Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's all Family Fun and Games until someone loses the band bank.

Pretty hilarious coverage of a situation involving some old friends of mine from the Ellis Island, NY band "Family Fun".

Check them out HERE

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Fourth Horseman of the Emopocalypse

The fun indie pioneers, Cap'n Jazz surprised many last month with an unannounced 4-song reunion set (Little League, Oh Messy Life, We Are Scientists, and Que Suerte!) at Chicago's Empty Bottle. As you could imagine, rumors of the band reuniting and touring spread as quickly as they could, and more recently, reality has struck: There will be a tour and their Wilmington, Delaware Hardcore-gone-emo-gone-hardcore record label, Jade Tree will finally be pressing their anthology on vinyl.

I was eighteen years old when I bought the CD anthology title "Analphabetapolothology" after catching a few of their random tracks on 7" releases that were still readily available at the time. I thought it was great, and FUN if nothing else. It was a great piece of living history of a genre that was at its pinnacle. Or so we thought.

What turned me off from the beginning wasn't the music, but rather the attitude that the Cap'n Jazz fans some twelve years ago had. Before the days of Makeout Club, or Friendster, or Myspace, or Facebook, people hit up bulletin boards and joined e-mail mailing lists. It was always a pleasure to find an e-mail from the EMO-GROUP in my inbox, that is until I attempted to discuss the band Cap'n Jazz.

From day one, kids were really hardcore about these guys and I still don't get it. Sure, the Kinsella brothers went on to play in some of the more influential bands of the style's more recent days, and Davey von Bohlen ... well he pretty much ended up securing the cornerstone vocal sound for the style by the turn of the new millenium, but Cap'n Jazz, to me, remained a novelty band that was better left as a valiant first attempt. The kids who followed Cap'n Jazz (who had long broken up by the time the anthology was originally released) were just plain mean. They ripped into anyone who had anything to say about the band, insult or praise. To this day I still can't understand their reasons, but I chalk it up to the feeling of entitlement that a lot of fans of more sensitive, intimate indie music still possess.

The current state of the know-it-all indie fan base is bad enough as it is, and I cringe to predict a whole new world of back-tracking music nerds, but it is inevitable. If the band plays a few shows to sell a handful of LPs, I think we will all live. If they attempt to make Cap'n Jazz out to be something bigger than it was (which was essentially a birthday party sized sloppy, melodic singalong) then the past will be rewritten. And to that I say: "Let the thin kids get that skinny neck hex".

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Transmission: FAILED

Ok, so my alarm clock radio just woke me up by playing the song "Fireflies" by the band Owl City. This song and video really infuriate me to a degree that no song has been able to in a long time. Congratulations art boy - you got a rise out of me.

The Postal Service's popularity was always there and always strongly peeking out above the underground indie scene, and sure I got sick of them pretty quickly because of that, but I never for one second thought that they were a bad or unoriginal band by any means. I also never felt the embarrassment or disappointment in them that I felt when I first heard this Owl City atrocity.

This disgusting imitation of The Postal Service's novel unique sound by a pseudo-city boy transplant who calls himself "Owl City" is unbelievable to me. Not only are the tempos and the sequencing straight LIFTED from The Postal Service, but the the kid's voice is so close to Ben Gibbard's (of The Postal Service and Death Cab For Cutie fame) that it must intensely frighten the both of them.

If you think I am being too hard on this kid or you can't hear the resemblance with the given example below, consider this: The mainstream formulation of great music has historically ruined amazing songs, sounds, and groups. Imagine Britney Spears singing the Fireflies song and you'll understand what I am getting at. This day better get better fast. Puke.

The Postal Service "Such Great Heights"

Owl City "Fireflies"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Black Heart Procession "Not Just Words" Live at the Casbah [4.23.08]

Here's a band that just keeps getting better and better. Since their 1997 emergence in San Diego, California, Black Heart Procession has continued to impress me with every new release to date. Over the course of the band's first thirteen years, they've not only managed to develop their unique, honest sound, but they've also had the pleasure of collaborating with some very talented musicians. Matt Resovich and Jimmy LaValle (San Diego superstar who made his mark in bands like Swing Kids, The Crimson Curse, The Locust, Tristeza, and The Album Leaf - all long-time favorites of mine), and Joe Plummer (who would leave to play drums for Modest Mouse in 2006 and then for The Shins in 2009) are some of the more notable "Procession Participants".

(The) Black Heart Procession have a perfectly fitting name for an indie band whose lyrics and sounds depict something very visually dismal and real. Here is a live cut from "Not Just Words" off of their 2006 album
The Spell - a perfect example of the band's success and current maturity.

Days peel off and pass away
Like souvenirs from a distant place
Postcards from your memories

Just like an old love line
Or dividing wall that fell
This'll never be forgotten
These are not just words

Do you remember
The things we said?
Do you remember
The things we said?

The smoke and script changed through the years
The stories blend and lies were fed
I know some things can't be explained

Just like an old scar
Or this thorn in my side
This'll never be forgotten
These are not just words

Do you remember
The things we said?
Do you remember
The things we said?

I'll try to remember
The things we said
I'll try to remember
The things we said

Of all these things we have forgotten
There are no "just words"

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rockin' Brunswick - 1983

Here's a documentary on New Brunswick, New Jersey's growing music scene as captured in 1983. Some of the more notable details of this video are the presence of music personality Matt Pinfield (who actually has SOME hair at the time), the New Brunswick skyline (with about two buildings), and the energetically vibrant new wave scene of the time. This was recently transferred from its archaic Beta format.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

True Definition of World Music

In 1977, NASA launched The Voyager Spacecraft into space and included something really interesting on Voyager 1: A 12" gold-plated copper record album with a vast library of information on our planet, Earth.

There are several sound clips followed by several dozen "analog" images on the disc as well as a cover that includes some simple related diagrams. The purpose of the record was to detail the story of life on Earth and the story of the humans who currently (1977-????) inhabit Earth. In 2008, The Voyager 1 and the Voyager Golden Record officially left our solar system and made for the closest star, AC+79 3888. Assuming it will travel uninterrupted, the craft is set to arrive near the star's system in approximately 40,000 years.

The Voyager Golden Record. Left Earth for the unknown in 1977.

A picture of Voyager Golden Record's cover.

The Record also contains:

Greetings in over fifty five languages.

An explanation of our then understanding of mathematics, a relativity chart indicting our records for the psychics on Earth, Graphs of our understanding of our whereabouts in the galaxy in relation to the planets in our solar system, a chart of the color light spectrum, information on our planets, images charting the human anatomy, comprehensive storyboard of how human reproduction works, diagrams of continental drift, Earth landscapes, pictures of animals found in the world, the Great Wall of China and other epic structures, cities and other architectural feats, modes of transportation along with bridges and roads,images of our space exploration, and information on the styles and the history of our world's music.

There are Famous rock songs, blues songs, classical songs, world songs and much more included at half the speed of a standard LP (only 16⅔ revolutions per minute)
Hear all audio HERE

The record also contains an hour long brainwave recording of author Ann Druyan and was sent with a uranium sample so in the event that it is discovered, beings could determine the age by using the principals of half-life.

For more info and a visual tour, visit the OFFICIAL VOYAGER GOLDEN RECORD SITE

Monday, February 1, 2010

Indian Summer - Live at Pitzer College [10.31.93]

I don't know if I'm just being nostalgic or if cycles of time in my life are swinging back around a familiar bend, but I've really been feeling these guys again lately. The mystery behind Indian Summer's honest yet distant sound pulled me in the first time I heard them play. Their hand-screened 7" covers and haphazardly typed and assembled liner notes made me want to delve deeper into that mystery.

The simplicity of a muffled Billie Holiday record drowning in the backdrop of their explosively emotional performance spoke loudly to me. Their words were a disturbingly accurate representation of the way a lot of people were feeling in my close circle of friends around the end of the nineties. Indian Summer was punk, and really punk, but their approach was more intimate than anything I had ever heard before. There have been countless indie, punk, and screamo bands since then that have had me saying "Indian Summer did it first".