Friday, February 26, 2010

Coming Attractions - Foreign Born

Foreign Born is the next show on tap for 2010. They'll be playing the Empty Bottle for a mere $5, plus some small service charges. 'Person to Person' was one of my favorite albums of 2009, and their show at Spaceland in December was excellent. Really looking forward to this one.

The first song is "Into Your Dream" from the previous album 'On the Wing Now' (and apparently it was on the Chuck soundtrack. The next two are "Winter Games" and "Early Warnings" from 'Person to Person'. They played all three at Spaceland. Anybody who has been to Catalina Island should like the video for "Early Warnings". You can also check out a live version of my favorite FB song, "Vacationing People" here at Song of the Day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

St. Vincent @ the Metro - 2/18/10

I said I was going to do this more often, so here it is. First show of the year for 2010 was the lovely Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, at the Metro last week. Really an excellent show. She played almost all of her most recent album "Actor". I think she only left out "Neigbors". She also played many of the highlights from "Marry Me".

Best moments of the show for me were Marrow, which actually stuck pretty closely to the album version, and Save Me From What I Want. I'm pretty sure she played a solo version of Paris is Burning, but I'll admit that the whole night isn't crystal clear, and I may remember that from reading about her playing it at another show. It was almost a week ago, and I met someone out for a couple drinks before the show (also why we missed the opener), so things are a bit fuzzy. She finished the night off with a tremendous version of Your Lips Are Red, which descended into a cacophony of angular fuzz guitars, piano, and horns before flowing into the laid back major key ending. Kind of reminds me of a river flowing through a very rocky rapids before emptying into a wide, calm valley. Really a great way to end the show. Pictures and a vid below (vid not from the show, obviously).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting back into baseball

The Olympics are in full swing, and after last night's epic victory over Canada, I'm pretty pumped for the medal round, but Spring Training is underway, and it's time to start thinking about baseball. The other day a friend asked me the following question:
Are you seeing tough times for the Angels this year? Seems like everyone else is improving and you guys are getting worse. I think you're potentially in the best division in baseball. Even better than the AL East.
And here's my response:
Health is the one thing I can’t account for. But if they’re healthy, their starting pitching is better, their relief is better, their offense should be better or just as good at every position except third base, where it actually may end up being better if Wood can settle into an everyday role instead of being jerked around. So no, I don’t see tough times. Now they may not win it, because the division is better, but I still think they’ll be very good.

They have Kazmir for a full season, and he was nails down the stretch last year. Weaver had an excellent year. Saunders was great other than the month and a half he tried to pitch though injury. When he finally went on the DL and came back healthy, he was lights out. Ervin Santana got messed up, got sent down, got his head together, and had a 3.09 ERA in the last two months. And Piniero is their fifth, which isn’t too bad for a fifth starter. They get Shields back in the pen, and add Rodney, who isn’t great, but should help.

Morales and Aybar had breakthrough years. I figure much of the same for Hunter, Rivera, and Abreu. Kendrick went the Ervin Santana route, came back up and put up a 351/387/532 line over the last three months, and had a solid post-season.

Figgins is a loss, but they might make that up. Lackey had an OK year, but it was nothing special. 118 ERA+, which doesn’t factor in the 60 or so innings that were replaced by guys like Shane Loux when he spent the first month and a half on the DL. I love his BR sponsor, by the way.

So I think rumors of their demise are a little pre-mature. PECOTA now has them at 80 wins (after they fixed all the things they screwed up). Based on how accurate PECOTA usually ends up in projecting the Angels, I figure that makes them good for about 135 wins.
Obviously the last comment is in jest, but I really have a quiet confidence about the Angels this season. I think they'll surprise people, and there's no reason a successful season should come as a surprise. This is a good baseball team.