Wednesday, November 30, 2005

With a solid decade of retrospect, I now realize that Urge Overkill may be my favorite band of the early 90s*. Did anybody match Supersonic Storybook, Saturation and Exit The Dragon from 1991-1995? When you admit pop-metal was better than grunge those CDs are sitting in the used section of your local store, waiting to rock you sweetly. Here's some good news and some, well, news.

Blackie's ballads were inarguable highlights on their major label albums and I'm sorry he's not part of the reunion. Here's "Dropout" and "The Mistake." I'd share something from The Supersonic Storybook, but my copy is a cassette!

*On further consideration, Pavement is a valid alternate choice and the early 90s really sucked rockwise. Geeta was right (and now I'm right too).

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

If you've never heard Vanessa Carlton's "White Houses" before, pick it up at Abby's. Get past the production if you must, cuz that's some amazing songwriting. Mainstream Kimya, which is one hell of a compliment coming from me*. More people need to acknowledge how great this song is (at last tally just me, my best friend, and Miss McDonald here give two craps about it) so that I don't feel so awkward in my fanship. See the video too - yet another Sophie Muller classic. I should have checked the rest of Harmonium out by now.

And check out "Me & Mia!" I didn't even know it was about eating disorders until Jess (viva coincidence!) clued me in on the lingo. I love when a track you already enjoy has some extra element waiting on time-release. Poptext is a valuable resource.

*Carlton sang on Hidden Vagenda so I can totally pretend there's some direct influence.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bono Will Change Your Life

Dedicating "Bullet in the Blue Sky" to the "brave men and women" of the United States military, Bono kneeled down, raised his arms, and blindfolded his eyes as if he was about to get shot by a firing squad. Why this dramatic act was so widely accepted by U2 followers while Patti Smith's earlier anti-war declaration was so vehemently rejected exemplified Bono's ultimate star power and poetic influence. Bono knew he was a ringleader, a ringleader with a political agenda.

Staci Schwartz, Village Voice

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Blonde & Blonder for the Baltimore City Paper. Does anyone else notice that weird facial tic Duff has when she's singing to the camera? I think she's trying to give us a feisty smirk but instead it just looks like she's bonkers. If only she was!

The problem with Make Believe isn't so much that Rivers' brain is growing moss, but that the production, pace and lyrical content make an issue out of it. I wouldn't change the station if "Perfect Situation" came on, though.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The funny thing about David Banner is that he's a pimp with a Jesus complex who gets points from people who like neither pimps nor Jesus complexes. Shouldn't this make him the apex of insufferability rather than a sign of promise? Also, judging by "Crossroads," the last track on Certified, his idea of passionate singing is Chad Kroeger. Few of his fans would agree. I know that people (including myself) really just like his wit and beats - his Nickelback track is more interesting than any by Nickelback - but these contradictions are worth remembering.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I remember a review of Brighten The Corners in SPIN where the writer said she'd trade the rest of Wowee Zowee for the first verse and a half of "Rattled By The Rush" - Malkmus at his most vocally assertive. I've heard three songs from the upcoming Strokes release and I feel the same way about "You Only Live Once." Musically it's above-average status quo ("what if New Order didn't believe in synthesizers?"), but Julian puts a little Ocasek in his step, dancing with the music (oh, that "oh-oh-oh ohhh") rather than screaming and mewling around it - at least until the chorus. Unless this retro-alt resurgence has more weight than I think it does, I can't imagine these songs inspiring anybody who doesn't already care about the Strokes to start. Having seen the "Juicebox" video, I think I'll be glad to see them fail.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An On Second Thought column in praise of Unfinished Business: Best Of Both Worlds 2 for Stylus. As an added bonus, here's a YSI of "Don't Let Me Die."

Worse than the war in Iraq, when it's me against I.
I gave up the weed and somehow I'm still high.
Three years, still seein' the weed in my eyes, Lord!
Sometimes I don't know what you want from me,
but I do know you know what I want from you!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I forgot to put a picture with my last post.

"hat...ful of hol...low? whuh?"

I bet you didn't notice the guy with the fronts of his pant legs tucked into his Nikes, did you? Lots of people have shared pics of Durst in this shirt without explaining the occasion. It was the premiere of Kill Bill, Vol. 2. Now you know.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The downside of having a taste for irony: Ever since Clear Channel put out that ridiculous list of songs that couldn't be played in the aftermath of the 9/11, I've always chuckled at the idea that somebody who heard the Gap Band's "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" while driving to work might pull off the road and start crying as traumatic memories filled their mind. Now I can't hear "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" without having a montage of WTC-related footage (not unlike the video they made for U2's "Walk On") playing out in my head. The image that coincides with the whistling sound effect is horrifically logical, and there's nothing I can do about it.

The upside: I like a lot of music my peers consider annoying crap.

The downside: I actually check out the new tracks on the Limp Bizkit hits comp in hopes they'll be enjoyable. They're not. "Why" isn't as "Battle Of Evermore" as it should be (though I agree that "My So-Called Life is so good") and "Lean On Me" didn't make Results May Vary for a reason (it was an outtake, right? It can't be a new track). "Bittersweet Home," the promised 'mash-up' of Motley Crue and the Verve, starts with a spare drum machine and Casio - very "Within Your Reach" - but then guitars sludge up the track and Fred loses his karaoke privileges for life. Or at least until Limp finally releases that version of "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" they once promised.

The upside: I'm pretty excited about their threats to tour again. I've never had the chance to see them. As Fred says in his latest blog post, "let's get this puppy up and moving."

"Why" is growing on me, actually.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Part of the malaise crits seem to be feeling about this year as Top Ten time rolls around has to be due to the lack of exciting debuts or breakthroughs. Most of the big albums are by artists who have released big albums before. Even noteworthy full-length newbies like M.I.A., Annie and LCD Soundsystem were more exciting hypes in 2004 thanks to Piracy Funds Terrorism, "Heartbeat" and "Yeah." There's no doubt in my mind that Kanye's going to win Pazz'n'Jop - the first act to win it twice in a row since the Clash. Singles-wise, two big likelies (and possible #1's on my own list) are "Mr. Brightside," from a 2004 album, and "Since U Been Gone," a blatant anomaly in the singer's ouvre (...what a feeling!). My favorite debut this year is Louis XIV, which I've gathered is an unpopular opinion. Those cads actually made an album as Convoy before realizing that tart-baiting and Bowie cops were their raison d'etre, so I guess my favorite true debut this year is by Loquat. I haven't heard of them either.

Unless the Bloc Party and Young Jeezy send your soul aquiver with dreams of what might be or voting for the New Pornographers gets more thrilling for you each time (you NPR-eared lame-o*), this hasn't been a "music - FUCK YEAH" year. Praising Shut Up! was definitely more of a gas than namechecking Sleeping In The Nothing. Not that this will stop me from putting Sleeping In The Nothing on my p'n'j ballot if the next two monts don't bring me some grander treasures.

*I'm just kidding, you NPR-eared sweetheart.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sayonara, Mystical Beast! You'll be missed.

A review of Rocket From The Crypt's penultimate performance, for the Voice.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I still think her John Cale entry in the SPIN Alternative Record Guide is rife with wtf (if my ratty ol' copy wasn't languishing in State College, I'd share some choice quotes), but Ann Powers' blog is pretty awesome. And, yes, I still hold grudges against people based on purchases they inspired almost ten years ago.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You need to buy this DVD. Trust me. You think you know insanity? Check the cliffhanger for Chapter 9. Not to mention a commentary track where a cigar-chomping Kells watches the movie from a chair on the lower right corner, looking over his shoulder to talk to us. I shouldn't say any more, but here's a clue: there's a reason he named the cop's wife "Bridget."