\ Hip Displeasure: October 2006

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Mark H. » Music » The Mankins - "Spend The Night Alone"

You Said It Was A Good Size! 7" Review by Mark H.
The Manikins
Spend The Night Alone 7”
Plastic Idol Records

This label just keeps pumping out the hits. And while I don’t mean to diminish Plastic Idol in any way, I’ve seen a lot more consistency with small (and even the bigger) punk labels recently. The punk blow-up of the 90s is now officially 10 years behind us (breakthroughs like Smash and Out Come The Wolves are now 11 years old – yikes!) and for a long stretch every punk band on the planet was being put to tape, even if it sounded like yaks shitting in a tunnel full of bees. Nowadays though, bands like the Manikins have room to breathe. Those jagged guitars sound fresh again, and the hooks are baited with 70s roots-punk without seeming stale.

“Spend The Night Alone” rips through the A-side like any good single should: A thumping garage rock backbeat and verses that rip like a ’63-era Beatles on double time. As good as that nugget is, “Still Afraid Of Girls” might be even better. This time the guitars bring in a little rebellious twang, the drums gallop along, and there’s a solo that’s reminiscent of a rudimentary Revered Horton Heat or even something (gasp!) non-punk like Friends of Dean Martinez. The song itself is a perplexing tune, as the lyrics are standard shy-guy fare, but the singer has a bitter and biting tone that seeps with confidence. “Take 5” is just icing. After these solid gold tracks it’s just there to remind you to flip the slab and start all over again.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hip-D PodBlast » Staff Inflection » v2.0

We have a lot of people now so that means a lot of songs and not much talking...The contributors and their contributions:

Yail Bloor: Chickisaw Mudd Puppies - "Superior"

FT: Glossary - "Poor Boy"
The pride of Murfreesboro, Tennessee are back with this killer track from their recently-released sophomore effort, For What I Don't Become. In the same "Alt-law" vein as Drive-By Truckers, Marah, The Drams and fellow Tennesseeans Lucero, Glossary proves to be more literate than most casual listening carpetbaggers are wont admit when it comes to such rough-and-tumble Southern bands. This track provides plenty of evidence of their lyrical genius, in such lines as "The night aint over ‘til everybody sins," and "I can’t promise I wont change; only a fool wants to stay the same." And they're solid musicians, to boot! There's nothing not to like here, so give it a listen and take in the all the Southern Fried goodness. -- Blurb by FT

Darrin Frew: Roddy Frame - "Shore Song"
As one of the select few to record and release material for the spellbinding Postcard label in the early 80's, Roddy Frame will always have a place close to my musical heart. That said, 'Shore Song' ,a track from Frame's sadly ignored new album, has been selected purely on merit and stands as a glittering testiment to the enduring appeal of a man, a tune and a well played acoustic guitar.--Blurb by Darrin Frew

Jasmine: Archers of Loaf - "Web In Front"
From the simple drum opening to the chaotic lead vocals over chorus closing, I can't find one thing wrong with "Web in Front" from the great Archers of Loaf debut Icky Mettle. This is one of those songs where the lyrics don't make a lot of sense ("Sampled your rust from a faucet, I know/I've got a magnet in my head/A magnet in my head/Extra thick, extra long, the way it was wasted." - what?), but the emotion in singer Eric Bachmann's voice is enough to convince me that there's a lot more to these simple lyrics. Personally, I just love singing "All I ever wanted was to be your spine!" while rocking out in my shower. I hope you love it as much as I do. And I hope Yail reads this blurb. -- Blurb by jasmine

Stacey: Hartley Goldstein - "The Mystery of George Harrison's Beard"
I picked up the 'Songs in the Key of Zoloft' ep at Kim's in St. Marks December of last year because the cover appealed to me. The cheapness (as it's only an ep) appealed to me too. Also appealing to me was the title. Oh, and what the little info sticker said on the front appealed to me as well (something about "neurotic pop and meta-folk"). Hartley Goldstein has been called the "David Sedaris of Indie rock". That might appeal to you. It may also be appealing if you like Belle and Sabastian, the Shins, Devin Davis or John Darnielle. He sings about Diane Keaton as Annie Hall sometimes. That's kind of appealing, no? -- Blurb by stacey

Elvis Fu: The Rugburns - "War"

OPA!: Beirut - "Brandenburg"

Mark H.: The Goddamn Doo Wop Band - "Rooftops of Bangor"
Oldies music was my first love, and the fact that I've yet to outgrow it like I have heavy metal and Weird Al, shows just how awesome that 1955-1963 era really was. I'm all for modern groups that milk the oldies influence (e.g. The Pipettes), but I like my modern oldies to feel and sound authentic. The God Damn Doo Wop band have the girl-group harmonies, the ramshackle rhythm section and the party-squonkin' sax - all the necessary ingredients without the artificial production sweeteners. When I listen to the GDDWB I'm not really thinking of them as a band or even as a homage; they're more like a documentation of a decades-old sound that still sounds great in 2006. -- Blurb by Mark H.

Patrick: Ass Ponys - "Astronaut"
So, I found that I liked The Long Winters, but wished they sounded a little more like Lucero. Prayers answered with this, the second track off Cleaver and Co.s fifth full-length, 2000's "Some Stupid With A Flare Gun". So good... -- Blurb by Patrick

Loog: George Jones - "If Drinking Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)"
George Jones was JAIL before I knew the meaning of the word. He's drunk more whickey, slain more gash, played more shows in the Donald Duck voice, and gotten more DUIs on riding lawn mowers after his wife hid the keys to all 7 of his cars, than you've beat your meat to Jenna Jamison. Yet, after all that, The Voice remains, and the songs are still some of the best things going TODAY. This song should hit anyone whose ever drowned the sorrows of a break up right in the gut. -- Blurb by Loog

We'll be back much sooner. I promise.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Chris » Music » Blonde Redhead - "Misery is a Butterfly"

What is this obsession I have with Blonde Redhead?

Over two years after it’s official release, I still listen to Misery Is A Butterfly, at least, twice a week and has become, without a doubt, my favorite album of all-time. Or perhaps, it‘s not the band I'm obsessed with. Perhaps it’s the album.

I have this ritual of sorts every time I visit a record store. I make it a point to seek out the B’s in the Pop/Rock section simply to take a peek at my favorite album. Considering that I already own Misery Is A Butterfly, I still feel the need to pick it up and look at it. I’d prefer not to think what would happen if I, one day, walked into a store only to find that they’ve sold out of it. I must make sure to have my inhaler with me on that particular day.

I went one step further a few months ago when I actually bought a brand new sealed copy of the album for safe keeping. I don’t plan on opening it, and even though I’ll never listen to this particular copy, it still makes me smile, just knowing that I own it.

On mixes that I make, I must have a song from Misery Is A Butterfly included on all of them. It could be an all-international or strictly flamenco mix, and there is Doll Is Mine or Falling Man, once again, perplexing the listener.

Why do I do it? It comforts me.

Sometimes I think I’d even have sex with Kazu Makino, and I had sworn to myself that I’d never have sex with a woman again. But Kazu is different. To me, she’s become the voice in my head. A beautiful voice.

I keep reassuring myself that everyone has an album they’re obsessed with. As obsessed as I am, I don’t quite know for sure, but I’d like to think so. It’s just an innocent love affair with a special friend. And I’m alright with that.

Blonde Redhead Discography
Misery Is A Butterfly (2004)
Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons (2000)
Melodie Citronique EP (2000)
In An Expression Of The Inexpressible (1998)
Fake Can Be Just As Good (1997)
La Mia Vita Violenta (1995)
Blonde Redhead (1995)

Website: www.blonde-redhead.com

Saturday, October 07, 2006

jasmine » Music » The Long Winters Concert Review

"my arms miss you, my hands miss you"

Guess who saw the Long Winters Friday night?


From the minute that I read the Long Winters were coming to Chicago, I was happy like a little kid. I listened to my two LW records and memorized all the lyrics. Then, my excitement fizzled. Subterranean is a horrible venue and John Roderick is a grade A prick.

First of all, Subterranean. Why anyone outside of a shitty local band plays Subterranean is beyond me. The set-up is horrible... music's on the second floor, and bathrooms are on the third floor (first floor is frequented by THEM). The sound is absolutely abominable and the sound people seem to be a little on the slow side. So, that's the first gripe.

Second gripe: John Roderick, singer and primary songwriter for the Long Winters and former member of Harvey Danger, is a jerk. One of my biggest pet peeves is being belittled by a band that has taken $12.50 from me. You come to my city and talk to me like I'm the asshole. You're the one playing a shitty venue. Anyway, he mentioned the crowd drinking their "pink cocktails" and even called a guy out for checking his cell phone. Well, Mr. Roderick, perhaps if you talked a little less, the crowd wouldn't lose attention. Just a suggestion. When he was told that he had 25 minutes until curfew, he complained about the curfew instead of tearing through more songs.

Personal attacks over. Let's get to the music.

They brought the rock in a big way. To my surprise, it was an all request show. I was skeptical at first, hoping to God that this wasn't a crowd of morons who only know one song. John and the guys opened with Fire Island, AK, which was to be expected since it's off their latest release Putting the Days to Bed (2006). Somehow, though, the no set list set list became extremely enjoyable. They performed most of When I Pretend to Fall (2003), and I was a happy girl. Highlights from WIPtF include Stupid (singer Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger and formerly the Long Winters provides vocals on the recorded version) and Scared Straight. And of course, the icing on the cake was Ultimatum.

So, I'm giving the show one thumb up (music!) and one thumb down (shithead bandleader and rough venue). Catch them if you can!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hip-D PodBlast » Mixer » Inspired by TV's "Lost"

While WinAmp was rolling through some random tracks earlier today, a certain song (one of those listed below, in fact) set off the lightbulb above my head to try and put together a Mixer with nothing but songs that could be loosely associated with the hit ABC TV series Lost.

As you'll hear, some of these tracks fit the theme perfectly, while others are a complete reach. Regardless, I hope you have as much fun listening to it as I had putting it together.

If nothing else, maybe it will help satisfy your Lost urges until the next episode airs...

  • "Plane Crash" - Toadies
  • "Marooned" - The Webb Brothers
  • "Jack Never Crashes" - The Deathray Davies
  • "James" - Josh Rouse
  • "Shannon" - Volebeats
  • "Lottery" - Damien Jurado
  • "O Claire" - Cheap Trick
  • "Charlie Freak" - Steely Dan
  • "Smoke Signal" - The Band
  • "Michael" - Franz Ferdinand
  • "Do You Remember Walter?" - The Kinks
  • "Give My Love to Rose" - Johnny Cash
  • "Ana Lucia" - Sloan
  • "Desmond Don't Go" - Daryll-Ann
  • "The Closets of Henry" - Guided by Voices
  • "From My Own True Love (Lost at Sea)" - The Decemberists

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mark H. » Music » The AV Club - "S/T"

"I Should Have Said Something Before"
Late Reviews By Mark H.

The AV Club
(Knock Knock/Insubordination)

After seeing this band play an awesome live set I had a brief discussion with bassist Jon. After lauding him with my own personal praises I also mentioned that my wife Jessica really enjoyed the set. Jon revealed that the band themselves have discovered that they are a good “couples” band. After listening to the album a few hundred times I’m in complete agreement. The AV Club is a good “couples” band. They’re a good first date band. They’re a good old lovers band. They are a band for people who are, have been, or will be in a relationship. I think it’s important to note that I’d recommend this disc to such a wide audience, because this is truly one of those albums that I believe everyone should hear – it’s a wonderful release, despite the unfortunate negative connotations that go with the words directly below.

The A/V Club’s self-titled debut is an incredibly safe, inarguably accessible pop/rock album. Every single song rocks along in a pleasing, harmless, manner. Kids of the 90s who look fondly on the angst-less Lemonheads radio days will eat this up. The (albeit aging) hipsters who remember when Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were cool will soak this in. Any number of songs from this disc could fit right on the shelf with those countless “feel good hit of the summer” singles. This trio should be on the cover of Unthreatening Boys Monthly.

Just had to get that out of my system. “Sweethearts At 17” and “Girl From Mars” is my favorite one-two opening punch since I can’t remember when. Gobs of hooks and harmonies, streams of melodic lines that flow like wine coolers. The ballad “Degrees Of Grey” and the peppier “Lost My Head” clue us into a main distinction between the AV Club and, say, the likes of the Gin Blossoms/Soul Asylum/Counting Crows/Goo Goo Dolls/insert similar alt-rock band in their 90s form. All those bands had mopey-sounding, and overall lazy singers, whereas vocalist Aaron sings with a bright, natural voice, capable of controlling the pop when it alters slightly from reminiscent to melancholy.

“Midnight Bus” is a great “don’t leave me” plea, and “Trouble Girls” is a bonafide party anthem with a nice, swervy chorus hook and a rockingness almost approaching Figgs territory. “Without You” keeps the tempo going on the quick side, probably the closest this band has come to anything closely resembling pop punk. The riff actually reminds me of something on the Queers’ “Don’t Back Down” (which is a good thing). “Don’t Take That Part Of Me” has me thinking Charlie Brown Gets A Valentine-lite (sorry, guys!) More melodic charm comes through with “Everybody Sees My Love” and the album closer “Crazy Circles”, which is the song that should rightfully close the set. Despite the creepy lyrics, it’ll leave you swaying with your girl (or boy), moving with the groove and getting ready to walk home to bed.

As I bounce from webzine to blog to wherever my words end up, I try to point those who bother to pay attention to very specific bands and hidden mix-tape gems. Much to the A/V Club’s credit, they are getting recommendations across the board. Everyone should own this.