My parents are cleaning out their house and have been foisting all my old shit back unto me. I suspect they're clearing space so they can turn my old room into an S&M dungeon (safe word: puppies) like they've always wanted to. One side benefit was that I've been reunited with my long lost posters from high school.
It was cool to see some of my old wall cover so I snapped a few photos to share with everyone.
This is my giant Smiths poster. It's from the Meat Is Murder tour. As stated near the top of the poster, they were touring with James, which was an added bonus as that is my name. That's my son Jude sitting on the poster. I put him on there for scale--he's about the size of a Thanksgiving turkey, so you can see how big the poster is.
In this picture, I have replaced smackhead drummer Mike Joyce with Jude. Savour the flavour of murder, boy.
This is my other giant poster--New Order. Giant posters were big in the 1980s. Do people still hang giant band posters? I have no idea. I made this picture black & white. Any picture shot in black & white immediately becomes more arty. Don't ask me why, ask an artist why that's so. That's my dog Babette sitting on the poster. She's half-Weimaraner so this is an homage to the video for "Blue Monday," in which a Weimaraner played a prominent role.
Last one--Happy Mondays. I couldn't get a good shot of this one because I'm a shitty photographer. The band's on the Staten Island Ferry, just off of Battery Park. Who would have thought that Shaun Ryder would outlast the Twin Towers? Not me. Ask Sacklunch about the Black Grape concert he went to at the 9:30, he said it was the most pathetic show he's ever attended.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
My parents are cleaning out their house and have been foisting all my old shit back unto me. I suspect they're clearing space so they can turn my old room into an S&M dungeon (safe word: puppies) like they've always wanted to. One side benefit was that I've been reunited with my long lost posters from high school.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
When you see one concert a week you can usually predict if you're in for a good, bad, or mediocre show. For Buffalo Tom and Revival the expectations were pretty low. Revival was seen as a redux of Gob Iron while no one in Rock Club was particular fond of Buffalo Tom. The general feeling was, "Why are we going to this show again?" Fortunately, both bands surpassed my expectations making it a worthwhile night out.
I love when bands employ dual drummers so I was pleased when Revival had two guys bashing away. While I'm partial to percussions, I'm not a hippie-drum-circle kind of guy (well, maybe I was back in college). I just favor rhythm over melody. The other thing I immediately noticed was Revival's live set was nothing like the songs on their MySpace page. Based on that music Jimbromski and Sacklunch predicted the type of country-tinged sound that serves well as background music, but not something that's entertaining in concert. Well, Revival proved us wrong. Far from being a country band, they're indie rockers approaching a southern thing. Sure, you could find a little twang here and there but make no mistake, Revival is a rock band.
My favorite part was when they played "Don't Cuss The Fiddle" by Kris Kristofferson. In my concert preview I said they reminded me a little of Mr. "Me and Bobby McGee". It was an amusing coincidence. Potsy even wondered if our site influenced that song choice (it didn't).
Back to the dual drummers for a second. It didn't take long for us to deem a second drummer superfluous. My theory is they really want to get rid of one drummer but they're afraid to tell the guy with neck tattoos that he's out of the band. My advice when dealing with people with neck or face tattoos: tread lightly.
Okay, onto Buffalo Tom. Can a 20 year old band in its Steel Wheels phase* thrive in this age of flying cars, space vacations, and “downloadable” music? The short answer: Yes. The even shorter answer: No. Allow me to explain.
We arrived to the Black Cat and instead of being filled with young hipsters the place was packed with older guys and even some cougars. Definitely not your usual Black Cat crowd. Not only did the crowd look different, they behaved differently as well. DC crowds are famous for doin' the standing still. The Buffalo Tom fans displayed an excitement and eagerness you don't see at most shows. Each song was greeted with head bobbing, singing, and instant approval. I even noticed not one but two guys playing air guitar in the crowd. I can see liking a song but don't play the air guitar at a show. If I ever do that at a concert, Potsy has promised to bludgeon me to death with a real guitar.
While the crowd close to the stage (where I was situated) loved the entire set, I was still a little mystified at what made the music so special. It wasn't bad by any stretch, but it wasn't spectacular either. It was straight forward noise pop. They're a power trio with heavy guitar. The songs had some reverb but little influence from their old college buddy, J. Mascis. Certain songs reminded me of The Wrens (a band I like) while others conjured memories of The Connells (I'm not a fan). The crowd went crazy for "Kitchen Door" but "Tangerine" was the most powerful song of the night as the fans yelled the lyrics in unison. How did they follow up this dynamic performance? With a dreary song that killed all momentum. At least I found it dreary. They seemed to do little wrong in the eyes of their long time fans. Overall, there were many more highlights than lowlights but the music didn't convert me.
While I'm not exactly a fan, I do respect the band greatly. Why don't more bands take Buffalo Tom's approach? After 20 years they aren't marketing themselves to a "new generation of fans". They aren't changing up their sound trying to hit it big again. They've moved on and focused on raising their families. Yes, they still make records but not in search of fame or money. They only tour weekends to accommodate their family schedules. It's more dignified approach than bands who desperately hang onto the limelight well past their heyday (ah-hem..Mooney Suzuki..cough-cough).
This brings me back to my original question: Can Buffalo Tom still thrive after all this time? It depends on how you looks at it. They're not gaining many new fans but they're sure keeping the long time fans satisfied.
I give the Buffalo Tom and Revival show a Rock Club rating of 6.1.
* I stole this term from Jimbromski
Monday, January 28, 2008
Living in Arlington isn't glamorous but it presents a few perks. One is walking to Iota or Galaxy Hut on a random night to catch live music. On the last Monday of each month, Galaxy Hut puts on a free show featuring two local bands. Back in December I needed to get out of the house and ending up catching Roofwalkers and Sad Crocodile. Both put on great performances so I'm head back for more.
Once you admit you like a band that's mopey or cynical people assume you like shitty emo bands like Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday, etc. Don't mistake quality "wuss rock" with bands that are just plain annoying. I'm not afraid to say I'm partial to certain soft rock. Sad Crocodile is such a band. There's a charm to John Foster's stark songs with his quirky and sardonic lyrics.
Headlining the night is Sprites. Can't say I know much about this band. They're often described as "nerdy" because of their penchant for making songs about computers, horror films, video games, and blogs. Those are all things that interest me so I'm intrigued.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Big show tomorrow night at the 9:30 Club--Super Furry Animals with Fiery Furnaces and Holy Fuck. A three-fer. Let's go through this band-by-band.
Super Furry Animals: Welsh superstars. I've seen this band twice and they've brought the ruckus each time. Here's the video for of one of my favorites, "Golden Retriever." The band usually dons these Wookie costumes for the encore:
Fun facts about Wales:
- Citizens of Wales are not fish, but are actually considered mammals, due to their ability to breathe on land and the soft layer of fur on their bodies
- King Harold IV of England banned all vowels from the Welsh language in 1239
- The typical Welsh diet consists of turnips washed down by a cup of sawdust
Also, band member Eleanor Friedberger looks like Leslie from Seinfeld, from the episode where Jerry tried to steal cable. Elaine is holding a baby shower for Leslie at Jerry's apartment and George tries to infiltrate the shower so he can scream at Leslie for "the worst date of his life." She ends up smashing a piece of chocolate cake on George's shirt. I couldn't find a pic of Leslie but here's a summary of the episode that I'm sure will jog your memory.
This is "Single Again," from EP (2005).
Holy Fuck: what more can be said about Holy Fuck, except "Holy Fuck is right. OMG LOL!!1!1111!!one!!" Here's their website. The band picture amused me.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Jumbo Slice used "IMHO" in his last post and consequently has been fined $5. Jumbo, you can avoid the fine in exchange for five belt lashes to the buttocks. Bare-assed. Plus you have to wear a gimp suit and ball gag. Your choice.
OMG, WTF, ROFL and the like are all banned. Also various emoticons such as :) and :-(. These sorts of things are prohibited.
Lloyd the Commenter accused us of being hacks and practicing "faggotry" (actually a nice turn of phrase there, I wish I'd thought of it), predicting that our review of Holy Fuck would read as follows: "Holy Fuck is right. OMG LOL!!1!1111!!one!!"
Lloyd, I want to assure you there will be no usage of OMG LOL 1 11 111 one here. There is only one exception to the above rule, and it's for the following emoticon:
That's the emoticon for "ass-2-ass", and is a visual representation of Lloyd and his mom, cornholes connected by a 14-inch purple dildo. It's a complex maneuver and is thus is worthy of its own special emoticon.
Buffalo Tom made its name in the 90's playing heartfelt Noise Pop. Or Jangle Pop. Well, it's some favor of indie rock that was popular with college radio back in the day. They're best know for their 1992 release Let Me Come Over and Big Red Letter Day, released the following year. I admit I'm not familiar with their catalog of work. I listened to their early albums and wasn't exactly blown away. The music is decent enough. Here's my take on Buffalo Tom. Certain bands are timeless and will be loved for years by all ages of music fans. Others are good but best experienced during their heyday. They capture a time in your life and it's not the same for someone listening 10 years later. The Rockists recently posted a bunch of bands I think fit this category. I mean, if you didn't listen to Shellac as a kid, are you really going to be a big fan now? The same goes for Buffalo Tom (IMHO).
All that being said, I do enjoy their latest effort. Three Easy Pieces has less distortion than previous albums, more guitar melodies, and a larger emphasis on the vocals. The aging of the band is evident. It's not adult alternative but it's not some whiny emo band either.
The openers tonight are Revival, a local band made up of former members of Canyon. These guys are as close to Country as we're going to see (think country-folk like Kris Kristofferson - you know you love him). For that very reason I'm insisting we make our way to the Black Cat early. We've missed many a quality opening band because we're lounging at Potsy's place. Let's not make the same mistake yet again.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Well, that's too bad. A good actor who seemed like a nice enough dude.
I always though A Knight's Tale was a pretty clever movie. Loosely based on a story from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the plot follows a young commoner who pretends to be a nobleman, as he competes in--and wins--various jousting competitions. The film cleverly, and deliberately, inserts a number of historical anachronisms into the plot, with a classic rock flavor. In one instance, the crowd at a jousting contest starts doing the handclaps from Queen's "We Will Rock You." I thought the best scene of the movie was when Ledger's character bumbles his way into a post-tournament feast. He is attempting to win the hand of a beautiful princess when his evil adversary puts him on the spot and asks him to lead the dinner party in "a dance from [his] homeland." What follows is a hastily improvised minuet-type thing that devolves into everyone disco dancing to David Bowie's "Golden Years":
It goes without saying that his princess was impressed.
In addition to Queen and Bowie, there's also some Thin Lizzy, Sly and the Family Stone, War, and other good 1970s shit on the soundtrack. So put a Knight's Tale in your Netflix queue in honor of young Heath, you won't be disappointed.
Monday, January 21, 2008
While enjoying yesterday's NFL playoffs with Stuttson, Duh-Cut and other friends, the subject of the McD.L.T. came up. I don't remember why it did, but I was surprised to learn that there were some who were unfamiliar with this great evolution in food packaging/marketing. It's an invention to make Clark Griswold proud.
Anyhow, in looking up the McD.L.T. to inform our unfamiliar friends, I stumbled upon this great clip featuring a bushy haired Jason Alexander (he provides the cheese). I believe the producers of COP ROCK were responsible for this ad... Note Jason Alexander's pipes.
My favorite is the mustachioed guy eating the lettuce and tomato hamburger...
Friday, January 18, 2008
Let's say you're watching a DVD. For the sake of this example, I'll assume you're watching Good Luck Chuck, featuring the supremely talented Jessica Alba and beloved funnyman Dane Cook. You get to the end of the movie wanting more. Thankfully, in the Extras section of the DVD, there's Bloopers & Outtakes to sate your thirst.
I wanted to introduce something similar to this site. Before we go to shows we usually sit around insulting each other and telling jokes, and every so often something funny occurs. I didn't want to put this material in the show review itself, but I feel it must get out there.
(1) Years ago, Potsy, Sacklunch, and RC Sub Ted came up to visit Mrs. Jimbromski and I when we lived in New York. To pass the time during the drive up from DC, they amused themselves by trying to think of funny occupation/hobby-oriented bumper stickers. You know what I mean--things like "Fishermen Have Long Rods," or "Volunteers Do It For Free." Here are some of the ideas they came up with:
- Dentists Do It In Your Mouth
- Upholsterers Do It In Your Seat
- Clowns Will Fuck You Silly
(2) Speaking of clowns, Ted told us that last year someone he knows hired a clown to perform at his wife's birthday party (not Ted's wife, the guy he knows). Never mind the strangeness of getting a clown to perform for an adult, the real kicker was that the clown was like, 65 years old. Runny makeup, three-day old beard, the whole package. Ted did say that the guy told one good joke, though: What do you call a blind deer? I have no i-deer.
(3) Potsy is currently in a Masters program and for one of his classes he has to make some sort of video project. I thought it would be a great idea if he made a one-man bukkake video, starring himself, as both shooter and target. He could use special effects to make it seem like 20-30 Potsies are waiting around for their turn. How fucking edgy is that, man? Potsy rejected this idea, though. The man's not an artist.
(4) Finally, Ted and I were reminiscing about some commercials Paul Schaffer did in the 1980s for Rolling Stone magazine and the American Red Cross. I did some research and tracked them down on YouTube.
Here's the Rolling Stone commercial. There was a really funny commercial out there where Paul Schaffer said something like, "you know, people are always coming up to me and asking me, Paul, what's your favorite magazine?" Unfortunately this one is a different variant but it's still pretty funny.
This is the Red Cross commercial. I'm sure some of you will remember it. I only wish that they could have somehow worked in James Taylor beating Carly Simon's ass.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
January 17, 2008
It wasn't supposed to be like this. By the time I was 36, I was supposed to be living in Manhattan. I was meant to have an awesome job, in a building with lots of natural light, staffed with wacky, creative types. On weekends I would visit the galleries in Chelsea with my fashion model wife. At night we would hold elaborate dinner parties with my good friends Whit Stillman, Parker Posey and Eric Stoltz. People would seek out my opinions on the latest books, film, design and music. There would be stray copies of Wallpaper and Interview strewn about my loft apartment.
Thankfully bands like Blonde Redhead and their New York cool let me pretend I'm living the dream. This Manhattan-based band has a unique sound that's been tagged as avant garde. Their music does tend sometimes to be non-linear, but any band with a Japanese chick lead singer will get that. They do give off an art school vibe, however, almost like some European band.
Cocteau Twins, or Lush (go figure, another Asian female lead singer), but the similarity begins and ends there. The band uses prerecorded tracks mixed with live instruments to great effect, and the resulting fog of music has just enough structure so that it doesn't cross the line into wanker-type "sound experiments" that never turn into real songs.
On the contrary, Blonde Redhead has a number of tracks that verge on being radio-friendly. Their latest single, "23," was a highlight, as were "Misery Is A Butterfly," and "In Particular." Guitar/bassist Amedeo Pace shared singing duty with Makino, and he showed his chops on "Spring and By Summer Fall." But it's Makino's distinctive voice that drives Blonde Redhead. She's far from classically trained, and sometimes verges into screeching territory, but mostly she uses her voice as another instrument in the aural miasma of the band. "Equus" in particular was a highlight--in a live setting, the words sound as if they've been fed through machine translation software two or three times. All the elements of the Blonde Redhead sound are held together by the metronomic drumming of the other member of the Pace family, Simone.
"Equus" (Blonde Redhead, Misery Is A Butterfly, 2004)
On the down side, music like Blonde Redhead's can be a tad slow in parts, and for portions of the show the crowd was fading and I was looking for a place to sit. There were a few extended random noise-style jams, and I was struck by how close they were to sounding like a Grateful Dead-type drumz/space jam. Probably not what they were after, but that's not my fault.
I liked these guys a lot and thus give them an RC rating of 7.4. For all you devoted Hustler readers, that's about halfway between three-quarters and 100% erect. Rock Club is split on Blonde Redhead. Jumbo Slice thought they were just average, RC sub Ted liked them, and Potsy said they sounded like Pink Floyd. We walked to Manny & Olga's to get jumbo slices (where'd you think the Jumbo Slice name came from, anyway?) and discuss. We were surprised there wasn't a big crowd of people hanging around the Black Cat, until I remembered that the scheduled MGMT/Yeasayer show had been moved from the Backstage to Fed Ex Field as a result of these efforts. Power to the People, yeah!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I have a habit of buthering names, misquoting people and movies, and getting music lyrics completely wrong. Recently a buddy pointed me to a site that can help me with that last problem. The site is SongMeanings and it has the lyrics for almost 400,000 songs and over 30,000 artists. Ever wonder what the hell Dizzee Rascal is saying? No? Okay, me neither. But you might find it useful when listening to the classics (Beatles, Dylan) or bands you won't admit you love (Bright Eyes, Kelly Clarkson). No doubt (speaking of bands you won't admit listening to) the site will help resolve some Rock Club disputes in the future.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Everyone who was around in the early 1980s and who listened to music knew who Billy Squier was. He was pretty massive and his albums Don't Say No (1980) and Emotions in Motion (1982) spawned a bunch of big singles: "In the Dark," "The Stroke," "My Kind of Lover," "Lonely is the Night," "Everybody Wants You. " He was all over DC101.
His biggest radio hit--"Rock Me Tonight"--proved to be his downfall. Released in 1984, the song is inoffensive enough, but the video...holy fuck. I mean, I prance around my loft apartment in a peach tank top, but at least I have the good sense not to film it and release it to MTV. This is five minutes of a guy who thinks he's an excellent dancer, but is most emphatically not a good dancer.
The best moment is at 1:26 when he rips his first tank top. Then at 1:28 he replaces it with another tank top, which appears to have an even deeper scoop neck than the first, and is peach-colored.
And when I say "killed his career," I mean it. Nobody heard from this dude ever again.
Goldfrapp has a new single out: "A&E".
Alison Goldfrapp is at her best when she's all glammed-up and showing off. This single makes it sound like she's grown up and matured, which is nice, but which makes for a shit song. Grow up and mature on your own time, woman. This sounds like Stevie Nicks, or Wilson Phillips (Nick Phillips?).
Here's the video. I predict this song will make it to Malitz's Two-Minute Man feature on PostRock very soon.
Compare and contrast "A&E" to Goldfrapp at her best--this is "Ride a White Horse," from 2006:
I guess you can debate whether something like Goldfrapp is really "rock" at all but honestly I'd rather listen to this than the Hold Steady. Goldfrapp is what Weimar would have sounded like, if there had been synthesizers in the 1920s.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Blonde Redhead (9:30 Club, 01/16/08)
We're going to see Blonde Redhead at the 9:30 on Wednesday.
This band draws a better sort of spectator than your average show. This is a New York City band, from Manhattan, not Brooklyn. You'd hear their songs in an upscale shoe proprietor's in Soho.
The lead singer of Blonde Redhead is an Asian female. Jumbo Slice told me that a guy who's into Asian chicks is called a "hoarder," which sounds plausible enough, but then again I've never heard the term come up in non-Rock Club conversation.
Jumbo Slice also told me that there are people called "handlers." These people have other people poo in shoebox and then shape it with their bare hands. This new word sounds even less plausible to me than "hoarder." If there were such people, wouldn't Match.com already have a category for them? And yet they don't, so, ipso facto, Jumbo lied to me. He must think I'm some sort of special needs guy who can be fed disinformation that I'll later dutifully spread.
This is Blonde Redhead's single, "23." I like the girl's voice. These guys are art school-types so you know what sort of cool you're getting.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
The Silver Beats - Friday, 1/11/2008 - 9:30 Club - $15
It was a banner night out for RC this week. Lots of excitement in the air, Jimbromski enjoying the anticipation of a weekend of NFL playoffs, Jumboslice recently learning the gender of his unborn, sacklunch triumphant in his recent successes with CTRL+C and CTRL+V, and I just booked a trip to Florida for spring training baseball. We were ready for an equally upbeat show.
This week's show was The Silver Beats, Japan's highly acclaimed Beatles tribute band. I'll confess now that the details of last night are rather sketchy in my mind. But per the usual, members of RC assembled at my place for pre-show festivities and treats from our chef boy r-d, sacklunch. RC associate Stuttson kept us a quartet for pre-concert tomfoolery, while underachiever sacklunch napped at home (thanks go to Jumboslice for muling the chocolaty goodness in advance). After adequate pre-show blathering, RC wove its way through the congestion of U street's sidewalks and met up with sacklunch at the 9:30 Club. I understand that the show actually sold out. Impressive? Maybe. It should have been obvious though. When I considered the offerings for the week, it was slim pickins, and not being a big Vita Ruins fan, the sure bet seemed to be a solid tribute band - playing some of the best rock ever created - at an upscale rock venue - while being, well, Japanese. So I was right to suggest we get our tix in advance.
We arrived at the 9:30 Club and joined the throngs of young hipsters making their way inside. There was some speculation as to whether or not we'd see lots of youthful DC concert goers decked out with Hello Kitty backpacks and white knee socks. I didn't see any, but that doesn't mean they weren't there. As for the show? What can I say? It was such a blur. Most memorable things from my night were: familiar Beatles tunes; a Japanese woman trying to spring board across a moat of water; and some guy eating 53 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Can we go back to the concept again, though?
With the Rolling Stones, the Who, and potentially Led Zeppelin keeping yesteryear rock alive with tours, some of us still have a shot at seeing concerts featuring music that never seems to die. Never mind the fact that the Beatles consciously stopped touring at the height of their career, Lennon's death certainly meant we would never get the chance to see the Beatles perform. Even if Ringo and Paul hit the road together today, I don't think it would be at all interesting. So, instead we can enjoy four Japanese dudes, dressing in Beatles For Sale-era clothing and haircuts, giving us an amusing rock-n-roll down memory lane.
Without trying to be insensitive, I think Americans like seeing the Japanese do odd things. As I noted in my earlier post, this is evident with the popularity of shows like MXC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge). This is carried over to the benefit of the Silver Beats, and it's a winning combination. If you're going to be a novelty act, who's coat tails are better to ride than those of the Beatles? For once, it's not a crap American band who purports to be "big in Japan." Instead, you've got a solid Japanese tribute band earning a dollar in the good ol' US of A.
Topic of conversation: Some (Jimbromski) like to think that each member of the Fab Four has a distinct quality/characteristic/personality that covers all of us, sort of like a Myers Briggs personality scale thing. So, which member of the Beatles would you say you most resemble? Everybody wants to be John and/or Paul. And no one wants to be Ringo (sacklunch is one for sure), but as Jimbromski says, Ringo is still one of the Beatles, so being Ringo isn't a bad thing (he's still alive at least - and about to release an album thankyouverymuch). So food for thought today, if you're honest with yourself, which Beatle would you be? I'm going with George. The man was awkward and had his lady stolen away by Eric Clapton. Seems about right to me.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Telograph (with The Sketches and Red Romance)
Black Cat, January 4 2008
There has been a great deal of discussion among the members of Rock Club (and some anonymous outsiders) about this show review. I have never seen so much pre/post show banter concerning three local bands (actually two local bands and one from the Windy Apple). After numerous emails, phone conversations, and in-person dialogue we collectively came to the conclusion that Telograph (the "O" in Telograph is nothing but a stylistic choice.") has now overtaken Cedars as our least favorite local band.
In all honesty, we were not even supposed to be at this show. We had selected Adam West/The Points at the RNR Hotel as the show for that week. However, due to logistical issues and general laziness, we opted to go the Black Cat instead. Big mistake.
The highlight of the evening (which isn't saying much) was NYC's The Red Romance . We actually saw these guys open for the excellent 1990s at the RNR Hotel last year. They play a moderately entertaining version of indie pop and sound a lot like The Killers. I don't really have much else to add about them, they are fine. Oh, their bass player wears an ascot. I think he is trying to be ironic, or maybe not....
The second band was DC's own The Sketches. At first, I didn't care too much for their tunes and sauntered downstairs for some fresh air. I came back up for the second half of their set and again it was fine. The sound a lot like every other indie band out there. Nothing unique. Also, for some strange reason, one of their songs sounded like 1980s power balladeers REO Speedwagon. At that point I was ready to go, as I did not have high hopes for the headliners and was bored out of my skull and flipping through the latest copy of The Onion back at the merch table. The other members of RC convinced me to stay. Again, big mistake.
Telograph took the stage a few moments later. We inched toward the front (not difficult as the venue was about 1/2 full) to take in a band described as "grandiose, Brit-style pop rockers..." Wow, I couldn't stand this band from the get-go. As the first track moved into the second, I was kind of looking around wondering what all the hype was about. Again, they sound like every other band with little originality or uniqueness to their music. It was all very overproduced and I found myself dozing off as I leaned against one of the right-of-center stage support posts. What is it about this type of indie rock that I/we find so tiresome? Here are some comments by others regarding the show:
"The Telograph show made me ANGRY. I find it offensive when bands blatantly strive to fit a particular sound b/c they think it'll make them "big"."
I agree. It is definitely seems as they are striving for a particular sound. The music was described as "Brit-Pop". Maybe I am an old geezer, but Brit-Pop to me describes bands like Blur, Oasis, Pulp, etc. I would even go as far back as Suede, The Smiths, and even The La's to describe the Brit-Pop sound. However, more recently, I believe it has been used to describe bands like Coldplay, Doves, and Keane. Bands that suck IMHO. So, from now on, if you are labeling your band "Brit-Pop", please differentiate between good Brit-Pop (the former) vs. shitty Brit-Pop (the latter) However, to put you in a good mood in the midst of all this negativity here is a video of the beloved Radiohead playing a cover of one of the best Smiths songs ever:
"If I may, it seems like the problem with these guys is that they're too polished and "arena-ready" (their own words, see here). There's nothing wrong with that really, a good song is a good song no matter if it's Dan Fogelberg or The Yeah Yeah Yeahs singing it. The crux of it is that the songs aren't nearly as good as they think they are (again, see the aforementioned article, they seem pretty high on themselves) and since the songs aren't good enough all the posturing and overproducing and emoting and Cold Play-ing comes off as looking pretty stupid. They can add French Horn and mellotron all they want--if the song doesn't sound good with one guy playing it on an acoustic guitar then it won't sound good with all that other shit added to it. "
Another excellent point. I think these guys have big aspirations and are looking for the big score. Apparently, they opened for O.A.R in some big stadiums. If this is their motivation for playing music, then so be it, best of luck to them.
Look, lets face it, music is very subjective. I have been reading posts on other blogs/forums regarding the best/worst shows of 2007. Its funny how much crossover there is on these lists. One dude will write," Yeah, the ____ show was the best I've seen all year." Meanwhile, some other dude is trashing the very same show. Its up to the individual to decide what they like (and do not like). However, one thing that bothers me is the notion of "supporting local bands," because well, uh, they are local. Just because a band is from DC, doesn't mean they are fucking good. I understand that local bands need our support, because that is how they become "non-local" bands. However, do we need to massage the proverbial balls of every indie rock band from the DC Metro area? There are good local bands, and there are certainly plenty of bad ones. However, it seems that many of the local blogs tend to be proponents of every single lame ass band out there, just because they are local. If you want a different opinion of this show, please check here. They obviously have a different view of the show than we did.
In lieu of a RC rating for this weeks show we decided to use a different type of grading system. I introduce to you the Bristol Scale:
"The Bristol Stool Form Scale or Bristol Stool Chart is a classification of the form, that is appearance in a toilet, of human feces into seven groups. It was developed by Dr. K. Hering at the University of Bristol and was first published in the British Medical Journal in 1990. The form of the stool depends on the time it spends in the colon."
So, to the boys in Telograph, and please don't take this the wrong way, but your show was like a Type 3 stool: "like a sausage, but with cracks on the surface."
A couple of weeks ago I expanded my female-impregnating Estrogen & Tonic mix into a box set. No foolin', I turned one CD into four. Then I put them into our six disc changer in the CRV, which my wife drives. Soon she'll be pregnant with octuplets.
I put a couple of Kate Nash tunes that I heard on there because I knew she'd love that shit. In spite of my obvious high testosterone and manliness I am in fact very sensitive. I grew up in a house full of girls and my dad was always away on maneuvers so I spent a lot of time listening to the girls and their neverending problems. I read every Judy Blume book. I can deal with every female hot button issue as a result. You got the scoliosis? Deenie. Fat? Check out Blubber. Moving to Tarrytown NY, like my big sister? Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. Nazis offed your grandparents? Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself. Got your monthly bill? Well of course, Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret? is the cure. Want to lose your virginity? I can either put you in touch with Potsy, or you can borrow my heavily dogeared and highlighted copy of Forever.
Here's the video for Ms. Nash's "Foundations." She's--surprise surprise--complaining about a boyfriend. Good song nonetheless.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
This is for those who enjoy In Rainbows by Radiohead (meaning most people except Jimbromski). I have to admit, I wasn't big fan at first but the more I listen the more I really, really like it.
UPDATE: It was just announced that Radiohead is playing DC on it's upcoming tour. When? Where? Who knows. They haven't played here since 2003 at Merriweather Post. I was there and frankly it was disappointing. I couldn't even seen the stage. If they play there again I'm not sure I'll go unless I can get good seats. Hmmm, who do we know with such connections...Sacklunch?
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Indie rocker arrested for beating up his girlfriend.
No, really. Martin Crandall, keyboardist for the Shins, engaged in fisticuffs with his girlfriend, who was a finalist on America's Next Top Model.
This is topical because in our latest Thorkelson Awards post I rated the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club show as one of the worst of 2007. One of the reasons I did so is because after we left the 9:30 Club (early, I might add--that show was so long I wondered if I had accidentally stumbled into a Grateful Dead concert) we saw some dude pushing around some chick, with some other girl trying to separate them.
Not a good scene. None of us jumped in. It looked like a classic pimp/ho confrontation and everyone knows you don't get in the middle of one of those. That's why we have a police force. Besides, 7-11 was like, one block away, and there's always the equivalent of an entire MPD district in there, so let them handle it.
But even cops don't like to answer domestic violence calls (not that this was domestic, unless the three of them lived in their car, which was parked nearby). More often than not they end up flat on their asses, shot in the chest by some nutter husband. And usually they bite it only days before they retire, which ends up scarring their partner.
But Marty Crandall? I'd definitely jump in and give that guy a beating. I wish more indie guys did this kind of thing, it'd be a good excuse to hit them in the face and be a big hero for doing so. Also, his victim is hot, and that sadly makes a difference.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Following the "Dirt" excerpts, I feel like I have to mention a minor bit of commentary that we enjoyed this weekend. I've been waiting for Jimbromski to post a clip from Saturday's Redskins game but he hasn't done it yet. I'm hoping he does, because describing it doesn't do it justice, but I'll try anyhow. Oh, wait. I found it... Nevermind Jimbromski, here it is... even better...
Nothing was said after that for quite a bit of time, and I have to think that everyone involved, all the guys in the booth, were doing the same thing we were, laughing our asses off. Oh sorry, LOAO.
And now for the much-awaited part two of our 2007 awards show/banquet/fundraiser for retarded children.
Category: Live Shows
1. Best in Show
Which band brought the ruckus?
(1) The Thermals, 03/02/07, Black Cat
(2) Menomena, 11/20/07, Black Cat
(3) Dismemberment Plan, 04/27/07, Black Cat
(1) The Long Blondes, 06/07/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. This show did it all. Hot young female rockers. I got a low five from Kate Jackson (not the Charlie's Angel) as she exited the stage.
(2) The Thermals, 03/02/07, Black Cat. As their name implies, they're very warm.
(3) Menomena, 11/20/07, The Black Cat. Would be the first band I'd invite to the future DCRC HQ.
(1) Dismemberment Plan, 04/28/07, Black Cat. Technically this wasn't an "official" Rock Club show but I'm including it because it was hands-down the best show I saw all year. Nothing else comes close.
(2) LCD Soundsystem, 05/16/07, 9:30
(3) Spoon, 10/23/07, 9:30
(1) LCD Soundsystem, 05/16/07, 9:30. It's an LCD sweep--best album, best song, and best show. James Murphy had a sore throat and ended the show early, and somehow that made it even better, like being able to watch Picasso paint for a half hour, or John Holmes get fellated for five minutes. Genius at work.
(3) The Thermals, 03/02/07, Black Cat.
2. Worst in Show
(1) Dick Swift, 04/19/07, Black Cat. Snoooze.
(2) Illinois, 05/22/07, Rock and Roll Hotel.
(3) Yoko Ono, 07/14/07, Pitchfork Music Festival. By far the worst. Drove the crowd out en masse.
(1) The Ponys, 03/24/07 (Black Cat), 07/23/07 (Black Cat), 10/23/07 (9:30). I hoped this band would break up, but then I realized they could form four equally annoying bands. Best to utilize the containment strategy.
(2) Travis Morrison and the Hellfighters, 09/13/07, Iota. I waited in line for the can with Travis at this show. I should never stand in the bathroom line with the headliner. Although I wonder what would have happened if I saw David Lee Roth in the bathroom of the Verizon Center at the Van Halen show. Would he have intervened in the bathroom sex that I overheard?
(3) Dick Swift, 04/19/07, Black Cat. I walked out in the middle. Like sand in your bathing suit. Irritating.
(1) Dick Swift, 04/19/07, Black Cat.
(2) Smashing Pumpkins, 07/13/07, 9:30. I actually rated this one worse than Swift but I'll admit the music was better. I just deducted points because of Corgan's ego.
(3) The Loved Ones (with Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer), 01/18/07, Black Cat. I don't care for either of these bands. At all.
(1) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, 06/02/07, 9:30. Oh how the mighty have fallen. BRMC are the inverse to LCD Soundsystem--shit album, shit show. This show was 4-5 hours too long, and there were too many fucking meathead types in the audience, and finally, on the walk home we saw some guy beating up a chick, and no, none of us intervened. Bad vibes all night.
(2) Illinois, 05/22/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. Hey, I'll pay you $20 to stop fucking speaking between songs. Not enough? How about I pull your tongue out and replace it with a Maxi Pad? Is that better? It certainly works for me.
(3) Dick Swift, 04/19/07, Black Cat. I hate to pile on this guy but this dick was flaccid. Like a male version of Rickie Lee Jones. Find another line of work, sir. You made my soul hurt.
3. Nicest Surprise
(1) The Long Blondes, 06/07/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. No doubt. I went into this show with low expectations. They blew me away.
(1) The Rosebuds, 05/22/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. The Rosebuds were good, and let's not forget about the Bowerbirds.
(1) The Long Blondes, 06/07/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. I figured they'd put on a decent show, but I had no idea they'd be that good.
(1) The Rosebuds, 05/22/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. Washed the bad taste of Illinois out of my mouth.
(2) Illinois, 11/20/07, Black Cat. I hated these guys so much at RNRH that I was surpised how good they could be when the lead singer tones it down even a little bit.
(3) Ted Leo, 12/18/07, 9:30. See Illinois. When Leo shuts up and just plays the rock, he's one of the best around. This was a great show.
4. Most Unpleasant Surprise
(1) Heartless Bastards, 06/13/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. Not that it was a bad show, but I was very underwhelmed by this band. I had high hopes for this show, the albums are quite good.
Tie--(1) Illinois, 05/22/07, Rock and Roll Hotel, and (2) Heartless Bastards, 06/13/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. A draw between Illinois for ruining a solid record with a sophomoric stage presence and the Heartless Bastards for not delivering the rock with any...heart.
(1) Illinois, 05/22/07, Rock and Roll Hotel
(1) The Long Blondes, 06/07/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. I missed this show, so I was unpleasantly surprised by how awesome it was. I had to meet my parents for dinner at Outback. The TV over the bar played the Raiders/Patriots "Tuck Rule" game on ESPN Classic. I am a Raiders fan. This is as unpleasant as it gets.
(2) Heartless Bastards, 06/13/07, Rock and Roll Hotel. Would you rather be somewhere else, Heartless Bastards? Yeah, me too. And clean yourself up before you go on stage. Brush your hair and put some makeup on. I'll forgive a lackluster performance if you're hot.
5. Best Review
(1) Potsy's review of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the 9:30.
Honorable Mention: Jumbo Slice's Review as Haiku for LCD Soundsystem.
(1) Jumbo Slice's review of The Thermals' second show at the Black Cat. Allow myself to quote myself: "your reviews are best when you don't show up."
(1) Potsy's review of Van Halen
(1) Jumbo Slice, Review as Haiku, LCD Soundsystem. Only the spare, haunting, Japanese metered poesy could do justice to the greatness of that show.
(2) Potsy, Van Halen. Bathroom sex, vomit, Diamond Dave. Really, it wrote itself, but Potsy still gets the credit.
6. Worst Review
(1) My review of The Veils. Even though it was not an official RC review, it was boring and insipid.
(1) DAM!, I Forgot What Happened, Sacklunch. Sacklunch, you've shown you're capable of writing, but not here. More like Sucklunch.
(1) My interview/review of Jukebox the Ghost.
(1) DAM!, I Forgot What Happened, Sacklunch. Three weeks late, no detail on any of the bands you saw, all with the usual jumble of misspellings, grammatical errors, and complete lack of pictures, audio or video. Sometimes I wonder what you're contributing to this whole operation, Mr. Sack. For shame.
Not to burst anyone's Crue-bubble, but some recent RC discussion has cast doubt on the veracity of Motley Crue's The Dirt and yesterday's excerpt only fuels the fire. Let's deal with yesterday's excerpt first.
1--I'm supposed to believe that Nikki Sixx grabbed this guy, held him still with one hand, and then, as if this party were taking place in Bob Vila's workshop, there's a hammer and a nail within reaching distance. Sixx--still holding the faux punk with one arm--grabs the hammer and nail, and using one hand (I am assuming his weak hand, as the dominant hand would be used for punk-restraining purposes), pushes this guy's earlobe flat against the table, steadies the nail, and hammers it in. That's no mean feat of craftsmanship. It would only work if he had help. And he says he did it all by himself. So either Nikki Sixx is lying, or he's hogging the spotlight. Either way, I don't approve.
2--Secondly, the famous dicks-in-the-breakfast-egg-burritos story. There are a number of holes in this one. In order:
(b) Unless they stuck their dicks in the burritos and ate them afterwards. Dear God.
(c) But even if they did stick their dicks in the burritos, how did they do it? A quick trip to Chipotle, or any other burrito joint, reveals that the ends of the common burrito cannot be penetrated unless the burrito penetrator is aroused. And even then, it would be difficult. And I refuse to believe dudes bought burritos, fapped it until ready, then forced their way in. I just don't buy it.
(d) But maybe they bite off the end of the burrito, and then commence phallus cleansing. Like cutting the tip off of a cigar. However, most burritos are stuffed full of delicious filling and this would require that they first displace a generous quantity of egg. Again, wasteful. Poor, hungry musicians wouldn't do this.
(e) Finally, if these guys had sex with groupies all the time, as they claim, wouldn't the real problem arise when they didn't bang some hoochie, and then went to see their girlfriends? Hmm? Hmmm? Do you see? Let me refer you to the famous case of The Dog That Didn't Bark. The only scenario where their girls sniff something out of the ordinary is when they refrain from nailing the groupies. Then, you need the burrito. But then that takes us back to (a).
So I don't know what to believe now.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
The response to Rock Club's excerpts from The Dirt has been tremendous, and frankly, a little insulting. I look at our Google Analytics reports all the time and most people are coming here to read these short blurbs. Here we are going the extra mile to attend and review shows, and turn out trenchant cultural critiques, and all you philistines are interested in hearing about are the exploits of a 1980s hair metal band sticking their dicks in egg burritos.
And furthermore, I just checked on Amazon, and the book only costs $10.85, so with shipping, that would come to under $15. So in addition to being lowbrow, you're all fucking cheapskates too. And when I say $15, I am assuming, no doubt correctly, that none of you pennypinchers are members of Amazon Prime, with free second day shipping.
Incidentally, I am a member of Amazon Prime.
In spite of all this I have decided to run one last excerpt. Even though it's no longer National Drink and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. To the best of my knowledge, January is National Yeast Infection Awareness Month. But, as the Kennedys say, "ar-ah, nevathaless":
I had been listening to him brag for an hour. He had dirty red hair, shaven in a halhearted attempt at a mohawk, and a cuff in his ear--not even a real piercing. Like every other punk-rock poser, he had been hanging out at the Whisky A Go-Go that night, watching the dying gasps of the L.A. punk scene. David Lee Roth and Robbin Crosby and Stephen Pearcy from Ratt were partying with us at the Motley House that night. And the little punk kept trying to prove that he was more rock and roll than any of us, that he was tougher and more street than me, though he was clearly just a rich, self-deluded brat from Orange County. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore.
"You ain't a fucking punk, you motherfucker!" I leapt off the sofa, slammed his head against the table, yanked his ear, and pressed the lobe flat against the wood with my fingers. Then, with the whole room watching, I hammered a nail straight through his earlobe and into the table.
"Aaaaaaauuuuuggggghhh!" he yelled, and writhed in pain, stuck to the table like a dog on a tight chain.
"Now you're punk rock!" I told him. We turned up the stereo and kept partying like he wasn't there. When I woke up the next afternoon, he was gone, but the nail was still mysteriously in the table.(Nikki Sixx, p 71)
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Okay, so I'm a bit wasted after the unbelievable Telographs concert. I'm sure Sacklunch is anxious to write about it, but I have to ask about this Lindsay Lohan thing. So she had a swig of champagne on NYE and got filmed enjoying it, and this was somehow in violation of her probation...? Here's what I found out about her situation. From BBC website:
The actress admitted to having a drink and drugs problem in August 2007 and spent time receiving treatment.
She spent 84 minutes of a one-day term in jail last November after admitting to drink driving and possession of cocaine.
The star was also put on three years probation and ordered to complete an 18 month alcohol education program.The girl spent an hour and a half in jail for cocaine possession. I'm pretty sure that my one spell in detention in high school lasted longer than that, and I didn't possess any coke, that's for sure. No wonder she had some champagne at New Year's. So far, the rules haven't applied to her.
Can I share with you Nicky's opinion from reviews of the Freaky Friday Soundtrack?
by nicky_park on 8/12/2003
favorite track: 14
I love the song "Just Let Me Cry" by Ashlee Simpson! (she's Jessica Simpson's sister). I also love "Ultimate" by Lindsay Lohan. She is a really good singer!
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Excellent garage folk/rock/etc... from an underrated local artist. We have had plenty of opportunities to check this guy out, let's not miss him next time around. Click here. Listen to "Leaving the Nest". You will be hooked.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
In 1991, the clever folks at GM decided to hook their trailer to the ass of Bob Seger, and use "Like a Rock," as their ad campaign theme song. I had grown tired of that song ages ago, but not until I looked it up tonight did I realize just how long Chevy played that effing song to sell their trucks. And always as some idiot plowed through a mud patch. Show me the truck doing something realistic, like sitting in traffic at 15 mpg. Any guesses as to how long they used that song? Answer to come later. Mind you, my neighbor in college was equally clever and always sang the lyrics as, "Like My Cock," whenever he saw the commercial. He was good for doing that to pretty much any song. I'm sure all of us had a friend like that. What alternate lyrics to popular songs did you enjoy?
As we entered a new millennium, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for Chevrolet to change gears. Taco Bell dumped the dog, Evander Holyfield wasn't working for Burger King anymore, and Martina Navratilova championed Subarus in Y2K , yet Chevy stuck with the 9 year old "Like a Rock" campaign. No wonder GM lost so much money. Stupid. And what do most people think of rocks anyhow? I don't have a positive opinion of them, personally. They seem to do more harm than good.
Don't remember the clip? If not, you are a. under 15 years old, b. foreign, or c. a vegan w/o tv. Here it is again:
Thankfully, mercifully, in 2004, GM dropped the Seger inspired campaign (there's your answer: the ad was in its teens, fugly and in need of hiding itself). Just as I was wringing the last of the mud splattered like-a-rock-lyrics from my ears, Chevy is back at it. Now, I think I might be the kind of guy that Chevy should be trying to sell a Silverado to. I'm male, white, in my mid-30's, have no use for a truck at all, and I currently own a GM vehicle and used to have a 1987 Chevy Blazer (the big one). Yet, nothing about Chevy Trucks' new campaign appeals to me. Instead, after only a little more than a year, I am already ready to burn John Cougar Mellencamp in effigy for allowing his "Our Country," song to be played before, in between, and after every inning, halftime, quarter, and period of just about every sporting event. I instantly hate this song and Chevy. Thankfully, I have Tivo. But I still manage to hear that crap song once a week. Please, someone pull the plug on this before 2020...
Wanna sell me a Chevy truck? Pull out a different Johnny Cash song every year for the next decade, and you might get me to try one out. Maybe not Ring of Fire. That doesn't seem right either.
BYT's photo dedication to Rock Club reminded me of a something I heard on the radio last month. NPR has a feature called Project Song in which bands write and record a song in two days. The artists pick a phrase and a picture as their inspiration and then the clock starts ticking. It's a fascinating idea. NPR's music section has been a pleasant surprise over the past year. Between their live concert recordings (Spoon, Okkervil River, The New Pornographers, etc.) and Carrie Brownstein's blog, NPR has become one of my favorite music sites.
Georgie James ended up writing a song called "Monument". It's quite good. NPR has the audio of the story and a video on their site. The video isn't nearly as good as Potsy's stalker footage but it's okay.