Friday, December 11, 2009

Tiger's "mistresses" are just hook-ups.

http://www.slate.com/id/2237992/

Witty and poignant article about the Tiger scandal. I can always count on Slate to write about exactly what I'm thinking.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I love making my Top Albums of the Year List! I'm such a geek.

This is a list of the albums I think have been noteworthy in 2009. To narrow it down and make a Top 10 is going to be tough, I think.

What do you guys think? Anything I missed?

Grand by Matt & Kim
Noble Beast by Andrew Bird
Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future by The Bird and the Bee
Incredibad by The Lonely Island
It's Not Me, It's You by Lily Allen
It's Blitz! by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Two Suns by Bat for Lashes
Fantasies by Metric
Swoon by Silversun Pickups
Love the Future by Chester French
Mean Everything to Nothing by Manchester Orchestra
Outer South by Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix
New Again by Taking Back Sunday
Far by Regina Spektor
Horehound by The Dead Weather
Hot Mess by Cobra Starship
Daisy by Brand New
Brand New Eyes by Paramore
Sainthood by Tegan and Sara
Say Anything by Say Anything
Battle Studies by John Mayer
I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers
Manners by Passion Pit

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Phoenix Performing "Lisztomania"

Friday, December 4, 2009

New album from Fleet Foxes

According to NME.com, there's going to be a new Fleet Foxes album set for 2010.

The evolution of Pop Music

This is a really cool article about pop music and what it is today. It's from one of my favorite music blogs, The Quietus.

I have to say though, I think that pop music today is the best it's been since the Spice Girls/Hanson age. There's Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Lily Allen, John Mayer, Kanye West and the list goes on. Pop music is a music snob's guilty pleasure and artists have never necessarily had to have any talent or meaningful lyrics (I'm not talking about Britney or anything.) Pop music really is just to entertain, let's be real. If you want to just dance and listen to something fun, you listen to Lady Gaga. You wouldn't listen to The Shins or Them Crooked Vultures, would you? (Maybe you would.) This is also not saying that all pop musicians aren't talented. You know I think Gaga's great and I think Justin Timberlake is practically like our Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson. I just think sometimes people take pop music too seriously (and I used to be one of them, trust me!) All I'm saying is if you like it, listen to it. Have fun with it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I kind of went on a hiatus...

Sorry for my sporadic posting throughout these last couple months. It's my last semester in college and if anyone has ever gone through that, they'd know it's a non-stop paper writing frenzy! But I really want to keep this blog going after school so you'll definitely be seeing a lot more posts from me soon. If you want to read some of my political writing, check out The Examiner, where I've just become a civil rights writer for the Albany section: http://www.examiner.com/x-30744-Albany-Civil-Rights-Examiner

So a lot of amazing music has come out lately...which album would you guys like me to review first?
John Mayer Battle Studies
Tegan and Sara Sainthood
Lady Gaga The Fame Monster
Dashboard Confessional Altar The Ending
Paramore Brand New Eyes
Say Anything Say Anything

And don't worry, I will most definitely review Weezer's unfortunate seventh studio album I wish never happened, Raditude!

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scattered Magazine - Now Online!

Hey check out this music blog I'm doing with my friend, Amanda (who also has a music blog of her own: The Rhythm Corner) It's called Scattered, a web version of the music newsletter we used to release at Purchase College four times a year: www.scatteredmag.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

YES.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

VMA Video of the Day - Foo Fighters "Everlong"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H0BMfqFP9c
(Embedding is disabled on a lot of music videos, I've just found out!)
Nominated for: Best Video that Should Have Won a Moonman

The Beatles: Rock Band!

The Beatles: Rock Band came out today! I can't wait to try it out. Here's an article MTV posted about a very notable difference The Beatles version has from other Rock Band games: three-part harmony.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

VMA Video of the Day - Death Cab for Cutie "Grapevine Fires"



Nominated for Breakthrough Video
Will Death Cab win? (I hope so!) Catch the VMA'S Sunday, Septemeber 13 on MTV.

Monday, September 7, 2009

MAC OS X Snow Leopard

I know this isn't a Tech blog but just recently, I had some difficulty with the subject so I figured, if someone came across this post and it helped them when they upgraded to Snow Leopard, why not? Anyway, many Mac users (myself included,) are experiencing a problem when they restart their computers after installing Apple's newest processor, Snow Leopard. According to this article in Information Week, Mac's will start up with a white screen with the Apple logo and what has been coined "the spinning wheel of death." The machine then proceeds to turn off without any warning without you being able to get to the main screen and the problem persists if you turn it back on. This is an easy fix if you have AppleCare but for some, it's been a fiasco (See: Amy Gahran's blog http://www.contentious.com/.) For me, my Mac just happened to turn on today and decided to work again but I'm going to take it to the Apple store just in case. Just wanted to give a heads up to people who are considering Snow Leopard!

(This will probably be the first and last blog about tech-related things...because usually, I have no clue.)

Check out the VMA Nominees

Here: http://www.mtv.com/ontv/vma/2009/categories.jhtml

The VMA's are Sunday September 13 hosted by one of my personal favorites, Russell Brand!

Also, I've decided to change the "Artist of the Week" column to "Artist of the Month." Who would you like me to profile next for September? Give me ideas! (And yes, I know I've been slacking in that department!)

na na na na...



Beck "Timebomb"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

5 Things!

Here are Salon.com's FIVE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS OF THE DAY! for August 4, 2009.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Artist of the week: Chester French! (July 26-August 1)

Photo courtesy of Last.FM

Little did Daniel Chester French know when designing the John Harvard statue at Harvard University, that two students at the school would name their band after him. Chester French consists of Andrew "D.A." Wallach, originally from Milwaukee, W.I., and Maxwell Drummey, originally from Boston, M.A. With their debut album Love The Future and the ongoing tour with Blink 182, Fallout Boy, Taking Back Sunday and Weezer, the duo has had quite a busy summer.
Their sound, almost impossible to describe, is very reminiscent to The Beach Boys and Soul music from the 1960's, which is what brought these two Harvard freshmen together when they realized they shared the same passion for that type of music.
The band is currently signed to Star Trek records, created and managed by one half of The Neptunes and N.E.R.D., Pharell Williams. Playing at 2008's South By Southwest in Austin, Texas and promotion on MTV during commercials helped gain interest in their music even before Love The Future released. They were also included in the Artists to Watch list in Rolling Stone's March 2008 issue, which also gained a buzz for them.
Key tracks on Love The Future include "She Loves Everybody," "Sleep," "People," and "Bebe Buell."

Here's the video for "She Loves Everybody" (Embedding was disabled) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFzyfp9jDgQ

Chester French Official Website
Chester French Official Blog
D.A. Wallach's Twitter

Friday, July 10, 2009

Artist of the week: Regina Spektor! (July 5-11)

***So I've decided to try a weekly column called "Artist of the Week." I'll pick an artist and write a little bit about them, their sound and other various anecdotes about them. I'll also include any websites/twitter's they have and youtube videos. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep this going weekly!
(Pictures from Last.fm)

Regina Spektor was born in Moscow, Russia to a very musical family. Her father, Il'ya Spektor, is a photographer and violinist while her mother, Bella Spektor, was a music professor in a Russian college of music, and now teaches in Mount Vernon, NY at a public elementary school. The family left Russia (then it was called The Soviet Union of course,) in 1989, when Spektor was nine and when Soviet citizens were permitted to leave the country.
As a child, Spektor already became fascinated by piano and started playing around her early childhood. After leaving Moscow, the family settled in the Bronx, where she began to write songs and be exposed to singer-songwriters such as Ani DiFranco and Joni Mitchell. This was when Spektor created her style and found her creativity as a songwriter.
Spektor attended SUNY Purchase College in Westchester County (Represent!) and was enrolled in the Conservatory of Music. She completed her degree in 2001.
After Purchase, Spektor gradually achieved popularity in New York City through performances in the East Village area, most importantly at the Sidewalk Cafe, the Living Room, Tonic, Fez, the Knitting Factory, and CB's Gallery. She also performed at local colleges, including Purchase and Sarah Lawrence College, with other musicians. She sold her self-published albums, 11:11 and Songs, at performances during this time. In 2004, she signed a contract with Warner Brothers' record label Sire Records to publish and distribute her third album Soviet Kitsch, which was Spektor's breakthrough album.
Soviet Kitsch is like if Gogol Bordello was a girl and wrote lyrics like John Mayer. In fact, I think that might describe Spektor as a whole, perfectly. Key tracks on Soviet Kitsch include "Us," "Ode to Divorce," and "Carbon Monoxide." When asked about her music style, Spektor has said that she works hard to ensure that each of her songs has their own musical style, rather than trying to develop a distinctive style for her music as a whole.

On June 13, 2006, Spektor released her second and best album on Sire called Begin to Hope. The album was certified Gold, the single "Fidelity" became Spektor's first Billboard 100 entry and is her most successful track to date. Key tracks for this album include "Fidelity," "Better," "Samson," "On The Radio" and "Hotel Song." (Can you tell I really like this album?) Begin to Hope also received strong critical acclaim and made Spektor a more popular singer-songwriter to the public.
Just recently, on June 23, 2009, she released Far, her third album with Sire. The album has already peaked at number 3 on the Billboard music charts and is just as creative and quirky as Begin to Hope and Soviet Kitsch. Key tracks include "Folding Chair," "Machine," "Dance Anthem of the 80's" and "The Calculation" (featured on The Preston Beat's playlist!)
Spektor's lyrics are sometimes inspired by the literary works of F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway and William Shakespeare. Spektor is also known for sometimes deliberately using a strong New York accent in some of her songs, which is due to her love for New York and its culture. In Spektor's early albums such as Soviet Kitsch, many of her tracks are a lot less experimental. However, Spektor's more recent albums, particularly Begin to Hope, have incorporated more emphasis on song production and are more experimental, with instruments as well as with vocals.


Video for "Fidelity"


Video for "Laughing With" (from Far)


Video for "Us"

http://www.reginaspektor.com/ - Regina Spektor official website

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Streaming on Facebook: The Dead Weather's Horehound

To listen to the entire album, CLICK HERE! Thank you, ilike application on Facebook!

Horehound will be released next Tuesday, July 14. They're also playing Terminal 5 in New York City July 16&17.

Iran is poppin' today

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/09/iran-uprising-blogging-th_n_228454.html
I've been getting pretty much all of my information from the Huffington Post regarding the protests in Tehran that are emerging today. These are the first demonstrations since the "crackdown vow" from the Iranian government.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Panic lose two members.

Ryan Ross and Jon Walker have left Panic at the Disco, confirmed today.
http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2009/07/06/panic-at-the-disco-lose-members-ryan-ross-and-jon-walker/
The rest of the band are still making music and are scheduled to be one of the opening bands for Blink 182's reunion tour this summer.

MJ's Memorial


Picture: Michael Jackson's children, Paris and Blanket, (not pictured: Prince Michael,) with Jackson's sisters, Janet and Latoya. Image from Yahoo.com.

Michael Jackson, who passed away on June 25, 2009 due to cardiac arrest, was honored today with a Memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. 17,500 free tickets were available to the public. Recipients were chosen from an online lottery. Guest speakers included Smokey Robinson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Brooke Shields. Here's an article from Spin magazine Online about the service.

Taking Back Sunday: New Again (Review)


(Picture from Amazon.com)
The fourth studio album by one of the original Long Island emo rock bands, Taking Back Sunday, bring their new sound to full circle. Combining their original sound (fast guitars and witty, vocal banter between two parties,) with the sound they've been experimenting with for the last few years (still fast but a little less emo, a little more alternative rock,) with Where You Want to Be and Louder Now, New Again seems to be the album Taking Back Sunday have been wanting to write for some time now.
It is the first album to include their new guitarist, Matthew Fazzi after the departure of Fred Mascherino in mid-2007. Lead singer Adam Lazzara has been quoted saying that the band chose the album title New Again because they felt like they were transformed into a completely different band because of their musical growth. "We kicked around a bunch of different titles, but that one always remained the top of the list, and that’s because it really does feel like a new band," Lazzara said.
It is definitely recommended to get their bonus tracks on the iTunes version of the album. It includes a jazzy, contemporary dance version of one of the best songs on the album, "Carpathia." Some of their other key tracks on this album include the single "Sink into Me" (which kind of reminds me of a modern day-new Taking Back Sunday version of "You're So Last Summer,") "Everything Must Go" and the original version of "Capathia."
This new album isn't Tell All Your Friends and I know that many fans want that sound back from the band (I do too, to be honest,) but if this album will show us fans anything, it's that Taking Back Sunday still got it, no matter how different they sound.
With Louder Now especially, it seemed like the band wasn't very sure how to translate the direction they wanted to go in as a band. However on this album, it seems as if their progression as a band and different sound has become a little more familiar and comfortable for the band.

4 out of 5

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's been a while

First finals, then summer classes. It seems like one big blur to me! Anyway, I just wanted to drop a line and let people know that the new Taking Back Sunday album, New Again...IS ACTUALLY PRETTY DECENT! I had very little faith in this and am pleasantly surprised. It's in stores now and if you're hesitating to buy it, I assure you, it's worth it and dare I say a little bit better than their last one, Louder Now. Review of the disc hopefully coming soon. I never have time to blog anymore.

Also, if you're interested, you can follow my twitter in the mean time. Usually I "tweet" (haha) about music news and new albums, etc. www.twitter.com/smpreston

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In the middle of finals...

The lack of updates are due to me being in the middle of finals! It's definitely a stressful time! But here's a little blurb about what music I'm listening to lately:

Patty Griffin: I've been loving this bluegrass-folk powerhouse since I saw the film, "Elizabethtown" where her song "Long Ride Home" is featured. Hailing from Old Town, Maine, Griffin mixes all different genres of music to make something that's her own; bluegrass, folk, blues, jazz and even my musical arch nemesis, country. Her lyrics are also very "home town" talking about a variety of things from baking a pie in her country kitchen to leaving her comfortable life for something new. For a first time listener, I'd recommend 1,000 Kisses, her most popular album to date and the best lyrical work of hers. Another good album is Children Running Through, released in 2007 and Grammy nominated for Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album.

The Ting Tings: "A few people have mentioned the childlike, singalong quality in our songs." said lead singer Katie White in British newspaper The Guardian, "I think it's because my voice isn't too high or too low, and the lyrics have that chanty quality, so anyone can sing along to them. Or maybe we've just got the brains of four-year-olds!" This English duo from Manchester, White (vocals, guitar, bass drum,) and Jules De Martino (drums, guitar, vocals, piano,) offer a new, fresh sound to the whole "Franz Ferdinand-Artic Monkeys" sound that's been emerging the past few years. Their second album and first major label release, We Started Nothing, is a non-stop dance party.


NevershoutNever!
: The alias of eighteen year old Christofer Drew, NevershoutNever! is filling the void Hellogoodbye left now that they've turned indie on us. His EP's including "demo-shmemo" and "Me & My Uke EP" are definitely worth a listen and filled with melodic, dance pop songs with strong lyrical background. Be sure to check out his debut album coming out sometime within the year. He is currently working on it, produced by Hellogoodbye lead singer Forrest Kline.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Anticipated Albums

Released Soon:
Bob Dylan - Together Through Life (April 28)
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - Outer South (May 5)
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (May 15)
Iron and Wine - Around the Wall (May 19)
Patrick Wolf - The Bachelor (June 1)
Taking Back Sunday - New Again (June 2)
The Dead Weather - Horehound (June 9)
The Mars Volta - Octahedron (June 23)
Regina Spektor - Far (June 23)

Should we panic about the Swine Flu?

Probably not.
http://www.slate.com/id/2217100/

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Mars Volta Announce Fifth Album




According to absolutepunk.net, The Mars Volta will be releasing Octahedron on June 23.
http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=1002102

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Will Obama legalize marijuana?

The question all political junkies are pondering at the moment: will President Obama in fact follow through with these rumors and legalize marijuana in his first term? Here's a video of him discussing the issue from the Huffington Post.

Kal Penn leaving House to serve in the Obama Administration

According to the AV Club, Kal Penn, known for playing Kumar in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and Dr. Lawrence Kutner in House, is taking a break from acting to work in Obama's office of public liaison.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Russell Brand

Known in the States for playing Aldous Snow in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and host of last year's MTV Video Music Awards, here are clips from Russell Brand's comedy special "Russell Brand in New York City." I just saw the whole special yesterday and couldn't stop laughing! Try to catch it on Comedy Central if they ever repeat it again!

Talking about the death threats he received after the VMA's and the Jonas Brothers:

Talking about "Forgetting Sarah Marshall":

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"White Sky" - Vampire Weekend

Working hard on their second album, Vampire Weekend made an appearance on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon' and played a new song called "White Sky," which will probably be on the new album. Here's a video of another performance of the song at the El Rey in Los Angeles:

Green Day announces album release date

Green Day's eighth studio album, 21st Century Breakdown, is going to be released May 15 according to Rolling Stone.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Album Review: Death Cab for Cutie - The Open Door EP


Death Cab for Cutie have been known to really understand the importance of the EP. They usually release them as a way to give their fans a hint of what's to come for their next album. With The Open Door EP, Death Cab's fifth EP of their career, they've instead given their fans a hint of what could have been with their sixth full length Narrow Stairs, which released May 13, 2008. These songs were recorded during the Narrow Stairs sessions and the band have been talking about releasing an EP from the sessions for quite some time now. Really, they weren't missing much taking these songs off of Narrow Stairs but it is quite a good companion to go with the album.
The EP starts off with "Little Bribes" which is an upbeat, vibrant alt-country-esque song about visiting a casino and possibly Las Vegas. "And oh so empty were the faces of the dealers and the waitresses around," sings lead singer Ben Gibbard.
There's "A Diamond and a Tether" which mirror's the sound of Narrow Stairs' "You Can Do Better Than Me" and "My Mirror Speaks" in which Gibbard confesses that he's "a man who hides from all that binds and a mess of fading lines
and there’s a tangled thread inside my head with nothing on either end." The song filled with cheerful clapping and familiar high pitched Gibbard vocals probably would have fit better with the album Transatlanticism rather then Narrow Stairs.
The last two tracks on the EP, "I Was Once a Loyal Lover" and an acoustic version of Narrow Stairs' "Talking Bird," are the two that stand out the most on this EP. "I Was Once a Loyal Lover" collaborates fuzzed guitar with an echoing keyboard played by Chris Walla. The sound is different from the constant guitar strumming that is apparent throughout the EP which is why is stands out so much. Not to mention the melody, lyrics about infidelity and the production overall. It really should have been a song on Narrow Stairs, in my opinion just because it would fit with the overall flow of the record.
The acoustic version of Narrow Stairs' "Talking Bird" is simply beautiful. It actually makes me like the song better after listening to it. The guitar sound is very reminiscent to Hellogoodbye's "Oh, It Is Love" and I highly recommend listening to this version of "Talking Bird" even if you don't like the album version...you might appreciate it more.
Overall, this EP is pretty great (maybe minus "A Diamond and a Tether," that's alright,) and if I could describe how it feels to me in one sentence, it's really just a continuation of Narrow Stairs but like I said before, a great part two to go with the album.

Rating: 4 and a half/5
Picture courtesy of thephiller.com

Where the Wild Things Are Official Trailer



Directed by Spike Jonze and featuring the voices of Forrest Whitaker, James Gandolfini and Paul Dano, the childrens book finally comes to the movie screen on October 16 (according to imdb.) The trailer is really great in my opinion. I've been watching it over and over again not only because they used Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" for the music, but also because it captures the feeling of being a kid and letting your imagination go which is ideally what the story is about to begin with. Definitely a movie to look out for!

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Slowly (Oh So Slowly)"

Listen to Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band's new single "Slowly (Oh So Slowly)" here.

The Mystic Valley Band is Oberst's backing band who play with him even on Bright Eyes albums and tour with him exclusively. They consist of Nik Freitas (guitar,) Taylor Hollingsworth (guitar,) Macey Taylor (bass,) Nate Walcott (keyboards/organ) and Jason Boesel (drums).

Many reviewer's and critic's are sensing a Dylan vibe from the band's recent work.

Outer South, the fifth solo album by Oberst and the first credited to the Mystic Valley Band, comes out May 5.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Animal Collective remix Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Zero"

http://www.prefixmag.com/news/animal-collective-remix-yeah-yeah-yeahs-zero/26959/

I usually don't like remixes but this one isn't bad. Check it out!

Kanye West Charged with Three Misdemeanors

According to Rolling Stone, West has been charged after an altercation with the paparazzi at LAX airport.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Again

Taking Back Sunday have finally set a release date for their new album, New Again. The Long Island natives have decided on June 2 according to absolutepunk.net.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Album Review: The Bird and the Bee - Ray Guns are Not Just the Future

The second album from The Bird and the Bee, Los Angeles very own delightful dance duo, Ray Guns are Not Just the Future, will make you want to get up from your laptop and dance around the house.
The 17-track indie-dance pop album written by Inara George (the bird,) and Greg Kurstin (the bee,) is full of gentle and melodic hooks that sometimes even can be pulled off instrumental without lyrcis (the carnival-esque introduction, “Fanfare”).
Probably the key track is “My Love,” the story of undeniable, forbidden love that can’t be ignored. (“Hey boy wont you take me out tonight? I’m not afraid of all the reasons why we shouldn’t try,” George whispers.) The track is very reminiscent to Jem and Imogen Heap’s last effort Speak for Yourself, full of mystical dance beats and hard drums.
George sings almost in an aloof way with a touch of flirtiness to it. The lyrics are generally very flirty and fun, “I will love you on your birthday, I will love you better than them,” she sings on “Birthday.”
While the lyrics can stand on their own, the instrumental arrangements used are what shine the most on this album. Kurstin relies mostly on keyboards without making it sound tacky, something that can be easy to do. The drums are also something to note, almost sounding like the bass for the songs. You can just picture the drums blaring from a car with the windows down with everyone in the car dancing to the lively beats.

Rating: 4 and a half/5

(Picture courtesy of Amazon.com)

Adams and Moore tie the knot

One of my favorite singer/songwriters, Ryan Adams just married singer/actress Mandy Moore! I didn't even know they were engaged but apparently they announced it a month ago. I'm so happy for Ryan, he's always getting screwed by the ladies. Parker Posey, I'm talking to you! Congratulations!
http://www.avclub.com/articles/ryan-adams-marries-mandy-moore-heartbreaker-or-gol,25053/

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Album Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

The howl of Karen O never gets old. The third full-length album by New York City band Yeah Yeah Yeah's, It's Blitz! is a fantastic return for the indie rock trio after suffering from a dud with the Is Is EP. The album was to be originally released on April 13 but because the album leaked on to the internet in February, the release date was pushed forward to March 9 for the digital download, March 31 for the album.
It seemed for a while there like the band lost their Fever to Tell ferociousness and catchy, punk hooks. Sure, Show Your Bones was a great effort but it was a little more Elliot Smith, a little less fast paced thrash rock; what Karen and the boys do best. The most reminiscent to Fever to Tell is probably the first single off the album "Zero" along with the Joan Jett-esque anthem "Heads Will Roll." The distorted guitar underneath Karen's eerie voice make these songs memorable and the album as a whole an instant classic. "Off with your head. Dance until you're dead," she makes you believe on "Heads Will Roll" and will not be afraid to show you her moves.
"Dull Life" is actually not so dull, it being one of the key tracks on this album with a very dark undertone in the lyrics ("We've seen the nightmare of the lies that you speak"). This song could be the "Maps" the band as well as fans have been hoping for.
If you've been already rocking out to the disc since late February, you probably know all of this already. If not, it's definitely something to check out and a really solid record.

Rating: 5 out of 5

(Picture courtesy of Amazon.com)

Dead Weather

White Stripes frontman Jack White is forming yet another band called Dead Weather. In addition to the White Stripes and Dead Weather, he also has The Raconteurs with one of my favorite male vocalists, Brendan Benson.
If you haven't really gotten a chance to listen to The White Stripes, I'd recommend listening to Elephant first and as far as the Raconteurs goes, both of their albums are equally fantastic (Broken Boy Soldiers and Consolers of the Lonely.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lost Blogs/Podcasts

http://www.hawaiiup.com/lost/
You can also join their podcast "The Transmission" on iTunes hosted by Ryan and Jen. They're really knowledgeable about the show, very funny and very interesting to listen to.

Another podcast to recommend would be The Lost Lowdown with Claude and Justin.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pitchfork Music Festival, Yeah Yeah Yeah's release album early due to internet leak.

Pitchfork Media announced their line-up for the Pitchfork Music Festival held in Chicago July 17-19.

Also, according to NME.com, Yeah Yeah Yeah's are releasing their new album It's Blitz! next week due to a leak on the internet. The album was originally supposed to be released April 13. http://www.nme.com/news/yeah-yeah-yeahs/43188

Friday, February 27, 2009

Arrested Development Movie is On!

At the Oscars, Ron Howard confirmed that the Arrested Development movie is in the very early stages of being completed! http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2009/02/23/exclusive-ron-howard-on-arrested-development-film-its-going-ahead/ Some very good news for people who have awaited the reunion of the Bluth's since the show got canceled in 2003.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Blog #2: Christopher Moore


In my previous Book Blog I said I was trying to re-read New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. Well, I tried and just couldn't get into it. I think after seeing the Twilight film adaptation and being disappointed with it, my passion and interest for the series died along with Robert Pattinson's ability to have any sort of privacy.
Now, I'm starting to read A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. Moore is one of my favorite authors of all time and is also very underrated. I read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, about a year and a half ago and have been a fan of his ever since.
Moore usually writes satirically whether it be about bloodsucking vampires or King Lear in Medieval Times. His comedic timing and dry humor along with his fantastic story telling ability is what makes Moore one of the best current authors.
His newest novel is Fool and has been getting really great reviews however, I'd start with Lamb and then A Dirty Job.

Check out his Web site: http://www.chrismoore.com/

(Picture courtesy of Amazon.com)

Obama's State of the Union Address

The NY Times analyze President Obama's State of the Union speech last night.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Book Blog #1: Watchmen, New Moon and How I Live Now

Since yesterday, I've been reading Watchmen: The Absolute Edition by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons non-stop. I've been really excited about the movie (releasing March 6,) ever since I saw the trailer for the first time when I went to see "Zach and Miri Make a Porno":
Muse's "Take A Bow" is the perfect song choice for this trailer, by the way!

Anyway, the Watchmen series takes place in New York City during the cold war. After the death of Edward Blake (superhero aka "The Comedian,") other superheroes who have been either outlawed, in retirement or working for the government, are starting to get suspicious thinking that perhaps the government was behind The Comedian's death. The main instigator of this theory, Rorschach, is also the one who tries to get all the superheroes together to investigate.

Watchmen closely mirrors the contemporary world of the late 1970's-early 1980's. In the graphic novel, the superheroes' existence have dramatically affected and altered the outcomes of real-world events such as the Vietnam War and the presidency of Richard Nixon. Although the Watchmen are commonly called "superheroes," the only character who possesses obvious superhuman powers is Doctor Manhattan. The existence of Doctor Manhattan and the ownership the U.S. have over him has given the U.S. a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union, which has increased tensions between the two nations.

Superheroes have become unpopular among the public, which in the novel had led to the passage of legislation in 1977 to outlaw them. While many of the heroes retired, Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents. Rorschach continues to operate outside the law.
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Another book I'm starting to read again is New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. New Moon is the second book of the Twilight saga. I read Twilight in about a month which is really fast for me and then after that, saw the film and was really into the series for a while. Because of that, I felt like I needed a break and that's why it's taken me so long to finally start reading the second one. Something about the series is compelling, I don't know why because both Bella and Edward aren't very interesting. Something about these characters make you care about the story. When I find out what that is, I'll let readers know.
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In between Twilight and New Moon, I read How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. Rosoff is a new writer and a very talented one at that. The story is about a teenage girl who goes to England to visit her aunt and cousins in England. During that time, a nuclear war abrupts in Europe and eventually spreads to the United States.

Out of all three of these books, I'd say Watchmen is the one I'd start with first. I'm almost in the middle of the series and it's highly recommended.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lily Allen Featured in the NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/arts/music/08ryzi.html?scp=4&sq=lily%20allen&st=cse

New Rihanna Photos Released

TMZ.com have released new photos of a brutally beaten Rihanna after the alleged altercation with boyfriend (or, let's be hopeful, ex-boyfriend?) Chris Brown.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Album releases for the week 2/17

Here are the album releases for the week Courtesy of Prefixmag.com!

Albums you should really get on this list: Beirut - March of the Zapotec EP, M. Ward - Hold Time, Morrissey - Years of Refusal and Thursday - Common Existence

Friday, February 13, 2009

Really Great Lost Blog

Eventually, I really want to write a post about one of my favorite shows, Lost but because the show is so intricate and has many factors that need explaining, I'm going to need a lot more time! Perhaps in the future I'll also write a weekly Lost post. For now, I'm sharing my absolute favorite blog about Lost and I read it every week to find out clues about the most recent episode. It's called Pop Candy: Let's Talk About Lost. Here's the most recent blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Album releases for the week.

Thanks to Prefixmag.com, here's a list of albums coming out this week: http://www.prefixmag.com/features/week-in-preview/february-10-2009-wip/25923/
Album You should really get on this list: Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It's You (OF COURSE!!! I have it already and it's great. Review of that coming soon.)
Also try Ben Lee's new one The Rebirth Of Venus. I haven't listened yet but it's Ben Lee so it will be worth a try. Another good one on this list is Ryan Adams' Ryan Adams Valentine's Day EP.
It's a good week for music! There really aren't any albums on that list I would skip!

Video Blog One: Topic: Blink 182 Reunion

Monday, February 9, 2009

Grammy Post!

First of all, here are some of the notable wins of the night:

Winners of the televised awards included:

Pop male vocal performance - John Mayer, Say

Record of the year - Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, Please Read the Letter

New artist - Adele

Rock album - Coldplay, Viva La Vida

Pop collaboration with vocals - Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, Rich Woman

Song of the year - Coldplay, Viva La Vida

Country performance by duo/group - Sugarland, Stay

R&B Album - Jennifer Hudson, Self Titled

Short-form music video - Weezer, Pork and Beans

Long-form music video - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Runnin' Down a Dream

Contemporary folk/Americana - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand

Female R&B vocal performance - Alicia Keys, Superwoman

Male R&B vocal performance - Ne-Yo, Miss Independent

Spoken-word album - Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth

Female pop vocal performance - Adele, Chasing Pavements

Pop duo/group - Coldplay, Viva La Vida

Pop vocal album - Duffy, Rockferry

Alternative album - Radiohead, In Rainbows

Solo Rock Vocal - John Mayer, Gravity

Rock duo/group - Kings of Leon, Sex on Fire

Hard rock performance - The Mars Volta, Wax Simulacra

Metal performance - Metallica, My Apocalypse

Producer of the year, non-classical - Rick Rubin

Rock song - Bruce Springsteen, Girls in their Summer Clothes


This year's Grammy Awards were probably the most entertaining it's been in a couple of years and everyone who won was very much deserving of it. Probably the highlight of my night would have to be Blink 182 announcing they're reuniting when presenting the award for Best Rock Album. According to Blink182.com, an album should be out by Summer 2009. (More to come later in a video blog about that!)

Big winners of the night included Robert Plant and Allison Krauss for their brilliant collaboration Raising Sand and Coldplay for their album, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends. I was also very pleased to see Adele win for Best New Artist and Female Pop Vocal Perfomance and Duffy for Best Pop Album. Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire" was also a pleasant surprise when they won Best Rock Duo or Group. John Mayer is another artist who I feel made some brilliant music on Continuum and deserved his two wins.
Also, great performances by Coldplay, Katy Perry, Radiohead and M.I.A.


Last.fm Charts for feb. 2-8


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Interesting last minute Performance Change at the Grammy Awards

According to Rolling Stone, Rihanna has cancelled her performance as well as her appearance at tonight's Grammy awards. Reports are surfacing that it's because of her boyfriend and fellow r&b singer Chris Brown's recent arrest for battery. Justin Timberlake and Al Green's performance was a last minute decision to fill the time Rihanna was supposed to perform.

Testing my Windows Movie Maker Skills!

video
Has anyone else seen this guy in the city? I thought he was brilliant. Too bad my camera battery was about to die...I would have videotaped his entire performance. Video is also uploaded to The Preston Beat's very own YouTube Channel! Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/user/theprestonbeat

Another thing completely unrelated...I'm watching the Grammy's right now and congratulations to Allison Krauss and Robert Plant on their win! It's very much deserved. I'll have a Grammy post later.

My Last.fm charts from last week


Friday, February 6, 2009

Stimulus Update thanks to Talking Points Memo

According to the political blog Talking Points Memo, reports have been surfacing that the Senate has agreed to a $780 billion stimulus package.

PostSecret Announces 2009 College Tour

PostSecret, the ongoing community mail art project created by Frank Warren has just announced a 2009 college tour where Warren will be talking to students about the project and experiences he's had with the project.
How PostSecret works is a very simple and efficient way for people to stay anonymous if they choose to. People mail their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. Select secrets are then posted on the PostSecret website, or used for PostSecret's books or museum exhibits. (The books are fascinating, by the way and I definitely recommended them!)
Be sure to look at the Post Secret blog...featured on my blog list!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fat Mike is at it again...

Lead singer of NOFX, Fat Mike, called Avenged Sevenfold "the epitome of what's wrong with rock n' roll" in a recent interview with www.CampusCircle.com. This is reminiscent of a feud that happened between NOFX and Underoath in 2006 during Warped Tour when Mike criticized the Christian emphasized hardcore band from Florida for discussing their religion heavily in their lyrics. Kevin Lyman, developer and creator of the annual festival, threatened to ban NOFX from the tour if the taunting continued. A couple of weeks after the initial taunt, which happened onstage in front of the audience, Underoath decided to quit the tour. Whether it was because of Mike's remarks is still unknown however in an interview with PunkNews.Org, Mike reassured everyone that the bands settled their differences off stage and the split from the tour was not because of them.

What's up with all of these celebrities getting Twitter account's now!?

www.twitter.com/lilyroseallen

You can now follow Lily Allen on twitter! She posted this on her blog earlier today.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Preston Beat remembers The Format


It's been exactly one year since Peoria, Arizona's favorite powerhouse music duo, The Format broke up because of creative differences. I really can't believe it's been a year already...I miss Sam Means and Nate Ruess terribly. Their work together wasn't finished...it seemed like they were really becoming in sync creatively on their sophomore album, Dog Problems, which was an instant classic for me. Apparently, it was the exact opposite!
I look forward to Nate's solo project. As of now, it's pretty much at a stand still. If I hear any news, it will definitely be posted here.
If you haven't already, I encourage you to listen to them! They sound like a more experimental Beach Boys mixed with Jack's Mannequin and The Early November with the lead singer of The Manchester Orchestra.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Album releases for the week.

Prefixmag.com is amazing and they like lists just as much as I do. So here's their weekly list of new albums that were released this week: http://www.prefixmag.com/features/week-in-preview/february-3-2009-wip/25634/
The album you should really get on this list: Ben Kweller - Changing Horses
The album you should really skip on this list: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Lonely Road
A lot of people are hating on The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus HARD...but the question I ask is, were they even really THAT good to begin with?

Can we discuss "Funny Games"? OH MY GOD!


A couple days ago, I watched "Funny Games" starring Naomi Watts, Michael Pitt and Tim Roth. I wasn't really sure what to expect going into it, I've just heard about it on imdb and sites like that. I've also heard that it's one of those movies you either love or hate, which I can say now that I've seen it, is definitely the case.
I can't seem to get the images out of my mind. It's not that I was scared by the film, it's like I was completely blown away.

Here's a synopsis, if you will. The movie is about a fairly wealthy family who are staying at their vacation home for "a week or two," as Naomi says in the film. When they arrive, they're visited by two young men dressed in golf attire asking for the family's neighbor if she could borrow some eggs for whatever she's cooking. After asking for the eggs, they never leave and after asking them to couple of times, Ann and George, Naomi Watts and Tim Roth's characters, realize these men are up to no good. The men then begin terrorizing the family and playing games with them. If the family do not agree to these games, the men threaten to kill them.

Here's also the Wikipedia page for the film: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funny_Games_(2008_film)

Anyway, I know it just sounds like some random horror movie you've watched before but it's the way it's shot and the characters in the film. Michael Pitt, who plays one of the young men, it chilling and gives you the feeling that there are definitely some screws loose in his head. He breaks the fourth wall many times, talking to the audience, which I think is the most terrifying part about the movie. The way he smirks at the audience and his obvious power trip he has over this family is something I've never seen in a character.

You should really just watch it! I know you'll either love it or hate it but there's that 50% chance that you'll love it like I did!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Andrew Bird - Noble Beast review

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com

Andrew Bird can probably whistle better than half of the population. With Noble Beast, his fourth full length album, that is Bird’s secret weapon and it’s probably the most vital instrument he uses for this album. The Chicago native doesn’t disappoint with 14 new tracks that are filled with eerie tones and woozy violins that also includes a deluxe edition bonus disc, Useless Creatures, with eight instrumental songs.
Whether it’s better than Armchair Apocrypha is debatable. Because the two albums are so different, it’s hard to compare the two. While Armchair Apocrypha presents his classically trained violin talent and his instrumental capabilities better, Noble Beast showcases Bird’s ability for songwriting. On his previous albums, it seemed like he focused on instruments first, then lyrics. With Noble Beast, the instruments are only just a component and this time around, lyrics take over. Instead of writing songs in more imaginative and fable-esque language, almost like poetry, (for example, “my dewy-eyed disney bride, what has tried…swapping your blood with formaldehyde?” from the song “Fake Palindromes” on The Mysterious Production of Eggs, Bird’s second solo album,) his lyrics are more real and personal to him (“I will become this animal; perfectly adapted to the music halls,” he sings on “Anonanimal”). Even though this is evident in Bird’s newest effort, there’s still the same metaphoric banter in his some of his songs (“I’m flailing to the whir of a snack machine and muted screams of an old regime,” from “Fitz and the Dizzyspells”).
Noble Beast is something new for Bird and something refreshing however, his instrumental capabilities and poetic, metaphoric lyrics should never be forgotten because that’s what Bird is notorious for.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Friday, January 30, 2009

Really great Lily Allen review.

Alex Ogg from The Quietus just reviewed Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It's You. Allen's second full length album is one of my most anticipated albums of the year!

Obama criticizes Wall Street for $18 Billion Bonuses


Courtesy of Associated Press

Preston's Top 10 of 2008

10. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping. The Athens, Georgia psychedelic powerhouse Of Montreal came back this year with their ninth studio album release, Skeletal Lamping. During an interview with Pitchfork Media, frontman Kevin Barnes described the album as “sort of all over the place,” and said “there really isn’t necessarily a sense of continuity there and it's definitely funkier.” Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, an earlier Of Montreal album, is definitely better (and was more of a commercial success) but their newest effort is worth a listen. Songs like “Nonpareil of Favor,” “For Our Elegant Caste” and “Gallery Piece” are key tracks that bring fun to the album.

9. 3OH!3 – Want. Want is one of the most fun and funniest records I’ve ever heard. I fell in love with the Boulder, Colorado crunk duo from the moment I heard the electronica instrumental “Trapp.” You have to have a sense of humor to listen to them. Key tracks include “PunkBitch,” “Don’t Trust Me” and “Chokechain.”


8. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cardinology. To be honest, it’s Ryan Adams…need I say more? Since Adams has become sober, his music has been better than ever. His last two albums, Easy Tiger and this one with the Cardinals, Cardinology, have been filled with more polished, catchy alt-country songs. The first song on this record, “Born into the Light,” is one of my favorite songs Adams has ever written. The album was also placed at #14 on Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2008 list.

7. Margot & The Nuclear So and So's – Animal!/Not Animal. This album grew on me the more I listened to it. I still love The Dust of Retreat, their first album, but no one can duplicate that brilliance. Because of their feud with their label Epic Records regarding creative control and the album’s direction, the band released two albums. Epic Records put out Not Animal, while Animal! was available for download and distributed by the band. Many of the songs appear on both albums but there are some differences. The best tracks on both albums include “A Children’s Crusade on Acid,” “Broadnipple is Burning,” “At The Carnival,” and “German Motor Car.”

6. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals. Anyone who mashes up Metallica and Lil’ Mama is brilliant. Greg Gillis, a Pittsburg native and former engineer, has been selling out shows across the country while becoming one of the most sought out DJ’s in the music industry. New York Times Magazine called his music “a lawsuit waiting to happen.” The album sounds like one long, fantastic song. Feed the Animals is available for download on a pay what you want basis.


5. The Killers - Day & Age. The Killers get better and better with every album. Their third album, Day & Age, is no exception. In an interview with The Quietus, lead singer Brandon Flowers said that songs on the album were inspired by Elton John, David Bowie and Lou Reed. He said that the track “Neon Tiger” came about when he “was trying to write like MGMT.” The album sounds like half of the songs could be from their debut, Hot Fuss, and the other half from their second effort, Sam’s Town. Key tracks include “Human,” “Spaceman,” “I Can’t Stay” and “This is Your Life.”

4. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs. The sixth album from Bellingham, Washington’s Death Cab for Cutie was much more experimental than their recent records Plans and Transatlanticism. “I Will Possess Your Heart” from Narrow Stairs is one of the best songs they’ve written. The last track is a low key Postal Service-type song, “The Ice is Getting Thinner,” and has frequently been used in movies and television shows. My favorite tracks are “I Will Possess Your Heart,” “The Ice is Getting Thinner,” “Cath…” and “Your New Twin Sized Bed.”

3. The Hush Sound - Goodbye Blues. One of the best bands kept secret in the music industry, The Hush Sound, released their third album Goodbye Blues in March of this year. Alternative Press coined it as one of the most anticipated albums of 2008 and the album was worth the hype. The Hush Sound are now more mature with this album and their enhanced jazz influence works for them. Greta Salpeter’s voice has never been stronger. “Break the Sky,” “Medicine Man” and “Love You Much Better” are the best songs.

2. Weezer - Weezer (The Red Album). Many people weren’t pleased with this album but it’s a step forward for rock music’s coolest nerds, Weezer. At least it wasn't another Maladroit, am I right? This is the best album they've released since The Green Album. The band should have let Brian Bell sing a long time ago -- his voice illuminates the record on the last half. “The Greatest Man Ever Lived,” “Troublemaker,” “Pork and Beans” and “Cold Dark World” are instant classics for Weezer fans.

1. Jack’s Mannequin - The Glass Passenger. The highly anticipated second album from Jack’s Mannequin, The Glass Passenger, is a collection of songs filled with hope, optimism and heart. When lead singer Andrew McMahon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblast leukemia in 2005, Jack’s Mannequin went on a hiatus until he was done with treatment. During his treatment, McMahon wrote the album, which was released in September. However, The Glass Passenger doesn’t even compare to their first album Everything in Transit. Still, it has been on my “Top 25 most played” playlist on iTunes all year and is the best record of 2008.


x-posted in The Brick