Monday, November 30, 2009

I savour hate as much as I crave love

The Foo Fighters have disbanded for the foreseeable future and Blue October makes you want to cut yourself.

Ok. I got something for you... Biffy Clyro.

2007’s Puzzle was the record that caught my attention, but there were three albums before Puzzle that I had to delve into once I discovered the band. Blackened Sky (2002), The Vertigo of Bliss (2003), Infinity Land (2004) were the albums I checked out next. Lots of potential, if not a bit rough on the edges. Still, it was a band I needed to keep an eye on.

So I was stoked when Biffy Clyro released Only Revolutions early this November. The title, and maybe the message of most of the album, comes from the love story written by author Mark Danielewski. The book, and Simon's recent marriage and experiences. He explains:

“I got married last year so a lot of the lyrics are about me and my wife,” he explains. “It’s kind of a relationship record in that sense and a record about life. The track ‘God And Satan’ for instance questions what’s there for us when we die. Everyone has lost someone close to them and whenever that happens you do start to question your own existence and you do start to think maybe there is no grand picture after all. But while we’re here, we might as well try and make people happy and make ourselves happy. It sounds defeatist but I’m almost happy that there is no happy ending. As far as I’m concerned your happy ending is happening right now.”

When I read this snippet from an interview with the band in Clash Magazine I immediately opened iTunes and played God And Satan.

The song opens with this lyric:

I talk to God as much as I talk to Satan cause I want to hear both sides.
Does that make me cynical?
There are no miracles and this is no miraculous life.

Don't take my word for it...Listen to it yourself!

Download Biffy Clyro - God And Satan

Can you hear a little Grohl and a little Furstenfeld? I do. I think the vocals remind me of Blue October but the music makes me think of what I love about The Foo. The rest of the album is just as fantastic as this acoustic track. Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age provides some shredding guitar work to the third track on the album. A song called Bubbles! It starts of poppy and ends up melting your face.

“We spent a lot of time with Queens Of The Stone Age when we toured the States and Europe with them and we got on with Josh really well,” says Simon. “We knew we’d be in LA recording so we said we’d give him a call. Sure enough he came over at midnight one night after tucking his kids into bed and played guitar on ‘Bubbles’.” “It was really cool and he really caught the gist of the song,” adds Simon. “I think he just listened to about ten seconds and he was like (adopts booming American accent), ‘I got it, I got it.’ It was total pinch yourself stuff and even now although he’s a really good friend, we’re still like, ‘It’s Josh Homme, I can’t believe we know you’.”

Biffy Clyro are about to go mainstream in my opinion. This is not a bad thing, but familiarize yourself with the old stuff and the new stuff so that you can maintain your coolness with the other less informed people in your life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

King Khan rules over you

I've just recently discovered the oddity known as King Khan. Recently, on tour with BBQ (real name: Mark Sultan), the Khan was arrested for having certain fungi in possession. His tour manager was also arrested, having an invalid license.

No matter. They still make some quirky era-inspired tracks. Depending on whether he's working with BBQ as King Khan and the BBQ Show or with the Shrines (as, yes, King Khan and the Shrines), you'll get a pretty varied era-specific sound. Here's where I get to have the fun of sharing the tracks I like.

First up is what I think is the best of the bunch. It's off of the latest King Khan and the BBQ Show album entitled Invisible Girl. This is reminiscent of late '70's punk at its glorified high. Just think of the Ramones, and you'll get a good comparison. This track, "Lonely Boy" is loads of fun, and while only around two and a half minutes, packs a lot into it.

Download King Khan and the BBQ Show - Lonely Boy

Next up is something hearkening back to the '50's off of King Khan and the BBQ Show's self-titled album. "Fish Fight" is a romp, and Chuck Berry is written all over this one. This is the sort of stuff that the Amazing Royal Crowns were going for, also, but the stripped down sound that these guys have makes it a big winner.

Download King Khan and the BBQ Show - Fish Fight

Lastly is from King Khan and the Shrines. This is really one of the only ones I dug off of What Is? and has a completely different sound from their usual '60's guitar inspired riffs. This makes me think of the Rolling Stones, and I think you'd clearly see why I think that. Rolling grooves and very mellow. Definitely a big winner.

Download King Khan and the Shrines - The Ballad of Lady Godiva

As always, buy this stuff. Or else turkeys will come by and smack you around a bit. They will! I swear!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Since I Drove My Girl Away, or I Can Feel Your Arms

Yes, there are two titles for this blog post. Here's why...

It's getting to be wintertime.

It's getting cold.

You need a soundtrack for this.

And maybe some wine.

And a fireplace, and another body.

You got all that?

I mean, I can help you with the soundtrack part. But you're on your own for the rest.

And if you don't have all the rest, fine then. I've got the perfect emo album to listen to while you watch the rain hit the window. Life is always hard for the belle of the boulevard.

Download Dashboard Confessional - Belle of the Boulevard

It's about that time for Chris Carrabba to give us a new album. It's a double album, so why don't you go ahead and listen to Side 1 for your angst-filled lonely drives and Side 2 for those evenings with wine and fires (No! Stop! Romantic wine and fire. No setting fires!). Alter the Ending is a collection of 11 tracks performed with the energy and devotion we know and love from Dashboard Confessional, and the same 11 tracks repeated in acoustic form.

No new and eye-opening themes or lyrics. In fact, Chris seems to watch the sun go down a lot. But it's OK. I like the way he has described this romantic occurrence throughout his past work, and watching it "burn down into cinders" is not a bad picture to paint is it? And really, you'd listen to this guy sing about his bowel movements. Admit it.
What! Don't be annoyed. This is a fluff piece for a fluff band that you love to love or hate to love or love to hate but it makes you feel SOMETHING! I listened to Them Crooked Vultures hoping to review them for this post (maybe you weren't aware how much I love Dave Grohl?) but it made me feel NOTHING!

So Dashboard Confessional is what you get, since their album was released on November 10. And it's kinda like winter. And you want to get cozy. Or you want to be sad and alone. So here's the next track I will share with you. Just don't cut yourself.

Download Dashboard Confessional - Water and Bridges

What. I like it when people shorten old idioms. Water. Bridges. Deal.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No Love Lost

So is anyone else out there a big LCD Soundsystem fan? I am guessing a lot of heads are nodding. Good. This post is about a track I somehow seemed to pass over. Now, are any of you all that nodded in agreement a fan of Joy Division, also? I am guessing there will be a fair amount of heads nodding to both, correct?

Well, when LCD Soundsystem released the EP for their track "All My Friends" (which was covered by Franz Ferdinand, albeit not on this EP), they also made their own stamp on an old Joy Division track called "No Love Lost". Usually, most artists fail miserably when attempting to cover an older artist or band. Especially when that artist or band has a pretty big cult following. This is where I think many fail - they work to "re-create" a track everyone knows. So why not go the route of LCD Soundsystem and try to cover a lesser known track?

Now, I can hear some people yelling, "We all know this Joy Division track! It's not lesser known! I hope your genitals fall off!" Well, first of all, my genitals are crazy-glued on. So neener neener. Secondly, not everyone knows the entire Joy Division collection or how much blow they did on some night in 1977. If you do? That's creepy. Very, very creepy.

Anyhow, LCD Soundsystem did a pretty good job on this cut, and I am leaving both the original and the cover here for your listening pleasure. Now, I need to go eat something. Until next week!

Download Joy Division - No Love Lost

Download LCD Soundsystem - No Love Lost

And buy this stuff. If not, you're getting nil for Christmas. True story.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I think it's time we part ways.

The new Weezer album is practically unlistenable. I did some searching around the blogs and I am not the only one to feel this way. What happened to this once favorite band of ours? Ever since Pinkerton, I've tried to convince myself the subsequent albums were good. They haven't been.

They do have some great singles off the "Green" and "Red" albums, but in this day in age you need to come with a great album else we will just buy your singles off Amazon or iTunes. If you are ok with making sales a $1 a time, then fine. Although most bands don't make money off albums and instead make money from touring and merch.

Even so, not all the singles have been great. Catchy does not equal great. Like you - I can' help but to sing along to that monstrosity Pork and Beans.

Shall we take a listen? You'll have to play this from your own collection as DCG, Weezer's label, does a great job of removing the songs posted on the internet.

Everyone likes to dance to a happy song/With a catchy chorus and beat so they can sing along/Timbaland knows the way to reach the top of the chart/ Maybe if I work with him I can perfect the art.

Garbage. Sure it's catchy...and it's on the radio so often you are forced to love it. Alt-rock and pop radio I might add. It's a magic formula that Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo has, like a mad scientist, been working on in a deep dark lab somewhere. Really. In 1998, Cuomo spent a good year secluding himself in an LA apartment with black walls and covered windows disconnected from the world. He spent the year, like the geek he is, trying to figure out the formula to pop/rock success. He deconstructed all the popular songs he loved. He has a three ring binder of analysis's of every Nirvana, Green Day, and Oasis song. Trying to mathematically dissect the formula of these songs that he loves. He even calls it the Encyclopedia of Pop.

All this studying, tweaking, and anti-social behavior to produce what? Raditude?

I can't even get through this new album. One of the worst songs might be Can't Stop Partying. Take a listen.

Download Weezer - Can't Stop Partying

Not even Lil' Wayne can save it. In fact it might be better if it was just Wayne rapping on the whole song.

You might be saying, "What about that cute single off Raditude? That's a good song!" You mean (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To? One geeky love song is not enough to save this album. This album is bad. Even the god damn title irks me. (Thanks for nothing Rainn Wilson)

I have accidentally typed Ratitude about a dozen times.

I'm not spending anymore money on this band after dropping 9.99 in this shit economy on this sub par album. When the band has had enough of selling out, I'll be back.

Besides, another great band dropped an album the same week Raditude was released. Dashboard Confessional has come out with album number 6, called Alter The Ending. It's an amazing album that also includes an acoustic version in the deluxe edition. The funny thing is, that both Raditude and Alter The Ending were produced by Butch Walker. What a small world. Luckily for us, the end result is day and night when comparing the two albums. With Raditude you can polish a turd, but it's still a turd after all.

Download Dashboard Confessional - No News Is Bad News

Fuck it. Just buy them both...

Friday, November 13, 2009

And storms will surely come

There’s many who’ll tell you they’ll give you their love,
But when they say “give” they mean “take.”
They’ll hang ‘round just like vultures till push comes to shove.
They’ll take flight when the earth starts to shake.

Guitarist/lyricist/vocalist Dustin Kensrue has yet again provided a deep and resounding message in Thrice's sixth studio album, Beggars. In fact, this time around, they tweeted the entire recording process. Watch this video and check out what qualified as their "studio" for this album.

Someone may say that they’ll always be true,
Then slip out the door ‘fore the dawn.
But I won’t leave you hanging on.
Another may stay till they find someone new,
Then before you know they’ll be gone.
But I won’t leave you hanging on;
No, I won’t be that someone.

Yes, this entire album is completely an observation of the human condition, and it takes several spins before it really hits you over the head. This. Is. A. Masterful. Album. In the video above, Dustin touches on the fact that they've done a hybrid between recording live and recording piece by piece. The end result absolutely glows with all the energy of a live performance.

And come what may, I won’t abandon you or leave you behind
Because love is a loyalty sworn, not a burning for a moment.
And come what may, I will be standing right here by your side;
I won’t run away, though the storm’s getting worse and there’s no end in sight.

Dustin's voice carries a pure velocity. He means it. It just doesn't get much better than this. Check out "The Weight":

Download Thrice - The Weight

And what of the name of the album? I really enjoy the message he conveys through many of the tracks asking just who you think is in charge? Just what lies do you tell yourself so you won't have to do the right thing? And hey... You never hurt anyone. This means you've led a good life, right?

"I think we are at most times deluded in thinking that we are totally responsible for our circumstances, but in the end almost everything is beyond our control to a high degree and we can’t even be sure we will wake up tomorrow. Whether you believe that God created you for a purpose, or that the world is governed by blind chance, everything in life is a gift at its core; we are beggars all."

You must buy this album. It really hits the mark that Thrice has been trying to clobber all this time. I could write another entire post on the tracks "In Exile" and on "Doublespeak." Nevermind the fact that the title track wraps the record up beautifully.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A bit of a sidetrack on what to post

So I had a grand plan on what to post this week. After a long Sunday night in which I went to see "Little" Louie Vega play, I was dumbfounded by the number of songs I hadn't heard in literally years. However, as the typical man with a problem involving his attention span, that has changed. Last night I heard a track that made me rack my brain to find out what it sounded like.

The band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros seems to have made quite the splash amongst the indie rock gods that be. Their strange overly melodic songs are reminiscent of a mish-mash of older artists ranging from David Bowie to Billy Joel to the artist I will make comparisons to here - Elton John.

The track "40 Day Dream" is the first off of their debut full length album Up From Below. It's an epic beginning to an album that signifies what the band is about. Full sound melding different genres in music ranging from folk to blues to rock. It's an unbelievable track, to say the least. It elicits quite the emotions from me, personally.

Well, when I first heard it, I heard the chorus as well as the tempo of the song, and I was absolutely kicking myself wondering why it sounded so familiar. It isn't that it's directly similar to the song I'm about to give you all, and I may also have been thinking of a different song.

Well, I kid you not that I woke up this morning out of a total slumber having realized what it sounded like to me. I can't even say if it was my subconscious helping me while asleep, but that would be great if it was. The song I instantly woke up with in my head was Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues", and I am going to leave everyone here with both to compare the two for themselves. All music is most certainly influenced by music of the past, so my comparison here is certainly not a slight against the band. In fact, it's quite the opposite! Enjoy!

Download Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - 40 Day Dream

Download Elton John - I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

And yes. Buy this stuff. If you don't, you will get a phone call from your mother telling you you were actually adopted. True story.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the future's cloudy and gray

so can I lie in your grave at the edge of the end of the world

where I will sit with my love, in its fluorescent swirl

eat us up, break it down to the tiniest cell

in a room with a view and a window to hell

with those who bury bodies into barrels of fun

will be marched through museums that display what they've done

they'll be shot up through the sky by the cannon of sin,
and we'll reluctantly let them in

Max Bemis is an evangelist for my generation. His sermon delivered with song and lyric.

I'm a Say Anything fan. From their first release Junior Varsity to their latest self titled release, I just enjoy all of this bands albums. The albums are filled with sing-a-long anthems. Shameless and A Walk Through Hell are some examples of his earlier work.

Easily a favorite of mine from the album ...Is A Real Boy is Admit It! A song you can crank up and belt along with Max.

You're free to whine. It will not get you far. I do just fine, my car and my guitar, guitar go!

Download Say Anything - Admit It!

The album In Defense Of The Genre was a double album of...well...of mostly filler. I am of the opinon that if this double album was pared down to a solid single release, it would have been a more successful endeavor. The anthems are still here, you just might have to skip around the album. Check but Baby Girl, I'm A Blur.

Download Say Anything - Baby Girl, I'm a Blur

I got my hands on the latest album before the November 3rd release date. It reminds me more of ...Is A Real Boy than Defense. My first real listen to this album was driving back home from a long day at work. I enjoyed the album, but the last song. Track 13. Like any good preacher, it ends with a big and resounding AMEN!

Download Say Anything - Ahh...Men

Ahh...Men is a stellar song. Chanting, passionately sung lyrics, a song with a strong and heavy message. I knew right away this song was important to Max. Even while navigating the busy streets in rush hour I knew this was an important song.

I'm rarely wrong about these things:

@ummAndrew asks what the deepest song I've written is; probably ahhh men because it concerns god the afterlife redemption eternity etc

Don't be a sinner and steal this album off the torrents, buy this album. Else face hell and brimstone.


Friday, November 6, 2009

But we all fade sometimes, I believe

When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.

"I know I can survive. I just don't wanna have to."

Jack's Mannequin's EP, Dear Jack, was released this week in conjunction with the film of the same name. The band was formed as a side-project piano-based rock band by Something Corporate frontman Andrew McMahon.

And then McMahon was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Just find the horizon, I promise it's not as far as you think.

I loved Jack's Mannequin's first album, Everything In Transit. My favorite track from that album was "Dark Blue". I do enjoy the night when it is that perfect shade of dark blue. And I don't slow down enough to experience it. The song means even more to me now after experiencing the EP. I realize that "Swim" was released on the second album, The Glass Passenger, but somehow I missed that record. Enjoy Dark Blue, and if you haven't heard of this band before, then consider yourself cordially introduced.

Download Jack's Mannequin - Dark Blue

You can visit the band's MySpace page to get the film or the EP. Or check out their website for all kinds of other goodies, including this tee which I know you will want to buy for me!

Seriously, I was able to get hit with this EP just at the right time. It's been quite a week for me. I know we all have them. But you do realize, don't you... That you do have to keep swimming.

Jack's Mannequin will support Weezer on six dates beginning in December, and then headline 13 shows in February and March.
December 2009
1 - Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom (w/ Weezer)
2 - New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom (WRXP radio show)
3 - Milwaukee, WI - Eagles Ballroom (w/ Weezer)
5 - Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Center (w/ Weezer)
7 - Boston, MA - Agganis Arena (w/ Weezer)
9 - Baltimore, MD - UMBC Fieldhouse (w/ Weezer)
10 - Philadelphia, PA - Susquehanna Center (w/ Weezer)

February 2010
5 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo
6 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theatre
7 - Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory
9 - Salt Lake City, UT - In the Venue
11 - Sacramento, CA - Sacramento State University
12 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
13 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theater
16 - San Antonio, TX - The White Rabbit
17 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues
19 - Kansas City, MO - Beaumont Club
20 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
24 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room

March 2010
5 - Norfolk, VA - The NorVa

The version of "Swim" on the EP is a Music Box edition. Instead of piano, the music box tones cast an underwater-aquarium light on the same message: "I'm not giving in. I swim." Check out the original music video for the first release of the song below. And get inspired, and get motivated, and swim with me.

Jack's Mannequin "Swim"

Jack's Mannequin | MySpace Video

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's good to be back!

So I'm finally back up and running after not having internet access for about 2 weeks. I had it last Wednesday, but was finishing up moving into my new place. So that said, here's the latest in inanity with my ramblings on!

Do you guys have a song that just is never out of your head when it comes to a song that just never fails to make you happy? See, I have one of those, and I will be sharing that one along with two songs that have lately made me feel that way each time I've heard it.

First off is a song I am sure most of you reading this already know. Indie darlings Belle and Sebastian made what could easily be thought of as one of the top 10 songs of the last 15 years in the indie world. The track "The Boy With The Arab Strap" just appeals to so many different people as well as to many different emotions. It's very rare that I find a song that doesn't simply fade with how it makes me feel, and this is one of those rarities!

Download Belle and Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap

Next up are two songs I've picked up on recently. The first is by a young woman from New Zealand named Annabel Alpers that goes by the stage name Bachelorette. This song reminds me so much of Stereolab back in the day, and I can't help but feel very warm and happy with this song, entitled "Lifetime". You can check her out here, also!

Download Bachelorette - Lifetime

The last track is one I've heard fairly often as of late. The group White Denim comes out of music-rich Austin, Texas, and it's hard to really find a place that they fit in the genre spectrum. Honestly? Who cares? I have two genres in music. Stuff I like, and stuff I don't. It's that simple. So take what you will from their track "Regina Holding Hands". It's part of the former of the two genres I described. I would like to think it'd be one you all would like, as well!

Download White Denim - Regina Holding Hands

And again, buy some shit. If not, whichever deity you believe in will make your testicles small. That's assuming they aren't already small, like mine, of course.

Monday, November 2, 2009

You been drinking brew for breakfast?

There's a way to make it out in time
Keep the cash under the mattress
They're down in the streets
Run for cover

The end of the year seems to be quickly approaching. The weather has changed and so has my mood.

On cue, as it is every year for me, when the mercury falls so does my spirit. The cup becomes half empty, not half full. Not that I am an overly optimistic soul on a normal day.

This tends to change what I listen to. I don't listen to music that might cheer me up. No way! I listen to dark, desperate music that just sends me deeper down the spiraling fall.

And if theres any consolation
I never got mine so
While your out you're taking name
and taking orders

The White Rabbits versus The Clash. The cup half empty, the cup half full.

White Rabbits is originally from Columbia, Missouri but is now based in Brooklyn. A six piece indie band that has released two studio albums. The most recent, It's Frightening, was released May 19, 2009. The song that really captures my mood these days comes from this album and is called Rudie Fails. Take a listen:

Download White Rabbits - Rudie Fails

A song about bitterness and anger. A fuck it all anthem.

Then there is the song Rudie Can't Fail by The Clash. The British Punk band that formed on the the same year I was born. Not just punk, they got into many different genres while performing together. Reggae, ska, and even rap!

It might be time to define what Rudie probably means. Although it is a name, it's also a nickname for Rudeboys, which are pretty much poor rebellious kids in Jamaica. It evolved to be the name called of fans of the ska culture forming in England in the late 70s.

Download The Clash - Rudie Can't Fail

It's a decent song...but maybe it will sound better in the Spring...