Sunday, October 30, 2005

Check it out - In today's All Things Considered on NPR for Sunday, Halloween eve.

NPR Audio of Sigur Ros Article w/ live tracks

The music of Icelandic band Sigur Ros music has often been compared to the vast and dreamy landscape of their homeland. Its sound, sparse and yet sweeping, imparted visions of endless snowfields broken only by glaciers and the occasional volcano.

The fact that vocalist Jonsi Birgisson sings in a fanciful form of Icelandic -- and in an aching falsetto -- only made Sigur Ros' music the more ethereal to the group's legions of devoted fans. At its most extreme, the group's penchant for gloomy discursions and songs that went well into double-digits sometimes made them a taste for the initiated.

While Birgisson and his mates have ensured their art-rock status as they've evolved, their new songs show a resolve to burn through the gloom -- with horns, with strings, and with melody. Their efforts are also reflected in a new sense of conciseness, as several songs come in at less than five minutes long.

The band's latest CD is called Takk. An overt album name is a welcome return for many fans of this understated group, whose previous release had the unpronounceable title ( ).

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Wow, ok. I have not had time to let it sink in and complete process but in the last few days:

-Read Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed in one day - A powerful book on liberation through education that could take individuals semesters and years to dissect.
-Met and watched a q&a session with Father Ernesto Cardenal, revolutionary and advocate of pushing liberation theology to the oppressed through the art of poetry and its powerful usage in educating towards a liberated society.
-In the mood to watch the Motorcycle Diaries again.

On a lighter note, I get to DJ a bbq/party in Santa Cruz next week. Music suggestions? I'm going eclectic this time out. I'll post a setlist of what I got so far later.

Back to my first graders...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Currently Listening
Playing the Angel
By Depeche Mode
see related
Nickel Creek on NPR Sunday

Everyone sings along, and the night finally feels less like an impersonal rock show and more like a late-night jam session.

10.14.05 Fox Theatre Review by Paste Magazine

Monday, October 17, 2005

damn internet addiction. it can lead you to some wonderful discoveries, though!

going from kevin rose's blog to clicking a "recently played" track on his site opened up iTunes, which led me to "celebrity playlists", which further led me to switchfoot's playlist (must be the nickel creek connection and me wondering what a fan of nickel creek would listen to). what do i find?

there's a cover of elliott smith's "between the bars" by madeleine peyroux. wow. goosebumps. love it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I'm late to this but a great site for constructively written reviews on albums from quality musicians:

And read Matt Nathanson's hilarious new post on giving into Coldplay music.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Currently Listening
Late Registration
By Kanye West
see related
[edit] well shit, no wonder I love this album, Jon Brion co-produced it!

i just discovered kanye west now?

his new cd is smooth! anybody have comments on his previous work?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Currently Listening
By The Arcade Fire
see related
The rumors were true...

Yes, yes, the rumors are true. The Arcade Fire indeed are all that!

I've been in love with their album for close to a year now and though I've heard some rumblings from individuals I highly respect in terms of music related opinions, I'd never decided to catch them live. How lame was I..

A last second decision to attend the first US vresion (originally a UK concept) of the Download Festival, I had the opportunity to catch four bands of interest: The Doves, The Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, and The Killers. While the others did not leave me with much of an impression, The Arcade Fire surprised me to the point that I could not stop gushing about how unbelievably so full of energy they were! They stole the show (judging by the crowd from my angle)! Imagine Nickel Creek live with eight members instead of three hopping on and off stage, so entirely into the music! Taking a term from my recent classes, their music and performance was like chaos. Chaos theory. Chaos that is so dissonant but yet somehow it just works and is a massive payoff. I don't know how to describe it. Go see them. Just go see them. Fine. Just check this performance they did on Letterman last month. (right click, save-as; it's 60+ megs) And this is someone who watched them from the lawn section of an amphitheater. They were here at tiny Warfield theater just two weeks ago and I'm kicking myself. Don't make my mistake, check them out! Any band that uses a xylephone and a glockenspiel is kickass in my book Here's a snippet of Brad Kava, local rocker critic extrodinaire, with a quote:

The best may have been Montreal’s eight-piece band, Arcade Fire, where operatic harmonies and songs that built tension but never released it were backed by an accordion, violin and French horn.

It shouldn’t have worked in these days of pop punk and flash cool, but the often goofy band, which switched instruments and vocalists with each new song, had the entire bowl on its feet and drew some of the most thunderous applause of the day. The band covered much of its album, “Funeral” and Bruce Springsteen’s 1982 song, “State Trooper.”

The rest of the article can be found here.

His review was spot-on- The Doves were a bit too mellow, though their latest album is a good listen - Modest Mouse really just did not fit the bill, I can see their show working much better in a smaller venue, but just didn't project to a crowd this size. I was really disappointed, especially with their last two albums being what drew me into them. The Killers.. Brad said it all. They were "clean". Nothing deviant, nothing totally out of place, they played it safe. It reminds me of Keane. But, happily, they were much better than when I caught them on SNL. It was nice to hear their hits live, but close your eyes and you would think you were just spinning their cd.

Thanks Heather and Lan for the uplifting comments I did not set out to write a plea-ing type of post, but judging by how good it felt to get those words from you, I guess I did, subconsciously. I'm already feeling better and making sure I work in Johnny time. Heather, I will definitely visit sometime in the next month! We have someone in our cohort who lives in Santa Cruz and wants to invite us over on a Saturday; when I find out, I'll let you know

I was just about to end here, but I totally neglected to mention the fact that I caught the opener of the SJSU play adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel & Dimed, one of the most inspiring books read in recent memory concerning issues of the poor/working class and how social stratification is reinforced. It was amazing! I know the conventions of plays and this did an interesting job of having a very interactive set and interweaving Barb's commentary within the "story" into the play. I PLEAD anyone who lives in the area to watch it. It's a seriously informative commentary on people that we see everyday in our lives yet ignore. Here is the email I sent out to my cohort and professors (because I'm lazy to retype) concerning all the information you need:
Hi All,

As part of the San Jose State University's first year implementation of a "Campus Reading Program", the chosen book, Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, will be brought to life as a play this week and next week (Oct. 7,8,14,15,16) at the University Theatre. This book, and subsequent play, brings up many issues relevant to our 208 class such as the reinforcement of social stratification and social inequality, of which directly relates towards education. The author experiences what life is like for low wage and working class individuals all across America and develops insights that provide implications on numerous perspectives, including education.

More information for anyone interested can be found at the following links:

Tickets are $10 for students/faculty/staff and $15 for general. For students, however, there are a set amount of complimentary tickets available at the General Services Center found at the ground level of the Student Union. Just bring your student ID and VTA sticker for a complimentary ticket.

Thanks for reading - Let me know if you are interested.

Have a good week! Hope to write again soon It keeps me sane.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Currently Listening
Twin Cinema
By The New Pornographers
see related
Yes, I'm alive.

I think that title about says it all. Out of the close to three years that I've kept up with this writing log, this has been by far and large the longest drought between posts. And even longer for meaningful posts. So for anyone who has stuck it out wondering, when is this guy going to ever update(!), here's what's up:

I had no idea how intense trying to get a credential and a masters at the same time would entail; Nor did any of my cohort. All of us have had at least one breakdown/meltdown, some have actually lost it and cried in class, and some have flat out dropped out of the masters program. I think that I'm a bit lucky in that, unlike most others, I haven't done much teaching and so my openness to their "radical" and post-modernistic perspective and training of how teaching should be done has left me far from the brinks of insanity. Many others come from firm and solid perspectives towards teaching that when we're introduced to radical perspectives of Doll, Freire, Bruner, Whitehead, and other of the like, they have a hard time opening up to consider educational implications of these authors.

Long story short, I had a breakdown a couple weeks ago, realizing that I was trying too hard to get close to staying levelheaded with each instructor's assignments. I was being rude to everybody (well my version of rudeness) and just flat out not happy. Just think to Glen Phillips' song, "It Takes Time" (water's getting deeper/and i can't feel my feet/i keep on bailing buckets/but it flows back to me.../How am I gonna make time?/Oh this is going to take time) So when someone in our orientation meeting broke down and cried pleading to our supervisors that there are too many demands from each particular in this program, I realized I needed to take a step back. I need time for myself. I can't let this program take away... me. Ever since, I've decided to do what I can with my time, but allow myself some me time to keep sane.

Still doesn't explain why I haven't blogged lately has it. Between these classes i neglected to mention that I'm student teaching first graders! It's a nutty experience I'm in right now. Quick story: I've got two CT's (coordinating/master teachers) who share a contract and teach every other day. One is on maternity leave, was supposed to come back in October, now will be in November because she realized she needed more time. The CT I am working with is pregnant, was to leave mid October, but left about a week ago, 2 weeks early. In place of the two, I'm now working with a CT who's long-term subbing BUT is a 2nd year student in the program I'm currently in! It works, we can relate to each other, but we're basically both learning. I'm not sure if it's the best of experience, but it does give me more free reign in the classroom to work with students.

I still don't think i quite explained why i haven't blooged. oops. blogged. during the week i've got 6am-1/2am days. I don't see home often. I guess I'm too tired to put thoughts down on paper anymore.

But I'll try to keep posted. Promise. I can't let this blog site down.

Fun stuff:

Nickel Creek tickets for bay area folks go on sale/pre-sale on Friday!

Speaking of Nickel Creek, they're on the video portion of Fiona Apple's new dualdisc album! if you bought it, look for Chris's mad performance in "fast as you can", one of the singles from Fiona's last album.

good albums to listen to: sheryl crow's "wildflower", ryan adams' "jacksonville city", the new pornographers' "twin cinema" (I LOVE THIS ALBUM)

tv shows i've caught bits and pieces of: my name is earl, kitchen confidential, new season of Curb your Enthusiasm

Serenity, anyone? I caught this one and am now backtracking by borrowing Firefly, which one day I'll watch - The film was fun and light-hearted. Heather, you can fill me in (and tell me how you're doing!)

I finally learned of the two-buck chuck. i think that's all i need to say

ok time for bed.