Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Shins

Okay, so I know that I just promised to do this next week, but it occurred to me that next week I will be writing papers and preparing presentations for all my classes as the semester winds down to its end. Therefore, I will probably not get around to posting next week, which means that I will just go ahead and post this week instead.

The Shins are probably my very favorite band, followed by Fields and the Black Keys. Not surprisingly, they're also the most successful of the three. However, do not let their popular success turn you off, they're a real gem. The Shins are from Albuquerque, New Mexico and started as a side-project for singer-songwriter James Mercer, whose primary band at the time was Flake Music. Apparently, Mercer's father was a big fan of The Music Man, and the band's name comes from the family in the musical. Their sound is hard to place, but they have distinct The Smiths, The Cure, The Beach Boys, and Modest Mouse influences. In fact, Mercer has sung backup vocals on several Modest Mouse songs. Anyway, watch the videos and enjoy! The second video is a song included on the Garden State movie soundtrack, hence why all the scenes are from the movie. Never seen it myself.

Like the Shins? Check out their website at

Camera Obscura

This week's band has its roots in Glasgow, Scotland. Formed in the cellar of the bassist's parents home in 1996 without even a drummer, Camera Obscura now has six members and a growing fan base. Their sound is a mix between alt-country, 50's-60's beach/surfer rock, and something else I really just can't place. Regardless, they have a very unique and mellow sound that is a lot of fun. While the first video provided is possibly my favorite song of theirs, the video is ridiculous. Therefore, watch the provided video but don't be turned off by the poor quality of the video itself. If you decide to check out any of their albums, I recommend Let's Get Out of This Country and Underacheivers, Please Try Harder. Unfortunately, Camera Obscura does relatively few shows in the U.S., but occasionally they do go on tour, having recently finished a tour with another favorite band (to be featured in the future), The Essex Green. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Going Green baby

So I was totally inspired by Bon's green week on her blog and I've changed a few things that I've wanted to change for awhile. First was that I finally bought canvas grocery sacks so we don't have to deal with the plastic ones anymore. I always saved the plastic grocery sacks, meaning to take them to Walmart to get them recycled, but would never get around to it and then I think Scott would sneak them into the garbage when I wasn't looking. So I went to Albertsons and bought their bags. They were only a dollar each and they are very spacious and nice looking and will hold a ton. I encourage everyone to go get them. I also joined this website email-y thing called The Ideal Bite. It is just small tips to be a little bit greener for the average person. They send you an email every day (if you want) to give you a "bite" of information to make yourself more green. I love all the stats they give on how effective this will be if like 10,000 "bitters" do it. I'm into this green stuff, I think it's rad. Anyway, here's to being kind to our earth! (Bon, I realize that I stole your picture off the bitters website, but it really was the cutest one)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wolfmother and The Black Keys

It's time again to feature another new band that I've discovered. Since it's been a little while since the last time I posted, and because I'm celebrating my completion on the GRE, I'll feature two bands this week.
Wolfmother is an Australian hard rock band that sounds reminiscent of Led Zeppelin, but a little less bluesy. You can visit their website here. They only have one album out so far, but it's pretty solid. If you like hard rock, and find strange lyrics with D&D-esque references amusing, then check them out. This video is pretty characteristic of the general sound of their album, but also check out their song Mind's Eye. YouTube wouldn't let me imbed it, but you can find it here: Mind's Eye Video. Enjoy!

Next, we move onto my favorite of the two, The Black Keys:
The Black Keys hail from Akron, Ohio (maybe Emily and Shane have heard or seen them?). In contrast to Wolfmother, have a very bluesy sound. This guitar and drum duo records and produces all their own music, and have a distinct vintage, blues/funk, garage-rock sound. This somewhat eclectic mix produces a very unique low-fidelity sound that is quite catchy. Visit their website here. After a friend of mine referred me to their music, I haven't been able to stop listening to them. Along with recently featured band, Fields, the Black Keys would probably have to go on my current top-five favorite bands list. Once again, YouTube prohibited me from embedding another video that I wanted to share with you, but you can find it here: 10 A.M. Automatic.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Rise of the Rainbow Rats

This is specifically for those of you who joined the Barrett Family fantasy basketball league. Know that all of you will suffer painful humiliation at the hands or my all-star team, the Rainbow Rats. You might be scoffing at their team name, but we'll see who is laughing when the Rainbow Rats dominate the league! The Zucchini Weenies, Little Golden Pussycats (a far fruitier name if you ask me...), Abacaba, and Schrute will all taste bitter tears when the Rats take the championship. Let it be noted that from this day forward, the Rainbow Rats will go down in Barrett Family basketball history as the premier team in the entire game!