Little Clouds


Headlights at the Hi Dive 4.15.2009 + One of My Kind
April 16, 2009, 3:18 pm
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Headlights at the Hi Dive 4.15

aww headlights, youre too cute

aww headlights, you're too cute


Johnny, Sarah and I went to see Headlights last night at the Hi Dive. The show was pretty much what I expected, which meant it was pleasant and fun. Pleasant isn’t a very descriptive word, but I feel like it’s the appropriate word to describe Headlights’ music. I find anything with male and female vocals and and a certain amount of poppiness pleasant, but who doesn’t? “TV”, one of the band’s poppiest songs by far, was the encore and certainly the highlight of the show. With openers The Love Langauge on stage with them, the band killed the song and turned it into a straight up dance party. I do wish that they had played “Some Racing, Some Stopping” and “April 2”, but maybe next time.

Here is a low quality video of “TV” taken on Johnny’s phone.

One of My Kind

You're Still One of My Kind

You're Still One of My Kind

On another note, “One of My Kind”, the documetary about Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley is now available for free download on causecast.org. It is suggested that you make a donation to the charity of your choice.

The documentary details how the band formed, recorded their two records and their worldwide tour in the fall of 2008. It really makes you understand the dynamic of the mystic valley band and at the same time makes you appreciate the democratic approach to songwriting that Conor is taking these days. The most touching and humanizing moment is when it shows the band watching the election results in their hotel room. Oberst, in cowboy pajama pants, sits like a little boy glued to the t.v. and gets teary (as we all did) during the President’s acceptance speech. Anyway, it once again, made me feel guilty about my scathing review of “Outer South”, but just because you like the band doesn’t mean you have to love each album, right?

If you are a fan at all I suggest watching it, I really enjoyed it. Plus, your’s truly makes a guest appearance. Haha, no really, watch out for me and my friends Sarah and Chris, we’re in it at about 21 minutes. To explain, we signed up volunteers for the Obama campaign at a Mystic Valley Band Show.

Watch it here!



Conor Oberst at the Ogden 4.10.2009
April 12, 2009, 10:20 pm
Filed under: review | Tags: , , , ,
condor got me again. its like im 14

condor got me again. it's like i'm 14

I was going to wait to get my pictures developed to review this show, but unfortunately I’m too lazy to turn in my disposable camera to walgreens. that’s right, we are 21st century enough to have a blog but not a digital camera.

To put it simply the show was good. I knew it would be decent, but to be honest with you, it was one of the better conor shows I’ve been to (and I’ve been to too many, trust me). Mr. Oberst was quite the show man, funny and drunk, and singing and strumming along with pure conviction. It was heart warming to see conor so delighted to play the other band members songs. It made me feel guilty about my scathing review. He seemed truly comfortable on stage, playing with his mystic valley band, I side of him the audience rarely saw with Bright Eyes. The trembling, shaky voiced Conor that was clearly full of nerves at Coachella 2004 was long gone and replaced with a confident front man.

The show began with the album’s opener “Slowly”, which started the show with the high level of energy that continued through all 19 songs. Conor’s “Eagle on a Pole” was definitely an early high light in the set, and was followed by Jason Boesel’s “Eagle on a Pole”, which the band seemed to have a great time playing. During Boesel’s song Oberst danced around the stage, singing each lyric. The set continued, and while Conor songs were the bulk of the show, each band member sang one of their tracks from the record, the best being Frietas’ “Big Black Nothing”. It was nice to see a frontman so willing to share the limelight with his fellow band members.

“White Shoes” was the best song during the two hour set. Oberst asked for a dark stage, and he alone strummed his guitar and sang so fragilely that you could hear each crack in his voice. The audience, which was at times rowdy and obnoxious, remained so silent you could hear a pin drop. It was the kind of performance of a song that will live in my memory for a very long time.
“NYC- GONE GONE” was a high light as well as “Roosevelt Room”. “Ten Women” was stripped down with the mystic valley band acting as a back up choir to oberst. “Milk Thistle” ended the set, and once again the audience was left with a nearly empty stage as Oberst and Macey Taylor went through a quiet, beautiful rendition of one of Oberst’s best songs to date.

The set was pretty heavy on songs from the first album, which was surprising to me. The show made it hard to hate outer south as much as I did. It was hard to be cyincal because it was clear that Oberst was having a really good time and was at ease with each song. His stage bantor was funny and his dance moves even funnier. The funniest part of the show was when a really annoying drunk girl kept screaming at him “Conor give me your beer”. After a little bit of back and forth about whether she was 21 (he looked at her I.D.), he obliged. But before he handed the beer to her he tried to chug it all so she would just get an empty can. He couldn’t do it and spit it all over the security and the people front row center, which happened to include johnny, our two friends, and me. I think it was pretty hilarious that he tried to trick the stupid scene girl.

I guess I am biased reviewer because the 15 year old fan girl in me that saw Conor at the fox six years ago still comes out sometimes. It reminded me of shows past, but it shouldn’t of, really everything about it was different other than the most basic elements, nate walcott, lots of drinking and a passionate performance.

in case you haven’t heard any of outer south here is my favorite from the album, and if you get a chance to Conor take it.

Conor Oberst-White Shoes

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band have a load of tour dates, I’m too lazy to type them all out, so just click here.

and for a little sneak peak of the documentary about him, and a really good song that should’ve been on outer south
click here.

-marissa



Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band Outer South Review
April 7, 2009, 8:18 pm
Filed under: review | Tags: ,
Outer South

Outer South

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band- Outer South
My grade: D+

I don’t like giving Conor Oberst bad reviews. I have been a fan of Oberst’s bands for 7 years. I have everything the guy has ever done, and by everything I mean everything, my itunes is loaded with over 700 songs by Conor in all of his bands and incarnations. I’ve seen him nearly twenty times and met him plenty of times too. I don’t want to give his new album “Outer South” a bad review, but it warrants it.

When Cassadega came out I was a little disappointed. After “I’m wide awake..” and “digital ash..” it was a let down. However, looking back, it was really solid, the worst song on it being “Classic Cars” which was boring at best and shitty alt-country at worst. It should’ve been a sign that Conor was headed in a mediocore alt-country direction. His self-titled debut with the Mystic Valley band was heavily disappointing for me. I had listened to bootlegs of most of the songs on the record and they were great. But the album was terrible, it was overproduced and songs that were once pretty stripped down songs were turned into country jams. I don’t hate country, I love gram parsons, johnny cash and the like. I even like some Bright Eyes songs that lend themselves to country, like “Make War” or “Another Travellin’ Song”. But the country music Conor makes now is nothing short of cheesy, pop country with mediocore lyrics.

With “Outer South” I am not disappointed, because I didn’t expect much. From the second I heard the intro to “Slowly (oh so slowly)” a few weeks ago, I knew this album was going to be just as bad, if not worse, then the last album. And it is worse, much, much worse.

Outer South begins with “Slowly (oh so slowly)”, a song I am clearly not very fond of. This is a terrible way to start an album. It makes me long for the soothing intro to “Cape Canaveral”. The next song, “To all the lights in the windows” is pretty good actually, Conor finally made the 70s folk song he had been trying to make since “I’m wide awake”. I mean, by pretty good, it’s not that bad. Nic Frietas’ “Big Black Nothing” is decent, not too bad, but not great either. By this point in the record I had hope. But then I heard “Air Mattress”, the single worst song on this record. It’s trying to be everything at once, and failing miserably. It has a fast synth line, goes into a little bit of surf rock (wtf right?) yet is still country. Taylor Hollingsworth’s vocals are less than appealing and border on just down right annoying. The lyrics may be the most atrocious part of this song, “can I sleep on this air mattress with you?” is the chorus. We get it, you guys like to travel, but making a love song about sleeping on an air mattress isn’t cute it’s just stupid.

Other songs on this record teeter on being the worst song too. In fact, “Air Mattress” is kind of the turning point for this record, the rest of the songs are pretty much all alt-country jams that sound like each other. “Spoiled” is absolutely awful. It’s like “Arc of Time” (From digital ash) meets margaritaville meets pop country. It has the same point as a lot of older bright eyes songs. “You’ve got everything you want but you’re still down” is the kind of lyric that could’ve fit on “Fever and Mirrors”, however it’s ruined by the tropical beat and cheesy guitar. “Nikorette” is another cheesy country song, the only thing that makes it decent is when Nic Frietas sings in the chorus for a few seconds. “Eagle on Pole”, not to be confused with the much better “Eagle on a Pole” on the last album, seems like it’s trying to be fleetwood mac or something. I like fleetwood mac- but I don’t like this song. It’s chorus is “Never trust an eagle on a pole”. Need I say more? The most angering song to me on this record is “I Got The Reason”, I’ve heard this song live and it was really beautiful. This song begins pretty enough, but then there is an ultra-dramatic breakdown and it turns into a alt-country jam session.

“Ten Women” is a lovely song, the reason why it’s so good is because it’s stripped down. There is no overproducing, no dramatic bridges, no breakdowns and no organ solos. The lyrics are a little weak, but then again that’s true for the rest of the album. “Roosevelt Room” is another high point, with politically charged lyrics. Oberst screams “And the working poor you’ve been shitting on are doing shifts tonight!” like he really means it. It has the kind of passion that a previous Bright Eyes record would be chalk full of and that this album is missing entirely. “White Shoes” is the best of album, another song I heard live, the only thing that deters from the stripped down bare prettiness of this song is the vocal distortion.

There is no relevance to this record. Each song seems randomly placed in a string of random songs. The lyrical themes of conor past are gone. The symbolism of conor past is gone. The meaning behind each lyric of conor past is gone. This album feels like a collection songs they recorded too quickly and with no clear direction.

My advice for Oberst is to not let his other band members write or sing songs on his records. Other than the first Frietas songs his comrades don’t serve as much of a utility. He also needs to stop overproducing and overdoing songs that are much better stripped down. They need to try less to be a “rocking” country band and keep the songs simple. Oberst has made a career of not keeping things simple, and for the most part, succeeded, take “Lifted..” for example. But having a full orchestra is a lot different then forcing a breakdown and silly guitar solos on every song.

Ofcourse artists change, no one is expecting Oberst to be singing lovesick songs anymore, he’s nearly 30 years old. However, nothing has really changed since his last album, expect that he is getting more and more into generic alt-country that is now bleeding into straight up pop-country. While the beginning of “Laura Laurent” can recall the beginning of a Gram Parson’s song, the beginning of this record sounds like the beginning of a Keith Urban record, something I never thought I’d say 7 years ago.

Outer South will be out on Merge Records on May 5th, 2009. You can stream it now at mergerecords.com

-marissa malouff

p.s. for a more detailed, sillier, worse written review of the album look at my track by track review below!



Mad World: A Video Game Review
April 3, 2009, 2:05 pm
Filed under: review | Tags: , , , ,


Johnny Ketchum here with a game review of Mad World by Platinum Games and Sega for the Nintendo Wii.

I’m going to split this into a few categories, first will be Gameplay, then Sound, then Graphics, and an overall view of the game. So lets get down to brass tax.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is solid. It’s a fun game filled with great violence and awkwardly funny dialogue. It’s really a fun game. I’d probably give the gameplay a 3/5.

Sound:
The songs are repetitive and get kinda old after a while. It’s kind of annoying because the songs just kind of explain the story,the lyrics are just like almost exactly what you’re doing or what has to be done. The announcers are really annoying and aren’t funny, they just keep repeating theirselves which gets on your nerves, especially in tense situations. 2/5

Graphics:
This is probably the best thing about the game. The graphics are awesome and sometimes leave you in a weird state where when you see the color red and you’re kind of blinded by the onslaught of color. The black and white scheme is beautiful and it looks different from any other game out there. This game amounts to other clover studio, or rather platinum studio, games. 5/5

Overall Game:
I have many complaints about it being too short, I beat the game in three hours and seventeen minutes. I was expecting a lot more out of this game but it turns out to be a God Hand type game with an ending that leaves a sour taste in your mouth. It was $50 for a game you can beat in a day, when you could get a better game like Okami and have days of gameplay for $30. My final verdict on this game is, rent it. There have been better games released by this company. It’s a real disappointment because I had so much hope for this game.. Overall, I’d give this game a 3/5



yeah yeah yeahs-it’s blitz! review and more
March 27, 2009, 3:10 pm
Filed under: music attahced, review | Tags: , , ,
its blitz! is a really good name for an album

it's blitz!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs-It’s Blitz!
My grade: C+

I had really low expectations for “It’s Blitz”, for the most part the album met them and at points exceeded them. From the get go, when I heard “Head’s Roll”, I was skeptical, or rather negative, about the synths and disco beats saturating this release. I was right, the disco songs on the album, “Head’s Will Roll”, “Dragon Queen”, “Dull Life” and “shame and fortune” are the worst songs on the album. “Zero”, the album’s opening track, also falls under the mediocore dance song category. “Runaway” begins nice enough but ends up too dramatic, and then kind of just sounds like “Lover I Don’t have to love” or something.

They’re trying to be something they’re are not, and while synth dance may be in, and the YYYs may be a good band, they fail at making interesting synth dance music. It’s like they’re trying to be glass candy- but ending up as the killers. When really, we just wanted the yeah yeah yeahs.

However, this album isn’t all horrible. There are some really great tracks. I like every ballad on the album. “Skeletons” is beautiful, and Karen O’s voice sounds great on it. “Soft Shock” is also really, really good. “Soft Shock” and “Skeletons” are both performed acoustic as the album’s bonus tracks, and in my opinion, thats how they sound their best.

All around, this album has high points and low ones. And it’s no worse then the Yeah Yeah Yeahs last record. In general, for me, with the YYYs they have about two or three really great songs on their LPs and the rest are take it or leave it. The bonus tracks alone make this album a worthwhile listen.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Soft Shock (Acoustic Version)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Skeletons (Acoustic Version)

Conor Oberst- Slowly (oh so slowly) song review
My Grade: D-

This new song, from Oberst’s May 5th release “Outer South”, is streaming on his website.

stream of new song

It’s really bad. that’s all I have to say about it.

-marissa



and now a silly rant
March 19, 2009, 4:45 am
Filed under: rant, review

So seeing how the Super Bowl was just two days ago I thought I’d talk about the movie spots…

as far as I’ve seen…not a lot of action going on there…I mean…Transformers Revenge of the Fallen and GI Joe Rise of Cobra…awesome…Both titles are lacking creativity but who needs creativity when you have big names like Transformers and GI Joe? I’m so annoyed with the state of movies and adaptions in general it’s gotten old, about eight years ago…come on now. Do we really need more mindless films being made? Now, Pixar’s Up seems like a cute and sad story…I’m sure that will be great. The preview doesn’t give you much besides the fact that it’s about an old man, a little boy, and a house that has been lifted by hundreds of balloons..I’m excited for this though. I’m also very excited for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince…We all know the movies aren’t as great as the books but what people tend to forget is if you wanted to read the books, read them. They’re at your disposal it’s not like you couldn’t do so. So stop complaining that “The movies just don’t do it justice” I know tons of fans that got into the series because of the movies such as I, now granted I got the books that were out as soon as I’d seen the first movie but it was still an entry way to the books for me. Now I’m cutting this short because I’m running late to my next class.

Johnny Ketchum

originally posted on 2.3.2009