New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!  2011 was a great year, but I’m feeling that 2012 just may end up being the best  year yet!  I have a handful of New Year’s Resolutions that I am pretty darn motivated on keeping, so I’m hoping that I can keep them up and really make this a great year!  I have a bunch pertaining directly to this blog, and then some that are unrelated but still important!

1. First and foremost, I really hope to start eating breakfast this year.  This is something that I have never really been in the habit of doing, but recent visits to the doctor have brought me to the conclusion that I really need to start.  I have this thing where I fall asleep literally all the time, most often right after I eat, and I went to the doctor and found out that I’m completely healthy.  He recommended eating more regularly, more balanced, and in smaller amounts, so I really want to start eating breakfast to keep up with that!

2. Directly related to number #1 is my goal to get a regular gym schedule going once the semester starts.  That same doctor suggested a regular exercise routine.  This past semester was insanely hectic and I barely even got over there to play basketball and I’m a bit out of shape!  I’m hoping to maybe alternate days going to gym to  lift and play basketball with days on which I go for a run or something like that.  The last time I tried this in college was first semester of first year and it lasted roughly 1.5 weeks, so let’s hope I do better this time around.

3. PRACTICE PIANO MORE AND GET BETTER.  This might be the most important one.  I tried to take lessons last semester, but it didn’t work out as far as lesson timing with the instructor I was talking to and my class/work schedule.  This time around, I’ve contacted him before I have submitted my sheet for my work availability, and I’m calling him tonight to set a time in stone so I should be good to go!  I’ll finally be putting my beautiful keyboard to the use that she deserves.

4. Compose more and work with my recording equipment more.  I really want to get going so I’m writing something fairly substantial every few days, and I also want to make sure I’m being varied in what I’m working on so that I can develop my skills in many areas and keep myself versatile.  I plan on getting my Soundcloud account back up and on its feet, as I haven’t posted anything in a few months.  I let myself get too busy!  I’ve also gotten infinitely better at singing over the last six months, so I feel like the overall quality of everything in that respect will be much better.

5. Directly related is that I would like to go back and revisit a few projects that I started quite long ago and finish them.  After I did Dancing Crazy, I set the goal to record all of the songs that I arrange for AVP that don’t end up on a studio album myself.  I got about halfway through Cake’s The Distance (my first arrangement for the group) and then got busy with other things and never finished it.  I probably won’t go back and do all of them, but definitely at least that one and maybe a few others.  I also have a few chord progressions or licks that have gone unused as well as beginnings and frames of choral settings.  I also wouldn’t mind going back and finishing a piano sonata that I wrote for Music Theory III class this past semester (post coming soon).  We were just supposed to write the exposition section, so I may go back and finish it out.

6. Hand in hand with the last three is that I want to post in this blog at least once every two days!  I think that will keep me spurred in my efforts to continue writing and discovering great music.

7. I would like to keep better in touch with my friends, most specifically my friends from back in Northern Virginia.  I barely ever see them, but still cherish our relationships and don’t want to see them fade.

8. Balance my life better in general and not let some things overtake the others.  I have a fairly light course load, but am still involved in a lot of other things and I don’t want to let up on these goals.

There are more, but they’re smaller and less important, so I don’t really need to share them.  Yay!  Anyway, here is a Top 5 for the past week as well as a list of artists I’m looking into at the moment thanks to a Pandora playlist based off of Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos.

Top 5 for Week #5 (we’ll go with that):

1) Blind Pilot

2) Muse

3) Maroon 5

4) Lord of the Rings soundtracks (and movies.  also awesome)

5) The Civil Wars

Artists that I’m looking into:

City and Colour, The Civil Wars (thanks Nichy), Iron and Wine, Coconut Records, Arcade Fire

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Merry Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d post a list of my favorite Christmas songs.  I haven’t written or arranged anything yet because I’ve been out and about with family throughout the past week, although I have had a few random inspirations for some sort of men’s quartet arrangement of O Holy Night.  I don’t foresee jumping back into composing until the new year, but maybe at that point I’ll feel like backtracking on the season and trying to work on that haha.  I have a couple other projects in mind for the new year too, so I’m excited to get started.  For now though, I’ll just have to stick to the listening.  Here are a few of my favorite Christmas songs.

The Coventry Carol

In the Bleak Midwinter

Ding Dong Merrily on High

O Holy Night

Hahahaha all jokes aside, I really love this song.  It’s so beautiful.  I would also like to take some time to express my disdain for Joy to the World, unless it’s a really cool arrangement.  It’s just so overdone and I’m frankly just kind of tired of it.  Anyway, Merry Christmas all!  I hope your days were wonderful and you were able to enjoy time with your families.

Also, happy fifth day of Hanukkah to all you Jewish folk.  Here’s something for you.

Oops. Long Time, no Post.

Things got a little busy for me this past semester and I let this blog fall by the wayside, which is unfortunate because it was really motivating me to keep doing what I love doing on the side of everything.  So four months, an entire semester, a few emotional impasses, and a lot of bus driving later, my goal and new year’s resolution is to get back into the swing of things and start this back up.  This is sort of just a catch up post.  In the interest of getting blogging again, I’m not going to post full reviews of the artists that I was previously looking into, but I will say a bit so I can then start fresh.  Beginning Sunday (Christmas!  WooHOO!), I’ll get back into finding new artists/albums each week, as well as write a few reviews on a few new things I’ve discovered over the past month, most notably Blind Pilot’s new album We are the Tide.  I love it so much.

A Change of Pace

These guys are alright.  Long story short, I probably would have loved them had I listened to them when I was back in high school,  as they are close enough to your traditional pop-punk style band, which was my jam back then.  My favorite song would most likely be “The First Time We Ever Met.”  Their one album, “Just No Better Way,” interestingly enough has five songs followed by acoustic versions of the same five songs.  In a lot of cases, I ended up liking the acoustic versions more, as one would expect with my current tastes in music.  The acoustic version of “I Found Myself Today” is excellent.   For the most part, I don’t see myself listening to A Change of Pace much going forward with the exception of a few songs.

Cold War Kids

This group is great.  They’re an indie band that seems to have influences from various other genres, and the lead singer has a voice very much typically attributed to a traditional punk band, which adds a whole other dimension to their music, as nothing else has the punk feel to it.  I don’t really have a favorite song at this point.  I like most of their stuff, so when I listen, I just go straight through.  Some highlights are “Hang Me Up to Dry” and “I’ve Seen Enough.”

Super Retroactive Top 5:

These are the artists that I’ve seemed to always come back to listen to the most over the past four months.

1. Blind Pilot

2. Muse

3. Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos

4. The Format

5. Of Montreal

Weekly Favorites #4

Once again, sorry for the delay.  I’m at rehearsal week with my a cappella group and we’ve been pretty busy doing various things.

 

New Artist: A Change of Pace

Upcoming New Artist: Cold War Kids

Top 5 for this Week:

1) Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos

2) Muse

3) The Format

4) Coldplay

5) A Change of Pace

Weekly Favorites #3

Sorry about the delay.  I spent most of yesterday lying in bed sick with a fever of 101 and a headache that had been plaguing me since the previous Wednesday.  Anyway, here are this week’s stats:

 

New Artist: Pendulum (More to come)

Upcoming New Artist: A Change of Pace

Top 5 of this Week:

1) Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos

2) Frank Ocean

3) Muse

4) Pendulum

5) Sara Bareilles

Weekly Favorites #3

I finally finished my alphabetical trip through my iPod on Tuesday afternoon!  It was a magical moment.  I learned a lot about what I want to clear off of it, and what I want to maybe add to it.  The last song was 1901 by Phoenix.

So now begins the reorganization of my iPod!  So much to change.

New Artist: Matt Wertz (More to come)

Upcoming New Artist: Pendulum

Top 5 for this Week:

1) Muse

2) Matt Wertz

3) The Format

4) Frank Ocean

5) The Beatles

Weekly Favorites #2

My alphabetical trip through the music on my iPod is almost through.  This week while driving, I made it from New Slang by the Shins through Under Pressure by Queen.  Looks like I’ll be finishing pretty soon!  Also, I did check out Frank Ocean this week, so more will come on that later today.  As for this coming week, I think I’ll be looking into this guy I heard about a while back named Matt Wertz.

New Music: Frank  Ocean – Nostalgia Ultra Mixtape

 

Upcoming New Music: Matt Wertz

Top 5 of This Week:

1. Frank Ocean

2. Muse

3. The Book of Mormon Musical Soundtrack

4. The Shins

5. Sara Bareilles