Posts tagged “top 10

Top 10 Life Events of 2011

Honorable Mention: The Fremont Diner.

In Sonoma, CA on Highway 37, this little shabby-chic diner bbq’s the shit out of a pig, pickles their onions with juniper berries, and strolls into their backyard garden to pick strawberries (to order) for their strawberry milkshakes.


10. Finishing my Second Album

I finished my second album, Fugue.  I thought it was pretty good. Click to download for free.


9. Booker’s “Fracture”

One of my best friends and I got this hard-to-find bottle at the Hotel Cheval in Paso Robles. Due to a stock-keeping error, we got it at less than half MSRP. 96pt (WS) Syrah that may have been the best wine I’ve ever had.


8. My Four Day Drive to California.

Gallons of Iced Coffees from Starbucks. Two Haruki Murakami audiobooks. 2,250 miles of American plains, mountains, casinos, and roadside attractions.


7. Bon Iver’s Bon Iver.

That’s how much I liked this album.

Bon Iver

6. Seeing Portishead live.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a band that has held a long tenure in my “favorite bands of all time” catalog. Live at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, CA.

7. Traveling to China.

Baiju, hutongs, Sino-American relations, and MBA war buddies in our last hurrah. The drunkest I’ve ever been, followed by the sickest I’ve ever been, followed by me landing a sixteen hour flight from Beijing to Seattle in the lavatory.

4. Getting my MBA.

Dude. That was hard. It made me more prepared than ever to kick ass at life.

3. Getting a job in San Francisco.

Included in this is “getting out of Indianapolis.”  Indianapolis, all due respect, was sucking the life out of me.  And San Francisco has the most potent business community in the country, one of the best food scenes in the world, and one of the most vibrant communities ever.  It was the most logical place for me to start Life 2.0. My new job, my new boss and coworkers, and the deep connections I’ve already made are everything I was looking for. It’s rare that things work out as well as they have.  (And I probably couldn’t have done it without #3.)

2. Moving to Oakland.

When I relocated to the bay, I had no idea I would end up living in Oakland. Ironically, my first day in the bay, I spent in Oakland, in the very place I now live.  It’s gritty but insatiably friendly.  It’s up-and-coming but not overplayed. It’s celebratory in its diversity.  It has Cafe Van Kleef, which is literally the greatest bar I have ever been to. It’s got balls.  I was meant to be here.

1. Proposing to Annie.

Annie and I have been together for 2 years.  Speaking of balls, she has them in spades. She warmed the frozen metal heart of my sadistic shih-tzu, fell in love with a wreck of a guy, and picked up her whole life to move to the San Francisco Bay because I ‘felt’ it was the place I had to be.  She’s amazing and she is responsible the deepest, most side-splitting laughs I’ve ever had.


Top 10 Metal Songs of 2010

I’m far from your typical metalhead.  In fact, people are often shocked to learn that I used to be in a grindcore band.  But I feel like heavy metal is as close to a popular representation of the fusion between raw, emotional energy and classical music form as we can find.  Plus, have you ever just screamed?  As loud and as viscerally as you can for longer than a few seconds… it feels great.

Here are what I consider to be the 10 best metal songs that were released in 2010.  (Notice, this isn’t an album list.  It would be way different.)

10. East of the Wall – The Ladder

These math-metal wizards fuse jazz guitar with incessently challenging and brutal riffs.  One wonders how any of them would have time to bang their heads while staying focused on the panopoly of notes they have to hit- but I’m sure they make the time.

9. Red Sparowes – In Illusions of Order

Members of Isis, Neurosis, and other sludge-y outfits take a step back (and probably a bonghit as well) to produce sprawling instrumental music almost as epic as their song titles.

8. Deftones – Risk

Deftones have the amazing ability to produce consistently quality music that is as friendly to the radio as it is to the fans that have loved every thing they’ve done over the past 15 years.

7. Envy – Rain Clouds Running in a Holy Night

This is Envy’s worst album ever- and it’s still completely amazing, if that tells you anything.

6. Fear Factory – Mechanize

The trailblazers of techno-metal are still doing what they do well, playing blisteringly fast and brutal metal, sprinkled with chorus vocals that may as well be sung by Gary Nunan.

5. Khoma – Inquisition

Hailing from metal’s current stronghold, Umeå, Sweden, Khoma is a three-man powerhouse partially composed of one of heavy music’s current juggernauts, Cult of Luna.  Their more somber and emotional approach to metal is emphasized in this track.

4. Kylesa – Don’t Look Back

Savannah-based neighbors with fellow swamp-metal acts, Baroness and Tusk, Kylesa’s 2010 release “Spiral Shadows” was a critical smash-hit.drummers.     There is no reason they shouldn’t be bursting as many ear drums as the latter two bands and this album proved it.  (Plus, this song smacks of The Pixies!)

3. Mouth of the Architect – In Your Eyes

Mouth of the Architect is set to inherit America’s crown as the pre-eminent too-pretty-to-be-sludge-core crown from Isis.  Their 2010 EP, The Violence Beneath, is closed by this amazing cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”  It’s what John Cusack would have played if he was trying to get laid by Julie Christmas.

2. Rosetta – A Determinism of Morality

I don’t know how these guys do it.  On paper, it shouldn’t work.  Waves upon waves of over-distorted and over-delayed guitars drown out wholly indiscernable vocals, over and over, until it’s twelve minutes later and the song is getting ready to end.  And they do it 8-to-12 times per album.  Somehow they make it engaging and overwhelmingly musical every time.  They also have the super-human ability to drag out a climax so long it would make Sting look like a chump. (That was a tantra joke, btw.)

1. Bring Me the Horizon – Crucify Me

I have serious reservations on making this my number one metal song of the year.  On the one hand, Bring Me the Horizon is a bunch of young and hansome metal scenesters that seem like they’re trying way too hard.  Fronted by a purported fashion designer, these Brits have a lot of things working against them, including guest vocals from Canada’s most lyrically clichéd chanteuse since Celine Dion, Lights.  On the other hand, however, their 2010 effort “There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret” is without respite.  The entire album has the alchemy about it that helps you overlook their superficial misgivings.  Throat-scraping, hardcore vocals mesh with thick guitar riffs that ring of Tommy Iomi as much as they do any scene-core band.  Dark, gorey vocals and highly intellectual song-structure belie these guys’ young age.  What appears to be a superficially weak offering is made honest upon listening.  They aren’t doing anything original, but they are assembling the works of their predecessors exquisitely well.

If commercially-viable metal is in the hands of the youth, I feel okay entrusting it to these guys.

(also, the lead singer pissed on a girl that refused his sexual advances in an alley after a gig.  Chauvinistic as that may be, it’s still metal.)