Apr 27, 2004

np: "embers and envelopes" - mae

listening to this one on suggestion from a friend, pretty good upbeat emo tune. wait, did i just say upbeat emo? yeah, i did. it's not a bad little song, and today i've been all about the more optimistic songs. "Float On" got some massive airtime during the commute from hell home tonight. i will never understand how closing one railroad crossing can fuck up every road within 25 miles, but tonight it took me damn near an hour and fifteen minutes to go three fucking miles. ah well, such is life in the suburbs. i just sometimes wish Chicago would put as much of an emphasis on inter-suburban mass transit as they do to and from the city. even one looping Metra line around the burbs would work wonders i think.
i picked up the new issue of SPIN today, because you gotta give props to any U.S. rag throwing the Moz on the cover in this day and age. much to my surprise, this year's edition of "The List Issue" was actually pretty entertaining. i haven't checked out the Pope of Mope's interview yet, but i'm looking forward to perusing it later. i never got into the Smiths when i was younger, mostly due to never even hearing them until college and being so not impressed with what i heard at the time. hey, i was young and stupid. since then i've come around to enjoy them, mostly after picking up The Queen is Dead on vinyl for a couple bucks last year. i never bothered to check out the Moz's solo stuff... but that new single kicks my ass and definitely makes me want to check out more.

Apr 25, 2004

np: "fine without you" - alkaline trio

well i'll sit here to convince myself it's true
if you keep on telling your friends that we're through
i've got nothing here but loneliness
holes in walls and a bleeding fist
my head is pounding like a pillow, like a Big Black song
well my friends and i try to tell me you're gone
i won't listen to myself or anyone
you got on a place and off you went
and you're never coming back again
i'm trying to convince myself it's true (convincing myself)
i'll be just fine without you
i'll be here telling myself it's true
well i'll sit here to convince myself it's true
if you keep on pretending to have no clue
that i'd kill for you and eat the flesh
give you the heart and burn the rest
one thousand miles ain't shit to walk
if i'm walking to hold you
i'll be just fine without you

damn you Alk Trio, damn you. you go ahead and release this new stuff two weeks after i get my ass dumped. thanks guys. but seriously, i don't know how i managed to know nothing about this new split album with One Man Army. one of my all-time favorite bands releases some new material and they only way i notice is by noticing it out of the corner of my eye as i walk through Tower. i must be slacking in my old age.
so last night was that kick-ass 80's party, thrown in honor of the lovely and talented Justine of Star*Like Collision and the anniversary of her birth. good times were had by all, with a packed house rocking out to SLC originals and 80's covers galore. highlights included the group sing-along on "Sweet Child O'Mine" and "Just Like Heaven". yours truly was rockin' the John Bender of The Breakfast Club look. luckily i scrapped the Don Johnson look planned, as i would have made about the fifth Crockett in the house. there were some fine women fully decked out in the 80's gear, and the most dead-on was the girl with the Flashdance sweatshirt and the crimped hair. i had nearly forgotten about the motherfuckin' crimped hair.
prior to the party, i headed down to Wicker Park for WLUW's second annual Record Fair. lots of skinny hipsters in trucker hats came out, along with the mandatory creepy older record collecting nerds. memo: before you are going to be cramped in next to people filing through boxes of LPs in a sweaty gymnaisum - rock the Speed Stick. shit was rank. i picked up a handful of LPs - a Buffalo Springfield retrospective, a Windy and Carl album, Get Your Ya-Yas Out, Theatre of Pain, Shout at the Devil, and picked up the !!! "Pardon My Freedom" 12" from the nice dudes at the Touch and Go booth. it was a good way to spend a Saturday.

Apr 20, 2004

np: "ten thousand times a minute" - xiu xiu

i don't remember if i've mentioned my extreme interest in Xiu Xiu before or not, but it's reared its ugly head again tonight. fucked up music for a fucked up weather evening. i hesitate to say i'm a huge Xiu Xiu fan, but i've heard pretty close to every song they've released so far. it's a bit like watching a car wreck, you sure as hell don't want to be too close to one, but you really want to stick around to see what crawls out of the twisted wreckage. Jamie Stewart and his revolving band of cohorts have a way of packing each and every song with sounds that just completely fuck with your brain. dissonant machinery squeals, hammering keys, choked vocals, everything and the kitchen sink. not to mention the lyrics, as fucked up and insane as they come. i walk away from each Xiu Xiu album feeling a little disoriented, a little twisted, and a with a lot of thought. it makes you wonder if the pain or emotions you are going through could ever turn you into a screaming, squawking maniac. it's hard to classify this stuff as an enjoyable listening experience, but certainly worthwhile. in the very least you will come away with a new viewpoint on exactly what qualifies as music. yeah, i could get that from some drone-rock or some minimalist ambient music, but none of that manages to convey the emotion like a Xiu Xiu song. forget "emo", this is some of the most emotional music being made right now. if you are looking for a taste of Xiu Xiu, but want something a little more accessible, i would recommend "I Luv the Valley OH!" off of the latest release Fabulous Muscles.

Apr 19, 2004

np: "girls on film" - duran duran

i have no fucking idea where this came from. this sudden urge to hear Duran Duran. i've never really been anything close to a "fan", but i've enjoyed a tune or two in the past. but suddenly this weekend i found "Rio" dancing across the sands of my mind over and over again, and for some reason i quite enjoyed it. imagine my surprise when i walked into Border's today during my lunch hour and saw Greatest for $9.99. i snatched that shit up with a quickness, and jammed that motherfucker on the drive home tonight. nothing like some pure pop sugar to make you forget about all of your problems. then i get home, check my e-mail, and find an invite to a birthday/1980's party this Saturday night. what the fuck, right? but yeah, i'm looking forward to it. i need to get drunk, dance to cheesy synth pop, and flirt my ass off.

Apr 14, 2004

np: "lucky charm" - jets to brazil

All that I can ask is forgiveness for what's past.
You know who I am, but will you know me in the end?
I know it's too late but wait for me to turn around.
I'm almost home, so if you're leaving, walk slow.

i guess its just the way i've been feeling this week, but i never noticed just how fucking sad this album is. nearly every song on Perfecting Loneliness pretty much lives up to the name. yeah, i've pretty much been alternating between cheesy, depressing stuff (The Cure, Adore, whiny emo) and stuff to keep me from thinking (NOFX, Eminem, Lil Flip). luckily it's been a pretty slow week for new releases, so i don't really feel like i am missing much by just burying my head in my collection. it amazes me just how much an hour-long conversation can take up an evening, without talking to her at night my life's been quite a bit more boring when i get home from work. i'm still running three times a week, but that really only can take up so much time, you know? it's been hard not to call her all week, but especially tonight during our usual conversation after The O.C. gets over. and goddamn, did tonight have to be the night when both Ryan and Marissa and Seth and Summer had to be getting along well and making out all the time? christ, where's the drama? damn them for not having the balls to kill off Luke, what purpose is he going to serve now that the Julie Cooper storyline is done? god, its quite scary that i'm devoting this much thought to that show. i suppose it's better than the alternative trains of thought.

buried in this really shitty weekend one good thing did happen, i was able to score a ticket to the third Pixies show at the Aragon in Chicago. i'm excited as hell, but it's kinda hard to get THAT excited for a concert that won't be happening for another 7 months. damn.

Apr 8, 2004

np: "trip dude delay" - black dice

this EP wasn't really what i was expecting, but i guess its not horrible. apparently its the soundtrack to some art installation or something if that sort... very spare and ambient in an Eno-ish sort of way. the first track is fine if you are in the mood for 12 minutes of crickets, random tamborines and bells, and the sound of large animals snoring. i like this, the second track, a little bit better... random rumblings and fade ins and outs. heh, wish i could explain it a little better than that, but words are failing me tonight, because...

THE PIXIES ARE COMING TO CHICAGO! i knew it was bound to be announced sooner or later, but just seeing that in print on Pitchfork and hearing the ads on the radio have me hyped as all hell. i know the chances of me actually getting tickets are almost zilch, what with the show being at the Aragon and the demand for this show destined to be sky-high. it's nice to dream though.

i've taken a break from Project AZ for the past few days, catching up on some of the 2004 releases i've not given enough attention to. i'm definately digging the new Modest Mouse, "Float On" has got to be one of their strongest tracks ever... even if it has been featured on a FOX teen drama. i've also been really enjoying the new Iron and Wine as well as the new Oneida release. Sam Beam's added production on this new album works very well, and he is still a master at casting a spell with his simple tunes. but my favorites of the year so far have got to be the Kanye West album and Franz Ferdinand. the FF album is definately my favorite debut album since Turn On the Bright Lights. it's nice to see a band actually live up to all the hype, i'm not even close to growing sick of that album. every track is a winner.

Apr 5, 2004

np: "messenger" - blonde redhead

the redhead was another in a long list of bands that i always meant to check out, but never got around to it until now. i had frequently heard "no-wave" and "Sonic Youth" thrown out quite a bit when describing the band in the past, and that always intrigued me. but apparently not enough to actually go and buy an album or anything. so when i started reading some very positive reviews of the new album, i decided it was finally time to put and end to my apathy. and damn, this is some pretty good shit. not at all what i was expecting, but i of course have learned through a little research that this album doesn't sound so much like the old stuff. either way, its a worthwhile listen. very dreamy and atmospheric, without resorting to played out tricks of shoegazer and electronica. check it out.

Project AZ continues, as i journey my way through the 'D' section of my collection this week. one of the biggest surprises of this whole project so far came on the drive home from work tonight when i popped in 1990's Sex Packets by Digital Underground. most people remember this for being the album that birthed the "Humpty-Dance" and told us all that we should "Doowutchyalike", but what came as a surprise to me was just how well this album has stood up after nearly 15 years. it does sound a little dated, but the group was pushing the whole P-Funk thing a little further than most rap groups of the time, and that keeps it from being stale after so much time. "The Way We Swing" and "Rhymin' on the Funk" still pack a hell of a wallop, despite the lyrics and delivery that Nas needn't lose any sleep worrying about. the whole "Packet" theme towards the end of the disc detracts from the experience a little, but the opening half of this album is enjoyable as hell.

and yeah, a post today just wouldn't be complete without a mention of Kurt. ten years already? damn. it seems like only a couple years ago that half of my dorm floor was gathered in my room watching a tape of the MTV Unplugged performance, rendering us all speechless. Kurt's true beauty and fragility really came across that night, and we were all reminded of what a great loss it really was. who knew Kurt could get across even more feeling when he wasn't screaming with the amps turned up to 11? and as cliche as it may sound, i think there is a generation of us (like it or not) that will always remember where we were when we heard the news. no its not as romantic as say a JFK or a Princess Di, but it was one of those events that tied in closely to where we were as a group. many of us were stumbling into college, clueless and excited at the world in front of us and drunk on opportunity. it's a stretch here, but not vastly different from the "alternative" scene that we latched onto out of the need to belong to something more. it truly felt like we could accomplish anything in those heady days, but an event like Kurt's suicide shocked us back into reality. "alternative" was nothing more than another "scene", a "happening", in an industry with a long history of "scenes" and "happenings". Kurt's death reminded us that our musical heroes were only human, no different from those who scribbled Nevermind's lyrics into notebook after notebook during another boring class. and it all seemed to kinda deflate shortly after his death, didn't it? music seemed a little more hollow and empty for a time, as we slowly realized that the millions of grungey-come lately's just weren't going to fill the void. electronica replaced grunge as the "next big thing". and we all continued to stumble, just a little more grounded in reality this time. nothing was forever, we weren't going to change the world, and "alternative" was nothing more than a marketing scheme. maybe we knew this all along, maybe we didn't. it was just a vague sense of something in the air, something bigger than ourselves that we could latch onto and mark our generation as different. but hell, we were young and naive - these things happen. oh well, whatever. nevermind. it doesn't seem to be trendy these days to be a fan of Nirvana, just check many of the message board postings lately, dismissing him as "overrated" or "untalented". but i'm imagining that there are a lot more of you out there than are willing to admit, that in some small way Kurt Cobain and his music impacted what you listen to today. and that counts for something, doesn't it? for me, Nirvana led to Sonic Youth led to Pavement led to Touch and Go Records led to Slint led to millions of other bands that i most likely never would have bothered with if i hadn't embraced Nirvana with the zest of youth. so yeah, Kurt, i do miss you. i still think you are a selfish bastard who took a loving father away from a beautiful young girl, but i do miss you. the sun is gone, but i have a light. the man is gone, but i will always have the music. thanks Kurt.