Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Navigating the 2016 Newport Folk Festival

Making a plan for the Newport Folk Festival never works. I'd be better off just following Pokemon around Fort Adams and letting that dictate who I'm seeing.  But here it goes anyway 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Navigating the 2015 Newport Folk Festival

Inspired by the 10th Episode of the Newport Folk Festival podcast, I'm going to do my annual Navigating the Newport Folk Festival Post a little different this year.  After looking back on my past few years of these, my plan never sticks.  I could be hustling from the Quad Stage to the Fort Stage only to be stopped in my tracks at the Harbor Stage.  My favorite one last year was staying at Lake Street Dive as long as I could before heading over to get a good spot for Band of Horses.  I passed by the Harbor Stage as Robert Hunter broke in to Ripple.  I missed the first two minutes of Band of Horses and still got a great spot but Ripple was one of the highlights of the festival for me last year.

So this year I'm going in with a really loose plan.  Not even worth writing down.  I pretty much know I want to see Courtney Barnett, First Aid Kit and because of my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) I want to be at the Fort Stage for the Unannounced sets.  Of course there are a ton of other artists I want to see, but I'm just trying not to prioritize too many of them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My 2015 Newport Folk Festival Bingo Card

Yesterday the Newport Folk Festival started rolling out their lineup for this year which means it's time to unveil my Folk Bingo card.  For those who don't know, the Folk Bingo card is just some guesses, hopes and dreams of people who might be playing this year.

My strategy is as follows:

-Every year there are usually a few repeats from the previous year.  Last year it was Houndmouth and Shovels and Rope.  This year my guesses are Lucius and Dawes.

-John McCauley, Jim James and Colin Meloy are going to be involved in one way or another most years.  I almost put Diamond Rugs on there but opted not to.  My Morning Jacket and Decemberists both have new albums out this year so I think they'll be back.  Since I guessed Jim James and Taylor Goldsmith to be there....

-If there is a super group that would be perfect for the Folk Fest(i.e., New Multitudes 2012) they'd be a good guess along with their primary bands.  This year, I can't see how The New Basement Tapes aren't there. I've seen MMJ, Dawes and Rihannon Giddens on the festival circuit so they seem like a good bet.  Elvis Costello has played Newport before so he's family.  Marcus Mumford would be the wildcard.  Mumford and Sons would be an ideal headliner.

-Public radio station influences.  Last year I was hearing Take Me To Church on WFUV a lot prior to the festival.  I didn't put Hozier on my Folk Bingo card but this year I'm taking some cues from them among other public radio stations.  This year's have been Field Report, Elle King and Angel Olsen. (I heard Courtney Barnett on WFUV this morning)

-Hopes and Dreams.  My Morning Jacket is my favorite band so I wish they were there every year, Father John Misty is amazing live and the Deer Tick/Lucius conflict broke my heart last year so I want another crack at Lucius.

-Fill out the remaining boxes with Folk Fest Family.  The Lone Bellow, Apache Relay, Frank Turner, Seth Avett.

I was 3 out of 24 last year so I obviously know what I'm doing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bobs Top 5 Movies of 2014

Hello, yeah it's been a while. Not much, how about you? Lyrics from England Dan and John Ford Coley aside, it has been a while. I had what can only be considered a major computer issue followed by the paralyzing fear of losing data and purchasing a new computer consume the latter part of my 2014. That has rendered my contributions to this blog almost completely nil, but I am back.

And seeing as I am on the heels of some serious movie watching while off from work over the holidays, I had to put pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to keys for my best of list.

UPDATE: While writing this, it occurred to me that my list could only be taken seriously if I sampled enough movies to actually be able to rank them in any meaningful way. I decided that I would comb through every movie released in theaters this year and if I hadn't seen 20, I would not continue writing this post. Well, I just went through the list and I have seen 19. So I am deciding to post this intro to the list, while I attempt to watch at least one movie tomorrow. My goal is to watch any combination of Locke, Unbroken, The Skeleton Twins or The Drop and I will then complete this post.

I know, I are all waiting. And by you all, I mean no one. Sadly, no one is waiting.

Okay, I am ready. Truth be told, I really needed to solidify a 5th and final movie for this list. I was locked in on 4, but I couldn't pull myself to put Wild, Unbroken, This is Where I Leave You, or Begin Again as my 5th so I needed to watch a few more to safely round out the list.

5. Chef - I very easily could've made a case for this to be higher on the list, because frankly I loved everything about this movie. Jon Favreau wrote, directed and starred in this feel good movie about a man who loses his restaurant and is on the verge of losing his family. Great casting of all the leads, including the young Percy (Emjay Anthony) and terrific supporting roles by Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman and Bobby Canavale make this one of the most well rounded casts I have seen in a while. Why this hasn't shown up on more "best of" lists is beyond me.

4. Locke - This was the movie I needed to see to complete my list. This is a clear top 5 for me, not just because of the incredible performance by Tom Hardy (essentially a one man show) but also because of the daring and innovative filmmaking. You feel the pressure building along with Ivan Locke throughout the 90 minute car ride.

3. Foxcatcher - Fantastic performances by Carell, Tatum, and Ruffalo put this movie on the list but some questionable storyline decisions by Bennett Miller keep this from being the best movie of the year. It's one of those stories that is actually weirder and more interesting in reality versus the onscreen depiction, which chooses to gloss over some very significant details.

2. Grand Budapest Hotel - For some reason, I was not excited about seeing this. I really enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom and consider Wes Anderson to be a top 3 director for me. But the setting and the casting made this not seem like an ordinary Anderson film, so stayed a way for a while. I shouldn't have. GPH has the standard cinematic beauty and deadpan wit that you've become accustomed to, but it also has a Tarantino like suspense that really lands. To me, it's a classic.

1. Whiplash - This should be on every top 10 list this season. While Carell, Ruffalo, Hardy and Fiennes all give tremendous performances, what J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller do in Whiplash is unmatched. Two tour de force performances in one movie is hard to come by, and Whiplash without question provides them. Miles Teller is getting overlooked with the awards discussion this year, but in my book this performance puts him in a new level of elite young actors.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Best of 2014 - Music

At the end of each year I read a lot of those "Best of The Year" lists.  At the end of each year I always feel like I've missed a lot.  In an effort to get ahead of that feeling, one of my New Year's resolutions was to listen to one album a week that was released in 2014.  Fifty-two(I think I'm actually at 54 now) albums is not nearly enough to make me an expert in this year's music but it was a goal.  So based on my modest pool of music I've heard this year, here are some of my favorites:

Top 10 Favorite Albums (No particular order):
Jack White - Lazeretto
New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else
Jenny Lewis - The Voyager
Ages and Ages - Divisionary
Lake Street Dive - Bad Self Portraits
Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End
Hozier - Hozier
The New Basement Tapes - Lost of the River
First Aid Kit - Stay Gold

Top 10 Favorite Songs (No particular order):
Slow Motion - PHOX
You Go Down Smooth - Lake Street Dive
Our Demons - Ages and Ages
Low Key - Tweedy
Take Me To Church - Hozier
Alone In My Home - Jack White
Blue Moon - Beck
Kansas City - The New Basement Tapes
Push It - Delta Spirit
Don't Leave Me Now - The Apache Relay

Some notes:

-My inclusion of The New Basement Tapes might not be totally fair.  I was going to own it no matter what because of Jim James' involvement but my enjoyment of the album has been greatly boosted by the documentary about the making of the album.  The documentary probably cost Delta Spirit's 'Into the Wide' a spot.

-Choosing an album a week was largely influenced by my preparation for the 2014 Newport Folk Festival.  I have to thank them for Ages and Ages and First Aid Kit, Lake Street Dive, The Apache Relay, Delta Spirit.

-I consider The New Pornographers to be my third favorite band.  Challengers and Together might not have cracked my Top 10 lists in the years that they were released.  Brill Bruisers is amazing and I hope it's on a lot more Best of 2014 than mine.

-I've long been a fan of Jenny Lewis' voice but I have not been a big fan of her solo stuff since Rilo Kiley broke up.  Voyager was one of the nice surprises of my year.

-I almost bumped 'Take Me To Church' off the list after hearing a remixed EDM verison on a Top 40 station.  It almost made my ears bleed.

-This didn't seem to be the best year of music releases.  I am able to really tell by the fact that I came dangerously close to putting a Taylor Swift song on my top 10 (and it's not Shake It Off).

-Here is a list of all the albums I've listened to this year.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Sweet Halloween Party Mix

Making a Halloween play list is obviously harder than making a Christmas play list so I've taken the work out of it for you.

Some notes:

-I purposely left Monster Mash and Thriller off this play list.  I feel like they have been overdone on Halloween mixes.  I feel Ghostbusters has as well but I kept it on my play list because it's my play list.

-I know Halloweenhead by Ryan Adams isn't really about Halloween and is probably a metaphor for something that I don't understand, but it has Halloween in the song and if 2000 Miles from the Pretenders can be a Christmas song just because it has the phrase "Christmastime" in the lyrics, Halloweenhead can be on my Halloween mix.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 NFL Over/Unders Game

We made our picks last week before the first game of the year but am only getting around to posting now which actually works out since I can now have a little reflection on my selections after seeing these teams play a real game.  I, of course, can only speak to my selections.

Baltimore Ravens(Over) - I honestly now can't stand this pick.  I don't really think much of this division.  If you told me that the other three teams in this division other than Cleveland would finish 9-7, I wouldn't be surprised.  I had a gut it would be Cleveland.  After Week 1 and the Ray Rice thing it looks like I potentially chose poorly.

Dallas Cowboys(Under) - The Cowboys usually finish 8-8 when their defense is okay.  This team's defense has a chance to be historically bad.  I see a 6-10 type season for them.

Indianapolis Colts(Under) - The offensive line is terrible and on paper I don't think they are better than they were last year but I think every other team in the division is a little better.  I don't see them going 6-0 in the AFC South again this year.

Kansas City Chiefs(Under) - I think they are closer to the 2-5 team that finished 2013 than the 9-0 team that started 2013.  Not a bad team but I don't see a 9 win team when I look at them.

New Orleans Saints(Over) - The Saints are a good bet to be right around that mark.  I like the fact that they play two of their harder games (Green Bay and San Francisco) at home. 

New York Jets(Over) - The QB situation should be better than last year with either Geno Smith improving or Michael Vick playing.  With that defense its not unrealistic to see at least and 8-8 season.

*The bet "prize" will be paid up with a three hour open bar for the winner that will be split between the 2nd place and 3rd place in a (1/3 and 2/3) split.