Friday, April 09, 2010

Recent Rock 'n Roll-isms

Let's see. I've interviewed some bands.

LIGHTS, the Canadian synthpop-tress who is opening for Owl City on Monday night.

OK Go, the band most famous for making YouTube videos, including this wacky contraption.

And I've written some reviews.

The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers (Dreamy, instrumental synth tunes. Good but not great.)
Midlake - The Courage of Others (Downtrodden and flute-filled, I was surprised by how much I liked this one--at least the first half.)
MXPX - Left Coast Punk EP (More of the same from MXPX. I really love "Shanghaied in Shanhai.")

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Broken World

I was sitting in cubicle land, wearing my shirt and tie, when the excellent Millencolin tune "Broken World" popped up on the iPod shuffle.

The chorus goes like this:

I'm gonna get out of the broken world
I'm just about to discover new land
Get out of the broker world and start a band.

With his Swedish accent, it sounds like Nikola Sarcevic is singing "get out of the corporate world and start a band."

I hear ya, brother.

Millencolin - Broken World (YouTube)


Friday, April 02, 2010

The Secret Identity of Silversun Pickups

I generally only post full interviews here if I've talked to a band I really like or have had a really good chat. I got both with Silversun Pickups.

If for some reason you haven't yet checked out this band, you're missing out.

Here are some places to start.

Lazy Eye
Panic Switch

Silversun Pickups
April 5, 2010
E Center

It would seem that attending your first Grammy Awards ceremony would be accompanied by any number of highlights -- mingling with celebrities, hanging out with great musicians or, you know, being recognized as one of the best band's in the world. Nah. For Silversun Pickups' singer and guitarist Brian Aubert, the best part of the evening was assuming a false identity at an afterparty and talking to Daft Punk about "Tron."

"The Grammys weren't even something we were romantic about," Aubert says. "I don't mean that in a snarky way, I just mean that it wasn't even on our radar." And the band certainly wasn't ready for the barrage of ridiculous interviews that came with it. "I think I was asked who my favorite Hollywood crush was." Though it was a tough call, Aubert chose Tina Fey.

"[The Grammys] were getting a little boring, but the Kings of Leon had a very wonderful afterparty that actually saved the entire night," Aubert sayss. "Daft Punk was there and I got to talk to them for a half hour. I realized halfway through that the reason they were talking to me for so long is that they thought I was Caleb from Kings of Leon."

He admits that he didn't do anything to correct their misconception. "[Instead], I talked to them about 'Tron' as much as I could," he says with a laugh. After continuous questions about the remake of the classic '80s sci-fi film, one half of the French electronic duo finally said, "You know we're not responsible for the movie. We're just responsible for the music, so I don't want you to be mad at us if the movie stinks." Aubert told them he was well aware of that fact and just kept asking questions.

"Finally, after a half an hour they asked me a question that only Caleb could answer. I kind of did the French exit and left." There's clearly no shame in Aubert's game.

In a way, The Grammys summed up in one night what Silversun Pickups have experiencing for the past three years. Despite having no aspirations beyond playing the music that they love, the L.A. four piece has garnered a whirlwind of critical acclaim and commercial success with their two full-length albums.

"We never thought we'd ever be on the radio," Aubert says. "So when things started getting on the radio for [our debut album] 'Carnavas,' we thought it was a fluke." The band thought the attention would quickly die off but their second album, "Swoon," has made an even bigger splash. (Their first single "Panic Switch" reached the top spot in Billboard's Alternative Songs category.)

"When bands ask for us advice about how to get on the radio we just don't have it," Aubert says, baffled. "The only advice is to think you're never going to do it."

"Swoon" is very much the anti-radio record. The songs are long, winding and filled with tension. The dark, shoegaze-y melodies are better suited for the Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine '90s than the Miley Cyrus 2000s. The record demands repeated listens and gets better with each one.

"The making of the record was such an intense period. From beginning to end, it took us about a year. We just racked our brains and scraped every metaphor until there were no more metaphors left," Aubert says of the Swoon sessions. "We didn't even think it was going to get done at one point -- it seemed like such a mountain. And then right when it was finished, it went to radio right away. Once that happened, it became a roller coaster. It's just been so fast, such a whirlwind. It's been amazing. We've been amazed that things have continued on so well and things have only gotten crazier."

The craziness has included worldwide touring, ranging from intimate club settings to massive arena rock ventures like their current outing with Muse. "Of course we really love doing our own shows where we can get into all the different dynamics of the records, but we also like opening shows like these because it's a whole other experience. It keeps us fresh because we're just part of this big circus. You don't think of it as trying to prove yourself. You just think, 'There are 18,000 people here, one of them's going to like us.'"

Despite the nonstop touring, the band is still enjoying the moment. "I think we're still having a love affair with 'Swoon.' In a weird way, it's still very new to us," Aubert says. When that newness wears off and the band begins to feel that they need to reinvent the record on stage, that's when they know it's time to start working on a new record. "That hasn't happened yet. When that happens, you shut down and go home for a while and live for a bit. When you have the chance to actually listen to yourself, when things are quiet and kind of mundane and normal, that's when your brain starts to speak. But here, it's hard to hear yourself." And then he adds, with another laugh, "There are a lot big amps."

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Monday, March 29, 2010

A Good Year for Punk Rock

Though it seems like they may have gone the way of the buffalo, there's still some pretty good punk rock coming out these days.

Alkaline Trio took a break from gothing-out on their new record This Addiction. Here's the title track:

Paige and I are both in love with this Motion City Soundtrack, despite listening to it thousands of times to together. Here's "A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)":

And let's not forgot Bouncing Souls 20 year anniversary record Ghosts on the Boardwalk. So good.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Mopy Music Recommendation: Rocky Votolato

Despite never having heard his music, I decided to interview singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato for two reasons:

1. My friend Noah is a fan
2. He plays at the Velour in Provo a million times a year

The result was that I met a really nice fellow and I found out Noah (sometimes) has good taste in music .

Here's my article.

And here's the opening track from his highly recommended new album, True Devotion.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

This Week's Reviews: AA Bondy, Lights, Cub Country

Another decent week for music. I love this A.A. Bondy record. If you like the ultra-slow/quiet indie country stuff, you'll want to give it a listen.

Those hoping for a girl version of Owl City should check out Lights. She's from Canada. I'm sure you can guess how I feel about that.

And here are the links to my reviews:

A.A. Bondy - When the Devil's Loose
Lights - The Listening
Cub Country - Stretch That Skull Cover and Smile

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alkaline Trio Show Review / I am Not a Stripper

Alkaline Trio

In the Venue
February 24, 2010

I was not hired as a stripper for last night's Alkaline Trio show, despite what the band may have thought.

Going to concerts is infinitely more difficult once you have kids. Despite having to make some complicated babysitting arrangements, I thought I had everything worked out so I could check out Alkaline Trio, one of my long-time favorite bands. As it got closer to showtime, however, plans got disrupted a bit and I thought I might miss it. And the last thing I wanted was to drive to the club just to have to turn back around because it was already over. Then the light bulb turned on--though I had never met him, I had the tour manager's cell number!

I texted the following:

"Carlos, this is Spencer from In This Week. Has Alkaline gone on yet?"

This seemed like a pretty straightforward question. But I guess I was wrong.

"Are u the stripper?"


I responded that fortunately, for everyone's sake, I was not.

With no further response from Carlos, I headed to In the Venue, hoping I hadn't missed the show. Though I tried to concentrate on just making it to the venue on time, I couldn't help but wonder what Alkaline Trio would be doing with the male stripper they were apparently expecting.

When I got to the club, I was happy to see that the band had just started. The boys were pounding through "Dine, Dine My Darling" from their new record, and though they were playing in front of their usual heart-and-skull backdrop, something didn't seem right. What was with all the balloons and party hats? It turns out, rock stars have birthdays, too.

Matt Skiba was happy to celebrate his 34th birthday with his Salt Lake City fans, especially because it meant plenty of birthday shots between songs. He handled the liquor just fine, but he really got thrown off his game when, five seconds after starting a new song, the house music came on (Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison," no less) and his band abandoned their instruments. His face lit up when the band's crew delivered him a Batman cake, with candles blazing. His joy turned to a bit of fear when he saw the male Hot Cop approaching him for a lap dance.

"I saw a cop on the stage out of the corner of my eye," Skiba said after the encounter, with a smile. "I thought I was getting arrested for swearing or something. I didn't realize it was Officer Sexy."

After the impromptu birthday celebration, the band returned its focus to music, rocking through eight albums of material. The largest chunk came from 2003's "Good Mourning," including "We've Had Enough," "One Hundred Stories," "Continental," and "Fatally Yours." But the definite highlight of the night was "Nose Over Tail" from the band's debut EP, when Matt Skiba shouted "I want to make it really," and the crowd enthusiastically responded in unison, "I'd love to rub your back."

Sounds like the end of a great birthday. Stripper or no.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fanfarlo 2.0 + This Week's Reviews

I'm now to the point where I've written for IN long enough that I'm interviewing bands for the second or third time. Last week, I did my second interview with British band Fanfarlo, who are playing here on Saturday.

I talked with the mandolin-playing girl wearing the superflous bowties. You can read the interview here. She gets bonus points for making reference to Dr. Tobias Funke.

If you like Arcade Fire, you should definitely check 'em out.

Also, here's this week's album reviews:

Phantogram - Eyelid Movies (Recommended, if you like Massive Attack)
Ke$ha - Animal (Recommended, if you like Bring it On)
Drew Danburry - Goodnight Gary (Recommended, if you like long beards)

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Another One off The List: Matt Skiba

Last week, I was able to talk to another one of my favorite bands. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with Alkaline Trio front man Matt Skiba. (This was actually my second interview with the band. I interviewed drummer Derek Grant last year.)

I've found that I am actually much less nervous to talk to my rock and roll heroes than bands I've never heard of. Since I own all the AK3 records and have seen them live a bunch of times, it's not hard to come up with a list of things I'd like to ask them from a fan's perspective. If it's a band that's new to me, I have to do a lot of research just to avoid sounding like an idiot.

Mr. Skiba, with his smoker's voice, was very cool and easy to talk to. He was the first rock star to ever start the conversation by asking me where I was and what the weather was like. A small guesture, but I found it very endearing.

We chatted about the band's punk rock beginnings, their recent gothic leanings, and the record label they just started. Very cool, very personable.

My article is here and if you want to listen to the full, 20-minute interview, I've included it below.

Matt Skiba Interview [WMA]

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Hannah Montana on My iPod (And I Dont' Like It)

Paige's 15-year-old aunt has outgrown her Hannah Montana CD, but was kind enough to pass it on to Paige. Now Paige is singing and dancing right along. While this is certainly annoying, it has also reopened a recent wound.

I was so excited when I had finally saved up enough money to buy a copy of some recording software called Cubase. That means we would not only be able to finally finish the Johnny Tightlips album that we started three years ago, but it would actually sound good.

You see, the new version of the software comes an autotune feature. I had beautiful dreams of taking my crappy voice and electronically manipulating it into the angel voice I imagine it to be. (Or possible just goinging the T Pain autotune route.)

After spending several late night hours trying to figure out to use it, I realized the reason I couldn't get the auto to work was beacause I DIDN'T HAVE THE FEATURE!!

When I was researching my Cubase purchase, I quickly realized I'd only be able to afford the "Education Edition." But I compared it side by side with the full edition and it looked like it'd have everything I'd need. Apparently, I was wrong.

So, I sit with Paige, listening to Miley Cyrus's perfectly-pitched voice and just want to kill myself. Or Miley Cyrus. Or both of us.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New Reviews: Temper Trap, Story of the Year, Surfer Blood

The Temper Trap - Conditions (Highly recommended)
Story of the Year - The Constant
Surfer Blood - Astro Coast (Pretty good, worth checking out)

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Alright, Jay-Z, You Got Me

So, lately I've been questioning Jay-Z's claim of being the greatest rapper alive. I finally checked out his "On to the Next" video and, though I am still not a huge fan of the song itself, I definitely have to give some props for the video.

Tonight, Hova earns from me the coveted "rapper with the creepiest, unrap rap video" award. Congratulations.

I fear that I will have nightmares about my sneakers bleeding milk tonight.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jay-Z vs. Napoleon Dynamite

Jay-Z's Unplugged album just popped up on my shuffle. Now, I like Jay-Z just fine. But the fact that he considers himself
"the greatest rapper alive"--and more importantly, that this is so widely accepted--seems weird to me.What does that mean, exactly? What makes a person the greatest rapper alive?

Most records sold? That's Eminem. (Tupac's sold more than Shady, but he's, you know, "dead.")

Best storyteller? I choose Andre 3000.

Best hairdo? Kid 'n Play get my vote.

Most complex rhyme structures? I dunno. Me?

The rapper with the hottest wife? He definitely gets the title there.

I don't really think you can define these things. It reminds of the part in Napoleon Dynamite where Uncle Rico is showing Kip his homemade football movie:

Uncle Rico:"So what do you think?"
Kip: "It's pretty cool, I guess."
Uncle Rico: "Oh, man I wish I could go back in time. I'd take state."
Napoleon: "This is pretty much the worst video ever made."
Kip: "Napoleon, like anyone can even know that."
Uncle Rico: "You know what, Napoleon? You can leave."
Napoleon: "You guys are retarded!"


Nikola Sarcevic

For almost a year, I've been kicking around the idea of a music blog that only features albums that are good from start to finish. I still haven't gotten around to it. But if I had, this record would be on there.

Though there are a few lesser moments in the middle, Millencolin singer Nikola Sarcevic sure put out a great debut solo album in 2004, Lock-Sport-Krock. The bookends, "Lovetrap" and "Vila Rada" are the best moments.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Vampire Weekend is for Smart Kids, Bouncing Souls is for Dummies

I just finished writing my record reviews for the week when I noticed something interesting. I was using Google Documents to the type the thing and I clicked the word count tool to make sure I had met my guidelines. Each of my reviews was about the same length, but the reading level was quite different.

My Bouncing Souls review--a punk rock record by a band that I absolutely love--is written at a 6th grade level.

The Vampire Weekend review--a good album by a band that sings about diplomats' sons and other WASP-y things, and who drives me a little bit crazy--is at an 11th grade level.

While I'm not bothered that I generally write like a 12-year-old (come on, it's rock 'n roll, not rocket science), it's weird that you have to write like a 16-year-old to talk about a snooty band that college kids like.

And now that you're so curious about these incredible reviews...

Bouncing Souls
Ghosts on the Boardwalk

In 2009, The Bouncing Souls celebrated two full decades as a band by releasing a new digital track each month. "Ghosts on the Boardwalk" serves as the proper album release, and also shows that the years have been kind to the New Jersey foursome. Songs about throwing toilets off the roof or falling in love with a buddy's mom have given way to more introspective tunes, but the invincible punk rock spirit remains. That's not to say they've lost all their immature ways. On the cleverly titled "Badass," they simply shout all of the things worthy of being deemed badass, including, among others, "Black eyes! Muscle cars! Metal!" More than just documenting the 20th year in their career, "Ghosts" is a solid reminder of what an amazing band The Bouncing Souls have become. And the great songs just keep coming.

For fans of: NOFX, Rise Against
Rating: 4 of 4

Vampire Weekend

Expectations have always been extremely high for Vampire Weekend--in 2008 they appeared on the cover of Spin Magazine, before they had even released a record. Fortunately, their debut was successful in both living up to the hype and delivering undeniably catchy tunes about yachts and ivy league colleges. Wisely, Vampire Weekend stay on the same course with "Contra." Afro-pop beats are plentiful and singer EzraKoenig's voice floats beautifully above his polo shirt and plaid shorts. The band pushes their boundaries a bit with the herky-jerky rhythms of "California English" and the electro and falsetto-infused "White Sky," without straying from its strengths. These college kids are smart.

For fans of:Ra Ra Riot, Ramona Falls
Rating: 3.5 of 4

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This Week's Music

the xx - the xx (Recommended)
Reel Big Fish - Fame, Fortune and Fornication
Chuck Ragan - Gold Country (Recommended)

And an added bonus...

My interview with Reel Big Fish singer Aaron Barrett

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

This Week's Music

I'll save you the trouble of reading the reviews. Here's the lowdown:

As usual, there' s a couple of great tracks on Alicia Keys' record, Snoop Dogg doesn' t have much to say other than that he's a extraordinary lover, and Robbie William's album is a snooze fest.

Alicia Keys - The Element of Freedom (Recommended)
Snoop Dogg - Malice N Wonderland
Robbie Williams - Reality Killed the Video Star

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Best of the Decade: 27-55

I don't why this has taken me so long to post. Wait, I do. Laziness. Here are some more records I loved in the 2000s, in really no particular order:

27. The Hives - Veni Vedi Vicious (2002)]
28. Imogen Heap - Speak for Yourself (2005)
29. Evan Dando - Baby I'm Bored (2003)
30. The Kooks - Inside In Inside Out (2006)
31. Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Movement (2006)
32. Mike Doughty - Skittish/Rockity Roll (2004)
33. Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Like Bad News (2004)
34. Motion City Soundtrack - Even If It Kills Me (2007)
35. MXPX - Panic (2005)
36. New Found Glory - Coming Home (2006)
37. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)
38. Postal Service - Give Up (2003)
39. RX Bandits - The Resignation (2003)
40. Say Hi to Your Mom - Impeccable Blahs (2006)
41. Styrofoam - Nothing's Lost (2004)
42. Taking Back Sunday - Tell All Your Friends (2002)
43. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine (2006)
44. Up, Up, Down, Down... - Girls' Names EP (2006)
45. Yellowcard - Underdog EP (2002)
46. Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell (2008)
47. Alkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch Fire (2000)
48. Bouncing Souls - How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2001)
49. Akon - Freedom (2008)
50. The Killers - Sam's Town (2006)
51. Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me (2006)
52. Bruce Lee Band - Beautiful World (2005)
53. Does It Offend You, Yeah? You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into (2008)
54. The National – Boxer (2007)
55. Fanfarlo – Reservoir (2009)

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Best of the Decade: 1-26

Taking on a whole decade wasn't easy, but here's a stab at my favorite albums of the 2000. I didn't have any real rules when I put this together, other than only selecting one album from any given artist. I didn't worry about choosing records that were the most important or critically-acclaimed or whatever. Mostly, their the albums I spent the most time listening to or that have additional meaning for me. Also, I didn't put a whole lot of time into the actual numerical rankings.

I wrote the little album descriptions for IN. I certainly would have written them differently had I only done this for my blog. But it took so long that I don't want to go through that again, especially since I'm not getting paid.

And, without further ado...

  1. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism (2003) Death Cab became the poster band for indie rock, thanks to this absolute masterpiece. From the opening rock of “The New Year” to the yearning closer “A Lack of Color,” every note is perfectly placed.
  2. Nada Surf - Let Go (2003) Though they disappeared after their '90s novelty hit "Popular," Nada Surf quietly reemerged with a spectacular collection of understated songs about fruit flies, roller coasters, and Bob Dylan.
  3. Daft Punk - Discovery (2001) With "Discovery," Daft Punk morphed from talented knob-turners to larger-than-life robots. The duo successfully blurred the line between human and extraterrestrial, and more importantly, made all life forms dance.
  4. Samiam - Astray (2000) I didn't know that punk rock could song so sad, so utterly hopeless. Samiam was emo before emo, in a good way.
  5. Kylie Minogue - Fever (2002) Every track here is a dancehall masterpiece. Perfect.
  6. The Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004) The Arcade Fire proved two things with their debut album: A) With great songwriting, rock music can sound just as good with violins and accordions and B) Sad songs never go out of style.
  7. Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American (2001) After perfecting meandering atmospherics on their first two records, Jimmy Eat World took a more direct approach on “Bleed American.” Every song was direct and finely crafted.
  8. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free (2004) Who would have thought that one of the decade’s best rap albums would come from a white British guy? Mike Skinner's concept album about losing and rediscovering love and his 1,000 British Pounds infinitely expanded hip hop's borders.
  9. The Format - Dog Problems (2006) – When it comes to a breakup, there’s nothing worse than deciding who gets to keep the dog. This Arizona duo tries to mend broken hearts with pop rock songs that flirt with rock opera.
  10. The Strokes - Is This It? (2001) With their leather pants and tight jeans, The Strokes were the antithesis to all things nu-metal. Though they seemed like they were from some indeterminable place in history, everyone knew that time was cooler than the now.
  11. Bad Religion - The Process of Belief (2002) When co-founder Brett Gurewitz came back into the fold, Bad Religion found a renewed vitality, writing some of the best punk rock songs of their three-decade career.
  12. Millencolin - Pennybridge Pioneers (2000) Swedish punks Millencolin took the art of California skate punk to the next level on their third LP, mixing in just enough rock ‘n roll to blaze new trails.
  13. Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Goes Numb (2003) Former Catch 22 front man Thomas Kalnoky singlehandedly raised ska from the dead with incredibly catchy horn lines, speedy punk rock guitar, and his raspy, rapid-fire vocals.
  14. Outkast - Speakerboxx/The Love Below (2003) "Hey Ya!" alone was enough to make this double disc great, but track after track of wonderful absurdity is what made it amazing.
  15. Pedro the Lion - Control (2002) With this concept record about righteousness and infidelity, David Bazan solidified his spot as one of the best storytellers in indie rock.
  16. Matt & Kim - Matt & Kim - (2006) Who needs guitars, anyway? Lovey dovey couple Matt & Kim make delightful dance punk with beat-up keyboards and a three-piece drum set.
  17. Weezer - Green Album (2001) Though Rivers Cuomo hides his heart on this one, the hooks were just too huge to hide.
  18. Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak (2008) TAuto-tune was already played by the time Kanye put it on his record, but he found a way to use it not as a gimmick, but as a tool to turn his broken heart into robotic steel.
  19. Dashboard Confessional - Swiss Army Romance (2003) Chris Carrabba may be responsible for spawning hundreds of lousy copycat bands, but it’s a small price to pay for this heart-on-sleeve emo-fest. This is the real deal
  20. Saves The Day - Stay What You Are (2001) This is how an emo record is supposed to sound—soft, loud, nostalgic, slightly hateful, and more than anything, sincere.
  21. Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds and a Sound (2008) The album rarely rises much beyond a whisper, giving it a hauntingly beautiful aura. Here’s hoping that the follow-up will be as impressive as this debut.
  22. Bishop Allen - The Broken String (2007) For “The Broken String” no instrument was off limits, even if no one in the band really knew how to play them. The record’s simplicity and eagerness is matched only by its memorable tunes.
  23. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) He takes low-blow shots at his mother, dreams of killing his wife and shoving her body in the trunk, and inspires fans to do the same. In 2000, Eminem was both musically crazy and real-life crazy. The crazy ones always make the best music.
  24. Silversun Pickups - Carnavas (2006) Silversun Pickups’ first LP picks up right where Smashing Pumpkins’ “Gish” left off, with nasally vocals and fuzzy guitars. The band skillfully gives each song the room to wander to its destination.
  25. Iron & Wine - Woman King (2005) By this point, Sam Beam had already released plenty of gorgeous country tunes, but adding dirty Appalachian rock into the mix opened up an entirely new side of Iron & Wine.
  26. Hot Hot Heat - Make Up the Breakdown (2002) At the turn of the century, indie bands were hell bent on making kids dance. Hot Hot Heat easily made the best dance-rock record of the decade.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top Nine of '09

Here are some of my fav discs from the last year of the decade:

1. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.
The perfect mix of jangly guitars, fuzzy synths, and lo-fi grandeur. Just keeps getting better with repeated spins.

Phoenix - “1901″ [MP3]

2. Weezer - Raditude.
Weezer's best record since The Green Album. Perfectly poppy, with just enough punch.

Weezer- If You're Wondering if I Want You To

3. Matt & Kim - Grand. Rock 'n roll's smiliest couple grins from ear to ear as they pound their drums and keyboards. All attempts to refuse dancing are futile.

4. David Bazan - Curse Your Branches.
Former Pedro the Lion breaks up with God. Satan rewards him with the most compelling lyrics of his career.

5. Silversun Pickups - Swoon
. Everyone compares them to early '90s Smashing Pumpkins. I don't see the problem. Who didn't love Smashing Pumpkins back then?

6. Teenage Bottlerocket - They Came from the Shadows.
This Wyoming trio makes punk rock fun again, a la The Vandals, Screeching Weasel, or The Queers.

7. Telekinesis - Telekinesis!
This is the kind of indie rock that car commercials can't get enough of--oft soft, oft rockin', always about to be heartbroken.

Telekinesis - "Coast Of Carolina" [MP3]

8. Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You.
Ms. Allen is a spoiled brat celebrity, so much that's almost impossible to resist.

9. Dan Deacon- Bromst. This frenetic noise jumble may drive you batty, but if you can survive the insanity, it's a great ride.

And the Next Best Nine...

10. Say Hi - Oohs & Aahs
11. Strung Out - Agents of the Underground
12. Passion Pit - Manners
13. Left Alone - Left Alone
14. Iron & Wine - Around the Well
15. Bon Iver - Blood Bank
16. Banner Pilot - Collapser
17. Jimmy Eat World - Clarity Live
18. Prodigy - Invaders Must Die

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Best of The Decade Coming Soon

I'm putting together a little Best of the 2000s list for IN. I figured I'd include 10 or maybe 20 of my favorite records of the decade. I wasn't too worried about choosing the "best" music, just the stuff that's meant the most to me. As I started browsing through my iTunes, the list quickly ballooned to over 50--and that was with me being picky. Anyhoo, I have to take a second to think through how I want to present it, but it should be ready soon. I think I'd forgotten how many albums I've fallen in love with in the past 10 years.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Music for Those Who Hate Christmas

If you cringe at the thought of going out in public during the holidays -- not because you hate throngs of people, just the horrible Christmas music -- I have good news. There is some holiday music out there that doesn't suck. It truly is a Christmas miracle!

Christmas Remixed:1 and 2 - Various Artists. Old classics by crooners like Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin get remix treatment from Dan The Automator and friends. It doesn't take long for these old tunes to get old-school funky.

The OC Mix 3: Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah. Not only does this record include the best Christmas song of the past decade--"The Christmas Song" by The Raveonettes--it also proves that Wham's "Last Christmas" stops sucking when it's performed by Jimmy Eat World.

Maybe This Christmas: Volumes 1 - 3. The biggest indie stars of the mid-2000s--Death Cab, Coldplay, Pedro the Lion, and more--share their take on both traditional and original Christmas tunes. The auto-tune on Copeland's "Do You Hear What I Hear" sounded absolutely groundbreaking in 2004.

Songs for Christmas - Sufjan Stevens. This five-disc box set began as a yearly mixtape for Stevens' friends. Filled with both classics and his own songs, Sufjan's acoustic guitar, banjo, and sometimes full orchestra, make this an indie Christmas classic.

Oi to The World - The Vandals. Don't worry, Christmas haters. With hits like "A Gun for Christmas" and "Hang Myself from a Tree," The Vandals make sure that everyone has something to sing about during the holidays.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm in Love with Rihanna + This Week's Album Reviews

I'm in love with Rihanna (though I don't really like the new bowl cut she's rockin'). Not only is she gorgeous, but I can't get enough of her voice. Her chorus on Jay-Z's Run This Town is the best part of his new album and I still want to stand under her umbrella-ella-ella-ay.

I checked out her new album this week. It's okay-good, but after getting beat up by Chris Brown, she's more interested in making fight music than mega hits. Can't say I blame her.

Rihanna - Rated R
Miike Snow - Miike Snow
NOFX - Cokie the Clown

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Friday, December 11, 2009

My Streaming Heart is Broken

Stupid Myspace ruins everything. I headed over to my fav music streaming site to post some tunes on the blog when I noticed something different. It wasn't there anymore. Instead, I was redirected to crappy Myspace. Apparently, Myspace has purchased imeem and is in the process of wrecking it.

So I'm now searching for a new streaming solution. is okay but I like to listen by album. Any suggestions?


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Johnny Tightlips Receives Rave Review

We had band practice tonight for the first time in at least a month. (While I waited for Danny and Aaron to arrive, Curtis happily pounded away at the drums. He was very upset when the dudes showed up and I had to kick him out of the band. )

It felt good to pound through the setlist again. And we didn't sound quite as rusty as we'd expected. After we finished up, I asked Paige for some unbiased feedback.

"Paige, how did band practice sound tonight?"

She looked at me and then paused as she thought for a second, choosing her words carefully.

"Pretty cool."

Best. Compliment. Ever.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More Record Reviews - Letting Up, Dashboard, Joshua James

Sooner or later I'll get back to blogging. Until then, here's this week's record reviews:

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - S/T (Highly recommended)
Dashboard Confessional - Alter the Ending
Joshua James - Build Me This

Letting Up - In Steps [MP3]

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Monday, December 07, 2009

This Week's Music Reviews

Interview with New Found Glory
Raveonettes - In and Out of Control (Recommended)
Lady GaGa - The Fame Monster
Wyclef Jean - Toussaint St. Jean

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Monday, November 23, 2009

In this week in In This Week

Here's what I had to say to my hanging-around-bus-stops-and-looking-for-something-free-to-read audience this week:

Feature: Christmas Gifts for Music Lovers
Review: Fanfarlo - Reservoir (Recommended)
Review: Megadeth - Endgame
Review: Why? - Eskimo Snow (Recommended)

These Hands - Why

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: Weezer Raditude

So here's the deal. Ever since Pinkerton (or maybe The Green Album) every Weezer fan has asked, "When is the good Weezer coming back?" After three straight sub-par releases, you'd think we'd just give up. Oh, no. We always just think it's going to be the next one.

But it happened. Despite its unfortunate name (coined by Dwight from The Office. Really.), Raditude is really good.

Over the years, I've spent more than a healthy amount of time trying to figure out exactly what it was on those first two albums that's Weezer's been missing since. The easy target is always the lyrics. Sure, Pinkerton had plenty of awesomely introspective moments, but really Rivers Cuomo has always written boppy, non-serious tunes.

The bigger problem has been the music. The Green Album was solid start to finish. But it was like Cuomo had taken all the heart out of the songs. Just simple, straight forward chords, and catchy choruses. But no personality. Nothing that made the songs uniquely Weezer. It's gotten worse ever since.

The Blue Album
had its harmonica ("In the Garage"), finger picking ("Surf Wax America"), and best-basslines-ever ("Only in Dreams)." Pinkerton was all over the place. Crazy guitar solos, moog, "El Scorcho." It was perfect. (And, more importantly, is just as good today.)

Raditude is still a far cry from their first two records, but the songs are really solid. (The only dud is the bunch is "In the Mall.") They do a great job of mixing things up--hip hop, Bollywood, The Cars--even if they're all just standard pop songs.

So, the old days are gone. But Good songs are good songs. Weezer fans have stuck around because all of their records have at least had a few of 'em. Fortunately, we finally got record full of 'em. Hooray.

Weezer - The Prettiest Girl in the Whole World [MP3]

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Lil Wayne Can be My Sugar Daddy

A few months ago, I jokingly asked if I was gay for Lil Wayne. Though I believe the answer was "no," I may reconsider.

I was reading an article about Rivers Cuomo in Rolling Stone today that mentioned Weezy's verse on Weezer's song "Can't Stop Partyin.'" Apparently, Wayne's standard rate for a song cameo is $75,000. That's almost $10,000 for each bar. I think I'm in love.


Friday, November 13, 2009

May I Recommend...Fanfarlo

These guys are playing in Salt Lake tomorrow. If you're looking for something to occupy a Saturday night, I recommend checking them out. (You can read my not-really-that interesting interview with drummer Amos Memon here.)

Their debut release, "Reservoir," is on my list of favorite new albums. It sounds like they heard Arcade Fire's "Funeral" and immediately decided to start a band. If you love the parade of instruments--mandolin, saw, viola, clarinet--and the not-so-great-on-purpose indie singing, you'll enjoy this one. Plus, the band wears suspenders and is very British-looking.

Take a listen here -

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Daddy-Daughter Rock 'n Roll

Best. Musical. Experience. Ever.

To get a little natural reverb on the vocals, I moved my recording stuff into our bathroom for an afternoon. I'd been in there about two seconds before my curious little fans were knocking on the door to see what I was up to.

I could see that Paige was very concerned. She doesn't like things to be out of place and she's currently not a fan of microphones. She immediately said, "No, dad. That's very much too loud."

I explained that it would actually be really quiet, because we'd just hear the microphone through the headphones. Slowly, she eased back into the room and eventually she put on her pair of headphones. She watched as I started recording some vocals.

I could see in the mirror that she was starting to bop her head along to the beat. Next thing I knew, she was singing along (making up her own words and melody). When I played back the recording, I noticed a little angelic voice singing backup. I couldn't have been more pleased. I'll guess she'll be getting publishing rights now.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New Reviews: Tegan & Sara, Avett Brothers, Steady Machete

Tegan & Sara - Sainthood
The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You
Steady Machete - Riots

The Avett Brothers played Letterman the day we were there.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

It's 1994 Again!

I went to Best Buy tonight and bought NEW music by both Nirvana and Weezer. Suddenly, I'm back in junior high again. I love this crazy time warp.


Monday, November 02, 2009

David Bazan and Say Hi

David Bazan

Tonight's show was amazing. But, believe it or not, the best moment was performed by neither of these bands. The highlight came from the high school kid standing in front of me with the big, boofy 'fro.

During David Bazan's customary Q&A session, the kid raised his hand and shouted to David, "Do you have a beard for your name? I mean, do you have a name for your beard?" Obviously embarrassed, he turned to his friend and said, "Oh, man. Memory FAIL!"

Thank you, failblog, for your contribution to pop culture.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Do Not Often Get Flipped Off...

...But there have been times. The most memorable experience was certainly at my bachelor party when Jason Cruz, lead singer of Strung Out, flipped me off from the stage. (I know he was flipping me off because, for some reason, there were literally only a dozen people at the show.) Though I don't particularly like being flipped off, in punk rock terms, it's kind of like a compliment.

I had the chance to do an interview with Jason last week. I didn't ask him why he flipped me off seven years ago. My guess is that he's flipped off enough people in his lifetime that he probably doesn't remember that particular one-finger salute.

It was cool to talk to him. You can tell by his lyrics and stage persona that he's no cuddly bear, but he was certainly nice and thoughtful in his responses. I could tell from the conversation that he is 100% emotionally invested in his songs, which I think is pretty admirable after playing in the same band for two decades.

I'm pretty excited to see the show tomorrow night, as I haven't seen the band live since the day I was flipped off.

You can read my Strung Out article here.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Good Kind of Snow

As predicted, the snow is falling in Salt Lake City today. I'm trying to cheer myself up with this ditty by a happier kind of Snow.

Miike Snow - Animal

And if that one doesn't do the trick, this one is sure to make you feel better.

Snow - Informer

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Song of the Day: God Made the Automobile

Apparently, the beautiful fall weather is going to give way to winter tomorrow. This Iron & Wine song seemed like a fitting piece for the season.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

CD Reviews: Tiesto, Paramore

Tiesto - Kaleidoscope
Paramore - Brand New Eyes

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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Future of All My Musical Ventures

I'm quitting Johnny Tightlips immediately to pursue a career only using the Stylophone Beatbox.

Thanks, Matthew Brown.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Afternoon Mixtape

Here are some selections from stuff I've been reviewing lately: Brand New, Mike Doughty, fun., Imogen Heap, Lymbyc Systym, David Bazan.

Manifesto 10.15.09

Let me know if you like any of it.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recent Reviews

Pearl Jam - The Back Spacer
Funnest Pearl Jam album in many years. Still not amazing. I am, however, in love with The Fixer [MP3].

Jay-Z - The Blue Print 3
Jay's getting a bit lazy, but the girls (Alicia Keys, Rihanna) do a good job. Check out Run This Town (feat. Rihanna, Kanye) [MP3].

Lymbyc Systym - Carved By Glaciers
If you love ambient, lo-fi electronica, I'd highly recommend this one.

fun. - Aim and Ignite

Lead singer of The Format is good, but not as good, without his old band.

The Used - Artwork
The Utah emos are still angry, but not angry enough for my taste.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Props to Chris Walla

Everyone knows that Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla is a great producer (Nada Surf, Hot Hot Heat, Postal Service), but I wasn't so sure I was going to like his songwriting/singing. Turns out his album "Field Manual" is really good. I was reminded of this fact when "Two-Fifty" just popped up on my shuffle.

Two-Fifty - Chris Walla (FULL SONG)

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Here's to You, David Bazan

Attending Traci's fourth and final birthday party of the year and writing record reviews before I go to bed is a bad combination. I dreamt last night that David Bazan was dating my sister Sarah and we were all staying at my parent's house for the weekend.

He was pleasant enough and even furrier than in real life. We had a pretty good talk about his new album (I, of course, told him it was too country). I also told him he couldn't swear in front of my parents. He obliged.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: David Bazan Curse Your Branches

David Bazan
Curse Your Branches

For years, David Bazan (formerly under the name Pedro the Lion) has been weaving stirring tales of man’s relationship with God. But these are no hallelujah Christian rock songs. The fictitious tales tend to revolve around fallibility of both parties and are filled with constant questioning and disappointment.

Topically, his first full-length solo release follows a similar pattern. There’s just one big difference. For the first time in his career, Bazan himself becomes the main character. “Curse Your Branches” chronicles, both painfully and beautifully, Bazan’s own questioning, doubts, and beliefs.

Lyrically, this is the best piece in Bazan’s stunning catalog. He sings of losing faith in front of his wife and daughter, his family fasting for his salvation, and drinking to stop thinking about all of it. The only drawback is the countrified arrangements take away from the amazing weight of the message. And with so many solo versions of these songs floating the internet, it’s hard not to yearn for the stripped down performances.

Nevertheless, a nearly perfect release from one of rock’s most engaging songwriters.

For fans of: Pedro the Lion, Death Cab for Cutie

Rating: 4 of 4

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Music Roundup

As usual, lots of music writing going on in my world. I talked with Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids about hating The Wiggles (him, not necessarily me), Taking Back Sunday about loving Transformers (the toy, not so much the movie) and Matt & Kim about Kim's problem of sweating on fans' t-shirts.

I've thrown in a handful of CD reviews as well. Enjoy.


The Get Up Kids
Taking Back Sunday
Matt & Kim


Owl City - Ocean Eyes*
Modest Mouse - No One's First, And You're Next
Ramona Falls - Intuit
American Steel - Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts*
RX Bandits - Mandala
Moby - Wait For Me*

*Manifesto Recommended


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Review: Matt & Kim at Club Sound

At the Johnny Tightlips show on Saturday night, friend Brian and I were talking about how much cleaner and generally less disgusting bars/clubs are now, thanks to the new no-smoking laws. I spoke too soon. Last night I found that Club Sound/In The Venue is just as sweaty and gross (and a bit smokey) as ever. Nevertheless, I had a great time at Matt & Kim.

Matt & Kim
Club Sound

So many choices on Monday night. Should I give into my late-90s nostalgia and head down to Orem for Blink-182? Or should get my boogie on to Matt & Kim in Salt Lake? Since I’d seen both bands before, and have been impressed by both, the tie breaker went to my dancing heart.

Though I’m sure that Blink was filled with plenty of spectacle, power chords, and pooh jokes, I have no regrets about choosing Matt & Kim. I'm guessing the 300 or so fans sweating to death in the unventilated Club Sound would agree.

The set was short and sweet, lasting just under an hour. Despite the brevity, the smiling duo managed to play the majority of its two-album catalog as well as throw in a fist-pumping rendition of the made-famous-by-hockey "Hey Song" and the greatest song ever written--that's right, "The Final Countdown."

With so many great songs, it's hard to pick favorites. However, both the rapid-fire instrumental "Cinders" (played in double time as a reward for "such a great crowd") and the heartfelt "Light Speed" were outstanding. "Daylight," the set's closer, was also welcomed with shrieks of delight.

Matt & Kim's second most endearing quality (right after their perma-grins) is their gratitude. No matter the size of the venue or the length of the set list, they play as if it was their most important gig and they thank the audience profusely for their support. The usually-silent Kim even took the mic to offer her sincere appreciation to the ever-growing Salt Lake City fan base.

In many ways, Kim managed to steal the show. In addition to her incessant drum pounding, she lent vocals to "Lessons Learned," threw in a few keyboard notes on "Turn This Boat Around," and showed off her Beyonce bootyshake during a couple of between-songs dance parties.

There was not a dull moment to be had and every face in the crowd left sweaty and almost as smiley as the band itself.

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Friday, September 04, 2009

You Ain't Just a Whistlin' Dixie

Oh, Randy. Lainee's first boyfriend was sooo cool. Blond mullet. Maroon jeans. And a 1970's Chevy Monte Carlo.

To 8-year-old, brother-less me, having a dude hanging around the house was the best thing I could have ever imagined. Randy would wrestle with me and go to my baseball games. I loved it. And because Lainee was the first dater in the family, my parents were more than happy to let me tag along with them (Lainee was not so happy).

More than just the memories, Randy left behind The Bellamy Brothers. Every time we were in the Monte Carlo, Randy would blast his Bellamy Brothers Greatest Hits 8-track and sing along to "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me?), "Redneck Girl," and "Old Hippie."

Listen to a bunch of tunes here.

To this day, that greatest hits album is the only country entry in my entire collection. So of course I jumped at the chance to interview Howard Bellamy for IN. (I'm sure my editor thought I was crazy when I volunteered to take it. )

He was a totally cool old dude. He talked about living on the same farm where he grew up and still having his 85-year-old mom still sign their performance contracts because it's always been "a family business."

Here's the article in its entirety. This one goes out to Randy.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Johnny Tightlips @ 5 Monkeys - Sept. 5

I hate writing song lyrics. But once again, we have a show coming up and a bunch of songs with no words. Rather than mumble incoherently through them all, I frantically tried to come up with something tonight. Surprise, surprise, there was a bit of success. Come hear for yourself:

Johnny Tightlips
w/ Josh & the Dream Killer, Michael Gross & the Statuettes
5 Monkeys (21+)
Saturday, Sept. 5
9 p.m.

Don't worry, they'll still be a few mumblers. We don't want to get away from our signature sound.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

A Playlist to Kick Off September (Corrected)

I haven't posted a mixtape in quite a while. This one features some bands I've interviewed lately--Taking Back Sunday, Matt & Kim, Bellamy Brothers, Get Up Kids--as well as some new albums I've been reviewing. Enjoy.

Click here for the full-song version of the playlist

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stripping Down with Matt (& Kim)

Much Manifesto real estate has been dedicated to Matt & Kim. (Here's a link to all the back stories). So of course I was very excited to do a phone interview with Matt yesterday to promote their upcoming SLC show on Sept. 7.

As expected, Matt was completely friendly and cool. I haven't written the story up yet, but if you have a spare 18 minutes, you can listen to the entire interview here.

We chat about Bacardi commercials, anxiety attacks, and of course their naked romp through Times Square.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Rock 'n Roll Updates

With all the producing hit singles about America's hat lately, I haven't had a chance to write about my recent celebrity interviews. I checked two more favorite bands off the list--Bad Religion and Bouncing Souls (details to follow)--and I'll be talking to Matt of Matt & Kim fame tomorrow. I should be able to get a David Bazan interview in November and then, if I can track down Millencolin somehow, I will have accomplished all of my journalistic dreams. Not bad for two years of writing for a little local paper.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

I've got it all wrong

I've been writing to the wrong niche all along. Writing about my life, my kids, my love of beepy-boopy music is all wrong. I need to focus purely on hip hop.

My rage-inducing Eminem review has now topped 2,500 views. My blog post about Snoop Dogg had 200 views last week and my Vanilla Ice article consistently gets more hits than anything else on the Manifesto (save the Shauna Thomas story I wrote in 2006--still a search favorite).

So from here on out, the Manifesto is all hip hop, all the time.

Sutherland out.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stupid Canada. I Hate You.

My long-time homie Rhett flew in from The OC and spent a few days with us. Other than a trip to a stirring nil-nil Real Salt Lake match and the injury-filled lunch at the Chuck, we spent all of our time writing and recording music. (Oh wait, we also watched a million episodes of Project Runway with Traci.)

I knew we would be recording a couple of Rhett's rock tunes and he said he was bringing some acoustic material as well. I was a bit surprised, though, by what came out of the guitar. Rather than a heartfelt ballad to his fiancee, we got this tribute to America Junior. (Rhett and I have opposing thoughts about our neighbors to the north.)

Beware: this will be stuck in your head for days.

Rhett McCaughey--Ahh Canada [MP3]

This was the only completed product, but we got down the skeletons of two more killer tracks. Keep your fingers crossed.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh, Paige Will Love This

Streetlight Manifesto just released this video for "Would You Be Impressed?" (The song's like two years old, but whatever.) From the very first second I knew this would be a Paige favorite. But with the murdering and all, I may have to keep this one to myself.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Progress Report

When I said that the new Johnny Tightlips album would be done any day now, I knew I was lying. But I have made some decent progress as of late. All of the drums tracks are recorded, save our lackluster cover of "Blitzkrieg Bop" and a few other covers, and the bass tracks are done as well. Guit and vocals are almost all-the-way done for one track (our newest song) and will hopefully be mixed (and posted!!!) shortly.

On a related note, I'm proud to report that I sold enough CDs on eBay to afford to buy a new version of (recording software) Cubase. This edition has pitch correction, which will allow me to, at worst fix my missed notes, and at best sound like T-Pain. Awesome.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Say It Ain't So

What happens when you combine my two favorite things--8-bit music and Weezer tunes? I become a very happy boy. If you don't know what 8-bit music is, this will be a great introduction for you. If you don't know who Weezer is, well, you're an idiot. There, I said it.

The full album is available for free download here.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Traci Was Right...But We Knew It All Along

Sure, I had my doubts. The second I opened the email from Snoop, I had the feeling I'd been duped. But come 'on, what's the fun in that? Isn't it better to just go a long for the ride sometimes?

Today SL Trib music writer David Burger posted the article from his email interview with Snoop. One quote seemed to stick out:

"I go in tha booth and I get it done. Clark Kent ain't got nuthin' on me. Ya dig?"

That sounded similar--or rather, exactly the same--as a quote he gave me. Coincidence?

Friend of the Manifesto, Josh Ligairi, said it best:

"Sorry, man. That is the only reason I can see going with the email interview. My guess is that he has about fifty canned answers for his fifty most FAQ and then an intern mix and matches to complete the interview. No offense to Mr. Broadus, but I could tell from his first video with Dre that he wasn't to be trusted. Also, as a married man I have to tell you--when in doubt, always go with the wife."

So I'm disenchanted, disillusioned, disappointment. Tha Doggfather has let me down.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

He's Behind You, He's Got Swine Flu

I spent the day at home, having swine flu. No, not really. Just a fever and the chills. This was very inconvenient on the day when Gieger the Ukrainian came to clean out our air ducts. How are you supposed to tell if your air conditioner is working better when you already feel like an icicle, or when you're literally sweating through a game of Dora Memory with your daughter (may be the sweating was actually due to the high stakes of winning the most matches)?

The Streets - He's Behind You, He's Got Swine Flu

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Latest Rock Interviews

I've been doing a bunch of phone interviews with bands lately, with mixed results.

Death Cab For Cutie

I was very excited for this interview, even though it was with the drummer (the lowest in the band interview hierarchy). I was so excited, in fact, that I was two hours early. I still struggle with time zone conversion. Jason McGerr was plenty affable, even though I'm pretty sure he thought I was a crazy fan when I told him I was two hours early for the interview.

Check out my article here.

I was surprised and disappointed when their press person didn't come through with tickets for the show. But apparently I didn't miss out on much. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks Death Cab kinda sucks live. (Or rather, they suck when they try to be too much of a rock band. They were great when I saw them back in 2004.)


I've never listened to an Incubus album, so I was even more nervous for this one. I talked to DJ/keyboardist Chris Kilmore (DJs rank even lower than drummers). The fact that I didn't know anything about the band wasn't much of an issue, as we spent our time talking about DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Here's the article.

The Dear Hunter

Their press agent was begging the magazine for an interview. I said I'd do it because I vaguely recalled listening to one of their albums once. It turns out I had listened to the indie band Deerhunter, not prog-rock opera creator The Dear Hunter. Whoops. Fortunately, Mr. Dear Hunter was friendly enough.

Dear Hunter article

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

An Email From Calvin Broadus

1, 2, 3-and-to-tha-4, I got just about as close as I ever will to Snoop Doggy Dogg (or Dr. Dre) knocking at my door. I still remember walking to the mall to buy “The Chronic” on cassette, listening to it over and over on my walkman, and hiding it under my mattress so my mom wouldn’t find it. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to do an interview with Tha Doggfather himself to promote his upcoming show in Salt Lake.

There were a million questions things I wanted to ask him about—his fallout with Death Row Records, his friendship with Tupac, his foray into the adult entertainment industry. But alas, I was thwarted. His press agent dropped the following knowledge:

  1. Snoop is only doing email interviews
  2. I was not to ask about his personal life
  3. He may or may not actually respond to my questions

Though I was certainly a bit disappointed to not actually get to talk to him, I followed the rules and emailed him some generic, tour-related questions. To my delight, he did in fact response (and even ahead of schedule). Because the spelling looks like it came right out of his patented “Shizzolator,” I decided to leave it as-is.

ME: A lot of hip hop artists shy away from touring, but you're always on the road. What is it that keeps you touring?

SNOOP DOGG: Tha fans. Tha money. If u ain’t got a show, u ain’t an artist and if u ain’t got a tour, u ain’t makin’ money. If u ain’t makin’ money, u don't have a fan base. It’s a math equation and I'm solvin’ it.

ME: How was the Bonnaroo show?

SNOOP: I'm goin bacc next year. That's all I gotta say about that, ya dig?!? Chuuch!!!

ME: What's the Snoop Dogg festival experience like?

SNOOP: Party. Worth every dollar. Classic music. It’s tha present day hip hop Woodstock. It’s tha party of all parties and we do it tha best with tha help of Dogg Pound and Tha Snoopadelics. Shout out to Slightly Stoopid and Stephen Marley.

ME: Do you have any pre-show routines before you go on stage each night?

SNOOP: Listenin’ to timeless music and get my mind right. Maybe beatin’ one of tha homeys in Madden on Xbox or NBA 2K. Those are tha 2 favorite video games of tour. Fight Night, too!

ME: You're always multi-tasking—reality shows, movies, clothing. How do you find time to do all this stuff in addition to recording and touring?

SNOOP: I'm Snooperman—I go in tha booth and get it done. Clark Kent ain’t got nuthin’ on me.

ME: Next to music, which of your other endeavors brings the most satisfaction?

SNOOP: Tha Snoop Youth Football League—over 3,000 kids and gettin’ bigger and better each year. I coach tha Pomona Steelers and we are bacc to bacc Snoop Bowl Champs, hosted at the Home Depot Center each year in December. It’s an event that's puttin’ alotta smiles on these kids faces and that's what's most rewarding and enjoyable. You can't beat that or outsell that.

ME: Luckily for us, Utah has been a frequent stop for you over the last few years. Have you had any memorable experiences here?

SNOOP: Every time I come here I have a blast and imma continue to come here and do tha same thang, ya dig?!? Make sure u there to see it, neffew.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keep My Puffy Pants in Storage

No need to worry about losing me to Hollywood...yet. Last week's episode of Hammertime on A&E was in fact about The MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice show in Provo. However, I was not featured on the show. (I watched it twice to make sure.)

It was weird, but cool to watch a filmed version of a show I saw in real life. (I don't remember it being as spectacular as the TV edits made it out to be.) Watch the full episode here. It's episode #3.

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This Week's Music Reviews


The Lemonheads - Varshons. Only interesting for established fans.
Iron & Wine - Around the Well. A b-sides record that's better than most A-sides.
So Many Dynamos - The Loud Wars. Emo boys meet prog.


Laura Gibson - For those who love trees and girl music.
The Dear Hunter - For those who love dungeons and dragons.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Message to Tha Doggfather

Um, I just sent an email to Snoop Dogg. He's coming to town on July 20 and IN was able to track down a press contact for me. Mr. Dogg is only doing email interviews. This is relieving because, though I'd love to have the experience of talking to him on the phone, I'm sure the anticipatin/stress of it would have killed me.

I had a bunch of things I wanted to ask him, however, I was instructed "
please keep them related to the tour and avoid asking about his personal life (or they won’t get answered)." I was also told that, regardless of what I asked, he may not get back to me. So, we'll see, I guess.