\ Hip Displeasure: July 2006

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Monday, July 31, 2006

jasmine » Music » Pitchfork Music Festival 2006

good:

  • the national. these guys continue to kick my ass even after seeing them tour on the same album, alligator three times. i think that the songs are brilliant, the band (comprised of two sets of brothers and a fifth wheel) is both tight and powerful, and the singer (fifth wheel, matt berninger) is a brilliant madman. they played all of their hits (aka – my favorite songs), like “abel”, “all the wine”, and opened with “secret meeting”. they closed with a new song which means a new album must be coming. yessssssss.

  • jens lekman. who the hell is this guy, anyway? i heard “black cab” about two years ago, bought tickets to his schuba’s show in early 2005 (didn’t go), and he quickly left my memory. i’ve always associated his voice with that of stephin merritt, which after seeing him yesterday, i know is completely incorrect. he has his own gorgeous voice and a pretty fantastic backing band complete with a tuba! and who doesn’t love a good tuba? after doing some reading about the swede, i discovered that he shares my birthday, so now i love him more.

  • mission of burma. i knew nothing of these guys before yesterday, but boy am i glad i saw them. i did recognize (and love) the song, “that’s when i reach for my revolver”, so i didn’t feel completely lost. great band. i’d definitely see them again.

  • flatstock poster festival. loads and loads of concert posters, all handmade. i ended up buying a delgados poster, a trail of dead poster and a little sign which reads, “you are my sunshine”. cheap and wonderful. i recommend checking out Judgeworks, Aesthetic Apparatus and YeeHaw Industries if you’re interested in some original art for yourself.

  • watermelon lemonade. hey, i know! let’s take cubed watermelon (juice included) and toss it in some lemonade. this drink was so good, i wanted to make out with it.

bad:

  • yo la tengo. please, guys, stop with the 10 minute “songs” which consist of droning and squealing guitars. please play more songs that i love, but don’t screw them up with your artsy interpretation. thank you.

  • hipster fashion. seriously, how many ironic t-shirts and too-tight jeans can i see in one day? and the woman who was wearing what looked like a 1970’s beige bathing suit with a pair of black suede (with fringe!) cowboy boots? yikes.

  • heat. i’ve lived here my whole life and you’d think i’d be acclimated by now. nope. i still bitch with the rest of ‘em about the heat. i wore pants rolled to my knees with a tank top and i was still saturated with sweat and also got a pretty mean sunburn. chicago summers, i hate you. chicago festivals, i love you.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

stacey » Music » G-G-G-Geek Lurv: Matchbox 20

As I was standing behind the counter at work today listening to the first "Staff Inflection" Hip D Podblast I thought 'why am I sanding salad hands? Wasn't I hired as retail manager and isn't there a factory around here?', but then I thought 'I've been called out and I am no yellow belly. Very white, but not yella.'

Anyway, since I now know our Podblast DJ extraordinaire isn't going to be reading our write-ups, I can concentrate more on Hip Displeasure and less on my 'things I want to hear Chris say' list.

Let's take a step back, shall we? To were it all began... matchbox twenty. I know, look at all those words below and groan. YOU elitist, hipster wanker do not want to read about matchbox twenty. While I repeatedly enjoyed the Beatles 'White Album' well before matchbox twenty entered my CD player, I do accredit (pretty substantially) Rob Thomas and company for ushering me into, well, whatever it is I am now.

Don't worry, I promise I'll write about music you MAY care about next time. I've even all ready started writing something! But for now, read this...

‘I wanna push you around/well I will/well I will’. The lyrics that opened my fifteen year old ears to the colorful, beautiful universe that was music. What did I, as an unsure, shy teenager know about wanting to push someone around? Well, nothing really. I was not the ‘typical’, angst ridden teen. In fact, there was nothing typical about me, nor was there any characteristic allowing me to stand out as an individual at all. As if a mindless drone lacking any personality, I made my way through school receiving high grades and doing little else. That is, until matchbox twenty’s ‘Push’ found its way to my unwilling ears.

Music had never made me feel before, yet that was exactly what was happening. Rob Thomas’ raspy, ever so slightly southern sprinkled accent was singing with such conviction! Such feeling! Emotions I had never known were pouring from him with amazing ease. For me, the experience of listening to ‘Push’ was beautiful and heart wrenching and held everything good and lovely this world had to offer. The song gave me hope that one day, I too, would have some kind of overwhelming sentiment of some sort. I was in love for the first time in my life, yet it was not with a boy as I always thought it would be, but with a song, which was even more incredible.

I owned a CD player, by some miracle, and in April of 1997 I officially owned my first copy of ‘Yourself Or Someone Like You’.

My infatuation escalated with every complete listen of the band’s debut disc. I used my school’s computers to search the internet for any, and all, information I could find on the band. Secretly, I printed page upon page of information. Did I need to know Adam Gaynor’s (rhythm guitarist) shoe size was 12, or that Rob Thomas’ favorite ice cream was cookies ‘n cream? Yes! I absolutely did need to absorb every morsel of information, because they were the unexpected ones who gave me not just a simple interest, but a passion, in life. Finally, I was inspired.

Over the next three years I immersed myself in music, but no matter what groundbreaking or new band I was listening to, one of my many copies of ‘Yourself Or Someone Like You’ was by my side. I awoke to the soulful cries of ‘Long Day’ every morning and fell asleep to the heartbreak of separation on ‘Hang’ every night. On my yearbook page I proudly displayed a picture of the band and the quote ‘Funny in a certain light how we all look the same’ from the tenth song, ‘Shame’.

Then, in May of 2000 I attended my first concert of any kind. Just two days after the release of matchbox twenty’s second album, ‘Mad Season by matchbox twenty’, I was able to fix my eyes on the band in person at the Avalon in Boston. Every dream I had for three years prior came true that night when I found myself standing only feet from the stage Rob Thomas, Adam Gaynor, Paul Doucette, Kyle Cook and Brian Yale would grace. During the show, I, who had never raised my voice in public for fear of being looked at, found myself singing, and gasp...dancing. I, who never cared to be anything but a wallflower was screaming for Rob’s attention, and I liked it!

After the show my own personal liberation continued when Brian Yale (bass) emerged from deep within the club’s confines to sign autographs. Finally, I would be face to face with one of the men who helped me find my personality. I felt as though I was in a dream, and for a moment I slipped into my old, timid skin as I barely uttered ‘thank you’ after he signed my CD booklet.

As I stepped away personal disappointment filled my head, painfully simmering there until just minutes after receiving his signature, when I redeemed myself. The moment started when he looked at the crowd standing around him and said ‘Is that it? Did everyone get what they wanted?’. Some formerly shy people may find it hard to pinpoint the exact moment they emerged from their shell, but I can. In that instant I did not think before I spoke, before I shouted, in the middle of a Boston street brimming with people, ‘WAIT A MINUTE! I NEED A PICTURE!’. Brian then looked at *me*, and said to *me*, ‘Come on over’. I threw my plastic disposable camera at my friend and ran to him. All I could think about was his arm lying gently across my shoulders, and how he must have been magnetically charged because my arm went around his waist and my head tilted to his without hesitation. I did not imagine I could be any happier than I was in that moment.

Now, in the “indie” fueled haze that is my music life, some of the most proudly dorky moments are forever tattooed on my brain because of matchbox twenty. From 1997 to 2001 they were a continuous source of instant joy and warm thoughts, spontaneous grocery store dancing and those moments of pure jubilation when nothing but the music matters. matchbox twenty was the sweetest gateway drug to the uninhibited bliss that is all music. They wanted to push me around, and I gladly opened the door.

Patrick » Music » The Mountain Goats

You might not easily recognize it through the hiss of the home 4-track recorder, but John Darnielle actually likes well-produced music. A spiritual contemporary of Daniel Johnston, Darnielle has taken his bathroom recordings and stepped into the studio on his last album, "The Sunset Tree", one of the best of 2005. With the release of the new disc, "Get Lonely", rapidly approaching, here is a small sample of The Mountain Goats back catalog, a Dead-like compendium of 2.5 minute snippets of brilliance. Click on the link above.

Track listing
1. Dilaudid (Marrtronix Version)
2. Onions
3. Color In Your Cheeks
4. Evening In Stalingrad
5. Linda Blair Was Born Innocent
6. See America Right
7. Love Love Love
8. Jenny
9. Alpha Desperation March
10. Old College Try
11. Mountain Goats Shirt Song (Live)

(Not meant in any way to detract from current or future Podblasts)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Mark H. » Music » Nancy - "Snakes on an E.P."

"You Said It Was A Good Size! 7" Review"


Nancy
Snakes On An E.P.
(Idiot Records)

The group known as Nancy has evolved over the years, and true to some Darwinian law, a superior form of the band has survived to bash out one of the best hard punk 7"s I've heard in a long while. It's important to note that the band had many previous incarnations, because this sound didn't just appear out of nowhere. Nancy has solidified into an electric, eclectic foursome. And while the EP as a whole could justly stake ground in the Dillinger Four camp, each track has something unique in it, setting the band on a different crest of the glorious mountain of rock.

"Jamuel L. Snackson" is the lead-off and hook-heavy track, showcasing right off the bat a few unique aspects of the band that carry throughout the EP. I think the band puts forth a wonderful juxtaposition of upbeat melodies and painfully detailed life struggles. The rhythm guitar quickly riffs along, and the lead axe keeps pace with speed-pop hooks. It's a pleasure to listen to, but simultaneously your tears are jerked by a lyric like "There was a final kiss / I couldn't even take it back / containing some microscopic remnants of a peanut butter snack." It's also apparent why all four members are billed equally as vocalists, as they all seem to have some voice in this song. And while it's at times hard to navigate, it is intriguing to hear how well these voices blend together - the rough with clean, the emotive with the harmonious. The 90 second burst of "Calculated Risk" picks up the velocity - so much so that I'm still debating on whether it's words or just some hyper-mumble accompaniment at one point, only to mysteriously fade out slow-motion style.

The flipside features more catchy tuneage in the form of "To See Or Not To See", another tale of relationships and respect, and "Killing Ourselves" which chugs at high speeds, while the guitar lines shred the line separating punk and metal territory. The track also is distinct on this release as it's the only song with an outright chorus (the other songs are too busy telling the story and cramming musical ideas into such a small space to bother). Unfortunately the chorus in question is of the worn-out "I ask why / Why are we killing ourselves?" variety, which at this point is only a minor quibble amongst the multitude of great things going on in this slab of wax.

Hip-D PodBlast » Staff Inflection » v1.0

Saturday Looks Good To Me - "Parking Lot Blues"
"This is Saturday Looks Good To Me at their best, forgoing what critics once described as a 'Fisher-Price turntable under water sound' for this loose and good-time summer jangle. If this don't make you wanna get up and shake DAT ASS, you might as well go ahead and call Quincy to throw your lifeless corpse in the back of his station wagon, so Sam can proceed with carving you up...'cause honey, you ain't got no pulse!" - FT

Gene Vincent - "Cat Man"
"Better hide your sister, indeed. Vincent's "Cat Man" prowls the wholesome streets in search of late 50s goodies sequestered behind some formidable undergarments, while guitarist Cliff Gallup lays down a damn near perfect riff that darts menacingly on the trail of the Cat Man's mark. This was Gallups last recording with Vincent & the Blue Caps. He soon quit to become a school janitor." - Elvis Fu

Ray LaMontagne - "Crazy"
"I asked Jeeves how many artists have covered Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy' thus far and, well, Jeeves didn't have a clear cut answer for me, but I know it's a few. So, why would you care about another version of a song you're probably thisclose to tossing into the 'overexposed' used CD bin in your mind? Jeeves didn't have an answer for that either, actually... but I'll throw out a reason; this is Ray LaMontagane. Not enough for you? Fine you heartless, cynical bastard; this is Ray LaMontagne being Ray LaMontagne. He covered a song steps away from his genre and made it his own backwoods Van Morrison/folk/rock/guy and guitar/blah blah blah creation. You may think that's boring. Or you may dig it for what it is, happily add it to your iTunes collection and forget it's a cover the next time it's played." - stacey

Prince Far I - "Johnny Get Worse"
"When one thinks of the great sounds of Jamaica , most will think of the echo soaked bass of dub or Ska's skanking guitar. Some may even site the extraordinary and unique niyabinghi drummers. Such a pity then that The Voice of Thunder remains relatively unrecognised. The Voice of Thunder belonged to Michael Williams, better known to the world as Prince Far-I, and as the moniker might suggest it was truly a force of nature." - Darrin Frew

Neutral Milk Hotel - "Holland, 1945"
"A few months ago, I was sitting on my friend's bed and he grabbed an album for us to listen to. He issued this disclaimer, 'You're either going to love it or hate it.' I quickly figured out that I love Neutral Milk Hotel. By the time 'Holland, 1945' started playing, I was grinning from ear to ear and fighting back tears of happiness. I have no idea what the hell this song is about. The production isn't great... every time I hear it, I think my speakers are on the verge of blowing up and Jeff Mangum's voice definitely leaves much to be desired. For some reason, though, this song makes me want to fall in love and skip down a street while holding my lover's hand. I want to sing along at the top of my lungs and just know that everything is right in my world." - jasmine

New York Dolls - "Runnin' Around"
Submitted by Yail Bloor sans blurb.

T. Rex - "The Street And Babe Shadow"
Submitted by OPA! sans blurb.

Johnny Cash - "God's Gonna Cut You Down"
"The Man in Black, the voice, the last album, the dark subject matter, and still the handclaps add a whole new dimension to the timeleass sound of JR Cash. He may be gone, but I'll never be able to forget him." - Loog

Yail Bloor » Music » Hosting the PodBlast

"Please allow me to introduce myself..."

I am indeed a man of wealth and taste. And the host of a fake radio show, er podcast. Yes, that's right campers, the Hip Displeasure PodBlast now has yours truly as its host.

For this most recent edition, I had the pleasure of presiding over Volume 1 of our "Staff Inflection" series whereby the collective members of HD select a song to be played on the PodBlast. The selections for this July 28, 2006 edition include:

FT: Saturday Looks Good To Me - Parking Lot Blues
Elvis Fu: Gene Vincent - Cat Man
Stacy: Ray LaMontagne - Crazy
Darrin: Prince Far I - Johnny Get Worse
Jasmine: Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
Yail Bloor: New York Dolls - Runnin' Around
OPA!: T. Rex - The Street And Babe Shadow
LooGAR: Johnny Cash - God's Gonna Cut You Down

Feel free to use the comments section of this blog to register any comments, questions or suggestions that you may have about the podcast and we will take them into consideration--as always I'd like to thanks FT for the forum, the other bloggers for the time, and our audience and readers for their support. We really are gonna try and make this something unique and cool as time goes on. Now? Not so much.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Elvis Fu » Music » Lucero - "Rebels, Rogues and Sworn Brothers"

"The rain will wash away the piss and blood"
Lucero, Rebels, Rogues and Sworn Brothers
(Sept. 26th / Liberty & Lament)
RIYL: Throw Steve Earle in a blender with Bruce Springsteen, The Band, The Replacements and Social Distortion. Add some whiskey and puree.

Thanks to a generous Pre-Order offer from the boys in the band, I was fortunate enough to get a digital copy of Lucero's newest offering in my Gmail inbox this morning. First off, I think it's a great idea to give pre-order fans a digital copy they can listen to immediately, rather than clawing at the empty mailbox day after day. Also, I thought it was also a nice touch for the band to allow 2 downloads before the link expires. I quickly pulled one down to my machine at work, and saved the second for home. But what about the goods?

Some people felt let down by 2005's Nobody's Darlings, especially as a follow up to That Much Further West. In the band documentary Dreaming in America, songwriter/lead vocalist Ben Nichols explains that he was ready to make a real Rock and Roll record, a departure from the more sprawling, country flavored albums that that preceded Nobody's Darlings.

Rebels, Rogues and Sworn Brothers is a leap further away from Uncle Tupelo-style introspective ruminating in favor of shameless ambition, which has already been compared to early Bruce Springsteen.

Nichols is out to prove himself with this record. Moreso than the prior releases, this album is driven by balls out ego and the results are fantastic. This is a Rock Record, first and foremost. It's driving, it's loud, it's messy in places, and it's a damn fun ride, even though you can picture yourself losing a limb or an eye in spots.

The lead track is "What Else Would You Have Me Be", a heartfelt plea of hard living lovers, half of which have appear to have taken on a less eventful lifestyle. "I'd take you out at night," begs Nichols, "buy you cigarettes and whiskey drinks / always ended up in some fight, isn't that how good love is supposed to be / you used to love me, drunk and running wild in the streets / how else would you have me be". Adding piano as it frantically climaxes, it tapers back down before leaping into the quickly paced, "I Don't Wanna Be the One", adding "I don't wanna be the one who wants you so damn much / I don't wanna be the one, who's running out of luck".

After the pretty straightforward Lucero number, "San Francisco", the doors are blown off with "I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight", a Born to Run-style anthem that does just damn fine without Big Man cranking out a sax solo. One of the finest pure rock songs I've heard in a long time, period.

You can catch your breath a bit with the next two tracks, but then "The Mountain" mixes a little twang, organ and big drums to pull a page out of the Drive By Truckers' playbook: "My daddy lost most everything / on horses, whiskey and weddin' rings". "The Mountain" also introduces a shift in sound for the record. It sounds modern, yet slightly dated, in the way that I expected the last Sleater-Kinney to sound after reading all the reviews proclaiming a big 1970s rock sound. I didn't buy it with Sleater-Kinney, but this is very real. "The Mountain" has a break with a soaring guitar/organ break that would make Robbie Robertson & Garth Hudson proud.

Next up is "Sing Me No Hymns", the king hell monster that spawned the title of this post. It's a stubborn wall shaker with huge guitars that immediately make me think of Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla", albeit a Godzilla frustrated by failure, half cranked on plastic jug whiskey swatting away the good samaritans with "of all the things that I feel that need be done / to pay back what I owe, for all the blood and lost ones / till I feel the proper time has come, leave me be and let me drink / I need no more of your good intentions."

"She's Just That Kind of Girl" adds the organ to a Replacements-style rocker before Nichols settles the album to a close with "On the Way Back Home" and "She Wakes When She Dreams".

I've listened to this album non-stop since opening it this morning, and I keep revealing pieces and parts that were definitely not apparent on the work PC with shoddy speaks. I wish it had been available about five months earlier, as it is a great summer driving record. Though he gets overly raspy in places, even to the point of sounding like Shane MacGowan in spots, Ben Nichols continues to grow as a songwriter, and he seems to be composing with more confidence and expectations than before. If only parents would stop pussying up our children with shit like Death Cab for Cutie, we could make Lucero some obscene amounts of money in exchange for their hard work.

If you'd like to Pre-Order, buy straight from the band at LuceroMusic.com

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mark H. » Music » The Tattle Tales - "Fuck The Ergs!"

"You Said It Was a Good Size! 7" Review"


The Tattle Tales
Fuck The Ergs!
(Rally Records)



"Sometimes I Forget The Rules To Rock'N'Roll" would knock an Ozma fan right out their socks, with scads of hot moog hooks practically towing the lightly fuzz-polished guitars and harmonies of Christian Stefos and guest vocalist Hallie Unlovable. It's a catchy tune no doubt, but at this moment in time, my vision is 20/20 due to hindsight. The formula for the song seems similar to the stuff the Tattle Tales put out on their previous release 3 years ago. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the flipside is entirely different and unquestionably better than anything the band has done up to this point on the needle.

"The Things People Know" is a short, lo-fi acoustic performance featuring singer/keyboardist Anya Kaats, who puts forth a small glimpse-of-life teenage romance tune without an ounce of apprehension. The east coast version of Lois Maffeo, perhaps? It's not entirely impossible to make a better electric version of this song, but it would be very, very difficult.

"Banana Split" is the best Tattle Tales song I've ever heard. It's the main reason the slab has conquered my turntable during these past few weeks. A catchy, rollicking pop punk song, this time with the always welcome '50s vibe, a bouncy bass, great backing vox, and a boogie-woogie piano. All the ingredients are sweet, and the mixed result is downright scrumptious. If this is the appetizer for the full-length, then consider my appetite whetted.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Darrin Frew » Music » Alexi Murdoch and the Singer Songwriter Morass

Singer songwriters It's their ever-so-humble arrogance that makes you want to scream.

You see, 40 years after The Beatles played Indian scales backwards on distorted guitars and then looped them through a mellotron all the while chanting extracts from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, hoards of buttoned down expectants in sensible shoes still insist on springing forth with the hopelessly misguided belief that some rudimentary guitar chords hushly strummed over the banal reminiscences of the not-so-deep (typical lyric; boy disobeys mother, climbs tree, falls grazing knee) but definitely introverted, qualifies in 2006 - 2006, people! - as a legitimate form of entertainment.

They are most definitely wrong.

Step forward then production no. 18447 from the ruffly haired convey belt of tat - or Alexi Murdoch as his designer spectacled, demographics wielding, negotiating-with-an-ad-agency-
on-the-cellphone-RIGHT-NOW! publicists would rather he be called when he emerges, beautiful but dim, from the converted barn that he probably lives in.

The album is called 'Time Without Consequence', a title laden with all the dark humour you’ll ever need as you ponder the 59 minutes 40 seconds of wasted life endured while ensconced in his not particularly unique brand of laid back turpitude.

Over the course of this musical equivalent of flipping through carpet samples – ON A SUNDAY – he offers such sage advice as “don’t forget how to breath”, produces Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe style epigrammatical genius (“you don’t need strength to be strong” and, yes, you have correctly identified sarcasm) waxes lyrical about windmills and assorted rustic imagery bullshit and then fries our brains with his out there musical experimentation. That’s right, he uses a cymbal on one track to augment the folkie guitar.

All this leads irrevocably to a single conclusion.

If you’re single and have worn an ankle length gypsy skirt at some point this summer, there is the remote possibility that, at times of hormonal imbalance, you might actually find something attractive in Murdoch’s hackneyed troubadouring. However, to we more hard-headed fans of music, I’m afraid Mr Murdoch represents nothing more than an other stale acoustic drone ripe for a slapping with his own fashionable galosh.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hip-D PodBlast » Harmonic Happenstance » "Phantasies" to "Bye Bye Love"


This is the first in a series of what I like to refer to as a "harmonic happenstance," which is when the "Shuffle Songs" function on my iPod magically reveals a perfect transition from one song to another.

Last night while en route to pick up my Father-in-Law from Love Field, one such "harmonic happenstance" made itself known to me in the transition from "Phantasies" by Stephen Malkmus to "Bye Bye Love" by the Cars.

Based on the provided MP3, you be the judge...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Loog » Food » BBQ TBD

This post was supposed to be about Bar-B-Q, specifically, the start of a series of posts about my adventures sampling the best and worst roadside joints that are dotting all of the backroads -- and let's face it, this being Alabama, they are ALL back roads -- that I travel betwixt and between places like Daleville, Tuscaloosa, Muscle Shoals, Alex City, and Eufala.

But, like most projects cooked up with half a buzz from strong drink and the half remembered kick of ambition, it has begun in failure. Failure and a promise to actually accomplish it next time.

Like our friend Ol Tassle-Booted Tom Petty said "Lemme get to the point": I got nothin right now of consequence, but I will post about steaming hunks of chopped pork, all sorts and flavors of sauce, slaw, beans and Brunswick stew, as soon as I can.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Elvis Fu » Music » Neil Young - "Till the Morning Comes"

"Gone in 80 Seconds"

I consider myself to be a pretty big Neil Young fan, but I've been hit by Neil all over again just this week.

Right after "Southern Man" on Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, "Till the Morning Comes" needs just over a minute to pull back on the reins and settle the pace after Young's confrontation anthem has let go of your collar.

The beauty of "Till the Morning Comes", like so much of Young's work, lies in its simplicity and intimacy. The only lyrics are "I'm gonna give you till the morning comes, till the morning comes" repeated twice, then a taste of French Horn before Stephen Stills and Crazy Horse (Danny Whitten, Nils Lofgren & Ralph Molina) join in harmony to ride the soft breeze right back out again, but not before Stills can throw in his trademark, "whooaaa whooa".

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Yail Bloor » TV » Cable News

I am a cable news junkie. There is no easy way around it. While most normal people watch sitcoms, reality shows, sports, movies or whatever it is that people watch, I--if left to my own devices, am completely content to sit in for two or three hours of half witted hosts, barely literate "experts" and [no adjectives necessary] politicians, all jabbering at each other like the toothless denizens of a crystal meth convention. It probably says something about me, but I can get enough.

The main problem is that I like The News, and aside from the network news, there is no such thing as news anymore which is kinda funny and ironic: we now have all of these cable news outlets but very little actual news. Now our news is delivered with an endless side helping of commentary or not at all because these news genius' occasionally abandon the news altogether in favor of documentaries. To wit: Last Sunday night at 11:00 PM EST I just wanted to know what was going on in the world and was faced with this lineup:

CNN: CNN Presents (a North Korea documentary)
CNN Headline News (Nancy Grace or Glenn Beck)
Fox News (Oliver North's War Stories)
MSNBC - Lockup (those "inside a prison" documentaries)

NO NEWS! What the hell happened to CNN Headline News? I remember when you could know what was on Headline News just by looking at a clock. And now they have mussed up the works trying to compete with the others when they should be doing what they were chartered to do. Here's a suggestion: Your ratings couldn't be any worse if you just showed the news on a loop again; even the loneliest guy in prison can't stand to look at Nancy Grace, and while Fox has done well with a radio talker in Sean Hannity, at least he delivers something even if that something is ghoulsh and frightening. CNN's cheap imitation of the Hannity/O'Reilly juggernaut is Glen Beck and it feels like what it is: cheap.

Dammit. I really wanted to devote this to the new primetime lineup at MSNBC and why I hate it, but I guess I'll have to save it for next time.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Elvis Fu » Music » Thin Lizzy - "Jailbreak"

"Tonight there's gonna be trouble, some of us may not survive"

…those should have been Pete Coors' last shouted words as he left that wedding in May.

Don’t let the beer commercials fool you. There’s a good album or two lurking behind the Foghat and Nazareth albums that seem to populate the stacks of so many marketing execs.

Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak was released in 1976. With the hit single, "The Boys Are Back in Town", Thin Lizzy achieved not only a commercial breakthrough in the U.S., but also cold filtered immortality among the laziest ad men serving the beverage industry. But get past "The Boys Are Back in Town", and you'll see a loud hard rock band featuring a twin lead guitar attack and fronted by a half-Brazilian, half-Irish wannabe poet capable of much more than the fi
st pumping and Bromance inducing of "Boys".

Though lead singer/bassist Phil Lynott has a tendency forget his audience and overextend himself with florid lyrics, he is a more tha
n capable songwriter penning real life tales of working class heroes influenced by traditional Irish literature and folklore. Think Bruce Springsteen + Van Morrison, though obviously toned down a bit. Add into the mix harmonic lead guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson with drummer Brian Downey, who is able to aggressively drive the songs without resorting to big hard rock foolishness like the ol' blickum-blickum-blickum horseshit.

However, where Lynott excels, especially on Jailbreak, is the ability to slide almost effortlessly from the big arena roof-shakers [ "Jailbreak", "Warriors", "Boys" ] down to the smooth—yet mournful— groove of "Running Back", originally slated to be the first single, "Fight or Fall", a mellow call for racial harmony, to the country-tinged anthem "Cowboy Song", which somehow never made it's way onto Classic Rock Radio®.

Jailbreak is a great windows-down summer driving record, with quickly paced songs in a natural order. I'll admit it though, "Emerald" and "Warriors" are not good, unless you're cracking a few Old Milwaukees on the tailgate of a work issued F-250 after a long week at the lumber yard. Despite the minor hard rock excesses, Lynott & Co. have a fine rock and roll swagger, but unlike their peers it is backed up with some brains and some subtlety rather than a giant stack of Marshall amps.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Loog » Politics » The War, Monger

The War. Bombs Over Baghdad. It’s just like Vietnam. The War It’s a quagmire. The War. Stay the course. The War. Cut and Run. The War. The Invasion was under false pretenses. The War. Bush Lied. The War. Cheney’s making Billions. The War. Valerie Plame. The War. Support Our Troops. The War. When Clinton Lied No One Died. The War. No Blood for Oil. The War. Go It Alone. The War. Worst Foreign Policy Decision in our Nation’s History. The War. Protecting Our Freedom. The War. Nigga had yellow-cake son!

It is easy to resort to sloganeering and bumper sticker-style arguments. It is easy to take the gimlet-eyed view of uber-patriots who “Thank the Soldiers for Protecting Our Freedom,” all the while debasing our national symbols with their gaudy flag/eagle/yellow-ribbon stickers plastered all over the back of their cars, never lifting a finger, or lifting their foot off the gas to help the cause.

It is also easy to take the pessimistic route, and think that only the stupid or the underclass are even in the Armed Forces, and that the are fighting a battle for people who don’t care about them. A battle so we can keep our faces filled with fries. A battle fought by people who have wasted their lives.

After being bombarded with these messages for over three years now, I can barely discern a meaning on either side. I don’t think either care about the people fighting the war. I don’t they even care why we are there in the first place, and even if they do care, they will never agree what that reason is, or more importantly what to do about it now. I think that both sides just want to be right.

It hit me today, though, that the war will come home for some of us. The War is fought by people who will understand the consequences of conflict better than anyone reading this column ever can. Three people I know came home from Iraq within the past 3 months, and all of them have taken different paths there, and different paths home.

One, a Marine Corps Lieutenant, joined over a sense of duty after a solid if not spectacular career playing fullback at a large SEC school. His dad played there, too, and afterward made a boatload of money, so this guy didn’t need to join the Marines, His community rallied around him. They sent his unit care packages, and notes with things like “Thanks for doing what you do” written in them. He came back unscathed and will most likely go on to a long and prosperous life, where at the end he will be celebrated and lauded for his courageous service to his country.

The next, an army reserve specialist guarding the Baghdad Airport, came home to Walter Reed with 100% hearing loss, but with all limbs and brain function intact. His mother said “As long as he’s alive, we can figure it out. They have great hearing aids these days.” He’ll probably do some rehab work and get whatever job he can hold. Or maybe just live off disability. He’s got a good enough support system that he likely won’t fall through the cracks.

The last, an Army corporal came home to find his wife had taken up with another man. She even told him he “needed time alone with the kids,” to go out and tryst with her paramour. He found out, and smashed her head into the hood of the stove while she was cooking a pizza. Cops, sirens, beat-a-bitch charges, divorce. Now he cannot re-enroll in the military school he left to serve in the war, and he is going to lose his future commission, his wife, and his kids.

I understand that there is a duty to service in defense of your country. I also understand that there is a duty to question the decisions your government makes. Such is the duality of the American thing, to steal a phrase from Patterson Hood.

What I don’t understand is why we are not even having a conversation about what to do now. Is the war about oil? If so, how to prevent another? Is the war about establishing a beachhead in the Middle East to protect our interests and bring the fight to the terrorists? If so, is the fact that we haven’t had any attacks on American soil since proof that it is working? Do we need to wean ourselves off of oil? If so, how to do it without destroying the infrastructure and economy of our country? Some Democrats (including this one) would like to see a “Space Race for Energy Independence.” The Republican philosophy seems to be that the market will correct itself when needed, so there no use in tree hugger shit like “bio-diesel.”

See, the sloganeering is easy. It’s the solutions that require thought and compromise.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

FT » Film » "Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus"

I've really become a big fan of Jim White over the past few years, so when I stumbled upon his film "Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus" while surfing past The Sundance Channel the other night, I immediately stopped down and began watching. I was expecting some kind of full-length performance piece, and while both White and his music are prominently featured, there are several others along for the ride.

Joining White at various stops along his roadtrip through Dixie are Johnny Dowd, 16 Horsepower, The Handsome Family and David Johansen (yes, THAT David Johansen!). I saw Dowd open for Neko Case last year, and he is one bizarre dude. His presence here adds a twisted bit of eerieness to the already skewed proceedings, and you can almost imagine him as White's hard-livin' "Uncle Johnny." Along with 16 Horsepower, The Handsome Family and Johansen, Dowd and White's musical interludes powerfully punctuate the scenery and those who reside within.

What really struck me about this film was how closely White examines the dichotomy between good and evil in the American South, and how folks in small Southern towns are almost universally either zealously devoted to their church and their version of God or completely consumed with the desire to drink, drug and fornicate. No sides are taken here, as various Pentacostal-style churches are visted with scenes of people speaking in tongues, while seedy dive bars are also seen with patrons shown whooping it up with every bit of intensity witnessed inside those "fringe" churches across town.

Like the South, the pace of this film might be too slow for some people, but I found it to be a thrilling ride, regardless.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Darrin Frew » Music » Half Time Analysis

5.It’s been a strange year for music. Surplus of ‘quite good’ but deficient of ‘great’, 2006 has so far gently pleased rather than blown away. My number five, Jenny Lewis came out of the traps early with ‘Rabbit Fur Coat’ and although it seems to have divided opinion in the wider worldit has hung on in there on my list. For me, it was a pleasant surprise to see someone try to be lyrically ambitious even if she didn’t always get it quite right and the Watson twin’s contributions were an undoubted highlight, taking most of the songs to a different level.

4. I’m afraid to say that as I head towards clichéd old age I’ve found myself listening to more and more woolly jumpered singer-songwriter types and less in the way of rock or electronic music. It was therefore of a great relief to me to have Nathan Fake make my list and therefore retain at least some pulse of modernity. His soaring M83-only-good electronica has been perhaps the surprise find of the year. In particular ‘The Sky Was Pink’ makes you feel as if you’ve just been sucked into the extendable nozzle of God’s own vacuum cleaner headed for the glorious white-out death of Hoover bag heaven. I’ll feel less guilty about doing that to spiders as a result.

3. At three we have those perennial favourites Belle & Sebastian whom I now feel utterly confident to leaden with the epithet ‘one of the great bands of the last ten years’. The signs were there for all to see on the last album but the hushed Nick Drake has been almost completely ditched in favour of glamtastic double tracked drums, Ernie Isley style guitar solos and Funkadelic homage’s. Murdoch’s vocals say it all. Where once they were endearingly cracked and out of tune, now they ooze confidence and, dare I say it, sex appeal.

2. We waited and waited for Neko Case to follow up her last release with a ‘proper’ album and when it did arrive it seemed to encapsulate the year in music. There is very little you could point to as being weak on ‘Fox Confessor’ and yet at the same time it lacked that something that made ‘Blacklisted’ one of the greats. Still, we all know Neko’s voice is one of the marvels of the age and as such the number two spot is hardly unbefitting.

1. My number one from the first half of the year belongs to M Craft, an artist completely new to these ears, although apparently something of an old hand in the music biz. It’s to the Australian's eternal credit that he seems to crafted his own ‘classic’ 60’s/70’s sound without sounding, as so many modern bands do, completely derivative. Having said that the best track on the album ‘Sweets’ bares a passing resemblance to a sort of soft focus ‘Revolution Blues’. If you’re going to have influences, though, Neil Young seems a good pick.

My Top Twenty list.

1

m craft

SILVER AND FIRE

2

neko case

FOX CONFESSOR BRINGS THE FLOOD

3

belle & sebastian

THE LIFE PURSUIT

4

nathan fake

DROWNING IN A SEA OF LOVE

5

jenny lewis & the watson twins

RABBIT FUR COAT

6

sonic youth

RATHER RIPPED

7

cortney tidwell

CORTNEY TIDWELL

8

mogwai

MR BEAST

9

camera obscura

LET’S GET OUT THIS COUNTRY

10

two gallants

WHAT THE TOLL TELLS

11

isobel campbell & mark lanegan

BALLAD OF THE BROKEN SEAS

12

the strokes

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF EARTH

13

roddy frame

WESTERN SKIES

14

the fiery furnaces

BITTER TEA

15

cat power

THE GREATEST

16

clap your hands say yeah

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH

17

morrissey

RINGLEADER OF THE TORMENTED

18

the broken family band

BALLS

19

megan reilly

LET YOUR GHOST GO

20

el perro del mar

EL PERRO DEL MAR

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Darrin Frew » Tribute » Tom Weir: One Final Hike

I have never been a fan of the indie popsters Aberfeldy but they did record a song called 'Tom Weir' and this gives me the tenuous link I require to post something about as far removed from pop culture as you can possible get.

The subject of Aberfeldys song, the one and only Tom Weir, was a great personal inspiration to myself and it was with great sadness that I read of his death last week, aged 91.

Tom was born into one of the poorest areas of Glasgow in 1914. To escape his rather grim surroundings he would get the bus out of the city and climb the Campsie Fells, a rugged spine of high cliffed hills that hem the city of Glasgow in from the North. It was here that he fell in love with the country side, changing his own life and in due course, the lives of many others.

After serving in the Second World War as an artillery officer in the battle for Italy, he became a full time outdoorsman and was one of the first men to explore the mountains of Nepal. He also explored other remote and mountainous areas including the Atlas range in North African and the mountains of Greenland and Iran but his great love was always the highlands of his home country.

He spent most of his life thereafter promoting and protecting the wild places of Scotland long before the term 'environmentalist' had even been coined. In particular his television programme 'Weir's Way', broadcast in the 70's and 80's, almost single-handedly inspired two generations of climbers, walkers, rural historians and environmentalists.

Tom, who was still climbing mountains well into his eighties, didn't believe in heaven and it's perhaps just as well for if anyone belonged wholly to the Scottish soil it was him.

Unending thanks Tom.

Tom Weir 1914 - 2006.

Loog » Memoir » "How The Hell..." Chapter 1



"How the Hell Did I End Up Passed Out in Ken Stabler's Motel Room?!?"
Chapter 1 - Band of Horses Outgallop MMJ

Much of my day to day is spent navigating the highways and biways of the Great State of Alabama, or as I have dubbed it "The Tree Tunnel." So much time, in fact, is spent between Mobile and Montgomery on I-65, that I know every exit (my favorite is 107, which reads Grace and GARland, which I feel may be my spiritual home) and can even tell you where I am based on smell (Lowndes County has the waft of paper mills, somewhere around Evergreen you get the funk of what I can only guess is Alabama's biggest landfil)

So, from slow and sweet Josh Rouse tunes in the morning to the loosy-goosey, early morning stoned pimp vibe of The Deadstring Brothers, to the Bass of 6, head knockin shit of the King of The South, much of my taste in music is shaped by what is good for listening on the road.

I will be dedicating my next few posts to Road Staples and songs you gotta have for driving in the country with the windows down and the speakers cranked (with a heavy assist from such Obnerd staples as Yail "Consistently the Funniest Dude I Know" Bloor and Billy "Uncle Monger" Radlciffe.

This week I had the distinct pleasure of discovering The Band of Horses, and in particular the song "The Funeral." Derris put this on after a long day of boating and drinking at last weekend's Fourth of July No Pants Clambake, after he told me "Dude, playing The Rolling Stones 1976 World Tour Rehearsal Tapes is punishable by DEATH in this state."

BoH are often compared to, or slandered as, cheap-jack My Morning Jacket imitators, and I have been the subject of much derision of late from such people as Hip D's feared, iron-fisted ruler/Lummox in Chief Sir Bob Bland, for saying that "The Funeral my be better than any song MMJ has ever written." And, with the exception of "Mahgeeta" or "Off the Record," this week's back-to-back-to-back listenings bears this fact out. (As an aside I once spent the entire 3 hour drive from The Doktor's house in Philly all the way back to Washington, DC listening to R.E.M.'s "It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)" so it is really nothing for me to listen to a song three, or even five, times in a row.)

So, though it is moody and has that echo-y, recorded in a barn sound, and many of the songs are slow burns as opposed to balls out rockers, BoH is definitely road worn and weary, but worth the time.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

jasmine » Music » Metallica - "The Unforgiven"

"you labeled me, i labeled you!!!!!!"

would you believe that i'm too lazy to get up and turn off "the unforgiven" by metallica? it's an experiment to see how much of this i can take before throwing a fit or worse, my stereo.

my god, i can remember when this song came out in 1991. i was a freshman in high school and i wanted nothing more than to attend a metallica concert. of course, my mom wasn't having it because she grew up on sabbath. i think she assumed that hetfield ate bats or something. so i listened to the tape over and over and over again, letting the teen angst build in my awkward, hormonal body. no one understood me! metallica understood me!

so, here i am, 15 years later, listening to the same song which made me weep as a kid. so far, all it's making me want to do is kick a wall and purge my brain of all memories of metallica. a sampling of the awful lyrics:

New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued
Through constant pained disgrace
The young boy learns their rules

With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man strugggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away

what was i thinking? that's not dark. that's just pure drama.

luckily, i discovered pearl jam, nirvana, ned's atomic dustbin, teenage fanclub, hoodoo gurus, and liz phair not too soon after. thank god.

note: i do love me some old metallica. i'm just ripping on this song. carry on.


Darrin Frew » Music » Prince Far-I

Raising Awareness Part 1
Because not all old music is lame-0
Part 1 - Prince Far-I


When one thinks of the great sounds of Jamaica, most will think of the echo soaked bass of dub or Ska's skanking guitar. Some may even site the extraordinary and unique niyabinghi drummers. Such a pity then that The Voice of Thunder remains relatively unrecognised.

The Voice of Thunder belonged to Michael Williams, better known to the world as Prince Far-I, and as the moniker might suggest it was truly a force of nature. When Prince Far-I did his thing (you couldn't really call it singing, more, well, rumbling) people definitely sat up and took notice. No one ever sounded like they meant business more than Prince Far-I's ominous patois inflected baritone could. As well as sounding like he meant business Prince Far-I also looked like he meant business. A huge man with a giant beard and that sort of face you might expect to find on the roughest deck of a pirate ship, it was actually his imposing physical presence that, in a way, got him his first break on the Jamaican music scene.

While working as a bouncer and studio security guard for the legendary Coxsone Dodd, Williams was desperately handed the mike and ushered into the booth when DJ King Stitt failed to show up at a recording session. However, success was far from instant and he was soon working again as a security guard at Kingston
docks, DJing at the weekends on Sir Mike the Musical Dragon's sound system under the name King Cry Cry, reputedly due to his tendency to get so angry during his politically charged rants on mic as to burst into tears.

After a lull of several years his recording career got back on track again in 1973 when he worked on several hit singles with, amongst others, The Skatalites Tommy McCook, and he was able to generate enough cash to form his own label Tuff Cry.
The first release on Tuff Cry - the excellently heavy '354 Skank' - immediately caught the attention of London based music fans, including producer Adrian Sherwood, and Far-I finally began to cultivate a fan base both at home and abroad.

1978 saw Far-I at the peak of his critical acclaim with the release of the LP 'Under Heavy Manners', which included several huge selling singles in Jamaica, and the result was a subsequent five album contract with Virgin.


Sadly though, as with so many Jamaican musicians (including King Tubby, who had used Far-I on many of his dubs) Prince Far-I met his end as the victim of the senseless and endemic violence he had so often berated at the microphone. On 15th September 1983, armed men entered his home and shot him, his wife and a friend. No suspects or motive were ever discovered. Worse still, The Voice of Thunder was silenced forever.


But not forever. Keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for the next Hip-D Pod Cast to sample for yourself the great man's 'rockstone' voice.

Recommended: Prince Far-I 'Silver and Gold 1973 - 1979' Blood and Fire Records, 2005


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

stacey » General » Move along, there's nothing to see here...

I had been waiting for that one brilliant stroke of pure Blogging genius to triumphantly usher in my arrival to Hip Displeasure...

Then, I realized I haven't had a stroke of genius in quite some time and, in regards to pop culture, the only movies I've seen this year in the theatre were Cars and Nacho Libre. Still though, Owen Wilson is hott right now and I paid for half of my Nacho Libre ticket in quarters. I'm not sure what that says, but it's gotta say something. All the hip chicks are down with coin purses, perhaps?

Regardless, this is my first post for the sake of posting a first post. Yeah. I hope I'll attain some sort of greatness. That, or I hope I will go out in a fiery, ranting, raving nonsensical post about "them" watching me and how I'll have to go live underground (fingers crossed for the latter [!]).

On a tiny musical note, everyone is covering Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy', but have you heard Ray LaMontagne's version yet? That voice makes me happy (in the pants).

Hip-D PodBlast » FT Picks » The Long Winters / Donald Fagen / Split Enz

In order to allow you to hear the music about which we rave, I have set up a recurring mini-podcast called "Hip-D PodBlast." Each one will contain three songs featured in our S.I.C.K. or A.T.O.M. segments. This first one is a 10:09 14 MB 192-bit MP3 with the following tracks:

1. "Teaspoon" - The Long Winters
2. "Rhymes" - Donald Fagen
3. "One Step Ahead" - Split Enz

There isn't any DJ chatter or anything else -- just the music. Enjoy!

FT » Music » Split Enz - "One Step Ahead"

Yeah, this track's over 20 years old, but stumbling upon long-forgotten gems like this is one of my favorite things about setting my 60 GB iPod to random. I really dig the air of menace throughout this song. These Kiwis have to be one of the most criminally underappreciated bands of the early '80s. Time hasn't been kind to many of the acts from the New Wave movement, but this is one band -- and especially one song -- that's held up extremely well over the years. Good on ya, Brothers Finn!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Hip-D TV » Lo-Def Theater » "The Garage Sale"

We here at Hip-D are proud to introduce our latest recurring feature: "Lo-Def Theater." Because I am not blessed with any semblance of God-given artistic ability, including anything remotely approaching drawing skills, my only hope to visually put forth my creative vision is to do so by hook or by crook. In this case, "by hook" means jerry-rigging PowerPoint and Windows Movie Maker, while "by crook" very accurately desribes my blatant intellectual theft of copyrighted still photos and licensed music.

So, until a series of exorbitant fines and eventual jail time separates me from my laptop, throw some Jiffy Pop on the hibachi, sit back and enjoy the show...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

FT » TV » Shatner Sings "Taxi" on "Dinah!"

"Another Sunday Shat to Hell"

So, here I find myself smack dab in the middle of this glorious four-day weekend (God bless America!) with more free time than I've had before me since Spiro Agnew was still drawing a government paycheck, and instead of doing something productive like dusting the blades of my ceiling fan or shampooing my landlord's blood out of the carpet, I've spent the vast majority of this Sunday doing nothing but watching clip after brain-rotting clip at You Tube.

My greatest find so far has been yet another William Shatner vocal interpretation of a '70s pop classic; this time: Harry Chapin's poignant "Taxi." Here's the first of what will likely be countless instances of leeching existing online content in lieu of actually coming up with something original...ENJOY!


Shatner sings "Taxi"