Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Album of 2013!

I'm calling it now! Well, maybe not, but my expectations for the new Free Energy are pretty, pretty high!

Dig the song? Listen again!

This may be the only time I post a flyer for an event at Neo!

Veronica, founder of Cream Team, is basically awesome, and she's hosting this, so you should go for that reason alone. The fact the entire evening is soundtracked by the bands that probably taught most of you youngsters how to dance is just gravy.

Dance yrself clean.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I did this today at work. We basically explored new ways to tells stories and apply it to the asks of the 9-to-5. It was altogether pretty awesome. It started off a little slowly but once it picked up steam, hoo boy! I'm so glad I work somewhere they decide stuff like this is important. Because it so very much is.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Flying the friendly skies.

Via flightradar.com
I've discovered the latest website to simultaneously take my breath away and give me nightmares; flightradar24! The screengrab above is what the skies above the U.S. look like right now, and that's with most flight heading west actually being cancelled!

That's a lot of planes! So yeah, the visual freaks me out. But man is it also impressive when you consider the work and talents of everyone in the airline industry--from air traffic controller to pilots and everyone who supports them--that keeps that massive machine running. Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Hood Internet.

I reviewed the new album from The Hood Internet today. Read it if for no other reason than to see a photo of them performing with Gus Fring.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


A meeting I've worked really hard to make certain it went right went very well today. And now I'm exhausted but in a really good way. It's funny how a sense of accomplishment can drain you so completely on a physical level while making you feel like your soaring internally.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The new Taylor Swift is ... good?

Photo from her Facebook page

I am one of what seems to be only 6 music writers who haven't been taken by Taylor Swift's work up until this date, but that changes with Red. It's not because she's finally put out a piece of art. It's because she's dropped all pretense of country and struck straight for the deep red jugular of pure pop music.

Swift's album is mostly just terrific, actually. The only missteps are when she grabs at tropes (dubste? really?) that will obviously not age well and date those articular songs horribly. But the majority is good enough that I suspect it'll still sound pretty good to me a year from now, or even ten. And that's usually a sign that the album's pretty, pretty good.

Keep it up Taylor.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Life is like a treadmill.

Sometimes the treadmill is set at 3.5. When you want a brisk run it's set at 7.5. Today it's set right around 175.5.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Boring Breakfast Brotherhood vs. The Crunchy Nut!

Remember when I went to L.A. a few months ago to do some work for a client? The fruit of that labor is now live and online! Check it out!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The earworm in me.

Blame Paul for this Friday's jam. I remember liking this video when it was on Popdust a while ago but had completely forgotten about it since I could find the track anywhere. Lo and behold while I'm listening to Mondo Salvo 50 this little gem pops up and totally makes my Friday. Between this and the new Taylor Swift this is a good week for tankPOP in my headphones!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I thought today was Friday again.

When you're insanely busy it's odd how your perception of time gets seriously warped. There have been a number of Tuesdays I was sure were actually Thursday. And I thought it was Friday todau until an email came through reminding me it was the office's Thirsty Third Thursday happy hour, the proceeds of which were going to a worthy charity. I thought it was weird to have a Thirsty Third Thursday on a Friday ... and then realized I was an idiot.

I am obviously in serious need of a vacation.

I am trying really hard to carve out a weekend to at least go to Michigan, either to a B&B or to Photogal's farm house that she's generously offered me use of if I want to escape to there.

Part of this is my fault. Yes, I'm super busy, but I'm also the kind of person who feels guilty about taking vacation time, even though I have plenty of it offered to me by the 9-to-5. I have to get over that and just schedule some time for myself to catch back up with myself.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sometimes I forget that rock and/or roll is fun.

I went to see Mixtapes last night expecting a nice little pop rock show. I expected the band to be tight. I expected them to be entertaining. I did not expect them to be so good. Their records have these great doubled up girl/boy vocals and I was expecting the two people delivering those vocals to be somewhat twee. I did not expect a girl with a mostly shaved head who never stopped violently throwing herself around the stage and an equally animated dude playing electric guitar with his bare fingers. I did not expect a show to be so energetic and to see a room of kids so entranced and I did not expect to be reminded that music is supposed to make you feel all YEEEEEAAAAARGH YAY YAY YES YES YES!

I'm really, really glad I went.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's a music filled week.

Going to see Mixtapes tonight because Keep can't stop raving about them and I'm digging their current album. It will be an all ages show at 7 p.m. I will be the oldest person there.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Go see Yukon Blonde.

I saw this amazing band named Yukon Blonde last night. Their album popped up out of nowhere to surprise me a week ago and the show didn't disappoint. If you have the chance to see them on their current tour, do it!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I can't wait to open this for Christmas!

I ain't gonna lie. I'm stoked to see the new Quentin Tarantino flick. Why do I have to wait so long though?!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I'm on a train!

I'm on an train for the first time in, what, 15 or 20 years. I'm told at some points we reached a speed of, and I quote the conductor when I say "hold on to your hats, folks," 110 miles per hour. Sadly we are still over an hour delayed as far as reaching our final destination. At least the ride is comfortable though!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What do you call a sexagenarian at the top of his game? Bobby Womack.

Bobby Womack's solo album The Bravest Man In The Universe has stayed in relatively steady rotation on the tankPHONE since it was released earlier this year. Damon Albarn produced it, and while it looks like it was spurred on by the two men's work together on the last Gorillaz album, it is very much Womack's show here. One of my biggest concert regrets of this year thus far was missing Womack when he was in town a few weeks ago, and watching his performance above of "Jubilee (Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around)" on Pitchfork TV only reinforces that feeling.

Check out the whole four song set. It's definitely worth watching. And the new album is definitely worth owning.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Barack Obama Releases New Political Ad About A Big Yellow Menace To Our Economy

I worked this up to post elsewhere but was beaten to the punch, so now it goes here!

Barack Obama applauds Mitt Romney's daring for taking on a true enemy of the American economy. Forget about Wall Street, Sesame Street is a bigger threat!


Monday, October 08, 2012

Automatic For The People is twenty years old.

Remember these? They were called "CDs."
When Automatic For The People came out I was working at a one-hour photo place in the mall. I remember this distinctly because as soon as I bought the album I played it on repeat all through my shift that day. I was happy that it wasn't as ridiculously bad as the album that preceded it--no "Shiny Happy People" here--but I was also a little let down by its somber mood. But I loved "Drive," "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight" and "Man On The Moon" immediately and shortly thereafter the rest of the track grew to burrom under my skin and make themselves comfy in the back of my brain.

I bring this up not because I think this is a classic album. It's further down on my personal list of rating R.E.M. albums from worst to best  than it is on most other critics', but for some reason this memory brought the fact that at one time I actually listened to albums over and over and over again for eight hours stretches regularly. When was the last time you listened to a brand new album twice in a row? Or even all the way through twice in two days instead of just sticking your favorite tracks on a playlist?

I don't say any of this to come off as curmudgeonly. Instead it just threw into stark relief one of the main differences between then and now and it might help explain why so many bands get super big via the buzz machine only to disappear shortly afterward. Deciding on favorite tracks or the value of an album as a whole after only a listen (or, if they actually spend the time, two) can't help but elevate mediocre stuff to the top just by virtue of the sheer numbers involved. And hey, I'm not saying I have never fallen prey to this. But I do try my best to avoid falling into this trap and I think that may be one reason why I've stuck around as long as I have and maintained readers' trust when it comes to writing about music.

But this isn't about me. It's about you.

Listen to music enough to submerge yourself in it. I know we live in a world of never-ending deadlines, but they shouldn't hold true when it comes to listening to an album and really taking it in. Here's a rule of thumb to live by: if you listen to an album once and absolutely hate it you can move on,* but if you love it you should listen to it a few more times to make certain it actually holds up and didn't just hit an immediate nerve by mistake.

*And if you're a music writer you should still listen to an album you hate at least one more time. Unless it's 3OH!3. You get a pass on that one.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

On the road again, old skool mooziks stylee.

I drove from Chicago to Battle Creek, Michigan and back again today. I was in a car with no cruis control and--gasp--no auxiliary input for my tankPHONE! So I had to resort to an ancient and arcane mode of musical conveyance. I dug out one of my old books of CDs and trucked it along with me.

I do still get CDs, but  often immediately rip them and store them digitally at this point, so the discs I had with me were from back when I DJed regularly, meaning some of the discs in there were mix CDs from ten plus years ago. And you know what? It was a LOT of fun listening to and rediscovering music I had forgotten about. It's funny how a song or a band you can love so intensely at one moment in time can slip to the wayside over the years. But when that song comes back on, you remember exactly why you liked it. And sometimes you remember exactly what you were doing at the time.

AT the outset I feared the trip would feel like it took forever since I was hampered by having to go through CDs from one point to another, but in the end time flew by and it was one of my favorite drives I've undertaken in years.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I miss the old school Google Reader.

I know Reddit and StumbleUpon and all those cats are good for content discovery, but when you could share amongst friends within Google Reader I discovered so much more, primarily because I have a wide range of friends with truly divergent tastes and good eyes for spotting great stuff. It was like magnifying the number of feeds you had by the Nth degree without over stuffing your own feed.

Now yes, you can share to Google+. And I will concede that it's stream interface is really pretty. But not nearly as many people use it to share out what's in their feeds. Heck. Most of my friends share zilch on there. It's simply not as easy or intuitive to use as the old Reader sharing with friends mechanism.

So yeah, I miss that.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Chance encounters lead to smiles.

I literally JUST got a note from someone that read my review of Numero Group's power pop compilations telling me that his brother was in one of the bands and it made him so happy and the only reason he came across it was because his daughter left Chicagoist open on his browser.

That's so random and so cool.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Bye, Barb.

We found out this weekend that GalPal's co-worker (and her unofficial "office mom") Barb passed away this weekend. It was a stunningly unexpected piece of news that hit pretty hard. Barb wasn't old, but she had led a life filled beyond her years with adventure, many of it centered around her long tenure working at The Metro in it's legendary earlier days. She left rock and/or roll living long ago, but it's spirit always lived on in her and she was always fun to be around. I remember when I first met her I was a little nervous since I knew her approval would mean a lot to GalPal, and from what I heard I passed with flying colors.

When something like this happens it really does cause you to step back and take stock. You realize life is shorter than you ever imagined and there's no guarantees  you'll be around tomorrow so treat each day as a rapidly vanishing valuable resource. Don't take the people around you for granted. I know that sometimes I do and I act thoughtlessly at times because of that, but this event has caused me to realize that it's just so stupidly wasteful to behave that way.

As usual, Barb's still making an impact on people around her, even though she's no longer here.