Aug 20, 2003

The Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium
Universal, 2003
buy it here

I’ve seen “neo-prog” thrown out in regards to this album, and in a way it’s quite fitting. Overblown sense of scale? Check. Pointless noodling? Check. Inane lyrics that are supposedly telling a story? Check. Then it’s a pretty good descriptor because Omar and Cedric have churned out a prog album that only works about half the time. There are some interesting and effective instrumental sections on this album, but the supposed concept is so far buried beneath the “5 dollar words” strung together that the overall album falls a little flat. They have a great album in them, but this isn’t it.

Aug 19, 2003

Rancid - Indestructible
Epitaph, 2003
buy it here

It’s been said that the punk rockers don’t age well, but with their sixth album Rancid is out to blow that myth away. A new sense of maturity and nostalgia has snuck into the lyrics amidst the usual tales of being broke and rallying for political causes, but it doesn’t depart from the melodic core of what Rancid is all about. A somewhat expected break-up song from Tim to Brody appears, but the overall album manages to retain a sense of hope and love for life. “Cause through music we can live forever” – and as Indestructible shows, these guys will.
np: "tropical london" - rancid
i'll be posting the review for this album shortly, but i'm definately still enjoying it. as far as the reviews, the 50 word limit just was not going to work, so i gave myself some leeway and went with 100. maybe it's cheating, but it still made me struggle a little with getting out what i had in mind.
it's been an insanely busy week at work, and tomorrow is only Wednesday. it was bound to happen though, since we are shutting the office early on Friday for the annual golf outing. i suck at golf, but it will be nice to spend an afternoon outside consuming some alcoholic beverages. then it's on to a joint birthday party for myself and a friend. should make for a pretty good start to the weekend before heading out to celebrate my mom's birthday. which reminds me, i still need to head out to IKEA for her present. i despise shopping in that place because of the constant insane crowds, but luckily i know exactly what i'm looking for.

Aug 18, 2003

np: "agent orange skies" - kill hannah
wow, wow, wow. i saw the band that deserves to be the future of rock and roll this weekend. that's right, the Kill Hannah show was amazing. despite the 105+ degrees in the Metro saturday night, the boys in KH rocked the crowd hard and put on a great show for the hometown fans. like i said, i wasn't sure what to expect going into the show, but never in a million years did i expect to come away from one show this big of a fan. carrying on the glam/pop/rock tradition of Bowie, Duran Duran, Smashing Pumpkins, Suede, Garbage, Placebo and carrying it into the new millenium; these five guys showed just how powerful a true love for what you are doing can be. after the aforementioned heat and three opening bands, the crowd just exploded when KH took the stage and rocked it for all it was worth. "Welcome to Chicago, Motherfuckers", "Nerve Gas", and "Los Angeles" were just a few of the highlights of the night. remember this band, because once the major-label debut drops in October, Kill Hannah is poised on the brink of a supernova. it won't be undeserved success either, as the band has been working Chicago and the area for years - self-releasing three albums and a string of EPs, not counting the local hit "I Wanna Be A Kennedy". and to top it all off, the guys are just wonderful and very appreciative of the rabid fan support shown at the Metro. lead singer Mat Devine hung out for several hours in front of the Metro after the show, grateful to talk to any fan who wanted to meet him. i spent a few minutes talking to myself, and when i reached out to shake his had he grabbed me and hugged me instead. may sound a little weird, but the guy just seemed to be having the night of his life and wanted everyone to share in it. one of the most memorable shows by a local band i've seen in years, and leaving me hungry for more when they tour on the new album.

Aug 14, 2003

np: "around and around" - the rolling stones
ahh, some classic old school ABKCO Stones. i've just recently started exploring more of the '60s Stones, something i should have done a long time ago. i've had most of the '70s albums for years, but i never got any further back than Aftermath, which i got because i have always loved "Paint It Black", ever since it was the theme song for that old Vietnam show "Tour of Duty". that was one of my favorites as a kid, and if i remember correctly it was on the same night as that awful Max Headroom show. good god the '80s brought out some horrid shit.
i'm really looking forward to this weekend, fo' sheazy. Parker is coming back up from Atlanta, to see Kill Hannah at the Metro on Saturday and to celebrate his birthday. and mine too, i suppose, since it's in a couple of weeks. but you can bet there will be mass amounts of alcohol consumed and good times had. there always is when Parker is in town. i'm not sure how to feel about going to see Kill Hannah on Saturday. on the one hand, i always love the Metro and i've heard a lot of good things about KH. but at the same time, there's always the risk of running into a bad show since all the ones i have seen have been to in the past year have been good to excellent. i've also never heard a single KH song, and i'm gonna keep it that way so that Saturday will be a complete surprise to me. we'll see how it goes.
i've also decided to add a little something new to the viaChicago mix starting next week, putting even more focus on the music. i'm going to start reviewing albums from day to day, but not like the rare review that has shown up on this site so far. since i tend to become a little long-winded when i try to write my reviews, i'm going to limit myself to 50 words. yeah, i'm borrowing a page from the guys at 75orless, but i need to challenge myself to be a little more concise with my feelings and learn how to tear right to the heart of the album. i'm also not just going to be going over the latest releases, i'm going to be digging through my collection and writing a little about what ever happens to be striking my fancy at the time. maybe i'll even just reach in and pull out an album at random to see what thoughts i have currently. so stay tuned.

Aug 13, 2003

np: "who would've thought" - rancid
so Indestructible got me to pull out the other Rancid albums and take a look back. i really love the album this track comes from, Life Won't Wait, but i always thought of it more as Rancid's Clash tribute album more than anything. not that it's a bad thing, but the experimentation in styles just reminded me of Sandinista in a way. but the Rancid one is much easier to get through in one sitting than the Clash.
so not even one derogatory comment about my Dashboard post last time, i was expecting at least one. maybe i just managed to erase my last shred of credibility and scared you from ever coming back. wouldn't be the first time...

Aug 12, 2003

np: "carry this picture" - dashboard confessional
in a moment of brutal honesty here in which i will more than likely lose the respect of all three of my regular readers, yes i actually went out and bought the new Dashboard album today. yes i did. the most guilty of all my pleasures, i'll be the first to admit. and the one that none of my friends are shy to bring up when looking for a reason to embarass me. i can't explain my attraction to Chris Carraba, and no it has nothing to do with his boyish good looks. i used to spend hours writing crap "lyrics" in high school that would fit right in with his body of work. i'm not exactly proud of this fact, but it was my method of catharsis back in those days. when i first heard DC, it struck me just how much his lyrics sounded like those i used to write, and to be honest i kinda got a kick out of it. i'm sick, i know. i guess i just respect a guy who's got the balls to lay out those thoughts for the world to see, knowing full well he's not going to gain the hipster respect or admiration. in a twisted way, its refreshing to hear someone that's not out to impress everyone with his indie cred. there's something to be said for simple, heartfelt music now and then.
in other news, i kick-started my habit of going to the gym every day after work again this week. i had nearly forgotten how good it felt to feel all sore and sweaty, knowing that i was doing something productive with my time. i really feel like i can stick with it this time, now that i've gotten it worked into my daily ritual and the new gym is right on my way home from work. driving right by it gives me no excuses not to stop after work.

Aug 11, 2003

np: "date to church" - the replacements
this was a band i discovered far too late, of course they were pretty much broken up around the time i started to really get into music, so its not as if i would have found out about them in their prime. the 'Mats are just one of those bands that i should have gotten into far sooner than i did. i had read references to them many times and had heard quite a few of their songs without really even knowing it actually, but i never dug any deeper than that. it all came about as during a discussion with a friend about the Singles soundtrack. i commented how much i loved "Dyslexic Heart" and my friend asked me if i dug the other Replacements stuff. but at that point i didn't even know that Westerberg was the former lead singer of the 'Mats. he was rightfully shocked and told me to get my ass out and pick up some 'Mats albums as soon as possible. well shortly after this conversation, i read that the All for Nothing/Nothing for All comp was soon to be released. i figured that would be a great place to start, so i went out and picked it up and consequently fell in love. it was pop, but not quite. there was definately an attitude buried beneath the hooks and wonderful lyrics. it was a great place to start, but each of the 'Mats albums i have heard still contain many buried gems. so my advice to you, if you are like i was and haven't yet discovered these guys, do it now. you'll wonder just how long you managed to go without hearing one of the greatest bands of the '80s.

Aug 10, 2003

another random WinAMP post.

"Night, Nite" - Earlimart
"You Can See Me" - Supergrass
"Butcher the Song" - Cursive
"Late in the Day" - Supergrass
"Year 2000 Non-Compliant Cardia" - Mogwai
"Whatever" - Husker Du
"King & Caroline" - Guided by Voices
"The Straight and Narrow" - Spiritualized
"Everything's Going On" - Dead Meadow
"Suddenly is Sooner Than You Think" - Dntel
"Knees on Top" - Bikeride

Aug 8, 2003

np: "johnny ryall" - beastie boys
every single time i pull out Paul's Boutique i remember how fucking awesome and underrated this album is. it's up there with DJ Shadow's Endtroducing... as my favorite sample based album of all time. there are just so many great samples on this album, i couldn't even begin to name them all. classic rock, Public Enemy, Sinead O'Connor, old movies - they're all there. not to mention the hundreds of pop culture references all over this thing. luckily this thing came out when it did, because it would never be released today. there's no way they could have afforded all of the sample clearance prices now.
np: "teenage fbi" - guided by voices
it's time for another ten random WinAMP selections:

"I'll Never Forget You" - Husker Du
"The Bridge" - Clinic
"Everything's Goin' On" - Dead Meadow
"Alright" - Supergrass
"Run Run Run" - Velvet Underground
"A Magazine Called Sunset" - Wilco
"Hidden Track #1" - Bikeride (Morning Macumba)
"Native Numb" - Enon
"Late Nineties Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries" - Broken Social Scene
"Teenage FBI" - Guided by Voices

ahhh, WinAMP. it's like the IPod for us financially challenged types. except without the portability and such. i'm kinda bummed about this whole IPod free with a New Beetle thing though, how about giving those of us who have had service problems with out Beetles free ones too?

Aug 6, 2003

np: "c'mon" - junior senior
keep your Beyonces. your Sean Pauls. your Dizzee Rascals. your Ashantis. this is all the pop i'll need for the remainder of this summer. oh my god, this is like an orgasm in round, plastic form. seriously. this makes me want to jump up, strip naked, and dance all over the fucking place. but i'll spare you that image. this is honestly, without a doubt, the single most fun album i have heard in years. if i were to try and mix-up my own Junior Senior at home, this would be my recipie:

(2) heaping tablespoons of white boy funk
(1) steaming slab of psychadelic pop
(1) glimmering disco ball
(2) teaspoons of early '80s new-wave
(1) box of pure, granulated sugar
(3) cubes of shout-along choruses
and just a pinch of that gay sass

cook in the fire in the disco, fire in the taco bell for 45 minutes at 450 degrees.

serve hot, very hot.
np: "we looked like giants" - death cab for cutie
still enjoying the hell out of this new DCFC album, and still several months away from the official release. this is rapidly progressing towards becoming my favorite album yet, more so than even We Have the Facts..., which was one of those impulse purchases of a band i had never even heard of at the time. that album didn't do a whole lot for me the first couple of spins, but it continued to call out to me from my rack - begging to be listened to again and again. and since i usually heeded the call, i grew to love it. both "405" and "Company Calls Epilogue" made it onto several mixes at the time. The Photo Album was a decent enough release, but it never hit me in the same way as WHTFAWVY did, although i really liked the cover of "All is Full of Love" on the bonus disc. so now comes Transatlanticism and i'm falling in love with the band all over again.
so perhaps i was a little quick on the Pajo leaving Zwan comment last night, as that hasn't been confirmed just yet. but Paz is definately out. what's she going to do now that she can't ride the coattails of Maynard or Billy anymore? it's not as if she's that good of a bass player.
ahh, Pitchfork, why have you forsaken me? there's just something that's not clicking with me about this latest relaunch. i'm not sure if it's the color scheme, the breaking news header/map, or the new pop-oriented singles column, but it just doesn't quite sit right with me. and why the pop thing? the thing i liked about the 'Fork when i first discovered it years ago was the way it virtually ignored the mainstream. it was kind of like that cool older-cousin you have, the one that hates everything but still manages to turn you to some cool new shit. now its more like that annoying younger cousin who despite his addiction to Snoop and Biggie, you haven't abandoned all hope on because he still digs that new Sonic Youth. or maybe i'm just growing older and more cynical. nah...

Aug 5, 2003

np: "jesus i/mary star of the sea" - zwan
so it appears the rumors flying around Zwan and Pumpkins message boards are true, this may be the end of Zwan as we know it. both Paz and David Pajo have left the band to focus on other musical endeavors. although i admit i'll miss Pajo in the band, he was always buried in the mix and i'd much rather hear him doing more Papa M stuff than being buried by Billy. i'm not exactly sure what Paz will do now, since she's already been replaced in A Perfect Circle now. as far as Zwan itself, Billy once talked about it being a loose collective of musicians, but we'll see if that holds true and new cast members step up to take the place of the departing members. i'm hopeful that Sweeney sticks it out though, i really liked what he brough to the band and the two guitar attack was priceless, especially live.

Aug 2, 2003

np: "blue jeans" - bikeride
so tonight while driving home from my mom's house, i had a moment where i totally connected with an album that i hadn't before. i was driving in the country of rural Illinois, watching the lightning in the distance, and listening to Beachwood Sparks. for some reason it just felt like the perfect album to be listening to at that point. not too upbeat, but not to depressing either... just perfect for the end of the day i had today. it completely made me fall in love with that album, and leaves me wanting to check out the second album that i never got around to picking up. i love it when that happens. when an album you never fully appreciated just "clicks" with you at the right place and the right time.
so now i am back at the apartment, drinking a Killian's Red and listening to some sunshiney pop. not exactly sure what made me choose this album, but whatever works...

Aug 1, 2003

np: "ocean size" - jane's addiction
we decided to make today a cd Friday rather than a vinyl Friday with the boss gone on vacation. that way we could play the stuff that the boss man probably wouldn't get into. so earlier was my turn to try my hand at turning some more people on to Sigur Ros. i think it worked. and now it's time to rock out to some Jane's, the Kettle Whistle versions though. i've never actually heard this entire album before though, so it's kind of interesting. some of these buried gems shouldv'e remained buried though - that's for sure.
mark your calendars. October 21st. we get to find out just how real the Strokes are. from all reports i've read, it sounds like the band is really trying to expand upon the sound of the last album without going for an all-out change in direction. which excites me, for the most part. the last album, good as it was, tended to get a little "samey" sounding towards the end of the album, what with the ever-present Vocoder. a little tweaking can do this band wonders, and this album could make the band positively huge.