Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Met on a Saturday, loved you by Sunday..."

Detroit's Prime Ministers are a personal favorite of mine, and this particular song (from a digital single they put our a few months back) gets stuck in my head a lot. This is partly due to my fondness for "days of the week" related songs. The video, features a mystery substance that may or may not be toxic, but does produce some cool visuals. I hope there are no side effects to contact with said substance. Of course if there are, I hope they turn everybody in the band into a superhero. That would be awesome, and is in no way influenced by the fact that I've seen The Avengers (twice), Iron Man (1 and 2), Captain AmericaThor and X-Men: First Class in the past couple weeks. Totally unrelated, I'm sure.

Start your June out right!

This is happening Friday, which is the first day of June. Stereogum is currently streaming the new Grass Widow record, and it is pretty great. The rest of the line up looks pretty sweet too. There also may be a giant tiger with a crystal ball who will tell you your fortune. He may instead maul you, because he is a tiger and it was pretty foolish of you to think he was tame and approachable, let alone believe he had psychic powers. I guess you'll have to go to the show to find out for certain.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Skate or thrive, Detroit!

Go ahead and bid on this one for me. 

Would you like a totally sweet ass custom skateboard deck designed by a local or perhaps not-so-local artist? Yes? You're in luck! There's an online auction going on NOW to raise money for a skatable sculpture park in Detroit. The bidding for the many wonderful decks in the Good Wood Skateboard Art Exhibition ends at 11pm this evening. So you're just in time to go outbid somebody and ruin their day - for a good cause! There's also a closing reception tonight in Hamtramck so you can see the decks in person. Click here for more details.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pre-Order Punishment

This record came out Tuesday. I ordered it April 17th. Still don't have it. Also, boobs.

So! Your band is releasing a new album. Because this whole "buying the physical product" thing is getting more and more passé by the day, you decide to do a limited pre-sale or pre-order. To add some sweet ass incentive, you decide to do something unique. For instance, maybe the pre-orders come with a commemorative t-shirt, or are pressed on a limited run of colored vinyl, or you include a special edition wall thermometer with your lead singer's crotch at the bottom so it looks like he's getting a giant red boner every time it's hot outside. So many possibilities!

This is all well and good, but something is bothering me about the way a lot of these pre-orders are being handled. It boils down to this: Who is most likely to pre-order your record and even give a shit about the limited edition vinyl or boner thermometer? Your biggest fans, right? So it should follow that your biggest fans, who have given you their money before anybody else, should have the album before everybody else. This seems reasonable. So why is it that so many bands don't/won't/can't ship the record in order to get it to pre-order customers by street date? This just seems like a shitty way to repay the people who like you the most.

Think of it this way. Remember in pre-internet days when people would actually camp out in front of their local Ticketmaster location in order to get tickets to a show? These people, crazy as they may be, were obviously huge fans. So when the store employees showed up, should they've let those fans in the door first or last? It seems obvious, right? The same goes for the fans that pre-ordered your record: They were first in line.

Now, you may be thinking something like, "Well, we can't ship before street date because of laws!" or "The physical record wasn't ready to ship until the very last second!" Yes. This makes sense. But if you can't/won't ship the record so it arrives as close as possible to the actual release date, you owe it to your fans to provide a digital download code or at least an album stream so they can listen to the record they have already paid for. Because anything less and you're basically saying, "Thanks for liking us enough to camp out for our record. Now get in the back of the line." You might as well ship the record with a note that says, "Here's your order. Sorry your dumb friend who only knows one of our songs bought the CD at Target the day it came out and you're only now just getting it a week or so late. Also, fuck you."

Extras and bundles are awesome, but the whole point of your existence is the music. And you should be thanking your lucky stars that anybody gives enough of a shit about your songs to send you money in advance of hearing them. Because after being let down one too many times, you'll be lucky if they even bother to give you another dime.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Held my breath..."

FAWN's long-awaited new album is coming out soon, and they're celebrating in the best possible way: By water boarding all their friends and then throwing a crazy house party for those that manage to survive! The video (directed and shot by Dick Cheney band members Alicia and Christian with help from Kate Barkel)  features a lot of people I know, which makes it even more fun/disturbing to watch. I'm kind of glad that I wasn't asked to participate since I can't physically go underwater without plugging my nose like a child. FAWN is having a record release show on Thursday June 14 at the Loving Touch. It's BYOT (Bring Your Own Tub) so come prepared.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Welcome to Detroit!

Update: The video keeps getting taken down. But this Curbed Detroit article still seems to have a functioning version of it.

Hello Detroit Team!

First of all, nice job with the video! You youngsters are so good at the YouTube. I'm not so savvy. Just yesterday I pasted a mess of embed code onto Michelle Bachmann's Facebook page when trying to share a beautiful photo montage of Anne Geddes pictures set to the soothing sounds of Enya. I'm always doing things like that! You'd think my "all powerful, all knowing" self would be less of a fuddy-duddy about this technology stuff. Alas! I digress...

Are you ready for your journey to Detroit? I am sure you are! I have heard that you're getting some real flack from heathens and naysayers about your mission, but please don't let that deter you. There are few things that keep me up at night as much as the ancient ruins of the Motor City. In fact, for the past two and half years I've been spending a lot of time trying to "think outside the biblical box" on this one. One night, while on a Netflix binge (Ten commandments or not, Toddlers & Tiaras is a riot), it dawned on me: Why not send a group of young, idealistic Christian youths to open a coffee shop in the slums of the ravaged city of Detroit? I mean, I've literally tried everything else. I thought I nailed it (apologies to Jesus for that one) with the Slow's business, but it's time to pull out the big guns.

So it's up to you guys now. Though it's obvious from the words you speak in this video you're totally prepared and understand the city very well, I have enclosed an "I Lift Detroit In Prayer" bumper sticker. Printed in a most holy font on a beautiful yellow background, this sticker will let people know you're completely legit and belong in this city. I've also thrown in a few of my business cards. Feel free to give them to people who question your mission. Note that on my cards, my blog address reads "" Stupid printers in Sodom didn't catch the typo. But I took care of them. Anyway, please write in the missing "w" for me - I was going to do it myself, but Jerry Falwell swiped the pen off my desk - again

So thanks, guys! Oh! Before I forget, I've got some cool drink name ideas for you too! Mecca-mocha, Bible-beans, Jesus-java, Christ's Caffeine, Exodus Espresso, Roasted Revelations... I'm not trying to brag, but those are just off the top of my head! If you wanna use any of 'em, it's your call - I don't wanna micromanage. I'm sure you're going to do great.

Yours truly, 


Tag my city, tag my heart

I am REALLY loving the new "Detroit Beautification Project" street art around Hamtramck and Detroit. Can't wait to see more and more of these pop up. My girlfriend and I plan to go on a scavenger hunt bike ride soon to find 'em all. This appeals to my love of Hamtramck/Detroit AND my OCD (win-win!). Though I want to be sensitive to the views of those who are opposed to this project, I am having a hard time not just thinking they're retarded. Michael Jackman provides a nice account of the issue thus far in this week's Metro Times.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Addicted to the past

I read an excerpt of This Is How on Saturday, found myself thinking about it all day Sunday and just bought it for my iPad-book-reading-machine-device this morning. Even if you're not a "self-help" kind of person, I suggest taking a moment to read the excerpt. Even in those few pages, Burroughs drops some major truth bombs. Like this one:

You must never allow something that happened to you to become a morbidly treasured heirloom that you carry around, show people occasionally, put back in its black velvet pouch, and then tuck back into your jacket where you can keep it close to your heart.

Boom. This sentiment (and the idea of reading a "self-help" book by the guy who wrote Running With Scissors and Dry) resonated with me for several reasons, not least of which is I kind of think Augusten Burroughs is a dick. And that's a good thing. Too often our friends and family are too nice and care too much about us personally to tell us when we need to snap the fuck out of it. They think they're "being there for you" by letting you rehash and rehash and wallow in a place of despair well beyond when this kind of behavior is useful. But these well meaning folks are really not "being there." They are enabling you. 

Sometimes you really need a mental ass kicking, and Mr. Burroughs isn't afraid to deliver a helpful boot to your wallowing-in-self-pity pants. And it's because he cares. I am sure parts of this book will piss me off, or I'll disagree with them, but I look forward to it. Sometimes you need to hear things you don't want to hear. Then you must resist the temptation to shut out those who stand up and challenge you. Because no matter how much it pisses you off, the people who are strong enough to do this probably care about you the most.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gay thoughts

Aside from the fact that I did gay park my car this morning, today feels different. I woke up this morning the first thing that occurred to me was, "This is the first morning of my life in which I live in a country where the President openly supports my right to get married." It's so easy to get tripped up on all the pessimism, political speculation, etc. I'm usually one of the first to do it. But I can't right now. Not yet. I'm going to enjoy this watershed political moment unencumbered by negativity and naysaying. We still have a way to go - a long way. But this is huge.

Additionally, I'll go ahead and be the fun police on one other point. Over the years I've heard a lot of straight people who support gay marriage say, "Gay people deserve to be just as miserable as the rest of us!" I totally get that this is meant as a show of support for equality while at the same time poking fun at the institution of marriage and its many failings. You're being funny, I know! But it's really not all that funny. First of all, because it's just such a tired joke. It's like when you meet a co-worker named Roxanne and your instinct is to start singing that song by the Police. As if she's never heard that before. And like she finds humor in being equated to a prostitute through an overplayed song that you probably can't even sing well. But because you have a weak humor filter, you make a scrunched up, eyes closed, sincere rocker face and sing, "Put on the red light!" and then you smile and look at her like, "Right? Get it?" Later you are surprised and confused to find out she thinks you are a total idiot. 

But also, it just seems a little smug to demean rights you take for granted. It's easy to be like, "Pshh. Marriage! No big deal!" when you can conceivably meet a woman at 7-11 today, stick a donut on her finger as a make-shift ring and go get married right then. And because you two have opposite private parts, the government will shower you with rights and privileges. Congrats! You're earned it! But then there is, for instance, two women who have been in a committed relationship for 10 years and built a life together. They don't have magical opposite-sex privates, so they can't "be as miserable as the rest of you!" Instead, they have to be miserable worrying that if one of them becomes terminally ill they won't be allowed to visit their spouse in the hospital. Because "only immediate family" are allowed and one partner's parents disapprove of the relationship and are willing to let their daughter die without her partner by her side to show they're good Christian people. Or any number of other things that you and your 7-11 bride won't have to worry about in your worst nightmares. 

See how it becomes less funny and kind of even makes you seem like a jerk? Good, thank you. If not, feel free to stop by Roxanne's desk to tell her she doesn't have to wear that dress tonight. You'll make her day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"This one's for North Carolina..."

“This one’s for North Carolina, c’mon and raise up, take your shirt off, twist it ‘round your hand, ruin people’s families…”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Nobody climbs a hill to fall back down..."

The Summer Pledge is releasing a new record called Vessels on Thursday. To celebrate, they want to play some live-in-concert versions of these songs for you at the Magic Stick. Rumor has it the record will be on white vinyl and is limited to 200 copies. If you can resist this kind of detail, you have far more willpower than I do. As an extra huge bonus prize, Fawn is also playing. I love them.

"You're living in dangerous times..."

I can't possibly express how excited I am that the Magnetic Fields have a brand new video for the song "Quick!" It is not only my favorite song on Love At the Bottom of the Sea, but quite possibly my favorite song of the whole year. You may ask, "Why do you love this song and video so much, Laura?" I do not know, but the real question you should be asking is, "How beautiful is it when garbage can people fall in love?!" To which I can only reply, "EXACTLY!"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Skate or die with Child Bite

Whoa. Whoa. Detroit's Child Bite mentioned on their Facebook page recently that they had something pretty sweet up their sleeves merch-wise. I was hoping for those oversized "New Kids on the Block" style buttons. But this is even better. Child Bite now has a signature skateboard deck. In two sweet colors/styles. So awesome. I know you'll be adding this picture to your Pinterest "wedding" board.

Buy the deck plus a copy of their new 10" Monomania. Go ahead and get two - one for you, and one for Mother's Day. But don't be greedy - let your mom pick between the standard and the cruiser. It's her day, after all.

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