Tuesday, September 29, 2009

She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean

So, my girlfriend and I are now the proud owners of a new (to us) 2008 Honda Fit. We bought the car from a family owned used car dealer near Great Lakes Crossing. They have a small lot of cars, and a modest show room. The showroom had a few cool, olden days cars, a motor cycle with a carriage-like apparatus on the back and more taxidermy than I've ever seen in one place - including a whole bear. The guy who sold us the car also inadvertently told us an anecdote about one of the trucks on the lot that clued us into his church going nature. So between the dead stuffed animals and the Christianity, it was the perfect place for a lesbian couple - both vegetarians - to buy a car.

Of course, any test drive of a car should include trying out the CD player/sound system. I am not expecting Bose quality sound from a factory installed speaker system, but if a speaker is blown, there is overall crappy sound or the CD player is broken, that's a deal breaker. So we brought a couple CDs along with us on the test drive. As luck would have it, when I switched the stereo from FM to CD, there was already a disc in the player! I popped it out and was very excited to find the mix you see pictured here: "Dennis + Angela's Wedding MIX 2003 (or is that a 5?) October 18." With nothing to go by but the mix title and the songs, I'm going to assume the following:

  • Our new car previously belonged to Dennis, and this is a mix of songs from his wedding reception.
  • Dennis did not make this CD - it was given to him by the wedding DJ
  • The wedding DJ was either a really burned out professional, or a friend who has iTunes and volunteered to DJ the reception as a wedding gift.
  • The songs on this CD are presented in the order they were played at the reception.
  • Dennis is white and graduated from college no earlier than 2003.

It was a lot of fun playing it all the way through not knowing what would come on next. Let's just take a look at the disc track by track, shall we?

1. Bad Company - Feel Like Makin' Love
With this setting the tone as the first track, we knew we were in for one heck of a wedding mix.

2, Billy Idol - White Wedding
The inclusion of this song is as painfully unoriginal as it is painfully inappropriate. I have had actual wedding DJs tell me they won't play this even if somebody requests it. So that's a good test if you're talking to a potential DJ for your wedding - ask them their thoughts on this song.

3. Queen - Another One Bites the Dust
I've heard more than one person say they wanted this song played at their funeral. Ha ha! There's nothing your grieving loved ones will like more than your eye rollingly predictable after death jokes! It does seems an odd choice for a wedding though. But it has that funky bassline, so I'll give it a pass.

4. Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
This is one of my favorite MJ songs. It's also one of those songs that, when it starts, people are all, "Yeah, I love this one!" and rush out on the dance floor. What most of them don't realize, is that it's six minutes long. By minute four, people are perspiring and losing steam, but nobody wants to admit it, so they smile and switch to a slight side-to-side shuffle with small up and down hand movements while they slowly move toward the edge of the dance floor in hopes they can find an escape. I think DJs play this song to test the stamina of your out of shape guests.

5. ZZ Top - Sharp Dressed Man
I have no doubt the groom, his best man and the other men in the wedding party danced around to this song like, "Yeah - this is about ME! I've got a tux on and I look SHARP!!" One hopes the bride was paying close attention, as this may actually be the last time the term "sharp dressed man" can be applied here. The terms "watching sports in his underwear man" and "sweatpants all the time man" might not roll off the tongue the same way, but they'll quickly become apt descriptors for her man as he settles in.

6. AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long
Overplayed or not, this song is awesome. No complaints here.

7. Madonna - Holiday
I guess it's a better choice for a wedding reception than "Like A Prayer," "Justify My Love" or "Papa Don't Preach."

8. Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
I heard on NPR a few months ago that this was THE song to think of as you performed CPR. The tempo is exactly how fast you should do chest compressions or some such. When I first heard the story, I thought the lady was saying that you only do the compressions during the "stayin' alive, stayin' alive..." part and just rest while singing the other parts of the song in your head until it comes back around to that part again. You better hope that if you ever need CPR that I'm not the only person around.

9. Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl
My dad told me a story about this song once that will forever stay with me every time I hear it. When he was a boy, he apparently had a crush on a girl with a big birthmark on her arm. So the other boys would tease him and sing "brown armed girl." Kids can be so cruel, yet so clever!

10. Garth Brooks - Friends In Low Places
This song is the great equalizer at a wedding reception. Your bedazzled sweats-clad cousin who brought Milwaukee's Best in a flask and your rich uncle who has never loosened his tie in his life and considers a Saab an "affordable starter car" can both stomp around and proudly celebrate their white trash roots.

11. 50 Cent - In Da Club
This is the point of the evening where everybody's drunk enough to be open to "black people music." It's time to get jiggy wit' it!

12. The Doors - Back Door Man
Really? This is just too easy. I refuse to make the obvious joke here. So I'll just say this: I hate the Doors.

13. Neil Young - Harvest Moon (live)
This was the first really pleasant surprise on the disc. Great song. I DO think it's weird to use a live version, but maybe the bride and groom met at a Neil Young concert, right?

14. Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love
What wedding would be complete without some Robert Palmer?

15. Phish - Bouncing Around the Room
The inclusion of this song is proof that the bride and groom went to college.

16. Ben Harper - Sexual Healing (live)
This is the only song on the CD that my girlfriend and I couldn't immediately identify. We knew the song of course, but not the artist. It only took a quick Google search to find it though. Again, weird to use the live track. This song clocks in at almost six minutes which just seems uncomfortably long for a "sexy" song. I hope nobody on the dance floor got pregnant.

17. Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On
Ok! Jesus! We get the point! You're married now and can finally see each other naked. Get on with it already.

Well, happiness to the Dennis and Angela on their upcoming 4th or maybe 6th wedding anniversary. Thank you for accidentally sharing your memories with us - it made our first trip in our new car that much more fun.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Zoos of Berlin video

I am not a big watcher of music videos - I pretty much stopped caring about videos around the time Dave Kendall stopped hosting 120 Minutes. But the new Zoos of Berlin album Taxis is one of the best of the year and the band has a knack for associating their music visually arresting art. So I watched it. Now you watch it:

Zoos of Berlin, "Black in the Sun Room" from Adam Lonczynski on Vimeo.

Neat, huh? Did it totally make you think, for the first time in years, of Chapi Chapo, the stop-motion animation series that used to be on Nickelodeon's Pinwheel? If so, maybe we are stop-motion soul mates!

The fake Beatles, buddy rock and Buju Banton

So this past Saturday night Copper Thieves, Big Mess and Allan James & the Cold Wave played in the new Majestic Café venue at the Majestic Industrial Complex. According to the venue web site, doors for this show were at 8pm. I have been trying for years now to figure out the science to door time versus start time. I don’t think it is unreasonable for venues to stick to a rule of door time = one hour before first band plays. But despite how great this would be, it is typically not the case at every venue. And even if you ask a real live person point blank the day before a scheduled show, they still can't give you a straight answer. I do my best to take these opportunities as chances to heighten my tolerance for ambiguity.

But when we got there at 9pm, Allan James was explaining to a few other people who had just arrived, that, due to the fact a Beatles tribute band was currently playing in the Majestic Theater, the show in the Café couldn’t start until they were done. So we waited. And waited. And we couldn’t wait in the Café – we had to wait in the Garden Bowl bar. Which is fine, but does the music in there really have to be that loud? I had to yell to be heard by the person sitting right across from me because somebody there thinks CSS and Berlin being played at full volume make everything that much better. It doesn't. The same thing goes for the Alley Deck. The deck is such a great space – why does it have to blast music as loud as the bands playing inside the Stick? People step out there to get away from the din for a bit and socialize. They don’t go out there because they’re hoping to be pummeled by a horribly loud array of 70’s rock classics. They can do that at home in their own garages as they tinker with their classic Camaros.

Anyway, where was I. Oh, yes. Waiting. Also the bands sat around and waited too, which seemed a little disrespectful of their time to me. I mean, maybe musicians thrive on having to cut their sets short in order to fit all three bands on the bill in before 1am and they love having to sit around and wait for the fake Beatles to end. This may be the case. What I don’t understand is it’s not like this Beatles tribute band was some kind of last minute addition to the Majestic Schedule. Somebody should’ve known they were playing and that music at the same time in the Café might not work so well. It also would’ve been helpful to me, the person going to the show to know I didn’t have to get there at 9pm. My girlfriend was being a good lesbian and building us a bookshelf with her bare hands for goodness sakes! She could’ve done that for another whole hour before we had to leave. Then maybe there would be less books all over our floor right now.

Overall, the show was fun, and Copper Thieves, in an effort to make up for the screwed up start time stuff, even gave away copies of their 7" which has a download to their whole album for free (and if you have not checked their album out yet, please do). What annoys me, is I checked the Majestic Facebook page right before we left the house. This would’ve been a perfect place to put an update about the Copper Thieves show start time changing. But their last post (at 3:43pm Sat. afternoon) is about Saturday's Black Devil Disco Club event that was taking place upstairs in the Magic Stick. Their last status update was posted a little after 4pm on Friday. It says, “DEATH. Tonight. Stick.” As of 2:00pm this afternoon, it STILL said this. My point is, Majestic, you’ve done well with this social marketing thing – now use the tools to your (and your patrons) advantage. Please.

Also – while I’m bitching, the sound guy was chewing tobacco and spitting into a clear plastic water bottle he was carrying around with him. Fucking sick.

Despite my frustrations, I'll call it even. Why? Because the Majestic DID cancel the Buju Banton show planned for this coming Wednesday. Though I was not a part of the organized effort to stop the show, I was really disappointed to see him on their upcoming show schedule, and applaud the owners for taking a financial hit to cancel the event. Apparently there's some sort of LGBT celebration concert going on Wednesday night instead? I guess no line up is yet confirmed, but I DID find this:

Any musicians interested in playing pro-bono for the show should contact Kathleen LaTosch at 248-398-7105 or klatosch@goaffirmations.org.

I hope there will also be drag queens. Because Buju Banton probably hates drag queens.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What I've been listening to this week

AU - Versions
I know next to nothing about these guys. I actually got their CD in the mail unsolicited. Sadly for Portland's AU, other albums I've gotten in the mail unsolicited include the new Marcy Playground and something called Karnivool who are apparently "the hottest hard progressive rock band in Australia." So it's kind of a miracle that I even bothered to listen to AU. But I saw they were coming to Ann Arbor with WHY? and I wanted to listen to it just to have another reason not to go to that show. I want to see WHY? but I do not want to see them at the Blind Pig where I'll be jammed in with Birkenstock-clad college kids with no sense of personal space. So if I hated AU, I could add it to the list of reasons why I should miss WHY?. Despite my brilliant plan, I really like this record. It's at times reminiscent of an Antony fronted Grizzly Bear, and though it sometimes delves into Animal Collective or Dodos territory, it doesnt feel like a blatant rip off. I also hear they are totally great live. Now I have to seriously consider braving the Blind Pig on October 4th. Damn it.

Music Go Music - Expressions
Besides Stephin Merritt and John McCain, it's not often that you hear anybody unabashedly point to ABBA as a favorite or an influence. As many records as ABBA has sold around the world, I've yet to personally meet somebody who has a serious passion for the band. ABBA is like raisins: some people like them, some people hate them, but even the most ardent raisin fans never really lose their minds over how much they LOVE raisins. If there's a plate of cookies that contains chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, the chocolate chip will go first every single time. Yes, there will be that one person who chooses oatmeal raisin over chocolate chip, but let's face it - they're not really big cookie fans anyway. Music Go Music love ABBA (maybe raisins too - I can't confirm or deny that at this point) and, using Sweden's greatest export as a foundation, have smartly harvest an array of late 70's staple sounds on Expressions: Heart, Donna Summer, 10cc, Olivia Newton John... basically all things that are patently uncool to today's youth. Which is probably the exact reason why today's youth will love this record.

Jon Snodgrass - Visitor's Band
I first heard Jon Snodgrass a few months ago when my girlfriend bought a split record he did with Cory Branan. She counts Mr. Branan among her many boyfriends (along with Langhorne Slim, the Avett Brothers and Lucero), but it was the Jon Snodgrass songs that I liked the best on the record. Despite that fact, I probably wouldn't have gotten around to actually listening to his latest album if it wasn't for his record label. Suburban Home Records recently celebrated their 14th anniversary, and to thank the label's fans and supporters, they offered any record from their catalog for free download. I loved this idea, and took the opportunity to get Visitor's Band. And now Mr. Snodgrass has one more fan. Congratulations on your anniversary AND on your brilliant idea, Suburban Home!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wonder Twins: DIY Street Fair

Today's Metro Times brings you another dose of Wonder Twins. This time a report from the DIY Street Fair. Before you read the article, I think it is important to point out that neither of us had anything to do with the title. That title being, "Beyond the Kid's Zone: The Wonder Twins do it together at DIY." This unfortunate wording may confuse some people and that may lead to perverted conclusions. So for the record, there was no twin-on-twin action at the DIY Street Fair. It's bad enough that ever since we covered Fucking Awesome Fest, some variation of "twins fucking" has become a fairly popular search entry that has led people to my blog. Ugh. Add to the fact that, more than once, when my younger sister mentioned to somebody in conversation that her twin sisters were gay, the person responded, "With each other?" What is wrong with you people?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Are you still there? Or have you moved away?

Let's say you are visiting from out of town - maybe you even used to "live in Detroit" (i.e. the suburbs) but could do nothing but bitch and moan about wanting to get out while you lived in Michigan - and you come to my house. You then tell me you want to see the "sights of Detroit" and ask me to show you around. I can't help but notice you somewhat impatiently nod through my suggested destinations (Mexicantown? Corktown? People's Records? MOCAD? Eastern Market? Belle Isle?) and instead of showing any interest in my suggestions, you say, "I want you to take me to a totally fucked up, bombed out neighborhood." Well, guess what? I'm not going to. And I'm also going to kick you in the nuts and tell you to get out of my house. Maybe to you, seeing a house that's collapsed into a heap or a burned out shell is some kind of amusing, touristy thing to do. But for me, those kinds of houses are a block away. In my neighborhood. Where I live. And it's really fucking insulting to me that, when visiting a city that actually has some pretty awesome things going for it, all you want to do is marvel at Detroit's collapse and ruin. I'm not blind to the city's serious issues, but I'm not going to exploit them for your enjoyment either. Sorry, but I will not enable you.

What's that you say? But you have a camera? Well why didn't you say so, you bonafide artist you! You will totally be the first white kid crawling around the ruins of Detroit snapping pictures. Your fellow photography class students back home will be so impressed with your amazing shots. What an eye you have! Take the photo included here for example. I took it with my cell phone after work today. Which wasn't hard to do, because it's very near my house and I drive or ride my bike by it several times a week. Like most of your photos, this isn't that impressive. Good thing the interesting subject matter is clouding your lack of real photography skills! You look like a real artist instead of a hack thanks to the collapse of Detroit. Who can blame you for wanting to exploit such things? That girl in your class who takes those cool, overexposed pictures of trains is totally gonna sleep with you when she sees your pictures of the Packard Plant!

If you want to see pictures of Detroit's ruins, there are tons of them. But "the Sweet Juniper guy" is the best source. Why? Because he lives here with his wife and kids. On purpose. His writing and pictures also point out many exciting, touching and hopeful things about Detroit - it's not just pictures of ruin. I really appreciated his post featuring pictures of "feral houses." The idea of a house being so long abandoned that vegetation completely envelops it is a fascinating concept. What bothered me about the Sweet Juniper feral houses post were the overly romantic comments about the pictures. Things like, "These are so beautiful - I want to frame them and put them on my wall" and other such flowery nonsense. Yes, there's something beautiful there, but you want to put it on your wall? Would you feel the same if the homeless dude who stays there was standing in the doorway? If the family that used to call that place home until tragedy struck and they were evicted or foreclosed on was holding hands on the front lawn? Maybe that sounds overdramatic, but the underlying reason these "feral houses" exist is some tragedy or another. But yes - you should totally buy some Ikea frames and put these pictures in the foyer of your suburban home. Then, during your next dinner party, you can impress your friends with your art. And when they say, "Wow - that's amazing. Look at what Detroit's become! Who would want to live there?" You can laugh and shake your head as you pour them another glass of Merlot.

Also, I hear Time is in town. So drink up.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The book of love has music in it

I love Merge Records. And I love books. The
real kind – not the Kindle kind or the Dan Brown kind. So Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records is the perfect combo, yes? Some of my favorite music of all time has been released by the label – Magnetic Fields, Lambchop, Richard Buckner, Neutral Milk Hotel… and they continue to introduce me to new favorites (Wye Oak) and reintroduce me to bands I managed to miss the first time around (Polvo). I knew before I’d even cracked the cover that I’d love it, but thought sections on bands I didn’t know much about (Butterglory) or care about (Spoon) would be boring or tedious.

Aside from the rambling preface by Ryan Adams*, not once did this book lose my interest – because it’s not just a look at a label and some bands. It’s an inside view of the end of the major label system and proof that actually giving a shit about music was always the way to go. It’s not like I felt any real sympathy for the major label players before reading this book, but reading about the experiences of bands with majors during the post-Nirvana feeding frenzy is fascinating. From bands getting completely fucked over by jerks who made promises they couldn't keep to the stupid, wasteful stunts labels are still pulling to try to woo bands like Arcade Fire, it makes you wonder how anybody could ever want to be on a major label.

The thing that pops in my head most often from this book is the image of Sylvia Rhone, the head of Elektra records, clad in a designer sweatsuit, meeting with Lou Barlow and bullshitting him in her office. As soon as he leaves, she tells her staff member, "He doesn't have what it takes." This is the same woman who reassured Spoon that if their initial record didn't do so well on the label, Elektra would "work it long term, make it work at radio or press." They weren't going to drop one of their precious artists just because they're not moving enough records! Of course Elektra dropped them. Guess they were too busy "making it work" for Third Eye Blind.

From what I can tell, the only real advantage to a major is more money. But it’s not real money, because as soon as the first record tanks, they rip the rug out from under the band and leave them holding the bill. It’s not like Merge came up with some risky out-of-the-box business model that nobody could’ve predicted would succeed. It started because they loved music and figured they might as well make their own records. Thankfully, that still seems to be why they do it.

*Did Ryan Adams agree to write the Introduction only with the stipulation that it could under no circumstances be edited or proof read? We get it – you love Merge records! and you love to type in ALL CAPS as well as vacillate between forgoing punctuation, or using a lot of it!!!!!! It's annoying.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What I've been listening to this week

Chris Clark - Soul Sounds
As far as celebrity deaths are concerned, my age and various identifying demographics say the one that should’ve most rocked my teens/early 20’s was Kurt Cobain. But as surprised as I was to hear of his death just a few days before my 17th birthday, it was the news of Dusty Springfield’s passing a month shy of my 21st birthday that I found most devastating. I was on my way to school listening to Morning Edition (side note to WDET: get rid of the wretched Takeaway and bring back Morning Edition) when the news of her passing was announced. I burst into tears. Dusty Springfield’s music was what really started my love of 60’s girl groups, the Brill building, British soul and Burt Bacharach. I heard about Chris Clark via a well worth reading Metro Times cover story a month or so back and was really excited about her long-out-of-print Motown Records debut being reissued. Something Dusty-like from right here in Detroit? Though it’s hardly fair to compare her to Dusty Springfield it is certainly fair to say if you are a fan of Ms. Springfield, get your hands on Soul Sounds. Clark’s voice is fantastic and the whole record is filled with Northern soul should-be classics and Bacharach-esque pop gems. It is a shame this album didn’t do better in its time - how "I Wanna Go Back There Again" wasn't a chart topping hit is beyond me - but it totally deserves this second chance. Even if the liner notes do leave me to believe she’s now a crazy lady living with tigers running around her house.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Starfucker's having a "rename our band" contest

So Portland's Starfucker has come to the conclusion that they have a dumb band name and they want your help to fix this! Of course, it could be argued that this should have been decided in the initial brainstorming session of possible band names. As in, the suggestion of Starfucker should have evoked the following exchange:

"Anybody else?"
"How about Starfucker?"
"Ugh. No way."
"Um, excuse me, I thought this was a brainstorming session - anything goes!"
"Um, anything except something awful like Starfucker."
"Fine. I quit the band."
"Fine! Start a solo project called Starfucker! We'll name our band, 'Starfucker is fucking GAY!'"
"You guys are assholes. Fuck this band!" *storms out like a baby who has awful band name ideas*

But alas, better late than never, right? Click here, read the details, and help these dudes out. You don't even have to be that creative seeing as how hard can it be to do better than Starfucker?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What I've been listening to this week

Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
I realized the other day, while listening to The Blueprint 3 why I don't listen to a whole lot of hip hop. It's not that I don't like it. There is just so much information to digest! Line after line is filled with proclamations, declarations, statements, questions, things to consider, life lessons, and words of wisdom. Sometimes these things are of dubious truthfulness, but that's not the point really. My brain has a hard time not running off on tangents and the rapid-fire delivery of hip hop tends to cause several mini tangents per song. It's exhausting. For instance, in first song, "What We Talkin' About" Jay-Z regales us with the following:

Grown men want me to sit em on my lap
But I don't have a beard and Santa Claus ain't black

I mean, how can these two lines not completely clobber my brain? First of all, why do grown men want to sit on Jay-Z's lap? What is their incentive? And, taking for granted that this statement is true, why does Jay-Z want us to know this? It just doesn't seem like something he'd want to brag about. Especially since he doesn't want them to sit on his lap. Which we know because, as he tells us, he doesn't have a beard. And beardless men clearly have no desire for grown ass men to sit on them. And though I think a quick Craigslist search could easily refute this, for the sake of moving on, I'll accept it. But this whole, "Santa Claus ain't black" thing? Wow. First of all, Jay-Z clearly didn't come over my house that one Christmas when my mom totally procrastinated on the gift wrap buying until the last minute, and ended up with "ethnic Santa" print paper. Why would they make that paper if there wasn't a chance Santa could be black, hmm? Also, I have a feeling that a decent chunk of Jay-Z's fan base isn't telling their kids stories about some fat white man coming into the house in the middle of the night once a year to deliver presents. Maybe he should've considered the conversations parents might be forced into when their young children hear their hero, Jay-Z, denouncing the race of their beloved brown Santa. Also, why are parents letting their still-believing-in-Santa age children listen to Jay-Z?

Then one song later, there's this whopper:

I was gonna kill a couple rappers
But they did it to themselves
I was gon' do it with the flow
But they did it with their sales
I was gon' 9/11 'em, but they didn't need the help

Whoa. Whoa. Where do you start? “9/11 ‘em?” Really? Is that allowed? I mean, I know it’s been a few years, but I was unaware that such a phrase had made its way into the vernacular. Does this mean we can soon expect to hear parents say to their kids at the supermarket, “Jimmy, you put those Necco Wafers back and hold momma’s hand or I'll 9/11 you right here in the store!” It’s not like this was completely unforeseeable. People say things like, “If I had to be on hold with AT&T for one more minute I was gonna commit hara-kiri” and nobody really believes they were seconds away from slashing open their own abdomen and letting their innards drop to the floor. And what about a Kamikaze? That’s a yummy drink with lime juice, vodka and triple sec, not some nutty guy in a plane on a suicide mission. Also, both those terms are like from ancient history (like people from the WW II era are even alive anymore!) and both deal with the Japanese! Who are zany! So of course Americans love to use these terms freely as they overdramatically describe mundane aspects of their lives! But "gon’ 9/11 ‘em?” I’m not trying to sound strident – I’m just surprised that it only took eight years to get to this point. Never forget.

See? And here we are only two songs in and I’m mentally exhausted. Don’t even get me started about “For the Color Of Money like a Tom Cruise flick, 'cept I put 8-balls in corners without using pool sticks.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wonder Twins: Hamtramck Labor Day Festival

So how was your Labor Day weekend? I have to say that mine was really great. It was my first summer living in Hamtramck, which allowed me to walk to the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival each and every day. I hear Arts Beats and Eats in Pontiac was pretty cool too – but I couldn’t walk there from my house. Well, I COULD have, but according to Google Maps, it would have taken me a few minutes shy of 7 hours. Same thing with the Romeo Peach Festival. Walking there would’ve taken me approximately 10 hours. That just didn't seem like a good use of my Labor Day time. Too much work! And that would’ve negated the whole idea of the weekend, yes? So I opted for the maybe ten minute walk to the festivities in my own back yard. For a slice of the Hamtramck Labor Day fun, read our Wonder Twins column in today’s Metro Times. And if you’re the nutty drunk lady who heckled Ra Ra Riot during their set to play Polish music, you’re kind of my hero.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

So tell me now, and I won't ask again

So the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival starts today... I'll be walking there from my house tonight to catch Lightning Love before heading out to the Majestic Cafe to see Child Bite, The Intelligence and Terrible Twos. I haven't really seen Terrible Twos yet outside of two minutes at Detour Rock City Fest and the solo set that Craig Brown did for the first Detroit Unplugged show. I really liked his set - particularly his cover of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow." Though I'm guessing tonight's show won't really be anything like that, I have a soft spot for anybody who busts out Goffin/King songs. Child Bite I already love, and the Intelligence has a girl drummer so automatic win.

Aside from tonight's Majestic visit, my live music plans for the weekend will be Hamtramck focused. It's awesome to be able to walk up the street and see bands I like competing for my attention against hard to beat performances by the publicly drunk and indigent. If you're in the neighborhood, give me a shout.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What I've been listening to this week

Yo La TengoPopular Songs

Early on in high school, I befriended this really sweet hippie girl who eventually made me a mixtape. I remember only two things about the tape – that it was mostly really boring Grateful Dead stuff and that it had this song called, “From a Motel 6” by Yo La Tengo. She soon afterward became a born again Christian, started dating a sanctimonious prick who once (as a “concerned friend”) said to me, “As a white, Christian male, I feel threatened by your feminist views” and our friendship dissolved. For all I know she’s married to him now and has 11 kids with names like Ezekiel and Hezekiah all of whom have been homeschooled to believe that homosexuality is responsible for the inevitable apocalypse which would come shortly after Satan was elected President of the United States by posing as a hope filled black man with a Muslim name and no U.S. birth certificate. But I got Yo La Tengo out of the deal and I’ve basically been madly in love with them ever since. So clearly I win.

I’ve seen YLT live more than any other band outside of a few local bands. I think nine times. I have also taken every person I’ve ever been in a serious relationship with to see them. I can’t even say that about Morrissey (though, I ALMOST can). I first saw them the summer they were on the 2nd stage at Lollapalooza. Like a little fan geek, I asked Georgia and James for their autographs. James drew a little bunny, and Georgia wrote, “Thanks for supporting us (and our quiet songs too).” This is because I was right up front during their set, and got super excited when they played, “Don’t Say A Word (Hot Chicken #2).” Keep in mind, this was well before I learned the valuable adult lesson that anybody who shows even the slightest interest or enthusiasm at an indie rock show was to be shunned and mocked. A few years later, I got so excited when they came to Detroit with the Magnetic Fields I bought them all finger puppets. And looking back on that, they probably thought I was a total weirdo. But that’s fine. I am. And sometimes I awkwardly express my affection. But that doesn’t make it any less earnest. So for me to love Popular Songs is no huge surprise and you can pretty much count on it ending up on my top ten of the year list. And if I may borrow a phrase from the New Kids on the Block, you can count on me lovin’ Yo La Tengo forever.

Added Yo La Tengo bonus!

Pitchfork talks to Dario Robleto, the artist responsible for the artwork of Popular Songs as part of their "Take Cover" series.

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