November 30, 2009

Vampire Weekend: Not So Bad After All

I first discovered Vampire Weekend early last year. I fell in love with the preppy melodies and sometimes energetic, sometimes laid-back vibe of their music. Originally just Ivy League grads that decided to start a band, they soon became indie blog darlings and "A-Punk" started to be used in everything. My interest in them wained as they became ubiquitous. I recently stumbled upon their latest single "Cousins"; I was reminded of why I love Vampire Weekend. The catchy fun sound of the first album remains but with a bit more attitude. The video for "Cousins" is an amazing example of what creative minds and low-tech effects can accomplish. Enjoy.

Hip Hop or Rock?

The perpetual argument between hip hop heads and rock fans remains. Yet, we all know the magic that come from rap-rock collaborations. Look to "Rock This Way" by Aerosmith and Run DMC for the original and still one of the best. Conversely, terrible, awful things can come from rap-rock collaborations; see Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit rapping. Its a good sign then, when The Black Keys started to venture into rap they teamed up with some of the best people in rap you've never heard of. Blakroc is the name of their new project and record label. The mixtape features Raekwon, Mos Def, Q-Tip, the RZA just to name a few.

Check out these songs, tell me what you think.

"I Done Did It" feat. Nicole Wray and NOE [MP3 link]

"On The Vista" feat. Mos Def [MP3 link]

November 24, 2009

Fever Pitch?

AMC's Mad is one of the best shows on Tv (don't believe me check the amount of Emmy's, and for a cable show at that). For those out of the loop, Mad Men tells the story of the creation of the "American Dream", that is the myth created by Madison Avenue ad men. The story focuses on amoral hard drinking businessman Don Draper. While Draper cheats on his wife and is a liar, he is an enigmatic man who loves his children, has an intense work ethic, prefers the old-fashioned way of doing business and puts the clients before profit. The show, now in its third season, has steadily increased in popularity as it cleaned up at the Golden Globes and Emmy the last two years. It has been a critic's favorite since the beginning now it is inspiring pop culture and has partially brought about return of mid-century fashion and mid-century inspired ads. It has been spoofed on SNL and even Sesame Street ha spoofed it.

Catch it Sundays on AMC at 9.

November 23, 2009

Okay, so I have an obsession...

Grizzly Bear, a Brooklyn band is my favorite obsession these days. The folk cum electro rock band features songs that mix peppy melodies and Ed Droste's soaring falsetto with electronic instruments I can't even name, two or three awesome electrical guitarists, and some darn good drum work. It's like nothing you've ever heard. Oh, and their videos aren't too shabby either. "Ready, Able", directed by Allison Schulnik, is the latest single and has one of the most amazing uses of stop-motion animation anywhere. "Ready, Able" is a incredibly complex song. It features a string and harp ensemble, add in Droste's haunting voice, incredible guitar, and remarkable drums and it's magic.

the video for "Two Weeks", my favorite song as of now, could win the award for creepiest video. Patrick Daughters, my favorite music video director, using some awesome special effects and a subtle but effective slow motion effect, makes an incredible video that sticks with you. Victoria Lagrand, of Beach House, lends her beautiful voice to song; but it's the unique choral-esqe singing (the entire band adds vocals)that captures you. The incredible climax will have humming the song all day.

November 20, 2009


MAPS 3 is a $777 million dollar proposal to revitalize the city. The original MAPS from the early 90's made Oklahoma City what is today. The Bricktown Canal, Ford Center, Ballpark, Downtown Library, renovation of the Myriad (Cox) Convention Center, and the creation of the Oklahoma River through the construction of damns and reshaping of a stretch of the North Canadian River among other projects were the result of the first MAPS project. Paul McCartney concerts, Olympic rowing trials, a minor league baseball team, and an NBA franchise would have never happened without MAPS. The success of MAPS, which passed with approx. 60% approval, is an undeniable success. the next MAPS project, or MAPS for Kids, passed with an overwhelming majority early this decade. The complicated funding structure will enable all 75 of Oklahoma City Public School buildings to be rebuilt or renovated, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars for capital improvements in surrounding suburban districts. I add all of this background information to set up the next phase of MAPS; obviously MAPS has been successful, prompting cities across the nation to attempt to copy it, so it would be foolish to be against a similar plan. Right? I mean it wouldn't add any new taxes, the $777 million would come from an extension of the already existing sales tax (approx. 8.4%, relatively low).
My reasons for not giving support (notice, not opposing) lie in the details. I full heartedly agree the city, while it has come a long way, needs massive capital infusions to become an even better city. However the way the $777 million has been allocated is major issue. According to a study conducted by the city itself, mass transit was the most requested item for a potential MAPS 3 initiative. There were 668 requests for some form of expanded or new mass transit, no other single item garnered more than 200 requests, quite clearly there is a pressing desire for mass transit. The need is arguably the same Oklahoma City's bus system has been called the most inefficient in the country, and has been named the number one most pedestrian unfriendly city in the country. Why then is the largest individual sum of money going for a convention center, $280 million? This is twice the sum of the amount given to mass transit, a new convention center is not even in the top ten (40 requests). The $130million for mass transit will only cover the downtown area, and only one mode of transportation. The number one rule of electoral politics is give the people what they want. If you think you know better, the voters will prove you wrong. While the convention center may be outdated, I am tired of funding private ventures to make wealthy people even wealthier. We already paid for Ford Center upgrades at the cost of bus funding. Cox Communications, Devon, Chesapeake (well maybe not Chesapeake), OKPUB, OG&E, numerous private companies can fund a new convention center. Maybe it's time to provide something the majority of citizens could use. Even with the proposed additions we would still not be close to the top of peer cities in terms of floor size. Studies have shown cost of travel and new technologies has caused the convention industry to shrink.
That's my two cents, rant, whatever you wanna call it. I'm only asking to think and consider strongly what we are voting on. Gazette surveys are not boding well for the election, I think the people of the city, the ones who care to vote in the election any way, want the city to go forward but disagree with the way the mayor and city officials are trying to go about it.