Monday, November 24, 2008

Boomer Sooner.

First of all, what is with all of the 2k postings lately? It's like a Thanksgiving feast of articles to chomp on!!! Yes, man! I hope we don't have to go to the dentist!

I'm the bear here bringing this around to sports, which have no bearing on the cool indie music scene. Unless you count when stadiums play "Welcome to the Jungle" when someone comes up to bat. Congrats to Axl by the way on the new album. I have to quickly give credit where credit is due, and it is due to Major League Baseball. MLB is a true friend through the long haul -- 162 games, day in, day out, over the entire spring and summer. It's there every weekend, as well as on uneventful weekdays. Nothing like a big Cards-Reds game to look forward to through a whole Monday of work. If I could have only one sport, it would be baseball. I like the urban setting and the feel of the stadiums each unique to its city. But, that said, college football is a close, close second. The Oklahoma-Texas Tech game was the best sporting event I have ever been to. In a way, college football is the complete opposite of baseball. Instead of taking buses and subways and trains to the stadium, you drive two hours across the rolling plains of Oklahoma to get to a little town where football is the center of everything. Instead of 162 games where your team can take a 5 game nosedive and still bounce back the next week, a single fumble, dropped pass, or tackle can mean the difference in all the marbles for the whole season. There is a desparate sense of urgency on everyone around you for your team to win, which isn't present in baseball. You've got the band! The Sooner Schooner! Both sports though, I think, are unparalleled slices of American culture.

The biggest game in the country on national television under the lights in late November is a 5 anti-bear stage. The crowd was awesome. My dad and I weren't anywhere near the student section on Saturday but everyone stood up the whole game, and it was the fastest 4+ hours of my life. I haven't been to the baseball playoffs or anything, but this was tops for me. 85,646 fans is a bit more than Busch Stadium holds. My hands are still sore from clapping so much. I've got it TiVo'ed at my parent's house and I'll probably rewatch the game at least twice. In terms of magnitude, the analogous concert to something like this game would probably be the Fruit Bats show I went to with Charz down in the Blueberry Hill Duck Room. Plus Tech got smashed.

What I like about this video that you can't see is an Oklahoma player at the 50 yard line with his hands up signaling for the touchdown before the ball is even halfway there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes man, I'm ranting

I've been seeing a lot of commercials lately for the new Jim Carrey movie, Yes Man. Whenever I see these ads, I just get so angry. It just looks to me like Liar Liar reincarnated, but now instead of always telling the truth, Jim Carrey just always says "yes" to things. And furthermore, this guy is almost 50 years old now. Seeing old Jim Carrey in all of his zaniness just isn't the same anymore.
End of rant. I will not see this movie. I give it a preemptive 5-bear rating.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dentists Appreciation

This is the part of the article where I make the stupidly obvious pun about the people who clean teeth and then segue into some bit about how cool the band are. Right now, however, the sheer simple understated elegance and jangly indie pop perfection of the band in question is superseding any desire I had to dig my grave just a little bit deeper in Clichéville's cemetery. I remember when J and I would DJ on KWUR we'd generally have a few things picked out to play and then comb the station's stacks for anything that looked like it could be interesting, absurd, or in the case of the Dentists' "Powdered Lobster Fiasco" album, just a little bit funny and ridiculous (I guess that falls under absurd, eh? I also guess I have a backspace key and could just erase it and come up with some other arbritrary criteria for selecting arbitrary albums, but now that I've gone this far there's not much point).

Occasionally we'd marvel in the quality of our choices, but for the most part they were duds (Bobgoblin, anyone?). I remember thinking the song we chose off of the Dentists album, which I don't recall the name of...probably a track 3 or 4,was pretty decent. Seeing as this was either jr or sr year of college I was a fiend for neo-psychedelia of the mainstream indie rock variety (E6 collective, BJM, Dandy Warhols, Rainbow Quartz, etc) and chances are I probably just shrugged this song off as too "standard" and not swirly or experimental enough, though if it was late enough into the first semester of sr year I could have just gotten into my indie pop/twee phase after Kathy turned me on to Tiger Trap and Heavenly, in which case the Dentists were not cutesy enough. Long story short, I was an idiot, incapable of recognizing a band that perfectly bridges the gap between my two polar obsessions of the time.

A year later I downloaded "You and Your Bloody Oranges," the Dentists' 1985 EP. Between having first played that one unrememberable song and being linked to this other album by some website, I had completely forgotten about having heard them before (and later remembered while browsing allmusic for other albums of theirs), but had found a new instant obsession. The Dentists' brand of pop is so jangly, effortless, urgent, somber, British, and esoteric that they're the kind of band you can only imagine ever existed in black-and-white. You know, like you watch old documentaries and realize that the footage is lacking in color vibrancy because of technological limitation, but the image is burned in your mind with the color notably, and importantly, absent. Only Danny will understand this, but I think the Dentists, despite their non-use of electronics and synthesizers, kind of convey "that feeling".

I'd listen to this EP over and over again thinking about how great it would be to see this band live in their heyday, but the scene in my mind was always desaturated (in the Photoshop sense of the word). Thinking of bands in this way adds to their mystique, which is also magnified by the pops and hisses of the 12" that was used to transfer the songs to mp3. Not to mention the entire EP exudes perfection from start to finish, from the songs themselves to the song titles to the title and artwork of the EP. For a sample, listen to the bassline on "Where's My Chicken, You Bastard" and look at the cover:

The songs are so perfectly amateurish and the guitar tones so reluctant and reserved that this could only have been created exactly when the Dentists created it. I don't mean that as some philosophical brainteaser, I mean that chronologically the Dentists have their dedicated slot in musical history. Their sound is too modern to have been produced in the 60s or 70s and the themes and tones are too resigned to exist on an album of the late 80s or 90s. By no means an insult, the Dentists could not have created this record without post-punk or early 80s indie rock having preceded them. Equally Magazine and R.E.M., Dream Syndicate and Smiths, but sounding like no one else, the Dentists are what every band tries to be but so few manage not to royally fuck up.

Thanks to Danny I now have a digital copy of their first full-length, "Some People Are On the Pitch, They Think It's Over Now". When Danny told me he had found this I pretended to be an asshole about it and snidely remarked that I had the LP like it was no big deal, but seriously I had been looking for this in a digital format for the past two years. Thanks, dude! I'm listening to it now and it's got a lot of the same qualities that made their EP so great which is fitting since this album came out before the other one did. It's so bizarre to think that so many bands peak with their early material and our friends the Dentists are no exception. I may like "Oranges" a bit more but seriously both releases are pretty phenomenal. One look at the album cover for "Pitch" completely squashes my theory about only shitty bands putting themselves on jacket covers:

How could this band not be cool?

Check it out here:

Free Credit Reports and Expensive Guitars

Everyone knows those commercials with the guy singing about working in a seafood restaurant, buying a shitty car because he doesn't have enough credit for a gas-guzzler, trading it in for a shitty bike (because when they saw his credit the bike store said that's all they had), and most recently playing at a renaissance fair. In the latest incarnation the singing guy is playing a pretty sweet looking Fender Jazzmaster, and those guitars ain't cheap. Things are looking up for the dude, eh? Here's a tip: turn up the fuzz, man.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sweet T-Shirts

This girl in my section at school is selling section t-shirts. I don't want to buy one. The fact is, I realized, that I just don't wear t-shirts anymore. I haven't bought one since college really, and those don't fit too well now. Unless you count a Yadier Molina jersey as a t-shirt, I have absolutely none in my closet here in Norman.

But, this t-shirt offer started the gears working in my mind. You see, there was a time when t-shirts weren't only what you wore, but they defined you. This was in sixth grade. We wore uniforms to school (the habit stuck with me apparently---I've currently been wearing the pants I'm in now all week) but the first Friday of every month was "free dress day," and all the boys were frenzied about wearing their new t-shirts to school. Maybe this was just me growing up against a backdrop of lameness, but I feel like these brands were pretty nationwide.

No Fear was what started it all for me. I would scurry with excitement on the day I knew my mom was taking me to the mall to get a new No Fear shirt. My first and favorite one said "Bottom of the Ninth...Two Outs...Full Count...Down By Three...Bases Loaded...No Fear." I can't quite remember the others at this point, but I think another said "You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don't Take." They were quite the words of wisdom to pass along, on the level of Socrates or Confucius, really abstract axioms to ponder while sitting on the bench in the dugout, chomping on David's Salsa flavored sunflower seeds. (Flavor Ranking of Goodness: 1:BBQ, 2:Ranch, 3:Regular, 4:Salsa).

Then there was Mossimo. Mossimo was my second go-to shirt--overall they seemed a bit more exotic, more artistic statements than No Fear. No Fear was the no-bones, American, Rocky inspiring type of motivational shirt. Mossimo had a finer European coolness to it. First, you had to figure out what it was. Like this shirt, for example. OK, got it, it's a gasoline container in the shape of an "M". Second, you had to assume that such a picture was cool even though intuition told you it made no sense. If someone told you it was a stupid logo, they just obviously didn't get it.

Ah, the "Big Johnson" shirts. You didn't mess with a person wearing something like this. They always had cartoon depictions of hot girls not wearing any clothes. The kid who played first base on my little league team always came to practice in these. I don't think I ever fully "understood" the slogans on the back of the shirts, I just had an inner sense that whoever wore these had some better and more developed knowledge about girls than I did, and also that my mom probably wouldn't let me wear one. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times---a junior high kid wearing a Big Johnson shirt was the 6th grade equivalent of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction who's wallet said "Bad Mother Fucker" on it. These guys were simply in another league.

Stussy. Always seemed a bit too "surfer-ey." I can proudly say I never went down this path.

Starter jackets---recess at school was a blur of flashy colors when everyone wore these things. Basically it boils down to this: a 6th grade kid picks his starter jacket based on the best logos (always some guy who just had to get the Notre Dame jacket because of the leprechaun, or some cat who suddenly became a Florida State fan because he thought the jacket was cool). OR, you could pick your jacket based on the color-scheme (I always thought the kid with the Auburn jacket had a cool one) OR people would just get whoever the best teams were (Dallas Cowboys, Michigan Wolverines (come on!!!! Michigan Wolverines?!?! lame...)) I had an Orlando Magic jacket because I thought Shaquille O'Neal was the greatest back in the day. That was when he was sometimes referred to as "Shaq Diesel" and had a rap album out. (If I have ever added the suffix "-diesel" to your name, this is where I am coming from. Like "Garz-Diesel.") So what I am trying to say is you had 40 boys running around in colorful jackets like a gay parade and no one had any idea what they were actually wearing, which seems to apply to any of these shirts I have listed.
Because I'm 25 now and not 12, I'll just stay cool by wearing the Yadi jersey.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr. Hilbert and The Lords of the Underworld - Paranoid at the Talent Show

I found this on YouTube. I think they kick ass! Like seriously, I would pay to go see this band play. The singer just fucking gets it! Not to mention Mr. Hilbert over there playing the solos. I'll bet they needed a lead guitar for the talent show and they asked Mr. Hilbert, their favorite teacher, to fill in. I can just picture it. This is as punk as "Paranoid" gets.

I think I'll post another video's fun and easy!