Wednesday, January 29, 2003

So I've been trying to get through the James Cameron director's cut of The Abyss and I'm pretty sure the experience is going to kill me. I mean I just can not make it through the whole thing without dozing off at some point. And it's supposed to be a thriller! Now usually I am a big fan of "extended editions" and "director's cuts" and "various other ways to snooker me out of my hard earned cash" but this time I'm just too frickin' bored by the way the story drones on and on and on get the idea.

Now Cameron has made some pretty great movies and I find it hard to fault someone who created The Terminator (even if time has made that killer robot seem a little silly to me now) but and goodwill I felt for the man went right down with Titanic. There's a perfect example of a three hour movie that really should have only been half and hour long. Face it, all we wanted to do was see the ship go down. Right?

So I guess what I'm saying is that if anyone is in need of a bit of editing advice it's Mr. Cameron. Usually extended versions of movies do add to and enrich the story but were cut out of theatrical releases due to that even more important component of motion picture making...the pacing of the story. For further proof of this, refer to any deleted scenes section of a DVD and ask yourself,"Yeah, that was funny/cool/illuminating, but did it really have a place in the story?" More often than not the answer is no.

Sometimes stuff is cut for an even more bothersome reason: a director's fear or lack of confidence in his audience. I don't care how much Cameron Crowe goes on and on about Almost Famous being the movie he wanted to make since anyone who has seen the Untitled version of the film can attest to the fact that it is largely superior. Crowe caved into his lessened expectations of the modern audience.

So we have some directors unsure of their audience, some directors making cuts for all the right reasons and some directors who just don't know when to shut the fuck up.

Thank god James Cameron never got around to making Spider-man as he had originally intended or we would have had to sit through and four and a half hour morality tale!

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Well, I suppose the stars must be properly aligned but I've decided the time is right to release the first widely available photo of Betty the Beagle. Yes, here she is folks...the dog that destroyed thousands of dollars of my property as a puppy...and now you can see why she could get away with it. Could you stay angry at a face like that? I thought not.

A funny side note: My roommate was talking to someone the other day and mentioned he had just moved into my place recently and how I owned a beagle and how said beagle was even friendlier than was expected. The person he was talking to, who I have never met by the way, said,"Oh, are you living with Betty the Beagle?"

Do you think my dog even knows she's semi-famous?

On a not-so-funny side note, I finally have a job interview on Thursday for a position I'm perfectly suited for, so I'm a touch nervous. I always get more worked up by things I actually want, y'know? Maybe my chances would be better if I brought Betty along to charm the interviewer for me...

...hopefully I'll get a job so I stop writing about silly stuff like my beagle, eh?

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Oh yeah, I totally forgot to mention, but thanks to my friends Greg and Jaime I was on the list for last night's Zwan show at The Metro. I originally had great reservations about attending a sold-out Billy Corgan love-fest but I'm glad I did. Why? Openers South Of Houston are from L.A. and they so totally and thoroughly rocked it so made up for how boring Zwan was. I think I spent a total of five minutes on the main floor because I was having too good a time talking to the South Of Houston boys in their dressing room. Don't take my word on how solid they are though...come and see them for yourself at my next Double Door bill on Feb 21 with NESS, Sour Deluxe and Woolworthy.

Speaking of Woolworthy they played their first full local show -- since coming back from their European and tour -- at The Note last night and they simply tore the place apart. I'm glad there are still a few fucking great rock bands in Chicago...

Yup, it's a best-of list one month after 2002 is already over! Eventually I'll probably add links to all the band names but for now if you want to buy albums by these groups yer gonna have to google or yahoo 'em. So now, in no particular order...

Damon Albarn and Friends "Mali Music" -
The Blur front-man travels to Bali and records Alan Lomax style then brings the tapes back to Iceland to re-jigger for Western ears without losing any of the original flavor.
The All Golden "A Long Good Friday" - Syd Barrett meets Joy Division at a Guided By Voices house party.
Badly Drawn Boy "About A Boy Soundtrack" - The cat in the hat makes a strong argument for cohesive pop-style soundtracks. Personally I like this better than his new "proper album".
Beck "Sea Change" - Beck rides the over-cliched lovers tumble over Niagara Falls while trying out his best Nick Drake impression...what saves him are beautiful songs with knock-out string arrangements provided by Daddy Beck.
Box-O-Car "In The Future...On Mars!" - Power-glam? Glam-pop? Who cares? This rocks!
David Bowie "Heathen" - The Thin White Duke re-teams with Tony Visconti to create his most timeless album since...well, when he last recorded with Tony Visconti in the '70's. Points off for the lame single "Slow Burn" and the even lamer Pete Townsend guitar solo. I love ya Pete, but...
Bright Eyes "Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground" - A mess of an album that couches backwoods finger picking inside an orchestra of bliss.
The Cells "We Can Replace You" - Chicago premier power-pop band finally get around to releasing their debut's about time!
Cody ChesnuTT "The Headphone Masterpiece" - This is the only disc I've only heard half of and already it belongs on this list. Sly and the Family Stone meet Prince and The Strokes and hide out in ChesnuTT's bedroom to create a sprawling lo-fi labor of love.
Coldplay "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" - Over-hyped but still a pretty album.
DJ Shadow "The Private Press" - Great for relaxin' and dancin'. We like both kinds of music here...
Doves "The Last Broadcast" - Also over-hyped but pretty. (Meaning: miles ahead of the rest of the crap on the radio."
The Flaming Lips "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" - If I had to pick the best of the year this would be it. Even without the band providing one of the most visually and emotionally intense live shows and without Wayne Coyne being quite possibly the nicest front-man in rock...the fact that the band can turn out something this beautiful and emotionally real in this fucked up world is truly inspirational.
Interpol "Turn On The Bright Lights" - Joy Division meets...Joy Division!
Local H "Here Comes The Zoo" - Scott sure takes his time between albums but the man knows how to write a vicious rock song. Definitely the hardest rocking thing out of the Mid-West this year.
N.E.R.D. "In Search Of..." - The Neptunes can't rock,but they sure can roll.To be honest this isn't in my CD player all that often but when it's needed it fully satisfies.
Pavement "Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe and Reduxe" - Ten years later and the battle still rages between Pavement and Nirvana for "Most Influential '90's band. Sure Nirvana brought punk above ground again, but every one who bought this Pavement album went out and started their own band VU-style spawning the indie-rock revolution. This little package adds all kinds of cool bells and whistles too.
Polyphonic Spree "The Beginning Stages Of..." - The ex-Tripping Daisy singer co-ordinates this orchestral collective that is traveling down the same path laid out by The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev and tossing their own over-reaching sun-drenched melodies all over the place.
Primal Scream "Evil Heat" - Not the group's best album in recent years but nobody out-spooks them or out-grooves them in the electro freak-out department.
Pulp "We Love Life" - Plants yay! Seriously this appeals to the not-so-closet Anglophile in me.oasis would be here if they had a little more heart.
Queens Of The Stone Age "Songs For The Deaf" - This deserves to be here if only because they got Dave Grohl back where he belongs; behind a drum-kit. The fact the songs kick total ass only sweetens the deal.
Sigur Ros "( )" - My absolute favorite "Veg-out-on-the-couch-and-pretend-I'm-like-totally-dosed-or-something" album. Extra points for proving lyrics mean absolutely nothing in glacial prog-rock.
The Soundtrack Of Our Lives "Behind The Music" - The most exuberant return to 1968 this year. The album is good but it's only on this list because I saw them live and they blew me away with the amount of heart they throw into their music.
Weezer "Maladroit" - Who releases an entire album on-line in MP3 form, pisses of their label and then proceeds to out-sell their previous album thus dis-proving the label's theory that MP3s and file-sharing are killing the music industry? Only the kickiest most riff-tastic geeks on the block!
Woolworthy "Recycler" - Just when I though pop-punk was dead does this song collection come my way. A healthy dose of The Replacements mentality and super-tight songs set this ahead of the pack.

The Eels "Soul Jacker" -
Out-Beck-ing Beck this year in the wacky folk-beat category.
Super Furry Animals "Rings Around The World" - Surprise! Bet you didn't see that one coming...
Wilco "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel" - Even though this isn't their best album, or even the best version of this album since the demos seem to pack more punch, this deserves to be on here for making the Major labels look like the big fat fools that they are.

Saturday, January 25, 2003's proving to be a really long weekend and a note to anyone hosting a house-party that makes the mistake of inviting me: Don't leave a case of red wine unattended as I will find a corkscrew and a proper wine glass and do my best to deplete your supply. After a few vodka sodas even cheap merlot tastes pretty good to me. Also, if you want a truly successful party you should always contact DJ Tankboy and get him behind the tables. He may be an idiot but he's an idiot that rocks...

Friday, January 24, 2003

Oh yeah, I officially stayed out too late partying like a rock star so today's entry will consist of nothing more than:


...that's about as coherent as it gets folks...

Thursday, January 23, 2003

I stayed out too late again last night being a dumb boy so I can't write much today. Thank god by the time I stumbled home my roommate had Abre Los Ojos in the ol' DVD player so I had something to focus on and veg out to.

Gotta go, Betty the Beagle is trying to drink the milk I left on the table.

If you're a Pavement or Steve Malkmus fan go here and pick up a live Jicks show at The Warsaw in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

So the last time I was in New York City I was sitting around my friend’s apartment, after walking the length of Central Park, waiting for her to get home and just futzin' around on her computer. I googled "Blur"+"mp3s" in hopes of uncovering some advance demos or something along those lines but instead I came up with this awesome Canadian band Blurtonia. Now I famously have a big chip on my shoulder towards Canadians for the usual silly reasons most of us self-centered United States of Americans do, but I've been thawing out. For one, they gave us Sloan -- for which I am quite grateful -- and secondly my little brother ended up actually marrying a Canadian so they can't be all bad.

Come to think of it, Canadians came off rather well in Bowling For Columbine too.

Anyway, I'm getting off the point...I came across this totally rocking MP3 for this band Blurtonia and fell in love. What's even better is that I decided to buy the album from their label and it only cost me eight bucks including shipping! You've gotta love the exchange rate some days. So the album gets to me in the mail and the whole thing just totally blows me away in that Seventies "we-can-roc-out-with-our-cocks-out-but-we-ain't-afraid-to-write-a-melody" sort of way. Anyway, the song is below and if you dig it, pass it around and tell your friends to buy it here.

Blurtonia is "Foxy By Proxy"

Monday, January 20, 2003

For all of you Wilco nuts out there who have heard me ramble on and on about how I tend to like the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot demos better than the final album...well, here's an MP3 of an out-take from those earlier sessions:

Wilco performs "Alone" (also known as "Shakin' Sugar)

For an officially released version of this great song, pick up Jay Bennet and Edward Burch's The Palace at 4am (Part 1). You won't be sorry.
I ran across this earlier this month but didn't want to actually recommend it to anyone until I was sure it was going to be worthwhile...but man oh man is it! Apparently this guy decided to post one MP3 a day of strange, out-of-print or just plain impossibly rare songs and spoken word items for the duration of one year. He named it (obviously) The 365 Days Project. So far he's been keeping everything archived so you can catch up on all the weird and really quite wonderful stuff he's posted so far. In addition, each tune or cut comes along with great commentary and background info that is sometimes surprisingly touching

In completely unrelated news, I was able to get my sweaty little hands on the new Zwan disc and have to admit I'm more than a little surprised at how much I enjoy it. L'il Billy Corgan seems much happier lyrically in Zwan and not so beholden to the angry fourteen year old caged inside of his head that seemed to direct so much of the Pumpkins' career. I'll admit at being surprised at how poppy and "up" the album is especially after catching a few of the Zwan shows at Double Door here in Chicago when they did their three-day stint and the general sound was much looser. Lots of guitar solos and slower sinuous songs....much more along the lines "Jesus I/Mary Star Of The Sea" on the new disc. Great stuff to nod off to or get all dreamy over but not exactly material that will shrivel your socks in excitement.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

...this is a small sampling of some of the audio selections offered up last Tuesday night by Rudy and I as we rocked the house at Ten56:

Sloan - David Bowie - The Bee Gees - Yellow Note Vs Pukka - AC/DC - Jesus Christ Superstar - The Get-Up Kids - Naked Raygun - Light FM - Michael Jackson - The Music - Fischerspooner - The Lust - Green Day - Blur - Primal Scream - Har Mar Superstar - Webb Brothers - !!! - Embrace - Flaming Lips - Electric Six - Polyphonic Spree - MarvelKind - Alkaline Trio - George's Answering Machine Message from Seinfeld...and so much frickin' more I can't even start to remember...

See what you missed? Betcha I'll see you next Tuesday, eh?

Friday, January 17, 2003

Um, yeah. I was perusing and found my way to this...I am especially tickled by the Tupac commentary.

Also for all my homies down in Middle Earth. It's time to get down with yer bad-ass inner hobbit...introducing The Lords Of The Rhymes.Well shee-it!

Incidentally,and this is really weird considering what a voracious reader I am and what a sci-fi/fantasy type geek I was as a wee tyke, I've never read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hell, I think I only made it a couple of pages into The Hobbit before just giving up and switching back to some Heinlein. He had way more sexy stuff in his stories!
Because you never know when you're going to need that last minute make-up artist. She must be cool since she worked with Mr. Wonderful himself. All bow down to the gods of metal. Yeah yeah!

Or something like that.

Man do I have waaay too much time on my hands. I wish the economy would pick up so I could get a job already...
Okay it's early and I can't think straight so in appreciation of that fact go to Light FM's web-page, click on their songs section and listen to Eli Miller to put me back in the right frame of mind. I'd just rip the MP3 and link it directly but I don't have the band's permission until them make do with this. Enjoy!

Oh yeah, if you happen to live in the New York area, please fell free to catch Light FM (also known as one of Chicago's favorite exports) at The Cutting Room on January 21 at 7pm sharp! Learn that Chicago has more to offer than obtuse po-mo post-rock...

Ow, my head...rock and/or roll is going to kill me...

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Here's a link to an MP3 of the new Blur song courtesy of Veikko's Blur Page...apparently it was released in a very limited edition in England under an assumed name, but it is very definitely Blur. No one seems sure if this will actually be on the forthcoming as-yet-untitled disc though since it seems to be from some of the earliest recording sessions. Now the debate can begin to rage: Was it a good idea to let Graham Coxon wig out an quit the band? I dunno...I'm reserving judgement until I hear the whole album.

Blur says, "Don't Bomb When You're The Bomb"

Betcha the original vinyl is already going for a mint on e-Bay...whaddaya think? friend Chris sent me this little movie of Kikkoman The Superhero. Really, you just have to see it for yourself.

Also, thanks for everyone who made last night's DJ kick-off at ye olde Ten56 so much fun. Asses wiggled, heads bobbed, girls cried and boys made fools of themselves. Thank god for the rebirth of fun, eh? Don't forget though kiddies...same rawk-time, same rawk channel next week.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

For today I offer up an MP3 that should be listened to while gently cruising the Pacific coastway at about 75 miles per hour. Never mind that I've never seen the Pacific but this is exactly what I imagine a sunset would sound like.

Chuck Mangione gets it on with The Cannonball Run

Now Doctor Tankie suggests you close all the curtains, slide this in your Discman/i-Pod/whatever and hit repeat. Kind of like being in an isolation tank, no?


Monday, January 13, 2003

Proof that math geeks might be on to something. The following slogan was randomly generated by The Insta Sentence Generator For The Obnoxiously Hip:

The new hardcore kid has become a redundant case of bullshit in its purest form.

I only wish I had actually come up with that one myself...
Today I offer up an MP3 courtesy of the always excellent Fluxblog...I highly recommend you check this cat out. He always has interesting songs I would have never heard and instantly fall in love with. This little number is one of 'em and apparently you can find it on the This Is Tech Pop compilation. Oh yeah!

Yellow Note vs Pukka performing their international smash hit Naked, Drunk and Horny

For those of you interested in hearing fine pre-recorded music in a live setting and you happen to be in the Chicago area then you must stop by Ten56 Tuesday night. My friend Rudy and I spin great sounds and try to revive that feeling of "fun" in the rock and/or roll.
(1056 W Damen, Chicago, IL 10pm)
Okay, so it's been a -- long -- while since I last stopped by here...but now I have a DSL connection! What does that mean? lots and lots of new Tanbkboy archived stuff...that's what!