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Bond. James Bond.
01/21/10 at 08:06 PM by Adrian Villagomez


I finally got around to watching the two newest James Bond movies, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. I'm a fan of quality action movies - the Jason Bourne series comes to mind - so I had high expectations for this new Bond series. I remember when I first heard Daniel Craig was cast as the title character, I thought he didn't visually suit the part. He won me over about two minutes into the first film. After finishing up Casino Royale, I was hesitant to jump into Quantum of Solace. I know it wasn't received as well as the first film, but I was not let down at all. Actually, I think it benefits from better pacing than its predecessor. Either way, these new Bond films are fantastic, and I'm ready for a third one right now.
Tags: casino royale, james bond, movie, quantum of solace
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2009: A Year in Review
01/16/10 at 12:00 AM by Adrian Villagomez


2009: A Year in Review

Put aside that Star Trek Blu-ray, it's time to reflect on the great music that was released in 2009. I think my list of top albums this year is pretty varied, so maybe it'll help you discover some new music that tickles your fancy. Next year I hope to listen to more hip-hop (new and old) and tons of Beatles songs (want!). If you think of an album from 2009 that is sorely missing from my list, let me know.

Top Albums

30. Alex Day - Parrot Stories
29. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
28. Weezer - Raditude
27. Fake Problems - It's Great to Be Alive
26. The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
25. Clipse - Til the Casket Drops
24. John Nolan - Height
23. We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls
22. Mansions - New Best Friends
21. The Swellers - Ups and Downsizing
20. As Tall As Lions - You Can't Take It with You
19. Third Eye Blind - Ursa Major
18. Little Boots - Hands
17. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
16. Ace Enders and a Million Different People - When I Hit the Ground
15. Wale - Attention Deficit
14. Heartsounds - Until We Surrender
13. Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
12. Paramore - brand new eyes
11. All the Day Holiday - The Things We've Grown to Love
10. Brand New - Daisy
09. Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist
08. Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
07. mewithoutYou - It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright
06. Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
05. Audrye Sessions - Audrye Sessions
04. Nightmare of You - Infomaniac
03. P.O.S. - Never Better
02. fun. - Aim and Ignite
01. Kevin Devine - Brother's Blood

Top AlbumsKevin Devine, where have you been all my life? Sure, I knew your duet "Cotton Crush" with Jesse Lacey was rockin' stuff, but I did not expect Brother's Blood to be my best musical experience of 2009. And why isn't everyone gushing over how very impressive Audrye Sessions' Radiohead/Muse inspired debut album is? Spread the word! I could blab about all these albums, but I'll save you the time - spend it listening to this excellent music instead.

Top Tracks

15. As Tall As Lions - "Is This Tomorrow?"
14. The Swellers - "Do You Feel Better Yet"
13. Paramore - "Where the Lines Overlap"
12. Portugal. The Man - "Do You"
11. Nightmare of You - "Hey Sweetheart"
10. Jay-Z - "Run This Town"
09. fun. - "Be Calm"
08. Brand New - "Bought a Bride"
07. Audrye Sessions - "Dust and Bones"
06. Manchester Orchestra - "Pride"
05. Third Eye Blind - "About to Break"

Third Eye Blind - "About to Break"I was walking alone on the ocean.
I felt a fever burning up all I am.
'Cause if there's one thing that I can't stand,
It's standing next to my fellow man.

04. Wale - "Shades"

Wale - "Shades"From a light skin girl to a dark skin brotha,
Shade doesn't matter, heart makes the lover.
Boy, you so beautiful.

03. Kevin Devine - "All of Everything, Erased" (this spot could be taken by any of the first five tracks off Brother's Blood)

Kevin Devine - "All of Everything, Erased"I prayed for providence,
God said, "Don't pray no more.
You went and made your mess.
Keep your blame off my feet."

02. P.O.S. - "Low Light Low Life"

P.O.S. - "Low Light Low Life"It seems we've fallen out of favor, the era ended on us.
Now the money's just paper, the houses all haunted.
We had a hell of a run before it caught up.
For all the corners cut we got an avalanche of sawdust.

01. mewithoutYou - "A Stick, a Carrot & String"

mewithoutYou - "A Stick, a Carrot & String"The horse's hay beneath his head
Our Lord was born to a manger bed,
That all whose wells run dry
Could drink of his supply.

Artist of the Year

P.O.S.

Artist of the YearWith one of the best albums of the year (featuring some of the most creative limited edition packaging I've ever seen), P.O.S. breathed new life into our scene in 2009. He earned himself a new group of loyal fans, and we're all looking forward to new music from the punk rocker turned hip-hopper.

Best New Band

fun.

Best New BandWipe those tears, fans of The Format, because fun. is pretty much the sweetest musical candy you could ask for. With its catchy pop hits ("All the Pretty Girls", "Walking the Dog") and heartfelt ditties ("Light a Roman Candle With Me", "The Gambler"), fun. came roaring out of the gates with Aim and Ignite. I'm thinking fun.'s freshman album is better than either of The Format's albums.

Most Disappointing Album

Say Anything - Say Anything

Most Disappointing Album...Is a Real Boy is full of wit, vulgarity, and young honesty; some may dub it a modern classic. In Defense of the Genre overextends its reach, but at least it hits its fair share of high points. Say Anything is simply forgettable. We should all be glad that Max Bemis is happily married, but his latest album is a pretty sad effort.

I Don't Get It

The Dangerous Summer - Reach For the Sun

I Don't Get ItI bought Reach For the Sun because Julia Conny seemed to really dig The Dangerous Summer. I have to admit, I don't see what the fuss is about. The album isn't bad, it just isn't very creative or special. The lyrics don't do much for me at all.

Releases I Rocked in 2009 That Weren't Released in 2009

AFI - Sing the Sorrow
Alkaline Trio - Crimson
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
The Beautiful Mistake - This Is Who You Are
The Benjamins - The Art of Disappointment
Bush - The Science of Things
Butch Walker - Sycamore Meadows
Cartel - Chroma
Cary Brothers - Who You Are
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
The Early November - The Acoustic EP
Eve 6 - Eve 6
Frank Sinatra - Songs For Swingin' Lovers!
The Format - Dog Problems
The Format - Snails
Green Day - Nimrod
Gym Class Heroes - As Cruel As School Children
Incubus - Make Yourself
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced?
Jimmy Eat World - Static Prevails
John Anderson - Seminole Wind
Jonathan Vassar - The Hours and the Days
Lifetime - Jersey's Best Dancers
Midtown - Save the World, Lose the Girl
Muse - Absolution
MxPx - Teenage Politics
The Narrative - Just Say Yes
Ramones - Greatest Hits
Ramones - Ramones
Saves the Day - Can't Slow Down
Various Artists - La Bamba Original Soundtrack
Weezer - The Lion and the Witch

Released I Rocked in 2009 That Weren't Released in 2009Here are the quality albums and EPs I listened to for the first time in 2009. Well, a few of them I'd heard before (Green Day - Nimrod), but for the most part they were brand new listens for me. Pet Sounds is the first MP3 album I've purchased, and it opened up a new door for me when it comes to buying music. Gotta love Amazon MP3's awesome sales.

Crazy F@&%ing Song/Video I Couldn't Help But Love

Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance"

Crazy F@&%ing Song/Video I Couldn't Help But LoveLady Gaga fascinates me. The outfits, the lyrics ("disco stick" is a hilarious euphemism), the fact that she actually sings live - what kind of pop artist does she think she is?? She's definitely an oddball, a throwback to some great showmen who came before her, namely Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. Besides all that, songs like "Bad Romance" are way too catchy not to enjoy. Electro-funk verses combined with a traditional pop hook - consider me sold. And how about that video? It's like something Tool would think up, only less frightening and with more choreography. Yes, I am a bit googoo for Gaga.

Favorite Film

(500) Days of Summer

Favorite FilmJoseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the top young actors in Hollywood (alongside such greats as Ben Foster), so it's no wonder his performance helped catapult (500) Days of Summer to such critical acclaim. It's easy to smile from ear to ear when Gordon-Levitt's character dances through the streets after spending the night with his new lover, and it's just as distressing to watch that same joyful character's heart drop. (500) Days of Summer is a story about love that breaks away from cliche, replacing it with fresh narrative technique and a real relationship to delve in. It's lovely.

Best New TV Show

Modern Family

Best New TV ShowModern Family shines using the mockumentary format made famous by The Office, and the show's writing is near perfect. Its characters are interesting, likable, and pretty hilarious. If you haven't fallen in love with this not-so-traditional sitcom yet, you don't know what you're missing. Ed O'Neill picked the perfect time to return to the forefront of television.

Historic TV Moment

The Seinfeld Reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Historic TV MomentHere's something I learned in 2009: Curb Your Enthusiasm is prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay good. I'm a huge Seinfeld fan, so when I heard there was going to be a Seinfeld reunion on the HBO series, I knew it was time for me to become a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan. "The Seinfeld Reunion" actually extends to multiple episodes (not just one moment), and that's definitely something to be thankful for. Oh, and here's one more reason to check out Curb Your Enthusiasm: Leon Black is comedic gold.

Smiley That Should Be Renamed :adrian: in the Future



Keep Up with Me in 2010

AP.net Profile | Blog | Last.fm | Twitter

--

View my list from last year.

View other staff and band members' end of the year lists
Tags: absolutepunk business, aoty, best of 2009, eoty
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Heartsounds - Until We Surrender
12/12/09 at 10:18 PM by Adrian Villagomez


Heartsounds - Until We Surrender

Heartsounds are proof that the punk rock spirit is alive and in good hands. They're a fairly new band, so now is the perfect time to hop on the bandwagon. If you're looking for up-and-comers who are more concerned with substance than style (yes, they aren't that easy to find these days), look no further than Heartsounds' debut album Until We Surrender. Along with singing about the seeming futility of mortality on title track "Until We Surrender" and symbiotic love on "Walking Dead," the band calls out all the "artists" who create music for the wrong reasons:

"So count the numbers and on to the next city. / Preach to the choir of unknowing children / Who will scream back to you with sterile expressions of passion. / Oh how I pity you who think you've struck gold / But you're mining for shit in a sea of coal."

Telling it like it is, I respect that.
Tags: heartsounds
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HBO Documentary: Death on a Factory Farm
12/03/09 at 12:09 PM by Adrian Villagomez
HBO Documentary: Death on a Factory Farm

Last night I turned on the TV for a bit of entertainment before bed. Instead I saw a farm worker bash a piglet's head against a pen. He dumped it in a bucket, assuming it died on impact. When told that it was still moving, his response was, "Let it bleed out." It turns out I caught Death on a Factory Farm close to the start, a documentary about an undercover agent who caught video footage of animal cruelty on an Ohio farm, and the subsequent court trial that followed. The focus of the trial quickly became the definition of cruelty, and which forms of death are the most humane and least painful for an animal (the hanging of a pig is the crux). It is a clash between an outside team that is clearly appalled by the video footage and a farming community that accepts it as old fashioned farm business.

As far as I'm concerned, when farm workers become exuberant when carrying out various forms of slaughter they have lost basic human empathy. And aside from the death, the living conditions of the pigs is abhorring. It is a shocking film, and it raises issues that need to be addressed immediately.
Tags: death on a factory farm, documentary
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Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
11/21/09 at 08:58 PM by Adrian Villagomez


Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3

It was about time I picked up a Jay-Z album. The Blueprint 3 is pretty much a platform for Jay-Z to celebrate the greatness of Jay-Z, and I'm not complaining. There are some solid hits on this album that make it well worth the price of admission. I was fortunate enough to pick it up for $3.99, and Amazon MP3 is currently offering it for the very fair price of five bucks. Tracks like "Run This Town" and "Empire State of Mind" are obvious album standouts, but maybe you don't know how outrageous and funny some of the lyrics on the album are. Example:

"No I'm not a Jonas / Brother I'm a grown up / No I'm not a virgin / I use my cajones."

I know, good stuff. Oh, and "On to the Next One" will forever be my Vegas song. Double your money and make a stack.
Tags: jay-z
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I'm Not a Twilight Fan Or Anything...
10/29/09 at 12:34 AM by Adrian Villagomez


...But isn't this picture just awwdorable?

Damn, there goes one man card.
Tags: twilight, yahoo
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Paramore - brand new eyes
09/28/09 at 09:13 PM by Adrian Villagomez


Paramore - brand new eyes

I had been meaning to listen to a Paramore album, so I'm glad I got a chance to hear Brand New Eyes this week. Since this is the first Paramore album I've heard, I cant' say whether the band has grown/matured/whatever, but I'm sure these new tunes will not alienate their fanbase. The music is standard pop punk fare, but Hayley Williams' vocals really propel the songs forward. Now it's clear to me why Paramore's music is adored by young music fans who want to rock out, and it explains why I overheard two teenage girls at the movie theater singing along to "Misery Business" without the slightest inkling of public embarrassment. My favorite moment album moment comes during the track "Where the Lines Overlap" when the music cuts and Williams belts out, "No oooooone [her voice gets a bit surly at the end] is as lucky as us" (2:12). I don't know how many new fans will be drawn in by this album, but it is definitely worth a $3.99 digital download. So go ahead and find out why Hayley Williams is cool like Thundercats.

On a Fueled By Ramen side note, I wish I was as into the new Swellers album as much as others seem to be, although I really like the lyrics to "Dirt."
Tags: paramore
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Absolute 100 - 2009 Edition
09/27/09 at 10:58 PM by Adrian Villagomez
I hope by now everyone has found a band they enjoy through our Absolute 100 feature (major props to Julia and Blake for pulling extra weight this year). My picks can be found below, and make sure to check out Moonshine Matinee as well -- we were unable to include them in the final list due to some technical difficulties.

Heartsounds - San Francisco, California
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Quick drum beats, fast guitar strumming, high energy, blaring hooks -- yup this sounds like punk rock. Heartsounds (catchy name, right?) already have a few admirers here at AbsolutePunk.net, and it's time to expand their audience. Ben Murray and Laura Nichol, the dynamic duo who form Heartsounds, remind us why we fell in love with the punk rock genre all those years ago. Buy their new album Until We Surrender and immediately burn a copy for your car CD player. You'll want to sing along with this one.
RIYL: The Swellers, The Loved Ones, How Water Music

Slave To a Heart That Strays


Jonathan Vassar & the Speckled Bird - Richmond, Virginia
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: If you were siting at ease in a rocking chair paying mind to only the natural world before your eyes, you'd want Jonathan Vassar and his acoustic guitar by your side. Though artists are always borrowing elements from the past to create their current sound, Vassar sounds like he could have shared a stage with classic country and folk acts on The Johnny Cash TV Show. It's a rustic sound that time appreciates. Vassar doesn't offer big hooks to catch fickle listeners, but instead rewards patient minds who remember a time when a musician's studio was the open air. Triple Stamp Records knew exactly what they were doing when they signed this gentleman.
RIYL: David Shultz and the Skyline, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits

Turn Down the Sun


Moonshine Matinee - Dupage and Will County, Illinois
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: It's about time "John Rowland" became a household name. Rowland first caught our attention with his great Limbeck-esque band Dorsey, and he's currently moonlighting as the lead singer of Moonshine Matinee. Though the band is brand spankin' new, the music is an affable kind of folk-meets blues-meets rock 'n' roll soul that sounds pleasantly aged. Become a fan of Moonlight Matinee now, before Rowland starts up another talented band you're missing out on.
RIYL: Dorsey, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Good Old War

The Mysterious Disappearance (Jesse James)


The Narrative - Brooklyn, New York
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: When your unsigned band receives the coveted Henderson seal of approval, you know you've got something special. The Narrative are the kind of raw, young talent that makes lesser bands envious. The charming duel vocals of Jesse Gabriel and Suzie Zeldin on Just Say Yes are some of the best you'll ever find on an introductory EP, and the music is alluring in its own right. Stream the EP on the band's AP.net profile and fall in love.
RIYL: Lydia, Death Cab for Cutie, Destry

Castling


The Soldier Thread - Austin, Texas
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: It feels a bit redundant adding The Soldier Thread to this list of up-and-coming artists. Many of the Absolute 100 picks are made based on the promise of further maturity, but as of this moment The Soldier Thread sound ready to rule the world with their haunting ambiance. There's an engrossing density to their sound that is made all the more special by the addition of lead singer Patricia Lynn and her viola. Often a band that falls under the "ambient" headline will better serve listeners as background music (for studying, relaxing, what have you), but The Soldier Thread don't make the kind of music that is secondary to anything.
RIYL: Death Cab for Cutie, Eisley, Copeland, The Narrative

Run Run
Tags: absolute 100
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Classic Disney Shorts
09/26/09 at 12:57 AM by Adrian Villagomez
Ah, Little Toot. You would make the ocean liners wait while you make a figure 8.



I recently rediscovered some classic Disney sing-song stories on YouTube that I hadn't thought about in many years. Ah, childhood nostalgia. Did anyone else watch these in school? They were released in the mid-1900s, so I feel like an old man referencing them. Oh well. Click on the links below if you feel like spending time with these animated characters that are drawn from popular folklore. The music used in these is timeless.



Casey at the Bat
Johnny Appleseed
Little Toot
Paul Bunyan
Pecos Bill
The Ugly Duckling

There are plenty more of these to be found if you simply search around.
Tags: cartoon, disney
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The Road
09/22/09 at 01:46 AM by Adrian Villagomez


"This is what the good guys do. They keep trying. They don't give up."

We have blasted the earth and destroyed its life. The sun is hidden behind endless haze. Ashes cover all. A father and son journey south to avoid freezing to death. But death takes on other forms as they travel along the road.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is heartbreaking. It is a dismal tale of survival that takes place years after a catastrophic flame deluge, and its mood brings to mind stories written by those who endured the Holocaust. This is jarring fiction, and it's important fiction. The Road fits alongside classics like 1984 and Lord of the Flies in all their disturbing glory - it shakes us awake and warns us of the dreadful capacities we possess. Read this.
Tags: cormac mccarthy, book, the road
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You Spin Me Round
09/05/09 at 12:47 AM by Adrian Villagomez
Let the record show (pun) the first vinyl I ever spun at home was The Get Up Kids' single "A Newfound Interest in Massachusetts" (aka "The Love Teller EP"):



More recently this colorful fellow has been receiving much attention:



Oh, I know, it goes on, it gets old,
But for now we're young, we smell good, we're alone...
Tags: record player, vinyl
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Five and Alive Guest Spot
08/31/09 at 09:58 PM by Adrian Villagomez
I recently put together some of my favorite movie soundtracks for Adam Pfleider's (aka duffmanrxbandit) "Five and Alive" blog feature. You can find my picks here, and be sure to keep up with Adam's blog regularly -- it's one of the best on the site.
Tags: adam pfleider, blog, movie soundtracks
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(500) Days of Summer
08/26/09 at 01:52 PM by Adrian Villagomez


The Format deserve a couple spots on the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack. Their pop melodies dealing with joyous sentimentality and crippling heartbreak are very much akin to the relationship shared by onscreen couple Tom and Summer. I hesitate to call (500) Days of Summer a romantic comedy, because that genre is generally predictable and crusted in cotton candy. This film is definitely funny - more so than Funny People - and there is heartfelt romance. But it's also creative and more honest than most romantic comedies care to be. Tracing the highs and lows of Tom and Summer's relationship, it's easy to sympathize (let's say empathize), to feel pieces of yourself projected. (500) Days of Summer is a sweet film, one of my favorites this year.

If you love love, you love being in love, and you don't care what it does to you, you need some Summer in your life.
Tags: (500) days of summer, movie
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TMNT 25th Anniversary
08/22/09 at 09:48 PM by Adrian Villagomez
I know I'm twenty-four years old, but that doesn't stop me from wanting some TMNT swag to celebrate the Turtles' 25th anniversary. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one of my favorite cartoons many years ago, and the first couple movies are pretty impressive, considering the absurd premise of talking, crime fighting turtles.

As my NES cartridge for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shows, there was once a time when the Turtles all wore red bandannas. These guys look tough (except for Mikey, who looks silly):



I remember shopping with my mom when she bought my brother a set of the original action figures for his birthday. I had quite a collection myself:



I've been hooked on graphic novels this year, so of course I'd want to learn more about the mythos behind the shells:



Though it wasn't Halloween, I once paraded around in a Turtles costume when I was a young lad. Why not relive those glory days:



Cowabunga, dude.
Tags: teenage mutant ninja turtles
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Inglourious Basterds
08/21/09 at 08:41 PM by Adrian Villagomez


A film starring Brad Pitt as the leader of a band of Nazi hunters should be amazing, but Inglourious Basterds is only okay. I expected Quentin Tarantino to really deliver with this one, to remind me why I love Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, but the film's just not at that level. Rather than hanging on every word of dialogue, I found myself waiting for the Basterds to show up again, because they're easily the most entertaining part of the movie. The film is long, it sort of drags, but at least Lieutenant Aldo Raine can be remembered alongside such greats as Jules Winnfield. This quote courtesy of Kirk Honeycutt sums things up pretty well:

"The film is by no means terrible -- its two hours and 32 minutes running time races by -- but those things we think of as being Tarantino-esque, the long stretches of wickedly funny dialogue, the humor in the violence and outsized characters strutting across the screen, are largely missing."

As it stands, District 9 was a better way to spend my $8.75, and I'm still looking forward to 9.
Tags: inglourious basterds, movie
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