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capitol hill block party, day one.

I wanted to live tweet or facebook the Capitol Hill Block Party today, but my phone is over three years old and doesn’t hold a charge the way it used to, thus it died part way through.

I’ll share some thoughts from day one now. Forgive errors and incoherence, as it has been a long day of work and block party, the latter of which included lots of drinking, dancing, and close proximity to lots of weed. I’m not in my best form.

Anyway, thoughts:

1. People wanted to get in my pants. 

People must have been really high, because I was hit on by three different women and one man. I wish I could say it reflected on me, but somehow I think that’s probably not the case.

2. Favorite quotes from bands: 

“Make sure to wear sunscreen, because cancer is a motherfucker!”

-Fresh Espresso

“I’m really glad you’re all so drunk right now.”


“Last year we played here, too. We played at like noon at the Vera stage. This year we’re playing and its fucking nighttime, and we’re on the main stage.”

-The Head and the Heart

“This is really crazy that you’re all here for us. This is amazing. Don’t think this is lost on us.”

-The Head and the Heart

3. The Head and the Heart

There is something really beautiful about watching a local band come home as their star is beginning to rise in earnest. To watch them share their success with the people who’ve been supporting them from the beginning was really great. They even made sure to mention KEXP during the show.

4. Cults

I’ll be downloading this album as soon as I regain consciousness tomorrow. They’re really awesome.

Also, when we were hanging out earlier in the afternoon I kept seeing this guy walking around, and I was like, “I bet that guy is in one of the bands.” He was, he’s one of the two lead members of Cults.

5. Ghostland Observatory

I wish this show had lasted for six hours. When they come back, I will be seeing them again. Non stop dancing, bass, fog, sexy, and lasers. Half of the duo is a nerd made into a god by his ability to create ass shaking gold.

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how's my movie list holding up?

In January, I posted a list of the films I was most excited for in 2011. Now that we’ve passed the mid-point of the year, it seems like a good idea to check in with that list and see how my experience of the list has been.

So, as can be expected, some of these movies will be disappointing. So far, there have been several movies from my list that were so poorly reviewed, I haven’t even seen them. I normally don’t put a ton of stock in critics, but when Rotten Tomatoes shows that 8 or 9 out of 10 people who’ve seen a movie didn’t like it, I’m less apt to spend money to see it in the theater, especially when I can just wait for Netflix to send it to me. Most of these also found my excitement waning with each new trailer.

The movies from my list that I haven’t even seen yet, even though they’ve already been released, are: Battle: Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, Your Highness, Green Lantern

Then there were films that were enjoyable, but not extraordinary. These are the ones I liked just fine, but which probably won’t end up on any of my best of the year lists: The Adjustment Bureau, Paul

The biggest winners for me so far, from the list, are the rest:

Source Code

I included this film in my list on a bit of a flyer. I’d loved Duncan Jones previous outing, Moon; I wanted to fall back in love with Jake G. after some lackluster nonsense over the last few years; and I think Michelle Monaghan is one of the sexiest women alive. Thus, the film had plenty of reasons I wanted to like it, but I wasn’t so sure that would turn into actual enjoyment.

Fortunately, I loved it. It was smart, sharply directed, and the twists and turns were far more clever than normal. If you can get through 20 minutes of a movie with me still trying to guess what will happen next, you’re doing a great job in my book. That doesn’t happen very often unless writers are just being flat out dishonest, but that wasn’t the case here, they just did a great job slowly unveiling the whole picture.

The performances were strong, with Jake being the perfect charming, earnest lead who was easy to root for.

Also, my favorite part, which contains BIG, HUGE spoilers, so look away if you don’t want anything spoiled. All the spoilers will be italicized, so it’s safe to read again once the print goes back to normal.

So, this film will definitely have my favorite cameo of the year, unless Jesus Christ himself shows up in a movie. From the very beginning of the movie, anyone who has ever loved Quantum Leap will draw immediate connections. It’s not exactly the same, but once he goes into the bathroom, looks in the mirror, and freaks out to see someone else’s face looking back at him, many of us were going, “Ha, awesome, just like Quantum Leap.

Well, that’s where the awesomeness kicks in. The main character has had a fight with his father last time he spoke to him, and now has no way to get in tough aside from using the body he is inhabiting to try and stop the train from blowing up (the general plot of the movie, for any who don’t know.) Well, later in the film, he gets a cell phone and calls dear old Dad, pretending to be a friend of the man’s son. They start talking, and the voice on the phone sounds familiar. In fact, it sounds exactly like Scott Bakula, star of Quantum Leap. That’s when he says it, the father finds out the man knew his son and says “Oh, boy.” In case you’ve forgotten, or never knew, that’s what Scott Bakula’s character Sam said at the end of every episode of Quantum Leap. He would leap into a new body, look in a mirror or find himself in a crazy situation, and say, “Oh, boy.”

Best. Cameo. Ever…. (okay, tied with Bill Murray in Zombieland) and you never even see his face. Thank God for directors who embrace this sort of thing.


So, back to spoiler free content. If you haven’t seen this movie, you should at least give it a chance. It will be available on Netflix as of the 26th of this month.



Ok, yes, the “love story” between Thor and Natalie Portman was poorly drawn and uninteresting. Very much so. Doesn’t matter, I still loved the movie.

It was comic book goodness. Many time, when a movie embraces the silliness of its premise, it just ends up being a heaping pile of bullshit. Not so in this case. It just made it more fun. For example, the fact that they paid homage to the reality that the character of Thor in the comics often speaks in Shakespearean English, by having Chris Hemsworth’s Thor speak with a Shakespearean accent. (And for the folks out there who said it was an Australian accent because the actor is Australian… you need to go listen to an Australian person speak. It doesn’t sound like Thor in this movie. It was the quasi-English accent that actors use to play Shakespeare. It was a joke. The same accent Peter Dinklage uses to play Tyrion Lannister. It’s not a poorly executed English accent, neither character has ever been to England. It’s the fake accent people use to make things sound old and storied.)

Thor was a great balance between silly and badass. I loved Hemsworth as Thor.

It also made me excited for the potential of The Avengers next year.


X-Men: First Class

I’ll quote myself from a previous ‘five things’ post: “Such a wonderful recovery from all that was terrible about X3. God, how I hated X3. 

A cool 60′s vibe, a sexy cast led by the always charming Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, and plenty of mutant fun. If there’s a sequel, it will be impossible for me to root against either main character.”

In addition to that, I can add that Fassbender isn’t just charming, but is one sexy-ass motherckufer.

This is my favorite comic book movie of the year so far.


Super 8

Already shared my love for this one, at length, here.


Harry Potter 7.2

What words could there be? It wasn’t as emotional for me as I anticipated, in that I never choked up. That’s probably just because with a book as good as this one was, it is nearly impossible to match the emotional notes Rowling hit so perfectly. I have a feeling I’ll be rereading all seven books soon.


Coming up from my list soon are: Captain America: The First Avenger, Horrible Bosses (which is already out, and I will be seeing it soon), Cowboys and Aliens.

Also, Attack the Block comes out the 29th. It’s by far the film I’m most excited to see, but I’d never heard of it when I made the original list.

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the thing. [trailer park.]

A trailer for the remake of John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, which itself is, “Ostensibly a remake of the classic 1951 Howard Hawks-Christian Nyby film The Thing from Another World, Carpenter’s film is a more faithful adaptation of the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr. which inspired the 1951 film.” [via@wikipedia]


1. The other day, my friend Josué was wondering when they’ll start rebooting/remaking movies we saw in the theaters as kids. The Thing isn’t quite there yet, but since it came out the year Josué and I were born, we’re getting pretty close.

2. Watching the trailer just made me want to check out the original again, which begs the question: Why remake the movie already?

3. Then again, the special effects in the first one are pretty dated (although it’s still most definitely worth watching in its own right), so perhaps the update will help the film be scarier. If they get the atmosphere right, like they did with the original, and the effects aren’t downright silly at times, this movie is going to be as gross and creepy as shit!

3. Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

4. Poor, poor dogs. Sad. They didn’t fuck with something that should’ve been left alone.

5. That scientist guy who takes a sample clearly hasn’t seen the 1982 version.

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my favorite music of 2011, so far.

At the end of June, I wanted to do some lists of my favorite stuff from this year so far, but this is the first I’ve had time to get to it. First, music.

My favorite 2011 albums so far. Some I’ve mentioned before, some I haven’t. I’ve already loved so many albums this year.

I know that putting 15 albums on means very few people will actually check them all out… but you really should. Seriously.

On with the list! As always, no meaning to the order, just a list.


1. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

As far as I’m concerned, TV on the Radio are gods of music. They’re the band I’m most excited to see at the Capitol Hill Block party later this month.

Nine Types of Light may be my favorite album they’ve done, but at the very least its as good as anything else they’ve released, which means its as good as anything just about anyone has released.

Like many on this list, it’s one of those albums where I go, “Ooh, this is my favorite track… no wait, this one is… no, actually, this one is.”


2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Bon Iver has balls, that’s for sure. It would have been possible for an artist of his talent to release a super radio friendly album to make money off of that Kanye momentum. It also would have been safe to just make an album that sounded exactly like what he did on his last full-length. Instead, as was evidenced with the EP Blood Bank, Justin Vernon is just going to keep pushing into new places, which includes taking terrible elements of pop music and making them beautiful. On Blood Bank, he did it with auto-tune, here on Bon Iver, he does it with 80’s synth, among other things.

There are plenty of songs on the album which would have worked well as a transition between his previous work, and this album, but instead of choosing one of those as track 1, he chose the song that was the farthest from his previous work. It sounds like he’s covering Peter Gabriel or something.

I guess with this album, you either love it or hate it. I love it.

Here’s him covering Bonnie Rait. This song isn’t actually on the album, it’s the B-Side for “Calgary”. In my opinion, his version is haltingly beautiful. I heart it.


3. Radiohead – The King of Limbs

As I’ve written before, this wasn’t mind-blowing for me the way that In Rainbows was. Still, pretty good Radiohead is better than the very best of 99.99999999999999999999999999999999% of everyone else. Everyone’s already seen the video, so I won’t bother linking to it.


4. The Raveonettes – Raven in the Grave

It didn’t take long for me to like this album enough to listen to it on repeat for entire afternoons. I’ve gotten into their work through this album in a way I wasn’t before.


5. Wye Oak – Civilian

I got this album because of Amazon’s mp3 store. It was one of their $5 albums, and every time I opened the mp3 store it was one of the top four albums they’d put up for my consideration. Really liking the album cover piqued my interest enough that eventually I decided to check the album out.




I don’t know where I’ve been in never listening to Wye Oak before, but this album is amazing. It’s the album this year where I think anew over and over, “Wow, I can’t believe how good this album is!”

Thanks Amazon, for an album I would have never heard of otherwise.

Here they are performing on a balcony in Amsterdam.


6. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up

I have a confession that needs to be made. Even though I’m a huge hip hop fan, I’ve been dragging my feet about getting into the Seattle scene. That’s just stupid. Seattle may just have the most exciting indie hip hop scene in existence, with acts like The Blue Scholars, Grayskul, Shabazz Palaces, Fresh Espresso, Champagne Champagne, Mackelmore, and others.

So far, Grayskul is the only group I’ve really spent enough time listening to, and they are good enough that it should have launched me into the rest of the Seattle scene instantly.

Checking out the new Shabazz Palaces album sight-unseen was another attempt to finally start pursuing the Seattle scene in earnest, and this album makes me really sad I have been waiting so long.

These guys are fantastic. The emcee work on this album is impeccable. A great emcee should be able to be playful, cutting, insightful, and poignant all in turn. Well, check, check, check, and check.

The music is original, inventive, and always engaging. The first time I was listening to this album I was reading at the same time. I had to put the book down and just listen because the music was too engaging and I wasn’t paying attention to the book anymore.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


7. Okkervil River – I Am Very Far

It’s gotten to the point where there isn’t any band I love more than Okkervil River. In the past, I didn’t think they would ever release another album quite as good as Black Sheep Boy, but they just might have done it with I Am Very Far. By quite a large margin, this is the album I’ve listened to the most times so far this year.


8. The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart

My love for them is nothing new.

I get to see them live for the first time at the Capitol Hill Block Party! Yay!


9. Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys

I’d completely stopped listening to Death Cab. I’m not sure why, I didn’t stop liking them, I just never thought, ‘Hey, I’ll turn on a Death Cab album.’ Well, that’s all in the past now. Codes and Keys was a $5 album on Amazon mp3 last month, so I picked it up. Now, I think ‘Hey, I’ll turn on a Death Cab album.’ All the time.

I want to have this album’s babies.

/she may be young but she only likes old things/

Some of these songs are totally about Zooey Deschanel.


10. The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

I shared my love for them the week I discovered them. More repetitions of the album have only made my heart grow fonder.


11. Talib Kweli – Gutter Rainbows

If anyone wants proof that talent and fame are woefully far apart in the world of hip hop, one need look no further than Kweli. This is another fantastic album in which he makes abundantly clear that he is as intelligent, literate, aware, and poetic as any other emcee in the game.

I also really love his album titles.


12. My Morning Jacket – Circuital

I was actually starting to forget how good My Morning Jacket is. Circuital was sure to remind me… and how! Jim James is a beautiful and wonderful man.


13. The Antlers – Burst Apart

I’ve mentioned my love for The Antlers in general, and Burst Apart in particular before. I still love this album.


14. The Decemberists – The King is Dead

Another album I’ve mentioned before. A brilliant album by one of my favorite bands.

Here’s the official video for “This is Why We Fight.” I frickin’ love this song!


15. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

I’m so impressed with the way a band with such a great debut was able to grow. I’m even more impressed that they were able to develop an even more accessible sound without losing their originality. This album is great.


Albums that might be on the list once I spend more time with them: Adele – 21; Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean; Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some; Smith-Westerns – Dye It Blonde; Tyler, The Creator – Goblin.

Potentially great albums I still need to hear for the first time: Dave Bazan – Strange Negotiations, still thinking… I’ll update this

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