Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Hipster must die!

The Hipster must die!

The Hipster must die! They're choking New York to death! We must stop them before the fully infiltrate Chicago!

Thanks to Mr. Smith for pointing out this most excellent selection of articles.

Microsoft finally does something cool.

Microsoft finally does something cool.

Seriously, this Surface thing? Fucking wicked.



Ringo, this is even cooler than the iPeel. Why didn't you clue me in?

... and around town ...

... and around town ...

Let's get local for a second (although I promise the themes will be universal, so my friends reading from beyond the Great Firewall of China, go ahead and keep reading).

__________

Billboard Madness

Man, people in the Midwest seem to have nothing better to do than bitch about public advertising, huh? Yesterday I read an article about folks in Glenview (a Chicago 'burb) that were all bent out of shape over a local billboard. The billboard in question? It looks like this.


Um, okay, what's the problem? I'm less offended by the photo than I am by the text suggesting the model in the photo might have cellulite since I think putting that idea into little girls' heads is far more damaging than seeing a woman lying on her stomach on a billboard. I guess if the residents were complaining about the MESSAGE of the billboard, I might be more sympathetic, but no, they're just being a bunch of fucking Puritans. Pascal Ibgui, the dude who owns the spa that put up the billboard, said he did it to appeal to his largely male clientèle. And I quote, "I don't want to sound like a chauvinistic pig, but this is a man's world." Right on dude!*

Here's another billboard, that was actually in Chicago, that pissed off a bunch of people until they forced its removal.


Okay, actually? I'm a little offended by that one. I don't think marriage should be treated so flippantly, but I REALLY don't think people should think that divorcing their husband or wife they have a chance in hell at landing anyone that even remotely looks like either of the models in the billboard. I mean, that's just a classic bait and switch, right? How repellent.

*And by "dude" I obviously mean "tool."

__________

No smoking inside because second hand smoke kills!

I've gone on the record as saying I'm against the smoking band on principle, but totally for it since it'll get me to quit smoking. Sure, I could huddle outside of all the bars like they do in New York or California, but really, aren't I better off health-wise by just quitting? And shouldn't I think the city council for getting all the dirty smokers outside?

Well, maybe not. According to Scientific American's 60-Second Science podcast, a recent study proved "sidewalk smokers hanging out in front of bars and restaurants produced more carbon monoxide than auto traffic did." Go ahead and download the podcast to hear for yourself.

Next step? The city council will stuff smokers into a bunch of mobile hamster balls sans ventilation. Problem solved!

__________

Shellac

You know, I like Shellac, I respect Shellac, I think what they do is interesting enough, but I just can't get excited about Shellac. I think it's because they just sort of do the same thing over and over and over again, and while they do it well, and I like listening to it, I just don't find myself going back to their albums for repeat listens too often after their initial release.

I do give them props for dropping a sample of Strong Bad in the middle of "Genuine Lulabelle" on their new album.

And I never get tired of "Prayer To God." That tune fucking kills.

__________

Also locally related, in a musical vein

You know who is you know where tonight. This evening's players are the lovely residents June Cleavage and Amber Waves, and I hear they will be joined by DJ Rudy Tuesday. The past few times I've spun I've noticed we're drawing bigger and bigger crowds and people seem to be taking top the dance floor. Let's go Chicago!


I'll be out boozin' it up with some of the Chicagoist crew, so maybe I'll try and drag some of their pretty faces over there later too.

Random photo of girls at Liar's Club by Dasha

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who run it? The Hood Internet DJs!

Who run it? The Hood Internet DJs!

I love the whole bill I put together for next week's Chicagoist 3rd Anniversary Show, but I'm particularly excited to see The Hood Internet DJs make their live debut. I've written about them on Chicagoist (and provided links to the legions of other folks digging their mash-ups) if you need a little context. Anyway, here's a poster they made up for the show.


MP3: DJ STV SLV "Snatch Da Crystal Cat Back"
MP3: ABX "Clipse Your Hands Say Wamp Wamp"
BONUS MP3: DJ STV SLV "Stuntin Like Black Rock"

Frankly, I'm amazed Arturo could focus a camera at this point.

Frankly, I'm amazed Arturo could focus a camera at this point.


Here I am at last week's Panic! looking particularly woolly, whilst Safecraka and Holly look effortlessly fabulous. Unfortunately I shall be missing the June installment of Panic! due to a certain birthday celebration ...

MP3: Monaco "What Do You Want from Me?"

Socking a clarification home.

Socking a clarification home.

I've been getting a few emails about this so I should probably elaborate a little bit about the punch I took Saturday night. To be clear, it was not brought about by any sort of argument or confrontation. It was late at night, I was at a familiar club with a bunch of friends, and I saw someone I haven't run into in a while. So I ran up and grabbed him and, he not seeing me come, reflexively took a defensive swing. If you're in a bar and suddenly someone grabbed you, you would quite probably do the same. So no, there is no retribution being sought nor should anyone think I would ever condone such a thing since I hold myself as one of the accountable parties in this situation.

Now, while I'm pleased to know I can still take a punch square in the face and not only remain standing, but also remain clearheaded enough to keep everyone calm before a simple mistake elevates into a full-blown fracas. At the same time, I'm not exactly pleased to get hit, since my nose and lip are still sore, and I must have some inflammation under the surface since my sinus is pressing along my teeth causing a few of them to be a little sensitive, so be rest assured that not only do I not think it's "cool" to take a punch, I'll be doing whatever I can to keep it from happening again!

Maybe I need to start wearing a little bell around my neck so I don't take anyone off guard again!

I'm not writing about Jeff Buckley.

I'm not writing about Jeff Buckley.

Why? Because all these "remembrances" and "visitations to his memory" only serve to provide press for his estate's efforts to continue to cash in on his fan base by releasing repackage after repackage of his scant catalog. And to dress reminiscence in an attempt to squeeze money from a corpse is a shameful thing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Early Warning: Partial Tank in '08 line-up!

Early Warning: Partial Tank in '08 line-up!

Here's an early warning to reserve those dates for the party of the summer. Tankboy will finally be old enough to run for President, so he's marking the milestone with two nights of insanity. Both shows will be at The Note and will include the following acts (although there may be a few surprise additions announced soon!)

TANK IN '08!
The Annual Tankboy
Birthday Party!

TWO NIGHTS!
June 29 and 30

Including (but not limited to):

The Beer Nuts
The Midnight Shows
The Sterns
The Blitzkrieg Bopz
Venom Lords
Farewell Captain
Mark Mallaman
The Bomb Squad DJs:
DJ Tankboy, DJ Cowbell,
June Cleavage, and Amber Waves

Funneling through the tunneling thoughts.

Funneling through the tunneling thoughts.

As befits a long weekend peppered by uncanny coincidences and surprise appearances by long-lost friends of all stripes, my brain has a lot to process right now. Yesterday was the first time the weekend's bullet train even started to slow down, and Photogal and I mentally medicated with a few DVDs¹ from Blockbuster, allowing ye olde brains to slow down ...

And now, back to the office.

¹My Super Ex-Girlfriend was pleasant enough, but I was expecting more from an Ivan Reitman movie. Smoking Aces was just about what I expected, and I saw half the twist ending about 20 minutes in, and happily the ensemble cast was good enough to make me be able to stomach the scenes with Jeremy Piven in them.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Things I did not do.

Things I did not do.

I successfully did not get punched in the mouth last night. I also didn't get any baked beans on my clothes after watching the wrestling match in the kiddie pool between bartenders and patrons at Liar's Club. I also did not allow my jaw to hit the floor when Diann said, "Let's do some shots!" and then later said, "Let's go to The Continental!"

I also didn't get to catch up on my reading like I had planned this weekend. I did end up catching up on a lot of DVD watching though.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Nothin' like a fist in the mouth.

Nothin' like a fist in the mouth.

Note to self: Don't surprise your friends by grabbing them unexpectedly. But if you do, make sure to repeat last night's action, and swiftly return your head to an upright position after getting socked in the mouth. And, for bonus points, don't hit the guy back.

But do try and clean up the blood before the next morning so your girlfriend doesn't comment on it. Whoops.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

This is a VERY exciting time in Chicago music.

This is a VERY exciting time in Chicago music.

This is more a note to myself to expand into a larger piece, but it doesn't hurt to clue everyone else in too. But I've heard the new albums from Frisbie, Venom Lords, Plane, and Farewell Captain, and I think they're all just stellar. In Frisbie's case, it's been about 3 million years since their last one, but the end result is so worth the wait. It's too bad their CD release got pushed back a month, but you can hear a bunch of their new stuff live at The Empty Bottle June 14. Venom Lords' new one is just a perfect little slice of zombie punk, and while I enjoyed their earlier songs, this new batch shows the band has covered miles in growth. Plane's new one is a bit more electronic than their previous discs, but it's just as catchy, and Farewell Captain's forthcoming debut is a classic waiting to be foisted upon the masses.

Anyway, I'll expand on these, and a couple other Chicago acts (like Airiel and Ultra Sonic Edukators, once I get their new ones) but we're in the middle of what I feel to be a bumper crop of promising new discs from local bands.

It's a wonder I'm still alive.

It's a wonder I'm still alive.

In the midst of a marathon weekend. So far I'm still breathing. I'm assuming it was a good call not to hit The Continental last night, so my apologies to any Panic! patrons that thought they might see me there.

Tonight: Round 3 - My return to DJ at The Pontiac. Getcher drink and dancin' shoes on.

Friday, May 25, 2007

DJ note to self.

DJ note to self.

While it's okay to play Rush at The Continental, it is NOT okay to play Rush at Liar's Club. Or Michael "The Walrus" McDonald, but I already knew that one.

Rickrolling is unnecessary when you have the real thing.

Rickrolling is unnecessary when you have the real thing.

This one's for Shea.

MP3: Rick Astley "Never Gonna Give You Up"

Let's see you get THAT out of your head.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A taste of Easy Tiger

A taste of Easy Tiger.

I'm reviewing Ryan Adams' latest, Easy Tiger, for UR Chicago next month, so I don't really want to go into my thoughts about the disc at large. However Adams has released two tracks for public consumption to whet fans' appetites, and I can say they are indicative of the direction of the album as a whole.

I can also say that Adams has thankfully shed the Grateful Dead-isms that made his last few albums particularly painful to listen to. (Except for the tracks Rach sang on, I like those.)

And that's all I'm going to say for now.

MP3: Ryan Adams "Two"
MP3:
Ryan Adams "Everybody Knows"

UPDATE: My apologies. I didn't realize they lopped the last 30 seconds off each track, so please be warned that the songs cut off before they're finished. I usually won't post tracks that do that, but these slipped by.

As your social director for this weekend, I urge you to heed my advice.

As your social director for this weekend, I urge you to heed my advice.

So I'm putting all this together for your perusal today since I'm sure more than a few folks are following my lead and taking Friday off to form a nice, relaxing four-day weekend. But man, is there so much to do this weekend. So let's break it down day by day, m'kay?

Thursday (um, tonight)
JB and I will be representing The Bomb Squad at Liar's Club. We believe in people power, and the more people that show, the more power we'll create. So everyone please come on out and support an evening of good music and great times.


Friday
Friday's gonna be an on-the-go kind of night. I'm starting off at The Note to celebrate the release of the new Venom Lords CD! I've heard a few tracks and can attest to the fact that this is their strongest work yet. So dress for a zombie beach party and get there early.

Afterwards I'm hopping in a cab (because I'll be in no shape to drive) and heading straight to Darkroom for Arturo and Pogo's monthly Panic! night. It's been WAY too long since I was able to attend one of their parties, and both boys always scratch that BritPop dance itch for me oh-so-well.

Saturday
I'm DJing at The Pontiac! Tankboy and Mikey (and maybe Peter?) Wonder Twin powers activate! (Also, don't be surprised if some special guests from my past at The Pontiac make an appearance for a surprise set. I'm just sayin'.) I haven't spun at The Pontiac in a few months so I'm looking forward to this one-off appearance. It could be packed or there could be four people there ... it's up to YOU to make the difference!


Sunday
God willing I'll find a BBQ where I can gnaw on a couple steaks or burgers or something to regain my strength just in time for Liar's Club's Memorial Day Party with Quadrophonica!


Monday
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

If you can resist Rihanna's charms you are a stronger man than I.

If you can resist Rihanna's charms you are a stronger man than I.

I'm a bit surprised I'm with Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad. I expected to enjoy it, but I expected to enjoy it on the level of Amerie's latest; it would be a nice listen but probably not something that would stay on the tankPOD for too long.

Whoops.

I keep replaying Good Girl Gone Bad, and I keep waiting to grow tired of it, and that's just not happening. Rihanna has crafted an album that will BLOW THE FUCK up, filled as it is with club anthems, sweet soul, loping beats, and some general weirdness to keep everything from getting too predictable. For instance take the track "Don't Stop The Music," which starts out with a slightly cheesy eurodance dumb-beat, before breaking down into a weird cross between Daft Punk-ian house and inner city R&B before running head on into Michael Jackson's (I shit you not) "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." the only thing keeping this song from taking over the world is that it might be a little too inventive for the average club goer.

Rihanna, I sure hope the world is as ready for you as I am.

MP3: Rihanna "Don't Stop The Music"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Boo! Mystery Jets tour postponed!

Boo! Mystery Jets tour postponed!

Due to VISA issues, the Mystery Jets have pushed back their tour to take place later this summer. Boo! No replacement dates have been announced yet. This supremely bums me out since they were the one show I was REALLY looking forward to seeing in a few weeks.

Oh well, at least their amended debut is finally available, so I can listen to that and hold out hope that the replacement dates will be announced soon ...

MP3:
Mystery Jets "Diamonds In The Dark"

Expanding the writer's palette.

Expanding the writer's palette.

People always seem slightly amazed when they discover I have a regular 9-to-5 job. I guess lots of folks who only know me peripherally just assume I support myself on DJing or promoting or Chicagoist or my freelance writing. I guess if I really wanted to I could support myself with those things, but I actually really like a) having a day job and b) having this day job (you know, the one I work right now, providing content for websites and building eMarketing strategies for companies).

Anyway, I was talking to some of the other writers at my job about getting some further design training and maybe a little extra experience doing some basic coding. I was asked if, perhaps secretly, I harbored a desire to move out of the writing pen and onto the design team. I answered, quite honestly, no, I didn't want to become a designer or programmer per se, but I certainly saw a value in continuing my education in those areas.

You see, in my opinion, writers for websites are going to have to become even more collaborative when it comes to the way the content appears on a page, and if the writer is already able to think a little bit along the same lines, and utilize the same vocabulary, as the design and coding teams then that only makes the whole project stronger right out of the gate at the concept stage. Writing for the web is not the same as writing for print or television or any number of other outlets. In many ways, if it's done correctly, it's much harder because you have so many things to think about, and in today's environment of personalized content, you have to envision the needs of every reader within every group you're hoping to communicate with. To that end, everything on a page matters: architecture, navigation, text, layout, images, links, appearance ... everything! At the same time it's incredibly exciting to write for websites because it's still a largely unexplored and rapidly expanding territory. It's actually exhilarating at times, especially when you come up with a new concept or a particularly inventive way to get your point across!

I know that sounds a little "Wild West" meets "Nerdtopia," but it's true. But because of that I think that since writers are now called on to basically be architects for the websites their team's create, it certainly can't hurt for those same writers to be as well versed in as many of their team's disciplines as they can so that the full potential of each project is thoroughly explored.

Can I get a witness?

Would Chris Cornell just STOP already?!

Would Chris Cornell just STOP already?!

Chris Cornell, why? First an unlistenable solo album. Then the abomination known as Audioslave. And now a second "tougher" solo disc that sucks as bad as the first.

Y'know, I wasn't even that big a fan of Soundgarden's stuff at the end of their run, but I think it's time to get the band back together because even their worst stuff was WAY more listenable than this!

Also, the things he does to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" are neither funny nor illuminating, but merely proof that the dude is just 100% clueless at this point.

I'm not even going to post an MP3 off this one, because that would only mean I hate you. And freedom. And that the terrorists have won.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I believe in Harvey Dent too.

I believe in Harvey Dent too.

It's already down, but you can still see what WAS on the IBelieveInHarveyDentToo.com website. And underneath all that?

The Joker.


Also, I got a peek at the set they're building for The Dark Knight in Photogal's building and it's a lobby of some sort ... but no sign of The Joker yet!

For the record ...

For the record ...

When I say I cried at the Arcade Fire show I mean my eyes welled up, not that I was bawling like a baby. It was more that thing where you're at a movie, and something on screen just hits right at your soft inner core without warning, and suddenly your cheek feels a trickle and there's nothing you can do about it because your conscious mind has no control over a moment like that. It was sort of like that.

Now that we have that cleared up, let's move on.

Except I really don't have anything to move on about, I guess. SPOLIERS FOLLOW, SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN LAST NIGHT'SE EPISODE OF 24 YET. Last night's 24 finale was satisfying enough, although I kept expecting Jack to get whacked up until the final seconds since the producers promised one final huge twist in an episode that seemed particularly lacking in twists. And I'm totally not buying that Jack's dad is dead, since Jack left him so conveniently right next to a small motor boat when he walked away.

I guess that's it for today. I got my eyes dilated last night for an eye exam, and afterwards I wandered around looking like some acid casualty with a Manga stare. The really unpleasant side-effect of the procedure is that while your vision at large is unaffected, your ability to focus on words is lost. So a magazine looks like a magazine, with crisp and clear pictures, and fuzzy lines where sentences used to be. Anyway, that's sort of what this week has felt like so far; everything is as it should be, but I'm finding it a little hard to focus.

Let's see if I can't sharpen things up today.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Arcade Fire review is up.

Arcade Fire review is up.

Read all about it.

Finales!

Finales!

Okay, so The Simpsons' 24 parody was not so much good, huh? At least the final episode was much better. Afterwards I finally got around to watching last week's Heroes on tankPOD and was struck at how well they've built the story and suspense on that show. Again, I kind of wish I had been watching that in real time this season instead of 24. Which brings us to tonight's big two-hour 24 finale. In previous years this is the episode I've always loved, but I just can't get excited about tonight. I'm actually more impatient for the Heroes finale to show up on iTunes tomorrow morning so I can watch that! In the end I'm willing to grant that Jack and Co. just had a really off day, and that was bound to happen.

Oh, and hey, The Riches are on tonight too, aren't they? Yay!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wedded bliss.

Wedded bliss.

The party to celebrate the union of Fagballs and Donna Balls last night was ... well I would say memorable if I weren't so sure most people lost those eight hours to the rivers of booze flowing through the banquet hall! Seriously though, it was lovely, the birde and groom looked as radiant as could be, and Kip delivered one the the best "best man" speeches I have ever heard. And by best, I mean it's a miracle he didn't get lynched! The best part of the evening though? I finally met the mythical Uncle Balls! Also, I managed to only almost get into one fight (with what I recall was a bratty Italian princess-type and either her daddy or her sugar daddy ... I'm not sure which), and I was voted best hair at the wedding (I'd like to thank my stylist, Jenny Evil, and my natural curls for that one).

And Kip, considering how long it took us to get home, maybe I should've stayed in that hotel with you! Assuming you actually ever made it out of the banquet hall, of course ...

And, finally ...TOM?!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

So, so good.

So, so good.

The Arcade Fire were so good last night there were priests in the audience abandoning their faith. Or re-embracing it, I couldn't exactly tell which. The review is written, but I'm waiting until Monday to publish it on Chicagoist. Here's a taste though:
The thing about an Arcade Fire live show is that every member of the band is giving it their all every second they are on the stage. Even the female sting players, left with agonizing expanses of time before being called into action, resembled possessed marionettes in the throes of constant orgasm, and this sensual fury was redoubled back at them by the majority of the crowd.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Late breaking Tankboy stuff!

Late breaking Tankboy stuff!

Just in time to help you plan your weekend I review the new Wilco (and use it to preview their appearance on tonight's Sound Opinions ep) as well as continuing to try and inform the unwashed masses about the genius of Sloan.

Dig.

Looking for a venue June 30 ...

Looking for a venue June 30 ...

This is highly unusual, and I never have this problem, but ...

June 30 is the date of the big Tankboy Birthday Bash, and I have a hell of a surprise band to play the night, but we have no room to do it in! All of my usual haunts seem to have June 29 open, but not June 30 ... and it's GOT to be June 30 due to scheduling issues with the bands.

Anyone have any suggestions?

I'd prefer the room to be in the Humboldt / Wicker Park / Logan Square area, aand it's got to have good sound. And I've got to have full control of the bill and DJs. And we will pack the place.

Shoot me any ideas!

Things this week you may have missed.

Things this week you may have missed.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is it Friday, 5 p.m. yet?!

Is it Friday, 5 p.m. yet?!

Oh crap, it's only Thursday! Well, at least y'all have one good thing to look forward to ... The Bomb Squad is at Liar's tonight! I'm not on this week, but the lovely Amber Waves will be joined by Therm One and Josh from La Scala. Does that make a sandwich with the man-meat on the outside? I dunno. What I do know is that it'll be a lot of fun.

I think Herb's back in town, though, so you if see a dude running towards you, beating a cowbell with a bottle of Budweiser, just get out of his way.

Speaking of DJing, I've been dying to fit a certain song into one of my sets, and now I hear it popping up in everybody else's mixes so it's probably too late, but I reckon I can still turn some of YOU on to the tune. Princess Superstar provides the vocals for this one. Did I mention I booked her at The Note a few years ago? She was nice if a bit self-important. I had The Molemen and Bumpus open. I'm still not sure if that was inspired or idiotic. Oh well, I liked the way the night turned out.

Now, licky.

MP3: Larry Tee "Licky (Herve Goes Low Remix)"

Gettin' a haircut.

Gettin' a haircut.

I'm getting a haircut tonight.

This wouldn't really be a big deal if it weren't for the fact that scissors hasn't gotten near my head in over two years. I think that's the longest I've ever gone without a haircut, so you can imagine the locks are getting pretty unruly by this point. Also, since my hair came in much curlier this time than it ever has in the past (I had really long hair from about, oh 1990-1996 or '97 before and it was wavy, but never this curly) I've been a bit reticent to fuck with it. My hair was never easy to trim, when it was long (when it's short, it's an easy cut, though), in the past, and since I'm not gonna chop it all off quite yet I'm hoping tonight's scissor session goes well.

I do have faith in my haircutting gal Jenny Evil, and I know she ain't mad at me because it's obvious I haven't committed any follicular adultery during our time apart, so I'm sure it'll all turn out okay.

And why am I not just going the simple route and doing the full chop? Well, even though Chicago summers can get hot and humid, and I know my hair will expand in that weather, and I'll curse the sweat streaming from my scalp into my eyes like desperate rivers flowing to their damnation, there's still just something about having long hair that I'm not ready to part with yet. It turns into sort of Samson thing, and I went through it last time my hair was past my nipples, even though this time it should be different since this time around I know I look really good with short hair. (When I was younger and I grew it out I was afraid I would lose my mojo or something if the hair went, but I was a young little vain fool (now I'm just old and vain).)

Plus, there's just something devilishly fun about having random women ask you how I get my hair to look the way it does and i can truthfully answer, "Nothing."

CAVEAT: The one weird thing about long hair is what I call the "assumed familiarity due to pregnancy." You know how perfect strangers often feel they have a right to feel a pregnant woman's belly? Well, I have perfect strangers walk up and touch my hair. It's weird.

If you like Placebo ...

If you like Placebo ...

... then you'll probably like The Hourly Radio. They singer's delivery is similar even if the band itself is a mite poppier.

They're on tour with Shiny Toy Guns and Rapture right now, but won't be when they hit Chicago and play The Note on June 11.

Anyway, I got their disc in the mail and was surprised by how much I liked them!

MP3: The Hourly Radio "Please Forget"
MP3: The Hourly Radio "Not A Victim"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry's sure in a for a surprise when the Baby Jesus is all like, "Um, the up-escalator is not for you boy-o ...

Jerry's sure in a for a surprise when the Baby Jesus is all like, "Um, the up-escalator is not for you boy-o ... hope you sucked in some asbestos down there on Earth, it might help where you're going."

In other good news, we've announced the line-up for Chicagoist's big birthday show!

Two Frenchmen and Uffie save me from the fluorescent daylight.

Two Frenchmen and Uffie save me from the fluorescent daylight.

I worked in the office later than usual yesterday, then drove Photogal to the doctor's, so neither of us got home until after 10 p.m., and once we did we were both exhausted. So now I'm up and on my way to the gym, and then the office again, and I feel as if it's just a continuation of yesterday, almost as if I never really got "me" time to decompress.

The weekend seems decades away right now.

I need something to help me keep the faith until it arrives.

Maybe this?

MP3: Justice (featuring Uffie) "The Party"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bursting at the seams ...

Bursting at the seams ...

I'm working on lining up the acts for the big Tankboy 35th Birthday Show (remember, I'll then be eligible for prez so don't forget to vote Tank in '08!) and if this all comes together it will be the best party yet!

I wish I could tell you more, but not until everything's finalized ...

Blogger of the Week: BreakThru Radio

Blogger of the Week: BreakThru Radio

Oh yeah, on behalf of Chicagoist, I'm a guest blogger at the BreakThru Radio (BTR) site this week. Just go to their site and click on the "Articles" link to access my entries.

Longtime readers will probably recognize the entries so far, since I've been revising some of my favorites, but head on over to see what I've changed, and to listen to BTR's audio feed.

Stop givin' Kelly so much crap, m'kay?

Stop givin' Kelly so much crap, m'kay?

Much has been made about the fact that Kelly Clarkson has supposedly gained weight.

Here is a picture of her singing at a recent show.


Now while she's not built like your average anorexic chart-topping pop-tart, she is far from being "fat." In fact she looks pretty damn good to me. Give a girl a break, and stop trying to force every fucking celebrity to drain themselves to twig-level in order to be viewed as attractive (See also: Lily Allen (another one who is far from being overweight) and her recent breakdown vis a vis her self-image as it has been influenced by industry expectations.)

People, I understand sex sells, but I don't believe that what is "sexy" can be so narrowly defined. I think Kelly Clarkson is super-sexy, and I think that's so because, yes, she's cute, but she also has a charisma that's addictive (I think it's what some call "star power) and she's unbelievably talented in the vocal department and I think it's all those things and a number of other intangibles that actually makes her so freaking hot.

I'm trying to put all this in a non - "sensitive - dude - who - respects - the - ladies" manner since that's not where I'm coming from. (Even though I am reasonably well mannered and sensitive when it comes to that sort of thing, I also understand that sometimes sexy is just sexy and devoid of and sort of pragmatic distancing.) I really do think Ms. Clarkson is hot in an "if - I - was - single - I'd - TOTALLY - chat - her - up" sort of way. Anyway, I'm just tripping over my own words at this point, aren't I? So I'll let it go. But I will say this; next dude who decides to call Kelly fat is getting it.

M4A: Kelly Clarkson "Never Again"

UPDATED: Hear brief interview with Kelly on KIIS FM wherein she speaks about Clive and her love of Guitar Hero.

California dreaming.

California dreaming.

I just had this weird dream where I was in California visiting my parents (even though my mom lives here and my dad is dead) and I ran into an old friend of mine, Regina. Regina worked with me at Kamehachi and has since sort of disappeared -- some folks think she did indeed move back home to California, others think she still lives here but for various reasons wanted to drop off the radar of certain folks -- and every once in a while I wonder how she's doing.

This all sort of reminded me of what it was like working in bars and restaurants for so many years, and how intense interpersonal relationships became in that environment. When you're working in the service industry there is a very us vs. them attitude, and since you tend to work with a pretty tight core group of people, you tend to grow very close to each other. I think it's even fair to say that you end up falling a little bit in love with them. I imagine it's a bit like a movie set or a theater troupe in that men become brother, women become sisters, and while boys and girls don't often cross the line into physical relationships the emotional bond is often there.

A couple lines ago I was going to writer that in any job you tend to fall a little in love with your co-workers, but I thought about it and that's just not true in most office jobs. I thought about it a bit and while I certainly have a fondness for almost everyone I have worked with in the past, the feelings I had for people at all th restaurants and bars I've worked at were much stronger. That would explain why when I encounter some of these folks years later, there's almost always that weird distance that we usually attribute to ex-lovers who we've been super-intimate with and now have to find a way to navigate around that forever roped off area we used to have total access to. It makes for bittersweet encounters; we want to still be BFFs, but we just can't go back.

Sometimes I miss the intensity of the service industry, the feeling of complete and total solidarity with your adopted family; but then, sometimes, I remember the stress, and the anger e all felt, and the survivalist tendencies we displayed out of necessity, and I'm happy I sit behind a computer and get paid for writing instead of having to smile at some fake-tan trophy wife and her brutish but rich husband.

Anyway, I had a weird dream about Regina last night.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Absolute pure fucking genius.

Absolute pure fucking genius.

I agree 100% with this dude when he says, "I am quite serious when I say I would be totally happy if this video was the World Wide Web's grand finale, and then the Internet just went dark and we all went back to making candles and reading the bible and stuff."

Now, just stare in awe.

My girlfriend may get to see Joker before I do? Bogus!

My girlfriend may get to see Joker before I do? Bogus!

Just found out from Photogal that they're shooting Rory's First Kiss in her office building for the next five weeks.

Of course Rory's First Kiss is the shooting title for the new Batman movie The Dark Knight!

Do you think my company will let me work off-site from her office for a few weeks? No, probably not. Dang!

James Murphy Clinton busts a smoove move.

James Murphy Clinton busts a smoove move.

One of the things I absolutely love about the new LCD Soundsystem is the numerous nods and winks to musicians past (and the full-blown Bowie worship certainly doesn't hurt either). For a dance album, though, he seems to pay scant attention to any of the masters of funk, which is probably one reason the whole thing is so fulfilling, since that forces mainman James Murphy to create grooves instead of mimicking them.

I guess he couldn't keep it all bottled up, since the b-side to his All My Friends single contains the Funkadelic-worshiping "Freak Out/Starry Eyes." It actually sounds familiar, aside from its obvious nod to Clinton's crew, and I want to say it originally was one of the section of the 45 minute "single" Murphy did for Nike, but don't quote me on that since I can't find the song on my computer right now. (I must've backed it up to DVD or something.)

Anyway, listen for yourself.

MP3: LCD Soundsystem "Freak Out/Starry Eyes"

Somewhat related: I've gotten to listen to the new Justice and I think I loves me some Frenchmen right about now. Whoa.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Spinal Tap ... where are they now?

Spinal Tap ... where are they now?

Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't just punch Marty DiBergi in the nose straight away, but ...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

UR Chicago bits.

UR Chicago bits.

My reviews of the new Sea and Cake and Moonbabies albums are out in the latest issue of UR Chicago. And if you look near the front of the magazine you might even notice that yours truly is profiled as one of the featured contributors. The magazine was recently relaunched by a new publishing team and a mostly new editorial staff, so if you haven't checked it out in a while, now's a good time to get back into it. It's gotten a lot less "clubby" and covers a better variety of music and cultural events. I really like the direction they're taking things. I think you'll dig it too.

Anyway, if you're not in the Chicago area, or can't find your own copy, you can download a PDF of the whole issue. Enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Takin' the day off for me.

Takin' the day off for me.

Tankboy is taking a personal day to attend to a minor physical tune-up.

Carry on.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The best description of the new Wilco album I've read so far.

The best description of the new Wilco album I've read so far.

This is from Joel Reese's profile of the band in this week's issue of Time Out Chicago:
Given the stellar band Tweedy has assembled, it occasionally feels like he's behind the wheel of a brand new Porsche but won't take it above 25 miles per hour.

You can download a nifty Wilco family tree created by Time Out here.

RELATED: My initial thoughts on the disc.

If this bar's a-rockin', please come knockin'!

If this bar's a-rockin', please come knockin'!

It seems like everyone has headed down to Jamaica for a wedding this weekend, so I have no idea who's actually bartending at Liar's Club tonight. What I do know is that I and Vinyl Ritchie will be providing the tunes and we hope that the dance floor gets packed. Or packt, if you're a Radiohead fan.

Also of note, I believe the guy that managed my old band will be there with his lovely wife since they are in town from Spain to visit friends and family, so you can get all the crazy stories about what I used to do on-stage from someone who was there, front and center.

Unexpected pleasures.

Unexpected pleasures.

I have no idea who Swati is. I can't find the one-sheet that came with her disc, and to be honest her album isn't even really good enough for me to search her out online and read her bio (although you'll notice I did at least Google up the link for you if you wish to do so). She hews a little too closely to the Ani DiFranco style of songwriting, and while i do enjoy me some Ani, I don't really enjoy it when people that aren't Ani try to write Ani DiFranco songs.

However there is one track on Swati's disc, Small Gods, that did sort of grab me. I offer you this as proof that, no matter what, I do listen to every CD that's sent to me, all the way through. If someone's going to pay postage to send me something, the least I can do is show the respect of listening to the music within, right? Well, there's that, but there's also the chance that a true little gem will be nestled amongst a mostly mediocre tracklist.

And that's the case with Swati's "2 O'Clock In The A.M." It's a mournful little tale that's differentiated from all the other late night laments by this slightly sweet edge to Swati's vocals. The truth is that the song doesn't say much lyrically, but it speaks emotional volumes sonically.

MP3: Swati "2 O'Clock In The A.M."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Chicagoist ♥s you.

Chicagoist ♥s you.

I must admit, even though I'm a Chicagoist editor, I find this person's list of the people they think we do and do not approve of to be kind of funny. The funny thing is that the majority of the staff really aren't urban hipster types (and a surprising number are transplants from the 'burbs since almost all of us came from those parts (and some, like me, started in Chicago and then moved all around the country before landing here)).

I've decided that when it comes to Chicagoist, some folks just come to the site with preconceived notions of who were are, and we're never going to change their minds, and that's okay. They're still reading the site and we appreciate anyone that takes the times to sit down and take in our little editorial asides on current news items and arts reviews.

Sometimes I worry because I get the impression our readers think we're talking down to them (and this is possibly exacerbated by our "third person style"), but the truth is that we love our readers, we love what we're doing, and we're grateful to be given a platform to write for so many folks. And we want everyone to enjoy themselves on the site.

But Steven, you forgot that people who listen to vinyl should be on the "approved" list, and people who listen to iPod minis fastened to their bodies via an armband are "disapproved." Please make that correction.

Hee hee.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Good for a giggle.

Good for a giggle.

Lily Allen's new video for "Alfie" is pretty frickin' funny ... and kind of oddly adorable.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Last week Illinois voted to apply a statewide ban on smoking. This would supersede Chicago's own proposed ban that was to go into total effect in mid-2008, and would also head off any attempts city lawmakers made to include loopholes that would still allow smoking in certain establishments. For instance, it was widely assumed that some vague wording about "a sophisticated air filtration system" might allow bars and clubs that installed such things -- specs to be named later, of course -- to continue to allow smoking on the premises.

I'm torn.

I'm a smoker. I've tried to quit in the past but always failed because, when you're in the midst of a four-hour DJ set, the call of the cigarette can be mighty strong. I started seriously smoking my freshman year of college which, not so coincidentally, is when I really started drinking as well. So it's no surprise that smoking is pretty hardwired into my social habits. I rarely smoke at home, and when I do it's often just before I'm leaving for a show / bar/ club / party. So, paret of me had been pulling for the sneaky Chicago city council to be the bastards they usually are and find a way around the ban so I could keep happily puffing away to my favorite band or deep into another thrilling DJ set.

On the other hand, I should probably be shaking the hands of my state lawmakers because, annoying though it may be, their steamroller action is not only going to keep Photogal's clothes smelling nice after a night at the bar (and, heck, with no smoking in bars she's more likely to go out in the first place), it's also probably going to force me to quit. If I can't smoke when I go out, I really will have no reason to smoke at all. I imagine the first few months are going to drive me up the fucking wall, and since the ban goes in effect during the deadest section of the Chicago winter I'll also probably find myself risking frostbite from time to time as I stand outside a club and shiver through a square. But in the end I'm going to have to quit, and when I do it's going to be because it's just not worth the hassle anymore.

So, from a civil liberties viewpoint one could argue this subject for days on end. I'm not even going to offer my own opinion on whether the legislature's actions are wrong or right. From a physiological standpoint, regardless of what my brain thinks, my lungs are probably going to end up happier in the long run.

AN ASIDE: All the above notwithstanding, the city's proposed ban on actors smoking on-stage is just fucking silly, and has absolutely no positive ramifications to recommend it.

MP3: Oasis "Cigarettes and Alcohol"

Monday, May 07, 2007

Wonkified!

Wonkified!

So Photogal just got a new PowerBook G4 for work, and she asked me to set it up so she can use our home wireless connection, so I of course took a look at the ol' Tankboy site for the first time through a Mac. Whoah! In Firefox my font is all crazy, and in Safari it lays out really nicely (which almost makes me think that whoever created the template did so in Safari way back when).

Anyway, does anyone have any idea how to fix my code so that my l'il site looks in all browsers the way I see it in Safari. And if not, can anyone advise me on at least a) fixing the font so it's standardized across all operating systems and browsers (as opposed to switching to cruddy Times New Roman in Mac Firefox) and b) can anyone advise me how to format the text so it justifies nicely instead of spreading out and creating gaps as it does now?

Bringing democracy to the Chinese.

Bringing democracy to the Chinese.

Idolator has what is purportedly the title track off Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy on their site. Give it a listen.

I don't know how the album can be anything but a letdown after its obnoxiously overextended gestation period, but at least this track offers hope it won't totally suck. It's much better than the earlier leaked "Better," by the way.

Proof that there is justice in the world.

Proof that there is justice in the world.

Joe Francis is serving time and crying like a little girl in jail, and Paris Hilton is about to do the same.

Usually Mondays suck, but this news really brightens my day!

In which, bit by bit, our hero continues to grow up.

In which, bit by bit, our hero continues to grow up.

Wow, I love Liar's Club but I found myself there three days, almost in a row, last week, and that was a bit too much. The music was great, especially Kevin Tihista's hit-filled Saturday set that had more people on the dancefloor than at the bar (which is really one of the highest compliments a DJ can get). As often seems to happen when Photogal's out of town, there was a lull in the usual flood of great shows, so Liar's became our default option.

The evenings out this weekend also instilled the need in me to reclaim two half-forgotten resolutions. When the party's over it's time to go home, and I need to work on keeping my drunken trap shut instead of letting the roiling undercurrent carry me away.

For instance, Friday night I was out with one of my best friends, and while the ladies that were accompanying him were at times painful to listen to, I managed to keep my comments to myself. Usually in that situation I would, as my friend describes it, "cut them to pieces without them even knowing it," but since I knew he was trying to ingratiate himself with one of the young ladies I managed to control myself and keep my responses brief and polite. On top of it, I managed to get out of the bar long before the lights came up and found myself in front of my couch, taking in Mean Girls, at an hour even Photogal would approve of. And at no time was I tempted to put a pizza in the oven so I could fall asleep while it was cooking. All in all a 100% successful evening!

Saturday started off promisingly, with Spider-Man 3 first thing in the morning (avoid the kids and crowds!), some housework in the afternoon and a trip to the gym in the early evening. I then hooked up with my DJ crew, who were on a completely different level that I since they had been celebrating The Derby / Cinco de Mayo since noon. Again we ended up at Liar's only this time a certain young man who has aroused my ire in the past for his ungentlemanly attitudes towards certain young ladies caused me to raise my temper. One of the wiser and more sage members of my own party was able to convince me that it would be in no one's best interests for me to escalate my verbal jabs into physical ones, a number of us left to have some drinks on a friend's front stoop, where I wound up my evening and then headed home.

There is a lesson here. And it is one that only works comparatively, but relies on Photogal being out of town for it to be useful under examination. In the past, on a weekend she was gone, I would usually wake up Sunday full of regret for staying out until 5am / saying unbelievably stupid and mean things / drinking too much / blacking out / what-have-you. This time I woke up full of regret merely because I said a few aggressive things to one person. I think this means I'm growing up. I still feel bad about doing dumb things, but at least those things are no longer massively dumb, right?

And I've said this before but it really only becomes more and more true as time passes; I have a lot more fun when I drink less and go home earlier. This weekend proved that yet again, since in this case two drinks and an hour made all the difference between the two evenings.

Enough of this introspection. Here's a tune to get you revved up for a new week.

MP3: The Deadstring Brothers "Sacred Heart"

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I have a confession to make ...

I have a confession to make ...

I really like Tony Snow. I download the daily White House press briefing during the week, and while I certainly don't agree with his boss' position on most things, I think Snow handles himself amazingly well and injects an unusually human dose into the proceedings. To see just how special he is, I invite you to tune into any of the briefings that Dana Perino handled while Snow was out sick being treated for the return of his cancer. She treats the press with barely concealed contempt and emotes the air of a woman who probably has a shrine to Anne Coulter erected in a corner of her office.

Please Tony, get well soon.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dance music Friday.

Dance music Friday.

Take it to the limit, everybody. Indeed, take it to the limit.

MP3: Strong Bad "The System Is Down"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Busy as a Winehouse in a Bomb Squad Thursday.

Busy as a Winehouse in a Bomb Squad Thursday.

Important things to do today.
  1. Drink coffee.
  2. Put on pants.
  3. Go to work.
  4. Go to re-recording session.
  5. Go back to work.
  6. Go home.
  7. Feed dogs.
  8. Shower.
  9. Go to The Vic.
  10. See Patrick Wolf.
  11. See Amy Winehouse.
  12. Go to Liar's Club (upstairs).
  13. Bomb Squad Thursday!
  14. Drink Maker's Mark.
  15. Cause Dave to run out of Guinness.
  16. Play that one song. You know, THAT one.
  17. Spoken word outro.
  18. Cab.
  19. Greet pups and kitties.
  20. Zzzzzzz ...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wolfmother ... small and intimate.

Wolfmother ... small and intimate.

I'm not going to say much about last night's private Wolfmother show at The Metro since i'm reviewing it for Chicagoist, but I will say it made up for all the disappointment I felt after missing them every other single time they've been in Chicago. I've always had a show, or a DJ gig, or was out of town ... and considering the amount of print I've produced extolling their virtues it began to seem pretty cruel that if I ever did see them, it was destined to be in an arena setting with a bunch of meatheads.

So I would like to thank a particular corporate entity for bringing them to Chicago and only letting a couple hundred reasonably well-behaved people into The Metro to see Wolfmother put on one hell of a 90-minute show. I don't even like your bourbon, but I've got to say that, as far as big businesses go, you're okay in my book!

BONUS POINTS AWARDED FOR: getting Photogal to pump her fist in the air, extensive use of the cowbell, gravity defying hair, my IT guy's girlfriend getting singer Andrew Stockdale to give her his vest

MP3: Wolfmother "Woman (MSTRKRFT remix)"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Coxon back in Blur?!

Coxon back in Blur?!

The NME is saying Graham Coxon is heading into the studio with Blur!

They better not be getting this wrong or I will swim over there and start cracking some sloppy journalistic heads!

NME said they talked to Alex James and he said, "We're all heading into the studio together this summer - Graham's coming too," he says, "We're gonna see if we've still got it. If not, I think we'll just call it a day."

I hope it works out, that would make me SO happy.

Define your day.

Define your day.


I've got to get an early start on the day so I don't really have anything for you. Maybe I'll get something else up here during my late-morning coffee break or early afternoon snack (lunch) break. It's so early I don't even know what kind of weather to expect. Is it supposed to be warm? Cool? overcast? Sunny? Rainy? Maybe if I knew I could at least post an MP3 to serve as the day's soundtrack.

Hey, I have an idea, why don't I decide what the soundtrack should be, regardless of the weather? There's a thought. So if I'm going to do that I guess I need to decide what kind of days it's going to be internally. And then we'll take that mood and externalize it. So nothing too aggressive, since that would be more appropriate on a day we were going biking or doing something more active.

No, today I think we all need something peppy and bright to keep us bubbly while sitting at our desks, or taking public trans, or making pancakes as a short order cook. So definitely some pop. But it can't be something that gets played everywhere, since we want to brighten our mood; we don't want to fray our nerves with the overly familiar.

I've got it! How about this?

MP3:
Natasha Bedingfield "I Wanna Have Your Babies"