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.