mini update

Hi, I am wondering if I lost any readers that I initially had. I updated my best of 2008 album list. It was very painful. This is the year that I think I am too old to keep up with the latest music. I was waiting for this to happen. It takes a very intentional effort on my part, and I am not sure if it is worth my effort. Maybe the top ten I listed were very good, but I don’t have the emotional connection to these albums that I used to have to music that I love. After that, all the albums listed I guess were good, but really some of them I listened to two or three times and probably won’t go back. I also heard several debut albums from some bands that were decent, but I am not even sure if I would ever hear another release from them again. Buzz bands seem to come and go, and it’s like a subconsciously don’t want to commit.

Furthermore, it seems like every band I had previously loved released something this year so far, and I was utterly let down.

  • I don’t think I can call Nada Surf my favorite band; The Proximity Effect and Let Go were positively genius, the two releases after that, including this year’s Lucky, were so boring I gave it one listen and then tossed it aside.
  • The Music’s self-titled debut slated them as the next Led Zeppelin, but the two albums since that have been postively mediocre.
  • The Raconteurs: I’m actually eh about it, I actually prefer a White Stripes album. I hope another comes out soon.
  • I can’t believe the Dandy Warhols are still releasing albums, they should have quit in the late 90s when they were actually good.
  • Mudhoney, a legendary grunge band that paved the way for Soundgarden and Nirvana, released an album this year and no one blinked. It sounded the same as everything that do, but in the context it seemed awkward. The music scene is not what it used to be.
  • Death Cab for Cutie has been spewing out albums as fast as the CW is spwewing out teen shows to feature them, in my opinion, 1999’s “Photos in an Exhibition” were their peak.
  • Phantom Planet hit their peak with The Guest- did anyone even realize there hase been 2 albums since then? Not even worth it.
  • Yea, Weezer “reunited” and released another album. I don’t know how Rivers Cuomo can sleep at night knowing the mediocrity he produces. Nothing great since the Green album, and that’s even debatable.
  • The Stills new album? They were totally phoning it in.

Well, there’s still two months and maybe everything that comes out will wow me. We’ll see.

Now, time to get a but more positive:

  • The Black Kids album is positively infectious. Nothing too deep, just tunes that stay in your head.
  • Before this, I just couldn’t get into the Magnetic Fields, but Distorition totally wowed me. I even gave their previous stuff another chance, but for some reason this album is the only one that appealed to me.
  • Sons and Daughers: it seems this is one of the few bands left whose albums get progressively better.
  • Santogols is a poor man’s MIA, but still pretty good.
  • The Subways play it loud and fast. That hooks me every time.
  • The Teenagers were a wild card. Lots of talking and weird Frenchness.
  • Annie: better than most of the pop music out there. Will she ever gain mainstream popularity: I’d trade Duffy, Katy Perry and Danity Kane for her.
  • Calexico’s albums all sound exactly the same to me, but if works, don’t try to fix it.

I blame my incessant watching of VH1 Classic for my cynicism about music. I reminds me of all the awesome bands of the bast: Jesus & Mary Chain, Motley Cru, The Cult, Faith No More and how nothing compares.


Warped Tour


I spent Saturday at the Warped Tour. And felt about 100 years old. But I figured since I am still technically in my 20s, this was the last year I could go without being completely and totally pathetic. Here’s the synopsis of my day.

12:30pm. Getting ready at home. Most of the kids going are suiting up in their punk best, ripping their fishnets and mixing egg whites for their mowhawks. Me, I am thinking what would be most comnfortable. I put on my trusty practical New Balances and my purse that is least likely to be stolen. Oh, and of course my glasses so I could see better. Shit, I’m old.

1pm. On the BART, it was very obvious who was on their way to Warped. White kids with dreads? You bet. Hyoer kids from the suburbs with the Taking Back Sunday t-shirts. Of course.

2:00pm Finally get there. I was a little hesitant, but the security didn’t seach me. I doubt I looked like a threat. Just for good measure, I called out “Johnny, make sure you behave yourself and meet me at the gate at the end” to no one in particular to pretend I was bringing a younger person to the festival.

2:05pm I wander around looking for the set list so I can plan my day. I guess it’s not too punk to be organized. I finally find it and realize I missed The Bronx, a band I have meaning to see for years. Against Me! Wasn’t going on for another hour. Dammit. Every Time I Die is currently playing and my god, do they have to keep screaming like that? I wish I brought my earplugs.

2:10pm My friends decide to go to the beer garden, which is a fenced of area where people over 21 can drink. There are abut 5 people in there. The most crowded booth is where they have large screens on Rock Band set up, where people are playing with their eyes glazed over. Why see the bands live when you can mindlessly play a video game.

2:15 Some guys are giving out “I love Sluts” stickers and girls are wearing them on their asses. Fantastic.

2:20pm A ten year old asks me for a cigarette.

2:25 There seems to be a very specific uniform here. That’s the interesting thing about subcultures, I guess. Once you get to gather with others like you, it temporarily becomes mainstream, so how do people distinguish themselves? My mind starts wander and I think about the idea of “punk” and how I really can’t blame any of the kids for not understanding, that ship has sailed. No lifestyle or band can recreate punk. The “causeway”, the sad little area where the nonprofits were promoting their causes were totally empty. However, the line to meet William Beckett was like a mile long.

2:30pm, speaking of which, I passed by the booth. He’s so pretty! His skin is so radiant! I think he poops rainbows!

2:35pm When did wayfairer sunglasses come back?

3:15pm I eat my $9 fried rice. I hate festival food.

3:45pm I check out a band called Street Dogs and although they had the dumbest name ever, they were pretty impressive.

4pm When did Jefree Starr become such a sensation? And why the hell is he playing at Warped?

4:05pm I am watching Against Me! and the saddest little mosh pit I have ever seen starts to form. People are jumping up and missing each other. It’s like people…walking around.

4:30pm YESSSS!!!! Reel Big Fish. God knows why they are still doing this tour, they do it every year. I kinda thought no one would watch them, but these kids seemed to know their songs. Jeez, what happened to ska? I need it to come back. Erin and I always talked about forming a ska band. We need to make that happen. Singer Aarom Barrett has the quote of the evening, “You may have heard this song playing in Hollister…yea, things are really happening for us.” They play “Where Have You Been?” and I start to get the natural high I get when I see a band I love perform. Kind of a floaty feeling. Or maybe it was the shitty weed some 15 year olds were smoking next to me. They close with a cover of “Take On Me” and it is fucking awesome.

5:00pm Cobra Starship immediately starts playing at the adjacent stage. There’s a pretty smart setup, with two stages next to each other. While one band is doing their 30-minute set, they set up for the next band. I like that. I want to get this shit over with.

Anyway, I have very mixed feelings for Cobra Starship. I mean, I think their stuff is fun and catchy, but frontman Gabe Saporta has the biggest fucking ego I have ever seen. He spent half the set standing with his arms up so people would cheer and was ironically wearing stonewashed jeans ans a painters cap. He even invented a hand signal to represent Cobra Starship that he made sure everyone knew. And yes, he was wearing a Cobra Starship t-shirt. Yes, I know the band is not supposed to be that serious, but come on. They were also the only band to have a special backdrop on the stage while they played. However, they did kind of rock. I mean, they have a frigging keytar player. They did my favorite, “Church of Hot Addiction” and of course, “Snakes on a Plane” in which Will Beckett and the guy from Gym Class Heroes came on and the whole place collectively orgasmed. I may or may be including myself in that statement. Seriously, that song may be one of the best fucking songs of the last eight years and I can’t fault the band that wrote it.

5:15pm I walked past the “Shiragirl” tent where the “chick bands” played. There were maybe five people watching. It’s really messed up how women are not really represented in hardcore/alternative/punk these days. If they are, it’s labeled a chick band. I don’t know whose fault that is, those who demand it or the industry.

5:30pm ZOMG! I just met Scott Klopfenstein! And by meet I mean I saw him walk by and didn’t do anything.

5:35pm I contemplated using the port-o-john. THen I knew it was time to leave.

6:30pm I get home and collapse from heat exhaustion.

6:45pm I begin to have a existential music crisis. None of the new music really does it for me. Bands these days can form, put a single on myspace, get a review on pitchfork, and play at Bonaroo in a span of three months. There’s no history. There’s no collective following among fans. When the next big thing comes along, they are forgotten. I know what you are thinking, I have been contributing to that. I guess that’s true. But I spent the weekend listening to Wham!, Misfits, Rancid, and The Jesus and Mary Chain to make myself feel better (aka superior).

oldie but goodie

More insomnia equals more VH1 Classic!

Ah, how good was Tesla’s “Love Song”? I want to go back in time and go to an arena rock show. This song, without fail, always makes me close my eyes, sing along, and wave my hands in the air. I just did it. Man, I was born 10 years two late. (The song doesn’t really reach anything until about 2:25).

And for fun, The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary”. Ian Astbury rocks the pirate look.

You all know how I feel about narrative videos. One of the best is Skid Row’s “18 and Life”. I think I may have reenacted this video with a friend in junior high. Maybe that happened. I remembered being obsessed (along with Sebastian Bach) the bassist Rachel Bolan. Because his name was Rachel, and he had a chain that connected his nose ring to his earring. HAWT.