eklitzke.org

evan klitzke's musings on music, computers, and life

Watch The Throne

2014-05-09

This album is underrated. The songs aren't crazy lyrical, or deep, but there are tons of bangers. Same with Cruel Summer. Praise Yeezus.

Apollo Brown—Thirty Eight

2014-05-04

This album is sick.

On Not Having A LinkedIn Account

2014-04-30

I don't have a LinkedIn account, which some people find to be a bit strange. I'd like to talk a bit about that.

As a software engineer with an awesome job, I really do not need a constant barrage of recruiter spam. Here are the specifics:

My experience with LinkedIn is I'd get a torrential inflow of recruiter spam (i.e. "Join our HOT VC-backed stealth startup!!!") that wasn't useful to me at all.

Worse, I found that some people would "stalk" me on LinkedIn before coming in for job interviews. As in, I'd go in to a job interview, and someone would mention something about my past that they had looked up on LinkedIn. This has happened once with my Twitter account too, which is even creepier.

Since LinkedIn provides no value to me and is yet-another-way-to-track-me, I don't have an account with them. EZPZ.

Jaylib—Champion Sound

2014-04-25

Today I was relistening to Champion Sound by the J Dilla/Madlib collaboration project known as Jaylib. This is one of my favorite albums of all time, and something that has been somewhere on my heavy rotation pretty much since I discovered the album a number of years ago.

J Dilla and Madlib are two of the dopest hip hop producers of all time. They major shortcoming I'd say of both of them is that a lot of their material can be kind of out there and experimental (especially Madlib). This is great for the hardcore enthusiast, but makes some of their music less accessible. However, this album in general does a really great job of reigning in the experimental stuff and providing a nice balance between being extremely accessible and being sonically innovative.

The thing that makes this album really interesting is that both J Dilla and Madlib are primarily producers. So having them emcee on tracks is really awesome. It would have been easy to come out with an instrumental only collaboration, but the format they chose is a lot more interesting and the album benefits as a result.

Some of these tracks are real bangers. The Red is one of my favorite tracks of all time; and by the way, be sure to check out the original version of the song. Jaylib's alter ego Quasimoto makes apperances on some tracks like React and Strip Club. And there's some hard shit on this album too. The track Strapped featuring Guilty Simpson is one of my favorite hardcore gangsta hip hop tracks. His opening verse:

I sit on the end at the movies and let my feet stick out
Any nigga with a problem get his teeth chipped out

is incredibly vivid and one of my favorite hip hop verses. The track Nowadayz also has some really great and imaginative verses as well:

Nowadays your boy probably tryin to hit your girl
While you tryin to work to buy the ho diamonds and pearls
Fo' sho'~! It goes down like the girl on her knees
Tryin to please every nizzle gettin drunk smokin trees
While you 9 to 5, 'bout to 25 to life it
That ho on some sheist shit, cause you find out how trife it's
The way it is, all she wanna do is swallow kids

Another thing I really like on this album is the incredibly interesting samples used. I particularly like the Hindi wailing on the titular track Champion Sound.

Anyway, check this thing out if you haven't heard it. It has the Evan Seal Of Approval.

Final Conflict—Ashes To Ashes

2014-04-24

I was recently turned on to Final Conflict's seminal album Ashes To Ashes from this Pitchfork album review. The album review made the album sound awesome, and I'm pretty into some of the other acts from the 80's LA/OC hardcore scene (e.g. Black Flag, TSOL, Adolescents), so I had to check it out.

Put simply, this album is fucking great. I personally have a strong preference for the hardcore sound (i.e. compared to thrash/black/heavy metal) because that's the shit I grew up on, so even though the whole scene was a bit before my time I get nostalgic for it. That said, there are some pretty prominent metal influences in this album that clearly place the album in the late 80s. For instance, the track Abolish Police features some awesome wailing guitar sections not as common in the earlier hardcore stuff (but seen for example in the later Black Flag material). Some of the tracks like Shattered Mirror strongly evoke the sound of some other LA/OC acts like TSOL or Adolescents; in particular, this track reminds me of some of the tracks from the Adolescents' debut album. There are some awesome samples of Reagan-era political speeches on tracks like Political Glory and The Last Sunrise.

tl;dr if you're into hardcore stuff, check this album out.

RSS

2014-04-23

I added an RSS feed to this "blog", again using Python's excellent lxml module. This ended up being really convenient because of the way I was already using lxml to generate the articles from markdown. There's a method .text_content() on the lxml html nodes, so I can already take the marked up article content and extract the text content from it. Thus, the generator script (lovingly called generate.py) ends up being a thin wrapper that generates HTML from the markdown files, then does some element tree gymnastics, and magically out of this comes an HTML element tree that's rendered as the blog content itself, and an RSS element tree.

tl;dr magic happens and then blog.

Cloud Nothings—Attack On Memory

2014-04-23

Right now this album is my favorite thing. Especially the first two tracks, holy shit.

Deafheaven—Sunbather

2014-04-17

Those of you who know me well know that while my music interests are varied, lately (as in, the past few years) I've mostly been listening to hip hop music. I wanted to do a review of a new album I've been really into lately that isn't a hip hop album. That album is Sunbather by Deafheaven.

I found this album somehow by stumbling across links on Pitchfork. I think I was checking out some bands I had found on Vimeo, and a Deafheaven link came up at the bottom of one of the pages. Anyway, I saw the Pitchfork album review, saw that it was rated well and read the album description, and I decided to check out the album. It's an incredibly easy album to get into because the opening track, Dream House, is so powerful. It's very atmospheric with fast-paced guitars and percussion, and very emotive-but-subdued "screamo" vocals. The next track, Irresistible, blends in perfectly with the first track and provides a really nice contrast; it is a very melodic entirely instrumental track. The album generally follows this pattern of a long black metal/emo/screamo track usually followed by a shorter more melodic track.

I can't really do the full album review the same justice as the experts can, so I refer you to the already linked Pitchfork review, as well as The Needle Drop's album review.

What I really love about this album is how accessible and melodic it is, and yet how emotive and powerful a lot of the tracks are. I don't listen to a lot of black metal (which is I guess how the band labels themselves), and I think black metal is generally a somewhat inaccessible genre for outsiders. Yet I was able to pick this album up really easily. This may because the album is non-traditional to the genre, but I like it.

I'm especially excited because I'm attending the Pitchfork Music Festival in July, and I found out (having already bought tickets) that Deafheaven will be performing there. I'm looking forward to seeing them live!

Hello World

2014-04-16

I made a simple static site generator for my new blog incarnation. The generator works using Markdown and lxml to generate sites. I am not using any normal templating tools like jinja or mustache.

Since I think it's kind of interesting, articles are structured as separate files in a directory, and an article itself looks like this:

metadata, e.g. the article date
more metadata

blog content starts here

In other words, there is a preamble section of metadata, a blank line, and then the actual markdown text. I parse the metadata, generate HTML using the Python markdown module, and then transform that into an lxml element tree. The lxml element tree is munged to insert the metadata (e.g. the article date).

I decided on this format because

Mostly I intend on using this space to talk about music, bicycles, computers, life, work, and all of that good stuff.