2014 – Year in Review

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Hello folks,

and welcome to my good old fashioned year in review, 2014 edition! So grab a select beer or favourite cognac and join me in celebration for the end of a great year and the beginning of a new one. As I’m writing this thing I’m getting ready for a New Years celebration of my own, and I’ve started my drinking a little early (so if my sentences don’t quite make sense or I’m rambling more than usual just stop me). I find if I slowly roll into my drink count instead of plummeting into a desperate sprint around 11:00, I’m a little more socially tolerable. I’ve picked up the Mill St. Seasonal Sampler and I am hyped. I was drinking the new 100th Meridian from Mill St. last weekend and it was amazing. It’s an amber ale (which I love) with the Mill St. signature organic flavour. It’s probably my new favourite beer. But the sampler has traditional Organic, Tankhouse, and three other selections that I’m stoked to try out.

Hell, I think I’m going to have to start a beer blog… or do what I usually do and forget to post altogether but have high hopes of making a new segment on this here blog. Ah well, New Years Resolution anyone? If anyone has read my ramblings in the past you know I hate… hate, New Years resolutions. But I was listening to Indie 88 on the way to grab beer and, I think it was Matt talking about average attainable resolutions, which I thought was hilarious. He mentioned that he’s never been to Swiss Chalet so that was his resolution to eat there. I think my average attainable resolution will be that if I ever see a penny on the ground I have to stick it my shoe, so I’ll have good luck all day through. That will guarantee a great 2015.

Coming up with New Years plan is always a huge chore. There are a thousand options, and most of them quite frankly will suck, we all know this; Don’t kid yourself. But alas we ask our friends and family, “what are you doin’ for New Years” and we weigh the options and choose the best plan. This year I’m going bowling with the family and hopefully finding an after party not family related for the remainder of the evening.

Okay, on to the topic of the evening, music!
This year has been huge for music, as it always is. But for me especially with the discovery of Spotify my music listening and collection has gone through the roof. With the ability to grab any record as soon as it gets released, generate a playlist and shoot it over to my smart-phone to listen on the go; we as music listeners could not be more stoked. Now, I’m not too invested in how Spotify treats developers and musicians but as a consumer it’s a god sent service.

My favourite record of 2014 was from this band called Alvvays. They’re from Toronto and they embody this perfect blend of surf-rock and modern indie. Surf-rock and indie are my jams. It’s easy to listen to, it’s fun and it doesn’t take itself seriously. That is me allover. Lyrics are never my thing. I love certain lines in songs that mean something to me, but I don’t really care what the musicians intended. That’s their business. If I wrote songs it would be for me, and I wouldn’t care if people understood them or not, I would just want them to like the song. I alvvays catch these little snippets (see what I did there?) of lyrics from their songs, like the intro of Adult Diversion “How do I get close to you, even if you don’t notice as I admire you on the subway” and it just warms me up. I’m a pretty quiet passive dude and that’s totally something I would do. Admire someone and just be too scared to say anything about it. It just reminds me that we all always have growing to do, no matter how old we are.

Anyway that’s my pick for favourite record and you can see my list of 20 albums that I loved this year below. I usually make a playlist on 8Track but, I think I’ll just post my spotify playlist and maybe that’ll force you to download the service… do. it. now.

Alright, thanks everyone and have a killer New Years!
Later.

Favourite Records of 2014:

  1. Alvvays: Self Titled
  2. Rural Alberta Advantage: Mended With Gold
  3. Hey Rosetta!: Second Sight
  4. Shakey Graves: And The War Came
  5. Mimicking Birds: Eons
  6. Real Estate: Atlas
  7. The War On Drugs: Lost in the Dream
  8. Generationals: Alix
  9. Bleachers: Strange Desire
  10. Allah-Las: Worship The Sun
  1. MacDemarco: Salad Days
  2. The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers
  3. Jungle: Self Titled
  4. Yellow Ostrich: Cosmos
  5. Temples: Sun Structures
  6. Andrew Bird: Things Are Really Great Here, Sort of…
  7. Angus and Julia Stone: Self Titled
  8. Bahamas: Bahamas is Alfie
  9. Manchester Orchestra
  10. Sylvan Esso: Self Titled

Favourite Tracks of 2014

  1. Black Keys: Gotta Get Away
  2. Alvvays: Marry Me Archie
  3. Bleachers: Rollercoaster
  4. Shakey Graves: Dearly Departed
  5. Mark Ronson: Uptown Funk

 

Arduino project, bartending and Sylvan Esso

Hello people,
As per usual, lots to talk about but I’m just popping by for a quick update!

This semester has been crazy stressful and I haven’t had much time to even breathe. Between working as a bartender, (pretty much a life dream) hammering out assignments of varied nature and maintaining some sort of social life, I’m pretty beat. But it ain’t over yet. I’m super nervous about our webGL assignment, because I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m sitting in class just pretending I’m a programmer/coder and so far the charade isn’t holding up. We’ll see where I end up.

Recently we completed this electronics assignment where we thought up a mechanical concept (utilizing the Arduino), prototyped it, wired it and laser cut a container to create an end product. We called it the Drunken Noise Box. Such a fun project, and it’s a great step away from coding in a digital space. I’ll post the shaky-ass Vimeo at the end of the post

As for bar-tending, I’m having the time of my life. I somehow got the bartending position at my school pub and I am so stoked to be apart of such a stellar group of people and killer environment. I’ve already meet so many new friends and it’s quickly become the second half of my life. I even bar tended during a USS show, which again, pretty much a life goal checked off the list.

I started this drink recipe collection on scrap paper and a friend suggested to just use a notebook, so I’ll be making like a drinks recipe and reference book, thing. If we ever create our own random drink that’s rad maybe I’ll post it on here or something. Also had the idea of making a digital app and a infographic where people could select a drink to order based on mood and current tastes. Still an idea in progress but it might be cool if people dug it.

Okay, I think that’s it for now, but below I’ll have a new song to check out and my Vimeo of The Drunken Noise Box.

Later!

 

The Useless Machine – Drunken Noise Box from Jordan Morrison on Vimeo.

Wednesday August 6 – Alvvays

Hello dere,

Still don’t feel like writing but I just really wanted to post this tune and update my blog because this record is totally rad and probably my favourite of the summer.

Also side note: I am in fact going back to school this year to continue strides in doing something with my life. I promise I’ll post a few more times before school starts; updates on a few projects I’ve been working on and blah blah blah.

Catch ya later!

 

April 1st – Mac Demarco, Cloud Nothings releases

Whew, that was a lot of class updates. Haven’t been on here in a while so I figured I would share a few things I’ve been working on! At some point I’ll have to start developing a portfolio and fully document these things… but I’ll save that for when I actually want to engage in the professional world. For now I’m content just sitting here and minding my own business. I tend to be in the blogging mood just after Religion class; gets my philosophical mojo going.

So there are about three weeks left of class and man, what a year it’s been. I really hope I’ll make it through these next few weeks but I’ve been working pretty hard lately – especially in comparison to the first part of my year in Interaction Design… #slack – so I think I’ll be just fine. I have three more years to work on my anti-slacking skills anyway.

Hopefully I’ll be posting on here a little more since my stress level has all but depleted. I have a few more assignments like actually coding that app design I’ve been working on, but I’m feeling much more calm.

Speaking of calm…(nice segway amiright?) today is April the 1st, and for some reason everyone decided to release amazing records today! I’m talkin, Mac Demarco, Cloud Nothings, Manchester Orchestra! So much solid listening. I’m trying to think of a good way to share these records with you fine folks… does anyone read WordPress posts anyway?

Serious question here.

I’ll just make a little handy list for starters.

1. Mac Demarco – Salad days

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Vancouver born, New York… raised? Whatever, he lives in New York, he’s Canadian and makes rad records, check it out!

2. Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else

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Garage punk-rock with a new emo twist. I akin them towards the likes of Japandroids… but maybe that’s just me. Listen. Love it. Tell me what cha think.

3. Manchester Orchestra – Cope

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Holy crap, been waiting for this record since I listened the crap out of their last one while on over seas journeys. Always great. Never not great. I really hope I don’t have to explain this one. Haven’t fully dove into it yet; because it came out today, but I do not doubt it’s glory. And also Kim and I are seeing them on May 19th! Way hyped.

Those are the three to come out today… all in one day. Simmer down. But there are two others I’ve been super stoked about so I’ll post those as well.

4. The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

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Super killer chillwave tunes. Psychedelic vibe with airy vocals. I’ve been hyped on psychedelic tunes like Kurt Vile (former of War on Drugs) and Allah-las recently, so this was a welcomed new album for 2014. Really dig this record; easy listening and really growing away from post Kurt Vile blues.

Not really sure if they had blues, it was just an assumption… because Kurt Vile is rad.

5. Real Estate – Atlas

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Cannot say enough great things about Real Estate but they never disappoint. And I love their record covers. Super simple and really well formatted. I can see the grids.

Obviously I have a trend of chill, airy tunes going here but seriously great records released this year so far. I think I say that about every year. There’s just always something else to look forward to and I like to keep my tunes all in the family. Here is a quick taste of Mac Demarco’s new record but seriously, just go buy it.

If I wasn’t a starving student I would as well. I take cash or cheque…

Vinyl Records Sustain Cultural Significance In Digital Age

{Quick note: This was my final essay in my Composition and Rhetoric course about vinyl records, record players and why they still mean something.  I really enjoyed writing this piece and I think it poses a few fair points and even has some history for those who care about the medium.  So if you are a record collector or collect music in any capacity give this a read and possibly give validation to your pastime.}

Vinyl Records Sustain Cultural Significance In Digital Age

This essay aims to argue, through classical argumentation, that the recent resurgence of vinyl record collecting in the early 21 century is not only a cultural phenomenon, but adheres to the statement that physical collections are an everlasting part of the human condition.  “We can point to the development of a collecting sensibility, linked to possessive individualism, historically present since the Greeks, but more fully realized under contemporary capitalism. As social anthropologist James Clifford puts it, in the Western world, ‘collecting has long been the strategy for the deployment of a possessive self, culture, and authenticity’ (Clifford, 1988: 218)” (Shuker 5).

Vinyl record collections are an interesting part of Western culture and have been sought after as long as disposable income and leisure activates have been apart of social interaction.  As Shuker presents in his book “Wax Trash and Vinyl Treasures: Record Collecting as a Social Practice”, collecting is an integral part of what it means to be culturally aware.  With this essay I intend to examine the history of vinyl records, the comparison between them and the modern digital distribution and the sudden interest in a seemingly obsolete medium of music.

If we look at why vinyl records were originally created and examine the surrounding society we can start to build an understanding of the topic I aim to present.  The Vinyl Record (or Gramophone Record) made from polyvinyl chloride was the primary analog sound storage medium up until the end of the 20th century.  Its predecessor was the Phonograph Cylinder, which was mainly used up until the 1920’s.  The Phonograph Cylinder was a cylinder shaped object with engravings on the surface played through the mechanical device invented by Thomas Edison called the Phonograph.  After the Gramophone succeeded the Phonograph it wasn’t until after World War II that it became the modern incarnation of the medium we know today. “Vinyl emerged in its standard form of the 33rpm double-sided, long-playing (‘LP’) record via Columbia Records in 1948 (Patmore, 2009). It rose to prominence in the subsequent decade, dominated the trade in the 1960s and 1970s, and declined in the 1980s, apparently superseded forever by what was then advertised as a superior sound carrier – the digital com-pact disc.” (Woodward and Bartmanski 3).  In Woodward, and Bartmanski’s article “The vinyl: The analogue medium in the age of digital reproduction” they assess the cultural impact and reemergence of the vinyl record in relation to ritual and cultural aura.  Their paper dives into why records are able to survive in the digital age and reference why exactly vinyl may be preferred over solely digital means.  This progression of medium from Cylinder to substantially smaller compact disc and then eventually to the mp3 is the basic trend of all technology; movement towards smaller and more efficient.  Then why the sudden renaissance of the vinyl record and contradiction of the given technological trend?

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