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Showing posts from June, 2006

Witness

Oftentimes, reading about metal music is really funny for me. All of these bands are trying to make the "heaviest," "sickest" and/or "craziest" record of all time, but that seems like a futile way of talking about their music. I don't care if a new record is "heavy as fuck" (how is that possible?), standard metal is just like standard pop-punk, rap and country: it paints itself into a really tight corner. For me, I like bands that don't try to be the heaviest or the sickest. I'm still a fan of Metallica, Slayer, Judas Priest and Pantera especially because their riffs really "sing." I think there are still some merits with nu-metal bands like Korn and Deftones, but can you really sing their riffs? No, because with the further use of detuning a guitar, riffs have lost their melodic bite for me. Add in the constant usage of making dissonant and "skronk" chords, this has made metal too atonal and muddy for me. That

This Ain't No Picnic

The Minutemen are one of those bands that I've heard about since high school but have never really heard much of their music until now. Talked up in books like Henry Rollins' Get In the Van and Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life (which got its title from a Minutemen song), I did not fully understand the importance of the band until I watched We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen (here's the trailer ). In some aspects, the Minutemen were rightfully classified as a punk band. They were on SST, the home of Black Flag and the Descendents. They played most of their shows with punk bands in their day. Yet putting them in the same sentence with just punk bands is a little unfair. Instead of aping the sound of Minor Threat, the Ramones, the Clash or the Sex Pistols, or dressing up like a crusty punk with a mohawk and combat boots, the Minutemen came from the idea of punk rock, not its stereotype. The Minutemen were inspired by fast punk rock, but they weren

Video did more than kill the radio star . . .

Merritt sent out a MySpace bulletin yesterday that had Jason and I cracking up. Along with the video for Journey's "Separate Ways," she posted this commentary: Okay, we've all seen this video, but it's probably been a while. I would just like to take the opportunity to examine some of the worst (and simultaneously, the best) aspects of it: 1. invisible instruments. seriously. 2. steve perry's high-waisted, tight-crotched tapered jeans 3. the leather-clad hair model with no apparent destination but numerous wharf warehouse doors 4. headless bass 5. band choreography - both West Side Story and drill team styles 6. steve perry's repeated use of universal handsign for "chains that bind you" (ie, making fist, then grasping the wrist below it) 7. keyboardist's pawing motions during frames near beginning (this might be included with number 1, but I feel it's absurd enough to stand on it's own) 8. steve perry's horror-stricken backwar

Reunion

"One morning, over at Elizabeth's beach house, she asked me if I'd rather go water-skiing or lay out. And I realized that not only did I not want to answer that question, but I never wanted to answer another water-sports question, or see any of these people again for the rest of my life." -Anthony Adams, Bottle Rocket --- Seems like every once in a while, I'll look up and see who's listed on my high school's and college's alumni pages on MySpace . I think of this as a virtual reunion; a reunion that doesn't have the in-person awkwardness like the regular ones. Whether virtual or in-person, these looks also serve as a reminder of certain things from the past that I had forgotten about. Some are good to remember while some are matters that I'd like to move past. Overall, neither high school or college were bad times for me. I had fun, but seeing how my life is now compared to being in school, I get a little ticked off. Did I really have to

Distractions

A few months ago, The Onion did a story that really got me laughing. Let's start with the headline: FCC: All Programming To Be Broadcast In ADHDTV By 2007 Then there's this picture which shows the ADHDTV format. The description: "On standard 4:3 televisions, ADHDTV programs will be shown in letterbox format, with the top and bottom of the screen alternately filled with bright, flittering butterflies, undulating rainbow-colored patterns, and singing hamsters in top hats." Satire is based on truth and sometimes, it's is closer to the truth than anything else. I doubt there will be an official ADHDTV format, but we're already well on our way to something just like it. I had a roommate in college who liked to have the TV on (with the volume off), music playing in headphones, AOL Instant Messenger going and e-mail up, all while working on homework. He said that having all those things going helped him concentrate. Out of habit, I would have AIM going, music p

You are innocent when you dream

The Tom Waits fandom continues. Waits' '88 concert film, Big Time , has never been available commercially on DVD. Since I had never seen it and don't know anybody who has a copy, I jumped at the chance to see it as a part of the midnight movie series at the Inwood Theatre . Until last night, there was one movie synonymous with the midnight movie moniker for me: The Rocky Horror Picture Show . I'm talking the audience participation with singing along, chanting lines, responding to lines and dressing like characters in the film. After seeing Big Time with a room full of Waits fans, I can safely say that the screening was not like seeing a Rocky Horror screening. Instead of the usual baffle of "Who the hell is this guy?", I thought it was cool to be with people that really enjoy Waits' incomparable mix of junkyard blues, avant garde jazz, throaty singing, and gut-wrenching ballads. Like watching a Monty Python film in a room filled with people that know

Strength Through Wounding

Whenever people talk about being a fan of a punk band back in the day and how they aren't fans of the band anymore, there's an assumption that either the band sold out or they've simply outgrown the band. Well, that's not completely off, but I've had this strange on-again/off-again relationship with AFI . I'm not going to throw around "sell-out" accusations or say I'm too old for them, but they're a peculiar band for me. I remember Brian "Dexter" Holland talking up AFI while he was promoting the Offspring's Ixnay on the Hombre . As a part of his label, Nitro Records , AFI would release five albums and an EP that saw them go from a kind of jokey punk band to a really cool mix of Misfits and dark, hardcore pop-punk. I originally couldn't stand Davey Havok's voice the first few times I heard "He Who Laughs Last . . .," but at one point, I just thought, "Hey, this is pretty good." I would pick up their thi

Hain's Point

"I read somewhere that every wall's a door to something new/Well if that's true - why can't I get through?" -Rites of Spring, "Hain's Point" --- Back in college, a frequent line I heard from various people in regards to various jobs was, "You won't make a lot of money doing this." Approaching five years out of school, I'm still trying to understand why people say this. Is there an assumption that college students expect to make as much or more than their parents do right out of college? I don't know what exactly was driving me, but I wanted to work in radio when I got out of school. Did I want to spend four rough months after college working twenty hours a week and constantly fearing that I'd have to move back in with my parents? No, but that's what happened. Have I made much money working in radio and TV? Not really, but I haven't gone homeless. Do I want to find another field to work in? Yes. Do I regret worki

There's got to be a morning after

All right, I won't lie: it sucks to see the Dallas Mavericks lose the NBA Finals. However, what did we "lose"? I don't think we lost anything. The Mavs made it all the way to the finals. That in itself is an accomplishment. The Mavs will be back playing next season at the very least. However, saying this on the morning after is like being all upbeat at a funeral. Well, this is not a funeral service; this is the blogosphere and here are my thoughts. I come from Houston, a city that had its NBA team claim the NBA title a couple of times in the '90s. Yes, seeing them win was awesome, but I remember way more about the experience than the actual outcomes of the games. Seeing guys like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexlar play great ball was memorable to see. Until I read their Wikipedia profile this morning, I had forgotten who they played and such and such. The point is, there are so many small things that matter more than winning and losing. I know I may sound like a

The Rap You Grew Up On

Kev posted a great comment on yesterday's post : Here's something I've always wondered: In ten years, will there be a classic rap station? Imagine a velvety voice beckoning Gen Y-ers to reminisce upon "the rap you grew up on." Other than appearing on satellite radio, I doubt this will happen as a format on terrestrial radio. Full disclosure: I have never been a big fan of rap music. In middle school, when jocks were listening to NWA and wearing Los Angeles Raiders jackets, I was listening to EMF and Cathy Dennis and wearing Stussy shirts. Sure, I saw a lot of Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg's videos in high school, but I've never been very attached to hip-hop and rap. For me, it's too much talking over repetitive beats without a lot of warm melodies. I know in the world of rock critics and hipsters, hip-hop is an exciting and ever-changing genre. However, I've never gotten into Kanye West, 50 Cent, Common, Ghostface Killah or Missy Elliott. I'

Nevermind

Inspired by a comment left by Mr. Atrocity on Jason's post on classic rock, I think it's time I share this theory I have with music's impact on a younger audience in the last six years. First, the comment: Every once in a while a band like Nirvana comes along who are good enough to have a couple of their songs added to the roster, but generally the repertoire remains pretty constant. I agree, so I'm wondering what people will be saying in ten years about what's happening right now. What will be considered prime for classic rock radio? Moreover, what will be generalized views of this part of rock history? Here's what I'm thinking: there was no one major sea change in 2001; there were two minor ones. Where did this all begin? I argue that they started with At the Drive-In. In September 2000, At the Drive-In released their third album, Relationship of Command . For various reasons, this album was considered the equivalent to Nirvana's Nevermind in 1991

The Sporting Life - Finals Edition

I've always enjoyed watching and playing sports. What I've never understood is the fanatical draw to a team, whether it's a high school football team or a professional baseball team. I've never been depressed after "my" team lost. As a matter of fact, I still don't consider myself a part of the team because I'm a fan. However, with the Mavs in the finals, I can't help but be a little fanatical. I will admit it: I'm a fairweather sports fan. I'm way more interested in what songs people like Eric and Jeff are posting, which shows are worth seeing in town and what's going on in the world of hardcore and punk and its spawn. I've never been to a professional sports game in my time as a D/FW resident. Thinking about it, the last time I went to any professional sports game was a Houston Oilers game in high school. The price to see this kind of entertainment is way beyond my means, so I stay at bay with TV broadcasts. With the Mavs, se

The Hot Rock

Jason brought up a great topic yesterday: the appeal of classic rock to younger generations. Though acts like U2 and R.E.M. are now considered classic rock, I'm talking the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Cream. Regardless of which generation it is, acts like these get people excited. I wonder though: why are these bands still revered even though there have been so many other bands after them? I remember when I got into classic rock: I was in 8th grade and Led Zeppelin was the band for me. The year before, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Metallica showed me that rock music could be a little tougher and harder than bands like Poison, Whitesnake and Europe. With some exposure of classic rock radio along with various sources, Led Zeppelin came into my life. Physical Graffiti was my first record of their's and I would get their whole catalog over the next two years. Over the years, I have added a few Who records ( Tommy , Live At Leeds , Who's Next , Sell

Going to Panic

With friends and family, I normally do not take pleasure in watching them fail. However, when I see a band made up of people I don't know that are essentially doomed from the start, I get a weird sense of pleasure when things start to fall apart. This week, a certain article on Panic! At the Disco made me feel such pleasure. The band recently parted ways with their bass player, Brent Wilson. As for why he left, that depends on who you ask. His former bandmates say his departure was due to a "lack of responsibility and the fact that he wasn't progressing musically with the band." Wilson thinks he was kicked out of the band because of money. With a headlining club tour coming up, the band is set to make a nice sum of money in return. However, Wilson's accusation was countered by what I think is one of the funniest lines in the story: Panic contend that this statement just isn't true, and that most of the money the band is set to make on the tour is being spe

Step Right Up

After listening to select tracks from Tom Waits ' back catalog, I'm still finding great tracks like "I Wish I Was in New Orleans" and "Better Off Without a Wife." Despite hearing songs like "Tom Traubert's Blues" and "Ol' '55" many times in the last few months, I can't get enough of them. Also on this list is a little bebop tune called "Step Right Up" from Small Change . If you've never heard this track, let me clue you in: the lyrics are made up of almost every sales pitch you've ever heard. The funny thing is, you never know what's exactly being sold. Rather, the lyrics paint a picture of a man standing out on a corner desperate to sell you this something. I think the whole song is great, but here are a couple of my favorite lines: That's right, it filets, it chops It dices, slices, never stops lasts a lifetime, mows your lawn And it mows your lawn and it picks up the kids from school It gets

Twist the past and reward the arrogance

A constant question I ask myself when I write is, "Why do I say that?" Maybe that's a holdover from college with all the papers I had to write, but the question definitely makes me think more and more about certain subjects over time. One question I think I haven't fully answered is why I don't like Andy Greenwald 's Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo . I've blogged about my feelings on this book a few times (previous one found here ), but I think I have some more explaining to do. Have I read Nothing Feels Good from start to finish yet? Nope. Why? Because trying to read this book still makes me angry and annoyed. Why am I angry and annoyed? I have several reasons. First things first, let me describe what this book is and isn't. Andy did not set out to write a history of emo, post-hardcore or hardcore. He makes no secret in his preface that he is an outsider to this genre. Seeing all these young people come out to CBGB's for a Das

Skeleton

Even with last week's post on bloggers still on my mind, I had a wonderful time at the Gypsy Tea Room last night with the line-up of Cold War Kids , Figurines and Tapes 'n Tapes . All throughout the night, I kept thinking why so many people packed the place despite all the press the headliner has received recently. I kept thinking about what makes these three bands unique. Ultimately, I had to let the music and the presentation do the explaining. LA's Cold War Kids plays a kind of music that has a heavy emphasis on walking/stomping rhythms. This made for a good beat to bop my head to as the songs built and built. On top of these beats are elements of gospel, jagged indie rock and hooky piano rock. Visually, these guys move . They move so much that I must say that I hadn't seen a band move so much on stage since I saw AFI six years ago. The guitarist, bassist and singer all played musical chairs around spots on the stage, all while playing extremely aggressively. Bein

You lazy hipsters make me sick

A few weeks back, I blogged about Nightmare of You . Getting to listen to their self-titled debut album this past weekend in Houston, I have come to a verdict on these guys: they are fantastic. However, they might be one of those bands that you pass up at first for various surface reasons. Let me first clean the surface. Yes, by name only, Nightmare of You sounds like another piss-poor emo band strictly for the melodramatic teenage vampire crowd. Yes, singer/guitarist Brandon Reilly is a hunk and used to be in the Movielife. Yes, that is the one and only Sammy Sieglar of Youth of Today, Rival Schools, Bold, Judge and CIV on drums. Now let me discuss why they are a fantastic band. For one, Nightmare of You sounds like a band that is influenced by bands like the Cure and the Smiths, but they are not copying them. I argue that their '80s influences are far less noticeable than so many other retro-sounding bands these days. There are no choppy post-punk riffs or half-melodies here.

We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes

Lewis Black is interviewed in this week's AV Club. While I can handle his humor to an extent, I had to laugh at this little joke: Anybody who likes writing a book is an idiot. Because it's impossible, it's like having a homework assignment every stinking day until it's done. And by the time you get it in, it's done and you're sitting there reading it, and you realize the 12,000 things you didn't do. That said, as a published author, Black said he'd like to do another book: I'd like to do one on religion. My version of the Bible. If you've seen Black do his stand-up or as a commentator on The Daily Show , you can understand that this guy is pulling our leg with a lot of truth. Knowing this, I have to chime in with his comment on book-writing. In my two years of working on Post , doing interviews and research, along with writing everyday, has become a lifestyle. Fortunately, this lifestyle isn't that far removed from what I was doing befo

Now You Are One of Us

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how a certain record store didn’t act like they knew how to handle an in-store performance. Well, seeing the pAper chAse do an in-store at Good Records last night, I was reminded of how cool they can be and most importantly, how fun they can be. Right before the band started playing, they turned out the main lights in the place, thus letting the residual sunlight in. There was plenty of natural light coming in at 7 o’clock, and the place was packed with people. I had never seen the band play live before even though I’ve know a couple of band members for a while. I’m not sure if they play out in D/D/FW that much, but I could be wrong. They played a mostly metal/hard rock show at the Granada a few weeks back and I passed on going. I figured they would play some place a little more accommodating soon and I was right. Being ten minutes away from Good Records and with the show being free to get in, I had no excuses. For this show, none of the weird atmos

Bastards of Young

Here's a document of the modern day version of emo that I can relate to. Bastards of Young (trailer found here ) looks at how bands like Thursday, Fall Out Boy and The Starting Line went from small to large in a relatively short amount of time. Instead of dancing in the whipped cream of life with the topic, this documentary is very sincere, balanced and in-depth. At certain points in viewing Bastards of Young , I couldn't help but think of Release , a documentary that covers a variety of hardcore, pop-punk and ska-punk bands (from Lifetime to Earth Crisis to MxPx to Sick of It All). Release is still a great look at what these kinds of bands were doing post-mainstream attention in the late-'90s. Going deeper with the pros and cons and the general release of playing music, the themes of Release haven't grown stale. Why I kept thinking about that doc while I watched Bastards of Young was in a particular section early on in the film. One section of Release focuses on

Leave Them All Behind

Another day, another post inspired by something Frank posted . This time, it's on the great Oxford band, Ride . Sound-wise, Ride infused the atmospheric glow of swirling guitars with concise, pop-rock songs. Yet they had something deeper going for them that made them special in their day and something that makes them legendary today. In the same company as My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Swervedriver and Catherine Wheel, Ride was considered a shoegaze band; a label I didn't understand until a few years ago. I saw Swervedriver open for Hum with one of the most boring sets I've ever seen. So, I thought all shoegazer rock was slow and sleep-inducing, all while the band members stared at their shoes. Not until I heard Ride's Carnival of Light that my opinion changed on this music. Thanks to my friend Dave , he introduced me to another side of shoegaze. This side wasn't boring or sleep-inducing. This was some great rock music with an epic feel that didn't feel dist

Hack and Slash

I have only seen two films that Brett Ratner has directed: Red Dragon and Rush Hour 2 . For what they are and what I remember, they aren't bad, but they aren't spectacular. I did not feel like either film was pandering to the lowest common denominator, but I'm not really drawn to own them on DVD. Rush Hour 2 followed the formula of the buddy-cop movie well. Red Dragon followed the original Thomas Harris novel effectively and features some great acting, especially from Emily Watson and Ralph Fiennes. Yet bringing up Ratner's name in a variety of places prompts scowling, groans and eye-rolling. I'm curious why as to why. I remember reading Rolling Stone 's Peter Travers saying some rather scathing remarks about a making-of documentary on the Red Dragon DVD. Since then, sites like Ain't It Cool and Defamer have taken joy in tearing apart Ratner's films and his personal life. Since I don't know that much about him, based on what I've seen, I&