Jun 30, 2005

iPod random 10:
been awhile since i did one of these...

the fall - "prole are threat"
the bravery - "no brakes"
the monks - "oh how to do now"
dead meadow - "jusiamere farm"
the dismemberment plan - "do the standing still"
clinic - "2/4"
pavement - "fillmore jive"
idlewild - "blame it on the obvious ways"
boards of canada - "olson"
nirvana - "breed"

later today, a little bit on the rock action from last night.

Jun 29, 2005

np: "300 bars and running" - the game

"300 Bars" is quickly becoming one of the most talked about rap songs of summer 2005, lighting up message boards around the net almost as much as "Wait (The Whisper Song)" or "Dear Summer". for those that don't know, this track appears on Nu Jerzey Devil & DJ Skee's latest mixtape You Know What It Is Vol. 3. the song is Game's epic attack on the G-Unit crew, who's signature call is parodied as "g-g-g-g-g-G-U-Not" throughout (i'm sure these guys would approve). i say "epic" because this 18 minute track could be called little else. it kicks off with soundbites of little kids spouting off against Fiddy and the G-Unit clique before the beats kick in and Game goes to work. those that have doubts about the longevity of Game's career should have them put to rest be the end, as he hits hard and stays on target throughout. the beats he rhymes over are taken from some of hip-hop's biggest hits over the past few years, from Hova's "The Takeover" to Kanye's "Diamonds" and Dre and Mobb Deep between. his lyrical jabs don't really break new ground and his continual comparisons of Olivia to a man get tiresome quickly, but overall Game really shines. his knowledge of hip-hop's history is on display, as he ably adapts to each new beat and even does a slight bit of vocal mimickry (most noticably over the "Diamonds" portion). first The Documentary proves to be a more solid album than The Massacre, and now Game proves he can kill it for 300 bars without growing stale. this kid's got a lot more future than a lot of people originally gave him credit for.

Jun 28, 2005

np: "maureen" - fountains of wayne

Fountains of Wayne, arguably one of the best power-pop bands of the past ten years has released a double disc collection of rarities, unreleased tracks, and a couple of new songs - and its pretty fantastic, as expected. i say arguably, because i think Sloan (who also recently released an excellent singles comp) is about the only band right now that would give them any sort of competition for the title. anyway, those of you who only know FoW from "Stacy's Mom" need to get your head straight and check out any one of thier three delicious albums, each chock full of hook-filled power-pop goodness. Utopia Parkway is my personal favorite, but you really can't go wrong with any of them. Out-of-State Plates, the new collection, is a fantastic addition to anyone's collection - FoW newbie or fanatic. from the newly recorded "Maureen" to the old school "California Sex Lawyer" there are at least 8-9 tracks guaranteed to get caught in your head like a fly in a windowsill. if you are looking for some fun road trip music for the summer, do yourself a huge favor and invest in some of Jersey's finest - you'll thank me.

Jun 21, 2005

np: "drown" - smashing pumpkins

and the summer solstice brings unexpected news, as Billy Corgan announced that he is bringing back the Smashing Pumpkins. he announced the news by placing full-page ads in the Chicago Tribune and by appearing on XRT to chat and spin some tunes from his debut solo album, TheFutureEmbrace, out today. cheap publicity stunt to boost sales? half-assed attempt to recapture fading glory? it doesn't matter. i'm excited as hell about this news and i'm just going to contain my cynical side and enjoy this one as a fan. no word yet on who will be involved, but i'm betting that at least Jimmy will be a part of it. i sincerely hope James is also a part of the reformed group, but i have my doubts after he and Corgan's war of words over the past few years regarding the breakup. i always knew the reunion was inevitable, but i wasn't expecting it for 3 or 4 more years. i'm going to try to not get my hopes up too much for whatever the future holds for the Pumpkins, but how could i not be excited when my favorite band ever reforms?

Jun 16, 2005

2005//Top 20 Albums so far...
as we approach the halfway point in 2005, perhaps its time to take a moment and look back on the music we've heard, loved, and enjoyed. well, at least i will. presented here are twenty albums that i've really taken to over the past several months; albums that have soundtracked the hectic process of moving twice, settling in, and falling deeper in love. take a look, maybe something on here will tickle your fancy. come on, you know you want your fancy tickled. admit it.

the top 5...

1. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (V2)
recommened tracks to check out: "Like Eating Glass", "Blue Light", "This Modern Love"
this kicks off with one of the strongest opening tracks i've heard in years with "Like Eating Glass" and doesn't let up until long after. Bloc Party is one of the most promising young bands in Britain today, and if this album is any indication they are going to have an extremely long and amazing career. start following them now,

2. The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday (Frenchkiss)
tracks: "Your Little Hoodrat Friend", "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night", "Multitude of Casualties"
without a doubt this is the best straight-ahead Midwestern rock and fucking roll album you will hear all year. music with heart snd from the heart. Huey Lewis was right, the heart of rock and roll is still beating, but who knew it was hanging out in Minnesota?

3. M.I.A. - Arular (XL)
tracks: "Hombre", "Sunshowers", "Galang"
if you haven't heard of this girl by now, this must be your first time ever reading a music blog. she's been the darling of the online hipsters since her first mixes with the Diplo crew surfaced, and big expectations have been laid upon her since then. her debut delivers and then some. it may not have blown up with mainstream audiences like it should have, but she will eventually. rumored collabs with Missy Elliott and Kanye West are on the way. hotness.

4. Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguwar)
tracks: "For Real", "A Glow", "In A Radio Song"
this band came out of absolutely nowhere for me and astounded me. i really can't being to explain how hard this album struck me, its an album that must be heard to be fully appreciated. chock full of soaring melodies, this is a haunting album that will stick with you for a long time.

5. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsytem (DFA/EMI)
tracks: "Daft Punk is Playing at My House", "Disco Infiltrator", "Tribulations"
some people will try to tell you that this album is only worthwhile for the bonus disc of all of James Murphy's previously vinyl-only singles. those people are so. fucking. wrong. this album is like a crash course that plows through the world's greatest record collection - bouncing from the Beatles to Can to Daft Punk to Neu and back again, keeping you ass shaking the whole way through.

and the rest...

6. M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us (Mute)
tracks: "Don't Save Us from the Flames", "A Guitar and a Heart", "Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun"

7. The Kills - No Wow (Rough Trade/RCA)
tracks: "No Wow", "Dead Road 7", "Murdermile"

8. Bright Eyes - Digital Ash in a Digital Urn/I'm Wide Awake It's Morning (Saddle Creek)
tracks: "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)", "Easy/Lucky/Free", "First Day of My Life", "Road to Joy"

9. Spoon - Gimme Fiction (Merge)
tracks: "I Turn My Camera On", "Sister Jack", "I Summon You"

10. The National - Alligator (Beggars Banquet)
tracks: "Abel", "Looking for Astronauts", "Karen"

11. Ryan Adams - Cold Roses (Lost Highway)
tracks: "Magnolia Mountain", "Beautiful Sorta", "How Do You Keep Love Alive"

12. Youth Group - Skeleton Jar (Epitaph)
tracks: "Skeleton Jar", "See-Saw", "Why Don't the Buildings Cry"

13. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods (Sub Pop)
tracks: "Jumpers", "Let's Call It Love", "Wilderness"

14. Dalek - Absence (Ipecac)
tracks: "Asylum (Permanent Underclass)", "Culture for Dollars", "A Beast Caged"

15. Magnolia Electric Co. - Trials & Errors (Secretly Canadian)
tracks: "The Dark Don't Hide It", "Almost Was Good Enough", "Cross the Road"

16. Stephen Malkmus - Face the Truth (Matador)
tracks: "Baby C'mon", "Post-Paint Boy", "No More Shoes"

17. Oasis - Don't Believe the Truth (Epic)
tracks: "Let There Be Love", "Turn Up the Sun", "Lyla"

18. Low - The Great Destroyer (Sub Pop)
tracks: "Everybody's Song", "When I Go Deaf", "Pissing"

19. Gorillaz - Demon Days (Virgin)
tracks: "November Has Come", "Feel Good Inc.", "Last Living Souls"

20. Weezer - Make Believe (Geffen)
tracks: "The Damage in Your Heart", "This is Such a Pity", "My Best Friend"

others to consider:
Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze, Coldplay - X&Y, Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth, Archer Prewitt - Wilderness, Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Matt Sweeney - Superwolf, Doves - Some Cities

Jun 10, 2005

Double Door is saved!

"The owners of the Double Door tavern and its landlords on Thursday found a way to keep the storied music venue from closing, ending a year of rancor with 2½ hours of talks in a Circuit Court hallway.The agreement restored faith for some that an element of cool could remain in the face of rising property values in the hip Wicker Park neighborhood and narrowly pre-empted a civil suit scheduled to start Thursday afternoon.The pact, which will extend the Double Door's lease until at least 2009, with an option to extend until 2014, brought cheers from two dozen tavern supporters packed into a 26th floor courtroom in the Daley Center."

read more here.
np: "now you're leaving" - prefuse 73

how fucking excited am i about this team-up? DJ Dangermouse (he of Hova/Beatles mash-up infamy) and MF Doom are stepping in the ring all tag team style to bring you some hot beats on some next level [Adult Swim] shit. read more here, and check out preview track "Mince Meat" on this joint.

The Logic of Elliott is a Chicago trio that you are going to want to remember the name of. caught a quick set at the Pontiac last weekend and got my ass throughougly rocked. think Sleater-Kinney with a little more of a metal heart. hot shit though, for sure. i think i'll expand on my thoughts next week and offer up a song for y'all.

X&Y is good. that's all i'm gonna say on that. i'll be sick of it once "Speed of Sound" and "Fix You" get played to death, but for now i'm enjoying the album more than i expected to. hate if you must, but i really think Coldplay takes a lot of shit they don't deserve.

i don't know what i think of Get Behind Me Satan just yet. it's good, i just don't know how good it really is. but while i do figure it out, ponder on the fact that Jack and Meg have now released 5 consecutive really solid to downright outstanding albums. that's no simple task and a streak that a lot of bands would kill to match. i'm curious to see how the Strokes will match up after album number five ( if they make it that far).

speaking of the Stripes, how awesome is "Blue Orchid"? its even better when you imagine Jack is actually singing "you got an erection... you tickled my orchid / turned it blue". but whats up with that single cover? is that R. Kelly and his closet?

anyway, thats it for today. i'm gonna head off to Reckless here in a bit and get my shop on. enjoy the weekend. and let's hope the Cubs crush those BoSox.

Jun 8, 2005

np: "mucky fingers" - oasis

somehow, more than a full decade after storming the UK charts this band remains one of the most divisive groups in rock. six albums into their career and they are still a love 'em or hate 'em kind of thing, very few people seem to think Oasis is "sorta decent". how else could a band without a major U.S. hit in over 6 years manage to sell out Madison Square Garden within an hour? people seem to either worship at the Gallagher Temple or try to knock the damn thing down, and the reviews for Don't Believe the Truth seem to back that up. while fanatics are busy hailing it as a "return to form" of the mid-90s heights, the more *ahem* "hip" guardians of taste are dismissing it as a career nadir for a band that has been on a consistent decline since the release of Be Here Now in 1997. so which one comes closer to the truth?
before i answer that question, however, i have to engage in a little full disclosure. i am one of those people who falls squarely into the "love 'em" category - always have, most likely always will. discovered them after hearing "Live Forever" back in the summer of 1994 just before i headed off to college. since then i have awaited every new album and tabloid appearance by the band, hungrily snatching each import single that trickled into shops for those ever so pleasant b-sides.
now, i will be the first to admit that the band has underwent a noticeable decline in quality of the last three albums, but there have always been moments of glory that have kept me listening all of these years. with this frame of reference, let me tell you that DBTT is neither a career nadir or a return to form - just a damn solid rock album. opener "Turn Up the Sun" kicks things off nicely before taking us into the surprising stomp of "Mucky Fingers". but as a listen to the album closer "Let There Be Love" will show, Oasis is at their strongest when creating epic pop tunes with a bloated sense of grandeur. this song will fit in well with songs like "Champagne Supernova" and "Don't Look Back in Anger" when the inevitable best-of comes around. this album also shows off a more collaborative Oasis than we are used to, as songwriting credits are divided amongst all the members. this is no longer just the Noel and Liam show, Andy Bell and Gem Archer are proving their worth by contributing strong tracks. no, this isn't going to hold up as well as (What's the Story) Morning Glory or Definitely Maybe, but i'm certainly finding it a hell of a lot more enjoyable than Standing On The Shoulders of Giants. yes the band is still extremely derivative, ripping off prominently from the Stones on first single "Lyla", but that is just one of the things we've come to accept with this band.
if you're an Oasis fan you probably won't need me to tell you to pick this one up, and if you are one of the many haters my opinion isn't going to change your mind. but if you are one of those rare people still on the fence when it comes to this band, go ahead and pick it up. you might be surprised by what you've been dismissing. or if you are one of those fairweather fans that quit paying attention during the string of sub-par releases, you should pick this up as well. there may just be a few moments that remind you just why you used to love this band.

Jun 3, 2005

np: "sugar, we're goin' down" - fall out boy

this song just keeps getting better and better every time i hear it. i shouldn't be so surprised considering this type of stuff was my bread and butter years ago, but i wasn't expecting to be this floored by a post-emo explosion pop-punk song by a band i'd never even given a second listen to before. much like last year's My Chemical Romance hit, "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)", this song completely explodes in the chorus. this is a strong contender for my single of the year with 7 months to go, but it hasn't knocked off Kelly Clarkson just yet. for serious, i heart "Since U Been Gone" to death.

in other, more important news - help save the Double Door:

On June 9, 2005 Double Door, Chicago's preeminent small music venue, will be fighting for its very existence before Cook County Chancery Judge Billik. The trial, whereby Double Door is seeking to enforce an extension to its lease, is set to begin at 2PM at the Cook County Courthouse, Room 2601 in the Daley Center. The trial hinges upon Double Door's position that it appropriately notified the owners of the building, Harry and Brian Strauss, of its intention to exercise its option in it's lease. The Strauss' dispute this claim.

Double Door has become a fixture in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood and an integral part of the cultural and music scene in Chicago since it's opening in 1994. The club has played host to some of the biggest bands in the world including The Rolling Stones, bringing national and international exposure to Chicago. Double Door served as the site for debut material from two albums of Chicago's own Smashing Pumpkins. Artists like Kid Rock, Macy Gray, The Strokes and The Killers have all graced the Double Door stage early in their careers. The club has nurtured the careers of many of Chicago's most successful local artists including Chevelle, Local H and Liquid Soul.

The Strauss family has no interest in preserving the cultural integrity of the neighborhood or the Double Door. It is their intention to force the closure of Double Door and to replace it with a national retail chain.

Double Door filed its suit against the Strauss family knowing that it has met its obligations under the lease. This trial will determine whether the institution that is Double Door will remain a fixture in Wicker Park and a key part of the cultural and musical scene in Chicago.

Chicago's musical landscape will not be the same without Double Door.


Attend the court hearing on June 9th, 2005 at 2pm at the Cook County Courthouse, Room 2601 in Daley Center.

Write a letter to Alderman Manny Flores expressing your support for Double Door at ward01@cityofchicago.org

Write a letter to the editor expressing your support for Double Door -
Chicago Sun-Times - letters@suntimes.com
Chicago Tribune – ctc-TribLetter@tribune.com
Chicago Reader - letters@chicagoreader.com
(from the Double Door website)