Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Submissions Part 2

Yes, I get the weird duty of doing the posts on both X-mas eve and New Year's Eve. Right now it's fucking snowing up here in Boston. We had two storms a couple weeks back that dumped 20 inches on us. Then it melted. I was like, "Yay! I can park my car without having to destroy my back by shoveling now!" And now more snow. Some New Year, eh?

Anyways, I have to say I hope yours is good. And to bring in the New Year? Here are some more submissions I have gotten over the last few months. A sort of "Look Out For These Guys in '09" sort of post.

First up is a dude by the name of Dave Wrangler. Here's his MySpace page. He's from Houston, and the South does do things dirty! He's sent me a couple of tracks, and I wanted to share these with you guys, also. He does remixes of hip-hop cuts as well as mash-ups. They're pretty straight-forward club cuts, and if you're into dudes like Jokers Of The Scene, you'll dig this guy's stuff.

Download Ol' Dirty Bastard - Baby I Got Your Money (Dave Wrangler remix)

[Download Detroit Grand Pubahs - Sandwiches (Dave Wrangler remix)]

[Download Dave Wrangler - Stay Fly VS. Womanizer (Three 6 Mafia VS Britney Spears)]

Next up is the post-punk group the Homosexuals. Myspace page is here. Now, I got this e-mail December 5th, touting their first US tour ever. Only problem? All the shows had already passed! And one was near Boston! Fuckin' hell. I would've gone to see these guys, too. They're definitely known to folks who dig the old school punk. And they released their first music in about 25 years. Here's one of their new cuts, "Slow Guns". Good shit!

The Homosexuals - Slow Guns

And lastly is a band that you guys probably know already. Devotchka. Myspace page is here. Well, for the XBox 360 game Gears of War 2, the fun folks at Microsoft chose to use a song of theirs that many people reading this already probably know - "How It Ends". If you don't recognize it by name? It was used in Little Miss Sunshine, and brilliantly, at that. So below, I give you their hit "How It Ends", and have posted the commercial used to promote Gears of War 2.

[Download Devotchka - How It Ends]

And now? My "This shit has been on my iPod all goddamned year!" list. Yes. I swear. a lot. It's beautiful. So here's my list. You'll notice I left off MGMT, as well as a few other indie-hipster-bandwagon groups. Well, it's not bad stuff. It's just that I got sick of them after about three weeks. These guys? I obviously didn't get sick of! So here you go!

1 - Mogwai - The Sun Smells Too Loud
2 - The Dirtbombs - La Fin Du Monde
3 - Radiohead - House of Cards
4 - Fuck Buttons - Sweet Love For Planet Earth
5 - Hercules and Love Affair - Blind
6 - Bon Iver - Skinny Love
7 - Hot Chip - Ready For The Floor
8 - Thieves Like Us - Drugs In My Body
9 - The Verbs - I'm Your Chocolate
10 - The Ting Tings - Great DJ

As usual, buy this shit! Do it! For the children! Or just imagine children are somehow involved.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I broke free on a Saturday morning...

I put the pedal to the floor...

At the moment, I am sitting on a king size bed at Quality Inn of beautiful Glendale, AZ. I am here with my brother to watch the Cardinals play NFL regular season tomorrow. I just got back from an Irish pub named Tim Finnegans. I got a nice buzz, got beat 2 to 3 in a game of cricket, but I feel ok about it since I kept it very competitive.

I have been thinking about writing this post for weeks, but as of a few minutes ago, I had not written a word.

I wanted to talk about the end of the year. It's nearly time for us to change our calendars. There is a song that I always consider an anthem of mine as we get close to NYE. It's the song This Year by the indie band The Mountain Goats. Well, the song's title might give it away a little bit, but the song is about getting through the year.

Even if it kills you.

Well, the meaning of the song is probably a tad deeper than that. I mean, Scotch on your tongue or not, seventeen is a long year if you are desperate to legally get the fuck out of the house of an abusive parent. The scene ends badly as you might imagine...

It's a great song to scream/sing in your car as you are thinking of just how shitty the economy is and how your house has lost tens of thousands of dollars in just a few months.

I'm just saying.

[Download The Mountain Goats - This Year (Live)]

I also wanted to tell you a story about my blue Gap shirt with the yellow stripe, that I always wear on the holidays. It's beat up and well worn, but it fits so well! The best part might be that every year, in every photo, I am in that shirt! Makes me giggle everytime I see myself in those pictures. The only way you might know which year that xmas picture was taken, is by the configuration of my facial hair in the photo.

But you don't care about that do you? You would rather hear more about The Mountain Goats. Maybe I could tell you about how John Darnielle, the lead singer and songwriter, just wrote a book called Black Sabbath: Master of Reality for the 33⅓ book series. I could even tell you about the 33⅓ series and why you should really check it out.

I'm not going to, though. I am tired. It's late. I need my beauty sleep for the big tailgate party tomorrow before the game!

From all of us at, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Hail Satan!

[Download The Mountain Goats - The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton (Live)]
[Download The Mountain Goats - The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton]
[Download The Mountain Goats - This Year]

But be sure to eventually buy these:


Andy Hull covered a John Darnielle song...guess which one?


[Download Andy Hull - The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton (Cover)]

Friday, December 26, 2008

Youth of America, WE implore you to demand better

It's their third full-length album. They've toured with Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes, Motion City Soundtrack, Hawthorne Heights, and The Format. Out of this, a handful of chart-topping singles have been spawned.

Yet it's not enough to reflect in their music. They refuse to evolve with the rest of the sounds available in art today. Oh dear reader, if you are going to set any sort of resolution for the new year, please resolve to DEMAND better music from teenage punk pop. It exists. Reach deeper. Haunt the record stores more. Accept add request from little indie bands on MySpace. Stay diligent on the music blogs. Bands like The All-American Rejects need to step up if they want your concert cash.

This album, When The World Comes Down, opens with a horribly weak track called "I Wanna". What's sad about this track is that they obviously throw their energy into it, and listeners who haven't been able to experience truly good music will treat this like an anthem. Stop there. It's not. Nevermind the fact that there are more eloquent ways of expressing the lustful desires of our young bodies. These guys are in their mid-20's. They can figure this one out.

Moving along through the album, we have an unlikely duet between Catherine Pierce and lead singer Tyson Ritter on "Another Heart Calls." Pierce has such a gorgeous voice but the pairing is awful. And several of the songs are so frustrating because it's difficult to tell what the story is... And not in a good way. It's one thing to have a dichotomy being expressed in any piece of art because of the confused position of the artist... But this is just not done in an artful way. It's done in the manner of an eight-year old aspiring songwriter, no offense intended to eight year olds. I want to say that "Back To Me" is a halfway decent track, but the lyrics thwart and disappoint me. I'll share it anyway, mostly because this is an mp3 blog but also because it is a decent piece of music that utilizes different instruments harmoniously.

Now I am getting off my soapbox. See you next year!

[All-American Rejects: Back To Me]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Submissions Part 1

Happy Jebus Birthday, folks! Better yet? Happy "So, we really don't know that dude's birthday, and we finally got rid of those blasted pagans, so why not steal their holy days and festivals, also?" Day. Sorry. I couldn't resist it. Actually, right now? I'm high-fiving Emperor Aurelian. He's a pretty fun dude.

And yes, nitpick away at the above. I know all the arguments about it. I'll just be over there, sleeping and otherwise doling out my contribution to society.

Anyhow, enough of my contempt for...well...a lot. This post is to give you a few contributions I received in my e-mail these past few months. Now, I'm pretty honest, so I will simply give my opinions, and it's then your job to go do a little research on these bands! If you like them? Hooray!

So after all these bands I list, I gave you a link to their myspace page. I'm pretty awesome like that.

First up? Ikoma. Click here for a link. Okay, sound-wise? Not bad. However, I get this nagging feeling I have heard some other bands that have this sound. It fits with the "pop-guy looking to show some indie cred" label. One thing, though, that bothers me. The statement that the band "represents the new rock regime." Well, that's for time to decide, really. Not a bad band, but needs to be a bit more unique. The one band that sticks out as a comparison is The Walkmen. That should give you guys a bit of a start!

Next up? The Volunteers. Linky-link be right here. I dig these guys. The music's solid, and they sound like a more mature version of Ween (and checking the e-mail sent, yep! That's one band they're compared to!). And any band that makes a video for a song called "FckMyGhst" gets a thumbs up. Shit, why don't I just post that video for you guys now? They have a new album called Spectrophilia out now, and I would personally suggest this one. Top notch submission!

And one last one for this week is Peasant. Yep, this is the trend - the link is after the performer name again! This dude's pretty good. The voice takes a little getting used to, as it's pretty high pitched. Listening to some of the Daytrotter Sessions, the first thing I thought of was either the recent Bon Iver album, or even a little Chad VanGaalen. I'm actually a bit bummed that I couldn't at least catch his Boston area show. Nonetheless, to download this guy's Daytrotter tracks, click here.

Next week, I'll pass along a few more contributions, as well as post my favorite music from this year. Notice I didn't say "Best of". Know why? "Best of" is a load of crap statement that purports importance. And I and my opinions don't really mean squat. So it's a "Hey, this shit's been on my iPod all year!" list. It's a fucking awesome list. The other four voices in my head think so, so it has to be true!

And yes, buy this stuff! Especially these guys! They would love you long time if you give them your business!

Monday, December 22, 2008

may your organs fail before your dreams fail you

Alle, alle auch sind frei!

That was a cruel joke played by the Nazi's with their prisoners, but 'ollie ollie oxen free' might be the rallying cry for many signed bands to get free and make music with out the pressure of getting on mTV. Most bands would not want to be forced into a mold to sell records. Well most bands WE respect here at inALLcaps.

"Selling out" refers to the compromising of one's integrity, morality and principles in exchange for money, 'success' (however defined) or other personal gain. It is commonly associated with attempts to increase mass appeal or acceptability to mainstream society. A person who does this, as opposed to continuing along his or her original path, is labelled a sellout and typically disregarded. Selling out is often seen as fickle; gaining success at the price of lost credibility.

The punk band The Matches have a song on their album Decomposer that reminds me of this struggle. This song is definitely about money, to me. The money being what cuts his skin. He's a 'mark for their marketing plans' which to me means that he's falling into what most bands do when they try to make it big. They have to change their style of their songs or whatever, not because they want to, but because someone else thinks that it's good marketing.

[Download The Matches Papercut Skin]

But this band doesn't seem to be rolling in dough.

I found this quote about the making of the video for "Yankee In A Chip Shop":

The only money spent on this video came out of my pocket-- I’d been saving up checks from art jobs just to shoot this second video for our new record-- one that there was no budget for in our recording contract, but that I was passionate about, and knew that people would be tickled to see.

Saving money from ART JOBS?

Well at least the bands hands are clean, so far. It must be tough for a band to make a living and yet not appear to sell out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What a catch!

[Fall Out Boy - What a Catch, Donnie ft. Elvis Costello, Brendon Urie, Travis McCoy, Alex DeLeon, & William Beckett]

They keep getting better.

They're Fall Out Boy. And they're not just for emo kids and screaming girls. They speak loudly to a lot of post-punk thirtysomethings. Non-emo kids, despite being unwilling to admit it, love them too. And we all know it. Pete Wentz called it almost two years ago when he said "There's the bands that you say you like to sound smart, and there's the bands you say you like to get laid. And then there's the bands you really listen to."

the little one says:
was he referring to the emotards who won't admit they are at zia to buy their record?
the little one's buddy says:
yes...I am positive he was...
tlo's b says:
all of them bought one saw that right? or did I make that up
tlo's b says:
I just brought a hot chick to buy mine
tlo says:
nope... they all did... they all got that 7 inch
tlo's b says:
tlo's b says:
that was like the alarm goinhg off that they bought it...
tlo's b says:
tlo says:
tlo's b says:
it was a great night for that moment in the store
tlo says:
they got caught stealing condoms

...And that was back when Infinity on High was released. Sure, we could have just bought it on iTunes. But there are still some bands worth a midnight trip to the record store. Music snobs will be aghast that Fall Out Boy is slotted into that category. But give Folie a Deux a listen and it's easy to see just how talented this fourpiece from Chicago is. And how far they've come.

When I hear "She's My Winona", (and by the way, before we give emo a bad name, let's take a moment here to give reverence to Johnny Depp) I feel like I am listening to one of my old favorites off Take This To Your Grave or Under The Cork Tree. The "quit burning bridges and drive off of 'em" dark lyrics that get delivered so beautifully by Patrick Stump it allows for both the dry humor and the pain to emanate.

[Fall Out Boy - She's My Winona]

But what I hear all over Folie a Deux, besides all the cameo appearances,
Elvis Costello from ELVIS COSTELLO!
Brendon Urie from Panic at the Disco
Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes,
Alex DeLeon from The Cab,
and William Beckett from The Academy Is
is what I fell in love with years ago but enhanced. What I thought couldn't get better before, BETTER. In ALL CAPS. And it still takes my breath away after all these years. It surprises me how much better it gets. Sure, the early days were unsure and awkward. It's mildly embarrassing to think back to those days. But as it got good, and built more and more on what was good, and went in bold directions... wait, am I still talking about FOB?

If you are looking for something BETTER, don't look for a Kanye West remix. You want a MASHUP. Check out FOB vs White Stripes. And don't make Baby Jesus cry. Go buy some Fall Out Boy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Since it's the holidays, how about some gifts!

So I fully had the intention of tracking down a bunch of my Jess and Crabbe records for this post. I've got six or seven of them. Anything from all three of their "Tribute" volumes to "The Big Booya EP" and more. Well, digging through all my records, I found a ton of stuff I just got so excited about. Not least of which was the one George spoke of in Monday's post, which is Jackson & His Computer Band's "Sense Juice EP". So today, I will still be posting a Jess and Crabbe cut, but I have plenty of other tracks in store. All are in the vein of house music, so just kick back and enjoy. If you're somehow averse to house music? Well, just imagine being in a nightclub when this stuff is coming much louder and you're surrounded by people who are just out for a good time!

First up is Jess and Crabbe. These two dudes from France make some great shit! This one if off the EP "The Hell and Back", and is the title track. If you want to know where the sample comes from? It's from a hip-hop group called Da Youngstas, and the track samples is "Iz U Wit Me". I actually had that groups first album. That's me showing my age, obviously. So here's Jess and Crabbe's "The Hell and Back".

[Download Jess & Crabbe - The Hell and Back]

Next up are two tracks from a mix CD by Cevin Fisher (Dangerous Disco, the Adventures of Double O Cevin) I heard about ten years ago. There were two tracks that stood out - The Avenue's "I Am (Filthy Rich's own mix)" and Agent Purple's "Kings of Spain (Mandrax Lower East dub)". I somehow found two copies of the first record over the years (hell, I think I may have three, but that just shows you how much I love this song!), and I just recently came across a copy of the triple-pack unmixed vinyl of Fisher's album, so I got both of these stellar tracks.

[Download The Avenue - I Am (Filthy Rich's Own mix)]

[Download Agent Purple - Kings of Spain (Mandrax Lower East dub)]

Next up is the aforementioned Jackson and His Computer Band track. I first heard it on Lo-Fidelity Allstars contribution to the "On The Floor at the Boutique" series. It's called "Makin' It Happen" and good lord is it funky and just a stomper of a track! Just enjoy it!

[Download Jackson & His Computer Band - Makin' It Happen]

The last two are classics. Two tracks that just make me love life and the fact that somehow I have managed to stay alive and kickin'. Terrence Parker is a fucking legend. If you don't know soulful house, please do yourself a favor and look this guy up. This is certainly more my end of the spectrum, as he focuses more on the disco element with "Your Love", but regardless, his stuff is awesome. "Your Love" has a backstory, of sorts, also. Problem is? I can't find the story! Instead of even attempting to tell it, I will hope someone is nice enough to read this and explain. Story does go that it was dedicated to a late Detroit DJ and friend of Parker's, but that's as far as I will take it.

[Download Terrence Parker - Your Love]

And yes, I said I had two classics. Ever heard of South Street Player? Most people haven't. What about Roland Clark? Maybe? Well, he did vocals on Armand Van Helden's "Flowerz" and has been around for quite some time. He does the vocals on South Street Player's "(Who?) Keeps Changin' Your Mind" and to top that off? A video featuring the song, also. Some classic '80's breakin'. Not sure how it all ties in, but I figure if I start thinking too hard about it, my nose will start bleeding, and next thing I know, I'll be in my 50's and just waking up out of a coma.

[Download South Street Player - (Who?) Keeps Changin' Your Mind]

And yes, this is where I tell you to buy this music! Hey, I did! So should you! And hell, for 99 cents a song at some places? It's well worth it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Well, call him what you want. I call him my friend. He's a good solid person that I trust and respect. He's also been known to drop a hot house set from time to time, but it seems those days are behind him.

He is Walt Zink. He writes for this here blog. In fact one of his latest posts got us to the number one spot on the most popular songs of hypem! We were very stoked to see that happen, as well as the gigantic jump in traffic and subscribers!

In honor of this achievement of Mr. Zink's, I wanted to share a track with you that he introduced to me some 10 years ago? The artist was Jackson and His Computer Band and the song was "Make It Happen". This song to me was some sort of awakening for me. I scoured the web and record stores for more french house. I wish I had an MP3 of this song to share with you. Sadly I could not come up with one, and Walt's vinyl has a bad scratch in it. (Status update: Walt bought us each a copy on vinyl...hopefully one of us will get it in a post ASAP. Stay tuned!)

Instead I will offer a few other songs by Jackson Fourgeaud (he is the one man band that makes up JAHCB) for you to nibble on until then!

Off the album Smash:

[Jackson and His Computer Band - Utopia]

and Walt mentioned Justice last week, and look...I found a JAHCB remix of D.A.N.C.E.

[Justice - D.A.N.C.E. (Jackson Remix)]

One last thing. When I went to to catch our blog in the number one spot, I listened to some of the other songs in the list and I found a band that I am now a fan of. Mae Shi are an indie band from Los Angeles. I took this from their myspace page:

We are The Mae Shi. We were born in Los Angeles in late 2002. If you are just hearing of us now, you missed out on four records and 250 shows of busted electronics, spazzier-than-fuck drums, crazy-ass boogie guitar, distorted caveman bass and throat-destroying vocals. You missed us playing in 100 different basements and garages to 100s of different kids. You missed our 59-minute-long debut EP and our 5RC debut full-length, Terrorbird, which was a hyper ADD-afflicted hip-hop concept album about monsters and the Old Testament.

This is our story, and we invite you to come along. It’s about self-improvement and trying to live life at the top of your lungs, living life rightly, respecting others, making something you’re proud of, and trying to sort out all the static and figuring out what matters. It’s about trying to forge that third way, that way everyone said it couldn’t be done. We do this in basements and backyards and in fancy clubs we don’t even feel comfortable in. We do this in living rooms and bathrooms and bedrooms and wherever the sound sounds best. We do this with ten dollar keyboards and Olvera Street guitars and with light-reactive synths we built ourselves. We do this with broken cymbals and busted speakers. We do this the first thing when we wake up. We do this after a hard day at work, when it’s the only solace and life seems to be a constant source of frustration. We do this on weekends. We do this all the time.

Check out their myspace page if you have a moment to read the whole story.

And I leave you with my favorite song from theirs off the album Hillyh as well as an amazing video for another amazing song from that album.

[The Mae Shi - Kingdom Come]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Best of 2008: I feel a million miles away

2007 was a damn good year for new music. It was propelled forward by some sort of momentous occasion in 2006 that seemed to save all of the genres. 2008 blew by quickly, though, and the albums put out were still burning the energy radiating from the year before. I don't know that many albums could argue they were radiating their own light. I have actually had a hell of a time putting together a Top Ten.

A few of my favorites put out new albums this year, but those didn't change the scene, they didn't change music, and they didn't top what they'd done previously... So, despite how many spins they got on my iPod, they still didn't make my list.

3OH!3 Want was one of the best, and most consequential, albums of the year. We claimed it resurrected Hip Hop. These boys are so damn adorable they resurrected something.

The Matches A Band in Hope was a) better than their last album which was already damn good, b) better than anything else in their genre all year long, and 3) enough to make a giant hunk of thugness get jiggy while driving his SUV. That's a good album.

Colour Revolt's Plunder, Beg, and Curse, The Bravery's The Sun and the Moon Complete, and Murder By Death's Red of Tooth and Claw were also some of the best albums of the year. These albums contributed to rock music in their own ways, whether it was proving that rock can translate to techno in an organic way and not just in the popular way club dj's are doing it... proving that beards and southern rock are just barely getting started with their comebacks... or proving that three guitars and a drumset are not the only formula for a breathtaking live show. 2008 is better off for having these albums and these bands around.

Fasciination by The Faint was lauded by inAllcaps as "amazing" and "mind-blowing". Thrice once again melted minds and limbs with the next installment in
The Alchemy Index, titled III and IV Air and Earth. And Death Cab for Cutie quietly and stealthily syncopated rhyme, rhythm, and reason with Narrow Stairs.

The Offspring, always one of my favorites, surpassed any of their previous albums combined in the ability to deliver that guitar that just makes my soul sing. Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace showed that they improve year by year and even though Splinter from 2003 was hard, smooth, and fuckyeah (yes it's an adjective), RaF,RaG was light years better. THANK YOU OFFSPRING. I fucking love you.

But the best album of 2008 was Nine Inch Nail's The Slip. How could it not be?

[Nine Inch Nails - 1,000,000]

Everything Trent Reznor puts out is impeccable. That is a lot to live up to. And there have been eight albums at my last count. He hasn't slipped once. He has never failed to take on new challenges or rise beyond them. The Slip was even made available for digital download, free of charge.
"Thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years -- this one's on me."

Thank YOU, Trent. It. Kicks. Ass.

The official list from inALLcaps:

1. Nine Inch Nails: The Slip
2. 3OH!3: Want
3. Death Cab for Cutie: Narrow Stairs
4. Thrice: The Alchemy Index Vols III and IV Air and Earth
5. The Offspring: Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
6. Colour Revolt: Plunder, Beg and Curse
7. The Matches: A Band in Hope
8. Murder by Death: Red of Tooth and Claw
9. The Faint: Fasciination
10.The Bravery: The Sun and Moon Complete

Monday, December 8, 2008

More of the French! Viva la stupid arguments!

How important is an argument about a band? Well, it ranks right around watching paint dry, in my opinion. I got quite a testy response when talking about the fad-driven band MGMT, recently. Which made me wonder why people get so snippy about something so awesome as music. We're all snobs to a degree with our music. We all hate certain bands, or certain types of music. Instead of saying, "This band sucks!", I think what would be more appropriate would be, "This just isn't my cup of tea." And I hate tea! The site here isn't intended to not be inclusive with our music choices. And the debate with these two hipsters - who are right now probably shopping at an Urban Outfitters and lamenting the state of a band only six months ago they went apeshit for - made me realize this even more clearly.

So to go in a complete one-eighty of such trivial and banal bullshit? I head back the way of the music I started in on last week. The French pop sound. And with that awesomely long-winded introduction, I give you Benjamin Diamond. Benjamin Diamond? Who the fuck is that? Rhetorical question, mind you. Diamond was the head of Diamond Traxx, and possibly best known for his stellar vocals on the seminal cut "Music Sounds Better With You". He's essentially the Prince of France, and deservedly so!

Stardust was the trio that featured Diamond on vocals, as well as Thomas Bangaltar (from Daft Punk) and Alan Braxe. Braxe would later release cuts like "Vertigo" and the EP Intro with the help of Fred Falke. Unfortunately, his latest efforts have been dull and uninspiring, but he did help with this cut, and we're certainly thankful for that! Below I've brought you all the original mix, but as a little gift, I'm also featuring the DJ Sneak 32 on Red Mix. This is possibly my favorite DJ Sneak remix job, as it served admirably on its own in house sets of mine, as well as a great DJ tool record.

Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You (Radio Edit)

Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You (DJ Sneak 32 on Red Mix)

Well Diamond has had a solo career for close to ten years, now, and he's just released a new album. Here, I'll be featuring the track "Little Scare" off of his debut album Strange Attitude, along with the song "Baby's On Fire" from his latest effort, Cruise Control. Viva la French pop!

Benjamin Diamond - Baby's On Fire

[Download Benjamin Diamond - Babys On Fire]

Benjamin Diamond - Little Scare

And again, please do buy some of these! It helps to go a long way in helping us bring you this awesome stuff!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

You blew it!

Well. We are here to help. Hopefully if you read us regularly this won't happen again. I won't tell anyone, but you really gotta step up too.



Sparta is an American alternative rock band from El Paso, Texas, formed in 2001. Jim Ward (vocalist/guitarist) and Tony Hajjar (drummer) are former members of At the Drive-In. Keeley Davis (guitarist) is the former frontman of Engine Down.

In June 2008, Ward stated that Sparta is "currently on hiatus and label-less", and that he will be focusing on his project, Sleepercar.

Oops. Missed the opportunity to see this band live? Bummer for you. They were amazing. I got to see them twice. Blown away. I just stood there being pummeled by the awesomeness that was Sparta. Too bad you never heard of them...

[Sparta - Red.Right.Return. (Straight In Our Hands)]

Pistolita is an indie rock band from San Diego, California that has a real catchy pop feel underneath the punk rock grittiness.

They have previously toured as an opening act for bands such as Brand New, but it was when they toured with Saves the Day that I finally got to see them. I became a fan that night. Bought the album the next day. A few months later they broke up. Although part of this band went on to become Weatherbox, the magic that was Pistolita is gone forever. Shouldn't stop you from picking up the album Oliver Under The Moon. It's a great piano/rock album.

[Pistolita - Killjoy]

Damn. It's ok. I missed this one too. It breaks my heart, but as this band reminds me, you can turn pain into something beautiful. Jeff Magnum is really the catalyst for this band, and the critcally aclaimed In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Critically aclaimed in the very underground kinda way.

Don't worry.

All your favorite bands have had this album in their CD players for the last 10 years (tape players long have we had CDs anyways?), so you have been a fan at least through some sort of weird trickle down effect. Right?

[Neutral Milk Hotel - Oh Comely]

Friday, December 5, 2008

At least that means I have a soul left to lose

"'Bears don't want to eat people. We don't taste that good.' He grinned at me in the dark cab. 'Of course, you might be an exception. I bet you'd taste good.'
'Thanks so much,' I said, looking away. He wasn't the first person to tell me that."

Have you read New Moon yet? It's the second book in the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I read the whole series and it was a good experience; it touched me in a lot of ways... But I just kept hoping for better. More eloquent writing. Prose that would stick with me and paint a better picture. It was, alas, a Young Readers series. I shouldn't have expected so much.

[Senses Fail - Wolves At the Door]

Like Senses Fail. I keep trying to like them.

I don't know what it is. They make use of the double bass pedal. They scream a little but not too much. They layer their guitars. But Senses Fail just refuses to grab me and either rock my face off or move me with really strong lyrics.

Their lyrics are better than many others. Better than most that get airplay, that's for sure. And the sound has gotten better over the last few years. Maybe I just expect more. They don't sound better than most bands that have been formed this decade. They're definitely not better than Four Year Strong.

"Life Is Not A Waiting Room" is the fourth album put out by this quartet lead by Buddy Nielsen, who is actually the son of some of my mom's favorite soap stars. Remember Iva Snyder from As The World Turns? I digress. The songs Senses Fail has recorded over the years have always been inspired by deep writings and works of art, and even their name comes from a eastern spiritual beliefs. But they just don't go far enough with it. If I was writing their report card I would say "you need to apply yourself more." Just because it's not pop-punk about a girl who left you doesn't mean you can't get deeper than you already are. You can do it.

I did find Blackout to be one of the stronger tracks. Check it out:

[Senses Fail - Blackout]

I will keep watching and waiting. I know they have something to say. But they can say it louder, I am sure of it. But hey, I know one music snob in particular who just LOVES them. You might find what I can't. Check them out:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

That French sound still sounds good!

So the French sound seems to have permeated the airwaves again! Justice came practically out of nowhere to become the new French electronica darlings, a la Daft Punk. Well, the sound isn't limited to people born in France. You can ask our wonderful blog owner himself how much of the stuff I used to play while DJing! And I actually still have quite a bit of it lying around, too! May have to update you all with some slick French house one of these weeks!

Well, today, the post is dedicated to that heavily filtered sound and a band that's beginning to make a few waves. They're Thieves Like Us, and they just recently released their first full-length album, called Play Music. The best way to describe the sound will need some explanation. The band's name is the title of an old New Order track. So it's no real surprise that the sound seems to meld some elements of New Order with the French House sound - albeit at a lower BPM, many times.

The result is a sound that just sounds calming, yet makes you want to dance a bit. The single making a lot of noise right now is the second cut off of Play Music, titled "Drugs In My Body". Along with the original, I've also included a remix done by a a duo of...well....sort of strange dudes that go by the name of Designer Drugs. I can't knock strange. I am, also. It's more fun that way, anyhow.

Thieves Like Us - Drugs In My Body

Thieves Like Us - Drugs In My Body (Designer Drugs remix)

And there's even a video for such a wonderful tune! Check it out!

And for those who - for some reason unknown - haven't been exposed to the Daft Punk I knew and loved back in 1996? Here are two tunes. It was off of their landmark album Homework, which still gets love from many out there, and rightfully so!

And if you are also up for a little house music on the deeper and more soulful edge? A friend of mine who I've known for right around 12 years now here in Boston has a site that's dedicated to house music in it's most pure form. DJ Bruno has been doing his thing here in Boston for twenty years, and I owe a lot to him, to be honest! So if you get a second, please make a visit to Utopia Boston Radio! If you're ever in Boston? Please do send me an e-mail. As you can see from all of us, music is our lifeblood, and we love to share!

One final note! I am still digging through some contributions. I will be doing many of these in the final two blogs this months, as a sort of round-up of what to look for in 2009! So thank you for your patience!

And please, shell out those duckets! Buy a little of the aforementioned music, so these guys can keep bringing you more of the good stuff!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A passion ending so the world ceases turning

BFMV is easier to type than Bullet For My Valentine, and as you know I am lazy.

Which is ironic, since this post is about my Friday after Thanksgiving. Feeling guilty for my gluttony, I woke up on Black Friday, and instead of shopping, I sweated out all the turkey and booze over a stationary bicycle.

The soundtrack to my self punishment was BFMV...So loud the old lady on the bike next to me was cringing. 

BFMV is a screamo band from Bridgend, Wales. I didn't pay special attenttion to the lyrics until I got home from my workout, but they are really good, especially if you are into self-mutilation (exercise is practically self-mutilation, isn't it?  It's painful, I know that...) 

The music is the stand-out winner for me.

Aggressive is a good word to describe the music. Another good word might be FAST. The drum and guitar work is so great, that the lead singer could be talking about how he likes mayo on his hamburgers, and I would still love it.

I haven't listened to the band's first album, The Poison, but it's now on my xmas list. Do yourself a favor and pick up Scream, Aim, Fire for xmas. One for you, and one for the friend that could use a little work in the gym. They will thank you for it.

[Bullet For My Valentine - End of Days]

Friday, November 28, 2008

And absolutely no one's dead!

[Nightmare Before Christmas - This is Halloween]

One of the best things about musicals is how they can convey the snarkiest of comments in a lighthearted way. And they've been doing so ever since we figured out how to mix music and performance. One of the best things about the holiday season is how all the most favorite musicals get hauled out of the vaults and broadcast on television so that each generation can experience this facet of pop culture that transcends all of the other trends.

I grew up watching The Wizard of Oz every single year around Halloween. I haven't caught it in awhile, but this year I was delighted again to hear lines like "she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead!" as chirped eagerly from the mouths of the Munchkins.

But I haven't seen any other soundtrack to a musical covered as much as Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. Fall Out Boy, Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple, She Wants Revenge, Flyleaf, Rise Against, Korn... and even more have recorded some of the favorites off this soundtrack.

Check out the video that a fan created, with the scene from the movie that matches Fall Out Boy's cover of the song "What's This?"

When Christmas decorations are now erected even prior to Halloween, what better contribution to the holiday musicals from our generation, than one celebrating both holidays?! If you haven't seen this movie yet, you must. It is adorable, funny, romantic, and visually compelling. The film's stop-motion animation and visual effects are as revolutionary as Star Wars was in its day.

And when Marilyn Manson wants to sing a song that comes from a musical... When She Wants Revenge produces a cover that sounds like it belongs right in the movie... You have a true winner. If you're going to buy anything on Black Friday, get this movie, and check out the re-releases of the original soundtrack to include the various remakes of its compelling songs. Not only was one done in 2006, there has been a SECOND re-release for this year's holiday season too! That should tell you something. This is something you have to be in on, if you weren't already.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I'm on a Richard Cheese kick, lately. So this one will be a quickie for you all out there. I'm simply posting some kickass Richard Cheese songs. Who is he, you may ask? Why, only the most fun guy to see live, of course! Take modern hits - like "Rape Me", by Nirvana - and think of some corny Vegas lounge singer using that style to deliver the aforementioned hit. Thus you have total hilarity as well as brilliance. I'm going to post for you three of my favorites of his. Seriously:  check this dude out live if you can. Word has it that he has been told by doctors to stop singing, so you may not get to see the guy live again!

Click here for his website!

Richard Cheese - Personal Jesus

Richard Cheese - Sunday Bloody Sunday

Richard Cheese - The Rockafeller Skank

Monday, November 24, 2008

Watching a woman sleep can get you scared

The Eventually Home is finally out!

It's the exact opposite of meh! It's beautiful and gripping!

Yes, I do have a man crush on Andy Hull, but I dare you to not be amazed by this fantastic piece of work.

Everyone loves a trilogy. This is Part II.

This story is not about a Jedi, or THE ONE, or even about a man eating shark. Well...maybe a man eating whale named Emily!

i've been eating seaweed from a whale named emily
she could swallow me, or help swallow my pride

Really this project of Andy Hull, frontman of the band Manchester Orchestra, is about this simple thing. A man on a mission to understand why his whore of a wife cheated on him.

This man, a sailor, heads to sea. For three years. The first installment, titled perfectly, was The Bitter End.

Part II, The Eventually Home, is about his return... well, home. But is it "home" or just his desire to come to the end?

We have to wait for Part III to see.

The song we are sharing off the album is a pretty song that puts me at edge. A scorn sailor who hasn't seen his wife in three years, watching her sleep. Has he returned to kill her? You tell me!

[Right Away, Great Captain - I Was A Cage]

Regardless of the story, it's an amazing piece of work. Buy it. Buy two and give one to a friend.

photo by myspace.​com/​harrisonhudsonphotog​raphy

Friday, November 21, 2008

You know me better than I know myself...

Maybe it's because I miss being in smoky bars that blur my vision. Maybe it's because I miss playing darts and the thrill of hitting a triple 17. Or it's because 3 Doors Down is only good up to a point.

Listening to People in Planes is like being comfortable in your favorite bar. Finding out that they're a band from Wales brings a universal understanding to this feeling, and an awe that people from a backwards country normally known for good punk pop can also produce this thick, mid-American variety of rock.

If you wanted to pick apart the lyrics, you might have fun challenging me over my "I Hate Kings of Leon" post. All I can say to that is, at least People in Planes stays on the beat.

If this song isn't skillfully crafted to appeal to the masses, I don't know what is. Enjoy Know By Now:

[People in Planes - Know By Now]

People in Planes have changed names twice already this decade. Also known as Robots in the Sky and Tetra Splendour, they've shuffled labels a few too many times in a short period but since their appearance at 2005's South by Southwest festival, it seems that they are on a roll. They've toured with Blue October and had a video directed by Joaquin Phoenix! That's progress in my eyes...

Today is November 21: the day that hordes of teenagers and desperate housewives alike have been breathlessly awaiting is finally here, so to celebrate Twilight's premiere, I will share with you another track off 2008's Beyond the Horizon album: Vampire. This is a messy departure from the rest of the album but it still comes off as a calculated and passionate disaster. Kind of like the books.

[People in Planes - Vampire]

It's time to show some love to People in Planes.

Or join the teenage vampire craze, why not?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Peter Sellers Odyssey

[Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra]

I've become a big Peter Sellers fan in the last 7 to 8 years. So today, I'm tossing in something a bit random. Have you all seen 2001: A Space Odyssey? If not, then shame on you! Stanley Kubrick at his best! Well, there's the theme song from the movie that everyone knows. It's Richard Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and it's sheer joy. Here's a clip from the aforementioned movie with the song playing.

Now, the reason I throw in Peter Sellers is because he starred in another of Kubrick's classics. The film Dr. Strangelove netted Sellers an Oscar nomination, which was remarkable because he played three different roles in the flick. Also, many people forget he was also in Kubrick's Lolita. So he had one hell of a career. His personal life? Well, not such a stand up guy. Can't defend him there. For a good explanation, I would highly recommend watching Geoffrey Rush's performance as Sellers in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. An outstanding film in its own right.

Well, back to Strauss' classical....well.....classic. Sellers was in a film that hardly gets mention except by the hardcore fans of films. I'm not really a huge movie fan, but I do enjoy something different, and his film Being There was nothing short of incredible. To be perfectly honest, Forrest Gump ripped off the premise from this movie, and Tom Hanks' performance - while excellent itself - pales in comparison with Sellers' performance as Chance Gardener. Well, in the flick, you hear a jazz-funk cover of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" performed by Brazilian artist Deodato. Check it out for yourself!

As a little side note for anyone that is also a huge fan of the now defunct show Arrested Development, they threw in a little dedication to Being There in its final season. If you need a hint on how? Then watch this clip of the final scene from the movie, and try to remember how they pulled it off.

Oh, and to those who have been sending me e-mails about your band or music, I will be digging through those in the next week. Please, if you do e-mail me? If possible, try to make it personal. I've nearly deleted more than a few of these because the subject line was so vague that only my curiosity kept me from deleting it initially.

Finally, please do buy the music! It helps pay these people! Even those in symphony orchestras!