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SoundUp RoundUp: Danny Brown, Arcade Fire, & more

A lot of great music dropped the past two weeks. Like a lot. So I captured what I've been listening to. Maybe this will become a weekly or biweekly (is that twice a week or every other week?) thing. Maybe not.

Lend me your ears for this week's Soundup Roundup.

Danny Brown - Old
Old was easily my most anticipated album of the year. I already loved Danny. Then this album cover came out. Then he did a Reddit AMA. Then he dropped the album. And now I'm bananas about the guy.

Half the songs show us a more subdued Danny, someone we aren't quite used to. But someone I welcome with open arms. The other half are classic Danny bangers, something I also welcome with open arms.

The two halves combine for an immediate Top 10 album of 2013. Maybe Top 3. And something that I koala grab cling to with my previously open arms. While not physically released yet, you can stream it now.

Favorite tracks: Lonely, Side B [Dope Song], Dip, 25 Bucks, Dope Fiend Rental, Break It [Go]
(Yes, there a…

England: Even a Bus

England was greatfantastic bloody brilliant. England was just bloody brilliant.

I loved the history. I loved the pubs. I loved the countryside. I loved the people.

My pre-trip list was a tough one to check off. We saw a lot of rain. But we didn't see any corgis. Not one. All the dogs we saw were scraggly Irish dogs. I'm not 100% sure they were Irish, but the scraggly, scruffy nature and "sure, I'll have a beer with you" vibe they put out led me to think so.

Early in the week, we just explored the city of London. We went on a rainy bike tour, getting to check tick a few things off our list: Buckingham, Westminster, Elizabeth Tower (the building that houses Big Ben), and Kensington Gardens. We went to Piccadilly Circus. And we went to pubs. Lots of pubs.

Later in the week, we took a train to Bath (a beautiful small town in Somerset, England). We took a bus to Leeds Castle, Canterbury, Dover, and Greenwich. We went to Borough Market. We went to the coolest restauran…

Foggy Week in London Town Next Week

Next Saturday, along with my girlfriend, I will be venturing to the great country of England. 
It's bucket list time. Get the bucket list pen out and get ready to cross off "Visiting the UK". Meeting/marrying/smelling the hair of Beyonce will have to wait another day.

Being something I've wanted to do for so long (we're back to discussing London), expectations for what to do and see in England have been building and building. Here they are:
RainPubsThe TubeCool accentsMeet Edgar WrightMeet the Queen's corgis

Become best friends with Edgar Wright and the Queen's corgisObnoxiously exclaim, "You sound like you're from Lahn-dahn" to every single person I meetShout, "POUND TOWN!" every time I pay for something with cashMore rainAsk everyone if they speak EnglishFind the V for Vendetta guy

Impress hot British ladyz with my foreign accentImpress hot British ladyz by name-dropping my new friends, the Queen's corgisApologize to my girlfri…

Bucket List: Bonnaroo

My God.



Check it off the bucket list. But go ahead and immediately add it back on.

Earlier this month, I spent four days and nights sleeping, eating, and breathing music at one of the premiere music festivals in the country. Not only is Bonnaroo a four-day festival (as opposed to most being three), but it involves camping for its entirety. So my (body) hair got FRIZZZZZZZZZZZY.

Being in the middle of nowhere (Manchester, TN), self-contained with music, booze, food trucks, and a great group of friends, I couldn’t have been happier.







Favorite Bonnaroo 2013 Moments

McCartney's Live and Let Die fireworks show leading into a goosebump-inducing Let It Be. Then capping the entire show off with 80,000 people screaming the lyrics to Hey Jude. Also, he played Eleanor Rigby. Also, he played Helter Skelter. Also, he made my life complete. The 70-year-old Paul (71 on the following Monday) rocked for three hours, creating a lifetime memory for me. And a smile on my face lasting just as long.


Beach…

R.I.P. Papa

My beloved grandfather passed away last night.

Here's one of my favorite pictures of him with one of his best friends later in life, Lola. At the time of the photo, I couldn't find Lola in the house. I asked where she was. He lifted the blanket, revealing Lola upside down, next to him like this was a normal occurrence.


Between his purposeful mispronunciation of Walmart ("Walmarket") and Jason Statham ("Jason Strayham") to his unexplainable love of hoarding flashlights and batteries, he was always trying to make you smile whether intentionally or not. Without fail, he had a dozen Hemstrought Bakery half-moons waiting for me every time I came to visit. He preferred me to drive his car when he wanted to go to the store so it felt like he had a chauffeur. He had a knack for telling old jokes in a fresh way, making you laugh no matter how many times he told them. He remains one of the funniest people I've ever met.

Generous. Stubborn. Hilarious. An old-schoo…

CJ's Important Summer Tips

Summer is here. It's hot. Lucky for you, I've compiled a list of helpful tips to make sure you get the most out of summer.

Put your undershirt in the freezer for 5 minutes before you leave the house. (Yes, very similar to one of my winter tips, but still effective)You can never have too much Gold Bond.

"Seersucker" is NOT a sex move.Never overlook the "L" in "Hey Chris, dive into our PUBLIC POOL"Do some 'shups before wearing a tank top so you really make that barbwire pop.A bandana on your head is a great way to let everyone know you live in a basement.

Instead of using water, fill your Super Soaker with cold Go-Gurt.Movie theaters are a great place to cool off. Unless you're watching a Ryan Gosling movie, am I right ladyz?The best use of a Camelbak: Slurpees.Download this song. Put it on your phone. Play it at parties. Fight off women.


Float a river. Hard. When a restaurant hostess asks if you'd be OK to sit outside, maniacally laugh unco…

Dr. Wordsmith, MD

Unless you follow my LinkedIn as closely as I envision that all of you do, this will be news to you.

This spring....man...this is very tough...



...in this spring, I have decided to take my talents to the Creative Team and become a Writer.

You heard it here. And potentially on LinkedIn (thx 4 tha connexion!). I recently decided to leave the world of Account Service and pursue a career as a Copywriter.

Coming out of college, I had no desire to be a writer. To be fair, I had no desire to do anything other than play Dr. Mario, watch Lost, study duh hey mom.


So how did this happen? Let's rewind my life (and my crow's feet amirite) two years.
Two years ago
I was tasked to manage a weekly e-mail at work that no one wanted to read. What started as an attempt to trick people into reading, evolved into all-out nonsense. Content ranged from discussing this Brian Scalbrine clip to rewriting Wolverine comic panels. People probably still didn't read the e-mail, but I had found somewhat o…

Furry Fandom: Belle 'The Ballpark Diva'

When it comes to mascots, the Buffalo Bisons have an embarrassment of riches. They have three official furry fan favorites. THREE.

The first is Buster T. Bison, the team's namesake. He is a big bison.



The second is his cousin, Chip. He's another big bison, albeit a sadder one. Makes sense.



The third mascot turns my brain inside out and whispers sweet nothings of dementia into my ears.

Belle "The Ballpark Diva"
Buffalo Bisons
(I thought the plural of "Bison" was "Beeson"?)


From her bio:
Belle, "The Ballpark Diva" is the singing-sensation from Hollywood that has returned to Dunn Tire Park to perform all her smash hits for the fans of the Buffalo Bisons. Known for her fashion sense and sweet dance moves, Belle is 100% girl.
Let's break this down.

She is a cow. OK.Named Belle. I'm with you.She's a singing-sensation from Hollywood. My sanity is wobbling.She left her life of fame, returning to Buffalo, NY. You have completely lost me.Kn…

SEXpense Report

NOW THAT I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION...

For someone as cheapfrugal future-rich (?) as me, there's no better feeling than expensing something. NOTHING better. Usually I forget about it and then my paycheck is bigger. It's the old person equivalent of finding $20 in your winter coat.

But before you can make it Gatsby-rain, you have to submit the ol' expense report, including an itemized receipt.
Recently at the office, I realized my wrists were hurting from typing all day. I needed a wrist rest. I was told to go ahead and buy one off Amazon, then expense it. I also wanted a new notebook so I figured I would just throw this in, but only expense the wrist rest. 
Then this morning, I was alerted of a deal on one of the finest cinematic achievements in recent memory. So I threw it in there to round out for free shipping.  
Even though I'm only expensing the wrist rest, I have to submit the itemized receipt for the order. So here is what our professional 3rd party auditors will be …

U Mad, March?

The ball is tipped.
And there you are.
You're running for your life.
You're a shooting star.
My nightly lullaby in the mirror during March

This year marked the first year in about 15 that I haven't filled out a bracket. In related news, there's been a harsh decline of crying in the corner of my cubicle with a wastebasket fire, incinerating any record of picking Texas A&M to win it all.

So I didn't fill out a bracket this year. There's a few reasons why - 'being busy' is the biggest. But I also haven't had cable for about 2 years, which severely hinders my ability to become as involved in college basketball as I'd like to be.

It doesn't matter. College basketball, especially in March, really is like a drug. Despite a lack of fandom throughout the regular season, once the ball is tipped in those first games, I'm glued to my TV, buzzing with excitement.


No matter how uninvolved in the day to day of college basketball or the NBA I become, …

Music To Your Ears

I used to listen to Incubus.

CORRECTION: I had the band's decal on my '97 Honda Civic.  I used to love Incubus.


In high school, I was all about Incubus and Rage and Tool. Now my playlist consists of Wilco and LCD Soundsystem and Kendrick and on and on.

So what happened? Did I become a music elitist? A lot of my friends say yes. Well, I am here to stand tall and defiantly exclaim no, not really. 

I didn't stop listening to Incubus because they became popular. I stopped listening to them because A Crow Left of The Murder was terrible. And all of their releases since then have gone in a direction I didn't care for.

Simply put - Incubus started making music I didn't like.

If anything, my music appreciation is now continuously expanding. In high school, I never would have listened to a Loretta Lynn album or admitted to blasting Honky Chateau by myself. But a lot of the people claiming others are 'elitists' are stuck listening to Top 40, rarely branching to genr…

Quiet! I'm Getting Old

Raise your glass. And pour one out. For my youth. You will be missed, young friend.


I go to a lot of concerts. And live music is loud. Like really loud. No matter how "cool" you are, you're up the next morning with your ears ringing. Or worse, with "Whip My Hair" audibly seared onto your brain.

Recently, I made a purchase that officially put the nail in the coffin of my adolescence (last death metaphor I swear - cross my heart and hope to die lolhahaajkjkahaloljk).

I ordered ear plugs. Are they cool? Probably not. But neither were Furbies (plural? Furbi?) and people loved those things.


I've used the ear plugs a few times at indoor shows. If anything, they isolate the music, making it sound better by blocking out unnecessary noise. I bought mine from Ear Peace. The plugs match the color of my skin as closely as possible to remain virtually undetectable - unfortunately for me, Ear Peace doesn't carry the color "Powder - The Movie". But boy, do t…

Baby's First Seder

Late Monday afternoon, a very good friend of mine invited me to her Passover Seder. She's Jewish. I'm not. But I wanted to support her and to gain an understanding on just what exactly the Passover Holiday entailed.

As I entered her 5th floor NYC apartment out of breath in stride, I noticed a severe lack of lamb's blood on the door.

Strike One.

Welcoming me into the apartment was the delectable smell of the cooked food. First things first, I was served wine and told that the typical Seder requires "4 Cups" of wine to be consumed. I immediately started Googling synagogues for conversion inquiries.

Strike One Redacted.

The three attendees + Elijah gathered around the table. The poor man's Seder plate was already laid out.
Instead of a lamb shank bone, we had a slice of deli turkey meat. Passes my test.

As we dipped our parsley into the salt water (representing the tears shed by the Jewish ancestors), I felt a wave of 'togetherness' that we were taking p…