Tuesday, February 28, 2006

tidbits 2/28/05

* to respond to the responses of my hawthorne heights post below, i present the humanity critic presenting "fun with racism."

* rich people who are assholes? ya don't say....

* the new dilated peoples album "20/20" is okay. it's not as good as "the platform" or "expansion team" but it's worthy of at least 3 mics if i was writing for the source.

* the sasquatch line up for 2006 has been revealed, which makes me wonder, "is this festival like warped tour with better bands and more assholes?"

* say anything (the band, not the awesome movie) has some live acoustic videos on youtube.

* the infamous FSU gets caught with heat and kevlar, arrested, and ridiculed on both local news and nwhardcore.

* if you see this guy around: ...tell him i want my furnace fest DVD back.

* and that new good clean fun album? best. posi. album. ever.

hawthorne heights are a bunch of chumps

(Though probably not as good as an Old 97's album, it's better than any other choice you have today)

Emo rock band Hawthorne Heights recently posted the following, long-winded statement on their Myspace:


This message is going to all of our supporters so we apologize in advance if it seems impersonal

Tomorrow, our second album, “If Only You Were Lonely” will be in stores. We are reaching out to you because Hawthorne Heights can use your help. We need you, your friends and anyone else you know that likes ROCK music to buy our album tomorrow. The only reason we are able to be a band is because of your support. Without you we would not be able to do what we do.

You buying our album tomorrow has much greater meaning than simply supporting Hawthorne Heights. ROCK music needs your support. Our society and culture has put rock music on the backburner. If our album can debut at ..1 all of us will have taken ROCK music back to the top of the charts where it belongs. You might ask, how has ROCK been put on the backburner? A current example is an artist that we are up against called Ne-Yo. Many people are saying that Ne-Yo is going to outsell us because Ne-Yo has had a tremendous amount of over the top, mainstream media coverage. His album will be in stores tomorrow. Radio has played his single 160,000 times. Our single has been played 3,800 times. We know that does not seem possible but it is the truth. Ne-Yo is on a major label. Hawthorne Heights is on an independent label. ROCK music needs to win tomorrow. Independent needs to beat Major tomorrow. If all of you take action we can create history. The mainstream media may not choose to fully embrace this ROCK band from Dayton, Ohio but all of you have. No one can take that away from us. It cannot be bought because it comes from the heart. That is what makes us different. Your support means everything to us and is the most valuable thing that we have. You are the people that we depend on. This is as much about you as it is about us. You hear our voices every night. Now, we need to hear yours. You see us at our merch table every night. We need to see you in the stores tomorrow. We cannot come out on top without you. Passion and music with real meaning has a chance to beat out what the media forces down our throats. No one expects us to win. We need to prove them wrong. They underestimate us. Please help us create history tomorrow. This is a ‘call to arms’, a ‘battle cry’, not just for Hawthorne Heights but for all of the other great ROCK bands and independent labels that we all love. All of us deserve this and it is something that we can do together.

Your Friends, Hawthorne Heights"

Are the Heights serious? Oh man, this has got to be the worst fucking statement in the history of bad statements, which also includes Britney Spears' "It is what it is"/child endangerment comment (on a side note, why hasn't she been charged with a crime yet?).

Hawthorne Heights are a ridiculous band and attempting to distance themselves from Ne-Yo is kind of like Joe Lieberman saying that he has absoutely NO conservative tendencies. Both Hawthorne Heights and Ne-Yo are pop artists -- popular music artists, if you want to get technicial. Really, they're two peas in a pod. I think that the obvious difference here is that the Hawthorne kids are making an attempt, albeit a sad one, to make this a black and white issue. Buy ROCK music? Maybe they should pull their heads out of their collective asses and realize that people are still buying ROCK music. Maybe that's how Death Cab landed in Billboard's top five with "Plans?" Or how The Killers have gone platinum plus? Or the Heights' tourmates Fall Out Boy have also gone platinum and are currently selling out their ARENA tour?

Here are some rawktastic quotes from the statement above and my delightful commentary:

- We need you, your friends and anyone else you know that likes ROCK music to buy our album tomorrow. The only reason we are able to be a band is because of your support. Without you we would not be able to do what we do.

FACT: This is not entirely true because in today's crazy iTunes world, it's not out of the question for someone to want to buy a rock album as much as they'd want to buy a hip-hop album. And Hawthorne Heights DOES NOT need anybody's support because they are on Victory, which is distributed by RED (Sony), so they still have a major label budget for marketing and promotions.

- Our society and culture has put rock music on the backburner. If our album can debut at ..1 all of us will have taken ROCK music back to the top of the charts where it belongs.

FACT: Our society and culture has NOT put rock music on the backburner. Other than the examples that I posted above, there are still of plenty of cookie cutter bands like The Bravery who at least go gold; and didn't U2 just win a Grammy or two? What about MTV's TRL, a show that used to be exclusively rappers and boy bands? Who's on the charts there? P.O.D.? All-American Rejects? Wait, HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS? Oh, the pain of being in a ROCK band....

- Radio has played [Ne-Yo's] single 160,000 times. Our single has been played 3,800 times.

FACT: First off, what kind of self-serving band keeps track of their airplay? Also, when was the last time radio mattered? With high speed internet, I think it's more realistic that Hawthorne Heights is a bigger band since most suburban kids who buy that sort of shit probably have cable or DSL. Additionally, what about the areas that Ne-Yo's single was receiving airplay? I'm certain that these "figures" are probably based off of Clear Channel-owned stations and not indie or college radio.

- We know that does not seem possible but it is the truth. Ne-Yo is on a major label. Hawthorne Heights is on an independent label.

FACT: Again, Victory is NOT an indie label. A real indie label would probably go through a smaller distributor like Lumberjack, Mordam, or Revolver. RED is owned by Sony, so Victory still has thousands upon thousands of dollars to spend on a band like Hawthorne Heights. Besides, when was the last time you heard of an indie label shipping 500,000 units?

- The mainstream media may not choose to fully embrace this ROCK band from Dayton, Ohio but all of you have.

FACT: If you go to MTV's main page and look at the top five "Hot" videos who is number one? Oh, yeah Hawthorne fucking Heights.

While it's hard to dispute that hip-hop and contemporary R&B have gotten bigger in the last decade or so, think about how long it took for those musical genres to become mainstream. Hip-Hop is approaching 40 and has only recently received the kind of glitz, publicity and acceptance that rock music has had for decades.

I can go on and on about how hypocritical Hawthorne Heights are, but I think what I've pointed out is enough. I think their bare bones arguement here is don't buy Black music, buy white music. Whether they mean it or not, that is the message they are sending to kids everywhere and I think it's damn disgusting. A real music fan doesn't have boundaries and shouldn't be told what album to buy, let alone side with an entire genre. Hawthorne Heights are basically saying, "If you buy Ne-Yo, you hate rock music" but it's just not that easy these days. The reality is that Hawthorne Heights are making a poor attempt to stir the pot and give themselves a name, all while hiding behind the mask of indie vs. majors. But that's not really the case is it? It's really about a weak-ass band who makes weak-ass songs trying to sell themselves as underdogs. So Hawthorne Heights, now that I've pulled your card, I'm going to go buy Ne-Yo's album at Best Buy just to take away your Soundscan.

Friday, February 24, 2006

"i heard that was indie tastic..."

I found this video posted on Gawker, so I thought I'd share with you. It's truly worthy of a lone post that is no more than two sentences.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

america's next top somethin' somethin'

* there are full episodes of america's next top model: season 2 (aka the best season ever!) on youtube.

* has anyone ever noticed that nothing happens to the girls who win these competitions? it's not like anybody expects these girls to be on the cover of a british tabloid doing blow with a singer of a band, but it's not like they're rockin' the cindy crawford circa 1990 tip, either.

* pitchfork sheds even more light on last month's best buy-indie label-sale bullshit

* isn't it sad when taco bell is pretty much the only vegetarian fast food restaurant?

* to negate an earlier post, "inked" is actually a pretty decent show.

* to your right, you'll notice a new link for office pirates. if you're like me and you work at a place that mirrors initech, then you'll probably get a kick out of this site.

* the nonce deserved way more credit.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

soft, not hard at all....

"Soft Money"

Jel is a part of the Anticon collective who, more or less, ruled independent hip-hop between 1998 and 2001. While some loose associates and labelmates such as Slug and Sage Francis have gone on to greener pastures, most the crew allowed their talents to dry up in a barren wasteland, only to be appreciated by coked out electroclash-loving hipsters who needed a new rap group to listen to since Anti-Pop broke up.

Not to say that everything that Anticon has put out since 2001 has been entirely awful but, with the exceptions of 13 & God and Why?, none of the releases have been in the caliber of Deep Puddle Dynamics' debut or the potential of Object Beings. That said, producer and part-time emcee Jel has a new album on Anticon called "Soft Money."

Like many of his Anti brethren, Jel's topics tend to revolve around political and social issues, so it's not like he's really pushing boundaries. Dull songs with dull rapping such as the opener "To Buy a Car" plagues this record. In fact, all the good songs are instrumental tracks and had Jel cut his vocal performance from the album, he very well may have had an "Endtroducing" in his hands. Instead, we're left with a "Wu-Tang Forever," an album full of promise, but weighed down by its own hype.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

review o' the day vs. album of the day: pop-punk strikes back!

Face to Face
"Shoot the Moon: The Essential Collection"

I'm not afraid to admit that I like Face to Face and I've seen them a few times, granted that was still in high school, but I have pretty fond memories of rocking out to this band. So how essential is this collection? Not very, I'm afraid. Unfortunately for the band, their best songs are on their self-titled album on A&M. Their final album, "How to Ruin Everything," was pretty bad. It wasn't a trainwreck or anything, but it just seemed like they weren't even trying and a few of those tracks appear on this comp. Unlike many of their pop-punk peers, singer/guitarist Trever Keith found a songwriting structure that he liked and stuck with it -- for over 10 years. That's a lot of time to write the same songs over and over again. For any band that has one album that is more or less the milestone of their career (see: Jimmy Eat World, Nas, Rakim or Beck), having a greatest hits package is pretty useless. Even as a fan of Face to Face, I wouldn't recommend this at all.

Blink 182
"Blink 182"

Blink 182 is a band that got their start around the same time as Face to Face, but over the course of their last two studio albums, we got to see a pretty big change in their musical stylings, largely in part to the addition of Travis Barker. Much of Blink's fan base is/was made up of equally bratty kids who feel that the most punk rock thing they could do is swear up a storm in public, which probably made them seem more ignorant than actually punk. Musically, Blink 182 "matured" while their fans went off to discover bands like Sum 41, New Found Glory and Brand New.

Their final self-titled album is a testament of how an idea is better than the finished product. There are more misses than hits on this record, but the songs that are good are damn good. Throughout "Blink 182" there are some electronic interludes, hints of new wave, and the package and enhanced content itself was designed by an artist whose previous work is better suited for Tribal Streetwear and Joker ads. While not their best album, or even a good album, Blink 182 tried to shake the sheets and that's a lot better than all these shitty newbie bands who aren't trying to deviate from what makes them money.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

make money, take money.

* tricia romano revisits celeb disk jocks in "celebrity spin."

* i usually update the hell out of the coolness, but i'm going to chill for a bit to work on game recognize game, my 90's r&b/hip-pop mixtape/cd, and recording a bunch of friends singing along to silly songs i wrote about donuts, seattle and my kid.

* broadway calls is a pretty sweet pop-punk band featuring josh and ty from countdown to life.

* winter is slowly melting away, which means bands are back out on the road. here are some seattle shows worth a peep:

2/17: the divorce/heather duby/roy at hell's kitchen (tacoma)
2/18: reggie & the full effect at el corazon/graceland
2/19: planet asia, casual, (maybe rasco), at studio seven
2/19: everytime i die at neumos
2/26: oops i stepped in some christ at the funhouse
3/03: pensive at hell's kitchen
3/05: sidetracked at the frameshop (tacoma)
3/08: jenny lewis & the watson twins at neumos
3/10: dmc (without rev. run) at chop suey
3/15: nightmare of you/electric six at neumos
3/28: an albatross at the paradox

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


quickies before the rill postings:

* say anything's video for the sexual-tryst-during-the-holocaust song "alive with the glory of love" is up on yahoo music/launch.

* so, the dude who cheney shot had a mild heart attack. if he dies, will the VP charged with a crime? the whole situation doesn't really bode well for the real life version of lex luthor, especially considering that he often speaks on the behalf of the NRA and homeboy can't even go hunting without shooting an innocent person. get jack mccoy on the case!

* and why the hell were they hunting birds anyway? i don't like guns, hunting, or meat, but i'll buy ted nugent's whole "i-kill-what-i-eat" bulljive. at least he has a rational explaination, but killing birds? lex, you're too much, playa.

* jordan catalano's band 30 seconds to uranus is going on tour with aiden. am i to understand that on one tour we have a prima-donna, b-list actor who's dating a junkie AND vampires? holy frejoles, batman, i better get my ticket now!!!!!!

* my favorite review of catalano's punk rawk band is by one of my favorite non-threatening rappers corey ball:

"So after all that we head to the back of a pretty huge line of people waiting to get in. Apparently the doors did not open when they were supposed to. A concert? Not on time? The hell you say! So we stood out in the cloudy ass weather getting drizzled on while me and Chris A. had an impromptu wet t-shirt contest (about that time I was wishing I had brought something other then just a shirt to wear.) But we get in after only like a 15 minute wait and head down the floor to stake claim on a good spot to watch the opening act "30 Seconds To Mars" which really should be called "A Milisecond To Ur-anus" cause they were out of this world shitty! The lead singer to this band was none other than Jared Leto, an actor thats famous for a few things but the one thing I kept referencing was the glorious scene in Fight Club where Edward Norton beats him within in an inch of his life cause well after having to sit through that music, we all made a consensus that dude deserved it. Basically he perpetuated every fuckin rock stereotype imaginable on stage. Said "fuck" to look badass and get the crowd riled up, wore runny make up, turned his back to the stage on the "dramatic" parts, blah blah. Speaking of dramatic parts, I swear to jehovah that every song had this like 45 second pause where the lead guitarist held the last note building up this ominous feel to the song, well it was kinda ominous the first time they did, not the next 50 though. So yeah, a lot of people cheered when he said it was their last song and rightfully so. Go back to the drawing board guys, seriously."

* lastly, check out corey's music, it ain't half bad.

* and lastly last, check out an mc who goes by the name of danny. twenty times better than the 'ye.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Get your cassette decks ready, suckers!

A few years ago, The Falcon ran a list of songs that I felt would be appropriate for Valentine's Day. There were songs that were both for those in love and those without love. After four years without a new mixtape list, I present the anti V-Day songs for the 2K6:

For the Lonely Vol. 2
Side A.

1. Glassjaw: Ape Dos Mil
2. Pedro the Lion: Bad Diary Days
3. Milt Jackson & John Coltrane: The Night We Called it a Day
4. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway: Where is the Love
5. Say Anything: Into the Night
6. The Monkees: The Girl I Knew Somewhere
7. Jazzefatnastees: The Wound

Side B.
1. The Lost Boyz: Renee
2. Morrissey: I Don't Mind If You Forget Me
3. Portishead: Sour Times
4. Bayside: Don't Call Me Peanut
5. Natalie Imbruglia: Smoke
6. Lifetime: I'm Not Calling You
7. Elvis Costello: Alison

*on a totally unrelated matter, the Redefine site has been updated with the Nightmare of You interview, my tattoo article, and some reviews. Word.

album o' the day

Bone Thugs N Harmony
"Creepin On Ah Come Up"

Five years before Nelly entered pop music's conscious and a few years after Chicago's Twista released his debut album, it was Cleveland's Bone Thugs N Harmony who introduced this mish-mash of quick-tongued/singing rap style to most of the United States. Though Three 6 Mafia disputes that they originated this style, it's undeniable that Bone put it out to the masses before anybody else.

"Creepin On Ah Come Up" is a concise group of songs and the last album that Eazy-E appeared on before he died (not counting his posthumous solo releases). There's production by NWA's famed DJ, Yella, but interestingly enough, the best songs are produced by the formerly unheard of DJ Uneek, who lent his ears to the lead single "Thuggish Ruggish Bone."

Bone's following albums would all lack the hunger of this debut, and to this day, the status of Bone is often changing so it's hard to pin down whether the group is still a cohesive unit. Maybe someday, there will be a real Bone album again and not just some ill-advised solo releases or partial group reunions.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Somewhere In the Swamps of CD Reviews

"Somewhere in the Swamps of Jersey"
(Jade Tree)

Lifetime is your classic punk tale: band gets together, writes unrelentlessly furious songs, tours a bunch, gets signed, label does not support band, band breaks up, people discover band, new bands are successful by ripping of old band's sound. It happened with the Sex Pistols, Operation Ivy and countless others. Lifetime is the latest in formerly unappreciated bands who are finally getting their due thanks to many bands such as Saves the Day, Brand New, Fall Out Boy and Taking Back Sunday admitting to their shameless Xerox versions of the former band's music.

Jade Tree, who historically led Lifetime to the slaughter for the Promise Ring, is using this current interest in the band to release a collection of out-of-print materials and b-sides in the form of "Somewhere in the Swamps of Jersey." And with Lifetime's recent announcement to reunite as a functioning band, this compilation probably serves as a pre-cursor for all the great music that the band will release in the future.

In the meantime, however, we're left with two discs worth of material, mostly culled from Lifetime's earliest days. The songs from "Background" are perhaps the most interesting because they are far darker than what would follow on "Hello Bastards" and "Jersey's Best Dancers." "Background" actually appears on this three times: on the first disc, the songs are remixed and the second disc bares the original recording, plus live versions of all the songs. If not for Lifetime's rabid fanbase, one would consider this slightly masturbatory.

Included are four remixed tracks that appear on the Jade Tree albums, which are pretty unnecessary. These alternate versions aren't nearly as good as the album versions. Ari Katz's vocals sound like they're being processed through a tin can, giving it that weird Beastie Boys effect.

Unlike Kid Dynamite's "Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems" compilation, Lifetime's "Swamps" is pretty much exclusively for the people who were into Lifetime before The Movielife came out as a tribute band. Whereas on "Cheap Shots," a person who'd never heard Kid Dynamite could listen to any song and pretty much gauge their style, "Swamps" serves as a way to hear the band before they were signed to Jade Tree. There aren't enough songs from the Jade Tree-era to really show Lifetime's growth in the seven years they were around. Any kid who has this compilation as their first taste of the band would probably think that Lifetime was the worst band.

As stated before, this is pretty much for the diehard fans, and nobody else.

[PS: My promo didn't come with the book. Thanks to Jade Tree for making me go out and buy it, bastards]

Exploit your kids and Make $$$$!

People, did we learn nothing from the heart-breaking, true-life tragedies of The Jackson Five and Jon Benet Ramsey?

This is Girl Authority, a nine member girl group who has 15 cover songs ranging from Gwen Stefani to Joan Jett to Kelly Clarkson. Somebody at some managment firm or some label thought it would be a good idea to seek out the Lou Pearlman dream of creating the ultimate girl group, each with different personas that so many girls can relate to. The problem here is that most people, let alone pre-teen girls, don't figure out what kind of people they are until they are well into their twenties, or at least in college. Girl Authority's members are anywhere between 8 and 13 years old.

Another problem with this group is that it seems to encourage pedophilia is a roundabout way. Some how, I get the idea that it's not only girls in elementary school who are going to be buying this record and showing up to their mall performances.

But I guess if you've missed out on your opportunity to become a star and pushing your kid and living vicariously through them is the way to deal, then hey it's your life. And the kid's, too. At least you'll get enough money to pay for their therapy and/or court cases.

As mentioned above, each girl in the Authority has an assigned persona and just because their freakishly young doesn't mean that I can't make fun of them:

Name: Kate
AKA: The Party Girl
Age: 11
Always Says: Snap!
Clothing of Choice: A feather boa.
Reality: If this chickenhead is getting her party on early in life, she'll probably the kind of victim you end up seeing on "Law & Order: SVU." 'Nuff said.

Name: Jacqueline
AKA: All-Star Girl
Age: 13
Always Says: Guess What?
Clothing of Choice: A track suit.
Reality: Guess what? You like girls!

Name: Gina
AKA: Urban Girl
Age: 12
Always Says: Whatever...
Clothing of Choice: Baby Phat
Reality: As the lone ethnic member (her bio says Mexico, but I wouldn't put it past those sneaky Hollywood people that she's really Italian), Gina will probably end up a little plump, with her kids/dead lover's names tattooed on her neck or her chest. She'll be one of those women who religiously wears unflattering tight clothing. Ewww.

Name: Alex
AKA: Fashion Girl
Age: 13
Always Says: Oh Yeah!
Clothing of Choice: Mid-rift shirt and short skirt.
Reality: First of all, I would never let my daughter bare her mid-rift. Enough of these Gotdamn parents who try to be their kids' friends. Reality check, bitches: your kids already have friends, why don't you try to be an adult and a voice of reason! Now...The thing I dislike most about Paris Hilton is that she's inspired a whole generation of girls to be stupid and assume that just because you dress slutty and blow a dude on video means that you'll end up with a billionaire shipping heir for a boyfriend. Better think twice, girls. What will really happen is that you'll get knocked up by some guy who goes by the name B-Rad (Brad, get it?) and who's chosen life occupation is installing stereos at Car Toys.

Name: Tarr
AKA: Rock N Roll Girl
Age: 13
Always Says: Boo!
Clothing of Choice: Hot Topic-purchased band shirt (Blondie in this pic), and devil horn/rock fingers
Reality: If this was 10 years ago, I would say that Tarr would be one down ass girl, but since it's suddenly hip to wear band shirts who's lead singers were coked out in their prime, I would think that she's just another Lemming. Tarr (which could also be the name of a Klingon) will probably end up working at a Claire's Boutique still thinking that Blink 182 was the greatest punk band of all time. Boo!

Name: Crystal
AKA: Country Girl
Age: 11
Always Says: That's so random.
Clothing of choice: What else? A stetson, ugly-ass shirt and boots.
Reality: I'm going to take the high road and abandon all jokes about having an inbred child and focus on what will happen in the next six months: Crystal will realize that being a country girl means that people will think that she's a toothless, uneducated hick and she's going to try to be Vampire Girl.

Name: Carly
AKA: Glamour Girl
Age: 13
Always Says: Ooohh that's soooo nice!
Clothing of Choice: Designer suit and a Prada bag.
Reality: This hosebeast a total sham since she's one of those American girls who spells words like Glamour with a U as if she was ye olde English. That aside, Carly will probably end up going to community college before settling for a business admin degree. From there, she'll go on to manage a cell phone kiosk at the mall during the day and go out to the clubs at night.

Name: Zoe
AKA Preppy Girl
Age: 8
Always Says: Ya!
Clothing of Choice: Denim shirt and the same skirt that Fashion Girl was wearing.
Reality: I'm not above talking shit about 8 year old kids, obviously, but for a preppy girl, Zoe sure looks like she walked off the weekly ad for K-Mart. I know she's young, but she looks like the biggest herb of all.

Name: Jess
AKA: Boho Girl
Age: 12
Always Says: Oh my gosh!
Clothing of Choice: Ridiculously stereotypical hippie garments.
Reality: No one is a hippie until they hit college. Kids typically hate the smell of incents so I can't imagine any girl under 15 that would want to smell like pachouli stink. Boho Girl will just be a phase in poor Jess's life. It will be a series of vegan desserts, henna tattoos, and dreadlocked boyfriends before she realizes how incredibly lame being a boho is and she goes out becomes a capitalist and ends up being a media baron like Oprah.

Friday, February 10, 2006

jay dee r.i.p.?

In my previous post, I wrote about Kanye West getting popular off of Jay Dee's production style. Well, no more than a few minutes ago, I saw on Bol's site that he posted something of Dilla's passing. T3's myspace also claims that the man has died as well. I can't find anything substantial or well detailed about this news. Keep checking allhiphop.com or hiphopsite.com. Damn, yo.

Recommended works by Jay Dee aka J. Dilla:

Jaylib: Champion Sound (Stones Throw)
Slum Village: Fantastic Vol. 2 (Goodvibe)
J. Dilla: Welcome 2 Detroit (BBE)
Jay Dee: Fuck the Police (Up Above)
Tribe Called Quest: Beats, Rhymes & Life (Jive)
The Pharcyde: Labcabincalifornia (Delicious Vinyl)
Common: "The Light (Remix)" (MCA)
De La Soul: "Stakes Is High" (Tommy Boy)

i call my shoes 'blizzard' because they're so cool

* while watching the video of kanye west's "touch the sky," it dawned on me that he's getting paid and recognition for ripping off jay dee.

* matthew sweet and susanna hoffs have an alright covers album called "under the covers." it's not john blaze or anything, but it's worth a spin.

* you know, my motherf$*%ing tax return can come in now....

* i'm writing a movie. here's the plot.

* i didn't give two shits about the grammys. that night, i dined on the awesomeness that is qdoba.

* the onion av club recently posted their top 10 tv romances, here are ten more that i'm a fan of:
1. pacey whitter and joey potter (played by joshua jackson and katie holmes), "dawson's creek."
man, once kevin williamson came back in the last two seasons, the focus shifted dramatically on joey (we'll assume that it had little to do with katie holmes' off-screen friendship with the writer). so while joey had a few post-love triangle suitors, in the end it was explained by dawson himself that just because they were soulmates doesn't necessarily mean that they were meant to be romantically involved. awww. and then she goes running to the boy who deflowered her in the first place. awww.

2. vidal thomas and charisse chamberlain (duane martin and vivica a. fox), "out all night."
before vivica fox went on to play a stripper in will smith's "independence day," she played patti la belle's stuck-up daughter in this short-lived NBC sitcom. as vidal, duane martin was the bumbling sidekick who fawned over charisse's every move and made it publicly known. in one episode, he pretends to be her boyfriend to make her ex jealous. when charisse felt that vidal had taken the act too seriously, he breaks into an urban monologue that was emmy-worthy.

3. stephen karp and lizzie exley (jay baruchel and carla gallo), "undeclared."
following the dawson-model for whoever you lose your virginity to is the person you're supposed to be with, much of "undeclared's" lone season was spent exploring how idiotic stephen could be until he finally got the girl towards the end of the season. on the commentary tracks, creator judd apatow revealed other romantic story arcs, but much of the series had already been built on the "will they/won't they" approach for these crazy college kids.

4. nitz walsh and kimmy burton (voiced by pete williams and susan dalton), "undergrads."
proving that nerds will always triumph, cartoon character nitz walsh gets the girl who he has pined over since high school in the show's final episode.

5. moesha mitchell and hakeem campbell (brandy and lamont bently), "moesha."
in the show's five year run, next door neighbor and obigitory gbf hakeem only ever really hinted at being in love with the show's title character. like many modern men, hakeem stood by and let moesha's heart get ripped out by soul-less thugs and wanna be rappers. i'd like to think that had the show run it's course rather than being cancelled abruptly, then moesha and hakeem probably would've ended up together since he was the only guy who ever understood her neurotic ass.

6. nate soloman and marni fliss (josh cooke and jennifer finnigan), "committed."
these two end up together in the pilot episode and the next 13 episodes are spent with them trying how to figure out how to stay together despite their general craziness. had NBC not been trying to give the us version of "the office" a huge push, i think this sitcom would still be on the air.

7. mike seaver and julie costello (kirk cameron and julie mccullough), "growing pains."
over the course of several episodes, there were hints that mike had a girlfriend but it was never really revealed until one episode where he goes to his girlfriend's apartment and we learn that it's julie. the family didn't find out until the cruise ship episode when mike proposes in front of the entire seaver clan. so what the fuck happened? during the series, kirk cameron found god and forced julie mccullough off the show since she had previously posed for playboy. in the show, julie got cold feet and left mike at the altar, but i think if i had to deal with mike seaver's bullshit then i probably would've stood him up, too.

8. jeff murdock and jane christie (richard coyle and gina bellman), "coupling (uk version)."
the idea of the over-analytical, undersexed jeff and the dim, oversexed jane was only explored in one episode, which -- of course -- jeff screws up. they never got together, but it's probably for the best since jeff worked well as the single foil who could never get the girl.

9. christopher turk and carla espinosa (donald faison and judy reyes), "scrubs."
most of the series focuses on j.d.'s lack of being able to hold a relationship for more than two episodes, the turk/carla undercurrent is usually the best part. using the adage "opposites attract," ultimate alpha-male turk ends up marrying the stereotypically bossy latina carla. despite his forgetfulness to tell ex-girlfriends that he's married, turk and carla's often rocky relationship is sweet at its core.

10. warwick brown and catherine willows (gary dourdan and marg helgenberger), "csi (vegas)."
in the season premiere this year, catherine inquires about warwick's new wedding band and later in the episode we find out that she has a thing for him, so it can go either way at this point.

honorable mentions:
(big) pete wrigley and ellen hickle, "the adventures of pete & pete"
martin payne and gina waters, "martin"

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

holy crap, are you ever wrong!

This is the sleeve for the promotional copy of Action Action's new album:

It's not the actual crappy photograph that bothers me as much as it is what the press information says. Here's a hi-res version you can read.

I'm not sure what's worse, the fact that they compare themselves to being "this generation's answer to The Cure and The Cars" or that their album is a masterpiece that would make "Ric Ocasek and Robert Smith green with envy."

Action Action can't be compared to those bands for two reasons:

1. They suck

2. They've only been a band since 2003. The Cure has been around since the late 70's. I haven't said this for a while, but I call bullshit on Action Action.

Myspace the Movie is Acutally Better Than Myspace!

With the availability of high speed internet, online trainwrecks such as Star Wars Kid, Absolutepunk and the infamous Paris Hilton video are quickly beginning to cross into the everyday American's psyche. Myspace is not exempt from this broadband movement and it seems like everybody and their grandmother (literally) has a Myspace account. Along with 'The Space becoming a part of everyday life, you have to wonder how serious people get about, what is essentially, a bunch of code. How many lives have been changed, relationships destroyed, or teenagers stalked because of Myspace?

Director, writer, and inadvertant satirist David Lehre examines the superficial aspect in "Myspace: The Movie," an 11-minute short that looks at how relationships are affected because of the website.

Picture poses, hook-ups and even founder, Tom, are relentlessly lampooned in a brief window of time.

One particular segment, "The Password," features a girlfriend who is angry because her boyfriend, Joe, will not put her in his Top 8. She gives him the password for her account and accosts him with a series of questions including, but not limited to, "Where is this relationship going?" When the young woman gets Joe's password, she finds out, to her surprise (but not the audience's), that his faith is dubious.

"The Password" probably hits close to home for many people given the fact that there are probably many teenagers who are so wrapped in insecurity that they obsess and scrutinize the most meaningless things.

Though it's funny in a David Zucker way, "Myspace: The Movie" does raise some questions on how seriously should we take an online community that is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Shouldn't people be concerned that by posting their favorite bands, pictures, clothing companies and food they are relenquish personal information that will probably be used for marketing companies? Users probably don't care since Myspace and sites like it are adding some sort of excitement to their otherwise mundane lives. They probably feel as cool as the Star Wars kid.

[Related Links]
David Lehre
IMDB: Josie and the Pussycats

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

romance is dead...

Matchbook Romance

Once upon a time, New York's Matchbook Romance was a promising band who could write engaging pop-punk styled tunes with a tad bit of screaming. Then the "screamo" craze started and their lukewarm album, "Stories and Alibis," was just another waste of plastic taking up space in stores across the country.

"Voices" is a vastly different album. Rather than exhaust a genre that is on its last legs, Matchbook Romance seems to have drawn influences from 90's rock bands like Smashing Pumpkins, early Radiohead, and Jimmy Eat World. There's a good balancing act here that many bands of the genre seem to ignore or are simply incapable of grasping and MR has gotten it down pretty well. They are able to write well-thought out, melodic and dense rock and roll.

The opening track "You Can Run, But We'll Find You," sets the tone for "Voices'" aggressive, yet melancholic feel and while it's easy to pin the band down as emo, they are far from it. The single, "Monsters," is an indictment of Americans and our obsession with celebrities and though it takes on the persona of a nu-wave song, the bridge rips into a solo that would make Jimmy Page green with envy.

"Voices" is one of those rare albums that you can play from beginning to end without getting terribly sick of. It's strong and signifies that the sing/scream combination is near an end that's best fit for a fairy tale.

Monday, February 06, 2006

the tattoos of war

Miami Ink Vs. Inked: Which show is better suited for dude-bros and wankstas?

Since the weekend was marred with boring ol' Superbowl XL, I decided to sit around and analyze the two tattoo shows that are taking over formerly respected cable networks. There's "Miami Ink," (TLC) a show that seems like it's more of a "Real World"-styled experiment. Ami James and his motley crew open up a shop on South Beach in Florida and try to stay afloat. "Inked" (A&E) takes an established shop (Hart & Huntington) in Vegas and exhibits all the wonderful things that happen when you have a tattoo shop in a casino.

As far as setting up interesting stories, "Miami Ink" is clearly better than "Inked." "Miami" has a runtime of 43 minutes, 20 minutes longer than "Inked," so establishing a story arc within the episode is a little easier. In the duration of any given episode, James emphasizes the story behind the tattoo, an idea that's included in his monologue during the opening.

Since "Inked" runs at half the time of its competitor, the stories tend to focus on the staff a little bit more than the clientele. In the five shows I sat through, many of the stories were about staff members butting heads with each other and very little screen time is focused on the folks bleeding on camera.

I couldn't help but notice the David vs. Goliath-element when comparing the shows. While I'm sure that James' beach-front tattoo parlor isn't cheap, he doesn't have the luxury of placing his shop inside of a busy casino where any drunk person who won $125 at the Price is Right slot machine will walk in and get a tattoo of something ridiculous.

In one episode, Hart & Huntington co-owner, Carey Hart, talks about expanding his company and making it into a franchise. While that's pretty ambitious, Miami Ink's crew seems a little bit more blue collar since they have one shop and often talk about how they can't afford to take any days off.

Both shows run into other commonalities aside from tattooing: marriages, problems with the apprentice, and drag queens.

Interestingly, "Miami" only has one female staff member, Kat Von D, a stunning beauty who is probably above and beyond any Suicide Girl. I do think that, so far, they haven't really hammered away at the fact that she's a woman, thus separating her from the rest of the staff. She's a good fit in Miami Ink's boys club. In "Inked" there are several female staff members and they all average about five to seven minutes of screen time. In the episodes I saw, only one woman was featured prominently, Quinn, whose plotline was contemplating if breast implants were right for her (side note: she was already pretty busty).

In the end, "Miami Ink" comes off as a far superior show because, like tattooing, each episode is well thoughtout and it ultimately seems like less of a trainwreck than "Inked." Not to say that "Inked" is completely terrible, but given the small amount of time allotted to the relationship between its staff and clients, it's harder to care about a bunch of beautiful people who just seem to complain a whole lot.

Friday, February 03, 2006

dead in the water

it's been a little slow here at work with the system going down and whatnot so i've been streaming episodes of "miami ink" on youtube. i wish i could find old episodes of "the real world" on youtube, but i suppose it's just a matter of time.

albums that haven't really left my cd player:
recover "this may be the year i disappear"
elvis costello "this year's model"
the don't tells "our reunion is pending"

songs that deserve more attention:
aaliyah "at your best (you are love)" (gangstar remix)
various artists "the points" (easy mo bee remix)
crooklyn dodgers 95 (jeru, chubb rock, oc) "return of the crooklyn dodgers"

donald "duck" rumsfeld compared hugo chavez to adolf hitler. huh? that's interesting because the last time i checked, there were over 2,000 u.s. casualties in a war that hasn't necessarily been justified per se. so how many venezuelans has chavez killed lately?

here's a priceless rumsfeldian quote: "I mean, we’ve got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money,” Rumsfeld added. “He’s a person who was elected legally...."

in america we have george w. bush, who has a lot of oil money, but was elected illegally. that's why bush jr. ain't like hitler. yeah, bro, we totally rule.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shel is rolling over in his grave (or possibly planning his return as a ghost)

So everybody's favorite punk sites are a buzz with the wack-ass rendition of Silverstein's (the band, not the author/folk singer) "Smashed Into Pieces" on "American Idol." At first, the postings piqued my interest, then I realized that Ryan Heart, the wallet-chained douche who "sang" the song, just made the whole Myspace generation look bad.

Here's the score:
Jaded 20-somethings: 1
16 year old Hot Topic shoppers: -1
Old people: 2,000,006

If I were Shane Told and/or gang, I think I'd be a little bit embarassed. Silverstein is probably one of the few promising bands in the "screamo" genre; despite their pension for making cookie cutter pop-punk, they are actually technicially sound songwriters and musicians. This whole debacle makes both the band and their fans look like slightly misguided children.

The clip starts of with young Heart (he's 18!) growling like Cookie Monster -- as most vocalists in the genre do -- and explaining that the people on the show have never heard his kind of singing.

So let's break it down, kiddos:

Punk rock has been in popular culture for roughly 30+ years, within that period you have bands like Circle Jerks, GG Allin, Black Flag, Bad Brains who have opted to have more aggressive vocal performances.

Even if you go to recent bands such as My Chemical Romance, The Used and Fall Out Boy, each of those bands are platinum selling artists, meaning that at least 3 million people have heard the singing/screaming style of music. The judges also work within the music industry so they've at least heard of the phemonmena that is "screamo."

Then asshole goes into the audition room and arrogantly asks Paula Abdul what her name is.

Again, time for the breakdown:

Paula Abdul has sold millions and millions of records and she once did a duet with MC Skat Kat, an animated rapping cat that was possibly made to be the urban answer to Roger Rabbit. So I ask, you who's Ryan Heart? He's not even good enough to shine William Hung's shoes.

So clown shoes says "Fuck yeah," when Abdul asks him if he's going to be the next American Idol. She gives him a little shit for swearing on a family show and he goes off to "sing" the song.

Heart's version of "Smashed Into Pieces" is bad. Possibly worse than William Hung, "Laffy Taffy," "PopoZao," and techno music combined. His "screaming" is nothing more than throat-driven growl (as Travis from Piebald and Geoff from Thursday will tell you, that is no way to scream). As far as his singing prowess is concerned, it's not really singing as much as it is a nasal passage tribute to Jordan Pundik from New Found Glory. Unlike Pundik, however, Heart's voice cracks like a 12 year old boy. He sings flatly, off-key, and lacks any real range.

Keith Morris once said that the thing about hardcore is that you play so fast that no one notices how bad your singing is. If only that applied to young Heart. Without a proper backing band and a good voice, he's relegated to a lifetime of ridicule since this appearance will probably make an "Idol" outtakes DVD.

Here's the back-and-forth exchange between Simon Cowell and Heart that led to Heart's hasty exit:

Cowell: "Why on Earth are you here?"
Heart: "To stand out, to try something new."
Cowell: "I'm bored, go do it outside."
Heart: "Pffff. I'm bored with you. Pfff."
Cowell: "Good out you go."
Heart: "Fine. Later."
Cowell: "Out you go."
Heart: "Too hardcore for you."
Cowell: "Absolutely, you're really frightening."

Then, the judges mimic Heart's growls that actually sound better than his own serious vocal performance.

Breakdown time again:

Silverstein is not a hardcore band. Furthermore, anybody who wears a My Chemical Romance hoodie, a wallet chain, and rocks poorly dyed hair is not hardcore as well.

I kind of wished that Cowell laid into him a little bit more, but I think he really has his fingers on the pulse of the music community with his quick surmise of Heart's song, "I'm bored." Me too, Simon, me too.