Friday, September 29, 2006

Why I still miss Bill Clinton, part 29,465.

From his extensive profile in The New Yorker from a few weeks back:

We were somewhere above the Sahara, but Clinton's mind was fixed on the condition of the Democratic Party in the Age of Bush and on the way the White House, even as Iraq verged on civil war, remained on the rhetorical and ideological offensive.

"I am sick of Karl Rove's bullshit," Clinton said. And yet there was a trace of admiration in the remark, a veteran pol's regard for the way his rival had packaged a radical brand of American conservatism as "compassionate conservatism" and kept on pushing it long after its sell-by date had passed.

"Nixon was a Communist compared to this crowd," Clinton said.

__________

Critical pursuits.

Yesterday I reviewed the debut release from The Changes in Chicagoist here. I also peeped Giant Squid's Metridium Fields donewaiting-stylee here. Today I review Veruca Salt's latest as well as expounding on certain literary geniuses that impersonate PCs.

So, dear reader, you benefit from the new laptop in that I get lots of writing done that isn'?t delayed with expletives directed towards a keyboard that drops every third letter.

Also of note, Rob Sheffield's evisceration of The Killer's latest is completely unfair. I almost think he was so cruel in an effort to stir up some controversy and cast his near-forgotten pop-culture referencing self back in the spotlight. The fact of the matter is this: No, the new album has little of the playfulness that made Hot Fuss so enjoyable. But neither is it a papyrus parchment lid at the foot of the Temple of Broooce. It is a darker album, but the synths are still there, the melodramatic crescendos are still there, and Brandon Flowers' reedy warble is still there. The songs ARE a bit over the top, but haven't The Killers always been about overkill? In this instance they just traded in their Duran Duran for something a little less art school and a little more bruised and boozed. And that's okay.

Oh, and hey, whaddya know, it's a Friday so that means a) you must be dying to know what I'm doing this weekend and b) you want some new music to download and appreciate. I can give you that, no problemo!

Tonight I'll be running to and fro trying to take in Astronautilus at Schuba's and then hustling over to Double Door in time for Veruca Salt's homecoming set. (Though can we really call it homecoming when Louise hasn't lived here in close to ten years? Whatever, I'm still looking forward to it.) Tomorrow NYC popsters The Mugs are at Hideout and then Priestess is rocking the Abbey, along with Rye Coalition. Ringo is also in town for a friend's wedding so I'm sure I will be hitting the town with him tomorrow, so that could change my concert plans at any second. Photogal will be out of town to do some riding around in circles at high speeds of the ol' motormacycle, so if you see me passed out at a bus stop, please brush me off and send me on my way home.

And now, a tune from the must-own album of the week.

The Oohlas "Across The Stars In Blue"


Love The Oohlas. Love the tune. Love the weekend.

Ollie Oohla pic by Ms. Irene Tien.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yeah, so I still can't get online.

This is frustrating. I've got a new laptop, snappy wireless network, and a modem that doesn't seem to want to cooperate. You see I got this LinkMAX HSA300A-2 modem when I signed up with Earthlink oh-so many moons ago. When Photogal and I moved, we went with SBC Yahoo and my Earthlink configured modem worked just fine. Well, now I've got it hooked up to a D-Link WBR-1310 wireless router, and the router configured just fine, but the SBCYahoo software can't find the modem, even when I'm connected to my wireless network.

Argh!

So, do any tech-savvy people have any ideas for me? And don't say, "Just hop on your neighbor's unprotected signal." because I tried that last night in hopes of getting some online tech support, but my computer couldn't even connect to the Internet through that.

Sorry to bore you with this, but it's driving me nuts!

P.S. If anyone has been trying to contact me via MySpace, I'm not ignoring you, I just haven't been able to log in this week. They blocked access to it at work and, obviously, I haven't been able to get online at home, so, there you have it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wherein idiocy rules ... followed by a trip down memory lane

Let's just say that due to the fact that I am impatient I can no longer get online from home. So I have to type these things up in the AM, throw them on a USB Flash stick, and upload them onto the Information Superhighway before I start work. Fun, huh?

The one plus is, since I upgraded my old, poor, decrepit Compaq to WindowsXP, it happily syncs up with said USB stick, as well as, finally, allowing me to load iTunes (an old version I had stashed away, of course) onto my desktop. I don't know how long I'll have to limp along this way, so bear with me.

This site has been around for over four years, but it actually had it's start in a weekly email "newsletter" I would send out every couple of days starting in 1996. Actually, the first entry on this site is one of those emails, since originally this was supposed to merely be an archive for all those old emails. Obviously, that plan changed. However, while cleaning up the ol' hard drive to eke out enough space for the new operating system, I came across a few of the later period of Tankboy emails. Most are still in Outlook or (in the case of the more ancient ones) trapped in my little brother's ancient Mac. I really must get all of them together and organize them someday.

What follows is not a great example of the sort of stuff I used to send out, but I think that it does certainly contain some pretty good indications of the tone I was to later adopt once I started this site up. Fun facts to keep in mind: the ex I mention in fact Photogal and even though I loved Deep Elm, I still hated Emo. Also, the picture above right is not totally chronologically matched up with the below email, but it's close enough. Truth be told, i still look almost exactly the way I did even way back in 1991.

Anyway, let's open up the cupboard and take a look at my awkward past, as we dust off the TANKBOY EMAIL OF THE WEEK for June 24, 1998...

Selections from Tankboy's
ANTI-COMEDY stand-up routine
performed at The Note in Chicago
last Tuesday morning
(right around 2:30 AM)

...so I'm new to this stand-up thing. I mean, I'm used to being onstage since I used to be in a rock and roll band. This was around the time I was living in a college town, having dropped out of school for a while. I was also working at a coffeehouse as a cook and at the local freak bar as the bartender/DJ/cook. It was at this point that I realized I had become a living Gen X cliché ... so I killed myself. Nothing serious really, just a cry for help ... everyone ignored me.

...so I used to have long hair. This was so I could infiltrate that diabolic cult known as "Hippie." I fucking hate hippies with a fucking passion. I used to hand out devil sticks composed of dynamite at Dead shows to blow hippies up. I threw nitroglycerin packed hackeysacks around college quads on bright spring days to blow the bastards up. I'm the man who delivered Jerry Garcia his very last speedball. Wish I'd blown him up instead ... would've been showier. So I was the Anti-hippie. I was once the Anti-Christ, but I got fired for being drunk on the job. Now I do Anti-comedy. I'm such the contrarian.

There was more, including a silent friend with a bullhorn, audience heckling (one of my responses was "Hey pal, you're just sore 'cause I wouldn't fuck you before the show, so shut up." Okay, it's not genius, but it works on drunks at that hour of the morning) and a song about Bar-stars and the tragic lives we lead. It was fun, so maybe I'll do it again. I like getting free drinks for insulting people.

-----------------

MOVIE - Deconstructing Harry was quite good. I like the jump cut (think of a DJ scratching) editing and the story hit a few personal spots through the old Tankster’s armor.
BOOK - I’m re-reading Dellilo's White Noise and it's just as good as it was when I read it way back in my Freshman year of college (1990 for those of you keeping score at home)
WOMEN - continue to confound and confuse me. Yay!
ALBUM - the entire Live at Budokon two-disc Cheap Trick extravaganza is melted into me CD player right now though props (did I just use "props?" Kill me now.) to the Deep Elm Records Songs for the Working Class sampler. Only $5 at finer music stores. Deep Elm is by far my favorite label of the moment so go check out the sampler and then buy stuff by the bands. Contact 'em at Popvinyl@aol.com and tell them that Tankboy sent ya.
DANCE - the only time I get out to shake my groove thing anymore (now that I tend bar at a sushi restaurant)is at the Empty bottle’s 52 Flavors night each and every Sunday. I roll in around 12, which only gives me two hours, but it's so worth it.
ROOMATE - mine is named Leslie and she’s cooler than you.
VISITOR - my ex's sister is stationed in Moldova and this guy she knows, Costia, came over to visit, so Di and I entertained him. Costia was a blast and now I can toast in Russian. Whoo hoo!
MIXTAPES - to the folks who haven't received them...I didn't forget about you, I've got 'em all dubbed and ready to go, once I figure out where I put them. Greatest apologies and I grovel at your tootsies.

Now go to sleep and remember nothing of what I've told you...Tank

And there you have it. I got the new laptop last night but now I have to figure out this whole WiFi thing, and how to configure a modem that I don't have the software for anymore, and all kinds of fun stuff I have no experience with. Pray for a speedy resolution to my Internet access problem or there are sure to be more of these blasts from the past in your near future!
__________

Get MaM back in the van!

Also, tonight at The Pontiac, help "Get MaM Back in the Van!"

Milk At Midnight
Skid Marks
Farewell Captain
DJ Marble
DJ Tankboy

9pm until 2am
$5 - $10 suggested donation


This explanation for the evening's cause is straight from the yapper of Milk At Midnight's Danny Doom:

This was a strange summer in Milk At Midnight's world. Things didn't really go as planned, but then, they never seem to anyway. After getting out-text-messaged in the Lollapalooza Debacle, we got back in the van and moved on, but only for a couple of days. In late July our van was vandalized on a quiet Logan Square street, windows smashed and tires slashed, and some nifty spray-painted symbols on the side too! We thought our gang-banging days were long over...

Weirdly, they were not finished. A week or so later the vandals returned (we can only assume they were the same gentlemen) and set the van on fire. Yes, they set it on fire. The MaM Van was reduced to a smoldering blackened hunk of shit. Needless to say, we wouldn't be using it to get to shows anymore. Luckily, our equipment was safely stored at the practice space, so we recognize that this could have been a lot worse.

Anyway, we've decided to throw a little memorial -- no, a party -- well, it's kind of like a party to memorialize the van and -- shit, we need some cash! We'd like to get another van and keep rockin,' but we thought we would have a little fund-raiser to go towards the cause.

I don't usually book many fundraisers, unless puppies and kitties are involved, but I felt the need to help out and get behind this one. Come on out, haave a great time, and help a kick-ass rock and/or roll group get back on the road!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dulling the razor.

One of the primary components of my Halloween costume this year, aside from the long hair, is a beard. To that end, I should have started growing one in already since I'm not exactly sure how quickly a full beard will come in ... especially since I've never grown one before.

I've had facial hair in some form or another since the days of Grunge. Yes, I was one of those Matt Dillon / E. Vedder types fronting a band with long hair waving around and a soul patch / sideburns / goatee framing my features in some permutation. Back then I don’t think I had the capability to nurture a full beard, so I never tried. Now I can, but I’m not so sure I want to. One, I know it's going to be all scratchy as it comes in, and I can think of much better ways to spend my workday other than itching my chin. Also, I fear falling into the danger of folks identifying me as an "ironic beard wearer" since I find such types relatively insufferable and really don’t want to risk being lumped in with their ilk. At the same time, I'm a little afraid of being mistaken for a mountain man or underground metal fan. But, above all the fears of stereotypical misidentification, I really just don't want the hassle.

I guess I'm locked in though, so I'm going to have to stop shaving soon. We've seen how strong my resolve is though, as evidenced by that while "I'm quitting smoking on my birthday" thing last year, so don't be too surprised if you see me raiding the costume shops for fake hair and spirit gum a few days before Halloween. Which reminds me, can anyone out there craft a fairly convincing beard?

You know, just in case.

__________

We've been threatening to pair up, and now we've gone and done it.

Yes, DJ South of North and I have been talking about teaming up for, literally, years now. Well, tomorrow at The Pontiac our talk becomes action and pandemonium is sure to ensue. Who would want to miss that? Not you, I'm sure.


__________

Geeky McGeeksterpants.


I finally finished all of season two of Battlestar Galactica. I knew I was in the midst of a potential problem area when last Thursday Photogal was leaving Liar's Club and asked if I wanted a ride home or if I wanted to stay out later and just take a cab.

I said, "I think I'll go home ... I want to watch a couple more episodes of Battlestar Galactica."

I'm still not sure if she was thrilled I was calling it a night, or terrified because it was due to a desire to watch a couple oversized starships make like the Israelites in the Old Testament. Anyway, I'm all caught up, and ready for the season premiere (which will, by the way, mark the first time I follow a season week by week rather than in a few days via DVD mainline) and all I can say is this: Can't these poor lost kids ever catch a break? Right when things seem to be looking up, they take a downturn. And right when you think they're as low as they can get ... things get SO MUCH WORSE!

Okay, end geekster transmission. My inner rocker is about to pound my inner D&Der into so much ectoplasmic jelly.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This is the last time I will solicit computer advice from you dear reader ... at least for (hopefully) the next few years.

I have put it off far too long, but my poor Compaq 5360 needs to be laid to rest. The final straw came this weekend when I realized it wasn't even compatible with a simple 2GB USB Flash drive. It has served me long and well, and to be honest I am amazed it has kept chugging along for this long, but it's time for me to join the post-Windows98 crowd when it comes to computing from my home.

So I have decided my next computer will be a laptop that will also serve all the needs met by my old desktop. Memory-wise this is no mean feat since the upper-end iPod Nano now has as much memory as my trusty old desktop. But, I want to make sure that what I get will stay serviceable for the next few years as well, so I've kept my eye on minimum specs of at least 1GB (preferably 2GB) memory and a pretty fast processor that won't drain my battery when I go mobile. And mobility ... it needs to be WiFi ready.

I really want a MacBook, but right now I honestly just can't afford one that will perform the way I want it to. So I've been searching around and have found a few that have caught me eye. One is the HP dv8301nr, but I'm skittish about HP ... and I'm not sure it's quite the powerhouse I'm looking for. The one I'm most leaning towards is the Sony VAIO® VGN-FE770G.

So what I need from you is this: Are either of the two above good, solid choices? Is Sony a dependable brand when it comes to laptops? Am I spending my money wisely? YOU can make a difference by casting your vote, erm, I mean, voicing your opinion.

Anyway, please give me whatever feedback you can muster ASAP since I plan on making the big purchase in the next day or two. As a sub-topic, if you are so inclined, what can I expect to have to buy in order to outfit my little abode for WiFi use? Is it a simple transition or am I going to have to bribe my little brother's super-computer savvy friend with free beer in order to get me hooked up?

Let me know!

As a thank your for helping me out, please accept this track of the forthcoming Beck album as a token of my appreciation. The bridge in this tune is glorious and I only wish it was longer.

Beck "Think I'm In Love"

Friday, September 22, 2006

Go ahead, throw spears at it...

In other news, the new Sloan album is rocking my socks to the max. I pre-ordered it from their Canadian store (partially so I could geek out and get a free autographed photo as well) but since mail can only get through from Canada to here about twice a month (due to the mountain passes and marauding savages) I'm not expecting delivery anytime soon. Luckily, a friend ripped the disc and sent me a bits and bytes copy whilst I wait for my real world disc of aluminum to arrive. At first, I was a bit nonplussed by the number of tunes clocking in under a minute-thirty, but after a few listens I am completely entranced.

Please keep in mind I am already a rabid fan of the band, so I confess that I might not always be able to offer a critique unblemished by bias, but I am loving this album. Even the tunelettes are awesome (think of what GBV could do with 1:30 and you can appreciate the "get in, riff away, get out before they get bored" idea.)

I wouldn't hold this disc out as an example of bait to draw in new converts (Navy Blues or One Chord To Another are those discs) but for anyone who has an appreciation of the band, the new album is a must have. It kind of remind me of a more sonically adventurous (and ultimately more satisfying) version of Between The Bridges. If I have any complaint it’s that a few of the songs do that thing where one song fades into another and I’ve never been a big fan of that. But, hey, if that’s the worst I can say, that ain’t bad, huh?

Here's a taste of one of the more aggressively rockin' tunes to help persuade you to make the jump to Canadian currency so you will purchase the whole album.

Sloan "Ill Placed Trust"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Getcher Man Man on.

Man Man play tonight at Logan Square Auditorium. You would be a fool to miss 'em.
At the risk of being called a slacker...

I've got a lunch-meeting with a few of my bosses today, and I really want to get to the gym before work, so with those two events combined it's easy to see that I'm in a bit of a rush this morning. So please forgive my simple link to the following video, but keep in mind I share this with you because I care about your mental well-being, and am quite sure this will help center your mind / body axis as the healing energies contained within realign your psychic center.

Groove along with me to the magical vocal stylings of Ms. Jan Terri.


I HIGHLY recommend checking out the rest of her work, but if you only have time to watch one more DO NOT MISS "Get Down Goblin."

Kudos are due to Photogal for uncovering these gems and bringing them to my attention.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hairdresser! Hairdresser!

A few months ago these guys came through town with a collection of weird video they found in garbage cans / estate sales / homeless people's back pockets. Much of it was from public access television shows in the New York area. All were cringe inducing, most were funny, and a few were mentally scarring.

This is one of the ones I thought I had mercifully locked away in a tight, dark corner of my subconscious.


Blame it on Idolator for uncovering this copy on the web.
Kicking and screaming.

It's early but I feel like I overslept, and Photogal is bustlin' my hustle to get out the door. Still slightly foggy from DJBV's heady mix and the kids celebrating a comrade's departure to France. Sometimes things like that make me feel like I'm not doing enough. Like I'm thinking of having kids but I'm not always sold I'm done on being a kid myself. Hell, in order to have a midlife crisis, don't you have to grow up first? In that case I think I'm pretty safe from the perils of buying little red Corvettes and spraying on my hair every morning whilst touching up the wings with Grecian® Formula.

Right now II want nothing more than to curl up with a warm little beagle and lose myself in daytime television, but instead I need to pull on some socks and lace up another day at the office.

__________

Oh wait, maybe I'm not completely done...

I'm starting to get sick of the NYC blog / publicist syndrome because, since NYC blogs are based (usually) within most publicist's circle of friends, those publicists actually think EVERYONE reads 'em. Now, I love Stereogum, but 99% of the people I talk to in Chicago have no idea who Stereogum is. And even less have ever heard of Brooklyn Vegan...

What brings this up? Let's just say I receieved one too many emails offering "exclusive" information" on a Chicago-based event that was apparently "exlusive" to the majority of folks in NYC with access to a keyboard.

Please don't misunderstand my beef, though. This is not a generic Chicago vs. NYC thing, since anyone that knows me know I love NYC and it would be my first choice of cities other than Chicago in which to dwell. Nay, this is more a beef about publicists who slack, don't do their homework and have grown up believing that email lists with personalized salutations are the best way to interact with the folks your trying to get to generate your buzz (and, as a result, your paycheck.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Poor Chingy.

This was actually overheard as I was in line at the record store nearby purchasing my Battlestar Galactica 2.5 DVD set and my brand new copy (with bonus tracks!) of hometown hero Lupe Fiasco's Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor¹.

Cashier: (Looking at my purchases.) Lupe, huh?
Me: Yup.
Cashier: (Looking at the guy behind me.) You got Lupe too?
Guy Behind Me: You know it.
Cashier: You got Chingy in there too.
Guy Behind Me: Chingy? No. Shit. He done.
Cashier: Poor Chingy.
Guy Behind Me: Yeah he done!
Cashier: Poor Chingy, I didn't even know he HAD an album coming out today.
Me: Um, yeah. Hey, I don't need a bag for those.

So apparently Chingy is done and Lupe is king. Maybe there's hope for this mainstream hip-hop thing after all!

Also, if you were planning on seeing Lupe perform at Metro tonight, that probably ain't going to happen. He'll be there, but he proabably won't actually hit the stage.

¹For those of you not in the know, this album has been pushed back so many times I'm surprised it actually came out. WHY it got pushed back is a total mystery, because even the most casual listen to the early leaks pointed towards an album destined to be a critical and commercial hit.
Is it really peanut butter jelly time? Already?

Nope, that time stamp ain't lyin'. Blame it on an early AM trip to the bathroom that was interrupted by a wickedly stubbed toe. You can credit said toe's incessant throbbing with my early start on this particular day.

As always, I know, fascinating.

SooooOOoooo ... it is a Tueday, so that must mean I'm DJing at The Pontiac tonight, right? Right! And since its Tuesday and I am DJing, I must have a guest DJ joining me tonight, right? Right! And since it's Tuesday ... yadda yadda yadda ...¹ my DJ must be a charming rock and/or roller who is, nonetheless, a tad inexperienced at the whole actual practice of the DJ-thing, right? Ri - WRONG! Well, half right.

Today's guest is a fellow writer whose work I have admired for quite a while. His well-rounded taste and Saharan wit has provided me with plenty an entertaining read. So we already know that he knows his music. However this cat also DJs at The Bad Dog Tavern almost every Friday, so we also know he's got experience at working the crowd!

Or, at least, the nineteen people that make up our -- combined -- fan club.²

Anyway, who is this mystery man? This tower from the Northside? The man who, during his tribal rite into manhood, had a beer stein permanently attached to his right hand? It is none other than the mythical (to those of us South of Belmont) DJBV! We know you've fallen in love with his musical acumen through his Theft Liable To Prosecution site, but now here is your chance to see the man in action.

This is sure to be a match-up of epic proportions, couched within epic consumption of various fermented beverages.

Be there.

__________

More marketing yadda yadda.

The Pontiac now has it's own lovely little place on MySpace. Feel free to add it as a friend, if you are so inclined.

__________

Some genuine musically related content.


I don't really want to blow my whole review here, since I'm writing something more substantial for Chicagoist, but I can't bottle up what a pleasant surprise I have found the new Veruca Salt album to be. I can honestly say that I never thought I would be writing that last sentence, but Louise seems to have really pulled herself together and written a pretty fantastic collection of new songs. Sure there is a clunker or two, but the batting average on this disc is better than just about every previous Veruca Salt album. Sure, I'll always be nostalgic for American Thighs, but if one is to be honest, the new disc actually has a stronger collection (and by that, I mean "as a whole") of songs. Anyway, like I said, I've expanded on these views and that should go live either later today or early tomorrow.

In other music news, Photogal pulled out her little "hope chest" of ticket stubs from days gone by and she actually made me a little jealous of her 1985 / 1986 concert run. In just a few months she say prime-period Depeche Mode, Replacements, Naked Raygun, Tears For Fears, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain ... and I've blocked out all the rest because it just makes me too upset! I mean, it's cool she was at all those shows, but where was I? Oh yeah, stuck out on the East Coast amidst a bunch of kids wearing Docksiders with no socks while preparing to suck from the teat of the trust funds their daddies set up for them.

We also had fun seeing how many shows we were both at a couple years later, and did that whole, "Wow, who knows? Maybe we walked right past each other way back then and never even knew it!" thing.

Because, you know, we probably did. Too bad we didn't have craigslist³ back then, huh?

TODAY'S NOTES:
¹That one was for both of you, Sarah and Debbie.
²Yes, I lifted that gag directly from DJBV's repertoire.
³Actually, remember when The Reader's personals section was the closest thing to the Craigslist Missed Connections Chicago had? And you had to mail in your entries to see them published, lickety-split, in three to four weeks? Remember those days? Yeah, I know, barely, but you do still remember, right?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Who knew they were so funny?

So I picked up the new documentary about The Police, Everyone Stares a) because I love The Police and b) the DVD was eight bucks at Best Buy. Ridiculous!

Anyway, the movie is shot almost entirely by drummer Stewart Copeland an a 16mm camera he bought near the beginning of the group's career. So you effectively get to watch the band's rise to stardom literally from inside the bubble. While it is notable for being quite possibly the only rock doc to do so, it is even more precious because it displays something about The Police heretofore unexamined.

They all had a wicked sense of humor.

Now, any fan of the band has the usual image burned into their head of headstrong Copeland warring with even more stubborn Sting and guitarist Andy Summers just turning his nose up at the whole situation. This is the myth. This is the image best summed up by the expletives written on Copeland's drums that were supposedly aimed at Sting.

Creative tensions certainly did exist, and Copeland doesn't shy away from them in the film. However, what seems to have gotten lost as the legend set was that the boys in the band played together because they, at the core, loved each other and had a really good time making music together! These are the moments uncovered in this movie. Andy Stewart is revealed to have a with rivaling Eric Idle's, "self-important" Sting is rather adept at clowning around and taking the piss out of himself, and Copeland reveals that while he always looked serious, it was primarily because he thought looked goofy when he smiled.

This is certainly a movie no fan should go without, but I think it actually has a lot to recommend it to the casual viewer as well. Period footage of The English Beat, the B52s, and the tour bus The Police shared with XTC (worth it to watch legendary tour manager Kim Fields' easily deciphered card trick performed with a sleepy looking Andy Partridge and few feet away.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed it.

__________

Unsuccessfully trying to change my mind.

So the piece I co-wrote about Catfish Haven has generated some healthy discussion and I like that. I felt, though, that maybe I was missing something so I went to catch the band perform their CD release show Saturday night. I was hoping they might turn me to their side and blow me away, but it was not to be. I stand by my original critical evaluation.

I did run into a fellow blogger at the show and it was certainly nice to meet Jessica after reading her site for the past few years, so I the evening wasn't a total wash. I also woke up the next morning to an email from Tony Pierce telling me he was in town and inviting me to a meet-up, but, alas, I had other plans. next time give me more than six hours notice and I'll be there Mr. Pierce!

__________

And finally, a warning.

Were you thinking of seeing Brian DePalma's attempt at film noir, The Black Dahlia? Don't. I used to say that G.I. Jane was the worst movie a had ever willingly seen. Well, now The Black Dahlia has knocked it off the list to take over the top spot. The only thing even vaguely recommendable about the movie is a hilarious four-minute dinner scene. Oh, and the usual DePalma inclusion of some over the top gore and as much naked lady / lesbian action as possible.

People, my party included, were literally laughing as we left the theater. I felt bad for the studio people there handing out surveys, but I did notice none of the questions on the survey had to do with the movie. All they cared about was what had gotten you to actually purchase tickets in the first place. In our instance it was a losing game of rock, paper, scissors between Photogal who wanted to see The Illusionist) and another person in our party (who, obvs, wanted to see The Black Dahlia.)

Something tells me next time we'll get our way without any argument.

__________

Ending on a high note.

I'll be doing a few review of their album in a few weeks, and hopefully I can twist someone at Chicagoist's arm to preview the band as well, but the new Spanish For 100 album is knocking me the fuck out.

I've been following them since their inception -- due in no small part to the presence of my good friend Aaron in the lead guitar position -- and while I've always enjoyed their discs, I never thought they accurately captured the group's live energy. Well, their new album, Say What You Want To Say To Me, does a pretty damn fine job of starting to harness that energy more effectively in the studio.

They'll be coming through town in a few weeks and performing at Subterranean with some local favorites (more about that as the date (um, October 7) draws closer) but I reckon it can't hurt to give you a taste of the new disc. So here is the opening track from the new album. Prepare to have your eyebrows seared off.

Spanish For 100 "Attack!"

Awesome, huh?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fast-paced Friday.

I've decided two things. The first is that in the past year I've really fallen in love with hyphenated words and I don't know if this is because I've been forced to adopt more AP standards in "the real world" or if it's because hyphens make me look smarter. I'm almost positive it's the former. Secondly, same thing goes for ellipses ... only now I know I'm at least using them properly (while abusing them with overuse) spacing-wise. Come to think of it, has anyone else noticed I've been using "-wise" and "-thingie" a lot? I mean, I Know it's probably just a stylistic thing that keeps popping up, but am I the only one that's noticed it?

Anyway. It's Friday, I have to get to work ... so prepare for a bunch of bullets.

  • First of all, Scott and I did a dual review of the new Catfish Haven disc and I really like how it turned out. Surprisingly, a lot of other people did as well! There were a few haters (primarily the folks who have latched onto Catfish Haven like the prey of a bunch of Okie Noodlers) but the comments section elicited at least one spirited, and well reasoned, back and forth. I like when that happens. Read the whole thing here.
  • Has anyone else seen Idolator? It's Gawker's attempt at entry into the world of music blogging and so far it seems to be pretty lame. However I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon -- already teetering from having to many half-bit music-crit wannabes on it anyway -- and slam it completely yet. It's only been up a few days and it's obvious they're going through some birthing pains and haven't quite figured out just what it is that they want to do. Let's see what they do in the next few weeks before passing final judgment, eh?
  • The Assembly is playing The Darkroom tonight. I would go, except I already went to The Darkroom last night. Thinking The Assembly was playing last night. Yes, I traveled by foot, bus, and cab for over an hour only to find out I had arrived at the club a day early. I am indeed, if there was ever any doubt, an idiot.
  • More about them later, but Earl Greyhound are un-fucking-believable. Their debut disc is one of the hands-down freshest things I have heard in ages. I'm saving up all my fancy-schmancy rock-crit wordings for a review at donewaiting next week, but suffice to say that this is one NYC band that is doing something unlike almost everyone else on the scene ... and I don't mean they're some sort of punk cabaret act or anything like that. No, they are solid, brawny rock and/or rollers in a truly classic sense. But, I get ahead of myself. I just wanted to clue you in ahead of the review so you can pose as one of the cool kids when everyone else is having their minds blown a month or so down the line.
  • Speaking of minds being blown, mine still hasn't recovered from the new Hold Steady disc. As a matter of fact, why don't we just kick the weekend off with a grand, epic note, and leave you with the opening track off said forthcoming disc. It's got more than a smidgen of early Springsteen laced throughout the album, and this song is the most obvious, and beautiful, example of that influence. Enjoy.

The Hold Steady "Stuck Between Stations"

You're just going to have to take my word on how awesome that track is, since the label has asked me to take it down.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Get Well, Roger!

Scott decided it would be a good idea to create a photo set wherein people would give a thumb's up to Roger Ebert in order to displaay our wishes that he get well soon. Actually he writes about / explains it here much better than I just did. Anyway, look at the set, add your own photo, or just laugh at mine.

For the record, I helped develop and bring that Garfield mirror to market at my old job, so shut yo' mouth before it even opens. I think it's still kind of cool.

In other news, I babysat the world's number one nephew last night and managed to not imitate any of Michael Keaton's more dubious Mr. Mom moves. Yay for me!

Although I do admit to being amazed at how tall he already is. Look at the giant!


THAT IS ONE BIG BABY!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

You can thank me later.

The MyOpenBar project has made it's way to Chicago. Now you can drink for free / cheap every night of the week.

This is a welcome import from NYC, however if they send the Cobrasnake over her i'm gonna have to start busting some heads.

Thanks to Ms. Dahnke for the tip. Danke Dahnke! (Betch never heard that one before.)
Back to sanity-land.

Quickie today. Sorry about that Mike Patton thing yesterday. Hopefully your head is done exploding by now.

Now, as a salve / balm / concillatory sign accept this offering of a wicked remix by Annie of the Teddybears song "Yours To Keep." It is the awesomeness.

Teddybears
"Yours To Keep (Annie Mix)"

I'm beginning to think that instead of releasing a disc of their songs, they should release an album of remixes instead...

I mean, I do dig the disc, but I have to admit that it's brand of electric pop doesn't stand up terribly well under repeated listening. These remixes they've been putting out ahead of the disc's actual release are doing a good job of hyping the album, but they may ultimately end up overshadowing the music they're trying to sell!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"Not many care about ... Mike Patton ... any more."

What the fuck?!



I think the world just turned inside out.

Yup ...yup, it did.
The upside of down.

Wow, sorry about yesterday's bummer-o-rama. A quick update though: My mom is doing well, and thanks to everyone who has sent along their well-wishes for her speedy recovery. Sorry if the news caught most of you (who know me in the flesh) off-guard ... it's been freaking me out for a while and I tend to internalize those things.

Anyway, happy Tuesday! I'm in a much better / optimistic mood today, and that just might have something to do with this evening's guest DJ at The Pontiac. Look at this cool flyer he and his girlfriend (Sour Deluxe's Ms. Jamie Jacobs) came up with:


I love it when people that are not me design flyers for events that include me. Especially when those people doing the designing are actually good at designing stuff!

Anyway, I wanted to call him "UK Matt" since he's, you know, from the UK and all ... but apparently he thought that would be too gimmicky so he instead went with his, you now, actual name. All the easier to stalk him by after you fall in love with him through his musical selections tonight, right?

Speaking of falling in love with music, read my review of that whole T&G25 / Hideout10 party here. I swear all the nice things I say have nothing to do with free beer in the VIP area, even though I'm certainly no VIP. Journalistic interloper? Yes. VIP? Not so much.) Hell, I didn't even know I had access to free beer Friday and I still had a blast! So thanks to both T&G and The Hideout for throwing such a swell party.

Wow, I'm still feeling a bit of residual darkeness that might be left over from yesterday threatening to leak into this post via some psychological back alleyway. How should I dispel it? Oh, how about this absolutely hilariously cute pictue I like to call: Who brought the cat?!


Seriously cute. And don't any of you start harping about an overabundance of cuteness today. Each yin has its yang and in this case kitties and puppies are balancing out possibly-cancerous cysts and routine abuses of alcohol. As a matter of fact how about a one-two whammy of both annoyingly cute quiz and impossibly cute pups?!

Oh yeah!

What breed of Dog are You??!






You are a Beagle!! You are a serious PARTY ANIMAL! Parties would be boring without you! You love to play with things that go boom, it's fun seriously. Alot of people want to be your friend, but you prefer to stay with your closest!

Okay, I think that just about does it. A burst of saccharine that thick is sure to leave the low ebb of a throbbing headache as it recedes, so I'll take mercy on you and stop for today. I do want to send a HUGE thanks to everyone who showed up at The Continental to hear me, Rudy and Princess Marble spin. I thought both of my guests were absolutely fabulous and look forward to a situation where we'll be able to share a booth again sometime in the near future.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The most stereotypical of Mondays.

It's raining and grey outside. My mom goes in for a pretty major surgery this morning. CNN has decided, for some unknown reason, to replay all of their original September 11, 2001 footage. I'm beginning to realize that when I drink, my judgement becomes severly compromised and I end up doing foolish things. Lucy the Dog has a cut on her leg she won't stop licking. Marshal Field's is now Macy's. I am really freaked out by my mom's surgery and seriously don't know how to deal with it. To celebrate paying off my car entirely, I dented the side of it while parking in our garage yesterday afternoon. I haven't been to the gym since Thursday. I'm beginning to realize that life is impossibly short and I need to start appreciating what I have instead of thinking about the things I don't have. I'm afraid for my mom.

It's a hell of a way to kick of the week.

UPDATE:
My mom is out of surgery ... so at least that part is over. I'm going to visit her later today when she comes out from under the anasthesia. The doctor warned there might be side-effects and such, but at least the surgery itself is out of the way.

Friday, September 08, 2006

As promised, your weekend planner.

First, and most importantly, Chaz Walters has something to say to you.


You don't want to anger the Dorian Gray of Chicago real estate, do you? In that case make sure you maake it over to The Continental on Saturday night, between the hours of 11pm and 5am. I will be DJing with the aid of DJ Marble and the one (and only) Mr. Rudy Tuesday. I consider my gigs at The Continental to be pretty special, so if you're one of those folks who only makes it out to see me spin occassionally, tomorrow night is THE night to make an appearannce. It will provide the perfect cap if you've spent all day at either The Hideout or (if you're completely insane) the Around The Coyote thing in the WP.

So here, in plain language so no one gets confused, are the details. Print them out, spread them around, share them with friends.

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 9

DJ Tankboy
Rudy Tuesday
DJ Marble

11pm - 5am

The Continental
2801 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
773.292.1200

Hmmmm ... what else? Oh, there's some block party all weekend that I think we'll be attending. We have our tickets for all three days, however Photogal was nice enough to pass her summer cold on to me today, so whether I go tonight is still up in the air. I really want to see GvsB and Ted Leo though.

If you don't have tickets for T&G25, though, might I suggest catching Megan Palmer? She's the most recent addition to the record label arm of donewaiting, and she's in Chicago for two shows this weekend.

09/9 - Chicago, IL - Uncommon Grounds with Eric Nassau
09/10 - Chicago, IL - Red Line Tap, solo, with Eric Nassau

Read more about her, and listen to some mp3s, here.

Okay, carry on.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Multimedia Thursday™

Yeah, I know, you're still processing the heavy mental of yesterday's post. So with that in mind I think it’s important to lighten thing up a little, so welcome to Multimedia Thursday™ (a.k.a. Tankboy blathers on and tries to share a couple cool tidbits with you.)

First of all, we have this Family guy clip from last season. I am only posting it because, for some reason, the song is totally stuck in, my and Photogal's, head. We both find ourselves singing this silly tune to the pups about seventeen jillion times a day, often with amended lyrics for added cutesiness / saccharine-overload.


Heh, peanut butter Betty time ... anyway, now let's get a little tough. Remember how I told you Photogal took her vintage BMW to the racing track last weekend to open 'er up and let 'er rip? I went to visit her and man-oh-man did she look tough in her old-school leathers and massive bike surrounded by all the boys in the high-tech riding outfits and little-bitty crotch-rockets. Okay, truth be told, those little bike were incredibly fast (and there were a couple kick-ass girl riding those racing bikes too, as you will see in a second) and it was impressive seeing everyone tearing around the course. However, I think this action shot is just absolutely awesome. Photogal is on your right, and our friend Dawn is on your left. There is almost nothing cooler than some badass girls on some badass bikes.


Hottttttttttttt.

Let's see, what else can I offer you as a brief respite from the, what I am sure are, the pressing issues and important tasks you must complete before the five o'clock whistle? Hmmm. What about a song? It would have to be something that hasn't been blogged to death, huh? Maybe something I discovered through a local music podcast? Maybe something the Market Frenzy guys played a few weeks ago that just totally caught my ear with it’s awesomeness? Hell yeah, that's a GREAT idea! Why don't I post Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse's "Connecticut's For Fucking" since that such a fun little tune? That's a GREAT GREAT idea!

Jesus H Christ "Connecticut's For Fucking"

I will offer this warning though: "Connecticut's For Fucking" is actually a bit of an anomaly on the group’s Jesus H Christ and The Four Hornsmen Of The Apocalypse album. Overall the group’s songs fall more into a cerebral humorist mode √† la They Might Be Giants. Listening to this tune you might think they are a power-pop band fronted by a brassy babe, but you'd be wrong. They're a funny power-pop band fronted by a brassy babe. Get it straight.

So let's see, we've covered video, still photography, audio ... I think that should about do it for today. Tune in tomorrow for the weekend planner (and yes, most of it revolves around The Hideout ... with a late Saturday side-trip to The Continental to see a certain Tank-somebody DJ and drink lots of Marker's.)


This concludes Multimedia Thursday™.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Rediscovering music, again.

So I realized, late last night, that I had been avoiding a lot of local music recently. For a music freak like me, this was a bit of a stunner. Naturally this re-evalulation necessitated an immediate set-down and personal re-evaluation. Why would someone like me avoid music of any sort?

And then it came to me; I had been avoiding a lot of local stuff primarily because I love music so much. This isn't as contradictory as it sounds. You see, when you are constantly submerged within one source of musical output, or another, your perspective begins to become warped and any sort of actual evaluation becomes impossible. Here, let me expand the example to the larger blogging world in order to maybe make this a little easier to understand.

Nowadays, when one band seems to carry the merest hint of possible success, the bloggeratti are all over them. Suddenly that band is everywhere. Their songs are available for download, everyone is writing about how great they are, and everyone sort of gets caught up in the frenzy. The end result is a band championed by all for a while, but then is abandoned by most shortly thereafter.

The local scene is no different. In Chicago, most folks that write about, promote, and create music know each other. One of our primary currencies is knowledge of what's coming next, and one of the risks of that knowledge is the needless hyping of certain bands that might not really deserve it. This truism is especially glaring when a few of our more recent high profile acts are compared to a handful of bands that receive a fraction (if that) of the press and none of the acclaim.

My Id must've grokked this (and yes, Chuck, those five words are just for you) a while ago and instructed my critical facilities to start blocking out the bad influences. More to the point, it was about a year or so ago that I began to learn to not believe the hype (for probably the eighth time in my writing career -- we writers can be an impressionable lot, and don't let anyone else tell you other wise (impressionability is a necessary evil, trust me, because otherwise we would be too guarded to write anything honestly) and I began discounting more direct attempts to influence who I should and shouldn't write about.

Now, a funny thing happened while I was trying to avoid local music ... I ended up becoming even more open to local bands and I began appreciating what Chicago has to offer even more! You see, when everyone is writing about "The Next Big Thing" and a few of those "Big Things" have been "Big Things" for four or five years, you begin to doubt your local scene's abilities. Once you discount the hype, and really listen, you realize what a fool you, and most other music critics, can be at times.

The next step in my re-evaluation process? I've been watching a lot of Fuse and reconnecting with my inner seventeen year-old. Let's see where this takes us...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tickled.

So, the state is way late on sending me my new registration sticker to affix to my license plate. This year I thought I would do something novel and actually renew it before the expiration date … however it seems to be taking its sweet time to travel to me through our wondrous postal system. No matter, I’m legal.

Which is why I’m amused that some cop in my neighborhood keeps writing me tickets for expired registration. While it is a teensy bit annoying to have to print out proof of registration, print out a letter saying I am in compliance with the law, and spending the postage to mail in the disputed ticket, it’s gratifying to know that the city is going to keep getting stymied on the fifty bucks of revenue they thought they had coming in. There’s something about contesting a ticket, when you know you’re in the right, that feels just so damn good.

Heh.

__________

Also.

A quick apology to folks who came out Saturday and were a bit confused. You see, a band that wasn't booked to perform showed up thinking they were, and instead of being a heartless bastard I let them do a set in the midst of out DJ madness. In retrospect, especially after viewing their "live" show, I realize I should have just said, "Sorry, you're not playing." but, hey, I figure we racked up some good karma points (and knocked a few years off our stay in purgatory) for letting them go ahead anyway. Thanks to Rudy, Aaron, Kelly and Chatman for all contributing music throughout the evening.

Also, to all the folks I told to meet me at The Continental afterwards: Sorry, but for once my brain actually took over and steered me towards home (and my girlfriend) instead of another bar (and more booze!) However, I WILL be there next Saturday DJing with some guests so make sure you swing on by after 11pm!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Super-crazy quick post, bullet-stylee.



The great thing about an impending four-day weekend is all the time off you haave to look forward too. The downside is that the nine-to-five situation neccesitates tying up all kinds of loose ends before you can set out and get into the business of enjoying the weekend! So with that in mind...


  • Last night I attended a bachelorette party (I was the only guy there) for a co-worker at The Kit Kat Klub, a chicago supper-club with "divas" lip-synching showtunes and dance-pop. I learned a) my co-workers are a lot of fun, and b) if I'm ever single I'm going to the Kit Kat Klub to hang out because the place was packed and I was the only straight guy there, and c) my co-workers know about blogs, read other co-workers blogs, and probably read mine. So, hi co-workers!
  • Tomorrow an old college pal of mine will be DJing at The Pontiac with me, Rudy Tuesday, Kelly D, and -- if I can talk her into gracing the mixer for a rawkin' (there's that adaptive spelling again) set -- DJ Cowbell (a.k.a. the always lovely Photogal.) This is the first time I've DJed at Pontiac on a weekend, and it'ss the first time Rudy and I will be paired up since the beginning of the summer! Expect the evening to devolve into sets peopled with song by song face-offs between all involved. It should be a lot of fun.
  • Tomorrow, if you don't feel like listening to me play other people's music, and would prefer to hear people play their own music, go to The Mutiny and see the always awesome Venom Lords, and the always fantasmagoric Team Band. And then come over and dance with us at The Pontiac afterwards.
  • Tomorrow during the daytime, Photogal is taking her motorcycle (and me) downstate for a day of racing at a track! I'm psyched to see her let it rip. Bonus points since she'll be driving her bad-ass BMW amidst a bunch of crotch-rockets and (what I consider to be, but she disagrees) other dorky bikes.
What else? I guess that's it. I know everyone's off work until next Tuesday, but don't be too surprised if I post a little treat here before then ... I hope to see some of you Saturday night, but if not, enjoy the holiday everyone!
Voxity-Vox.

Gotta run for an early morning meeting but I'll try to post the weekend update (HINT: Be at The Pontiac Saturday night for a rawkus (sp. int. incorrect) party!) sometime during my lunch break.

Until then, I happen to have an invite for Vox, so if anyone is interested in playing with the hottest new blogging tool / social networking v. 3.0 type thingie, let me know via email or comments. Best plea wins.