Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Newest Contributor: Texts from Last Night!

(419): The new Black Eyed Peas song is the stupidest shit I've heard since the last Black Eyed Peas song.

Dear Random Person from Toledo, OH,

Thank you. I couldn't agree more.


The evidence: the new single.

And the old single:

I kinda miss BEP pre-Fergie. Truth is, they actually used to not be terrible. Proof?

Just saying, Fergie's the devil.

Friday, August 21, 2009

On Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

When I was 16, I went on a service trip with a bunch of kids from my high school. We didn't really know each other all that well in the beginning, and so, in the very beginning, there were a few awkward silences. However, without fail, every time they happened, my friend Bill Houston would always look around and say, "Shhhh, Weezy, baby! By the end of the trip, it became the unofficial punchline to just about every joke that was told (that, or yelling the last name of one of the kids on the trip, Jim Shields, as loudly as possible).

We were not brilliant kids.

Anyway, it's been about fourteen months since the release of Tha Carter III, the last album from cough syrup connoisseur Lil Wayne. Since it came out (on my 19th birthday, no less), it's been almost unanimously praised by just about everyone, topping a bunch of best-of lists at the end of 2008. It also won four Grammys, and in a time where album sales are down across the board, it's still managed to sell over three million copies in America alone. Meanwhile, as I've watched this all going on, the only thing that I could ask was, "Well, why?"

The song that I had heard most before was the uber-annoying radio single "Lollipop," which probably wasn't fair, but every time I heard it, I strongly considered punting a baby out a window. After all, it sounded like the song was filtered through a bottle of Robitussin, as opposed to the all-too-popular Autotuner. However, there's no way that literally everyone could have been wrong about this, so eventually, way, way, way later, within the last month or so, I finally downloaded Weezy's last two albums, Tha Carters II and III.

(Note: I know, I didn't get the first one, and that without any "background," I could have been completely lost. I took my chances.)

So, here's the thing: like most hip-hop albums today, both of these are too long (both albums are over 76 minutes long), and though I'll give Weezy some credit for keeping skits to a minimum, both still have ridiculous moments where he just sort of, uhh, goes off on ridiculous tangents. Tha Carter III ends with this ridiculous thing where Weezy just makes fun of Al Sharpton for a while.

But that's nitpicking, I guess I shouldn't hold a grudge against him for something that a lot of rappers do. And after all, there's a lot of good in there. Weezy gets great producers to give great beats, and even though the dude has some ridiculous kind of stream-of-consciousness/ADD/something (he references Stuart Scott, Beetlejuice, Stevie Wonder, Randy Savage, Dennis Rodman, Orville Redenbacher, and the movie Bad Boys in the first three tracks of Carter III), it somehow works for him. The guy is really clever when he isn't sippin' on some sizzurp, or, you know, when he cares at all.

The major problem is that he doesn't always care, and so you get some downright awful stuff sometimes. Ready? "He's a beast, he's a dog, he's a muthafuckin' problem/OK, you're a goon, but what's a goon to a goblin?" I have no idea what it means either.

There's also a track (not on either of these albums) where he rhymes "head and tail" with "head and tail..." about five different times. It's actually kind of embarrassing, so if I can find it, I'll post it. (EDIT: Got it, starting at 1:45. A downright awful verse.) And his delivery, well, is pretty awful overall (short of one brief moment at 2:19 of the aforementioned YouTube clip).

So that, in a nutshell, is Weezy. He's definitely ridiculous (and what in the hell is up with his kind of creepy relationship with that other guy from the Cash Money Millionaires?), but the guy is clever, to be sure, one of the better rappers around now. More often than not, his punchlines are great. The problem is, it's pretty tough to deliver them when you're lounging or out swimming in Purple Drank Pond (located, of course, in Promethazine Park).

Also, I think that Weezy should probably go out an make an album like The Blueprint before he starts referring to himself as the "Mr. Carter." Just saying.

Consume at your own risk. Anyway, enclosed are some Weezy tracks.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Age/Dan Deacon/Deerhunter (No Deachunter? Dan Agehunter? Deer! No, Deacon!)

The above T-shirt design (yes, with all three bands in the womb) was sold at all of these shows. It was designed by one of the lunatics in CSS, and it honestly freaks me out a bit. Moving on!

Upon hearing the announcement of the No Age/Deerhunter/Dan Deacon "Round Robin/Pitchfork Wet Dream" Tour and the corresponding dates, I wasn't really sure how to react: the tour is only a week long, and other than Brooklyn, there wasn't a single place that made much sense to me (Newport, KY?). One of the dates was about twenty minutes from my house, but I couldn't make it because I'm in New York for the summer. The next-best option, in Brooklyn, was another that I couldn't make because of All Points West, so I thought I was kind of out of luck.

Then, well, unforeseen circumstances brought me to Millvale, Pennsylvania. This is a place you never want to visit on your own. I promise. Really, the whole Pittsburgh area is a place that you don't want to visit voluntarily. In October, a movie called The Road will be released, and the trailer basically paints a bleak picture of the apocalypse. In a move that can only be described as genius, the movie studio elected to film in Pittsburgh because it already looks like the apocalypse happened there. I'm serious. They didn't have to change all that much.

But I digress.

The show itself was a bit of a strange experience. All three acts came out at first and played a Deerhunter track to start, and then things settled down, with each act playing one song at a time. About halfway in, each band started playing their songs in pairs, and eventually, they all closed the set out together again. For a while, I was totally fine with this. After all, the first 12 songs or so were so high-energy, you could barely tell the difference.

The point that the energy started to drop was when Deerhunter came out and played "Microcastle." From then on, the transitions were a bit slower, and a bit awkward. With none of the bands blitzing into their songs anymore, coupled with no band ever getting a chance to play more than like three tracks in a row, you could start to see the lack of cohesiveness affecting the show.

But overall, it was solid. All of the bands were great, especially No Age, but I just wish Dan Deacon would stop it with the random stupid party games during his songs. Check this out:

Granted, with each band switching on and off, it would have been tough for the show to flow perfectly, but this obviously doesn't help, does it? Dan Deacon: 27 year old man-baby.

Anyway, here are some videos from each. Sadly, there aren't good Deerhunter or No Age videos from this show, but you get the idea.


No Age:

Dan Manbaby and a screeching cat:

And finally, one of the opening acts, Ed Schrader. A little background on this guy: he apparently hosts a radio show in Baltimore entitled "The Ed Schrader Show." Go figure. Also, I think he lost his mind a while back. He came out on stage singing something from the musical "Man of La Mancha," and everyone assumed he was just a sound check guy. Twenty minutes later, everyone was really, really confused.

Just try and get through all of this from the Baltimore show (he played it in Millvale too):

Yup. It was all like this. Just him and his drum, but way less cute than the little drummer boy.

He looks like a fucking mad scientist, does he not?

On that, I'm off. Tomorrow: Weezy.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Apologies (to the Queen Mary. I couldn't resist.)

Dear Readers (mainly, Dear Kevin Nihill),

I apologize for not updating this. I wish I could say it was 100% because I was busy, but I think we all know that that isn't the case. I also apologize for making lots of promises about future updates and then failing to deliver on those. Frankly, I'm pretty ashamed of my performance.

But, I promise, I'm gonna make it up to you guys (guy?). Starting tomorrow, there will be updates, probably about one a day, for at least the next three days, and likely more. I can safely say this because there's a ton of stuff to write about. The "No Deachunter tour" entry is all but finished. I still want to write about finally sitting down and listening to Lil' Wayne. (The devil in print form/purveyors of the hipster bible) Pitchfork is putting out their 500 best songs of the decade through the week, and I have a lot to say about it, so, the only thing will be forcing myself to actually write stuff down. However, though promises I make on this blog don't really mean much, I'm making another one.

However, there's one thing I ask of you guys. I made a couple of small changes to the layout, most notably the "interesting/not interesting" boxes at the bottom of the entry. I realize that a lot of the people who read this don't comment, but just as proof to me that you're even looking, I humbly request you at least check one of those boxes at the end of each post.

With that said, I leave you with this picture, sent to me by my friend Marie.

Obviously, we at TDoFS make a lot of jokes at Nickelback's expense, but I'm genuinely having a hard time trying to come up with a band that's had so much hatred directed at them (Milli Vanilli?). Granted, it isn't everyone (evidently their last five albums have gone platinum in the U.S., and i have a hard time thinking that everyone is setting those CDs on fire), but their critical disapproval is overwhelming, almost unanimous. Really, the suggested search results say it all.

In a related story, I'd really like for Google to sponsor this blog. I think that they get us, you know?

So on that note, farewell for now, but not for long, readers. I'll be back tomorrow.


Friday, July 24, 2009

We Dance to the Sounds of Sirens.

I spent the entirety of last Saturday in Coney Island at the Siren Music Festival. This, I admit, is overdue by about five days, but I still feel like I should write about it. The festival's been a mainstay in Coney Island over the last decade, with two free stages, a good amount of bands that are on the brink of making it big in indie circles, and a couple of big names every year since 2001.

Since there was a lot of overlap, I didn't get to see all of the bands, but I'll recap the ones that I did catch:

Tiny Masters of Today: They were the first band I saw all day, and I'm kind of glad that things got better from here. The band is made up of this brother and sister, and I think the oldest one is like 15? As such, they were (kind of expectedly) really, really awkward on stage. While watching them, all I could really say is, "Aww, that girl's adorable! What is she, 9?"

They'll probably figure it out in a few years.

Bear Hands: I honestly had no idea who these guys were, but my friend Alex recommended them to me. Now, I get it. They were super, super high energy, they commanded the stage, they interacted well with the crowd, and they looked really comfortable, which led to a great performance. They kind of sounded like Electric Six meets Eagles of Death Metal, for anyone who knows either of those bands. If you don't? Well, just check them out. Their music is catchy, and that's all it needs to be. Also, this video is apparently taken from the top of one of their amplifiers, so it looks a bit like Cloverfield:

Miccachu and the Shapes: I hadn't heard of these guys beforehand, but after watching them, they seemed like a really strange choice for a festival lineup. Here's what I mean:

Also, Mica herself spent half of the set playing a guitar that I could've sworn was a toy. Seriously.

Japandroids: Oh, yeah, ohhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhhh. This is what we came to see. The two guys in Japandroids seemed really overwhelmed by the size of the crowd (seriously, it was all they kept saying in between songs), but you'd never know it by their performance. Awesome. Loud, punky singalongs are exactly what the crowd needed, and everyone seemed into it. Apologies for the crappy sound quality on this one:

Frightened Rabbit: I think I was most excited for Frightened Rabbit of any of the bands on the schedule, because they put out one of my favorite albums of last year, The Midnight Organ Fight. Sadly, they were a little bit disappointing. I dunno what it was. I guess they kind of thrive off of studio polish. You be the judge:

Future of the Left: We only saw the last couple of songs of this set after walking over from Frightened Rabbit, but I regret not seeing the whole thing. When we arrived, the band had everyone chanting and singing, and by the end of the set, the bassist ended up really deep into the crowd. Also, SWEET BURNS in the first fifteen seconds:

Spastic doesn't do this set justice, and what I saw of it was great.

A Place to Bury Strangers: When I saw APTBS at NYU in the winter, it was at a really small venue, where we just got punished by a wall of sound. This time around, it was in an enormous space, with a ton of people and less awesome acoustics. Moral: if you get a chance to see them, the tinier the room, the better.

Also, literally everything that I said about them in this post held true. Even when he broke the strings on his guitar, swung it around by said strings, tried to put them back, then grabbed a new guitar and finished the last song. That's a fifteen-minute spectacle that's only worth seeing once.

Built to Spill: I love Built to Spill, but we got buried so far in the back for this, it didn't seem worth staying, so we left in the middle of their set. This isn't to say they weren't good or anything (in fact, I was enjoying their setlist a lot; we left right after "Strange" from Ancient Melodies of the Future), but we were just too far back to enjoy it. But enjoy "Strange!"

Spank Rock: After the Built to Spill fiasco, we just left and headed for the subway to beat the crowds, so we didn't get to see Spank Rock... BUT there is one interesting tidbit about this. When we got into the subway and were sitting in the car, waiting for it to pull away, we could still very easily hear the bass coming from Spank Rock's set, well across the street, pretty far away. They probably killed it, and by "it," I mean "someone."

And that's that. Later today, I'll probably write about the Paul McCartney concert I stumbled my way into, and sometime this week, my misadventures with Lil Wayne.


Friday, July 17, 2009

I Can't Breathe Underwater Like I Used To.

I'm gonna rave about this, but first, watch this video of "Zebra," a relatively tame moment from the Man Man concert. If you'll notice, you'll see yours truly at the bottom left, DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE STAGE. Honus Honus spit water on me and grabbed my boob at some point during the show, friends. Raise your hand if anyone in a band has gone to second with you (and Mickey Avalon shows do NOT count).

Also, when he knocked his water over at some point during the show, I tried to be nice and pick it up. He then smirked at me and immediately knocked it over again. It was perfect.

Some concerts are special because while you're there, you realize that you're watching an incredible moment of technical precision. The band is on and playing tight, they have unbelievable control of their instruments, and the crowd is almost reverent because they know that they're witnessing serious mastery. When Beirut played at NYU, watching all of those guys play together was kind of like that.

This was not one of those concerts. I mean, that isn't to say that Man Man can't play; on the contrary, they're all actually really good. What I'm saying is, precision wasn't the order of the day (a couple times, Honus actually sat on his piano), and that was fine. Man Man is prided on their crazy live show, and they didn't disappoint. I have bruises from getting pushed into the stage, I got kicked in the back of the head, and in one of the funniest moments in the show, a kid next to me got SMOKED in the face with a tambourine.

This doesn't even include the sandstorm that got kicked up when everyone started moshing about during the set. This concert was unbelievable.

Anyone who's seen them knows what I'm talking about, and anyone who hasn't really should. That's all I can say about this without just gushing over and over again, and so I'm going to leave it at that.

Oh, and go buy some Man Man albums. Immediately.

Siren Festival is tomorrow. It's gonna have a hard time living up to last night.