Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Charlie Slick - "You've Got the Job" Music Video

Like if Waiting For Guffman and the first two years of MTV made a baby:

The new Charlie Slick record is called Elron Hubbard. But a copy and donate it to your local Scientology reading room...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Listen to your Wii: Take a break. Go outside today.

It's gonna be beautiful. I recommend one or both of these events:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just a child from those ugly new houses

So I went for a bike ride today...

This in and of itself is kind of a big deal. For one, I don't really go for bike rides alone. Additionally, my time spent riding a bike as an adult is pretty slim. This means my bike riding skills are not that awesome. Far from at ease, I spend most of my energy during bike rides fighting off the ever present "I'm totally going to get hit by a car" feeling. And usually my girlfriend is with me. So I have somebody to yell things like, "Is there a car coming?" and "Watch out for cars!" and "Don't let me get hit by a car!" to during the ride.
I'm a carefree spirit.

Going for a bike ride alone also means I have to get my bike out of the house (and subsequently back in) by myself. Now, despite the fact that the following will make some post-gender, feminist, egalitarian Queer Studies major somewhere weep (manly?) tears into their copy of
Paradoxes Of Gender, I typically make my girlfriend get my bike out for me. She is demonstrably stronger, so I see absolutely no reason not to use this to my advantage when it comes to transporting cumbersome and heavy objects in and out of the house. I mean, I hold the door. It's not like I'm not doing my part.

But alone, it's harder. The security door is heavy and doesn't stay open by itself, and my bike is heavy and when picked up, prefers to allow its handle bars to sharply jerk to one side, forcing the front wheel sideways - a position that renders my bike stuck in the door. This makes getting my bike out awkward. And of course, the whole time I'm struggling, the neighbor kids are staring at me. So are the people three doors down who spend virtually all waking hours hanging out on their front porch. For some reason, the worst thing I can imagine happening is one of them - be it child or day-drunk adult, offering to assist me. So I wrestle my bike out with as much calm as I can muster. Even when I accidentally pop off one of my handle bar grips when it gets stuck in the door, I just matter-of-factly yank it out like I had expected that to happen. I spend the next minute or so calmly trying to push and hit it back into place like that's just what you do before you go for a bike ride.
Ms. Cool Ride, at your service.

So now that the bike is out of the house, where to? I had no destination in mind so I just start riding. Soon I am in a Detroit neighborhood near Krown Supermarket. This establishment holds the distinction of being the place with, back about a year ago, the lowest special price on Fruity Pebbles I have ever seen. And they weren't even about to expire. I think they were $1.33 a box. That's like 1986 prices!
I still get excited thinking about that.

The neighborhood I ride through is, like a lot of Detroit neighborhoods, a little rough around the edges. Lots of abandoned houses and trash - but also a lot of really well kept, cute houses. I won't give you a full account of my travels - mostly because I couldn't if I wanted to. I did not get lost, and that in and of itself is a big win. I am a person that still has to look at written directions each time I drive to the airport.

I did see this house though, which I think was on the corner of Moran and Lawley:

I decide to take a couple of pictures of it so I can better investigate its origins once I get home. So I stop my bike in front of the house. At this exact moment, a group of people - all wearing regular clothes but with prominently displayed badges hanging around their necks - emerge from the house across the street. They then walk across the street to the house next to this one and started knocking on the door. Being that I'm not especially nosy, nor (I like to think) especially stupid, I thought it probably best to scram before somebody either does or does not answer the door. Not that my pictures would otherwise be awesome, but they were taken in a hurry. You can see the head of the lady in the group in the picture. With my luck, I am now blowing some giant DPD stake out/sting operation by posting this photo.

Thankfully, with a little help from my girlfriend and the best librarian in Austin, Texas, I found out a little more about the house. It is possibly called The Power House. And it is maybe part of some bigger project that may or may not be ongoing? I thought it might have something to do with Design 99, but I also thought those folks had moved on to other projects. So I'll admit, I am still puzzled to an extent. Artists always have confusing web content. But it was a refreshing surprise in a neighborhood that is in very short supply of refreshing surprises. Very cool. Maybe I should do this bike riding thing more often.

Bollywood Rocks

My friend Meghan just posted this to my Facespace page at the exact moment I was about to have a nervous breakdown. This is proof she's a psychic genius best friend.

Maximum Bollywood from Marc Campbell on Vimeo.

Though a long video,the majority of it is worth watching. The first 19 minutes and 39 seconds are fantastic - go ahead and scoff and call it campy, but the enthusiastic appropriation of Western rock n' roll culture is so earnest. After that we jump ahead in time to perhaps the early 90's. Things start to get a little more insipid. But it's worth fast forwarding to 25:08. That's where a little boy winks, and then punches a lady in the face. It's oddly satisfying.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wonder Twins: India Day Celebration at Rock Financial Show Place

New Wonder Twins in today's Metro Times... If you hate Elizabeth Gilbert, you should read it. Actually, if you love Elizabeth Gilbert, you should read it. Because she is terrible. And you're going to have to learn this sooner or later. Might as well be now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'll be your gay bar. I'll yell it in your ear.

I love getting mysterious mail from Canada. This CD showed up in my mailbox, and like everything Canada sends me, I took the time to listen to it (this is in accordance with an international agreement between Michigan and Canada that may or may not exist). It turns out Rae Spoon's Love Is A Hunter is a pleasant but confusing surprise! Pleasant, because a great deal of it is immediately likable, catchy and good! If Tegan and Sara managed to write songs half as catchy and melodic, I may even consider liking them for more than their hair. Confusing because all reference to Rae Spoon in the accompanying press materials use the pronoun "he." My ears and I have had (what I felt was) a reasoned conversation, and yet my ears are not willing to believe this!

Wikipedia, maybe please help us?

Rae Spoon is a Canadian female-to-male transgender folk/indie singer/songwriter from Calgary, Alberta. Spoon's music has been described as "new skool folk" and "cowboy-folk that's armed to the teeth with punk rock attitude."

Ah-ha! That makes sense. Though I am not so sure about those descriptions (to be fair, any description for anything that includes "school" spelled with a "k" should be considered with deep skepticism).
Love Is A Hunter is pretty poppy with lots of well-placed synthy embellishments - good luck hearing "You Can Dance" at a crowded party and not falling in love with the first person you make eye contact with (hint: choose wisely!). "We Can't Be Lovers With These Guns On Each Other" gets points for title alone, but the song is as great as the title. "Love Is A Hunter" has a pretty sweet video - by sweet I mean featuring disturbing cat/fish creatures and an abundance of little legs in bear traps. But you already assumed that I bet:

The point being I highly recommend this? Was that clear?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Music doesn't let you forget

So I just finished reading this book. Here's my Good Reads review. If you're a book nerd, feel free to find me there. I occasionally remember to update it:

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True StoryKilling Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our mutual hatred for Eric Clapton, the Doors and Los Angeles allows me to overlook the fact that Chuck Klosterman likes KISS, Rod Stewart and Radiohead.

The part of the book that really surprised me was Klosterman's claim/explanation that Thom Yorke accidentally predicted the events of September 11 with Kid A. Not because I also feel this way about Kid A. I don't even like that record. But he is also the only other person I know of who has a "9/11 record" besides myself.

Mine is Richard Buckner's Impasse. I don't make any claims that Impasse predicted the horror of that day - I could not make this claim since I don't think the record even came out until October 2002. But some of the songs have an eerie "soundtrack for that day" quality to them and I just I cannot unlink that record from those horrors. Particularly the song "I Know What I Knew," a chilling acoustic number that sums up not only everything I love about Richard Buckner, but spills out like the thoughts of a 9/11 survivor/victim/responder/perpetrator:

I know what I knew/But there's some things that you take home with you/Ask me if it's alright/ I can('t) fake it out until I'm fine/Later than I hope I should/I understand it's where I stood

I still feel my stomach sink every time I hear this song.

I used to listen to this record on repeat while pouring over information about 9/11 - from legitimate news reports to total conspiracy theory stuff - until I couldn't tell the difference anymore. It was both overwhelming and comforting and probably much more helpful than anything I would've gotten out of laying on a therapist's couch.
Or the exact reason why I should've been spending some time on a therapist's couch. It's a toss up, really.

Klosterman also hates Los Angeles. The line "I'm shocked by anyone who doesn't consider Los Angeles to be anything less than a bozo-saturated hellhole" made me incredibly happy. Apologies to my sister Christine who currently lives there. Though Christine, I do recommend you read pages 77 - 82 of Killing Yourself To Live.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Antlers have a (Twitter) posse.

So on Tuesday I went to see the National, as did many many other people because the Royal Oak Music Theatre was PACKED. It was a good packed though - a "we love this band" packed, not "we heard some band was playing tonight and we had free tickets and thought this would be a great place to drink and talk really loudly over the music" packed, which is usually how shows there feel, and why I don't generally like going to that venue.

The Antlers opened the show. A lot of people have told me how much I should like this band - none more so than my sister, who is so, so gay for them. She made me listen to their record Hospice back when it first came out, and I concluded that it was boring. She concluded that I was dumb. Fine.

But on Tuesday, I was certainly willing to give the Antlers another try. I mean, some bands just sell it live, you know? Well, I was not sold. In fact, my opinion of them remained unchanged. That is why, to kill time while the Antlers played the same song over and over, I sent out the following tweets:

The Antlers were just as boring live as I expected they might be. Apologies to those who are still having a love affair with 'Hospital.'

Apparently The Antlers record is called 'Hospice' not 'Hospital.' Which makes more sense since that is where people go to die.

Were these particularly nice things to say? Well, no. I will admit this. But it is my opinion, yes? Twitter allows opinions. Constantly.

A person who goes by the twitter name of delilah3310, but lists "Peyton D" as their actual name on their Twitter profile replied to my comments. He/she is from New Jersey. Here are those responses:

@LauraWitkowski So are you!

@LauraWitkowski Actually thought that was Detroit.

This first response is very poignant - the point being that I too am as boring live as one might expect me to be. And in fact, this is a totally correct assessment. Nice work.

The second response is saying that people go to Detroit to die. Burn! Ripping on Detroit is so original. Nothing like kicking a city when they're already foreclosed and riddled with bullets.

But this is where things start to get fun - I looked at this person's Twitter page, and immediately noticed some odd things. For instance - no picture. Okay, that's cool - sometimes it takes a few days to find the perfect taken-in-the-bathroom-mirror-with-my-belt-undone shot. I get that. But the second odd thing is delilah3310 has no followers, and is following nobody. Fine - could be a newish account, that's acceptable.

The third thing though? This delilah3310 has only 7 tweets. And ALL of them, are responding to negative tweets about the Antlers. Here are the 5 besides the two sent to me:

@AndyShore I follow The Antlers, not you. I only follow those who offer at least semii-intelligent discourse, which clearly excludes you.

@AndyShore Your comments about The Antlers clearly show us all what an idiot you are. Please spare us your misguided misery.....thanks.

@boners in regard to your recent idiotic comment about The Antlers.

@Chevron_Hubbard you being bored doesnt translate to 'talentless'.... But it does make you sound pathetic.

@Chevron_Hubbard your jealousy is showing...your music going nowhere? I understand your comment now.

My favorite part, of course, is how it says, "I follow The Antlers, not you." Because no you don't! You don't follow anybody at all! In fact, this whole account seems pretty suspicious - do the Antlers themselves or their PR people have a dummy Twitter account to "combat" negative Antlers comments? Am I crazy for thinking that they do?

Also, follow me on Twitter already.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Son of Zoos

Zoos Of Berlin have a spooky new video for the song "Doctor Vine Passing." It is apparently about the demon dog that David Berkowitz found "so convincing!" Get a life, David.

Zoos Of Berlin - Doctor Vine Passing from Eric Ogden on Vimeo.

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