11.09.2008

something fucking crazy that happened to me lately

i was trying to find element hollywood, but as per usual managed to get completely lost. so i was walking around hollywood blvd, trying to find this place. i called my sister for directions.

as i'm talking to her, i notice a cab pull up on my side of the street, and the cab driver is trying to punch his passenger, and the passenger is reciprocating in kind.

me: "uh, eli, hold on a sec... a cab driver is fighting his passenger right in front of me... uh, i'll call you back."

the passenger (some skater douche) gets out of the car, still talking shit to the driver (looks like a close-to-retirement-age immigrant from an eastern european country). the passenger goes around front, to the driver's side window, and punches the driver in the face a few more times.

at this point, the cab driver gets out of the car and knuckles up like one of those old-time boxers (the kind of guy who's got a name like seamus "beat ya bloody" malloy). needless to say, he gets knocked on his ass by the skater douche.

this was the denouement of the fight. as i walked away, anxious not to get involved, a fat, mildly retarded nikki sixx impersonator says, "wow, dude... that was terrible."

9.27.2008

HARD FEST: be there

here's a show everyone should go to: HARD FEST!!! it's on halloween somewhere in LA. noted artists playing:

justice
boys noize
crookers
CRYSTAL CASTLES
deadmau5
soulwax

notable artists not playing because they just got burnt up in an airplane crash:
DJ AM

everyone should go to this, it's gonna be ridiculously ill

9.15.2008

here's an idea for a beer commercial

setting: a courtroom

basically this commercial will have your traditional faux-court room shenanigans, like in all funny "law" commercial. the whole point is the punchline, where the guy is found guilty of drinking bud light or whatever, and the sentence is... time served drinking shitty beer!

8.20.2008

sein letzter funk komt : grüßt mir meine frau


peter schilling - "major tom"

in 1990, after many decades of forced separation, east and west germany finally reunified, and the two peoples celebrated as one the characteristic that defined them and defied their captors throughout all the years of toil and oppression: a love of terrible music. one of the unsung heroes of this newly-triumphant society was peter schilling, who created a song so lame that the normally-obedient east germans rose up against their soviet oppressors in order that they might listen to a stupid astronaut song.

communism tore families apart; falco brought them together again
BONUS ALTERNATE JOKE: the beginning of the end for the GDR occurred in 1985 when the state-controlled economy inadvertently created massive shortages of nena LPs

peter schilling's "major tom (völlig losgelöst)" is about an astronaut, major tom, who is launched into space, marvels at his planet and then dies in an accident. sound familiar?

it's easy to confuse the two songs, since the themes are so similar, so here's a brief table outlining the primary differences:

david bowie's versionpeter schilling's version
languageenglishgerman
song meaninga metaphorical exploration of the loneliness inherent in mancouldn't tell, lyrics are in german
is it good?yesonly if you're german or unusually high

the worst part of peter schilling's use of the character major tom is that he totally perverts the message of the first song. at the end of bowie's "space oddity," major tom succumbs to the void, knowing in the truest sense the feeling of isolation from all that one knows and loves. in contrast, schilling's major tom fakes his death so he can kick it in space, because he's not even human.* if anyone can tell me how this makes sense, feel free to fill me in!! (don't contact me)

this album cover is god's cosmic revenge for the holocaust

of course, like all '80s musicians, peter schilling later gained weight and began to wear a bandana like john travolta in wild hogs. additionally, like all european musicians, he began to perform shitty eurotrance versions of his "greatest hits," including "major tom" (i'm pretty sure a video of this exists on youtube, but i wouldn't recommend watching it; it's not so much funny or entertaining as just incredibly sad).

john travolta: wait a second, you want me to make look who's talking 4? well of course i'm available!

however, none of this will ever diminish my love for this song. i like it so much that i actually overdrew my bank account purchasing it from itunes, because i couldn't wait to listen to a sick song about a german who goes into space and tricks his wife into thinking he's dead**. why do i love this song? for the same reason that i love freur's "doot doot."***

* know how you can tell this is a stupid theme for a song? because it sounds like i just made a shitty joke, but it's actually the fucking truth.

** incidentally, this is also the plot of goethe's "the sorrows of young werther."

*** i don't actually know what the reason is, but i suspect it's closely associated with my fondness for starship troopers and dog police. oh yeah, the reason is marijuana.

johnny rico: marines! roll that shit, light that shit, smoke it!

8.14.2008

you make me hate you, baby!

sorry for the long gap between posts, you guys know i'm lazy.

i'm not a huge fan of older bands which "broke new ground musically" or "provided the impetus for the creation of a whole new genre of music"* because such groups tend to forgo actual quality in place of innovation [this is a problem with 90% of all experimental/"art" music (see: animal collective)].

however, there are some musicians who defied my stereotyping and actually produced memorable songs while experimenting with or confounding the prevailing musical paradigms of their times. the monks, a '60s music group composed of american GIs stationed in germany, definitely fit into this mold. also, unlike another famous german monk (or even most famous germans, really), they weren't raving anti-semites. so props to them for that, i guess.

say what you will about martin luther, but at least he made whatever germans used for transportation in the 16th century run on time

as their name would suggest, the monks wore the garb of their more-religious brethren, tonsures and cassocks. they also took to wearing nooses around their necks to symbolize death, the sort of symbolism that isn't totally obvious and hackneyed and in no way led to my sardonic laughter when i found out about it.


the monks - "monk chant"

don't be fooled by the title of the above video, it has nothing to do with gregorians, unless gregorians recently got into the habit (get it????) of pounding drums and banging away at organs for jesus (this was also a pun).


the monks - "oh, how to do now"

the above song is also pretty solid. i hate those stupid overwrought comparisons where some hipster describes a band by saying something obtuse ("it's like velvet underground and the mc5 had a baby, who was then tied to a playset with baling wire and molested by nirvana, and after it escaped it punched jim morrison in the balls, and then the now-grown baby was actually a hermaphrodite and fucked itself, and the resulting, hideously inbred offspring was INXS"), but this really sounds like a fusion of ? and the mysterians and the who**.

yeah, i know this post wasn't that great. but you know what? the monks are fucking sick and if you don't agree, i'll symbolically tie a noose around your neck and metaphorically yank on it until you've figuratively asphyxiated.

*these aren't actual quotes, but rather how i imagine hipsters speak when i'm not around.

**in an ironic twist, the fusion of those two bands then worked at knott's for a few summers, got an associate's degree in computer repair, settled down with an armenian chick from arcadia and had a child.***

***...and that child was good charlotte.

8.02.2008

gang of four: the reason why i became a marxist


i try not to bust out a ton of obscure music on this blog because i don't want to be perceived as "that guy who's trying to get a freelance job writing trite music reviews for pitchfork." so please trust me when i say that i'm writing about gang of four solely because i feel their first album is one of the most solid i've ever heard, and not because i'm trying to gain cred with hipsters or marxists.

karl marx: sorry comrade, i couldn't hear the rattling chains of the working class over this old pavement EP. what's that? yes, of course it's vinyl, the tone is so much warmer than those sterile mp3s you listen to! also i only know how to operate a phonograph, i was born in 1818 for fuck's sake.

one thing to note about gang of four is that their music is intensely political; most, if not all, of their songs have subversive undertones regarding capitalism or society. now normally this would be a bad thing, as most political music is terrible (see: any country song composed after 9/11, anything by anti-flag). however, gang of four actually makes great music, spanning a wide variety of genres. on their first album alone, entertainment!, they do a sort-of-punk thing (warning: this video is user-made and thus terrible, you should probably turn off your monitor for the next few minutes):


damaged goods

post-punk:


natural's not in it

and at one point, gang of four even veers into experimental (although unlike most music of this sort, their song is actually good):


anthrax

unlike many campus marxists, who feel comfortable merely speaking about the oppression of capitalism from their parent-provided apartments, gang of four arose from a political culture where there existed actual fascists and racist skinheads. according to simon reynold's "rip it up and start again," the members of gang of four would actually get in bar fights with militant right-wingers. say what you will about their marxist tendencies, but at least they fucked up racists on a fairly regular basis.

anyways, i have to pack for a trip to vegas, so i'll conclude with an exhortation that you should pick up entertainment! as soon as possible. just an all-around solid album. soon you'll want to destroy the colonialist forces in your country as well, whether they're your occupiers or leaders.

"the indian smiles, he thinks that the cowboy is his friend. the cowboy smiles, he is glad the indian is fooled. now he can exploit him."

see you again in a week!

7.29.2008

this post will shake your foundations

i was all set to write a post about some obscure band, as is par for the course for this blog. maybe make a couple of off-color jokes about some random ethnicity/religion/gender, wrap up with a non sequitur and call it a day.

then 7/29 came along and changed everything.

i was at work today, processing complaints, maximizing my synergy... you know, the traditional pursuits of the modern wage slave. no thought to the next day, except insofar as its arrival would mark the passing of a previous 24-hour period of boredom and irrelevance. i finished up working on a particular document and turned to my next task.

and then the earth began to shake.

twenty seconds later, the world had changed forever.

overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
but we still got terrorists here livin'

-black eyed peas, "where is the love?"

















to be clear, the terrorists will.i.am is referring to are earthquakes

later, when i got home this afternoon (my hands still shaking), i read the news to see if i could find out anything about who survived. i learned of a man in los angeles who broke his leg trying to escape from an elevator, and i thought "that could have been me."

that could have been me.

i read a story in the la times about a cable technician who was stuck up a phone pole during 7/29:

Robert Heded, 32, a Time Warner technician who lives in Culver City, was about 30 feet up a telephone pole at La Cienega and Pico boulevards in Los Angeles when the quake hit.

"I just sat there and waited, kinda rode it out," he said a while later as he bought an energy drink at a 7-Eleven, still dressed in his reflective safety vest.

The lines were "swaying a lot more than usual, about four feet from side to side," he said. "I wasn't sure what was happening, if it was an earthquake or if it was me." Heded said he finished up his work, still strapped to the pole in his safety gear. Then made his way down.


that could have been me up that telephone pole, swaying at nature's every whim. that could have been me, not sure if it was an earthquake or if it was me!

that could have been me in my reflective safety vest.

--------------------------

so here i am, trying to regain some semblance of what i had before 7/29 took it all away. am i succeeding in any way?

well, i do know one thing. from now on, no more sarcasm, no more jabs at shitty bands. there are more important tasks at hand. like ascertaining the truth behind 7/29. unraveling the tangled threads of deception and hidden truths will take some work. some of it exposes itself (how could a man break his leg trying to get out of an elevator?). other parts, you have to delve deeper than the surface (what was that cable worker doing at the top of the pole? was he doing repair work, or was it something more... insidious?). cui bono? who benefits?

in the end, though, a man must make his own truth, and hope that its veracity shines brightly enough that it fades away all doubt in those who don't believe. i hope that this final image may do the same for you:


california kind of looks like israel. coincidence?

7.23.2008

devo - guilty of delivering unto us tina fey

all facts on this page courtesy of simon reynold's excellent book, rip it up and start again: post-punk 1978-1984

when an average person thinks of devo, they think of this:


devo - "whip it"

which is understandable, as this is by far their most popular song. the problem is that since this is probably the one thing created by devo which actually permeated popular culture, i'm sure most people have written them off (as i once did) as one of those forgettable new wave bands who got lucky with a single catchy hit. the reality, though, is quite different: by buying into the system, devo managed to subvert it, infiltrating the system from within and becoming the exact opposite of anti-flag (a goal all good citizens should aspire to fulfill).


justin sane (hahahaha, get it?) knows that to be a true punk, one must espouse facile politics and sign with a major label

as with many "bands with a message," it's hard to differentiate between what devo honestly espouses and what is satirical or ironic; i choose to take everything at face value, as it's much simpler than using critical thinking. devo is named after the concept of "de-evolution," the idea that society has reached its apogee and is slowly regressing to more primal modes of living. devo applied this philosophy by showing videos of penile reconstruction surgery during concerts, wearing strange costumes and selling out whenever possible (i'm not sure how any of these really tie into de-evolution, but devo is cool, so i'll let it slide).


devo's corporate anthem

for me, devo's magnum opus is the video for one of the songs off their first album, "q: are we not men? a: we are devo!" that song is jocko homo:


when i was searching for this video, i forgot the o in jocko, and the subsequent images i saw will haunt my dreams forevermore

all i can say is that if you watch this video to the end and still think that devo isn't as punk as, say, the sex pistols, then you probably shop at hot topic. it's got dudes writhing around on a table, mark mothersbaugh looking like matthew lesko and doing a crazy man-dance, and a class of students attired in surgical garb. this description doesn't do the video justice, so just watch it.

devo isn't so great anymore, because like most bands from the '70s and '80s, the lead singer got incredibly fat.


mark mothersbaugh: waiter, whatever rob smith is having for dinner, i'll take two!

yet their impact still lingers in one important way. back in 1978, saturday night live (only a few years old at the time) wasn't getting very good ratings, and there was talk of canceling the program. then devo came on and delivered the performance of their lives:



by blowing away the audience (both in-studio and across the nation) so thoroughly with their manic performance, devo ensured that snl would soldier on, to a point where it's now impossible to cancel, even though the show has gone completely downhill. so thank you, devo, for giving us jimmy fallon, tina fey, finesse mitchell and every other cast member who truly aspires to fit the label "not ready for prime time."

in retrospect, maybe her parents shouldn't have stopped that dog from eating her face

7.21.2008

my bloody valentine is so loud that you may have a seizure


my bloody valentine - "you made me realise"

before you listen to the above song, make sure you turn your speakers way up.

i acquired my bloody valentine's discography a while back owing to the indie love they randomly started getting in pitchfork, stereogum and other websites of that ilk. this made me wary, as for some reason, bands hyped by those guys tend to blow (see: clap your hands say yeah! more on this at a later date). plus, watching a video like this next one could disenchant even the most dedicated shoegaze fan:


my bloody valentine - "soon"

because i'm both honest and superficial, i'm willing to admit that this video brought me very close to hating MBV before i gave them a fair chance solely because of bilinda butcher's peculiar dancing, and also i think she's wearing a "jumper." (side note: isn't it funny how for a while in the '90s, wearing overalls and such was a cool thing to do? or maybe it was never cool, but more like an aborted trend that the media tried but failed to inspire in the wider populace)

eventually, i did get around to giving MBV a real chance, and now a self-compiled greatest hits CD gets constant rotation on my stereo. here are some other cool tunes by them:


my bloody valentine - "cigarette in your bed" (i swear i didn't find this by searching for smoking fetish videos on youtube)

"cigarette in your bed" really shows a midpoint in MBV's musical evolution (that may be the most pretentious sentence on this blog). before they were pretty abrasive, almost punkish. afterwards they really became the landmark shoegaze band that all indie kids are supposed to love. in between they produced some nice little tunes like the aforementioned one, which remains mostly quiet and thoughtful but does get a bit crazy towards the end.


my bloody valentine - "sometimes"

given the "lost in translation" imagery of this video, it's fitting how this song bears a vague resemblance to a jesus and mary chain song. i believe this sounds like the jesus and mary chain if they were supposed to do an unplugged set but they just kind of distorted everything anyways because they give no fuck.

fun fact: since i'm seeing my bloody valentine in LA on oct. 2 (the final show of their first tour in at least a decade), this next 2.5 months will be the longest such period of my life.

in conclusion, here is a poorly-edited photo of my bloody valentine in a dire straits video.

"i really don't need to be up here right now"


jamie foxx perpetuates the cycle of black-on-black violence

this video is proof that you're guaranteed to find an awesome video on youtube if you include the term "owned" in your search query (some other ones that work are "brutal" and "gone wrong"). i can't emphasize enough that you are literally watching jamie foxx end a man's career. no one will ever respect this guy's work again, and after being on the receiving end of what can only be termed verbal sodomy, he probably has the comedian's version of what happened to chuck knoblauch anyways.

please watch this video, i promise you that it's worth it.

7.19.2008

"no pussy blues" - an awesome song by an awesome man


grinderman's "no pussy blues"

nick cave seems like a super-cool "bloke." here are a few notes on nick cave (i swear i'm not going for that chuck norris vibe right now):

-he has probably called someone a cunt in a bar, right before throwing the first punch in what would turn out to be a huge brawl.

-since he did a ton of drugs and is super-cool, he was probably the sort of customer who a drug dealer brags about selling to (so basically the polar opposite of this guy).

-nick cave wrote a critically acclaimed film, the proposition (trailer), about irish cowboys in the australian outback. seriously, watch this movie, it's pretty great.

-nick cave has an awesome mustache, the kind that i am forever doomed to strive towards but never achieve.

Nick Cave
nick cave doesn't have the no pussy blues when you're around.

anyways, nick cave is a pretty cool guy, and this song is awesome. i was kind of surprised that i liked it so much because i had heard his old album with the bad seeds, "murder ballads," which contains the same storytelling motif throughout its entirety, and i wasn't really feeling it. the whole "let's sit by a campfire in the middle of the outback while i tell tales of obscure murderers and rapists" theme seemed antiquated and boring. this song has kind of the same thing going for it, except nick cave just talks about how he can't get laid, yet it's strangely endearing.

also you should turn up the volume so when that catastrophic wail kicks in, it caves in your skull. seriously, listen to this song if you like folksy shit and/or sonic youth.

if you don't like crystal castles, then you should be executed


Crystal Castles' "Vanished" as performed by Kings of Leon.

if i add a CD to my unspoken internal list of "best albums i've ever heard," it tends to come after a long period of introspection and doubt. by which i mean that i've listened to the CD, discarded the critical consensus solely for the sake of being contrary, accidentally heard the songs a few more times when they came up on shuffle, realized that the CD was actually fantastic, and begun acting as if i actually liked it since before it was released.

my love for crystal castle's self-titled LP arose out of an even longer period of introspection and doubt (i accidentally downloaded a CD of outtakes or B-sides or something before the album i was looking for, and thus repeated the above-mentioned process twice). at first i thought the whole 8-bit gimmick was incredibly silly and that crystal castles was another one of those bands which scenesters latch onto with seemingly no regard as to the quality of their music, one of those bands which tends to adhere more to the axioms and peccadillos of what makes pitchfork like you rather than, you know, making music that's actually fun or interesting to listen to.

(side note: how come 9/10ths of all indie bands being released nowadays have that weird chamber-pop aesthetic going, but then they just sort of drop the "pop" side of the equation to produce tunes that wouldn't sound out of place in a victorian england sitting parlor but for the incomprehensible lyrics? and what's with the whole "beach boys vocal harmony" thing that every new indie band does nowadays? yes, panda bear's album was pitchfork's number one album of the year in 2007, but what people seem to have forgotten is that this album is terrible).

anyways, i wised up and realized that this album is actually sick. i like how crystal castles seems really tuned in to the idea of making fun music, rather than sticking to a particular rhythm or melodic scheme. you have the rave-induced stylings of "untrust us" and "black panther," the quasi-dance music of "courtship dating" and "air war," and the amped-up screams in "alice practice" and "love and caring" (note: almost all of these are fan videos, so at least half of them are going to be hilariously shitty).

my favorite song is "vanished," which i've helpfully embedded up top, so now you have no excuse to not like this band.

in closing: at this point in time, i can only think of a few things that canada has produced which were worth exporting. poutine. kristen kreuk. rick moranis (i dare you to tell me that you don't appreciate "honey i blew up the baby"). and now, CRYSTAL CASTLES.

vote crystal castles' self-titled LP for best album of 2008!