Tuesday, May 26, 2009


As a public service I'm posting a list of quality band names that I've thought up throughout the years, use wisely...

Big Power To Life
The Man Pack
Garbage Bicycle
Fantasy Scoops
Star Wars Battle Scene Necktie
Career Beauticians
Grandma's Infamous Christmas
I Never Met The Baby
Hunky Info
Tropical Friendship
Don't Drink The Pool
Gentle Americans
More to come...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Behind My Smile: A Black Lips Review

Back in February Black Lips 'dropped' their new record and being the superfan I am I had it...well, maybe within a week or the release date. It took a chance encounter while driving home a co-worker for me to have the time and opportunity to get my dirty hands on it. Black Lips are interesting, for about a thousand different reasons, but primarily because it seems like they're stars and nobodies all at once. I'll see them on MTV2 kickin' back and introducing some random late night videos, they're mentioned in plenty of magazines and blogs, they play on tv and did shows with The Raconteurs (and probably a bunch of other decently popular bands)...so why does my local independent record store not have their record just a few days after it's release? By 'not have' I mean to say they didn't get any in, not that they are sold out. Even when I saw BL about a year ago I remember thinking that the venue, which is relatively small, wasn't as packed as it should have been. Good Bad Not Evil was a pretty polished record, in comparison to their others, and just in general. It was good but it was also my least favorite, I didn't know what 200 Million Thousand was going to be. About a month before the record came out I heard the single 'Short Fuse' on the radio and I wasn't stoked after hearing that either. A straightforward, fuzzy Brian Jonestown Massacre-esque stomp...it wasn't bad, but it didn't excite me.
So, I've dropped off my co-worker, I've made my purchases, and the two other cd's stay in the bag as I turn up 200MT and unfold the poster. As always, leaving this record store requires a traffic jam. I'm only three or four miles away by the time I hear my beloved Black Lips slo-mo rapping. It's a slow work day so I've got more than enough time to read the manifesto provided by Baby Gusty (whoever that is) about youth and life and things eternally important and presently absent. After the first listen and a good long look at the layout (one thing I love that Black Lips do is provide little explanations of the songs next to the lyrics, and whether it's abstract or obvious I appreciate the information, it's refreshing to have a band that has an interest in YOU having an interest) I was optimistic for what this record could be.
You can't trust a first listen to a record, or a song, or anything really, but music is number one in that respect. I can only think of one record that I count among my all time favorites that I absolutely loved upon first listen. This isn't news of course, I just disclaiming that my judgement of this record wasn't based on a listen and a half on the way back to work. For starters, 200MT is a weird record, it really is. All their stuff is weird and their subject matter is odd and purposely varied and unique, but the stuff on this record (in that respect) is far superior to what was on Good Bad. On that record you have 'Navajo' and 'How Do You Tell A Child That Someone Has Died' which really missed the mark with me, whereas on this recording you get stuff like 'Trapped in a Basement' and 'Elijah' (which is one of the best 5 songs they've ever done ever). The weirdness of this record doesn't stop at the subject matter, the recording is just as strange as what's recorded. It sounds archaic, it sounds muddy and honest in a way that they haven't sounded since they were on BOMP!. I remember that little clip I saw of them on MTV at...I guess it was around 1 or 2am, where they more or less only spoke about how they recorded this album. Back to basics, amps and mics, and it's not bullshit. You can hear everything on this record and it's better for it. Remember before In Utero came out and Kurt Cobain said he wanted to make that record more abrasive on purpose to weed out the...well, since it was the '90s I guess they were poseurs. I get a hint of that idea on this record, only a bit laterally. It feels like maybe some part of themselves felt like they may have crossed a line into an area where they didn't want to be. I can only see this happening one way, a little bit of spotlight has to make you question. For one thing, all I ever seemed to read about them was how 'crazy' their live shows were. They got popular and most of this press was focusing on things they hadn't done in years. Maybe I'm missing the mark entirely here, which I wouldn't be surprised about one bit. It's just a stab in the dark analysis on why this record sounds so different from the previous.
One thing they didn't do on this record, which I thank god for, is try to write another 'Bad Kids'. That was the high water mark for me and I'm sure plenty of other people on Good Bad. I have to say I was nervous they'd become the 'Bad Kids' band, but there's nothing like 'Bad Kids' on this record. 'I'll Be With You' does call on 'Dirty Hands' from Let It Bloom just a bit, but the similarities end there. 200MT, ultimately, is a statement record from one of the best bands of this decade. It's a strong record, when was the last time you heard that? For when it came out, what preceded it, and how it sounds, it's a statement of how dedicated and real Black Lips are.
I don't hate Good Bad Not Evil, actually I kind of hate that I even had to put it down in any way. I love everything Black Lips have done and maybe that taints my vision of what an important record 200MT is, but the truth is that you don't get a band like Black Lips coming along every day. A band that simultaneously exists on the verge and under the radar, recording primitive and sounding futuristic. That description brings to mind other bands (the first I though of was The Ramones) and yes, it has been done before. Bands talk about this kind of existence, and they try attain it and give it life. There's a new important band every minute and part of 200MT's genius is that it isn't trying to be genius, it just is.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Hello, it's been some time, hasn't it? I don't think I've written here in 2 months. I've been dealing with a lot of actual grown-up shit and it's been rough. However, I can't give up on my blog, that wouldn't be very 2K9 of me. The following things have been going on:

*The Room: Over the past 2 months I've watched this movie, all in all and in bits and pieces, probably 3 times and it's really amazing. People make fun of it because it's kind of low rent and there is endless ADR and the story, for the most part makes no sense...and although I can't refute those claims, it's a really astonishing movie. For really. It's like, I can't even describe it, I've never heard the phrase "I don't wanna talk about it" more times in my life, someone says it in almost every scene. It's officially one of my favorite movies of all time.

*Music: I've been devouring music lately, coming across a lot of great stuff and here's a brief list of what's been on my broken headphones: Thee Oh Sees, Crocodiles, Davila 666, Deerhunter (I can't envision a time when 'Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.' isn't in the middle of my musical repertoire), the first Drive Like Jehu record, The Advantage, The Hunches, older R.E.M., Ceremony, Obits, Wavves, Motion City Soundtrack (yes THAT Motion City Soundtrack), Motorhead, The Shangri-La's, Gomez, The Coathangers, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Jens Lekman, Black Moth Super Rainbow, the new MF Doom (though the cd just says Doom), Animal Collective, Band of Horses (the cheesiest yet most completely earnest indie band I've heard in a long time), the new Dan Deacon (although I'm not that into it), Sigur Ros, Discharge, Slayer (yes THAT Slayer), Universal Order of Armageddon, Depeche Mode, Queen (of course), Friendly Fires, Mineral, comedy albums (Eddie Izzard and Nick Swardson mostly), and last but not least the song 'Master Exploder', which brings me to my next stop...

*Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny: A movie I purchased like a week ago and have already watched 4 or 5 times. The song 'Master Exploder' plays in my head all day long at work (and at home when I stayed home because I was, and still am, sick). I always thought the movie was just a retelling of the HBO shows, OH NO! Tis untrue. They do reference the show, but it's it's own thing, and I love it. Commentary on.

*Wayne Pal Basketball: I don't know what it is but I recently bought a shirt at a thrift store with that written on it with a rad smashed up backboard, Shaq style. Take it to the hole jack, damn you gonna eat crack. Shaq baby, got baaaack. It's a very comfortable shirt.

*Driving: It's the perfect time of year to drive around with the windows down, late spring/early summer. It smells amazing and it's not quite super hot so you still get a nice cool breeze now and then. I'm a sucker for it.

*Water: Nothing beats the healing power of water, not only does it quench yr thirst, but apparently it can cure Restless Leg Syndrome. I drink it a lot.

*DayQuil: Nothing beats the healing power of DayQuil. I've gotten used to the taste and NyQuil sucks because it helps me sleep for like a half hour and then I'm up again. NyQuil? Is it NightQuil? It should be, but that doesn't sound right. Anyway, it's all about DayQuil.

That's enough. Return to form, keep it up.