Friday, January 27, 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

2005 Favorites

I like to make compilation cd's each year for my friends of my favorite songs of the previous year. Unfortunately the whole burning, creating artwork, buying envelopes, mailing the mix thing slows me down and I rarely get many mailed off. Especially this year since I'm reahabbing our new house, selling our old house (we close on 2/28/06!), takingcare of a baby and moving. It just didn't seem like it was going to happen.So this year I have done something different. I've uploaded all of the songs that I would have put on a cd so that you can download them to your computers if you like.

All you have to do is go to this link: In about 45 seconds it'll ask you where you want to download the file. You'll want to download it to wherever you keep your other MP3's (MyMusic folder perhaps?). It takes a little while to download depending on the speed of your connection. It takes far less time than going to your local music store though. I believe the file will be actively stored on that website for 30 days.

The drawback to doing it this way is that I can't control the order in which you hear the songs or give you the full experience with the liner notes and cover art so, I'm making a list of the order in which I would have burned the mix.

2005 Favorites: Year of the Baby
1. Spoon - My Mathematical Mind
2. Calexico/Iron & Wine - A History of Lovers
3. Beck - Black Tambourine
4. the White Stripes - Denial Twist
5. Tilly & the Wall - Bessa
6. the Sights - Scratch My Name in Sin
7. the Mountain Goats - Pale Green Things
8. Love as Laughter - Every Midnight Song
9. Fruit Bats - Born in the 70's
10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl
11. Bright Eyes - Old Soul Song
12. Low - When I Go Deaf
13. Andrew Bird - Skin Is, My
14. Brendan Benson - Cold Hands (Warm Heart)
15. Weezer - Perfect Situation
16. Calexico/Iron & Wine - Red Dust
17. Spoon - I Turn My Camera On
18. Danny Barnes - Rat's Ass

Monday, January 16, 2006

As a Wannabe

I can't quite call myself a Modernist. It's just too expensive to be a full fledged Modernist today. However, I am a fan of the Modernist aesthetic and strive to achieve it in whatever I do. The reason I may seem apologetic for my leanings is because I live in a city that has not embraced the future in a long time. St. Louis has a glorious past and rests on its laurels far too often. It tries to replicate its golden age rather than update its look for today. St. Louis boomed at the turn of the 20th century. The clay deposits found in St. Louis allowed it to build itself out of brick. Given these 2 elements St. Louis is a brick city with a Victorian look.

To call yourself a Modernist in St. Louis is to move beyond this red brick past. It is a term misunderstood by most everyone in this Midwestern city. People assume that you are one of those people in favor of tearing down the
Century building to put in a parking garage. That you would rip the "character" out of a historic home and replace it with suburban blandness.

On the contrary, I want to respect the past by not trying to duplicate it. I don't want to see a single brick building torn down. It's just that if there is an empty lot why should you build something that tries to replicate a days-gone-by look? Build something from this century to tell a tale to future generations of who we were and what we were capable of doing. Putting a modern home, and I don't mean post-modern nothingness of vinyl siding and fake columns, but a real modern home next to a historic home shows one how valuable the historic home is and that we should preserve it.

Vibrant cities that have either stayed current (London) or revived themselves (Toronto) know how important it is to stay contemporary. They build modern adjacent to historic and know that this is part of the urban landscape that is interesting to people.

Maybe one day I will be able to proudly call myself a Modernist in a Victorian city and not be hurled insults?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I've learned a new term that describes everything that I tried to convey in my post about the new Busch Stadium and other new structures in St. Louis and around the country. The term is "retrogressive". I read it in an article in Modernism magazine about the demolition of the Morton May House in Ladue. The May house was a beautiful modern home in the International style built in 1942 and designed by architect Samuel Marx. Unfortunately consequent owners didn't maintain it properly and it was on 9 beautiful acres in the most prestigeous metro St. Louis area. Ripe for the picking by redevelopers and politicians. The May house was torn down last summer. The lots will be parcelled off and sold. Something bland will be put in it's place and the world will go on more boring than it was.
The former Morton May house at 2222 S Warson Rd.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My Top Albums of 2005

I need to say that many of my favorite cds that came out in 2005 I have yet to discover. Some of the joy in being a music fan is finding out about the things you missed and going back to pick up some back catalog. This list is simply a list of things that I did discover and liked.

The Sights - The Sights
This Detroit group has a funky rock sound driven by a Hammond organ. Not very common today. Individually I like many of the songs, but the album itself may just be too intense to enjoy as a comprehensive unit. Favorite tracks include Scratch My Name in Sin and I'm Gonna Live the Life I Sing About.

Low - The Great Destroyer
One of the most brilliant albums I've heard in a very long time. It was a huge departure for them and I hope they don't go back. In the past they've had such a muted sound that the brilliance seems to have been tuned down as well. This album includes beautiful harmonic crescendos and lyrically scary depths (the lead singer has suffered with depression his whole life). I'm curious to see what they do as a follow up. Favorite tracks include When I Go Deaf and anything on the cd really.

the White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
While I don't think that this is the best the White Stripes have to offer I have enjoyed it quite a bit. I am honestly shocked that Jack and Meg are as widely accepted as they are. I guess that's because I love stripped down music but rarely find that others do too. I am curious to see what kind of music Jack makes 10, 20 and 30 years from now and how many marriages he has over the years. Favorite tracks include Denial Twist and Instinct Blues.

Calexico/Iron and Wine - In the Reins
Match made in heaven! Sam Beam is a lovely songwriter, but is probably the quietest "pop" musician ever. Calexico punches up his music a little and adds some interesting instrumentation. The resulting tracks are perfection. Favorite Tracks are A History of Lovers, Red Dust, oh and Sixteen, Maybe Less and...

Spoon - Gimme Fiction
Spoon has a really great sound on this recording. It's a mature indie rock sound. It appeals to me as a guy in my 30's without trying to appeal to me. Favorite tracks include My Mathematical Mind and I Turn My Camera On

Love as Laughter - Laughter's Fifth
I have to admit that I wasn't familiar with Love as Laughter before this album. I saw it on a listening post in Vintage Vinyl and was certain I would hate it based on the cover art. The first track, In Amber, reminded me of the best the Jayhawks had to offer. Favorite tracks include Every Midnight Song and Makeshift Heart.

Beck - Guero
Can this guy be a more unlikely musical genius? Seriously? He's probably making music closer to Soul than anyone else. I love the fact that it has a completely contemporary and classic sound all at once. You would be very hard pressed to find anyone who would have predicted his career in the music industry would have been this long and fruitful. Favorite tracks include Black Tambourine and Earthquake Weather

Other favorite recordings released in 2005 include:
Fruit Bats, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Tilly and the Wall (thanks Lisa), the Mountain Goats, Bright Eyes, Andrew Bird, Brendan Benson, Lucero and Weezer

In 2006 I'm looking forward to listening to Sun Kil Moon (out), Broken Social Scene (out), Athlete (out), Smoosh (recording), Brendan Benson/Jack White (yet to be released), Kings of Leon (hopefully).

The most exciting thing is that my favorite recording of 2006 may be by someone I've never heard of or something that hasn't yet been recorded. I can't wait.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

3 months

Nate is 3 months old. He is now going to daycare 4 days a week. I miss him everyday and nearly cry everytime I drop him off. The good news is that he's starting to become the baby that we always hoped he would be. He's had some difficult times in his short life. He was diagnosed with acid reflux. The acid burned his esophogus and eating became a chore for him and stressful for us. He'd spit up and cry while trying to eat. It affected his ability to sleep which caused him to be overtired and crabby. He had many moments of being the cutest baby in the world, but even those few scattered moments were stressful for us as parents waiting for them to turn bad.

We've got him on some liquid medicine that took awhile to help, but seems to have done the trick. His formula intake has increased to where it should be. He hasn't spit up in weeks. He's taking long naps during the day and sleeping longer stretches at night.

Part of this turn around is due to the medication, but we've spoken to other parents who are just now telling us that the first 12 weeks are the most difficult. NOW you are telling me this??? You don't think that this would have been useful information before we decided that we were failures as parents? They say they didn't want to worry us. Knowing that this was normal would have been a big help and eliminated a lot of worry. Thanks for the heads up folks and thank you baby Nate for being the sweetest baby in the world even when you weren't.