I already did one post on the Sabres already this week, but Sabres Sunday seems like a good recurring post idea. The sabres are scheduled to play every Sunday except 2 throughout the short NHL season. As a sport fan all my life, and a purveyor of sports writing for approximately the same amount of time there’s nothing more satisfying than waking up on a lazy weekend morning and enjoying a great read on your favorite team or favorite sport. Make no mistake .. .this will not be a great read. This won’t probably touch on “good”. This is more about the fact that I can now romanticize the notion that I too, am part of the construct of sports media, when in reality, if that is actually true, it’s probably closer to the cause of it’s demise, than the rise of it’s excellence.
Anywho, here are some thoughts on the Sabres..again.
– Sabres did not look good last night vs. the Islanders. The only thing that got them through that game is that the Islanders looked almost listless. With the exception of Tavares (hey, about that Vanek trade, lets see if they’ll swap Van for Tavares straight up) who looked downright dirty, and came inches from having a hatter.
I think it was a good chance to see what is wrong with the Sabres by watching the Islanders. It seems like both teams share that lack of nastiness. What the Buffalo media likes to throw back in Reiger’s face about the message that the Sabres are going to be “tough to play against” this season.
Both teams did not have much fight. Sure, they were playing hockey. But it wasn’t tough, nasty, dirty, and ultimately what leads to winning hockey.
-Myers sat, but it didn’t seem to do much in the way of sparking the Defense to any type of shutdown status. They still struggled at times clearing the zone. And for what it’s worth, as mentioned before, Myers seems to be great in the 1 on 1 battles and winning the puck. I didn’t notice anyone last night doing anything overwhelmingly strong.
-Sulzer is the team’s secret offensive weapon. He’s done nothing but add scoring support since he’ came here. Maybe it’s teams underestimating him and leaving him with open lanes. Or maybe it’s just luck. Probably a little of both. However, he’s got like … 3 goals and an assist on the seaons. Despite a healthy scratch, and probably being on the low end of playing time among regular starters. Hope the secret holds a little longer.
– Ehrhoff buries one high and hard and RJ misses the “top shelf” call … guess the players aren’t the only ones still getting their feet under them.
– Sabres v Bruins round 2: Bruins on 4 days rest. Sabres on 0. Sabres barely getting by last night against a sad looking Isles team. I’m going Bruins 5, Sabres 1. Sabres keep it close for about 2 and a half periods. Then they run out of gas and the Bruins gain steam.
– The week could get nasty. Ottawa on Tuesay, the the Bruins again on Friday (at home again), Pens next Sunday … rough stretch here. I think if they drop all 4 … the season is probably unsalvageable . Which is kind of stupid thing to say. What if they go 1-3, does that make it totally salvageable?
Rando thoughts from last nights game:
-Nothing about that game felt like “hey, maybe they’ve turned a corner”. It actually felt more like the opposite. They played a team that was on the back end of a back-to-back and had their backup goalie, Budaj (he of the .750 Sv%) in. The sabres were rested, and supposedly desperate for a win. By almost all accounts except a last second moment of providence they should have lost that game.
– Tyler Myers continues to struggle. I don’t think it has much to do with who he is partnered with, but more about his own play. Imagine that, putting the onus on the player to get better? Specifically his game isn’t completely shot. I think he is showing some fight in his man to man battles. That’s good. It seems like (i don’t review tape so this is based on what i can pick up in real time) he wins most of his battles for the puck. If he gets his body or stick on a guy he’s going to win. His problems seem to reside in two areas. One, he is making the worst decisions of any player I have ever seen in getting the puck out of his own zone. It is almost a sure bet he will make the wrong or bad pass. I can’t recall seeing a defenseman struggle so horribly with making a good outlet pass. Almost every pass is either broken up by the other team to stay in the zone, or he passes to an outlet that is in a bad spot and is then forced into another bad pass.
His other struggles seem to come on positioning. Not entering the offensive zone. I think he was doing that quite terribly, but he’s cleaned that up. But when he doesn’t have a sure target to man up to and he has to find the right space in the zone to be in, he seems to always get it wrong. The other teams are constantly getting a jump and getting behind him. Or he is waiting in some dead zone in the D that is completely useless. The worst part about this problem is that it would seem that a lot of this is based on instinct. I’m not sure how you lose instinct this mightily, probably overthinking, but man … it’s not looking good. He’s like the Chuck Knoblauch of Defenders. Just can’t do it.
The remedy? I’m no hockey expert so this is purely a psychological guess, but I think less playing time might help. It seems like Lindy is trying to get him out of his funk by having him play through it. But I think he needs to go the opposite direction. Find a rotation where you can fit him in maybe 12 – 15 minutes a night. Short shifts. Get on and off the ice without a mistake a bunch of times. Let him get his instincts back (or at least try). Don’t leave him out there to figure it out because it doesn’t seem like that is sure to happen, and in the meantime we’re putting the goalies at tremendous risk. Once you fuck up goalie confidence you can basically hang up your hat for the season.
– On the shootout … no Boyes, no problem.
– Drew Stafford may not have a goal yet this season. But his motor looks like it’s running a lot higher this year. He is flying. He is hitting. He is everywhere. It’s just a matter of time before his luck changes (I think). Ennis is starting to produce and I think eventually that is going to help open things up for Staff. I like him a lot, and I’m glad that although some point to the lack of goal production as a sign of lackluster play, not a lot of that sentiment is going around. It seems like this year he’s really taken to his leadership role, good for him.
– Like Stafford, it seems like Grigorenko is on the brink of busting it wide open. He had a ton of opportunities last night. It seemed like that line is finding it’s groove. Hecht looked like he is starting to figure out how to get it to the kid. Only problem now is that the rusky needs to figure out how to bury the biscuit in the NHL. I’m confident that will happen. I like line 3 as a real threat to score a lot more than last year’s Goose Gerbe Leino group.
– What do i know about the psychology of professional athletes? Zilch. Lets get a rally started boys. See you soon.
So the bootlog is going over like bacon at a bar mitzvah . I got some recordings. They are … they need work. It’s not that the content is altogether terrible. The idea of recording random conversations, while theoretically intriguing, is in actuality a bit sloppy.
Most of the stuff I’ve picked up needs work. It needs to be cut and edited and mixed, and I don’t have the equipment or skill set necessary to do this in an efficient and timely manner. It would take me a month to put together clips from new year’s eve … and no one gives a shit about what happened on new years eve in february.
So the bootlog has basically just become the new sonic anarchy blog. Because someone smarter than me once said, there’s no point in going backwards, I will continue to abuse your intelligence with mindless ramblings on this page.
First up … Sabres vs Maple Laffs Jan 29, 2013 … continue on if you are interested in a few thoughts from the game
– I think the thing I found most interesting is that Lindy benched guys and switched up lines and I thought it had a real positive impact on the team overall. Sure they lost…again. But I felt like I didn’t see any complacency by the players on the ice.
Foligno, demoted to the 3rd line, skated better, and made more offensive zone plays than I’ve seen all year.
Jeez Weber looked fucking good out there huh? I mean, he is want to be a liability in the O zone. And can sometimes be over aggressive to the point where it’s costly in his own end. But if you don’t see Mike Weber for a while it’s a great pick up when he’s back. That guy battles.
I think overall the competition for a spot on the D is actually a good thing. Guys can’t afford to play tentative or sloppy. Ruff has set the precedence. If you’re not making a positive impact you’re not going on the ice.
It’s almost like he’s coaching for his job.
– It was a tough loss to take. Sadly it was a reminder of frustrations of past seasons. It really took until the 2nd period before the guys looked like they got their motors up and running. They need to come out revved up, and stay revved up. I guess there’s no magic pill that keep guys focused like *cough* adderol *cough* that.
As a fan with no insight into the behind the scenes make up in the locker room one can only hope that the leaders are stepping up and saying something. Personally, I’m just going to continue my daydream that Otter is back there juicing on guys, and stepping into the vocal leadership role it seems like (i stress seems like cause again I don’t really have any idea) has been missing.
– I’m not in “we’re doomed” mode yet. I think there are a lot of positives. Fucking Sekera! My hope is that the shortened season plays out as if it were a typical season, just with less total games.
A typical seasons starts out well, then the team shits the bed for a few months, then they start to play lights out hockey and are in the race for the playoffs come april. So far we’ve hit the first mark, and seem to be settling in nicely to the second. My prediction is that some time around mid to late february they’ll bottom out and start the climb back.
Wouldn’t that be funny if that’s how it worked out?
– Big test thursday vs Boston. The bruins look like the bruins. The sabres looked like they’re still trying to figure things out. This one has the makings of a blood bath.
-Get better #36.
Favorite Plays (3 stars):
1st star: Getting Griggy with it: Grigorenko scores his first career goal and then tries to do a sweet celebration only to be man humped mid-fist thrust by Foligno. So. much. fun.
2nd: Sexkera: Who is this guy? Where did he come from? If I had a nickel for every bad thing I’ve said about Andrej Sekera I could probably buy a couple of street dogs from a shady non-ethnically descript food vendor. But this year he looks like the guy you read about more than the guy you are used to watching. In my opinion he’s skating better than anyone else on D. I haven’t noticed a lot of turnovers, and he simply looks like he’s in another gear. Not sure if it’s the competition as mentioned above or if it was spending a couple of extra months eating mom’s famous croatian gruel but he looks outstanding.
His goal was sick. Smart play, great backhand flip … beauty beauty beauty … must be all those hot stove nights with Van are starting to pay off.
3rd: The Pommer goal … mainly for the lol’s. Sabres are down 1 and on the PP. Pommers takes a pass in the slot w/2 Laffs closing in. Over wide right is Ennis smashing his stick calling for a wide open shot. What does Captain Pom do? Looks, laughs, fires, delivers. I feel like I can write an entire sitcom episode over the half second between pommers looking at ennis, declining the chance to pass, and burying the puck. Loved it. Sniper fire.
Hours to go or something.
Quickly approaching the deadline for making this favorite’s list so lets give the short summary idea another shot. Here’s the list of other albums I thought were above average enjoyable this year.
Menomena – Moms: The band lost the “creative” one of the group, Brent Knopf. It seems like it made the remaining guys kind of hit the reset button. While Moms may not be as diverse (or dense) as their last few albums this is still a very musically stimulating album, very much in the same vein as the rest of their work. Losing a founding member seems to have caused them to pare down and refocus. The result is a tighter, catchier version of the group. This album was probably heavily overlooked, but if you talked to me within the last half of the year I probably mentioned how much I enjoyed this album. Hopefully, the refocus will prompt a more prolific output compared to previous releases as I’m already excited for what’s next.
Passion Pit – Gossamer: This album was met with skepticism by me at first. However, instead of finding the assumed evolution into a full on pop group this album took a direction towards being more stripped down. Sure, they’re an electronic music group, so that is obviously a very part of their music writing recipe. However I was surprised to see a heavy dose raw vocal parts (I always disliked the use of electronic distortion on the lyrics in their first album), and less electronically augmented portions of their songs. This album proved that the group can make music that is not just a product of studio tools, but could take their songs to an acoustic setting without losing anything. The last track of the album, “Where We Belong” definitely made my favorites of the year … an epic+.
Death Grips – The Money Store: This is my vote for favorite new group this year. Another year, another side project for Zach Hill. Hill’s drumming isn’t as prominent as his other bands, but that’s because this band is clearly on a different level than anything else around. It’s hard to describe the type of music the group makes. I guess it’s rap/hip-hop as the lyrics are basically screamed at the listener. The music is a disturbing sonic assault on the ears. When the group wants to they venture into the pop atmosphere. When they do it’s usually in the form of an absolute banger. Check the single below, and if you haven’t heard of these guys I urge you to venture on, but be sure to wear your seatbelt.
Crystal Castles – III: They keep doing what they do. They keep making albums I can’t stop listening to. This album fucking rules.
Grizzly Bear – Shields: Much like their Brooklyn friends and counterparts, Dirty Projectors this album finds the group honing their style into well crafted pop songs. This is by far their easiest to swallow and catchiest album. Considering the praise they’ve garnered for releases in the past it’s hard for me to understand how this didn’t end up more highly regarded by the online music blogging community. But I guess making good rock music can’t live up to making really boring R&B albums for white kids these days.
Foxygen – Take the Kids Off Broadway: Ok, they only have this EP out. Ok, they blatantly rip off The Rolling Stones. This album is still awesome, fun, and made by an actual band that plays actual instruments!!! Imagine that. I highly recommend checking them out.
The rest of the list below was already covered in my ‘half year’ review posted here. You’ll notice that some of the albums on that list aren’t below which basically means I didn’t find their staying power strong enough to merit mention
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls … after the hype machine slowed down it was easier to get behind this group. The album is good. I hope I get a chance to see them live.
Hospitality – Self Titled: This album is great great great great great great great good great and good. I can put this on any time and it will make me smile. Another ‘hope to see’ band.
Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself: A. Bird is getting less dark and depressing and more folksy. It’s ok because it’s still great.
Howler – America Give Up: Hoping for more good things in the future from this young pseudo punk band from sunny Minnesota.
I just noticed how weird it looks to type two words that beging with “tw” next to each other. TW’s Twenty Twelve Twerific Tweets could be some sort of twitter “thing”.
Anyway down to business. Next up in my review of my favorite albums this past year is Father John Misty’s Fear Fun …
If you don’t know who Father John Misty is you can look that up on another site. This post is more about the music. Does it matter who it’s made by?
The story behind this album is that it was made whilst held up in a shack in Laurel Canyon on the edge of Hollywood. As it were, I actually spent a week visiting a friend who recently relocated to Laurel Canyon. My exposure to the album actually sort of overlapped the visit. I actually did not know the story behind the album but felt a weird c0nnection to many of the tracks on the album. It’s not all too weird if you look into the subjects of a lot of the songs as they reference the area and the type of experience the residents might undertake on any given day in Hollywood.
My first experience with the album was Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings. This song is probably the group’s most popular because of it’s familiar indie rock feel. Lots of catchy reverb guitar. Although it sticks out as an oddity on the album as most of the tracks evoke a more folk band feel.
The real brilliance of the album is the mixing of awkward lyrical subjects with the hokey folky/bluesy jams. In some way making the naturistic feel of a folk band and giving it a more urban and updated feel. Like the way someone who is sitting on the side of a hill overlooking one of the most opulent areas of the world might feel, especially when the use of mind altering agents are in play.
The cherry on top is the live show that the band puts on. When a chance to experience for yourselves comes along I strongly urge you to take it, you will not be disappointed.
For as much as I enjoy the format of the previous posts whereby I was able to take the time to gather my thoughts on the topics, I am more interested in actually completing the “favorite’s of 2012” before 2013. Though, technically it’s possible something amazing happens before the clock strikes for the new year and could be argued that it’s prudent to wait until then to be able to get the full variance of “things”.
On that note below you’ll find a more compacted version of my thoughts on my favorite albums from the last year … (editor’s note … this didn’t happen, see the rest in 2013)
The Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan – remember my first post where I exonerated myself from using terms like “top” or “best” … well it was mainly this album that was in mind when I said it. SWL was probably the album I listened to the most this year. I think every song on this album is great. Sometimes people say that, here’s proof I mean it.
1. Offspring Are Blank – great opening track. This track sounds like a it could have fit perfectly on previous DP albums combining what I would describe the holy trinity of a Longstreth song. . 1. Multi part harmony 2. Transition from vocal/acoustic to a rock heavy break down 3. Clapping. After hearing this song for the first time ( a day prior to the show in toronto) I accurately surmised that this would be a great song to open the show with … rock
2. Afraid to Die – This track got caught in my head the longest of any track on the album. Mostly because I loved singing along and attempting to mimic the vocal inflections used. The chorus is just fucking fun to try and copy. “Redacted” now among my favorite words all time. There’s a weird tempo shift in the way the words are sang, for whatever reason, it just fascinates me. Like a waterfall when “foolish i know, but i’m about to die …” just a fun cool song.
3. Gun Has No Trigger – The album’s first single. Also the first song I had heard from the album. a lot of the talk was about how Dirtiest Projector, Dave Longstreth had pared down his schizophrenic composition style. Concerns of a dulled down DP album were assuaged as this track helped me keep the faith. Also there is just a straight up dirty (no pun intended) bass line in this song.
4. Swing Lo Magellan – One commonality about my favorite albums is that my favorite tracks tend to change over time. Right now this is my favorite song. This might be the type of track that was in mind when talking about how the band had taken a more simplistic approach. However, listening to the acoustic strum it’s evident that just because it’s not as in your face does not necessarily detract from complexity. Also, siiiiick bass line. And in general I just like the message of the lyrics. Kind of a beautiful song.
5. Just From Chevron – The female vocals given the lead mostly on this album. Again, classic complex guitar strum, heavy harmonies, clapping … but not typical by any means. This song is I think getting a lot of attention as a standout. Deservedly so. I great example of how DP hasn’t lost anything by writing softer, more accessible songs. And if anything, perhaps making that transition to a more well rounded outfit.
Detour – This album brings back a lot of the same thoughts I had about The National’s album High Violet. It was like somehow the band took all the shit they experiemented with other albums and tossed that aside. Took everything they liked about their old stuff and just focused on making the best “them” songs they could. And what comes out is just the most absolutely solid album. Flawless is a bit much to say. But there’s really not a song on either album that a fan of the band could say they were disappointed by. This is an album for fans of this band.
6. Dance For You – I love the little drum tip in this song. I don’t have much to say because it is not the album’s strongest song, yet I couldn’t say that it was weak or bad. A fine song by any means. I think the lyrics are more introspective or personal than older DP songs, but I don’t personally find this song to be all that interesting based on the subject’s revealing nature.
7. Maybe That Was It – My “first” favorite song. I fucking wigged out on this song. Love everything about this. Was pretentiously upset at anyone who dared say the group had lost it’s edge. I love the lead guitar part and how it almost sounds like it’s being tuned down mid song. This song is trippy and weird and I think is the band’s signature track to say …”we do weird well still .. fear not”.
8. Impregnable Question – Another “personal” track. Another example of the band taking the drawn down approach to song writing. Another nasty bass part. Another great song to try and mimic Longstreth’s vocal inflections … so much fun to sing along to.
9. See What She Seeing – Now this track is an old school DP song. Weird tempos. Wicked female harmony part. This song couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else. You’re not going to listen to this at the gym. You’re not going to play this to woo a potential interest. But you’re sure as shit not skipping over this. This song is so good for reasons too difficult for me to put into words. LISTEN!!
10. The Socialites – This song is carried by female vocalist Amber Coffman. Perhaps fans might think they’d miss Angel Deradoorian’s angelic (pun intended) assistance, but this track’s place among the album’s strongest proves that the group’s talent level does not reside on one or two members. For sure this track is one of the best even sans the elevator-esque throat quivering of Longstreth. This song is catchy, beautiful, it’s got a fucking sweet atari electronic synth … nothing more you can ask for.
11. Unto Caesar – So basically the back end of this album turns is where you separate good albums from great. And Unto Caesar does it’s job pushing this from great to being a ‘classic’. Every time I listen to this song I picture the group standing in a studi0 trying to mix this track and just not giving a fuck about perfection, just having fun. The motivation to keep the weird background “umm, what you just said doesn’t make any sense” type comments throughout the finished track just works for me. It elicits this sense of fun and freedom in making this album, which makes my enjoyment of it overall more fun and free. there’s yelping, clapping, laughing, vocal harmonies that don’t match up, random thoughts … this is a free form jam, and every time i hear it I think maybe this is my favorite song.
12. Irresponsible Tune – A soft outro to take the listener home. Whereas Unto Caesor evokes a sense of community this track sounds like Longstreth alone on a stool strumming and singing to no one in particular. Beautiful, simply, makes you want to flip the record over and start over every time.
Hey! Thanks for checking this out.
I’ve compiled a list of the albums that I enjoyed this year. As mentioned earlier these are not ranked, but albums that I particularly enjoyed and some of each of these album’s finer points.
Hopefully you’re find something that hadn’t crossed your path, or read something that makes you reconsider something that you glossed by. Maybe you’ll find an interesting fact that you’d enjoy sparking up a bootlog recording over. Whatever the case I hope you get something positive from this.
Feel free to comment to your heart’s content!
Second to no one, except I guess me, in choices of which albums to write about …
Swans – The Seer
If you’re not into post rock and dark imagery. If you can’t find the value in drone music. If you’re not into the concepts of consciousness and inner vision. You would fucking hate this album.
If you like a good doom metal explosions. If you like getting lost in drones only to suddenly be awakened by orchestral flourishes of timpani and sludge rock you’re probably going to shit your pants when you listen to this album.
Yes, it runs at almost 2hours. No, it’s not hard to get through if you have appreciation for post rock. Actually, it’s one of, if not my favorite post rock album I’ve ever listened to.
It features assistance from Akron/Family, Karen O., and members of Low. So if you like any of their work and want to see what they can do in a darker context you should check this out.
The seer’s themes swirl and tangle, and I certainly won’t pretend that I have some expert level of understanding of what it all means. But it’s not hard to figure some of it out, and an album this immense left me wanting to continue exploring. Maybe one of my favorite things about this album is since it’s so deep that I am still playing with the ideas that persist months after, and I would guess probably will be for years to come.
It’s a thrilling beautiful journey, but clearly not for everyone… I say take a chance and expect nothing, except maybe to be surprised.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll find …
Favorite “short” track:
Favorite long as fuck track: