Archive of 'Music' Posts
|Posted in Music||14:02:54|
|No Comments »||Permanent Link|
So I was going through my MP3 collection, and was suddenly struck by a thought. “Isn’t it about time for The Raconteurs to put out a new album?” I said to myself. Well, I didn’t actually say it. I thought it. More or less. Maybe not those actual words, but the concept of The Raconteurs, new albums, and timeliness formed a coherence somewhere in my battered grey matter. So I did what I always do when a pressing question comes to mind. I headed for wikipedia. That’s where I read the following:
It was announced on March 17th, 2008 that the Raconteurs will release their second album, “Consolers of the Lonely” on March 25th, 2008.
So I read that and think, “Isn’t that fucking today?” This time I actually thought those words. I divert my gaze about 12 inches to my gnome-panel clock and confirm that, yes, that is fucking today. So I guess I picked a good day to wonder about a new Raconteurs release. And only a week to wait, apparently.
Also, thanks to the people who pounce on wikipedia the second new info on anything comes up. Lord knows you couldn’t count on a shmoe like me to bother, so kudos on stepping up and keeping us informed.
|Posted in Music||22:42:10|
|No Comments »||Permanent Link|
Oh where are you now
pussy willow that smiled on this leaf?
When I was alone you promised the stone from your heart
my head kissed the ground
I was half the way down, treading the sand
please, please, lift a hand
I’m only a person whose arm bands beats
on his hands, hang tall
won’t you miss me?
Wouldn’t you miss me at all?
The poppy birds way
swing twigs coffee brands around,
brandish her wand with a feathery tongue
my head kissed the ground
I was half the way down, treading the sand
please, please, please lift the hand
I’m only a person with Eskimo chain
I tattooed my brain all the way…
Won’t you miss me?
Wouldn’t you miss me at all?
Rest in peace.
|Posted in Music||19:13:00|
|No Comments »||Permanent Link|
I’ve never had a problem calling the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a joke, and now it seems I’m in some pretty good company. Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon, but he’ll always be Rotten to me) of The Sex Pistols has just given a big “Fuck you” to the Hall of Fame.
“They never cared who we were,” Lydon said. “They never bothered to correct the incredible fatal, bad mistakes about our legend and legacy in their museum and up until now, they’ve rejected our nomination for three years running, and now they want a piece of us.
“Well, guess what? Kiss this!” he said, making a rude gesture.
“When I began as a Sex Pistol, there was no Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and suddenly this organization is put on top of us like we have an obligation to them. Well, it’s the other way around. Don’t use my name to prop up your … nonsense.”
Go Johnny, go, go!
|Posted in Music||10:57:00|
|1 Comment »||Permanent Link|
Cracker played two shows in the area last weekend, one at the Cubby Bear across the street from Wrigley Field on Friday night, then again Saturday night at the Palatine Street Fest, or as my old friend Dr. Bill calls it, the Palpatine Street Fest.
Now when I say Dr. Bill is an old friend, I’ve seriously known this guy forever. I’ve known him longer than I haven’t, since we were both 10 years old or so. We haven’t seen much of each other for about the last 15 years. We were both busy raising families, geographically separated by between 500 and 1500 miles, and one of us spent about 12 years preoccupied with medical school, which I guess is kinda grueling or something. Dr. Bill is a smart motherfucker though. He knew he wanted to be a doctor since he was a kid, and he made it happen. I’m a pretty smart motherfucker too, but I lack the drive Bill always had. Anyway, from the sounds of it, the kid’s become a pretty damn good doctor.
So anyway, I hadn’t seen the guy for at least a decade, but we’d always kept in touch over the intertron. He was always prone to singing the praises of this little band Cracker, who I’d known of but not really known the music of, except for their one big hit, Low back in the early 90′s. But Bill is a Crackerhead extraordinaire, a fan since back when they had no hits, and in fact since they were Camper Van Beethoven. Well, some of them still are Camper Van Beethoven, but that’s another story (and technically another band, even if the lineups are often remarkably similar).
So though he lives in Iowa, when Cracker’s playing two nights in a row in the Chicago area, Bill’s fucking gonna be there. And since I’m his main dude in Chicagoland, I get to tag along. When he got here, it was as if no time had passed since we’d last hung out.
So a few weeks back, I figure if I’m going to see this band I know very little of, I’d better familiarize myself with the music, at least so I don’t seem like a total fuckwad at the shows. I get copies of most of their albums (yes, I still call them albums, and fuck you), and you know what? It’s some pretty good shit. Especially the first two albums. That little fucker Dr. Bill was right. I even found myself downloading bootlegs of recent shows. Some of their music reminds me a lot of the Stones, or at least the really good Stones tracks that don’t get played on the radio. Good old rock and roll with the occasional country track done better than any country artist could.
Well, Friday night rolls around, and I’ve been listening to a lot of Cracker, so I’m psyched. After some confusion over when the doors actually opened (that is, we were lied to) we eventually get in, and get right up front, literally leaning on the stage. The opening act was a local bunch called Burn Rome Burn, and were pretty good. Their drummer was actually fucking incredible, and I found myself drooling over his 7-piece Yamaha rig decked out with about 8 high-end Zildjians. Either he’s got a good day job or opening for Cracker pays really fucking well, because he was sitting behind probably about 10 grand worth of drum shit. The other cool thing was that they gave away CD’s. Didn’t try to sell them, just said “here, take some and pass ‘em out”. Pretty smart move actually.
Eventually Cracker made it to the stage. The place was packed shoulder to shoulder by this point, and the band seriously brought their shit. They played most of my favorites and just beat the fuck out of them. Some of the die-hard fans that were there (pretty much everyone but me) said it was one of the best shows ever, and though I have no basis for comparison, it’s hard to imagine them doing better.
It was very hot in there though. Even the band had sweat literally dripping off of them, and well, they’re not an enormous fat guy squished in a room with at least 300 other sweaty fucks. I’d been drinking beer all day, and there was no way I could worm my way out to get some kind of refreshment, so I just sweat it out. I worried a little about heat stroke or something, but it’s reassuring to know the guy standing next to you could save your life if he needed to. Shit, Dr. Bill could probably remove my appendix with nothing but a pocket knife, a quart of gin, and a rubber band.
At the end of the show, they played an extended version of a song called “I Ride My Bike”. It was so extended that it had the Pink Floyd classic “Interstellar Overdrive” in the middle. Now, I’m a huge (yes, really huge) fan of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, so I was going apeshit. Well, when I realized that was really what they were playing anyway. It was the last thing I expected, and they kind’ve eased into it, so at first I was saying “hmmm, this sounds kinda like Interstellar Overdrive…” Soon it was unmistakable, and they even nailed all the freaky harmonic feedbacky stuff in the middle.
The next day we made the long drive up to Palpatine, drank even more beer, and saw Cracker perform another awesome set. The band hung around after the show signing autographs and chatting. I mostly hung back and let the real fans have at ‘em, but I did shake David Lowery’s hand and told him he ruled and how much I dug Interstellar Overdrive the night before. He gave me a half-hearted “Thanks, man”. I probably should’ve told him how much I liked one of his songs, not one of Syd’s. Oh well. Bill got his ticket stub from the night before signed by the entire band and bought a copy of Gentleman’s Blues on vinyl, and got that signed too.
Also, I met some really cool people at both shows. Cracker fans are some really friendly folks, it seems. So hat’s off to all of you. I’ll probably run into you all again the next time Cracker comes through Chitown.
As we wandered back to the car, still somewhat drunk, Bill said to me, “You know, it’s good to engage in adolescent behavior with someone you were an adolescent with.” True words of wisdom.
|Posted in Music||09:31:00|
|2 Comments »||Permanent Link|
So I came across this list of science fiction cliches. About a third of the way down the page is this one:
Eyes that glow (sometimes accompanied by minor-key chords in TV and film)
First of all, there’s no such thing as a minor-key chord. There are minor chords, but minor chords exist quite happily in major key progressions (and vice versa), especially when they’re built on the 2nd or 6th interval from the key root.
But yeah, they just meant minor chord, why get all technical, right?
Well, because glowing alien eyes are never accompanied by minor chords. They’re accompanied by diminished chords. Not only do they have the flat 3rd that the minor does, they also have a flat 5th. That makes all the difference in the world. A minor chord just sounds sad. Are glowing alien eyes sad? No. They’re fucking creepy. And for fucking creepy, diminished is definitely the way to go. If not diminished then augmeted (sharp the 3rd and the 5th), which can be pretty creepy too. Throw in a flat 7th and/or 9th for extra fun. If you can work a theramin in somewhere, all the better. Or some synth portamento.
Yeah, so exactly one of my regular readers understands what the fuck I’m talking about. And incidentally, he’s probably the only one who will appreciate the sci-fi cliches. I probably just should’ve emailed this to him, but then I haven’t posted anything here in forever.
|Posted in Geek, Music||17:19:00|
|4 Comments »||Permanent Link|
So the wife and I saw Ben Folds in Chicago last night. Great fucking show. I could just write a review, but instead I’ll ramble on and on about every little detail that absolutely no one will care about, and every little detail about how the music of Ben Folds fits into my world. Consider yourself warned.
So I’ve been a huge Ben Folds fan for about 8 years. I’ve been huge for about 14 years, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, I typically can’t stand modern rock. Does nothing for me. Oh sure, I can get into the White Stripes occasionally, and a dude turned me onto The Mars Volta not long ago (though I can only take them in small doses, lest the music drive me into full-blown schizophrenia) but in 1997, I don’t remember there being a thing worthwhile (musically speaking that is, I think we can all agree that Warcraft II ruled).
But for some reason I still watched MTV. I’d probably watch it still if I wasn’t too poor for cable. Guess you could say even if I hate the music of the time, I still like to know what’s going on. I like my hate to have focus.
So anyway, sometime back in 1997 I was watching MTV at 3am (not really watching, I was reading or something and it was on in the background) and they showed the video for “The Battle of Who Could Care Less”. It grabbed my attention immediately. First of all, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d heard a lead piano. Joe Jackson back in the 80′s maybe? Secondly, the musicianship was outstanding, the piano obviously, but the drumming was complex and jazzy, not just some asshole going kick-snare-kick-snare on the beat. And the bass player was no slouch either. And on top of that, it seemed like Ben was actually saying something. Something that needed to be said.
And this is how Ben Folds kind of pisses me off. You see, I have delusions of being a musician. I’ve played the guitar for a few years, can sing enough to not sound like a giraffe dying, and always thought I could write a decent song if I had something worth saying. About this time I knew what song I was going to write. I was going to stick it to the so-called Generation X, which just happened to be my generation. The thing is, I fit the description they laid out pretty well, and that pissed me off to no end. I’ve always taken pride in my individualism, my desire to do what I like and fuck anybody who doesn’t like it. Suddenly the way I dressed, felt, and acted (my philosophy if you will) became the cool thing to do. I was fucking pissed. I didn’t know where all these fucking hipsters had come from all of a sudden, because they sure as hell weren’t around when I was in high school. So I was going to write a song expressing those feelings. But then Ben came along and said “you see, I’ve got your old ID and you’re all dressed up like The Cure”. In that song (“Battle of Who Could Care Less”) he said everything I’d been wanting to say, only better than I could’ve. And he’s done that time and time again. How can I be a songwriter with a guy like Ben Folds in the world?
Anyway, after seeing that video I watched MTV nonstop (a truly painful exercise) until they showed the video again, which was 3am the following day. I doubt they ever showed it again. I went to Best Buy the next day and bought the CD.
Of course that CD was Whatever and Ever Amen, Ben Folds Five’s major-label debut. I was worried that maybe the rest of the album was crap. I’d been duped by one good song before. But no, the whole album was awesome. I quickly bought their debut album, and you know what? It was as good or better. Ben Folds’ music was the first (and and so far only) music of my generation that actually spoke to me.
So I’ve been a huge fan for awhile, but despite constant touring and affordable concerts I hadn’t managed to see him live until last night. It’s a shame the Five broke up, because I never got to see them, and while I love Ben’s solo material, Darren and Robert fucking owned the drums and bass, respectively. Mrs. FatDave has recently taken up piano and become a pretty huge Folds fan herself, so tickets to this show were a pretty easy sell.
Anyway, it was a general admission show at an old theatre in Chicago, the Rivierra. Doors opened at 6pm (the show was at 7:30) and it was my plan to be there by 5 and get right up front. Of course, our fucking unreliable babysitter crapped out on us and we had to find a last-minute replacement. Our replacement worked until 4:30, had to pick up her son at day care, and long story short, we ended up in the balcony. I coulda had a good view from the floor, but the wife’s on the short side and wouldn’t have been able to see dick (or Ben). All good though, the Rivierra’s not a huge place, and I don’t think there’s really a bad seat anywhere. We had a good clear view, could see the band’s facial expressions and everything. The sound was decent, I would’ve liked the volume on the piano a little louder, but then I doubt the sound man was mixing for the balcony. Probably sounded awesome at the soundboard.
Now to keep you hanging a little longer, I gotta talk about the opening act. This was a guy I’d never heard of named Corn Mo. In Hollywood movie pitch terms, he was Weird Al meets Jack Black meets Meat Loaf meets Vince Neil. Imagine, if you will, a chubby guy with long blond hair, sequins on his cuffs, playing the accordion and occasionally whacking a cymbal lying upturned on the stage with a drumstick affixed to his right shoe, all the while singing goofy songs (that all seemed to incorporate candy, ice cream, or at least sandwiches) in a wailing heavy metal rock voice. That’s Corn Mo. Here’s a video, here’s mp3′s.
So after 30 minutes of Corn Mo, Ben came out and rocked the bitch (without actually playing “Rock this Bitch” or even “R.O.C.K with your C.O.C.K. Out”, but that’s OK, that dead horse is thoroughly beaten). You can see the set list here. It was awesome. The audience sang along with every song, and Ben beat the hell out of his piano. His bass player and drummer were good, but no Robert Sledge and Darren Jesse.
Highlights were pretty much where I expected, “Zak & Sara”, “Army” (the audience singing the horn parts of course), “All U Can Eat”, and “Philosophy” with “Miserlou” worked in. The audience played a big role in “Underground” and “Rockin’ the Suburbs” where he left it up to us to both sing the Preparation H line and scream “FUCK!”. On “You to Thank” he changed the line “by the time our buzz was wearing off” to “by the time the drugs were wearing off”.
There were a couple guys sitting next to me who I don’t think knew what they were getting into. I dunno, maybe some friend of theirs had tickets they couldn’t use and they were like “yeah, I’ve heard of Ben Folds, and hey, free concert”. But most Folds fans are so dedicated and rabid, his concerts are kinda like cult meetings. These guys looked a little frightened that everybody in the audience sang along, and I swear they jumped when everybody clapped their hands at the line “I click my heels” in “Underground”. Gooble gobble, guys.
On the song “Not the Same” Ben’s got this thing he does where before the song he teaches the audience to sing a couple notes in three-part harmony and then conducts those parts from the piano. After the song he conducts the audience singing them solo. Now in all the footage I’ve seen of this and all the bootlegs I’ve listened to, I’ve never heard this go on so long. He had us going up and down, doing it staccato, this half of the audience only, that half of the audience only. It was fucking sweet.
Now it would have been nice to come home from that and go to sleep, but no, I had work to do. So I do my little programming crap, and figure I’ll see what’s on the AV Club, since it publishes every tuesday night. And who was their interview with? Ben Folds, of course.
So eventually I decide to go to bed. The wife had been asleep long ago, so rather than waking her up I go to sleep on the couch in front of the TV. A little before 4am I wake up having to piss, take care of that, and go back to the couch. A rerun of Conan O’Brien from about a week ago is on. Just as I’m closing my eyes, Conan says “please welcome Ben Folds”. And there’s Folds, playing “Landed” with a full string section. Personally, I don’t like when he fucks around with string sections, and this was worse than normal, because all they did is drown out his piano. There’s some pretty intricate stuff going on harmonically in that song, and it was all lost against cellos and violas and shit. Oh well.
By that point I was experiencing Ben Folds sensory overload. I woke up this morning feeling hung over, even though I only drank one beer at the show.
|Posted in Music||16:18:00|
|No Comments »||Permanent Link|