Spring Concerts: Augustana and Band of Skulls

Pretty much the only two reasons to be inside in the spring just happened in Salt Lake City the last couple of weeks. Augustana and Band of Skulls both showed up in town for much-needed reappearances. These are two of my favorite bands, as is readily apparent to anyone who has read much of my previous concert reviews, so I’ll spare you the repetition of why they are two of the greatest bands ever and just get straight to the facts: If you don’t go see these bands you are a moron. Continue reading

Best Songs About Death

Don’t know if we’ve ever gone down this morbid highway to discuss the very best songs about shuffling off the mortal coil, but it seems like as good a time as any. So dredge the lake for the very best of them and make your nominees. Mine is this one from Elbow: Switching Off.

Best Episodes

Are there episodes of your favorite shows that really stand out in your mind? I was just recently rewatching Mad Men and the episode “The Suitcase” (season 4, episode 7) came up. That is truly a perfect episode, right down to the song that plays over the closing credits. If you knew nothing else about the show other than that episode, you would still recognize it as a truly exemplary television series. Continue reading

SYTYCD, Season X

Season 10 of this show is under way and the top 20 have been chosen. This year’s contestants are maybe not my favorite group ever, but (as per usual) they include three dancers from my home state, which makes it fun to watch. Interestingly, whereas last season included two excellent ballroom dancers from Utah County that happened to be blonde and female and a bit hard to tell apart, this year’s group includes two excellent ballroom dancers from Utah County that happen to be brunette and female and a bit hard to tell apart. What are the odds? Strangely, one of this duo of ballroom babes, Brittany Cherry, was never shown on any episode prior to showing up in the top 20. Conspiracy? You tell me. Continue reading

1968 and The Red Wedding: Mad Men vs. Game of Thrones

If you haven’t seen the most recent episodes of these shows and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read this.

I suspect you’ve noticed that two epic seasons are playing out right now in two TV shows that are arguably two of the best ever created. This is the sixth and final season of Mad Men and we are seeing Don and company in 1968, with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and the protests at the Democratic National Convention. The world is in turmoil and the characters lives are a pretty good mirror of the times, as they struggle with a multitude of personal and professional issues. Game of Thrones is set in a different world that, if nothing else, shows it is possible to have even more cultural and political upheaval than the 60s. This show is now coming to the end of its third season with drama that is almost too excruciating to watch. Continue reading

New Music: 80s Edition

We haven’t talked about new music in a while and there are a lot of great new albums that have dropped recently. But two albums in particular caught my attention because they are from two 80s bands that you might have thought were long gone: Depeche Mode and Orchestral Manoevers in the Dark (“OMD” Surprise, it’s not an abbreviation for anything you would text to anyone). Both released new albums in the last couple months to mostly positive reviews. The first, Depeche Mode’s Delta Machine, is maybe the biggest surprise. Continue reading

The Greatest of the Great Gatsby

In honor of the new movie, I’m posting here my favorite quotes from this, my favorite of all American novels. If you have other nominations, post them in the comments.

I was rather literary in college—one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials
for the ‘Yale News’—and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the ‘well-rounded man.’

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Toad The Wet Sprocket – Dulcinea

I found myself reminiscing about this album, one of those I pull out and play in its entirety on regular occasions. It’s still great and it still has the power to surprise and move me even today after many re-playings. All the songs are well-chosen and seem to fit into the story of the album (so to speak) but there are three songs that will always standout to me. The lyrics are sometimes puzzling because they seem pulled from the subconscious somehow, more than tied to any specific frontal-lobe meaning. Here they are:

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Justified Season 4, The Americans

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Season 4 of this great series is under way and I have just started watching it. I have my own thoughts about it so far, but since I am behind in my viewing, I thought I’d start a thread where others could share their thoughts. No spoilers please.

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Also, is anyone watching the new FX series The Americans? I have been watching it and I’m mostly impressed. For those who don’t know, it’s about a couple of sleeper soviet spies living in the U.S. as an American couple during the 80s Reagan/cold war era, and stars Keri Russell as the conflicted female spy with a horrifying history and kickass fighting abilities. Let me know if you have been watching.