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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"Music is the new pornography!"

The above quote is from Jimmy Swaggart, one of the most deplorable hypocrites ever to pick up a microphone. After exposing a fellow minister's adulterous affair and Jim Bakker's various dalliances (referring to Bakker as "a cancer on the body of Christ"), he was busted with a prostitute, which led to one of the funniest TV cries of all time. Three years later, he was busted with another hooker ("God told me it's falt-out none of your business"), and his fellowship's revenues fell by 85% while he continued giving himself a $350,000 annual salary. I didn't know Jesus was doing it for the Benjamins, dude!

I hate the Swaggarts of the world, who want to tell each and every one of us how to live and condemn as sins things they personally find immoral, but can't seem to keep their hands out of the methed-out-gay-sex cookie jar. Now, don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with people who enjoy controlled-substance-enhanced sodomy. To each their own, blah blah blah. But when you get on that soap box and scream "SIN SIN SIN SIN SIN!" at people for things you yourself do all while bilking them out of their money with threats of fiery torment, you're a despicable human being. ATTENTION CHRISTIAN LEADERS OF THE WORLD - LET'S FEED AND CLOTHE EVERY PERSON ON THE PLANET WHO WANTS FOR BOTH WHILE WORKING TO END WAR, THEN WE'LL TALK ABOUT GAY SEX AND SONG LYRICS AND ABORTION.

Sorry about that, boys and girls. I came across that quote while looking for info on the latest from the New Pornographers, and it angried up my blood something fierce. Which is odd, considered how relaxed their new LP is. (I am King of the Segues.) It drops in a couple weeks, and I'm not sure how the public is going to react. I for one was taken aback by how mellow it is compared to the rest of their catalogue. Like most NP fans, I was madly in love with their chirpy, uptempo power pop, and wasn't sure how to take the advance single "My Rights Versus Yours," which reminded me of nothing so much as the Shins and yindie movie soundtracks.

Well, I've had Challengers for a few weeks now, and it's definitely a grower. Dan Bejar (still in the throes of his Lou Reed/Frank Black obsession) continues to make me wonder why he's wasting his time in Destroyer, and AC Newman offers up only two uptempo vamps, the catchy "Mutiny, I Promise You" and "All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth." Other than that, the rest of the album is given over to numbers like the stately title track, the shuffling "Go Places" (both featuring gorgeous lead vocals from Neko Case), the new wave vocal pop of "All the Old Showstoppers," and the vocal trade-offs of "Adventures in Solitude." Expect to hear the first third of the astounding "Unguided" sometime on Scrubs, backwards tapeloops and all.

While it's not the immediate classic its precessor was, Challengers is a highly enjoyable record that, once it sinks in, has a high replay factor. 2007 is shaping up to be a pretty killer year for good music, and this record is one more brick in that argument.

Mutiny, I Promise You:


Myriad Harbour:


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Apologies are for pussies

And I make no goddamn apologies for liking Judas Priest. Some people look at the short film Heavy Metal Parking Lot and think "whadda buncha wasteoid heshers." I look at it and think "wow, a bunch of drunks who yell and like underage tang. It's like being back on the Atlanta rock scene."

Part of the reason I love these howling band of Limeys is because they supposedly inspired a bnch of teenagers to kill themselves via the old "we're parents of retard metalheads maybe we can get some money out of our tragedy" lawsuit. Stained Class wasn't a bad record, but if I were going to kill myself over an album, it at least would be something worthy, like Dear You.

Priest would be cool if for nothing than Beavis and Butthead's eternal worship via their endless "breakin' the law!" air guitar riffs, but Rob Halford was one of the best howlers in metal history, and he was usually surrounded by guitarists who were rockin' but never (allat) masturbatory. Also, since Rob Halford is gay, it's fun to imagine a bunch of metal dudes rocking out to songs like "Jawbreaker" and thinking "these rednecks are kicking it to a song about making a guy fellate you at knifepoint...AWESOME!"

If you're not rocking the Priest, I'm not sure I can trust you. They come recommended by no less than Matthew Good and Craig Finn. If you can't trust them and me, who can you trust?

Hot Rockin':


Breakin' the Law:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sweet Gene Vincent

Sweet god sorry for disappearing. Andrea and I are getting ready to move, and things have just been crazy. First things first, big ups to JP McDermott and Western Bop for absolutely killing it last Saturday at the Quarry House. Starting in August, every Saturday is rockabilly night at QH. Kicking it off are JP and the Gully Jimson Quartet, two rad acts that will be better than anything else you could see that night. Have fun at the RNR Lounge, LOSERS.

Also, happy premature birthday to Sean Crowley of the Hall Monitors fame! The party was awesome, in spite of/because of George from the Points putting his head through the window and the extensive keg testing and the half naked man doing the hula hoop dance. I think "style" is what the hep cats are calling it these days.

ANYWAY. Now that we're all caught up, I'll try to give you all some more music. Andrea, Chris, and I are moving into our new place this Saturday (beer and pizza for anyone who shows up to help), so updates will continue to be intermittent. In the meantime, check out the new discs from the Methadones, the Arrivals (more on them later), Queens of the Stoneage, and Pharoahe Monch. Those'll hold you over until yours truly is done getting the internet set up and/or spending my whole paycheck at Kohl's and Bloodbath & Beyond.

If you'ver ever seen live footage of Gene Vincent and wondered why he moved the way he did (aka like the Carvel leprechaun version of Elvis), well, it's cause he was in a motorcycle accident. However, he didn't die like a pussy, he just had a limp and chronic pain for the rest of his life. The fact that he had any stage moves at all is pretty incredible, considering. I guess that's what rock 'n' roll does to you. Hell, thanks to beer and bachelor food I'm a lazy, outtashape piece of shit, but when JP and his merry band of groovecats lock onto that indestructible groove, even I get up and shake my moneymaker. In your FACE, Justin Timberlake.

Anyway, while I don't have much affection for "Be Bop a Lula" (his biggest hit) because it's a little slow and forced for my tastes, when Gene and the Blue Caps were on, they were ON. Songs about car crashes, drag racing with the devil, knocking down your girl's door, gun toting chicks, and cruisin' around looking to kick some ass all add up to sheer, unmitigated awesome. There's a reason a real prick like John Lennon looked up to him. While he didn't have the good taste to die young like Eddie Cochran did, at least he managed to screw over the IRS before moving to England for one last spurt of popularity abroad. While he did commit the ultimate rock betrayal of getting fat and singing "progressive" songs (the best of which is "Born a Rolling Stone," which sounds NOTHING like the hiccuping rebel of yore), those early songs still stand the test of time, and i wholly recommend seeking out the boxset if you can find it.

ONE FUN FACT ABOUT GENE VINCENT: The night Cochran died in a car with Vincent, the latter man's Gretsch was impounded. Soon to be famous britrocker Dave Dee was a police cadet at the time, and taught himself how to play on the guitar. Earlier that night, the guitar had been carried to the crashed limo by Mark Feld, aka Marc Bolan, aka T Rex, aka That Band That Was Awesome Half the Time But Spent the Other Half Singing Folky Unicorn Horseshit. Now you know.


Blue Jean Bop:

Race With the Devil:

Hold Me Hug Me Rock Me:

Born to Be a Rollin' Stone:

Friday, July 13, 2007

Large and in charge? Bet your ass.

Goddammit if you don't just instantly fall in love with Big Mama Thornton then you HAVE NO FUCKING SOUL TO SPEAK OF. God, this woman could belt the blues like they were meant to be belt, with balls and gusto and sweat and sexual confidence. It takes only one listen to her version of "Hound Dog" to completely and immediately understand why a young Elvis P. wanted to make it his own. And while I would gladly spend all day expounding on Elvis and why he was killer, but for all his talent, even he could only invest "Hound Dog" with maybe 1/2 the zest 'n' zeal that Thornton seems to spew with the greatest of ease.

Of course, this pony had more than one trick. She could do the juke joint jumpers with the best of them, but she could also wrangle a tear out of the most cynical, worldweary of souls. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the very fucking definition of a well-rounded entertainers. Someone who can make you dance and sob in about a ten minute timespan is a precious artistic commodity and never ever ever EVER take those people for granted. They are as important as the most visionary architect or the strongest political leader. 'Cause you see, brothers and sisters, we are all complicated machines full of tiny bits of EVERYTHING, and the only way we stay sane is by regulating these little bits into strands of consistency. The people like Big Mama Thornton who can, at will, summon different threads of the tapestry that is our innermost fucking being are the people who remind us we're human, that despite our pretensions of neckties and nice furniture and urbane sophistication that we are dirty sweaty animals put on this planet to eat, mate and FEEL.

She was a drunk that played until she died, one of the great performers of this century spending her last night on this world in modern-day flophouse. To all you spindly jagoffs who live in your cocoons of delusion, living off your residuals check, THAT is a fucking musician. The people who sweat it out in bars and basements and rec centers are the ones who mean it. I'm looking at you, Boy George.

Hound Dog:

Black Rat:

Life Goes On:

Me and My Chauffeur:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

It means WHAT in Swedish? - Millencolin

So apparently iTunes is fucking up the mix CDs I made for my girlfriend. Go to hell Steve Jobs for using your evil scheme to ruin my gift of love!

I love Millencolin. I admit it. I may not be the loudest advocate of their early work, but you can't deny the goofy charm to songs like "Lozin; Must" and "Fox," the latter a love song to a silver moped that sounds more sincere than most songs written about a woman or the government. I dunno what it is about Scandinavians making pop-punk that doesn't totally blow. Maybe it's something in their socialized water.

Their early work aside, it's their second coming in the form of Home From Home that hits me in the gut so hard. While not an entirely serious affair like the last Blink 182 album, it's pretty heavy for a bunch of guys who seemingly wear baseball hats for a living. There's still traces of goofiness - including a paen to a...houseplant - but it's almost totally a muscular amping up of their melodic sound and misfit outlook. The churning "Afghan" is a rocket shot through ruminations on revenge, while the rifftastic "Kemp" coulda shoulda woulda* been their breakout hit in America. It's such a departure from their skater rock and Scandinavian-to-English dictionary lyrical structure that it almost sounds like a different band.

For fans of Randy and those who actually admit what they listened to in high school.

*Sorry to Bob Newscaster!

Man or Mouse:



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What's up with your mans and them?

One of the biggest pop culture debates of the last decade is why Eminem became so popular. How did a nasally-voiced pale white kid from the Midwest who rapped about funny stuff become the most popular rapper in the country for a good many years? Of the many legitimate theories, one of the most believable ones is that he was (at first) a breath of fresh air. Here was a guy with a sense of humor who did catchy songs that were about other things than possessions catalogues and 75 minutes of bragging about skills that never manifested. Basically, seeing a picture of Lil' Wayne dressed in whatever ridiculous fashion he's chosen this week is enough to make me start keying music execs' cars.

Oh Word has put forth the argument that the reason hip-hop sales are flagging in the mainstream is because basically almost all popular rappers are douchebags. Listening to your local rap station more and more feels like sitting at a dinner table with a rich guy who talks about himself all night.

This is why I fell in love so hard with the second Felt album, a collaboration between Atmosphere and Murs that started as a tour van argument as to who would have a better chance of bedding Christini Ricci. It's a chance for three serious indie rappers (the self-lashing Slug, the boisterous mic scientist Murs, and the soulful beatmaker Ant) to cut loose and make a hell of a party record. It's producer Ant who sounds like he has the most fun with the project. Usually, his soul- and piano-laden beats are heavy and more likely to cause a night of introspection instead of a banging crunk party. Here, he gleefully runs through the history of rap beats, taking a little Arrested Development here, a little Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy there, with maybe some Digital Underground and Tupac on the way out the door.

I've never heard either MC as exuberant as they are "Life Vegas," detailing a bacchanalian trip to the Sodom and Gamorrah of the American Southwest. Slug isn't moping about girls, and Murs isn't musing on his ambitions in a genre content to wallow and stagnate. Instead, it's all booze and strippers and gambling and hook-ups (and Dave Chappelle). It never sounds bragging, i.e. "I have much money, perhaps you would like to let me spray your writhing body with some overprice champagne? - instead it's the sound of two young men having the time of their life. Elsewhere, "Your Mans and Them" takes to task people who act ignorant in clubs. Perhaps part of Pac-Man Jones' NFL-mandated rehab could involve listen to this song on loop 4 times a day.

It's a fun, intelligent record, and I hope they come out with a new one soon. The rap world could use some more fresh air.

Employees of the Year:

Your Mans and Them:

Morris Day:

Life Vegas:

Saturday, July 07, 2007

A TKAAD sneak preview! Common's new album has a 95% chance of being completely rad

Some songs from Common's upcoming record Finding Forever have leaked (likely as part of a deliberate hype attempt by his record label - they'll still sue your ass, though), and I for one have a raging mega huge boner of anticipation for it. His last record, Be, is one of the best hip hop albums ever. He kept it short and kept in the winners instead of trying to turn 40 minutes of killer shit into 70 minutes of pressing forward on the CD changer.

I'm glad he decided to stick with Kanye West as a producer, since they're such kindred musical souls, West's soul samples and Common's Soul Brother #1 voice meshing like they were made for each other.

Anyway, I'll probably write more when the album actually drops, but if the preview EP is any indication, it's gonna slay. I dunno if "A Dream" is going to be included on the final album cut, cause it was already on the soundtrack for Middle Class White Girl With a Dream Inspires Minority Students Movie #14563-H. Or Freedom Writers. They all kinda blend together, and after Half Nelson, they're all kind of redundant anyway.

I would like to add as a side note that while Finding Forever will likely be an amazing record, the cover art is some of the most atrocious I've ever seen: Fuck were you guys thinking?

A Dream:


The People:

Death bed, the bed that eats people!

One of my favorite working stand up comics is Patton Oswalt. I don't think I've ever seen someone who can work the mainstream and the underground simultaneously and be completely credible in both. Yeah, he's on King of Queens and the lead voice actor in Ratatouille, but he's also one of the most revered indie comics in the country, ranking with the likes of David Cross, Greg Giraldo, and Todd Barry. In fact, he organized the Comedians of Comedy Tour, which played in indie rock clubs and venues as seemed almost like a *pbbbbbbbbt* reaction to Dane Cook and Tourgasm. We have in Patton someone who's deeply entrenched in Hollywood but also one of its most vicious critics.

Part of the reason I like him is that I can relate to his hatred of both President Bush and sanctimonious hippies. He comes across as someone with no real agenda other than squashing assholes and the bullshit they spew. He's got an astounding delivery, turning a three-minute rant about KFC in a brilliant piece of surreal comedy, and his Hollywood connection lead to an uproarious anecdote about how Brian Dennehy convinced him to drop a diet in ten minutes.

Both of these bits are found on his second official release, Werewolves and Lollipops, the follow-up to the hilarious Feelin' Kinda Patton. Werewolves comes out on the 10th on Sub Pop, a day which already sees releases from Bad Religion, Against Me!, and Gogol Bordello in what may be the best day for audio recordings EVER. Also, while I feel bad recommending Spin magazine to anyone, it's worth the cover price of the latest issue for nothing else than Oswalt's fantastic last page column about how Fred Phelps, the man behind the God Hates Fags campaign, is the punkest person who ever lived.

For the people who like Dave Chappelle because his supreme delivery makes even well-trod comedy topics sound fresh and gut-busting or Lewis Black because of his righteous rage make you laugh while you stuff the effigy with straw, do yourself a favor and check out Patton Oswalt.

American Has Spoken:

The Dukes of Hazzard:

Best Week Never:

Physics for Poets:

Cirque Du Soleil:

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

We can be the bands we wanna hear! We can define our own generation!

From the moment I heard the Crime 7", Against Me! instantly became one of my favorite bands. The slashing acoustic guitars and throat-shredding howls masked Tom Gabel's achingly gorgeous poetry. "I Still Love You, Julie" and "What We Worked For" brought back to punk the type of straightforward-yet-layered, honest self-reflection that's been missing since Blake Schwarzenbach became an English professor.

The releases that followed - the acoustic EP and the Reinventing Axl Rose full-length - only won them a devout following in the punk scene, cemented by their endless touring and killer shows (to this day they are probably the best live band I've ever seen). The bigger their following got, however, the less and less they could play unconventional venues like bowling alleys and basements. Their earliest fans felt a sense of, I dunno, betrayal, I guess, that they had to go see their favorite band in a club instead of a rec center.

THEN they signed to Fat Wreck, a previously shitty label that has, over the course of the last couple years, turned itself into one of the best ever punk labels. "Production quality!" fans howled. "Distribution! Gas money for the van!" (These are the same types who get pissed off when they hear the Weakerthans in a coffee shop and, to quote Mitch Clem, "fear money like cavemen fear fire.") THEN Tom Gabel stopped playing acoustic guitar mostly, as the band was evolving into a muscular rock band from their early roots as thrash-folk (quite a leap).

THEN, after two great albums on Fat, the band signed to...*drum roll*...a major label! That's right! Sire Records (who honestly has a better track record than most majors, even if they DO have Mandy Moore) pulled their heads out of their asses and realized good band writing good songs + devoted fanbase = $. Against Me! realized that the people who hated them for signing to Fat weren't buying their records anyway, so they might as well shoot to make their Big Budget Rock Album. Hell, Jawbreaker, Jawbox, and Shudder to Think did the same thing, and you don't hear anyone badmouthing them.

So after nearly a year of debate, speculation, anticipation, and people making good and bad judgements about the record without hearing a note of it, New Wave drops next week. I've heard it in all its Butch Vig-produced glory, and while it's easily their weakest record, Against Me! is like Bad Religion in the sense that even their worst album is still better than most bands A-material. You can hear the growing pains as they adapt from recording in makeshift studios to recording on a major label defense spending budget, but I can also hear them growing into this sound. Based on the evolution from Searching for a Former Clarity to New Wave, I have a feeling the next record is going to be a monster.

But what about the songs, you say? After a couple go-through, I have to say "Thrash Unreal" is the best song on here. They take a "ba ba ba" chorus and a bouncy bassline and shove them up against lyrics about a scene girl whose time has come and gone and all she has to show for it are track marks and an empty bed. "Some people just ain't the type for marriage and a family," Gabel sings, "there’s not a lie in the world that you could use to make the boys believe you're still in your twenties." The live staple "Americans Abroad" catches fire in the studio, while "Ocean" once again prove that for all Gabel's growling and guitar noise, he's still a poet at heart. Meanwhile, "Piss and Vinegar" takes to task all the AP-core bands that have found popularity - "the stage is not a pedestal!"

James Bowman's backing vocals are getting better and better, and the guitars are massive without sounding like they've had all the life and power drained out of them by a label worried about radio play. The honor students may have turned in a B-plus assignment, but as far as major label rock goes, they're still wrecking the curve for dipshits like Nickelback and Interpol.

New Wave:

Thrash Unreal:

White People For Peace:

Piss and Vinegar:

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I hope John Hurt really went to live with Jesus

Like my purchase of the incredible Son House album Father of the Delta Blues, my purchase of The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt was a random purchase at Fantasyland Records that ended up netting me one of my favorite artists. Sunday mornings when I was in school and my roommate was away, I would tie up the hammock on the porch, bring out a six pack of Mickey's, and listen to it on endless loop. Like Nick Drake, Astrud Gilberto, or the Shins, Mississippi John Hurt made perfect Sunday morning albums - the kind that make the perfect soundtrack for reflective showers, egg cooking, paper reading, hammock swinging Sundays, which is how they're meant to be spent.

His voice and relaxed picking style is gentle and soothing. Not to sound like some douchebag new age hippie retard, but it centers me. It's the kind of music you simultaneously can't ignore and can't help but think of everything else. Even when he sings "took my gun and broke the bough down/Put that joker six feet in the ground," it feels like a nursery lullaby.

One of the things that strikes me the most about Hurt is the fact that when you compare his early 20's recordings and his later 60's recordings (common for many of the folkies/bluesmen "rediscovered" during the roots music revival of the 60's) and they sound basically the same. With the evolution of the blues over the course of the WWII and post-war era, such as the introduction of electric guitars and adoption of Texas-style band-based blues as a more standard motif, many early bluesmen had changed with the times in order to continue to appeal to the juke joint and country barroom crowds. When his records bombed in the 20's, Hurt went back to sharecropping and playing the occasional party, essentially preserving his approach from prevailing trends.

After Tom Hoskins tracked him down in the 60's (and got him to play a now-renowned set at the Newport Folk Festival), Hurt actually became something of a cause celebre amongst the collegiate folkie set, playing colleges, concert halls, and even the Tonight Show.

I can't encourage you enough to check Hurt out, especially his later output (including the killer live album he put out on Vanguard). Listen to "Ain't No Tellin'" and "Louis Collins" and tell me if you can hear a difference besides sound quality to later songs like "I Can't Be Satisfied," "Keep On Knocking" (later played by Little Richard and the Sonics) and "Since I've Laid My Burden Down," which is one of my favorites songs of all time, bar none.

Ain't No Tellin':

Louis Collins:

Since I've Laid My Burden Down:

I Can't Be Satisfied:

Keep on Knocking: