Thursday, July 31, 2008

If I could choose my own name, I'd choose something that's bold and fits

Like anger, aggression, or cunningly brash by the skin of my teeth but with timing and class

I recently almost missed the concert of a punk band known for their dark lyrics about depression, alcoholism, and death. But I wouldn't have missed much.

I wanted to see Alkaline Trio for one reason only: they were influential in the musical development of a little band called Bayside. You see, in crossing the bridge before even getting to it, I actually found a band much more talented than its predecessors.

I know that the boys in Bayside themselves will disagree. But for me, Alk3 never resonated because they just didn't get close enough to my core. And between Anthony Raneri's lyrics and the band's strong notes, chords, and drumbeats that match the way the blood pumps through my own veins... Bayside tells the painful and self-loathing tales the way they should be told.

The first album I heard was actually their second release with Vagrant Records, the self-titled Bayside. The first track is called "Hello Shitty" and right out of the gate this song eloquently expands on the offensive greeting conveyed in the title. By the time I got to well-placed track 4, "They Look Like Strong Hands" (for those keeping score, how many times will that movie be referenced in this genre?!) I knew this band had won my heart forever.

And I look so strong
When the weight of all the world
Don't take its toll
And I'd choose my side
If I believed in what was right
But I'm all wrong

Throughout each song, you understand someone who makes mistakes, finds faults in self and others, gets angry about it, eloquently points it out, and grows (oh, and I'm so proud of where I am: I'm learning where to stand or to tread lightly). It's beautiful. It is a beautiful thing.

This band's live performances are memorable as well. Why the venue was packed to the rafters for Alk3 when they have no stage presence, I don't know. Each member of this fourpiece pours his blood sweat and tears into the show. They are visibly enjoying themselves and enjoying each other. They are PLAYING MUSIC.

Bayside is drummer Chris Guglielmo, bassist Nick Ghanbarian, lead guitarist Jack O'Shea, and guitarist/lead vocalist Anthony Raneri. Early in the band's history, their original drummer was killed in an accident that involved the entire band. They released the next album as an Acoustic and recorded the song "Winter", which is one of the best songs I've ever heard that takes death and loss and addresses it with innocence and simplicity. Should we still set his place? Should we still save his chair? Should we still buy him gifts, and if we don't did we not care?

Bayside is a juggernaut that continues to tour and record and blow minds with music and lyrics alike. The Gold Edition of their last album, The Walking Wounded, was recently released and their next album, Shudder, is slated for release at the end of September. Check out the band's myspace page where they diligently update with blogs, links, twitters, videos, and tracks.

I was always there. You just never knew where.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Side by Side With Farm Animals

To everyone out there, I have to apologize about missing last Wednesday! I have spent the last 10 or 11 days packing and moving, along with my normal work schedule. So I am going to do my best to make it up to you!

Does anyone here not know Daniel Johnston? If that's the case, then we all shall learn about this fascinating man. When over 150 artists have covered your songs? When you have been institutionalized, still need care from your parents, yet tour around the world? When you have a throng of followers that buy your artwork in mere minutes at art shows? It says something. It says you've done something right. Johnston is a tortured man. He many times cannot recollect the lyrics to his songs due to the cocktail of drugs prescribed to him, which is a shame. He still, however, has it. And with that, here is his now iconic classic "Walking the Cow"

This song has picked up almost legendary status, and for good reason. There have been many covers of it, including a couple of very good ones by Pearl Jam (yes, Pearl Jam!) as well as an unbelievable cover that TV on the Radio did on the tribute album The Late Great Daniel Johnston. The first song below is the Vedder cover, and the video takes about a minute to start, but it's worth the patience!

And again, if you like the music you hear, please buy it! Also, there is a wonderful documentary on Johnston called The Devil and Daniel Johnston that I absolutely rave about to any and all of my friends. You feel so bad for this poor man, yet can't help but swell up with pride. Enjoy your Wednesday, folks!

Monday, July 28, 2008

I don’t really believe in the fourth wall. I just don’t have time for it.

Mike Doughty is an artist: musician, songwriter, poet, playwright, photographer, and an avid, eloquent blogger.

He's been a heroin addict. He's run a micro label called "Snack Bar." And he's also a laptop DJ! Check out

Golden Delicious is an apple: very sweet to the taste, prone to bruising and shriveling, a favorite for salads, applesauce, and apple butter.

It's also the new record by Mike Doughty, with 11 expertly crafted pop/indie tunes. Yes, I said pop slash indie. It's Mike Doughty we're talking about. You don't have to feel icky about listening to his kind of Pop.

This album was recorded with a new technique that Doughty Et Al dubbed the "DUDE THEORY." You might even call it a philosophy. It's basically this: the recording process should invoke a "bunch of visualize-able dudes" playing instruments to give the music space.

It seems to give the album a nice organic feel that I really enjoyed, especially while listening with headphones.

Fort Hood is an Army Base in Texas: this particular post has lost more soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars than any other installation.

It's also the title of the first single from "Golden Delicious." And Doughty wants his fans to be really clear about the meaning of the song. It begins with a verse about guilt that the singer (and, likely, the listener) can go about daily life without thinking of the violence and the fear in Iraq, and the sacrifice people are making over there.

After visiting wounded vets at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Doughty was inspired to write this song. He himself had grown up an Army brat in the 1970's, witnessing the strange behavior that he now understands as PTSD. The bridge of the song Fort Hood addresses the lost innocence of the soldiers, "young guys that go over there and come back scarred -- bodily, often, but also psychologically, that so many of them will have the burden of post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, and haunting images."

That track is in my opinion the album's stand-out, but Doughty fans may appreciate the cleaned up and pretty version of "27 Jennifers" that was added to Golden Delicious.

Mike Doughty truly shines on stage, and I recommend you download his free LIVE recordings here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I want to live on a stage

I want to play the guitar, and I want to get paid.
But no responsibilities, please. I wanna do what I want,
And I wanna get paid.

This simple musician's wish is gently repeated throughout the first track of The Snake The Cross The Crown's sophomore album, Cotton Teeth. It's delivered in the folksy style found in most Southern Rock, where it sounds so effortless but is so enjoyable to hear because when all is said and done, the music is CLEAN.

The Snake The Airplane and The What? That's OK, just call them TSTCTC. And before you've gotten one minute into Track 2, you will be head over heels for them and decide to give up your job and become a groupie. Their heartfelt folk reels you in and you want to go everywhere with them, smile on face, stinging claps on your hands.

The Black Crowes, Neil Young, Allman Brothers, Georgia Satellites, and yes, The Snake The Cross The Crown. They embody the elements of Southern Rock with flavors of indie, folk, rebel ideaology, a bit of a swagger here and there, but a constant rocking theme.

I hadn't even heard of them until I traveled almost 600 miles to catch, among other bands, Manchester Orchestra and was fortunate enough to find TSTCTC opening for them. Not only that but I got to witness said band, along with Piebald and mewithoutyou, help the southern rockers out on one of their songs. A similar performance can be seen below...

Despite less than stellar video quality I just had to share that. It's a treat that always leaves us reeling! For a live performance with better quality, check out the video below as they perform Behold The River:

Mutliple guitars, a little bit of gang vocals thrown in there (remember what that does to The Little One)... everyone shares the twang and the soul and we have the intimate but hard-hitting Southern Rock and Roll. God Bless America.

(Now click on the button and spread that stimulus check around like a good citizen)

Monday, July 21, 2008 both a warning delivered and a promise kept.

One Day As A Lion are:
Zack de la Rocha
Jon Theodore

One Day As A Lion will release their eponymous debut EP worldwide on July 22nd.

The band writes:

“One Day As A Lion is both a warning delivered and a promise kept.”

“A defiant affirmation of the possibilities that exist in the space between kick and snare. It’s a sonic reflection of the visceral tension between a picturesque fabricated cultural landscape, and the brutal socioeconomic realities it attempts to mask. One Day As A Lion is a recorded interaction between Zack de la Rocha and Jon Theodore from Los Angeles, California.”

“The name taken from the infamous 1970 black and white, captured by legendary Chicano photographer George Rodriguez featuring a center framed tag on a white wall in an unspecified section of Boyle Heights. It reads: ‘It’s better to live one day as a lion, than a thousand years as a lamb.’ This record is a stripped down attempt to realize this sentiment in sound.”

Now that we got all that label/propaganda shit outta the way...lemme drop some knowledge:

First off...most of you know de la Rocha...but do you know who Jon Theodore is? He is a former member/drummer of The Mars Volta. He's just as important to this release as de la Rocha. Why? My good friend Mike sums it up perfectly:

"That's a hell of a song, I was always worried how he would sound without Tom Morello. Morello is so unique."

Exactly. But I would have a hard time finding a band that was filled with more unique musicians/artists than The Mars Volta. This is why this album is so exciting: the combination of these two minds. I cannot wait for this EP to drop.

But I am a Rage Against the Machine fan, from the very first album. When most of their poser fans were listening to Right Said Fred and Boys II Men... I was screaming "Freedom...yeeeaaahhh!" out the window of a white Chrysler K-car. /giggle

On October 18, 2000 upon hearing de la Rocha's announcement to leave the band, I thought I had missed, forever, the opportunity to see RATM live in concert.

Seven long years later and I remember I had to change my shorts after seeing the lineup for Vegoose 2007!

I was able to witness the greatest concert of my life. OF MY LIFE. Vegoose... Second night... Rage was set to close the Festival. This was a Big. Deal. After the breakup they had become the very shitty Audioslave, and I think de la Rocha had become a Zapatista in the Mexican Revolution.

It was everything I expected and more. I ran into the crowd to get as close as I could manage when the band took the stage. It was incredible. (I have a live recording if you don't believe me...) Someone set fire to a pile of trash and fans began dancing around the bonfire. We all collectively lost our minds. I even got emotional half way through the set. I wanted to cry/fight/make a change, but I didn't know how. When the show wrapped I realized something: looking around at all the the faces with eyes cast toward the now empty stage, shifting their weight uncomfortably... I wasn't The Only One. We need Rage more than ever. The music means as much today as it ever did.

I am ready for a revolution. Are you?

Tracks on the EP:
01 - Wild International
02 – Ocean View
03 – Last Letter
04 – If You Fear Dying
05 – One Day As A Lion

This is what all the rumors we heard about, off and on for years, had promised us. "de la Rocha solo album?" It's here. And it sounds dope.

Let me just end this post with one of my FAVORITE de la Rocha statements of all time. I'll remind you that this was just after Fox News misquoted his speech at Coachella:

"A couple of months ago, those fascist motherfuckers at the Fox News Network attempted to pin this band into a corner by suggesting that we said that the president should be assassinated. Nah, what we said was that he should be brought to trial as war criminal and hung and shot. THAT'S what we said. And we don't back away from the position because the real assassinator is Bush and Cheney and the whole administration for the lives they have destroyed here and in Iraq. They're the ones. And what they refused to air which was far more provocative in my mind and in the minds of my bandmates is this: this system has become so brutal and vicious and cruel that it needs to start wars and profit from the destruction around the world in order to survive as a world power. THAT's what we said. And we refuse not to stand up, we refuse to back down from that position.."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Prepare To Be Digitally Manipulated

Bada Bing! Wit a Pipe!

Well, my iCarPlay and I recently called it quits. He said it wasn't him, it was me. I don't know what I ever did to him, but it means that I have to switch between the only two CDs that are loaded currently, and local alternative or "extreme" radio.

The latter option, in turn, means I have to be subjected to such lyrics as "devour, devour/suffocate your own empire/devour, devour/it's your final hour"... Or this one, and sorry, I know they have a lot of fans, but: "There is love burning to find you/Will you wait for me?/Will you be here?/Your silence haunts me/But I still hunger for you/This is my curse (the wanting)/This is my curse (to)/This is my curse (the needing)" That stuff is crap! How do they fill stadiums with that?

Betties and Bros, I present to you Four Year Strong.
Fill a stadium with this.
Get off your fucking FEET!

THIS is good rock and roll. THIS is music appropriate for screaming. THIS is the double bass you need to rock your face off. Hardcore, post-hardcore, hardcore breakdown, whatever you're going to call it. It's smart music performed well, with thoughtful lyrics that don't overpower. I might be a sucker for gang vocals and double bass bursts, [what was that sound, like something hitting the floor?] but they do it all expertly. Check out Wrecked 'Em, Damn Near Killed 'Em:

They are a fun-loving group of guys, too. They recently held a beard-growing contest for fans, spawned by winning the impromptu beard contest that started while on tour with Straylight Run and Bayside. Those are also two of my all-time favorite bands, and I've seen both in concert. But I've never been able to witness FYS. Apparently they inspire people to hang from the rafters, roadies to crowd surf, and otherwise quite literally "lose their god damned minds." <--Direct quote from a show review!

Rock. Fucking. ON!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Skinny love at Sunset

For my first of hopefully many contributions to this blog, I have a couple of tracks I would like to introduce people to. Hopefully, these tracks help give a little exposure to artists I think have a lot of talent and are deserving of more attention.

Now, I have to preface this all by saying I love having Sirius Satellite radio. Hands down, one of the best investments I have ever made. Yes, an investment. The songs I hear on so many of their channels, be it CBC radio or Left of Center 26 (their indie-rock station), I have become exposed to so much more than I already have been. And one of the following artists just happens to be one I discovered there.

Bon Iver. If you pronounce it, make sure you do it right! Bawn eee-Vair. This is the creation of Justin Vernon, and it's bastardized French for "good winter". This Wisconsin native still makes his home there, and with the success of the track "Skinny Love", the indie label Jagjaguwar picked up on this kid. He's got a strong folk-y feel to his music, and the album he recorded "For Emma, Forever Ago" was mostly done up in a backwoods cabin in Wisconsin. Just adds to that feel of earthiness and genuity that you'd expect out of such a genre of music.

And with that? I bring you "Skinny Love".

Next up is fellow label-mate Sunset Rubdown. These guys are certainly known to the indie crowd due to the burgeoning attention singer Spencer Krug has been receiving. Krug, as some may know, is one of two singers for Sub-Pop up-and-comers Wolf Parade. With a very distinct singing style and songwriting that's quite creative to say the least, Krug has made a name for himself.

Sunset Rubdown's latest album "Random Spirit Lover" was released last year, but seeing as how I am quite new here, I just felt the need to share. Thanks, mom. You taught me well. By the way, she also taught me how to sucker punch someone that tries to steal my lunch money. It still works.

With this album, Krug floats from one song to the next with ease. It's a concept album of sorts, which generally doesn't do well with the public, but incredibly well with critics if done correctly. It's a story, of sorts, and if you aren't getting lost in the myriad of musical styles that the band embraces, you will get an insight into Krug's mind. My personal favorite from the album is "Wicked/Winged Things", and this is what I bring to you today. Enjoy!

And please, if you enjoy the music as much as I do? Buy it! This helps us continue to bring you all new music, and helps keep these bands alive!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Put A Cross Above The Door

Red in Tooth and Claw. Meaning:
A reference to the sometimes violent natural world, in which predatory animals unsentimentally cover their teeth and claws with the blood of their prey as they kill and devour them.

The line comes from Alfred Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam A. H. H., 1850. The quotation comes in Canto 56 (it is a very long poem) and refers to man:

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

Where do you go when you want some manly music? When you are tired of the emo, “I need to cut myself today so I can feel” music? Something that might remind you of whiskey and cigarettes? Something you can drink yourself to sleep with. Something with testosterone.

I want a soundtrack to my road rage. I want to make something just to destroy it later.

And I found the right band. Testosterone laden as it may be, there does happen to be a chick in the band. She plays the cello. Perfect. A cello is the only instrument that eloquently choreographs the lumber toward the depths of drunkenness.

Anyway, with or without the cello… I can’t get enough of this album. I discovered this band four days ago and I have been listening nonstop. I had to write an emergency blog about them. You must check them out. It's just this kind of situation that is the reason I started this blog.

To bring you this band.

At this time.

I introduce: Murder By Death

This is dark country rock infused with lyrics of death and remorse. Although the albums are heavily saturated with themes of sinning and being saved, they are not a Christian band. They just might be realists. Life is hard. The longer you live the dirtier you get.

The title of one of their albums, "in Bocca Al Lupo" translates to "in the mouth of the wolf". Which in italian is one way of saying..."Good luck, you're gonna need it!" On that album each story is about a different person destined for HELL. For example, Dynamite Mine is about a man who kills someone in the mine he works in. I'll let the songwriter explain it. In fact, he provides an explanation on their website for nearly all of their songs:

Dynamite Mine is a story of irony. its about a man who commits a murder in a mine where we works. He takes the victim there, kills him, and then buries him in the mine. Then, in a lovely twist of irony the murderer is killed under a rockfall that buries him next to his victim. The chorus is from the perspectives of the miners many years later who continue to tell the story of the mine and how the ghost of the murderer still lives deep in the belly of the mine. it goes: "son, cover your ears lord how the blast will ring and when a rumblin' shakes the walls you can hear that devil sing".

Click to play Murder By Death - Dynamite Mine

Wicked and twisted. Just how I love it!

The most current album is one about betrayal and revenge, and a journey home that is long and hard.

The lead singer and front-man for the band, Adam Turla, says this about "Red of Tooth and Claw', released on March 4, 2008:

"... is Homer’s Odyssey of revenge, only without the honorable character at the center.”

Oh...and this dude Turla: his voice is amazing and familiar. You might think, when you first hear it, that you are listening to a new Johnny Cash record! He's also been compared to Morrison or Cohen.

There is much to still tell you, like the fact that the band's name comes from a play and movie. I could talk about how they met in Indiana while drinking. But all I want to do is talk about the good part.

The song that I play over and over.

It's amazing, and perfect, and it made me a fan. In fact, today I purchased every album by Murder By Death. These albums offer lots of gems.

But this song.

This is MY song.

It's the song I think I want played at my funeral. It's just truly haunting and powerful.

Click to play Murder By Death - Comin' Home

If you like it...please pick up the whole album...because there are more amazing tracks on it, like "Fuego" and "Spring Break 1899". Buy the older albums too...otherwise you will never get to hear the song "That Crown Don't Make You A Prince" or "Three Men Hanging"

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The more I hang around you, the more hang-ups I get

I know you're an angel, and you could never stay true.

It confounds me that Brand New doesn't have wider acclaim. I sat in a bar one night discussing my juke box choices with some random guy. One of Brand New's songs was playing and he kept asking me who it was. It was almost like the "Pete and Repeat" joke.

The band Brand New is made up of lead vocalist, guitarist, and lyricist Jesse Lacey, guitarist Vincent Accardi, bassist Garrett Tierney, and drummer Brian Lane. This group hails from Long Island, New York and now in their mid- to late-20's, they have been together since they were in their late teens.

You don't recover from a night like this.

Controversy and what felt like insider drama surrounded one of the band's earliest recorded songs, "Seventy Times 7." Fans as young as the band itself loved this idea that a former bandmate had stolen Lacey's girl and that he recorded a song with such darts and arrows as "everyone's caught onto everything you do"; "don't apologize, hope you choke and die"; and "you're as subtle as a brick in the small of my back." Concertgoers love these angst-ridden battle cries that they can chant as they jump up and down in the crowd.

Of course this was further incited when said former bandmate wrote a response song and recorded it with his new band, but rather than go into that I will point out that all parties have since moved on and made up. Still, "Seventy Times 7" remained one of the most requested songs at shows, something frontman Jesse Lacey grew tired of quickly and alienated many fans at various performances.

It's easy to get zealous about Brand New. The lyrics and music throttle you and leave you stunned. I get continually blown away at how expertly crafted these songs are and how much they move me. I feel them in my core.

Who do you carry that torch for my young man?
Do you believe in anything?
Do you carry it around just to burn things down?

In reference to the last album, "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me", Lacey was asked where he gets the ideas for his songs:

"I get ideas from books, and also one of my best friends Kevin Devine. I asked him what he wanted to hear about, as I like to find out what he is writing about too. Some of the lyrics are simply direct responses to some of the questions he asked me. Others are from events. One song on the new album is written about a young girl who died in a horrific car accident, so there’s important stuff too." (By the way, that song is "Limousine", Track 5.)

I was fortunate enough to catch Kevin Devine on his first tour with Brand New, where they brought along a little band called Manchester Orchestra too. That was one of the most legendary of tours, with fans - this time to Lacey's presumed delight - demanding more. Consequently, Devine and Lacey went on acoustic tours, and the lead singer of Manchester Orchestra, Andy Hull, also shared some dates with one or both. Those three are some of the most intelligent, intuitive songwriters of our time.

Then there are some of the most intriguing song titles: biblical references, poems you learned in grade school, comments made by the writer's father, and funny stories from good times with friends (just to cover a few.) "Play Crack The Sky" comes from a heckle Lacey and friend John Nolan shouted at a former Christian Metal Rock artist the two had listened to in their younger years. This song is one of the most amazing, colorful, poetic love songs of all time. As a fan of the ultimate metaphor, especially in love songs, I would challenge that this song blows "Losing My Religion" quite literally, pardon the pun (listen to the song), out of the water.

Click to hear "Play Crack The Sky"

If Kevin and Jesse come through your town this summer, be sure to catch them. (Speaking of which, what do I need to do to snare tix to the sold-out show at the Roxy this month?) When the tour wraps, Brand New will go back to work on a new album but the collaboration with Devine will not be finished: On March 21, 2008, Alternative Press reported that Brand New started their own record label, named Procrastinate! Music Traitors. The first act signed to the new label was none other than Kevin Devine himself, and the first release will be a reissue of the 2006 Kevin Devine album Put Your Ghost To Rest.

Click to play the acoustic version of "Jesus Christ", as performed by Kevin Devine and Jesse Lacey.

Of the few radio releases Brand New has put out, Jesus Christ may have received the most airplay and charted the highest. It's an intense, complex introspection of one's faith. So Says I. Lacey's songs surely reflect the extensive Bible training he received as a child but their interpretations are possibly to be left up to the listener.

I know you're coming in the night like a thief, but I've had some time alone to hone my lying technique.

You might never get the same answer twice when quizzing him about song meanings. And really, should you? Should each song be definitively ABOUT one thing or the other? Certainly an artist can say "I wrote it while watching a child climb a tree and was inspired by that" but once the artist has shared the art... This is where it flourishes and can morph as well. Throughout all of the Brand New albums, you will find songs that will encourage you to hate life, love life, leave your lover, stay forever, and generally see things in ways you never thought you otherwise might have.

Pick an album... Any album... And prepare to be amazed.

Monday, July 7, 2008

is it getting HOT in here?

NAS says it best:

Hip hop just died this mornin'
And she's dead, she's dead

Here is the obituary I would write:

As a toddler and child, you were exciting and brilliant. Vibrant. I always knew you would be star! Many people didn't GET you. But I did. There were some amazing highlights over the years: Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, KRS One, Tupac, Jay-Z, Biggie. It was innovative and raw...

Then you became the next big thing in everyone's eyes. You were the new POP music. Traded the gold chains of greats Run DMC for the over-the-top bling of Sean "Diddy" Combs. They used you on commercials to sell hamburgers and cell phones. They watered you down. The labels didn't care about cultivating you; they wanted the lowest common denominator...and you dove in head first because not even street cred was as important as 30 inch rims and a dope chain. It was great while it lasted. I'll miss you.

Like the fabled firebird, from the ashes rises something new and fresh again.


3OH!3 is an American hip hop/electronica band from Boulder, Colorado. Guess what the area code is in Boulder? 303. Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte are the clever and talented duo that make up 3OH!3.

Do they have the SKILLZ to pay the BILLZ? Word. Their crunked up local shows and the video they made for the single "Holler Till You Pass Out" have garnered them a spot on this summer's Warped Tour. 3OH!3 has it all. Rhymes about sex and drugs intertwined with some colorful (read vulgar) adjectives is probably the norm in the Rap world, but for me it's the beats of this band that get me going. The rough grinding bass combined with the elctro sounds really give me a musical hard on, and make me believe that 3OH!3 have what it takes to resuscitate this nearly dead genre.

I know what you are thinking...what is a hip-hop/rap group doing on Warped? my professional opinion, it's because they are just too cutting edge still.

When your influences are Death Metal and dance tracks that remind you of Spring Break, it's not so easy to be mainstream. But this is what hip-hop and rap needs right now. They are the great white hope.

Studio Gangsters? I think not:

Check out this bit of hotness of their new album that drops July 8, 2008:
Click to play 30h3! - Punk Bitch
Buy it from or iTunes!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'm Sorry, What Don't Good Girls Do?

Because I think I missed the point.

"Magical, kissable, touchable." Uh-huh. "Ain't no big deal, it's innocent." This poor girl. Her voice is so strong and powerful. It could go so many places. Who gives her these horrible lyrics? Does she really have fun performing them? What happened to the work she did with Glen Ballard? How many unreleased efforts are sitting with the various labels she has skirted through since her "revolution" in 2001?

She's a sexy chick. I really want to like her.

There are three seconds in every song where I think I could connect with her. Like I know who this is singing. I almost feel that I get her...And then: wait, did she just say "shake, shake, shake the glitter"? Waking Up in Vegas could have been such a good song, too. What a shame.

I want her lyrics to be stronger, harsher.
... Yes, like this!! Match the words to the image!

"Fingerprints" almost gets it right. It touches on the angst we all seem to be feeling today. Maybe it was the musical production that needed more attention on this track. Speaking of tracks, I really wanted to exclude providing an mp3 in this post. Number one, she's on a major label. Number two, it's not a kissass review. And C, just walk into a Hot Topic or turn on the radio. Not hard to find one of her releases, "I Kissed A Girl" or "UR so Gay." But, mywebmaster pointed out (he's so logical) that this is after all an mp3 blog. So the compromise is a link to a remix found on In this remix, at least we get to hear a bit of how the hooks in the original should have been used.

Katy Perry – I Kissed a Girl (Vanderbilt Remix)

She dressed up as Holy Shit for Halloween, for crying out loud. I could totally love her.

There is no reason for her not to have a great career - she has a voice, an attitude, and look. But the CD "One of the Boys" is shit music and there is a ridiculous hype machine running this trainwreck.

In an interview with Mike Burr at Prefix Magazine, she describes the recently released album: "There will be lots of storytelling, because lyrics are important to me. There are a few songs that will make you cry, but there are others to make you dance and sing. Every song is on the album for a specific reason." Is she serious?

Katy Perry is 23 now. What has she been doing for the last seven years that has given her obviously no true influence or experience to drive from? At the age of 16, Katy Hudson released a self-titled Christian album, which was reviewed by Christian Music Today as having "insightful" although "not quite brilliant" lyrics yet still showing "a lot of potential."

Rather than build on that potential, at age 17 she abandoned the Christian genre and began working with Glen Ballard (of Alanis Morrissette fame), then teamed up with the Matrix at Sony Records. Blender Magazine hyped the latter collaboration as "The Next Big Thing!" in 2004. Meanwhile, none of the fruits of these efforts hit the public, and Katy Hudson, now known as Katy Perry, signed with Columbia in 2007.

Disappointingly, "I Kissed A Girl" is receiving plenty of attention, hitting Billboard's Number One spot and securing airplay even on the most forward-thinking so-called "independent" radio stations. Just when I thought Rock and Roll was saved.

If she is truly rebelling against her Christian upbringing, why is it not reflected in her lyrics? And if you're keeping score, "I got so brave, drink in hand; lost my discretion" doesn't count. You see, the constant repeating of this "I wasn't a typical Christian. I've done a lot of bad things" image is so unnecessary. What IS a typical Christian? Who has NOT done a lot of bad things? What is she doing, exactly, that good girls don't? Isn't it possible to believe in Christ and rock your ass off on stage? Or is the "former Gospel singer" stigma
the only thing that keeps the Katy Perry engine interesting?

I predict a fun season on Warped Tour for Miss Perry but I can't fathom her sales will keep up through Christmas. If she doesn't find a third style revolution by next year, 2008 will have been her flash in the pan. Or the lesson that artists might finally learn, closing the coffin on Big Labels: Churning out an image and pseudo-lesbian lyrics does not a sustainable career make.