Tuesday, January 29, 2008

hey man, how about an update?

I have some reviews for Redefine in the pipeline, otherwise, there's not much to write about.

I entertained the notion of killing this blog and Backed With and pretty much just sticking to Stay Off the Crack, but I'm going to let this one sit around for a little while.

Last Saturday, I wrote the first two chapters of book 2 and last night, as I was watching "Making the Band 4," I started outlining book three. With book three, I'm actually going to make a real effort to have it released which means I need the following:

a lawyer (this isn't going to be very hard)
an agent
a publisher
an editor (again, not as hard as the agent/publisher combo)

"A War Torn Letter" is coming out as a download on Chasing Coolness, actually. So get ready for 80 pages of madness and a lot of references to The Smiths, De La Soul and "Moesha."
I thought it's time to just get the jawn out there. In hindsight, it's far from perfect; it's just a story I needed to tell. If I ever scrape together the cash, I'll do a physical printing, as in my head, it was always a little book you could carry in your pocket, BUT for now, the internets will have to do.

That's it for now.... Maybe someday I'll throw a review or something up here. Not today.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

if only this were true...


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


So I lifted my comment moratorium, because writing this was a little boring without feedback. I haven't opened it all the way, though, because I'm not too keen on the return of racist rants and general ignorance.

Anyway, a few months back, while I still worked at the soon-to-be-defunct-evil-empire, I got a copy of Brighten's "King Vs. Queen." This is the kind of band whose internet hype did nothing to whet my appetite, so it wound up in a discarded pile of CDs that I promise I'll get to but never do. Over the weekend, I was digging around my iPod and found that I had already uploaded it, so I gave it a listen.

It was freakin' fantastic.

Removing the fact that their singer sounds like Kenny from the Starting Line, Brighten is a pretty talented band. Their lyrical imagery draws the kind of allusions that I would expect from seasoned veterans. They're also one of the few bands that can walk that razor-thin line of secular Christian bands (Christian bands who play secular music...Joel, anyone want to help me with this?) [1]. If you can get past the one or two songs about J.C. (actually don't do that, because they're actually pretty good), then "King Vs. Queen" could demolish any random Hot Topic band.

[1] See: Mute Math, Underoath, Switchfoot, etc.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

i hate coachella...

As Idolator and a bunch other sites reported earlier today, Portishead will be headlining the second day of the Coachella festival. As Charles Brown would say, "Aarrggghh!!!!"

I make it no secret that I hate big events and festivals and I hate them moreso if they're outdoors (Taste of Chaos has something working out for them). But as Portishead is one of the greatest British bands from the 90's (sorry, Oasis), I'm actually a little sad that I'll be intentionally missing Coachella this year.

Like SXSW, I don't see the need in traveling to another state to see a bunch of bands, especially considering that Coachella is in the middle of the fucking desert and that, even as a tropical person, I hate muggy weather.

I seriously hope that the Portishead reunion shindig winds up in Seattle because I don't want to use my time off to sit in the sand to watch Beth Gibbons wail on some morose realness.

[ps: Joel, good looking out on that Sixpence reunion!]

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Leeni, "8-Bit Heart"

"8-Bit Heart"

It's been a long time since I graced the internets with my cackles and shameless quest to talk smack upon those who deserve it. I spend so much time writing throughout my day, that all I ever really feel like writing is the bits and pieces that I dispense either on stayoffthecrack or moviescenester.com. Pop culture-wise, there hasn't been enough activity that's worth writing about, save the following factoids:

1. I finally got "30 Rock" Season 1 (Thanks, James!)
2. "Cloverfield" will be out on Friday (Wikipedia has the full movie summary and I'm sure it'll pop up in a pirated format soon enough).
3. I was going to go see the Finch reunion show tonight, but I'm staying in Olympia to mingle with my co-workers; also, I'm broke.

With that said, two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing this girl named Leeni play the Rendezvous in Seattle. She sang over a keyboard and beats provided by an old school Gameboy (and not the Advance or DS Lite for you youngsters). At the time, I didn't have enough cash to pony up in order to buy her CD, but I managed to buy one anyway [1] once I had a paycheck come through.

"8-Bit Heart" is this amazing album. To spare this review of any hyperbole, let me say that all the songs sound the same, Leeni more-or-less uses the same melody throughout the record, and it works better as a gimmick record.

Except for the fact that it also works as an actualized project.

If you get past the whole "oooh cute girl makes songs with Gameboy" schtick, "8-Bit Heart" is actually quite clever, particularly in the lyrics department. Leeni's words are, at times, self-deprecating and, at other times, viciously critical of whoever broke her heart. On the album's highlight, "Perfection Interrupted," the hook is so catchy and so emotionally tugging, I dare not rewrite them; you just have to listen to it.

While most people could also dismiss this album because the songs rely heavily on using the same programmed drums, to me, it runs more as a cohesive thought; a characteristic that most albums lack nowadays since it's mostly about singles. And really, concept albums rarely work as a whole anyway.

There's a reason why I actually bought "8-Bit Heart" versus downloading or burning it from one of my friends. If you're going to spend money on something, it might as be something worthwhile, which Leeni happens to be.

[1] See, RIAA, people still buy stuff.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008


So MTV2 hosts the Dew Circuit Breakdown or some such, in which bands compete to do something for MTV2 and for fame or fortune. Clearly it's not to get signed since most bands that have competed in the past (I Am the Avalanche, Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer) had labels to call their home.

This year's winner is Lynnwood, WA's The Myriad. I find this a bit strange since a few years ago, my old band was playing shows with them and no more than two years ago, they were doing their CD release show at the Easy Street Records that I worked at. In any event, they're a pretty good band -- Christian rock overtones notwithstanding (sorry, Joel) -- so good for them!

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Monday, January 07, 2008

XXL = R.I.P. (Probably)

XXL, which stands to be the only decent all Hip-Hop publication (I'm not including Waxpoetics), is signing its own death certificate as several reports via Idolator and Allhiphop.com have surfaced that Editor-In-Chief, Elliott Wilson, has been shown the door. This fact could also be verified due to the notion that Wilson's column has been removed from the site.

This is the latest blow for the magazine, which shuttered its sister publication, the formerly DJ-friendly rag, Scratch, last year.

Wilson, a founder of Ego Trip (if you don't know what Ego Trip is and you claim to be a hip-hop head, kick yourself in the pants, potna), has lead XXL in a much more respectable direction, making it well-rounded with the inclusion of typically silent hip-hop producers and leading the charge of rounding up the Internets' most celebrated (and controversial) bloggers: Byron Crawford, Dallas Penn/Billy Sunday, Noz, Tara Henley and Jay Smooth, just to name a few.

So with that said, without the direction of Elliott Wilson, I can only see XXL becoming the next Source or, God forbid, 4080 (also R.I.P.).

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Errybody's Doin' It

AVClub, Defamer/Gawker and even MSN.com are rapping about last night's new batch of late night talk shows which featured the return of two shows with writers (Letterman and Ferguson [Craig, not Stacy aka Fergie]) and three without [1] (Conan, Leno and Kimmel). I had a chance to catch most of these shows before slumbering off to dreamland and then waking up super early to make the hour-and-a-half commute to work.

The Best:

Letterman's always a pleasure to watch. Even when his bits stink, he still finds a way to riff off of them. Y'know, like a real comedian. It was pretty much a return to form for Dave; the only down side was the Robin Williams guest spot, whose unintelligible sputtering makes me wonder how I ever sat through "Father's Day." Oh yeah, and Letterman was sporting some solidarity facial hair.

Conan, like Letterman, also rocked some pretty awesome facial hair. Due to the fact that he is a member of the Writers Guild, Conan avoided any written material and spent his entire monologue doing what Conan does. He also addressed the absence of his writers by proclaiming that the show, in effect, wouldn't be a show without them. Awww. I didn't manage to watch the rest of the program because I totally fell asleep during the whole-spinning-the-wedding-band on the desk bit. But -- as all the other blogs have pointed out -- at least his filler wasn't terrible.

The Worst:

Leno. Leno, in general, is a pretty terrible talk show host. I think his milestone era was probably between 1996 and 1998, because during that period I felt that Leno's monologue was always a bit stronger than Letterman's (though the latter has often been the better interviewer). For nearly a decade, Jay Leno's lack of quality jokes has continued to be a force to be reckoned with on late night television. "The Tonight Show" was pretty bad compared to the other programs, even by Leno standards. Mike Huckabee was the guest and he played bass with Kevin Eubanks and his band and while Huckabee is a far better bassist than me, Leno was clearly trying to have one of those defining "Clinton On Arsenio" moments, however, due to the writers strike, the bit was marred by bad comedy. Shame on you, Leno.

The Mediocre:

I didn't watch Craig Ferguson's show, but he's not that bad of a host, so I'm sure it was okay.

I've long been indifferent about Jimmy Kimmel. He was always the more likable of the Man Show duo, but his inability to read cue cards always bugged the shit out of me. Kimmel's unscripted bits were pretty funny and he did talk a little smack about the strike, but it was to be expected. The Uncle Frank bits were really the saving grace, otherwise, it was dull as rocks.

[1] I don't know if Carson Daly's show is in reruns, but I don't watch that garbage anyway.

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