Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Every male keyboardist I've seen in recent months has doubled as a go-go boy for the band, engaging in handstands, percussion tossing, flamboyant hand claps and gratuitous sweeps across the faux-ivories. Women who play the same instrument tend to be cool and remote, their parts devoid of bombast. Is it because dudes trapped behind distinctly non-phallic instruments feel the need to overcompensate?

One particularly egregious example I caught recently was Thunderbirds Are Now, who were opening for Bardo Pond (Psychedelphia lives, still can't sing) and Buffy theme enthusiasts Kinski. While Justamustache was energetic and consistent for a debut record, it was depressing to watch a band that didn't have a single idea outside the realm of "Les Savy Fav meets Franz Ferdinand." Their rote stage presence was dismaying as well. Occasionally the singer/guitarist would stand on his PA and stare accusingly at the audience while playing a chord. The keyboardist would spin around and throw his tambourine against the while before pointing a finger in the air and nodding frenetically. I caught the Warped tour and almost every band there was pulling the same uninspired showmanship, except for the Dropkick Murphys (the token "punk" act at this emo revue) and a funk-metal combo wearing nothing but wireless guitars, mohawks and loincloths (I ran). "Whether six or six thousand people are watching, we're gonna rock" has become "we're going to act like six thousand people think we're great even if only six people are watching us." I'm guessing women in bands realize they don't need to try so hard to get audiences to stare at them. And they'd be right.

It turns out that the lead singer of Gratitude, easily the most absurd combo I saw at Warped, was also the man behind Onelinedrawing, an emo project I remember reading about in Rolling Stone before hearing about them anywhere else (allmusic tells me they were on Jade Tree, which is just super). Dude's an unholy combination of Guy Picciotto and Bruce Springsteen, prancing around in tight jeans and noting between each number that "this is about all of us coming together," despite the fact that 95% of the people 'watching' the band were as seated as they'll ever be in their life. The most emotional response they received was me and Keith Harris's giggles as the singer held up his band's tour-only EP and pointed out that this was the song were he and the guitarist played alone for the first verse ("it would be great if you would all sing along").

Btw, if anybody reading this is in a band: please don't suggest to the audience that they should sing along, dance, go wild, move closer to the stage, throw their hands in the air or anything else in that capacity unless we've made it clear that we'd probably do it anyway. Most acts should be grateful we paid the cover and shouldn't be asking for more. If anything, keep your exhortations to "please take two steps back! pretty pretty pretty pretty please!" if your band is as popular and invigorating as My Chemical Romance was at Warped, or, if you think we're not giving you the enthusiastic response you deserve, tell us to go fuck ourselves. Haughty bile will allow the fraction of the audience that likes you to feel special for realizing the greatness that is lost on everyone else. Just don't beg for love.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Top Five Couplets From Billboard Top 20 Modern Rock Singles That I Haven't Heard Yet
(what with the lack of internet and moving and everything)

Green Day, "Wake Me When September Ends"
Government greed and corporate need
doves that cry and hearts that bleed
praying it gets better someday
there's just got to be a way

311, "Don't Tread On Me"
Rockin' wit' the flavor for eleven years
got memories full of laughter and tears
critics politickin' but that shit ain't stickin'
still got the ill skills that pay the bills and we're kickin'

Switchfoot, "Stars"
It's the first time that I've held your hand
and it feels like you might understand
your smile and the way that you sigh
this love is the stars in the sky

System Of A Down, "Question!"
Psychotic sentient symbol of sin
frustrated fearful but not giving in
They scream at the gates and you're turning you're burning you're churning you're worried you're going to pay you're going to pay you're going to pay and PAY
la la la la la

Audioslave, "Doesn't Remind Me"
The mirror lies to me
it's not reality
the bleeding within
I can't see the bleeding within

p.s. people in Miami get to read my blurbs now. Jealous? Of them, I mean.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

(which didn't get taped, sorry - I said as little as possible so I could play more music)

Feelies - Boy With Perpetual Nervousness
Fall - Theme From Sparta F.C.
Deus - Suds And Soda
Cracker - I'm A Little Rocketship
Danielson Famile - Fathom The Nines Fruitspie
Park Ave. - All Boy Band
Bright Eyes - The Calendar Hung Itself
Desaparecidos - $$$$
Fugazi - Smallpox Champion
Kimya Dawson - You Love Me
East River Pipe - Cybercar
Nick Cave - There She Goes, My Beautiful World
Dismemberment Plan - Ice Of Boston
Jonathan FireEater - Give Me Daughters
Hives - Abra Cadaver
Pixies - U-Mass
Gossip - Heartbeats
Mudhoney - Good Enough
Les Savy Fav - Hold On To Your Genre
Imperial Teen - You're One
Modest Mouse - Perfect Disguise
Sand On Stars - Margaret Is In Cincinnati
Rondelles - Rediscover Fire
Scrawl - Rot
Urge Overkill - The Mistake
Tall Dwarfs - Rorschach
Quasi - Smile
Morrissey - Last Of The Famous International Playboys
The Cure - Cut Here
Silkworm - Don't Look Back

Only two hours left on a radio station? Make sure you get in a block of Conor Oberst. And Cracker. Can't forget Cracker.

My computer, ashamed of the incredible amount of mp3s I'd spent the last month burning off of CDs from my friends, the station and the PSU library, committed hari kari last night. Stripped of my illicit booty, I am chastened. Stripped of my computer, I probably won't be the easiest person to reach for a while (unless you live in Philly). Back when I'm back.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Waaaay down at the bottom of this impressive-as-expected Tofu Hut post is my favorite Smashmouth album track. Trust me, it's worth hearing.