Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A moment of tech geekiness, please.

Last night's panel went really well, so expect my full observations on that tomorrow. Today, allow me to urge to you download the new Firefox browser (that you can modify as you see fit) and start using it NOW!

I mean, aside from all the other terrific tweaks, it now has an internal spell check!

So, save millions of English geeks from screaming quietly in their cubes at simple spelling mishaps and get that sucker installed today!

In other news, if I wasn't sick, I'd be dragging Photogal to this tonight:

So, go in my stead.

Credz Rob for pointing me towards the Firefox tweaks

Monday, October 30, 2006

I am a professional.

I'll be appearing on this panel tonight:

Promoting and Marketing Music: Part I
DIY Marketing to the Public

Monday October 30, 2006
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Chicago Cultural Center
Yates Gallery 4th Floor
77 E. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL

Build relationships with your audience to create fans, and do the marketing yourself. Panelists will advise on the growing array of direct marketing tools artists may find effective to gain fans and attract new audiences. Panelists will discuss their experiences making the best use of internet sites like MySpace, Email newsletters, Music Downloads/Podcasting, self-distribution and sales of music as well as managing your website as the hub for all of these activities. In addition, the panel will discuss how to integrate the new methods with traditional marketing such merchandise, street teams, flyers, posters, cds, performing live, attracting media coverage and commercial music distribution.

Moderated by:
Mark Roth, Chicago Music Commission / Centerstage Chicago

Jim Kopeny, Chicagoist / Tankboy Productions
Jay Prasad, Pure Entertainment
Micah Taylor, Direction Marketing
Doug LeFrak, Feisty Management

All forums include post-forum networking.
It should be interesting to see how my views stack up against those of a few of my peers on these subjects. I think this particular topic is ripe for some great discussion given the speed with which the underlying structure of said topic keeps changing.

Plus, what better do you have to do on a Monday evening just after work?

Scott at Chicagoist was nice enough to write up tonight's panel here. Go and read it for a little more background on this series of talks.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween = Christmas for grown-ups. Remember that.

First, meet the newest member of our wild animal kingdom in our menagerie / two-flat. It's Pickles the Cat!

Pickles is a big fan of my hair. And my ears. And scratches behind her ears. Photogal found her wandering in the middle of the street a few weeks ago and, after bouncing around a few friends' homes, we decided to take her in. The other animals are still adjusting, so we'll see how it goes. She's a little adorable ball o' fur though.

Anyway, as I'm sure you could guess from yesterday's enthusiastic post, I was out a little late last night so let's keep this short and sweet.

Let's revisit the idea of the Friday Five™, only this time I think I'll stick with bands most of you probably haven't really heard about. Our first selection is by The Oohlas, a band that really should be at the top of everyone's playlist. The tune of theirs I'm posting below, "TV Dinner," actually popped on tankPOD yesterday and at first I thought it was a that dog song I was unfamiliar with. If you caught that reference, then go buy the album now.

Second we have a track from a disc that's over a year old, but just came out in the States this week. It's by Whitey, and it's from his debut of, I don't know what you'd call it. Dancey wonk-rock? It's repetitive, catchy, and slightly decadent. Actually "Y.U.H.2.B.M.2" sort of reminds me of early Jesus and Mary Chain, come to think of it.

Third is a track from The Channels. You'll notice the tracks are getting more rocking, no? I just got this disc last week, had never heard of the band, and threw it in yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised. I should have known I would be since it came via my friend Julia, but you can never be sure. Anyway, the group sounds like a less halting, overly-sexed Shiner, though the track I've posted, "The Licensee," is actually a little lighter in tone than the rest of the disc. A little sweeter.

The next track is a golden oldie, given today's musical climate, coming from an album Voicst put out in 2004, but, again, it is only just now hitting our shores. The album is filled with revved-up, um, alterna-rock. This isn't based in any sort of fact, but I wouldn't be surprised if they listened to a lot of Ash. I've included "Upside" primarily to show that a disco beat just doesn't get tired if it's married to a kick-ass melody.

Finally, I'm totally breaking character by posting a track by Monty Are I. Now, some of you more astute readers will notice that Monty Are I is on Stolen Transmission, as is The Oohlas. It's coincidence, I promise. I picked up The Oohlas disc when it came out, and just got the Monty Are I disc this week, so there's no connection between the two. Don't believe me? Okay, how's this for proof that I'm not just shilling here:

I really don't like this Monty Are I disc.

Really don't like it. For the most part it's just so much faceless mall-punk disguised as emo. And that's okay. It's what the kids like. The album is just a cipher sitting there with no personality of its own.

With one exception.

I really like the track "O Brother." I know it's designed that way. I know the horns, and swelling chorus that breaks down into a synth-drenched marching cadence, and then into a choral soaked fade-out is SUPPOSED to tickle the pleasure centers. And I don't care if it's coldly calculated or not. I like it. And maybe you will to.

The Oohlas "TV Dinner"

Whitey "Y.U.H.2.B.M.2"

The Channels "The Licensee"

Voicst "Upside"

Monty Are I "O Brother"

Huh. So that was my verions of "short and sweet?" I'd hate to read "long and drawn out!"

Oh well. Have a safe Halloween weekend!

Ollie Oohla by Irene

Image of Whitey via their own damn self.

PRIVATE ASIDE TO THE PSEUDO-LESBIAN JAILBAIT DANCING ON THE SIDE OF THE STAGE DURING THE WHOLE EAGLES OF DEATH METAL SET LAST NIGHT: Nice pink hot pants (?!), although your sister / best friend looked less than comfortable with the whole "hands on the ass" thing. Plus? Camel toe. Sorry, dear. Ick. Double plus, glad to hear you made it on the bus. Yipes.

Thanks for living up to all the stereotypes of "the groupie." Double ick.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The right kind of Jett.

Rocktober is roaring to a close, no?

Tonight I will be spinning at Liar's Club with Vinyl Richie! I've never teamed up with him before, but I always enjoy his selections, so I think we'll mesh well. I'll be there sometime after 10:30, since I'll be coming in from the Joan Jett show. Which reminds me, I've decided Liar's Club should be the post-Eagles of Death Metal / >Joan Jett party tonight! Who's with me?

I'll def be blowing off some steam tonight to celebrate the closing of a particularly frenzied work week. And I say celebrate because that's what one does to mark an accomplishment they are proud of.

But back to the topic of music and, specifically, tonight's music. I am VERY excited to see Joan Jett. You see, I've always enjoyed a few of her tunes (how could you not?), and I've always respected her place in music history (The Runaways!), but it wasn't until this year that I actually got down and listened to anything she's done recently. I mean, when you see "Joan Jett" on a bill, you're usually going to think, "Ah, retro '80s act." right? But you would be so wrong.

Her new album Sinner is one of my favorite discs of the year. I picked it up after hearing her cover of "AC/DC" this summer, popped it in the tankPOD, and found myself knocked the fuck out. Whereas most of her peers are headed directly for the acres of green pastures of AAC format radio, Jett continues to rage on, writing some of her most rocking -- and hardest hitting -- material of her career.

Here are two songs off her latest disc, to help bolster my point:

Joan Jett "Riddles"

Joan Jett "Turn It Around"

Honestly I've been agonizing over what to post without just putting up the whole damn album. "Riddles" is a nice reflection on the frustration of our current political / social mess, and "Turn It Around" is just a boppin' rocker.

Aw heck, I can't resist ... here's the tune that got me to buy the disc in the first place!

Joan Jett "AC/DC"

If, after hearing the above tunes, you don't find yourself hot-footing it over to The Vic tonight then, well, I just don't know what I'm going to do with you.

Bottom image of Joan Jett courtesy Carrie Musgrave

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Yellow Submarine!

I've known about this for months, but another pre-Riot Fest secret guest has been (sort-of) revealed.

Both of these bands excite me to no end, since one sort of took over as one of my favorites as the other called it quits. I'm doubly-pleased both groups are playing before the Riot Fest show in much smaller (and better sounding) venues.

Okay, and if some of you can't guess the bands simply by the content of this post and this post, well, then, try clicking the links held within, because I give the secret away there.

What? Too lazy to do that? Okay, just look to the right. Do you get it yet?

It's the feeling you get when the winds are whipping the shingles off your roof, but you know that the eye is just around the corner. Tonight, after we hit our deadline for this project at work, the hurricane will briefly abate before revving back up to full speed for the extended Halloween weekend. It's going to be a much needed release, let me tell you.

Did I tell you about the time Photogal made me go to a co-worker's party with her in the only section of Chicago whose nightlife is more disturbing than the Lincoln Park bar scene? Yes, Wrigleyville.

We were waiting for a parking attendant to take our keys when some blonde bimbo (and I am not exaggerating with the use of bimbo here) drove up in some skimpy thought of red fabric stretched across breasts that were a gift of scalpel and saline. She turned to us and asked what was going on and Photogal and I just stared, jaws agape, when we realized that her breasts had broken free of her shirt completely without her knowledge. She just jabbered on with those man-made monsters sitting there, nerves shot to hell, and sensation obviously blocked since the evening carried a chill but her nipples betrayed no movement.

And the night went downhill from there.

The party was okay, and I like Photogal's work crew, but it ended with a nervous Photogal entreating one of her co-workers to keep an eye on me while she went to the restroom. While she was gone two late twenty-somethings desperately trying to look like second year sorority sisters, sidled up next to me and attempted to interact with me through a serious of cell-phone conversation asides and general "girly" actions. I sat there gripping the bar, knuckles growing white, actually looking at one of Photogal's ex-boyfriends (who happened to know the co-worker whose birthday we were celebrating) for support.

Finally, I had enough and screamed, "Why don't you two just STOP already! I am NOT interested!"

Both girls registered shock and gathered their things in a half-zombified manner to make their way to the end of the room where the acoustic guitar playing dude was covering LOTS of Springsteen and Pearl Jam. Photogal's ex turned to me and said, "Wow, I think we both found something we can agree on, those girls were terrible." And Photogal's co-workers were tickled pink because they had never witnessed someone say the things they had always wanted to say to people like that.

Why do I tell this story? To prove that the experience was not one of an unchecked Id rampaging through a door unlocked by too much Guinness and Maker's Mark. My proof? At Friday's show at Double Door, I was standing by the merch table talking to some friends when who should sidle up beside me but Mancow. I stood. I stared. I kept my trap shut.

You see, Mancow is probably far more reprehensible to me, but the dude has the freedom to be a douchebag as long as he doesn't try to draw me into his little world. And, to be honest, he did a good job of keeping to himself. The two girls in Wrigleyville were so full of themselves they couldn't comprehend the fact that anything with two legs and a dick would find them anything less than enchanting. When one truly believes that for years and years, one's behavior begins in the realm of "annoying" and progresses to the world of "we never know when to shut the fuck up, because no one has ever told us to before."

This is also why I tend to not get along with most models.

Oh, and the girl in the parking lot. What was her part in this story, you ask?

Comic relief tinged with a touch of tragedy. Gives the story depth, y'know.



And for those of you who didn't get it yesterday, the song titles hidden in the post give away who the band really is.

Get your tickets NOW.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Holyy Lazarski Nahane.

These guys fucking rule.
Good gawd.

This is already turning into a brutal week. We have a huge project with a super tight deadline at work, and while I really enjoy being super busy since it makes the eight hours at the office fly by, it's still hard work. And that can be draining. The upswing is when you're on a tight deadline you get to see the fruits of you labors relatively quickly, so that's definitely a plus.

Since I was so busy yesterday, though, I never got to write the Tally Hall review I planned to tackle during my lunch-break. I tend to not take lunch hours, since I like to work straight through the day, but I'll often take a fifteen minute break to wolf something down and maybe do a little non-work writing to sort of "freshen up" halfway through the day. Anyway, I wrote it last night instead (on my couch via wireless laptop (first time I've used it that way!)) and scheduled it to go up at Chicagoist around 10:00 or so. I'll include the link once it's up.

(However, since I wrote them before work, the other two pieces I promised yesterday are here and here, so check 'em out.)

I just got a whole avalanche of music over the weekend, and within that flood I was able to pan out a few nuggets, so look for write-ups on some of that stuff here, or at Chicagoist, or at donewaiting over the next week or two.

Huh, I'm also working on two pieces for the next paper issue of UR Chicago too. I'm a busy guy.

Speaking of busy.

I am speaking on this panel at the Chicago Cultural Center next Monday. I'll post more details about the event closer to the event, but consider this an early warning to attend and discover that Tankboy might just have a teensy-tiny clue he knows what he's talking about. Who knew?!

Or you can throw fruit at my. Or you can, during the question and answer period, ask me about a variety of cheeses my shop does not stock. Just don't ask me how to pronounce Thrope Warblermangrove.

Finally, while I'm dispensing PSAs, I will not be spinning tonight. And man am I bummed I took this week off. First of all, I had to scramble to find a home for the DJs that were scheduled to spin at Pontiac tonight, since due to some maintenance work, The Pontiac will be closed. However my guest DJs now become DJ Marble's guest DJs as they join her on the decks at Celebrity.

I have long bemoaned the fact that both DJ Marble and I have residencies on the same night, so here's a chance to conduct a sort of rock and/or roll summit and/or meeting of the minds. Batting for this week's displaced Rock and/or Roll Tuesdays residency will be:

...man, I just realized how dirty that line-up sounds. Perfect!

And of course, cleaning up, and hosting the Naughty Tuesday brigade, for Celebrity is the lovely DJ Marble.

And me? I'll be quietly crying because I can't be part of this party. Boo hoo!

Pssst ... but I WILL be spinnng at Liar's Club Thursday, so that should help soothe the pain a little. I will definitiely be playing this song, by the way.

Sloan "Living With The Masses"

Tally Hall image by this guy

Monday, October 23, 2006

Busy little beaver.

It's a cold, dark Monday morning better suited to anticipation rather than quiet (or not-so-quiet) reflection.

So here's what you have to look forward to reading later today.

You know, it's amazing just how productive one can be over the weekend when one doesn't go out drinking until 5am on a Saturday night. Come to think of it, I was pretty productive Saturday too, and I was out Friday night. So maybe there is no correlation. But, then again, maybe there is.

Here is where, were a writer moved by the hype machine, I would post a tack by The Klaxons. Instead I'm going to opt for something a little more telling and give you a gift from the new Isis album coming out next week. It's the first tune off the disc and I can't think of a better way to kick off a Monday morning than with this slow burn of a build.

Isis "Wrists Of Kings"

And finally, since Halloween is just around the corner...

Friday, October 20, 2006

I can't leave you like that, now, can I?

Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages. Now that I realize most folks are on my side on this one, I'm feeling a tad better about the whole thing. Plus, it's Friday, The Changes are playing tonight, and I'm going to a wicked haunted house out in the middle of bumble with my gal, and there's a new Battlestar Galactica on tonight to feed my inner geek. Life is actually pretty good.

As a matter of fact, it's so good, I think I shall uncharacteristically enjoy a little Joe Walsh right now.
Anatomy of a leak.

I'll try to explain this whole "Naked Ragun leak" thing, step by step, later today ... maybe if I have a few spare minutes during lunch. Screw it. It is what it is, and like Photogal said, "You're letting this get to you too much." So I'm just going to leave it with what I've already written.

However, in the meantime, while everyone is blaming me for not being able to get into a show that was basically "guest list only" from the outset, ask yourself a few things:

  1. If it was so secret, how did I hear about it from a large number of folks, both connected to, not connected to, and actually employed by the bar, ahead of time?
  2. If it was so secret, why did Cobra Lounge leak the information via MySpace before I did?
  3. I've heard some of the staff at Cobra was trying to blame me for the crowd at the show last night. (Though this is second-hand, and therefore suspect information.) I don't know if anyone noticed, but this week Cobra has a slew of shows intended to raise their profile as a music venue. If you think the bar is upset about all the publicity, you are solely mistaken. If you have any doubts about how this whole thing was engineered from the beginning, ask yourself why certain people were gifted with +5s without even asking while fans were left out in the cold. It was no mistake that the show was so "exclusive" so don't blame me for not getting in.
  4. How am I to blame for you not getting in again? This was fair game for promotion. I don't tip my hat to just any news. (For instance, I'm not going to tell you any unannounced Halloween secrets about the Double Door show, because that would a) ruin the surprise and b) isn't really newsworthy since the shows are going to sell out anyway. They don't need the publicity. However a struggling bar on the near South side certainly does need a bit of notoriety, don't you think?

And, for the record, I didn't get in either. However I hear there are plenty of tickets available for RiotFest 2006, so if you REALLY want to see the band, do what everyone else is and buy a frickin' ticket.

UM, Hi Gaper's Block people: I have no idea why they linked to this, but, as you can see above, I don't whine about not getting into the show. I'm just annoyed people are trying to blame me for not getting in. Plus, it's not like I was the only one who mentioned it. Plus, here's my original show preview, and then the follow up. The funniest part about the whole affair? I had actually been pimping the show due to Mojica's appearance on the bill earlier in the week without having the faintest clue Naked Raygun was going to be on the bill. No one copmplained about that...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tankboy is having a very bad day.

So consider this my decompression scream.

I’m not DJing on Tuesdays for the next two weeks, and I'm welcoming the break. I love DJing each week ... I just LOVE it. I honestly don’t know what I'd do if I didn't have that outlet. That said, I've been spinning somewhere in Wicker Park, with a break only here and there once in a great while, for over seven years now, and that's a little draining.

I think it shows, too. My sets have gone from being iron-clad crowd pleasers, to head-scratching self-indulgments, and have recently settled somewhere in-between in a land where The Killers, Phil Collins, Uncle Tupelo, My Chemical Romance and Beyoncé are each just as culturally significant as the other.

One thing a DJ is paid to do is entertain and, hopefully, enlighten in-between the sure-fire hits. I think I do a more than passable job on this front, otherwise I wouldn’t get gigs. Duh. But as I've switched from records and tape manipulation, to CDs, and now, finally, to mp3s / m4as, I've noticed the process of song selection has changed. You see, when you have a crate of records / rack of tapes / book of CDs there is a primal, physical connection to the music as you flip through physical-space-occupying slabs of vinyl / loops of magnetic tape / aluminum (or 24K gold if it's one of those audiophile traps deployed in the '80s). If you, like I did, group albums / CDs by genre this actually helps create connections from one song to another. When you scroll through an iPod, though, this facet is sorely lacking and selection depends more on brain power, and by the end of the night, after a few too many drinky-drinks, brain power is often less than optimal.

Basically, as the physical act of lugging around source music has shrunk to the size of a pack of playing cards, the mental portion of the task has grown more demanding. I think it's too late to really turn back, and I just need to continue to adapt, but at the same time it’s nice to take a break every once in a while to regroup, recoup and refine the ol' inner playlist.


Ennui deux.

We saw The Killers Tuesday night. Halfway through the show, Photogal’s sister leaned over and asked me, "Don't they ever move?" I pointed out that the "My Name Is Earl" look-alike behind the drum kit was pretty animated, and that singer Brandon Flowers was actually far more mobile than he was in the past, but, for the most part, no, they didn't really move much.

The show was what you would expect, with a healthy dose of new material with a few proven crowd-pleasers sprinkled throughout. It was pretty obvious the sold-out crowd had barely paid attention to the new disc since conversation blossomed during those portions of the evening. Folks went bat-shit for the oldies though, and at forty buck a ticket pre-TicketBastard, that's what they were paying for. Also, suburbanites attending city shows should really look beyond "The OC" for suggestions of hip urban-wear. Double also, teeny blondes in pointy shows do not stir my pants, but they do upset my stomach. Triple also, I haven't seen so many dudes at a rockshow in, like, forever. It reminded me why I avoid these big label, promo events. Unless it's Green Day ... that small club tour fucking killed.

Anyway, The Killers. Like I said, the show was exactly what you would expect, no more, no less. I still maintain that Sam's Town has been unfairly maligned in the press, but a portion of the blame must be attributed to Flowers for mentioning the group had been listening to a lot of Springsteen. While the album sounds NOTHING LIKE Springsteen, lazy journos the world over have latched onto that lens and it’s the only way they’re viewing said disc's content.

I've decided to pot the opening track from Sam's Town because I think it handily highlights all that is right, and all that goes wrong, within the album. If you like portions of, or all, of the song, by all means buy the album. However if everything within the tunes hits you as wrong-minded and off the mark, Sam's Town is not for you.

I leave it up to you to decide.

The Killers "Sam's Town"

P.S. The pictures of pretty girls on the post have nothing to do with the content, I'm just trying to clean out my hard-drive. Sorry, I don't seem to have any photos of pretty boys or those would have gone up as well...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I heard a rumor.

I sure hope it's true.
A day late and a dollar short.

Yes, this has made the rounds already, but I woke up late and this is all I have time for...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Oh most gracious friends...

I would like to begin my thank you speech by saying "thanks" to all the little people, I couldn't have done it without you.

Next I'd like to thank my girlfriend, who insisted I keep the drinks at the minimum whilst taking in the Lily Allen show last night. Due to her, I loved the show, and I'm up early this morning, and I feel great.

I'd also like to thank Gatorade this morning, You have replenished my system and helped hydrate my dried out, smoked out sinuses.

A quick thanks to Chicagoist as well, for hosting my review of last night's Lily Allen show later this morning here.

Also, a quick shout out to Rachelle for supplying today's most awesome guitar power stance shot.

It has also found a home in today's promotional email for tonight's DJ slot at The Pontiac.

Speaking of which, I'd like to thank The Pontiac ahead of time, for letting me play so much fun music. Also a quick shout out to some of the Windy City Rollers, since I understand there will be a birthday celebration running concurrently with my DJing tonight at The Pontiac.

Oh, I can't forget to thank The Killers for tonight's show as well. I appreciate the band starting on time so I can get to my DJ gig on time. Thanks boys.

And who can forget Pickle the Cat. Who is Pickle? Just wait until tomorrow.

And finally, thank YOU. If it wasn't for you, this site would be a scream in the wilderness, a rock in a pond without a splash, a rewritable CD with no data, a ponytail-tie on a crew-cut.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Popping up where you least expect it.

So, when reading a profile of YouTube, and its self-uploaded content, in The New Yorker, the last person you expect to see pop into the story, completely tangentially, is Crispin Glover.

But there he is!

Seriously, there I am, just working the treadmill, reading a lovely piece about the rise of YouTube (hilariously already outdated, even in this week's issue of The New Yorker, by last week's buyout by Google), and the viewer submitted content, and all of a sudden, in he whooshes as the sidebar to one of the central character studies within the piece.

That dude is unreal.
Pure madness.

This week is just absolutely bonkers schedule-wise, leaving me very little time to breathe, much less write. But write I shall, as things get underway. This morning though? All I want to do is get to the gym since this is one body that will need fortifying if it is to survive the next six days.

So, check out some of the tunes I left for you last week instead of focusing your peepers on my prose. Or, maybe, download this tasty little nugget from the forthcoming domestic release (and year-and-a-half old European offering) from The Robocop Kraus.

The Robocop Kraus "You Don't Have To Shout"

Friday, October 13, 2006

New, this week only (?): The Friday Five!

Don't look for this to become a regular thing or anything, since the last thing I need around here is structure, but I thought it would be fun to kick off the weekend with five tunes I've been enjoying that (for the most part) you probably haven't heard yet.

I've decided to go from quiet beauty to grand noise, so if you feel like playing the songs in the order they're presented prepare yourself for a nice little crescendo. So let's get this going.

Our first selection is from Butterfly Child, Joe Cassidy's pre-Assassins project. The beautiful melodies buried underneath the sonic squall of most of Assassins' tunes comes to the fore in Butterfly Child. I almost think Joe was a little too ahead of his time since this orch-pop stuff didn't really take off until after he had already started to cool the jets on Butterfly Child. He still appears around town in the BC guise from time to time, but those appearances are too few and far between.

Butterfly Child "Drunk On Beauty"

The Mugs are from Brooklyn, but don't hold that against them. They came to my attention when their bassist and I had an email exchange over the calamitous ubiquity of the whole NYC blogger-music publicist circle jerk that seemed to hurt the few bands they championed while ignoring many more just as deserving (if not more so) of attention.

Whatever, story of the world, right?

Anyway, the bassist invited me to check them out when they were in Chicago a few weeks ago and I decided to give the band a look-see. I was pleasantly surprised. I wasn't really knocked out, but I did find their tunes to be enjoyable and just quirky enough to keep my attention. Bonus points were awarded for the bassist's aerobic workout (literally running in place and doing the Ringwald ... you have to see it to believe it) and the singer's adoption of the house piano at The Hideout for a few tunes. Spontaneity always scores high with me, and these jumped into their set with both feet without so much as testing the water.

The Mugs "Frank"


I feel the need for full disclosure at this point, and must let you know the next artist, Eric Metronome, is on the donewaiting affiliated record label, Sunken Treasure Records. Honest, though, that didn't color my perceptions of his debut. To be honest, at times I feel the album veers into territory a little too precious for my tastes, but anyone who likes earlier Elliot Smith will love You Should be Happy.

I've always enjoyed E. Smith, just never really adored him like most.

I'm off topic.

This little tune, "Call It A Day," deserves to become ubiquitous on some quirky car commercial or Nike ad. You may think that sounds more like an insult, or the suggestion of indie sell-out, but to that I say; Can you name me a popular medium in which adventurous and entertaining music is getting broader exposure?

I didn't think so.

(Pssst ... if you happen to be near Columbus, OH this weekend, Mr. Metronome will be playing his actual CD release show tomorrow night at Little Brother's, so check out what the man sounds like in a full rock and/or roll configuration.)

Eric Metronome "Call It A Day"

We're getting noisier, and we're entering a territory, female singers in rock bands, that it's well known I particularly like. The Duke Spirit's Liela Moss has a voice that's gutsy, inhabiting a lower range than most female vocalist's, while still keeping a certain sweetness around the perimeter of her delivery. Her closest think to a yank counterpart would be Erika Wennerstrom of The Heartless Bastards. However, while The Bastards mine a definite Midwestern brand of rock, The Duke Spirit injects a healthy dose of pop into a smear of shoegaze guitars and pounding drums.

Sexy walls of noise with self-assured swagger and sway...

What's not to love?

The Duke Spirit "Cuts Across The Land"

Finally, we have a band that, unlike the previous four, I haven't been able to shut up about lately. I finally saw Earl Greyhound play at Double Door earlier this week and they were just as blisteringly entertaining a live act as I'd hoped they'd be. The one thing the album hints at, but the live show drives home, is that the band's secret weapon is drummer Ricc Sheridan. Sheridan comes across as John Bonham crossed with every drummer Jimi Hendrix ever jammed with.

The dude just fucking slams.

What I hadn't realized until that night, though, is that bassist / vocalist Kamara Thomas is a Chicago native! Had I known that I would have mentioned it in my Chicagoist piece on the band. No matter, listen to "back And Forth" and tell me that it doesn't make you fall in love (if even just a little bit) with Earl Greyhound.

Earl Greyhound "Back And Forth"

And that's it for the week! I've got a pretty quiet weekend planned in advance of next week's hectic beehive of activity (Lily Allen, The Killers, DJing with Chatman, birthdays, art openings, The Changes CD release show, etcetera etcetera) so everyone take it easy with me, throw some headphones on, and let me know what you think of today's tunes.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wherein I come clean about the whole Ten56 / innjoy / Sweet Alice Tuesday thing.

The owners of innjoy, and previously Ten56, are re-opening the grandmother of both bars, Sweet Alice, at a new location. Lots of people have been asking me what I think about this, since my Tuesday night residency used to be called "Sweet Alice" and migrated from Ten56 to innjoy, until it had the plug abruptly pulled earlier this year. I decided not to go into why the plug was pulled at the time, deciding, rather, to take the high ground. Suffice to say it was not a decision we were consulted on or given warning about. At the same time let me say that I bear no ill will towards the owners of innjoy, since, honestly, innjoy just wasn't a really good fit for what we were doing, and I appreciate the fact we were the only DJs they even tried to bring over once Ten56 closed.

Now, about Sweet Alice. I understand the business decision to employ a name with history and cache to establish a new bar. This makes good business sense. What makes me sad is when people,and by people I'm not talking about the proprietors, think that resurrecting a familiar name will allow them to relive the good times they had at the previous venue.

It just doesn't work that way. Things change, and a name is really nothing more than a brand. For instance, when they re-habbed Danny's, they kept the name, but the place was a completely different bar. When The Note was know as The Blue Note, and it was located on Armitage, it was a completely different place than it is today in its Milwaukee Avenue location. A location it inherited from The Hothouse, which is also quite a different endeavor than it was when it was housed in Wicker Park.

What I'm trying to get to is this: It's impossible for me to be upset about anyone opening up a bar named Sweet Alice, or anyone trying to use the memory of events we were a part of in order to promote the club. Why? The new bar is not Sweet Alice. The new bar is not Ten56 on a Tuesday night. And it shouldn't be, because everyone that was a part of those nights is now different, and if that same chemistry still existed it would actually be kind of sad because it would mean that none of us has grown.

So there you have it. Now you can stop asking me what I think of the whole thing.


I have been seduced.

Lately more and more guest DJs are bringing their iPods and, since I've had a chance to interact with these newer models more frequently,Ii find myself lusting after them. Don't get me wrong, I still find tankPOD's four-buttons hovering over the flywheel to be adorable, and diPOD has a heft that the new models just can't match, but I do find myself drawn in my the new, sleek, black video models. Something tells me that after I finish paying for my new laptop I'm going to be snagging myself a new iPod to add to the family...

Speaking of laptops, I'm happy with my purchase of a Sony VAIO. It's sleek and speedy and spidery and does everything (so far) that I've asked of it with a minimum of fuss. And, really, what more can you ask of a computer?

I do still want a MacBook like the dickens, though -- since I fancy myself the sort that needs something a little smaller and more solid for on-the-go composing -- but the VAIO will do perfectly well until MacBooks either drop down into my price range ... or I win the lottery.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An addendum to the addendum, or,
"What conspiracy theory?

So I've been reading Gothamist's coverage of the small aircraft crash ( and I mean "small aircraft," not "small crash") and this quote stuck out:

Christine Monaco, a New York spokeswoman for FBI, said there wasn't indication of terrorism in the crash, but that officials "have been sent to the scene as a routine."

Not to get all conspiracy theory on all of you, because, again, I really am not that kind of guy, but doesn't it seem weird something like this happens right as the Republican's are having such a tough time? Isn't it an awfully convenient reminder of the ever vigilant front we must keep on the "war on terror?" Doesn't the timing seem, well, just too perfect?

And don't think I haven't noticed that this happens on the one day I go into a political diatribe!

Update from Gothamist: NY Times says "Yankees Pitcher Cory Lidle Was Killed in the Plane Crash, High-Ranking City Official Says." Lidle's passport was found on the street.

Well, it's certainly not a terrorist attack, but I feel terrible for this guy's family. Especially after reading this bit from the New York Times:

A player-pilot is still a sensitive topic for the Yankees, whose captain, Thurman Munson, was killed in the crash of a plane he was flying in 1979. Lidle, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on July 30, said his plane was safe.

"The whole plane has a parachute on it," Lidle said. "?Ninety-nine percent of pilots that go up never have engine failure, and the 1 percent that do usually land it. But if you'?re up in the air and something goes wrong, you pull that parachute, and the whole plane goes down slowly."

My sympathies to his family and anyone else harmed by this tragedy.
A brief addendum to this morning's political rant.

Oh, so THAT'S how Republicans do it.

So much for that whole MSM liberal bias, huh?
Aw, poor widdle Georgie...

I am not what one would call a political writer. In the past I have made my thoughts known about some issues so it's pretty fair to say I lean pretty liberally to the Left. I'm mystified by how intractable most folks have seemingly become on every single issue, but I also believe that in a democracy they have a right to their beliefs.

I really do wish people would stop supporting candidates who so obviously do not have their best interests in mind (and the greatest accomplishment of the Rove machine is in their ability to keep fucking folks over and over again, only to have those folks come back and vote for said machine.

Were I a dyed in the wool Democrat -- and believe me, though it may surprise you, I don't -- I would be pissing my pants right now. Why? Because next month's election is their to lose. The Republicans are losing on all fronts; the war on terror isn't making anyone safer, the party of higher moral grounds has been guarding a borderline pedophile in order to hold on to their power, scandals are breaking out left and right ... a changing of the guard is obviously in order.

Here's the problem, though. I don't think they deserve to be elected merely because Republicans are so obviously tarnished and slimy and (c'mon, admit it) veering into territory best described as "evil." All this time the Democratic party -- and you can harp all you want about the two-party system, but it's what we've got -- seems to think that they can adopt a platform that is merely, "Well, we're not Republicans!" and think that's enough.

Hm, well, maybe it is this time. But how fucking depressing is that? Don't you want to vote for someone that stands for something? In the end I know my vote will be going towards any candidate that I believe can reduce the influence of the current party in power and its twisted henchmen at the top, since I truly believe that they have made every single wrong decision they could have possibly made. I consider it an opening salvo; one which I hope the Democrats (if they gain the upper-hand) take advantage of in order to truly change the status quo. I do believe there are folks in politics that view what they do as a public service, and not as a means to leverage power towards generous donors. I do believe in the democratic system. I do believe people can make a difference.

Now all I need is for everyone else to wake up and believe with me.


I can't leave you like that, now can I?

I think I meant to try and veer towards hope near the end of the above thoughts, but just in case I didn't veer far enough towards ye olde hope, here are a few things to lead you out and upward into the sun, instead of burying you trembling in the backyard under the fear.

EXHIBIT A: My friend Lew and his new son, Nolan.

EXHIBIT B: An uplifting little tune.

The Music "Guide"

EXHIBIT C: A simple message.

I love you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I want to dance with you.

Ah yes, tonight is an evening filled with possibilities. Well, two main possibilities, as far as IÂ?m concerned. As I'm sure everyone on the planet knows by now, tonight is the evening of my weekly residency at The Pontiac. Tonight's special guest DJ is, in fact, truly special. Tonight's guest is Kip from America's #1 Sweetheart which is, as long-time readers are no doubt aware, the band I theoretically play drums with. Now, we haven't actually practiced yet, but that's because Kip has been hunkered down in his underground laboratory for months as he crafts the shining gems that will then be translated into the musical notes and thumping sounds that fill out the A#1S song catalog. Don't ask me how, but I've been able to drag him out of the lab for a rare public appearance and hope to hear him play some of his favorite tunes so I know what's currently influencing him.

Plus, it'll be nice to hear another DJ besides my unironically play some Erasure. I'm holding out hope for The Worm tonight as well.

Possibility number two is coming though town in the form of rock band Earl Greyhound. They hail from the exotic climes of Brooklyn, NYC, NY and make an appearance at Double Door later this evening. A preview of the show that I wrote is scheduled to go live over at Chicagoist later this morning here. I will be sneaking out of The Pontiac for a brief spell to check them out (though I will make Kip recreate his portion of his set that I miss later tonight when we retire to hisheavilyy pillowed Den o' Love) and I encourage you to do the same. Here, I will quote myself from the Chicagoist piece I did:

Earl Greyhound is one of those genre-busting bands that do it without being forced to leap into eccentricity. The trio fashions mega-rocking '70s-style smears of noise that sound fresh and exciting despite some of the retro trappings.

C'mon, doesn't that make you want to go see them?

Speaking of exuberant pieces of music crit publicly peeped recently, I have to give large kudos to Hopzilla for her terrific piece on TV On The Radio that appeared in this weekend's Chicago Tribune. It's nice to finally see a well-written piece by a freelancer appear in that paper.


Check out the rough 'n tumble picture of my nephew to the left. Doesn't he look tough with that bruise? Yeah, he does. That bruise sort of reminded me of that time, just after my Senior year of high school I decided toaccidentallyy pound a nail into myfriendn Mike's wall with my forehead. And how I totally thought I was fine until we went over to my friend Dave's house for second opinionstitchese-wise and she turned white, and I realized my eighteen-year run of avoiding needle and thread was over. And the I went to a Midnight Oil concert straight from getting stitches, and people thought I had dyed my hair pinkbecausee I didn't even have time to wash out the blood.

I thought about this while looking at this photo of my nephew and realized that when I / we / everyone was younger, physical trauma was no big thing. Jesus, I put my arm through a window a couple years later and took the time out to make sure myroommatee a) had a video camera (he was taking a film class that summer and the school had lent him one) and b) had charged the battery before I allowed him to take my to the hospital.

I thought about all of this and started to become awfully jealous of my nephew because now, when I, for instance, bruise a shoulder or crack a collarbone, or get any other sort of owie, it seems to take forever to heal.

I'm jealous because he has no idea how good he has it, and I'm sorry that he won't realized it until it's too late. Untill then, I hope he has fun while his bones are still rubber. And I hope he knows how terrific it is to make a boo-boo go away with something as simple and tender as a kiss.

Monday, October 09, 2006


The past few days have been nuts and are night impossible to summarize, but allow me to hit a few of the more memorable moments / impressions with a bunch of bullet points.

WARNING: This is probably one of the few posts that is so littered with inside jokes the casual reader may be left scratching their head. Since I do tend to veer towards topics designed for general public consumption, I do hope you'll forgive this momentary lapse.

  • We thought it would be a good idea to kill off the whole bottle of Maker's Mark Friday night.
  • Hilarious Wilde and Boozy McBooze.
  • Getting back to my tent after what seemed like a seven mile hike lit up by only the full moon and having to admit I got totally and utterly lost ... while only being a few feet away the whole time.
  • "Gayly" leading into "ostentatiously."
  • A Woolworthy reunion that would have made The Replacements proud.
  • "Did that woman just walk down those stepsto get onto that motorized wheelchair?"
  • "So apparently Little Switzerland is also Land of the Bees."
  • The return on the iPeel.
  • Pickle the Cat!
And there was so much more, but it is early on a Monday and I suspect it's going to be a busy day, so I may as well get on with it, eh?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Makes me wanna holla...

Today we go camping. Photogal and I are getting to the site his afternoon, so we'll have a big jump on everyone else who isn't showing up until later tonight. I'm pretty excited since this is the first time I'll actually be camping with a large group of my friends.

When I was younger, I was a Boy Scout, and we would camp all the time. As it is with most things we are forced to do when younger, camping became more like a chore and less of a joy for me. When I started dating photogal, who had spent her entire life in the 'burbs and then the city, she wanted to go camping and outdoorsy stuff all the time. I complied primarily because when you love someone you want to do things that make them happy even if those things are less than your cup of tea. You KNOW it's love when those things are more like stale coffee grounds than a cup of tea.

Last year, though, I had enough. Photogal's brother-in-law loves camping so I announced that, for the most part, I was done with camping This has worked out fine, but I knew that deep down Photogal was happiest when I was the one pitching a tent for her.

Wait, that came out totally wrong. You know what I mean, gutter-head!

Anyway, when this opportunity to go camping with a crew I knew and loved presented itself I realized it was a win-win situation for both of us. Plus, Photogal barely ever does anything social with my crew anymore so it would be great to let her see what a great folks the people she was less familiar with really were!

We're packing up the car first thing in the A.M., and then we're off, so wish us safe travels.


...and makes me wanna scream with joy.

We're only camping one night, though, since I set up a nifty little show at Subterranean Saturday night. By some fluke, three of the four bands contain all of the members of the final permutation of Woolworthy, so the evening will be extra-special for me since I haven't seen all of those guys share a stage (even though it will be at different points of the evening) since their farewell show a few years ago. Wow, has it been that long?

What makes the evening even more special is the chance to pair up some of my favorite Chicago bands with one of my favorite out-of-town bands (just so happening to feature my old college pal Ringo) Spanish For 100.

The icing on the cake? DJ Mother Hubbard is DJing in the downstairs space so everyone can see me dance / convulse after the show! Plus, since I'm DJing upstairs between bands, I'll have diPOD and tankPOD with me in case we want to mutiny and commandeer the decks.


Anyway, an I know I say this every time (and I honestly do believe it every time but this time it's REALLY true), this is a show NOT TO MISS.

Here are some mp3s of the bands performing (The track by The Assembly I've posted is actually something of a rarity, but it's an old fave of mine.) Take a listen, and I'll see you Saturday night!

Also, here's a poster in case you want to hang it in our cube / on your bedroom wall / on the ceiling of your sweet ride.

...heh, and here is what 1/3 of Spanish For 100 looks like at 3am...

Thursday, October 05, 2006


This is worse than a 30 Seconds To Mars concert.

Why did no one tell me the roof of the office at The Pontiac has a tendency to leak when rain comes down in great thundering sheets? Why did I just so happen to leave my poor little CD-mixer RIGHT UNDER one of those leaks when bajillions of gallons of water came down earlier this week? And just how priceless was the look on my face when I arrived to find my CD-mixer quite literally waterlogged?

Luckily for me, Rudy came through in a pinch and let me borrow his CD-mixer Tuesday, but that was just a single night loan. And, as fate would have it, next week's DJ is using CDs (the last few have been utilizing their laptops and iPods) and I have no electronic equipment through which to play CDs?

Bummer, huh? Anyone have any suggestions of somewhere quick / cheap in the Chicago area I can take my poor doused little baby for a look-over and possible repair?

UPDATE: The owner of The Pontiac has offered to pay for my poor widdle mixer's repair (which I think is awfully swell of him) so any suggestions on a cheap but dependable establishement to do the job would be especially appreciated now. Thanks!


Sizeable weekend.

I have a killer show I have lined up for all of you Saturday night, and I expect every person that reads this, except those who are out of town that weekend, to be in attendance. Friday I will be out camping in the wilderness of Wisconsin and tonight I will be at The Pontiac swooning under the influence of The Winter Sounds and shaking with the trembling might of Bicycle Tricycle.

I will also be jamming out to this all weekend, since Agent Spark's album has been tickling my pleasure centers as of late.

And while I'm on the subject of borderline cheese (because, admit it, the above is a slice of pretty simplistic, yet edifying, pop) here's another slice. This tune come from a group that comes from the long line of bands that once opened for Woolworthy.

Plain White Ts "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)"

And finally, a tune from what is turning out to be a super polarizing album, or, as my friend Peter the Bartender said of the group, "The kids I've talked to, they don't like The Killers. They say they're a band that are liked by old people that are trying to act young. The kids, they say The Killers are no good."

Truth be told, I don't think I've actually spun a Killers track in months and months, but -- and I admit this surprises even me -- I'm finding the straining limits of the new disc to be endearing. Anyway, enough jabber. Listen to this track that veers from '80s dance-synth to overblown bombast that would make even Freddy Mercury blush. Oh wait, I think I just descibed the new My Chemical Romance single by accident. This song is nothing like that. Come to think of it, this song isn't even on the new Killers album!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I didn't mean to start a backlash, honest!

From a live review about Catfish Haven's Memphis show, in Spin.com:

The trio have been covered extensively in the blogosphere, stirring up so much hype that a backlash has already begun on hometown site Chicagoist, where a debate was sparked on whether the band is genius or generic.

The aforementioned Chicagoist review is here. I don't feel the need to say any more, since the review and ensuing comments pretty much says it all.

I will say, however, I really think it would be a good idea for Scott and I to do more head-to-head reviews, especially since I think all criticism flowers under well-reasoned debate.


A backlash I’d be happy to start.

Has anyone else noticed a true degradation in the quality of the adhesive used to create the tape that seals CDs lately? In the olden days, I could forgive tape that pulled away in frazzled strips and left a sticky residue when the discs it was sticking to were clearly made on the cheap by labels that needed to cut corners (i.e. indies to whom the roster was more important than the packaging.) Lately, though, this phenomenon seem to ONLY occur with Major Label product! Have the downloaders finally cut into the profit margins so severely that poor Capital / EMI can’t afford anything but flypaper and saran-wrap with which to seal their product?

Now look, but griping about this in the first place I betray the fact that even though I do get lots of free music, and download music that's available, I still go out and pay for artist output on a pretty regular basis (much to the chagrin of Photogal and a two-flat whose basement, and a quarter of the first floor, has been usurped by music recordings / gear / paraphernalia.

This seems awfully simple to me: If you want people to keep buying your physical product, DON'T SKIMP ON STUPID SHIT!

Makes me wanna beat on the brat with a baseball bat, oh yeah.

Also, if you’re going to offer free downloads as a premium for folks that actually go out and buy the album on opening day¹, please don’t make it in some protected format that urges you to download "security keys" or "software" in order to make it playable, did you people learn nothing from that whole Sony/BMG debacle? Just make it a simple mp3, and let us skulk off with our digital music player of choice and listen to it at our leisure without any string attached.

Okay, thus endeth today"s rant.

Tomorrow we"ll talk all about puppies and squirrels and rainbows ... and why the Major Labels want to crush them all under their boot!

¹Beck sort of gets off the hook for this one since he inlcuded a free DVD with a $9.99 CD, however there was no excuse for R.E.M.'s "bonus downloads" to be protected WMA files.


Here, this will make me feel better.

Please enjoy these two photographs of my girlfriend tearing it up on a racing track on her vintage BMW.

Isn't she hawt?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Danger ... rock science!

So this post is a little different. It's actually being composed, not within Blogger, but within Writely. I've been itching to try out this online word processor for a while now, but just never had the time. Well, technically I still don't have the time, since I have to go to work and then a wake and then I'm off to DJ and (at the base of it all) these are actually the only spare moments I'll have to myself all day. But, hey, all the more reason to indulge myself, huh?

Tonight's DJ gig should prove interesting since my DJ partner is Menthol mainman (Bowie ref intentional there) Balthazar de Ley. Mr. de Ley and I have been crossing paths for going on twelve years or so here, now, dating all the way back to knowing the same Champaign / Normal crowd back in the day. I'm expecting a pretty wild mix (he's dubbed his set The French Connection, and I'm very excited to hear that name made manifest) so I would mark this down as a don't miss type of night. At the same time, it's supposed to storm like holy hell, so I recommend getting to The Pontiac early and grabbing some cheap shots of Maker's Mark early to avoid getting all rained on.

The lightning, however, will provide a most excellent backdrop for the evening.


Talk about a super Tuesday!

New releases from The Killers, Beck, and The Decemberists hit the street today, and all three of those discs are worth owning, in my opinion. But if your funds are limited, and you can only afford one disc tomorrow, then I would pick up the new Hold Steady disc I've been raving about since August. Trust me, YOU CAN NOT GO WRONG with this disc. Plus, when it goes super crazy popular, and everyone and their sister is spinning it and raving about it and it's on constant rotation at The Gap you can say, "Remember when they just sounded like Bruce Sprinsgteen and weren't more popular than him, U2 and Christina Aguilera all put together? Huh? Huh? Do ya?"

Okay, maybe it won't get that out of control, but I do predict infectious goodness to make its way around the earworm substrata thus making the influence of Boys & Girls In America inescapable.

Craig Finn image courtesy Kathryn Yu

Monday, October 02, 2006

Small thoughts.

  • It's supposed to be in the mid-80's today. There should be a law declaring any days over 80 degrees F that occur after October 1 automatically trigger a work holiday.
  • While Veruca Salt was enjoyable last Friday, the band that really knocked both Ringo and I out was opener Agent Sparks. And it wasn't just because the lead singer was adorably cute. The music was just so frickin' catchy, and it didn't hurt that they had the male/ female co-vocalist thing going on. When it's done right I'm a sucker fro that sort of thing.
  • Also, The Mugs were an entertaining show on Saturday. The music was sweet, and the band was tight, but the best thing was the bassist's aerobic workout that we assume was triggered by the pure joy of playing in front of an appreciative crowd. I think I'll have to catch them at Schuba's when they come through town again.
  • Saturday was just a hell of a lot of fun, actually. This was due in no small part to it primarily consisting of me, Ringo and Chatman running around town and amusing each other to no end. Inside joke alert: iPeel.
  • Photogal discovered that her motorcycle can go really fast and do that thing where it scrapes the ground because you're leaning just that hard into a sharp turn on a racing track. Great, my girlfriend is now an adrenaline junkie / thrillseeker! I don't know if I'm proud, impressed, or scared out of my wits by that piece of news.
  • The Decemberists new album is going to be huge. I like the band but admit that their success has mystified me a bit since, by all rights, they should be too dense and challenging or the general public. Honestly, I think this new disc is actually less accessible than their last, but all signs point to it being a monster (relatively to the band's previous releases) sales-wise. I'm not predicting Postal Service levels of crossover potential, but I think it's going to do exceptionally well.
  • Lastly, I'm on week two of the new laptop. I think I've finally gotten used to the compressed keyboard, and so far-so good on the wireless network / Internet connectivity front. I still haven't transferred all my files I'm going to keep from my old computer, since I still want to make sure everything is functioning perfectly before my 2-week no-questions-asked return period is up. Ant suggestions for things I should do to raod-test it thoroughly? Also, and this mat be betraying a level of ignorance on my part, the ads said the computer would have a 120GB hard drive, but when I click the C-drive icon in the My Computer section it only shows up as having 104GB ... would 16GB just not show up due to being allocated for something I don't know about? Sometimes I feel relatively computer savvy, and others I think I know how my dad must've felt sometimes when grappling with newer technologies.