Burned By The Sun........
Music. Life. Los Angeles.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
I learned something today. It's much easier to write a review for a shitty album than it is to write a review for a good album.
That's why this damn Strokes review took so long. And it still sucks.
The Strokes, Room On Fire
Rating (out of 10): 8.75 Hellbeasts
Worth buying?: Yes!
Hits: Reptilia, Under Control, The End Has No End
Misses: None. Seriously.
In A Sentence: The Strokes have beaten the Sophomore Slump, with style and hooks to spare.
I was trying to think of some clever and witty way to write this review, but ultimately, the only word that comes to mind when I think of this album is “wow”. Well, I suppose it’s just as well to dispense with the unnecessary bullshit. Because that’s what this album does. There are eleven songs that clock in at just over a half an hour. Every one of the songs is the best it can possibly be. There is not a single sound on this album that does not need to be there.
Room On Fire isn’t a radical departure from Is This It, it’s an improvement, and a rather impressive one at that. The songs are fun to listen to, because you don’t know where they’re going to go next. Every guitar lick or riff is cooler than the one you just heard. The songs have more variety and display a broader range of influences than the debut. The guitar sounds on “12:51” and “The End Has No End” were inspired by new-wave synths, while “Between Love And Hate” and “Automatic Stop” contain reggae accents. Of course, there’s still plenty of rock, as the riff of “The Way It Is” attests.
Also, this album is full of great moments, like the guitar solo on “You Talk Way Too Much”, and the part where “Reptilia” seems to go into a tailspin. And how can you not crack a smile at the way Julian sings the line, “Don’t worry ‘bout it, honey” on “Between Love and Hate”? The album’s most surprising, and possibly most rewarding, song is “Under Control”, a beautiful, soaring ballad of sorts. But it’s not, like, a Michael Bolton ballad. That would suck. “Under Control” is followed up by the stellar “The End Has No End”, and those two songs comprise the best one-two punch on any album released this year.
Unfortunately, the standard problems that plagued their last album, regarding the mixing, are perhaps even more prevalent here. The vocals are often buried very low in the mix, and there are some points where it’s so lo-fi sounding that it borders on irritating. However, it seems stupid to pick at something like that when the songs are this good, and one grows accustomed to the sound on repeated listens.
Monday, September 29, 2003
First, a Public Service Announcement from Jack White:
Males are such despicable creatures.
That is all. (From the band's official website)
Pete Doherty should be out of prison in about a week. Due to the appeal, his sentence was reduced to two months, and time will likely be taken off for good behavior.
In Other News:
The Darkness declare their new single "a masterpiece".
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Picnics: A Retrospective:
Family picnics when I was little were just as popular as they are now. Yet in some ways they were quite different...
It was the style then for ladies, as well as boys, to wear knickers. Men wore them, too, for sporting events. But my mother and aunt would never have been seen in "public" (like shopping) wearing knickers. They were the day's "sport clothes," reserved for places like picnics.
Just saw Lost In Translation. It was enjoyable, but not as good as I'd hoped it would be.
I LOVE the new Strokes album! I'll analzye and dissect it soon, for your curiosity and/or reading pleasure. But not now. I just want to listen to it again.
If you see this post in the next few hours, and don't have the album, try here.
Friday, September 26, 2003
This is hilarious! RetroCrush posted pictures from old health and safety posters from India. Some of the comments are great:
I have no idea what the bottom right picture is suggesting, but apparently it's bad behavior to kick a woman in the ass when she's trying to pick up a beach ball in front of a speeding car.
The new Strokes album is on Soulseek.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
This is interesting: There's going to be another movie based on a book by Hunter S. Thompson. It's called The Rum Diary, and it will star Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro. If you didn't see Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, do so. Or read the book.
NME has some news (actually, rumors would be a better description) on The Libertines.
If all goes well, the band will reform when Pete gets out of prison in November (which is when he'll get out if the appeal goes through). And there will be a Christmas single. Does a Christmas single mean they'll record, like, a Christmas carol? Wouldn't that be interesting? If people actually read my site, I would say email suggestions for songs and I'll post the best ideas. Hell, I'll extend that offer anyway. Why not?
The Coral are in the studio already, working on a follow up to July's Magic and Medicine.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but I'm originally from Detroit. Okay, fine, not the city of Detroit, but it was considered the metro Detroit area. That's why I post all this Detroit-related stuff. Anyway, the Tigers have just set a new record for sucking. Is anyone really surprised?
Live reviews are rated on a scale of zero to ten hellbeasts. Why hellbeasts? Because stars are boring and so not rock and roll. You may wonder where hellbeast came from. Well, my buddy Crazy J and I made a pilgrimage to Hell last December, to photograph it frozen over. Did you know downtown Hell consists of a general store, ice cream parlor, and a bar/restaurant? While we were there...we saw a terrifying, yet cool, hellbeast. It was wearing a black Harley-Davidson motorcycle cap. We wanted to take it home with us...but it was chained to a post. One day I will post a picture of it here. Anyway, zero is a crime against humanity and ten is unattainable perfection. With that said....
The Kills @ Amoeba
A friend of mine told me that the lack of an actual drummer really hurt their performance when he saw them at Spaceland. After seeing them last night, I'd have to agree. Rock bands need drummers, especially in a live situation. Also, I know Amoeba isn't really the best venue to play, but the Sahara Hotnights and Sondre Lerche have managed to put on good shows there. I was kind of disappointed, if you haven't figured that out already. I really like their album, too. The performance of the songs was just...average. What I hated was when they played tapes of that woman talking (like on the album) while they were tuning their guitars or having a drink of water. God, that was annoying. I give this performance five hellbeasts.
The Darkness w/ Pleasure Club @ The Roxy
Okay, I guess I'll start off with the opening act, Pleasure Club. They were really creepy, and not in a good way. The music was inoffensive, but they looked so ridiculous that it was difficult to pay attention to it . They were four men who appeared to be approaching middle age. The singer dressed like a vintage stockbroker turned over-the-hill lounge singer, meanwhile the guitarist and bassist looked like that one warden from Cool Hand Luke. They were wearing black shirts and pants, and black hats. The bassist seemed pissed off at a photographer in the audience and the guitarist seemed completely out of it. The worst part of all was when they started getting close, sharing a microphone and looking like they were going to make out or something. One bit of advice: If you’re going to do that, make sure you’re young and hot (e.g. the Libertines), instead of old and not. Also, what was with the singer and his trumpet? He kept bringing it out but failed to play anything interesting on it. He used it to play, what, two whole notes in lieu of a guitar solo? Finally, the drummer was wearing khakis. KHAKIS! Is that even legal? I give this performance three hellbeasts.
Now, on to The Darkness. The Darkness atoned for the other disappointments of that evening. Those guys kick ass live. Their strength is that they're having so much fun onstage that you can't help but have fun too. I heard some guy in the audience mutter, "If that guy shows up in anything but spandex, people are gonna be pissed." Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins did not disappoint, making a costume change from some pink spandex pants straight outta David Lee Roth's closet (with a black and white cow skull pattern!), into a zebra print spandex jumpsuit Freddie Mercury would have envied. Onstage, he has a persona that is similar to Roth, but he's not so obnoxious that you'd want to punch him. Which is definitely a good thing. The music is all fist pumping riffs and crazy-ass falsetto singing and rock excess and exuberance. The people in the front were mostly insane, with their hands in the air and shouting every word. There was this sweaty, hyperactive super fan behind me who kept grabbing my arm and making me pump my fist in the air. Like I said at the beginning, it was a blast. It wasn't the best show I've seen this year, but it was probably the most fun. I give this performance eight hellbeasts.
Friday, September 19, 2003
No, I'm not dead. I've just had a variety of unpleasant, well, schoolwork to do this week. And the world of music news has been fairly slow.
I have, however, managed to pick up a few new CDs.
I am working out the kinks in my reviewing system (it's not your standard five star reviewing system), and writing the reviews. But I must continue tomorrow. Or Sunday. Because I am very tired and have a self-defense class at 9am. I will share the tips on how to kick some ass. And I'll have to write an Ode to the In-N-Out on Sunset. Because that place rules.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Don is a man I met on September 11, 2001. Don and I became "disaster buddies," and ever since, I've wanted to thank him for hanging out with me and helping me keep it together -- but I haven't seen or heard from him since we parted ways late that morning.
People, let's help Sars find Don. If you know people in New York, or have some kind of web page (where you could post a link), check out this site.
Hot Hot Heat are testing out some new material on the road, they describe one song as "bizarre sounding" and another as having a "Native American feel". If you've got a ticket to Friday's show at the Avalon, you are one lucky bastard.
The Onion A.V. Club interviews Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes.
Meanwhile, the regular paper informs us that rock history is written by losers. Well, duh.
Monday, September 15, 2003
Imagine: Your whole town gets free concert tickets if it changes its name from Agra to Viagra. To change or not to change? Here is the story of a daring town that made the right choice. I salute them, for having their priorities straight, even though the show they plan to attend will probably suck ass.
Those dudes at Playboy are running out of ideas...or they're just trying to stir shit up seeing as they have invited Wal-Mart (a chain known for censoring just about everything that moves) employees to pose nude for their magazine. This informative article also yields today's funniest quote:
"We knew that this would be a very provocative thing for us to do," said John Thomas, editor of Playboy.com. "Wal-Mart has a conservative corporate image and we knew they wouldn't be thrilled. But
we're hoping that the company will be pleased once they see how fun the pictures are and how empowered the women at Wal-Mart feel."
Saturday, September 13, 2003
I think any college student could appreciate this article.
So I took this Wilshire express bus back from Santa Monica. The bus stops in Beverly Hills, around Rodeo Drive. This guy gets on the bus with his girlfriend, they appear to be in their late twenties and they're obviously tourists. So the girlfriend is asking the driver where La Cienega is, meanwhile the guy goes and sits down. As he does this, a fat woman (in her early forties?) with crooked teeth cries out, "Sir! Sir!" while patting the seat next to her with a suggestive smile on her face. He ignores her, but the lady persists until she sees the girlfriend walk up to him. She then pouts and puts her purse back on the seat.
It doesn't seem that funny in print, but I assure you it was in person.
Yesterday, I went to see ULTRACHRIST! And found out that tickets could not be purchased at the box office. That was not cool. The Sherlock feature on my Mac said that the Arclight was showing Lost In Translation at 11:15, but I got there and the last showing was at 10:40, which I had missed. I thought I could go hang out at Amoeba, but they close at 11 on Friday night. So it was a pretty worthless evening. But, I did learn something very interesting: The Kills are gonna do a free show at Amoeba (Sept. 22 @ 7pm). Oh, and I'm now a member at the Arclight, even though I rarely see movies. So I guess it wasn't an entirely worthless evening.
Also, I met a ton of freaks. Even more than usual. I think the funniest freak was the one waiting for the subway who sounded high and asked very quietly if I had seen any police around. Good thing he wasn't drawing any attention to himself...unless you count the ridiculous, silver plastic "bling bling" he was wearing around his neck.
And then there was that ass who felt like playing 20 questions when I was trying to get to the Arclight. He was also full of lame ass pickup lines, like, "I sure would like to fall in love with you tonight." The 20 questions were questions like, "Where do you usually hang out, so I can see you again?" and "Would you like to do something tonight?" Yeah, I'm gonna drop all my fucking plans for the evening to hang out with your creepy, desperate ass. Sure, I'd be delighted to tell you where I hang out, so you can stalk me. Weirdo.
Supposedly, Los Angeles is home to more single men than any other city in the US. The problem is that they are single for a reason.
Friday, September 12, 2003
Bad news first: The Man in Black died early this morning. He was 71.
Better news: Rolling Stone reports that Interpol is set to head back into the studio early next year to record a followup to 2002's Turn On The Bright Lights. The record is expected for release next fall.
It's about fucking time!! Detroit gets its very own Hard Rock Cafe.
This is just weird. Who knew that Walt Disney and Salvador Dali were working on a film?
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Gah! This is fucking scary. What kind of sick bastards play Celine Dion hits on electric pianos? I'd sue too!
I just saw this great Strongbad cartoon, in which he suggests some "good" band names to some kid ("take a really cool word and spell it wrong...").
The Snopes board has a discussion of bands that use names like "Free Beer" to lure an audience.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
According to MTV, the Pixies have reunited and are planning to tour this April. If all goes well, fans may get a new studio album.
"Jessica....Jessica Simpson...you've got it all wrong..."
-Adam Green, "Jessica"
Holy crap! I never even knew this show existed! If I had a tv, I would probably watch it...and laugh my ass off. What kind of person "wonders if her tuna fish is really tuna because it's called Chicken of the Sea"? At least people have the good sense to make fun of this.
I just picked up my ticket for the Strokes show at the Palladium. Yeah, I posted yesterday that tickets don't go on sale until the 20th. But, as most fans already know, there's a better way.
Check this out.
My pal Crazy J wrote a touching tribute to her many cars, from the Mofomobile to the Project Prowlah to the uh, "new" car. I tried to get her to use the Tempo to drive us up to Toronto to see The Libertines and Adam Green last month, but she was too afraid. I guess that was a good thing. If you would like to give Crazy J your car (hey, that's where she got the Project Prowlah, someone gave it to her), email me and we'll work something out.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
The LA Strokes dates have been announced, they are: October 22 at the Palladium and October 23 at the Shrine Auditorium. Thank God they're not at the Greek. Tickets go onsale September 20.
Yesterday: Pete Libertine goes to prison. Today: "Free Pete Doherty" shirts are available.
Speaking of Pete, some more songs, dubbed the "Chicken Shack Sessions", are available for download here.
Monday, September 08, 2003
A friend of mine just told me about the Silver Lake Film Festival. I'm not exactly a film buff (or even a film person), but I did notice some interesting music-based films:
BETTY BLOWTORCH (AND HER AMAZING TRUE LIFE ADVENTURES) (TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 7:00PM / BARNSDALL GALLERY THEATRE)
This riveting documentary is as fierce and funny as its subject, a legendary LA riot girl band. Starting with their incarnation as post-punk Butt Trumpt, and taking us through rehab rebanding as Betty Blowtorch, this film is packed with live footage of did-we-really-see-that moments (look for Vanilla Ice with a monster bong) and ending with the tragic death of leader Bianca Halstead, Betty Blowtorch brings out the punker--or at least metalhead--in us all.
COME FEEL ME TREMBLE (WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 7:30PM / BARNSDALL GALLERY THEATRE)
Paul Westerberg is one of the most influential and critically acclaimed musicians of the post-punk era and former frontman of the legendary band The Replacements. In this close-up and personal film, we see Westerberg in the studio, on the road, and musing about life as a musician in a time when mediocrity rules the radio. . .and the day. A must for any fan of alternative grooves.
MY LIFE WITH MORRISSEY (SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 12:00AM/LOS FELIZ 3)
November spawned a monster, but director Andrew Overtoom dishes out mirth and misery in this shot-in-LA film. Jackie’s a hapless secretary who lives, sleeps, and dreams Morrissey. As her obsession grows, she starts stalking star-map addresses for signs of this charming man; soon enough, her life spirals out of control. But hey--every day’s like Sunday in this kitschy romp. Shown with “The Making of. . .”, full of folk even more Morrissey-mad than you. Jump into the Moz Pit we’ve all been waiting for!
ULTRACHRIST! (FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 12:00AM / LOS FELIZ 3)
Jesus in spandex and cape? In modern Manhattan, the answer’s a definite yes. In an effort to save today’s youth, the Big Man becomes savior and superhero--and an instant sensation in NYC. But Satan’s waiting in the wings with Hitler, Richard Nixon, and Jim Morrison of the Doors. Smart, sweet, and downright irreverent, Ultrachrist! shows us a heaven and earth you won’t soon forget. Let the Holy Wars begin!
Actually, that isn't all of them, but those are the ones I'm considering seeing. Well, I do know I'm definitely gonna see Ultrachrist! (which is music-related because Jim Morrison is in it. Duh). And I'll probably check out the Morrissey movie, provided all the LA Morrissey Obsessives haven't bought all the tickets.
I had been meaning to post about this earlier, but I lacked the time. UltraTart has found some priceless dating advice from a Seventeen etiquette book from the sixties. There have been three installments so far:
Pete Libertine was sentenced to six months in prison today for burgling bandmate Carl's flat. Guess that reconciliation isn't going to happen anytime soon. It'll be interesting to see if that new outtakes album is used as an effort to stall the recording of new songs, or if they plan to record while Pete is in prison.
Sunday, September 07, 2003
ATP Pacific has finally announced its daily lineups. Iggy and the Stooges are playing on November 9, headlining the outdoor stage. That's really all you need to know.
Today I stumbled across a couple of links that made me feel nostalgic:
This site finally reveals the face of Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. I will warn you though, it's very disappointing (in fact, upon viewing, my mom retorted, "His cat's scarier". I think that says it all).
Also, not surprisingly, there's a website for Magic Eye. Those things were all the rage back in fifth grade!
Saturday, September 06, 2003
I finally got around to picking up a copy of the LA Weekly. There's a really good article about the West Memphis Three. Turns out there's going to be an art show/ fundraiser at the sixspace gallery (549 W. 23rd Street) in downtown. The exhibit runs from September 6 through 20, and will feature artwork by Marilyn Manson, Exene Cervenka, and Raymond Pettibon, to name a few.
Do you have a PC and use a P2P program? This software can hide your file sharing from RIAA informants.
"If there's anybody lazier than me, it's Eric [Clapton]," says Keith Richards.
Dumbasses are getting tattoos of Asian characters without having any idea what they mean:
Kendrick says she's had one woman ask her to verify that her tattoo said "beautiful woman." Sadly, Kendrick had to tell the woman it read "beautiful man."
This reminds me of an entertaining article (go to the bottom of the page) at Snopes:
There is supposedly at least one tattoo studio in the continental US which has, in amongst all the stock designs on the walls, the Chinese for "I'm so stupid that I don't know what this means."
I took a trip to Little Tokyo yesterday. I picked up some Pocky (except it was unisex Pocky, I guess. Pretty tasty, though) and had dinner at this place called the Shabu Shabu House, where I managed to eat an entire meal with chopsticks (out of necessity, there were no normal utensils to be found). Shabu shabu is a type of meal where you dunk raw beef and vegetables into a vat of boiling water. With chopsticks. I think the best thing about my dining experience was watching the people next to me, who were just as clueless, attempting to eat their meal. At first, nobody knows what the hell to do, so whenever someone does something, all the other first timers repeat the very same action, unbeknownst to them that the first person has no clue either. Next time I go, I think I'll dump both bowls of sauce, and then my napkin in the boiler pot and see if anyone follows suit. And then you're gonna lose half your meal in the boiler and be unable to retrieve it. The guy next to me kept muttering, "This isn't worth the effort."
Oh, and of course, I picked up some primo Engrish stuff. Well, just one thing: a planner of sorts that reads, "Funny Skydiving". It then tells a very heartwarming story:
Pucca is a sweet daughter of the Chinese restaurant. She is a mania to a zzazzangmyeon. Her boyfriend is GARU. He always chased by her. You will going to expect their funny lovestory.
On the bottom of the cover, it says:
Garu is the boy whom Pucca likes very much. Soundless Jumping power and remarkable landing is his ability.
What an extraordinary story! I never knew that restaurants could give birth! But what the hell is a zzazzangmyeon? And what is up with Garu's "soundless jumping power"? Does that mean he doesn't scream when he jumps out of the plane?
And then there's the character of Garu himself. He has pigtails, and wears a black shirt with a big, red heart on it. And he looks pissed off in every picture, because of the way his eyebrows jut inward.
Well, maybe he is pissed off. I guess I would be if I looked that ridiculous.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
My friends and I often discuss how disposable bands were in the mid-90s. There were so many bands that had one song (or maybe, just maybe, two or three) and were never heard from again, as opposed to today, when even the worst bands get to release at least three singles. It seems some of these bands, however, have been making a comeback. Didn't the Gin Blossoms tour over the summer? And Tim DeLaughter, once the frontman of Tripping Daisy, now leads The Polyphonic Spree. I think I read somewhere that the band Hum got back together. Well, here's another band that's attempting a comeback.
The Strokes are going to take the Kings of Leon on tour . It'll start on Oct. 9 in Philadelphia. Besides a second night in Philly, the only other confirmed show is Oct. 16 at the State Theatre in Detroit. We Angelenos will probably get two or three nights at the huge, god awful Greek Theater, which is just no place for a rock show. Couldn't we get three or four nights at the Palladium instead? Dammit. It's things like this that make me miss Detroit. LA venues suck.
On the other hand, it's probably not even necessary for me to mention how good The Strokes are live. But I'll say it anyway. They're even better than people say they are. Really.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Well, it's about time. Next thing you know, they'll try to release music actually worth buying.
Oh, nevermind, I'm dreaming again.
Wow... upon reading this news , I'm actually GLAD I don't own a TV.
Hell, maybe I should just get rid of my phone too .
Wow...you don't wanna steal this guy's cab. (Link via The Modern Age)
Is it just me, or does that last line seem a little goofy? What does the fact that Chris Martin is dating Gwyneth Paltrow have to do with his drummer being an ass?
More news on the Libertines. No, it doesn't involve arrests.
The U.S. release date for The Darkness album has been moved up to September 16. I didn't know they were only playing three North American shows (though I don't really care, since one is at the Roxy.)
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Shortlist finalists announced, concert date/ceremony set for October 5 @ the Wiltern. Peformers include Interpol, Bright Eyes, Cat Power, Black Keys, and Damien Rice. For more info, see the official website .
Guided By Voices announce more tour dates, including an October 16 show at the House of Blues.
High school just wouldn't be the same without a few shitty student bands. Who can forget the good old days of attempting unsuccessful Green Day covers in the den and having your bassist sleep through rehearsals?
Hey! I thought we were supposed to be the vainest people in the world! Get your shit together Angelenos!
(On a side note: Who the fuck would seriously consider beauty products as essentials? I can just imagine someone making a list of essentials and saying "Food? Check. Water? Check. Shelter? Check. Eyeliner? Check.")
In other sad news, someone reported to the Tri-County Times:
The "man" hunt for the outlaw beaver from Holly is over (train wreck, soccer trees). Sadly, his body was found this weekend on Grange Hall Road, apparently the victim of a hit and run. There are no suspects, nor any eye witnesses. He was a beaver to be admired. I dare say an American hero. His fierce independence in the face of adversity and his lone quest for freedom was legendary. Beaver - I salute you.
Perhaps even more tragic is the fact that this will be the most interesting news they hear all week.
Monday, September 01, 2003
And I thought extraterrestrial lifeforms were supposed to be intelligent.
Everybody I know, especially the parking attendant outside of St. Andrews Hall, would appreciate it if I had a car like this.
Hours of Fun
Burned By The Sun