Friday, May 29, 2009

Jukebox the Ghost at Cafe 939

These United States were on first. We arrived a little late, due to some ordering issues at The Cheesecake Factory (we tried to get a Hawaiian pizza with no bacon. And then it showed up on the table with ham instead of the bacon which defeated the purpose of getting no meat on our pizza. And I hate sending food back but we did it and I apologized profusely to the waiter and I think he thought I was daft for trying to apologize for his mistake. But in the end it was good pizza. Really good pizza). At first glance, I thought there were too many guitars on stage, and was confused by the incongruities in the band. There were three guitarists, one who looked like a scene kid, one who looked like a mellow indie kid, and one who belonged in the Dropkick Murphys. The bassist had very curly hair. The drummer looked like a jock. But then they came together to make music and it was great. A kind of mellow vibe. And they all played their instruments well (the bassist being especially good). Then the irish punk looking guitarist sat down. Behind a steel guitar. And the scene kid started playing these great notes and the indie kid kept jamming on him acoustic and the drummer kept on pounding and it was great. There was an almost country undertone to it all. I liked "Honor Amongst Thieves" as well as "Get Yourself Home." It was really good stuff.

Next up was Jenny Owen Youngs. She and her band futzed around on stage for a while. Then, she opened her mouth, and the voice that came out was not at all what I was expecting. She reminded me a touch of Fiona Apple, mixed with maybe a little bit of Jewel’s softness, but her songs were mainly of heartbreak and sadness. They were sung with a solemn, intimate feel, and she at one point asked the lights to be turned down because “I don’t need a spotlight; no one needs a spotlight.” She sang “Fuck Was I” and then commented that instead of her normal emotional reaction to performing it live, she was at the time struck with the feeling that maybe she could have resolved the issue with a little less swearing and a change of attitude. She wasn’t what I expected, and her music isn’t quite my cup of tea, but it was enjoyable and I truly feel that once the music world at large gets wind of her, she’s going to be huge. Her voice was made to fill arenas and sound out through car stereo speakers.

Then, Jukebox the Ghost joined the band on stage. And let me tell you, there were a lot of people on that stage. There were multiple tambourines going. And lots of guitars, and I was afraid it would get messy and too much but it was great. It was 8 people jamming together and having fun and I wanted to just dance and swim in the music forever.

Sometimes music makes me really happy.

Jukebox the Ghost was on next. There were songs about the antichrist, songs about the apocalypse, and songs about love. They tried to make us boo and hiss at one of their new songs, but the crowd forgot and cheered instead because how could we not? They make such amazing music. They had a few problems (the intro to Victoria was a little squishy, but they all laughed about it so it just made them all the more endearing). We ended up standing right in front of the pianist, Ben Thornewill, who has a crazy stage presence and does amazing things with a piano (if you want to hear music so gorgeous it will break your heart, his myspace is the place to go). We could see Tommy Siegel, the guitarist, through the crowd. I still feel that his voice is amazing live, and I love watching him play the guitar, because unlike many other current guitarists, he can really play it, and well. Finally, in the back on drums, Jesse Kristin just had fun. He smiled through the whole thing and banged around with a tambourine and threw things in the air and had so much energy and happiness that the entire crowd could feel it. They all have fun on stage and I love it.

They mentioned taking some time off from touring and recording, and I'm split between being broken hearted that I won't see them live for a while, and overjoyed that there will be new music. It was a great show, the kind that reminds me why this is the world I want to live in forever, if only the music keeps playing on and on and on.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spiders and Sorrows and Shake Tramps

Oh Holy Goodness there is a spider!

Okay. Alright. I'm alright. I'm in my backyard and a spider just crawled too far into my personal space. There may have been flailing involved in my efforts to be rid of it.

There have been no concerts lately. There have been no new albums (except for Green Day, but I feel like they've stopped trying). There hasn't even really been any good music news (Well, aside from the fact that Blink 182 is touring with Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco AND Weezer. I'm going to have to go to two dates of this tour to catch all of these bands, but I'm alright with that, even though I'm not a Blink 182 fan. But I'm also not a not-fan. I'm completely impartial. They will have two nights to win me over or turn me away.) So instead of that, I'm giving you the two old songs that I'm completely obsessed with at the moment.

The first is "Our Lady of Sorrows" by My Chemical Romance. It's very old, off of "I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love." It's a fast paced song, and it feels like speeding down a highway with your hands off the wheel. It's got layers of instruments all fighting for themselves and then it hits the chorus and they all come together in striking pounding chords, with Gerard Way screaming out over them. Sadly, none of my friends are quite this emo/angry, and everyone I play it for with the exclamation of "Isn't this awesome?" just looks at me like I need treatment. It makes me feel something, and isn't that what music should do?

The second (much more up tempo, and much more Canadian) is "Shake Tramp" by Marianas Trench. I know almost nothing about this band, except for the fact that they're from Canada and that this video was at one point featured on Video on Trial (which is damn funny and I wish we got it in the US). But the terrible dancing , the weird 50s section, and the perky chorus of "they slap you like a bitch and you take it like a whore" means that I have been watching this video like crazy. So here. Enjoy some Canadian punk pop:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Could Break Your Heart

Lady Gaga followed me to Germany - everywhere I went, "Poker Face" was playing. I can't stand Lady Gaga - if you took away the big blond hair and the skimpy outfits, all you'd be left with is over processed, repetitive songs. Bleh.

Upon returning to the United States, I spent an evening baking sugar cookies with my best friend and dancing around her kitchen, jetlag in full swing. She ended up playing me "I Could Break your Heart Any Day of the Week" by Mandy Moore. The song has been stuck in my head ever since, so I looked up the video. I'm a little disappointed with it; the entire plot is Mandy Moore watching a karate practice, and then kicking some guy in the balls just because she can. I guess we're supposed to assume he did something to deserve it, but I can't figure out what. However, I have a third degree black belt in TaeKwonDo, and spent the entire video going "Look! Kamas! Crescent kick! Scissor kick!" so I was almost alright with it.

Off to another day in the lab. Fruit flies, here I come.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I'm packing for a trip to Germany and Switzerland, and I'm throwing stuff in a bag and trying to find travel size everything and looking for my umbrella and, in the mix, found the new song from Cobra Starship. "Good Girls Go Bad" with Leighton Meister (click on the Cobra Starship/ World Premiere link).

I don't like it. It's like everything else on the radio right now, and I listen to bands like Cobra Starship because they're NOT like everything else on the radio. Now, Leighton Meister holds her own with the song, she sings it well. And Cobra Starship knows how to make catchy songs. It's catchy, it's poppy, it reminds me of Gwen Stefani. But it doesn't sound like a Cobra song, it sounds like a pop song. Ryan Seacrest made the comment that it would be the "song of the summer." It might be, but it would make me a tiny bit sad to see Cobra Starship get their big blow up press for this when they have so much that is far, far better. I'm not one of those people who wants to keep my favorite bands unknown - sure, I love seeing small club shows, but I also love seeing good bands hit it big and get successful. But if this is what makes people stop and look at Cobra Starship, I'm afraid they'll just turn right around and stop listening.

Okay. Off to Europe.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


So I was not as up on things as I should have been, but a twitter trend (oh, twitter) alerted to me that today is the 6th anniversary of Take This To Your Grave. It is Fall Out Boy during their slightly out of the mainstream phase, boys with problems the rest of us could still relate to, singing about broken relationships, cheaters, and best friends. It's not my favorite FOB album, but "Saturday," "Grenade Jumper," and "Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy" are some of my favorite FOB songs, and laid the foundation for everything they became (after "An Evening Out" of course).

Happy 6th Birthday. We love you back.