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Monday, December 31, 2007

We're all refugees and we're all drifting like leaves

Perusing through Eric's year-end list, I came upon this write-up for Bloc Party's A Weekend in the City:

Back in January of 2007 I posted a Bloc Party track from this record and was swiftly asked to remove from my blog by someone in the band's camp. While I was cool with the request, it may have negatively colored my perception of this record that I've only recently begun to get into.

This got me thinking about something I've never understood, but have written about before. However, there's a new perspective on this. Hence why I'm revisiting the subject.

I'm very well aware of the uphill rig-a-ma-roll it takes to get people to pay attention to anything. Be it a record, movie, book, or show, it usually takes an amount of money and a lot of time trying to get the word out there. (The process of getting a song on the radio alone is a doozy.)

In the case of a record, if a blogger wanted to share a song from it as an MP3, who would be hurt by the exposure? On top of that, what if it was a blog that was widely read and had a great reputation? Who would want to put a stop to this if it was a legit MP3 from an album about to come out?

I remember when Torr posted a track from the highly-anticipated debut album by the Tears. The following day it was removed and replaced with a warning letter from somebody involved with the band. For me, I wondered what the crime was in wanting to hear a song and maybe consider checking out the album. Instead of allowing people to hear things that might help the band, people involved in working with the band want something else. Usually the exact opposite. Um, huh?

If any blogger were to take any interest in posting an MP3 from a band I've been in or a portion from a book I wrote, I would not try to stop that blogger. I'd be flattered if anyone wanted to take his or her time to spread the word about something I'd like to share with people. If it was an MP3 of a song that completely misrepresented my band or a portion of Post that was long deleted from the final draft, I'd attempt to clarify things, but not become some whip-carrying codger. Remember what they say about free publicity?

A decision like this often hurts a record. I recall how A&M Records asked KROQ to stop playing face to face's "I Won't Lie Down" because they started playing it a few weeks before their anticipated start date for radio. The record's momentum was stopped cold. This was incredibly stupid then and it still sounds stupid today.

So I ask, what am I missing here? Why does this momentum killing still go on?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Feliz Navidad

Regular blogging will resume after Christmas. Hope everybody has a good holiday. For now, here are some links to check out.

Former Buzz DJ (who got me into a number of incredible bands back in high school/college) David Sadof now has a blog with the Houston Chronicle.

Eric's music-year end list is split up into four parts, complete with an MP3 from each album.

The AV Club was asked about a certain movie that a reader didn't know its name, but this time, it was the one and only, Midnight Madness. Please, hold your applause, as Leo says.

And finally, here's a repost of that DBU student playing Dragonforce's "Through the Fire and Flames" on Expert.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why Did We Ever Meet?

Kudos to Jess at Idolator for posting the Promise Ring's video for "Why Did We Ever Meet?" as part of the "12 Days of 90s Emo." It's funny with the timing as I was editing (what I hope to be the final edit of) the Promise Ring chapter last night and the video was mentioned. Of course, when the video debuted on 120 Minutes has very special significance for me.

I was a loyal 120 Minutes watcher my senior year of high school/freshman year of college. I'd tape it whether or not I stayed up and watched the whole thing. If I remember correctly, most of the show's playlist was dominated by British acts at the time. There was great stuff from Suede, Belle and Sebastian, Radiohead and the Verve, but the Promise Ring video really stuck out. And I really liked what I heard.

Just a few weeks prior, I heard the word "emo" for the first time. I asked a couple of friends what emo was and they just grumbled at the mere mention of the word. These guys were really into fast pop-punk like Ten Foot Pole and NOFX and were not fans of bands like Jimmy Eat World and the Promise Ring.

When I told one of them a few weeks later that I really liked "Why Did We Ever Meet?" and looked forward to picking up Nothing Feels Good, he asked me if I was serious. I was, and have been ever since.

The funny post-script to this story is when I ran into one of these guys a year later. He told me how much of a fan he was of the Get Up Kids.

Go figure.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Before I forget

Unlike previous year-end lists, I spent pretty much one afternoon thinking about all the records that rocked my world in 2007. In previous years, I spent a few days listing everything, whittled down the list, and then posted it. I don't think I left out any glaring omissions with this year's list, but I wanted to post a few things that have come to light since I posted my year-end list and read other people's lists.

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Decent debut album where fanboys disassociated themselves from the band after it leaked online, thus putting the "fan" part into question

Voxtrot - Voxtrot

I dug Voxtrot's two self-released EPs and found their debut LP to be a logical step-up. Sounding like they had a little more time to work on the record, Voxtrot doesn't sound over-produced nor does it sound rushed. There are plenty of good tunes here, like "Firecracker," "Kid Gloves" and "Real Life Version."

Strangely, hardcore fans seemed to just abandon the band because of this record. It's one thing to not dig a peculiar record by a band, but it's another to sever all ties with them because they put out something slightly different. If I remember correctly, this happened almost instantly once it leaked online months before it came out in stores. And it's not like a glaring difference in sound between this and the EPs. The band didn't turn into a radio-rock, screamo act or a chilled reggae act. So, I'm still in the dark with these naysayers. Maybe I should just stick to my thoughts and not give the pundits too much credit.

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A surprisingly good record that I didn't often listen to from start to finish because of wanting to hear Scott Walker again and again

Ash - Twilight of the Innocents

I had a lot of doubts about Ash reverting back to a trio for this record. Being a four-piece seemed to be what the band was always meant to be (even though they started out as a trio). All this aside, I found a number of tracks from this album to be great. Not necessarily going back to their pop-punk ways or metal ways, but instead forging ahead as a solid poppy rock band, Ash claims they have made their final album. They aren't breaking up, but aren't planning on doing albums anymore in the digital age. Of course, this could have been a PR move . . .

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Amazing what editing and reading other year-end lists can do

Band of Horses - Cease to Begin

I liked a number of songs from Band of Horses' debut, Everything All the Time, but found them to be a little plodding. Songs just dragged on and on. But I didn't realize this until I listened to Cease to Begin. (Kudos to Chris for mentioning it and the AV Club for posting an MP3 in their year-end list.) Cease to Begin puts the strengths of the band in front with compact songs. As simple as "Is There a Ghost?" is, it's an awesome opener and great mood-setter.

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After years of praise for a certain artist, something finally clicks and falls into place for me

Kanye West

I still don't understand the hipster mindset where everything has to be over-scrutinized except for hip-hop and glossy pop. Moreover, almost anything remotely sounding like hip-hop is probably going to be praised as cutting edge. But for me, I like rich melodies as well as atonal, angry-sounding stuff. (Thus explaining my equal love of early Scott Walker and post-Jane Doe Converge.)

I've had my reservations with hip-hop with its emphasis more on beat than melody. But I've never hated hip-hop. Given my daily exposure to some of the most popular hip-hop songs, I must say some things have sunk in. Most notably, an enjoyment of Kanye West's three proper albums. Melodies are aplenty as well as an admitted vulnerability -- something noticeably absent from a lot of the hip-hop I've heard in recent years. Where this leads I don't know, but it might make for an interesting 2008.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Well, not really. After all, she did get together with George Peppard. I mean, Fred.

Enjoying Tasha's Book vs. Film comparisons for the AV Club and randomly reading the Wikipedia page for Moonraker last week, I was reminded of a fact of life: it's rare when a film adaptation of a book sticks closely to the book's story. I think it's very understandable when a movie tweaks certain things to work in a movie form, but when major tweaks are done -- tweaks to where the movie is almost nothing like the book -- I can't help but be annoyed.

Far more insulting is when a new printing of a book carries a large circle or single-line header that says, "Now a major motion picture!" I understand this is just plain ol' marketing, but it's a kind of marketing that can create strange bedfellows. Moreover, two different stories that may contain certain similarities, but are both sold under the same name.

A very timely case in point: I Am Legend. Richard Matheson's book has been credited as the source for such films as The Last Man On Earth and The Omega Man, as well as the recent Will Smith-starring film. (As a side note, George Romero has credited the book as a major influence on Night of the Living Dead.) Now, I have never read the book or seen any of the three movie adaptations, but based on what I've heard and read, hardcore fans of the book may be very well-advised to stay away from the 2007 version. Plenty is tweaked from the book; so much so that the movie has more in common with 28 Days Later than I Am Legend.

Maybe I'm being too much of a stickler/purist here, but as somebody who's wanted to read the book for a while, I don't want to pick up a copy from the recent, late October printing. Since its cover is devoted to promoting the movie of the same name, what's between the covers is essentially another story.

Further incriminating myself as a stickler is how books are really kind of the last bastion of the written word not interrupted by advertisements. You don't read two pages into the Harry Potter books and see a full-page ad for the recent DVD treatment of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You don't find a coupon for Joel Osteen's latest book a few pages into Exodus.

Books can send your mind into a world away from advertisements. At least I'm happy I've never read a book with advertising in the manuscript itself. Who knows if there will come a day when that indeed happens. But the point remains: do you want to read a book where the cover tells you one thing, but what you read tells you otherwise?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Movie favorites (and not-so-favorites) of 2007

Now for a similar look back at the movies I really enjoyed this year. Including movies released and not released this year, I watched a lot of stuff, mostly on DVD. Unlike the music list, I also included movies that frustrated the hell out of me.

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Movies I actually saw in a movie theater

Grindhouse
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Into the Wild
Southland Tales
American Fork

Grindhouse was totally worth seeing in the theater. Two great mini-movies with hilarious fake trailers made for a kick-ass experience. And it only cost $8. Yet praising it now seems to knocked aside by pundits because it didn't do so well at the box office. Tis an annoying shame by people who have been brainwashed by how box office receipts equate quality of film.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Into the Wild and Southland Tales were movies meant to be first experienced on the big screen. I enjoyed them overall and took something positive away from them. I couldn't say the same with American Fork. It was a movie that looked fantastic, but was filled with one-note characters and its attempts at humor annoyed the hell out of me. On the upswing, its soundtrack introduced me to an incredible Kinks track that I had never heard before: "God's Children." So, I can't say it was a complete waste of time.

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Movies I wanted to see in the theater, but didn't

Spider-Man 3
No Country for Old Men
The Simpsons Movie
The Darjeeling Limited

No matter how awesome a movie looks in the trailer or how highly praised it is by people that I trust, sometimes I just don't make it out for its theatrical run. I hope to see them eventually.

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Movies I claimed I didn't want to see, but saw them anyway a few weeks later

Hostel
Hostel: Part II

I initially expressed zero interest in seeing movies with stylized torture scenes, but changed my tune when I started thinking about the kinds of horror movies I like to watch. I wanted to see if Eli Roth's Hostel flicks had a deep subtext that went beyond the splatter and gore. Turns out I was right, but I was still rather grossed out by all the splatter and gore. At least these movies made me think and squirm instead of making me jump at empty "gotcha!" moments.

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Cult classics I didn't find all that great

Die! Die! My Darling
My Bloody Valentine
Creepshow
The Monster Squad

I understand seeing a beloved cult classic for the first time will not completely resonate with people. So, I don't blame anybody who doesn't understand what's so great about Student Bodies. I loved it when I first saw it and love it even more on repeat viewings. I could not say the same with Die! Die! My Darling, My Bloody Valentine, Creepshow and The Monster Squad. They simply just didn't much for me.

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Highly-acclaimed movies that I disliked

A Simple Plan
The Prestige

I had heard incredibly high praise for Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan for years. When I finally saw it, I didn't go in with high hopes, but I was sure it would be good. What I saw was a film filled with slightly-likable to very-unlikable characters digging their graves deeper and deeper. Too painfully bleak for me. And the same can be said with The Prestige.

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Highly-acclaimed movies that I really liked

Ordinary People
28 Weeks Later
Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz was probably the most enjoyable movie I saw on DVD this year. Paying homage to action movies, thrillers and murder-mysteries, Edgar Wright made another smart, highly-entertaining and heart-warming movie.

28 Weeks Later could have fallen into the black hole of so many sequels that feature none of the original cast, but it succeeds in its own ways. Dealing with the emotional impact of the Rage virus, as well as survival, this was more than a zombie munchfest.

Ordinary People still holds up really well as a snapshot of a family dealing with grief. For those dealing with the grief and those that aren't, its message rang very true for me.

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Find of the year

What's Up Tigerlily?

I had never heard of this movie until a friend suggested it to me at a birthday party. I mentioned to her how much I loved those Taco Bueno commercials where they took actual scenes from Spanish soap operas and re-dubbed them with corny dialogue about mexican food. So seeing a Japanese crime thriller re-dubbed as a hunt for an eggplant recipe cracked me up from beginning to end.

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David Lynch movies I watched this year

Lost Highway
Blue Velvet
Eraserhead
The Elephant Man
INLAND EMPIRE

Finally seeing the movie I always confused with Elizabeth Taylor and riding horses, I set out to see some of Lynch's cream of the crop. I liked each one and I found Lost Highway to be especially good. It's so underrated it's almost criminal. I hope to see Wild at Heart eventually, once I finish the Twin Peaks box set and finally see Fire Walk With Me.

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Documentary that's scarier than any fictional horror movie I've ever seen

Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple

This movie will not lift your spirits, but it's very well done. Incredibly personal with interviews from the few survivors, along with video and audio footage from the beginning to horrific end of Jim Jones' church, this documentary confronts the sadness and terror instead of shying away from them.

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Enjoyable coming-of-age movies about the twilight of youth

Diner
The Last Picture Show
Superbad

I've got a thing for movies that focus on the weird middle ground between youth and adulthood. So it makes sense why I liked all three of these movies. I don't know if I'll ever hold them in as high regard as I do with American Graffiti, but they were movies that struck a chord with me.

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That's it for 2007. To 2008 and beyond!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Musical favorites of 2007

Once again this year, my list of musical favorites is not solely restricted to material released in this year. That said, I listened to a lot of stuff released this year. So, let's get right to it and then talk about non-2007 releases.

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Albums that feature some killer songs, but I just didn't find the whole albums to be killer

Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather
Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

Modest Mouse's Good News for People Who Love Bad News and Bloc Party's Silent Alarm were my utmost favorite releases of 2004 and 2005, respectively. I wasn't expecting their follow-ups to really blow me away and well, they didn't. However, I'm glad I have songs like "Florida," "Dashboard," "I Still Remember," "Waiting for the 7.18" and "Sunday" in my iTunes.

In regards to Fountains of Wayne's fourth proper album, the band sticks to the formula from their previous album, Welcome Interstate Managers, and I can't say it's to their detriment or advantage. That said, I found myself listening to "Strapped for Cash" and "Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim" quite a bit this year.

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Though I usually like to talk solely about my favorite songs/albums from the year, I can't go any further without addressing the following . . .

Album that kind of proves my theory about fooling hipsters and jaded music fans, but later realized it isn't that overrated

The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

After numerous attempts to get into this highly-lauded follow-up to a stellar debut, I was about to devote some space expressing my theory about how it's an amazing achievement to fool people who nitpick Wilco but over-praise mind-numbing club bangers. However, recently listening to various tracks from this album prevents me from doing such.

That said, I still wonder: how in the world did Neon Bible not receive a tar-and-feathering while so many other follow-ups-to-breakthrough-albums usually do? Was it the pipe organ? Was it the topics of religion, war and apocalypse in the lyrics?

Beyond all of this, my main complaint about Neon Bible is how it's way more build-up than release. Meaning, songs build and build, but rarely lead to a satisfying climax. Funeral grabs me right away and doesn't disappoint. I wasn't trying to compare it to Funeral when I listened to Neon Bible for the first few times, but that's what still comes to mind.

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And now back to our regularly scheduled list . . .

Great songs on a great album, but maybe a few songs should have appeared as b-sides

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Living With the Living

Ted Leo and company put out another fantastic set of songs here. Fourteen proper tracks (and one intro track) rock and roar, but couple that with the free EP with four more proper songs, I had a little too much of a good thing.

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Albums that I liked, but just never got around to frequently listen to from top to bottom

The New Pornographers - Challengers
Fall Out Boy - Infinity On High
Maritime - Heresy and the Hotel Choir
Against Me! - New Wave
Parts and Labor - Mapmaker
Weakerthans - Reunion Tour

Sometimes my desire to hear new records from start to finish gets set aside so I can listen to Scott Walker again and again. These are some examples. And as much as I have strongly disliked what all has come with Fall Out Boy's popularity in the last few years, I found Infinity On High to be surprisingly tuneful and enjoyable.

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Dallas-based band who put out a fantastic record, but if I were to play it for people outside of the city, they would probably pass it off as "meh"

The Crash That Took Me - Orchestrated Kaleidoscopes

Consisting of members of [DARYL] and Black Tie Dynasty, there's a strong influence from My Bloody Valentine here. Thankfully it's not a retread or an attempt to recreate Loveless. A really nice progression from [DARYL]'s sound.

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The four albums released this year that I liked above all the other aforementioned albums

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Dillinger Escape Plan - Ire Works
Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

Sky Blue Sky is probably at the top of this small list for a number of reasons. To put it simply, this is a moody record that I don't have to be in a certain mood to listen to. Another great Wilco album in my book.

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is the album that helped me understand Spoon's unique blend of low-key, but memorable songs. Now I have five other Spoon albums to digest.

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is the best sounding Explosions record to date, with songs that effectively progress from their previous albums and Rescue EP.

Ire Works was touted to be the best Dillinger record to date by a certain band member. I can safely say he was right.

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Reissued in 2007, much to my delight

The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation

We Are the Pipettes reminds me of when pop music was filled with memorable hooks instead of vanilla blandness or moronic blow-out-your-speakers beats. The stateside release adds two extra tracks and sports an entirely remixed sound. Though I'm not so sure that was for the best other than marketing, having songs like "Pull Shapes" and "ABC" out stateside is a good thing.

I might be committing heresy in saying that I haven't fully sunk my teeth into Daydream Nation, but well, I haven't fully sunk my teeth into it. As a matter of fact, other than the Goo reissue, my other Sonic Youth CDs just sit there waiting to be really dug into. Maybe that's something I should work on in 2008.

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Bands/albums I finally "got" in 2007

Zao
Botch - We Are the Romans
At the Gates - Slaughter of the Soul
Death Cab for Cutie - The Photo Album

With repeat viewings of the Lesser Lights of Heaven documentary, I can safely say I'm now a fan of Zao's brutal metalcore. It's only taken me ten years to get into Dan Weyandt's demonic, scream-bloody-murder voice, but I love it (and the band's sound) on Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest, Liberate Te Ex Inferis and The Fear is What Keeps Us Here.

Botch's name has frequently come up in the last few years. Be it a hardcore show at Rubber Gloves or a number of AP issues, I finally took a listen to their renowned second album. I dig. The same can be said with At the Gates.

Death Cab's third proper album skips over the stuff that holds back We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes and just cooks. Amazing what happens when I listen to a band's last two records and then check out their earlier stuff.

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There you have it. To 2008 and beyond!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

12 Reasons

Before I divulge my favorite music and movies of the year, I figured I'd do an inventory of my year. Taking a cue from Py's and J's memes on Christmas, I'll do twelve entries here, mostly in regards to taking the good with the not-so-good.

1. The arrival of my nieces. Surrounded by love from their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, they truly are a blessing. On a side note, I look forward to introducing them to music as they grow up. No Dillinger Escape Plan just yet, but they won't have to endure any Raffi from me.

2. My first visit to see these nieces coincided with two major events: the completion of my first full draft of Post and probably one of the worst allergy attacks in recent memory. Literally as I finished up the draft, I came down with something. Oh, the timing of these sorts of things.

3. Hitting up South by Southwest for eight hours and having a ball. I couldn't argue with finding a $7 parking space right across the street from Emo's, receiving a free copy of Guitar Hero II and meeting a number of people in person I had only corresponded with via e-mail or phone for Post.

4. Seeing the closing of Punk Planet was sad. Connecting with fellow writers after the closing was great. Plus, seeing my interview with John Congleton appear in the final issue was very nice.

5. Being interviewed for a book on the Internet's effect on listeners was an honor. It feels great to realize all the time I've spent digging into music over the past fifteen years is actually worth something beyond amusing/impressing friends.

6. Entering back into the world of a full-time job was an overall improvement in my life. Though I don't stay up late during the week anymore, it's sure nice to know exactly how long it will take me to go from the office and back. In addition, it's wonderful to feel valued in a workplace situation/position. That's not to say I was never valued in my previous jobs; it's just understanding how all those other jobs taught me how to enjoy what I have now.

7. Playing my first out-of-town show was fun. But the period of inactivity behind a drumkit following that gig was not the best. Yet the one-off gig playing all Rolling Stones songs was one of the funnest shows I've ever done.

8. Getting to play drums on live TV was great, as were the gigs I played before and after that. Yet getting fired from that band makes me think I should only start bands from the ground up instead of joining bands that already have songs written.

9. Believe or not, going to my high school reunion was one of this summer's highlights. There was no awkwardness, no annoying stuff and some wounds were healed as well.

10. Having two of my best friends move to places within five minutes of my house. Definitely way more good than not-so-good.

11. Realizing how diet and exercise actually do improve quality of life. (And they aren't that hard to get into.)

12. Getting the blessing from two good friends to write my second book the way I want to write it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Marshmallow World

I don't know if I've had a different experience than you this holiday season, but I haven't been bombarded by Christmas music everywhere I go. Be it at the mall, big-box store or one of my favorite places to eat, not every song is of the yuletide variety. All of the Christmas gifts I purchased were bought in stores, but alas, the number of Christmas/holiday-centric songs seems less.

I'm not complaining here; I'm just making an observation. I wonder though: has a backlash against wall-to-wall Christmas music been the reason for this?

I'm not bringing all this up in fear that people hate Christmas or Christmas music; rather, I think it's how certain people don't want to hear Christmas music all the time. Personally, I like Christmas music, but prefer it to not hijack my regular playlist on my iPod or CD player. I think the key difference between being stuck in rush hour traffic listening to a radio station that's all Christmas music and being stuck in a line at a department store: you have the option to turn the music off.

I'm thinking more of these places will play more Christmas music until Christmas Eve draws near. Burnout will seem less, right? Well, I remember a time when this method was used across the board, but I'm not so sure this is a throwback to days gone by.

For me, I like to spin songs like the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York," Mojave 3's "Candle Song 3" and Chomsky's rendition of "Christmastime is Here." Plus, I like to pull out Jeff Giles' mixes he put up on his well-remembered blog, Jefitoblog. Now with the Phil Spector Christmas album and the Charlie Brown Christmas album in my collection, I'm pretty set.

But as of late, I haven't really listened to that stuff. As a matter of fact, in the last few weeks, I've been listening to Botch, Dillinger Escape Plan, Zao, At the Gates and Scott Walker more than anything else. Simply put, that's the stuff I've really wanted to hear. Of course, that stuff is given a rest when it's time to wrap presents.

I do enjoy hearing Christmas music, but in the last few years, I've received an earful from people who detest it. Now all these years later, I'm wondering why I'm having to bear the grunt of their misery. Yet for me, it's just notes and rhythms with a certain holiday cheer.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Be Good to Yourself

Well, the rumors are no longer rumors: Journey now has a new lead singer. It's Arnel Pineda, the man rumored to be the one for a few weeks now, and not Patti Smyth, as previously rumored. Believe it or not, but Pineda is the seventh lead vocalist in the band's tenure. Supposedly the many, many live clips of him singing Journey covers helped him catch their attention.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Take your time, take your time, think, think, think

Stumbling upon this clip of future Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Gil Sharone guest-starring on Full House, I couldn't help but cringe. Not for Sharone or his scene partners John Stamos or Lori Loughlin; rather, the show itself. As someone who watched the show from the beginning almost to the end in its first run, I wonder why I watched this show in the first place. When I see it now, I find it incredibly unfunny and forced. Plus, I feel like Alvy Singer in that part in Annie Hall where he watches his friend put laugh tracks down on his hit show. He asks, "is there booing on there?"

Instead of blocking out my reasons why, I think about an experience I had with some of my younger cousins earlier in the year. Watching a certain channel devoted to kids aged post-toddler to tween, I sat with them one afternoon watching unfunny show after unfunny show. That said, it kept my cousins from bouncing off the walls, so my aunt and uncle could get things done uninterrupted.

Understanding the perspective my parents probably had with shows I watched when I was younger, I'm not about to dig out the cynical axe and start swinging. I think of it as adult retribution. And we all face it at some point.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

When Acting as a Particle

Though this policy has been in effect for the past six months, word came down today that all Universal artists may only have 90-second clips of their songs on their MySpace pages. Why MySpace is being singled out, I'm not sure, but "[t]he policy applies to any site where music can be embedded, except for Universal's own official sites, which still offer free on-demand streaming of certain complete songs."

I don't know about you, but clips instead of full songs are a mixed-bag for me. Sometimes a 30-second clip can pique my interest. Sometimes they don't and I need to hear the full song. I say it depends on what's on the clip itself. If it was an epic Coheed and Cambria tune, I probably wouldn't be excited if the clip just had sound effects and feedback. If it was a short Ben Folds tune, I'd probably have an idea about whether I'd want to hear more. So, this all depends on the artist and the song.

I recently took a listen to 30-second iTunes clips from the much-lauded At the Gates album, Slaughter of the Soul. Impressed by what I heard, I wanted to hear the full album ASAP. Mission accomplished, right? Well for At the Gates, but what about a band like Dillinger Escape Plan? That required me to hear the full songs to decipher whether or not I should hear their latest album, Ire Works.

If you've never heard DEP before, just think of it as a metal-hardcore band that really likes King Crimson, Mr. Bungle and Faith No More. If you can't think of that, just imagine music that either quickly tests your patience or blows your mind. For me, I've been a fan for a few years, but I've wondered how many albums they could do before it all just sounded the (chaotically) same.

If I only heard a few 30-second clips from songs like "Nong Eye Gong" and "Fix Your Face," I might have passed on hearing the album. Those tracks are the standard mathcore DEP is known for, but not all of the songs are like that. Had it not been for a full album stream on their MySpace page before its release date, I might have passed on hearing one of the best albums released this year. Go figure.

Again, I stand divided about which is better: a sample or the whole song. If I like the sample, I'll want to hear the full song and maybe even the whole album. This attitude has been in effect with me for a long time and well before the Internet was around. Ever since I heard the final section of "Unchained Melody" on the radio in 1990, I wanted to hear what all came before it. So, the same attitude applies in 2007.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Book update 12.03.07

With the spreading of the word of POST via its MySpace page, I'm not really surprised that a message board thread on it has now surfaced. The board is Viva La Vinyl, a place I had heard about, but had never checked out before. I had heard it was a prime location for whiners wishing I wrote the book they thought it should be, but so far, the complaints have been scarce.

Even if complaints dominated the thread, I wouldn't care all that much. Since I liked it when Kevin Smith hopped onto his board to answer questions, I wanted to continue that kind of interaction. I've already logged on to answer questions and comments, no matter how ugly they may or may not get. It's all in the process of telling people about the project rather than keeping it a guarded secret.

The current status of the book is this:

-I've begun the final edit of the 220-page manuscript. That might sound like a short book, but it's not. One page in Word equals 1.5 pages in book form. So two pages in Word means three pages in book form. And it's all single-spaced with 11-point Georgia font. In other words, this isn't some short walk in the park.

-Editing is a slow process that is well worth it at the end of the day. Some days I take up to three hours editing one chapter, but I'm proud of the results.

-There is no word about a release date, but I hope to have this out sometime next year. Keep in mind, I've been saying this for the past three years. Hear me out though: the research has been done for almost a year, but I needed to spend some time away from the book itself. Spending almost everyday of your life on a project for three years straight can make you go batty.

-It looks like I will be self-publishing this, but I do not take this as a sign of defeat. Rather, this is probably the best way for me to get the word out the way I want it out. Plus, this route might help get this out there sooner rather than later.

Stay tuned.