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  • History Resets Happen

    30. Dez. 2008, 17:57

    Resetting my history thanks to resetting iTunes. Migrating libraries from a Mac to Windows is a pain in the ass, expect to take a full day, expect to lose all your ratings and play counts, expect the Red Sparowes to refuse to play nicely, and most of all, expect any and all pieces of hardware involved to refuse to function from time to time.

    But... On the other hand I mysteriously gained a couple thousand songs from my OS X backups (most of which were deleted long ago for good reasons). I also get to claim to be mostly Mac free. It is an odd thing to say, since only five or so years ago I was happy to claim the opposite. Sadly, my recent Mac experiences has been painful enough to make me forswear off of them for the foreseeable future.

    Seriously. The damn Mac must have seen this coming. It even refused to recognize the FAT32 formatted hardrive I've been using as a backup drive for 2 years. A problem it never had before. The much maligned Vista, though gladly accepted it. Because of this I was forced to use the MacDrive/Yamitunes solution to attempt to retrieve anything younger than two months old off my Apple formatted iPod.

    Never EVER settle for the default Apple formatting on your iPods; all you kids who received them for xmas. It sounds nice, but it has been a pain more often than a boon (which it never has actually been).

    Another silver lining behind this reset is that Nine Inch Nails will stop mysteriously appearing as my "favortist band evar". For some odd reason NIN has completely edged out EVERYTHING I listen to. I swear it is the Radioheadof this intereset era. These bands dominate not because I like them, but because they are so innocuous/familiar I don't even notice when their playing anymore. My brain just blacks them out, whether I'm in the mood to listen to them or not,

    Also it is simply impossible to NOT be in the mood for either, which isn't quite a compliment.

    That said. The reset button is clicked.
  • Russian Circles/Daughters, a show. (sprinkled liberally with assorted miscellany)

    19. Jun. 2008, 19:04

    A review of the"Russian Circles/Daughters", because I'm bored.

    First impression, The Clubhouse does all-ages shows much better than usual, either that or this attracted a better crowd than the last all ages show I saw, Tortoise, at the Rhythm Room, which was just an unmitigated mire of suck. This is both because there as some degree of air conditioning, and because they allowed me to be a lush, without being disturbed by puppies (I'm guessing the feeling would be mutual). The only odd thing was that the puppies weren't allowed to leave. As if being under 21 precludes being over 18 (and thus one of the few blessed smokers).

    The first "band", was not a band. It was a guy. I don't know who he was. But he managed to do guitar, drums, and vocals, all on his own, which is impressive. I kept hoping he'd strap a harmonica on (ala Bob Dylan), or maybe bolt a violin to his shoulder, and duct tape the bow to his chin. Upside, he managed to do three things at once I can't do, downside, everything he did sounded vaguely like Isis. Adding to the upside, he had a plastic owl, so I kept on having bizarre Twin Peaks flashbacks.

    Things happened.

    The first of the "headliners" (is this term appropriate for small venues?), a band called Daughters, popped up. For some reason a friend of a friend decided to move to the front, three feet from a towering speaker, instead of being sensable and hiding behind various cordons keeping the booze away from the kids. This band never impressed me, listening to them on their page here, and always stuck me as undeserving of the "" tag, unless our version of math involves random numbers, and the trajectories of bodily fluid.

    They were bad. REALLY REALLY BAD. It was just a wall of piercing noise, while the frontman hopped about twitching and throwing spit on the audience (who seemed oddly okay with this), and himself, between bouts of playing with his "manhood". It was hideous. That said, I will see them again. I never laughed so damn hard in my whole life, I almost vomited twice, I was laughing so hard, my ribs still hurt. The only sad thing was that the rest of the audience was taking it all so damn seriously.

    If DaDa got pissed off, and was turned into music, this would be it. The band played with so much enthusiasm, much more that than style. Which is odd, since there were moments where you realized that each of them were obviously talented, but were choosing not to be, for dramatic effect.

    Looking at their little blurb here; it says that they are ""... I don't think that that is appropriate, unless that "genre" has become a genre in itself with a proscribed sound and style, like "", and "" before it, and not simply a statement meaning that they are trying new things. As amusing as they were, experimental they weren't.

    I ramble. So, finally came the moment of "truth" (if you grant me this weak linguistic cliche), Russian Circles. Their two albums are impressive, managing to throw together the hardness of metal, with the subtlety of post-rock. Some of this subtlety was lost at the show, by no fault of their own. It was to damn LOUD to actually pick out nuance, until roughly half way through the set, where things got absolutely awesome. Incidentally, the volume was consistently excessive throughout the whole show. I don't know if this is normal (albeit pointless), or if I'm just getting old.

    Outside of the volume washing out some of the nuances, they were quite everything I expected, and very impressive live, even if the drummer sounded like he was working on a nice cold. For the second half, volume gave way to nice ambiance, and waves of harmonics. It was all very enveloping. Talking like this makes me giggle at myself.

    The drummer, here, deserves special notice. With his obvious cold, and the oppressive heat, he still managed to impress. He's tied for first in my "most impressive small-venue drummer" catagory, along with the American from the Red Elvises. He obviously doesn't hold a stick (ahem!) to Danny Carey from Tool, or Tomas Haake ofMeshuggah, but he's young so has room to be more impressive with age (like cheese).

    The audience was rather standard fare, though somewhat light on the people making statements on their individuality, which is refreshing. Oddly, this is one of the few times that the audience didn't stand around for the "encore" mantra, and just filed quickly out the second Russian Circles left the stage (followed even more quickly by last call). I would like to attribute this to empathy for the drummer and his halos of sweat, rather than a lack of ambition on the behalf of the audience.

    Final impressions, it was enjoyable, albeit far to loud. I think I'm getting too old for this stuff, my legs still hurt, and my ears rang for hours, and it left me altogether tired. I'd do it again, though, but enjoy it from a sensible distance, perhaps with ear muffs.

    (odd, I was mocking the venue for having an advert for $2 ear plugs in the men's room, but now I understand. If it necessary though, or just a marketing scheme, the louder it is, the more $2 volume sacrifices they can pocket?)
  • New Albums, impressions, lack of syntax...

    21. Feb. 2008, 20:25

    The new Dillinger Escape Plan album, Ire Works is good, but disappointing. It follows the progression of which Miss Machine was a symptom, meaning it plunges more into the melodic than any of their previous offerings, and includes more Pattonesque moments of quasi-melodiousness. Yes the Faith No More cloning only exists on a track or two, but it still manages to distract me from what I like about DES, getting hit in the head with violent sounds, wrapped in razor blades, and perhaps coated in... coated in... er... something nasty. Sometimes the combination of two goods doesn't quite equal another, greater, good. This one time I decided to mix beans and sardines, it wasn't as good as either component, to understate. Ire Works IS better than beans and sardines, much, I dare say it even is tasty, but not as tasty as Calculating Infinity, or even Miss Machine.

    Kiss Kiss Kill Kill by the HorrorPops, on the other hand, suffers from the opposite disease, stasis. This album sounds almost EXACTLY like the previous two. Yes its good, but the similitude makes it seem rather formulaic (though I guess all "hip" niches must be to some extent). It still is good, but it doesn't grab you anymore. The only real change is a slackening of the "horror", moving more towards songs of life, romance, and defiance. Which also is sad, since I would be happier if I could append "zombie" to each of these, thusly: songs of zombie life, zombie romance, and zombie defiance; now wasn't that better?

    I'm ashamed to actually admit to liking the Hot Hot Heat, but I guess we all need our pop. Silly thoughtless music which we can bob our heads mindlessly too, like a Jesus dashboard bobble-head, Hot Hot Heat is good for this, or was. Happiness LTD. isn't happy. Well, let me rephrase this, its more of the bipolar sort, careening randomly between joyous pop and oddly depressing ballads of er... bad (zombie) love. Still a good album, it draws more heavily on New Wave-ish constuction and noises, which is always a plus to me. New Wave and Zombies can never hurt anything. It pains my image to say this, but Hot Hot Heat, and those who constitute it, are definatly competent musicians.

    Moving on to the two REALLY impressive offerings (or rather 1.5 as we shall see):

    The Mars Volta is a BEAST of a band, they NEVER have disappointed me. Thats a lie, when I first heard them I thought I was listening to either Rush or Iron Maiden, neither of which are on my top 1.8 Billion, but like some sort of virulent prog-rock plague, they grew on me. Their new album The Bedlam in Goliath, is absolutely the bee's knees. It is the epitamy of Awesome Sauce. It is chock full of New Wave Zombie Goodness, though completely lacking bees, zombies, New Wave, and probably even sauce. Reading the reviews here, I noticed people bitching about the use of voice filters on this album, which is dumb. Its experimental prog rock, complaining about "zomg something new" is rather outside of the definition of the beast itself. That said, this album is a must, just for the creepy factor, for it is one of the creepier albums I've ever heard.

    Verbosity, ftw.

    Finally the upcoming Meshuggahrecord ObZen, from what I've heard of it, is going to be their best yet. From the track or two I've heard it is slower than their previous offerings (meaning damn fast, and not damn bloody fast), and offers more variation of the guitar work outside of the machine driven throb which we all are familiar with. I guess the way to put it is; its more musical. I like music, so... We can draw a conclusion here. I'll wait. Cutting to the gristle, it sounds good, I like it, I will buy it whenever it comes out.

    I, for one, welcome our zombie overlords.
  • Reset.. Tubula Rasa = Panacea

    21. Feb. 2008, 19:33

    At around 15,000 due to creeping crud. One lesson learned though is that Radiohead is rather mediocre popcorn, haven't had much desire to listen to it since college, but I can never tell its on to skip it. It just plays and doesn't move me enough to quickly skip it, or listen to it even, it just passes by. Radiohead is my sonic blind spot.

    To the best of my recollection the top bands were Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Clutch, and the HorrorPops. Telling me that I have rather pedestrian taste in music, even with the diversity. Though this could also be explained by me owning full discographies of these bands, and relying heavily on iTune's shuffle feature (in all its schizophrenic joy).

    Thus Radiohead is exiled to the Land of Unchecked Clicky Boxes (the lesser known land northwest of Eden) to wait for the odd occurrence when I want to be Emo, but more respectable, though that level of self-loathing might be better handled by various means, such as...
  • 10,000

    4. Jun. 2007, 20:16

    So... 10,000. Does this mean I should go and clear my music, or not? I am tempted, I must admit, I miss being able to see artists fight for dominance, or fall into obscurity (no matter how much I claim to like them), but on the other hand isn't it within the idea of this service to build as accurate a list as possible?

    I'll ponder this a bit longer. Feel free (oh random readers) to chip in your opine at will.

    The meat of this journal is me just preserving, for "posterity", my tastes, as they stand, at 10,00 (+62), so prepare for a list, though I may chop out the bottom bit, for the sake of laziness.

    Deerhoof 169
    Nine Inch Nails 165
    Tool 162
    Tortoise 159
    John Zorn 154
    Fantômas 154
    Clutch 153
    The Red Elvises 152
    DeVotchKa 150
    The Clash 148

    All quality, as expected. I'm surprised, though, about Deerhoof being on there, I like them, but I would never call them my favorite. Nine Inch Nails is mostly on there because of the release of Year Zero. Clutch, too, is rather surprising, while I do like my Clutch, I'm not sure they are "top-ten" material.

    Secret Chiefs 3 145
    Radiohead 139
    Dead Kennedys 138
    System of a Down 138
    Isis 136
    Reverend Horton Heat 125
    Gogol Bordello 124
    The Dillinger Escape Plan 123
    HorrorPops 120
    Faith No More 119
    Violent Femmes 117
    Strapping Young Lad 117
    Melt-Banana 113
    Nouvelle Vague 113
    The Unicorns 113

    I'm not sure what the above says about me. I think that the above about covers everything. As for the rest:

    The Cure
    Explosions in the Sky
    DJ Shadow
    Queens of the Stone Age
    Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
    Mastodon
    Tin Hat Trio
    Elysian Fields
    Meshuggah
    Led Zeppelin
    Ozzy Osbourne
    Ministry
    Pelican
    Poe
    Eyvind Kang
    Conjure One
    Hot Hot Heat
    Iggy Pop
    David Bowie
    Tomahawk
    Mr. Bungle
    Faun Fables
    VNV Nation
    Soundgarden
    AC/DC

    I suppose I could be embarassed by being almost 30, male, and listening to Poe. I refuse to be. As for the rest, it sits well without comment.

    As for the statistics, I have an AEP of 4.58 (AEP being how preferred my top 5 are out of my top 50, basically showing that I don't have an exponential graph, meaning I have a broader range). My "Mainstream" rating is 23.41%, meaning I'm pretty "mainstream", which is rather strange. But I suppose I do listen to some "mainstream" bands, but I never would have thought that that would entail that I was. Heh...

    But I don't have a good rap-up for this. So... I suppose what I lack in "non-mainstreaminess" I make up for in shear diversity.
  • My Top Recommendations :

    11. Apr. 2007, 10:34

    It's been awhile since I bitched about how last.fm handles things. I was trying the "my recommendations radio", and was kept in a state of shock of the amount of pure crap it kept streaming at me. So I decide to see what last.fm actually thinks I want to listen too, and this is what I find:
    Modest Mouse
    Muse
    Sonic Youth
    Gorillaz
    The Strokes
    Interpol
    Weezer
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    Foo Fighters
    Coldplay
    Green Day
    The Flaming Lips
    The Killers
    The Arcade Fire
    The Smashing Pumpkins
    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Pixies
    Bloc Party
    The White Stripes
    Depeche Mode


    None of which is a band I actually would care to listen to, EVER. Rhetorically, how the hell did last.fm decide I'm really into pop masquerading as indie? Seriously, they actually included music that I would rather rip out my ear drums with a spoon, than listen to (The White Stripes, and Pixies, being about on top of the pile of unbearable). Sure I might listen to Depeche Mode in a moment of weakness, and have a soft spot of Smashing Pumpkins, But Coldplay and Bright Eyes? I blame being on a Radiohead kick of late (somewhat inadvertently, iTunes was in the mood, and I wasn't unwilling), but still it isn't as if it was all I listened too.

    The thing that really gets me is that I can't correct it. I can't tell it that I really don't want to listen to any of this, EVER. The fact that listening to one pop band can make it seem like I like every pop band is rather ridiculous. They should fix this so the results don't constantly get skewed towards popularity instead of preference. Granted the weekly rating do work somewhat, with some cleaning, though generally the artist recommendations work much better.

    Speaking of, what is a good Opeth CD to listen to, to give them a try? Same for a silver mount zion, both seem rather solid (though I still will insult Opeth until they completely prove me wrong).
  • The Rantings of a Ranting Thing

    29. Mär. 2007, 10:00

    Damn missing The Asylum Street Spankers. Thank you strep throat. Yet another inconvenience due to some arrogant malign bacteria (not that I can complain too much, it has allowed me some good time to bond with my Wii, and the various epochs of Zelda).

    I was even going to write up the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum/Secret Chiefs 3 gig in warm, sunny (fah!) Tucson. But I think the grotesque weather, and obscene amount of leg work weakened my immune system. A further pox on Tucson (another of the many uttered over the course of last weekend). To be brief, since I'm getting tired, and its about time to self-medicate (you know what they say "feed a cold, starve the flu, and throw drugs at strep until it drowns in them, then continue for another week or so"), it was a very good show. The Secret Chiefs won, by far, I was blown away. Not to say that Sleepytime wasn't, they were vary good (sans the levels on the vocal mics), but SC3 pwned, pure and simple, far beyond my expectations.

    New Sleepytime Gorilla Museum album to add to the growing list of releases for this year. June, I think, I don't quite remember, must be one of those things that getting completely lit obliterated over the evening.
  • Quicky Analysis

    6. Mär. 2007, 0:33

    Fantômas 66
    The Clash 59
    DeVotchKa 59 (tied for second)
    The Red Elvises 56
    Tool 54
    Isis 50
    Clutch 49
    Deerhoof 47
    Tortoise 45
    The Dillinger Escape Plan 44

    Or by time:

    Isis 6:04:21
    Tool 6:02:04
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor. 3:57:37
    Tortoise 3:53:13
    The Mars Volta 3:34:37
    Explosions in the Sky 3:28:31
    Devotchka 3:25:37
    The Red Elvises 3:24:36
    Clutch 3:17:10

    Not sure how to think of a rational (in both senses) system to weigh both time and count, to make a true top ten list. Any mathematically inclined folk want to take a crack at this?

    Roughly 2483 tracks total, or 7 days 16:27:29 hours. Not bad for a month of actually using this service (short one, at that!) My AES thingy is 4.32.

    According to the widget I am:
    • 1. Fant�mas = 42337
    • 2. The Clash = 300386
    • 3. DeVotchKa = 20546
    • 4. The Red Elvises = 1607
    • 5. Tool = 274617
    • 6. Isis = 58064
    • 7. Clutch = 24102
    • 8. Deerhoof = 88320
    • 9. Tortoise = 67747
    • 10. The Dillinger Escape Plan = 62932
    • 11. Nouvelle Vague = 82674
    • 12. Dead Kennedys = 99347
    • 13. Strapping Young Lad = 45660
    • 14. John Zorn = 30194
    • 15. Violent Femmes = 101972
    Makes an average of 86700.3333333 listeners. The average Last.fm-top10-band has 502087.6 listeners, so I am 17.27 Mainstream. Take the test at mainstream.freevicente.com
  • Deerhoof, something something, a review of sorts.

    5. Mär. 2007, 13:39

    Sun 4 Mar – Deerhoof, Macromantics, a review, or perhaps an anthropology lesson, one can never be quite sure when one gets home at 6am, after a long night of music and bar hopping.

    So, arriving at the Rhythm Room I knew that the evening would be interesting. This is the first all ages venue I've been to since I was 17 or so, I forgot how young kids look, immediately I felt old. The crowd was full of young hipsters in all forms of purposely eccentric dress, the younger they were the tighter their pants were. Fashion definitely has moved on. The audience was pretty evenly split between kids and the over 21 crowd. It was an interesting crowd, one that I was completely unfamiliar with. I really felt like I didn't fit in. Not that any of this matter, we're all here for the music, no?

    The first band opens, Experimental Dental School. they were surprisingly decent, even though the lead guy reminded me of my 19 year old dorm mate, a complete wanker. The music, aside from the flashbacks, was very driving, and had a good chaotic beat. It sounded somewhat like some forgotten Mike Patton project. The down side, though, was that they seemed rather distant, out of it. Not that I blame them, the crowd didn't seem into it, standing motionless, like tree stumps. I don't know if that was an intention "scene" thing, or not, like some idiotic resurgence of , or just some odd failure to connect. I seriously have never seen such an unresponsive audience. it was kind of sad, and caused me to chug two PBR's and retreat to the smoking area. It is a shame, since I think this band seriously has talent, and potential.

    The next "band" was the Australian nectromantis, er... Macromantics... I really don't want to go into this, it probably was the longest half hour of suck I've ever been subjected too. I was hoping a real hip-hopper type person would come out and unleash some holy mushroom print action. Perhaps some hopped up DJ Shadow, or Dan the Automator... It was bad. VERY VERY BAD. I'm glad the woman can spell, she has a leg up on most of the victims of the American education system, but spelling your name over and over is... well lets just say it doesn't require much talent. It really reminded me of going to bad poetry slams, with half the talent (which might be a negative number, if such things were quantifiable). The high light of this set was another two PBRs, and realizing the Snoop Dogg artfully can cough up haiku:

    Rolling down the street
    Smoking endo, sipping on
    gin and juice, laid back.


    Yes, it was that bad. Why do rappers, as such, insist on talking about nothing but how bad-ass they are? A rather annoying feature.

    Behold, finally our feature, Deerhoof, which was all that I expected and more. Unlike the first set, they were completely into it, what competence was lacking was made up by pure passion. The guitarist snapped two strings, and played on blissfully, his guitar was a beater, and none of this affected the quality of the show, it might have even improved it. The drummer reminded me of Animal in his intensity, and the singer chick, Satomi Matsuzaki, was absolutely adorable. The pure wall of noise they laid down was enveloping, and some what hypnotizing. The chaotic riffs overwhelming. There was even an odd fuzzy robotic dog named "peanut". My only fault was the length, it was only an hour set. More would have been welcome.

    Again, though, the crowd was odd. No more movement that rapid head bobs, and some out of place hair-metal style head swings. It seemed gauche to move anything below the hips, which is a new sight to me. Are kids too cool to dance these days? Another thing is that everyone took it so seriously. How the hell can you treat a song about pandas as second only to the second coming of Christ? Deerhoof is cute, amusing, and rather silly, admit it. None of this detracts from their value as music, if anything it adds to it. It was fun, but it seemed that the audience was dead-set on not having it, even while the band was obviously having it. Ten there was the young girl who looked like a exile from the 80's (but lucky to be born in the very tale end of that poor decade, if even), perhaps a young incarnation of a back-up singer from Jem, or the Scorpions, sadly she heard of neither, we asked. It did make me want to jump and stage between sets, and belt out some Bon Jovi, just for her. But sadly they were long gone when she was conceived.

    Yes, the good ol' "kids these days" rant. Seriously, I felt out of place, one of the oldest there outside the parent/chaperones sitting uncomfortably butting against the red drinking barrier.

    Afterwards to a bar, recommended by some strangers. Not quite the proper setting, so off to a good ghetto pub, with friendly faces (of much lower income brackets, and less talk of rumored whore houses in Phoenix).

    Overall a surreal, but enjoyable, evening. It might be my last all ages show, though. Sadly I fear the upcoming Asylum Street Spankers show will be all ages (damn "smoking on the patio" notice).

    Sleep now.
  • Discoveries, Concerts, and Linkwhoring.

    2. Mär. 2007, 9:58

    So I finally decided to give the band Isis a try, it has been a recommendations from Amazon for years, but the write ups always make it sound like yet-another metal band. Emusic was offering a free trial, so I decided might as well try them. I am throughly disappointed, not by them, but by the fact I never discovered them earlier. As I said ealier, they are like Tool had sex with Cannibal Corpse (or such) and their offspring raised by something , like GY!BE, or Explosions in the Sky, which is oddly complimentary. I even made them one of the first CD's I've actually bought new in some time, which is also a compliment (I think the last one I bought was It's All Around You, and something else that I must of quickly grown out of). Anyways, I bought Panopticon, since Oceanic was pure genius. Upon getting home from a concert, I decided to give the liner notes a random look, and lo and behold, it proves part of my Tool-CC analogy, some work was put in by Tool's bassist Justin Chancellor. This for some reason excites me.

    I also grabbed Sunn O))) because of the recommendations here, though I'm not quite sure how I feel about them yet, they seem rather solid. A little slow to actually listen too, but it seems rather decent dark ambient music. I do understand the tag now though, very fitting.

    Also, to gather all of the news into one place, I went and saw The Red Elvises concert at the Rhythm room, and it was solid, as expected. They added a "wind" person, playing 2 saxes, a clarinet, and a flute, which was a mixed blessing, the clarinet was rather piercing, but the sax was a good accompaniment to the long jams that one expects from the Elvises. Their new "cover" of Blue Moon was very amusing, with its nonsense lyrics, quasi-beat-boxing. It was nice to see them as energetic as ever, especially after the rather down-key show last time, at the end of a long tour. Definately a band worth seeing live at least once, their gimmick can hide the fact that they are very competent musicians, especially in the long jams, and awesome drum solos (Adam Gust, the Minnesotan drummer, still is one of the greatest drummers I have ever seen, beating much more famous and mainstream drummers into the ground). Also worth the time, is realizing that accordions can be sexy.

    Coming Sunday is Deerhoof, I really don't know what to expect from them. What type of audience goes to see Deerhoof? I'm guessing energetic, but... Seriously, what stereotype fits such a strange band?

    Coming next month is Tortoise, which also going to be enigmatic. I'm guessing an audience of very calm folk.