Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mistletoe

The first time I heard this song was almost exactly three years ago, take one day. It's been in my head all morning.


But if I was being honest:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kate

I was obsessed with this song when I was nine and heard it for the first time in years tonight. Both the cashier and I were singing along.


(No, nine year old me was not cool enough to be into Ben Folds Five. I had no idea who they were. But an odd bit of chance and the TGIF lineup injected my otherwise Oldies and Country music upbringing with some pretty decent indie pop, even if I had no idea.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Three Years Old

Dear Blog,

Just when I think you're dead, you turn three years old. Sure, the past year has been rough - the number of posts halved, the shows dropped to almost nothing, and the CD buying dwindled down to barely there.

But here you are, limping along to three years, 54 (chronicled) live shows, 311 posts. The list of artists tagged is too long for me to even consider counting.

I don't know how long you'll last, but considering I thought you were dead and buried last November 9th...

And about those glasses? I might just have to bust them back out tonight.

<3 Alex

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Sounds, after DJs that almost weren't worth it

The Sounds at Royale in Boston, MA, October 30, 2011

So the tickets said doors at 6, and assuming a 6:30 show we arrived at six. Oh how stupid we were.

The music pouring out of the speakers was already loud, even though the crowd was only twenty people deep. We were only a few feet back from the stage and my friend feared for my ears later in the night as I'd forgotten to bring earplugs.

"Honestly, I've probably done so much damage to them over the past few years, one more night isn't going to hurt."
"That's like saying you've done so much damage to your liver, what's another night of binge drinking?"

So I paid a dollar, bought some earplugs, shoved them in my pocket and never pulled them back out. It's just not the same through little cylinders of foam.

First up, after a full hour of nothing, and oh my god up for too long, Kids at the Bar. Two dudes, two soundboards, one laptop. They DJed for 75minutes. I don't know that it wasn't all preprogrammed - sure they were turning knobs and hitting buttons, but it never correlated with what was coming out of the speakers. One of the guys, Red Plaid Dude, was at least a little excited. Dude in Black just stared at his board and drank a beer the whole time. It might have worked in a club of people looking to dance, but the crowd waiting for a band was... displeased. It would have been fine for 30min, but 45min in and everyone was antsy. After an hour and fifteen we practically applauded that they were leaving.

Next, Natalia Kills. I actually really liked her and her legging clad band. She had a great stage presence, a badass attitude, and the voice to back it up. Her live performance was even better than the recorded music on her site. She seemed a little stiff at the beginning of the set, probably from nerves and wondering how the crowd would react, but by the end she was smiling and captivating. "Free" and "Acid Annie" stood out, as well as her cover of "Fuck You" by Cee Lo Green. I might not go out to see her again, but I'd definitely be happy if she was opening for someone else I was seeing.



Then Kids at the Bar came back! As soon as their little DJ cart came back out the crowd let up a collective groan. This time we only had to put up with them for 30min, but that meant they'd been on stage for almost two hours total. It was brutal.

Then finally The Sounds. We were maybe two feet from the stage and it was loud and intense. We were so close to the guitarist's monitor that the mix was off, but it was still so amazing. The Sounds' songs are meant for crowds to sing out, with repeated verses and lots of yelling. Maja is an amazing front woman, strutting and kicking and singing in five inch heels. She has this aura of complete badassery, while still being gorgeous.

From a stripped down piano and crowd sung "Night After Night" to "Ego" to "Song With a Mission," the crowd and the show both pumped with energy. I'm not sure how to describe how having Maja Ivarsson singing about two feet away from you, staring at you, will make you sing out the words to prove that you can. The whole band was having fun and rocking out, and they're one of only a few bands to whom I'd give the label "rockstars." It's something about the presence and the all consuming energy, as though every point in that room was focused on the stage.

Stumbling out into the cold afterward and onto a broken down Red Line, we ran into other concert goers who shared our sentiments of bad DJing openers, attractive guitarists, and charismatic singers. As soon as it was over, I wanted it to start again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snow, Sharks, and Screaming My Heart Out

Panic! at the Disco at Lupo's in Providence, RI, October 29, 2011

This show started, like almost all Lupo's shows, with a gigantic line snaking around the block. It was pouring rain and the temperature was quickly dropping towards a point where that rain would turn into something else entirely. But then an awesome concert buddy showed up with coffee, and a good line friend returned. There was a discussion of past horrible line friends that, a year later, just made me laugh hysterically. ("As it turns out, 'Player' is bro-speak for 'has a girlfriend'." "Well then what's bro-speak for 'moved to Germany'?")

We finally got inside, only to be accosted by a security guard searching everyone for glow-sticks. I have no idea why, but this one security guard spent the entire night tracking down anyone in the crowd wearing glow-sticks. It was so ridiculous that we stopped a passing security dude later in the night to ask what was going on, and he shrugged and looked confused. We later saw him asking the glow-stick-hater about it, pantomiming in the onslaught of noise, but could not make out what the response was.

First up was The Tower and the Fool. It wasn't bad at first, rocky acoustic with alright lyrics, but then it quickly spiraled towards full on depression. It was past emo, into the "my heart is dead" region of lyric writing, and I spent the entire second half of the set wondering if they all just needed hugs. It was sad.

Now, at about this point, The Shark showed up. The Shark was a five foot tall, completely trashed girl in a felt shark costume. Face visible through the gaping shark teeth, hands covered in light gray fins, she was trying to barrel her way through the crowd. At every sticking point, she would turn to the offending body and scream "I'm a shark!" I'd never seen someone try to start a fight while holding up soft felt fins before. She was loud and screaming and actually really hitting some of the people around her. It was amusing for the first minute or so, but after ten, not so much. Finally some guy came and dragged her out of our portion of the crowd. We saw him later in the night supporting her slumped, obviously sharked-out body. It was ridiculous.

Foxy Shazam. I don't know what the hell that was. I can't even begin to think of how to describe the experience. I was simultaneously terrified and excited. The lead singer looked like a sex offender bull fighter, the keyboardist played with his feet, and the trumpet player spent the night in various states of undress. They were upside down and all over the stage and loud and crazy and... just and. It was kind of awesome. It was every decade that you've ever made fun of crushed into one. You just have to experience it to believe it. This, this doesn't even come close, but maybe it will help:


Then came Panic! at the Disco. We had grabbed spaces by the railing and I swear I spent most of the night with my body flung over it, clutching on and screaming out every word. There was so much energy in that room... new songs and old, everyone was throwing themselves into it. I got that feeling again, the one where I squeezed my eyes shut and gripped tighter around the banister, as though if I just held on tight enough I could stay in that moment forever, with lights flashing on the other side of my lids, bodies pressing in close, my head full of nothing but sound.

I remember old shows where Brendon would move the mic away whenever the song swore, make the crowd fill in. That is no longer the case. Sometime after the split, his dirty mouth found a place on the stage, and it makes for this predatory stage presence. It's mostly sexy but also a little funny, because you know he can't really be taking himself seriously the whole time. It was, however, during "I Write Sins" that I felt something bad happen. The whole crowd was singing out, but out of instinct everyone screams just a little louder on the "whore" that Brendon used to always drop. That's when I felt something in my throat tear or rip or snap. Two days later and it's still not quite happy, especially after a second concert the following night (but more on that in another post).

But was it worth it in that moment? Absolutely.

Their encore included a cover of "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." I love that song, and they did it well, and no way was the girl trying to crowd surf by jumping off of our banister going to prevent me from continuing to enjoy it. Though, fun fact kids, you shouldn't crowd surf on teenage girls. They will always drop you. Always.

The show ended, I parted ways with the concert buddies, and then I wound up in the epic October snowstorm. Being a New Englander, I decided that a little snow was not going to deter me, and that I was going to drive straight through it back to Boston.

After about a mile on 95, I shut the radio off and started talking to my car, God, and myself, assuming that some combination of the three might get me at least to my parents house in one piece. It was the worst thing I have ever driven in and I have never been so terrified while driving. I've driven in snowstorms, driven in really awful weather, but this was out of the blue, two months early, and ridiculous. I couldn't see the lines on the road, the wind was threatening to blow me sideways, and my wipers kept freezing over and smearing the little vision that I had.

But was it worth it for that show? Absolutely.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dubstep Canadian ElectroPop. Obviously.

Lights at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA, October 18, 2011.

A frantic phone call last Monday night from a friend looking for a concert buddy lead to yet another Lights concert at the Middle East. It was the first night of her Siberia tour, an album which I just haven't listened to yet. We missed the opening act, as the Middle East set a hard 8:30 curfew in order to get the Throwed crowd in, and there was no way that 6:00 doors could get the full 400 people downstairs before a 6:15 set. I don't understand why they couldn't have just opened the doors a little earlier, but alas.

I've stopped being surprised by the amount of bros at her shows. Not just guys, and not indie guys, but frat bros, dudes who have no place watching a tiny Canadian girl play synth pop. And they're not just standing there with a beer. Oh no, they are belting out every word. I chalk it up to them being able to use her crazy hair and nerd tattoos as a cover for their actual love of tiny pop music.

I'm also a huge fan of loud shows. Sounds that make your sternum shudder and shake, from jet engines to bass lines, are my absolute favorite. But Lights has recently dipped her toes into Dubstep and I thought my eardrums were going to bleed. My sternum was shaking, sure, but so was my clothing and my hair and my throat. Honest to God, the group of people I was standing around with were all marveling to each other about the fact that our throats were shaking. It was uncomfortably loud, and drowned out any hope of music with pure volume and noise.

But it was still fun. Lights is bouncy and has an absolutely amazing voice, so when the set turned down a softer acoustic path we were all immensely happier to be able to hear her voice and the music. The stand out song for me, however, was probably "Toes." The chorus flows down, visually and sonically, gorgeously. The lyrics are pretty key as well. I hadn't connected to it well before seeing it live, but after watching her perform it I've been persuaded to go out and find the album.


So her music's a little (a lot) louder now, with a heavier hip hop and dubstep back, but it's still got her own brand of wit and humor and fun. Sure, I felt the lack of "February Air" in the set, and it was a completely different feel to the last time I saw her at the Middle East, but it's an evolution that I can totally dig.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bust Your Knee Caps

A Doo-Wop song about the mafia. Enough said.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mikey Welsh

It seems this is just a bad weekend for all of my music.

Mikey Welsh, bassist for Weezer from '98-'01, died in a hotel room in Chicago yesterday. He'd moved on from Rock and Roll to become an artist a while back, and I'd never really gotten into his stuff, but it's still sad to see someone go.

The creepy part was this tweet, from last week:
Mikey Welsh
dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today.

The two videos that stuck out in my head whenever he was mentioned:


And:



Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Academy Is... No More.

The Academy Is... has broken up.

It's been coming for a while. They took a break, then people left, and nothing felt the way it used to.

"From this point on, The Academy Is... belongs to you. Feel free to listen. Listen as loud as you'd like."

But this was the music that, three summers ago, got me moving. 2008 is the angriest I've ever been, driving for hours every day to a life I'd decided I didn't want, no idea where I wanted to be except for anywhere else.

Written over and over in black ink on journal pages are lyrics and the number 2978, the number of miles to LA.

The Summer of 2008 is forever branded in my mind as The Summer of The Academy Is... They screamed at me through my beat up car's speakers for the entirety of the summer, over hot leather and a broken AC. I pushed my way to the front of a sticky, dusty crowd to see them at Warped Tour, the first time I'd seen them live, skipping classes and lab and responsibilities to do so.

Some bands taught me not to give a fuck, and others taught me to dance, but I felt like TAI was yelling at me, like they knew that I was stagnating and lost. "You've got to find a way before you fold" my speakers shook. "Hold your head high, heavy heart," they continued, "So take a chance and make it big, 'cause it's the last you'll ever get."

I was nineteen and angry, and then I started to do something about it.

The last time I saw them was about a year ago, out in the middle of nowhere Northampton, and I'm glad I didn't know it would be the last. It felt like 2008 again.

This, this is how that summer felt and looked, low res and fast and dark:

With a lot of this thrown on top, just for good measure:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sleeper Agent

I'm not usually in the area that 95.5 WBRU out of Providence reaches anymore, but when I am, awesome stuff like this happens.


Get it Daddy - Sleeper Agent

There used to be a stretch of highway, South on 95 from 495 to Pawtucket, that meant getting out and loud music with the windows down. Last night this was North on the same stretch, windows up, wipers against the rain, wondering just where the road lines had gone and where I was going.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Guster and Jukebox, The Alum Show

You're so dead, old blog friend, that I forgot to write about a show. I used to have a hard and fast limit of 24 hours and this has been... eight days. But, for posterity's sake:

Guster and Jukebox the Ghost at Brandeis University, September 24, 2011.

The first time I heard Jukebox the Ghost, I probably wished they would turn it down. My sophomore year dorm was in the Brandeis castle, two rooms away from the coffee house that hosted small bands. This was great at times when I wanted to watch my friend's comedy clubs perform, or the few times when I performed there myself with the swing dancing troupe, but awful the nights before large organic chem exams when I could not study with reverberating hipster noise bands pounding through the walls.

So the first time I heard a Jukebox show, it was technically at Brandeis. However I did not know who they were until the next night when I escaped campus for the safety of a dark club and guitars. I stumbled upon Jukebox the Ghost completely by accident at the Middle East, and was always a little sad to find that what would become one of my favorite bands had literally played in my dorm. So it was fitting that my ninth Jukebox show was back at Brandeis.

It was awful, however, that it was the year after I graduated. My loyal Jukebox buddy and best friend, whom I had taken to seven shows with me, was across the country in Texas, and I and my friends were those weird kids who graduated and then came back. I've been trying to avoid campus as much as possible, despite the fact that I still know a lot of seniors, but seeing friends and former students made it alright.

I've written about Jukebox and Guster shows multiple times already, and they still rock live, so there's really no point of repeating myself. Jukebox played a few new songs, which were good, but their mix was a little off for such a large crowd and their lack of playing "Victoria" made me a touch disappointed. Their "Power of Love" cover remains fabulous and they had fun and that's really all I require. Guster was also good, music that everyone knows and feels at some point, and included a rap of their perishable food items that they donated to the audience. I've had things thrown at me at concerts before (bottles, clothing, and that one odd toothbrush) but I will admit to having never before been pelted by an avocado.

It was good, it was fun, and though it was hot and the dude in front of me kept throwing his elbows dangerously close to my nose, I had a good time. But it wasn't right, the crowd wasn't right for the music, and what is a Jukebox show without a best friend to laugh with?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Love You Like a Love Song

I try not to have any guilty pleasures musically. I don't care how lame or nerdy or stupid it is, if I like it then I own up to it. But I just couldn't own up to liking a Selena Gomez song.

But now, TalkToTheWalls has covered it and it's okay for me to publicly like it! Enjoy the pretty, slightly out of sync video below.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This City - Patrick Stump

I have thoughts.


First, I hate the videography. There's something disorienting and occluding about it. I just want to see, and I feel like there are blinds between me and the video. Second, his hair! I'm not sure why so many dudes have decided to do the short crop on the sides, flat mohawk on top look lately. I started noticing it in the spring and now it's everywhere. I don't disapprove, and I think I might kind of like it, but the sudden adoption of a seemingly awkward haircut has me puzzled.

But the song. I love his new musical direction. I love his voice, I love the freedom that I can feel in his music now, the feeling of release and soaring and happiness. Going solo was such a good thing for him, be it permanent or not. His exploration of other music, this side of him that I feel was always buried underneath trucker hats and Pete Wentz's lyrics, is fantastic and absolutely deserves to see the light.

Monday, September 12, 2011

300

Three hundred posts. They're a little sparser now, but they're still going.

I haven't posted a 300th yet because what could deserve that spot? I can think of nothing better at the moment than the stream of The Horrible Crowes' new album, "Elsie."

Brain Fallon described it as darker than Gaslight Anthem albums, and he's right, but it's also more soulful. He called for boys in ties and girls in pretty dresses at the shows, and I agree. It makes me want to slow dance in a dark room, heels slowly turning over a wood floor. Hair pulled up and lips a bright red, heavy lids and polka dots. "Last Rites" is a walk on the beach afterwards, shoes hanging from the fingers of one hand, the others twined in someone else's. It's got this old movie feel with that underlying pull of always reaching for something that Fallon's voice and lyrics always carry.

Go give it a spin.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

FBR turns 15... and I won't be there

Tomorrow night in New York City is the show I've always wanted to go to. TAI, Cobra Starship, and Gym Class Heroes all together, meaning the original group singing "Snakes on a Plane" (and I think The Sounds are in town if Maja wanted to reprise her role too.) It will be the last time the Butcher plays with TAI, and I have a feeling it'll be one of the last shows that will really feel the way they used to.

Instead, I'll be at a business meeting in Boston. Because now I'm an adult, and while that means that eating cookies for dinner after a really horrible day is a decision no one can veto, it sometimes means that I can't blow something off to go to a show.

Have fun New York kids. I'll just listen to this on repeat all day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hanson Covers Weezer

Supporting my hypothesis that whether or not I love new Weezer, the fact that they keep making music is important because it keeps inspiring other bands and keeps messing with people. Part of being a Weezer fan has become being confused by their new music, but always forgiving because of Blue and Pinkerton.

Okay, so maybe I just made that hypothesis up on the spot, but I don't think it's untrue. This was one of my favorite tracks off of Red. And something about new Hanson is drawing me in. And I like their explanation afterwards. And I'm big on cover music lately. Just listen to it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

TAI covers P!ATD

Fueled By Ramen is turning 15, so they're doing all these crossovers between the artists, and this is good, one of my favorite FBR "bands" covering another, but I think my favorite part is that he messes up the lyrics (water-veins instead of weather-vanes).

*EDITED ON SEPT 3rd* He did five of these, the last just posted today, and it's the song that lead me down the rabbit hole of being part of the scene, the song that introduced me to Fall Out Boy, one that holds a special place in my heart. I couldn't not add it to this post.



Monday, August 22, 2011

Who's Laughing Now

My love of Jessie J's music and style is not a secret. She writes solid pop hits ("Party in the USA") but keeps a bit of an edge to her own stuff. So in a month where everything has just gone wrong, from accidentally caffeinating a raccoon to a smoking washing machine, you just gotta keep thinking forwards to where you're going and focus on the important stuff. I love the message of "Pricetag," that it isn't about the money, but about making the world dance. Then I found "Who's Laughing Now."

For everyone with a funny voice and awful teeth and bad skin.

For anyone who has ever smashed a red sauce covered piece of pizza into the blonde, blonde hair of the popular girl, making sure to drag it across her stunned face as well. Sometimes even fifth grade Alex had to stand up for herself.


I love that the adults are all played by Jessie. It took me two viewings to catch it, and it's hysterical to me how much hair and makeup can really do. I miss my purple hair and skinny jeans and hoodies. I look like a different person.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Girl at the Rock Show (Number 2!)

My Chemical Romance and Blink 182 at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA, August 9, 2011.

So, a Megabus and a rainstorm meant that we missed Manchester Orchestra and the first few songs of My Chemical Romance. And the fact that ticket fees have gotten obscene meant that we were on the lawn. In the pouring rain. In tiny little ponchos.

So, we were cold. And we were wet. And the video on the screen didn't match up to the sound quite right and the bands were so far away that they looked like ants. Did I mention that we were standing in the pouring rain?

But these are both good bands to sing along to, and that we did. I felt like I was just watching the concert rather than participating in it though... something about being at the back of 20,000 people just doesn't feel as inclusive. There was no connection made. And ticket prices were so crazy that entire sections of seats were empty.

The bands were good, and I love live music, but I don't even feel like a concert happened.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Video Killed the Radio Star

I know this video showed up in my "First Four Music Videos" post, but in a tragically ironic sequence of events, MTV no longer hosts its own first video online.

"Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. One of the first four music videos I remember from my childhood, and MTV's own first, broadcast thirty years ago. I loved it, thought the little girl looked like me, and wanted those strange pixies' hair.

Happy Anniversary MTV, even if I'm a little late. If only you remembered what you once were.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Say It Ain't So

Funny how things pop up at weird times.

"What? It's Weezer?"
"You do know that song's about alcoholism, right?"



And then, on shuffle, with cherry pits and before a silent GPS.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hanson

I discovered the other night that one of my friends doesn't know who Hanson is.

Now, I was never a crazy Hanson fan, but in second grade the girl down the street had her walls covered in magazine cutouts and posters and CD liners. I spent a lot of time listening to "MMMBop". (The date on that says 1997. I cannot believe that sitting around on Alyssa's bed listening to Hanson and The Spice Girls was 14 years ago. So crazy.)

I showed my friend “MMMBop” and she said it sounded familiar but she was convinced the people singing it were young girls. The night progressed and I never got to show her recent Hanson, but I just thought of it now, as I realized I haven’t really listened to anything recent of theirs either. I found “Give a Little” and it is just too cute not to post.

Definitely not girls.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Newermind

SPIN, for the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind, released a cover version of entitled Newermind. The accompanying issue calls it "the album that changed everything" and yeah, it was.

Nevermind came out when I was two, and I had the chorus of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" scrawled on the back of my planner sophomore year of high school. I don't think I own a physical copy of Nevermind because my copy was a burned CD from a friend, songs out of order and interspersed with The Dropkick Murphys. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is one of the first music videos I remember seeing. Nevermind inspired Rivers Cuomo to write The Blue Album, and inspired countless other artists to write songs and pick up guitars.

SPIN is currently giving the album away for download on their facebook page. I don't love all the covers, but they do show how far reaching of an impact the album has had. All of these different bands have been connected somehow by this 20 year old album. My favorite might be “Polly” by Amanda Palmer, as it’s one of my favorite Nirvana songs sung by one of my favorite artists in a creepy lullaby. I will always hold a special place in my heart for Butch Walker as well, and “In Bloom” is great. And I haven’t made it through the whole album yet, but “Breed” has made me admit that maybe Titus Andronicus isn’t all bad.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Let me essplain...

No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

- Love in Stockhom at The Middle East on July 8, 2011. They were supported by Tumbleweed Company and Zongo Junction and Turkuaz. The night was defined by tons of people on stage and a tall blonde dude aggressively dance attacking about six or seven different girls. My favorite was Zongo Junction, as they were happy and bouncy and up, even without lyrics. Good stuff.

- Rilo Kiley is officially over, a decision brought about by "deception, disloyalty, and greed." Ouch. That sounds bad. I was never a huge fan, but I did enjoy some of their stuff. I should probably choose to put "Science vs. Romance" or "Never" here, but honestly, this was the song I listened to the most. I don't care if it's not the best.

- I heard "You Make Me Feel" on the radio and it took me a good ten seconds to figure out who it was. Disappointed. A behind the scenes video showed them having a little fun, but it just sucks that the band who had a large part in making me who I am is losing who they are as I trade skinny jeans for dress pants and dye the purple out of my hair.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

22

I saw this on a friend's facebook the other day and there was something about it I loved. I'm not a huge Lily Allen fan, but she drops into my radar every now and then and I love what she does.



I love the concept of the video, the two sides of the mirror, the reality and the dream.

But it's something about the tone of the song, the feel, and the idea. I've had this idea for years, one I'm trying so hard to disavow myself of, that life just ends at 30. If you don't do it before thirty, accomplish it before thirty, make it before thirty, then you never will. Once you're thirty, everything stops and either you've made it or you haven't.

I have just under eight years left.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where did you go, Cobra?

New video for Cobra Starship's "You Make Me Feel" and... well...


It's a generic pop dance hit, but there's nothing super special about it and I don't think it will take off. The band is gone. Sure, Nate and Alex and Ryland and Victoria appear, but mainly towards the end and not much, and the video isn't fun. Cobra was always laughing at something, making a joke, playing on something. That was what they did. There were Spanish lyrics and tongue in cheek moments and ridiculous caricatures to make you laugh. Sure, I saw the Santi reference, and yeah, I saw Guy Ripley, but what happened to them just playing around with their friends? This is polished up to try and be a radio hit with a girl in shorts and flashy lights and it looks just like the video they did for "Good Girls Go Bad" but without the humor and narrative.

I'm afraid they've stopped having fun and along the way lost what made them special. I think they're trying to make what they think will sell, what the radios want to hear. And if this is truly the music they want to be making, then fine, but I don't think that's the case at all. Their music used to be about living however you wanted, doing whatever you wanted and causing a ruckus and dancing and screaming and telling everyone else to fuck off. There were psychedelic snakes and plays on Hollywood and gang signs and synchronized dances. They built a community, a family, and they were just friends hanging out and leading the way.

Dear Cobra, go back to writing songs that you love and not giving a shit. Please.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Horrible Crowes

After months of waiting, we get a first taste of Brian Fallon's new project with Ian Perkins: The Horrible Crowes. Just a snippet of a song, "Black Betty and the Moon."



I like it, but from the build up I'd been expecting something deeper and slower and darker. The lyrics are there but the music is lighter than I expected. I'm really intrigued as to what the rest of the album is going to sound like.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Always

Panic! At the Disco and I have a history. They always put out the music that I need when I need it, but there's something about this latest album that I'm resisting and though I love it, and listen to it a lot, I always do it out of order. I listened to it in the correct order only twice.

Each album has had a freaky way of mirroring events in my life, and maybe, like those seven months when songs about locked hospital wings kept me from listening to "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out", I just don't want to face this one right now.

But this is one of my favorite songs from the album. It's pretty and soft and I'd be lying if I said I haven't been trying to pick it out on my guitar, singing along in the house when no one's home.


Still a little crushed that this tour came to Boston on the night of my graduation.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Foo Fighters Tour Rider

I love reading tour riders. What do musicians demand on tour, which foods do they abhor and which ones must poor venue assistants scour the town looking for? I understand the desire for something not out of a vending machine when you're living on the road, but demanding all of the brown M&Ms to be removed from the bowl?

The Smoking Gun just published the Foo Fighters 2011 Tour Rider. Well, they published a part of it, the ten page guide to appropriately feeding four grungy dudes. It's done as a coloring book, with activity pages and helpful illustrations, and is worth a look for the chuckle. I can just imagine some poor venue staffer circling words in the crossword, probably torn between laughter and tears. Sure, it's a change of pace from the normal list of groceries, but at what point do you step back and realize that your career choice has rockers forcing you to color in appropriate salad accoutrements?

I'm not sure if I'd qualify that as the best job ever or the worst.

PS The "No Brown M&Ms"? An easy way for Van Halen to check if someone had actually read the rider. A brown free bowl meant everything else was probably all set too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Heart's a Stereo

Travie McCoy's album was my summer jam last year, and after a friend dragged me down to Connecticut to see Maroon 5 last August I remembered why I'd loved them way back when. So a collaboration between Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine was definitely on my radar. The song is not quite as much of a jam as I'd hoped, and it's a much softer sound than Gym Class used to have, but I'm sure it'll still get stuck in my head.



I love the new trend of making lyric videos before the official is released. I used to spend hours watching typography videos, have always found them super cool, and I appreciate this new wave done by the bands and record companies themselves. It's smart for them, a way to push the song before they spend the money on a true video, I just wish the internet wasn't stripping down the fan videos as well. People used to make some really interesting ones but alas, copyrights and all that jazz.

After spending much of last night playing with After Effects myself, though, I feel even happier about this than I would have normally. Dear typography, I will master you myself soon enough.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

No Regrets

I have no regrets.

Everything, every decision and choice and path has brought me right here. Here might not always be paradise, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. And right now, it's perfect.



"You can dream a little dream or you can live a little dream, I'd rather live it, 'cause dreamers always chase but never get it."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Let it Go, Let it Go

Fake Problems at the Middle East, Cambridge, MA - May 11, 2011

I missed Fake Problems when they came through the area with Tim Barry a couple of months ago, and had decided to go see them when they came through this time, but then the end of my senior year got in the way and I never bought tickets. But when a friend called with an extra ticket and a need for a concert buddy, I couldn't turn it down.

First up was Into It. Over It. Just a guy and his acoustic and I loved it. he talked to the crowd and described the stories that formed the songs and it was great. The crowd was also the most silent crowd I have ever heard, politely and raptly paying attention. Good stuff.

Next up, Pomegranates. The music was cute and they were kind of bouncy but the vocals were just okay and everything was distorted to the point of sounding watery.

Laura Stevenson and the Cans. I think she might have been having an off night. She sounded good but she was obviously unhappy with it and they were having trouble with getting their monitors right and it was just a bit off. But the accordion backed guitars were very pretty and her songs were sweet. I didn't realize until she was playing that I'd actually heard her before, in the following video. It's not really my style, but it's kinda cute indie.



And finally, Fake Problems. They bounced out onto stage and launched into "Soulless" with so much energy that even though I'd been falling asleep on my feet I had to dance and bounce and sing along. Most of what they played was super upbeat, so I was afraid they wouldn't add "Songs for Teenagers" in, but they ended the set with it and I couldn't have been happier. It wasn't a huge crowd, didn't even fill upstairs, but they were screaming along and loving it. The energy was overwhelming and I do not understand why these boys aren't bigger.

This kind of energy and feel on a tiny live stage:

Loved it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm Who I've Got to Be

My Chemical Romance at the House of Blues Boston, May 5, 2011

Last Friday was my thesis defense, my last hurdle of college and arguably the day that I had spent the past two years working towards. This meant that I spent most of last Thursday panicked, chest tight and heart racing. So I went out to a concert.

The Architects and Thursday were first and they were good but I was still trying to calm down here and find my place in the crowd. My brain was not in that club. Springfest, the annual University concert, had been the weekend before and some friends and I had been pretty close to the stage when the crowd started to press in before the final band. Surrounded by bodies and jumping and movement I was ready for music, but my friends were uncomfortable and dragged us out of the crush. Out in the open, the music didn’t feel right.

So on Thursday, I slowly pressed my way into the crowd before My Chemical Romance took the stage. I moved up slowly, politely, but wound up surrounded by people who were screaming along and jumping and moving and not caring about looking like fools. Some of them were teenage girls, but the chunk I wound up in was mostly kids in their 20s. It makes sense, I guess, that all of us who started off listening to this stuff as teenagers are growing up.

They started the set with music from the new album, and I forgot everything outside the venue. Sure, it tried to sneak its way in, but the music and the crowd were overwhelming. These are songs that the entire audience had screamed along to in cars and bedrooms, and now they were pouring their hearts out together. It was the kids upstairs, the ones leaning over the balcony with open mouths and pounding fists, clutching onto the railing with their hands and the music with their hearts who got my attention, whose faces were scattered with happiness, release, and anger.

Down on the floor, it was as though we were of one collective mind. Conducted by Gerard, we simultaneously jumped and waved and pounded our fists, sang and danced and moved. But even without his direction, there were points in the songs where our fists would all rise, where our hands would open on cymbal crashes, or entire sections of the crowd would just start jumping. This sounds a little crazy, but it’s no exaggeration that we had sacrificed our minds to the music.

And up on stage, the first band I have seen that might actually deserve the title “rockstars.” I know they used to dress in black, in uniforms and makeup and bulletproof vests, but this was the first time I’ve seen them live and their outfits will probably be stuck in my head as a violent mix of punk glam forever. Gerard practically pranced about the stage, growling and smiling and conducting, while the other three focused on pure rocking out. Gerard seemed a little meaner than I’d seen in interviews, though his mid show blown kisses to a family member and heart hands make me think it’s for the benefit of an intense show experience.

His words to us throughout the show were interesting too. He asked who in the crowd had never been to an MCR show before, and there was a huge emphasis on the “old kids” always helping out the “new kids.” It’s a great point to make, especially at shows where fans have been sticking around forever, to avoid the stupid hipster bullshit of “well, I liked them before you did.”

There was also one great line thrown at the crowd. “Belief in Rock and Roll is a smell, and I can smell it on you.”

Sure, a lot of their songs are about vampires and death and wreaking havoc, but there are also a lot of songs about not giving a fuck and believing in yourself. Stupid as it may sound, a crowd of one thousand people singing about holding on and fighting back renewed my confidence in my thesis presentation. “Girl, you’ve got to be what tomorrow needs.”

They played old and new songs, and they were fantastic. The crowd screamed just as much for “Vampire Money” as “Helena.” And of course, they played my favorite, and I started laughing.

Because three years ago, I had decided to quit science. Frustrated and angry, I even skipped a physics lab to go to a “funeral.” That funeral was Warped Tour, a celebration of the death of my science career. I spent a lot of that summer listening My Chemical Romance, but it wasn’t until about August that I bought physical copies of the CDs. When I finally did, I was not expecting the uncensored version of “I’m Not Okay.” I have a vivid memory of having headphones on in the heat of summer and dissolving into laughter, feeling like I was falling into the mattress when “I’m not o-fucking-kay” hit me out of nowhere. It was, at the time, so true that it shocked me. So last Thursday, steeped in genetics and neuroscience and confidence in my strength as a researcher, I couldn’t help but laugh at how far I’ve come in two years. “I’m Not Okay” felt like some sort of weird closure to this portion of my science career. Grad school will need a new anthem.

"Your dreams and your hopeless hair."