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Thursday, February 02, 2006
Myspace is not myhome
It just occurred to me -- in case it looks like I'm going from journal to blog to Myspace page, I'm not moving Terribly Happy to Myspace. How scary would that be?
What, you don't have enough blogs?
One more place I update, for anyone keeping track:
The Terribly Happy Myspace Blog.
I only write about Myspace on Myspace. Because there's plenty of weird shit to comment on.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
My recap of the much-hyped 100th episode of Smallville is up at Television Without Pity:
Oh no! Bo! -- "You know," the Smallville producers said in a top secret meeting, "Bo Duke isn't just going to kill himself off." So they did. Goodbye, John Schneider. The cows will moo your name as they churn their buttery milk deep inside.
Monday, January 30, 2006
The mix is back: Terribly Happy Mix '05
This was a lot of fun for me last year. About 60 people (not including others I mailed copies to) donated and got a CD and the response was good enough that I spent the rest of '05 buying lots more CDs, downloading music and getting a Sirius radio (I have a feeling next year's list will be more eclected based on the channels I'm listening to) with an ear toward the '05 CD.
The CD is a mix of songs from albums I bought that were released in 2005 (with one or two exceptions where I downloaded the song from iTunes or discovered the CD in '05 when it was actually released in late '04).
I like playing DJ for my peeps and I hope you find something on this disc you like and that'll get you interested in some of these artists.
Here's some artists that didn't make the list even though I bought a CD or planned to include them at one time or another: Nine Inch Nails, Liz Phair, Snow Patrol, Wolf Parade, Luis Miguel, Shakira, Coldplay and Kelly Clarkson (yes, I listen to Kelly Clarkson. You got a problem with that?). I wish I could say it was purely for space reasons, but I have two songs by Islands and three "Bonus" tracks that weren't released in '05, so I must not have felt too strongly about them to have left them out, huh?
Here's the options for donation to get a copy of the CD:
1. Paypal -- you paypal me $1 to cover the CD and first-class shipping. Stamp prices have gone up, but I'm leaving it $1. Click below to do so.
2. SASE -- mail me a stamped envelope, I'll hit you back with the CD. E-mail me and I'll send you my mail address.
3. E-mail me the address, screw the $1 -- if you don't use paypal or your life is too crazy to do the SASE thing (believe me, I can relate), just send me your address and I'll mail you a CD anyway. Last year, I didn't quite break even on everything (the postage was a bit more than I anticipated), but screw it. I'm in this for a few bills for you. It's the least I can do for readers who've stuck around this long. We're doing this on the honor system, but don't feel bad if you just want a CD and don't want to deal with payment. You can hit me back with a nice note later if you enjoy the CD, or better yet, go buy some of the CDs by these fine artists.
So that's it. Here's a track-by-track rundown.
1. Qué Onda Guero -- Beck
Sample lyric: Rampart boys with loaded rifles / Guatemalan soccer ball instant replays / Mango ladies, vendedores / And a busstop singer / Banda macho chorus
This song reminds me of the Latino Comedy Project show we did in May, "Citizen Quién." I put together the pre-show and interstitial music and this was on the soundtrack. The CD had just come out and this song fit our show perfectly given that our audience is a mix of pochos, white folks and others. I think of quick costume changes and blackouts when I hear it. The whole album is very good, but a lot moodier than you'd expect as it goes on. Still, Beck is a genius, and if somebody hasn't made him an honorary Latino yet, they really should. Also good: "Girl," "Go It Alone" and "E-Pro," which you've probably heard.
2. Please Please Please -- Fiona Apple
Album: Extraordinary Machine (the retail version)
Sample lyric: Give us something familiar / Something similar / To what we know already / That will keep us steady / Steady, steady / Steady going nowhere
I was one of those annoying people who had downloaded the Jon Brion-produced version of Extraordinary Machine which it absolutely looked like the thing would never be released. What I downloaded was really good. A little florid and somehow spare at the same time, but, you know, it was a good album. Why the fuck wasn't Sony releasing it? Sure it wasn't that commercial, but neither was Fiona's last album When the Pawn... (insert 75 more words), and that one did all right. The unreleased album got lots of press last year then, all of a sudden, rumors were flying that Fiona was reworking the material, that she'd brought in a new producer, that she and Jon Brion were on the outs. The part about reworking the album turned out to be true, but it sounds like Brion was totally cool with the situation given they both weren't entirely pleased with the earlier version. One Dr. Dre protege later and the album sounds fuller and less jangly. The songs are pretty much the same, which is to say they're very good. If you like Fiona, it's a great album. If you don't, it's still a great album, you just may think she's a drama queen and quite crazy. But homegirl can sing and she admits over and over that she's a drama queen and crazy, so that's pretty disarming. Also good: "O Sailor" and "Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)."
3. Quédate -- Andrea Echeverri
Album: Andrea Echeverri
Sample lyric: Se mi novio eterno no olvidemos lo tierno / Que le gane a la rutina tu sonrisa vespertina
I missed Andrea Echeverri when she performed in Austin last spring in support of her debut solo album. Then I missed her again when she and her famous Colombian group Aterciopelados cancelled their Austin City Limits Festival appearance as a lot of other bands did because of travel snafus caused by Hurricane Rita. Which was a bummer because I spent that whole Friday telling ACL people that they had to had to check out Aterciopelados. Oh well. Andrea Echeverri's album is a little more mellow than her Aterciopelados stuff: it's mostly songs about motherhood. But her voice is just as fantastic as it was last year when I included the song she did with Lila Downs, "Dignificada." Download that song if you don't already have it off Lila Downs' Una Sangre album or check out Echeverri's other songs from her CD, "Amniótico" or "A Eme O."
4. Stay With You -- John Legend
Album: Get Lifted
Sample lyric: We have something like a miracle / Yeah, I'll stay with you
When we were hanging out in Melissa's dark room after school in junior high, a song like this we would have called a "Slow jam" and you better believe me and my friends would be slow dancing to it and probably making out. The lyrics are not going to make Bob Dylan jealous, but John Legend's voice keeps it moving along. John Legend is someone we really ought to hate. He's a smooth brother with crazy good looks, this smoky voice and the knack for writing these awesome songs. And he's buddies with Kanye (who produced the album and appears a few times on it), so you know John is like swimming in nookie without a lifeguard. Still, it's a good album. He toured like a mug and he deserved his Grammy nominations. So give it up for this album that we're all lucky to have noticed. Other good songs: "Ordinary People," which is awesome, but was way too long for this CD, and the other kind of jam, "Used to Love U."
5. The High Road -- Betty LaVette
Album: I've Got My Own Hell to Raise
Sample lyric: I walk away with my head held high / Forgive and forget / Uh uh, daddy / Not this time
I've got lots of stories this year about bands I almost saw. This was another Austin City Limits cancellation, and it stung almost as badly as Aterciopelados. Get this album. That's all I can say. If you can listen to this song and not want to get her CD, I don't even know what else I can do. It reminds me of the Tina Turner Private Dancer cassette I wore out as a teenager. But way better. Other songs: her whole album is covers, so just pick an artist you like. I like "Joy" and "How Am I Different."
6. House on Fire -- The Damn Millionaires
Album: Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out
Sample lyric: Everything's fine / Yeah, everything's fine / Yeah, everything's beautiful now
This is a great song even if you don't know that Chris and Allison's house really did burn the fuck down. (It was an apartment, but still. Let's see someone burn your apartment building down and see how you like it.) Like all great things that come out of tragedy, this song is about more than that, and it makes me proud that I can call the people in this band friends. Also, it is a band that wouldn't exist if not for the Internet, so every time someone tells you the Net is evil, remember that four people would never have gotten together and made beautiful music together if not for the Web. Other songs: Buy the whole album here, but do check out "Sinner" and "Brand New Year."
7. What You Meant -- Franz Ferdinand
Album: You Could Have It So Much Better
Sample lyric: If we were feckless we'd be fine
Fuck yes, Franz Ferdinand. These guys I did see at ACL, for the second year in a row. And while many people in the heat and dust just didn't have the patience to see these guys again, felt they were last year's news, the set they did was every bit as good as the one in '04, just as this year's album was every bit as good as their debut. Just because they didn't take five years to record their follow-up doesn't mean it isn't worthy. Other good songs: "This Boy" and "Do You Want To."
8. El Chupa Nibre -- MC Dangerdoom
Album: The Mouse & The Mask
Sample lyric: "I really love your tape but I hate your inventions" / Very well -- what you want, a brownie?
This is the album that goes with all the Adult Swim cartoons on Cartoon Network. If you don't like Adult Swim, I can't imagine this song will make any sense whatsoever. Other songs: "Basketcase," "No Names (Black Debbie)."
9. DARE -- Gorillaz
Album: Demon Days
Sample lyric: Work it out
Pure disco heaven, this one. However, if all you heard off Demon Days was this song and the one from the iPod commercials, you'd think it was one big-ass jam album and that your booty would be a-shakin' for 60 minutes. True, there are plenty of booty call-to-arms on the disc, but there's also some freakin' scary songs like "Kids With Guns" and "Last Living Souls." And those are actually my favorite songs. Great album, great band (cartoon? Live action? Who cares?), though I don't think some Miho Hatori would have hurt the mix.
10. You're Beautiful -- James Blunt
Album: Back to Bedlam
Sample lyric: I saw your face / in a crowded place
All right, so you've heard this one. My wife really likes it and I swear I picked this for the CD months ago when we saw him perform it on SNL and we both were like, "Who the fuck is this, making googly eyes at us and looking like Tori Amos?" We were intrigued. Then they started playing this song every five minutes on Sirius radio and my husbandly duties included listening to it every single time. It's all right. I think it's this year's "Lady in Red" and it's going to hit #1, I guarantee. People are still going to be playing this at every wedding reception for the next five years. This song was used in last week's episode of Smallville, which is a sure way way to kill a song for me. (See also: Maroon 5.) Other songs: I'll get back to you on that, but I'm guessing there's a CD purchase in our future.
11. Abominable Snow, 12. Flesh -- Islands
Album: Coming in March
Sample lyric: I think I spotted a yeti and Ice cubes are like you
Last year, my brother got me into the Unicorns and no sooner was I hooked than the motherfuckers broke up. Nice. But then several of the band members formed a side hip-hop side group called Th' Corn Gangg, but then I guess they got serious and formed a superband to crush all others called Islands. They put out two tracks onto the InterWeb (you will find them here; they are good) and their first album Return to the Sea is due out around March. They've got tour dates lined up, including South by Southwest, and we plan to be there. Will their album be great? I think it will be great. Other songs: Haven't heard any, but the song title, "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby," is enough to whet my appetite.
13. Perfect Situation -- Weezer
Album: Make Believe
Sample lyric: What's the deal with my brain? / Why am I so obviously insane?
Aw, Weezer. At one point this year, I realized I was buying new CDs all from artists I'd been listening to since freshman year of college: Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Liz Phair, Beck. Geez. This Weezer CD is the best since... I dunno, Pinkerton? The Green Album? Maladroit left me a little cold, but as far as pop hooks go, this one is a goddamned masterpiece. Great songs, fantastic Rivers angst, good stuff. Along with Arcade Fire's CD, this was the hardest to choose a single song from. Others: "Hold Me" and "Peace" are also fantastic. You've probably already heard "Beverly Hills," which isn't representative of the whole album.
14. Gone -- Kanye West
Album: Late Registration
Sample lyric: My dawg worked at Taco Bell, hooked us up plural / Fired a week later the manager count the churros
Another Jon Brion joint. There were lots of catchier songs from this excellent CD I could have picked, but this one has that perfect blend of Kanye's brashness and amazing ability to spin beats with Jon Brion's crazy strings. Listen to that last instrumental break toward the end. Holy crap! What other rapper (or producer of rap) would let it go that long before closing it down with another set of lyrics? Who does that? Kanye does that. In this case, the confidence works in his favor. He's doing stuff that doesn't sound like any other hip-hop out there, and it's going to be a great ride before his self-consciousness gets the best of him. Let's just hope he doesn't die of a coke overdose before putting out a few more masterpieces. Other songs: "Heard 'Em Say" was my next pick and, of course, you guys have heard "Golddigger." What's up with the lyrics, "But she ain't messin' with no broke-broke" on censored radio?
15. In the Backseat -- The Arcade Fire
Sample lyric: Alice died / In the night / I've been learning to drive / My whole life
This song was very, very tough to pick. It's my favorite album of the year, and was also my favorite live performance from a band. Like Islands and The Unicorns, these cats are from Montreal and there's only so much you can say about people from Montreal who will perform for you in 108-degree heat. The album is beautiful and none of the other songs sound like this one, so it's tough to find a song that captures it. Just imagine an album that goes from this to sort of cathartic disco to a song called "Haiti" that can make you cry. I don't know. It's very good. Go check it out. I picked this song, in the end, because Rebecca's grandmother died and my great grandmother died the same month I was really getting into this CD and this song was in my head that whole time. I think PJ, who is also a fan, feels the same way. Other songs: "Wake Up," "Rebellion (Lies)" and "Haiti."
16. Birthday Cake -- Cibo Matto
Album: Viva La Woman!
Sample lyric: Shut up and eat! / Too bad, no bon appetit! / Shut up and eat! / You know my love is sweet!
This song is just here to annoy you. I turned 30 last year (not unlike the 30-year-old getting a cake from his mom in the song) and Terribly Happy turned five, so I figured, why not. It actually is one of my favorite songs.
17. Sea Ghost -- The Unicorns
Album: Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?
Sample lyric: I dove into that freezing sea / With the parasite attached to me / I had hoped the salt below / Would divorce what was wed above
This is to sort of correct an oversight from last year. I should have picked this song, not "Jellybones," even though "Jellybones" is a great song. They're broken up now, so you don't have to worry about them appearing again next year.
18. So Broken -- Bjork
Album: "Joga" single
Sample lyric: I'm trying to land this aeroplane of our gracefully / But it seems just destined to crash.
If I had to make a list of my favorite songs of all time, this would probably be in the top 5. It amazes me that someone known for such a distinct voice gives such an amazing vocal performance on a song that's not on any of her albums. Seriously, this is the most wrenching musical performance I think I've ever heard. At the very least, it's the greatest break-up song I know, so if your relationship should come to a bad end, keep this song nearby. Also, on a more insidery-note, the song ends with the guitarist asking if they should do "Otro" take. And "Otra" was a skit I wrote for LCP last year.
And that's it. Really hope you like it. Let's do this again next year, shall we?
The bad time
I don't want to go into detail because it's not really my story to tell, but I spent a good chunk of the weekend (pretty much all of Friday night and part of Saturday) at the hospital, where other people I'm close to spent the entire weekend.
I don't have a lot of experience with hospitals. I've never stayed in one and I've been lucky enough not to have a friend or family member spend a large amount of time in one.
But it was ghastly. Just cold and terrifying with winding corridors that form triangles into themselves, cold rubber and metal instruments on poseable trays, easy foods of basic tastes, and doctors and nurses who don't always have answers, even when they're sending you home.
I was having a pretty great Friday and then I was rushing to the hospital and everything changed. What was supposed to be simple got worse and worse, the situation becoming more ambiguous, everything going scary.
Things are fine now. I won't say it was a false alarm, but it turned out to be nothing so serious that anyone could figure out. But it was like I walked into sunshine, got caught in a cold eclipse and came out the other side into sunshine again that couldn't warm me or brighten the day.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
What a Rush
My full review of the fairly awesome Sonic the Hedgehog game Sonic Rush (DS) is up over at austin360.com.
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