Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Am I the only person who thinks the Death From Above 1979 album is kind of flat? I love the White Stripes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, so the two-instrument attack shouldn't be a problem. It's got craft and charge, but even if vocalist Sebastien Grainger offered more than retro-machismo (I own no Deep Purple and yet I want to say they remind me of Deep Purple), I'd probably complain about the lack of groove. There's no lower-body throb in the music to justify the autopilot lust in the lyrics. Their cold and reedy sound makes it hard for me to acknowledge the hooks and forgive the generic sentiments. The quality of a track seems to rely on how many extra instruments were overdubbed. I know one guy plays "bass," but I think they could use a bassist.

Monday, November 29, 2004

I'll probably do one last spurt of purchases around xmas and the placement isn't set in stone, but here's my current 20 Albums From 2004 That I'm Actually Keeping In Their Entirety. DFA #2 doesn't count, since it's a box set. THERE ARE RULES.

1. Nellie McKay, Get Away From Me

2. The Hives, Tyrannosaurus Hives

3. Bumblebeez 81, Printz

4. Trouble Everyday, Days Vs. Nights

5. The Streets, A Grand Don't Come For Free

6. Tegan and Sara, So Jealous

7. The Talk, It's Like Magic In Reverse

8. I Am The World Trade Center, The Cover-Up

9. Mountain Goats, We Shall All Be Healed

10. Travis Morrison, Travistan

11. Big & Rich, Horse Of A Different Color

12. Kimya Dawson, Hidden Vagenda

13. Hot Snakes, Audit In Progress

14. Ghostface, The Pretty Toney Story

15. Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand

16. Interpol, Antics

17. Trick Daddy, Thug Matrimony

18. Devin The Dude, To Tha X-Treme

19. Junior Boys, Last Exit

20. Wiley, Treddin' On Thin Ice

Sunday, November 28, 2004


Anybody who says I don't like "dance music" gets the gas face. Look at my singles lists and tell me these tracks plod. Nobody in State College would make that assumption, for they have seen me bust ludicrous amounts of ludicrous ass. Ludicrously. I've been enjoying the DFA Comp #2 so much that I'm tempted to explore some of the "techno" I've ignored of the years. Then I remember what humorless puritans its enthusiasts can be. OK, rock fans can get that way too, I know. But still, I thought y'all were supposed to be giddy little plur babies, not ponderous sociologists with a defintion-fetish. Maybe I just don't get to hear the right people talk about it. Anyhow, I like DFA Comp #2. My favorite tracks are the more "song"-ish stuff by LCD Soundsystem and the Rapture, but I find the whole thing consistent and easy to listen to (despite being 3CDs!). Flows nicely and, here's the kicker, never bores me or gets too brainy. Where do I go next?

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Gone Drinkin'. Since none of the available pictures of my visiting friends and I feature Nick Zimmer, Ultragrrrl or Carlos D, I've decided not to share them. Dag kind of looks like Devendra Banhardt, though. Thanks to Jefferson for hosting all this stuff. Oh, what the hey, here's Jeremy. That's TJ in the first one. These pics are a year or two old. We all have bowl cuts now.

Tomorrow I will offer my opinion on something music-related. I promise.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving! Have some Turkey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004



1) Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out (#81 on ILM poll)
2) Weezer – Pinkerton (#61 on ILM poll)
3) Weezer – Weezer (#94 on ILM poll)
4) Guided by Voices - Bee Thousand (#83 on ILM poll)
5) Pavement - Crooked Rain Crooked Rain (#16 on ILM poll)
6) Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
7) Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen
8) The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs (#3 on ILM poll)
9) Nas - Illmatic (#8 on ILM poll)
10) Stereolab - Transient Random Noise Bursts with Announcements
11) A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory (#55 on ILM Poll)
12) Warrant – Cherry Pie*
13) Pixies - Trompe Le Monde (#35 on ILM poll)
14) Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen
15) Eminem - The Slim Shady LP (#87 on ILM poll)
16) Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The 36 Chambers** (#2 on ILM poll)
17) Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted (#19 on ILM poll)
18) Rancid - And Out Come The Wolves
19) Sleater–Kinney – Call the Doctor (#85 on ILM poll)
20) R.E.M. – Out of Time
21) Portishead – Dummy (#12 on ILM poll)
22) Afghan Whigs - Black Love
23) Built to Spill - There's Nothing Wrong with Love
24) Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet (#11 on ILM poll)
25) Teenage Fanclub – Bandwagonesque (#62 on ILM poll)
26) R.E.M. - Automatic For The People (#46 on ILM poll)
27) Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (#29 on ILM poll)
28) Wilco - Being There
29) My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (#1 on ILM poll)
30) Spoon - A Series of Sneaks

*Had I known how lame this album was I wouldn't have voted for it (in hindsight, throw it out and throw the Gravediggaz album in at #30).
**Had I known how good this album was, I would have voted for it exactly where I did!!! UP IN HERE!!! UP IN HERE!!!


Toby Keith's "Stays In Mexico" is a million times better than Montgomery Gentry's "You Do Your Thing"!!! UP IN HERE!!! UP IN HERE!!!

But few things are worse in life than "You Do Your Thing"!!! UP IN HERE!!! UP IN HERE!!! Seriously, have you seen the video for this? It's horrifying!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Giving Queen's Hot Space the love it deserves for Stylus.

Five new videos (arguably) worth checking out.

Two Saddle Creek bands have goofy new videos about how sexually frustrated they are, but you already knew that. Two rappers from the Dirty South have goofy new videos about how they're going to beat the crap out of you if you get in their way, but you already knew that. The Lil Jon and Ludacris videos are more entertaining (Ice Cube is raking when he first appears on the screen), and, if I have to, I'd rather hear their morally questionable enthusiasm than Beep Beep and The Good Life drowning in their monomaniacal misery, but you already knew that too.

Good Charlotte's new single is "I Just Wanna Live," a song that I put on the Stypod a few weeks ago (the mp3 is no longer available, but my description is still there). In the video, they wear food costumes for half the scenes and goth/preppy wear for the others. Joel has a night-vision sex video romp while dressed like a slice of pizza and later recreates Ashlee Simpson's hoe-down. Benji plays the violin dressed like a cob of corn. Oddly enough, my Launch player played Simpson's "Shadow" and Lindsay Lohan's "Rumors" right afterwards. Soon after came Britney's "My Prerogative." Sadly, Michael Jackson's "Leave Me Alone" didn't follow.

Monday, November 22, 2004

I'm listening to Trick Daddy's Thug Matrimony. Kicked off with some N-word tracks, then some children's choir cuts, then some B-word tracks, and now he's in love. The next song features Ronald Isley and the one after that has a fellow named Dirt Bag on it. Solid stuff, but so schizo. Nobody warned me that "Sugar" interpolates the chorus of "Sugar On My Tongue." I almost spit out my soda, but I suppose its not surprising that hook handler Cee-Lo has a copy of Sand In The Vaseline.

I ignored Stephen Malkmus' Pig Lib when it came out, but my friend TJ's approval and this review by JBR inspired me to pick it up when I found it on the cheap a month ago. I like it more than anything the guy's done since Wowee Zowee. The Jicks are better at mellow grooves than Pavement was and Malkmus has grown into a confident romantic lead. Even the bonus EP is strong. Fluxblog's got a recent live track up. I'm actually looking forward to more Malkmus. It's been been a while since I've felt that way!

He was my idol in high school, though. Shows up a couple times in the Alt-Rock Photo Collage I made back in the day. I like how De La Soul and Johnny Cash are my respective rap and country tokens on the bottom left. Lou Barlow, Peter Buck, Ira Kaplan, Sterling Morrison, Bob Mould, Jon Spencer, John Reis, and Greg Dulli also got multiple nods. I'm hopeful about Barlow's upcoming solo Merge debut, but of all those nineties heroes of mine, only Speedo and Malkmus are still at the top of their game.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

When I was in 8th grade, I wrote one of those award show recaps where you mark each minute something interesting happened. I was planning to submit it to the local free arts magazine, though thankfully, I thought better of it. Only thing I remember noting is that Bono's claim that U2 would continue to "fuck up the mainstream" was the show's one saving grace.


Every review of a music award ceremony points out the "glorious moment," be it a half-decent song or a surprising declaration from a celebrity. My disdain for TV is pretty extreme these days, and the "(band) subverted the monotony of (show) tonight" meme is aggrivating. I'm not damning people for watching TV (I can still enjoy it as a social activity), its just that claiming your favorite alt-rock group redeemed two hours of insufferability and advertisements by wearing goofy hats while playing their hit is pretty dubious. The last award ceremony I witnessed was that MTV one where the Hives and the Vines did a double-blast of funny aggro. I enjoyed both performances, but what justified enduring the crap around it wasn't Craig Nicholls shrieking like a loon over my preferred guitar tone, but the opportunity to hang out with friends and laugh at it all.

I don't think I even enjoy VH1 Classic much anymore (probably because I have so much of it on tape; I've gotten my fill). I hate surrendering control to a medium with such a disturbingly low batting average - even if someone occasionally plays the maracas.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

10 Albums I'd like to hear before all the end-of-year jazz (and pazz).

Bowling For Soup, A Hangover You Don't Deserve
Devin The Dude, To Tha X-Treme
D-12, D-12 World
Eminem, Encore
Fever, Red Bedroom
Maroon 5, Songs About Jane
Masta Killa, No Said Date
McLusky, The Difference Between You and Me Is That I'm Not On Fire
Trick Daddy, Thug Matrimony
Usher, Confessions: Special Edition

There's no certainty that I actually will check all of these out, and I'm happier with my current 20 Albums From 2004 I'm Actually Keeping In Their Entirety than my list from any other year. I've listened to so frikkin' much. It's kinda gross.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Me recording the guitar solo for "Kimberly Glide," the third track on my NaSoAlMo album, The Futurist. One take. I was in the zone.

Forget what I said about "I'm Not OK (I Promise)" being the best pop-punk hit of the year. It's still got drive, jokes and a great chorus but the verse lyrics are chock full of adolescent hate-you-girl-for-what-you-made-me-do-to-myself bullshit. Oversensitive AND quick to scream "Jezebel"? Like Shatner, I can't get behind that. Shout out to Sara Sherr, Caryn Ganz and Jessica Hopper for the smackdown they gave emo manchildren in Pazz'n'Jop last year (scroll 2/3rds of the way down). Christgau's Angels!

So what is my favorite pop-punk hit of the year? Yellowcard's "Ocean Avenue" places (good ol' fashioned sap, inexplicable violin coda), but "1985" by Bowling For Soup so gets the nod. Blink-182 with something to say about adults. Fountains Of Wayne without audible quotation marks. As long as ILX and the rest of the world keep providing me with examples of people who blow their adolescent pleasures out of proportion and can't find new ones (tip from a smug kiddie, folks: they're probably not on a station owned by Viacom), this song will be treasured.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

An unusual amount of people in "real life" have asked me what I think of the Arcade Fire, so I've been apprehensive about checking out Funeral. Following the triple whammy of Donnie Darko, Mulholland Dr. and Ghost World, I've been inclined to avoid indie hits (in any form of media) so I don't have to explain why I'm so unmoved or disdainful countless times with varying degrees of forthrightness.

I've listened to Funeral a lot over the last week and I don't think fans are full of it. Well, critics are, but the people who bring it up at City Lights or Roustabout don't cream for two paragraphs before mentioning any specific details, they just say they like it. It is a consistent, well-made, musically impressive debut and I'm glad potential fans are hearing about it. All the same, I wondered how people could get so worked up about something that merely mixes Modest Mouse with Mercury Rev (they need to cover Dream Academy's "Life In A Northern Town" or, hee hee, Rusted Root's "Send Me On My Way"). Then I remembered the reaction those guys got.

My passion for "symphonic" indie began to fade once Ken (former manager of City Lights) pointed out that The Soft Bulletin sounds a lot like Supertramp, and Funeral isn't going to rekindle the flame. The lyrics that have begun to permeate the overwraught bombast don't impress me and the singer shares Conor Oberst's unfortunate tendency to get even more hysterical when the music tones down. The disco climaxes get closer to the desired rapture than the rest (shocker), but I need an emotional connection to fully submit to Springsteen/Morricone grandeur. "*timpani roll* WAH! *cymbal crash*" has lost its novelty value.

Pitchfork and the albums that get perfect scores from them have a lot in common. "Two paragraphs of creaming before mentioning any specific details" describes stuff like Funeral and Source Tags & Codes pretty well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I've been searching for another established critic with a rich career to pour over, and after reading his Encore review for the Voice, I think I need to pick up some Greg Tate. He avoids mentioning "free men" in hip-hop like Kanye West and Outkast and ignores Eminem's long list of safe and easy targets who aren't "negro," but I can see why he erred on the side of inflammatory. The popcrit nation is reacting with horror and intrigue, but no one questions whether or not Eminem is that important in the first place. I won't apologize for my own fascination (I now get to make Neil Young metaphors to go with my Prince ones), but I'd rather hear him dismissed by someone with perspective than young fans bummed that the jokes are crass and the emo drags (I guess they missed the parts on his "classic" where the Insane Clown Posse suck it and he shrieks about how radio won't play his jams).

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Well, it's been three days. Read the ODB memorial at Tofu Hut.

Five New Videos Worth Checking Out.

Blink-182 "Always": I got rid of several hundred CDs this summer after burning my favorite tracks. I kept "Feeling This," "I Miss You" and "Obvious" from Blink-182. It doesn't inspire thoughts of re-purchase, but the video, one of those split-screen long-takes where you have to watch it a couple times to figure out how they pulled it off, makes the song seem more noteworthy than it did in the context of the album. I'll grab it on the eventual best-of.

Blood Brothers "Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck": I prefer my mental image of the White Stripes going apeshit Brainiac-style, but the guy singing Meg's part is pretty entertaining too.

D-12 "U R The One": I understand why some people find these guys annoying, but I always prefer their puerile giggle-fests to plodding Emo-nem ("My Band">>>>>>>>>>>>>>"How Come"). It sounds like they casually pass the mic around, trying to crack each other up. Think of them as Eminem's Crazy Horse: goofball idiot savants who bring out the silliest in their brilliant pal. Thankfully, it doesn't look like any of them are going to pull a Danny Whitten.

Grandaddy "Nature Anthem": This video was on the CD for Sumday, but its being hawked as a "new song" now that its on their Below The Radio Mix-CD. The dancing animals are amusing enough that you might not realize Jason Lytle is stating his band's thesis. If the environmentalist movement picks up in the next year or so (as it well should), they could do a lot worse for a theme song. Beats screaming.

Walkmen, "Little House Of Savages": Unlike the Blood Brothers, this video offers nothing to make up for killing my mental image for this song, which was that Jonathan Fire*Eater had reunited. The music is commendably illusory, though, and I'm gradually less offended by the existence of Hamilton Leithauser, who has the audacity to be hold his mic like Henry Rollins, have blond hair and not be Stewart Lupton. Has anybody heard Lupton's new band, Child Ballads? Any good?

Monday, November 15, 2004

After dancing through the static on my walkman for years, hopping directly from signal to signal on my discman is heaven. It was startling to hear Shania's "Party For Two" followed by Shifty's "Turning Me On" while at the supermarket. Two of last week's Videos To Watch in a row! I can't get enough of dirty hokum. I've sung "After The Lovin'" at karaoke and I'll probably do it again.

I've also been using the discman to reaffirm the quality of my "albums of the year." So far, so great. Revisiting Bumblebeez 81 was especially rewarding. Everything I said about it in my Stylus review holds true, except "Tumbling Dice" and "Pony Ride" have grown on me. The video for "Come Ova" (on their site) uses tired ironic-playa imagery to try and strip away their valuable anonymity. Avoid. Stick with the mp3s and the video for "Pony Ride" (which can be found at Launch), if you're curious.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I've often joked with people about the possibility that Osiris a.k.a. Russell Jones a.k.a. Ol' Dirty Bastard was indeed Big Baby Jesus. What better way to upend the current state of Christianity than by forcing evangelists to embrace a black lunatic who likes it raw. Instead of scatting in John Norris's face for three minutes (a memory I'll always treasure), he could do it on The 700 Club while Pat Robertson debates suicide. Dubya would be forced to don multiple pairs of sunglasses and let his personal savior scream "Wu-Tang Is For The Children!" at his next press conference as a boombox blasts Lumidee at top volume. Jesus, what's your take on birth control? "I'm all for makin' babies. I love makin' babies. But ain't nobody gonna be burnt by gonorrhea again on MY watch. Wu-Tang!" Journalists would run out of questions rather than scurry after their elusive political prey.

If Tuesday was Mardi Gras, I'd have complete faith that the excess of jubilant titty would inspire him to rise again and instigate an unspeakably perverse yet golden age. Some would have to bloat rehab-style for their trespasses as he did, but he would forgive us our sins and teach us how to play and let play. The chances for his return are slim, but my fingers remain crossed.

I have N*gga Please, Enter The Wu-Tang and an a capella edit of "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" (courtesy of The Tofu Hut), but embarassingly I lack a copy of Return Of The 36 Chambers. I'll never mock those post-death sales booms again.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

This week on the Freelance Mentalists I get to save the world from aliens by playing them my favorite song of all time. Transcript here.

Nick A. from ILX sent me two CDs in exchange for Warrant and AC/DC mixes. I haven't listened to the Animal Collective yet but I checked out the other one, which opened with songs by his band, The Fake Fictions. They're great. Plug on my precious blog great. When I thought they'd finally dropped some tracks that were as embarassing, sluggish and painfully amateurish as "songs by people you've met" can be (you should hear mine sometime), it turned out to be music he liked that he'd filled the rest of the CD with. Nick enjoys listening to bands his is better than. Despite this smuggery, you should download the tracks on their site. They split the difference between new wave and twee without falling into the usual traps; Let's Active without the pretension and more drive.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Despite my long and respectable career as a thespian, I would rather be remembered as the highest-paid telemarketer in history. Bill Hicks cannot wait to knife me when I get to heaven.

I saw The Sw!ms on Wednesday night, and if you get a chance I recommend checking them out. The rhythm section is way stronger than most of the indie-pop I hear these days. Plus the drummer bites her tongue while she plays. It's really cute. I would have bought their EP if I wasn't spending what little money I had on beer. It's rare I hear a Shins-style group who can do the up-tempo stuff and ballads like "Jon Vs. Tron-Bon" with equal flair, so I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them again. Come back soon!

One thing, though. Bands need to stop telling audiences they can dance or that they should throw their hands in the air or whatever. If we want to be enthusiastic, we will be. Try inspiring it through acts rather than requests - it would probably make the victory that much sweeter. When I saw the Electric Six play at the Siren Festival the singer would wave to the audience and a large portion would wave back. He never said "do what I do!" I'm not against interaction at all - feel free to ask us how we're doing. Just don't demand a specific response.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Made a CD of songs I've got on MP3 that I might want to play next time I DJ at Roustabout. I really should stop judging songs based on how they sound on my computer. Them's some crappy speakers I got. Discman is preferable - I've been loving Saul Williams' "Grippo" ever since I first heard the guitar loop and I didn't even catch most of the lyrics until today. At least now I know the right process with which to appreciate the finer songs I encounter.

Afros - Hoe Cakes
Chap - I Am Oozing Emotion
Daniyel - Dale Tra
Funkadelic - One Nation Under A Groove
Futon - Gay Boy
I Am The World Trade Center - Love Tragedy
Rick James - Give It To Me
Local H - Toxic
McLusky - To Hell With Good Intentions
My Chemical Romance - I'm Not OK (I Promise)
Plus-Tech Squeeze Box - The Marvin Show!
Presets - The Girl And The Sea
Queen - Dancer
William Shatner - Common People
Swell Maps - Midget Submarines
TKO Posse - Your Daddy's On The Pipe
TV On The Radio - New Health Rock
Wiley - Pies
Saul Williams - Grippo
Young Heart Attack - Tommy Shots

If you checked all the mp3 blogs on my links page, you'd have the majority of these songs, and you would be awesome(r). "Your Daddy's On The Pipe" and "Hoe Cakes" are especially noteworthy. Should I be laughing at a group of kids mocking somebody for having drug-addicted parents (this song would be Another Bad Creation on crack if not for the title)? Should I be laughing at a group of guys shoving food in their girlfriends' mouths Ike Turner-style? Probably not. But I am. In honor of that unrepenting asshole who makes my jaw drop in amused disblief, I'll call it the Eamon factor. As my occasional co-DJ Megan once noted as I played "Salt Shaker" after an alt-country band, I like being naughty.

Btw, if you haven't seen Eamon's "I Love Them Ho's/Girl Act Right" video yet...no comedian could think this up. It's on his site...just...wow. Makes Vanilla Ice look like Lou Barlow. It's like the wet dream of the biggest dick in your high school brought to you in vibrant technicolor. And yes, that's Milk Dee standing next to him, Audio Two fans.

That My Chemical Romance song (you can hear it on their site) will probably make my final top 30 singles list for 2004. Easily the best pop-punk hit I've heard this year, though there's been little competiton. I thought this year was going to be a reprise of 2002 (check out my P'n'J ballot from that year - twas a renaissance), but it didn't turn out that way: Distillers and Good Charlotte got egregiously down in the mouth, Desaparecidos, Weezer and All-American Rejects post-poned their follow-ups and Kelly Osbourne is in the studio with Linda Perry (ick). I really hope I like Gold Medal. Some of the more amusing moments on "I'm Not Ok (I Promise)" lead me to believe that we're headlong into the self-aware farce period of this current wave of whine. I can relate with the mixture of discontent and silliness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

ILM just had a doozy of a '90s "singles" poll (hearty props to Gear for tabulating everything) and, even if it was predictable which genres got more focus (though american rock was REALLY underrepresented), I'm impressed with the consistency of song quality. Everyone was allowed to nominate two songs, and out of what was nominated, this was my ballot (of course, my noms were my top two picks).

1) Prince - "Gett Off"
2) Sugar Ray - "Someday"
3) Cypress Hill - "Hand on the Pump"
4) Bikini Kill – “Rebel Girl”
5) Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Got Your Money" (#29 on ILM poll)
6) Pulp - "Common People" (#1 on ILM poll)
7) Eminem - "My Name Is" (#77 on ILM poll)
8) Depeche Mode - "Enjoy the Silence" (#24 on ILM poll)
9) Mark Morrison - "Return of the Mack"
10) Beck - "Loser" (#14 on ILM poll)
11) Digital Underground – The Humpty Dance (#81 on ILM poll)
12) Guided by Voices - "Game of Pricks"
13) LL Cool J - "Mama Said Knock You Out" (#63 on ILM poll)
14) B-52s – “Roam”
15) Warren G feat. Nate Dogg - "Regulate" (#7 on ILM poll)
16) The Breeders - "Cannonball" (#3 on ILM poll)
17) Guided By Voices - "Echos Myron"
18) Blink 182 - “Dammit”
19) Blackstreet - "No Diggity" (#11 on ILM poll)
20) Archers of Loaf - "Web In Front”
21) My Bloody Valentine "When You Sleep" (#72 on ILM poll)
22) Quad City DJs - "C'Mon Ride It (The Train)"
23) Vanilla Ice - "Ice Ice Baby"
24) Hanson - “Mmmbop”
25) Christina Aguilera - "Genie in a Bottle"
26) Folk Implosion - "Natural One"
27) The Foo Fighters - "Everlong"
28) Montell Jordan - "This is How We Do It"
29) Gin Blossoms – “Hey Jealousy”
30) Pulp - "Babies" (#38 on ILM poll)

There's a few of these songs that I don't have access to right now. I should do something about that. I'm nowhere as happy with my album ballot. It's much easier to realize the glory of a hit you dismissed in high school than a full-length (that costs money). Had to pick too many albums whose appeal might be based mainly on familiarity.

I need to start reading more, watching movies again and experiencing non-musical art. Too much of what I hear is pleasant but uninspiring. I need a narrative or unique statement to react to. So much feels like background music or filler.

Of course, the second I say something like "I'm tired of ____," _____ goes and slaps me upside the head. Right when I wonder if I need to give mp3 blogs a rest (it starts to feel like a friend playing you bits of 30 songs in a half hour - btw somebody let me know when an article about M.I.A. comes out so I can get a better sense of why everybody's creaming), a song like "Girl And The Sea" by the Presets grabs me from the get-go. I give up on the new UNKLE album five songs in and when I put the album back on I have a hard time believing "Reign," "What You Are To Me?" and "Invasion" from the same album that had me yawning a few hours earlier. The generic cock-rock I listened to inbetween probably increased my willingness to dig spacy Brit-pop symphonies.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

i like dem gurlz

Yet more reasons to hump all of the Donnas' legs (sorry, Tyler, no nudes). Aidin Vaziri's work is so refreshing. If I had to take a stab at "journalism" (as opposed to "criticism"), he would be the guy I'd style-jack. The world could use more than one. Still haven't heard Gold Medal yet.

I didn't give two shits about the new Jay-Z movie until I read this review.

Drunk indie freaks hollering "Exit Flagger" at a GBV Karaoke show, now available at Her Jazz. The perfect gift for GBV hater and fan alike.

Fred Durst is the new Jack London.

I hear the Handsome Boy Modeling School album has been postponed. What they should do is let De La Soul and Casual use their tracks as b-sides and release full-length Prince Paul/Tim Meadows and Dan The Automator/Jack Johnson collabos. Throw the rest in the trash.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Matt name-dropped me in his Hives review for music-critic.com. Is this the first time somebody's done that in a non-blog review? Mondo-flattered.

Yet more reasons to hump Nellie McKay's leg. Found this at Pop (All Love).

Local H gets love from some critics (including myself) for being one of the most self-aware and coherent of the '90s post-grunge acts. Christgau sums it up well, though I think he underrates Here Comes The Zoo, probably since he underrates Jack Douglas. I wasn't knocked out by their latest album, Whatever Happened To P.J. Soles, aside from "Everyone Alive" and the title track, but their new cover of "Toxic" (available here) is terrific. I'm still keeping an eye on these guys.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Five new videos on Launch worth checking out.

Mario "Let Me Love You": This is actually an audition tape Chris Rock gave to New Edition when Bobby Brown left. He didn't make the cut.

John Mayer "Daughters": Determined to win the 2004 Asshole World Series, Mayer drops a classy video for the ballad where he begs fathers to treat their daughters right so that they'll be kind and trusting when he tries to get with them (oh, and moms, teach these girls to be good mommies too. *wink*). Sure, I'm sympathetic, but I'm not really the target audience. Disturbingly hyper-confident singles plus the in-concert revelation of his hideous "oh"-face probably explains why Heavier Things stiffed commercially. That said, if any ladies out there dig Mayer's lyrics, hit me up. I can provide all the wry, self-obsessed commentary U need.

I suggest Usher respond to this salvo by releasing "Confessions, pt. 3 (Oh Yeah, About The Crabs) - feat. Jadakiss" on True Confessions: Special Edition II - Unfinished Business, only available at Best Buy.

Shifty "Turning Me On": I believe that's Three Times One Minus One standing behind him. The dude has no clue.

Shania Twain feat. Mark McGrath "Party For Two": Just as Travis Morrison got a little busy with the sound-effects when left alone in the studio, McGrath overcompensates for the lack his goofy Sugar Ray compadres by mugging every second he's on the screen. Stop flapping your arms, Mark. Shania gets winded trying to keep up. At the climax, they break plates over each others heads, shadow-box and swing on a rope. I shit you not. I kept waiting for the NBC logo to appear behind them.

U2 "Vertigo": Making up for the lack of a Monster: 10th Anniversary Edition release, U2 have unleashed the most incoherent no. 1 modern rock single since "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" I refuse to believe they spent more than a day writing this thing, and I assume the director told them to mime in front of a blue screen, promising he'd put "all kindsa spinning and wind and vertigos and shit" around them later. I'm tempted to say that the failure of Lenny Kravitz's equally dippy glam-rock this year is due to racism (both did all kinds of cross-promotion crap), but it probably has to do with the lack of Bonofied bombast. I couldn't get through Kravitz's new "Lady" (something about how lady is a lady so crazy with the gravy lady oh lady), but I never have a problem waiting for the Edge to drop his patented ringtones halfway through this. HOLA!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

For all my optimism and whatnot it's been a good while since I've written a review and I'm having a bitch of a time really getting back into the game. Conversations? Easy. Short reactions? Easy. 400+ words? Ehhhh. Doesn't help that I've been listening to a lot of albums that I don't feel qualified to write extended pieces on. I'm not saying only "experts" should write about a type of music, I'm just saying that I lack the desire or energy to spout fountains of text about noise/experimental/instrumental/psychedelic/sounds-nice-in-the-background/bet-i'd-like-it-more/if-I-saw-it-live/or-had-access-to-drugs stuff I've been listening to. Writer's block is definitely going around right now, unsurprisingly. I will get back in the game this week, though. I will, I will, I will.

I made a mood-lightening CD for my air-travel time two weeks ago. Songs I have on CD that force for me to smile I hadn't already placed on single-artist CD-Rs, structured in my usual alphabetized format. To swipe a joke from blfc, here's manthony m1cc1o's Back To Mine.

A.R.E. Weapons - Don't Be Scared
Basement Jaxx (feat. Dizzee Rascal) - Lucky Star
Cult - She Sells Sanctuary
Dismemberment Plan - Superpowers
Electric Six - Electric Demons In Love
Fugazi - Full Disclosure
Go-Go's - Head Over Heels
Hot Snakes - Salton City
Enrique Iglesias - Escape
Junior Senior - Shake Your Coconuts
R. Kelly - Red Carpet (Pause, Flash)
Limp Bizkit - Livin' It Up
John Mayer - Clarity
Prince - Dirty Mind
Queen w/ David Bowie - Under Pressure
Rolling Stones - Jigsaw Puzzle
Smashmouth - All Star
Transplants - Tall Cans In The Air
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Y Control

One small bit of record nerd cred defensiveness: if I had the new CD reissue rather than the old Mute cassette reissue of A Trip To Marineville, Smashmouth would have been replaced by Swell Maps' "Harmony In Your Bathroom." THAT'S RIGHT! I'M OLD SCHOOL! MY FONDNESS FOR MAINSTREAM ISN'T DUE TO IGNORANCE! IT'S BY CHOICE! I'M NOT ULTRAGRRRL, OK? ARRRRRRRGH! Not that "All Star" isn't a classic. It is. Just...yeah.

Friday, November 05, 2004

All y'all are my blood, but you let the pharoahs push you around! And though you do think I'm deranged, you can change. Oh, my god, you can change.
-Travis Morrison, "Change"

If I'm not listening to the radio when walking around town, I'm listening to Travistan. "The Word Cop," which I quoted a couple days ago, is up at Morrison's website. I recommend it to anybody who isn't instinctively opposed to anything that sounds remotely like Ben Folds. The politics on this album are assertive and direct without blindly propagating the kind of hate that is so understandable and so common and yet SO WORTHLESS right now.

Do people really not see the contradiction in saying "Fuck you, you intolerant fuck?" In dismissing what you don't understand? In damning the media while propagating their hysterical, binary logic? LIBERAL. ADJECTIVE. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

If you are incapable of seeing anything other than red right now, please take a nap until you can. Punch a wall. Change. Oh, my god, you can change.

If we're going to find a way to change minds we're going to have to understand where those minds are coming from. Figuring out the complacency of others by tackling our own (it is still sunny outside for most of us, and we're not going to change the way people think by saying it isn't). Educating and informing rather than screaming "WHAT ARE YA, STUPID???" Acknowledging the hungers and desires of people not like ourselves (hell, take a tip from Travis, and use bible metaphors! As David Rees notes, most atheists are more Christian than the bible-thumpers, so what's to lose?). Plus it wouldn't hurt for us to actively look for common ground. We only would have needed to sway an extra three percent of the voting populace to keep people from posting these kneejerk United States Of Canada memes (here's a map that a child couldn't draw).

Anyhow, Travistan strikes me as one of the kindest, smartest, funniest, most mature albums of the year. It sounds even better now than it did when I wrote about it for Stylus. Yeah, the busy arrangements may hit you before the song's point, but that's why there's a lyric sheet. Hell, even the critical reaction has been educational. It's been enlightening trying to figure out how people can miss the boat so completely. I have some ideas, but I'll save that for another rant. This one's long enough as it is.

Thursday, November 04, 2004



I wish they'd cover "Somethin' Stupid" together.

I'm trying to figure out which album I like more. While both the Hives and Nellie McKay share the frustrated yet humorous vibe that sums up my outlook on the last year, gender and genre makes this sort of a battle between personal frustration/aggro pessimism and date bait/melodic optimism.

It's not that different from "Burn" vs. "Clarity" battle on my singles list. Sara would consider that one to be the Asshole World Series, but I am understandably more tolerant of self-involved young men. "Burn"'s torment is currently besting "Clarity"'s uplift thanks to the track's density (plus Mayer's climactic baby shrieks don't always work for me - though they often do). Get Away From Me may get the nod due to breadth, but Tyrannosaurus Hives has a BAM! UHH! KICKED YOUR ASS, DUMBASS! CASE CLOSED! effect.

Let's hear it for radical subjectivity!

While I'm not going to hold this against a band's songs, I am definitely tired of all these Special Edition CDs. Rewarding people for making your album a hit by telling them to buy the whole thing again for bonus tracks. It's bullshit. Whatever happened to stopgap EPs? Are those ONLY available at Target now?

Two albums that have no right to sound as good as they do: Frank Black Francis and RTX's Transmaniacon. Turns out the arrangements weren't THAT important with the Pixies and I prefer enthusiastic hackwork to entropic Hagerty.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Moral (noun): a rule you live by even if no one is around. Moral (adjective): Having the soul to balance one's words and deeds, and living by one's creeds - but you, you're simply greedy. Don't talk to me about morality, 'cause you're as moral as hyenas in a playpen - and now I'm getting mad again.

Decency (noun): The skill of being kind to people who get you down. Decent (adjective): Being OK with different points of view and generally having a clue; but you, you never do. You wouldn't know it if it fucked you in the ass, and I know I'm getting crass, but there you go.

- Travis Morrison, "The Word Cop"

I refuse to be fatalistic about this. This wasn't some '84-style landslide. This was heavily contested (heavily contestable, I mean) and, at worst, one seriously slim victory for Bush. Battles were lost, but the war isn't over. Listen to music that makes you happy, READ and revel in the awesomeness of those you know until you find out something productive you can do about this crap.

The Pnut House wraps the losses up nicely. I love this blog a lot. I found out about it from Pop Life. Pays to check out those link lists, folks.

Maria T is going to be putting up mp3s from Philly bands on her blog. The Stypod entry right after mine is from Jess. Pennsylvania pride.

I don't want to fight. I don't want to hear your talk. I only want to know when to walk and when to run. I don't want revenge; I don't want to save my pride; I only want to know I tried the best I can.
- Travis Morrison, "Angry Angel"

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Three mp3s picked by me up at the Stypod: Good Charlotte's Britney-fied paranoia, Travis Morrison-surrogate John Mayer and Kimya Dawson helping me get my twee on.

Anthony Is Right endorses voting for the presidential non-incumbent of your choice. Today. Do it.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Radio show playlist:

TV On The Radio - New Health Rock
Tegan And Sara - Speak Slow
Rogers Sisters - Freight Elevator
Saul Williams - Grippo
Hives - B Is For Brutus
Blood Brothers - Peacock Skeleton With Crooked Feathers
Radio 4 - Absolute Affirmation
LeTigre - On The Verge
Shins - New Slang
Fall - Sparta
Dizzee Rascal - Dream
Interpol - Evil
Spoon - Decora
Mouse On Mars feat. Mark E. Smith - Wipe The Sound (Remix)
Jimmy Eat World - Polaris
Sloan - Hollow Head
Blues Explosion - Mars, Arizona
Kimya Dawson - I Will Never Forget
Kimya Dawson - You Love Me
Modest Mouse - Float On
Morrissey - Last Of The Famous International Playboys
Self - What A Fool Believes
Sahara Hotnights - The Difference Between Love And Hell
Hellacopters - Pride
Grumpies - Punk Rock Boy
Say Anything - Every Man Has A Molly
Faint - Paranoiattack
Grandaddy - The Crystal Lake
My Chemical Romance - You Kno What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison
I Am The World Trade Center - Great Expectations

I got to hear Joanna Newsom for the first time today. The harp is nice, but wtf, how come nobody told me she sounds like Annie (the old school redhead, not the girl with all the net-hype)? The urge to scream "IT'S A HARD KNOCK LIFE!" was irresistable.

I'm listening to the new LeTigre. It's a little anonymous and peters out early but it's definitely more enjoyable than Feminine Sweepstakes. To answer Tom Breihan's query as to why so many people hate "New Kicks": a lot of us have never been to a mass protest, so we don't catch a sense memory from a hookless casserole of soundbites. It's not a memory of people screaming together for me, it's the sound of people screaming slogans AT me. "I'm So Excited" might be worse though. I don't think the joy of release is what I'm hearing on either track.