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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Without the body, there is no crime" - Burning Airlines

The question is, how much more rad could J Robbins be? The answer is none, none more rad. I love every single band the man has ever been in, and that's no exaggeration. Even if they're all basically the same band with slight modifications, keep in mind it's the same man singing, playing lead guitar, and writing all the songs. So, yanno, it'll be some strain of alt-rock meets post-punk, but it's always killer.

Burning Airlines was formed almost immediately after Robbins' former band, Jawbox, broke up. It even featured Bill Barbot of Jawbox killing it on bass. They released two great records, Mission: Control and Identikit before calling it quits in 2002 because of Robbins' focus on being a producer and wanting to start a family, which has happened to basically every great DC rocker of the late 80's.
I'm drunk as fuck on malt liquor right now, so this post is kind of leading me to another tack. Things I'm going to miss about DC when I move to Chicago:
1) Free art museums (and the fucking National Gallery, to boot!)
2) The incestuous music scene/The Black Cat
3) The Jefferson Memorial steps at dusk
4) 'Most every friend I've made since I was 12
5) The China Express
6) The quiet that envelopes the city at 5:30 on account of all the federal workers being gone
7) The Keyhole
8) The subway system
9) Crooked Beat Records
10) Go-Go nights
11) Living within driving distance of Ian MacKaye
12) Easy federal protests
13) the Folger Shakespeare Library/Theater
14) It's not California
15) The high rate of literacy
I'm sure there's more, but the chicken is burning, so I'm outta here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio

News item the first: Cute new temp at work today. More as this develops. Also, frightened a Polish ex-pat co-worker of mine today by playing Screeching Weasel. "Why do they perform their instruments so fast?" I am SO gonna play Bad Brains tomorrow.

News item the second: Capitol City Brewery is basically heaven if you're a beer geek, into which I'm slowly turning, thanks to Chris. Saw Pan's Labyrinth this weekend with him. A must-see, if only for the performance of Sergei Lopez.

News item the third: As a Christmas/birthday gift, my parents are going to get me a turntable that allows me to turn my vinyl into MP3s. Expect a lot more weird/obscure/bizarre stuff here as soon as I get that set up. ("Finally, I can make the world listen to Pleased Youth and the Crippled Pilgrims!")

I feel mellow tonight. I screwed up at work today, but in the big picture scheme, it's no big deal. A job is a job, you know? Having one is cool when it comes time to pay for the car and the rent and the food and all that, but it's not like it's healthy to have your soul invested in one. I'm much happier kicking back with a 40 of Hurricane and a relaxing jazz record any day. One of the best ones to relax with is the collaboration of Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio.

What I miss most about pre-70's jazz is the fantastic combos that resulted from lack of ego. "You played on my record? I'll be glad to play on yours!" This is how you end up with Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and Miles Davis all on the same record together.

Stan Getz you might know as the man who introduced bossanova to America with his collaborations with Joao Gilberto, Chick Corea, Astrud Gilberto (who will more than likely have an upcoming TKAAD appearance), and Charlie Byrd. Oscar Peterson is a master of the ivories, landing somewhere in between of the idiosyncracies of Thelonious Monk and the broad emotions of Duke Ellington. Together, they made a killer record, which is no surprise to any fan of either man.

On a side note, I would like to point out how badass Stan Getz was. He started drinking when he was a teen and was eventually arrested trying to stick up a pharmacy in order to feed his morphine addiction. While he was being booked in the prison wing of an LA hospital, his heroin-addled wife gave birth on the floor below. Even though their marriage ended in divorce instead of stabbing, they were like the Sid and Nancy of postwar jazz. Shit, even Coltrane was jealous of him.

Bronx Blues -

I Want to Be Happy -

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"You haven't been hungover because you haven't been sober" - Radon

When I found out Radon was getting back together to play the Fest, I seriously contemplated quitting my job, cancelling my vacation to Atlanta, and sleeping on benches in Gainesville, subsisting on handouts and spare change. Plus the Dillinger Four were playing, so, yanno, ROCK.

Anyway, for those of you with better things to do than listen to tinny punk 7" after tinny punk 7" in the vain hope of finding something worthwhile and inspiring, Radon (along with Spoke and Blacktop Cadence) were the godfathers of the Gainesville scene, and you can trace the sonic lineage of the GV scene to Radon's combination of hoarse vocals, cardboard-sounding drums, vaguely folkish/vaguley poppish songs, the Leatherface stickers on the amps, thoughtful politics, Husker Du-esque guitar assaults, and the hyper-sincerity and bluntness of Morrissey. Or, to put it another way, they are the Stooges and Hot Water Music are the Ramones in terms of influence - HWM was ultimately more important and influential, but they wouldn't exist if it weren't for Radon. Got it? There'll be a test later.

Anyway, like any band worth their salt, they broke up after only being together for a little while, but the recent reunion shows went so well that they ended up recording a new full-length, the aptly named Metric Buttloads of Rock, which was released late in 2006 by No Idea. So this is gotta be the what, 75th No Idea band I've written about? Probably a conservative estimate.

Finally, you can measure the atomic weight of rock 'n' roll.

Radon -

Kibbles and Bits -

Write Back Or Get Smacked -

Rehab Barbie -

What Difference Does it Make? (live Smiths cover) -

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"I think you're playing far too rough" - Leonard Cohen

News item the first: Last night was a BLAST! As usual, the Hall Monitors slayed. Thanks again to Mike, Ginger, Matt, and Sean for putting on a great show and for all the free beer (and to Sweet Sweet Melissa for putting up with my bad dancing to Saturday Night Fever during the after-party). I can't decide whether Mike Sullivan being allowed to mold young minds is heartening or a frightful proposition. Regardless, you have to respect a man who can set up and soundcheck his drum kit in under four minutes. Oh, and mad props to Ginger's skills at The Hustle.

I've always said that Leonard Cohen was Johnny Cash for junkies and Nick Drake for the avant-krautrock set. There's always been something mystical and eerie about his songs, like they weren't being played on turntable or radios or computer speakers, but instead lurking in the shadows. Like the best of the prewar blues, they sound like they've always existed and will always continue to exist, that instead of your speakers creating the sounds, they're merely tapping into an intangible force that's there all the time, whether you're listening or not.

Three stories involving me and Leonard Cohen that might resemble scenes from hackneyed indie movies:

1) During a particular bout of depression, I was sitting alone on the floor in my bedroom, naked, propped up against the door and swigging from a bottle of rotgut vodka. Songs of Leonard Cohen was playing, and the lights were as dim as could be without the darkness being total. As I got drunker and the record played on, I started to become increasingly paranoid that something was hiding behind the dresser. Slowly, silently, I reached for the hunting knife under my bed. Removing it from the sheath, I crawled on all fours to the other side of the room, intending to hack this intruder to pieces. I pounced, hacking wildly and savagely in the small space behind the bureau. All I succeeded in doing was severing the cord to my alarm clock. It was then I decided that maybe I should listen to Jawbreaker instead.

2) One night, driving on some deserted two-lane country highway in Georgia (I think it was near Bethlehem), I pulled off onto the shoulder right in front of some empty, grassy field, purely on a whim. I got the thrift-store transistor radio and a small bag of joints and proceeded to hop the split-rail fence. I found a tree on the edge of the clearing and propped down. Lighting up, I turned on the radio, hoping to find a vintage jazz station. Cycling through a few stations, I unexpectedly came across one playing Cohen's "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong." Looking at the moon wanly light the amorphous outline of the trees and the powerlines, I wondered if I really died on the road and this was really Heaven. Then a car commercial came on and I was quickly disabused of this notion.

3) The night I met T-------, we came back to my place and ended up holding each other on the couch, listening to Leonard Cohen and trying our hardest to try and articulate what we thought beauty was. It was one of those conversations that stick with you for the rest of your life, and it was all prompted by Mr. LC.,_Nancy.mp3.html

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ted Leo and the Queers: Two (Presumably) Rad Records to Look Forward to in 2007

On account of how bad I'd feel if I were to spend all my time drinking cheap beer and listening to Gang Green and the Mr. T Experience, I occasionally seek out new music. Unlike the movies, sometimes good records get released in the early part of the year. Here are two you need to be getting as stoked as I am for.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Living With the Living

If "The Sons of Cain" and the previously released demos are any indication, Ted Leo is about to make his fourth classic in a row. Can this man do any wrong? Doesn't seem like it. How many dudes can make handclap percussion sound this rad? Not many. Aaron would shove the business end of a pitchfork up his ass to meet Ted Leo. If Ted Leo pulled up in a van and attempted to lure me into the back with promises of candy and magic tricks, there would be no hesitation on my part. The line "I have to sing just to exist!" makes me want to start up a band with Aaron that much more.

The Queers - Munki Brain

Yeah, they've made kick-ass records with bad artwork and even worse names before, and I don't expect this to be any different. Joe Queer's songs always mean a lot to me, because they touch on a lot of things I think about myself: a constantly half-buzzed, self-referential, sarcastic scumbag loser who's more heartsick than he lets on. Well, that and the whole "Black Flag meets the Beach Boys" thing. Besides, Ben Weasel helped co-write the album, and how the fuck could the two of them go wrong when they set their minds to it? Besides besides, I love any song that makes fun of "the kids" and how retarded they are.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Why you should all listen to the Hall Monitors

I'm the first to admit I'm a crotchety old coot at my core, which is why you rarely see me dance. It takes a lot for me to forget my own cynicism and self-consciousness and just fucking BOOGIE, man. If your band isn't Mission of Burma or Gogol Bordello, odds are the most you're gonna get outta me is a polite head nod and even more polite applause.

Which was definitely not the case last night at the Black Cat, as anyone there can attest. I basically was dancing like a mental patient, and it's all the fault/result of a blazin' combo called the Hall Monitors.

So what's so special about a garage revival band that makes little ol' me act like I just dunked on Jesus? 'Cause these cats are tapped into The Groove, the all-powerful force that grabs you by the hips and make you lunge and lurch around, no matter how personally graceful you yourself happen to be. I'm ecstatic there's FINALLY a band in DC that remembers that the crotch is as important (if not more important) to rock 'n' roll as the brain or the heart. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing disaffected art-school dropout scenesters endlessly noodling in some repetitive 7/9 jam as much as the next chap, but a lot of rock 'n' roll gets ruined 'cause you think too damn much. S'why I will always love the Briefs more than Q and Not U.

Not too say that the Hall Monitors are unsophisticated goons. They obviously wore the grooves out on those old Howlin' Wolf singles and understand that the Sonics invented punk rock. For all our pretensions of being tortured intellectuals, there's the heartsick drunk in all of us that the Hall Monitors drag to the surface. It's like the irrepressible side of Stepan Oblonsky came to life and decided that distortion and Delta grooves were the thing for him.

It's rare I find music this passionate, honest, soulful, and full of life, even when singing about fucked-up girls, fucked-up life, and being fucked-up in general. Calling this cheap 60's revival is the worst mistake you can make, and seeing them live is a revelation on par with the Hold Steady. Working 9-5 and society in general makes me feel like I'm killing time until the Apocalypse, but the Hall Monitors remind me what I love about being alive. They peel away all the social masks and graces and niceties and get to your core as a human animal, and they remind me why I love rock 'n' roll more than I like most people. They're working on an EP for a debut release, and I can only hope to whatever deity there is that they bottle their explosive stage show.

They're playing Jammin' Java in Vienna this Friday, and if you know what's good for you, you'll be there going OFF.


Almost got kicked out of the Black Cat by a sensitive soundman. Saw god in the form of the Hall Monitors. Gonna interview them this weekend. The Kids Are All Dead exclusive! It's gonna be rad. Check back later.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"We're the weapons of mass destruction!" - Report Suspicious Activity

Holy gadzooks! Has it really been a week since I updated? Yeah, but I have good reasons. I have underlings now, and...umm, I'm drunk a lot, and....yeah. That's about it. I'm going to be the the Hall Monitors/Breakups/Ambitions show tomorrow at the Black Cat, if anyone there wants to watch me go OFF to three of the best bands in DC. Expect me to yell "ROCK FOR LIGHT!" a lot during the Ambitions' set.

Anyway, the last band I went to see at the Black Cat was Report Suspicious Activity, who should have the motto "Two years. Four shows. One band." They're a "super group" of sorts, with J Robbins and Vic Bondi joining forces, which = automatic awesome.

If you're like me, you assume Vic Bondi died or went on to sell used cars. Instead, the Bush administration pissed him off so much he started writing/bellowing songs again. J Robbins plays bass, and Darren Zentek slays it on bass. One of the best shows I saw all year. I'm too drunk to write anymore. You shut up and listen. *shakes fist.

Friday, January 05, 2007

"God makes it easy on me" - The Happy Mondays

News item the first: Yes, the rumors are true. Well, at least the ones involving me moving to Chicago, starting a folk-punk band with Aaron, and impregnating Lauren. Or something. BRENDAN KELLY WILL BE MINE YET!

News item the second: Just finished re-watching Seven for the first time in years. It really is one of my favorite movies, and a masterpiece to boot. David Fincher just might be the only post-music video director worth a damn. (I'm probably wrong.)

Speaking of movies I recently rewatched, finally got in another viewing of 24 Hour Party People, which is ridiculously entertaining despite the fact that it tries to cover too much ground in its running time. (The scene where God shows up and tells Tony Wilson he should have signed the Smiths is worth the price of the DVD.) One of the things in the film that always struck me is that Wilson declares that there are only two geniuses appearing in the movie: Martin Hannett (agreed) and Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays (huh?). This in a movie that also features Ian Curtis and Bernard Sumner.

The Mondays, I will admit, were stupidly important on the so-called Madchester scene, taking their rightful place alongside contemporaries the Stone Roses as the cutting edge of pop music. Not very many Britpop bands were taking the lessons of New Order and the burgeoning rave scene to heart. As Wilson so succinctly and brilliantly put it in the movie, it was "the beatification of the beat." As much as I dislike most electronica music and the people who produce/consume it, I have to respect people taking drugs and dancing, however grudgingly.

I guess what it comes down to is that the Mondays are the Replacements for the set that's wigged out on ecstasy more often than not. Loveable losers all around, blah blah blah. I like the Mondays almost in spite of myself. Yeah, Ryder can't sing so much as make threats like a subway mugger, and the music is repetitive (yet catchy), but there's something attractive about the whole thing. Something you just can't tear yourself away from.

Anyway, what happened to the Mondays is what happens to any band full of substance abusers given carte blanche by their record label and the buying public. What? Well, just watch the movie.

PS - Probably the best memory I have involving the Happy Mondays took place senior year of college. I had just gotten my vinyl copy of the Mondays' album Pills 'n' Thrills 'n' Bellyaches in the mail thanks to eBay. My then-girlfriend Andrea was visiting, and I put the record on. We ended up cuddling on the couch, and I didn't notice side one had a skip that cause a small portion of "Dennis and Lois" (the end of side one) to go on for quite some time - half hours? Sounds right. Call it the power of the groove, I guess.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"This is the little stuff" - Discount

Discount's kinda like Crimpshrine. You always hear about how broadly influential they are, but you never hear them unless you come across some beaten-up seven inch in some bumfuck California record store.

However, every female-fronted pop-punk band that isn't emo shitheads like Paramore obviously takes them as an influence. Shit, you can even hear a bit of them in Avril Lavinge, although that's not meant to mean that 1) Discount is douche-y, or 2) Avril is in any way tuned to punk culture.

Discount is yet another greta band from the seemingly bottomless Gainesville, FL, scene, and one that always rules, no matter what release of theirs you have. I was first introduced to them when I was broke in a record store, but could still afford the now legendary Punk Uprisings 2 compilation, which was only a few dollars. Discount appeared on the CD with the song "Clap and Cough," which came to me at the right time. I was going through some legal problems, and a lot of my friends were jumping ship. I still have the lyrics up on my wall in my bedroom in my parents' home; the only person they share wall-quote space with is Abraham Lincoln.

They put out some great albums, one classic (the virtually peerless-within-their-scene Half Fiction) and a million amazing singles and splits. I'm putting only a sampling of the Discount songs I love. If I could, I'd post whole albums and make everyone listen to them. But I'm not Dick Cheney...yet.

PS - Alison's in the Kills now, but don't hold that against her.