
3. Back from Exhile
4. Fountain Avenue
5. This Is The End
6. Dying Star*
7. Brandy Of The Damned*
8. Providence, R.I. *
9. Where The Cold Wind Blows
10. Another Sunny Afternoon
11. Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye – Nickel Eye, Cohen, Leonard

Rating: C-

Cotton Jones – Paranoid Cocoon (Suicide Squeeze)

I know there are influences of blues rock, alt country and indie pop, but I still don’t know what Cotton Jones is!

The opening track “Up This Tree (Went This Heart I Have),” starts with a simple bass line and the mysterious line of “all around, all around this head of mine I was scratching out the view.” We’ve all been there, the mental place where we don’t know what’s happening. The dirty heavy male vocals are joined by a very young sounding female. (Those female vocals even resemble a young Michael Jackson). Matching the attitude of the music, the lyrics are seeking a return to an easier and more carefree time.

The song blends right into the next which morphs into a haunting groove from an electronic keyboard. The matching of deep male vocals and cheery high-pitched female vocals compliments in a really non-competitive way. The “Cheer Up Now” gives a 60’s groove a fix to the problem of being overwhelmed established in track 1.

“By Morning Light” takes a passe Johnny Cash approach. With lyrics such as “I cry just to see the tears” with the addition of whistling and string arrangements, it gives something more organic to the recognizable sound. “Pretty Little Ashtray in the Sun” picks up the temp and personifies items and repeats “Oh The human kindness has begun” in a Beatle-esque way.

While some songs are more alt country (“Gone The Bells”), others are more “psychadelic” and furthermore some are gentle blues rock. All the different textures work well together to share the mood which matches the album title of Paranoid Cocoon.

The setting that comes to mind when listening to Paranoid Cocoon is either sun bathing on a drifting rowboat or watching snowdrifts building as the winter wind numbs your nose and toes. By the end of the album, the overwhelming feeling brought up in the lyrics disperses itself  and are replaced with the lyrics:”all the demons have been slayed”. A sentiment of protection is built and a new feeling of “everything is gonna be okay” closes out the album.

With such clarity and seemingly complexity, Paranoid Cocoon could easily end up on the 2009 Top Year End List. There is some desperation/emotion in the vocals; a wavering, somewhat psychedelic keyboard, and soft strings and gentle drumming that paint a dreamy landscape that brings everything together.

Track List:

1. Up A Tree (This Heart I Have)*
2. Gotta Cheer Up*
3. Some Strange Rain
4. Gone The Bells*
5. Photo Summerlude
6. By Morning Light
7. Cotton and Velvet
8. Little Ashtray in The Sun*
9. Blood Red Sentimental Blues
10. I Am The Charger

Rating: B+

With blues guitar solos, phrases and words as choruses, they bring back a classic style with some unclassy content. They have proclaimed themselves as the first real rock band of the 21st century. By the end of the album, any arguments regarding that statement are more difficult to defend.

Kicking off with “Sea Level,” Howlies waste no time in showing who they are and what they are afraid of; which turns out to be nothing.

With lyrics that resemble Kings of Leon, the rest of the music is like a Frankenstien of all the rock gods of the past. The songs have a punch and a kick to them. Even slower songs such as “Smoke” can hardly be described as slow.

Howlies definitely has a youthful sound. A sound that would fill a bar. With enthusiasm and a great, honest sound, Howlies deserve at least a shot.

Themes and lifestyles from their southern (Atlanta) roots shine though either in sound or in lyrics. In “Sweet Denise v. Road Rage Rhonda” covers Jesus and road racing while other songs mention activities that are found at the most raucous bars. Don’t worry though, to listen to Howlies, you don’t have to sport cowboy boots. Any shoes that allow toe tapping or dancing are apt.

At the most elementary level, Howlies mix southern rock with classic rock and give rock the rougher edge it’s been missing.

Rating: C+

(Howlies – Trippin’ With Howlies (Over Under Records))

Update: 1/28/09: The quote of being the first rock band of the 21st century was by Kim Fowley, not by the band.

(DJ Signify – Of Cities – Bully Records)

We’ve heard DJs like him before (i.e. RJD2, DJ Shadow), however, there is something very unique and compelling about Of Cities. It has a mood. It has a theme. It even has a story. How does that sound to you? How do you think an album with such attitude would start?

With silence. It starts with silence and goes into a dark atmosphere with a constant beat complimented with twangy strings dripping with reverb. Mid-song,  everything that was building disappears back into the dark abyss of silence. The emotion of doom and urgency sucked away to nothingness only to be replaced by quiet yet electrified static and a distant announcement. When the music returns, it builds up speed a little more urgently and less gloomily. And that’s just track one.

“Low Tide” features Aesop Rock. DJ Signify plays with white noise elements making it a back-track to a monologue about whistling while you work. As Aesop Rock begins to rap, the beat also picks up. Besides giving a smooth beat a heavy sound, such as creating a very solemn sound similar to a bell tolling, the chorus of “how low is your lowest low tide” and the metaphor for a low tide being varying levels of destruction  logistically makes this song a “downer”. But something abut the  partnership of Aesop Rock’s deep vocals and the mixture of noise continue the mood clearly set in the opening track, “The Sickness”. (Aesop Rock’s also featured on another track.)

The album is broken up  with interludes which are crucial to the atmosphere. It just blends tracks in  a transient way. It’s usually a break or simple beat lasting for about a minute before fading into silence and the next track beginning.

While conveying the same mood on every track, the songs drastically vary, either  by instrumentation, beat or some other element. DJ Signify transfers you to a world where there are no more blue skies.  Now, don’t discount this album as depressing. there are so many other layers to Of Cities that make the album enjoyable and worth writing about. The songs groove. The elements are unique to each track and there is a variance  to keep it appealing and enjoyable. The album was released yesterday (January 20th)

Track Listing:

1. The Sickness*
2. Low Tide (feat. Aesop Rock)*
3. Interlude 1
4. Costume Kids*
5. Delight to the Sadist (feat. Matt Kelly)
6. Interlude 2
7. Vanessa
8. Interlude 3
9. 1993*
10. Interlude 4
11. Sink or Swim (feat.  Aesop Rock)
12. The Gods Get Dirty
13. Interlude 5
14. Bollywood Babies*
15. Interlude 6
16. Hold Me Don’t Touch Me

Rating: Between 8 and 10

Also: Love the cover!

(A.C. Newman – Get Guilty (Matador)

Here’s the thing. Get Guilty is filled with the simple, upbeat, a little catchy, but easily forgotten indie pop songs that have been on his previous release, 2004’s The Slow Wonder. There has been no evolution. Don’t get me wrong – it’s easy to listen to, but there’s really no change in the past 5 years for A(llen) C(arl) Newman.

There is differentiation  from track to track, like  “Submarines of Stockholm”  is an upbeat, toe tapper,  sing along while  “There Maybe 10 or 12” is a slower-ballad-like song, “complete” with pizzacato.

A few songs on this album remind me of ABBA because their  simplistic structures and layered vocals of “laa laa”‘s and “Baa-baa”‘s (Especially in “The Palace at 4 am”). The lyrics are storytelling, with characters and places. I’ve always liked his  style  of developed lyrics.

Overall, it’s digestible and an easy listen but not captivating, memorable or new. Maybe I heard what Matador heard, which was a great sound that could evove into something special. I’m not giving up on AC Newman but Get Guilty just hasn’t gotten there yet. Maybe I’m guilty of having high expectations.

Track Listing:

1. There Are Maybe 10 or 12*
2. The Heartbreak Rides
3. Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer
4. Prophets
5. Submarines of Stockholm*
6. Thunderbolts
7. The Palace at 4am*
8. The Changeling (Get Guilty)
9. Elemental
10. Young Atlantis
11. The Collected Works
12. All Of My Days and All Of My Days Off

(Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

When discussing with a friend about what she thinks of the album, she said she heard one song and it was upbeat and fast tempoed. So I ask which song was it “My Girls” or “Summertime Clothes”, two of my favorites? She said no. But the fact that there are multiple upbeat songs on an Animal Collective means something has changed.

Animal Collective has been in the process of an evolution ever since I started to seriously listening to them in 2005 (even though they have been around for even longer). Merriweather Post Pavilion seems to be the pinnacle of their ever evolving sound. With the addition of  pop elements to the electro-psychedelic sound, Animal Collective  seemed to have taken a cue from the successful sound that AC member Panda Bear released on his 2007 release, Person Pitch. The same sound of psychedelia and congruent melodies was also heard on  2008 Water Curses.

The album starts with”In The Flowers” with  spooky sounds (including one that sounds like “we gotcha”, at least to me). The songs have messages, stories, themes all on their own unique, but fairly new, sound. “In The Flowers” starts as a quiet psychadelic song but changes at the mid-mark to a pumping beat and shrill electronics only to fall back to a sweeter sound but never losing the unique mix Animal Collective has mastered over many releases.

“My Girls” is the intended single. It flowed straight out of the overflow from “In The Flowers.” With almost round elctro-bleeps, it sings about something that is rare in today music. It’s about building a life for his family; his wife and daughter. The last I heard a song with a clear message to a family was Will Smith’s “Just the Two Of Us” and that wasn’t in the indie/experimental genre. With claps, and choral repeats and an actual chorus, this is the most pop song Animal Collective has created, even though it timed in at around 5 minutes.

However, the songs seem to have a pattern. Electric white noise turns to psycha-electo then would lead to a break where the pop elements come through (except on “Brothersport”which starts with fast psycha-electro).

“Summertime Clothes” uses strong imagery not to express places but feelings. It is relate-able through metaphors. The power of Animal Collective is that they can transport. Water Curses took me to an Atlantis world where things floated by in a surreal way. In this album, they htake you on a tour; to the dessert, to the ocean, to the jungle and even to a family room.

Repeating lines and creating choruses. Animal Collective brings thier even-developing sound into a semi-familiar format. Now, while all the tracks are at least 4 minutes long, they dreamily flow past. Overall, it’s an enjoyable album But best of the decade (As indie blogs have been calling it)? Favorite evaa? No.

Track Listing:

1. In The Flowers
2. My Girls*
3. Also Frightened
4. Summertime Clothes*
5. Daily Routine
6. Bluish
7. Guys Eyes
8. Taste
9. Lion In A Coma*
10. No More Runnin’
11. Brothersport*

To be completely honest, this list is missing a lot. Some albums were lost in the great iTunes deletion accident of ’08, other albums I never got, but through thick and thin, I’ve developed a top 50.

After spending hours and hours going through over 5,000 songs, I carefully chose and ordered the albums. To make it more exciting, I’m going to be putting a lot of more lines in here. So let’s get this countdown started. As a head’s up, I’ve realized that sincerity and organic sounds tended to to be more important for me.

(Few honorable mentions: Bon Iver (I never got the album). Deathcab For Cutie’s “Narrow Stairs” and The Heavy’s “Great Vengeance Furious Fire” got deleted.

50 – Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
(Illegal Art) This is a catchy, party-anthem mash up album by Pittsburgh-based Greg Gillis. There are more hits and cuts that are recognizable and even more nostalgic than his previous releases. For the Girl Talk review, check out the review.

49 – Department of Eagles – In Ear Park
(4AD) This duo comes from New York and are really great friends! One member is also known for his work as Grizzly Bear. The music is soft spoken and gentle, but really tugs at the heart strings.

48 – Shugo Tokumaru – EXIT
(Almost Gold) Shugo, known for his bells and whispy but substantial music, hails from Japan. Therefor, the vocals are in Japanese, but the music it’s self is universal.

47 – The Evangelicals – The Evening Descends
(Dead Ocean) The Evangelicals is a 4 piece band from Oklahoma. With strong riffs and some prog rock influences, the Evangelicals call attention to themselves in an orchestrated and beautiful way.

46 – Grampall Jookabox – Ropechain
(Asthmatic Kitty) Grampall Jookabox is a duo from Indianapolis, IN. Their profile says “‘I have no idea what you’re trying to do, and that’s either really good or really bad, I’m not sure.’ — Jello Biafra”. They mix hip hop with pop with a spastic and humorist quality.

45 – State Bird – Mostly Ghostly
(Record Collection) It’s just a small band released on a small label from Dover, OH, but they have captured my attention. With some tracks that are easily-digestible up indie-folk, they also cross over to a Fleet Foxes-type  organic sound on other tracks. Either way, their authentic and fun sound is something you should definitely check it out. Review.

44 – Hot Lava – Lavology
(Bar/None) Hot Lava is a 4 piece band from Virginia. What’s so great about them? They have this sense of innocence and light-hearted-ness that you don’t hear anymore. They mix electronic elements with a standard rock group set up. Prepare yourself for a pop album.

43 – Ssion – Fool’s Gold
(Sleazetone) This headache of a group makes really fantastic, weird, and spastic music. This four-piece hails from Kansas City and covers and mocks musical genres while promoting their own personal brands and styles. Review here.

42 – Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair
(Mute) Hailing from New York, Hercules and Love Affair bring back the long-lost funk. They add in electronica to some funky grooves. The album took me by surprise. I was not prepared for something this good after reading that they were reintroducing funk, so check them out with an open mind.

41 – Laura Barrett – Earth Sciences
(Paper Bag) This Canadian offers something you don’t hear often in today’s indie rock. What’s that? The African thumb piano. It does get a little tired after listening to the strange album all the way through, but there are very strong stand alone tracks.

40 – School of Seven  Bells – Alphinisms
(Ghostly International) This 3 piece part psychadelic part structured band comes from New York. They create this effortless sounding music that is orchestrated and enjoyable.

39 – The YMD – Excuse Me This Is The Yah Mos Def
(My Pal God) I’m from Philadelphia and I like to have fun! And so does this Philadelphian group! This is a punk hip hop album that is loud and outrageous. They are also signed to the same label as Eyeball Skeleton!

38 – Animal Collective – Water Curses EP
(Domino) This experimental comes from Baltimore. They have always been known for their unpredictable releases. This one, like their more recent releases, are little more congruent have a theme. This one, surprise, surprise, has a flowing theme. It makes for an enjoyable and relaxing but still unpredictable short EP.

37 – The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
(Columbia) This fills out “mainstream” pop quota for the countdown. This 2 piece band comes from Manchester. And it is filled with heavy drum beats and female vocals that are just so catchy you can’t help but either dance or move in response to their sound.

36 – Bad Dudes – Eat Drugs
(Retard Disco) This Los Angeles 5 piece band has combined two different albums into one, so to speak. The first half is hard and in your face. The 2nd half doesn’t slow down but has more electronic sounds and isn’t as aggressive, but just as enjoyable. The title track describes how I feel about drugs.

35 – Flight of the Concords – Flight of the Concords
(Sub Pop) Yes, they have their own show on HBO and the tracks on the album come pretty much directly from the show, but so what? They mix indie folk music with humor and it works. They seem to be completely overlooked on other countdowns, but not this one.

34 – Foals – Antidotes
(Trangressive/Sub Pop) This English 5 piece has a pop punk sound but goes beyond the superficial comparisons. For more, check the review.

33 – No Age – Nouns
(Sub Pop) From listening to this duo, you’d never know that it’s just a 2 guys rocking out really hard. The album is combusting with energy. Besides being known for a great album, they are also known for their DIY attitude. This indie rock band does use some distortion but all in all brings back the energy that is often lost in the indie scene.

32 – Clinic – Do It
(Domino) This band is really unclassifiable. Hailing from Liverpool, I can still not confidentially compare them to another band. Can you? Their music changes from spastic-fantastic to catchy riffs. Review.

31 – These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid
(Rough Trade) I also wrote a review for them a while back. They have this hard edge that comes from heavy beats and a heavy voice, but they also convey a sense of something more sincere. Their music has this intensity that can easily be understood and appreciated.

30 – Pale Young Gentlman – Black Forest
(Science of Sound) This 5 piece band comes from Madison, Wisconsin and they offer a very unique take on the indie folk genre. Their music has a movement to it that it isn’t directly related to finger plucking, but from all the elements on every track.

29 – Mad Gregs – Big Nun
(Fake Four, Inc) Another Los Angeles band on our countdown! With different instrumentals, like bells and vocal hoots, Mad Gregs create a unique sound for each of their tracks that makes it into a cohesive album. Not only does the album sound like it was organically made, but has a sincere attitude to it as well.

28 – Larytta – Difficult Fun
(Creaked Records) This album only came out a few months ago and has left a large impression on me. Larytta is 2 producers from Switzerland. The beats and sounds you hear as beats are unusual. For “Money”, they use creaking doors and rocking chairs to create a unique but captivating beat.

27 – Deerhoof – Offend Maggie
(Kill Rockstars) Known for their noise pop qualities, Deerhoof does it again with a thought provoking and slightly humorous album. As usual, I can’t understand everything she says in her shrill/baby-talk sounding voice, but the music lends as a helping hand to share emotions and an overall feeling.

26 – Pepi Ginsberg – Red
(Park The Van) This Brooklyn artists has a distinct voice, which is deeper, yet hollow compared to Cat Power. The album relies on sweeping and swooping vocals and a mix with steady beats. Pepi provides something refreshing to the scene. Review.

25 – Fugiya and Miyagi – Lightbulbs
(Deaf Dumb+ Blind) In last year’s release, this 4-piece Brighton English group defined their sound to a receptive audience. Known as krautrock, Fugiya and Miyagi made their whispery vocals a stand out point. This album, they take their sound and combine it with funk. Every track grooves a little more.

24 – Portugal, The Man – Censored Colours
(Approaching AIRballoons / Equal Vision Records) The album is so layered, so developed, so orchestrated and deep, that one listen won’t do it. To classify it, I’d say they are more progressive rock than anything else.

23 – Dr. Dog – Fate
(Park The Van) Dr. Dog, another Philadelphian band, take this with folk pop sound to the next level. While maintaining their distinct sound of catchy but accoustic sound, Dr. Dog created an album that their current fans will gladly gobble up, but something that new fans can also sink their teeth into.

22 – Boy Eats Drum Machine – Booomboxxx
(Tender Loving) BEDM is Jon Ragel, a Portland, OR native. BEDM is a electronic album that combines sound that are both cohesive and non-repetitive. It’s something you can listen to, digest and enjoy on the first listen through.

21 – Jay Reatard – Matador Singles ’08
(Matador) Reatard, from Memphis, released a bunch of EPs this year. So Matador combined their tracks into a compilation. So instead of placing EPs through out the countdown, I, like Matador will group them here. The tracks are easy to sing along to, the lyrics make sense and all along enjoyable. It’s fresh and fun, although it sounds familiar, it also has some surprises musically and instrumentally that keeps you wanting more.

20 – Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
(Ryhmsayer) Here’s something I didn’t expect. I haven’t really gotten into Atmosphere, ever. This album though 1. fills my hip hop quota, and 2. is great. Slug and Ant, the Minneapolis duo, work well together. The hooks are catchy. The lyrics are filled with stories of the everyday, (ahem) Joe Plumbers.

19 – Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
(XL) This band got hyped before their album was even released. In fact, it was annoying. But I still have to credit them. They created a catchy pop album. They’ve seen then been mentioned on 90210 as the pinnacle as underground, and have been played on MTV and on Gossip Girl. I can say, with  confidence, that this debut album is their peak.

18 – Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Angles
(Lex) This British duo does something that I can personally appreciate. They combine topics that I know, music snobbery and good times, with a hip hop beat. Their lyrics are honest and humorous.

17 – Megapuss – Surfing
(Vapor) This 3 piece band comes from Los Angeles. They do something special. They just do stuff. Some tracks remind me of Devendra Banhart, others pull from funk music. The songs are attention grabbing (like the cover art). I really can’t say much more than that.

16 – Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
(Polydor) This album is the album I’d choose to cry to this year. The songs are so melodic and beautiful. The lyrics are filled with stories and wisdom. Review.

15 – Santagold – Santagold
(Atlantic) Hailing from Philadelphia, she has electronic rock music and a distinct voice (however, can be confused with M.I.A). Her songs have been used in commercials for Budweiser and Converse, and also on Gossip Girl and all over MTV. Really catchy, some what aggressive, but good!

14 – Cloud Cult – Feel Good Ghosts
(Earthology) The album is heavily themed on weather. The 7 piece Minneapolis band sometimes sounds like early Modest Mouse because of the vocals. The songs are catchy. The songs vary from story-telling, to dance anthems, to easy going. Review.

13 – Lykke Li – Youth Novels
(EMI Sweden) Unique for a female vocal pop album. The songs are catchy, the lyrics make sense and go perfectly with her personal brand. It is quirky cute but can stand on it’s own.

12 – Okay – Huggable Dust
(Absolutely Kosher) This is a heartbreaking album. There is something very sincere to it and kind of sad. Immediately, you feel a bond with Marty Anderson, the man behind Okay, as he sings in a very small kind of voice about love, lose and hope.

11 – Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
(Astralwerks) The London electropop group has done it again! Another album that works extremely well together with brilliant songs. The video for “Ready for the Floor” is wonderful too. Yes, the band is pretentious with some of their lyrical content in “Wrestlers” but they have earned it.

10 – Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
(Sub Pop) This album re inserts what I meant by organic music being a trend this year. Fleet Foxes’  music flows with earnestness and honesty. The music itself is folk-based because of its instrumentation and the airy nature in which the instruments are played. I’ve gotten lost in the album for a week. Also ’tis the season for the track “White Winter Hymnal”. Review.

9 – The Death Set – Worldwide
(Counter) Can you believe it? This is their first full length release after countless EP. They continue on with their “just do it” attitude in their electronic punk kind of way. The music is loud and high energy, so for those of weak hearts, please approach carefully. Review.

8 – Tobacco – Fucked Up Friends
(Anticon) Tobacco is not a band, but rather one guy from Pittsburg and a member of Black Moth Super Rainbow. The music is psychedelic electonica. It features well crafted loops and electonically hazed out vocals that are transfixing and groove able. After seeing him live at a less than enjoyable show(review), I realized the music can speak for itself.

7 – The Mae Shi – Hlllyh
(Team Shi) These guys are all about fun and it comes through. Although this album focues on religion (strange) and politics (yuck), their messages and attitude clash and result in something that’s deeper than just a rampunctuous album. Review.

6 – Thao and the Get Down Stay Downs – We Brave Bee Stings and All
(Kill Rockstars) Headed by Thao Nguyen, the band can be related to Feist. The band combines elements from all three genres of Pop, Folk and Indie rock. The songs tell stories in some instances, or just convey something else. The songs are not so much as catchy but curious.

5 – The Black Keys – Attack and Release
(Nonesuch) Blues rock from Akron, OH. I still don’t think get the appreciation they deserve. It has the elements that I crave. It has soulful, groove and bittersweet emotion.

4 – Crystal Castles – Crystald Castles
(Last Gang) Electronic dance music from Toronto. The duo has personified the hipster’s dream. Review.

3 – Tim Fite – Fair Ain’t Fair
(Anti) From the distinct vocals, to the honesty and relatable lyrics, Tim Fite has gained himself a new fan (me). The music itself is on the folk side of things, and “Big Mistake” is my personal anthem.

2 – Rafter – Sex, Death Cassette
(Asthmatic Kitty) A very quick paced album. The songs are short and punchy. Rafter, Sufjans best friend, creates a pop album that anyone can listen to and find something to like. (well, almost everyone). The songs are either cute, funny, lovely, but always “special”.

1 – Why? – Alopecia
(Anticon) Alopecia is a genre bending album , led by an unusual vocalist, Yoni Wolf. The music can change from strange experimental, to form a pop song. The lyrics have a hint of truth and wisdom to them without coming off as prentetious. And although there is no simple beat in any of the tracks, it is still considered a hip hop album. Respect my opinion and definitely give them a listen.  Review.

And there you have it. Agree? Disagree? Am I missing something? Share your thoughts.

Turkey Travel


I feel like a turkey. I have to get home for thanksgiving and it’s ending up to be a bigger comotion than usual because this time I have choices.

I can go home Tuesday night after my 6Pm class, or Wednesday anytime. I also get to decide how I go home. The bus or the train.

Over the summer, I’ve become accustomed to traveling on the Chinatown bus to get to New York. The employees are rude, but it’s cheap and quicker than taking the train. It’s also the more direct route.

I don’t know. It could be that I am work, and I’m feeling sluggish after eating an unsatisfying sandwich. Home really is going to be a sweet and welcomed break.

Things I am looking forward to:

1. Home cooked food
2. Napping on a couch
3. Gettin’ my drink on with my mom and her family
4. Clearly, seeing my family
5. Seeing my pets

So whether I take the LIRR to Penn Station (50mins). From Penn Station via the F Train to Chinatown (30mins). To board a bus to Philadelphia (120mins). And then having my dad drive me back to home (30mins.) (Total: 3.8 hours, getting me home around 11pm)

Or the LIRR to Penn Station (50 mins). From Penn Station boarding a NJTransit to Trenton (110mins). And then having my Dad pick me up in Trenton and drive me home (60mins). (Total: , getting me home around 11pm)

If you were me, what would you do?

Pt 1: Friday: I saw Role Models

Pt 2: Saturday: Played Dungeons and Dragons

Pt 3: Sunday: Scrolled through my old xanga. Redskins game and True Blood

My day of D&D:

I woke up, got dressed, ate some breakfast and heading out to Long Island City for a few friends. We got there around 2. Started picking out characters and started the game around 4:30 (after eating some chinese food). The character picking was quite intensive. You had to pick a race and a class, along with supplies, weapons, a mindset and even a diety.

I was a cleric elf with a rapier named Kiki. I also had purple hair, orange skin and green eyes. I was 4 feet tall and weighed 75 pounds. I wore banded armor that took 10 minutes to put on and could turn invisible and heal the shit out of everything. I imagine I may have looked something like that:

Either way, I’ve never played before and I haven’t used my imagination like that in while. The dungeon master was brillant. He had a story line involving robots, mutant wolf-people, mechanical horses, medical testing on children and poor townfolk. There were a few things that made me LOL so hard IRL (laugh out loud in real life). In fact, this took me so far out of things I know. It isn’t URL, it isn’t IRL, it’s…?? Beyond! Fate was decided on lots of different sided dice (D20, D12, D8, D6, D4).

We went on a quest to a place called “Thunderclap” from 4pm until 12:30 in IRL time. But in the land of D&D, it was about a month. I’m glad I brought a shovel and tent with me or my fellow companions (Delorean (a wizzard), Ella and Miguell (half elves)) would have been in big trouble.

And of course, when I returned to real life, I was exhausted and went to bed. And that night I had dreams of Andy the spy robot, and Tien, the town’s folk who had a nervous studder. And in the morning, I continued to use terms and told of situations from the game before. And I don’t care if that means I’ve transformed into a nerd. It was well worth it.

I get why people dress up for the game. It’s very mind intensive. It involves problem solving in a place where consquences only matter if you want them too. Now, I could probably play D&D once a month or less, but, unlike the Dungeon master, there is no way I could handle playing a weekly game.

Thoughts? Are you judging me? Lesson learned:  I won’t be judging D&D players as much anymore