Feb 252008

The lineup for the 2008 Sasquatch! Festival is finally posted. No Kinks, but all sorts of other good stuff to go around: the Cure, REM, Death Cab for Cutie, Flight of the Conchords (sic, in case Mr. Summer is reading), Built to Spill, the Hives, the Presidents, the New Pornographers, Battles, David Bazan, and many more.

It’s going to be three days of pure, unadulterated awesome. If you’re looking to go, I’ll be there with friends, so if you want to get in on the three-day camping action, or just want to meet up at the festival, leave a comment.

(Hat tip to Mike)

Feb 252008

I get email

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Mr. Eric Summer dropped by this blog to comment on my Get Set Go review and give me an electronic tongue lashing.

Apparently I’m not qualified to be a music reviewer. Either that or Mr. Summer’s artistic skin is a little on the thin side. Or it could be a combination of the both.

Then again, maybe I only think that way because of my “2-cycle weedwhacker brain”.

Feb 252008

If anyone’s wondering what to get me for my birthday . . .

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This is too awesome: a map of the earth made from musical notation. Be sure to listen to the song. It’s a trip.

Feb 252008

"’Cause I can’t get much wronger"

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And now, because Luke Barats is the fucking man:

(Hat tip to Ann and, of course, to Luke)

Feb 252008

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For no particular reason, here are the Violent Femmes doing “Blister in the Sun”:

Feb 242008

"Are you brave enough to see?"

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So I’ve been listening to a lot of industrial lately. Which has, of course, meant listening to quite a bit of Nine Inch Nails. As a result, I’ve been watching a bunch of NIN music videos. I have NO clue why I like this video so much, but it’s been on repeat all day, so I figured I’d share:

Nine Inch Nails, “The Hand That Feeds”, from the album With Teeth.

Feb 232008

Well, the Sasquatch lineup announcement is a few days away, which is good, because this Wikipedia shit is obviously not cutting it.

So Cure and R.E.M as headliners? Awesome. A few other good bands in there as well. But how sweet would it be to get to see the Kinks? I didn’t even know those guys were still alive! I mean, shit, they were old in the early 70s.

As proof, here they are performing “Lola” in 1970:

P.S: Is it just me or does Ray Davies look frighteningly like Trent Reznor?

Feb 202008

"Feel the rhythm with your hands, steal the rhythm while you can"

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Anyone want a pair of Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones with a busted right channel? I just finally got around to replacing them (with an identical set, since the HD280Pros are the best. Headphones. EVAR.) and I’m happy to give away the busted ones if anyone wants them. If not, I’ll be trashing them.

In happy news, however, brand new working sets are supah-cheap on Amazon right now: LINK

A hundred bucks for fantastic frequency response, all-around great sound, and phenomenal noise attenuation. Really can’t beat that.

Or, like I said, free if you only want them to do mono.

Something to give your headphones (and your dance muscles) a workout. “Spoonman”, by Soundgarden:

Feb 192008

Well, another fortnight, another review. I’ll get the hang of this “weekly” thing again at some point, honestly I will. In the meantime, the public spoke in record numbers last week and the result that I’ll be reviewing Speakeasy’s new album All Your New Favorite Songs. Thanks to all who voted, and with any luck I’ll actually have this review up on time.

But before then, there are, as always, new voting options. Some good stuff in this weeks voting, including the long-delayed American release of the new Raveonettes album, a new solo album from former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty, a new release from indie rock darlings The Mountain Goats, and one of the Jacksons (Janet this time) cranking out yet another disc. So come on and get your democracy mojo going.

Atlas Sound, Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (LINK)

Mike Doughty, Golden Delicious (LINK)

Janet Jackson, Discipline (LINK)

Mountain Goats, Heretic Pride (LINK) (Also head over here and download the four-song Jack and Faye EP, which is free and phenomenal.)

Raveonettes, Lust Lust Lust (LINK)

Feb 192008

Artist: Get Set Go
Album: Sunshine, Joy, and Happiness: A Tragic Tale of Death, Despair, and Other Silly Nonsense
Label: TSR Records
Release Date: Tuesday, 2008.1.22
Score: 5.5/10

The last review I wrote, of the new Magnetic Fields album, largely extolled the virtues of genius blended with absurdity. Which made Get Set Go’s new album, Sunshine, Joy, and Happiness a bit of a disappointment. Because it drove home just how trying and frustrating silliness can be if it doesn’t have anything else propping it up. Right from the self-aggrandizing off, Get Set Go’s latest album sacrifices listenability and musical interest on the alter of ironic indie goofiness.

The opening track, “How Now” is a self-important littany that sounds like it was made with the help of some bad synth loops and dime-store rhyming dictionary. It features flat, uninteresting hooks, which might be sparing effect in support of an interesting melody, but such a melody is almost entirely absent. The lyrics range from the purile (“The dutch girls like to play with our tools / let’s show them why, guys”) to the simply random (“We box Canadians on Boxing Day / let’s show them how, now”).

Now, if this was just one example of Get Set Go’s traditional silliness getting a little out of hand at the expense of message or music, it wouldn’t be so much of an issue. Unfortunately it’s fairly representative of the level of quality of the entire album. The second song on the album, “Gotta Getta Job” signals that the goofiness is probably holding sway from more than just the opening track. It’s another littany, this one of things the singer has to do today in order to “make a chance”, interspersed with chorus which is pretty heavy on the “la la la”s. Which, you know, that’s all fine and good, but really I have better things to do than listen to someone’s self-improvement to-do list, no matter how ambitious (“gonna buy Du Pont and sell it all away”). Once again, melodic creativity is lacking, but at least “Gotta Getta Job” has a fun little guitar solo at one point to break up the monotony.

There are few songs that redeem the album somewhat. “Modern Age”, for example, features some clever social commentary and it’s the one song on the album which actually makes good use of a “la la la”-based chorus. “O’ My Lord” similarly shows that Mike TV’s pen is most effective when it’s scribbling satire, as it provides a littany (a lyrical form the band seems to be fond of on this album) of things that would fix the narrators poor life: winning the lottery, a jet plane, etc. Both songs are instances of the Get Set Go formulas working, but they are, regrettably, in the vast minority on the album.

Sunshine, Joy, and Happiness is a largely vocal-driven album which is something of a shame because the lyrics usually aren’t any good. They’re silly, shallow, and based largely around themes that get recycled to the point of boredom. These lyrics are then intoned in Mike TV’s flat, smooth voice and supported by repetitive, uninteresting pop-rock hooks. The net result is goofy and boring. It’s not bad in any technical sense, there’s just no reason to listen to it, and it’s not very good, either.

This lackluster performance comes as a disappointment to me, personally, since the last Get Set Go album I heard was their debut, So You’ve Ruined Your Life, which is brilliant. Tunes like “Jesus Christ Wore Leather” and “Go to the Mattress” are brilliant. A bit absurd, yes, but they have a spark of inspiration to them that makes them trenchant and powerful at the same time. “Jesus Christ Wore Leather” can make you laugh and piss you off at the same time, even if you’re not Christian. Beyond that, it was musically interesting enough that it stands up to repetitive listening. The path from So You’ve Ruined Your Life to Sunshine, Joy, and Happiness is one that goes from off-key brilliance to vacuous goofiness. I don’t know what happened in the intervening two albums, but I hope Get Set Go’s next album sees a return to their roots.