Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Skog Family Week in Review

Greetings friends and readers. Welcome to 2010 and the first installment of The Skog Family Week(s) in Review.  There is a lot to get caught up on so let's get to the action.

The Wheels Family Winter Invasion of 2009

Wheels' Family lives all over the globe.  Because of this it has been more than two years since we have all been in the same place at the same time.  This Christmas the entire Wheels family descended upon Utah, well everyone except Wheels' little brother Jason who was a no show.  Not sure why he was too stuck up to join us but maybe next time... I kid, I kid, the guy is currently serving a faithful LDS mission in Uruguay and was greatly missed.  Home movies were watched, much food was consumed (I'm talking of Skog Family proportions) and many sicknesses were passed back and forth between the little ones.  One of the lowlight's of the week was Wheels' father, Dennis, breaking his leg in a flukey skiing accident.  Anybody who knows Dennis knows that he is the one person who would not enjoy sitting around with a cast on his leg while the rest of the family played hard.  He was still a trooper and Wheels' mom was probably an even bigger trooper for having to take care of him and drive them home once their stay was over.

As evidenced by Dennis' broken leg, the Wheels Family is notorious for their extreme outdoor play.  On one of the days that it snowed Wheels and her brothers planned a snow shoeing trip assuring me that they'd "be careful" and they'd "be fine."  They did arrive home safely and without incident (or so I was told) from their expedition, but it was quite humorous to see the picture below in the local newspaper the following day.  That would be Wheels' brother and a family friend digging their car out of the snow. 

Pretty Lights and Freezing Nights

Here are some pics of the annual pilgrimmage to see the lights at Temple Square.  One highlight not captured on film (what is the proper term here since it's digital?  help me out photographers) was right after the shot of the girls with Grandma Donna was taken they lost their balance and all toppled over.  Good times.

Once There Was a Snowman

I came home to find this spectacular looking snowman in our frontyard, lovingly put together by Wheels and the girls.  The next morning, however, I discovered that he had been slaughtered in a horrific drive by shooting.  RIP, Mr. Snowman.  You will be missed.  Warning: the photos are gruesome.  Viewer discretion advised.

Tonight, KG is KING!

Parts of the Skog Family spent the week after Christmas in St. George.  Upon returning home, my parents Big J and Crazy Sue had a bad night's sleep in their soft bed and decided they wanted a firmer mattress like the one they had slept in during their vacation.  A trip to RC Willey later and yada yada yada, the Skogs now have a "new" king size mattress.  After years of children sleeping on our face and kicking us in various body parts as we try and sleep, Wheels and I are finally again enjoying the night.  I was a bit skeptical at first and didn't think the king looked that much bigger but by gosh it is MUCH bigger.  It is like taking a four lane highway and converting it into two lanes.  It is glorious.  Toots has her night terrors?  Come on in.  Superstar has a Scooby Doo inspired nightmare?  No problem, you can even bring your dolls if you'd like.  There is room for everyone!  I cannot stress to young couples enough that when you buy your first mattress just go ahead and get the king.  Wheels is so out of it at night now that Toots can come and scream for 5 minutes at the side of our bed and she just sleeps and sleeps and sleeps.  I have gone from 'tired and ornery' to just ornery.  Things are looking up at the Skog home.

We moved our old bed into the girls' room and so far Toots has spent four complete nights in her new bed.  As I stated before though, even if she doesn't, who cares??!  We do feel sorry for Superstar now though because she is the benefactor of Toots' kicking and nighttime spazzery.  Sorry, Superstar.  Thanks for taking one for the team.

Oprah Winfrey Presents: Makeover Magic

For some reason Superstar kept asking Santa for 'Princess Makeup' for Christmas.  Luckily for her, Grammie Sue was on the same page and bought her a makeup kit.  It has been a success and has gotten a lot of use so far.  However, I think the girls look more like Chaka than a Princess when they get all dolled up with their makeup.  Faulty advertising if you ask me.

Fairy Fashion Show

The other big hit of the Christmas season was the Fairy dress-up trunk that Toots got for Christmas.  I don't believe a single day has passed without the girls getting some use out of the costumes.  Combine the fairy costumes with the makeup and there is only one thing to do - Fashion Show!  Sometimes I wonder what the girls are doing while I'm at work and I get sad that I miss out on some of the stuff.  Other times I just get a little freaked out.  Not sure which of those sentiments describes what you are about to see. Gotta love the sass, the strange ending that involves throwing of hungry hungry hippo marbles and the music that at times is a cross between REM and Def Leppard. According to Wheels the decore was all Superstar's idea.

Rockin' in the New Year

In my countdown of the decade's finest tunes, I declared Kings of Leon to be the band of the decade.  My girls happen to agree.  Even the Rockstar is getting in on the action.

Superstar's Pic Portfolio Vol. 41

It wouldn't be a proper week in review without taking a look at Superstar's pics.  She is really getting artsy and edgy and taking chances with her shots.  This portfolio will be displayed at Sundance this week.  Kudos to you, Superstar.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Twelve Day of Christmas Countdown - 2009

Our long national nightmare is over.  Thanks for humoring me.  Stay tuned tomorrow for a new edition of the Skog Family Week in Review.


#12f Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

#12e Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid

#12d Jason Lytle - Yours Truly, The Commuter

#12c Harlem Shakes - Technicolor Health

#12b Gomez - A New Tide

#12a Eels - Hombre Lobo

#11 The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns

#10 Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg

#9 The Dodos - Time to Die

#8 Marcy Playground - Leaving Wonderland ... In a Fit of Rage

#7 Clem Snide - Hungry Bird

#6 Sondre Lerche - Heartbeat Radio

#5 David Mead - Almost and Always

#4 We Were Promised Jetpacks - We Were Promised Jetpacks

#3 Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

#2 Bishop Allen - Grrr...

#1 The Swell Season - Strict Joy

Honorable Mentions

Pete Yorn - Back and Fourth

Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johannson - Break Up

Alice in Chains - Black Gives Way to Blue

Andrew Bird - Noble Beast

Doves - Kingdom of Rust

David Bazan - Curse Your Branches

Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Independence

Brendan Benson - My Old Familiar Friend

Silversun Pickups - Swoon

Flight of the Conchords - I Told You I Was Freaky

Echo and the Bunnymen - The Fountain

John Mayer - Battle Studies

Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard - One Fast Move Or I'm Gone Music From Kerouac's Big Sur

Julian Casablancas - Phrazes For the Young

A-Camp - Colonia

Coconut Records - Davy

Fiction Family - Fiction Family

Muse - The Resistance

Pearl Jam - Backspacer

BOAT - Setting the Paces

Colin Hay - American Sunshine

Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper

The Twelve Days of Christmas Countdown - 2008

You will remember most of these albums from last year, however a few were already bumped from the list.  Also, I didn't add any descriptions since I have previously discussed the majority of them and I assume you can add either 'fantastic,' 'delightful' or 'blow your mind' and complete my music review mad libs.


#12 My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

#11 Airborne Toxic Event - The Airborne Toxic Event

#10 Ray LaMontagne - Gossip in the Grain

#9 R.E.M. - Accelerate

#8 Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords

#7 Amos Lee - Last Days at the Lodge

#6 Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

#5 Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid

#4 Kings of Leon - Only By the Night

#3 Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight

#2 Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

#1 Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Honorable Mentions

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound

Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It

The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely

Q-Tip - The Renaissance

The Black Keys - Attack and Release

The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

Coldplay - Viva la Vida

Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds and A Sound

She and Him - Volume One

Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs

Mates of State - Re-Arrange Us

Neil Diamond - Home Before Dark

Duffy - Rockferry

Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue

Phantom Planet - Raise the Dead

TV on the Radio - Dear Science

Ben Folds - Way To Normal

Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow and Blue

Jamie Lidell - Jim

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas Countdown - 2007


#12 Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace - A return to form after a few so/so albums.

#11 Velvet Revolver - Libertad - After a decent debut, the super group put all of the ingredients together for a tasty cocktail on this album only to have it implode soon after.

#10 Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature - A Swedish guy of Argentine decent.  I'm sure he drinks yerbamate and that makes this album even better than it already is.

#9 Elliott Smith - New Moon - Elliott's soundtrack for a vampire movie.  I kid.  A double album of unreleased songs and demos.  As far as the name goes, Elliott was ahead of his time as usual.

#8 Lily Allen - Alright, Still - British street rat of a girl.  One of my all time favorite albums to hear during the summer.

#7 Cafe Tacuba - Sino - Previously described by me as the Mexican Radiohead.  Whether you speak Spanish or not you should give them a listen.

#6 Radiohead - In Rainbows - The British Radiohead

#5 Band of Horses - Cease to Begin - Lots to like here but not as perfect as their debut.

#4 Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala - A Swedish Morrissey except not as melancholy.  I'm quite certain that only Flanksteak, Vanwarmer, Little Rob and myself enjoy this guy but he is fantastic.  Although it can be a bit melodramatic and the lyrics are unintentionally funny at times due to the language barrier, Jens never falls out of my rotation.

#3 Bishop Allen - The Broken String - A favorite of Wheels, Herms and myself, I still probably listen to this album more than any other on this countdown. 

#2 The National - Boxer - I struggled for two days and finally settled on this album as number 2.  Let it be known that it was basically a toss up for me.  Many of these songs have been featured on the Skog Blog over the years and will continue to be featured in the future. 

#1 Kings of Leon - Because of the Times - For those scoring at home, this is the third number one album for the Followill Brothers.  This album has much more depth than their two previous and pretty much established them as the band of the decade.

Honorable Mentions

Coconut Records - Nighttiming - Jason Schwartzman of Rushmore fame, has been on the blog in the past.

Feist - The Reminder - You will recognize many of these songs from commercials and films.  Delightful.

The White Stripes - Icky Thump - Not nearly as good as previous albums but a few great, great songs.

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away - Didn't live up to the legendary status of their previous two albums.

Missy Higgins - On A Clear Night - Discovered by Herms.  I think he actually gave her a record contract.  Sounds like a less angry Alanis.

Sondre Lerche - Phantom Punch - I told you not every one of his albums would hit the top 12.

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight - Jenny Lewis shakes her moneymaker with excellent results.

Lupe Fiasco - The Cool - Solid but not spectacular.  Sensing a theme for 2007?

The Frames - The Cost - Recorded some of The Swell Season songs with a full band.  Great album.

Battles - Mirrored - Called 'Math Rock' listen to Atlas.  I know I use the term kind of loosely around these parts but put on some headphones and Atlas will truly blow your mind. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas Countdown - 2006


#12 Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That - Phoenix improves with every album.

#11 Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit - The band's best work ever.

#10 Corinne Bailey Rae - Self Titled - She's the female Amos Lee.

#9 Amos Lee - Supply and Demand - He's the male Corinne Bailey Rae.

#8 Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor - One of the best hip hop albums of the decade.

#7 Ray LaMontagne - 'Til the Sun Turns Black - The man has yet to put out a stinker of an album.

#6 Muse - Black Holes and Revelations - A modern Queen Tribute band that perfects what Queen started decades ago.

#5 Guster - Ganging Up on the Sun - Everyone knows that KG loves Guster.  No surprise here.

#4 Band of Horses - Everything All the Time - My Morning Jacket's mellower little brother.

#3 Gomez - How We Operate - Gomez finally hits the mainstream with excellent results.

#2 Wolfmother - Self Titled - I realize most people think all I listen to are dudes singing falsetto with an acoustic guitar.  Sometimes I want to rock and it quite frequently involves this band.

#1 The Swell Season - The Swell Season - This album is where the magic started.

Honorable Mentions

The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth - Juicebox is a very tasty track.

The Kooks - Inside In / Inside Out - Deserves more listens.

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat - Country folk

The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers - Jack White and Brendan Benson team up to blow your mind.

k-os - Atlantis - Canadian hip/hop genius is making albums that Wyclef Jean used to make.

Damien Rice - 9 - Not as solid as his debut but contains many a delightful song.

My Morning Jacket - Okonokos - I decided against including live albums in my countdown by MMJ is best heard live and this album is as good as it gets.

TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain - Guys, learn the words to Wolf Like Me and impress your Team Jacob wive.

M. Ward - Post War - Chinese Translation is the must listen here.

Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere - While watching the band perform on Austin City Limits this past weekend I declared Crazy to be the best song of the decade.  Their cover of the Femme's classic Gone Daddy Gone is also fantastic.

Joshua Radin - We Were Here - He should be one of my all time faves but he gets lost in the shuffle.  Not sure why because it's a pleasure everytime I hear him.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas Countdown - 2005

You thought I had given up, didn't you?  Admit it!  Well, guess again, Pal.

2005 - Another solid year for music. 


#12 Eisley - Room Noises - A family band, beloved by Wheels and I.  The harmonies of the DuPree sisters will haunt your dreams.

#11 Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill Acoustic - Released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Alanis' classic album, these acoustic versions give new life to her greatest hits.

#10 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois - Would have finished in the top 3 at the end of 2005 but it has slowly fallen out of rotation.  That said, it is still full of nice little folk tunes based on the state history of Illinois.

#9 Mike Doughty - Haughty Melodic - Former lead singer of Soul Coughing delivers an album of guitar driven folk/rock.  Looking At the World From the Bottom of a Well frequently feels like my theme song.

#8 Ben Lee - Awake is the New Asleep - I accidentally left a few of Ben's other albums off of previous countdowns but I won't make the same mistake with this pop classic.

#7 Clem Snide - End of Love - If songs about Lucille Ball and Driving in Europe interest you then look no further.

#6 Seu Jorge - The Life Aquatic Sessions - Anybody who saw The Life Aquatic will remember the David Bowie covers sung in Portuguese by Seu that were featured throughout the film.  I listened to this album so often that I not only made Wheels tired of it but also her brother Marc.  Their loss.

#5 Neil Diamond - 12 Songs - Big Neil got back to his songwriter roots and blew us all away with the subtle tunes on this gem.  Ranks right up there with his finest work.

#4 Amos Lee - Amos Lee - I bought Amos on a whim because it was inexpensive and he looked like a cool dude.  I had never heard a note of his music.  I didn't stop listening to this album for several weeks. 

#3 Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine - KG, Wheels, Herms, and Kim love us some Fiona.  Her most complete album by far.

#2 Ben Folds - Songs for Silverman - Musically better than Rockin' the Suburbs but not quite as fun.  Kind of like comparing The Last Supper to Mona Lisa.

#1 My Morning Jacket - Z - Would have barely made the top 5 in 2005 but has aged like the finest of wines.

Honorable Mentions

They Might Be Giants - Here Come the ABC's - A lifesaver if you have children and are trying to keep them from The Wiggles.

Doves - Some Cities - Give Black and White Town and Sky Starts Falling a quick listen.

Aqualung - Strange and Beautiful - Coldplay type Britpop.  Brighter than Sunshine is fantastic.

Louis XIV - The Best Little Secrets Are Kept - Not sure why I love this album by San Diego guys pretending to be British punks but I do.

Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations - Double album.  A little too ambitious but Trouble With Dreams, Railroad Man, and Hey Man (Now You're Really Living) are great.

Coldplay - X and Y - Good but not great album from Mr. Paltrow and Friends.

The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan - Similar to the Coldplay album above, good but not the band's best work.

Death Cab For Cutie - Plans - Toughest omission from this year's list.  Let's call it 12b.

The Decemberists - Picaresque - A band that I never quite like as much as I think I should, this album is their best work.

Josh Rouse - Nashville - Shared by Vanwarmer, a delightful album.

We Are Scientists - With Love and Squalor - Great songs but even better videos.  Yes there were still a few bands making videos in 2005.  Youtube those suckers.