Escopaul’s favorite albums of 2014

The once mighty Swasted is not what it once was but the servers are still on and albums are (for now) still a thing.  I hope our readers find some quality tunes from this list.  2014 was not a strong year for albums compared to the last few but there was still much to enjoy.  When making this list the factor I weighed most is how much I listened to an album, the more spins the better. If your fav isn’t here maybe I missed it, maybe I forgot it, maybe it sucked. Find your nearest Tower Records, Zune player or concert venue and enjoy these artists.

 1. Jungle ‘Jungle’

My favorite album of the year, especially so by when considering how many hours I spent listening.  Jungle has risen to prominence quickly and have an easy funk style that comes across as an effortless jam band groove.  Apparently their live shows are really what is separating this band as special.

2. Run The Jewels ‘Run the Jewels 2′

Most of the internets have enjoyed Run the Jewels 2 more than their first album.  I love this but the first still edges it out for me, however this is the best hip-hop album of the year by a wide margin. In an era where rap duo’s and groups (a posse, label mates and crews aren’t the same) are a rare thing making Run the Jewels are all the more special.  Oh and dem beats doe…

3. Sturgill Simpson ‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music’

Like most popular popular forms of music country gets flooded with mass appeal crap with “Bro-Country” the current trend of trash but many artists like Simpson continue to produce great work within the genre. If Cash, Haggard, Jennings, Jones and Nelson are names that evoke profound music memories cop this.

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Video: Fake Chef Pranks Local News Morning Shows

Sure we’re a little late in asking but…how were your holidays? Judging from the video below, Nick Prueher had a busy holiday season. He spent some of his time posing as a fake chef and appearing on local news morning shows throughout the Midwest. He posed as a fictional chef who was promoting a cookbook of what to do with your leftover food over the holidays. He basically throws a bunch a shit into a blender and makes the poor unsuspecting anchors sample his concoctions. My favorite part is when he’s explaining his unorthodox style he asks, “Are you familiar with GG Allin?”

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Escopaul’s favorite albums of 2013

These are my favorite albums of 2013.  Not necessarily a “best of” list but records I played over and over.  If your fav isn’t here maybe I missed it, maybe I forgot it, maybe it sucks. Find your nearest Sam Goody or bittorrent client and support these artists!

1. Arctic Monkeys


What a resurgence from this band.  The video below isn’t a track from their album but a live video from Austin City Limits.  It starts with Alex Turner playing a riff on a twelve  string, nuff said.

2. Killer P & EL-P

Run the Jewels

Killer Mike’s ability to drop a verse laced with knowledge is known as is El-P’s production prowess but teamed together a new project was realized.  I look forward to more music from ‘Run the Jewels’.’

Below is from a previous Killer Mike album and one of my favorite music videos.  Straight knowledge on Reagan being a crap president.  Share this work of art with your Tea Party friends.

3. Laura Marling

Once I was an Eagle

This is Laura Marling’s 3rd studio album which she wrote when only 23 years old.  Her songwriting and guitar prowess at such a young age is a rare feat.  Led Zep III open tuning vibes abound.

So good, it requires further viewing.

4. Vampire Weekend

Modern Vampires of the City

Three albums in with each one being wholly formed.  All shine separately and together as distinct cannon of work.

5.  Disclosure


Two young brothers dropping BEATS! UK Massive!

Remix!!! From TEED, producer of 2012′s best album.

6. Deafheaven


I have nothing against Metal but not at all up on the scene either.  Im still on TurboNegro (not even metal but if you’ve seen them live you know) and Mastodon.  This album is metal but so much more.  Listening to this takes effort and consideration but what was better in 2013?

7. Danny brown


Miley Cyrus stealing his tongue waggling move is not okay.  Rep real hip-hop!

If thats too intense, this is an easier way to get with Danny Brown

If you slept on his last LP…

8. Lorde

Pure Herione

Yeah I imagine it got hammered on the death throes of FM radio (podcasts changed my life) and the singles pounded in TJ MAXXes across the land but except for a song or two the entire album is quality.  Can’t hate on our Lorde.

9. Iamsu!

Kilt II

Got the Bay on LOCK! Part of the West Coast resurgence, CALI rep dat game!

Another cut from the album.

10.  Holy Ghost!


You like make party? You like Disco?

11. Haim

Days are Gone

I’d watch a supergroup cartoon about these girls with Fleetwood Mac playing good Hobbit wizards or Snarfs from Thundercats.

12. Valerie June

Pushin’ Against a Stone

Dan Auerbach on production and oh that voice!!!!


The Bones of What You Believe

The guy in this video dances funny.

Obligatory Whitney Houston REMIX!

14. The Knife

Shaking the Habitual

Make it through this vid. It’s long and people pee publicly.  This album like Deafheaven’s is compelling and I took it in but doesn’t fit my guidelines as a something I listened to over and over.  Still so good needed to be included.

15. Caitlin rose

The Stand-In

There are other country albums (2 to 4ish) that I enjoyed this year but I kept coming back to this one.

16. Pusha T

My Name is My Name

Trill is back with real street stories.  Reference classic Clipse albums like ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ if you need to catch up on a hop-hop legend.

If the inclusion of Chris Brown on last song offended you, here is another track with Kendrick Lamar.

Rounding out the Top 20:

17. Young Galaxy


18. Action Bronson

Blue Chips 2

19. Empire of the Sun

Ice on the Dune

20. Arcade Fire


My favorite music vid of 2013





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Video: and Entertainment Tonight Unite For the Worst Song Ever

I’m hoping this is a joke and of Black Eyed Peas wasn’t actually paid to come up with this theme song for Entertainment Tonight but I’d rather listen to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” everyday, all day. I know I shouldn’t expect anything listenable from anything that’s related to the Black Eyed Peas but this is horrific. I’m not even going to categorize this as music.

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Video: Norm MacDonald Hosting the ESPYs

The best thing to happen to ESPN’s horribly boring annual ESPY Awards show was back in 1998 when they let Norm MacDonald host and he promptly tore the year’s sports stars new a-holes. I saw Jon Hamm was hosting this year and I love Jon Hamm in Mad Men, he was serviceable in The Town, and he’s a great guest on Comedy Bang Bang but I can’t imagine ESPN would let him get away with anything like this. Anyway, here’s video of his opening monologue, and San Diego fans note the classic shot of Ryan Leaf in the crowd at 7:55…or don’t, fuck that guy.


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Video: Bear Safety, Know What To Do

I saw a bear once when I was camping. It was way across a valley and barely recognizable but it still spooked me. Next time though, I’ll be prepared.

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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden…

“A ‘whistleblower’ is person who reveals wrongdoing, corruption, illegal activity.


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Swasted Cinema: The Sequel

So, to quote everyone’s favorite band, “Its been a while.”  I promise that I’ve gone to the movies (tons) over the last two years since I shared thoughts on Midnight in Paris and X-Men:First Class.  I have even written some about them in fragmented drafts that lurk just under the WordPress admin surface of this very website.  There are actually a couple of gems in there that I should polish off for you, Dear Reader, but first lets get back on track with a discussion of something opening this week…

Star Trek Into Darkness

Fan or not of the nearly 50 year old series, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t thoroughly enjoy this installment in the adventures of Kirk and crew which follows up the brilliant 2009 reboot of the series.  Like that film, this one is accommodating to newcomers and seasoned Trekkies alike.  The characters are essentially reintroduced and relationships between them reenforced,  particularly that between the brash Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his more logical First Officer Spock (Zachary Quinto).  As expected of a sequel in this genre, the stakes have been upped significantly from the first film, in this case by bringing the threat facing Starfleet right to their doorstep early on in the form of an act of domestic terrorism on Earth by a rogue Starfleet officer played with calculated brilliance by Benedict Cumberbatch of the BBC’s Sherlock fame.

Now, I’ve had something to say for some time about the increasing depiction of homeland terrorism in television and film.  From last year’s Avengers movie which destroyed Manhattan in what has become a matter of course for summer movie-goers, to this year’s 3rd Iron Man film which probably wished it had time for a re-edit to lessen the similarities in its suicide bombing scenes to the still fresh wounds of the Boston Marathon events, I’m getting a bit weary of it.  While this sort of shit does go on all over the world on a near daily basis, there is a reason that we are not subject to it here.  That is the work of the everyday superheros who populate our military, intelligence, and local law enforcement agencies.  For one reason or another though American cinema-goers seem fascinated by these scenes of domestic destruction.  In 3D.  With popcorn.  And in many cases without a single thought to the fact that this is a reality being faced concurrently in other parts of the world.  I’d like to think that filmmakers aren’t simply preying on our fears, but instead contributing somehow to the national and global dialogue. Star Trek, in fact, does right in its closing dedication to post-9/11 veterans. But I digress.

It’s hard to discuss the remainder of the film without spoilers, other than to say that concerns I had going in based on the seemingly space-free, land-locked trailer footage proved unfounded as there is in fact plenty of star trekking to be had after the first 3rd of the movie appropriately propels the viewer towards it.  There is a good reason that those trailers leave a lot to be answered, as this film continues to play in the alternative-reality sandbox that the timeline splitting events of 2009′s entry provided, allowing for these characters to experience events that devoted Trekkies may be quite familiar with, but in new ways.  While it is still very much a story about the dynamic and evolving relationship between Kirk and Spock, the villainous turn by Cumberbatch is so nuanced and motivated that you almost root for him at times, hoping he survives the finale so as to be featured in future sequels.  The film has a nice undercurrent about the dangers of fighting such incredible evil and the potential to sacrifice ones own good in doing so.  In the end, however, it is clear that as we continue boldly going where no one (not just man anymore!) has gone before, our aspiration will be to do so with our best foot forward.

Solid 4.5 of 5 on the Swasted Scale.

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Video: Patton Oswalt’s Star Wars Filibuster

Parks and Recreation is a pretty funny show, unfortunately, I’ve grown tired of mockumentary-style shows and don’t watch it. However, the following is a clip from this week’s episode featuring an appearance by Patton Oswalt. In the clip, Patton’s character commences a filibuster at the city council meeting by sharing his idea for the next Star Wars movie. The entire diatribe is improvised which makes it even more impressive.

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A Day in TJ.

As a native of San Diego, CA, Mexico and more specifically Tijuana have always been close by.  TJ has suffered in the past 10 or so years due to violence from Mexican drug cartels but since 2011 violent crime rates have dropped dramatically.  The city feels more vibrant than ever with new businesses and construction projects prevalent.  Many are quick to talk negatively about Tijuana, in my experience these comments are usually from people who haven’t been there for years, don’t understand the cultural relevance of the city or travel to Mexico in general.  This isn’t meant to be an article about the history of Tijuana or a tourist guide. Instead this is what my friends and I like to do when we go down to TJ for a day of good eats, drinks and other debauchery (read titty bars).

Getting a ride to the border and walking across is the most convenient way to go but the trolley works too.  After crossing we usually grab a cab and are ready to eat.  The cuisine of Mexico has become increasingly more recognized for its sheer diversity and complexity, food culture in Baja has risen along with it.

From street meats to proper meals, TJ is a food town.  With taco purveyors, incredible seafood and fine dining, TJ brings an edible experience that is wholly unique from anything in San Diego.

After eating its time for Caliente Casino and beside it Caliente Stadium.  Club Tijuana, or more commonly called the ‘Xolos’ after a hairless dog breed indigenous to Mexico are a professional soccer team based in TJ.  The Xolos play in Mexico’s top league, rising to the Liga MX in 2011 and wining the championship in 2012.  Raised as a Charger and Padres fan it is nice (and completely new) to root for a champion.

A Xolo’s game reminds me of what makes live sporting events great, it is all about atmosphere.  Everybody is wearing team colors with the stadium packed and friendly. Soccer hooliganism isn’t common to Mexico.  Locals are happy to see ‘Xolos Gringos’ as they are proud of their city.  It’s TJ so beside the Carls Jr. ‘Hamburguesas,’ stadium food is good and cheap.  Two Tecates poured into a big ass cup is five American.  That alone makes a match enjoyable.

Once the game has ended it’s off to the bars and the Zona Norte.  The Norte is a designated ‘Tolerance Zone’ where strip clubs and prostitution are allowed.  Like most of Western Europe, prostitution is legal in Mexico but limited to a specific area of a city.  I’ve never banged a hooker in Mexico, or Germany for that matter but they have similar laws.  These activities exist in one area, the government tests all the girls and if you don’t like it don’t go there.  Logical right?

Our much preferred venue is the Hong Kong club.  The moment I first walked inside, I immediately felt like the scene in ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ when they roll in that titty bar. I’ve been to strip clubs in many, many countries and I can’t think of any that top the Hong Kong Club.  Though I got to give a respectful nod to Canada and Thailand…  If you’ve been, you know.  A dollar goes much farther down here than at the shit strip clubs in San Diego and girls won’t shake you down to earn one.  Apologies as photos are difficult to get away with inside, the picture below is also in the Zona Norte.

After all dem strippers and shots its time for some street food before heading back to the U.S.  The street tacos are unreal and so much better than those (which are really tasty in their own right) across the border.  There are many varieties of meat and cuts, try them all.

Once at the border its tradition to end the night with a Tijuana dirt dog (bacon wrapped hot dog).  The wait to walk back across the border can take hours so it’s best to cross after 11pm or later when the line is much shorter.


That sums up an adventure just 20 minutes from my home.

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