What do you want me to say, it was
Sunday, September 23, 2007
What do you want me to say, it was
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Socially conscious white-boys with a guitar and a pad of paper are a dime a dozen nowadays. Luckily Bob Dylan came along and saved white
The few missteps on this album result from Ritter becoming possessed by his idol Leonard Cohen, the exercises in misery are a bit much (“Wildfires” and “Moons”). Yet, at its core, Conquests puts Ritter right up there with his contemporaries and effectively raises the bar. Here’s hoping they rise to the challenge.
(Two) Song(s) I advocate paying real money for it’s(they’re) that good: “To the Dogs or Whoever”, “Open Doors”
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Awful. Just plain misery. Take everything I said about the
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
In case you haven’t heard, allow me to be the millionth person to say (before discussing Wilco’s most recent album) that Jeff Tweedy, the long time maestro/face/ voice of the band has… given up prescription pain killers. I mention this simply because most people who decide to talk about Wilco’s newest (and mellowest) album, Sky Blue Sky, feel it relevant. Listening to the album, I couldn’t help but wonder what one had to do with the other since Sky Blue Sky is one of Wilco’s more trance-inducing albums, with songs fading lazily into one another (not quite, but similar, to a Jack Johnson album with better lyrics) in a subdued state that made me question how people would read this as a sign of Tweedy’s sobriety. Perhaps it’s because he is more lucid here, his lyrics more concrete and solid. Gone are the paranoid apparitions of, say, “Kid Smoke” (off of A Ghost is Born), as are the shards of noise and feedback of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot that seemed to be scrapping behind Tweedy’s eyes and into his skull. On second thought, perhaps it’s worth mentioning again… Jeff Tweedy is off prescription painkillers!
I couldn’t offer an opinion either way as to whether or not this is a good thing since Wilco can always be counted on to make good music. But the quiet discipline of Sky Blue Sky, while making it the perfect album to listen to when you’re feeling particularly melancholy or numb (and 70’s AM rock just isn’t cutting it), lacks the devastating cacophonous beauty of previous albums (most notably on tracks: “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and “At Least That’s What You Said”), or the jaunty march of 1999’s Summerteeth, or, heck, any of the Mermaid Avenue albums. Still, there are gems here: “Impossible Germany” is an ideal track for the resolute stoner, and “Hate is Here” is Tweedy at his most Beatles-esque. The best song is, however, the powerful, “Leave Me (Like You Found Me)”, a quiet apology/plea (hence the parenthesis) to an absent lover to rescue the narrator from his addiction (by abandoning him). It is a song that, in any other hands, would sound self-pitying, but with Tweedy’s measured vocals, comes across as sincere and practical.
Jeff Tweedy may be off of prescription painkillers, but he hasn’t lost the ability to craft important music. Still, one hopes that the reconciliation phase of his sobriety has run its course and, on his next album, and that he can go back to kicking the television.
Song I advocate paying real money for it's so good: "Leave me (Like You Found Me)"
Sunday, September 9, 2007
A rejuvenating performance by the Vols. Hopefully it was enough to fend off Appalachian State (thank you Ducks!) and keep us in the top 25. Erik Ainge looked like a mini-Manning (only much taller), distributing the ball across and (finally) down the field with fantastic accuracy and making sophomore Austin Rogers look like Steve Largent resurrected. Ainge’s stats would have been better if his young receivers hadn’t dropped some difficult (but not impossible) balls. Arian Foster was a beast, rushing for an efficient 125 yards on 23 carries. LaMarcus Coker was MIA, but true freshman Lennon Creer came in at the end and showed some serious moves and speed, something
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Who would have thought—despite debuting almost twenty years ago on the tail of punk music—that new wave would have outlasted grunge? Starting as far back 1978, with the evolution of Blondie and Elvis Costello and the debut of bands like Talking Heads and Joy Division, we’re still reaping the benefits; while grunge, although having birthed two of the most significant bands of the last twenty-five years (Nirvana and Pearl Jam), would be hijacked for MTV by a group of suburban white boys aching for hip-hop credibility (Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, Lincoln Park) and dying a slow death as “nu-metal”. While never giving us quite an equivalent (although there are those—like me—who would claim that New Order and The Talking Heads weren’t too shabby), new wave gave us some of the best singles of the 80’s, songs and bands whose influence can be found all over the current indie-rock scene. Heck, one could argue that, until they found Springsteen, The Killers were the best retro-new-wave act around.
Anyone half-interested in listening to the bastard children of Devo and The Buggles would be wise to pick up the self-titled debut of the Norwegien group Datarock. Datarock is a typical example of your older sister’s geek-rock: lots of synthesizers, beats that fit in nicely at the whitest club while also serving as an awesome soundtrack to a Tetris tournament. What makes Datarock stand out isn’t their simple and excessively catchy shoulder-shakers, but the way they successfully blend their influences, most notably Devo and New Order, with a not so subtle splash of their Scandinavian neighbors ABBA. Of course, to attempt such a feat, one needs be aware of the inherent pitfalls, but, thankfully, if there is one thing Datarock has in spades its self-awareness. The first track on the album, “Bulldozer”, is either an elaborate joke, or a Tenacious D-like attempt at crafting—wait for it… the greatest new-wave song of all time! You decide. Here are a few lines form the first verse: Bulldozer, Bulldozer. Bulldozer, Bulldozer. Bulldozer, Bulldozer. Bulldozer, Bulldozer. BMX, IS BETTER THAN SEX. BMX, IS BETTER THAN SEX. Hilarious. If, of course, your like your funny danceable. If that is the case, feel free to enjoy tracks “I Used to Dance with My Daddy”, the best song to use backmasking since “Revolution 9”; or, “Fa-fa-fa” a hopping riff that veers dangerously close to Franz Ferdinand.
Datarock clearly enjoys playing with their influences. Occasionally they drift too far into the shadows of their elders, which can, at times, seem self-indulgent, but they are never boring. While songs like “Computer Camp Love” and “Ugly Primadonna” would hardly qualify as a Devo b-side, “Sex Me Up” and “New Song” could have easily been included on Devo's greatest hits. “The Most Beautiful Girl” is a pitch perfect Human League homage, while “I Will Always Remember” plays like an unrecorded ABBA track, a group whose influences can also be found on the track “Gaburo Girl”. Datarock’s ability to emulate and embellish their mentors is never more apparent than on tracks like “Laurie” and “See What I Care”, the later song being the best song on the album; a track so perfect that it manages to resurrect the melancholy of Joy Division’s (suicidal) Ian Curtis and eerily reunite him with his band-mate's spin-off, New Order. “See What I Care” is such a good song, it has a decent shot of making it onto the soundtrack of Sophia Coppola's next film (and I mean “appearing on the soundtrack” for a Sophia Coppola film as the highest compliment possible for any new wave act). Maybe Datarock’s shtick will get old. But if you’re still dancing, do you really care?
Song I advocate paying real money for it’s so good: “See What I care”
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
"Elvis Presley ain't got no soul.
Jimi Hendrix is rock and roll.
You may dig on the Rolling Stones,
but everything they did they stole.
Elvin Presley ain't got no soul.
Bo Diddley is rock and roll.
You may dig on the Rolling Stones,
but they ain't come up with that shit on they own.
Who am I... Who am I..."-Mos Def
Sunday, September 2, 2007
We lost. We could have won. But it could have been worse. Erik Ainge looked extremely competent, if not a little gimpy when throwing over fifteen yards. Arian Foster, at times, looked big and fast like the Lawrence Phillips of old Nebraska, but he seemed to run out of steam too quickly and too often, on two separate occasions when it seemed like he could have scored—something Cal never looked…slow, that is. Our receivers, mostly freshman and sophomores, were invisible and skittish; one play in particular in which a receiver pussy-footed his way across the middle (a no-no), thus missing probably one of the hardest and most accurate passes from Ainge all night, which he didn’t even see, was a prime example. Our line, with exception of that opening drive, kept Ainge off the turf. Our punter looked terrible, but Vol fans understand that it usually takes a Colquitt until his senior year to be any good. Whoever we have doing the kick-offs might as well boot it out-of-bounds every time because he clearly can’t kick it pass the thirty-yard line, as Cal seemed to start at least on the forty every series; adopting this strategy would guarantee that our opponents start no further than the thirty-five yard line. In order to keep our (suddenly) thin defense rested, our offense is going to have to score often and slowly, especially if they’re going to stick to this no-huddle business. By the end of the game, it was clear that they (the defense) could hardly muster the strength to tackle Justin Forsett (93 yards in the fourth quarter). The good news being that our defense proudly maintained its tradition of being one of the worst tackling teams in the NCAA, a longstanding