Jan 28, 2004

np: "take me out" - franz ferdinand

some pretty good garagish rock out of the UK, think a little louder version of Interpol. at least that's my feeling after a quick listen. worth a look if you are into Strokes, Stills, Interpol, or any of that new wave of NY rock.

so tonight i was standing at Tower trying to decide between picking up the new Twista album or the new Elbow album. i've been digging what i've heard of Twista's jawn so far and the Elbow has me quite intrigued. so which did i choose? neither. i went old-school style and picked up the reissue of Echo and the Bunnymen's classic Ocean Rain. i've always loved "The Killing Moon", especially since the excellent use of it in Donnie Darko. so i decided to take a chance on this reissue, filled with 8 bonus tracks. why not? haven't gotten a chance to listen to it yet, but i'm looking forward to checking it out.

i also finally got around to picking up that Spike Jonze Director's Series video, and damn is that thing awesome. loads of classic videos including some i had forgotten that Spike had made (Pharcyde, Breeders). took my right back to 94-95 when i was watching MTV all the fucking time. it's well worth the price of admission. besides the plethora of his videos it also includes several short films, interviews, and a beautiful booklet containing more interviews and some of Jonze's conceptual drawings and writings.

so the Super Bowl is this weekend, huh? nearly forgot. seriously, i think this is the least i've ever cared for a game in years. yeah, i'll be watching, but probably more for the commercials than the actual game itself.

Jan 26, 2004

np: "jezebel" - iron & wine

according to the tracklisting on Pitchfork, this isn't a track on the new album. apparently there are two different versions of the album to be called Our Endless Numbered Days floating around out there right now. rumor has it that one is actually stuff left over from the first album and EP home-recording sessions that may someday see release. let's hope so, it's good stuff and i'd love to see it as an official release.

i've really been digging on the new Phantom Planet album today, it's growing on me more and more with every listen. these aren't the kind of melodies that jump up and smack you across the face, but rather subtlely let you know they are there and then crawl into your brain. after the first listen i wasn't digging it as much as i did The Guest, but the more i listen to more i like it. it sounds like the boys went back to the garage and cranked the amps to 11 to prepare for this one.
np: "self conscious" - kanye west

hip-hop album of 2004 right hurr. at least if it's released in this current form. i guess all the samples haven't been cleared yet, so its possible there some changes before it actually hits the streets. which includes the awesome L-Boogie sample on this song, it works wonders. probably about the only good thing that's come out of that atrocious Unplugged set of hers. this kid has got some mad flows though, in addition to his top-notch production. check out the Def Poetry Slam acapella version of this song for further proof of his lyrical skills.

in other news the new D-12 jawn is supposed to drop sometime this spring, complete with guest spots from G-Unit, 50 Cent, Obie Trice and production work from Em, Dre, and the Neptunes. sounds promising, and hopefully it can build on the somewhat shaky foundation of the first D-12 album. that was a really spotty album with a few excellent moments, but i don't think it was quite as bad as some people make it out to be.

2004 is less than a month strong, and in addition to The Fall i've already been introduced to another outstanding band that i wish i had checked out before. a friend hooked me up with the first album from Orange Juice this weekend and i've been enjoying the hell out of that album, especially lead-off track "Falling and Laughter". its somewhat refreshing to hear a little optimism coming out of the dark post-punk early 1980s. it's a very strong album overall that leaves me hungry for more from this band.

Jan 24, 2004

np: "rich" - yeah yeah yeahs

it's snowing outside again today. winter in chicago has finally decided to kick into full gear over the past week or so, going from extreme cold to a solid day of snowing yesterday. thing is, we maybe got two inches during all that, but it was still enough to turn my 35 minute drive home into an epic three hour plus journey. christ. and now tonight i'm supposed to be heading into the city to a party, but i don't know if i'm even going to be able to park by my friend's house or not. which would mean a 20 minute drive, followed by a 45 minute El ride, topped off with a 20 walk to the apartment. the things we do in the quest for socialization and alcohol. but it's friends i haven't seen in ages, so i'm looking forward to going.

so i've decided 2004 is going to be the year that i try and get into some bands that i've always meant to, but never gotten around to checking out. and the first name on my list was The Fall. i've been a Pavement fan since Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain came out, so i've heard and read plenty of references to Mark E. Smith's band. the question was, just where in the fuck to start? Tower only had about 15 different albums from all phases of thier career. great. then i stumbled across Totally Wired: The Rough Trade Anthology in the import section. $20 for a two-disc overview of supposedly the band's most fertile period, according to AMG. i figured it was a decent starting point. so far i've only listened to disc one, and i'm somewhat impressed. being a fan of bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, and other slightly off-kilter bands has somewhat jaded me i suppose, as i'm not totally blown away by it. it's not exactly something that hasn't been tried before. but as is often the case in music, historical context has to be taken into account. when i stop to think that this anthology covers the very early 1980's, it puts a whole new spin on what i'm hearing. must have been pretty impressive to folks on the Fall tip back in the day. Smith's cynical delivery takes some getting used to, but it works when put up against the constantly shifting music behind him. i don't know if this is going to turn me into a rabid Fall fan or not, but i'm certainly not regretting the Monopoly colored Jackson i shelled out for it.

the new turntable is definately having an effect on my music buying habits, as could be seen by my recent trip to Record Breakers. seeing as they were both cheaper and cooler to look at, i picked up Do Make Say Think's Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn and Explosions in the Sky's Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die Those Who Tell the Trust Shall Live Forever. for some reason that epic post-rock stuff sounds much better on vinyl that compact disc, or maybe that's just me wanting it to sound better. regardless, much props go out to the folks at Constellation Records for all the hard work they put in to make beautiful packaging for their releases. i'll definately be ordering more from them in the future. while i was at the Breakers, i also picked up Ride the Skies and Wonderful Rainbow by Lightning Bolt, great shit right there.

Jan 11, 2004

np: "english girls approximately" - ryan adams

i know i've talked about my love for this man, but i have to re-iterate it after reading Pitchfork's latest bashing of the man in the Love is Hell EPs review. no it's not Heartbreaker, we all know this. and we know he's probably not going to ever come up with another one to top that album's sense of brooding drunkeness at three in the morning. and i'm fine with that. i enjoyed the hell out of Gold, that one ended up in my top 5 for 2001. Demolition was pretty solid for what it was, leftovers and outtakes. lloR N kcoR was another solid album that captured Ryan at his full-on wannabe a rockstar best. yes it was derivative as hell. but so are The Darkness, The Rapture, and a whole slew of the latest indie-approved rockers. but apparently it's only cool if it's derivative to the point of being ironic. there's no irony in Adams' unabashed love for rock and roll in all its' forms. dude just wants to rock sometimes, and if it sounds that good i'll allow it.

Jan 9, 2004

np: "jabberjaw" - phantom planet

it's really a shame that right now this band is only known by the masses for The O.C. theme song and for the Rushmore star/drummer. because this is one of the better pop-influenced rock bands out there right now. it's the timeless kind of garage rock that doesn't fit in with any recent kind of trend, and that's a very good thing. upbeat without relying on pop-punk conventions, songs about love without being emo, and hip without even trying - this is a band that deserves Strokes level success. sure, i've heard the whining that they're just a bunch of rich models and actors, but when the music is this good who gives a toss? like Julian Casablancas didn't come from the world of privilege. anyway, the new self-title album hit stores this week, check it out. they've also got a new live DVD out, but i didn't have the extra scratch to toss that in my basket this time.

i've also been doing a bit of garage-rocking lately, of the early 1990s variety, courtesy of Mono Men and The Mummies. i first got wind of The Mummies thanks to this review over at the underrated Stylus site. sounded quite intriguing to me and some quick investigation into the band led me to the Estrus Records page. this looks like THE place to go to check out some more recent garage rock, and i'm wondering how i've managed to avoid it this long. anyway, if you are at all interested in checking out either of these bands, i'd have to suggest seeking out "Stronger Than Dirt" by The Mummies and Mono Men's cover of "You're Gonna Miss Me" - both great songs.

Jan 7, 2004

np: "eruption" - van halen

sometimes you just gotta rock out and air guitar like a motherfucker, know what i'm sayin'? hell yeah. and before that it was The Cars debut album on my now fully functional turntable. how excited am i about that? turns out that in addition to a new needle, the player was also missing the counterweight to keep the arm up. so i ended up having to pull a MacGeyver and tape some random sockets from my tool set onto the arm to get the thing working properly. love my ghetto style. but it works, and right now that's all that matters.

in other news, i wanna give a mad shout-out to Star*Like Collision, a very fun band from here in the Chicago burbs. full disclosure time though, i used to date the bass player and i'm friends with everyone else in the band - so make of this what you will. i caught them this past weekend and they put on the best show i've seen so far. lots of energy and some great new songs, courtesy of Justine. if you like upbeat rock with female vocals, ala The Repuation, give these guys a look. there's two songs available to download on the site, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. anyway, if you happen to be in the Chicago area and see a flyer for them, check it out, they'll show you a good time.

alright, short update tonight, i gotta go work on my air solos. peace.

Jan 2, 2004

np: "the new year" - death cab for cutie

happy new year folks. let's hope the double-0 quattro brings nothing but joy, happiness, and a Bush free White House for us all.

the new year so far has been recovering from a nasty hangover - damn you Sam Adams, damn you and your Winter Lager to hell. i've spent the day eating a nasty, greasy omelette and watching about 3 hours of Living Colour eps on FX. damn that shit was funny, and it's not nearly as dated as i thought it would be. except for the clothing, what the fuck was up with the neon fashion statements in the early '90s? but seriously, i haven't seen that show since it was originally on the air and it was a nice diversion from the dueling bass drums in my head.

last night was one of those rarities in the post-college world, a drama-free party where everyone seemed to have a good time. no fighting meatheads, no crying girls, no couples arguing - just plain drunken fun. and not to get too Velveeta here, but being able to kiss the only person in the world i wanted to be with at midnight made it a perfect night. 4 months and she's not sick of me yet. holla.

actually the last week has been damn good, on nearly every front. i had my annual review at work, which went very well and ended up with me getting a raise. not to mention the relationship front, let's just say that those three little words were exchanged. and no, i didn't pull a Ryan from O.C. and respond with a "uh, thanks?". it's just been so fucking long since i've heard that from someone who actually meant it.

so i raise my cup of water to you all (rehydrating and shit) and wish you all a most excellent 2004.