Friday, January 21, 2011

Teaser: 11/22/63

11/22/63
Looking back at the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy of Massachusetts fifty years after his inauguration it seems that no man before or since has impacted the global landscape the same way as he did. From 1960 to 1972 the former Naval officer and war hero was the pace of America, and by an extent the world. His successful maneuvering with the Soviet Union set the pace for foreign policy for the next two decades, the dexterity in which he dealt with the crisis situation in Ireland was a triumphant landmark in the history foreign diplomacy, his ambition on the home-front was finally realized with the help of his right hand man Lyndon Johnson, and the election of 1968. The rudder of the increasingly divided American ship, John Kennedy faced conflict of core American values clash with progressive reality with pure cool. Towards the end of 1963, Kennedy faced a decision of whether or not  he was going to seek reelection for the Presidency of the United States.

Plenty more to come, friends

-John

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Style Ideal

Blue blazers, or any blazers for that matter, should never be paired with shorts without nautical circumstance.

On another note, here are the artists that have been getting a lot of playtime in my life.

Sam Cooke
Kings of Leon
Beady Eye
Jeff Wootton (check his website out, a terribly great find)
Florence and the Machine
Glasvegas
Bruce Springsteen (Save My Love, off his new record. A wonderful American tune)

-John

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Albums of the Year: 2010

There are nine albums. This is due to the immense listening care I take upon new albums; in my book each new record deserves a week to set and ferment to the listeners taste. 

9. Hans Zimmer: Inception (Music From the Motion Picture)
The eloquent modern score for my favorite film of the year. A very holistic and timely score from the maestro Zimmer. Besides the horn dominated fanfare that is associated with the film, I enjoyed above all else the intricate guitar handled by Johnny Marr. In many ways a spectacle of sound, and a peak into the electronic future of film scores. (Time, Paradox, Mombasa)

 8 .John Legend and the Roots: Wake Up!
One of the more out there purchases I made this year. When you put the most soulful band on the planet with the most soulful singer of the decade together, a success is almost certain. This is certainly a success. It doesn’t feel like a cover album (mainly because nobody ever listens to the originals covered), but the slightly tweaked R/B tunes are modified such to make room for some solid verses from Common and Black Thought. (Wake Up Everybody, Hard Times, Compared to What)

7.Trent Reznor and Atticus: The Social Network (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
This score is nothing short of extraordinary. A movie about current technology and current events deserves nothing short of a fast moving score that isn’t dragged by horns and strings; this score at times dictates not only the pace of the mood, but the pace of the scenes themselves. To actually match Aaron Sorkin is a feat, that alone is deserving of recognition. (The Damn Movie!)

6. MGMT: Congratulations
I'm not going to go into why I like this album, for the sake of not sounding like an alternative asshole. But I genuinely like this output. It harks my cry for letting albums sit with the listener. I didn't get into this entirely till about December. (Brian Eno, Congratulations, Siberian Brakes)


5.The Libertines: Live at Reading 
The return of the Libertines was in perfect timing with the arrival of my adoration for the group. Merely months after completing their surprisingly deep catalogue, Pete and Carl announced their return to the stage at Reading Festival this summer. The return was an immense success, and the quality of the recording is surprisingly good. Carl and Pete never lost their remarkable chemistry, this is extremely evident in this selection even 6 years after they broke up. Not to mention they played all their best tunes. (The Delaney, Don’t Look Back into the Sun, Horrorshow)

4. Klaxons: Surfing the Void
Chemical Brothers, Libertines, and Kaiser Chiefs rolled into one. Thats what this album is to me. After nearly three years working out the kinks, Void was finally released to minimal fanfare. James Ford made this album listenable, apparently it was too “out there” for release, his job was well done. I get lost in the album every time I listen to it; with their unparalleled sound and lyrical exploration. Like an electronic space dream. The record hits really, really hard from top to bottom; testing the limits of ear capacity and sanity. All in a good way, of course. Unlike Myths, Void has no breaks in intensity. But it is typical of Klaxons, the creators of a the wonderful great genre Dance/Punk.

3.Vampire Weekend: Contra
The ultimate example of a seasonal record. Upon its release in the early part of 2010 I was not unimpressed, rather uninterested. I left it on the shelf till late May; from then on it grew on me like bananas. A fantastic departure from their debut, but a departure that didn’t stray too far away from what makes Vampy Weeks so good. It has  a great balance of the old overt pompous revelry, but a newly added beachy feel is evident, as is the addition of dancier electronics. Overall, a really reassuring record. (Holiday, Diplomats Son, White Sky)

2.Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I really can’t speak enough about how much I love this album. Artistry is achieved on a pop level like Andy Warhol Literally not a weak song on the album, which even hurts its overall greatness; an album with 0 filler. A bold effort with no doubt, ambitious and indulgent. Even the transition tunes Devil and So Appalled are absolutely spectacular in their depth and intrigue. Along with the slew of great weekly releases, Kanye surely had a great year. I have never heard a more bold, large, mind blowing album; it is because of this that it is not my number 1 choice. My only critique of this album is this; I can’t bring myself physically to listen to this album often. Fantasy is a 18 oz Porterhouse with 3 sides. This is a good thing, but sometimes it is hard to find time to give this album the focus it deserves. Every now and then you just want some pizza and a Coke. But, when you do you will not regret it.(Runaway, Dark Fantasy, Hell of a Life)

1.Gorillaz: Plastic Beach
16 song albums are a bit of a rarity these days. There are plenty of reasons for the trend of 10 or 12 tune records, all of which I understand. Hell, I really enjoy more tight albums. Bryce McMurray, noted music critic, called Plastic Beach “Nebulous” and I agree with him; but I find that critique rather wonderful. My initial reactions to this record were lukewarm, but as I progressed into its delicate intricacies I found what I can only describe as a modern symphony. Damon Albarn does not skip a beat of pop music from the “Orchestral Intro” to “Pirate Jet.” His alliterations on Big Beat music in Stylo and Empire Ants, dreamy 80s pop in Melancholy Hill and To Binge, Middle East injected with Grime, crafted brass and the social commentary superiority of Cloud of Unknowing, are joyous to hear. You also cannot go wrong with De La Soul. The musical progression on Plastic Beach is difficult to put into words without actually listening to the album, it is necessary to go into a listening with a certain mindset. A listener of Plastic Beach must be ready to be patient, but a different kind of patient in comparison to Fantasy. It is the 18 course meal to the 18oz Porterhouse, delicate and ornate. A certain kind of curiosity and ambition is needed, if you don’t have this during the listen the album seems unattached and potentially boring. Themes are there that are ripe for picking, and when they are found, the listening experience is made better tenfold. It is almost ironic, the greatest separation of the cartoon story is seen in their most thematic album. The record is very cinematic in its theme and imagery without even taking the artwork of the record into account. Seeing the group perform live only gave me more respect for the details and beauty of what Damon Albarn gives the world. He is a tremendously talented musician with a uniquely derived style. Gorillaz are as real as it gets. (White Flag, Rhinestone Eyes, Cloud of Unknowing)

Honorable Mention: 
Infant Sorrow and Others: Get Him to the Greek (Soundtrack)
I couldn’t resist putting this on the list. A shamelessly alternative/inappropriate satire on Pop Rock and Hip Hop. Composed by a star cast featuring Jason Segal, Carl Barat and Jarvis Cocker. It’s absolutely hilarious, and in a funny way not too bad musically. (Riding Daphne, Bangers, Beans and Mash, and Little Bird)

Other songs that I really liked this year
******Kid Cudi: Erase Me (Arguably my single favorite song of the year)**********
Brandon Flowers: Crossfire. A wonderful little gem, as good as any Killers tune.
Big Boi: Shutterbug. Could you debate this songs greatness?
Kings of Leon: Mary, Radioactive. Worthy of mention, I'm a new fan of theirs. 
Oh Yeah: Take me Down. Watch out for these guys.
Beady Eye: Sons of the Stage. I haven't been so excited for an album in a while. Catchy and extremely dancey. 
Coldplay: Christmas Lights. I'm a sucker for Chris Martin. 
Cee Lo Green: Fuck You. The ballsiest song in history, who else could chart a song called Fuck You? 
Arcade Fire: We Used to Wait/Ready to Start. I'm not their biggest fan, but these are worth acknowledging.
Avey Tare: Three Umbrellas. I'm not a devout AnCo guy, but I really enjoyed this track, and the album is pretty decent.
Mark Ronson: Bang Bang Bang, Record Collection. Unfortunately the rest of the album wasn't as fantastic as these tracks.
Keane: With Or Without You. A little live take, spectacularly sung. 
K’Naan: Wavin Flag. The song of my summer. 
OK GO: This Too Shall Pass. The OG's of the video biz.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bryce's Top 40 Albums of 2010

40. N*E*R*D - "Nothing"
39. Mac Miller - "K.I.D.S."
38. Daft Punk - "Tron Legacy (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)"
37. Soulja Boy Tell 'Em - "The DeAndre Way"
36. Curren$y - "Pilot Talk"
35. Yelawolf - "Trunk Muzik"
34. Crookers - "Tons of Friends"
33. Hollywood Holt - "These Are the Songs That Didn't Make the Album But Are Still Cold as Hell So Shut the F**k Up"
32. Ra Ra Riot - "The Orchard"
31. The Cranberry Show - "Sex and Pencil Shavings"
30. Kid Cudi - "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager"
29. Die Antwoord - "$O$"
28. Broken Bells - "Broken Bells"
27. Cee-Lo Green - "The Lady Killer"
26. Delorean - "Subiza"
25. Rihanna - "Loud"
24. Surfer Blood - "Astrocoast"
23. Klaxons - "Surfing the Void"
22. Swedish House Mafia - "Until One"
21. Nicki Minaj - "Pink Friday"

20. Rusko - "O.M.G."
19. Sleigh Bells - "Treats"
18. Beach House - "Teen Dream"
17. Janelle Monae - "The ArchAndroid"
16. Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs"
15. Crystal Castles - "Crystal Castles II"
14. Diddy Dirty Money - "Last Train to Paris"
13. Gorillaz - "Plastic Beach"
12. Yeasayer - "Odd Blood"
11. Big Boi - "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty"
10. Girl Talk - "All Day"
9. MGMT - "Congratulations"
8. Chromeo - "Business Casual"
7. Theophilus London - "I Want You (Mixtape)"
6. Robyn - "Body Talk"
5. Kanye West - "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"
4. LCD Soundsystem - "This is Happening"
3. Rick Ross - "Teflon Don"
2. Vampire Weekend - "Contra"
1. Hot Chip - "One Life Stand": The album is an amazingly well-composed record that delves into the depth of relationship and companionship.  Hot Chip's finest production value on an album to date, "One Life Stand" succeeds both sonically and conceptually, with brilliant, romantic writing balanced perfectly with apt, piercing production.  It is truly my album of the year--the one that has stayed in rotation through all of the new releases, and has remained fresh regardless of countless plays.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Preview: 11/22/63

For the last few weeks I have been working on an essay that recaps the presidency of John F. Kennedy after November 22, 1963. In this reality the president was not shot, and he continued his term. The essay will explore his potential decisions regarding the Vietnam  War, Civil Rights, The New Left, the Soviet Union, and his reelection campaigns. My research is inspired by Coming Apart by William O'Neil. Both Bryce and I are great admirers of John Kennedy, and the Kennedy's as a whole; hopefully it will start some interesting colloquial thought.
Keep an eye over that in the next few months.

On another note here are some artists that I've been listening to a lot of late
Deltron 3030
Handsome Boy Modeling School
David Bowie
Elton John
MGMT

Best wishes

-John

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Prep Bureau Profile: Bryce

Name: Bryce

Age: 17

Interests: music--of most varieties, classic fashion, politics, sailing/nautical culture, popular culture, films, non-fiction, journalism, the merits and history of Ralph Lauren.

Favorite Thinker(s): Epictetus/Cicero

Writers: Cicero, J.D. Salinger, T.R. Reid, Vergil, Ovid, Ryan Schreiber

Music: at the moment--Theophius London, Calvin Harris, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, Kanye West, Vampire Weekend, Lil' B, Robyn, Yeasayer, Chromeo, Duck Sauce, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Big Boi, Steve Aoki, Waka Flocka Flame, Cassius, Donnis, Hercules and Love Affair, Flosstradamus, Major Lazer, A-Trak, Das Racist, Paul Simon, Hall and Oates, Talking Heads, Steely Dan, Empire of the Sun

Films: Wedding Crashers, Zoolander, The Social Network, Caddyshack, Mean Girls, Hitch, Semi Pro, Fever Pitch, Talladega Nights, Uncle Buck


Television Shows: Jersey Shore, Parks and Recreation, The Soup, Keeping Up with the Kardashians (Bruce Jenner), Fantasy Factory, 16 & Pregnant, 60 Minutes, The Tyra Show

Bryce, on the right

Prep Bureau Profile: John

Name: John (@johnbureau)
My posts will consist of musings about post-modernism, sports, music, politics, and culture in the form of short essays, lists, and free verse. 
Age: 18

Interests: Political Science, Golf, Baseball, Football (English), Alternative Music/Lifestyle, Hip/Hop, Classics, Federalism, The Jetset, The 1960s, Clothes (Suits, Plain Ties, Jackets) The Cubs, Mod Lifestyle, Albion, Banana Republic, Never Being Completely Satisfied 


Favorite Thinker(s): Voltaire, Cicero, Anthony Bourdaine

Writers: Ernest Hemingway, Dennis Lehane, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.K. Rowling, Aaron Sorkin, Ted Sorenson

Music: Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Kanye West,  Beatles, Thelonius Monk, The Libertines, David Bowie

Films: Inception, The Darjeeling Limited, The Life Aquatic, Batman Begins, Star Wars, Zoolander, Caddyshack, Starwars, The Social Network

Television Shows: The West Wing, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Sportsnation, Anthony Bourdaine: No Reservations, How I Met Your Mother


President Barack Obama's Southern Inaugural Ball, January 20, 2009