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Showing posts from February, 2006

"With bad TV you just don't care"

In years past, I have been very guilty of a certain kind of addiction: watching bad TV shows. When I mean "bad," I mean shows that are cornball, shallow, cheesy and very easy to poke fun of. I'm talking Days of Our Lives , Joe Millionaire , American Idol , WWF Wrestling and others. These days, there are several reasons why I only watch one certain television program on a regular basis. Sometime ago while my sister was home from college, she suggested I check out NBC's long-running daytime soap opera, Days of Our Lives . She didn't suggest it to me because it was an emotionally engaging show - she suggested it because it was so silly. Hammy melodrama and absurd plotlines are prime for ridicule and ridicule them I did. However, I got addicted to the show. Whether it was Marlena being possessed by the Devil or Austin being caught in a love triangle between Sami and Carrie, I really got into the show. I knew fully-well that I was watching a silly show, but I couldn&

Does the "P" stand for "Poseur"?

While I wouldn't consider myself a fan of the show, I've seen a few tidbits of ABC's Dancing With the Stars . Yes, there were plenty of great celebrity dancers on there this past season, but I kept my eyes on Percy " Master P " Miller. Why? Because the dude just couldn't dance. After what I saw this season, along with the music I've heard from him via his No Limit record label, I wonder if the "P" in his nickname is really for "poseur" instead of "Percy". There was a time when New Orleans-based No Limit Records could not be stopped. In the late '90s, they kept churning out hit album after hit album, hit single after hit single. The formula was simple: release a solo album featuring a cavalcade of guest rappers, use the liner notes as promotional tools for future albums and interest will hopefully keep up. This worked for quite a while for a number of other upcoming No Limit acts. I remember stocking many copies of records

"Is that what being a celebrity means?"

While recently watching Inside Deep Throat with the directors' commentary on, a comment was made that made me really think. One of the directors commented something along the lines that Paris Hilton is the modern day equivalent of Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace . It took me a few minutes to understand, but lights turned on in my head once I realized it. The Cliff Notes' backstory: While 1972's Deep Throat was rated X, it was one of the first movies to be shown in mainstream movie theaters. Given all the controversy with it being banned in 23 states and under investigation by the US government, the film would reportedly gross hundreds of millions of dollars (though its figure is still largely debated). Another result was that the film's star, Linda Lovelace, found herself in the celebrity spotlight. Though she would denounce her role in later years, Lovelace played along with the fame game in the '70s. She made the most of being a mainstream celebrity coming f

Wait 'til tomorrow

As of late, I catch myself before I gripe about younger bands like Hawthorne Heights , Panic! At the Disco and Fall Out Boy . Why? Because these bands remind me of older bands like Seven Mary Three , Silverchair and Candlebox , but not in sound. These bands sound nothing alike, but as far as a function in the music industry, they're genre placeholders. Bands like Silverchair and Candlebox kept me interested in modern rock music just before I realized there was a whole underground of rock bands out there. Once it got to the point where these guys and these guys were always on the radio, I had to find something else to rock my world. I get the feeling that a large number of 15/16/17-year-olds are on the verge of finding something deeper (if they haven't already). Bands like Seven Mary Three, Silverchair and Candlebox were signed to keep the corpse of grunge alive for a few more years. They were successful . . . for a little while. Singles likes "Cumbersome," "

What were you listening to?

A popular generalization about Top 40 music of the mid-to-late '80s is that it was all hair metal and teen pop. I don't know about you, but when I think about what I was listening to on the radio between 1987 and 1990, I never heard any of that stuff in regular rotation. So I wonder, if you're talking about what was big and popular back in the day, what were you really hearing on a regular basis? During the day, I watched plenty of MTV and saw a large amount of Whitesnake, Europe, Def Leppard, Tiffany, New Kids on the Block and Debbie Gibson videos in addition to videos by U2, the Pet Shop Boys and R.E.M. At night, I listened exclusively to KRBE , a Top 40 station. I never once heard a hair metal band or a teen pop act on it. I honestly wondered where all those acts I saw on MTV were being played on the radio. On the flipside, I heard a number of songs on the radio that I rarely saw videos for on MTV. Especially between '88 and '89, I heard a lot of Depeche Mode

Hipster

I'm still in the dark with understanding what exactly constitutes a hipster. I've always thought it was a negative title describing someone who is constantly trying to be ahead of the curve. Only recently have I seen positive connotations with it. It may be better to be hip instead of not being hip, but what really is hip? How much of being "in the know" yields you to really being "in the know"? For most of college, I thought a hipster was somebody like Kramer on Seinfeld : always in pursuit of something new while being a little out of step with the rest of the world. Post-college, I kept hearing the term used in a context of music fans. Trying to figure it out, I saw all sorts of different archetypes. I thought it was a negative label, but actually talking to people considered hipsters, I realized that there was way more to them than musical lingo. Judging by the people that I see at shows, at parties, via blogs and message boards, I get a sense that I fi

Open the past and present and the future too

I've been a fan of Green Day 's music for over ten years. Yes, I was one of the millions of teenagers that got hooked on them with Dookie and I find no shame in it. For someone who hadn't really known much about pop and punk sharing the same bed together, Green Day was really different back in 1994. They weren't doomy and gloomy like Alice in Chains or Nirvana. They rocked, they cursed and they looked like the nobodies you kinda knew at school. I could relate to this and still do, but I can't relate to the Green Day of today. Back in 1993, when word got out that Green Day had signed with a major label (Reprise), longtime fans felt betrayed. The band was reportedly banished from playing their hometown haunt of 924 Gilman Street for life. Tough crowd - and this was well before they had released anything on a major label. Of course it is very narrow-minded to immediately hate a band for signing with a major, but majors have never had a great overall track record wit

Airplaying

I don't know when I started, but I've played plenty of air-guitar and air-drums over the years. Yes, I'm referring to the solitary act of pretending that a rock music lightning rod is at my disposal. Using my imagination, I see both of my hands playing a real guitar or a real drumset. As silly as it all sounds, I can't help but break out into action when I'm drawn to do so. If I hear a song that gets me riled up (which could be from any genre), I let loose. While it can be a fun sort of thing to do while a song is playing, I find a deeper meaning to it. In playing a musical instrument, there is a whole lot of mental, as well as physical, concentration going on. For example, when I'm trying to learn a song from a record, I airplay along to get the parts down. Of course it's different when you try to actually play something you learned by ear, but there is greater amount of mental preparation put in to help guide the physical playing. The interesting thing a

Anatomy of a dream

From time to time, I have incredibly strange dreams. Before I get into my description of a dream that I had this morning, I will say this: I had some medication beforehand, so maybe that was a big part of it. However, it was a very vivid and strange dream and I'm trying to understand what I dreamt. Surpisingly, I remembered quite a bit of it, so here's what I remember: I start out in some bar in some town that I've never been to. Moving towards a table, there's the one and only Kyle and I learn that face to face is playing at this bar later on. Cut to us up front watching face to face as a four-piece with Chad Yaro on second guitar. Between songs, something happens and the band runs off stage and does not return. I slowly get out of the bar and think I see some familiar faces out in the parking lot. Turns out these faces aren't very familiar with the exception of an old friend from college. She gave me an update on what she's doing (especially how she'

The Downloading Life

With the RIAA recently deeming the act of ripping music for iPods as not fair use , I think back to my college days. These were days when I saw firsthand how file-sharing started small and got big really quickly. It's spring of 2000 and I'm really grooving to all things Jimmy Eat World, especially Clarity and Static Prevails . I am aware there are a number of non-LP tracks available on 7"s, EPs and comps and there's even an unreleased demo of a new song called "Sweetness" floating around. I have a desire to hear these songs, but I didn't know how to get a hold of them on CD, especially since a lot of these comps and 7"s were out-of-print. At the time, I subscribed to a list-serv mailing list for all things Jimmy Eat World-related. People are talking about all these non-LP songs (especially "Sweetness") and someone asks, "Where can I find these songs?" In response, a member posts a link for Napster.com. I click on it and downloa

Eagle*Seagull

Last night we played The Cavern once again. Unlike last time, I didn't have a 3:30 am wake-up call, so I got to stay and watch the other bands play. Blackheart Society was pretty together and played a trippy new song (with an improvised jam). The headliners, Eagle*Seagull , were an absolute delight. Here are some attempts to explain what I saw and why you might like these guys. First, the set-up: two guitars, bass, violin, keyboards and drums. Overall vibe: somber, but very big, tuneful and catchy. After a few songs, I couldn't help but think of this comparison: The Arcade Fire intersecting The Good Life with a certain amount of caffeine. While I'm not about to slap a "If you love The Arcade Fire and The Good Life, then you'll love these guys" sticker on their CD, I don't think these comparisons are that far off. It's not like calling The Dismemberment Plan "Beastie Boys meets Radiohead." An issue I have with a number of underground/unsi

A Certain Trigger

I said it recently and I'll say it again: it's interesting how bands/records you initially pass on come back into your life. The latest one for me is Maximo Park . Frank at Chromewaves recently chimed in with similar thoughts on these guys too, so here's my story. Sometime last year, Jason played me a clip of "Apply Some Pressure." Rolling my eyes at the sound of yet another British band on a non-melodic, post-punk bender, I didn't want to hear anymore of it. Fast forward to last week: I'm in CD Addict and Mark plays a song on their CD changer that really catches my ear. Sounding more like a cross between the brilliant, poppy post-punk of The Futureheads, the sunny pop of The Thrills and a touch of pop-punk ala Screeching Weasel, I was curious. Who was this band? The one and only, Maximo Park. And even more impressive, the song was a b-side called, "Fear of Falling." Mark suggested I check out their debut album, A Certain Trigger , and a fort

My friends look out for me like family

I make no secret that friendship is very important to me. As an idea and with the ones I call my friends, friendship is vital. To use a line by Alex Chilton, without my friends I've got chaos. I think of friends as the kind of family you construct, not the family you're born into. As I spend a few days off in Houston, I'm reminded of why I care so much about my friends. Friendship is a major topic in Post and I hope it gets across without forcing it down people's throats. I've found that no matter how hard a struggle is, having your friends back you up is a helping hand when you really need it. As routine as that sounds, it means way more than words when you have strong feelings about it. Spending time with Chris and Tim Monday night, it was great to catch up with each other. I hadn't seen them in months, so there was plenty to talk about. Like getting together at Matt's wedding, it didn't really feel like "the good ol' days" - it felt m

Birthday

Today I celebrate 27 years of age along with the following . . . Henry Rollins (45) Peter Hook (50) Peter Gabriel (56) Jerry Springer (62) Peter Tork (64)

"How can people live like this?"

In Comedian , Jerry Seinfeld tells a story about the Glenn Miller Orchestra and a family they encountered en route to a gig. The story goes, the plane the band was flying in landed in the middle of a snowstorm. Near where they landed was a house and they walked into it. The band members, all wet because of the snow and slush, see a family that looked like they came straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. One band member says to the other: "How can people live like this?" In terms of how I was raised, I had no problem with living in a suburb. By the time I moved away for college, I had enough of suburban life. I have no problem with visiting my family, but I can't live in their environment (for the time being). Where I am in my life now, the squeaky clean and relatively new suburbs aren't the place for me. I sometimes ask myself, "How can people live like this?" I don't blame or criticize people who want to live the kind of life that Rockwell painte

The Party's Over

As socially inept I may be, I actually enjoy parties. I especially enjoy the ones at our house because I don't have to think about how or when I'm going home. Plus, I get to DJ the event, also to my enjoyment. Last night was the big anti-Valentine's Day/birthday party for your's truly and, no surprise, I had a really good time. It was a happy birthday party with sincere birthday wishes from friends and guests. Plus, people were very complimentary of the mix CDs and the recent article in the Observer . I heard no complaints about mixing up college rock hits with Top 40 hits though one guy didn't find favor with the fact that the music all came from the '80s. Ah, a minority of one . . . Overall, my experience was relatively uneventful compared to what happened to the Wee Demon . How someone could mistake a corn chip for a cigarette is beyond me . . .

The Juliana Theory: 1997-2006

Punknews.org passes along another band break-up: The Juliana Theory . While I wouldn't say they were a crucial band in the development of post-hardcore/emo/whatever, they were definitely a band that deserves some mentions. If I recall correctly, the first time I heard of The Juliana Theory was when Brett Detar decided to leave Zao to do TJT full-time. A short time later, I heard "August in Bethany" on MP3 in my dorm room in Brachman. Compared to what Tooth & Nail usually released at the time (mostly MxPx-styled punk or detuned hardcore-metal), hearing a band in more of the vein of The Get Up Kids was definitely different. What really helped was that The Juliana Theory's debut album, Understand This is a Dream , was really good. Understand This is a Dream was released in March of 1999, a year that I strongly believe was a turning point in the mainstream's acceptance of what they would lump all together as emo. Sure, the word 'emo' had been kicking a

Hearing

Inspired by a post on Kev's blog, I feel I should add my thoughts on the concern that an iPod's earbud phones can do more damage to one's hearing than regular headphones. As an iPod owner for over a month, I have not suffered any sort of ringing in my ears or felt any sort of discomfort following usage. No matter how personal stereos evolve, the biggest factor in hearing loss is volume. I don't like to listen to music at a quiet level nor do I like to listen to it at a piercing level. I like to hear all the major frequencies, but not to the point where they're overbearing. Sometimes I briefly hear a light, high-pitched squeal after a listen, but that's the extent. This usually happens after I've listened to a CD in the car and I didn't notice how loud it got until after the fact. Whenever I see my rearview mirror slowly bumping around, I sense the urge to slightly turn down the music. In the case of my iPod, I keep the volume level at less than 50%. I

Instant classic?

I've been reading Rolling Stone since high school. While my tastes have slowly moved away from the stuff they usually cover, I always think highly of their writing. I've always respected what they've said in their reviews, but as of late, I've been thinking about their grading scale for record reviews. I don't know how long they've used their "star" scale but here is the rundown: one star is "poor," two stars is "fair," three is "good," four is "excellent" and five is "classic." I don't know about you, but I think "classic" should be taken off the scale. In my time of reading RS , only a handful of albums have received the prestigious five-star rating. Off the top of my head, albums like Automatic for the People by R.E.M., August & Everything After by Counting Crows, Sea Change by Beck, Elephant by The White Stripes, Goddess in the Doorway by Mick Jagger and Love & Theft by

Reunion

Inspired by this thread polling message boarders which reunion would they like to see, Smashing Pumpkins or At the Drive-In, I'd like to chime in once again on band reunions. Reunions are a real dicey issue with me. Many bands break up and its band members say over and over again they'll never reunite and then, they reunite. Sure, they eat their words, but it thrills longtime fans that they're getting back together. Recent examples of this include Gang of Four, the Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. While I think bands like these reuniting is cool to see, I generally don't pine for reunions. In the case of At the Drive-In, I believe they went out on their peak with their final album, Relationship of Command . That album shows the band in a fully-realized form. The sound and design were things they had been hinting at with their records up to it. It's still a powerful album and it's the result of many years of hard work. The band members had a goal of breaking out of the

When a Stranger Calls . . . Again

Though I saw an all-time great movie on Saturday (the Marx Bros.' A Night at the Opera ), I'd like to talk about the highest-grossing movie at the box office. If you hadn't heard, it was a remake of When a Stranger Calls . The original may have brought some loot in and the remake brought some in too, but still, the original When a Stranger Calls is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Now, with the recent post on Bram Stoker's Dracula , don't think I try to intentionally watch bad movies. I don't like to marvel at all of the bad movies I've seen in my life, but seeing the ads for the WASC remake reminds me of when I watched the original in college. As a film nut and a horror fan of films like Scream , Halloween and Psycho , I heard mentions about When a Stranger Calls . Its first fifteen minutes had a reputation as being pretty scary (the creepy phonecalls are coming from inside the house) and this part was paid some homage to in the first fifte

Anti-Valentine's '80s mixes

To do a post ala one of Josh's blogs , here are the tracklistings for the Anti-Valentine's '80s mix CDs: Disc 1 1. "Video Killed the Radio Star" - the Buggles 2. "Under Pressure" - Queen and David Bowie 3. "Black and White" - the dB's 4. "Whip It" - DEVO 5. "White Girl" - X 6. "Cars" - Gary Numan 7. "Turning Japanese" - the Vapors 8. "Come On Eileen" - Dexy's Midnight Runners 9. "Enola Gay" - OMD 10. "Working for the Weekend" - Loverboy 11. "Freak Scene" - Dinosaur Jr 12. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" - Cyndi Lauper 13. "Rock This Town" - Stray Cats 14. "Everyday I Write the Book" - Elvis Costello & the Attractions 15. "Centerfold" - J. Geils Band 16. "Love Plus One" - Haircut 100 17. "Steppin' Out" - Joe Jackson 18. "Poor Old Soul" - Orange Juice 19. "Walking on Sunshine&q

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I Am Not

This may be old hat now because Arctic Monkeys ' debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I Am Not , has sold a lot of copies (360,000 and counting in the UK), but I still think their name is one of the dumbest band names I've ever heard. Hearing their name reminds me of a scene in Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People . Tony Wilson talks about the worst band name he had ever heard: Barabbas. To take a cue from that conversation, I'll substitute Barabbas with Arctic Monkeys. Can you really imagine people saying . . . "Who do we want? Arctic Monkeys!" "When do we want 'em? Now!" Again, I don't care how many records they've sold (supposedly it's the fastest-selling record of all time in the UK), the name just doesn't have the kind of ring that names like Franz Ferdinand, Joy Division or Oasis have. Those names don't evoke images of monkeys swinging around in frozen weather. But, names are just names - the music

Handle With Care

In honor of Jeff posting The Traveling Wilburys' Volume One in the MP3 format, I bring up a very interesting thing about out-of-print titles: the ridiculous prices people ask for them on CD. When I last checked, Volume One goes for an average of $40 on places like Half.com, Amazon.com and eBay. These days, that kind of money will buy you a handful of used CDs or even an entire box set. Asking that much really presses the customer into how much he/she really wants it. Sure, you can find so many out-of-print titles on the Internet, but for people who want the actual CD, the liner notes, et al. you have to be willing to pay up big time. It seems like a distant memory now, but there was a time when Jawbreaker's Dear You was out of print and a hot item on eBay. Auctions after auctions would end with the winning bidder forking over an average of $50 per copy. I was never lucky in winning one of those auctions; I found a copy from an Internet retailer in Canada, but I had to pa

Hey, Remember the '80s?

As Jason and I plan our next party, I'm nearing completion on the mix CDs for it. Since every party we throw has some sort of theme, this one will double as an anti-Valentine's Day party and a birthday party for me. Instead of putting on a bunch of downer songs on the mix CDs like I did last year, I've decided to put on songs all from the '80s, downers and non-downers. Plus, I'm doing something I would have thought was stupid a year ago: mixing Top 40 pop hits with college rock hits. To avoid what I think are major musical trainwrecks, I've decided to stay away from jumping around musical genres too much. I'm sticking mostly with the pop and rock genres, but I think some rap, post-punk and punk rock can slide through. I've been to a few '80s-themed parties over the years. While I love hearing the familiar Top 40 hits, I feel there is too much other good stuff that is left out because it didn't get play on Top 40 radio back in the day. Well, I

Dallas Observer article

Thanks to Wee Demon for a really awesome article on Post . Here's a sampling: He's So Emo Eric Grubbs chronicles two decades of DIY music the only way he knows how--doing it himself By ANDREA GRIMES Article Published Feb 2, 2006 Slowly, people are trickling into the Cavern, sporting requisite hipster wear in all its various forms, from punk chic to whatever's on the mannequins over at Urban Outfitters. It's Thursday night, and they are, or will very soon be, hard at play. Forty miles west, at KTVT-Channel 11 in Fort Worth, the folks on the night shift are hard at work planning the next morning's broadcast. But in both the Lower Greenville bar and the news hub, the fact that Channel 11 reporter Rebecca Flores has the flu is a problem. Eric Grubbs, who is nervously bouncing his foot on the Cavern floor, will be responsible for filling in for Flores in just a few hours. He should be home, sleeping, with his closely-shaven head resting comfortably on its East Dal

I put it all on black

After reading Amy and Eric's interview with Alkaline Trio for their old zine from the late-90s reminds me once again how much has changed with the band and punk rock in general. Not even a press release from the band promising more older material in their setlists on their upcoming tour can really sway these thoughts. I don't mean to single out or bash the Trio here, but they are a great example of how a band goes from being a small punk band with a devoted audience to becoming a major marquee act. While I think their music has remained consistent up to a point, I find their embrace of being a slick rock band with Goth-like tendencies very distracting. Sure, the lyrics have always had a macabre feel to them, but when it feels like they are being macabre for the sake of being macabre, imagination hits a glass ceiling. Plus, the band's sense of macabre used to be very tongue-in-cheek, but now it seems like a big part of how they are marketed to a large audience. Yeah, I kn