Thursday, December 21, 2006

Erin Go Bragh!

And to think that there wasn't even a question in this survey where I could've revealed my love of Lucky Charms or Thin Lizzy. :-)

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Am I Supersonic or am I Fergalicious?

I know this isn't the most original thought (see here; it's also where I got the JJ Fad song from, so umm, thanks), but to my ears Fergie's "Fergalicious" (which is a masterpiece next to "My Humps", which I had the displeasure of hearing at my office's holiday party last Friday night; see I can only avoid Top 40 radio for so long), which I admittedly first heard in a cell phone commercial, is almost identical to JJ Fad's "Supersonic", a well-known song from my youth.

The Invisible Deck

Sometimes my writing shows up in some really cool and unexpected places, like here for example, though you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom to see it. Thanks Anne for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Avengers

This is my first post on here in over 6 months. I'm sincerely sorry about that. If you wanna see most of what I've written since then, you can go here. I'd been focusing so much on my Big Takeover column that I've been neglecting this space. Also, I recently moved to Philadelphia, which took up a lot of time as well, as you can well imagine. Now that I'm all settled in, however, I've decided to re-activate this space. I think I'll mostly be posting mp3s of rare and hard to find albums as well as teasers of new and up-and-coming albums. I'm in the process of importing most of my CDs into iTunes and as I've been doing it, it occurred to me that I have some hard-to-find and out of print stuff that I'd like to share with you all.

Anyway, with all that said, my first post in this series is about the late '70s San Francisco punk band The Avengers. Ever since I first heard them when I was 16 (back in those pre-internet days when I used to trade tapes with other punk and hardcore fans across the country and the world), I've considered them one of the finest punk bands ever. Penelope Houston's forceful yet melodic vocals matched Greg Ingraham's slashing guitar power and the superb rhythm section of bassist James Wilsey and drummer Danny Furious to create sonic masterpieces like "We Are the One," "Thin White Line," "Car Crash", "The American in Me" and "Corpus Christi". In the late '90s, Penelope and Greg reunited to play shows and re-record some old songs from the '70s that never saw the light of day for one reason or another with a different rhythm section. These 2 songs, however, are from the self-titled album (really a compilation of singles and other odds and ends from their original incarnation) that was released on the CD Presents label in 1983. Although this is some of the finest punk rock I've ever heard, legal issues have prevented it from being reissued and it languishes out-of-print while going for obscene amounts of money on ebay, Amazon and what not. Since I'm lucky enough to own a copy, I thought I'd share a few songs with you. If you like what you hear, you can buy a digitally remastered CD directly from Penelope here. Furthermore, The Avengers are mounting a rare U.S. tour in the fall which includes a date here in Philadelphia at the First Unitarian Church. I can't wait!

The Avengers - "We Are the One"
The Avengers - "Car Crash"


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Love Monkey Blows

This is a great editorial about some of the many things that's wrong with the new CBS mid-season replacement show Love Monkey. Many of my complaints are encapsulated in this article, but I'll add a few more:
1) There's no way that a married man would complain about having an attractive nanny. If anything, it's his wife who would have a problem with it.
2) The fact that "unhip" Sony/BMG artists like Billy Joel, Air Supply and Starship get dissed. I'm just amazed that Sony/BMG lets CBS get away with this shit.
3) Then again, I could devise a drinking game for every time there's a desperate namedrop or for that matter, for every time Teddy Geiger comes on the screen.

For another anti-Love Monkey rant, click here.

And finally, for even more fun, click here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Haze

This is an awesome interview with Tom Hazelmeyer, the proprietor of Amphetamine Reptile (Am Rep for short) records, who released Helmet's 1st album and singles as well as underground favorites Halo of Flies, The Cows, Lubricated Goat, The Melvins and many others. More recently, they've reissued the Australian (not the also great and much more well-known LA band) X's Aspirations, which I recommend heartily. Thanks for the link, mykel.

I Will Follow You Into the Dark

I went to see Ben Gibbard play a solo show at Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday. He had two other frontmen open for him. The first was Andrew Kenny of the recently departed American Analog Set, who I missed, and the second was Matthew Caws of Nada Surf, who was excellent. I'd never heard any of Nada Surf's tunes besides "Popular" (their 1996 MTV and alternative radio hit) but now I think I'll have to check them out. Anyway, Gibbard came on and played a mix of new and old Death Cab for Cutie songs as well as some cool covers. My full review is here.

Before the show, me and my friend Sara went to Pho Grand, a phenomenal Vietnamese restaurant. I had the spring rolls and a phenomenal cubed beef dish with vegetable fried rice. I can't wait to go back!

Oh and I took the above picture from Stereogum. His review of the show is here.

PREVIOUSLY: My review of Death Cab for Cutie with The Decemberists and Stars at Central Park Summerstage in August.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oh You're So Silent Jens

I've been listening to Jens Lekman a lot lately. I put his singles collection Oh You're So Silent Jens on my Top 10 list for 2005 despite the fact that it consists of previously released material (I'd never heard any of it before, so there). I was worried that as of a month ago, it seemed like he was thinking about retiring from music or at least taking a long sabbatical. This article added to my worries. However, my fears have been quelched at least somewhat by his recent diary entries and hopefully when he's ready he'll come back here since I missed his previous New York shows. Apparently, although he's a superstar in his native Sweden, he still can't get arrested here. What a travesty. Hopefully that'll change soon (or at least enough for him to come back here at some point).

Here's an interview that he did with NPR recently.


I meant to post this earlier, but here's a terrific article from The Guardian about one man's quest to find everyone who's ever played in The Fall. Despite Mark E. Smith's lack of concern for his fellow bandmates (it appears that leaving them stranded at airports and bus stops is his modus operandi for giving them their pink slips), they're still one of my favorite bands of all time, and as Bill pointed out, the band that possesses perhaps the deepest and most exhaustive catalog of anyone in the last 30 years. It's definitely a case of "trust the art, not the artist", but to be honest his restless nature is part of The Fall's appeal and one of the reasons that their music has always seemed so fresh and never boring year after year.

I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One

Me and Anne went to go see 2 nights of Yo La Tengo's 8 nights of Hanukkah at Maxwells recently. My review of the 1st show can be found here and the review of the New Years Eve show will be up shortly. Both shows were excellent, but between the two of them I preferred the first one since Eugene Mirman was the featured comedian and because the sound was excellent, unlike the New Years Eve show.

ADDENDUM: As promised earlier, my review of the New Years Eve show is up here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Start of Something

Voxtrot @ Magnetic Field 12/15/05
This show was added a day before to make up for Voxtrot cancelling the second half of their current tour due to van problems. I first heard them over the summer and I downloaded a few of their songs, which I liked, especially the insanely catchy and very Smiths-like “The Start of Something.” But though they’ve played New York several times since I heard about them, I somehow missed them, and so when I heard about this show, I made sure to check it out. And boy am I glad that I did!

My initial thinking going into the show was that they’re a young band with a lot of potential and talent, but they’re not quite there yet; my impression definitely changed after seeing the show. Playing in a tiny room (imagine a venue half the size of Maxwell’s or Mercury Lounge), Voxtrot put forth enough energy to fill a room many times the size of Magnetic Field and showed that their chops, songwriting talent, and the magnetism of singer/guitarist Ramesh are for real.

Voxtrot’s sound recalls that of The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian, their most obvious influences along with New Order (whose “Love Vigilantes” they covered on this evening). The band’s make-up consists of two guitarists, a multi-instrumentalist who mainly plays keyboards, and a crackerjack rhythm section. While on paper, this combination of influences and musicians may sound potentially derivative or even generic, Voxtrot manages to make this combination into a sound that’s most definitely their own. Even better, they communicated passion and fun (not a standoff-ish cool like oh so many other buzz bands) with every note, which endeared them to the enthusiastic audience.

They played several songs that I recognized, including “The Start of Something,” “Wrecking Force,” and a version of Talking Heads' “Heaven” (originally on the terrific LP Fear of Music), as well as the aforementioned New Order cover. Yet it was even more of a pleasure to hear them play unfamiliar songs, songs which I’ve come to enjoy after picking up Voxtrot’s excellent Raised by Wolves EP. The biggest treat was unexpected: Andrea Vaughn, formerly of the similar-minded Long Island band My Favorite (who I always liked), came on-stage to duet with Ramesh on a great version of the EP title track.

If you have a chance to see them play, I highly recommend it. With good looks to match their terrific playing and memorable songs, I predict big things for them and hope that they come back soon.

What' Obscure 90s Alternative Rock Cult Figure Are You?

You are Primal Scream - poppin' Es, shagging the
finest birds and raising hell!

What Obscure 90s Alternative Rock Cult Figure Are You?
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