Monday, April 30, 2007

AOL is road-testing a new homepage layout.

AOL is road-testing a new homepage layout.

Did anyone else get asked to try it out too? (Click the image for a better view.)

First details of Continental Music Festival released!

First details of Continental Music Festival released!

I have the scoop
over at Chicagoist. Yee-haw!

Still don't know if I'm actually DJing the event at all, but you can bet I'll be there!

Matt + Kim + Flosstradamus = Perfection

Matt + Kim + Flosstradamus = Perfection

I've written about Flosstramus a few times, and still can't get enough of them or Kid Sister. They are going to be huge, and the main reason they will do so is because they appeal to so many disparate genres of music lovers. A few months ago I heard their remix of Matt & Kim's "Yeah Yeah" on a YouTube vid highlighting their Valentine's Day party, and I fell in love with the tune immediately. I even ripped an audio stream of the song from their MySpace so I could listen to the song whenever I wanted. (I couldn't DJ with it, because on a big system it the sound quality wouldn't have done their work justice, but in my own private Idaho I could create a massive club dancefloor packed to the walls with kids waving their arms in the air and smiling from ear to ear.

Looks like the duo decided to release (leak?) a nice quality version of the tune over the weekend, so now i can finally slip it into my sets. And pass it on to you.

MP3: Matt & Kim "Yeah Yeah (Flosstradamus Remix)"

Rarely do I simply post photos here, but in this case I just could not resist the universal truth held within this image.

Rarely do I simply post photos here, but in this case I just could not resist the universal truth held within this image.

Erm, um.

Erm, um.

Well, that certainly felt like an endless weekend. Friday's show at Hideout hit capacity and the bands playing were beyond awesome. Of course that meant I stayed out a little too late celebrating. Then I DJed the Shoeshine Boy Productions anniversary show Saturday and ended up having a blast, although I made it home at a halfway reasonable time considering I spun until almost three in the morning. Sunday the Lord said "rest," so I did.

I have more, like how one person's comment that I'm a member of the culture of the "celebrity of personality" got me to thinking that some readers obviously have no idea of my past and the fact that many of things I do actively support the local music scene, but then again I don't think many casual readers have any idea that I'm as old as I am, so I guess they can be forgiven for jumping to assumptions.

But that's a topic for another day, when I'm not out of coffee on a Monday morning and have to scramble to figure out how to snap myself to a full alertness level in time for a 9 a.m. meeting!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's funny how readers respond when they realize there are flesh and blood people behind the words they toss off thirty seconds worth of derisive typing at.

Nope, the title just about says it all. I'm having a weird morning. Unmoored. Adrift. Uncertain. So allow me simply pimp tonight's event and I'll save you from any more sloppy typing and opportunity for verbal abuse.

Oh wait, I am slightly cheered now that I'm thinking of last night's sold-out Hideout show.

Yup. Sold-out.

The Hideout was a-hoppin'!

La Scala fucking rules.
Venom Lords fucking kill.
The Safes fucking slayed.

Wow. Really, just wow.

Ready for more?

I'm DJing the Shoeshine Boy anniversary party at Double Door tonight!

This yearly event is always filled with hot girls, hot bands, um, beer drinking boys, and loads of fun.

Come on by and dance a spell, won't you?

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Safes + The venom Lords + La Scala + Tonight = TEH Awesome

The Safes + Venom Lords + La Scala = TEH Awesome

Yesterday I got all wordy, so let's keep today succinct, at least initially.

I'm presenting a show tonight at Hideout and think you should totally come. La Scala is playing, and you should go see these folks before they explode. They play a sort of new-wave, Latin (Italian) influenced rock and/or roll that rushes past your ears and ruffles your hair in all the best ways. Ex-Menthol mainman Balthazar de Ley sings for them, so if you liked the last Menthol album you have a good idea for the starting point for their sound.

Also on the bill are Venom Lords, a group of old friends whose band just keeps getting better and better. Critics keep describing them as garage rock, but that description just betrays the fact those critics haven't seen the band play in a long time. I think a better description would be to call them the twisted house band to an Anette Funicello beach movie, if that beach movie was populated by zombies. I hear tonight they'll be playing lots of stuff you can shake your ass to from their forthcoming release.

Playing last tonight are The Safes. I only recently discovered these cats, even though they've been around for a while, but they are one of my favorite Chicago bands right now. Don't take my word for it though since the local press has done a dandy job of writing them up before tonight's show. And I once said this about them, "The manic Townsend/Moon Who-stylee pop-rock on the band's latest, Well, Well, Well, keeps us scratching our heads and wondering what segment of the collective consciousness these three guys are tapping into."

I plan on DJing before and between the bands and, if there's time, afterwards. But since Hideout closes at 2 a.m. tonight there might not be time. Also, that's assuming the band don't blow the walls out with fury, punch, and volume.

MP3: Venom Lords "So Precious"
MP3: The Safes "Fairy Tale Tomorrow"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tomfoolery and ASCAPpery.

Tomfoolery and ASCAPpery.

ASCAP kind of made a big boo-boo.

Read all about it on DoneWaiting.

Full disclosure; I like my local ASCAP reps, and totally think that the genesis of this greedy mis-action lay entirely in the hands of overreaching suits far further up the food chain.

In the best possible way, we're fools for the tunes.

In the best possible way, we're fools for the tunes.

It's a turbulent time in the international office of Tankboy, LTD., so it's a good thing I have tonight off from DJing at Liar's Club. My absence doesn't mean that the party won't be raging though! Bomb Squad resident Amber Waves anchors the night and will be aided by Rudy Tuesday and Josh from La Scala. (SIDE NOTE: Please don't get Josh too drunk, I need him in decent shape to play the show I have going on at Hideout tomorrow.)

Tonight wraps up our first month since we officially took over Thursdays at Liar's, and things are going great. I want to see it keep growing, though. I no longer DJ every week myself, and I know some in my own personal following don't make it out to see me or my friends spin as often anymore because we sort of get taken for granted. Hey, that's going t0 happen to anyone that has been spinning as long as I have. The Bomb Squad is the first time, though, that I've aligned myself with a single collective, and I did it because I really believe in our mission statement; play music that's fun. You'd be surprised how many people claim that as their DJ mantra, but actually spend more time trying to insure that their evening's selections resonate within a certain hipster segment of their crowd. You won't see that happen with The Bomb Squad.

What you will see happen is a core trio, augmented by many talented friends, intent on playing tunes that they enjoy. And when a DJ plays tunes they are really into, and can't help but dance too (even if they (and by "they" I mean "I") look like goofs doing so), that enthusiasm proves infectious. So yeah, you're going to hit a few of tomorrow's hits any time we're spinning, but you're more likely to hear a bunch of shoulda-been hits you forgot you loved. or better yet, didn't know you loved.

I notice recently I've written a fair share on what my philosophy on DJing is, and why I do it, and what I enjoy in other DJs, and I think the reason behind all of this internal reflection has to do with the number of folks claiming to be DJs nowadays. And the fact that some folks mistakenly lump me into to group of relative newbies because I primarily use two iPods when I spin (and I can beat-match with them, thank you, it's no different than it was when DJs started using CDs but CD players didn't have pitch control) probably sparks a slightly self-defensive stance. But the main reason I think I've revisited this topic so often lately is because I don't know how many folks view DJing as something other than a fashion statement or social stance.

In my opinion it's neither. A DJ is a selector whose job it is to pick music that will make people feel. It's that simple. And it's that simplicity that informs Bomb Squad Thursdays and helps set us apart from the crowd. You'll literally hear a little bit of everything when we spin, and we're sure you'll enjoy the ride.

In a world where DJs and blogs and radio stations and (seemingly) everything around us are all becoming frighteningly homogeneous, we're not afraid to take a stance, take a few risks, and risk making fools of ourselves for your sake. And we've found a club that lets us run wild without worrying that what we do won't mesh with its "image." In my opinion, that adds up to all kinds of awesome.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Aggregating and motorvatin'.

Aggregating and motorvatin'.

As usual, I am not only writing here. My words spread near and far, online and in print, you can't avoid me! Here's what has been spilling over the edges into other arenas lately.

  • I discovered an interesting side-effect of scrolling through the ol' tankPOD the other day, and realized that numbers don't lie; digital players can help uncover the roots of critical thinking!

  • As usual, I pick out a couple local shows worth checking out.

  • I was rabidly promoting Monday's Birds Of Avalon show. With the amount of raving I did, you would have thought I had some sort of stake in the band's success. (I don't.) After seeing them finally play, I'll acquiesce that their live set isn't quite as great as the album it draws from, yet. However I'm curious to see what they'll be like when they swing back into town after being on the road with The Fucking Champs for a month. (Also, in person, the members of BoA are SHORT. And the guitar player is totally way hooter in person than photos would lead one to believe.)

  • I have two reviews in the current issue of UR Chicago (The Boggs and Dinosaur Jr). This is the first issue under the watchful eye of En Prise, and I like where they're taking it. So long lame-o photos of suburbanites partying in overpriced clubs; hello better music coverage and ambitious feature articles! Plus, it looks like they're readying the website for online content, but until then you can see my reviews (and the new look for the magazine itself) in this PDF (my stuff is on page 62 ... the PDF takes forever to load, so if I were you I'd just download the whole thing onto your desktop and peruse at your leisure).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Bravery: Unintentionally funny.

The Bravery: Unintentionally funny.

Got a sampler of tracks from the new disc coming out from The Bravery. And laughed. Out loud. All over the CD are warnings that it's watermarked, and I'd better not rip it and share it or anything like that. Why is this funny? Well, does the label REALLY think The Bravery are so big that "the kids" are just dying to hear their new tracks?

I was making fun of them yesterday and Photogal chided me saying, "I thought you liked them?" I corrected her and reminded her that I DID like many of the songs on their debut (the group did write a bunch of snappy tunes, and far be it from me to fault a song for its creator), but thought the band itself was a poorly packaged marketing scheme (and the Lollapalooza show I saw supported this notion since the band looked like a bunch of stereotypes mashed together onto a single stage). This sampler further confirms that truth, but is sadly devoid of any of the fun that made the group listenable in the first place. In fun's place is the usual sophomore attempt at "artistic worth" mixed with poorly grounded gravitas and generally lame execution.

The label needn't have worried about watermarking my copy, because there's no way I would inflict any of the songs contained within upon anyone kind enough to visit this site.

Spoke too soon!

Spoke too soon!

Who would have thought that the thing to make me crack into a wide grin and hold off the screaming terrors (at least for a second) would be within a Pitchfork review of Shitdisco's Kingdom of Fear?

After its brief respite, the floodgates of dancepunk have opened aga-- okay, wait wait wait, I can't ignore this any longer: Why in the world would you call your band Shitdisco? As a music reviewer, you get some pretty absurd and/or wretched names showing up in you mailbox from day to day, but Shitdisco is perhaps the most dreadful one I've come across in some time. What do you tell your Grandma when she asks you what your little band is called? If you hit it big on the radio, are you prepared to be referred to as [Bleep]Disco or Poopdisco? Do you really want to open yourself up to so many easy and pun-gross putdowns? I honestly can't believe nobody talked you out of it.

Thanks 'Fork folk, I needed that.

MP3: SHITDISCO "Disco Blood"

Goin' dark.

Goin' dark.

Maybe dark for the day, maybe just for the morning. I'm in a foul mood so I don't think it'd be fair to unleash said mood on you, gentle reader. Instead, how about a song to thank you for stopping by? If my mood weren't so dark, this is just the sort of thing that would get me totally revved up and ready for the day.

MP3: Wildhearts "The New Flesh"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Seven down, forty-five to go.

Seven down, forty-five to go.

The Year Of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion

Wow, I'm behind. And it's my own damn fault for picking Joan Didion's The Year Of Magical Thinking, in the mistaken belief that reading about someone else's mourning process might help me understand my own. Instead, it only reminded me how insurmountable grief can seem, and how difficult it is to discuss with anyone else since we're so trained that death is something we get over in time. I don't think it is, or at least if it is I haven't been allowed a sufficient amount of time to reconcile my own grief at my father's death. And if we do get over these feelings in time, I strongly doubt that time is something we can measure in lengths of human comprehension.

The most interesting thing, so far, that I've gleaned from Didion is the weird avoidance of really facing death head-on because, on some level, we kind of think they might come back. Her case was made even more difficult since her husband died WHILE their daughter was in an ICU unit, so she was juggling some pretty heavy baggage (not that any loss is less great, but she was slipping into something they clinically called "complicated grief" or "pathological bereavement").

All the same, it's difficult to read a book like hers because the universality of human experience really stuns you. You realize that yes, everyone feels the same bottomless sense of loss, and everyone does their best to avoid it. Even "working through" grief doesn't seem to extinguish the source, it only serves to offer us mechanisms for functioning throughout the day.

It's funny that we can feel at our most alone experiencing an emotion that is universal in its touch.

Why did it take me so long to read this? And why, once it became obvious just how difficult is was going to be, did I not just set the book aside and read something else in order to keep up the pace? I don't have a satisfying explanation for that, other than to admit that it felt like cheating to dodge this one, and once I cracked open its covers, reading anything other than periodicals (to continue literal contact with daily events) felt like cheating too. Sometimes I could only handle a few pages a week before retreating to The Economist in some hope that some burgeoning genocide might apply a numbing balm upon my own internal rawness, but in the end I knew I had to take it all in, and I'm glad I did.

Didion doesn't say everything's going to be all right. If anything she's more of a mess a year after her husband's death than she was the night after. But one thing Didion does do is offer the solace that everyone has to deal with this, so even if some mistaken notion of propriety halts us from showing our grief outwardly -- even years after the initial loss -- we can take some comfort in realizing that more probably than not, the people surrounding us know just how we feel.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Manic Street Preachers + Nina Persson = Yummy goodness.

Manic Street Preachers + Nina Persson = Yummy

I didn't expect this, but I can actually listen to the latest Manic Street Preachers disc all the way through without getting sick of the overproduction and schmaltzy audio decoration.

The first single, featuring Nina Persson of The Cardigans, is "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough" and it is particularly catchy. Usually something with such obviously swooping strings would send me running for cover, but I think it works here.

Plus, Persson's voice is one of those things that makes you forgive almost any misstep a song can make.

It's still not a great album by any means, especially when you consider this is the same band that created The Holy Bible, but it definitely marks an uptick in the band's output compared to their more recent work.

MP3: Manic Street Preachers "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough"

Why Black Francis should stay the way he is and not try and write any new songs for The Pixies: An argument in two parts.

Why Black Francis should stay the way he is and not try and write any new songs for The Pixies: An argument in two parts.

  1. Anything Black Francis records as The Pixies now will suck by sheer virtue of it being impossible for any new material to stand up to the mythology of The Pixies catalog. (This is a universal rule of rock, though it does have a few exceptions -- most recently, see exhibit C1342B: Dinosaur Jr's Beyond)
  2. He's already writing Pixies songs, he's just not recording them with the Pixies (most recently, see exhibit BF9770C (below)).

MP3: Black Francis "Threshold Apprehension"

Stumblin' down the staircase that I built with my own two hands.

Stumblin' down the staircase that I built with my own two hands.

I'm upstairs at Liar's Club tonight. O'Connell is behind the bar. It's Tracy's birthday. DJ Cowbell will probably make an appearance and spin some tasty cuts of her own choosing. Plan on sleeping in tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Aw, look at the cute widdle bear!

Aw, look at the cute widdle bear!

That's right, it's a Thursday, so it must be a Bomb Squad night at Liar's Club! JB (June Cleavage) and I will be making the selections this evening, and we may be rotating between both floors, or we may just be downstairs, or we may be upstairs, but we'll definitely be there.

Also, I'm not positive, but the bass player from my old band Cuddlefish might be in The Jagz ... wouldn't that be wild?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Photogal says that sometimes, this is what I sound like.

Photogal says that, sometimes, this is what I sound like.

Of course in our case, it's books or music or pop culture that I'm talking about, but the end result is that it still sounds like so much gibberish to her.

I'm special ... so very special.

I'm special ... so very special.

Okay Jean Twenge, I can buy the notion that teenagers and the "young people" of today are into themselves. Teenagers being self-centered and narcissistic is nothing new. Hell, MOST people are self-centered and narcissistic! I think the big difference now is that we have an army of folks (television hosts, educators, self-help gurus, every fucking reality television series ever made) now supporting the misbegotten notion that everyone deserves some sort of special recognition, and that's what's warping this generation's view of itself.

There's a difference between being special or unique (which all of us are), and being talented or extraordinary (which most people are not).

The thing of it is, and I've been wrestling with this for a while since I wanted to make sure my feelings weren't just grounded in "back in the day" sentiments, we have sort of swung a complete 180 from the repression of the '50s and are now swimming in the middle of a sea of unjustified self-confidence and self-expression. I do believe everyone is special, and should be treated with respect, and honored for the positive things they do; but I don't think that everyone deserves recognition just for being them.

And, of course, we're dealing with gross generalizations. Just as everyone I knew wasn't a slacker in the early '90s -- no matter how much the press tried to convince you that Generation X was filled with aimless scalawags -- I know that not everyone under the age of 30 is a selfish little brat. However, just as the slacker archetype did have some truth (um, yours truly did spend a lot of time playing in a band, cooking in a coffeehouse and bartending / doing the door / DJing at my local bar) it's fair to say the the self-congratulating MySpace / Facebook mirror theory holds more than a few valid observations as well.

At the same time, I'm personally encountering a lot of people in this younger demographic that are more politically motivated, more socially conscious, and filled with a greater sense of fiscal responsibility than folks my own age. Part of this has to do with the fact that the generation before me has fucked up the world pretty bad, and younger generations realize they need to get a grip on things.

These sorts of studies crop up every few years, cause a ruckus, and then disappear. I agree that some perspective should be employed by kids today (and adults, duh) that are under a constant media barrage reaffirming some misbegotten notion that they are the center of the universe and all good things are due to them and should flow their way. But I think that develop that sense of perspective is just another one of the signposts on the way to growing up, and considering the actions of most of the people I know, I'm not too worried that Generation Y is going to do just fine.

(But kids, don't call yourself Generation Awesome, though, since that only adds fuel to fire of judgemental old farts. I'm not defending you on that one.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Avril Pussycat Part Deux

Avril Pussycat Part Deux

It seems my mention of that Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack has unearthed a whole legion of Pussycat fans that probably, like me, thought they were all alone in the world ...

Suckin' on a lollipop and skipping down the street.

Suckin' on a lollipop and skipping down the street.

Can you smell it? Just beyond your nostril? Summer's almost here. Spring got spanked by a rude interruption of some unfriendly wintry blasts, but I can see from the shrinking hemlines and men's collars dipping further down due to unused buttons that we're getting awfully close. This is the Midwest, so we're sure to get another blast or two of inclement weather, but by this point our appetites for the sun and it's warmth are so tickled that we view 35° days as T-shirt and shorts weather.

I remember growing up in south Texas where the mercury dipping below 7o° meant it was time for a windbreaker, and below 45° was a deep freeze the region feared was the dawning of a new ice age.

Of course folks on the East Coast are probably reading this and doubting my sanity. To that portion of my audience I apologize, but ask that they keep in mind that weather the nation over does not constantly mirror theirs.

Anyway, here's an image of things to come to help you get in the same frame of mind as I am, and if that's not enough, below that you will find an MP3 to aid in at least the mental re-acclimation to the steadily approaching benefits of summer.

MP3: Mika "Lollipop"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Avril Lavigne DOES equal Josie and the Pussycats ... Idolator says so!

America agrees ... Avril Lavigne DOES equal Josie and the Pussycats!

My Avril Lavigne review on donewaiting just got a nice shout-out from Idolator that I hope spurs people to revisit the criminally overlooked Josie and the Pussycats disc.

Dig it. And if you wanna, feel free to Digg it as well!

NIN on the DRM.

NIN on the DRM.

Nine Inch Nails' new Year Zero is really a great album. So great that I can't wait to buy one tomorrow and cast my consumer vote in favor of the production of good music. An added plus? Not only is Reznor still putting out music that's timely (forward-looking, even), thus showing he still "gets it," he's also got a wicked sense of humor.

Grindhouse; fun, and fine the way it is.

Grindhouse; fun, and fine the way it is.

So there's been a lot of talk about the whole Grindhouse thing, and much speculation about why it "didn't work." It took in less money this weekend than last, so commercially it's already being condemned as a bomb. In the long run I'm actually curious as to how this film will be judged by history, and by history I mean a few months from now, since I am fairly confident that word of mouth is just the sort of thing to actually help a film like this.

First of all, it's a fun film. It's over the top. It combines what some see as the best, and some see as the worst, qualities in both primary directors (Rodriguez and Tarantino). It's gory. Quite a bit of it comes off as gratuitous, but when you take a step back you see that everything actually does work towards helping the stories function as cohesive wholes.

Rodriguez's Planet Terror is a good old fashioned zombie flick, amped up in Rodriguez's inimitable imitation style of over the top acrobatics, and displays an undeniable penchant for spilling blood in ways that both shock and provoke uncontrollable fits of giggles. It's pace is relentless and it's characters reach beyond the territory of familiar archetypes to inhabit realms of exaggeration as they "reach up" to become something bigger than the material they pay homage to (or lovingly parody, depending on your own personal read.)

Tarantino's Death Proof is a bit different. Since he's spent so much of his career lovingly looking back on the pulp films that have formed his aesthetic attack, the viewer has grown used to seeing him take conventional genres and twist them to his own liking. Where Rodriguez offers us a familiar pastiche of zombie / apocalypse fare, Tarantino introduces a familiar trope in the form of a slasher / serial killer flick, only to pull the rug out from under the viewer right as things seem to have slowed to a confounding halt.

Much has been said about the fact that Tarantino's segment takes so long to get off the ground, but I think that the pace of his film is integral to its having the effect it ultimately does. Yes, it's true that Tarantino is much like Woody Allen when you consider that almost every character on the screen, male and female, are basically different permutation of the scriptwriter / director, but that doesn't make the verbal sparring and slowly building story structure any less enjoyable. Who goes to see a Tarantino film, or an Allen film, in hopes of seeing the voice behind the story willfully obscured? As long as the dialogue contains their trademark panache, no one should be complaining.

And Death Proof is a sweetly satisfying film that unfolds with a killer payoff at the end. In retrospect, the quiet character build-up helps sweeten the denouement, and a number of actors that have been introduced with stereotypical qualities to inhabit (and carry through with in) stereotypical roles, blossom into fully realized characters deserving of an honest bond with the viewer that transcends the genre.

Not to mention, anyone that's seen a slasher film know just how much non-action actually occupies the story in contrast to the three or four instances per movie of slasher "pay-off." Tarantino knows this rule, but tweaks it so that the viewer gets involved with the story as a whole instead of merely twiddling their thumbs waiting for the next scene of ultra-violence to explode across the scene.

And finally, if the two movies are paced so differently, why should they be kept together anyway?

The funny thing is, that for all of its enjoyable adrenaline rush, I suspect that had I seen Planet Terror as a stand-alone, I might have felt a little cheated, whereas Death Proof might in some ways profit from being viewed by itself, since it's more mature handling of pace would feel more natural. Even so, the simplest reason I can think of to NOT split the two is that they were conceived to be viewed in a single sitting. Secondly, a number of actors are shared between both; some inhabit the world of Tarantino's and rodriguez's previous films, some seem to walk a shadowy path between both Grindhouse movies, and some are just recycled in the manner the D-movie actors were back in the days of true double features.

The best reason, though, is that when viewed together the films hearken back to a time that never really existed in the first place. Originally the grindhouse movies were terrible. Really terrible. And double features, while being a good way to loose oneself for a few hours on a muggy afternoon when the air conditioning was out at your house, were way too long. But they did have something magical about them in the way that they pushed the envelope and dared to offend sensibilities, even if those moments were literally seconds of two-hours of otherwise mind-numbingly boring fare. What Tarantino and Rodriguez have done is take those seconds, expanded them into hours, and rescued the romantic notions of the original idea by making good on the promises of those older, failed films.

MP3: Robert Rodriguez "Grindhouse (Main Titles)"
MP3: Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich "Hold Tight"

From a whisper to a ROAR!

From a whisper to a ROAR!

Come by and show your support tonight, won't you?

From A Whisper To A ROAR! Benefit Show at Darkroom 4.16.2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

And why not?

And why not?

Now that I've learned Machete might actually be made into a full-length movie (which is probably why you can't find the trailer online right now), as well as Don't, I reckoned I would hunt down some of the other Grindhouse trailers for you. The only one that doesn't totally work for me is the Rob Zombie one, but it's still kind of amusing.



Werewolf Women of the S.S.

Really frickin' disturbing ... Thanksgiving.

Really frickin' disturbing ... Thanksgiving.

We saw Grindhouse. I loved it, but Photogal thought the Tarantino segment started off too slowly. I disagree and will go into detail later. (I wish my dad was alive to see Death Proof, though, since he would have absolutely, totally loved it; it contains what were his two passions, cars and horror.) However, if they do end up splitting the flicks in two, I hope they keep all the fake trailers that run throughout intact. The one below, directed by Eli Roth, is equal parts hilarious and really disturbing (especially the last 0.50 seconds). However, I can't get the way to V.O. dude says "Thanksgiving" out of my head ... it's too funny.

Anyway, if you've got a weak stomach, don't watch the video below. Everyone else, enjoy.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday Shot: -ist Edition

Saturday Shot: -ist Edition

The above is from the last Chicagoist writers happy hour. I think it captures the general, um, je ne sais quoi of the site rather well, don't you?

And below is a tune off the new album from The Electric Soft Parade that I just can't get out of my head. Put it on repeat and let it be the soundtrack to your Saturday night.

MP3: The Electric Soft Parade "If That's The Case, Then I Don't Know"

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sunny pop to cure your Winter blues.

Sunny pop to cure your Winter blues.

A few years ago The Icicles' "Rock And Roll Girl" came across my path and found its way into a bunch of DJ sets at the time. And then I kind of forgot about them. Well, what should pop in my inbox but a few tracks from their just released Arrivals & Departures CD.

I know I said earlier that my recommendations shouldn't be trusted today, but believe me when I state the following with clear mind and steady voice: You need to download the track below. It's super shiny-bright pop that is perfectly suited to blow away the last vestiges of winter that seem to be hanging so tenaciously on here in the Midwest. If you dig stuff like The Primitives, or just generally adore girl-group pop like I do, then this should hit your sweet spot right well.

MP3: The Icicles "La Ti Da"

So is this Imus' fault too?

So is this Imus' fault too?

New Jersy governor in critical condition due to crash suffered on his way to meeting Imus.

An aside, when I lived in NJ we used to get Imus' show, and even back then I thought the dude was a douche. I'm less surprised at the furor over his remarks that got him fired and more surprised that they kept him on the air for so long when he has a history of being a racist asshole.

About last night ...

About last night ...

I was gonna do a Friday Five, but trust me when I say that this morning my sensibilities are far enough off that I shouldn't be recommending music to ANYONE. You know it was a good time LAST NIGHT when one of the DJs has to leave in order to make it home before the pink elephants start dancing in front of his eyes. (I'm not saying who, but he might be 6'2" with Jesus hair ...)

From what I do remember though, both Rudy and Sean did a fantabulous job DJing last night.

And we had what in the '80s vernacular might be referred to as a "crowded house."

Much thanks to my other two Bomb Squadders, JB and Lisa, for showing up and offering support in the form of dancing and drinking ... two things that go great with Liar's Club.

Okay, enough kudos, time for me to go make the donuts ... oh yeah, and shut up, I've got this thing about Party Of Five ...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bomb Squad Thursday ... this one's for Kurt (both of them)!

Bomb Squad Thursday ... this one's for Kurt (both of them)!

Tonight the girls are stepping out of the booth for a spell to allow our two guests, Rudy Tuesday and Vinyl Ritchie, to join me for the evening. Last week there was dancing and drinking and general in(s)anity. Lots of folks walked out with Death Proof swag and a grand time was had by all.

Let's step it up a notch this week, shall we?

We've got CDs and other stuff to give away from Klaxons in advance of their Chicago stop over the next few days. I've got the new Avril Lavigne so let's see how far I can get into a song off that disc before Haggerty launches over the bar and digs my eyes out with his thumbs. Last week we saw a fair number of Lincoln Park types come in, a bunch of goths ventured down from their upstairs lair, and everyone had a good time, so if that ain't proof that the night appeals the EVERYBODY then I don't know what is.

Plus, some girl pulled her boob out in the DJ booth while I was spinning and I totally missed it ... that's how focused I am on the job of delivering killer tunes to the crowd.

Remember that time I met Kurt Vonnegut?

Remember that time I met Kurt Vonnegut?

I'll never forget the time Kurt Vonnegut was doing a radio show upstairs from the Starbucks my girlfriend at the time was working. (This was 1991 or '92 in Chicago and Starbucks were still pretty exotic.) Anyway, she mentioned I was a fan to his handler when they were getting some coffee, and when I showed up I was told Vonnegut would come down to meet me. So I sat and prepped and practiced my lines (because at the time Vonnegut was like a god to me) and when he finally showed up, he burst through the door and said, "Okay, who's the boyfriend that wants to meet me." Everyone froze and turned to look at me. I kind of mumbled, "I am." Vonnegut just looked at me and said, "That's it? No autograph or anything?"

And I just couldn't do anything other than shake my head no. I think maybe, maybe, I was able to pull myself together enough to shake his hand.

I've never been as starstruck by anyone since ...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lolla line-up?

Lolla line-up?

I'm not sure how legit this is, and I'll report on the confirmed line-up tomorrow at Chicagoist, but if this is anything close to the truth I'm going to be a very happy boy this summer!

Pearl Jam, Daft Punk, Ben Harper, Muse, Iggy & The Stooges, Modest Mouse, Interpol, My Morning Jacket, Satellite Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Snow Patrol, The Roots, Patti Smith, Kings Of Leon, The Black Keys, Regina Spektor, Spoon, Lupe Fiasco, TV On The Radio, Pete Yorn, G. Love, Paolo Nutini, Amy Winehouse, LCD Soundsystem, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Silverchair, Femi Kuti, Yo La Tengo, Hold Steady, Jack's Mannequin, Stephen Marley, STS9, MIA, Slightly Stoopid, Blonde Redhead, Sparklehorse, Sean Lennon, !!!, Blue October, Son Volt, Motion City Soundtrack, Polyphonic Spree, Peter Bjorn & John, Silversun Pickups, CSS, The Rapture, The Wailers, Roky Erickson, Tapes N Tapes, Heartless Bastards, The View, The Cribs, The Fratellis, Ghostland Observatory, Tokyo Police Club, Rhymefest, Soulive, Cold War Kids, Annuals, Fields, Electric Six, Jim Noir, Elvis Perkins, Sam Roberts, Black Angels, Charlie Musselwhite, Aqueduct, Juliette & The Licks, Dios, Viva Voce, David Vandervelde, Los Campesinos!, Chin Up Chin Up, Ryan Shaw, Colour Revolt, Satin Peaches, Illinois, Arckid, Mickey Avalon, The 1900s, Bang Bang Bang, Bound Stems, High Class Elite Carey Ott, Matt Roan

Only one problem ... where is DJ Tankboy on that list?!

UPDATE: Looks like The Onion's A.V. Club is the source, so I'm guessing this info is accurate. Fuck yeah!

ANOTHER UPDATE: I've learned that a number of print publications had this info due to full-page ads going out this week. So that begs the question: Is that where Josh Modell got his info? If so, that seems awfully sketchy to me.

FINAL UPDATE: He got the info from the full-page ads Lolla booked with Time Out magazine ... not thinking that subscriber's issues would be delivered the day before the press conference!

Now I know why so many promo CDs never make it to my house, and why my Economist is often a week late!

Now I know why so many promo CDs never make it to my house, and why my Economist is often a week late!

"Chicago is my No.1 priority because it has the worst mail delivery service in the country," [U.S. Postmaster General John E.] Potter told the Tribune, after private meetings and briefings with top postal officials in Chicago.

Does this mean I'll actually start getting my mail? Because that would be awesome.

Dumber than Dumb.

Dumber than Dumb.

While I feel badly about the abuse that was heaped on, and then freaked out, Kathy Sierra, I have to say that the whole idea of a blogger code of conduct sort of goes against everything that's good about the 'net and blogging and all that.

Wait, let me modify that last sentence. It doesn't "sort of" go against all that, it COMPLETELY goes against all that.

I mean, c'mon.

In happier news, I see freedom of speech has at least won one recent court battle.

A creeping fear is in my ears.

A creeping fear is in my ears.

So Photogal comes up to me yesterday and tells me that the pair of iPod headphones I loaned her months ago has finally broken. Keep in mind these headphones were the ones that came with my original 3G iPod (the original tankPOD) that I got years and years ago. So I gave her the pair I've been using (also a 3G back-up pair) and finally broke out the 'phones that came with one of my snazzy brand new iPods a few months ago.

And I immediately noticed the sonic difference.

Where before I had a nice bass tone, distinct high-end, and silence when nothing was playing; now I have hiss when there's silence and a sonic spectrum that can only be described as flat.

I understood when Apple stopped including cases and power adapters and all those other little amenities that came with the original couple of generations, but now that they're scrimping on items I consider rather integral to the whole purpose an iPod is supposed to serve, I am growing even more worried that my little four-month-old models will have a much reduced life-span than one would expect for a luxury item that's supposed to be at the forefront of technological innovation.

As a point of reference, I still have my 3G iPod, and while it's battery life is ridiculously short when compared to the newer models, it is still functioning. I can still count on it. It was built securely and with great care. Is that no longer the case with the newer models? Are they like a pair of jeans that is designed to break down relatively quickly in order to spur an upgrade? I sure hope not.

I'm still knocking on wood and hoping that the complaints I hear about Apple's quality control with the iPods are merely the voices of an unlucky few amplified by the echo chamber that is internet opinion. I'm hoping that my little tankPOD and diPOD v2.0s are still running strong this time next year.

But I have to admit, the sound in my ears doesn't fill me with confidence.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jesus Harvey, give it some time to grow!

Jesus Harvey, give it some time to grow!

From Page Six:
Harvey Weinstein is so disappointed in the $11.6 million opening weekend gross for "Grindhouse" ... he's considering re-releasing each film ... separately in longer versions, the way they'll play in foreign markets and on DVD. "I don't think people understood what we were doing," Weinstein told Page Six. "The audience didn't get the idea that it is two movies for the price of one. I don't understand the math, but I want to accommodate the audience." He said the main deterrent to ticket buyers is the length, which "becomes a time commitment."

Um, it's only opening weekend, but this displays one of the main fucking problems with the studios today, since they seem to think a movie's entire fate depends on the opening weekend's gross. Sure, I can see how that number is all important for shitty blockbusters that really NEED to make a shit-load of dough right away before word gets out that the flick stinks, but I really don't think it's fair to apply this viewpoint across the board. Plus, Harvey, just because you overspent on promotion does not mean this particular flick was ever going to attract a totally mainstream audience, so get that thought out of your head right now.

I haven't seen Grindhouse yet, and believe me I'm chomping at the bit to do so, because I just didn't have time last weekend. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see it later this week or next weekend, but I really DO want to see it all in one piece ... so hold off chopping it in half and redistributing it for at least another week or two, okay Harv?

Somethin' about today ... can't put my finger on it ...

Somethin' about today ... can't put my finger on it ...

After an unusually busy schedule last week I find myself at a bit of a loss right now. It's been a quiet few days. Actually, mentally, I'm sort of just standing under a tree in a shady grove twiddling my thumbs absentmindedly and, some might say, somewhat contentedly. I can readily admit that I grow nostalgic for my old schedule (working primarily at night while still being functional but largely without a fixed schedule during the day), but after a few days of non-stop work I can also readily admit that my older frame isn't really built for such abuse anymore.

(This was certainly driven home when my Saturday, a day I had set aside as a day I could be largely useless and lazy and recharge my batteries, was hijacked by bad weather. I say hijacked because Photogal was SUPPOSED to be working on her new racing motorcycle with some pals, leaving me blissfully in peace, but the crap weather scuppered those plans and left her with nothing to do. This is never a good thing when all I want to do is be lazy. Suffice to say my Saturday was spent productively, much to my (and my poor aching body and mind's) chagrin.)

That was a few days ago, though, and this is now. So let's allow today to just sort of blend into the ... what? Wait a -- I think I might have an even better explanation for my "happily relaxed" state o' mind today.

Do you know what today IS?

Why it's my one-year anniversary at my job!

Just think, a year ago today I was doing the happy dance up and down my block because I would never have a two-hour commute ahead of me again. Well, at least not for as long as I worked where I do now, and -- knock on wood -- I don't see that situation changing anytime in the near future. A year ago today I started at a company populated with a bunch of folks I have yet to grow dissatisfied with, and took a position that I enjoy even more now than I did then.

I'm a lucky guy.


Well, I'm a lucky guy when the kitten isn't sinking her teeth and claws into my ankle. Excuse me, I think I need a band-aid.

Happy jobiversary, Tankboy!

Awesome Jimmy Johns photo by Rachelle ... and no, I don't work at Jimmy Johns, it's just a funny picture!

Chicago hates motorcycles.

Chicago hates motorcycles.

Well, one could be forgiven for thinking that the city is only friendly to man-driven bikes, considering the new parking regulations they want motor-driven cycles to follow. The article says, "Motorcycle and scooter riders will be required to park "perpendicular to the curb" -- or as close to 90 degrees as possible -- under an ordinance advanced Monday to ease Chicago's notorious parking crunch."

I may as well just take a sledgehammer to Photogal's bike now, since any car passing a bike that's sticking out in the road like that is sure to bump the bike and sen it toppling exhaust pipe over handlebars.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Win a Klaxons prize pack!

Win a Klaxons prize pack!

We've arranged for some cool Klaxons stuff to be given away at Chicagoist so enter now. And read what we have to say about the band and where you can see them in Chicago (doing a Free YR Radio event) even if you don't have tickets to their sold-out show at Schuba's!

I love writing for Chicagoist.

Rivers Schwartzman?

Rivers Schwartzman?

Jason Schwartzman's back in the music biz, it seems, under the moniker of Coconut Records. He bops around genres quite a bit on his debut but it's be safe to consider his stuff rock and/or pop. He's got a little electronic disco tune, a song that would've fit perfectly on any one of Phantom Planet's discs, and -- most surprisingly -- some kick ass anthemic rock a la Weezer.

The disc appears to only be available as a download (easiest sources: eMusic and iTunes) so I'm guessing Schwartzman is going the whole one-man-band thing 100% solo and sans label (for the time being), which I think is laudable. This is especially noteworthy since his disc isn't just the self-indulgent work of yet another actor turned musician; instead Coconut Records' debut is a fine work by a musician occasionally detoured by the odd acting gig.

MP3: Coconut Records "Back To You"

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I ♥ Google Maps

I ♥ Google Maps.

Software companies with a sense of humor are très sexy. Click on the image below and take the whole thing in to see why.

Two discs of unreleased Fig Dish?!

Two discs of unreleased Fig Dish?!

Chip has finally (officially) put the ol' Swizzle Stick site to rest, but he's starting up a new venture at Atomic Ned. Expect periodic updates, reviews of female-lef pop-rock bands, and other nuggets of pure Chip-ness that don't end up over at donewaiting.

To get things started off with a bang he's offering a download of two discs worth of unreleased Fig Dish demos ... this is the stuff the band was working on to find another label after being dropped by A&M ... material some Chicagoans (Keep!) claim is some of Fig Dish's best work.

So get thee on over to Atomic Ned, download the tracks, and then thank Chip for making 'em available!

Friday, April 06, 2007

LCD Trousersnake.

LCD Trousersnake.

So I played that Diplo remix of "My Love" last night and I CAN NOT get the Timberlake / LCD Soundsystem juxtaposition out of my head. Even the Lily Allen cover of "Oh My God" isn't doing it.

Here, you should totally suffer too ...

MP3: Justin Timberlake "My Love (Diplo Remix)"

... and now, the failed antidote ...

MP3: Mark Ronson "Oh My God (feat. Lily Allen)"



Last night was insane. So let's just bullet point while I regain my senses.

  • I am currently digging just about everything crossing my desk from Anthology Recordings.

    They specialize in bringing super rare and out-of-print stuff (like the most excellent psych masterpiece by D.R. Hooker that usually sells for an easy grand) into the hands of everyone. Their super niche catalog makes total sense when you consider that they are an ALL DIGITAL reissue label! What a concept. I love it. I'm in the middle of a longer piece showcasing a couple specific discs they've handled so far, but head on over and check out the awesome collection for yourself.

  • Who is Nikki?! I'm 100% sure this is a bit and not a "real life situation," but it's pretty funny.

  • NooooOOOOoooOOOO! Please; Sting, Andy, and Stewart, do NOT record a new album.

  • Why is there a picture of Brittany Murphy up there? Why not?

Holy moly, I almost forgot! (Not really, but I'm going for dramatic effect here, so shut up.) I've got ANOTHER show tonight! How busy can a Tankboy be? Pretty damn busy!* It's going to be hard to top last night, but if anything can do it, it's this line-up!


*Weird how these things hit, time-wise, huh? I mean I'll go weeks and weeks with barely anything going on, and then I'll hit a week-long stretch with too too fucking much going on! But it's been a fun week, so I'm glad I've been pushing myself ... the rewards have been way worth it. Okay, i'm signing off for reals because I just notice how much abuse I've been putting the exclamation mark through.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Bomb Squad ... we're taking over Thursday nights!

The Bomb Squad ... we're taking over Thursday nights!

We've gotten tired of everyone in this city trying to promote their night as a "rock and roll dance party" while totally forgetting the rock and roll, or trying to claim their electro or house nights are filled with "rock attitude." To these platitudes we say; Whatever.

The Bomb Squad is here to show the kids what it's really about. While many claim to spin an eclectic mix, while actually leaning heavy on the hip-hop or electro beats, we mean it. In our house Run D.M.C., The Misfits, Justice, David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, The New York Dolls, Jack White, The Rapture , James Brown, and Bad Brains literally rub elbows on the dance floor. If it's good, we'll play it, and you can dance to it.

The Bomb squad is populated by three Chicago based DJs: June Cleavage, Amber Waves, and DJ Tankboy. June Cleavage and Amber Waves made their name together with a dancetastic residency at The Pontiac, and DJ Tankboy has been spinning in countless Chicago clubs since 1995.

This trio has come together to claim Thursday nights at Liar's Club as their own. The core threesome will be holding down residency duties from week to week, while welcoming a slew of special guest DJs to help hold down the fort and fill the floor.

Time Out Chicago
has even designated us a critic's choice this week and says, "This new weekly sounds hypereclectic, but interesting. If you can hang with Run D.M.C., Misfits, Justice and James Brown in one set, it's all yours."

It's on!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

DJ tankPOD has skillz.

DJ tankPOD has skillz.

I decided to take it easy and let tankPOD man the mixing between bands last night, and I think he did a fine job, don't you? (Click to enlarge for easier readability.)

Speaking of the last night, The Stock Market Crash aroused my ire by playing a show at Schuba's the night before the show I booked for them here, but I forgave all once they started playing. Live, they came across as a cross between Suede and Joy Division with a healthy does of Killers-esque pop. I had no idea what to expect from them, but now I can't wait until they come through town again so I can expose them to some more people.

MP3: The Stock Market Crash "Bringing Knives To A Gunfight"

I think I must be drunk, because this can't be true.

I think I must be drunk, because this can't be true.

Okay, I'm not drunk, but I'm having a hard time explaining what I'm hearing without some sort of mind-altering excuse. Remember Silverchair? You might have known them better as the poor man's Nirvana (even poorer than Bush, if you can believe that*) who sort of faded away in the late '90s, never to be heard from again ... right?

Well, I get the impression that while they faded from our own radar Stateside, they maintained a certain level of popularity back in Australia -- and, it seems, New Zealand -- so that would explain why they have a new album coming out over there but not here.

And it's pretty good.

I know, I know, that's hard to believe, and I think it's probably just better to let you hear a track or two (and hopefully see that I haven't lost my marbles) and come to your own conclusion.

I'll say this, though, if I hadn't told you this was Silverchair, you would never have guessed it ...

MP3: Silverchair "If You Keep Losing Sleep"
MP3: Silverchair "Straight Lines"

*Full disclosure: I have a soft spot for Bush, but I still think they weren't very good. It doesn't stop me from enjoying their songs from time to time, though.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rock and/or Roll with me tonight.

Rock and/or Roll with me tonight.

So I put together this bill for a friend of a friend touring through Chicago tonight. It's a little weird because I've haven't previously worked with any of the bands playing this evening. I've heard their stuff, I've hung out with members of each band in the past, and I enjoy what each group does. I mean, it's definitely going to be a good time; but it's unique in that it's a show that contains some small segment of "the unknown" for me.

Which is, actually, kind of cool!

I get to attend a show and pretend I'm like most other folks in the audience, experiencing this particular line-up for the first time! This is a luxury not often afforded to someone like me.

Anyway, here is the line-up:

Also, I'll be spinning during the show, and if there's a decent crowd I might just keep the dancing going on after the bands are done too.

One song I know I'll be playing? This Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip track that Market Frenzy turned me onto months ago and is just starting to hit a frenzied pitch upon its official release ...

MP3: Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip "Thou Shalt Always Kill"

Win Death Proof stuff!

Win Death Proof stuff!

If you're reading this and it's after 9:10 a.m. C.S.T., then head here and enter for your chance to win a CD or LP of the soundtrack to Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino's contribution to Grindhouse. We're also giving away one of the film's movie posters (seen below). This stuff is so cool I kind of wish I had no ethics so I could win all the stuff for myself! Luckily for you, Tankboy's mom taught him right so I'm ineligible to win. So take advantage of my sorrow and grab a prize for yourself.

Monday, April 02, 2007

EMI gets a clue.

EMI gets a clue.

EMI's online digital catalog goes DRM free.

They obviously read what I wrote last Friday, right? I'm glad I can be so persuasive.

Getting into yet another Pickle.

Getting into yet another Pickle.

Friday night seemed like it was going to be a pretty mellow evening. I had stayed home from work because my throat was killing me and didn't really want to spread cooties around my office, and spur yet another round robin tournament of people getting sick and having to stay home too. The only thing Photogal and I had planned for the evening was to see if we couldn't repair the damage that was being done to our couch by a certain kitten who had discovered a way to climb all up inside the sofa and claw away at if from the inside.

So, Photogal got home and we went to turn the couch on its side to get a better look at what was going on, since we knew Pickle the Kitten had shredded part of the bottom covering in orser to gain access to her sofa playground. Unbeknownst to us, as we were flipping the couch backwards, Pickle was actually already inside and had made the decision to exit via a rear escape route she had fashioned. Unfortunately it was midway through her escape that she got pinned underneath the rear of the couch. Photogal and I hear a "MeeeeEERRRRRROOOOWWWW!" and saw two little kitty legs kicking around and struggling. The dogs wen nuts and started to try and nip at the now-trapped kitty butt. Photogal and I freaked and shooed the dogs away and pulled the couch off the kitten.

Pickle ran out of the room (we later discovered that the fact she even ran was an excellent sign). We followed her, hugged her, and were scared because she seemed strangely subdued. Did she break a rip or something? Was there maybe internal bleeding or a squished organ? What to do ?!

Well, I looked up here the closest veterinary emergency room was and we wrapped Pickle up and whisked her off to get checked out. A word about animal emergency rooms? They're just like the human version, right down to depressed people crying and a staff that always seems to want to help out every other "kid" besides your own. (It wasn't until the fifth person walked in and got treated ahead of us that we finally complained, and I think they realized they and just been missing our chart when calling people.)

Well, we finally got in to see a vet, and checked Pickle out, took some x-rays, and determined that she was 100% okay. Apparently our cat is made of the same sort of rubber that four year-old boys are made of. That's my guess at least.

So, $240 later we took her home, put her to bed, and fixed the couch.

Want to see what our kitten looks like from the inside? Here.