Monday, October 25, 2010

Called as Paul

When you think about how many people cite the Beatles as influential, it's largely considered a good thing. I always point to Millie Vanilli as one of my earliest musical influences but it is wholly as a negative as they shattered my innocent ignorance regarding corporate music. I think I was 8 or 9 when I refused to watch an episode of the Super Mario Bros. cartoon because Milli Vanilli made a (unwelcomed) guest appearance.

Even after the Beatles broke up, John and Paul continued to have a monopoly on where popular music was going. Just take a look at how Paul and Wings were completely ripped off in this Ratt video.

Granted that there were some other, less obvious and contemporary influences in Ratt's look and sound. But it's hard to deny that, a dozen years after he sang "Maybe I'm Amazed" at that concert, Paul's influence was all over Ratt like Aquanet on, well, Ratt.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Assembling Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins were a band that I was really into for a while there. Then they broke up. Then they came back, zombie style, and Billy Corgan tried to convince the world that it was still the same band (it wasn't). Then Jeff Schroeder, a founding member of the Lassie Foundation joined the band, piquing my curiosity, if not making me a little worried about the future of one of my favorite bands (hint: not the Smashing Pumpkins).

TSP still haven't done anything to reclaim that Mellon Collie glory, but they've recently embarked on a 44-song project douchely titled TEARGARDEN BY KALEIDYSCOPE, that sounds better than anything Billy has done post-Machina. I'd like to think that Mr. Schroeder had something to do with it(the music, not the title). What do you think?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Road Trip Diary.

We took a drive to Stillwater, a town on the St. Croix. The last stop before Wisconsin.

Laura Veirs played on the muffled car stereo as we drove into town under a brown sky and found a parking spot right on Main Street.

After a day of seeing and doing, we turned down a road we had never been down, played the Stars as we drove through the countryside. Home was only a vague destination.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Hospice" by The Antlers

I'm always hesitant of new music, especially from new bands. Even more especially when someone tells me I'll love it. Most of the time, it doesn't work out for me so much. This is why I wasn't too broken up about missing the Antlers open for The National a couple of months ago. I had never heard them, so I didn't know what I was missing. But most telling was that a bunch of people told me I'd probably like them.

To be fair, I already didn't like their name, which is a stupid reason to not listen to someone. The Antlers calls to mind a deer and with that a whole slew of bands with "deer" in their name: Deertick, Deerhoof, Deerhunter, Deermolester, etc. One shouldn't judge a band by their name. See: Radiohead, Starflyer 59, and Totally Wrecked (ok, maybe not that last one).

I went out west and my friend Peter was playing The Antler's "Hospice" record, which immediately made me want to know who it was. Peter and I share some musical tastes, but also butt heads on many things. I never really fell in love with Pavement, he thinks that Belle and Sebastian's "Life Pursuit" record blows.

When I came home, I bought the record. It's one that you want to listen to all the way through every time you play it, but also contains strong enough songs to stand alone (although they shouldn't). This is a concept record in the most literal sense. Not only does the album tell a cohesive story through out, but the music plays like a classical piece with themes and variations. The harrowing story tells of a narrator who becomes attached to a dying child as his relationship with his girlfriend falls apart. The imagery is stark and the metaphors are ruthlessly strong (I seriously can't pick one because they're all so good).

Now I'm all bummed that I didn't see them perform these songs live when I had the chance.