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!