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Archive for June 2008

Chuggo

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Wonder where all the good redneck white hick rap has been hiding all this time?

Look no further:

Edit:

Chuggo’s Last.FM page. I love the tags and artist description.

Chuggo’s Myspace

Chuggo is living proof that Canada is not as great as white people make it seem.

Written by M

June 30, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Plugs

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FNMTV fans want more singing!

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From Idolator comes news that teenagers who can’t spell don’t like what last.fm tells me is a noise rock / shoegaze band called No Age (I’ve only heard their name before, so I’m just going to trust the wisdom of crowds here when it comes to their sound).

I love comments on internet videos.

When a comment begins with, “but i agree with mamii4u2envii,” there’s just something that brings a smile to my eyes and a bounce to my step. What did mamii say, though? “sucked.lol.i love punk and rock music but this video sucked.the guitar was so loud you couldn’t even hear the vocalist.and the video looked low rent.lol.i thought it was going to be a cool song but i couldn’t even hear the lyrics=[[“

I see. Punk is known for its hi-fi production and gorgeous music videos.

“This video is cool, but the sound effects are like a vaqqum machine…seriously this song is weeeiirrdd =/”

My God, could you imagine what they’d say if you put a Lightning Bolt-type band up?

Okay, okay, “It’s 2 min. into the video and I still don’t understand what the hell is going on! I’m surprised anybody watched the video this long!”

But you know, I’m actually going to give MTV props for putting something up that appears to have challenged how these people see music. Maybe it’s not the greatest song of all time, but at least it’s not Vampire Weekend or Panic at the Disco — bands which are rigidly formulaic.

Written by M

June 30, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Commentary

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“I saw a hat being thrown from behind me and it hit Amy’s beehive.”

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In what reads like an orgasmic tale of being bit by a rabid dog, the man from the Glastonbury festival who was hit by Amy Winehouse describes the experience.

Hot Topic is going to be getting into the digital music realm. That almost seems like it’s been a long time coming. What bothers me more is this Project (RED) thing that sounds like a total con scheme. But hey, at least you get a “crackerjack surprise” once a week!

Whaaaat? Conor Oberst sits down to cry with talk to Marissa Moss at the Huffington Post. My personal issues with him and his music aside, at least he’s honest enough to admit this about The President Talks to God: “I don’t even know how much of a song it is–it’s more like a commercial to a point of view.”

Okay, I’m not joking: whichever judge is citing Joni Mitchell in their rulings should probably, like, stop.

Stereogum tells us new tune by The Verve has surfaced for those interested.

Oh dear. Peter Gabriel is going to cover Vampire Weekend on his forthcoming CD (apparently it’s been delayed about as long as GnR’s Chinese Democracy?). “I think playing with yourself makes you go blind after a while.” Hopefully someone will let the guys over in Vampire Weekend know that.

For anyone who is 13 who still gives a damn about Slipknot, apparently the band is going to release a new single tomorrow.

Sort of old news at this point, but for anyone who is curious, here’s part of Barack Obama’s iPod playlist. It is actually really true that a guy like Ludacris is a great businessman. I’m not sure why or how he came to be one, but he is. Besides, who can’t relate to this?

An ongoing feud between Jay-Z and Oasis took place regarding the Glastonbury festival. Noel Gallagher (that dude from Oasis, you know?) wuz all like, “No bitch, I ain’t takin’ no negro at mah music festival.” And Jay-Z was all, “I’m gonna play Wonderall so that everyone gets one more chance to hear how hard it sucks.” …Or something.

Written by M

June 30, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Calla – Scavengers

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This would be the 2001 sophomore album/masterpiece by the NYC-based trio, though the band’s roots in Denton, TX might go further to explaining the sound of this thing. The best word I can think of for it is “hot,” but that requires some clarification. This is the soundtrack to a humid summer night, a record full of dark textures that lumber and creep forward, dripping with woozy sweat.

This tone is clear right from the beginning with “Fear of Fireflies.” A low bass anchors the track while acoustic and electric guitars, organs, subtle synths and various percussion snake around it, winding in with Aurelio Valle’s strained-yet-disaffected voice and slightly spooky lyrics (“A sea of fireflies hover at the dark, following tracers, scattering apart, following me”).

“Traffic Sound” is harsher, driven by a kick drum and hollow guitar tone that emphasizes the empty space in the song. “Slum Creeper” sounds like what a song with that title should sound like–it shakes forward in a sinister, dirty lurch. “Mayzelle” and “A Fondness for Crawling” are instrumental numbers that both slowly build tension while unleashing atonal, ghost-in-the-machine noises.

“Hover Over Nowhere” is the record at its “prettiest,” a hazy, lazy ballad that takes its time, unfolding slowly over seven and a half minutes. “Tijerina” follows a similar formula, but builds to a more fevered climax before coming back down. What’s really interesting is the final track, a cover of the relatively spare “Promenade” by U2 (from 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire, if you care), that doubles the original song’s length. Even if it is relatively up, compared to the prior 9 tracks, it comes off as a surprisingly perfect addition/end note.

If you’re half-awake, trying to fall asleep sans-AC on a warm night (as I was when I decided to write this), this would be a fitting soundtrack to that state. As illustration, an audio youtube of “Fear of Fireflies” for ya:

If you dig this, they also have 4 other pretty good albums: Calla (1999), Televise (2003), Collisions (2005) and Strength in Numbers (2007).

Written by Sarah K

June 30, 2008 at 3:54 am

Posted in Plugs, Reviews

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Record Stores

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With the advent of computers came mp3s and the internet followed by iPods and iTunes followed by decreased CD sales and increased online sales. No one that doesn’t work for a major record label will dispute that this is a good thing. The flow of music from person to person takes place at a rate exponentially faster than it would have even a decade ago. In 1998, it took a lot more work to discover music that wasn’t just on the radio, it was much more difficult to find decent bands in the alternative realm. Thanks to the internet, all of this happened and is happening. This is the best thing that has happened to music since recording came into play.

With that being said, I’m here to ask: remember record stores? Not like the music section of Hastings or Barnes and Noble, but real record stores.

Personally, I love record stores. One in particular. It’s called Homer’s. There are a few Homer’s in the Lincoln-Omaha-Council Bluffs area, but the original one in downtown Omaha is the best record store that I’ve ever been to.

It’s in an old building in Omaha’s downtown historic (according to tourist centers) Old Market. A magnificent area, really. The store is long with an old wooden floor. There’s always incense burning, which I don’t really dig, but it has a certain feeling to it, y’know? There’s a tub of posters advertising concerts past days that run about two dollars. All along the left wall are vinyls. I’m not really into buying vinyl, but one day I did find A Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles for like eighteen dollars. Seriously, I’m not dumb. Every band I’ve ever heard of has a little separation marker in the CD section. Obviously there are plenty of bands that I haven’t heard of there. They have a huge “Staff Picks” section with really great staff picks in every genre. Everyone that I’ve encountered that works there is really cool. The store is really a fantastic place.

Record stores will be a thing of the past in a few years. And, to be honest, that makes me pretty sad. iTunes just can’t inject me with the feeling of holding a solid form of music in my hands in a room full of music and music memorabilia. Sorry, Steve, but you just can’t compete.

So tell me about your record stores.

Written by Jacob Z

June 30, 2008 at 12:12 am

Latest Song Obsession

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This (best version I could find on youtube)–

Also, this is kinda cool:

Written by Sarah K

June 29, 2008 at 5:03 am

You Don’t Have a Life, You Have a Lifestyle – OR – I Love Punk and I Hate Punk

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Punk sucks This has been an issue for me for a long time: Is punk good or bad? The answer for me used to be “good,” hands down. Instinctively, I just knew I loved punk. But then when I started thinking about all the different meanings and possible associations with punk (the lifestyle, the trend, the concept, the music, the merchandise), I started to think the answer was a hands down, “bad.” Before this gets really messy and I talk a little about what I think each part of punk is worth, I should say that the vast, vast majority (talking at least 80-85%) of my music is either punk or it has very close roots to punk (as I write this, I am listening to the band Faraquet, a punk band). Even My Bloody Valentine’s highly influenced by punk; Kevin Shields has said that The Ramones were one of his favorite acts as a kid. Their loud-as-hell performances that he mentioned have clearly shown up in My Bloody Valentine shows — especially during things like “The Holocaust” in You Made Me Realise. So the fact of the matter is, I listen to punk. I like — no, love — punk. But what is punk?

When you ask the average person about punk, they probably get images of John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten. If not Lydon, it’s the even more infamous Sid Vicious. You can almost see from here how punk was made corporate and all the confusion got tossed in.

Quickly, we see punk rock the mentality (ie, those outside the mainstream, the avant garde musician, and those who would later be called “indie” acts) and the punk rock “sound” as a split in the overall definition of punk. It’s like if you have a tree and at the root of the tree is the word punk. From there, there’s a fork that instantly goes into what is termed, regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy, the “sound” of punk by most people (Anti-Flag, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Rise Against, Rancid, etc) and the psyche of punk. The psyche is, for instance, what motivates musicians to do something rebellious, something outside the mainstream, something that is just so freaky and out there that no one may even realize at the time how brilliant it is.

But another split occurs: the psyche halves itself. Part of it becomes the image of the punk psyche. The mohawk, the combat boots, the piercings. The image and the sound, in present times, are both very corporate and, honestly, in the sense of punk’s true psyche, un-punk. When Hot Topic is selling the needless vanities of punk’s soul, something is wrong. That is not about rebellion. That is not about being different. The other half of this split is the psyche’s will to be different. Having a mohawk is no longer all that different. You can turn on the TV and see ads for menopause supplements with a girl in heavy eye shadow and, as the ay-daults might say, an outrageous getup. In 1980, I can’t imagine the image of punk being that common place. But these days, you can turn your TV on and see the old image of punk everywhere.

Pausing here — hopefully this explains my twisted thoughts on punk a little. I want to say I like punk, but at the same time, because punk is so many different things, how can anyone really like it? How can anyone really hate it? I must first narrow down what I think punk really is before I can offer an opinion. Saying I like punk is like saying I like… books. Yeah, I like books, but what kind? I don’t read adult novels, graphic novels, self-help guides, joke books, money books, and so on, but then, there are books I really love. There’s the kitschy side of literature, if you can even really call it literature, like Twilight, and then there’s the side of literature that’s actually, you know, interesting, such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

So there’s my dilemma: if I say I love books, that really tells you nothing. It tells me nothing. What do I like about books? Why do I like books? What books do I like? It’s the exact same thing with punk.

I’ve never liked the combat boots side of punk. I used to like the Anti-Flag, Rancid, Rise Against side of punk before I realized what was going on there. I despise, and always have, the trend of punk, which has arisen from both the image and sound stereotypes. It’s a greedy, frivolous disgrace. But with all the loathing I feel towards “punk,” do I also like punk a little, too? I do claim to listen to it, after all, so I’d hope I like it.

And I do. I really do. But it’s a very specific thing for me. I like artists who aren’t afraid to try new things. In the ’80s and ’90s, they were called punk rockers. They were called punk rockers until MTV and Hot Topic violated their PUNK RAWKERâ„¢ trademark and made it their own. These days, we call them “indie.” But punk is like that. Punk is Boris, but punk is also the Meat Puppets; the same way that both of those bands are also called indie bands these days. Neither punk or indie are genres in the sense that they have a defined sound or a defined image. MTV certainly gave punk a defined image. Now, due to Vampire Weekend, indie is getting a taste of that Kool-Aid itself. That said, punk runs everywhere from Teen Idles to Sonic Youth to My Bloody Valentine to the Brian Jonestown Massacre to the Pixies to… any band that is creative, independent, and rebellious.

So I have gone from liking punk, to hating punk, to appreciating it now more than I have before. But at the same time now, I would feel uncomfortable saying I like punk rock outside of close relationships, because someone in a Paramore t-shirt might accost me with their tales of punk rock extravaganzas. I might be asked who my favorite Fueled by Ramen band is. It could go so wrong so fast, and it leaves me feeling awkward and confused.

That’s why I try not to think about it too much. My lack of thought may be evident here.

What do you readers think punk rock is?

Written by M

June 28, 2008 at 5:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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