Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kanye West Sucks

I loved his first CD, i despised his second. I love his "George Bush hates Black people" freak out, i hate this video.

Pop-up video happened when? 8 years ago? 10? Jeebus, this is a tired gig. Just proves that nobody has any new ideas anymore.

Thanks for playing Kanye, you can now go back to obscurity.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle: HHS Edition

I can stop making excuses why i'm not posting this before noon, right? Will anyone hold it against me? I didn't think so.

1. 6 to 8 - AFI, off of The Art of Drowning
I once saw an AFI concert in a hockey rink in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They melted the ice, set up a stage and played. It was cool because it was the first time i'd ever been in a moshpit that had boards around know, as in you could check someone into the boards while moshing. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty great. Also, Nicole Lombardi got kicked in the head and had a concussion during the show (eventually this head inury caused her to dump Mike Lisi and date me for a while, but that's neither here nor there. ha ha ha.) and i got to go on stage after the concert because i won the slopestyle competition earlier that day. Shaun White, eat your heart out.
This song has an great chorus:
What new friends will the day bring? One for one thousand acquainted.
What new home will the night bring? When it all comes down you just throw the bones.

Bones meaning dice because when you're Davey Havoc, it's all a gamble, even your choice of eyeliner, or your choice to leave a proven punk label (Nitro) for a mainstream label, completely selling-out your bandmates, your fans and yourself.

2. Solid Gold Telephone - Head Automatica, off of Decadence
Man, i loved this album. What happened to these guys? Kinda makes a guy sad.
I think my favorite song is "I Shot William H. Macy" because William H. Macy is great. Moving on.

3. Misty Mountain Hop - Led Zeppelin, off of Led Zeppelin IV
First, how cool is it that Led Zep didn't really name all their CDs but just called them 1-4. I think that is the balls.
This song is also another one of Zep's references to Lord of the Rings, because Bilbo went on his adventure in The Hobbit to the Misty Mountains and i'm a nerd.
This definitely isn't one of my favorite Led Zep songs (as you can see in my Top 5), there's just something about the keyboard and guitar harmony and way the vocals are spaced out that bugs me...and you won't hear me say that about many Led Zeppelin songs.

4. Whip It - Devo
Uh yeah. This is one of the best shuffle's in recent memory. Just consistently good tracks, a little old, a little new, a little retro, a lotta hilarious.

And since this song makes no sense at all, other than the sexual connotations of whipping it, whipping it good, i'll just tell a story about Ron, because that's always a good time.
I think it was our junior year, (or was it senior? i'm totally forgetting the details. Bonus points if you remember.) but the homecoming theme at Horizon High School that year was a trip through the decades of the 1900s (it being the year 2000, i guess we all felt nostalgic that it was the last year we could have done that). Well anyway, Monday was the 50s, Tuesday the 60s, etc. which made Thursday 80s day. And being children of the 80s, we all pulled out our leg warmers and side-ponytails and during lunch a band played 80s songs. Well i don't remember who was all in it, but i do remember Ben Sinclair on bass and Ron as the lead singer (which must have been like the 3rd greatest moment in your life right Ron? 1. Getting married. 2. Playing at the Whiskey in Hollywood 3. Being the lead singer of an 80s cover band in high school. Is that about right?) Whoever played drums (Greg Frasetti? Nole? I can't remember but double bonus points if you can tell me in the comments.) had an electronic drum set, which was about the sickest thing to ever enter the hallowed walls of Horizon High School and the whole band just rocked songs all through lunch. I ditched Mr. Bach's 5th hour just to stay out and have fun (must have been senior year then). They played Blue Monday, Billy Idol-White Wedding, and a whole bunch of other great 80s songs (actually, it was definitely junior year because i rocked out next to Crazy Kate the entire time and she was a year older than me.) Good times had by all. Who would have thought i'd be looking back on high school with such fondness? Ha ha.

5. Forever for Tonight - Blessid Union of Souls, off of Home
Wow, three high school references and two Nicole Lombardi references in the same shuffle? What are the odds? And yes, if you have no idea who or what i'm talking about, you can probably just stop reading, but i'll try to explain. This song was our prom theme senior year and Nicole was my date to that prom. This song really reminds me of CP and his never-ending devotion and adoration for BUOS, and for having the balls to theme a high school prom after a deep cut on a CD that only he had and that nobody in our school would know. And, in case you were wondering, he completely pulled it off.
This song also reminds me of Cody Kimmel playing it on his guitar and doing an amazing job of singing it during the prom fashion show a few nights before the dance. At the last minute i had to step in for someone (Tim Brooks) who didn't show up for the event and i ended up on stage standing with someone (Lauren Teets) and standing right behind Kimmel as he sang this. It was one of those Wonder Years/Saved by the Bell/90210 moments where you're just standing there and everything comes together in that moment and you can hear Kevin Cooper's little voice in your head doing the voice over and talking about Winnie. Top notch all the way around.
And just to see how many more names i can drop from high school in the same shuffle, Nicole wanted to dance with me during this song because it really did have some meaning for us at the time and for some reason she was dancing with Keegan Zagami when it came on. She didn't recognize it but i did and had to pull her away from Keegan right in the middle of their dance. Sorry Keegs.
And in related BUOS information, a bunch of us went to the Chandler Ostrich Festival (do they even have this anymore?!?) that year because Blessid was actually going to play there. It may have been their first and only show west of the Mississippi of the last 15-20 years, but damnit we weren't going to miss it. And the lead singer wore a pink mesh shirt and sang "I Believe" twice in the same show. ha ha. I think that might have been the night that CP's Blessid fetish died.

Update #1- Tommy Schmidt played drums.
Update #2 - Nicole was punched in the head (i'm assuming it was an accident), not kicked.
Update #3 - See Ron's comments below for the full band line-up.
Update #4 - It was definitely my junior year, and it would have been in the fall, so i guess the year was actually 1999.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Coachella Lineup

Here it is kids:

Tickets go on sale Saturday. I've already talked to CP about going and we're thinking about putting together an RV and getting a bunch of people to fill it out and road trip it down there. Who wants to go with us? Let me know in the comments if you're interested.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle

First off, who wants to go to Coachella with me this year? Now, read this. NOW, who wants to go to Coachella with me? That's what i thought. How excited are you on a scale of 1-10? (1 being Laura, and 10 being Ron)

1. Love You More Than Life - Neutral Milk Hotel
When i mentioned a while back that i didn't really care for certain bands (or more accurately, certain sounds), my friend Courtney suggested quite a few bands for me to listen to. Most of these have the same exact sound that i was complaining about but still, i took Courtney's word for it. Courtney has always liked music like this and has been stone-cold emo before they even invented the term for it. So i downloaded a ton of this stuff and tried to put it all in order and see if anything checked out well. And of all the bands she suggested, i've probably listened to Neutral Milk Hotel the least, so i'm not really comfortable passing judgement on it just yet. This recording sounds like he recorded it in his living room in 1984. It's really unclear and sounds a lot like a demo version, and maybe i downloaded the demo version, there's no way of knowing until someone sends me the actual CD. So i'll reserve total judgement on it but yeah, this is exactly the type of band i normally complain about. Kinda slow, kinda meandering without a real purpose and the recording/guys voice has this grainy, bored, Iron & Wine-like quality about it, which i'm a huge fan of...not.
Let's move on.

2. Here Comes my Girl - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
I've already told a few Tom Petty stories here (both on December 11th, which you'll find here) so i'll spare you another one even though there really isn't a ton to talk about with this song. It's the prototypical Tom Petty song. And if you don't know what that means, check out the 4 minute mark in this clip:

3. Carnival Town - Norah Jones, off of Feels Like Home
So far the shuffle is o for 3 in songs that get me up and ready to go on a Monday Morning. This really doesn't bode well.
Until Norah comes out with her 3rd CD and hopefully redeems herself, I can't really say anything new about her. So this is what i said about her last time: "Her voice is a warm blanket, or hot chocolate, or a fire in the fireplace or a second glass of red wine or a Crown and water. Ok, maybe the last one’s just for me but seriously, you know what I’m saying. Norah is that warm tingly feeling in your belly. And that’s all I have to say about that."

4. Jurass Finish First - Jurassic 5
I just realized that i've been doing the shuffle since September and this is the first time we've had J5 on it since October 16th. Man time really flies. This song is one of my favorite J5 songs. It just has a good beat and that classic Jurassic sound. And i think my favorite part is when the song is over and they have answering machine recordings of one of the guy's parents talking about his career choice. His dad comes on and says that his kid was always stealing his Al Green records and singing and dancing in his room and he's really proud of his son and the guys he's in the band with and that he always knew he'd do something with music. And then his mom comes on and says, "Where are you boy? You out rapping? That's all you do. Rappin, rappin, rappin. You need to go out and get you a job, boy." HAHA. High comedy.

5. Pictures of Me - Eliot Smith, off of Either/Or
Man, the first 4 of 5 songs on this Monday morning have been depressing enough to make me want to stab myself in the chest with a kitchen knife... (too soon?)
This is actually the most upbeat Smith song i've ever heard, and i actually even like it a little bit. Wow, who would have thought?

Alright, i'm towing this rusty thing off to the garage. Sorry about the lack of quality today, but hey, don't blame me, blame iTunes.

In honor of the Dustin Kensrue CD coming out tomorrow (despite the fact that i've been listening to it and loving it for over a month now. Thanks CP!) i think i'm going to write a review of it for Wednesday. So look for more than one post this week for the first time in a while. Hope everyone has a good Monday.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Post-Marathon Monday Morning Shuffle

Alright, so i haven't mentioned it in a long time but i did, in fact, run (well, some of the time) the PF Changs Rock And Roll half-marathon yesterday. I had a blast and was kicking myself the entire time for not training harder for it. A combination of shin-splints, knee issues and general chaos/laziness prevented me from really getting into a strict training regimen. Fortunately for me i spend 20-30 hours a week walking briskly around a concrete-floored restaurant serving Italian food so i wasn't completely unprepared, actually i felt great the entire time. And a day later, i feel pretty damn good all things considered. I'm definitely doing it again next year and if i can actually commit to training maybe i'll do the full 26.2. We'll see. But i highly recommend the event to all of you. The organizers really do a great job, everyone is out and having fun, and for a guy who really doesn't get caught up in too many moments, i'll admit that i got caught up in all of yesterday's activities. Crossing the starting line at 8am and crossing that finish line at 11am really were two highlights of my 2007 so far. It was a ton of fun. And you don't really even need to run the whole thing to enjoy it. A quick walk can get you around the course in 3 to 3.5 hours and it really is fun for the whole family. Get a group together and do it next year. Seriously.
As far as the music goes, well i have to say i was kind of disappointed. It's not that the bands weren't good, because they were (highlights include the country-bluegrass band at mile 5, the guy who just backed his truck up to the course, plugged into an amp and started ripping off huge guitar solos on mile 2 -- even though i don't think he was one of the official bands --, and to the steel-drum orchestra that literally had no fewer than 30 people on a single stage around mile 10) but on the half-marathon course there was about 1 band per mile and you just cruise right by them in about 4 seconds so there's really no way of telling whether they're good or not, you can't really listen to an entire song and there's really no way of getting charged up to keep running unless they are, by total chance, playing your favorite song right as you happen to walk by. So the Rock and Roll part of it was really minimal.
Also, since i had my dad with me and we walked about 9 of the 13 miles (albeit a brisk walk, somewhere in the range of a 12-14 minute mile), we talked most of the time. So i didn't even listen to my iPod.
I thought music was going to be a huge part of this thing, and it wasn't. I'm not disappointed by any means, it's just not that relevant of a topic to discuss on this blog anymore, especially after i slept through the Gin Blossoms concert last night. Oh well, on with the shuffle.

1. Neon - John Mayer
Kind of an out of character choice for my iTunes, but let me attempt to justify it. I picked up on John Mayer my freshman year of college in 2001. Way before he was linked to Jessica Simpson, way before he had a full band, way before he even had a full length album out. I even went and saw him in concert at the Fillmore in Denver. The ladies didn't even throw their panties on stage. It was just this really talented guitarist with a decent voice singing songs about love and life and doing fun cover songs and making some pretty decent jokes on stage. It was just a nice laid-back show all around. I was, admittedly, a fan. And i was downloading his songs off of Kazaa (or maybe it was even still Napster then, i can't remember) and everything i found was exactly like the concert. Just a guy and his guitar, the way i like it. The guy even had the balls to do his own version of Radiohead-Kid A, which you won't be surprised to hear that i liked a lot, before i even heard the real version on Kid A (don't beat me up Laura, please.) And then for some reason he released a full-length CD of all the songs i had downloaded acoustic, but with drums and bass and electric guitars and keyboards and he just entirely fucked it all up. This song, Neon, was the biggest disappointment of the post-acoustic John Mayer era because it really is a catchy song with a tremendous guitar part that was even more impressive when played on an acoustic, AND he could sing a long while playing this super-hard part. So anyway, i still listen to some of his early acoustic stuff with a touch of sadness at his then-inevitable sellout. If you can find this song acoustic, it's a good one that hasn't gotten old yet.

2. Rock And Roll - Mos Def, off of Black on Both Sides
I was hoping we'd get some Mighty Mos Def on the shuffle today because this was the weekend of Mos for me. Danny came into town Saturday night and hooked me up with Mos' new album, True Magic (which, if the first song is any indication, is going to be REALLY good) and i watched 16 Blocks on HBO last night, which i really liked in theaters and thought Mos did a great job in. So anyway, this was my least favorite Mos CD but this is one of the tracks i liked. It's a really simple track with a really good beat and very few rhymes. Mos is talking about the history of music and calls out some of the most popular artists as being fakers in the history of rock and roll and giving -- how do the kids say it? -- "props" to the people he thinks are real. For example, "Elvis Presley ain't got no soul/ Chuck Berry is rock and roll/ you may dig on the Rolling Stones but they didn't come up with that shit on their own." or my favorite, "Kenny G ain't got no soul/John Coltrane is rock and roll."
And then at the end of the song, following in line with the whole "Rock and Roll" theme of the album, it just goes all metal and there's some hardcore drums and screaming and yeah. They did this a lot on the album and i liked the concept, it just didn't work for me. Too much LinkinPark/JayZ collaboration for me.

3. A Long December - Counting Crows, off of Films About Ghosts
Originally this was one of my all-time favorite Counting Crows songs but it has kind of faded on me. It's not bad, i'm just used to it and the Nah-nah-nah-nah's wear on me now instead of inspiring me to sing a long. I don't know why this happens. I can sing to the nah-nah-nah's on Journey's Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' all day.
That being said, i think the Counting Crows are one of the most underrated bands of my middle/high school years. They really were great and Adam Duritz really sealed the deal by having the hottest girlfriends in the world despite the fact that he was, without a doubt, heinous. If an ugly lead singer banging Courtney Cox doesn't signify the power of music, well i just don't know what does (although i guess now that she's married to David Arquette we can completely say that she has zero taste in men.) Moving on.

4. Ruby Falls - Guster, off of Ganging Up on The Sun
Once again, Guster has put together an album that i can't stop listening to. The other morning at work (i wear my iPod when i'm opening the restaurant because i'm anti-social) i listened to it 2 times in a row. I've talked about them before but they are really underrated in my book. They got railroaded into that college, frat-boy rock genre and perhaps it's their own fault but on every CD i've heard, they consistently put together thought-provoking and profound lyrics and sing them using different styles and harmonies over some pretty innovative melodies and musical ideas. They bring in a lot of different styles, instruments and influences and it really keeps things fresh. My only criticism would be that their CDs, upon first listen, all sound the same, but when you dig a little deeper there are some intricacies that the casual (read: college frat-boy) would definitely miss. And, if nothing else, there has to be something to say about consistency right?
This song in particular starts off in your typical, straight-forward rock fashion but then around minute 4 it breaks down into this psychedelic sounding melody with a muted-trumpet solo over it. It's not some fascinatingly groundbreaking move, but it's different and interesting and innovative and completely pleasant to listen to.

5. Blackbird - Crosby, Stills and Nash
This is a Beatles cover sung by Stephen Stills off of their greatest hits album. CSN was a great band and their tight, high harmonies are absolutely responsible for many of the harmonies you hear today (I'm looking at you AFI). They really were talented musicians and if you've been too busy restricting your classic-rock listening to Led Zeppelin or The Who, i highly suggest you take a crack at CSN. It's kind of amazing how their protest songs about Vietnam ring true today. The song Ohio is about US Soldiers shooting students at Kent State College during a Vietnam protest...could you imagine the shit that would hit the fan if that happened today? And we barely remember it even happened. What a country.

Alright, that's enough for today. Check some of this music out and let me know what you think.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday Morning Shuffle "The HSIM Version"

So sorry for the hiatus. Christmas was on a Monday, New Years Day was on a Monday so i just took those days as vacation and then i went out of town for a week. Not a lot of time to blog or even think about blogging, so when i'm lying on my couch dreading each passing minute as signifying one minute closer to the hell i call "waiting tables" it occurs to me that it's Monday. Holy Shit It's Monday, or, HSIM.

It's good to be back, on with the shuffle:
1. See Emily Play - Pink Floyd, off of The Best of Pink Floyd
This song has a distinct Beatles, early The Who feeling to it, which is different than i'm used to from Floyd. It, of course, still has the requisite psychedelic sound to it. And since i have nothing else to say, i'll recount this story for you.
When we were 20 and drinking on fake IDs, one of our favorite shitty little bars was called the Horse and Hound, on Broadway in Tempe. They had tons of specials, pretty decent food, a lot of video games, TVs, off-track betting and of course a jukebox full of random music. The jukebox had a lot of good classic rock and some decent modern stuff and it also had a ton of the obligatory white trash bullshit that one would associate with a bar such as this. (ie. Kid Rock, Linkin Park, etc.) Well anyway, when the place was packed on a Friday night our good friend Adam Pierce would go to the jukebox and select Echos by Pink Floyd. If you've never heard Echoes then you won't get it but it's basically a 16 minute song full of random noises and, well, echoes. After about the 8 minute mark people would start looking around to see what the hell was going on with the jukebox and trying to identify the person in the bar who thought that would be a good bar song....high comedy. Guess you had to be there.

2. By My Side - Ben Harper, off of Fight For Your Mind
Ben Harper is good. Really good. This song is a little on the unremarkable side so there's not a ton to say other than, if you're not listening to Ben Harper, you're way the fuck behind.

3. You Can't Hurry Love - Phil Collins, off of Hits
Oh dear god. This is awful. Normally i'd skip it and get to something good but i'm in a hurry today and we haven't had anything this bad on the Shuffle in so long, that it almost feels good to talk about something i hate. This is a cover or a song i've never liked and Phil isn't really helping the situation. And usually i like Phil Collins just like i like Peter Gabriel and Genesis. "In The Air Tonight", despite being used as the intro for every Fox nighttime sporting event, is a great song and "Another Day in Paradise" is a great sounding song with tremendously poignant lyrics. Seems weird that he'd include an awful, cheesy cover like this on an album called Hits. Although, i've often felt that when a band does a greatest hits CD, they're pretty much mailing it in anyway.

4. The Light & The Glass (acoustic) - Coheed & Cambria
I don't know where i bootlegged the acoustic version from but it's pretty good. This is one of my favorite Coheed songs and if forced at gunpoint to say whether i liked the acoustic version or the album version better, i'd have to say the album version. For some reason Claudio uses this weird effect on his voice when he does acoustic stuff. It sounds like he's harmonizing with himself but the high harmony is sang through a kazoo. It's weird and it doesn't help. It actually hurts. He does it on a lot of stuff and i don't know why. The guitar parts really stand up acoustically which i'm always happy to be able to say. Guitars have always been a Co& Ca strong point and usually Claudio's vocals compete neck and neck, but not on this recording. Occasionally throughout this song they turn the effect off and it sounds great. Bummer they couldn't just do the whole thing like that. In other news, Coheed did a 5 track acoustic LP that was available on iTunes for a while. They didn't use the vocal effect in those tracks and it's awesome. They do a super slo-mo version of A Favor House Atlantic and a souped up version of The Final Cut which is just some of the best air-guitar material i've ever listened to. Let me know if you want it.

5. Hey Hey - Eric Clapton, off of Unplugged
Everyone knows this CD for the acoustic of Layla and of course the heart-wrenching Tears in Heaven, but this whole thing is extremely kick-ass. And despite the downbeats and minor chords of the aforementioned songs, it actually seems like Clapton had a great time during this recording and was laughing and jamming happily through most of it. Good stuff, and if you don't have this you're way the fuck behind; again.

Alright that's it for me. I'm off to hell. I've got some new things to post in the next few weeks, including a follow up on some of those bands i didn't quite get to in 2006 but have had the chance to listen to in the meantime.