Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Secret Lives Of Men And Women















Frank Warren
The Secret Lives Of Men And Women

We all love to find out dirt about other people. Just open your ears and see how long you can go without hearing some gossip. Or go to the check out line at the supermarket and look at all the tabloids. Let's face it, we love hearing other people's business. But what if your secrets were broadcasted for everyone to see? Would you be embarassed, or feel free because now you have nothing to hide? What if there was a way you could confess your secrets anonymously to the world, the same way you would a trusted friend? Well, there's a guy named
Frank Warren who set up a way for people to mail him postcards anonymously with a secret they had to tell. He then compiled everything into a book called The Secret Lives Of Men And Women. Go through the book and you may be shocked at some of the secrets that others have, or you may feel relieved that someone out there can relate to whatever you may be hiding. In each page, you get a glimpse of the good and the dark side of humanity, as there is nothing sugarcoated about this book. There is a real connection with these anonymous people, because we all need to get some secrets off our chests. Frank simply found an artistic way of doing that.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Burnt out with the U2 hype...









Now honestly, tell me what makes U2 so good. I always seem to clash with people when I state that I think U2 is overrated (I've learned that U2 fans are very protective of their band). Now, before there's any confusion, I never said or thought they were bad musicians. I just think they're overrated. When I hear their songs, I never get that "connection" that people say they get with them. To me, they're average songs. As a person and a songwriter, I think Bono's cool. But what makes them as good as the hype that follows them? Is it Bono's charisma? Edge's guitar playing? What is it that got you into them? Or has it become trendy to jump on the U2 bandwagon? And if you happen to agree with me, by all means post why you think they're overrated. This needs to get settled, once and for all!

Stop delaying, click the comment button and speak your mind...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Grace (Eventually)













Anne Lamott
Grace (Eventually)

And I was wondering when she would put out a new book. Well, she recently did. Anne Lamott's latest book is called Grace (Eventually). It's written in the same style that anyone who's ever read Anne's books (i.e. Traveling Mercies) are used to. This time around, the edgy stories of her past that was laced with coke binges and getting sloshed are replaced with what's going on with her now, and how she wrestles with her life and faith. She still is as transparent as someone who puts their thoughts on paper can be. In her honest and lighthearted style of writing, she still can take a situation in life that seems hopeless, and remind us that there's a light among the darkness. Her son Sam is still a central figure and inspiration in this one, along with some other new characters and scenarios that she gets caught up in. Theres the guy who cheated her out of money at a carpet store, a friend who has cancer that just wants to die already, and her ongoing problems with the Bush administration. I wonder what she'll write about when Bush leaves office, because her beef with the current administration makes for some good writing material! Anne's writing is unique because she always exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly in her life without any pretense. And that's inspiring because you see someone who’s finding freedom by being open about herself and her need for grace. And in our own lives, it's good to be reminded that grace is there for us too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Erasure












Erasure
Light At The End Of The World


In case you weren't aware, Erasure has a new album out. Yes, the same band that would get you moving (if New Wave was your thing) to hits like Chains Of Love and A Little Respect. The title of this album is Light At The End Of The World and it's loaded with synth (lots of it) and themes of life and relationships. Some of the instrumentals, like in the songs Sunday Girl and I Could Fall In Love With You, sound like they could have been used in a fantasy movie like Neverending Story or Legend (remember those?). Another stand out for me was Sucker For Love, which threw in more techno beats to make the kind of song that could light up a dance floor. This album shows that Erasure never lost their talent for making infectious beats that can carry you away into your own little world.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mobile: Live at Maxwells (Hoboken, NJ)









Hoboken has become legendary as the town where Frank Sinatra is from (and now as a place where the cost of living is getting way too expensive). Nestled firmly inside this little town across the river from NYC is a club called Maxwells. Maxwells has a reputation in North Jersey for hosting good shows. Well, last friday (July 20th), the Canadian band Mobile put on a show there. So far, I've been to three shows at Maxwells, and to be honest, the sound system sucks. Maybe it's just me, I don't know. Well despite the sound system, Mobile came out and put on a good show. They opened with the song Montreal Calling, and worked their way through a set that ended with the track See Right Through Me. They had good chemistry on stage and the lead vocalist Mat Joly sang in a way that reminded me of a certain guy from U2. I didn't realize his voice was that high until I heard them live. Despite the beef that I have with Maxwells, Mobile put on a show worth seeing.

Writer's Block












Peter, Bjorn, and John
Writer's Block

If you happened to come across the track "Young Folks" by Peter, Bjorn, and John then you probably noticed the distinct whistling thrown in among the many different sounds, creating a very unique song. And if you're curious after hearing Young Folks if P, B and J are just another one-hit wonder, then you need to hear the album Writer's Block to put that thought to rest. On Writer's Block, this band from Sweden stretches their musical talents, even incorporating a distinct 60's sound, to make an album that puts them in the scene as a band to keep your eye on. Along with Young Folks, I particularly like Objects Of My Affection, Start To Melt, and Let's Call It Off. For the most part, the album is stripped of any glossy, commercialized sound (despite the fact that I saw their song played on a commercial recently). A very creative effort by these three guys from Sweden.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Transformers Soundtrack












Most movie soundtracks serve as a "best of" compilation for whatever music is out at the time the film's released. So most of the time, you get to hear various hits put out by a range of artists. On the Transformers soundtrack, the bands range from Linkin Park to Goo Goo Dolls to Smashing Pumpkins to MuteMath. Wait, MuteMath? Yep, I was just as surprised when I heard they were doing the Transformers theme song. (Confession: I only got interested in hearing the soundtrack after hearing they were on it.) Anyone who's been coming to this site for a while already knows what I think about MuteMath being one of the best bands around. Well, they did an awesome job putting their magic touch on the theme song alot of us who grew up on the cartoon heard. Note: If the producer of any other 80's cartoon being brought to the big screen (i.e. Thundercats, etc...) is reading this, it will benefit you to recruit MuteMath to play the theme song. The Goo Goo Dolls song "Before It's Too Late" grew on me after a few listens, especially when I really tuned in to the lyrics. There's some profound lyrics in there about life, especially when it says...

"And the risk that might break you
Is the one that would save
A life you dont live is still lost
So stand on the edge with me
Hold back your fear and see
Nothing is real til it's gone

Hold on before its too late
Until we leave this behind
Don't fall just be who you are
It's all that we need in our lives"


The song "What I've Done" by Linkin Park is another one that grew on me. If you've seen the movie, it comes on when the credits roll and it's also on their latest album Minutes to Midnight. Actually it's not a bad song, considering they're trying to keep their heads above water amongst the onslaught of 80's influenced bands out there. And I think there's no explanation needed for the song "Doomsday Clock" by the Smashing Pumpkins, especially if you've read my recent post on Zeitgeist. Overall, it's a good soundtrack that fits the emotion and spirit of the movie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Noisettes Interview!










I just got the chance to do an email interview with Jamie Morrison, the drummer for Noisettes. It was awesome to get more insight into this breakthrough band from the UK. Check it out.



-How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard it before?

Mmmmmm. Officially the hardest question ever asked in interviews. We got blues, jazz, hip hop, soul, African music, rock. Everything. We all grew up listening to this music, it's in us so I think its natural for it to come out in our songs. Our tunes can be happy/sad, loud/quiet, heavy/light It can be everything and nothing. It's better other people describe our music. I once heard someone say we sound like Billie Holliday meets the White Stripes on PCP. Hee hee

- Who are your biggest musical influences?

We are huge fans of Billie Holliday, Betty Davis, Woody Guthrie, Bad Brains, John Coltrane, and Radiohead. Any music that was done by people who meant what they are saying is an influence to us. There aren't many real bands out there these days.

- How pleased are you with the outcome of your new album?

We are well chuffed with it. It took a lot of time. We went through lots of experiences with it. Almost every song was recorded in a different place, with different equipment, different producer... Its a journey.

- What are the differences between your British and American fans?

English kids are afraid to be themself. There's always an exeption with that statement, but I do think Americans know how to let go and really have fun.

- What has been your favorite U.S. city to play in?

Atlanta has always been a mad place to be, on stage and off. New York is a wonderful city. We have lots of friends there so its always nice to go back. I find each city in America is like a different country, so many styles and cultures. I love it all.

- What do you love about touring? Is there anything you hate about it?

We all love touring, but there are always times that it gets you down. You have to have a bit of a love/hate thing with it. Robbie Robertson from the band says "Touring is an impossible way of life". I think it is. But it's so much fun when your rocking a new contry with your mates. It makes it all worth it.

- Any recent artists that you'd like to tour with?

We would love to be Amy Winehouse's backing band. That would be amazing, we would give her the real Motown vibe. AMY, let us be your band.

- Along with music, do any of you have other artistic outlets, such as painting, writing, etc?

We all play music with other people. Shings takes part in organizing events and she's done a bunch of modeling. I just painted my kitchen table psychedelic colours. Ha ha

- Is there something about yourself that you would like people to
really know about?


We are David Bowie's children.

- Are you involved in any social causes? If so, which one and why?

Yes, we suport LMHR (love music hate racism). We play their events from time to time. If our music can support any good cause, then we are in.

- Do you have any plans to save the world?

Well, that's hard to say because we travel so much in planes and buses, I guess we harm the world. It all starts from home though, recycling, turning stuff off that isn't being used, basic stuff. It all helps.

- What do you feel is most important in your life right now?

Keeping rock and roll alive and doing my laundry in time for the next tour.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Zeitgeist














Smashing Pumpkins
Zeitgeist

Ever since I heard the news that the Smashing Pumpkins were releasing a new album, I waited with the same anticipation that a child waits for Christmas Eve. Over the past couple months, I made sure I didn't set any expectations for this album. You see, I have been let down many times by different artists' music usually because of some high expectation I set for it. So this time, any judgement I made would only be done after hearing it myself. Then came the teaser when the song "Tarantula" was released on the radio, and I got even more anxious for the release. So finally, the day came when I had my copy of Zeitgeist in hand. So now that I got to hear the album, I can honestly say it was worth the wait. A true artist is one who lives and breathes creativity into everything they do. As a musician, Billy Corgan always had my respect as someone who does exactly that. He seems to have a midas touch when it comes to music. And on this album, he brings back some of the things we loved about SP, and also threw in some new twists. Yes, the Pumpkins haven't put an album out in 7 years or so, but with the release of Zeitgeist, it shows that they never lost their touch. I'm sure there are those that would disagree with me. But, it is what it is. If you like it, then awesome, if you don’t, well deal with it. I see this as (hopefully) a new chapter in the Pumpkins' career that will continue on for a few more years. It’s obvious in the songs that Billy Corgan has a different outlook in life. And just as his music in the 90’s provided a place for those letting out their angst, Zeitgeist symbolizes that there’s hope for the future.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Hipster Handbook

















The Hipster Handbook
Robert Lanham


And I thought they only existed in NYC. That was until I moved to Washington DC and started hanging out in Georgetown. They were there too. And almost every other major city I visited, they were there. Shit, even if you don't live in the city, but have an Urban Outfitters near you, there's a chance that you'll come in contact with them. So who exactly am I talking about? Hipsters. And since they seem to be dwelling in all different corners of the world, what better way to understand them then by reading The Hipster Handbook! 3 words come to mind after finishing this book: funny as hell. Just as field guides can help you navigate through the wilderness and identify different animals and plants, The Hipster Handbook will have you identifying the different types of hipsters that exist. You'll be able to identify in less than 5 seconds if a hipster that you encountered is a WASH, a UTF, a Clubber, or a Loner. You'll be able to hold a conversation using hipster lingo without actually being one. And, you'll have the inside scoop on what is deck (cool) and what is fin (not cool). Haha...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007












In case I'm ever asked to be a guest on The Simpsons, I'll be ready...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Social Distortion - Greatest Hits












Social Distortion
Greatest Hits

One of the cool things about greatest hits albums is that you get a glimpse of how an artist's sound started back in the day, and then work your way through the years to see how their style may have gotten better, or worse. If you want to hear how punk rock is done at it's best, then Social Distortion is your band. They just released their first ever Greatest Hits album after playing for all these years. Listen to this album, and you'll probably think of a handful of bands that's been influenced by them. The collection of gritty songs on here serve as a celebration to these punk icons that have been putting out music for over 20 years. That's quite a feat for these guys known as Social D.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

One Punk Under God













I've kept up with Revolution Church for over 2 years now. The first time I heard Jay Bakker (yes, Jim and Tammy Faye's son) share the message of grace, it was such a simple and radical message compared to what is heard in religious circles. I've been encouraged many times by his honesty and inclusiveness in accepting everyone from gays to street punks. Anyone who's familiar with Jay knows he's been through alot of shit from when his dad got locked up, and then getting hooked on drugs and alcohol. Last year I heard there was a documentary about Jay called One Punk Under God on the Sundance Channel. Well, since I don't get that channel at home, I didn't get to watch it until the DVD came out. Watching OPUG, you get a better understanding of this guy who went through hell to find God's love, and who now goes against religious barriers to share it with everyone. The documenatry follows Jay and Revolution Church from their days in Atlanta to their recent move to NYC. You are shown a guy who, rather than using the infamous names of his mom and dad for his own benefit, chooses to have church in a bar with people from all different walks of life. If you are skeptical about Jay and what he is doing, then check out this documentary. Viva la revolution!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007