Wednesday, July 30, 2008
TV on the Radio is back with a new album due out on September 23rd. The album is entitled Dear Science, and is their first since 2006's lavishly praised Return to Cookie Mountain. The comma is included in the album title there, giving TV on the Radio's new album a good shot to break the record for most times incorrectly printed. Here's the tracklist from the album courtesy of Pitchfork.
01 Halfway Home
03 Dancing Choose
04 Stork & Owl
05 Golden Age
06 Family Tree
07 Red Dress
08 Love Dog
09 Shout Me Out
11 Lover's Day
And last but not least here's a track from TV on the Radio's 2003 EP, Young Liars. TV on the Radio go all barbershop quartet on "Mr. Grieves" from Doolittle, producing a damn fine, yet still original, cover.
TV on the Radio- Mr. Grieves (Pixies Cover)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Day Two of the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago started off rainy, a light drizzle turning into a steady downpour, soaking the grassy park. Saturday’s crowd looked considerably younger than Friday’s. Gone were many of the crusty middle-aged men attracted by Mission of Burma and Sebadoh. In their place thousands of neon-clad, wayfarer wearing, American Spirit smoking hipsters congregated on the lawns of Union Park.
Titus Andronicus kicked off Saturday’s festival with their New Jersey bred sprawling garage punk. This six-piece band, whose stellar debut album The Airing of Grievances is in rotation at Moustache Salad, played an entertaining show, opening with Pulp’s “Common People” and hitting the sloppy, screaming anthems of Grievances and closing with the epic “Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ.” Frontman Patrick Stickles was all over the stage, climbing the lights at one point and waving a big yellow Don’t Tread on Me flag, all while half-coherently singing along. The crowd seemed to be digging Titus Andronicus, fists pumping and heads nodding along with their anthems.
The self-proclaimed “dirty men” of Fleet Foxes strode out onto the stage to considerable applause. Apropos the recent weather change, they opened with the mostly a cappella “Sun Giant.” Fleet Foxes sounded just as good at a large open-air festival as they had sounded in the much-smaller venue Mojo’s in Columbia, bringing their almost spiritual church-like atmosphere to a crowded park in the middle of Chicago. A new drummer had been acquired, along with a good deal of confidence (in a positive way) and stage presence, since we had last seen them in March. The new drummer, Josh Tillman, brought a heavier sound to some of their songs and also lent his excellent voice to the group’s harmonies. Robin Pecknold, lead singer and songwriter, after having just performed the first three songs from the Sun Giant EP, addressed the crowd and had a special message for Pitchfork. “We’d like to thank Pitchfork for basically enabling our existence,” quipped Pecknold, directly and humorously tackling an issue that many of the other new artists seemed to shy away from. Pecknold seemed stunned that such a large crowd would turn out to see his band. He joked around saying the crowd looked like a big pack of wolves. Tillman then cracked, “They’re all wearing sunglasses. Very cute wolves.” Fleet Foxes then launched into their most famous song, “White Winter Hymnal.” The opening harmonies washed over the crowd, with everyone mouthing or singing the words, “I was following the—I was following the…” Three quarters of the way into the set, the band left the stage leaving just Robin and his acoustic guitar. Robin played two of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard live, his voice soaring over Union Park, everyone dead silent in awe and admiration. Pecknold covered Judee Sill’s “Crayon Angels” and then played the great closer off of Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut LP, “Oliver James.” The band returned and played a couple songs, closing their transcendental set with “Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Dizee Rascal, over at the adjacent Connector stage, opened his set immediately after Fleet Foxes closed theirs, loudly proclaiming, “Fuck that folk shit! Fuck that folk shit!” However, Fleet Foxes proved themselves unfuckable today with a handle-bar performance (5 out of 5).
We can’t think of a more appropriate band for a summer festival than the next band we saw, Vampire Weekend. With their danceable afro-pop and lines such as “First the window, then it's to the wall/Lil' Jon, he always tells the truth,” Ezra Koenig and the rest of VW create a sound to which indie-kids across the world can get their groove on. Vampire Weekend’s performance at Pitchfork was not only a massive dance party, but also all around a great live show. The band sprayed the audience with energy and witticisms. Their live sound was extremely full and realized, despite the fact that strings are used in some songs on the studio version of their self-titled LP.
Although Vampire Weekend was really fun to see and experience, it was our least favorite of the four main bands we saw that day (Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, The Hold Steady, Animal Collective). We say that, however, only because the other three acts had such a heroic feel that we could not place this show in the same tier. The factor that kept this show below the rest is mostly the music. The music of Fleet Foxes, The Hold Steady, and Animal Collective is so superior and inventive (or in the case of The Hold Steady, a reinvention that brings us back to true rock, which has been lacking in music for too long).
Holistically, the experience was truly pleasurable, and for that we give Vampire Weekend a Fu Manchu (4 out of 5).
A mass of people started pushing towards the stage after Vampire Weekend made their quick exit, rockers ready to see some of The Hold Steady. This was one of our most anticipated acts at the festival. After a whole year of falling in love with The Hold Steady’s studio albums, we were ready to witness the party that Craig Finn and company bring wherever they strap on their guitars. They lived up to their legacy as a great live band. Craig Finn is manic on stage, wildly gesturing, fiddling with his largely unplayed guitar, and mouthing lyrics even when he’s not singing (or yelling). The crowd loved Craig. Craig loved the crowd even more, feeding off the energy from the fans. The area in front of the stage literally turned into a gigantic party pit, everyone connected, sweaty, and swaying and lurching as one to the music hands outstretched punctuating the lyrics with gestures similar to Craig’s. The Hold Steady’s music is meant to be played live, and the new songs off of Stay Positive didn’t disappoint. “Sequestered in Memphis”, “Lord I’m Discouraged”, and “Slapped Actress” all shined in their live incarnations. The band’s entire discography was well represented, with even Almost Killed Me getting some love with “The Swish” and surprise encore “Killer Parties.” After “Killer Parties” Craig Finn showed his appreciation for the audience, reminding the audience that “We’re all The Hold Steady.” As if to allude to the Salad, Franz Nicolay’s facial accessory proved we all got handlebars that day (5 out of 5).
After being plowed to the front row by the crazy Hold Steady fans, we were positioned for a mind (and eardum) blowing show as the Pitchfork Pet, Animal Collective prepared to take stage. On the Jumbotron we watched Jarvis Cocker perform. During our wait, we felt no feelings of regret for not seeing him, but soon following, that mindset was even more prominent. Avey Tare, Geologist, and Panda Bear all scurried about the stage, setting up gear while the former Pulp front man played a set of songs that we maybe should care about, but in reality do not. After what seemed like decades, Mr. Cocker left the stage to a tidal wave of cymbals and distortion, and all eyes turned to the Aluminum Stage. The epic finale to the odyssey of music began with an Animal Collective signature remake of an AC song, “Chocolate Girl.” Following this was an omnipotent remix of Panda Bear’s “Comfy in Nautica.” The white light pulse that coincided with the thunderous bass, which rivaled Public Enemy the previous night, reverberated inside my chest, soaking its way into my bones. Following “Comfy in Nautica” were three new AC songs, “House,” “BearHug,” and “Lion in a Coma.” “House,” an amazing new piece, which AC have been breaking in lately, is a great dance song that should definitely be on LP9. Minutes later, we heard that nonsensical static that could only mean one thing: “Peacebone.” When the beat became regular, the crowd went insane. We were pressed up against the people in front of us, and would have fell if the crowd was not packed so close that is was impossible to even budge. During the song, it was almost like the fans were a breathing, cohesive being, undulating to the sounds of one of the most adored bands by kids that spend way too much time on blogs (like you). The set wrapped up quickly, for a 10 o’clock curfew had been set on the festival. With “Lablakley Dress/Fireworks/Essplode/Fireworks,” the band could not have closed with a better suite. This mashing of songs signaled the audience to mash into a mass of flesh, dancing, and Avey Tare imitation “do-doo-do-doo-do-dos” that make the song “Fireworks” unmistakable and legendary. Which also are the words we would use to describe that day.
Animal Collective gets a Fu Manchu with a soul patch (4.25 out of 5).
This is Animal Collective playing one of their new songs, "House".
Here are some set lists for the obsessive fans.
Drops in the River
White Winter Hymnal
He Doesn’t Know Why
Crayon Angels (Robin Solo)
Oliver James (Robin Solo)
Blue Ridge Mountains
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
One (Blake’s Got a New Face)
I Stand Corrected
The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance
The Hold Steady
Hot Soft Light
Sequestered in Memphis
Lord, I’m Discouraged
Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Encore- Killer Parties
Animal Collective- Get the audio over at You Ain't No Picasso.
Comfy in Nautica
Lion in a Coma (New)
Daily Routine (New)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Pitchfork Music Festival Day One: Public Enemy Almost Killed Me, or “It Takes A Nation of A Millions to Hold Us Back”
After a mile and a half walk because of our ignorance of the public transportation system, we finally arrived at Chicago’s Union Park; the location of the 2008 Pitchfork Music Festival. The three members of Moustache Salad (Clint, Ira, Kyle) passed through the virtually nonexistent security, and into the still uncrowded confines of the park. As if Mission of Burma knew that the Salad had arrived, the first notes of the Vs.
The sirens and cheers grew louder when the S1Ws marched on stage, clad in Persian Gulf camo. A shortened version of “Countdown to Armageddon” was played before Chuck D hopped out onto the stage for It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back for the first time in its entirety, beginning with “Bring the Noise” inquiring in his Marv Albert inspired flow, “Bass. How low can you go?” We grew concerned about half-way through the song, when Flavor Flav was still nowhere to be seen. Chuck D was wondering the same thing, exclaiming immediately after the song ended, “Where the FUCK is Flavor Flav!?!?” This query was followed by thirty seconds of confusion and curse-laden inquiry before Flavor Flav made his grand appearance. The Clocker-rocker was weighed down with gold and ice, and of course his signature timepiece. Flavor claimed he had been held-up trying to get his family through security. After a rousing round of applause for Flavor, the duo launched into perhaps the best party jam off of It Takes a Nation, “Don’t Believe the Hype.” The audience responded, jumping and rapping along with Chuck D, “Back, caught you looking for the same thing.” With Flavor Flav on stage, Public Enemy exuded energy, driving the crowd wild with Chuck’s political and social rhymes with Flav’s nonsensical humor.
The track that followed displayed Flav’s particular humor, “Cold Lampin’ With Flavor”, Flavor’s only solo track on the album. He told the back story of the song, explaining how a New York City DJ played their first radio single, “Public Enemy No. 1” and completely dismissed it with the now immortal quote, “No more music from these suckers.” (which coincidentally begins the song). Other highlights of the night were “Terminator X to the Edge of Panic” (which was dedicated to their former DJ, Terminator X), “Night of the Living Baseheads”, and “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”, which was performed by Public Enemy’s live backing band. Chuck D is electric live; his voice booming, hands gesturing, jumping all over the stage even at the age of forty-seven. It Takes A Nation of Millions closed with “Party for Your Right to Fight”, during which Chuck and Flav simultaneously rapped back-to-back, cementing the album as both a political and party masterpiece.
Everyone expected the show to be over with the album finished, but Chuck and Flav had other plans. They treated all the sweaty fans to what was basically a short greatest hits, including “Welcome to the Terrordome”, “911 is a Joke”, and “Can’t Truss It”. Public Enemy closed their show on a high-note with the anthem “Fight the Power.”
We’d never been to a hip-hop show, let alone an entire festival devoted to music. We each entered with different expectations and indeed experienced different things. Some of these experiences were absolutely fantastic and some not so great. However, none quite compare to the experience that the Illustrious Kyle Mitchell had at the Public Enemy show. Here begins his account of those events.
I thought “The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me”
Let’s start this off with some back story.
I was really excited for this weekend to happen. I think that really goes without saying but I just wanted to make it clear that I had been anticipating its coming from the moment directly after Ira asked me, “Dude, have you heard of ‘The Pitchfork Music Festival?’”
In the 36 hours before attending Night One, I had obtained only an hour and a half of sleep and ingested a package of toaster pastries, a granola bar of sorts, and a bottle of water; and all during a six to seven hour car ride through the giant, majestic corn field that is Northwestern Illinois. Upon entering Union Park at about 6:30 p.m. we were instantly greeted by a good number of people soon followed by musical tones from Mission of Burma. We watched some of that set, Ira got his picture taken by a guy from The Riverfront Times who noticed his St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap, and then decided to get a spot for Pubilc Enemy, as the spaces to stand in front of the Aluminum Stage were already starting to be filled. There we waited for two hours before any sign of performance life from the A-Stage, where we eagerly waited.
A premature sonic blast from behind us quickened pulses and reawakened the anticipation that I felt for Public Enemy. Much to my chagrin, it would be almost 45 minutes before my appetite for annihilation would be quenched. When The Bomb Squad was finally allowed to launch their assault, we had managed to be only four people away from the front rail but there was really no way to distinguish one person in the crowd from another. As the volume went up, hands went up and bodies went up and the battle was joined, as it were.
Bomb Squad roared for…forever. I began to think to myself, “I really hope I don’t overdo this.” Turns out, I had probably already overdone it. I welcomed the short break in between The Bomb Squad and the obliterating noise that was soon to be brought. I was able to catch my breath a bit, but I had developed a weird twinge in my leg, almost like a periodic pulse of electricity; I ignored it best as I could. When DJ Lord gave the introduction for Public Enemy and Chuck D appeared on stage, the slightly subdued mass of bass-heads erupted in a manner as I have never heard or seen a crowd of any sort do. The crowd surged forward as one and Lord guided Chuck into “Bring the Noise” sans Flavor Flav. I was confused and worried at this. As, you read earlier, it wasn’t too long before he made his appearance and after that, things never settled down. I mean, the crowd quieted a bit to hear what one of these legendary gods of hip-hop wanted to quip to it, but for every song, every mouth screamed every lyric.
At the end of the album I was exhausted and drained. For almost ninety minutes I had been dancing and pumping my fist and screaming as loudly as I could manage some of the most deadly serious rhymes ever written. That was only half of it… For another hour, the geniuses behind Public Enemy treated their fans to their greatest of hit songs and histories behind the band and hip-hop in general. I wish I could say that I made it to the end of that, too. Instead, somewhere in the last four songs, my exhaustion and dehydration took over and my head began swimming. I tried to shake it off but when another song found my ear, my body took hold of my brain and said, “It’s time to get the fuck out of here.” Again, I tried to resist and Mr. Body countered by causing a nosebleed. I grabbed Ira’s shoulder to steady myself at which time he noticed the red faucet that had appeared on my face. I think I mentioned that I knew it was there, turned, and fell into Clint. Pushing through the crowd with Clint keeping me from falling over was a difficult process; there were people everywhere. It took almost four minutes to reach an area where there was space enough between people that I could sit. I remember a few people laughing at my situation, thinking I was way strung out on some substance or another. I also remember thinking, “If you don’t move, I’m gonna hafta bleed all over you.”
By the time I had recovered enough to realize I had stopped bleeding and tell Clint I didn’t need the paramedics, Chuck D was beginning his exit speech. I had to get some water so I shakily stood and found my way to the water fountains, again with Clint’s assistance (of which I am exceedingly grateful). Slightly re-hydrated, I found that I wasn’t seeing Public Enemy; that I was missing the end of the greatest show of my life thus far. “Dude, we gotta get back in there!”
By the time Clint and I found our way close to where we were before, Chuck D had already exited and Flavor Flav was saying his goodbyes: a parlance against racism, the current military conflict, and President George W. Bush… but most importantly, a plea for the like-minded individuals in the crowd to preserve their peace with each other and themselves.
There really can’t be much more said than that…
Except, maybe, this was certainly an incredible way to end a night and an incredible way to begin a weekend music festival…
And I say, “Goddamn!” That was a dope Jam.
Public Enemy's performance of It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back receives a much-deserved handlebar moustache (5 out of 5).
Friday, July 18, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Ever since one of my friends introduced me to Wolf Parade (stating “Give me your eyes, I need the sunshine” in a dead pan, almost creepy tone) I’ve been obsessed. As I said in my last WP post, “Apologies…” is one of my all time favorite albums, and its follow-up “… Zoomer”, while not living up to the debut, is an all around solid album. When tickets went on sale for a mere twenty dollars, I snapped them up as soon as I could. In the time that I knew I was going to see them, I went to several other shows (Iron & Wine, Radiohead, Modest Mouse) and while these are some of my favorite artists, the Wolf Parade show was still the one I was anticipating most.
On the road trip up to Chicago, I began to think about the show more critically. I had been building it up so long, constructing the perfect set list and such. After months of anticipation and other stellar shows, not to mention being only SLIGHTLY disappointed with their second LP, I couldn’t help but worry that Spencer, Dan, and crew wouldn’t be able to live up to my self-built hype. Spending a day wandering around Chicago took my mind off these fears, however, especially the advice I received from one very outgoing and outspoken cabbie. After criticizing our pipe smoking, we were practically given a paraphrased version of Alan Arkin’s speech from Little Miss Sunshine. “You, you’re young, you’re not babies, but you’re young. You should no be smoking, you should be fucking the girls. Find girls, fuck them”. Hiding my smirk, I thanked him, but he continued. “I have two kids, I tell same thing every day. To drink, some, but not too much… es good. To go school, great. But to fuck… excellent.” Words of wisdom I’ll never forget.
Finally, the day of the show. We headed out about an hour early to sit in line outside the House of Blues. With only about twenty or so ahead of us, we knew we’d have a decent spot in the pit. Eventually, the doors opened and we nabbed second row center, about four or five feet from the stage. Striking up a conversation with someone directly in front of us, we got to hear about their past experiences at Wolf Parade shows, from their opening for Arcade Fire to their headlining tour. Asking what it was like yielded the dry response, “Shit gets crazy.”
I was really pleased with opening band Listening Party. I had never, and still haven’t, heard anything actually recorded by them so I was hesitant seeing only two people come on stage, one with a guitar and the other with a drum set made up of a plastic trashcan, a Home Depot bucket, and a cowbell, all held together by duct tape. Both men had great voices and were very talented musicians. Most of their stuff was backed by either prerecorded tracks or loops made on the spot. They had a pretty stellar set, and I would love seeing them live again.
The moment was at hand, and the crowd knew it. The pit, where once everyone was standing calmly, giving each other space, had suddenly become full to bursting with everyone trying to inch their way forward. I was separated from my party, them moving backward and I, luckily enough, being pushed to front row center, clutching onto the protective metal barrier to keep my new spot. After a brief announcement about where the emergency exits were located, the curtain rose and Wolf Parade took the stage. The crowd, of course, went insane. With that, Dan grabbed his guitar and hit the opening chords of “Language City”, one of Zoomer’s better tracks and a phenomenal opener. The band’s intensity was apparent early on as Dan screamed and spit the vocals and Spencer slammed his keyboard, all the way up to its climactic finish. With the first song alone, the band set the tone for the rest of the night.
Up next were a few more songs from their second album, including “Call It a Ritual” and “The Grey Estates”. I was completely surprised when, very early in their set, came “Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts”, the first song all night from Apologies. Once the crowd recognized the opening notes, shit got crazy. Everyone literally exploded. Where there was once at least some order, there was now just mass hysteria. To put it simply, it was awesome. One of the greatest aspects of the show was how the band really kicked up every song, especially those from Zoomer. Even my least favorite Wolf Parade song, “An Animal in Your Care”, was just incredible to see live, and contrary to my thoughts prior to show, I really enjoyed it. Following that came my favorite track off their new album, “Fine Young Cannibals”. While I loved every single second they were playing it, I noticed something that disappointed me as I was the only one to yell out in joy during the opening chords. The crowd, at least the people surrounding me, became subdued and much less responsive during Zoomer songs, and many people kept turning to me and asking, “What’s this one? What’s it from?” Regardless, “Fine Young Cannibals” was still one of the highlights of the show.
Next up were a couple more from Apologies, “Shine a Light” and “Grounds for Device”. The latter came as a very pleasant surprise. Having talked to several people before the show, I learned that none of them had never seen or heard of “Grounds…” being played live. Once again, the opening chords alone erupted the crowd. The crowd throughout the show was hit or miss, depending on where one was standing. According to some reports, some parts got overly violent. Also, apparently one intoxicated fan decided to not lose his spot by urinating in the middle of the full-to-bursting pit. At one point, Spencer turned to the audience, pleading, “Hey guys, be nice to everyone, the crowd surfing stuff. We’re all just here to have a good time.” Where I was everyone was mostly considerate of not totally destroying others while still jumping around, bumping, having a good time. However, it was a little before this point that a guy about a foot and a half taller than me and at least twice my weight began beating on me to try to get his way to the front row. Most of his time was spent attempting to slam me against the fence or beating on my back, but I knew I wouldn’t lose ground at this show. At the same time, I was trying to protect a girl next to me who was short enough that only her head popped above the guard rail. For several songs I had to balance between keeping my spot and protecting this tiny girl from getting smashed by this meat head. Eventually, he worked his way right beside me by pushing away the person formally standing next to me. “What the fuck?” he yelled out, clearly upset about losing his position. “DUDE, I MISSED THESE GUYS WHEN THEY PLAYED WITH ARCADE FIRE I’M SORRY BUT I HAVE TO DO THIS”. “Why’d you miss it?” the recently moved man asked. “SKIN CANCER, DUDE, SKIN CANCER. FUCKIN’ SUCKED, SKIN CANCER.”
The band took a brief break, all of them meeting on the center of the stage to have a brief discussion. Spencer looked a bit worried, asking something along the lines of “Are you sure?”, but he returned to his keyboard. He leaned forward, “Okay, so we haven’t tried this one live yet, but we’re gonna give it a shot.” With that, Spencer began with the familiar, eerie sounds and vocals of “Bang Your Drum”. For its first live playthrough, the song went without a hitch, fitting perfectly with the rest of the show. Once again, I had a new found respect for another Zoomer song. “Bang Your Drum” transitioned without a break into “Shine a Light”, another song that worked to jumpstart the crowd into even more of a frenzy, followed by “California Dreamer”. “This Heart’s On Fire” came next, and once again the crowd showed their love for any Apologies song. With every single song, the crowd kept building up and building up, screaming along louder, dancing, jumping around more furiously. This was the perfect lead up to the normal set’s ender, “Kissing the Beehive”. When I first heard this song, all I could think about how grand it scale was, just how huge it sounded. Prior to the show, I knew this would be a highlight, but the guys really made it more than anything I ever would have expected. As Dan’s gritty, guttural, pure-rock voice battled with Spencer’s all-over-the-place vocals, the whole band slammed out the monstrous tune. Eleven minutes of pure, intense rock. The final note rung out, and the band left the stage.
With the crowd begging for more, the band came out once again. They had already played all of At Mount Zoomer, so everyone knew it was Apologies or EP material for the encore. Once again, it would be Dan who began the song, playing the opening of “It’s a Curse”. Finally, the moment was at hand. Everyone in the crowd had been waiting for it. The instantly recognizable opening notes of “I’ll Believe in Anything”. Once again, shit got crazy. As Spencer screamed out, “Give me / Your eyes / I need/ The sunshine”, the whole venue went insane. Wolf Parade’s show had easily turned into the most intense pit I had ever been in. The entire crowd became united, singing (well, screaming) to each other, “I’ll believe in anything if you’ll believe in anything!” All the band members changed various bits of it, Arlen switching up the beat from time to time and Dan playing different riffs throughout. It was absolutely perfect. Finally, keeping up the momentum, Wolf Parade closed their show with “Fancy Claps”. I realize that my vocabulary has been pretty limited this entire review, and I keep repeating myself, but I can’t put it any other way: They rocked it. Wolf Parade absolutely destroyed the House of Blues with their high energy, excellent set list, and stellar, precise sound.
Best show of the summer. Best show of my life.
Handlebar Moustache (Five out of five.) ‘Nuff said.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I don’t know if you know this, but it is summer. Come 80-degree weather, my playlists change. They become more fun, brighter, and also more goofy. Such was the case when I was scrolling through my iPod to find the 2000 hit “Thong Song.” I punched the center button, and was taken back to “those finer things in life.” I found myself singing ALL the lyrics with all the enthusiasm as my 11-year-old self did eight years ago. I began to wonder where this silver-headed Casanova, Sisqó, had been for nearly a decade. After some in-depth (wikipedia) readings on the subject, I discovered quite a bit about Mr. Mark Althavan Andrews (including his name!).
Before his solo career, he was the lead singer in the R&B group, Dru Hill. In 1999, the group broke up, each going to pursue a solo path. Sisqó was the only member to achieve any kind of success. His debut, Unleash the Dragon, had only moderate popularity until the drop of the second single, and inspiration for this article, “Thong Song.”
Chances are that you are familiar with the track, so I will not describe it in any further detail than the most quintessential MTV (Real World/Road Rules/Spring Break – Cancun-era) song that could ever be penned. Riding on the coattails of its predecessor, “Incomplete” helped propel Unleash the Dragon to sell four million copies.
After a failed attempt to reunite Dru Hill, Sisqó decided to pursue not only another album, but also a film and television career. Sisqó’s Shakedown premiered on MTV. It was a short-lived dance competition program that he hosted. In “film” he acted in “Get Over It,” a movie about a breakup and “Snow Dogs” a comedy with Cuba Gooding, Jr. (which I think is all that needs to be said about that).
Sisqó’s career in acting and television hosting didn’t take the climb he had hoped, so he put out another album: Return of the Dragon. Despite its unique and clever title, the album’s singles “Can I Live” and “Dance With Me” failed to perform. In light of the lack of radio play, the album eventually reached platinum by the massive amounts of people wanting another “Thong Song.” What these masses don’t realize is that magic like that is a once in a lifetime shot, and Sisqó nailed it. So well in fact, that people, including myself, can’t let it go.
It is a good thing, at least for Mr. Andrews, that we can’t let it go, because of late he cometed on the CMT show Gone Country, which had non-country artists compete for a country recording contract. (Damn you, Julio Iglesias, Jr. for winning!). But, even though he didn’t win, we can take solace in the fact that later this year, he is releasing the final part of the trilogy! The to-be released album, Last Dragon, has already delivered a single with a video to go along with it. “Who’s Ur Daddy,” which features the new artist E-money, is a poignant tale of Sisqó’s desire to impregnate a certain lady. His desire for conception, but his lack of triumph can be envisioned at 1:33, where the video shows a man failing to complete a handstand. However, Sisqó’s determination, confidence, and his goal-oriented personality bring him to victory come the end of the single when the video takes on a Photo Booth “Glow” quality. To me this represents Sisqó’s “glow” of being a new father.
Reflecting on this artist’s work and his various hair stylings, which include, according to wikipedia.org, “a bleached blonde Caesar, a platinum-colored Caesar (colored with silver spray-paint), blonde cornrows, a neon–red dyed Caesar, and a bleached blonde Mohawk,” I can’t help but be consumed by the fervor of eventually Mark Althavan Andrews jumping out of my iPod video.
I know I probably won't be going to this, but if you can afford the time and money I can almost guarantee it will be the best weekend of your lives.
The Monolith Music Festival in Red Rocks, Colorado will be two night in September surrounded by walls of red sandstone, lots of screaming rock and indie fans, and the sounds of 50 or more bands on 5 stages. The single day passes are about $52 a piece, two day passes go for $110, and the VIP passes top out at $225... You may be balking right about now, but when you see the line-up of performances they have combined with the scenery and ambiance of Colorado, I'm almost certain your insides will begin to wriggle around, just like mine did.
Included in the list of performers that I mentioned above are Band of Horses, TV on the Radio, Silversun Pickups, Del The Funky Homosapien, and a legitimately funky group called Hercules & Love Affair...
Here's an example of them:
Hercules & Love Affair–Hercules Theme
"My God!" is exactly what you're thinking, right? I know.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Kele stopped in on the Zane Lowe show (who covers all the greatest and latest including my favorite Magistrates) to give them the first pleasure of listening to the track. I would have posted up in advance if I hadn't the technical issues, but I digress.
Enjoy the trippy and surreal video which dropped alongside the single.
Finally download and learn to love the track, MERCURY.
Seeing as it will be what we're going to see from kele and friends in the very near future, get used to it.
Monday, July 7, 2008
You should also check out the My Morning Jacket Black Cab Session. "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 2" in a cab? Bloody brilliant.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
As a member of Moustache Salad, I go to many concerts. Bars, rock clubs, and theaters: there are many different venues to see a show, each with a certain charm. But the variation in venues seems negligible when compared to the vast differences in personalities of the concertgoers. From the 13-year-old girls at the Death Cab show to the AARP members at the Wilco extravaganzas, I encounter virtually every demographic by the time I see a couple dozen shows. However, never have I been surrounded by such a diverse group as I was at the July 1st Modest Mouse show in St. Louis. Before the show, I saw the teenagers hanging out at the front of the line 4 hours before the show started. In Vintage Vinyl I saw the scenesters buying their favorite Feist record on vinyl. And with me were a rock n’ roll die-hard, a health nut, and a Sam Beam fanatic. (Granted, I boiled my three friends down further than I normally would, but I use this illustration mainly to demonstrate the diverse group of people at this show). Before the show I pondered these differences, and how we were all united by a love for Modest Mouse.
This unification was strengthened once we were packed into the pit at the Pageant. When surrounded by hot, sweaty bodies, one must, in order to have a good time, submit to being hot and sweaty (and often the sweat is from others). This brings about a sense of community during a show. Concerts are meant to be experienced by a group of people. Whether the group is 10 or 10,000, the people make a connection with the others that can’t be broken. Not only is it music that brings people together, it is the entire experience. For example, it seemed that everyone in the audience was smoking Camel Lights. There was one kid, who was probably smoking for the first time, and he smoked what had to have been way too much for his body, because after looking nauseous for some time, he passed out in two of my friends’ arms. The health nut checked for signs of life, and then told someone to call 911. One of the bouncers picked up the kid, and took him outside. After the hustle, people went back to filling the Pageant up with smoke. Looking up, I could see the smoke from different people mingle and become one large cloud.
After watching the smoke sweep across an empty stage for an excruciatingly long time, Modest Mouse finally hit the stage. Isaac Brock came out in a Corona poncho and sombrero. He also brought out a bamboo plant. They launched into “Dance Hall” which set the mood for the rest of the show, because for the rest of the show, the pit was full of dancing. While Modest Mouse went crazy on stage, the sound guys at the Pageant must have been asleep, because the feedback was almost intolerable for the first three songs. It wasn’t Modest Mouse’s fault, but it is the only factor that keeps this show from the legendary handlebar.
Brock was the madman that he is on stage. He gripped his axe as if it were really a bladed tool. His crazy eyes would have made me turn the other way if I had seen him out in public, but in the confines of the venue, I only felt awe.
For the past month and a half, The Lonesome Crowded West consumed me. However, when only one song off LCW made the setlist (Trucker’s Atlas) I was more than content, because the energy was higher than any other concert I have experienced. Surrounded by cigarettes, booze, dancing, weed, and sweat, I could not think of a better place to be. Some unexpected highlights were “Here It Comes” off Everywhere and His Nasty Parlor Tricks and “Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset” off their debut This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About. Also, they played the unreleased “Satellite Skin” which is a song I really look forward to being able to hear on a studio release, or even a bootleg for that matter, because it was damn good.
Apart from getting to see one of my favorite bands, there was another part of the show that I was really anticipating: getting to see Johnny Marr. I love The Smiths, so getting to see Johnny Marr was very pleasing.
Brock and the boys played the singles, which admittedly, I was dreading, but really it was fucking great. The energy hit a peak and everybody was dancing and bumping into each other. When they played the closer off Good News For People Who Love Bad News, “The Good Times Are Killing Me,” all I could think of was that kid who passed out. (He turned out to be fine, in case you were wondering). After the first set, they came back to do their encore, finally ending with “Spitting Venom,” which is the most epic track off We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.
After the band walked off stage, the smoke hung like a shadow from a nuclear blast. Everyone walked around in awe and excitement. Laughing, smiling, and already reminiscing, I knew that we had experienced community in a great way, and that we weren’t just blowing smoke.
I give this a Fu Man-chu with sideburns (4.5 out of 5).
Friday, July 4, 2008
Ok... I know. Where have I been?!
Paul Thomas Anderson's American Epic starring award winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis, is just that, epic. And it's been, what, nearly half a year since its widespread release in January earlier this year? To answer your question, I haven't been anywhere, thank you very much. That's why I didn't get out to see this wonderful piece of art.
It's really no excuse.
Any who, if you haven't taken the time to see this, and believe me, you'll have to take the time at 158 minutes long, do yourself a favor and find it (both the time and the movie).
It is pretty much sight and sound, tit-for-tat the novel "Oil" by Upton Sinclair. Not really word for word or, you know, in book form, but you really get the feel of dirty, grimy 1911 oil-county in the newly forming American West.
As for the technical stuff that I always like to get into, There Will Be Blood is almost a monster movie than it is a character study of a man whose only love is for success and his son. Almost...
The camera work only seems to get in the way of the whole experience a couple of times (i.e. stuff hitting the lens and slightly shaky camera handling) but the sounds and scenery of the film are breathtaking.
So... see it...
I give it the Jason LaRue Porn-stache (5 out of 5)
I haven't been to my home in a while to access my parents' TiVo to finish up my last post about AFI's 10 top 10... I'll try to get there soon. Either that or I'll post a link to the site where you can read about everything there.
Apparently, TiVo got sick of the "10 Top 10's" antics and deleted it from the hard drive...
so here's this
AFI's 10 Top 10