Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hunter's Top Ten Albums of 2006

There were lots of good albums released in 2006, but it is up to me to determine which make the cut for the TOP TEN.

10. Black Keys - Magic Potion
Akron, OH blues-rock that sounds a little like Hendrix mixed with Junior Kimbrough. Not as good as debut album Thickfreakness, but still worthy of your time.

9. Drag the River - It's Crazy
Alt-country band from Colorado. I normally do not like country, but this has just enough rock infused in it that I don't mind.

8. Tom Petty - Highway Companion
I have always thought of Tom Petty's music as being the perfect soundtrack to any roadtrip. Highway Companion, like all past albums, is best listened to while driving somewhere. anywhere.

7. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
Whoa. Soul mixed with jazz mixed with hip-hop mixed with rock. The Violent Femmes cover is pretty cool, but that is not saying much because every song is great.

6. The Blow - Paper Television
Don't know a lot about this group. Female lead singer. I like 'em though.

5. Under the Influence of Giants - S/T
Comprised mostly of ex-Hometown Hero members. This cd has a dance-rock feel to it, and you will probably tap your toes when you listen to it. IF you listen to it. You probably should, though.

4. Ghostland Observatory - Paparazzi Lightning
Austin band that really has to be seen to believe. Listening to "Midnight Voyage" on your iPod really doesn't do them justice.

3. Teddybears Stockholm - Soft Machine
My favorite band out of Sweden for 2006. Have been in numerous commercials and TV shows, so you probably have already heard their music. Billy Idol does guest vocals on "Punkrocker."

2. Ratatat - Classics
Amazing sophomore album from this two-man band. These guys rock so hard your head might fall off. Saw them open for the Killers a few years back (they blew the Killers out of the water) and again at Emo's a month or two ago.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
This, I am afraid, was a no-brainer. Almost completely perfect, with the exception of a few filler tracks, but what do you expect on a double-album? Anthony Kiedis isn't God, people. He may be close, but he isn't there yet. Hopefully he will stay off heroin and there will be another notable release for the band in the future.

The Chili Peppers are coming to San Antonio on March 6th with Gnarls Barkley! Go to the show!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween Predators? (news, values)

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I read a lot of Cnn.com. I probably check the website at least twice during the day, even more if I'm bored and happen to be at my computer. Its not because I am a CNN slave and shun every other online news source -- im just a little lazy and 'C'N'N' is really, really easy to type. Anyways.

I just read a story that tells how certain cities and counties across America have enacted new laws that prohibit sex offenders from trick or treating with kids, even if they are their own children. I believe that this is a smart move, because even it only saves one child from being victimized, it was worth the effort.

But the new restrictions don't stop there. Maryland told sex offenders that they were not allowed to turn their porch lights on while children are out gathering candy. Tennessee bans sex offenders from visiting any Halloween-related activities where children are likely to be present, such as pumpkin patches and haunted houses, and prohibits them from wearing costumes or putting up decorations outside their homes. While I still think it is good that measures are being taken to protect young people from sex predators, is it possible that this might make future, more restrictive laws possible, such as banning sex offenders from amusement parks, malls, or even airports? Children are known to be present in all three.

So maybe these requirements should be directed towards certain types of sex offenders. If a 19 year old has consensual sex with a 17 year old, it is still illegal and if prosecuted, the 19 year old is a sex offender for life.Perhaps these people should be a "level 1 offender" and not subject to all of the requirements imposed on offenders guilty of other, more henious crimes. These people should definitely be the subject of stricter penalties.

What does everyone else think?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Gender Norms, Billy Corgan style




When I first started getting interested in music in 4th grade, one of the first artists to catch my attention was The Smashing Pumpkins. The band mainly consists of men, but there was a female bass player named D'arcy that made the lineup slightly more diverse. (Unfortunately, she fell victim to crack a few years back and was kicked out of the group, ultimately being replaced by former Hole bassist Melissa Auf du Mar)The male members of the Pumpkins did not promote traditional "alpha male" characteristics as much as other bands such as Pantera or Megadeth in that they experimented with feminine actions like wearing makeup and brightly colored clothing. The male members are definitely not traditional "manly-men" and D'arcy is not a traditional "girlie-girl", but more a mixture of both. They were not afraid to be seen differently than other people or labeled freaks, which seemed like a defiant thing to do and instantly got my respect.

Billy Corgan's songwriting was also high personal and reflective, which does not fit socially constructed norms for men. We are taught that men should really hide their emotion and be indifferent to what happens to us, no matter what. The Pumpkins decided to announce their insecurities, fears, and feelings thru their songs and did not mind if the public criticized them for it.

Grunge music gained credibility and influence as 80s hair metal started to die. The hair metal scene was highly masculine and seems to have alienated a substantial number of people that didnt really identify with so many strong, continous male characteristics.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Chris Columbus (values)

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I was definitely taught in school that 'ole Chris Columbus was a historically great man for his exploration. We were told very little about what he actually did while he was in the Western hemisphere though, because if we had that knowledge, we would question it. If the stories about Columbus' exploits are true, what with all of the casual conversations regarding sexual slavery and murder, then I think that we as a country need to re-think what we are celebrating on Columbus Day. Perhaps instead of glorifying Christopher Columbus as an individual, we could focus more on the spirit of exploration or something of that nature.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Violence in Schools (news, values)

I am from Denver, CO, which was the scene of one America's most infamous school shootings, Columbine. While I did not live close to Littleton (suburb of Denver), it still impacted me greatly and made me wonder why some kids cannot cope with the stress of high school. Everyone has bad days when their girlfriend leaves them, flunks a pop quiz, forgets that their zipper is down while delivering a book report, etc. YOU GET OVER IT. There is no need to kill innocent people because your Dad forgot to hug you.

But now, there seems to be another cycle of school shootings, and this time around its not just students that are the gunmen.

Last week there was another deadly school shooting Bailey, CO, a community just south of Denver, in which an older man took girls hostage in a classroom before killing one female student and himself.

A school principal was gunned down in Cazenovia, Wisconsin by a 15 year old who was upset about getting sent to the principle's office.

Today, a school in Las Vegas was on lockdown after people reported seeing a male student with a handgun roaming the halls. In Pennsylvania, there was a shooting spree in an Amish schoolhouse that has already left 6 people dead.

ACL photos (other)

These are a few of my pictures from ACL this year. Normally I put them up on my Flickr page, but somehow I got locked out of my Flickr account and it refuses to let me back in. Gah!

Gnarls Barkley, aka "John Nash and the Beautiful Minds"
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The Flaming Lips:
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AT&T stage:
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Saturday, September 16, 2006

American Dream (reflection)

The American Dream. I am a believer that we can accomplish the majority of things that we wish and dream for. Hard work and dedication are the foundations of being successful, though knowing people in influential positions and keeping them in your network can expedite the process.

I grew up in a middle-class family in Denver, CO and thought that my life was pretty normal compared to my friends until I moved to Aspen, CO. This was eye-opening because in Aspen, we were not middle-class. We looked downright poor compared to the filthy rich children that I went to school with - kids that lived in mansions, were chauffered to school, and had every imaginable toy that anyone could ever want.

My parents have always told me that I can be whatever I want to be, a notion that I definitely believe. I know that some people say that the American Dream isnt available to everyone, that some folks cannot succeed no matter how hard they try because the Governement, society, whatever is against them. To them, I call bullshit. Immigrants arriving in America in the early 1900s had literally nothing to their name and some of them became extremely wealthy because of their dedication and hardwork. Andrew Carnegie was an impoverished immigrant from Scotland who came to America, after selling all of his belongings and even borrowing money from friends, and struck it rich in the steel business. Mind you, this was at a time when Americans were not friendly towards immigrants(well, i guess this is still the same), especially those from Scotland.

Luckily, my parents didnt have any "downclass" fears, as my mother had come from a poor Mexican family of 12 and knows how bad it is to prejudge someone because of their clothing or neighborhood.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Austin City Limits

So, Austin City Limits starts tomorrow. I'm gonna be there all three days and maybe even then some. If anyone else is going, lemme know who you are going to see. There are so many good bands that its going to be impossible to see everyone that I would like, so I am forced to make some tough decisions.

Friday:

2:30-3:30 - Guster (or Deadboy & The Elephantmen)
3:30-4:30 - Wolf Parade
4:30-5:30 - Gnarls Barkley
5:30-6:30 - Gomez
food/shade break
8:15-9:30 - John Mayer

10:00-1:00 - Kings of Leon - aftershow at Emo's



Saturday:

12:30-1:30 - Centromatic
1:30-2:30 - Phoenix
2:30-3:30 - Ben Kweller
3:30-4:30 - The Secret Machines
4:30-5:15 - The Long Winters
5:30-6:30 - Calexico
6:30-7:30 - The Raconteurs
7:30-8:15 - Kings of Leon (again)
8:15-9:30 - Willie Nelson

10:00-1:00 - Okkervil River and Deadboy (aftershow at the Parish)


Sunday:

12:30-1:30 - The Stills
2:30-3:30 - Damian Marley
3:30-4:30 - Jose Gonzalez
4:30-5:30 - Matisyahu
6:30-7:30 - The Flaming Lips (missing Ben Harper)
7:45-8:30 - Muse (missing G.Love)
8:30-10:00 - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers