Here's a short list of artists I've been listening to over the last week or so. Click for additional stats on what else I like lately.

On the upstairs porch, at the Mansion on Judges Hill, Austin, TX, 11/9/07. Lonestar beer is the local swill, and is comparable to a Pabst, Stroh's, etc.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Vista Views

Click over here to have a look at Windows Vista, the upcoming, and long overdue Windows upgrade to be officially released later this year. The Beta software is out and we can finally get a look at the new interface.

No doubt, Windows XP was starting to look like a beat 1994 Ford Taurus. On the contrary I think Vista is a pretty damn attractive OS, and it's interesting that they're using the hi-gloss look to position themselves against Mac's more matted brushed silvery thing. Not sure which I like better, but Windows has my attention again.

Even more, I've been thinking about making the switch back to PC for my next computer, as most of my faith in Apple products has weaned. My 4th-gen iPod randomly kicked the bucket 16 months out of the box, not to mention that was a replacement for the first one. I'm thankful at least one repair was covered under warrenty. Then, Alison's iPod bit it the same way about a month ago. Then I dropped my laptop a mere 12 inches from the ground at which point the hard drive decided it would allow access to any piece of software except iTunes. Except for iTunes! Now more than ever I realize that computers are just glorified jukeboxes. Not mine though. Not any more.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Riding on the coattails of An Inconvienent Truth, this doubley hot coffee mug employs Hypercolor-esque technology to demonstrate the future effects of global warming. Just pour coffee in and watch Florida go bye bye. (Via Gizmodo)

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Encouraging Big Brother - Last FM

Kind of cool is this feature over at Last FM that displays cover art for all of the albums I have been listening to for the last however long.

If you're not on Last FM, sign up. It's a pretty dope social networking-type tool that tracks your listening habits and generates stats. Join and drop me a link in the comments and we'll put together a listening group.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

New Sufjan - "Springfield"

The new Sufjan Stevens album, The Avalance The Avalanche, leaked a few weeks ago and I thought it time to break the seal and share one of the highlights. This track is my personal favorite on the record -- it's %110 Crosby, Stills & Nash-ed out. Great harmony dubbing, and guitar cresendos. I can't believe he left this one off the proper Illinois release, as it's most definitely a jaw-dropper.

Sufjan Stevens - "Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in His Hair"

As a little bonus, I thought it might be best to ruin the sanctity of the albums by combining the two into a very non-WWSSD track sequence. Do you ever wish that double albums had maybe just been one single, cream of the crop tracks-only album? My general preference for single-albumness has been discussed previously, though through thorough theory overhaul I have decided to concede that 55 minutes (or 12-14 songs) is an acceptable max. That means we be cutting out more than half the total number of jams.

1. Concerning the UFO Sighting...
2. Come on Feel the Illinoise
3. The Tallest Man the Broadest Shoulders
4. Springfield...*
5. Casimir Pulaski Day
6. Chicago
7. The Henney Buggy*
8. The Man of Metropolis...
9. Jacksonville
10. John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
11. The Predatory Wasp...

*from The Avalance
Total running time = 55:50

I know I know, I probably left off your favorite track. Sorry homey, rules are rules. Maybe one day this will get released as one of those awful double-to-single album repackaging deals, a la Use Your Illusion (seriously, click that link). Did I say awful? I meant clearly the best option!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Economics of the Lollapalooza Schedule

Smart of Perry Farrell and Co. to wait as long as possible before announcing the official daily Lollapalooza schedule breakout. All the better to sell more three-day passes. For those of us who don't want to drop $140 (soon to be $150), the patience might have paid off. There is talk that daily will eventually go on sale. Shall I purchase a one-day pass, three day pass, or just say to hell with it? Let's break this bitch down.

For your reference, take a gander at this here grid o'bands. Here's what I'd like to see:

Friday: Eels, The M's, Stars, Ryan Adams, Iron & Wine, Ween (total: 6)

Saturday: Feist, Built to Spill, Calexico, Sonic Youth, Flaming Lips, New Pornographers, Manu Chao, Kanye West (total: 8)

Sunday: The Redwalls, The Hold Steady, Hot Chip, Nickel Creek, The Shins, Of Montreal, Wilco, Broken Social Scene (total: 10)

Important to this experiment is the following catagorization:
Artists you can likely see for $15 or less
Artists you can likely see for $15-25
Artists you can likely see for $25 or more

Let's run some numbers here to see if it's worth the price of a one day ticket, which isn't on sale yet, but we'll go assume it will be $70 after ser-charges. In that case, we'll add the average value for each color, let's say $10, $20, $30 respectively and then divide by half, since most of these groups are only playing 45-60 minutes, or approximately half of a normal show.

The numbers look like this:

Friday: $55 value
Saturday: $75 value
Sunday: $60 value

Now, let's add a $10 emphasis to the groups that I most want to see -- Eels, Ryan Adams, Iron & Wine, Hot Chip, Wilco -- and look at how the math comes out.

Friday: $85
Saturday: $75
Sunday: $80

So Friday then? I gotta say, I'm not convinced.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

speaking of pitchfork

What's up with their new page layout(s) incorporating more photos and video? For instance, this page looks as if some 5 year old has been playing with the HTML.

The mix of randomly-sized large and small photos looks really clunky. They could start by at least centering some of the larger ones to the middle of the column. Even more, some of the photos, like the one used on this news brief, are enlarged beyond their intended size and pixelated to the point of looking like total shite.

Last and maybe most important of all, there's no padding between the images and the text aligned to the side of them. See the photos on this page? There is space between them and the text. This is basic, commen sense HTML tagging and frankly I'm surprised that Pitchfork, being as high-profile and widely read as they are, would let this short of junk design slide.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pitchfork Fest Tix

I finally got around to picking up a pair of tickets for Pitchfork festival. They've been running a news updates every day saying that the ticket supply is drying up, so if you're planning to go you might want to get 'em to make sure you got 'em.

Click over here to check out the artist schedule and spend that money. No doubt this year is more rock-heavy than last -- don't let that effect your enthusiasm, there's a lot of solid acts showing up. I'm psyched to see Destroyer, Band of Horses, Jens Lekman, Ya La Tengo, Aesop Rock and Glen Kotche, though the entire Saturday lineup looks, to use a word from the festival parlance, phatty.

HBO Sundays pt 2

I concur with Aaron, the second week of Entourage was a huge improvement, thanks to Ari coming back in to full form. I thought it was a little over-the-top to claim that Aquaman would be the highest grossing opening weekend ever. In fact, I would have guessed that the writers would make Aquaman a flop and that Queen's Boulevard would be the hit. Has Q.B. even been released in the alternate dimension of Entourage?

Lucky Louie stayed strong for a second week -- no surprise there.

I actually caught myself laughing once or twice during Tourgasm (I though Dane's bit about public bathrooms always being wet was chuckle-worthy), but still can't shake the opinion that these guys (ahem, Jay Davis) are total hacks.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday List - The Hierarchy of Led Zeppelin Records

In true Haahnster, classic-rock-loving fashion, here's a ranking, in order, of the best [read: not "my favorite" or some poll or other junk-science non-sense] Led Zeppelin studio releases:

9. Coda
8. Led Zeppelin I
7. Presence
6. Led Zeppelin III
5. Led Zeppelin II
4. In Through the Our Door
3. Led Zeppelin IV
2. Physical Graffiti
1. Houses of the Holy

Disagreements are futile. Also, while I won't guarantee it, I am going to make an effort to post a list of some sort each friday.

Blogging HBO's New Sunday Night

HBO dropped three season premieres this past Sunday, and now that I've had a chance to rewatch the shows on-demand it's time to weigh in.

Entourage - The story arc last season was top notch, but with Ari's sudden unemployment I was concerned this show might head down a dangerous path paved in cheap dramatics. Sure enough Ari's marriage is in trouble, money is tight, the new office isn't suitably A-list. When did this show become so damn serious? And what do we get as counterbalance? Awww, everybody's mom came to the premiere, how gaggingly cute! Look, I know a lot of ladies are watching Entourage now, but the producers crossed a line with that shit. Pick up it Wahlberg, your show's on HBO, not the Hallmark network.

Lucky Louie - Thank god this show got sandwiched between the other two Sunday night premieres, Lucky Louie was clearly the highlight. It's great to see HBO try the live-studio-audience thing, which has been rightfully associated with "cheesy" sitcoms in recent years and phased out gradually by the networks. Popular culture was long overdue for the next Al Bundy / Archie Bunker-type and Louie CK has just the chops to pull it off.

Tourgasm - Aside from th occasional stand-up set on Comedy Central, my impression Dane Cook was that he was a normal comic who told normal jokes to normal college kids who went to school in places like Normal, Illinois. It's amazing what you can accomplish with the right pair of distressed jeans and a little arrogance.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Junior Boys... 2 Men?

Pitchfork throws a big nasty 5/5 stars to the new Junior Boys single, "In the Morning." The cut is from the forthcoming sophomore effort So This Is Goodbye, which PF hails as, "every bit as dazzling and adventurous as their debut." I can't find a release date for the single, but the JB's official site hints at June or early July.

The full length record drops in August. Here are a few words about the new disc from Mark K-Punk, who has had it since mid-February:
"So This is Goodbye is like House if it had started in the wilds of Canada rather the clubs of Chicago... The obvious difference between So This is Goodbye and its predecessor is the absence of the tricksy stop-start stutter beats on the new record... [the new album] is, however, very definitely a Pop record; if anything, it's even more seductively catchy than Last Exit."
Check out the K-Punk's full diatribe right here.

JB's MySpace page
is currently featuring a new track, "Like a Child." No word on whether this cut will be on the album. The song doesn't sound very fleshed out and the mix is definitely not mastered, so I would assume this is a leftover, possibly a future b-side. While not a great song (or even a good one), this track does give you a little bit of an idea where the JBs might be headed stylistically.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mo Money, Le$$ Problem$

In case those who know me didn't hear, I started my new job last Thursday. My title here is Junior Associate Producer -- meaning I help produce travel deals -- which basically means I find, gather, research, analyze, negotiatiate, write up, publish and track the success of new deals every week for inclusion in the Top 20 Newsletter and on the website. Big shout out and thanks to Andrew over at for putting in a good word and jumpstarting the hiring process.

My office is on the 32nd floor of the building at 200 South Wacker (right), which is across the street from the Sears Tower. The lobby of our office area has totally funky geometric designs with neon colors hanging on the walls. It looks like the kind of thing that might have appeared in the Saved by the Bell logo, or perhaps on a Trapper Keeper. Here's a picture of the lobby, though you can't see the neo-geo-prisms, as I have taken to calling them. I am convinced that they have been hanging on the wall since the building opened in 1981.

My desk is situation right next to two windows in a corner office. I have a 180-degree view of the entire south side, lake Michigan, the Chicago river, some smokestacks in Gary, and around the time of the Chicago Air Show, lots of funky military planes. You are jealous. I will post a picture of this view soon.

Careful... not to let this blow your mind

Oh me, oh my, this new Hot Chip record, The Warning, is a doozy. Stylistically it's even more cracked-out than their first record, and it all begins with the lead off cut, "Careful."

Hot Chip - "Careful"

buy it

My equation to classify this track would definitely include: heavy electronics + penchant for abrasive sounds + McCartney-esque vocal. I just love the way the track is insanely agressive, but the vocalist barely feels the need to fall in to the groove, or even recognize that he's singing something so delicate over such a crushing beat.

The rest of the record sounds nothing like this. Hell, the track immediately following kicks off with a cheeky four-on-the-four house beat. Aside from the typcial 4-piece rock band or coffeeshop folkie-thing, these guys pretty much try it all. Don't miss 'em if you're headed to Lollapalooza.


Thanks for stopping by Deep Fat. So the name... yes, fried food = deliciousness, but no one would read a blog solely about french fries, chicken, twinkies and other such tasty eats. Nope, the origin of the name Deep Fat is known to only two people: one guy who needs to dig up those tapes out of his garage and mail them to me, and another guy who once enjoyed the nickname "Fag keyboard player."

I used to (still) reside over at 1.21 Gigawatts, and decided to start DF as an outlet for some of my ideas, favorite songs, opinions, etc, that don't fit the mold of Gigawatts.

You won't find regular features here, or even regular postings. Subject matter will run the gamut from totally jejune to straight up gelastic. So stick around, comment, enjoy the songs I post. Yada.
This blog hosts original music and recordings by Mike Hicks.
Click here to access all of the the songs that have been posted thus far. Please feel free to comment, or email me.

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