Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Patrick Stump Covers Bobby Womack on Earth Day

Damn, P. Stump. Where have you been hiding that all these years?

Patrick Stump with The Roots from Patrick Stump on Vimeo.



Not my style at all, but his voice! He is obviously in love with this music. I almost feel bad that we made him sing pop-punk all these years.

Almost.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Hello Seattle, I am a Manta Ray"

Lights and Owl City at the House of Blues Boston, April 23, 2010

Dear Live Nation,
If you're going to sell me a limited view ticket, please tell me that before I buy the ticket.
No love for you and your fees,
Alex

No lie, there was a wall in front of my seat. It was at the very bottom of the stadium seats, far to the left, so the wall of the staircase cut up into my view. If I was sitting normally in my seat, I could see none of the stage. If I leaned over the banister into the stairwell obstructing the passage of people around me, I could see most of it through a bunch of bars. Awesome.

Paper Route
was up first. They were good, a very pretty indie spin on pop punk. They had some upright drums that they banged on, there was an interesting mash of instruments, and they were really enjoyable. I'm not sure there's anything super specific I can pick out about there set that I loved, but I enjoyed listening to it.

But you see, there was a wall. So I can't tell you to much about their stage presence. They sounded great, but as their set ended I moved.

I'm sorry House of Blues. You were doing everything in your power to keep us from moving onto that main floor from up above. You escorted us to merch, watched us as we browsed through over priced t-shirts. You were hawk-like in your pursuit to keep us on our assigned floors.

But I'm not a rowdy patron. I've never started a fight at a show. I followed your no camera rule, I don't stand where I shouldn't, and I don't complain about your nasty bathrooms. I also buy a lot of tickets from you. You have a lot of my money. So I wanted to see a show that I paid for. And when your escort turned her back I found someone I knew at the show and walked through those open doors onto the main floor where I could actually see. So. There.

Lights was next. She is awesome. Her voice is ridiculously powerful and she reaches incredible notes at ridiculous volumes. Her voice is amazing live, so very perfect. She's happy and funny and bounces around. There were also six keyboards on the stage. I kid you not. Both she and the other keyboardist spent much of the show with their left hand on one keyboard and their right hand on another. When that wasn't happening, a keytar was involved. It was impressive. She played the piano version of "Pretend" again, which I love, and announced that she just shot a video for her new single "Second Go." Very awesome. I really love her music, it's ridiculously happy and peppy and electronic without being cheesy. She has a whole stage presence and persona of being a sort of intergalactic musician. On anyone else it would be horrible and gimmicky, but on her it's kind of perfect.

There was a long pause before Owl City, in which the large swarm of underage girls got impatient. I was a little apprehensive. I'd heard bad things and I only knew a few of the songs.

I was blown away.

Owl City's live show is what would happen if you gave an indie show a budget, lights, and a screaming crowd. The violinist and the cellist (yeah, I know!) danced in pretty dresses when they weren't playing. There was a marimba. Three keyboards. Drums. A guitar. Ocean noises and pretty lights and flowers and dancing. It was kind of awesome.

With my lack of knowledge about the music, it all kind of blended into one great big song. Not too much variation but it was pretty and fun so I didn't mind. A local R&B group called Ahmir sang backup on a few songs and they were also rather awesome. One song has the line "Hello Seattle, I am a manta ray," and I just spent about an hour the other week discussing with my roommate the fact that I am a manta ray, so that was a point in Owl City's favor.

Point against Adam young, however: You're in a band called Owl City. Heck, it's not really a band. You ARE Owl City. So when the dude in the crowd wearing the sweatshirt covered in white feathers with a beak and big eyes starts waving, do not ask if it is a chicken suit. Do not get confused as to what sort of bird it is. When it gets thrown on stage and you wear it around your neck like a huge boa, do not still be confused. You are Owl City. OWL City. Geez.

There was one moment, however, that made me realize something awesome. Imagine you're a song writer. You've spent a ton of time just singing to yourself in your parents' basement, writing songs on a keyboard and programming things (this is what MTV told me about Owl City. I know nothing else). Now imagine yourself launching into the chorus of your song, telling the crowd to sing, dropping the instruments low and watching thousands of people sing your words back to you. Those words you wrote so long ago are now pouring out of thousands of mouths, thousands of people you've never met are echoing back those things you've written. That has to be one of the best feelings in the world, and Adam Young's smile suggested that he appreciated every bit of it.

I still don't get why Shaq was in the music video, though. I'm still super confused about that one.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yeah, It's a Big Mess Alright

Sometimes, I love cover songs. This is so not one of those times.


I love this song. It's "We've Got a Big Mess on Our Hands" by The Academy Is... and it's always been one of my favorites. I especially love this song live, William Beckett calling out for the crowd's voices and jumping off of the bass drum.

But American Idol butchered it. Seriously. The instruments sound off, they're singing a song about self destruction while smiling, and it's an odd cut. I'm also not sure who thought this would be a good song choice. I can't imagine American Idol and The Academy Is... really have overlapping fanbases.

And they're all doing that weird hand jive thing, like they know they're singing what's supposed to be a song with some sort of meaning behind it, so they're thrusting their hands out horizontally to show that they're really getting into it. Stop that! Stop awkwardly thrusting your hands!

And I can't decipher what that lyric switch is. It's just odd. And what does any of this have to do with Ford? There are a bunch of these videos and they're all equally awkward. Dislike!

For reference, here is the song (and video) that I love:




Oh man, now I'm gong to spend some time watching TAI videos... no, no must write my papers! Agh!

The Gaslight Anthem American Slang Album Leak

If you're as excited as I am about the new Gaslight Anthem album American Slang, you probably already know that it has leaked. The link popped up on a friend's facebook and, not having heard myself, I downloaded it just because I didn't believe it.

Wow. Stupid internet safety right there.

Anyways, it's now sitting in zip form on my desktop, unextracted and unlistened, and I'm about to delete it.

Why? Why, when holding onto a copy of one of my most anticipated albums of the year am I just going to get rid of it?

Because I believe in independent bands. Because yes, I would still buy the CD when it came out because of my need for physical copies of my music, but it wouldn't feel right. Because new music should be listened to the way the band intended, off of a hard copy CD with album art and liner notes in hand.

Oh I just put it in the recycle bin. That stung a little. But I'll listen to it soon enough the way the band wanted me to. Keeping the bands we love going means supporting them in lots of little ways. This is only one of them.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not Dead

Just studying and paper writing and project finishing and presentation practicing and homework doing. The end of the semester always sucks, but overload semesters are apparantly way worse.

Not dead. Not dead. Just getting this stuck in my head for no real reason.





What you wanted a real video? Don't you see I have work to do? Fine, fine, have this.



Oh pop punk boys. You're trying to look all serious. You look kinda silly but I love you anyways. This CD is in the looming stack that I've bought but not yet ripped due to work overload. the music is just sitting there but I can't let it consume me yet.

When is this semester over again? I want my music back!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Butch Walker - "Pretty Melody" Video by Shane Valdes

Shane Valdes' work is starting to really grow on me. Everything he does is it's own mini movie, and even when he takes something classic like kung fu and noir, he always puts a fresh new spin on it. It's always clean and polished without losing any of the fun.

And I think that's also the perfect way to describe Butch Walker's music.

A+ to both of them for this one. You can currently only watch it here at Spin.com. It's good. Take the five minutes and enjoy.

*EDIT* Now with bonus Youtube Embed!

Friday, April 9, 2010

"This is Emmet's First Concert, He Just Turned Three Months"

I love Weezer. This is no secret.

One of the best things is their ability to appeal to a wide range of people of vastly different ages and musical tastes.

My boss likes Weezer. My Dad likes Weezer. My significantly older brother found the Blue Album in high school and loved it. I, with none of his influence, found the Blue Album in high school 15 years later, and loved it. My musical friends like Weezer and my musically illiterate friends like Weezer.

And toddlers?



This was awkward at first, but then it was adorable and awesome. Weezer playing at a park in front of small children, parents, and a couple of punks.

I do believe in the uniting power of music.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Get Around...

In a completely and solely musical sense!

I've had a couple articles printed in other corners of the internet lately! First, my review of the Hot Chelle Rae show from a couple weeks ago, at Music Remedy:

Hot Chelle Rae Show Review

And two articles on Shred News about Akudama and Skybox (labeled as guest because I'm not a full writer for them):

Band You Should Know: Akudama

Band You Should Know: Skybox

Enjoy!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Crictics and Hipsters, Have You Heard the New Disc By the Evelyn Sisters?

EvelynEvelyn Album Review

Once again, my nice, professional, well-written review will be posted and linked at a later date on a different site. But I think this is the more interesting review anyway. Here are my notes, my initial thoughts, upon first listen to EvelynEvelyn's album, the joint project of Amanda Palmer and Jason Wembey.

Evelyn Evelyn – Classical piano, string section, depressing music, sad, gorgeous. “This is our birthday, so why are we weeping?” The lyrics are perfect, “I want to be famous, they’re watching us anyway.” Sadness together, anger between. I love the strings at the end, the tragic circus intro and outro.

A Campaign of Shock and Awe – Grotesque circus, freakshow, EvelynEvelyn na├»ve again, a sideshow waltz, “Critics and hipsters, have you heard the new disc by the Evelyn sisters?” The sideshow is the music business, the scene. Great metaphor.

The Tragic Events of September – 1985 newsreel of the Evelyn birth, if it wasn’t heavily influenced or written by Gaiman I’ll eat my Bavarian mountain hat. Disturbing, horrific, tragedy. I’m confused as to what must have been going through the mind of whoever wrote this, worried for them, but I love it.

Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn? – Talk about comedic relief. This is the cute Evelyn Evelyn song we’ve all loved for a while. This should have been played in the 1920s to smoking flappers in a run down club, accompanied by half sloshed dancers and a drunk piano.

Chicken Man – An accordion. A bit of the circus flair returns. And then they start singing “chicken man” over and over. I don’t love this one. Um. No. I get that this ties in with the story of the tragic events. I think this is the theme as the chicken man drives away with the twins. Then it turns into a drinking song. Then it switches back. Not my favorite.

Tragic Events Part II – 1991 newsreel. This song is 11:11 long. Make a wish. Alfred McCluck is a successful chicken farmer. He raised the girls like chickens. Then he dies. I’m ruining this story by creating a cliff notes version, but I must note that the first candy they eat is poetic. Are… are they being sold into the child porn industry? Oh my god. They are. This is where they meet Sandy Fishnets. “Jean Luc” the sailor – Star Trek reference. This story is awful, horrible, in a train wreck sort of way, the way that you always want to see a plane crash, just to see what would happen. But it’s good. And then it becomes happier through music and elephants. And now I think the elephants are dying. I… I can’t even.

Sandy Fishnets – Sad, not super interesting musically. About halfway in it switches to something a little more grand and angry. Then it switches back to sad circus. God this album is depressing.

Elephant Elephant – Well at least they recognize when they desperately need comedic relief. Accordion song about elephants, classic EvelynEvelyn. Okay, smiling again. Oh! This version has big brass and elephant noises! Love it! Oh this is fun again! Okay, alright! Tthere is so much you can learn when you’re on a pachyderm!” A happy, witty, little song. Good!

You Only Want Me ‘Cause You Want My Sister – I love this. It’s like a classic rock song. It’s exactly what the title says. It’s very… Tom Petty? I can’t believe I just made that comparison. A bit of a country twinge. A broken hearted twin, it’s perfect. Plus whistling! It’s the very perfect song for anyone who loves someone taken, the song where you know you love him more than his girlfriend. Haha, except then she kills the lover with draino in her coffee. Which… I’ll overlook the conjoined twins bit here for the greatness that this song is.

Tragic Events Part III – 2004 newsreel. They’ve left the circus. I still don’t want to ruin it by taking notes, but it describes them finding myspace and it’s a great story.

My Space – Guest vocals by everyone ever expected. The song isn’t stunning yet…It’s like cheesy early 90s music. I expect a laser background music video. Guitar solo. Cheers song reference. I’m waiting for those guest vocals… making fun of MySpace. Okay, guest vocals are a crowd group. I can pick out Gerard Way and maybe Andrew WK doing the “woah ohs” but everyone else is a crowd. I was under the illusion the guest vocals would be more prominent, which has me torn. Awesome that all their friends wanted to help, and cool that this is the group of people they hang with, but I feel that the press hooked onto it a bit too hard and made it a marketing ploy.

Love Will Tear Us Apart – This is a pretty little ukulele cover of this song. Just a quiet, soft song to end the album. It’s a nice way to round it out. A little piano thrown in for good measure.

Overall? I'd say 3.5 conjoined elephants out of five.

Cherry Lips

This has nothing to do with anything, really.

I think I first saw this video six years ago. Maybe longer. I loved the song, loved the attitude, but had no idea what was happening on the screen in front of me. This was my introduction to both Garbage and Anime. Garbage stuck, and I went out to buy their music. Anime didn't, and I have no idea what these clips are from. But a bunch of friends are at Anime Boston right now, so it seemed appropriate.

Also, I've waited years for the lyric "She just turned 21" to apply. So, in honor of my 21st birthday (which means I'm now old enough to join roller derby and get free "designated driver" soda at Fenway!) here is an AMV of "Cherry Lips" by Garbage.