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Friday, April 29, 2005

Ryan Adams

Reading this thread (and especially the second post) makes me beg this question: why do people think Heartbreaker is the be-all, end-all Ryan Adams solo record?

I own all of his records with Whiskeytown and his solo records (save for his hardcore punk side project with Jesse Malin called the Finger) and I can't say I have one be-all, end-all favorite. I like all of the records, especially Stranger's Almanac, Pneumonia, Gold, Rock N Roll and Love is Hell. Sure, a lot of his material is sad but, it's not stupid melodrama. His lyrics are honest, his singing is even more honest and his music is filled with vibrant colors.

Yet still, something about Adams' solo debut, Heartbreaker, makes it the yardstick for everything else he's done. The album features some amazing tracks like "To Be Young," "Come Pick Me Up" and "AMY" but there are some tracks that just don't really do much for me. Some songs are just too slow, too sad and just hard for me to get into.

Then there is Gold, Adams' second record, which I think its title fits the songs. Its sixteen tracks flow incredibly well together in a 70s country-rock vein. There is a lot of juice in Gold's songs compared to Heartbreaker's. The pace moves very well and each track is a standout.

Yet all of Adams' post-Heartbreaker records get the "It's not as good as Heartbreaker" tag. There will be three new records out this year from Ryan and I wouldn't be surprised if they all get this tag. My attitude is, they may be more really great stuff from a very consistent singer/songwriter.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

DiG!

Last week, I watched this movie. Covering the rise/decline of the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, you don't have to know anything about their music to enjoy this documentary. If you like to see what happens to a band after the word-of-mouth buzz/hype dies down, I strongly urge a viewing.

Underground bands get a lot of people talking when they have a sort of "untapped potential" buzz. The scenario is like this: band supposedly has a unique style and a good live show, then there is a bidding war between labels, the band is signs with a label, and then, anything goes. Sometimes the band a) makes a good record and gets big b) makes a bad record and gets big c) doesn't get big but makes a good record and has a sizable audience d) doesn't get big, makes decent record and retains a sizable audience e) doesn't get big, makes bad record and is almost completely forgotten about

According to the doc, the Dandy Warhols didn't really break big in the US, but they were (and still are) popular in Europe, England and the U.K. They have a sizable audience in the US, but they aren't about to be heard on a modern rock station any time soon. Then there is the Brian Jonestown Massacre, who had a buzz for quite some time for good songs, an ever-quotable lead singer and on-stage fights.

Anton Newcombe of the BJM is shown in a variety of ways. Part prophet, part idiot, part jerk, part tragic figure and part prolific songwriter. Apparently Newcombe didn't like his portrayal in the film, but he is shown in sympathetic and unsympathetic ways. It's a fair portrayal, but this guy seems like he doesn't really known pure happiness.

Drugs are a problem, but ultimately, ego is the biggest problem with both the BJM and the Dandys. The doc shows the motivations behind bloated egos that come with a desire to make music your means of a livable income. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Songs for Silverman

Ben Folds releases his second proper solo LP, Songs for Silverman, today. I've had a copy of the record for a week and I already think very highly of it. This is definitely a more mature record in the sense that Ben has shed some things from his past. There is no silliness-with-implied-seriousness like "Rockin' the Suburbs" nor are there any really sad songs like "Carrying Cathy." (If you want to hear some silliness, definitely check out his version of the Darkness' "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" off of the Super D EP.)

My only complaint about Folds' first solo record, Rockin' the Suburbs, was the lack of a "band" vibe in the performance. Folds recorded all of the instruments (save for strings) and while the songs are very good, everything is safely performed. I missed the vibe of Ben playing with live musicians; the banged-out notes and the lively dynamics of three people working off each other was missed. Well, Songs for Silverman features Folds with a new backing band and the record benefits from a very fresh sound.

I can hear the pundits though: "this sounds just like Ben Folds Five with a weaker rhythm section." Sure, his new drummer and bassist sound a lot like Darren Jessee and Robert Sledge (rolling drumbeats, fuzz bass), but this is a different band. Their harmonies mix very well with Ben's voice and their playing compliment Ben's piano. In other words, this ain't Ben Folds With a Weaker Five.

Overall, there are a lot of highlights on this record. "Landed" is a very strong single, "Gracie" is cute little ditty about his daughter that thankfully doesn't fall into sappy mush, "Late" is thankfully not a heavy-handed tribute to Elliott Smith, "Trusted" really tugs at my melodic heart, "Jesusland" and "Give Judy My Notice" harken back to 70s-styled, country-tinged gems and "Time" and "Prison Food" are fantastic closing tracks.

Songs for Silverman will not set the world on fire nor is this going to be the next big thing. That hype was long ago and it's nice to see some longevity in the mainstream music industry.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Book Update (4.25.05)

Here is an update on my book's progress:

Last week, I finished up a draft of the Braid chapter. This is my fourth nearly-completed chapter (nothing is complete until it is printed) and I plan to work on the Promise Ring chapter this week. I have no idea as to when the whole book will be done, but I may be done by the end of the year. I'm a slow writer but I write and revise everyday.

Here is the title of the book:

Post - An Anthology of American Post-hardcore/Whatever-You-Call-It-Core 1985-2005

Yes, it's a mouthful, but it works. This isn't the definitive anthology or the only history of the genre, but it is an anthology by one person with a lot of people helping out. The title was inspired by this article and especially this line: "If Jawbox was proto-emo then J. Robbins’ new band is post-emo. Or pomo. Or primo. Or something." I liked the use of "post" and the word has often come up in the last eight years (from the band name of Post From Vermont to the Post-Marked Stamps compilation and so on). My question is, when does something new begin so we can drop the whole "post" moniker?

While I ponder that, I go back to writing, researching and revising.

Kickball

I've talked about kickball many times on this blog but I don't think I've explained why I love this game. Simply put, I have a lot of fun playing with my fellow friends. The key word is fun; as in, there are no competitive trappings involved. While we tease each other and pretend to act competitive, we just enjoy playing together.

Playing a game is far off from observing a game. Being on the field with the wind blowing, the sun shining in your face and the outcome of the inning/overall game resting in you and your friends' hands is awesome. Maybe this represents my anxiety-filled/control freak side, but having an actual hand in the outcome of the game is empowering.

Playing kickball for three to four hours every Sunday is a great way of spending some time outside. Even though my body is sore for a few days after every game, I don't care. The pain and sores pass, but the memories of having fun are hard to forget.

Yesterday, we played three full games in some glorious, non-humid weather. Since the baseball diamond was already in use by some people playing kickball with dodgeballs (yes, kick-dodgeball or something like that), we played on the grass. Yes, we play better on grass. By the 9th inning of the third and final game, it started to drizzle and the team I was on just tied the game. I helped advance the winning run to third base by getting onto base. I don't remember what all happened, but we won 6-5.

While it was cool to win a game, what was important (and I feel is always important) is the level of fun experienced.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Later . . .

After viewing this DVD and this DVD, I'm now a huge fan of this show. I'm so much of a fan that I wish us Americans had a show like this. If they can Americanize Pop Idol as American Idol and Americanize the Office as the Office, why can't we have an American version of Later . . . with Jools Holland?


I hear the excuses now: "Live music shows do not attract large audiences," "Late-night talk shows with one musical guest are enough," etc.

Hear me out: one of the most marketable things about selling music and image is by showcasing the artist in a "live" setting (Anybody remember this show?). Since music videos are mini-movies and not live performances, wouldn't live performances (no lip-synching allowed!) be a good alternate view? I think people want a taste of what they might see live.

The appeal of Later . . . with Jools Holland is the showcasing of a wide variety of artists every week. Old and new acts are showcased in a live setting with very little chit-chat. Plus the sound and production are top-notch.

I'm just at a loss for a reason against a show like this in America.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

the Raspberries

Most people know Eric Carmen for his solo hits, "All By Myself" and "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again." Any time some American Idol contestant belts out "All By Myself" and thinks that Celine Dion was the first artist to do the song, I cringe. Any time somebody dumps on the apparently flimsy pop of Carmen's "Hungry Eyes," I get annoyed. If people want to diss Eric Carmen and his Top 40 "fluff," feel free, but check out his old band, the Raspberries.

The Raspberries had a few big hits in their day, including "Go All the Way," "Let's Pretend" and "Overnight Sensation." Often placed in the '70s power pop canon with Big Star and Cheap Trick, I think this grouping is fair. You can hear some Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson in Carmen's voice along with the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Who and even some glam rock in their music. You're not going to find a lot of lyrical depth in songs about driving around town, wanting to be with someone (especially during the nighttime) or trying to get your song played on the radio. However, the spirit of young, teenage desires can be timeless.

The hooks in the Raspberries material are so immediate that you may find yourself singing along after hearing a song for the first time. Yes, that is a lofty remark, but just hear me out.

Start with Overnight Sensation: the Best of the Raspberries to understand what I mean.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

X&Y

I remember when Coldplay first came onto the pop music scene. As Oasis-influenced/Radiohead-influenced Britpop was breathing its final breaths, Coldplay's "Yellow" came out. A pretty ballad with simple lyrics, a catchy guitar bend and straightforward drumming, "Yellow" was memorable, but it very well could have been a one-hit wonder. People (including myself) had enough of all these singers that went for high notes like Thom Yorke and Jeff Buckley did, but I thought Chris Martin's voice had some vitality.

When I heard "Trouble" and "Shiver" after scanning Parachutes for other songs to play on KTCU, I became a huge Coldplay fan. The songs touched me in the right way with melody, hooks and solid drumming. After hearing the album, all of their b-sides (which would make for a fine LP itself), a live show on the BBC, I was nuts about Coldplay.

For a few months in 2002, I kept seeing this local cable channel playing a VCR copy of a Coldplay concert. In the set were two new songs, "In My Place" and "Animals." I thought "In My Place" was an incredible song but I thought "Animals" was kind of "eh, not all that great." I was excited about their next record and I was pleased when I heard A Rush of Blood to the Head.

However, after hearing A Rush of Blood to the Head many times, something just doesn't knock me out. I especially like "In My Place," "Clocks," "A Rush of Blood to the Head" and "Warning Sign," but the record is just, for lack of a better word, simple. The songs are pretty but just when you think a great hook is about to grab you, it doesn't. Maybe I'm being over-critical here, I'm not sure.

As we await Coldplay's third album, X&Y, I'm scratching my head. People are talking about this record like when U2 releases a new album. This a big event. This is not just another record nor is this some flimsy hype about a band with weird haircuts and "the" in their name. I doubt that this record is going to make more Coldplay fans. There will probably be more Coldplay detractors but this is one of the most anticipated records of the summer.

I'll check out X&Y, but I have no idea of what to expect.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pavement, the Rock Band

As I've become more cynical and crazier, I've realized that Pavement is a band that gets better with age. No doubt about it, Pavement rocked, but they also had a sense of humor. Humor wasn't very prevalent in the early-to-mid-'90s alternative rock nation when rock was meant to be "serious" again. Depending on your viewpoint, rock from any era (including the 1980s!) can be serious and life-changing. For somebody that hit puberty as the alternative nation spread across the US suburbs, I was slowly introduced to the ocean of underground bands/labels that keeps the mainstream afloat.

I have my theories as to why Pavement was so appealing when they were around and why they are still appealing today:

1) They weren't too serious, but they weren't too silly.
There is a rather large line between the sides and Pavement walked the line very well. You could say that "Cut Your Hair" is a silly pop song about long-haired bands, but upon closer inspection, there is a lot more being said. When I hear the line, "Songs mean a lot/when songs are bought," I can't help but think of people that feel that a song "means" something or has some form of "worth" because they sell. Sure, songs/albums may sell a lot of copies, but that's from a business angle, not a gauge as to if they actually mean anything to the listener.

2) They never jumped ship to a major label.
Pavement has to be commended for staying on Matador. In an era where major labels were seen as the only way for an underground alternative band to break through to a larger audience, staying on an indie seemed crazy.

3) They appeared to be slackers but they weren't.
Just because they wore loose thrift store clothing, sang slightly off-key and didn't play notes in the "right" keys does not mean they were Gen X slackers. They cared about their music, but they weren't taking it too seriously.

I'm sure there are more to add, but I think those are the three big ones. Recommended listening for starters: Slanted and Enchanted, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and Brighten the Corners.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Dashboard Confessional

After posting in this thread on the Sound Ops board, I figured I should explain myself a little more. To recap: I like Dashboard Confessional.

Yes, I'm talking about the mostly-acoustic rock group with its enigmatic lead singer/songwriter, Chris Carrabba. There is definitely a devout cult following to the group (especially Carrabba) and you can consider me a member of the cult. However, I'm not hypnotized by the music as the media tends to shine the most light on. While there are plenty of people who sing along to every word and act like they are possessed by Chris' presence, I just enjoy the music.

I will say this, I rarely pay close attention to lyrics. I pay more attention to the moods, rhythms, feels and most importantly, the melodies. If Thom Yorke of Radiohead sang a beautiful melody while reading off his list of groceries, I probably wouldn't realize that he was doing that. The point is, I never really noticed the rather "high school-like" lyrics found in most of Dashboard's songs. Case in point, these lyrics found in "As Lovers Go": "I said, 'I've got to be honest, I've been waiting for you all my life.'/For so long I thought I was asylum bound, but just seeing you makes me think twice." Lines like these are more for the mushy side of young love and definitely not for everyone.

Then there is the complaint about Chris' voice being too whiny. I don't mind his voice and I don't think it's too whiny. Sure, he ventures off-key when he gets a little too intense but at least he's not holding anything back. I've heard a lot of whiny singers that sing through their noses and I can barely handle five seconds of that.

Finally, nobody talks about the band's drummer, Mike Marsh. He's a solid drummer who has a unique approach: he plays way a head of the beat. Most drummers play a little behind or a little ahead of the beat, but he plays as if he is rushing the beat. Strange, but this approach works.

So there you have it. I like hearing their music, but don't expect me to grow a faux-hawk, make facial expressions like Kermit the Frog or get my arms filled with tattoos.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Bloc Party

I like Bloc Party: sans NME covers, sans Fader cover and sans the older band t-shirt that a band member wears in a promo photo.

I'm not really into these modern, '80s-styled, post-punk bands, but I really dig Bloc Party's music for a variety of reasons. When I tell somebody about their stuff, I often reference the guitar melodies and vocal melodies first. Kele projects his unique and accessible voice clearly and has an impressive range. The guitar interplay between Kele and Russell has all sorts of post-punk noodling but not all post-punk noodling. Throwing some shimmering effects and warm harmonies in the guitars is a very welcome addition. The rhythm section is strong and helps push forward the guitar and vocal melodies. Still, the melodies you hear in songs like "This Modern Love," "Little Thoughts" and "Like Eating Glass" are tasty ear candy.

The first song I heard by the band was "Staying Fat" from the 'red' self-titled EP. The song reminded me of Braid and the Dismemberment Plan and its energy was quite infectious. I was in a record store when I heard the song and I asked the clerk who this was (something I rarely do unless I'm really taken by a song). The clerk was very kind to show me the EP's cover and played "Staying Fat" again. I still really dug the song on the second spin and I looked forward to what they came up with next.

NME started talking the band up and kept likening them to bands like Gang of Four. I was confused: how could a band that reminded me of mid-to-late '90s post-hardcore be likened to funky angular post-punk from the early-'80s?

When this thread popped up on the Sound Ops board, calling Silent Alarm the "first important album of '05" was rather bold. Then I went to SxSW and couldn't avoid posters of the band's Fader cover shot. The hype machine was in full effect and of course, there were the detractors: "Meh, it's alright" and "I don't see what's so great about this band" were some of the popular ones.

Since Silent Alarm has been out in the US, I've enjoyed listening to the record on a regular basis. I hope more good things are to come from this band.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Lost in Space

Aimee Mann will release her fifth proper solo album, the Forgotten Arm, on May 3rd and I will pick it up on that day. As music writers (journalists, bloggers, etc.) prepare for its release, a lot of them refer to Mann's previous album, Lost in Space, as a disapointment. Well my friends, Lost in Space is not a letdown, a bummer and definitely not a disapointment.

Some history between me and Mann's music: Magnolia and Bachelor No. 2 were my introductions to her solo material and I quickly fell in love with her spare arrangements of melodically rich songs. Her lyrics speak volumes, even though they appear vague and personal. A side note of twisted humor, I loved how the big label she recorded Bachelor No. 2 for thought it was not radio-friendly and chose not to release it. Given the album's exposure through the Magnolia soundtrack and the publicity of the album's delayed release (and oh yeah, really amazing songs), Mann had the last laugh. Releasing her stuff on her own label, SuperEgo, that's where she remains today. And all those big labels that thought it was downloading hurting their sales . . .

When her Bachelor No. 2 follow-up, Lost in Space, was released, I found one online review before the album's release date. The review was vague; I couldn't tell if it was positive or negative or anything of the sort. Regardless of the review, I picked up Lost in Space. I really dug Lost in Space but like my experience with Bachelor No. 2, the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it. (Side note: there was never a time where I didn't like the albums, I just kept listening because I liked what I heard on my first few spins) Some of my favorites include "Invisible Ink," "Lost in Space" and "This is How It Goes," but overall, the album is very strong.

So, how is Lost in Space a disappointing album for a lot of people? Are its lyrics not as "angry" as Bachelor's? The lyrics ring close to home for me, much like how Bachelor's do, but they're not as vitriolic. The songs are as plush as Bachelor, but Bachelor's Jon Brion didn't produce Lost in Space. Brion is a masterful producer with a midas touch, but then again, the artists that he works with are already gifted. Mann's songs are incredibly strong, no matter which producer she works with.

In short, check out Lost in Space and don't believe the non-hype.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Well played, clerks

The title of this post and my previous post come from episodes of this show. As a fan of Kevin's work since college, I still find myself quoting lines from his movies, commentary tracks, Q&A's, etc. The deal is, while I still think highly of his writing and his wit, I don't keep up with his latest projects as much as I used to. Maybe because of the fact that I'm into other things other than just what he's doing. Maybe because of watching his collection of Q&A's on An Evening With Kevin Smith I grew tired of his dry delivery and the annoying spotlight of certain fans that I don't identify with. Maybe because I can't indentify with all the comic book fans that want to tar-and-feather him for not completing comic book story arcs. Maybe because of him saying he's done with Jay and Silent Bob and the View Askewniverse and then brings them back for DeGrassi Jr. High and now with Clerks 2. I just can't pinpoint to one reason.

I know that things change and you can't predict these changes, but I can't help speaking up on this topic. Seeing Jay and Silent Bob coming back again and again makes me feel like Kevin is catering to the crowd that goes to his Q&A's, not the people that appreciate his right-on commentary on life with lots of humor. I can't identify with people that enjoy talking about weed, diss Kevin's "lack of visual style" with his films, want him to tell the same stories over and over again, etc. These kind of things make the experience of being a Kevin Smith fan feel incredibly impersonal.

I get incredibly annoyed by people that say he's not a real director because he doesn't have a "visual style." Well, do people realize that Kevin is not the only director that sits the camera down and lets the actors talk? Acclaimed directors like Woody Allen and Jim Jarmusch (whom Kevin got his initial inspiration from) use something very similar. Using long, one-take shots, the characters talk, giving the writing and the performance the spolight, not the fast editing, the lighting, etc. Are we that visually challenged that we can't watch two people talking?

Yes, we are visually challenged because we are impatient with the visual arts. We expect a movie to be between 90 minutes and 120 minutes. Anything more than 120 minutes is interminable and anything less than 80 minutes is not enough.

I should say this, hearing Kevin's commentary track with Richard Kelly on the Donnie Darko: the Director's Cut DVD restores a lot of my faith in Kevin. He's funny, right-on and passes along a lot of great wisdom to Kelly. Since Kevin knows quite a few things about what it's like to have a widely-acclaimed first movie that still reasonates years after its release, he hasn't forgotten his roots.

Oh yeah, I'll definitely see Clerks 2 in the theater.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Objection your honor! The pod race was pretty cool.

In preparation for this movie that will open with a PG-13 rating, I watched this movie and this movie over the weekend. Understand this, I am a huge fan of A New Hope and it may very well be my overall favorite of the entire series. Maybe because of the fact that Episode IV feels like the most "complete" film of the six movies and the character arcs of Luke, Han Solo and Leia are so strong, but I can't pinpoint one reason. Anyway, when I saw Episodes I and II in the theater, I really enjoyed them, but I wasn't as emotionally charged by them like the original trilogy. Not helping my attempt to make a concrete opinion were the annoyingly loud moans, groans, gripes and harsh critiques I read and heard. I know there is different vibe to the prequels, but after viewing them again, I feel that they are incredibly underrated and misunderstood.

I've trusted Lucas but now I really get what he's been saying all along. Themes of oppression, control, destiny, everyone's sense of purpose (whether good, bad or goofy), father figures and love run throughout all of the movies, but I realized how incredibly prevalent they are in the prequels. I feel there is so much philosophy, wisdom and an incredibly intricate weaving of themes in the prequels that enable Episodes IV, V and VI make even more sense.

The magic of a movie is how the audience can be engaged with its story. No matter how much or how little the production value is, if a film can engage the audience, that is the secret to its success. Now I can understand why somebody would call the characters in Episodes I and II "wooden" or "wallpaper," but this is misleading; there is more character development in the prequels than meets the eye. Would we really buy Darth Vader if Anakin was this wild, crazy, rude and melodramatic person with no restraint? Vader is slow and menacing while also having amazing physical strength and a lot of restraint. Yet there is a lot of good in him. Seriously, were people expecting some sort of Damien ala the Omen?

This leads me to question this, what were people expecting with the prequels? Star Wars is not Lord of the Rings or The Matrix and I seriously doubt that a film like Star Wars would be made today. A six-part throwback to Saturday morning serials filled with mythology and philosophy with no bankable stars? No way.

I just do not understand why people whine and moan about the little things in the Star Wars saga, especially Lucas' never-ending changes to them. It's frustrating that Lucas may never really make up his mind on things, but the deal is, it's his movie in a public domain. I recognize the changes from the originals to the special editions and I don't mind them (save for the rather over-the-top dance scene in Return of the Jedi). As long as Anakin Skywalker goes from a good kid to a baddie and his children redeem him, I will always connect with Star Wars.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Who is really getting served?

MTV News reports some information I know the world is waiting for: news on the You Got Served sequel.

"We weren't going to do a [You Got Served] sequel at first because me and Omari, we was like, 'We don't want to touch it, let it stay a classic,' . . . But so many people came up to us and said, 'Where is "U Got Served 2"?' . . . We don't want it to be the same, but we don't want to be too different."

This may sound crazy, but this article is very inspiring to me. This says a lot about dimishing returns and why things appear bigger when they're on the rise or in development rather than when they actually arrive. Ah, the cornerstones of hype.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

(The Ever-Changing) Price of Gas

Special note: since some of this subject matter is very Kev-like, I decided to write this post in the vein of his posts. So with that in mind, here is a TPE post written in the vein of a Kev post (now for Kev to do a post in the vein of a TPE post):

After my afternoon shift Monday night, I stopped by a nearby gas station advertising $2.14 for a gallon of unleaded. As I was pulling in, I saw a guy standing on a ladder with a handful of plastic cards with numbers on them. I figured I should pick up the pace so I could still get the "cheaper" rate, but when I put my debit card in, the machine wouldn't read my card. I pulled the nozzle out anyway but the machine said unleaded was now $2.16 a gallon. I filled up, paid the cashier and went along my merry way. Understand this: I keep my eye on rising gas prices but when the price of a fill-up costs me $100 a pop, I'll start complaining. Right now a fill-up for my '02 Camry is around $27-$30. I'll survive since I recently realized that money comes and goes, but memories and experiences don't.

Get a room: The housemate has been in Budapest since Sunday and since then, our 10-year-old terrier will sleep in any room of the house except mine. She really likes Jason's bedroom and the reading room in the front of the house, but after inviting her to come and stay in my room while I sleep, she keeps declining. She's known Jason longer than me but she has also taken a liking to me (and vice versa), but I'm wondering what's her deal this week. I think she takes to the reading room so she can harbor the delusion that she is standing "guard" (as in bark and whimper) when people walk down the street at night. Now I know she likes sleeping in my room when I'm around, but maybe she's going through housemate withdrawal. Where are those puppy uppers when you need them?

Great quote from yesterday: "There will be good days and bad . . . which means that some days I may be cranky and some days really cranky!"- Peter Jennings on how his cancer treatment will affect his anchoring gig.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Now the plain blondes are playing along with you

Songs in my head:
"On the Table" by Carl Newman
"Old Man" by Neil Young

MTV News has a great article that compares sports fans to music and movie fans. I especially dig this quote: "And then there's the pronoun abuse. 'We won the game!' You did? Really? When was the last time you heard a fan of Wes Anderson's films exclaim, 'Hey, did you catch our latest movie, The Life Aquatic?'"

Here's my deal about sports: I enjoy watching sports (especially football and baseball) from time to time. I really enjoy playing sports (especially kickball and flag football). However, I do not understand people who get depressed when "their" team loses or get an orgazmic buzz when "their" team wins. Pardon? Just because you tune in and/or attend a game does not make you a member of the team. The audience enhances the game and makes the vibe very exciting, but still, there is a big separation between the audience and the players. As a music fan and a movie fan, I'm just an observer. If I like or dislike a record, a live show or a film, I'll talk about it. However, I don't get bummed if a band I like puts out an unsatisfying record or puts on a lackluster show or a movie really stunk. Some things I just don't understand . . .

NME reveals the tracklisting for Ryan Adams' double CD, Cold Roses.

Punknews.org adds more fuel to the fire about whether or not blink 182 is still together. So much for the "indefinite hiatus" status . . .

I saw the trailer for this movie over the weekend. Cool subject matter, but doesn't this seem redundant since Dogtown and Z Boys pretty much covers the subject matter (sans melodrama and creative license)?

Millencolin's latest record is called Kingwood. I'm curious if the've ever been to that part of town in Houston . . .

Saw something encouraging on my way to kickball on Sunday: as I passed by a local church, I saw a mother and her son walking on the sidewalk. The boy had a pair of drumsticks and started air-drumming. He couldn't help himself from hitting the invisible toms and cymbals but his mother kept putting her arms out to stop him. Nothing like suppression of the arts to make people want them even more . . .

Monday, April 04, 2005

I'll go back/if you ask me

Songs in my head:
"Little Thoughts" by Bloc Party
"Like Eating Glass" by Bloc Party

This past weekend saw some of the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, the Incredibles and four hours of kickball. Friday, we saw most of Radiant*s set and thought they were pretty good. Like a more accessible version of Interpol, there is a lot of dreamy guitar pop in their sound. Saturday, instead of trying to wade my way through all the people going to see this movie, I stayed in and watched this movie. Another fantastic addition to the pantheon of smart and funny movies dressed up as kids' movies, the Incredibles gets my approval. Hearing Chasing Amy's Jason Lee in the role of a villain was great to hear again (he was so good as a baddy in Dogma). Sunday, FOUR HOURS of kickball meant some sunburn over the few spots I didn't cover with sunblock. However, a funky suntan means way less to me than the all the fun I had in the warm and windy weather. It was so windy that our rubber bases kept flying around the field. Twas very interesting trying to run to a base that blew away as you ran towards it.

Over on the Sound Opinions' message board, there is a thread about Greg Kot's story on Pitchfork and MP3 blogs. One blurb that sounded fishy: "Josh Rosenfeld, co-owner of Seattle-based Barsuk Records, says one Texas record store initially refused to stock one of his releases, Travis Morrison's 2004 release "Travistan," because it received a 0.0 review from Pitchfork." Makes me wonder if this one Texas store is in Dallas . . .

Nick Mason of Pink Floyd talks to Rolling Stone about his book and other PF-related things.

Chrome Waves made mention of this blurb about what might be on the Sin City DVD. Sounds very cool. Now if I can only find the time to see this movie in a movie theater, in the evening, in a good cinema with no knuckleheads behind me. I may have to wait a few weeks for that . . .