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Showing posts from May, 2005

What's in a (band) name?

Thanks to largeheartedboy for the link to this game. I always wonder where bands get their name from, but I've found their stories are rather anti-climactic. We're raised on the myths and "big fish" stories about bands, we think these bands are from another world. Well, all bands are made of humans made from planet Earth (even though ? of ? and the Mysterions claims he's from Mars). Oftentimes, the name comes from a movie, a poem, a book, a joke or from a list of potential names. In the case of my book, I wish to shed some light on band names. To answer the frequently asked, "Where did you get your name?" question, I sought to clear up these stories as best as possible. Probably the funniest/interesting ones are for At the Drive-In and the Get Up Kids. In the case of At the Drive-In, guitarist/vocalist Jim Ward suggested the name after a line in Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me." With the Get Up Kids, vocalist/guitarist Matt Pryor's previo

I'm going out for a while . . .

It's been a long time since I had a day where I didn't have any commitments. After tinkering with the Jawbox chapter, I watched THX 1138 and two documentaries about the making of the film. Awesome movie that's still visually arresting thirty years later. You see Star Wars Lucas-isms all over the place, yet the film stands well on its own. I picked up yet another book this afternoon. Slamdek A-Z is a history of the Louisville-based label, Slamdek, that was around between 1986 and 1995. There is a piece on Jawbox, so guess which part I'm reading first . . . I downloaded some tracks from Feeder this evening. You might remember their song, "High" ("I'm going out for a while/so I can get high with my friends") featured on TV shows a few years ago. Great track. I really got excited about the band after watching their version of "Just the Way I'm Feeling" on the recent Later . . . with Jools Holland DVD I rented. I hope this band put

Faithfully

One of the DVDs that has received a lot of plays in my player as of late is a live show of Journey circa 2001. Why? Because I really like Journey's music, pure and simple. Yes, Journey. Complete with the wanky guitar solos, upper-register vocals and synthesizers. Sure, Journey is a relic from the corporate rock heyday (definition and discussion of corporate rock here ), but their music still holds up. Since the late-90s, the band's line-up has Steve Augeri on lead vocals and Deen Castronovo on drums, but that has made Journey better. Not to take any credit away from Steve Perry's previous work with the band, but Steve Augeri is as strong a vocalist as his predecessor. Augeri hits the high notes effortlessly and performs the songs flawlessly, just like Perry did (before all the legal matters and personality differences got him fired from the band). However, Augeri isn't a Perry clone. His voice is close enough to Perry's voice but it has enough freshness to make it

Driving Sideways

Jason suggested we watch Sideways last night. Previously, I showed some interest in the film becuase Paul Giamatti is in it and it's about men suffering midlife crises. However, I wasn't so sure about the film's prevalent theme of wine tasting. I'm not a fan of wine because I don't like the taste of wine. Plus, I didn't think I could relate to the "culture" of wine tasting. Wine grievances aside, I really dug Sideways . Just about 45 minutes into the movie, I couldn't help but notice the similarities to Swingers . I'm not knocking Sideways here; Sideways is not some cheap imitation of Swingers . Both flicks include guys that get out of town to think about their lives. They are emotionally tangled up in blue, but for different reasons. As a fan of Swingers , I enjoyed Sideways as much. The themes of male-bonding and moving on are very relatable, even though the Miles and Jack characters are much older than I am. I could relate to the Mile

This Station is Non-Operational

Yesterday, the Get Up Kids and At the Drive-In released posthumous collections. While the Get Up Kids are in the midst of their farewell tour, I think it's safe to call Live at the Granada Theater a posthumous collection. On the other hand, At the Drive-In suspended all activity in March 2001. Hearing these releases bring back memories, but they also serve as nice reminders as to how excitement is perceived. As a point of reference, the way that people talk about bands like Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights and Taking Back Sunday these days is not too far off from how people talked about the Get Up Kids and At the Drive-In back in the day. The line of "This is what the kids are into" comes up. The deal is, we're talking about fleeting thoughts. When you read about bands in magazines and websites and see shows that are packed to the gills, you would be lead to believe that these bands are huge . Sure, they're big now, but most won't always be a big draw. The d

Something more, nothing at all or just a lot of confusion?

As an effective marketing move to sell more CDs, a lot of labels offer free DVDs with CDs or a CD/DVD bundle at one price. The perception is that you're getting something extra. However, are you really getting something you'll watch as much as you'll listen to the album? In some cases, the bonus DVD has a lot of great stuff worthy of repeated viewings. Some good examples that come to mind are Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf and Ash's Free All Angels and Meltdown. Using live footage, some interesting interviews and well-crafted music videos, these extras are very worthwhile. However, a lot of CDs come packaged with one lame music video, some boring behind-the-scenes stuff and still photos. This stuff is hardly worth the extra dollars (often $4-$5 more in total cost). Now with the widespread draw towards the DualDisc format (one side of the disc plays like a regular music CD while the other side has DVD content) things are getting a little out of con

Indie yuppie

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing: the indie yuppie! New York Post 5/19/05 By MAUREEN CALLAHAN MEET the new yuppie: the urban striver who listens to "O.C."-approved indie rock, checks the right blogs to find out about "secret" rock shows, considers white iPod earbuds the ultimate fashion accessory - and is a lawyer with a mortgage and a baby on the way. Whereas once a yuppie was defined as being part of the establishment - think the '80s corporate drone who wore power suits, watched "thirtysomething" and loved the soundtrack to "The Big Chill" - today's yuppie strenuously identifies with all things counterculture. The strain was first identified a few weeks ago by Vice Records label manager Adam Shore, who derided what he called the newly created "indie-yuppie establishment" in an interview with the Columbia Spectator. He tagged offenders as anyone who identifies themselves through their love of what he considers the ultimate

Like a dog in . . .

I walk our dog, Juliet, almost every day for about 25 minutes. I walk her down the street for a ways and then turn around. Every time we turn around, she wants to walk farther. To make up for this, I let her walk all the way down our street on Saturday mornings and we end up taking about an hour to loop around. Well, this past Saturday was different. I didn't think the temperature would be so hot at 10am so I proceeded on my regular schedule. As we walked home, Juliet stopped walking and sat down in a shady area. She was breathing heavier than normal so I let her cool off. We tried walking again, but she wanted to stop about four more times. Call me impatient, but I wanted to get home as quickly as possible. So, I picked her up and walked for a ways down the street. By the time we reach the home stretch, I put her back on the ground and she trotted back home with no problem. Moral of the story: no more long walks as long as our summer-like weather keeps up. However, no matter how

Sith Redux

I know I said "Let's move on" with Star Wars , but I can't stop thinking about Star Wars . Maybe I meant that we should (or maybe just me) stop being so combative about loving something. The following paragraph from Kevin Smith's recent Rolling Stone article and it just blows me away by how right-on it is. "This new Vader cycle has split the one-time Old Republic that was Star Wars fandom into two warring factions: the Rebellion, and the normal people with a sense of perspective who don't need a term from the Star Wars lexicon to define them. The Rebellion is populated by the joyless, cynical ubertrolls who, sadly, take up the most space on the Internet. These are the hollow men and women who marched into the prequels demanding that Lucas recapture their lost Star Wars youth for them - that simple time in their lives when they had the excuse of prepubescence to explain why they were still virgins. With that much investment in make-believe, it's l

In print

Well, Punk Planet issue number 68 (with Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina from the Evens on the cover) arrived in my mailbox today. Not only did Trevor do a great interview with Ian and Amy (more helpful book research!), this issue contains some record reviews written by your's truly. This is my first time to be in print and I'm thrilled to be writing for Punk Planet . Life is very good.

They went with someone who had more . . .

I figure now would be a good time to explain the title of this blog. In all truth, it comes from a line in this movie. Here's the scene: Rob mentions that he didn't get a job at Disneyland playing Goofy because "they went with someone who had more theme park experience." While funny in the context of the scene, the line is also frustrating and a little sad. I think we've all been turned down for things (jobs, dates, bands, etc.) and have received rather lame excuses for why we didn't get them. In the case of the phrase, 'theme park experience,' that sounds like a dressed-up way of saying, "We don't want to train somebody new to this field." Such a comforting phrase to people that want to make some money in a field they want to be in. Stretching a bit and reading into the meaning of the phrase, 'theme park experience' doubles with my fascination with theme parks. I like going to theme parks, like DisneyWorld/Disneyland and Six F

Wrapping up my morning with the Sith

Well, I saw it . Instead of talking about it at length and giving a lot of spoilers away in the process, I will say this: it is a fitting end to the whole series. Everything I wanted to know was answered and I was thrilled by the whole experience. I finally don't care about people's criticisms and nitpicking of this series. I don't have to get angry while defending the series (especially the prequels) anymore. I've been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid and now a lot of things in its universe make better sense at 26. Objective reached. Now let's move on.

My Morning with the Sith

My mid-days are usually reserved for napping and writing, but that won't be the case today. I will attempt to see a mid-morning screening of Revenge of the Sith . I plan on getting to the theater of my choice about an hour before showtime and read Let It Blurt until the movie starts. As you know, I'm super excited about this movie. Both prequels are vastly underrated for several reasons and I'm looking forward to the conclusion of this part of the series. I've kept up my part of the deal by not reading a single spoiler-filled review. Sure, we already know some vague things about how Anakin became Darth Vader, but I want to be surprised. Sure, I've seen the headlines on Ain't It Cool News and Roger Ebert's 3 1/2 stars review, but even if this movie was universally panned, I'd still see it. Now I wonder, will George Lucas re-release all six movies in a DVD set with more bonus stuff? I wouldn't be surprised if he did . . .

The Bottle Rocket Tour, Revisited

Last spring, with the assistance of this website, I visited almost every location where Bottle Rocket was filmed. Since the movie was filmed mostly in Dallas and I had nothing to do for a few days, I figured I would take "the tour." I took pictures of the hotel where Dignan, Anthony and Bob hide, the bookstore they rob, Bob Maplethorpe's house, Hinkley Cold & Storage (now the Texas Ice House) and the street where Dignan and Anthony talk about the "Things Dignan's Not Supposed to Touch" list. Well, I'm glad I took pictures because some things have changed. First of all, the hotel where Dignan, Anthony and Bob hide looks completely different now. I found this out while en route to Austin for SxSW a few months ago. Right off of I-35E in Hillsboro is the hotel, near the big outlet mall. The hotel was a locally-owned place but now it is a Days Inn and looks nothing like it was in the movie. Second of all, the bookstore is gone. The bookstore had long

Let's follow the road of hype

A few months ago, I heard some rumblings about this band called Autolux . They opened for Secret Machines and Moving Units on a recent tour that came through Dallas. I heard all this talk about how Autolux was better than the headliners ("Did you see Autolux? Man, they were incredible! "). Well, they played Dallas last night with the Raveonettes and a few of my friends suggested I go see the show. I didn't go to the show and haven't talked to anybody that went to the show, but I have to talk about this. Why? Because this my friends, is how hype begins. This kind of hype is nothing new, but lets display some recurring patterns for the unitiated: -Band gets talked about on message boards, shows, blogs, etc. ("There's this new band called _____ and I think they're awesome.") -Band prepares album as buzz words are tossed around. ("This could be awesome!", "I'm really curious to see what this band can do") -The album leaks onto t

Land of the Dead

I will definitely see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in the theaters some time next weekend. However, I'm debating whether or not to see this movie in a theater. I'm a little new to Romero's zombie flicks because I've only watched them once. Dawn of the Dead is my favorite because of its satire of society, the terror of zombies and the emotionally involved human characters. I love the lampooning of consumerism and other society ills since these commentaries overshadow the gory nature of the flick. I'm a really big fan of the recent zombie flicks, 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead , so I'm curious what Romero has to allow. If he had of directed Resident Evil , that would have been interesting. However, his . . . of the Dead movies are his own. Having him film Resident Evil would have been weird anyway. How could an inventor of a genre do a film based on a video game that was inspired by his earlier films? Good question though: now that the

Mattress Mac

I'm 95% sure about this, but I believe Mattress Mac was on Dr. Phil yesterday. Who is Mattress Mac? Well, if you lived in Houston anytime in the '80s or '90s, you may remember seeing him in his Gallery Furniture TV ads. He stood in front of a green screen and sometimes wore a mattress case (hence the nickname). His outro was always "Gallery will save you money!" and he jumped up with dollars in his hand as he enthusiastically said it. I haven't lived in Houston for four years so I'm not sure if he's still on Gallery Furniture's ads. However, watching Dr. Phil yesterday, I think Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale was on TV for a different reason. The episode's topic was on OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Jim's 18-year-old daughter suffers from OCD and she discussed her condition with Dr. Phil. Not only was she interviewed by Dr. Phil, but her parents were interviewed too. Since this problem is a serious matter, seeing whom I be

To Cover or Not to Cover

In the last few weeks, I've heard three cover versions of Queen's "Under Pressure." One was by the Blood Brothers, one was a collaboration between the Used and My Chemical Romance and the other one was by another collaboration, this time with members of Small Brown Bike and the Casket Lottery. The Small Brown Bike/Casket Lottery version was the best, but I wonder: how is the best way to cover a song? Some theories on covering songs include a) be as faithful to the original b) completely rearrange the song c) do a little of both. In my opinion, those theories vary between song choice. In the case of SBB/CL's version of "Under Pressure," they stay true to the original and their rendition sparkles. Sure, they can't hit the high notes like Freddie or Bowie could on the original, but they make this "handicap" work. Stacy from Casket Lottery has a raspy, but melodic bite in his delivery. Not someone that could replace Freddie's vocals in a

Is there life on Mars?

Yesterday, Wes Anderson's fourth film, The Life Aquatic , came out on DVD. As I had previously blogged, I dug the film quite a bit when I saw it in the theater. Now on DVD, I can dig in even more with all of the extras. First of all, I am thrilled that there is an interview with film composer, Mark Mothersbaugh. You know him from Devo, but his talents truly shine as a composer. Each score he's done for Wes' films is different and unique but compliment each other very well. Seeing an interview with Mothersabaugh sans the goofy get-ups and costumes of Devo was a nice change. Not too long but very straight to the point, the interview answers a lot of questions I've had about him for a while. Secondly, showing Seu Jorge's full performances of his David Bowie songs is a tasty extra. Granted, there is only so much you can watch of a man and his acoustic guitar, but hearing those songs in Portugese is great. His arrangements remind me of Jose Feliciano's transpositio

Teenage Symphonies to God

I like power pop as much as I like pizza and ice cream. I can't have those things every day, but I enjoy them on a regular basis. As I write this, I have parts of Teenage Fanclub's "The Concept," "Ain't It Enough" and the Raspberries' "Let's Pretend" repeating in my head. Yesterday, as I read my new issue of Rolling Stone , I listened to Velvet Crush's Teenage Symphonies to God . I heard great things about this album (especially on the Sound Ops board) and I figured I would dig it since it was considered power pop. Well, after seeing a used copy at a local record store, I decided to pick it up. With just one listen, I'm very impressed. More listening is in the near-future. Now I can add Velvet Crush to my list of power pop favorites: Big Star, Cheap Trick, the Raspberries, the Posies and Teenage Fanclub. Maybe I should check out the dB's next . . . As much as I like the jangly guitars and sunny melodies, I can only handle

I am extraordinary

Until Liz Phair released her second album, Whip-Smart , I had never heard of her. That's right: I never heard a song from Exile in Guyville and I still haven't heard a song from the much-lauded debut album. So maybe that's why I have no problem with her song, "Extraordinary," from her fourth, self-titled release. Long-time fans have deemed Liz Phair a sell-out with Liz Phair , but you know what? I don't care. I have only heard "Extraordinary" from the album and I like it. A lot. Sure, the song reeks of the kind of studio trickery that is perfect for the Top 40 crowd but sickening for the indie rock crowd. Yet, the warm melodies are there and they sound good no matter how over-the-top the production is. I find it odd that in a day and age of a lot of Top 40 hits have more cold, hard beats than warm melodies, "Extraordinary" was a Top 40 hit. Maybe the exposure of the song with Phair's sexy looks and poses helped out. Regardless, I lik

Any Way You Want It

One of my latest DVD viewings included Journey's Greatest Hits . All of the videos of Steve Perry-era are included and boy, they have not aged well. I still love their music but watching the "Separate Ways" video is a prime example of how video replaced the radio star. There is something about bright yellow shirts, tight blue jeans and tight white pants that doesn't jive with me. The guys look silly and they were trying really hard to accomodate the MTV crowd. People bought it, but the band probably regrets how goofy they looked. Thus the lesson was learned: how much are you willing to give up in order to make your living in a superstar rock band? The cost of not doing giving in is high, but so is the cost of compromise. Interesting . . . Now back to writing the Promise Ring chapter.

Ryan Adams Redux

After reading this thread about Ryan Adams, I bring up this subject again: why do people think Ryan is "returning to form" on Cold Roses ? He's always been in form! As I've said before, I don't get what is so great about his debut, Heartbreaker . I really like the record, but it showcases Adams as a chameleon. He's searching for his voice by aping his influences (especially Dylan). He found his voice on Gold , his second album. Through the channels of 1970s country-rock, he got through to me. Every song is powerful, even at sixteen tracks. He didn't know how to follow-up Gold : there were plans for a four-CD set of unreleased albums (including Destroyer , the Suicide Handbook , 48 Hours and demos) but that was reduced to one collection: Demolition . Then there was Love is Hell , a stark collection of songs that Lost Highway deemed, 'not commercial' or something like that (hence why it was initially released as two separate EPs). Going more wi

The Forgotten Arm and Cold Roses

En route to my afternoon shift yesterday, I picked up Ryan Adams' new double-CD, Cold Roses , and Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm . As a fan of both artists, it may sound strange that I actually sampled a few tracks online before I bought them. Huh? Am I a fickle fan? No, I just don't like wasting my money on weak and wimpy crap. Both Adams and Mann have released strong records before, but I just wanted to make sure I would like the new ones too. Well, I really like what I've heard after a few spins and I want to keep on listening. This morning was perfect for listening to Cold Roses : the weather was cold, rainy and just gray, but I've been feeling really consistently well for a solid week now. The album is more in the vein of Heartbreaker (spare, country-ish rock) but luckily, this record isn't "Spot my influence on this track!" like Heartbreaker is. I don't have a standout favorite just yet, but I may have one (or two or three) soon enough. O

musicforthemorningafter

I remember when Pete Yorn 's debut, musicforthemorningafter , arrived at KTCU. This was at the tail-end of all these bands with Jeff Buckley/Radiohead imitators as lead singers (Ours and Paloalto come to mind) and I saw the cover and groaned. Yorn looked like a Jeff Buckley look-alike and matters didn't help that he was on the same label as the late great Buckley. Well, I'm glad somebody recommended me to listen to the record instead of looking at the cover. My old bandmate Dave suggested a few tracks for rotation, so I listened to the whole record. I was very impressed and kept listening the record for many months. There isn't a stinker in the bunch and I recently dug the record out. It's still fresh to my ears but I wonder: whatever happened to this guy? I didn't pick up his second record, Day I Forgot , because I didn't like its first single and my friends told me that the record wasn't very good. Even though they (as in, Best Buy, Target) sold the

Frequently Asked Questions

To address some frequently asked questions about my book, here are some answers: Who are you? I'm a twenty-something Dallas resident (DOB 2/13/79) that reports traffic for a living. Since I work a "split shift" (meaning a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon), I have the entire midday to do whatever I want. So, I write/revise/research during that time. Also, I write record reviews for Punk Planet . What's this about shingles hitting your head? It's true, a pile of shingles were dropped onto my head on March 1st, 2004. Here's the story: I was en route to drop off my monthly rent check before I went off to my weekday afternoon gig. As I walked down the steps of my apartment building, I saw piles of torn shingles all over the sidewalk. Roofers were throwing these shingles off at a rapid rate, so I approached with some caution. Right as I thought I was in the clear, a small pile smacks me on the head. I was not in major pain; just a little

CHOMSKY!

After taking a hiatus that was rumored to be permanent, Chomsky is back together. Seeing them play Saturday night at the Barley House was a reminder of how awesome this band is. Here's some backstory: Chomsky was introduced to me via KTCU with their A Few Possible Selections for the Soundtrack to Your Life album being in heavy rotation. Hearing its sixth track, "Road," on a regular basis was a great lead-in with this hard-to-describe band. You could hear their 1980s college rock influences (especially XTC), but they definitely didn't ape their influences. Steve was kind enough to give me a CD of an acoustic session Chomsky did on the Tom and Steve Show . Hearing their stuff on acoustic guitars, stand-up bass and a snare drum was (like so many cases) the litmus test of how strong the material was. Well, I was very impressed and I followed the band closely from then on. I saw them play at the Aardvark in Fort Worth numerous times, at the front of the TCU student c