Thursday, January 31, 2008

Random Thursday

I learned all I know about self-defense from Dr. Steve Brule. You should too.

This just made me laugh.

Devotchka: Sneak Peek

One of my favorite acts at last year's Austin City Limits Music Festival was a truly unique band that blew the crowd away with their sound. Eastern European-flavored, gypsy-infused, burlesque, mariachi-inspired group Devotchka is a sight to be seen. Making a rare Texas appearance, this foursome hailing from Colorado brought a sound that can only be described as eclectic and then some. You may have heard them without even knowing it. Their song How It Ends was prominently featured in the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack. Now they have a new album on the way, A Mad & Faithful Telling, being released on March 18. Here's the first single from the album.

Transliterator – mp3

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Listening Station: Vampire Weekend

Recently, I started hearing about a band out of New York that was getting rave reviews and lots of hype. Normally, this makes me a little skeptical. Anytime a band starts blowing up on the web becoming another "blog band" phenomenon, I start to doubt it. Then I started reading reviews. Then I started hearing word of mouth. And it all came down to one thing. These guys were good. Really good. So what the hell, I'll give them a spin.
Thankfully, this time the band may be able to back up the hype (Arctic Monkey's, I'm looking at you). They're called Vampire Weekend, and if you're into catchy, laid-back grooves with a flair for eclectic rhythms, this band is for you. With a sound self-described as "Upper West Side Soweto", these 4 guys, who met while attending Columbia University, construct songs that incorporate indie rock, Western classical music, South African "Afro-pop" and bossa-nova beats. Combined with their fun, youthful lyrics, they make for a fantastic listen. This looks to be one of the first entries in the "Best of 2008" category. Here are a couple standout tracks:

A-punk – mp3
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa – mp3

And since their sound is so reminiscent of Paul Simon's work, here's one of my favorite tracks by the man:

You Can Call Me Al – mp3

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Diary of Burmese soldier #64 in Rambo

So, first things first. I'm a fairly nice guy. I'm normally the guy who keeps things cool in situations that get a little hairy. I'm all about peace. But who am I to argue with the Burmese army? I mean, they basically took out my entire village and forced me into service against my will. Alright. What's done is done. I serve my duty, very dilligently mind you, without so much as a complaint. I work hard, and I do what I'm told. They normally don't include me on many missions, as I'm the guy who has to guard the "prisoner cages". Fine. No problem. Even though I hate the smell of pig shit, and generally don't like getting dirty, I do what I'm told. One time, I even had to patrol the area in the rain, without a poncho! You could get pretty sick doing that. Just once, I wanna go out on the "Rally" truck, or go for a ride on the boat. But, the bossman says no. "We already have soldiers #20 through 60 out on patrol. #'s 70 through 100 are taking a break. You stay here and guard the American woman no one will be coming for, #64." "Yes, sir!" Meanwhile, he goes off to his barracks with Ting, the 14 year-old boy who I still have no idea what he's here for.
Anyhoo, I'm a trooper, and I make do. So, there's this big strip tease show going on in one of the other huts, and most of the other guys are taking it in, throwing smoke canisters and getting rowdy and all. Me? I stay off the booze for the most part. Well, about this time, I can see that the female prisoner is looking pretty bad. I can tell she hasn't eaten for a while, so I decide she probably ought to try and get something in her. I take her out of the cage, which is completely filthy by the way (not by my choice), and take her to our café of sorts. Pretty much they just offer dim sum, rice and not much else. But anything helps, right? So, I tell her to eat, and she just looks at me with a frightened look. What is with this language barrier? I mean, you come into our country to help. The least you could do is learn our language! So, yeah, this kind of frustrated me. I probably started to get a little hot, because I'm trying to help, and she can't seem to figure this out. Just as I'm about to sit down and help her, that's when I sensed something was wrong. Boy howdy, was it ever!
Next thing I know, I have a this sweaty, grunting soldier putting a vice-like grip on my throat. That's when I realize it's none other than John Rambo himself. That's also about the time I shat myself. He obviously didn't trim his nails, because I could feel them digging into my neck. Let me tell you, I'm a nice guy, but I don't appreciate that. He didn't even give me a chance to explain myself. Not that it would have mattered, what with the vice-like grip he had. Well, one thing leads to another, and he ends up tearing my throat out. The rest is kinda hazy.

Gee, thanks Rambo.

Here's what Sexman thought of the film:

The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath

Today is great day. Why you ask? Because the new album from genre defying supergroup the Mars Volta, The Bedlam in Goliath, hits stores today. If you have any self respect and lay claim to be a "fan" of good music, then you will go out and purchase this album without fail. They're back and as poweful as ever, weaving a tapestry of prog-rock and jazz fusion, all centered around the true story of the Soothsayer. An ouija-style board purchased in Jerusalem by lead guitarist and mastermind Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the band enjoyed playing with it while on tour. But soon, multiple problems began plaguing the band, including problems during production, lost tracks, flooded studios, departing members and financial troubles. To break the curse of the board, they buried it, and swore to never speak of it again during production. This unique direction made for a truly standout album. Prepare to be laid waste to an all out assault on the ears. Standouts on the album include: Aberinkula, Ilyena, Goliath, Cavalettas and the first single, Wax Simulacra. Here's a listen.

Wax Simulacra – mp3

Monday, January 28, 2008

Carl's Prediction for Sunday

The Giants have a tough road ahead, but Carl has a pretty good idea as to how it's gonna go down in Arizona.

Hangin' Tough

Well kids, get ready to grab your over-sized buttons, bangles and jelly bracelets and get those old posters out of the closet. Looks like the group who started the boy-band phenomenon is coming back from retirement. The Spice Girls be damned; "Boy Power" is taking over. Multiple sites are reporting that the original purveyors of teen idol worship, New Kids On The Block, will be making their "long-awaited" comeback soon. On their official site,, there's a teaser building up to the official announcement, which is supposedly going to take place sometime in the next few weeks.
My only question is, was there a long-awaited comeback? Where have I been and who are these people yearning for more NKOTB? I'm assuming with the nominal success of all these other reunion tours, and the probable lack of decent careers, they decided now would be as good a time as any. Now, where the hell did I put my Batman shirt?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Love Me Sexy

"Let's fill a bathtub full of sweat."

Jackie Moon is what's missing from the NBA these days. What are we doing about this?

For further explanation, click here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Guerilla Advertising to the Extreme

You ever feel like saying something, but then think twice before saying it? Or ever get the urge to laugh at something hysterically even though you know you're on a one way bus trip to hell for doing so? I just saw this clip from the O'Reilly show, and had to share. As someone who works in advertising, this is incredible. The fact that these even got out amaze me. It all centers around a crudely humorous viral video website called, which is basically a guy dressed as an omelette, walking around with a dwarf named Hashbrown, completely going off on shit in the world that pisses him off. I'm not kidding. If their goal is to get people talking and notice, then damned if they haven't exceeded those expectations.
Sometimes in advertising, there's a line that you sometimes should or should not cross. Often times it's blurry, and differing opinions of what's funny and what's just plain wrong sometimes skew. As for me, I just have to laugh! Can we not just lighten up a bit as a society for once? I mean...damn. That shit's funny. I don't care who you are.

Movie Lookout: Hell Ride

Looks like Tarantino's back it, bringing us another gloriously over-the-top genre film. This time we enter a world of revenge and retribution, all centered around rival biker gangs. Directed, written and starring cult biker film icon Larry Bishop (the dude who had a cameo as the owner of the titty bar that Michael Madsen's character in Kill Bill worked at), it harkens back to the late 60's – 70's era vigilante films, such as Deathwish. All I'm saying is, count me in on this one! The movie poster alone already bought my ticket. Here's a full synopsis from

"Hell Ride is a raucous throwback to the days of the Sergio Leone spaghetti western, with a heaping helping of testosterone-fueled chopper action thrown into the mix. Writer/director Larry Bishop takes on a third role as Pistolero, head honcho of the Victors, a group of badass bikers who are out to avenge the murder of one of their members at the hands of the 666ers, a rival gang whose actions live up to their hellish moniker. Along with his cohorts, the Gent (deviously portrayed by Michael Madsen) and the mysterious Comanche (Eric Balfour), Pistolero aims to take down the Deuce and Billy Wings, menacing leaders of the 666ers, but a mutiny looms on the horizon when his commitment to profit is questioned by a few of his fellow Victors. An even larger story unravels when previously unknown information about Comanche resurrects ghosts from Pistolero’s past. Although there is enough sex, violence, and all-out machismo to keep grind-house fans firmly plastered to their seats, Bishop’s take on the genre strays far from exploitation as he weaves a twisting, multilayered tale of revenge, loyalty, and brotherhood that is brought to life by a superb ensemble cast, with memorable performances by Dennis Hopper, Vinnie Jones, and David Carradine. In the words of Comanche, "The road to hell is paved with anything but good intentions." -- © Sundance Film Festival"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Breaking News: Tom Cruise Has Overdosed On Crazy Pills So, this is a video that has been circulating around different news sources, and evidently it's so out there that the Church of Scientology has even tried to cover it up. If you can understand a single notion he puts forth, then you my friend are truly special. That, or you're just as freaking looney as ol' Tom. After listening to this incoherent rambling of crazy, interspersed with maniacal giggling, be prepared for the slight trickle of blood that may leak out of your nose and/or ears. Couch jumping aside, I normally tried to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but this puts him on a whole new level of bat shit. The 'Mission: Impossible' theme music throughout was a nice touch however.

Here's fellow actor George Clooney's take on the affair.

Ghostland Observatory: Sneak Peek

Just got a quick preview of one of the tracks on the new Ghostland Observatory album, Robotique Majestique. The Austin, TX based band are releasing it March 4th. Here's an early listen. What are your thoughts?

Ghostland Observatory – Heavy Heart

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tiger Army tonight

The ol' roomie and I are gonna get our psychobilly freakout on tonight. Tiger Army is performing at the Granada, and it should be a pretty gothtastic time. Now can anyone tell me where to get some Dapper Dan hair grease?

Tiger Army – Ghosts of Memory

Carl expresses his views on the big game

Now if only the Mooninites would destroy Tom Brady...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yeasayer + Mgmt Show Tonight

Tonight, Yeasayer and Mgmt make their way into Dallas for a show at the Granada, and I expect no less than a stellar show.

If you haven't heard either band, I highly suggest you check them out, as soon as possible.

Yeasayer are a Brooklyn-based band that excel in bringing a worldly sound to their music, integrating a mix of live instruments and rhythms, while incorporating synthesizers and experimental electronic beats. If you're a fan of Animal Collective but want a bit more "normalcy" to your music, then this is the band for you.

Fellow Brooklyn-ites Mgmt are opening, and these guys bring the funk-ass dance party with them. What started out as an attempt to annoy and confuse people with their irritating use of sounds and length of songs, ended up back firing. Folks loved it! After hearing their use of pristine pop chords and thick bass beats, it's hard not to shake your ass. Definitely for fans of Of Montreal, Ghostland Observatory.

Mgmt Time to Pretend

Friday, January 18, 2008

Year in Review: The Top 20 Albums of 2007

Another year has come and gone, and with it, some extraordinary music. From new bands with killer debuts to old favorites with a fresh sound, it has truly been one to remember. As so, I felt it only right to highlight some of the best of the best. May I present to you the most highly regarded, widely spoken of, quintessential collection around.

20. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Can't really do a best of compilation of the year without putting this soulful singer/trainwreck on the list somewhere. Highlights: You Know I'm No Good, Back to Black, Tears Dry On Their Own

19. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
As if Float On wasn't catchy enough, they decide to write a song like Dashboard, and get every one to tap their feet in unison to the beat. Highlights: Dashboard, Parting of the Sensory, Little Motel

18. Feist – The Reminder
1...2...3...4...I've never loved a Canuck before. Wait a sec. Nix that... Highlights: I Feel It All, My Moon My Man, One Two Three Four

17. Battles – Mirrored
Don't know what they're saying, and don't really care. Give me more of that slap happy beat! Highlights: Atlas, Tonto, Leyendecker

16. Thrice – The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II: Fire and Water
Who knew a genre like post-hardcore could actually be progressive and artistically beautiful at the same? Way to go change eveyone's view of rock. Highlights: Firebreather, Digital Sea, The Whaler

15. The White Stripes – Icky Thump
Jack and Meg did it again, this time taking it up a notch with enough horns, bagpipes, falsettos and rhythms to make them a full-flavored, unstoppable duo. Highlights: Icky Thump, Conquest, A Martyr For My Love For You

14. Dax Riggs – We Sing of Only Blood or Love
The former lead singer of Deadboy & the Elephantmen breaks out on his own, and brings the entire raw, dirty South blues with him each time he opens his mouth. Highlights: Demon Tied to a Chair In My Brain, Radiation Blues, Dethbryte

13. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
One listen, and you're just as hooked as the first time Natalie Portman put those headphones on your head and changed your life. I'm not the only one, right? Highlights: Australia, Phantom Limb, Sea Legs

12. The Black Lips – Good Bad Not Evil
It's about time a band brought back the surfer, garage punk rock of the 60's back into the world. Side note: Do not miss these guys live. Ever. Highlights: O Katrina!, Navajo, Bad Kids

11. The National – Boxer
Probably the best single band out there that no one is listening to. The craftsmanship of their songs is undeniably top-notch. Highlights: Fake Empire, Start a War, Racing Like a Pro

10. Kanye West – Graduation
This man may talk a lot of smack, but damnit if he doesn't back it up with one of the most kick ass hip-hop albums out there. Take that, Fiddy. Highlights: Stronger, Flashing Lights, Homecoming

9. Okkervil River – The Stage Names
This Austin band just keeps getting better and better with each album. Indie rock at it's finest. Highlights: Unless It Kicks, Plus Ones, You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man

8. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
BOH brings with them a sound that only a roadtrip through the Carolinas could possibly approach. Highlights: Is There A Ghost, No One's Gonna Love You, Marry Song

7. Rocky Votolato – The Brag & Cuss
Awesome singer/songwriter weaves stories with the best of them. This man's soulful, powerful sound just screams "Set me up a shot of whiskey and leave me be." Highlights: Postcard From Kentucky, The Wrong Side of Reno, Whiskey Straight

6. The Clientele – God Save the Clientele
Holy crap, did I just travel back in time to the sounds of early 60's era pop? Beautiful harmonies make this an awesome listen. Highlights: I Hope I Know You, Winter On Victoria Street, Somebody Changed

5. St. Vincent – Marry Me
Her album's title says it all for me. She can serenade me to sleep each and every night. Highlights: Jesus Saves, I Spend, Your Lips Are Red, Paris Is Burning

4. Beirut – The Flying Club Cup
Who knew a 21 year-old could craft one of the most original, beautiful, old-world inspired albums this year out of his home? Highlights: Nantes, Cliquot, Forks and Knives

3. Iron & Wine – The Shephard's Dog
When it comes to fluent music and pristine storytelling, Sam Beam is the man. He's completely outdone himself on this one, experimenting with different rhythms and sounds. Highlights: Lovesong of the Buzzard, Resurrection Fern, Boy With a Coin

2. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Giant harmonies and haunting vocals abound in this one. If you can listen to My Body is a Cage without feeling something, then you don't have a soul. Highlights: Keep the Car Running, Intervention, My Body Is a Cage

1. Radiohead – In Rainbows
The masters of influential, groundbreaking rock are back, with an album that not only showcases their artistic brllliance, but also gave a royal "up-yours" to the recording industry by initially releasing the album strictly online for download. Mr. Yorke and crew, we salute you. Highlights: Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Reckoner, House of Cards

And there you have it. I probably could have thrown in about 20 more, considering the breadth of awesome tunes this year. If you haven't heard of some of these bands, I highly suggest checking them out and giving them a spin. Looking forward to what the new year has in store for us.

Happy listening.