You Sing Loud

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And Build The Fires
Figure I’ll do a couple posts over the next week talking about my favorite stuff from 2012. This is a quick rundown of 2012 as it mattered, to me. First up, baseball.

High and Inside
Another great season has gone by, highlighted by the San Francisco Giants winning their 2nd title in 3 years. The Yanks abrupt exit from the playoffs when they couldn’t hit for squat certainly was a kicker. I honestly am baffled by that. But I think as I’ve said, many, many times, I feel like age has finally caught up to a very old team. The infusion of youth they were hoping for just didn’t materialize, with Mikey Pineda’s future uncertain, prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances either being injured or unable to throw strikes.

Place that with the other numerous injuries they had to the major league talent and you get a listless team that becomes reliant on the long ball to win balls games. Never a recipe for success, especially in the post season. All Yankee fans can do now is hope that some of those injured guys come back and that young talent in the minors starts moving quickly and is ready for 2014, or otherwise that $189MM budget limit is going to look awfully lopsided with old, broken pieces and quadruple A players that Cashmoney finds on the scrapheap.

As for the rest of baseball, it was a fantastic season. Lets start with one of the most magnificent debuts in the history of the game, the immeasurable talent that is Mike Trout. Wow! He came out of nowhere and captured the rookie of the year award. He probably should have captured the MVP, but that went to a well deserving Miggy Cabrera who took home the first triple crown in some 40 years. RA Dickey, what can you say that hasn’t been said. He put together a fantastic year, capping it off with a Cy Young and then getting traded to Toronto. It’ll make that team a lot more formidable. The Giants were within a couple of strikes away from going home, yet kept fighting and clawing their way back. Love that the team did it with big time pitching and small ball on offense.

I remember saying last year, I think the one thing that we as fans have to look forward to is all the youth that has been infused into baseball the last few years. And this year was more of the same, with young guns like Trout, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, Stephen Strasburg and Jayson Heyward all having tremendous seasons. Like I said last year, it’s truly a golden age in the game. Hopefully in a year or two, we’re talking about some of the Yankees young guns too.

Listening Pile: School of Seven Bells – When You Sing
Another of my favorite albums of 2012. This little diddy sounds a whole lot like it could be a b-side from the seminal, Loveless from My Bloody Valentine. And since Kevin Shields seems to be taking his time putting the finishing touches on a follow up to that, I’ll gladly take this.

Atmospheric and filled to the brim with ethereal soundscapes, whistful harmonies, nugaze galore and Benjamin Curtis’ tight production, the entire album, Ghostory is a pleasure to listen to and the culmination of a lot of work. It’s easily their masterpiece and best work to date, despite losing one of the two Dehaza sisters, with Alejandra remaining and shining on her own.
Cheers,
-fred

Couldn’t explain it, I wouldn’t even try

She is so lovely, she makes me feel high
So, the annual Draft Magazine 100 best beer bars in America list hit last week. I’ve seen lots and lots of chatter about the local New York bars. I’m sure there’s been plenty written about all the regions hits and misses. For the most part, they hit the nail right on the head, but I’m honestly dumbfounded by their inclusion of LES beer shop, Top Hops. It’s a nice place, for sure, but it’s not even technically a beer bar. Go figure.

Anyhows, we’re pretty lucky to have so many great beer spots here in NY, including the Blind Tiger, Spuyten Duyvil, Bierkraft and Rattle n Hum, all listed by Draft Mag. However, they leave out the amazing and time honored Gingerman, as well as Jimmy’s No. 43, Pony Bars, DBA and many, many other staples of the NYC craft beer community. See, I told ya. New Yorkers are really, really lucky to have so many great joints to grab a pint at.

Listening Pile: Wild Nothing – Only Heather
It took me a while, maybe even a couple extra weeks in January to decide that the 2nd album from Wild Nothing was my favorite album of 2012. Full of dreamy melodies, touches of synth and oddly sounding like Fleetwood Mac on occasion, this record was the perfect sophomore album for Jack Tatum’s Wild Nothing project. The production, song writing and delicate instrumentation of this album truly shows how this guy has perfected his craft. The song above is my 2nd favorite on the album after the title track, Nocturne. Have a listen, as it easily soundtracks this gloomy day in NYC.

Cheers,
-fred

It’s my point of view

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It’s Hard To Understand
Exactly one month to go til Spring Training starts. I wonder if GMs view their teams in the same way people reflect on the past year and how they can set resolutions for the upcoming year. You look at the Yankees team and think, there are a lot of holes to fill in these next few weeks. Getting a little older, maybe a little rounder, there’s missing parts, still no DH, or right handed power bat, fifth starter. And we have to start saving some money for the future.

Last year a lot of things came together in these last few weeks before Spring training. I’m curious to see what Cashmoney has rolled up his sleeve this year. I personally don’t see a championship caliber team getting ready for Spring Training. This could be the last run with a lot of vets, including Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and who knows maybe even Robbie Cano, Jobamania, Curtis Granderson, and Phil Hughes. We could be looking at an entirely different squad next year.

Who knows, maybe Cashmoney’s plan all along is to punt this year, sell of as many veterans as he can and get really, really young and cheap for 2014. It’s not unrealistic to think that could happen, though unlikely. Right now, I guess we wait.

Listening Pile: Grimes – Oblivion
Another of my favorite albums from 2012. This one accompanied by the quirky video for Oblivion. The song like the album is a frenetic mix of genres, styles and production techniques. Her high pitched vocals playing off the hip hop beats, synth lines and strange noises.

you know it in the nightime…


Caught A Rising Star
By random chance last night, I got to visit the new Soho beer spot, Houston Hall. It’s a huge 5,000 sq foot space with lots of tables and space for many, many people opened by the same folks that own the Heartland Brewery locations. It’s got the whole looks like an old car garage vibe to it. Lots of exposed brick, concrete floors, exposed metal and brick work. The place looks good.

Now on to the good stuff, the food and beer. Well, seems like they have all their beers hand crafted just for them by the Greenpoint Beer Works. So, at least you know they are making quality stuff. Seems like each beer was named after the specific brewer that designed that style beer for them. I had the Jeffrey IPA, which wasn’t bad. Nice citrus tones and a little bit of bitterness. I did not sample the food, but looks like it had a good amount of bar food. My friends sampled the wings and came back with positive impressions.

Be interesting to see what happens to this space. It looks good and had a good vibe, but it was opening night. There were still a lot of kinks to work out. The crowd and vibe wants to make you think you’re in Williamsburg, but I can see that changing very, very quickly seeing the neighborhood it’s in.

Listening Pile: Diiv – Doused
Another one of my favorite songs of 2012. Great debut album from the Brooklyn four piece. Really well-crafted lo-fi nugaze from the Captured Tracks folks that have unleashed a flurry of great bands recently. I really, really loved this record. Give it a spin.

when they love you, and they will


Meant to post this last night, but wouldn’t you know it, I fell asleep early.

The House That George Built
It’s been 40 years since the Boss bought the New York Yankees. Crazy to think, the spent some $10M, which through inflation turns into roughly $55 million smackers today. Just insane. The other thing was that Steinbrenner bought the Yanks from CBS because he failed to buy his hometown Cleveland Indians the year before. Imagine the futures of the two franchises had the initial deal gone through.

Anyhow, the photo above is of The Boss at their Spring Training complex in Tampa. I visited it last year as well as hitting Cigar City Brewery for Hunahpu Day. An amazing three day trip watching baseball in the sun and sippin amazing beers at the Brewery. Hoping I can do the same this year too.

Listening Pile: Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built
One of my favorite songs from last year. This band rocks. They made a stellar sophomore album. Easily one of my top five of 2012. The full list will come soon. I know you can’t wait to see.

Cheers,
-fred