Friday, April 28, 2006

go to this or the macho man will beat you up

tonight suckers!!!!

too hip to be old?

A few days ago Tara Henley wrote a response to this New York Magazine article regarding aging hipsters, otherwise known as "grups."

Having worked in a record store in downtown Seattle, you couldn't throw a stone without hitting the amalgamated character where Volvo meets "Vice." Olderish people who obsessively rave about Clap Your Hand Say Yeah (or I guess Tapes 'N Tapes, now) and are able to afford three day passes to the Sasquatch Festival. I used to hate those people. Then I read the article which prominently features a series of photographs of "cool" parents and their equally hip kids. Then I shuddered.

Being in my mid-twenties, I'm still a good decade away from being considered a "grup," (by which time, the term will probably be dead) but the article still hit a little close to home with being a father who happens to play music and who also happens to work within the music industry (albeit in the lowest level short of intern). Hmm.

I suppose in regards to New York Magazine, Henley and Byron Crawford's opinons of the matter, it's easy to write off people who can't seem to break out of their youth. Peter Pans, as they say. Hell, I've written off those people, but primarily because I've had to cater to them.

Ultimately if someone refers to me as a "grup" simply based on the fact that I have a child, I'd see it as just cause to rip their face off and send their nose back to their family.

Your life will change because you've had a child, but I think it's a ridiculous notion to assume that once a baby enters the equation, you'll sell your Metallica records and start buying up the "NOW! That's What I Call Music" series and whatever else they sell at Starbucks to be "in the know."

So does listening to Sufjan Stevens while simultaneously buying Dora the Explorer CDs make you cool? Probably not, but let's not confuse being a parent with being pathetic. Grups are indeed lame; let's face it, it's probably not in your best interest to be 35 years old and have your hobbies include snorting rails with a 19 year old community college student. But it's also pretty pathetic to be afraid of the future and not breaking out of the confines of going to shows and bars.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

it's "glitter" bad

Starring: Steven Strait, Pell James, Carrie Fisher, Ashlee Simpson
(Lions Gate)

If there were any film that should stand to be the power of home video it should be "Undiscovered." For a mere $3.49, I got to watch this movie that, for some reason, reminds me of the Blood Brothers' song "Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck." Three bucks and some change is a small sacrifice versus the $20 I would've spent had I saw this flick at the multiplex .

"Undiscovered" tells the story of Luke Falcon (Are screenwriters just running out of names? They should've called him Joe Everyman), a photogenic singer-songwriter who has mastered the art of looking greasy-but-still-having-killer-pecs (see: Scott Stapp). Brier (Pell James), is a model-cum-actress and the two pursue a vapid, thin romance, complete with a South American rival (Shannyn Sossamon), an aging grunge rock star, and Princess Leia (!).

As predicted, lack of chemistry/acting talent and bad dialogue plagues this movie. In a pivotal scene, Luke tells Brier "You didn't hurt me, you KILLED me!"

Sadly, Ashlee Simpson's dim best friend/voice of conscience, Clea, barely appears in the film; while she's far (far, far, far) from the strongest actress, she chews the scenery around the two protagonists. Equally sad is that Papa Joe Simpson and Jordan Schurr (the two masterminds behind Ashlee's music career/trainwreck) are executive producers so you'd think that they'd have more scenes with their little starlet.

In addition to the general suckiness of the script and acting, the movie takes a huge nose-dive since it attempts to look like an "indie" film. The flick is directed by a music video director and much of the movie's transitional cuts are low-lit static shots of L.A., some scenes are grainy, etc. It looks like it's done by a high school AV student.

The movie's supporting cast reads like a guest list of former B-listers: Carrie Fisher, Fisher Stevens (the bad guy from "Hackers"), and Peter Weller (fucking Robocop!) all appear and they still do nothing for the film, short of lending it about 7% credibility as a bankable flick.

If there was a single film besides "Glitter" that would kill your career, it would be "Undiscovered;" yet it will stand the test of time as being the singular reason why home video continues to thrive while theatre audiences thin out year after year: nobody would spend $20 to watch a piece of shit like this. Not even Papa Joe.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

tidbits 4/25/06

[the best hardcore album of 2005? yeah it is....]

* it's been quote central as of late.

from "Lifetime wrote songs about inner turmoil while other bands were screaming about who had the best straight edge tattoo." (Chris Conley of Saves the Day)

from nwhardcore: "'vegan pizza' and 'vegan cheese' are the food equivalents of 'christian hardcore.'"

* since by man's "pictures from the hotel apocolypse" is incredibly good. check out their purevolume for some (free!) mp3s.

* new beef! lil' bow wow breaks lil' romeo and master p off with a little atl-styled insult. could this make beef 4? or at least be reenacted for a sprite commercial like the one that krs and shan did back in the mid-90s. that would be worth at least $100!

* jessica simpson looks like a tranny.

* brand new is going back out on tour. perhaps someone should explain to them that you're supposed to record the album first and then go out on the road. maybe the moonshine outthere got the best of them.

Monday, April 24, 2006 a real review

Say Anything
"...Is a Real Boy/...Was a Real Boy"

It's taken me a while to kick the review out for this album; I mean, the reissue has been out since March and the album itself has been on shelves since 2004, so I've had plenty of time. Oh well.

If you've ever read any random post where I go off about reissues, you know that I hate reissues in the same way I hate jelly donuts. Unless the album has been out-of-print for years (see: Rocket From the Crypt, Smoking Popes), reissuing shit is completely unnecessary. Take a look at Victory and Tooth and Nail's current release schedule. Many of those titles (Norma Jean, Underoath, Mae, Aiden, Hawthorne Heights) have been sitting out on shelves for quite some time and many members of their niche audience already own them; the only reason why those labels would rerelease them is to clearly milk the proverbial cow dry. But of course, kids still buy them, so the labels keep pumping out reissues.

Say Anything's reissue of "...Is a Real Boy" is really about media hype. To anybody who's been following the band since the original release of their debut (or sophomore depending on who you ask) back in the summer of 2004, it's obvious that J Records is putting a lot of money behind the tormented world of prinicipal songwriter/singer Max Bemis. From articles in "Entertainment Weekly" and "Spin" to video premieres on Yahoo/, you're hard pressed to find an outlet of mainstream media that doesn't talk about Bemis' bout with bi-polar disorder. In a lot of ways, it mimics 50 Cent's rise to popularity where all anyone could talk or write about was the incident that left him with nine bullet wounds.

Unlike Fiddy, however, Bemis' is full of emotional substance and his album, chock full of anti-hipster anthems and songs about smoking weed, left many kids wanting more. For those kids, J Records offers a bonus disc ("Was a Real Boy") on the reissue; seven tracks of rough mixes for a planned/unreleased benefit recording called "Say Anything Vs. AIDS." The songs are hit-and-miss at best, though the promising tracks like "Total Revenge," "Metal Now," and "It's a Metaphor, Fool," recall the energy and cynical songwriting of Bemis' earlier material. The other songs are good by pop-punk standards, but mediocre by Say Anything's.

The original record remains untouched, save the explicit lyrics sticker that looms in the corner of the artwork, and it's probably for the best. While "...Is a Real Boy" is being pimped to a broader audience, it's still as fresh-sounding as it was two years ago; as far as the bonus disc goes, you might be better off downloading select tracks from iTunes, or finding it in a used bin somewhere.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

attn mtv: stop talking about hip-hop and hurry up with the next season of real world/road rules battle of the sexes

So MTV posted another list of the next 10 greatest MCs. They are as follows:

1. Ludacris
2. Kanye West
3. Lil' Wayne
4. The Game
5. Beanie Sigel
6. Jadakiss
7. 50 Cent
8. T.I.
9. Cam'ron
10. Talib Kweli

This list reads like Pitchfork's wet dream, but for a real hip-hop fan, it's bullshit. It's far worse than the previous list that those fuckfaces at MTV posted. This also proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that MTV wouldn't know hip-hop if Crazy Legs, Grandmixer DST, Kurtis Blow, Fearless Four, Phase 2, Ricky Powell, Russell Simmons, DJ Alaadin, and the Last Poets shot them in the face with a clue gun. MTV (or Viacom) is obviously clueless on what an MC is, and as I've stated before, a real MC has skills and NOT a gold plaque.

Let's run down the list shall we?

Ludacris: Yeah, he's a good rapper, but MC, he is not.

Kanye West: Good producer? Maybe. But Rhymefest did write "Jesus Walks" (which was probably the only good song from "College Dropout), so 'Ye can't even write a good hip-hop song, what the fuck makes him a "great MC?"

Lil' Wayne: This kid was alright when he was mushmouthed and 14; now he's just annoying.

The Game: There are plenty of "gangsta" rappers who would deserve this title more than The Game. For one thing, The Game only has one (proper) album, which was a success because it was associated with 50 Cent. You know who'd be a better pick? Krayzie Bone.

Beanie Sigel: Beans had one good song. Does that sound like the consistency of a "great MC?"

Jadakiss: Remember the shiny suits?!

50 Cent: Fiddy is a jock, plain and simple. He picks on those he deems weaker to elevate his own self-esteem, and he is celebrated for it. The reality is that in a few years, Chef Boyarfiddy will be bagging groceries at a bodega in Queens. Also, he sucks.

T.I.: I could never tell T.I. and Chingy apart when I heard these assclowns playing somewhere. A great MC must have a distinct voice, which T.I. does not.

Cam'ron: Here's a sample of the lyrical wizard that is Cam'ron: "And we'll hit you off with a little Puerto Rican judo/Ju-don't know?" Also his Jay-Z dis record was fucking garbage. I would liken Cam to Toby Keith, just one big joke wrapped up in a sexually confused mess.

Talib Kweli: Get Kweli some good beats and he'll rock your ear off, but he mostly works with wack producers. I hope he has Hi-Tek's number on speed dial. Shitty albums aside, he might be the only person who deserves to be on this list.

Here's a list of more deserving MCs:

Mr. Lif
Clipse (they sound the alike)
MF Doom
Boots Riley

...and four years later 'spin' still sucks

The banner ad assumes that music geeks have sex; what Spin has failed to realize is that no geek has sex

Growing up, "Spin" was something that I would read and covet. It was the perfect foil to the big mess that was "Rolling Stone" (which, at that point, was only desirable for its photography): it was the size of a standard magazine, it covered the bands that I gave a shit about, and more importantly, it still had enough street cred where you wouldn't feel ashamed of having it amongst your copies of "Punk Planet" and "Maximum Rock & Roll." Then every issue after 1997 started to blow. Hard. Sure I've picked up copies of "Spin" since then, but they've increasingly become more like "A.P." except for the fact that they've been pretty late hitting every successful band or milestone in all genres of popular music. In fact, the earliest fliers for "Halftime" had an issue of "Spin" with Jimmy Fallon on it (man, I loathe that guy) and in bold print: SPIN SUCKS SHIT. A crude message, but effective nonetheless.

Given the downward spiral of "Spin" in the last nine years, I wasn't too surprised when people -- including Chuck Klosterman -- starting getting the axe and major changes were being made to the rag.

I was, however, surprised when I was cruising through "Spin's" website and found a banner ad asking for submissions for their new sex columnist, Joanna Angel (of Burning Angel fame). Upon further prodding on the interweb (mainly Gawker), I've come to find that the new editor-in-chief of "Spin" is Andy Pemberton formerly of "Blender" (you also may have caught him on VH1 or MTV from time to time).

While I realize that "Blender" is a relatively successful music/mixed media magazine, it also piggybacked off of the success of "Maxim" and, stylistically, the two very rarely differed. In short, "Blender" is the lowest common denominator of music rags, and with this sex column firmly in place, I can see "Spin" heading down that direction as well.

Before I continue on, let me state that I have nothing against the Joanna Angel at all, especially since she was kind enough to grant me an interview when I was cutting my teeth at "Redefine."

The issue here is that we already have a "Blender," "Maxim," "Seventeen," "YM," "FHM," and so on and so on. I don't read music magazines to read sex advice. If that were the case then I'd just stick to reading The Onion's AV Club since they publish "Savage Love." And while I'd be naive to assume that music fans -- indie or otherwise -- don't have sex or may seek sex advice, I truly think that has little to do with reading about K-Fed's life or what went down at South By Southwest. You want sex advice? Ask your friends or your/a doctor. I also realize that a kneejerk reaction to my opinion could be "Well then don't fucking read it...." It's not really that simple. This sex advice column is the start of "Spin" completely deviating from music altogether and becoming more like "Blender/Maxim," a medium that sells because it will exploit human desire. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there was a feature with Tommy Lee speaking at length about how to bang groupies.

But maybe I am jumping the gun here. Pemberton's reign has only been going on for a month and a half, so we'll only begin to see what effect, if any, his influence will have on "Spin" this summer. Oh well, it's got to be better than "A.P."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

mtv unveils the top 10 emcees of all time and the world laughs at the fact that mtv still exists

About a week or two ago, MTV compiled a list of the 10 greatest MCs of all time as put together by a bunch of people who have very little to do with hip-hop. It's taken me a while to address this "list" because, in the beginning, I didn't really give a shit. Then I started looking at the list over and over again. As you may imagine, I disagree with this list, or at least with the placement of each rapper. Here's the list:

10. LL Cool J
9. Eminem
8. Ice Cube
7. Big Daddy Kane
6. KRS-One
5. Nas
4. Rakim
3. Notorious B.I.G.
2. Tupac
1. Jay-Z

They had a list of honorable mentions with rappers who should've been on the top 10 (Ghostface Killah, Slick Rick, Black Thought), but I think what MTV failed to realize is that emceeing has very little to do with cultural impact, or sales, and more to do with actual talent and skill. Well, I guess I probably shouldn't have expected much from fucking MTV. Let's look at the top 10 "greatest" MCs.

LL Cool J: His first two albums and "Mr. Smith" were killer records, but as Jack Black said in "High Fidelity," "Is it better to burn out than to fade away?" Uncle L has commited more musical crimes on wax than any other rapper on the list. In the 20 years that James Todd Smith has had a career, he has three great albums and eight really shitty ones. Not to mention that (despite what the general public think) he got his nuts handed to him by the skinniest rapper alive, Canibus. The only people that think that LL Cool J is still good are people who haven't bought a hip-hop record since 1994.

Eminem: Dude is talented, but like LL, we've watched Em shamelessly plug a slew of sub-par rappers like D-12 and 50 Cent, as well as watched as he flushed his career down the toilet by putting out shitty records. Yes, Eminem is a great MC, but he's more of an honorable mention and not worthy of top 10 status.

Ice Cube: He promises the return of O'shea Jackson the Gangsta on his new album. His rhymes are at its best when they're paired up with QDIII's beats.

Big Daddy Kane: Kane fell off when he posed for "Playgirl" and got jacked for his jewels, but have you seen this dude lately? He still dusts new jacks like it was nothing.

KRS-One: Kris is the polar opposite of LL where he manages to put out great records, but they go largely unnoticed. If you've ever heard KRS lecture or seen his interviews, then you might've noticed that it's quite possible he is insane.

Nas: Number five? Fuck you, MTV. Yesterday, I wrote a lengthy personal statement about redemption. Since shedding his Escobar persona, Nas has certainly acheived redemption with his last three albums. He deserves to be higher than number fucking five.

Rakim: Number four? Fuck you, MTV. Rakim is not (was never) a marquee artist on the level of Jay-Z or Kanye West, but he undeniably influenced any rapper who came out of New York after 1990. Rakim should be number one on his name alone. The God will smoke you with half a stanza.

Notorious B.I.G.: Biggie was great. "Ready to Die" and "Life After Death" were classics out of the box, which seldom happened in the 90's. If you've ever seen his episode of "Behind the Music" or heard any of the Sway and Tech mixtapes, you'd also know that Big was one hell of a freestyle rapper. I have no beef with this selection, unlike....

Tupac: ...Tupac who doesn't deserve to be on this list at all. Tupac was a magnificent character, but we all seem to forget that the former MC New York was just a really sloppy rapper. I wouldn't even consider him an MC.

Jay-Z: Number one? Well, at least it isn't Ja Rule. Jay-Z is an okay MC. But okay does not constitute top 10 status. I can name five other rappers who aren't on MTV's list who could take Jay-Z out faster than broadband internet:

1. Mos Def
2. Too Short
3. Kurupt
4. Serch
5. Sage Francis

Those guys, three of which are hasbeens, would wipe the floor with Jay-Z and they are also far more deserving to be considered top 10 MCs, rather than the likes of Tupac or LL. Like I said before, fuck you, MTV.

PS: There are no women on MTV's list. That's fucked. Here are five female emcees who can take out Jay-Z:

1. Queen Latifah
2. Boss
3. Foxy Brown
4. Jane Doe (not to be confused with Jean Grae)
5. Lady of Rage

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

tidbits 4/18/06

nbc gears up for success with one of those wacky white guy-meets-black guy comedies. it's like 'boston public meets leathal weapon!'

* tuesday night tv: 'top model' rerun (watch superfine leslie get the boot!), scrubs (is j.d. still an idiot?), and teachers (which isn't bad, but it ain't good. it's like 'scrubs' but in a school)

* kevin smith has put up a series of posts regarding jason mewes' bout with heroin abuse.

* everyone is going hillbilly apeshit over the new yeah yeah yeahs. you know what's boss? the new maritime album.

the redemption song

Normally I'll sit here, write some nonsense about bands that the general public will forget about in a year, bash a few record labels, and we all have laughs. Rarely do I ever write about what goes on in my little heart, so that said, this post is one of those rare moments.

This morning I was watching the trailer for a documentary about California artist, David Choe. I've had these passing fascinations with the guy and his art since I randomly stumbled across him in a few issues of "Giant Robot," and later in "Dithers."

The trailer seemed to highlight Choe going from a street artists with a don't-give-a-fuck attitude to a legit painter. Prison time overseas may have been the catalyst for his change of heart.

More times than often, I feel like an asshole. Primarily because I probably am one. Don't get me wrong, there are people who I've hurt. Bad. And I'm deeply apoligetic about my actions and have pleaded for forgiveness more times than I'm willing to admit to. Then there are the people who I insult on a regular basis. Bands, coworkers, strangers. People who I'm rather relentless with when it comes to unleashing a storm of negative opinions. Which brings me to my moment of clarity, nay, redemption.

Am I capable of accepting that I've been so self-centered and overly critical that I can be a better person? The reality is I am capable to acceptance portion of it; there's going to be a long haul to be a better person.

I'm separated from some of my contemporaries by virtue of the fact that I realize that I'm a hypocrite, that I can be wrong, and that I am an asshole. Even with such foresight I don't do anything about it. I rarely sprinkle my writing (musically or reporting-wise) with any positive messages. If there's a band whose music I don't like, it's not simply "I don't like this band." I go for the jugular. I'm calling out their girlfriends, boyfriends, mothers, grandmothers, and babysitters. I can give you about a million reasons why I can be a harsh person, but it's nothing except for a bunch of Freudian mishmash.

I'm too far gone in my ways to stop doing what I do. Insulting people doesn't make me happy, but I can't say that it's not a perk of the version of me who is a writer.

So for this very, very brief moment in time (though it's possibly forever on the internet), I am issuing a simple apology to anybody who I may have hurt with my words.

I'm not going to lie and say that I will try to be a more uplifting writer who has virtue and blah, blah. I'm not a priest, pastor or reverend. If you want to know about morals and virtue, there are many avenues where those are available. There are only two people who's values I am responsible for (my kid and I, in case you were wondering). I'm here to write what's in my heart and give it the Ryan-esque gloss over in my head, because as I've stated many times before, that's how I do.

Friday, April 14, 2006

top model update

We're now about halfway into Cycle Six and one of my picks (Mollie Sue) got the boot. I made my predictions after the premiere, so I think I can get a better assesment on who will make it into the final four (which ends up being the final three once they get to the exotic location or whatever).

Furonda: In addition to being beautiful, Furonda don't take any shit (see: calling out Dani, the racist contestant). There needs to be a Top Model like that since most of the past winners, especially Nicole from Cycle Five, have been pretty weak sauce.

Jade: TV producers love drama and Jade is arguably the most manipulative person (re: bitch) in the history of the show. She can't take the blame for any of her shortcomings and often points the finger at others which may hinder her chances. Plus she's like 30 or some shit, so she's kind of a wild card. They'd probably keep her for the drama, though.

Joanie: So far she's been pretty understated. In the last episode, she said that it's going to be between her and Jade, which means she has the confidence (cockiness, no?). She was rocking in the last show, she just needs to start shining.

Sara/Danielle: Sara has a lot to prove since she was the only contestant who didn't actually try out for the show (she was chased down by producers in a mall). Sara's also a bit on the tall side and kind of reminds me of someone who hit a overnight growth spurt. Danielle, like Sara, seems like she has a lot to prove. She's pretty, but she's needs get some confidence and go for self.

Man, they're really kicking out some of the best contestants that the show has ever had -- Mollie Sue and Leslie -- but I suppose that drama is key to the show's success. I'm glad that Gina got the boot, though. She was making us Asians look bad for the few episodes she was actually on.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

versus the mirror in the bleeding heart of dead leaves in the stars above

Versus the Mirror
Equal Vision

It's this for 12 songs:

Contrived, recycled hardcore. Do yourself a favor and go listen to Owen Hart instead. They're about a billion times better than this fake Poison the Well shit.

damn the postal service says i! (the band, not usps)

Alias and Tarsier

Before I start the review: Does Anticon put out hip-hop records anymore? I think their last proper rap record might've been the latest Sole album, other than that, they've given us non-threatening (as if they were ever), psuedo-intellectual hipster-hop. Whatever... most of them have been pretty good, so I guess I can't really complain.

The Postal Service have a lot to answer for. For one thing, their West Coast-album-by-mail relationship, which sired 2003's "Give Up," has inspired a bunch of people to utilize their computers to make irritating paint-by-numbers "techno." Secondly, I suppose without the popularity of said Ben Gibbard-voiced group, we wouldn't have The Foreign Exhange and Alias and Tarsier.

The latter have dropped their debut, "Brookland/Oaklyn," though they have Portishead to thank more than Postal Service (at least outside of collaborating via e-mail).

Oakland resident Alias, who was last heard rhyming on Styrofoam's "Nothing's Lost," goes back to his usual role as Anticon producer and lets the Mia Doi Todd-ish/Brooklynite Tarsier handle most of the vocal duty.

The result is a group of melancholy songs, chillaxed rhythms and the general urge to pretend that it's 1996. Songs like the acoustic guitar-driven "Dr. C" and creepy-opener "Cub" really highlight the album's strong points, starting with a simple arrangement and building up to something bigger.

Still, it's hard to shake the Portishead comparison. Unlike Beth Gibbons and co., Alias and Tarsier lack the panache to really stand out; many of the songs sound the same since they employ similar arranging techniques. By the time you hit the halfway point on "5 Year Eve," the record tends to drag.

Of all the artists that have been riding the Portishead coattails since the late-90's (Morcheeba, Sneaker Pimps, Supreme Beings of Leisure, etc.), Alias and Tarsier has one of the better releases, though I still wish that Alias would make a proper follow-up to "The Other Side of the Looking Glass."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

pedophilia is the new black

i can get away with fucking teen girls because i'm rich!!!!

Somehow, I got sucked into an episode of "One Tree Hill" last week and (un) surprisingly, the show was based around the "relationship" between high school studen Peyton and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. (On a side note, is there a day that goes by where I don't have to see/hear this media-whorish band? Answer: No)

Towards the end of the episode, chick and Hot Topic are topless in bed (assuming they bumped uglies) and she's lamenting on their post-coital relationship when she says: "I'm in high school. Speaking of which, how is this [relationship] supposed to work? You're this rock star and I'm just trying to pass AP English."

First of all, there's nothing that will kill a boner like talking about high school classes right after fucking. But again, I wouldn't know since most of the girls that I've dated have been around the same age as me.

I know this is a television show and all, but did anybody else find it weird that Wentz, who was playing himself, fucked this girl who's supposed to be 17? In real life, Wentz is in his late-20's, so is he suggesting that it's okay to have sexual intercourse with someone who is nearly 10 years your junior?

I guess in doing this little guest spot, he'll sell more Fall Out Boy merch and validate the millions of underage crushes that are currently stinking up the interweb. Does this mean that pop-punk superstars support and advocate pedophilia and statutory rape?

Think about it: homeboy takes a break from tour (or fighting other internet heads) to fly out to a remote cabin to hang out with some girl. With the great amount of effort on the part of Fall Out Pete, it's obvious that he was expecting more from this crotch junkie than just holding hands and a sweet talk on some swings. He wanted tang, and possibly anal.

I just think that it's a little unsettling that millions of pre-teen Fall Out Boy fans will think that it's okay to bone some guy who's almost 30 just because he wears a little mascara, plays in a mediocre band and puts pictures of his cock on the internet. It's usually these dumb girls who end up mass-producing endless amounts of uneducated rugrats anyway. Let's stop the madness.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

sound the review

Saves the Day
"Sound the Alarm"

To most hardcore and pop-punk fans, Saves the Day has always been somewhat of an acquired taste. They started their career as a Lifetime tribute band (of sorts) before taking on a chameleon-like persona of changing with each album. Their most popular records to date, 1999's "Through Being Cool" and 2001's "Stay What You Are," often have the band's fanbase in the middle of a tug-of-war: OG fans would like to see the band return to blastbeat, power chord roots, while kids who discovered Saves the Day once they became an MTV2 sensation would like to see the band grasp an indie rock sensibility.

When recording for their latest album began, singer Chris Conley promised "the Beatles from hell," which left many people scratching their heads. I suppose you could turn "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" into a metalcore song, but I guarantee it's no different from sticking a toothpick into your urethra.

If the Beatles reference was just a way to throw off fans, then congrats gentlemen, for it sounds nothing like the Beatles. In fact, if anything, it sounds like Saves the Day.

The key component to listening to Saves the Day is that Chris Conley has a very unique voice. And as many bands try to sound like him (Taking Back Sunday), they can never really capture his high pitched wails.

As far as the album goes, it's probably one of the most aggressive Saves the Day records. While it does not have a lot of the open chord chugging that made "Through Being Cool" so likeable, it does rely heavily on melody, despondent lyrics and strong instrumentation.

The latter can be attributed to the addition of former Glassjaw bassist Manny Carrero, who lends a bit of edge to Saves the Day. Bass heavy songs such as "Shattered" and "Bones" are the kind of sick and twisted songs that old STD fans have been salivating for. And honestly, there aren't too many bad things I can really write about this record. It's strong, especially after Saves the Day's last album, "In Reverie," which wasn't weak as much as it was stylistically confused.

"Sound the Alarm" finds the band owning up to their hardcore past, while refining their melody and songwriting to outlast all the newbie bands who are trying to make a run for the crown.

tidbits 4/11/06

* new saves the day is out today. yee-haw! go america! bbq sauce!

* yesterday, a rally going through seattle's international district regarding the recent illegal immigration topic nearly thwarted my attempts to order food for my wedding. luckily, i found a way around protesters without running anybody over.

* season one of "the boondocks" is heading your way on june 13th.

* and "animaniacs" season one is hitting ya domepiece in july.

* remember that tooth and nail band bleach? they weren't that bad....

* impromptu album o' the day: "breaking atoms" by main source.

* a new interview with maritime and a bunch of new reviews up at

* more to come later today....

Monday, April 10, 2006

oh geez, will someone just tell them to shut the hell up?!?

"Die Romantic"

There's nothing funny about suicide, homeless teens and eating disorders. I mean, I guess you can crack some Kurt Cobain/Carnie Wilson-type jokes, but seriously, how far will that shit get you?

So Aiden's third video from their dreadful album has all three of the aforementioned personal afflictions, exploited in such a way that 13 year old suburban teens will have no other choice than to commit suide, be a recluse or puke up their Swann's dinner. I can't really remember much about the video other than their singer WiL playing some sort of devil's advocate by telling a homeless teen to purse snatch some girl, encouraging a girl to throw up, and making some dude jump off a building.

Somewhere in there, Aiden is also playing in front of a church, looking like AFI and whatnot. Geez, can you think of anything else? Wasn't a church the setting of your last video? Dang. Fuck it, I can't write about these losers anymore. I'm going to go listen to the new Built To Spill.

bomb this movie

Bomb the System
Starring: Mark Webber, Gano Grills, Bonz Malone
(Palm Pictures)

"Wild Style" may have been the only hip-hop motion picture to prominently feature graffiti. There are others, like "Beat Street," but none of them have stood the test of time like "Wild Style." Unfortunately, "Bomb the System" is just another forgotten movie to throw onto the growing pile of ridiculously bad hip-hop movies.

Set to a "score" by Def Jux honcho and former Company Flow rapper, El-P, "Bomb the System" follows a writer named Blest who, in the span of a week or so, is faced with the prospects of college, a new love, a war with a ragtag pair of cops dubbed "the Vandal Squad," and his disintegrating relationship with his best friend, Buk 50.

Movies like "Bomb the System" are a mixed blessing (no pun intended). On the one hand, it's far more sophisticated than "Killa Season" (which isn't very hard to eclipse intellectually, I suppose). The flick deals a lot with human emotion and the on-screen characters are not afraid to show it, whether it would be anger or sorrow. Hip-Hop deals a lot with masking your true feelings and not letting people into your head, or heart for that matter.

But for all the emotional conflict that makes this movie fairly decent, there's also a loose plotline that's strung together by bland acting, a non-existent script, a bad soundtrack and really annoying music video-style editing. The last one being the worst crime of them all since it seems as though director Adam Bhala Lough saw the Michel Gondry DVD, got his hands on Adobe Premiere and went to town.

As bad as Lough tried to make "Bomb the System" his "Wild Style" (even going as far as getting Lee Quinones to do a cameo as himself), it's more like "Juice" except with graffiti. It has a lot of similar elements in terms of how relationships -- both romantic and platonic -- can affect (or be affected by) dreams, art, and age.

In short, "Bomb the System" isn't too different from a writer whose work is commited to notebooks rather than walls. All flash and no balls.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

tidbits 4/6/06

* mollie sue is the first one of my antm pics to get shown the boot. dammit! even though she's looking kinda 2004 coked-up hipster in the picture above, she's still le foxy. i do call bullshit on the fact that she got booted because of her lack of personality. since when did models have to have any personality? tyra's is some unique mishmash of oprah and gabrielle union's character from "bring it on," and kate moss and naomi campbell? well, let's just say that i don't see the mollie doing blow with m. shadows or punching out random assistants any time soon.

* vagrant signed the futureheads, an english/scottish band of some sort that has a member who's like my european doppleganger. guess which one looks like moa.

along with the hold steady and john ralston, vagrant is either signing these bands a year or two too late, or reinventing the vagrant tag altogether.

* byron crawford, who's been throwing one of hell of a shit storm over at, has a bunch of a series of episode synopsis of past "real world" seasons. check it.

* and lastly, joel h, has a very rad interview with mr. tennessee himself, speech.

word to big bird.

[ps: in a bid of self-promotion, i have been added to the roation of DJs for "strictly business" sunday nights at the war room in seattle. free cover. all 90s/underground hip-hop. no top 40 shit]

gym class heroes? more like wack ass zeroes

So the other day, I briefly went off about how wack Gym Class Heroes are and then I thought "Man, I'm being pretty harsh to some dudes who are just trying to make some hip-hop." Then I slapped myself for the thought and continued on with the notion that Gym Class Heroes are the worst thing to happen to hip-hop since Raven-Symone's rap record and Benzino.

Their clusterfuck of a debut album "The Papercut Chronicles" has one passable song ("Papercuts"), the rest of it is just garbage. There's no way around it. That "clever" song "Taxi Driver" -- which uses emo band names as lyrics -- is blatant rip off of GZA's 1995 single "Labels," in which Genius chastises the record industry by dropping label names.

Schleprock's flow (if you can call it that) is similar to Shifty Shellshock of Crazy Town, so my comparison isn't completely unwarranted. In fact there's a lot of that the two have in common.

* Both use "live" instrumentation, but at least Crazy Town had a DJ. Gym Class Heroes won't even give some young turntable buck a chance to shine. Maybe they're afraid of being outdone.

* Both are found in the "rock" section. This goes back to a debate at Easy Street when Tanya, one of the buyers at the store, kept putting "The Papercut Chronicles" in rock, so I took it upon myself to move it to hip-hop. She got fed up with this so she put a note under the album's information instructing that it go in rock. Former manager Michael and I were perplexed so we called Fueled by Ramen (Wack Ass Zeroes label) and asked them where the album should be filed. Sure enough, they said "rock." See, Gym Class Heroes can't even be considered hip-hop by their own fucking label, not unlike Crazy Town.

* Shifty Shellshock has a bunch of tattoos, some of which were part of some weird CGI shit in the "Butterfly" video. Schleprock also has a bunch of tattoos and I'm sure once they start getting some of that Fall Out Boy money, then it's just a matter of time before star tattoos start flying around like x-wings in their goddamn videos.

* They both suck.

I figured that to these junior high emo hipster kids, who wouldn't know a good hip-hop record if Erick Sermon hit them with a haymaker, probably own three rap CDs: Missy's "Under Construction," Kanye West's "Late Registration," and this shit. But seriously, Gym Class Heroes is lowering the bar even further and people who couldn't tell you the difference between "Follow the Leader" and "The Funky Headhunter" will have this fucked up version of hip-hop as a sad reference point.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

things that make you say hmm....

So says Tony Brummel: "It's like why would I put bacteria in my Petri dish when my Petri dish is completely sterile?"

In similar context, why would such a staunch advocate of "independent" music go out his way to advertise this:

Oh yeah, I forgot, Victory is synonymous with:

wait, what fucking year is it?

There's a new Ghostface Killah record in stores right now, Def Jam is the leading hip-hop label, Green Day is playing to millions of people on a stadium tour and there's a Clinton in office somewhere. So why exactly has time stopped and I've kept aging?

I'm not exactly sure, but I can tell you that apparently the 90's have come back into full effect. Let's ignore the fact that the decade really didn't happen too long ago and that many of its clothing trends such as big, baggy jeans for the rap kids and tight pants and sweaters for the rawk set are still par for the course, but what the fuck is up with this shit?

It's bad enough that we've had to get bombarded with a lackluster Smashing Pumpkins tribute album featuring repulsive covers by equally repulsive bands, but "Punk Goes 90's?" First off (as Adam Barone of pointed out), there are no punk bands on this compilation. They're either that ridiculous "screamo" hybrid that died out ages ago, or an oversensitive "indie" poser band. Well, except for Gym Class Heroes, whose hip-hop cover of Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge" is sure to have backpackers racing to their nearby Best Buys to get a copy of "Bloodsugarsexmagik." Not.

Gym Class Fucking Heroes? Aren't they the second coming of Crazy Town? Wouldn't it have been truer to their nature to cover "Butterfly?"

What person at Fearless thought this was a good idea? Seriously, are you really trying to hang onto your youth so badly that you would have a subpar band like Emery destroy (and not in a figurative sense) Toad the Wet Sprocket? Or the Starting Line cover Bjork? That's just idiotic.

With the better part of the 00's over, there's still nothing that speaks volumes about anything that has stood out culturally outside of "American Idol" or "Desperate Housewives." We have more or less been living in an extension of the 90s and to "rehash" it to a new generation of stupid kids who'll probably start wearing Pendelton and pick up a used copy of "In Utero" and act like they've always been down is no different than when Jon Bon Jovi started rocking the flannel and pretended he was some working class rocker (word to the Boss).

Fearless Records needs to stop putting out these worthless, punkless "Punk Goes...." comps, and go back to putting out At the Drive In reissues.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

album o' the day

Promise Ring

First of all, having a stomach virus is like eating knives and throwing up razorblades. That pretty much encapsulates my entire weekend and Monday. So going through (literally) gut-wrenching pain, I had to find an album that was both beautiful and somber. My girlfriend brought out my long forgotten copy of the Promise Ring's "Wood/Water," which was their swan song record.

Amidst harsh criticism that they had turned their backs on the Cars-esque power pop that made them emo superstars, "Wood/Water" is everything that "30 Degrees Everywhere" and "Very Emergency" aren't -- it's sullen, moody and a quiet storm of sorts. The songs are much in the vein of Built To Spill, yet instead of songs about getting stoned, the topics are that of a weary band. "My Life is at Home" and "Stop Playing Guitar" were road signs that Davey Von Bohlen and crew didn't really much left in them.

Listening to "Wood/Water" now, it really isn't surprising that TPR broke up months after the album's release and though many reviews complained that their final album was a failure, I think it's probably their best record and validates them as more than a flash-in-the-pan emo band.

[Available mp3s: "Stop Playing Guitar"]