Monday, January 29, 2007

Reason To Take Morphine And Die #2: Rolling Stone Magazine's Three And A Half Star Review Of Fall Out Boy's 'Infinity On High'.

Remember when Rolling Stone was relevant? No? Well why not? You mean you don't remember back in the day when RS broke news of Iggy and Bowie, Verlaine and Thunders to a blithely dithering music-buying public?

You mean you don't look back, all misty-eyed, upon an era when Rolling Stone's staff was lousy with iconic journalists like Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O' Rourke, the odd sociology scholar-slash-music critic (Greil Marcus) or bad-ass revolutionary-slash-music critic (Lester Bangs) and future legend-photographer (Annie Liebowitz)? You can't recall marveling with secret glee at an early 80's review of punk-rock visionaries The Cramps when RS blessed 'Bad Music For Bad People' with three stars and crowed: "'TV Set' boasts the shittiest guitar solo committed to wax!", a declaration that tweaked your worldview irrevocably (holy shit! bad is good!)?

Brace yourself and get with the Rolling Stone program because...

As of February 6th, 2007, when Fall Out Boy's 'Infinity On High' drops, bad is gonna get even better!

Founding publisher Jann Wenner once wrote that Rolling Stone is "not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces".

So Fall Out Boy's three and a half stars is not just about Babyface-produced quasi-punque emo-schlock but it's also about Fall Out Boy's clothing line and the band's desire to bang debutards in high end hotels.

...Fall Out Boy: bringin' it all back home!

The first paragraph of RS company man-slash-hack Rob Sheffield's review of 'Infinity On High' discusses the band's vast base of non-fans and then goes on to unpack FOB's love of lengthy, super-punctuated song titles ("I'm Like A Lawyer The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You Hum Hallelujah)".

...LOL! (Ow! My head hurts!)

Shockingly, Sheffield mentions Fall Out's songwriting superBoys Stump & Wentz in the same breath as Pete Townshend (and Roger Daltrey but p.s. Roger Daltrey just sang Townshend's lyrics, didn't write them, don'tchaknow) while discussing Wentz' outsized ego and how FOB moves a lot of units. No evidence of Who-ish greatness is posited, just the fact that a lot of people buy their product so that must mean Also did you know that Wentz "does the words" (doesn't write the lyrics) and lets Stump "handle the music"? World class scribe, this Rob Sheffield.

Fall Out Boy reminds Rob of John Waite and Night Ranger! You'd have to be deaf or some kinda nerd not to be down with Fall Out Boy!

The first single is "bold" because it rocks a nineties R&B hook that "sounds like Montell Jordan's 'This Is How We Do It'".

Got that, Grampa?

Whoa, dude. Are these guys Beastie Boys, Dead Boys, Fall Out Boy or Backstreet Boys? Hell, their first single boldly debuts on the Billboard chart this week at number two while quoting a groove so tired it makes The Chicago Bears' 'Super Bowl Shuffle' sound like Sly & The Family Stone's 'Family Affair'.

They're Crazy Like A Fox Boys!

In conclusion, Sheffield asserts that Fall Out Boy is really famous and some people like them while others don't. In case you're a member of the latter group, Sheffield reassures us that Stump has sex pics online and then goes out on a limb to conjecture that Stump would maybe like to tap some of that Lindsay Lohan ass. Now that you know they're not Gay Boy and so obvs. you're a card-carrying member of the Fall Out Fanclub, you'll agree that Fall Out Boy "deserves every bit of their success" because "they expose the secret life of boys in hilariously bloodcurdling detail".

As for the music itself? Um...ah...Fall Out Boy is...erm...famous.

Rolling Stone: The thinking man's Maxim.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Winter '07: Kinda Like '68, The Summer Of Love, But Colder

The war in Iraq carries the torch of the collage-vision that is Picasso's Spanish Civil War mural Guernica, except that as of '07, the ghostly newsprint bleeding through the washed out corpses, horse & bullhead has become samples, loops, and markered scribbles on palms and cocktail napkins yawped through GarageBand audio files in somebody's warehouse or basement compulab...

Danger Mouse, not Rabelais, not Hendrix, and not el Greco, is broadcasting the dismal state of global affairs in what is certainly the infancy of Earth's latest Blue Period...

I'm ignorant. I can't even begin to guess why we're still over there, nor can I wrap my tiny little mortified brain around the numbers of the dead reported daily over Yahoo! News (in blue hypertexted blurbs)...Saddam's been hung (alongside his pooch 'Blondie') after all...what's left? Why are we sending 21,000 more troops over there to dust up a civil war that's going to spill over borders and send the entire area into a chaotic tailspin..meanwhile, here at home New Orleans is commiting suicide and I still don't have health insurance.

The Good, The Bad and The Queen is only the latest Hotshot Debut in a long 2006-vintage playlist of a supremely bummed-out homefront Hit Parade. The GB&Q is an unlikely supergroup consisting of The Clash's Paul Simonon, Afro-funk drummer Tony Allen, The Verve guitarist Simon Tong and The Good Sir Dapper Downer Himself: Damon Albarn (Blur, The Gorillaz). I wish I could sport a a houndstooth lid as effortlessly as Droopy Dog: DA, can.

The aggregate isn't quite as quackers as it would seem at all coagulates like an especially salty egg-drop soup...Paul Simonon's bass echoes The Clash's glory days, particularly in the narcotic, string-laden 'A Soldier's Tale' which has 'Sandinista!' writ all over it (I love the film-noir whistling and the country-fuck finger-picking especially).

'Nature Springs' could be its best stab at a Stateside single. It swings gently in a quasi-dub sort of way (more spaghetti western whistling which I have to confess I'm a total bottom for), but the bass booms, the soaring strings coax tears, and Damon sings sweet as pie. The lyrics are not without hope: Even though Mother Nature is dressed down as a sinister Croc-Hunter hating whore to be feared, we're all a submarine, looking for a dream faraway...or something like that.

'Heruclean' may just be straw that broke the camel's back enough to provoke Ennio Morricone to file a frivolous lawsuit against The Good, The Bad & The Queen: Much more hating on The Western World against a soundscape of much more spaghetti western whistling, a Mormon Tabernacle Man Choir, Danger Mouse beeps & whistles, otherworldly hag-mewling, sinister chord's all in there.

In short: This piece of work is No Fucking Fun but it's lovely and desperate and if you're a suicidal junkie, you'll most definitely identify and you'll most certainly want to gift your junkie-bitch girlfriend with it when Valentine's Day rolls around. It's the soundtrack to your final nod-off on some stoop somewhere around 2nd Avenue and 4th Street.

Other War-In-Iraq haters in the queue:

Norah Jones' new 'Not Too Late': Basically a concept album about how the war in Iraq makes her want to curl up and take a nap.

Bloc Party's 'The Price Of Gas': They've done the math and they still rock. A lesbian bar all-request night favorite. No surprise there.

John Mayer's 'Waiting For The World To Change': John's just gonna wait around for them venal, old-ass Republicans to die for shit to get better. Not exactly Johnny Rotten is he?

...hmmm....who else hates Bush and everything he stands for...

Pink does: 'Dear Mr. President'...Fuck ya, dubya! *splayed finger vag lick*

Neil Young: 'Let's Impeach The President'. Word.

Black Eyed Peas: 'Where's The Love'...this track makes me cry everytime I play it, which is embarrassing because The Peas kind of suck alot of the time and I hate to cry in public.

TV On The Radio: 'I Was A Lover'. Simple. Powerful. "I Was A Lover/Before The War...'

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Know It's Late And I Should Probably Be In Bed Or Married With Kids Or Revising My Resume...

...but Grizzly Bear's 'Yellow House' is FUCKING BREAKING MY HEART RIGHT NOW!

Get. Up.

Get up outta that chair and trot yourself down to Earwax or Douchehole or wherever you buy your music at and BUY THIS CD!

If Rolling Stone were AT ALL the tastemaker it thinks it is, it would have rated this piece of work five stars and whoever writes for them anymore would have gone on and on about Van Morrison and how maybe prog-rock wasn't so bad after all...


This is gorgeous stuff.

They're Fleetwood Mac meets King Crimson meets a garbage truck meets a Salvation Army Band meets The Turtles meets Electric Light Orchestra unplugged...

The stand-out track is a ghostly, slow-burning Beached Boy bolero: 'The Knife'...pure sexy necrophilia. Hear it once, light a candle for The Shangri-La's or Siouxsie Sioux or Mama Cass Elliott or Sharon Tate and ball your eyes out, or don't, but do put it on a mix cd for one of the undead you're currently retro-crushing on. If that's what you're in to.

..also they're from Brooklyn and they're all no doubt shorter than you. To hear them is to love them.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dispatch From The Dance Floor: Nobody Doesn't Like Prince, Although Some Of The Gays File Him Under Easy Listening.

What is it about Anthony Kiedis that makes me shit blood?

You know what it is? He's like that one stoner frat guy who transcends cool to such a degree that he doesn't have to move his mouth when he talks (with a slight lisp), doesn't have to wear a shirt (ever, because he has negative body fat), can wear a kilt to class, can smell like ass (and that's somehow deemed 'sexy' by girls who will never fuck you, not in a million years), thinks he can rap and so every other suburban dickweed mistakes him for someone who can rap, can fuck dudes but not be labelled 'fag' because he's just, you know, he's koo-koo krazy (!) and he listens to P-Funk and those guys smoke a bunch of weed and so, like, they're open-minded and shit! (reference 'Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On' or 'Pot Sharing Tots' or 'Maggot Brain'), can shoot smack and still look like he just pranced up to the tiptop of Mt. Ranier without breaking a sweat, can have a hippie/degenerate-dad named Blackie Dammit who made indie movies in the's just not fucking fair.

The whole California punk-hippie thing gives me hives, it's true, but, on second thought, could it be that The Red Hot Chili Peppers simply stink to high heaven?

Nope, no they don't. Not at all. Despite Kiedis' public persona (I'm not acquainted with the guy, after all...he could be one helluva straight-up fella for all I know), he's in fine voice anymore and I can't say enough about John Frusciante (genius), drummer Chad Smith (perpetually hot), and, of course, Flea carrying a significant amount of melodic burden on bass. Their harmonizing on 'Stadium Arcadium' is all Smiley-Smile Beach Boys and weirdly beautiful behind all the angsty-funkmatizing.

My favorite track is 'Strip My Mind' , which is goose-flesh raising 70's AM radio psychedelia-lite. Not quite sure what it's about necessarily, but the man-chorus and the Frusciante-solo makes me wanna go smoke a bowl and reflect. Not that I do much of either of those things.

The track that reminds me that socks-on-cocks was edgey-cute for a nan0-second but is a concept that hasn't aged very well is 'Warlocks', which manages to showcase all of the Kiedis quasi-funky vocal quirks that made you hate him in the first place. But again, nice work Frusciante...

Club Report:

I 'spun' myself to the bone this last week: Back-to-back gigs, standing for hours and hours drinking Miller Lite after Miller Lite, fielding requests for reggae and dancehall which are genres I know next to nothing about, trying to scrape together a set consisting of Shaggy, Shabba Ranks, old Blondie and Toots & The Maytals...

So far this week I've learned that a truly successful 80's set consists of six songs:

'Mickey', Toni Basil
'Take On Me', A-Ha (NOTE: why?)
Madonna (anything but especially 'Dress You Up'...again...why?)
'99 Luftballoons' (the German version really sets it off. Why?)
'Come On Eileen' (ohmifuckinggod...WHY?)
Lisa Lisa And The Cult Jam (but then again I mostly 'spin' in Brooklyn...that's why)
'Freedom', George Michael (some sort of mass pagan ecstatic release takes place whenever I pick this)

Hasn't aged very well:

Peter Gabriel/Genesis (anything)
Yes (their 'Owner/Lonely Heart' new wave moment was a lot of clatter but to what end?)
'Electric Boogie', Marcia Griffiths (clears the floor immediately)
Patti LaBelle (oy.)
'Puttin' On The Ritz', Taco (could've predicted that)
Red Hot Chili Peppers (apparently undanceable)
Jody Watley (clubgoers wish they liked her more than they actually do)
Rick Astley (pure camp)
Boys II Men (not so hype)

...but nobody doesn't like Prince. If I play 'Kiss', I'm guaranteed a cattle drive to the dance floor. But a d.j. who leans too hard on Prince is one lazy d.j. as far as I'm concerned. However...

I was rocking the 12" version of 'Erotic City' at a breast cancer benefit yesterday in Park Slope and the pushy little she/he in charge of the operation gripped my forearm and huskily whispered to me, all on the down-low:

"You need to play some dance music or some reggae, 'cuz we need to pack the dancefloor, 'mkay sweetie?"

...and then she trucked off like a the husky little Prince-oblivious Italian-American manchild she prides herself to be.

If you can't swivel your ass-shanks to 'Erotic City' (especially the 12"), then you may want to consult your neurologist or pop a fistful of something...because that's just wrong.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Reason To Take Morphine And Die #1: People's Choice Awards

Everyone knows "we" "The People" are dumber than shit. So why would Procter & Gamble and CBS entrust "us" (buffaloed fuckwits) with the ungainly responsibility of conceding the trophy for People's Choice Favorite Hair of 2004 to Jennifer Garner?

...or why even stop there?

Let's Us Unwashed Masses go positively nutty and voice our choice for each and every celeb thought or summation, yay or nay, that crosses our silly little minds?

People's Choice For Best Glimpse Of Celebrity Naughty Bit: Kid Rock and That Christian Guy From Creed In That Streaming Sex Video Where The Christian Guy Got Head And Kid Rock Got His Bunghole Fingered.

People's Choice For Woefully Busted And Now Ostensibly Humbled "Please Still Love Me" Drunken Celebrity Mugshot: Melvin Gibson.

People's Choice For Most Asstarded Sample Ever: "Lonely Goatherd" (Gwen Stefani's 'Wind It Up')

People's Choice For Most Useless Celebrity The World Has Ever Suffered: Andy Dick (Obvious victor Paris Hilton disqualified due to complicated unilateral corporate sponsorship bylaws etc. etc.)

People's Choice For Comedian Who Sucks So Much Ass The Only Sincere Laugh This Guy Has Ever Heard Was Scratched From The Nicotine Ravaged Throat Of A New Jersey She-Male After He/She Spooged In Unfunny Dude's Eyeball: Jay Leno

People's Choice For Most Egregious Lack Of Max Factor: Judi Dench as That Fucking Lesbian Bitch in 'Notes On A Scandal'.

There doesn't seem to be a Darwinian logic to Award Shows. None of them mutate or fall off, they just multiply. I remember discovering the Oscars back in 1973 and I thought to myself 'well holy fuck, they give little gold naked guys with nice butts to little 10 year old girls in tuxedos' (Tatum O' Neal, Best Supporting Actress, 'Paper Moon')...but then the next year The Academy decided 70-something Art Carney's about-face performance playing a stoic old dude in 'Harry And Tonto' was far more compelling than Al Pacino phoning it in in 'Godfather Part II' or Jack Nicholson's pedestrian turn in 'Chinatown' and I thought to myself 'well fuck it. I'll spare myself the heartache and take it all with a grain of salt." And so it came to pass. Every year an A-Ha wins a Grammy for Best New Artist, or a Pia Zadora wins a Golden Globe, or a 'Crash' wins an Oscar, or a Nickelback wins a People's Choice Award for Lifetime Acheivement or who can keep track anymore.

My own personal Pony's Choice Award goes to Clem Snide for having the wit and the courage to record Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful' utterly straight-faced.

Good for you, Eef and Company!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

iTunes Celebrity Playlists Validate My Existance (Sort Of)

So I was gonna blog about how the music biz is giving ladies the short-shrift but then I got drunk and forgot what my argument was supposed to be about in the first place: Something about Bob Dylan forgetting he ever had anything to do with Karen Dalton, an obscurified genius/Dylan enabler who succumbed to booze and smack in 1993...Karen Dalton is the most glorious folk artist you've never heard by the way. She's been compared to Billie Holliday in the same breath as having been described as 'an acquired taste'.

Acquired taste?! For real?!

It really didn't take too much in the way of a narcotic sedative for me to appreciate Lady Day the first time I heard her. Do we really need a Timbaland at the knobs to twiddle us male-dominated music-consuming public to feel a female songstress? If that's the case, then god help the Joanna Newsomes and the Joan As Police Womanses and the El Perro Del Marses because their hysterical Wiccan rants are gonna leave them crack-addled and starving if they don't flash their respective vaginas for US Weekly. (NOTE: Anne Coulter, you're no better than a vag-flashing Britney, you haggard, cocktail-swilling shill).

I really feel like ladies in the music biz are being shafted but I'm unclear as to why and how right now...I'm a little tipsy...why is Martha Wainwright unheard of in the shadow of her bro Rufus, why doesn't Cibo Matto's lovely foodie chanteuse Miho Hatori have a slew of never-ending solo gigs stretching from Coachella to Billboard Music Awards...can you name one single female artist who isn't under the thumb of some Svengali/Impresario?...Pink, I guess...still feels manufactured. Maybe Norah Jones...but she's no Joni Mitchell, a tad formulaic...Madonna, yes...but William Orbit really is her Svengali/Impresario/Phantom Of The Opera...if we're gonna call a spade a spade here.

My point here is that lately I've been listening to a lot of chick music (Tegan & Sara, Azure Ray, Goldfrapp) and I'm confused as to why none of their music impacts the Billboard charts. Tegan & Sara's 'Where Does The Good Go' would have have been a smash in the mid-70's. KT Tunstall charted briefly, and that gave me some hope, but 'Black Horse And The Cherry Tree' was almost a novelty single...something to be featured on K-Tel's 'Dr. Demento's Best Of Whacktacular Koo-Koo Shit You're Embarrassed To Admit You Like To Friends And Relatives', it's so anomalous, even though in it's pristine incarnation, it's breathtaking .

Maybe we don't give a shit about Billboard charts anymore, thanks to the iTunes revolution, but I'd really like to see a chick-artist(s) hunker down and build a body of work and prosper without Alpha-Male Hip-Hop Nation calling the shots. Nelly Furtado surrendered. Good for her.

Liz Phair's playlist on iTunes (as posted on October 31st, 2006) restored my faith in her 'Guyville' vision. Her playlist reads like a short story and it makes me pine for her crabby, failed-romantic voice. Also she has stellar taste in music (that strangely chimes with my me, Liz!).

Her voice is necessary. This bitch needs to write tablets worth of prose because there's a world of pie-faced boys & girls who ache to read her shit.

Word to Patricia Arquette and her crazy-quilt playlist. I only wish she would have expanded upon her picks. I have a feeling that I'd like to sit and nurse a cocktail or two with her and pick her brain but I'd like a trailer or something...I'd like to know what I'm in for.

More iTunes Playlists!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Reason To Live #1: Clint, Michigan.

The Ponyster is not normally one to pimp bands but recently I've sampled a shitload of new ones (a lot of them local...B.K. Brooklyn in tha house, etc. etc.): Brazilian Girls (fun as fuck but too-cool-for-school and so I'm a little intimidated by them...I hope I never have to wait on Sabina Brazilian Girl...I can't tell my NuBlu from my NoBu and I'd probably have to apologize to her for being fat...), The Knife (not from Brooklyn but probably the most significant dance band to come down the pike since New Order)...and...

Clint, Michigan.

I love this band. They're as if The Carter Family with Very Special Guest Andy Bell from Erasure opened for Iris DeMent at The Cock. Clint "Michigan" Asay's voice is dove-bar sweet; he could work it hard for his teen fanbase but he gives plenty of playtime to his bandmates Pinky (ubiquitous viola-player here in her) and Mason (mandolin). Great, bittersweet, snarky, just-short-of-arch songwriting and soaring harmonies...lovely. I'd produce them if I knew how to produce (I'm learning) but I'm sure LD Beghtol or Stephin Merritt will step in and do the job for me.

Look out for them. I'm sure they're a gas live on stage. Clint's a's worth the price of admission just to hear his stage patter.