Thursday, April 23, 2009

CheshireNat Designs

So much duct tape! |
For those of you who don't know me well, in addition to being a music junkie and writer, I'm also an avid crafter. I've been sewing and gluing and taping as long as I can remember with projects ranging from a teddy bear made from carpet samples to purses made from old t-shirts and my own variant on duct tape wallets.

After years of being told by friends and strangers to put my stuff up for sale, I've actually taken the plunge.  Please check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Songs to Obsess Over, Case File #2: The Decemberists - "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid"

They seem at home here, don't they? | Photo by Autumn DeWilde
It's almost halfway through 2009 and The Decemberists have runaway with my favorite album of the year. Their folk-rock opera The Hazards of Love runs the gamut from country twang to metal riffs while telling its tale, which involves a rake, an evil forest queen, a charming girl named Margaret, some dead children, and an ill-fated hero. As I said in my bit for the Internal Debate at Stereo Subversion on this album, it feels like the album The Decemberists were destined to make.

The best track on this album, though, is easily the 6:26 epic "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid". The pivot point of the narrative, where the plot goes from sleepy fairytale love story to complicated disaster, "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid" is a dialogue between the hero, sung by Decemberists ringleader Colin Meloy, and the forest queen, sung by Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond). Part folk ballad, part metal bombast the track tugs between the two moods with suspense that heightens down to the last second. Arcade Fire approved "Oooohs" and supreme vocal performances are only part of the over-the-top, sonically delicious madness that ensues here. The entire album is superb from start to finish, but this is the track that really holds everything together.

In other Decemberists news, Meloy will be back on The Colbert Report for a remach April 27th. Too much awesomeness in one show! My TV may implode.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Great Twitter Punk

I've seen worse. | Photo via Advertising Age
So, as many of you have noticed via this blog, I have become madly obsessed with Twitter. It's quick, easy and a fun way to interact with others throughout the day that is way less demanding, immediate or intrusive than an IM (which can be my death when swamped with articles and projects. Damn you, Facebook!).

But recently the social-networking, blog-ish interweb whatchamacallit sparked a furious battle between two very unlikely adversaries: television news juggernaut CNN and film and television star and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher.

I follow  neither, as both don't really fall within my need-to-know-ASAP radar (though Colin Meloy's love of Cilantro does, so what does that tell you?), however it has come to light that Kutcher's "win" was impacted by Lamar's donation of billboards in major population centers. Critics are claiming that this makes Kutcher's win entirely inauthentic, even questioning if he should be disqualified.

Publicity stunt or not, the outcome would have been positive regardless of who won as both parties had pledged to donate significantly to malaria relief in Africa. The only major change is bragging rights. So before getting uptight about some donated billboards, just be glad that the charity is winning out in the end, anyway. 

As Kutcher continues his lead over CNN (numbers are Kutcher: 1,149,454, CNN: 1,060,023, currently), people should be far less concerned with the role these advertisements played in the battle (CNN is a 24-hour news network--how often did they mention daily to follow them?), and more concerned that people are more interested in what the guy who created PUNK'D is up to  than keeping up with what's happening in the world. CNN is hardly the end-all, be-all of news, but if the choice is between staying informed and keeping abreast of what the guy from That 70s Show has to say to Perez Hilton...well, shouldn't the answer there be obvious?

For all you twitterers here's a shameless plug, follow me @CheshireNat

Friday, April 17, 2009

Back to the Future

This makes me want a Delorean almost as much as the Neon Neon album did. Maybe more.

I love you, Oxford Comics.

Athens is still a 'Blur'

Best photo of BK ever? Yes!
Did anybody miss the latest issue of Athens Blur? Don't live in the Classic City? Never fear! You can download it here

Issue 6 has my article on A.C. "Carl" Newman of the New Pornographers and a feature story I wrote on the new trend of Fan Funded albums. There are also fabulous stories on The Vinyl Revival and a spotlight on Adele, so check those out as well. 

In other Athens Blur news, I recently interviewed Roxy Epoxy and bizarro supergroup Tinted Windows for the next issue. Can't wait to see it!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Metric System

Making math cool: Metric | Photo courtesy Big Hassle Media
Oh, Metric, how I love thee. Although their new album, Fantasies, is certainly far more slick than anything else they have done to-date, it also boasts some of the group's best tunes. From the first chance I had to hear "Satellite Mind", "Gimme Sympathy" and "Stadium Love", I've been addicted. I've danced. I've cleaned. I've vacuumed. I've driven. I've partied. I've cooked. I've written. I've sewn. I've duct taped. I've rocked out Fantasies for all of it. 

And it seems that I'm not alone.  2009 just might be Metric's year. The disc just hit stores this past Tuesday, but it's already sitting pretty atop the Billboard Heatseksers chart, the result of an early iTunes feeding frenzy. This milestone is nothing to scoff at, especially when considering that the album is released independently via the band's own MMI label. Keep your eyes on this band. They're paving their own road, and seem to be on the right track.

I recently had the chance to interview Metric's leading lady (and one of my total heroes) Emily Haines for a feature over at SSv. I'm a fan of not just her work with Metric, but with Broken Social Scene and her solo albums as well, so it was a pleasure to speak with Haines. 

I also contributed to SSv's new series Internal Debate about this album, so in case you don't want to take my word for it, check out what we at SSv thought of the album.  And you can pick up the album directy from the band, here.