Archive | November, 2009

[News] New Thermals Album Coming Sooner Rather Than Later — Sign Me Up

27 Nov

In a follow-up to my review of Now We Can See a few weeks back, The Thermals apparently are already heading back to the studio and will have a new album out in September 2010.

AWESOME. I have high hopes for this. UPDATE: Those hopes were dashed by the end product, sadly.

(via Punknews)

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[Odds and Ends] JFK Is the Reason

22 Nov

Forty-six years ago today, JFK was shot to death in Dallas, Texas, presumably by Lee Harvey Oswald. Unless of course you believe Oliver Stone, or your sketchy retired neighbor who has told you in confidence on several occasions that he was in fact the gunman on the grassy knoll.

Texas Is the Reason’s 1996 magnum opus Do You Know Who You Are? (yes, I’m fully aware that their discography is rather limited) dwells on the conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s death, if only in that there are song titles like “The Magic Bullet Theory” and “Back and to the Left.” Beyond these allusions, there’s a lot of fantastic second wave emo to revel in. I mean, of records from this era, I like Mineral’s The Power of Failing better, and I’m gonna let it finish, but “Back and to the Left” is one of the best songs OF ALL TIME. Kicks like an angry horse that had its hay soaked in pepper sauce, drank a couple cases’ worth of energy beverage out of its trough, and oh yeah, the barn’s on fire.

I think that’s PETA on the line. I should probably go now. But I mean, if they can go after Barack over a fly, I should be able to get away with a metaphorical statement that happens to involve a horse to describe a song, right? Right? [If you need me, I’ll be in hiding]

Texas Is the Reason – Back and to the Left

Buy ’em up:
Revelation

(I figured that posting a Dead Kennedys song would have been a super cop-out. I mean, if I wanted to go down that road, I could have posted Franz Nicolay’s “Jeff Penalty,” a song about the band named after JFK and RFK. But that would have been a bit of a stretch.)

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That’s news to me, Sunday edition:

And a random video for good measure:

[Odds and Ends] “It’s [Only] Hoedown Techno!”, a remix of NIN’s “Only”

20 Nov

Weird things happen at 5 am on the day an assignment is due, like taking “Only” out back, shooting it, then dragging the carcass to a country get-together. I’ve gotten enough limited positive response (one person liking it will suffice) that I’m gonna go ahead and post this. Thanks for open sourcing this song, Trent; without your charitable donation to the electronic music community this remix would not be possible. Cheers.

Pious Rascals – It’s [Only] Hoedown Techno!

[Video] The Magic of Auto-Tune

19 Nov

The downfall of Western Civilization? You decide.

[Video] OMGZ ITZ JUSTIN BIEBER

18 Nov

Now I don’t like to hate here, but I have to make an exception in this case, because this looks an awful lot like Aaron Carter version 2009. Plus he’s got the Canadian X-Factor, which means that his reign on the pop charts is likely to be especially long-lasting and damaging, like Bryan Adams or Avril Lavigne.

As for the ethics violations present in this video, our prepubescent hero is chasing a woman around practically old enough to be his mother. It’s like the music video version of The Graduate, but cleaned up enough so that it’s safe for tween digestion.

(I’ve got one word for you, Justin: Plastics.)

God help us all.

[Review] The Thermals – Now We Can See

17 Nov

Now We Can See is the document of a band that’s grown up a bit. They moved from Sub Pop to Kill Rock Stars, which I’d imagine is part of the reason why they went three years between releases. The band has gradually mellowed from the ferocious, lo-fi attack of their infancy back in the early 2000’s, a development especially evidenced on this record. That said, maturity hasn’t yet gotten the best of Hutch & Kathy and company. While my first impressions of this album were less stellar, it’s a grower. Repeated spins have been beneficial.

2006’s The Body, The Blood, The Machine took on organized religion, grabbing you early and refusing to let go for the duration. Now We Can See lacks the same kind of amped-up power chord glory that its predecessors have reveled in. Maybe the more relaxed tone of this record is meant to reflect the greater calm of death; if The Body, The Blood, The Machine was the midst of a war, Now We Can See is the fatalities making small talk.

The lead single (and title track) is nothing short of infectious. If you don’t “oh ey oh oh woah oh” during that song at least once you either a) don’t have a soul or b) don’t have a pulse.

Not everything is here is so instantly catchy. The first couple of times I listed to “At the Bottom of the Sea,” I wasn’t a fan of the plodding first half of the song, but eventually grew to appreciate it for the epic build that occurs thereafter. Now it’s one of my favorites here.

Overall, this album fails to match the same level of passion and immediate reward of TBTBTM, but multiple listens reveal an album that while perhaps not quite as good, is not dwelling too far below the high water mark. After a band puts out a great album, it is unrealistic to expect them to follow it up with a release that is equally as good. Given this rule of tempered expectations that I have adopted, I will gladly accept Now We Can See as a more-than-satisfactory offering of awesome.

The Thermals – Now We Can See

Buy ’em up:
Kill Rock Stars

[Video] William Elliott Whitmore – That Train That Carried Away My Girl

15 Nov

This guy has a awesomely deep, gruff voice and lives in a cabin on a farm in the woods, somewhere in Lee County, Iowa. Just a fascinating individual. Do yourself a favor and check out this Daytrotter session. (Also, watching this really, really makes me want to get a banjo/banjitar.)