Thursday, March 27, 2008

The origin of identity theft

Yesterday, as a joke, a co-worker of mine picked me up an application for employment at Chinmi, which is a restaurant that serves "Asian and American food" that also happens to be attached to a gas station. One trip to their buffet is enough to make you sick, and it only takes a few bites of the food to make you scrap the rest of what's on your plate and decide to go somewhere else for lunch. While the food description explains the joke of the application, it is an unnecessary digression and I should get back to the point. This application that my friend picked up, was already filled out. By "already filled out", I mean that I now have in my possession a man's name, address, phone number, social security number, and previous work history. Honest mistake? Nope. Apparently the clerk's reaction to the application was "just white it out and write over it". I thought about calling the applicant to let him know he wasn't getting the job at Chinmi, but I thought better of it.

Weekend shows!

Tonight, 3/27, the Mekons open for Gary Louris (formerly of the Jayhawks) at the Barrymore Theater in Madison. Ignoring the injustice of having the band who has professed to be the only band to have stayed together throughout the entire history of punk to open for a guy who used to be in the Jayhawks, a moderately successful band who plays in a genre the Mekons pioneered (alt-country, for the uninformed), this show has great potential to be a lot of fun. I'm not feeling too great though (I'm getting a cold, and having just gotten back from vacation has set off a series of angry internal outbursts related to my current [and seemingly unchanging] employment situation which has gone so far as to affect my motivation for finding something else to do and somewhere else to go), and I have pre-existing plans that do not involve spending $20 to see a band full of old guys perform a short opening set before what I think will be some boring alt-country singer-songwriter stuff. Whether this ends up being the show of the century or not I somehow don't imagine I'll ever really regret not going. Despite my current mood, Fear and Whiskey is an amazing record, and you should listen to it.

Tomorrow, 3/28, Stars and some other guy are also playing at the Barrymore Theater in Madison. I haven't listened to them much in the past two years, which was pretty much since soon after we had them at the Gargoyle (at Wash U in St. Louis) and managed to get the band to come to a pretty intimate house party after the show (this was the week Danny came to St. Louis for a visit, too!) where Torq got high and iPod DJ'd a bunch of Smiths songs and "Teenage Kicks" while we drank PBR and hung out with the rest of the band. That was a good night, and remembering it makes me excited someone at work had an extra ticket and sold it to me for $15, which is about $7 or 8 less than I would have had to pay if I went through conventional means. Tomorrow is also Friday night, which means as soon as I leave work it'll be the part of the week where there is the longest period of time before I have to go to work again, and that makes me happy as well. I hope they play "Set Yourself on Fire", because I love that song.

Sunday, 3/30, Jens Lekman's coming! He played Pitchfork Fest in 2006 and had a horns section comprised of very cute Swedish women. His loungey indiepop can seem slow at times, but it's full of heart and wit and catchy melodies that can win over anyone without an ADD attention span. If you don't believe me listen to "Pocket Full of Money" and then furiously check to make sure you haven't missed his show in or near your town.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Garz: A Critical Review. Madison, WI 2/28-3/1, 2008

Garz performs every night up in Wisconsin. After a year and a half I decided to make the drive to go see Garz at the end of a blistery winter. The actual admission was free and I was able to sleep on Garz's floor in his two bedroom apartment, the blaring techno music ("Pump up the Jam") of his neighbors downstairs bothering me not in the least bit. Garz's apartment venue is pretty sweet and I dig the wood floors and overall coziness, and the thrift store photos of random people from the 1970's adorning the walls.

Garz started off with a bang by pulling out the Adventures of Pete n' Pete DVD's right on the first night. They were killer episodes, one of them where little Pete discovers his favorite song by Polaris (this info coming from Garz), and the song is still stuck in my head to this day ("I was around! Nobody knows, Nobody knows!") Then Garz followed up with some Mega Man classic video games. It was an awesome opening night.

The next day I was able to watch some terrible television with Garz, but even Garz has the ability to transform the awful into something grand. "What Not to Wear" and "The Dog Whisperer" were two standout highlights. Garz doesn't fear the cold nor the rowdy University of Wisconsin students, and he took me to some record stores near campus. He talked me into buying like 8 or 9 CD's, too. We went to the in-store performance of the Black Lips at Mad City Music Exchange. I dug "Boomerang" the most, and the songs sounded good stripped down. This also provided the only chance for me to actually "see" the band, as at the University venue the stage was low and it was so crowded I couldn't look at the band too much. Anyhow, on the way to the main show Garz demonstrates he can draw a real crowd, as we met up with 5-6 of his Madisonite friends. The show was great although Garz was disappointed with the sound. It included a Miss Pussycat puppet show beforehand, which was entirely incoherent and absurd. The crowd was somewhat obnoxious and a campus security lady's attempt at calming people down was worthless.

Garz really knows how to push the limits of what can be done in Madison. We ventured out to Middleton for some legendary chicken tenders, and then took in a Jack Black movie at the theatre. My Garz experience wound down with a few Saved by the Bell episodes and then some confetti cake baked by his next door neighbor, and hanging out with them across the hallway.

I would recommend Garz to pretty much anyone. His only real performance faults are occasional complete lapses in attention, like when he claimed not to have noticed the big fat guy who took his shirt off and was dancing behind the Black Lips for most of the show, or when he didn't realize there was in fact a merchandise booth at the gig, or when he let the wind blow his bag of records out of his hand and into a huge puddle. At any rate, Garz is an improvisational artist so you may not get the same experience if you head up to Mad-town today as you would yesterday, but it's a cool deal whether you end up hitting the streets of the big city with Garz or if you stay in watching Caddyshack and snarfing a whole pack of mint creme Oreo's.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

For The Wire

One of my favorite bands is Wire.

My favorite TV show is the Wire. Not one of my favorites. It's just my favorite, definitively. It's surprising that I'm the first one to post on the show as I am pretty sure at least one of our contributors feels the same way. Watch the show. After seasons one and two you may start thinking "this could be the greatest show I've ever seen on television." After seasons three and four (especially four) all doubts will be exorcised. Season five, the final season, just wrapped up the show nicely. The Wire is pure literature in that its writing possesses all the characteristics I appreciate in good literature: grit, heart, beauty, and a few other clich├ęd terms I could use . It doesn't overreach and it always seems to casually ("casually"= evidence of quality writing, this sentence=self referential) stumble onto undeniable brilliance every episode.

My personal favorite Wire moment is season four's scene in which Bunk has a one-on-one conversation with Omar.

I've cried while watching the Wire a few times. But I'm a pretty emotional guy with strong feminine tendencies (hah).

K, back to writing my paper about the federal budgeting cycle (yay!)

ta ta,

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Re-Up Gang - We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3

You know what I've been missing out on for waaaay too long? Cigarettes. I've just started inhaling them and it feels real real good. I can see how so many people use them to relax. American Spirits are the best I think. It's like the indie rock label of cigarettes. That's either cool or uncool depending on your perspective. Personally, it's an annoying concept to me. Like Jones Soda...oooo you guys are so hip. Whatever, get fucked. Give me a good old Coke.

If you like your rap filled with drugs and cursing, this Re-Up Gang album is right here for you. Go get it. Did you know you can get music for free? You can just download it. It's so great. You musicians won't get any sympathy from me. You want me to fund your law school aspirations you'd better sort out my taxes or tutor me or something. Go to grad school on your own dime, bitch. You think any of us want to pay you for having fun (Vampire Weekend, I'm looking at you)?! Get real! "Bitch I sell 'caine!"

Says the Re-Up Gang. This album is cool because it sports pretty mature rhymes about adult subject matters, like moving bricks and totin' gats. Now that I've seen all of the Wire episodes I know what they're talking about.

God I wish I could find this album in a screwed and chopped mix. Oh daaaymn it'd sound so hot. All sloooowwwed down and stuff. It's got the intelligence of underground inspirational type rap with the street knowledge of a group of corner boys who "push chronic on customers daily."

I can only listen to the likes of Gang Starr and Jurassic 5 for so long (so long = 5 minutes). Sure they got the mic skills and the beats but they look like pussies next to Clipse and the rest of the not-so-noteworthy Re-Up Gang. In short, I like my rap to be about the streets, not about the pressures that come with a small dorm room, tough concepts in thermo dynamics, linguistic rarities, and history of the United States to 1877.

It's also not ostentatious and I like that. Usually I just like the H-Town rap (more specifically Screwed Up Click rap...not Swishahouse {I think Chamillionaire and Slim Thug and Paul Wall suck}). But this is good, though it's from Virginia Beach,VA.

My strategy for reviews: play the album in iTunes while typing a review. It's really quite ridiculous.

So if you like your rap filled with drugs...

already covered that.

Now I'm going to listen to the album Deaf by Foetus (You've Got Foetus On Your Breath).

I'm also starting to realize that Neutral Milk Hotel is wicked overrated. This is the time of the anti-intellectual backlash and I'm jumping on the bandwagon and I'm building a house in the back of said wagon. I don't want to have to think anymore. Stop being so smart.