Friday, February 27, 2004

I just dug out Jay's Volume 3 - what an incredible album. How did I never notice the King Ghidira space noises in "So Ghetto"? Why isn't DJ Premier doing anything like that beat anymore?

Also, how did I sleep on Catchdubs for so long? For God's sake, don't do the same thing.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

It's official; the Ravens are the most thugged-out team in the NFL. They also have no chance of winning another championship next year if this drug trial shit goes down.

In much brigher news, I was totally surprised and happy to learn of the existence of Before Sunset. Can't wait to see it, even though it's in European festivals now, so I probably won't get a chance to see it for another six months at least.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Keith Harris is gangsta. So much so, in fact, that he deserves a place on the left-side-of-the-page pantheon. This Norah Jones review makes Baby Jesus smile.

Fuck the Man - it's Grey Tuesday! I finally just heard The Grey Album, and it's good, but you probably didn't need me to tell you that. One thing I don't get is all the hate for The Black Album. The Black Album isn't getting remixed so much because it sucks. It's being remixed so much because it's good. There are only a couple of songs (the Neptunes ones) that Danger Mouse actually improves; he really just does justice to what was already a great album.

Ralph Nader looks kinda like an asshole right now, doesn't he? I very much doubt he'll manage to affect the outcome of the election one way or the other, but now he just looks like a bitter old man, and that's a shame. I voted for him in 2000 (in an uncontested state), and I'm proud of that. I won't be signing any of this petitions this year, though.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

No more Dean. I guess I can live with Kerry. I wonder if I'll have time to vote for Edwards. Or, um, Kucinich. I also wonder, not for the first time, what the hell is wrong with our electoral system. Not that Dean should have won, but we should all have a chance to vote at the same time. A couple of thousand people in Iowa and New Hampshire shouldn't be able to affect political outcomes more than, oh, say, me.

On a much happier note, Kanye West's College Dropout is great. I've been listening to it a whole lot over the past week or so, and it's totally refreshing. Kanye is really twee, isn't he? And the album reminds me of The Chronic more than anything else, not for its content (obviously) but for the way both albums are put together. They both seem sort of slapdash, not attempts at classically constructed hip-hop albums but statements of presence that move haphazardly from half-finished songs to skits to absolute masterpieces. They're both producers' albums; they're rich with texture and detail and all that fun stuff, and they have hooks to spare. They both have some pretty amateurish rapping. The analogy isn't great - Consequence isn't exactly the next Snoop Doggy Dogg - but I see some symmetry, and I like it.

Another thing I've really been feeling lately is TV on the Radio's Young Liars. I didn't check for it at first because it seemed too Pitchforky, but it really is a great EP. The title track especially is huge and expansive, but it also has a real forward momentum. I can't wait for the full-length.

I'm very happy to report that spell-check wanted to replace "Kucinich" with "juiciness". So do I!

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

OK, so Pazz & Jop. I am hating on the fact that I got no ballot, yeah, but I really did enjoy reading all the associated materials this morning. Every year it's like Christmas morning, this just happens to be one Christmas that I didn't get that dirt bike I wanted. I will stop bitching about this now, I promise.

My favorite album charted at #17, which is tight; that's about the best I could've hoped for. I'm a bit disappointed that Jay-Z didn't make the top ten - Shins better than Jay-Z? Really? Anyway, here's my thoughts on the top tens:

1. Speakerboxx/The Love Below: Pretty good and annoying, respectively. I really thought that backlash would push Elephant to #1. Do people really enjoy listening to The Love Below all the way through? It's not just an exercise in endurance? "Dracula's Wedding" is hot, though.

2. Elephant: Pretty good but not revelatory. I think it's interesting that Outkast and the White Stripes have been gaining momentum with records that just don't stand up to their creators' previous work. I don't think it's just hating or hipster sniffling to say that Speakerboxx/The Love Below can't fuck with Aquemini or that Elephant can't touch White Blood Cells. My overly harsh thoughts on Elephant are here.

3. Welcome Interstate Managers: Huh? Really? What exactly is the median age of P&J voters? I haven't heard this album, and no way am I going to buy it.

4. Hail to the Thief: I like this album OK. I don't listen to it very often, though. I don't know when or why exactly I stopped caring about Radiohead, but it happened.

5. Fever to Tell: I really like this album, and I'm glad it overcame haters to do so well. I'd say it's the best album I've heard in the top ten.

6. Chutes Too Narrow: I've been meaning to buy this, but it hasn't happened yet. No way is it the 6th best album of the year, though.

7. Electric Vision: See #6. One the one hand, "The Laws Have Changed" is a surprisingly great song. On the other hand, I haven't bought it just because I haven't really been in a mood to buy twee-ass indie rock. So far, this list is way heavy on twee-ass indie rock. Fever to Tell isn't twee, and Speakerboxx isn't indie rock, but everything else on the list (including The Love Below) is probably both.

8. Kish Kash: I wanted to like this record more than I did. I liked it, though.

9. Decoration Day: I've avoided this because I have absolutely zero interest in "southern rock". I really like "Outfit", though, so maybe I'm just quibbling.

10. Boy in Da Corner: Wow, the influence of ILM really must be growing. I like this album, and I'm glad it did so well. Is this the first time an import-only album made it into the P&J top ten? If so, righteous.

I'll talk about the singles list later, but a couple of quick things: upon the first couple of listens, I'm going to predict that College Dropout makes next year's top ten. Or my top ten, at least. It's probably too much to think it's beat the new Norah Jones on next week's Billboards, but I think it'll be strong competition. And it will sell five million copies. This album is like ice cream on a hot day, seriously.

Also, I enjoyed a lot of Christgau's year-end essay, but this part irked me to no end:

"Our rolls are larded with part-timers who buy many records and miss many more. And they're joined annually by newbies who learned to write from literary theorists and honed their opinionizing skills in the dog-eat-dog cenacles of college radio. These latter tend to festoon their ballots with arcane faves—mostly negligible song-crafters or art bands, or so I infer from artist-title-label, hearsay, and their more familiar choices. But most voters still like songs..."

Fuck you very much, Christgau. I didn't get a chance to lard up the rolls, but that didn't stop me from feeling personally insulted. I'm part-time, I buy records, I learned a lot from lit theory and working college radio, and I like songs. You don't. I've read your Consumer Guides; you like world-music reissues and the first Canibus album. Your old ass can fuck right off and let Chuck Eddy do the essay next year; he does all the work these days anyway.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The Pazz & Jop poll is online finally, and I'm not in it. Crap crap crap. Hopefully next year. I better start working on my comments.

I was surprised to see that the Sage Francis show at the Ottobar last night was absolutely packed, and apparently these kids knew something I didn't. The last time I saw Sage was about three years ago at the old Ottobar when he played with Sole and Alias and I'd never heard of any of them. I remember being impressed with his intensity but not floored or anything. Well, he got really good when I wasn't paying attention. The show reminded me more of a hardcore show than any hip-hop shows I can think of, with these really tense moments of band/audience interaction and with the entire crowd singing along with all the big moments. Sage and Joe Beats came out in suits at the beginning of the show, and so did these two guitar players who looked like Alkaline Trio refugees. The guitars added a whole, whole lot to the show - it sounded vaguely folky even though they were sticking to snakey surf-guitar/spaghetti-western riffs. And Sage dissed a heckler by covering Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang" as "I Had to Shoot You Down" with the band playing the Lee Hazelwood riff. Way awesome. And he covered Bob Seger's "Turn the Page", which was a surprise to me and no one else. The show got a whole lot weaker when the band left, though it stayed pretty good. He came back out in a shirt that said "sellout" with the Epitaph logo and lots of fake jewelry. Then he did a song while staring into a mirror. On one song, he got a lot of people jumping up and down and then ended it with "If you were jumping up and down just now, you missed the point," which irritated me to no end. People who work in pop forms shouldn't show that sort of disrespect for pop music or for their paying audience. But still, a great show, and I don't have to agree with everything he says to enjoy it. I don't agree with 50 Cent all that often either.

Grand Buffet killed it as always, and it was great to see them rock a packed house of the unconverted. I was going to write all this stuff about how great they are, but I've done that before here, and I just can't think of anything new. They're amazing. Give them money.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Here is an incredibly funny post about all four Jaws movies (scroll down to Jan. 31 if you're reading this later). Seriously, oh my god, my belly actually hurts.