Courtney Love is definitely the Yoko Ono of the 90s and don’t get me wrong, I love Hole (the girl band has been a primary influence on my wardrobe for years), but post-Kurt Courtney has got to go. I can deal with the drug use and Kaballah dappling, but I must vibe off Chris Crocker when I say “LEAVE NIRVANA ALONE!” This Courtney bashing stems from the Internet rumors about the alleged in-the-works Nirvana movie. Supposedly, vamp tramp Robert Pattison is dying to play the part of Kurt and Courtney has consented after months of email/telephone pestering from the heartthrob. This is just the latest offence in Court’s long-standing, negative influence on Nirvana. Even after years of contemplation, I have concluded that her only positive contribution was inspiring Kurt to write the rather degrading song “About A Girl.” If this movie ever gets made, I hope anyone who actually pays $10 to see it is haunted by the ghost of Kurt of the rest of his or her life. On that note, here’s a live recording of “About A Girl” from the latest Nirvana release, Live At Reading. The famous ’92 performance, the same one where a fresh-outa-rehab Kurt entered the stage in a wheelchair and a crazy wig, has been digitally re-mastered to pure perfection. It has officially replaced Neil Yong’s Live Rust as my favorite live album of all time—it’s that good.
Being poor only sucks when you can’t afford things that you want. I don’t mind sleeping on a mattress on the floor, in a house with no heat, and surviving on rice and grocery brand “Grillin’ Beans,” but I do get pissed when I can’t justify spending $20 on a concert that I would really like to have attended; that was the Miike Snow show last Thursday.
Miike Snow is an indie-rock band from Sweden with a sound more sugary than I can usually endure, but there’s something different about these boys. Maybe it’s the fact that all three members (Andrew Wyatt, Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg) are accomplished musicians. Wyatt is classically trained and was previously signed to Columbia Records as a solo act. He is now the lead song-writer of the group. Karlsson and Winnberg aka the production team Bloodshy & Avant know exactly what it takes to make good pop music—they’re the men behind the Grammy winning Britney song “Toxic.”
Miike Snow’s music isn’t sophisticated lyrically or instrumentally, but that doesn’t matter. I find that an overarching quality of great Pop songs, written by artists like Miike Snow, is the average listener’s inability to pin-point exactly what they like about what they’re hearing, all they know is that it makes them feel great, and as corny as it sounds that’s how I feel when I listen to Miike Snow.
I’m newly employed as a track & field coach and the change in schedule has interfered with my posting, so this one is a little belated.
I spent the beginning of last week icing, elevating, and watching TV at my parent’s house because of my stupid sprained ankle. I was so bored, I would basically watch anything (yes, even The View). I don’t know if anyone reading this watches American Idol—wait, someone does, hi Mom! My mother is a huge Idol fan, not a super-fan or anything weird, but she’s watched all 9 seasons and could probably name the winners in chronological order. Being immobile, unable to reach the remote, and with no veto power, I was forced to watch a particularly bad episode of “Idol.” The 12 finalists were asked to sing covers of Rolling Stone’s songs. Most of the performances were bad, totally weird, or just boring. One guy, did a particularly horrible ska/reggae version of “Under My Thumb” that actually made me laugh out loud. These cover’s made me realize something I’d forgotten, what an amazing front-man Mick Jagger truly is. I recently watched Martin Scorsese’s Shine a Light, the concert documentary that records the opening night of The Rolling Stone’s 2006 “A Bigger Bang Tour.” Even at the ripe old age of 63, Mick Jagger could shake his hips, swing his arms, and hump his mic a million times better than any of the teenagers and 20-somethings that make up the cast of American Idol. Maybe they’ll get there someday, but nobody will ever do “Mick Jagger,” better than Mr. Jagger.
I have been an Andrew W.K fan since I first saw the album cover of 2001’s I Get Wet. I guess I judged a book by its cover, but I knew there was no way I wouldn’t love this blood soaked, sweat drenched, party animal and his music. After purchasing the album, I played it over-and-over again until it was like the man on the cover, scratched and soaked in blood and sweat. I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert, moshing with the best of the W.K. fans, and stealing his hat when it fell off after the headbanging ensued. In 2003, AWK released The Wolf, which rocked a little less than I Get Wet, but it had its fair share of headbanging and sentimental moments. After 2003, I’m not totally sure what happened to W.K., I think he got popular in Japan, maybe tried his hand at motivational speaking, and starred in a one man show. I do know he made an appearance on one of my favorite reality TV shows Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List. He invited Kathy to one of his motivational speaking events, sat her next to a really stoned person, and hilarity ensued.
Now, to the point of my post, AWK. is back on the stage!! On March 16th, at the Fillmore W.K. played his first show with a full band in 5 years. My friend Sarina attended and gave it her stamp of approval, along with a few picture texts to yours truly. On the 17th, he performed at Buffalo Billiards for SXSW and from the improperly cited internet research I just did, AWK was same ole party hardy dude that I saw back in 2001. He focused on old hits with a sprinkling of tracks from his “lost” album Close Calls With Brick Walls. Close Calls is being released as a double disc on March 25th. I’ve had the album for quit sometime now, so it clearly hasn’t been “lost” by internet standards. After these rave reviews, I’m psyched to see WK perform, even if it means driving up to Scranton, PA to see him work his magic at the Toyota Pavilion (check his myspace, I couldn’t make this stuff up). Maybe I’ll just have to wait and see him perform in NY when he makes his way back east after SXSW. Enjoy this track off my illegally downloaded copy of Close Calls With Brick Walls.
Yesterday, music legend Alex Chilton died from heart failure in New Orleans at the age of 59. Chilton started his career in the commercial limelight as the lead singer of the fruity Memphis band The Box Tops. After the boys split in 1970, Chilton took what some might call the reverse route from commercial to indie with his new band Big Star. I was first introduced to Big Star during my first year of high school when a dreamy older boy made me a mixtape (wow, I feel old) with the songs “September Gurls” on side A and “Bankok” on side B. I remember listening to “September Gurls” on my Walkman and feeling suddenly weak in the knees, I’m not sure if it was Alex Chilton’s earnest lyrics and twangy guitar or because my mixtape man had remembered I was born in September, either way, I was sold and would be a Big Star fan for the rest of my life.
Big Star always had a sound all their own, but many critics have compared them to groups like The Kinks, The Byrds, and Television. “Ballad of El Goodo” and “The India Song,” both off the 1972 album #1 are similar to tracks off The Byrd’s 1969 album Ballad of an Easy Rider, but songs like “Back of a Car” and “September Gurls” foreshadow the style of the 80s alt-rock bands to come like The Dead Milkmen, R.E.M, Camper Van Beethoven, and The Violent Femmes.
I haven’t felt this sad from the death of a musician since Elliott Smith, who died a month after I saw him in concert in Philadelphia. Honestly, news of his death did not surprise me much after his tragic, drug-addled, couldn’t-remember-his-song-lyrics performance. It was more like a Townes Van Zandt concert than an Elliott Smith one. Chilton died unexpectedly. Though Big Star was never a commercial success like The Box Tops, the band’s influence is undeniable when we listen to R.E.M, The Replacements (most obviously their song “Alex Chilton”), The Posies, Teenage Fanclub, and The dbs. Big Star was actually scheduled to play show on Saturday night at Antone’s during SXSW week. So RIP Alex Chilton. You will be missed by the rock community and most of all your fans.
Ready for pt. deux? I’m certain you’ve been waiting with baited breath. So, it turns out that Simian Mobile Disco’s flight to Philadelphia had been canceled due to the hurricane like weather that we had been experiencing earlier that day. Let’s pause here and take this appropriate opportunity to address the Weather gods:
Dear Weather gods,
Enough is enough! The snow, the 30 mph winds, the torrential downpours— my house is cold, my hair is in a constant state of disarray, I can’t ride my bike anywhere, and important people like the members of Simian Mobile Disco can’t get to Philadelphia to perform for me. Two days of gorgeous weather does not make up for the worst winter ever.
SMD was stranded somewhere far away from Philly, but all was not lost! Steve Aoki, everyone’s favorite Asian guido was stuck in the 2-1-5 airport and agreed to take SMD’s place! I don’t like guidos, but I like Aoki because he’s weird, gets me dancing, and makes cool clothes that are kinda hip-hop/kinda hipster/kinda asian. I actually just ordered this awesome tee from his clothing company Dim Mak Collection. The track I’m posting is Aoki’s excellent remix of the mediocre Kid Cudi song “Pursuit of Happiness.” Good remixes are the only way I can listen to Cudi because he’s just so boring. Maybe if he’d come out of the closet already and admit that he’s Kanye’s gay lover, I’d like him better. Aoki can make this kid interesting, now that’s good stuff.
Now, back to my story. Things were getting rowdy when we arrived, but after an hour, a $10 all you can drink special, and bartenders with the heaviest hands in North Philly it had turned to chaos! By the time Aoki graced us with his presence the crowd were carrying far too much to sail (if you know what I mean). Aoki blew up the warehouse with his sound and no one could resist dancing, except for me after a drunk gentleman knocked me off my 3 inch heels causing me to sprain my ankle. It was worth it, even though my after party was held at Temple Hospital with gunshot wound victims. Party on!
I’ve been working at this trendy coffee shop in Philly. Both locations are in the recently gentrified Queen Village neighborhood. I remember when this locale was home to the infamous Southwark high-rise housing projects, the one’s with 190˚ radiators that gave tiny babies 3rd degree burns. Shout out M & D, I remember you terrifying me with that story and subsequently reminding me that I should “count my blessings and be glad that we’re not on welfare.” It worked, I’m very thankful that I don’t have permanent facial scarring, but I digress… While the neighborhood has been on the up-and-up for sometime now, there are still some weirdos who come around. I’ve already had several encounters with this tranqued out regular who always tries to have the exact same conversation with me after he orders his large chai and asks “if it’s sweet” (duh). One of the best things about working here is that we get to play our own music and I frequently play dubstep for good coffee shop vibes. So every time Mr. Tranqued-out-weirdo comes in for his very sweet chai he asks me a series of questions and it goes something like this:
Weirdo: Is this dubstep you’re playing?
Weirdo: Do you like drum & bass?
Weirdo: Have you ever been to fluid for drum & bass night?
Weirdo: Who are you playing right now?
…and most recently the answer has been “Skream.” Believe it or not, the convo goes downhill from there and mostly consists of me trying to pretend like I’m busier than I actually am, so I don’t have to talk to him. Also, I think he might be shooting up in the bathroom…
Anyway, Skream! Skream whose real name is Oliver Jones is more of a child-prodigy producer than anything else, but he also makes some sick music by his lonesome. I’ve shared one of my favorite tracks here with you. The track is “Rutten” off his ‘06 album Skream!. Be sure to check out his more recent remixes of hyped artists like La Roux and Bat For Lashes— I find both boring on their own, but Skream makes them sound like something special.
Please don’t call me Pitchfork, but a couple weeks ago I bought tickets to the sold out Washed Out show that took place last night. I rarely purchase in advance for things like this, but after receiving a cautionary email from r5, something along the lines of “only 40 tix left so don’t sleep,” I promptly obeyed Sean Agnew, biked over to AKA music, and bought 2 of the remaining $10 tickets. Since then, my friend Chris and I have been totally music nerding out about the upcoming show. It was both of our facebook statuses yesterday. With the risk of sounding like an asshole, I should explain that I grew up a total r5 kid and during college was a devoted member of our kick-ass concert board. Needless to say, I’ve seen and booked a lot of touring bands in my day. I guess what I’m trying to emphasize here is how much I was looking forward to this show. And, of course, I was totally disappointed!
The show was at the Barbary, so I prepared myself for the 2 hour delay that I have experienced every time I’ve seen a show there. It’s never a big deal as long as I have a few cold ones to keep me company. Last night was no exception, but there was one big difference, Amanda Blank was having her surprise Philebrity birthday party there at 10 pm, thus the early start time of 7. Obviously, Ernest Greene the little Southern diva of Washed Out was 3 1/2 hours late. He, along with the supporting acts (Small Black & Paper Planes) played for I kid you not, 15 minutes each. Washed Out performed most of his 2009 EP Life of Leisure, nothing from his unreleased High Times*, and both openers sucked to high heaven (even after 3 beers). Washed Out, though rushed was dance-worthy and fun, but I’m sorry where is my free PBR? Dear r5 & The Barbary, you screwed up and our relationship will never be the same. Good job.
* Don’t worry, I shared a track from the album with you today.
And now it’s time for something completely different…
I spent all last night listening to the 2007 Big Business album Here Come The Waterworks. This album makes me want to pound PBR, crush the can against my forehead, and possibly make myself bleed—it would be okay if I was doing this while listening to Big Business. After that confession, it seems redundant to say I’m a huge fan of the Melvins and stoner metal en générale, but I just did, so deal with it. The boys from Big Business (Coady Willis of Murder City Devils and Jared Warren of Karp) joined the Melvins lineup in ‘06 so it’s relevant. Here Come the Waterworks is for sure the best of their 3 albums, so check it out before 05’s Head For the Shallow and 09’s Mind the Drift. If you like what you hear, go for all 3, duh.
That’s it for my pearl of aural wisdom for today because it’s 60, sunny, and I need to go ride my bike somewhere.
This is my first post. I’m not trying to be all “big deal” about it, so keep your pants on. I thought I’d start things off with something chill and vaguely topical (at least circa this summer or something).
Scientist has been near and dear to me for a while. As a huge fan of 70s and 80s dub and King Tubby, it’s natural that I’d love this dub architect and a protege of the King (the Jamaican one, not the Graceland one). After working in Tubby’s studio, Scientist tried his hand at mixing and during the early 80s produced a series of fabulous (and totally weird) albums all themed around the artist’s fictional, super hero accomplishments. This song, “Your Teeth in My Neck” is from the 1981 album Scientist Rid the World of the Curse of the Evil Vampires. So for all you people jumping on the Twilight, Vampire Diaries, True Blood bandwagon, here’s the soundtrack for your trendy obsession. As a die hard Buffy fan since ‘97, Scientist and I were into the Vamps long before it was cool, ‘nuff said.