21 January 2010

Jason Segal and Dracula: The Perfect Match

I can't tell you how many times I've dreamed of walking into a Starbucks and seeing someone dressed as Dracula on their laptop drinking a Frappuccino. It is such a recurring dream that I've thought of even doing it myself to allow others to revel in the gratification of it all. Unfortunately I'm too financially unstable to go around buying reputable capes and fangs but Mr. Jason Segal takes my dream in a whole new direction with this stirring performance of the instant classic, "Dracula's Lament" that was broadcast for all the world to see on Craig Ferguson's 1000th episode last month. 

I thank Mr. Segal, Craig Ferguson, and of course Dracula for making this possible and I guess a thank you to DVRs is in order for allowing me to watch it over and over and over again...

Please enjoy.

P.S. How perfect are Jason Segal's facial expressions? It's just pitch perfect.

16 January 2010

My View of John Mayer

I don't know where to begin..

On November 17, 2009, I was lucky enough to be in the third row at John Mayer's record release show in New York City taped live for the Fuse network. I went alone, prepared to spend the entire evening with just a drink and John (him on stage, me in my seat). I love going to concerts with other people but John Mayer is a religious experience for me, regardless of how embarrassing that may sound. Going alone usually turns out to be the best route - not to mention of course that I'm the only person I know who would spend $100 a ticket on him.

This specific evening was particularly worth it though. Even if you don't care for John Mayer, imagine your favorite musician inches away from you singing your favorite songs and spicing it all up with silly anecdotes to amuse the crowd that you just happen to be a part of. The whole experience is insanely dizzying and immensely gratifying.

At the time I meant to write a review of how excellent the concert was and how unusual the feeling of watching cameramen circling around with huge cameras in your face is in the middle of a live performance but somehow it never came into fruition. As I was looking back on draft entries though, these photographs stood out to me and I wanted to put them out there regardless of the lack of a review. It's rare that I get the opportunity to take the photographs myself and I didn't want to miss out on showing them to you. These were taken with one of those flimsy Nikon "coolpix" cameras and then slightly edited with the basic built-in computer system (I'm obviously not a digital expert) but I keep imagining how incredible they would've been if I had a better camera. Luckily, Mr. Mayer has a way of making anything look good.

I'm incredibly thrilled to report that I'll be seeing him again in February so hopefully I'll manage a great review to make up for whatever this is.

I hope you like the pictures and feel free to steal them! It would make me feel important as I usually only steal the good ones. Also, check out the great video footage of the Beacon show below (courtesy of Fuse).

Song to Love: Gimme Sympathy - Metric

Although they've been around for over a decade, Metric is a new discovery to me and a pleasant one to say the least. Let me give you some background: My cousin's friend - a very generous one - gave me an old television a couple weeks ago that happens to be 52 inches wide. While the picture isn't anything in these modern days of HD, the sound system is wild. The speakers are just as big as the screen and the best thing to do is blast music when no one's home and dance around cleaning the room. On one particular night I happened to be watching Carson (of course) when Metric came on and I was overtaken with the beauty of the lead singer, Emily Haines. She was wearing a sparkly minidress with a pair of shoes I was immediately jealous of.

Since I knew nothing of the band, I wasn't prepared to get so into them after just a couple songs they played within the 29 minute show. The repeating choruses and the just-poppy-enough beats really made me happy. It's actually been weeks since I saw the performance but I still haven't gotten it out of my head which led me to finding out more information about them today. The song I particularly liked is called "Gimme Sympathy" which has some cutesy references to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones which normally might be a little irritating for some reason but they really pull it off. The band overall seems really likable and I appreciate the mixture of light/dark lyrics and melodies. I'm just a beginner when it come to Metric knowledge but from what Wikipedia tells me, they're a Canadian indie rock band, four albums deep into a career that has already seen them win numerous awards in Canada and tour the world.

"Gimme Sympathy" is track six off their newest album Fantasies, released last year and written by Haines and lead guitarist Jimmy Shaw.

Below is the music video and the acoustic version given to fans who pre-ordered the new album. Enjoy!

All About Carson

The morons at NBC have been spoken of a lot in the past few days with all the talk of The Jay Leno Show being cancelled and their odd devotion to this silver haired sea monster of late night, taking it so far as to push back the late night shows people care about in order to accomodate his seemingly always changing wishes. I'm not an expert on precisely what's going down but I can tell you one thing: my favorite show of them all is Last Call with Carson Daly.

It's not that I don't apperciate the wit of Conan O'Brien (lately I've actually been slightly in love with him) or the goofiness of Jimmy Fallon, it's just that Carson brings that extra oomph in the form of some of my favorite musicians who get little screen time elsewhere. In the past several months he's had guests ranging from Grizzly Bear to Paolo Nutini to Metric to a fantastically candid interview with David Gray. Unlike some other hosts who seem either too forced or too egocentric, Daly really seems to get something special from his interviewees. He seems like more of a friend to these people than a guy getting paid a lot of money to ask them questions that he doesn't care about to begin with. I admire his laid back approach and the new "documentary style" of the show. Actually at first I was a little apprehensive about the latter because way back when he used to have a desk and a normal late night format he also employed a nice guy and very good musician by the name of Joe Firstman who doesn't seem to do much else these days after getting fired I suppose. NBC has been causing trouble and adding to the recession for a lot longer than just the past few weeks.

My personal feelings for Carson Daly have been mixed since the first day I saw him on TRL back in the days when MTV had music programming. You could sense his intense passion for music (maybe even on the level of the great music maven Matt Pinfield) but there was something a little off. Maybe the black nail polish on only one finger per hand? The bright blue overly bulging eyes? Who knows. But even back then he had that natural commraderie with musicians of all genres that few television personalities seem to master. I was about to say "for some reason" I always root for him but the reason is his professionalism. He comes across as the kind of guy that would be out late drinking and blasting music with his buddies and still get to work on time in the morning looking as fresh as an argyle sweater.

I didn't intend on using this post to gush about Carson Daly of all people but the more I think about his show the more I realize how refreshing it is to see someone with no pretenses and no caked-on fakeness on broadcast television. There are subtle things I would really miss about Carson if NBC decided to finally remember about him and swiftly dismiss his little show. Things like immediately thanking viewers for staying up to watch him and sincerely praising each one of his guests be they athlete, comedian, or underground musician. He brings so much attention to up and coming artists of all backgrounds and really doesn't get enough respect for it. He has a great ear for all types of music and seems like he really enjoys sharing his passions with the world. It's the same basis as this blog: bringing the music one loves to as many people as possible. It's about time someone brings some attention to Carson Daly, the underdog of late night that is chewing it up everyday in the best way he can.

Last Call with Carson Daly is on weeknights on NBC at 1:35am. If you're not awake, DVR-it.

01 January 2010

An Ode to iTunes

Today is January 1, 2010. I still do not have the internet at my home and the only thing I truly feel I am missing out on is iTunes. Back in the day when I still believed in paying for the internet, I would peruse their "racks" for hours at a time, clicking on all my musical suggestions based on my purchases and buying songs I otherwise never would have. It was the highlight of many days and without it, I feel incomplete. I love iTunes.

When I first got a computer, I thought Limewire was the way to go. Although I had heard some sour things, it always treated me right and surprisingly, was pretty good at finding the songs I craved at exactly the right moment. The downloads were always fast and of course, always free. I cringed at even spending 0.99 in those times but eventually I realized that Limewire was not all I cracked it up to be. The connection always seemed to be lost and take hours to come back, there was never a good amount of independent artists to be found, and the quality left much to be desired - typically. I highly suggest Limewire to a person starting out their digital music collection because they do have all the basics for little to no money and usually live up to what they say. I have about 2100 songs in my collection and although I don't know the exact statistics (although I wish I did), I would bet that at least 37% are from Limewire and even if it was only 2% I'd be immensely grateful. I guess it's illegal but it feels so right.

iTunes, on the other hand, doesn't have that danger aspect but it does have everything else. I wish I could say they always have everything I'm looking for and mean it but generally I'd say about 90% can be found there. That number changes my life. I don't know who I'd be without the songs I've purchased through them. Receiving my iTunes invoice always seems like the right thing - I never regret a purchase and it's the only time that I feel I've had money well spent. The recent addition of the Genius bar, which is a great gimmicky advertisment to buy more songs, really helps me. If I'm playing The National and I see on the right side of my screen that I should also download Stars or Mountain Goats, it's always a pleasure (of course I never downloaded either of those bands but you get the idea..). Their suggestions are typically right on par and I have to give them much credit for my Raphael Saadiq, Jessie Baylin, and Mayer Hawthorne addictions.

I love getting all the details about artists I look up as well. Knowing which John Mayer song is the most popular download really interests me - and that goes for any other artist I search for on iTunes too. I just like having all the information accessible. I want to know the highest selling songs of the week overall and by genre, I want to know what celebrities have on their playlists, and I especially want to know every album that's coming out on the upcoming Tuesday. I love the option of just buying one or two songs and yet still being able to buy the whole shebang and getting it in the order the artist intended. Everything about the process equates to an image of a big, red bow wrapped around a huge collection of albums in my mind. Without having to buy every record in the world, I feel like they're still all at my fingertips... now how much more of a commercial could I possibly sound like?

The great thing is I'm serious. iTunes as a company is one I'm not resentful of. I think they deliver on everything they promise. The only downside is perhaps a lack of stock catering to more obscure fare. Luckily, I'm a sucker for recommendations so I'm happy nonetheless. The only thing I'm unhappy about right now is the lack of accessibility to my best friend, iTunes. I miss him. I NEED NEW MUSIC.

And on a 2010 note, I went from 26 posts in 2008 to 152 in 2009. I'm really happy about that. This and my job are the only two things I'm capable of keeping up with - in my entire life. That says A LOT. My love for music is one that continues to grow everyday and with every new song I fall in love with. It's such a journey and such a huge part of my soul. It actually took a long time for me to realize the important role it plays in my life but now that my eyes are open more than ever, I intend on going into this new year with even more musical eagerness and respect for the greatest, most powerful art on earth.

To anyone reading, thank you so much. I make no financial profit from this site but I profit in so many other ways that are much more important to me. I want everyone to hear the music I'm madly in love with - that's what matters.