Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"I will take the dark part of your heart into my heart."

Oooh, a new video from Perfume Genius! 'Dark Parts' is from the album Put Your Back N 2 It which is easily one of the best records of the year and obviously was named by Prince. This video is of course totally normal and features people acting exactly like you and your friends act at bonfires.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"What happened to us?"

Another one of my favorite Detroit bands has some new music for you to hear. "Pixels" is the first single from FAWN's upcoming full length album Coastlines. An album I had the fortune of hearing recently, and I have a feeling once you hear it you'll probably be playing on repeat forever until the end of time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"They say that everybody here gives in..."

Liz Wittman and the Lettercamp Kids (which is what I lobbied HARD for the band to be called... But I suppose just "Lettercamp" is also good) have a new single out. It's perfect timing since all you like to do once the weather gets nice is constantly shake your booty to the electronic music. Check it out:

An open letter to a 13-year-old Sonic Youth critic

Earlier this month, an anonymous 13-year-old decided to let Sonic Youth know what's up and sent them a letter about how they were awful. For those who missed this story, Sonic Youth posted the  message to their Facebook page for all to see: 

"I'm going to be 100% honest with you. I'm 13. I have a little band. We are so much better than you. Honestly. You are the worst band I have ever seen in your entire life. You are worse than Rebecca Black. The bass player just hacks the bass and plays one chord. The guitar players are playing out of tune guitars and... well not even playing actually chords. I couldn't sound worse if I tried. It actually sounds like a joke to me. The drummer is okay. But honestly the vocalist is completely out of tune. Oh and The Black keys have two people and are better than you.

From: Me, and pretty much everyone else who has accidentally stumbled upon your terrible music."

Here is my response to this 13-year-old individual:

Dear 13-year-old Sonic Youth critic:

Hello! I hope you had a good Easter and got lots of candy in your Easter basket. Do your parents still "hide" your basket somewhere in the house and you have to find it? That's cute. I'm not being facetious either - a friend of mine who's totally a grown ass adult recently posted on Facebook that her parents still hide her basket each year and I thought it was adorable. I hope you and your parents totally hold on to that tradition, as silly as it seems. Someday you'll reach an age where the things your parents do no longer embarrass or annoy you, but either warm your heart or break it. You'll realize that you're not in a position to protect them from their own choices and they're no longer in a position to really do much to save you from yours, and that this whole "we're a family, but outside of the little things we can do to protect each other, we're ultimately all kind of on our own" realization will come crashing down on you and you'll maybe have a nervous breakdown and engage in self-sabotaging behavior. So all I'm saying is, wouldn't it be nice to leave your therapy appointment, drive to your hometown for the requisite Easter holiday visit and do something silly and banal like search for your basket like when you were little? I think so.

Moving on... You sure did show Sonic Youth a thing or two with your message to them! It struck me for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that I too was 13 when I first heard Sonic Youth! For real! It was late at night in the very early 90's and one of their videos came on MTV's 120 Minutes. I won't bore you with the details about what "MTV" is, but I will say that 120 Minutes was on in the wee hours of the night, and was basically the only window I had into this world of "underground music" or "alternative" as it was just starting to be called at that time. Anyway, this is the video I 


I was transfixed but mostly a little freaked out. In fact, I wasn't totally sure that this "lady" singer was a lady at all, but possibly one of those cross-dressing types I had read about in the free alternative weekly paper my dad brought home somtimes! And why was Chuck D in this video with this weird band!? When the video was over, I only knew this wasn't anything I had ever heard before, and I wasn't sure I wanted to ever hear it again! Yikes. But a couple weeks later, while listening (again, late at night) to a Canadian radio station that didn't come in very well but played a lot of this same kind of "alternative music" I was becoming obsessed with, I head the song "Dirty Boots." Then, on the very next episode of 120 Minutes, I saw the video.

I loved everything about it so much. The song and the video held the key to exactly what I wanted my life to be. Somehow.  And it helped give me some context for the whole "Kool Thing" fiasco and I decided I needed to hear as much Sonic Youth as possible. So I bought the album
Goo. The cover looks like this:


I started to write the saying on the cover on my school notebooks and stuff and tried to draw the picture and scrawl the band name in that cool font on just about everything (mostly the aforementioned notebooks, Trapper-Keepers, scrap paper and school desks). The only thing I was truly successful at, however, was having my parents think I was possibly thinking of killing them and then them having some sort of intervention with me over this fact. I believe the notebook they were holding as evidence of my potential parenticide also had the My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult song title "Daisy Chain For Satan" written on it. Calm down, parents, right? Jeeez. It's just rock n' roll, ok? Nobody's gonna die... Unless you refuse to take me to the mall. Haha, it's a joke, gawd calm down!

But who cares, right? I'm just some dumb old lady who clearly has terrible tastes. But that's kind of irrelevant. Your disliking of Sonic Youth is also irrelevant. I'm not writing to change your mind - I seriously do not care if you like Sonic Youth or not. I also have no interest in picking on you (though, seriously stop by your English teacher's class after school some day and just ask for a crash course in grammar. I know he or she is probably totally an old, dumb asshole who probably likes Sonic Youth, but in the long run, it'll really help your case should you accidentally stumble upon other bands you want to piss on in the near future. For instance, I bet you'd hate Yo La Tengo, oh-my-god.) I'm more struck by your need to write to the band and the weird, public world the 13-year-old you operates in.

I just think it's so weird to write to them, you know? They've been around forever and there is little you could possibly do or say to change the course of their career or place in music history at this point. But that actually makes them a good target for your angsty rant, I suppose. I'd rather have you take a dump on a band who's member's are all older than your parents than come home from school and kick your dog, for instance. Being 13 is full of things that suck pretty hardcore, so maybe this little letter writing exercise helped you out in some way. I hope so.

I'd ask you if it's weird being 13 in a world where everything you say and do is chronicled for everybody to see forever, but what would be the point? It's not like you know any other world! But I feel a little sad for the 13-year-olds of today - all your embarrassing opinions and ideas will forever exist on the internet.

Compare that to MY 13-year-old embarrassments - these are pretty much contained to a mountain of pictures sealed in a scuffed-up Rubbermaid tub filled with photographs that nobody in my family has the patience or interest to bother opening, let alone organizing and sharing. The other evidence that I was once a 13 year old obnoxious asshole? Burned. In a little angsty-feelings-fire I set in the forest behind my parent's house right before they got divorced. Side note: Don't ever do that! So dangerous! I still think of this when I see stories about out-of-control wildfires on the news: "Oh great, some dumb teenager was trying to burn her bad poetry and stalker-ish-bordering-on-Heavenly-Creatures-pre-teen love letters again and now the forests have to die."

But you... everybody will see this letter forever, and any videos you and your little band make, every picture you take where you think you look cool, each Facebook and Tumblr post... These can and will all probably come back to haunt you. I can pretend I was never 13. But the evidence of your know-it-all early teen years will exist forever and ever. Just like Sonic Youth.

So seriously - good luck to you and your little band. I hope you kids figure out a way to outrun your pre-teen demons the way my generation is still figuring out how to out run the embarrassments and mistakes of our twenties. It'll be interesting to see how things turn out for all of you.



PS: Why can't anybody seem to just leave Rebecca Black the fuck alone?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Let's go to the opera!

I'm taking my friend Cara to the opera this Saturday. Here is the exact conversation we just had about planning our trip.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"And the sky opens up like candy..."

Are you "pee-your-pants" excited about the Lambchop show at the Ark in Ann Arbor on Monday? Me too! Let's try not to pee our pants though!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Johnny Headband: It's what's for dinner

Detroit's Johnny Headband put out a new record out today! Hooray!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"I'm waking up, I'm passing out..."

I Know from A.B.K. on Vimeo.

New Lightning Love video! I love this band to the point that I secretly fear all the members of the band think I'm a super creep. But I'm willing to live with this.

My adorable darling, I think of you every night and every morning..."

My current favorite song and video

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The History of Pan!c - Fight! Fight! Fight!

The History of Pan!c - Fight! Fight! Fight!

Have you heard this record yet? No? That's dumb. Correct this immediately. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Are we manly now?

So there you have it! My complete run down of Esquire's "75 Albums Every Man Should Own" list is now complete. Do I feel like I'm a better person because of this experience? If manlier equals better (which, yes, obviously it does) than yes I do. Do I think Esquire did a good job with this list? Of course not, but really how could they? It's an impossibly arbitrary and artificial task. There's no way that any one of these 75 selections could universally be loved by literally half of the world's population just because they have a penis. But it did give me a chance to hear some stuff I might not normally have listened to, so I am a winner to me and my therapist says this counts.

I also found a companion list called, "The 75 Albums Every Woman Should Own" which was put out by BitchBuzz (who describe themselves as "the honest women's magazine" whatever "honesty" is) as a response to the Esquire one... Part of me thinks it might be fun to do this all over again from a LADY PARTS PERSPECTIVE! What do you think?

Time To Get Manly 75: Jeff Buckley - Grace

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Jeff Buckley - Grace

Jeff Buckley's untimely and shocking demise left a lot of music fans heartbroken. It also meant that his debut album Grace would be his only studio album. Too young! Too soon! I get that. I won't deny his talent and can see why people love him. However, I can't help but feel like holding Grace up as some kind of classic masterpiece isn't more a psychological reaction to his tragic death and the fact that he's holding an old-timey microphone on the album's cover. Sure the songs are good, but by all accounts they sound very dated. Plus wading into a river to go swimming by yourself with all your clothes on isn't manly. It's stupid.

Time To Get Manly 74: Mahler - Symphony No. 5

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Mahler - Symphony No. 5

Though I'm no stranger to classical music, I decided to consult an expert for this release, as I happen to be related to a total Mahler nerd. This nerd (aka my sister Christine) was pleased that Esquire selected this particular recording. "This is one of the four Mahler 5 recordings I own!" 5 recordings of the same piece? This proves that classical nerds are basically the same as Deadheads but without the dreads and Birkinstocks. She did concur that Mahler's Symphony No. 5 was manly. "It's a loud, brooding piece with lots of brass - definitely manly." She also said that Mahler proposed to his wife by sending her the manuscript to the 4rd movement. Pretty much puts any and every other proposal idea from then on to shame. No wonder guys ask women out via text these days. WHY BOTHER TRYING? Thanks a lot, MAHLER!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time To Get Manly 73: Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um

Whew. I was beginning to think that this list was going to be a little too light in the jazz loafers, but the inclusion of the great Mingus definitely butches it up a bit. Mingus Ah Um is a great place to start for jazz beginners because it somehow manages to be challenging and accessible at the same time. If you listen to this and like it, congratulations! You like jazz. If you listen to this and it doesn't do it for you, congratulations! You're officially gay married to Kenny G.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Time To Get Manly 72: Neil Young - Harvest

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Neil Young - Harvest

Harvest is Neil Young's most popular album and it is home to some of his most well known songs ("Heart of Gold" and "Old Man"). That said, there's basically no way you can convince me that Esquire didn't pick this because of the song "A Man Needs A Maid." Which would be unfortunate both because of sexism, and because the song is kind of embarrassingly terrible. For all Harvest's charms, I would have picked Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. He's looking totally manly on the cover and on sprawling tracks like "Down By the River" ("Down by the river/ I shot my baby") and "Cowgirl in the Sand" ("When so many love you, is it the same?") he gets to show off his guitar prowess and his homicidal mistrust of whores. Win-win for manliness!

Time To Get Manly 71: Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison

What could possibly be more manly than Johnny Cash playing a live show at a prison? It's a musical sausage fest with the added allure of contraband cigarettes and illegal toothbrush shanks! And when the line,"But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" results in that much thunderous applause, you know you're one of two places: A maximum security correctional facility or a Republican presidential debate.

Time to Get Manly 70: Tom Waits - Small Change

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Tom Waits - Small Change

Where's Luna's Penthouse represents an idealized version of a social life steeped in parties, drinks and swanky, late-night parties, Tom Waits paints a potentially more accurate picture of that kind of life on Small Change. Even the album cover suggests that perhaps the nightlife isn't as glamorous as it seems. Add to that songs like, "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)," "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart" and "The One That Got Away," and Small Change becomes the perfect album by which to lick your wounds and sober the fuck up.

Time To Get Manly 69: Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club

Everyone who knows history is aware that President Kennedy once sent a bunch of pigs to Cuba as a gift for Fidel Castro which resulted in Castro being all unappreciative and offended because he apparently doesn't eat pork. It was a fiasco. Ever since then, the USA and Cuba have been in a fight over cigars. It's complicated. But Ry Cooder decided this was stupid and got a top notch group of Cuban musicians together to make this record. And it ended up being a fantastic decision. For freedom.

Time To Get Manly 68: Luna - Penthouse

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Luna - Penthouse

"You're out all night/Chasin' girlies/You're late to work/ And you go home early." I have a feeling that these lyrics from "Chinatown" heavily influenced Esquire's decision to include Luna's Penthouse on this list. Because these words encapsulate the very essence of manliness: Non-stop partying, oodles of women, and having a job that pays you enormous sums of money but requires very little responsibility. Ah, the Esquire life! Also, Luna's founder Dean Wareham eventually started a band with and married the woman who was the singing voice for Jem. If that's not a goddamn fairytale existence, I don't know what is.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Time To Get Manly 67: Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen

I think the best way to explain my feelings about Leonard Cohen's music is I typically prefer his songs as performed by other people, and even those versions don't really do a whole lot for me. I know this makes me a terrible person. But I am not blind to the fact that Songs of Leonard Cohen left a lasting impression on the music world, and that I am forever indebted to the man for being such a huge influence on so many of my favorite artists. Considering Cohen's lyrical focus on love, lust, women and life, there's enough manly content on Songs... to make just about any man want to pick up a guitar and dream about becoming a Canadian folk singer. 

Time To Get Manly 66: Sam Cooke - Night Beat

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Sam Cooke - Night Beat

The title of this record suggests some kind of after-hours hot spot - loud music, friends, dancing, friends, drinking... But the songs on Night Beat suggest that other kind of night beat - the one when you're all alone with your thoughts and it's so quiet you can hear your own pulse. That's the place where some of the best music comes from, and Sam Cooke delivers a whole record to prove it. Night Beat's sad bastard songs combined with perfect-yet-stark instrumentation makes it the perfect showcase for Cooke's voice - one of the finest ever.

Time To Get Manly 65: Beethoven - Symphony No. 5

I randomly ran across a list of what Esquire magazine claims are "The 75 Albums Every Man Should Own." In this series of posts, I'll explore these manly, manly sounds.

Beethoven - Symphony No. 5

Oooh, Esquire's dropping a bit of manly sophistication into the mix with the inclusion of some "classical music." And really, what's more manly than a man in a wig and tights, right? Haha. Stop being a dick. Beethoven, though emotionally unstable, plagued by chronic pain and early onset hearing loss, was a motherfucking musical badass. Of his nine symphonies, this one is probably the most immediately recognizable, especially if you're a fan of Saturday Night Fever. So yeah, when you're done listening to Slick Rick, put this on to scrub some of that filth out of your brain.

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