Friday, April 29, 2011

Choose your champion

So, when Chain and the Gang's "Down with Liberty...Up with Chains!" came out, I felt like I was the only person listening to it/playing it on the radio. Which seemed so weird to me because it was one of my favorite albums of the year. The tongue-in-cheek rock-n-roll revival show sound really hit my buttons. Now the Gang is back with a follow-up album, "Music's Not for Everyone," which you've heard if you've listened to the show lately. It feels like more people are taking notice this time around. However, I'd put the new album, in traditional sophomore album fashion, as a notch down from the debut. Still good, though. A little calmer, but still engaging.

Also, be aware that we at KUCI are gathering our energy to do our two-week, once-a-year fund drive. This is your chance to help keep our lovely station on the air. So, sometime in the next week, make your coffee at home one morning and skip Starbucks, and send that $5 to us. I really look forward to hearing from you during my radio show and taking your pledge.

Playlist for 4-28-11

'm back!

Sorry for that missing week there. I got preempted for UC Irvine baseball. I had my show all ready to go, I was super stoked to be on the radio, and I only got to play six songs before they cut me off. Heartbreak times infinity. But I came back to you. Because I love you. And I love playing music for you.

Things that Are Square 4-28-11

(*) = New release

(*) EMA - The Grey Ship - Past Life Martyred Saints

(*) Panda Bear - Slow Motion - Tomboy
(*) Wild Ghosts - Insanitizer - No Coast
Little Wings - The Shredder - Discover Worlds of Wonder
Real Estate - Suburban Beverage - Real Estate

(*) The Mountain Goats - Age of Kings - All Eternals Deck
Emperor X - Citizens of Wichita - Central Hug/Friendarmy/Fractaldunes
Wye Oak - Mother - AV Club Undercover 2011
Ugly Casanova - Cat Faces - Sharpen Your Teeth

(*) Yuck - Georgia - Yuck
Yo La Tengo - Emulsified - Fakebook
Calvin Johnson & the Sons of the Soil - Move Around - Calvin Johnson & The Sons of the Soil
(*) Hunx and His Punx - The Curse of Being Young - Too Young to Be in Love

(*) Chain and the Gang - Livin' Rough - Music's Not for Everyone
Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - Rent a Wreck - #3
Tullycraft - Our Days in Kansas - Disenchanted Hearts Unite
The Dead Milkmen - Punk Rock Girl - Death Rides a Pale Cow

(*) Skull Tape - Anon Anon - The Invisible Hand and the Descent of Man
(*) Ponytail - Music Tunes - Do Whatever You Want All the Time
(*) Thao & Mirah - Eleven - Thao & Mirah
(*) Tune-Yards - Powa - whokill

Hüsker Dü - Celebrated Summer - New Day Rising
Hüsker Dü - Pink Turns to Blue - Zen Arcade
Hüsker Dü - Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill - New Day Rising
Hüsker Dü - Something I Learned Today - Zen Arcade

Tom Waits - I Don't Wanna Grow Up - Bone Machine
Owen Pallett - Lewis Takes Off His Shirt - Heartland

Wire - Heartbeat - Chairs Missing

Thursday, April 28, 2011

OBCBYL: Fugazi

It's the home stretch of the Things that Are Square celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life. Up next: Fugazi
God, how good is that photo?

Fugazi. Dedicated to all-ages shows. $5. Open to playing in any venue where local DIY folks are able to put on a show. No merchandise. No slamdancing. Throwing every genre they love into one big pot. All of this together creating a unique genre, concert experience, idea for the independent scene trying to evolve out of meathead hardcore punk. Everything they did was idealistic, proving that a band (as a business) could succeed on its own terms without selling out, or having to do anything they didn't explicitly want to do. And in doing so, they created an entire DIY mindset that reverberates to this day. And perhaps they'll be better known as more of an ethos than a band, but the music certainly stands on its own, as well. Raw, political, groovy, engaging, powerful, swinging. It managed to be all at once. It's kind of mindblowing.

Morality timeout

I know OFWGKTA are the biggest indie rap crew in the universe right now and you've probably already heard about them, but I'm just sorting through their albums/mix tapes right now. If you're not familiar, the above track is a fairly representative example. And all their shit is free on their tumblr.

Danger! Poison!

Yuck's self-titled debut album on Fat Possum Records is a) really good, and b) really good in a lot of different ways. These Brit kids have clearly ingested a whole slew of 90's rock bands, and have songs that channel the likes of Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, Galaxie 500, Yo La Tengo, and basically any other band who knows how to use a guitar. There's been a lot of criticism levied against them for being derivitive and such, but that really only goes so far as to how a band sounds. You can ape any band as much as you want and it won't help you write a good song. And Yuck has written several really good songs. The fact that there are echoes of other rad bands should really only encourage you to check this band out more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Breakin' the law, breakin' the law

So, Prince thinks it should be illegal to cover his songs.

Dent May: criminal

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just like Damn Yankees

OFF! is a punk rock supergroup featuring members of the Circle Jerks, Red Kross, Burning Brides, and Rocket From the Crypt/Hot Snakes. They make rock music that almost never goes past the 1:30 mark. You can listen to their entire first CD (a collection of their first four 7" EPs) on your way home from work.

Sidenote: Do you think it's funny that OFF!, like Black Flag before them, are named after bugsprays? I do.

Friday, April 22, 2011

You know you love it

Have a good weekend, d00ds and d00dettes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Galactic travel agent

Your friends in the band Ballboy would like to tell you about their travel plans.

File under: Songs I can relate to

Last night, driving home from pub trivia (where our team, Quizbollah, came in 2nd right in front of the Quizrealites, so, you know...that's funny), I listened to this song on repeat about 5 times. It's perfect. I'm currently in the planning stages of a project where I will learn a cover song by a band for every letter of the alphabet (both for fun, and to practice singing/strumming at the same time). I'm currently just working out the kinks on Allo Darlin's "My Heart Is a Drummer." Next I think I'm going to knock out Buzzcocks' "What Do I Get?" But when I get to "D," I think I know what song I'll be picking.

Monday, April 18, 2011

OBCBYL: Dinosaur Jr

We're approaching the end of the Things that Are Square celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life. Up next: Dinoaur Jr This is one of the bands from OBCBYL that I feel deeply indebted to for establishing a style of music that has enriched my life incredibly. J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr made it OK to have indie rock guitar gods. Slackers, rocking out. A mix of classic rock fandom with indie sensibilities, giving birth to Built to Spill, Pavement, etc. But Dinoaur Jr did it first. Just slump your shoulders and pay homage to all the music you grew up on, creating a big stew of sound and making it your own. Honestly, I don't have a ton to say about this band. They're just really quality guitar rock with strong songwriting sensibility (Dinosaur Jr are probably the most melodic band in the whole book, short of the Replacements), but with a healthy nod to Led Zeppelin and maybe even the Grateful Dead. When indie music was all punk/hardcore/"fuck hippies"/art rock, Dinosaur Jr was like "Nah, we like Led Zeppelin, so fuck you." Gotta admire that.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Playlist for 4-14-11

Another solid show for the record books, ladies and gentlemen. Songs were played, witty commentary was provided, and everyone walked away a better person. What more could you possibly ask for?

Look, here are all the awesome songs I played:

Things that Are Square 4-14-11

(*) = New release

The Mae Shi - Run to Your Grave - Hlllyh

Dead Kennedys - Kill the Poor - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Wavves - King of the Beach - King of the Beach
(*) Hunx and His Punx - He's Coming Back - Too Young to Be in Love
The Dismemberment Plan - The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich - Juno & The Dismemberment Plan

Arab Strap - I Saw You - Ten Years of Tears
Los Campesinos! - Knee Deep at ATP - Hold On Now, Youngster...
Ted Leo and The Pharmacists - Me and Mia - Shake the Sheets
Cock Sparrer - We're Coming Back - Shock Troops

(*) The Dirtbombs - Sharevari - Party Store
Mi Ami - Latin Lover - Steal Your Face
The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner - The Modern Lovers
Brian Eno - Third Uncle - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)

Wipers - Youth of America - Youth of America

Minor Threat - Seeing Red - Complete Discography
Minor Threat - Screaming At a Wall - Complete Discography
Minor Threat - 12XU - Complete Discography
Minor Threat - Cashing In - Complete Discography

Drive Like Jehu - Here Come the Rome Plows - Yank Crime
Don Caballero - In the Absence of Strong Evidence to the Contrary, One May Step Out of the Way of the Charging Bull - What Burns Never Returns
(*) Chain and the Gang - Why Not? - Music's Not for Everyone
(*) The Mountain Goats - Liza Forever Minnelli - All Eternals Deck

(*) Destroyer - Savage Night at the Opera - Kaputt
(*) Lake - Skeleton Costume - Giving & Receiving
(*) The Curious Mystery - Up in the Morning - We Creeling

The Angels of Light - Two Women - How I Loved You

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'd say it's more than alright

Destroyer are one of those bands that just really releases consistantly good work. Dan Bejar just writes damned good songs. Some are obviously better than others, but I'm going to buy any Destroyer album that hits the shelf. His new album has a weird "yacht-rock/beach sax" vibe to it, which feels weird at points, but it's such a rich and interesting pop album that you don't even notice.

Monday, April 11, 2011

OBCBYL: Big Black

Continuing the Things that Are Square celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Big Black Maybe you're not surprised, but finding a picture of "Big Black" on Google's image search is a quest frought with peril. And now that I just saw a whole ton of massive dicks on my work computer, let's talk about Steve Albini's brutal/idealistic three-piece wrecking crew. When your frontman is a wiry, acerbic asshole, your band is probably going to draw some attention. And if that asshole later went on to be one of indie rock's main lynchpins, you can assume his music is probably going to be worth checking out. Big Black makes ugly music. Loud, abrasive, buzzsaw songs about child molestation and racism. Their whole schtick was sort of a proto-4chan: a distillation of everything horrible about society, reflected back in an entertaining and well-constructed way. Instead of a drummer, they used a drum machine, increasing the bands inhumanity (but indicative of Albini's robot-like musical perfection). They designed guitars and picks to make more industrial, jagged sounds.

I'm especially excited to share this one because I found a great video of Big Black performing "Kerosene" live. For a lot of these bands, lonely pioneers of the underground in an era where not everyone had a camera in their pocket, it's hard to find good footage of live performances. But not only is this great footage, "Kerosene" is a) an amazing song, and b) a perfect example of Big Black's sound: grinding and metallic, with lyrics about a hideous, violent boredom, mixing sex and violence.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Playlist for 4-7-11

Hey folks!

Hey! Friday! Exclamation point! I'm pretty exhausted. Yesterday I went to work, then drove to LA to audition for this new trivia gameshow on NBC (I'll let you know if/when I'll be on), did a radio show, and then watched "Paranormal Activity 2" right before bed (a totally smart decision). I am ready to relax a bit this weekend. Or maybe even relaxxx (that's when you relax in the nude).

Anyway. The show. I even recorded last night's show, so you can follow along at home. This link will expire after a little while so, if you want it, act now.

Here's what I played:

Things that Are Square 4-7-11

(*) = New release

(*) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Heart in Your Heartbreak - Belong

(*) Dum Dum Girls - There Is a Light That Never Goes Out - He Gets Me High
The Diskettes - Art - The Diskettes
The King Khan & BBQ Show - Love You So - The King Khan & BBQ Show
(*) Hunx and His Punx - Can We Get Together? - Too Young to Be in Love

(*) Yuck - Get Away - Yuck
Built to Spill - You Were Right - Keep It Like a Secret
The Vaselines - Sex Sux (Amen) - The Way of the Vaselines
(*) Parts & Labor - Hurricane - Constant Future

Mission of Burma - Trem Two - Vs.
Mission of Burma - Academy Fight Song - Signals, Calls, And Marches
Mission of Burma - That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate - Vs.
Mission of Burma - That's When I Reach For My Revolver - Signals, Calls, And Marches

(*) Chain and the Gang - Not Good Enough - Music's Not for Everyone
Sebadoh - Not a Friend - Bakesale
Momus - The Rape of Lucretia - Circus Maximus
Hymie's Basement - The Pump - Hymie's Basement

(*) The Mountain Goats - Sourdoire Valley Song - All Eternals Deck
Jens Lekman - I Don't Wanna Die Alone - The Opposite of Hallelujah
The Lucksmiths - Camera-Shy - Naturaliste
Allo Darlin' - Kiss Your Lips - Allo Darlin'

(*) Brown Recluse - Golden Sun - Evening Tapestry
Best Friends Forever - Eisenhower Is the Father - Romance Conflict Adventure
Cars Can Be Blue - I Like - All the Stuff We Do
Jonathan Richman - Vincent Van Gogh - Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love

Beirut - Postcards from Italy - Gulag Orkestar
The Divine Comedy - Mother Dear - Victory for the Comic Muse

(*) Akron/Family - Silly Bears - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

OBCBYL: The Butthole Surfers

Continuing the Things that Are Square celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life: The Butthole SurfersWeirdly, this is possibly the only band from the list that my mom would recognize the name of. But, c'mon. Once you hear the name "The Butthole Surfers," you tend not to forget it. And, improbably, these guys are the only band on the list to have a sizable radio hit or two in the last decade. And Jesus. Who the fuck would have predicted that? A bunch of acid-fried Texans playing fucked up noise rock in front of a screen showing penile reconstructive surgery becomes the band in OBCBYL with the song most recently played on KROQ.

Frankly, these dudes kind of scare me. But that's what they want. They want to shock and horrify and annoy. They're the only band on this list where, in their heyday, you may have felt in actual physical danger at one of their shows. Fire and drugs and madness whipped into a frenzy by a bunch of longhairs tripping their asses off. Behold.

Technically, I probably shouldn't include the Butthole Surfers in my little featurettes I'm doing on my radio show, since they've had songs on KROQ. But whatever. I'm a completist. And their radio hits are, obviously, light years away from this mess. Just don't narc on me.

Just fucking heart-stoppingly awesome

Episode #16.2: Allo Darlin - "Kiss Your Lips" from Off The Beaten Tracks on Vimeo.

Every year, they ask us KUCI DJ folks to write "Top 5" lists for the program guide and website and such. Sadly, I hadn't heard Allo Darlin's 2010 album when I made mine, or it'd have definitely been on there. So I'm making sure you know about it now and that you, like I, fall in love with it.

It's just...that perfect pop. Music you just want to huge the hell out of with great lyrics and a sweet disposition. If you like this half as much as I do, you like it an awful lot.

In fact, I'm just gonna keep posting songs until you love them. Here's another jam.

That one features a lyric that really resonates with me:
"And though you say we’re just friends and that this love is purely platonic/
I’m hoping that you’ll forget after this round of gin and tonic."

You get me, pop music. You really get me.

Vicious basslines

I gotta admit that I got into this band because one of their songs is used as the theme for Misfits.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday afternoon music break

Just listening to Iggy Pop at work. NBD.

Fuck the punks

The band I'm in played a show at La Cave last week, and one of the bands opening for us was an all-gal Cock Sparrer cover band called Cunt Sparrer. It was so amazing. Cock Sparrer has some rad songs, and these ladies turned 'em into catchy little pop jams. I was totally in love with it.

If you're feeling too positive about humankind, you're more than welcome to check out the comments section on any of their videos, though. Every 2nd or 3rd post is some jagoff calling them out for covering Cock Sparrer. People are the worst. Come with me, Cunt Sparrer, to a magical land devoid of these cavemen. I will celebrate you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

OBCBYL: Sonic Youth

Things that Are Square's celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life marches on! Next up: Sonic Youth
So, Sonic Youth basically invented indie cool, right? Brainy, arty, well-read, hip. These dudes started with Glenn Branca guitar noise experimentalism and eventually folded in more and more traditional rock elements until they were straddling the avant/art community and something approaching mainstream success. In fact, I think of all the bands in this book, Sonic Youth are easily the most visible/successful. I mean, they're not discussing the Butthole Surfers in the movie Juno, you know? And Beat Happening were never on the Simpsons. In fact, they are one of few bands in that book that are still even together. Not only together but still releasing critically well-received albums. Just harnessing the awesome power of the guitar, wrestling it to the ground, and being paragons of hipness doing it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

OBCBYL: The Replacements

Things that Are Square celebration of the 10th anniversary of Our Band Could Be Your Life cannot be stopped! Next up: The Replacements This one has a very special place in my heart. The Replacements are that perfect malestrom of rocking out, witty songwriting, drunkeness, self-effacing humor, and lovable loser-dom that just hits so many happy spots on my "things I like about music" checklist. They started out as just a drunken garage rock band, prone to pranksterism and fucking with crowds and A&R guys. The book has an annecdote about playing to a crowd of country label A&R guys, playing the loudest, fastest punk they could. Once the guys left, they played a set of country covers. And this music video, paid for and sent to MTV, consists of nothing more than a stereo, hardly the flashy spectacle I'm sure MTV was looking for in an up-and-coming act. A "fuck you" to mainstream, commercial music outlets.

Of all the bands in OBCBYL, the Replacements, I feel, were the best songwriters. Taking the pop formula and wrenching it to their own ends. Paul Westerberg's lyrics are often touching and hilarious. As the band grew, they seemed to need that protective layer of "fucking up on purpose" and became much more emotionally whole. So amazing. Here's another jam by these dudes. A personal favorite. Someday I will write a movie and ensure this song is on the soundtrack.

Playlist for 3-31-11

So, I got about half as much sleep as I normally do because my band had a show last night. One of the opening bands, CUNT SPARRER (an all-gal Cock Sparrer cover band) is my new favorite band in the universe. Holy. Shit.

Anyway. Watch, now, as I super-sleepily update my show's playlist. This also helps me avoid work. 75 minutes and I still haven't really done anything. And I called in sick yesterday. I'm living the American dream.

The stuff I played last night:

Things that Are Square 3-31-11

(*) = New release

Sigur Rós - Festival - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Deerhunter - Twilight at Carbon Lake - Microcastle/Weird Era Continued
Dean & Britta - I'll Keep It With Mine (Scott Hardkiss Remix) - 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests
(*) Akron/Family - Island - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT

(*) Ponytail - Easy Peasy - Do Whatever You Want All the Time
Braids - Lemonade - Native Speaker (For Sharon in Irvine, CA)
Animal Collective - Graze - Fall Be Kind
Brian Eno - Here Come the Warm Jets - Here Come the Warm Jets

(*) J Mascis - Where Are You - Several Shades of Why
Nouvelle Vague - Love Will Tear Us Apart - Nouvelle Vague
Mount Eerie - Solar System - Live in Copenhagen
Smog - Let's Move to the Country - Knock Knock

(*) The Mountain Goats - For Charles Bronson - All Eternals Deck
(*) Brown Recluse - Monday Moon - Evening Tapestry
Dressy Bessy - If You Should Try to Kiss Her - Pink Hearts Yellow Moons (For Neha in Irvine, CA)
(*) Hunx and His Punx - Lovers Lane - Too Young to Be in Love

(*) Dum Dum Girls - Wrong Feels Right - He Gets Me High
Los Campesinos! - C Is the Heavenly Option - The International Tweexcore Underground
Allo Darlin' - My Heart Is a Drummer - Allo Darlin'
Jens Lekman - Happy Birthday, Dear Friend Lisa - When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog

Minutemen - Corona - Double Nickels on the Dime
Minutemen - I Felt Like a Gringo - Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat
Minutemen - This Ain't No Picnic - Double Nickels on the Dime
Minutemen - King of the Hill - Project Mersh
Minutemen - The Glory of Man - Double Nickels on the Dime

(*) Chain and the Gang - For Practical Purposes (I Love You) - Music's Not For Everyone
Boyracer - Tell Me Where My Hands Should Go - Punker Than You Since '92