Monday, April 30, 2007

Traveling Mercies

Traveling Mercies
Anne Lamott

There are certain books you read that really make a difference in life. One of those for me is Traveling Mercies, which has been a very influential and encouraging book on my journey so far. Anne Lamott shares some very raw accounts of her life and faith in a way that would make really uptight people uncomfortable, especially right-wing conservatives! But if you look into what she's saying, whether you're an atheist or believer, conservative or liberal, you'll find truth that resonates in your life, wherever you are. She’s one of those writers who has a way of reminding you that you’re not alone, even in the most fucked up times in life. She doesn’t hold back in being honest about herself, whether it’s talking about her younger days of being an alcoholic and drug addict, struggling with being a single mom now, or talking about her thighs which she calls her “Aunties”. Seriously, if you want to read a very edgy, yet graceful, account of life and faith, then check out this awesome book.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

6 Degrees of Sufjan Stevens

Remember the game 6 Degrees Of Kevin Bacon? Where you'd link any celebrity back to Kevin Bacon? Well since I've become familiar with Sufjan Stevens' music, I've discovered some other artists that I would have never known if not for him (actually, the book Body Piercing Saved My Life mentioned them too, which made me more curious to listen). Two artists that I'm talking about are Danielson and Soul-Junk. Sufjan used to play in the band Danielson Famile, which is the name Danielson used to go by. Soul-Junk has ties to Daniel Smith (Danielson), who's record label Sounds Familyre released a few of SJ's albums. Check them out for some very unique sounds. You won't find many artists who are as eclectic as they are. Danielson's album Ships and Soul-Junk's 1958 are both very good (I'll post something on them soon).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hello Stranger in NYC (May 16th)

Those of you who live in the NYC area, the band Hello Stranger will be in town on May 16th. They’re playing at Pianos on the Lower East Side. If you haven’t heard them yet, you owe it to yourself to check them out. You’ll thank me for it. You can get to Hello Stranger's site by clicking here. I know I definitely plan on being at the show. If you don’t have plans that night, why not head over to Pianos to check them out.

Pianos is located at:
158 Ludlow Street
New York, NY

And speaking of Hello Stranger, here's the video for their song "Take It To The Maxx"...

Careful when opening

"Careful - when you open, it's easy to be broken..."

That's the opening line to MuteMath’s song "Noticed". I found in life, alot of people are scared to be around someone who's open about themselves and their flaws. When you show “the imposter”, people seem to like you more. Situations don’t get uncomfortable and conversations remain as shallow as a kids' wading pool. The only problem is that all we're doing is participating in a masquerade party. The better your mask is, the more prizes you get. Fuck it, it’s worth it to be transparent about yourself and find true acceptance, than show “the imposter” and have many acquaintances who really could care less about you.

The Black Hollies

Stop what you're doing, drag your mouse and click here to discover a great indie band out of North Jersey. I bumped into my friend Herb yesterday, and he shared the news with me that he has a new band. So I gave him my word that I would happily pimp the band on my site. Go ahead and show some love to these boys from NJ!

Walking Shade

A couple years old, but still... Pure genius...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Luna Halo

Luna Halo

Some of the great “screaming” voices in rock are the ones you can listen to for a while and not have a fucking headache afterwards. Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters has one of those voices. Another one I recently came across is Nathan Barlowe from the band Luna Halo. Luna Halo’s upcoming album contains track after track of Barlowe belting it out while the band supports him with some rocking instrumentals. This album is perfect for those long drives in the car where you need an extra kick to keep you going.

Flesh And Bones - Electric Fun

Flesh And Bones - Electric Fun

Anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing MuteMath in concert, they now have a new DVD called Flesh And Bones - Electric Fun that captures the same energy they bring to their live shows. Only now you have the comfort of watching their concert in your pajamas or underwear, whichever you prefer. The live songs performed on the DVD is the same set they usually play at their shows. Take it from a guy who’s seen them in concert twice, the show on the DVD is just as good as the ones I’ve seen. The extras on the DVD contain outtakes of them on the road, with some pretty funny videos taken by the drummer Darren King. Also, there's an acoustic performance of “Reset” that they did at Fingerprints Records. I just wish they included more band interviews in the extras. But hey, to have a MuteMath concert on DVD is good enough.

Stop the masquerade

"When you don't show your true self, you're doing a disservice to society..."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Neon Bible

Arcade Fire
Neon Bible

Arcade Fire continues putting out albums like Neon Bible, then they're definitely on their way to be among the great bands in music history. This band knows how to experiment with different sounds without making a catastrophe of an album. On Neon Bible, there are the obvious influenecs of Bowie and Talking Heads, along with their own progressive style. It's amazing the multitude of instruments you hear on the CD, even including a church organ. With this release, they put out an album that can satisfy both indie rock and mainstream enthusiasts.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tonight, Tonight

In anticipation of their upcoming album, I'm posting this CLASSIC:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Body Piercing Saved My Life

Body Piercing Saved My Life
Andrew Beaujon

I just finished reading a great book called
Body Piercing Saved My Life. It's a book on CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) written by Andrew Beaujon, who's not even a Christian (he's an agnostic). As a writer from Spin magazine who seems to know alot about the music industry, he was very fair in his report on the goofy world of CCM. He could have been alot harder in his critique, considering the subject. But instead he presents a gift to the CCM world. I call it a gift because it would be beneficial for anyone in that scene to hear the opinions of an outsider who really knows music. It's pretty funny reading his experiences at all the CCM events like Cornerstone and the Dove Awards considering that he's an "outsider". There's a wide variety of characters you're introduced to in the book. You'll read about the die hard "CCM superstars" who are quite content in the Christian music bubble, to Christians who want nothing to do with that industry and instead make great art through the lens of their life and faith. Just as you don't have to be a U2 fan to enjoy the book "Bono in conversation", you don't have to be a Christian music fan to enjoy this one.

Oh, and the section where he chats with David Bazan is worth the price of the book.

Thoughts on the word "Droogy"

You don't hear many people use the word "Droogy" anymore. I wonder how it would be to walk down the street and hear someone say "Hello Droogy!" instead of "Hey dude!"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Save Your Local Record Store

I don't own an Ipod, and I don't ever plan on getting one either. I enjoy holding an artist’s CD in my hand and flipping through the artwork inside the case. The new explosion of downloading songs scares the hell out of me. Why? Because I'm afraid local record stores won't be able to compete and eventually have to close down, removing a part of society that music lovers thrive on. This went through my mind as my wife and I walked through a record store in The Village a few weeks ago. I thought how nostalgic it is to be in a record store and go through racks of CD's ranging from Duke Ellington to Nine Inch Nails. And if you ever have a question about a particular album, you have a live person to chat with. Besides, some of the best conversations happen in a record shop, along with coffee shops, bars, etc. That's an experience that downloading music can't compete with.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lily Allen

Lily Allen
"Alright, Still"

She’s got a soulful voice, a thick British accent, and lyrics that would make a sailor blush. Meet
Lily Allen! I first saw her on SNL, and the impression I got was that she was a "nice girl" from London singing about happy things in life. I quickly learned that my impression was way off. When I got the album and heard the lyrics to the songs, I really learned how off I was! With her humor and sarcasm, she sings about some crazy topics in a lighthearted way. For example there’s “Smile” where she sings to an ex-boyfriend who hurt her, but eventually got over him:

When you first left me I was wanting more
But you were fucking that girl next door, what cha do that for?
When you first left me I didn't know what to say
I never been on my own that way, just sat by myself all day

There's also “Everything's Just Wonderful” where she sarcastically sings about the sad state of the world we live in:

Do you think, everything, everyone, is going mental,
It seems to me that it's spiraling outta control and it's inevitable,
Now don't you think,
This time is yours, this time is mine,
Its temperamental,
It seems to me, we're on all fours,
Crawling on our knees,
Someone help us please

Oh Jesus Christ almighty,
Do I feel alright? No not slightly,
I wanna get a flat I know I can't afford it,
It's just the bureaucrats who won't give me a mortgage,
Well it's very funny cos I got your fucking money,
And I'm never gonna get it just because of my bad credit
Oh well I guess I mustn't grumble,
I suppose that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Oh yeah, I'm fine,
Everything's just wonderful,
I'm having the time of my life.

I don't get the feeling that she's trying to be "edgy" or cool in her songs. This is shit that people go through in real life. She just has a way of taking the sting out of it through her witty style. If you appreciate raw songs about life that are laced with sarcasm, humor, and some groovy beats, then you might dig this album.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Did I Step on Your Trumpet

Let's all join in and sing along to this...

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Grandeur That Was Rome

“The Grandeur That Was Rome”

Monarch is a band that you might not be familiar with. The lead singer Brennan Strawn, is the guitar player for Kevin Max’s band. So if you know K-Max, then you probably know Brennan. Monarch’s album "The Grandeur That Was Rome" was put out in 2004, and I haven’t heard about it until recently (which is why I’m covering it now). After listening to the album, I can say it’s not what I expected. For some reason, I expected a heavier rock sound. It actually leans more on the emo/experimental side. I hate to classify it as that, because I’m not an emo fan at all, but that’s the best way I can describe it. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad album. In fact it’s quite good for an indie release. Dark piano ballads and melodies that are influenced from various UK bands are throughout the album. So if that’s your style, you might appreciate this. Recent news says they are working on a new album. Before that one is released, do yourself a favor and check out this one.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

"You Are The One" by Shiny Toy Guns

This song can actually make you levitate...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bullet With Butterfly Wings

one of the many reasons why i'm excited they're back together...