Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Music Videos of 2008

Last year, I finished by 1st year blogging for Bad Idea Blue Jeans with a recap of sweet music videos from 2007. And so, for the sake of symmetry, I'll do the same this year.

I decided to narrow my list to 20. They are listed in the order that I brainstormed. I am embedding a few of my favorites, so you can enjoy without having to follow the link. Plus, by the time I get this published, Youtube (or Warner Music, depending on who you ask) may have pulled them all from the interweb.

Counting the various links, you're in for a few hours of entertainment.

Devandra Banhart - Carmensita

I admit that my love for Hotel Chevalier is probably influencing my love for this video. But come on. Natalie Portman, magic marker moustaches, and the phrase “Crystal bubbles will cremate our troubles.” That’s some Bollywood gold!

Radiohead – Reckoner

While everyone else was digging on Radiohead’s video-without-using-video, I prefer this black and white Sim City meets my iBook screensaver. On an odd note, it also reminds me of this.

The Brighton Port Authority – Toe Jam

Musically, this is cool, because it’s a Dizzee Rascal, Fatboy Slim, David Byrne collaboration. Not the mention the naked sensor game of pong.

Bjork – Wanderlust

One of those videos that visually, I can’t figure out. Am I looking at CGI? Puppets? Do bison really have feathers? Anyway, while I prefer the happy cheery Bjork (as opposed to this one), I’m a sucker for a good climactic scene involving a waterfall.

Arcade Fire – Black Mirror

For this one, you have to go the website. Visually, it’s nothing new (it sort of looks like a Nine Inch Nails video from 1995). But, the website allows you to mute any combination of 6 tracks. Finally, the all-snare drum version I’ve always wanted!

Gnarls Barkley – Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?

I just LOVE that the song simply provides the background music for this heartwrenching (literal) scene. I also imagine this break-up occurring at the same place/time as this. And, when the heart starts singing, I'm reminded of Audrey II.

No Age – Eraser

Sometimes I feel like my life is on a loop. Sometimes I just want to quickly run through a backyard full of balloons. Sometimes I want to walk into a cloud of flour. That's why I like this video.

She & Him – Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?

The only thing that can make Zooey Deschanel more adorable is cartoon birds. And cowgirl outfits. And those ghosts from Pac-Man. And decapitations. So cute.

Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma

So what if it’s a Wes Anderson rip-off (right down to the font)? I love Wes Anderson. So I’m gonna love this.

Kanye West – Flashing Lights

Yet another one-shot video. Only this one involves a shovel-wielding hooker of some type. Plus, Kanye’s mouth is duct-taped shut! Finally!!!! I also like this video because it sort of reminds me of Knight Rider.

Matt and Kim – Daylight

I just like the fact that they’re smiling like 4-year-olds on Christmas throughout the entire video. Who cares that there’s no room to drum in a closet, or the back of a cab, or a dumpster. Plus, you know, the whole irony of having no daylight. Get it? The title of the song. I bet Kim is the clever one.

Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s – As Tall As Cliffs

The premise is simple: January 19th, 2009 - W’s last night in office. I’ll let the joy of this video speak for itself (though the homeless man showing Bush his belly is a definite highlight for me). Plus, this band was responsible for Conan saying the name of my hometown. Whoo and hoo!

The Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go

For me, it’s more about the song than the video. I was in a dancing mood all year long, which I think it why I forgive the similarities to this video. Throw your diamonds in the sky if you feel the ting Tings vibe.

Goldfrapp – Happiness

Come on! It’s a bunny-man hopping around in a white suit. The only think more endearing is the crew if little kids on those bouncy balls about halfway through the video.

I actually blogged about the next three videos awhile back. I guess they stood the test of time.

Justice – DVNO

Rivers Cuomo – Lover In the Snow

Young at Heart – Fix You

Grampall Jookabox – The Girl Ain’t Preggers

Any song that comes with a sweet video game is cool in my book!

My Morning Jacket – Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2

In Paste Magazine, they had a space on a Indie 2008 Bingo board that said “Ripped apart Jim James’ disco falsetto…only to find yourself humming it to yourself two weeks later.” Consider me pegged. As far as this video, it’s a bit more accessible than the Bjork video. Plus, it gets me excited to see Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are.

#1 WITHOUT A DOUBT: French Students – Thriller

A group of French college students made a one-shot recreation of Thriller. It involves about 100 people, an entire campus building, and students who are clearly lip-synching to a language they don’t speak. Genius.

What'd I miss? Go ahead and comment on your favorites from 2008. I dare you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Drew Carey is dead inside

Apparently this took place on The Price Is Right today:

What the hell is wrong with Drew Carey? This is a history making moment and he couldn't care less! His comatose reaction makes me think something fishy is going on at the TPIR home offices. And how irate must that woman be who came within 500 dollars herself! None of this is adding up. Was Drew Carey neutered before taping? I am beside myself with equal parts confusion and rage

UPDATE: Will Leitch has a take on this phenomenon that involves re-shooting the segment, the ghettos of Connecticut, and Slumdog Winnebago owners. It's the best theory I can think of thus far.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nuclear War

While watching the trendy Dayton Flyers fall from the ranks of the unbeaten this evening, I checked out Pitchfork for the first time this week and read the predictably uneven review of the predictably uneven Grampall Jookabox album. This review unexpectedly led to a savvy quick marketing scheme by label Asthmatic Kitty, and sparked a (relatively) thoughtful discussion on Musical Family Tree on the merits of the review, and of Pitchfork's review system as a whole. As I read the Pitchfork review, framed in the author's context of being a Hoosier himself, this final passage seemed most irritating (even more so than a normal P4k missive):

Ropechain isn't going to displace Margot & the Nuclear So-and-Sos as the standard-bearers for Indie-ana any time soon (though please, someone hurry up and do it), but the album can stake a claim to represent that ever-underrepresented subculture that the nineteenth state owns as well as the other 49: Fidgety suburban druggies.

Swish. Why just review the album itself when you can also take a pot-shot at a completely unrelated band?

Perhaps my sentimentality gets the best of me at times - this can happen when you live in a state preparing to send it's second straight governor to jail. But I don't get the point of ripping on a hometown band for no apparent reason in a review of someone else's album. Perhaps it has to do with where I now live. One of the biggest surprises I've found since moving to Chicago is that while this city obviously is a destination spot for national touring bands, the local band scene in Chicago is not supported anywhere near the extent that the same scene is appreciated in Indianapolis. Maybe that's a direct result of national bands being much more readily available, but as a whole, there's very little enthusiasm for local bands playing live within Chicago. Neither does there seem to be the same sense of camaraderie among bands supporting each other that is evident in Indy. This mentality no doubt further colors my disdain for watching a hometown band get thrown under the bus.

But the fun doesn't end there. The discussion continued on the reviewer's personal blog, where the comments section included this highly dubious claim:

I've talked to more people around Indy and Bloomington that resent them [Margot] than like them, that's for sure.
If true, then the people you've talked to are assholes. I know many people in Indy who find the band to not particularly be their cup of tea, but even those who don't necessarily like the band's music think it's cool that a band from Indy is making a name for itself. Who from Indianapolis wouldn't have been excited to see the Melody Inn t-shirt or shout out to Marmoset on national television? Shit man, I'm happy just hearing Conan say the word "Indianapolis." The very few people I know who actually resent them (I can think of 2 people total) are jealous musicians or wannabes, upset that they haven't gotten the well-deserved breaks Margot has.

That notion is crystallized further later in the comments:

it's easiest to understand where i'm coming from if you're from indianapolis, have been attending shows in the area for about half your life, have seen hundreds of great bands come and go, and still, the only band ever mentioned is the one which gets popular because they sound like arcade fire and cop a wes anderson reference. it's frustrating, and a lot of people i talk to admit it. i don't hate that band, and i don't want to bully them out of existence. i'm just expressing frustration, again from an "insider" perspective, that it's got to be *them.* point granted, though. i know it seems shitty.
Welcome to the real world, friend. I fit every one of your listed stipulations there, and yes, until the day I die, my inner 14-year-old will be outraged that SuperFatFlyBoy never went on to headline Lollapalooza. We've all seen bands galore that deserve that big break but never quite get it because in the end, success is a lottery. Most bands will never get that notoriety, but this bullshit about "that band doesn't deserve it" is a joke. Should more bands from Indy have broken through? Of course they should have. But trying your best to throw rocks at the one band who is doing things the right way while finding a measured amount of success is lazy and more than a little disappointing. This is not a band who has earned notoriety through easily optioning their songs to air on "The Hills" or "Grey's Anatomy." This is not a band that has shamed it's hometown the way Nickelback has shamed all of Canada. This is a band that has consistently praised other local acts in interviews and on stage, much more than they've needed to.

Luckily, the majority of people supporting music in Indianapolis aren't doing so while talking with others about how much they hate one band in particular. Most fall in line with Dodge, praising the local acts that more people should know about, and simultaneously refusing to take cheap shots at one of the successes of a scene that means a lot to many people. This my friends, is true Hoosier hospitality.

Coaching Carousel: Change of Venue

It was interesting to hear the Indiana University faithful calling for an inside man to replace the calamity that was Kelvin Sampson after Sampson was run out of Bloomington. People were even getting kicked out of Assembly Hall for calling for the return of Bob Knight through that last great bastion of free speech: the homemade t-shirt.

Who stepped into the breach? Dan Dakich, former Indiana player and Indiana assistant under His Holiness, R. M. Knight, with ten years of head coaching experience at the Division 1 level at Bowling Green to boot. Quite the capable fellow.

Dakich was an improbable and, honestly, accidental head coach for the remainder of the 2007-2008 season. He had begun the year as the director of basketball operations which to most lay men is a glorified, administrative grunt. Regardless, Dakich was at his school serving the program he loved and wanted to succeed.

Then came the ignominious departure of Rob Senderoff. Dakich stepped out of the office and onto the court becoming one of Sampson's assistants. I think Dan even got to speak during some timeouts.

Finally, Sampson did the decent thing and exited Indiana mid-season leaving Dakich to coach the Hoosiers through their final seven games. It was quite the meteoric rise and undoubtedly not the course Dakich would have chosen himself.

Within days of the end of the season, talk began to swirl around who would replace Sampson permanently. Few gave Dakich a chance to continue leading Indiana with its (albeit distant) National Championship pedigree, and eleven days after losing to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament Dakich was replaced by Tom Crean. A mass exodus from the program followed leaving the Hoosiers a mere shell of the previous season. The torrent of departures took Dakich with it, and Indiana is currently 5-4 with a bevy of transfers and walkons.

You might think Dakich would land on his feet after having spent his entire coaching career in NCAA division 1 with head coaching experience at Bowling Green, Indiana, and West Virginia (if only for a scandal ridden week). But the NCAA was just one letter too long.

Enter the CYO.

Dakich is currently building a program at Bloomington's St. Charles Borromeo where he heads up the 8th grade A Team. Don't believe me, check the CYO's website below.

The program is in place with assistant coaches Schneider and Stratten pulling double duty with the B team. Honestly, they have three coaches for a grade school team. In all fairness, Dakich's son is quite a baller on the team and Dakich is used to being around guys that coached their boys (Pat Knight, Kellen Sampson). He's obviously waiting for the right opportunity to move beyond the coaching springboard that is the CYO.

Gary Parrish actually scooped this story months ago, but the story is intriguing nonetheless. One moment you're on top of your professional world; the next you're sharing gym time with a pot-luck, funeral dinner.

The ultimate kick in the pants rests with ol' slime bucket himself, Kelvin Sampson. While Dakich moved in at the most inopportune time to take his dream job only to be replaced in a matter of weeks, Sampson, the man who single-handedly ruined a storied program - one I'm proud to root against - is off cavorting in the NBA while Dakich is getting his kids primed for their upcoming tilt with St. Jude. Sometimes, life just ain't fair. Although, taking Dakich at his word he's all for it.

Luckily, St. Charles is a force to be reckoned with, having dismantaled Indianapolis power St. Barnabas 50-33. To put that in perspective, the team Dakich coached last year, the Indiana Hoosiers, only put up 54 points last weekend against Gonzaga...and the Hoosiers had 16 more minutes of game.

Looks like the kids in Bloomington still know how to run the motion offense...only these kids are just 13 years old.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Purdue Basketball: Back on Track

I refrained from posting post-Arkansas-Pine Bluff (how 'bout them hyphens) in hopes that this Ball St. game would be a better return to form.

It was...sort of.

Purdue took down the Cardinals 68-39 tonight. The new starting lineup of LewJack, Nemanja, Kramer, Smooge, and Hummel still got off to a lackluster start letting Ball St. hang around until Purdue finally eclipsed 11 points and never looked back. Either way, it was good to see Painter mixing things up.

The 3-point shooting was still awful with the Boilers only hitting 3 overall. Yet the defense - the same defense that coach Matt Painter has publicly criticized recently - responded very well to the challenge holding BSU scoreless for a ridiculously long stretch and forcing 21 turnovers.

Side note A: Muncie traffic is rancid.
Side note B: Multiple news outlets (ESPN.com, Sportsline.com and not PurdueSports.com) included with their AP stories a tidbit about the Ball St. crowd chanting "Where's your bowl game?" clap, clap, clapclapclap!

That's not the whole story, though.
  • It started with the 40 or so Paint Crew members chanting "Ball State High School."
  • Then the Ball St. student section, the Nest, retorted with "Where's your bowl game."
  • Purdue fired back "Buff-a-lo! Buff-a-lo! Buff-a-lo!"
  • The Cardinals: "Four and nine! Four and nine!"
  • After some scoreboard pointing, the Paint Crew went with "We can't hear you," and Ball State's students had no response.
Don't let the AP fool you; the Paint Crew ended with the upper hand even if they were jerky enough to start it. Hopefully this foray into Muncie might start an annual matchup and set up another friendly yet part-times antagonistic rivalry.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Purdue Basketball: Outmanned, Outmatched

It's been a while since I felt this bad.

Sitting in Mackey Arena last night while Purdue absolutely shit the bed against Duke was a an arduous journey through fandom. There weren't any boo birds that I could hear, but there were some uber-critical folks in attendance. There were even some assholes who threw things onto the court (by the way, if that's you I say again, "Go fuck yourself.") But the majority of us were locked into that gut-wrenching malaise that watching your beloved team fall apart can so often draw out.

Purdue was run out of the gym from the get-go. Much can be said about the stiffled start. Duke's quick assault. Purdue's numerous missed layups. Purdue's equally numerous turnovers. All in all it's the same story: you get down early, the opposition then dictates your attack and your lineup. Without luck at that point, it's a Herculean effort to right the ship, and all credit to Duke who was obviously running their game plan to perfection (just ask Hummel and Smooge).

The rebounding edge was abysmal, as was 3-point shooting, but I think those issues don't manifest themselves if Purdue isn't down 7-0. For whatever reason, each game this season has had a flat opening portion that either let teams like Coppin St. hang around or lets juggernauts like Duke run away with the victory.

What to do?

First things first: this isn't the end of the world. Purdue will have more than enough time and experience to get ready for the Big Ten let alone the post-season. I have full faith in Coach Painter that he'll find room to improve the poor defense and lackluster offense of the previous night.

Next, something must be done to quell this tide of underwhelming first halves before Michigan St. mops the floor with us. I think the obvious change must come in the starting lineup. Look all you want, you're not going to find more height or strength on that bench. Instead start LewJack instead of JaJuan for more speed, or Nemenja for more strength. Morris Peterson was Big Ten player of the year coming off of the bench. It's not really an insult to enter the game at the 17:00 minute mark if it will stop us from losing to quality opponents.

Finally, we the faithful need to keep coming out to games even if it is Arkansas - Pine Bluff. The electricity in Mackey last night was phenomenal, until the meltdown of course. Keep cheering for this team. They're still in the driver's seat for the Big Ten Championship.

They just got the shit beat out of them last night. And, oh yeah, it sucked.