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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Year-End Music Review: The Albums

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Road To My Love - Ana Egge


I started this quest for a musical genre with the album as the most basic unit of musical biology in mind. This post, the "album-of-the-year" post, is exactly what I had in mind last January.

Adult Nights - Wild Light


As the year took shape, though, and my musical discovery habits evolved, the album became less and less prominent. When you're looking for music all the time, starting from the assumption that you know nothing and seeking to discover new artists, then you don't spend very long on any one album. Instead, you obtain the album, stash it away, and move on to finding more.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Pho...


There were a few albums, though, that I came back to throughout the year. At pretty much any point, I could put one of these albums on and listen to it from beginning to end without feeling compelled to skip anything.

These Four Walls - We Were Pro...


Another way of putting it is to say that I would buy these albums and pay full price for them, and I would recommend anyone do likewise. And when these artists put out their next album(s), I will most likely buy them before hearing them.

Middle Cyclone - Neko Case


These albums paint a picture of a music listener drawn to the reliable conventions of pop music. That recognition disappoints me, even though these albums stand on their own and, in some cases, can't be confined to any one genre.

The Briar Patch - Freddy & Fra...


My albums-of-the-year list is what it is. I think this project, rather than creating new musical tastes and sensitivities, simply brought what was already there out into the light. And I'm fine with that.

Love At the End of the World -...


It's interesting to me to note that only three of these albums contain a song that made my "songs-of-the-year" list. In the case of "Middle Cyclone," "Love at The End of The World," "Road To My Love," "Time to Die," and "Adult Nights," the total package is greater than any one of its components. And that's an achievement in itself.

Time To Die - The Dodos


Listen to these albums. Add them to your collection. They're good.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 12:39 PM | link | 0 comments |

Year-End Music Review: The Songs

Friday, December 18, 2009

My quest for a genre nearly ran aground in the last quarter of the year. Family and work responsibilities mounted, and, frankly, I started to question the maturity of such an endeavor. I have satisfied myself on the latter point. Enough said.

Yet a certain fatigue set in as well, owing to the sheer volume of content that comes out every week (always on Tuesday). The online media landscape allows a neophyte like myself to sit in the presence of indie music's high priests, but nothing can replace time and experience as the arbiters of quality in music. My blunt tastes are being formed every day.

I plan a couple more year-end posts, lifting up the albums I liked the best and the blogs I used to find them. I'd also like to share some thoughts about the vehicles I have used to acquire music, since what I'm using today is not what I started with, and may not be what I use six months from now.

But without belaboring the point, here is a random collection of the songs I discovered in 2009 that I listened to the most, shared the most, and sit atop my playlists entering 2010. To qualify, a song on this list has to have been sought out for its own sake repeatedly during the year.

This is no countdown; more like a cloud. A cloud of musical goodness. What it says about me and my genre I can't say. Maybe you can.

Best Songs of '09

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:49 AM | link | 0 comments |

Cutting HIs Losses

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Last November I defended Royals' General Manager Dayton Moore in his acquisition of Mike Jacobs, a move roundly panned by baseball writers reputable and obscure alike. "Dayton Moore isn't stupid," I scolded. While I stand by that assertion today, I also am forced to acknowledge that those writers aren't stupid either. The Jacobs trade clearly stands out as the worst move Moore has made since taking over as GM in June of 2006. Anyone could have seen this as early as May of last season.

Including Dayton Moore.

So now the Royals have released him. Unconditionally.

Thankfully, his contract was only for one year, so it's off the books. But that's little consolation to Royals fans who watched a Leo Nunez-less bullpen give away 7th and 8th inning leads all summer while Nunez (Jacobs' trade opposite) racked up 27 saves for the Marlins.

I'll still defend the trade on the grounds that Moore was trying to inject some power into a woefully weak major league lineup, and Jacobs appeared, if not an unlikely contributor, a potential one. Moore's behavior this off season indicates that he's given up on the major league roster; he knows it's going to be awful in 2010, and he's willing to take his lumps in exchange for amateur players filed away in the minors (see the team's acquisition of 19 year-old Cuban defector Noel Arguelles).

Moore is entering his fourth full season as a major league GM. I'm comfortable with acknowledging that he's still learning the job. It's an impossible balance, with a small market team like the Royals, between cultivating a healthy long-term farm system that won't produce big league results for three-to-five years down the line and actually improving the big league roster. I think last year showed Moore that the worst of the best free agents available in any off-season are still worse that the best of the worst players in the farm system.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 11:26 AM | link | 1 comments |

Rushkoff on Tiger

Thursday, December 03, 2009

In the latest Daily Beast:
in spite of our increasing familiarity and comfort with the Internet, most of us still have pitifully little idea of the fossil record of data we leave trailing behind us every day, all the time. Until, of course, it is too late.
Read the whole piece here.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:53 AM | link | 0 comments |