Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The 10 best songs from the 90's

I just saw this thread on ILX (ilxor.com) and felt compelled to make an infrequent post. Here's what I came up with spur of the moment. I wanted to only pick songs that I definitely enjoyed in their original time period, so no allowances for 90's music that I first got into in the 2000's in this case. I probably should have included some Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Outkast, Weezer and Weird Al, but 10 songs isn't very many and I didn't want to take too long and over-think it. Go here to read other people's contributions.

Beck - Where It's At
Cypress Hill - Insane in the Brain
Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
R.E.M. - Find the River
DJ Shadow - Midnight in a Perfect World
Radiohead - Lucky
Snoop Dogg - Gin and Juice
Counting Crows - A Murder of One
Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day
Daft Punk - Around the World

Friday, April 16, 2010

Let's post again, like we did last month

So I took a little hiatus from blogging there, but I had a lot going on. Besides watching Duke win it all (including actually going to the Final Four in person), I guess I've been kinda busy with work, we had the in-laws visit for Passover, and I've spent a lot of time practicing guitar. In fact, it seems that two of the songs that I find playing in my head most often are two songs we've learned in guitar class that I really wasn't even that familiar with before.

The first one is Southern Cross by Crosby, Stills & Nash, and I'm kind of surprised at my lack of familiarity with it given the fact that it was a big hit. It was also logically covered by Jimmy Buffett, seeing how it has a maritime theme, and apparently Art Garfunkel sings backing vocals on the CSN recording. It features a chorus that makes me laugh every time: "I have been around the world / Lookin' for that woman, girl." He's not looking for a woman, or a girl, but a woman, girl. Anyway, it's a catchy song, no doubt.

The second song is the country rocker Amie by Pure Prairie League. I believe this was pretty much a one-hit wonder, and when we first looked at it in class I didn't recognize it at all, much to the shock of some of the other people in the class. One of the guys in the class said that he had put the song on pretty much every mixtape he had ever made, so you'd figure it must be a pretty good song. And when I went home and listened to the actual song, I realized it was indeed a least a little familiar. Once again, another catchy tune.

Monday, March 15, 2010

That's a wrap!

It shows how many times I've listened to the Duke radio broadcast while watching the games this season that I have this after-the-game advertisement almost completely memorized: "So the game's over. Maybe your team won...maybe not. But either way, you gotta do the post-game wrap-up, and the place to do it at is the Chop House of North Carolina: Capital City, Gate City, Twin City and Port City. Have dinner at the very large bar, or reserve a VIP room. The menu centers on 100% USDA Certified Angus beef, fresh seafood, chicken, lamb, and pork, and the cocktails are always premium mixed." There's a little more after that, but you get the gist of it. Well, the ACC Tournament's over, my team won, but I've never been to the Chop House of North Carolina at any of their locations. Oh well. While I know that several of you (probably the majority actually) did not want Duke to win, I thank you for reading these entries anyway, and hopefully you found them funny and the song picks enjoyable. I thought it would be appropriate to end things with one more song, actually songs, in honor of the 2010 ACC Tournament Champions.

I had thought about using this band to represent Duke earlier on when I wasn't sitting at the computer, and then when it came time to type I had unfortunately forgotten about them, so I'm glad I got this opportunity to showcase Blackstrap and their one and only EP, Media Slut. Since Blackstrap included Phillip and Bendy, two WXDU DJ's, and more importantly both Duke employees, they are definitely worthy of this one. Amusingly, "media slut" is also a derisive term used by the Cameron Crazies to refer to a fan that cares more about getting on TV (such as making a sign that spells ESPN) than cheering for their team. So now, like I did all weekend, I'll try to come up with some basketball correlations for each of the 6 songs here.

T.G.I. Doomsday - This is what Duke's opponents would be saying to themselves before they took the court, except it would have to be somewhat sarcastic because they certainly wouldn't be thanking goodness, or God (if they believe in her/him), for the chance to play Duke. So it would really have to be more like "oh great, now we've got to play Duke, here comes an L." But that wouldn't work as well in the form of song lyrics.

Home Security - Clearly this must be about Cameron Indoor Stadium, where Duke set a school record this year by going 17-0. The Devils kept "Our House" safe and secure all season long.

Walking Into Walls - While I normally say that this song is about my clumsy wife (she'd be the first to admit it), in this case it could refer to any player that tried to get a shot off against, or more likely run into a screen set by, the suddenly relevant Brian Zoubek. The bearded one certainly has played a prominent role in Duke's success this year, especially in the offensive rebound department. The Plumlee Brothers aren't too shabby at blocking shots either. Now if they could only learn to tap the ball back in off a miss instead of trying to tomahawk dunk it every single time.

Sex House - Hmmm, not sure what to say about this one. I'm sure you Carolina fans could make some jokes about Coach K and Dick Vitale, but that would be inappropriate. Maybe it could refer to Krzyzewskiville and the loose morals of today's college students and their hook-up culture. I'm just gonna stay away from this subject and move along.

Static Time - I'm gonna say that this refers to the fact that I'd rather watch television static than more debate between Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps about why Virginia Tech should or shouldn't have been invited to the NCAA Tournament. Jay Bilas said it best when he brought the hammer down last night - "this is the national championship, why are we spending all this time talking about teams with no chance to win it?" Of course, the 2006 George Mason team might like to argue that an at-large 11 seed can indeed win it all, but let's not worry about that right now.

Ice Age - This Joy Division cover isn't streamable in its entirety, presumably because Blackstrap would've had to pay song royalties, but since it's on the physical release I'll include it here in my breakdown. I'll be hoping that an ice age doesn't set in on Duke's shooting in the NCAA Tournament like it has in several recent seasons. But I do feel like this team is different than years past - even if our shots misfire for a game, if we defend and rebound like we have all season long then hopefully we can survive and advance. Because in the end, that's all that really matters at this point.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the Big Dance everybody!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Championship Game

Well, as I somewhat expected, nobody but me bothered to vote yesterday, so the "tournament" part of the Tournament of Rock has slid into irrelevancy. But at least people are reading and enjoying the stories and selections, so that's cool.

The championship game today will pit Duke vs. Georgia Tech, just as it did 5 years ago. I remember walking over to Weaver Street after that Duke victory with Wiz and Mohio, basking in the win as well as a sunny spring day. Well, it's only 43 degrees here in the Chi, but at least it's quite sunny for the first time in several days. Maybe a good sign for the Devils? I certainly hope Jonny Schey from the Chi breaks out of his mini-slump today and plays like the All-ACC player he is for both halves of the game. Make us proud Jon!

Durham's entry today is going to be from the mighty, mighty Torch Marauder's Grappling Hook! I regret that I only saw the Hook once before I moved away, but of course I've seen Torch by himself (relatively, that is, what with Video Torch and Tiny Torch) plenty of times. This track comes from a 2007 compilation and is titled "The One I've Been Waiting For." Today's ACC championship game is certainly the one that I and the Duke team have been waiting for all season. Go get it guys!

I don't have a lot of time to write about the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets today, but I'll give them credit for getting 3 wins in a row, regardless of how bad they have looked at times. As Blake has said, they can implode at any moment, and I'll be hoping for that today. I'm going with Deerhunter to represent them this time, and I've selected the track "Focus Group" from Weird Era Cont., because if GT has any change of winning this game, they'll certainly have to focus as a group and limit the bone-headed turnovers they are wont to commit in bunches, not to mention make their free throws. And with that, enjoy the game folks!

The Torch Marauder's Grappling Hook - The One I've Been Waiting For
Deerhunter - Focus Group

Saturday, March 13, 2010

#7 Georgia Tech vs. #11 NC State

Third time around for these two teams, and it's a good thing it's Atlanta and Raleigh because I would have had a hard time finding other tracks from Clemson or Tallahassee! This will be a shorter entry since the game's already started. As I watch right now and see former Yellow Jacket player and Snoop Dogg look-a-like Darryl LaBarrie sitting on the Tech bench as an assistant coach, it makes me wish that Snoop was from the ATL and not the LBC. I did have a memorable time once in Atlanta when I tried to see a Snoop concert the same night that the Super Bowl was being played in the Georgia Dome between the Rams and the Titans. We left Blake's fraternity house at GT at half time to walk to Fox Theater, then when we arrive there's a sign saying that the show is canceled. I guess it had been announced a few days before and we had no idea. So then we walked back to GT and of course missed one of the more exciting Super Bowl endings of all time too. At least I have the hilarious memory of Blake's frat brothers throwing beer cans at the wall that the game was was being projected onto whenever they showed Brenda Warner! Without Snoop to use, I'll still go with a hip hop track, one of my favorites of the last several years: T.I.'s "What You Know." If T.I. were to ask Paul Hewitt what he knows about playing smart, consistent basketball, I think the answer would have to be "not much." Sadly for Tech fans, their two wins thus far in this tournament will probably allow their coach to keep his job for 4 more years.

Raleigh's entry this time comes from the great Birds of Avalon, off their debut record Bazaar Bazaar. Looking at the track listing, the song "Instant Coma" jumped out at me, since that's pretty much what would happen to you upon watching former coach Herb Sendek's Wolfpack teams play. Good job running him off State fans! Now if only Sidney Lowe can take your team to the NCAA Tournament for 5 consecutive seasons like Herb did.

T.I. - What You Know
Birds of Avalon - Instant Coma

#1 Duke vs. #12 Miami

As it was the last time Duke had the top seed in this tournament (2006), the Devils find themselves in the semi-finals facing the upstart 12 seed. Miami has looked pretty great so far, Duke was far from great yesterday but got the job done, so I'm not overlooking this one at all. Repping for Durham this time out is going to be Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan! I chose the song "Stronger Than Dirt" because I think it's a really good song, I like the title (Duke basketball is definitely stronger than dirt baby!), and it made me nostalgic for the good ol' Durham days when I could see CGJ play regularly. One more year in Chicago and then we'll be back everybody!

Miami's entry today comes from Trick Daddy and actually has a personal Durham connection for me. "Shut Up," from the album Book of Thugs: Chapter AK Verse 47, was used by Durham Bulls star catcher Toby Hall as his come-to-the-plate music during the 2000 season when I was controlling the electronic scoreboard and putting up funny graphics to match the music. Although I might be remembering it wrong and it may have been Jose Guillen who had "Shut Up" and Toby Hall who had Nelly's "E.I." We definitely used "Party Up" by DMX a lot in those days too, not for a specific player but in late inning situations where we wanted to fire up the crowd. I'd put up this cartoon of Wool E. Bull raising the roof to encourage the crowd to do the same. Good times. This song opens with the classic line, "Ridin' around in my brand new ninety-nine, fo'-do', Volvo." You can see the Volvo in the video too, along with a marching band playing on the field of the Orange Bowl, so you know Trick Daddy supports The U (he also famously had Edgerrin James dunk in his video for "Take it to the House," but you probably knew that). Embedding the video is disabled but here's a link, and you can listen to the song below.

Cantwell Gomez & Jordan - Stronger Than Dirt
Trick Daddy - Shut Up

Day 2 Results

Amazingly, through two days of action on the hardwood there have been only 2 games where the higher-seeded (lower numerically) team won: Duke over Virginia, and Georgia Tech over Carolina. It seems that Greensboro should no longer be called the Gate City but rather Upset City! In the ACC Tournament of Rock, once again the results closely mirrored the basketball. In fact, on Day 2 they were exactly the same! Maybe I'm subconsciously cheating by putting songs I like better with the teams I want to win (as Rick! somewhat accused). I think part of the reason is also that there aren't any good bands from Blacksburg or Tallahassee. And while I acknowledge that this could have an unfair influence on the polls, obviously Creed sucking doesn't have anything to do with Florida State being unable to hit a shot! Or does it?