Friday, April 24, 2009

The Trollsen Twins

I found myself on PETA's website today when this photo caught my eye on another site:
I figure Holly Madison would rather be naked than pretty much anything, so I won't discuss the photo.  Anyway, I clicked a link which lead me to a page on the "Trollsen twins," Hairy-Kate and Trashley.  Click the link and dick around.  There's a video called Full House of Horrors (If I were Miller/Boyett, I'd sue.) and a game where you can dress the twins in bleeding animal furs.  Look, I don't wear fur and I'm not condoning it.  I don't personally kill animals.  I don't even like Mary-Kate and Ashley.  But isn't it mean of PETA to just make fun of how people look to support their views?  Where are the ethics in calling people ugly?  And most importantly, someone had to spend time making that copyright-infringing video and Flash game.  Couldn't it have been spent doing something more beneficial to their cause instead of personally attacking two girls nobody gives a damn about anymore anyway?  I have other problems with PETA, but Penn & Teller do a better job of pointing out hypocrisy than me.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


Basically, don't donate money to PETA.  Give it to cancer research and children's hospitals instead.  I'd rather be naked than wear fur too, but that doesn't mean I support terrorism.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mo' Street Signs

I sort of feel obligated to make mention of anything having to do with street signs now, so here's an article from The New York Times.  Apparently it's pretty easy to get a street named after you, unless you're Big Pun.  I'm probably gonna take 23rd Street.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

50 Albums You Didn't Hear Before You Were Brutally Raped & Murdered (41-50)

41. Colouring Lesson - Targets

Why You Didn't Hear It: You weren't from Maryland.

Why You Should've: A terrific blend of reggae and rock that actually sounds original.






42. Miniature Tigers - Tell It to the Volcano

Why You Didn't Hear It: You only went to the obvious CMJ showcases.

Why You Should've: It's the best album that sounds like anybody could've made it.





43. Ken Stringfellow - Touched

Why You Didn't Hear It: You're too young to know who the Posies were (I am), so you probably wouldn't care what a former member did.

Why You Should've: The songs are incredibly well written.




44. Sunfold - Toy Tugboats

Why You Didn't Hear It: You didn't know that all the members of Annuals are also this band.

Why You Should've: Arguably better than Annuals, Sunfold retain a similar sound, but seem more relaxed.





45. Spiraling - Transmitter

Why You Didn't Hear It: They aren't signed on a label.

Why You Should've: Imagine the Cars with Rick Wakeman on keys.  Cum yet?




46. James Yuill - Turning Down Water for Air

Why You Didn't Hear It: It hasn't been released in America yet.

Why You Should've: British folker beefs up the electronics to make one toe-tapping/melancholy record.





47. State Radio - Us Against the Crown

Why You Didn't Hear It: You went to college, so somehow you heard of Dispatch, but didn't know that them breaking up was actually the best thing for them.

Why You Should've: Protest rock hasn't been this fun since Rage Against the Machine.




48. Zox - The Wait

Why You Didn't Hear It: They seem to only tour with bands whose ticket prices are ridiculously high.

Why You Should've: They turned a violin into an electric instrument.





49. The Lucksmiths - Warmer Corners

Why You Didn't Hear It: You weren't from Australia.

Why You Should've: Belle and Sebastian without ever being "sad bastard music."






50. The Stills - Without Feathers

Why You Didn't Hear It: You liked Logic Will Break Your Heart, but heard this one didn't sound anything like it.

Why You Should've: It doesn't sound like Logic, which means it's not super-derivative of '80s Brit-rock. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Teenager Audio Test

There is a sound frequency which can generally not be heard by those over 25 that is used to keep teens from loitering in malls.  Go here and play it to see if you can hear it or not.  I'll warn you though, if you can, it's annoying as hell.  I'm interested to try it out again the end of this month when I'm 25.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

50 Albums You Didn't Hear Before You Were Brutally Raped & Murdered (31-40)

31. Oppenheimer - Oppenheimer

Why You Didn't Hear It: You weren't from Northern Ireland.

Why You Should've: The contrast between Shaun's soft vocals and Rocky's vocoder is just one of the many reasons to check this out.



32. Owsley - Owsley

Why You Didn't Hear It: You didn't actively seek out great power pop.

Why You Should've: It's a debut power pop album that was nominated for the Best Engineered Album Grammy.  That's fucking nuts.




33. Caesars - Paper Tigers

Why You Didn't Hear It: You've heard "Jerk It Out" in a movie before, but you didn't know who it was.

Why You Should've: It's a flat-out great rock album.






34. Kelly Bell Band - Phat Blues Music

Why You Didn't Hear It: You'd written off the blues as an old man's genre resistant to change.

Why You Should've: Kelly's powerful voice and "phat blues" style update the blues for all audiences.





35. The Realistics - The Realistics

Why You Didn't Hear It: Really, no one heard of them.  It's not your fault.

Why You Should've: At only 7 songs, it's more of an EP, but it's amazingly catchy, and their full-length was surprisingly disappointing.




36. The World/Inferno Friendship Society - Red-Eyed Soul

Why You Didn't Hear It: You were wholly unfamiliar that carnivalesque ska-punk was a genre.

Why You Should've: Um, it's carnivalesque ska-punk.






37. The Thrills - So Much for the City

Why You Didn't Hear It: You didn't think Irish boys could write songs about California.

Why You Should've: They can, making this an exceptional windows-down beach disc.





38. Steve Burns - Songs for Dustmites

Why You Didn't Hear It: You thought the host of Blue Clues died of a heroin overdose.

Why Should've: He didn't.  He teamed up with Steven Drozd, Michael Ivins, and David Fridmann to make an avant rock record that holds up with the best of the Flaming Lips.




39. 2 Skinnee J's - Supermercado

Why You Didn't Hear It: You assumed rap mixed with rock all sounded like Limp Bizkit.

Why You Should've: These guys had the smartest lyrics in the game... and a keytar.





40. Goldspot - Tally of the Yes Men

Why You Didn't Hear It: They didn't really promote this album in the U.S.

Why You Should've: I don't really hear the Bollywood influence on this one, but I do hear a bunch of great songs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

50 Albums You Didn't Hear Before You Were Brutally Raped & Murdered (21-30)

21. Page France - Hello, Dear Wind

Why You Didn't Hear It: You mistook them for Sage Francis.

Why You Should've: This is the best non-Elephant 6 Elephant 6-sounding record out there.






22. Hotel Lights - Hotel Lights

Why You Didn't Hear It: You figured when Ben Folds Five broke up, the other guys just got jobs at Taco Bell.

Why You Should've: Darren Jessee, BFF's drummer, fronts this mellow outfit and writes some lovely tunes.






Why You Didn't Hear It: You don't listen to bands from France, even if they sing in English.

Why You Should've: They're getting ready to be really big, and this album is their best.





24. Kyte - Kyte

Why You Didn't Hear It: It's relatively new.

Why You Should've: They blend shoegaze and electronica into a soothing collection of songs.







Why You Didn't Hear It: You knew the one guy in the Postal Service, but not this one.

Why You Should've: "(This is) the Dream of Evan & Chan" was the synthesis of the Postal Service, and the other songs are great too.




26. Frank Turner - Love, Ire, & Song

Why You Didn't Hear It: It never even crossed your mind that folk-rock from an ex-hardcore British punk could be any good.

Why You Should've: "Substitute" has some of the best lyrics I've ever heard, and it's not even my favorite song on the album.





27. Sound Team - Movie Monster

Why You Didn't Hear It: Pitchfork was your Bible, and you went to Hell for it.

Why You Should've: Fuck Pitchfork.  This is some of the best anthemic indie rock ever recorded.






28. Jason Darling - Night Like My Head

Why You Didn't Hear It: You didn't visit used record stores.

Why You Should've: Darling was folktronica before it was cool.





29. Nightmare of You - Nightmare of You

Why You Didn't Hear It: You heard they were emo.

Why You Should've: They're not.  Throw the Jam and the Smiths into a blender, and you've got a band better than both of them.






30. Styrofoam - Nothing's Lost

Why You Didn't Hear It: You claimed you didn't like electronic music because it was too glitchy.

Why You Should've: Sure, it's glitchy, but it has songs and not just soundscapes.  Bonus points for hottie on the cover. 

Baseball Is Lame! Toilets Are Awesome!

Just read an article in The New York Times about the bathrooms at the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.  It contained the following sentence:

Groups including the American Restroom Association and the World Toilet Organization view quick access to clean public toilets as no laughing matter. 

No laughing matter?  The World Toilet Organization is like the funniest thing I've ever heard of.  I went to their website, which is even better because they call themselves WTO.  You know, like the World Trade Organization.  Hahahaha.  The American Restroom Association's website is pretty much crap.

Here's a cat taking a pee.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hell Isn't Even That Funny

I am going to be incredibly cool right now.  How dare me include on my list Chris Glover's Hell Isn't Even That Funny, an album that was never officially released.  So I'm going to provide a link to download it.  The catch?  There's always a catch.  You have to make the same promise I did to Chris.  If you dig this one (and you will), you must purchase his next one.  I'd say that's fair.  He's currently recording under the name Penguin Prison.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lil Wayne Sucks

The cover story for Rolling Stone this week was on Lil Wayne.  Because I don't listen to the radio or watch MTV, I'm fairly unfamiliar with Weezy, but I read the article 'cause I'm not reading a book at the moment.  Wayne claims he's the "talentedest nigga ever," and while I've only ever listened to one of his songs all the way through, I would disagree.  If I had to give out a Talentedest Nigga Ever Award, I'd probably give it to Booker T. Washington.  Not only was he a guiding force at Tuskegee; he made some fabulous records with the MG's.

In searching for a clip of Lil Wayne performing in a high school production of The Wiz on YouTube, I could not find it, but did find what appears to be a common sub-genre on the site: The "Lil Wayne Sucks" Video.  Apparently a lot of people like to turn on their webcam for up to ten minutes and just start talking shit about Lil Wayne.  So I spent my Easter checking out some of them:

Lil Wayne Is GARBAGE!!! by TrueTalkTV
Gist: Guy knew what he wanted to get across and keeps it brief, but the example he gives of a good rapper (his cousin) isn't any good.
Made it to: 2:02/2:22
Watched: 86%
Views: 20,995

Lil Wayne Sucks by Newpalproductions

Gist: Somebody behind the camera thinks this guy is funny, but not me.
Made it to: 1:41/3:32
Watched: 48%
Views: 161,261

Lil Wayne Sucks Nuts by SquirtlesDad

Gist: He put some time into this one, but that doesn't make it good.  He did make me laugh when he said, "It's pretty old, but ain't growin' hairs."
Made it to: 3:49/5:28
Watched: 70%
Views: 56,844

Lil Wayne Sucks by doggierind

Gist: No one knows where Queequeg or wherever the hell you live is, so we don't care.  What's even worse is this guy is attractive.  He should be out getting some, not making ten-minute-long webcam videos about Lil Wayne.
Made it to: 2:41/9:46
Watched: 27%
Views: 6,850

Lil Wayne Sucks! by Delroy1405

Gist: Delroy is too emotional about it and seems unprepared.
Made it to: 1:05/4:59
Watched: 22%
Views: 1,590

Lil' Wayne by MattLFJr

Gist: Turns out it wasn't a "Lil Wayne Sucks" vid, but I enjoyed everything except for the Lil Wayne part.
Made it to: 1:02/1:02
Watched: 100%
Views: 142

HQ Biscuits! by MattLFJr

Gist: Not Lil Wayne, but this kid cracks me up.
Made it to: 1:06/1:06
Watched: 100%
Views: 193

iMatt by MattLFJr

Gist: "The camera loves you."
Made it to: 1:04/1:04
Watched: 100%
Views: 51

Verdict: Lil Wayne sucks.  "Lil Wayne Sucks" videos suck.  Matt rocks.  See all his videos here.

50 Albums You Didn't Hear Before You Were Brutally Raped & Murdered (11-20)


11. Faded Paper Figures - Dynamo

Why You Didn't Hear It: There has been no press for them like at all.

Why You Should've: It takes the place of the sophomore Postal Service album we'll never get.





12. Blitzen Trapper - Field Rexx

Why You Didn't Hear It: You heard "Furr" on KEXP and liked it, but were too lazy to check out their back catalog.

Why You Should've: Stylistically, it's a perfect balance between the scatterbrained Wild Mountain Nation Blitzen Trapper and the focused Furr Blitzen Trapper.




13. Filomath - Filomath

Why You Didn't Hear It: The lead singer wasn't on American Idol.

Why You Should've: It's pop/rock at its most poppy and most rocking.






14. Animal Liberation Orchestra - Fly Between Falls

Why You Didn't Hear It: You thought all jam bands were Grateful Dead rip-offs.

Why You Should've: ALO know how to jam, but they also prove they can write some amazing songs.




15. Johnathan Rice - Further North

Why You Didn't Hear It: You were lusting after Jenny Lewis so much that you just couldn't believe you weren't her boyfriend.

Why You Should've: When you mix country and rock, you should get this, not that bullshit on CMT.





16. Mike Doughty - Haughty Melodic

Why You Didn't Hear It: You liked Soul Coughing so much that you couldn't bear to try Doughty solo.

Why You Should've: Doughty's poetic lyrics are even better when they're not being smothered by weird samples.





17. Cody Chesnutt - The Headphone Masterpiece

Why You Didn't Hear It: Double-albums scared you.

Why You Should've: After a few listens (with headphones, mind you), you'd realize that this collection of ideas both developed and half-baked truly is a soulful masterpiece.





18. Peter Salett - Heart of Mine

Why You Didn't Hear It: You didn't know Guitar Dude from Wet Hot American Summer was actually a "guitar dude."

Why You Should've: On this one, Peter runs the gamut of folk-rock styles, stringing them together with his expressive voice.





19. Mobius Band - Heaven

Why You Didn't Hear It: You don't visit Daytrotter.

Why You Should've: Extremely catchy songs without ever being pop.






20. Chris Glover - Hell Isn't Even That Funny

Why You Didn't Hear It: Interscope never released it.

Why You Should've: Glover claims he makes music for someone who listens to a lot of different genres, and he's absolutely right on this lost treasure.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Piracy Solution

There's still a U.S. captain being held by pirates off of Somalia.  And everybody's still trying to figure out what to do.  Isn't it obvious?  Throw those fuckers a treasure map.  Pirates love that shit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (for Real)

An article in the New York Times claims scientists in Brooklyn have been able to tamper with the level of a substance called PKMzeta in animals' brains, effectively erasing their memories.  The hope is that they can extend this to humans, and choose certain unfavorable remembrances (trauma, addiction, etc.) to erase.  In doing so, they also hope to discover ways to strengthen the memory, curbing Alzheimer's and dementia.

Maybe they need to watch the movie before they go all Lacuna, Inc. on us.  Only briefly questioned in the article is the fact that this will require a drug, and once people start erasing particular memories, will they begin experimenting to erase others?  Won't they just be substituting one addiction for another?  Do people not realize that our experiences are what make us who we are?  Look, I'm all for strengthening recall and getting rid of Alzheimer's, but let's work on that before we go erasing the memories we still have.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Stars?

I'm assuming enough of you have heard of Stars, the Canadian indie band on Arts & Crafts, to know whom I'm posting about.  If not, sorry, I figured you had, so I left them off the 50 Albums list.  Heart is their best, though Set Yourself on Fire comes in at a close second.  (I promise I'll finish the list too.  I've been doing the layout of a book all day, and don't feel like dealing with Blogger's photo limitations right now.)

Some time ago, when they were touring, Stars posted a bulletin on MySpace asking for a fan to bring marijuana to that night's show.  Apparently, Torq needs his reefer.  And what did the lucky fan get if they brought Stars some weed?  A t-shirt.  With Stars shirts going for $20 apiece on their website, and a dime bag probably costing around twice as much now, it's an even trade.  But that's just it.  It's a totally even trade.  No free ticket to the show, and now your weed's all gone.  That's actually a shit deal.

Today they posted another bulletin:

hello!
stars are writing our new album in vancouver starting on wednesday and we find ourselves at the last minute bereft of the tools necessary to come up with some more sadomasochistic​ m.o.r. goodness for y'all. here's the pitch: we are looking for two really good guitars, a really good bass guitar, a two channel bass amp, two 2 channel guitar amps, a p.a., a microkorg and a moog odyssey type deal...should anyone of our beautiful western listeners own such things , and feels inclined to lend them to us from the 8th of april til the 18th, you will forever be on the vancouver guest list and receive one of Amy's beautiful smiles of gratitude. help! indie rock is scaring us! if you think you can lend us any of this and get it to our jamspace by wednesday morning, write us back and leave a contact. thanks in advance.​.​.​.​bands.​.​.​those funny little plans...that never seem quite right....
xostars


What?  You didn't bring your fucking instruments to a recording session for your new album?  Maybe you should take a little break from the bud if you're gonna forget your PA system.  At least with this "deal," you actually get on the guestlist.  But wait, let's do some math.  Let's be very generous and assume Stars perform in Vancouver twice a year.  Let's say with service charges, a ticket will run you $35 Canadian.  (Hey, paper's more expensive up there or something.  You've seen how much books cost.)  Let's be even more generous and assume that the 10-year-old Stars (a band whose members all play in other projects) last ten more years.

2 shows x $35 ticket x 10 years = $700

$700 to rent a bass, three amps, two keyboards, and a PA for ten days?  Okay, Stars, but Amy's smile better come with a handjob, and the album better be better than the last one.  And I want my weed back.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

50 Albums You Didn't Hear Before You Were Brutally Raped & Murdered

I find lists very interesting, but ranking things is such a subjective sort of process.  Take for instance, Rolling Stone's recent "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time."  Now it's a given that black people sing better than white people, and that 7 of the top 10 are African-American is a testament to this.  But Bob Dylan is ranked the seventh greatest singer of all time, behind only Elvis Presley and John Lennon as far as honkies.  That means Bob Dylan is the third best white singer ever.  If you're a white person, how does that make you feel?  If you're anybody, how do you feel that Otis Redding is right behind him?

I also find it intriguing when people don't number their lists in any order, but rather, make the list a collective of things to do... or else.  There's a whole series of 1001 Things to Do Before You Die, including albums to hear, buildings to see, foods you must taste, etc.  I like this sort of idea better, but there are usually so many painfully obvious choices on these lists that over half seem a waste.  Of course you have to hear Exodus and see the Parthenon.

Because I love lists, but find problems with both types' shortcomings, I have decided to make my own list, which may be the first of a series, or not, depending upon response.  The list?  "50 Albums You Didn't Hear Before You Were Brutally Raped & Murdered."  This list represents fifty albums that for one reason or another, you probably haven't heard yet, but should.  If you have heard some of these (or even most of these, which seems unlikely), just feel good about yourself.  There aren't any painfully obvious choices on this list.  If they seem obvious, it's probably because you've been hanging around me.  Why the vulgar result?  "Before you die" seems so far off and dismissible.  Plus, this list is a full 951 items less than those others, so there's no reason in today's instant access world why you shouldn't be able to hear these albums within 3 years, the national average waiting period for rape-death. 

I'm gonna do them in order of album name in groups of ten.  Without further chit-chat...

50 Albums You Didn't Hear Before You Were Brutally Raped & Murdered


Why You Didn't Hear It: You had DVR and fast-forwarded right past the Esurance commercial featuring "Lucky Today."

Why You Should've: The album came out years before the commercial, and the songs artfully deal with the unexpected death of lead singer Craig Minowa's two year-old son.




2. Nathan Johnson & the Cinematic Underground - Annasthesia

Why You Didn't Hear It: You didn't see Brick, so you were never exposed to Johnson and company.

Why You Should've: It's a modern-day concept album that sounds like Radiohead plus bicycle parts.





3. Jarflys - Anonymous

Why You Didn't Hear It: You didn't know the guy from Jimmie's Chicken Shack had another band.

Why You Should've: Acoustic-based jam-rock shows a softer side of Jimi Haha, and the best stuff he's made since Pushing the Salmonella Envelope.





Why You Didn't Hear It: You were unaware James Taylor and Carly Simon had kids.

Why You Should've: Ben's album recalls his father's records of the '70s, but he still manages to develop his own style.





5. Mankind Liberation Front - Automind

Why You Didn't Hear It: You never listened to my radio show, Jenny Eats Something.

Why You Should've: This "slaptrack" album is mix of electronic, ambient, and rock sounds, and still remains accessible to all listeners.



6. A.M. Sixty - Big as the Sky

Why You Didn't Hear It: You didn't know the guy from Mosquitos made music before he got all bossa nova on your ass.

Why You Should've: Chronicling a whole relationship (lasting one day?), Chris Root's simple lyrics and melodies make this the perfect album for a summer day.




7. Max├»mo Park - A Certain Trigger

Why You Didn't Hear It: For you, the "new British invasion" only meant Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party.

Why You Should've: Being well-read has never sounded so energetic.





8. The Submarines - Declare a New State!

Why You Didn't Hear It: You don't judge albums by their covers.

Why You Should've: I liked the cover, so I picked up this beautiful account of the two members' real-life relationship/break-up/marriage.





9. Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures

Why You Didn't Hear It: Your knowledge of Sub Pop's catalog was limited to Nirvana, the Shins, and the Postal Service.

Why You Should've: Rogue Wave's last Sub Pop album, and first as a full band, is exactly what great indie rock should be.





10. Margot & the Nuclear So & So's - The Dust of Retreat

Why You Didn't Hear It: I'm not so sure 'cause I figured everyone had heard of them, but when I asked you, you hadn't.

Why You Should've: This nine-piece band avoids the wasteful Arcade Fire-influenced group-yelling that seems to be so standard nowadays, and focuses on making 12 beautiful songs that flow together seamlessly.