Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Kids at the Shows? They'll Have Kids of Their Own.

The first time I saw the Hold Steady in concert, I was convinced that Craig Finn just didn't get it. Look at that guy. He's better suited to be doing people's taxes than to be in a band, much less fronting one.

To make things worse, he's not particularly cool at all on stage. I feel like he's got the rock star cliché of being drunk on stage down, but other than that, he barely plays his instrument, he can't really sing, he continuously sprays spit all over the place (which I suppose is expected, but somehow it seems more constant with Craig), and he's one of the worst dancers I've ever seen. He spends most of his time on stage singing his lines, and then making funny faces at the crowd. By most accounts, this guy is a loser.

In addition, their keyboardist, as my friend Jim pointed out, "looks like he just escaped from an insane asylum," or, like someone from vaudeville in the 1920s with that mustache:

And somehow, it works for them. Unbelievably well. The guys (I guess, minus Craig) are all really musically tight, but they're really just out there (cringe for another upcoming cliché) having a good, drunken time, and the crowd's right there with them.

This won't quite encompass the experience, but have a video from a different night:

Unironic songs about partying, but with a smart sense of humor, and a shocking amount of depth (seriously, Craig like made this whole universe of characters, and he's still referring to them four albums deep).

This is a band that people love. Obviously, that doesn't make them unique or anything, but what I was most impressed with was the fact that the crowd seemed to know every word to songs that are pretty difficult to memorize, and not even just choruses and "woahs" (seriously, tons of "woahs").

So, maybe Craig doesn't get it. Or, maybe it's me. Regardless, the Hold Steady are a great band with an even better stage presence, and I highly recommend seeing them if you get a chance.

In an unrelated story, it'd be wonderful if the St. Vincent album would leak. Just saying. Random, but I've had "Paris Is Burning"
stuck in my head all day.

"You're pretty good with words, but words won't save your life... and they didn't, so he died." - Thanks, Craig.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A shameless vehicle for me to overload a post with Youtube videos. Plus, Spike Jonze (and later on, Christopher Walken) have my heart.

I want to shake this guy's hand. Not the guy on stage, the dude with the rocket arm in the crowd. I don't actually know what part of this is funniest, the fact that he got hit in the head with a rock, or the perfect silence after the question, "WE GOT ANY NICKELBACK FANS IN PORTUGAL?!"

Secondly, before I say anything, I'm gonna admit that the first part of this is really only tangentially related to music, it's just something that I can't stop watching... but I'm gonna try to relate it anyway.

So, yesterday, a video began circulating among my friends through the Internet. I think I ended up seeing it through my friend Marie's Facebook or whatever. Anyway, I'm fairly confident that it ruined my day, because I didn't do a single other thing after I saw it. Honestly, I might have watched it ten times, and I'm watching it again as I write this.

I think I remember reading a while back that the Arcade Fire weren't really into leasing their music out for TV shows and movies and stuff like that. That being said, they've now leased their songs to at least two movie trailers. The first was a Benjamin Button ad late last year (I think the song was "My Body Is a Cage," which was pretty appropriate for that movie).

EDIT: Found it. This was pretty awesome too, and short, unlike the movie itself. Give it a watch.

And now this, an absolutely unbelievable use of "Wake Up" for the first trailer of Where the Wild Things Are. It starts with an acoustic version of the song, but when the distortion kicks in...

Look at those wild things. LOOK AT THOSE FUCKING WILD THINGS.

But I digress. The guy responsible for this movie is Spike Jonze (for a while, I pronounced his name "Jones-y," which is embarrassing). Spike also made Being John Malkovich, but more importantly, he's done some great music videos, which I'll shamelessly link to now:

Weezer - "Buddy Holly"

Fatboy Slim - "Weapon of Choice" (how you can be involved with this, The Deer Hunter, Joe Dirt, and Kangaroo Jack is beyond me, but I love Christopher Walken for it)

Finally, a kind of disturbing one for "Y Control" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In what can only be described as a flawless example of bringing this post back to that awesome trailer, apparently, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is helping to score Where the Wild Things Are. Jim, that was perfect.

Sadly, the last time I got this excited for a movie based on a first trailer was only like eighteen months ago, when the first shots of the Statue of Liberty's head skidding down the street previewed Cloverfield... but I think this is different. Mainly, I think this movie will be longer than Cloverfield's approximately 25-minute length, and that it won't be quite as gimmicky (although, I really liked Cloverfield.

So yeah, that's about it. And, March Madness is still going on.

Remember when Kristina wrote for us?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Miscellaneous Post

A couple of things, cause I feel like I should probably update before my annual attempt at March Madness-induced suicide:

1) I was driving back from a friend's house this morning and listening to Since I Left You by the Avalanches. This made me realize that:

*The Avalanches should come out with another album. Seriously, they only made one, it's almost been nine years, and they've apparently been working on this new one for something like five years. Why not?
*I should have insisted that this blog be named "Two Hearts in 3/4 Time." Such a good name. Missed opportunity.

For those of you who don't know, the Avalanches are (were?) this group from Australia who made their record by putting together a bunch of samples. I'm certainly not saying that this was a unique practice, but there are something in the neighborhood of 6.4 billion samples included.

EDIT: OK, so Wiki says it was only 3500, but it's still ridiculous, especially because they range from Madonna to showtunes to a John Waters movie.

Anyway, here's the video for one of the singles, "Frontier Psychiatrist." Honestly, it's one of the most bizarre songs I've ever heard, but I've always really liked it. Equal parts terrifying and hilarious... and the video is well worth a watch or twelve.

2) I kind of wish that the genre of "music about partying without even a trace of irony" caught on more. For every good example (the Hold Steady and Be Your Own Pet), where the bands might not be ironic but still have a sense of humor, there are far worse (but funnier) ones like Andrew W.K. and whatever this Asher Roth thing is:

Poignant quote: "I love college. I love drinking. I love women. I love college." - Asher Roth

Anyway, this song kind of unleashes Asher clumsily rapping about all the "craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy partying" that he does over a beat that might sample/probably samples/was at least heavily influenced by "Say It Ain't So" by Weezer. I could nitpick about several little things (who's been to a party where people just pour you beer from the bottle that they were drinking out of as you walk around?), but really, it doesn't seem worth it.

Last December, hip-hop magazine XXL put Charles Hamilton (pretty good, and bonus points cause he's been known to drop references about Sonic the Hedgehog), B.o.B (not familiar), and Wale (responsible for the pretty well-produced, certainly far more clever than average, undeniably thoughtful Mixtape About Nothing, which I'll talk about in a bit) on their cover. Inevitably, it was probably something about the future of hip-hop. However, XXL made a huge mistake: they put Asher on the cover with those other guys. What in the hell is this clown doing with that kind of company?

I really wish that some part of this was a joke, but I really don't think it is. I'm not even gonna talk about the rhyme of "beer pong" with "Allen Iverson." Even worse, as bad as I personally think that this is, as my friend Kevin pointed out, it seems like it could easily become some kind of frat anthem. I've already seen it as a couple of my friend's away messages.

And this brings us back to the pioneer of unironic party music, the creative genius behind "Party Hard," "Party 'til You Puke," "It's Time to Party," (all from the same album) "Long Live the Party," and, of course, "Party, Party, Party," classically-trained pianist (not a joke) Andrew WK.

Apparently, all of that blood wasn't his:

"Initially, I had this little piece of a cinder block, like a brick. I was able to get bloody noses very easily when I was younger, so I wanted to give myself a bloody nose, and then take a picture of it. But my nose didn't bleed enough after I hit myself with the brick. I had to use this follow-up plan, which was [to take] this little water bottle full of pig's blood that I'd gotten from the butcher shop. I just ended up using that because there was not enough blood from my nose after I hit myself. So, it turned out good."

At any rate, included in the playlist will inevitably be a bunch of Andrew's party hits. I promise, those are five different songs, no matter how unbearably similar they sound. I really think the jokes write themselves about these.

3) Wale. I'm probably pretty late to the game on this one, but I've just gotten a chance to give The Mixtape About Nothing a real listen. Some backstory: it's kind of gimmicky, in that it's an homage to Seinfeld. All of the tracks are named like Seinfeld episodes (i.e. "The Kramer," "The Opening Title Sequence"), the first track actually samples the Seinfeld theme, there are jokes from episodes woven in, and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss (Elaine) actually makes a guest appearance.

Here's another thing: it's great. Like I said earlier, it's far more thoughtful than the average hip-hop record, as Wale kind of deals with everything from the Michael Richards tirade at that comedy club to not being signed to raising children and so on. Seriously, I recommend this to everyone, cause I've pretty much got it on repeat. I'll leave the full reviews on this page to Kristina.

And that's about it. More from me when I come out of my debilitating case of March Madness.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In which those stupid things that people get "tagged in" on Facebook win out (Jim's List):

Kristina beat me to it by a couple days, but, here's my (hopefully not too embarrassing) first 20 song shuffle from my iPod. Here goes nothing:

1) "Mercury" by Bloc Party, off Intimacy
2) "Waiting for the End of the World" by Elvis Costello, off My Aim Is True
3) "Gentle Sons" by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, off of their self-titled
4) "Do or Die" by Super Furry Animals, off Guerrilla
5) "Green Jacket" by Deerhunter, off Microcastle
6) "I've Seen Enough" by Cold War Kids, off Loyalty to Loyalty
7) "Stop Dat" by Dizzee Rascal, off Boy in Da Corner
8) "Stars and Sons" by Broken Social Scene, off You Forgot It in People
9) "Dr. Strangelove" by Blonde Redhead, off 23
10) "Bigmouth Strikes Again" by the Smiths, off The Queen Is Dead
11) "Fuck You Tonight" by Notorious B.I.G., off Life After Death (featuring R. Kelly. This, in itself, is a victory.)
12) "Faster Than a Dead Horse" by Viva Voce, off Get Yr Blood Sucked Out
13) "Just a Toy" by Barenaked Ladies, off Born on a Pirate Ship
14) "Drain the Blood" by the Distillers, off Coral Fang
15) "Hang on to Yourself" by David Bowie, off The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust...
16) "I Just Wanna Get Along" by the Breeders, off Last Splash
17) "The Rip" by Portishead, off Third
18) "Nobody's Real" by Powerman 5000, off Tonight the Stars Revolt
19) "Healer" by Marnie Stern, off In Advance of the Broken Arm (thankfully, I won't have to type the name of the other album out.)
20) "Dry Your Eyes" by the Streets, off A Grand Don't Come for Free

SO CLOSE. That Powerman 5000's really gonna bring down the cool points on this, but other than that it looks pretty good. The Brits seem to be pretty well-represented, and I'm really happy about the Bowie and Marnie cause I've been listening to a lot of both recently.

Also, "Bigmouth Strikes Again" is great. I wonder if Morrissey would turn down stupid amounts of money (again) to reunite the Smiths at my wedding.

Anyway, on to that 20 albums thing that a lot of people I know have been doing. I'll let them explain it:

Think of 20 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world.

Kind of a big task, but people who have known me for a bit aren't going to be too shocked at a few of these. I'm gonna try to do it without attempting to justify them, but I might have to. Also, there's no real order to these:

*Absolution by Muse
*Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol
*Apologies to the Queen Mary by Wolf Parade
*Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins
*There Is Nothing Left to Lose by the Foo Fighters
*OK Computer by Radiohead
*Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie
*Fashion Nugget by Cake
*The Blue Album by Weezer
*Revolver by the Beatles
*Pinkerton, also by Weezer
*Morning View by Incubus
*Odelay by Beck
*Elephant by the White Stripes
*Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age
*In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel
*Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park
*The Electric Version by the New Pornographers
*Either/Or by Elliott Smith
*Whatever and Ever Amen by Ben Folds Five

There. What I'm realizing is that with the notable exception of Revolver, there isn't a single album released before 1994. I guess classic rock wasn't really super important to me for a really long stretch, which is kind of sad. Anyway, I'm fairly confident I could tell you where I was the first time that I heard all twenty of these albums.

Honorable mentions should probably go to Life is Peachy by Korn, cause my older cousin used to love it, and I kind of idolized him, so I loved it too, as well as Three Dollar Bill, Y'all and Significant Other by Limp Bizkit. Yes, Limp Bizkit. Yes, Fred Durst was speaking to me.

On second thought, I'm just gonna give an honorable mention to literally any song ever played on Y100, Philly's old rock radio station. The reason most of these albums were released so late is cause I didn't really care about entire albums through Y100's reign.

And that should about do it, mainly cause i have class pretty soon. Enclosed is a playlist with ten favorites from these. Enjoy!


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Umm... Anvil.

Amanda Baker gets a gold star for pointing this in my direction:

This is a trailer for the documentary Anvil, about a band named... Anvil. Anyway, they were apparently a metal band or something from the '80s who opened for a ton of big acts, but never really caught on themselves.

People seem to be comparing this to This Is Spinal Tap a lot though, and I really can't argue with that. It does kind of look like a band taking themselves too seriously and playing sad venues... except this one is real!

Anyway, have some Spinal Tap, because they're great:

And on that, I desperately need to be studying for a test tomorrow. Adios!


EDIT: ...ok, Stonehenge might be a little funnier.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Really? Papa Roach is still making music?

A couple of things:

*I'm starting to wonder what bizarre game the concert venue by my dorm (Blender Theater by Gramercy) is trying to play. Last week, they had Marcy Playground playing there, and yesterday, I walk underneath their marquee to find:


This was absolutely shocking, as I was convinced that every member of Papa Roach had long since passed away.

Anyway, you might remember Papa Roach from "Last Resort," from 2000's Infest. No? Have a live version!

"Last Resort" was one of those songs that people thought was badass in grade school. In addition, it was a song that made you a badass if you knew the words to it. Needless to say, I was the most badass 6th-grader in history.

More embarrassing: I'm pretty sure... scratch that, I know that at some point, I definitely saw Papa Roach in concert. After looking it up, I found out it was in 2002, with Incubus, System of a Down, Jimmy Eat World, Phantom Planet, The Roots, Dashboard Confessional, and a few others at the Y100 FEZtival, Perfect.

Anyway, the point is, I thought that they had fallen off of the earth for the past five years, but they're playing at Blender, touring behind a new album apparently.

Who knew?

*Secondly, I am in love with Marnie Stern. I liked her before, I love her now.

Double neck. Swoon.

She played here at school last Thursday night as part of the "NYU Chill" concert with Apache Beat, A Place to Bury Strangers, and Ra Ra Riot. NYU Program Board did a kind of nice job with the choices for this, taking a kind of bipolar route (Apache and APTBS were pretty gloomy straight through, and Marnie and Ra Ra Riot looked like they were having a blast on stage).

While all of the bands were at least pretty good (and I still might be deaf from APTBS), Marnie's set killed. Consider the following:

*Visibly intoxicated on stage. Not in the "sloppy, can't play my instrument well anymore" sense, but more in the "between song banter just got a whole lot more interesting" sense. In between songs, she and her bassist had a conversation about whether one would eat dog poo to keep the other from taking a bullet.
*Shreds. Has way more command over a guitar than a ton of other artists.
*Her drummer, Zach Hill. Probably went through about 25 drumsticks over the course of the set, and more often than not, would have to end songs standing cause he would have thrown his stool aside. He pulverizes them. Also, from Wiki:

Hill employs his characteristic double-stroke bass drum method throughout much of the song, leading many to believe he is using more than one foot to do so, when he is only using his right foot... Zach also utilizes complex time signatures into his drumming. Zach has developed these time signatures through playing, and goes by feeling a beat rather than figuring it out "traditionally".

Seriously, it's incredible to watch. If I ever find videos from this show, I'll put them up. In the meantime, have some incredible pictures that my friend Lauren took:


Marry me, Marnie. Alliteration is great.

Finally, Oliver Ackermann of APTBS. He broke a string TWO SONGS into the set, which isn't easy to do. At this point, which was the middle of the last song, he was swinging it around by the two remaining strings. This was before he decided to get rid of it and go back to his first guitar to finish the song, which ran about fifteen minutes. Heart.

In addition to destroying guitars, he also builds his own effects pedals that are called things like "Supersonic Fuzz Gun" and "Total Sonic Annihilation." (Check it out: http://www.deathbyaudio.net) The names are perfect, cause I felt like I was hanging out on the inside of a jet engine for like an hour.

They were really, really impressive.

I leave you with this, the aftermath of Oliver's guitar. Enclosed is a playlist with a couple of songs from the NYU Chill roster, and tomorrow, I'll probably do the iTunes shuffle for a bit.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Decemberists improved upon The Crane Wife in a ridiculous, amazing way.

I will probably use the word "gorgeous" many times in this review. So, everyone really liked The Crane Wife, and yeah, it was a really good album. But I'm here to tell you that Hazards of Love is way better. It's advertised as a rock opera about a girl named Margaret. The fact that it's a rock opera as opposed to a set of unrelated songs contributes to its strength. It demands to be listened to as a whole, and it works gorgeously. (Colin Meloy has said that he's playing it from beginning to end on tour this summer... which makes me even more psyched that I'm seeing them at Bonnaroo.)

Each song on Hazards of Love is really strong, but there are a couple of highlights. One is definitely "The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid," which features an uplifting bass line below a lovely chorus of wispy female chanting voices... and segues into a White-Stripes-esque guitar riff; in fact, it almost gets bluesy. It's gorgeous. My other favorite is "The Queen's Rebuke/The Crossing." It moseys along with a steady bass beat and guest vocals by Becky Stark and Shara Warden. This is as intense as I've ever seen the Decemberists.

Even songs that don't seem AS great, like "Isn't It A Lovely Night?", still grow on you. The waltzy quality of that song kind of makes me think of The Magnetic Fields... except, instead of Stephen Merritt complaining about everything in his deep bass voice, it's one of the lovely aforementioned female vocalists lilting along with the accordion and acoustic guitar. And Colin Meloy jumps in too, of course.

Overall, Hazards of Love is really an incredible album, even after only 4 listens. I'd almost believed that I outgrew The Decemberists... Castaways and Cutouts and Picaresque were no longer on my daily shuffle. That's certainly changing: their new album has me all excited about them all over again. Go find yourself a copy and listen.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Are our iTunes shuffles embarrassing? Mine's not!

So, Jim and I decided to let our iTunes shuffle for 20 songs (okay, so it was actually his idea) and then post them on the blog. With or without comments/disclaimers. So... here is mine. I don't think it's too embarrassing, and actually I found a couple songs I didn't know that I liked. So, overall, a successful experiment. And one I shall share with you.

Ya Leil – Sufjan Stevens
A Sun Came

Pennsylvania – Bloodhound Gang
Hefty Fine

Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 1) – The Beatles

Clementine – Elliot Smith
Elliot Smith

Carry This Picture – Dashboard Confessional

Believing is Art – Spoon
Girls Can Tell

Slideshow at Free University – Le Tigre
Le Tigre

What Went Wrong – The Moldy Peaches
The Moldy Peaches

By The Way – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
By the Way

Peaches – The Presidents of the United States of America
Presidents of the United States of America

Take It Off – Tender Forever
The Soft and the Hardcore

Rank Strangers to Me – Bob Dylan
Down In The Groove

Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors – Radiohead

In The Privacy Of Our Love – Hot Chip
Made In The Dark

Everything in Its Right Place – Radiohead
I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings

Dime – Cake
Pressure Chief

The Other – Isis

He Poos Clouds – Final Fantasy
He Poos Clouds

The Swimming Song – Vetiver
Thing Of The Past

Selon l'humeur
Autour De Lucie

I guess the only embarrassing one here is the Dashboard Confessional song. Which reminds me... I should blog about embarrassing music that I used to like. I should also blog about the absurd amount of goofy one-hit-wonder 70s rock that Jim has on his iPod. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm off to listen to more music on shuffle.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Very Quickly:

The Hood Internet Anthology

What are you looking at? 213 mashups by Aaron Brink and Steve Reidell, two guys from Chicago who put them out as The Hood Internet. There are a ton of people who do these, obviously, but I've really been enjoying these for about an hour, and here's why:

These are a little different. The formula is the same as the average mix-up, but while one song is generally a top 40 song or a rap song, the other is generally a hipster's dream. The combos are usually pretty good, and pretty funny too. Some highlights:

9) "Animals Collecting Money" (Paper Route Gangsters vs. Animal Collective)
25) "Deer Assault" (DJ Assault vs. Deerhunter (by far, my favorite))
26) "Single Foxes (Put a Wood On It)" (Beyonce vs. Fleet Foxes)
103) "Bomb Deprivation" (New Young Pony Club vs. Simian Mobile Disco)
114) "No Battles" (Trina vs. Battles)
EDIT: Second favorite: 130) "Drug Drug Kiss Kiss" (Chris Brown vs. A.C. Newman. Sorry, Rihanna.)
139) "The Next Collarbone" (Dr. Dre vs. Fujiya and Miyagi)
148) "Fa-Fa-Fayo Technology" (Datarock vs. 50 Cent)
151) "There's No MIMS In Threesome" (MIMS vs. Interpol)
200) "I'm a Flirt (Shoreline)" (R. Kelly vs. Broken Social Scene)

I mean, R. Kelly and Broken Social Scene? That's hilarious. But seriously, if you only pick one, listen to that Deerhunter mix. It's perfect. Way to go, Hood Internet. Enjoy, guys.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Decision Time:

In my head, I have this vision that all of my favorite bands get along perfectly and hang out all the time. Unfortunately, this time around, I think I'm gonna have to take sides. From Pitchfork, via Stereogum:

I'm a fan of them on one level, but on another level I get really tired of their pompousness. We've played some shows with them and they really treat people like shit. Whenever I've been around them, I've found that they not only treated their crew like shit, they treated the audience like shit. They treated everybody in their vicinity like shit. I thought, "Who do they think they are?" I don't know why people put up with it. I wouldn't put up with it. I don't care if it's Arcade Fire or Brian Eno. If either of them walked into a room and treated people like shit I'd be like, "Fuck you, get outta here."

The "I" in that paragraph is Wayne Coyne, frontman for the Flaming Lips.

Perfect. The "they," however, is the Arcade Fire. Le sigh.

Coyne goes on to include the quote, "They have good tunes, but they're pricks, so fuck 'em." I, umm, don't really know what to say.

Here's the thing: I'd like to think that the Arcade Fire are nice people, but with the grandiose nature of their music, I'm somehow not surprised to hear that they might be kind of pompous and dickish. It seems fair that if you release an album like Funeral, you can be arrogant. Then again, if you make an album like Clouds Taste Metallic, you can be pretty arrogant too.

Kristina's gonna side with Coyne, I just know it. So, in order to make things interesting, I'm taking the Arcade Fire on this one, for a couple of reasons:

1) From the Pitchfork article: Talking to The Guardian about one-time tour mate Beck in 2003, he said, "When you hear his songs, you think he must really have some tender feelings, but then you find out it's a made-up thing."

Beck? Not my Beck. As far as I'm concerned, they should put Beck's face on Mount Rushmore.

2) In my humblest of opinions? Funeral > The Soft Bulletin by a nose. The Flaming Lips kind of obviously have a better discography, but I'd be hard-pressed to name any of those albums in my top five overall.

So, your call, faithful reader(s?): Wayne or Win and company?

EDIT: Win responds, and I feel justified in taking his side:

"The only time we have ever shared a stage with the Flaming Lips was our last show on the Funeral tour at a festival in Las Vegas (over 3 years ago)...we arrived the morning of the show from Brazil, slept all day and awoke into some kind of surreal Vegas jet-lag dream in which we were playing after the Flaming Lips...how strange...I was really excited to meet Wayne. Clouds Taste Metallic was a huge record for me, and growing up in the weirdness of Houston, I always imagined Oklahoma City to be in the same universe. I was really nervous to meet him and I felt a little weird that we were playing after them. We traded a little hello, but he was a hard guy to get a read on. Steven Drodz was super nice, and I felt good after talking to him...

...I am not sure Wayne is the best judge (based on seeing us play at a couple of festivals) if we are righteous, kind and goodhearted people like The Edge and Justin Timberlake (who I am sure he knows intimately as well). I can't imagine a reason why we would have been pompous towards The Flaming Lips, a band we have always loved, on that particular night, all those years ago. Unless I was way more jet-lagged then I remember, I hope I was less of a "prick" then telling Rollingstone that a bunch of people I don't know at all are really assholes.

As a closing note, the main point that I am offended by in this whole thing is for Wayne to say we treat our audience like shit...

At times like these I am comforted by knowing that even though Wayne slammed Beck all those years ago, he seems like a really nice guy to me. I guess everyone has a different idea of what being pompous means.

Thanks, Win. He was even cordial enough to title the post "i still like clouds taste metallic." Keep making good music, both sides.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Slaaaacker's post. Happy Songs... Part 4?

Hey all-
Since Jim has made two very substantial posts recently, and I've been sitting here doing absolutely nothing, I figured I'd reach into the depths of my computer's hard drive and find the document containing some more happy songs for y'all. Trust me, these might even make you happier than the last batch. Wow. That's really happy. Also, this is the last batch. I'll probably think of some more interesting playlists to make for you guys.

Peaches - “Fuck the Pain Away”

Pixies - “I've Been Tired”

Primus - “My Name is Mud”

The Red Hot Chili Peppers - “Sir Psycho Sexy”
(Note: this playlist may actually be a hybrid of happy music and sexy music. Many times, these playlists coincide.)

Sondre Lerche - “Say It All”

The Steve Miller Band - “Wild Mountain Honey”
(Do NOT make fun of me. This song is SO good.)

Sufjan Stevens - “The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out to Get Us!”

Tegan & Sara - “Living Room”

Third Eye Blind - “Semi-Charmed Life”

Ween - “Big Fat Fuck”
(I couldn't find this song, but I did find a live cover of "Space Oddity." So you're getting that.)

The White Stripes - “Fell In Love With a Girl”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - “Black Tongue”

Yelle - “Je Veux Te Voir”

Check out the playlist for some happy music action.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thanks, Pitchfork, for bringing this to my attention:

This chart is the brainchild of Caltech grad student Virgil Griffith. He created this thing called the WikiScanner, which can trace any ridiculous edit that anyone makes to Wikipedia, despite the fact that they're kind of supposed to be anonymous. Pretty awesome, right?

Anyway, this chart is called "Music That Makes You Dumb." Virgil apparently took a ton of information from Facebook (the most scientific of all things) from people about their favorite music. Then, he compared that with the average SAT scores from the schools that they came from, and made this chart. He did it with books as well.

Take a look at this thing. Beethoven corresponds with the highest SAT scores, which isn't really a surprise to me. After those, we have Sufjan Stevens, the Counting Crows, Guster, Radiohead, U2, Ben Folds, and Bob Dylan before the chart starts to jumble up a bit. At the other end, with the lowest average SAT scores, we have *snicker* people who listen to Weezy.

I should probably feel vindicated in my musical taste by this chart's existence. After all, I'm really into Sufjan and Radiohead, and it's a real possibility to me that Nickelback (average SAT score under 1000) is the worst band that has ever existed. And yet, I can't help but think of how idiotic this chart is.

Easy proof lies in the book chart, where people who have "The Bible" listed apparently average a higher SAT than people who have "The Holy Bible" listed. Very obviously, these are the same book. Very obviously, how that book is listed should have no bearing on one's score on a test.

In addition, I don't know how many people even know what soca music is, but the chart suggests that only idiots listen to it. For that matter, it appears that only idiots limit themselves to genres, according to Virgil's master chart.

Also, I kind of like T.I. and Justin Timberlake, two people that are pretty low on the scale, and those aren't the only ones down there.

I go to NYU, whose student body would largely be made up of the higher end of this chart, SAT-score wise, and yet, I can't begin to count how many people I know here who know the dance from "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyonce. I also hesitate to think that this is an exception instead of the norm.

Obviously, there are plenty of people with low SAT scores who like Radiohead and U2, and plenty of people with incredible SATs that love Lil Wayne. Trust me, I go to school with half of them. Musical taste and actual intelligence are totally separate, and Virgil is kind of ridiculous.

That's about it, other than this completely unrelated tidbit: Marcy Playground is apparently playing a mere block from my dorm tonight. MARCY PLAYGROUND! SEX AND CANDY!

Quick, name another Marcy Playground song. I can't do it either. But, this concert can't be more than $4. I may go just to go.

Enclosed is Sex and Candy, as well as a Sufjan outtake and a Justin Timberlake song that's kind of awesome.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Live, Reporting from State College, PA

State Patrick's Day was originally created in 2006 because St. Patrick's Day fell within Penn State's abnormally early Spring Break. As is tradition with college drinking holidays, it would be celebrated on the closest weekend: the final weekend of Spring Break this year, when students are still away. March 7 will also still be during Spring Break, so as per usual, State Patrick's Day is a week prior to Spring Break.

To very quickly recap: this "holiday" was made up by Penn State students so that they could drink all day through a Saturday despite not being able to drink all day through the actual day of St. Patrick's Day. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason I found myself in State College, PA this weekend.

It is currently 11PM. I'm putting off work, and I'm trying to piece together all of the events of yesterday. I do remember that at some point, I was totally all about trying to blog about the experiences of this weekend, but, as we're a music blog (sorta), it kind of has to be about the music, right? So, I'm going to try and recreate all of my thought processes through the past couple of days, loosely inspired by that one part of Klosterman IV where he spends 24 hours watching VH1 Classic:

7:30 PM, Friday: My friend Pat and I get picked up in Philadelphia by his little brother. At some point, he tries to creep both of us out by blaring "Hunter" by Björk. He's totally barking up the wrong tree: that song is freaking awesome. This will be the creative high-point of the weekend.

9:00 PM, Friday: Pat and I have now left his house and are speeding towards State College. These car rides are usually pretty interesting, because both of us love singing (occasionally screaming) along, but neither of us has a particularly awesome voice. We also have overlapping, occasionally really shitty taste. As a result, this car ride starts with a bit of Man Man, and devolves into us both yelling Limp Bizkit's cover of "Faith."

I'll be completely honest: I have no idea why anyone was really into Limp Bizkit. Fred Durst was a terrible lyricist (and judging from Kristina's video post from her last, not that awesome of a guitar player either), and the music was terrible rap-metal-grunge that all sounded literally exactly the same. In addition, I was hardly an angsty 11-year-old; in fact, I loved my life, and I'm sure most of the kids who bought their albums probably did too.

But, um, four platinum albums and 50 million copies worldwide can't be wrong, right? It would have been at least two (probably three) more, but, umm, my mommy wouldn't let me get CDs with Parental Advisory stickers, and if you've ever heard Limp Bizkit, you'd know that edited versions were far from worth it.

(Sidenote: I may write about bands with a lot of sales that confuse me for my next entry.)

Anyway, back to us.

We make it to State College by 11:15, and get into a friend's apartment to hear "Stronger" by Kanye West playing. This is far from the last time I'm going to hear this song this weekend.

12:20 AM, Saturday: At some food place in State College, an incredibly drunk girl starts yelling at her friend regarding the song playing over the loudspeaker. "NO, IDIOT, IT'S SGT. PEPPER! SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY CLUB BAND!" This isn't technically right, but the rate that the next 36 hours goes, I should have claimed this girl for marriage.

Pat has been sarcastically but excitedly talking about the amount of "bro-ing out" he's gonna get to see/do this weekend. He doesn't realize just how right he is.

10 AM, Saturday: People are starting to drink, and who am I to argue with progress? When in Rome, right? The unofficial drinking anthem of PSU, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys comes on, which is a shame, because the Dropkick Murphys are like the third-best Irish punk band I can think of at the moment. Even an old Against Me! song would be awesome.

Around 10:10 AM, Saturday Someone suggests one of those Lonely Island songs (i.e. "Dick in a Box," "Jizz in My Pants," the Natalie Portman rap from SNL). We then listen to all of them. This is a clear mistake, as they become a recurring soundtrack for the day, and seem to follow us around. I'm not gonna mention it again, but in all seriousness, I heard "Like a Boss" maybe 25 times. It's never a good sign when "IT'S PORTMAN, MUTHAFUCKA, I DRINK 'TIL I'M SICK!" becomes a battlecry.

10:25 AM, Saturday: Looking through the apartment's iPod, I make my first serious choice of the day: “Kids” by MGMT. It lasts 25 seconds before someone changes it. Bros, 1, hipsters, 0.

11:05 AM, Saturday: Shipping Up to Boston, #3. People can't really love this song. It's not like they relate to it, cause this is State College, PA. Alas, neither Flogging Molly, nor the remainder of The Departed comes on afterwards.

11:25 AM, Saturday: A huge victory: I find that when this group of friends gets together, we usually listen to the same couple of songs, but one of them of late has been "The W.A.N.D." by the Flaming Lips. I have a firm belief that I can listen to that song all day and not get tired of it (hence, it being my phone's ringtone). Apparently, we're gonna try to prove this hypothesis. The W.A.N.D., take one.

Around noon, Saturday: A disturbing trend: It appears that upon admission to Penn State University, everyone is given at least three Lil Wayne albums or mixtapes. This is absolutely everywhere, and I feel like I've heard at least three Weezy songs already. Even more distressing, due to the amount of this mystery punch, I think I'm starting to get it. A Milli, A Milli, A Milli, A Mill A Mill A Mill STOP IT.

12:45 PM, Saturday: Someone's turned on R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)." Who has the authority to say that that song is good, but "Real Talk" is ridiculous?

Did she say there were other guys there? Were there other guys there?

I stand corrected. "Real Talk" is ridiculous.

3:00 PM, Saturday: The W.A.N.D. is still golden. I'm still really intoxicated. Take four. I'm not kidding.

4:45 PM, Saturday: If I hear "Love Lockdown" one more time, I'm throwing this beer through the window.

5:35 PM, Saturday: My bluff is called. I realize I'm not in a state to throw anything other than my breakfast from my stomach, so I accept my 808s with an added sense of heartbreak at not being able to prevent this song.

Around 7:30 PM, Saturday: Our host is taking a nap. He is a genius. I think I'm listening to Kings of Leon in this place. With the exception of one album, I don't think I've ever felt more neutrally about a band in my life than I feel about Kings of Leon. I marvel at this while throwing a ping-pong ball into a red Solo cup.

9:00 PM or so, Saturday: A breakthrough! I finally get my iPod on, and try and play something good for parties, an album by the White Rabbits... and it seems to be working! This album has been on for like 20 minutes, and nothing's happened. Bros 12, hipsters 2.

Smaller breakthrough: I think that I'm sobering up?

Wrong. I have no real grasp of the Madden game that I'm watching on this TV.

Less than sixty seconds later: Someone in the apartment turns it off in favor of Eve 6. For like 35 minutes. Did Eve 6 have more than two songs? Or am I hearing the same thing over and over again?

9:45 PM, Saturday: The W.A.N.D. is the most perfect song ever written. This isn't right, and I know it, but still. You've got that This might be time number eight or nine. Unfortunately, we leave to find another party.

10:10 PM, Saturday: This party has to be sponsored by Lil' Jon. There's no other reason why he's been screaming in my ear for twenty minutes. Everyone loves this. I think it's made me lucid, and angry. I have to be done for the night, right?

11 PM, Saturday: Back to the Eve 6 apartment. Given the chance to prove myself again with my iPod, a Kanye West song from his first album comes on. Kanye used to be so good. *Sigh* Why did he start trying to sing? Who invented Auto-Tune, anyway? T-Pain owes that guy a car. Nodded approval from the Penn State crowd. Tread carefully, Jim.

The W.A.N.D., again. Jim's got the power now, motherfuckers, it's where it belongs. I've got that RIGHTRIGHTRIGHTRIGHTRIGHTRIGHT...

Sorry, but that song is still really great, even this late in the day.

After a Jay-Z song from The Blueprint, I give up with some semblance of dignity.

12:35 AM, Sunday: I've said before that in order to be tolerant of Lil Wayne, I'd need to be really messed up, or actually be Lil Wayne.

Epiphany: I might be Lil Wayne.

Around 1 AM, Sunday: ThistasteslikeKoolAid! There'snowaythere'salcoholinthis! I'mhavingwaywaymore!

Somebody's turned on Stadium Arcadium. This album isn't good. Double albums are pretty stupid. Why is this on? You couldn't find another Chili Peppers...


Obviously, there are lapses, but that's simply going to be chalked up to gaps in my memory. Enclosed are some of the songs mentioned (apologies for the edited version of the Kanye song), and, well, my favorite thing in the world, still:



P.S. The people in the chatterbox are finding new and interesting ways to be gross. I definitely laughed for about five minutes at the "vagina walrus" comment. Keep up the incredible work.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones