1. Breaking Bad
I have a history of getting pretty nerdy (obsessed) with certain TV shows. When I was younger my uncle would tape The Simpsons for me on VHS every week. I watched those tapes so many times that I had memorized the commercials as well as the dialogue. In college I scheduled my classes around Law & Order reruns at 1PM on A&E, and probably knew more about Lenny Briscoe and Jack McCoy than I did about whatever class I was going to later that afternoon.
Nowadays I’d have to qualify both of these shows as “mild obsessions” compared to my relationship with Breaking Bad. I am flat out HOOKED! There isn’t a single flaw in any aspect of the perfect diamond that is this show. The acting is superb, the cinematography is fantastic, and the writing is just unbelievable. Vince Gilligan has created something that oscillates between funny and unsettling; something that is both full of heart and downright horrifying. By the end of each episode my heart is beating so fast, I may as well be on Heisenberg’s blue super-meth! At the end of four seasons, the characters are so real, so deep and so complex, I would argue they rival some of Shakespeare’s finest work. Someday college students will be studying the development of Walter White’s character arc, his epic journey from milquetoast to super-villain. And when they do, I say sign me up to be the professor!
It’s kind of ironic that as a musician, I don’t listen to very much music. Wait, is that even ironic? That damn Alanis Morissette song got me all screwed up with the definition of that word. At any rate, whenever I’m driving or walking somewhere there’s usually a podcast being played on my iPod. I keep a healthy regiment of Democracy Now for news, Fresh Air with Terry Gross for interviews, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me for general weekly hilarity. There’s one podcast that I NEVER miss however, and that is Marc Maron’s bi-weekly WTF.
The opening monologue is an acquired taste for some, but I like it. Sometimes irrational, often neurotic, I imagine it sounds like the confessional booth if we Jews did that sort of thing. What WTF is greatest for is the interview. With over 200 episodes under his belt, Maron has interviewed nearly every comedian you could ever think of. Patton Oswalt, Robin Williams, Stephen Wright, Norm Macdonald, Brian Posehn, Andy Dick, Gallagher (who walks out in the middle of the interview), Bob Saget, Louis C.K., and the list goes on. WTF doesn’t only feature stand-up comics, but also actors like Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston (see above obsession and you can only imagine how much I love this particular interview). If you’re looking for long-form discussion/interviews that are fascinating, hilarious, depressing, and occasionally uncomfortable (i.e. Gallagher), maybe you’ll love WTF as much as I do.
3. This Kid
No words needed here! There are more videos of this kid out there, but be careful, you can get in some trouble searching for young Asian boys on the internet…
Golden Bloom is Shawn Fogel’s soaring vocals, shimmering guitar hooks; whizzing keyboards and twinkling sounds. In fact, Golden Bloom is all Shawn Fogel. Under the moniker Golden Bloom, Fogel constructs intelligent contemporary indie power pop that rivals like-minded peers such as Wilco, Matt Pond PA, and Ben Kweller. When the multi-instrumentalist and front man isn’t working on Golden Bloom material, he can be found dabbling in a handful of other bands and projects. His 2010 project Neutral Uke Hotel (a re-interpretation of Neutral Milk Hotel’s seminal album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea) finds Fogel transforming one of his favorite albums entirely on the ukulele.In January of 2009, SPIN magazine featured Golden Bloom as an “undiscovered band worth a listen”, while MAGNET, Under the Radar, and The Big Takeover have all highlighted Golden Bloom’s unique variety of power pop as well.