Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rockin' Out: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 09/29/09

The above picture is definitely my best terrible Blackberry camera shot of a concert thus far. Fortunately, the show was the polar opposite of my photography skills. In a previous post, I wrote about my great fondness for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and explained the poor luck I've had in my attempts to see them live. Well, last night I experienced them in all their glory at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was awesome to not only see them live, but in a venue that is significantly smaller than they would normally play. With a giant eyeball hanging above the drum kit, sporadic confetti explosions, a funky light show and the enigmatic Karen O. charging around the stage spitting water and wearing crazy masks that lit up (for a song or two), the show was a spectacle to behold. That being said, all the bells and whistles in the world won't make a show great if the band's musical performance sucks and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs most definitely did not suck. They played all the "hits" and kept things moving along quickly. I'm not sure how long they played because I was never bored enough to check the time, but it felt like it all went by in about 5 minutes. Definitely over too fast. I'll be seeing them again this weekend at the Austin City Limits Festival. It'll be interesting to see what they do on a larger stage, but hopefully they will own it just like they did last night.

[Side note: Maybe it is just me, but I swear the Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer looks like a young Max Weinberg and coincidentally, I am going to see Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band tonight which of course features Max Weinberg on drums. Coincidence? Or is the universe trying to tell me something?]


"Gold Lion"


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crazy Old People / Those Crazy Kids

I just got back from a trip to Best Buy to purchase the new A.F.I. and Alice In Chains albums. On the top floor near the cell phone accessories was a display ad for the new Mariah Carey album. It was a variation of the above picture (I couldn't find the exact picture online, but it was the same outfit minus the print and a slightly different pose). Mariah debuted in 1990 at the age of 20. 29 years later and she is still running around in her underwear striking sexy poses (with obvious photoshop action happening) to try and sell records? Really? She obviously isn't a bad looking woman, but at this point we are all numb to the sight of her cleavage and abs. It's like Playboy putting Pamela Anderson on the cover for the 1000th one cares because we've all seen her naked about 10,000,000 times. Put on some clothes Mariah and start acting like an adult. Class up your can be sexy without looking like every other cookie cutter 20 something pop star that you influenced. Of course when this album tanks, the label and Mariah will blame it on internet piracy and not the fact that nobody cares about her anymore.

Another thing that (unfortunately) caught my eye at Best Buy was an album cover on one of the endcaps. There is a relatively new genre of music called "crunkcore" which is crunk/hip-hop mixed with hardcore. It is widely panned as being complete and utter crap (and from what I've heard, deservedly so), but it has a loyal following and some of the bands are actually shifting units. I'm assuming all the fans are 12 - 14 and will grow out of it pretty fast (hey, we all make some poor musical choices at that age), but I've done such a good job of avoiding the genre that I had managed to never see an image of one of the bands involved. Brokencyde is, I believe, the biggest band in the genre. Check out the album cover above. Don't you just want to kick those kids in the nuts? If you are thinking to yourself "How bad could it really be?", then all you need to do is watch the below video. If you make it longer than 45 seconds, then you are a stronger person than me.....

Foo Fighters Shiny New Wheels

I love me some Foo Fighters. In my eyes, they really can do no wrong. Dave Grohl is probably the best rock frontman going today and will certainly go down in rock history as one of the best. Pretty impressive for a guy who was the drummer for one of the biggest rock bands of all time with one of the most iconic frontmen of all time (if you don't know who I'm talking about, then you should be ashamed of yourself). He had a HUGE shadow to emerge from and boy, did he ever. Speaking of drumming, his guest drums spots on great albums by Queens of the Stone Age, Killing Joke, Cat Power and Nine Inch Nails are all pretty undeniable and being a huge metalhead, I loved his metal side project Probot. I'm also very curious to hear what he does with the new "supergroup" Them Crooked Vultures, who I will be seeing live two nights in a row later this week.

Anyway, I love every Foo Fighters album, all the songs contained within those albums and have yet to hear a b-side of theirs that doesn't stand up to the material on their full-lengths. While I'd love to see a release that gathers all their b-sides and rarities into one collection (much like the absolutely amazing, brilliant and essential collections B-Sides And Rarities by Deftones and The Masterplan by Oasis), I am instead going to have to settle for the release of a greatest hits collection on 11/03/09 - cleverly titled "Greatest Hits" - that contains two new songs recorded specifically for this release, "Wheels" and "Word Forward". "Wheels" is already available for purchase on both iTunes and Amazon, so I snatched it up right away. The song is, of course, fantastic. It leans towards the poppier side of their sound and has a catchy as hell hook. Hopefully when the album is released "Word Forward" will be available for individual purchase and not as "Available with album only"....I hate it when Amazon and iTunes pull that shit, but that is another blog in and of itself.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Rockin' Out: Sunny Day Real Estate @ Terminal 5 09/27/09

Two crappy Blackberry camera pictures this time! You know you are psyched.

Joining the seemingly never ending parade of reunions by 90's band is Sunny Day Real Estate. I missed this band on their initial go round, so I was quite happy to hear that they would be doing a tour with the original line-up. Often cited as being godfathers to the "emo" scene, SDRE are mercifully 1000 times better than any band they have influenced (I personally can't stand the vast majority of emo music and it's sister genre "screamo"). And they feature Nate Mendel from the mighty, can do no wrong Foo Fighters on bass, so that is additional bonus points right there.

Touring behind the re-release of their first two efforts Diary and LP2 (more commonly referred to as The Pink Album), I was hoping that they would stick mostly to songs from those albums as I am not as familiar with their other two albums, How It Feels To Be Something On and The Rising Tide. Those are not bad albums, but the first two are so strong that they are my go to records when I am in the mood to listen to SDRE. Much to my delight, my hopes were fulfilled as 13 of the 15 songs they played came from those albums. The other two songs were "Guitars & Video Games" from HIFTBSO and a new (I believe untitled) track that the band wrote before they went on tour. The new song sounded pretty cool, but let's face it, me and the rest of the crowd were focused on hearing the classics. "In Circles", "Shadows", "Seven" and "Friday" all sounded great. My favorite part about the set was that they played for one hour and 15 minutes...they came out, played the songs and left the crowed wanting a little more, but not disappointed at all. Kind of like when you eat just the right amount of food at dinner and feel perfectly satisfied.

Last night was the first night of an eight night stretch in which I will be seeing live music every night save for one, so this was an ideal way to start it....something quick, fun and rockin' (I'm looking at probably 3 hours of Bruce Springsteen on Wednesday night and then a full 3 days of festival going in Austin this weekend with more bands playing that I want to see then I can even bother to list right now). This is one reunion tour you don't want to pass on.


"In Circles"

North Carolina Loves The Nature Boy

Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair is one of the most famous professional wrestlers of all time.....but really only in the world of professional wrestling fans. He never had the type of mainstream recognition that someone like Hulk Hogan achieved. That being said, Ric Flair seems to be a fairly high profile celebrity in his home state of North Carolina. In 2000, I was in Charlotte for an Ozzfest and remember seeing a billboard at the venue advertising a business (a bank I believe) that prominently featured Flair. Now, it appears that he has his own scratch off lottery tickets for the North Carolina Education Lottery. The commercial is hilarious (more so if you are familiar with Flair and his trademark strut and his infamous "WOOOOOO!"). The North Carolina Education Lottery donates 100% of the net proceeds to state education expenses, so he is also supporting a good cause.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Worst Song Ever?

Music industry pundit Bob Lefsetz recently sent out one of his newsletters with Trailer Choir's "Rockin' The Beer Gut" as the main subject. Bob, in closing, had this to say about the song:

"This is a track that you can't stop playing. Not quite as good as Joe Nichols' "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off", but not every track is legendary. But "Rockin' The Beer Gut" was made not by machines, but real people. And that's what we love about you, your imperfections. The looseness of this track is its appeal. It's not about getting it seamless, but making sure the life is retained. Life, humanity, laughs, good times are baked into "Rockin' The Beer Gut". I love it!"

My curiosity got the better of me and I clicked the link to the YouTube video:

Dear Bob,

Your taste in music is awful, even bordering on abhorrent.



Rockin' Out: U2 @ Giants Stadium 09/23/09

Review of the U2 concert at Giants Stadium on Wednesday September 23, 2009:

Fucking. Amazing.

  • 1. Breathe
    2. Magnificent
    3. Get On Your Boots
    4. Mysterious Ways
    5. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
    6. She's The One (Bruce Springsteen cover) / Desire (snippet)
    7. Elevation
    8. Your Blue Room
    9. Beautiful Day / Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (snippet)
    10. No Line On The Horizon
    11. New Year's Day
    12. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
    13. The Unforgettable Fire
    14. City Of Blinding Lights
    15. Vertigo
    16. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
    17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
    18. MLK
    19. Walk On / You'll Never Walk Alone (snippet)
    20. One / Amazing Grace (snippet)
    21. Where The Streets Have No Name / All You Need Is Love (snippet)
    22. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
    23. With Or Without You
    24. Moment of Surrender

    "With Or Without You"

    "Beautiful Day"


    "Mysterious Ways"

    "New Year's Day"

  • Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Ear Candy Classic: Sugartooth

    So many albums come out every year, that it is impossible for even the most enthusiastic music nut to keep up with all of them. This is especially true these days with music being so readily available over the internet and being so portable via all the various devices you can listen to your MP3s on. That being said, in the early to mid-90s it was still impossible to keep up because labels were just shoving releases out into the market. One simply couldn't afford to buy every CD that came out, nor did you want to. Record labels had lost the consumer's trust by releasing so many albums with one great song surrounded by filler. You had to be cautious about what albums you spent your money on because there was NOTHING worse than getting home, popping that CD in the stereo and being wildly disappointed in every track except for the single you saw a video for on MTV. This is of course one of the main motivations that led to the explosion of file sharing...people were tired of spending a lot of money on poor product and wanted to get just the songs they already knew they liked...and for free. If record companies had embraced (and purchased) Napster in its early days as a way for consumers to sample product before they purchased, then perhaps the state of the industry would be different today, but I'm getting off topic....

    I want to talk about an album from the early/mid-90's that flew under everyone's radar. Sometime in 1994 I saw a video on Headbanger's Ball for a song called "Sold My Fortune" by a band called Sugartooth. This was the era of massive popularity for Nirvana, Pearl Jam and grunge music in general and bands like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains who were lumped in with the grunge sound, but made no attempts to hide their metal influences in their sound were able to appeal to both mainstream audiences and metalheads alike. [Not that hard rock/metal bands reaching wide audiences hadn't happened before and doesn't happen all the time still. I could name a million examples, but Black Sabbath, Kiss, Metallica, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, Godsmack, Slipknot and Tool all illustrate the point. For purposes of this blog though, Soundgarden and AIC are perfect representations of what kind of sound the major labels thought was "in" at the time.] Because of this major labels began signing every band that fell under the hard rock-metal-grunge umbrella...and with mixed results. Certainly some great bands were discovered, but a lot of them seemed to present marketing dilemmas. Does this video belong on Headbanger's Ball or 120 Minutes? Specialty metal shows or mainstream rock radio? Do we try to get them on tour with Slayer or Sponge? And thus, a lot of great bands fell through the cracks and went unnoticed by the public at large (which is of course simply the reality of the music business). Sugartooth was one of them.

    Sugartooth's self-titled release doesn't redefine music or even the hard rock genre, but it is a really great record that begs repeated listens and has aged nicely in the 15 years since its release. If you like bands that walk the line between hard rock and metal, then this release is for you. Certainly if you are a fan of Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Tad, Danzig and Kyuss (coincidentally, the drummer served a stint in Danzig and is now a member of Queens of the Stone Age), then this is worth hunting down. The albums is long out of print, but I can't imagine it wouldn't be available somewhere out there on file sharing sites. [Fun fact: The singer/guitarist and bassist contributed the music to Howard Stern's "Tortured Man" that was put together by the Dust Brothers for the Private Parts soundtrack and is still featured in the outro to Howard's show everyday.]

    "Sold My Fortune"

    "Sheffield Milestone"

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    Slash + Duff + Dave Grohl = Probably OK At Best

    My friend forwarded me this Twitter from Slash that went out today:

    SlashHudson Doing a track for my record with Dave Grohl on drums & Duff on bass tonight, it promises to be killer. #fb

    That sounds absolutely "killer" on paper, but given the output of most Guns N Roses alumni (and "Guns N Roses" ie. Axl and hired hands) I am extremely skeptical about this being any good. The album is currently titled Slash & Friends and is set for release in 2010. You can read the full (not necessarily confirmed) details here. Slash is obviously an amazing guitar player, so of course I'll be curious to hear what he does on this record with a variety of guest vocalists ranging from cool (Chris Cornell, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper) to um, well, I don't know what to say about one of rock's most revered guitarists asking Fergie and the dude from Maroon 5 to be on his solo record. [Then again, he did do a song with Michael Jackson, so you know.] I won't say they are bad singers, but their presence certainly gives me very little hope that Slash is taking this album in a good direction. I don't think even the presence of cool cats like Dave Grohl, Steven Adler and Flea will lift this album above being at best simply "OK".

    Let's look at the track record of Guns N Roses alumni (and I'm including Axl in that category):
    • Slash's Snakepit? Honestly, I never even bothered to listen to it and that kind of says it all right there.
    • Velvet Revolver? A couple cool songs, but it seriously lacked any balls (although to be fair, I think that mostly falls on Scott Weiland).
    • Axl Rose's solo project, um, I mean Guns N Roses after everyone quit? The album Chinese Democracy wasn't as dramatic a musical failure as many thought it would be, but it was nowhere near being worth a 15 year wait. I listened to it a few times and tucked it away in my CD collection to collect dust (and deleted it from my iTunes).
    • I know Duff McKagan has a new project Loaded, but like Slash's Snakepit, I simply have no desire to hear it.
    I know that isn't a complete list, but those are the highlights with one glaring omission: Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds. I couldn't include that in the above list because it is actually GOOD! Their 1992 self-titled debut album (which surprisingly is still available in CD format on Amazon for the reasonable price of $10.98) was a wonderful slab of rock n roll not far off from what The Black Crowes were doing at the time. Izzy handles the vocals (which we already knew were good from the songs he sang on the Use Your Illusions) and guitar with a more than capable backing band behind him. Check out the first single from the album, "Shuffle It All", here. He has had 5 releases since, but I am not really familiar with them. In writing this blog entry though, my curiosity has been piqued and I'm planning on hunting some more of his material down.

    Anyway, let's face it....when Izzy quit Guns N Roses things went downhill fast for the band, so it doesn't take a skilled detective to put together that he was an integral part of Guns N Roses and probably more so than Slash and Duff. In a discussion about Guns N Roses earlier today, a reliable source told me that rumor has it that Izzy "co-wrote ten songs with Slash and Duff that were supposed to be the first Velvet Revolver album, but Weiland wouldn't sing on any of the songs because he thought they sounded too much like GN'R. Slash says the demos are basically the best GN'R record never released". Like my friend who shared that with me, I find that totally believable. I can see Weiland being a huge baby, ego maniac, whatever you want to call it and refusing to sing the songs. Wouldn't it be sweet if that stuff got released someday though? Preferably with Izzy on vocals of course.

    But enough with the speculation and conjecture about what could have been, what might be and what will never be because all we really have is what already happened and that is the awesomeness of Guns N Roses in their glory years....

    "It's So Easy"


    "Double Talkin' Jive"


    Monday, September 21, 2009

    You Get Your Fried Oreos To The Wall Man

    I've been up since around 8am this morning after falling asleep around 1:30am or so last night. 6 1/2 hours of sleep sounds like plenty right? Well, that is not the case as I woke up at least once every hour and was having weird dreams all evening. I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but that is just how Sunday evenings work for me. But instead of crying "FML", I got out of bed, grabbed a quick shower and commenced my day. Having spent the weekend eating like a cross between a health conscious person and Jabba The Hutt (The gluttonous items on the weekend's menu were as follows: Friday night: sausage and peppers drown in whiz on a hoagie roll, a cannoli and three deep fried Oreos; Saturday night: McDonald's double quarter pounder and fries [around 3am, which somehow makes it worse]; Sunday: Brownie a la mode), I deemed it mandatory that I not use my building's elevator all week and opt for the stairs instead. I live on the 6th floor (which in actuality is the 7th floor as the lobby is really the 1st that?), so this can be a significant little bit of exercise over the course of a week. The problem is that in my exhaustion I forgot that today I desperately needed to grocery shop and do laundry...lots of laundry. 5 trips down and 5 trips up with grocery bags and laundry bags got me a little worn out, but a run of at least 5 miles was still going to be necessary to further work off this weekend's gluttony. I spent a few hours trying to fire myself up with Revocation's Existence Is Futile, Repulsion's Horrified, Pentagram's First Daze Here (The Vintage Collection) and Brutal Truth's Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom/Kill Trend Suicide while scouring the internet for employment opportunities and goofing off on that maddeningly effective time waster Facebook, but to no avail. I still felt tired and really wanted to sit on my sofa and watch Uncle Buck. Then I noticed Accept's Balls To The Wall sitting by my stereo right where I had left it on Saturday. I popped it in and finally found the proper musical motivation to shake out the cobwebs and get myself out the door for a run. Mercifully, unlike fellow Accept lover Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke's character in The Wrestler), I did not suffer a heart attack from overexerting myself.

    And if I never see fried Oreos again, then it'll be too soon.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    Ear Candy: Megadeth's Endgame and Shadows Fall's Retribution

    Whether you love or hate metal music, there is no denying that it is not an easy style of music to play and that some degree of technical proficiency, inventiveness and (perhaps most importantly) heart and feel is required to be considered one of the premier players in the genre (or any genre for that matter). From Jimmy Page and Tony Iommi to Eddie Van Halen and Ace Frehley to Dimebag Darrell and Kerry King to relatively newer faces like Mark Morton and Alexi Laiho, metal has produced and will continue to produce many a guitar great. Two recent releases are prime examples of overall great playing from a metal band, but more specifically, really great technical guitar playing that has all the flash and over-the-topness traditionally associated with the genre without being gaudy.

    I've loved Megadeth since I was in junior high and picked up a copy of their album So Far, So Good...So What! Megadeth is considered part of the "Big Four" (along with Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax) of the original thrash movement. And for good reason as Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? and Rust In Peace are landmark metal albums. In 1999, Megadeth derailed with the release of their 8th studio album Risk. I had been a fan of every Megadeth album up until this point, but the album was panned so badly by critics and fans when it came out that I never even bothered listening to it. By all accounts they "sold out" and went for a commercial hit with disastrous results. The band released three studio albums after Risk that were all a return to their metal roots, but nothing that quite captured the magic of the glory days (and some may argue this is due to the departure of original bassist Dave Ellefson Jr., but Megadeth has always been singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine's band). Now comes the fourth release since Risk, Endgame. While not quite back to the glory days, Dave Mustaine and his band of hired guns are certainly pointed squarely in the right direction on this album. Marrying the thrash assault of Rust In Peace with the more commercial leanings of Countdown To Extinction and Cryptic Writings, this release is probably the most listenable Megadeth album since the aforementioned Cryptic Writings. If you are a fan of the band's studio efforts up to, but not including Risk, then this is an album you must check out.

    "Head Crusher":

    In 2000, a friend working at the label Century Media sent me a couple new releases that they had recently put out. One of them was Of One Blood by the MA band Shadows Fall. I put on the cd not knowing or expecting much, but it wound up being love at first listen. While not technically their debut album, it was the first with new singer Brian Fair (they had one album prior to this with a different singer) and the band would release two fantastic albums after it, The Art Of Balance and The War Within, that firmly established them as leaders in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement. Growing record sales, bigger tours and video airplay led to the band signing with a major label and in 2007 they released Threads Of Life on Atlantic Records (who, major label or not, have released some legendary metal records over the years). It wasn't a bad album per se, but it just didn't feel like the logical next step in the direction that had been established by prior releases. The band wound up leaving Atlantic and starting their own label, Everblack Industries, for which they partnered with Ferret Music to release their latest album Retribution. Not unlike Megadeth (but not nearly on the same scale, as Threads Of Life was not even close to as dramatic a failure and fall from grace as Megadeth's Risk was), Shadows Fall is releasing an album that is a step back in the right direction. I like that they made a solid 10 song (is anyone else sick of these 14 - 16 song's too much!), straight to the point quality metal release. The band is known for playing thrash mixed with touches of hardcore and tastefully incorporating plenty of melody into the mix. Most of these newer metalcore bands incorporate melody into the mix and it sounds formulaic and uninspired, whereas the Shads use of melody comes from a clear and obvious admiration for the great (and talented) hair metal bands of the '80s and thus sounds unforced and genuine. The guitarists, Matthew Bachand (who provides the clean vocals) and Jonathan Donais, are absolute shredders and put on quite the show on this release. Highly recommended whether you already dig the band or have never heard them before.

    "Still I Rise":

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Lips On Fire

    I had no idea The Flaming Lips were putting out a new album this year, but was pleasantly surprised to see that not only are they releasing something new, but that it can be streamed in its entirety on The Colbert Report website. It is called Embryonic and will be officially released on 10/13/09. I never heard/saw the last release which was the Christmas On Mars DVD/CD (they made a movie and created an accompanying soundtrack) and had trouble getting into the album before that, At War With The Mystics, so I do have skepticism about this release. That being said, their albums Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and Transmissions From The Satellite Heart are both so ridiculously good that they make most anything new The Flaming Lips release worth checking out just to see if it is on par with those.

    "Do You Realize??"

    "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots pt. 1"

    "She Don't Use Jelly"

    Movin' To The Country

    Peaches are a delightful fruit. They are right up there with green apples, strawberries and cantaloupe on my list of fruits I enjoy. Just a few minutes ago I was thinking to myself "I'm going to eat that peach in my fridge right now" and that in turn got me singing The Presidents Of The United States Of America 1995 hit "Peaches". What an insanely catchy song and it is also delightful like the fruit it is named after. Enjoy:

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Facebook In Real Life

    This video is from last year, but it is still hilarious and certainly topical:

    As are real life Facebook mishaps like when someone responds to a lover's email in their status update instead of in a private email thread or when a mom mistakes someone else for her son (courtesy of, facebook's unofficial hall of shame). CollegeHumor has also found some awkward moments where the "Like" button was hit:

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    We Need More Gay Fish

    "I feel like Ben Stiller in "Meet the Parents" when he messed up everything and Robert De Niro asked him to leave... That was Taylor's moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I am truly sorry."

    Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards. Everyone knows the story at this point, so there is no need to rehash it. MTV loves this stuff because it gets people talking about the channel and tuning in for the reruns of their awards shows. And apparently we all love it because we and the media have a feeding frenzy whenever something "outrageous" like this happens. But, when did we start hating our rock stars for acting like rock stars? When did we all turn into a bunch of squares? What's with everyone having to be politically correct all the time? It's ridiculous. These people are entertainers, not model citizens and pillars of morality for our youth. That's the responsibility of a parent to lead by example, not a hip-hop star, rock god or country crooner.What I don't understand is why everyone is so up in arms about it. The general consensus is that Kanye was being rude, obnoxious, showing how huge his ego is, acting irrationally, stealing the other words, he was acting like a goddamn rock star. And for that, I say god bless him!

    Remember many years ago at a MTV VMA when Vince Neil from Motley Crue punched Izzy Stradlin' from Guns N Roses in the face when he was walking off stage after having just performed "Free Fallin'" with Tom Petty? And then Axl Rose was talking about he was going to beat the daylights out of Vince for hitting his guitarist? And then Vince challenged Axl to a boxing match? And we all thought it was totally ridiculous, but awesome at the same time.

    Or how about when Nirvana decided to stop feuding with Pearl Jam because Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose got into it backstage at a VMA and Kurt thought feuding with Guns N Roses would be more fun? And at the end of Nirvana's performance at said VMA, Dave Grohl grabbed the mic and just kept screaming "HI AXL! HI AXL! HI AXL!" [Same VMA where Krist Novoselic threw his bass up in the air and it landed on his face.] Did any of us get mad at anybody involved in that ridiculousness? No. Guns N Roses and Nirvana remained two of the biggest bands in the world.

    And consider the fact that I just cited two examples involving Axl Rose who we are all still completely curious about (well, maybe not so much after Chinese Democracy) even though he has disappeared from the public eye. Or how about Axl's heir to the easily irritable rock star throne Eminem getting pissy with Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and Moby at MTV awards shows? Did we all think Eminem was crazy? Yes. Did we like him even more? Yes.

    I could name a host of other incidents at MTV awards shows and just by musicians in general, but you get the point. These things get blown out of proportion and we still love the offending party at the end of the day. Why? Well, if you look at Kanye and the rest of the above examples, then you'll notice they all have at least one thing in common: musical talent. If these folks were no talent hacks, then they would be yesterday's news faster than William Hung.

    I think it sucks that Kayne West is one of the few versions of a rock star we currently have going. We need more...a lot more. Where's the new Axl Rose? Where's the new Tommy Lee? Where's the new Keith Richards? Where's the musical genius who is also a total loony tune? I don't know about you, but I don't want my rock stars to be polite and nondescript. Hell, even the singer of The Killers talks smack about other bands from time to time and most of us couldn't pick that guy out of a lineup, but at least he's trying.

    I'm going to spend the next few days hoping that Toby Keith decides to defend Taylor Swift's honor and challenges Kanye West to a boxing match (proceeds going to charity of course) so that this circus keeps on going.

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

    As anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account knows by now, Patrick Swayze passed away today. I'm glad that he isn't suffering anymore because from the sounds of it, he was having a pretty tough battle with Pancreatic cancer. It is still sad to see him go though. By all accounts, he was a pretty decent guy and he certainly had a lot of huge Hollywood hits under his belt. Whether or not you are a fan, there is no denying the pop culture impact films like Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Point Break, Red Dawn and Road House have had. Road House is one of my favorite movies of all time and I certainly plan on watching it this week in tribute to him. I'll admit to having never seen Dirty Dancing or Ghost all the way through (I did just add them to my Netflix queue though), but The Outsiders, Red Dawn, Point Break and the aforementioned Road House are some of my favorite movies. And we cannot forget his magnificent comedic turn in the Chippendales skit on Saturday Night Live with the late, great Chris Farley.

    God Bless Patrick Swayze and have a beer in honor of our favorite cooler, Dalton, this week.

    Rockin' Out: Kings Of Leon @ Izod Center 09/12/09

    As evidenced by the picture on the left, I'm pretty much convinced that the technicians who designed the Blackberry camera did not have concert goers in mind when they conceived these little contraptions. Anyway, in that blurry and muddled image is Kings Of Leon performing on stage at NJ's Izod Center this past Saturday. This was my third time seeing the band and the first time seeing them in a large arena. I own and love all four of their albums, but have to say that this band, in my opinion, is just not an arena act. Sure they have the sales figures and the radio airplay and the songs were all executed well, but the band doesn't have the presence or the personality to really work a crowd that large. The James Hetfield's, Dave Grohl's and Billie Joe Armstrong's of the world can whip large crowds into a frenzy and connect to everyone from the people in the front row to the folks sitting in the nosebleed sections. Caleb Followill does not have that energy or charisma. Kings Of Leon got some fancy lights, set up a couple amps, came out and knocked a few songs out with little banter between songs. I'm not saying that is the worst thing in the world, but it certainly made it an incredibly easy decision to leave before the encore and beat the masses to public transportation. There was no electricity in the air that was making me feel like I was going to miss something explosive if I left early. The uber-wasted collegiate crowd seemed to enjoy the show a lot though (well, maybe not so much the drunk girl who got carried out on a stretcher with a leg/ankle/foot injury of some sort), but I think they would have thought just about anything was awesome based on the levels of intoxication we were witness to.

    Kings Of Leon are playing the Austin City Limits Festival next month, which I will be attending, as the closer on Friday evening. After seeing this performance, I don't think I'll be sticking around for their set. I'd much rather get back to my hotel, take a shower and make sure to get over to Emo's in time to see Deer Tick who I know for fact totally kick ass live. Another factor working against Kings Of Leon is that they are following Them Crooked Vultures and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, both of whom I have never seen live before, but I can't imagine their energy won't make KOL seem like a bit of a snooze fest.

    All that being said, I still love the band, but I think I'll stick to listening to them on my iPod, on a bar stereo system or in the comfort of my own home as opposed to shelling out money to see them live.

    "Sex On Fire":

    "On Call":

    "The Bucket":

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Couch Potato: Sons Of Anarchy / Ear Candy: Lions

    FX, not unlike HBO, has conditioned me to give all their new original series a shot whenever they debut. Some I stick with, some I drop from my DVR as fast as humanly possible. I love The History Channel's show Gangland, especially the episodes about outlaw biker gangs, so when FX debuted a series about an outlaw biker gang called Sons Of Anarchy last year, well, I was on board. I was hooked instantly. The show follows a similar approach to The Sopranos and fellow FX series The Shield, where the protagonists are likable and you find yourself cheering for them even though they are criminals and truly terrible people. Well, maybe the main character, Jax, isn't quite Tony Soprano or Vic Mackey, but he is certainly no angel. Jax is the VP of the SOA club and Peggy Bundy, uh, I mean Katey Sagal, does a tremendous job in the role of his mother Gemma, who is a complete cut-throat, bitch on wheels. Ron Perlman (Hellboy) plays Clay, who is the President of the SOA club, Jax's moral opposite (for the most part...they'll both kill people, but they have differences in opinion on who deserves to die) and his main antagonist. In a nice twist, Clay is married to Gemma, thus making him Jax's stepfather as well. Lots of other "Oh, I know that guy/girl" actors and actresses are on the show (including "Charlie" from Deadwood as the cancer stricken, saggy shouldered town sheriff that the Sons have in their back pocket). The show is brimming with tension, back stabbing, manipulation, love, anger, murder, mystery, good guys, bad guys and everything else you want in a drama. But perhaps most importantly, you care about the characters. You may hate them, you may love them, you make take pity on them, but you feel something towards them.

    Season 2 debuted this past Tuesday and when it was over, my jaw was on the ground. I'm not going to give anything away, but.....I mean, just wow. If they were looking to hook viewers in for the rest of the season, then they succeeded. I also love the casting of Henry Rollins as a spiteful, unlikeable (not that any of them are likable) white supremacist that the gang will be feuding with this season.

    If you are a fan of the previously mentioned The Sopranos and The Shield and shows of that nature, then Sons Of Anarchy should be right up your alley. Watching Season 1 would obviously help make Season 2 more understandable, but I think it would be safe to jump right into Season 2 without fear of being totally and completely lost. After all, this show isn't, um, well Lost.

    One more thing to note (and like) about the show is their excellent music placement. [Side Note: Doesn't being the person in charge of music placement for TV shows sound like an amazing job? Sure, you have to deal with the hassle of getting the songs cleared, getting publishers, artists, etc. to sign off, plowing through all the legal paperwork and so on and so forth, but the creativity and chance to expose viewers to music they've never heard of before sounds like an incredibly fun and rewarding opportunity.] In Season 2's opener, the final (gripping and tense) scene used a cover of Bob Dylan's "Girl From The North Country" by the Austin, TX band Lions. I was on the computer instantly after the episode ended trying to figure out who the band was. Sons Of Anarchy does have a music guide for each episode, but as of yesterday they hadn't updated Season 2 yet. I was able to figure out what the song was by scanning through the fans forum. It can be purchased on iTunes, but doesn't appear to be available anywhere else (for the time being at least). I can't vouch for the rest of the band's catalog as I'm not familiar with them, but this song is definitely worth well more than the .99 cents iTunes is charging for it.

    Lions "Girl From The North Country":

    Remembering 9/11

    The significance of the date September 11, 2001 needs no explanation. Every American remembers where they were, what they were doing and what they saw either in person or on the television. It is burned in our collective well it should be. We will never forget what happened. Our collective hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who lost their lives on that day and all of those who continue to suffer from the after effects whether they be physical or mental. And I would also like to thank all of our brave service men and women who serve in our armed forces. Regardless of what your stance is on the wars we fight overseas, these people are putting their lives on the line for you and your country and deserve our love and respect.

    Ok, hopping off the soap box and coming back to a topic that is a focus of this blog: music. Music, along with smell, probably has the strongest memory association with events, places, times, etc. in our past. Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American (originally titled Bleed American, changed to self-titled post-9/11 and then back to Bleed American in 2008) and Jeff Buckley's Grace will forever be associated with 9/11 in my mind. In the days following the attacks, I was spending a lot of time with my friends in NYC. I remember one night, one of my roommates at the time, Dave, and I were hanging out in our apartment drinking beers and talking until the wee hours of the morning. We listened to those two albums and for whatever reason, they really hit us hard. Specifically, the lyrics to the songs "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley and "Hear You Me" by Jimmy Eat World. I remember calling my mom in a drunken stupor at like 3am and playing both for her over the phone. I don't expect these songs to have the same significance for anyone reading this that they hold for me, but if you take the time to listen to the lyrics, then I think you'll really understand why I think both songs are appropriate to listen to on a day of remembrance like this. Listen/watch "Hallelujah" here and listen to "Hear You Me" here.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Poodle With A Mohawk

    Say It Ain't Sussudio!!!

    In news that probably only I care about, UK's Daily Mirror revealed today in an exclusive piece that Phil Collins is permanently retiring from playing drums due to a spine injury. Apparently it is so bad that he can't even hold his drum sticks when seated at a drum stool. Damn. Joke and snicker all you want about how Phil Collins sucks, but you know you love at least two of his solo hits and if you are a serious music fan, then you certainly appreciate his work in Genesis. The guy was a damn good drummer. I would guess this news squashes any hope of him ever touring again either solo or with Genesis. I mean, if the injury is so bad that he can't sit at a drum stool, then I can't imagine running around on stage singing for a couple hours would be any easy task. At least Phil can be happy that he enjoyed some renewed popularity with a new generation thanks to 2007's Cadbury campaign. Who would have figured that gorillas and Phil Collins would sell chocolate (and yes, Cadbury did report a spike in sales after the commercial became a hit).

    "In The Air Tonight" Live

    Phil Collins being \m/ with Black Sabbath: "Paranoid"

    "Against All Odds" Live from Live Aid '85 [He doesn't play drums on this, but it is a great song. Notice he misses a note on the piano and has a chuckle about was the 80's, so I'm sure he was not exactly, uh, sober.]

    "Another Day In Paradise"

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Dokken vs. Chicken

    Now this is a commercial I'll watch. Symantec has enlisted 80's metal heroes Dokken to help them promote their Norton internet security software. I'm not sure if it will actually boost sales, but these videos should at least be a minor viral hit. Here is a link that allows you to pick your own ending. From what I've seen, there are at least two different "Allow" versions (one included in the previous link and one below...the one in the previous link quite literally made me "LOL", but that's just my sense of humor), so not sure exactly how many alternate versions of the commercial are floating around out there.

    The "Deny" version:

    And one of the "Allow" versions:

    And just a couple awesome Dokken videos to enjoy.

    "Dream Warriors"

    "It's Not Love"

    "Just Got Lucky"

    Excuse To Eat Popcorn and Junior Mints: 9

    Went and checked out the new movie "9" today. Basically, if you like Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Terminator franchise and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, then this is going to be right up your alley.

    Brief overview: A war erupts between man and machine (man-made machine of course) and humanity is destroyed. A professor creates nine beings and breathes "life" into them. Said beings awake into a world where machines want to destroy them, they don't understand why and a fight for survival ensues.

    I know that is very brief, but it is really all there is to say without getting into an over involved explanation that gives away the whole story. Like I said, if you are a fan of the above mentioned movies, then you should enjoy this one. It moves at a fast pace, has plenty of action and doesn't get too caught up in explaining the story to the viewer.