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Showing posts from May, 2007

After the Love Has Gone

Seeing this op/ed in The Onion 's archives brought up a bizarre/curious fact of life. Its headline says it all: I Don't Wonder What Jesse Camp Is Up To These Days If you frequently watched daytime MTV in the late-'90s, you might remember the name. For everyone else that doesn't, here's his Wikipedia page . But what I wanted to talk about is how this satirical piece speaks so much truth. "Hey, you know who I haven't been thinking about lately?," it began. "That guy Jesse Camp who I never used to watch on MTV." The point to be made is how something or someone can seem so big and popular in the present, but is reduced to a cynical joke when it's in the past. Something that still pisses me off is how promotional dollars can create the illusion that people actually care about something or someone. Meaning, when you hear a song constantly on the radio, see its video in regular rotation, see the artist in multiple magazines and constantly s

Bury Me

After discussing the Smashing Pumpkins' " reunion " with fellow hardcore Smashing Pumpkins fan Ryan , I wanted to share my feelings on the matter here. No matter how much one can make light of James Iha and D'arcy's contributions to the band's original line-up, they were an integral part of the band's identity. They may have not played all the bass or second guitar parts on the albums, but that's a moot point. It's like saying Dennis Wilson wasn't really an integral member of the Beach Boys because Hal Blaine played drums on all the hit records. The point is, while almost every song was written by Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin played on almost every record, there was a special chemistry there (dysfunctions and all). The Billy/James/D'arcy/Jimmy line-up is the line-up that made the band. No matter how many copies Zeitgeist sells, the majority of the fans going to the shows want to hear songs from Gish , Siamese Dream , and Melon Coll

You Gotta Feel It

If there's one way of recommendation that I don't like, it's the following: "Eric, you've got to hear this!" If there's another, it's recommending a band while name-dropping very defined and well-known bands. As much as I appreciate this person wanting me to hear something, there's something else going on. Being a recovering people-pleaser, I place myself in a difficult position. With the exception of some people who know my musical tastes very well, I have a sense of hesitation with these tactics. I don't mean to be a jerk about this, but let me explain. A few months ago, while talking to a music critic I greatly admire, he mentioned how much he liked Parts and Labor . At no point in our conversation did he say, "Eric, do you like Sonic Youth, Mission of Burma and the Jesus Lizard? Then you'll love Parts and Labor!" He merely mentioned the band in passing and why he liked them. At no point did he force it upon me to listen to

A Series of Sneaks

Well, thanks to the wonderful world of iTunes, the Internet and Jason having all of their records on CD, I have a lot of Spoon to listen to. Here's the tracklisting: Disc 1 from Telephono 1. “All the Negatives Have Been Destroyed” 2. “Cvantez” 3. “Nefarious” 4. “Dismember” 5. “Primary” 6. “The Government Darling” 7. “Plastic Mylar” from Soft Effects EP 8. "I Could See the Dude" from A Series of Sneaks 9. “The Guest List/the Execution” 10. “Metal Detektor” 11. “Reservations” 12. “Car Radio” 13. “Metal School” 14. “No You’re Not” 15. “Quincy Punk Episode” 16. “Advance Cassette” 17. “The Agony of Laffitte” 18. “Laffitte Don’t Fail Me Now” from Girls Can Tell 19. “Everything Hits at Once” 20. “Believing Is Art” 21. “Me and the Bean” 22. “Lines in the Suit” 23. “The Fitted Shirt” 24. “Anything You Want” 25. “Take a Walk” 26. “Take the Fifth” 27. “Chicago at Night” Disc 2 from Kill the Moonlight 1. “Small Stakes” 2. “The Way We Get By” 3. “Stay Don’t Go” 4. “Jonatho

Through the Looking Glass

To spare everyone who doesn't watch LOST , I've held back on talking too much about the show. Well, after watching season three's finale and reading Noel's right-on post about it (and the show in general), I couldn't hold back any longer. Assuming you've seen the episode, read on. If not, skip the next paragraph. Frankly, I don't know where this show will go from here. There were definitely pros and cons with this flash forward twist, but it seems like a sensible step forward. I think it's funny that the big game-changer was just a slight change in the show's formula. But it worked. Quite a few things that had been brewing for the entire series were paid off in this episode, but there's so much else that remains unanswered. Again, there are all sorts of possibilities with where the next season begins. Alas, I'll have to wait until a few weeks before I turn 29 to find this out. Yes, the show will not return until February 2008. I will have

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

A few things I realized after last night's "secret" Spoon show at the Granda Theater: -After five years of living in Dallas, I finally went to the Granada. -The sound at the Granada is not as bad as people have made it out to be. -Jack Daniel's sponsored the event. I never forgot that during the entire show. -I believe I reviewed opening act Sally Crewe's previous CD for Punk Planet . I didn't realize this until a few songs into her set. -Spoon was great even though I was vaguely familiar with most of their set. There were some songs from the forthcoming Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga along with songs from their entire catalog. There was no "Sister Jack," but we got "I Turn My Camera On," "I Summon You," "Everything Hits at Once" and "Me and the Bean." -I enjoyed the smoke-free environment until somebody behind me lit up a spliff. -Time to finish up a 2-CD mix of Spoon tracks. Jason just happened to have all their re

"These are lost drunken men who don't know where they are, but do care!"

In the last five days, I've come across various versions of a similar gripe. Be it comments in a blog's comment section, a cheer at a show or laughs at a stand-up act, people are quick to think nobody cares when there's no immediate response. Well, I think I should speak up and say people do care, but they don't know exactly what to say or how to express it. And just because we don't say something right away does not mean we don't care at all. Here are a couple of examples of where I'm coming from. The first is from Donna : I'm depressed that the last two entries I did -- about various aspects of my teaching philosophy and practice -- have garnered exactly zero comments. Here's what Idolator said in a post about a new Ash song: Judging by the dearth of comments on our previous Ash posts, we're guessing only a handful of you will be interested in this one--but what if we told you that it was written in Bono's house? Or that it's a

The Hurt Process

Since there is a dearth of information on the Internet about Boxer, I want to say a few things. Quite a few things actually. In a time between releasing face to face's Live! and the Get Up Kids' Something to Write Home About , Vagrant Records had a few relatively unknown bands on their label. They had previously done one-off 7"s, distributed some records and released the first volume of Before You Were Punk . Now, they were signing bands and had a few in the pipeline. Inserted in the liner notes of Live! , it was there that I first read about Boxer. Described as "Shades of Lifetime and the Promise Ring," I was very curious to hear this Boston-based four-piece. I was just getting into those aforementioned bands and was all ears with what The Hurt Process had to offer. Ordering the record without hearing a note, I was really taken with what I heard. There was definitely a comparison to Lifetime with the speedy tempos and melancholy melodies. But the wavering vo

I know my mission won't complete itself

"Life happens," as George Rebelo succinctly told me last year. All along the way of writing POST , this has been a recurring theme. Be it the loss of a full-time job, tracking people down for months, or being paid the kindest of compliments, there's been a lot of ebb and flow. With the good and the bad, I've adjusted with what I think/feel is right for the book. And what was very difficult to comprehend was putting this out with someone I didn't already know. Make no mistake, the encouragement from Nick has been there since day one. He was the one who said my idea for the book was not crazy and that he would help me put it out. In the critical turning points in life, saying the right thing can really get the ball rolling. That was my case in March 2004. Along the way in doing my research, I heard a few horror stories of close relationships that were ruined because of working together. More often the case with a band working with an independent label run by thei

Maybe the sun will shine today

This week has been pure Wilco overload. With Tuesday's release of their sixth proper album, Sky Blue Sky , reviews are everywhere. Some are glowing and some aren't. With almost everybody chiming in with their opinions, I'll keep mine short and sweet. I love it. It's gentle and very satisfying. All this said, I have yet to see any reviews of Shake It Off , the 45-minute documentary that comes with the deluxe edition of the album. Here are my thoughts in an unabridged form. With a lot of these CD/DVD releases, you're more than likely to get short-changed. For five or six dollars more, you get some fluffy promotional material that is probably already on YouTube. Sure, it's cool to have this stuff on DVD, but how many more times are you going to watch it? Well, Shake It Off is definitely not some forgettable, fluffy affair. Far from it. If anything, it serves as a nice coda to '02's I Am Trying to Break Your Heart . Sam Jones' documentary chronicle

Garden of Earthly Delights

Yesterday's post included a mention of an XTC song. The deal is, while writing the post, I wanted to hear the song. I had never heard "Down in the Cockpit," but I had it on a burned CD-R copy of English Settlement . Now, why in the world would I not be familiar with a song I already had on CD? Well, despite not always listening to every track on every album I obtain, there's another reason. When I got Comcast high-speed Internet in 2002, I downloaded SoulSeek right away. I wasted no time in getting all sorts of records I heard high praises about mostly in The Big Takeover . Within a few days, I had full albums by the Pernice Brothers, the New Pornographers, Government Issue, and XTC. The downloading just never stopped. I spent so much of my free time downloading music that I didn't have a lot of time to listen to everything. But when spyware eventually took over my hard drive, I had to pull the plug. The deal with XTC in particular was that I had almost all of th

Are You Receiving Me?

Michael posted a very interesting story about a recent encounter at his rehearsal space. After rocking out to XTC's "Down in the Cockpit," a member of another band asked him if this was a new song. Politely explaining to this mid-20-year-old it was a song from 1982 by XTC, this got him thinking. . . . there are some exceptions, but for the most part rock music's evolution has slowed to a crawl in the past quarter-century. To illustrate what I'm saying, think about this: 1982 was 25 years ago, and music from that time can still sound contemporary even to relatively discerning ears. But what if it was 1982 and I was practicing to a record from 25 years before that — i.e., 1957 — and the same guy walked in. Would he have said, "Is that your band or…?" I doubt it. So what's up with that? I shared my perspective in the comments section, but I'm not so sure I have a full answer to his question. I'm still baffled as to why modern hipster culture

Day of the Brain-dead

I dig my fair share of zombie flicks. Like a lot of people, I find the original Dawn of the Dead to be a classic. I find Shaun of the Dead to be a tender story that just so happens to have zombies in the mix. These aren't munch-outs where one-note stereotypes get picked off one by one. There is real chemistry between the protagonists. The threat of being attacked by zombies is not their only problem. 28 Days Later is not a zombie flick per se -- it's more like The Crazies where people go into a murderous rage because of a virus. Still, there is real depth and chemistry between the characters. The same can be said about the Planet Terror film in Grindhouse . With George Romero's Land of the Dead , it actually says something about social class structure and ignoring society's problems. In other words, this is entertainment with logic, truth and relatable human drama. But aside from these films, what I've come to find with most modern day zombie flicks is utter

Downward is Heavenward

Major kudos go to Frank for recently sharing a live clip of Hum performing "I'd Like Your Hair Long" on 120 Minutes . Merely watching this performance reminded me of how powerful this band was and why. The deal is (and sad thing as well), bands like Hum seem to fall into a weird category with people. It's a category that is filled with all sorts of '90s alt-rock bands that are not as well remembered today. It's as if they fell into a black hole. In Hum's case, their single, "Stars," received some very nice airplay back in '95. Not only did you hear the song on modern rock radio, a portion of its video was featured on Beavis & Butt-head . Their album, You'd Prefer an Astronaut , reportedly racked up sales of 250,000 copies. It was no small feat and there was a lot of promise for its follow-up. The deal was, despite Downward is Heavenward being a better album, its sales figures were far less than Astronaut . The band quietly went a

A double kick drum by the river in the summer

Last Saturday night was spent watching something I think I was destined to eventually see: a hair metal cover band. From the gender-bending fashion to the tongue-wiggling to the high-pitched wails, Poison Cherry and Posin had everything down pat. A lot of memories of being in elementary school came back to me. All those hours watching videos on MTV and thinking hair metal was really cool. The deal was, I also had a better understanding of why Nirvana was such a relief in 1991. I'm of the argument that hair metal could've only been massively popular in the Eighties. The excessive, there-is-no-line debauchery fit in with that time, but that time has passed. Thankfully, it's still fun to revisit that time by watching videos, listening to records and especially watching tribute/cover bands. Between 1987-1990, hair metal was something I watched in awe. Sure, those R.E.M. and U2 videos were cool, but those hair metal bands seemed so over-the-top and likable at the same time. G

Lenny Bruce is not afraid

Miss Mishap shared on her blog one of the many things she did this past weekend. Out of all she did, the thing that really struck me was that she did a karaoke rendition of R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know it (and I Feel Fine)." Why this struck me is that I don't know anyone else who has attempted this song in karaoke. I've attempted it twice and pulled it off ( Matt and Chris are at least two of my witnesses). I love to do this song. It's definitely not a regular karaoke song because it's insanely wordy. But I'm up for the challenge. Doing karaoke requires some fear, but a lot of courage as well. For me, all the times that I've done it, it's been singing to my friends. Sure, there are all these other people in the room, but I'm there with my friends. They're my net. So the songs that I seem to know/am sure will impress my friends are the ultra-wordy songs. Other songs I've tackled are Billy Joel's "S

At the movies

Credit goes to Donna for the following movie-centric questionnaire: 1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope . Long before we had cable TV, we had a Betamax tape machine. A family friend who worked at a video store dubbed us some movies, including that one, Back to the Future and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension . My sister claims I watched Back to the Future everyday for a whole summer, but I disagree. Since I don't own Back to the Future on DVD but do own Star Wars on DVD, that's the answer I'm giving. 2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater. The Royal Tenenbaums . Not necessarily my favorite Wes Anderson film, but it was the only movie worth seeing one night when I was asked to leave my apartment for the evening. 3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie. Actor? Christian Bale. Because of American Psycho , The Machinist and Batman Be

It's not about living under command

Oh, the great stuff you can find on YouTube . While searching the other night for interviews with writers/critics I respect, I came across this clip of Jim DeRogatis on Roadtrip Nation . Briefly discussing his time at Rolling Stone , there was a link to Roadtrip Nation 's website advertising the full interview. As I searched for his segment, I watched a few episodes and really dug what I saw. If you've never seen the show, its premise involves taking three groups of soon-to-graduate college students and sending them cross-country to interview all kinds of people. The goal is to see how these people became successful in their chosen fields. Even six years post-college, I found these insights to be very inspiring. Finding the full interview clip with DeRo, I was really moved by his final quote. Discussing his upcoming show with his band VORTIS, he describes the band's frontman: a 65-year-old political philosophy professor at Purdue who's written twenty-three books. On

An alternative to what?

Back when the Shins' Wincing the Night Away came out, I noticed a rather peculiar quote in Rolling Stone from frontman James Mercer. Explaining the appeal of his band, along with a band like Modest Mouse, he used the term "indie." I found that rather strange because neither the Shins nor Modest Mouse are on record labels that are indie. All of the Shins albums have come out on partially-owned-by-Time-Warner-since-1996 Sub Pop. Modest Mouse's last three albums have come out on Epic/Sony. Thinking about this for a few months, I finally came to the realization of something that's been staring right in front of me: what was once considered an independent alternative to major labels now has barely any competition from major labels. With today's publication of the NME /XFM's Greatest Indie Anthems Ever , the "i" label gets stretched some more. Looking at the top ten songs listed, I see a few songs that were never released on an independent record lab

T.V. Eye

When I got a place of my own in Dallas back in 2002, I didn't get cable TV for one primary reason: to save money. Whatever I would've spent on it each month would go towards books, CDs, DVDs and/or a high-speed Internet connection. Plus, the chances of me really liking the books, CDs and DVDs were much greater than the repeated viewings of the Creed Behind the Music episode. Despite moving into a bigger place with a housemate in 2004, neither he nor I have seriously considered getting cable. Speaking for myself, I think my life is a lot better this way. I don't know if I will always feel this way, but it sure is nice to have options whenever I want to entertain myself. For some reason, if I had cable, I'd feel obligated to watch it. I'd watch a lot of it, actually. I'm paying for it, so I should get my money's worth, right? Besides, I just can't channel-surf for a few minutes and turn the TV off. There's always something worth finding to watch, ev

Think Before You Post

Props to the Hater for posting this last week. It's a new PSA from the Ad Council warning teenagers about what they post on the Internet. It's pretty unintentionally hilarious. Enjoy!