Saturday, January 26, 2008

Songs for the Weekend

Let's go back about 12-14 years or so to a time when some of us, most importantly me, were still in college, and starting to broaden our musical horizons to include the north of Europe. First up is a bit of quintessential American style indie for a Dutch act. It's Bettie Serveert with Ray Ray Rain.

And if you're the type who can't appreciate good songcraft, the type who maybe thinks that was a bit effeminate, I give you the Swedish band Salt, with Bluster:

Friday, January 25, 2008

UCLA - 80; Oregon - 75


Well, we learned this. Oregon students are stupid. They pissed off someone with the ability to really do them in. Kevin Love went for 24 point and 18 rebounds while the piece of shit Oregon fans gave him nothing but vulgarities, apparently oblivious to the fact that their coach doesn't know how to recruit without Phil Knight. Darren Collison added a career high 22 points, along with six assists against one turnover. Russell Westbrook added 15 of his own along with seven rebounds, and a block of center Maarty Leunen.

Yet the biggest plays of the night came from unheralded Nikola Dragovic, a shooter who hasn't found his shot, and hasn't been able to play strong enough defense to crack Ben Howland's regular rotation. In the game only because of injuries to LRMAM and Lo Mata-Real, and foul trouble from James Keefe and Alfred Aboya, Dragovic hit a pick and pop three pointer with 3:21 to go and the Bruins trailing by four. To the casual observer, it looked like an important shot at an important time. But to the discriminating Bruins fan, it was a huge three from a guy who so far really only has one skill, and even that has been debatable. It was the type of shot that make you cringe, because you know it's a huge momentum swing if he makes it, and possibly a back breaker if he misses it. But it rattled home, and as things turned out, it was a back breaker. Oregon, coming off two Leunen free throws, wouldn't score again until the game was all but over. Part of the reason was a big Dragovic rebound just a minute after his three pointer.

Kevin Love survived the classless and oh so clever (Love's a pussy? Really?) Oregon fans, and basically made the Oregon front line his collective bitch, equaling the offensive output of Leunen and Joevan Catron, while dominating both on the glass (18 rebounds against 11 combined), and was never in foul trouble. Booed every time he touched the ball, he sent the home crowd home very disappointed. Oh, and he did that without Mata-Real, and without LRMAM, two stalwarts in the UCLA frontcourt. He was awesome, and in what may be his only game ever at Mac Court, he earned this win.

Russell Westbrook brought himself back to down to the right level. After trying to make the highlight reel on every possession against U$C, he settled down tonight, made big shots when the Bruins needed him to, and took the ball to the hole on the basket that gave UCLA the lead for good.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Josh Shipp. The numbers are uninspiring: 2-8 from the field, three rebounds, seven points (along with six assists). But honestly, I'm a little surprised he took eight shots. Sometimes you're not on your game, or your opponent is focused on taking you out of the game. And in those situations, the best thing you can do is keep yourself from forcing things. That's not easy to do when you're often the team's offensive focal point. But Shipp let the game come to him. He didn't try to make himself the story. When a leader like Shipp isn't a factor, and UCLA wins a close game, you know they didn't do it in spite of him. You know he let his teammates do what they needed to do to win.

Quite a show of resiliency tonight, especially after Oregon had started to separate a bit, taking a seven point lead with under eleven minutes to play. All in all a great win for the Bruins, and with awful OSU on tap for the weekend, the Bruins are looking for a second consecutive road sweep, the home loss to the women of troy being their only conference blemish.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Walkmen at Schubas - 1/20/08 - A Quick Recap

First live show of the new year for me. I skipped the first two bands, figuring I'd be there in plenty of time to get a good spot, but that turned out to be a bit of a bad move. Still weaseled my way into a good viewing are, but the place was packed when I showed up, which isn't surprising. The Walkmen can fill larger venues than Schuba's. They played a bunch of new stuff, almost half the set, and one song that I recognized at the time, but can't remember now. They played almost nothing off of Hundred Miles Off. List of what I can remember:
  1. Little House of Savages
  2. 138th Street
  3. Thinking of a Dream I Had
  4. No Christmas While I'm Talking
  5. What's In It for Me?
  6. Wake Up
  7. Another One Goes By
Set lasted roughly an hour, which wasn't surprising, because they put a lot of energy into each song, so I have to figure that takes a lot of a person. I was disappointed that they didn't play Emma, the Rat, or a lot of stuff off the last album, but I can't complain. It was an hour of solid entertainment.

White Rabbits played right before and I thought they sounded sort of Walkmen-esque, but a little more accessible. I'll check out their other stuff. All in all, not a bad start to 2008. Here's a clip someone recorded at the show of Wake Up:

And again, I'm always disappointed that I think there are a lot of people who really like that version of Another One Goes By, but who have never heard the original Mazarin/Quentin Stoltzfus version, which I think is superior. Which isn't to say the Walkmen version isn't excellent. I just don't like it as much as the original. Judge for yourself:

Norm Chow to UCLA

Well, that takes some sting out of the performance by the basketball team, doesn't it?

UCLA now has arguably two of the most coveted coordinators in college football, to go along with what is currently a top ten recruiting class. Next year may be a tad rough, but the future looks very bright. Weird to think that I'll have two fairly decent college football teams to root for in the near future.