Thursday, August 27, 2009

Weekly Review: Jay Reatard, Watch Me Fall

I've been listening to this master of Garage Punk for a couple months now and it seems like he might break into the mainstream with his newest full length album. I personally love all the singles on the Matador Records Singles compilations but it's nice to hear Jay produce his fourth full LP where I can hear him try out some new concepts like the choral harmonies in "Nothing Now". My personal favorite songs off the album are "Hang Them All" and "Nothing Now" which sound a little different than what I'm accustomed to hearing from him as far as tempo and instrumentation (you've even got some strings in "There is no Sun"). "I'm watching you" is also amazingly catchy, especially during the little break where it's just Jay singing and drummer drumming.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A New Career in a New Town

I'm heading out to Texas in just days, leaving all my old friends behind and I have no fucking idea how I'm going to cope. I have my awesome girlfriend but I need to make friends down there and I don't think I'm going to find anyone like my old gang from Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.
I'm listening to a lot of David Bowie's Low lately and preparing myself for the inevitable feeling of loss I know I'll feel not being at Thomas More but I can't dwell on it; it's time for a new career in a new town.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Perez Hilton makes me lmao roflcopter lolololol

Has anyone actually read this guy's blog? What a tragedy that he's been so successful. I've known about him for a long and time and heard his bigoted rants about Miss California and I was secretly pretty elated that knocked Perez off his sparkly high horse with a well timed punch to the face but I've never actually taken the time to read his famous blog, before tonight.

Well even for a lowlife, Hollywood, media-whore, I was pretty disappointed by this blog.
He writes like a thirteen year old girl, for crying out loud. Just my two cents.

Flame On!

With great relish I downloaded and dove into the Flaming Lips' newest EP after months of anticipating the release of their next studio album, Embryonic. The EP contains just a taste of the Lips' latest work at only three tracks but should be enough to satisfy me until the new album's projected release date of Septemeber.

Coyne seems to be moving the band back to a more experimental sound than the stellar but admittedly more commercial; At War with the Mystics. Though the tracks seem like they would be a bit less accessible to a casual audience the band appears to be preserving their sound rather than making any drastic changes.

My favorite track is "Convinced of the Hex" which is somehow vageuly remeniscient of the Pink Floyd song "Let there be more Light", probably because of the mysterious sounding key and the octave-jumping bassline.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

A History of Taste

Today I was reflecting on the way my taste in music has been shaped over the years and I realized that it all started with an exploration of progressive rock music. My mother has always listened to and exposed me to all of the good staple bands that should influence one to develop a well rounded taste in modern rock music. I was raised on Pink Floyd, David Bowie, the Doors, the Cars and other bands that a lot of people would now classify as classic rock. The first band I stared listening to independent of my mother's supervision was the legendary Black Sabbath (the Ozzy Osbourne years of course, none of that Ronnie James Dio shit). When I was about twelve I was on one of our many yearly trips to NYC during which my mom took me into the large Tower Records outlet and I purchased my first CD: Black Sabbath's hit album, Paranoid. I quickly fell in love with the long, intricate guitar solos of War Pigs and Fairies Wear Boots played by a guitarist I still consider one of my all-time favorites, Tony Iommi. His playing, while it certainly signified a guitarist of great skill, was not as fast as most and focused on phrases rather than just speed (much like David Gilmour) and commanded more attention from me than someone like Eddie Van Halen would have.

I fell in love with long, drawn out instrumentals and started listening to bands like King Crimson, Hawkwind, Tangerine Dream, and Yes. These bands are wonderful but I was disappointed to find that today's Progressive rock bands (and yes, I realize Black Sabbath isn't prog) positively pale in comparision to those of the seventies. Dreamtheater and Trivium made me yawn and I wasn't even drawn in very much by Porcupine Tree or Opeth. These bands were so derivative that I eventually decided to start looking in other veins. I needed to reset my fractured taste so I didn't end up as a helpless metal-kid. I was no longer wooed by the sounds of ostentatious, meandering five minutes guitar solos that hobbled along with no end in sight. While I still enjoyed the bands of rock music's classic era I needed music with more structure and less fluff.

I needed to find bands that would lead me to appreciate good contemporary music. Two major influences: Frank Zappa and Joy Division opened up genres for me that I might not have otherwise listened to. I was immediately taken in by the genius, humor, and eccentricity of Frank Zappa and his many projects. His whole discography is a giant collage of different genres, a palimpsest of ideas and musical stylings and it introduced me to nearly every kind of music that I'd been shutting out during my prog only days. I learned to appreciate jazz, blues, soul, funk, classical music, and avantgarde composition and to boot, he was an American so I learned a lot about music history in my own country.

Joy division introduced me to grittier and more emotional lyric writing dealing with the agony of the human condition but with some of the most restrained song writing I've seen, to this day. Ian Curtis taught me to thumb my nose at whiny, sentimental lyricists who wallow in self pity but have nothing to be upset about. Curtis had real problems, such as epilepsy and manic depression which resulted in multiple suicide attempts yet his lyrics were not pathetic but powerful; this probably is the reason that I feel such contempt for Green Day and bands that sound similar.

This is just a smattering of all my musical adventures but these two bands caused an avalanche of new bands I've come to enjoy and recommend them to all.

Sometimes it's just interesting to map the progression of something as arbitrary as taste. I didn't really know how I listened to what I do now until I sat down and thought about it here.