Monday, December 31, 2007

(Another) Top 10

2007 was an ok year, but it's over tomorrow and that's ok. I saw some good shows, heard some good tunes, and lived through the second snowiest December in Madison's history (unless we get 2.2 inches of snow by midnight, which is unlikely).

As a blogger, albeit a severely lazy one, it is my obligation, like Danny's, to compile an end-of-the-year-best-of-something list just like everyone else, and because I am a.) lazy (as previously stated) and b.) boring, it's just going to be albums. Top 10 motherfucking albums of 2007:

1. Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil
2. A Place to Bury Strangers - S/T
3. Walker Kong - Deliver Us from People
4. Spoon - Ga (x5)
5. Menomena - Friend and Foe
6. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
7. Radiohead - In Rainbows
8. Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X
9. Caribou - Andorra
10. Vampire Weekend - Blue CD-R

Honorable Mention:
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Kanye West - Graduation
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
No Age - S/T
Dean & Britta - The Back Numbers

And there you have it. In other news, how fucking annoying are those stupid shoes-that-turn-into-skates-that-every-fucking-idiot-kid-has? I swear, the next time I'm in Target to buy paper towels or a toothbrush and I almost fall over because some terrible parent allowed their delinquent-in-training to even own a pair of those monstrosities, much less wear them to a crowded public retail outlet, I'm going to punch someone in the face. The same goes for airports.

Monday, December 17, 2007

!Top Ten of 2007!

Hastily compiled- excluding reissues (obviously)

1. Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil
2. Devin the Dude - Waiting to Inhale
3. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
4. Glass Candy - BEATBOX
5. Blonde Redhead - 23
6. Radiohead - In Rainbows
7. Pissed Jeans - Hope For Men
8. Magik Markers- Boss
9. King Khan & The Shrines - What Is?!
10. UGK - Underground Kingz

Honorable Mention
1. Psychedelic Horseshit - Magic Flowers Droned
2. The Thrills - Teenager
3. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
4. Times New Viking - Present The Paisley Reich
5. Jana Hunter - There's No Home
6. Dr. Dog - We All Belong
7. Dan Deacon - Spiderman of The Rings

Bonus - Comedy Top Two!
1. Patton Oswalt - Werewolves & Lollipops
2. Michael Showalter - Sandwiches & Cats

Pretty good musicssss put out in 2007. This list is subject to change.

Bye bye,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Gayness

So I met this gay dude the other day. He had his iPod with him and he sat with me and my friends at this bar. He had pretty good stuff on his iPod. He even had Fad Gadget and Gang of Four! How many random "straighties" (the gay community's word for us straight people) would have those bands on their iPod? So guess what his favorite artist was. Nope, not Skrewdriver...good guess though. It was Rufus Wainwright. "Of course you like Rufus Wainwright!" I callously, drunkenly exclaimed. I was fuuuucked up!

We got drunk(er) with this kid and we somehow decided a gay bar would be a good next destination. So we went to three...thereby fulfilling a lifelong dream I had. We all knew the Montrose is the Houston "gayborhood"... but let me tell you, there is this little enclave of gay bars that aren't visible to the naked eye. You have to be with a gay guy to see them. They're seriously hidden really well. Gay people love to dance! And talk...oh Jesus they love talking politics (and apparently buying into some gay ultra liberal trend). There were guys dancing in thongs.

Basically, stereotypes exist for a reason. They're all correct!

Love ya gay guys!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

SST Bands Live: Part One of Two

Meat Puppets--Cain’s Ballroom--Tulsa, OK--November 15, 2007

Originally hailing from Phoenix, the Meat Puppets are a trio fronted by brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood who miraculously combine many seemingly divergent musical influences into a cohesive sound that is entirely their own. "Wait!" you say, "isn’t this the band who broke onto the radio market in the mid-90’s with the customary grunge/alternative hit ‘Backwater‘"? Yes, it is, and that was likely my first exposure to them, in the "Buzz Bin" days of MTV (remember?), followed by my hearing of Kurt Cobain’s renditions of the "Plateau"/"Oh, Me"/"Lake of Fire" triptych. I ran across them many years after that while digging around looking at Dinosaur Jr. albums (more on that in weeks to come). This concert at the Cain’s was my second time to see them in the last three months, the first time being an August show in Oklahoma City, and my familiarity of their music rests primarily on their first three albums: "Meat Puppets", "II", and "Up on the Sun." The first is practically hardcore 80’s punk, while the third is full-blown psychedelic-country rock music. Their second ("II") falls somewhere inbetween, and is what I would highly recommend anyone to start out with. If Garz and I still had a radio show going, I think we could easily put the music on that album up with anything else that emerges and is touted in the indie world today-- a far cry from the more-generic "Backwater" sound that may cause some to forget about them.

First, let me use some space to promote the Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa’s coolest concert venue! It has been around since 1924 and was home to Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys for concerts and radio broadcasts! It has a slight feeling to me of being in an rickety barn with wooden floors, and portraits of old country stars like Hank Williams, Gene Autry, and Ernest Tubb are hung all around the room. It isn’t any atmosphere that will likely sweep you off your feet, but I think it has a good Okie, homey aura to it. And hey, the Sex Pistols played there on a rare American tour in 1978! I guess Johnny Rotten wasn’t too cool to come to Tulsee Town!

All that said, apparently the Puppets don’t draw a big enough crowd to play on Cain’s main stage (is simply referring to them as "the Puppets" a sign I have become a true aficionado? Like Phish followers calling themselves "Phans"???). This show was in a small square side room with tables and a bar. The band had to walk through the crowd to get to and from backstage, which was kind of cool. I saw some guy get them to autograph the liner notes of "II" that he had brought, and the fans could applaud them more as they passed through at the end of the night. Cris Kurkwood, the bass player, has an impenetrable mass of hair, and bobs around on stage constantly to win the award for being most like an actual puppet. He seems like he’d be a nice guy but when you see his face he is always squinting and grimacing like the sun is in his eyes, and from time to time gets these wild, furious looks on his face that couldn’t possibly be feigned. Curt Kirkwood, who does guitar and most vocals, reminds me of a sumo wrestler, not because he is fat, but has his hair pulled back in a tiny ponytail. He’ll scowl and look around at the air with his eyes like he is hearing psychotic voices or something. I say this about their appearance not only because I am absorbed in them, but also because I think it is somewhat representative of their music--there is a manic quality that underlies their sound and is what I think holds everything together. Maybe it takes said insanity to try and merge country and punk, but they do it successfully. They can even blare out something that seems like bluegrass, and many guitar lines sound imitating of a banjo. Throughout the show, they would additionally incorporate extended sonic jams into their songs (i.e., a seamless workout wedged into "Lake of Fire") that always seemed to have a purpose, not falling flat. It was generally an older crowd, I’d say about 100 people mostly my age (24) and up. It was good to be without most of the indie teenagers. My favorite tune was "Up on the Sun," because it included some jams, and I like the country buzz of the guitar line. I also enjoyed their playing of "Oh, Me." Although they didn’t play a long set, the Puppets do it all without sounding like a band that is way past their prime, and I can’t imagine them sounding much worse than when they last played in Tulsa, 25 years ago.

Check out "II".

Monday, November 12, 2007

Movie Review:

No Country for Old Men: See it now. Really, go see it.

Ah yes, the rating scale... 1 bear, 5 anti bears. The bear is for the fact that I kinda spaced out during the ending (because i was starving), unaware that it was the ending, so I have some unanswered questions. The anti-bears... because the movie rocked! I won't give any intimate details away.

Gone baby Gone: See it at some point.

This movie was good, but nothing compared to the far superior No Country for Old Men. 4 anti-bears, 1 bear. The bear is for the fact that this movie gives ben affleck credibility as a director. At least he still has none as an actor.

That's all. No glam, no jokes. Just see the movies, and let me get back to my poker game.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

Spoon, The New Pornographers, Emma Pollock - Warehouse Live - Houston, Texas - 11/1/07

While my little brother and I were at the Spoon show Tracy McGrady, my favorite athlete ever, was busy dropping 47 points to lead the Rockets to a revenge win over the Utah Jazz. God I hate the fucking Jazz.

The show was at the Warehouse Live in downtown H-Town. It's a really nice venue. Too nice to house a lot of the gritty bands I've been seeing lately.

The show was ass-packed with audience members ranging greatly in age. But...

Let me hit this tangent before I go on. Every once in a while I go through these phases. I'm kind of in one right now. My tastes get more and more obscure and all of the sudden, you're an asshole and an idiot for not owning any Family Fodder material. You could be cool, but unless you like Konk, you have shit taste in music. With my current mindset, most modern bands suck. If a modern band is slightly popular, I am full of blind hate for them.

I'll get over it soon enough...I always do.

That being said, Spoon fits the mold; I should hate them.

They were really fucking good though. I was completely sober for the whole show. I had no drugs or alcohol in me but the show was still really cool without those enhancers. Eric's right, Spoon are tight as fuck where they need to be. I'll add that they deviate into noise at just the right moments. I am hereby backing the Charz2k official recommendation...see Spoon if you can.
Aside from their performance, their lighting show was my favorite concert backdrop/ambience effect ever (Radiohead in Chicago a few years back is a close second). There was this sort of canvas behind them that turned all polychromatic with the beats. At times there were colored lights shining at the band members from the floor giving the "Oh shit! it looks like they're all green!" effect.

Good job, guys.

I didn't so much care for the New Pornographers. I've like never listened to them on record. They're pretty lackluster/mediocre, too conventional, etc. They were pretty boring on stage methinks. Save for this one dude who sang some songs (that one dude not being A.C. Newman or Neko Case...I don't know his name but he got quite a reaction from the crowd when he joined Spoon in the encore...he's probably famous but I don't know his name, and for that I sincerely apologize.) A sophomoric observation: one dude in the New Pornographers looked like Jerry Garcia. Their drummer looked like Eugene Mirman, the funny man. Also, Neko Case....mmmm.

The show was pretty killer. No one actually died though. I guess the most killer show was the Great White show in New Jersey where 19,684 people died grisly deaths.

But I'm of the mind that the perfect world is perpetually lubricated. This world is, needless to say, dry, and therefore, imperfect. Spoon is dripping with KY though. It's KY Warming Liquid too...they were all warm and shit.

Antibears - 3.9 - Good job Spoon and Spoon's lighting choreographer!
Bears- 2.6 - New Pornos bored me and I missed T-Mac's noteworthy performance.

I'm designating the Houston Rockets the official NBA team of charz2k. As the Rockets go, so goes charz2k.

P.S. - Articles should come more frequently from me now as mid-terms are over.

Cheerio Sam, pip pip good boy,


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Show review quickblurbs

The Blow - 10/1/07 - Empty Bottle, Chicago

I'm the kind of guy who groans a little on the inside when I go to a show and I realize the solo artist on the bill's backing band isn't going to slink onto the stage after the quiet, intensity-building opening number. There's nothing wrong with solo artists; I just prefer fuller-bodied instrumentation (major exceptions: Beat Happening (on record)/Calvin Johnson (live), Andrew Bird).

When I went to see the Blow, I knew there wouldn't be a backing band, and I didn't care. Why? I'd seen videos of Khaela Maricich's performances before, and she pulls it off. Sure, it'd have been nice if the "beats dude" Jona would have been there, but you take what you can get. Besides, when you got charisma, who needs a backing band? I paid for one show and I got three! Music: check. Comedy (nice!): check. Magic show (wtf?!?!?): cheeeeck! Instead of giving the review any substance, I'll just say you had to be there.

My memory is hazy, but I think we were either the first, last, or only audience to hear "Long List of Girls" (I'm pretty sure we were the first), and with a Paper Television-heavy set, I was pretty appeased. Kathy said it was the best show ever, and while I wouldn't quite go that far, I did enjoy myself.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - 10/6/07 - The Annex, Madison

It's not terribly common for a geeky band from Brooklyn with a frontman who sometimes sounds like David Byrne that self releases an album with dinosaurs on the yellow and orange cover to so quickly have throngs of music junkies worshiping the ground they walk on in practically no time. Not terribly common if you're not one of Pitchfork's chosen, that is.

One 9.0 score later, I'm in Amoeba Records in the Haight and I'm dedicated to buying this album (among many others) and it's not difficult to find. Is there a better way to debut an almost criminally highly hyped album then on the open roads of Northern California? Probably, since I think I only played this album two or three times after first hearing it, but before seeing CYHSY at the Annex. I'd downloaded Some Loud Thunder, but in over a year I never felt compelled to listen to it, so I'm not entirely sure of why I felt the need to go to this show. It's not quite like there was a shortage of bands to see (especially in early October of this year), but I guess since I had friends who were really excited than I could be too.

Here's my conclusion: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are pretty good! I recognized a bunch of the songs even after only having listened to them very few times a very long time before the show, and I had a lot of fun watching them. There was one thing that absolutely boggled my mind, however. There were a couple of "bros" next to us who knew every word to every song and were clearly the most excited fans in the audience (I know what you're thinking: "Eric, how do you know they weren't hipsters in disguise?" Easy. No self-respecting hipster ever wears cargo shorts, much less to a show. And if the shorts weren't a dead giveaway, the flip-flops, backwards hats, and polo shirts certainly confirmed suspicions). Even more confusing was when one of these two was comparing the intro to a CYHSY song to a Yo La Tengo song. Where do bros learn about bands like these?

Mark, Colleen, and I watched the bros saunter down the street after the show (they could NOT have been more bro-like if they tried), and none of us could come up with a reasonable explanation for what we had witnessed.

Spoon - 10/8/07 - Pabst Theater, Milwaukee

Tonight my younger siblings are lamenting their inability to see the inexplicably non-sold out Spoon/New Pornographers show in Houston, because they are all pretty big fans of both of those bands. Danny (of charz2k fame), is not grieving because as far as I know he's allowed to go to concerts on weeknights because he doesn't have school every day, and someone in their early 20s is typically allowed to stay out late if they so choose to do. I'm expecting that he'll have only anti-bears to give on his review (which will never be written!) because when I saw Spoon at the Pabst (at a show sponsored by Shiner Bock, nonetheless!), they were simply phenomenal.

I'm not sure I have ever seen a band as tight and composed as Spoon were on that stage. With minimal gimmicky movements and stage props, they absolutely commanded audience attention from start to finish. I didn't even want to go get another beer for fear that I might miss a few minutes of the performance (not to mention I wouldn't be able to get back to my perfect spot, about 8 feet back from the stage in the pit). They skimped on Girls Can Tell tracks, but I didn't even care. This is an official charz2k recommendation to go see Spoon if you get the chance. They're accessible enough for anyone to appreciate, so no fear of show that will leave you aching from broken bones or otherwise.

Oh, and their merch guy is awesome. They had these really cool posters with cherry bombs that were specific to tonight's show and they were hand-screened and numbered (I think maybe 60 total?), so I knew that if I waited until the show was over the posters would probably sell out. The merchandise salesman kindly allowed me to purchase the poster and store it behind a box behind his booth until afterwards, when he would recognize my face and deliver the goods. He didn't take my name down, or anything, but delivered the poster as promised. I didn't even have to wait in the long line of people because he saw me in the cluster and immediately fetched the poster and handed it to me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Three years ago today...

On October 25, 2004 legendary British DJ John Peel passed away. I advise all readers to take a moment of reflection while listening to what was widely known as his favorite single, "Teenage Kicks" by the Undertones.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Some albums worth checking out

I'm slowly realizing that I am/we are terrible bloggers. As of two minutes ago I've decided to make a concentrated effort to post more often. Granted, the quality of these posts may be on par with that of the plastic toy you'd get in a Happy Meal, but since none of our others are that great, it's a short fall to the ground, I reckon.

Here's today's. Instead of anything insightful or potentially entertaining, you get the most amazingly lazy and generic post possible from a blog of this type.

Yes! It's an "albums-I'm-enjoying-right-now" post!

Blondie - Blondie
Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X
Talking Heads - 77
Pixies - Bossanova
Roxy Music - Country Life
The Units - Digital Stimulation

And then there's the French pop:

Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin - Je T'aime Moi Non Plus
Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot - Bonnie & Clyde

Françoise Hardy - The Yeh Yeh Girl From Paris

A note on the Françoise Hardy: the song "La Fille Avec Toi" is one of the greatest songs I've ever heard. I've heard a lot of songs. I don't know what she's saying, but it's fucking great.

The Glass Candy album is worth listening to, also, though it's one of the sad cases where the album recordings are simply not capable of capturing how spectacular the band sounded on a live stage. Any band member whose stage name is Johnny Jewel is ok in my books. When he produces insanely catchy synth beats while a cute girl singer bounces around like Tigger on X, all bets are off because you may be seeing the best show ever (then again, you may also not be seeing the best show ever, if you've been to a lot of good shows...).

Oh, and do you like the new banner? It's a work in progress. I'm already expecting derogatory remarks from both Sam (definitely) and Sean (possibly), but criticism/praise from anyone else is more than welcome.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Coincidence Weekend!

It's a pretty common belief that there are no coincidences, and that everything happens for a destiny-driven reason. While I don't deny the possibility of the existence of fate, I'll take the following events as mere chance encounters, even though some of them required such an uncanny crossing of paths that a larger, cosmic significance cannot be ruled out. For each event, I'll also be including a Coinky-dink Factor (CdF) score, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being "wow, this is fucking insane!".

1. Charz - A few weeks ago I got a message from Charz. I'm pretty sure the exact words were "come to chicago on the 13th". Since I got this message in late September or early October, I could only (correctly) assume that he was referring to October 13, which was, coincidentally (!), the Saturday I would be driving down to see Superdrag's reunion show at the Metro (review of this will be posted soon, but I have a feeling it might take me quite a while to write). Charz was in town with his girlfriend, and the crossing of paths in the Windy City was a pleasant addition to what would already be a spectacular weekend.

CdF: 5.5. I'm in Chicago fairly often, and while it wasn't more likely than not that I'd be there this past weekend, it's not a highly implausible scenario for me to be there when someone else decides to take a weekend trip. Additionally, the time-range in question was pretty wide (4 days for Charz, 3 for me), and could have been widened had I decided to go down a day earlier. Take into account the heightened likelihood I'd venture down to Chi-town on a weekend versus during the week, and we've got a pretty cool, but ultimately unspectacular, Chicago reunion.

2. Rohan - After Superdrag finished their last song and the lights and house music came on at the Metro, Danny saw a guy in passing that looked familiar, at least enough for him to tell me "I think I know that guy". No additional thought was given to the encounter, and we ventured outside since the merch area was overwhelmed by people wanting to chat with the band and pick up the sweet early demos/rarities set and t-shirts they had for sale (Dave and I took care of this before the show).

After we get outside, we realize Danny hasn't gotten a copy of this double-disc set, which is a problem because it would not be available except at the seven reunion shows Superdrag was playing. This was a one-time only opportunity (aside from getting reamed by eBay prices later on), so with trepidation, Danny slinked back into the door after the timely distraction of the bouncer so he could get his CD set. Since there wasn't much to do in front of the Metro, but there was a hot dog place across the street (Wrigleyville Dogs?), we decided to grab some snacks/drinks and wait out Danny's quest somewhere we could sit down. The place was full of show-drunks, some of whom were quite hilarious, but that's not really important. About 20 minutes later, Danny comes back across the street with this weird surprised smile on his face..."You're never going to believe this, but there's a guy who went to Strake in there (where Danny, Dave, and I went to high school), who is in my poetry class at school in Houston, and he flew up here just for this show! How crazy is that!?"

It turns out Dave knew this guy in high school, but none of us knew he was a Superdrag fan. That he, like us (well, like Danny and Dave actually did, and I would have done if the circumstances had necessitated such a journey), would be willing to fly 1100 miles to see this show was absolutely mindblowing.

CdF: 9.0. When you go to a show that's literally halfway across the country, you don't expect to cross paths with someone from your fucking poetry class back home. This was one of those rare occurrences that merits special mention. It's almost like in the movies where the guy (or girl) goes to New York and the unrequited lover decides to follow with nary an idea of where their soulmate might be, but happens to run into them on the street, except that in this case the journeys were separate and unrelated.

3. Olga - When you're walking down the street in the third most populous city in the United States of America, you don't expect someone to yell your name from a passing vehicle. When I heard it, I turned and saw Olga in a silver Civic (I think), and the light turned so she was on her way. Who'd ever expect to run into a friend from college at the Belmont/Lincoln/Ashland intersection? Yeah it's bizarre.

CdF: 8.5. Since Olga actually lives in Chicago, this CdF is a bit lower because such a chance encounter is likelier (or so I'm inclined to believe) if one of the parties is a mainstay in the town of the meeting. Or it could be said that the Rohan meeting was likelier since all parties had a common destination, but the mere fact that he would have been going to the show in the first place is certainly worth 0.5 points.

4. Daughtry - A list seems pretty incomplete with only 3 items, so sometimes you have to throw another one on the fire, even if it's pretty inconsequential. While at the Reckless Records on Milwaukee, I picked up the copy of Daughtry's album from the used recent arrivals bin to show Danny in a sort of check-out-this-awesome-cd-i-found-but-it's-really-lame-actually sort of prank, where the anticipated reaction was recognition of the douche on the cover and a shared giggle, or maybe even full laugh. The cd went back in the bin right after that, and all was forgotten. All was forgotten, that is, until we were at the Reckless Records on Broadway and Danny overheard someone asking for Daughtry's cd only to be told that there were no copies at the Broadway location, but that the one in Wicker Park had a used one. Don't worry about rushing, dude, I'm sure it will still be there when you get there.

CdF: 1.6. This one only gets 1.6 because I'm so surprised anyone who bought this album would have sold it to a used record store. Since Wicker Park borders some slightly more "colorful" neighborhoods, I'm going to go ahead and assume that a crackhead stole it from a hipster's car and sold it for, you guessed it, crack rock money. There should probably be another point or two added because the guy asking for the album was in Lakeview. No one in Lakeview likes music that good; if they were truly awesome, they'd have moved to Wicker Park already (since they could easily afford it). Now I'm realizing the deficiency in my original rating, but it's too late to change. You see, I am at a loss for a reason as to why I did not buy this album myself, which would have made the coincidence in question impossible. Wow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Black Lips, 9/29 - Milwaukee, WI

Have you ever visited America's Rust Belt? The Rust Belt includes a group of mostly older cities situated along the shores of the Great Lakes, cities that once thrived on a robust industrial-manufacturing economy, but ultimately were not properly equipped to handle the nation's transformation into an intellectually involved service-driven powerhouse. Because these cities thrived on labor which could be contracted much more cheaply overseas, factories closed and jobs were lost. Those who weren't able to flee to the more prosperous Sun Belt cities saw their surroundings deteriorate while the homes formerly occupied by their neighbors were first vacated, later boarded up, and later still broken into by squatters, crackheads, gang leaders, and, now in some places, tycoon developers.

Milwaukee is one of these cities.

Neighborhoods once overwrought with drugs, violence, and desperation are now beginning a mild shift as the social glorification of urban living and the proliferation of fix-it-and-sell-it shows on cable tv have convinced young white-collared college grads that if they're willing to tough it out for a few years (during which they earn massive cool points and street cred from their peers), then either a.) they'll secure an ideal homestead without paying the trendy prices their less adventurous friends will be forced to grapple with, or b.) they can turn around the property's condition and sell it to one of their less adventurous friends once enough white kids have decided the hood is safe to move into.

Why this mostly speculative and poorly-researched lecture on modern urbanism in America? Because Mad Planet, where the Black Lips performed, is in one of these up-and-coming neighborhoods, Milwaukee's River West.

A bit further north and you've got UW-Milwaukee and the associated student ghetto, and a bit south you've got a highway and a non-university-affiliated real ghetto. In between, you get River West, an interesting borough where you can buy a recently-rehabbed luxury condominium with easy access to all the narcotics your heart could desire, right down the street (or in some cases, right at your doorstep!).

In all honesty, the neighborhood isn't that sketchy, and it seems pretty clear that the initial efforts will be validated with full-scale gentrification in the coming years.

Right now, though, it's the perfect setting for a Black Lips show. You see, while I can't outright criticize Madison for not having decent concert venues, I can openly lambast the town's lack of a veritable shithole dive. Madison's got the squeaky-clean we're-open-and-accepting-of-all-races-and-backgrounds- (at-least-superficially) -and-only-two-people-get-murdered-here-each-year thing going for it, and that kind of culture doesn't exactly make it easy to break ground on a speakeasy marketed towards bands who are reported to often draw blood and expel a disgusting variety of bodily fluids on each other (and occasionally the audience) during their live show.

On arriving at Mad Planet, it's useful to take note of the skulky characters holding down their corners or ambling aimlessly down Center St. looking for a fix or walking off the MD 20/20 in a disjointed stupor, so that you can be appropriately watchful of your wallet and valuables as you get out of the vehicle. In the half block from the parking lot to the club you'll undoubtedly pass by the two guards on duty to protect these vehicles, and take solace in the safety of the windows on your '93 Corolla.

Oh, not to mention you get to feel really cool because you're willing to brave some serious shit to see this appropriately gritty band. Black Lips' live album wasn't recorded in some sterile-as-shit dentist's office of a room because of the perfect sound and acoustic architecture, but rather in a fucking dive in Tijuana. Fucking Tijuana!

So how bout those Black Lips?


Normally I'll stick to the middle-back of a crowd, respecting the will of those in front of me who arrived early to stake out a premium view. Those rules did not apply at this show. Granted, a bunch of people didn't even leave the bar area before the Lips played (decent sets by the Selmanaires and Holy Mary Motor Club could be enjoyed from afar, as they were the bands who hipsters regard as apprentices of sorts, suffering through apathetic throngs of funnily-dressed social misfits in a rock and roll rite of passage), but still if you got up and moved up early you'd assume you'd be assured of that perfect view.

Are you pissed that I took your spot after the psychedelic punk flowed through the meat grinder and all over the fucking room? There was some bobbing, a lot of jumping, and a whole mess of outright organized chaos! (This was timid hipster chaos, so don't worry since no one was in any real danger of getting punched in the face or anything like that...). Black Lips kicked it off with the flawless "Lean" (reportedly inspired by Screwston, drank, and all that shit), and the mind-bending lyrical complexity of "Katrina" (maybe some backended criticism of the rise in crime rates in Atlanta [hometown of Black Lips] and Houston [hometown of yours, truly, and of aforementioned "Lean"] after the establishment of New Orleans gangs in new turfs after the hurricane evacuation and the FEMA debacle?), and then they muddied up the setlist by jumping back and forth across albums. There was lots of Let it Bloom, tons of Good, Bad, Not Evil, and I presume some older jams I'm not familiar with yet.

The energy levels were through the roof, both on stage and in front of it. I left the show drenched in sweat (not all of it my own--gross), beer, and hopefully nothing else. Particularly during "Not a Problem" I went insane, which makes sense because "Not a Problem" is a loud song with a simple infectuous guitar riff that leads into a vicious primal scream and entrancing narrative vocals before it rises and falls and ultimately culminates in the visceral yelled chorus that made my throat go raw when I sang along "(it's a problem)...NO IT'S NOT A PROBLEM TO ME...(It's a problem)...NO IT'S NOT A PROBLEM TO ME...".

Other highlights included "Bad Kids", "Sea of Blasphemy", "Can't Dance", "Cold Hands", "Dirty Hands", "Step Right Up", "Navajo", "Boomerang", "Everybody's Doin' It" and more and more and more. They blasted through quite a few songs before their tenure on stage wrapped up shortly before 2am. Notably absent from the setlist was "Gung Ho", which is only notable because I really love that song and I was yelling for them to play it between a lot of the other songs they played. It was loud, so they may not have heard me, but I think they were exercising their rock and roll cool muscles and passively telling me to piss off. I thank them for not kicking me in the face!

The moral of this story, kids, is that the Black Lips and no one else are the prodigal saviors of rock and roll. Veni Vedi Vici.

Anti-Bears: 4.8
I had to knock off points for the bassist telling me they wouldn't be at SXSW next year, and for no bloodshed on stage. Otherwise, it was a spectacular display that left my muscles aching the next day.

Bears: 2.4
My muscles ached the next day, which was not very comfortable, but I kind of enjoyed it. Most of the bears are due to omission of "Gung Ho" from the setlist and because of that one guy in the red sleeveless shirt who didn't think it appropriate to apply that stick of Degree before the show. If you're gonna stink like an asshole (edit - this pun was completely unintentional), at least keep your arms down. I almost passed out and I don't think I was the only one.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Behind the times

As of right now, I am behind on show review write-ups. Including the one I just got back from, there are four in the queue that I should probably get to before this weekend jumps that figure to a certain six or even a possible eight. I'm just letting you know that there is content coming soon, so don't think we've abandoned charz2k like we did in the past. I promise I'll have at least one review up by tomorrow night.

Here's a recap of what I'm behind on:
9/29 - Black Lips @ Mad Planet, Milwaukee
10/1 - The Blow @ Empty Bottle, Chicago
10/6 - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ The Annex, Madison
10/8 - Spoon @ Pabst Theater, Milwaukee

I'm not sure if it makes more sense do these as I saw them, or reverse chronologically so that the less poignant--but still mentionable--memories of the later shows do not fade away. I'll work on deciding that when I'm at work tomorrow and when I get home I'll hammer out an article or two or four.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Just another one of those things

Ever get a song stuck in your head that you know you know, but can't, for one reason or another, immediately identify, to the point of being driven absolutely nutters (a nod to our UK readers, or just Sam, who has managed to convince his parents that his semester-long crack-binge-with-an-accent is actually one of those respectable study abroad programs) on the quest to figure it out? Why do I bring this up, especially when I've got a backlog of show reviews that I've been too lazy to write (don't worry, they'll get here eventually)?

Precisely to inform you, the charz2k readership, that you needn't worry about my sanity, for tonight, the song that had been playing on repeat in my mind was cheerfully reunited with its title and performer so that I could play the song on repeat in real-life (and then listen to Real Life by Magazine, which I just realized I'm doing right now). That is the answer to the questions.

Background: during the Sea and Cake show, and again during the Andrew Bird show, one way or another this song wedged itself into the deepest crevice of my consciousness, into such a place where I could not connect the dots between melody and the actual song. What's more is that a week or so ago a song came up on shuffle that has an at least somewhat similar intro, which made me think I had figured it out. I was wrong. To the band (The Old Soul), thanks for exacerbating my problem.

Background 2: The other day when I was in Guitar Center, I did not get called "bro" even once. I'm not complaining, and though it's not germane to the story I'm telling, the lack of the abbreviated fraternal nickname threw me off guard and perhaps shifted my Guitar Center paradigm (use the words "paradigm" and "shift" in different contexts often to make people agree that you didn't get much out of your overpriced post-secondary education, but you got just enough out of it to still manage to sound like a douchebag every once in a while). Oh, yeah, the song thing. I was in the acoustic guitar room, because when you're in that room you can't hear the idiots playing their stupid metal riffs, and I picked up and started strumming a mandolin with one of the few chords I knew. What's remarkable is that this first chord I strummed is the first strummed chord on a mandolin in a song I have, both on CD and on my computer. When I heard what I had played, I was amazed that the one chord I chose sounded so perfectly like the opening chord strumming in that song, uh, shit. What's that song? Fuck fuck fuck.

Fast forward two days for the resolution of background 2: the song was "Irma" by the Magnetic Fields. There was no startling coincidence that triggered the memory, I just happened to remember more of the song than that opening chord thingie and after a little bit of time, it just clicked.

Fast forward to tonight: after thinking that the song in question was by a singer-songwritertype, particularly a Swedish one like Jens Lekman or Pelle Carlberg, or a non-Swedish one like Ned Collette, I was blindsided by something I noticed. The first song I had trouble placing was kind of similar to the second (no, it wasn't the same song; I'm not an idiot). Not the voice, exactly, but there were definitely some common compositional qualities. How tangible these qualities are is up to each individual reader, but that's neither here, nor there. What's worth saying is that identification of mystery song #2 directly helped me solve my mystery song #1 problem. How? Mystery song #1 was "As You Turn to Go" by the 6ths. Stephin Merritt put one over on me.

You almost got me Steve. Almost.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Felix: the amazing cat

Hey guys. It's Meagan, writing an article because Danny is too drunk, AGAIN! Well, this time I decided to start your week off right: with an article on his dumbass cat, Felix. Felix always dresses to impress. Por ejemplo, he has black socks and a black face. What's up with that shit? Where does he have to go anyways? Around the block to chase tail? He has a creepy aspect to him as well. He just leers at you when you walk into the house, especially when you go upstairs. I think he KNOWS its business time. Plus, his name is so unoriginal, it's ridiculous. Correct me if I'm wrong but naming a cat Felix is like naming your dog Max, every animal has that FUCKING name. Have a nice week, guys!



Friday, September 28, 2007

My First Themed Mix Tape (TM)

Happy Friday, everyone! The sun is shining, and the weather is perfect. In honor of the day we've all been waiting for since Monday, I created a mix tape/playlist for you!

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but my trouble is typically not being able to get past mixes that are anything more than "songs I like right now" or "great songs". This time, however, there is a single unifying element that plays at least some role, whether prominent or subtle, in making each of the following songs worthwhile. Let's see if you can figure it out? Answers in the comments, please. Danny's not allowed to post an answer, but to be fair, when I told him about this mix he got the answer within seconds. Go easy on me, it's my first themed mix (if you read charz2k, then the answer is pretty much given away in a previous post).

Len Barry: 1-2-3
Menomena: Evil Bee
Lucky Soul: Get Outta Town!
The Beatles: Good Morning
The Brunettes: B-A-B-Y
Superdrag: Mr. Underground
Camera Obscura: If Looks Could Kill
Outrageous Cherry: Pretty Girls Go Insane
Curtis Mayfield: Move On Up
Architecture in Helsinki: Do the Whirlwind
The Velvelettes: Lonely, Lonely Girl Am I

If I had any money and if this theme were a bit harder to decipher, maybe like one of those murder mystery games where a bunch of people dress up in ridiculous outfits and hunt around somebody's house for clues while a guy who gets paid way too much money narrates a story for them, then perhaps I'd offer a prize for figuring out the theme. Sadly, this is no murder mystery, but more like the case of the missing sock as investigated by the Bernstein Bears or a single guy living alone (the dryer did it).

God Listens

There was that infamous bumper sticker in Houston- "God Dinosaur Salad". It was a take on the "God Listens" bumper stickers that are given out by the local Christian radio station here. Dinosaur Salad was a local band by the way. Their marketing/publicity man is a genius apparently.

I randomly found this picture online and it's pretty similar.
I can imagine some heavy metal guy spraypainting this and then laughing. Congrats, Heavy Metal Guy, you just increased the cool points of the heavy metal community by 12 or so.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dan Deacon 09/24/07 Walter's On Washington

my boyfriend, Danny, is really fucked up right now so I am writing the article for him. This was my first time to see Dan Deacon and he put on a hell of a performance. He had the crowd interested the entire time. He had a trippy skull which he kept on the entire performance and sometimes it would blink on and off. He also managed to get the crowd to do a conga line, while looking like complete assholes. I personally believe he looks like a child molester but others, namely Danny, seem to have a different opinion of the man. His stage presence was good but he wasn't dressed as well as i expected him to. I really did enjoy the concert and the 5 vodka sprites that I consumed. All in all, he's a great performer and I recommend that you see him sometime soon.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Charz2k Presents:

10 Little Known Facts About Morrissey!!*


1. Eric's new haircut will be the Morrissey! (That pompadour fade thing).

2. Morrissey fans always punctuate their "I met Morrissey" stories with "I told him I loved him and I gave him a hug."

3. Don't trust him ladies, Morrissey just wants sex. Which is really odd considering....

4. Morrissey is actually gay.

5. Don't trust him guys, Morrissey only wants sex.

6. "Suedehead" was written after Morrissey's illicit affair with a Burger King manager. Which is really odd considering...

7. There are no Burger Kings in England thanks to Morrissey's tireless campaign against meat eating people years before said affair.

8. Burger King is good...sometimes.

9. Though Morrissey is a very strict, practicing vegetarian, he enjoys a Whopper every once in a while.

10. Morrissey was once invited to perform a duet with David Bowie but he refused when he was informed he could not fuck Bowie.

Morrissey - 3.6 anti-bears - on the merit of that haircut alone, 2.7 bears for crying in public once too often.

exclamation points are fun!!!!

-*none of these facts are true

The Brunettes, 9/25 - Madison, WI

Maybe it was the slightly cooler air, maybe it was just because today was not a Monday, but for the first time since I got here a little over a year ago, I genuinely have to applaud a Madison crowd at a show. I've been to far too many shows that have been filled to the bursting points, where bands have played their hearts out to Madison crowds who clapped loudly, but ultimately just stood there despite some seriously foot-tap inspiring numbers. Actually, I should modify my first sentence to say "almost for the first time" since I just remembered how good the crowd was for the Mosquitos last September. My memory is hazy, but I think that may have been my first Madison show, and it gave me quite the amazing expectations for crowd behavior since almost every one of the 30 or so people there were dancing like no one was watching. Even I was dancing, and at that point, dancing at shows was not something I did often. It's still really not; I'll definitely move, but unless I'm drunk and with people who are dancing, I'll just bob and sway in place, occasionally doing a little more.

Most surprising is that sometimes I'll be among the most energetic at a show, despite my lack of anything more than the in-place-rock-out action. Whenever this happens, I feel sorry partially for the band but mostly for the crowd, who obviously being detained in Madison against their will upon seeing the "No Vacancy" signs in Williamsburg.

Tonight, however, things were different. It's a little disheartening to see a pretty empty room for a great indie pop band from New Zealand, and even moreso when everyone is sitting at tables or at the bar, leaving a huge gap front and center. I would have moved up there, but I was ultimately worried about blocking the views of the people at the front tables, and since I could see pretty well from where I was, I just stood there. I just stood there*.

After about two songs, though, Heather (as we Americans say it, we were opposed to Heh-thah, as she pronounced her own name) beckoned us forward to occupy the empty space in front of the stage. "It'll make the show better for us," she said, and surprisingly, I wasn't the only one making my way up there. Within seconds, none of the seats were occupied and Madison's indie poppers were standing at attention, waiting for dancing orders. Not wanting to keep us in suspense, the Brunettes immediately got our feet moving and kept them moving for quite a while. For the most part, feet-moving was as far as crowd motion went until the band called for a "dance competition" during "Mars Loves Venus" that got everyone doing their favorite routine. Seriously, it was crazy. At that point I decided that I don't like this band, I love this band. The scene transformed so quickly that you'd never have known that at one point in the evening you could count thirty-seven people in the crowd, all of whom were sitting down. From this point on the cheers after every song rivaled what I heard at the absolutely packed Andrew Bird show last week, and there were maybe 8% as many people here as were there.

Dancing did not stop at the end of the competition song, but rather continued until the end of their set. The Brunettes left because of time restrictions, but had to come back for an unanticipated encore song because of the relentless cheering. It was LOUD. And persistent. I clapped, I hollered, I cheered when they came back. What did they play? The rarely performed cover of "Born to Run". I don't really like the work of the Boss, but this song was great. The Brunettes tore it up, much like they tore up the stage at the High Noon Saloon during every other one of their songs. They played "Mars Loves Venus", "The Moon and June Stuff" (a personal favorite from their first album), "Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks" (another favorite off of that album of the same name), "Polyester Loves Acetate", and an especially rambunctious "Baby" (B-A, B-Y!). "Baby" was the song that actually made me think the live recording does not do the song justice. Lately I've been on this huge horns kick, and seeing a band with a trumpet and saxophone player just makes me giddy with excitement. When those two brasses transform a fairly innocuous song into something so unabashedly influenced by Motown soul and 60s girl groups, you know you've hit the jackpot. Undoubtedly the highlight of the night, the horns on "Baby" are still playing in my head. For reference, I've been jamming to Len Barry's "1-2-3" and Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up" all week, almost obsessively. Horns are awesome, just ask Camera Obscura ("If Looks Could Kill," perhaps?).

A few more notes about the show:
1.) there were six people on stage, and not one of them had blond, red, or black hair. This band's name is very appropriate.
2.) Madison's Brunettes fans dress like hipsters more than the fans of any other band I've seen here, but they're not as pretentious or unwilling to have fun.
3.) For a while I was trying to figure out if the guitarist was Bret from Flight of the Conchords, though it became pretty obvious that he wasn't. There I go, stereotyping New Zealanders again. Sorry, Steve (that guy's real name).
4.) Indie pop fans are cute, and indie pop bands are cute.
5.) I bought a shirt that I'm pretty sure is slightly too small for me, but in the light it looked ok.

Anti-bears: 4.8. I had a great time. It was a great show.
Bears: 0.8. There could have been more people, but the ones who were there were awesome.

*Did you catch this Flight of the Conchords reference? Watch Episode 2 or the "Inner City Pressure" video on youtube.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Andrew Bird, 9/20 - Madison, WI

The sound at the UW Memorial Union Theater is amazing. I bet even the most monumentally shitty of bands, for the purpose of brevity let's just say the Mars Volta, could sound good at this place. Thankfully I don't think I'll ever have to put that theory to the test; hearing Andrew Bird's crystal-clear whistling in there was enough to make me a believer. It's a good thing he doesn't suck, because I'd have had to potentially admit to a terrible band sounding ok just because of the wonderful acoustics.

Or maybe it wasn't the theater. Let me rephrase that. Maybe it wasn't only the theater. Maybe only great bands sound great in the great theater. Maybe the room will make anything sound like it was mixed by a 14-year old and was amplified through a broken speaker from a 1987 Ford Escort unless you whistle into the microphone just right. If that's the case, Andrew Bird got it right on his first try and made sure that each and every fan had a fan-tastic (get it?) evening.

It's pretty obvious that I wasn't the only one who enjoyed myself, since so many people felt it necessary to loudly profess their physical attraction to Mr. Bird (both men and women). How do you respond to such heckling (is this heckling?)? You say the most absolutely perfect and hilarious line possible, with perfect comedic timing: "Let's appreciate me in moderation."! There was also this great stage prop that was like a phonograph, only the giant conical speaker was actually two giant conical speakers facing outward in opposite directions, and the contraption spun whenever a certain pedal on the stage was stepped on. Every time Andrew Bird made the thing spin, I giggled, so I think the only acceptable name for this thing that spun like a helicopter and made me giggle is a "gigglecopter". Does the word "gigglecopter" make you giggle?

Gigglecopters aside, iIf Andrew Bird recorded his live show and took away all of the false starts and audience noises, he could release the end result as and Andrew Bird covers album. How perplexing would that be? Andrew Bird does Andrew Bird. Ignoring the dirty things you could think about that title, it'd be pretty novel for an artist to release their own covers album. Most just do it on b-sides compilations under the guise of "alternate version", but I wonder if some bands might pretend they're a different band whenever they play their own songs just so they can let their imaginations run rampant and produce some truly inspired "alternate versions". Andrew Bird does a particularly great job of reworking pretty much every song, sometimes such that the live version is hardly distinguishable as the one recorded for his albums. For the most part, you can tell, though. He'll downplay certain guitar riffs, emphasize vocal lines that are melodically different than the recorded version, add violin and whistling like nobody's business, and sometimes, just rock the shit out of any given song.

I don't remember the entire setlist, but I know for sure that "Opposite Day" was on there, which is awesome because I love that song and we, the audience, were told that it doesn't often make it to the live stage. I'd like to know how rarely it's played live so I can tell people that "I saw him play 'Opposite Day'! That's only been done X times before! I am awesome." I probably wouldn't actually do that (unless the number was staggeringly less than forty-eight). Most of what was played came from the two newest albums, which was ok by me. The first few songs off of The Swimming Hour would have been cool live, but I don't think there's enough whistling in them. When you're in a venue with great acoustics, you have to whistle as much as possible. Some of the ones I remember being performed include: "Fiery Crash", "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left", "Imitosis", "Fake Palindromes", "Scythian Empire", "Skin Is, My", "Tables and Chairs", "Simple X", and what I think was"Spare-Ohs," which was introduced with a story about how Andrew's first batch of chickens were victim to his poor chicken coop-construction skills and subsequently became raccoon dinners. The new chickens, we were assured, are safe because the guy from down the road with the yellow motorcycle comes to check on them. The old dead chickens' feathers were used by sparrows as nest material in his chimney and thus those chickens are now ash, or at least their feathers are. RIP chickens. I'm pretty sure "Heretics" was in there, too.

Am I leaving out anything? Oh, yeah, I bought a shirt that's so long that the bottom of it hits me mid-thigh. The girl who sold it said it would shrink, and I'm hoping it does. It has a bird on it. Ah, that reminds me! I couldn't believe how skinny Andrew Bird is. His legs are toothpick-thin and give the impression that he's actually assuming some sort of "bird persona" by having exceptionally skinny legs. Granted, besides his name, the legs and the t-shirts he was selling (oh, and I guess the cover artwork for Armchair Apocrypha), there's not much bird similarity. Oh wait. He talked about chickens and sparrows. Does Andrew Bird wish he were a bird, or just merely love and appreciate birds? Is all this bird stuff just coincidental given his last name, or would it still be there if his name were "Andrew Word"? And would his beautiful songs all be attributed to his last name of "Word" if that were the case? I have so many questions for you, Mr. Bird! Another time, perhaps.

As usual, I'm concluding with a remark about being tired. I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

Anti-bears: 4.6 - This show was pretty exceptional. The theater was very cool and modern-looking, the sound was crisp, clean, and loud enough, and Andrew Bird and his backing band were in fine, fine form. Parking was also less expensive that I thought it'd be, and the wait in the garage to leave wasn't terribly long.

Bears: 0.9 - No food or beverage in the theater, so I had to discard my ice-cream cone prior to entering. The policy also meant there was no beer for sale and I would have liked one. Finally, I was a little bit tired. All minor issues that didn't really negatively impact my evening.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Red Eyes and Tears

I'm sad to say that tomorrow is the conclusion of what I just decided tonight was "Jonestown Week". This event has more to do with things I've done or listened to, and people I know, than anything else. In fact, if you're not me, this past week was probably not "Jonestown Week". Let's track the festivities, shall we?

1. Monday, 9/10 - I find out that the song "Guyana Punch" on the Judy's album Washarama is about the infamous Jonestown Massacre mass murder-suicide orchestrated by an American nutjob named Jim Jones in Guyana in 1978. I had stumbled upon Washarama the week before and been drawn to "Guyana Punch" without having a clue what it was about. It's just that much cooler now. By the way, the Judy's are probably the best band to ever come out of the Houston area. It's more punk than new wave, and more new wave than punk. It's got a slight post-punk proclivity, but not enough so to classify as post-punk. Eschew the classification altogether and just concede that the Judy's are awesome and if it were the early 1980s, I'd be proud to be a part of the scene that included them.

2. Wednesday, 9/12 - The Brian Jonestown Massacre have a new album out (as of 9/1, but I wasn't in the know enough to know that) and it's available for free download via the band's website. It's called My Bloody Underground and it's noisy, which likely indicates the title refers to noise pioneers (and obvious sources of influence for BJM) My Bloody Valentine and the Velvet Underground. Kevin Shields + Lou Reed = Anton Newcombe? Perhaps. He's got the leather jacket, that's for sure.

3. Sunday, 9/16 - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club play at the Annex, and since the Annex is close by and it's a relatively early show, I went and enjoyed myself. In fact, my legs hurt and my ears are ringing. Since B.R.M.C. are not My Bloody Valentine or the Jesus and Mary Chain my ears are (thankfully) not bleeding, but nonetheless it's been a long time since a show has caused that little dull high-pitched buzz that only goes away after time passes. The connection to Jonestown Week is Peter Hayes, who plays guitar and sings for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and used to play guitar for the Brian Jonestown Massacre. During the show, someone yelled out "play Jonestown" and Peter later sheepishly remarked that he didn't remember any BJM songs. They did remember a solid two hours' worth of B.R.M.C songs, and it was probably the last half hour of them that made me consider that bringing earplugs might have been a good idea (to save my hearing, not to drown out their music...). The encore consisted of something like eight songs, and while the crowd cheered loudly between tracks, their lifelessness during some truly rockoutable songs didn't deserve such a spirited performance in my opinion. I truly appreciate it, so thank you Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. To the fans in Madison, WI: with their perfectly rhythmic basslines and simultaneously crunchy and muddy guitar drone, it had to have taken more effort not to at least shuffle from side to side a bit. You could have at least made it look like you were there to enjoy the band's performance (as opposed to going for the cool factor of having seen X band live at a small club, or whatever). Seriously. I was watching a youtube video of these guys playing a show in London, and the crowd was fucking insane. Madison fans, get a fucking life.

Monday, 9/17 - Happy Birthday Jared!
Jared is a longtime friend of charz2k, and an avid Brian Jonestown Massacre fan. Jared's so fucking cool that he actually has one of the 300 copies of "Not if You Were the Last Dandy on Earth" on 12" record. I've actually touched it! Have a good one, Jared.

It's really late and my ears are ringing. Additionally I think I have to get to work a bit earlier than usual, so that means I should put my computer away, lean back onto my pillows, and say goodnight. Good night!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Sea and Cake, 9/15 - Madison, WI

I think I need a haircut. My hair is getting kind of long, and while it's still manageable, soon it won't be. Also, long hair makes you want to rock out, and once you're as old as I am, you don't have time for rocking out and the long hair just makes you feel even lamer.

Archer Prewitt has a pretty nice haircut. It's simple and short and kind of pushed up in a kind of stylish yuppie faux-hawk, and even though his hair line is mildly receding, it works for him. My hairline is receding, so I think such a haircut might work for me as well. If only it were as easy as telling the hair stylist (the term "barber" scares me) that I want my hair cut like Archer Prewitt's, I'd go in tomorrow and that would be that. Since it's not nearly that easy, I'll spend the next week or two figuring out how to put it into words or finding a picture that captures it just right.

The Sea and Cake draws people with all kinds of haircuts, but none that I saw in the crowd are worth discussing. Actually, Archer Prewitt had the best haircut in the joint, which makes sense since he was on stage, front and center. Whoever decides where to put people on stage did a great job. Give that guy a raise!

Enough about haircuts. What's with the old people dancing? I swear I didn't see the sign that says "You must be this old to dance" with a picture of Candace Bergen on it, but shit, those old people were boogeying down. Truth be told, they were pretty obnoxious and extremely hilarious, but damn if they weren't at least doing a great job of pretending to know what was going on!

Some of these older people folks looked like they had been pulled off the street in some sort of outreach program dedicated to helping the homeless attend indie rock shows and drink PBR for free or reduced rate. This one scruffy senior citizen to the left of me reminded me of the crazy wino in Superbad who called Fogel "McMuffin". Disregarding his obvious cluelessness with regards to who was playing (and probably where he was), he outhipstered EVERYONE at the show by unironically wearing a John Deere hat. Fuckin' A!

Overall, it was a pretty decent show. After yelling at them for what seemed like an hour (but was probably only five seconds) to play "Parasol", Charlie got his wish during the encore, and everyone left happy. I'm going to get back to this Beulah documentary I bought yesterday, so stay tuned for future updates.

Anti-bears: 3.8
Bears: 2

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kanye West - Graduation

School kinda sucked today. Nothing in particular. I'm so damn tired though. My car was running out of gas when I made a trip to the airport...I cut it really close.

I spent a while trying to comfort my friend. She's got a broken heart. I like to think I'm kind of an expert on the topic. I promised her she'll be OK. And she will.

I didn't eat anything today because I have no money. Being poor ain't easy, friends. Right now I'm listening to Pet Shop Boys for some reason. Do you watch Flight of the Conchords? It's pretty damn funny and I'm sure Eric mentioned the show before. They totally ripped off 'West End Girls' in that one song. That's fine though.

I'm actually about to go to bed in a minute. I'm so tired. I got up early today to finish a paper. I'm so so tired. If you could hear the resignation in my voice, you'd know I'm not kidding.

Tomorrow is a new day. I think I want to have fun tomorrow. Remind me to finish my laundry. Going without underwear is cool until you realize how dangerously close your cock comes to getting caught in your zipper every time you pee.

Good night you little bastards.


Kanye West - Graduation

3.78 anti-bears
2.2 bears

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shows I'm going to (or would like to go to) this autumn

Now that three of the only series I kept up with (Flight of the Conchords, Entourage, and Big Love) have all wrapped up for this season, I was beginning to think that I might actually have to put forth some creativity in keeping myself occupied in the evenings after I get home from work. Some ideas I've had include going to the grocery store every day and only buying a few things, going to the zoo, riding a bus, taking a nap, setting up a lemonade stand, sitting on the floor of my living room and relishing in how useless it is in its current state (and my right to have a useless room in my apartment), drawing pictures with markers and writing fake praise from a fake teacher and then sticking them on my refrigerator, making a gigantic ice-cream sundae and only eating a little bit of it, holding my breath until I can see my face turn blue in the mirror, color-coordinating my cd collection, finally sewing up the hole in my jeans, and, finally, watching something disappointing on tv.

Fortunately, this part of the country is a giant flickering light to the misguided mosquito of touring bands. To save me from engaging in some honestly ridiculous activities, I can probably get away with doing normal things like reading and watching tv and only going to the grocery store once or twice a week on those nights when one of these mosquito bands are not accessible to my twitching feet and eager ears.

Before I get into the list (I love lists, don't you?) and details (the devil is in them, don't you know?), I think I should mention that I live in Madison, Wisconsin just so you don't have to go to another website to look up tour schedules and be disappointed that the Brunettes are not playing in Mobile, Alabama on Tuesday 9/25. And away we go!

9/15 - The Sea and Cake - High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI
I'm not terribly familiar with the Sea and Cake, but I'm familiar enough with them to know that I like them and that barring any sound or band-illness issues, I will probably enjoy this show. They played at Hipsterfest '07, and I enjoyed that show, so I'll probably enjoy this one I think. I missed them when they played the Gargoyle at Washington University when I was a student there (and Califone, who I also saw and enjoyed at Hipsterfest '07 opened for them) because I was not into the wimpy stuff I like now. If it wasn't the Darkness or the Hives, I didn't care, and regret exists partially to make sure I never forget that I missed this opportunity (among many many others, music-related and otherwise).

9/16 - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - The Annex - Madison, WI
This show is awesome because the Annex is probably about 0.33 miles away from where I live (confirmed by Google Maps: the Annex is 0.4 miles away) so I can drink freely and not worry about how I'm going to get home. The show is on a Sunday night and I probably won't drink much anyway, but it's nice to know that I can if I want to. I know that I've seen this band play once before, but my imaginary friend says that it maybe have been twice. At the one I remember I had long hair and they are a good band to have long hair for. I have shaggy hair now, but in a self-inflicted move to prevent excessive rocking out, I plan on getting a haircut this week. So, despite not rocking out and not remembering how many times I've watched them before, I anticipate this being a good timekiller for a Sunday night I won't be able to watch two of the three shows I talked about.

9/20 - Andrew Bird/Dosh - UW Memorial Theater - Madison, WI
Andrew Bird is awesome and so is Dosh. Dosh does these cool things like drop pieces of metal onto the stage and records them to use for loops in his songs. Andrew Bird does these cool things like write amazing songs with amazing consistency. Have you listened to "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" and not gotten chills?

" Overprescribed / Under the mister / We had survived to /Turn on the History Channel /And ask our esteemed panel /Why are we alive? / And here's how they replied / You're what happens when two substances collide / And by all accounts you really should have died."

Did you ever think about how unfathomably tiny the chances of your existence really were? Heavenly takes this a bit trivially in "Sperm Meets Egg, So What?" (in the title anyway), but not Mr. Bird. He knows how lucky he was, and how lucky we all were, and he intends to make sure we appreciate it.

" Splayed out on a bath mat / Six miles north of South Platte / He just wants his life back / What's in that paper nap sack / It's what goes undelivered / Undelivered."

See? Chills.

9/25 - The Brunettes/Ferraby Lionheart - High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI
This is one of those shows I'm amazed makes it to a town like Madison and I was about as surprised at the announcement of this one as I was about the Mosquitos show last year (actually that one was four days away from being exactly a year before this show). The Brunettes are pretty cute, and even if R. Schreiber thinks it's too much, I dont.

"Holding hands, feeding ducks / When I met you, that's what I wanted to do"

How cute is that? They also sing about things like playing mini golf and asking a girl you like to dance and record stores and indie pop love and things like that. How best to accomplish this than with girl-boy vocals and melodies that make you think of teenagers in the 50s having fun on the beach or at a roller rink or a carnival? I'm not even terribly disappointed that the Lucksmiths are playing the Chicago show (probably because of a booking conflict, since that's the only show on the tour they play together...lucky Chicagoans) or maybe I am, but if previous experiences are telling at all then I will have a lot of fun watching the Brunettes anyway.

9/29 - The Black Lips - Mad Planet - Milwaukee, WI
This may be the most outright "rock 'n' roll" show I will ever go to. I may get into a fight on purpose.

And that takes us through the end of September. Hopefully tonight I'll add some of the October shows; since there are quite a few of them and at least one of them requires some serious "details", I'll have to take a break before I take those on. Happy show-going!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I touched Wayne Coyne's ball last night

I know what you're thinking, and I'm not going to tell you that you have a dirty mind because you don't. You know the Flaming Lips well enough to know what I'm talking about, and if you've seen them live there's a chance that you, too, have touched Wayne Coyne's ball. I'm sure you enjoyed it, and I did as well. I was thrilled to be in ball-touching range, and when Wayne was close, I reached both hands up as high as they would go, hoping to get a solid grasp on the ball and push it with every ounce of energy I had. I wasn't alone in this; at any given time there were probably five or ten or fifteen people touching the ball, and seeing it float across the sea of hands (how many times has this metaphor been used?) is pretty awesome.

Has any other band you've seen live introduced their set by having the singer/frontman/important guy walk across the crowd in a giant inflatable sphere? I don't think so, though for all I know bands in North Korea do this all the time but we never hear about it because revelation of knowledge of such western cultural influences would be extremely dangerous to the population unfortunate enough to be subjected to such tyrannical government.

There's a lot more we certainly don't hear about, but this is not the place, nor am I the appropriate vehicle, to enlighten you about it. What I can tell you is that despite playing at a festival sponsored by the drink no one's had since sophomore year of college when it was all you could get, and sharing the stage with such compatible bands as the Sick Puppies and Cowboy Mouth (who are from New Orleans, in case you also got there early and were put through the slow torture of their loudmouth hick-rock and happened to miss every one of the hundred or so times they mentioned their hometown), the Flaming Lips manage to turn a simple concert into an experience that you get to share with 10,000+ hipsters and 5 or 6 non-hipsters on a beautiful Wisconsin summer night. Let's go over the list:

1. Wayne Coyne's ball - check.
2. Confetti cannons - check.
3. Small inflatable balls and balloons - check.
4. Santa Claus (x8 - that's how he does it!) on stage - check.
5. Aliens wearing dresses (stylish!) on stage - check.
6. Crowd people dressed like aliens and Santa Claus - check.
7. Giant light screen projecting image from a tiny camera mostly pointed at Wayne - check.
8. Singalongs for "Race for the Prize", "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots", "Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," and "She Don't Use Jelly" - check.
9. The smell of weed coming from every direction - check.

I don't know about you, but I'd say that a package like that would be worth $40, maybe $50. Thanks to the fine folks at Southern Comfort, though, it was free. FREE!

Wayne went off on how all the crowd members tend to give the corporate sponsors shit (he said this when people were grabbing and popping the inflatables emblazoned with the SoCo logo--though this may be because they were oddly shaped and getting smacked in the back of the head by them didn't really hurt, but was uncomfortable), but that SoCo doesn't deserve it because they're a great sponsor to play for because they don't restrict what the bands say or do in any way, so that's pretty cool even if they make a shitty drink and put some highly questionable bands on the bill. There was also a break from the party-party atmosphere when Mr. Coyne held up a bugle and remarked that it had a speaker in it to play taps since there aren't enough musicians in the military who know how to play the song for every time a soldier dies. Hushed, and somewhat awkward silence hovered over the crowd for a few minutes until we were allowed to have fun again, and we did. Those singalongs I talked about? Yeah they were pretty awesome, and when the band let loose and played some older, rougher, songs, that was pretty awesome too. I guess the bottom line here is that this band is definitely worth seeing even if the ticket costs a small fortune, and if you live in Madison and had it offered to you for free, you should mad at how much of an idiot you are.

I didn't enjoy the show quite as much as I did when they played the Pageant in St. Louis last year, but hey, you can't expect every show you go to to be that great. This one was still awesome.

Since the ratings system was posted yesterday, it's probably a good idea to rate this show since it's the first new review you guys (this presupposes that people who don't know us directly actually stumble upon charz2k...) have an adequate frame of background information for.

2.0 Bears - The event was sponsored by SoCo and I got suckered into my driver's license being scanned for some give-away because I thought it was a security thing and not a marketing thing. Now I'm sure I'll have a lot more mail to throw away. Also, Cowboy Mouth was really really really lame. They try, which is cool, but they're sound makes me think their fanbase is secretaries who live in the Midwest and think the band is cool because they're a bit rowdier than the stuff on the easy listening station they listen to all day every day (because the guy has a loud mouth and says bad words like "asshole" and "shit"). Another increment for getting there a bit early and having to suffer through Cowboy Mouth. Oh, and $5 for parking.

4.2 Anti-bears - If you read the review, this score is pretty self-explanatory. A fun-filled and free show by a great band. And also the lines for the bathrooms after the show weren't so long that my bladder burst waiting in them.

Friday, September 7, 2007

From the Archives, Volume Whatever

Instead of showing the text of this past article as quoted within the body of this post, I'm going to let it freestyle. It's a pretty important post as it provides the entire basis for our review structure, and despite how we're not terribly prolific when it comes to writing criticisms of things we'd not be able to produce ourselves (not yet, anyway), I'm hoping that including this will push us in the right direction and also clarify things for some readers who don't know what an anti-bear is. Without further delay,

Records, etc, will be reviewed on a two separate, non-additive scales. The first of these scales is 0-5 Bears, which is a mark of how annoying the album is. Annoyance can be marked by anything ranging from over production to excessively sappy lyrics to a terrible cover design. Essentially, anything that’s not cool about an album (including social effects) is a bear.

To express how great an album is, the 0-5 Anti-bear scale will be used. So those organs are really kicking, are they? Yeah that’s like 2 anti-bears automatically.

Don’t get the wrong idea about these scales. As I told you, they are non-additive. That means you may be hearing the best record of the year, but it’s still a 5-bear album because it caused the band’s show to sell out to a bunch of high school kids before you got your paycheck from KFC.

Anyway, enjoy.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Decisions, decisions

Today as I pulled up to my apartment after getting home from work, I thought I was hearing "Black" by the Jesus and Mary Chain, and when I checked to confirm, it became evident that either a.) I was wrong, or b.) Mr. iPod was lying to me. Since I didn't think I had that song on my iPod, I had to concede that the gadget that revolutionized the way the world listens to music (and made Apple Computer the butt of jokes of envy instead of pity) was probably telling the truth and I was, in fact, listening to Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wide World" (too similar to "world wide web" for comfort, I think...if I were the "Eric" in "Wreckless Eric", I probably would have wrecked something at this discovery). It's no secret that bands "borrow" from each other, but sometimes the influence is so obvious that maybe the copycat band should have tried a bit harder to conceal the source of their excessive cool. (Upon further review, JAMC's song sounds like Wreckless Eric's if it were drenched in mid-90s mediocrity, though mid-90s mediocre JAMC is still about a hundred and ten thousand cool points ahead of those bands who created jobs for whatever producer probably washed away the fuzz with some thick chords that probably had to have come from Les Paul or something manly like that...Jaguars are really ladies' cars anyway and the mid-to-late 90s were not about being ladylike to the point of getting rid of the noisy-as-shit Fender Jaguars that made this band make your ears bleed in the first place).

Anyway, what I was trying to get at was that Apple finally released an iPod that would have no doubt allowed me to confirm that the song I was listening to did not really sound like that other song. With 160 GB, I would not have had to give that JAMC song the boot to make room for Hilary Duff's infective cover of "Our Lips are Sealed" and seven thousand songs just like it. So here's my dilemma: I was just getting ready to think about maybe buying a guitar, and now it looks like my $350 may have to be used to finally let me hold my impressive-as-shit collection in my pocket for the off chance that I may want to listen to that one Candlebox song at work after reading about something that reminded me of it (actually the chance of me ever wanting to listen to Candlebox is probably less than or equal to zero; I just couldn't think of any other stupid example to include). Also on the plus side is that I work for a somewhat geeky company and I'm sure I'd be elevated to Han Solo status if I was enterprising enough to get one of those nifty belt clips so my iPod hangs for everyone to see how technologically competent I am as I walk the halls with my headphones on as I hum along to the theme song from Jurassic Park.

On the contrary, the guitar I'm considering is pretty rad and I'm sure that I'd have tons of fun playing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "When I Come Around" while striking some badass poses in front of my mirror with the broken frame. Just so you're not left in the dark, I intend to include a picture of this rock-stick (as other contributor Danny and I have nicknamed the instrument that is likely usable as a supplement for manhood deficiency, a name that was probably conceived while we were drunk) and the amplifier I'd be able to get along with it for the price of the iPod.

guitar ^

Now aren't those some sweet toys? I'd actually like to get the aforementioned Jaguar guitar, though at what I'm willing to pay I'd only be able to afford half of one, and I don't think it's particularly easy to play half a guitar when you can barely play one that's all put-together. All in all I'll probably get the iPod, though I'm having trouble deciding between the silver one and the black one and this decision could well end up taking me the next few months to make and by the time I buy one, Apple will release something so much newer and cooler that I'll just feel stupid about it and throw it in a lake or like Tiger Trap, right?

iPod ^

That post took almost the entirety of Tiger Trap's album to write. It's late and I should go to bed, but first I'd like to congratulate the Black Lips for a well-deserved 8.3 from the folks at P-fork. As Danny mentioned, their new album Good Bad not Evil is kind of a monster killer (which is what my cracker ass thought someone was asking for at the record store I used to work at, when they were looking for an album by Masta Killa). That's all for tonight; we shall meet again.

-Eric aka E-Rock from the Wherehouse Music days (at least I wasn't O-Town or Drewbastank [actually I came up with Drewbastank, which is really fucking clever; sorry Drew]).

Monday, September 3, 2007


Have you ever gone to a show to see some pretty new band that didn't have much recorded output, but enough by way of tunes and reputation to convince you to stop watching tv and pay $12 to see them strut their stuff in the flesh? What if the opening band had even less recorded output and reputation (after all, you didn't know who they were until you got to the club and saw them on the stage), but you dug their vibe because they were pretty alright except for that one song with the killer keyboards that was not only alright, but was catchy enough to make you want to listen to it on your way home from the show since you bought their one EP, which was practically guaranteed to have that song on it?

It's happened to me several times, and the reason that I bring it up now is that I finally got to hear that one song (the one with the killer keys I mentioned just a second ago; pay attention!) that was not on the EP. The band we're talking about here is Yellow Fever, who opened for Voxtrot in late October, 2006, in Houston, TX. They had this whole cutesy minimalism thing going for them, but on the whole, while they were decent, I felt their arrangements could use some beefing up, and on this song, "Metarie", the electric organ does just the trick. I had that song stuck in my head for weeks, eventually forgetting about it until today when I discovered that Yellow Fever had released a 2nd EP. Thanks to the wonder of the world wide web, I was able to listen to this new EP, and after sifting through a few songs that are also included on the other EP (the one I bought), I heard it. KEYS! That's it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's been a while...

I'm terribly sorry for the lack of postings on here, it's just that I, having recently moved to a different apartment, have not had access to the usual comforts like HBO and the internet. Well, I guess I could have walked to the wine bar or the coffee shop that are each maybe two blocks away and have free wi-fi, but then how could I pretend I was a true vintage urban hipster having to rely on things like CDs and records (and the episodes of the Wire I downloaded last year and was more than happy to watch again...3 seasons' worth) and (god forbid), things like going outside and walking down a sunny tree-lined street to a garage sale where they had these terrible prints with great frames that would serve my posters nicely for a mere seventy-five cents apiece!?

I actually didn't listen to any records, though I did buy a few. Which ones I bought isn't important. What is important is that I felt cool when I bought them. Except for that copy of Led Zeppelin IV, which I'm pretty ashamed of (as I was when I walked up to the counter with it, even if it only cost me $0.49) since I will probably never listen to it and I denied some kid the ability to "totally rock out" to "Stairway" (I imagine this song is referred to as if it's your best friend, much like all of Dave Matthews Bands' fans simply call them/him 'Dave').

Wow, that reminds me of the time I went to Black Dog Records in Houston like a year ago and the bullshit owner/shopkeep typecast me (in a conversation with my dad, I might add) as a stereotypical douchebag who "discovers" old "greats" and wants to listen to them on vinyl because "it's cool again". I shit you not, this guy was talking to my dad as if I were some 14-year-old kid wearing baggy cargo pants and a Che Guevara shirt. What he said was along the lines of "Ironic how the kids [meaning me, in this case] are getting into this stuff...Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Hendrix..." (as if those were the only bands to ever have existed before Fergie and Green Day). As he said this I could feel myself getting both angry and disappointed in what this burned out old fart was saying about me. Actually, I was pretty fucking angry, though because I'm a pacifist (read: wuss), I didn't say anything but merely handed the guy the list of stuff I was looking for. No, he didn't have any Television Personalities or Sea Urchins or Beat Happening or Talulah Gosh, or any of the fifty others I had on that list, but you know what? He did have a copy of Led Zeppelin III that I could have for a mere $22, that I could listen to just the way my dad did way back when!

For the record, don't go to Black Dog Records. They love to sell "the kids" shit for four times what it's worth, and even though they have tons of records, none of them matter.

Sorry about the rant; I've got a deadline coming up at work and I haven't been in the best mood lately. I intended for this to be a happy return post, but stress is taking over (even though I'm cool as a cucumber when I nonchalantly pretend to not give a shit about this at the office). Also, sorry if none of that makes sense. I'm tired and I think I'm going to go to bed.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil

There are lots of 60's punk revival bands out there nowadays. But The Black Lips are kind of pissing all over the genre's territory. I don't know how cogent that analogy is but what I mean is The Black Lips are cool and they basically own the garage rock genre. They're dirty and lo-fi and they're kind of insane.

Fourth grade thesis statement: In this essay I am going to tell you about the Black Lips new album Good Bad Not Evil, their live show, and the bassist's cock (which is very fat).

I'll bet if a kid in grade four wrote something about a fat cock in his essay he'd be expelled or disciplined. Then he'd get spanked by his step-father. I'm not in fourth grade and I can talk about cocks all I want. This review is already making our website punker.

The new Black Lips album, Good Bad Not Evil- the title of which is a reference to that old Shangri-Las song- is really cool. Do you hyphenate Shangri-Las? I forget. I like how I don't bother researching shit and I just ask our readers. That's kind of my thing.

The album's songwriting is really similar to the songwriting on their other albums. Which means a lot of call and response vocals, cool bass lines, fuzzy guitars, and dirty words. The sound quality is noticeably higher on this release though. Still lo-fi but not as much as their older stuff. Though their last release before this one was live so whatever.

Many of the songs sound the same but that's to be expected in garage punk rock. I hate song by song breakdowns and I always skip them when I read album reviews (so stop doing them you pretentious, superfluously thorough fags). I just want you to know my favorite song on the album. It's "Bad Kids". That song fucking kicks ass. Aforementioned call and response vocals abound! The lyrics are all about being a bad kid. It's hilarious. Sample lyric themes: running from the cops, demanding pills, smoking cigarettes and spray painting walls....with penises! As if the lyrics weren't cool enough they throw in the spray painting part. And I love how they chose to spray paint a penis. That's just so great. It's exactly what a bad kid would do. I hang out with bad kids sometimes and whenever I draw a picture on a bar napkin Russel the One-Eyed Wonder Muscle invariably makes a surprise appearance. "Fuck, man...of course you drew a dick on my napkin art!" Usually I draw a dog and he always gets a disproportionally large weiner courtesy of my bad kid friends.

So yeah, album gets 4.2 anti-bears because I think the better sound quality is really beneficial overall. It also gets 2.0 bears because the sound quality is higher.

One of the coolest features of being in a garage rock band is the elimination of the all-too-common criticism "this band never evolves!" The Black Lips started recording in raw, really low fidelity. Their evolution is easily achieved by recording in higher fidelity. Now they can evolve through devolution and the next album can be lo-fi again. They can then oscillate between the two fidelities for the duration of their career. Awesome!

Fourth grade transition: Now I will talk about the Black Lips' live show. I've never seen them live but that'll change October 6th down here in H-Town. I've heard they make out with each other. I've seen pictures of them in Vice and the guitarist was covered in blood! Yeah! I eat that kind of shit up. I've heard their cocks make some public appearances too.

Which is a nice segue into my conclusion. Go look at the album art for Deerhunter's Turn It Up Faggot album. It's a naked dude with an animal mask in a profile view, black and white photo negative picture. That's the bassist from the Black Lips, Jared. Now that peepee of his is pretty damn big. I mean the length is just fine. It's about average I'd say..nothing to write home about. But the girth! Damn, dude, that's a fat dick! You can stop drinking milk now!

with love,

Ed. note - Here's the penis.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Indie Pop as Fuck

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Liechtenstein, an all-female indie pop outfit from Gothenburg (Goteborg) who recalled bands such as Dolly Mixture, Girls at Our Best!, and Shop Assistants. What I present now, are their male counterparts: The Electric Pop Group.

These guys, also from Gothenburg (and sharing Liechtenstein's label, Fraction Discs), are as anachronistic as the enchanting women of Liechtenstein, only their proclivities tend toward the expanse of Sarah's catalogue instead of the post-punk inspired girl groups that dominate the other bands' influence. Seriously, these dapper young lads are the closest thing to anything Sarah that I've heard in a contemporary band. The jangle recalls the Sea Urchins and Secret Shine, with vocals that would not be entirely out of place on 7"s by 14 Iced Bears, Another Sunny Day, or St. Christopher (how many more names can I squeeze in here...Field Mice? No, not quite, but good try, mate!). If it isn't apparent, I'm not terribly concerned about bands who maybe take too much delight in reproducing their versions of their idols' output so long as they do it well. The Electric Pop Group do it well.

Just look at them, for crying out loud! If anything, they certainly dress the part.