Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New episode of Paste podcast; beautiful live music from HEM

On this free episode of the Paste Culture Club podcast we've got two beautiful tracks of music from HEM (the lead singer, Sally, was 8 months pregnant at the time, too!), plus an interview with the band.

You'll also get full tracks of music from M.Ward and Southern Bitch, plus part 3 of Paste's Top 30 albums of 2006.

I love those live tracks from HEM so much. They were recorded at our secret show in NY back in October.

If you haven't heard HEM before, definitely go over to and download the free episode. You can also get it on iTunes -- just search Paste Culture Club.

The show must go on: The Hold Steady play for Swiss Family Robinson

Check out my latest rock-inspired dream at Sleep to Dream, my blog for

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sleeping to Dream

Tomorrow I will begin blogging all about my crazy dreams at

In preparation, I've been keeping a journal next to my bed so I can write down my dreams when I wake up. Among the kooky things you'll read about soon:

- The man who ate a Modest Mouse CD and became a human stereo
- Visiting a pumpkin patch in Norman, Oklahoma (home to Flaming Lips)
- Crashing a patio wedding with Andrew Bird
- Chasing a car thief by foot in LA after a Shins concert

Stay tuned... you know you wish you had dreams and visions like mine... well, ones that aren't drug-induced...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union

I grew up in the DC area and was exposed to politics at a very young age. Political news was our local news. So it made sense that, in addition to my business studies, I would study American politics in college.

I am not as passionate about political outcome as I am fascinated by political science -- ideology, game theory, psephology, etc. And as someone who works in media, I find "the news" fascinating (and frustrating) too.

Last night I watched the State of the Union address and was most intrigued by this:

What a money shot for all the media outlets! Clinton, Obama, and Kennedy -- all in one frame? Easy gig for the guy who was hired to capture the reactions of recognizable Democrats.

As usual, Hilary looks amused by the President in a frigid, Blue State kind of way. But what are Obama and Kennedy doing? Every time the camera pointed their way, they had their heads down. And it seems that Ted's got a pen in his hand... hmm... so let's take a poll...

During the State of the Union Address, Senators Obama and Kennedy were...

A) Writing down their thoughts in preparation for post-speech interviews
B) Sharing gossip and passing notes like school girls
C) Playing tic-tac-toe
D) Competing to see who is really a Sudoku champion!!
E) Other (include your answer in the comments)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

CK & Lil S'lack present: JUMP, JUMP

I didn't do a lot of my homework in college. I prefered fun things, like playing volleyball at 4am, working at Paste, writing limericks, and making music videos (even in the middle of midterms).

Here is a video from the vault, making its YouTube debut. It was filmed in the ATL (er, Druid Hills) and features me and my rapping roommate, Lil S'lack. Thank you to Jenny for recording, Arunan for lending us guys' clothes, our friends and sorority advisor for making cameos, and Karl the Krazy Squirrel for letting me strike him with a lightning bolt.

Now playing: "Jump, Jump," by CK and Lil S'lack, from the EP Lodgin' Ain't Easy

Monday, January 15, 2007

Holiday Dance Party!

I'm sad that The Office (UK) went off the air... now who will come up with these cultural goodies to share across The Pond?

Watch Ricky Gervais' David Brent dance his tush off ("for charity")...

... and Amber show him up at the Paste Xmas Party...

Friday, January 12, 2007

PLUG Awards

When I saw the list of Grammy nominees this year, I wasn't surprised. Safe choices, predictable choices -- with some exceptions, of course, just to keep things interesting. But the Grammy's play to the mainstream industry, where production and auto-tuning can buy you a damn catchy (and profitable) album.

So let me introduce you to the PLUG Independent Music Awards.

PLUG started up in 2001. The awards recognize, honor and embrace the independent music community, as well as the artists, fans, and media outlets that keep that music alive and thriving. I like that they say in their FAQ, "PLUG is the experience of trading mix tapes with friends."

(Beirut, Neko Case, CSS pictured)

Paste was honored as "Magazine of the Year" at the 2006 awards, and we're nominated again this year. If you'd like to cast a vote for this or any other category, head over to the nominees site. You'll also find out which artists, radio stations, websites, blogs, etc, impacted the independent music community this year.

There are "General" and "Obsessive" ballots... vote as you see fit, and you don't have to vote for every category. Paste and the "Magazine of the Year" category can be found under "Media (General)."

My favorite category for music is (surprisingly) Electronic/Dance Albums of the Year. All of these are awesome albums I wouldn't normally have thought to buy or download... get into the spirit of the PLUG Awards and check them out, even if you're not that into electronic stuff... it'll be fun.

Basement Jaxx - Crazy Itch Radio (XL)
Booka Shade - Movements (Get Physical)
Coldcut - Sound Mirrors (Ninja Tune)
Girl Talk - Night Ripper (Illegal Art)
Goldfrapp - We Are Glitter (Mute)
Herbert - Scale (!K7)
Hot Chip - The Warning (Astralwerks)
Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye (Domino)
MSTRKRFT - Looks (Last Gang)
Ratatat - Classics (XL)
The Knife - Silent Shout (Mute)
Thom Yorke - The Eraser (XL)

[Especially recommend Basement Jaxx, Goldfrapp, Junior Boys, Hot Chip, Ratatat and The Knife]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New issue of Paste: "It'll change your life. I swear."

I'm so excited that I just can't hide it. The new issue of Paste will hit newsstands at the end of the month, but here's a sneak peak...

This one's got features on The Shins and Bloc Party, two of my favorite 'if-I-were-on-a-stranded-island-I-would-want-their-music' bands. Also, the list of Paste's top albums and films of 2006... let's discuss and dispute some time.

Get a free issue if you haven't read the mag before.

I can't wait for 2007's music... new albums from The Shins, Bloc Party, Of Montreal, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, Brandi Carlile, Eisley, and Apollo Sunshine. My iPod will get some good lovin' this year...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Top Songs of 2006: Vol 2: It's Not My Fault I'm So Popular

This is for Sarah, and for T, who gets the RSS feed and recommended that JTimberlake be on this mix instead of the 'Dancing With Myself' mix (thanks for the sound advice).

Here are some of the most popular songs of 2006 -- ones embraced by commercial radio (Keane), MTV (Lady Sovereign), and fans (Thom Yorke). I can't fault them for being so popular -- these are some delicious tunes (but Fergilicious? No, I just can't get behind that...)

1. "Is It Any Wonder?," Keane

2. "You Only Live Once," The Strokes

3. "Suddenly I See," KT Tunstall

4. "Love Me or Hate Me," Lady Sovereign

5. "Hips Don't Lie (featuring Wyclef)," Shakira

6. "London Bridge," Fergie

7. "Why You Wanna," T.I.

8. "When You Were Young," The Killers

9. "Ain't No Other Man," Christina Aguilera

10. "Stolen," Dashboard Confessional

11. "Breaking Free," Gabriela & Troy
(High School Musical - top selling album of the year!)
12. "Harrowdown Hill," Thom Yorke

13. "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off," Panic! at the Disco

14. "SexyBack," Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland

15. "Crazy," Gnarls Barkley

16. "Save Room," John Legend

17. "Here It Goes Again," Ok Go

18. "Move Along," All-American Rejects

19. "Welcome to the Black Parade," My Chemical Romance

Did I forget your favorite? Wanna make an arguement for Daniel Powter or James Blunt? Comment and discuss.

Stay tuned for the next iMix... Top Songs of 2006, Volume 3: Perfect for Grey's Anatomy


Monday, January 08, 2007

No Kangaroos in Austria

Fabulous Shirt From Vienna + Sneaking Into the Zoo = Priceless Photo Op

(Thanks to Mindy for the photos)

While we were at the zoo, we saw the pandas (though Baby Panda is not out-and-about yet). Does anyone else remember this commercial? Cracks me up everytime... [Anyone reading this on Facebook feed will need to go to the blog to get the video]


Friday, January 05, 2007

Top Songs of 2006: Volume 1: Best of the Best

This year I decided I was going to create the ultimate year-end playlist. That's right...

ul-tim-ate (adjective): being the best or most extreme example of its kind

...well, based on what I like (and that is the only criteria in this case, because this is not a democracy -- it's a Carenocracy)

On my year-end list, I tried to only include songs that were released in 2006, though a few from 2005 slipped in because they were, as VH1 would say, "Big in 06." I'll post the complete list -- 150 songs total (booyah!) -- over the next few days, broken into volumes that fit onto individual CDs.

To start things off, here is:

"2006 Volume 1: Best of the Best"

1. "Fraud in the 80s," Mates of State
2. "Consolation Prizes," Phoenix
3. "Bandits," Midlake
4. "All Will Be Well (Live at World Cafe Live)," Gabe Dixon Band
5. "Man O'War," Eric Bachmann
6. "Adlai Stevenson," Sufjan Stevens
7. "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," Flaming Lips
8. "Wolves at Night," Manchester Orchestra
9. "Hot Soft Light," The Hold Steady
10. "Wolf Like Me," TV on the Radio
11. "Ultimatum," The Long Winters
12. "Lived in Bars," Cat Power
13. "Girl in the War," Josh Ritter
14. "Dokkoise House (With Face Covered)," Anathallo
15. "Nausea," Beck
16. "Crane Wife 3," The Decemberists
17. "Skeleton Key," Margot & the Nuclear So And So's
18. "Denton, TX," Damien Jurado
19. "I Will Be Grateful For This Day," Bright Eyes

Don't see your favorite song? Wondering if I'm bringing SexyBack? (Yeah!) Well, I've got 132 songs left to post... be patient... good things come to those who wait.

If you want to hear any of these songs, or better yet download them, I made an iMix! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Elf You!


You can "Elf Yourself" too, thanks to Office Max. Try it. You'll look funny. I mean, how many times do you get to wear candy cane stripped stockings while doing the Macarena?