Flocks and the Lookout – Hills and Valleys Mini-Review

By: John

As per my normal morning routine, while my computer at work is booting up, I typically check my Instagram feed. My friend Seth posted a picture of the new release by Flocks and the Lookout.


Turns out, Flocks and the Lookout are a band including Seth’s younger sister and her husband. I was excited to check it out because I’m always interested in the music of my friends and their extended network of friends and family.

The songs are warm and familiar feeling. Just when you think you have figured out the vibe of the song, a nice groovy guitar lick takes the song in a different direction like in the song “Wake Up.” The layering of the instrumentation and production is nuanced in all the right places and keeps things interesting throughout.

I listened to the album on loop a few times while I was working this morning. I was particularly impressed with “Ink and Paper” which got stuck in my head all day after listening to the album on loop a few times.

Also, Flocks and the Lookout completely transform the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me.” While I am partial to the John Lennon version over even the original, I really enjoyed this deconstructed version. It makes me want to reconsider my approach to a cover song I recorded last weekend in which I stayed really true to the original without transforming it much at all.

This is a really great effort for a first record. I’ll be following their music, and maybe you should too.


Ryan Adams and Jenny Lewis on Austin City Limits

By: John

We’ve done a Jenny Lewis podcast and a Ryan Adams podcast. They both had new albums out in 2014 and Ryan even produced Jenny’s album at PAX-AM records.

The two teamed up again on Austin City Limits on PBS, now in its 40th year.

Chris alerted me to the fact that this was on so I watched it this morning with my soon-to-be 5 year old daughter. She loves Jenny, and afterward got her pink guitar out and started writing songs.

Yay for music!


Remote Access: Syfy Gets the Monkey Off Its Back

By: CJ

12 monkeys

Remember that rush you felt when you were thrown right into the perils of the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815? How the tail of the plane ripped apart, flung to the winds never to be seen (or so we thought) and how chisel-jawed Matthew Fox found a way to corral a rag tag team of survivors reeling from that horrific crash landing?

Due to the real life occurrences of South Asian air tragedies, audiences may not be too keen to remember the immediate impact of the events that unfolded on American television sets the night of September 22, 2004 but 15.7 million viewers became weekly visitors to that strange island. It was a phenomenon from the second viewers saw the fully realized world created by J.J. Adams, Damon Lindelof and his cohorts. The rabid online obsession, fan conspiracies and elevation of the small-screen past the “pictures” to the status that it holds today owes a great deal to the Lost pilot.


Here he comes to save the day.

While these thoughts of providence and progeny may not be going through your head while watching the first episode of Syfy’s own big-to-small screen adaptaion, 12 Monkeys, it’s a good bet those familiar feelings of adrenaline, heart palpitations and “where the $@#! Are they going to go with this?” will resurface.

Loosely based on Terry Gilliam’s kooky 1995 dystopian time-travel cult classic of the same name, this iteration mostly hews closely to the established premise. A man from the future (Aaron Stanford) where 99% of the population has died from a plague goes back in time to stop it. Ostensibly taking the role of Madeleine Stowe’s Kathryn Railly from the movie is relative unknown Amanda Schull. After a few minutes of exposition and winking nods to the movie, the show thrusts the action forward and immediately comes into its own.

Stanford in particular remarkably improves on Bruce Willis’ portrayal of James Cole, the reluctant chronological itinerant. While Willis’ Cole  was a bit mush-mouthed and frustratingly slow, Stanford plays his character with alacrity. His wild eyes and haggard appearance keeps the severity of his task front and center as he maneuvers through our near past and present trying to complete his mission. It’s not all doom and gloom for our hero though; the future doesn’t have any cheeseburgers and a light moment shines through when Cole first encounters them. Schull, who seemingly channels a young Nicole Kidman, has the unenviable task of being the avatar for the viewer; knowing little and having to react to things happening around her. Thus far she plays not much more than a sexy, blonde possible love interest, but showrunner Natalie Chaidez ramps up her involvement in the second episode. Hopefully that continues throughout the season.

To be fair, Twelve Monkeys is firmly a genre show. Don’t expect the incisive Milton-esque polish of that other recent and fantastic movie-to-TV adaptation, Fargo (you may get what you’re looking for in another Syfy project coming down the pipe though). While Syfy has publicly vowed that 2015 a year where they intend to do more Battlestar Galacticas and less Sharknados, suspension of disbelief is still required to fully enjoy this particular reimagining. There is – of course – time-traveling, paradoxes, secret government organizations…. all the standard hallmarks of science fiction. Think Orphan Black and you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into.  But don’t let Syfy’s past scare you from this effort. While the public (with good reason) is wary of all the established properties that continue to get remade and remade until we end up with Transformers: Age of Extinction, in the right hands, a known world can be improved and explored upon in exciting ways. Twelve Monkeys is a thrill ride and has all the makings of this year’s first cult classic.

Umm....sure Michael Bay.

Uhhh…. sure, Michael Bay. Sure.

‘Syfy’ and ‘quality’? Not so much a paradox any more.

My Real Favorite Albums of 2014

By: John

I recently posted all of my year end top favorites lists on Static and Distortion. I shared with you, the Static and Distortion family of readers, what songs or albums released in 2014 I found the most pleasing to listen to.

There was one very big lie on my Top Ten Favorite Albums list because my #1 Favorite album of the year was not Pixies most hated album “Indie Cindy.”

the-national-trouble-will-find-me-608x608-1368715051It was Trouble Will Find Me by The National.

So why wasn’t Trouble Will Find Me my #1 Favorite Album? Actually, why was it not on the top ten at all?

It was denied entry into my list because of a technicality, as it was released in May 0f 2013, to be exact. Not able to qualify as a 2014 release.

I never really dug the National until late December of 2013 – the first time I heard “I Need My Girl” streaming from a curated playlist on Songza as I cleaned my basement. The song gripped me immediately and I had to listen to it again and again. Then our old pal Chris told me that “Pink Rabbits” was better. So I checked it out.

I can put this album on from beginning to end and ever song is perfect. It fits so many feelings I find myself feeling these days. I relate to this album in ways I can’t even fully fathom or explain.

No other album was more meaningful to me in calendar year 2014 than Trouble Will Find Me.

A close second that was also disqualified was Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” album, which came out in late 2013.  I enjoyed the song “Reflektor” and a few others from the album, but I had not listened to it cohesively or connected to it at all as a collective work of art until 2014. I got the chance to see Arcade Fire perform in August with my friend Brian and the songs just came to life.


By the second half of 2014, Reflektor was almost a year old already, but I was listening to it more and more. The songs “Afterlife” and “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)” were in my daily repertoire, particularly after I started my new job.

Still, through thick and thin, the album I always go back to as something I relate to and identify with 2014, Trouble Will Find Me edges out Reflektor by a wide margin.

I have even begun going back into their past catalog to listen again to the albums I dismissed previously, now that I have a context for The National as a band.

So, Trouble Will Find Me is my true 2014 Album of the Year, even though it can not be.




2014: Movies Year In Review

Another great post from Chris’s other blog.

The Glass City

What, you think I stopped my most sacred and hallowed tradition?

For those of you who may have forgotten (by choice or otherwise), every year I keep track of the movies I watch, and general demographic statistics about them because it’s superfun (for a preemtive comparison on fun, check out 2013’s post here).

This year, however, was I believe the second least active since I started doing this in 2007. This is mostly because as I mentioned earlier, I watched the equivalent of 264 movies with my daughter, and I only count one viewing as a single entry. In addition to this, we had another baby, and that always puts a dent in personal hobbies. Wait did I say hobbies? I meant extremely important scientific studies.

Anyway, here’s the breakdown:

Genre Table

Grade Table

So in total, I only watched 72 unique titles in 2014. Yikes. Shameful. This includes a single…

View original post 175 more words

Governors Ball 2015 lineup is released (AKA go home festivals, you’re drunk)

By: Robert

Yesterday the Coachella lineup came out and the collective reaction was a resounding “meh”. Today we have the Governors Ball festival lineup.  Regarded as one of the best lineups in 2014, Gov Ball proudly present “ehh”. “ehh” is a step above “meh” on the scale in case you were unaware.  Mainly a rehash of Coachella with a few upgrades  in my opinion (Death From Above 1979, J Roddy Walston, White Lung) it still offers a helping of the desert fest in the big city.  Chenel, avid fest attendee and Static contributor, stated after seeing both lineups “either I have crossed the threshold of ‘old’ or this looks like a great year to take off from festivaling”. Line up and link below.



Coachella 2015 lineup announced (AKA everyone hates this except for Robert and he still has to lie to himself a bit)

By: Robert

The Coachella Valley music and arts festival has announced their 2015 lineup, and seemingly everyone I’ve talked to on this hates it. Direct quotes:

“Just proves my weak 2014 point, what a subpar lineup. Tame Impala on 2nd line? yeah. super awesome.”

“Yikes, what a lineup. I can’t believe ACDC would do this. So weird.”

“Third day does not impress me at all. there really isn’t anyone on there i enjoy.  Headliners are ehh… I like jack white but hate Drake.” 

“Just saw it, not the best lineup.  Steely Dan?  I can’t believe that part is happening”Myself?  I think day one is great, and day three has something fun (Drive Like Jehu reunion), but I seriously have to dig to find why $300+ would warrant this.  I can’t say much though as I’ll probably shell out something similar for Lollapalooza this year.  Hopefully Pitchfork brings something as great as 2014 instead.  Below is the poster and a link to the site. Tickets go on sale January 7th at 12:00:00 PM Pacific and will be sold out by 12:00:13 PM Pacific.

Coachel poster


Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By: John

I often daydream about leaving the rough and tumble world of my job as a payroll administrator and starting my own business.

I wanted to start a coffee shop so aging hipsters who are now minivan driving boring dads can have a place to gather and complain about hipsters.

I also developed a dating service with our friend Lisa geared for call center employees to find love, called “Outsourced Love.” Call 1-800-Cubicle today – and you guessed it, your calls will be monitored or recorded for quality assurance! There are two levels of membership with Outsourced Love – Employees or Temps. (Temps have the same shot at love as Employees, but without all the benefits.)

Tonight, as I was spending time in my own kitchen, I summoned Chris and Robert, my podcast pals:

“Guys, let’s all quit our day jobs and start a dive bar!”

I could run the kitchen, Robert could tend the bar, Chris could be the brewmaster, or whatever it is Chris does. We could have a small stage for shows, an extensive whiskey menu and podcast live from our bar every Friday night.

After an immediate “No. That sounds like a terrible idea” from Robert, the idea really started to take shape.

Our most popular item would be the Static Burger with roasted chipotle Distortion sauce.

Second up is “The Miami.” It’s a Cuban style sandwich with the roasted chipotle  Distortion sauce (I put that stuff on everything!) except there’s a secret ingredient.*

Our third favorite item on the menu is “The Shen Burger.” Yes. We practically were forced into making this burger and calling it the “Shen Burger.” It’s just too easy. It’s basically an average burger served on a white bread bun, except it is served with a beer cheese made from Yuengling lager smuggled from Ohio in a minivan by John’s mother-in-law.

Have you tried our olive tapenade appetizer? Chris hates it.

Jenn recommends “The Tweedy Burger,” which is a smoked brisket sandwich, served with house made BBQ sauce, side of slaw on a brioche roll and served in a tiny jean jacket.

And who could forget “The Jenn?” “The Jenn” is often referred to around the bar as a great burger, but its rarely on the menu. Sometimes we run “the Jenn” as a special, but usually only when John, Chris, or Robert is on vacation. Sometimes John sees the Jenn Burger sitting in the fridge and thinks “We Can Charbroil That,” and voila. Back on the specials.

It’s slightly less rare to see on the menu than “the Hutch.”

Our “Death Grips Burger” is a rare burger with jalapenos, ghost pepper mayo, onions, chili powder French fries, and a side of “fuck you,” according to Robert. No one ever orders it, but Robert makes it the special every third Friday just out of spite.

This burger contrasts greatly with our “Death Cab Burger,” a meatless veggie burger with roasted bell peppers and hummus on a gluten free quinoa bun and a free “cheer up” hug from one of our wait staff.

One of my kitchen specialties is a meatloaf sandwich called “The Ohio” made with only fresh Ohio Amish eggs and seasoned bread crumbs, served exclusively by an aging former member of the Cleveland Browns.

“The Prince” burger was once the most creative and groundbreaking burger on our menu, but it really hasn’t been any good for the past 20 years, yet people still revere it as one of the best burgers in the industry.

“The Zuppe Zappa” is a kind of a strange take on Italian wedding soup, except if you changed all the ingredients to different ingredients and made it into a different kind of soup entirely.

And finally “The Yeezus.” It’s an ambitious sandwich with complex flavors with layers of beef upon beef. I heard it goes straight to your butt though. It’s also served with a side of fish sticks.

Brewmaster Chris would work in the corner – alone – perfecting his Olde Decemberists Ale or Old Townes Sour Mash Whiskey.

Each week, we could run a “Pick 5 for Friday” promotion.

You really shouldn’t bring kids to a bar, but if you do, we offer a Dinosaur Jr. Kids Menu.

Stop on in to The Static Alehouse and Kitchen today and have a shot of whiskey on us!**

*Blow. Not blow. Maybe.

**Well, actually on Robert. If he’s the bar manager, he’s going to have to account for that in his part of the budget somewhere.