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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Old Californio - Westering Again

Review of the album Westering Again

by Old Californio

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In “Westering Again” Old Californio shows they are the New California.

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An acquaintance of mine introduced me, via a web-link, to a Pasadena-based band called Old Californio. I checked it out, liked what I heard and moved on.

A couple weeks later, I attended a Hunnypot party in the West-LA-Culver City area where it happened these guys were playing. Hearing several of their songs for the second time and watching the ease of their performance convinced me these guys are the real thing.

There’s a movement of younger bands embracing classic rock, blues, and jam bands, but Old Californio mixes these genres well, writing songs as well-honed as their performance. “Throwback” is a tired adjective for a band like this, as it does little to describe the vitality in their music. Vintage only works when it sounds fresh.

Standout tracks include: “Joseph Campbell”, “Are You Coming Home.”

Haiku:

Hear all things vintage

From Old Californio

It’s all new again

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Tribes - Seth Godin

Review of Tribes

by Seth Godin

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Ironically, Seth Godin wants you to follow him in not following anyone else. Just buy the book first.

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Seth Godin needs you to lead us. He writes in short declarative sentences, in Powerpoint, if you will. He gets to the point. His point is: do your thing and be accessible, then people will follow. And don’t worry about pissing people off.

“Heretics are the new leaders,” he says.

Furthermore, you must ask yourself, “How can I create something that critics will criticize?”

With Tribes, he just did; with this review, have I? I feel the pain.

“Being charismatic doesn’t make you a leader. Being a leader makes you charismatic.”

I believe our last two presidents are in stark contrast with each other along this continuum. Are you feeling Godin’s allure, yet?

“And in the end, cynicism is a lousy strategy.”

Amen. (But what about light-hearted sarcasm?)

Haiku:

Seth Godin, leader

and author of the book Tribes

writes in Powerpoint


Monsters of Folk

Review of the self-titled album Monsters of Folk

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As each song plays to the strengths of its members, Monsters of Folk is a folkin’ synergistic success.

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Supergroups run in two distinct categories for me:

  1. muddled mess- the highlights of individuals are overshadowed by others’ talents.
  2. synergistic success- the individuals play to the strengths of others, highlighting what/who is most important in each song.

I won’t go so far as to say Monsters of Folk is a masterpiece, but they definitely fall into the latter category. A track like “Dear God” plays to the strengths of My Morning Jacket (albeit the programming is reminiscent of Bright Eyes’ Digital Ash album). In “Say Please,” there is no doubt, for one song, this is Conor’s band. He has that effect, like Jack White, of making his presence known in projects without taking over every song. And “Whole Lotta Losin’” scampers along behind M Ward’s cowboy boot shuffle. Despite the incredible talent, they never lose focus; a synergistic success.

As a Haiku:

Conor, Jim and Matt

A synergistic success

as Monsters of Folk


The Drunkard's Walk - Leonard Mlodinow

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

by Leonard Mlodinow

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Reiterating that events occur by chance not pattern, Mlodinow shows whether he’s a good writer or not is a moot point.

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By reiterating that random events are (still) more likely to occur by chance than by pattern, Mlodinow shows that whether he is a good writer or not is a moot point. By his own accord an author penning a great book does little to help predict whether the follow-up will be good as well. Basically, with a tendency of events regressing toward the mean, any extraordinary event is likely to be followed by one far more ordinary. And without an inhuman number of sequences needed to determine the mean, the future is far too unpredictable. This goes for CEO’s, baseball players, stock brokers, and, well, writers. I.e., if you like this review, it’s just as likely to be followed by one you don’t.

A haiku about Leonard Mlodinow:

He wasn’t the first/

to write about randomness/

nor is he  a fish