Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Comedic Interpretation of Radiohead's "OK Computer"

When people think “Radiohead,” what is always the first thing that immediately comes to everyone’s mind? That’s right, Thom Yorke’s lazy eye. I mean, seriously, what is up with that thing? It is, far and away, the single characteristic of Radiohead that sets them apart from all other bands. When you’re listening to “Creep” or “Fake Plastic Trees,” you can’t help but think about the hidden connotations to this very feature as Thom sullenly pulls the audience in to his ever-present plight. It’s no wonder Thom is the most famous of the bunch.

But don’t let this feature bring you down. On the contrary, the band uses it to their advantage. Thom’s left eye is, in essence, the very same as Freddie Mercury’s buckteeth. Both draw so much attention and aid in their music that “fixing” them would have only hindered their progress.

Some fans argue their seminal album "OK Computer" is actually a concept album with a full, continuous story ala David Bowie’s "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust" or Pink Floyd’s "The Wall," to which Radiohead replied it was all completely unintentional. Riiiiight. Look, if you made an album that was that popular, would you come out to the world and proclaim that the entire thing was dedicated to that eye that has given you the secret inspiration you needed to write such beautifully unsophisticated melancholy lyrics? I didn’t think so. Let's take a closer look. The following is something I just made up for fun and is entirely factual in every way.

“Airbag” – The droning guitar sweeps in out of nowhere as the “fast German car” crashes into a “jackknifed juggernaut” of a truck. Sleigh bells appear as the ash from the car fire drifts down like snow over the dazed victim. He is rushed to the hospital, as onlookers…look on. They, as is he, are amazed that he survived.

“Paranoid Android” – The doctor begins the operation, causing a loud stir. Just before the car crash victim (who I will from now on refer to as Thom) finally falls asleep from the anesthetic, he wishes the whirring of the strange operating machines would stop as he becomes more and more drowsy. After the operation, one of the egotistic surgeons checks in on him. He was able to fix most of his body save for one minor detail. Holding up a mirror, the surgeon reveals to Thom his new face.

“What’s this?! What’s this?!” he exclaims, aghast at the image in the mirror. It appears the ambitious surgeon, trying to set a new record for the speediest skin-repair operation, has caused Thom’s eye to become misaligned. Being the bad guy archetype he is, the doctor proceeds to act as if nothing is wrong, handing Thom an expensive bill without ever even saying his name.

“You don’t remember…You don’t remember! WHY DON’T YOU REMEMBER MY NAME?!” Thom angrily shouts at the surgeon, who then points at the top of the bill Thom must now pay which reads THOM YORKE.

“I guess he does…”

Frustrated about this encounter and without enough money to pay for the operation, Thom proceeds to the roof of the hospital building. It begins to rain as he steps up to the edge. Just before taking his final, fateful step off, he hears a preacher through the open window in the room directly below talking to a dying cancer patient.

“God loves his children.”

Just hearing this is enough for Thom to take a step back and come down from the roof.

“Subterranean Homesick Alien” – It is the start of a new day for Thom and the first day of the rest of his life! With a newfound optimism toward the upcoming summer weather, he leaves the hospital and walks back home. Keeping his head down in deep thought, watching the cracks in the pavement as they go by his feet, Thom realizes something. This newborn hopefulness is making him see the world in an entirely different way, all thanks to his changed eye. His imagination runs wild as he pretends to see aliens and angels up in the sky on his walk, to which his “friends” (i.e. – people walking by) “never believe him.” To Thom, they’re all just too uptight.

“Exit Music (For a Film)” –This song was made for a movie and has nothing to do with this album.

“Let Down” – Thom decides to leave this small, bland town and head to The Big City. He takes many different modes of transportation to get there and feels as insignificant as a bug by all the crowds pushing him along this way and that.

“Karma Police” – After finally getting to The Big City, Thom begins preaching about the things your imagination can do if you only look up at the beautiful sky. The Big City people, too busy to be bothered with such drivel, continue on, ignoring what would appear to be yet another crazy bum getting in their way. One businessman bumps into Thom and accuses him of attacking him. The Karma Police arrive and, choosing to believe the businessman’s story over the crazy bum’s, proceed to arrest poor Thom and his mystical eye that no one understands.

“Fitter, Happier”
– Arriving in his cell at The Big City’s Panic Office for the Deranged (POD), Thom is disturbed, annoyed by, and eventually grows weary of the message being played over the loudspeakers 24/7 to keep the prisoners in check. Finally, he can’t take it and comes up with a scheme to bust out. With the help of his trusty eye that sees cracks in the walls which would normally be missed by the average eye, Thom eventually escapes after digging through the walls enough with a spork. As he runs off into the darkness, he can faintly hear the beginning of something over the annoying loudspeaker from POD before distance causes the message to fade.

“This is the Panic Office, section nine-seventeen may have been hit. Activate the following procedure…”

– Back in The Big City, Thom finds himself at a loss. With the Karma Police out looking for him, he’s now stuck in hiding until all of this blows over. He decides it’s safe enough to sleep on a park bench for the time being and dozes off for the night. Suddenly, he wakes up with a start as a man shouts through a megaphone to a crowd of people. It’s someone running for office! Thom grows bored of watching and goes back to sleep.

(Note: Radiohead have always felt this track never really fit in with the rest of the album. Looking at it story-wise, I have to agree.)

“Climbing Up the Walls” – This is one of those dream sequences that all psychedelic concept albums have. Thom, afraid for his life and asleep on a park bench, dreams of sleeping comfortably back at home until the Karma Police break in, beat him, and take him away.

“No Surprises” – Waking up from the nightmare, Thom realizes it was all just a dream and there are no surprises awaiting him once he can get back home, as the Karma Police cannot leave The Big City limits. If only he can get back home without being caught along the way…

“Lucky” – In a fit of despair, Thom thinks back to what got him in this mess. Remembering the speech and the eye that saved his life, he finds himself renewed with confidence. He meets a pilot named Sarah at a bar and tells her his story thus far. She feels sorry for Thom (especially after seeing his eye) and agrees to fly him back home. Later, as her plane begins to take off, the head of the state Karma Police arrives with a squad at the airstrip and shouts after them. They ignore them and proceed to take off, causing the squad to open fire. One of the engines gets shot and Sarah is forced to crash the plane into the sea a few miles away from Thom’s town. Sarah escapes, but Thom is trapped in the wreckage. She decides to sacrifice her own life to save his.

“The Tourist” – Thom swims to shore and proceeds to tell all of the boring people in his town of his adventure, but they find it too fast-paced and struggle to relate. Years later, Thom grows weary of the boring town and seeks to regain his optimism and confidence by reliving his adventure. He hops into his fast new German car and begins speeding down the interstate…

This, of course, leads to that whole looping thing Pink Floyd would always do with their concept albums. You know what I’m talking about, with the whole “Isn’t this where…we came in?” thing.

Seriously, what is up with his eye?!

Monday, October 11, 2010

ICP: And God Created Controversy

I don't normally post my opinions on this blog, preferring to keep it more as a resume of music interviews, but a friend recently sent me this article and I felt a need to write about it.

Let's just get the elephant out of the room, shall we? This is about Insane Clown Posse, a joke of a rap duo that has become an even bigger joke to the world with the release of their song "Miracles." Now as I read this, I couldn't help but laugh throughout.

I didn't really know how to respond to my friend about it. See, I only had a few minutes left before my next class and had to type to him with a phone. I was going to first respond with "This must be a joke," followed by quoting the fuck out of it with some of the funniest lines. No interviewer could be that into ICP writing for The Guardian. Then it got so ridiculous that I was going to respond with different emote faces because words failed me.

But then...

Then I got to the end. The part with the depression. Suddenly, I, I just don't know. This duo is considered the worst in the world, and now they know it. From multiple sources. And they still keep going for their fans. They're complete dingbats who don't know right from left, but they still have that urge to be "deep," and they struggle with all their might to do so. They're both suffering from anxiety attacks, and yet they still do upbeat shows for their fans.

The world hates Insane Clown Posse. The entire world. We hate them because they're stupid, but they never wanted to be this stupid. We pick on them for struggling to find the magic in mundane things. To them, it really is a miracle. They are children in adult bodies, and the world hates them for that. Suddenly, I have an ounce of respect for these two...whatever they are.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gabe Lehner (Inspired Flight) Interview

If you haven't checked out Inspired Flight already, you'd be a fool not to do so now. Blending everything from rap to atmospheric guitar melodies seamlessly, this duo brings a whole new game to the table with their debut album We All Want to Fly. I managed to get a hold of Gabe Lehner, who comprises half of the duo, and got a solid interview out of him. Be sure to do the band a favor and check out their music over here.

So how did the two of you initially meet and form a music duo? Is there any kind of back story to the name “Inspired Flight”?

A few years back I wanted to make an electronica album for the first time so I teamed up with my vocalist friend Ashley Mazanec, and we made a whole album under the name Mechanical Cats. The album is called Chemical Obsession. When the album was nearly complete I felt that it needed some turntable scratching on a few songs, but I didn't know any DJs at the time. I called around to people I barely knew and got numbers of people I didn't know. After making a few calls I was ultimately directed to this guy named Eric Poline who was supposed to be really good at scratching. I called him up even though he had no idea who I was, told him about the project, and met up with him soon after and paid him as a work-for-hire to do scratching on the album. We found we had lots in common as for music taste, and ultimately we ended up trying to collaborate with each other, which turned into Inspired Flight, and Ashley Mazanec not only sings on our iF album a lot, but also is playing live with us now too.

I’ll be honest. When I initially started following you guys as you released tracks here and there before the big release of We All Want to Fly, I assumed the album would stay relatively low-key, but from what I’ve been seeing the album has really been taking off with critics everywhere. What’s been your reaction to the album and your duo’s sudden jolt in popularity?

Our reaction to the response we are getting is that we're livid! Just kidding... We feel so blessed, and couldn't be happier about the reaction so far. We put a crazy amount of energy and time into making We All Want To Fly, and it's something I am so, so proud of. I always felt that we were making a different, special album, and I hoped the reaction from critics would be what it has been, but to actually have it be so positive is kind of a trip. I am very grateful, and it feels really good.

The album itself took around three years to make. What was the songwriting process typically like? Was it mostly nonstop or were there a lot of breaks in between? Did you make the album one song at a time or were they all outlined fairly early?

The album actually took like two years to make. We have been a group for three years and the entire first year was us practicing in my room just trying to figure out how to even program MIDI controllers in a way that made sense and memorize how to perform live. Our first show wasn't till after a year of practice. We did creating in that first year, but pretty much the entire album came after that first year. We never set out to make an album, rather we kept starting songs and eventually realized we needed to put out an album, so then we had to start thinking about which songs to finish and put together to be a cohesive album experience. We are constantly writing/starting new songs, but the way we do it almost always comes from us jamming, or one of us starting with an idea and trying to make it a really cool, vibey piece of music. Then, as it comes together as an instrumental, I am very drawn to sing over it and come up with melody ideas for vocals because that's my nature. Next thing you know there is a song. We never write a whole song on a guitar with singing and stuff, and then record/produce it. It's been music first, then I write something over it, for this first album. Although some new stuff we're working on will be done the other way.

Your songs feature guest artists from plenty of big acts including members from the Wu-Tang Clan and Living Legends. How did you manage to get them all on your record?

We actually got Eligh involved first by hitting him up on myspace! He wrote us back, really liked our music, and was down to get involved. This led to a really good relationship with each other, and I ended up writing and doing vocal parts for his new upcoming album, and in turn he did a second song for the album. Getting Scarub was easy when we already became friends with Eligh. As for the Wu connection, we played an after-party at a friend's house in the Hollywood hills one night....it was a super random party for us to even be at. Rugged Monk and the whole Black Knights crew ended up showing there, and they were drawn to our music set up. Rugged Monk ended up freestyling with some other dudes for about an hour straight right in front of our table, and we made the connection that night. Months later we reached out to him about rapping on our album and he was down. Once I had built a really good relationship with him I was able to reach out to Wu-Tang through him, and we actually got Inspectah Deck on our album, which still trips me out!

So did these guest artists write their own parts or did you guys write everything?

The guest MC's entirely wrote everything they do. We gave them a hint of direction for what our song was about, and they each ran with that, did their own thing, and killed it.

Since you can’t get everybody who recorded with you to go to every show on your tour, how do you typically fill in for their parts?

We have their acapellas bounced down and Eric throws them over the beat via his turntables.

Now I know you’re still in the middle of your first tour, but are there any show or on-the-road stories worth sharing yet?

Something really funny happened in Portland I thought. At one point in between songs we mentioned that we were from San Diego, and some random guy from the crowd shouts, "Ken Caminiti!" who was a baseball player for the Padres years ago, and also died years ago from doing drugs. It was so random. That, and playing an epic house party in Big Sur, come to mind off the bat.

So picture yourself with a couple of big, framed platinum records. Like, in your basement. Next to the couch full of money. No, the other one. What goals would you pursue if money was in your fridge and between your toes?

If money was not an issue at all, and there was plenty of it, we would be pursuing the same goals we are now. It would be all about making more music, putting together a better live show, getting more famous features, having awesome people do remixes of us, and nurturing our Create Fate record label. The money would make all of that way easier to do much sooner!

I know it’s still a little early to be asking, but are there any plans for future music yet?

There are lots of plans for future music. We are soon to release a new single and follow that up shortly with a remix/mash-up we did that I am crazy stoked off of and super proud of. It combines all my favorite indie rock stuff, and I think it will be very well received. We also have a number of newer songs we're already thinking about using for an upcoming EP and even our second album. Inspired Flight will always be putting out music!

Alright, last (and most important) question: cake or pie? Choose wisely.

Pie. Totally pie. My dad has baked homemade pies my whole life since I can remember, and they rule the universe, and I too make pies now, and my final answer is pie. But I love cake!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here Come the Mummies Interview

I'm not really sure what to say about these guys. They dress up in mummy costumes for every show, and each member has their own made-up moniker. They claim to have been around for 5000 years. They wouldn't even tell me who I was actually interviewing.

They're funky. They're frenetic. They're apparently pretty horny. Ladies and gentlemen, Here Come the Mummies.

First off, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. It’s not every day that I get to interview actual mummies, not to mention the most badass mummies on the planet. So it says on your About page on your website that you guys are about 5000 years old. What has it been like trying to adjust to society and music over the years? Can we safely assume you guys invented funk music?

Most men know that there is great pleasure derived from a good adjustment. Many things change over time, but ladies digging dancing is not one of them. Sure, we had to deal with Victorian prudery, but all we had to do was get on a boat for a few weeks and voila … dancing Amazons. As far as inventing funk, no, we do not credit ourselves with that. We have always played the current music of loving and pelvic gyration, and when funk appeared on the scene in the late 1960’s, we jumped aboard.

You’ve had 5000 years to perfect your craft. What made you choose to play funk?

Faced with options, which genre would you choose? Self indulgent, whiny rock about the hard pitfalls of life and love? Sweet and soulful jazz without a paycheck? No, any sensible person would opt for fun, optimistic music reveling in the sunny, sweat of bosom shaking and merriment.

So why exactly are all of the mummies so sexual? Are the ladies just not attracted to all that wrapping, causing desperation after all these lonesome years?

Are we really any more sexual than anyone else? Nope. We just embrace it more, and do not believe in beating around the bush. We go straight in. I am unsure if your readers have been to a show and seen how the ladies feel about mummies. It is safe to say that everybody loves a sexy mummy.

What was the best venue you’ve ever played at?

Best? That is difficult. A successful show is not measured by the venue, but by the crowd. The large crowds of outdoor festivals like Summerfest or Riverbend are great, but so are the indoor venues like The Vogue or The Pageant that pack a thousand people or so in, so we can all raise the roof together.

The Mummy lineup typically changes for various shows while you’re on tour. Where do these other mummies go while they’re not playing shows?

Some go back to their air conditioned crypts for champagne sipping and Roman style lovefests. Others head back to the studios of Nashville to carve out hits.

The comments for each show on your Tour Schedule are brilliant. Who writes them, and where does he get the time to? Also, are we still down for that show in Fantasy Island in a few years? You better not back out on that.

Java Mummy normally writes those descriptions while eating his morning bagel. We will be there for the Fantasy Island gig, but Tattoo keeps pushing the date back.

How excited were all of you to have some of your music featured in the film Fired Up?

Sure, we are always excited to have our music hit new ears, though we normally prefer to hear our tunes during love scenes with full nudity.

You sell a lot of interesting merchandise. And coffee. Why coffee?

Why coffee? Why not? Java Java was too good to pass up. Often, we do things just to make ourselves laugh. This was no exception.

Can you tell us about any planned upcoming album releases?

We are hoping to have a new recording out this October. The working title is “Carnal Carnival,” and it is coming along swimmingly.

World Minus One Interview

Back in the day, there was this band called Envy. Due to copyright issues, they quickly became All Envy Aside. Hailing from UW-Platteville, the group went on to win MTVU's Best Band on Campus in 2005 and deserved it. However, the band soon dissolved shortly afterward.

Lucky for us, half the band stuck together and formed the new local (to Milwaukee) group World Minus One, and they're just as kickass as ever. With a new singer, drummer, and an added keyboard, these guys make for a pretty awesome combo.

I had the privilege to hang out with these fine folks after they opened for One eskimO this past summer at the Rave in Milwaukee. Here's what they had to say.

First off, could you explain the name World Minus One? Where exactly did it come from?

JAEK: “World Minus One” was a name that (guitarist) Dan Faherty and I were throwing around for years. When we finally got the band together, we threw it out there and it stuck with everyone….probably because the rest of the band didn’t know the origin. It’s a reference to this glitch in the original Mario Bros. game for Nintendo. You know, like there’s World 1-2, and 1-3 and all that, and there’s a hidden World -1 that you can warp to and can’t escape from.

So Jaek, in your past band All Envy Aside, you actually made a whole video game RPG just for the band. Now, for World Minus One, you’ve got one song done for Rock Band and another on the way. Can you tell us how or why video games have become a part of your music?

JAEK: It was just one of those obsessions I developed….I didn’t have a game system when I was a kid, so when I was 9 or 10 I would actually write my own video games and music on Basic (programming language) on an old 286 PC. The hobby stuck with me through the years, and I thought it’d be awesome to tell a band’s story through an RPG (role-playing game), so that’s how the ‘Envy RPG’ came about. I just took all the old-school NES elements I liked and wrote the band’s story around it. In World Minus One, even putting the video-game name origin aside, we kind of continue the tradition…Dan actually modified a Nintendo Advantage controller—those were the huge ones with the joystick and big buttons—into a foot controller pedal for his effects. And there’s a song topic or two that stems from fantasy themes you might find in video games (like our track “Wizards & Dragons”)….but for all that, it’s amazing how grounded most of our stuff is. We’re all geeks at heart, but most of our music doesn’t really come off as geek anthems.

Have you noticed an increase in popularity by posting your music on Rock Band, or is this mostly something you did for the fans or for the hell of it?

JAEK: I had no idea how we’d be received or who’d buy our track or whatever, but it was something I felt like I had to do, because the game programming wasn’t hard for me to pick up. Our song ‘Still Alive’ was a natural pick just because it had some good gameplay elements, and we priced it at a buck, which is the same you’d pay for a single song on iTunes. We were one of the first bands available for their ‘Rock Band Network’ format, which didn’t hurt anything. In the first three months we sold over 1,100 downloads of the track in 8 countries, which absolutely blew us away. It doesn’t quite hold up to the platinum artists they offer, but we don’t see anywhere near those numbers on iTunes or Amazon or those sites, so it’s a big success for an indie band like us. The word-of-mouth for the track was really good, and we held some contests that you can find on YouTube to get free tracks and stuff, which I think helped people check it out. It got enough attention for Harmonix, the game developer, to interview us for a segment on rockband.com, which was very cool of them.

You’ve mentioned you’re working on another track for Rock Band. How’s that coming along, and are there any plans to make an RPG for World Minus One? A sequel perhaps?

JAEK: The whole gametrack authoring process is really tedious, and I’ve just gotten to a point where I can fully playtest our next track, “Fool For Your Love”. I have some tweaks to make to the animations, lighting, and venue camera cuts, and then it should be ready to be reviewed. I’m hoping it can be out sometime in August. As for a WMO-RPG…I wrote the RPG at a time in my life when I had a LOT of time on my hands. It probably took about 1000 hours to make that game, which is something I just can’t sign up for currently. I need to do a lot of writing and rehearsing for the band as well, so it’s not high on my priority list right now.

Alright, now this is something I’ve gotta ask every band: do you prefer playing live or in the studio?

JAEK: I honestly like each differently, because they both compliment the songwriting process, which is what I’m all about. Seeing a tracking going from an idea to my head, to a jam at practice, into different studio mixes, and hearing the feedback after the live show….its all tied together. I guess if I had to choose, the live show is kind of the culmination of the whole thing for me, so that wins out.

PAUL: Definitely live - people don't cheer when you lay your 14th track down and it's still not right.

DAN: Live is where its at for me. Especially on a big stage, its so much fun with lights and a loud PA!

ADAM: I'd much rather be alive when I play than the alternative, even though I am a bass player.

What were some of your favorite on-stage moments?

JAEK: Our Summerfest show we just did in July was definitely a highlight for me.

PAUL: Locust Street festival in Milwaukee seeing tons of people dancing to our cover of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and just being on the Harley stage at Summerfest were pretty awesome.

DAN: Our first show - it was a huge adrenalin rush, but the chemistry was there and i knew that this was going to be a great band to play in.

ADAM: My all-time favorite was Kirk yelling "Go right into it, right?" about 3 seconds before our opening song for a gig, which with all the noise translated to "blah blah blah blah mmmmmm ajasasldkfjadsf". He then went right into a drum beat in a spot where just keys were supposed to play, based on a conversation we had 3 months prior about possibly changing the beginning of that song. I only hope he was drunk that night. For his sake.

Any talk of getting in the studio to record a full length album?

JAEK: We talk about it all the time. Problem is, its expensive and time-consuming, and we want to be sure we ‘hear’ the finished product as a band before stepping in the studio to do that. To get to that point, we experiment a lot by recording our tunes to the best of our ability, and we’ll use what we learn from that to springboard into a studio under a producer.

PAUL: I think we're working towards that - at this point, it's more of a "one song at a time" deal.

DAN: Right now the band is working on some new material, and hopefully will have a new disc out by Christmas.

ADAM: I think that's always in the back of everyone's minds. These days with internet distribution and people wanting to get a cheap CD at a show, we've been doing really well throwing a couple tracks on a CD and selling it for a few bucks. That said, I would say our eventual goal is to put a number of tracks together to call it our real first album.

Now how did the six of you meet and decide to start a band together?

JAEK: Well, Dan and I met in college and played in All Envy Aside together. After over a year of looking for a singer for this new project, we found Sara through craigslist, and thought she was great and had a lot of potential. Kirk and Adam were kind of a package rhythm section that strong-armed us to trying them out, and we gelled with them. Finally I asked my brother Paul to join, knowing his singing and keyboard background and enjoying writing music with him. We met a few times in 2008 to write material, decided it was working, and started playing out right away in 2009.

PAUL: Well, the other five were basically in place, and then my brother BEGGED me to supply my exceptional keyboard and backup vocal skills. It's hard to see a grown man cry - so then there were six.

DAN: Kirk Pogo was hauling a load of chickens across the Mason-Dixon Line that were stuffed with illegal bubble gum laced with mint leaves and Deputy Adam was trying to catch him. Paul and Jaek Duke were going to cut them off at the pass, when Boss Dan chased the whole gang down Uncle Jessie's shortcut and jumped his Cadillac into a muddy pond. Daisy Brauer showed up in her trusty jeep and the rest is history. that's how them there boys met or maybe I’m getting that confused with an episode of Dukes of Hazard...

ADAM: Well I think after the 37th email, Dan had no choice really. I never actually threatened to cut his power or anything, but, well, I'm just sayin'...

Where are all of you from? How difficult is it getting together for rehearsals?

JAEK: We’re all from the greater-Milwaukee area, so we consider that our home base. It is hard to juggle 6 schedules, so we have a scheduled time each week where we meet for 3 hours. It only works when everyone can contribute so we all consider rehearsal a priority in the band. Kirk’s got a nice setup at his place with a practice PA. We record everything we do over there and post it online to learn from and critique what worked and what didn’t. It can be brutally honest sometimes to listen back to, but it ultimately makes us a better band.

PAUL: I'm probably the farthest away from our rehearsal space (35-40 min. drive), but we can usually all find ways in our schedules to make it work and get a good practice in.

DAN: Usually we get in 1 rehearsal a week and it’s a good old time! Crack a few beers, crack a few snare drums and crank a few amps!

ADAM: There aren't any real distance issues, but with a 6 piece band the schedules are already tight as it is, add in everyday life and there's even less time. That said, we're all able to make a commitment to practice weekly with the occasional extra thrown in here and there, usually around larger shows.

What are some of the band’s plans for the future?

JAEK: We’re definitely focusing some energy on putting out a new disc yet this year, and expanding our base a little bit. Nothing crazy, but we realize we have something special together right now and trying to make the most of that.

PAUL: Recordin', 'ritin', and rockin' - the three R's of any balanced rock curriculum.

DAN: Were going to get more shows around the state and in Chicago and try to expand our fan base. Get back into the studio and cut some more tracks, and then get out there and promote the heck out of it.

ADAM: The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world.

Be sure to check out some of the band's music here. And definitely be sure to check out their song "Still Alive" on the Rock Band Network. I give you my word that it's one of the most fun songs to play in the game.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Feathe Concert Review

“At what time do you know you’re supposed to go to the dentist?”

“Tooth-hurty,” I say. There’s an awkward silence; I’ve managed to wreck the joke. Alyssa Rieper is still fiddling with tuning her guitar, so Adelyn Strei and Jana Swanson try again.

“Okay, at what time is someone else supposed to go to the dentist?”

“Tooth-hurty Too!” someone shouts back. There are about eight of us in this Milwaukee coffee house I’d never heard of called Brewing Grounds, and we’re all here to see this great little female folk trio Feathe. Did I mention there’s an accordion? That should have gotten your attention.

Right. They’re ready for the rest of the set. And what a set it turns out to be. The three-part singing harmonies and the beautiful guitar/accordion/snare drum arrangements these girls have created and share with this small handful of people should not be missed by anyone. Hailing from the small-but-beautiful town of Eau Claire, Wisconsin (hometown of Justin Vernon, of Bon Iver fame), these three bring to the table more talent than expected of your typical college folk group.

With the release of their second EP Flora, the band set off for a (possible) farewell tour across the country with nothing but a compact car, their instruments, and a boatload of ambition. But hey, you’d have a boatload of ambition too if two of your best friends wanted to take a road trip across the country with you.

The three put on a great show, to say the least. There was no stage or gear preventing the audience from sitting about 5 feet away as the band played on until the sun set in the background. Add in some clever banter between tuning breaks, and you’ve got yourself one of the most one-on-one (three-on-eight?) concert experiences ever. Though I suppose having the band escort the entire audience to the nearest McDonald’s for post-show snacks certainly helped add to the personal experience as well.

So if you find yourself in a coffee shop hosting a trio of girls, and the name of this trio happens to be Feathe, then buy another drink and sit yourself down because you’re in for a treat. Otherwise you’ll just have to settle with downloading their music (and for free I might add) over at their official website here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cloud Cult's Latest Album Light Chasers Disappoints

Cloud Cult is an amazing band. It’s as simple as that. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out recently that not only were they releasing a new album this year, but that they were letting fans download it before its intended release. Unfortunately, as far as typical Cloud Cult albums go, Light Chasers is far from astonishing.

This six-piece (not including the on-stage painters) group from Minnesota has managed to capture the attention of its fans through the use of experimental electronics, foot-tapping drum beats, melodic strings, and some of the most inspired lyrics ever to grace a compact disc. This being their seventh official studio release, it’s no wonder all of these key features of the band seem to finally be at a "fizzling point"; the originality of the group is now beginning to wear thin. Eventually a band this talented simply cannot continue to create such memorable masterpieces like that of Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus or The Meaning of 8, yet some (myself included) began to worry they were beginning to lose it after their last release Feel Good Ghosts. While Ghosts certainly is a fine album, it marked the beginning of the lack of depth seen previously, and now we find ourselves at the release of their latest and most disappointing album in Light Chasers, which is a shame as their Running With the Wolves EP released not too long ago showed a lot of promise for their continuing future.

While Cloud Cult has managed to walk a fine line concerning whether or not their albums are actually “concept albums,” they’ve finally chosen to cross over and declare this an actual concept album telling a story through space and light in songs with multiple parts. Rather than having subtle references to childlike innocence through the use of standalone stories, Craig Minowa seems to be inadvertently declaring he has run out of ideas as he sings and strums through each bland song in an almost monotone fashion. All of the songs blend together in a typical concept album style, yet this seems to be where the album falters the most. All the songs literally blend together. There are no individual lyrics that make your mind shiver like it would while reading a Kurt Vonnegut novel. There are no memorable drumbeats or guitar riffs that stick with you until the next morning. It all just seems so…bland. I kept waiting for something to happen, and all of a sudden I realized I had listened to the album straight through multiple times in a row.

That’s not to say it’s a terrible album. Even though all of the components that typically comprise a Cloud Cult album are lackluster in this outing, they’re still there. While the record may fault on not having anything extremely memorable, the songs still seem to be well-crafted, specifically in the opening and closing tracks “Unexplainable Stories” and “There’s So Much Energy In Us” as well as “Running With the Wolves” smack dab in the center. I only hope we see something a little less forgettable in Minowa and the gang’s next adventure.

Aloha Proves Once Again They Can Do No Wrong (Review of Home Acres)

Why more people aren’t worshiping the members of Aloha as our true musical lords and saviors is beyond me, but I suppose I can understand why they’re not for everyone. Nobody’s perfect, right? Well, nobody outside of Aloha, that is.

This is the mindset I was going in with for Aloha’s latest release in years, Home Acres. Granted, this is probably not the best mindset to go into for any kind of media unless you’re gearing for disappointment. So after years of waiting (and demanding an early copy from Polyvinyl Records that never came), this Holy Grail of the Gods of Modern Music arrived at my doorstep (if I had a doorstep). And it was…good. It wasn’t great, but it certainly was good. While I can’t hold it in the light of earlier releases such as Sugar or Here Comes Everyone, Home Acres still proves Aloha know what they’re doing and simply do not know how to make a bad record or even a bad song.

The album goes in a “heavier" direction than usual with louder, lower-pitched guitars and more driving bass lines and drums, as its original intended purpose was to be a companion to the band’s previous softer release Light Works. In this sense, the album works. It reaches for new fans with instantly catchy and memorable upbeat riffs and hooks on tracks like “Searchlight” and “Blackout” while still retaining Tony Cavallario’s signature thought-provoking dark lyrics.

As for the rest of the band, they’re as amazing as ever, with Matthew Gengler bringing back memories of John Entwistle whose bass is just as bright as any of the other instruments as long as you’re looking for it. Cale Parks is still the Cale Parks we’ve all come to know and love, an unstoppable tour de force whose drumming skills can hardly be topped in today’s music scene. Peoples’ ears should truly be drawn to the budding genius that is T.J. Lipple, though, as he invents even more new instruments and equipment such as a distortion device for the vibraphone heard throughout the album’s second single “Waterwheel.”

There is a definite welcome familiarity to the album as well. Influences ranging from Sonic Youth to the lesser known 80s group Felt dip bits of their sound and influence into tracks. Nothing ever feels like a rip-off or anything like that, mind you. Rather than feeling slightly peeved at the prospect of the band trying too hard to sound like someone else, these tracks felt more like a nod-of-the-hat to earlier influences, with the solo at the end of “I’m in Trouble” instantly coming to mind as a way of Cavallario channeling and thanking Lawrence Hayward for his ingenuity.

So was the album worth all the wait and rising tension in anticipation of its release? After another few months of listening, I can safely give a resounding “yes.” While it didn’t blow me away like I was expecting at first, its catchiness has safely found a spot sitting equally beside the rest of Aloha’s catalog. From the opening repetition of “Building a Fire” to the closing anthem of “Ruins,” Home Acres is a well-constructed album from start to finish deserving of praise that has a fair shot at being the best album 2010 has to offer.

P.S. - You can check out my interview with drummer Cale Parks over here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jakob the Liar Film Review

Wow. Jakob the Liar. Where to begin with this movie? I mean, it’s pretty under the radar as far as WWII movies about Jews in the ghetto go. I hate to say it, but that whole concept is frankly getting a little boring. Add in some generic scores from multiple review sites, and this movie seems doomed to be forgotten. I think that kind of fits what this movie was going for in the first place, though.

Jakob the Liar tells the story of (wait for it…) Jakob Hyem. The movie begins with Jakob (played by Robin Williams in one of his surprisingly many serious roles) narrating a joke to the audience.

“Hitler goes to a fortune-teller and asks, ‘When will I die?’ And the fortune-teller replies, ‘On a Jewish holiday.’ Hitler then asks, ‘How do you know that?’ And she replies, ‘Any day you die will be a Jewish holiday.’”

We then find Jakob trying to grasp for a page from a newspaper that has blown over a wall enclosing a Jewish ghetto. The page flies this way and that while Jakob runs around trying to get this stupid piece of paper. It’s almost funny in an absurd “This shouldn’t be funny” kind of way. But this is more than just a stupid piece of paper. This is news, which is forbidden in all Nazi-occupied Jewish ghettos.

This basically sets up the entire tone of the movie. It’s a film about finding hope through humor in a pretty terrible situation. This isn’t a new concept, but it knows that from beginning to end (ESPECIALLY at the end, but I’ll get to that later).

Anyway, fast-forward a bit, and Jakob finds himself awaiting punishment for a pretty harmless crime in the office of a German soldier. While he awaits the officer’s actual arrival, he manages to overhear a radio telling of Russia’s arrival into Germany. Hearing this or anything from a radio is also very much forbidden to the Jews.

So Jakob goes on with his life until he one day stops one of his fellow workers from doing something drastic by telling him of the news he heard on the radio. The worker, taking this out of context, assumes Jakob has a secret forbidden radio in his home. Despite Jakob’s explanations denouncing this idea, the man simply assumes this is all a front so as not to get in trouble with the Gestapo. The news of Jakob’s radio, of course, spreads quickly throughout the entire ghetto. Suddenly, Jakob has many new friends. He continues to deny owning a radio out of fear for his life but quickly realizes the actual hope it brings to these people. So, he inevitably continues the lie by making up new stories on a regular basis of the Russian front which his coworkers eat up like candy.

Let me just say this about his coworkers. I don’t know why, but I absolutely fell in love with these people. Maybe it was the surprisingly stellar performances from a movie that I thought would just be mediocre. Maybe it was the Mountain Dew I just happened to chug right as I started watching this. Either way, this was one of those movies that makes you go, “Oh hey! It’s THAT guy! Hold on. Pause the movie for a sec. I gotta go look up who these guys are and what else they’ve been in, or I won’t be able to focus.” So in this cavalcade, we’ve got Liev “Sabretooth from X-Men” Schreiber, Mark “Tio from television’s Breaking Bad” Margolis, Bob “Captain Orr from Catch-22” Balaban, Michael “Mr. Noodle from Sesame Street” Jeter, and the always amazing Alan “Too Many Characters to List” Arkin. This was, hands down, one of my favorite casts to follow throughout a film. Each actor took their character’s unique traits in stride, making for some great back-and-forth dialogue. You can tell they each truly enjoyed their characters, leading to, dare I say it, some of the best performances in all of their careers.

“But Peter, why should I care about pretty good acting in a movie about the Holocaust when I can just go watch Schindler’s List?” Well, eager reader, I’m actually glad you brought that film up. Here, have a cookie. Honestly, I don’t think this movie wants to be associated with Schindler’s List or any of that film’s wannabes. For instance, this film has Robin Williams as its titular character. That right there should show you how much this movie wants to be associated as something different. This was a film that dared to say, “Hey. Let’s tone down the over-the-top empathy for once, shall we?” I think this is both where the film excelled and doomed itself.

You see, normally movies like this end with a big tear-worthy speech from the hero. Instead…well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but here are Robin William’s words basically spelling out the reality of trying to live each day as a Jew during the Holocaust:

“So that's how it ended. I never got a chance to be the big hero and make my big speech. I swear, I had a speech all prepared about freedom and never giving in. But somehow... Yes, that's how it ended. They all went off to the camps and were never seen again. But maybe it wasn't like that at all.”

Like I said, I don’t really want to give anymore of the movie away. As I’ve pointed out, this has a pretty unique plot with some great dialogue. All in all, I think this is one of those films for those who have already seen those Schindler’s List films and can’t really feel as emotional about them anymore. That’s not to say you shouldn’t. This is just something with a perspective that’s a little…different than what we’re used to. Their lives are utter crap, but they can at least deal with it for now. They’re not in the worst situation they could possibly be in. In a way, it all sort of reminded me of the film Waltz With Bashir. Like Bashir’s Ari Folman, Jakob is more of an observer than an actual hero per se. He wants and tries to be a hero, but he has a certain sense of reality I absolutely fell in love with that Robin Williams truly brings to life. In fact, I think I’m going to have to say this was Robin Williams best serious acting role. It definitely was my favorite.

If for some reason none of this has caught your fancy, at least watch Jakob the Liar for what I believe to be one of the most memorable monologues I’ve heard in a long time. We find Jakob alone in front of his pancake shop contemplating the mess he’s just gotten himself into with the radio. Solemnly, he takes a seat and stares at the ground before beginning to talk aloud to no one in particular.

“Yeah, it is crazy. I know. But when I started to make up those things...I almost believed them. I know. The point is, what am I going to invent tomorrow? In my whole life, my greatest invention was an apricot pancake. A latke. My crowning achievement: Latkes and lies.”

A Gigantic List of Every Song I've Ever Played on My Radio Show

So last week was the last episode of my college radio show Sidestream. It also happened to be the coolest radio show to ever exist, but that’s purely by coincidence. It ran (almost) every Tuesday, and there ended up being 17 two-hour episodes of it in total. I’m really proud of it and how it all turned out…but none of that really matters. You’re just here for the music, which is perfectly fine. After all, that’s what Sidestream was really about. You’d really be doing the bands themselves a favor by checking them out. So do it. In fact, I will secretly judge you if you don't check out these songs. So, without further ado, here is all the music I ever played on Sidestream in one gigantic list…

Episode 1

Aloha - "Let Your Head Hang Low"
Aloha - "All the Wars"
Aloha - "Brace Your Face"
Jose Gonzalez - "Crosses"
Jose Gonzalez - "Hints"
Jose Gonzalez - "Down the Line"
Volta Do Mar - "On Hand Held Sky"
Volta Do Mar - "Searchlights Burn Cornfields Bright"
Volta Do Mar - "Fall Out of Cars Fall Out of Night"
Ivor Biggun - "Let's All Get Demented"
Nancy Tucker - "Everything Reminds Me of My Therapist"
Loudon Wainwright III - "Dead Skunk"
The Slip - "The Earth Will Dissever and Consume You After These Messages"
The Slip - "Happy Snails"
The Slip - "Driving Backwards With You"
The Slip - "Children of December"
The Slip - "Even Rats"
Karate - "Small Fires"
Karate - "The Lived-But-Yet-Named"
Karate - "Sever"
Deltron 3030 - "3030"
The Police - "Murder By Numbers"

Episode 2

Land of Talk - "May You Never"
Land of Talk - "Yuppie Flu"
Land of Talk - "Death By Fire"
Land of Talk - "Some Are Lakes"
The Dears - "We Can Have It"
The Dears - "Lost in the Plot"
The Dears - "You and I Are A Gang of Losers"
The Slip - "Honey Melon"
The Slip - "Sometimes True to Nothing"
Plants and Animals - "Lola Who?"
Plants and Animals - "Good Friend"
Plants and Animals - "Faerie Dance"
Plants and Animals - "Mercy"
Abandoned Pools - "Clone High Theme"
Abandoned Pools - "The Remedy"
Abandoned Pools - "Tighter Noose"
Apostle of Hustle - "National Anthem of Nowhere"
Apostle of Hustle - "Rafaga!"
Bonobo - "Transmission 94 (Parts 1 & 2)"
Bonobo - "On Your Mark"
The Police - "Peanuts" from their live album "Live!"

Episode 3 (Halloween)

The Blanks - "Superman"
The Blanks - "Six Million Dollar Man"
31Knots - "Welcome to Stop"
31Knots - "Corporal's Lament"
31Knots - "Compass Commands"
matt pond PA - "So Much Trouble"
matt pond PA - "Several Arrows Later"
matt pond PA - "The Moviegoer"
Tunturia - "Panic Attack"
Tunturia - "Echoes of the Unmoved"
Tunturia - "Cast Shadows on Clouds"
Jack Conte - "Push"
Jack Conte - "Passenger Seat"
Jack Conte - "Kitchen Fork"
Easy Star All-Stars - "Time"
Easy Star All-Stars - "Let Down"
Easy Star All-Stars - "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
The Monkees - "Randy Scouse Git"
The Monkees - "Porpoise Song"
The Monkees - "Mommy and Daddy"
Maritime - "Someone Has To Die"
Maritime - "Adios"
Maritime - "Pearl"
The Blanks - "Happy Halloween"
matt pond PA - "Halloween"
Bobby "Boris" Pickett - "Monster Mash"
The Police - "No Time This Time"

Episode 4

In this episode, there’s a special tribute to my dad in the beginning who just had surgery for colon cancer that morning, hence the 80s music in the beginning. He’s a lot better now…
\m/ …all thanks to ROOOCK!!! \m/

Alice Cooper - "Poison"
AC/DC - "Thunderstruck"
Aerosmith - "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"
Def Leppard - "Rock of Ages"
Porcupine Tree - "The Yellow of the Evening Train"
Porcupine Tree - "Time Flies"
Porcupine Tree - "Degree Zero of Liberty"
The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - "Surrounded"
The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - "Scorpio Rising"
The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - "Emerging"
Sunny Day Real Estate - "Seven"
Sunny Day Real Estate - "Faces in Disguise"
Jeremy Enigk - "A New Beginning"
Jeremy Enigk - "Been Here Before"
Jeremy Enigk - "Mind Idea"
Jeremy Enigk - "Late of Camera"
Mock Orange - "Song in D"
Mock Orange - "Ms. Brown's Morning Cup"
Mock Orange - "Old Movies"
Marcy Playground - "Sex & Candy"
Marcy Playground - "It's Saturday"
Marcy Playground - "Bye Bye"
Marcy Playground - "Blackbird"
Marcy Playground - "Gin and Money"
Marcy Playground - "Good Times"
Aloha - "The Sound Between"
Aloha - "Perry Como Gold"
Aloha - "We Get Down"
The Police - "Masoko Tanga"

Episode 5

Lenny Kravitz – “Are You Gonna Go My Way” (MTV Unplugged version)
Lenny Kravitz – “Let Love Rule”
Lenny Kravitz – “Mr. Cab Driver”
Jeremy Messersmith – “Novocain”
Jeremy Messersmith – “Snow Day”
Jeremy Messersmith – “Scientists”
Jeremy Messersmith – “The Silver City”
Jeremy Messersmith – “Welcome to Suburbia”
The Wars of 1812 – “Homestay”
The Wars of 1812 – “Radios Unsigned”
The Wars of 1812 – “Driftin’”
Zero 7 – “In Time”
Zero 7 – “Climbing Up the Walls” (Radiohead cover)
The Avalanches – “Frontier Psychiatrist”
The Avalanches – “Etoh”
State Radio – “Knights of Bostonia”
Wax Tailor – “Que Sera”
Wax Tailor – “How I Feel”
Wax Tailor – “Behind the Disguise (closing)”
Saltillo – “A Necessary End”
Saltillo – “A Simple Test”
Saltillo – “A Hair on the Head of John the Baptist”
The Books – “It's Musiiiiic!”
The Books – “It Never Changes to Stop”
The Books – “Smells Like Content”
The Books – “Venice”
The Police – “Secret Journey”

Episode 6

All Envy Aside – “Burning Again”
All Envy Aside – “Message for the Blind”
All Envy Aside – “Merde”
Volcano Choir – “Husks and Shells”
Volcano Choir – “Sleepymouth”
Volcano Choir – “Island, IS”
The Appleseed Cast – “Mile Marker”
The Appleseed Cast – “Blind Man’s Arrow”
The Appleseed Cast – “Kilgore Trout”
Blind Pilot – “Welcome to Daytrotter”
Blind Pilot – “Go On, Say It” (Daytrotter version)
Blind Pilot – “I Buried A Bone” (Daytrotter version)
Blind Pilot – “3 Rounds and a Sound” (Daytrotter version)
David Bowie – “Changes”
David Bowie – “Life on Mars”
David Bowie – “Space Oddity”
The Dismemberment Plan – “The Face of the Earth”
The Dismemberment Plan – “Time Bomb”
The Dismemberment Plan – “The Other Side”
Aloha – “A Hundred Stories”
Aloha – “Summer Away”
Aloha – “Equinox”
Fiction Plane – “American Standard”
Fiction Plane – “If Only”
Fiction Plane – “Wise”
Fiction Plane – “Presuppose”
The Police – “Reggatta De Blanc”

Episode 7

Zzzz – “Assassination Polka”
Zzzz – “Snowball”
13ghosts – “The Lonely Death of Space Avenger”
13ghosts – “Beyond The Door”
13ghosts – “Bury Me”
Yndi Halda – “Dash & Blast”
Passion Pit – “Little Secrets”
Radical Face – “Welcome Home, Son”
Radical Face – “The Strangest Things”
Radical Face – “Wrapped in Piano Strings”
Radical Face – “Winter is Coming”
Unwed Sailor – “Little Wars”
Unwed Sailor – “The Garden”
Mice Parade – “Tales of Las Negras”
Mice Parade – “The Last Ten Homes”
Mice Parade – “Snow”
The Six Parts Seven – “Conversation Heart”
The Six Parts Seven – “Stolen Moments”
The Six Parts Seven – “Falling Over Everything”
The Bad Plus – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana cover)
The Bad Plus – “Life on Mars” (David Bowie cover)
The Bad Plus – “Tom Sawyer” (Rush cover)
Trainwreck – “TV Theme”
Trainwreck – “John Bartholomew Shredman”
The Police – “Be My Girl – Sally”

Episode 8

Alpha Transit – “Soul Filter”
Alpha Transit – “F.A.F.”
Colin Hay – “Overkill” (acoustic version)
Colin Hay – “Beautiful World”
Colin Hay – “Cactus”
Colin Hay –“I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You”
The Jazz Mandolin Project – “Xenoblast”
The Jazz Mandolin Project – “Jungle Tango”
The Jazz Mandolin Project – “Pointillism”
Pele – “The Mind of Minolta”
Pele – “Sepit”
Pele – “Hummingbirds Eat”
Peter Gabriel – “More Than This”
Peter Gabriel – “Signal to Noise”
Peter Gabriel – “The Tower That Ate People (Steve Osbourne mix)”
Kwoon – “Intro”
Kwoon – “I Lived on the Moon”
Kwoon – “Blue Melody”
These next songs were grouped together as a one-time thing I did that was like a soundtrack to the apocalypse. Why did I do it? Cause I’m weird.
REM – “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)”
The Postal Service – “We Will Become Silhouettes”
The Shins – “We Will Become Silhouettes” (The Postal Service cover)
Muse – “Apocalypse Please”
Queens of the Stone Age – “The Sky is Fallin’”
The Police – “When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around”

Episode 9 (Christmas)

Balmorhea – “Dream of Thaw”
Balmorhea – “The Winter”
One EskimO – “Hometime”
One EskimO – “Astronauts”
One EskimO – “Kandi”
matt pond PA – “Snow Day”
matt pond PA – “Fall Two”
matt pond PA – “Winterlong”
Pilate – “Fairytale of New York”
Tom McRae – “Wonderful Christmastime”
The Polyphonic Spree – “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”
Royal Crown Revue – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
Ivy – “Christmas Time is Here”
Belasana – “Bittersweet Eve”
Pedro the Lion – “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”
The Raveonettes – “The Christmas Song”
Death Cab for Cutie – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
matt pond PA – “Winter One”
matt pond PA – “I Want to See The Bright Lights Tonight”
matt pond PA – “Holiday Road”
Pomplamoose – “O Come All Ye Faithful”
Vince Guaraldi – “Christmas Time is Here”
Vince Guaraldi – “Oh, Good Grief”
Vince Guaraldi – “Linus and Lucy”
Queen – “Thank God It’s Christmas”
Weird Al Yankovich – “Christmas At Ground Zero”
Weird Al Yankovich – “The Night Santa Went Crazy”
The Muppets – “Ringing of the Bells”
John Denver & The Muppets – “Twelve Days of Christmas”
John Denver & The Muppets – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
John Denver & The Muppets – “Little Saint Nick”
John Denver & The Muppets – “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”
The Police – “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”

Episode 10

The American Analog Set – “The Only One”
The American Analog Set – “Choir Vandals”
The American Analog Set – “Million Young”
The Antlers – “Sylvia”
The Antlers – “Bear”
The Antlers – “Shiva”
RTB2 – “When Hammer Hits Stone”
RTB2 – “Yer Fool’s Suite II”
The Titan Courageous – “Love in the Asylum”
The Titan Courageous – “A Shipwreck Song”
Aloha – “Moonless March”
Aloha – “Waterwheel”
Aloha – “You’ve Escaped”
Aloha – “You’ve Escaped (7” version)”
The Shins – “Split Needles”
The Shins – “Split Needles (Alternate version)”
Broken Social Scene – “Major Label Debut”
Broken Social Scene – “Major Label Debut (Fast)”
The Police – “Truth Hits Everybody”
The Police – “Truth Hits Everybody ‘83”
The Police – “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”
The Police – “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da ‘86”
The Police – “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”
The Police – “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ‘86”

Episode 11

Calamine – “Sealab 2021 Theme”
Dub FX – “Rude Boy (Live in Manchester)”
Dub FX – “The Rain is Gone”
Do Make Say Think – “Fredericia”
Chad VanGaalen – “City of Electric Light”
Chad VanGaalen – “Rabid Bits of Time”
Chad VanGaalen – “Frozen Energon”
The Books – “All A’s”
The Books – “Classy Penguin”
The Books – “8 Frame”
Broken Bells – “The High Road”
Broken Bells – “Vaporize”
Emancipator – “Greenland”
Emancipator – “Black Lake”
Emancipator – “Siren”
The Flaming Lips – “Speak to Me/Breathe” (Pink Floyd cover)
The Flaming Lips – “On the Run” (Pink Floyd cover)
The Flaming Lips – “Time” (Pink Floyd cover)
Foxhole – “Wake Up, Get Dressed, We’re Sinking”
Foxhole – “A Series of Springs and Falls”
Foxhole – “The End of Dying”
Peter Gabriel – “My Body is a Cage”
Peter Gabriel – “Signal to Noise”
Peter Gabriel – “The Drop”
The Police – “Omega Man”

Episode 12

Nathan Johnson – “Emily’s Theme”
Nathan Johnson – “The Sun’s Whose Rays Are All Ablaze”
Nathan Johnson – “Tug’s Tale (Part 2)”
Secret and Whisper – “Blonde Monster”
Secret and Whisper – “You Are Familiar”
Secret and Whisper – “XOXOXO”
Pele – “Gymnastics (Pam)”
Pele – “The Mind of Minolta”
Pele – “Hummingbirds Eat”
Penguin Café Orchestra – “Music for a Found Harmonium”
Penguin Café Orchestra – “Perpetuum Mobile”
Penguin Café Orchestra – “Penguin Café Single”
Saxon Shore – “Amber, Ember, Glow”
Saxon Shore – “The Revolution Will Be Streaming”
Saxon Shore – “This Shameless Moment”
Pilate – “Knife-Grey Sea”
Pilate – “Alright”
Pilate – “Barely Listening”
By Divine Right – “Come for a Ride”
The Slip – “Children of December”
The Slip – “Even Rats”
Aloha – “Moonless March”
Aloha – “Microviolence”
Aloha – “Waterwheel”
Pomegranates – “Everybody, Come Outside!”
Pomegranates – “Corriander”
The Radio Actors – “Nuclear Waste”
The Police – “Shadows in the Rain” (live in Tokyo ’81)

Episode 13

The Monkees – “The Girl I Knew Somewhere”
The Monkees – “No Time”
The Monkees – “Valleri”
William Shatner – “I Can’t Get Behind That”
William Shatner – “Common People”
William Shatner – “Has Been”
Leonard Nimoy – “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins”
Hoven Droven – “Slentbjenn”
Hoven Droven – “A…repolska”
Hoven Droven – “Grovhalling”
Brad Barr – “Sarah Through the Wall”
Brad Barr – “Bouba’s Bounce”
Brad Barr – “Heartshaped Box” (Nirvana cover)
Mother Mother – “Ghosting”
Mother Mother – “Hay Loft”
Mother Mother – “Wrecking Ball”
Men Working In Trees – “Monday”
Men Working In Trees – “Golden Age”
Men Working In Trees – “Mary”
Here We Go Magic – “Collector”
Here We Go Magic – “Ahab”
Here We Go Magic – “Fangela”
The Decemberists – “The Perfect Crime I”
The Police – “Darkness”

Episode 14

REM – “Lotus”
REM – “You’re in the Air”
REM – “Walk Unafraid”
Inspired Flight – “An Outlet”
Inspired Flight – “Parasympathetic”
Inspired Flight – “It Always Takes”
Inspired Flight – “Ahmed – Back in the Day (remix)”
The Velvet Teen – “Radiapathy”
The Velvet Teen – “The Prize Fighter”
The Velvet Teen – “Around the Roller Rink”
The National Bank – “The Balladeer”
The National Bank – “Something New”
The National Bank – “Styrofoam”
Neverending White Lights – “The Grace”
Neverending White Lights – “Always”
Neverending White Lights – “I Hope Your Heart Runs Empty”
Oso – “Kuno Esama”
Oso – “The War Years”
Oso – “Impact Falconry”
The Alpha Centauri – “Rainbow”
The Alpha Centauri – “No One Else”
The Alpha Centauri – “Boys and Girls”
The Police – “A Sermon”

Episode 15

Christopher Lee – “Act III: The Bloody Verdict of Verden”
Raising the Fawn – “The News”
Raising the Fawn – “Gwendolyn”
Raising the Fawn – “Drownded”
Murder By Death – “Those Who Stayed”
Murder By Death – “I’m Afraid of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”
Murder By Death – “You Are the Last Dragon”
Freelance Whales – “Generator ^ 1st Floor”
Freelance Whales – “Hannah”
Freelance Whales – “Location”
matt pond PA – “Starting”
matt pond PA – “Running Wild”
matt pond PA – “Brooklyn Fawn”
The Squirrels – “Speak to Me” (Pink Floyd cover)
The Squirrels – “Breathe” (Pink Floyd cover)
The Squirrels – “On the Run” (Pink Floyd cover)
The Squirrels – “Time” (Pink Floyd cover)
The Squirrels – “The Great Gig in the Sky” (Pink Floyd cover)
Brad Smith – “Money” (Pink Floyd cover)
Brad Smith – “Us and Them” (Pink Floyd cover)
Brad Smith – “Any Colour You Like” (Pink Floyd cover)
Brad Smith – “Brain Damage” (Pink Floyd cover)
Brad Smith – “Eclipse” (Pink Floyd cover)
The Police – “Low Life”

Episode 16

Jurassic 5 – “The Influence”
Jurassic 5 – “Swingset”
City & Colour – “Casey’s Song”
City & Colour – “Sleeping Sickness”
City & Colour – “Waiting…”
City & Colour – “As Much As I Ever Could”
Aloha – “Lub Dub Da”
Aloha – “Once More With Feeling”
Aloha – “Summer of The Breakup”
Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 1”
Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2”
Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 3”
Jeremy Messersmith – “Violet!”
Jeremy Messersmith – “Knots”
Jeremy Messersmith – “A Boy, A Girl, and A Graveyard”
Crash Kings – “Mountain Man”
Crash Kings – “It’s Only Wednesday”
Crash Kings – “Come Away”
Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”
Broken Social Scene – “Forced to Love”
Broken Social Scene – “All to All”
Plants and Animals – “Tom Cruz”
Plants and Animals – “Kon Tiki”
Plants and Animals – “The Mama Papa”
Minus the Bear – “My Time”
Minus the Bear – “Summer Angel”
Minus the Bear – “Into The Mirror”
The Police – “Tea in the Sahara”

Episode 17

Aloha – “Fractures, Pt. 1”
Aloha – “They See Rocks”
Aloha – “Let Your Head Hang Low”
Aloha – “Balling Phase”
Aloha – “It Won’t Be Long”
Aloha – “Protest Song”
Aloha – “Thieves All Around Us”
Aloha – “Dissolving”
Aloha – “I Wish No Chains Upon You”
Aloha – “We Get Down”
Aloha – “Warsaw”
Blind Melon – “Galaxie”
Blind Melon – “2 x 4”
Blind Melon – “Vernie”
Blind Melon – “Skinned”
Blind Melon – “Toes Across the Floor”
Blind Melon – “Walk”
Blind Melon – “Dump Truck”
Blind Melon – “Car Seat (God’s Presents)”
Blind Melon – “Wilt”
Blind Melon – “The Duke”
Blind Melon – “St. Andrew’s Fall”
Blind Melon – “New Life”
Blind Melon – “Mouthful of Cavities”
Blind Melon – “Lemonade”
The Police – “Fallout”

I’ve even got all the scripts for each episode saved as well. But you can’t have those. They’re for my eyes only. They contain hidden things, like why I end every show with a song by The Police.
Thanks again to everybody who ever listened to this show at some point! It really was a blast to make.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

List of 2010 Oscars That Weren't Televised

So I sat down and looked up all the Oscars that weren't broadcast the other night. Here are the films that won, followed by the category they won and who presented the award.

500 Days of Summer (Peter's Choice for Best Picture, presented by Peter)

Moon (Best Sci-Fi Picture, presented by William Shatner)

Black Dynamite (Funniest Film of the Year, presented by Miley Cyrus...wait, WHAT THE HELL IS SHE DOING HERE?!?)

Sam Raimi for Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi Made A New Horror Picture, Let's Give That Man An Award, presented by Bruce Campbell)

The Road (Best Scenery, presented by Morgan Freeman, the best choice for when you don't know who should present the award for Best Scenery)

Robert Downey Jr. for Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr. Being Robert Downey Jr., as presented by Robert Downey Jr.)

Watchmen (Best Superhero Film, presented by a collective of every actor who has portrayed Batman, starting with Adam West)

Arseny's Cheap Russian Oscar Knock-off Awards (as chosen and commented on by Arseny)

Inglourious Basterds wins best picture, surprise! (runner up: Moon, Bad Lieutenant)

George Clooney wins this year's Clooney Award for Up in the Air. (Runner's up: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Men Who Stare at Goats)

Moon. Best new addition to sci fi favorites. (runner up: Star Trek, District 9)

(500) Days of Summer wins best "indie" thing. (runner ups: Taking Woodstock, Pirate Radio)

Antichrist for most disturbing movie. (runner ups: Moon, Paranormal Activity)

The Time Traveler's Wife wins worst sappy, exploitative film (runner up: My Sister's Keeper) (also, I'd just like to go out of my way here and say... WHAT THE FUCK. YOU ASSHOLES. YOU TAKE SOMETHING COOL LIKE TIME TRAVEL AND YOU MAKE IT ABOUT SOME PEOPLE IN LOVE. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU.)

Love Happens wins movie title that best sum up the film (runner up: Everybody's Fine)

Black Dynamite wins.

Bad Lieutenant wins most surprisingly good performance by Nicolas Cage.

District 9 wins best movie that has the number 9 in it. (runner ups: Nine, 9)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Day the Church Music Died...

First off, this has nothing to do with religion. You go ahead and believe whatever you want. Just don't try to force it on me. My Spaghetti Monster and I are in a very happy relationship, thankyouverymuch. No, this is more a rant against the music played in Christian churches, specifically of the Lutheran variety I suppose. Seeing as this is pretty much a music blog, I might as well post it here.
This whole thing started today right after my Journalism class. We discussed Martin Luther's role in the World of Communication and somehow got off on a tangent about how Martin Luther's songs were typically written in taverns. The way they're played in church today is, in my opinion, all wrong. They're meant to be upbeat and get people energized with their toes tappin' and whatnot. Instead, what typically goes on is pretty bland. Sure, there's Christian rock songs, but let's face it: if you can't teach, teach gym, and if you can't make music, switch to Christian rock. I used to give the courtesy of at least lip-syncing (this was more due to the fact that I can sing about as well as a howler monkey) along to the songs that we come to hear each and every week, but I found myself giving even that up years ago.
Unfortunately, religion has changed since the days of Martin Luther. It's not as much in our culture as it used to be. There are more atheists and agnostics in the world than there ever were, and the church seems to be sticking to its conservative roots while logic continues to press on into the future.
So, I guess it boils down to the fact that it will stay the way it is forever. The elders rule the church, and the elders hate change. Plus, I don't think someone could pull off a solution to this music problem anyway without creating something unbelievably and irrevocably lame. Unless, of course, they do this.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple iPad

Apple debuted the new iPad today. Here's an exclusive play-test of it in action: