December 30, 2008

Most listened albums in 2008

Yesterday I posted a short list of my favorite albums that I listened to in 2008. In the name of scientific inquiry, I thought I'd post my 20 most played albums of 2008, by means of my account, which tracks every play on my iTunes and iPod playlists. Though not completely accurate since it doesn't track listens outside of those sources (i.e. CD players), I found it quite interesting. After you peruse this list, check out's Best of 2008 list, which tracks the most played albums/tracks/artists of 2008, purely by the numbers. Quite interesting. Happy Listening in 2009!

3 Play
4 Play
5 Play
6 Play
8 Play
8 Play
11 Play
13 Play
16 Play
17 Play
18 Play
19 Play
19 Play

December 29, 2008

Favorite Albums in 2008

without much pomp or explanation, here are the records I liked in '08. not everything was released this year; to make the list, the album had to have come into my collection in the last 12 months.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - The Swell Season
Thao - We Brave Be Stings And All
The Dodos - Visiter
Sun Kil Moon - Tiny Cities
The Welcome Wagon - Welcome To...
Vampire Weekend
John Doyle & Liz Carroll - In Play
Sam Phillips - Fan Dance, A Boot and a Shoe
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss (& T-Bone Burnett) - Raising Sand
Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures
Hem - Rabbit Songs
The Avett Brothers - Gleam EPs 1 & 2
Ben Sollee - Learning To Bend
Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs

November 11, 2008

"this is where I'm from..."

whenever we travel or move to a new place, I enjoy finding movies and TV shows that were filmed on location in the place to where we are headed. I'll peruse IMDB for an evening and try to find movies that I've already seen or ones that I can easily rent. I've even gone as far as holding a hometown movie night with some RUFers in Seattle (we watched Singles and Say Anything, for those of you keeping score).

as we moved to the Bay Area, it wasn't too difficult to find movies filmed in San Francisco. we've watched Harold & Maude, Escape To Witch Mountain, Vertigo, The Presidio, and Time After Time. new ones keep popping up all the time!

last night while Sarah was at Bible study, I watched a James Bond film that I don't remember seeing as a child (the sheer fact alone floored me since I thought I'd seen them all). A View To A Kill was the final 007 role for Roger Moore, and starred Christopher Walken as the villain along with a handful of forgetable Bond girls. About halfway through the film I'm wondering, "What on earth is this movie about? And what does the title have anything to do with the movie besides the horrible theme song performed by Duran Duran?" Within a few frames, Walken gave the answer: he was going to destroy Silicon Valley so that his microchip company could take over as the top producer in the expanding computer market of the mid-1980s! He ham-fistededly recites the title as his blimp hovers over the Golden Gate Bridge and he gazes at the San Francisco skyline.

as much of a flop as this film was, the second half redeemed itself based solely on its location. There were great shots of not only the city, but the lower half of the peninsula, which doesn't get as much air time usually. There was even a "diabolical scheme" map that demonstrated what would happen if there was a double earthquake and the entire area were flooded! Now that I've lived here nearly 6 months and have spent time in the city, it's really a lot of fun to catch glimpses of places I've been, perhaps catching a perspective I haven't seen or even pointing out a continuity issue ("how on earth did they get from Lombard Street to the East Bay in two turns?!?")

what are some movies that you've watched that included a place you were familiar with, either as a hometown or a place you've visited? what was it like to see the filmmaker's perspective of a place you know so well?

October 23, 2008

a happy halloween beat box moment

Thanks to my DVR, yesterday I was able to witness for the first time the wonderful Yo Gabba Gabba. Rather than attempt to explain it's amazing goodness (which you can glean a little from here), I wish you a Happy Halloween by way of the one and only Biz Markie.

October 02, 2008

fernando ortega on pop and theology

(I can't claim this post as my own... I read it over at The Rabbit Room, a blog community hosted by singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson. Typically, I would just stick this in my "Shared Items" in the toolbar to the right of this window, but this quote seemed way too good to simply stick in the corner)

The interviewer asked Fernando Ortega about what he thought of the commercialization of Christian music. Here’s what he said:

“Well, I think that most of today’s Christian music is based on a thin premise. When you take a pop song and weigh it down with the gospel it sort of cheapens both. The theology is too heavy for the song, and the song usually ends up being too light for the theology. Often I feel like you end up with some sort of fuzzy Christian propaganda that doesn’t do music or the gospel any justice. That’s why I like hymns so much. The early fathers wrote many of the texts to hymns that we sing today. I like that they attach us to our Christian history and remind us of what in our faith is worth preserving. Hymns were written by theologians, not pop stars, and that is why when they are sung, we so tangibly feel the weight of glory.”

And that’s why we love Fernando.

Here’s the link to the rest of the interview.

September 29, 2008

'new' psalm

this is a new rendering of Psalm 139, one of my favorites. I really like this take on the Scripture, and it doesn't hurt that it's also an Irish melody!

September 25, 2008

moved by music

Through my listening, I come across a broad variety of music, not just in style but also in quality of both performance and engineering. It might be possible to become really jaded listening to and analyzing a lot of music, but I find that listening in this way allows me to be more moved by truly sublime recordings and performances.

Here are my most recent interests:

José González - not a new listen, but I saw this Sweedish artist (born to Argentinian parents) perform last night in Oakland for the first time. partly because of the venue (Yoshi's, a high quality, intimate jazz club, with a top notch Sushi restaurant attached), partly because of the company (Sarah and I joined the Martins for sushi and music), this was a great night already. but there's something otherworldly about González's voice and guitar playing. the recordings do him complete justice as an artist, so I recommend getting those, but don't miss him live.

John Doyle & Liz Carroll, In Play - I first heard Doyle on Masters of the Irish Guitar, and he stood out to me, apart from the others on the CD, as having a very clear sense of style amidst the brilliant speed and technique with which he played. a few weeks ago I decided to see what he was like as an accompanist and not as a purely solo act. This recording is just fiddle and guitar, all the way through, but is fantastic. It hasn't gotten old yet. The engineering is flawless but doesn't get in the way of truly great performances. As the cover art suggests, the album sounds as if they were seated around a table, as many sessions tend to be, spent over a Guiness or Bass, but without the distracting sounds of breaking glass and drunken moans in the background.

Charlie Haden - I've probably heard Haden play more than I realize; he's one of the top jazz bassists playing today. Sarah brought to my attention an NPR Weekend Edition story on a new bluegrass album that he produced with family and friends called Rambling Boy. A fun mix of bluegrass and jazz, the album includes performances from Pat Methany, Elvis Costello, Bruce Hornsby, and Jack Black (Haden's son-in-law... yes, the Nacho Libre). A highlight so far is the beautifully mourning "Spiritual", written and performed by Haden's son Josh. (also check out renderings of this song done by Johnny Cash and Pat Methany)

I could write about many many more things, but I should leave you with that for now. Perhaps this coul become a regular column.

August 11, 2008

here there and everywhere

Sarah and I have been exploring the area lately. for our anniversary, we spent 2 nights in San Francisco, eating and walking and exploring and having a great time. we highly recommend picking up a copy of the SF Lonely Planet Guide if you're in the area; we failed to be disappointed by any of its recommendations. our one recommendation: bring your hiking shoes.

last night, we trekked over to North Oakland to visit friends who were in town for the weekend. the Bay Area is so vast and diverse, it's going to take a long time to really see it all. last night, we returned home by way of the Bay Bridge, which connects Oakland and San Francisco. we crossed at dusk, watching the sun die behind the fog enveloping Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge, and the Transamerica Building. iPod's shuffle feature finally did something proper and brought up Sufjan Steven's paean to the wonder of new life and the city, "Chicago". a beautiful exclamation point for a few chances to explore the area.

ps. I don't use 'exclamation point' lightly as I am reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves at the moment, but I'll post about that later.

July 25, 2008

"Farewell, My Lovely": a quick review

Farewell, My Lovely Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
PI Philip Marlowe never better...

On my list of books to read and then see the movie.

The story has actually been made a film 3 times; the 2nd one seems to be the "original" film, and easiest to find to rent. Misguidingly titled "Murder, My Sweet", it took me a little work to find it, but it's sitting in my queue at the moment.

Prediction: book will be far and away better. It was made early in the era of Film Noir, a genre that was still trying to figure out its style. Though based on strong material, it's likely that the producers decided to lighten it up--in dialogue, in mystery, in sin--for the sake of reaching greater audiences.

View all my reviews.

July 15, 2008

take me out to the ballgame

in honor of tonight's all-star game, here's a little sing-a-long from Chris Thile and friends, The Punch Brothers.

close call

whew, good news.  we're not losing any local Starbucks in Silicon Valley, at least in the first wave, which is a relief since I don't know whether or not I could survive if I had to walk a few more yards to another coffee shop, likely another Starbucks.

and a shout out to the SC... that is, the real SC.  congrats on not losing any! :)

June 23, 2008

won't you be my neighbor?

do you know your neighbors?  should we institute "sleep overs" to get to know them?

great article.

June 19, 2008

sarah's been bloggin'

lots of things going on, and Sarah's been keeping the web up to date on all the news that's fit to print.  go visit her photo update at

June 03, 2008

14 days on the ground

things have been coming together in the past few days here in partly sunny California.  

our POD was delivered and unloaded on Friday, so we now have an apartment full of boxes. eating cereal out of a real bowl never tasted so wonderful!  

on the same day, we purchased a car from a private party.  I have to say that dealing with car dealers was an ordeal.  we are now driving a silver 1996 Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon with 127k miles.  it needs a little bit of work, but for the price we got it at, we can afford to do a few things to keep it running.  once we get those things fixed, my hope is to drive to the coast to watch the sunset, or at least drive up and down it a few times.

we're getting to know our neighbors, for better and worse.  it seems that the walls and ceilings are paper thin, so we're having to adjust to living with shared surfaces, a bit of an adjustment after 3 years in a free-standing home.  one of our neighbors is a couple with a baby boy.  the other day we were loading up the car and heard bluegrass music being pumped out their front door.  then we heard a mandolin, which sounded like it was being played live.  we popped our heads in and discovered that the husband was playing along, entertaining his son.  hopefully we'll have a chance to jam before too long (though they're hitting the road for 5 weeks to head back east to visit family, so maybe it'll be in July when that happens).

last night we went to an Oakland Athletics game.  we watched from a pretty incredible vantage point in dead center from a luxury box.  they put the Detroit Tigers to bed in the bottom of the 9th.  I honestly have a little bit of a struggle cheering for any team in Oakland having grown up a Kansas City Royals and Chiefs fan.  I think as far as baseball, I won't have much trouble migrating my allegiance to the A's, though I'll probably still cheer for the Royals when they're in town (July 28-30 this year).  but I don't know if I'll ever become a Raiders fan, with the longstanding rivalry they've had with the Chiefs.  then again, being an NFL fan on the West Coast if pretty difficult if you go to church in the morning, missing the first game and barely making it home for the second one.

plenty more to write here, so I'll try to keep things updated.  be sure to check out Sarah's blog because she's starting to post there, too:

May 25, 2008

moving in

there are many many things that I could write about our move this week to California, so here are a few nuggets:
  • we got the keys to our apartment.  it's a 1 bedroom place in Menlo Park.  we're 2 blocks from a Peet's Coffee, and there are 3 supermarkets in walking distance.  we're also close to Stanford's campus and 3.4 miles from the Grace Pres. office.
  • unfortunately, our apartment is still quite empty.  everything had gone smoothly with PODs for shipping our things out here, until I got the call last week that it would be May 30th when they could deliver it.  yes, one week after I had originally scheduled it.  rather than letting our spirits down, this gave us the opportunity to camp out in the apartment!  we're borrowing an air mattress and are eating off of paper plates.  fortunately, there's a WiFi signal here, otherwise I'd be freaking out! 
  • we've been car shopping, test driving all sorts of "pre-owned" vehicles.  most salesmen have not defied our expectations, and we've driven some really great cars, but also a few stinkers (literally).  trying to narrow down "what we want" and "what we can afford" still.
  • we're off to church in less than an hour, and I'll start work on Tuesday.  we've already had a couple of great nights of fellowship, and we've been invited to a Memorial Day BBQ.  the weather is rather cool, which is really nice except in the morning when we can't bundle up enough since our "not summer" clothes are in the POD!  hopefully tomorrow we'll have a chance to go for a hike or drive to the coast, getting out of the city for a little break.
I'll try to post photos soon.  thank you all for your prayers in getting us out here safely!

May 07, 2008

t-minus 14 days and counting...

many of you know that things are about to really change around the Brodine house.  I've taken a position as the Music Director of Grace Presbyterian Church of the Silicon Valley, based in Palo Alto, CA.  if you're unfamiliar with the left coast, Palo Alto is 30 miles (or is it minutes?) south of San Francisco, is the college town connected to Stanford University, and is the hub for one of the biggest technology centers in the world.

graduation is the 18th, and Sarah and I will be on a plane bound for Cali on the 21st.  I begin my position on the 27th and lead music on June 1st.

if you're interested in learning a little bit about Grace Pres, you can visit their website:

April 01, 2008

new photo gallery and editing site

I just found out about this great new site from Adobe, the guys who brought you the powerful Photoshop application (among many other things).

Adobe Photoshop Express is a powerful yet intuitive site for uploading photos for editing and sharing with all.  nowhere near the power of its full-fledged parent software, it holds one key advantage: it's free!

check out our new gallery:

am I back in high school?

2 of my favorite bands during high school were R.E.M. and Counting Crows.  over the years their greatness has waned, but now they're releasing albums receiving high acclaim.  am I caught in some kind of time warp?  15 years ago these guys were big and now they're getting big again.  

I guess the only difference is that now I don't have the expendable income to actually buy their albums.  guess I'll have to enjoy what I can on the radio and XM.

March 24, 2008

things have been crazy hectic lately. working in reverse:

  • Monday - right now I'm catching up on 2 weeks of email and work related items. currently listening to the new Sun Kil Moon record on their MySpace Page; brilliant stuff.
  • Saturday - I got back from skiing 3 days with my family, while Sarah stayed home and continued to recover (she's doing a lot better!).
  • Wednesday-Friday - got my ski legs back; finished reading Cool It!; filled out job paperwork; got call from Onyx that all the data on my computer can recovered for a mere $800; philosophical debate over question "are my MP3s, Seminary notes and papers, music charts, pictures from the last 6 months worth $800?"
  • Tuesday - before leaving Atlanta for Colorado, I dropped off my 8-month-old MacBook to get the hard drive worked on (only one week earlier, I had the battery replaced... could things get any worse?)
  • Monday (St. Pat's) - I played with Emerald Road twice: at lunch for the entire crowd of Clemson Elementary students and teachers; at early dinner at Fitzpatrick's Irish Pub in Greenville. great gigs both of them. will miss this.
  • Sunday - frantically tried to figure out life without access to my computer: can't print Tuesday's test; can't print e-Tickets; can't update my iPod with the podcasts I need to prepare to teach Sunday school the next week (later found that my iPod is also dead)
  • Saturday - take care of Sarah; trying to keep up with my workload, I sit down to do one more chart for Sandra McCracken before watching Half Nelson with Sarah; perhaps 10 minutes within finishing the chart, my computer crashes; I make feeble attempts to fix it; no luck; watch movie, go to bed, try not to think of impending doom of data loss
  • Friday - take Sarah to have her gall bladder removed; I play Scrabble in the waiting room with my mother-in-law; surgery is successful; run into Greg Thompson in the parking lot; Sarah sleeps most of the day, I work from home; starting research for Ethics paper on environmental ethics
sorry about that Memento-style post (or maybe more like the Seinfeld episode, "The Betrayal"). sometimes that's the best way to decompress. it's also an interesting way to study history, learning the effects first so the cause can be much better understood. when I took European History as a High School Sophomore, my teacher took this approach. I had trouble staying awake in Mr. Forbes' class, despite the arctic setting of his thermostat and his use of a yard stick to emphasize certain points on the board. I love history, but maybe on my own terms. anyways, what stuck with me from his class was that "history in reverse" mentality.

sometimes when we look at things way in the past, we have no context for how it has effected our present state. when I was a baby Christian, I didn't understand most of the Old Testament. I think many people are confused by it, even into later stages of their Christian maturity. things have come into much clearer focus in recent years, moreso every time I go through the OT. the Sunday School class I'm facilitating is on the subject of Biblical Theology. we've been making our way from Genesis all the way to Revelation, look at the themes of Kingdom, Covenant, and Mediator, seeing the unity in all of Scripture. right now we're in the Prophets. better understanding the Prophets and the rest of the Old Testament has really brought the New Testament into clearer focus. without it, the Resurrection, which we just celebrated yesterday on Easter, seems kind of out of place. why did Jesus have to live on earth? why did he die? why does he live again?

wow, how did I get that off track? stream of consciousness can be fun.

anyways, if you got this far, please hear my plea:
  • now that my hard drive has been replaced, I have no one's contact information... I repeat, "no one". please please please send me your email address, phone #, and street address. I probably don't have your new information as it is, so take this as an excuse to update Sarah and me on your life. our lives are about the drastically change, and we'll fill you in on those details as they become less hazy.
  • email me: luke [dot] brodine [at] gmail [dot] com

March 05, 2008

emerald road

realizing that I haven't posted in, oh, over 3 months, I figure it's impossible to catch you all up on what I've been up to. let alone the thousand and one ideas to post that I've had to leave by the wayside.

but the major thing that I've been working on is a new album with my Irish/Celtic Folk Band, Emerald Road. We just got it back from the manufacturers last week and have already sold over 200 copies! it kind of helped that we had 3 concerts this weekend with the Anderson Symphony Orchestra.

we have a few places on the internet that you can visit to hear some of our music, find out about shows, and (soon) order a copy for yourself at the low price of $5 (+ shipping and handling).

pick your poison:
Official Website: