Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Love is All and the Vivian Girls

This year, the Raveonettes have awakened a serious interest in what I think of as tambourine-core. Love Is All and the Vivian Girls are finishing up a tour that offers up a couple good variations on the retro girl group with dirty guitar model.

Love Is All's 2006 album Nine Times The Same Song caught my attention with bouts of Arcade Fire's BRING IT all at once intensity in songs like "Make Out, Fall Out, Make Up." Bricolage Fantasy aptly decribed Love Is All as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from Sweden. I hear Karen O most in "Talk Talk Talk", which also features doses of acid jazz screech just brief enough to be enjoyable. "Motorboat" has a strong tambourine-laced beat, with guitar that does indeed invoke a motor. One weak point is "Busy Doing Nothing At All", where the loud seems to be for loud's sake.

On Love Is All's new album A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night, the Karen O vocals seems to have given way to a softer, sweeter Cyndi Lauper/El Perro del Mar meets the Mighty Mighty Bosstones/Morphine. The high point is the slow but intense duet "A More Uncertain Future." On "Sea Sick", they somewhat overload xtra-funky bass with Morphine-style acid-jazz sax ("hard listening" music).

Love Is All - A More Uncertain Future (A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night, 2008)
Love Is All - Talk Talk Talk Talk (Nine Times The Same Song, 2006)
Love Is All - Ageing Had Never Been His Friend (Nine Times The Same Song, 2006)

Love is All - Make out, Fall Out, Make Up (Nine Times The Same Song, 2006)

Love Is All - Motorboat (Nine Times The Same Song, 2006)

Like Love Is All, the Vivian Girl bring retro girl-group big sound to their eponymous 2008 album. On "Tell The World", the basic solid drumline and harmonized vocals evoke the Raveonettes sound that's driving me wild lately. The strong bass opening on "Such A Joke" draws you and keeps you there. "No" is solid wall-of-sound rock. Weak spots: "Wild Eyes" (dull oldies sound) and "All The Time" (just a lotta noise).

Vivian Girls - Tell the World (Vivian Girls, 2008)
Vivian Girls - Where Do You Run To (Vivian Girls, 2008)
Vivian Girls - No (Vivian Girls, 2008)
Vivian Girls - Such A Joke (Vivian Girls, 2008)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fantasy Cabinet tool

The Onion recently suggested that people who'd been obsessed with the election were now going to realize our lives are devoid of any meaning.

Well, perhaps, but that doesn't mean we've stopped caring about politics.

For example, I'm working on a Fantasy Cabinet tool. Right now, it's ugly, but it works. Enjoy, America nerds.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day resources online

NPR Election Map
Jumping the gun like ABC, but not quite as much.

ABC Election Map
First place I saw the number of counted votes for Obama and McCain, when it was down around 13,000. Cool.

MSNBC Decision '08 Dashboard
NBC has said they'll only call the race when the chance of getting it wrong is less than 1 in 200 according to statisticians. Their maps also show key Congressional races. You can tweak the page so it shows the information you want and leaves off the junk about what Cindy McCain wore to the polls. I had a link to their video stream, but I clicked it and it was goddamn Pat Buchanan. So that's out.

Twitter Vote Report Map
Maps of people's voting experiences as reported to Twitter.

Twitter Election
A lot of nonsense, but really the absolutest fastest way to get interesting new information when it isn't nonsense.

Video the Vote
Shows real people voting, or rather, waiting in ridiculous seven hour lines to vote. With two kids. On the one hand, those people are awesome. On the other hand, I hope more states switch to voting by mail like we do in Oregon.

Huffington Post Roundup
A collection of widgets and geegaws I've not yet mined, but am looking forward to investigating.

Is Obama President?

CNN Live Stream
Watch CNN online.

Completely unscientific, but if you like Obama, totally gratifying.

CNN Election Tracker
A summary of polls. I'm not sure if they'll update it with exit polls when those come in after 5 p.m., but I'll be checking this to see if they do.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

American Bubbly for Election Night

Here are just a few suggestions for American sparkling wines to celebrate (or drown your sorrows) on Election Night.

1998 Argyle Brut Extended Tirage, Argyle Winery, Oregon, United States, WS 95, $25, $59

1997 Argyle Extended Tirage, Argyle Winery, Oregon, United States, WS 94, $24, $37, $40, CellarTracker, COLA

2000 Blanc de Blancs, Argyle Winery, Oregon, United States, WS 92, $40

2001 Schramsberg Vineyards Reserve, Schramsberg Vineyards, California, WS 91, 90, $76, $85, $100, COLA

2000 Knudsen Vineyard Brut, Argyle Winery, Oregon, United States, WS 91, $30, $40

Roederer Estate Brut, California, WS 90, $22

2002 Argyle Brut Sparkling Wine, Argyle Winery, Oregon, United States, WS 90, 91.5, 87, $24

2006 Argyle Brut Rosé, Argyle Winery, Oregon, United States, WS 90, $45

1996 Argyle Extended Tirage Brut, Argyle Winery, Oregon, United States, WS 90, $34, $37, $40, The Wine Camp Blog, COLA

Chateau Frank Celebre, Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars, New York, WS 82, $19, 85, $20, COLA

Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut, Schramsberg Vineyards, California, 92, Good Wine Under $20, $18, $20, COLA

1998 Schramsberg Cremant, Schramsberg Vineyards, California, 92, $45, COLA

2001 Schramsberg Brut Rosé, Schramsberg Vineyards, California, A-, $23, $27, COLA

Glenora Peach Spumante, New York, 85, $9, $10, $11, Dowd's Tasting Notes, COLA

Glenora Raspberry Spumante, New York, 85, $9, $10, $11, COLA

Sofia Blanc de Blancs, Niebaum-Coppola Winery, California, $4, $13, $16, msnbc, winewaves, Tastes Of Life, yumsugar

Schulze Cuvee Rose, New York, $14, COLA

Domaine Ste. Michelle Cuvee Brut, Chateau Ste Michelle, Washington, $14, COLA

Schulze Blanc de Blanc Sec, Schulze Vineyards & Winery, New York, $16, COLA

Schulze Blanc de Blanc Brut, Schulze Vineyards & Winery, New York, $16, COLA

2005 McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Sparkling Pinot Noir, Mount Pleasant, Missouri, $18

2006 Cuvee Brut, Atwater Estate Vineyards, New York, $25, COLA

1998 Schramsberg Brut Rose, Schramsberg Vineyards, California, $30, $97, $120, COLA

1996 Schramberg J. Schram, Schramsberg Vineyards, California, $52, COLA