Favorite Albums of 2010

I was not able to listen to as much new music in 2010 as I would have liked, but I managed to find some new favorites, from both new and old bands.  So pull up a chair, put on some headphones, and check out my favorites from the past year.  I’m sure there’s something here for everyone.

1.) The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

This album became one of my all time favorites from nearly the beginning and there was never any doubt that it was going to be my favorite album of the year.  It seemed impossible that Arcade Fire could ever release another album as good as their first, Funeral, but they did it one better.  I really wanted to see them when they came to town a few months ago, but $40 per ticket and playing at a crappy venue was just too much.  I have missed them twice now and will probably always regret not going.  Their ticket prices keep going up (I am tempted to go see them in Chicago in a few months, but now tickets are $50).  As usual, you won’t hear the best songs on the radio.  Be sure to check out We Used to Wait, Suburban War, and Sprawl IIWe Used to Wait was used in this online interactive video The Wilderness Downtown using HTML 5.  They claim it looks best using the Google Chrome browser, but it worked fine for me with Firefox.

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Dear Internets, it’s been a one sided relationship for awhile now.  I’ve been taking and not giving much back.  Is that wrong?  Instead of the usual excuses, I’ll just say that I don’t have much I want to write about.  Shall we run down the usual suspects?

Music:  Mumford & Sons concert a month ago was awesome.  Edward Sharpe, not so much.  I haven’t been able to listen to much new music lately.  I only seem to listen to new music while at work and my portable hard drive is broken.  I suppose I could listen to it on my new phone, although I’ve started listening to Pandora a lot more at work.  Here’s something I can give back today: my Mumford & Sons Pandora Radio Station.  Seriously, check it out.  I’ve had everything from Bod Dylan to The Decemberists show up.  Good times.

Phone: Picked up the HTC EVO 4G on launch day.  It’s a welcome replacement for my Instinct.  Now I have a real smart phone, not a “feature” phone posing as one.  As indicated in the name, the EVO has a 4G radio, although it’s really WiMAX and not likely to be the eventual 4G standard.  But I get a good 4G signal at work, not that I can use it much.  Pandora sounds the same and it’s hard to justify watching videos.  Too bad I didn’t know about the 4G availability until after all the World Cup games are over (SprintTV has live ESPN).

WordPress: Updated to the newest WordPress, 3.0.  More of the same?  Perhaps a new theme can kick things up a notch?

Seems like the usual suspects show some promise.  Shall we investigate them some more soon?


Ten years ago today yesterday was a day that would change my life forever: the second date with my lovely wife.  It was extremely romantic, with me going to her apartment that she shared with three roommates, VHS movie in hand.  I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of microwave popcorn.  The movie was that classic romance, Stargate.  While perhaps better remembered for aliens building the Egyptian pyramids, Stargate demonstrates the irrational acts people perform in the pursuit of love.  Of course, I have not yet had to teleport myself into a departing alien spacecraft to save my love while a nuclear bomb is set to go off, but there’s still time.  Living with Minnesotan winters seems irrational enough for now.

Why not count the first date, you ask?  We never really counted that one once we started officially dating.  Plus, I don’t remember the exact day so this works out a little better… 

And so, to my lovely wife, I say, “I love you.”  It has been a wonderful decade.  Ready to start the next one?

Favorite Albums of 2009

2009 was a great year for music, which makes coming up with a “Top 10” list pretty hard, but I’ll give it a shot.  I’ve mentioned a few of these bands on Facebook, so hopefully you’ve been able to check them out.  If not, now is a great time to ring in the new year with the best of the last.

The Hazards of Love1.) The Hazards of Love – The Decemberists

I had the pleasure of seeing this album performed twice last year.  First at Rock the Garden, an outdoor concert on a beautiful June day next to the Walker Art Center and then at the State Theater, a wonderful sit down venue.  Individually the songs are great, but only when played together do you truly get to appreciate this album.  “Rock opera” is the term most use to capture the album’s essence.  As with all of The Decemberists work, the lyrics are depressingly morbid.  Definitely my favorite album of theirs so far and one of my favorite albums of all time.  I can’t recommend this enough!

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Take Me Back To Panama, Part 3

In previous episodes, our hero was seen battling the horrors of air travel and participating in a wedding of epic proportions.  And now for the thrilling conclusion…

Dylan and SandraWith the happy newlyweds heading off to parts unknown for their honeymoon, we settled down for a relaxing week at our beach house.  The house was amazing, with plenty of room for the Sweeney clan.  It was great being so close to the beach and the wedding site.  While it seems odd to have a pool so close to the beach, it was actually very nice.  It was much easier for the kids to be in the pool than down in the ocean, or perhaps it was just easier to watch the kids in the pool. Continue reading Take Me Back To Panama, Part 3