Friday, July 30, 2010

Videos of the Week

And without further ado, here are the videos that have been making my private parts all tingly.

Very excited about the new Interpol album coming out. It is the last one featuring Carlos D on bass. So far the three songs I have heard have been a slow rise in interest. "Lights" is good but a bit droning, "Barricade" was better but still just a hair short of great, and "Memory Serves" is definitely the old Interpol coming back. I am hoping the whole cd is as good as "Memory Serves." Interpol are about to begin touring again, and they stopped at Letterman to perform "Barricade." It's a good performance, however, the backing keyboardist should not sing.

Best Coast is a Pitchfork touted band that I resisted listening to. Something about the description put me off. It wasn't until my friend Matthew raved about the song "Boyfriend" that I got intrigued. The album is wonderful, and I love this quote from Pitchfork about it: "This record is carefree and instantly likable-- even if it doesn't seem to care what you think of it."

Amazing new single from Holy Ghost! Based on this song and other songs/remixes I have heard, I am dying to see them live. I wish they were opening for LCD Soundsystem on their tour instead of Hot Chip.

I am not a political person by nature, but something pissed me off about the news that Target donated to a PAC that donated the money to a right-wing governor candidate who in turn gave some money to a "Christian" band that advocates for the murder of gays and lesbians. I loved Target until this news, and spent quite a bit of money there. Now, as a stand against that, I am refusing to shop there until they make a better showing towards the gay community that this will not happen again. And shame on people who say that corporations give to every candidate to protect their business rights and that Target has a past good reputation with the gay community. I think it's appalling that Target has reached out to our community in order to win our well-earned dollars, and then can think they can bank on that reputation in order to sweep this donation under the rug. Rant over. Here is a video of a mother of a gay son who shows Target what they are up against.

Hippy and trippy song from Caribou with an interesting video that merges the old and the new.

New video from the second release from Robyn this year. This is an electric version of her song "Hang With Me." The video shows Robyns' life on the road. I just love her.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Non Sequiturs

I'm really enjoying the new season of True Blood, much more than last season. There seems to be a better forward momentum, and the storylines are sharper. And of course it always helps that there is much better eye candy, as in Joe Manganiello, who plays the werewolf Alcide.

And also Grant Bowler, who plays the dimwitted werewolf Coot:

Lyrics Rattling Around My Head

"Trying too hard
To be yourself
Said you're trying too hard
To be what you are

Make me maternal, fertile woman
Make me menstrual, menopause man
Rape me, castrate me, make me gay
Lady, I'm a lady from today"

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
"Menopause Man"

"Tonight a special memory serves me
And I'll wait to find the wrong way
Tonight a special memory serves me
And I'll wait to find

It's over
It's over
You like it
It's over

Why is it so hard to stay away?"

"Memory Serves"

"I dream I'm falling
talk of failing
we've reached the point where
there seems to be reason in you
I thought that maybe one day we could make this home
beneath that warning lies a hunger no-one dares to feed

as we're found
brighter as we fall
there's no need to resolve
blinded by your form"

"Brighter As We Fall"

Appealing Things

Rescheduling the La Roux show
New season of Project Runway
Finally getting through the entire Battlestar Galactica series and moving on to the whole Mad Men series
Waking up in the arms of my best friend

Annoying Things

People who back into a parking space
People who go up or down one floor in an elevator
People who rudely give their opinion (I am all for opposing viewpoints, but you don't have to be offensive or a jackass when you give me yours)
Rude bears
Target donating money to an anti-gay political candidate
Bad grammar

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Pretty

I wanted to get some music reviews out here today, but work has gotten crazy, so to bide some time, here is some Hump Day pretty. First off is Tom Hardy, an actor in Inception. I loved the movie, while my partner Kurt thought it was too long and had some unnecessary plot points. Regardless, Tom Hardy was a definite high point of the movie. Gorgeous, old-school Hollywood looks and a very sexy style. When he is on screen you cannot take your eyes off him.

The second is a guy who was a bartender at an Art Gallery opening. No idea who he is, but he was very easy on the eyes and was very flirty and sweet at the event. I was perusing a friends pics from this past weekend's Joining Hearts charity circuit party, and lo and behold, but who was there in all his shirtless glory. He is the bald guy on the right. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Space Cat!

I haven't been this excited about a new record in quite some time. The second album from The Klaxons, Surfing The Void, is finally coming out in a few weeks and I am eagerly anticipating it. I wasn't blown away buy the first single, as it seem more noisy that usual and lacked their way with a hook and melody.

But they more than made up for it with second single "Echoes":

And of course, I think the album cover is brilliant. Can't wait to hear it.

Here are some videos from their last cd that I really enjoyed:

And here is something that was quite brilliant, a mash-up of their song "Golden Skans" and Rhianna's "Umbrella" which they performed at the Brit Music Awards.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Feeling Filipino

I mentioned awhile back that some person in the Philippines (or at least claiming they are in the Philippines) had appropriated several profile photos from my Facebook profile and were using them as their own photos, in addition to many other photos that had no correlation with mine. In reviewing this person's (who's name may or may not be Junaid Khan) profile, it struck me then as odd, and to this day as odd, that so many people (he has over 300 "friends") treat him as if he looks like me, regardless of the fact that I am one of the WASPyish white boys ever to walk the earth and couldn't possibly look less Filipino. This "person" even is in a relationship with some man in Germany, who I am sure has never met him in person. I have tried to get my photos removed from his profile and appeared to have done so, until another mentioned to me that they had received a friend request from him and noticed that it was my picture staring them in the face. This Junaid Khan person has since blocked me so I have no way of keeping tabs through my regular profile on whether he uses my photos again. I had more friends report his profile and try to have the pics removed, but so far to no avail. I even created a dummy profile so I can at least monitor the situation, however, my pics are still up there. I even emailed this person's "partner" and I was shocked to actually get a response from him, and he merely stated that "[I] will let him know." I was expecting a vitriolic response if a response at all. The calmness of it was odd. Even odder, this person actually sent me a friend request! As if I was going to allow HIM access to my photographs.

I don't really know what the outcome of this situation is. Even if Facebook removes the photos or even deletes his account, I am sure he will just come up with a new profile and use the pictures again, so it is really more effort on my part to have to try and control it. At least the pictures are only head shots and are not anything I am worried about people seeing, and the person is not actually claiming to be me, even though it is odd seeing someone compliment one of my photos and having him thanking them.

I just assume this is some really lonely, pathetic person who is so disgustingly imperfect that they have to assume the guise of someone else in order to have human contact with someone else, even if it is through the Internet. It really is sad and disgusting.

Funny, a friend of mine found this picture online and it somehow, in my mind, would be what the real Junaid Khan looks like (should he really exist).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Videos of the Week

Another hot summer day in Atlanta, and another weekly installment of videos that have grabbed my attention this week:

New single from Atlanta's Deerhunter off the upcoming cd Halcyon Digest. Can't wait to hear the new material. Based on this song, I have high hopes for it.

Gorgeous song from Daniel Rossen's (Grizzly Bear) side project Department of Eagles. This is off a compilation of songs from the past few years.

I will admit I am not a big fan of Broken Bells, but when they put Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) in the video for this song, I had to give them a second chance.

One of my favorite singles this year and a nice live performance on Letterman. She has the second installment of her Body Talk project coming out in a couple of months.

Interesting single from Perfume Genius detailing the tragic affair between an older and younger man. The twist at the end of the song is pretty intense. I like his sound, which reminds me of Xiu Xiu but less over-the-top.

Driving song from Holy Fuck off their new cd Latin. I didn't care for the cd that much when I first listened to it, but it has been a grower.

French band from the late 80s early 90s, who didn't have a very original sound. They basically followed the goth blueprint laid out by the 4AD label, but what they lack in originality, they made up for in craft. This was a favorite cd of that time period for me and it has held up surprisingly well.

Great single off the new, criminally underrated cd from M.I.A.

Disturbing homemade video from a fan of Broken Social Scene which got approval from the band to be used as the official video.

Wonderful new single from Klaxons. Their new cd is highly anticipated.

Classic track from Japan. Slinky, sleazy groove.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Non Sequiturs

I am loving the new iPhone 4. And contrary to most of my friends' beliefs, I am not on the damn thing 24/7. My only obsession with it is playing a game called Angry Birds. It is very addictive. My only complaint with it, and it is not the phone's fault, is that emails are pushed to the phone instead of sent directly as with the BlackBerry. So the slight delay in getting them takes some getting used to, but it is a minor quibble.

Our work computers are awful. They are apparently rented and are from 2004-2005. They are so slow that by the end of the day when everyone is on them, the network slows down to a crawl. Trying to open these massive spreadsheets in the document review program we are using tends to shut the entire computer down. I have rebooted my computer over 5 times today. Luckily, we are all getting new computers in a couple of months. I am so hoping it resolves all these issues.

Last Friday, Kurt and I joined our friends Darren and Byron for an art gallery opening for Monsters, a group showing of art showcasing monsters, creatures, and super heroes. It was an interesting event, and we really enjoyed Byron's friend Jon Arge's work, which were very humorous and bright. Here is a sample of some of his work:

The piece is entitled: "I never listen to anything you say anyhow so it really doesn’t matter if you ever repeat yourself since every time you tell me something it’s the very first time I’m not hearing it."

The titles sometimes upstaged the pieces of art. If you like this, you should check out his website at

Lyrics Rattling Around My Brain

"Reviewed, it fought
As if someone were watching over it
Before it had sooner been denied
Renewed, it seemed
As if it had a cause to live for
Destroyed, it was later based on fact"

"The 15th"

"Tell me the truth, I want no lies
When I'm with you I'm hypnotized
Looking for trouble, that's what I am
Playing a game we both understand"

"Take You Home"

"I should have nailed you down
Now you're on that cloud
If we're gonna do this
We gotta do it now
While we're young

There you go again
On that horse of yours
If we're gonna do this
We gotta do it now
While we're young"

Department of Eagles
"While We're Young"

"This is a ballad for the good times
So put a battery in your leg
Put a rock beat over anything
Get it stuck there in your head
You can be with me

I got nothing to rely on
I've broken every bone
Everybody's stop believing
But you know you're not alone
You can be with me"

"Battery In Your Leg"

"Only of the night
and it's darkness am I calling

Only of the night
My relief in it's falling

Breathe on me
eclipse my mind
It's in some kind of disarray

Killing time,
I cradle fire

Chameleon days
Chameleon day"

Talk Talk
"Chameleon Day"

Appealing Things

Getting new computers at work!
Angry Birds
Department of Eagles
Smoking Loon wine
Puttanesca sauce
A cooling breeze before a summer storm

Annoying Things

La Roux postponing their show in Atlanta
Atlanta drivers

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some People Never Outgrow High School

Facebook has been an interesting experience. When I first made my profile I had my close friends contact me and add me as their friends, and soon, everyone I had ever met growing up, going to school, college, law school, or through work was contacting me. At first, I wasn't very discriminating about who I "allowed" to be friends with me, which meant a lot of people from the high school I graduated from were in my list of friends.

I graduated from an all-male, Catholic, military high school. So of course, I am sure most of the guys I attended with (heterosexual, conservative, and religious) were not going to take it well that I was gay. For the most part I noticed that all of them remained in my friends list. But one by one, they all disappeared from view. Soon, no one from that high school was on my list. It just gave me a flashback to growing up with them, and feeling different and being treated different.

I couldn't wait to get away from that limited, provincial outlook that they all adhered to. Almost all of them have stayed in Savannah and still do everything they were taught to do, blinding following the same path their parents and families have always followed. I am glad I have followed my own path and have explored what it is like to live outside those confines.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2010 Mercury Prize Shortlist

The list of 2010 Mercury Prize nominees came out today, and there is the usual assortment of heavy hitters (The xx, Wild Beasts, Foals, Paul Weller) along with a smattering of lesser known acts (Biffy Clyro, Villagers, Kit Downes Trio). The fun thing about this award is that it never, ever goes to who you think it will. I would love to see it go to either The xx, Wild Beasts, or Foals, but it will likely go to one of the barely known acts, who always seem to have just as much chance. We will have to wait until September 7th to find out. Here is the list along with a clip of one of their songs.

Biffy Clyro: Only Revolutions

Corinne Bailey Rae: The Sea

Dizzee Rascal: Tongue N' Cheek

Foals: Total Life Forever

I Am Kloot: Sky at Night

Kit Downes Trio: Golden

Laura Marling: I Speak Because I Can

Mumford & Sons: Sigh No More

Paul Weller: Wake Up the Nation

The xx: The xx

Villagers: Becoming a Jackal

Wild Beasts: Two Dancers

Monday, July 19, 2010


Rating: Grrrr

Will Wiesenfeld, a.k.a. Baths, is one of the new breed of electronic artists/producers/remixers from the Los Angeles area like Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing that defy categorization, flowing seamlessly through glitch-hop, chillwave, dubstep, or any number of different permutations of current electronic music. What is defining them is a restless nature, never staying too long in one genre and never settling into a niche; and also amazingly technical and physical live shows, manipulating and forming their pieces on the fly with tons of signal pads and software programs.

While Flying Lotus mainly focuses on wordless soundscapes, Baths also integrates words into the mix, either through his own lyrics or carefully chosen samples, to create his own style of lovesongs. From the trippy, sample laden "Maximalist"

the chopped, Anticon style rapping of "Lovely Bloodflow"

or the faded beerhall beauty of "You're My Excuse To Travel"

I have no idea if Baths is gay or not, but there definitely seems to be a gay-undercurrent flowing underneath this exquisite release. For example, the song "♥" appears to be about a man or woman who realizes they are in love with someone of the same gender and understands they can never go back to an existence denying their true nature:

"Met in the night like it was wrong
Laugh at the life left now that we're gone
I won't go back
I won't go back
I love you too much"

But what is brilliant about Baths, is that for the most part his songs don't pinpoint a feeling or explanation but are universal; the listener is free to form their own opinions and create their own experience. However, when he wants to make a point he does so beautifully and eloquently. In "Plea" the song is sung to a male character and seems to subtly touch on gay marriage and the need for everyone to have their relationships validated.

"Love, this is a dark world
And I've lost focus
Please tell me you need me

Boy, you are every color
How am I visible
Please tell me you need me

You can taste your future
But I've lost focus
Please tell me you need me

Love, you know I've given up
Cause we're still not valid
Please tell me you need me"

The first section of the album is practically perfect in strength of compositions and in pacing. If he could have kept it all the way through the end, it would have easily have been a classic cd in the vein of Entroducing or Los Angeles, however, the cd falls apart slightly towards the end with noisy experimentations like "Hall" and "Indoorsy" but it is a small quibble with a cd as strong as this one. And it bears to mention that Baths is merely 21 years old, and Cerulean easily shows that he is capable of pulling one off.

Rating Guide

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top albums of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and peaks one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not good; could have either been trimmed or polished.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Videos of the Week

Here are the week's videos that are keeping things interesting:

New single from Cut Copy. Not sure if I like it or not after the first couple of listens. It is vaguely Beatlesque, with a trippy kind of vibe. It just doesn't stick with me and make me want to hear it again. New album is imminent, so hopefully it will be catchier.

I have been having weird iPod moments this week where the same songs keep popping up when I am listening in shuffle mode. This is one of the songs, and it is one of my favorite Bjork songs. It is a live performance at the Royal Opera House and it is a stunning performance.

The boys in Autechre are known for taking long stretches of time between releases so it was a huge surprise when they released the new cd Move of Ten merely months aver releasing Oversteps. They claim it is an EP, but at almost 50 minutes I would say that is a stretch. It is more beat driven than Oversteps, but still has the forward sounding exploration they are known for. This is one of the standout tracks.

Another repeat iPod player on shuffle. This song is one of the most gorgeous songs ever written.

The new cd from M.I.A. is decidedly antagonistic. You either love it or hate it. I listened to it with the intention of not liking it, and I can't. It is too full of energy and life for me not to like it. And this performance of "Born Free" was just too good to pass up posting. I love that she brought out Suicide's Martin Rev to play the sample from their track she uses.

Slamming remix from Nero. The bass makes me feel squishy.

Tripped out video from Flying Lotus for the song "Mmmhmm." I don't even do drugs but the video gives me the munchies.

First single from Maximum Balloon, Dave Sitek's (of TV on the Radio) side project. It doesn't sound too far removed from TVOTR's basic sound, but there is more of an electro/hip-hop feel to it. Love the video and the dragon.

Gorgeously slinky track from Baths. Cerulean is turning out to be a favorite of mine this year.

Another new single from the self-titled album from Interpol. It sounds like they are going back to a less fussy sound. I will admit that I still think their last cd Our Love To Admire was unfairly maligned.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Election primary ads have begun for the Georgia governor's race and watching the Republican candidates is fascinating, and not in a good way. Fascinating in that the ads almost look like they could be from another era. All of the Republican candidates have jumped on every fear-mongering issue they can find: universal healthcare, immigration, gun control, abortion, gay marriage/benefits/adoption. And the Republicans seem to be trying to outdo each other on who is the most conservative, and the gloves are off and the campaigning is getting nasty. Doesn't bode well for the actual election when they will have their sights set on the opposing party. And I am not leaving Democrats out of the equation, I am sure they will have just as many negative ads as well. I really wish candidates would focus on their own track records and what they can accomplish instead of trying to show why they are the less evil of the candidates. It is way too much to ask, I am sure. I am almost considering not voting because I am so fed up with all the negativity.

This is strange week in Atlanta, at least for the places I generally hang out. It is Bear Week in Provincetown so the town is basically deserted of almost all men of the ursine persuasion. The Starbucks we frequent, which is nicknamed Bearbucks, has been empty, and tonight when I would usually go to Mixx for a Bear happy hour will likely not happen, as my two friends Ken and Chris have journeyed north for the fun and frolic. Tomorrow night should be interesting at the local Bear bar Woofs; I am anticipating it will dead.

Because of my new work schedule, I have been going to the gym at 5am in order to get it out of the way so I don't have to fight the crowds in the evening. Aside from having to get up that early, it really isn't that bad. There are only a few die-hards that go at that hour, so it is fairly easy to get through my workout quickly. Now that I have been going for two months there are regulars that show up each morning and who I now have odd nicknames for because of their strange rituals and behaviors. There is Crackwhore Tina, a guy that goes through the most painfully elaborate and speedy cardio/weight lifting routine that he has to be jacked up on something to do what he does that early. I literally fear his heart is going to explode. There are two very short bald muscle guys who I can't determine whether they are partners or are just friends. I call the smaller one (he's about 5'3") Jerry Lewis, because his voice sounds like Jerry Lewis and he never shuts up. There are like Spike and Chester on the Bugs Bunny cartoons.

I keep expecting the bigger one to slap the little one and say "Shadddddddup!" There is also The Grunter, a 20 something straight guy (my gym is probably 90% gay) that seems to lift only chest and grunts and groans throughout the entire workout and is constantly checking himself in the mirror. I dread the mornings he is there with me. And finally there is Jazzercize, this man who comes in right as I am about to finish up and does a series of stretches and warmups that can only have been learned during the days of Jane Fonda. But he does them in such a bizarre and over-the-top manner you cannot help but sit and stare at him. I am sure I do things at the gym that beg comment, but I sure hope nothing as attention grabbing as this cast of characters.

Aside from my handsome man Kurt, is there anyone as hot as Ben Cohen?

Lyrics Rattling Around My Brain

"I'm down on my hands and knees every time the doorbell rings
I shake like a toothache when I hear myself sing
All my lies are always wishes
I know I would die if I could come back new

I would like to salute the ashes of American flags
And all the falling leaves filling up shopping bags"

"Ashes of American Flags"

"I can't seem to make you mine
Through the long and lonely night
And I try so hard, darling
But the crowd pulled you away
Through the ribbons and the rain
And the ivy coiled around my hand"

The Clientele
"(I Can't Seem To) Make You Mine"

"I have got to find the river,
bergamot and vetiver
run through my head and fall away.
Leave the road and memorize
this life that pass before my eyes.
Nothing is going my way."

"Find The River"

"What's around me?

Liquid washed down my throat like soap, yeah
I don't wanna think about the shit that's warped
But I don't wanna be deep on this beat
But I can't fucking let go of what's around me

Cap locks are still on when I log off to sleep
My baby stays awake for every dream i try to keep
No matter what they say, I'll carry on thinking this way
I oversee my life and what's happened to me"

"Caps Lock"

"No matter gay or grim,
it's those tiny little sparks
Daily life that makes me
forget my wounded heart
It doesn't matter when,
it may rain or it may shine
Blurry memories of us
come back from time to time"


Appealing Things

Ben Cohen
Baths: Cerulean
A quiet weekend with no plans
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Annoying Things

Delphic on tour in the US and not coming anywhere near Atlanta
Working on a weekend
The opening bands for Sleigh Bells

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coincidence Or Something More

At various times during the day today I have put my iPod on random and the same song from British band The Clientele, "(I Can't Seem To) Make You Mine," has come up. It just got me thinking about whether you can read signs into almost everything that happens. I don't really think the song came up as a sign. There is no one currently that I am pursuing. In fact, I recently figured out I was in love with my best friend, and that is going well, so not sure if I can read some sort of cosmic reasoning into why this song has come up.

I do know this is a gorgeous song, and whenever it does come up, I generally play it a couple of times. I think everyone at some point in time has been in love with someone and has found obstacles in the way of that pursuit. The song is almost like a short story, full of small details that shed light on greater truths.

Here is a YouTube clip of this gorgeous song. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Night Work/Aphrodite

Scissor Sisters
Night Work
Rating: Jeez Lady

Kylie Minogue
Rating: Meh

Nothing pains me more than having to give a bad review. Most of the cds I review are ones that I enjoy, which is why you tend to see more rave type reviews. But sometimes I do have to post a less than stellar review more out of disappointment than out of spite.

So it pains me not being able to recommend the new cds from Scissor Sisters and Kylie Minogue, because I truly enjoy their music. You may be asking why I am choosing to review both cds at once: 1) because both cds were produced by Stuart Price (Madonna and Seal), 2) both artists are in the "dance" genre and have huge gay followings, and 3) they actually performed together at Glastonbury this year.

Night Work is such a misfire from Scissor Sister's first two cds that I was really shocked. Before they were fun and campy, but had a wonderful sense of songcraft, pacing, and mood. I enjoyed listening to their cds because they reminded me of cds from the 1980s where artists would try many different genres within an album release and somehow tie them all together. Apparently, Scissor Sisters had already recorded a follow-up to Ta Dah! and someone told them it wasn't good enough to release, so they scrapped it and recorded Night Work. I would love to hear that release and be able to compare both. Night Work removes almost everything I loved about them before and replaces it with something cold and generic.

Things start off poorly from the beginning. "Night Work" the lead and title track is almost by the numbers plodding disco. It almost sounds like they took presets from GarageBand.

And first single "Fire With Fire," starts off promisingly with what appears to be their old sound, one that was strong on hooks and melody, but then gets tripped up with a repetitive chorus that goes nowhere.

The remainder of the cd is very generic disco; destroying their distinctive sound under canned beats and synths. A complaint I have heard from other camps is that they focus too much on sex on this cd. My complaint would be that it needed to be sexier and sleazier.

"Any Which Way" is a good example of where it could have been sleazier and better. Instead of coming across seductive and sensual when she coos "I'm gonna find that man that is the right shade of bottle tan, a man that smells like cocoa butter and cash," it comes across sad and embarrassing.

The cd is not so bad that it is unlistenable, it just doesn't sound unique; as if they took their influences and aped them instead of in the past where they added to them. There are a couple of redeeming tracks, the driving "Running Out," which sounds like a cross between Devo and Duran Duran:

or the sleek "Invisible Light"

I'm not ready to write the Scissor Sisters off, but I will expect much more from them the next go around.

Similar problems plague Kylie Minogue on Aphrodite. The cd is generic dance music that fails to stand out in a market crowded with so many divas. In the past, Kylie has taken lots of interesting diversions, such as the indie flavored Impossible Princess and her so-bizarre-it's-brilliant pairing with Nick Cave. It becomes depressing to hear her backed by such bland beats and synth noodling. I am starting to blame Stuart Price for ruining both Scissor Sisters and Kylie's new releases.

Aphrodite is chock full of average dance floor numbers like first single "All The Lovers"

"Can't Beat The Feeling"

and the dreadful ballad "Everything Is Beautiful"

Aphrodite is slightly better than Night Work in that Kylie stretches a bit, and when she does, she makes some fantastic singles. "Get Outta My Way" is a rush of bubblegum that never loses its flavor:

"Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)" likewise is not a slave to a generic beat and sound and surrounds Kylie's warm but weak voice nicely:

or with the odd glockenspiel-driven "Closer," it shows that she can flourish when given a more unique sound as backup:

At this point in the game, Kylie really doesn't have to take risks, but I think her career would be more successful if she did. Anyone can sing behind these tracks, and unless it was Kylie's picture on the front of the cd, you really wouldn't be able to know it was her.

Aside from a few singles on Aphrodite and Night Work, I can't really recommend buying either. These would definitely be releases I would cherry pick the best songs and jettison the rest. Neither of these albums will have long shelf life unfortunately, and I hope, because I like both artists, that they come back next time with more unique sounds and visions.

Rating Guide

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top albums of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and peaks one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not good; could have either been trimmed or polished.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sleigh Bells Live

Saturday night, Kurt, me, Dan and Mikey went to see buzz band Sleigh Bells at Vinyl. I would love to say it was a great concert, but I will have to give it a Meh. Luckily, it was a cheap concert, with tickets only being $15, but based on the two extraordinarily crappy opening bands (who we had never heard of), we should have been given a refund of $10.

The first opening band was a sort of surf guitar/rockabilly due called Nerve City. About the kindest thing I can say about them was that their instruments were in tune and they could play them in a rudimentary way. They played for about 30 agonizing minutes and then thankfully got off the stage.

Here is a link to one of their songs, in case you were really interested in hearing what they sounded like.

They sound marginally better on record.

The second opening band I at least knew were on Diplo's label Mad Decent, so I expected something slightly more professional. Instead, what we got were two unbathed looking hipster doofuses, one on bass the other on drums, bashing out pointless after pointless song. I thought it was a joke. They sounded like they had each learned their instruments the week before. I went on the Internet afterwards and found some video where there were actually three guys playing, which sounded slightly better, but only slightly. So I am not sure if they are really a three piece, or if they are now a duo. Here is a live video from another concert with just the two of them. It is about as bad as the show we saw.

By this point in the evening we had about had it and were planning on giving up on Sleigh Bells. Luckily they were a lot more professional that the opening bands. It is just the duo of singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist-producer Derek Miller, with him on guitar and a bevy of clatteringly loud drum and keyboard programming as accompaniment.

A concert goer filmed the opening song "Tell 'Em" and posted it to Youtube.

Basically, the whole show was almost a note-perfect rendition of the cd with minimal lighting and effects, other than some strobe lights and smoke. It's not to say the show wasn't fun, it was just a bit predictable and unsurprising. The show also begged the question about where do they go from here. I can only hope they expand their sound, and at least get a live band for their tours. The show was pitifully short, barely 45 minutes. They played pretty much every song on the cd with no diversions or different mixes. I was really expecting something more.

With that said, it still does not detract from their brilliant debut cd Treats. It will still be in my top cds of the year. I just hope this is not their only good cd in them.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Videos of the Week

Here are the latest videos I have been watching this week:

I'm still getting a lot of mileage out of the debut cd from Sleigh Bells. I am still kicking myself for missing their set at Coachella, however, I get to see them tomorrow night at a small club. It will be a full show, so I am sure it will great.

This is a commercial from a paint company called Dulux, who has formed a group called Let's Colour Project, which aims to add color all over the world where it is needed to brighten the world up. They were able to get Jonsi to license his song "Go Do" for the spot and it really fits in well with the stunning visuals. Enjoy!

I am really enjoying this song off the new Kylie Minogue cd. Can't stop playing it. I wish I could say the same thing about the whole cd. I will be reviewing it next week.

This was a Viktor & Rolf menswear fashion show featuring live music from La Roux.

New single from the upcoming cd from !!!. The song is pretty catchy and the video is seizure inducing. Be warned.

The new Big Boi cd is one of my favorites of the year, and this video is my favorite song off it. I love the hook sung by the band Vonnegutt.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Non Sequiturs

Last week was interesting in that I had a Facebook friend email and point out that some other person was using my photographs in his profile. When I went to the profile for "Junaid Khan" in the Philippines, the profile pic was of some middle-aged man on a horse which was obviously taken somewhere in the Southwestern United States and was clearly not a native Filipino. Once you went into the photo albums there was an album with every single one of my profile photos. It was very strange to see the pictures there considering you have to be a friend of mine to begin with to even see those pictures. I was able to contact Facebook and have all the pictures removed, but what disturbed me most about the incident was how gullible some people are. When I looked at the individual photographs of me, there were dozens of comments from seemingly normal American men acting as if this "Junaid Khan" looked like me. Were these people so lonely and desperate for attention that they could overlook all these glaringly obvious disparities between who this man is and the pictures that were posted? I ventured into the guy's Wall Posts and it was interesting how people could get caught up in someone's life. This Khan person posted several things about being in the hospital and there were several comments from friends saying they would fly over from the United States to take care of him. It was truly astonishing seeing seemingly well-educated people fall for such a scam artist. The Internet can be an amazing tool, but it is no substitute for actual, physical contact with other people.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Brain

"Leave you Move on
To a perfect stranger
You talk I walk
Wanna feel the danger
See me with him and its turning you on it's got me saying
Ain't getting me back at the end of this song

Get outta my way
Get outta my way
Got no more to say
He's taken your place"

Kylie Minogue
"Get Outta My Way"

"The sky seems full when you're in the cradle
The rain will fall and wash your dreams
Stars are stars and they shine so hard

Now you spit out the sky because it's empty and hollow
All your dreams are hanging out to dry
Stars are stars and they shine so cold"

Echo and the Bunnymen
"Stars Are Stars"

"Inside where it's warm
Wrap myself in you
Outside where I'm torn
Fight myself in two
In two
Into you"

Smashing Pumpkins

Appealing Things

Kurt's cooking
Really loving my job
The second sip of a Johnnie Black and soda; not the first, the second
My mashed potatoes
Figuring things out and realizing it was not as bad as you thought it was
Watching Missy play with her catnip squirrel
4th of July weekend with low heat and humidity
Thursday night drinks with the Terris

Annoying Things

People bitching about the heat; it's summer people
Really, really, really bad Atlanta drivers (which is about 99% of them)
People who park in the fire lane
Grunters at the gym

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Bog Boi
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Rating: Woof Daddy

I will be the first one to admit that initially I assumed that in Outkast, Andre 3000 was the creative force behind the duo and that Big Boi was just in the background, for whatever reason he served. When they released Speakerboxx/Love Below as a double album of their solo albums, I assumed, based on the songs I heard from Andre, that I would love Love Below and would merely tolerate Speakerboxx. On a trip home from Atlanta to Savannah I put the cds in and decided to go ahead and begin with Big Boi's, knowing I could always skip through it and get to Andre's. As the cds unfolded, I realized that I really, really liked Speakerboxx and thought it was pretty amazing. Of course, I thought I would really love Andre's and it turned out I found it to be pretty aimless and scattershot. In Outkast, Big Boi wasn't really just there for whatever reason, he was THE reason that Outkast sounded the way they did.

It has been a long time since we have heard from either Big Boi or Andre, due to label issues. Finally, after finding a new label we have the new Big Boi cd, and it is as strong as, if not stronger than, Speakerboxx. Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty shows Big Boi in amazing form, his flow still smooth as cream, and the music littered with funky synths, with his trademark window shaking bass and beats fully intact.

This is not an Outkast cd, half party, half social commentary, it is pure party, as if in the three years since he tried to solve the label issues he was just ready to let his hair down and have fun. Unfortunately, because of the label problems, there is no guesting from Andre except for a production credit on the skittering "You Ain't No DJ."

Big Boi does have alot of guest stars on the album (Jamie Foxx, Janelle Monae, Gucci Mane, B.o.B., and George Clinton) but none of them take any of the spotlight away from Big Boi, instead they add just the right amount of flavor to the proceedings.

It all comes down to consistency of the material. This is completely evident in the singles released so far; and the cd is chock full of strong tracks that could easily stand on their own.

"Shutterbug" is a highlight with its dense electro sound.

"General Patton" and Big Boi's militaristic cadence.

My favorite track "Follow Us," featuring the band Vonnegutt, who add an interesting complexity to the song with their emo vocals.

And the gorgeous ballad "Be Still" featuring Big Boi's protoge Janelle Monae.

Yes, the criticisms are valid that Big Boi spends too much of the album in party-jam mode and doesn't temper it with the usual political and social commentary that Outkast was known for, and perhaps that is why I can only give the cd the next to best rating. But that is a very small quibble against such a consistently fun and imaginative cd. I'm not known for my rap knowlege, or even my patience for most rap out on the market, but there is just something about this cd that speaks to me, and will likely put Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty high up on my list of best cds of the year.

Rating Guide

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top albums of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and peaks one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not good; could have either been trimmed or polished.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ramadanman EP

Ramadanman EP
Rating: Grrrr

EPs are notoriously difficult to review. They usually fall within several categories: more often than not, EPs are either pre-releases before a full length is released; a stop-gap between releases; or are dumping grounds for b-sides that didn't make it on a full length or are stylistic departures that don't fit well in an artist's canon. In the area of dubstep, they are often the rule rather than the exception. Perhaps because of the stylistic changes that happen on a dime, artists don't want to be out of the game too long for a full length, but also don't want to be known primarily as a singles/remix artist.

Not quite sure where Ramadanman (Hessle records co-founder David Kennedy) fits into this puzzle. I would venture to guess that he is not quite ready to throw out a full-length but is not necessarily intimidated by it, but wants something out there more than a few one-off singles. So we are left to critique his self-titled EP. And a good one it turns out to be.

Taking the key components of dubstep, rattling and bowel shaking bass and intricate off-kilter drum programming, Ramadanman merges it all with IDM-style melodic meandering, hardcore breakbeats, and small, humorous elements that give what could be seen as being cold and industrial and giving it a warm heart. For example, the raindrop-like plicks and plonks of percussion that envelop "Bleeper;" the echoing, disembodied vocal samples and clanging programming of lead track "I Beg You," that sounds like Autechre and Burial mating in a laboratory; or the wobbly bass and drum breaks in "A Couple More Years."

Everything comes to complete fruition with first single "Don't Change Me" which begins like the son of drill 'n bass, with intensely crisp and punishing hi-hats and hardcore snares, which enfolds into a delicately gorgeous dubstep track with commanding diva vocal samples, that build into an amazingly realized track.

Ramadanman doesn't appear to be in any hurry to release a full-length, but if he keeps on putting out music of this quality, it could hardly be considered a bad thing. One does wonder what we are missing without one.

Rating Guide

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top albums of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and peaks one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not good; could have either been trimmed or polished.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy July 4th Weekend

Happy 4th of July Weekend everyone!

No real post today. I am about to head out to enjoy some sun at the pool. I thought I would post the original text of the Declaration of Independence in honor of our Nation's birthday yesterday:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776