A State Of The Union Address (Of Sorts)

3hree Things is where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.
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I'm four days away from leaving for the (very brief) European/UK portion of Thrice's "Farewell Tour", and since my brain feels like it's being pulled in forty-seven different directions at the moment, you're about to get a look at three of the them. There will be no curmudgeonly rant this week, no glowing record review (although you should buy Torche's Harmonicraft which came out today and is awesome [in this person-who-really-likes-Torche's opinion]), and no harrowing tale of gastrointestinal roulette. Sorry.

No, what you're about to get will just be what falls out of my brain over the next hour or so, and gets hammered into my keyboard while I drink all of the coffee in my house and try to figure out how to shoehorn "all of the things that I could have done over the past few months" into a single day. 

Procrastination. Have some.

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3hree Things: Must-Haves For Unapologetic Baseball Geeks

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

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If you're a baseball superfan like me, your GeekMeter™ has probably been in the red since Spring Training opened in mid-February. And now, with the regular season underway, that geekery has likely increased tenfold. Your GeekMeter™ has been probably pinned for the better part of two weeks. Much to to the dismay of our respective friends and family, this will be the case for the next six months or so. But there's only one way to true geekery, and if you're an entry-level geek who's looking to step it up this year, I thought I'd share a few ways for you to get there beyond just watching games via your local cable provider and heading out to the yard for a few games this season.

Consider this your geekery tool box...
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3hree Things: On Vacationer's New Album, Gone

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

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Summer doesn't officially start for another two months, but with the arrival of Daylight Saving Time, and with a few 80º days and warm, breezy, BBQ-ready nights under our belts, it's starting to feel like it might be here already. And with the arrival of summer weather comes a need for some solid summ-

Wait...what's that?

It's supposed to rain today? And get chilly? And actually not really feel like summer in the slightest?

Hmm...

/checks weather.com
/notices it's supposed to be 59º on Wednesday with 100% chance of rain
/ponders the premise of this week's column
/cries (on the inside)

Suck it, weather gods. I'm trudging on.

So, where was I? Oh yeah. It felt like summer for a few days last week, which got me all excited for summer tunes. Those 7 PM perfectly-comfortable-BBQing-outside-in-a-tee-and-shorts nights had me thinking about packing away all the dark and doom-drenched metal and post-rock I tend to feed my ears in the winter, and finding myself some new summer jams.

I think I've found my first "summer" record of the year in Vacationer's Gone. It's an incredibly infectious blend of (and this is gonna sound like an absolute train wreck but I assure you it isn't) calypso/island-vibe, Motown, hip-hop (in drums & percussion only), doo-wop, mellow indie rock, reverb-drenched folk, "nü-hula" (source: the band), from "the eastern seaboard's foremost relaxation specialists" (source: the band, again).

Ah, music verbiage, what a waste you are. 

Let's cut the crap and get to the listening...

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3hree Things: Riley vs. The Budweiser Chelada

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

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In an attempt to continue the tried and true tradition here at 3hree Things in which I seek out (arguably) disgusting foodstuffs, ingest them, and write about my findings, I've decided to expand the breadth of my sampling and dive into the world of questionable beverages. 

This week, I go to war with the Budweiser Chelada



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3hree Things: On Meshuggah's New Album, Koloss

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

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Disclaimer: The record company keeps pulling YouYube clips of these songs because of "copyright violation" and because having you hear three songs while reading the following glowing review probably wouldn't help them sell a single record. I'll do my best to keep them updated, but if you've arrived at this piece to find broken links, I apologize. Record companies hate free promotion.


If I were to have made a Most Anticipated Albums of 2012, Meshuggah's Koloss would have resided somewhere near the top of that list. Waiting for its arrival for the last three months has tested my patience, so much so that when it leaked last week, I caved, and downloaded it. (Boo. Hiss. Yawn.) 

Note: I'd pre-ordered it already, really wanted this piece to come out on its release day, and to be totally honest I REALLY COULDN'T RESIST BECAUSE I HAVE NO WILLPOWER.

Koloss is a monster, everything I'd hoped it would be. After Meshuggah almost singlehandedly inspiring an entire genre called djent, which Metal Sucks aptly described as "a silly word for 'sounds like Meshuggah'", they've returned to set the bar even higher for the bands that draw so heavily from their sound. It's an undeniably powerful, brutally heavy, and perfectly focused effort from one of the most important metal bands of the past 25 years.

What follows, is a look at three of my favorite tracks from Koloss.

Disclaimer #2: If you're not a fan of heavy, agressive, and/or loud, you can probably skip this one, because what you're about to hear is like being trampled by a herd of jackhammer-wielding Godzillas.
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3hree Things: A Trip To Tempe For Angels Spring Training

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.

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About a week and a half ago, my lady and I packed our bags, hopped in my car and took the 10 out to Tempe for our first dose of Angels Spring Training baseball. The four days that followed ended up being one of the better vacations I've ever had the opportunity to take, so much so, that almost every day since we got home I've found myself shaking my head and kindly cursing myself for not having made the trip sooner. It was an absolute blast, and a trip that every Angels fan needs to try to take at least once. Goodness knows I'm going to make it a point to get out there at least every other year. It's just too close, too easy and too fun not to, and here's why...
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3hree Things: On Bad Religion's 'Generator,' 20 Years Later

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We all have records in our collections that are game changers; records that changed the way we listened to, thought about, and (in some cases) wrote/played music. In the days since Thrice announced its "indefinite hiatus," I've spent a fair amount of time reminiscing, not only about my career with the band, but about the records and bands that inspired me to pursue that career.

One of those bands is Bad Religion. And one of those records is their sixth full-length, Generator. It came out on this day (March 13) 20 years ago and it was an absolute game changer for me. We've been over my questionable taste in music during my junior high years in a previous 3hree Things, and Generator played a huge part in helping filter out a lot of the crap I was listening to, inspiring me to play drums and guitar, and opening my eyes (and ears) to the world of punk rock. They were a gateway band, if you will.

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3hree Things: On Kate Upton's Carl's Jr. Commercial

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.



That's Carl's Jr.'s new commercial for Kate Upton's boobs the Southwest Patty Melt, an 890 calorie pepper-laden, gut-busting wad of regret. Those of you who are familiar with this column are probably aware of my previous dalliances with the Carl's Jr. Loaded Burrito and McDonald's McRib. I regret to inform you that (in the interest of not having a heart attack at age 40, not having the time nor desire to devote an entire day to spritzing and sploorting my skivvies for your amusement, and trying to uphold the integrity of a "diet" that I'm hanging on to by the tiniest of tiny threads) I did not and will not be eating and writing about the Southwest Patty Melt (unless someone wants to start a Kickstarter fund to pay for my quadruple bypass). Instead, I've decided to do a brief play-by-play of this commercial (and some deleted scenes) and show you why, rather than making me hungry or making the front of my pants feel a little funny, it just makes me laugh (and vow never to eat a Southwest Patty Melt).
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3hree Things: On The Agonizing Death of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Watch out for 3hree Things (usually) every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.



My obsession with the NBA Slam Dunk Contest started in 1985, and thrived for almost a decade after. Those were the halcyon days. Dominique Wilkins. Spud Webb. Kenny "Sky Walker. And some guy named Michael Jordan. It was a time when dunks were still fresh, when legitimate NBA stars would actually compete in the contest, when players didn't have to jump over cars or their teammates or dress up like Superman to win. I'd watch every second of these dunk contests while I taped it on our VHS so I could watch them over and over and try to recreate my favorite dunks on the NERF hoop in my bedroom or the mini-hoop in our driveway. This was top-tier dorkery. (Thankfully, evidence of said dorkery has been destroyed and is decomposing in an landfill somewhere in Orange County, because one of the last things a middle-aged dork needs is for 25-year-old NERF hoop slam dunk footage set to bad early-90s hip-hop to surface on the internet.)

I think the beginning of the end came in '97, when Kobe Bryant won the contest with a series of mediocre dunks that had been done far better by Dominique and Jordan a decade prior. There was no contest in '98, and in '99 a lockout and shortened season meant there was no All-Star Game, and thus, no dunk contest. When it returned in 2000, it picked up where it left off with rehashed and uninspired dunks executed by fields of competitors that were either: a) bench players that casual NBA fans had never heard of, b) fringe stars that acted like they were doing the league a favor by competing, or c) rookies looking to lock down a shoe contract. Year after year, it kept getting worse, but I couldn't turn away, even though I know I'm just watching the slow, agonizing death of something I held so dear as a kid.

Saturday night's dunk contest was more of the same, with a cast of NBA rookies (and token white guy, Chase Budinger) performing a bunch of dunks we've all seen before. And even worse than the rehashing of old dunks, was the increased number gimmicks this year. I thought Blake Griffin's contest-winning KIA commercial dunk over a car last year was the apex of gimmickry, but I was wrong. When a dunk itself is not enough, I think it's probably time to put this thing to rest. 

/END RANT (Wow, do I feel like a curmudgeon.)

Here are the 3hree worst dunks from this year's competition. Proof that Slam Dunk Contest should be put out of its misery.


 
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3hree Things: Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?

I'm sick as a dog (a colloquialism that I've never quite understood, because I've never seen a dog with its eyes swollen shut and gallons of snot pouring out of its nose). The amount of garbage coming out of my face holes is alarming, and if what's coming out of my head is any indication of what's going on in there, my brain is drowning in a bucket of runny scrambled eggs. It's lovely. The sleeves of my hoodie look like I was attacked by a herd of snails. And I'm using Kleenex. That said, crafting a coherent piece for this week's 3hree Things is not in the cards. (Not that "crafting" and/or "coherent" are words that should ever appear when describing 3hree Things.)

What follows is a brief, snot-addled recollection of three encounters I had with people in my neighborhood last week.

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