Monday, December 28, 2009

Care and Handling

This was too good not to share.

My brother gave me a CD for Christmas that was put out in 1989. It's as old as I am, and I was apparently born right around the birth of CDs.

There are care instructions inside! They were so new, people didn't know what to do with them! This is the gem found if you read the inside of the liner:

"The compact disc digital audio system offers the best possible sound reproduction... on a small convenient disc. Its remarkable performance is the result of a unique combination of digital storage and laser optics. For best results, you should apply the same care in storing and handling the compact disc as you would with conventional records. No cleaning is necessary if the compact disc is always held by its edges and is replaced in its case directly after playing. If the compact disc becomes soiled by fingerprints, dust, or dirt, it can be wiped (always in a straight line, from center to edge) with a clean and lint-free, soft, dry cloth. Never use a solvent or abrasive cleaner to clean the disc. If you follow these suggestions, the compact disc will provide a lifetime of listening enjoyment."

The CD is The Real Thing by Faith No More, who just recently came back together after an eleven year break. Could be interesting, but the liner notes alone were enough to make it awesome.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Newbury Comics

How have I gotten this many months into a music blog and never once mentioned Newbury Comics? I'm astounded.

So I spend a considerable amount of money on music, but it's the only thing I spend money on. Tickets and CDs and music magazines but I work my ass off as a full time student with 3 (and a half) part time jobs, so I feel justified. However that means I know where every cent of my money comes from. I know how many cups of coffee I poured to buy that new CD, how many experiments I ran to buy those concert tickets.

That's why I buy my music at Newbury Comics. If I'm going to give my hard earned money to someone, it's not going to be a huge chain like Virgin or FYE. It's going to be the little music store that could, that has every CD I want and that'll find it for me if they don't. Music stores are dying and if my money is going somewhere I want it to be to a store I support.

They're all around now too. What started off as a comic store on Newbury Street in Boston has expanded. My personal favorite is the store in Harvard Square, but I frequented the one on Route One this summer as I commuted back and forth to work. They don't sell just CDs either - they have everything from clothing to vinyl to books. you want pop culture, music culture, youth culture? They've got it.

The local news (NECN) did a segment on them recently, about their adaptation to the economic climate through branching out and internet sales, but I'd like to believe that the real reason they're surviving the crash is people like me who want to know that their money's going to real people, a living breathing store, not just some huge chain with no personality.

Fun Bonus Fact: Way back when, before I was born, my parents ran the mailing list for Newbury Comics. Back when mailing lists actually came in the mail, and weren't sent out via e-mail or twitter. Back before CDs. Probably in the age of cassettes.

The dark ages.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

"Can't make an emo Christmas song? Have you ever heard 'The Christmas Shoes'??"

Fall Out Boy's ability to make even Christmas emo. I love it. Enjoy:

Here's to another scene kid Christmas, with Converse and American Apparel and a Timbuk2 bag. I really should buy some adult clothing one of these days.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yule Ball 2009

The Yule Ball at the Middle East, December 20th

Oh, Yule Ball. How you bring out the geeks from all parts of New England. Also, this is my second annual Christmas Eve Yule Ball Post. Yay for starting new traditions!

First up, Ed in the Refridgerators. This is a band that was formed a long time ago by one of the members of Harry and the Potters, and a friend, I'm going to guess when they were in middle school. They sang songs that middle school boys would sing. One of them involved screaming butt over and over again. I have no further comments.

Next, after some sad wizard comedy, was MC Kreacher. I'd like you to understand that this is a guy in his 20s who dresses up like a house elf and raps. Furry hand claws, embroidered baseball cap and all. I was shocked by his appearance, but you know what? He can actually rap. Well. For an amateur rapper he's really quite good. But he was rapping about upset, enslaved, mythical creatures from a childrens series. This looks like a guy who might actually have a social life, and yet he's rapping about house elves! I... I'm so torn. He was really good, but damn.

This was also the point in the night when I really noticed the crowd around me. There were obligatory nerds, a few really drunk girls, a possibly drunk long haired boy who took to dancing right beside me, observant college kids, and the Malfoys. Yes, the Malfoys. This family (I think they're a real family) has been to every Yule Ball I've been to. In the past I've only noticed Lucius and Draco, but this year Narcissa was also present. They don't just dress up... they full on cosplay. Or maybe the correct term is role play? I'm not sure, but they stand in the back and don't talk to anyone and look very angry and disapproving. In full, dead on costume. Narcissa spent most of the time fanning herself. I did see Draco talk to another boy dressed as Draco at one point, but they mainly stay fully in character. Kudos for dedication, but we wouldn't think any less of you guys if you wanted to look like you were actually enjoying yourself too. Just saying.

More bad wizard comedy. "Where do tadpoles go to school when they grow up? Frogwarts!"

Then The Whomping Willows were on. I like them, they're fun. They play bouncy, happy wizard rock and they look like they're enjoying it and they're not afraid to be Hufflepuffs. They've started a house called Awesome and they believe in nargles. I think that about sums it up.

Speech by the head of the Harry Potter Alliance. Mmmkay.

Jason Anderson was next and I love Jason Anderson. Okay, so I don't personally know him and love him, but his music and live performances make me happy. He loves sing alongs and getting the crowd involved, and so everyone is participating and dancing and screaming. He plays good, homey New England music and it always feels like he's letting you into a special slice of his life when he plays. His happiness is infectious and his singing is full of joy and I just love watching him play.

Draco and the Malfoys! I used to love Draco and the Malfoys, but now, um, they've turned into a bluegrass band. I'm okay with country, don't get me wrong, but I can't really deal with bluegrass. There was an upright bass (cool!), and a banjo named Aberforth (not so cool!), and a guy rocking out on a mandolin (awesome!). But it was just odd. They used to play computer driven, guitar and drum based rock but now... now there was bluegrass and the songs were all slowed down and I was so confused.

And finally, Harry and the Potters. The original wizard rock. We had to leave partway through their set due to having to catch a train, but what we did see was so much fun. They had sing along songs too, and threw a giant stuffed snake into the crowd when we were saving Ginny Weasley from the basilisk, and it was fun and silly and wizard rocky.

There was tinsel and lights, butterbeer and a big glowing Santa. It was the perfect was to get into the geeky Christmas spirit.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Don't Drink, Don't Smoke, What do you do?

So I might currently be in possession of a hard drive that is not mine. It was loaned to me for a film project, and it is not at all my fault that its owner felt no need to show up to his own film screening and pick it up. It's also totally not my fault that when I plugged it into my laptop to transfer some files, my media program found the near 5000 music files on it.

I can't be blamed for... browsing and borrowing.

So one of the songs that I... borrowed... is an old favorite of mine. I've mentioned my posi straight edge leanings before, but in the 70s and early 80s, before Minor Threat, straight edge was called teetotal. It originally only referred to alcohol, with roots in the temperance movements of the 19th century, but was later adapted in popular culture to abstinence from all recreational drugs. But I digress.

A popular, famous teetotaler of the 80s? Adam Ant of course. And his song about the media's obsession with his teetotalism? "Goody Two Shoes." Now, I have no recollection of this video as a child, but I'm told that I loved it because I thought the people at the end looked like they were having "so much fun" as they danced down the hallway.

Yes, small child Alex, they do. Also, I love his jacket and want it. This is such a fun video.

"No one's gonna tell me what's wrong or what's right."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Last Person - Jenny Owen Youngs

Here's the new video for "Last Person" by Jenny Owen Youngs, directed by Shervin Lainez. It is a concept so simple, yet so fun and so gorgeously shot. I get a bit of a vibe from her that she's not enjoying it quite as much as everyone around her, but she starts to almost smile around 2:40 in, and that makes it okay. She's just got this aura, especially live, that there's something darker in her head than the happy lyrics she's singing. It's disconcerting.

But the video is perfect.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oy is just Yo backwards.

So I'm Catholic, but my roommate is Jewish. This means it's Chanukah in our apartment! The menorah is right in front of our purple Christmas tree and I love it.

Yesterday morning we went Jew shopping - there's a fabulous Kosher Store in Brookline, The Butcherie, and we bought everything we need to make latkes tonight. We bought challah dough that is currently rising on our table, ready to be baked, and jelly doughnuts. Then we went next door and bought gelt and a dreidel and gorgeous Chanukah candles and everyone was so excited and wished us a Happy Chanukah and it was so much fun.

You'll have to excuse me. I've been studying biochem all day and I'm going a little crazy. Ahem.

So to get in the mood for our mini Chanukah party tonight, I've found Chanukah music! And no, this is not Adam Sandler stuff. This is, first and foremost, The Leevees! I saw them at the Yule Ball last year and loved them. They are all members of other real bands, but they come together to make Chanukah music and it makes me smile. You can check their music out on their website - I recommend "Applesauce vs. Sourcream." So awesome.

And this is the most ridiculous Chanukah song ever. It's a cover of "Hey Ya" by Outkast done as an epic Chanukah song. It's by Eric Schwartz and it's hysterical. You must listen to this song.

Happy Chanukah!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

She's Gonna Break

Oh. Hey, Finals.

And winter weather thwarted both of this week's planned concerts. And my apartment flooded. It's been a great week.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rivers Cuomo Injured in Bus Crash (+ Twitter)

No cute, punny titles until the word is that he's alright.

On the way from New York to Boston, the bus carrying Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo hit black ice and slid into a ditch. News is scarce. There's no word on how he's doing other than the fact that he's in the hospital with complaints of rib pain and that his wife and daughter escaped unharmed.

The event says so much about current media and the way that information travels, especially in the music world. I found out about the accident through a tweet from HayleyFiasco, a music maverick who's worked for both Weezer and Amanda Palmer, and only a few tweets below her Vicky-T of Cobra Starship had also relayed the message. I retweeted the news and found a tweet from Patrick Wilson that read "Everything is under control." Only a little while later he again posted, with "It was perfect conditions for black ice. Got loose going towards the meridian, driver saves it but bus goes thru guardrail into 6ft ditch."

Twitter is how I get my news. I know what the weather is like from friends' tweets, I find out what bands are coming through Boston by the venues and sites that I follow, I get local news from Boston Tweeters, I receive updates on friends through their streams, and I even follow the Boston Police to find out what streets I shouldn't be on at night. I've created my own news feed of the events and facts important to me.

However the most telling line is from the Alternative Press website (which I got to from their tweet about the incident) which reads, as of 8:40pm:
"Cuomo has yet to tweet about the accident."

That's how we'll know he's alright - he'll tweet about it.

*Update* According to Jack's Mannequin, the remainder of the tour has been canceled. I'd been looking forward to this show so much, and I'm really disappointed that it's not happening, but I'm more worried about what kind of injury Rivers must have sustained that the tour has been canceled. Here's to a speedy and full recovery.

*Update 2* The full story here is really more terrifying than I could have imagined.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We'll Get Wild, Wild, Wild

So I'm writing my final script for my screenwriting class and somehow an innocent exchange between two characters turned miraculously into a skeezy pickup line turned into a bad glam metal reference. And now, as my characters discuss Warrant and Lita Ford, I'm listening to 80s hair bands. They're so bad, so bad, but also so good.

Classic Quiet Riot. You cannot not scream along with this song when you're out and it comes on loud through bad club speakers, admit it. Girls, rock your boys.

And the first line of this next song is one of my favorite lyrics ever: "I went to a party last Saturday night, I didn't get laid, I got in a fight. It ain't no big thing."

Feel the tight pants and big hair. Let it sink it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Summer of The Academy Is...

In my head, my life is divided, sorted, and filed in color coded boxes and folders and pages. It's easier to shuffle through memories, easier to deal with the hard stuff, if you can just find it and place it and put it away for later.

Every time period has music associated with it, songs and albums that can recall emotions faster than words or pictures ever could. It's jarring, occasionally, to have my mp3 player on shuffle and have a song pop up that suddenly fills me with emotions I'd forgotten existed. It's heart-wrenching, heartbreaking, and fills me with bouts of sudden longing for months or seasons, days or hours, that will never come back.

I want this portion of my life back. I want to feel like this again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I hate this. I hate her over processed voice. I hate the lack of real instruments. I hate that any girl with garageband and connections can get on the radio. I hate the glorification of getting drunk just to get drunk. I hate that she's barely wearing pants. I hate that the girls who used to just dance in the background of hip hop videos now have their own. I hate that the song title isn't even in proper English.

But damn if I don't turn this all the way up and sing along driving down the highway. I hate it, I hate what it stands for, but I love it.