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Shaq’s a Celtic, How Bout Dem Giants!!?? and the Soon To Come Debut of Something…Cool

Music, Site News, Sports - by - August 4, 2010 - 21:27 UTC - Be first to Comment!

Greetings from the Cave de Los Livingston Brothers. Pete has been doing boyfriend stuff with his girlfriend, meaning I have to pick up the slack. So here I am! And here’s the slack:

-I have discovered the greatness that is Mumford & Sons, an English Americana band (yep, that’s correct). They’re basically a folksy band that plays a lot of uptempo stuff, and feature some awesome bluegrass staples that make them a great band for a guy like me, who has fallen in love with bluegrass over the last couple of years. They came out with their first major release last year, “Sigh No More” was a big hit in Australia and I found them the old-fashioned way: a VH1 music video.

In the mornings on VH1 and MTV, they (shockingly) still show music videos. I was flipping through the channels one morning last week when their video popped up and I heard the bridge to their first single “Little Lion Man.” Usually, it’s the beginning of a song that gets you hooked, but the bridge, which was an awesome build to the final chorus, got me going to the computer immediately to download their album. “Little Lion Man” is the gem of the album, a mix of up-tempo bluegrass and folksy slow numbers, but overall, it’s a good enough album that makes me want to seek out more.  One of the few times recently where a song really hit me. Probably the first song since “Catalina” by Ghostface Killah, which was produced by Dr. Dre and got me absolutely juiced for the still-not-released “Detox.”

-It was announced on Tuesday that the Boston Celtics were close to signing Shaq, and it was official on Wednesday. Not the biggest fan of this signing. If Shaq is someone who comes off the bench, sure, why not. But at the same time, he can’t be depended on like he was even two years ago in Phoenix. He’s a body who can take over the game for minutes at a time, not quarters, and if Doc Rivers uses him correctly, he’ll have his time to shine. I hope Danny Ainge knows what he’s doing here. Maybe this brings Sheed back…who knows.

-Don’t look now, but the San Francisco Giants are the hottest team in baseball (best record since the All-Star Break) and are doing it with OFFENSE. They are led by Rookie of the Year candidate Buster Posey, who was promoted in June as a first baseman from Triple-A before being put behind the plate after Bengie Molina was traded to Texas. Don’t believe anything that was said in the media about why Posey was held back because of him needing to learn the position more or what not: It was because the Giants wanted to save money by holding back his arbitration clock, starting his time to receive an increase in salary in 2013 instead of 2012. By doing this, the Giants probably saved themselves about $8-10M by the time he became a free agent in 2017.

Doing some quick sabermetrics, a win above replacement level (your bench player who could be replaced by anyone at Triple-A) has been valued at about $5M. Since coming up, Buster has been worth 2.3 WAR according to FanGraphs and 3.7 WARP according to Baseball Prospectus. Since the two metrics are based upon different defensive principles, let’s split the difference and say that he’s been a 3 win player. That means his value to the team is worth $15M, which is roughly 30 times more than what he gets paid at the yearly minimum salary (what he’s earning right now) and if you prorate it, it’s over 50 times more value for what he gets paid.

The Giants are in a dogfight with the Padres right now and wins are crucial. Bengie measured out to be worth about -0.3 WAR this season with San Francisco (meaning he could have been replaced by anybody behind home plate worth a damn and it would have been an improvement). Since he and Buster have played about the same with the Giants this season, if you had Buster from the start of the season instead of paying Bengie $4M to catch, he would have added approximately 3 wins to the Giants total BY HIMSELF, at the cost of 1/8th of what Bengie cost. And the Giants would be in first place in the NL West right now, as well.

Brian Sabean’s signing of Aubrey Huff aside, the Bengie Molina signing was a $4M waste in lieu of a player who could have given him that value  four times over if he played from the beginning, saving Sabean the money that would have been given to Posey in free agency in 2016 and then some. Sometimes, it’s not about saving the money when you need the talent to win a race (see Hayward, Jason), and even though the Giants are a Top 10 payroll in baseball, Sabean was cheap in the wrong area here, and he better make sure the team makes the playoffs, or he’ll have to answer the question of Molina over Posey all his way out the door in San Francisco.

-Finally, I want to announce the start of a liquid feature here at Los Livingston Brothers, something that will last for a long time to come and will be completely interactive: El Cool List. It was originally thought up by myself and Blake Hritz, where I made a joke about him being as cool as Miles Davis, a reference to “Billy Madison.” From there, it became a race to see who the coolest people in the world were, and whether or not they deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as Mr. Davis. The first edition of the list will be coming over the next day or two, and when it comes out, you will see exactly how it works and how it can be a part of it. So stay tuned for what should be a pretty fun time at Los Livingston Brothers, your source for everything having to do with…well, Los Livingston Brothers.

My last 10 Recently Played Songs on my iPod: 6/22/09

Music - by - June 22, 2009 - 18:42 UTC - Be first to Comment!

This is something I’ll try and do from time to time as kind of an updater on what I’ve been up to lately and gauge my musical tastes recently, as they seem to be in a constant state of flux depending on when and where I’m listening to them. So here is how this works: On my iPod, as there is on all iPods, one of the default playlists is the “Recently Played” playlist, and it’s one I actually go back to a lot, because I like to listen to it and remember where I was the last time I played. So, I figured, why not write about it? I’m going to keep it to 10, and I’ll do the lists at random times. I’ll also include a small background about each song to keep them in context. So without further ado:

1. “Black or White” – Michael Jackson, Number Ones
LAST LISTENED TO: On my way home from work, last…I’m gonna say Thursday. Yep, Thursday. I believe I craved Taco Bell.

Ah, Michael. What a career you’ve led. Daddy Joe was a jerk while you were the center of attention with the 5, and then after going solo, you became a megastar thanks in large part to the incredible work of producer Quincy Jones, whose trio of albums turned you into the “King of Pop.” Now, we can only look at you as, and I’m quoting Katt Williams here, the King of “Smelling Like Little Boys’ Booty Holes.” This was one of his last hits, with the video for this showing him, if I remember right, standing in a water tower of some sort. I don’t know. I just remember that hearing Michael sing about the subject was pretty hilarious, mainly because his pigmentation surgery turned him whiter than Powder. Not like talcum powder, but Powder from the movie, “Powder” powder. The song itself is fine, but pales (heh) in comparison to his previous works.

2. “Thugs Get Lonely Too” – 2Pac (feat. Nate Dogg), Loyal to the Game
LAST LISTENED TO: I think on the same trip. Maybe a shorter trip to get gas. Nope, same trip.

I recently watched some old “Chappelle’s Show” reruns and it brought me to the hilarious skit where he was dancing in the club and heard the new 2Pac and the lyrics made it sound like 2Pac recorded the song 10 days ago instead of 10 years ago. They stop at lyrics like, “George W….Smith/He used to be the mayor, of Oakland, a long time ago!” And then they keep hollering at Chappelle for hitting on a woman when he’s married. Dave, come back to us. Please. The song itself I actually picked up when it was Logan Schafer’s walk-up music in Brevard County and I loved the intro. Now, the intro to the song itself is a little longer than what Schafer used (he picked it up from the first drum beat) but the song is the usual post-death 2Pac fare: A beat he probably never would have used, but at the same time, worked for what they were going for. Plus, it had Nate Dogg on the hook, and that’s always good, no matter what. I could write the worst rap ever (and I probably have, ask Lenny Della Cella) and have Nate Dogg on the hook and my shit would be hot. Then I’d truly change my name to Posstrofee and start my true calling as heir to the white rapper throne. But I think I’ll just follow sports, instead.

3. “Fish and Whistle” – John Prine, Souveneirs
LAST LISTENED TO: Aforementioned trip.

My dad records music, and in talking to my Uncle Jay about him and his musical stylings, I told him that when I first listened to John Prine sing, I realized exactly who my dad sounded like. Now, of course, Prine was somebody who turned out to be one of the greatest acoustic guitar players ever, and my dad is someone who plays because he loves it and doesn’t intend on getting famous (although if he did, it’s not like he’d turn down the fame) but the way Prine sings his songs, the tonality, the strumming of the guitar, the slight raspiness, it’s all in my dad’s songs, too. It’s nice to know that when I hear a John Prine song, it’s a reminder of what my dad looks to for influence and inspiration.

4. “Behind Those Eyes” – 3 Doors Down, Seventeen Days
LAST LISTENTED TO: Aforementioned trip, but I remember exactly when I heard it: Just as I was going through the drive thru at Taco Bell. Weird.

I have a few songs that I absolutely played down to the bone in my iPod history, and the problem is that when I had to reset it or move songs to a different computer, I lose my play history, so this song, at one point, was played at the very top of the list along with another 3 Doors Down song, “Landing in London.” Now, that song had Bob Seger in it, and he’s pretty awesome, but I remember seeing a video that recapped a WrestleMania a few years back (I think it was 21, when Batista won the big gold belt from Triple H) and this was the song it was set to. For someone who was learning the producing ropes, that was a pretty sweet video package to watch. So it got into heavy rotation, made my Top 100 list, and I played it out until I got sick of it. I think it was about 40 times. It was #1 for like, 2 months. If Billboard consisted of only me, 3 Doors Down would be the most popular band in the United States. And not because of “Superman.” That would be fine by me. The song itself is fine, but it’s not as much anymore because now all those 3 Doors Down songs blend together for me. I liked them a lot at one point, but not so much anymore. Thought it was worth a listen for nostalgia’s sake, though.

5. “Theme from ‘Shaft'” – Isaac Hayes, Shaft
LAST LISTENED TO: Coming home from work, but before deciding Taco Bell was the place to be.

So I mentioned Quincy Jones earlier, and as if you needed any other reason to love the man, we throw this one down and you guys all bow down at the greatness of him. Now, he has two incredible themes to his credit: This one, and the theme from “Austin Powers.” Yes, he wrote the theme to Austin Powers. The best of the three movie themes was the one from “The Spy Who Shagged Me” where he extended it out a bit and flared it out in the end. I almost thought they would go full James Bond and have different people do opening themes for the movies. But, alas, they instead got Britney Spears’ head to explode. I guess that’s a win-win? Although I’m digging “If You Seek Amy” a lot more than the other pop songs out there (I’m looking at you, Black Eyed Peas). The best part of this song isn’t the lyrics. It’s the layering of the instruments. Quincy figured out a way to slowly incorporate the instruments so that it was like they were all coming to a party one after the other, and then right before Isaac starts to sing, it’s like Shaft had arrived to the party and they were all applauding his arrival. Of course, Isaac lays it down thick and it’s an iconic piece of pop culture. Pretty incredible when you think about it.

(Sidenote: Quincy Jones has to be a Top 5, maybe Top 3 producer ever, doesn’t he? I know people have their faves, like Phil Spector or Sir George Martin, who were the main producers for The Beatles. I like more recent guys like Dr. Dre, Mannie Fresh, Timbaland for hip hop and Roy Thomas Baker mostly for “Bohemian Rhapsody” but also for his work on the final album from The Darkness called “One Way Ticket…To Hell and Back”. I just realized I’m writing a side note as if I’m The Sports Guy. Forget anymore sidenotes.)

6. “I’m A Flirt (Remix)” – R. Kelly (feat. T.I and T-Pain), Double Up
LAST LISTENED TO: First song that hit after I left work that Thursday.

Oh, Robert. I’m gonna lay it on the line: On pure musical talent, I don’t think there’s anyone in hip-hop today that has more than him. Kanye, Lil’ Wayne, Eminem…you name it. P. Diddy might have invented the remix, but R. Kelly mastered the damn thing. Everyone loved the remix to “Ignition.” He’s written songs called “Feelin’ On Yo Booty” and “Sex Planet.” And the first line of this song, after the dude went to court for charges of lewd sexual misconduct with a minor are “I swear to tell the truth and
the whole truth.” This guy made of Teflon or something? Also, add in his part in a phenomenal episode of “The Boondocks” and his part in the “Make It Rain” remix. Oh, and then he did “I Believe I Can Fly,” a song that when performed in full chorus at the MTV Video Music Awards back in 1997 was one of the best award show performances ever. Throw in new hipster icon (????) T-Pain and a guy who just came off his best album in T.I. and you got yourself a hip-hop #1 hit. Done deal.

7. “What I Got (Reprise)” – Sublime, Sublime
LAST LISTENED TO: On my way into work that Thursday.

I have bought this album three times. I first bought it, then lost it when my CDs got stolen. I got it as a gift for my birthday, then it got busted. The third time I got it, it got stolen again, but by that time, I had it saved on my computer and could burn it. I think if you were a kid in Sonoma when this came out and you weren’t listening to it, people wondered what the hell was wrong with you. It’s weird to listen to it now, with the only true memory I’m getting from it bringing me back to the same time: My sophomore year at Sonoma Valley High School. It’s another group who I have kind of soured on, but, just like the Chili Peppers, when the summer time rolls around, this group comes to mind immediately, and usually, it brings the good times. This was one of them.

8. “Runnin’ Away” – Sly & The Family Stone, There’s A Riot Going On
LAST LISTENED TO: Driving home from the Wednesday day game.

So in our times where we drove to San Francisco on what seemed like a weekly basis, Blake and I would pop one of his CDs in, and we’d get in a rotation where this would be near the top of the list. Why? Because one time, when this song came on, we saw about a half dozen beautiful women driving by us on the 101. So, like most one-hit wonders, you keep playing and hope that the second and third time around bring the same results. Not so much the second time around. That being said, Sly is ridiculously cool. Will’s mom knew him in high school. Literally. Played at school rallies and all that. Guess he knew way back then. So Vallejo’s four greatest exports are Sly, Jeff Gordon, C.C. Sabbathia and E-40. Not bad.

9. “Mainstreet” – Bob Seger, Greatest Hits
LAST LISTENED TO: That same Wednesday, just before getting home.

Bob Seger was one of the first artists I remember listening to, along with Willie Nelson, Queen, Jimmy Buffett, The Eagles and The Beatles. I always loved his music, just because the way he sang made it sound like he was eeking out pain. Like he was looking for a way to describe heartbreak. THIS song is awesome because it talks about that heartbreak, about a guy wanting to find love in the heart of a dancer late one night downtown, probably in Detroit, but it, of course, becoming a trial and tribulation to do so. For some reason, people will talk up Springsteen for all he’s worth, but Bob Seger gets left behind because he didn’t write a bunch of poppy singles about the American Dream. Instead, people remember him for things like being the song in those Guitar Hero commercials where they copy “Risky Business” and being the song in the Chevrolet “Like A Rock” commercials. So two songs became commercial jingles. Awesome. I don’t remember Bob Seger for those songs. I remember him for songs like this, “Night Moves,” “Turn The Page,” and “Hollywood Nights.”

10. “Oh!” – Eric Hutchinson, Sounds Like This
LAST LISTENED TO: On the way to the ballpark early that Wednesday morning.

Alex Anthopolous, assistant GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, gave me an overview of what he’d like from me to do during Spring Training before the first game of the year against the Yankees back in February. I remember sitting down, getting the things together, and then all of a sudden, Alex calling me over and dropping a cardboard box full of CDs in my arms and saying, “Here, you can have these if you want. Welcome to Spring Training.” This was on the first day I met him. Suffice to say, it’s one thing to be nice, but a completely different thing to be generous. Luckily, he was both. One of his good friends was attending one of the games that weekend and dropped those off as a way of saying thanks, but Alex didn’t want them and sent them my way. So I put EVERY ONE of them on my computer, and Eric Hutchinson, who I had never heard of, was one of them. He’s another one of those fringe indie pop guys that sound like the music you’d hear on a teen drama like The OC or something. I guess Gossip Girls is the way to go now. Anyways, this is a song that I listened to for the first time a while back and I really enjoyed it. Good piano work (I contest to this day that the piano is the most important instrument in pop music) and I liked the lyrics well enough. He’s like a poor man’s Ben Folds.