Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tankboy's Top Tunes of 2009.

Tankboy's Top Tunes of 2009.

As is customary in these parts, you will find a huge honking ZIP file of 61 of my favorite songs that were released in 2009. These are the tunes that I just haven't gotten tired of, and the ones that this time next year will probably still be in reasonably heavy rotation. I looked back on 2008's list to see how it held up, and it has done so admirably.

The songs are in no particular order, and feel free to delete whatever you don't dig to tailor the list to your tastes. That's totally cool with me. But give everything a listen at least once on the off-chance you might discover something new!

The best way to listen to this collection, I've found, is on shuffle, though if you're playing this at a party or something you probably want to take the Soulseekers song off the list ... it's a long slow burning strand of magnesium that I love, but it is loooong and not exactly upbeat.

And do I have a favorite song on this list? Kind of. I Was A King's "Norman Bleik" has lietraly hit my ears HUNDREDS of times this year, and each time it fills me with fresh joy as if I'm just discovering it for the first time. To anyone who sucks in alot of music, you know how rare that sensation can be.

Anyway, download and enjoy!

DOWNLOAD: The Top Tunes of 2009: One Man's View (Megaupload)

DOWNLOAD:
The Top Tunes of 2009: One Man's View (Zshare)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The mammoth year-end list of my favorite music is DONE.

The mammoth year-end list of my favorite music is DONE.

My big ol' list of favorite albums and songs of 2009 is up! Read it and let me know what you think. And check back tomorrow for a link to all my favorite songs so you can soundtrack your own Tankboy Party at home.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The decade.

The decade.

I've seen it much argued, and I can totally understand both sides' arguments, so I'm not decisively swayed by either stance. So I ask you, dear reader, do you mark the decade as ending at the end of this year or at the close of 2010?

Further, and this seems to me to be simple common sense, how is it possible to construct a "best of the decade list" without the benefit of a few years' distance providing context? Considering how many music / culture writers build year-end lists they later find themselves disavowing portions of I find it ludicrous to even attempt to tackle something as vast as a decade the year that you judge that decade to be closing.

What do you think?

Photo from Zazzle, though honestly, did anyone really love the aughts?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Beagle update!

Beagle update!

Longtime readers are familiar with the nightmares Betty the Beagle put me through the last time I moved into a new building. She barked for hours, scratched at the door, opened and ransacked our refrigerator, and just was a general terror. We eventually found workarounds to all her issues but man was she difficult to deal with at times. Since she didn't do all of this stuff when we lived with Photogal I always suspected that at least part of what was triggering her behavior might be location based. Maybe she just didn't like the apartment! It was on the third floor and there was no view out the windows, from a beagle's perspective. And while the place was certainly large, it just never felt like "home."

Since we've moved into the new place she's been a doll. There's a little barking but it's the normal amount of "where's mom and dad, where are they ooh that couch looks comfy zzzzz."No scratching at the door. No eating all the food in the fridge. All in all she seems to be 100 more comfortable here. In fact the biggest ruckus she's really caused since we moved is when she suddenly decides to chase one of the cats and the entire room explodes in a flurry of paws amidst an orchestra of loud meows. And that's more amusing than anything else (although we do scold her for kitty harassment).

So there you have it, since the move Betty the Beagle is a much happier little pooch. And we've breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Not feelin' it.

Not feelin' it.

Just not into Christmas this year. GalPal is visiting her family out of town, part of my own family is in Canada, most of my friends are out of town and those that are here are, duh, hanging with their families. I hung out and had a good time with some fellow holiday orphans last night, and tonight is the annual Christmas at Liar's Club and that's always a blast, but I still feel like I'm celebrating the holiday alone for the first time.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Christmas Eve, and we are fortified against the cold.

It's Christmas Eve, and we are fortified against the cold.

The title is slightly misleading. We are fortified against the cold, but in Chicago it's actually reasonably warm right now.

Everything is wet and slushy after last night's ice storm but steadily rising temps have at least taken the non-stop peril out of walking a few blocks. The local liquor store was out of Maker's Mark (obviously one of the pitfalls of living in yuppie-land ... we're safer but more folks are prone to drink my fallback choice) so I had to settle for Knob Creek. And a 12-pack of beer. I figure those, bolstered by the case of mixed wine GalPal gave me last night, should get me through the next couple of days.

I'm kidding GalPal, I'll leave the wine (mostly) alone so we can enjoy it together!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

If you ever want your record reviewed...

If you ever want your music written about...

...here is an important piece of advice. Rip it to a reasonable (at least over 160 kbps) bitrate and include a link* to it when soliciting music writers. I understand you spent a lot of time on the physical CD, and probably sweated the details of the artwork to no end, and I don't mind if you want to send me actual, tangible proof of your efforts. I'm old school. i still like records and CDs and that whole holding them in your hands thing.

HOWEVER.

As a longtime music writer I can tell you this: the best way to get me to listen to your songs and consider reviewing your album or previewing your show is by giving me a download to you tunes so I can listen to them RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND.

*Use a site like Megaupload or YouSendIt or even betetr your own server but do NOT make people sit through bullshit like Rapidshare to get your tunes. Just a heads-up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ahem, new Flaming Lips? Yes. Please.

Ahem, new Flaming Lips? Yes. Please.

The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs With Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon came out today.

I like it lots.

Subtle afflictions of manly pride?

Subtle afflictions of manly pride?

Can't sleep. I'm one of those guys that often falls asleep on the couch -- last night I was so lame it was Conan's second guest that did me in -- and this morning once I finally crawled into the bed the cats decided to go bonkers. I gave it an hour or so, but sleep just wasn't coming. So here I am, getting an early start to my day despite my best efforts to eke out just one more hour of snoozing.

This whole falling asleep on the couch thing, is it primarily a male affliction? I know my younger brother and dad displayed the same trait. And there's even this weird thing where you know you're about to fall asleep, it's obvious to anyone, yet you'll still insist you're wide awake even when you've been caught mid-snore. It must be some sort of latent macho tendency, right?

When are we gonna learn that when our girlfriend / boyfriend / mom tells us it's time to go to bed .... it is probably time to go to bed.

Oh hey, it's snowing. Again.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rather obvious, if you really think about it.

Rather obvious, if you really think about it.

[via ...etc]

Scattershot recollections and random observations.

Scattershot recollections and random observations.

Monday? Really? REALLY?
  • My first set for 1994 night at The Burlington was a blast. I was supposed to close the night after Flosstradamus' set but I am really glad they decided to just keep going since there was NO way I really wanted to follow their super-fun set.
  • It doesn't fell like the holidays yet. I still haven't done any Christmas shopping.
  • My Sony Vaio laptop isn't recognizing or charging my battery at all. This is so annoying. I'm never buying Sony again but does anyone have a clue what might be causing this?
  • I complain about always being busy, always on the run, and always having to be somewhere doing something but I do realize I'm a very lucky guy leading a pretty interesting life. I never take it for granted.
  • My company holiday party was a lot of fun this year. I attribute it to not being new and a bit in shock when all the employees were gathered in a single space -- like I was last year -- and actually mingling with lots of the fun folks I work with.
  • I regret missing last night's #cookieswap since it sounds like it was a really good time.
  • I regret missing Gina's birthday party last night since it sounds like it was a really good time.
  • My interesting life that I never take for granted? Sometimes I just have to put it on hold, bunker down with GalPal, and recharge the batteries while watching movies on the couch instead of going out ... and that's a move I don't regret.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I am so proud of all of you.


I am so proud of all of you.

This is making me think a) Marcus' description of me as Rahm Emanuel might prove prescient and b) I could probably actually do a good job if elected. I certainly couldn't be worse than the current mayor...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On Big Red Coats, cats, and spectacles.

On Big Red Coats, cats, and spectacles.

Do you know how difficult it is to type at 6:22 a.m. when a cat keeps jumping in your lap and then trying to sit on your keyboard? It's bad enough she was obviously searching for stuff online all last night -- as evidenced by the "TTTTTTTTTJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ" search term in my browser's search field, so you'd think she'd at least offer me a brief reprieve, right?

Wrong.

It's cold again. The 30-ih degree temps from a few days ago gave me a false sense of hope and prematurely lifted my mood weather-wise. Now we're back in "I'm going to freeze the fuck out of your face and then physically and repeatedly punch you whilst trying to rip off your ears" weather. This also means I've abandoned even trying to look stylish, instead option to sheath myself in The Big Red Coat in vain hopes that it might sufficiently shield me. The Big Red Coat tries and tries, displaying a truly valiant effort, but the wind and chill seep in around even The Coat's usually adequate fortress. Compounding the problem is the fact that I've been stuck wearing glasses recently due to a piece of debris -- finally removed by my eye doctor yesterday -- that's been irritating me. So not only am I frozen while outside, the second I step indoors I'm blinded as my glasses totally and completely fog over.

The whole ensemble make me look like I'm ten years old.

And that's the state of my world at this moment in time. How's yours?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tragedy strikes!

Tragedy strikes!

Yesterday, mere hours after I shared with you how difficult creating year-end lists could be, my tankPOD Touch randomly ate a bunch of music, including some of the songs I had been fiddling with on my songs of 2009 list. I've been adding and deleting tunes over the last two weeks and was nearing completion, and the list has morphed so many times I'm not 100% sure what was missing.

Auuuuugh!

In other new I have to go see Andrew Bird play in a church tonight. And tomorrow i have to see Metric in a sports bar. Life truly is rough.

Do you wanna smack me yet?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Year-end listing is hard to do.

Year-end listing is hard to do.

I remember when I was a wee l'il music writer oh so many years ago, year-end lists excited me to no end. I loved making them and i loved reading them even more in hopes they'd uncover music I missed along the way.

Fast-forward 15 or so years and the glee is gone. Partially because so much music flies at me each and every day, I very rarely come across a gem because someone else noticed it and I missed it the first time around. This doesn't mean I'm smarter or more attentive than I was back then, it's just that the volume of music flow has increased so dramatically I feel like I'm gasping for air most of the time.

As for my own lists, there is SO MUCH good music out there it's hard to winnow it down. At the same time there is SO LITTLE truly GREAT music out there either, forcing me to swim through miles and miles of notes in order to find the bands that put them together in a way I find most pleasing.

Any way, it's Monday, it's dreary, and I'm gripe-y. What else is new?

[Old school photo from simpler days via Leafblower]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An obvious progression of events.

An obvious progression of events.

Of course this:


Would spur this:


And ultimately lead to this:


Of course.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Happy birthday GalPal!

Happy birthday GalPal!

Everyone, please join me in wishing the one woman on earth who can actually put up with me a happy birthday!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Borked.

Borked.

Technology has revolted against me today. My computer crashed and refuses to play nice. My cell is working only when it feels like it. My Sloan pictures from last night took waaaay too long to transfer so I didn't have time to edit them.

It's been a tough day.

So come see me DJ with Lizz at The Burlington tonight and tell me it'll all be O.K.

Monday, December 07, 2009

White noise, and other stuff.

White noise, and other stuff.

My alarm in the morning is like a sonic bomb. I have the radio set between stations with the volume way up so at the desired time and abrupt explosion of static wakes me up. It's loud, it's crude, it does the trick.

Holy hell, is that show outside? And not just a little snow? Oh well, it's only an 8 minute walk to the train. And thank god I don't drive or depend on the bus for work any longer, otherwise I'd have to pad another 30 - 45 minutes into the morning's commute. Also, and I was saying this to tease some recent transplants to Chicago yesterday but it really is the truth, if it's snowing you know it's reasonably warm, otherwise the snow wouldn't be able to form.

I have to charge my camera battery. Tonight is a show I've been excited about for months. Sloan is at Lincoln Hall. It's all ages so I'm a little worried about shooting the band since the kids tend to be less than accommodating to photographers -- they're so excited they don't want a second of their view obstructed and often don't believe I'll really be out of their way in a minute or two -- but in the end who the fuck cares? It's Sloan! If all I get to do is watch and listen to one of my absolute favorite bands in the whole wide world than so be it.

O.K., let's get this day into gear!

(Also, I recommend clicking the pic for a bigger dose of Pickle the Kitten.)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Where is 1990 - 1999?

Where is 1990 - 1999?

Lizz and I already have this spread hanging by our desks at work. Click the image to see the larger original page and read the high-larious descriptions.

That's just crazy talk!

That's just crazy talk!

Indeed.


(click the image to embiggen)

First Friday = DJ Tankboy at The Old Oak Tap!

First Friday = DJ Tankboy at The Old Oak Tap!

Winter is finally baring its icy fangs, and by this time next month we'll probably all be hunkered down on our couches under piles of blankets, so let's get out and get social while the weather is still reasonably tolerable.

Tonight, Friday December 4
, I'll be spinning tunes both new and old in the cozy environs of The Old Oak Tap, enjoying sips from their massive beer selection, and probably stealing a few bites of one of their burgers or some of their delicious fries (they've got a slow burn that's absolutely awesome).

The most important factor in the equation, though, is you. I'd like to see the smiling faces of friends, acquaintances, and well-intentioned strangers. The holidays are fast approaching and, what can I say, I'm feeling comfort in the goodwill and good company of my fellow humans.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

This is how we do it in my house.

This is how we do it in my house.

Fuck the middle man.

Pickle break!

Pickle break!

Click the image for ULTIMATE PICKLE!

Location, location, location?

Location, location, location?

I can't even tell you what a joy it is to get up in the morning, walk across the hallway, enter a room dedicated to being a home office, sit at a real desk, and start writing right away. Due to space issues at our old place my desk had to be put in storage and when I wrote it often either sitting on the ground at a low table or on the couch with my laptop in my lap. Near the end I actually started writing posts on my iPod Touch and then transferred them just because it was easier that way.

I can write anywhere -- up until just a few years ago I still sketched and wrote in black bound sketchbooks, collecting short story ideas and constructing mini-narratives around character ideas -- but I have to admit that I do like having a space just for writing first thing in the morning. It's so much easier to just reach into the back of my head and pull out ideas when I'm not thinking "Man, this laptop is kinda burning my lap," or "Hold on, let me write that thought down, right after I contort myself to slide under and fit at my writing station, erm, the coffee table." At the same time, I came across those sketchbooks mentioned above while unpacking and realized that came up with a lot more spontaneous fiction ideas when I just jotted them down whenever and where they struck me, so maybe it's time to add that method back to my routine.

How about you? Do you have dedicated writing spaces? Or do you always compose on the go? Or are you like me, doing a little of both, but preferring one over the other depending on what you're writing?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Goodnight Keith Moon...

Goodnight Keith Moon...

I shared this via the Twitter last week, but if you don't follow me there, perchance you missed YOUR chance to read Goodnight Keith Moon!

That reminds me , I've got to find my copy of Moon that GalPal has been wanting to read for a while now. I saw it just the other day while moving boxes!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I'm gonna miss our old neighbors' sense of humor...

I'm gonna miss our old neighbors' sense of humor...

Forgot to post this before we moved, but we discovered this on GalPal's iPhone while she was connecting to our Wi-Fi in our old apartment last week...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Settling in.

Settling in.

That was a really brutal move. What was supposed to take six hours took over eight and ended up costing almost twice as much as we were quoted. The crew we had were polite, but overdid it on packing stuff and charging us for it -- my drums really didn't need to go in boxes, they never had before -- and I don't feel they really worked quickly. The last time I moved it was with the help of two friends and WE got it done quicker than a team of four professional movers? We will never be using Golan's movers again.

Despite my previous fears about our new place, it's turned out to be almost perfect. It turns out there IS more space than we thought there would be, everything fits where we want it to, and the use of a full basement is absolutely a life saver for a dude like me that owns so much stuff. GalPal and I have woken up in our new bedroom the past few days feeling happy and positive and the new digs just seem to be having an overall positive effect on our general outlook.

Of course there is unexpected stress. Money is tighter than I wanted due to the additional moving expenses along with all the other little things like scraping together a security deposit, renting cars to move us and the pets, running out to get incidentals for the new place the old one didn't have. The timing is terrible with the holidays coming up, but what can you do? The situation is what it is and I'll just have to rebuild that financial safety net over the next few months.

Overall though I'm glad we moved. The neighborhood is quieter than I'm used to but that's great. There are countless restaurants all around us and a pretty excellent independent grocery store a three-minute walk away. After living in Humboldt Park where the only things near you are gas stations and fast-food restaurants and gangbangers this place is a positive shock to the system.

Change is good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blur documentary out in 2010!

Blur documentary out in 2010!

File under "Yes, please!" What looks to be an official Blur documentary, No Distance Left To Run, is coming out next month and I can't wait to see it. I loved the biography, Blur: 3862 Days: The Official History, since it shows the band isn't afraid to look at themselves in an unflattering light, and i suspect the movie will continue in that vein. Naturally I hope the title does NOT refer to the band officially ending it's career, and since they keep going back and forth on that matter I'm going to read it as being cheeky rather than declarative. I'm hopeful that, but not counting on, the movie having a U.S. theater release, but if it doesn't can we please get the DVD ASAP?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Moving day...

Moving day...

We're into hour seven of a move they estimated would take five. Ugh. On the positive side it looks like our fears of the place being too small were totally wrong!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble gobble!

Gobble gobble!

Enjoy eating your meat / tofu based feast today!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre-move freak-out.

Pre-move freak-out.

So yesterday we stopped by the new place to get a few measurements and I almost completely lost it. Allow me to preface this with a little background. It was raining and I got drenched on the way home. Gal Pal had been running errands in a ZipCar in shitty traffic caused by said rain. Once we got to the coachhouse I couldn't get the door open with any of the keys, so by the time GalPal finally figured out how to unlock to entry to our new home we were both in pretty foul moods.

Upon entering the house immediately seemed dingier than either of us remembered. We also realized that the kitchen had almost no counter space and only a few cabinets. For some reason I had thought there was a pantry but I was wrong. We went upstairs to figure out where stuff was going to go and that's when we realized that while there was tons of crawlspace storage, there were only two closets in the whole house, and they were both pretty tiny.

Suddenly we were both freaking out. The house we had so looked forward to moving into seemed more like a dumpy nightmare than a grand new palace. And the layout had me worrying about Betty the Beagle again. We had planned on confining her to the family room and what would be our books and music room but suddenly I was worried that would be too small a space for her. One reason I was so excited about moving into a new house was because I could take off her bark collar and let her run around and enjoy the view from ground level windows. But if she stays in that one space, there is no view.

And then we headed down to the basement to find it full of stuff we thought would be gone before we moved in. The previous tenant moved her stuff out but the neighbors were storing some stuff in there and haven't gotten it out yet, and we were counting on that storage space. The whole visit was a bit dispiriting since we'd been so excited about the move up until then.

So, after surveying everything and making some decisions on where what would go when the movers were there on Friday we headed home ... to find that Betty the Beagle had broken into the fridge and peed in the house. It was the last straw. We cleaned up the mess, I went into shut-down mode, and GalPal just headed straight for the bedroom and closed the door. It was just too much and cast an emotional pall over over everything I'm just starting to get through. You see I spent most of last night trying to sleep, then sipping a finger of bourbon, then making a few cups of hot, soothing (decaffeinated) tea, wondering if we made a mistake not grabbing the apartment we had liked in Logan Square, realizing that was a pointless and entirely fruitless line of thought to pursue, then puzzling through the issues at hand and trying to solve them.

After some thought, and some searching on craigslist, the issues that so vexed me seem totally solvable and I feel much better about it. GalPal is still in a funk but I hope once we start unpacking and making the place our own over the weekend she'll be able to regain the excitement we both felt just 24 hours ago.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The quiet lapping upon the shore before the storm.

The quiet lapping upon the shore before the storm.


It's always a bit weird to start typing seconds after stepping out from under the covers. The cold wood means you're feet are probably more awake than your head yet you still are vaguely aware of fingers hitting keys and words flickering across the screen.

And then, in a blink, you're aware again. Clarity settles in, your typing slows, and you start looking for something or substance to ruminate upon instead of just letting things flow from the unknown.

A kitten scratches at a door. The tic-tock of a clock is heard two rooms away. The fussy rustle of sheets in the next room sounds like breaking waves. Everything grows ever larger until what was once a serene early morning haze is replaced by the glare of minimalist sounds drawing together to give shape to the day ahead.

And this is how it always starts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thank goodness for the short holiday work week!

Thank goodness for the short holiday work week!

Man, what a bust weekend! Friday I packed and then shot Peaches and Amanda Blank at Metro, Saturday I DJed until 5 a.m. (check out the awesome setlist of what got played), and that left me pretty useless on Sunday while GalPal started to pack her stuff up. So while I try to get back on track why don't you enjoy this video of Pickle the Kitten look adorable.

Not enough? O.K., here's a picture of Sasha the Cat and Betty the Beagle also looking adorable.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Packing sucks.

Packing sucks.

And my girlfriend hates me. Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How Big Star let me down.

How Big Star let me down.

Look, here's my number one pet peeve in the restaurant business: you do not close your kitchen early. Ever.

I've worked in the service industry. I managed a restaurant that was one off the few late night eating destinations in Chicago at the time. Yes, on a slow night the kitchen would start closing up and cleaning everything early, but if we closed at 2 a.m., and someone walked in at 1:59 a.m., they were seated, the kitchen was dirtied,, and they got the same service they would have received if they'd walked in at 6 p.m.

Now I'm not saying it doesn't suck to have to go through that, especially when you've got your eyes on the clock and want to get the hell out of there, especially if it was a super busy day. But that doesn't change the fact that at the end of it all, posted hours should be observed. if they're not your reputation plummets in no time.

Big Star in Wicker Park has only been open a week and already they're falling prey to this behavior, and it's infuriating. I was pleased to hear people simpatico to the neighborhood had bought The Pontiac space, and even more pleased when I heard it's center on solid but affordable Mexican fare and lots of bourbon and whiskey! And what they've done with the interior is fabulous.

However if they're going to staff it with people that are too lazy to do their job, or can't be bothered to pay attention to little details like posted hours, then I give up on the place. Will losing my patronage hurt them? Of course not. But it's still a bummer to see one more place in Wicker Park fall into the average category that ends up primarily catering to douchebag clientele with middling service.

Whatever.


Photo by Barry Brecheisen for Metromix

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I was so blissfully clueless until now.

I was so blissfully clueless until now.

GalPal and I were talking the other night and she noted how funny it was that I was so well informed when it came to some thing, and so clueless when it came to others. I'm well rounded when it comes to current events and a reasonably solid worldview, and of course I'm pretty much a walking encyclopedia of music ... so what else could there possibly be? What is it I could be so clueless about?

Well, I got a rude awakening last night -- kind of a one-two punch -- while watching The Soup (Which used to be Talk Soup), a show I honestly haven't watched since Greg Kinnear was the host! Gal Pal and I were settled on the couch as new(-ish?) host Joel McHale ran through the usual talk shows and talking heads, familiar ground for me. Then he launched into quips on various reality TV shows and it was here that I grew startled. I had no idea so many reality shows still existed!

Sure, I'm familiar with the biggies, most of them in contest format, but I had NO idea so many existed that were populated by laarge families / preposterously wealthy families / 20-something douchebag real estate brokers / Lorenzo Lamas (!) / just an all around mind-boggling array of bottom feeders.

It was enough to really make me start to doubt the fabric of Western society. Do people really watch this shit?

I decided to take solace and watch a couple episodes of Community GalPal and II have missed over the last few weeks; we like the show because Chevy Chase is finally doing something funny and because the main character cracks me up with his vulnerable smugness. It was then that I realized said main character was ... Joel McHale, host of The Soup! I had no idea!*

GalPal had a very good laugh at that one ... and said it only underscored her previous point, and man was she right.

*Though the realization did make a slam against E! in that episode even more funny.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yes, another Lady GaGa post from someone that is neither a seventeen-year-old nor a theater major.

Yes, another Lady GaGa post from someone that is not a seventeen-year-old nor an actor nor an art major (but was all of those things at one point).

I swear to you this site has not turned into some Lady GaGa fansite. Especially since the Fame Monster EP shows "Bad Romance" to be an interesting hiccup instead of the harbinger of a bold new direction. (Sonically the EP hews incredibly closely to the more straightforward pop of her debut than the interesting tics and treats I was hoping for.) However this new collaboration with Beyoncé -- not the duet on GaGa's EP but rather one BY Beyoncé FEATURING GaGa (keep it straight) -- is interesting in that it primarily shows the GaGa in PopTart / Diva light and while it's still entertaining it's not nearly compelling as the art-damaged GaGa I prefer.

And with that I swear to try and avoid mention Stefani Germanotta for AT LEAST a week.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A whole lot going on...

A whole lot going on...

I know, like what else is new? More later but for now there's a pretty good comment thread starting up on Rob's "worst movies" post, and my review of the new album from Them Crooked Vultures is up.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Big ol' rock show tonight!

Big ol' rock show tonight!

In a different time, I was primarily known as a dude who booked venues in Chicago. I put together a LOT of shows, worked with a LOT of awesome people, and had a LOT of fun. As time passed, and the field grew more crowded I sort of let that part of my life mostly fall away. Once it became a JOB job, I lost the pleasure I took in doing it, and decided that I would only book shows that felt right to me.

Fast forward a few years and a few of my contemporaries are still thriving, while a fresh batch of new promoters who I see as dedicated to the music for all the right reasons have sprung up in town. Because of this, there is rarely a night in Chicago where there is at least one, if not more, awesome show to see.

Tonight I return to the promoter's chair for an evening, and in my opinion the awesome show you should attend is the one I'm putting on at Subterranean tonight. The bill is filled with old, and incredibly talented, friends, playing a wide enough variety of music that I don't think a single person will leave disappointed.

Do you dig Britpop flavored stadium anthems? The Assembly kicks the nigh off with some of those. Are you more a soul and R&B type? The Midnight Shows is celebrating the release of their debut EP. Do you want to dance to some glam-pop that combines the cars with the more vicious sides of Cheap Trick and David Bowie? The Ladies & Gentlemen will look good and deliver the goods.

All three bands are filled with guys who have been on the scene for years, in and out of label deals, and who know how to deliver the goods because they truly believe in what they do.

Tonight, my friends, is gonna be a whole lot of fun. I hope you can join in!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Checking in.

Checking in.

I was in the midst of writing something about how excited I was to go to Lincoln Hall for the first time tonight when I was informed I was bumped from the list. It seems as if one of the bands playing needs the space for friends and family so that's cool, I understand.* I'd rather had pals at my show than some dude from the press I've never met. It just means it'll be a bit longer before I finally get to visit the new venue everyone has been raving about.

Other than that everything is just kinda keepin' on keepin' on. My review of Kid Sister's new album is up right now, and hopefully tomorrow I'll have photos to go along with my write up of an insane party from earlier this week.

Tarry on.

*They did offer me a spot on the list for another show, but I have this going on tomorrow night so I had to turn it down.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's funny because it could be true.

It's funny because it could be true.

Heh.

My romance with GaGa.

My romance with GaGa.

Man, it's looking like video week around these parts, ain't it? I resisted posting this -- not like you can't see it a jillion other places -- but man, if you haven't seen it, or at least heard the song, you really should. Lady GaGa is just getting weirder and weirder -- just check out her unrestrained vocal tics and overly mannered delivery throughout the song -- and I just keep liking her more and more. It's weird to think I've only been aware of her since inauguration week when I heard "Let's Dance" "Just Dance" in a D.C. bar and marveled at how the room exploded.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Them Crooked Motherfucking Crushing Vultures.

Them Crooked Motherfucking Crushing Vultures.

The much anticipated Them Crooked Vultures debut leaked yesterday so the band did the right thing and decided to just stream the whole thing online.

Here's the first track of the album, "No One Loves Me & Neither Do I." It starts off with a bluesy boogie riff, and while I dig it I worried slightly that the album would continue along that path ... until I hit the 2:44 and realized everything was going to be A-OK.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Educational Monday: Om nom nom.

Educational Monday: Om nom nom.

Consider this a history lesson.



In other news, The Hood Internet dropped their latest mixtape this morning. Now, I'm gonna pat my own back for a second and point out that I'm the dude that gave the dynamic duo their first show. So I've watched with a bit of pride as they've grown from being perceived as sort of a novelty into being two widely respected DJs whose littlest moves now trigger beaming responses from their legion of fans. Way to go guys!

Friday, November 06, 2009

DJ Tankboy + Old Oak Tap = Friday funday!

DJ Tankboy + Old Oak Tap = Friday funday!

It is the first Friday of the month, so that means I will be curating the music within the walls of the Old Oak Tap this evening. It's supposed to be a relatively nice evening, so come on out and enjoy it before the weather turns icy and you find yourself hunkered down on your couch with only the television (and possibly your partner if you have one / if they can still stand you after months of cabin fever) as company.

As usual I have a truckload of new stuff, alongside about three semis of classic faves, so you know the music will never be predictable.

BONUS: The great thing about Old oak? Not only are the tunes good, but the food is excellent*, and the beers are many. So come on down, nosh a bit if you so desire, and then stay the evening for camaraderie set to a wonderful soundtrack.

TONIGHT
November 6

DJ Tankboy

10pm - 2am

OLD OAK TAP
2109 W Chicago


*Seriously, try the spicy fries. They're awesome. The subtly slow burn is not to be found elsewhere in our city.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

My inner ten-year-old's hormones just went into overdrive.

My inner ten-year-old's hormones just went into overdrive.

Princess Leia and her stunt-double catch some rays.

In other news, check out my review of the new Prairie Cartel album, and don't forget to catch them at Angels & K

[photo credz]

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Obligatory "Sorry for the skimpy posts" post.

Obligatory "Sorry for the skimpy posts" post.

So I've got this thing where I force myself to do at least one post a day during the week. I've been doing it for years, and it helps keep the gears churning, even in dry periods. I am currently not in a creatively dry period, but I am in the middle of a time-strapped stretch.

So yes, you've seen more photos and videos and less words. Why is that? Well, GalPal and I have been searching for a new apartment, and that has been incredibly draining. We spent weeks combing Logan Square and had it narrowed down to two promising properties until last Sunday when a dark horse suddenly entered the race. A friend of ours knew of a 2-story coach house, plus basement, that we would have all to ourselves, that was suddenly available. The only downside? It wasn't in Logan Square, it was in Bucktown.

I had reservations about living in Bucktown, as did GalPal. For my part, I spent a lot of time there in 1994-1998 when it was decidedly less friendly. Danny's was a house party gone punk, the Blue Note was on Armitage, and walking at night without heavy attitude was strongly discouraged. In fact I've spent my whole Chicago life living in the edgier, hipper parts of town, and the prospect of moving to somewhere as, well, safe as Bucktown is now seemed to go against the grain, at least for me. I mean I have a reputation to uphold, right?

Then again, I've spent almost two decades in edgy areas, and maybe it's not so terrible an idea that I could walk to and from the train without having to constantly check over my shoulder or adopt a swagger and up my guard when a crew of kids suddenly appears in my path. Maybe moving to an area with strollers and families would be O.K.

Then other things popped up. We'd be within walking distance of dozens of restaurants, train distance of hundreds of restaurants, and, here's an important one, there's a neighborhood bar around the corner that is dog -- and especially beagle -- friendly. And a huge fenced in park that a certain beagle could run around in. And did I mention we'd have a house to ourselves ... for less than the apartments in Logan Square we were looking at were asking for?

So yeah, sorry the content has been of the more skimmable sort recently, but GalPal and I were busy finding our dream home for the next few years! We can't wait to move in.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Listening to KC.

Listening to K. C.

This photo was taken on the way home from Chuck's last birthday party, but I'm pretty sure we were listening to Kelly Clarkson so it could've been taken last week.

Yup, you got it ... Marcus and I are in fact 13-year-old girls.

Friday, October 30, 2009

So is Josh Freese drumming full time for Weezer?

So is Josh Freese drumming full time for Weezer?

I hope not. I mean, he's obviously excellent, and on the new disc his style adds punch, but I like pat's heavier, steadier style better with the band.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The ramifications of playing dress-up.

The ramifications of playing dress-up.

I was going to run this as a Diversion on Chicagoist, but I guess we ran it over the weekend a few months back. I somehow missed it, so I don't feel like I'm being redundant by sharing it here!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Please guys, I lived through the '80s, they weren't that cool. Please let them die.

Please people, I lived through the '80s, they weren't that cool. Please let them die.

I liked the dude's Freddy Mercury-isms on Idol, but this album cover is just ew.

Also, am I wrong or does he look like a living Nagel here?*

*FULL DISCLOSURE: I collected books of Nagel's illustration in the '80s and still have a weak spot for them, so that last observation isn't so much criticism as it is, erm, observation.

Photographic advice needed...

Photographic advice needed...

Say you were going to shoot a pop star, someone like, say, Kelly Clarkson, but there was no photo pit. In fact you have to shoot from the front of house soundboard. No biggie, except for the fact you do not own a telephoto lens. You own a slightly older Canon Rebel XT, but no tripod, and are wondering what lens would get the job done. You have the clearance to rent one due to an extremely agile and fleet-footed camera gear firm in town, but you want to make sure you grab the right gear. One person recommends renting a 70-200mm 2.8 lens, and another thinks 300mm will do it, and yet another doubts anything less than 500mm will do the trick (but again, I don't have a tripod).

What would you suggest?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Setlist: The Continental, October 14, 2009

Setlist: The Continental, October 24, 2009

So Keep jumped in to help me out with DJing at The Continental Saturday night since Rudy had a prior commitment, and I feel comfortable saying we kicked total ass. We got a pretty good early crowd and the place was absolutely choked with bodies by 2 a.m. or so. We decided it was a "zero pop" night and Keep enjoyed playing bad cop to anyone requesting what he deemed not heavy enough. That's not to say we didn't play catchy stuff, we just didn't allow ourselves to be sidet5racked by requests for The Bee Gees or Michael Jackson.

Anyhoo, if you're interested in putting together a totally awesome mix tape from the evening, here's the full setlist for my segments.

Setlist: The Continental, October 24, 2009

First set:
Soulsavers "Some Misunderstanding"
Black Mountain "Don't Run Our Hearts Around"
lobsterdust "Alone Witchu (Air vs. QOTSA)"
PJ Harvey "Yuri-G"
Black Moth Super Rainbow "Born On A Day The Sun Didn't Rise"
Number Girl "Omiode In My Head"
Clues "Approach The Throne"
Monotonix "Set Me Free"
The Evil Queens "Love Song Werewolves"
Mil Mulliganos "Evolution/Revolution"
Julian Cope "Pristeen"
fun. "Benson Hedges"

Second set:
The Tarts "My Girlfriend Is A Rockstar"
The Riverboat Gamblers "Ice Water"
NIL8 "Zombie Slut"
Pinhead Gunpowder "I Am An Elephant"
Mannequin Men "Never Lived By Myself"
Local H "Keep Your Girlfriend Away From Me"
Sloan "Losing California"
7 Seconds "Satyagraha"
The Lemonheads "Hate Your Friends"
Electric Owls "Put, The Candle' Back!"
Amazing Baby "Supreme Being"
Cheeseburger "Easy Street"
Band Of Skulls "I Know What I Am"
Girls Against Boys "In Like Flynn"
The Big Pink "At War With The Sun"
Hiawata! "Suburbs"
Big Star "Feel"
Screaming Trees "Dying Days"

Third set:
Blur "Country House"
Replicants "Just What I Needed"
Queens Of The Stone Age "Regular John"
Weezer "Say It Ain't So"
Living Colour "Cult Of Personality"
Pixies "Debaser"
Ozzy Osbourne "Crazy Train"
Public Enemy "Welcome To The Terrordome"
NWA"Express Yourself"
Spacehog "In The Meantime"
Bauhaus "Ziggy Stardust"
Hum "Stars"

Friday, October 23, 2009

More DJ stuffs.

More DJ stuffs.

Almost forgot! Rudy and I DJ at The Continental tomorrow night! 11 p.m. until 5 a.m.! For a taste of what you can expect, peep the setlist from last night at The Burlington. I'm digging for unearthed nuggets along with the familiar and I'm loving the rejuvenating feeling it's giving my sets!

And then she was-

And then she was-

It's weird how women I haven't thought of in twenty years can suddenly pop back into my head with a force that makes me go blind with a flash of mental recognition. This morning I was walking to work through a pedway that passes by an artist installation sponsored by the city's cultural center. There was a girl, rail thin, with a bob and her silhouette suddenly jettisoned me back in my head to freshman design class* in college. I had the biggest crush on this girl Lori, and she was built in much the same way as this other girl, only it was 1991 so her bob was asymmetrical and one half of her head had a much larger mass of hair on it than the other. Not art school bob really, more the longish all one length hair swept mostly to one side, y'know?

Anyway, I suddenly remember that teenage ache, and the unrequited longing, and to make matters worse she developed a crush on my friend (and later roommate) Scott. I have no idea if they ever hooked up, I don't think he would've told me for fear I'd get upset and stop helping him write his papers. (I generally wouldn't write papers for friends n college, but Scott was so hopeless at stringing a sentence together I would sort of tutor / edit him ... he was a really gifted artist though.**)

I hadn't thought of Lori since, well, probably shortly after that design class ended. I had forgotten her name, what she looked like, everything. And then with one glance at a silhouette it all came back.

And the funny thing, the girl that triggered this all really didn't look a thing like Lori. I think it was just the general impression and the artist's space that came together to trigger all of this.

How about you? Has this sort off thing happened in your past?

*It's true, when I started school I was a double major, visual arts and english.
**
You know, which brings this to mind, that while I was an O.K. visual artist it's fairly obvious my true gift was to be found in words, and makes me wonder if his gift with a brush of sculpture detracted from his ability to write. Is it some sort of cosmic balancing act? I dunno.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tonight is what it means to be young ... with DJ Tankboy!

Tonight is what it means to be young ... with DJ Tankboy!


So guess what? I'm DJing at The Burlington tonight! It's my favorite bar to spin at since they basically let me run wild and play anything* so my sets there are usually pretty fun. I promise to break out a bunch of new music tonight and keep the evening interesting. I promise to probably not play any 10-minute King Crimson songs even though I've been listening a lot to In the Court of the Crimson King this past week. Then again, maybe I will!

The festivities kick off at 9 p.m. and last until 2 a.m. so I hope to see your beautiful somewhere in that time block.

*Well almost anything. I once played that Pnau and Ladyhawke "Embrace" tune and Greg told me I could never play that there again. But that's the only thing that's been banned. And I didn't really like it all that much in the first place, I was just trying to impress some girl and she didn't even end up making out with me so I learned my lesson about that!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ummmmmm...

Ummmmmm...

I woke up this morning with no inspiration to write, so I didn't. I thought I might come across something cool to write about in the afternoon and I did, only I didn't write it here. So that brings us to now. What should I write now? My work day has ended, I'm heading to the gym, and i can't think of anything i want to write. What I want to do is shut down my computer, put on my headphones, and start walking toward the El ... so I think that's what I'm going to do.

Oh hey, look! I found something to write about!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ready to have your mind blown?

Ready to have your mind blown?

This just occurred to me last night, surveying the crowd at the packed Dodos show ... Stereogum and Pitchfork have become Spin and Rolling Stone! They both constantly write about the same bands. Hell, Animal Collective is to Pitchfork what The Rolling Stones are to, er, Rolling Stone!

Depressing, ain't it?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back to the real world, huh?

Back to the real world, huh?


You can't tell, but the sunburn under my shirt is making me shiver as I go through all my unread work email and slide back into the regular routine of the 9-to-5. I'm sure I'll expand on the actual vacation when I get a little more time, but right now I guess I don't mind being back in the office. I can only spend so much time doing nothing in Mexico. However I'm not going to lie and say I couldn't use with a little more time off just putzing around Chicago. It's true what they say; sometimes you do need a vacation to recover from the vacation.

I can also tell you this. I don't want to even see another margarita or Corona for at LEAST six months!*

*O.K., that's not completely true. I'm sure the next time I hit up Tecalitlan I will order one or the other. But you get the idea.

Friday, October 16, 2009

What have we done today?

What have we done today?

Oh, not much. We ziplined a whole bunch over the jungle canopy, then went riding all over back jungle roads in ATVs (I was sure I was gonna roll over a few times) and then went swimming and diving in a cenote.

Now it's off to the pool again!

Life is rough down here...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lame vacation complaint.

Lame vacation complaint.

When your biggest complaint is the floatie shortage at the pool, you realize your sense of actual discomfort has become horribly warped.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Things to do today...

Things to do today...
  1. Wake up. Check.
  2. Open curtains and look at ocean. Check.
  3. Eat a delicious breakfast. Check.
  4. Mimosa. Check.
  5. Walk along beach. Check.
  6. Book jungle zipline trip. Check.
  7. Work out. Check.
  8. Margarita by the pool. We're on our way...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gere's the thing...

Mexican Coca-Cola always tastes better waaaay south of the border. Yum.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yes, They Might Be Giants!

Yes, They Might Be Giants!


I've been a fan of theirs since high school when I fell in love with Lincoln, but last night was only the second time I've ever seen They Might Be Giants play. It was a raucous show, and their fans are REALLY devoted, so it was a good time. I missed the end of the show so I could run across town and shoot a friend's band, but before I left I got a couple of decent shots. Check out my review on Chicagoist and then click through to the full Flickr set if you're so inclined.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Biggie Smalls + Miley Cyrus = INSANELY AWESOME!

Biggie Smalls + Miley Cyrus = INSANELY AWESOME!

Seriously, I am not kidding. Everyone I've turned onto this track thus far has gone bananas over it. Download it NOW!

MP3: Hathbanger "Miley Cyrous"

It's Friday, I could use a drink ... at the office.

It's Friday, I could use a drink ... at the office.

The women at Slate did an experiment a few weeks ago where they drank at the office mimicking the frequency of alcoholic consumption on Mad Men. the results? Kinda telling.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

TwitterTumblrFacebookization? Or just evolution?

TwitterTumblrFacebookization? Or just evolution?

The other day I was looking through my archives and boy oh boy could I get verbose. In the earliest days this site was only text and links. Then I figured out how to host pictures on a separate website and link them here (I never hotlinked though, I viewed that as theft back in the days when bandwidth was precious and such a thing could drain someone else's bank account ... not cool!). And it wasn't until relatively recently I would even do posts primarily consisting of videos. I think part of it is because my online mentality has evolved beyond MeMeMeMe into LookLookLook. I guess you could say I'm in more of a sharing mood.

But what effect has that had on my writing? That's a question I can't really answer. When I kick out longer pieces it still feels like me, but I definitely don't feel the drive I used to when it comes to creating longer pieces every single day. Does that make me lazy? Or am I merely adapting? I mean, if anything, my writing output has increased. I still write a great deal for Chicagoist, and I produce a LOT of stuff at the 9-to-5, so maybe I'm finding enough creative satisfaction through those two outlets? I'm inclined to think so.

What I haven't done in, literally, years is write any fiction. I don't know what that means. I think I still have stories left in me, and they dance behind my eyes every time I blink, but I never seem to have enough time to snatch them from behind my eyelids and put them down on paper.

Is there any creative outlet you rarely ever exercise anymore?

Photo by Timothy K. Hamilton

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Uffie Vs. Ke$ha ... which faux-Eurotrash diva will win?

Uffie Vs. Ke$ha ... which faux-Eurotrash diva will win?

Wow, um, just wow. Now before you see these keep in mind the top video, by Uffie, is the newer of the two VIDEOS, but the song wwithin is actually something like three years old. In other words Ke$ha is totally ripping off Uffie. Or maybe since Uffie has released almost nothing since heer initial splash, Ke$ha is merely giving the people what they want?

UFFIE


VERSUS

KE$HA




[credz]

Living Color's sold-out Double Door show...

Living Color's sold-out Double Door show...


A sampling of my Living Colour photos are up on Chicagoist, and if you dig 'em there's a LOT more shots that I took right here.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The perspective offered by a moment to breathe.

The perspective offered by a moment to breathe.


When you're up this early, and you have plenty of time before the gym, then work, then laundry, then the million other things you need to tackle today, and you can go outside and snap a few photos in the early morning light, but you extend the exposure and forsake a trip-pod because you're looking for a new way to see what you encounter everyday, and you actually have the time to DO that, that's an excellent way to start the day.