Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Tweet in review: March 23-29

The Tweet in review: March 23-29

Wherein our heroic writer digs back through his last week's Tweets and shares a bunch of favorites with you, dear reader. Like 'em but not following me yet? Well, it's never too late to start!
  • Why would anyone credit The Daily Swarm as a source when all they're doing is pulling other pub's RSS feeds and reprinting them?

  • As usual, JHopz nails it. http://tiny.abstractdynamics.org/archives/011032.html

  • I have surmised that if anything ends up killing the music portion of SXSW it'll be the day-party. If it hasn't already. I miss the old days

  • Way Lolla could improve buzz: release full lineup - include Pavement, Arcade Fire & BLUR? If they do that everyone will explode with happies

  • @mondosalvo I should've known you were already hip to Adiam Dymott. I reckon P4K/'gum will be "discovering" her in about 6 months.

  • Can't stop listening to Wale's "Chillin'." Lady GaGa as M.I.A. should REALLY not work as well as it does. Summertime hit in the making?

  • Whoa. Blender shuts down and ceases to exist suddenly this morning: http://tinyurl.com/cjqpgk Why couldn't it have been Maxim instead?!

  • How many Andrew WKs are there? One? Two? Hundreds?! http://tinyurl.com/c2xbba (Sent to me by @ourmaninchicago)

  • I'm liking this movement of folks disconnecting their Twitter feeds from their Facebook status! I applaud you all!

  • @jaimeblack With the new Silversun Pickups disc people will stop comparing them to The Pumpkins and start comparing them to Walt Mink!

  • New Au Revoir Simone is as fantastic as the new Depeche Mode is disappointing. Well done ladies, THAT is how you craft delicate electropop.

  • At Sport Lounge drinking sinfully cheap beer and taking in awesome Mexican karaoke!

Retweet of the Week: RT @shellster129 Community action. Got things done for the hood. You can thank me for that bus stop sign at North and Albany, Humboldt Park.

One million plus.

One million plus.

Can't really go into it yet, but Chicagoist is celebrating not one but (possibly) two landmark events today! So exciting!

If you wanna know more, some of the staff -- including me -- will be at The Burlington tonight to celebrate.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Market Frenzy!!!

Market Frenzy!!!

It looks like I may be busier than usual this week -- which is exciting because I'm involved with a bunch of very cool stuff -- so forgive me if the writing here is light. Luckily for all of us, I have something both rare and precious to offer you today ... Market Frenzy has posted a new podcast! Chicago's best, and most infrequent, music podcast never fails to introduce me to new music so I think you should point your browser thisaway and hear some great undiscovered music along with me.

DOWNLOAD: Market Frenzy Quarterly Report: 2nd Quarter FY09

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flaming Lips! P4K Fest!

Flaming Lips! P4K Fest!

The Flaming Lips are one of those bands whose EVERY album and b-side is on my tankPOD. ALL of them. I mixed down the 4-disc Zaireeka in my computer the second I had the software to do so. I've seen the band countless times -- from their guitar wielding noise juggernaut of a quintet days, to their first show as a trio, to Ribfest, etc. -- and enjoyed every show (though, truth be told, and i'm being crotchety about this, the shows really were better before the masses discovered 'em).

So I'm rather excited they're playing a fan-picked set-list at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival this year!

I say we pack it with tunes from 1996 and before! "One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning!"

UPDATE: Just got this email saying, "The Flaming Lips will be closing out the Festival on Sunday, July 19th, but they will not be part of the "Write the Night" series, as was previously indicated. We apologize for any confusion." Oh well, I'm still giddy that they're playing at all!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Exclusive Heaven Seventies track is up at Chicagoist...

Exclusive Heaven Seventies track is up at Chicagoist...

The Heaven Seventies released a track to DJs titled "I Wanna Fuck (All Night Long)" and it has been stuck on repeat in ye olde tankPOD for the last few days. It wasn't approved for release so all I could do was groove to it and agonize over the fact that I couldn't turn anyone else on to it until I DJed next week at Old Oak Tap!

Luckily for all of you -- and my sanity -- the band gave me the go-ahead to post it exclusively on Chicagoist! That is until the mp3 dance blogs all snatch it and re-post it.

Anyhoo, hop on over and grab the goodness for yourself. Start an inter-cubicle dance party with it and spice up your afternoon!

DOWNLOAD: The Heaven Seventies "I Wanna Fuck (All Night Long)"

Super Furry Comeback!

Super Furry Comeback!

O.K., it's not so much a comeback as it is a pleasant continuation of excellence. The Super Furry Animals were introduced to me waaaaay back when I was a music writer for the UIC Flame and the American label they had signed to was re-issuing some of their earlier work as a bonus disc inside Radiator. At least I think it was a bonus disc ... I just remember getting a whole bunch o' SFA in a short period of time around '97 or '98 and initially thinking "what the hell are these guys on?!" before falling under their abrasive psychedelic dance-rock and begging to "take whatever the hell those guys are on!"

Since then I've seen the band a number of times -- the highlight had to be the Rings Around The World-era set at The Abbey where the band brought their own surround sound system into the house -- and they've never let me down. I've loved every disc they've put out, though it has not been lost on me that the group has stayed in a bit of a holding pattern musically since Rings.

Recently the band released their latest, Dark Days / Light Years, and break out of the comfortable line of flight they've been occupying in the last few years. It's a brash, impetuous piece of work,l slightly rough around the edges. It appears as if group members' solo work has burnished off a few of the layers of polish the band had grown accustomed to applying to group efforts with results that are more pleasingly organic. The results are still grand, but the band sounds more like the band I see onstage bashing out cheer inducing vertiginous rock and/or roll rather than the one that meticulously crafts each and every noise in the studio with tremendous care.

We see the paint splatters on the new work and it fills me with giddy glee.

You can buy Dark Days / Light Years right now on the band's site. The physical version comes out April 14 at iTunes and on CD, and on vinyl on April 21.

MP3: Super Furry Animals "Inaugural Trams"

Photo by Matt Wright

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Two videos in one day?! Lazy? Not when one is for Where The Wild Things Are!

Two videos in one day?! Lazy? Not when one is for Where The Wild Things Are!

Spike Jonze, it appears as if you've done good.

Gorillas in the mizt.

Gorillas in the mizt.

I would like this now please. K thnx bai.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

There is no subtext here.

There is no subtext here.

I just think this picture needs to be shared.

Drop everything!

Drop everything!

I am falling in love with Adiam Dymott. I know next to nothing about her but stumbled across some tracks she did online and I am knocked out. Pop bliss. Totally unexpected. Totally awesome. WHAT IS SWEDEN FEEDING IT'S MUSICIANS?! (And can we get some of it in our water supply?)

Here's a sample. Not the best track, but apparently it's the lead single off her debut album.

It Don't Move Me.

It Don't Move Me.

It's one of those days I just can't think of anything to write. Of course the second I write that I realize that I'm writing something and that it is no longer "one of those days." Plainly it is one of those days that I have something to say, it's just nothing of great import.

Oh, here's something of mild import. The new Peter, Bjorn and John album just gets better with every listen. It's minimalist in its tendencies creeping along in its darkly menacing grooves. I like it a lot. Now, I'm certainly not going to post anything up from the album, but a little online digging uncovered this track in the wild. Plus, you can stream the whole album at their MySpace to take in all of its goodness.

They're playing Metro next month, but if I were you I'd grab tickets now. They put on a hell of a show.

(Chairlift opens, and I think they are pretty nifty too!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Tweet in review:March 16-22

The Tweet in review: March 16-22

Wherein our heroic writer digs back through his last week's Tweets and shares his ten favorites with you, dear reader. Like 'em but not following me yet? Well, it's never too late to start!
  • I love when This American Life and Planet Money collide. I smell awards in their future!
  • Learn from LeAnn and Britney girls ... do not marry your back-up dancer.
  • Cut Copy boys, I'm digging your set...but there's a whole lot of music going on when no one but the drummer is playing an instrument!
  • Did the chick from Sub Pop who gave the NYT the grunge lexicon give the Today Show the Twitter dictionary they just used?
  • Hey Kids! It's The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator™ http://tinyurl.com/prvu9 (discovered via an @TimeOutChicago link buried in a post)
  • Insight of the day. I believe that print will NOT die, but it will remain more as an art form than a commodity.
  • After seeing photos from Fader Fort I am again glad I missed SXSW. I would have been slapping kerchief-wearing hipster like no tomorrow.
  • Can anyone explain to me what differentiates Bat For Lashes from Tori Amos?
  • Punk rock always sounds better in a smoke-filled sweaty loft.
  • Watching Singles, feeling old. Especially when I realize my look at the time was a little too close to Matt Dillon's character. And E Vedder
  • I can already tell that this is the summer Wicker Park finally becomes unsufferable. Well, we had a good 15 year run...

Friday, March 20, 2009

DFW follow-up.

DFW follow-up.

You have read D.T. Max's excellent New Yorker piece on David Foster Wallace, haven't you? I actually bought the magazine for the first time in a couple years just to get my hands on that and the snippet of new DFW fiction that accompanied the article. Max answered a couple follow-up questions sent in by readers of his article and one in particular caused a pop to go off in the back of my brain.
Do you think David Foster Wallace’s name will be widely known in a hundred years, or his work studied in schools and colleges? Why?
Rob Curran

This is crystal-ball-gazing at a very high level. Readers seem most interested in ethnic novels in the realistic strain at the moment. But then again the vast shift of creative effort from paper to the Web may render the fact that some good novels were written during our time irrelevant. Wallace and others like him may be the equivalent of traditional classical composers in the twelve-tone era.
This is one reason I actually hope print never dies out completely. Much of DFW's work simply wouldn't be as wondrous on a computer screen. Sure, you could have pop-up footnotes and the like, but there's something so satisfying as physically wrestling with something as dense and solid as Infinite Jest.

I don't want to sound like an old fogey, but some art forms are worth preserving, and while I do see the vast majority of paper moving online in the next couple years, I hope novels like his remain. To dumb it down; Photoshop* will never completely replace painting, and I view this the same way.

I believe that print will not die, but it will remain more as an art form than a commodity.

UPDATE: An old friend of mine who lived in Normal the same time as I did just wrote to me saying, "DFW wrote Infinite Jest in my little house on Fell St. He had the pages of the book pasted up all over the of the walls."

One of my biggest regrets -- if not THE biggest -- is that I never crossed paths with DFW while we were both living in Normal. Since he knew so many of my friends I have no idea HOW that happened ... maybe I should have spent less time at the Gallery?

*This does bring up another interesting point though. A friend of mine who is an incredibly talented photographer put up some shots from a recent vacation and apologized for them not being touched up yet. I thought it was alarming that someone who can take such beautiful photos in-camera would feel the need to apologize for them not being digitally perfect, and it is in that intersection that I feel the art in that format might be under attack.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Around town...

Around town...

Busy day on the interwebs for GalPal and I.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What happens in Vegas...

What happens in Vegas...

It is literally impossible to write a coherent wrap-up of my first visit to Las Vegas. I will try and share a few impressions though. Given the hours we kept, the alcohol we imbibed, and the lack of food we consumed I consider it no small feat anyone in our party is able to reconstruct more than three consecutive minutes of action.

I really enjoyed spending the weekend with my brothers and their friends. It was a good-natured bachelor party filled with guys who enjoyed each others' company and were just looking to spend a memorable weekend together to mark another friend’s passing into the ranks of the married. Over the weekend we did a lot of walking around other casinos and taking in various sights. We ate in Irish bars and slammed pints of beers onto long table in a German dining hall. We played blackjack and drank booze both insanely expensive and graciously free. I bet quarters on a miniature horse track and still have no idea what you were supposed to do to win … I was just having a good time.

We floated along a "lazy river" sucking down margaritas in glasses that looked suspiciously like a watertight bong to the casual observer. I rolled my eyes at a local waitress that went seamlessly from playful banter into an obviously rehearsed shill for a topless pool she also worked out. We visited haunts off the Strip like Ellis Island (located in the Super 8) and The Double Down (the closest thing to a "grubby rock bar" I think Vegas has … even though I found even that place tried a little too hard to be something it wasn’t). We ran headfirst into a sea of green-shirted prematurely reveling St. Patrick’s Day observers. I'm told I got into arguments with two cabbies but I only remember the awesome cab drivers that got me to and from the airport and around town Saturday night.

The one strip club we attended was visited grudgingly and by only by a fraction of the party … it was the one segment of the weekend that I’m reasonably sure most guys felt was occurring ONLY because you can’t have a bachelor party in Vegas without buying the bachelor a dance. The girls that ended up dancing for my brother ended up telling me how sweet and adorable they thought he was, but suggested getting him drunker next time around so he didn’t talk so much.* What can I say, he’s polite!

I began the trip feeling slightly disgusted by the excess and couldn’t shake the feeling I had stumbled into the world’s longest strip mall. I grew confused by families pushing strollers through a casino. I constantly found myself confounded by the withering glare of dudes once the waitress they thought was their best friend abandoned them in a second for a bigger tip. And, eventually, all of this stopped bothering me. People who go to Las Vegas are going there knowing full well that the city isn’t there to offer them a culturally fulfilling time. It is a playground for adult, and in the end I think a lot of the visitors, me included, are just content to empty their head of anything too "heavy" and just drift from pleasurable excess to pleasurable excess.

I was there to have a good time with my brother and his friends. We did a lot that could be considered stereotypical, and we did a fair amount that at least had us attempting to look past the surface distractions the Strip has to offer. And in the end after dropping way too much money on drinks and food – though thankfully I didn’t lose that much at the tables – I left with a lot less money in my pocket. I also left with some really fun memories with my brothers. It may be the last time we’re able to ever do something so silly together again so I consider the last weekend priceless.

Thanks, Vegas.

Bottom photo of MGM Grand lion by wallyg

*I suspect the girls decided to "confide in me" at all was because they thought I was gay, a claim I made early on into our visit to keep the working ladies from talking to me when there were far better guys to approach and make some dough off of. I’m surprised it worked as well as it did!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Almost there, kids.

Almost there, kids.

I've been working on a recap of the weekend, and planned to push it live today, but it's not quite there yet. I feel like I'm missing a component of what made the trip so successful when all of my internal instincts should have pushed me into super-overstimulated aggro mode. (I mean kee-rist, if a large mall can set my teeth on edge, shouldn't Las Vegas have given me a brain hemorrhage? But it didn't. I actually came away enjoying the experience!)

Also, I'm waiting to see if any of the other guys have usable pictures to help break up the piece visually since it's running a tad long.

Until then I leave you with the below shocking revelation and sensible recommendation.

AMAZING BUT TRUE: Unless something radical happens and I suddenly find the motivation, this will be the first St. Patrick's in "I-can't-remember" that I will be staying in and miss the annual Beer Nuts bash. That doesn't mean you have to though! Go see Herb and co. spray beer all over the place and play their winning blend of party punk at Double Door tonight.

Monday, March 16, 2009



I survived Vegas. For a glimpse into the madness feel free to peruse my Twitterfeed from the last few days until I get time for a proper recap...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Vegas again .

Vegas again.

I spent the first 24 hours here mildly disgusted by the city in general, but after a lot of booze filled wandering I think I'm actually starting to enjoy myself.

This is a powerfully weird city. Segmented. Fueled by tourists. Kind of like New Orleans if it lacked community and was laid out like a strip mall.



At breakfast. Buckets of Coors Light? What?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009



Of course this happens THE DAY I leave for vacation. All of the music files on my iPod Touch have "disappeared." I say that in quotes because the "Other" file section is suddenly the same size as the music section was last night. Here's a screenshot:

The only reason there is ANY audio recognized by the iPod Touch right now is because I just loaded some podcasts to listen to this morning.

How do I get my music back? What the hell happened?! I've searched a bunch of forums but can't seem to find the answer to this...

UPDATE: I got a lot of advice, but none of it really worked, so here's what I finally did:
  1. I downloaded DiskAid.
  2. With that in place I could finally access the music folder so I copied that to my desktop.
  3. Then I deleted all the music on the actual iPod Touch, along with the iTunesDB files just to be safe.
  4. I re-loaded all the music back onto my iPod Touch through iTunes.
It was a bit of a hassle, but it appears to have worked!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dan Savage offers the advice that could save a million relationships.

Dan Savage offers the advice that could save a million relationships.

O.K., the following phrase from the most recent Savage Lovecast might not save every relationship, but it can improve every relationship:
Say something! Communicate! Guys* wanna know what your favorite thing is so they can do it!
If your sex life is unsatisfying or problematic, it's probably because neither of you are following the above advice. Just do it. And while you're at it, subscribe to the Savage Lovecast for other excellent advice both obvious and not so obvious.

*Girls wanna know too, I was just directly quoting.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Question: Denise Richards?

Question: Denise Richards?

This doesn't even look like Denise Richards, does it!

Please Denise, bring back the Starship Trooper Wild Thing that drove me ga-ga in my teens and twenties.

K thnx.

Who watches the Watchmen? We watched the Watchmen!

Who watches the Watchmen? We watched Watchmen!

So all principle critical voices -- that is to say me and Marcus -- have finally seen Watchmen, so we did a dual review of the movie. I'm glad we waited and didn't just run one or the other's thoughts since I think the conversational review does a better job of a) reasonably addressing the movie from a variety of angles, b) stands out and above the sea of reviews that hew to the singular "love it" or "hate it" model without really offering much unique insight, and c) we each make good points and respect the other's point of view.*

Check out the full review / discussion and weight in with your own thoughts!

*O.K., I did text "you are high"as I exited the theater Sunday to Marcus in re: his text of "Watchmen FAIL" from last Tuesday's screening. But that was a knee-jerk reaction on both our parts.

Monday, March 09, 2009

It's kinda like this...

It's kinda like this...

Wanna know what my weekend was like? Here's a visual clue.

Next weekend? VEGAS!

Photo at Claychella by Ryan Mitchell

Friday, March 06, 2009

Old oak Tap, hamburgers, beers, and you.

Old oak Tap, hamburgers, beers, and you.

I've eaten a lot of hamburgers in my life. A few weeks ago I sampled the fare Old oak Tap had to offer ... and it was seriously in the Top Ten of greatest burgers I've ever eaten.

(I've also been told the fish tacos are the fabric legends are weaved from.)

This is my way of saying come by Old Oak Tap early tonight and grab some mind-bendingly excellent food that won't bankrupt you. And, as a bonus, I am DJing, so you have reason to stick around late into the evening and sample their huge beer selection too!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Repeating Late Night history.

Repeating Late Night history.

I finally saw Jimmy Fallon's new show last night and I thought he did pretty well. It certainly helped that he had guests who were obviously also friends -- the dynamic between him and Billy Crudup was hilarious -- and though he seems a bit awkward from time to time I still enjoyed watching.

It's important to remember that when Conan O'Brien debuted people hated him, and honestly it could be said his show didn't really find it's legs until about two years in. Of course Conan had the benefit of being a blank template as far as the public was concerned, so he sort of formed his public persona in response to the show's reception. Fallon comes in with a pretty solid persona, so you have to make the show work around that. Sometimes it works (Jay Leno*) and sometimes it tanks (Chevy Chase).

Plus, Fallon can dance, so he gets bonus points for that.

*By the way, what the fuck is wrong with Jay Leno that he is so desperately needy for attention? The dude does NOT learn from his past mistakes does he? First he fucked Letterman out of the Tonight Show spot 17 or so years ago, and now he's fucking Conan O'Brien by merely moving his current show (for all intents and purposes) to an earlier slot thus minimizing O'Brien's audience. Dude should just let go, eenjoy his massive car collection, and let someone else enjoy the massive audience.

Jon Stewart systematically decimates CNBC.

Jon Stewart systematically decimates CNBC.

Both Colbert and Stewart were on fire last night, but this bit was just pure genius and is destined to become a classic primer.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Movie review and preview.

Movie review and preview.

We saw I Love You Man last night and I thought it was a riot. You should see it. Review forthcoming. Marcus saw Watchmen last night and graded it FAIL. I'm still looking forward to seeing that, though.

Here's the thing though, expectations for this movie were so high it was bound to suffer massive backlash, so I'm going into it expecting a decent movie, not a faithful adaptation of the graphic novel.

I'm seeing it on IMAX Sunday, and Marcus and I will do a dual review on Monday...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Scoop out my brains, replace with circuitry.

Scoop out my brains, replace with circuitry.

Still swamped between the 9-to-5 and the Chicagoist auditions. The positives of both? With the 9-to-5 I'm swamped doing exciting fun stuff, so I have zero complaints about that. And the Chicagoist auditioners that are posting frequently are thus far terrific and will make it a lot easier for me to center on my own writing for the site once I bring 'em on board.

The downside? Well, there's obviously not much going on here. I mean, there is -- one reason I've forced myself to contribute to this site every weekday no matter what is too keep the mental wheels from skidding to far into one discipline over another -- but ... well, I think you know what I mean. It's been a crazy and draining month, but I feel like I'm starting to return to an even keel. So stick with me, I guarantee interesting and engaging times ahead!

Oh, and hey, don't forget to subscribe to my new and improved RSS feed!

Monday, March 02, 2009

The catalyst for home improvement.

The catalyst for home improvement.

I am a laid back guy when it comes to my living spaces. I once slept a few weeks in a basement that had two inches of water creating a situation where my mattress in the middle of the room looked more like an island than a sleeping area. I spent a few months crashing on the couch of two extremely generous girls after sending most of my other material possessions back to my parent's house. The custom fluorescent bathroom light in one of my old apartments was faulty for two years, flickering in a low-lit and slightly buzzing creepy manner that gave off a seriously and disconcertingly air of creeping dread. I called it the Clive barker effect and it didn't get fixed until Photogal moved in and demanded I call my landlord THAT SECOND.

My current apartment has its own catalog of eccentricities that I've mostly ignored over the last year since I moved in. The pantry door is off its hinge and the ceiling in my family room needs cosmetic patching now that my landlord finally fixed the leak ... and these are just two of a few repairs that I actually had written into my lease. But, true to form, I am so laid back I haven't really hounded him to make these repairs. And, to be absolutely honest, the fact that he and the building management were so gracious and patient when Betty was driving the building insane with her barking has probably led to me being even more forgiving of any delays in repairs. Plus, this sort of stuff just doesn't get to me. (Dirty dishes drive me nuts, but a crack in the wall or a door that sticks doesn't really bug me.

Recently I've had to reassess my relaxed attitude due to some alarming developments. Before I moved in I was told there was a fire in the unit below mine. No biggie. I did notice when I was loading stuff in on that freezing February morning a year ago that there was what one might call a "soft" spot on the floor. It was an area where the wood felt a little flexible and just not as solid as the floor surrounding that section. Again, no biggie. I just avoided stepping on that spot.

In the last year though I've noticed a few more spots appearing, and a month or two ago I even noticed that my bathroom floor seemed to be shifting on a seam. My floors have never been even -- water in the kitchen flows south and pools in front of my fridge if it hits the ground -- but they've never started to resemble geological fault lines. And those soft spots are growing...

Again, I would probably be inclined to let all of this slide, but I've discovered I actually want to be proactive about this and make my apartment a nicer place to live. Now in every previous experience similar to this -- including the ones detailed above -- it took an outside catalyst to finally motivate me to action, and this time is no different. You see, GalPal moved in this weekend, and I'd kind of like to make the place as nice as possible for her. (And, as far as those sketchy areas of the floor are concerned, as safe for her too!)

And that is the big news I was eluding to last Monday. Exciting, huh?!