Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sounds like a horn full of mayonaise; voice like a big bucket.

A true Josh Groban fan.

We at The Rockist Society don't condone the phrase "Black People Music." Music is for all people.*

*Except Swedes. They're douches.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

PSA - A Rockist Guide to Rocking in Your Car

Working about a mile from my house, it's a rare occasion that I use my car more than once per week. Considering the fact that my car no longer has a stereo, I have had to resort to singing to myself, using my BlackBerry as a stereo or listening to my iPod through one ear bud (which I've only done once) on the occasion that I bite the bullet and decide the 3 mile round trip is worth $18 in gas. My ride to work (up Pennsylvania Ave, SE) has been precarious at best due to drivers' listening habits while commuting.

The most prevalent way I see drivers listening to tunes is through their stereo speakers at a reasonable level. While probably the safest and least illegal mode of tune enjoyment, the usual songs that emanate from the open windows consist of talking about confection stores or split personalities.

Every once in a while I see a middle aged woman in her Nissan Maxima, ears clogged with plastic, trying to figure out if clockwise or counterclockwise is louder. Sometimes it's a kid (I can't believe I'm old enough to call minors kids), but usually it's some Josh Groban worshiping menopausal Layne Bryant customer. Oh, and this is totally illegal in DC (unless your iPod has a hands-free accessory that allows you to control the device by voice) and VA. If you are one of these people, please take off your headphones so you can hear me swearing at you and your (presumed) music choice.

The most annoying (and dangerous to Rockist bikers) kind of listening is the kind that has nothing to do with music. It's those darned commuters that have the most ineffective but still effective form of birth control glued to their ear. Here's my one sided version of every conversation: "No Chad, I said we'd play doubles on Saturday... Of course I'll go to the tasting, it's not like I have pilates every day... " I wish they would just put down the phones and listen to some Huey Lewis and the News... or spend time with someone who's obsessed with them.

image courtesy of Bike Snob NYC

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fall Concert Lineups

*not playing

It sure has been a while since the last TRS concert outing. It's shaping up that our wettest outing might very well be our last outing. We did, on the other hand, all see the same band in the same month (granted it was in different states). One was lost to the Windy City, so it seems as though the tri-reviews are extinct. Ah well, that doesn't have to stop the reviews all together. Here are a couple possibilities in the coming months.

Sun 8/31 - Club Scout, Pash, Poor But Sexy - Iota


Fri 9/5 - Dr. Dog, Delta Spirit - Iota
Sat 9/6 - The Walkmen, Golem - 930 Club
Mon 9/8 - Spindrift, Flying Eyes - Velvet Lounge
Wed 9/10 - Silver Jews, Monotonix - Black Cat
Mon 9/22 - Bobby Bare Jr, The Builders and The Butchers - Rock and Roll Hotel
Sat 9/27 - Robert Pollard's Boston Spaceships, The High Strung - Black Cat


Fri 10/3 - Fleet Foxes, Frank Fairfield - Black Cat
Mon 10/6 - Twilight Hotel - Velvet Lounge
Thu 10/9 - The Caribbean, Pale Young Gentlemen - Velvet Lounge
Tue 10/22 - Ben Kweller, Whitley - Rock and Roll Hotel
Fri 10/24 - Plants and Animals, Born Ruffians - Rock and Roll Hotel
Mon 10/27 - Billy Bragg - 930 Club
Tue 10/28 - Jay Reatard, Cola Freaks - Black Cat Backstage

The Walkmen on Fox5 News (NYC)

Holy crap.  Interviews just do not get more awkward than this.  Fox5 local news in New York had The Walkmen on and the results are tremendous.  The new album, You and Me, really does sound good, but not the type of band to liven up a morning show.  Very safe money says Fox doesn't have them back.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TRS on the Campaign Trail: The McCain Blogette

We try to appeal to all party affiliations on this blog. Have we blogged about Ted Nugent? No, not that I can remember. Will we? Probably not. Are the vast majority of our subjects presumed Democrats? Yes. But we assume our readership to represent all manner of parties: We can absolutely confirm that we have at least one libertarian regular reader.
However, one thing we've never managed to cover in the 3+ years that McCain has been actively campaigning for President is his daughter Meghan's blog, McCainBlogette.com. Some of you may have either heard about it or visited it yourself. Like many other kids in their mid-twenties, she likes fashion, movie stars of the day, and a wide variety of music. Her family also has 8 residences and makes a few hundred million dollars (that's per year). But otherwise, yes, you're regular, un-elite, twenty-something chick just jamming to her iPod and flying around the country campaigning with her dad.

Which brings us to the only question we have any real reason to ask: How's the music? The short answer is that it's not bad. Dinosaur Jr., The Flaming Lips, mid-period White Stripes, The Arcade Fire, The Walkmen, Neutral Milk, etc etc. This makes up the better part of a truly postmodern musical patchwork that includes a few choice Faith Hill cuts, Heart's "Barracuda", Miles Davis, Tupac, some bands I've never heard of, and Better than Ezra. In short, it's exactly what everyone means when you ask them "What kind of music do you like?" and they say "Oh, wow, I mean, I listen to everything." From a purely Rockist perspective it's decent: it covers the Rock Canon, makes passing references to influential rootsy genres, displays a moderate amount of diversity, and throws in some oddball cuts few people will have known. She even surprised me a few times -- would you have guessed McCain's daughter listened to Gang of Four? And how would the members of Gang of Four feel about her using their music to "unofficially" help her father's campaign?

So finding nothing to criticize here, I'm forced to turn to her actual writing for good fodder. Playlist #3 includes the note that Seu Jorge is a genius. That seems like an overstatement. Playlist #14 is entirely made up of country songs. I listen to plenty of country music, commercial, alternative, and otherwise. For example, I can confirm that Brad Paisley can be a clever songwriter, and Carrie Underwood can, in fact, really wail (her band's not half bad either). But the Toby Keith here is just Red State-pandering, and Tim McGraw's cover of Ryan Adam's "When the Stars Go Blue" is actually worse than the version done by the Corrs with Bono guesting.

There are moments of general cheesiness as well. She writes, "What does it feel like to win the Florida primary? It feels like the Doors' 'Break on Through'". Yes, I'm quite sure that's exactly what Jim Morrison had in mind. Also, according to her, she's been a fan of the Dead Milkmen ever since an ex-boyfriend told her they'd change her life. If the Dead Milkmen are the band that changes John McCain's daughter's life, imagine what her life must have been like BEFORE she listened to them.

Finally, on July 9, she actually posted all her gushing fan mail. Some of them -- "this blog alone with bring hundreds of thousands of Americans to the McCain banner" -- make for a good chuckle, but it got me thinking -- do you know of another blog that has ever posted a list of all the awesome things people say about it?

Whom to berate next?

I was perusing the comments on our Josh Groban post to get some fodder for this article when I noticed that a loyal reader posted a new comment on it earlier this month. It reads:

c'mon you fucks! therez been too big a lull on this blog! Let's get the josh slammin' back on track so all the josh knob gobblerz world-wide
can take time out from cutting coupons and singing at funerals to spew their fury once again!

Music is over! Thanks Josh, you cunt!

Although we at the Rockist Society don't agree with the use of the c-word to describe that certain portion of the female body, the brazen commenter has a point. This blog is pretty tame, mainly because we don't want to piss off the 8 people that mistakenly click through it. I must admit that the Groban post was just to get my mug up there with JG, but it turned into something hilarious.

So, what next? Do we comment on which Jonas Brother is gay? On how Clay Aiken should sing on one-way cruise ships? Or do we aim a little higher and get a little bolder? "Hey Chris Brown, you're pretty talented... for a no-talent hack." Or maybe call out Radiohead for progressing when my band is completely one-dimensional?

If you have any suggestions, leave 'em in the comments.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Wednesday Four

Few tunes for Wednesday:

Okkervil River - "Lost Coastlines". 
New one from Okkervil River off The Stand Ins, their upcoming follow-up to TRS-certified The Stage Names.  Yeah, we kinda ripped their show at 9:30 Club last spring.  But this one's pretty good, they sort of channel a Motown (with nods to twee) thing while Will Sheff crams a few hundred words into his sprawling verses.

Cotton Jones Basket Ride - "Chewing Gum"
I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Nau's old project, Page France, finding it to fill the wacked-Christian-in-psychedelic-elementary-school-playground void ever since Neutral Milk Hotel went wherever they went.  Page France broke up, and I'm not sure why since it seemed like it was mainly Nau and Whitney's project anyhow and since the CJBR sound, umm, similar.  I missed them at Iota last week -- anybody catch the show?

Grandpaboy - "Eyes Like Sparks"
Paul Westerberg is Grandpaboy.  He just put out a solid new record, 49:00, which is getting buzz because you can pick it up for 49 cents (!), legally, on Amazon (the catch is that it comes as one continuous track.  Such a Rockist move).  It kinda plays like a radio station, Westie occasionally sliding in a few seconds of a tossed-off cover in between the actual songs.  This tune is actually from the Grandpaboy debut, Mono, which is a stellar, stellar album full of killer riff-heavy cuts of the Stones/Faces variety.  Here he gets pretty good mileage out of about 8 words and 2 minutes of the same riff.

Built to Spill - "The Plan" (live)
Again, not covering any new territory here, but on my lengthy summer road trip I had occasion to revisit BTS' Keep It Like A Secret on a brilliant sunny day Allegheny Mountains and to recall just how spectacular it is.  I think I might put it in my all time top ten albums, and, if not, then it certainly stands as one of the records that hooked me on this thing we call indie rock.  They may be touring a start-to-finish playing of Perfect From Now On (great too), but KILAS is the stronger of the two in my humble Rockist opinion.  Their latest jams may get a little tedious, but still, no one produces guitar sounds like Doug Martsch and company.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Casual Introduction to World Music*

I'm going back to school this fall in Middle East Studies, and in an effort to have a truly complete experience, I'm trying to get into some music of the region. So far it's been just a smattering of pop songs (Nanci Agram, anyone?) and Tinariwen, the desert guitar band made of Tuareg refugees. Pitchfork loves 'em. But I'm starting to branch out.

1. Rainbow Arabia - "Omar K". Okay, okay...not really Middle Eastern. In fact, it's your standard hubby/wife indie duo from LA, but they mess around with lots of ululations and Middle Eastern rhythms. Pretty cool. Also coming to DC (location TBA) on October 24.

2. Tinariwen - "Matadjem Yinmixan". These guys actually formed in refugee camps in Libya, and most of their songs deal with the plight of Tuareg people (actively seeking independence from Mali at the moment). They're also getting lots of mentions from musicians -- Craig Finn and Tad Kubler both cited them in the NYT as a recent favorite.

3. Ouled Kamar - "Gnawa Ouled" (live excerpt). Gnawa (or gnaoua) is this type of Sub-Saharan music that came up to Morocco through the slave trade. It's got a trance-like feel to it (so does most of this stuff) and is closely associated with Sufi brotherhoods. Best of all though, listen close and you hear traces of a weird kind of ancient blues. There's a big Gnawa festival in Essaouira, Morocco every year.

4. Toumast - "Kik Ayittma". Very similar to Tinariwen, and, as a newbie to the genre, I'm still hard-pressed to tell them apart. But these guys tend to be a little noisier, less trance-y. But again, I'm still new to all this.

*NOTE: Should the "rockist-ness" of this post be called into question, please refer back to the word "casual" in the title.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sooner or Later It All Gets Real

This post is seriously overdue, but I just wanted to update the Rockist faithful and let them know the reason for my recent - though not entirely uncharacteristic - lack of posting. As the architecturally savvy may have already guessed from the picture above, I've moved to Chicago. The reason for the relocation wasn't because Laura Burhenn finally got around to filing that restraining order, and it wasn't because they stopped selling Sparks in DC or something. No, it wasn't anything quite so horrifying. The fact is I've recently left the ranks of DC cube jockeys and will start grad school in the fall. While bettering myself intellectually is great and all, it may mean even more infrequent posts from yours truly. If Rob and GH will still have me, I'll stay on the masthead and try to post via Chicago (heh heh) as much as I can.

One good thing about the move, other than escaping the hegemony of the Black Cat and no longer having to pay $12 a beer at the Rock and Roll Hotel, is that Chicago is a damn fine spot for rockists. I'm personally looking forward to living within walking distance of the famed Reckless Records. A decent record store was always something I missed while living in DC, so that's a plus. Not to mention a local music scene that doesn't include that stupid band with the twins and the violins - what was their name? I really hated them.... Anyway, it seems I'll have plenty of material to write about, whether I actually do is a different story. So, yeah, keep your dials tuned to the Rockist Society for sporadic updates from the heartland.

Neil Young - "Walk On"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New XYZ Video, EP

The XYZ Affair - "Evening Life"

Those pants are fantastically slim and Alex's moves are fantastically smooth. Bones seems pretty light on his feet, especially at the end of the video.

You can stream the new EP on their website. To go behind the music, check this out.

GH's Top Ten Kinks Songs of All Time

Inspired in part by Amanda's interesting but perhaps misguided list of the best Beatles songs and also by a recent cover story with Ray Davies in Magnet Magazine (done by none other than Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, how's that for rockism?), I've decided to put together my top ten Kinks songs. A difficult task, but I'm up to it. Share your thoughts in the comments.

10. Dedicated Follower of Fashion - There is only one songwriter who can pen the lines "He flits from shop to shop just like a butterfly / In matters of the cloth, he is as fickle as can be" and that is Ray Davies.
9. You Really Got Me - The nasal whine of the Van Halen version doesn't do this justice; it gets the nod over like-minded riffers "All Day and All of the Night" and "Til the End of the Day" because it's what launched the Kinks into rock history. The story in Davies' autobiography X-Ray about the recording of the song is legendary and hilarious.
8. Little Miss Queen of Darkness - This has the gender-bending of "Lola" with a little more pop novelty, and also has the only recorded Mick Avery drum solo I know of.
7. Love Me Till the Sun Shines - Dave Davies was/is a great guitar player but was decidedly second-fiddle when it comes to songwriting contributions to his elder brother. Still, he deserves one spot on the list, and this rocker from Something Else beats out "Death of a Clown" with ease.
6. Muswell Hillbilly - The band went back to their roots -- blues, music hall, trad pop -- for Muswell Hillbillies (named after the neighborhood in London where they grew up). The quasi-title track found Davies dreaming of a half-mythologized America, done over rollicking country-rock licks -- a great performance by the band.
5. Australia - An underappreciated tune from an underappreciated LP, Arthur, or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, "Australia" has everything: typical Daviesian working class longing, bits of British history, and then a psych-freakout outro not to be found anywhere else in the band's catalog.
4. Lola - Kinks for beginners maybe, but there's a reason for that. A hilarious and nearly tragic tale of...well, you know the story. As maybe the catchiest of a very catchy discography, it deserves its place on melody alone.
3. Waterloo Sunset - Thee Klassic Kinks Kut, capturing in three short minutes the whimsy, nostalgia, and heartache of Davies best pop songs. My only time in London I must've crossed Waterloo Bridge five or six times, but Davies' alchemy in turning a not particularly attractive scene (dirty old river, train station on a Friday night) into something so beautiful is pretty stunning.
2. The Village Green Preservation Society - Hard to pick one off the album of the same title ("Picture Book" and "Big Sky" running hard in second and third), but again the group's playfulness wins out. You could pick half a dozen lines, but I like "We are the Skyscraper Condemnation Affiliate / God save Tudor houses, antique tables, and billiards".
1. Victoria - I may be a member of a select (read: small) group of those that long for rock and rollers to write catchy songs about historical figures (Davy Crockett, anyone?), but Victoria could be about an old flame, a lost relative, or just sad, old England -- it doesn't matter. It opens Arthur with a thumping bass drum, Dave's proto-jangle guitar, and the shouted group vocals that elevated much of the album to anthem status. What more could you want in a Kinks song?

Honorable Mentions: "Drivin'", "Well Respected Man", "Rock and Roll Fantasy", "Stop Your Sobbing"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TRS Look-a-like: Jason Isbell and UGA QB Matthew Stafford

Big SEC football fan here, and though my Kentucky Wildcats aren't your typical powerhouse, we all take comfort in knowing that we would be if we played in like the Big Eleven or the ACC or something.

But seriously, everybody's excited because football training camps are just getting started. Most notably ESPN, who can finally unleash Lee Corso on the general public after 9 months of lockdown in their Bristol Headquarters. Today they were doing a little bit about Georgia being the preseason #1, and it featured a little interview with QB Matthew Stafford. Who looks EXACTLY like Jason Isbell, formerly of the Drive-By Truckers. Because Isbell does not regularly smile or even make eye contact with the camera, it is difficult to compare the pictures. But give it a shot, and if you've got any others, post the links below.

Jason Isbell - "Into the Mystic" (Live, Van Morrison cover)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Breaking News: R.I.P. Georgie James

The TRS local favorite, Geogie James, has announced that they are no longer.

via www.georgiejames.com:

After three years, Georgie James is calling it a day. We're proud of the album we made and everything else that we were able to do during our time together. We are both working on our respective solo projects (John's can be found at www.myspace.com/titletracksdc and Laura's at www.myspace.com/lauraburhenn) and hope to have albums out early next year. Thanks to everyone that helped our band over these past few years. And thanks to those who've listened to the music and come out to the shows. It is greatly appreciated. See you around soon. - John and Laura/Georgie James
It's too bad. Places made it to my top 10 albums of last year. Although both John and Laura are doing solo projects, the pop powerhouse will be missed.

[from DCist]

Go Cry, Emo Kid

I came across this article today on Russia and its new emo epidemic. Looks like the Ruskies don't enjoy their kids dressing up like the Mad Max at an indie pop dance party ... This reminds me of the semi-recent Above the Influence ad campaign against indie rock, although not as extreme. It's pretty ridiculous to think that a modern country would even think about outlawing a certain style of clothing. Maybe that Putin puppet, Medvedev, took some bad X at the last Dashboard show in Moscow.

A couple of things:
These 2 kids have on the same My Chemical Romance shirts: fashion faux pas
There's a Happy Meal in the pic: EMO FAIL
Choose Life? I thought all emo kids eventually commit suicide
Does the pink sign say "Self Love"? Hopefully that wasn't part of the protest agenda.
Then again, maybe it's good that Russia is being proactive. After all,