Monthly Archives: December 2012

Matt Ulery

Matt Ulery

Y’all mind if I poach NPR Music’s 50 Favorite Albums Of 2012 just a little bit more? No? You guys are the best.

I had the chance to take bassist and composer Matt Ulery’s album By A Little Light for a spin yesterday and have fallen more than a little in love with it, and not just because it features eighth blackbird, the sextet that’s held an Ensemble-in-Residence position at the University of Richmond since 2003 and probably holds the record for mentions on Artsline, WCVE’s daily arts and cultural calendar.

For me, the work’s most remarkable quality, aside from its outright beauty, is the way it allows for originality and brightness to flow through one another.

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Astro

Astro

I have yet to start this year’s top albums post. Is it because I’m a procrastinator? Yes. Well, yes and no.

I haven’t started yet, in part at least, because I’m still finding out about amazing albums that were released in 2012. In fact, I’m convinced that mid-December is the most wonderful time of the year to be a music lover. Year-end lists are worth their weight in gold when it comes to discovering new bands, and I’ve found one list to be particularly Fort Knox-ish: NPR’s Music Top 50 Albums of 2012. While so many lists simply confirm what you already knew — either about the site that posted them or about the quality of the albums that everyone knows everyone loves — NPR’s stands out by virtue of its breadth, with lots of great classical and international releases I had no idea existed. Particularly strong are the Spanish-language contributions, and Chilean group Astro is proving to be a clear favorite. Clear and distracting.

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G-Dragon

OK, so now what?

What should America do with K-pop now that the “Gangnam Style” flood waters are starting to recede? Do we explore the rest of PSY’s catalog, or do we act like the whole horsey dance thing never happened? Should we start checking out other K-pop artists, or should we go back to ignoring the genre’s steady, world-wide march? I think we can all agree to continue complaining about dubstep, but it’s going to be really interesting to see where the American market for K-pop goes from here.

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Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck

I was more than a little sad when reports of Dave Brubeck’s death started to surface yesterday afternoon. It’s weird, mourning the death of someone you never met and likely never would, but Brubeck’s music was very important to my parents when they first started dating, and it was especially important to my father, who himself died a few years ago.

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Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon

I dunno about you, but I could use a pick-me-up.

I fell while running last night. It was dark, the sidewalk was uneven, and I ate it in spectacular fashion. My hands got pretty scraped up, but the wounds to my pride cut much deeper. If I had to use one word to describe the feeling I had when I was lying on the pavement, it would probably be “dorky.” There’s something really lame about that type of sports injury, because it brings into focus just how un-rugged modern life can be. It’s not like my hands got torn up while fending off a lion or building a log cabin. I was jogging. In the ‘burbs. Listening to my iPod. Wearing neon-colored clothes. And I fell.

So like I said, I need a pick-me-up, and I’m looking to you, Dan Deacon.

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Trails and Ways

Trails and Ways

It’s early December. The time of gift idea generation. In fact, did you know that the word “December” is actually derived from an ancient Sanskrit word that means “Shit, what was that thing my wife said she really wanted when we were waiting in line at Banana Republic back in April?” It’s true!

The good news is that, if you have a friend or significant other who has a record player and eats food, you can cross one person off your list right now, thanks to Turntable Kitchen. If you haven’t heard of it, Turntable Kitchen is a really neat site that marries two of the Internet’s most conspicuous obsessions — conveniently, the two Mrs. YHT and I blog about — and they offer one of the coolest gifts I’ve seen in ages: the Pairings Box.

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