Friday, July 07, 2006

Media Day Part 2

I will be honest with you, this post is somewhat of a cop-out. I have a post in my head that I'm trying to wrestle into something meaningful and not just a string of my ramblings capped off with a period and a lack of resolution. I will continue to think about it, in hopes of using it for Monday. If I can't turn it into something meaningful by Monday, I will instead regale you with tales of The Finites' return to rock glory.

I've been a good little media consumer of late, purchasing and watching and generally making my brain available to musical and visual stimuli of varying sorts. I am now prepared to share my experiences with you, in hopes that you too can be a good little media saturated American.

The new Guster album, "Ganging Up On the Sun" dropped a few weeks ago, an event that made me deliriously happy. Guster is one of my favorite bands, an idea punctuated by the fact that I recently spent 46 bucks for a ticket to their July show here in the ATL. I am loathe to attend any entertainment event alone, however after attending an Angie Aparo show by myself and not dying as a result of my solitude, I figured it'd be silly for me to not see one of my favorite bands simply because I don't have any friends. The steep price of the ticket really bugs me, but at the same time, I'm averaging one concert about every 2 years, so I think I can handle it. Plus, I saw Guster tour with Ben Folds a few years ago and they do rock the house, so I know it's money well spent.

Back to the new album. It's quite good, and from a musical standpoint, it's probably their strongest effort. They added a new guy to the band, and he plays like every musical instrument ever, so they can do a lot of stuff in their songs and not have it sound like their just fucking around. At the same time though, it feels like the inherent Guster-ness of the album is slightly less this time around. In past albums, the band had a very distinct sound, possibly intentionally, possibly because, by their own definitions, they weren't very good musicians and were just doing what they could. Now that they have someone in the band who is quite skilled musically, the quality and variety of sounds in the songs has gone up, but now their songs sound a little more like other bands out there. This is a little dissapointing, however at the same time, there is such a fantastic level of craftmanship in the songs, with layers of different sounds and instruments all working well together, that it's kind of hard to find cause to complain. One thing is for sure, that they continue to grow with each album, which is commendable. If you're already a Guster fan, I think you'll be happy with the album, however if you're new to the big G, I'd recommend getting the new album, and their last one "Keep It Together" to get a good feeling of what they're about. Feel free to pick up "Guster on Ice: Live from Portland, Maine" too if you have some extra cash on hand.

On the same day, I bought Keane's new album "Under the Iron Sea". It's a solid effort and has a nice arena rock kind of feel to it, which makes sense given that they toured with U2 to support "Hopes and Fears". If you were turned off by the constant airplay of "Somewhere Only We Know", don't discount this album out of hand, as the sound is a lot different. In fact, my good friend Dennis, who hated Keane with a white-hot intensity due to just that reason, has found himself enjoying this new album quite a bit. If an album recommendation from one complete stranger, myself, doesn't convince you, surely recommendations from two complete strangers will.

Yesterday I bought The Fray's "How to Save a Life" and Snow Patrol's "Eyes Open". Both were 10 bucks, and both have already proven themselves to be worth the little amount of money I spent on them. The Snow Patrol album is a little more serious, in tone and musically, with a lot of driving guitars and somewhat dour melodies. I've seen the Fray album reviewed as being something you won't remember once you're done listening to it, however I think that's being a bit harsh. I mean, we can't expect everyone to record "Born to Run". It's a good pop album with a lot of good hooks and some nice piano work. I bought it mostly for "Over My Head" as I can't get that song out of my head, but have found other tracks on the album that are similarly entertaining. I can easily recommend either album for those with 10 bucks to spare and a hankering for new music.

Now that I'm all caught up on season 2 of Deadwood, I sat down to start watching season 3 the other night. I'm only one episode into it, so I know I still have catching up to do, but that George Hearst is one evil little cocksucker. I hope to hell he doesn't think he can come into the camp and start fucking up what Al has built. It's interesting that they've done such a good job with the character of Al Swearengen that you root for him, despite being a stone cold killer and, by many accounts, not a very nice person. It's similar to what they did with Tony Soprano before that show collapsed under the weight of it's own importance. For my dollar, there is no finer television character in recent memory than Al Swearengen, and no finer actor on television than Ian McShane. I look forward to the coming battle between Al and Mr. Hearst, but would do well to remind Mr. Hearst of Al's comments to him in season 2, namely that Al does better killing closer in.

I was glad to see that Timothy Olyphant gets to do more in this season then just glare and beat people, although the shit kicking he gave Farnum was a nice way to remind us of Seth's awful temper. Mr. Bullock got to laugh, make jokes, be introspective, glare and beat people so clearly we're making progress. I do wish Tolliver would just up and die though. It's nothing against Powers Booth, although the size of his head is offputting, it's just that I've never liked Tolliver, nor found him interesting, and while I can work with the first, I can't do much with the latter. At the same time, he needs to be there to fuel conflict for Joanie, whom I do like, so I guess I can learn to live with him.

When not watching Deadwood, we've been watching the World Cup and I am very excited for the final match. For some reason, every time I turned on a match, Italy was playing, so I've adopted them as my home team and will root for them in the finals. I know that a bunch of them are in some match-fixing scandal at home, and that might color people's opinions of them, but I don't really care, as I'm only interested in what I see on the pitch. The officiating seems to have gotten a lot better from the first round games, so hopefully we won't see Sunday's match decided on a shitty call. It's odd for me to be excited for a sporting event in the middle of summer, and even stranger for it to be soccer, but I'm not questioning it and am just going for it. Sunday night, can't come soon enough. Go Italia!

As I mentioned before, I will labor this weekend to corral my thoughts into something coherent, so that you don't have to just read about cd purchases and video game rock bands. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend, go buy some cd's and watch some soccer. Huzzah!


k o w said...

Well I'm glad you finally caught up on the greatest show in history. I was going to PM you over at the secret site to see if you watched last nights episode in all of it's glory but I suspect you haven't. With that said I will end it there.

Ian McShane has no peer to me right now on television. While he is not the only reason I watch Deadwood religously he is a big part of it. The writing has alot to do with it but McShane can deliver a line without speaking a word.

I'm with you on Tolliver. He debuted as the Tom to Al's Jerry and since then it's fizzled. Now it seems he gets screentime because they're paying his salary and need to justify it.

McRaney as Hearst is just awesome. And if you just saw season 3, ep. 1 you haven't seen shit yet.

There are times I'm captivated by Molly Parker and other times I'm not.

I could write forever on this show but I'll end it with this...


suburbanjoe said...

I've watched 3 of the episodes so far and all I can say is that I hope Al has a good reason for not using Hearsts' guts for garters. Can't wait to see Dority and Capt. Turner mix it up, as that's where it looks like it's going.

Once I am all caught up with the current season, it's going to be hell to have to wait a week inbetween episodes. I'm an American dammit and I demand instant gratification!

Wu! Swen-gen! Hengdai!