Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dream a Little Dream...

Every Summer, there's usually at least one reality show I get sucked into. Last year it was "Rockstar: Supernova." This year it's "The Two Coreys." Unfortunately for me, I don't have cable, so I'm reduced to having my mom and various relatives DVR or tape that show for me. How sad, no?

I caught the preview for the first episode sometime last week and I must say that the show will probably kick every other reality show in the tailbone. First off you have the reunion of the dynamic duo that are the titular characters, otherwise known as Feldman and Haim. I'm actually surprised that Corey Feldman grew up to be a halfway stand up dude, albeit anal retentive for the cameras, and Corey Haim grew up out to be a burn out. I guess he shouldn't have done "Fast Getaway."

So if there's one show to catch this summer, it's probably "The Two Coreys," although if you have the option to kill braincells and waste time, I'd also recommend the "Rock of Love." VH-1 shows are slaughtering the crap that MTV is churning out, and this Bret Michaels STD-fest is a prime example of such a statement.

[Related Links]
The Two Coreys - Official Site

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Friday, July 27, 2007

why are people still making remix albums?

[sorry ms. holiday, but they're making you unhappy with shitty remixes]

Right now, I'm sitting here working on an upcoming release for a new Billie Holiday posthemous remix compilation called "Billie Holiday: Remixed & Reimagined," which is the second such recording from this particularly deceased artist.

I know I went off about this a couple years ago on this very forum, but seriously, why the fuck are labels still putting this kind of crap out? It's not like Biggie's "Duets" or "Born Again" did really well, and tribute albums in general tend to suck, so other than appealing to the Starbucks set, is there a valid reason for labels to throw their money away on shit like this?

The only really dope remix record was the comp that Motown put out back in 2005, mostly because they set it off with really legit producers. This Billie Holiday disc in front of me has DJ Swingsett, who hasn't really done much since the first "Deep Concentration" disc and DJ Logic, who has since been abandoned by ?uestlove (but is nevertheless dope). Otherwise, there's just a bunch of no-names who've probably released some crap on Giant Step back in the day, but have since rescinded to DJing random bars in New York.

Now I admit, I have my fair share of Nu-Jazz and DJ Food type shit, but the heyday is over and mickiefickies need to start digging for breaks again. Or get my grande soy latte correct, ya heard?

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

tegan & sara, "back in your head"

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Redux: The Format, "Dog Problems"

[if you think you have issues, these dogs don't have eyes. yikes!]

When The Format's "Dog Problems" came out last year, I liked it. It was catchy and might've been the best pop record of the year (bested by maybe the Maritime album). After a few listens, it was granted a quick exit from my regular rotation of shitty pop-punk, Game mixtapes and random freestyles.

Sometime last month, the song "Time Bomb" came up on a random shuffle on my mp3 player and I realized that the dudes in The Format may be far more ingenious than I give them credit for. Here's the thing, there are certain records that get heavy play when I go through a break up, it has long consisted of Jimmy Eat World's "Clarity," Alkaline Trio's "Maybe I'll Catch Fire," Atmosphere's "Lucy Ford," Pedro the Lion's "Winners Never Quit" and The Smiths "Louder Than Bombs." From time to time, I'll throw in Brand New's "Your Favorite Weapon" for good measure, otherwise, it remains to mostly be the original five. Well, now I'm adding The Format's "Dog Problems" to the list as one of the greatest break up records ever.

It's equally absolved, harsh and sardonic and a really awesome listen to help you get through the shitty days when all you really want to do is sit in your underwear, watching Judge Mathis and hoping that your significant other will come back through that door.

[Related Links]
The Format - Official Website

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Monday, July 23, 2007

why aiden sucks, reason #56129000000153212666.b

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capitolizing too late

[not on capitol]

I got to work this morning and I noticed that sitting in a box were two Jimmy Eat World CDs marked "Clarity: Expanded Edition" and "Static Prevails: Expanded Edition." And I scratched my head, baffled.

Quick history: Capitol historically led Jimmy Eat World to the slaughter by not promoting the two best albums that the band recorded under their watch. When Jimmy Eat World were let go, they took the masters of these two records to Nettwerk, who then rereleased them. Sales of these catalog titles, as well as a series of self-funded tours, allowed the band to record "Bleed American," and the rest is pop music history.

I haven't gone off on useless reissues in a while, but seriously, what the fuck is the point of these? The packaging is relatively the same, save some candid photos of the band in the "Static Prevails" liner notes. But for both releases, they contain songs that appeared in 2000's "Singles" compilation, so anyone who remotely likes Jimmy Eat World probably already has these songs. Even if they don't own "Singles," the Internet is fairly easy to navigate through to find these tunes.

This is why major labels are failing: if they're not releasing shitty, single hit based acts, they're "reissuing" records that never really went out-of-print, even moreso, with nothing new to offer. In theory, Capitol (how they got the rights back to these remains unanswered) will ship at least 250,000 units of each album, regardless of the fact that most Jimmy Eat World diehards already own these albums and the "bonus" tracks. This is like fucking "Pet Sounds" all over again.

Save your money, wait for Jimmy Eat World's new record in the fall and don't waste your money on Capitol attempting to recoup their funds six years too late.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

the original babs...

DJ Babu
"The Beat Tape Vol.1"
(Nature Sounds)

Dilated Peoples' DJ Babu has long played the background figure during the group's existence and while he is more than a stage prop DJ, his production credits with them aren't as expansive as Evidence's. If you have heard his 1995 mixtape, "Comprehension," however, then you'd also be familiar with Babu's jazzy side.

"The Beat Tape" finds 32 of Babu's instrumental laid out over 45 minutes. There are some pretty nice jams here for you to loop on your computer and start rhyming to. Moreso, any DJ can find these songs as decent interludes to scratch over. Unlike some of the more popular beatmakers, like Kanye West or Just Blaze, Babu's production style isn't bogged down by sped up vocal samples or repeated drum tracks. There's a lot of variation here which can fit several types of emcees and such.

More than anything, however, "The Beat Tape" is just a really great record to put on and listen to.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Last Transformers-Related Post, I Swear

Over the weekend, I finally went out to watch "Transformers." I had to see it with my friend James because a) he's is also an 80's baby, so you have to watch it with your brethren, and b) he was the only one who wanted to watch it with me.

Here are some opinions before I get on to the jump off:

Michael Bay sucks
Michael Bay's movies suck (except for Con Air and/or The Rock)
Robots are cool
Megan Fox is pretty banging, but she's way too young (even though she's like 21)
Shia LeBeouf pretty awesome in the movie. Totally forgive him for that "Battle of Shaker Heights" flick, now.

So yeah, right off the bat, this movie is filled with little jabs and nerd humor including a Camero hitting the fuck out of VW bug and lifting lines from the original animated movie. I have a feeling Michael Bay is smarter than we give his commercial-directing-ass credit for since he put super hot girls as the female leads and he probably realizes that the demographic appreciated some of the not-so-subtle boob flashes. Despite these huge flaws, it was still pretty cool. Getting the original voice of Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, to reprise his voice is fucking genius. Oh and John Turturro was a good add, too.

So yeah, while the movie lacked in certain aspects, all in all, it's probably my favorite sci-fi movie since "Sky Captain."

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Friday, July 13, 2007

you me and this lame CD

(Originally for High Voltage, the site is going through some changes, so I thought to post it here)

You, Me & Everyone We Know
“Party For the Grown and Sexy” (EP)

It’s like people aren’t even trying these days. You, Me & Everyone We Know have the sheer balls to not only name their band after a movie that’s been released in the last two years, but to also rip off a band that also took their name from a film (Say Anything). Since YMEWK is too cool to put out an actual full-length, I’m granted the opportunity to do a track-by-track review of this six-song EP.

“I’d Be More Interested If You Were Already Spoken For...”
Okay, there needs to be this new rule where song titles can’t be longer than six words. Thanks to bands like Fall Out Boy and Underoath, there’s this new crop of bands that seem to dream up of crazier song titles than actually spending their time to write a decent song. Anyway, this song sounds like a poppier version of Coheed and Cambria’s “Blood Red Summer.” Even the lead guitar riff is the same. If this is suggestive of what’s to come, this may be the longest EP ever.

“Do It Again (You’re Not Making Me Want to Touch You)”
Holy Say Anything! I can close my eyes and imagine Max Bemis singing this song with its literary references and gang vocal choruses. Of course since Bemis and company have been peddling “Is a Real Boy” since 2004, this shit more tired and trite than clever.

“The Press War”
Wow, a song title that’s only three words! Sweet. I keep skipping around this song on my iTunes to hear if anything interesting will be said. Nope. Just another paint-by-numbers emo song. Next!

“...Because I Spit Hot Fire”
I don’t know what’s more annoying, when rock bands ironically attempt to interject rap slang into their song titles and daily vernacular or when they try to sing a ballad? In this song YMEWK finds their inner-Gatsby’s American Dream, recalling the old school “Ribbons & Sugar”-era vocal stylings of Nic Newsham and reminding us of the days when scene kids would download songs from mp3.com.

“The Rent Is Due”
I can’t believe I have one more song to sit through. Is there a God?

Carolina Heat”
In the ultimate clash of influential bands, YMEWK attempts to relentlessly rape the vocal cadences of Brandon Urie from Panic At the Disco AND Max Bemis causing a rip in the emo space time continuum and creating a post-apocalyptic world in which boys and their girlfriends have similar haircuts and spend their days battling each other on which post-Blink 182 band is better, scouring the internet for a leak of the new My Chemical Romance demos and pretending they know who Morrissey is.

I wish I had something nice to say about You, Me & Everyone We Know other than encouraging people to check out the movie. As far as this band goes, I seriously hope they have day jobs.

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kate voegele = fake ass michelle branch

Kate Voegele
"Don't Look Away"

There's absolutely no reason to listen to Kate Voegele's debut long player on MySpace Records, "Don't Look Away." From the opening chords of the first track, "Chicago," the rest of the album moves at a snail's pace, heavily borrowing from Michelle Branch.

Here are some quick facts about this album:

  • Kate Voegele is not that hot.
  • Kate Voegele does the Katie Holmes-lip curl-thing, which is worth a download of the album cover.
  • Kate Voegele couldn't sing her way out of a paper bag.
This is absolutely horrid. Being on MySpace Records, I have this suspicion that Voegele's fans are either jockish dudes, creepy old men or empowered young girls whose entire CD collection is made up of shit like Hannah Montana, Aly & AJ and the Cheetah Girls. Don't let Tom persuade you into spending your money or wasting precious time trying to listen to this poor excuse of an album. Kate Voegele is jut a fake ass Michelle Branch.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Come Widdit: Wise and Burn

It's been a little while since I did one of these. I originally thought it was going to be a weekly feature on this site, but whatever, I have a life outside of the Internets, y'know....

Wise and Burn
Location: Springfield, IL
Sounds Like: Random editions of the "Emo Diaries" compilations, but, y'know, good.

As much of a shitstorm as most writers give contemporary pop-punk/emo, you have to admit that from time to time you'll find a band that's raw and is actually able to emote, rather than sound so overproduced that you'll want to throw your Rites of Spring record against the wall in complete defiance of the genre.

Wise and Burn sounds like the early Taking Back Sunday demos from the mp3.com days, except there are no cheesy movie samples and lame MIDI keys. As derivative as Wise and Burn is, it's made up with raw talent and incredible catchy melodies. So yeah, be all cynical and shit about this band if you please, but I'm certain that given the right opportunities, they'll blow up and you'll be left thinking, "Damn, I should've listened to that Ryan guy, but I was too busy eating vegan cupcakes and trying to get on the Cobrasnake site."

[Related Links]
Wise and Burn's Myspace

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

em ex pee ex: an essay about why this record even exists

Sometime last week, Joel Hartse pondered why MxPx is releasing their new album, "Secret Weapon," through Tooth and Nail Records, their original home, after years of back-and-forth shit talk and some failed lawsuits.

The ill feelings between these two parties is nothing short of legendary rumors and fantastic stories from some people who've floated throughout my life. When this release was first announced, I actually felt a little relieved, and found that this reunion was necessary. Maybe I'm just a nostalgic fool, but I can clearly remember the first time I heard "Life in General" where I was immediately blown away with how much I liked the record; I didn't even give a fuck that they were on a Christian label, hell I didn't even know they were down with the King. I'd like to think that for a handful of kids like us, MxPx and Brandon Ebel (Tooth and Nail's founder) buried the hatchet and wanted to partner up and give us some rockin' tunes, "Punk Rawk Show" stylee.

Now as I listen to "Secret Weapon," the special edition no less, I realize that there's one reason why MxPx and Tooth and Nail have released a new album together:

This album has hooks, it's poppy as hell and, lyrics aside, it's pretty solid, which saying a lot for a latter-era MxPx album. But there's something seedy and disingenuous about this album at the same time. There's a part in the ill-titled "Punk Rawk Celebrity" where out of nowhere horns start playing I thought, "What the fuck is this? Save Ferris?"

Simply put, MxPx is the Christian pop-punk version of Matthew McConaughey in "Dazed and Confused;" to paraphrase: they get older, but the kids stay the same age. After their failed attempt to crossover via a major label and a slapdashed effort to get back their "street cred" by forging a relationship with indie label Sideonedummy, Mike, Yuri and Tom are chomping at the bit for success, revisiting the ferocity of 1994's "Pokinatcha" in order to pay off their car notes and mortgages.

As long as there are bills to pay, MxPx will always exist, but that doesn't mean that they have to keep releasing new albums. By doing this, they're paving the way for lesser bands such as Ghotti Hook, Slick Shoes and Fanmail to reunite, which the world doesn't need at all.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

note to labels: stop watermarking your discs if you want people to review them!

[Uncle Lyor DOES NOT want you to listen to this CD]

So in the 11 years or so that I've been writing, I've seldom had problems with Copy Protected CDs. Even in the wake of the new Watermarking system that labels have put in place, I've found ways around them so I could begin to listen to the discs for review. About a week and a half ago, I received a promo of the new Eisley album, "Combinations," which was watermarked. I didn't really see this as a problem since my promo copy of their debut, "Room Noises," was also watermarked and I was actually able to upload the batch onto my iTunes.

This morning, I decided to listen to "Combinations," so I brought in my archaic portable CD player, just in case it didn't work on my computer (it didn't). And guess what? The stupid CD doesn't play in that either. As you may have seen in a previous post, watermarked discs also don't play in DVD players and car audio systems. So I ask you, Reprise/Warner Brothers, "Where am I supposed to listen to this CD that you want me to review?"

I'm not sure if Eisley is a priority to their label since they can't even release a playable promo, then again, Reprise is also the same label responsible for giving us a third Used album, so maybe they don't even have their fingers on the pulse of contemporary pop music.

Perhaps Reprise is aware that even though I had a promo of "Room Noises," complete with a bonus track, I went out and bought the CD anyway to have a real copy with artwork. Perhaps they thought that I would do the same with this Eisley album.

Well played, Reprise, well played.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

tanks for the memories, indeed

So AP.net posted a clip of a contestant covering the last Fall Out Boy single, "Thnks Fr th Mmrs" on "Canadian Idol." Feel free to watch it first....

Are you scratching your head as much as I am? I don't know which part of this video I should be more offended by: the song that homegirl covered, her outfit and her hair, or her atrocious take on the English language.

I guess this is the sort of thing you can anticipate when you're in a multi-platinum rock band and shows like "American Idol" exist, but geez, couldn't Fall Out Boy put the brakes on this? Or at least had their label step in?

Additionally, for all the awesome things about Canada (nationwide health care, lowered crime rates, Tim Horton's), it's a little mind-boggling that they're about three years late stylistically. Maybe it's just the girl who decided that she should look like Andrea Zollo circa 2002, but Canada isn't that far away from the U.S. doesn't she know that it's all about legwarmers and hippie dresses? Maybe it's because she's French-Canadian. Far be it for me to also point out her awesome usage of devil horns (doesn't anybody shimmy with jazz hands anymore?) and her contrived headbanging. I was actually kind of bummed that she didn't try to break out with some serious windmills or some other form of ape-ish hardcore dance.

Well in any event, this video alone is proof of how ridiculous Fall Out Boy's lyrics really are, but even moreso how ridiculous the people who enjoy their current record are. If record companies are wondering why they keep losing money, I have three minutes and 50 seconds worth of evidence in this post, eh.

[on a sidenote: did anyone find it weird that "Canadian Idol" looks like it was shot in a shopping mall? and did anyone else find it strange that there's a longhair rocking a misfits shirt while sitting through that performance?]

[Related Links]
Ryan Hart sings Silverstein on "American Idol"

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

4th of july = transformers, bitches

["yo, where my killa tape?"]

So later tonight, theaters all over the United States will be premiering the live action version of "Transformers." All I have to say is "FINALLY!!!" The teaser trailer has been floating around for over 12 months and we are now able to see the finished product. Many hardcore fans are complaining about it since Michael Bay is at the helm, but seriously, who else are you going to go to for big ass explosions and shit? Not Paul Thomas Anderson, that's for sure. My only beef is that they didn't include Soundwave or Grimlock, but that's what sequels are for. Just ask Sam Raimi.

Anyway, with all this hoopla over the movie, I'm gonna go out and get myself a sweet Transformers tattoo, which is infinitely better than a lame ass Zune tattoo.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

benefitting from synergy

Right now, no more than a block away from my office, there stands an actual, real-life Kwik-E-Mart. No joke.

In the greatest act of marketing ever, 7-11 (no doubt with a little push from 20th Century Fox) have turned some of their stores into Kwik-E-Marts, which is in conjunction with the upcoming "Simpsons" full-length feature. Seattle, luckily, is one of the cities to benefit from this synergy. I had the opportunity to snag a Slurpee -- or Squishy -- at the recently erected Kwik-E-Mart, emblazoned with images of The Simpsons and Comic Book Guy. At the front counter stands issues of "Radioactive Man," near the door are cases of Buzz Cola (as opposed to the ubiquitous Duff Beer -- though Fox probably doesn't want to market alcoholic products with their beloved franchise) -- and the employees donning the bright lime green colors of said Kwik-E. Yes, it's Springfield in the flesh.

Though I was in the store for a few minutes, it was a pretty surreal experience, which soured slowly as the local news team started taping for a story about the synergy. All cheap marketing ploys aside, when you're obsessed with a TV show like "The Simpsons" walking into an actual physical store, based on a fictional store, which is parodying a real life store is nothing less than mindblowing. Seriously.

Edit: This photo says it all:

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