This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"Bay-bee I'm so glad I cayyyyy-umm!" - Wylde Knights

I'm writing this at work, so it's gonna be short and sweet. I promise to make a more substantial post about another band later today (probably to hype up the Medications/Channels bill next weekend at the Black Cat).

While you're waiting, check out this gem from the archives, a standout track from one of the innumerable Pebbles compilations. I like Pebbles more than Nuggets, but less than Teenage Shutdown. If you think garage rock started when Julian Casablancas got a stupid haircut, check those comps out. Nothing like smash-and-bash teenagers trying to be the Rolling Stones and failing in the best way possible. If you're like me and think punk rock started with the Sonics, you'll get a woody for this.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

"So much for the light show" - The Silversun Pickups

Last night involved far too much beer and Guns 'n' Roses jukeboxage and Whoopi Goldberg lookalikes, so this is going to be short and sweet so I can go back to recovering in time for tonight.

The Silversun Pickups are a band from LA. LA is probably the worst part about America, but you shouldn't hold it against them. They are from the same scene as Autolux, and they both have that same "we're on drugs and own My Bloody Valentine records" trip, so if that's your bag, you'll dig this. The chick in the band is kind of hot, but not as hot as the chick in Autolux. People wrote about them in magazines, so expect to see them in iPod commercials or a 400-word Entertainment Weekly article about "indie" rock. Whatever. I dig this song.

This may be the worst post I've ever done.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Roach flambe!

No real post tonight, kiddos. Just missing someone far away. I know, I know. Way too emo for such a kick-ass guy as myself. Well, if you knew this hellraiser, you'd miss her as much as I do. Basically, anytime I think of someone using a lighter in conjunction with some Raid as a method of controlling the roach problem (and maybe fucking up some marshmallow peeps, too), I'll think of her - her hideous laugh, stringy hair, and sneering contempt for anything that didn't involve early 90's television. I heard some news today that might end with me being back in Atlanta, but I don't want to let the cat out of the bag too early. After all the broken promises and all the false starts (and the skinned knees and sutured hearts, for all the Dr. Dan Yemin fans out there), I don't want to get hopes up again, if they'll still even get up. Sometimes I think the best way to go through life is to make no promises.

I'd sell my big toe to be curled up on a couch, watching some shitty VHS, and drinking Mad Dog 20/20 with her right now. I know I'm being a total fag right now. She'd be the first one to point it out.

Goddammit, Smithwick's will be the death of me.

PS - Ignore the hippie beard. I've since shaved. And this is the only time you will ever see me smile.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Happy Hank Williams Sr. Day!

Since this is a religious holiday for me, I'm going to refrain from a huge post and just leave you with a picture and a sweet tune. Too bad his son turned out to be such an artless redneck who's know mostly for asking people if they're adequately prepared for football.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"How could I abstain?" - The High-Back Chairs

News item the first: Hanging out with Chris + shooting pool at Q Ball + an insane amount of old Metallica songs on the jukebox + the two of us trying to Eiffel Tower a fat chick + god knows how many pitchers of beer = pure awesome.

News item the second: My first assignment as a temp is a three-week bookkeeping job at DAG Petroleum. Pay's decent, but it renews my resolve to shoot down my father's attempts to get me to take accounting classes.

News item the third: If you haven't yet seen it, go rent Brick. It's amazing and required viewing for noir fans.

News item the four: Just a reminder, Hank Williams Sr. Day is tomorrow. Who the fuck is celebrating?

The High-Back Chairs were probably the most oddball band ever signed to Dischord. Compared to a catalogue mostly consisting of bands that wanted to be the Teen Idles and bands that wanted to be Fugazi, even the cream of Dischord's post-hardcore crop (Nation of Ulysses, Jawbox, Q and Not U, Lungfish, Rites of Spring, Holy Rollers, Slant 6, the Evens, etc.) were not widely known for easy hooks and straightforward, melodic playing. Eschewing the deliberately difficult sounds many DC groups adopt, The High-Back Chairs played a meaty take on alterna-pop before there really was such a thing.

Forming in 1990, the most visible and well-known member was Jeff Nelson, aka Dischord co-owner, drummer for the Teen Idles/Minor Threat, and the only person who could routinely make Ian MacKaye lose his rational demeanor. The High-Back Chairs are also notable for launching the career of Velocity Girl drummer Jim Spellman, who played guitar in HBC. They didn't last too long (what DC band does? the second you start getting into someone's record, they break up and form an experimental dance troupe or some shit), but they left two pretty killer mini-LPs and some odds and ends before they split.

In the days before alternative absorbed rock radio almost completely, HBH were combining indie rock guitars with pop melodies. Hell, if they'd had a cro-mag grunter like Chris Cornell, they mighta had a hit. "Kiss and Tell" is like a piece of candy, and "From Inches to Miles" sounds like ever single rock song that was popular between 1993 and 1997. The Naked Raygun-esqe harmonies add some heft to the ominous, moody "Afterlife."

Who ever thought they would hear a band like this on Dischord's roster? Harmonies, obvious pop melodies, traditional time signatures, and hooks galore really stick out against self-conscious art students noodling away on some dub song set in 9/17. It's too bad this is really the only pop band Dischord has ever signed, 'cause this city's had some good ones over the years.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"And I swore to no compromise" - The Decemberists

Any band that names themselves after a revolution (failed or not) better be pretty fucking amazing. Up until now, the Decemberists had never cut the mustard in my eyes. Cutting a couple mediocre records on the queen of the dickpigs label Kill Rock Stars, I'd always hear a few songs from this Portland quintet that I would like, but their albums were usually boring, dreary affairs. I'd file them away under "Boner and Sebastian" and get on with my life, trying to stomach their staunch dork fans I would encounter at parties. Other than the amusing video they cut for "16 Military Wives," their critically acclaimed last album (Picaesque) failed to really capture my attention.

When they jumped the indier-than-thou KRS ship for the luxury cruise liner the SS Capitol Records, I figured the backlash would the same as what happened to the awkward trolls in Death Cab For Cutie - that is to say, they release an album that sounds EXACTLY THE SAME as their indie label output, but still face intense cries of "sellouts!" from 16-year-olds who dress like historians and think Garden State is the best movie ever made.

Having heard The Crane Wife, their new record which drops in about a month, I can say they've finally done something other than take the best promotional photos since Big Black. While some fo the songs are eye roll-inducing wussy, it's still a really good record. Their songwriting has finally caught up to their aesthetic. And it's a decent concept album! You know how fucking hard those are to come by? Anyway, check out these preview songs if you like highly orchestrated indie rock songs and a dude you can tell is fat just from his singing voice.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"It's that way all the time, you know" - The Whigs

Reasons I was expecting to hate the Whigs when I saw them come onstage last night at the Black Cat's backstage:

1) They looked like douchebags
2) Specifically, they looked like the kind of indie douchebags who decided to dress and cut their hair like they were 15 because it's "wacky" to do so
3) Four instruments on stage, but only three bandmembers - I smell a caterwauled piano ballad
4) Nipple-high guitars. Nothing makes you look more like a fuckin' shirtlifter than having your guitar six inches from your neck
5) The unusually high number of audience members with white hats and popped collars

Despite all this, though, they did rock really hard, and despite the mediocre sound system, you could really pick out a lot of the melodic subtleties. And it's hard to argue about passion with a man who breaks two guitar strings in a single 40 minute performance, as Parker Gispert did while doing his weird guitar hero two-step. Despite looking like the bastard son of Thurston Moore and a retarded albino girl working the fryalator at Burger King, bassist Hank Sullivert actually did a very good job behind the four string, and Julian Dorio is frankly one of the best drummers working today. I'm not going to start shouting "Rat Scabies!" or "Janet Wiess!" anytime soon, but he's pretty damn dynamic.

Basically, the Whigs have down that whole Southern power-pop thing to a science. They've obviously worn out the grooves on all their old Let's Active and dB's records, and songs like "Technology" and "Violet Furs" sound like pop hits waiting to happen. Hell, it's a distinct possibility, since they've been getting a lot of press lately, including a profile in Rolling Stone. Check 'em out, Chester, so you know what all the cool kids are talking about.

I'd also like to shine a big fat The Kids Are All Dead spotlight on a new local DC band called The Hall Monitors who came on last night and fucking ROCKED THE HOUSE DOWN! Throw in two shit-hot garage guitarists, a rumbling bottom end, and a batshit insane drummer who beats his snare drum bug-eyed while they compress all that's awesome about Teenage Shutdown (the best garage rock comp series ever, dork) into loud, foot-stomping, ass-shaking, sweat-pouring burst of electric white boy blues, and you gotcherself a band to make the boys drink and the girls cream, and vice versa. They supposedly have a CD coming out sometime in the next few months, and I sure hope to God they bottle all the excitement of their stage show. None of this reined-in, I-can-hear-vocals-over-the-guitars nonsense they have up on their MySpace.

DC, get ready for the rebirth of maximum rock 'n' soul.

Friday, September 08, 2006

"We're just bored teenagers!" - The Adverts

News item the first: Job interview Monday! Stay tuned.

News item the second: If there's any better way to travel on a Friday than with the car windows down and Operator's Manual blaring out of your speakers, I'd like to know what it is.

The Adverts are one of those bands that always seems to get the short shrift in the history books. They rocked way harder than the Sex Pistols and lead singer TV Smith's packed lyrics were more artful than a lot of Joe Strummer's clunkier verbal musings, as well as anticipating punk rock wordsmiths like Greg Graffin and Darby Crash.

They debuted in 1977 with the incidiery single "One Chord Wonders," as much a punk rock manifesto as anything else. In essence a tune about pissing off the audience and not giving a whiff of a fuck, it (and their other early songs) also presciently predicted very early in the punk "movement" that it would be full of idiots and trend-hoppers, it would cynically adopted and changed into "new wave" by the music industry, and that media coverage would be a gross generalization at best. Call it a lucky guess, but they hit it right on the head.

After a few more killer singles (including "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" and "No Time to be 21"), they released the LP Crossing the Red Sea, one of the best punk albums ever made. Featuring fireballs like "Bored Teenagers," "Bombsite Boy," and "Safety in Numbers," Smith continued to grow as a songwriter, refashioning the mid-tempo gurglings of the Sex Pistols into taut, speedy firecrackers that would go on to influence the first wave of American hardcore. Also, the long, drawn-out avant-rock intro and outro to "Bombsite Boy" can be heard in the sound of Public Image Limited and Shellac, amongst others.

As always, inter-band tensions did the thing they do where they fuck up a good thing. Bassist Gaye Advert was always being featured more prominently in magazines and photos because she was one of the most attractive women in punk at the time (although, when your only competition is Sue Catwoman, that ain't too hard at all). She was also criticized harshly (maybe too harshly) for her lack of chops on the four-string, and there was much speculation as to how much of a hand Smith had in the studio when it came to the instruments.

Signing to RCA for their second (and final) album, 1979's Cast of Thousands was greeted with naught but critical derision when it was first released. Featuring polished production and (*gasp*) then then-unthinkable keyboards and synthesizers, as well as a more open-ended approach to songwriting, it was Smith's attempt to expand the group's palette. Of course, two years later, scads and scads of British punks co-opted this approach under the New Wave umbrella and took it straight to the top of pop charts. The same critics who shouted down Cast of Thousands are probably the same ones who got worked into a froth over the Psychedelic Furs - "I Surrender" sounds like almost every song on Talk Talk Talk.

Between the internal bickering and the complete lack of a response to Cast of Thousands, the Adverts disbanded in 1979. They were really ahead of their time in a lot of ways, and hundreds of bands have picked up little tricks here and there from them over the years. That's why I'm so surprised they remain virtual unknowns in the histories of rock, as critics like nothing more than getting a boner over retroactive demagoguery.

"You can get hurt foolin' around with that little town flirt" - Del Shannon

News item the first: I interviewed New Found Glory today. Once that's up on the Racket site, I'll post a link.

News item the second: Joe Dunn, Jeff Rowland, Mitch Clem, and Zach Miller are probably the best cartoonists working right now. This is not including the Family Circus comics I cut out and to which I add different dialogue - "Who touched you, Billy?" "I Don't Know!"

News item the third: Taking out the beer bottles to the recycling bin tonight, I spied the moon, and it looked like the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. This feeling was a passing one, but it was still pretty fuckin' cool.

News item the fourth: The CD player in my new car doesn't take too kindly to CD-Rs, so I've been playing whatever "real" CDs I have in my collection. Considering I haven't really bought any CDs since my senior of high school, I've been listening to a lot of mid-80's hardcore and post-punk. ("Gee, Matt, what did you listen to when you were 18? Agent Orange and Joy Division? Douchebag.") While it means I've rediscovered New Mexican Disaster Squad, it also means the only indie CDs I have are Pavement. If anyone wants to send me a "real" CD, I'll hook you up with the address.

News item the fifth: Sammy's in love with me, but I don't care about her feelings. If she can accept me and my back fat and my rotting-meat farts, well, I suppose I can cuddle with her too. But I'm still giving her an Abe Lincoln when she's asleep!

So anyway, I've been drunk since about 3 PM, which means 11+ hours of alcohol-induced whatever. It's mostly consisted of farting and listening to Sonny Rollins. But rather than drunkenly wasting a post about my favorite tenor sax-blower, I decided to write about Del Shannon. Who the fuck couldn't write about Del Shannon, regardless of substance abuse (on the part of the abuser, that is)?

Basically, any Baby Boomer that kills himself gets points from me, but Del Shannon especially. After he put out a Tom Petty produced-record and nobody cared, he put a gun in his mouth. That takes guts. Not even Tom Petty put a gun in his mouth after his last album, as would any respectable artist would after such a boring effort.

Naw, kiddos, Del Shannon practically bridged the gap between the 50's and 60's. He was involved with the initial rock 'n' roll movement, but he was also the first American artist to cover the Beatles while they were still leather-jacketed pissants playing for beer money in Hamburg. He was also the first to introduce the synthesizer into a pop hit with "Runaway," which I'm sure you've all heard.

You could go on and on and on about Del Shannon about his place in pop history, but the blunt truth remains: this muhfuh can SING. Dude had a killer voice. Not bad for a guy that has "Shannon" is his name.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I have a damn good reason for not writing, dingleberries

So I haven't updated in the last couple days. Get over it. Been busy. Know what I've been the busiest with? I'm interviewing fucking New Found Glory this Thursday afternoon. For those of you who have read my Hawthorne Heights interview, you have an idea of what to expect.

I wanted to interview Corey Rusk, but nooooooooooooooo. I get the dillhole brigade. I could have interviewed a dude who not only was in the Necros, but signed Big Black, Shellac, the Jesus Lizard, Ted Leo, Calexico, Naked Raygun, Slint, Pinback, Pegboy, the Ex, blah blah blah. Instead, I get the bros who weren't sure if they'd waited too long. Sammy's excited because I'm going to name-drop her tits. She's the biggest attention slut I've ever known, and the only reason I hope she doesn't get hit by a bus is because that might get her name in the papers. God do I hate her.

Anyway, I'll post a link to the interview once it's up on the site. If I get around to it. I might be too busy watching Arrested Development and pounding Brooklyn Brown Ale by the sixer.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Swimming my way to the liquor store" - Dead to Me

News item the first: Today, John Hancocks were made for me to obtain a brand-stinkin' new '06 Hyundai Elantra. Rock! I already named my bass AJ, so any name suggestions are welcome. Also, if you buy at Fairfax Hyundai, ask for JR Zambrano. He's the only car salesman I've ever met that wasn't a complete and total scumbag.

News item the second: This ( looks like it's going to be awesome. Dr. Dan Yemin is one of the best things that ever happened to hardcore. Like Paul Chambers, no matter who he played with, he always made them better/incredible. Someone buy this for me, huh? Vinyl, please. I don't care for you youngsters and your compacted discs.

News item the third: Ramon Ortiz pitched eight innings of a no-hitter, and then the shit-ass Cardinals screwed it all up in the ninth. It's alright. My beloved Nationals still whupped the ass of the best team in baseball 4-1, and I was there to see it. Chalk it up to a truly awesome day.

News item the fourth: Kids in the Hall, Season Four = rock ass.

Alright, I'll get this over with quick, since I got shit to do that ain't got nothin' to do with placatin' you little turds. Dead to Me (which is a shitty, shitty, shitty name, I have to admit), is a catchy little pop-punk band from San Francisco that consists mostly of ex-members of One Man Army. Also included is the man know only as Chicken (bassist for Western Addiction, who put out a decent record last year), who wrote the lyrics, almost all of which touch on his time in rehab. While most post-rehab rock records huff huge sacks of dong, Cuban Ballerina was actually pretty good, especially "Cause of My Anger" - for some reason, the line "the longest hallway in Valencia" always gets me. If you've ever been addicted to anything, you can start to get a sense of what drives this record. Throw in the fact that it's catchy and melodic as all fuck, and you'll find yourself humming along to the twelve-steps. Play this for a little brother still rockin' the Fall Out Boy CDs, and maybe you can coax him away from the dark side. While Dead to Me won't save him in the same way as, say, a Fugazi or Propagandhi album, it's still a step in the right direction. Plus, Jack Darymple doesn't sing like he's fucking 12 years old, something those douche drinkers in Faggots! at the Disco can learn from.

And yes, you snide little shits, I will one day post something that wasn't released on Fat Wreck or No Idea. You little assholes, I'll do what I want when I'm damn good and ready.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

"I need you to pay for the sins I create" - The Thermals

Today's post was supposed to be, among other things, an inspired rant about why I'm better than you and my favorite Eva Angelina movies (including the heart- and lap-warming The Da Vinci Load). It was also supposed to be the debut of my ongoing mix project, Pop Stars and Rising Tarts (get it?). Unfortunately, both WinZip and my hosting site are being complete cock mobsters, so it'll have to wait. Instead, I bring you Portland's wild children, The Thermals.

Featuring members of Hutch & Kathy and the All Girl Summer Fun Band, they bowed in 2003 with the nearly-flawless More Parts Per Million. Featuring distored indie classics like "Goddamn the Light" and "No Culture Icons," the whole thing whipped by in half an hour and sounded like it was recorded in an attic on a boombox one drunken summer afternoon (which isn't too far off, actually). 2004 saw the rushed Fuckin' A, and while I hate to be one of those, I was turned off by the production. Hutch Harris' voice just didn't sound right without all the lo-fi cackles coming in at the edges. Besides, other than "How We Know," the songs weren't as strong the second time around.

Well, having heard their third (and newest) record The Body, The Blood, The Machine, I can report that the Thermals have gotten over the seemingly ubiquitous sophomore slump and dropped a killer record. Bringing back some of the fuzz of their debut was a wise move - lo-fi distortion is to the Thermals as tape hiss is to the Mountain Goats. It's almost a fourth member of the group. That's not to say they're treading water, as you can see from their incorporation of keyboards into the insanely catchy "A Pillar of Salt."

Most people would be surprised that they put out a record with such explicit political and social themes, but anyone who heard the ranting against the emptiness, hypocrisy, smugness, and vanity that pockmarks much of the indie scene on More Parts Per Million shouldn't be surprised that Harris has opened the scope of his sarcastic venom. Basically, don't play this record around fundamentalist Christians or thin-lipped conservatives unless you want to get into a pointless conversation. Go ahead and give 'em a listen so that Mary Claire feels like she has something to talk about with someone instead of just randomly quoting Pete and Pete and snorting like someone with sinus cancer.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"This microphone turns my voice into electricity!" - Shellac

So a goodnight call to Sammy last night turned into a 90-minute laff fest where we mostly just quoted Arrested Development at each other. As always, I can never say goodbye to her, because right when I get around to trying to say "shut up you dyke so I can go to bed," she busts out with something so funny that I laugh myself back awake. In this particular instance, she was recounting the time she used a megaphone to sing "Last Caress" in a public place, an act she referred to as "detrimental to humanity." For some reason, this made me laugh so hard that I stopped breathing momentarily.

I'm guessing as this point you're wondering where the hell I'm going with this mediocre anecdote. "Yeah Matt," you're probably saying, "we know Sammy is an obnoxious cooze who annoys everyone in a quarter-mile radius. We already know this. So the fuck what?"

I just like the idea of people using sound in malevolent ways. I'd much rather listen to a record that made my ears hurt than one that was bland and deliberately inoffensive - I call it the Big Stick vs. Jesse McCartney theory. While too much noise rock makes me hate people, sometimes it's just what the doctor ordered. Shellac is definitely one of those bands that tests the listeners' stamina, both live and on record. Just when you think you're about to lift the needle up or wander over to the bar to get another Yuengling, they explode with something amazing that just blows you away. Todd Trainor and Bob Weston are an incredible rhythm section, and Steve Albini never fails to prove he's one of the ten best guitarists working today. No one else have ever sounded like him - not when he was in Big Black, not when he was in Rapeman, and not now that he's in Shellac. His guitar sound is as unique and immediately identifiable as his sardonic, deadpan vocals.

I'll be honest with you. Shellac isn't for everyone. I'm not trying to be an elitist snob, but I feel the need to warn people that this might not be your cup of tea. It's noisy, repetetive, confrontational, and will test your endurance. I hear brilliance in this. Some people hear squalls of white noise and nothing else. There's nothing catchy or very melodic about it. If you hear what I hear in it, I highly advise you to run out and obtain copies of all three Shellac albums, At Action Park, Terraform, and especially 1000 Hurts. As a treat for people who already own all three albums, I included two unreleased songs the group recorded during a Peel session, including the absolutely astounding "The End of Radio." It's what they opened with when I saw them last Thursday, and the howling pleas of the last man on Earth making the last radio broadcast was goosebump-worthy. ("This one goes out to a very special girl. But there is no special girl!") If you can take it in all of it's eight-minute, thirty second glory, it's a rewarding listen.

And if you can, go see them live. The songs take on a new life that many of the records only hint at, and their deliberate use of false stops to diffuse applause is amusing to say the least. Besides, the lively question-and-answer period the band hosts in lieu of asking for requests is worth the price of admission, and being able to see Steve Albini play live (and scream into his pickups to create a horrible, distorted shrieking noise in a Bizzaro parody of Peter Frampton) is a pleasure on level with being able to see Janet Weiss play drums or Don Braden to play sax. To steal Flipper's tagline, "melts in your brain, not in your hands."

Oh, and I'm going to start incorporating more photographs into these entries. No particular reason why. I do what I wan'!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Magnolia Electric Co.

News item the first: Dita Von Teese would probably be the most fuckable person on the planet if not for the fact that he vagina routinely houses Marilyn Manson's wang-dang-doodle, and I don't think I want Brian Warner's sloppy seconds.

New item the second: Ernesto needs to stop being such a cock bastard and go away so they don't cancel the Nationals game tonight. What the hell else are Chris and I gonna watch on the TV at Bungalow's? College football? I'd rather stab myself in the dick with a screwdriver.

News item the third: This was gonna be about Shellac, but having been to their show last night, I need a day to recover before I can listen to them again. I got in a heckle fight with Todd Trainor, the drummer. It's hard to lose to a man with Johnny Thunders hair and two (TWO!) blouses on, but I admit I was well and fully owned. Steve Albini is one the ten best guitarists who ever lived, and if you disagree with me, I'll fight you after school. So much better than dickpigs like Eric Clapton. No campers, I needed something mellow, and since Mr. Albini was wearing a Magnolia Electric Co. t-shirt during the concert, I figured I might as well write about them.

For those of you with better things to do than hang out with nerdy indie folkers who don't like tempos of more than 25 bpm's, Magnolia Electric Co. is the project singer/songwriter Jason Molina put together after he decided to hang up his Songs: Ohia moniker. While my favorite Songs: Ohia album is the insanely dark Ghost Tropic (which is what I imagine death sounds like), I also really dug the folkier stuff, especially the poppy final S:O album, also called Magnolia Electric Co.

M.E.C. put out a pretty killer record this year called Fading Trails, which is the perfect soundtrack for being stuck inside during a rainstorm on a lazy afternoon. It's not cry-in-your-beer stuff, but it's certainly reminiscent of some of the quieter moments in Joe Ely's catalogue, especially when the tinges of Southern rock guitar pop up. Molina's got a hell of a voice, a quivering, honest instrument that says more than his words ever could. This is fantastic midnight porch music.