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.