Thursday, March 31, 2011

California love, indeed

So, in the war of Biggie vs 2pac, I think I come down on the side of Biggie. But just barely. And I generally don't make that information public since CA > NY. And to cover my ass, here's this video.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

OBCBYL: Hüsker Dü

We press on in the Things that Are Square celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life!: Hüsker Dü This is another one of those bands that didn't click with me the first time I read through this book about a decade ago. I wasn't quite ready for the "classic rock-informed popsongs buried under a thick veneer of hardcore/noise" style of the 'Dü. And you know what, they're still only a band I'm just getting into. But I will definitely recognize their importance to the things I am already into. Like Mission of Burma, they took a snotty punk attitude and showed the music world that punk and songwriting could be fused, and their more mature take on this new kind of music helped give birth to "college rock" and, thus, a million other bands I adore. They were also one of the first indie bands to jump over to a major label which helped establish a mass appeal to "non-mainstream" music (but also gave rise to the ages-old debate of indie bands "selling out.") But, I'm sure we'll discuss this band further when I get a better grip on 'em. And, as with the rest of these bands, I'll be doing a feature on them at some future radio show. If you have a favorite, please suggest it. I want to play your favorite songs.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A legacy of song titles

Matt, formerly of the KUCI show "Love Psychosis," turned me on to this band. It's like...a punk-pop Guided By Voices? A million one-minute songs. One idea and they're out. Some great song titles, though. I bought their (kind of exhausting) 75-song "Punker Than You Since '92," which features songs entitled:

Who Pissed On Yr Bonfire?
Tell Me Where My Hands Should Go
I Thought Even More of You When You Told Me You Wanted Me Dead
Toilets of Northern Europe
That Boy Yr With Is a Dick [a personal favorite]

Anyway. That's going to be taking over my page for a while. Seventy-five songs is kind of a lot (in case you don't know numbers).

Playlist for 3-24-11

Hey folks,

Here's the playlist for last week's radio show. My friend Alexi had asked if she could guest DJ, and since I am in the business of making dreams come true, how could I say no? And she played some pretty sweet shit. So it worked out pretty well for everyone.

Things that Are Square 3-24-11

(*) = New release

(*) Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx - Running - We're New Here

(*) Mike Watt - Hammering-Castle-Bird-Man - Hyphenated-Man
Half Japanese - Daytona Beach - Greatest Hits
Galaxie 500 - Submission - Peel Sessions
The Halo Benders - Snowfall - God Don't Make No Junk

(*) Yuck - Suicide Policeman - Yuck
(*) J Mascis - Listen to Me - Several Shades of Why
Jon Barba - Have a Catch - All These Songs Are About Love
Charlie Parr - Mastodon - When the Devil Goes Blind

The Magnetic Fields - All My Little Words - 69 Love Songs (For Ellen in Portland, OR)
Why? - Early Whitney - Oaklandazulasylum
Archers of Loaf - Web in Front - Icky Mettle
School Knights - Prom Queen - Rush S.K.

Black Flag - Rise Above - Damaged
Black Flag - No Values - The First Four Years
Black Flag - What I See - Damaged
Black Flag - Revenge - The First Four Years

*****Alexi takes over!*****

Robyn - Dance Hall Queen (Dillon Frances Remix) - Dance Hall Queen
Miike Snow - Burial (DJ Mehdi Remix) - Miike Snow
The Naked and Famous - Young Blood - Passive Me, Aggressive You
Kisses - People Can Do the Most Amazing Things - Heart of the Nightlife

(*) Say Hi - Um, Uh Oh - Dots on a Map
(*) Jessica Lea Mayfield - Our Hearts Are Wrong - Tell Me
Iji - Four Counts After the End of the World - In Celebration
(*) - Jim's Place - Balls and Kittens, Draught and Strangling Rain

Atlas Sound - Artificial Snow (Bedroom Version) - Artificial Snow
Ros sareysothea - Don't Be Mad
Thra Ka Band Featuring Keo Sokha - Saravan Jun Penh
(*) The Vaccines - If You Wanna - What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?

Roky Erickson & the Aliens - If You Have Ghosts - The Evil One
Summer Camp - Ghost Train - Young

Gold Motel - Summer House - Summer House

Friday, March 25, 2011

OBCBYL: Minor Threat

As the Things that Are Square celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life continues: Minor Threat.
Like Black Flag, Minor Threat is one of two sort of "straight ahead, no fucking around" punk bands on this list. Granted, Minor Threat were just better at it than the rest. You listen to a song like "Out of Step," and sure it's got the hardcore hallmarks in it (hell, it invented those hallmarks), but it's just got that extra something that elevates it above so much stuff that sounds just like it.

My opinion on this band is two-fold. On one hand, independent music is forever indebted to the DIY ethos these guys laid the blueprints for, as well as the importance of all-ages shows. Ian MacKaye is an amazing example of how businesses can be run in a way that's fair and beneficial for everyone involved without sacrificing art or vision. And these guys often set a great example of bucking punk convention by being decent, responsible human beings with the hearts of hippies (but without selling out). But, at the same time, Minor Threat spawned a whole bunch of bullshit, were super preachy, and just seemed like a bunch of assholes that would ruin other people's shows by fighting. The book mentions a NY concert where at least two different zines called these guys out on being violent muscleheads. It kind of reminds you what's great about 21+ shows, ironically.

Of course, most of that exists on top of the music, which remains pretty strong about three decades later.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Relive the wonder years

School Knights are two dudes outta Denver, formerly of the band Weed Diamond, who write fun indie punkpop songs (with a healthy/hazy dash of Dinosaur Jr) about growing up. They have a pretty solid four-song EP out on SoCal label Bridgetown Records, which you should probably consider looking into.

OBCBYL: Mission of Burma

Third in my little celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Mission of Burma.
When I originally bought Our Band Could Be Your Life years ago, when I was first getting into college radio and wasn't the paragon of musical knowledge I am now, I ended up buying a lot of the albums by the bands profiled in the book. Azerrad writes about all of them so passionately, and makes them such cornerstones in independent music that it makes you want to learn more. For Mission of Burma, I bought their EP "Signals, Calls, and Marches." And while I liked one or two tracks on it, it didn't click with me like Black Flag or Beat Happening did. But that's because those bands are immediate. Black Flag writes straight ahead punk songs, and Beat Happening is pure, sloppy pop joy. Mission of Burma, though, are far more challenging and arty, penning songs about celebrities of the Dadaist movement and making references to lesser-known Philip K. Dick novels. Beyond simply the lyrics, the music is less pop/rock-centric, relying on liberal tape-loop use in the live setting, and being more angular and accomplished, musically. But, of course, under the "art" lies pop sensabilities. Mission of Burma just made you work for them. And that IS a cornerstone of the independent music scene: bands that will challenge listeners, not just lay out simple poptunes for easy digestion. Playing hard to get is always a turn-on, right?

Monday, March 21, 2011


Charlie Parr: Mastodon from thinfilms on Vimeo.

I saw Mr. Charlie Parr open for fellow Minnesota-ites Low on their Christmas tour stop in LA. Beards, vintage acoustic instruments, old-timey folk/country, religious lyrics. I truly wonder, sometimes, if a love of those things isn't buried somewhere in my genetics.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

OBCBYL: Minutemen

Next up in my little celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Minutemen.
One of the big points that OBCBYL (named after a Minutemen lyric, for the record) makes is how independent music, and these bands it contains profiles on, pioneered the idea that just regular folks could be in bands and release albums. But a lot of other bands still felt like rock stars. Look at a picture of Henry Rollins from Black Flag. Dude's still all ripped and good-looking and above average. The Minutemen were, by their own description, "fucking corndogs." Fat, goofy, nerdy, working class dudes. But dudes who really stood up for what was right, politically, lived/played/toured economically soundly ("jamming econo," as they say), and just kind of inhabited that admirable populous stance. They weren't punk in dress or style, they were punk in their heart. True punk. Their music was whatever they wanted it to be, and that was often challenging to the thuggish, fast/loud spirit of punk. But everyone loves a dorky underdog, right?

I'm probably going to be doing one of those on-air radio "salutes" per week, so the Minutemen will have to wait until next week. But, if there's any choice cuts you want to hear, feel free to let me know.

Friday, March 18, 2011

OBCBYL: Black Flag

So, this year is the 10th anniversary of the amazing, amazing book Our Band Could Be Your Life, and in light of that I've decided to re-read the book, giving each of the 13 bands little highlights on the blog and on my radio show.

First up, Black Flag.

Maybe I'm a little impressionable, but I tend to get really into whatever I'm reading about. I just finished a book about Shakespeare, and I got really into Shakespeare (perhaps you heard me playing the band Titus Andronicus on Thursday night. See?). When I read The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, I just really wanted to do acid (I still have not, for the record). But, right now, I just kind of think Black Flag totally rules. Early-to-mid-career Black Flag, anyway. Last night, while drinking, I had a burning urge to start a Black Flag cover band with Matt from Dash Jacket, so we'll see if that happens.

It's just something about the total intensity/fury of the thing that gets me. I know a lot of metaldudes will use the word "brutal" to describe music they especially like, but that never really clicked with me. I like some metal, but the punishing aspect of it doesn't really do it for me. However, good punk has a real intensity to it that DOES do it for me, and I truly think there is no better song to illustrate that point than "Rise Above."

Anyway, look for a little salute to Black Flag on the show this Thursday. If you have any songs you'd like me to play in particular, let me know (they just have to be clean).

Youth and Love

I know I've posted music from Jon Barba (formally known as Nicole Kidman) before, but I've been listening to his album All These Songs Are About Love, which rules. A decent step up from the Teen Worship tape.

Sadly, I'm unsure where you can buy the album. It may be tour-only, and the label--Barba's own "Your Warmth"--doesn't have a website or anything. Try to track him down and see him live. He plays around SoCal pretty constantly, and this CD was only $5 if I remember correctly. You could also email yourwarmthrecords [at] hotmail {dot} com and ask how to score yourself a copy of this fine, fine piece of Daniel Johnston-y confessional honest fragile DIY music. Or you could come over to my apartment and we could listen to it while we play Super Smash Bros.

Playlist for 3-17-11

Happy Friday, folks,

Everyone recovered from yesterday's festivities? One too many Irish Car Bombs? Whatever you ended up doing, I hope it was free of injury and permanent reprecussions. Because I like you. I'm a sweetheart that way.

Anyway, here's what I played last night (complete with all-Irish first hour...with one or two covers of Irish band songs).

Things that Are Square 3-17-11

(*) = New release

****St. Patrick's Day Power Hour****
Passion Pit - Dreams - Manners

Calla - Promenade - Scavengers
O Emperor - Po - Po
The Moondogs - Who's Gonna Tell Mary? - That's What Friends Are For
Autobop - Advertising - Secret

sMy Bloody Valentine - Sometimes - Loveless
WE ARE LOSERS - Empty Head - We Are Losers
Stiff Little Fingers - Alternative Ulster - Inflammable Material
The Pogues - Transmetropolitan - Red Roses for Me

Flogging Molly - The Worst Day Since Yesterday - Swagger
Bank Robbers - On My Mind - On My Mind
The Divine Comedy - To Die a Virgin - Victory for the Comic Muse

**** Resume non-Irish programming***
(*) Parts & Labor - Rest - Constant Future
(*) Yuck - Georgia - Yuck
Titus Andronicus - A More Perfect Union - The Monitor

(*) Akron/Family - Light Emerges - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
Owen Pallett - Game of Pricks - AV Club Undercover
(*) Chain and the Gang - (I've Got) Privilege - Music's Not for Everyone
Suicide - Ghost Rider - Suicide

(*) Woodsman - All the Cards Fell In Place - Rare Forms
The Books - Smells Like Content - Lost and Safe
The Blow - True Affection - Paper Television
(*) J Mascis - Not Enough - Several Shades of Why

Boredoms - House of Sun - Seadrum/House of Sun

Thursday, March 17, 2011

AV Club's "Undercover"

So, I've posted videos from the Onion AV Club's "Undercover" feature before. Now I've made mp3s of the first "Season" of it. You can download those here.

(Bear in mind that three of the mp3s have little muted parts where they decided to film the band from outside the room, so it sounds muffled. Sorry. That's just how it is.)

But you still get fucking jams like this:

Clem Snide covers Journey

Journey has never sounded this good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day (3/14)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Playlist for 3-10-11


I haven't done a full two-hour show in months! I am so happy to be back on the radio, full force, playing sweet tunes for you guys. Few things make me happier in this world. I hope you like this stuff half as much as I do. Well, I hope you're liking it as much as I do, but half is still a lot, is what I'm trying to say.

Anyway. The stuff I played:

Things that Are Square 3-10-11

(*) = New release

The Mountain Goats - There Is Power in a Union - Unreleased

(*) Wooden Wand - I Wanna Make a Difference - Death Seat
The Moldy Peaches - Jorge Regula - The Moldy Peaches
Jens Lekman - If You Ever Need a Stranger (To Sing at Your Wedding) - When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog
Mirah - Sweepstakes Prize - You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This

Yo La Tengo - Our Way to Fall - And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
The Antlers - Kettering - Hospice
Alexander "Skip" Spence - Little Hands - Oar
(*) Brown Recluse - Impressions of a City Morning - Evening Tapestry

(*) Chain and the Gang - Detroit Music - Music's Not for Everyone
The Fall - Victoria - 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand - Let Love In

(*) Woodsman - Insects - Rare Forms
Mi Ami - Dreamers - Steal Your Face
Television - See No Evil - Marquee Moon
Ponytail - Die Allman Brüder - Ice Cream Spiritual
(*) Akron/Family - Silly Bears - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT

(*) Destroyer - Savage Night at the Opera - Kaputt
Françoise Hardy - Suzanne - Comment Te Dire Adieu
France Gall - Laisse Tomber Les Filles - Poupée de Cire ,Poupée de Son
(*) A Hawk and a Hacksaw - Üsküdar - Cervantine

(*) Yuck - The Wall - Yuck
Weed Diamond - Mint In My Mouth - Carry On
Misfits - Skulls - Walk Among Us
No Age - Everybody's Down - Weirdo Rippers

(*) OFF! - Jeffrey Lee Pierce - First Four EPs
Beat Happening - I Spy - 1983-85

Mission of Burma - That's When I Reach For My Revolver - Signals, Calls, And Marches

Thursday, March 10, 2011

For Wisconsin

In light of the worker-crushing platform of the Republican party in Wisconsin, shoving through anti-Union/anti-teacher legislature, the Mountain Goats released a quick cover of Joe Hill's "There Is Power in a Union"

Power In A Union from JD on Vimeo.

Obvious stuff

A few obvious statements:

1. So, in case you didn't notice, I made it home from Europe alive.

2. I've been listening to a bunch of Al Green. Al Green is awesome.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time out for self-promotion

Oh hey, I'm in this band. Like us.