Monday, December 31, 2007

Beneath The New Dog

This is Bruce Springbean, our dog. Bean for short. Our friend rescued him and we just had to take him in. Someone abandoned Bean, but now he has a warm and loving home. Which is very exciting for us, not so much for our cats, though. Bean is a full blooded Shih Tzu, he's two years old and unfortunately very underweight. We brought Bean home the day after Christmas, so he's been a big distraction from what I resolved would be an active time for blogging. Sorry about that, I've made plenty of declarations of this week or that week being the big comeback, very similar to my pronouncements towards the end of poker games at work, you know, ringing in a hollow fashion.

I can't really trace the reasoning behind my, well, I wouldn't call it a writer's block, but that's kinda what it is, isn't it? You know, I want to write, it's not like I have ideas and can't figure out the words for it, I just haven't had any ideas. Though I've stumbled on a few over the holiday. Some stuff that I wanna write about for The Red Skull, namely a review of The Temptations' With A Lot Of Soul. An album I've had for a long while, and whose majesty I realized once I picked up a weird contemporaneous album Temptations In A Mellow Mood where they play without their strengths stranded on an album of showtunes and standards. With A Lot Of Soul is a showcase for the greatest singer the Temptations ever had, David Ruffin. The material is solid throughout, which is a surprise compared to some other Motown albums from the same time that were top loaded with singles and filled out with schmaltzy left-overs.

I'm also going to try and write about Nuggets II, which out of the three Nuggets boxed sets is the hands down best. That'll be an undertaking for sure, though. It's a huge boxed set that I've only gotten halfway through yet. I got it for Christmas from Amanda among other great things, most notably an Xbox 360, a USB Record Player, and an amazing Eccentric Soul record, "Belize City Boil-Up". "Belize City Boil-Up" is a survey of a music that was greatly affected by a mix of Calypso, Reggae, American Funk and Soul music, and Mexican music due to it's fortuitous geographic location.

Well, I'm gonna stop this awkward writing and hope that I can get back in the swing of things. I want to mention that I was inspired to get my ass back into gear by Marco's gigantic output as of late with his best of 2007 posts over at the Midpoint. Well, I'm heading off to ring in the New Year. Unfortunately there won't be any pictures anytime soon, I kinda broke my camera, it's fixable, but that's not gonna happen quickly, unfortunately. I'll probably borrow my brother's camera for the Yo La Tengo concert on the 10th, I would have loved to take my camera to that show though, being more compact and I think it takes better pictures. His camera is no slouch by any means, my camera's just very versatile. So, happy new year, you can look forward to suffering through my resolution to get back into writing more.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hairway To Steven

So, I'm having trouble getting my shit together to write an actual blogpost. I've been working my ass off at work, hopefully the rest of my customers have finally headed out of town for Christmas, and I can get home early and relax for the next two nights.

This video has been making the rounds, I first saw it on The Onion AV Club's Videocracy. But it's a perfect cover of Stairway To Heaven by an Australian Beatles cover band. Prepare to have your mind blown.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas is soooo close.

Actual blogging coming up tomorrow, for now, I just thought I'd share this video with you.

I'm writing a piece about Christmas music tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The 5 Most Disapointing Albums of The Year

5. Queens Of The Stone Age- Era Vulgaris.
After spending years making smart, sexy, and near perfect hard rock albums, QOSTA finally collapsed under their own weight. Lacking in charisma, hooks, and interesting ideas, Era Vulgaris is the half baked skeleton of a good album.

4. Wilco- Sky Blue Sky.
Getting tagged "The American Radiohead" has to be something you'd want to avoid. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to make albums like Sky Blue Sky. Which isn't a bad album. A little too slick for my tastes, but an enjoyable listen. It just happens to come from a group that I've viewed as one of the greatest bands of the past twenty years. It's just all so underwhelming.

3. The Shins- Wincing The Night Away.
I saw this coming, just not so soon. The Shins rode their AM pop tendencies all the way into being a boring band.

2. The Good, The Bad, And The Queen- The Good, The Bad, And The Queen
Again, not so much of a bad album, as it doesn't measure up to it's possibilities. Paul Simonon from THE CLASH, Tony Allen who drummed on all those amazing Fela Kuti albums, and Damon Albarn, I was expecting a modern day London Calling. All I got was this downbeat reflection on working class England.

1. The Hold Steady- Boys And Girls In America.
That's right, I said it. This album BLOWS. I know this album came out in 2006, it sat perched atop many "Best Of" lists. I didn't get buy it until after it was reccomended so highly, in 2007. So, there's a bit of fudging here, but this is my chance to air this out in public. After reading the breathless reviews of this album, one could imagine The Hold Steady were riding down on golden chariots from Valhalla to single-handedly saving rock 'n' roll. Instead, what you find is the most god awful cheese guitars crashing all over sub par pub rock. These guitars aren't reminiscent of any actual rock group I could think of. It's more akin to the fictionalized sitcom rock group, Jesse And The Rippers. Boys And Girls In America is the most dreadful album I've heard, ever. And my Grandma made me listen to a late period Gloria Estefan album once.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Voices In My Head Are Telling Me To... Use Febreze?

Well, this is it. Time to give up, the advertisers of the world have just flat out won. They've got their doomsday device, they've flipped the switch, and there's no coming back. Gawker has pointed out that A&E is using hypersonic sound beams (scroll down for product description) in their new advertising campaign. Basically, these speakers shoot sound beams that play inside of whatever surface it strikes, meaning your skull.
They're currently using this gimmick for a show about ghosts, beaming ghost voices into your head. This only being the begining of course. Soon enough, you won't be able to walk down the street without jingles rattling around insdie your dome. Then, let's say the government makes this practice illegal. You step into the district attorney's office to complain about the sounds in your head. How crazy are you going to look.

To me this sounds like horrible news.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

There Is No Mention of Rod Stewart

I caught a part of this story which Marco posted about last week while Amanda and I were in Jersey Mike's. To encapsulate for those of you who haven't read Marco's post, this guy calls up 911 in Texas to report a robbery in progress. This isn't happening at his house, but at his neighbors. He tells the 911 operator that he's going over there to shoot these guys with his shotgun, and does it. The kids who worked behind the counter were laughing at the tape of this guy on the news, I think there were gun shots in the background once he walked away from the phone, but I could be inserting that memory myself. I felt chills run down my spine, and had no impulse to laugh. Is laughing wholly inappropriate here, or is it just me?

It reminds me of the scene in No Country For Old Men where Tommy Lee Jones is reading an article about some serial killing couple in California, he quotes the end of the article, "neighbors were alerted when they saw a victim escaping the house wearing only a dog collar". Tommy Lee inserts that they didn't think anything was wrong when they were burying people in the backyard, though. The deputy laughs, and tries to stifle it. Jones tells him it's okay, he had to laugh himself.

Has it gotten so bad that all we can do is laugh, and then laugh hysterically, at such a tragedy. Or am I just being to uptight, having been on the line with 911 myself so recently?

That night has affected me so deeply. It's affected both of us very deeply, and we're still dealing with it. I've had this simmering headache that keeps resurfacing, and my eyelids have these consistent little twitches. Every time Amanda is hurting, or anxious, I think that I could have pulled her more out of the way, that I could have dropped her off in front of the Jackpot, instead of her crossing the street with me.

After my initial attempts to break through Bruce Tedder's door, I lost anger towards the man who hit Amanda. I felt bad for him, thinking how this night would have changed his life forever, in a way wholly different than the way it changed Amanda's or mine. How he was probably in a part of town he didn't know too well, and didn't realize the street he was on dead ended into a parking lot. Then we found out this was going to be his third DUI, and I lost compassion toward him. We received a copy of the police report, saw his blood alcohol level was over twice the limit, and I had no more compassion for this man, none whatsoever. An arrogant bastard who didn't learn his lesson the first two times he got in trouble for drunk driving. Who didn't care, this reaches beyond his bad luck, his not knowing any better, and into hubris, where he deserves everything that happens to him now.

Then last night, Amanda and I were watching one of the most ridiculous movies we've ever seen, Dreamcatcher. In every scene, the preposterousorosity level just ratchets further and further. It operates in a bizarro universe where Tom Sizemore is the straight arrow and Morgan Freeman is the loose cannon. Aliens invade in viral form and then explode out of your ass, and that's only the begining. I'm getting off point though, early in the movie, a character crosses the street and is hit by a car. It was quick and violent, and then there was silence on the other end of the couch. I look over and tears are filling the eyes of the woman I love. And I know who's to blame for this. I know his name, I know his face, and I hate him now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Amanda Was Hit By A Car

Last night, my girlfriend (whom most of you know) and I were standing on the corner, waiting to cross Hillsborough Street. A drunk driver came barreling towards us, I pulled Amanda out of the way in time for her to only be hit on her side, she escaped with minor injuries. Thank God. She walked out of the hospital last night, and I really haven't slept since.

In some happy news, the article on the local news channel's website says Amanda is 18. Sweet.

Monday, November 12, 2007

An Inconvenient Hoax

Yesterday while visiting my parents, my dad brought up the subject of global warming (I think he's still under the impression that Reagan was right about the cow farts). He brought up this recent study that proved Global Warming was caused by bacteria. I found this hard to believe, and told him I'd look it up the next day and figure out how to refute it. (Details about how the authors were intimidated by the politics of scientists etc. were red herrings of conservative hogwash)*.

A quick Google search of "global warming bacteria" quickly pointed me towards what I thought was the case. It was a hoax. Not only a hoax, but a prank, as the author, David Thorpe puts it, "it was meant to show that some sceptics will uncritically grab any evidence casting doubt on most scientists’ view that human activities are the main cause."

Thorpe made up the scientists who participated in his "study". A quick and easy search of the departments at The University of Arizona shows you there's no "Department of Climatology". Also, the fake authors were not employed by the University. I couldn't find a reply to this incident from UofA, though I don't necessarily blame them, I thought it'd be an interesting thing to read.

*Speaking of conservative hogwash, comedian Rush Limbaugh was fooled by this. Not a hard thing to do, no doubt, but even Rush's "scientist" later apologized for it. I couldn't see if he himself retracted the story, you need to be a member of Rush's website to even see any content, and I'm just too good for that.

Al Gore and Stephen Hawking, still smarter than Rush Limbaugh.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Red Skull

I've started writing my CCR overview over at The Red Skull. I'm doing an album a day. Well, The Red Skull is up and running O-fish-ally. Just thought I'd let you know, now, I'm gonna go waste time in front of the Playstation with Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

In Which I Outline A Plan For Getting This Blog Back Into Shape

October passed with only four blog posts, sorry about that. I'd like to say that I've been busy. That really hasn't been the case. This wasn't planned but I spent two weeks of October not working. The first week being the wonderful beach vacation that Amanda and I went on. The other week being the time spent in Ohio, then the schedule confluence where this week's days off were at the beginning of the week, compounded with the second half of last week spent in Ohio. So, no real excuse for such a small blogging output.

I've felt like I haven't had anything to write about. A feeling that I'm struggling with as I type this. (I'm hoping that somewhere in the middle of the third paragraph, I get struck with some kind of inspiration). Or maybe shortly after I typed that last period. The song that started after the aforementioned punctuation on iTunes was "The First Few Desperate Hours" by The Mountain Goats. It's hard to do anything but pay rapt attention to Mountain Goats songs, getting entwined in the mess of Darnielle's words. Where conversations and short one act plays bloom fully realized in sparkling lo-fidelity. Then I think about John Darnielle's second life as a music critic, his upcoming book about a Black Sabbath record.

This blog is in it's eleventh month, five months into my blogging, I started getting put to paper by the good people at The Raleigh Hatchet (through no shortage of nepotism, me being the music editor's live-in boyfriend). In that span, I haven't written enough formal reviews (seven pieces published in the Hatchet, three "Red Skull" reviews, and two song reviews). So I think I'm going to start reviewing random things off my record shelves, probably keeping them under the "Red Skull" heading for now. I probably don't have enough time before work to finish whatever review I decide to start once I'm done writing this post, so, expect it on Monday (we're trying to have guests for dinner tomorrow, plus football games) I doubt I'll get a chance to write before Monday afternoon. So maybe out of having a goal or mission or whatever will get me writing more than just music reviews, and I can get this blog back up to at least 20 posts a month. Lofty goal, no?

So, here is a preliminary list of things I want to review.
Tom Verlaine- Words From The Front
Mountain Goats- Tallahassee
Old Time Relijun- Catharsis In Crisis (I'm writing this one for the Hatchet for sure)
Dead Kennedys- Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
Graham Parsons- Grevious Angel
Heatmiser- Mic City Sons
Honor Role- Album
The Who- The Who By The Numbers
Stevie Wonder- Down To Earth or Live (one of these records have one side that's pretty scratched up, making it pretty unlistenable by half, unless I can find that other half on the internet, in which case I might review both)
Creedence Clearwater Revival- s/t (their first album is a lost masterpiece, if you can call something with Susie Q and I Heard It Through The Grapevine lost... I might just do a whole Creedence overview, that's getting way ahead of myself, though)

Any suggestions as to others I should review would be appreciated. The list will obviously expand, and I'm guessing the first ones you'll see will be the Tom Verlaine and the Old Time Relijun first, unless I really get into the Creedence idea.

So, as I was getting dressed for work, I got struck with this great idea that pertained to what I've touched on here. To encapsulate it quickly, so I won't be late for work, I want to get all the writers I know to help me turn this idea into a seperate blog. Where writers can write about their favorite records from a critical eye. We'd call the blog The Red Skull, unless someone can come up with a better name, which wouldn't hurt. Anyway, the blog would be dedicated to talking about the music that you're passionate about, not the music that needs promoting because it's coming out in a week, or the band is coming through on tour, which is what I feel like I'm doing sometimes. Though I'm promoting bands that I'm passionate about, still, this would be a different thing, and come from a different place. I'm very excited about it. So, let's get to work, friends.

**Double Appendectomy**
The Red Skull is launched, I'm working on the first review now.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cuyahoga Falls On Cuyahoga Falls

Here are some pictures from my trip to Ohio last week. It was my first time back in the Akron area, where I lived for the first seven years of my life, in seven years. I went because my Grandma broke her hip, she had recently came out of surgery when we got there. It was not a good trip, I did get some good pictures, though.

I was also going to have some pictures from last night's Scout Niblett show at the Local 506, the douchebag PR guys that told us they had our names on the list didn't come through, so no press for Niblett. Though I do love her new album, and I recently fawned over her latest video, no write-ups, until these PR guys get their shit together.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Shuffle Game. Round 3.

I was aimlessly clicking around the internet, thinking about my Grandma all laid up in the hospital, and also, how I haven't blogged in a long while. And how it would take something really good to kick me back into blogging gear. (In case you were wondering, my Grandma and Grandpa's house flooded recently when a water main broke, I guess in the basement, details are sketchy... Anyway, while they were moving stuff out of the house into the garage, she tripped and broke her hip and thigh. I'm mulling over ditching work and heading up there with my parents on Thursday).

Oh, right, so something good to kick me back into blogging, Marco has authored another chapter to the Shuffle Game. I think I'll just get right into it.

1.) Describe your first date. Shuffle Says: "Early Grave" by Honor Role
Hah! My first date was with this girl named Jamie. She ended up being a good friend for years afterwards, though our dates were extremely awkward. She would drive me around in her parents huge van, like the kind with felt carpeting and a boat style round window next to the back seat. A few dates in we went to a record store after sitting by the lake for a while, she came around a corner of an aisle, and was surprised to see me in the store, like "oh what are you doing here!? it's so nice to see you!" "um I came here with you, we've been hanging out all day..." Early Grave, indeed.
2.) What is your personal religion?Shuffle Says: "Weird Fishes/Appregi" by Radiohead
Damn. The new Radiohead is so fucking good. Those little fishes on the back of cars means Jesus, right?
3.) What do you think of your current hometown?Shuffle Says: "I'll Cry Instead" by The Beatles
"yes I'm gonna break em in two, I'll show you what a lovin' man will do, but 'till then, I'll cry instead" not sure if that completely sums up Raleigh, or is just an awesome line.
4.) What do you feel guilty about?Shuffle Says: "Rainy Streets" by Superchunk
I'm feeling guilty about Superchunk not having made an album in like seven years.
5.) What embarrasses you?Shuffle Says: "I Will Die 4 U" by Prince
Man, this question has such potential. Let's try another song that might answer it better. How about "Knight Rider" by Of Montreal. I'm embarrassed by my talking car. iTunes doesn't like this question. Next.
6.) What kind of restaurant would you open?Shuffle Says: "Mizu Asobi" by Asobi Seksu
The sprightly Japanese answer to My Bloody Valentine's theme song can mean only one thing "SUSHI"! I've been on a huge Sushi kick of late. I ate at this amazing sushi place in downtown Wilmington called Nina's it was the best sushi I've ever had.
7.) How do you feel about fall?Shuffle Says: "The Sky Is Falling" by Queens Of The Stone Age
Good answer, iTunes. Does that mean we're gonna get rain before the year's over? Hopefully not before the windows in the Saturn are replaced.
8.) What’s your greatest fear?Shuffle Says: "Funeral Song" by Sleater-Kinney
Yeah. That'd be it. Fucking prescient-ass shuffle algorithms.
9.) What’s your biggest weakness?Shuffle Says: "Go With The Flow" by MF Doom
Honestly, this is pretty right on. I might be too laid back about exigent circumstances
10.) What was the last lie you told?Shuffle Says: "Victoria" by The Kinks
"Victoria, was my queen, Viiiiiictorrrrrrrrria!" she never was. Sorry I lied about that.
11.) What’s the biggest thing you learned in school?Shuffle Says: "The Lost Art Of Keeping A Secret" by Queens Of The Stone Age
"whatever you doooo, don't tell anyone" it's a good thing to know.
12.) What did you dream your life would be like as a child?Shuffle Says: "Living For The City" by Stevie Wonder
Getting busted as soon as I moved to the big city. What an awesome song.
13.) What was your first serious girlfriend/boyfriend like?Shuffle Says: "Foxy Brown" by The Moaners
That would have been awesome. That would have been terrific. Unfortunately my first serious girlfriend was this goth chick who kept her ex's piss in a big mason jar in her closet. Which I discovered while I was feeding her hamster.
14.) What were you doing 10 years ago?Shuffle Says: "The Heart Of Saturday Night" by Jonathon Richman (Tom Waits cover).
The Jonathon Richman version translates much better to the Saturday night of a troublesome teen than the original, which is better for the late twenties alcoholic on Saturday night.
15.) What will you be doing in 10 years?Shuffle Says: "Hock It" by The Blow
Wow, that doesn't sound like it's gonna be so awesome judging by the title. The lesbians on the prowl at night make it sound a little more interesting.
16.) What does a cry for help from you sound like?Shuffle Says: "Can I Get A Witness" by Marvin Gaye
Best sounding cry for help. ever.
17.) What do you buy at Wal-Mart?Shuffle Says: "So. Central Rain" by REM
Favorite REM song. I don't shop at Wal-Mart, either.
18.) Describe your personal political philosophy Shuffle Says: "The Freedom Rider" by Art Blakey
I'm an old school, seven minute liberal drum solo.
19.) Do You like to travel?Shuffle Says: "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake
Yes. I'm of the generation that can't separate Nick Drake and this song specifically from that fantastic VW ad, which I think is the greatest commercial ever. That commercial made me swoon. This song makes me swoon. This song makes me want to drive out to the country and find lightning bugs right now. I think I'll continue blogging, though.
20.) How do you feel about your coworkers?Shuffle Says: "Masochism World" by Husker Du
Hah! At work I recently compared myself to Michael Jordan when he came back and was on the Wizards and had to carry all those other garbage players. The sous-chef quickly shot back that I was more like Michael Jordan when he played baseball. Touche.

UPDATE: Other blogs participating in the Shuffle Game Jenny and Marco Mike(more to come?)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Random Spirit Lover

Sorry I've been gone for so long. After taking a wonderous vacation, spread over two long weekends, my weeks home were compressed and filled with working and chores and other things that I take more time to do over the course of a full week. So, here's my stab at coming back, reviewing Sunset Rubdown's Random Spirit Lover...
Random Spirit Lover brings you in with a sweet little guitar solo and a piano pounding, setting your expectations for a jaunty little sing along. Seconds pass, and things get dense, and stay that way. It's an album that's thick like a molasses and motor oil cocktail (a molatorhito?). When Sunset Rubdown started out, they (he) sounded like Sebadoh fronted by a Thanksgiving Day David Bowie balloon. All jaunty lo-fi overpowered by Spencer Krug's big emotive voice. Ever since that first album, Snake's Got A Leg, Sunset Rubdown have built intensely ornate additions on top of their foundation. Like Manhattan gargoyles on Lincoln's log cabin.
The whole affair is puddled with pools of reverb. So when all effects are dropped off, like 2/3 of the way through "Upon Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Your Feral Days", and all you hear is Krug, the drums and gentle unadorned electric guitar strum it breaks your heart. Even moreso when he accuses you of "kissing your captor's hands". "Upon Your Leopard..." is a fantastic, towering song that barrels towards and past you, barely giving you time to catch up with it. Almost instinctively you sing along with Krug's "whoah oh oh"'s. They serve almost as reminder to Krug and the band that there are people listening to this record, and it'd be nice to include them in the games they're playing.
"She said ‘My sails were flapping in the wind’, I said ‘Can I use that in a song, she said ‘I mean the end begins’, I said ‘I know, can I use that too?’" There’s something about conversations in songs that I absolutely love. It’s a trick that must be used sparingly and only by someone who knows what he’s doing. Clearly, Spencer Krug is one of those people. The previous quote is dropped in the middle of "The Taming Of The Hands That Came Back To Life", a jaunty little stomper of a song that is more of a narrative where the conversation is part of the story. Whereas "Wicked/Winged Things" is a conversation between two people who’ve seen something they can’t quite explain, like "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" but completely different.
One thing that definitely sets this record apart from previous Sunset Rubdown albums is how this is not a solo side project anymore. Sunset Rubdown is officially a band, and they're tight and virtousic. Guitarist, Michael Doerkson's feverish solos bring to mind Television's Marquee Moon. Like that 30 year old masterpiece, Doerkson's solos weave together lattice skyscrapers atop the purposefully queasy sea of the rest of the band. Creating an island that floats with no avenues. Krug's lyrics eventually pull up, take you around town in verbal gondolas.
So, after trying to avoid mentioning Krug’s other full-time band, I find myself here mentioning Wolf Parade. Both bands have become leviathans. Muscular and imposing figures, with different compositions. Where Wolf Parade are built like a professional wrestler, Sunset Rubdown is more like one of those mountain climbers that don’t use ropes. More sinew than huge biceps and forearms. Not that one is better than the other, the mountain climber can’t pull off a convincing pile driver, and the wrestler can’t, well, climb mountains. One thing is sure though, they both could kick my ass.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Most Beautiful Stop-Gap

Hello. Been back from the beach for a few days now, just busy. And when I wasn't busy I was getting my heart ripped out by The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Best book I've read since Middlesex. I've got a few ideas for posts, and maybe I'll get around to writing at least one of them tomorrow before I go to work. Like a post about Deadwood and it's sort of revolutionary twist on standard dramatic forms all within the framework of a Western. (And though I know that Deadwood's been off the air for a while, I just finished watching the DVDs for the first time. So just bear with me.) I also need to write a full review of the new Sunset Rubdown album (awwwesome!) And pictures from the beach. But I think I'll save that for a comprehensive collection of the two weekends at the beach. I'm just too exhausted tonight, but I though I should just pop in, establish that I didn't wash away into the sea.

Posting videos is normally just a stop gap, but tonight I'm posting a very good video. Maybe the best I've posted yet. This is a song by Scout Niblett. I was very underwhelmed by Niblett when I heard her album last year, this new shit, though. Damn. The video reminds me of the hey day of the "alternative rock" videos that MTV used to play. (It's been so long since those hey days, that it's a cliche to even point out that it's a cliche to say MTV doesn't play videos.) Where was I? Oh yeah, when a music video could come on, and unexpectedly introduce some amazing song that breaks your heart. Anyway, just watch it. It's a perfect song. Oh, and it's got Bonnie "Prince" Billy in it. Can't ever go wrong with him.

Friday, September 28, 2007

London Calling

If, at gun point, you were to force me to pick a favorite band, (outside of the Beatles, because that's too easy.) I'd have to say The Clash. Hands down. No one, outside of The Beatles played with such mastery and ferocity at the same time. (And it might sound weird to think of The Beatles as fierce, but listen to how they play, they put everything into their songs). London Calling is my second favorite album of all time (The White Album being #1). As I was walking to work today, I was humming the title track to London Calling, and when I was done with that, I started humming the next song, "Brand New Cadillac". London Calling is the perfect album. While I have more affection for the White Album, it has two weak songs on it. London Calling has none. Not a bum track in the lot.

Anyway, I was just getting all hyped up about listening to London Calling today, and before I did, I stumbled upon this preview for the upcoming Joe Strummer documentary "The Future Is Unwritten". Which made me freak out even more.

I'm going to the beach tonight, so this will probably be the end of blogging for the month of September. I'm looking forward to October.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

General Betrayus Petreaus Is A Big Boy

The GALL! The nerve! The utter contempt for other human beings! How dare those commies at make a bad pun on the wonderful savior of our situation in Iraq's name.

Seriously? This is a big deal? Betrayus? Is a big deal? What a Crock{er}! Oh my God, another pun on another in a long line of stuffed shirts that have periodically come to save Iraq! Wasn't the War Czar supposed to fix everything?

This is slightly old news, the whole ad in the NYT by MoveOn that so offended the fragile sensibilities of the GOP. A true outrage! A pun on some General's name. What a bunch of lilly livered knee jerk liberals conservatives. It seems so out of character for these brave men and women who threw us gallantly unprepared into this war in the first place. Calling us cheese eating surrender monkeys and french during the lead up to the war. Now they're flailing, we're calling them stupid names, and they can't take it. One thing's for sure, when Fox News anchors called us cheese eating surrender monkeys, we certainly didn't call for a CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION! Seriously, what a bunch of little bitches.

I was going to make a long list of all the "mean names" that conservatives have bandied about regarding liberals, that would take too long, and I'd never fall back asleep. (Our cat, Black Sabbath woke us up an hour ago making a bunch of noise, and I haven't been able to fall back asleep yet.) So, instead of the list, I'll just direct you to Media Matters who spend all their time documenting this kind of douchebaggery. So, good night, morning, whatever.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dead Or Not Dead

Not Dead

In case anyone caught Bush's speach the other day, in reference to the "troubles" in Iraq. Pertaining to the lack of an instant democracy. He said there would be no Nelson Mandela in Iraq, because Nelson Mandela is dead. As I type this, former President Mandela, still alive. Good one, Bushie.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dear K-Ville, Stop Fucking Up

While the show has enormous potential, I was kind of disappointed in the reliance on old cop show formula. I was expecting more of a The Shield or The Wire type cop show. Maybe because I thought it would be impossible for someone who was aiming for any credibility, would wrap up a story line in one episode. (Let alone two plot lines that could have made an entire season.)

Now, I'm not completely against formula. If formula is done expertly. Take Law & Order for example. (The original and SVU are the only ones that do the formula thing well, Criminal Intent is straight Colombo style garbage in a better show's clothing.) Law & Order is all about formula, but a formula done so well that you could wrap yourself in it like a comforting blanket. Where The Wire and The Shield both did their best to completely shatter police procedural formats, Law & Order represents the status quo, albeit the epitome of status quo.

K-Ville has pretensions at being like The Shield, a gritty city as a main character, gritty cops with shadowy pasts... yet two chases with shooting first, two car chases, a supposed victim getting her masked pulled off to reveal she would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling police officers... I can only hope that, this being the pilot, K-Ville can still change it's direction a bit. Kill the Starsky & Hutch formula, do more with New Orleans than constantly talk about pride, and less shootouts. No one buys that anymore. And you're definitely not going to bring it back.

So, K-Ville, stop fucking up.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hurricane Katrina and The Red Meat Grillin' Grills of Conservative Bloggers

Over at The Midpoint, Marco has been discussing his obsession with The John Locke Foundation's blog (which I won't link to, out of principle). It's hard to wrap your head around the arguments conservatives make when they take the time to write out their screeds (as opposed to the blurtings on television). Now, this might sound like I'm a biased asshole, and I am biased. But the asshole tag definitely belongs to this guy. To encapsulate, Raleigh area blogger, Confederate Yankee (somehow linked to JLF), says we shouldn't work to rebuild New Orleans because it's a waste of money. Why? Because it says so in the Good Book. And you know, science hasn't advanced much since.

To make light of such a disaster, and write off an entire city, is true douchebaggery.

So, it's only fitting that God would tease him a little bit, and throw his grill around the other day when those tornadoes passed by. Only he has the temerity to ask for donations from his readers in order to pay for that poor grill that God took from him.

But it would just go against conservative orthodoxy to give money to people living in a town destroyed by nature (or God, as the case may be), to rebuild their town. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, and when you get ahold of said bootstraps, why don't you move your historic town, a few miles away from the water.

In related news, K-Ville is coming on tonight. I'm very interested in seeing it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pictures From Hatchetfest 2007

There's only one picture that I got Friday night that I actually liked (of Anne from Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan), I included two more from the concert to represent the other bands that played, but I'm not crazy about the pictures themselves. The problem with almost all of the pictures I took there was the complete lack of lighting at Hell. Not to blame Hell, they're not usually a place for shows, and they really didn't have anywhere to hang lights. The concert itself was a lot of fun, though. Scott from Monologue Bombs put on a really great show, there was this moment where he was fucking around at the begining of the show and sang the hook of "That's Amore'" and it totally lifted that song out of the ridiculous schlockiness that I've always associated it with. Scott just has an amazing voice and so much talent, I sometimes have a hard time describing how I feel about someone so talented, and this is one of those cases. It kind of reminds me of this story that Andrew Bird told before he sang "The Happy Birthday Song" the other night. He has this friend who is so musical that it's overwhelming, he can sing "Happy Birthday" and make it sound like the best thing you've ever heard. Scott's like that. Like Bart said, "Everytime I see that guy do something, he makes me a little weepy."

As an added bonus, there are pictures of other local bands playing live in the slideshow.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Judge By The Cover

Judge By The Cover is an occasional feature they do at The Hatchet, I'll be submiting some form of this for that. (I'm going to apologize to anyone who happens to be reading this while I'm writing it. I keep on publishing this post and then thinking of something else to say, adding things, publishing and adding on again. I can't guarntee that this will be the last time I edit this post.)

Witchcraft- The Alchemist
Candlelight Records

The Cover: A simple, fairly straightforward drawing of an androgynous witch with ravens and flowers. The praying hands contradicting with the band name, I'd take a guess that this is industrial/metal with "God is fraud/I hate myself and wanna die" desperation lyrics. Though I'm kind of completely thrown off by the complete lack of the color black being completely absent from this cover. So my guess, is highly laughable self serious metal made on the cheap.

The CD inside the cover: I really can't recall the last time I've been this thrown off my horse by an album we've received with out prior knowledge as to what it is. This is fantastic. It's metal, all right, but the kind of metal that hipsters and indie rock kids like myself can get down with. The band is a tight combination of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. The singer has a smooth controlled voice that wouldn't be out of place dueting with Hall or Oates that at the same time recalls Glenn Danzig. (An actual Danzig duet with Hall or Oates would be amazing think of it "oh oh here she comes!, she's a man eater!") The lyrics stick with the old metal precedents, walls of confusion, pots of gold, witches etc. all serving as metaphors for psychic unrest, drug problems, father/mother issues. The Alchemist clocks in at a spartan 45 minutes, recalling the short bursts of great Sabbath albums like Master Of Reality or Paranoid. In no way overstaying it's welcome, The Alchemist gets in and gets out. In every way this album sounds completely out of step with modern metal, without sounding too much like a nostalgia act.

This is what Judge By The Cover is all about, an album transcending biases and music snobbery in spite of it's appearances.

The Pavlovian Nature of "Take My Breath Away", A Question About Race and Kirsten Dunst Movies

This post comes out of a comment that I was writing in a post on Marco's blog that got way too long to just be a comment. The context of this as a comment, in relation to an earlier comment about Fred Thompson*, was my telling Marco that I had finally saw Rambo III based on his suggestion. (Which I covered in more detail here last month.) Marco replied that Rambo III was the ultimate 80's action movie. Though it didn't beat Commando or Red Dawn's right wing propaganda or Top Gun's overt homoeroticism.

It's funny that as a kid, my favorite non-Superman movie was Top Gun. The latent homosticity of Top Gun was completely lost on me. I only knew that whenever "Take My Breath Away" came on, it was time to fast forward until Tom Cruise was riding off on his motorcycle victoriously from fucking Kelly McGillis. This fast forwarding was downright Pavlovian, as when I watched it years and years later, when it was alright to watch a PG-13 sex scene, I fast forwarded as the cheese synthesizers coincided with the wind blowing McGillis' white curtains. To this day I actually have no idea of what really goes on in this scene. I can only assume that it is the single best PG-13 sex scene ever, though I probably will never know for sure.
I've never seen Commando or Red Dawn, as I secretly LOVE these movies, I feel sad to admit it. I was looking up Commando on imdb, and saw that Dan Hedaya** plays the the evil Latin American dictator.
(This is where it becomes ridiculously long for a comment...) It's funny to me how so many actors who clearly aren't Latin play Latin characters in movies. Scarface being the biggest, clearest, most over the top example. And it seems that Hollywood has shifted from it's early ideas on this ("get an Italian to play a Latin, I mean, Italians invented Latin!") to this newer dynamic of getting Arabs to play Latins. (an example would be the guy who plays Farik on Sleeper Cell, ((also of The Mummy)) Oded Fehr.) he's currently playing a Carlos Olivera in the upcoming Resident Evil movie. Clearly, he's not Hispanic, and clearly Olivera is not an Arab name. Is it just because he's brown? So I guess my question is... Is this trend of getting non-Latins to play Latin characters a clear case of racism or a clear case of free trade in a post-globalization world?

*The Fred Thompson comment was pertaining to how Thompson is/was the worst DA they ever had on Law & Order. Steven Hill played that role with true cranky old man virtuosity.
**Pertaining to Dan Hedaya, he was in what was one of the best comedies of the 90's, Dick. If you're unfamiliar with Dick, or maybe doubting me about Dick, I suggest you watch it (for the first time or again) and realize the genius of this movie. Hedaya plays Nixon with such ridiculous jowl shaking paranoia, it transcends parody into absolute realism. Will Ferrel and Bruce McCullouch (of Kids In The Hall fame) play Woodward & Bernstein with cartoonish contempt for eachother, Dave Foley is Haldeman (Kids In The Hall again), and Harry Shearer is G. Gordon Liddy. I could go on and on, but the casting is brilliant, aside from a few 90's comedy cliches, it's hilarious. Right up there with the brilliant and overlooked "Drop Dead Gorgeous".

In the process of getting a picture of Steven Hill as Adam Schiff, I stumbled upon the site of an artist named Brandon Bird. He does pop culture saturated paintings and t-shirts, the one with Lenny Briscoe on it will be ordered and on my person shortly. I would suggest checking out his paintings, I really enjoyed them.

The Money Will Roll Right In

what i'm listening to right now: Capital Radio 2- The Clash

After a month plus of hiatus, Amanda got back on the blogging horse. As has been the case since it's inception, quality far outweighs quantity at The Obscure Object of Desire.

To rehash a point that Amanda made in her rash of blogging yesterday, The Hatchetfest is tonight in Hell, Chapel Hill, NC. It's a complete clusterfuck. Times two, to the nth power. The bands are all Hatchet writer approved local acts, Monologue Bombs, Cantwell Gomez & Jordan, and Jews & Catholics (in the interest of some disclosure, three of the performers tonight, Cantwell, Jews, and Catholics all work for the same company that Amanda does, Ed McKay's Used Books).

In other news, my brother Dan and I spent a couple of hours last night trying to figure out how to loop samples on his new recording console, we are trying to make a song, using a sample of the drums from "Got To Have It" by Soul President and another as yet undecided drum track. On top of that, Dan is going to totally rock the fuck out on guitar, bass, and keys. Once we figure out what the hell we're doing, and finish this song, look forward to hearing it on this blog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wicked/Winged Things

this is the first draft of my review of the new Sunset Rubdown song, "Wicked/Winged Things" on the upcoming Random Spirit Lover. I spent a day conflicted as to whether I should download the leak of the whole album off the internet and just review that, seeing as this song was so damn amazing. I ultimately decided against it, though it essentially takes a good chunk of what I would have put in the album review and puts it to press, rendering it useless if I were to review the album proper. At any rate, this should appear in the next Hatchet after revisions and editing.

Download This Song From Jagjaguwar

Spencer Krug must be one of those crate digging/file sharing maestros, that guy you know who played that Velvet Underground demo for you and spoke rapturously about it, noting the differences in how "The Ocean" unfolds over 10 minutes in the live version, whereas the one on VU comes in at a scant 5 minutes. Krug brings this love of the process of song into his creative output. From his first Sunset Rubdown album, Snake's Got A Leg songs that months later appeared on Wolf Parade albums in full blossom were little bedroom freakout ballads. On last year's "Shut Up I Am Dreaming", Krug returned to a few songs adding virtuosic guitar players, keeping the shambolic keyboards and flexing his Wolf Parade muscles in different ways.

These new songs from his new upcoming album, Random Spirit Lover are all a continuation of this process. Where fanboys inherit the earth. The new single, "Wicked/Winged Things" saw release earlier this year as an mp3 on in a different, slightly more subdued version. Sunset Rubdown sound even tighter than before, rivaling the towering majesty of Krug's other full time band, Wolf Parade. Every new thing from these Canadian boys makes me terribly nervous before I hear them. How can they keep it up? How can they release three solo albums between the two lead singers, and at least two more where Krug was a contributing member. When is the shark going to jump the pool full of motorcycles? When will they run out of juice. As these songs from Random Spirit Lover, and last month's Wolf Parade show (which was heavy with new songs) at the Cat's Cradle can attest; it hasn't happened yet.

"Wicked/Winged Things" slowly creeps in on the listener. Soap opera synths whisper the song into life as blissfully reverberated guitars tremble like the handheld harps of cloud bound angels. Krug asks whether these angels are angels, white as the Shroud of Turin, or are they just smoke? If these angels are more than just "the white air of Poseidon", they're not perfect. Here is where Krug knocks me flat. As the band pounds out a backdrop for volcanic lead guitar, he draws a straight line through the "chaotic and blind" flight pattern, as chaos is luck, luck is love, and love is blind. Not as much of a straight line as a circle. Is it a snake eating itself? Isn't that just what a circle is? In the end, as the chaos built around the song begins to fade, Krug puts the matter to rest, "oh I say I've seen them, it's just smoke".

Where the poet, Billy Collins wondered what angels do when not dancing on the head of a pin, Krug's is content to question only if they're there.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Glenwood Like A Promethean Curse

I know in my last post I had alluded to some magic bullet of a post that would snap me back into a blogging fury, and as with most things like that, I got distracted from it and don't even remember what that post was supposed to be about. So, sorry about that.

The distraction in question is new songs from Sunset Rubdown's upcoming album Random Spirit Lover, which I'm writing a review of for next month's Hatchet. This one song in particular is just flooring me, "Wicked/Winged Things"

your pattern of flight is chaotic and blind
but it's right 'cause chaos is
yours and it's mine
and chaos is luck
and luck love and love blind
your pattern of flight is chaotic and blind but it's right 'cause is yours
and it's mine mine mine and chaos is blind and they say love is blind

So, I'm really looking forward to finishing that, and getting the proper album for review, (hopefully before the deadline for the song review, so I can build the album review around the song review).

In other news, I'm kinda disappointed in this upcoming Bob Dylan boxed set, which for the first time in the fairly storied history of his non album releases brings up a serious case of redundancy. As far as I can tell from the tracklist, there is nothing new. No unreleased tracks, no alternate takes, just a repackaged greatest hits, given the capital B boxed set treatment. Which of course has already happened. Biograph, being one of the better (and first major) boxed sets ever made. Where "Dylan" fails and Biograph succeeded was a wealth of unreleased songs and songs only available as singles, that put the "greatest hits" songs in a different light. Without the benefit of throwing in any "lost" songs, "Dylan" sits like a question, "didn't you already buy this stuff?" As an introduction to Bob Dylan, this set is too heavy on later period stuff to really impress the point of why he's so revered, this set has no real appeal to the rabid fan. And that's pretty much it, there is the rabid fan, and the neophyte. The casual fans are few and far between. Those new to Bob Dylan are better served by buying an actual album or Biograph.

As a rabid fan, I'm kind of relieved that this set doesn't have any "lost" songs on it. Because I would spend money on it. As I have on every release in the "Bootleg Series", which is the best handling of an artist's rarities collections ever. Though Bob Dylan is a special case in the prolificacy that wasn't shared by other big names from the time like The Beatles or Rolling Stones.

(This is something that most people know about me, that I haven't relayed yet in Beneath The Underdog, I'm a HUGE Bob Dylan fan, I have everything outside of the post-finding Jesus period, which I am not afraid to say have no redeeming qualities whatsoever, post-post-Jesus Bob is tolerable, though I don't give it the breathless praise that it's given in the press.)

The boxed set, which if you've ever had a conversation about Bob Dylan with me, you might recognize how the name of it boils my grits, it's called "Dylan". I'm not a fan of calling Bob Dylan "Dylan", like he's either a dead poet/philosopher, or in a disdainful contemptuous dismissal, "Dylan". One is too rapturous, one is just plain silly. I have a hard time dismissing a musician because of an unconventional voice. (And not to be a total asshole to some of these dismissers, over the past twenty years plus Bob Dylan's done no favors to anyone by dragging his words out like cats to the vet). To take these transgressions and dismiss what was essentially the best fifteen year hot streak that any musician ever went on. Shit, Lou Reed only had four years (albeit four of the most important years in the evolution of punk, indie rock, et al).

To promote this new boxed set, though, a remix of "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)" by Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse producer). Which is essentially the Dap-Kings (of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings fame, also Amy Winehouse's backing band), playing over the original song, with only Bob's singing remaining. Not bad at all, a few Motown string flourishes would have put it over the top, but it's an interesting re-imagining of one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. Here's the video for the remix, which is kinda lame, in a VH1 Classic kind of way.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Rosebuds

Went to see The Rosebuds Saturday night at "The Downtown Event Center". God bless whoever it was that decided to talk the third owners of this spot to try live music again, but I think it's just a bad spot. The Rosebuds put on a great show though, it's been a while since we've seen them.

A note to all my readers, I know I've let you down as of late, what with the light posting. I have an idea for an actual, substantial post that I'll write either tommorow or the day after, so look forward to that. Until then, have a glorious Labor Day, remember all the workers who had their heads caved in so you can have today, and weekends in general, off.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Clean Machine

I have had nothing to blog about lately. I've avoided it at all costs for the past couple of days. I cleaned 70% of the apartment today, just to avoid blogging. Alas, Amanda's late getting home, and rather than clean, I'll blog.

Damn. I can't think of anything to blog about. I listened to a bunch of music today. I listened to the first Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album, forgetting how fantastic it is.

Well, I've got nothing, so, have a looksee at this.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Daily Show

The Daily Show has been very on point this past week. I don't have cable, but I do watch the show through Comedy Central's website. This clip in particular struck me as great.

And this was pretty interesting, but it made me feel a little weird. It's probably the best PR move I've seen the army do in... ever. Pretty shrewd if you ask me. I doubt they'll get any recruits out of this, though, I'm pretty sure I like the brass in charge more than I ever have before.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Del Scorcho and The Spaghetti on My Lawn

Two nights ago I went to see Wolf Parade with my friend, Brian. It was an awesome show. The opening band we saw was kind of bullshit. Unlike the first time I saw Wolf Parade when Holy Fuck opened and blew everyone's minds. Wolf Parade were on fire, though. And drunk. They took to calling themselves Del Scorcho (because of the Tecate they were drinking in large sums). Sums? Amounts, more likely. They played a bunch of new songs that were great, but the best parts were the old songs. Only because they were so tight on those songs. I spent the time after the show contemplating if this was a better show than Parts & Labor which up until that night was the best show I've seen this year.

When I actually think about it, this has been one of the best years for shows in a long time. Two nights of Yo La Tengo, TV on The Radio, The Rosebuds' last show at Kings (with the indescribable greatness that was Monotonix), the last night of Kings itself, Parts & Labor, and now Wolf Parade. There were even more shows that I missed out on, and a few biggies on the horizon. Like next month's Andrew Bird show at The Carolina Theatre.

I would have posted this yesterday, and it probably would have been fresher with more anecdotes about the actual show, if it weren't for my neighbors. I've complained about them here before, and I'm going to do it again. Yesterday in between my shifts, as I walked home, I saw a crazy stir of flies right by the walkway to the house. Oh god, could this be Tabitha, I thought? (Tabitha is their declawed house cat that they make live outdoors). No, it wasn't as awful as that, instead, it was a pile of spaghetti with meat sauce. Nowhere near the trash can that was sitting fifteen feet away on the curb (which wasn't even picked up, I'm starting to get mad at the trash men too, but I'll leave that for later). This complete disregard for well, everything is infuriating. There's also the room sized rug they've had on the curb for more than a month, the trash bags they leave on the ground to rot when one of our two cans are full.... FUCK! When I go outside this afternoon, if I see a pile of spaghetti still, I'm gonna lose my shit. It's clearly not our spaghetti. We haven't had spaghetti in weeks.

I did make an amazing dinner last night, though. Pan seared rainbow trout with whipped sweet potatoes, roasted marshmallows, and finished with a pecan shallot brown butter. It was the best thing I've ever made.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Time Machine

Today I visited the two previous websites I've made. They were more geared towards art, which I've regretably just kind of stopped doing. I just feel kind of weird about doing anything like that anymore. Well, in case you are interested in seeing what I was up to in high school, drawing pictures and writing poorly... feel free to visit these sites.

I'll warn you, they're anglefire pages, so they're pretty slow. There are a ton of pictures, and I can't link to any of them directly off the pages because of the limited bandwidth of angelfire.

A Message Left On The Forehead Of God (immediately after high school)


The Toothpaste Jones Experience (during high school)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Left Hand/Right Hand

Last night while we were waiting for our sushi to arrive at Sushi Thai, I made an assertion that I wasn't completely sure was true. That I could still write with my left hand, since I was forced to for quite a long time when I broke my arm in kindergarten and there were some complications with the screws they put in my arm. I'm not sure why I said this, and was afraid when I picked up the sushi ordering pencil, that I'd reveal myself as a unidextrous fraud, and Amanda would leave me in search of a truly ambidextrous lover.

Luckily, handwriting is like riding a bike. Well, sorta. It's kind of slanted and I can't fit it in the lines yet, but, you know, better than I thought it'd be.
Well, fuck. I just spent a long time writing the rest of this piece. From here I was transitioning into how under appreciated the Who are, then the internet ate it as I was "publishing" it. And I'm actually not too upset about it. I'm upset in that I spent a long time writing something and it just disappeared. But not upset in that I lost something good. I ended up doubting the merits of my position, and finished the post by saying as much. The Who are/were awesome, but when measured against the greatness of their nearest competitors, The Stones and The Beatles, they are in their right place.
The one valid point that I think I made was that The Who sat in this strange spot in the mainstream where now only a small number of their songs fit into the formula of either radio station format that they belong in. Too weird or r&b inspired for classic rock, too loud for oldies stations.
At any rate, this is my 100th post, the fourth and final permutation of it (barring another internet accident). It went from describing this wonderful little bit of getting lost between our house and the sushi place, to complaining about my lawyer fucking things up for me, to my frustrated and ultimately defeated piece on The Who.
Here is where I would like to hand out thank yous and what nots. First, thanks to everyone for reading my blog. Thanks to other bloggers, like Marco, Jenny, and Mike. Thanks to Parts & Labor for letting us into your show even though you weren't quite sure who we were, and thought we wrote for a different paper. Thanks to my brothers Dan and Tyler for going on photo adventures with me. And finally, thanks to my loving girlfriend, Amanda from whom I stole the idea of writing a blog in the first place. So here's to at least another 100 posts, if not 200.

And fuck The Who for making me write one of the worst things I've ever written, and thanks to the internet for eating that post.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Dynamite Brothers @ Slim's Last Night

My brother, Dan and I went to Kings Slim's last night to see one of favorite local bands, The Dynamite Brothers. I brought my camera along, but didn't feel like taking too many pictures. I got three good ones, and these are they. The second opening band was pretty good, though I didn't catch their name, and didn't have enough cash on me to buy a CD. I woulda if I coulda. I'll probably do some research and send them an email saying the Hatchet would like to review their album. They were from NYC, that was about all I caught. Dan got some good pictures of them, and I'll see if he'll let me put them up.
As I'm reading over this post, and I notice that I'm not writing very well. Hopefully that means that I'm saving all my writing powers for that extra paragraph I want to add to the Creeping Weeds review. Maybe I should go watch some Rome Season II before writing mortis sets in.

Dan in the parking deck last night.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Creeping Weeds- We Are All Part Of A Dream You're Having

here is my review of Creeping Weeds' We're All Part Of A Dream You're Having. it will appear in the next issue of The Raleigh Hatchet. (I added a paragraph, and Amanda fixed an awkward sentence to the original draft)

Like waking up to find Patrick Duffy in the shower, or when Lisa Simpson grew a world from her baby tooth in a bowl of Coca Cola. Philadelphia’s Creeping Weeds are impossible characters singing songs from deep inside of dream sequences. The music is shambolic, yet carefully layered thus recalling obvious influence Modest Mouse. Yet Creeping Weeds aren’t trying to be Modest Mouse, thankfully. No one’s yelping or trying to wrap their head around the entirety of existence in this band. Not that that’s a bad thing, but you know, things like that are best left to the professionals. The press release that accompanied this CD told me to read it if I liked The Beatles, Modest Mouse, or Neil Young. Read if I like the Beatles?! Read if I like cake on my birthday?

The stand out song of the album is the seven-minute "Derelict", tick-tocking it’s way into a twisted, ass-less funk riff. Xylophones and sitars pop up unexpectedly in the slow build of the song, echoing surf guitar leads the bass into the final minutes, where that funk riff finally gets an ass and starts shakin’ it. Then it starts slowing down, sounding like the last sputters of that perpetual motion machine that you were sure would work when you dreamed it up last night. I’m not sure why I keep coming back to the idea of dreams when I listen to this album. Is it the suggestion of the title, is it a concept album that I’m not listening intently enough to? Is there brilliance in a concept album that floats in the ether? That doesn’t announce itself? Or is this just a regular, dreamy style album, and I’m reading too much into it?

We Are All Part of A Dream You’re Having sounds like the second album that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah wanted to make. It’s more rounded out than the unbalanced experiments of Some Loud Thunder. The shifts from serpentine epics to lilting country numbers isn’t jarring, it’s smooth and considered. Even inside that lilting country number, "Our Country Home", moves made here seem natural, that, in other hands, would seem like hammy parlor tricks. At one point in "Our Country Home" they abandon the back porch for the angular rocking of the rest of the album, only to drop back into the countryside for thirty seconds at the end of the song. Creeping Weeds move about the album like it’s a perfect mix tape. That one where you got that perfect transition from "Get On The Good Foot" to "Swordfish Trombones".

Creeping Weeds have made a strong debut that stands above other entry-level indie rockers. There’s a sense of ease in their playing, even at their most wound-up. The musicians play together like a relaxed conversation between old friends. This album hints at the bigger things that they are capable of, not unlike the hints of that first Modest Mouse album, with a similarly long title.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

You Follow Me, Tabitha

I've spent the afternoon digging through the piles of promo CDs that Amanda's gotten in for the Hatchet, and I just found a doozy. Nina Nastasia & Jim White's new album "You Follow Me" is leaving me gobsmacked. You know what, I don't like that word. It's not only insufficient, it's an ugly looking word. I'd rather say... I'm floored? But that doesn't even work either. The idea has been implied by now, I guess.
The record is just guitar/drums/vocals. It's a bit folksy, or singer songwriterly, but then again, not. Maybe I'm just having a terrible time trying to describe this. It's just very good, especially surprising for something I know nothing about. It's a pretty tight record, no throwaways, like the ideal of a great Cat Power record. One where she miraculously avoids making a dirge about suicide.

A very pretty cat came up to our back door last night. Her name was Tabitha. We couldn't get a hold of her owner, so we assumed by her declawed paws that she was a housecat who got out and got lost. She was a tabby that was half gold and half brown/black. Half of her face was gold, the other half the standard tabby color configuration. There were gold patches that popped up in unexpected places, with little white boots for feet. We brought her in for the night, which upset Coltrane and Black Sabbath, but we assumed that this cat was lost, and that it definitely shouldn't be outdoors without claws. This morning her owner called and it was one of the girls who just moved in next door. She's out of town, and she just left her cat out in this shitty heat. That's awful. When she gets back we're gonna give her a good talking to about caring for your cat. You shouldn't let a declawed cat live outside, she can't defend herself. Especially against the fairly mean white and black cat that swats at our window when Coltrane or Sabbath are watching birds from the inside. I just went out back and saw that the food bowls she had set up for Tabitha on her back stoop are empty! It's a shame. So, Tabitha, if you've somehow surpassed standard cat knowledge and learned how to read, and happened upon this post while you were Googling yourself, you're welcome to come over and stay the night whenever you'd like.

Guilt By Association

Fun little video from a contest to make a video for this Guilt By Association compilation that's coming out soon. There's going to be a release party at the West End Wine Bar on Franklin St (Chapel Hill) on the fifth of next month. It's got some great looking tracks on it, like the above Petra Haden song, as well as Superchunk covering Destiny's Child and Will Oldham covering Mariah Carrey.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This Time Tomorrow

We had a great time at the beach this past weekend. Here's some photographic evidence.

Rambo, Karl Rove, The Gallant People of Afghanistan

I have a friend who swears by "First Blood" the first Rambo movie. He's a smart guy, and I normally respect his opinion, I don't know about this one though. I haven't actually seen any Rambo movie ever, until this afternoon. Today, I watched Rambo III, at the recommendation of Marco. A movie dedicated to "the gallant people of Afghanistan". It was hilariously over the top, even biting the idea of an inappropriately under aged sidekick from Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. Rambo fights alongside the mujaheddin in Afghanistan, saving his friend so the Americans can continue to supply rockets to the founders of the Taliban and al queda. After a ridiculous battle scene where, I shit you not, a tank crashes into a helicopter, head on.

I think that Stallone spent all of his time and money thinking that one scene up. The rest of the movie is just hodgepodged madness. The Afghani version of Short Round wasn't the only trick stolen from another, better movie. In the last hand to hand combat scene, where Rambo fights a very large Zangief-like Russian. While held in an inescapable bear hug by Zangief, Rambo notices the grenade on his nemesis' vest, pulls the key on the grenade, and boom. Completely stolen from the end of Raising Arizona.
The best part was when, in the fiery aftermath of the battle, his sidekick who looks a lot like the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asks him if he'll stay and fight. To which Rambo replies, "Maybe next time". Oh, I laughed so hard as Rambo and his buddy ride off to the Pakistan border in a bombed out Russian Jeep. It's so funny to see how the jingoism machine swings from side to side so quickly. I've got to give props to Stallone for not going back to fight his former friends in the new Rambo movie that they're making. He's saving Christian missionaries in Burma or something ridiculous like that. It'll still suck, though.
I was pretty much isolated during the trip to the beach, so I wasn't prepared for the fantastic and vexing news of Karl Rove's resignation, when I heard about it late last night. And I'm not sure what to make of it still. Admittedly, the time that I would normally have spent reading articles about this was spent watching Rambo III. (I thought that it would have served as a good frame for this post, or maybe I just wanted to lay down after a long lunch today). Either way, I suspect that Karl Rove's resignation might be part of some complicated political deal between the Democrats and Bush. This does sound a little out there, and maybe I'm thinking this way because I've seen every episode of The West Wing, but the timing doesn't make sense. Not in a "I'm resigning because there's nothing left for me to do with such a short amount of time left in this administration" way, because, there's plenty of time for him to continue tramping all over the Constitution. And it doesn't make sense in a "there's a lot of political pressure for me to resign" way, because the Plame case would have been a much better time for that kind of resignation. No, I think this is a move in a game of brinkmanship between the President and the Congress.
Okay, so here's what I think. I was completely flabbergasted by the Dem's vote to give Alberto Gonzalez more power of the warrantless wiretapping. It just could not be explained in a satisfactory manner to me. So, maybe the Dems gave Bush what he wanted for Karl Rove to resign. But where does that leave both parties? What do the Dems actually gain from the resignation of Karl Rove. Well, more leverage to get him and any other advisors to testify, would be one thing. Is there anything that the Dems can get out of what they gave Bush? Are they doing this with the thought that they'll indict Gonzalez for perjury and Rove for masterminding the whole AG firings, anyway? I hope so. I'm holding out with optimism. I've been let down by the politicians in Washington again and again and again. And I'm not sure what kind of optimism mine is, the optimism for a constitutional showdown between two branches of the federal government, is that actually optimism? Am I just the guy in the lunchroom that goes from table to table, looking for anyone who's arguing and starts chanting "fight! fight!"?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Buckets Of Rain

So, here's hoping that the rain stops, or at least isn't happening at the beach, I'm heading out there in a matter of hours.

I had this really wierd dream, where I was going around Carborro with Amanda, only I was a sort of pariah in the town and I was Bart Simpson. No one wanted me inside of their stores/bars/restaurants. So I had to sit outside and wait. A dog chased me away from Orange County Social Club, so I started walking aimlessly around town. I ran into my friend Melissa, and we hung out on the streets, giving fake shortcuts to all the people riding their bikes. Eventually a bike enforcement agent came by, and started hasslin' us. He told us to throw all of our ice into the ice recycling machine. It was a long chute in the middle of a sidewalk, a slow moving metal conveyer belt inside the chute. As I'm dumping the ice down the chute, I knock a few plastic food containers below the chute. I look up and now Melissa's the bike enforcement agent, and she's writing me a series of tickets. "I'm writing you up for littering!" Which seems silly to me, I have this idea that I'm more environmentally aware than she is, so I feel that I have some leeway in knocking some plastic under a large moving metal device. No such luck, I stick my arm down the hole and pull up pounds and pounds of plastic food containers, she throws out the ticket. We walk into the back of a restaurant, and it's staffed by the kitchen staff of my restaurant. Jair, the lunch cook in our regular universe, hands me a cheap plastic acoustic guitar. I quickly bang out a really loud White Stripes song, "Screwdriver". I add the lyrics from their song "Cannon", the part about John The Revelator.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thursday Catblogging

Lots of shit goin' down. I won't bother you with the details and legal mumbo-jumbo. Suffice it to say, I'm chomping at the bit to be getting on my way to the beach this weekend. In place of a tale of car troubles, the man keeping me down, and the slowest week ever at work, here are some pictures of cats, and a bonus me being bored and playing with Photoshop picture. Have a great day, probably weekend. Ah, I can't wait for grouper sandwiches

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Gotta Get It On

Went to a party last night at some stranger's house. Whose name I can't remember. Sorry, stranger, I'm no good with names. I'm also going to apologize, stranger, I broke your plastic chair while I was horseplaying, trying to kick Jenny and remain seated. So, now might not be the greatest of times to ask you, stranger, but I remember you taking pictures of Marco and I dueting "Let's Get It On" karaoke style, if you could email them to me...

It was one of the few instances where I didn't bring my trusty camera with me, and we bring the house down with some earth shattering soul stylings.

Quote of the night... "How long does it take after you see a tiger tied to a lampost while you're jogging, for you accept Jesus as your personal savior?"

Technical Notes:

  1. I fixed the link for Marco's blog in the link bar.
  2. This is my 91st post.
  3. Today, I continue my Raleigh Taqueria tour 2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007



Our old pals at FEMA continue to impress with their vigorous fucking up of everything they touch. The Associated Press reports that those infamous "FEMA trailers" might just be poisonous. FEMA has suspended any donating or selling of the trailers while a study is being conducted into whether they are the cause of fomeldahyde poisoning. This is one in the extremely long parade of disasters post Katrina.

In my opinion, Katrina wouldn't have been nearly as deadly if Conservatives didn't exist. If they were a fringe group like Michigan militias. The corner cutting, the shrinking the size of the government until you can drown it in a bathtub philosophy of modern conservatism can be directly blamed for fuckups like these. The chintzing on the materials and quality of the levies, the poor response time, the backup of trailers being handed out in the first place, American citizens being actual refugees in their own country, in one of the nation's largest cities... you can trace each of these problems beyond apathy and into private contractors doing work the government should be doing. Why did Roosevelt big government work and post-Nixon big government not? The conservatives slowly worked to hollow out the carcass of the beast they killed, and when something heavy landed on it, it crumbled to dust. Bodies floating, bloated and face down, convience stores serving as the banks of the deadly river... I've been more ashamed of being an American in the past six years... And what's being done? The Senate caves in to Bush and EXPANDS his warantless wiretap program? Only after Bush nixes the actions of his own director of National Intelegince's deal with the congress. And the Senate passes it by a large majority. Why are they so spineless? They have the power to just vote it down. They have a majority in numbers, why would they cave to the worst president ever? He's not even popular anymore, what threat does he pose to them?

Fuck it. I could go on about this for hours. But I'm done for now.

Things That Make Me Feel Warm Inside, This Trailer For The New Wes Anderson Movie, Bourbon, "Muzzle Of Bees" by Wilco...

I can't wait! I absolutely cannot wait for this movie to come out. I just can't. Jesus it looks good. I've always been a huge fan of Wes Anderson, as is evidenced by the top of the blog, Life Aquatic is my favorite movie of all time. I try to throw in little references to it whenever I can, especially the leeches part from the Lightning Strike on Ping Island scene. Sigh. September can't come quick enough.

Though, I was secretely hoping that the movie what we caught a glimpse of in Wes Anderson's American Express commercial.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Alaskan Peninsula And My Friend's Physiological Changes Serve As A Metaphor For The Diversity Of My Friends

It's one big peninsula. Last night we finally got around to watching Grizzly Man. It was more confounding than it was compelling for the most part. The two things that'll stick with us will be Amanda's desire for a pet fox, and my determination that Alaskans are weird. The weird moments with Alaskan bureaucrats like the coroner and the guy who had the watch of the guy who got ate by a bear in his filing cabinet... wait that reads weird. a bear didn't eat him in his filing cabinet. he has the dead guys watch in the filing cabinet. Maybe this weirdness comes from being so disconnected with the country proper. Maybe that's what makes their politicians get away with such graft and corruption. Talking Points Memo has more about corrupt Sens. Stevens and Murkowski (both Republicans! imagine that!). These Alaskans in the movie all had a certain bug eyedness about them. Staring directly into the camera, speaking at weird clips, or in a completely detached tone, like the helicopter pilot who airlifted the remains.

So, speaking of weird, after my last post, I met myself halfway on my plan to walk to Whole Foods and get some pluots. Instead I walked up to Third Place to get some coffee, read, and listen to the ipod. Once I got there I ran into my old friend, Casey. I've known Casey since the first day of high school. Intermittent periods of not seeing each other filling in lots of gaps over the past nine years, months to years at a time. What's nice is that whenever we see each other, we pick up the conversation where it was left off. We were fairly close in high school, before I lost my shit, and she probably lost her shit too, I reckon. What was weird about seeing her today though, was she had changed physically. I should mention that Casey is a lesbian. She's always looked manish in her own way, mostly through the clothes she wore, haircuts etc. Butch would be the operative word. It's been a couple of months since I've seen her, and since then, the distinctly female characteristics of her have all but disappeared. There's hair on her legs, her jaw line is sharp, her voice is deeper than ever, and her chest is flat where it wasn't before. It didn't come up in conversation, probably because the porch at Third Place wasn't the right place to talk about it. I think she's probably taking hormones, though. Which, I mean, good for her. It's just weird to see someone you've known for such a long time make such a drastic transition in the period of a few months. It would probably have been less noticeable if I had seen her regularly, but it's a pretty drastic change. The difference is what strikes me more than the action.

As I walked home studying the pings of Joanna Newsom's harp on "Emily", I got to thinking about how drastically my group of friends has changed since that time in high school. My friends were (outside of the scattered punks and stoners) mostly black or homosexual. The latter moreso at the first high school I went to, Wake Forest-Rolesville. Which always struck me as strange, WFR was much less tolerant and much more rednecky than my second school, Wakefield. Now my friends are almost all white, I have no black friends. I miss that diversity in my group of friends. It has a lot to do with where I work. For the most part, my friends come from my surroundings. School at first, then workplaces. Glenwood Grill is the first place I've worked without any black or homosexual coworkers. Not that it's all white, we've got Colombians and Mexicans. It's just different, and I never really thought about it until tonight.

Hello To All The Cities

Oh, hey, I just wanted to say hello and thank you to all of my readers, thanks for sticking it out with this blog, heading into it's eighth month. Which is crazy to me. I specifically wanted to thank whomever is reading my blog in Kirkland, Washington. I hope that doesn't seem creepy, like my reader(s) in Kirkland are like "how the fuck..." I keep track of traffic on this site through Google Analytics. I'd be interested in getting to know the reader(s) from Kirkland. Send an email or leave a comment. And that goes to all of my readers, though. I know of at least 5 or 6 people total who read my blog. Hello, Jenny, Marco, Mike, Steven, Amanda, Dan... Everyone else who does, hello, why don't you drop a line my way?

Where does the title of this post come from... god it's familiar... oh, shit, it's a part of that ridiculous "Lizard King" suite by the Doors. Well, it's a pretty sweet title for what it is.

Pluots, Spoons, Cartoons, and High Crimes

what i'm listening to right now: "Amoeba" by The Adolescents
I'm off work this afternoon and the whole of tomorrow, so there is the possibility of some heavy blogging or absolutely nothing at all

My plans of taking a walk down to Whole Foods for some pluots* seems to be disappearing as I'm sitting around waiting for songs to download off of Soulseek. So far, I've downloaded the first Adolescents album, which I got turned on to by a collection of Brian Walsby's cartoons. He's a Raleigh guy since way back in the late 80s hardcore heyday, when The Brewery wasn't a hessian headquarters. I'm loving his cartoons, parts in love with music and snidely making fun of everything about music.

I've been listening to the new Spoon album pretty much non stop. The one thing that I love about them is how everything they do sounds so effortless. How it seems so natural for them to be making the best Supremes or Billy Joel songs you never heard. The ideal of what people who appreciate Billy Joel... what it sounds like to them, we're hearing the same thing when we hear "Big Shot", but one of us hates it. And yet, "The Underdog" on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga sounds like a Billy Joel song, just perfect in every way instead of the trickle down rock economics of Billy Joel, the president of soft rock in the 80s.

*Oh, so I wanted to explain the pluot to the uninitiated. It's a crossbreeding of the plum and the apricot. The pluot tastes like the idea of a plum before you eat it. Sweeter and less watery. The one perk of working at Whole Foods two years ago was the free produce I got to graze during my shifts. That and I could listen to my CDs while I was in the back cutting up fruit trays.

I've been following this whole Attorney General farce very closely, and it's getting SO exciting! So many other things are coming up out of this investigation. The best part of this is that the administration is just getting itself in deeper trouble. Really, if Alberto Gonzalez went out and said that he fired these US District Attorneys, because he could, and he had the power, given to himself by himself when he snuck something into the Patriot Act part II, to replace those people he fired and not get them cleared by the Senate. I'm sure this would be less of a problem for them. And yet, (gleefully for me), AG is a dissembling fool, or plays very well at it. He's catching himself in all these lies, and now, the Senate is getting themselves a Special Prosecutor to look into Gonzalez's perjuring himself to Congress. Which is as much as a crime as perjury in a court. The kind of perjury that Republicans swore the impeachment of Clinton was about.
THEN there's Bush telling his aides to ignore the subpoenas of Congress. Not showing up to testify when subpoenaed is a crime. But not as big of a crime as telling someone not to appear. That's a felony. And, who's committing a felony?! Bush!!! Oh!! This is soooo hilarious! Of course there's the seething anger. Of course, Bush is trampling all over the Constitution. But it just makes me so happy that he's doing it so clearly! There's no amount of "is is"ing that can diffuse this. Bush has clearly committed a felony. Gonzalez has clearly perjured himself. There's going to be a court battle over both of these things. Outside of Bush escorting his aides down to Congress to testify under oath with a transcript, this is going to go to court, probably all the way to the Supreme Court. I've been spending a good amount of time at Talking Points Memo and all of it's satellite sites, and it's done the best job of comprehensively reporting this. (In fact it was the site that broke the whole AG firing escapade to begin with).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In Which Kanye Makes The Best Video Ever


Click the link, it'll take you to Kanye West's new video for "Can't Tell Me Nothing" starring Zak Galifinakis, Will (Bonnie Prince Billy) Oldham, and pre-teen Swedish line dancers. Best. Video. Ever.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Republicans, Please, Please Send This Douchebag Against The Democrats!


via Talking Points Memo

Giuliani gets all worked up, cusses, later he incites a police riot. Thousands of off duty police officers damage cars and shout racial epithets. Awesome. I expect more about this whole thing to come out soon, below is a contemporary article from the NY Times shedding a bit more light on the subject.

NY Times Story