Let's Rave On: Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts

Hey,

I just read your newest column and wanted to say congrats. I nearly shit when I saw the names Broken Social & Hidden Cameras in your heading.

I’ve been trolling InsidePulse and reading at work since the site started… and although I enjoy reading the music section, it is not very diverse. I would never rag on someone for liking a certain kind of music (well, almost never)… but do that many people really care about metal and hair bands to warrant (no pun intended) the amount of press these genres get on your site? It just seems there are a few niche genres that get most of the space and I get the impression that the writers are only writing for themselves and a few of their co-writers. I guess what I am trying to say, is I could care less about Morbid Angel, Lamb of God, Bleeding Cherub, etc. (ok, I made the last one up), and your article was quite refreshing.

And on a total aside tangent, I have to admit that IP is much better than the crap over at the 411mania music section. I read their Summer Music Report (or something like that) last week, and something like three out of their seven writers said they had either never been to a concert, or don’t go to live shows anymore. One guy even pulled out the old “why spend money on a concert when you can listen to the cd at home for free” line! Now I’ve heard that one from many people before, but never from a so-called music writer/critic. That’s just laughable. So no credibility there.

Sorry about the ranting… anyways… I caught Modest Mouse on their latest swing through Vancouver (end of May) and was blown away. I had seem them before previous to the release of “Good News…” and I was very impressed both times. I can only imagine what BSS pulled off to trump them. But I don’t doubt it. I haven’t seen them live yet but I am going to make the effort. From what I’ve heard they are going to be more of a solid line-up/band instead of a drop-in thing, so hopefully I will have a chance.

And just out of curiosity, what do you think of The Flaming Lips…? They kind of go hand in hand with the aforementioned groups and they are by far my favourite of the lot (or any lot really). If you haven’t had a Live Lips Experience, as the cliche goes… you haven’t really lived.

Anyways, I’ve babbled long enough… keep up the good work, rocking in the free world, etc…

Ryan.

I forgot to mention in my email to you, Ryan, but half the reason I was pulled into indie in the first place was the Flaming Lips. Their amazing live show, mixed with the idea that every album should sound different and have new ideas from the last was just such a refreshing philosophy for me that I became an instant fan from then on. The only reason I didn’t include them in my last article (and it was a difficult exclusion, let me tell you) was because even though they do put on a jaw-dropping live show that is only hinted on their records, the band is really only three members tall, and I was trying to focus on the kind of sound that comes from huge numbers on stage at once.

***

I like my headphones full and large. The Sony DJ headphones for thirty bucks are my favorite. They’re a low-medium quality, but when you’re being paid for three hours of gig time with beer stubs it’s tough to afford the premium stuff. Plus, they’re durable as hell, and when they break, hey, it’s thirty bucks. They’re straight black and don’t look goofy like so many large headphones do.

Ipod earbuds are the worst of the worst. Not only is the sound quality pathetic, they’re an immediate giveaway to imuggers that you’re concealing a four hundred dollar hard drive in your pants.

Jack White marries the girl that he met during the Blue Orchid video shoot three weeks into their relationship, in the middle of a river in South America, with Meg white as the only witness. I’ll put ten bucks down on that being the one relationship in all of celebrity that lasts.

Ryan Adams’ new album bugs me. It’s not bad or anything, but all I picture is this jerk behind a steel guitar wishing that Rock N Roll had sold better so he didn’t have to make a double album of Heartbreaker reduxes.

There’s very little that’s assertive that man is an idiot than the visual of a guy on a dance floor holding two beers and drinking them both. There’s just nothing good that comes from that scenario. Either he bought one for a girl that rejected him and he’s just too proud to give it to someone else, or he simply just bought two for himself to get drunk twice as fast. I suppose it does make it easier to stomach the krunk, but still, very sad.

I’d like to see all those half naked girls in hip hop videos get a union together.

I don’t think that anyone can dispute that I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness is the best named band in the history of creative band names. It’s about damn time that some new music from them is on the way.

I’m really enjoying all these ‘best albums of the last 20 years’ lists that are popping up everywhere. It’s nice that they’ve given up on ‘best album ever’ and began to draw the categories. As well, even though it doesn’t usually tell the kind of person you are, I think it says buckets about your value system if you think Nevermind was a better album than OK Computer. Then again, maybe it doesn’t. Don’t ever forget that it’s not the destination, but the journey, so light up the message boards and stay inside until we’ve all come up with a legitimate winner!

And besides, we all know that the real best album of the last twenty years was Robbie Williams’ Swing When Your Winning.

I think that Live 8, above all, showed just how cynical we’ve all become in the last twenty years. From what I’ve read over the boards and LJ and whatnot, the general consensus is that the original had all this magic and hope while this one felt forced and a giant media expose to give all these folks screen time. There’s a quote from Dave Eggers’ You Shall Know Our Velocity that I really like. It goes a little like this; “Those who do not help will always find some fault with those who try.”

Best performance of the entire night? Definitely not Bjork. Someone apparently didn’t give her the memo that everyone was singing two-three HITS. I was looking forward to that little pixie the most, too.

I don’t know what I like about Bjork, I really don’t, but I can’t stop calling myself a fan and wishing I had a couple hundred dollars to see her live.

I came up with the idea for Chuck Klosterman’s new book, I swear, about a year before it came out. It’s a great idea and likely an amazing read (he travels across America visiting Rock’s greatest death sites) but I sometimes wish we didn’t have this awesome little wavelength. He’s pretty much the reason I write the way I write.

What makes a great song is ultimately purpose. It has to touch you on some level, be it intimate or otherwise. Sometimes a song is great because it works as a road song, or a campfire thing, or something that you and your parents can agree on. If a song has no purpose, it will disappear from our radars sooner than if someone, somewhere, really clings to it. Think about that the next time the local DJ plays Chingy by request.

That’s really what’s great about music. Very little is universally hated. There is always someone that desperately loves a song, no matter how much the general audience thinks it filth. There’s so much love out there for music that it’s an absolute wonder we once lived without it.

On a bus, these days, eight of ten people are wearing headphones. Even if they’re sitting with someone they know, they’ve usually got headphones (sometimes they share if they’re really in love). I’m not completely sure it wouldn’t be a better idea to just reinforce the floor of a bus and turn it into a disco. Come on, it sort of worked in Party Monster.

Beck’s Hell Yes EP proved to me one thing; old video games > new video games just about all the time. I’ve asked a bunch of people this question lately, and all but two folks agreed with me. You know the difference? Old video games are based on the idea of fun, while new video games are based on either simulating reality or dulling our senses so that when the American government gets around to drafting, you idiots will be so used to guns and war that you won’t think twice.

You know a movie that didn’t get nearly enough attention? Groove.

You know that scene in I heart Huckabees where Jason Schwartzman’s parents listen to Shania Twain and, as grown 40-somethings, they dance to it like a couple of idiots? We need a hell of a lot more of that in real life. Just dance, people. Just dance.

And none of that stupid head-bobbing thing that all those cool people do. Yes, women are attracted to confidence. But you know what they really like? When you DO SOMETHING WITH IT and not just stand there like a plastic model at Zellers. Unless she’s just as brainless as you, then you two deserve each other.

There was some study done a few years ago that the only way you can truly tell how a couple works is based on intelligence. The closer they are to each others’ IQ is a better test of compatibility than looks or finances or anything else. This is the one thing that completely explains why Tom and Katie are together instead of Tom and Nicole. Same goes for Brad and Angelina. God dammit is their baby going to be pretty. The earth might actually stop rotating the day that ball of light is conceived.

Did you know that Brad Pitt is a huge Jeff Buckley fan? Doesn’t that just make him more perfect? I actually had a conversation with some friends the other day, when we couldn’t figure out to see War of The Worlds of Mr and Mrs Smith. My argument was that Tom Cruise likes Radiohead, while Pitt liked Buckley, and that ultimately made him a better person.

And yes, the you that likes Jeff Buckley is a better person than the you that doesn’t like Jeff Buckley.

The best setup for enjoying music is a pair of turntables at home with a personal recorder to your computer that downloads these records to your Ipod for when you’re not at home. If you can manage to put together this setup, with whatever speaker system that works best in your pad, then you’ve got it made.

CDs? CDs are so 1990’s. Just get a record player already. A pretty good test of whether a band is pretty good or not is if your local CD store has them in vinyl. Unless they come from England, where just about everything comes out in vinyl. But hey, there’s apparently a big British revival thing happening anyway, so pick up some of it anyway.

Screw Spin, Rolling Stone, Blender, and every other magazine out there in large circulation. They answer to stockholders and executives and people that maybe used to give a shit about music but likely don’t anymore because they’ve been in the business for twenty years and after that long you just get jaded. Get your info from the kid down the street who goes to every show he can and just put out a six page fold-up zine about all the music he loves. That’s your guy.

I’m telling you this right now so that I can be one of the first to say I Told You So, but Wolf Parade, out of Montreal (not to be confused with Of Montreal) and releasing their first big LP in September is going to be very, very big.

This years’ MuchMusicVideoAwards was likely the worst one yet, but did the Arcade Fire blow up the world that night or what? Damn they’re good. Reminded me of when The Polyphonic Spree performed at the MTV’s last year after being introduced by Mandy Moore and Marilyn Manson. “How did you get here tonight, Marylin?” “I Rode in on Mandy Moore.” Har Har Har.

Eminem and Marylin Manson are refocusing their careers to production and ‘horripilation’ films, respectively, and The Pixies are making a new record. Everything’s going to be okay.

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LIVE

Okay, I’ve refocused my live section already, but I think you’ll like it better. Instead of just picking a random city (a desperate idea a the 11th hour last week) I’m going to give you tour dates for bands I’ve mentioned within my column. I think that’s a much better idea.

The White Stripes

06-24 Pilton, England – Glastonbury Festival
06-26 Moscow, Russia – Mekanika
06-27 St. Petersburg, Russia – Manezh Kadetskogo Korpusa
06-29 Tallinn, Estonia – Club Hollywood
06-30 Riga, Latvia – Dream Factory
07-01 Kaliningrad, Russia – Vagonka
07-03 Prague, Czech Republic – Archa
07-05 Zagreb, Croatia – Stara Klaonica
07-06 Ljubljana, Slovenia – Krizanke
07-09 Gdynia, Poland – Heineken Open’er Festival
07-10 Novi Sad, Serbia – Exit Festival
07-12 Thessaloniki, Greece – Theatro Gis
07-13 Athens, Greece – Olympic Beach Volleyball Stadium
07-29 San Diego, CA – Street Scene
08-06 George, WA – The Gorge
08-07 Vancouver, British Columbia – Orpheum
08-08 Vancouver, British Columbia – Orpheum
08-10 Portland, OR – Keller Auditorium
08-12 Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
08-15 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
08-16 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
08-17 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
08-18 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
08-19 Phoenix, AZ – Dodge Theatre
08-22 Denver, CO – Red Rocks
08-23 Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre
08-24 St. Louis, MO – Fabulous Fox Theater
08-26 Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theater
08-27 Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theater
08-29 Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theater
08-30 Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theater
08-31 Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theater
09-08 Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Ballroom
09-09 Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre
09-10 Columbus, OH – Ohio Theatre
09-12 Cincinnati, OH – Cincinnati Music Hall
09-13 Louisville, KY – Palace Theatre
09-14 Cleveland, OH – Playhouse Square Center-State Theatre
09-16 Toronto, Ontario – Molson Amphitheatre
09-17 Montreal, Quebec – Bell Centre
09-19 Providence, RI – Providence Performing Arts Center
09-20 Boston, MA – Opera House
09-21 Boston, MA – Opera House
09-24 Coney Island, NY – Keyspan Park *
09-27 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavillion
09-28 Atlantic City, NJ – House of Blues
10-02 Detroit, MI – Masonic Temple Theatre

Ryan Adams

7/23 – Byron City
7/30 – Niigata
8/5 – Sand Point
8/7 – Edmonton
8/9 – Vancouver
8/10 – Seattle
8/11 – Seattle
8/12 – Portland
8/14 – Oakland
8/16 – Los Angeles
8/20 – San Diego

Chuck Klosterman – Book Tour

7/19-25 – New York
7/26 – Philidelphia
7/28 – Cleveland
7/30 – Akron
8/2 – Memphis
8/4 – St Louis
8/8 – Austin
8/9 – Minneapolis
8/15,16 – Portland
8/18,19 – Seattle
8/22,23 – San Fransisco
8/25-29 – Los Angeles

Beck

6/19 – Rome
6/20 – Caivano
6/22 – Ferrara
6/23 – Genoa
6/25 – Madrid
6/26 – Vieira Do Minho
7/11 – Santa Cruz
7/12 – San Jose
7/14 – Vancouver
7/15 – Seattle
7/16 – Portland
7/18 – San Fransisco
7/19 – Santa Barbara
7/21 – Costa Mesa
7/22,23 – Los Angeles
7/30 – Mount Fuji
9/24 – Columbus
9/26 – Toronto
10/1 – Hershey

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LINKS

Michael Chadwick reviews the new (old) Arcade Fire EP, and gives it more justice than I would.

Jeffrey R. Fernandez hits 100 with his Swindle Sheet. Throw confetti! I am in the audience! I’m not getting hurt that way!

Michael Chadwick gives an awesome summary of Trip Hop.

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Lyrics To Live By

Fireworks – The Tragically Hip

If there’s a goal that everyone remembers it was back in ol’ 72
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember was sitting beside you
You said you didn’t give a f*ck about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr
Isn’t it amazing anything’s accomplished
When the little sensation gets in your way
Not one ambition whisperin’ over your shoulder
Isn’t it amazing you can do anything
We hung out together every single moment
Cause that’s what we though married people do
Complete with the grip of artificial chaos
And believing in the country of me and you
Crisis of faith and crisis in the Kremlin
And yea we’d heard all of that before
It’s wintertime, the house is solitude with options
And loosening the grip on a fake cold war
Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish
When you don’t let the nation get in your way
No ambition whisperin’ over your shoulder
Isn’t it amazing you can do anything

Next to your comrades in the national fitness program
Caught in some eternal flexed-arm hang
Droppin’ to the mat in a fit of laughter
Showed no patience, tollerence or restraint

Fireworks exploding in the distance
Temporary towers soar
Fireworks emulating heaven
Til there are no stars anymore
Fireworks aiming straight at heaven
Temporary towers soar
Til there are no stars shining up in heaven
Til there are no stars anymore
Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish
When the little sensation gets in your way
No ambition whisperin’ over your shoulder
Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish, eh
This one thing probably never goes away
I think this one thing is always supposed to stay
This one thing doesn’t have to go away

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Next week, I’ll talk about the romance of the mix tape, and how horribly right, wrong, and sometimes useless it can be.

Party On, Garth.

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