February 22, 2005
EYEHATEGOD - Serving Time in the Middle of Nowhere

Eyehategod are from New Orleans. It sounds to me like it’s a different guy singing on Confederacy of Ruined Lives than on their other records, but whenever I look it up it says it’s the same person. Maybe he has two voices. “Serving Time” is in two movies. One of them is Gummo. The funniest scene in that is when they get “lost” looking for the cat. The other best scene was the guy punching the furniture. I bought the soundtrack before I saw the movie. The CD also has Bathory “Equimanthorn”, Brujeria “Matandos Gueros”, Sleep “Dragonaut”, Burzum “Rundgang Um Die Transzendentale Saule der Singularitat” (an ambient instrumental, probably something he did in prison), and Bethlehem “Schuld Uns'res Knoch'rigen Faltpferd” - actually, everything on it is good. The other movie “Serving Time” is in is Without a Paddle. In that film, it’s playing on a poor-quality stereo in an outdoor marijuana growing operation run by two survivalist/biker ex-cons (whose attack dogs are named ‘Lynyrd’ and ‘Skynyrd’) for a corrupt rural sheriff. The heroes of the film are three young urban professionals who destroy the pot plantation (while getting high off the fumes from the burning plants themselves) and hand over the backwoods trio to the state authorities. Humor is made of the yokel sheriff’s dentures, and the city dude smashing a bottle into a creek where a Native American observes, “My children play there.” The Culture Club song in the “buddies united” scene also plays over the end credits.

Dave Queen | 03:46 AM | Comments (0)
February 21, 2005
Hunter S Thompson RiP

The original "gonzo journalist", novelist, gun collector and contrary SOB Hunter S. Thompson shot himself dead last night at his home in the Colorado mountains. He was 67.

Scott McKeating | 05:03 AM | Comments (2)
February 20, 2005
DFA vs. Death from Above (1979)

At first I was peeved that DFA made Death From Above tack on the 1979. Now that I've finally heard LCD Soundsystem's "Tired", I understand it. 'Cuz fairly good as You're a Woman, I'm a Machine is, Mr. Murphy does it better, if a little differently.

Dan Miron | 03:55 PM | Comments (0)
February 19, 2005
Please, Please (Remaster) Me

Thenk yew verrrry much! Dinosaur Jr are finally being remastered!! You're Living All Over Me was one of the true casualties of early cd pressing. I want to hear that Feast of Sludge beneath the studio faults! Let's hope it comes out anywhere near as well as Slanted and Enchanted.

If we all visualize together, maybe we can get the following remastered:

The Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique

Word is, this'll never make the cut due to sample clearance and Capitol owning the master. I say it's time for the people to rise up and demand label capitulation. It's the least they can do after two decades of breaking their promises of better sounding, cheaper music. It would be a larger goodwill gesture than renting music online. Besides, Jacko's probably distracted enough to give it up on all those Beatles swipes on "The Sounds of Science". Scheisse, I might have to EQ a copy just to make it loud enough, but it'll probably lose whatever semblance of crispness it has, as well as those super-bad transitions. The Japanese release tacked on the Love American Style ep, but I don't think it was remastered, and it's not very findable or affordable.

The Stone Roses Self-Titled and Turns Into Stone

These two alone can save any near-loser shelf, but it would be so nice if they blasted. Forget the Complete Stone Roses--sorry, but I pity the fool that trades the full length "Something's Burning" (and to an extent, "One Love") for 3 1/2 minute versions and the early singles. And editing Fool's Gold is truly a fool's errand. Oh, sob, amongst the vanished vinyl is the perfect heavy-ass UK 7" for "She Bangs the Drums" (built in adapter and all!). Easily my least favorite of their classics, it was saved by "Standing Here", one of the only nods to Hendrix that's ever sounded fun and unlabored. Too bad it sounded nearly as good with a cheap Technics plugged in to a boom box as it now does on a stereo worth half of my cd collection. Indeed, that single presaged my whole SR experience. The debut was just so played, I nearly prefer the B-Sides.

The Pixies Surfer Rosa/Come on Pilgrim

The world needs more whores, but c'mon guys (yeah, yeah, Kim's a girl, but she's one of the guys), take some pride in your profession! Quit giving us shite b-side compilations that aren't complete. Don't bother with an attempted one-disc overview. I pays my money, I want you to put out to the max. Let's start with Albini Himself mastering and recombining these discs onto one monstrously good sounding comp that's long enough for a fairly fulfilling lay. And let's put the ep first. That way, it's chronological, and "Let's go, let's sit, let's talk, politics go so good with beer...and while we're at it baby, why don't you tell me some of your biggest fears" is part of the warm-up, rather than the wind-down. Plus, this time, it could get the track-listing to match the number of tunes, if that's not too much to ask.

New Order Power, Corruption and Lies and Low Life

Oh, I guess there are lazier ho's than the Pixies. Now I'm pissed. New Order do not get one more cent from me until they quit with the ludicrous boxes, and maybe even new recordings, and start fucking with Mother Nature herself, by which I mean two decade-defining albums which likely helped along as many adolescences as Prince, The Cure and The Smiths. The current (um, 20+ year old) issues sound tinny and flat, and also do one of the worst translations of album-to-cd art of their era. Additionally, the 12" singles actually hold up, and would make thoroughly worthy bonus discs to the main features. Anyone remember Dub Vulture? (Um, no new Blue Mondays, thanks). Y'know, visualization is so over--scientific studies prove that cash is more effective. Anyone else willing to pony up $36 in a joint subscription to pre-pay for this? New Order, get your house in order. Until then, please just leave me alone.

Dan Miron | 11:37 AM | Comments (9)
February 18, 2005
Coachella 2005

I'd been going through my annual should-I-or-shouldn't-I debate since the announcement of Coachella's 2005 lineup. I mean, on the one hand, it's awfully rare to find a collection of so many great artists sharing the same stage... er, the same four stages. But on the other hand, there's, well, every other factor imaginable. The 2000 miles between myself and Indio, CA. The transportation and accommodation costs, in addition to the $150 two-day tickets. Not to mention the nagging suspicion that the entire experience wouldn't be worth the time and money.

Okay, a quick breakdown of the Coachella performers I'm most interested in seeing looks something like this: Bloc Party, M83, Spoon, Immortal Technique, Gang of Four, The Arcade Fire, The Fiery Furnaces, Aesop Rock, M.I.A., and The Futureheads. The rest of the acts would just be gravy on top of those ten. Now, barring some sort of Buddy Holly-esque disaster, I'll have plenty of opportunities to see each of these artists, with the possible exception of the recently reunited Gang of Four, on future tours; and those future shows will take place in venues where I won't have to watch the band on a video screen or devise a 'stage plan' to avoid missing their set altogether.

Admittedly, if you're in it for headliners like Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, and Weezer, maybe this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Maybe it's well worth it to stand amidst tens of thousands of wanna-be Woodstock revivalists. After all, some of these bands demand upwards of Coachella's $75 per day rate for their individual shows. And, hey, you'd definitely have some stories to tell.

I've talked myself out of attending for yet another year though. Let me know how it goes, guys. The closest I'll get this spring to experiencing Calfornia's amalgamation of music's hottest new artists will come Thursday nights at 8:00 on FOX. And I'm fine with that. I think.

Luke Adams | 10:19 PM | Comments (5)
You think you know, but you have no idea...

I was reading a copy of the accursed SPIN in the Library the other day, and I was surprised to read a fan's reaction to their Modest Mouse feature from a few months back.

Basically, she said: "Normally, when I read a piece on a band I like, it makes me think they'd be cool to hang out with. But after reading the piece on Modest Mouse, I don't even want to live in the same neighbourhood as these guys."

I was kinda surprised she'd admit to this, but it got me thinking: how much of Modest Mouse's appeal is based on the fact that Isaac Brock and co. are "white trash?" After all, most of their fans sure aren't. A musician like Eminem can sing about being white trash and know that a large chunk of his fanbase will either relate, or assume they can relate. I doubt the same can be said of the MM fanbase, especially prior to their mustachioed rise to fame. I think, on one level, the band played a role similar to that of most rappers, titilating their (upper)middle-class white fanbase with lurid depictions of life on the other side of Dick Cheney's America.

This probably relates to the fact that, at least in my experience, a majority of Modest Mouse fans are female.

In other news...S-K have appealed to their fans not to circulate their new album. I, for one, will abide by their wishes. It's one thing to steal music from, say, Jeff Tweedy. If anything, you're not "enabling" him if you bootleg his shit. But stealing from good musicians like Sleater-Kinney is wrong, if they ask you nicely not to do it.

Solidarity with S-K! See you in a month.

Ryan Hardy | 12:25 AM | Comments (1)
February 16, 2005
Boys and girls, gather round...

Beautiful and damned Asbury Park, New Jersey is at it again. Asbury Lanes, the birthday party stomping grounds of my youth, is now a punk rock venue. The syrupy soda water I used to love is now PBR. The alley bumper balloons have been cleared away so bands can play where I used to bowl.

In high school, the famous Stone Pony was similarly co-opted so that hardcore shows would displace the obligatory Southside Johnny concerts (I hope Bruce shows up tonight!). I loved the idea that the kids had recreated the Jersey Shore to make it relevant to my generation. It's happening all over again, except this time it's my memories that are being remodeled.

History repeats itself, Asbury takes on its 10th life, and I have a legitimate reason to return home.


Jonathan Forgang | 11:33 AM | Comments (0)
February 14, 2005

Did anyone else find the Grammies to be truly awful last night?

hutlock | 09:39 AM | Comments (9)
February 13, 2005
Some excerpts from CREEM Magazine, February 1986


---Why don’t you stop writing about writing about Husker Du and just write about them? – Sarah Jane Smith, South Jersey, NJ

---This is in regard to that excuse of an album reviewer, Gregg Turner… - Unsigned, Rochester, NY

---I am thoroughly disgusted with that completely stupid fool who calls himself Richard Riegel… - L.S., Dallas, TX

---Kordosh – not Howard Jones – should eat his words! Why should a writer put his own feelings into an article?… - Unsigned, Miami, FL

---I am writing to you in response to your article “I Am the Cheese – The Doors: Dance on Fire (MCA Home Video)” by Dave DiMartino. In the article, Mr. DiMartino said that Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors, had “tragically perished in Paris in 1971”. Seeing as Jim Morrison’s disappearance is such a controversial subject, I don’t think it was right to print that comment. His death was never confirmed. I think that Jim Morrison is still alive and I think there are others who would agree with me. – D. Weiss, Brooklyn, NY

Continue reading "Some excerpts from CREEM Magazine, February 1986"
Dave Queen | 11:37 PM | Comments (0)
February 08, 2005
no, you're silly

i'd like to say that i am overwhelmingly prepared to offer my meager thoughts for the blog today, but that would be a lie, a lie made evident not only by my expository revelation, but by this fluff itself. i have a stellar fever though, so forgive me.

a few shout outs, brief and simple:

fake jazz has an ad for halliburton. i'm not even suggesting some totally bratty moral conclusion, only that it seems hilariously incongruous. thank you money and advertising, for reminding us that the market can produce the coolest free-improv skronk around.

the cocteau twins! all these years they've been in my consciousness, hiding behind crap like enigma and enya. thank you, the cocteau twins, for growing like mold in my mind, only to become the ripest, most unusual, and highly enjoyable of cheeses.

sfj posted re: a jazz record of pavement covers. thank you, brown brothers recordings, for allowing such mind-boggling/titilating heresy to intoxicate us.

maybe it's the fact that illness is sloshing around my being, but the world seems delightfully topsy turvy today: thank you world, for re-presenting yourself as a nest of complete unbelieveablity.

Mike Powell | 01:20 PM | Comments (1)
February 04, 2005
Why I Hate Kasabian,

An open letter to the uninitiated by Nick Southall.

I hate Kasabian for many reasons. Firstly, I hate the etymology of their name. Linda Kasabian is the name of Charles Manson’s getaway driver, or something. She was certainly a member of the “Manson Family”. Some might write that off as tasteless in the extreme, but tasteless has never bothered me particularly – I’m a Chris Morris fan. It’s rather the fact that this deliberate self-association with infamous murderers and the darker aspects of pop culture smacks of “keeping it real” in the most affected and unreal way possible (people DIED, that’s SO REAL); it’s not designed to shock in the sense that shock = realigning peoples perception of everyday life enabling them to better live that life. It’s about looking cool because your parents might take offence, which is never good.

I hate the way they dress with that faux rock aristocracy conceit, all scarves, choppy, highlighted feather cuts and vintage jackets from designer second-hand shops. I hate their shitty, over-considered facial hair. I hate their professional lad personas, the fact that they’re from Leicester and like football and drinking and swearing, the fact that they veil their song titles in vaguely drug-centric acronyms because, presumably, they think that doing so is cool. It’s the same with The Libertines and all the crack-chic that follows them around, the heroin-mystique; I thought thinking drugs were cool had become passé years ago.

But most of all I hate their fucking awful music. I hate their shitty beats and shouty choruses, their Beatles-aping, rockist-pleasing backwards fills, the whole fucking shitty lads-down-the-disco aesthetic. I hate the fact that they called a song “Processed Beats” when it doesn’t sound very processed and barely has a beat. I hate the fact that critics praise them by using phrases like “They’re a classic indie disco band”, as if that a; had any meaning or b; was a good thing in the slightest. I hate the fact that they were nominated for Brit Awards in the same year that the dance category was disbanded. Dizzee Rascal, Talvin Singh and Roni Size have both won the Mercury Prize in recent years. Dance music is not a scary, radical, leftfield concern anymore. It does not need watering down for the proles.

People keep saying they sound like Primal Scream, but I have never heard Primal Scream do anything as clunky and boring and lager-lout obnoxious as “LSF” or “Cut Off”. Is this the legacy of Screamadelica? Lest we forget, that album didn’t embrace dance culture by sticking a clumsy hip hop beat and some widdly effects over a three-chord indie strum+shout. Perhaps people mean latter-day Primal Scream, but I don’t know where they’d get that from. Vanishing Point is a dub record, XTRMNTR a discopunkwhitenoise leviathan which spawned The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem, Evil Heat is basically electroclash-meets-krautrock. Perhaps they mean the much maligned Give Out But Don’t Give Up, a clumsy blues-funk album. Kasabian are closer to “Rocks” or “Jailbird” than anything else Primal Scream have done.

People keep saying Kasabian sound like The Stone Roses – which songs in The Stone Roses catalogue sound ANYTHING like Kasabian’s snarling masculinity? “Fools Gold”? With its intricate groove (the 10-beat kick-drum loop on that song is more intricate and inspired than anything I’ve heard from Kasabian), its bassline cribbed from Can, it’s ten-minute lope that still sounds strange and alien today? Or maybe “Begging You”? No, it’s still a hundred times more furious and exciting than anything Kasabian could come up with, the sequencing more radical, the beats less predictable, the lyrics more intriguing.

People keep saying Kasabian sound like Happy Mondays. I saw the video for “Wrote For Luck” for the first time in ages the other day. Kasabian sound nothing like that. New Order. !!!. Lo Fidelity Allstars. Daft Punk. Prodigy. LCD Soundsystem. Basment Jaxx. Even Black Grape, for heaven’s sake. All have mixed dance beats and textures and aesthetics with rock structures and sounds. Kasabian sound nothing like them. They’re derivative but not of an idea or a sound; they’re derivative of a poor description of an idea or a sound. “Indie music with dance beats.” Good fucking god it was tired fourteen years ago and it’s tired now. After 20 years of rhythmic evolution and invention in dance music, after house, drum n bass, UK garage, Asian underground, trance, dubstep and countless others, to hear someone do the same “funky drummer” fill that the fucking Mock Turtles used in 1991, and for people to praise that and think it’s something new or clever, is depressing and backwards. I cannot fathom people who would choose to listen to a bad, misremembered refraction of dance music, especially when those same people are generally also the types most likely dismiss actual dance music itself out of hand.

Nick Southall | 06:25 AM | Comments (10)
February 02, 2005
Whale the Hell Not?

Why did Whale fail? Their brat/frat rock kicks nu-metal ass (see "Young Dumb 'n' Full of Cum); thier warm fuzzies make one's 'nad's tingle (witness I can't help it but I think you're "Kickin'") and their triple entendres rival prime Prince (check single "I'll Do Ya"). They swapped vocals nearly as well as the Beasties, and just as literately. They wickied the wack over chords that would singe Durst's pubes off. They had more heart and brains than most '90's acts, especially those who were nicheless:

Prozac bliss, is there a cure for being Swiss?
I can't help that I wanna fumble Sarah Cracknell up the Channel Tunnel
Stonewashed denim, pony tail, Polish guys, they're dressed to fail
Trash white riot, 18 karats, full-on whatever whatever...

Not bad, given Wurtzel had yet to reach paperback, and St. Etienne was still a one (years-old) hit wonder. Nothing I recall on MTV et. al. matched the wit of Mia slapping diapered butts with her archetypal red & white swirly-striped lollipop in the video for "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe". If you think the lyric above sharp, I'll leave "That's Where it's At" as your special surprise...

We Care was the unseen third of Tricky's quadratic equation before his slide began. It beat Dummy out by two months, and is largely unknown compared to that album, and predecessors Protection and Maxinquaye, despite sharing as many beats and vocal lines as all of the above. The known triad defined trip-hop, but We Care dates better, indeed, sounds timeless. Thank goodness it's on my classic iPod, because the newer ones don't go as loud. It sounds equally good stomping around snowy Boston last week, or in springtime Venice. If you don't know it, you should. It's awfully cheap used, and the follow-up All Disco Dance Must End in Broken Bones is nearly as good, and even cheaper. Dig it!

Dan Miron | 11:33 PM | Comments (1)

In listening to Viktor Vaughn's mis-maligned Venomous Villain on the way to work today, I realized it was the release, between MM Food and itself, that I would probably listen to the more often. In odd, distangled ways, it reminds me of the Fiery Furnaces' EP as a tight, enthrallingly simplistic introductory point, not nearly as expansive and overwhelming but short and to the point. It's the work I'd recommend as a jumping off point, and God knows I've been working over-time to turn my ole surburban cronies into fans of MF Doom for almost a year.

And, yet, for my money, not only is it more concise, it's far more interesting than MM Food. Shorn of Doom's over-reliance on short skits and wrinkled samples, his production work on the album is pop-tight, revolving around league-deep synth vamps and bottle-necked hip-hop beats. Much of Food just spreads itself across the void, stretching into times and spaces it has no right to inherit, and no real reason to attempt. The production work is limp and noodly at times, and much of the dead-soul sampling seems desperate. I thought it was a great disappointment when I first soulseeked it, and I have yet to come around. I'll take the blunt pop simplicity of Venomous Villain any Wednesday morning traffic stop.

Derek Miller | 10:29 AM | Comments (2)
February 01, 2005
The Power Station - The Power Station

Half this group are dead. Robert Palmer wrote Sonic Youth’s best song. I think they liked the video. Tony Thompson is the drummer for Led Zeppelin. He was in a car crash right after Live Aid, their next album is called Presence. Taylor Dayne was in Neurotic Outsiders, and should’ve been in Velvet Revolver, if only to tell them how to make a video. He must’ve been nervous as fuck, playing in front of Bernard Edwards. Miami Taylor Van Zandt’s guitar solos combine the best parts of both Wang Chung and Bad English, adding further spikes to the Flowers of Romance in the Bush of Ghosts material. In one two-bar section in “Get it On”, notes-per-second increase with each scalar phrase!

The culmination of Palmer’s world-music odyssey, “Some Like It Hot” sounds especially great from speakers on top of a car hood in Equatorial Guinea. National Lampoon’s European Vacation used it to score a fantasy of old-world decadence (and used “Ca Plane Pour Moi” for the Louvre scene). Maybe the joke idea was Rusty Griswold thinking Europe was in eastern Cuba. You couldn’t get away with that in a movie now, jokes about Americans’ (or Australians’) bad geography knowledge. The first casualty of war may be innocence, but you could say that about a lot of things. The band name in German means “What’s next to the cherry moon?”

Dave Queen | 08:46 PM | Comments (2)
January 30, 2005
Rapture in Return

The first thing you notice about Arcade Fire in concert is that Win Butler isn’t who you notice first.

If you just listen to Butler’s voice on Funeral, the way he yelps, stammers, cries, and testifies, wavering between religious ecstasy and utter madness, often forcing the music to swell up and follow him along through sheer willpower and lung capacity, you’d expect him to command a stage accordingly. Hell, whose vocal stylings are most often cited when describing Butler’s? That’s right, Conor Oberst. I rest my case.

And yet there he was under the bright lights of the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, being overshadowed by the endearing self-consciousness of his wife Regine Chassagne and the now-infamous seizures of spastic Nap Dynamite doppleganger Richard Parry. Sure, Butler plays at being Kurt Cobain with his stringy hair and disconsolate gaze, but he replaces KC’s self-martyrdom and uncontrolled chaos with baby fat and clear-eyed fixation (plus he looks more like the bassist from Ben Folds Five anyway).

I mention this accidental disappearing act only because it’s emblematic of the band’s well-publicized ensemble character, which I maybe didn’t understand and appreciate until I actually witnessed this album lived out in front of a thousand people rather than trapped in my car CD changer, where it sounded instead like a whole microbiotic universe crammed into a single petri dish.

Now, if there’s one adjective that’s guaranteed to get me to like a band or a record, it’s “childlike,” and I don’t mean childlike as in simplistic, because real children are almost never simple.

To me, the Arcade Fire embodies and expresses that other, darker side of childhood opposite the one so meticulously conveyed by the Fiery Furnaces or the Decemberists. Those bands capture the part of being a kid that’s all about fantasy and cognitive dissonance, spending hours building perfect sand castles and delighting in nothing more than knocking them down.

What the Arcade Fire understands, by contrast, is the enormity of childhood, the outsized sense of panic mingled with awe mingled with invincibility. While the Friedbergers’ or Colin Meloy’s visions of youth given free rein depend on willful solitude, a physical and intellectual hiding place where elaborate fancy can take flight from precocious minds, Butler, Chassagne, Parry and all the rest seek shelter from the storm that’s always on the horizon. Parents are vaguely-shaped, impossibly immense gods, kinda like the adults on Rugrats, and all their triumphs and (more frequent) shortcomings take on superhuman dimensions.

So why exactly does this quaint little indie-rock drum circle connect so deeply with the thousand or so kids in attendance? Is it just a covert strategy to ferret out all the goopy marshmallow scenesters, the unsuspecting, secretly emo chum in snark-infested waters?

While I’m consciously trying not to step into any rockist traps about the arduousness of creation or the worthiness of obstinacy, I think it has something to do with the fact that the Arcade Fire understands what Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder and their own stylistic mentors the Talking Heads understood, what Sleater-Kinney and Bjork and Outkast understand today, which is the value of truly, unabashedly joyful music made in the face of the greatest emotional obstacles, the deepest sadness and heartache. The Arcade Fire isn’t Win Butler up on stage fetishizing his pain, allowing it to turn him into just another indie-rock Christ figure. The Arcade Fire is a whole band taking all of its collective pain and tragedy and loss and turning it into something glorious and open, into a dialogue that allows room for everyone in the crowd to participate as well, putting their own pain in and getting rapture in return.

Josh Love | 03:25 PM | Comments (0)
January 27, 2005
The Tsunami Song

You might have heard about radio station Hot 97's "Tsunami Song," a racist little number about the victims of the recent disaster concentrated in southeast Asia. The artist Jin has created his own response to it. You can check it out at his website.

You can find details on the backstory here.

Justin Cober-Lake | 02:23 PM | Comments (1)
January 26, 2005
New Order - "Krafty"

I've been listening to the new New Order single non-stop for the last two days. Underwhelming at first, it gathers force, like one of Hooky's classic bass lines. When Barney acknowledges that there's a bigger world of which he's only recently become aware – a world in which people go to work "to get paid" instead of sleeping off weekday hangovers – it's a quiet shock. You realize that, after almost 30 years of commenting on and then succumbing to decay, dissipation, and euphoria, he's become the engaged adult which maturity is supposed to produce: maturity absent of complacency. The sweetness of the synthesized chimes rubs against Steve Morris' muscular drumming in all the right ways: reality colliding with sentimentality.

I like how he still hasn't lost his connection to whatever muse feeds him naff lyrics.

Inspirational lyrics:

"I bet the world is a beautiful place
with mountains, lakes, and the human race"

Alfred Soto | 12:02 PM | Comments (6)