Category Archives: Endorsements

Unsolicited Endorsements IXX

Album: Big Boi — “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors”

I’ve always been an Andre 3000 guy. When Outkast kinda-sorta split up to create Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003), you had to choose a favorite. At the time, I was partial to Andre’s mix of soul, rock and hip-hop.
Since Outkast’s last project dropped in 2006, Andre has lent his vocals and production skills to a collection of strong singles and become the immaculately groomed face of Gillette razors. Big Boi has used that six-year stretch to author two solo albums: 2010’s very good Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty and this week’s Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Continue reading
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Unsolicited Endorsements XXXIX

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness

Journalism: Nitsuh Abebe on Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear is a Brooklyn-based indie band (aren’t they all?) that makes critically acclaimed music, gets namechecked by Jay-Z, sells thousands of albums — and doesn’t really make all that much money.

So here’s an interesting piece about the mechanics of being an indie band, popular, but on the fringes of mainstream, successful, but only in the perceptions of a small niche. This, I think, is where the story lacks a little bit. I wish Abebe would have spent a little more time on what the Internet (and fragmentation of pop culture) has done to how we experience art, and more specifically, music and sports and other stuff.

This is an incomplete thought, of course. But… OK, indie rock isn’t that lucrative. It’s a grind. Cool.

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXXVIII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness

Music writing: Ann Powers on Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons released its second album this week, “Babel”, the follow-up to the out-of-nowhere buzz album, “Sigh No More”, and a perfectly fine and ordinary record that sounds more or less exactly like its predecessor.

The Mumford & Sons dichotomy has long fascinated me. Marcus Mumford and his friends make what is essentially bluegrass pop—big and layered songs that always seem to start slow and end with booming crescendos. It is music that is seemingly loved by a rather substantial chunk of folks between the ages of 16 and 35. Young professional urbanites. Frat boys. Suburban teenagers. Feminist careerists. (OK. That last one is a major assumption. Deal with it.)

But this is also a buzzband that is, by and large, loathed by critics and hipster tastemakers like Vice and Pitchfork—a band that treads in the same “bigger-than-thou” territory that U2 occupied in the late 80s; the same overly sentimental plot of land that Dave Matthews claimed in the mid to late 90s.

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXXV

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Remembering: Joe Posnanski on Andy Roddick

We know why both of these guys are in the news right now. Continue reading

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXXIII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Book: Brian Porto’s The Supreme Court and The NCAA

Let’s get this out of the way first: The Supreme Court and The NCAA is a “law” book. It is not a leisurely, let me sip a Miami Vice on this barcalounger while listening to New Edition, summer-time read. But summer is over. At least up here in Pennsylvania. It was sixty degrees this morning.

And as the temperatures get cooler, serious non-fiction becomes more appealing. I began reading this book as background for work but wanted to finish it because the author Brian Porto presents detailed portrayals of two landmark decisions that changed big-time college athletics, as well as what I consider the best argument for fixing the industry it has become.

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXXII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Summer Band: Tarkio

For what it’s worth, I’ve spent most of my 20s as a devoted Decemberists-head, coming in right around the release of Picaresque, staying for the genius The Crane Wife, working through the more difficult The Hazards of Love (“The Wanting Comes in Waves” is still epic) and experiencing that feeling of musical euphoria over The King is Dead, maybe the best album of 2011.

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Unsolicited Endorsements IXXX

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Song: Nas – “Life’s A Bitch”

Growing up as a guitarist and a huge fan of rock and metal, I would routinely listen to songs just to get to that one epic guitar solo, riff or breakdown that immediately triggered the air guitar instinct. In fact, I’d usually rewind to the start of the particularly epic* passage a few times out of sheer reverence. “Life’s A Bitch” is one of the songs that – as a 25-year-old fan of wordplay and hip-hop – I always have to stop to rewind. Continue reading

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXVIII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness. 

Cereal: Frosted Toast Crunch

When I was younger, maybe five or six years old, my mom refused to let my brother, sister and I eat sugary cereals. She reasoned we ate so much sugar during the day, during the rest of our meals that an added significant dosage at breakfast would make us grow up to become bank robbers. This might have been a fair argument. But we were young. We didn’t know any better, and those damn commercials with cartoon rabbits and the fluorescent glow of cardboard boxes perpetrated our minds, alluring us to the sugary side. We begged nonstop.

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXVII

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness. 

Album: “In My G4 Over Da Sea” — Neutral Bling Hotel

In February 1998, Neutral Milk Hotel released “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea”, a seminal concoction* of lo-fi indie rock.

*If you’ve never listened to the blown-out guitars on “Holland, 1945″, well, do so right now.

After the release of the album, Neutral Milk frontman Jeff Mangum more or less disappeared for the next decade. He stopped releasing music and only showed up to play live shows within the last few years.

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Unsolicited Endorsements XXV

Because sometimes you just want friends to tell you about cool things… the Brew House team offers up its weekly mix of author-supported goodness.

Movie: “Tiny Furniture”

A certain segment of the population knows Lena Dunham as the New York-bred, tattooed creator and protagonist of the HBO series “Girls”. But I, myself, must admit I’ve never seen an episode of the ultra-trendy (and maybe sort of controversial*) series. (Blame my schedule and lack of an HBO subscription.) Continue reading

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