Saturday, August 29, 2009

R.I.P. Ted Kennedy

Today, if you missed it, was the funeral of the last Kennedy brother and second to last member of the Camelot generation of Kennedy's.

It was a nice catholic funeral if you haven't seen one and of note to me and to this blog was a nice version of Franz Schubert's "Ellens dritter Gesang" commonly known as "Ave Maria." Personally, I'm not a fan of opera usually, but I love this song, especially the version sung by Barbara Bonney.

Ave Maria -

Good Morning and Shut Up

Last time I posted a song it sucked balls. This time it doesn't. Go do something with your weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Think This Proves They Have Lost Touch With Anyone Who Isn't In A Focus Group

Besides our good friends Attractive Eighties Women's new album release this Friday, the music world has been quietly hanging itself abuzz with other news; the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards.

Of course most people like me could could give two shits less about the VMAs. They lost respectability sometime when they sold the rebellious streak for advertisements and first access to half-assed performers, and when confirming Billboard's ground breaking analysis of the most important/biggest performers of the time, (their method? 1+1=2, and so on until it eventually adds to gold.)

It seems all of the entrenched corporations of the music press and history took a swan dive as of late, mirroring the problems seen in the recording and music distribution industry. And like the rest of them they turn their eyes towards the internet (and by proxy, people on the internet) as a large reason for their downward spiral.

I will agree that the inability for anyone to create a great model of making money using the internet (because good models exist, just not enough good enough for companies to pour the millions into advertising like they used to before a recession), a place where entertainment goods are treated as much a commodity as the notes you slip a friend in high school chemistry class. But also give credit where credit is due, and a good amount of the blame goes to just plain shitty or average music made out to be good, great, and phenomenal.

I know this argument is rolled out by everyone when they hit a certain age, but fuck all. I am 23 years old... I shouldn't be looking back at my middle and early high school years as the high point of culture of my generation. I do like music and there are artists I deeply enjoy whose albums I will go buy... when I can make it out to an independent record store to buy them. Sorry but Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy doesn't often carry The Pains at Being Pure at Heart or Sonic Youth's SYR releases, or Sunny Day Real Estate's reunion album? (We had a giant corporate mega store for that, it folded years ago to great sadness).

And unfortunately for the record industry, there are several thousand, if not millions of people just like me, who compulsively go out to buy albums and who have been turned off by the fact that the radio and music video stations don't carry what I want to listen to anymore. MTV embodies that.

I looked at this year's crop of top performers according to MTV, most of them being no surprise and nothing particularly greater than a "meh" on my radar. Then I saw that breakthrough artist was a good dozen artists deep; some how it became the dumping ground for anyone who had a moderately good year but didn't have the full weight of a music distribution company behind it.

Then, of course MTV had to piss me off by adding another category, one I've not seen before so I have no idea if it is brand new. This new second chance category, Best Video (That Should Have Won A Moonman) is such a shill for attention.

What the hell MTV? Are you really so desperate to try and reclaim some of the cultural relevance you squandered away on non-believable reality TV and playing the same four videos that somehow have something to do with Kayne West and Justin Timberlake all day on your actual music video stations that you would try to pander to the audience you once had, that made you a powerhouse in the media (and not just entertainment; remember Rock The Vote specials? MTV News?)?

You've lost it with us. We're gone. Same as the people who used to read Rolling Stone or the people who checked out Playboy's music section. You lost credibility years ago and trying to regain it by throwing out a half-hearted "sorry" to artists who, for the most part, you won't even play on your tertiary stations late night is... sad. It's really fucking sad.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good Morning All

This song has no balls.

Since the original had a sack full, I am convinced this band who covered it was either born genitally impaired or fucking chopped off their own nuts to fit into a ridiculous pair of ridiculously tight jeans.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

But Back To The Point (review of Capitol Hill Block Party)

Moving away from the angsty-ness of my earlier post I decided to put up some constructive criticism of the CHBP. Now I've never been that huge a fan of festival type shows before but a few hold a special place in my heart, and CHBP is certainly one of them.

What the open air takeover of the main drag of Capitol Hill in Seattle for a day and a half manages to do what most concert promoters should look to emulate is create an all ages venue that doesn't feel strictly under-16 oriented. But that could also have something to do with the great people at the Vera Project having a hand in the Seattle music scene for some time now.

With just three stages, and one specifically over-21 it truly was an all ages event, which is definitely something my high school self would have benefited from way back when. Even so, all the braces, acne, terrible haircuts, and squeaky voices made me feel both old and grateful that I had the freedom to go where ever I chose and drink whatever I wanted to.

But getting down to the acts, I only went one day, Saturday, and only for a few hours at that, but enough time to see The Thermals, The Gossip, and Sonic Youth. I went basically just to see Sonic Youth and only Sonic Youth, but the other two bands were an added bonus to getting to see one of my favorite bands ever.

The Thermals are an easy enough band to like, they play fast catchy songs that are accessible to anyone with even the slightest ear for music and basically apart of the repertoire for anyone who claims to listen to punk. They are fun to listen to and watch. They don't really arouse much emotion or other thoughts in me.

The Gossip was a rollicking good time. Beth Ditto is probably the best front-person in the past decade, and obviously the best of our generation as far as rock goes. She draws you in and keeps your attention the entire time she is on stage, and you completely enjoy giving her the attention. Circling through their hits the absolute high point was the band's cover of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody." Although I gotta say it was one of the first moments I felt old, because absolutely none of the kids who showed up to watch the Gossip knew any of the words to the song, while anyone obviously my age or older was seriously rocking out.

The second moment I felt old that night was when about 90% of the people under twenty left the main stage after The Gossip's set, while the rest of us moved in to watch the dozens of guitars get loaded on stage.

If there's one adjective that can sum up Sonic Youth's career at this point is that Sonic Youth is damn cool. They are years away from collecting social security but they still manage to be just... fucking cool. While I loved the songs from the new album I would have rather seen a longer set and one incorporating songs from the past albums, the ones that made me fall in love with the band. But man, I got to see Sonic Youth perform. What a fuckin' deal.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Movies to Watch : Whitewash

Whitewash, the documentary, is a film exploring the complexity of race in America through the struggle and triumph of the history of black surfers. It is narrated by Ben Harper and Black Thought, and tells the story through the eyes of black surfers and historians from Hawaii, Jamaica, Florida, and California. The film is being scored by The Roots , with music from Erykah Badu as well. Let's hope it hits the big theaters soon so we can all catch a glimpse of this historic exploration of race, identity, and surfing culture.