Unrescuable Schizo feature: Check out our FAVORITE 30 SONGS OF THE 2000S.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Panic! drops exclamation point; punctuation lovers mourn

The news that Panic! at the Disco will now be known as Panic at the Disco (sans exclamation point) has made punctuation lovers like myself sad.

We've been in the middle of a long punctuation drought recently. Shania Twain was always the queen of punctuation. Her 1997 album Come On Over featured no fewer than 23 punctuation marks among its 16 songs, with titles such as "Whatever You Do! Don't!" and "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" But Shania's been away for years, so we can't count on her to satisfy our punctuation fix.

I'm going to have to start listening to bands like Los Campesinos! and You Say Party! We Say Die! I'm hopeful they will start a new trend.

And now, an mp3 of the most ridiculous punctuation song in history ("Babe, I wanna hold you in parentheses.")

MP3: Dan Baird - I Love You Period

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Kids on the Block reunion!

It's really happening: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20174022,00.html

If the Spice Girls and the Jackson 5 can go on reunion tours, why not NKOTB? I'm surprised Jonathan Knight is willing to go along, since he's been the one for years who has wanted nothing to do with a reunion. I'm also a little surprised tough guy Donnie Wahlberg wants to go back to his teeny bopper dancing days. I guess nobody can turn down a paycheck.

They were everyone's favorite band in middle school. I loved "The Right Stuff" and "Hangin' Tough."

I am totally going to see them if they do a Pittsburgh show. Should I be embarrassed by this?

YouTube: New Kids on the Block - You Got It (The Right Stuff)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jimmy Eat World, Paramore to tour

Jimmy Eat World and Paramore are touring together later this year. This is a cool pairing.

Jimmy Eat World has always been one of my favorite emo-ish bands. They're always there to provide words of wisdom for those who are full of angst but are no longer teenagers. "Don't write yourself off yet," they sang on "The Middle." "Even at 25, you gotta start sometime," they sang on "A Praise Chorus." On their latest, "Big Casino," they advise, "There's still some living left when your prime comes and goes."

Thank you, Jimmy Eat World, for the constant positive reinforcement!

Dates haven't been announced yet; brief story on the tour here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Ghostland Observatory

It's a new track from my 5th favorite band!

Ghostland Observatory will be releasing Robotique Majestique on February 29. When I saw Ghostland in November, I wasn't impressed with the new songs, although this was probably the best of the bunch. The track sounds better than the live performance did, and it's growing on me.

MP3: Ghostland Observatory - Heavy Heart (from Robotique Majestique)

Upcoming tour dates:
2/29 - Austin Music Hall Austin, Texas
3/08 - Langerado Music Festival Everglades Nat. Park, Florida
3/13 - House of Blues New Orleans, Louisiana
3/28 - Webster Hall New York, New York
3/29 - Nightclub 9:30 Washington, D.C.
4/03 - Crystal Ballroom Portland, Oregon
4/04 - Showbox at The Market Seattle, Washington
4/05 - Showbox at The Market Seattle, Washington
4/17 - The Mezzanine San Francisco, California
4/18 - Henry Fonda Theatre Los Angeles, California

Monday, January 21, 2008

No, he's not the albino guy from The Da Vinci Code

I didn't really get into Joe Jackson until a few years ago. For the longest time, I just knew him as the guy who came between Janet and Michael Jackson every year when MTV would play its entire video catalog alphabetically by artist.

Then I found Jackson's Night & Day, from 1982, in the bargain bin at the used CD store for $2.50, and I became a fan. That record is basically Rufus Wainwright's Poses, released 20 years earlier.

I haven't listened to much of Joe's stuff since then, but apparently he has a new album coming out, and here's one of the tracks.

MP3: Joe Jackson - Invisible Man

He's also going on tour, if you're interested.

By the way, Joe's a strange fellow - check out his manifesto where he argues that cigarettes do not cause cancer (note: the file is a PDF).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ok, Matt and Kim - I don't hate you anymore

I looked forward to Lollapalooza last year for weeks in advance. I was most excited to see Brazilian dance pop band CSS. Finally, the moment arrived, and as I waited at their stage, I was confused... why is there only a drum kit and a keyboard onstage? Why are these two skinny kids sitting up there? Where the hell are CSS?

My sinking feeling was confirmed when it was announced that CSS had flight problems and couldn't make it. I was devastated. But not to worry, they told us, because you get to enjoy the humorous pop stylings of Matt & Kim instead!!

I wanted to punch both of them in the face.

They were actually quite personable and entertaining, and their music wasn't bad, but I wasn't really paying attention. I stood there numb, refusing to believe that CSS weren't going to come out.

I've hated Matt & Kim ever since.

It's irrational. And I'm finally over it. And now, with a clear conscience and honest enthusiasm, I can share some Matt & Kim songs. They're good kids after all.

MP3: Matt & Kim - No More Long Years (from Matt & Kim)
MP3: Matt & Kim - Yea Yeah (from To/From)

photo credit: Nick Chatfield-Taylor

Monday, January 14, 2008

White Rabbits interview

With their acclaimed debut Fort Nightly and an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, White Rabbits were one of the breakout indie bands of 2007. What’s up for 2008? We checked in with pianist/singer Steve Patterson about the new album, the upcoming tour with the Walkmen, and finally moving out of that Brooklyn loft

MP3: White Rabbits - Kid On My Shoulders

I got hooked on the band after seeing you last year at Lollapalooza. What was that experience like?
That was a really early show, as I’m sure you remember. I think half of us hadn’t slept at all. A few of us had slept for a couple hours. Playing Lollapalooza at like 8 in the morning isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. But it was a good time and it was cool to be part of the whole festival.

Tracks like “Kid On My Shoulders” and “While We Go Dancing” are pretty lively. Do you think Fort Nightly captures the energy of your live performances?
Honestly, we were pretty wet behind the ears whenever we were recording the record, and we feel like we became a fully-formed band after this recording. This happens with a lot of bands - they release their record and then like 5 months later they wish they could go back and re-record a few things or do some things differently. And I suppose I feel pretty much the same way, but I’m proud of it. I think the live shows are definitely a little bit more raucous than the record, but there’s things I love that are on the record that you just can’t do live. There are moments that capture the way it is live, but they both feel pretty separate to me.

How did you end up with two lead singers?
I used to play drums for the band, that’s how it started when we were in Columbia (Missouri). I did harmonies with Greg (Roberts). We moved to Brooklyn and things were kind of going slowly, so we decided to shake things up. Matt (Clark) moved to drums and I moved to keys and sang, so we just decided to switch things up and see if things could move a little bit faster, and it turned out to work really well.

How is the new album shaping up?
Slowly… we’ve been on the road pretty much constantly since before the record even came out. I think we started touring in April. We stopped touring this past year in November, and we were right into the holidays and so everybody’s going home and seeing family. So, we’re writing stuff now… hopefully we’re gonna play a few new things on this tour with the Walkmen, then we’ll get back and we’ll really knuckle down and write and record stuff.

Can you tell us about some of the new songs?
We’ve been playing a couple of the new ones live for a while. One’s called “Sea of Rum.” The other one doesn’t have a name yet. They’re not too much of a departure from the Fort Nightly stuff. There’s some dark elements and some calypso elements to it. I think they’re both more mature and developed.

I enjoy when people admit to liking bands that aren’t cool. You’ve cited the Everly Brothers as an influence. Can you elaborate on that?
You don’t think the Everly Brothers are cool? (laughs) I guess they’re not. Yeah, (they’re an influence) because of their harmonies. They had a lot of really cool drum stuff going on too. That’s stuff that only we notice, maybe. It’s definitely an inspiration for me and Greg.

I read that you thought you were the smallest (least-known) band ever to play Letterman.
Yeah, I stand by that (laughs). We got in on the front end of them starting to book smaller bands, so we lucked out.

Are there any interesting stories from your Letterman appearance, aside from how cold it was in the studio?
We were getting calls from our landlord five minutes before we went on, asking us where our rent payment was. That’s probably the most ironic story. It was pretty unreal. Our parents were able to fly out, so it was nice to be able to give them that.

Do the six of you still live together in a loft in Brooklyn?
No, we just moved out of that loft last month. A few of us still live together but we’re not in that loft anymore. We’re still in Brooklyn though. (See a tour of the old loft here).

It seems like that would’ve been the perfect setup for a reality show, if you’d thrown some cameras in there.
Funny that you mention that, I’ve had a couple people asking if we’d want to do one, but no, we’re not the Monkees (laughs).

Purchase Fort Nightly at Amazon

White Rabbits tour dates (with The Walkmen)
1.16 Pittsburgh - Diesel
1.17 Detroit – The Crofoot Ballroom
1.18 Milwaukee – Turner Hall
1.19 Madison – High Noon
1.20 Chicago - Schubas
1.21 St. Louis – Blueberry Hill
1.22 Columbus – The Basement
1.23 Philadelphia – Johnny Brenda’s
1.24 Baltimore - Ottobar

YouTube: White Rabbits - “The Plot” on The Late Show with David Letterman:

Photo credits: D. Yee

Sunday, January 13, 2008

She's lost control

Last night I saw Control, the biopic of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. I don't see many movies so I won't even attempt to give an intelligent review, but I'll just say it was a very well-told story. The acting was excellent, and it was fascinating to learn about the particulars of the troubled frontman's life.

Needless to say, the music was great as well.

MP3: Joy Division - Transmission
MP3: Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Pimping other blogs and posting random mp3s

It's been a slow start to the new year, in terms of new posts, so I thought I'd highlight a couple of recent changes to my blogroll.

Under the Rotunda is a great blog loaded with concert reviews. It makes me wish I lived in Chicago so I could attend all those shows. His Best Albums of 2007 is an entertaining read.

The Torture Garden is another site I read a lot. Check out his Favorites of 2007. The pictures are great, and it's beautifully written - almost poetic.

Finally, some mp3s which have absolutely nothing to with each other, except that they've been high on my playlist lately...
MP3: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Rich Woman (from Raising Sand)
MP3: LCD Soundsystem - Tribulations (from LCD Soundsystem)
MP3: Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen (from LP)
MP3: St. Vincent - Now, Now (from Marry Me)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

So I can fall asleep tonight

How's this for a cheery, upbeat, first-post-of-2008: I'm writing about the musicians who've recently dropped dead.

Quiet Riot singer Kevin Dubrow died. This happened a few months ago, but I haven't had a chance to address it. A while back I wrote about how I had his cell phone number and was going to prank call him. So much for that. Kevin was still out there on the road, playing small club shows for tiny audiences to earn a living. You have to respect that.

Other deaths in recent months that troubled me included Boston's Brad Delp, whose "More Than a Feeling" is my favorite classic rock song of all-time, and Dan Fogelberg, the adult contemporary snoozer from the '70s. I have a soft spot in my heart for Dan because he was one of my mom's favorite singers, and "Longer" used to be "our song." I once bought an ironic Dan Fogelberg t-shirt, but I didn't wear it much because it was too ironic - nobody had any idea who he was.

A more surprising recent death was that of Hawthorne Heights guitarist Casey Calvert. He was found unconscious on his tour bus last month. In addition to being their guitarist, Calvert served as the "designated screamer" for the band, and his screaming is what made "Ohio is for Lovers" the emo/screamo classic that it is.

When the story of post-2000 emo music is written, "Ohio is for Lovers" may end up being the song that most typifies the genre, with whiny vocals and lyrics about wrist-cutting and dying. It's absurd, but it's also one of my biggest guilty pleasures of this decade.

YouTube: Hawthorne Heights - Ohio is for Lovers