Archive for the 'Music' Category

15
Jul
08

To Do List

1. Wake up

2. Get dressed

3. Get into your car

4. Drive to your local record store (Here are 17 great ones)

5. Purchase the new Hold Steady album Stay Positive

6. Take the rest of the day off to enjoy its sweet sweet melodies

09
Jul
08

Jim James can do whatever the fuck he wants

What I’m listening to right now: Lake Shore Drive by Alliota, Haynes & Jeremiah

A lot of great My Morning Jacket tidbits coming out lately, mostly about lead singer Jim James, and all of which make me love this band even more than I already do.

Lets start with this little excerpt from The Smoking Section from this month’s Rolling Stone. Since I can’t seem to find the link, I’ll just type out this gem:

“Ament (bassist for Pearl Jam) also informed us about an upcoming battle of the bands, on a basketball court. ‘Jeff, you better bring your A-game, Gramps, ‘cuz the Jacket’s gonna be ballin’ on all y’all’ Ament read from an e-mail he received from My Morning Jacket’s Jim James. ‘We’re gonna put the hurt on you dawg!’ The showdown was supposed to take place at last years Lollapalooza, but the Jacket backed out. ‘We couldn’t make it,’ says James. Why not? ‘Um, we had to rehearse with an orchestra.'”

I laughed hysterically when i read that line from the e-mail, “The Jacket’s gonna be ballin’ on all y’all!” Haha, ‘The Jacket’. I love it.

Yes, there is real news associated with Jim James. According to multiple sources (here’s the Stereogum article) James will be teaming up with Conor Oberst and M. Ward to do an album. Not many other details there, though we can only hope it will be indie rock’s version of The Traveling Wilburys.

Also hilarious is James’ apparently serious idea of recording under an alter-ego named Sec Walkin, who is an Asian country star. While Asian country music isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I can’t wait to see what comes out of this.

Right now you could be asking, “Hey Jim, how bout instead of doing all this weird crap, why don’t you work on another album?”

Which brings me to the title of this post. Musicians can do all this wierd side project stuff when they’re this good at their main job, which is rocking your socks off (Note: That video is from their 4-HOUR set at Bonnaroo this year, a set which Austin Skaggs of Rolling Stone called “career defining”).

Jesus, does anyone else get chills listening to the beginning of One Big Holiday live?

07
Jul
08

Why has no one thought of this?

What I’m listening to right now: I’m Mikey by The Cool Kids

My brother was reading my book yesterday for the first time, and he says to me, “Dude, I love all the music in here. Its like your book has a soundtrack.” Suddenly the light bulb flickered on, and since then I’ve been wondering why no one in the publishing industry has thought of simultaneously releasing a book with a soundtrack for the book. I have always felt music and books can intertwine so well together thats its a travesty that they haven’t already. Lyrics are basically poetry put to music anyway, so where’s the disconnect?

And then I read this post from Nathan Bransford’s blog, and realized I’m not alone. In fact, the very first comment is about releasing a soundtrack simultaneously with the book. I’m very excited (course now I hope no one beats me to it) that others think this is a good idea.

But now I’m suspicious. Clearly I’m not the first to think of this idea, so why hasn’t it been done yet? I know its easier said than done, as I’m sure you would have to get permission from the artists to use their songs, and maybe that is the central reason why it hasn’t happened yet, but the internet and digital music makes the idea so much easier to implement. All you would have to do is create a passcode or something to put in the book, and then when people buy it, they can go to a website that has been set up, enter the code, and download the soundtrack for free. Radiohead did it, Nine Inch Nails did it (both minus the passcode of course), so why cant the publishing industry do this to market books?

I think it would garner a lot of attention from the media (as it would be a first), but most importantly you would be able to get the attention of millions and millions of music fans who seem to increasingly enjoy their music more when its free. This could amplify depending on how diverse the playlist is. Think of being able to attract fans of Led Zeppelin AND Britney Spears to your book! Ok, thats a little extreme, but you get the idea.

I know this can be done. Someone just needs to work out the details. Hopefully that someone can be me someday, for my book.

30
Jun
08

OBVIOUSLY its about the music

What I’m listening to right now: Paper Planes by M.I.A.

One of the funniest interviews I’ve ever seen with one of my favorite bands. They just completely ignore this poor girl and go on about Insane Clown Posse and what Oprah people would match up to what McDonald’s characters and whatever they seem to feel like talking about while sitting in bed. Whether you even know who these guys are or not, its still hilarious (and if you don’t, then where the fuck have you been?).

They do point out something important though: Great record sales DO NOT necessarily equal great music. Sometimes it just means there are millions of retards out there with $12.99 in their pocket.

And if you’re curious, here’s that Insane Clown Posse website.

And the reason I’m listening to Paper Planes is that the trailers for the movies Pineapple Express have been using the song to perfection. I really wanna see that movie. And Batman of course.

26
Jun
08

Rock God? Really?

What I’m listening to right now: A Day in the Life by The Beatles

Since when did Chris Martin become a “Rock God”? Who voted on this? Why was he even on the ballot? If I had known about this, I would have walked into that room and smacked every single person in there. This flamboyant marching band attire-wearing singer has in no way, shape or form achieved what is necessary to be considered a Rock God.

But that does bring up an interesting discussion. At what point does an artist or band earn the title of Rock God? Is it massive record sales? Legendary offstage antics? An iconic sound? Jaw dropping live performances? Probably a combination of all of them, which makes the title understandably hard to attain.

So lets compare: Here’s Jimi Hendrix, and here’s Coldplay. Here’s Led Zeppelin, and here’s Coldplay. Here’s The Beatles, and… ok you get the point.

I’m sorry, but when I think of Rock Gods, I think of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jim Morrison. Not Chris Martin. I think of Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles. Not Coldplay.

However, this is not to say Coldplay CAN’T someday earn the title. While I’m not a huge fan, they’re pretty decent, and are already one of the biggest bands in the world right now, becoming one of the first UK bands to top the charts in the US in a decade.

So I’m not anti- Coldplay, I just think Rolling Stone is using the term a bit loosely here, and MUCH too soon…

25
Jun
08

Oh no! He’s gonna break his Mac Book Air!

What I’m Listening to: Evil Urges by My Morning Jacket

So apparently Kanye responded to all the “hating” on his Bonnaroo performance on his blog.

Best Line: “I’m typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!!” I wonder if he got paid for that name drop…

“Call me any name you want…. arrogant, conceited, narcissistic, racist, metro, fag whatever you can think of….” That’s a good start. I’ve already beat ya to it though.

“BUT NEVER SAY I DIDN’T GIVE MY ALL! NEVER SAY I DIDN’T GIVE MY ALL!” Apparently you’re “all” wasn’t good enough, especially not good enough to make those fans forget that they waited 2 hours for you. There are just some things in life where “doing your best” doesn’t cut it. If a plastic surgeon get sued for doing a shit nose job, he can’t stand up in court and say, “But I did my best!” Whether he did or not, he still gets sued. Sorry, welcome to real life, not the fantasy world you live in where your Jesus. People do not love you unconditionally, and if they pay money to see you perform, they expect to get their money’s worth, or else you get booed and get light sticks and bottles thrown at you.

And through all this, he still hasn’t come close to apologizing to his fans. All he’s done is bitch bitch bitch. I’m already sick of this douche thrower…

24
Jul
07

You Like This Artist, You Just Don’t Know It Yet: Sufjan Stevens

sufjan-stevens.jpg“Its a Muslim name. I was sort of born into a Subud cult that has ties to Islam and Indonesia and Middle Eastern spiritualism. My parents were kind of trial-and-error when it came to religion.”
Sufjan Stevens (AV Club)
Sufjan Stevens is one of the leading musicians in the resurgence of indie and folk music. His extremely versatile style and seemingly unlimited songwriting imagination has vaulted his music to international acclaim, though his announced intent to release an album in all 50 states hasn’t been ignored either. His soft, melodic voice brings about similarities to Elliott Smith, but with a dozen more instruments behind him, all of which Sufjan plays himself when he records albums, using multi-tracking techniques to put them all together. This gives the music a different sound than most folk music or any music really, as guitars, banjos, pianos, trumpets, violins, and sometimes oboes (yes, oboes) flow together with lyrics combining elements of places such as Flint, Michigan with his own religious and personal experiences

Sufjan was born on July 1, 1975 in Petoskey, Michigan. His name is Armenian and means “comes with a sword.” He supposedly was named by the leader of Subud, a nonreligious, interfaith community where he was born. This environment growing up along with many different religious and family experiences has greatly impacted his own religious thinking and more importantly, his music. “The religious environment I grew up in was so varied, so inconsistent, and had so many faces. (Soft Revolution)” He considers himself a Christian, and while a lot of his music has to do with his spirituality, he has trouble expressing it, and usually tries to stay away from talking about it “I don’t like talking about that stuff in the public forum because, I think, certain themes and convictions are meant for personal conversation. (Comes with a Smile)” He lets his music speak for him, sometimes even doubtingly about the subject:

All the glory that the Lord has made
And the complications you could do without
When I kissed you on the mouth

Tuesday night at the Bible study
We lift our hands and pray over your body
But nothing ever happens

What makes his lyrics so diverse and interesting are how he mixes his deep religious base with the events, people, and places. He has done this primarily in his first two albums of his 50 state recording goal, Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State (also known as Michigan) and Come on, Feel the Illinoise! (also known as Illinois). In the lines above from the song “Casimir Pulaski Day” he uses the odd Illinois holiday as the date in a deeply emotional and religious story about the death of a loved one. Its this kind of deep and thought-provoking music that has won him numerous awards, such as the 2006 PLUG Independent Music Award for Album Of The Year (Illinois), Best Album Art/Packaging (Illinois), and Male Artist Of The Year. Paste Magazine named Illinois as the editors’ choice for best album of 2005, and also received the 2005 Pantheon Award for albums selling 500,000 copies or more.

What further makes his music so unique is his multi instrumental talents. Most of his songs include a variety of odd instruments not normally used in popular music. He is most known for his banjo playing, but his musical repertoire also includes guitar, piano, drums, etc., the most unique being the English horn and oboe. He uses all these instruments in many of his songs, giving them an eclectic, “symphony-like” effect, setting him apart from other folk artists.

Sufjan is a truly gifted musician and songwriter, and it comes through in every single song he creates. His songs are so relaxing and soothing, yet your ears are so awakened by all the different sounds and melodies that it doesn’t put you to sleep. The lyrics delve into the crevices of our innermost thoughts and feelings on death, family, and religion, with the possibility to keep you up all night trying to understand it. Illinois is a must have for any fan of music. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Albums:
A Sun Came – 2000
Enjoy Your Rabbit – 2001
Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lake State – 2003
Seven Swans – 2004
C’mon, Feel The Illinois! – 2005
The Avalanche – 2006
Songs For Christmas – 2006

Cited Sources:
AV Club Interview

Soft Revolution

Comes with a Smile