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Showing posts from December, 2006

Nobody Likes You

A preview of Marc Spitz 's latest book , Nobody Likes You: Inside the Turbulent Life, Times and Music of Green Day , appeared in Alternative Press a few months ago. I liked what I read, especially the nice long quote from none other than Bryan Jones of Horace Pinker. Just based on these excerpts, I was really looking forward to the book. Besides, this is an official biography where the band members, along with a number of key people, were interviewed directly. So why do I feel like Nobody Likes You is an excerpt from another, much longer, yet-to-released, biography for Green Day? Nobody Likes You is very well researched. At 190 pages, there are no glaring topics not mentioned. I loved how the whole Gilman Street area mindset/sell-out backlash is discussed with prime quotes from Fat Mike and Jello Biafra. This section was probably the most thorough analysis of what selling out meant to the area and it's well put. However, once the band members' beginnings, the band's

iTunes Shuffle 12.28.06

"(I Want to Be An) Anglepoise Lamp" by the Soft Boys I remember when my friend Goose told me to drop everything and buy the Soft Boys' Underwater Moonlight . He called it "Eric Music" as it mixed punk rock with garage rock and jangle-pop (some of my favorite styles of music). I had him burn me a copy as I wanted to be 100% sure. He was totally right. "Anglepoise Lamp" is not on Moonlight , but it has everything on it that makes the Soft Boys the greats they are. "Champagne from a Paper Cup" by Death Cab for Cutie This version is from the You Can Play These Songs With Chords compilation. Ben Gibbard sounds more like Doug Martsch than Ben Gibbard here. That said, this is a nice little short song from the band's early days (an era I'm slowly rediscovering). "Kingpin" by Wilco Bluesy country from Wilco's transformation album, Being There . Though the band doesn't play a lot of material from this era now, this song has


Time for another poem. This time, if Bukowski wrote about today's weather in Dallas: Rain rain it reigns over everything i want to do it sums up my mood but i see some clearing the rain brought some cold yet there is no ice no panic no fear just some skids at a stoplight i want some more clearing before i walk outside do the drunks care about the weather? i guess i'm an exception winter is supposed to start tomorrow but it feels like fall just started halloween felt like yesterday hell, last year's christmas party felt like yesterday time goes too fast in a weekly routine my shopping is done i cross my fingers for no return trips even if it totally clears i've had enough shopping for a year i'm too old to play in the leaves i'm too aware of the mud on the ground i think i'll enjoy the ground when it goes back to dirt maybe i'll have something else to complain about

You Could Be Born Again

I've always had a soft spot for sunny, almost-whimsical pop music from the Sixties. It's why I get a smile on my face when I hear "Windy" by the Association or the Friends of Distinction's version of "Grazing in the Grass." It's what drew me into LOST 's second season opener with the use of Mama Cass's "Make Your Own Kind of Music." There's no "rock" element here; it's just warm and sugary melodies with horns, pianos and layers of vocal harmonies. I first heard of the Free Design 's existence via Stereolab's song of the same name. I heard accolades about their material over the years, but I never heard any of it until yesterday. Sound Opinions features a super-obscure Christmas track, "Shepherds & Wisemen," on this week's show. I played the track about three or four times before I cast my net out for some of their material. Good friend Mark supplied me with the Kites Are Fun compilation,

Update from J. Robbins

J. posted a message on his website over the weekend following up on last week's news release: 12.13.06 It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here. Partly, I haven’t had the time or energy, but mostly it just didn’t feel appropriate to write about a family crisis on my music/work/vanity website. This is the place where I indulge inconsequential musings about music or politics, throw down Top Ten lists and propound my love of whomever I am lucky to be working with at any given time ... but things have definitely changed around here and especially since Kim and Bill put up their page for our son Cal , I figure it’s time I said something about what’s been happening. Above all, I want to say THANK YOU - though words barely seem adequate - to Kim, Bill, Margaret Morgan and friends in the UK, and to everyone who has donated anything or even just sent a message of support. Janet and I feel more than ever that we are part of a real community, irrespective of geography but shari

Favorite Music of 2006 - Part III

Sometime in January of this year, I had a craving for Pantera's music. I hadn't really listened to these guys since high school, but when I heard them again, I didn't feel like I was in a timewarp. Receiving a copy of the band's "greatest hits" collection, I was struck by how incredible this music still was. I've always held fellow bands like Metallica close to me, but I never thought 2006 would be a year I would really get into a few newer metal bands. I've thought all year long about why I feel drawn to this kind of music. Depending on the band, stuff like crunching power chords, noodly riffs, shouting/singing vocals and busy drumming don't seem stupid. They actually feel pretty inspiring. Again, this depends on the band. A few metal bands have blown my mind this year and here's the list Killswitch Engage I've posted so much about these guys this year, so I'll keep it short. This is some tuneful and tasteful metal that's also crus


When you interview people for a book or documentary, you can't help but get close to them. In my time of writing and researching my book, I've become close to a number of people I've interviewed. This is not so I can take advantage of them and exploit their "dirt"; this is because I relate to who they are and what they are about. Plus, I'm a big fan of what they've done (be it playing music, releasing albums or writing about music). So it was pretty heartbreaking to get the news about J. Robbins's son, Callum. 10-month-old Callum was born with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA affects the brain's ability to communicate with the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, breathing, and swallowing. The prognosis is very grim: even if he lives past his second birthday (which a large percentage of children with this don't make it to), he'll never be able to walk. The cost of treatment is very expensive an

Favorite Music of 2006 Part II

Today's list consists of "catalog artists" (aka, artists that have been around for years). Coincidentally, all of the following released new material this year. Yet it was mostly older material that really rocked my brain off. Tom Waits Until October 2005, I thought Tom Waits was The Guy With Nearly-Unlistenable Songs That Somehow Wrote The Very-Listenable, "Downtown Train". Being introduced to his gentler material (like "Take It With Me," "Tom Traubert's Blues" and "Ol' '55"), I realized there was more to this guy. With the acquisition of Used Songs , a collection of his material on Asylum, I dug even more. Reading Innocent When You Dream , reading the Complete Idiot's Guide on Jefito and seeing Big Time , his "unlistenable" stuff became pretty listenable. Now I'm at a point where I want to have almost every album of his. While I await some nice record company to remaster and reissue his back-catalog,

Favorite Music of 2006 Part I

2006 was indeed a great year with music. I'm working up to my absolute favorites of year, but before then, here are some records I really enjoyed in 2006 that were released in 2005. Against Me!, Searching for a Former Clarity Searching for a Former Clarity came out in fall of 2005. I was curious to hear the album when it was released, but I heard all sorts of drastically mixed reviews. Some said this was a great step forward. Some said the demos were better. Others felt the band could never top their debut, Reinventing Axl Rose . Fate stepped in by receiving the record to review for Punk Planet . I wasn't sure what to think of it based on my first few listens, so I kept listening to it again and again. I reached a point where I couldn't stop listening to the album (well after I had written and sent off my positive review). Why could I not stop listening? Well, the band has its own blend of harsh punk rock with pop-punk and folk (and they do it very well). Other bands do th

Sister I'm a Poet

A few days ago, Jen posted a link that imagined Poems That Were Considered and Rejected Before 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Was Established as "The Official American Christmas Poem." Poems from Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath and Edgar Alan Poe were imagined and I thought the results were funny. Feeling inspired, I decided to chime in with a poem I thought Charles Bukowski would write: sleigh ride even in winter my ears bleed i never wanted to see that broad again but i did i paid too much for too little in return i ask why why so much for a sleigh ride no jingle no jangle just cold air breezing through my clothes i think about why i gave the bottle up just for a night to be with her and her damn little ride then i remembered the smell of that perfume that laugh that lipstick it was all there but the cold brought me back back to where i was before she called i just can't hear that jing-jing-jingling I don't fancy myself a poet; I was just doing what I thought o

Top Mall Punk News Stories of 2006

No matter how absurd mall punk can be, I can't really turn away from reading about it. I figure one must arm him/herself with as much information for the most amount of ammo. Some of these bands I like, but a number of them I don't like at all. I've found trying to read about a band I really like requires digging around stories about bands that I don't care about. So, here's a short little list of news stories I found fascinating (in good, bad or both ways) in 2006. Top Mall Punk News Stories of 2006 Hawthorne Heights vs. Victory Records 2006 started off with some very shady attempts by the label to get the band's second album, If Only You Were Lonely , atop the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. The plan backfired and the record debuted "only" at number 2. In August, a bombshell was dropped: the band was suing to get off the label. The label counter-sued and things are still up in the air. I'm still not a fan of HH's music, but what they did w

Student Bodies quotes of 2006

I make no secret about how much I love Student Bodies (read my review here ). Every year, there are a number of quotes from the movie that stick in my head. Simply, this is really smart, deadpan humor that hasn't become stale. Here's this year's list: Top 10 Student Bodies Quotes for 2006: 10. " Talking? During horsehead bookends?" 9. " Why do they always run away from me? It's the galoshes. They're a dead giveaway. Why do I wear them? It isn't even raining!" 8. "Hasn't there been enough senseless killing? Let's have a murder that makes sense!" 7. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Sahara Tahoe. It's showtime! " 6. "I can never stop thinking about it. Funerals get me hot." 5. "I'll get it. I'm farthest from the phone." 4. "Please, don't be so formal. Call me Daddy." 3. "How do you feel about sex?" " Sex? " "Did I mispronounce it?" 2. &qu

Top Ten Quotes

Time for some fun with year-end lists. I'll get to my favorite records of the year (you can read about ten of them in the new issue of Punk Planet ), but for the time being, let me share some quotes I gathered from interviews this year. Top Ten Quotes I Heard This Year During Book Interviews: 10. "I don't feel like I've changed the reasoning that I'm doing any of this shit. You're playing a show for the people that are inside the room, not the people who didn't bother to show up. You're putting out a record for the people who dig it." -- Chris Wollard 9. "His singing gave me the courage to sing like a girl." -- Jeremy Enigk on Shudder to Think's Craig Wedren 8. "When you're talking about rock -- and this goes for any type of rock -- if it isn't a little bit dangerous and it doesn't piss off the parents a little bit, it's questionable and suspect. That's just a safe assumption to me." -- John Congleto

Through the Fire and Flames

Credit goes to the folks at for pointing this out: CRACKED 's Five Most Unintentionally Funny Albums of 2006. Albums by My Chemical Romance, the Mars Volta and Jibbs are listed, but the one that I find very appealing (even with all the silliness) is DragonForce 's Inhuman Rampage . A video for "Through the Fire and Flames" is included and I've watched this video a handful of times. I gotta say, I like this song. Yes, these guys have an Iron Maiden meets Swedish metal vibe. Yes, these guys sing about pain, burning, darkness, freedom, flames and fighting over and over again on the album. Yes, there are about seven guitar solos in "Through the Fire and Flames" alone. Yes, this is pure guitar wankery, but damn, this stuff is tuneful (to my ears at least). A few months ago, a friend of mine who came up through the same post-hardcore/emo/pop-punk stuff that I did, was so excited to see DragonForce play live. As a matter of fact, he changed his