Thursday, September 29, 2005

That's Dick Valentine of Electric Six (also the last "live photo" I'll ever attempt with my cell). Judging by his stage banter, the fate of Senor Smoke is still uncertain. Evil corporate hooey! I pray that righteousness will prevail.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Happy 18th, Hilary D.!'ll be a woman...soon...
Hey Yancey, you read this thing still? Who knows, but that A-Frames album is actually pretty sweet. It's like a Pussy Galore that can play slow without totally losing the pulse, minus the Jon Spencer lawdymama crap. There's no "Sweet Little Hi-Fi" on it (sometimes lawdymama energy is good!) but it flows better than Right Now or whatever. I'm digging the skronk-clank echo. If I cared about what they were saying I might think this album was really profound or important! If this album means more to me in a month or two I might e-mail you about it. Sorry I acted like it was an unrewarding indie retread.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

from billboard:

In addition to hits like "Nookie," "Rollin'," "Break Stuff" and "N 2 Gether Now," the Bizkit collection includes the unheard tracks "Lean On Me" and "Why," plus an as-yet-untitled "mash-up" of Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" and the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony."

Out Nov. 8!

Monday, September 26, 2005

From the makers of You Got Served...

"The Ying Yang Twins enjoy enormous sales and popularity with a fiercely loyal fan base," Turner said. "It's time for them to be movie stars and continue their trajectory of success."

Can someone explain to me why Weezer's "Beverly Hills" is no. 11 on the pop chart 25 weeks after its debut? We are all on drugs, indeed.

Years after your greatest work, you've finally won an Oscar...for Scent Of A Woman. Are you happy for the belated recognition? Resentful? Clueless? HOO-HA! I don't think we'll be seeing another Pinkerton.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

If anybody out there thinks "My Humps" is a damn fine song, please let me know. I'm feeling very, very lonely in my fanship right now. I know the word choice is bafflingly dorky. I know that people who watch too much TV associate the Black Eyed Peas with obnoxious ads for Best Buy, Target and who knows what else, but if this was a Fannypack track, some of you would be going gaga. BEP denies you that ironic detachment, shoving your face in that ol' fashioned American Top 10 straight-up ridonkadonkulous. 13 year olds across the country are grinding their hips to this:

I mix your milk wit' my cocoa puff
Milky, milky cocoa
Mix your milk with my cocoa puff, milky milky riiiiiiight

What's not to love? Plus you get to think about Taboo. When another member is singing or rapping, I guarantee he's thrusting his shoulders, spinning on his head, walking like an egyptian, breakin' you some electric boogaloo.

"We know a lot of people think that's all the Black Eyed Peas do - jump around onstage - but we're now taking audiences through different moods. We bring a lot of energy to our shows, but we like to swing through various moods and interpretations of our material to give audiences a little bit of spice in the mix" (Time Off)

It's fun to think about Taboo. Try it some time - you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

More bon mots about recent singles. Fittingly, its been two months(!!) since I've heard a 2005 full length that made a strong impression. It's possible that Twin Cinema and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! are the best I've heard since TP3.Reloaded and The Cookbook, but I refuse to say either of those overlong indie pleasantries really made a mark on me. Guess it's time to check out this Gogol Bordello! They're an Eastern European Pogues or something, right? I also need to burn a friend's copy of Late Registration. That "Gold Digger" hook is pretty undeniable.
The long-awaited Scott Stapp solo album drops Nov. 22. In case you don't remember why I've long been awaiting this, here's the Yarl King in a March '04 Billboard article:

Stapp is working with producer 7 Aurelius, best known for his work with such hip-hop heavyweights as Nelly and Ja Rule. "It's Creed meets Zeppelin meets Doors with 7's [influence]," Stapp reveals. "So it's going to have some thump in the back and rock over the top of it -- but I'm not going to rap," he adds with a laugh. "I'm going to sing."

DUDE. Scott Stapp doing his thing over JEEP BEATS?! That's nasty! Imagine Scott singing over the "Rhymin' And Stealin"/"Sweet Leaf"/"Leveee Breaks" backdrop. I wanna roll down the street with the windows open, blaring that shit, fully aware that I'm destroying passerby. Ludacris gave Three Doors Down a shout-out in Blender a while back, so I know that dude's been waiting for some Thump-Rock too. I got a feeling its the "white crunk" Kanye's been aching for. Disco-metal slow jams - it doesn't get more raw than that. If Scott covers "I Feel Love" it's my album of the year.

It's possible that none of the Aurelius tracks made the final product. Fingers are crossed, though! Don't want another Extraordinary Machine situation.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Mike Powell responds to my Sugar Ray CD-R dare. Bless his soul.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'm enjoying listening to America's Sweetheart so much that I actually feel like apologizing to Courtney Love for not digging it back when it came out. I've been reading reviews of the album and I have to assume that a lot of people who hated it were simply unable to get past their lack of sympathy for this noxious, obnoxious, child-endangering, face-mutilating cultural presence. Noticing, let alone acknowledging, the power behind her marriage of commercial thrust and wounded, megapunk passion would be asking for more awkward, self-adoring interviews and skank-out pics. Better to mourn a riot grrrl inspiration than champion a painfully honest freak product of celebrity culture and rock-as-rebellion mythology.

I've found that albums that inspire indignant, negative reviews are just as likely to be powerful experiences as five-star polltoppers. It takes energy to inspire outrage and offense, to earn a "fuck you" from cultural watchdogs - "this is not what music is supposed to be like." It's not enough to be mediocre, you have to STAND OUT to get an D+ or one star. The most flagrant example of a trend someone despises (especially if that person's tastes don't really match yours anyhow) is probably the one you should check out. The new Dandy Warhols album is getting that kind of disdain, and while the songs aren't particularly memorable, its cool to hear them respond to the success of Dig! by dropping a big pile of trippy, tossed-off mush that is still more on-key and energized than anything I've heard by the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Plus that 'new wave' album sucked.

Another album from 2004 I didn't get into until now is Life Is Killing My Rock'n'Roll by Singapore Sling. Shameless JAMC rip that oh so slightly ups the tempo without losing the lo-fi scrape of Psychocandy. I'll never understand people who get angry about the successfully derivative - you mean you don't want MORE? The lyrics are dopey, but so were the originals and these guys require you to focus even harder to notice it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

More blurbs!

You know who made a good hits comp? Placebo. Them nervous little androgynes only sound better with age, and this disc grabs their most anxious, memorable moments. Too bad they attached a remix disc to it! And the Beta Band slapped a live disc to theirs. There's something so absurd about combining product that only diehard fans could want with a disc the faithful would find worthless. And the music industry wonders why we steal so shamelessly from their coffers.
Last night, in a state of drunken reverie, I came up with an ideal tracklisting for a Sugar Ray greatest hits comp (the real deal peters out 2/3rds of the way through - too much early rawkage).

1. Answer The Phone
2. Fly
3. Someday
4. Under The Sun
5. Every Morning
6. Mean Machine
7. Falls Apart
8. Waiting
9. When It's Over
10. Ours
11. Abracadabra
12. Chasin' You Around
13. Party For Two (Shania Twain w/ Mark McGrath)
14. Heaven
15. Rivers

Go forth, P2p Party People! Download these doozies*, play them in order, and report to me your pleasure.

*elsewhere, obv.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Thanks to everybody who showed up at the panel. It felt a little anticlimactic and less than it might have been had there been more focus and preparation (I wish we'd figured out beforehand where panelists specifically disagreed with each other), but there were enough talking points to keep discussion whizzing along. I was glad to hear what Julianne, Lynne, Chris and Jason had to say and would have liked to hear more, though I'm glad Chris isn't allowed to force the world to prefer Mr. Lif to 50 Cent.

Even though my mouth was in high gear throughout, I sympathize with the frustration Lynne describes. There were points I wish I made clearer, details I wish I'd acknowledged, tangents I wish I avoided. All of us understood that this music deserved criticism but none of us had any desire to be censorial. Making others aware of how we approach the songs (as well as the larger questions of race, sexuality and art-vs.-pornography they raise) and why, hoping the knowledge will inform their perspectives, is all one can do. I'm incredibly grateful when people do it.

As for the festivities that followed, I saw some great bands (gotta catch Man Man and the Wrens next time they're in town), but visiting old friends and meeting new people was the real highlight of the week for me. No showcase performance could compare to watching a karaoke cubicle full of Stylus scribes holler along to Johnny Cash's "Hurt,", except maybe my rendition of "This Woman's Work."

Monday, September 12, 2005

If you're one of the proud few attendees who will already be at the CMJ Music Marathon Wednesday afternoon, I recommend you attend this panel.

The Hoarse Whisperer: Decoding The Ying-Yang Twins
Have "Wait (The Whisper Song)" and "Pull My Hair" reached new depths of depravity and misogyny on the radio dial? Is it a secretly feminist ode to shared power-play? Or does any uproar just reveal the listener's failure to have a sense of humor? Our panel of critics discusses. Wed. Sept. 14th, 1:30-2:45pm, Helen Huntington Hull Room at Lincoln Center.

Moderator: Christopher Weingarten
Panel: Julianne Shepherd, Jon Caramanica, Lynne D. Johnson, Jason King, Anthony Miccio

I'll be in NY all week. My first CMJ. Should be a hoot!
Wrestling with my feelings about British music culture while listening to crap singles for Stylus. The Mattafix track made it all worthwhile.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Last night I got to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. At the very least, they're explicable hype. The singer really projects that Gano/Verlaine whine and the band adds some post-Velvets juice to the OC-rock archetype. We can debate whether the deal is big or not, but it is a deal. It would be hypocritical to complain about people cheering balding bohemians for competently rehashing the work of their elders, as I welcome such attention myself. The singer for the National revealed he was Tim Booth by the second song, so I bolted.

And now, my first bit of Philly scene bitchiness: National Eye (who sound like Pavement if Malkmus was inspired by the Moody Blues) should perform more songs as energetically as they do their closer or make sure that the audience has chairs. They should also add either "Incense & Peppermints" or "The Porpoise Song" to their set list.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

2005: Politics Are So Much Better When There's Sex

1. Electric Six “Rock’n’Roll Evacuation”
2. Ying Yang Twins feat. Adam Levine “Live Again”
3. M83 “Don’t Save Us From Flames”
4. Louis XIV “Paper Doll”
5. Missy Elliot feat. Ciara & Fatman Scoop “Lose Control”
6. Crazy Frog “Axel F”
7. Natalie “Goin’ Crazy”
8. 50 Cent “Just A Lil Bit”
9. R. Kelly “Sex Weed”
10. Queens
Of The Stone Age “Broken Box”
11. Kelly Osbourne “Don’t Touch Me When I’m Sleeping”
12. White Stripes “Blue Orchid"
13. Spoon “Was It You?”
14. Backstreet Boys "Incomplete"
15. Mountain Goats “Love Love Love”
16. Bloodhound Gang “Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo"

work in progress.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Me on the Spinto Band for the Voice.
e-mail from my good buddy TJ:

"I just wanted to direct your attention, in case you were unawares, to the video for The Bloodhound Gang's 'Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo' on Launch and AOL. Musically, the verse is Strokes by way of Since U Been Gone, and the singer is appropriately unrecognizable in the jet setting hipster garb he sports, and the song builds to a bashed Weezer chorus. But lyrically it's a lot more interesting. The Jimmy Pop dude is still doing the sex rap metaphor schtick a la 'The Bad Touch' but with such a high degree of Pavement-ed abstraction that the song is somewhat jarring to encounter in any radio or video play list.

I saw this on MTV2 and, not recognizing the band sonically or visually, was asking myself 'Is this singer just confidently spouting gibberish over streamlined pop?' On slightly closer inspection the entire conceptual novelty of the track seems apparent as an exercise in how far the guy can actually go in obtuse metaphors for his sexual suggestiveness - an admirable high wire act of sense and no sense Mr. Pop has achieved, IMO."

Damn straight. A lot of indie/nu-wave is devoted to suggestively cryptic wordplay (Stephen Malkmus is a cigar stand, you know) and it's time that some jerk mercilessly taints the trope. Even better that it signals the return of the auteur behind "The Bad Touch," one of finest singles of the 90s.

The video also stars Bam.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

President Coolidge came down in a railroad train
With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand
The President say, "Little fat man isn't it a shame what the river has done
To this poor crackers land."

- Randy Newman, "Louisiana 1927"
Addendum to previous post: While I can almost understand pointing out the whereabouts of your merch stand if it's tucked away in some truly illogical location, offering gratuitous assistance in purchasing your products is still one of the lamest types of stage patter I can fathom. How often is someone in the audience just dying to buy your shit but unable to figure out how? I've seen bands point out wares about two yards away from the stage. I realize most bands don't give it (or anything) much thought, but by doing this you're begging for more of my money and demeaning my intelligence at the same time. Not cool.

Prequisite Fugazi quote: "When I was 16 or 17, we couldn't play in clubs, we'd just go off and play in the basement of some suburban home. Forty kids would come over and dance like maniacs, the cops would come and then we would all go home. I didn't need 900 t-shirt designs. We just made up our own circuit. Now the kids come to our gigs and ask for our t-shirts or our fucking baseball caps." (Guy Picciotto, Dance Of Days: Two Decades Of Punk In The Nation's Capital)