Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two For Tuesday (and more)

(great cover, eh?)

Hola, mi amigos! Just a quick note of a couple of songs that I was listening to this morning.

Neko Case - "People Got a Lot of Nerve"

The New Pornographers chantuese is back with a new album next week after a stellar effort a couple years back. This song is STRONG. She has a great voice. This album is already getting CRAZY good reviews (not 5 stars but 4.5's!). We'll see what the arses at Pitchfork say....definitely check this one out. It's almost as good as Hall and Oates - Maneater. Download it, and you'll see what I mean...

Dan Auerbach - "My Last Mistake"

The Black Keys lead singer has done the inevitable Gwen Stefani and put out a solo album. I'm gonna pick it up today, and I'll be back with a follow-up. Hopefully, it has some more of the retro bluesy sounds of this song.

The Thermals - "Now We Can See"

So, the Thermals have gone soft....After years on Sub Pop with some fuzzed out sounds, it looks like their transition to Kill Rock Stars for their new album has gone the way of pop (check out the "oh wee oh oh" chants in the chorus of this 1st single). Now, I'm not gonna go off like other bloggers calling for their head. It's still an OK song. We'll see about the rest of the album when it arrives at the beginning of April. For some better Thermals, see "A Pillar of Salt" off their last one or "How We Know" off the one before that...

M. Ward - "Never Had Nobody Like You" (featuring Zooey Deschanel)

Quick to capitalize on the success of She & Him, Ward's 1st single is a rehash of the same formula. Not Bad.

The Von Bondies - "21st Birthday" & "Pale Bride"

What happened to these jokers? After Pawn Shoppe Heart, the best thing they did was land the theme song for Rescue Me and a punch in the face from Jack White (literally). What a beat down! Said something about his mother being low class.....(not really. That's Mallrats. "Brodie: You're giving up? You? You used to be stand-up guy, what happened to him? The guy who punched Amanda Gross's mother after she called him 'low class' ")


Saturday, February 21, 2009

So Long, Consie...

There will be a void in my life now at 12:30 at night (11:30 on God's time). Last night Conan O'Brien signed off for the last time with his old friends, Jack and Meg White - the White Stripes, re-uniting for a very special appearance to play his favorite song, "We Are Gonna Be Friends". Late Night with Conan O'Brien is no more. Taking the reins from David Letterman after the Johnny Carson retirement/Letterman vs. Leno madness in 1993, Conan and his sidekick Andy Richter got off to a rough start and were nearly run off the air. SNL producer Lorne Michaels plucked Conan from anonymity to be the new host of the Late Show. Born and raised in my current town of Brookline, MA, O'Brien graduated from Brookline High School as Valedictorian and went on to Harvard where he was the Editor of the Harvard Lampoon. After a stint in the late 80's/early 90's as a writer on SNL, Conan left to become a writer for the Simpsons (he wrote the infamous Monorail episode). In the year after he left for the Simpsons, Lorne Michaels kept Conan's office untouched with his name on the door just in case he came back. When all the late night drama went down in 1993 at NBC, Michaels took one of the bigger leaps of faith in TV history screen testing and auditioning only one candidate for the new Late Show - Conan O'Brien.
Regardless of his slow start, Late Night began to gain steam with the 18-40 y.o. crowd and eventually snowballed into a hit by 1996 when the show was recognized by the Emmys for best writing. The blend of awkwardness and sophomoric humor struck a chord with teenagers and college students who were likely the few people awake at midnight. While so many moments of Late Night were so bad they were good, these cringe worthy moments have brought so much laughter and joy to me for 15 years. Characters like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, the masturbating bear, Preparation-H Raymond, and Frankenstein can only scratch the surface of madness that been sent out over the airways.

If you have never seen Triumph at the Star Wars premier - PLEASE watch!

Part II (I'm crying watching this)

The via satellite conversations with the overdubbed mouth were always classic with frequent guests like Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger leaving me in stitches (my favorite had to be John Rocker amid his homophobic public meltdown courtesy of an SI interview).
Late Night with Conan O'Brien - Bill Clinton (8/28/08)
Can you beat the Walker Texas Ranger lever? (and that was before all the stupid Chuck Norris craze) How can you forget In the Year 2000? Conan has always been an excellent interviewer of his guests. He actually appears to care. Nevertheless, he always turned to mush when it came to interviewing the ladies (see: Rebecca Romijn or Izabel Goulart see video). Hopefully, he can take all of this and find success on the west coast when he takes over the Tonight Show on June 1. His band, the Max Weinberg 7, and announcer, Joel Goddard, are coming along for the ride. I don't think Jimmy Fallon will fill my Late Night void, but I will support him nonetheless. Can't wait to see if Conan has to grow as his time slot moves up. I don't think so. So long or now old friend. We'll see you on the other side.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two For Tuesday

This is a modified 2 for Tuesday. Today, the Black Lips release 200 Million Thousand and The Muslims (The Soft Pack) - LP gets its repress after selling out it's short run last year. It is quite ironic that they are together today. The 1st time I heard the Muslims, I thought,

"The Black Lips much?"

The Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand
This Atlanta fivesome plays the music I love: dirty, lo-fi, garage rock. It's just a bunch of guitars with what sounds like Danelectro faux-tube overdrive veering into surf rock via the Memphis garage. Their last one Good Bad Not Evil was one of my top 5 records of 2007. I have a couple of leaked songs from this venture, sounds like they are not going to fix it if it ain't broke. I finally got to see these boys when they opened for the Raconteurs last summer in Beantown - a fun time! If you've never heard them. Check them out.
(from the last album "Bad Kids" or "Cold Hands" or "O'Katrina" are some of my favs)

Download: "Short Fuse"

The Muslims - (s/t)
I think I've said enough about the Soft Pack. These San Diego prepster garagers are coming here March 28, and I am beside myself with excitement!!!!
Get this album via InSound or illegally...

Download: "Extinction" or "Right or Wrong"

Just noticed that Black Lips comes out NEXT Tuesday.....

Guess I shoulda talked about M.Ward's new one...

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Hype Machine

2 months into 2009, 2 albums/bands have been getting British rag levels of hype. Before the ball had dropped in the Big Apple, the interweb was alive and buzzing about Animal Collective's forthcoming album, Merriweather Post Pavillion (named for an outdoor amphitheater in Maryland?). If you've never heard AC, you are not missing out on too much (especially, if you are straight - and by straight I mean laced - not sexual preference). AC's music would be phenomenal if you were a habitual user of hallucinogens. Since I'm not, I find it OK. My experience with Avey Tare and Panda Bear (the core members of this trippy folk union) basically was nothing past their album Sung Tongs (get it? Tongue Songs? these guys are a riot...) and Prospect Hummer. They came out from under a rock and into my life my 2nd year of dental school, and I admit I have some songs off theirs still on my iPod ("Who Could Win a Rabbit"). It is weird, and not something I would seek out on the pod to listen to regularly.


In a move that like so many other bands that find success will be described as the moment they sold out - This latest venture is successful. It is bizarre like AC but not to the point of driving me nuts. If you want something interesting to listen to while you do other things (for me: Commute on the subway) that you don't need to concentrate on, this is for you. They have finally added just a splash of Pop sensibility to their sound to make it palatable. With all the 5 stars and album of the year 2009 cries from critics, it would be hard to live up to the hype. I'm shocked and amazed that I'm saying this - IT DOES. As we began the new year, I was already dreading what the masses of weirdos would be saying about this album (see here). They said it and were right. I have given it a month of thorough attention: It's good.

VERDICT: Hypeworthy

DOWNLOAD: "My Girls"

If you have read a music Blog at all since the end of January, it is highly likely that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have been mentioned. The current darlings of the moment released their debut week before last, and the bloggers are just now starting to calm down. My vinyl copy came lovingly bubble wrapped from InSound week before last, and I have given it a many spins. It is simply a lovely little indie pop record. Not as sugary as the New Pornographers and not as mopey as the Smiths, PoBPaH have crafted a solid effort that is very pleasant (Robert Smith would be proud). While you will find that nearly every song sounds the same (let's be honest, we could argue that case against almost any band....), you'll also find yourself bouncing in your seat to each one. As a new proud father of Wii Fit (thanks, K-Mart.com for actually having one in stock), I like to do my morning routine to this one. Upbeat enough to work out with and not too loud to blow your concentration on your downward facing dog (shoot me...).

VERDICT: Hypeworthy
DOWNLOAD: "Everything With You" or "Young Adult Friction"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

To all you lovers out there, happy day!
I love you, Whitney!
(curse you Hallmark and your money making holiday...)

What's My Age Again?

Blink-182 are back! They presented an award last Sunday at the Grammys, and announced they are gonna make music together again. Wow. Tom Delonge and Mark Hoppus are putting away their swords (and attitudes) probably in wake of drummer, Travis Barker's, fatal plane crash (note: Barker was not killed though the pilots were along with Barker's friend and manager - Barker and DJ Adam "AM" Goldstein were the lone surivers...) last year in South Carolina. After side projects from each of them (Hoppus - +44, Delonge - Angels & Airwaves, Barker - The Transplants), they are going to do what was best - Blink-182. The side projects sounded like side projects. The one I liked the best was the Transplants. You've grooved to them un-beknownced to you if you've ever seen a Garnier Fructis commercial with the piano hook and the "woo hoo" chant that has been the products staple since 2003.

Now, I know you look at this like most people. Ughh, Blink-182? They're SO 10 years ago and beyond sophomoric. Yup. In the summer of 1997 (an awesome summer of music - remember all that ska and electronica? hilarious!) as my senior year of high school approached, I remember staying up late on the computer IMing on AOL working on my Buddy List while watching Conan and MTV. One night, a song called "Dammit" (click here for the classic video) came on. I was hooked. While now it all seems corny and immature, the gross out, goofy and lewd songs of Blink represent some fun years of my life that I will always look upon fondly. While this reunion is not like Fleetwood Mac or something and surely won't change the world, it may give you something to feel nostalgic or maybe just make you laugh. Welcome back, fellas.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Knowing Is Half the Battle

So, I meant to talk about this last week, but I have been way too busy with Holistic Detox (don't ask.....). Regardless, the highlight of the Super Bowl commercials for me had to be - THE G.I. JOE MOVIE !!!!!!!!!!!

GI JOE: The Rise of Cobra

G.I. Joe was only my favorite show and toy growing up. My weekly $3 allowance meant a trip to Target to get the $2.99 new action figure. Hold on to your socks, kiddos! It is like a G.I. Joe prequel before Cobra came up from the underground. Destro before he had his metal face, Hawk when he was just a General, Duke when there was no Lady Jay (which BTW is total crap that there is no Lady Jay in this flick, erghh!), and Cobra Commander when he was Duke's best friend. The Baroness, Zartan, Scarlet: they're all here. Who can't wait for the always classic Storm Shadow vs. Snake Eyes showdown? Me. I have chills. I'm sure it will probably disappoint and suck as we don't have a big name in charge ala Michael Bay or John Woo - not to mention some questionable casting calls (Dennis Quaid as Hawk?? No names everywhere else? Though Ray Park/Darth Maul is playing Snake Eyes). I can live with it. It will be here this summer. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Not Dead Yet

I pretty much wrote off The Killers after the 1st side of their debut. It didn't miss. The second half of Hot Fuss left things to be desired. When the debut single off their follow-up ("When You Were Young") leaked out, I croaked. What garbage! Thoroughly disappointed, I refused to even purchase/give a chance to Sam's Town. Apparently, it's their "Springsteen" album: I would have none of it. Furthermore, let me say that I'm not a fan of the Boss (HERESY!!!!!). The man is infinitely talented, but just not my thing. Sorry. However, I do love Max Weinberg and Courtney Cox's cameo in the video for "Dancing In the Dark". That is all, except for the occasional rendition of "Glory Days" I'll sing to a certain high school quarterback friend (please click the link) who will never let it go. Whoa, I got off track. The Killers, right. (Editor's Note: I have since come to terms with "When You Were Young")

As summer turned to fall last year, "Human" (the 1st single off of the 3rd album, Day & Age) appeared on the scene. Again, not overly impressed. With lines like, "Are we human, or are we dancers". I cringed. The appearance on SNL shortly thereafter was lackluster. I couldn't even hear the music, b/c I was so distracted by the feathers on the shoulder of lead singer, Brandon Flower's, jacket....

Nevertheless, the new year shines fortune upon them. Much like "Mr. Brightside" (the 2nd single off their debut), their second single off of Day & Age may bring the limelight. "Spaceman" is a catchy song. I didn't think much at first listen, but at second listen I found myself "oh, oh, oh"-ing along with it. Check it out:

Universal Music Group will not allow me to embed the actual video. Jerks.