Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vegas, Baby

My slow down in posting is due to this:

I'm in this wild city, working 15 hour days, still trying to make it to the strip. Live on Elvis!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beat Connection

Trust me on this one. "Sunburn" is my end of summer jam.
<a href="">Surf Noir EP by Beat Connection</a>

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Matt & Kim Tonight @ Grog Shop

Matt & Kim are two Brooklyn pals — Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino — who also happen to be the happiest and most carefree dance-punk duo touring the country right now. Whenever they’re onstage, they break out huge smiles and get real goofy — a perfect complement to their ecstatic music. Matt & Kim write giddy and assertive songs for kids who just want to let loose and dance their guts out. “Gardens and trashcans/Hoodies and Chuck Ts/Arms, fingers, and hands/Don’t slow down,” goes one tune. Drummer Schifino crafts hooky beat patterns and sings backup; Johnson takes lead vocals and adds spastic synth and keyboard riffs to his arsenal. They make a lot of noise, pounding and jumping on their instruments, and engaging audiences in singalong dance parties. You’ve probably heard “Daylight” in commercials for candy bars, Bacardi, and the Xbox over the past few months. Matt & Kim’s new single, “Cameras,” previews their upcoming album, Sidewalks. You can hear the whole record a couple of months before it comes out if you show up to the show early. They’re hosting pre-concert listening parties at each stop on their current tour.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Other California Girl

When you listen to Best Coast's debut album, Crazy for You, you're hearing singer Bethany Cosentino's life. Piles of reverb coat the Los Angeles native's songs about love, longing, and regret. There's also occasional giddiness thrown in there for good measure. Surf-pop guitars brush over her insecurities, while Bobb Bruno's scuzzy bass lines blare beneath it all.

Crazy for You is one of the most direct and honest albums of the year, laying out the life of a 23-year-old woman making her way through the best and worst of uncertain times. She deals with present-day concerns by looking back on a simpler part of her life. But Cosentino doesn't hide from her anxieties; instead, she proudly shares her emotions with anyone who wants to listen.

Not so surprisingly, many of Cosentino's mixed-up feelings have to do with boys — the ones she loves, the ones she longs for, the ones who left her behind, and the ones who'll break her heart. "You're the one for me/You make me happy," she sings in the garage rocker "Happy." Twenty seconds later, in the next song, she's pleading, "I just wish that you would tell me/Is this real, or are we through?"

But Cosentino also sings about her cat, weed, and fighting laziness. Throughout Crazy for You, her voice — a mix of sweetness and rebellion — makes her lyrics sound painfully real. In "When I'm With You," she repeats, "When I'm with you I have fun" more than 20 times. It's as straightforward as a Ke$ha song, encouraging fans to sing along. But it also prompts them to....

Read the rest at Cleveland Scene.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Common Grackle - The Great Depression

The press release describes this song by comparing it to "the somber confessionals of Elliott Smith, re-worked by Dangermouse."

I don't think that's necessarily pinning it at all, but it's a great song!

Common Grackle - The Great Depression

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin @ Grog Shop Tonight

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin released Let it Sway, their third album, a few weeks ago. Despite the laid-back, reggae-implying album title, the Springfield, Missouri foursome is sticking to the same playful, exuberant indie pop they introduced us to on their 2005 debut, Broom. Now they are swaying in addition to sweeping, twisting their bedroom pop beginnings into songs that are full, melodic, and beautiful. “Stuart Gets Lost Dans Le Metro” slowly explores gently crafted acoustic guitar and impassioned memory-filled lyrics, while “Sink/Let it Sway” kicks with as much as energy as early SSLYBY favorites like “Oregon Girl.” The band gets away with its saccharine harmonies and overall peppiness with a little sense of humor. “Dead Right” taunts us with warnings like, “You’re gonna lose it/If you don’t choose it,” playing off the old saying “if you don’t use it, you…” – you get the point. The band named itself after a favorite Russian president, and continues to jest us with tracks like “All Hail Dracula” (“All Hail Dracula/I really think we could be friends/I’ll let you suck my blood/If you wanna know how I taste”). They have the kind of relationship with fans that recently helped them raise enough money to buy a new tour bus, and the new donation brings them back to Ohio.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jess Harvell on The Thermals

Two great lines, one review!

"Hope when all evidence suggests you should despair, honest confusion offered in place of stock rhetoric, music that sounds like it's fueled as much by joy as rage: The Thermals' moral indignation is never a bummer."

I think I just like this quote because one of my friends who I worked with at the radio station used to play The Thermals all the time, so I associate them with him a little. And he always called stuff a bummer. Harvell is using one very average, everyman word to sum up what The Thermals are NOT - that makes the intelligent point he's making relatable on a very basic level. And I like when writing is relatable. We're all just big music geeks, right?

Also, this one:

"You sure as hell can't imagine them writing a grand concept album kvetching about suburban sprawl."

Anyone who uses Yiddush and finds a way to mock Arcade Fire's new album in the same sentence just cracks me up, regardless of my fandom for Arcade Fire.

With his concluding paragraph, I think he's spot on:

"I have to admit that I do miss the messy, noisy, get-it-done-in-under-two-minutes Thermals. They were just so good at the ramshackle thing, the feeling that they were racing toward the finish line before one or all of their amps exploded. Personal Life is hardly a failure; much of it is excellent. But it's also missing that anger-meets-energy urgency that made the Thermals' early albums so undeniable."

I still think the album deserves a higher rating, though.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Japandroids Song!

I hate everything in life at this specific moment (i.e. a publicist screwed me over, my great aunt hit my car tonight), but I'm pretty stoked about this new Japandroids song!

So let's say it together, "I. LOVE. JAPANDROIDS. I. LOVE. JAPANDROIDS."

They make the bad go away. This is the best therapy you can get without paying a psychiatrist, trust me.

Japandroids - Heavenward Grand Prix

Buy lots of their stuff here, and I mean it.

I've ranted so much on this blog about how I love these two guys, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I don't know what kind of people they are - they could be horrible people - but I don't really care because I will blatently ignore all their bad characteristics in favor of embracing my love for them as a collective group. Their bromance interaction is just about the best thing I've seen on stage in a crappy punk club, and their careless enthusiasm (GUSTO, I tell you, GUSTO) has won me over twice now.

I would stand on my roof for 20 hours in the middle of an awful winter day to get tickets to their concert, if I had to.

I'd probably jump of somebody's balcony onto a trampoline (if the conditions were right and I wasn't going to die) to see their faces.

I would listen to their music for a week straight, without stopping, if that was what I needed to do to prove my love.

That said, this new song is probably not their best song ever. So don't listen to this one first and be like, 'that blogger is totally unreliable and reckless and she's a complete moron for jumping off balconies,' you know? Like, give them more of a chance than this song.

And then when you fall in love with them too, maybe we can start a fan club. We won't do geeky fan club things like make buttons (ok maybe we'll make buttons) or send out postcards with their pictures. We'll just, like, sit on my carpet and play their music really loud, and then we'll bring it to the living room and just jump around a little bit (but we won't mosh because I hate moshing), and then we'll just have a good meal and talk about the merit of being a member of Japandroids, and then we can toast to Brian King and David Prowse, and talk about how much fun it is to eat an entire bag of twizzlers in one sitting, because that is irrelevant to the subject of Japandroids, and by that time I think we'll probably need to mix things up a little bit. And then we can buy bags of twizzlers....

Ok, you get the point.

Just have a good night. Don't let your family members back into your car. Don't let publicists push you into a 3-month long waiting game and then give you an interview with the wrong band member and make you do it 12 hours later when your deadline is next week. Don't do those things!

Just listen to this song, ok?

If you read this whole post, which I might later subtitle 'Rant of a Crazy Girl,' I feel bad for you. You obviously have nothing better to do than read a bunch of chicken scratch on the internet.

If you made it this far in the post, I love you always forever near and far closer together (that was a bad phrasing of The Cardigans' "Lovefool." I also want to mention their great song "For What It's Worth," which might be better than "Lovefool," and I think I want to write my next blog post about this.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Music, Undergroundism, Iran, Prison

So I'm reading this article in the last issue of Paste ever (hypothetical tears are running down my cheek as i slowly savor and dread the end of this magazine) about the movie Persian Cats, and its subject, the underground rock scene in Iran. I'm just thinking about the fact that the whole world is so big and so culturally different that there are literally places where people go to jail for playing concerts. And at first, I thought, 'man, rock and roll would be SO much more badass if you went to jail for playing it.' And then I thought about it seriously, and how really messed up the whole idea is. The backwards idea that music and culture and style in the middle east is wrong, and one should be refined to traditionalism, anti-creativity, and the standards.

I mean, we're constantly pushing the boundaries in life - all the time. Countries are competing for the best inventions, which will make them the most money. They want the most educated, brilliant people, so those people can bring ideas and make them flourish, and people will live happier, healthier, and possibly more satisfying lives. (Then again, that's only SOME countries. Some are anti-progress.)

So what's this thing in the Middle East (and let's talk Iran specifically) that is so against "progress" that a band cannot create Western music without it being controversial? I guess this argument could take a lot longer to develop than I'm doing, and I've never been a very good logical arguer because my thoughts are sporadic and out of order, but I guess what I'm trying to say is: ok, Iran isn't really trying to invent a new way of living (although I'm sure they're working on some pretty sophisticated bombs and weapons, and that counts as inventiveness), and progress can be seen as extreme evil (which, to some extent, in certain contexts, I understand), but the extent to which they are able to block any artistic expression of the younger generation is just exacerbating. They can quell politics and certain religions and oppress women and make people wear a certain type of clothing, but then even have to take away the most (or one of the most) elemental forms of art experimentation - music. How does a young person, in the internet age, live in a world where they are so restricted and so closed off - unless they are completely sheltered from what they could have?

I don't know what I'm trying to say. I'm not trying to sound like an American brat who can't comprehend a 22-year-old Iranian's situation, but in all reality, I can't comprehend it.

The article in Paste talks about how the internet is the one thing that opens up a new world to the youth generation in Iran, and for this, I think we need to be thankful. They can find different music and explore different worlds and step outside of their box. And of course, there are so much more important things than music that the internet can teach us. Like I said earlier, I'm just thinking on this very specific music level here, and I'm not trying to make it sounds like I think musical freedom is more important than social or political freedom or so many other types of freedom. It's just one very specific restriction that I bring up after reading this article.

My blog has readers in 36 countries, and I was just thinking of how amazing it is that I - a 22-year-old girl from a cluster of suburbs in Northeast Ohio - can share my thoughts, experiences, and songs with so many people of different cultures and backgrounds.

What do you guys think about people going to jail for listening to/playing rock music?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Birthday - Girls FM

In the words of the great Andrew WK:

Make every day a party.
Happy Birthday - Girls FM by musicmule

Monday, September 6, 2010

Villagers Interview

Yo! Click on the title of this post to hear my interview with Conor O'Brien of Villagers. The dude might win the UK's Mercury Prize tomorrow.

On top of that, he's just generally interesting, witty, and he knows damn well how to write the perfect song. Maybe if you listen, you'll learn the secret to his success.

Or, if you're like me, you'll fall over sighing, and wishing he would just come to town and sweep you off your feet. (This comment applies to males or females. Males, I think he's probably worth going gay for.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Why Paste is Like Cheap Beer and How it Affects Me

I wasn’t going to say anything about the demise of Paste. I was just going to let others do the talking, and there’s a lot of talking being done. But then I came home to eat dinner with my family, and all of these words just started flowing out of my mouth. I couldn’t believe it, while at the same time I could. We knew the magazine wasn't doing so well, but how could something so treasured and so special and so, ugh, just vital to my music culture just end?

I had to explain to my parents what had happened. I spent the entire meal doing so. They all see me daily, obsessing over new albums that come in the mail, and music magazine subscriptions. They know how I covet a job in music journalism, and I get morose about not having one almost every day. And my dream job of all dream jobs… that would be working at Paste. I didn’t and still don’t think that any publication was doing what Paste was doing. I can’t even fathom that that will never happen – I will never write for Paste. It. Is. Gone.

I love blogs, and I love being all viral and internet-y, but despite what the numbers and subscribers and state of journalism and economy all say, there is NOTHING like holding a fantastically-crafted magazine in your hands. I was a broadcast journalism major, and I see the value in video, audio, and multimedia. I still hold magazines on some kind of pedestal. In my childhood, getting something like Highlights in the mail was the best feeling in the world. Wasn't it for you? It’s like getting a really entertaining present every month. I might have grown out of play-doh and barbies, but holding a magazine in my hands, I get the same kind of thrill that I did when I was opening a new bead-making kit.

Paste had some of my favorite music writers out there. Rachael Maddux, Bart Blasengame, and the list goes on... to the point that I don’t even know their names, I just know I loved their work. I had friends who used to find every single piece of new music they listened to from Paste. I gather my tastes from such a range of things (friends, music writing I'm assigned, radio stations I work for, random side gigs as music director, blogs, itunes, hype machine, friends, friends, and oh yeah, magazines), but if you were just going by one source, Paste would be a pretty good one.

It gets scarier and scarier as journalism continues to crumble away and die a sickly death. Arts journalism is a special case, and now that I’ve started reading ARTicles, I get even more scared for the future of culture/art journalism. How will great writers develop when they don’t have any publications left to write for? What will we have to read instead – US Weekly? I gag at the thought.

So many people blame Pitchfork for adding to the demise of magazines. You can’t blame Pitchfork. They are great at what they do (and what they “do” can be defined in several ways – positive AND negative), but people aren’t like “oh I’m only going to go to one source for music journalism.” It’s like saying you like Blue Moon, and you’re not going to drink any other beer for that reason. You’re going to drink different beers in different situations. Yet if Blue Moon gets way cheaper (ok free), and you still have to pay for your PBRs, the model will certainly shift. And that’s when PBR has to just keep on pushing and remind people of why they are so loved. PBR has to become free, in a way, or it better make itself a lot better than it already is. I mean, seriously, journalism is like beer. You can drink for free online (Blue Moon), but you have to pay to drink magazines (PBR). And people just want to get drunk as fast as possible. So, the change really must be in the culture. Let’s figure out a way to get people to realize, it’s not about getting drunk – it’s about enjoying the experience, and maybe spending a little bit of money to engage in an activity that is worthwhile.

So everybody, stand on your platforms, and start rallying for the end of binge drinking! I’m all about the slow and steady, enjoy-the-ride drinking. I'll even pay for it.

Because we don’t want to lose any more Pastes.