Monday, June 30, 2008

Review: Alkaline Trio, "Agony & Irony"

Alkaline Trio
“Agony & Irony”

Highlighted by their recent appearance by everyone’s favorite fictitious reality sitcom, “The Hills,” the Alkaline Trio backlash couldn’t be any stronger. How many Orgcore kids could this band lose with the following atrocities:

Signing to a major
Showing up on a vapid television show
Getting a signature Nike sneaker

Yet for all that bullshit, it really comes down to the music and Alkaline Trio have made another solid record. The thing about these (mostly) Chicago natives is that they’re pretty consistent when it comes to making albums. They seldom disappoint because they’re notorious for essentially writing the same songs over again.

That’s not to take anything away from Matt Skiba, Dan Andriano or Derek Grant as songwriters; shit, Lagwagon, 7 Seconds and The Ramones were made to be legends off of writing the same tunes for every record.

“Agony & Irony” is extremely catchy and just as grand as their last studio effort, “Crimson.” “Calling All Skeletons” and “Love Love, Kiss Kiss” are going to be the summer’s best pop-punk songs.

There’s nothing spectacular about this album, but it is comforting that no matter how hard kids think these dudes are selling out, they can still manage to piece together a listenable album.

Bonus Vid: Ak3's Shoe Commercial

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer Jams Video Series: Boogiemonsters, "Honeydips in Gotham (Remix)" and Masta Ace INC, "The INC Ride"

One of the best part about summer jams is that they're built to be anthems. Whether they're topically about ladies (or mens) and partying, they serve to bring together all types of different people to celebrate the human spirit.

Boogiemonsters' "Honeydips in Gotham" was their second single and was lost amidst a sea of other notable hip-hop groups who (though were regarded as flashes in the collective pan) released something of substance in 1995, which was perhaps the last great year for hip-hop.

Masta Ace's "The INC Ride" was also released in 1995 and freaks the same Isley Brothers sample as the Boogiemonsters song. Unlike the Boogiemonsters' jam, Masta Ace's entry into summer jam status is built on chillin' and driving around in your sick ride. In any event, it's still a great song to listen to while you have the AC blasting on your face.

Boogiemonsters, "Honeydips in Gotham"

Masta Ace Incorporated, "The INC Ride"

Bonus: The Isley Brothers, "For the Love of You"

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Download MY Book!

Two years later, I'm making this crap available for you to download.

If enough people are interested in it, I'm going to self-publish it and then you can have a physical copy you can sell to a used book store.



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Monday, June 23, 2008

Rivers Acknowledges "Pinkerton"; Indie Rock Fans in their Late 20's Sigh Comfortably

I snagged a promo copy of Weezer's latest self-titled album (colorfully dubbed "The Red Album") a little over a month ago and I never got around to writing about it because, quite frankly, it didn't really impress me. It was a huge improvement from the misstep that was "Make Believe," but it didn't do much to whet my appetite. My quick rundown is whatever Brian Bell's song is called was my favorite track and that "Pork and Beans" is clear on its way to becoming the new "Gangsta's Paradise" [1].

Weezer's always been a band that's had a strange relationship with their audience. At its best, fans could find themselves at a local skatepark watching the members of the band (Pat) try to skate along with some kids, or playing foosball against them in a grudge match of sorts. At their worst, the ever elusive, Rivers Cuomo, refused to recognize the other members' side projects (Space Twins, the Special Goodness) and the fans collective love of "Pinkerton."

Recently, the band put together Weezer Hootenanny, in which they invited several hundred people to bring instruments and jam with them. There is some video evidence on Youtube, most notably Scott doing a heartfelt rendition of Radiohead's "Creep" [2].

More interesting is the fact that Rivers is wearing an XXL-sized "Pinkerton" t-shirt. Over the last few years, it seems as though Cuomo and gang are warming up to the mega-failure, yet most fawned over record, that was their sophomore release. Just as Liz Phair has pledged to play "Exit to Guyville" in its entirety, maybe a performance of "Pinkerton" isn't too far off.

[1] In as much as you'll get sick of the song come September, but every time you hear it afterwards will conjure fond memories of the summer of 2008.

[2] Eat a dick, Prince.

Bonus Vids:


Island in the Sun

Pork and Beans

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Jam Video Series: Fenix TX, "All My Fault"

The first time I heard this song was actually in the fall of 1999 (or was it '98?). In any event, it gets summer jam status because the following summer, James and I went to see Blink, Bad Religion and Fenix TX. No more had they barely strummed their guitars before we found ourselves engulfed in a sea of white girls and their boyfriends. I'm surprised we made it out alive.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Jams Video Series: DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, "Summertime"

Today (or is it tomorrow?) is the Summer Soltice, so as the season progresses, I will be posting some of my favorite summer jams (all the while, compiling my next mixtape). The first is a pretty obvious entry, yet it is the definitive song for those of us who are in their mid-to-late-20's and remember a simpler time, like when Malcolm Jamal Warner was a big influence in my quest for personal style.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

tha vacation blog

Usually around this time of the year, I spout off my favorite records of the year so far. I'm not going to do that. I am, however, going to let you know that there will be a week of inactivity since I'm going to Chicago next week (Alkaline Trio and Wayne Campbell what up?).

I am working on a summer jams mixtape under the Ryan Fresh moniker and my ongoing acoustic project, yaTp, finally has an EP that will sound listenable.

Otherwise, here are the records that I'm feeling right now:

2*Sweet, "Sleep without Dreams"
This Time Next Year, "A Place For You"
Kevin Devine, "Daytrotter Sessions"
LL Cool J, "Return of the GOAT"
Saturday Knights
Nas, "The Dreaded N-Word Mixtape"
City and Colour, "Bring Me Your Love"

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

stay off the crack r.i.p.

it's been a long time coming. i kept it around so you guys could read my food journals or the funny aiden posts, but it needed to die.

now i have this