Monday, August 30, 2010

Catching Up: News 'n stuff

You may have noted my absence over the past week -- or maybe not, because I regularly go a week without posting -- but I assure you it was with good reason this time. I took a much-needed vacation to Colorado, where I met up with three friends (one who lives in CO) for a week of brotastic escapades. A few nice music moments ensued, including:
  • Playing an old piano in a rustic cabin
  • Blasting Local Natives while tearing through a mountain highway
  • Listening to OK Computer from start to finish, perfectly complementing the drive-time from Denver to Ft. Collins.
It was a joyous week away, but it was tough to stay on top of music news while on the run. I'm sure bits and pieces slid through the cracks, but the biggest bomb was audible from even the most desolate mountaintop: For the first time since 2005's landmark effort Come On Feel the Illinoise!, Sufjan Stevens is dropping a new LP*.

It's called The Age of Adz, and it was announced on the heels of the quickfire release of the All Delighted People EP. The mightily synthetic "I Walked" is starkly different from anything on Illinoise or Seven Swans, boasting a Beck meets Digital Ash Bright Eyes feel. I never disparage an artist for exploring new territory, so I'm intrigued by the redirection. Still, if this track is any indication, we're up for a lot less of the orchestral stuff and a lot more synth. Look for the new album to drop on October 12th.

In other news, Rolling Stone rolled out a list of 100 Greatest Beatles songs. The top 10:
  1. “A Day in the Life”
  2. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
  3. “Strawberry Fields Forever”
  4. “Yesterday”
  5. “In My Life”
  6. “Something”
  7. “Hey Jude”
  8. “Let It Be”
  9. “Come Together”
  10. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
Look, no internet list ever will be greeted with choruses of "Well, they nailed it!" Hordes of naysaying contrarians will cry foul, no matter how universally agreed upon the subject matter may be. Still, this is an extremely safe list that displays a cursory knowledge of Beatles music. They probably got "Day In The Life" right, and I'm glad to see George Harrison getting some love. But it just seems too surface-level and epic-friendly. How about "You've Got Hide Your Love Away" or "Blackbird"? I haven't read the whole list, but I sure hope they're not far off. And I know "I Want To Hold Your Hand" is an important song and all, but c'mon. It is not the second best Beatles song, everyone knows this.

Speaking of lists, Pitchfork is dedicating this week to its top 200 tracks of the 1990s. They're only through the first fifty, where I was glad to see they included the Red House Painters' "Katy Song" at #162. Still, they couldn't go without making a vaguely and ironically dismissive comment, labeling the lyrics the "shirt-rending stuff of trashy romance novels." Whatever that means. It's also a spot behind a Kelis song, which I just listened to in the interest of fairness. It wasn't bad for a hip hop song about a girl done wrong (although I can't pretend to be interested in hip-hop or songs about girls done wrong), but better than "Katy Song"? This is why lists will never matter. By the way, a question that must be asked prior to the reveal of any Pitchfork list: Who ya got for the #1 spot, Radiohead or the field? If "Paranoid Android" isn't in the top ten, I'll eat my hat...both because it deserves it, and because Pitchfork loves Radiohead more than I love a cold beer on a warm Christmas morning. /Simpsons reference

Last but not least--actually, alongside the other artists mentioned in this post it probably is least--there's a new Toro y Moi video. Devotees know that TyM is a blog-approved and reviewed chillwave act, of particular interest to us because we went to college with the guy. I hope he was as excited about the College World Series championship as I was.** Anyway, "Low Shoulder" is a precisely groovy track from 2010's Causers of This, and its video seems to have little to no relevance to the song itself. So if you're into creepy old waitresses, pentagrams, and unibrowed chicks licking knives, then go nuts:

That's it for now...have a great week, folks!

*Avalanche doesn't count since it was a rarities and extras compilation.
** I highly doubt this

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stray thoughts on "In Might Get Loud"

There was a time in my life when I was unhealthily obsessed with Led Zeppelin. I was the kid from this amazing Onion article. From age 16-18, it was an all-consuming obsession that was far more impressive to me than it was to anyone else. I'd get next level with it even, making assertions like "Physical Graffiti side 3 is superior in every way" and "Carouselambra is the most underrated Zep tune".

Anyway, that's long since waned although I still hold the band in the highest of regard. There's just very little new ground to cover. Sure, there was the one off reunion show, but attending was out of the question. That Mothership greatest hits compilation came out, but that smacked of cash-grab on the part of the label.

The only Zep-related event that piqued my interest as of late was the release of It Might Get Loud, the Page-produced rawkumentary that covered a conference of three prominent guitarists: Page, U2's The Edge, and Jack White. It came out over a year ago, but I just got around to catching it this weekend, tardy as always. This is surprising given my one-time Zeppelin obsession, my love of the White Stripes, and my....uh...awareness that U2 exists?

Here are my thoughts, Larry King style.
  • Jack White is a strange guy.
  • Jack White is also a fantastic musician. How cool was it when he made the electric guitar out of a bottle and a stick, or whatever it was?
  • Jimmy Page looks pretty good for a guy who's done that much heroin and cocaine.
  • While The Edge is the clear outlier here as far as I'm concerned, I think he seemed the most down to earth of the bunch. Jack White seems just as mysterious and in-character as you might imagine, and Jimmy Page is kind of a goofy old guy. Not that I blame him. Look, he's Jimmy Page: He's spent his entire life being unthinkably awesome. What does he care?
  • In a nice touch, the three played an acoustic version of "The Weight" to finish off the documentary. Am I crazy, or were they botching the lyrics of the chorus? I distinctly thought I heard "Take a load off Annie" (instead of Fannie).
  • White tried to play it cool, but we all saw him crack that boyish grin when Pagey was showing them the riff to "Whole Lotta Love".
  • The writers/interviewers did a good job of asking Page about some of most storied Zeppelin trivia, like how he wrote "Stairway to Heaven" and how they got the drum sound on "When The Levee Breaks".
  • Speaking of that album, I loved listening to Page's attempt at humility when talking about the poor critical reception of Zeppelin IV, which is arguably one of the greatest rock albums ever released. He said something along the lines of "One reviewer only wrote a paragraph on the album! This is the album with 'Black Dog', 'Stairway', and 'Levee'. It obviously had some, uh, material." Translation: "Not my fault those retards ignored an album full of the most bad-ass rock and roll ever recorded."
  • It really made me want to dig out one of my electric guitars, which I almost never touch, and shred for a bit. But then I realize I don't have any decent means of amplification (a 10 watt Crate amp doesn't count). And I'm not that great at shredding anymore. Ah well, pick your battles!
So anyway, recommend it if you have a spare hour. It's on Netflix instant play, so queue it up!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What were you listening to...

Pitchfork does a neat feature called 5-10-15-20 wherein they interview prominent (or semi-prominent) musicians to discuss what they were listening to at each 5 year interval of their life thus far. Since the two things that keep any blog rolling are plagiarism and narcissism, I decided to lift the feature and apply the feature to myself. I'm justifying this because, in some ways, it overlaps with my The Things You Can't Forget feature, which involves memories that have specific songs attached to them. So if it helps you accept it, think of it that way.

Anyway, please feel free to add your own 5-10-15-20 selections to the comment section.


Bernie Shanahan - Bernie Shanahan Band

My grandparents lived in a speck of a town called Bethlehem in western Connecticut, and as children it was a proverbial Utopia for my brother and me for so many reasons. Their house was an enormous, aged bungalow nestled in shadowed woods along Lakes Road which raced in crests and troughs through the pastoral terrain.

You never know who'd be there, either. My mother has ten siblings, most of whom still lived in the area. Any number of them might be milling around the old house during our visits, and there'd often be a dozen gabbing Brooklynites smoking cigarettes and spooning out pasta while my brother and I bogarted my uncle Matty's Nintendo in the den.

He wasn't always there, but sometimes my Uncle Bernie would show up. Bernie was a musician and he lived in New York City. When I was a kid, that's about all I knew about him. He'd usually wear jeans and boots. Sometimes a leather jacket. Naturally, I thought he was a god. He'd go sit at the old wall piano in the sprawling living room and play. I loved listening to him fill the halls and rooms with music, and I'd go back home and brag to my friends that my uncle was a rock star. He made an album. He'd had a video on MTV. All true, actually. And while he never made it as big as he deserved to, he still made an incredible rock record, one that holds up to this day.

It was an album my family played to death, on car trips and at home, on cassette and on CD. I even have it on vinyl now, believe it or not. But no matter how I listen to the record, it'll always remind me of my younger years, our trips to Connecticut, and that wonderful house.


Genesis, Invisible Touch, and We Can't Dance - Genesis

When I was ten, my family moved from Charleston to Monterey, California. Despite having several musically-inclined uncles, my nuclear family didn't put a premium on it. My father played a bit in high school, and he still had an old nylon-string guitar. He'd break it out once in a blue moon to play a Neil Young song or something, but it mostly sat in its case. My brother and I were never in the school band or took piano lessons. Moreover, we were also pop-culturally challenged. We didn't listen to new music. I remember seeing an ostensibly famous person in a commercial in 1996, asking a friend who it was, and being ridiculed for not knowing it was LL Cool J.

So what was I listening to? Genesis, goddammit. And not Peter Gabriel's art-rock version, but Phil Collins' pop-rock ensemble most well known for hits like "Invisible Touch" and "I Can't Dance". But don't let it be said that they were mainstream hacks; there were still plenty of synthetic prog-rock epics that were worth their salt.

My brother became obsessed with the band--mostly the three-album run that included Genesis, Invisible Touch, and We Can't Dance. I ultimately followed suit, although I never quite embraced Phil's solo stuff the way he did. Still, it was rare that Phil Collins wasn't wailing over my mom's car speakers during our time in California.


Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

My Led Zeppelin obsession was ramping up, and I'd spend much of the next three to five years wearing out every Zeppelin album (even Coda). Still, when I think back to my mid-teens, all pimply and awkward and a year or so into my guitar immersion, I'm proud to say my most played album was Deja Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Proud, because it's actually considered to be a masterpiece by many. It also features, in my opinion, one of Neil Young's best songs, "Country Girl":

I don't really have much of a story about the album, other than the fact that I listened to it ad nauseam because it was about all I had. I still wasn't big into to new music, much less anything on the indie scene--it pains me to think that Kid A, Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker, and Elliott Smith's Figure 8 all came out that year and I was none the wiser. I was at least sharp enough to realize that most of the music on the radio was garbage, and I instead retreated to classic rock for the next three years or so.


I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning by Bright Eyes

It was the summer of 2005 and I'd just gone through a rather confusing break-up. I found myself single, home from school, and on the precipice of really grasping music. I'd already immersed myself in Ryan Adams--this was the summer of Cold Roses, after all--and I was expanding my interests to the likes of Wilco and Radiohead and Jeff Buckley and other alternative standbys. Bright Eyes was a band I'd heard of, and I perceived that they were most closely associated with preening emo-types. But the buzz for the new album was too loud to ignore, and I picked up I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning.

That summer, as with the two before and the one that would follow, I worked for the recreation department in my hometown of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. It wasn't difficult, and the hours weren't bad, but it could get brutally hot. You'd go to your field, get your scorekeepers situated, make sure the games started without a hitch, and then try to stay occupied for three hours. Thankfully, this was the first summer during which I owned an iPod--it was an iPod mini, which could hold around four gigs of music. I loaded ten or fifteen albums on there to start, but Wide Awake was pretty much the only one I listened to. While I had to warm to Conor Oberst's voice, it was his songwriting ability that won me over. It didn't hurt that the album's alt-country aesthetic was right in line with what I was listening to at the time. And when Conor belts, "The sound of loneliness makes me happier", there isn't a conflicted 20-year-old alive who wouldn't identify with it--no matter how trite it may one day seem to an adult mind.


Current Interests

Well hell, I'm 25 now. So I guess this boils down to "What have I been listening to lately?" My current obsession is the Louvin Brothers, the storied country duo whose flawless close harmonies and dark subject matter are the stuff of legend. The Arcade Fire's new album, The Suburbs, is a strong contender in my book for album of the year. I wish I had more to offer, but give me a pass, as I've only been 25 for three months (today, actually).


So there's mine. What about you?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Joanna Newsom, and credit where credit is due

I poke fun at Joanna Newsom on a regular basis 'round these parts. I consider her pretentious and needlessly quirky. Getting through a track has always proved burdensome.

I still won't say she's clicked, but damn, this video is pretty great. Her facial expressions and weird inflections aren't too intrusive on this performance. I have to admit, I was captivated by this clip, start to finish. Enjoy "81" as performed on Jimmy Kimmel:

Monday, August 9, 2010

HSW Newsflash: New Fleet Foxes music, but still no LP announcement

I feel as though any day could bring news of the Fleet Foxes upcoming sophomore LP, but still we wait. In the meantime, however, there is some news out of their camp regarding new music.

1. The Fleet Foxes' drummer is J. Tillman, who was on the scene before Robin Pecknold even graduated high school. Tillman's pretty prolific too, having released six LPs since 2005. Make it seven now, as Tillman will unleash The Singing Ax on September 14th. Last year's Year In the Kingdom was pretty darned good, especially if you like folk music that's barren and earnest. I know I do!

2. Speaking of young squire Robin, he's on tour with Joanna Newsom as previously mentioned, and he recently debuted a new song. It's really good. Listen here:

Will it show up on the new album? We'll have to wait and see.

New poll: What's Your Ideal live Music Environment?

I normally like to create polls that are topical in nature, dealing with specific music or artists. Broad-sweeping questions like "What's you're favorite instrument?" seem too arbitrary and uninspired. Our ninth poll leans a bit more towards that sort of thing, although I think it's an interesting subject. Since we cover all kinds of live venues--from art galleries to amphitheaters--we obviously don't discriminate. Granted, it's a lot more appealing to hit small indie shows for ten bucks than it is to shell out $85 (plus fees and parking) for the big boys. But if a band is worth it then I'll be there, venue notwithstanding.

Still, we all have our ideal kind of show. Some folks love being shoulder to shoulder with a hundred sweaty hipsters to catch a buzzworthy underground act at a glorified garage. Others can wait a few years for a headlining tour, if it means a seat and air-conditioning. I'm a fan of the seated show, if only for the luxury of giving my knees a break after the opener and before the encore.

What about you? Poll at the right, voting goes through mid-September.

Friday, August 6, 2010

5 People You'll See at the Music Store

Ah, the music store. Home to more wankery and self-consciousness per square foot than any other retailer on the planet. Anyone can try on a sweater or test drive a Volvo, but it's a humbling thing to walk into a Guitar Center and stare blankly at a wall of guitars, fearing judgment from all angles were you to take one down for a few minutes of noodling. I mostly felt this way during high school, because I was a.) a teenager and b.) developing as a musician. Nowadays, I could give a shit about the other 50 people in the store--in fact, I often get a chuckle at their expense. A role-reversal, yes, but it's something you earn.

Anyway, I've been in enough music stores to note the kinds of quirky folks that populate them. And they're often hilarious. Without further ado:

The 16 Year Old Shredder

What with stock photo prices being so high, you'll have to deal with the watermark.

The first thing you hear when you set foot in a large guitar store is some high-speed riffery emanating from the electric section.

Chances are, it'll be some wirey little high school sophomore, squeezing every note out of a Fender Strat. He'll glance around every few seconds to see if anyone's noticing him. His mother is next door in Barnes and Noble reading Better Homes and Gardens with a macchiatto, and is under strict instructions to remain there and under no circumstances enter the music store. They'll meet up at the Kia Sedona in a half an hour.

But, hey, the kid's pretty good right? I mean, he's playing some serious high-velocity licks! In truth, his level of play could be accomplished in eight to nine months of steady practice. Kudos to the pubescent Page for his tenacity thus far, but in all reality, he's still not that great. He's at the stage when he thinks his playing will draw the awed gazes of every employee and musician in the store. He assumes Eric Clapton's private helicopter will land in the parking lot and old Slowhand himself will be escorted in, and engage our hero in an epic guitar battle (and lose). In fact, he's driving the employees insane, because as soon as he leaves, another Acne Frehley will take his place.

The Tap Soloist

Another character in the electric section is the tap-soloist, who lives and dies by a guitar method called finger tapping. Oh, so much tap-soloing occurs in music stores every day. I've mentioned my distaste for this before, but it's the ultimate tactic for pseudo-talented guitarists who think speed positively correlates with talent. While there are some folks who can employ it to great effect, I could probably teach you to do it in about 45 seconds (like the video above, in fact). Then you can walk into Guitar Center and annoy everyone, too!

The Tap Soloist is aged 14-28, shaggy headed, deliberately unrefined, and a poor-to-mediocre player overall. He'll sit there and just tap-solo, playing some demonic guitar through a heavily-distorted amp. I equate public finger tapping to stepping into the slow-pitch batting cages, cranking a few meatballs over the pitching-machine, and then expecting praise. Wow, real impressive there, Ken Griffey.

The Drum Beast

Take the 16 year old shredder, add 10 years, 100 pounds, 900,000 tattoos, and voila. The Drum Beast will camp out at a set and unleash his fury on a set of Tamas, performing his personal Moby Dick. He'll need to hurry because the turkey burger special at Ruby Tuesday's won't cook itself, and he took an extra shift because the Ale Shack downtown double booked on his band and had to cancel. Undeterred, he'll let loose on the skins (behind a sound wall of some sort, mercifully) for minutes on end, stamping the double-bass pedals like they're flaming bags of poo. When he smashes the last cymbal, he'll twirl the sticks once, set them down, and pathetically walk away. As with the Shredder, the culmination of his performance will come as a great relief to all those in the store. And like the Shredder, he'll just be replaced by another Beast.

The Mortified Band Geek

Music stores--especially independent ones--often make their money selling and setting up band instruments for local high school students. Therefore, it's not uncommon to see a suburban housemarm stroll in amongst the tattered rawk melee, her shoe-gazing preteen in tow. He'll longingly gawk at the 16 Year Old Shredder, a god in his eyes, and wish he could quit this trumpet shit and pick up an axe of his own. Of course, when the Shredder is 23 and working at Tuesdays (see Drum Beast), the Band Geek could be playing in a university jazz band and enjoying unbridled amounts of ass. But for now, the Geek will squirm as his mother makes some shit-lame comment about the exorbitant prices to the dude behind the counter. Which brings us to...

Music Store Employee

You've gotta give the guy credit, he knows more about instruments than most musicians twice his age. (In most cases. I've encountered non-musicians working at music stores, which is mind-boggling.) But for the most part, the guys employed at music stores are struggling young musicians, basking in their 15% store discount. Other times, they're burnouts who figure the opening shift at Guitar Center could technically be considered "making it in the music business."

While they might be accomplished musicians, there's one thing they aren't: Salesmen. They often work on commission, so in their mind it translates to "Hey, if someone buys expensive stuff, I get more money". So their sales approach is totally unstructured and transparent. Seriously, have you ever had one of these guys try to upsell you? It's hilarious. It usually goes something like this:
Me: Hey, I'm looking for an acoustic in the $500-$700 range.
Employee: Ok. Um, Ibanez makes good ones in that range.
Me: OK, thanks, I may play a few and let you know what I think.
Employee: Also, the Gibson J-200 is a good acoustic.
Me: Uh...yeah, it is.
Employee: Yeah, you might like it instead.
Me:'s $4,500.
Employee: Uh...yeah. It's good, you might like it.
Me: Yeah I'm sure it is, I'm just not in the market for something like that.
Employee: OK, cool. Um just so you know, we have a deal going where you'd save $300, but it's only today.
Me: Yeah. I'm not gonna buy that guitar man.
Employee: OK, well let me know if you change your mind and I can throw in some strings or something.
Always Be Closing, baby!


You probably won't find all five of these folks in the same place. Most smaller music stores don't have drums set up and ready to go, and places like Guitar Center aren't your best bet for getting your tuba varnished. Also, that's probably a sexual innuendo somewhere. But anyway, if you're considering entering the realm of musicianship, you'll probably come across these characters at some point. You might even be one of them. For instance, I was the 16-year-old shredder, I'll admit it. But my mom never drove a Sedona. Nor did I finger tap! But I did fall victim to my own version of guitar gimmickry: As a huge Zeppelin fan, I acquired a violin bow and tried to replicate the "Dazed and Confused" sound.

So we can laugh all we want, but none of us are innocent. Hey, that's why we're musicians! We like being heard. Which is probably why there are so many music blogs, really. Because having a blog is kinda like making it in the music business too, right?


Thursday, August 5, 2010

100. (Again.)

Look, I'm not one to bask in my own successes. I mean, the self-praise tag only has nine entries. While that is three times as many as the "actual journalism" tag, it's only half of the "HSW Newsflashes" tag. Also, I shouldn't have pointed that out because now it's abundantly clear that very few of our news items are actual journalism. Damn!

But I digress: Last year, it took us 365 days to reach 100 posts. Literally! It was the afternoon of December 31st, 2009 that we hit the century mark, and it took our biggest month ever to do it. And here we are, at the onset of August, amidst the summer heat, beaches teeming with vacationers and sweatbeads rolling gracefully into my crack, already registering our 100th post of the year.

What can I say? It's been a prolific year for music, and what kind of blogger would I bet to leave any one of these many stones unturned? As always, thank you (ed: "thank you" only has 3 tags) for your continued support of the blog. We have more followers--bot and human--than ever, and we're getting more poll votes too.

So thanks for validating my efforts and not calling me out on my many grammatical errors.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010


  • While there's no word of a finished Fleet Foxes album, they did manage to wrap up a project in the past few days. Their new website is live, and features a wealth of studio photos and even a small documentary about Robin's solo swing with Joanna Newsom. I haven't watched it, in fear of accidentally hearing some of her music.
  • One of my deep, shameful secrets is that I'd never heard the Drive-By Truckers' first two albums, Gangstabilly and Pizza Deliverance. My goal is to right that this month; I've already been listening to Pizza Deliverance and I plan to dive into Gangstabilly in the next few weeks. I'm surprised by how many of the songs I've heard before.
  • The new Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs, is unbelievably good. Shame on Pitchfork for awarding it a measly 8.6.
  • Thanks to my excellent girlfriend jumping on the sale, we scored front row center tickets to the Avett Brothers' October performance at the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia. Their last performance in Columbia was sometime before March 2008, which is when they were supposed to headline the St. Pat's in Five Points celebration. A massive storm cancelled their performance. Regardless, I had the pleasure of designing the festival poster.
  • Right after I wrote that Tube Amp about Neko Case's outburst, she announced a show in Charleston, which will happen on August 16th. I will bring hundreds of CDs for projectile use, because I think she's bluffing.
  • I listened to Crazy For You, the debut album by Cali surf-rock outfit Best Coast, and I wasn't as moved as all these shining reviews suggest I might have been. Bethany Cosentino is an excellent singer--sort of a poor man's Neko--and she has a knack for crafting hooks. But her lyrics are abysmal, and her music doesn't brim with pathos the way, say, Girls does. It'd take a misanthropic soul to truly hate the harmless little record, but I doubt I'll spend much time with it this year.
  • Jack White performed "Mother Nature's Son" in front of both President Obama and Paul McCartney (among others). Despite that unthinkably high-pressure situation, White owned it. I couldn't help but notice he's looking ever more like Michael Jackson, though. Dude is pale:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Poll Results 8: Who released the best album's of 2010's first half?

Holy moly, what a turnout! Voters showed up in droves to anonymously opine on the best of '10 so far. I might have petitioned a message board or two, but nonetheless, 100 votes is more than some municipal elections get. It was a humbling process, though, as the mandate suggested that my selections were particularly lacking. Let's go to the tally:

4 (3%) - Vampire Weekend
8 (7%) - Tallest Man On Earth
6 (5%) - Phosphorescent
6 (5%) - Broken Social Scene
2 (1%) - Spoon
8 (7%) - Titus Andronicus
22 (21%) - The National
48 (46%) - None of the Above

Slightly under half of you thought none of the seven I provided were worthy of such a lofty title as Best of 2010 So Far. My sources tell me that many were perturbed by the omission of The Black Keys' Brothers, which I also erroneously omitted from our Indie Music Mayhem feature. Had I included the bluesy Akronites, would their total have surpassed that of fellow Ohio natives, The National? Quite possibly. But High Violet was the clear winner of those albums listed, garnering almost three times as many votes as the next best. Even though Phosphorescent's Here's to Taking it Easy was our choice for album of the half, it finished tied for fifth with Broken Social Scene's Forgiveness Rock Record.

Lots of intriguing storylines, so thanks to the many voters who provided them. Look for a new poll to pop up shortly!