Monday, September 17, 2007

Dear Shane MacGowan

Dear Shane MacGowan,

Thanks a lot for drinking with me Saturday night. Never mind what people say about you being a reckless drunk junkie. You're good company. I mean, even though you now reside in a wheelchair and look like the Nazis destroyed by the spirits of the Ark at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, no one else sings as nonchalantly about spending Christmas Eve in the drunk tank as you. I kind of wish you hadn't ashed all over my room and shat on my floor, but hey, you're Shane MacGowan.
Thanks buddy, cheers!


MLIW - Midnight in America
Chuck Ragan - Los Feliz
Billy Bragg & Wilco - Mermaid Ave. I
Explosions in the Sky

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Broken Bones

Do you remember going to Chuck E. Cheese as a kid? Were you one of the ones whose parents threw your birthday parties there, or just the ones who were invited? I clearly remember having friends who were the "Chuck E. Cheese party kids". My parents put my birthday parties on in my garage. I remember it was before they had much money, and we would literally play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and use coloring books.

Then when my dad got a new job and we got a pool, I was suddenly more popular. My parties were packed and my gifts got better. One year Connie & Pa (Sutherland grandparents) bought me a neon-green and black Nash skateboard. It should be stated that my driveway was excessively steep and long; ideal for sledding, not skateboarding, as it was a couple of hundred feet long. I flipped and I told my friends and cousins to follow me; that I would christen this amazing gift with blood and tar. Well, the truth is I thought I would make it. There was no doubt in my mind. "It's my birthday," I probably thought, "I'm indestructible!"

I remember walking up the driveway with my friends staring at me in awe. I felt so good. So cool. It was my only chance as an only child to prove my worth to the kids of my neighborhood. Then a cousin ran screaming into the house to warn the adults of what I was about to do. Realizing I had about three seconds before 15 ripened authorities ruined my birthday, I sprinted to the top, stood on the deck, and cruised down. At first I remember thinking, "this isn't so bad." Then I picked up speed at a horrifying rate. I don't think I lasted more than 75 feet altogether. I was tossed off the board and I fell on my knees. I don't remember the pain, but I can imagine it was agonizing. I definitely heard screaming. I ended up skinning my knees so badly that they were black from the tar for months. Blood was everywhere. I still have very faint scars on my knees to this day.

Anyways, I think that's where it all began. I would go on to break my leg under the wheels of an ATV and my ankle twice playing tennis. I would get my thumb caught in a van door and almost lose it completely on Thanksgiving day, at the same house where years later I would break my leg. I would fall on concrete steps and lose three front teeth, and crack two ribs skateboarding down a grass hill. I would crash my bike into my garage and lodge my handlebar under my chin. I would have my nose broken twice, once in a fight and once because the (older) singer of Most Precious Blood swings his mic very aggressively. I would get a few concussions (hockey, pillow fights in hotel rooms, Converge shows, more hockey). I lost count of the stitches. But I would also get a haematoma on my maiden tequila night, and chip countless teeth thanks to the fake teeth installed because I used to gnaw on pens like meat. I'm sure there's more, I just can't remember them all right now. I guess I hit my head a few too many times.
22 years and still going strong.

Beta Band - The Three EP's
Subhumans - From the Cradle to the Grave
Against Me! - New Wave
Jesu - Conqueror
Converge - You Fail Me/Jane Doe
Michael Patrick MacDonald - All Souls: A Family Story from Southie

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Polyphonic Nightmare

Over the last two nights I have had dreams that revolve around two bands: one of which I love and one of which I loathe.

The first began in suburban Rhode Island, where I met the leader of the Polyphonic Spree. I should state here that that "band" has always freaked me out to no end. I don't get it, and I don't want to get it. I'm okay with keeping the hell out of cults. In my dream though, they were less a "band" and more an environmental group, so I hesitantly joined.

After some time, I began to realize that they were in fact, trying for a New World Order-type worldwide cult in which everyone wore white and danced in the fields. I tried getting out but they wouldn't let me, so I ran away. Fearing for our lives, Shelly and I moved to upstate New York to get away.

I have these terrifying images in my head of a group of eight or so people in white robes chasing after me through fields and forests, trying to gas me.

I hate the Polyphonic Spree.

Last night I dreamt that Botch reunited at the Tweeter Center. For some reason my parents came and when we sat down the venue suddenly changed in a Transformers-way into a trailer home. Botch played in the trailer home and my parents freaked. People were going off left and right and my mom hid in the back corner. My dad tried fighting everyone there, and after the first song Rick ta Life walked in. People immediately tried killing him with knives and boots and a pretty serious melee broke out.

I don't know what goes on in my brain but whatever it is, I hope it keeps up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Sake on Monday night with fellow gentleman Drew already made my week. I had always wanted to try it. Drew heard that it "tastes like fire." It smelled like white wine and tasted like a shot with half vodka, half whiskey. Quarts of Bud from Midtown and the History channel finish off nights well.
I hope that luck comes my way and I get a job at
Loving this rainy weather. I hope it holds up.

Modern Life is War
Black Sabbath
Pissed Jeans
Suicide File
The Clash
Salinger - Nine Stories re-read

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pissed Jeans - Hope for Men

A lot of bands sound so alike, you don't remember the first time you heard them. A year ago I booked Paint it Black at La Salle University and I left it up to Andy to decide who opened up for them. As a fan of Count Me Out, I was really excited about Cloak/Dagger being on the bill, and I didn't give much thought to this band called "Pissed Jeans." He did mention though, that they had recently signed to Sub Pop, so I went to their Web site and downloaded "Closet Marine" - four of the brashest minutes my ears have endured.
When they showed up to unload I was taken aback by how "normal" they looked. Especially the singer, they all looked like they had just gotten off their 9-5's. The other bands wore Minor Threat t-shirts and special edition Nikes. Pissed Jeans wore sweaters and boat shoes. Then they played...
Words like "primal" and "frustrated" come to mind when explaining their noise. They were wonderful. I bought their record and since it has been a staple in my rotation.
Last week they released Hope for Men, their debut lp for Sub Pop. I never realized how much they take from the Black Flag book until this record. The lyrics, like the "concept" of the record, deal with the mundane loneliness and frustration that accompanies modern life.
A million reviews have already been written about this band and record, which (rightfully) use the same adjectives and descriptions. I can't overstate however, how terrific this band is.

You'll feel a lot better with this record.

Sweet Leaf

Saturday night was the final Boy Sets Fire show. We got there early so that we could get a spot on the balcony and we were successful. Tim Barry from Avail opened and was a blast. A lot of people started playing the Johnny Cash style a few years ago but Barry is one of the best at it. Like Avail shows when he constantly thanks "y'all", his country/bluegrass music is Southern and honest. BSF opened with "Release the Dogs" and closed with "Rookie"/"After the Eulogy." I wanted to hear more from the Day the Sun Went Out, but overall it was a great show. They played for at least 90 minutes. I had a problem with that show going on in my backyard and not being there.

That night I met two Aussies. We talked a lot about Silverchair.

Erich's art show was Friday.

I (finally) saw Mean Streets. It's amazing.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

If You Like Music...

The new Pissed Jeans is unbearably good. You should get it if you like music.

There's a "new" band called Pygmy Lush. If you liked pg. 99, City of Caterpillar or Malady, it has all of those guys in it. They have a record coming out soon on Robotic Empire.

Torche is really great too.
So is Clockcleaner.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

For Those About to Thrash...

New Waste and Coliseum songs up on their myspaces. New Coliseum comes out in August and new Waste in a couple of weeks! Summer!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Riding the Skies

I found these rad pictures from the 4/25/07 Lightning Bolt show at Circle of Hope in Philly. Great show.


I finally hooked my camera up to my computer. I live with very, very, very cute cats. It's kind of sick.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Watch this segment from local cable news in Utah on "emo." It's amazing...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I <3 Bill Waterson

I give you the Calvin & Hobbes Searchable Database!!! Waste the day away!!!

(Thanks, Shelly.)

Bye Bye Moose

So it seems Manny came up big last night and put the pathetic Yankees in their place. Thank you, Tavarez. My man Dan Shaughnessy had some great words about last night, as usual.

The highlight:

"While Pettitte and Schilling work at Yankee Stadium, Clemens will be pitching in Trenton (Double A). He is on course to return to the majors in Toronto next Tuesday. The perfect scenario would then have Clemens pitching at Fenway against the Sox on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" June 3. This would result in mayhem not seen at a Boston sports venue since July 1972 when the Rolling Stones showed up at the old Garden four hours late after getting arrested at the Warwick, R.I., airport. Boston Mayor Kevin White was credited with preventing a riot and the Stones, naturally, were greeted with wild applause when they finally hit the stage at 12:30 a.m."

"The Rocket will not be greeted as kindly. In fact, his reception will make Johnny Damon's return to Fenway look like a parade through the Canyon of Heroes. Imagine Don Imus being introduced at next year's NCAA Women's Final Four."

In other great sports news, the Ducks eliminated the Wings last night for a trip to the Stanley Cup against the Sens. At the very beginning of the season, my prediction was Anaheim vs. Buffalo. I'll pat myself on the back - the Sens eliminated the Sabres in the last series, so I came surprisingly close. This is going to be a very close series. I would like to see the Sens win, because they've been around for longer and never won the Cup, plus I'd like to see a Canadian team take it all. Then again, I wouldn't at all mind if Giguere won. I love this time of year...

Quack Quack Quack Quack

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Killer Cars

Friday night we left the Electric Factory and headed towards home to hit up some bars. When we began to cross Callowhill I noticed that there weren't any cars coming, and that their light would soon be turning green. As a result, I "jogged" across the intersection. Right when I got to the end I heard Shelly or Jeff Doug yell something to me. I looked to my left and saw a white car barreling towards me, seemingly unable to slow down. It all happened so quickly and before I knew it I was riding on its hood for about 20 feet. I quickly realized that I absolutely could not fall; if I fell I would be seriously hurt. Now, here's a quick history of me: I'm accident prone and I have terrible balance. Terrible balance. Apparently however, that's until I'm in serious danger. I rode that hood like a surfer rides a wave, and I kept my balance the entire time.

When I landed on my feet I immediately shook my body to make sure I wasn't seriously hurt. When I realized that I wasn't, I started walking in small circles in complete disbelief that I had just been hit by a fucking car. It was then that I noticed Shelly shouting at the driver after making sure I was okay, and the driver in turn yelling at me. That was the moment I came down to reality, walked to her window, and said, "Stop yelling at me! You just hit me with your Car! Okay?" I ended up fine. I took her information after convincing her that indeed, everything was fine and I wouldn't sue her or anything, it would just be a good idea to get the information.

Getting hit by a car was truly frightening. It was also one of those instances when I step back and say, "Only me..."

Graduation Playlist!!!
Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond (This new record is mint! Get it!)
Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads
Morrissey - Ringleader Of The Tormentors (Just got tickets! June 29!)
The Boss - Nebraska
Dylan & the Band - Before the Flood

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Just Wanna Bang on the Drum All Day

It's official. On Sunday afternoon I graduated from college. I'd say "What a strange experience" or something sentimental like that, but honestly it felt natural. My uncle came down with my parents and we had a blast. The weather was perfect and the Guinness flowed like water. Last Wednesday I began interviews. I found my way up to Norristown and aced an uneventful and disappointing interview. That evening though, they invited me back for a second round the next day - a sort of "day in the life" experience. Again I trecked a couple of hours via train and bus to the suburbs. Long story short: I found myself an hour into Delaware selling pizza discounts door to door. I kid you not. That's what my writing gets me with a "direct marketing job". Needless to say, an hour into it I told him that I wouldn't be working for him. It was a frustrating and sobering experience because the guy I had the interview with directly lied to me about what I'd be doing so that he could get me there.

In unrelated news, I'm really trying to stomach this new Wilco record. The first times I listened to it I was completely disappointed - angry at Tweedy for making such a half-assed effort. Now though, some of it is growing on me. I also picked up the new Dinosaur Jr. record, Beyond. Now that is some stellar music. Mascis still rocks harder than Slayer. Speaking of metal bands, Venom was in my dream last night. They played La Salle's Dunleavy room. I just remember Erich and Lou being really excited for some black metal. Anyways, Dinosaur are not metal, they just bring me back to 1984. Well, they bring me back to 1984 the way a weekend with Jeff Doug brings me back to 1969.

Speaking of Jeff, he's coming down Thursday for a few days - namely the inappropriately confusing lineup of Mastodon, Against Me!, Cursive and TAAS on Friday night. Either way, it will be a trip.

If you dig stuff along the lines of Isis, Pelican, or My Bloody Valentine, there's a terrific "project" called Jesu, which recently released a new record, Conqueror. You can stream it at

I also shut down my old "lastfm" page because I'm very computer illiterate, and opened up a new one. Add me if you still keep one up.

And one last thing...come on Buffalo! You were my Cup picks. Regardless, Chris Drury and Daniel Brière remain hockey gods.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Lux Interior

The Cramps have to be one of the greatest bands of all time. Check out these is live from the Napa State Mental Hospital. How did that show ever happen? How did authorities at a mental hospital let a band like the Cramps in?! Horror sex rockabilly punk pulp fiction. It's all there. The audience wanders around the room dancing like zombies. It's so strange. "Somebody told me you folks are crazy. Well i'm not so sure about that."

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Break-Up

Friday I hiked around the city getting tickets for the last shows of two of my favorite bands: Kill Your Idols and Boy Sets Fire. BSF at the Troc is going to be a blast. It's been so long since I've seen them or anything, but I remember in high school when I borrowed J Ro's copy of "The Day the Sun Went Out"; I immediately copied it onto a cassette and listened to it over and over and over again for years. That was probably the first record that you could be angry and intense while maintaining a good deal of sensitivity. I remember going out and buying "After the Eulogy" not long after that and, even though it wasn't as "essential" to my youth, it still made an impression on me and I played the shit out of it. I feel like a lot of people are going to cry at this show. That will be entertaining, but I can't blame people for letting that band mean so much to them.

Saturday afternoon saw the final Philadelphia show for KYI. I've been really stoked/bummed on this show for awhile. I have never, since the 10th grade, missed a KYI show. Well, I missed one but it wasn't my fault. The last time they played was at the 7 Seconds show two years ago. I remember the show was almost canceled because of some lame fight involving FSU and a Champion roadie. We all waited in the cramped Church basement for over 1 1/2 hours until the decision was made to carry on. I was right up front and KYI walked on and made those 1 1/2 miserable hours completely worth while. Always been too punk for a lot of hardcore kids and too hardcore for most punk kids. Consequently, there shows have always been full of kids who listen to classic American hardcore. All hell broke loose that night, and in measuring it up to that, Saturday was kind of disappointing. There were so many people there but everyone just stood in the back. It was so fucking stupid. The last time they headlined in Philly there were about 30 kids there and we all went off because we all wanted to be there so badly. It was so obvious so early on this weekend that people were there so that they can say they were at KYI's last Philly show. Lame. I'd say about 15 of us consistently went off, but I was hoping for a lot more. Bad Brains and Jawbreaker covers rule though. Where was the Negative Approach!? Hopefully I can make it to there show in Jersey this weekend.

PS - I just heard that the Explosion are splitting too. Fuuucccckkkkkk...
PSS - Go Sox. Gregg, your Yankees suck.

Pixies - Bossanova
Tom Waits

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ugh, allergies

Tonight sees the start of the second round of the NHL playoffs. The NY Rangers defeating the Atlanta Thrashers in four games was perhaps the greatest shock of the first round. Now they go up against the mighty Buffalo Sabres. I maintain that Buffalo will win the Cup this year. Over the past few years I have slowly but surely become a hugs Sabres fan. I think the sentiment was finalized when we drove through Buffalo last summer on our way to Ohio and about 1/5 of the houses and apartments that we passed, had Sabres flags. I love that - when a city not only gets behind but breathes their team. Erich and I placed our next round of bets last night. Below are the upcoming series - my picks are bolded. I am very confident that I will be making some dough on this.

Buffalo (1) v NY Rangers (6) - We are not betting here as we are both aware of the power of the Sabres. Buffalo in 6.

New Jersey (2) v Ottawa (4) - Although Brodeur made me a bit nervous against Tampa Bay, and I hate to cheer for Jersey, Scott Gomez will carry them through. I don't think that Ottawa has the defense to hold NJ back. The goal tending battles will be interesting though. NJ in 7.

Detroit (1) v San Jose (5) - I know that the Sharks can beat Hasek, as great as he is. Thornton drew countless penalties against Forsberg and the Preds last series, giving the Sharks the upper hand, and I see him doing it to Detroit. Although the majority of hockey fans are picking the Wings, I think that San Jose will pull an upset. San Jose in 7.

Anaheim (2) v Vancouver (3) - Vancouver is exhausted from 7 very long games with Dallas, so the Ducks will (have to) win the opening home games. Roberto Luongo is the Canucks last chance. Expect more overtimes than in the Dallas series! Anaheim in 6.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gooooooo SEPTA!

It's that time of year again! Prepare for the second annual "Melrose Mullet Madness Gallery!" Only Barry can reference Cool Hand Luke and soft-porn with hockey.

By the way, mad props to SEPTA for taking 45 minutes on the Express line to transport me from City Hall to Olney this morning. I could completely understand if this was just a one time accident; a train in front of us was having problems and we had to wait under this sparkling city for repairs. But the more I ponder, the more I recollect this happening at least five other mornings since Christmas. You know, no, I really would rather spend my time in other places than an 8 AM lit class, but the orange line is not that place. I would rather jump naked into a tub full of broken glass. It's a good thing that today's Metro had less spelling errors than usual. Can you say excited!? Ecstatic!? Thrilled!? Boy oh boy that newspaper really puts a smile on this bearded face! Especially when I'm sitting a hundred feet underground on a Hepatitis coated seat, reading about how SEPTA's fares are estimated to increase by 30% soon.
I <3 Philly.

From Ashes Rise

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Team Rollins

Oh yeah, the new season of the Rollins Show begins this Friday the 13th, at 11 PM on IFC. Words cannot describe how great this show it. Half an hour of one pissed off man plus rad guests and musical performances.
Also, the NHL Playoffs commence tonight. Yesterday I placed my bets with Erich. It goes as follows:
Pittsburgh (5) vs. Ottawa (4)
San Jose (5) vs. Nashville (4)
Dallas (6) vs. Vancouver (3)
Minnesota (7) vs. Anaheim (2)
New Jersey (2) vs. Tampa Bay (7)
I have all the teams on the left. We are leaving the other three series out because both of us know that the NY Rangers will lose and that both Detroit and Buffalo will win. According to, I will win this round 3-2. According to my own judgement, the same will happen, only Pittsburgh will win where Dallas will lose. I also think that Minnesota has a genuinely good chance of defeating Anaheim. If they do it will be a huge upset and happen in 7 games. Anaheim has lost the steam that made them a #2 seed, and the Wild have been gaining that momentum. Either way this is my favorite time of year. It's funny because my mom's always pissed in these months because my dad's watching every game. Shelly has a genuine interest in hockey and will probably watch a couple of games with me, though more in the finals like last year. I'll just have to have beer present. The best lure in human history.


There's a documentary called "1991: The Year Punk Broke", which follows Sonic Youth and Nirvana on tour around Europe. There are also peformances by Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr, Ramones and others. It's rad as hell. Someone uploaded it onto Google Video. If you have an hour and 40 minutes to spare, check it out.

Rose McGowan

Last night I saw Grindhouse. I reccomend this film you you are not offended by any of the following: Rose McGowan go-go dancing, immense amounts of blood, immense amounts of slime, the word "fuck", the word "bitch", brain-less skulls, Rose McGowan, naked lesbians, accidental suicides of children, insane car chases, car crashes, severed limbs, Rose McGowan, Kurt Russell in a leather jacket, Sheri Moon Zombie, werewolf nazis, stakes in eyes, Bruce Willis playing almost as much of a badass as in Die Hard, severed balls and spending the best $9 you've spent in a long time. Seriously, Grindhouse was the greatest "theater experience" I've ever had. People walked out. It was that good.

This past weekend I found my old Mighty Mighty Bosstones records. That band is so good. I was skanking all afternoon Sunday. I read somewhere that Dicky Barret is now an announcer for the Jimmy Kimmel show. Huh?
Also, this new Cusack movie looks really rad. Check it out.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Blue Moon & Egg & Cheeses (with tomato)

Last night Shelly and I went to Kildares for their "Ms. Kildares" event. Pat Pirate's girl, Theresa, was competing so she put on us the guest list (my self-esteem just went up!). There was free Blue Moon and Coors Light from 9-11; we got there around 10. This left us with an hour to justify: 1) the 25 block walk there, 2) the atmosphere. I don't have anything against Kildares it's just not my kind of bar. The people who generally go there (20-something business school graduates with expensive shirts) are not the kinds of people I choose to surround myself with. So with that said, we drank a lot of Blue Moon in an hour. A lot. So much in fact, that when I stumbled out of bed this morning I was drunk and hungover simultaneously. You know those mornings. The problem with this was that it was 6:30 and I had to go to La Salle to give a presentation. Damn.

As I walked outside listening to music, I realized two things: the day might not be so bad, and I really needed an egg & cheese. Even as I walked through Suburban Station I was enjoying myself. Good song, positive outlook, egg & cheese. This lasted until I found myself sitting in class forty-five minutes later. Oh man. I was no longer stoked on the day. I will say this though, egg & cheeses (with tomato) from the Lunch Truck remain the tastiest mother fucking egg & cheeses (with tomato) in this city.

I'm wearing a Sonic Youth T shirt with a flannel today. Think I'll listen to some Alice & Chains when I get home.

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead...
Mission of Burma - ONoffON

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

One defining aspect of spring/summer made itself prevalent today; the weekly newspapers began featuring full-page adds of outdoor shows. This week PW has a huge Morrissey advertisement. I saw him once...he changed his shirt three times during the show. That day definitely was not like Sunday.

Yesterday Shelly took off work and I skipped my internship. We took the R8 to Chestnut Hill and went hiking along Forbidden Drive. If you haven't done this yet, I highly recommend it. We walked for about 10 miles through the woods. It was a beautiful warm day and there weren't a lot of people out. Perfect day. When you're out there you feel like you're on the Appalachian Trail. It's amazing that, technically, you're still in this dirty, dirty city.

What's up with Modest Mouse tickets being $36?

Do Make Say Think
Hot Water Music - Caution

Friday, March 16, 2007

Handshake Drugs

The weather has made the past three days beautiful. Although it's sleeting out as I type this entry and I was wearing my winter jacket during my classes this morning, I've been wearing T shirts lately. Strange NE weather. Last night I had this feeling of excitement for the summer. I hate the heat more than any one, but there's always something charming about summer. With hockey playoffs a few weeks away and spring training underway, I'm pretty excited. Speaking of hockey playoffs, it's always interesting to compare the conferences in the final weeks. Like usual, the standings in the east will most likely be determined in the final days of the season. It's been so close. Contrary to the what NESN might be saying, the Bruins are out of the race. They may have two more games to play than most teams but they won't be able to make up the points. The west on the other hand is not so close. I think Colorado is at least 10 points out, in ninth place. Western teams have so much talent that when the playoffs come most of their games are decided by one goal and go into seven games. As a result, when one gets to the finals they're too worn out to compete with the east. I'm would really love to see Pittsburgh win it all. Mario did a great job saving them again and keeping them in the city. Realistically though, I think Buffalo will indeed take it all. Either way I'm so freakin' excited.

Jawbreaker - Dear You
Wilco - A Ghost is Born
Built to Spill - all

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ISIS @ the TLA

Last night I attended the Isis gig at the TLA. Because I always end up going to their shows solo, I aimed to make it in time for the second (of three) bands, skipping the opener, and delaying the awkwardness of being around metal heads. The band I was aiming for was Torche. I saw them for the first time last summer when they opened for Mogwai and, stoned out of my mind, I felt like I was seeing the heaviest band in the history of music. Last night I was dead sober and I had a similar experience. It's not that they have a lot of chugga-chugga breakdowns or they paint their faces like Norwegian satanists or anything, their sound is just so thick and layered. Also, when the drummer uses double-bass he further emphasizes the sound by riding his first and floor toms, which are well-mic'ed at that. If I had to compare them to other bands/sounds I would probably say the doom atmosphere of Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, the layers of SunnO))) and the heavy heavy complexity of Botch. Right on. Anyways, as I was handing the door man my ticket they were literally striking their first chords.

After Torche came Isis. I was impressed that even after reaching the level of popularity that they have, they still set up their own equipment and everything. This made for a quick segue into the music with no lame delay to get the crows psyched like most bands do. The music was phenomenal. They opened with "Wrists of Kings" and went on to play(including the encore,) 8 songs in 1 1/2 hours, pretty much without breaks between songs. That equates to about 11 1/2 minutes per song. I might have miscounted and it was 9 songs, but you get the hint. You need an attention span for this shit. It was great. They also played "Not in Rivers, But in Drops," "So Did We," "Holy Tears," and amazingly "False Light." SoooOOOoooo Heavy. For an encore they played "Celestial" too. Everyone was so stoked.

The TLA was pretty filled up, especially considering that Jesu didn't end up playing as expected. You could tell that their tour with Tool won them some shithead fans though. I was standing behind a group of four kids who wouldn't stop talking about test presses and limited edition vinyl. I really don't get that stuff. The music is what's important. Why do you need limited editions of what you already have? Behind me were two kids discussing conspiracy theories between Dell, the Discovery Channel and the Catholic Church (that was when I put my ear plugs in.) Once the show got underway though, three scenesters kept making fun of and instigating a kid next to them because he was wearing a Rage Against the Machine shirt. Okay, so he's not as 'with it' as they are. Maybe they've seen Isis more than he has and been into them for longer. But when did this become some exclusive club? Oh, excuse me, it always has been. Jerkoffs like that have been around at every show in every state I've ever been. It's such a shame. They just weren't letting him enjoy the show and it was a real bummer. I remember reading an interview with Isis' frontman Aaron Turner recently and he was discussing how unfortunate it is that with the growing popularity of a band like his, comes idiot fans who ruin things. I remember seeing them at the Church last Autumn and a kid who, obviously isn't there to enjoy the music and instead to 'mosh,' was creating a scene and the overbearing Turner said some pretty aggressive stuff to the kid. It shut him up but it won't stop it across the board. I've read interviews with Kurt Cobain talking about meatheads coming to Nirvana shows when they got big. People just don't get it. It's like the girl standing in the back of a Bane show text-messaging. Are you listening to the lyrics, douchebag? Anyways, I won't let that get in the way of appreciating a great performance.

On the walk home a 40-something year old man in a car kept following me calling me sexy and whistling at me. At first I thought he was just messing around with me until he really started to creep me out. He wanted me to get in his car and to go somewhere. He was dead serious. I hate people.
Minus the Bear

Friday, March 09, 2007


Alright I am dying to go to the Explosions in the Sky show at the Starlight Ballroom next Sunday. I really didn't think that it would sell out as quickly as it did. Does any one know anybody who has one or two extra tickets? Please let me know. And if I ever run into the prick who's selling one ticket for $100 on craigslist, i'm going to hurt him.

Oh yeah, Spoon @ the Starlight Ballroom, April 22!


It's official, I have "vacation syndrome." This morning my alarm went off at 8:30 and well, I could have gotten up then. I was tired but only in the "I just woke up" way. There was no "I'm tired because I got four hours of sleep"-exhaustion that the cats seem to be victims of after their eight-hour long naps. Instead I said "fuck it," turned the alarm off and slept for another hour and a half. "It's my last day of vacation," I murmured to myself as I dozed back off to dreams of Wendy's Spicy Chicken sandwiches and Volkswagen Jettas. I can justify anything to myself. I know people who would call that a flaw, but I suspect that's the jealousy talking.

In other news, Shelly and I are officially moved into the "Penn Center House" at 19th & JFK. We would have been idiots not to take this place. Sure, it's a little more than our last place (barely) but it's bigger, has (much) more storage, free cable, as well as a dishwasher and a washer and dryer in the freakin' unit. And it's just so nice. My dad brought down some old furniture for us and the place is going to look gorgeous. First though, we must conquer the cardboard jungle of boxes that has made its way into the bedroom. The vast majority of residents here are very old and they go on walks up and down the hallways. I kid you not. It's kind of sweet, kind of strange and more like Twin Peaks.

Lightning Bolt will be touring this spring. They'll be hitting up Philly on April 25. Now two things have begun/been announced that tell me that summer is well on its way: Spring Training and a Lightning Bolt tour. Bring it on...

Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to the Isis show next Tuesday night at the TLA. Too bad all my friends suck the fuck and won't be going. Anyone else interested?

Fugazi - Instrument Soundtrack
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Botch - Anthology of Dead Ends

Friday, March 02, 2007

Meeting Girls

This morning Shelly and I were talking about one of the first times we spoke. We had a night class together and during the break she was sitting on the benches smoking a cigarette so I nervously approached and said hi. I was going to see the Shins that week and it was the only thing I could think of bringing up so i asked her, " you like indie rock?" Okay, we'll stop there. "Do you like indie rock!?" If some girl came up to me and asked me if I liked indie rock i'd throw her ice cream in her face and then burp the alphabet for her. I think that was the moment I really decided that I need to think things out before I speak. I think her answer was something along the lines of, "Umm, yeah...I guess." This is the Scrubs equivalent of her throwing ice cream on me and then burping the alphabet for me. I don't know how she restrained sarcasm. If I only had that amount of self-restraint.
Check out this video of Thom Yorke talking about people "shagging" to Paranoid Android. Think about the fact that I asked Shelly if she likes indie rock and then put the video on mute. Watch the expression on Thom's face at the end. I rest my case.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Fucked Up

Tell me that second flyer isn't the greatest thing you've seen all week. I was reading an interview with Ted Leo about a year ago and he was discussing the punk bands that really matter. The ones that he grew up on that he still listens to today. These are the ones, he argued, that have something to be angry about (aside from mom, dad & the cops.) They know what is corrupt and they build their band against it. He mentioned bands like the almighty Flag, Stiff Little Fingers, the Clash, Bad Religion and (as a contemporary example) Tragedy. I dare add Fucked Up to that list. Every week on their blog ( they post intriguing articles and questions, about everything from religion to science to politics. I realize that this band is getting really big right now and that they're pretty hip to be into, but how great would it be if everyone talked about the issues they bring up? Semiotics, religion, etc. To be at the bar with your friends and talk about more than girls and money issues. I'm a Catholic and I continually welcome the issues that they bring up about my religion. My faith won't change but it's great talking about it. Seriously, check out their blog on a regular basis. There's a great article they have up on top right now about slot machines. The link's on the side of my page. Oh yeah, and they're playing the Church Friday. When they play "Baiting the Public/Generation" I am going to fight people.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Last night Bane played the Church. There is no other band that I have seen as much as them. The first Bane show I went to, about seven years ago, was as exciting, fresh and exhilarating as last night. I remember my parents wouldn't let me go to shows back then, so I lied and said I was sleeping over my friend's house. His older friend drove us up to Worcester. One King Down played. Wow. I remember the third or so time I had to lie again. I don't remember what my cover was, but the lineup was out of this world. It was at (the old) Lupos in Providence. Hatebreed, Bane, Poison the Well, Shadows Fall, What Feeds the Fire and Most Precious Blood. I remember when Hatebreed played my buddy and I were scared shitless. We went up on the balcony to watch and people were moshing up there. Huge circle pits everywhere. We used to go well out of our way for Bane shows too. Great shows in Salem, Taunton and Fall River, almost always with Reach the Sky.
Yesterday when I woke up I realized how excited I was. I can't think of a better compliment for a band than that. Over 7 years my love for Bane has not changed. It hasn't budged. Last night they opened with Count Me Out and went straight into Can We Start Again. Among others, they also played In Pieces. Oh, hell yeah.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


We were discussing semiotics in class today, and I was surprised when I understood what it means. Unknowingly, I have been thinking a lot about its basic principles lately. Though semiotics deals primarily with symbols and signs, it also includes the study of "how meaning is constructed and understood." In short, we were discussing truth. The idea is used everyday by both the Right and the Left. Many/most believe that there is one truth. One answer. In theory, Wikipedia challenges this, as a database of "truths" on particular subjects. Moreover, these "truths" are written by the public. It's strange. But what's particularly scary is how people use these universal truths when it comes to morality and religion. Beliefs that there is one way to live. One "good" way to live. One "evil" way to live. Does any one have any good sites or know any good books about this stuff?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mastodon - Blood Mountain

For most, the notion of heavy metal conjures images such as the longhaired guy in their high school chemistry class who barely spoke, and a deluded reality-TV dad who seems to have forgotten that he once fronted one of the most badass bands of all time. On the other hand Mastodon’s new record, Blood Mountain, introduces us to a whole new world of popular heavy metal.
Their major label debut establishes a land filled with ogres, dwarves and magic crystals. Wow, can things get any more lame? At first you can practically picture the band sitting around a table in one of their parents’ basements, arguing semantics about Dungeons and Dragons or Star Wars role-playing games. It just fits so perfectly; the idea of 30 year old “men” living with their parents, still fascinated by wizards and hobbits.
But then you put their music on and your perception changes completely as your ears bare witness to amazing drumming, deafening guitars and fuming vocals. Sure, Blood Mountain is a concept album concerning fantasy worlds, but they made it so convincing and cool. The album tells the story of a man in search of the Crystal Skull, which he needs to place atop Blood Mountain. During his journey he encounters numerous varieties of creatures that ultimately threaten the success of his voyage. The story is a metaphor for the journey that the band is on as they face the challenges to being new to major labels and giant tours. Once atop their mountain they will have achieved the artistic success that they strive for.
Songs such as “The Wolf Is Loose,” “Sleeping Giant” and “Hunters of the Sky” document the beings the man stumbles upon, and also the temptations and lures of fame and fortune that threaten to bring the demise of the band. The song “Crystal Skull,” perhaps the best song altogether, showcases the technical transitions in the guitars and in the bass as it often shifts from participating in the leads to simply going off in a completely different direction. Drummer Brann Dailor’s unprecedented talent often provides the leads, which is an unorthodox and original approach to drumming.
The album also features numerous special guests such as Joshua Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Isaiah Ikey Owns from The Mars Volta, and Scott Kelly from Neurosis. Homme and Kelly, on separate songs, provide their signature vocal styles. In addition, Mastodon’s records always feature instrumental prog-rock interludes, clearly influenced by bands like The Mars Volta, whose participants play a key role in the songs they appear on.
All in all, Blood Mountain is an outstanding effort from a gifted group of musicians. It becomes evident by its end that this is not a group of metal heads living in their parents’ basements, playing fantasy games. They’re just a little weird yet very creative. Come on, I know you saw and loved the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. Give this a try.

These Arms are Snakes - Easter

For those familiar with Seattle’s “These Arms Are Snakes,” nothing extremely new, vital or groundbreaking will be found on their new record, Easter. The record’s production treads the same ground as their past two efforts as guitarist Ryan Fredericksen’s innovative licks continue to practically drone out singer Steve Snere’s yelps. Drummer Joe Preston, formerly of the revolutionary bands “Earth” and “the Melvins,” continues to provide excellent skilled beats and fills, constantly reminding the listener of his presence. However, if the band did indeed strive for a new sound on Easter, merely one listen undoubtedly proves that they stuck to the same formula that has defined their sound over the past few years.
Regardless of such negative comments, Easter may please old fans of the band in the argument that if they had indeed changed their sound to a discernible extent, it would probably be very dreadful. “These Arms Are Snakes,” despite their clearly idiotic band name come from a scene with a history of breeding strange, original and successful “indie” bands such as “Pretty Girls Make Graves,” “the Blood Brothers” and “Minus the Bear.” “Snakes” fits in with these bands with their use of bizarre and often meaningless lyrics, (if anyone can explain the meaning of the lines, “What was found on the wall was written by a third grader and read “I was found like molten rats in your city unkept,” I’ll take it all back.) Also assisting in their strange persona are keyboards, their tendency to tour with pioneering bands such as “Isis” and “Planes Mistaken for Stars,” and their secret weapon in guitarist Ryan Fredericksen. Prior to “Snakes” Fredericksen played in the seminal math-core band “Botch,” famous for pioneering a heavy sound with precise and uncanny time signatures somewhat similar to that of “the Dillinger Escape Plan.”
While tracks from Easter such as “Child Chicken Play,” “Lady North” and “Crazy Woman Dirty Town” (there are those horrible lyrics again) do indeed explore new melodies musically; others fall short in such endeavors. Two songs, “Subtle Body” and “Corporeal” each run between six and seven minutes. It’s not the length of these songs that kill them; it is the fact that they drag on, quite literally, without anything happening. In the band’s two efforts prior to Easter there are likewise two songs on each record that run anywhere from five minutes to eight minutes. These songs however do not bore the listener as the new ones do. Their centerpieces are incredible crescendos that erupt in violence and fury by their ends, most notably in “Drinking From the Necks of the Ones You Love.”
It seems as if “These Arms Are Snakes” have backed themselves into a corner with their music and are left to write the same songs over again, without the emphasis on originality that made them so remarkable in the first place. Unfortunately with Easter many people will be hearing the band for the first time and hopefully will not be turned off by the record. This band is excellent, both live and on their previous records. Don’t let their mistake with this record ruin your perception of them, even if with future efforts they do prove to be a band of the past.

TVotR -Return to Cookie Mountain

Prior to the release of their new record Return to Cookie Mountain, TV on the Radio, one of the most original bands of recent memory, was at a crossroads. They immediately garnered critical acclaim with their first releases, demonstrating influences as diverse as the Beach Boys and Gang of Four, along with hip-hop. Their last offering, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, while fresh and innovative, was too dense for its own good. Its nine tracks did not allow for a healthy progression in the record as a whole. Instead the songs each stood out as individuals rather than comprising a full developed record. On their major label debut however, their comfort level is obvious as they flow though 11 songs with such ease it’s a wonder why they aren’t the biggest band in the world.
The record opens with “I Was a Lover,” which features a deeply orchestrated sound often interrupted, in a very stunning way, by walls of noise. The song begins with a laid back hip-hop beat before the gorgeous textures of instruments and harmony flow though it. Then said noise breaks right in. It is unapologetic and brash, yet invigorating as it threatens to literally block out the rest of the music, which at that point has moved from centerpiece to background.
The vocals have always been the most refreshing part of TvotR. The band thrives on vocal synchronizations that take the Beach Boys’ harmonies and dresses them up in haunting imagery and tones. Though this dark, moody and invigorating style of harmony is present throughout the entire record, it flourishes like never before on “Wolf Like Me.” This is by far their best song to date. It opens with a single driving beat and gloomy synthesizers, which at first could be misheard as an opening for a more artsy Nine Inch Nails song, a band who they toured with this summer along with Bauhaus. By the time the vocals cut in the song is pushed farther and farther into a beautiful melody. Lyrically the song illustrates tension as they sing, “Got a curse I cannot lift, Shines when the sunset shifts, When the moon is round and full, Gotta bust that box gotta gut that fish.” Perhaps representing their apprehension on a major label, the brilliance of the song proves that they won.
Featuring an impressive guest vocalist on “Province,” it becomes clear that it only makes sense that David Bowie is on the record. As a figure that represents the fundamental basics of art and originality, he works well with TvotR, who have shown that they are worthy of carrying the same torch. With “A Method,” a simple doo-wop influenced song; the listener can practically see the band standing on the corner of Broad and Olney in 1950 doing the song, snapping their fingers and drawing spectators.
Such lavish atmosphere resounds though out Return to Cookie Mountain. Like past efforts, this one features density, but the patience in the record along with their lengths, makes it work. They have, undoubtedly, succeeded.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Music of 2006

I have finally gotten around to organizing my ideas and opinions of music in 2006. To get right to the point, the year seemed to be in limbo between 2005 and 2007. Many great bands/records came out and will come out in those years. Thus, 2006 served as a year writing those records and touring on them.

For example, 2005 saw new releases from Against Me!, My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene and Sleater Kinney. 2007 will see releases from Wilco, Modest Mouse and Arcade Fire. Big bands that came out with new material last year included Mastodon, Built to Spill, Sonic Youth and Belle & Sebastian. Are these bands of the same caliber? Yes, but their efforts did not seem to be as strong. MMJ's 2005 record, "Z," was one of their best releases in their history. Sonic Youth's 2006 record, "Rather Ripped," though good, was rather just like their last two records. Sleater Kinney's 2005 record, "The Woods," again, found itself amongst their top three records of all time. Belle & Sebastian's 2006, "The Life Pursuit," was a dissapointment, especially when placed next to their 2005 compilation, "Push Barman to Open Old Wounds."

2007, so far, holds much promise. Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible," is absolutely amazing. Already my candidate, in February!, for album of the year. The Good, the Bad & the Queen put out a stellar eponymous debut. Released tracks from upcoming records by Jesu and Wilco show considerable promise.

2006 did have a lot of nice surprises, however. With hesitation, here is my list for "top records of 2006." There are 11 here because I heard 11 records that deserved it. Not enough to warrant a dwindling down to 10. Sad.

11. Tragedy - Nerve Damage
10. Mission of Burma - The Obliterati
9. Isis - In the Absence of Truth
8. Boris - Pink
7. Converge - No Heroes
6. Built to Spill - You in Reverse
5. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
4. Planes Mistaken For Stars - Mercy
3. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
2. Tom Waits - Orphans
1. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

There were too many dissapointments on the year. Flaming Lips "At War with the Mystics" worked too hard to accomplish its goal of "Yoshimi Part II." Pretty Girls Make Graves "Elan Vital" had three decent tracks on it, namely "The Nocturnal House." And what is it with all the critics blowing "The Hold Steady?" Those dudes are empty.

Musically, 2006 was best remembered by me for getting into new bands/obsessing over old ones even more. It was the year I picked up the Trojan Records Box Set of Dub. The year I obsessed over Elvis Costello, Isis and Dylan even more. The year I picked up The Velvet's "White Light/White Heat." It was also the year I got into Nick Cave. Those are much more memorable than my list.

So, here's to 2007!

Friday, January 19, 2007


Remember this band? The other day Lazor was over and he pointed out our Robert Pollard poster. I realized that I hadn't listened to GBV in a really long time. I was trying to find one of those live pictures where you can see the "puke" and "piss" buckets onstage. If anyone finds one, let me know. The most drunk band ever. God, Ohio is such a strange place. Still very bitter about missing their last show in Philly. Damn you Franz Ferdinand and the lure of Scots!


One of the best presents I got for Xmas is pictured about. It's finally starting to come in really nicely. I can't believe that Chia's have been around since 1982. I remember when I was a little kid, seeing commercials for them while watching GI Joe. There was an overabundance of Chia and Clapper commercials in those days. The funny thing is, Chia Homer came with an advertisement for the Clapper. Only $25. Remember those commercials, though? With the old man who couldn't reach the light switch so he just clapped and then kissed his 75 year old wife goodnight. I think that turning off a lightswitch is one of those telltale signs that one needs to enter a nursing home. Turning off lights and going to the bathroom.

Lately, my apartment has been a White Russian Tavern. Regular Kaluha is 40 proof, but I found a "Special" Kaluha, which is 70 proof and only $3 more than regular. Last night, after a "few" Russians, I decided to make a bag of "Movie Theater Popcorn." You know the kind. Loaded with butter. It was Orville Redenbacker too. The good stuff. When I began eating it I realized that it was actually Kettle Corn. Apparently I had grabbed the wrong bag. What I discovered though, was a remarkable taste. White Russians and Kettle Corn popcorn go together like whiskey and pizza. Try it, I unbelievably serious.