Friday, April 29, 2005

Bon Scott 4 Life and all, but its not that Brian Johnston is devoid of interest. Been listening to "Money Talks" on repeat a lot these days. Can't parse all the lyrics he's squeezing out his sonic sphincter (one reason Bon's the Juan), but what I'm grabbing paints a pretty pathetic picture. "C'mon, c'mon, love me for the money"?? Dude may be mocking and misogynist but he's desperate, begging - the little girl steals from us all (uh huh) and god, if he can just get some sex out of it maybe he'll maintain some small shred of dignity. It's a naked retread of "Shook Me" musically but the total flipside lyrically. The Best AC/DC Song Ever Despite Not Having Bon Therefore Proving That Anything Is Possible is pure gratitude and bewilderment in response to a mindblowing sexual encounter. "Money Talks" is a gripe about how nobody just loves the old coot anymore. The Young brothers' rock happily both times round cuz, well, both situations are pretty funny. Blame my liberal upbringing but there's something quaint about hearing a guy cry out for a french maid. Two songs later on The Razor's Edge, which I just got from the LIBRARY, is "Mistress For Christmas." I'll let you know if the entire album is Brian masturbating through the tears.

It should be noted that Brian has to say that "b.s. walks" while Bon called out "all the SHIT they teach to kids in school" way back in '76. People who call themselves AC/DC fans but haven't checked out the old-school efforts are really doing themselves a disservice.
Two new songs I heard on the radio today reaffirm how exceptional and artful The Sunset Tree is as a memoir of adolescence. Yes, it risks sap and cliche. Yes these are subjects others have tapped. But, my god, look at the competition.

Simple Plan "Untitled":
I open my eyes
I try to see but I'm blinded by the white light
I can't remember how
I can't remember why
I'm lying here tonight

And I can't stand the pain
And I can't make it go away
No I can't stand the pain

How could this happen to me?
I made my mistakes
Got no where to run
The night goes on
As I'm fading away
I'm sick of this life
I just wanna scream
How could this happen to me?

Everybody's screaming
I try to make a sound but no one hears me
I'm slipping off the edge
I'm hanging by a thread
I wanna start this over again

So I try to hold onto a time when nothing mattered
And I can't explain what happened
And I can't erase the things that I've done
No I can't

How could this happen to me?
I made my mistakes
Got no where to run
The night goes on
As I'm fading away
I'm sick of this life
I just wanna scream
How could this happen to me?

Note: I will BEAT anyone who compares these guys positively to Good Charlotte. Or at least spank.

Better Than Ezra "Lifetime":
Allie woke up 8AM
Graduation day.
Got into a car,
And crashed along the way.

When we arrived late to the wake,
Stole the urn while they
Looked away,
And drove to the beach
‘Cause I knew you’d want it
That way.

And you were standing
On the hood of the car
Singing out loud
When the sun came up.

And I know I wasn’t right,
But it felt so good.
And your mother didn’t mind,
Like I thought she would.
And that REM song was playing
In my mind.
And three and a half minutes
Felt like a lifetime

It felt like a lifetime

And you move like water
I could drown in you.
And I fell so deep once,
Till you pulled me through

You would tell me
“No one is allowed to be so proud
They never reach out
When they’re giving up.”

And I know I wasn’t right,
But it felt so good.
And your mother didn’t mind,
Like I thought she would.
And that REM song was playing
In my mind.
And three and a half minutes
Felt like a lifetime

"Fall On Me"? "Everybody Hurts"? "What's The Frequency, Kenneth?" "Catapult"?

Can someone explain to me how Better Than Ezra could leave a single off their new hits comp? I saw a video for "I Like It Like That" on CTN back in college and its not on the comp, despite the unrecognizaiblity of about half the other tracks. Do they not realize my reaction to a mediocre best-of tracklisting will not be to purchase their full-lengths? Is it pride or capitalism that makes them leave off obvious inclusions? Argh.

Anyhow, The Sunset Tree makes me ashamed of ever wanting to humiliate another person. The only reason "This Year" may not be my song of the year is that I may not need it. Someone else will. I'm not ready to reject the musical expression of affection, fear and discontent on principle quite yet, especially when its specific, direct, warm and plausible.

This week's singles on Stylus. I couldn't get my hands on a copy of the MCR/Used Queen/David Bowie cover in time but I've heard it since: it sucks.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I still have no clue how Moby is a visionary (unless you never heard "Lucas With The Lid Off") or why anyone on earth would be inspired to indulge in large doses of caffeine or sexual congress by the music on Hotel, but I'm enjoying the album more than I ever thought I would. Though he protests in the liners that he wants to make "messy, human records that are open and emotional," the songs here are closer to his description of hotels: "incredibly intimate places...made to look completely anonymous." His vocals are warm, human, but entirely devoid of interest. This keeps his hackneyed, monotonous lyrics from sounding either earnest or ironic. He's not fighting to be heard over his backdrops, placid even when uptempo - he seems unaware that logically he should be. Moby's full of emotion and as anonymous and replaceable as the residents of a hotel. Like those residents he's welcome to stay and cry, laugh, fuck, think and feel as long as he pays the bill and doesn't disturb others.

Both Hotel and Human After All work as post-promo palette cleansers, but where the latter's endless intros demand to be flung off the speaker once your batteries are recharged, Hotel has a sterile comfort that won't force you to think of something better to hear. You've been staring at the wall, waiting for your appointment, waiting for the desire to sleep or just staring to stare and suddenly "hey, that's a painting of a boat in the sea. Boston Harbor. Look at that little red house. Huh." Then you start thinking about houses, space out and again are unaware that the space is filled by something. Allegedly this promo is NOT the ambient disc.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Emperor X has the mid-90's lo-fi indie sound DOWN. If you can remember a scene where All The Nations Airports qualified as a POP breakthrough with any modicum of nostalgia (or if you're in one now), check out the dude's site. Lots of mp3s, tour dates, dream diaries. Quite satisfying. It's all very Up Records, very my freshman year of college, hearing the older DJs talk with anticipation about the new Satisfact album (I can't even remember what Satisfact sounded like now). He even named his album Central Hug/Friendarmy/Fractaldunes. He might have a better sense of song structure and pacing than many of his predecessors, which would explain why I'm actually enjoying listening to this in 2005. Alert Tape Op!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

have you seen my childhood?

As implied by this ILX thread, I'm pretty disappointed by the new Weezer album. While I knew the last two albums were inferior to their '90s work, the implication that Rivers was intentionally masking his emotions after the failure of Pinkerton, an audacious attempt to throw Modern Lovers-style honesty and Harvard-fueled musical ambition into their already awesome and influential blurring of indie-rock and pop-metal, allowed me to enjoy them as hooky little nothings; the Green Album a sprint bursting with the joy of commercial resurrection and Maladroit a respectable holding pattern. The initial Album 5 Demos - leaked on the net before Maladroit was released! - implied they'd ride this bashaway routine till death without thought of evolution (unless threats to start rapping count), and the unexpected hiatus and hook-up with Rick Rubin had me hoping against hope that the final product would be a solid, mature sequel to Pinkerton. When I first heard Rooney's "Shakin'" (listen to, but don't watch, the video here) on the radio months ago I wondered if it was a Weezer/Rubin track dropped asap due to its indelible, polished warmth (instead it was just another hype-"hit" by a bunch of bushy-haired Coppolas).

"Beverly Hills" gave me reason to fear that Rivers' return-to-honesty would only reveal that he's spent his days gaining nothing but addictions and biz-oriented neuroses since Pinkerton plopped, and nothing on Make Believe implies otherwise. "Perfect Situation"'s got one beaming hook, "This Is Such A Pity"'s absurd mix of fascist pigs and final countdowns is addictively amusing and "Freak Me Out" has an eerie, minimal arrangement, but the rest of the tracks are range from vapid to tepid, with Cuomo mooing about his emotions in clueless platitudes - Barney meets Boston. The distance from "Across The Sea" and "Why Bother?" to "Hold Me" and "The Other Way" will depress anybody who was affected by the earlier tracks. Covers of "The Joker" and "Kicks" would be infinitely superior to "Hills" and "We Are All On Drugs" as they would allow Rivers to maintain the illusion that he's not a self-involved, emotionally stunted peabrain - Sting at a 3rd grade reading level. I hope I like SMiLE once I finally hear it; I need precedent of a damaged innocent redeeming media attention.

Friday, April 22, 2005

They're nothing to look at and their misogynist sub-dom jones is so naked and stagey esp. on the Ode To Objectification they've chosen as their radio howdy - I prefer the one-on-one tracks - that I'll understand if you refuse to give their riffs a chance to connect. As a fan of confident crass, I've got to give it up for Louis XIV. I should probably listen to Ziggystuff more thoroughly before I speak but I'm pretty much ready to say I prefer The Best Little Secrets Are Kept to any full-length platter Bowie's dropped, as much as I wish their porny leers implied the inclusive freedom of "Kooks." Any classic glam ref dropped is warranted, as these guys understand and exploit those stolen sounds with a hook-heavy, playful accuracy. Just when Ice Of Boston, I mean the Hold Steady, was starting to click for me these guys show up to reveal just how good boorish hollers over classic-rock regalia could sound (Catholics and Lifter-lifers, if there's a difference, can quibble).

Pavement/Weezer, Desaparecidos/Good Charlotte, Hold Steady/Louis XIV, its a marvel how the majors almost telepathically swipe a vibe from the underground and glossy it up into an ethically questionable commercial smash package. The new SPIN has some ludicrous multi-page ads where these guys, the Used, Bowling For Soup and some lesser lights take credit for hack-cheese reviews of new video games (I almost wish Bert and the boys actually sat down to type "Major League Baseball 2005 will knock you out of the ballpark! Home run!" or whatever). It's almost enough to make you believe in the devil. With a thin line between liberal heroism and self-deifying piety (not sure I'm ready for GC's upcoming "We Believe" video), I sometimes need my rawk to be a little ill-intentioned. The almost inevitable fall's less heart-breaking.

P.S. Singles blurbs at Stylus. Decent tracks this week: Fiddy's cutest come-on and the Backstreet Boys' Evanescence cover.

P.P.S. If Sleater-Kinney weren't too shy to look into the camera, their video for "Entertain" would make me faint. It's still pretty thrilling.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

AOL Music has almost everything Launch has and more, with no registration required! Quick as hell (at least on my DSL hook-up) and better visual. Lots of mp3 tracks in case you don't want to ruin the experience with crappo imagery. Very few ads and so many live performances and interviews, you can even stream full-lengths from Camper Van Beethoven, Lisa Germano and Louis XIV. It's all FREE!!! FREE!!! FREE!!! They don't immediately play another video, though. I found some cool random stuff that way on Launch (though I dunno if I really want to qualify Skye Sweetham as "cool"). And they don't have as many DMX videos. I'm amazed there's no registration required or anything.

Watching NERD perform "She Wants To Move" live is kind of nuts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The truth is out there.

So right when I wonder if nihilism and even smaller potatoes are all I'm going to hear from pop culture this year, two of my favorite musical artists release new songs that imply they're seeking a higher ground (or that they've totally lost their marbles).

Watch as Kelly Osbourne channels Nostradamus (which I have not read) and Alphaville (which I have not seen) with the help of producer Linda Perry and director Chris Applebaum in her "One Word" video.

The tracklisting for Sleeping In The Nothing, out in June:
"One Word"
"Uh Oh"
"Red Light"
"Secret Lover"
"I Can't Wait"
"Edge Of Your Atmosphere"
"Don't Touch Me While I'm Sleeping"
"Save Me"

Watch Fred, Wes (he's back!), Matt, DJ Lethal and a drummer who isn't John (he's gone!) ask God to deliver them from evil and that we imagine accepting..."The Truth."

The tracklisting of The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) according to
"The Propaganda"
"The Truth"
"The Priest"
"The Key"
"The Channel"
"The Story"
"The Surrender"

Haven't heard what the Osbourne fans feel about her shift from straightforward glam-punk to cryptic eurodisco. Limp fans think the new song is tight but sounds too much like Rage. Kelly's claims that her earlier sound isn't what she's really into are believable, seeing as how "Sunglasses At Night" was her choice of cover back on the Shut Up! tour. As it was her self-penned lyrics that made the album more than simply solid product I'm pretty excited to hear the album. Not sure if I'm ready for the seven-track Limpopera. Oh, who am I kidding? I can't wait. God bless these bafflers.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Radio show playlist:

New Wet Kojak - Do Things
Keren Ann - One Day Without
Audible - From The Third Floor
Bloc Party - This Modern Love
The Elected - Waves
Andrew Bird - Fake Palindromes
Spoon - Sister Jack
Sparklehorse - Someday I Will Treat You Good
Sloan - The Other Man
NOFX - The Idiots Are Taking Over
Fischerspooner - Wednesday
Unwound - Demons Sing Love Songs
Ida - Late Blues
Queens Of The Stone Age - I Never Came
Sleater-Kinney - Oh
Rapture - The Coming Of Spring
Silkworm - Penalty Box
Nick Cave - There She Goes, My Beautiful World
Scrawl - Rot
Petra Haden - Our Love Was
Meat Puppets - Split Myself In Two
Black Francis - Ed Is Dead
The Information - Getting Even
Elastica - Generator
Elastica - Nothing Stays The Same
Yo La Tengo - Blue Line Swinger

I am now officially a "1 Thing" hater, so you know. Play The Soft Bulletin at 45 rpm if you want yelping over boombash. It's like you guys realized that The Sound Of J. Lo wasn't going anywhere (four albums in! wtf! listen to the money talk!) and decided in the destructive element immerse. Maybe it's used in a sentimental scene in Hitch and everybody's all "New Slang" about it. Jess says he likes it cuz its like drum'n'bass (never hungered for extra chihuahua on my Squarepusher, personally) and John Tofu is glad Amerie realizes the song is about hook not her, unlike Usher and J. Lo, but I'm way too ego-oriented in my pop tastes to be glad the singer is part of the obnoxious wallpaper.


I prefer to listen to "Lonely," where Akon and The Chipmunk sing some classic pop-soul. You can have your poodle-running-through-pots-and-pans future.

Friday, April 15, 2005

My ratings on Stylus' US Singles Jukebox this week:

Pitbull feat. Lil' Jon "Toma" [9]
112 feat. Foxy Brown "U Already Know" [7]
Weezer "Bevery Hills" [6]
Baby Bash feat. Akon "Baby I'm Back" [6]
Gwen Stefani "Hollaback Girl" [6]
System Of A Down "B.Y.O.B." [4]

The average rating of the other members of the staff:

Gwen Stefani "Hollaback Girl" [7.4]
System Of A Down "B.Y.O.B." [7.0]
Baby Bash feat. Akon "Baby I'm Back" [6.2]
Pitbull feat. Lil Jon "Toma" [5.6]
112 feat. Foxy Brown "U Already Know" [4.8]
Weezer "Bevery Hills" [3.8]

I am surrounded by System Of A Down fans (and this song is no "Chop Suey," folks) on a pop jukebox jury. I joined because I care. If Weezer had merely added power chords and big drums to a cover of "The Joker" I would have given them an 8. Rivers singing confidently about tree shaking and midnight toking? WOOP WOO! It says something that a Steve Miller cover would make the dude sound more mature.

I finally saw the video for "Tip Drill" on BET Uncut, which does for ass what 120 Minutes did for pastiness. Weird how they incorporated that horror movie gimmick where you show a scene on camcorder. We get glossy, exaggerated stripper/rapper biz intercut with clips of desperate dudes drunkenly harassing dumbfounded doe-eyeds. Song doesn't even have much Nelly to it! A following video (from North Carolina, I believe) featured some disturbingly amateurish jiggling next to airsprayed paintings of Big Pun and Frederick Douglass. Dayton, OH also felt the need to represent. No Loot Records, too. The show was immediately followed by the ministry of Robert Tilton. Mindblowing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A bit of explanation on those singles' picks: I like nu-wave endurance anthems. I like detailed sex slobbers where cunnilingus doesn't make the rapper go "EWWW!!!" I like my R&B playful and corny, my pop-rock smart and dorky, and my indie nonsense as absurd as possible. If it's embarassing it's affecting and gaudies are goodies. Figure out which songs take the cake (and eat it too) each year and you need never look at my singles' lists again.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The biggest, radio-friendliest, most glistening album track I've heard in recent years is up at the Tofu Hut. If I was God or Clive Davis this song would have been payola'd into your hearts by now.


My Top Ten Singles Of 2005 (So Far)
1. Killers, "Mr. Brightside"
2. Kelly Clarkson, "Since U Been Gone"
3. Trick Daddy feat. Cee-Lo & Ludacris, "Sugar"
4. Pitbull feat. Lil Jon, "Toma"
5. M83, "Don't Save Us From Flames"
6. Natalie, "Goin' Crazy"
7. Akon, "Lonely"
8. Queens Of The Stone Age, "Little Sister"
9. Bowling For Soup, "Almost"
10. Low, "Monkey"

P.S. Streamlining LCD Soundsystem for Stylus.

Friday, April 08, 2005

I consider this man to be a tool.

I haven't been doing much in the way of writing lately. I'm leaving my hometown of a decade in less than half a year and figuring out which CDs to chuck takes a lot of time and attention. Must I read every comic book over in my closet at my mom's house before I throw them away? Yes. There may be gold in thar mountain of Justice League Europe (wtf). I've gone and joined Stylus's US Singles Jukebox team so that I can still get a blurb or eight out in the webtacular morass each week or so. This week my rating and the average meet up for every track except Cassidy's, because I hate all rap that isn't playfully burlesque (note my proposed Luda verse) or an ironic pop track about how you'll never sell out (made a CD-R last night that had "Crossover" AND "Pop Goes The Weasel" on it! Thank you, Def Jam box set!). And they call me contrarian.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Forgot to an include an album yesterday. More to the point, I was waffling on an album, read a terrific review that captured its appeal, threw it on again and decided to commit (at least until I hear 20 better - at which point the song about the wolf has to go). I was going to settle for "the highs aren't as high but the lows aren't as low," but Keith's summation is more descriptive. Click on the link if you want to know what the hell I'm talking about.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

First quarter report! The seven albums from 2005 I've heard that I might still own in their entirety at the end of the year.

1. Electric Six, Senor Smoke
Mr. President, make a little money sending people you don't know to Iraq?
Mr. President, I don't like you! You don't know how to rock!

Listen to "Rock'n'Roll Evacuation," "Bite Me," and "Be My Dark Angel" on Realplayer. Geniuses can figure out how to hear the rest of the tracks as well.

2. Spoon, Gimme Fiction
A great groove band's grooviest to date. Stream "I Turn My Camera On" here.

3. Fischerspooner, Odyssey
What the Dandy Warhols were going for on Welcome To The Monkey House and what LCD Soundsystem should have been going for on most of LCD Soundsystem ("Tribulations" roolz, "On Repeat" droolz). No sound samples, sorry.

4. Petra Haden, The Who Sell Out
I don't miss the testosterone at all. Listen to lil' bits of it at Audio Lunchbox.

5. The Evens, The Evens
TWEE-AN MACKAYE! Stream "All These Governors" here.

6. Audible, Sky Signal
Further listens will either reveal what makes this album so superior to most anonymous indie rock (I think it might be the drums) or reduce its appeal to inoffensiveness. I'll keep you informed. Download "Sunday Bell" here.

7. Ben Lee, Awake Is The New Sleep
They play Good Charlotte on the radio, and that's the way I like it...They don't play me on the radio, and that's the way I like it! Recommended to those looking for a middle ground between Conor Oberst and John Mayer (anyone?). Listen to tracks from the album on his site.

As I only keep 20 full-lengths from any year, this one's looking pretty good so far. Plenty more to check out too!

(as noted in the comments box, Jess came up with "Twee-an." Hell if I'm leaving "Twee Ian" up now.)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Radio show playlist:

Queens Of The Stone Age - In My Head
Stars - Ageless Beauty
Stars - Elevator Love Letter
Stars - This Charming Man
Aqui - Eye Of The Battle
Silkworm - Shitty Little Yacht
Yo La Tengo - Barnaby, Hardly Working
Death From Above 1979 - Blood On Our Hands
Holy Ghost - Commercial
Petra Haden - Armenia City In The Sky
Martha Wainwright - It's Over
Organ - Basement Band Song
Keren Ann - Roses & Hips
Bloc Party - This Modern Love
Ida - Written On My Face
Evens - Around The Corner
NOFX - Linoleum
Soundtrack Of Our Lives - Royal Explosion pt. II
Fischerspooner - Wednesday
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Caterwaul
Rondelles - Like A Prayer
Self - What A Fool Believes
Daft Punk - Technologic
Ssion - Ride The Snake Until It Shakes
Sparklehorse - Ghost Of His Smile
Mountain Goats - Your Belgian Things
Brazillian Girls - Sirenes De La Fete
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
MC Lars - Signing Emo

Friday, April 01, 2005

I give. Awesome beat. Verse lyrics provide "underdog" context and remind me how some CEOs are better than other CEOs, though sometimes its hard to have sympathy for any. Chorus makes me laugh and accept that these guys aren't going anywhere. "Hate It Or Love It" is a good one. I'm not going to say its great, though. The Game could be a good read but settles too often for being a links page. Great is "Ghetto Bastard." Remember that one?

Off topic, but there's a version of "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" that segues into "Sing For The Moment" on the radio. Tee hee.