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2009 In Music
12/24/09 at 12:46 AM by Matt Chylak
I've decided not to rank my favorite albums of the year. After some careful thought, I've realized that it's pretty much impossible for me to rank albums until years and years after thier debuts. The lasting value on records like "Mean Everything to Nothing" (AP's #1) doesn't hold a candle to Monsters of Folk's self-titled for me, yet I loved the former much more intensely when it first came out. Conversely, I couldn't stand Thrice's "Beggars" on the first few listens through, and only recently have I grown to love it.

Listed here (alphabetically) are five albums from this year that I loved:

Brand New - Daisy [note - I will not use the word 'polarizing' in this description.]
The boys from Long Island came back from another three-year nap to drop this...this...thing. It's loud, it's soft, it's LOUDthensoft, it's...Daisy. From the weird fox on the cover to the endless debate over what's clearly "I'm on my way out," a solid portion of my autumn was dedicated to this record. I ate, drank, slept, drove, and stationary biked these 11 songs into oblivion. For some reason, I'll devour anything related to Jesse Lacey (watch out, Jesse's family), and though Brand New went in a much noisier direction this go around, nothing was simultaneously more exciting and comforting to me than Daisy in 2009. Whether I was being lucabombed by some gospel lady in "Vices" or spending hours deciphering the gibberish of "Be Gone," I had a great time with this surprising and divisive album.

John Mayer - Battle Studies
I'll say it: after Continuum, I was expecting More (with a capital M) out of John Mayer. Instead, he followed his perfect blues rock album (yes, perfect) with a moody, morose, almost masterpiece. Battle Studies is less, not in quality or purpose, but in ambition. Mayer was not trying to make a grand watermark for singer-songwriters everywhere to aspire to, but instead show the world exactly where he's been since 22 ("a long way," invariably). There is hardly any soundscaping on this disc, just the most solid pop/rock songwriting that our generation has contributed thus far. With "red wine and ambien" and much less guitar than usual, John Mayer created a soundtrack for my late night wanderings and early morning runs in late 2009.

Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
In early July, I was waiting in the FYE at Steamtown Mall in Scranton, PA for my cousin Will to finish getting new glasses. I wandered aimlessly looking for random CDs, saw METN's cover and took a listen on the scanner thing. While thirty seconds of a song or two didn't do much for me, I decided to buy the album because it was cheap and the band had a cool name. Cut to the end of the week, driving home from Scranton: Hmmm, I guess I'll play this new CD I got...hmmm....I like this...nice voice....this is great!...no, this is AWESOME! Of course, as soon as I finish my 2.5 hour triple spin, I hop on AP.net and type in Manchester Orchestra to see the hype machine in full effect. Totally worth it too, these guys are great and I'm glad they still care enough about album art to make me discover this (as well as ILAVLAC, which has much better lasting value and fucking rocks as well). Kudos.

Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk
What can I say about Oberst that hasn't already been said? When he's on, which he is for his fourth of this record, he's ON. Fortunately, the other three (Ward, James, Mogis) bring just as much musical fire to the table. With almost no skippable tracks ("Magic Marker" or "Slow Down Jo" are all I can think of on this fifteen-track epic), MoF's self-titled is alt-country-folk-rock perfection, and the Travelling Wilburys comparisons are so apt. These gentlemen are at the top of their genre, writing songs that are perfect for the road and the sunshine.

Thrice - Beggars
Wow, what an amazingly lyrical album. Coming from a skilled wordsmith like Kensrue, that's saying something. It took me a long time to get into this album, but over the past three weeks I've fallen in love with the humble, rhythm-driven, sometimes haunting songs on Beggars. The music complements the (completely abstract, I know) 'feel' and 'groove' of each song in a way few other bands could ever hope to achieve, and I read these lyrics like a book of short stories. These ten tales of yearning are fully realized in concise yet descriptive verses and hookier choruses than I'm used to from Thrice. Keep it up, guys.

Here's a list of great records from pre-2009 that I discovered/loved this year:
Ryan Adams - Gold
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
Lupe Fiasco - The Cool
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child
Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours
Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West
Cartel - Chroma
Dustin Kensrue - This Good Night Is Still Everywhere (shout out to Christmas Music '09 - you were awesome!)

and a special apology to Vampire Weekend. I never gave you guys a chance because I presumed you to be a hip "indie" band that I couldn't deign to listen to. I'll never make that mistake again. Your self-titled was great and I can't wait for Contra.

Should've Been Given More Press on AP.net

Cassino - Kingprince
Not many other bands could rerecord three songs off their debut for their next album and have their fans not scream foul. Nick Torres crafted one of the best singer-songwriter albums of the year and got almost no praise whatsoever for it...somebody listen up!

These are Bands that Released Above-Average Albums in 2009, But I'm Afraid I've Outgrown Musically:

Thursday - Common Existence
Truly awesome lyrics, great instrumentation, catchy yet technical, but for some reason I just didn't give this record many spins.

Say Anything - Say Anything
I was in the car yesterday, and wondered what album to play through my ipod speakers. I thought of Say Anything because they used to be one of my favorite bands, but then I thought, "naah, their new album just doesn't do it for me." so goes SA/ST

Paramore - brand new eyes
A very catchy, solid album, but I forget about it whenever I'm not listening to it.

Most Disappointing Records of 2009:

Taking Back Sunday - New Again
I can't stand a few of these tracks, about half are mediocre, and two are above decent. Unfortunately, the first fifteen seconds of each song are more interesting musically than the rest of each track. Adam's lyrics have reached new lows (except for the James Taylor reference in "Everything Must Go" - actually, that whole song gets a pass. Next time write an album more like that) Too sloppy, and a lack of what defines TBS for me in a good way (dual vocals) with a surplus of what defines TBS for me in a bad way (annoying repetition).

Ace Enders +1,000,000 - When I Hit The Ground
His free EP got me really excited for this album, but when it all comes down to it this album just isn't interesting to me. The best songs were already on past works with a lot of the cheesiness I don't like about Ace's vocals upped a notch ("Leader"? really?). Here's hoping for more TEN-style next time around.

Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
Horrible album by a band that made classic albums. They stretched themselves too far and the lyrics went to beyond shit. I'm actually ashamed that the same society that killed my favorite song on American Idiot ("Boulevard") allowed "21 guns" to become a hit on radio. If I wrote that song, I'd be shit on daily.


Best Cover Songs of 2009:

John Mayer - In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning (Frank Sinatra)
Paramore - Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
Matt Chylak - Got Money (Lil Wayne)

Lyricist of the Year:

Dustin Kensrue
Nick Torres
Jesse Lacey
Monsters of Folk's Jim James and Conor Oberst

Mixtape of the Year:

Lil Wayne - No Ceilings
An apt title...this man is the only rockstar of our generation.

and with that comes Hardest Worker of 2009:

Lil Wayne
He guested on literally 90% of the radio hits in 2009. Say what you want about him, but he (in some small way) deserves the fame he's earning.

Next Big Things:

Lady Gaga
She's already there, really, but I think she can push it even further.

The "Vampire" of 2010 (new "Wolfman" and "Teen Wolf" remakes will push it through)

TV Series of the Year:

True Blood. period.

Guilty Pleasure Singles:

Ke$ha - Tic Toc
"The party don't start 'til I walk in" or turn this song on.

Miley Cyrus - Party In the USA
I don't know how to move my hips "like yeah," but I really wish I did. This song is so undeniably catchy that I couldn't stop smiling when it came on even after Miley admitted that she doesn't listen to Jay-Z, didn't write a bit of the song, and just needed a song for her clothing line. Lucky as hell.

Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling
This section of the blog post should be renamed "Best Pregame Songs"

Fucking Worst Songs Ever...err, of 2009:

Jay Sean (Feat. Lil Wayne) - Down
I HATE YOU JAY SEAN. (still love you, Weezy. "down like the economy" gave me lols)

Jason Derulo - Whatcha Say
"MMMM whatcha say...I hear this song every day...oh, I heariteveryday, every day....somebody stop playing this shit."

Eminem - We Made You
Lose the accent and find a new marketing plan. This song is pathetic for a man your age and with your abilities.

Cobra Starship - Good Girls Go Bad
I hate you, Gabe. You know why.

Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow
"I'm so 3008, you're so...ah fuck it, Mahzel Tov"

Asher Roth - I Love College
Asher, if you died today, I'd have no qualms. Sorry, you can't put shitty fratboy lyrics over one of my favorite Weezer songs, especially when you dropped out of college after a single year. Fuck you and fade into oblivion.

and finally...Most Anticipated of 2009

Cold War Kids - TBA
The Gaslight Anthem - TBA
Vampite Weekend - Contra (Jan. 12)
The Ataris - The Graveyard of the Atlanctic (before 12-21-2012)
Blink 182 - TBA
anything Dustin Kensrue does
anything Conor Oberst does

Thanks 2009. You were great.
<3 Matt
Tags: 2009, end of year list, music, this took forever i hope someone reads it
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Trip (Early Morning Grace)
12/09/09 at 05:40 PM by Matt Chylak
a song I wrote today. lately music's been flowing pretty well.

Trip (Early Morning Grace)

Of all the things I'd want to see,
From caves in puddles on the street
To dandelion trees blowing away,
From mountain tops in open water
To Christ-like pigs lead straight to slaughter,
Least of all, I'd like to see your face.
But we never did much talking anyway.

I once danced with a scarecrow; he ran straight across the sky,
Off his pole and down a hole to find a place to lie
And get some sleep.
So I got on my hands and knees, dug and asked him why.
He said "I just wanna hide. These birds are tearing my insides."
I told him about you and he held me close to weep,
Saying "Son, you're in the same place as me."

And when I slept in your basement, I started clawing the linoleum walls.
Your head melted into your neck, and you grew fourteen feet tall.

Of all the things I could describe
That I have seen with my kaleidoscope eyes,
The moment I would fry right from my brain
Was the last time that I saw your pretty face.

<3 matt
Tags: writing, music
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Christmastime Is Here
11/29/09 at 11:09 PM by Matt Chylak
Currently downloading "A Charlie Brown Christmas" to celebrate. I'll probably watch it every day.
My iPod is loaded with Christmas tunes and my room is completely holidayized, which just became a word for the purposes of this blog post.
Didn't do any homework, but that's ok; I just got back from break, and I need a break.

Top Christmas music for me right now:
Vince Guaraldi Trio
Dustin Kensrue
Frank Sinatra

Going back home on Saturday morning to chop down a tree for the living room. I really love Christmastime.
Tags: Christmas, peanuts, music
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AP Posted My First Album Review!
11/24/09 at 11:03 PM by Matt Chylak


Finally home for break today. Relaxing and watching HBO's documentary "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama"
pretty good.

EDIT 11/30/09: got featured on the home page today. sweet(er)
Tags: writing, reviews, john mayer, hbo
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End Of Year List Scraps
11/21/09 at 06:22 PM by Matt Chylak
All The 2009 Albums I Own (According To A List My iTunes Made):

Ace Enders & A Million Different People - When I Hit The Ground
Bob Dylan - Christmas In The Heart
Brand New - Daisy
Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream
Coldplay - LeftRightLeftRightLeft
Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band - Outer South
Dane Cook - ISolated INcident
Dashboard Confessional - Alter The Ending
Death Cab For Cutie - The Open Door EP
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
Jaydiohead - Minty Fresh Beats
John Mayer - Battle Studies
Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon: The End Of Day
The Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears
Lil Wayne - No Ceilings Mixtape
Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything To Nothing
Matt Chylak - Sound of Summer EP
Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement
Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk
Northbrook - Maybe...
Paramore - Brand New Eyes
Say Anything - Say Anything
Super Mash Bros - All About the Scrillions
Taking Back Sunday - New Again
Thrice - Beggars
Thursday - Common Existence
Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
Tags: music, aoty list
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It's Christmas Season
11/21/09 at 03:14 PM by Matt Chylak
Forget the after-Thanksgiving rule. B-101 played a Christmas song on the radio yesterday, so the Christmas season has officially STARTED for me. Dustin Kensrue and Bob Dylan are currently jamming their holiday tunes in my eardrums*

*My plan is to listen to as much "alternative" Christmas music as I can so that when I get to crunch time (the last week before Christmas) I won't be sick of the oldies.

I love this season.
Tags: Christmas, music
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Happy Birthday to Me
11/16/09 at 07:21 PM by Matt Chylak
So today's my birthday, and it was a decent day, despite the ache in my forehead right now. I think I'm getting sick...ugh.

The tradition for my birthday is for my mom to take me to a music store and buy me whatever I want, so here's what I bought today:

Bob Dylan - Christmas in the Heart
Coldplay - Parachutes
Dashboard Confessional - Alter The Ending (Deluxe Edition)
Foo Fighters - Greatest Hits
John Mayer Trio - Try!
Paramore - Brand New Eyes
Say Anything - Self-Titled
Thrice - Beggars
Vampire Weekend - Self-Titled

they didn't have the new Avett Brothers or Boys Like Girls, but overall I'm happy with my picks. Some pretty big names here.
Tags: music, birthday, nineteen
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Thoughts of the Day: 11/13/09
11/13/09 at 01:41 PM by Matt Chylak
It's totally and completely lame that whenever I read Calvin and Hobbes comics now, I think of Jason Tate.

Random jazz music is fun to listen to.

Going to the Sixers game tonight with my dad for my birthday Monday. Bonding time! Can't wait, actually.

So apparently today is both "International Hug A Jew Day" and "To Write Love On Her Arms Day." It's also friday the 13th. Go figure.

I'm missing practice right now, and that's not good. Later.


P.S. We need a :love: smiley on this website
Tags: thoughts, random
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Ode to Brand New
11/11/09 at 07:13 PM by Matt Chylak
Dear Brand New,

You've been my favorite band for a long long time,
From the Shower Scene to Play Crack the Sky.
From Jesus Christ to Bought A Bride,
Your music has always been at my side.

From Sowing Season toms to Lucabombs
You know I'm a sucker for all of your songs.
I've screamed "You Won't Know" at the top of my lungs
And mistakenly downloaded "The Break-Up Song."

But highs and lows, albums or shows,
I know you'll stay with me wherever I go.
On this warm college bed, when my head feels like lead
Or on a sinking ship off the Montauk coast.

So Jesse, Fight Off The Demons Raging Inside of You.
Vinnie, don't mind the 'Handcuffs' jokes.
Garret, Brian, and Derrick, you guys are cool too,
Though I don't know much about you folks.
If I tried to put the fire out that your music started in my heart...
Well, you know the rest. Guys, you're the best, even if you never reach the top of the charts. (Woo, rhyme stretch!)

You screamed at me once that Glory Fades
But I hope that isn't true for you.
Because honestly guys, this poem can't come close
To how much I care about you.

The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot
Tags: brand new, writing, poetry
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Set List for Tonight's "Show"
11/05/09 at 10:27 PM by Matt Chylak
"Got a cold in my heart that the doctor can't feeeeeel" - The Bar is a Beautiful Place, Ryan Adams

So tomorrow I'm jamming some acoustic tunes between a friend's acapella concert on 40th and Chestnut. I'm using this to come up with a set list.

Got some unprompted positive reactions in one of the forums about my music today, so I guess I'll plug it in here too (After all, where else can I do it? I'm sure no one reads the self-promotion forums): www.myspace.com/mattchylak
My new EP's on iTunes now, check it out!

Their set takes an intermission on "You Belong With Me", when someone interrupts it, so I figure I'd come in with:

Heartless (Kanye West cover)
Back To Me
Say It Ain't So (Weezer cover)
Seek And Find
It Ain't Me, Babe (Bob Dylan cover)
Edge of Summer
Got Money (Lil Wayne cover)
Love Is A Parasite (So Feed Off Me, Baby)
Wonderwall (Ryan Adams/Oasis cover)

cover/original/cover/original... seems like a good enough pattern for this venue.
practice up say it ain't so, read it ain't me's lyrics one time and we're all good.
Tags: music, set lists, matt chylak
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November Albums
11/05/09 at 02:22 PM by Matt Chylak
For some reason, I've been attributing Jimmy Eat World's "Futures" and Jack's Mannequin's "Glass Passenger" to the colder months, specifically November. Perhaps its due to a starkness I can sense in subject matter, but I don't know - it's more of a feel.

On further perusal of my iTunes, I'm including:

Cold War Kids - Loyalty to Loyalty
Death Cab - Narrow Stairs
Earlimart - Treble and Tremble
Early November - The Room's Too Cold
Elliott Smith - From a Basement on the Hill
The Get Up Kids - Something to Write Home About
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak
Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica
Ryan Adams - 29
Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Water

Thoughts/additions/subtractions are welcome.
Tags: albums, november, winter, music, lists
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Please Come Back, Armor For Sleep
11/04/09 at 06:34 PM by Matt Chylak
Please come back, Armor For Sleep. You never really hit your true potential because your songs never had strong enough hooks. Just work a little bit more on your choruses and everything would be fine for you as a band.

Please come back, Armor For Sleep. Ben Jorgensen, your lead singer, has decided (for lack of a better term) to "sell out." What is this garbage?

God loves a challenge, indeed.

How they describe their music:
Ranging from dancey songs about intoxicating first encounters to cinematic songs about life-crushing heart-break, each tells it's own story and has it's own voice.

What they mean:
We want to make money and get famous. Let's try to be a respectable version of Brokencyde

Apparently, "intoxicating first encounters" means its ok to trade lines about ripping shoes off with a steel-eyed blonde while bouncy synths blast in the background.

Iforced myself to transcribe these lyrics from the first song on their page before I had to stop.

From (presumably - top of page, most plays) their first single, "Deer in the Headlights":

Needle in the haystack,
Pricks my finger when it first made contact.
Oh, sad girls find a drunk boy.
Seek out and destroy, seek out and destroy.
You were like a lost light
Trapped inside a cellar, stuck at midnight.
Oh, I thought I could see you
Only if I knew, only if I knew.

Girl in bed, scantily clad, slipped the bad news, pulling off my shoes.
Girl in bed, scantily clad. Now I'm dead in the water.
A deer in the headlights is what you'll always be whenever you see me for the rest of your life,
a deer in the headlights.

I have no more to say for now.
Tags: god loves a challenge, lame, armor for sleep
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11/03/09 at 04:56 PM by Matt Chylak
So I just spent a good hour typing up a lengthy review of Say Anything's November 1st show at the TLA in Philly with Eisley, Moneen, and moving Mountains. Trust me when I say it was filled with clever insights, pictures, links, and videos from the show itself. It was probably tied for the longest blog I've ever done.

For some reason, when I clicked 'Post Blog Entry' I got the hated "we're sorry" screen from AP.net and all of my work was lost. Fuck.

Let's do a short short short version:

Say Anything - Phenomenal
Eisley - Underwhelming
Moneen - Epic
Moving Mountains - Energetic

Tags: AP.net, Say Anything, shows, review, failure
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Paperweight Fantasies
11/03/09 at 12:24 AM by Matt Chylak
spur of the moment poem writing.

Paperweight Fantasies

I have paperweight fantasies,
Dreams of holding the intangible down.
A motive, a standard, an ideal, an angel
Wrestling with me on the ground.

I have paperweight fantasies,
Visions of stability, strength.
Thrusting my chin into gravity's face
Instead of collapsing against its weight.

I have paperweight fantasies,
Passions of purpose and stone.
Though this labor seems blunt and unfeeling
It rewards my existence alone.

Yes, I have paperweight fantasies,
And these words strive to meet them each day.
I realize I am not yet a rock,
But nor are my feet cast from clay.

goodnight, AP.
Tags: writing, poetry, existence, goals
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Because I was Asked
10/29/09 at 06:48 PM by Matt Chylak
Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing.

That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of "world history," but nevertheless, it was ...only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die.

One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened.
Tags: Fables, the human condition, history
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