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482115 Posts in 16261 Topics by 2964 Members - Latest Member: Add Some November 23, 2014, 05:09:35 AM
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51  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: November 01, 2014, 07:47:13 PM
Hell of a game decided by a rookie mistake, though there were some bad calls and some sloppy non-finishes around the rim that didn't help.
52  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: November 01, 2014, 06:43:22 PM
Right when I say that, Wiggins and Bennett lead a run that gets us within 2... (I'm still not optimistic for this one. Energized, hopeful, not optimistic.)
53  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: November 01, 2014, 06:38:28 PM
Bulls, even without Rose tonight, are predictably applying a beat-down in Minnesota. The game isn't even as close as it looks, as they've been liberal with minutes to Mirotic, Snell, and Brooks.

Scary moment: mid-air collision between Butler and Thad Young that seemed to knock Thad out momentarily and seems to have him out of the game. That's 20+ points.
54  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: The return of the "What are you listening to now?" thread on: November 01, 2014, 06:33:57 PM
I don't think it's selfish, we all have to make those decisions and prioritize. There's no way to listen to everything and there's no sense in wasting out limited years in what we decide are fruitless pursuits.

Frankly I just went the opposite direction. I wouldn't have bothered with another earlier-sounding record, but Shepherds Dog wowed me. The past few, less so, but I enjoy his exploration.
55  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Listening Project: Week 3: The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy by Nada Surf on: November 01, 2014, 06:04:06 PM
I'm always so late to actually listen to the albums - oftentimes I actually post my thoughts after the next album has started - ...

That was what I was anticipating earlier when I suggested unique threads for each album, as it would better allow ongoing discussion. But conversely it would also likely result in a barrage of 5-to-10 post threads.
56  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Listening Project: Week 3: The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy by Nada Surf on: November 01, 2014, 04:41:12 PM
I don't think anyone should feel bad or worry about participation. As long as those who are into it are into it and it's a good time, that's what matters. Come, go, stay, whatever. If it feels like work, f*** it.
57  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: November 01, 2014, 04:10:01 PM
This is actually an issue I've spent a TON of time on. For what? Geekdom, I guess. I think it was just irrationally interesting to me, both with the high school to college, and then the college to NBA transitions.

The hype has been exploding over the past 20 years in particular, but it does go back a while. I recall Felipe Lopez in the mid 90s or so being one HUGE example. He was one of the first "next Jordan" guys I recall. He might have been on the cover of SI and he was absolutely on the cover of many college preview magazines. Well, Lopez struggled early because he couldn't really shoot. He got better and eventually made the NBA (playing for the Wolves for a bit), but was never more than a role player.

Still, you can take that and say it's two steps removed, right? Lopez was a freakishly good HS player and a mediocre NBA player, but he was still a great collegian before it was done, right?

Yes.

Then your example of Torbert (whom I remember well, being focused on B10 more than other leagues because of my location) is a HS to college, but still, that's the lower level. Let's go to the college to NBA level. That's where we should know better because we've had more time to evaluate prospects.

Still HUGELY problematic. Not quite a crap shoot, but not as much better as you'd think. This topic interests me because people are always so infatuated with draft picks, with prospects. Our current example in Minnesota is the complaints about trading Miami's 1st rounder to Philly for Thad Young. We're hearing in the national and local media how stupid that was, how the pick is better than Young.

Exfuckingscuse me? Thad Young is a career 13.5 and 5.5 player. This year, on an atrocious Wolves team where he starts, I'd bet he is likely to be closer to 17 and 8.

That Miami pick is most likely going to land somewhere between 14 and 20 (as they could be so bad as to barely miss the playoffs, or maybe make it as a lower seed). So let's take a BEST CASE scenario and say it is 14. I did a little analysis in 2009 or so of the drafts between 1991 and 2004 (allowing me at least 5 years of history for each player), documenting everyone's stats and then looking at averages by draft position, as well. The #14 pick as of that time was likely to be a career 7.7 ppg, 3 rpg, 1.5 apg player. His best season was, on average, 10.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 2.2 apg. That's the average of the 14th picks' BEST seasons in that range. Want to look a little more position-specific? Here are the power forwards taken with the 13th, 14th, and 15th picks during the time of that analysis.

13th
Eric Williams, Providence
Mo Taylor, Michigan
Troy Murphy, Notre Dame
Kris Humphries, Minnesota

14th
Anthony Avent, Seton Hall
Doug Edwards, Florida State
Al Jefferson, (no college)

15th
Chris Gatling, Old Dominion
Cliff Rozier, Louisville
Alan Henderson, Indiana
Kirk Haston, Indiana

Of those guys, one is undoubtedly better than Young: Al Jefferson, who has been a great PF/C on some awful, awful teams. Then a few guys (Gatling, Humphries, Taylor, Williams) were at least legitimate NBA players, though none was even a legitimate, perennial starter.

Let's think about who the Wolves would likely get with the #14 pick in 2015, and consider the likelihood that player would be better than the in-the-bank 15 and 5 Young has averaged in his career. The odds are ... bad. Really bad. Really, really bad.

We get excited over hype. Sometimes it's McDonalds All Americans and their transitions to college. Other times it's college or international players and their transitions to the pros via the draft. But the reality is, there are huge numbers of players who never live up to anything near their comparisons, to their hype.

They say one in the hand is worth two in the bush. The h(y)(o)pe business doesn't want you to believe it. In sports, believe it.
58  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: The return of the \ on: November 01, 2014, 02:03:37 PM

I still love The Shepherd's Dog the most--ranking it among the best 10-15 albums of the millenium, probably--but have probably unfairly neglected this.

I really love Our Endless Numbered Days, so I guess I was looking for more of that, but I did not care for Kiss Each Other Clean when I listened to it.

I might be the only person on this earth--aside from presumably the artist and his producer--who think he has been improving, certainly well past those earlier recordings like Our Endless Numbered Days. I thought I&W was fine earlier on, but to me the fuller arrangements and shinier production were a boon. (As I said before, though, I must admit The Shepherd's Dog takes the cake so far.)
59  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: 2014 New Releases on: November 01, 2014, 12:38:01 PM

Panda Bear - Mr. Noah

Yeah quite nice.
It's been soooo long... real nice to have new Panda product. Cheesy I thought it was neat on 1st listen. Haven't yet gotten around to giving it a 2nd spin.

*sigh*

There's a Mike Birbiglia comedy show wherein he jokes that his girlfriend "wins" every argument with "it's how I feel." Even if it isn't an argument--there is no argument--it just wins. It just trumps everything. Somehow I have a similar relationship to Panda Bear. When I was first hearing Animal Collective in the early '00s, I thought maybe I could like them, even though I didn't quite. When he released Young Prayer I bought it and wanted to like it. But didn't quite. I've always thought I could, maybe even should, like Panda Bear.

Maybe I'm too restricted to more traditional song forms. Maybe I don't do enough, or do the wrong, drugs.

But I just don't like Panda Bear. It's how I feel.
60  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Trends (Arrangement, Production) on: November 01, 2014, 12:18:10 PM
The beard! No doubt, this is a major music trend as well. Seriously... As a Minnesotan, I've been especially exposed to them. There is a certain Minnesota-Wisconsin kind of hipster (as opposed to the ironic mustache kind) who has been sporting beards for almost a decade now. I'm not sure whom to blame. Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), maybe? Maybe ol' Sam Beam. But there is a very specific lumberjack look going on amongst our burly population here. We dress down, we're husky, and we're hairy. And we go to brewpubs, we're giving the impression we're locavores, and we play in bands, every last goshdarn one of us. (Those two sentences are mild exaggerations at most.)
61  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: 2014 New Releases on: November 01, 2014, 12:12:30 PM
Taylor Swift's 1989.

I meant to talk about it sooner. I failed in that partly because I couldn't decide what I'd want to say: see, it might not really warrant all that much discussion, which is ironic considering its (rare, these days) gigantic major-label marketing assault this past month or so.

"Shake it Off" was released, what, two months ago? I loved, and love, it. It's stupid, silly, shallow, and even a little devious: poor Ms. Swift, the underdog (despite being one of the most successful artists of the past decade)? Life must indeed be hard in big, bad New York... The cheerleader bridge, most of all--no, actually its spoken introduction!--drives me crazy. Not in a good way.

But "Shake it Off" surprised me now that I've heard the whole album, in that it's the best song on the album by far. Swift is a powerhouse songwriter, a pretty good singer, a great marketer. I expected this to be a fantastic album. Instead it's a good one, fitting easily alongside the trove of recent '80s-sounding pop and/or R&B albums. Honestly? I expected so much more. I like it. I listen to it. There are moments. But mostly I just think it seems like a very, very, very (did I say very?) calculated entry to a market that, frankly, doesn't need any more entrants.

I might be wrong, because maybe her fan base was more removed from this sound than I am. Maybe for her audience, little lines like "you can want who you want / boys and boys, girls and girls" might seem somehow novel or shocking. (After all, much was made of Kacey Musgraves saying "kiss lots of boys, or kiss lots of girls, if that's what you're into" and "roll up a joint" made waves in the country world just a year or two ago.) So maybe this really is some bridge between her previous audience and her future, potential one.

Me, I keep being surprised how bored I am. "Out of the Woods," "Wildest Dreams."

What I don't hear in 1989 is 1989 (which I am old enough to remember pretty well). I wonder, what will 1989 sound like in 25 years?


62  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Trends (Arrangement, Production) on: November 01, 2014, 11:57:48 AM
Funny you mention uke and jazz, because it could have just as easily been a huge jazz instrument in the same way banjo was in early (Dixieland style, for example) jazz. Same function. In fact, Freddie Green's jazz guitar was the same kind of function, a pitched percussive/rhythm instrument more than anything else.

By the way, anyone wanting to discuss anything other than uke, go for it! This isn't just a uke thread. (I was also thinking about writing about whistling, specifically. Another "goshdarn, that's everywhere recently" thing.) Any trend, new or old, if the spirit moves you...
63  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: 2014 New Releases on: November 01, 2014, 11:36:43 AM
The recent release Pain Killer from mainstream country band Little Big Town has gotten enough good press lately that I decided to give it a listen even though that style of music usually isn't my thing. Arena shows, slick '90s rock with cowboy hats and boots, pedal steel, and just enough twang to call it country. That and the goatees they all seem to have. Why do they all have goatees? And '80s rocker hair? Or sleeveless shirts? I digress.

I wasn't impressed. While there were plenty of harmony vocals--one of my catnips--they weren't especially interesting ones. Pretty paint-by-numbers, I thought. And the production was the same kind of boring, loud, rockish country I introduced above and which generally does nothing for me.

The exception was the ballad "Girl Crush." It's actually (almost) another musical genre exercise, a 1950s I-vi-IV-V frame complete with heavily reverb'd guitar arpeggios. However, it is a little more interesting than that, with a iii instead of a vi, for starters. But more than any minor deviations from the formula, it's just a well performed song ... and a well written one, especially lyrically. The somewhat salacious title belies the reality of the song, which is a singer jealous of her would-be mate's mate. The girl crush isn't the male lesbian fantasy, it's about getting closer to the man for whom she pines.

I don't recommend the album, but this is $1.29 or whatever that you could do worse with.
64  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Trends (Arrangement, Production) on: November 01, 2014, 11:26:11 AM
Then in a more traditional way, there was Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole, who died in the later 90's but whose version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" was used in film and television to the point where it kind of entered the pop culture. Maybe a lot of guitarists or musicians in general heard and liked that recording from Iz, and decided to go out and buy a uke. Who knows.

That's a great and obvious choice that I accidentally omitted entirely. It also adds another couple elements to the return:
  • First, it was beautiful. I mean, beautiful-beautiful. I have literally cried to that song out of nowhere.
  • Second, it might have added a visual concept to things: he was a big, big man playing a small, small instrument. I'm not saying that made people want to start playing ukes, but I think it was so striking as to be memorable.
65  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Trends (Arrangement, Production) on: November 01, 2014, 10:54:20 AM
Lately I've been thinking about trends in arranging and producing, the kinds of things that help us date music when we hear it years after the fact, or identify what older sound a modern producer may be emulating. I don't intend this as a judgment-thread, just observation and comment. I guess we'll see if anyone else is interested, won't we. Yes, we will.

Ukelele.
When did the guitar's little nephew weasel its way into pop music? And let's be clear, the term pop music here is inclusive, because that little f*cker has been everywhere for at least the past five years or so.

In hindsight, there was plenty of uke on the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, though I don't recall thinking about it at the time. The first time I recall being really conscious of a uke in pop was circa 2006 or 2007, when I got as part of a package of CDs to review (yes, there was a time when labels sent physical discs ... weird, eh, kids?) a yellowish case with drawn artwork and a weird name attached: David Ivar Herman Dune. The album was Ya Ya, which I later learned was the artist's nickname/alter ego. I couldn't decide whether it was the worst or best thing I'd heard in a while, so I gave it enough tries to decide it was the latter. The songwriting was spectacular, the performance was ... unique. But the artist primarily used a uke. Appropriate representation from that album isn't immediately identifiable on youtube, so here is a live performance of a tune from it (though the album shown here is actually not the one I am talking about, or on which the song is found). But hey, it's a uke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wg4zSjazG2k

Still firmly in the indie pop world, it was a couple years later when a friend of mine talked about the opening act for Fiery Furnaces being a solo performer on a uke singing funny songs with great pop sensibilities. He was talking about Dent May (who has since expanded his sound), whose 2009 The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukelele was the first I heard of him. Here is "You Can't Force a Dance Party."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk0k9pmCB28

In 2010, we got an R&B/pop hit with some prominent uke, Janelle Monae's "Tightrope." (2:10 in Big Boi's verse and the outro in particular.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwnefUaKCbc

I trust you're familiar with 2012's "Isn't It Time," by the BBs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZMlkyY3STM

Meghan Trainor has been everywhere this summer, and the title track of her recent EP Title has prominent uke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqc-akOWPe8

Several years ago I recall there being uke-oriented hootenannies at bars, where hipsters--mostly female--would congregate and jam on their ukes. Eddie Vetter did a uke album. It has spread across genres. I hear it all the time, whereas 10, 15, and definitely 20 years ago there was virtually nothing.

I suspect its rise was part a response to increasingly electronically generated sounds in music, partly hipster contrarianism and irony, and partly just a then-unique tool for the toolbox to add a percussive, high-pitched (thus not often competing with vocal range) instrument. But anyway, it is definitely something I think of as part of the sonic backdrop of the pop music of the past five years or so.

Anything current or old you want to talk about? Its rise, its fall? The phased guitars and keys of the '70s? The DX7 of the '80s? Anything? I'm interested in what you think about.
66  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Listening Project: Week 3: The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy by Nada Surf on: November 01, 2014, 08:50:16 AM

Looking forward to what's in store in the future with this little project of ours..


Ditto. Tomorrow's the day pixeltwin offers up the next round. Should be fun. (Unless it sucks. Then I'll complain like nobody's business.)
67  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: The return of the "What are you listening to now?" thread on: November 01, 2014, 08:36:29 AM


I still love The Shepherd's Dog the most--ranking it among the best 10-15 albums of the millenium, probably--but have probably unfairly neglected this.
68  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: Listening Project: Week 3: The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy by Nada Surf on: November 01, 2014, 07:39:04 AM
I enjoyed listening to this, but in all honesty won't buy it or actively seek it or other music of theirs again. Don't take that too negatively, as I really did enjoy it. Solid songs, tuneful, energetic. It reminded me of Velvet Crush, whose music I did buy some of years ago but similarly wouldn't if introduced to them now. I wish I'd been introduced to Nada Surf (and Velvet Crush, and Teenage Fanclub, and an assortment of somewhat similar bands) in the early to mid 90s, when they were coming out. Instead that phase of my musical life was an active rebellion against all things then-current. Grunge and the so-watered-down-as-to-be-meaningless "alternative" didn't appeal to me much, so I dove deeply into the legends of previous eras, plus jazz.

Turns out I missed plenty of music from people who I suspect were thinking the same thing I was, which was that this kind of music was possible. I missed about five or six years there...

So why the lukewarm reaction? I think it's just a younger man's music, honestly. If I were 16, 18, 20, I think it would have struck a (power) chord with me. I tend to prefer music with more depth of texture now, not so much straight-ahead power chords. (The good melodies and vocal harmonies do help, though.)

If songs from here popped up on shuffle every so often, I'd perk up and somewhat excitedly ask myself, "what's this?" But the truth is, I wouldn't remember, and may well guess wrong.

Thanks for the exposure to it, Lowbacca.

(And thanks again to MugginsXO for the thread idea. It's the best part of the board since its inception.)
69  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: November 01, 2014, 05:24:22 AM
The one and only. He has bounced around a lot but basically been in the league throughout the past decade. And you know what? He's actually turned into a good backup point. Can't shoot a bit, but he's really quick, defends well (esp for a little guard), gets the offense going, passes well. But it hasn't been anything like the hype projected.

The hype machines are never fair, especially when dealing with kids.
70  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: There's so many… or is there? on: October 31, 2014, 04:54:07 PM
Well if we're counting NPP tracks, there's the guy from fun., at least, and if you want to count BB-world associates there are probably Jardines and Marks (assuming they make the album). Possibly, if unlikely, Jeff Beck. The song titles (some) are out there somewhere in the "merged" thread.

Nah, was trying to round-up stuff being released other than on NPP… I suspect there might be a lot more to come than that listed above.

But aren't the Lana and Zooey (and maybe Hollens) all on NPP?

Aye but they're potential break-outs in the sense that they're likely to be out there independently, as singles.
You've got an answer for everything! Wink
71  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: October 31, 2014, 04:53:02 PM
What!? I didn't watch during halftime. Was Vanilla Ice really there??

Because I'm really that big of a geek (and what can I say, getting old & not that big a fan of parties) I'm settling in for Cavs-Bulls tonight in lieu of Halloween festivities.
72  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Wilson - \ on: October 31, 2014, 01:53:53 PM
Thanks for joining and commenting, Peter. And congratulations on making vocal pop music with the master.

I think I speak for everyone (though that's a risky statement) when I say any anecdote about the history, process etc of writing, arranging, recording and producing the track--or heck, what you got for lunches!--would be welcomed (with ravenous appetites)..
73  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: October 31, 2014, 01:39:50 PM
Yeah Cleveland is going to be fine. Like 55-62 wins kind of fine.
74  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: October 31, 2014, 01:01:17 PM
There is real talent there. You just worry about:

- Jennings' attitude. Shoot- or pass-first? Lead or pout?

- Frontcourt logjam. C and PF have 96 minutes total. Drummond, Monroe and Smith warrant about 110 minutes at those spots...to say nothing about their challenges meshing.

- Smith thinks the previous bullet is moot, as he fancies himself a wing. He'd be right, if he had any shot selection to speak of.

- Did I mention Jennings' attitude?
75  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: October 31, 2014, 12:40:06 PM
I read SVG's criticism of the starters (minus KCP). Ouch. Called them quitters etc.
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