Thursday, March 29, 2007

another GD further seems forever record

Further Seems Forever
"The Final Curtain"
(567 Records)

Further Seems Forever is one release away from being the 2Pac of rock bands, inasmuch as they continue to release material from beyond the grave. While they're not quite up to snuff with someone like Mac Dre, it's possible that they could chop up lyrical pieces over new music or find some way to keep releasing the same 15 songs, Dashboard-style.

This second posthemous collection, "The Final Curtain," combines the band's final performance with b-sides, their first EP and a DVD. Like their Tooth and Nail-officiated swan swan song, "Hope This Finds You Well," it's really more of a reissue of the all the songs that a fan would already have. The DVD is pretty subpar considering that the band could've taken a few more months and issued a proper documentary (apparently, second singer Jason Gleason was not asked to participate in the release at all. DRAMA!). There aren't even any music videos on the disc, which sucks because it would've been cool to see the rare clip for "Wearing Thin," which featured a girl driving aimlessly around Seattle. All we're left with is a video of the live set they perform on the CD, crappy interviews and "behind the scenes clips" which is really a montage of footage from random tours and preexisting DVDs of the Cornerstone and Furnace festivals.

As for the music portion itself, surprisingly Jon Bunch sounds more comfortable singing Chris Carrabba's and Gleason's songs more than his own. But live records are seldom good and this falls into the abyss of unlistenable live albums. The acoustic song choices are something to be desired and the songs from their debut split EP with Recess Theory aren't all that rare, and many of those songs show up on "The Moon is Down" anyway.

The only real reason to give this a chance is the rare cover of Bjork's "Pagan Poetry" which was originally recorded for a Bjork tribute that will probably never come out. The cover is pretty good (as far as Bjork covers go) since Gleason sings on the track and he seemed to be the only singer of the three that was able to control his voice well [1].

This really does seems like another cash in on Further Seems Forever, thing is, the band has been dead for over a year now and kids have already moved on to worshiping other bands. Oh well, better late than never I suppose.

[1] Dude should really try out for "American Idol." He'd sing circles around that Blake Lewis sucker.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Come Widdit: On Guard

[Come Widdit is a weekly feature in which I spit, nay, type kind words about a band that you herbs need to know about]

On Guard
Location: NY
Sounds Like: Sweet heaven or None More Black-lite

On Guard is the latest project from Jason Shevchuk, he of East Coast hardcore demigods Kid Dynamite and the best pop-punk band of all time None More Black. Recently signed to Suburban Home, the two tracks featured On Guard's myspace -- "Lupe's Fault" and "Benders" -- are stripped down and sonically interesting.

The lyrics are pure Shevchuk: introspective and riot-inducing. It's weird to hear these songs and find that even though they aren't as fast as KD or NMB, they are still punk as hell and, at the very least, as exciting as headwalking on a crowd of straight edge kids.

[Related Links]
On Guard's Myspace

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american ca-ca

So I guess I should be rooting for the hometown hero as Blake Lewis the Seattle rep in "American Idol" is blasting his way through all the other karaoke singers on the show. Last night he did a cover of The Cure's "Love Song."


Robert Smith's vocals are pretty hard to imitate and though Lewis tried his hardest, the song doesn't warrant the kind of vagina-inspired performance he pretty boy'd his way through last night. I don't know what's worse: some GAP model covering The Cure or that the judges actually thought that his cover of the 311 cover of the song was passable. Robert Smith is rolling over in his grave right now.

Related Links:
Blake Lewis sucking his way through The Cure as Robert Smith silently ponders a which Wiccan spell would take this bastard out.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

thnks fr th cmmrcl

Despite having one of the biggest tours in the country AND the cover of "Rolling Stone," pop-punk darlings Fall Out Boy have, yet again, deemed it necessary to shill for sponsors for their latest clip, the dreadfully titled "Thnks Fr th Mmrs." Yesterday, Idolator briefly mentioned some of the product placement in the video. Thanks to the power of the 'Tube, I was able to count where the products where placed in the timecode. Check it out:

Last year, Fall Out Boy released a video for "A Little Less Sixteen Candles..." which strongly featured the new Verizon V-Cast phone at the time. This year, we're getting a Nokia phone, Tag Bodyspray (which is something ALL punks need) and GMC's Tahoe. Because nothing says hardcore like an SUV made for soccer moms.

It's nothing new that former hardcore and punk kids have been selling out via the Vans (and Target) Warped Tour for years, but this is just sad. These guys already make tons of money, if not from their album sales, then from their tours and merchandise sales. This all begs the question, how much more money do you need?

I don't find this any more different (maybe slightly less demeaning) from when MC Hammer did commercials for Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Or his ultimate ad, drinking Pepsi with his posse after winning an VMA on MTV.

If kids don't know that they're being sold to at this point, then they need to collectively get their heads out of their ass and see the light. Idiots.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

worst tour ever?

(Fall of Troy's Thomas Erak is here to bang your little sister and get crunk)


"Deftones have announced the dates for a summer tour set to kick off in early May. The long-running band released Saturday Night Wrist last year. For the tour, the band has enlisted Japan's Dir En Grey as well as Equal Vision's The Fall of Troy."

Hmm.... This is both confusing and sad at the same time. Recently, it seems that the Deftones have been trying to reach out to a younger audience by booking openers who are of the eem persuasion. Last year, Dredg opened for them. This time around it's Mukilteo, Washington's own Fall of Troy. Normally, I really could give two shits about the opener. Case in point: in 2000, I saw the Deftones with Incubus as their opener. I just sat in the back with all the other meatheads until it was time to get live -- and by get live, I mean watch closer. For some reason, the inclusion of the Fall of Troy is particularly grating for several reasons.

One: they're not very good, live or otherwise. They're sort of like a fourth-tier Blood Brothers meets Converge except, y'know, shitty.

Two: they're douchebags. Well, their singer is a pretty big douchebag.

Three: they've only been around for a few years. I can think of several bands who could benefit from this opening slot more than the Fall of Troy.

It seems to me that they're indicative of what's wrong with new punk bands these days, they rip off a style, release the same album TWICE, and try to get all esoteric by writing songs about ghost pirate ships or whatever the hell their second EP was about. They are, perhaps, the epitome of poser, indicated by the fact that they try too hard to write stuff that doesn't make sense and pass it off as hardcore. Ironically, I heard singer Thomas Erak talk about how he hated hardcore. Hypocrite say what?

In itself, hardcore is built on spreading a message, but for whatever reason, the Fall of Troy has succeeded in fooling a bunch of people into believing that their indecipherable brand of rock is something new (it's not). I hope they get shit thrown at them on stage.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

wow, i can get hilarious, too!

So the last new band I've liked in some time, Say Anything, shot a video for their b-side, "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too." Despite the premise that it's supposed to make fun of cool, expensive videos, it's actually fairly entertaining. It has Bollywood dancers, hot whores from the Czech Republic and The Fonz! Yeah, that The Fonz! The song itself is also pretty funny since it's a poppy dance number with lyrics about masturbating and the internet (didn't Weezer cover this in "Pinkerton?"), which is really what kids are into these days. I get somewhat of a little chuckle when I think about how ballsy (no pun) the topic of the song is and how many stupid kids will take it seriously. Oh what it's like to be a teenager these days!

[Related Links]
Say Anything - "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too"
Official Say Anything Website

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

a quick review...

Amy Winehouse
"Back to Black"

For all intents and purposes, I should probably dislike Amy Winehouse. Aesthetically, I can draw plenty of similarities between Winehouse and Lily Allen, Pitchfork's other British It-Chick who was the recent recipient of Ryan's lyrical darts: they're both high profile white girls from across the water who are more known for being loud-mouthed chickenheads redoing the kind of music that Black people have been doing for years. They also have worked with trust fund baby-turned-beatmaker Mark Ronson, who's a way better producer than the other go-to-trust fund beatmaker, Scotty Storch.

Yet for all her stories involving rehab and whatnot, I actually dig Amy Winehouse. Her record "Back to Black" is far more pleasant than whatever bullshit Lily Allen was kicking out. And let's face it, any singer who has the guts to have Ghostface Killah on their record AND Salaam Remi (the man behind the first Fugees record, Da Bush Babees and the last three Nas records) backing her up is up to snuff with their hip-hop references.

It's fairly easy to write Winehouse off as a Jamiroquai-styled revival act, but there's something genuine in her voice and lyrics that you don't really feel with contemporaries like Lily Allen and Jamie Cullum (shudder). That's the truth, party people.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

ole' skoool

the coolness hasn't really been updated very much because i'm trying to get back into school to get my master's degree in awesomeness. nah, seriously though, i am going back to school, but i do this thing where i procrastinate really bad and so i'm trying to get my shit together here in the homestretch. stay tuned for new musings sometime next week, but until then...

Monday, March 05, 2007

build me up buttercup: a review that turned into an essay about a biggie smalls record

Notorious BIG
"Greatest Hits"
(Bad Boy/Warner)

It still amazes me that ten years after its release, whenever I hear the Herb Alpert sample blazing over the first few bars of "Hypnotize," I still get excited and I commence rapping along to the late, great Notorious BIG's impeccable rhyme style.

I was in New York the week that "Life After Death" dropped and you couldn't go anywhere without hearing "Hypnotize" and "Mo Money Mo Problems." Simultaneously, "All About the Benjamins" had been circulating and a few mixtapes I bought at the time contained some version of the song, though it was months before it would see an official release. All of these memories beg the question, is Christopher Wallace (a.k.a. The Notorious BIG) still relevant a decade after his last real album?

The answer, in short, is yes. As many other people have pointed out, Hip-Hop sucks. There's no light at the end of the tunnel, either. In the last year, the Hip-Hop records that I've enjoyed can be counted on one hand, and many of the records that I did end up buying were old releases that I had either lost or forgotten about. Hip-Hop is today what pop-punk was after Blink-182 blew the fuck up, it's sad, convoluted, boring, trite and just really shitty. With that said, I'm sure that there are many longtime Hip-Hop fans like myself who would applaud the release of a Notorious BIG greatest hits package. The thing is, the guy only had two records and most of us own them.

Biggie's "Greatest Hits" is a predictable release. All the singles are in place, as are the rerecorded classics ("Want That Old Thing Back" is essentially a cover of "One More Chance" with Ja Rule) and a well-known b-side ("I Shot Ya," which appeared on the TWO reissues of "Ready to Die").

I would recommend this collection only for the purpose of nostalgia; however, in this iTunes-ruled universe, it's not that hard to import "Ready to Die" and "Life After Death" and cherry pick your favorite Biggie songs to create your own greatest hits.

While "Hits" does heavily rely on Biggie's two albums, there are also tracks from 1999's "Born Again" and 2005's "Duets," two ill-fated posthemous albums that sloppily pieced together unused Biggie raps with contemporary artists that Wallace probably wouldn't have worked with otherwise.

I'm actually surprised that Diddy didn't try to include some of the better remixes that surfaced as singles, such as Jermaine Durpi's club-friendly (and up-tempo) remix of "Big Poppa," the Pete Rock version of "Juicy" or even Da Brat-assisted duet, "Da B-Side." A DVD also would've been cool, too.

But there's none of that. Just a bunch of songs that -- while we love to death -- have been played a million times since 1997. At the end of the day, it just seems like another slap-dashed attempt by Diddy to make money off of Notorious BIG's leftovers and once again sullying the man's legacy.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

tyra hates tattoos

It's another season of one my favorite shows "America's Next Top Model. I boycotted part of last season because Tyra kicked off AJ Stewart for no good goddamn reason. This season, one of the semi-finalists was this rockabilly cutie named Micheline, a heavily tattooed would-be model. Unlike some of the other girls on the show (like Sarah, Natasha and Renee), Micheline seemed like she wasn't full of shit. And of course in true "Top Model" fashion, homegirl doesn't make to the house and is actually one of the first to get the boot.

What the hell Tyra?

We were debating about her exodus and whether it has something to do with the fact that she is tattooed. Even though it is 2007, being tattooed (for whatever reason) is still some sort of taboo, though I'm sure that Micheline's Universal Monsters-go-pop-art didn't really help, either.

Still, it would've been interesting to see her pitted up against some of the pasty, gross ass chicks who did make it in. Oh well. She's probably better off without dealing with Tyra's bullshit anyway.

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comeback kid of the year

While many blogger/radio friendly producers are busy bickering with each other, the always stand up DJ Premier has unleashed another one of his certified hits right underneath their stupid noses.

"Classic," a track from Kanye West featuring Nas, KRS-One and Rakim has been circulating around the Internet recently in the form of a Rick Rubin version with loud guitars circa 1986-era Run DMC. Earlier today, Onsmash and XXL both posted a video for the song featuring a beat by none other than Primo himself. With Nas, Kris and God on a singular track (along with an easily outshined Kanye) ripping over a DJ Premier track, the song really does live up to its title.

Of course this is a pretty welcomed return to form since Premier's production on the last Gang Starr album was something to be left desired. But since his contribution to Christina Aguilera's "Back 2 Basics," it seems that Primo has many more years of amazing production in his sleeves. Maybe we can pray that Guru will come to his senses and Gang Starr can come back in full effect.

[Related Links]
Kanye West featuring Rakim, Nas and KRS-One, "Classic"