Tuesday, May 31, 2011

We gotta get the band back together...

I spotted this on the floor of a party we were at a few weeks ago.

It's my band's sticker, stuck there during a show they played long before I'd even joined them as the drummer -- must've been 2001 or so? -- and I couldn't believe that any remnant of that sticker was still there!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Vacationing, y'all. Hope you have an awesome (if you live in the U.S.) holiday (or, if you live outside the U.S. a regular length) weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The home office.

Mine's built for writing and rocking! Below are two views from the same chair. What's yours look like?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Take your picture video.

Gypsyblood's a local band that kinda came out of nowhere but I'm really enjoying their debut. There's something VERY early '90s / 7-inch / sold in a record store consisting of three bins next to a glass case full of bongs and bowls about this band. They had a record release show a few weeks ago and I'm bummed I missed it so I'm keeping my eyes (and ears) open for their next appearance. Until then this little video for the first "single" off their album will just have to do.

If you dig the song you can download it for free. Also, am I crazy or is that Ralph / Major Taylor who keeps popping up in the video?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The view from 63.

This was actually shot last week but I came across it again on ye olde tankPHONE and I think it's worth sharing with y'all...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Changing perceptions.

Fifteen years ago I basically lived in Bucktown and it was largely a dangerous wasteland. Ten years ago I would've made fun of myself for living in Bucktown as the yuppies swarmed in. Now I live here again and love it, despite the yuppies. I put in plenty of time living in sketchy 'hoods all over Chicago. I'm OK with now living somewhere I can chill out and not feel threatened when I go for a walk.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Get offa my lawn!

Sometimes I pick fights I don't need to fight. It happened far more often in my youth, and as I got older I realized I didn't have to stand up for every single thing every single time, but last night I fell off the wagon loudly grousing about other local music writers. One of the benefits of having been around as long as I have been, at least in the music world, is that I don't have to play nice with other writers. I can be outspoken about folks I feel are, well, not good at it. But that doesn't mean I should exercise that particular verbal / textual muscle. As GalPal pointed out last night, I may be in the right, but I look like a dick.

No one wants that!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My procrastination approaches a deadline.

By procrastination, of course, I mean my own. And specifically, of course, I'm speaking of redesigning the page you are looking at right now. In some ways it should be easy since Le Blogger has made it so, but I'm still running under their olllllld template/dashboard so once I DO update I imagine there will be a fair to enormous amount of work to go through old posts and tidy them up. For instance, ever since Blogger rolled out the title field (that doesn't actually display in my current template) I've entered the title of each post both there and manually within the post. That means when I update ever post will look like it can't help repeating it's introduction.

I imagine it will feel like, "Hey! Look at me! Look at me! And now begins the content."

I know the pros outweigh the cons; pictures and video will be bigger, everything will be far cleaner looking and I imagine searchability will improve even further. At the same time I have to admit I'll miss the old layout. We've been together for almost a decade now so there's a definite attachment there. However, I think it's time for a change. And if the weather stays crappy that change may occur over this weekend!

Anyone wanna help me design a header?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The kids of today should defend themselves against the '70s...

We all love sentimentality and we all have our heroes and we all wish that things could be as awesome as they were at this time or at that time or in some other time we never actually experienced but have heard romanticized so much that we've twisted it into something that it's not. None of these behaviors are particularly bad and I'm certainly guilty of each and every one of them. It's only when we mindlessly ape something old and try to present it as something revolutionary and new, or try and deny that the old and familiar markers we claim as brand new outposts that we end up looking foolish. And it's even worse when these mistakes are made by people who mistakenly believe that a particular wave of nostalgia is actually the brand new product of a younger generation, when in fact it's simply something familiar that's been rediscovered by a new wave of acolytes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wait, what's wrong with this picture?!

Oh, I know. A certain beagle woke me up with an early morning bathroom call, and now she's back fast asleep while I'm forced to start my day even earlier than usual!

Dang little beagle!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, Monday, aaaaah!

While today began as a pretty miserable Monday, almost laughably so, it ended up pretty great. It opened with a sick beagle, frustrating phone calls, just missed connections with CTA transport and an unusually heavy schedule for the beginning of the week. It ended with a surprisingly fun (is pretty chilly) video shoot for the 9-to-5 and GalPal surprising me by showing up in the most unexpected of places. I'll take this as an omen that this week is just going to slowly get better and better!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Manners, please.

Oh my god, I am so glad GalPal sent this to me to end my day on a gut-busting high note.

This month's Tankster Night is nigh!

Hooray! Tomorrow, May 14, GalPal and I DJ at The Burlington under our nom de DJs Shellster and Tankboy! We play good music and are full of jolly cheer. If you were attend our cheer would be even jollier. Golly gee we hope to see you.

What the fuck, have I turned into some ruddy cheeked moppet? Re-set, rewind, let's start this again.

GalPal and I are DJing tomorrow and it will be awesome. It will become incrementally more awesome as people we know show up so don't limit the evening's possible awesome factor by not attending.

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The thrill of discovery.

You know what I miss? Genuine surprise in music. At this point the closest I get is being genuinely surprised a band is better than I expected. But there's no more of that "I've never heard this before" going on. I realize a large part of that is simply me being ancient in terms of pop years and musical growth, but I think that another undeniable reason is that, quite simply, music isn't breaking amazing new ground any longer. I'm not even sure that it can.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked the question, "Why aren't critics looking for the next Kurt Cobain?" My flip answer was that he wasn't out there. And the more I thought about it, the more I began to believe that's true. Nirvana was one of the last times a band actually surprised -- genuinely surprised -- people. In our fractured times, with its sped up success cycle and ironic posturing, I'm not sure someone like that can exist any longer. It's telling that the most passionate band of the last decade, the group to create from as honest a place as they could access, was LCD Soundsystem. And when they launched, they did provide a little jolt of discovery.

Now that I'm talking my way through this, maybe I need to redefine discovery. Perhaps it doesn't need to be something brand new or unexpected. In the case of LCD Soundsystem (and to be honest The Killers, and The Cult when I first discovered them, and Jane's Addiction in '88) it wasn't so much that a band was creating something new; it was that a band was creating something I felt I had always heard and the thrill was in hearing it actually manifest itself. It's kind of like not realizing you are starving for a particular flavor combination until it actually hits your tongue. I think that there is still genuine surprise there.

I typed a whole 'nother paragraph where I tried to argue back against the above point and convey that its relevance to the current climate is much different than it was when the last of the bands I listed above surfaced. But you know what? It's 5 a.m. and I'm going to start the day on an optimistic note. P.M.A. Let's just say I'm ready to be surprised, to feel the chill of discovery, either through something groundbreaking and brand new or groundbreaking due to its expert alchemy.

I'm keeping an open mind.

Photo via 3 Veehills

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Google throws one hell of an afterparty.

In other news, this seems to be "share video" day here, huh?

It's got a beat aliens can dance to!

Let's close out today's ridiculous videos (OK, awesome videos) with this re-imagining of personal sentimental favorite characters.

WHY did this take so long to come into existence?

I tweeted this out yesterday, but still think it's worth sharing (and storing) here so that you and future generations can be wowed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Random Thought: Is she really going out with him?

I wonder how many times GalPal is standing alone, getting checked out by someone across the room, when I walk up and give her a kiss / hug / (what I believe to be surreptitious) pat on the butt, eliciting from her far-off admirer an explosively thought, "What is she doing with him?! She could do so much better! (Read: She should be dating me!)"

Monday, May 09, 2011

So you wanna be a copywriter, huh?

While this chart isn't wholly (or even marginally) accurate it is pretty hilarious. I would like to point out, however, that the false stat about female copywriters is incredibly false; during my career most of my copywriting colleagues have been female. (Click the picture to make it big enough to read without a magnifying lens.)

via my Tumblr via K-Rob via The George Report]

Friday, May 06, 2011

Hello. Hi!

GalPal had me meet her at this incredibly douche-tastic bar in the Viagra Triangle last night before the of Montreal show. It was faux-Mexican, the poor bouncers had to wear painted on goatees and sombreros, and girls were dirty dancing to absolute crap music. So imagine my surprise when a super catchy tune I had never heard came on and got me to tapping my toes. A quick Shazam later and the culprit was identified; it was Martin Solveig and Dragonette's "Hello." Who knew Dragonette was featured on a song that broke through to the mainstream?

In other news (because there is ALWAYS other news) I am DJing tonight at Darkroom. But wait, there's more! I am DJing with my old partner Rudy AND our friends Skid and Nathan at Darkroom. We've all DJed together in some combination or another in the past but this is the first time we will all be DJing AT THE SAME TIME. Expect unbounded awesomeness to ensue.

See you there?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Hey there! Hi there! Howya doin'?

Ain't gonna lie, this week started off on the wrong foot, primarily because of my own misstep. But as we roll into the home stretch things are certainly looking up. I've regained some personal focus, the 9-to-5 has been particularly rewarding over the last few days, and there's a slew of events over the next few days (of Montreal tonight, me DJing tomorrow, Peter Bjorn & John Saturday and a family get-together Sunday) that will probably leave me drained, but happily so, in the end.

The only thing not cooperating right now? This goddamn chilly weather! Hey spring, where the hell are you?

And you, how are things with you? Hmmmmm?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

OFWGKTA ... even I can't make up my mind on this one.

OFWGKTA ... even I can't make up my mind on this one.

Gotta admit, I'm having a harder time wrapping (rapping?) my head around the whole OFWGKTA a.k.a. the Odd Future collective thing the more I think about it. While I could initially write them off as super inventive kids playing with the tropes, particularly roleplay, hip-hop (and really all music, but it seems to be more exaggerated in hip-hop) affords its practitioners. But then I have to ask; what point are they trying to make? What is the point of shocking for shock's sake, and what will they think of their own lyrics ten years down the line? Punk rock is about exploding and challenging social conventions but I'm not sure how exactly their songs are doing that.

I think we've passed the point* where people will just talk about how awesome OFWGKTA is without beginning to seriously question the lyrical content, no matter how terrific (and it is terrific) the music they're constructing is. Is it just a self-aware satire B.E.E. style? I don't think so. I think it's more a "we throw this shit around without really understanding because we're too young to care about anything other than shock." I mean, seriously, they're a bunch of super-talented artsy skatepunks who obviously don't mean what they're saying but I don't think they really understand what they're saying.

You know?

The one thing I know for sure is that ten years from now, Tyler will be pulling the same thing the Beastie Boys did down the line and grow deeply embarrassed with how little thought he put into his earliest work lyrically, and how that effects it when compared to his presumably large canon to come.

*OK, I don't think we've passed the point, I know we've passed the point, and I think you can thank DeRo for that. Now he's emboldened others who have probably kept their doubts silent in the face of the critical lurve dousing OFWGKTA to speak up.

Photo of OFWGKTA from their Facebook

Tuesday, May 03, 2011



Some co-workers invited me out to play trivia at a nearby bar tonight and WE WON! So not only did I get a chance to hang out with some peeps I like outside the 9-to-5, but I also got to dig my teeth deep into the spoils of victory!

I gotta do this more often.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The "underneath my clothes I'm naked" song.

The "underneath my clothes I'm naked" song.

In college (well, technically, in those early '90s years I took a hiatus from college to do exciting things like be in a band, cook in a coffeehouse, DJ and bartend at a bar; all while living on a glamorous thirty bucks or so a week and generally living out the cliche of being, well, an early '90s slacker Gen X type) my friend Alison and I made up a little song we'd sing that went:
I'm naked,
I'm naked,
Underneath my clothes I'm naked!
It was pretty catchy, trust me. Anyway, for some reason this photo I took over the weekend reminded me of that little tune that I hadn't sung in years.