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Showing posts from July, 2007

Progression Through Unlearning

I knew this would eventually get out there somewhere, but a portion of a book by a former Victory Records employee leaked online and was linked on Idolator. As someone who read the full chapter earlier this year, I found what was said just heartbreaking. It's the kind of heartbreaking stuff that can make me feel very jaded about the music industry in general. I know this is a business selling musical products, but I know listening and discussing music is a part of it as well. I enjoy the latter way more than the former, so maybe that's why I've never fully ventured into a career in the music industry. From what I've seen in the last ten years, my perception of major and indie labels has changed quite a bit. I had never heard of an indie until Nirvana broke through. (You mean they cut an album before Nevermind and it only cost $600?) Following a whole slew of Alternative Nation bands in the following years meant hearing more about the independent labels they came from

Physical or Digital?

As our music collections take up more and more hard drive space than shelf space, I pose a question: do you feel closer to music in a physical form or digital form? For me, as nice as it is to have a portable digital jukebox, I'm not about to jump ship on the physical format any time soon. MP3s are convenient, but there's a more intimate value with holding a CD or vinyl record. Having the album's cover pop up on iTunes is just not the same. "Value" is the key word as I wonder how much of value something is when it's a phantom, ones-and-zeros kind of thing. Plus, when you can get so quickly and easily (and free in a lot of places), is there any value? This is not exactly the same, but what if this was seventeen years ago and you replaced your entire vinyl and CD collection with dubbed cassette tapes? You may save on space, but what about the connection to the music itself? Case after case of handwritten liner notes with no real distinction between them is wha

Like You Were Never There

There's no shortage of columns, books, podcasts, movies, or songs about breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse. Yet the kinds of break-ups I've experienced more than any other -- aside from drifting apart from close friends -- is being kicked out of a band. I've often heard being in a band is like being married to two, three or four people. I agree. Most people can only handle being with one person; so trying to juggle more than one is rather difficult. It can be difficult to start/join a band playing the kind of music you like with people you like. But when you find the right vibe and the vibe lasts, it's pretty cool. I've enjoyed every band I've played in, but it's been difficult to get over the two times I was laid off/dumped/fired/replaced. Two seems like such a small number, but there were more than two emotions I went through in the partings of ways. Here's a summary: Band #1 : A five-piece in a nearby town had a demo I heard through a f

Speed Read

I'm now 355 pages into Deathly Hallows , but I'm still nowhere near finishing this book. Devoting about 2-3 hours a day reading it, I can't help but think about the people who have been able to read all 700+ pages in a matter of hours. How in the world can people read so fast and remember what they read? For me, when I read, I try to imagine what I'm seeing. Rowling has a wonderful way of explaining the world of Harry Potter and I want to be fully engulfed in that world. I try to read every word, but tend to skip over a few words here and there describing people's reactions to dialogue (ie, "Ron twitched" and "Harry sighed"). Not only that, but I'm trying to remember six books worth of material as I read this one. Rowling skillfully reminds the reader what's what without insulting those who have read the previous books over and over again. Still, there's a lot of information flying around my head. I remember a few years ago hearing

Dinner for Five

Since I still don't have IFC, I have yet to watch a lot of episodes of Dinner for Five . I rented the first season via Netflix and have watched various episodes on YouTube and have loved what I've seen. Now that the entire season is available to buy, I really don't have any more excuses. Where else can I see uncensored roundtable discussions featuring people like Kevin Smith, Rob Zombie, Bruce Campbell and Vince Vaughn talking about their working experiences? Definitely not anywhere else on TV. Call it "bullshitting," but I find a lot more meat in the discussions as compared to other quickly-paced shows claiming to be about entertainment and/or Hollywood. Be it Roger Corman talking about how his low budget movies rarely lose money or Mark Hamill talking about his voiceover experience as the Joker, this goes beyond the standard chitchat. Actors can talk all they want about how much fun a film was to make and how brilliant the director was while reporters can tal

The Meadowlands

200 pages into Deathly Hallows and I still haven't checked out any spoiler sites (though I did take some peaks at future chapters). While I'm at a good stopping point, I wanted to share my experience of seeing one of the best shows I've ever seen . . . and it was this past Friday night. New Jersey's finest the Wrens came back to Denton on another one of their weekend tours. Due to job and family commitments, the band has been doing these kinds of mini-tours for quite a few years now. Because of the responses found with Denton audiences, they always put it on their schedule. Winding down another tour, they hit up Hailey's on Friday. Though I've never heard any of their records before, it felt like I had been listening to these guys for years. Moody interludes weaved with pumping songs sounds like a formula done way too many times, but if it's done right, it doesn't matter. These guys played well and were incredibly sincere about every note they played

Supply and Demand

All this talk about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows leaking online reminds me of the record number of 12 million copies for its first pressing. Feeling 98% sure I will find plentiful copies at the Borders near my favorite Saturday lunchtime spot this weekend, I think about supply and demand. Scholastic knows how wide the reach of the series is and chances are very good this first pressing will sell out in a few days. Seeing how well this stuff sells (and keeps on selling well), I wonder about other mass appeal products. Especially one where the demand almost always greatly outweighs the supply: video game consoles. During my time as a "media specialist" at Best Buy, I experienced months and months of being asked about the availability of GoldenEye , PlayStation 2 and GameBoy Advance. When I heard about similar availability issues with X-Box, X-Box 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, I wondered when the console industry would get their act straight. What am I missin

Do You Realize?

Watermarked CDs came up during a recent conversation with a music critic I greatly admire. I have yet to review a watermarked CD -- so I have yet to experience this --, but he had plenty of times. I can see why labels take to this method in hopes of curbing online MP3 leaks, yet I wonder how much they realize this a bad thing. A recent mention on Idolator led me to this post by a music writer receiving a watermarked copy of Eisley's forthcoming record, Combinations . Not only did it not play in his computer, DVD player or car stereo, it wouldn't even play in his "archaic portable CD player." Which led him to ask Reprise/Warner Bros., "Where am I supposed to listen to this CD that you want me to review?" It's a great question. I think the bigger tragedy lies in not reviewing these records in a variety of places, especially the car. I spend way more time listening to music while I'm in the car. I'm not so sure I would have clung to records like

On (Blog) Writing

Donna recently posed an excellent question : is blogging writing? As a blogger since 2004, I'd say yes. But it's not the same compared to what it is traditionally known as writing. The reason why I blog has a lot to do with not being able to express myself efficiently for a long time. Putting my feelings up in an online space is different than writing them down on paper, but I don't treat this as a lesser form of expression. Sure, it sucks to be lumped in with what Donna put best as "the smiley-laced, ungrammatical and indifferently-punctuated Xangas maintained by a certain demographic." Still, I can't let certain people's ill feelings towards poorly-worded scribbles speak for everyone. Hence why I speak up. A lot of what fuels my desire to write blog posts (as well as books, record reviews, et al) comes from being in a lot of situations where I was frequently interrupted and my opinions were made light of. People telling me "nobody cares about tha

Understanding in a Car Crash

. . . I've too often see(n) people go that route under those auspices and then be pressured for exactly the things they've been told they wouldn't be pressured for. -- Ted Leo in Punk Planet #78 on major labels courting bands A recent article on Thursday discusses their split with Island Records. The band's less-than-amicable exit from Victory a few years back was very well documented, as was the band's potential for becoming a massively popular band on Island. I distinctly remember reading Jim DeRogatis' Guitar World article on screamo and thinking Thursday and fellow Island-mates Thrice were about to become crossover stars. They were supporting intelligent, well-crafted, albeit dark, records and selling out venues left and right. But the buzz didn't seem to last for very long. Both bands got a lot of exposure to new people, but an embrace far beyond the Warped Tour audience just didn't pan out. So it came as no shock when both bands found thems

Adams-zed out

After a few listens to Ryan Adams' latest, Easy Tiger , I wondered if my fanaticism for his work has waned. Sure, the record is probably one of his most straight ahead releases, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's one of his best. After eight proper albums, I think I've become Adams-zed out. This got me to thinking about how many albums an artist can release before I start to lose interest. It's an issue of quality, but what determines the quality varies from act to act. In Adams' case, I was never really taken with the double-disc Cold Roses . So much so that I never ventured to check out Jacksonville City Nights and 29 , also released the same year as Cold Roses . Though certain tracks from those records have really caught my ear (especially 29 's "Elizabeth, You Were Born to Play That Part"), but there's a lot of material in his earlier catalog that I prefer. So maybe that's why I'm really looking forward to the long-in-develop

Stay Afraid

With the new work schedule requiring a 4am wake-up call Monday through Friday, there is a desire to get into bed around 9pm. Like a lot of people, it's very hard for me to function off of a couple hours of sleep. Plus, I still think about a tidbit I heard in high school health class: a regular lack of sleep will take years off your life. However, we when we think about our lives in the past, we don't often remember how many hours of sleep we got; we remember what we did during the waking hours. With that in mind, I decided to head on out to see Brooklyn's Parts & Labor play last night. After just a few months of hearing about them and digging into their records, I wanted to see the band whenever they came through. I missed them a few months ago when they opened for Adult., so when the Big Slavinsky called me about the show yesterday afternoon, I really had no good excuse not to go. Sure, I might be a little sluggish the following morning, but the possibly amazing expe

Where You Want to Be

It's pretty interesting to ask why someone lives somewhere. More often than not, there's a really engaging story behind it. I posed the question to fellow blogger Donna and she gave a lengthy response on her site today. I posed it to her because she and her family live in Conway, Arkansas -- a town I had never heard of before. I wondered what drew her there: job, family, good place to raise kids, etc. Reading her response, along with a lengthy conversation over the weekend with a couple friends related to the topic, I got to thinking about why in live in Dallas. No, the town is not as cool or hip as Austin or Chicago, but this is where I want to be. As much as I loved growing up in New Orleans and Houston, I always loved visiting Dallas. With three pairs of aunts and uncles living in the area, we always went there for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I don't know if it was the slightly colder temperatures, the farm country in Ennis or the building in downtown Dallas out

What if Comments Sections Were a Real Place?

One again, a recent post by Noel got me thinking. Along the lines of that Chappelle's Show sketch wondering what the Internet would be like as a physical place, I thought about what a comment section would be like. And it seemed straight out of THX 1138 . Imagine if you will: a brief news item, a diary entry, or a rant written on a wall. Down below the text, responses appear every few minutes. Some responses are poorly-worded and/or filled with typos while others are well-written and thoughtful. Certain comments are defensive, some are of the praising variety and some have nothing really to do with the topic. They're all in the same font, so understanding the comment's tone is almost impossible. A lot of people pass by this wall while this is happening. Some stop to take a look and read the whole everything. Interestingly, the number of lookers is far more than the number of actual people that posted responses. So, does this sound like the kind of place anybody would re

Check it Out

One of the greatest innovations in my grocery shopping life is the self-checkout line. My local Tom Thumb put in four stations a few months ago and I find it difficult to ever go back to my old checkout ways. But what's strange is whenever I shop, there is no line at the self-checkout. I'm not complaining, but it seems like other people avoid this spot. For some reason, the people who don't have a lot of stuff in their carts are more likely to go to the self-checkout. Since my cart is usually a quarter full, I've never wanted to be in a line behind someone who had a full cart. So this self-checkout has been awesome. It's very hands-on, easy and quick. But that's just me; a shopper who shops solely for food to feed myself and no one else. I wonder if people find this hands-on approach rather daunting. Sure, certain items are difficult to scan, but more often than not, there's at least one very helpful employee standing around willing to give you help. I'

A shortage of shorts

Something the Big Slavinsky pointed out a few weeks ago that I hadn't really noticed before: no matter how hot it gets, a lot of male hipsters still wear pants when they're out at bars. I don't know if this is intentional, but I'm trying to understand why. I've always wanted to dress comfortably, be it in shorts or pants. With the summer months, I often wear shorts because it's hot outside . It doesn't really cool down after sunset, so there's no relief when a show starts at 10. No matter how strong the A/C is inside, pack a bar with people and it's not going to be much better. This might be stretching things, but is there some correlation between shorts and the kinds of dudes that wear flip-flops, listen to Dave Matthews Band, drive over-sized Chevy trucks, drink Coors Light and hold business degrees? In other words, the types that aren't considered hip, but often go out for a good time. Are hipsters intentionally steering clear of any confusi