Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bands you should listen to (that you probably don't now)

1. Mark Lanegan- Mark Lanegan, the solo artist who formerly led Screaming Trees, is like Tom Waits meets Wilco meets industrial. He's rough, gritty, and strangely poetic. I recommend Bubblegum, which I believe is his latest album. My friend Micah recommended it to me back in September and I've been hooked ever since. Check out "Methamphetamine Blues" and "When Your Number Isn't Up" for two very different sides of the same hard-rockin' coin.

Youtube- Methamphetamine Blues
Youtube- When Your Number Isn't Up

2. Uncle Tupelo- This early 1990s band pretty much defined the alternative country genre. Jay Farrar's lyrics take center stage, while Jeff Tweedy's musical stylings shape the music and run the gamut from hard rock to bluegrass to covers of old Americana folk music to even some punk stylings. Although they split up in 1994, Uncle Tupelo remains one of my favorite artists of all time, and their music should definitely be listened to by anyone looking to experience a real solid American band. My personal favorite album is "March 16-20, 1992."

Last.fm- Whiskey Bottle
Last.fm- I Wanna Be Your Dog (live)

3. Explosions in the Sky- I've been trying to introduce people to these guys for years, and it almost always goes well. If you're familiar with Mogwai, you probably have a general idea of what these guys sound like. I think it's described as "instrumental post-rock" by Pitchfork or Wikipedia or whatever, but really it's just a bunch of guys with guitars who play some rocking songs that really explore textures and layers in instrumental guitar rock. I know that's a pretty horrible description, but I promise they're good. It's amazing how much emotion can be conveyed by a band even without using words. Check out "The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place" for a great starting point.

Youtube- What Do You Go Home To?
Youtube- First Breath After Coma

4. Doug Burr- Doug Burr is a Denton-area musician with a unique sound. It's part Neil Young, part Johnny Cash, part Will Oldham, part Tom Waits (sidenote: that's two Tom Waits-sounding artists I've recommended, even though I don't really like Tom Waits. Interesting). I first heard Doug Burr about 4 years ago opening for a Bob Schneider show and I've been following him ever since. His last full album, On Promenade, is probably in my top 10 albums of all time. Even his new release, The Shawl, which is select Psalms set to music, is really top-quality music. Out of all these artists, I recommend Doug Burr the most, both because I want to see him succeed and because I really stand behind my recommendation of him. Check him out on Myspace, and if you like his stuff, buy a cd on iTunes so he'll keep making music for years to come.

Myspace- Doug Burr

Monday, July 13, 2009

Career Options Pt. 1

I'm at the point in my schooling right now where it's time to start seriously considering my career options. The time to start applying for legal jobs starting in Fall 2010 is rapidly approaching, and it means that some preliminary decisions have to be made and some pre-screening has to be done. With the economy being what it is, for better or for worse, I realize that I have to be flexible; however, I've narrowed my ideal choices down to a few select types of job that I'll be seriously looking into.

1. Public defender- this is probably my ideal job at this point. The work is interesting, I have a decent background in it, my law school curriculum has been tailored toward criminal law, and with a government salary, you don't have to worry about clients who won't pay. There are plenty of drawbacks, to be sure, but I think this job is one that I would really enjoy and would be good at. Plus, there are criminals in every single state in the United States, so the job market spans far and wide, leaving plenty of room for choice of location.
  • Pros: flexibility, autonomy, relaxed work environment
  • Cons: poverty, lack of resources, tight economy, risk of getting curb-stomped

2. Human Rights/Relief Worker- this job would require a bit more sacrifice, since it would likely be in Africa or another developing or third-world area. However, this job would be a great combination of my educational background (foreign language, public administration, law), my work background (criminal law, politics, administration, immigration), and my liberal douchebagginess and guilt. I'm really interested in this job, but I know so little about it, so I'll have to flesh out many more details before I can really explore this option
  • Pros: humanitarianism, travel, adventure
  • Cons: poverty, malaria, difficulty in securing employment, risk of getting kidnapped

3. Dark wizard/Ringwraith/Witch King of Angmar- this job is almost too cool for words. Just yesterday I was reading the Lord of the Rings books, and I realized that the coolest character in the series is by far the Witch King. I realize this may be a difficult job to come by, and it seems to end badly for those who hold it, but that doesn't scare me. Also, I was the best man at a wedding this weekend, and I was in charge of keeping the ring, and I feel like I did a pretty good job. I feel like the ability to cast dark magic on people would be a very transferrable job skill.
  • Pros: job coolness, autonomy, direction, wicked uniforms, badass transportation
  • Cons: white wizards, hobbits, sunlight, risk of getting sword-chopped, crappy health plan

4. Professional Bass Fisherman- Although I'm not super keen on the idea of wearing a shirt with some corporation's logo on it, being able to ride around in a boat and wear sunglasses for a living seems pretty cool. Just look at those who have done it before- Jimmy Houston, Bill Dance, Don Johnson. Plus fishing is awesome, and it seems like the job is somewhat recession-proof, as I can't imagine fish particularly care what the Dow or Nasdaq is doing at any given time. This might also be a hard job to come by, but if I could maybe start out as a dark wizard and learn some cool magic, it would be a lot easier to both get the job and succeed as a professional bass fisher. One Spinnerbait to Rule Them All...
  • Pros: wicked sunglasses, tackleboxes, worms, giant checks, mustaches
  • Cons: fish and game regulations, corporate sponsorship, risk of drowning, accidental hookings

I'm going to do some research and see where it goes from there. More to come...