31 May 2009

30 May 2009

Yesterday, news came over the internet wire reporting that Wavves had a bit of a breakdown during their Thursday night performance at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain. Apparently, things started off rocky as Nathan Williams first began having trouble during the sound check. This was a less than ideal scenario, but heaped upon this was the fact that the crowd was totally stoked from a day of music that included sets from My Bloody Valentine and Phoenix. Other sources have said that Williams and drummer Ryan Ulsh were not on the same page and were having a little tiff on stage. It seems that they played a off-key songs and then they finally played "So Bored" and everything was groovy for a second until Nathan Williams started making fun of the crowd and Spain. Then Ulsh poured a beer over Williams' head which is never a good sign and then the crowd started throwing bottles and shoes at the stage. The drummer had left by this point, but Williams tried to keep the show going and tried to play more songs but the sound had been cut and the crew was already breaking down the drum kit. The purpose of mentioning this on here is not to celebrate the misfortunes of others, but rather try to understand why and how this happened. Wavves went from being Williams' one man bedroom recording project to a full-fledged two man band in a matter of months as the internets began to fawn over the group upon the release of Wavvves. I mean, even Rolling Stone liked it. And Hipster Runoff made fun of it so clearly this was a band on the right track. So what happened? It probably was the move to full-fledged two man band. Its almost like Wavves was dragged by force from the bedroom to the stage. So far the reviews of these live shows seem to suggest that they leave a lot left to be desired. At the same time maybe that's just the one mark on most of these lo-fi garage-y acts that are so totally rad. I really dig on some many of them its not a bad thing, but sometimes it seems that sound isn't same between album and live performance. The sound walks a tightrope between noise and 60's era tenderness in the form of rock and roll. But maybe, if there was little more time spent of assembling a full band then perhaps the live show would go more swimmingly. One of the unsurprising things is that everyone in the crowd became pacified when they played "So Bored". It makes me wonder if this indicative of something greater. Is it possible that what's hot on the internet doesnt always translate to being hot on stage? Could internet fans be that different from live music enthusiasts? At times it certainly seems plausible to say the least. Think about it. Most of the internets and the hype machines flip shit when any kind of new dance-y pseudo- techno mad-house rave shit comes out, but after it drops and the internet tells you its cool and you go out and download it and then you take it out to your next social gathering it doesn't necessarily translate. Put it on at a party, and people look at you like you're completely bat-shit. Its kind of frightening that this may apply to all non-mainstream music, but it might. Then again, it is entirely possible that the people in attendance at this one show were just a bunch of assholes and werent going to be satisfied regardless of what they heard. 
a short story for the weekend.

Brown stucco buildings with passable windows are stacked four on each side in between the stop signs. People stay inside in these parts. No hopscotch. No watering the plants. Not even a porch-sitting smoker. Maybe theres a closeted pole smoker, but no one smokes cigarettes. Maybe theres a band practicing in a basement somewhere and someone plays their grandfather's bass and someone has a drum set and one kid has a Stratocaster but after an hour they all stop to have orange slices. Down the street another child practices soccer or maybe its lacrosse. It may even be Satanism, but its hard to tell from this angle. At least six homes have their television sets on. It would be nice to say that at one house, in the attic, a girl paints expressionistic paintings of what she hopes her dreams mean but that would be asking too much of this town. The dogs of the neighborhood are ignored, and respond by shitting all over the sidewalk. No one lives dangerously or honestly, and tonight there will be a congregation in the street to promote safety. And while all the Mormons and Christians and that one secret Atheist couple gather in the terrace. The night bandits move from back door to sliding glass door all the way down the street. Ransacking rec rooms and tracking in dirt. This isn't like taking a cooling pie off of a windowsill. This is more like raiding a liquor cabinet or having your way with a young girl. You could say that there these nights bandits are like vikings in training. They only take what they need, but they need everything in order to maintain their overhead. People notice immediately when a lawn gnome goes missing, but if their daughter vanishes it takes at least a few days to figure it out. And even then if that were to happen, no one acts stunned surprised or shocked. Its more like, "Well, she was always an independent sprite," and "This is just her way of finding herself." And theres always that one house on the street where the inhabitants are new to the area. And they don't come outside for Neighborhood Watch night, but rather they stay in and all have dinner at the same time. And they laugh at jokes and express concern when they hear about a problem. And while they do this, all the perverts drunks and other miscreants wonder whats wrong with that one family.

28 May 2009

If you're observant then you may notice that the site is adorned on the side and at the bottom with advertisements for The Peeker's debut album Life In The Air and for good reason. This album is a pure delight. I must apologize though because this disc came out back at the end of March, and I hadn't heard it until today. According to their profile on Park the Van, "Often the Peekers are categorized as retro-indie, and this is valid, but there's something more mysterious, maybe fantastic at the bottom of it all. though that is an apt defense whats really exciting about Life In The Air is just the simple kuntry twinge that each song has. Well that, and the warm four-part vocals. This band is just so cohesive in all their endeavors on this album. The female vocalizing is on the right side of divine, and at no time does any of the album seem the least bit limp-wristed. When you start listening to Life In The Air, one of the first impressions to be had is that this is a band that probably wears flannel and there is probably someone in the band that has a beard. In a way, this album is an album by beards for beards. But the clean shaven will dig on this record as well. The band hails from Louisiana, and in a way they sound exactly like a Louisiana band. At times they have the humbleness of an alligator farmer, but at the same time they go about their work with the same kind of confident determination that is normally attributed to LA's other musical export Lil' Wayne. The entire album was recorded at Ohio University's Audio Department, and during this time the members of the band lived on a hill and partied and made music the entire time and while this can be discovered by reading a quick bio of the band it also becomes apparent as the album plays. This is an uncomplicated group who seem to genuinely like one another and in liking one another so much they decide to celebrate the bonds of their friendship by making music. "Meet You in Produce" is not only an amazing song title, but its a rad song too. It has a kind of breezy airiness to it, but at the same time its not light at all as swampy guitar licks direct all movement and the male/female vocals make it an equal-opportunity jam. "Concrete Feet" is another stand-out thanks in large part to the line "When I'm not stoned/I got the growing up blues". The lyrical candor is a welcome treat as it shows the listener that no is getting bullshitted today. This is the kind of album that makes somebody want to go out and sit on the front porch while drinking beer out of a bottle while the sun tries to shine. Coincidentally, as I type this it is raining and really shitty out but to no real surprise this album works wonderfully as a bedroom album on a day when it is shitty out. There is just a real nice slumber-like quality to this album. Not in the sense that it makes you want to fall asleep, but more in the warm, fuzzy, glad vein. If you are so inclined you can buy the album HERE or on itunes and its on amazon as well.

26 May 2009

a poem

it's a acquired talent
it's an acquired skill
never should be natural
shove it in your peephole
cram it up your asshole
figure it out
and perfect that 
shit.
all the time in the
world
should be put 
to use.
use your 
right and
left and
do do do!
but dont do 
everything
under the
sun.
just one.
one glory
nugget
per
patron.
go 
right and
left and
do do do!

25 May 2009

an original short story for the public consumption


"Ethan Allen has adopted and sponsored this stretch of highway."

"What?"

"Ethan Allen has adopted this highway in order to keep it clean and to make it look like they care about the environment and the worn-out bitch that is Mother Earth."

"Who is Ethan Allen?"

"Ethan Allen is a men's clothing supplier for guys who used to be chill bros, but then later in life realized their true calling and then henceforth went off to work in cubicles with no windows, and when they made this life-altering decision they also determined that they would need low-cotton blend dress shirts in a wide array of colors that would prove to be fashionable as well as efficient in today's work force."

"What would possess them to tend to a part of the highway like that?"

"No one could ever really know for certain, but I would hazard to guess that it has something to do with the fact that the Landmark Public Relations Firm sponsors the expanse of highway directly after the stretch maintained by Ethan Allen. What a great fucking idea. 'Hey, Ethan! We believe that your image is in need of a serious overhaul, and we here think that we have the absolute best solution to pull you out from the back of the pack and put you up in the front.' And then Ethan says, 'Oh really? Just what is this idea that you are pitching me?' And then the PR says, 'Well, its like this. We have access to some prime real estate here on this expressway on the east coast and if you could make some sort of donation to maintaining the cleanliness of that piece then it would be a real savvy move on your part. You may make the nice fancy dress clothes, but its important to send a message to the people that you are not afraid to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirt on your shirt.' And then Ethan takes off his probable glasses and says, "Gentlemen. You have yourselves a deal. I'll have my secretary fax everything over with my signature on it and then you boys can go to work.' Ethan would then walk out of the room and head towards the elevator. The rest of the suits from the PR company all turn and face the ad wizard who just pitched this idea. 'How's this going to make us any money? No one is buying as it is, and now you want to clean up their image. What about this company? We got whores to clothes and feed, and wives to pay off so that we can keep the whores.' Then the ad wizard says, 'Relax, fellas. I got this all figured out. Three miles down from where they sponsor the highway we will rent out the next spot and we'll sponsor it in our own name. This way it looks like we care about environmental upkeep as well. So when commuters see the Ethan sign, they will immediately see ours right afterwards and they'll put two and two together and realize that we are responsible for putting both signs up and then they will say what a wonderful and conscientious company that Landmark Public Relations is.' The suits all grunt and nod like someone just put on a Beach Boys tape, but then one of them shakes his head. 'Isn't that risky? I mean, isn't that asking an awful lot of the American people? You're asking them to reason and to conduct deductive reasoning. If anyone notices at all it'll just be some college grad asswipe with nothing better to do then stare out the window and notice minute details like who is sponsoring highways these days.' The ad wizard winces for a brief moment, and counters 'Well even that would be a win for us, Phillip. If that asswipe is clever enough to piece that together then he is probably able-minded enough to work at this fucking company. We would have ourselves a brand new employ to mold. Someone who is still eager and full of life. A glass half-full kind of guy. We'll bust his cherry! But college grad asswipes are 1 in 14 at least among the averages of typical commuters on that expressway. Most of them are probably sad shit blokes on their way to the mall, and those are the ones we want anyway. They see the sign. They see the name. They walk into the mall. They see the name again. They buy some shit, and we all get laid. Its a happy ending.' The suits all nod approvingly, and the meeting is over.

21 May 2009

20 May 2009

Last night was the season finale of American Idol,  and it was a kind of transparent finish to what was one of the better seasons of recent memory. Adam Lambert and Kris Allen each performed three songs on the program tonight. One song was to be their favorite one that they had performed on the show this year. They didn't get to choose their second song, and their final song was written by a team of writers so that it can officially be released as a single tomorrow. Simon really broke it down last night. Kris won Round 1 and then Adam won Round 2 and then there was that last song. Kris definitely won Round 1 when he decided to perform his re-arranged version of "Ain't No Sunshine".  Its not as raw as the original, but for a performer like Kris it was pretty hardcore. For his first song, Adam decided to do "Mad World" which when performed the first time garnered a standing ovation and Simon said it was brilliant and then said nothing else. Adam may have misplayed his hand by doing the song for a second time. That first time when he did it was definitely something special and magical, but last night's rendition just was not the same. I hate to go there, but Adam is to "Mad World" what Heath was to The Joker. One time only. First Round ends with Kris in the lead. Adam straight up owned round 2 with that Sam Cooke song. Kris had to do "What's Goin' On" for his second song, and he performed it while sitting down and there were some other dudes around him playing bongos and shit. It looked kind of hokey, and it certainly did not look like a performance from the finale of American Idol. This finally brings us to the last song. The most important thing to know about this song is that it sucks. It sucks hard. The lyrics are beyond stupid. They're all about climbing mountains and blazing trails with some of that never-give-up shit peppered in. Horrible, horrible song. You could tell that Simon didn't like it because when he was supposed to critique Adam's performance of it he said, "I just want all the viewers to think about all of your performances from this year when they are voting." Which translates to, "That song sucks ass, but its not your fault and as a result I hope the people don't hold it against you." Adam really tried to sell that song though. He was about as committed to it as he could have been, and he kept reaching for all of those high notes that he so deftly hits. But in the end, that song still blows. With that being said, Kris did a really good job with the song. It sounded very effortless and natural. Adam made it sound like this huge song, but Kris just gave it his all which may not be as much as Adam has to give but for whatever reason works really well for this song. On the plus side, whoever wins will probably never sing a shitty ass song like that ever again. I guess Kris won Round 3, but to be fair he won on a technicality which was the fact that the song was terrible. Basically, it all boils down to whether or not Adam's performance of the Sam Cooke song is enough to win him the title. He has been the best all season long, and but truth be told he wasn't really the best last night. Kris performed all of his songs last night very admirably which at least made him consistent, and he proved people wrong every week as he always managed to make it through to the next round. If the whole season is to be assessed in order to find a winner then Adam wins. If last night's performances are going to be the deciding factor then Kris wins. The more time passes the more it looks that Kris is going to win, and thats fine it really is because that frees up Adam's schedule so that he can become the new lead singer for Velvet Revolver. 

16 May 2009

Its May, and on May 19th Passion Pit are releasing a proper album entitled Manners. Say what you will about Passion Pit. Carles of Hipster Runoff describes them as a chill band who is always down to either grow a beard or wear glasses. Carles, the internet ambassador as appointed by himself and by the masses who congregate at his sit, even goes as far as to speculate that Passion Pit could be the next Animal Collective, and that Manners could be 74% more accessible then Merriweather Post Pavilion but not quite as authentic as the new Grizzly Bear disc. In short, this album could be kinda a big deal. Personally, I like Passion Pit for the primitive reason that a girl told me about them one time. Well, that and they are totally awesome. When I heard the Chunk of Change EP, I really dug it. I quipped then that I thought they were a better version of MGMT and this was back in the fall during the grand MGMT hysteria via songs being in trailers for shitty movies. So thats how Passion Pit initially came to be in my consciousness. I have heard the album, and all systems are a-go. "Moth's Wings" hit the internets a few weeks back, and it is a gorgeous song or at least whatever passes for gorgeous in 2009. With Passion Pit, you have to be prepared to hit the ground running. Some people are skittish of accepting Michael Angelakos' falsetto that rivals Dominique Wilkins in terms of how high it can get. But once one can get past that, they will experience pure delight. Now before we start foaming at the mouth and gushing about how cool and meaningful and grand this album is, it probably would help to note what else came out in 09 that made waves. (no pun intended). Those two albums would be Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion and Bat for Lashes' Two Suns. MPP was the album to start the year off, and Two Suns was the album for March and April when the weather is shitty most of the time, but not in the fun way when you're excited to bundle up with a hoodie, jacket, and scarf but rather in the way where you find yourself saying "Fuck this cold weather." Well now it really is spring now that we the people have the right tunes to get us through it. We're talking about a band that has keyboards, more keyboards, synths, and oh yeah bass and drums. Those components coupled with the already mentioned sky-scraping falsetto puts them in the vast indie rock landscape as well as the marshlands that is electro. But that doesn't really matter. We are living in a domian where the most successful artist of 2008 is a dude with eight tattoos on his face and a documented dependency for pouring vodka and Red Bull into his cough syrup to serve as the beverage portion of his diet that consists of grass, grass, and more grass. The most popular artist of this year so far refuses to wear pants anywhere she goes and spends the rest of the week looking like Ziggy Stardust's younger girl cousin with a penchant for just throwing scraps of cloth on to cover her naughty bits and then walking out the door. If this is what passes as popular music these days, then why not Passion Pit. There are times on Manners where the listener wants to dance, and not because the phrase itself is repeated incessantly throughout the chorus. Move because you want to. Passion Pit is performing at Bonnaroo this summer, and you can bet your bottom dollar that all those hippies are going to be shaking their asses and while it would be easy to say that the reason for that is chemicals and herbs one would be better served by knowing that it is actually because this band is groovy. Manners gets better with every play. You pick up something new every time, similar to Wes Anderson movies and how you always notice something new every time you watch one of them. While a track by track breakdown would be probably be beneficiary it is not really necessary. I would even go so far as to say that it may not even be a good idea. If you break it all down then you may not be able to put all the pieces back together again. This is an album, and a damn good one at that.  
Two really great pieces from the Baltimore City Paper that have been run in the last few weeks. This first one deals with two men who purportedly were the basis of inspiration for some characters on The Wire, and they have just finished work on a documentary where they tell what they know to be the real story of the streets. Check it out here.
This second article comes from this week's issue, and it highlights the upcoming Maryland Deathfest which is a bad-ass metal festival held in the city for the last 6 years and the entire thing is run by these two dudes and the article is basically about why this whole thing is so epically awesome in some respects and how in the future the sky is the limit for this shindig. Check it out here.

14 May 2009

Let me just start off by saying that I think Twitter is stupid. And kind of lame. What is Twitter exactly? Its microblogging. It is similar to blogging but a user is always confined to expressing themselves in 160 characters or less which also makes it similar to text messaging but it is different from text messaging because with Twitter a user is broadcasting their menial musings to an entire network of other like-minded fellows who deem it necessary to inform everyone of their every single waking movement. They say that bloggers take jobs away from journalists, but now twats are taking jobs away from bloggers. (You see what I did there? If you are a Twitter user, you don't make a "twit", but rather you would use it in the past tense hence making the user a "twat".) Yesterday, Kanye took to his blog to go off on a rant about how much he despises Twitter, and how's he angry about people creating accounts in his name on there. This post has nothing to do with this. I have a far greater concern. Not only is Twitter slowly making people dumber by steering them away from looking for actual news and instead sending them on quests to find out what kind of macaroni & cheese some random porn star had for dinner last night, but it is also creating "beefs". Rappers beef with one another, and they go at one another in the form of diss tracks on mixtapes and by making thinly-veiled threats on radio shows but now they just twat through their beef. And rappers aren't the only ones doing it. A few months back, Perez Hilton and Lily Allen were exchanging snarky twats with one another. But this is different. This has gone too far. Joe Budden and Method Man are currently going at it. Vibe is doing this whole Best Rapper Alive thing, where they are taking 135 rappers and dispersing them out into 4 brackets and then people are encouraged to vote in order to systematically determine who indeed is the Best Rapper Alive. While voting does not start until next week the campaigning has already begun. See, Joe Budden and Method Man are in the same bracket but Meth is a #9 seed while Joey is the #32 seed. The other #9 seeds in this tourney include Redman, Ludacris, and MC Lyte while the other #32 seeds are Plies, Chubb Rock, and a play-winner who is yet to be determined. Understandably so, Joe Budden is pissed. In his mind, he is a better rapper then Meth which is a completely fair and rational conclusion to come up with. Method Man for his part begs to differ, which again is completely reasonable and justified stance to take. Joe Budden wants to settle this affair on the streets with a freestyle battle, and while Meth concedes that Joe Budden is certainly a skilled lyricist and also points out that he, himself, the Method Man is not known for battle rapping abilities. Nonetheless, Meth welcomes the challenge. While this is all compelling drama for hip hop since the 50 Cent vs. Rick Ross beef fizzled out when Ross tried to go after Eminem but that beef has not gotten off the ground since Eminem is currently trying to beef with Nick Cannon. So basically, this Joe vs. Meth beef should have the streets ablaze in intrigue, and every day there should be solo diss tracks coming from both of them and then there should be group diss tracks where Meth gets Redman and Ghostface and Raekwon and Joe responds by bringing in Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, and Royce Da 5'9. It should be an entire summer of Wu Tang affiliates vs. Slaughterhouse, but it is not going to happen. In fact nothing close to this is going to happen, and its all going to because of this cursed Twitter. Joe is going to keep complaining via Twitter, and then Wu Tang stans are going to start harassing Joe via Twitter which is going to swell to the point where Joe calls Meth out via Twitter and then Meth responds via Twitter and then maybe if we are really lucky Joe will release a diss song about Meth, via Twitter of course. This beef has the potential to be as big as the classic Jay vs. Nas beef from yesteryear, and thats really saying something since Joe goes after someone different just about every other week. But it is not going to happen. Twitter is going end up squashing this beef, and thats just kind of sad. Heres hoping that I'm wrong on this which is somewhat possible seeings how the Capitals lost last night and are now out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

13 May 2009

One time I don't remember quite when, I was watching one of those day-time talk shows. I can't remember if it was Ellen or Oprah or Maury, but there was this couple on who had just recently reconciled. Apparently, they had taken a break because the man in the relationship had been cheating on his woman with several other women. The woman took him back though, and when asked why she said that the reason her man cheated was because he had a bad relationship with his mother growing up and now as a result he possessed an inability to trust women. Wow. This is officially a free pass for all dudes to be used whenever. Its a pretty drum-tight alibi, and there is no real opposing argument that can be mounted to dampen this rationale. I think I'm going to save mine for later.

12 May 2009

Tonight on American Idol, the three remaining contestants performed two songs apiece as one was selected by the judges and the other was picked by the singer. By this point in the show there is little debate about the merits of the remaining competitors which shifts the focus solely onto the performance and showmanship aspect. Danny went first, and sang "Dance Little Sister" by Terence Trent D'Arby as requested by Paula. This was a crap ass song, and to make matters worse it required Danny to attempt dance moves. There has always been a whispered rumor that American Idol is fixed with a predetermined winner, and this performance did little to hush those claims. It was almost as if Paula deliberately chose this song in order to watch Danny flounder. Simon said that he felt this was the wrong song, and he was absolutely correct as he always is in matters of judging singers. Kris performed second, and played some song by OneRepublic on the piano. (Writer's Note: I seriously hope that this is the last time that I will ever have to type the phrase "OneRepublic" on this site.) This song is essentially the type of song that the judges have been asking Kris to do every week since he made it into the Top 13. It sounded pretty good, but that may have had more to do with the fact that he was following up Danny's travesty. Kara picked this song for Kris, but then during the critique complained that it didn't work so well. This led to an awesome moment in which Simon called Kara out for her lame assessment which led to Kara trying to make fun of Simon which led to Simon totally ignoring her which led to the show going on. Simon asked Adam to perform "One" by U2, and in doing so basically threw Adam an alley-oop to throw down. It had all the key components of any essential Adam performance. Soft beginning. Mood lighting. Abrupt change in tempo to make way for falsetto. It was all there. What stood out the most about this performance is that it seemed to give more heed to the idea that this show is fixed. Paula's song for Danny sets him up to fail. Randy and Kara pick a song for Kris that accomplishes nothing except for confusing the hell out of America, and Simon selects a song for Adam that all but guarantees his spot in the finale. For the second half of the show, the three remaining contestants were allowed to perform a song of their own choice. Danny went with Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful", and from a strategy standpoint it came across as brilliant. Danny has a fantastic singing voice, and this song played into those strengths. Simon described it as a "vocal masterpiece". This quite possibly could keep Danny in the competition. Kris decided to go and cover Kanye West's "Heartless" for his second song, and to say that the performance was well-received would be an understatement. Simon said that he thought it was a lame song choice, but after hearing it sung he said it was great. Randy said that he like it more then Kanye's version. While Randy's statement is indeed guilty of hyperbole it can slide tonight because perhaps he was just caught up in the moment. Kris completely stripped the song down and played it on guitar, and displayed a vocal range that would suggest that he should have no trouble finding a job once this show is over. While all of the judges were extremely impressed I couldn't help but think of an episode of MTV's Taking the Stage that I saw over the weekend. Taking the Stage is a kind of boring, whole lot of stupid television program about students at some high school for the gifted and talented that is located in Cincinnati because where else would a high school for the gifted and talented be located other than Cincinnati. Anyway, one of the girls on that show covered "Heartless" at the school talent show and her version was all stripped down and sounded kind of cool as well. However, my guess is that the majority of America does not watch Taking the Stage so they are all very jazzed about Kris' performance and will vote accordingly and this also confirms that I must be some kind of nerd/loser since I in fact have watched Taking the Stage. But, I digress. Adam closed the song with "Crying" by Aerosmith, and in some ways this did in fact sound better than the original. Adam Lambert is going to win this show, and the judges basically confirmed this while they were offering their critique. Randy called him "One of the most talented singers we have ever had on this show," and Simon and the rest of the judges all said that they would see him next week at finale. Simon even went so far as to ask America to vote to ensure that this would happen. Who else is going to be in the finale is still a toss-up because the final decision will be made by the ever-fickle and sometimes-confused-and-bewildered American public. 

11 May 2009

Bob Marley died on this day in 1981, and I thought that it was worth mentioning. Bob died as a result of cancer that spread throughout his body which may or may not have been put there by the white man. While I may try to wax poetic on such an anniversary its a safe bet that I can't do Bob the justice he deserves, but at the same time I think it is important to give the man some props. When it comes to reggae music there are few that are better then Robert Nesta Marley. Even the most seasoned reggae fan can attest that Bob was among the best. The reason that this is not more apparent is because of assholes. Assholes who market the shit out of Bob and his legacy. Assholes who blindly buy shit with Bob's picture and likeness on it while they shop at Hot Topic. Assholes who use Bob's songs to hawk vacations in the Caribbean. Assholes at your high school who wore lots of tye dye, and as a result automatically assumed that they liked Bob Marley. Assholes, assholes, and more assholes. Assholes are dragging Bob's name through the dirt. But despite this injustice, Bob Marley is still totally cool. He made fantastic reggae music for years all while serving as some sort of figurehead for a country that was teetering on the verge of civil war. The reason his music became so popular is because it was reggae but more then that it was reggae done extremely well. There are always going to be purists who argue for the merits of Israel Vibration, but at the end of the day there is still only one Bob. Is it any wonder why there hasn't been another reggae superstar since he died? Besides the fact that Sean Paul totally sucks, the reason still remains that Bob kicked ass and no one else can even hold a candle to him. Just thought that that was worth mentioning...well that and the fact that the Capitals just won and forced a Game 7 to be played Wednesday night in D.C.

08 May 2009

Lately, I ranted about Blu and Kid Cudi and what dope rappers I thought they were. In both of those posts, I tried to reiterate that I thought both of these dudes were up there with Wale in the upper-echelon of the new rappers. But I hadn't ranted about Wale, so here it goes. This morning, Wale was on ESPN's First Take to talk hockey so that really made this post all the more necessary. Last summer, Wale dropped "The Mixtape About Nothing", which in addition to being one of my favorite albums of the year, it was this whole Seinfeld-inspired joint. It wasn't like entire songs about the Soup Nazi or dripping a gyro all over a valuable issue of TV Guide, but rather it was more like in the same vein as a Seinfeld episode. As Wale says on the intro, "If you love substance then you love Wale, but most ninjas don't love nothing so I made this tape." (Writer's Note: He doesn't say ninja, but I am not ballsy enough to quote verbatim which is at least slightly ironic since I used to be a literature major and I feel like if someone else said and you're just quoting it then it is completely justified but after listening to "The Kramer" I feel like Wale makes a good point that a white boy really shouldn't say it even if he just heard his favorite rapper say it.) Just like a Seinfeld episode, all of the tracks start with the word "The". I could probably go on for miles about why I think this concept is "clever" and why I think that Wale is "meaningful" and "important for fostering in a new wave of hip hop", but thats not really my intent with this rant. Because technically I am from the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia STAND UP) and so is he. D.C. has never had a hip hop star. Go-go is all the rage in that area, and I like it well enough but at times I end up taking the same stance as Stringer Bell in that one episode when he was talking to them cats from D.C. But I digress. Back in the fall when I was still actually getting my name in print, I had to write an article on the Washington Wizards head coaching vacancy and through sheer stubbornness and general not-giving-a-fuck I rammed Wale's name into my lead. It was back in December before the Inauguration, and I was trying to circle a similarity in the sense that there was a new dude taking over Washington and that in fact there would be a new dude to "put on" for the capital in the hip hop game as well. It didn't work as well as I had hoped, but fuck it everyone who read it at least for a second had to think about who Wale was. Again, I digress. When this mixtape came out over the summer it was around the same time as the bonanza that was Tha Carter III and despite that I ended up liking this shit more. In hip hop, much is made about swagger and who has the most swagger and who applies their swagger the best in marketing their personal brand and yada yada yada. But with Wale its not like his swagger is in short supply or anything like that. Dude definitely has a spring in his step, but at the same time in some songs he is basically making the argument that he is only the 4th best rapper in the game behind Jay-Z, Wayne, and Kanye. Its like I shine and what not, but I don't shine as bright as these cats. Also, not only does Wale make sport references in his song. Clearly, dude watches Sportscenter on the regular. But even better then that, he makes hockey references. "Putting on for the Capital, Wale Ovechkin." Comparing himself to Ovechkin, at least in ma opinion, is like totally fucking smart. I mean, Ovechkin is easily the best player in all of hockey and if you don't watch hockey then basically Ovie is like the LeBron James of the NHL. Yeah, he's that good. And so while all the other rappers are talking about how they be so like LeBron and while Wayne compares himself to Kobe, Wale skates by all that. But not only that, Wale has rhymed and made allusions to Ki-Jana Carter, the former #1 pick of the Cincinnati Bengals who flamed out after one preseason game, and Cleo Lemon, a much-maligned journeyman quarterback who had basically no success with Miami and then was shipped to San Diego where he may as well just sit in the stands because he's definitely not getting on the field. He's name-checked Ussain Bolt and Eric Lindross. Basically, this dude is totally dope and rad, yada yada yada. On "The Artistic Intergrity" he kind of hits all this on the head. He's not a backpack rapper although he makes you think and he's not all bling bling M.O.B. either. He's just clever, and I feel that term gets overused slightly these days but its really the case. Example: "Y'all dudes rapping like you reading The Source/ Wale rap like he read a thesaurus" So, he's not backpack or gangster and he's still not hipster rap either. The other day, there was an interview and he was like "I'm not hipster rap, but I was the first dude to rap over a Justice beat." When this tape came out Tom Breihan of Status Ain't Hood, a fantastic now defunct blog that used to be on the Village Voice website, pointed out that Wale complains about something but in the same breath brags about he did basically the same thing. I guess thats a knock, but I think it is kind of beside the point. I mean, he complains about how Baltimore stations don't play his records but at the same time he points out that his cousin was Chris on The Wire. I guess thats aggravating to some, but to me it seems to say that dude is not getting played on the radio and his cousin was on the greatest fucking televsion show in history which would make him additionally awesome. Anyway, I think the album is coming out this summer and I'm hoping it'll be real dope. He's got a new single and it has Lady Gaga on it, and you know its cool. I've read that Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio has done some producer work on the album which basically means that it should be real good, at least in theory. So yeah, the moral of the story Wale is like my most favorite rapper. There's a part of me that feels like Cudi may be more successful commercially and may very well completely blow up, but despite that Wale be my shit. If Cudi blows up then thats fine cause I think they're cool with one another and that means they'd still be on one another's records. And I really dig Blu, but I end up listening to Wale more. Just the way it is. And besides, its still hockey season and we both root for the same team.





06 May 2009

So, American Idol. Last night's theme was "hard rock" songs, or at least whatever can pass for hard rock on a show like Idol. The show was pretty good mainly because Slash from G'n'R was the mentor for the week. I mean, Tarantino as a mentor kind of made sense and Jamie Foxx was effective but even that was a bit of a stretch. But Slash? I mean I'm not complaining or anything like that, but at the same time I can't help but shake my head. Anyway, the actual performances were not bad by any stretch but they were pretty unsurprising and kind of obvious. Adam did "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin, and like OMG you mean the guy that sounds a whole lot like Robert Plant with a penchant for testicle shrinking high notes actually did a Zeppelin song. Like total shocker. Allison did "Crybaby" by Janis Joplin, and holy shit the gravelly voiced girl who sings every song like its a Joplin song actually sang a Joplin song. Right now, I think the most interesting thing about Allison at the moment is that apparently she is a ringer who won some Telemundo singing contest a few years back. But anyway, believe it or not Kris and Danny were both out of their element having to perform the night's theme. Kris tried to get away with doing The Beatles' "Come Together", and while it didn't sound awful this is the final four and contestants can't be doing this shit this late in the game. And as much as I love love love the Beatles, hard rock doesn't necessarily spring to mind when I think about them. Kris probably would have been better off doing what he does just about every other week which is turning it into some sort of diet John Mayer song. Danny did "Dream On" by Aerosmith, and my biggest problem with it was the fact that they clipped like 3/4 of the song out. He did the verse, and then the rest of it was just howl after howl of "Dream On". I think the judges would have liked it more if he had done another verse or two, but since he didn't all they really had to go by was the epic yelp at the end of it. And while Danny didn't do so great he seems to have a built-in niche of fans who vote for him every week so he will probably be pretty safe headed into tonight's elimination. Kris, on the other hand, is probably headed home. There was one interesting thing that happened last night. They did these duets, in order to take up more programing time, but they were entertaining and provided more fodder for the judges to go off of. Danny and Kris did that one song by Styx, and it didn't sound half bad but the whole time I kept thinking that one of them should have picked this song for their performance. Like both of them can do that kind of "hard" rock which is more like they type of shit you would play after a long day on your yacht or after a vigorous day of playing polo. Adam and Allison did "Slow Ride", and everyone went crazy over it. It sounded better then I thought it would, but I don't think that that really counts for anything. Kris is probably going to sent home tonight if I had to guess, but I won't know till tomorrow because there is mother fucking hockey on tonight.

05 May 2009

I just watched the music video for "3 A.M." which is the second single from eminem, and it seems that in addition to keeping constant tabs on perezhilton.com eminem has been watching lots of campy horror movies. Perhaps a few of the ones from the "Saw" series. Like honestly, the video wasn't that bad and while the song isn't amazing or anything its still marginally better then "We Made You". However, this is not the shit that keeps a comeback afloat. And while I hope against hopes that I don't actually have to listen to it I am beginning to wonder what the actual album is going to sound like. If he's moved beyond all his previous personal drama then what does he have to rap about? Is he going to rap about how he hasn't gotten around to mowing his lawn and how now his grass is unkempt? Is he going to complain about his long distance provider? And while it pains me to think this way I can't help but think that the only way he is going to become relevant again is to go after perez, of all people. When eminem was in his hey-day and making a name for himself by spoofing celebs and rhyming circles around other rappers, he was also gay-bashing like a motherfucker. When history looks back on eminem that is what is going to stand back. Yeah, he'll be listed as a great white rapper but first and foremost is probably going to be his perceived homophobia. I mean whatever thats not really cool, but the real kicker is that shit don't play no more. We as people have come very far in terms of that, and in a weird way part of that is because we turn to bros like perez to give us the news that we really want. I mean, have you seen CNN lately? Perez is coming out smelling like flowers after this shit-storm that Miss California kicked up during the pageant. He basically represents every reason as to why people should stop hating, and by doing so basically represents everything that eminem railed against ten years ago. So what, is marshall mathers going to start dissing a blogger? Like that it'll get him far. I think this dude is toast, I really do. I read an article earlier today that basically confirmed what I have been thinking and saying for the last year or so. Apparently, the success of eminem's new album will dictate the future for all other properties owned by the record label. Everything the label has is garbage, but in the past that hasn't really mattered as much because their cash cow marshall was providing the bank. But in the four years that he has been on hiatus, the label has taken a beating. They need all the beef they can get in order to keep this sorry ship afloat. Rick Ross is going to go after eminem, and thats fine because nobody really cares. Best case scenario is that em ends up dissing somebody else in one of his rebuttal raps, and that diss ends up morphing into a full-fledged beef with someone else. Thats their best chance, and truth be told that probably won't happen anyway. The worst thing about this whole mess is the fact that Ross can not out-rap, out-rhyme, or out-diss eminem which means that The Bawse has no chance of burying him which means that eminem will continue to occupy space from writers, fans, stans, and the whole rest of them. So in a way the only option for ridding ourselves from eminem is for him to win the beef with Ross and then engage in another beef which will then lead to his subsequent demise. An awful lot of work to get rid of a dude who had been retired. But at the end of the day, its all really whatever and the caps are up 2-0 on the pens. 

04 May 2009

Its been out for awhile, but "Day N Nite" by Kid Cudi is a pretty dope song. However, that had been all I had really heard from the dude. I found this mixtape called "Dat Kid from Cleveland", and I just got around to listening to it. Little background, Kid was a part of XXL's Class of 09 in which the magazine selected the ten freshest and newest rappers who were now poised to make some noise in the hip hop game. Blu was a part of this as was Wale, Charles Hamilton, B.o.B., and Asher Roth. It looks like Roth may have already burned out which is kind of a shame, and I get the feeling that Charles Hamilton is still working on establishing his personal brand. B.o.B. changed his name to Bobby Ray, but he still sounds a lot like Andre 3000. Wale is from D.C., and was responsible for one of my favorite albums of 08 with "A Mixtape About Nothing". But I digress. This, Kid Cudi is nice. He has a major co-sign from Kanye which doesn't hurt, and may be responsible for the beats on this tape. One of the first things that struck me about "Day N Nite" was the fact that it was without a doubt and undeniably a song about weed. The song is about hanging out and doing shit while you're high and how that can make you feel from time to time. From listening to the mixtape it seems that Kid Cudi likes to smoke grass on the regular which again doesn't hurt this process either. He's got a nice flow. It kind of bounces. Like words come out in little bundles, and with each bar he flicks it a little further out. and a little further. One of the songs on ("Sky Might Fall") is featured in one of the trailers for Transformers 2 for reasons that I am not clear on, but the song isn't bad. In fact, I read that the was released through the trailer. Trying to spread the word, and for that you can't knock the hustle. This one song "Sky High" has little bits of different Kanye songs as the beat and Kid is just rhyming. Another song is called "I Poke Her Face", which has Kanye and Common on it and they all go over that song "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga. Sounds like Kid holds his own on this among two seasoned veterans. The thing that strikes me the most about this is that I get the feeling that other people would be real quick to dig this too. He's got nice buzz mainly because of "Day N Nite", but this is one of those instances where if his proper album is tight then he could really blow up. If the full-length album has actual songs on it and what not then this could maybe be big. This is what really hurt Asher Roth. He had real nice buzz and was riding a tidal surge in popularity, but then the album came out and it kind of lacked and the whole thing went flat. At the very least, I'd bet big that Rolling Stone is going to give his shit a glowing review because whoever reviews the hip hop over there buys into the hype machine hard and critiques accordingly. With regards to the Class of 09, I'd put Kid in the top 3 with Blu and Wale. I kind of get the feeling that Kid is one of those dudes who is real easy to chill with and because of that people are always down to do songs with him and then they do and they come out like this. Apparently, Wale said something about him and Kid responded by saying that he was going to retire but Wale was real quick to say shit was cool and I get the feeling that it was just a bunch of bullshit anyway. There is another Kid Cudi mixtape that came out earlier and is more than likely a quality listen, but for now I'ma keep messin with this joint. 

03 May 2009

Well, I went to a show last night. And it wasn't just any ol' show. Dinosaur Jr. were in town last night, and they fucking ruled. Mike Watt opened, and that was cool too. Watt and his band covered Wire which was totally fucking awesome, and was more or less the first song I heard when I got there. Once I heard that, I got a feeling that it was only a small indication of even better things to come. The show was loud. Really loud. There was a heavy emphasis on amplifiers and guitar while vocals took a back seat. The place was packed, and there was an interesting conglomeration of people in attendance. Not to sound hyperbolic, but I was kind of paralyzed in awe. They played "The Wagon" which is for all intents and purposes my favorite Dino song. The new song "I Don't Wanna Go There" is like a serious jam, and went on for way longer then I expected. Seeing J. Mascis playing live is almost out of this world. There was no dead air at any point as J. was constantly tinkering and doodling around with his guitar the entire time. Two months ago, I saw Witch and that was badass and featured J. playing drums. But seeing J. play drums is one thing while seeing him play guitar is another beast entirely. On stage, he looks almost completely unassuming but then he starts playing and just shreds. He just shreds right threw everything. It doesn't matter whether its hot inside or kind of cold outside or if its loud or how much the beer costs. The only thing that matters is that J. fucking Mascis is playing motherfucking guitar. Yeah, it was awesome. They played "Freak Scene" and the whole place went nuts which was kind of funny because I kind of got the impression that there were some people there who had never seen Dino live or they had just started listening to the band in general. They played "Feel the Pain" which truth be told I always forget about. Like I recognize the song from the radio, but I always forget its Dinosaur Jr. Way back when, I was the same way with "Creep". The encore was sweet albeit brief. Lou was openly taking requests for the encore set which resulted in "Just Like Heaven" which was totally awesome. The encore set ended up being a little short because I think some bro jumped off the balcony. At first I thought the encore was short because people requested "Just Like Heaven" and for whatever reason requesting that song maxed out the crowd's credit in requesting further songs. Either way, the show was fucking rad and my ears are still ringing. 

Set List for Dinosaur Jr., May 2 @ The Ottobar
-"Tarpit"
-"The Wagon"
-"Been There All The Time"
-"Back To Your Heart"
-"I Don't Wanna Go There"
-"Out There"
-"Feel The Pain"
-"Crumble"
-"Pick Me Up"
-"Budge"
-"Freak Scene"
-"Gargoyle"
encore
-"Just Like Heaven"
-there was another song, but the name of it escapes my mind.