A quick little self/friend-promotion....

so, as a little side project taking what i'm learning from my job and as a favor to a good friend (the best one), i have been putting some effort into building a website, a blog.

it is definitely worth the read, he is quite a talented writer....so go check it out and take a look at my handiwork.

The site is Chispa Stories and the blog will document my friend as he travels throughout Central America looking for delicious and, at times, scary food.

seriously, go.... now.



What a Reunion Show, I need to Stop Missing These Things...

Some of you may or may not know that Rage Against the Machine reunited at Coachella this year. All reports say that it was politically charged and absolutely amazing. The guys at Stereogum had this to say:

"Killing In The Name" was particularly insane; you haven't lived until you've yelled "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me," pumping fists with 60,000 sunburned kids in the desert.

And with a set list like this, who is to say any different:

01 "Testify"

02 "Bulls On Parade"

03 "People Of The Sun"

04 "Bombtrack"

05 "Bullet In The Head"

06 "Down Rodeo"

07 "Guerrilla Radio"

08 "Renegades Of Funk"

09 "Calm Like A Bomb"

10 "Sleep Now In The Fire"

11 "Wake Up"

12 "Freedom"

13 "Killing In The Name"

By the end of that you had to have experienced some sort of cathartic musical revelation, or just ended up really, really angry....at everything.

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Texas Is The Reason live in Buffalo: 4.20.96

brandon at Lake Erie Monster has decided to start posting videos of concerts that he taped in Buffalo between the years 1995 - 1999...and i wholeheartedly support his decision because the first is a monster.

not having the time or money to get to NYC for the reunion show this past november, i will still absolutely settle for a 31 minute recording of a concert a decade ago approximately thousand miles from where i was living at the time.



on redirects and media conglomerates...

so, during the normal meandering through the interweb that makes up my daily routine, i came across the bodog myspace page. "huh", i thought to myself and loudly across the office, "this is a great looking myspace page...i wonder if they manipulated the page themselves and what does the coding look like to do that." i was looking for some ideas and this type of layout would work really well for a client. i pulled up the page source and saw that all of their images and video were being hosted on 'http://creative.myspace.com'. ok, interesting, so it looks like they probably paid a pretty penny to get myspace to design and/or host their layout for them, which explains why the page, in some fundamental ways, can't just be a modified profile like the one's available to us peons.

well, i decided that i would take a look at that root 'creative' site and see if this is a service that is offered publicly and might be democratically available, like most other myspace services have been in the past, or just offered to those with the big bucks. what happened next was rather amusing, though probably just to me. i typed in 'creative.myspace.com' and after a couple of flickers, really milliseconds, i was redirected to this page: http://streaming.myfoxatlanta.com/.

"what?!?, how did i get to my local fox affiliate's streaming media site," you may ask. well, as if to hammer home the point that myspace is home to the "big boys" now, my ip address was tracked and i was sent to my closest fox media website. "why?" fox, myspace, and a litany of other media outlets are now all part of the same media empire belonging to one Rupert Murdoch. i know this is not particularly earth-shattering, but it definitely shows that the media world is getting smaller. myspace and fox on the same level, who would've thunk. plus, i now definitely have my work cut out for me to keep up.

songs that played:
the used - buried myself alive
dirty on purpose - mafia lights
dntel - last songs
luxury - the needs of the many, the needs of the few




you can't buy this kind of advertising...

and he is absolutely correct about the waitress thing...



Explosions in the Sky - Lenny's Bar - 3.13.07

the picture is awful, i haven't really even begun to explore the pic taking capabilities of my blackjack.
anyway, nothing quite prepared me for the sheer amount of noise that was generated by EITS on stage that night.
before i get any further though, let me say that i thoroughly enjoyed the opening band the paper chase, very mathy and melodious at the same time.
anyway, i don't say "noise" in a bad way because, although at times overwhelming, it served as a perfect counterpoint to the quiet, introspective moments. i will say that i got to know the face of the bassist/guitarist very well as he was the only person visible on stage to me while the two other guitarists fiddled with effects peddles and what-not. the show was absolutely transcendent, just standing there and letting waves of sound wash over me was a great way to spend a tuesday night. i had read in several places that the albums that EITS have put out haven't been able to capture the intensity and rapture of their live performances and that is exactly correct. the wife and i fall asleep to the fiday night light's soundtrack almost every night (admittedly the most mellow album), but sleep was the farthest thing from our minds as we watched them sway. the haunting and beautiful melodies that i have mentioned before were brought to life a thousand fold during the hour long set. the phrase that i came up with the describe the show was "indecipherably separate" in that you knew that there were different songs but knowing where one stopped and another began was a difficult task. so, i just closed my eyes and found myself transported. while i usually prefer more interactive shows, this was definitely just a passive indulgence of brilliant orchestrations.

along those lines, i do feel that this is a form of what could be described as some sort of "new classical" music. bands like mogwai, godspeed! you black emperor, EITS, and mono piece together movements no differently than the masters did, symphonies and requiems that last anywhere from three minutes to 30 minutes.

my e-music has renewed and i made some interesting choices, so once i get it loaded and playing i'll let you know how i liked my choices. although, as i mentioned before, one of them is the new EITS and i'm sure we all know how that will go.


songs that played:
jeremy enigk - been here before
metric - too little too late
jimmy eat world - goodbye sky harbor
bright eyes - gold mine gutted



cleaning house and making it nicer...

as you might could tell, i'm in the process of updating the blog to something a little more fanciful.

short story is that i was running out of sidebar space to put stuff in, so i added one over there to the left so i could put more stuff up there.

also, if you look at the last couple of posts, you can see that i have made the posts "expandable", so check for a "read more" button to get more ramblings.

be back soon...



does anyone believe this...?

Ever wondered where the ubiquitous "devil horn" hand gesture came from? Here is a video of Gene Simmons taking credit for the whole thing.



An urge to explode..

in what i'm sure was brought on by my mention of explosions in the sky in my last post and the appearance of it in a google blog search, i received an email from a publicist asking me if i had seen an interview with explosions on MTV URGE.

this works for me on many levels:
1) this guy was on top of his game and hitting up blogs that are talking about, not just the product he is repping (turns out he was a rep for URGE), but the bands that they are featuring. this is a great way to generate interest for URGE, especially focusing on a sub-national band with a loyal following, like explosions in the sky.
2) the email was addressed to me, my real name, and was not trying to be overly hip or buddy-buddy, just very simply, "thought you might be interested in this".
3) it came from an actual person, not a generic mailbox.
4) i responded to the e-mail and received a response within 15 minutes, which is very important in this give and take "social media" world.

here is what i didn't like (and has nothing to do with the publicist):
*click for larger image*

the program required to watch this interview does not run on a mac. why? i'm just speculating, but my best guess is that Viacom, who owns MTV, is in bed with microsoft on some level. and since it looks like URGE is also a music store, they don't want it to be cross-platform and head to head against the itunes dominated mac world. which also means that anything that is purchased from URGE will not play on an ipod, only on "plays for sure" devices, which are advertised on the site, thanks to the ongoing DRM wars. of course, in the FAQ they try to point the finger at Apple for using a different DRM product, AAC, but really both sides are playing against the middle. and bill gates has not come out and said the he would ditch DRM tomorrow if the labels would allow him, steve jobs has done this. at least point the finger at the right entities, the record labels, not at the competition in a feeble attempt to cast them in a bad light.

on that note, emusic just became the second most popular music download site behind itunes and they have mp3, DRM-free, files for download. but sure RIAA, unrestricted files hurt sales. who are you kidding anyway?

anyway, in another great move by the publicist, he sent me the transcript of the interview after hearing of my platform issues....very cool. so expand the post to read it:

URGE: In terms of the writing and recording process, how do these songs come together? On one hand, they're incredibly precise, but there's also a very organic, loose feel.

Chris Hrasky: We don't have a very good process of "Here's how we do it." It's a lot of trial and error. This album took quite a while to do. We spent six months working on it and wound up throwing it all away. It can be fairly arduous. There are certain patterns where we do one thing that leads to another, but typically, it's fly by the seat of our pants.

Matt Smith: The first two albums were fairly easy to write. I mean that was six or seven years ago, but I don't remember anything traumatic happening. It was still a part-time thing. We all had day jobs, and there weren't really any expectations about where things could go. The album before this one was pretty difficult just because we weren't coming up with material, but for All of a Sudden ..., the problem was the awareness that people were waiting for it. We're already pretty self-critical and adding expectations to the mix almost makes you not want to do it! [laughs] But we got over it. We're big boys, and after a while, you just want to make an album you're happy with.

URGE: So then, if writing can be squeezing blood from a stone, what's the recording process like?

Hrasky: We mostly record live, and that has its own set of problems. You'll be playing an 11-minute song and you get to the eighth minute, and you start thinking, "F**k, don't mess this up." And we screw up a lot. I mean, some of these songs are hard to play! There are flubs everywhere on albums. We just try and use the more charming mistakes, but we're dedicated to recording live. We might overdub tambourines or something, but we really try to keep it as us in the room, and that can be kind of scary.

URGE: Is there any kind of razzing that goes on if the same guy keeps screwing up a take?

Hrasky: Hah -- not really. We're getting better at it. You get in a sour mood after the sixth take. Then you gotta get a pizza or something. You can't get mad. We all screw up. There were points on this album where I simply could not play the drum parts. You get to a point where you're on whatever take and you just know you're gonna screw it up.

Smith: We really like the mixing process. The recording process is kinda nerve-racking to be honest.

URGE: You've talked about how the expectations are tangible now. Ever since Friday Night Lights, people probably associate certain songs with a paraplegic football player. Have you had to let go of some of your personal relationships with these songs? In a larger sense, do these songs have meaning to you guys? Are they about something?

Smith: In terms of people equating things to Friday Night Lights... that's always been a tough decision for us. We don't want, in five years, for people to say, "Oh, that's the Friday Night Lightsband." That's not why we wrote those songs. So it's pretty tricky. It isn't easy for us to just say, "Go ahead, use the song."

Hrasky: We have a song in a car commercial. I'm completely embarrassed by it. The only reason we did it was financial security. It was a time when it was kind of necessary to get some help, but that was really hard. My parents will call and say, "We saw the commercial again!" They're parents, they get excited, but I don't even want to see the thing. We just sold it. There's nothing beyond that. We did it for money and it sucks. At the same time this is our job now. You do start thinking about if you get married or have kids, then the band has to support that. So, we're only just coming to terms with the idea that this is what we do.

URGE: It must be hard to think of your art as a bargaining chip.

Smith: When we write it, we're not thinking about the commercial value of our music. I'd rather have this be my job than any of the jobs I've had before, but it's a tension. None of us are completely comfortable with it, but ultimately it's our decision.

URGE: But with the TV show, there definitely seems to be a pretty complimentary relationship between the music and the narrative it's scoring.

Hrasky: I make a huge distinction between the commercial and the show. I haven't actually seen all the episodes of the show, but it's been pretty acclaimed critically. I don't have the same guilt with the show; I just don't want to always be associated with it. And up until now, that hasn't happened. We haven't had that at all, and it has introduced our stuff to tons of people who wouldn't have [previously] listened.

Smith: A lot of times it is weird though. You'll see a scene and Lyla [a character on the show] is crying her eyes out, and you think, "Well ... that's one way of thinking about it!"

URGE: Is there much of a working relationship with [the show's creator and film's director] Peter Berg?

Smith: For the film, we went out to California and talked with him, saw some dailys, and tried to figure out which songs fit which scenes. And that's how "Your Hand in Mine" became the film's main theme. Mostly, we work with the music supervisor. They ask to use three songs for scenes, and we'll tell them you can use these two, so on and so forth.

URGE: Has soundtrack work always been a collective goal for the band?

Hrasky: Definitely. We had worked on some short films made by friends and then all of a sudden we're at Universal Studios, and I'm thinking, "What the f**k!?" And that's a credit to Peter Berg because he was able to convince the studio to use some obscure instrumental band from Texas in his football movie.

URGE: You're heading out on tour, and I noticed there are few alternative venues, not just rock clubs, listed as destinations. You guys certainly don't seem to do the Sigur Ros thing where you only play, like, cathedrals filled with ice sculptures.

Hrasky: [laughs] Right. We're not playing the New York Public Library. We're a band. We totally love playing different places, but for the most part, we play wherever people want us. We'd like to play more offbeat places. I heard Arcade Fire is playing five nights in a church in New York ... we don't have that kind of clout yet! But I like it when bands do that kind of stuff. I saw Low once play at the Johns Hopkins Library in Baltimore, and that was incredible.

URGE: The band has a really cohesive, singular sound, but what are your individual tastes as listeners like?

Hrasky: Well, the record we all love is Sunset Rubdown. It's the solo record from the guy from Wolf Parade. That was my favorite album from [2006].

URGE: Do you listen to much music that sounds like Explosions in the Sky?

Hrasky: I like Mogwai. I don't listen to them that much anymore, but they're a huge reason why we exist. It's funny though, none of us are really that into Mogwai or Godspeed You Black Emperor. None of us listen to that much instrumental stuff -- weird composers here and there, but not a lot of stuff that you'd think as influences and our sound.

URGE: What's the most unlikely stuff you listen to, given the sound of the band?

Smith: I've been listening to a lot of Clipse recently. That's the best record I've heard in a long time. I listen to a lot of hip-hop, but that's really a cut above.

URGE: I feel a collaboration in the works.

Smith: Tell their people to call our people.


i have the regularity of a menstrual cycle...

that is to say that i noticed i've been posting about once a month and since i'm not the female reproductive system, that just doesn't work for me. so, yet another half-hearted commitment to update more often.

life is going well, there is marathon training, working, and then more working and then the running. that's pretty much it, but that's ok. work is kinda like play at the moment, trolling the intertubes for information, ideas, and traffic. the wife and i also get plenty of quality time together while running for hours at a time.

my latest dilemma goes as such: the new explosions in the sky album is officially out...but i don't own it yet. why? you may ask. well, my emusic subscription does not renew until the 11th of each month. this is the only downside to emusic that i have found so far, i really want this album but cannot justify purchasing the cd from a store when i can get it from emusic if i just can wait it out 10 more days, which will also be 2 days before they arrive at lenny's in atlanta to blow my mind.

speaking of concerts that i am going to see, i have found a very cool little tool that may pique the interest of a few of you. iConcertCal is a free plug-in for iTunes that will scan your music library and then give you a calendar of when bands whose music you have will be coming to town. which, by the way, rules. there is a feature like this on last.fm that also does recommended concerts based on your musical taste. so, between the two i have put together a fairly decent calendar of concerts for this month. expand the post to see the shows that i will be attending:

13 - explosions in the sky - lenny's
16 - maserati - the earl
22 - aqueduct & youth group - the earl
22 - the appleseed cast - drunken unicorn
30 - the draft (ex-hot water music) - the masquerade

as the more astute of you may have noticed, i have double-booked myself for the 22nd. i really can't decide which show to attend and am really very upset that this decision even has to be made. advice?


songs that played:
bright eyes - lover i don't have to love
the postal service - this place is a prison
the get up kids - impossible outcome
m83 - unrecorded
red animal war - the insanity



musically socializing on the network tubes...

i am a music dork, unapologetically so...it is never ending, and my mother ship has called me home. last.fm is now my favorite social networking site (myspace be damned, for me its like mixing business and pleasure now), head and shoulders above the rest. based solely on music, this network aims to bring people of the same musical taste together and through those connections, help you discover new music. it's absolutely brilliant. there's a lot to it and is probably best discovered on your own, but if you have any questions please ask. as stated previously, i'm a dork and have explored almost every option available to both mac and pc users.

sign up, start scrobbling (yes, there's a whole new language to learn) and be my friend and even if the meter says our "musical compatibility" is something other than "super", i'm sure we can find some common ground.

mac users - check out peel. it is an mp3 blog aggregator that sorts mp3's that are posted on your favorite blogs, organizes them in an itunes-ish window and then lets you stream and download songs from that window. a must have for new music discovery. the program is free while still in beta but will be $15 once the testing is done, so get on the ball and get it now...we all like free stuff.

i like the fall of troy right now, some of you will also like it, i'm gonna go ahead and say that most of you will not....so there it is. here are some songs:

- Rockstar Nailbomb!
- F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.


songs that played:
Taking Back Sunday - Great Romances of the 20th Century
Judah Johnson - Star Struck
The Gloria Record - I Was Born in Omaha
Camber - Wait



new lovedrug stuff...

after a long wait and several minor touring stints, the new and much-anticipated album, everything starts where it ends, will hit stores on march 6. lovedrug managed to wrangle their way out of their contract with columbia records so now this new album will be put out on militia group.

here are a couple of tracks:

doomsday & the echo
happy apple poison

honestly, i haven't been super-impressed with lovedrug in concert but the last album was great. so, if they are a better studio band than a live band then this album should be a keeper, too.