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Showing posts from September, 2005

Save the date: October 13th, 2005

Big news that's been brewing for a while: I'll be in Chicago between October 9th and the 16th for vacation and some book stuff. One of the things on tap is a benefit show at Beat Kitchen on Thursday, the 13th with the following line-up: The City on Film The Firebird Band Hirudin Dogme 95 For those that know the line-ups for the City on Film and the Firebird Band, you know that there are ex-members of Braid in these bands. Well, this ain't no Braid reunion show, but this is a celebration of the now because of a band like Braid, a band that has a full chapter devoted to them in my book. All of these acts are my friends and they all have an important connection to the book. I've gotten to know Bob from City on Film and Chris from the Firebird Band through my interviews and hanging out with them whether with Braid or City on Film or Firebird Band. Since they both live in or around Chicago, I hoped they would be in town on the same night given their rather busy tour

There's "living" and then there's "making a living"

We need money in our lives. It gets us the shelter we need, the food we need, the transportation we need and so on. Money does not pump blood into our veins nor will a dollar bill kill us, yet we treat money (or the threat of lack of it) like it a life or death matter. I understand its importance but I believe making and having enough money to live on is not the only priority in my life. I've been fortunate enough to make a living doing what I've wanted to do for a while now. I wanted to work in radio or something related to it, but I never set out to do just one thing. People tell me I have a voice for radio but I don't think my voice is only destined for it. I have the mindset to understand how the field works and what all comes with it. I never would have guessed as to how things were to work out back when I graduated in December of 2001. Going from being a promotions assistant to being a producer to being a producer and a reporter in the following years, each one lucki

Ever

I may be behind the times on this, but it's recently occurred to me that there is a word that is overused by many people my age and younger: ever. Now I don't mean to sound like that professor that claimed that the instances in Alanis Morrissette's "Ironic" ("it's like rain on your wedding day") were technically not ironic, but I think 'ever' is frequently misused. From saying you had the worst tan ever to having the worst day ever to seeing the best show ever, 'ever' seems to end sentences as frequently as periods do. When I think of the word 'ever,' I associate it with a sense of finality in the grand scheme of things. It's the accumulation of everything that the person has known up until that point, thus hinting that things in the future will not be up to or below that level. Well, what happens when something tops something that was once dubbed "the best ever"? In other words, when I hear someone talk about h

Troubled Hubble RIP

Some rather sad news from Troubled Hubble because they're breaking up : for reasons, both physical and personal, the band has decided to make next thursday, september 29th at Schuba's the final Troubled Hubble show. it's been an amazing journey for all of us over the last six years, and we're so thankful to all of our friends and family for supporting us along the way, not to mention all the amazing friends and fans we've met all over the country. you have no idea how much we'll miss seeing you!as for the show, happily it's all ages, so anybody willing and able can attend. if you want to be sure to make the show (especially if you're traveling), we suggest you buy tickets ahead of time here .it's going to be a great show, and we're excited for the opportunity to end a career that we're so proud of on a high note. with any luck, we'll see you there. As to why this is some very sad news for me, please refer to my recent post on TH.

Those times have changed man/and so have I

So says Dave Smalley from one my favorite Dag Nasty tracks, "Never Go Back." Of course we can't go back in time, but I feel there are certain things we should look back and cherish. In the case of a band's story, I choose to focus on the most important factor: friendship through playing and making music together. Since I often talk about other bands, I figured I should talk about some of my old bands. I have played drums since 1994 and have spent time in five separate bands since then. All of them had their ups and downs but they have made me appreciate the time I have in my current band, Ashburne Glen. I remember the days of being friendly competitors with fellow area bands and all the drama that came out of it. Those were fun ways of passing the time but the most valuable things I learned about friendship through bandmate status came from a band I was in between 2001 and 2003 called the 11:30s. When the 11:30s started, me, Dave and Nick (two guys I met through KTC

Short Cuts

Part of Sunday was spent watching Robert Altman's Short Cuts , a film I heard had many parallels to PT Anderson's Magnolia . Whether or not Anderson was deliberately trying to copy Altman, I highly doubt this. I see similarities between the two films as they are both large ensemble pieces with similar plot devices. Where each one goes from there makes it unique. I can't help but think about my biggest influences on Post and how I try not to copy them. I've made no secret about my love for Our Band Could Be Your Life , Fargo Rock City and Wilco:Learning How to Die and I strongly feel shades of my interpretations of these books will come through in Post . With Our Band Could Be Your Life , I like the simplicity of breaking up chapters by band simply for clarity sakes. Plus, I enjoy its demystifying look at bands whose stories have become rather big fish stories over the years. Knowing what really happened is way more interesting that what the press said back in the da

Planet Houston

As I had blogged about my birthplace eventually getting back to its self as Hurricane Katrina hit, I think about Houston, the place I called home for 14 years, as Hurricane Rita approaches. My parents still live in Kingwood (a 'burb about 30 miles north of Houston) as my sister and her husband live about 25 minutes away from there. Since they are very high above sea level and about 80 miles away from the shore, they are very wise in staying put. They've boarded up their houses just in case as the prediction is that there may be some power outages, high wind and a few downed trees. The damage may be worse or may be less but I can say is this; I have faith that any damage will be fixable in some form or another. If destruction is really a form of creation, then I won't worry. Don't think that I'm wishing for mass destruction and shattered and/or lost lives here. Hurricanes happen; just like thunderstorms, flat tires, paper cuts and all other sorts of things that we

Don't Turn Away from Ignorance is Bliss

I was talking with Kyle the other night about various things. One of them was on face to face, a band we share much admiration and love for. Turns out he received an advance copy of the forthcoming face to face retrospective, Shoot the Moon: the Essential Collection , and read off the tracklisting to me. After hearing the list of songs, I was taken aback by the fact that there are no songs from the band's fourth proper album, Ignorance is Bliss . I could understand why songs from it were left out because they are much different from their other material, however if they are trying to hide Ignorance is Bliss , I'd be very pissed at them. Here's some backstory: After their classic debut album, Don't Turn Away , was released on Dr. Strange (and later, Fat Wreck), face to face found themselves in the major label world of Polygram. First they were on Victory Music (no, not the metal/punk/ska/emo label based in Chicago - it was an imprint with such fellow artists as Yes on

Doin' it for the (insert any word but 'kids')

There's a word that I don't feel comfortable using when referring to a younger generation of music fans: kids. To me, the word 'kid' makes me think of two other words: young and naive. We'll always be younger than our elders and we may never know as much our elders do but where is the cutoff point with calling people kids? I hear about 'kids' all the time. I don't fault the people that call them that but I'm always looking for a word other than 'kid' when describing someone a few years younger than me. I don't understand how a 24-year-old could call a 17-year-old a 'kid'. Would a 55-year-old call a 42-year-old a kid too? I have a friend who has 4-year-old and a 2-year-old: those are kids in my book. The age, knowledge and experience gap is wide enough to make the distinction. So it's with that labelling caution that I bring up a story about a 17-year-old I met a Firebird Band show a few months ago. I didn't hear the fu

Mallrats

In honor of the Mallrats 10th Anniversary Extended Edition (which is released today), I think about how this film came into my life. Clerks , Kevin Smith's first film, was released when I was a freshman in high school. I didn't see it when was out in the theaters, but I was intrigued by the story MTV News ran about how Kevin sold his comic book collection to help fund the film. I thought that was cool but I didn't rush out to see the movie, especially given the fact that I still wasn't of-age to see R-rated movies by myself. I vaguely remember seeing ads for Mallrats in the few weeks before it came out in theaters. I remember a few print ads, some commercials and some mentions about its soundtrack but that was it. I didn't know anything about the movie and I wasn't really compelled to see it (nevermind the fact that it was another R-rated movie and I was underage). I heard a little bit about how the movie was ripped to shreds by film critics and it bombed at

Revenge of the Indie Rockers

Revenge of the indie rockers By Greg Kot Tribune music critic Published September 18, 2005 After years in which mainstream rock was dominated by burly bands from Limp Bizkit to Creed, drowning in testosterone, the indie kids who speak for the world's video-store clerks, sandwich-shop waitresses and back-packing college students are taking over. In the last year, bands that were once staples of independent-music connoisseurs and college-radio programmers, such as Modest Mouse, the White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand, released albums that sold more than a million copies. Last month, longtime underground favorite Death Cab for Cutie released its fifth studio album, "Plans," and it debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Its 90,000 first-week sales "woke everybody up," says the band's A&R representative at Atlantic Records, Sam Riback, 28. "This isn't just the next `priority' at the label; this is the real deal." In October, Scottish q

Troubled Hubble

Yes, I often complain that a lot of the modern music that is influenced by mid-90s post-hardcore is only for teenagers and college students. However, when a young band comes along that speaks to my age and I like their music, I take a lot of notes. For me, it's Troubled Hubble . I hear a lot of reference points in their sound but I think they have a sound of their own. Singer/guitarist Chris Otepka's voice bares a slight resemblance to the Dismemberment Plan's Travis Morrison's conversational singing voice, but I put an emphasis on "slight." Their songs are very four-on-the-floor and the melodies are immediate and catchy, but compared to a lot of other bands out there, TH's sound is very original. I'm not doing a sliding-scale comparison here: they're great and a breath of fresh air. Then there's the lyrics: some could say they're wacky, but I really dig them. Case in point, this line in "I'm Pretty Sure I Can See Molecules:&quo

Where do blazers come into the equation?

As a t-shirt and jeans, t-shirt and khakis and button down and khakis kind of guy, I've never understood the whole "vintage" look that people my age and younger have adopted in the last few years. ("Vintage" as in looking like you bought all of your clothes at second-hand thrift stores specializing in stuff from the '70s and '80s.) One of the outfits I see on men and women is a blazer/sportsjacket combination with a shirt and jeans. Yes, a blazer, a coat traditionally synonymous with an outfit consisting of slacks, shirts and ties, with a shirt (usually a t-shirt) and jeans. How in the world did this become fashionable? I think of a coat as a layer of clothing that adds warmth to the body. Yes, that's a very big "duh!" line, but I bring this up because I see people wearing blazers year-round . This brings major puzzlement into my head, especially in the area that I live. For the non-Texas-resident readers, Dallas usually gets bone-chillin

The Legacy of Sunday Nights part II

In honor of David Sadoff's comments on my post on Sunday night speciality shows , I've been inspired to go down Sunday night's memory lane once again. I was in 7th grade when Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden came into my life. For someone who grew up on a lot of soft rock from the 60s/70s and all things considered Top 40 pop in the 1980s, grunge was very new to me. I had never heard music so hard that was so accessible at the same time. I was too young for the Replacements, Husker Du and Mudhoney when they were around and I didn't even know an underground music community even existed. I read about some punk and hard rock bands in Thrasher , but other than looking at the ads for their new albums, that's all I knew about any form of music that wasn't on the radio or MTV. By the mid-1990s, more "modern rock" stations were popping up (or they were already there but I just realized they were there) to cater to the "alternative nati

The Reissue Treatment

Today I'm expanding on a topic I posted on the Sound Opinions message board: the recent trend of reissuing albums that have been out only for a year or less. I don't know how you feel about this, but I think this is abuse of a niche market. I come from the school of reissuing that Rhino Records has taught over the years: reissue records/songs that have aged well, give them a better sounding treatment on CD and add bonus tracks to sweeten the deal. Elvis Costello's reissued back catalog with bonus discs of b-sides and rarities was probably one of the best in recent memory. Not only did you get the original album with optimal sound quality but you got a second CD filled with non-album tracks for completists/curious folks at no extra cost. The original CD versions of albums by the likes of Elvis Costello, Television, the Ramones and the Stooges sounded tinny, flat and weak. After digitally remastering the tracks, you could now hear little parts (like the basslines) so much

A graphic novel? Why not?

I watched Sin City Saturday night and was blown away. So blown away that I was inspired to go back to a comic book store (I hadn't been to one in about a year) and pick up some comics. Well, other than thumbing through Alex Robinson's new book, Tricked , I didn't see anything that really grabbed me. Not to sound arrogant, but I couldn't find anything that was up my alley, so another form of inspiration struck. I know what I want to do after Post : a graphic novel. What's a graphic novel? Well, here's a definition from Dictionary.com : A novel whose narrative is related through a combination of text and art, often in comic-strip form. That's a very accurate description of a graphic novel, but don't think my project is some superhero comic or some gritty noir piece filled with anti-heroes. I enjoy those kinds of comics but I want to write something that I would read and really enjoy. Right now I'm leaning towards writing/drawing several vignettes b

Four Years Later

I don't think any of us will forget where we were on September 11th four years ago, but what about September 10th? Sure, we could say it was a "simpler" and "innocent" time, but for me, something very eery still sticks out given what happened the following day. Here's the setting: it's my last semester at TCU and I have a Monday night class in Media Law and Ethics. Our lecture always met in a classroom on the third floor of the Moudy building but September 10th's lecture was different. We met in the classroom but we were told to go across the street to Ed Landreth hall to hear a guest speaker. Turns out the speaker was a former lawyer who had worked with the ACLU and won several cases against the KKK. One of the biggest points of his speech was how just a different view of America could mean a lot of things. One example he brought up was the Oklahoma City bombing; some people had a different view and executed a horrific tragedy. For me, hearing abo

Tux

Since Sunday, Jason and I have been hosting a refugee from New Orleans: a dog named Tux. Tux's owner works for the New Orleans police department and he was evacuated before Hurricane Katrina hit the town. One of our landlords is from the area, so with our consent, our house is now Tux's shelter for the next week or so. I don't know what breed he is, but he is tall . His head comes up to my stomach in a standing position and this becomes a tad annoying when I try to eat. He's a curious fella and whenever he smells food (whether it's soup or cereal), he wants at least a smell. His size may be duanting but he is a very sweet dog. He gets along with Juliet though she likes to roughhouse with him. She's got a thing about trying to bite his ears and he doesn't enjoy it (is there anyone that would?). Yes, they live in relative harmony but the effect it's had on me has been a glimpse of a possible future as a ( gasp !) parent. Bill Cosby onced joked that he a

The Legacy of Sunday Nights

In high school and in college, when a high speed internet connection was not a household item, Sunday nights were my ticket in finding out about new and upcoming bands. The Buzz, Houston's modern rock station, had a Sunday night line-up consisting of the local Lunar Rotation with David Sadoff and the syndicated Modern Rock Live . Lunar Rotation specialized in new and older tracks with some talk breaks while Modern Rock Live was almost all interviews with some music. I heard a wide variety of stuff and it didn't matter if it was old or new - it was almost always great stuff. Hearing older tracks from Catherine Wheel (like "Judy Staring at the Sun") while hearing new tracks from Pavement's Brighten the Corners (like "Shady Lane") on LR and then hearing stuff like the Foo Fighters be interviewed on MRL made Sundays very special. And that was just on the radio. After Modern Rock Live was done, I would set my VCR to record or stay up and watch MTV'

Emo, Post-Hardcore - what's the difference?

An important distinction I want to make is that my book's topic is on post-hardcore and not on emo . Why make such a big deal about these names? There are plenty of reasons. Doing word association, when I hear the word 'post-hardcore,' I think of patience, hard work, thinking for yourself and doing things out of necessity. In other words, concepts and ideas that made 1980s DIY so special and life-changing. When I hear the word 'emo,' I think of melodrama, vulnerability and wimpy. I don't think anyone wants to label his or her's way of life as melodramatic, vulnerable or wimpy. Maybe I haven't done enough research on younger bands today, but I have yet to find a band that openly embraces the 'emo' tag. I believe it's fans (and non-fans) and writers who call these bands emo and all the other silly variations of the name. What doesn't help is how intensely the 'emo' genre is marketed to a younger demographic these days. Stickers

Random Facts

Here are some random facts that have recently come to my attention: -Ted Leo (yes, the man) produced Jejune's This Afternoons Malady . I wonder what else he's produced. -Kickball can be played even with broken-down 12-pack boxes of Coors Light as bases. -Taking in a second dog doesn't automatically yield to jealousy and fighting with the other dog. Mostly they follow each other around and want to eat each other's food. - The Cosby Show still makes me laugh out loud even though I've seen it so many times before. -Chances are good that the next new CD I will buy will be My Morning Jacket's Z (out on the 20th of this month). -Holiday=day with no obligations

Wrapped Up in Books . . . and Movies

I didn't major in English in college. I majored in Radio-TV-Film with a minor in Advertising/PR. I took a lot of film classes (mostly criticism and script-writing) along with some general media industry-based classes and two internships in radio. The fact was, I was more interested in that stuff (along with my sociology classes) than my required two courses of English. I didn't really enjoy what I had to read or write about in English 101 as I was often reading stuff that I didn't care about ( The Sun Also Rises , Their Eyes Were Watching God and "The Waste Land" stick out especially). I got so sick of reading books where plots were non-existant in the traditional sense. Factoring this in with an intense focus on getting the plot, the themes and everything else in one fail swoop, I swore off of reading books entirely following graduation. So what got me into writing and reading books? Various factors. One of the last papers I wrote for an RTF class was on Family

Just a small pile of shingles . . .

Inspiration comes from the strangest places and via the strangest circumstances. In my case, a small pile of shingles hit my head and I came up with the idea to write this book. Here is the tale: On March 1st, 2004, I awoke to the sound of roofers hammering, tearing and throwing shingles off of my building's roof. Since it was the first of the month, I had to venture out of my apartment in order to drop off my rent check in the leasing office. I slowly walked down the steps and saw piles of shingles and exposed nails all over the sidewalk. I kept looking up and down to make sure I wouldn't either step on a nail or get hit by a pile of shingles. Right as I think I'm the clear as I'm walking away from my building . . . BAM! A small pile of shingles with some dirt smacks the right side of my forehead and hits one of my hands. I wasn't scratched up too badly, but I was stung. I drop my keys and look up to see if anybody sees me. I see a handful of roofers just stari