Tag Archives: She Wants Revenge

You Must Bear Your Neighbor’s Burden Within Reason

Last year was a fine year for music, but only a few things really wowed me. That’s not to say it was completely bereft of anything good, but the prevailing theme, at least in my estimation, was that while 2009 was a banner year for new talent & a resurgence of older talent, 2010 had very little to offer. 2011 is shaping up to be, already, one of the better years. The Decemberists came out with a new album on Tuesday & it’s their best album yet. It hits chords in my soul that bring out such joy, that I can’t help but sway.

I suppose I should address the elephant in the blog & explain my prolonged absence. Boredom. That’s it. I was completely & utterly bored with anything that was coming out. I was searching for new & exciting things to come my way. Lissie made an album that I adore, but I couldn’t write anything that hadn’t been said. I had a whole soliloquy ready for the brilliance of Ray Lamontagne’s overnight transformation from Indie darling to bluegrass star & yet nothing came out. There was a block of sorts & much of it came from the draining effects of writing a book about my travels through Europe. A book that is finished in its infant form, but must now be raised into something I can market.

There were a few other albums that I quite enjoyed: Justin Townes Earle, Head & the Heart, Broken Bells, The Black Keys & obviously Arcade Fire which was the best album of the year, but perhaps through my own depression of  the musical offerings being put out there or indifference the ability to cognitively discuss these in terms that were worth reading was nonexistent. So here sat the blog. Relatively unchanged throughout the year as I struggled to put my thoughts into words. I feel I’ve made some sort of a turning point, even though I intended to begin writing last week. To be cliche I suppose it’s better late than never.

So I purchased two albums from Amazon the other day (yes I buy my music), where the $3.99 deals keep me coming back & spending on things I would otherwise think twice about buying. I bought Social Distortion’s new album Hard Time & Nursery Rhymes & the aforementioned Decemberists album The King is Dead. Let’s discuss Social D’s new album first. It’s been  7 years since they released an album & a few years since Mike Ness has come out with an album, himself. I’ve always been a fringe fan of Social D’s, as I do not have the dancing skeleton tattooed anywhere on my body. It has that patented loud Gibson sound & gruff Mike Ness nosy drawl, but with lyrics that seem to have more emotional impact than ever before. Take for instance “Still Alive”  where Ness pleads,

“I’m still alive, I will survive, I can handle what life brings, just give me time…I’m still alive, talking the same ol’ jive, I can handle anything that comes my way, just give me another day”

It ends with a short, but beautiful piano solo that made me really feel that this album rivals anything they’ve ever done. It is so reminiscent of early Springsteen that I haven’t stopped listening to it for 3 days. That is, except to listen to The Decemberists’ new album The King is Dead, an album which seems to have awoken them from their prog rock malaise from the past few years. It sounds so similar to early R.E.M. that it came as no surprise to see that Peter Buck contributed to three of the tracks. The opening track almost sounds Tom Pettyesque with heavy drums taking the forefront much like “You Don’t Know How it Feels”.

Colin Meloy really lets loose with his voice on The King is Dead & goes places that I haven’t heard him dare go vocally before. It shows that the risks were worth taking. Changing the sound & straying away from that boring sound have worked wonders & even though it came out in January there’s a distinct feeling that come coincidentally December we will still be talking about this album as one of the best of the year.

I can’t say I will write everyday as I do have a job that requires a good chunk of time, but I will continue to talk about things I love & look forward to talking about new releases from groups like Foxxhound, Two Guns, Cold War Kids, Amos Lee, Drive-by Truckers & Okkervill River. It will be a banner year for Indie music & soon Indie Music will become alternative & all the kids will have to jump on the bandwagon. I’m fine by that. Music should be loved by all & not thrown into some meta category to be hated once it becomes popular to the masses. If it’s good, love it. If it sucks, hate it, but don’t despise popular music for being popular. Despise it, much like I despise She Wants Revenge & Jason Mraz for being bad at music.

Machine Gun Blues – Social Distortion

Sweet & Lowdown – Social Distortion

Still Alive – Social Distortion

Don’t Carry It All – The Decemberists

This is Why We Fight – The Decemberists

Blazin’ on A Sunny Afternoon

It’s hot as the surface of the sun in Hollywood today & if you’re not aware I hate heat. I love rain & mid-temperatures. Why live in L.A. then? Yeah, good question cause, in my opinion L.A. has the best music scene in the U.S. Every band inevitably rolls through L.A. & the women are ridiculously beautiful as well. The trick is to rummage through the vapid ones (usually actresses) to get to the quality ones (Usually not from L.A.). L.A. has everything at  your fingertips. So once you get past the idiots & the heat it’s a town that is easily consumed.

See L.A. is much like blogging. There are bloggers who refrain from anything remotely mainstream, not because they don’t like, but because it’s not considered cool. Fuck cool I like good music. Mainstream, indie, underground, the guy on the corner with a saxophone (the guy by the Hollywood Bowl that smoked me out rocked). Music should not have a designation that makes it cool. It’s all personal preference. Like my personal preference means you’ll never hear Dave Matthews Band, Phish, She Wants Revenge or Jason Mraz on this blog. The reason is because my personal preference is that all these bands are awful at making music. Jason Mraz is really the worst “musician” around today. I wish he got amnesia tomorrow, forgot he was a musician & went off & cured Cat Herpes or something.  That being said enjoy some songs while boiling. Hopefully, you’re in air conditioning like me.

Sunday Morning Comin’ Down – Kris Kristofferson

Los Angeles – Sugarcult

Indian Summer – The Doors

A Sunday Smile – Beirut

To Live & Die in L.A. – Tupac Shakur

Heat – Common

Church on Sunday – Green Day

Downtown L.A. – J.J. Cale

Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks

BONUS:

Sunday Morning Coming Down – Johnny Cash

The Fickleness of Music Snobs

So it’s that time again to rate our best albums of the year. Rolling Stone’s done it, Spin and every other magazine you can think of as well. Why do we read these lists as if they’re gospel? There are the subtle lesser known albums always thrown in to make it look like the writer is some sort of music savant and not some corporate douche bag.

A clever ploy to make the reader think the writer has some deeper motive than to tell girls in a bar that he writes for Rolling Stone. “Check out my list. I’ve always been a huge fan of Belle and Sebastian. Wanna go back to my place and listen to me talk about how deep I am while I get you drunk enough to make me look good and your inhibitions wash away?”

The fact is everyone has different tastes. Some people like music with absolutely no substance that showcases absolutely nothing but an ability to make money. Case in point Gwen Stefani. Fuck you, Gwen. I haven’t seen excrement of this magnitude since T.V. on the Radio decided to form a group. I mean really is this a High School fucking drumline? She was in NO DOUBT!!! Poppy…sure. Catchy…of course. But talented and fun and isn’t that on some level what we want out of our music? Yes, we want the Dylan’s, the Springsteen’s, the U2’s, but we also want the Green Day’s, the Rancid’s, The Panic at the Disco’s, the Blink 182’s, etc.

There’s a place for sad bastard music, but there’s also a place for unabashed pop-punk. Why is it so bad to enjoy Panic at the Disco? Like their predecessors of Poppiness (Blink-182, Culture Club, The Monkees) Panic is a dirty word when it comes to expressing a band that one enjoys. Imagine going into a conversation with some music snobs and expressing your undying affection for Panic at the Disco. You explain how clever their lyrics are, how they look like they actually enjoy what they’re doing, how they don’t rant about curing hunger in Africa or the current administrations lack of ethics and how you think that’s okay.

The most likely response would be something to the effect of…”They’re too poppy. They remind me of Blink 182. I hate emo.” Great argument! Number 1 they’re not an emo band. Emo is sad bastard music that makes you want to harm yourself and others i.e. Dashboard Confessional. Number 2 who gives a fuck? So they have catchy lyrics and cool riffs. So did the Beatles! Does that make them a shitty band? Is it their ages? Is it the campiness of the videos they make? Is it because 15 year old girls love them?

Music is completely subjective. I won’t bore you with my top ten albums of the year cause it’s of no consequence, I’m a lowly writing button pusher with enough sense to know that because I think She Wants Revenge, TV on the Radio and Gwen Stefani are the worst things to happen to music since Disco, that doesn’t mean you will agree. This coming from a guy who has Benny Mardones, Chicago (not cool “Saturday in the Park” Chicago, but 80s Peter Cetera has no penis Chicago) and James Taylor among others in his I-POD. Am I ashamed? Sure I am, but I still like some music that is considered no bueno and that’s cool. Diversity is okay. If you don’t like it then don’t listen, but don’t hate bands cause they’re popular. It’s absolutely okay if a band sells out, otherwise they’d wallow in obscurity forever like the Honeycuts…who? exactly.

Rolling Stone Writer’s Lack of Vision

I thought writers were supposed to be self effacing , self critical and self loathing people with low self esteem. Why should the fucking writers at Rolling Stone dictate what’s good and what isn’t? Case and point or is it Case in point?I think the former. I digress, there is a band called Television on Radio that is absolute crap. They may be the worst thing since She Wants Revenge or even worse. They may be as bad as Matisyahu. Their new album would surely end the war in Iraq, quickly, if we blasted it WACO style.

Rolling Stone says it may be the best album of the year…OF THE FUCKING YEAR! It’s not even the best album of the day it came out. Meanwhile, Pete Yorn’s new album “Nightcrawler” (get it today) is given two stars and called mumbling boredom. While I admit that’s a great line it is not indicative of how truly good this fucking album is. I love it!!! I’m no fascist. I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion, but shit get a fucking clue. Weird shit doesn’t make it some kind of experimental brilliance (my line) it just makes it weird and in this case completely fucked.

Shame on Rolling Stone for being moronic. Wait I’m having a thought, my brain is twitching, maybe I’ll make an album of koala’s fucking and throw a drum beat behind it with a fucking tuba and call it oh I don’t know Koala’s Inc. I could make millions and win the undying adulation of every major magazine publisher out there.