Sunday, March 30, 2008

Heroes Original TV Soundtrack

I was originally rather skeptical about the whole Heroes thing. "Sounds kinda like X-Men," I commented on more than one occasion. "It's a TV show on a major network, how good could it actually be?" When I picked up the show on DVD late last year, I became a believer.

So when I saw a Heroes soundtrack, I was excited. Especially when I saw the tracklist: Wilco? My Morning Jacket? Huzzah!

Granted, the first thing you'll notice about the soundtrack is that most of the songs never appeared on the show. They do include the show's incidental music (which is great, if way too brief), including what is possibly the shortest theme song ever (a fantastic ambient swell that always sets things off right).

There's a definite indie bent to the song selection. With new songs from Wilco, the New Pornographers, My Morning Jacket, and Death Cab for Cutie, this is definitely a show with a fairly contemporary sensibility. According to the liner notes, these are the sorts of songs and bands the creators of the show listen to, the bands that inspired them in the making of the series.

There are a few missteps. While I like David Bowie as much as the next person, "Heroes" really doesn't fit in with the rest of the stuff on the disc (it's also the only track that really tries to force a connection to the show's title). The inclusion of Panic at the Disco just set my teeth on edge, as one might expect. I also felt that Sheila Chandra's "Aboneconedrone 3 (Excerpt)" and the Chemical Brothers' "Keep My Composure" just didn't fit in with the style of the rest of the album, and "Maya's Theme" by Cucu Diamantes & Yerba Buena just annoyed me (which might be, at least in part, because I despise the Hispanic Wonder Twins characters so much).

Everything else, though, hits the right tone. The Brighton Port Authority/Iggy Pop collaboration, "He's Frank," is absolutely fantastic, getting just the right mix of menace and funk. The New Pornographers bounce along in exactly the way they should, adding a wonderful power pop/alt-country vibe to the proceedings. Wilco's offering, the excellent "Glad It's Over," could have easily been a stand-out track on last year's Sky Blue Sky, and points to one of the strengths of this collection: the songs don't try to force a connection to the TV show. Instead, they're just a collection of great tunes from great bands. The songs that do seem connected to the themes of the show, such as Bob Dylan's excellent "Man in the Long Black Coat" (originally from 1989's Oh Mercy) are still great songs first, thematically coherent second.

The best track on here, though, is My Morning Jacket's "Chills." A fantastic mixture of their earlier, more country-inflected work, and their more recent reverb-drenched efforts, it finds a vibe that matches the tone of the show perfectly.

Best of all, the liner notes include paintings of each of the bands/musicians done by Tim Sale, the guy who did all the artwork for the show. Pretty sweet.

Really, the set is ideal for anyone who likes indie-infused rock, not just fans of the show. With new tracks from the New Pornographers, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Nada Surf, and Death Cab for Cutie, it's hard to pass this one up.


Song of the Moment: My Morning Jacket, "Chills"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Tell Me Where It All Went Wrong"

Another Spring Break is drawing to a close, and I have to say I wish it'd last another three or four days at least. Time off is nice, y'know? And there's really not another break until the end of school in June. It annoyed me the last couple of years, but having Spring Break in April makes more sense when the school year ends that late.

This week is my birthday, though. So it's got that going for it. Dunno if I'm ready to be 28. I feel that, at that age, I should be an adult. But I don't feel like an adult. I mean, I spent a good amount of time this past week playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl (I've unlocked a lot of characters, too!). Adults are supposed to be interested in investing and yardwork and stuff like that, right? I still watch cartoons.

Michelle's been baking all weekend. We're heading over to her parents' place later this afternoon for Easter dinner. We have no idea what it will include, but there will be pies at least.


Song of the Moment: Camera Obscura, "If Looks Could Kill"

Friday, March 14, 2008

"I Used To Be Disgusted"

Where to start?

1. The Department of Education came to the school last week for what basically amounted to an audit. They visit every three years, and God only knows it put everyone into a bit of a tizzy. The visit was fine, we'll have no trouble getting re-accredited, but it was a tense couple of weeks.

2. Michelle's parents are giving us their old van, making us a two-car household again. The van's got quite a few miles on it, but if it breaks down, we're just selling the sucker. We're not going through another situation like we did with my car last April where I put more money into it in one week than the damn thing was worth.

3. Spring Break next week. Woo!

4. On said Spring Break, we'll be spending the first half up in New York (we actually leave tonight). Michelle's uncle got us plane tickets, so we're not having to drive (hurray! I don't have to go through Jersey again!).

5. Picked up Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Sunday. I've been playing every night, and damn if it isn't the best reason to own a Wii right now. Seriously. Anyone who says differently is a liar and deserves nothing but your contempt.


Song of the Moment: Elvis Costello, "(Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes"