My fiance, our friend and I caught Sleigh Bells on Saturday Night Live last night. I had really wanted to like Sleigh Bells, especially after their slow burn hit last year, “Rill Rill”. However I disagree with Spencer Ackerman who lauded their performance last night.

\

Sleigh Bells on SNL:

Ackerman:

Never been more excited to see a band play on Saturday Night Live than for Sleigh Bells. My wife, my friend and I got into a debate last night about its meaning; tell me what you think. Is the music industry actually rooting for Sleigh Bells’ Reign of Terror LP to succeed? (New York Times profile/stream of the record; Spin cover; etc.) Or is SNL actually taking a chance, and thinking about what its demographic would like to listen to?

I have no idea what the answer is. But I’d like to believe the culture is ready for a band as abrasive and risk-prone as Sleigh Bells. Their second guitarist wore a Void t-shirt on the show

I’ll give it to Ackerman that Sleigh Bells is pretty abrasive and envelope-pushing. But I don’t know if that pushing at the boundaries of acceptable music necessarily makes it worthwhile.

This new section to the blog debuted two weeks ago, and will pop up every so often here at Shoegazing. You can read the debut post here.

*Note: this post was supposed to be published back on the 1st, but I couldn’t get my act together and forgot to post it.
The Five Things I am Currently Obsessed With:

1. Summer Sunglasses

Finding a good pair of affordable sunglasses is always a trial for me in the summer. While I am still on the look out, I have several prospects. Slate has a great slideshow that is filled with great ideas.

2. Closing of The News of The World:

I have to admit that I was an occasional reader of the NOTW, I am growing more and more sick by how it obtained its information. I’ve been following the story with great interest.

3.  The Punic War:

I have been reading everything that I can about this conflict that was the equivalent of the biggest world war of the ancient world. Rome and Carthage fought for decades, and its success ultimatly crippled the world’s best known republic.

4. Ennui

It’s classic that the dog days of summer would induce a feeling of complete boredom in me. I wish that it was colder or that the season would change already. In that vein, I have begun to try ways to stave off midsummer boredom.

5. Michelle Branch’s Loud Music

Hearing this song for the first time on my beachweekend with my friends, I was struck by how grown up it sounds, but at the same time nostalgic and fun. Its been a long time coming for her as an artist.

So, What are you currently obsessed with?

You can read the debut post here.

The Five Things I am Currently Obsessed With:

1.  Apartment Therapy

I had stumbled upon this website a few months back, but never gave it much thought since I was  living in a hole of a studio apartment surrounded by lavish three bed condo’s, I had really little use for this site. Now that I am all moved, I can’t seem to stay off of it though. I keep looking at what other people are doing and trying to find ways to make it happen here

2. The NOW Show on BBC Radio 4

Anybody who knows me personally knows I have a weird love affair with Radio 4. I am a huge fan of all the shows, especially the News Quiz with Sandi Taksvig. However I have recently become a fan of the NOW Show. The format is similar to that of an old time radio show, except with biting social commentary and satire of the week’s events. Hosts Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt, both veterans of the BBC comedy lineup, officiate while a rotating cast of talented performers bring the laughs and pull no punches.

3. White Wine

I tend to live by the motto, “you can measure success with red wine, but never white.” That being said, I have become more amenable to white wine as the summer has gotten hotter. After some taste tests I found I really do enjoy some pinot grigio in the heat, and a good tasting pinot grigio can be as cheap as five dollars. I’ve currently become a fan of Ecco Domani but am always on the lookout for a new or better brand. If any of you know a good pinot grigio, please let me know.

4. Syria Comment blog by Joshua Landis

I started reading Dr. Landis’ blog about Syria on the advice of a friend right after the assassination of Rafic Hariri. Landis’ insight into the structure of Syrian policy is above and beyond anything that gets talked about in the mainstream media. Since the so-called Arab Spring, it’s been on my reading list. More so now that Assad’s henchmen are reportedly butchering children as young as 15.

5. Pictures.

I am horrible about taking photos. I love to take them, but am bad at either a.) Remembering to take my camera with me or b.) feeling self conscious taking photos in public. that being the case, I live near some really neat historic buildings and my summer project (one of many) is to start a new photo album to collect images of my favorite places. Some might be featured here on the blog.

So, What are you currently obsessed with?

This new section to the blog debuted two weeks ago, and will now be a bi-weekly meme hosted here at Shoegazing. You can read the debut post here.
The Five Things I am Currently Obsessed With:

1. The Palestine Peace Process:

While always an interest that I feel a great deal about, recent events have made it so that it has been more on my mind than usual. Namely the building of new settlements, the influence of AIPAC on policy and the failure of the establishment in the Occupied Territories. Reread earlier posts this week for a rundown on what you may have missed.

2. Van Morrison:

I recently started getting into Van Morrison in a serious way. I found his discography that I haven’t heard in quite a while. The “Belfast Cowboy” has made some great albums, and two of my favorites, The Healing Game and Tupelo Honey, are great likely some of the best music made.

3. Hole’s Celebrity Skin (album):

As far as alternative (read: good) music goes, there is a definite deficit of talented female frontwomen. I guess that’s part of what makes The Joy Formidable such an impressive and amazing act. Nevertheless, as much as I hate to say it, Courtney Love pre-drama and self destruction was at the helm of one of the best bands of the 1990’s. The album Celebrity Skin, whose hit lead single of the same name, combined glamour with a uniquely bourgeoisie sense of self-loathing. It’s a fantastic album and one that I come back to every year or so and just binge on. (I mean hey, it is Courtney Love).

4. Happy Endings:

I’m not a huge TV person, and when I do, its normally a binge and then I am done with a show. It also takes me an insanely long time to care about the characters. Nevertheless, this show has heart, and despite a bad casting choice (I’m looking at you, Elisha Cuthbert) the show has been picked up for another season. The story of some 30’somethings living in Chicago after their two best friends split at the alter. As the two try to make it as friends, and the rest of the gang tries to hold it together, comedy ensures (naturally).

5. Summer Fashion

As I put away my well-worn cardigans and blazers (for the most part) I realised I have little in the way of actual clothing for summer. This month will likely be me visiting Macys or the Gap a few times.

So, What are you currently obsessed with?

Procrastination 2.0: Five Things I’m Currently Obsessed With

This is a new section of the blog where I list several things that I cant seem to get enough of lately.

In no particular order, the five things I am currently obsessing over:

1.       Whirring by The Joy Formidable

I have linked to a Joy Formidable song before (here), but their new album’s opus “whirring” which is by far their strongest song on the entire album. The mix sweet sounding voices and heavy feedback makes for the perfect audio cocktail.

2.       Bones on Netflix Instant Steaming

I will admit I was not a fan of this show when it premiered, and didn’t really have time for it until I watched it on a whim when it became available on Netflix. I love the quick and quirky dialogue between Bones (played perfectly by Emily Deschanel) and FBI Special Agent Seely Boothe (David Boreanz, doing his best to redeem himself after a decade of vampiredom) the whole cast a group of misfits who are all brilliant and make a great team. The series has gotten a bit darker and more morose as the seasons have gone on, but the humanity of the characters has really opened up and I don’t think it is nearly as cliché police procedural as it was in its first season. PS: Did I mention Ryan O’Neill is a recurring character after season two?

3.       Kentucky Bourbon

While all my friends know me as a Scotch man (blended or single malt), one of the things I look forward to in the summer is a good glass of kentucky-style bourbon. I don’t really enjoy it in the winter. Good Kentucky bourbon is smooth, smoky and has a sweet almost sugary taste to it. Perfect for nights around a bonfire or sitting on a deck on a cool night. I normally take it either on the rocks or with a splash of seltzer.

While bourbon can technically be made anywhere, the best is made in Kentucky. In order to qualify as bourbon, it has to be made from a grain mixture with at least 51% corn, be at least 80 proof by volume and aged in new charred oak barrels.

Some of my favorites for the summertime include Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Makers Mark.

A good glass of Kentucky bourbon is a classic American drink, and perfect for relaxing in the summer with a light amber coloured drink.

4.       Happy Endings on ABC

My friend over at Early Nerd Special wrote a really great review of the show on her Five Things list here.

It has taken me a while to get into it, but it is well written and well acted (mostly).

5.       The New Statesman’s Laurie Penny’s blog: Penny Red

http://www.pennyred.blogspot.com

Whether it is live tweeting from the UK Uncut rallies or the riots that ensued, Laurie Penny is surely one of the best young journalists working today. Her radical politics are perfect for the New Statesman, and her weaving of pop culture and politics is a pleasure to read. Shes also one of the most decent sounding people in journalism today. She makes no apologies but isn’t daft about it.

I first started reading her articles after a #ff several months back when the UK student movement was rumbling through university towns all across England. Anyone who is trying to understand the zeal and perspective of the current student left movement in England should read her blog.