Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2009 Albums-Decision Time

2009 has probably been the biggest year in music I have ever seen. There are so many new artists I have found and loved, and many of the artists I already enjoy have come out with new stuff. Here are all of the artists in my collection that have new 2009 albums. I only have a few of these so far so I could use a few suggestions. I want them all so bad.

I own:
Imogen Heap
Zero 7
The Silversun Pickups
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Grizzly Bear

The rest:
Mute Math
The Mars Volta
Between the Trees
This Providence
The Cinematics
The Mother Hips
Vampire Weekend
Porcupine Tree
Maximo Park
The Shins
Regina Spektor
Making April
Tokio Hotel
The Shins
Assemblage 23
A Fine Frenzy
Regina Spektor
Coconut Records
The Coral Sea
The Doves
The Sounds
Dinosaur Jr.
The xx
Civil Twilight
Portugal the Man
Modest Mouse

So I have 8 out of 40, and that's just 2009 albums. *Prolonged sigh of sincere exasperation* What will I ever do...
I think my top three are Porcupine Tree, Assemblage 23, and Between the Trees...I guess I'll start there.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Songs of the Moment 10/17/09 - A Heavier Side of Me

So a couple of weeks ago, I gave you guys a preview of the more mellow songs in my collection. I thought it would be interesting if I go to the opposite end of my musical interests and fit in a sample of the heaviest songs I listen to, and enjoy just as much. I guess I'm more of a calm, reserved person in any social scene, so some of these tunes might surprise you. Also, nearly half of them are songs I know only through of Rock Band, acknowledging the huge influence such a simple game has had in my life. I like me some hard-hitting Rock Banding. Anyway, take a listen and tell me what you think. (For the reader's consent: listening to the following songs may induce neck injuries, involuntary muscle spasms, and brain trauma)

"Destroy demonocracy."
1. Muse is one of the craziest, hardest-rocking bands I enjoy listening to, and Assassin is their craziest and heaviest song. This song will always get the energy flowing through you, the extent of which may or may not be hazardous to your mental health. Assassin is all about rebelling and venting frustration, and it can easily assist you in doing both. Fortunately, I'm not the type to get too crazy, so I'm able to keep down to minor whiplash. You might not be so lucky, so use caution when listening to this song.

"Why do we live this life with all this hate inside?"
2. Where Assassin is crazy, Bullets by Creed is insane. Believe it or not, my first favorite song, my first personally owned album, and the title of my first favorite band all belong to Creed. Pretty good taste for a second grader, eh? Honestly, Bullets isn't even close to my favorite song from Creed and its message is actually kind of disturbing, but I can't get enough of the energy behind it. Be careful when listening to this one as well.

"In my own heaven, I'll be gone forever."
3. I regret not having ever paid much attention to The Rasmus, because the more I listen to Dead Promises and their other songs, the more I realize how amazing they really are. There is cool, dark theme in this song which is a bit dreary, but the hard hitting beats of the chorus turn this into a more uplifting, action-inspiring song for me. Let me know if you agree.

"We know that we'll never walk alone."
4. I've recently been addicted to Image of the Invisible by Thrice, a song I wouldn't have found without Rock Band. It didn't interest whatsoever the first time I listened to it, but Image of the Invisible grew on me, and I gained a unique view of it after watching the music video, which is amazing. The story of the music video gives incredibly strong meaning to the lyrics of this song, and it helped me realize that this song isn't just cool to listen to, its also emotional enpowering. Really wonderful stuff here, don't miss out on this video.

"Now I'm lost."
5. Inertiatic E.S.P. is like an explosion in my mind. The guys in The Mars Volta are such amazing musicians, not to mention extremely unique in their musical endeavors. I can't believe they aren't more popular. Their energy never dies, and the craziness seems to go on endlessly. Their albums are unorganized and messy in a brilliant way, with songs ranging from 30 seconds to 13 minutes. These guys are just messing around with weird sounds, but they're awesome at it.
Don't expect much structure or meaning here. This one is all about the passion for rocking hard.

"When everything is going wrong, turn around and carry on."
6. Rides Again, not to be confused with Rise Against, is one of the more obscure bands I've included in this post, but even they have a few official music videos. Infected is their heaviest song, but far from their most powerful. I have a ton of respect for these guys because of their musical diversity and the well thought out messages contained in their powerful lyrics. Nevertheless, Infected is well worth the listen, but I recommend that you check out Rides Again entirely because there is much to be gained from their masterful work.

"Don't just stand there; its about to rain."
7. Here it is, the only female vocal song on this list, as opposed to last week where their were only female singers. The Material got in on some "next big thing contest" on MTV (which one of my favorite bands actually won) and, therefore, were featured in Rock Band with their song Moving to Seattle. This song is crazy good. I once listened to it twenty times in a row, no joke. Sure it might have only been because we were driving to Seattle for vacation, but still, this song never gets old for me. The Material isn't only amazing, but with only two EPs released, they're also economical for those of us with relatively empty pockets!

"We have got to fight."
8. Blacktop Mourning follows their band name by putting focus on the more depressing side of thinking, and My Only Heart is no exception. I don't let this stuff get to me. I can learn about different perspectives from these words of pain and regret, but I never let them become my own views. Blacktop Mourning, however, is a little different from other dark bands because they frequently take a depressing thought and turn it into a reason to rebuild and fix up issues, as with the lyrics I've included above. Don't shy away from this one, it really is spectacular stuff.

"You're going home; you're running free."
9. There aren't many words to describe Coheed and Cambria. Their rapid gain in popularity is proof enough of their unique style, interesting words, and raw talent as musicians. I've known Coheed and Cambria for a few years now, but I, once again, owe Rock Band for recently introducing me to The Running Free. I personally can't find meaning I can apply to my own life in these lyrics, but I still really like them, and not only because I've sung this song on Rock Band dozens of times. The video is a bit freaky, but this is the kind of quirkiness that makes Coheed and Cambria so awe-inspiring.

"We are young, but we have heart."
10. Hollywood Undead seems really cool with their song Young. It's too bad this is their only song that doesn't swear profusely. That knowledge aside, Young is probably my favorite out of these ten songs. It's emotionally powerful, brutally honest, and unrelenting in purpose. It's particularly meaningful and easily applicable for me and for my generation (you guys) with it's undeniably truthful words: "We are strong, but we don't belong", along with every other line. I'm inspired to write a book about this concept, because Hollywood Undead has given me so much to work with in this masterpiece of music. Please don't skip this one!!! And oh yeah, I found this song through Rock Band :)

So there it is, a perfect representation of the less serene side of my personality. I hope you don't think of me too differently now. Just know that I like this music because it pumps me up, not because it makes me feel like I want to hurt someone. Check back in a week or so to explore a stranger, quirkier side of me, and then possibly the week after that for a more passionate side of me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Ideas - Part 2

So here it is, Part 2. It's a bit later than I planned, but I guess later is better than never. I won't waste too much time here, if you want to know more about the reason for this post or other info, check part 1. Coincidentally, it seems the stories I want to include here are all more on the sci-fi side of things, as opposed to the more real-world stuff going on in the first three I told you about. These ideas are also far less developed, so expect so major changes down the road if one of them pulls through for me. I guess I'll get right into them. Here are the sci-fi stories.

4. The Preservers
While Amy is interacting with other humans in the dreamworld, another person, a man named Blaise (working name), also learns to control his dreams. However, Blaise is completely disconnected from and unaware of the other humans (the dreamworld is infinite in every way). He begins to find that things are appearing in his dreams that he has no control over. Strange alien creatures begin to appear, and Blaise believes it is all some lost part of his imagination that is causing these dream experiences. He gradually comes to find that these aliens actually exist in the real world somewhere in our universe. Representatives from several civilized alien races (one from each) have been brought together in dream by an unknown power. They learn that they are each to strengthen their own homeworld, and establish an alliance between their races for an oncoming invasion by a mutual galactic enemy. They slowly learn to trust each other, even as different as they are. The strange force running the show teaches them all how to solve problems back on their own planets. Blaise, specifically, learns how to cure cancer, how to find effective alternatives for fuel. He learns how to invent things to improve transportation, construction, and military equipment to prepare humans for the attack. Blaise's rebellious and ignorant past motivate him to make something of himself, and this determination turns mere dreams into reality. No one knows how Blaise does the countless miraculous things he does, but he is renowned across the world for perserving his own planet and his own people, alongside the other heroes from across the universe.

This idea might be a little confusing for you, even I kind of struggle remembering exactly what this one is all about because I've yet to sort it all out in my mind. Probable future changes aside, this story has some very interesting aspects in its plot that I would hate to throw away. I love the idea of a main character who begins as incredibly rebellious and careless, but eventually recognizes his desire for a purpose and ultimately becomes a great hero. Blaise is also pretty unique because while in most of my stories there is a full team working together, Blaise generally stands alone.

5. The Champions
As Blaise and only a handful of others had been warned, Earth is attacked by an extremely powerful alien race. These aliens begin the attack by obliterating our moon to showcase their strength, then they begin to crash land on earth. Soon after, a few completely different alien races begin to appear on the planet, equally prepared for battle. Humankind is extremely confused by the chaotic situation and all hope it lost. Contrary to their assumptions, people slowly begin to realize that these newcomers are fighting against the former attacker, they have come to protect the humans. As this knowledge spreads, more and more humans come out of hiding to join in the fight, becoming extremely valuable allies for the friendly aliens. An elite group of human soldiers arises, given access to the advanced military technologies created by Blaise. These gifted fighters join elite forces from the other races and become collectively known as the champions. They continue to fight as the frontrunners in this conflict as an even larger intergalactic war unfolds.

I'm really liking this idea because it is a cooperative effort between myself and my best friend, Trevor Wilson. Since we spend so much time together, we figured creating a story together would give us something to talk about when everything else seems boring. I tried my best to explain this story, but some of what I just said about it was made up on the spot. We know that we've got the whole intergalactic battle taking place on earth, but we have no clue what the story is actually going to be about or what the purpose of the fighting is. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what direction this story will take, because it has a ton of open ends that Trevor and I have yet to discuss.

6. The Cyborgs
The center of the intergalactic war is moved away from Earth, but it continues to hurt the human race a great deal. Blaise's son, Drake, now carries his father's legacy as the ultimate creator. He decides it is time to rise to the next step in military technology: robotics. He designs a procedure that will allow for the creation of cyborgs, powerhouse soldiers. At first, Drake draws up a list of only 23 test subjects, including himself, in order to test the technology before pushing it to large-scale implementation. He begins to question whether it is right to compromise a soldier's humanity in order to add a little more firepower. Drake decides to call off the experiment, but it is too late. The operations proceed against his will, and he falls victim to them. Each procesure is successful, and for a while the cyborgs function extremely well with their mixture of human judgment and cybernetic advantages. Unfortunately, they begin to rely on their mechanical features too heavily, and gradually lose their human identities. They are separated and continue to fight among the human armies with no memory of their past experiences or true origin. Some begin to find objects in their adventures that cause flashbacks to important events in their lives. Slowly, they begin to remember who they are and what has happened. They begin to seek out each other and assist each other in reclaiming their identities. Vengeful because of their current state, they unite and seek to destroy the monsters who carried out their transformations.

I'm extremely proud of this idea because it involves a very interesting conflict and deep emotions. This has a much better foundation than the other two ideas here, and I don't think anything I've included in the summary will ever change in any way. The details are still missing, but this general idea is set in stone. When deciding which story I wanted to start writing first, I almost chose this one. I decided that I wanted to gain experience as a writer before I start so I can really nail this one because I feel that it has tons of potential. If I do end up sticking with my dream of being a well-known, well-rounded novelist, this idea is sure to be one of the stories I choose to write.

I apologize for all of the uncertainty surrounded these stories, and I hope they all make enough sense. Writing all of this down helps me to see which aspects of these stories I need to sort out, and hopefully these ideas will be clarified soon due to this simple post. If you have recommendations for ways to carry out or extend these ideas that you think would be cool, I would love to hear them. Your input and care is what motivates me to keep on writing!