Saturday, July 28, 2007

Another Band You Should Listen To Just Because I Like What I Heard On Their Myspace

On the plane ride home from SXSW, there's not much to do except trying to fall asleep, which in many cases, doesn't involve too much trying. You see, the majority of the festival is over with at the end of Saturday night, and all of the working-world and aspiring college graduate chumps typically have to return on Sunday sometime in order to resume some semblance of normalcy on Monday. If you have an early flight, this means you probably won't be getting any sleep after the shows. If you have a later flight, you'll still probably be hungover and really tired from the previous four days' debauchery having just recently concluded.

After such a night of 45 minutes' rest, I was somehow still unable to get to sleep on my 9am flight the Sunday of SXSW 2006. SXSW 2006!? That was a long time ago! True, but you see, that's when I first heard about this band that I'm about to say something about! On that flight where I couldn't get to sleep, I had no choice but to dig through my bag and try to read one of the twenty-nine or so magazines I had picked up along the way, magazines I had picked up precisely as a contingency plan for not being able to sleep on the plane.

In one of these magazines, Art-something-or-other (I'm inclined to believe it was called Art Rocker, but who knows), there was a mention of an up-and-coming Scottish indie pop band that intrigued me. I tried to find something to listen to, but at the time it was unfortunately unavailable. Today however, for one reason or another (mainly because I've been convinced to check out some band of likely-questionable quality and was myspacing them to see what I'd be in for--a night of indie mediocrity for sure--and this other band came to my mind as someone to check out while still on myspace), I once again sought out Bricolage and was delighted with what I heard. Do you like Orange Juice? I know what you're thinking, everyone likes orange juice. It's a staple of breakfast! Well, let me ask you: what about grapefruit juice? Or apple juice? Or orange strawberry banana juice? Or Josef K? Gotcha! I wasn't talking about juice at all. Orange Juice are a band, much like Josef K, and much like Bricolage.

Anyway, I'm short on time so that's all you're going to get, except for a link. To confirm the potential that these guys have (or to shoot my perception down completely), check 'em out right here:


Oh, and listen to the song "Bridge" off of Orange Juice's Texas Fever EP. It's good.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Story About Bands

We get a good portion of our hits from people searching for specific bands on Google or on other search engines. For instance, if someone searched for the Black Lips, Google might have generated charz2k as a pertinent result (thanks to Eric's name dropping). That's a hit and a potential charz2k loyal viewer. So I had this idea where I type a story about some hyped bands to pander to our potential web viewers. Isn't this an awesome idea?

One day the Arcade Fire met Of Montreal at Lollapalooza. They all ate the provided-for-performers dinner of brisket and cole slaw and bread. It was good. It had lots of sauce and could, therefore, never be criticized for being too dry. But then Kevin Barnes saw the Pitchfork Music Festival staff and a fight ensued. It sucked. There was sauce everywhere. then the Pitchfork Music Festival staff (which apparently acts as a single entity) said (supposedly in unison) "hey, Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal, this fight is to expose unwitting Google searchers to charz2k so the charz2k staff can become famous! Let's get some more big name bands in on this fight! Get over here Arctic Monkeys and throw some chicken strips!"

Now when someone searches for "Arctic Monkeys" and "chicken strips" charz2k is sure to come up.

To limit legal culpability, it should be known that this story is a complete fabrication.

This is your reporter, Danny, signing off.

Ed. note- I searched for arctic monkeys chicken strips and I didn't see charz2k on Google. So....dammit. Also, every time I try to type "monkey" I end up typing "monket". But no that's not why my Google search turned up no charz2k because I corrected it before I pushed enter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This is what's on my mind right now:

Miller Chill. Has anyone else seen the sudden blitz of tv advertisements for this beer. I'm sure at least garz, our favorite wisconsonian, has. It's allegedly "inspired" by a mexican recipe. What does that mean? Did they have to use the word "inspire," as opposed to "knock-off," so as to avoid legal troubles. Has anyone tried this beer? I foresee it being a shitty corona wannabe. That's all... just hoping to get an answer, or possibly inspire a tasting/review of the product. Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be the "champagne" of mexican beers...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Liechtenstein - Stalking Skills

How great is it when bands decide to completely forget what year it is and how they're supposed to evolve sounds to incorporate newer influences and place some sort of timestamp on the musical world? How much better is it when they're Swedish and [very cute] girls? I know it might sound like I'm being sarcastic (on the first sentence, not the second), but I'm not. When I first heard "Stalking Skills" on the C06 compilation tape I ordered from Mira El Pendulo, I instantly recognized it as the best song on the compilation, and if it weren't for the limitations of cassette tapes and the fact that the tape is probably in some hard-to-reach crevice of my car (along with my Dentists cassette), I'd have worn it out long ago.

Anyway, I came across this single and its two b-sides a few months after the cassette made its presence scarce, and by that time I had somewhat forgotten about the song and how great it was. On second listen, the first thing I thought was that if someone told me that Liechtenstein's Stalking Skills 7" were a Dolly Mixture/Girls at Our Best! split from 1982, I'd believe it. The second thing that I thought was that I had definitely heard that title track before and after some digging around my automobile, I confirmed my suspicions (I lied about the tape being lost in my car; it's in my car, but I know exactly where it is) and believe me when I say that I can ask for nothing more of modern artists than to sound exactly like this band does. Newer stuff is good, but I had always felt something of a void in the girly-post-punk-meets-indie-pop stream, and though it's quite possible that I haven't been looking hard enough, this seems to fit the bill as well as I could have hoped for anything to do.

Delightful accented vocals with background harmonies over simple guitar and bass riffs over the beat of a $10 drum kit and a masterfully skittish tambourine are the base ingredients, and when you add in a pinch of each of the aforementioned bands and a dash of Shop Assistants, you get a dish that's sweet, but with a tough consistency that suggests it wasn't left to bake quite long enough, but that's the way it was meant to be! The only issue that I take with Liechtenstein is that they've only released this one 7", which with 3 songs clocking in at a bit over seven minutes (that's one minute per inch!), desperately leaves a first-time listener wanting more. Luckily, as I have tested over the past four months, repeated listens don't really do anything to detract from the quality. My iTunes play count shows 42 plays for each of the tracks and that doesn't even count what I listen to on my iPod (to alleviate any concerns that I might be applauding this band without doing anything to financially support their cause, let me say this: if they were to tour anywhere near here, I'd be there in a second and I'd even buy a t-shirt. Also, if they released a full-length album, or an EP, or another 7", I'd have that one on the way to my doorstep in a heartbeat. As for that first 7", the one I just talked about, it's on its way to me as we speak, and hopefully I'll be able to listen to this thing in its true vinyl glory within the week). So yes, please give Liechtenstein a chance.

Myspace (there's a song on here that's not on the 7"):
HHBTM Records (buy it for $5, shipping included--not too shabby for an import):

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Baha Men

God I hope the Baha Men win, they've been gone for the last 5 years or so and they need more pub!

We can't let Baha Men win our first poll

One day left to vote and this is who is winning. Vote. Vote twice or three times even. Just, please don't let this win.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Great Jukebox

Tonight I went to Mickey's, which is an interesting bar with the most interesting (read: not douchebag) clientele I've found in this town. The only drawback, and this is a somewhat substantial drawback, is that it is (I google-mapped it), a little more than 2 miles away. I have a car, but when going on drinking-related excursions, I prefer foot transport. A place that's 2 miles away requires at least an hour and a half of commute time, and that can seriously cut into an evening. Luckily, there's a great pizza place on the way so you can stop for provisions, and when you're with two friends who are utterly exhausted by the working week and don't really care if you do or don't have too much time to spend at the bar you don't really have to worry about there not being a huge amount of time to spend there unless you're also not tired from the working week (or can put up a good front, like I did!).

One of the coolest things about Mickey's, aside from the dirt-cheap beer, is that their jukebox is kind of fucking awesome. After this one girl spent what seemed like (and probably was) an eternity up there, I came back from answering a phone call to find it free and in my control. From sitting at my table earlier and glancing over at the box, I could make out the Exploding Hearts' Guitar Romantic, and from that moment on I knew I had to make a few selections. Little did I know that I'd be in for the Jukebox Selection Session of the Year Award. Holy shit!

I flipped through a bit, and started picking songs. The one thing I knew for sure is that I had to have an Exploding Hearts song within my three, and I knew from the onset that it would be "Jailbird" since I love that song to death. I start flipping through, and I start to get excited. Really Excited. Old 97s! Magnetic Fields! Roxy Music! I've hit the jukebox jackpot here, and with a dollar in my hand, I can't let this opportunity pass me by. Here's what I chose:

1. Brian Jonestown Massacre - Straight Up and Down
2. Exploding Hearts - Jailbird
3. Iggy Pop - Raw Power
4. Love - You Set the Scene
5. Radio Birdman - What Gives?
6. Magazine - My Tulpa
7. Richard Hell and the Voidoids - Blank Generation
8. Belle & Sebastian - White Collar Boy
9. The 6ths - As You Turn to Go
10. Brian Jonestown Massacre - Vacuum Boots

I started with a song from the first "wow" album that hit me from the selections, and Take it From the Man was it. Seriously, from top to bottom this album is wonderful. It's more 60s than most of what you've heard from the 60s, as evidenced by my friend's initial skepticism at its mid-90s release when I told him who it was and when it was released. The Exploding Hearts were necessary, and with the $1/3 credits ratio upheld by the jukebox lords, I saw fit to place this one squarely between the other two cool songs I had taken it upon myself to grace this excellent bar with. On selecting the song, I noticed that I had not 1, but a whopping 8 credits left! First thought: did I accidentally put in a $5 bill instead of a $1? Wallet check: nope! I guess all that time the girl took before me was selecting songs from a fiver she put in, but eventually gave up on satisfying. $5 gets you 20 songs, and that's a lot to have to choose when your friends are drinking and waiting for you to make up your damn mind.

Anyway, all the other songs on my selection plate were just great songs that I felt needed to be heard by the bar. The one exception to this is "My Tulpa", by Magazine, which was not on the Real Life album as would still have been extremely rare and coincidental (as it is a song that I am obsessed with at the moment), but it was the solitary Magazine song on a mix compiled by one of the establishment's proprietors or employees and included in the jukebox. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. You bet your ass I played that song. I also made sure that my two friends who were falling asleep stayed long enough to hear it. We heard all ten of my songs, and they were all awesome. I had thought the 6ths' song was the last and I went to to bathroom during it only to hear "Vacuum Boots" rev up in the middle of relieving myself. I had completely forgotten that I had selected that one, and seeing people in the bar dance to it completely made my night. After that, I walked back home for 45 minutes full of energy and I didn't even give a shit when my shoe with the loose laces decided to fly off my foot at the one point during the entire walk home that I came across other people walking to/from somewhere. Whatever!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eric is lame

How many times have you thought about going to see a show, decided against it, and then realized that you've made a potentially lethal mistake? I don't think I'll die from this one, but I am feeling like I'm missing some great indie/jangle-pop right now, which as those who know me know, is right up my alley. Those who know also know that shows like this don't come along quite so often, and especially not to mid-sized towns in the midwest. However, tonight was an exception, and there is precisely one of these shows going on right now in my neck of the woods.

I fully intended to go to this show, which only cost $5 and is within walking distance of my apartment (it was previously within closer walking distance of my apartment at a very hip wine bar-type lounge, but it was displaced to the more generic rock club for one reason or another or who knows maybe more than one reason, even). However, some things that are very important prevented me from attending this pretty damn decent show. 1.) Laundry: I'm going out of town for a few days and I need clean clothes since I had none prior to doing a couple of loads. I also had to wash my sheets because it's been hot and humid, and without air-conditioning, my bedroom turns into a sauna at night (thankfully it's quite cool and humidity-free this evening...I love sleeping on freshly-laundered sheets :) ). 2.) I had/have a headache: this isn't really an excuse, because the simple solution to headache pain is drinking beer, which I'm sure I would have done. 3.) I saw and enjoyed the headliner, BOAT, at SXSW and they were alright. Good but not great. In fact, the thing that I was most excited about during their set was the drummer's Guided by Voices shirt and the band's live cover of "The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory". I felt I could do without seeing them, and maybe I still feel that way a little bit.

The opening band, on the other hand, is pretty fucking awesome. They're called Walker Kong and they're from Minneapolis, which is just a few hours from here and from what I hear, is a very cool city. I hadn't heard of them until about an hour ago, when they were likely about halfway through their set if the first band didn't play for too long. I learned something very valuable this evening: digging around has its disadvantages when it leads you to find out you're missing a band for whom one of the similar artists are the Aislers Set, who I absolutely adore. Walker Kong sound very British, and they sound like they've got all the right influences. I'm hearing Razorcuts, Go-Betweens, Lloyd Cole, Flatmates, Dentists, and even a bit of that 6ths song with Mitch Easter of Let's Active, "Pillow Fight" (which probably recalls the artists I've mentioned plus a hundred thousand million others I have and have not heard of) only a bit more modern and clean, but not too modern, or too clean.

Check out
Magic Marker Records:

Is there any song that better exemplifies Dream Pop than "Strawberries" by Asobi Seksu?

I can't imagine there could be. Well, I can imagine that there could be, but every time I hear this song I think of how dreamy and poppy it is, and how it would make a pretty good example if you wanted to explain to someone the concept of "dream pop"*. Let's see what we've got here:

Loud, deliberately muddy guitars
Echoing bass drum beat
Entrancing drone of a bassline
Beautiful, faraway female vocals
An awesome tempo shift late in the song (climax, anyone?)
The following lyrics (I think they're translated from Japanese; I can't tell what she's saying in the song):

like a red sky, it goes on forever
when you're in the strawberry fields
just listen, you can hear them
they'll call out loudly
they shout, "don't forget about me"

now they're slowly disappearing
the deafening strawberries
but when you're in the strawberry fields
just listen, you'll still hear them
they'll call out loudly
they shout, "don't forget about me"

Somewhere far away there is a lonely girl sitting by a window in the countryside at night. She's visiting relatives, but they've all gone to bed and now she's wondering what her friends are doing back home, in the big city and the only place she's ever felt right. While they're sitting in someone's basement, drinking PBR and playing Trivial Pursuit, she's pretty convinced they're playing laser tag on flying unicorns in the Technicolor** night sky. However, they're not playing laser tag, they're fighting for their freedom from the relentless oppressor of fun, who is a nameless and figureless creature known as "He-Whose-Name-Is-Not-Known". They wander through the sky for hours, encountering magical creatures who befriend them (but only because kids who go on these kinds of adventures tend to have drugs--the kids in question were clean), only to be abandoned (because friends who just want drugs aren't real friends) at the final confrontation with "He-Whose-Name-Is-Not-Known" (this is the part of the song where everything but the repetitive ascending guitar line cuts out and things are getting a whole hell of a lot faster). They've got him cornered and his laser target is unguarded! Duck, shoot, shoot, shoot, duck! ZAP! Buzz, flash flash flash***!

And everyone just floats away.

*I don't know what Dream Pop is supposed to sound like.
**Like Joseph's Dream Coat.
***That's what laser tag targets do when you hit them.

Our First Poll!

Danny and Thomas' herbally-affected considerations are leaving me with a gigantic void that won't be satisfied until I know what all the charz2k readers have to say about it in the next three days (I don't care about your opinion on this after then, sorry!). Check the poll at right, and please vote. The world needs to know: what kind of music do dogs prefer? Read the article below for background, if you haven't yet.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Belle's Favorite Music

Eric's Pitchfork Awards article is fucking great and I don't want to steal his thunder but I'll forget what I want to write about if I don't do it now. So don't just read the most recent article, scroll down to read his first.

The other night I was at my friend Thomas' house and we were sitting down watching his iTunes visualizer and listening to Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space by Spiritualized (it was absolutely enthralling and I'll leave you to guess why such a seemingly mundane thing would entertain two people so effectively). Anyway, his dog, Belle, was in the room with us and she was totally chilling out. So I said something like "I'll bet dogs like this kind of music." If you haven't heard this Spiritualized album yet it's like all swirling and druggy and very pretty and lush (the kind of semi relaxing thing a creature of lower intelligence might find soothing). So he says "no, man, I'll bet dogs like music that's filled with things they a song with a guy saying 'sit, sit, sit, stay, good, food, sit, sit, sit' ." It was then that I started to laugh my ass off.

So, guys, the debate rolls on. Do dogs like soothing, lush music or do dogs like hearing recorded recognizable commands? I say the former because why would a dog like listening to commands recreationally? Nobody likes being told what to do or what to think (unless you're a Dead Kennedys fan). But, whatever, you decide for yourself.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pitchfork Music Festival 2007 - Awards

Still not finding the wherewithal to attack the festival with all of the journalistic vigor that a typically non-writer finds downright intimidating, I reckoned (I just had to use the thesaurus to find a better word to use than "figured", which I figured I use all too often; sidenote: does a thesaurus make you think of a triceratops with glasses? I imagine a dinosaur would have to be really smart and geeky, but in the classically clean-cut and composed manner rather than the guy who never showers lest his World of Warcraft character lose a point or something [can that even happen?]) I'd throw a little something together if only to keep this website from falling by the wayside like it did the first go-round. Thus, I present to you: The 2007 Pitchfork Music Festival Awards!

Tightest Pants Award - Bradford Cox (Deerhunter)*
How do you get your legs into pants like that? I think of that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer wore those obscenely tight jeans and couldn't get in or out of them. I also know that there's a strong positive correlation between how tight your pants are and how truly hip you are, so I guess that Bradford would get that award, too. Too bad for Bradford, but that's not an award at charz2k. Bradford is lucky to be getting this award anyway, and only because we spotted him near the food and beverage stands. He wore a dress on stage.

Biggest Asshole Redemption Award - Ramesh Srivastava (Voxtrot)
When you're an up-and-coming musician, it's not a good idea to lie to your fans and tell them that you'll play a song for them if they come to the show the following night if you're not ever really planning on playing that song. As it so happens, Mr. I-Wear-The-Same-Black-And-White-Striped-Shirt-At-Every-Show-I-Play told my friend Kathy that he would play "The Start of Something" if she came to see Voxtrot the following night for their 2nd South by Southwest show that year. As you can imagine, it would be easy to mistake a band's frontman as a credible source on the topic of future setlists, and we saw Voxtrot once again at Emo's. Song after song gets played, yet not one of them was the promised tune. Ramesh is pretty lucky he wasn't around, because he had a punch in the face coming his way.

Upon hearing that Voxtrot were playing at P-fork Fest, it was seen as a golden opportunity to right a wrong, and punch a liar in the face. Since everyone deserves a second chance, the punching of Ramesh would be delayed, and he'd be granted the opportunity to mend his ways and play the song. The only catch is that he wouldn't be informed of the opportunity; he'd have to figure it out and decide to play it on his own. Once again, song after song goes by and none of them are "the song". Sweating vigorously and nearly out of breath, Ramesh mumbles into the mic that they should not have saved this song until the end because it had the most words, and well, he was already out of breath. Ok, dude, one song left for you to avoid some major pain. One (it's not going to be it, fuck this guy), two (definitely won't be the song), three..."This time of night I could call you up..." and there it was.

Most Shit In Hair Or A Hat Award - Jamie Lidell
Though all I saw of Jamie Lidell was from in front of the Connector Stage while waiting for Stephen Malkmus, he had enough weird gold things in his hair (or a hat) for it to be both visible from the giant screen and on the stage itself. If I had brought my camera and decided to give awards to fans, the kid in front of me at Dan Deacon and Girl Talk with all the leaves taped to his headband may have given Jamie a run for his money. I'm pretty sure that kid thought and hoped I was offering him drugs when I pulled out the roll of SweetTarts from my pocket and shared with those around me.

Closing A Good Set With The One Song I Really Wanted To Hear Award - Menomena
Anyone who read my little blurb from last week about the few songs I was digging at the moment probably has a good idea of which song this is. It's got great rhythm, a "wicked" bassline, and plenty of trumpet. When Menomena announced that the upcoming song would be their last, I took the lack of a trumpet in front of the guy who sings (and sometimes plays trumpet) as a sure sign that, as many times before, my favorite song was shelved in favor of another that was probably alright, but stupid for taking the place of my favorite. I was so thrilled that I started that thing where someone starts clapping and all of a sudden the crowd claps deserve their own mention in the liner notes. I was proud of myself despite the crowd clapping effort being slightly half-assed (but still very prevalent and noticeable, just not full-force) because I started it myself and most of the overwhelming crowd claps are started by charismatic band members who relish in having crowds in the palms of their hands. To my credit, I've seen many a band try to start this thing in front of large crowds and have it fail. "Evil Bee", the song that they played, is so good and clappable, though, that I commanded a bunch of hipsters for 2 minutes. Go me.

This concludes The Pitchfork Music Festival 2007 Awards; Good night and good luck.

* Whether Bradford Cox hunts or does not hunt deer is undetermined and irrelevant. His band's name is Deerhunter, if that wasn't clear.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pitchfork Music festival 2007 - The Drive to Chicago

Here's a stumper for you: what's the best part about road trips? No, it's not the snacks. You don't need snacks if the trip is short, and unless you stop by a really good gas station, the snacks are probably pretty pedestrian (no, not attractive people who walk...). It's not the road rage either (though that is pretty good). In Wisconsin, road trips and road rage go hand-in-hand because drivers here are, well, pretty lame. Let's all drive 60 mph in both the right and left lanes when there aren't that many cars out and the speed limit is 65, why don't we? Yeah, let's do that. It's also pretty cool to make fun of other drivers, especially if they are a middle-aged man in a nice car talking to someone on a pink Razr. Anyway, yeah I should try to remember that the road rage was not what I wanted to talk about. The answer? Mix cds!

Yep, a road trip is a pretty sweet way to throw together some cool tunes and hear some new stuff if you're riding with others. We had decided to each make a mix that referenced Chicago in some way, though there was no requirement of any unified theme. I tend to just go for songs that I anticipate fitting the mood, though I'll eventually try some super sweet thematic mixes that will blow some people's minds. One member of the posse outdid us all by obliquely referencing Chicago by creating a mix consisting exclusively of songs on Touch and Go, an extremely hip Chicago label that Slint, who were playing the festival, recorded their landmark album Spiderland with. However, it should be noted that if you're going to make an ambitious compilation, you should probably not burn the cd in mp3 format if you don't know if the car's cd player can handle it (which is likely the case if it's not your car, and it wasn't his car). Another mix had some great ties to the festival itself, with Chicago references and Pitchfork Music Festival artists coming together in sweet harmony. Fujiya and Miyagi's fate as a must-see band was re-solidified because of the inclusion of "Ankle Injuries" and the pummeling repetitive chant of "fujiya...miyagi...fujiya...miyagi...fujiya...miyagi".

However, the best mix, was mine. This point is not open for debate. I had two songs that reference Chicago, and one that referenced it in a way so obscure that I probably don't really get it. I really do get it though, but just because I'm a nerd and a huge fan of a band that most people know for their MTV Buzz Bin hit in the mid-90s. I know you're thinking it's the Gin Blossoms, and while they were pretty awesome, it ain't quite them. You also need a hilarious rap song on your mix. A good rap song is ok, too, but only if it's one of only two rap songs. If your mix consists of multiple tracks by the New Pornographers, the Strokes, and some other artist I can't remember, and lots of rap songs that were cool in middle school, you need not apply. Here's my mix:

*Lucky Soul - Get Outta Town! (A great opener for a road trip...get it? It's also a sweet upbeat song with great sing-along vocals and such a great vibe that you can't help but be happy)
*The Aislers Set - Chicago New York (2 songs in, and I've already taken care of the one requirement of the mix)
*Black Lips - Gung Ho (Black Lips were all over SXSW, so this was included in the spirit of festivals in general. It's also a good shift to some loud songs)
*Exploding Hearts - Modern Kicks (more loud...don't want anyone sleeping on this trip!)
*Saturday Looks Good to Me - All Over Town (SLGtM are a great summer band)
*Art Brut - People In Love (I wanted to hear some Art Brut, but I didn't want anything too abrasive)
*Blur - Globe Alone (it's time to par-tay!)
*Magazine - My Tulpa (A previous post mentions how much I am obsessed with this song right now)
*The Jessica Fletchers - Let's Get Together
*The 6ths (with Georgia Hubley) - Movies in My Head (Yo La Tengo played the festival last year)
*Super Furry Animals - Receptacle for the Respectable (Yoko Ono played the festival and was billed as "with special guests", so a song with guest vocals by Paul McCartney is appropriate, right? ;) )
*Superdrag - True Believer (this is my supernerdy inclusion: Superdrag went on indefinite hiatus in 2003, but now the original line-up has regrouped to play six shows, including the one I'll be attending at the Metro on October 13)
*Jana Hunter - Regardless (Jana Hunter is awesome because she's from Houston and this song is delightfully haunting and low-key)
*Gnarls Barkley - Who Cares? (Can't have a mix without Gnarls, right?)
*Big Moe - Purple Stuff (I didn't realize that I might have turned the mix into one with an H-town theme, but that's ok because it's a hilarious rap song)
*The Blow - Pardon Me (see above comment, only about Portland and not about a hilarious rap song)
*Architecture in Helsinki - Need to Shout (another SXSW ref, perhaps, and also cool because Jona from the Blow was at their day show at Flamingo Cantina)
*The Minders - Hooray for Tuesday (I didn't have a song called "Hooray for Friday")
*Spoon - Chicago at Night (Oh, wow! I didn't even think about the implications of this one. Chicago reference #2, but also a jab at the Eggo Johanson show that I got so many people's hopes up for when I told them I had bought tickets for $2 that were subsequently revoked to be distributed by WXRT and Bud Light to hipsters)

That's my mix and I'm sticking to it. Show reviews to follow shortly.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2007

I'm exhausted and I have to shower and go to work, so ponder this until I finish what I wrote last night.

a.) How the fuck can Mark Ibold play with Sonic Youth during their encore, but not with Stephen Malkmus, who, incidentally, played a bunch of Pavement songs?

b.) Don't ever, ever, ever dismiss De La Soul as someone not necessarily worth seeing.

c.) "No regrets" is pretty much the attitude I had about everything I saw until we listened to Hissing Fauna, are You the Destroyer in the car on the way home and I realized that not seeing Of Montreal was a HUGE mistake.

More to come, hopefully by tomorrow.



Thursday, July 12, 2007

From the Archives, Volume 3: AOL Chat Rooms

At charz2k, where we play all the hits, we still take time to honor requests from our fans. Such is why this one's being put up now. I don't know if there was ever an official title, but this one's going to go by Dannychat.

I just got cable modem. Fuck dial up! That shit is slow and played out. I am getting rid of AOL at the end of this month. Here's what I'm going to do. I am going to explore all of those ridiculous AOL chat rooms one last time. Every stupid niche is covered. The members of AOL have too much freedom (trust me, I know, AOL allows me to look at all the sick porn I look at). Members can make chat rooms with a title of their choosing. The "founder" of each chat room can kick any offensive member out of their chat room at his or her discretion. Some members are obviously more sensitive than others. This whole concept angers me for some reason. I will go to each chat room that has a retarded chat name. I will document a.) the room's name, b.) how long it takes me to get kicked out, and c.) what I said that spurred the founder to kick me out. Aside from a small bit of dignity and some masturbation time, what have I got to lose?

Room One:

  1. Mormon Q and A
  2. 12 seconds
  3. "How many Mormons does it take to fuck a goat?"
I knew this would seal my fate. This was my first one so I wanted a clean, prompt start.

Room Two:

  1. Magnifythelordwithme
  2. 4 seconds
  3. "god IS really small isn't he?"

This is like the dorkiest and most obvious thing I could have said. It's just a play on the room's name. The chat founder welcomed me "in Jesus' name". I told him God was small (hence the necessity for his magnification) and he kicked me out in Jesus' name. Jesus hates people who take things literally.

Room Three:

  1. Sweet N Sour Tears
  2. NA
  3. NA

Some guy was talking about having cancer and needing a bone marrow transplant. I left voluntarily because I'm not heartless. What do you want from me?

Room Four:

  1. Ask A Witch
  2. 7 minutes
  3. "I'm trying to get kicked out of chat rooms"

They were happy to oblige I guess. That's it. This is annoying

From the Archives, Volume 2

From the Archives continues today with Charz's (yes, the same Charz that charz2k is named after; in fact this post's author is in fact Charz2k and not Charz, so I'm sorry about lying to you) first article. I'm not keeping any sort of chronological order in my regurgitation of the original posts, so if they seem out of order you can chalk it up to whatever forces of the universe inspire me to select whichever one I happen to deem acceptable for any given day. However, there is one certainty. When I re-read this article, it became apparent that our ratings system might be lost on new visitors (if any), so I'll make the next edition of From the Archives the description of the ratings system. You can try to figure it out (it's not that hard), but the terminology may be lost on anyone who takes themselves seriously.

I intend to embark on a few of firsts for this website. My first first is that this is my, charz's, first true review. My second first is that I think the preceding sentence was the first time that the word "first" has been used 3 times in one sentence. A feat that will perhaps never be matched. (There is a joke here. Pay attention and figure it out). Finally, this is the first movie review for the site. Hopefully Master Thomas will permit such a review on the site, or else I will have squandered precious minutes in writing this.
So, what movie am I reviewing? Is it the thrilling blockbuster Mission Impossible 3? The oceanic adventure Poseidon? The new rip-roaring Lindsay Lohan flick? Sorry eager readers, but I ask you to go back in time with me 22 years (or 250 years, depending how you look at it) to the movie Amadeus. This is a movie I had wanted to see for a long time, and finally got around to renting it this afternoon.

Damn, I've written 2 paragraphs and haven't even gotten started on the review. Let's get this biatch rolling...

So, for those of you who don't know, this movie is about Mozart, and his adversary Salieri. Their rivalry is pretty much one-sided, since Salieri is seriously lacking in the "skillz" department. Meanwhile, Wolfy's skillz can aptly be described as "mad." In fact, Mozart don't even know that the rivalry exists, since Salieri blows balls. Salieri becomes consumed with jealousy that this impetuous youngster simply owns him musically. Now that I think about, it seems that Good Will Hunting knocked off the plot, and applied it to math. But moving on, if we toss out the plot, subplots, thematic elements, and music, essentially what the movie boils down to is a series of attempted-wreckings on Salieri's part, and brilliant counter-wreckings by Mozart. Even in Mozart's death he wrecks Salieri, since Salieri's evil scheme is foiled by Wolfgang's wife showing up and inadvertently ruining his machinations. There's nothing better in a movie than a douche-bag character getting wrecked repeatedly, and this movie is full of it.

There are many more important features of the film that I must discuss. I certainly can't leave out Mozart's laugh. His laugh is slightly reminiscent of the infamous "Jared cackle." Unfortunately, I can't really put a laugh into words. You must see the movie for yourself, and you'll find yourself emulating the Mozart-laugh throughout the movie. Then there's the fact that the Austrian Emperor is played by none other than Jeffrey Jones, best known for his role as Ferris Bueller's principal (unless you’re dan, who would recognize him foremost as Gustav from "The Pest." Anyway, Mr.jones nails the role as Emperor Joseph II. Nails it.

There are plenty of other things I could delve into, but in the interest of time I think I'll refrain.

To sum up, this movie was really good. It was long, but I was never bored. The music was exceptional, especially for a seasoned music-explorer like myself. If you haven't seen it, go rent it. If you have seen it, see it again.

That's it. Peace.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

From the Archives, Volume 1

Why, hello, charz2k fans! After being bombarded (literally, bombarded) by requests to do so, I've decided to post some vintage charz2k articles from the humble beginnings from which so much ambition eventually disintegrated into what you see today. Since "From the Archives" is probably destined to fail from the onset, I feel it's only appropriate to christen the series with the first (and only!) article by a hilarious young maverick. Carlos, if you're out there, we'll welcome you back to charz2k with open arms. Anyway, here's the article!

So after being a lazy asshole and not writing an article in time for this site, I decided it was time. That was Tuesday and this is Thursday night. The time in between made me forget everything about the world around me. I was on an Adderall and speed binge for over two days, studying in a library and chain smoking camel lights (fuck off Phillip Morris, I saw The Insider). I studied pointless material about society, bureaucracy, gender and race issues. I think I did well but in all honesty, I could care less right now. Name's Carlos and I dig this ranking system for the records. I can think of 5 good records off the top of my head that I'd completely fucking tear apart on this site. In no order, they are Is this it? by The Strokes, the Garden State soundtrack, The Beatles' One, any Jack Johnson record and, well I can't think of one right now but at least I did it off the top of my head. Is this it? because Julian Casablancas single-handedly got all those stupid teenagers to dress like douche bags. Now, it's not his fault, it's the people that bought the record and didn't listen to "Alone, Together" or "Soma". The Garden State original soundtrack because I had to hear about it every 5 seconds when it came out. It's a good album but I feel like I'm fucking the music for cheap by listening to some guy's mix tape. The Beatles' One album because it's a good concept, but for all the new Beatle fans that came about, it's the only one they own because we all know, for a fact, that the 20-something tracks on One does not even come remotely close to covering the genius of the band. Any Jack Johnson album just because. The songs are catchy and written by some hip Hawaiian wannabe film maker whose best song is about how the 20 frames per second on a camera couldn't capture Bruce Lee's literally lightning fast moves. You'd know that if you downloaded his live stuff from way before he did the soundtrack for that children's movie.

This is my writing. I hope you enjoy it because I sure do. I hope this decision to write my thoughts on music is a good one. I feel that I know what I'm talking about and at the same I am open-minded. My experience with music is one that I feel like a young veteran in today's music society where nobody seems to branch out at all. Just the other night I downloaded the soundtrack to Sideways by Rolfe Kent. 1) It's not a fucking mix tape (Garden State) for a movie that is so pretentious and creative for the wrong reasons that I just wish Scrubs would come on. 2) If you have seen the movie Sideways with Paul Giamati and think that it is very well made and imaginative then this music is great for you.

For this first time, I will appropriately leave you with the words written on the back of the first album released by Elektra, by one of my favorite groups...ever, Superdrag.

So here it is, all in all, you and yours, regretfully yours.

Monday, July 9, 2007

A few songs for your pondering pleasure:

1. Magazine - My Tulpa
2. Menomena - Evil Bee
3. Liechtenstein - Stalking Skills
4. Girls at Our Best! - It's Fashion
5. Radio Birdman - What Gives?
6. Big Moe - Purple Stuff
7. The Jessica Fletchers - Let's Get Together

Since there are seven songs, it probably would have been more appropriate to post this on Saturday (7/7/07, which was also National Hoop [as in Hula-] Day). In any case, they are good so listen to them and probably the respective albums they are on.

Also, I'd like to plug the Black Lips' album, Let it Bloom. If you were around in the heydey of gritty psych-inspired Detroit garage rock, and you were into that kind of thing, you'd have hoped every new band you went to see or whose record you bought sounded just like the Black Lips on this album. It's so gritty, but so beautiful. It's noisy, but so damn melodic. And I heard that at one of their SXSW shows the singer (or guitarist) spit into the air, caught it, and made out with the guitarist (or singer). That has to be the most rock and roll thing I've ever heard*. Fuck the Strokes, fuck the White Stripes. The Black Lips are the saviors of rock and roll. And they're fucking from Atlanta!? What the fuck!? Take that New York, Detroit, Austin, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Boston, DC, London, Manchester, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Tokyo, Sao Paolo, Montreal, Copenhagen, San Francisco (San Fucking Francisco!), Los Angeles (Los Fucking Angeles), and hail to the ATL. It's more than just Outkast and TI, apparently.

*though the title of "Most Rock and Roll band name still belongs to Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem from the Muppets

Batrhoom Ettttikitt

When I was 5 years old I was going to St. Albert's Kindergarten here in Houston. About half way through the school year, my friend, Chase, taught me some bathroom secrets. No funny business here though (you twisted pervert). By bathroom secrets, I mean how to make a mess of a bathroom. Push the soap dispenser like ten times and let the soap hit the floor. Make gratuitous use of the paper towels and throw them all over the place. It was fun for a while until I got caught and had to see the principal.

My point is this desire to make a mess of what we don't have to clean is some ever-present thing in our nature. Rock stars have been down with this shit for years. "Let's jerk off on the TV before we throw it out the window...we don't have to clean it!" says Eddie Van Halen.

All bathroom engineers attempt to combat the innate human desire to trash bathrooms; and as a result, all bathroom engineers measure the progress of bathroom technology by the preventative mechanisms each new piece of bathroom technology carries. You can almost hear the meetings at a bathroom engineering firm.

"Damn it Johnson, can't we find a way to keep these pigs from throwing paper towels everywhere in our beautiful bathrooms?!"

As a result, we get those paper towel dispensers that release single sheets of paper towels when they sense a hand. This increases the amount of required work exponentially if any bathroom user wants to use paper towels to trash the bathroom. I love trashing bathrooms but I'm a busy guy and I don't have time to alert the little sensor for fifteen minutes or until it yields a sufficient amount of paper towels for a bathroom trashing. Bathroom trashing averted.

Want to flood the bathroom by stuffing the sink with paper towels and running the water? Too bad, these facilities are equipped with faucets that run water only when a hand is detected. Sure, you could still flood the place but you'll have to cancel your afternoon meetings.

It's not a vandal's world anymore like it was in the 80's. Though I wasn't alive for much of the 80's, I'll bet it was really easy to fuck around with bathrooms with the lack of preclusive bathroom devices and whatnot.

Bathroom engineers are professional distrusters and I don't like that. It angers me mildly. You bathroom guys are officially awarded 3.8 bears and 0.3 anti-bears (anti-bears for having cool beards). When last I checked, there was no bathroom device on the market that prevents me from spraying shit on the mirrors (there might be some crazy advanced mirrors in Japan but not in America). So look out Dow Chemical Engineering Facility (my arbitrarily-chosen scapegoat). I just ate 3 burritos and I'm coming to use your bathroom.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Don't you just love benefit shows?

Live Earth, which is supposed to combat global warming, is happening this weekend (or so I'm pretty sure I've seen while rifling through the guide channel on my cable remote), and I'm torn. I'm not sure if this is lamer than Live8 or not! What we have here is another case of "Lame-bands-play-huge-festival-to-supposedly-raise-awareness-of-huge
-social-issues", but does anyone even care (I don't count the people who actually go to these things in "anyone")?

I heard that Radiohead refused to play and that made me pretty happy. 1.) Radiohead are really damn cool, and rejecting this is an affirmation that it's pretty lame and I'm right, 2.) Something about the energy-related costs of putting on this festival (including the hydrocarbons emitted by the performers' jets to fly some collective 200k+ miles to their festival performance locations, etc. When Live8 was all over tv a year ago, I was pretty annoyed, but I was relieved in that I wouldn't have to hear about any more of this shit for another 20 years or so. And what do I hear two days ago? That tons of bands are playing 9 cities or so to unite the masses in an effort against global warming. Maybe our ice caps will melt! Shit, that'd just be another great place to open a beach resort, right? Actually, heat kind of sucks. It's 95 and I don't have A/C and I'm sweating my *you name it* off right now. I'm not opposed to social issues, but a cheesy festival organized by Al Gore and some other guy that brings in the lamest artists on the planet to do it isn't exactly revolutionary. Red Hot Chili Peppers? Do all the 14-year olds on the planet hold the key to reversing global warming? No! They're too busy listening to Panic! at the Disco and watching Spiderman 3! And they're the only ones who might have cared about RHCP aside from a huge (I'll give you that one), but otherwise meaningless segment of the population known as "douchebags". Madonna? Come on. (Beautiful Stranger from the Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me was pretty catchy, but I'm not about to turn off my oscillating fan because of her connection to Live Earth).

If you guys ignore this stuff they'll have to stop putting it on.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Abu Treika is quite possibly the greatest athlete of our generation. Just ask the guys from Africa and the Middle East who somehow have time to kick back and watch the championship match of some Egyptian soccer league at a hookah bar in the middle of a Monday afternoon in our nation’s capital. Those guys are so awesome and into “the red team” that I’m almost ready to renounce allegiance to all other teams and follow the calling they broadcast so loudly, so clearly. [To the Houston Astros: I said almost, but you guys are going to have to step it up a bit, especially if I end up getting tickets to see you at Wrigley next week]. Those guys were so involved with the game that they weren’t even smoking hookah! Do we even KNOW those guys?

No, and we don’t know Egyptian soccer, either. What kind of a n00b goes to THE lounge that happens to be broadcasting the biggest game of the Egyptian soccer year and only stays ‘til halftime when the game is tied 0-0 and Abu Treika hasn’t been injured or given a red card? Apparently “the guys”, who were so mango juiced and hookah’d out that they just left without remorse when the half was called. And how easy is it to stay when you’re riding a sweet tobacco buzz and are so damn tired from the night before that each step involves conscious effort and substantial resistance from not one, but both reluctant legs?

The best part about hookah is that you can pretend to be the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. Whooooo Arrre Youuuuu? (cough cough cough). It’s not that easy…that damn cat is good! Another good thing about it is that it’s just as good on a perfect sunny afternoon in a basement bar than it is on a weekend night in the hippest of hoods. The douchebags are all at work and/or school, so all you’re left with are the people who slack so well they made three of the laziest people I know (myself included), look like that same kind of ambitious douchebags (precisely those not present) who never shut up in class and would answer their own questions to impress the prof, who was well aware of their douchebaggery and usually quite content to play along only to fuck them over with grades given by an ass who doesn’t like to be kissed.

I was initially skeptical of the propriety of afternoon hookah, but also something of a philanthropist in that I wanted to provide the passengers who were to potentially occupy the cramped airline seats next to or in front of yours truly with something of a smoke-free fellow passenger. What I learned is this: the good of hookah + Egyptian soccer + Monday afternoon > the bad of fellow passenger having to maybe smell a bit of flavored smoke off your clothes. Also, you can always change your shirt. And, watching a soccer match on a station broadcast in Arabic when you have a translator capable enough let you in on the Abu Treika secret (that he kicks ass…you’re officially in on the secret), is an occurrence rarer than catching a potato-bandit red-handed and an opportunity not to be missed.

The experience lasted just the right amount of time, or so we thought (K-dawg might think it dragged on a bit too long, but he was opposed to the excursion both before and throughout)….when my phone rang on the way to the airport and I saw that this website’s namesake was calling, it was predicted that I had forgotten something and that would have been a serious bummer. Not nearly as serious as the bummer I was about to be bummed, however. Our beloved Red Team not only won the match, but did it in the most exciting way possible. They were so considerate of their fans in this DC hookah bar that they provided, free of charge, an extension of the game by tying the White Team by the end of the 2nd half. Not to outdo that generous gesture, Abu and Co. let the White Team go ahead by one! (What the fuck!? Our red team is going to lose! No! Abu!) Shit, if the guys had been watching this game live I’m sure at least two would have had to fake seizures for what was about to happen. The Red Team came back and scored TWO goals! In a soccer game! That barely happens in regulation time, let alone overtime!

And we missed it.

Now I know why Garfield hates Mondays.