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:


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?