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Shane Morris

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I've been working in music and music technology since I was a teenager. In my free time, I enjoy making soul food in my Tennessee kitchen. I'm a Ubuntu enthusiast, enjoy a good weight lifting session, and I'm probably the best Axis and Allies player ever.

An earlier version of this post spelled it “Wunderlic.” Unfortunately, that cannot be attributed to alcohol. Bro Jackson regrets the error.

Guess who has two thumbs, got wasted at 8 a.m. Wednesday, and took the Wonderlic? 1 I know what you’re thinking. “Shane, seriously, did you get wasted at 8 a.m. just to take the Wonderlic?” Actually . . . sorta. Last night I got supremely high and scored a 12 on the Wonderlic, so it made me ponder what I could do while I was wasted. Since I’m one of those people without a real day job, I took it upon myself to let the high wear off, and then I plowed headlong into a bottle of organic vodka.

If you want the spoiler: I scored a 26 on the Wonderlic after drinking 750 ml of 80 proof organic vodka. I’m honestly not even sure how I’m sitting at my computer right now, because I just took this test, so bear with me as my laptop’s spell check attempts to coalesce this into something meaningful.

The long and short of it: This fucking test doesn’t have anything to do with football. I have never taken a Wonderlic, so I just assumed it would be pattern recognition, or at least something remotely puzzle-based. Naw. Fuck that. Roger Goodell would never stand for something that made sense. Instead his minions are tasked with giving barely educated NCAA “student” athletes a test that they have no chance of passing.

Q14

I don’t like Taylor. Taylor is the sort of bitch that doesn’t plan shit out. She should have really just chilled the fuck out on what her oil choice was. I just drank $19 worth of vodka, so I’m obviously not the type of person who gives a fuck about saving $10 on gas, according to the oil I choose.  Her “friend,” meanwhile, is probably just her secret lover. I bet they’re pulling over at the shady motels and doing nasty stuff on camera. I bet they have a website, I bet they do. I just spent like five minutes of this test daydreaming about lesbians at a roadside motel. Do you see why this test is useless now? I can’t think about math when I’m thinking about lesbians on a webcam.

Q15_BEN

Hey Ben, look dude, I don’t want to sound preachy here–but you need to get a fake handicapped tag. Go to Kinkos, and just make yourself one. You’re paying way too much for parking, and now I have to call you an asshole for not pretending to be handicapped. If you don’t already know who Ben Liebman is, he’s a writer here – and he’s also trying to figure out what to pay for parking. Y’all just keep putting your problems on me, and it’s bullshit. LET ME LIVE, DAMMIT.

Q17

Kim Kardashian has seen ALL THE DICKS. Yes, she knows Tim. I’m assuming we mean Tebow. I bet her slutty ass converted him over from Jesus. He needs to paint “Kim 3:16″ in his eye-black now.

Q22

I just thought this was a really fucked up question. Leave my rug alone. Leave the rug where it is. Stop fucking rearranging my furniture, especially while I’m taking a standardized test. I didn’t even need the “blank” in that sentence. “Leave the rug where it is.” That’s a complete sentence. If someone comes over to my house, and starts messing around with my rugs, I’m not going to struggle with “lying/laying” – I’m going to struggle with kicking them in the head. Leave my shit alone. Goddamn.

Q26

Take it how you will, Bears fans. Your quarterback got the same score on the Wonderlic that I scored, and I can barely even see right now. I’ve had the hiccups for the past 15 minutes of attempting to write this. I’m singing along to the Spice Girls right now – that’s how smart Jay Cutler is. The man running your offense is about as intelligent as deciphering a route tree, as I would be, drunk as fuck, singing “Say You’ll Be There.” You know, I’m starting to see why Cubs fans are masochists.

This fucking test sucked. Not just because I’m drunk, but because I think it preys upon people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Of course that fucker . . . uh . . . who was that asshole with the beard who played for the Bills, and he played for Harvard too . . .  fuck . . . uhm . . .  RYAN FITZPATRICK. OK, so he nailed the Wonderlic, but he basically sucks, and on one cares. Meanwhile, I think I came close to Peyton Manning, and I’ll be lucky to put socks on in a moment.

Bonus mosh: The other clubhouse results.

FRANK DUPONT

I took it earlier, but I think I might have been cheating. I used the calculator on my computer. That did help a little. I don’t want to say what I got, but let’s just say that Vince Young and I have more than our love of birthday parties in common.

ROBERT RICH

Took the full version on my computer, time expired and it restarted without giving me a score. This is why football and tests related to it are fucking stupid.

DEION MOSKAL

I got 25. Big Ben. Which is interesting because I went to the college where he may or may not (he did) have unlawful relations with that girl in the club bathroom. I was like two years removed from the town when that happened. That time limit is killer though. I looked up and had only answered 30 questions and had like a minute left so I just guessed at as many as I could.

EVAN BARNES

I got 27. Only answered 32 or 33 questions. This proves this test is a joke because the time is the biggest enemy, not knowing the material. These questions are basically ACT-level and easy but being forced to answer in such a limited time is ridiculous. As someone who has tutored in standardized testing, it definitely doesn’t measure knowledge or comprehension. Which is why I’m glad the SAT is undergoing some major revisions. But that said, screw the Wonderlic and anybody who clowns an athlete for their score. That test gives a lot of cover for the dumb athlete stereotype and usually targets black athletes

EDDIE STRAIT

Don’t take the full version on your phone, you’ll run out of time and end up with the same score as Tim Tebow like I did.

KAT GOTSICK

Well well well. I got a 28. I am Peyton Manning. I saw on ESPN.com the other day that I am also Johnny Manziel. 2

Having said that, THAT WAS TERRIFYING. IT WAS THE WORST.

Verdict: The Wonderlic is bullshit.

Notes:

  1. This guy! *Points at self*
  2. Whoops, totally used a calculator.

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Before my upwardly mobile, Whole-Foods-shopping, suburban trash friends started espousing the gospel of kale, there was another leafy green love in my life. 1 You see, kale isn’t amazing. It’s useful for throwing into my juicer, for sure–but for cooking and eating? No thank you. I’d rather mainline whatever they used to make Pottery Barn smell like my grandma’s bookcase.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here: Southern states aren’t known for being a bastion of health and physical fitness. You may even remember that I’m the person who contributed the best fried chicken recipe, ever–right here on Bro Jackson. Aside from our penchant for heart disease and obesity, our foodstuffs are something of legend. Today, I’ll be covering the healthy end of the spectrum.

Collard greens are a member of the cabbage and broccoli family, meaning they’re something mom and dad put on your plate that you had to eat if you wanted dessert. If you were an insolent little shit, you drowned your collard greens in bacon bits and white vinegar until they disappeared. In the decade(s) since, your acceptable adult flavor palette has improved, and now you’re ready to give collard greens another shot.

You’ll need some fresh collard greens. If this is going to happen the right way, it’s time to start at a farmer’s market. Whole Foods will do too, but really, you’ll need to get the right leaves in order to make this work. The leaves should be thick, and feel firm. Soggy, limp leaves simply won’t do. Thick and firm; if you have trouble remembering, make a phallic note in your head. Grab a couple bunches, because collards are cheap, and it’s better to have more than you can eat in one sitting.

A few words on bagged, pre-cut, pre-washed collard greens: Fuck no. Get the fuck out of my kitchen. I will fucking cut you.

Some people like to add garlic, onions, different spices, bacon and on the order of 1,000 other items to their collard greens. These people are heretics, and should not be trusted. You see, we live in a society where everything must be blasted with bold flavors, with bacon dominating the landscape. Sometimes it’s other spices and flavors, or cheese explosions, but usually it’s just an excuse to be a child. I don’t need my collard greens to taste like bacon. I want to taste the subtle flavor of collard greens, because it’s nuanced and smooth, and I’m an adult. Ready? Go.

Ingredients

Collard greens
Water
Salt
Pepper
Baking soda
1 large chicken leg
Red wine vinegar
Your choice of hot sauce

Seriously. That’s it. No onions. No shallots. No crushed red pepper. No truffle this. No cheese that. No . . . anything.

Begin by cutting your collard greens into proper collard green materials. The massive, thick plant-vein that runs down the middle of the greens will need to be removed. Once you have done that with all your leaves, cut them into rough square pieces, and toss them into a colander. Rinse your leaves under some cold water to get rid of any excess dirt or Browns fans.

Get a large pot of water, and boil it. Add some salt to your water, perhaps a couple tablespoons? I’m not sure how much water you just put in your pot, but it should make your water taste slightly salty. This isn’t a brine, just some slightly salty water.

Add one tablespoon of baking soda to your water. If it’s a pretty big pot of water, add two tablespoons. The baking soda is going to do wonders to remove bitterness from your greens, so this step is important.

Put your chicken leg into the boiling water. Let it boil for about five minutes.

Put your collard greens into the boiling water. Give them a little stir, then put the boiling water on medium heat and let your greens cook for about 45 minutes over medium heat. Stir every 10 minutes or so. If you forget to stir, it’s not a big deal. I just stir the greens out of habit, and it’s a good excuse to wander into the kitchen for another beer.

In 45 minutes, your greens will be done cooking. Fish out the chicken leg and toss it in the trash, or feed it to your cat, or whatever you do with boiled chicken legs. Just don’t eat it, because you will hate yourself.

Strain the collard greens. This is easy to do with a colander. Just pour off the excess liquid. You don’t need it anymore, and it never loved you anyway.

Put some hot collard greens on a plate. Add some ground black pepper, a pinch of salt, a splash of red wine vinegar and then a splash of hot sauce.

Eat your collard greens. They’re amazing. You are welcome.

Notes:

  1. Sit down Washington and Colorado. I wasn’t talking to you.

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The first ever Illegal Procedure Podcast, with me, Shane Morris. I have no idea whether or not this is an OK thing. Fair warning–it contains swear words and some adult discussions. I’m just leaving this here.

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Welcome back to Weekend Selektor, a new weekly feature here at Bro Jackson. Every Thursday (Sorry I missed the bell here y’all. Saturday still counts.), I’ll have a smooth list of mellow tunes to help you wind down the week, before I toss you into Blow Pops, my Thursday (SATURDAY, DAMNIT!) afternoon feature, with more upbeat music ready to kick off a Friday (Saturday!) night. The filter here isn’t designed to hit any genre or demographic target. Hopefully, you’ll find some new music you love, from an artist you’re not familiar with. Without further ado, I’m turning on the Weekend Selektor . . .

CHVRCHES covering Arctic Monkeys? I’m pretty sure everyone and their grandmother has covered this song now, but the Scottish electro-pop trio breathe new life into this single. Here’s where it gets even weirder: I think I like it more than the original. In my head, this is the way the song is supposed to sound, and when a cover can do that, you’ve stumbled upon something really magical.

Until this week, I had never heard Glass Animals. They’re absolutely and totally weird, with an ethereal vocal quality that has a spidery quality over the minimal pads and drums. “Gooey” wanders, and sounds sexual in nature. Not an overbearing sort of sexual, but the sort of sexual you think about when you seek a nerdy chick in denim and heels, walking into dive bar. Understated sexuality – let’s roll with it.

A few years ago, I started listening to Mr. Little Jeans when she covered “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire. Now I’m simply a fan because I think she’s a great singer, and her pop sensibility makes more sense than about 99 percent of pop artists in the world. Everything from the dragging humming noises, to the way she pushes her vocal inflections harder over the bridge – it’s all perfectly done. It’s definitely worth heading over to iTunes and buying the EP for.

Remember when Sleigh Bells came out, and hard, rock driven, stomping electronic became a thing? I do too – but then I got a bit disenfranchised when I realized they were maybe the second or third worst live band I have ever seen. If you’re a Sleigh Bells fan, it’s worth checking out Holychild. “Every Time I Fall” flows, and the rock sounds come through without the abrupt stomp of their Sleigh Bells forerunners. This natural evolution needed to happen, and it refreshed the genre as a whole.

The answer to a question no one ever asked: “What would The Crash Test Dummies sound like making mellow electronic, with falsetto riffs?” TRUST answers it, and it’s . . . well . . . actually good. No one would have thought it panned out this way, but that’s the cool thing about music – sometimes, things just work. It’s relaxing, and still engaging enough to keep your ears focused on the details.

For the past five or six months, I’ve been focused on Lincoln Jesser. This is just some really damn good, French House-infused, modern rock music. Our last song of the day is a cover of Twin Shadow, 1 and it’s perfect for the drive home at the end of the night. Unless of course you’re drunk – then beg your Uber or Lyft driver to hook this up to the car stereo, because you need to hear it. If you’re a fan of Kavinsky, Daft Punk, or JUSTICE, this is your closing song.

See you next week.

Notes:

  1. Because of COURSE he’d cover Twin Shadow. It’s freaking awesome.

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Welcome back to Blow Pops, a new weekly feature here at Bro Jackson. Every Thursday, I’ll have a driving, frenetic mix of powerful tunes to set you up for a wild weekend. We drop it after the calm. What I’m looking for here is intelligent, loud, heavy, and provocative dance songs. It won’t be genre specific, but expect a heavy rotation of dance-inspired rock music, and heavier house tunes. It’ll likely be a few artists you know, and many you don’t.

I get it. Flechette is supposed to be M.I.A.-meets-trap. The sound itself works well, because it’s in the right place at the right time. I hear the East-meets-West vibe, and I totally get it. I considered not including this song, but it grew on me until I was like, “Yeah, it’ll probably be just a one-hit blog wonder, but it’s put together well.” Trap is dying, because it’s the next punchline in EDM–but this might be a good way for it to exit.

Last week I checked in with Shlohmo, and this week was another winner for the versatile producer. Teaming up with Jeremih is working well for him, with “Fuck You All The Time” being a hit, and this one probably following in the same footsteps. It’s not the same, “break everything in the house while you’re having sex song,” but it’s close. That’s got to be worth something, especially in the Drake Era. While Drake is dominating r&b with his brand of “my heart is a beating vagina” rap, this song is smooth but also dangerous. Drake is not dangerous. I watched “DeGrassi.”

POWERS makes some atypical dance-pop music. It shouldn’t make sense, but it’s just loud enough to pull all the pieces together in a wall of sound. The vocals are double-layered, and everything waves in and out with builds and drops that aren’t expected. It’s highly experimental, but just structured enough to make you want to sing along. It’s worth keeping an eye on the duo, just to see what comes next.

Rounding out the dance tracks are The Magician getting behind Chromeo, Cashmere Cat retouching Miguel, and Motez updating Frank Ocean. Remixes are fun when the original song keeps its character, and the backing production isn’t overwrought, rave-y nonsense. All three of these remixes qualify, on every count. It makes me want to order a vodka soda and make out with a stranger.

Enjoy your weekend. See you next Thursday.

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Welcome back to Weekend Selektor, a new weekly feature here at Bro Jackson. Every Thursday, I’ll have a smooth list of mellow tunes to help you wind down the week, before I toss you into Blow Pops, my Thursday afternoon feature, with more upbeat music ready to kick off a Friday night. The filter here isn’t designed to hit any genre or demographic target. Hopefully, you’ll find some new music you love, from an artist you’re not familiar with. Without further ado, I’m turning on the Weekend Selektor . . .

This sounds like Prince. No, seriously. This sounds like Prince, the man, the myth, the symbol. Smooth, low mellow lines, and a strange nasal quality bring this all together in a Purple Rain sort of way. Erik Hassle is clearly (CLEARLY) a talented singer, has a feel for timing, whines, moans and accentuated vocals. This is a dance song, but it’s downtempo enough to get away with playing at work, if you really want to.

This is the equivalent of saying, “Smokey, let that bass line take a walk.” I like the vocal qualities on this, because it mixes well with the instrumental. Shura only has this single out, and the only other thing really worth mentioning is that her management company (ATC) also has Warpaint, Laura Mvula, and another newcomer, Kyla La Grange. I’m interested in seeing where this goes next.

This is just messed up. White, Australian alt-electronic artists should not being covering Young Jeezy, because it’s just not OK. This should never happen. Ever. If it’s going to happen, this is the way it must happen–because this cover actually works. It works so well, I barely knew this was a cover until I heard Paul Conrad‘s voice start singing the chorus. If Jeezy is “Mr. 17.5,” the king of cocaine, then Conrad is “Mr. 4.0 Milligrams,” because this is aural Xanax–a whole bar, for 32 bars.

It starts slow, almost like it’s going to be some endless shoegaze, ethereal vocal meander through whatever the hell people in Williamsburg daydream about. Then, it picks up, and Fear of Men brings a ’90s Lillith-meets-modern-Vampire-Weekend sound. I mean, it’s interesting, in the “weird lonely” sort of way. It’s a Thom Yorke lonely. It’s not depressed. It’s not spacey. It’s just weird, and lonely.

Black Milk first caught my attention with his Black & Brown collaborations with Danny Brown. In an odd twist, Detroit’s downfall has become something of a sounding board for Detroit art. They’re taking the raw, unfinished, and broken city–and making raw, unfinished, broken music. This song doesn’t sound coherent, but does so in an intentional way. Midway through, it breaks through into a segue, and it doesn’t come back. I thought there would be something else, but it didn’t happen. It just tails off, and stops making sense. It’s Detroit, in a song. I dig it.

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Sometime during mid-season, I remember noticing Michael Sam. I’m something of an SEC purist, so I’m still a little uncomfortable with Missouri. It’s sort of like when your newly remarried mom tells you that your stepbrother should be treated just like a real brother. We already had the Bayou Bengals in Baton Rouge, and the plains of Auburn could claim Tigers of their own. Why in the hell did we need some cut-rate Missouri team joining Kentucky and Tennessee as SEC also-rans?

As a Nashville resident, I try to watch Vanderbilt football. 1 On October 5, I positioned myself at El Ranchero, a Mexican restaurant I tend to haunt, and I watched a quality SEC football game. At this point in the season, Missouri was starting to look like a real football team, undefeated, headed into Nashville to play Vanderbilt at home. One player really stood out to me: Defensive End, Michael Sam. Vanderbilt quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels never had a chance against the relentless onslaught of Sam, who registered three sacks during the game.

In the age of smartphones, we can learn just about anything, instantly: So I Google’d his ESPN stats. I distinctly remember talking to my drinking buddy Keel about Sam’s performance. We noted his previous week’s performance against Arkansas State, where Sam had also registered three sacks. As a Georgia fan, I was sweating the next week, when a soft Georgia offensive line would be faced with stopping the onslaught of Sam. Thankfully, Georgia’s pass protection kept Sam from dropping Aaron Murray, but he still created mayhem up front. It’s not all about sacks and tackles, because just creating pressure is enough to force bad throws. Murray was intercepted twice by Missouri, at home, in Athens, Ga., and much of that can be attributed to Michael Sam.

One week later, I was again watching Missouri. By this time, I began to respect the awkward stepbrother of a football team–and I was sort of cheering for them. Any good Georgia fan is going to celebrate Florida being annihilated, and Sam delivered. For the third time in four contests, Sam registered three sacks. It was obvious I was watching a special and gifted football player, because very few SEC players are ever capable of putting up stat lines like Sam. Missouri rolled over Florida, 36-17.

At the end of the season, I was keenly aware of Sam being a finalist for the Bronco Nagurski Award, given to the nation’s best defensive player. That’s no light company considering C.J. Moseley, Darqueze Dennard, Aaron Donald, and LaMarcus Joyner were the other names on the list. Sam earned that recognition by finishing the season with 48 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, nine quarterback hurries, and a fumble recovery. Sam set the Missouri single season record for sacks–an honor previously held by some washed up, nobody linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, named Aldon Smith.

The SEC has long been a conference known for defense, and Sam earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors over players like JaDaveon Clowney, C.J. Mosely, and HaSean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix. Winners of this award overwhelmingly go on to successful NFL careers, with past winners being names like Jarvis Jones, Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne, Rolando McClain, Eric Berry, Glenn Dorsey, and Patrick Willis.

I’m not an expert on the NFL Draft or player evaluation, but ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. compares Sam to players like Seattle’s Cliff Avril, Kansas City’s Justin Houston, and Indy’s Robert Mathis. Houston and Avril were both third-rounders, with Mathis being a fifth. Kiper has Sam listed as a fourth round talent, because he’s a fantastic pass rusher, but isn’t as solid in coverage, and might not transpose well as a 4-3 linebacker in the NFL. Sam has room to grow in pass coverage, and if he can somehow manage to add that element to his skill set, he’ll be a Top 10 defensive end in the league.

At the present, I see Sam being a good fit with teams seeking an instant infusion of pass rushing, who can also afford growing pains in coverage. Jacksonville needs a little of everything, and were dead last in 2013 in sacks. I mean, they’re the Gabuars, so let’s just assume they finished last in a few categories. The Atlanta Falcons weren’t far in front of Jacksonville, nor were the Chicago Bears. This is probably glaringly painful for Bears fans who watched Aaron Rodgers take his sweet time driving down the field and ending Chicago’s season during the final game. Also, as much as it pains me to say it, my own Dallas Cowboys didn’t look stellar last year, finishing 25th overall in sacks. Dallas might have to consider taking Sam in the third round if it means getting the leaky defense a little more watertight.

I just went 800 words without mentioning something: Michael Sam is openly gay.

I’d just rather talk about football, because his personal life isn’t any of my business.

Notes:

  1. Shutup. It’s passable, if you get sorta drunk.

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Welcome to the very first Blow Pops, a new weekly feature here at Bro Jackson. Every Thursday, I’ll have a driving, frenetic mix of powerful tunes to set you up for a wild weekend. We drop it after the calm. What I’m looking for here is intelligent, loud, heavy, and provocative dance songs. It won’t be genre specific, but expect a heavy rotation of dance-inspired rock music, and heavier house tunes. It’ll likely be a few artists you know, and many you don’t.

We’ll start things out slow and then build it up. I think Indiana (Raider of Arks) is perfectly suited to this task, with her new single “Solo Dancing.” I first picked up Indiana last year with her emotional cover of “Swim Good” by Frank Ocean–which she ripped wide open. This new single shows her dance chops, has a distinctly fuzzy French house beat, and it’s a perfect start-up track for a wild weekend.

I can’t talk about dance music without bringing up Nashville’s own Cherub, featured here with Exmag on Gramatik‘s “Obviously.” The heavy funk beat comes in, and then Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber contribute their vocals and talkbox work. Roger Troutman, watch your back. This is classic Cherub dance rock, infused with funk.

Nu-Disco, meet French House. The Knocks come in large with Sneaky Soundsystem and deliver a brilliant and danceable tune called “The One.” Dance music has one test, really: “Does this song make me want to move my feet?” With this track, the build ups aren’t ridiculous, and have rather sharp drop offs, rather than apexes. This nuanced approach keeps you guessing, but still lets you keep up easily enough.

GRVRBBRS is, without a doubt, the most slept on French House producer of the past two years. This is likely because his whole project was released under the radar, away from his other band. I mean, just looking at his Soundcloud playcount, no one is listening to this at all–and it’s sad. If you’re a fan of JUSTICE or Daft Punk, then you need to crank up your speakers, because this is perfect, glitchy, guitar-driven, melodic, symphonic, funky, and purely produced French house. This would make Kavinsky blush.

That just leaves the question: Who is GRVRBBRS? I was told by a friend that it was a secret project, and I couldn’t tell anyone–but Pulse Recordings took the liberty of crediting him with the project. This is Ryland Blackinton‘s solo project–the lead guitarist of Cobra Starship. You won’t find it on his Wikipedia, and he doesn’t endorse himself anywhere online as GRVRBBRS. (In fact, the only place I’ve seen him credited as GRVRBBRS is on his artist page, over on Pulse). It doesn’t make me want to break out any Cobra Starship albums, but knowing he has this much versatility is incredible.

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Welcome to the very first Weekend Selektor, a new weekly feature here at Bro Jackson. Every Thursday, I’ll have a smooth list of mellow tunes to help you wind down the week, before I toss you into Blow Pops, my Thursday afternoon feature, with more upbeat music ready to kick off a Friday night. The filter here isn’t designed to hit any genre or demographic target. Hopefully, you’ll find some new music you love, from an artist you’re not familiar with. Without further ado, I’m turning on the Weekend Selektor…

Shlohmo produced a song for BANKS. I think that means that all is right in the world. If you ever wondered what Lana Del Ray would sound like if she were 100 percent better, and paired herself with talented producers–this is what you’d have. BANKS’ vocals build in a Lana-esque way, without the kitschy Tumblr-cool sound. This is less of a song, and more of a soundscape, until about halfway, when the anti-drop comes in, courtesy of Shlohmo. The drums are minimal, snappy, and full of reverb. This is probably Shlohmo’s best work since “Fuck You All The Time,” with Jeremih. It’s perfect for driving around to, and it’ll probably take the edge off your commute.

This isn’t a new song. In fact, it has been out for 10 months. I missed it. Yinyues recently released some instrumental remixes of Notorious B.I.G. that set the music blogosphere on fire, but I prefer his more downtempo work. Quality, expansive, and harmonic downtempo is tough to do well, especially when you’re trying to re-cut a song by Bon Iver. Dare I say, this remix might even be better than the original. Tip of the hat to Yinyues for a Soundcloud page full of winners.

YDIMITU is also known as Early Nineties, and doesn’t have much music that’s easy to find. There are only two songs on his 1 Soundcloud, and this one is the lone standout. It’s a syrupy slow R&B/chill-trap tune, complete with stretched vocals and a New York hip-hop beat. It fits squarely into its own niche, which isn’t too PBR&B, and isn’t too hip hop. It even has a pop vibe.

I like Miguel because he’s not afraid of testing the limits of his athleticism in front of a live television audience. Additionally, he’s testing the r&b market with this fuzzy-guitar, hot amp branding. The accompanying songwriting has movement, depth, and easy transitions. Where Bruno Mars is the cheesy haircut and overwrought pop nonsense, Miguel delivers emotional, adult music. You might want to double down on birth control, because this song increases your chances of pregnancy.

Songwriting is probably the most disrespected part of music creation. We live in an era of Macbook carriers running around “producing” a myriad of really interesting instrumentals, but without a song to back it up, well . . . it just feels empty. Enter, Bipolar Sunshine and “Where Did The Love Go.” The piano moves, and the live audience ambiance at the midway point adds a stadium ballad atmosphere. Sing-a-long songs are more fun, and that’s where this one lands. I’m looking forward to more like this.

Notes:

  1. I think it’s a dude.

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Imagine for a moment that you and your friends are trying to figure out where to watch the game on Sunday. Assuming all other things are roughly equal, everyone starts on an even playing field. Then you start chipping away at the qualifications to host a good game: You’ll need something bigger than a studio, so your buddy Chad is out. His place is a dope bachelor pad, but he doesn’t have enough space on his couch. You could totally hang out with Trevor, but his girlfriend is finicky, and doesn’t really like having a lot of people around. Of course, you could totally do it at your place, but you were just there last week, so it’s someone else’s turn.

That’s when Ivan speaks up. In his heavy Russian accent, he says, “Hey guys. My place. We will watch game. It will be perfect. I spend lots of money, we make best food. Drink vodka. It will be magic. You see.”

Before I go any further, let me just say this: Ivan is a nice enough guy, but he’s just a little out of your comfort zone. He has a tendency to say homophobic things around company, and it’s a little uncomfortable. He brags a lot about his money, but always wants you to pick up the tab when you’re out getting drinks. If you weren’t in a fantasy league together, chances are you wouldn’t really be friends–but he’s friends with your other friends, so you have to put up with it.

Sensing an opportunity, your friend Sung-Min speaks up. “Hey Ivan, thanks for the offer man, but uh . . . let’s just do it at my place. I just renovated my house, and I got a new BBQ grill on the back deck.”  Ivan cuts him off, “No. It is not big deal. We will love my party. All of us. I make best food, have best grill, very expensive, best you ever see. I show you. In Russia, we have best parties.” Sung-Min retorts, “Really Ivan. It’s no big deal. My place will be perfect. You don’t have to do all that. I’m basically setup and ready anyway.”

Now, Ivan is known a little for being short, so he firmly says, “No. I will make best party. I will go Best Buy, get largest LCD television. Best speakers. It will rattle whole building. Best steak. Best beer. I want show you how best party ever. We will all love game, best game at my place. You will love. You see.” Ivan then takes a long stare at everyone in the room. “You agree, yes?”

Reluctantly, all your friends finally give in. You say, “Alright Ivan. Sounds good man. We’ll be over around noon on Sunday. If you need us to bring anything, just let us know.”

On Wednesday, you get a call from Ivan. “Comrade! I am excited for big game. I want you come over, so you help me get new Bose sound system installed. It is best. I show you.” This gives you a moment of pause. “Wow,” you think to yourself, “Ivan might actually pull this off.” So you hop in your car, and head over to Ivan’s place. When you pull up, two aggressive pit bulls are in his front yard, barking and snarling at you. Opening his front gate doesn’t seem to be an option, so you call Ivan. “Hey, Ivan. You mind coming outside for a second? There are some really crazy dogs out here.” Ivan pauses for a moment, “Oh. I not have dogs. Must be strays. I come get you.” Moments later, Ivan appears at his door with an AK-47. You realize what’s about to happen, so you dive behind your car as he starts shooting the dogs.

“IVAN! WHAT THE FUCK MAN?!”

The dogs are already dead. “What? These dogs, they are crazy. Animal control will do same. I just do job for them,” Ivan laughs. “You are such baby. Come inside.” Your heart is racing, because you just watched two dogs get splattered by your crazy, AK-wielding friend, but you brush it off, because you already drove across town. As you walk through Ivan’s front yard, you notice trash everywhere. It looks like he just dumps all his trash in his yard.

Inside his house, all the drywall is half-finished, the floors are beautiful hardwood in some places, and plywood in others. Loose wires hang from the ceiling, and exposed pipes show a few spots in the walls. Every single room carries the strong ammonia stench of cat urine. “Come! I show you chandelier. It is $50,000 for chandelier. All crystal.” Ivan leads you into the living room, where the walls aren’t painted, and spackle lines show everywhere. None of the light switches have covers, but there is a chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and it looks like it costs more than a Lexus. “This,” Ivan says, “I ship from Chile. Best chandelier.”

Noting the appearance of his home, Ivan boasts, “All this work. I will have finish in three days. You come back on Sunday, it will look like brand new house. You never know all these wires here.” You shrug your shoulders, wondering how he’s going to pull it off, but you let it go, because there isn’t much you can do to change it. “Come, I show you this sound system. It is best.” Ivan begins unboxing some speakers, which you note say “BOZE,” instead of the usual “Bose,” associated with the German sound company. You speak up, “Hey uh, Ivan. I don’t know if you got authentic goods here, my brother. You might want to get your money back.” Ivan looks at you angrily, “I get these from Boris. I know him since grade school. He is best friend. He not lie to me.” Not wanting to test his mettle, you simply let him have his way. However, as you look around the room, other things start to appear remiss.

The television looks questionable, like the shiny black plastic is about to peel off. The “Somy” logo throws you off. “What the . . .” you think to yourself. A “Mibrosoft XBOCKS” sits on the entertainment center, along with a “Sasmug Blu Ray” player. “Hey Ivan, man. Question. How much did you pay for that LCD TV?” Ivan looks up at you from his sound system installation and boasts, “I have friend. He gives me best deals. I only pay $8,000.” You stare at him for a moment, not sure if he’s serious. “Ivan, you really paid $8,000 for a Somy LCD TV?” Ivan fires back, “My friends. They make best. They give me best deal.” Not wanting to push the issue on anything else, you let the issue go.

“Hey, Ivan, where’s your bathroom man?” Ivan grunts at you. “It is down hall. But do not flush toilet. It not work right now.” You squirm uncomfortably. “Naw man, it’s cool. I’ll just hold it, I guess.” Ivan laughs, “You think this not good enough? Suit self. Here, have beer.” Ivan hands you a warm beer, and you can’t read the label on the can. Popping the tab, you take a sip. It takes like soapy bathwater and lawn clippings. Ivan grins mightily at you. “See. I show you. This is best beer you ever taste, yes?” Gulping your beer down, trying to keep your eyes from watering, you reply shortly, “Yeah Ivan. This is awesome. Where’d you find this?” He laughs at you, “I have friend. He makes best beer. Microbrew. He gives me great deal. Only $30 for six pack.”

Figuring that Ivan is just insane, you decide it’s about time to excuse yourself. “Hey Ivan man, I’ve gotta run my dude. I’ll see you on Sunday man. Good luck getting all this together.” Ivan boasts back, “My friend, I will show you best Sunday game party. You will see. This party will be best ever. You have faith, I show you.”

Walking out the door, you furiously begin texting your friends, “Holy shit fellas. We’re so fucked. Ivan’s place is a disaster, and we don’t have any other options. This is going to be the worst Sunday, ever.” Then, you shoot off a few picture messages. You watch the progress bar sending the messages away, but then realize everything is stalled. You’re standing in front of Ivan’s house, so you start walking toward your car. Ivan steps out the door behind you, surprising you with his voice, “You have trouble will cell phone? We have sometimes bad service here. Let me show you, I will help send.” Ivan comes down the steps, and tries reaching for your phone. You don’t want him to see your messages, so you say, “Naw man, I got it. No worries.” Ivan then gets demanding, “No. I will help. Give me phone. I have magic touch.”

Trying to avoid letting him see your messages about his home, you change the conversation. “So, it looks like you’ve got some pretty cool neighbors. I like how they did the plants in their front yard.” Ivan shakes his head at you. “I have no neighbors. Just me here.” You retort back, “What do you mean you don’t have neighbors? I just saw two dudes walk in next door. They were walking some dogs.” Ivan talks through his teeth. “I never see them. Just me. No neighbors.”

You tilt your head a bit, “Ivan. I just saw two guys walk in the front door, next door. Holding hands. I mean, it appears you have a gay couple next door. You really should say hello.” Ivan shakes his head. “I have NO neighbors.” This line of conversation is making your stomach churn, so you finally relinquish, “Hey man, I’m gonna run. But uh . . . I guess . . . uh, I’ll see you man. Good luck.” Then, you half-sprint to your car, as Ivan lets out a belly laugh.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics start Friday. I hope we’re all ready for a house that smells like cat piss.

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