Thursday, July 31, 2008

i want to get under your skin

long before she was the impossibly intriguing love interest in the science of sleep, before she was in 21 grams, charlotte gainsbourg was just (no, never just!) the daughter of serge gainsbourg and jane birkin.

i continue to be surprised by the great reach of the weirdo-musician-with-hot-woman phenomenon. it's easy enough to explain (talent, charisma, attention, drugs, temporary insanity...) but that doesn't mean it necessarily makes sense. nonetheless, without this phenomenon, the world wouldn't have charlotte gainsbourg, and we'd be poorer for it. so to all you weirdo musicians out there who may someday record a song called lemon incest with your daughter: i salute you??
anyway. this is not about serge, who was an intriguing, widely-influenced musician who managed to stir up controversy at every turn. maybe not musical controversy, but controversy all the same.
this is not even about jane, who is a talented human, humanitarian, and also a serious weirdo in her own right. (although that bit about naming her nipples gestures at a fairly interesting woman, don't you think?) so it all sort of makes sense when you think about the fact that she was married to a man who sang a song about anise lollipops as a metaphor for um... well, surely you can figure out what "ani loves suckers" might indicate.
anyway. this is about charlotte, wonderful charlotte, who managed to walk away from that train wreck of an origin story with an absolutely amazing range of talent. there's the whole movie thing...
and then there's her music. 5:55, is in pretty much constant rotation as far as my listening habits go.
when it came out in 2006, people mentioned it being her first album in 20 years.
for a woman born in 1971, that has a special ring to it in and of itself.
the album begins with the lovely, haunting, eponymous track, which may or may not slip right past your consciousness. in fact, that's something this album as a whole can do - it will either push in between your ribs like a knife and pierce your heart, or it will breeze right past you, a breathy, french ode to love and lust and heartbreak and the mystery that is life.
it should be mentioned that the music for this album is provided by air - which may or may not give you some perspective as to where it all comes from.
charlotte's voice is breathy, sensual, sweet, often shy, a lot like her mother's and, without a doubt, totally foreign. it always seems (to me, anyway...) that the greatest gift that multilingual lyricists give us is perspective - seeing and hearing things through foreign filters, but in our own tongue. this whole album is a range of such revelations, with songs like beauty mark and set yourself on fire, both of which are ultimately, heartbreakingly human.
but the star of the show? the one that stops my heart, that makes me put this whole album on repeat for hours on end?
the operation.
please to enjoy:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tickle My Ivories: Pianists Everyone Can Appreciate

If you're like me, then you have a strange fetish for musicians that play the same instrument as yourself. For me, that is piano. I've never had formal training, but growing up with an opera singer and professional pianist/organist for a mother, well, something is bound to rub off.

Of course, my mom being the classical nut that she is, I grew up listening strictly to Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and other amazing composers that are also dead. So I had to discover a lot of this on my own; the first real rock piano player I was exposed to (and enjoyed) was NOT Billy Joel, Elton John, or Bruce Springsteen. It was a middle-eastern born boy with an overbite from Godtopus himself.

Freddie Mercury
You can't deny his charisma, or his songwriting. Hell, Mercury is a legend.
Queen, Don't Stop Me Now

Jerry Lee Lewis
This man doesn't need an introduction. And if he does, then you need some serious schooling on the roots of rock, honey.
Jerry Lee, Great Balls of Fire
*Note Dick Clark, and how ancient his ass must be.

Nick Cave
For me, Nick is the epitome of an artist, one whose means of creation just happens to be music. That, and he is deliciously curmudgeonly.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Mercy Seat
*This is from a Japanese TV show, and is a hilarious set-up for Nick's performance; do yourself a favor and listen to the exchange between Nick and the host. Also, check out the fucking amazing piano that he is playing. I'm lusting after it something fierce.

Tori Amos
I worship at the altar of the Almighty Amos. I always have, and I always will; I don't give a shit what direction she takes. But this song, from her most recent collection, is a really interesting choice. My inner Southern girlie does what the kids call "squee" when I hear this.
Tori Amos, Big Wheel

Diana Krall
I really wanted to do a jazz pianist post, and that still might happen, but I had to add two of my favorite jazz pianists because this list would feel so incomplete without them. Diana, who by default would be the coolest woman ever simply by being married to Elvis Costello (shut it you), is not only cooler than cool, but can play her ass off. Not many people can do a Joni Mitchell cover, especially Case Of You, and not only pull it off, but in my opinion give it just the right amount of emotional impact. She kicks.
Diana Krall, Case Of You

Natasha Khan
Run, do not walk, to check out Bat For Lashes. This song isn't as piano heavy (it has more organ), but the rest of the songs on the album are much more plunk. This one is just badass, and the video rocks. How can you not love mask wearing bikers that do wheelies and claps on beat? The answer is, "You can't."
Bat For Lashes, What's A Girl To Do

Ray Charles
The TRUE king. Truly, for truth.
Ray Charles, Georgia On My Mind

Armando "Chick" Corea
Chick is my other jazz pianist addition, and this video is pretty charming. His touch is amazingly light, facile, and extremely quick. Also, he might be cheesy, but you cannot deny Bobby McFerrin's incredible talent. This duet is really nice, especially for any jazz lovers in the house.
Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin, Armando's Rhumba

Ben Folds
My hometown boy! If you have never seen Ben in concert, you are missing out on probably one of the best live shows. Try to see him in the smallest possible venue.
Ben Folds Five, Brick

Marketa Irglova
Oscar winner. Actress. Musician. That's a hell of a resume for this up and comer. Marketa's voice is simple and proficient, and her voice is somewhat ethereal and childlike. Very nice combination.
The Swell Season, The Hill
*Please excuse the video; it had the least cheese factor. Sheesh.

Honorable Mentions:
John Lennon
Trent Reznor
Cat Stevens
Billy Joel
Bruce Springsteen
Tom Waits
Thelonious Monk
Art Tatum
Natalie Merchant
Zakk Wylde

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The return of Lollapalooza

I’ll be heading off to my fourth consecutive year of Lollapalooza on Friday. I never had the privilege of going when it was a touring show, I only caught it when it stationed itself in the great Chi-town. Some people might say Lolla has turned into a corporate hungry event with overpriced everything. I am not a fan of any of that type of garbage and I’ve managed to have a good time every year and not get into any fist fights. Here’s a playlist of bands that have played Lolla the past three years. Hopefully I’ll be back next week with a recap of 2008, as long as I don’t die of alcohol poisoning or sun stroke.

Billy Idol – Hot In the City (video below)
Pixies – Where Is My Mind
The Black Keys – Just Couldn’t Tie Me Down
G. Love and Special Sauce – Rodeo Clowns

The Flaming Lips – She Don’t Use Jelly
Violent Femmes – American Music
Ohmega Watts – That Sound
Lyrics Born – I Like It, I Love It (Jimmy Kimmel performance below)

Interpol – Evil (video below, it creeps me the fuck out)
Amy Winehouse – Valerie
Rodrigo & Gabriela – Diablo Rojo
TV on the Radio – Staring at the Sun

Monday, July 28, 2008

Let Me Introduce You to Some of My Favorite Women

Hello, boys and girls. Today I decided to introduce you to some songs that have to do with women. Not just women in general, but an ideal or actual woman that someone wrote about who affected them. In some cases, we have an actual name given to the woman, although we have found all through history that the real name is not always given (see “Layla” by Derek and the Dominoes, written by Eric Clapton, about George Harrison’s wife, Patti Boyd as an example). In other cases, it’s the relationship with the woman (as in “She’s My Ex” by ALL, listed below).

It’s hard for me to nail down in words, but most of the time I feel that when men write about women, there’s a lot of unknowns or mystery in the songs, maybe even confusion or hurt because of misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge when the songs involve love or intimacy. Think about this when you look at the lyrics of the songs that are familiar to you. I intend to show how men are more specific in fleshing out the subject when they are talking about men in another post.

Remember as always with me, it’s not only the lyrics but the combination of music and lyrics.

“V” – Golden Smog

When I was down, she was full of advice
She said she’d been there once or twice
With a ring on the side of her nose
Wearing other people’s clothes

V is a woman who used to wait on the guys at the bar, and when I mean wait, I mean she served them cold beverages. Then, on a cold December day, V up and went away. Where did she go? The song never knows, but V used to light the place up so much the boys in Golden Smog wrote a song about her.

“Lovely Rita” – The Beatles

Here’s one of my favorite Beatles songs. Rita is a meter maid. Written by one of the masters of silly (and quite honestly, very cheesy) love songs, Paul McCartney.

“Sara Smile” – Hall and Oates

Probably one of the best examples of White Boy soul out there. This is always a favorite of mine due to the vocals and the smooth music.

“She’s My Ex” – ALL

Both ALL and the Descendents (basically the same band with different lead singers) write some great tunes about women, and the relationships with them. Not quite “emo”, these guys were probably writing songs about not expressing their true feelings or being shy with innocent angst long before Rivers Cuomo came around with the truckload of female fear he delivers into those kinds of songs.

In this tune, the dude singing the song is still in love with his ex, but you sort of get the feeling that if he had a woman who appreciated his love, he’d forget her despite the fact that, “she’ll be my ex til I say when, until I get her back again.” Right click on the muxtape link and open a new tab to listen to this song while you read.

“Margaret Says” – The Vulgar Boatmen

This is probably one of the better tunes about a woman that I enjoy. A very nice description of Margaret’s personality. The album this is on, You and Your Sister, will get a proper review from me at some point.

“Angelyne” – The Jayhawks

Lots of regret in this one. Beautiful, sad vocal harmonies as well.

“Evangeline” – Matthew Sweet

Matthew writes a tune about a girl he’s infatuated with, but she’s in love with another “man.” The man, in this case, happens to be God above.

“Annie Mae” – The Twilight Singers

The music in this song is so funky, it makes me feel dirty. Sort of how the person singing this probably makes Annie Mae feel. Coming around when he’s lost, and not sticking around too long.

“Caroline” – Concrete Blonde

How about a song written about a woman by a woman? I love the sound of the bass in this tune. Caroline left, and instead of the confusion you get from a male songwriter, you get poetry that lets you know how she feels.

“Josephine” – Slobberbone

This is actually, it’s a Mulehead song, but I only know the Slobberbone version, and it kicks ass! A story of a guy who loves this girl Josephine, but he can’t even talk to her. Spray paints her name in a bright color on the water tower, goes to jail for it, and with his one phone call he dials her up and then can’t say anything.

“Jackie O” – John Mellencamp

I’m not sure what to make of this song. It’s kind of got this goofy 60’s pop sound to it, and appears to use a xylophone or some kind of wacky organ in the mix. Nice tune, overall. Can your daddy get us backstage passes? You know how we love to dance. With all his political power it would seem to me that you could dance better than you do.

“Jennifer Grey” – Total Passover

Okay, so I’m self-promoting here. But this song is about Jennifer Grey, the actress, and focuses on her role in Dirty Dancing. Nobody puts baby in the corner. Also on the muxtape.

“Sharon Needles” – Earl Lee Grace

The Dwarves’ Blag Jesus decided to make a bluegrass album in the 90’s. This is one of my favorite tunes off it about a girl who had a lot of fun in high school named Sharon Needles. Sharon Needles went to the prom with her dad, he could not get none so he went away mad.

“Yankee Rose” – David Lee Roth

A metaphorical woman. Mostly great because it was the song used in the video that returned David Lee Roth to us in all of his greatness. Give me a glazed donut and a bottle of anything…TO GO!

Other honorable mentions:

“Josie” – Steely Dan
“Lesbian Nun” – Dwarves
“Liza and Louise” – NOFX
“Maggie May” – The Faces (live version)
“Maybeline” – Chuck Berry
“Sister Luck” – The Black Crowes
“Somebody’s Baby” – Jackson Browne
“There’s This Girl” – Sweet Baby

This post best enjoyed with Magic Hat #9 (a girlie beer)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Party at Ground Zero

Party music, eh?

Well, that's a bit of a dilemma for me, since I'm not really the kind of guy who hosts parties very often. We pretty much have two kinds of parties at the Meat Factory: summer barbecues and winter Christmas parties. We don't cotton to people coming over in the spring or fall. And while the Christmas parties can be fun...

Clearly, Christmas music is a little inappropriate for right now. So let's kick things off with Music for Summer BBQ's. Please note: there will be no Will Smith tracks on this list. Also note: if you were expecting Will Smith tracks, you are visiting the wrong motherfucking site... or at least reading the wrong motherfucking writer.

Be forewarned: I don't believe that party music needs a theme, a rhyme or a reason. If it makes people tap their feet, snap their fingers, shake their ass, pump their fist, throw a goat or bang their head, it goes on the list. Usually my friends are too sauced to pay much attention after the 3rd or 4th track anyway. This is just a sample of what you might hear at my place.

AC/DC: Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution - only one of the top three greatest AC/DC songs... ever.

The Gourds: Gin and Juice - a cover that borders on genius.

The Arcade Fire: Keep the Car Running - best track on Neon Bible.

Blackalicious: Powers - speaking of shaking your ass...

Monster Magnet: Space Lord - "Now open wide and SAY MY NAME!"

Prodigy: Smack My Bitch Up - Is this song misogynistic? More importantly, do I care? Also, this is an awesome video.

Rilo Kiley: Portions for Foxes - when Jenny Lewis belts out "C'mere!" during this, you're gonna wanna grab the person nearest to you and lay one on them.

Roots Manuva: Witness (1 Hope) - not even worth listening to unless you have some really kickin' bass.

Mr. Bungle: The Girls of Porn - because all parties need a little Patton... and a little porn.

Filter: Hey Man Nice Shot (Horns Remix) - track this remix down - it's a vast improvement. Sadly, no video.

Kanye West: Stronger - two words: DAFT PUNK. Speaking of which...

Daft Punk: One More Time

Fishbone: Party at Ground Zero - because the world needs more bonin'

Say Anything: Woe - "I can't get laid in this town, without these pointy fuckin' shoes..." I love this lyric

So there's a glimpse into what it's like to party at my house. Just picture me drunk, probably something spilled on my shirt, stuffing my face. Chances are Ervie's there, and chances are he's ripped the sleeves off his t-shirt and he's making somebody blush.

Rock on, people.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I've got a fever and the only prescription is more accordion

Just a quickie. I gotta stump for some homeboys: Josh Lederman y Los Diablos. I've been listening to them all day after they came up in a Pandora playlist. I won't rehash their website (click here), but I'll say a few things.

First, if you like the Pogues, the Old 97's and the accordion, you'll dig this band. Lotsa drinkin'. Lotsa heartache. Losta jig-worthy tunes. I'm still not sure if it's to their credit or their, well, discredit, but the four records that I've had lined up back to back to back to back are extremely consistent, sounding like one very, very long LP. But it doesn't ever get monotonous as they mix the waltzes and dirges up with the doodly doodly music (as a friend's proud Irish American father categorizes all St. Patrick's Day tunes).

However, if you have to start somewhere try this: The Town's Old Fair. These guys tend toward the autumnal. Hard lessons learned. Often times, they've learned these lessons in the bottle or the sack. I can endorse both methods. Your Bluest Friend is a sad little drinkin' number and I've Been Down So Long is just flat drunk. Fish's Eddy is a bouncy tune, set to the time of screwing on the road. If you're from the Boston area, you'll enjoy this for all the local spots mentioned.

But my favorite song on this disk is The Olive Tree. I could jig all day long to this song:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quick Cuts: Bowie's in Space

From the hilariously awesome "Flight of the Conchords:" Bowie's In Space

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

if you don't want a woman who drinks, don't pick up women in bars.

apparently, i'm kind of weak for low brass - because when i went to hear guy forsyth at rodeo bar, and the bass player (will landon) walked into the room with a sousaphone, i got all giddy.
not that i wasn't already a little on the giddy side - i blame the giant prickly pear margarita that i downed with dinner. also maybe a stella. or two. the combination of sugar and booze always makes me d-r-o-o-n-k crunked, so i may have been feeling a little silly.
anyway, my presence at this show was all based on an impulse that i couldn't define. i googled "honky-tonk" one day at work (yes, i have a Big Important Job which allows me pleeeeeenty of time to google whatever crosses my mind), which led me to the rodeo bar calendar, which, after a quick google chat exchange with one of my most trusted music advisers, led me (with music adviser in tow) to hear guy forsyth that friday.
they started out doing some pretty standard, four-on-the-floor guitar-bass-kit tin pan alley fusion action. it was fun, catchy, a little bit bluesy, a little bit rock and roll. but not gripping. there were a few folks at the table in front of us who were clearly bigol'giant guy forsyth groupies, but in those first three songs, there was little to show me why such a thing would exist.
it was nice. but it wasn't a revelation. i even leaned across the table at one point to mutter something derogatory about rob hooper, the fairly unexciting drummer. (don't worry. he lived to redeem himself as a percussionist. boy howdy, did he ever.)
then, after three songs, guy pulled out a little blue plastic ukulele, the bass player picked up the sousaphone and the drummer moved to cajun.
oh. my. fucking. god.
you know that surge of excitement when you are listening to really excellent musicians hit their stride, enthusiastically playing music they love?
that.guy forsyth has this... voice. it does everything a voice should do to this style of music. it pets, purrs, howls, caresses, jabs and retreats, only to come wailing back again.
despite lulling me into complacency with the beginning of their set, these fellas totally knocked me on my ass with intelligent, modern, fun, high-intensity music tinged with notes from all walks of american music. they have an album called "unrepentant schizophrenic americana" - and that's exactly what it is.
it. is. fantastic.
and i swear on a stack of bibles that i'm not just saying that because after the ukulele, guy broke out the harmonica and proceeded to rock that. and then he pulled out the saw and proceeded to rock that even harder. i mean, i have a bit of a weird instrument fetish, but it still takes a good musician to make the weird instruments work. (yes, harmonica qualifies as weird.)
there is nothing on youtube that does these guys justice. and while i'm often all about the free illegal download, this is one of those cases where buying the cd from the artist actually supports the artist - so if schizophrenic americana appeals to you, i heartily suggest you consider doing just that.
even more, i'd suggest keeping an eye out for when they might be in your area and then heading down to that there watering hole. because this is definitely a band that should be experienced, as much as heard.

Monday, July 21, 2008

You owe me a scream

"It's an art form unto itself," I once said to Ervie a few months ago. Ervie, bless his goofy heart, agreed that while it's not his thing, it certainly is a special talent.

I speak of screaming, of course.

There are many things that Mrs. TK and I don't agree on: Olives, for example. I've yet to be able to get her to see the genius of Big Trouble in Little China. She doesn't get my addiction to t-shirts. I don't get her addiction to furniture. I can't handle spinny carnival rides - she treats them like she's going down a kiddie slide. But one of the big ones is music - specifically, what she calls "angry screaming music." She doesn't see that it is an art. It's a skill. It's not just anyone who can scream non-stop for a 3-5 minute song. It's even harder to do it set to a rhythm. Harder still to do it for a 90 minute concert.

I fucking love it. I was once discussing "Collision Course," the Jay-Z/Linkin Park collaboration album with my friend Chris.

"I dig Jay-Z I guess, but I can't stand Linkin Park," remarked Chris
"I kinda like 'em... actually, really I just like the screamy parts," I said.
"There's a fuckin' shock," he replied.

Clearly my reputation precedes me.

It's true though. I like all manner of screamers, if they can do it right. By "do it right," I mean not just scream or roar themselves into a cacophonous, incoherent fury, such as Napalm Death, or a lot of death metal, for that matter. Chester Bennington of LP, while his band is kind of lame, gets a pass for being a truly outstanding screamer. I like those who can actually use the scream as an instrument, to play off of the harmonies in the song. I realize that Mrs. TK is never going to appreciate it, because she doesn't like the music type in general... hell, none of my friends really do (which is why Boo and I need to spend an evening getting hammered and talking about metal some time). But I like punishing guitar chords with a wailing lead and pounding, rapid-fire double bass drums and yes, a good screamer layered on top of that. One of my favorite things? Bands with two singers, so they can do that "one guy screaming/one guy singing" thing, a la Thursday's "War All The Time" album.

Thursday, incidentally, is what the kids and the Wikipedia folks call an "emo-core" or "screamo" (one of the most hysterically funny tags ever) band. They're terribly earnest and have really angsty lyrics like:

"Rupture the wall around my heart
I feel so lost,
I've been shaking, you can't save me"

I know, right? Terribly cheesy. But I forgive all of this, because right at the beginning of that verse, when lead singer Geoff Rickly begins to tearfully sing out "Rupture..." another band-mate screams out "RUPTURE!!!" simultaneously and it just fucking... works. It's almost beautiful. For the record, I'm not talking about your regular, Metallica-esque heavy metal shouting, or just singing real loud. I'm talking screaming. Like, borderline agony screaming. I know it sounds weird but I'm telling you - there's a certain magic to it.

So. With that excessively lengthy introduction, here are some of my favorite screamers.

Faith No More: "Cuckoo for Caca," from King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime (Mike Patton is a master of vocal gymnastics - a beautiful voice with a stellar scream mixed in)

Thursday: "For the Workforce, Drowning," from War All The Time

The Dillinger Escape Plan: "Milk Lizard," from Ire Works

From Autumn to Ashes: "Pioneers," from Holding a Wolf by the Ears (Another brilliant entry in the "one guy screaming/one guy singing" sub- sub- sub-genre)

Maylene and the Sons of Disaster: "Darkest of Kin," from II (Ervie and I saw these guys open for Clutch, and they are damn impressive live)

The Hope Conspiracy: "They Know Not," from Death Knows Your Name

Linkin Park: "Faint," from Meteora (I know, OK? I know. But I'm telling you, this dude is a near-pantheon screamer)

Flyleaf: "I'm So Sick," from Flyleaf (incidentally, this album is a massive disappointment, and this is the only screamy song. I was furious. But still, this song kind of rocks).

Bad Brains: "Banned in D.C.," from Rock for Light

Marilyn Manson: "Rock is Dead," from Mechanical Animals (say what you will about these guys, but they know how to entertain and he knows how to scream)

Murder By Death, "Devil in Mexico," from Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them?
(interestingly, this isn't a metal or hardcore band, and they rarely scream. But when they do, such as in the end of this song? Chills, I tell you. Sadly, I couldn't find a video.)

Nine Inch Nails: "Happiness in Slavery," from Broken (the grand master, never to be replaced: Trent Reznor)

Hope you've enjoyed. Scream 'til that shit hurts, people. That's when you know you're doing it right.

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Never trust a big butt and a smile"

Party scene: Some place near a beach/pool with a large dance floor during the summer because let’s face it, people are in better moods in the summertime.

Party drinks: Kegs of Bell’s Oberon and shots of Absolut Pear Vodka

Cut to the portion of the party where everyone is nice and drunk and ready to make fools of themselves. With my group of friends and me, this point would happen about 30-minutes into the start of the party. When people are drunk, their taste in music drops and loving Hall and Oates is a thing you can share openly.

Music: We’ll start with the good stuff, the point where people haven’t started dancing yet:

Jamie Lidell – Hurricane
Yoav – Club Thing
The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name
Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You (video below)
LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Daft Punk – Touch It/Technologic

OK, and now here’s the really good stuff. Dancing, singing and drunkeness is happening all around at this point. WARNING – Busting out some of the following music while sober may result in deep deep shame:

Michael Jackson – P.Y.T. or The Way You Make Me Feel
George Michael – Too Funky
Wang Chung – Dance Hall Days
Skid Row – I Remember You
Bell Biv Devoe – Poison (video below)
Positive K – I Got A Man
Journey – Don’t Stop Believing (People are starting to pass out and puke at this point)

I can’t pick just one Prince song. That would be like asking a fat person to pick just one candy bar. It’s cruel and unusual punishment. Wait, I think I just started a play list for my wedding reception. Although by the time I’m married all these songs will be long forgotten and I will be on my 12th hip replacement.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Look at these, my ruby red, ruby lips


You know, this might come as a bit of a shock to some people, but I want to tell you a secret: Not all women like Shitney Shears. Or Chessica Chimpson. Or Penis Hilton. Or Hariah Harey. Or Peline Pion. Hell, I hate to think even half of the women I know would like any of those "performance artists."

Yes, we like shoes. Earrings. Pink. And I might harbor a secret wish to have a life-sized doll house. But is there music out there for us gals that don't think that the soundtrack to a rom-com defines our very existence? This is my anti-rom-com manifesta!


Let this henceforth be known as:
Female Artists That We Are Proud to Call Our Own! They Effin' Rock! or FATWAPCOOTER for short. (Funny aside: My maternal grandfather had a big doberman pinscher named Cooter.)

May I introduce you to The Bird and the Bee, Fcking Boyfriend

Please to allow Rasputina, Watch TV

Bless and protect PJ Harvey, Sheela-na-gig

I'm pleased to announce The Cardigans My Favourite Game

May 76 virgins greet you in heaven, oh most holy Cat Power Lived in Bars

My love, my very own, my precious, my dearest Portishead Over

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Top Five Bands Not to Observe

I often like to go to a live show to not observe a band. I'm still paying attention, with my ears, just not my eyes. You see, I like to dance. Now I'll dance to anything. If I'm in the right mood, I'll get busted bustin' a move to the muzak when the elevator doors open while my eyes are closed in an intense Hustle send-up.

Hey, I like a observational show too. Wilco is awesome, as are the Flaming Lips. Man Or Astroman always did some terrifically silly shit. And Jack White is one hell of a performer. It's horribly ego driven, but fuck it. The stage show is amazing.

But what I really like to do is dance to live country music. This came up through the original source of this blog; TK's In Defense of Country Music. Certainly there are country shows that are worth watching intently. The Reverend Horton Heat is not to be missed for stage theatrics, nor should you pass up a Southern Culture Show. But dammit if I don't like to go to a show and spin all the girls 'til they're barfing dizzy. The thing is, the music is listenable in its own right, through the stereo. But... Oh, just read the list.

In no particular order, but for very particular reason:

Dale Watson at the Continental in Austin. You'll have better luck catching him at Ginnie's and, for Christ's sake, Ginnie's Myspace page has Watson's "Whiskey or God" on it. But the Continental is a good room for Dale. Good sized dance floor, always filled with dancers and the Lone Stars just don't stop. They taste so good poured down your gullet after rippin' it up.

Heybale at Ginnie's. This is a fun show. The place is small. Long and narrow. The band, a five piece usually, two guitar, bass, drums and a peddle steel, sets up in the back corner on the floor (no stage), right next to the back door that everyone is using to go out back for a smoke. These guys play stompin' honky tonk country music. And they do it while the drunks, me included, swing eachother into the bar, the walls, the floor and the peddle steel. They just keep playing and smiling. Find that attitude anywhere else. I went to a show at Lucky's in South Boston. Tried the same stunt and boy, did the keyboard dude turn into a real bitch about it. These guys are great.

The Derailers at the Broken Spoke. This is a great dance hall. It's big - rows and rows of big tables on either side of a central dance floor. Low stage under a very low ceiling. The boys hats risk scraping the paint. This is a place where EVERYONE dances. In fact, after most every song, lead singer/guitarist Brian Hofedt will say, "Thank ya Dancers!" This is a cultural experience. You've got Granny and Grampy mixin' it up with the rockabilly kids and little ones waltzing like you always wished you could. No bad feelings though. Dance it up, good or bad. 'Cause good or bad, it'll be a big time either way.

The next two have no particular locale in my mind. I've seen 'em. I love 'em. Regardless.

Junior Brown. You got the chance, do it. Go for the Guit-Steel (the double necked contraption that resembles Jimmy Page's double necked guitar/bass, but it's a guitar and a "pedal" steel combined. It's so confusing) but stay for the good ol' dancing tunes. Junior is a beautiful musician and deserves to be seen, but he ain't never minded being ignored for a fine young gal who needs to be swung 'round.

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. These guys bring out the rockabilly scenesters like no other. While this makes for a very "cool" looking venue, most often none of these douchebags can dance. They got the shirts and shoes and the bad attitude, but in the hot rod world we have a term for this: all show and no go. So fuck them, push 'em aside and move it to the smooth sounds of these good time fellas. Big Sandy will likely be in a right sharp suit and pulling from a shiny hip flask all evening.

The point of all this is that, while each and every one of these bands is a spectacle in its own right, this is not spectacle time. It's spectacular, no doubt. However, this may be why so many punk rockers turned to country in the mid 90's. A large part of punk rock was the idea of taking the star factor away from the band and giving it to the mass of people in the pit.

A good mosh pit has zero difference from a great two-stepping floor.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

O Canada

How can one forgive Canada for Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne and Canadian bacon?

Aside: American bacon far exceeds Canadian bacon, don’t even try to put that shit on my pizza with some pineapple because that is straight up foul. Don’t get it twisted.

They more than made up for these horrible faults by giving us some awesome music (and Degrassi Junior High).

Stars – One of my top ten bands of all time. I was instantly taken with them after hearing Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, a sweeping heartbreaking tale of lost love. Heart, Set Yourself On Fire and In Our Bedroom After the War are their three major album releases. Set Yourself on Fire was the first album I heard in a long time where it broke my heart and mended it simultaneously. Your life is seriously missing something without Stars in it. Live show rating (Lollapalooza 2006, Orpheum Theater 2007): 9 out of 10 only due to the crap venue the second time around.

Metric – One of my favorite current bands. Emily Haines carries this band with her angelic voice and sharp lyrics. Calculation Theme is the song that made me fall in love with Metric. Raw Sugar, Combat Baby and Dead Disco are other stand outs. If you want a throw back to 80’s new wave mixed with dance beats, this is it. Live show rating (First Ave. 2007): 8 out of 10 only due to the teens moshing right in front of me.

Feist – She broke out this year when the monster that is Apple used her song 1234 for their new ad campaign. Well fuck Apple because now she has become so mainstream that it makes my bones ache. Anyway, before she was Feist of Apple, she had the album Let It Die. It’s a lot more somber and laid back than The Reminder and is perfect for that lazy summer day. She does a great cover of the Bee Gees Inside and Out on it too. Live show rating (Lollapalooza 2006): 7 out of 10. Lolla was not the best place to see such a laid back act.

Arcade Fire – Another band that has slightly blown up this past year. I first heard them when the MTV2 show Subterranean showed their video for Wake Up. They caught my attention immediately because it was new. They were probably one of the first bands to light the current indie rock craze on fire. And how can you not love a band that Bowie loves? Live show rating (Roy Wilkins Auditorium 2007): 11 out of 10. This was probably one of THE best shows I have ever seen in my life, and I’ve seen a lot. They rocked the shit out of a piss poor venue and had absolutely everyone mesmorized with their stage show.

Honorable mention:

Broken Social Scene – A mish mash of extremely talented musicians. They are breaking the mold of what good music is with the help of many of the musicians I listed above.

Tegan and Sara – Sister duo with an individual sound.

Bryan Adams – For good measure, or just shits and giggles. Are Canadians still proud to claim Bryan as their own?

Who are your favorite acts from Canada?