Record Store Crawl: Austin

recordsVices.  You have one.  I have one.  That guy over there by that busy intersection asking for change has one.  Your mom has one too.  Everyone you know or will ever meet has one.  Some of us have more than one.  We all have our vice, our thing, our crippling addiction to that which controls us.  Booze.  Cigarettes.  Sex.  Narcotics.  Mine’s records.  I get my kicks trolling through record shops, crate digging, treasure hunting, discovering, and I just can’t help myself.  Don’t even get me started on the colossal enabler that is Ebay.  But while this vice of mine may not wreak havoc on my health or my body, it certainly takes its toll on my wallet…and at times my mental state.  The search for that Holy Grail of record collecting can become an obsession, an all-consuming expenditure of time, money and energy.  It is everything.

35 Albums in 35 Years: 1979

I love music.  With my heart, body, and soul, I love music.  Thoroughly.  Unconditionally.*  Forever and ever.  Aside from my wife and my son, my family and friends, music is the centerpiece of my world.  So why not pick an album from every year I’ve been on this earth and write about it?  Not necessarily the best album of that year.  Maybe not even my favorite.  But an album that is important to me.  An album I love.  So, it is with the utmost excitement, delight, and abject disquietude that I bring you the first of a 35 part series, 35 Albums in 35 Years.

Underrated: Gregg Araki’s “Nowhere”

nowhere“It’s like we all know way down in our souls that our generation is going to witness the end of everything.”

Way back sometime in late 1997 or early 1998, Gregg Araki’s film Nowhere wormed its way into my psyche, grabbed hold tight, and made me show it to all of my friends.  I was completely enthralled.  I watched it over and over again.  I dissected it, analyzed it, explored its themes, bought the soundtrack, and watched Araki’s other features.  It was easily my favorite movie for a brief period in college, and I screened it for everybody, hoping in vain for a compatriot to share and revel and delight in this overtly stylized film.  Somebody, anybody had to feel the same as I did.  Certainly one of my friends would be as captivated as I was.

List Making As Catharsis

courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

image courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

Am I seeking structure?  It’s all but impossible to make it through a normal day without putting pen to paper and concocting a list of some sort or another.  Lists of goals, lists of chores, or to-do lists.  Top fives, top tens, or top 100’s.  Favorite books, favorite movies, or favorite songs.  Today even, I spent a half an hour writing an overly long and detailed list of tasks and things to accomplish today and over the weekend, one of which was the actual writing of this essay.

 

 

Holy Cow! It’s Tommy’s Favorite Albums and Movies of 2013

Well, if my clocks are correct and Ryan Seacrest and Carson Daly did not lie to me a couple of nights ago, 2014 has officially begun.  So allow me to get my jollys by bombarding you all with some last second year-end, best-of lists.  To be fair, I’m repeating myself here, having already spewed opinion and favoritism all over my blog page, so in the spirit of brevity, I’m limiting myself to my top 5 albums of 2013 and my top 5 films of 2013 (for the full lists, go here and here).  Without further ado, let’s get to the ranking and filing…

In Defense of Stone Temple Pilots

Any popular movement or genre (or sub-genre for that matter) of art or music is bound to spawn imitators.  And those imitators spawn imitators who spawn imitators and so on and so forth, until like a copy of a copy of a copy, the original model is so pale and so degraded that it’s impossible to see how awesome and majestic it once was.  Such was the case with the grunge music scene of the 1990’s whose initial monster acts gave way to wave after wave of cheap knock-off bands, polished turds of which many are still trolling the reunions circuits and bargain bins of Walmarts across the country.  Stone Temple Pilots surfaced during the heyday of the second wave, and while they sold millions of records, the band was critically derided and often criticized as aping a sound that did not belong to them.  While those comparisons and critiques were justified in the beginning (and at the end), the group grew organically over their subsequent releases, culminating in two excellent albums that stand out as some of the best music of the genre and the decade, rivaling much of the work of their predecessors.

Some Best-Of Albums from 2013 You May Not have Thought Of

Lists are popping up all over the internet, as they always do in December, a nonstop onslaught of opinions, items, films, music, and art ranked for your easy consumption and delight.  Being a music guy, i too succumb to the unwitting desire to tell the masses what i think of albums and songs that come out year after year after year.  But, i’m not necessarily doing that here (for those, head over to heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com).  Instead, here are some random albums (compilations, reissues, new soundtracks. and free online mixtapes) that i think deserve your attention…and maybe your dollars too.  And so…

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