Something Like Sound

Archive for October, 2010

Book Review: Machine of Death

by on Oct.31, 2010, under Blogs

I read books too. This week I felt inspired to do a review of this title- read it in-print at Oredigger.

The internet is a fascinating thing. With the rise of quick virtual communication, collaborative efforts have become the norm as people from every part of the global society now have the ability to work together. This momentum was captured by the enterprising creators of the web-comics Dinosaur Comics (Ryan North) and Wondermark (David Malki!) for a new anthology of short stories titled Machine of Death: A collection of stories about people who know how they will die.

Submissions for the book project came from numerous writers and artists (each story has a unique picture inspired by the specific plot). What is remarkable about Machine of Death is that despite the broad range of writing styles and story-types, the common cannon of the machine’s role remains consistent.

Basically, the premise is that a machine has been invented that can tell a person how they’re going to die based on a blood sample, although the results are usually fairly vague. A slew of moral, scientific, and social dilemmas arise as the machines become pervasive throughout society. Each story is a unique reflection on this premise; some are dark and deeply thought provoking while others are quite funny. The chapter titled “HIV Infection from Machine of Death” is short and hilarious: ‘’Well,’ I thought, ‘That sucks.’”

This book is a must-read for any student of engineering and is highly reminiscent of the technocratic-satire popularized by the late Kurt Vonnegut. While the writing styles are incredibly easy to read, the content is by no means an “easy read.” Each story will present the reader with plenty of questions about the role of technology in society and room for reflection on how science can influence philosophy.

Utilizing the power of internet-based collaboration once again, Malki and North encouraged people to purchase their book en-masse from Amazon on one specific day. The result was a 14,000% increase in rank and a #1 spot on the book-sales website for the day- an impressive feat by any means. However, as would be expected, the distribution methods for Machine of Death have been anything but normal. On November 2, a companion podcast to the book will begin publishing episodes and the entire manuscript will be available as a freely distributable Creative Commons-licensed PDF through www.machineofdeath.net.

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In Photos: Red Fox Run at the Meadowlark

by on Oct.28, 2010, under Photos

Last weekend had me at the Meadowlark for the Love146 benefit show. Here are some of the better shots I got that evening.

Bonnie Gregory

Julie Tiehen

Red Fox Run

Click for more photos | Julie Tiehen | Red Fox Run | Love146

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Audio Interview: Tennis

by on Oct.27, 2010, under Interviews

We got the chance to talk with Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley of up-and-coming Denver band Tennis before their show last week at the Fox in Boulder. Listen in as they discuss life on the sea, writing their debut full-length and longing for simplicity.

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Click for more Tennis

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Halloween weekend brings a slew of great shows

by on Oct.26, 2010, under Blogs

Halloween weekend is always a great time to go to a show. Costumes and rock music go together like too-much-candy and diabetes. If you don’t have plans yet, here are a few of our tops picks.

Hot Congress Halloween Show (10/29 at Skylark): Just a glance at the lineup for this show was more than enough to convince me to go. From Lil’ Slugger to Hindershot (and everyone in-between), it’s sure to be a wild one.

Elf Power, Mike Marchant, Paean (10/30 at Larimer Lounge): Colorado has been a hot spot for Elephant 6 bands lately. In the past weeks Of Montreal and Apples In Stereo both came through, while Elf Power will be here on Saturday (with openers Paean, Mike Marchant, and Faceman.

Devotchka and Snake Rattle Rattle Snake (10/29 and 10/30 at Boulder Theater): It would be difficult to imagine a local-only lineup better than this one. If you’re up for the trek to Boulder (and paying a pretty penny), there’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than with Devotchka.

Other concerts of note: Ween (10/31 at FirstBank Center), Woodsman (10/29 at Hi-Dive with No Joy | 10/30 at Meadowlark with Gauntlet Hair and others), Electric Six (10/29 at Larimer Lounge). Update: Electric Six has been canceled due to a family emergency.

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Act So Big Forest presents TRITON

by on Oct.24, 2010, under Album Reviews

Read this article in-print in this week’s Oredigger!

There are a lot of music-collective groups bouncing around Colorado these days (so many, in fact, it’s hard to keep track of them all). In my opinion, creating a culture that fosters cooperation and collaboration truly speaks volumes about the local music community. Case-in-point: Act So Big Forest Compilation Vol. 1: TRITON. A broad range of acts from all-over the Front Range constitute the 20 bands featured on the compilation curated by Jonathan Alonzo (who is a member of at least 5 groups on the ASBF label).

Since talking about every track on this hour-and-a-half long release might get a little long winded, I’m only going to talk about my personal favorites. However, this is by no means a way of saying these are the only good tracks, it’s all quite good (don’t take my word for it, just listen for yourself).

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The National at the Fillmore

by on Oct.23, 2010, under Concert Reviews

Walking into the Fillmore Auditorium for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised at the elegant and spacious interior of the venue that is in stark contrast to its modest exterior.  My awe at the sheer size and sophistication of the Fillmore was the first of many that would come in what can only be described as a superb night of music.

Opening the night was the Austin, Texas based group Brazos.  Full of sweeping lyrics, upbeat rhythms, and at times, African sounding drums and maracas, the group entertained the audience throughout its whole set list of original sounding tunes.

After a grueling 45 minute sound check, The National finally took the stage to the erupting applause of the packed auditorium.  Led by vocalist Matt Berninger, who is a natural baritone, the music produced by The National was refreshing to say the least.  With the band accompanied by a duet brass section composed of a trumpet and a trombone, each song was musically stuffed with sounds that put the recorded music to shame.  The fan following of The National was incredibly apparent by the sound of a thousand voices singing along to every song, with “Mr. November” being the climax of the night.  The set list was nearly perfect and concluded with a profound acoustic, unplugged version of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” with much audience participation.  The night was summed up for me in the words of an exiting fan: “just a brilliant show.”

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The Walkmen at the Fox

by on Oct.22, 2010, under Concert Reviews

The last time I saw The Walkmen was at Monolith 2009 and I was not in a good mood. My socks were soaked with rainwater, my legs were tired from running up and down the stairs at Red Rocks, and I felt like I needed a nap. Looking back on the experience I can say that my perception certainly suffered; The Walkmen’s performance did not. This past Sunday brought me to Boulder to redeem my Walkmen concert experience.

Local sail-rock group Tennis kicked things off with a great set of pop music. Each song beat with the pulse of the ocean as stories about joblessness in Baltimore and getting stuck in bad weather and high tide filled the venue. Before starting on “Pigeon,” singer/keyboardist Alaina Moore explained that the song was written as a slow-dance. “If you came with somebody, now would be the time to dance with them.”

Vancouver’s Japandroids kicked things up a notch with their simple, yet powerful brand of punk-inspired rock. Armed only with a drum kit, electric guitar, and a couple mics, this duo reminded me a bit of the Black Keys, only more punk. Their set was a nice change from the markedly more reserved Tennis and Walkmen sets; something which kept me on my toes.

By the time The Walkmen took the stage the Fox was packed. The entire venue stood with bated breath as the suit-clad band from the east coast appeared. Playing a number of new songs (from their recent record Lisbon) in addition to a few older tunes, the set showcased a broad range of the group’s catalog. My personal favorites, “Dónde está la Playa” and “On The Water” closed out the standard set (although a brief encore followed). Overall I would have liked to hear more from their You & Me record, but regardless it was an excellent set (and evening for that matter).

Click for more photos | Tennis | Japandroids | The Walkmen

(do click for more photos, I got a bunch of great shots at this show!)

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6 Songs: Feist

by on Oct.21, 2010, under Blogs

Although Feist’s mainstream success (complete with an iPod commercial) may have brought her into the limelight, we haven’t heard much from the Canadian singer-songwriter since she took a break from touring a couple years ago. Here are six songs that may not be instantly familiar, but definitely remain among my personal favorites.

1. The Train Song (feat. Ben Gibbard): This cover of a Vashti Bunyan song appeared on 2009′s Dark Was The Night, a compilation made to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. Featuring another indie-rock heavyweight (Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie), this song makes me wish Feist and Death Cab would collaborate more often.

2. Leisure Suite: I once made a playlist called “music for seducing women.” This song was the first on that list; it’s sexy, smooth and delightfully seductive. For full effect I’d suggest dimming the lights and lighting some candles.

3. So Sorry: From the breakout record The Reminder, “So Sorry” often gets ignored because it’s not a hip radio single. Simple as it may be, it this soft, simple tune is moving in its sound and lyric.

4. One Evening: Another smooth track about a random encounter, “One Evening” casts a new light on the classic story of a one night stand. What really does it for me on this song are the keys and clean guitar.

5. It’s Cool to Love Your Family: From 1999′s Monarch (a record still out-of-print despite Feist’s recent worldwide success), this song resulted in a music video and helped to launch Feist’s solo career.

6. Lo How A Rose E’re Blooming: An odd rarity from a Christmas compilation, this take on the classic hymn/carol is hauntingly beautiful and stands out as my favorite recorded version of this song.

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In-photos: Joshua Novak at Hi-Dive

by on Oct.20, 2010, under Concert Reviews, Photos

Friday night found me at the Hi-Dive for an all-local lineup featuring Joshua Novak, Kissing Party, and Candy Claws.

It seems like every time I see Candy Claws their set changes. This time the group worked from a well-timed backing track that was roughly matched with psychedelic projector visuals.

Kissing Party brought a more 80′s-punk sound to the stage (in addition to some of the thickest fog I’ve ever seen/inhaled). After my coughing subsided, I enjoyed the set from a safer distance.

Joshua Novak was in full form as he played with a backing band consisting of several prominent local musicians (including Patrick and Tiffany Meese of The Centennial).

Click for more photos | Candy Claws | Kissing Party | Joshua Novak

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Love146: Music for the kids

by on Oct.20, 2010, under Blogs

Every so often I get to talk about the people and causes near-and-dear to me. In particular, I’d like to take a few moments to highlight a group called Love146, an organization dedicated to ending child sex-slavery and exploitation. By partnering with like-minded local groups, Love146 has worked toward eliminating human-trafficking in Denver and around the world. Their work is supported in a variety of ways including occasional benefit concerts in our city. This Friday (starting at 7pm) they will be hosting a show at the Meadowlark featuring a few of my friends and other fantastic acts (see the lineup after the jump). Tickets are just $5, with all proceeds benefiting Love146.

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