August 11, 2008

I like vinyls. I think they’re pretty nifty. I also like CDs. But the vast vast majority of my collection is mp3 format. And this is the strange life I live with my music.

The thing I can’t stand is people who “only” listen to vinyl. Or claim it sounds better. Or whatever. Because it’s blatantly not true. Yes, a very good quality vinyl will sound better than a song 96 kbps encoded mp3 downloaded off of limewire or wherever kids are getting their illegal mp3’s these days, but so will an 8-track. Fact is, most vinyls are recorded on recycled plastic and contain a lot of errors, and the ones that aren’t are older and just poorer quality. Most of the time the sound is only as good as the receiver and speakers it’s piped through, and because hipsters don’t understand this, they have poor quality equipment a lot of the time.

So why do I have vinyls? Because they’re fun. They’re big, tangible, and just so very real. I rarely listen to my vinyls. In fact, I don’t know when the last time I did listen to them. Another thing I like is that it’s like having part of history. I have a first edition Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, which I’ve never had a desire to listen to (I’m bizarre and don’t like that album. One of my few faults, I’m sure.). But it’s such an important album in history, it feels really cool to own. I even have the little mustache cut-outs.

What I really like owning though are CDs. They are the perfect music format. They don’t compress the music down, or do so by only a bit. So they have a much better sound than mp3s, but aren’t as awkward to carry around as vinyls. Plus the whole tangibility thing is going on again.


Long story short

August 1, 2008

My computer is dead for at least a week, if not longer. So no posts for a little bit.

Here’s a video by my newest love, the Rumble Strips.


Looong Album Review: Pretty. Odd. (Panic At The Disco)

July 29, 2008

I’m embarrassed. Really seriously embarrassed. To review this album I had to listen to it, which would normally be embarrassing enough. But it gets worse: I like it.

But the thing I’m embarrassed about the most is that I’m embarrassed about liking/listening to it. Because it’s good. Damn good. But there’s this idea that Panic can never be good, and even listening to this as I type and loving every second of it I get a bit confused.

I mean, let’s face it. A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out was a joke of an album. I’m sure you could listen to the same album by buying Fallout Boy and playing it at 2x speed. And there’s no reason to expect Panic’s sophomore release to be this good. The lyrics on A Fever… were trite and contrived, the music was, well, basic and written by 12 year olds. They wore top hats, makeup, and were generally mocked by the music world.

So here comes Pretty. Odd and it gets, weirdly enough, good reviews. Like, really good reviews. I hear about it everywhere.

I ignore all of this. I mean, Fallout Boy’s second album got good reviews, yeah? And that was more of the first album. Then one night, I’m watching SNL and Panic comes on. I reach to mute it, but my remote dies and so I’m stuck in bed ready to be terrorized. And I’m mesmerized.

I don’t know what happened, maybe the band heard a real album that wasn’t written by Pete Wentz. I don’t care. THIS IS GOOD.

So it’s not the best thing since Pet Sounds. It’s still really really good. There are a couple of weak spots, like the album opener We’re So Starving, which is rather arrogant in that they apologize for being gone to write songs for “you”. When they sing that, a crowd cheers. It’s not a bad song, but annoying. Since I never missed them.

But most of it is, well, fantastic. Even if the lyrics are possibly pure nonsense (Do You Know What I’m Seeing is a great example of this).
One of the best songs is Folkin‘ Around, a Byrdsish (I hate comparing band sounds, but it’s unavoidable here) track.

Another great song is Northern Downpour. It’s quiet, soft, and sweet. Everything this band seemed to avoid on the first album.

My personal favorite though, for no particular reason other than it has a great chorus, is She’s A Handsome Woman.


My Irrational Dislike for Radiohead

July 22, 2008

I don’t like Radiohead. To say the least. In fact, I actively dislike them. They are one of the few bands to truly earn that dubious honor. I mean, I might say that about other bands or artists, but I won’t mean it. Only for Radiohead. And Nirvana.

My dislike for Radiohead stems largely from the fact that I was not a “music listener” during the Kid A and OK Computer hype. I think if any albums by them were any good at all, it would’ve been those two. However I missed the time when they were culturally relevant and new and so never got into that whole “Melodies can kiss my fatty McFatfat butt” style of music. And let’s face it, they’re pretentious piles of poo now.

Amnesiac was my first real exposure to them. And wow did that suck. I’d heard so much about this fabulous Radiohead and I spent $10 on this album, and I threw it away. I really tried to like it. I listened four or five times. Never found a song I liked. So I hoped it was just the album. Went out and got OK Computer. Eh. I mean, it wasn’t great, but it didn’t sound like Gary Coleman decided to get drunk and wash my car with a live cat like Amnesiac did.

So I though Radiohead was either just a terrible band or I just didn’t get them for a long time. Then Thom Yorke’s solo album came out. Everything clicked into place.

Thom Yorke is an evil villain who has found the proper frequencies to manipulate people’s musical tastes.
Because really, that album is so much crap. It throws away any idea of structure, melody, hell, music in general. And not in a cool Beck way. In a pretentious John Cage way. He’s the Jackson Pollock of music, except Pollock at least had the good sense to hate himself (abstract expressionist fans- go elsewhere, I don’t want to hear it).
The closing cinch on the fact that Thom Yorke is the root of all Radiohead’s evil instead of the whole of Radiohead, or the butts of bread, or talking sandwiches, or even Luficer himself, is that one Radiohead song that wasn’t written by Yorke is really really good. No matter who sings it.

High and Dry. Yes, it’s technically credited to the whole band, but I know the truth.
Thank you Greenwood, Greenwood, O’brien and Selway. I don’t know how you forced Mr. Yorke to let you put something of yours that has a melody and actual lyrics onto an album. Maybe you him with a pipe until he said yes. Maybe you chloroformed him and put it on while he was napping. Maybe you paid a taxi driver to take him across the country by accident while you wrote that song.
But thank you.


Mr. Airplane Man

July 21, 2008

A band I’m really digging right now. It’s like the White Stripes but with 2 girls, both of which are more useful than Meg.
Here’s their cover of the traditional country song Jesus On the Mainline.


I have a secret love for country music

July 17, 2008

It’s true.

I mean, not even the hip alt-country stuff like Wilco (overrated, by the way). I mean, I like some alt-country, Ryan Adams would be the prime example, along with the Jayhawks, Son Volt, and Uncle Tupelo. But I mean real country. Buck Owens. Hank Williams Jr. and Sr. Gary Stewart. Gram Parsons. Loretta Lynn. Dolly Parton.

That’s music with a soul. I mean so much of what’s popular and critically well received is this trashy flavor of the month indie/electro/pop sound. Like the Ting Tings. It has no soul, no passion, no heartache. I mean, I love a catchy song as much as the next person, but it gets old quickly. But songs like I’ve posted below- they are eternal.

Buck Owens- Excuse Me, I Think I Have A Heartache

Loretta Lynn- Portland, Oregon

Hank Williams Sr.- Lovesick Blues

Love Hurts- Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris


The Sugars

July 15, 2008

My lady who’s visiting England at the moment sent me a copy of NME for fun, and I loved going through the pages, though there was still a disturbing amount of Winehouse fanboyism.
Anyways, one of the surprises the magazine held was a review of a band called the Sugars. I can’t say enough good things about this band. They take a lot of cues from garage rock, 50’s doo wop, and who knows what the hell else. There’s an definite catchy sound to them, but it’s filled with jangly crashy guitars and lots of cymbals.

Also, any band with 2 lead singers of opposite genders makes me happy.

It’s perfect.
Anyways, here’re two songs by them.