Sunday, October 05, 2008

Chaos Theory


The Butterfly Effect. No, not that crappy Ashton Kutcher movie, but Chaos Theory, specifically the work of mathematician Edward Norton Lorenz. Before I get into how this is relevant to what I am about to discuss, allow me to provide a simple explanation of the Butterfly Effect (and Chaos Theory, or a small part of it at least) for those who are unfamiliar with the terms or what they truly mean;

A Tornado plows through Kansas. A butterfly flaps its wings. The Butterfly Effect simply states that although the butterfly flapping its wings did not create the tornado, it possibly could have changed its course, or caused a large chain of events that could have caused small alterations in the tornado's behavior. The kinetic energy of a tornado is far too powerful to be stopped, or even created by a butterfly flapping its wings, but it is mathematically impossible for it to have absolutely no affect on the tornado. It is nature meets math, and although impossible to predict, there is always a cause-and-effect.

The reason I bring this up is simple; how did I get to where I currently am? How did you? Life is essentially Chaos Theory every second of every day, and every second a butterfly flaps its wings (even if only in our brains, and the effect is our reasoning), and life takes us where ever its kinetic energy chooses. Surely we are our own tornado's, and the way we spin towards our own path of destruction (read: live life) is mostly up to us, but sometimes a butterfly flaps its wings without our knowledge, and causes a chain of events that sets us on a whole new path. This would eventually lead into the argument over Free Will, but I do not want to make my head or yours explode. Just wanted to let out some thoughts that have been rolling around in my brain lately. And don't watch that stupid movie, it is horrible and will only destroy your mind and possibly your soul.

-B
can anybody tell me why God won't speak to me


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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where Is My Mind?


It is currently 7 am and I have slept maybe 12 hours in the past 4 days. I think I am losing my mind. I cannot stop playing Monopoly. The pieces are talking to me. The Racecar is telling me to "drive it like I stole it" while the little white rabbit living in the Top Hat is telling me to kill the Thimble or he will "make me an offer I can't refuse". I don't actually know if their is a rabbit living in the Top Hat; it might just be Frank the bunny from Donnie Darko. I can't qiute tell yet. Also, I think the Racecar is having conjugal visits with the Thimble when he goes to jail and doesn't get to pass Go. Hey, it's possible; the Racecar is shaped like a penis and the Thimble is a hollow tube with an end at some point. Sounds like a vagina to me. I think the Iron flattens and tailors all the other pieces' clothing to support his crack habit that he buys on Baltic Avenue. I mean let's face it; Baltic Avenue may as well have been Brooklyn during the 70's. It's like the projects only with green crack houses and red hourly-rate hotels. And all the Wheelbarrow does is drug-mule or dispose of the dead bodies that "take a trip" to the Boardwalk. And the Community Chest? Corrupt political mustache guy that looks like a sophisticated Ron Jeremy. Chance cards are obviously the IRS, no doubt about it. And Free Parking? Not in this country my friend. I think the Dog piece is actually a cursed piece of treasure minted after that stupid fucking dog in those Pirate movies. Sea turtles my ass, he got turned into lunch and some random drunk pirate melted a bullet in effigy of him, as if he was the patron saint of Monopoly. Fuck Monopoly...God I need sleep.

-B
saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand, walking through the streets of Soho in the rain


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Swingin' Party

Now that I am actually posting my "Monday Weekly Recommendations" on a Monday, after this week I am going to switch it to Sunday since I have Sundays off. And seeing as how the first 2 began with my top 2 movies, it's only fitting that the next three end my top 5 list of movies, and then be prepared for some change-ups, curve-balls, spittin' tobaccy or whatever the hell baseball terms people use as euphemisms. Here we go:


Movie: Jaws
You had to see this one coming. As anyone who has ever taken even so much as an introduction to film class can tell you, this film is the ultimate example of how music enhances film. Watch the opening shark attack scene with the girl in the water, turn it on mute once she starts swimming, and see how fulfilling of an experience it is. This film also stars two actors from my top two movie; Robert Shaw in The Sting and Roy Scheider from The French Connection. Both highly under-rated actors, especially Shaw who was an exceptional writer in his own right as well. Even if you have seen this movie (and you have) watch it one more time for me.


Music: The Replacements - Tim
There are few records that can be called perfect, and we can argue about those some other time, but Tim is perfect. Start to finish, you can't skip a track. Most casual music fans may know of the song "Bastards of Young", which of course is a great song, but the ballads are the real shining moments. "Here Comes a Regular" and my own personal favorite, "Swingin' Party". The Replacements helped build the hardcore scene before they became a platform for Paul Westerberg's solo career, but there's no going wrong with this record. It's almost impossible to not like at least one track off this record.

Book:
Carl Sagan - The Demon-Haunted World
Subtitled as "Science as a Candle in the Dark", this is an amazing book written by the man who wrote Cosmos and the Pulitzer Prize winning The Dragons of Eden. He also wrote one fiction book that was turned into a movie, Contact. The Demon-Haunted World is the perfect book for any type of skeptic. Sagan doesn't try and prove that God doesn't exist, he just asks you to ask questions on both sides of the question. He delves into UFO's, aliens, witchcraft, religion, and the decline of scientific study in our public school system. This book is a requirement for any fan of science, philosophy, skepticism, astronomy, wicthcraft, religion, or anything unexplained and buried within the unknown world.

-B
if being afraid is a crime, we hang side by side


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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Into The Ocean

Ok, it's a day late, get off me. I'm tired. So this Monday's (read: Tuesday) list of books, film, and music you must watch, listen to, and read. Did I get that right? Whatever, I blame the drugs.


Movie: The French Connection
One of the greatest films ever made, it revolves around two cops trying to intercept a shipment of heroin from France. It is perhaps Gene Hackman's best performance to date, and was also the first R-rated movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. As with the movie Bullitt, the movie is famous for one of the best car chase scenes ever filmed, so that alone should make it worth watching. Based on the true story of the real "French Connection", this movie ranks at #2 as my all time top 5, and I highly recommend it.

Music: Teenage Fanclub - Grand prix
The only song you may have heard from these Brit's is "Don't Look Back", but don't let that crime against music fool you. Teenage Fanclub is one of those band's that has never released a bad record, and this is definitely their best. One of those records that you can listen to from start to finish without skipping a track; it's just plain good rock. Not too heavy, not too light, but Goldilocks would have found it just right (If she wasn't, you know, eaten by bears).


Book: Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde's only published novel is perhaps one of the literary world's greatest story of how a man can turn from a loving, caring person to a heartless, soulless shadow of the man he once was. Much like Faust, it is about sacrificing one's soul or sanity in order to quench their thirst for ultimate knowledge, or in Dorian Gray's case, beauty. We see Gray turn from a much adored man of wealth and beauty to a careless soul who feels almost nothing at all. The ending of the novel is one of my favorite endings I have ever read, and I know it may be a little hard to get past Wilde's constant use of descriptive writing of every object in every setting of the book, but trust me, it is worth it. Plus, the book has one of my favorite lines ever: "What manner of human endeavor is not morally ambiguous".

-B
I'm reaching for the life within me



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Saturday, September 06, 2008

My Slow Decent Into Alcoholism

I want to be the subject of Michael Bay movie. It would be called Tea 2: This Time It's Herbal. He could do close-up shots of me drinking tea with a serious life-hanging-in-the-balance look on my face while the music from The Rock plays loudly in the background, building up the suspense of my herbal test of will. Then I could say some famous one-liners like "This shit just got decaf" or maybe something a little romantic like "I may not be good with words and I know I just shot the gay guy at Starbucks because he put sweetener in my tea, but girl I mean it when I say this shit is real. I'm yours if you want me. You had me at 'iced or hot'". And then of course there would have to be the chase scene, like in Bullitt only with a 2004 Mustang six-cylinder with expired tags and loud, screeching brakes that can do 0-60 in a week and a half. I could chase through the Arden mall parking lot looking for a parking spot to get to the tea store before the mall closes. And naturally the bad guys are the people from Snapple who want the world to drink their fructose-filled cough syrup they pass off as tea in order to take over the world. I know, it needs a little work and maybe some script dialogue from Quentin Tarantino to make it more hip, but hell, it's gotta be better than Bad Boys.

-B
my slow decent, into alcoholism it went


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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Walking Is Still Honest

A friend of mine recently suggested to me that I should make a weekly list of movies, music, and books that I would think people would enjoy. So while she was babbling about shoes or some sale at Macy's or something, I came up with a good idea to write a weekly post about movies, music, and books that I think people would enjoy. These will normally appear on Monday's, but since I have nothing else important to do today except search my house for snakes (God's PVC pipes gone wrong), here is this weeks list, a little late. Blame the snakes.

Movie: The Sting

I figured we should start with my all-time favorite movie, The Sting. Starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Robert Shaw, this cinematic masterpiece revolves around the retribution of the death of a fellow con man by a gang of grifters led by Newman and Redford. Shaw, as always, is amazing as mob boss Doyle Lonnegan. The story is told as a play with 4 parts; The Set-up, The Hook, The Tale, and The Sting. I don't want to ruin the plot for you, but The Sting is a must-see for any film buff.


Music: Supergrass - Diamond Hoo Ha

For those of you who don't remember Supergrass, they sang the nineties hit "Pumping On Your Stereo", and have never released a bad record. Diamond Hoo Ha is their latest release, and it opens with the "Diamond Hoo Ha Man" (insert your own translation), and blistering riff reminiscent on the White Stripes only, you know, good. There isn't a single moment lacking rollicking guitars and hard-hitting drums, so no having to worry about any tear-jerkers here. I highly recommend it.




Book: Kurt Vonnegut - Mother Night

My favorite Vonnegut book, Mother Night is told as the diary of a Nazi war prisoner about to be executed for war crimes. There is a twist, but it would ruin the whole book so I won't even begin to tell you the synopsis or even provide a link to it. Just read the damn book.

-B
Can anybody tell me why God won't speak to me



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Monday, July 07, 2008

Faded Beauty Queens



I like sandwiches. This is not that uncommon, as I assume that most people enjoy a good sandwich. However, when most people order a sandwich from their respective sandwich wizard, they get a wonderful concoction of meats and vegetables for their mandibles to masticate. Not me. I get a crappy sandwich with a side of bad math. Now I am not normally the type of person to mock those lacking mathematical skills; for some people, it's just not their cup of tea. But I do have standards regarding my expectations when said person is attempting math with my money. When I give you a dollar for something that costs twenty cents, it should take you no longer than two seconds to come to the conclusion that you owe me eighty cents. Not this chick, she has her own fucking agenda going on. My sandwich and drink cost me $9.20 (holy fucking shit, I paid almost ten dollars for a sandwich!), and I gave her a $10 bill. Do the math. Are you done yet? You should be. Not this bitch. She had to count the eighty cents, and then she grabbed more change, put it in her other hand, and then spent approximately three minutes looking back and forth between her two hands as if she held Life in one hand and Death in the other. It was, is a word, fascinating. To watch the mouse in her brain spin its last turn on the wheel before it died of exhaustion was simply amazing, and I for one am glad I was there to witness it. These people are the future. That is fucking frightening.

-B
So long, my love, it always hurts to see you. Every time I call you're running out the door.



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Monday, June 30, 2008

Cleveland Steamer



Top 10 reason I cannot come up with a new blog post:

10. The Cleveland Steamer.
9. Ass-less chaps cutting off circulation to brain in my penis.
8. Two words: Therapy.
7. Chipotle!
5. Ate #6, now I can't poop.
4. How I Met Your Mother reruns.
3. Still looking for the Six-Fingered Man.
2.The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza killed my last brain cell.
1. Crepes!

-B
You kiss me on the lips and I am breathless, too weak to keep myself from fucking up

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Viva La Vida



The darker days are closing in. My fractured mind is slowly losing its shaky grasps on reality. I suddenly find myself wanting, hoping, praying that it would happen again. Wishing upon all that is holy for just one more fix. I am addicted. I can't win; there is no point in fighting this. I am what I am, and I am tired of being ashamed of it. It is time to come clean, tell the truth, and deal with the consequences like a man. So here it is, the ugly, horrible truth. My deepest, darkest secret I will ever share;

I like the new Coldplay song.

Don't judge me.

-B
For some reason I can't explain, I know Saint Peter won't call my name



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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sects and Candy



Are you as amazed as I am that polygamy continues to be an issue in this country? Take the current fiasco in Texas (proving yet once again that Texas sucks); how did this go on for so long before somebody decided to stand up and do something? Now don't get me wrong; if some idiot decides to condemn himself to a lifetime of incessant nagging and constantly hearing "I told you so", who am I to judge? The problem is that most of the wives in these fundamentalist wack-job towns are young women, mostly underage. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Seriously guys, pick a shorter name. May I suggest "Church of Child Molesters"?) claims to have over 10,000 members, including a leader that is so fucking creepy that I hear his mirror cries in fear when he looks into it while chanting "mirror, mirror on the wall, whose the sickest of them all?". 10,000 people. How the fuck is there not one pervert among them who has the mental capacity to grasp the horror of this reality and dare to look into creepy ol' Warren's eyes and ask "what the fuck is wrong with us?" How has this not happened? Forget religion, forget politics, forget all that you have been taught and ask yourself how you would react if this guy told you that God says some 75 year old pedophile has to marry your 12 year old daughter? Polygamy may be part of their "religion", but it is still against the law. Now some may cry foul and scream about others' right to practice their own religion, and would normally agree. But where do you draw the line? There is a reason we no longer burn people at the stake for having the hiccups. There is a line drawn in the sand, and at some point we have to realize we are treading too close to it, hopefully before we are no longer able to see the human being staring back at us in the mirror and see only a monster. Anne Coulter, are you listening?

-B
So unforgiving yet needing forgiveness first


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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cheesing My Fucking Brains Out



Greatest line ever: "Curse you rockin' tits!"

Let me explain;

I'm watching one of the newer South Park episodes and the kids are getting stoned off of concentrated cat urine. It's funnier than it sounds (although only slightly) but the episode is a play on the cult classic animated film Heavy Metal, so it's still worth watching. Anyway, I am a big fan of the film and the magazine, so I was excited to hear that they are making a new one. For those of you who haven't seen it, it's about a glowing green ball floating from universe to universe causing all sorts of shit to happen to a badass soundtrack. There are also tits involved. I suggest you bring booze/drugs when watching. Also check out the animated flick American Pop, which follows a family of musicians throughout the generations and the things going on in society around the time period of that particular generation. So that's it for now, my brain hurts and I have the dumb. Side note, don't inhale cat pee. It doesn't work, trust me.

-B
here you find me in between Heaven and Hell my dear


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Monday, April 14, 2008

Daddy Needs His Medicine



I want to invent a new drug. Not for the fame of having invented the cure to Chronic Testicle Tickles or anything like that, but solely for the fun of creating a name for it. That's the reason why anybody gets into the Inventing Shit field anyway; nobody really wants to give men longer erections or women a cure for Menstrual Cycle Bitchiness, they just want to say "You know that cool new drug Vicosnifflechicklet? Yeah, I invented that. Wanna fuck?" The world is filled with genius scientists of varying fields of study, and not one has a lick of creativity when naming their creation. They either use their last name, the Latin version of their last name, or they stick the names of every creation ever shown in a Star Trek episode into a hat and blindfold some lab rat acolyte and give him the "honor" of drawing out a name. Or something like that, I don't really know and I am too lazy to do some actual research, but I am sure my theory is sound. Anyway, if it were up to me, these drugs would be so much more awesome and possibly deadly than they already are (science shows that drugs with cool names are 56.8% more likely to cure diseases, increase sex drive, give you ESP, and make you cooler than Kanye West according to the facts that I've just made up). No more crappy names like Tylenol or Heroin. Instead of Viagra you now get Stiffyjuicelicide. Got a headache? Try Sexyfantabulous. These are but a few of the ways that my total awesomeness and complete lack of common sense or brains would help make this world a better place. So to hell with Advil, I'm off to overdose on Owesomevicafizzyliftingdrink.

-B
Hush you're in a story that I heard somebody told


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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dull Blade



As I type this I am watching the movie Blade: Trinity, and hating every moment of it. Don't get me wrong; it's not that I don't enjoy watching Wesley Snipes play the same character he plays in every film he has ever starred in (only with fangs this time), Ryan Reynolds playing Van Wilder with a gun, and one of those Jessica bitches try and kill vampires while listening to trip-hop on her iPod; I do. I just don't think I can take anymore cheesy stupid action movies. Snipes is a terrible actor, and Reynolds has improved exponentially since the release of Van Wilder, but Jessica (I just checked, it's Biel) is the anchor around the neck that is drowning this waste of celluloid. How many tacky post-kill punch lines is a film legally allowed to have? In my opinion it's too many. Shit, even on mute this movie is bad. Fuck it, I am going to watch something else, something good.

Ooh, Judge Dredd is on!

-B
I don't know why I instigate and say what I don't mean


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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wave Of Mutilation



People always ask me "have you seen (insert TV show title here)?" and my response is always the same; no. I generally don't watch TV shows, with the exception of Family Guy and How I Met Your Mother. South Park occasionally, when they don't get too political. But other than that, I can honestly say that whatever pathetic excuse of a half-hour waste of time the networks can vomit out of their creatively-drained brains is on TV, chances are I have not seen it, nor will I. And for some unknown reason this always fascinates people. Even now as I type this, the television is on, but it's on mute and I am listening to my iTunes playlist (the Pixies for those keeping score). This country is fascinated with television, and I can honestly say "I just don't get it".

My main complaint against television is not so much the content I am exposed to as much it is the general public's inability to resist this continuously regurgitated crap. How many reality TV shows does it take for you people to be content? And an even better question, why are you so fascinated with watching other people pretend to live real life? Reality television is the ultimate contradiction in terms. These people are not being themselves, they are being who they think you want them to be, and the idiots of this country eat it up. Case in point; that dumb bitch who told the whole world she fucked her ex or whatever on that Moment Of Truth show. Do you really think she did it because it's true? No. She did it for ratings and a possible future in television. She even admitted it. But the reality TV whores are still eating this shit up.

Speaking of whores, why is this country obsessed with watching celebrities fuck up? Here's a scenario I want you to try and imagine; you spend every moment in the public. You have no privacy, you can't drive your car due to the photographers swarming around it like bees, and your entire life is on display on every magazine rack in the world. You are constantly criticized and judged for the shit we all do every day. You are attacked for your looks, weight, lifestyle, love life, parenting skills, and for your basic desire for privacy. Would this not make you turn to drugs and alcohol? Then you get the whole world talking about your reaction to their invasion of your privacy. If you were some random person, this would be a nightmare for you and your family, and those who exploited your hardships would be stoned and thrown to the fucking wolves. But if your name is Britney Spears, it's considered entertainment?

Reality TV is this generations opiate for the masses. Hollywood has no sense of originality anymore, so it just force feeds us this crap because we don't know any better. We enjoy watching others fuck up their lives all the while judging them because we have somehow convinced ourselves that we are better than they are. Are we? I mean sure, we're not the ones on the television, but is the prey any better a species than the laughing hyenas? Every predator is another hunter's prey; it just looks different on the other side of the glass. All reality TV does is prove that even someone's fake life can be far more entertaining than our own, and that is just sad. I will never understand getting joy out of the suffering of others. Oh yeah, one last thing; American Idol is a crime against music, and quite possibly against humanity, and the people in charge of Fox deserve to be shot.

-B
cease to resist, giving my goodbye



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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Imitation Of Life



After the walls of my virtual world came tumbling down, hurdling data packets and random bits of code out into the unknown oblivion, I felt my mind starting to slip from its grasp on reality. I suddenly felt cold, unclean and delirious, convulsing in my own madness as the information super-highway drifted further and further away from my cold, dead fingers. The days seemed dark and dreary, passing by like a river flowing into some unknown terrain. It was hell. But it would soon pass. I would soon be saved from my own personal hell, much like that douchebag from Creed. You know, the Eddie Vedder doppelganger who preaches a lot and his music sucks but it sells anyway, thanks to the religious fanatics who find some sort of comfort in his facade of religious faith and flowing bangs and tribal armband tattoos. Anyway, back to me trying to sound pretentious and deep. My world soon found itself turned upside down. Then the doorbell rang. My savior appeared, my white knight on his trusty steed (read: minivan) here to slay the dragon of boredom and restore order to my village, and possibly rape my women and enslave my children, I'm not really sure. His name was AT&T, and he brought me back to this world. And I am forever in his debt. I am back online bitches, and damn it feels good.

-B
No one can see me cry


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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pumping On Your Stereo


I knew this day would come. All art is circular. At any given time in history, the medium returns to a previous form that was once hailed as brilliant only to have been cast out into darkness later. We live in a constant state of irony. What was popular five years ago is now considered bloated and pathetic, only to be resurrected from the dead in another decade or so as "cool". It is the same for all art forms; painting, music, film. In music trends come and go, but good old fashioned rock and roll never dies. It simply lays dormant, waiting for the next musical eclipse to come along. Take disco for example; seemingly seconds after Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1979, it was essentially uncool to like disco. Heavy metal was creeping up on us, hairspray in hand, and all the boys were growing their hair long and swapping their cocaine for Budweiser. Now it is 2008 and disco-punk and disco-dance-rock and any other newly created forms of disco exploitation the hipster bloggers choose to coin a catchphrase to is all over the radio waves. It is now suddenly expected to replace a guitar player with an idiot holding a keytar and wearing Kanye's ridiculous sunglasses. But I digress; this is not all bad. Where alternative rock was once popular in the early 90's, it is now apparently making a comeback, even if said comeback is fronted by the guys who created it in the first place. Bands like Stone Temple Pilots (or as I prefer to call them, Grunge's Mentally Challenged Rejects), Supergrass, Seven Mary Three, Superdrag, the Smashing Pumpkins, and many other bands whose name does not start with an "S" have recently reformed with the intent of putting out new music. Now does this mean that rock is suddenly going to replace all the other shit on the airwaves? Not necessarily. People are inherently dumb and prefer to listen to music that doesn't make them think so much as it makes them think they look cool while blaring Soulja Boy out of the blown speakers of their pimped-out Dodge Neon. When Gene Simmons stated that the fans killed the music industry, he wasn't just speaking financially (or maybe he was and is just a prophet unaware of his gift, but I doubt it). However, there is some good music on the horizon from bands that have either since reformed or just flown under the radar for the last decade, so I am obligated to point you in the right direction. It is simply me doing my part to prevent the airwaves from permanently "Ridin' Dirty". Enjoy.


Seven Mary Three
You probably know this band from their 1995 hit "Cumbersome", and their lesser known but far superior single "Waters Edge". When American Standard came out that year, it was impossible to ignore due to the constant radio play these tracks got. American Standard was a good rock record from a good rock band that disappeared just as quickly as they had arrived on the scene, but they never quit making music. 7M3 have released four more records since their debut, none of which made a splash on the music scene, regardless of their quality. I particularly liked 2001's The Economy Of Sound, while Orange Ave. had a few killer tracks on it as well. 7M3 is releasing another album next week titled Day&Nightdriving, and from what I have heard so far it is pretty damn good. You can hear a few tracks off of the new album on their MySpace page, including the new single "Last Kiss".


Supergrass
In the past 12 years Supergrass has released 5 studio albums and one greatest hits record, and will be gracing us with the presence of a new record in a few weeks. You might remember Supergrass from the radio hit "Pumping On Your Stereo" as well as their 1995 Beatle-esque "Alright". The video for "Pumping On Your Stereo" was an MTV staple in 1999; right around the time MTV stopped playing music. While the band has had other singles released, they were not very popular (at least not here in the US), however that is more of a statement about the poor quality of music on the American airwaves than it is an insult to Supergrass. Supergrass has never made a bad album, and with every release they manage to out due the last record. 1997's In It For The Money was rated by Q magazine as the 68th greatest album of all time, is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and was bestowed by NME what can only be assumed as the greatest compliment ever given to a rock band; "more fun than watching a wombat in a washing machine". Well the boys are back with an excellent new record, Diamond Hoo Ha. Check out their MySpace page for a preview, as the record will not be released until next month.


Fastball
Released in March of my senior year of high school (1998), Fastball's radio hit "The Way" was a feel good hit of the summer I graduated. I can remember hearing this song every damn day that summer, along with the other singles off of All The Pain Money Can Buy "Fire Escape" and the wonderful and overlooked track "Out Of My Head". I always liked this band, and may be one of the only people I know who actually owns their other records. They suffer from the same affliction as Supergrass; they make consistently good records while being completely avoided by the industry. Fastball's first record Make Your Mama Proud contained, among other great tracks, the single "Are You Ready For The Fallout", which is probably more known for being in the movie Varsity Blues. The Harsh Light Of Day was just as good as All The Pain Money Can Buy, with a wider sound and greater depth. The band is currently in the studio recording their fifth record, so until then I suggest you give their back catalog a try, you might find some hidden gems.


The Dandy Warhols
The Dandy Warhols are indie rock darlings dripping of The Velvet Underground, which may explain why they put out excellent records that are completely ignored by most radio stations. Despite their lack of radio support, you have probably heard a few of their songs without knowing it. They are featured in numerous commercials and soundtracks, but the real goods are the records. 2000's Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia is an excellent record with their most well known song "Bohemian Like You". Their earlier records are equally good, especially 1997's ...Dandy Warhols Come Down. A band that is more known for its live show antics than their music (Zia McCabe performing topless, for example), and their music videos can be pretty controversial, but once you look past the aesthetic value, they are an excellent band with a handful of excellent records. This year's expected release Earth To The Dandy Warhols should be no exception.


The Lemonheads
The Lemonheads are mostly known for their cover of "Mrs. Robinson", which is sad because their records are great. It's A Shame About Ray, released in 1992, was filled with tracks far better than the album closer mentioned above. "Confetti", "It's A Shame About Ray", and "Buddy" (originally titled "My Drug Buddy") are all excellent tracks. After this album came records with equally catchy tunes overshadowed by Evan Dando's persona and drug use, but the music didn't seem to suffer as much as the rest of the band did. After breaking up in 1998 Dando did some solo touring and released a live record, but nothing he did could match the Lemonheads. Part of their success could be attributed to the wonderfully sexy Juliana Hatfield, who provided bass for most of their records while never being an actual member of the band. Nine years later the band is back, this time with Karl Alvarez (Descendents, All) and Bill Stevenson (Descendents, All, Black Flag) and a new record coming out this year. Until then, check out the back catalog and try to listen to more than just "Mrs. Robinson".


Nada Surf
You probably know Nada Surf for the 1996 radio hit "Popular", a song which is one of the few by this band that I skip every time I play their album. I can understand why it was a hit; I just feel that it overshadows the good stuff. Their second record, 1998's The Proximity Effect was a great record killed by the recording industry, as is the case with a lot of bands from the 90's alternative days. The band bounced back in 2002 with Let Go, a critically acclaimed record that far surpassed everything the band had done up to this point. The Weight Is A Gift was their last record, and while it was decent, it wasn't exactly note-worthy. Which brings us to their newest record, released last week Lucky is a record worth it's weight in gold. Another band that has failed to release a bad record, Nada Surf may always be remembered as a one hit wonder for "Popular", but don't be fooled; they bring the goods.


Superdrag
The 90's was a time of flannel sweaters, bad haircuts, Starbucks, and bands with the word "super" in their title; Superdrag, Supergrass, & Superchunk, all good bands lacking a little creativity in the band-naming department, but thankfully they more than make up for it in their song writing. Superdrag is most known for their 1996 MTV Buzz Bin hit "Sucked Out", which is a good song, but hardly the one they want to be remembered for. It is hard to say that Superdrag was a victim of record label abandonment, especially when their second record, Head Trip In Every Key was written to go against what Elektra was demanding from them. This caused the record label to abandon Superdrag and withhold promoting the record, which is a shame because this is easily their best effort. After another record which failed to chart and a few EP's released, the band called it quits in 2003 due to John Davis' alcoholic lifestyle and his "finding God" thing that rock stars always seem to do nowadays. Thankfully, the band is back together and in the studio recording a new record that I hope will not be a gospel-inspired record with religious overtones. The world does not need another Creed. Anyway, check out their MySpace page for some new tracks and see of there is anything you like.


The bands mentioned above ruled the airwaves in the 90's, only to be replaced with Nickelback and Daughtry and God knows what else, but they are among many others like them who hold a special place in my heart. You can never relive those high school summer days at the lake, nights at the pool halls and mosh pits, girl troubles, missing class and ignoring your homework, all to the sound of some good music. The times are gone, but at least the music remains.

-B
can you hear us pumping on your stereo?



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Friday, February 08, 2008

Jesus Is Fucking Metal



If I was in a heavy metal band, I would call it Gay Demons Frolicking Amongst The Flowers. We would dress up like Mudvayne, but with fantastic pink devil horns and rainbows painted on our bodies. Our stage would literally be a giant flower pot, with roses and tulips and maybe some pretty daisies. We would jump and skip around in the flower bed, stopping only to complain when we broke a string or crushed a tulip. Our sound would be heavy, with crushing guitars and drums that would cause irregularities in your heart beat. Our songs would be titled "I Will Destroy Your Soul If You Don't Tell Me Where You Bought Those Shoes" and "Kiss Me, Kill Me, Gay-Marry Me". Our first album would be titled Give Me Dick Over Bush or maybe something a little less political, like Andy Dick Fuck Machine. And when we win a Grammy, we could play our latest single, "I Loved The Sound Of Music", and stand at the little podium and thank GLAAD, Ozzy, God, and every gay icon in the entertainment industry. Then we would become a cliche, turn into one of those Behind The Music downward spirals. I would get hooked on smack or Epsom salt, loose all of my money paying off the flower mafia, be saved by Jesus, and make a great comeback album titled You Can't Keep A Good Gay Demon Down. It would be heavier, darker, but with way more singles and frolicking involved. Now that is a Behind The Music episode worth watching. I can't fucking wait. Happy Friday!

-B
this was my life, this was my fate


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Monday, February 04, 2008

New Day Rising


I have been waiting for an appropriate time to mention the music of Bob Mould, and seeing as how he has an excellent new record coming out on tomorrow, this seems as good a time as any. Bob Mould started his career as the guitarist for the seminal 80's punk band Husker Du, one of many bands chronicled in Michael Azerrad's excellent book Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991. After the demise of Husker Du, Mould released solo records as well as creating the band Sugar and working in music production. So for those of you unassociated with his work, allow me to shine some light.

Husker Du - Land Speed Record
Recorded live at the 7th Street Entry on August 15th, 1981, Land Speed Record is Husker Du's first release. And trust me, the record lives up to its name. Recorded for a mere $350 on a 2-track soundboard, the record is 17 tracks and 26 and a half minutes of hardcore punk. It has not yet been remastered, which makes the CD a hard listen, even for the most devout of punk fans. A few of the tracks were re-released on their first studio record Everything Falls Apart, but even then it is still a pretty rough listen. If you're not really a fan of punk rock, this record is absolutely skipable, but is a must have for the diehard fans.

Husker Du - Everything Falls Apart
Released in 1983, Everything Falls Apart is Husker Du's first studio record. This record included their second single "In A Free Land" as well as the track "Do You Remember", which is the Danish and Norwegian translation of the bands name. Another highly sought after record from the band due to its small original pressing; it has been re-released onto CD as Everything Falls Apart and More, although this too is a pretty rough listen. The band was known for their distortion and low quality recordings until later on in their career. The record also contains a cover of Donovan's "Sunshine Superman", which always seemed like a weird choice to me, but they manage to make it work.

Husker Du - Metal Circus
This 1983 EP could be considered the starting point of the band's transition into more melodic punk rock, as well as the start of Mould and Grant Hart singing the lead vocals on their own songs. The songs at this point are still pretty short, with 7 tracks clocking in at 19 minutes, but that would soon change.


Husker Du - Zen Arcade
The band's breakout album, the double-LP concept record Zen Arcade is considered a punk rock classic, the record made many top critics and magazine lists. While the record is considered a concept album about a dream or... something, I don't really know, but I don't see it that way. The record does however include many of the band's classics, including "Never Talking to You Again", which was covered recently by David Grohl of the Foo Fighters, which you can download here. This record also includes one of Grant Hart's best songs, "Turn On the News", which the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has placed on their list of "500 songs that shaped rock and roll". If you need a good starting point to get into their music, this is it.

Husker Du - New Day Rising
What could be considered the band's best album, 1985's New Day Rising solidified not only their new direction in sound but also the band's status as one of the decade's best indie band's. Featuring classics such as "I Apologize", "Terms of Psychic Warfare", "Books About UFOs", and the record's 2 singles "New Day Rising" and "Celebrated Summer". New Day Rising has been listed on many "greatest" lists, including being the only Husker Du record on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of all Time". By far the band's best record.

Husker Du - Flip Your Wig
Released the same year as New Day Rising, Flip Your Wig is a big departure from the band's earlier hardcore days. This record includes the single "Makes No Sense At All", which is not only the band's first music video but also one of the few Husker Du songs that Mould plays at his solo shows. The record also includes a few of my favorite Husker Du tracks, including "Flip Your Wig", "Hate Paper Doll" and "Keep Hanging On". This record proved a pivotal turning point for the band, as they were not only jumping to a major label but also experiencing a lot of inner strife between the band members, which would not only tear the band apart but also draw out some of the bands best music as a result of Mould and Hart's competitive song writing.

Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey
The first record of theirs to crack the Billboard Top 200, as well as my personal favorite record from them, Candy Apple Grey is their first to be released on a major label. There were 2 singles released for the album, both written and sung by Hart; "Don't Want To Know If you Are Lonely", which was made into a music video, and my favorite Husker Du song "Sorry Somehow", which was released as an EP. Here is a clip of Green Day covering "Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely", for your viewing pleasure. This record also includes some of their slower songs, including the wonderfully melancholy "Hardly Getting Over It", "Too Far Down", and "No Promise Have I Made". My favorite record of theirs as well as their best in production quality, this record alienated a lot of fans, but has aged very well. If I could only suggest one record, this would be it.

Husker Du - Warehouse: Songs and Stories
The last record from the band, Warehouse: Songs and Stories cracked the Billboard Top 200, even as a double album. There were three singles released from the record; "Could You Be The One", "Ice Cold Ice", and "She's A Woman (And Now He Is A Man)", although only the first one was made into a music video. It's a decent record, but I have to be honest; I don't really care for it. "Could You Be The One" is really the only song I listen to off of this record, but I continually find myself giving it another chance, only to be disappointed. The record clearly shows how tired of itself the band has become, and the group disbanded after the tour for this record. This record is probably the easiest on the ears, and it's definitely their most catchy record, so it would be a good listen for those who don't care for the heavier stuff, but honestly I am the only Husker Du fan I know of that even owns this record. A sad ending for a great band.

Bob Mould - Workbook
Mould's first solo record following the demise of Husker Du is a mostly acoustic record that is composed of folky tunes that sound almost nothing like his previous work. While "See A Little Light" is a pretty good tune, I rarely listen to this record. I plan on giving it another spin this week, but it takes a little getting used to due to the drastic change in pace from what I am used to. Still, it's worth checking out.

Bob Mould - Black Sheets of Rain
My favorite so far of Mould's solo releases, Black Sheets of Rain takes late-era Husker Du and gives it a heavy pop coating. This record contained the top 10 hit "It's Too Late", which is among his best solo work. Along with that single, the record also has some pretty good songs that Husker Du fans will probably dig, such as "One Good Reason", "Hanging Tree", "The Last Night", and "Stop Your Crying". This record is definitely one I would suggest you to pick up and give it a spin; really good stuff.

Sugar - Copper Blue
Easily Sugar's best work, Copper Blue is a Sugar album written entirely by Mould. I would list the key tracks, but I would have to list pretty much every damn one. So, to make it easy I will point out my favorites; "Changes", "Helpless", and "If I Can't Change Your Mind", a great song which was butchered by the band Train. A pivotal record of the 90's, this record easily stands up with the best of Husker Du and Mould's solo records.

Sugar - Beaster
Beaster is an EP consisting of songs written at the same time as Copper Blue, but the material was a bit darker than the record, so Mould wisely decided to release it as a 6 song EP. The EP includes the track "Tilted", which is another great Sugar track that had a video made for it. If you can find this EP pick it up, it easily holds up to Copper Blue.

Sugar - File Under: Easy Listening
The last record released by Sugar, F.U.E.L. is a great follow up to Copper Blue. Although I prefer the first record, there were some pretty good tracks released off this record, such as "Gee Angel", "Your Favorite Thing", which is one of my favorite Sugar tracks and got some radio play when it was released, and "Believe What You're Saying". While I do prefer the first record, this one is just as good but with a little lighter, more pop sound.

Sugar - Besides
The final release from the band, Besides is a collection of B-sides from their other records. It's not a bad disc if you are a fan of B-sides and unreleased music, but like most B-sides and rarities discs it does not have a consistent feel to it. The songs seem to jump around in tempo and quality, but if you have gotten this far into Bob Mould's catalog, then I am obligated to inform you to pick this one up as well. The CD also contains the video for the song "Gee Angel", even though the song is from the F.U.E.L. record and is not included in any form on this disc. The first initial pressings of this record included the bonus live disc The Joke Is Always On Us, Sometimes, recorded on November 2nd, 1994 at First Avenue club in Minneapolis.

Bob Mould - Bob Mould
After the demise of Sugar, Mould went back to solo work with the 1996 release of his self-titled album. Having performed all of the instrumentation on this record, it is surprisingly good. It includes the single "egoverride", as well as the note worthy tracks "I Hate Alternative Rock", "Deep Karma Canyon", and "Art Crisis". I still prefer his first solo record, but when this one hits, it's great.

Bob Mould - The Last Dog and Pony Show
This is an interesting record. One minute you're hearing the standard Mould sound ("Moving Trucks" and "Who Was Around"), and then the next minute there is sampling and electronic mechanical sounds ("Reflecting Pool" and "First Drag Of The Day"). This is a prelude to his next record, which was an industrial record. Still, "Moving Trucks" is s great track, along with "Take Everything" and "Who Was Around". Sounds a lot like Sugar, with the obvious exceptions of the sampling tracks I mentioned, but still a great record.

Bob Mould - Modulate
I have to be honest; I rarely listen to this record. Modulate is pretty much what the title insinuates, an electronic record. It's not such a change of pace as Blaqk Audio was to AFI, but its close. Still, there some decent track, such as "Sunset Safety Glass" and "Slay/Sway". The record however is a drastic change of pace and will probably throw off a lot of long time fans. Required listening for die hard fans, but that's about it. I would suggest you stick with his earlier solo work or Sugar.

Bob Mould - Body of Song
A welcome return to form, Body of Song is a mix of Modulate and The Last Dog and Pony Show. The electronic sampling is still there, but the guitars are more concentrated, adding his trademark fuzz to the electronic atmosphere of the record. The record has been reviewed very favorably, and is among his best. I wasn't able to find any videos off of the record, but check out Mould's website for some samples of the record.

Well, that about sums it up. Bob Mould's new record District Line drops tomorrow, and you can listen to the record in it's entirety at his MySpace page. I have given it a couple of listens, and it sounds damn good. Until then, I suggest that you check out his expansive back catalog. Start with Husker Du and work your way forward or vice versa, either way you can't really go wrong. He is also currently on tour so check out his website for dates. I will probably be at the San Francisco show, so if anyone would like to go let me know, I hate going to concerts alone.

-B
You want me to beg forgiveness, tender an apology. It's not my fault and you're not getting one from me.


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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Long Road To Ruin


For those of you who have never had to bare the burden of attempting survival in Reno, Nevada allow me to paint you a portrait of nouns and adjectives; Reno is a ruptured septic tank of human vices and temptations. It is the poorly-behaved little brother of Las Vegas, you know the one that always seems to fuck up all the time and always drinks a little too much at Thanksgiving because it wants to be a big city but it knows in it's little heart of hearts that it's nothing more than a state-subsidized adult daycare for alcoholics. In plain terms, this city sucks. I don't gamble, and having actually witnessed it first hand, I now know why. I can see how those with addictive personalities could easily be drawn into debt by the bright lights, free drinks, and the over-bearing presence of strip clubs and all-you-can-eat buffets. Never have I seen a place so dedicated to the typical male hierarchy of necessity; money, sex, booze, and food. It is Hell's waiting room, but don't worry, the room rates are low, the drinks are free, and there's plenty of action to occupy your time. The only upside to visiting this dirt-ridden wasteland was that I got to see a pretty good Foo Fighters concert. So, you know, there's always that.

-B
long road to ruin there in your eyes


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