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Showing posts from April, 2009

LCD

The new car search resumes at a snail-like pace, mainly out of fear. But I press forward, even though I've been informed by a friend that my choice in a new car is questionable. No, it's not like the Toyota Camry is a bad, unreliable car -- it's just that, in my friend's eyes, the Camry is a "lowest common denominator" kind of car. A couple of things about my friend you should know: he 1) does not drive a Camry, 2) doesn't not play the drums, so he doesn't need a lot of room in his car to carry a drum kit, and 3) is really into sporty vehicles, especially ones manufactured in Europe. Since I want to make this car purchase as easy and painless as possible, I'm sticking to what I know, and am not really that inclined to seek out tons of different cars when I'd probably get a Camry anyway. Yet when my friend told me that the Camry was a "lowest common denominator" vehicle, I was reminded of how I often use the phrase "lowest commo

Shreds

I was recently introduced to some parody YouTube clips by a co-worker, and frankly, I haven't laughed so hard since I watched A Night at the Opera two years ago. I'm very well aware in Internet speak this could very well be as ancient as five months ago, but the "Shreds" series is new to me, and quite amazing. For starters, there is one for Creed , the Mars Volta , and Steve Vai . Plus, the clip for Metallica's "One" is a complete laugh riot. So, what's so funny? Well, if you've ever played in a band, walked by a band rehearsing, had a neighbor whose band rehearsed in his or her's house, lived with someone whose band practiced in your hose, or you just walked around a Guitar Center, this all sounds familiar. Especially with the Mars Volta clip, I can't help but find a lot of truth in the spoof. As incredible as the band is live, the lasting power of their spazzy jazz fusion is short. Dissecting the jam itself is simply funny. In regar

"Loosely based"

Whenever I hear about how a writer "loosely" based a piece of his or her's fiction on personal experience, I'm perplexed when the author then goes on and on about how many elements from the story actually happened to him or her. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what "loosely based" really means, but when there are specific plot points straight from real life, I wonder what's "loosely based" and what's taken directly from real life. A prime example of what I'm talking about is found on Cameron Crowe's commentary track for Almost Famous (er, Untitled , as the director's cut is called). At many, many points in the track, Crowe says where most of the story's plot points come from: his own life. From the "Don't do drugs!" line to the near plane crash, these things actually happened in some form or fashion. Working on my own piece of fiction called When We Were the Kids , I'm now really understanding why that

Straight Ahead

Two short show previews are now live on the Dallas Observer 's page. Pennywise/Pepper at the Palladium Ballroom Maybe it's to their detriment--or maybe these bands just happen know exactly what their devoted audiences want--but Pennywise and Pepper preach to the choir. Keep in mind this is a choir large enough to fill a venue like the Palladium. Read the rest here . The Gaslight Anthem, Heartless Bastards at the Granada Theater Earnest, but not earnest like a mall emo band, and punk rock, but edgier than mall punk bands, The Gaslight Anthem, which also throws a heavy dosage of Springsteen into the mix, goes far beyond most Warped Tour attendees' grasps. Read the rest here .

Ten things

A friend of mine passed along a pretty accurate list called "Top 10 Things From Your 20's That You'll Regret When You're 40." Just for fun, I thought I'd add my two cents. 10. Body Piercing Plugs Unlike neck tattoos, at least holes from eyebrow rings and nose rings can close back up. 9. Risque Internet Pics I laugh whenever parents get up in arms when they hear that their child has become a party animal at college. Freshmen didn't learn their habits from strangers or even the lawnmowers hired to come out every week. So I'm sure there will come a day when somebody who didn't think these fun little pictures would ever come back and haunt them. (I'm not off the hook here. Even though I don't have any risque pictures online, there are plenty of me acting really silly. Poses can be best described as theater meets metal/hardcore. Hey, at least I have all my clothes on.) 8. Tattoos I have no problem with people that choose to get some or a

I've been looking over my shoulder

Seeing Mark Olson and Gary Louris over the weekend, along with seeing Wilco's new DVD, Ashes of American Flags , I couldn't help but think of random little memories from my past. Writing up the "Personal Bias" part in my review of the Olson and Louris show, a lot of things rattled around in my head, and here's some of the things that came up that I'm still thinking about today. --Back when VH1 was more of the older brother/sister channel to MTV, there was a half-hour late-night show called Crossroads . This was the show that not only introduced me to the Jayhawks' music (I had heard about them a few years prior thanks to a Week In Rock profile of them), but also to Uncle Tupelo and Wilco. These days, if I were to watch the channel in that same time slot, I'd probably hear about how awesome Lite Brite was in the 1980s or which viral video is best thing ever since the last viral video that was the best thing ever. --I don't know why, but I didn

Ready for the Flood

My first review for the Dallas Observer 's DC9 blog is now online. The topic? A show featuring Mark Olson and Gary Louris from the Jayhawks. Mark Olson and Gary Louris Sons of Hermann Hall April 17, 2009 Better Than: wondering if Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary could successfully do a reunion record and tour. The average age of the crowd was well over thirty as Mark Olson and Gary Louris took stage at a little after 10 o'clock last night, and the reunited Jayhawks duo played almost non-stop until an hour later. But their set was no easy breezy walk down No Depression Lane. Giving the audience a steady balance of well-loved Jayhawks numbers (mainly from '92's Hollywood Town Hall and '95's Tomorrow the Green Grass ) and songs from their '09 album, Ready for the Flood , the set didn't drag for one minute. Read the rest here .

Brian Peterson interview

A couple of years into writing Post , I heard from Dan Sinker at Punk Planet about a book in the works on nineties hardcore. Details were scant, but I had heard it was about heavy hardcore bands. So my book on non-heavy post-hardcore bands would probably not conflict with it. A few months later, I got in touch with its author, Brian, and we've kept in touch ever since. When you're writing a book, it's a really, really good idea to be friends with someone who has written a book or is writing a book. As supportive as your friends and family can be, knowing somebody who has gone (or is going) through the experience can offer all sorts of insights and advice. Brian and I have talked a lot over the last few years. I thought it would be nice to let people in on the conversation. Brian's book is called Burning Fight: The Nineties Hardcore Revolution in Ethics, Politics, Spirit, and Sound . Here's the official page for more details. Was there a particular moment when

BSG

Maybe it was because of severely disliking a handful of movies that had great reputations ( Risky Business , Heavenly Creatures , Near Dark , and Being There ) or I just needed a short break from watching European horror flicks, or just accepting the fact that it might really take two months for Quantum of Solace to be available to rent from Netflix, I've become hooked on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica . And when I mean hooked, I mean watching multiple episodes every week on DVD. And listening to many of the episode commentaries. And reading sites like this one. So, I'm definitely hooked, but I refuse to use "frak" in everyday language. As I've grown older, my opinion of most shows on television is closer to the opinion of Woody Allen's character in Annie Hall mixed in with a lot of rants from Network . In other words, I'm not easily convinced I should spend a lot of time watching something. Especially given the risk that I might eventually wonder

"Breakfast" tacos

A few months back, when I realized that I could successfully make scrambled eggs (I must take baby steps in hopes of ever saying I can "cook"), I've been in the habit of making breakfast tacos. But here's the catch: I don't eat breakfast tacos for breakfast. That meal has been since childhood (and will probably remain through adulthood) almost strictly Brown Sugar Pop Tarts, save for stretches of times when I had cold cereal or powdered donuts. These days, I usually have breakfast tacos for dinner on one day during the week and for one lunch on a weekend. So I wonder why breakfast tacos (and moreover, breakfast burritos) carry the tag as breakfast meals. There's something inherently "breakfast" about scrambled eggs and bacon, but plenty of non-breakfast meals have eggs and bacon in them. I guess the whole "scrambled" part cues up "breakfast" in people's minds. I have yet to see a dinner prepared in a restaurant or at a friend

Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

Some months ago, Frank rhetorically asked why Americans want happy endings in movies. My response was something along the lines of, "unhappy endings make people think." Now, I'm not the type that loves unhappy endings, but sometimes, an ending that makes you think is better than an ending that doesn't make you think. Over the weekend, I took in my first screening of The Last American Virgin . All I had heard was that it was a good 80s movie and the soundtrack was great. Judging by the way most of the movie went -- which reminded me of Zapped! and Fast Times at Ridgemont High -- I wasn't expecting the ending of the movie to be the real ending of the movie. Basically, just when you think the hero gets the girl he's longed for, she goes back to the guy that dumped her when she got pregnant. We're left hanging and have to come to our own conclusions about what happened to our hero afterwards. Now, I won't lie, I found the ending of the movie deflating

Creep

Reading this week's edition of "AVQ&A" reminded me of something that terrified me when I was younger that doesn't terrify me now. I had not thought about this for years, and it wasn't the opening scenes of V , Murder, She Wrote , or various parts of E.T. It was the trailer for The Silence of the Lambs . Yes, the trailer: OK to be shown in the daytime or nighttime on almost any kind of programming. Being in sixth grade at the time of its release, I caught some of the trailer one night and couldn't get the face of Hannibal Lecter out of my head. What truly creeped me out about it were the shots of Lecter in the cage, warmly lit with a white T-shirt on. So, I can thank a director of photography, a wardrobe person, and Anthony Hopkins for this. Hopkins looked so sinister and menacing -- and he's just sitting in a chair. The trailer itself isn't very violent, and doesn't really give much away about the movie. I definitely didn't beg my pare

Save your breath, I never was one

My third column for Late Night Wallflower is now online. I can recall eleven years ago when a small, small blurb showed up in Alternative Press about Jets to Brazil. Just mentioning that the band was made up of members of Jawbreaker, Handsome, Lifetime, and Texas is the Reason made my head spin. I didn’t know that Blake Schwarzenbach, Jeremy Chatelain, Peter Martin, and Chris Daly were in the band since the blurb didn’t mention who was in the band. But just the mere idea that a band featuring members from some of the greatest post-hardcore bands of the 1990s was enough for me. Read the rest here .

$18.99?

For a very long time, between middle school to high school, I loved going to stores that carried CDs. From Sound Warehouse to Sam Goody to Best Buy, these were the places that served as the places that I could touch copies of music I read about in magazines and newspapers and saw on TV. These experiences are still fond in my mind, even the time in high school when I dreamt of going to a record store that was so large that it had an escalator. (That dream came true years later when I was in the Virgin Megastore in New Orleans, and that dream came true twice over when I visited the one in Chicago with two escalators.) Still being somebody who likes to shop at stores that carry CDs, I've seen the slow decline of stock mainly because of downloading. While I think it's great to see more intimate, locally-owned speciality stores thrive (like Good Records), seeing both Virgin Megastores close and seeing Best Buy and Borders drastically reduce their CD stock is like watching a ship s

Even Izzy, Slash, and Axl Rose

Seeing Weener this past weekend reminded me of that chapter in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa-Puffs about tribute bands. Chuck Klosterman got to spend some quality time with a Guns N' Roses tribute band who really took their time to be like classic era of GNF'R, as well as taking their time to act like classic GNF'R. From what I saw, Weener doesn't try to look, act, or dress like Weezer, but they definitely got plenty right about Weezer. You see, Weener has been a bit of a myth for me. I had heard about them all the way back in college, but never saw them play. There were other related bands like Blah (who did all Blur songs) and Bloasis (who did all Oasis songs). By chance I saw Bloasis last year, with none other than Glen Reynolds of Chomsky fame in the role of Liam Gallagher. By chance this past Saturday, while co-hosting a party at my house, I had a chance to slip away for a couple of hours to see Weener play. I had a ride and an understanding co-host, so I went. Reynolds

BD

As much as I've been a staunch supporter of Netflix for six years, things have changed a little bit since I decided to rent Blu-Ray DVDs from them. With the recent announcement about charging three dollars a month instead of one dollar a month to access their BD library, I'm still sticking with Netflix, but I've become tempted to --gasp-- return to Blockbuster to see about the availability of certain BD titles. I have not been to a Blockbuster in over six years for many reasons, but lately, I want to see if they have BDs more readily available than Netflix. As convenient as doing everything through the mail is, I'm not so sure waiting almost three months to get certain high-demand titles. I mean, come on, did I really have to wait that long to see Mamma Mia! , a movie that was greatly derided by many people? In the old days (read: ten years ago, when I regularly went to Blockbuster) all I really had to do was wait until the next week to rent a copy of a hot item. Yet

You've got your (car) troubles, I've got mine

Sometimes, it's the little things that sway the vote towards change. As I've blogged about before, I truly value my time listening to CDs in my car. Most of my time driving since I started driving has been accompanied by music. Since I've had a CD player in my car, I've never wanted to go back to listening to cassette tapes or fidgeting with the radio. To my ears, the sonic clarity of CDs still trumps the rather padded sound of an iPod going through a car's radio. So when my CD player decided to stop playing CDs this past weekend, I decided it's time to consider getting a newer car. Now, the CD player is not the only reason why I've considered getting a new car. Rather, this recent turn of events has been the final, final straw. The car has been good to me since I got it in October '03. I've had many good drives in it, including the first major drive where I drove between North Dallas and Fort Worth to get my drums from the house where the band I