Friday, August 28, 2009
I just wanted to say, if you were one of the many people who unfortunately received uncalled for communication from me on Facebook this past week, I am really sorry. I guess I’ve just been in a funk lately, and, combined with my still simmering hatred for the “new Facebook”, I unfortunately turned this negativity outward. Though I am guessing I will leave some out, here are a few of the more egregious communications, for which I am sorry:
Shelly – when you updated your status earlier this week to jokingly infer that your husband might up and leave you when he saw how short you cut your hair, I should’ve just joined the others with a simple, “I’m sure he’ll love it!” or “LOL, you are so silly.” But instead I wrote, “I bet he’s already cheating on you.” The fact that you were the bigger person and totally ignored my comment is admirable. So I should’ve left well enough alone when the next day, you updated your status to, “Shelly wants to say thanks for all of the reassurances and compliments about my new do - great to have such supportive friends!” But no, I did not. Against my better judgment I typed “You’ll need that kind of support when Bill leaves you for somebody with cuter hair.” To be fair, I REALLY don’t think he’s cheating on you OR that he’s going to leave you. Or even that your hair cut is THAT bad. I just found your compliment fishing trip to be really tedious and I lashed out. I am sorry.
Jeff – your most recent status update didn’t warrant an attack. But attack you I did. When you posted, “Really, I have nothing to say,” it was just the boring straw that broke the back of your boring life I guess. But still, “Your life is so boring. Please delete me from your friend list. I’d do it myself, but I’m being charitable and giving you a task with which you can occupy at least a small fraction of time since you clearly need it” was beyond the pale. Though this doesn’t make my comment fair, it’s not like this "update" was a departure from a proven track record of witty or interesting status updates. I mean, JESUS CHRIST you’re dull. The update before that said, “I am going to take a shower and go to bed” which, I couldn’t help but notice, was posted at 8:02pm. The most exciting thing that seems to have happened in your life are the new cabinets you got for your kitchen last month (nice pictures by the way – all 600 or so of them). That is the high point of your existence from what I can tell. Wow. I just realized that in addition to my inappropriate comment, I have taken the time to further lash out at you when I should be apologizing. So a double apology there.
Anita – I know you’re going through a rough time. The divorce, your cat’s death, the recent car accident… It’s a lot to deal with. Facebook has been an important outlet for you from what I can tell by how you post all the time about how crummy your life is. Almost every single update seems to be designed to evoke reassurance and pity or is a hateful, thinly veiled comment about your ex husband. I've tried to just put up with it, but truth be told, you’re a bit of a downer. Especially since your posts don’t exactly point to any real progress toward getting to a good place – just a lot of hatred and binge drinking. But when I clicked, “Likes this” for your “I wish I were dead” update, it was passive-aggressive and mean. Even if it WAS like the sixth time you expressed your desire to die in the last two days. It gets old, the cries for help. But the point is, I’m sorry. Also that you should see a therapist. Somebody needed to say it.
Chad – Wow, you take a lot of quizzes. I’m sure you find Facebook quizzes to be clever and a good use of your time. And up until the other day, I’ve always just hit the “hide” button when I see the results of your, “Which John Lennon song are you?” quiz. So you like quizzes – what’s the harm? But the other day was different. You took the following quizzes all in a row:
Am I evil? (You are evil. Very evil)
Am I going to Hell? (You’re going to Hell – AND you’re “going to give Satan a run for his money”)
Am I capable of murder? (Yes. “Cold blooded” even.)
Am I a sociopath? (Your "lack of remorse, shame or guilt" and your "inability to love" say "YES!")
How horny are you? (You’re “desperately horny” and will, “do anything” for sex)
Are you a misogynist? (Yes – “women should steer clear of you”)
Could I get away with murder? (Easily. The police will “never catch you”)
I mean, how could I NOT send the police to your house? Yes, I realize now these quizzes were just stupid time wasters and you thought they were funny. But you’re kind of a creepy guy in the first place and I had stayed up really late the night before watching a Forensic Files marathon. So sue me! Or, actually, please don’t. I obviously didn’t intend for you to lose your teaching job over this. Though it’s not MY fault you were passed out naked with a bong in your lap when the police got there. If anything, the fact you’re a pot smoker should’ve relieved the police – it’s hard to be an evil murderer when you’re so baked you can’t even put on pants. But I’m sure you don’t want to hear my philosophy on the inefficacy of American drug policy right now. What you really want to hear is, “I’m sorry.” Since you’ve deleted me as your Facebook friend, I don’t know that you’ll get this, but maybe a mutual friend will be kind and pass it along.
I’ll have you know that I’ve “grounded” myself from Facebook for a whole week, and my therapist and I are working on getting to the bottom of, as she puts it, “my stubborn refusal to engage appropriately via social networking.” I already feel like I’ve made a lot of progress just with this letter. So thank you everybody. It’s now time for me to go through my Twitter account and see if I’ve done any damage there as well.
Yours (unless you've deleted me) in Facebook friendship,
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Like me, you’ve probably spent this whole week stewing over political frustrations. You’ve been all keyed up over Obama’s lack of a strong stance on the public option and losing sleep over the realization that those state senators from Iowa, Wyoming and North Dakota who are fighting the hardest to sabotage efforts at real, meaningful reform pull in inordinate amounts of money from health insurance related PACs AND each of their home states has a major insurer that covers 70% or more of the state's population, which sounds a hell of a lot more like a monopoly than this “we love free markets and competition” bullshit they use to explain their positions. That was totally you too this week, right? That’s probably why I found myself visiting Calvin Harris-land so much this week. Because in Calvin Harris-land, there’s only thumping beats and a reminder that ”these are the good times in your life, so put on a smile and it’ll be alright.” Granted I wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s a super fun place visit.
Inglourious Basterds soundtrack
My first memory of wanting something so, so badly was when Nickelodeon had a "toy store shopping spree" contest. They'd show commercials for it which would portray kids gleefully running through the asles grabbing toys as fast as they could. I would always furiously try to write down the address to enter, but it never seemed to stay on the screen long enough for me to complete it. I would literally lay in bed and plan my strategy. Video game isle first (value!) followed by action figures (can fit many in cart!) ending with sporting goods (a new basketball!). Skip the stupid dolls and baby stuff. What does this have to do with Inglourious Basterds? Nothing! In fact, I have not seen the movie yet, but I am pretty sure it is about how the Nazis won WWII (proof: Obamacare). The point is, I want to go on a "record shopping spree" through QuentinTarantino's house. His soundtracks are proof his record collection is amazing.
Sonya Cotton – Red River
Red River is one of those records that has an accompanying narrative that sounds suspect and contrived - girl suffers serious loss and grief, girl sees strong parallels to the roadkill of her suburban surroundings to her and her loved ones pain, girl decides to pick up and move across country, girl makes sad bastard folksy album about it all. But despite the relative simplicity (think early 60's Joan Baez, and Meg Baird, though Cotton really doesn't sound like either of them), Red River is a captivating listen and comes from a real place of pain and reflection rather than artifice. Interestingly she is planning a September '09 tour "by train and foot." So if she shows up in your town to play a show, you should really let her sleep on your couch. And if she makes it to Detroit, I'll do the same.
12" Record bonus!
Three thumpin' dance tracks from the Pop Project's Zach Curd and Electric Six/Johnny Headband's Keith Thompson. Zach Curd is Synergy to Keith Thompson's Soundwave. If you can believe it, the results are even better than that analogy. Available for free download, which seals the deal.
Wonder Twins two weeks in a row? Is this real life? Of course it is. We will now resume our regularly scheduled every-other-week slot, but not before we regale you with the tale of our trek out to Holly for the Michigan Renaissance Festival. Which, to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to. BUT, I can report, was actually kind of fun! I especially liked how on the way there we saw two liquor stores on
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Pop Matters had a nice piece on the resurgence of vinyl this past Friday. Sometimes I wonder why, seeing as I’ve been obsessed with music most of my life, I ever stopped being interested in good ol’ fashioned LPs. But that gap exists because by the time I was old enough to troll indie record stores, I could no longer relate to the format. Author Michael Brett’s description of mid-90’s vinyl fans sums up my feeling exactly:
The vinyl addicts fell into two distinct stereotypes. One was the blindly dressed Boomer desperately seeking the rare bootleg of Dylan making a ham sandwich. The other was the elitist aesthete who shopped at Vintage Vinyl in
The article does have some cynical overtones that I think are a little misguided. The main issue being his feeling that today’s record collecting will see the same eventual collapse of comic books and baseball cards. At least for the people I know who have enbraced the return of the LP as music’s dominant physical format, the idea of record-collecting-as-investment-opportunity doesn’t play a part. Yes, some people ar going to totally geek out and overpay for “collectors editions” of various releases, but for most people it’s just about the music and collecting for the love of it. Am I just in the dark and people are buying two of every Merge release – one for playing and one for eventual appreciation?
Now, his warning that hipsters will eventually lose interest in buying records has some merit. I’m sure there are plenty of trend-hoppers who would switch to MP3 embedded neon hot pants should Dan Deacon tell them to do it, and a lock-step switch from spending money on records to spending money on “Tune Pants” (as I predict they’ll be called) could threaten to pop the vinyl bubble. But some of us will stick to vinyl. I don’t care how many American Apparel exclusive Tune Pants releases I have to miss out on – I am too old for hot pants and Dan Deacon isn’t the boss of me.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Since my parents weren’t fans, my childhood introduction to Bob Dylan was through “We Are the World.” At the time, I thought this was pretty much the most amazing song ever recorded. I loved picking out my favorite singer’s voices – Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner... But the song ended with this weird, unfamiliar voice that didn’t make sense to me as a child. I always wondered, “Who is this guy and why are they letting him sing with musical greats like Kenny Loggins and Huey Lewis?!” To be fair, I was 8 at the time. But this suspicion has stayed with me, and to this day, if you compare something to Dylan, I’m skeptical. But I think I may be cured thanks to Choo Choo La Rouge. Black Clouds has Dylan’s influence all over it, and yet I am not repelled! In fact, it’s sweet and catchy and unselfconscious and a nice change of pace from the deluge of recent bands who either think they’re Animal Collective or Yaz or some combination of the two. Click here to see their video for "Here Come the Guns" which, really, should totally score then a sponsorship from 3M™.
Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall
I first saw Jay Reatard when I came across his album Blood Visions in a record store. On the cover he’s wearing nothing but red briefs and he’s covered in blood. I figured it was one of the dudes from Dwarves since they already did the covered-in-blood thing for their Blood, Guts & Pussy album art. Seeing as I had no interest in that record, I didn’t give a second thought to this Reatard fellow either. Plus it appeared he was too retarded to even spell "retard" correctly. But I somehow ended up with a copy of Matador Singles ’08. One listen and I was hooked. Song after song sounds like some combination of Guided By Voices, Chris Knox/Tall Dwarfs, The Jam and the Buzzcocks. He may look like the grumpy troll under the bridge, but that's just because he's from Tennessee and that's how they look there.
Dan Mangan - Nice, Nice, Very Nice
I really want Dan Mangan’s name to be a palindrome. But it isn’t. Backwards it would be Nag Nam Nad which I am pretty sure is a Vietmanese dish with rice vermicelli and shrimp. To make up for this, he should’ve considered A Man A Plan A Canal Panama as an album title, but I guess I’ll settle for a Kurt Vonnegut quote. The “dude with a guitar and some feelings” genre is one I’m particularly skeptical of, so when I hear something of that ilk that wins me over, that’s saying something. The songs of Nice, Nice, Very Nice have a tinge of nostalgia, a lot of intelligence and just enough banjo to keep my girlfriend happy. I’d throw in the term “Americana” for good measure, but Mangan is Canadian (Canadiacana?) so that doesn’t really work. He even manages to pull off a song about the state of the music industry (“Tina’s Glorious Comeback”) without making me want to punch him in the face. That’s victory right there.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So, Fucking Awesome Fest, remember that? This week’s Wonder Twins attempts to tackle four days of music mixed with a healthy dose of chaos and disorder in one column. Which is of course an impossible task. Even without the handicap of word count, it would’ve been unfeasible for us to cover everything that happened over those four days. Even with super powers. So needless to say some highlights got edited out, so I want to give those bands shout-outs here. There were great sets by bands I already knew I liked, such as Pop Project, Silverghost and Croff Family Band, but we saw several bands we hadn’t managed to see before the fest. These included: Marco Polio & the New Vaccines, The Displays, Pizazz, Lee Marvin Computer Arm (who D’Anne kept calling, Marvin Arm Computer Hand) and Mazinga (whoa). Some of these were already on my “I need to see them someday” list, and some hadn’t really been on my radar yet. All of these will be added to my, “I should see a proper show by this band soon” list. Oh - for some pics, check the Metro Times Music Blahg - Jamie had her camera and a few of her shots are posted for your viewing delight.
Despite not drinking at all during this event, I still don’t feel fully recovered. Mostly I’m not emotionally recovered – four days of sensory overload can make a girl anxious and reclusive. So instead of going to see Drug Rug tonight at the Pike Room, I’m staying home. Again. But if you’re considering a show – overlook the stupidity of the name Drug Rug and go to
Thursday, August 13, 2009
If your first thought upon seeing the cover of JJ n° 2 was, “Ugh, I am not interested in listening to a low budget trip-hop compilation from the mid-90’s, thanks” I don’t blame you. But I do appreciate your use of “thanks” and duly note your politeness. It doesn’t help that, even if you were intrigued by Pitchfork’s 8.6 rating of this record, reading their 700+ word review was basically a waste of your life. But in fact, this is really great - along the lines of Field Mice, Saint Etienne and Susan Anway-fronted Magnetic Fields. That should be all you need to know.
I will admit, I have a weakness for sentimental indie rock - the kind of stuff that ends up on soundtracks for shows like The O.C. But to my credit, these flings are typically short-lived. I’m not sure if what I've got going with Bad Veins is a brief affair that I’ll look back on with confusion and regret ala Snow Patrol (things were going pretty good Gary, but YOU wanted more and had to ruin what we had with your stupid non-rhyming power ballads), or something with more staying power (what's up, Elbow?), but I’m a little swept up in this record right now. It reminds me of Keene paired with The Strokes, which could be more evidence that this isn’t going to last seeing as I eventually broke things off with both of those bands too. But for now, I’m cautiously optimistic and planning to just enjoy things, no need to rush and talk about my dysfunctional relationship patterns or my commitment issues just yet.
The very first time I saw the cover of I Love You, I got all excited and thought, “Amanda Bynes has an album out?! My girlfriend will LOVE this! Oh, wait. That says, 'Amanda Blank.' Hmm. That’s not as immediately fun to me.” Then I went home and watched She’s the Man again and forgot about it. But recently I heard this “Amanda Blank” if that’s her real name (is that her real name?) and it’s a whole lot of dirty electro-trash fun. I'm glad Amanda Bynes and Amanda Blank are not one-in-the-same, as I don’t think I could hear the star of What A Girl Wants sing, “Hottest muthafucka on the whole damn block, do my thang and the girlie girls watch” without blushing and feeling uncomfortable.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I have been waiting YEARS for The Smiths catalog to be remastered and reissued. When Rhino released that two CD The Sound of The Smiths last year, I eagerly bought it. I already had 98% of the stuff on it, but after hearing, “digital remastering sessions overseen by Johnny Marr” I didn’t hesitate. Because the Smiths catalog, originally released on CD in 1990 sounds awful. And even if you find used vinyl versions at your favorite local record shop, their pretty flimsy and usually overpriced. So when I read that Warner was reissuing vinyl versions of The Smiths, Meat Is Murder, The Queen Is Dead and Strangeways, Here We Come I rejoiced. But according to NME, Morrissey is asking his fans to “not bother buying them.”
Now, for him to ask his die hard fans to refrain from buying something they’ve been eagerly awaiting forever, it must be pretty serious! Is it because the remastering was done by some poor studio slob with no reverence for the material he was working with? Wait, what? Johnny Marr oversaw the remastering of these too? Are these reissues flimsy, cheap records not worth the vinyl they’re pressed on? Oh – they’re 180 gram, audiophile grade vinyl? Ok then. Well, there must be a good reason then, right? Are they laced with anthrax and Morrissey is trying to save my life by changing my mind about buying them?
Um, no. It’s this:
"Morrissey also does not approve of, and was not consulted on … the Warner releases of Smiths LPs on 180 gramme vinyl. (He) last received a royalty payment from Warners ten years ago and, once again, he would ask people not to bother buying the reissued LPs…”
Okay, I’m all for artists getting paid for their work. I am, I am! But in this instance, I’m having a really, really hard time with the idea that I shouldn’t have these records because Morrissey won’t get paid for them. This is a man who’s been offered millions of dollars just to do ONE Smiths reunion show. His solo career is enough to keep any devoted fan totally broke trying to keep up with the singles, collections, deluxe versions, revisionist reissues, concert tickets, etc. I’ve managed to put more than a few dollars into Morrissey’s pocket over the years.
And frankly, as much as I would love to see him consulted on the reissues of these records, the fact that Johnny Marr was involved is good enough for me. Despite the fact that Mr. Marr’s output since the Smiths has been a constant source of musical disappointment for me, I still adore him and think he’s perfectly capable of overseeing these reissues. And what was it that Morrissey was credited with regarding The Sound of The Smiths? Oh right. The title. It's a really nice title Morrissey, don't get me wrong. Of course the four Smiths albums in questions already have titles, so you don't have to worry about that. And don't get me started on my concern that you'd want to change around song order, delete some tracks, add b-sides and completely redo the album covers. Not that you'd do that, right?But never fear- I've already bought one of your revisionist reissues, and I'll be buying the other as well. We are far from breaking up. But unless you're going to personally promise me that you will be hand delivering your own, far superior Smiths vinyl reissues straight to my door, I'll be buying those reissues as well. I hope you can understand.
Monday, August 10, 2009
That isn’t to say that my mind jumped RIGHT to the fact that you’re probably a World of Warcraft playing pre-teen who knows full well that until you have a real job and can pay for it, creative vagina substitutions will have to do the trick. I swear I did not! Because that would be mean and also stereotypical. After all, there are tons of different reasons somebody would do a Google search for “pillow as pretend vagina.” And not all of them are necessarily because you're a Pervy Perverton! For example:
Maybe you teach some sort of childbirth classes and are looking for a way to demonstrate the miracle of birth! Using two body pillows, a Cabbage Patch doll, some dramatic lighting and the song “A Whole New World” from Disney’s Aladdin, you’ve got yourself a “birthing demo to remember!” Depending on the level of education of those in your class, you may need to take a second to explain that they’ll soon be birthing a real baby, and not a doll with yarn for hair. I’d hate for them to miss that point.
Maybe you are doing a community theater stage adaptation of Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk To Her! Well then of course you’d need to figure out a way to make a giant pretend vagina – I mean, you leave out that scene and it’s totally not worth doing a play version of this film! Might I suggest, instead of pillows, using some of those thicker wrestling/gymnastics mats. Even better if you can find them in pink. Also, please send me an invitation to your opening – I would love to attend. I would also expect an “additional production assistance provided by” nod in your program if you go with the pink wresting mats. That's only fair.
Maybe you are a very New Age-y therapist and to get to the root of a client’s “mother issues” you want to encourage their complete regression, right down to recreating his or her actual “birth!” I won’t lie – I think your methods are total baloney, but then again I’m not paying you $150 an hour to shove my head between vagina pillows so I can say “I love you” to my mom again. I can ALREADY say I love you to my mom, thanks.
See? These are just a few examples off the top of my head - I'm sure there are others. But since odds are you're just a Pervy Perverton, maybe you also like music and got something of value out of your little visit to my blog. If not, I hope you at least had the common sense to clear the search history on your mom's computer when you were done.
Take care and best wishes,
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Do you work in a cubicle environment? Maybe you keep the radio on NPR real quiet-like all night for your desk plant to help you feel more humane and in touch with nature’s rhythm. This is because you can’t even tell if it’s sunny or dark out from where you sit, let alone see a tree. When you go home at night, you are too exhausted to do anything but watch TV and heat up a Lean Cuisine (which is the same thing you had for lunch). It’s rough, but at least you have a job, yes? Either way, you totally deserve a break once in awhile – so maybe download Mecca, the new album by Office. For free. It is so, so good and not boring like your life.
Most Serene Republic - ...And The Ever Expanding Universe
Did you know that in Canada, all musicians report directly to the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) who then just give them like, so much money every time one of their songs is played in a commercial or covered by a lesbian at a coffee shop’s open-mic night? Also, if your band has seven or more members, you can apply to SOCAN to become an official Canadian province! You probably have not looked at a map of
Nurses - Apple's
Growing up I am almost positive that I had a children’s book called The Lady With the Lamp. The cover featured a realistic recreation of what it must’ve been like for Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War. In the picture, she is on this battlefield at night holding a lamp and looking calm, yet, you know, freaked by war, as she wraps bandages around a soldier’s injured head. Also, the band Nurses totally reminds me of all the things I love about
Olden days record bonus!
I really don't know why this exists, but it is way better than you think it is. There is something so incredibly charming about hearing Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams belt out girl group numbers like "Do Do Ron Ron." Granted, Melissa "Don't Cry Out Loud" Manchester sings on the record as well to kind of fill in the cracks, but I like to pretend that Penny and Cindy totally did it all on their own. Also, fun story. My aunt once made me a bathrobe on which she embroidered the letter "L" ala Laverne... However, she decided she wanted it to be "unique" and opted for a creative font rather than the big loopy cursive "L" synonymous with Laverne. So she decided to embroider it in sign language. Of course, the sign language version of "L" is made with your thumb and your pointer finger. Which is, of course, also the symbol for "loser." And yes, I still have it and call it the "loser bathrobe." Don't be jealous.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
But my favorite part is her by line. New York Times Op Ed contributors are usually really fancy and important people, right? Typically, they’re warning you about the dangers of a lax port authority, waxing philosophical about the economy or telling you what they think Obama should be doing about some crisis or other. After reading an Op Ed, you might think, “Well, who is this hoo-ha anyway, and why should I care what they think, hmm?” That’s where the by line comes in. Examples of by lines from recent Op Ed columns include:
Dalton Conley, the dean of social sciences at New York University, is the author of “Elsewhere, U.S.A.”
Bradley C. Schreiber, the president of a government relations company, was a senior adviser at the Department of Homeland Security from 2007 to 2009.
Lawrence M. Wein is a professor of management science at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Here is Nancy Sinatra’s:
Nancy Sinatra is a singer.Damn straight she is.
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