Saturday, June 30, 2007

The rockers with their long curly locks ...

The rockers with their long curly locks ...

Hope Malkmus recognizes me at Pitchfork ... I chopped it all off.

Y'know, like Magnolia.

Y'know, like Magnolia.

Ready for ... round two!


Friday, June 29, 2007

Let the birthday madness begin.

Let the birthday madness begin.

It's finally here.


I'm still slightly embarrassed that this whole thing has grown publicly into a 2-day event, but it is what it is. Actually, my birthday celebration kicked off kind of quietly last night when Photogal treated me to a delicious meal at Morton's. I had a huge filet mignon and some super tasty wine. It was the BEST meal I've had in a really, really long time. Afterwards we finished our tea and coffee in the Morton's bar, and were approached by a couple who were very friendly. Very friendly, in the "let's go hit up the clubs together right away" sort of friendly. I didn't catch it right away, but Photogal pointed out that it was possible they were hitting on us. I'm so blind sometimes. And the weekend weirdness had officially begun.

Now, the public party begins. First and foremost I am extremely grateful that so many bands and DJs have come together to create two nights of kick-ass entertainment. I am sure tonight there will be much silliness, and a weird feeling of deja vu as we take over The Note. It will also be my first time DJing there since, what, 2002? There's a lot going on elsewhere in town this evening, so the fact that the party's going until 4 a.m. is a good thing since folks can attend their other events and then all make their way to my party.

If all goes well, The Beer Nuts will go on right at midnight tonight, thus officially bringing in my 35th year with a hell of a bang. Attentive types will also notice that the Saturday show is over at midnight. That is intentional. I mean, my birthday is over at the next midnight, right?

I also just found out that Saturday night Marky Ramone is DJing a few doors down, so wouldn't it be wild if he happened to show up and see the all girl Ramones cover band The Blitzkrieg Bopz? I swear I didn't plan this.

So to recap, tonight is the all-night party from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m., and tomorrow we rock from 8 p.m. until 12 a.m.

Strap yourselves in, it's going to be a wild weekend.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Antici ....PA .... tion ....

Antici ....PA .... tion ....

One more day!

I'm really wishing I was taking tomorrow off.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Geekery.

Geekery.

I love when The Economist's humor slips through, as it does in these lines from a report about the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio earlier this month.

One of the biggest issues at this year's convention was whether Baptists should be allowed to have a "private prayer language". The phrase is typically used to mean something different from speaking in tongues. That is done in public, and tongues can in theory be translated for a general audience. (In practice, tongues-to-English translators are hard to find.)
Ha!

Okkervil Wilson.

Okkervil Wilson.

For the record, this is sort of the way I always thought The Beach Boys should have sung "Sloop John B." Yeah, I know it was still a cover back then, and I know that it contrasted humorously against the melancholic strains running throughout all of Pet Sounds, and the pep in the tune made the complaining lyrics even funnier ... but still, I think it deserved a slightly more epic treatment.

Okkervil River hasn't reclaimed the song from The Beach Boys, but they have recorded the version I've heard in my head over the years.

MP3: Okkervil River "John Allyn Smith Sails"

Check it out!

Check it out!

Gina made a poster for Saturday's half of the party including two of my favorite things: Spinal Tap and my name.

Proof I was at Dark Wave Disco last weekend, another birthday, and a strong contender for the Song Of The Summer™.

Proof I was at Dark Wave Disco last weekend, another birthday, and a strong contender for the Song Of The Summer™.

I found a photo of me at last weekend's Dark Wave Disco. Apparently I missed at least one person dancing (for at least as long as it took for this photo to be taken).


What? You can't see me? The lumbering, long-haired hulk twice the height of everyone else in the room? Here, let me help you pick me out in the crowd.


I can't imagine why I wouldn't figure more prominently in the shot ... blasphemy!

In other news, T-minus 2 days and counting!

And now, I forgot to post this on the solstice last week, but this Bishop Allen tune is ahead in the running for Song Of The Summer™.

MP3: Bishop Allen "Rain"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pearl is back!

Pearl is back!

Good Cop, Baby Cop

On U-Hauls, street fests, Dark Wave Disco, AOR, and a 14-year-old's birthday party.

On U-Hauls, street fests, Dark Wave Disco, AOR, and a 14-year-old's birthday party.

I had a jam-packed weekend, even if I didn't quite get top hit every single event I had planned on checking out. Here are a few thoughts about what I did see.

Friday I ended up missing The Attorneys since Photogal and I decided at the last minute that we should rent a U-Haul and transport a bunch of stuff -- including a refrigerator -- to the Michigan house. And am I glad we did! You would not believe what a huge difference having a refrigerator in a house makes as far as giving the place that feel of "civilization."

I did make it back on Saturday, a few hours behind schedule, and made my way to the Switchyard festival. The event was sparsely attended, but I attribute that to it both being the event's inaugural year, and the fact that it seemed like it was going to rain at any second. (I've since heard that the other big street festival -- BAM -- ran into the same problem, and they've been around for years.)Personally I loved the weather, since it was warm but not hot, and I didn't have to worry about sunblock or dehydration. The only thing I really did have to worry about was keeping Kip's tongue out of my bellybutton, but that's a story for another day.

Of the bands I saw, Suffrajett definitely put on the best show. They had the biggest crowd, and even thought that still wasn't a whole bunch of people they played as if there were 3,000 cheering fans rushing the stage. I really enjoyed their set and think that their gut-bucket damn-sexy punk / glam / blues is well primed to take over the world, as long as they can continue to get the word out there. The Prairie Cartel played an abbreviated set of their dance-rock and while Scott seemed to be giving it his all and kicking total ass, I got the impression that Blake was holding back since the crowd wasn't massive. MAybe he just wasn't feeling it? I wish they had played a longer set, but I enjoyed what I heard.

The only other band I caught was Ultra Sonic Edukators. Most folks I talked to thought they were too derivative and too heavily in debt to Blur, The happy Monday, and the whole Brit-pop / Madchester thing. Now, I agree those are the band's OBVIOUS influences, but I had a blast watching them. I thought the songs were good, the stage show was wildly entertaining (even if I was a bit suspicious of the group coming complete with their own Bez-esque character) and they came across pretty much exactly as I expected them too. As for my naysaying friends, they're entitled to their opinion, but I think maybe they need to loosen up a bit when it comes to dance-rock bands obviously built upon wanting to have a good time.

After Switchyard I dropped by Darkroom to check out an event one of the Chicagoist music writers had a hand in organizing. Obviously she did a good job, because the place was packed. Unfortunately I just wasn't feeling the DJ, and once the first band started up, and began kicking out some AOR tuneage, I realized I was in the wrong place for the mood I was in.

So I made my way over to Dark Wave Disco at Sonotheque. Now, I like the guys who organize the event, but I think the time has come when it's becoming just another party. The room was pleasantly full without being elbow-to-elbow annoying, but no one was dancing. I'm really beginning to appreciate the skills of a number of late photogs since it's beginning to become apparent that in order to make a place look like a party, for the most part, you need an eagle-eye and a super-fast shutter to catch those few precious seconds where a handful of folks are getting down and having fun. (An aside, I swung through Clayton's Tuman's event on the way (mostly to get smokes) and am dying to see how he ends up framing the crowd since the room was pretty sparse. If anyone can make a party out of nothing, though, it's him.)

On top of that, the crowd seemed pretty unfriendly, which was almost the exact opposite of what I expected. The irony is that the bar staff was super friendly and down to Earth, which I honestly didn't expect from a borderline swank place like Sonotheque. The biggest letdown, though, was the music. I came expecting electronic rockin' attitude and was met with the same blips and bleeps you can hear anywhere. I've heard previous mixes from DWD nights, so I'm really just hoping I happened to stumble into a particularly "off-night" example of the monthly party.

So, to make up for the DWD letdown, I made my way back to The Continental to listen to Lisa and JB's set. Well, some of it. By that late hour my early start got the better of me, and after taking in a few tunes and sharing some words with friends that hadn't been at Switchyaard earlier, I found myself in a cab on my way home.

Sunday I spent the morning taking in DVDs on the couch (The Good Shepherd and The Last King Of Scotland, for those of you keeping track) and planned on hitting Switchyard and BAM again until I learned that it was my nephew's 14th birthday and he wanted to include me in the celebration. (Well, actually Photogal's nephew-in-law, but since we're virtually married I call him my nephew for simplicity's sake ... instead of saying "Photogal's brother-in-law's son, and her sister's stepson.)

Yes, folks, I turned down seeing a bunch of terrific bands in order to attend a fourteen year-old's birthday. There are just some things that are more important than music.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A beer commercial that's actually funny.

A beer commercial that's actually funny.

I know, amazing, huh? Photogal uncovered this one and brought it to my attention.

Misshapes ...

Misshapes ...

I'm listening to a mix the Misshapes kids did in Chicago late last year, and, um, yeah, interesting.

Let's just say their segues are clumsier than mine, even when I'm blind drunk. But that doesn't really matter, because they pick fun tunes that are right in line with what I would play to get a diverse group of people onto the dancefloor.* I'm just surprised so many taste-makers are enthralled with their DJ style. I mean, if what they do is lauded by international attention then I should have my own private Learjet by now!

Oh well, I'm not going to go over all this again, but considering I've been working the "everything AND the kitchen sink" approach for over 17-years, I expect to get a couple guest DJ gigs next time I'm in NYC!

*Although, that said, I think it's important to note (and pretty ironic) that the stuff they play is more in line with what I would play at Liar's Club on a Friday. My tastes are decidedly more "edgy" when I have more control over my sets and the crows is as open-minded as I suspect the kids at the Misshapes Chicago event were.

Coming up quick.

Coming up quick.

Less than a week until my birthday. Less than a week until the double-night dose of revelry. Less than a week until I'm old enough to be Commander In Chief a.k.a. The Decider! (Although my mom pointed out that even write-in candidates need their names on the ballot, so I'd better look into deadlines for petitions, huh?)

Less than a week!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Not that I'm (finally) back in the city ... things to do today.

Not that I'm (finally) back in the city ... things to do today.

The drive back from Michigan was rough ... WAY too much traffic. Anyway, now I have to gear up for:


BusyBusyBusy ...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Amen, brother!

Lifted verbatim from the always excellent Beachwood Reporter. If you don't visit that site daily, you really, really should.

The Reader's Miles Raymer writes "In Praise of Selling Out," but it's just a rationalization for something rarely acceptable. Sonic Youth doesn't have to record for Starbucks and Wilco doesn't have to license its songs to Volkswagen to reach larger audiences. They could use their imaginations instead. Buy Google ads. Play surprise free shows on rooftops of major American buildings. Hold a radio station hostage like the dudes in Airheads. License songs to commercials for causes you believe in. Sponsor an episode of Family Guy. Or just admit you're in it for the money. But don't bullshit your fans. I mean, why not just go on American Idol next season and be done with it?

Short and sweet.

Short and sweet.

BusyBusyBusyBusy weekend ahead. Tonight, though, there's only one place to be. Schubas. To see The Attorneys and The Safes.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

MOBfest ...

MOBfest ...

I couldn't take it anymore, I had to share my thoughts on MOBfest, and it seems to have kick-started a discussion about the whole thing. Stop by and share your own thoughts.

Holy crap, is it Thursday already? Wow!

Holy crap, is it Thursday already? Wow!

After too many weeks off I'm back at Liar's Club on a Bomb Squad Thursday, and tonight I'm joined by Skid Marks of The Ladies And Gentlemen. Last time Skid and I spun together was at Hideout just before New Year's, and this couple asked us if we would DJ their wedding because they loved our mix so much. I think their exact words are, "So many DJs just don't get it, but YOU do!" The memory can still cause me to blush. Alas, we didn't DJ their wedding, but that's only because I'm an idiot and lost their contact information. Sorry!

Anyway, since there's only two of us, that means we get to spin slightly longer sets, which is terrific because I have an unbelievable amount of terrific new music to play. You wold have thought I would have gotten through it all during my six hour set (why does everyone seem to think that's such a long time to spin when I think it's too short?) at The Continental last week. Well no, no it wasn't nearly enough time. There's just too much great stuff coming out right now.

I believe Timmy and Haggerty are behind the bar, so the drinks'll be strong, and if Herbie's there I'm sure you'll hear a bunch of new Bad Brains stuff since I finally got around to getting him a copy of their (surprisingly solid) new one.

And then we're off into the whirlwind weekend double-punch of the locally stocked Switchyard Festival and the Belmont Arts and Music Fest (featuring the do-not-miss act The Wrens!!!!). And wait, isn't Sunday the Pride Parade too?

I love summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ira Glass just sent me an email.

Ira Glass just sent me an email.

Seriously, Ira Glass just did send me an email asking to listen to him on the radio and pledge this morning!

O.K., it was generated by the Chicago Public Radio volunteer / member list, but still. I already donated to my local NPR affiliate (that brings folks around the world shows like This American Life and Sound Opinions and Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me) earlier this year, and don't have the disposable income to make another big donation. But maybe you do? If so, support Chicago Public Radio today, and be sure to tune in this A.M., since Ira is the most amusing guy to listen to during the pledge drive (although Lisa Labuz and Jerome McDonnell are a close second and third.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Riverboat Gamblers AND Birds Of Avalon AND Valient Thorr AND ...

Riverboat Gamblers AND Birds Of Avalon AND Valient Thorr AND ...

I usually don't get so excited about something as seemingly inconsequential as a local tour date announcement, but look at this line up.


Ho-lee shee-it, THAT is one HELL of a line-up. We already know how I feel about The Birds Of Avalon and The Riverboat Gamblers, and every time they're in town I seem to miss Valient Thorr, so I'm really looking forward to this.

Which reminds me, I was flipping through FUSE the other day ands say a video for The Riverboat Gamblers. I almost fell off the couch in surprise. The treatment was a bunch of B-movie sci-fi horror schlocky fun. I have a hard time envisioning some mall punk digging them, but I guess some of the guitars on their latest are clean enough to appeal to that sort of ear. And they certainly can knock out the high octane hooks. Hmmmm ... and I just noticed the Chicago stop is an all-ages show.

Shit, it's going to be packed in there, isn't it?

Here's that video I was talking about.

Bat ... pod?

Bat ... pod?

Hmm ... interesting. Wonder if it'll be in Chicago at all.


Here's what it looks like sans Batman.

AND REMEMBER: Just because those terrific photos I got of the Wayne penthouse aren't immediately visible, that doesn't mean you can't see them.

Hillary and Bill Soprano.

Hillary and Bill Soprano.

This is totally worth watching, if only to see Bill Clinton wishing for onion rings ...


I'm waiving my consulting fee for you, Clive Davis.

I'm waiving my consulting fee for you, Clive Davis.

As a follow-up to my earlier thoughts on Ms. Clarkson's new disc, "One Minute" REALLY should have been the lead-off single.

MP3: Kelly Clarkson "One Minute"

KellyKellyKellyKellyKellyKelly ...

KellyKellyKellyKellyKellyKelly ...

Now that I've finally heard a much better quality version of Kelly Clarkson's forthcoming album My December, I can sort of see why Clive Davis is so freaked out ... and also see just how out of touch that old school industry types like Davis are. Davis is one of those grand old men oin the music industry that view artists as nothing more than mouthpieces and pawns whose movements should be engineered by corporate big wigs to insure maximum ROI. Considering how much money they sink into albums and their roster's acts, it's not so surprising that they think that way, but it is a pretty clear indication as to why their thinking has contributed to a pretty steep decline in power and influence for the Major Labels.

(And no, I'm not trying to imply that file sharing isn't the biggest factor in their decline, but I still firmly believe it was their business model that led to the rise of file sharing in the first place. People got tired of being ripped off for crap.)

In Davis' defense, there is nothing on My December that will approximate the success of "Since U Been Gone." It's a dark album, reflecting a young woman at a crossroads, unsure of which direction to go, and indulging in a bit of self-reflection while trying to divine the proper path. It's already on the receiving end of some early fan backlash, but I think those folks are listening to a rather shoddy webrip of the disc, and the poor sonic quality is unfairly shaping their opinions of the songs themselves.

The fact of the matter is that while Clarkson is definitely trending more towards the rock end of the pop spectrum, she's still firmly in territory she's already mapped out with great success. I'm not exactly sure why the first single was"Never Again," since it's shriller and less tuneful than almost anything else on the album. Instead Clarkson should have released something like the mopey lyric-ed but tunefully bouncy "How I Feel" or the chugging dance-rock of "One Minute." The point I'm trying to make is that the album as a whole is successful in its goal of trying to keep Clarkson relevant while continuing to craft a long-term career on her own terms.

The album is not perfect, and there is a syrupy trio of songs smack dab in the middle of the disc that does brings things to a grinding halt, as well as the odd Pearl Jam-lite track "Can I Have A Kiss," but there are at least as many good songs on this album as there were on Clarkson's mega-hit Breakaway.

So Clive, I think it's time to step back, and face up to the fact that the strings you're used to manipulating your marionettes with were cut off Ms. Clarkson's limbs long ago. She may yet fail fail in her gambit for personal artistic integrity in the court of the marketplace, but that's a chance she has earned the right to take.

MP3: Kelly Clarkson "How I Feel"

Monday, June 18, 2007

I still don't have a crush on Obama.

Ah, Barack, here we go again. I see your following is making its mark on the Internerd again this week. Obama fans tend to be younger, hipper, and creative and it makes sense that it's this crew that's really utilizing online tools to stump for their guy first with the Hillary Big Brother Apple parody, and now with the YouTube pop explosion.

These are the things that I like about Obama's influence. His campaign does seem to actually be invigorating younger people and is causing them to become involved in politics in a way they haven't been in a long time. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that The U.S.A. is in such sorry shape, and under such ham handed leadership, that something had to give sooner or later. But when you add Obama's promise of "politics not as usual" you reach a boiling point that has inspired a great many people.

At the same time, his reach has been over amplified by the media and the web, since his core following is still reasonably small in comparison to the other front runners. It's a vocal following, but it's not a following threating to tip into the majority any time soon. Personally, I like Obama, but I'm slightly insulted that he's trying to sell himself as a candidate unlike any other, when he in fact has gotten to a position of power through the same deal making and back room agreements and blah de blah that every single modern politician on a state or federal level has to participate in. I don't judge him harshly for doing so, but I do disapprove of his attempt to portray his past as nothing short of sparkling clean and riding on the shoulders of inspiration.

The guy still has a chance, though. He could still win my vote. And while I respect and am invigorated by the novel new messages being created and sent out by his supporters, I'm still waiting to hear something novel and new from the man himself.

MP3: Obama Girl "I Got A Crush On Obama"

UPDATE: See?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

And on the seventh day ...

And on the seventh day ...

How do you know you're doing a good job from the DJ booth? When the bar's air conditioning is out, the room is still packed, and people are dancing instead of leaving.

Thanks to everyone that's made the time to come out to any of the shows / DJ nights this week, as always, I really do appreciate it!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The party just don't quit.

The party just don't quit.

Wow, last night was great. I got to work some tunes into my set that haven't been used since I DJed at The Gallery in Normal! And JB and Lisa were AWESOME!

Now I am recuperating (thank God I went home after Liar's and resisted the call of the 4 a.m. siren) and charging up for my six hour set at The Continental tonight. I have a ton of new music to try out and a whole catalog of proven heavy hitters ready to swing the crowd in action.

Did I also mention there was an American Idol contestant at Thursday's Empty Bottle show (at least that's what D told me)?

What a weekend.

NOTE: That photo was not from last night. We weren't even upstairs. I just like looking at the massive Liar's Club fez.

Friday, June 15, 2007

DJ madness!

DJ madness!

I feel like I've been running at full speed all week long, and it's not letting up anytime soon.

Tonight the one, the only, the original Bomb Squad -- June Cleavage, Amber Waves, and I -- will be spinning downstairs at Liar's Club. This is sure to be legendary. Rockers versus yuppies versus bachelorette parties versus freaks versus geeks versus dweebs versus jocks. Expect LOTS of pop and Top 40 and retro dance stuff. Fridays are always packed with people desperate to get their bodies moving and we will do our best to satisfy the crowd's needs until they can't dance no more.

As Ms. Cleavage is fond of saying, this is the perfect chance to "getcher silly on." Or, as Ms. Waves might say, "Don't miss it, dummy!"

Seriously, though, I'm psyched. All you girls who have ever asked me to play Madonna, or Erasure, or Kelly Clarkson, and been met with a "I'd really like to, and I have it, but I can't play it in this bar ... they'd kill me." Well, now is your chance to hear me spin all the hits that make you just want to dumb it up and get your never ending dance on.

And the timing couldn't be more perfect, since playing all the fun dancey pop stuff at Liar's will help me get it out of my system so I'm in full-on dangerous mode for The Continental tomorrow night! Now, don't think just because I can't play Xtina there that I won't be playing dance tunes, they'll just be of a slightly hipper and more underground variety.

It'll have this kind of vibe:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

An evening of firsts.

An evening of firsts.

Tonight is the first time I'm putting on a show at The Empty Bottle. It is also the first time I've been able to get Frisbie on a Tankboy bill, although we've been trying to work together for over seven years now! It is also Sleeps With The Fishes' first ever show; fancier folks might even call it their debut. it is also the first time I'll be seeing Aaron (an old and close friend, and guitarist for Spanish For 100) since he quit working for The Man and decided to work in independent radio instead.

MP3: Frisbie "S.F.B."
MP3: Spanish For 100 "Attack!"
MP3: Sleeps With The Fishes "Biting Heads"
MP3: Sleeps With The Fishes "Leave You"

Across town The Bomb Squad begins our two-night stand at Liar's Club. Tonight we're upstairs -- some fine rock bands are playing downstairs -- and we've lined up White Stripes Icky Thump giveaways and will be previewing the album for our lucky partners in dancecrime. Josh De La Scala, DJ Rudy Tuesday, and DJ Fisticuffs will be holding court as your musical guides for the evening. Tomorrow the core Squad -- June Cleavage, Amber Waves, and I -- will be spinning downstairs ... but more about that tomorrow.

And did I mention I'm DJing at The Continental Saturday night? man is this a busy week ...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." is free at iTunes!

Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." is free at iTunes!

I was checking out the iTunes store to delve through the podcast section, when I noticed that Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." is the single of the week over there and is available as a free download. If you're one of the three people that haven't heard this song yet, now you have no excuse.

Paris Hilton probably hates The hood Internet almost as much as she hates Sarah Silverman.

Paris Hilton probably hates The Hood Internet almost as much as she hates Sarah Silverman.

DJ STV SLV is a) an evil motherfucker and b) a comic mastermind. This is evidenced by today's The Hood Internet offering, a mash-up of Paris Hilton and Petey Pablo titled "Get Stars Out Of Jail." In related news, Christopher Hitchens is completely off his rocker.

Back to The Hood Internet. They've also posted a summer mix of the jams of '07 that's an enjoyable listen. Although I couldn't help but notice that it VERY closely resembled the set at the Chicagoist birthday party last week, which leads me to wonder if this mix is a recording of that event, or if that event featured a recording of this mix.

Clarifying the whole two-night birthday show thing ...

Clarifying the whole two-night birthday show thing ...

Originally some friends of mine who used to be in one of my absolute favorite local bands were going to reunite for my birthday this year. However, the venue I was using would only let me use the room until midnight on my birthday proper, the only night this particular band could play. In order to make up for the brief time allotment, the fellow that books the venue said, "Well, why don't I give you all night Friday, so you can have your show and then DJ until the bar closes at 4 a.m.? And then we'll just have another show with BAND X the next night. It'll be a two-night birthday party!" I thought about it, figured I could easily round up enough bands to cover both nights, and we'd just have one hell of a party. Plus, 35 is a pretty notable age, so I reckoned I could get away with using that as an excuse for two nights of celebrating. Plus, no one could say they couldn't make it to one or the other of the shows, so everyone was covered.

Well, the band I was psyched about had to drop out due to even more sever scheduling conflicts (though I wasn't too bummed since they still want to play later this summer so I'll still get to see them). Once they did I had the option to just condense the whole party into a single night, but doing so would have bumped OTHER bands I had already booked and was super psyched about seeing, and in the end I didn't really want to do that. So it was decided to keep the celebration over two nights.

So I just wanted it clear that the whole thing wasn't just because I wanted two days of people saying, "Tankboy, you're awesome!" I mean, heck, I like that kind of treatment just as much as the next guy, but it certainly wasn't the original impetus -- and it's still not, really -- for a two-night birthday bash.* I just wanted to include as many of my favorite bands as I could and, not surprisingly, they just don't fit in two nights! Truth be told, if I had booked everyone I wanted to, you might have all been in for a "Tankboy Birthday Month" so you should count your blessings ...

Anyway, now that that's hopefully a little clearer, I do hope you'll join me at The Note (and yes, isn't that an interesting place to celebrate a milestone of sorts?) June 29 and 30 when I celebrate my birthday with a few of my friends!

THE TANK IN '08 SHOWS!

June 29
The Beer Nuts
The Midnight Shows
The Sterns
The Bomb Squad DJs;
DJ Tankboy, DJ Cowbell,
June Cleavage, and Amber Waves

June 30
The Blitzkrieg Bopz
Venom Lords
Farewell Captain
Mark Mallman
DJ Tankboy

*Not that I'm not going to enjoy it, mind you.

Batcycle

Batcycle ... but not THE Batcycle.

Since I mentioned it, everyone's been bugging me about it, so here's the picture of the Batcycle I was sent. Unlike the Bruce Wayne penthouse pictures, though, I have no idea if it's legit or not since I didn't actually take the photo.


UPDATE: Just got this in the comments, "I don't have proof, but this picture is a custom chopper job from early last year, if not earlier, but that's when I first saw it. This bike was not made for the new movie."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fall Out Boy follow-up.

Fall Out Boy follow-up.

I remained steadfast, but decided to send one of the Chicagoist music writers to cover the event in my stead. Boy am I sure glad she went, and that she had a camera! Awesome work, Lizz!

UPDATE: Video of the set has surfaced, and it appears that the crowd was actually enjoying it for the most part, especially during "Sugar, We're Going Down."

Night after night after night after night ...

Night after night after night after night ...

Man, do I have a LOT going on this week. I'll fill you in with full details about each event the day of, starting with tonight 's show at Double Door.

I put together this bill to support She's Your Sister as they hit Chicago on their national tour. They used to live here, and Jenn used to be a regular at tankboy events in the past as well as playing bass in one of the longer lived Rockit Girl line-ups, so I'm always happy to help her band out since they relocated to California. Also on the bill is Black Nag, a dark, noirish country project including one of my favorite local songwriters Dorian Taj. It's my first show with them, so I'm looking forward to seeing them on the big ol' Double Door stage. Smack dab in the middle slot is Roosevelt Jenkins, a modern rock five-piece that specialized in driving emotive songs (one might even call them emo, but Rites Of Spring emo, not Fall Out Boy emo).

Here's a poster Black nag made for the show. I like it.


I couldn't find a decent quality Roosevelt Jenkins MP3 since their music page seems to be busted, but you can hear some of their songs on their MySpace page. I do have a taste of what you can expect from the other two bands, though.

MP3: She's Your Sister "Sweet Sorrow"
MP3: Black Nag "Changeling"

Also coming up this week ...

THURSDAY
I'm super excited about my first show at The Empty Bottle! On the bill are Frisbie, Spanish For 100, and Sleeps With The Fishes.

And, over at Liar's Club, we've got Icky Thump and we're playing it and giving away other White Stripes related paraphernalia. The guest DJs will be Josh De La Scala, DJ Rudy Tuesday, and DJ Fisticuffs.

SATURDAY

I'm spinning at The Continental. All by my lonesome. NO back-up! It should be a long-winded sonic treat since I haven't had a stretch of that time myself to spin in quite a while.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pictures from the Batman set.

Pictures from the Batman set.

These are all shots from one of the Batman sets (no, I'm not telling you where it is) where they're doing some filming for The Dark Knight over the next few weeks ... it looks like they've built a couple rooms in the lobby. The picture with the bookshelves? Those shelves are actually covering huge elevator banks. Maybe this is one of Bruce Wayne's places? That's my guess since Christian Bale was on the set filming over the weekend ...


Sorry about that, but Warner is apparently upset these photos got out, even though there are NO signs prohibiting photography in the building the photos were taken. My guess is that the buildings' own security team was tasked with keeping people off the set, but judging by the number of random folks you can see wandering around and gawking at the set throughout the day, they're obviously doing a pretty bad job of it.

Like I said, there are absolutely no signs saying photos can't be taken (and, duh, there's a huge window on one side of the set so anyone walking by outside can snap pictures to their little heart's content) so personally I feel that I shouldn't have to take down the photos. However, because I'm a considerate fellow, and a fan of what the studio has allowed Christopher Nolan to do with Batman, I've removed them from my site.

Don't fret too much though, considering the number of people that have been through here in the past few days I'm sure the shots will live on upon various other fan sites and message boards.

UPDATE: Well, I'm guessing by the number of hits that this post has been discovered by the Batman fan community. Welcome folks. I usually write more about music and pop culture stuff, so feel free to look around while you're here. Also, thanks to those of you that have helpfully pointed out that the set above is most probably Bruce Wayne's penthouse.

Now HERE'S an event I can get behind tonight.

QOTSA + Liar's Club = FunFunFun!

Don't feel bad for not getting an invite to see Fall Out Boy. Who needs to go to something like that when Liar's Club is having a Queens Of The Stone Age record release party tonight?

Fall Out Boy at Schubas? Nah.

Fall Out Boy at Schubas? Nah.

So I got an invite to go to some party and then go see Fall Out Boy play Schubas tonight (don't even bother showing up or trying to get in, it's invite only, kids). I have to admit, for a minute I was tempted. It's always interesting to see a band used to selling out amphitheaters readjust to a smaller room like that. But a number of things have led to my decision to pass it up. First and foremost is the fact that, despite giving their last album an honest and not uncomplimentary review, I'm just not a fan of the band. I can respect their pop smarts, but none of their songs ever stays in my personal rotation once I've reviewed one of their albums.

A second reason is fueled by an annoying email I got about an after-party in their honor at Debonair last night, which was sent out to everyone on the club's list, but specified that "no dudes" need apply for entry. Now I don't personally know too many male Fall Out Boy fans over the age of, say, fifteen, but I still rankle when I see a directive like that since I think it's a rather thoughtless way to treat a band's fans. Who knows, though, maybe it was the club trying to impress the boys with the male to female ratio and the group had nothing to do with it? Maybe. Regardless, it came off as tacky.

Finally, what the point of seeing a band like Fall Out Boy in a room full of jaded journalists drunk on free booze provided by a clothing manufacturer? I mean, if anything, Fall Out Boy is a band that owes its success to their fans, not the critics that have been knocking them since before Pete Wentz discovered guyliner, right?

On the other hand, what if Kanye showed up to provide a guest verse on "This Ain't A Scene ..." and I missed it?

Nah, I'll take my chances.

MP3: Fall Out Boy "This Ain't A Scene It's An Arms Race (Kanye West Remix)"

UPDATE: I Do have to admit I'm awfully curious though ... so, to quote Ren & Stimpy, "Will he hold out, folks? CAN he hold out?"

ANOTHER UPDATE: I held strong, but my curiosity MUST be sated, so I sent one of my music writers from Chicagoist (who, incidentally, actually does love F.O.B. even though she is usually indier than indie in her musical tastes) to cover the show in my stead. Hopefully photos of her and Ashlee dancing up a storm with be all over the Internerd tomorrow.

The Attorneys you don't want to bury at the bottom of the ocean.

The Attorneys you don't want to bury at the bottom of the ocean.

The new UR Chicago is out and I've got another two reviews in it, so either pick up a copy or download the PDF to see what I say about the new Ryan Adams (not so great) and the new Polyphonic Spree (pretty great).

Also, I meant to mention this last month, but the mag is now offering a podcast to go along with each issue, profiling bands mentioned plus whatever else seems to be pricking up the staff's ears that month. It's usually an entertaining mix, and this month the stand-out track is definitely from The Attorneys. It's such a freaking great combination of early '80s sounding power pop and super punchy '70s K-Tel goodness (and I mean that in a non-ironic wholly complimentary way) I actually went right to iTunes to download the whole album. And I was not let down, the disc is fricking great.

No, strike that. The disc is FUCKING great.

I love it when some band I've never heard of pops onto my radar like this. They appear to be playing in Chicago at Schubas with The Safes (!) on June 22. That has the promise of being a near perfect bill if The Attorneys can deliver the goods live.

Here's the song that initially slayed me. The rest of the album is just as good.

MP3: The Attorneys "On A Whim"

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Salon tackles Paris.

Salon tackles Paris.

Salon's Heather Havrilesky and Rebecca Traister have written a terrific opinion piece about the whole Paris Hilton thing. I strongly urge you to read it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Boys in the band.

Boys in the band.

Looking into the archives, I was surprised at just how long Kip has been after me to play in a band with him. Here is a picture of Kip with his cousin, who plays guitar in the band.


It's gonna be interesting.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Suck it!

Suck it!

Paris is going back to the Big House. My favorite quote? When she turns to her parents and bleats, "It's not right!"

You're right, honey. It's not right that you actually got a judge willing to treat you the exact same way everyone else gets treated. Put that in your Sidekick and smoke it.

Five more years?

Five more years?

And, also, I just noticed this here site has been up and running for five years, but I totally missed my own anniversary! I also realized that with that anniversary, I could celebrate a second since in some way, shape, or form, the content that propels this place has been on the Internerd for ten years. Actually, the original purpose of this site was to be an archive for all those old posts, but we can see that didn't really take, huh?

This Friday feels like a Monday.

This Friday feels like a Monday.

Seriously, what the fuck is up with that? To add to my overall mood of grumblyness, let's pile on my fury that Paris Hitlon is out of jail and under house arrest already. I learned the news at the gym yesterday and almost punched a locker. If I was an underprivileged person living in, say, the south side of L.A., I might very well riot when the unfairness of the justice system and the favor it pays to rich white wastes of carbon like Paris Hilton.

Um, where the heck WAS everyone last night?

Um, where the heck WAS everyone last night?

Seriously. There was a decent turnout for the show, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that only half as many people as I expected showed up. (Okay, that last sentence doesn't sound right ... is there a grammatical error in there?) The bands were loads of fun, The Hood Internet guys had me laughing and boogieing throughout their set, and a brief trip to Double Door in search of a prodigal banner reminded me why a) battle of the bands set-ups are evil and b) why I don't go see bands in the suburbs.

Tonight. The first band practice with A#1S. Two hours of playing, seven hours of drunken hilarity. It's been a looooooong time since I played with anyone so I'm equally excited and nervous. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Chicagoist celebrates turning three ... TONIGHT!

Chicagoist celebrates turning three ... TONIGHT!

I am VERY excited about tonight's party. What party? This party!


Yup, tonight is the Chicagoist 3rd Anniversary Party at Subterranean! And boy-oh-boy did we land some kick-ass local talent to help us celebrate the night! Milk At Midnight’s Who-meets-Flaming-Lips rock will cause the room to shake and shudder; Sweetish’s rollicking indie-pop will brighten everyone’s mood; and We Make Thunder will, well, make a lot of thunder. To top it all off we’ve enlisted the talents of the hottest kids on the block: The Hood Internet DJs STV SLV & ABX will be closing the evening out with their unique mixes. We wanted to make sure as much of our readership could make it to the party, so we made the show open to everyone 18 and over! And for folks over 21, we'll have $2.50 pints of Goose Island 312 all night long.

I'm not the only one excited about it. Look at what Chicago's MyOpenBar outpost says.


Heh heh. That's funny. There's only one way to find out if it's true though ... and that's by showing up. I'll see you tonight!

AN ASIDE: The only thing, the ONLY thing that is keeping this from being a perfect night is the knowledge that I will miss the Bomb Squad guests who will be holding down the fort at Liar's tonight. Stop by and say hi to them!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What the - ?

What the - ?

How do two people get shot at the end of my block, six houses down from me, and I don't hear a thing?!

I blame the female cat fight on Footballers Wive$. That must've been it.

The Beastie Boys versus the "Beastie Girlz" of Northern State.

The Beastie Boys vs. the "Beastie Girlz" of Northern State.

Remember when the Beastie Boys were both fun and inventive? Sure, their debut was big, dumb, and full of cum (and beer), but you still loved them for it, right. And then they went on to become full-on sonic masters with a deft choice of collaborators. They had a really nice, long run. And then, sometime in the last decade or so, the Beasties became more interested in Tibet, basketball, and other adult pursuits, and gradually they started to lose their mojo. The cracks really began to appear in Hello Nasty, but I still held out hope. They tried to get it back by recording the "back-to-basics" To The 5 Boroughs a few years later, and I'm sorry to say it was the least inspired, both musically (and we're talking in comparison to the dumbed-down Led Zep tunes directly following their hardcore origins) and lyrically.

So when I heard earlier this year there was a new disc in the pipeline, the news was met with suspicion and pretty low expectations. Then the news broke that the disc was going to be 100% filled with instrumentals. While I applauded the notion that I wouldn't have to put up with any cringe inducing rhymes, the move still seemed borne of middle-aged complacency. The group's instrumentals, trotted out most often in their mid-period discs Check Your Head and Ill Communication, have always been marked with a mid-tempo fascination with mid-'70s blaxploitation flicks. And while they've always been pleasant enough, they don't exactly set any of the five senses on fire. (Taste too? Yes, taste too. A good song makes you taste the sweat rolling off your upper lip.)

Sure enough their new disc, The Mix-Up is a snooze-inducing, innocuous little piece of mimicry. The band continues to try and reinvent themselves as something beyond the lyrical pranksters and sonic innovators everyone fell in love with in the first place. I mean, that's okay, they're allowed to do whatever they want, but they can't count on me to care about what it is that they want to do anymore. This is music for wanna-be hipster dads pushing their stroller along the line at their neighborhood Starbucks. I always thought of the Beastie Boys as the soundtrack to the suburban basement party, but I never imagined they'd become the soundtrack for the mini-van soccer mom set.

On the other side of the spectrum, we've got a new disc by the ladies of Northern State coming out soon too. These three female MCs from New York City were unfairly written off as a crude girlie version of The Beastie Boys when their first EP dropped a few years ago. That original offering was actually a fun little slice of retro-minded hip-hop, but the full-length debut that followed failed to follow through on the group's promise, and folks, myself included, were disappointed. The group went silent and I just assumed the group had broken up.

So imagine my surprise when I heard they had a new Northern State tracks surfaced a few months ago. "Away Away" was a buoyant slice of hip-pop right out of the Luscious Jackson school of songwriting, which sort of fit right into the shorthand Beastie comparison since Luscious Jackson originally appeared on Grand Royale. it was pleasant, but hardly groundbreaking.

Then their new disc, Can I Keep This Pen?, arrived for review. And goddamned if The Beasties comparison doesn't pop up yet again, only this time it's because Hesta Prynn, Spero, and Sprout have recaptured the fun the Boys used to be known for. The music isn't groundbreaking, but what it does do is remain flexible enough to avoid boring the listener with rote repetition. The lyrics are alternately goofy, sexy, biting, playful, and largely satisfying. Northern State remembers that there was a hugely successful branch of hip-hop, once upon a time, that was bent on being inventive and valued imagination over street cred.

The disc opens with the severely old school, and high energy, "Mic Tester." We're reintroduced to the band, their personalities, their history, and the fact that Spero heard "you mom drives an ice-cream truck." Huh? Exactly. it's just a series of playful rhymes loosely held together by the simple conceit of the girls riding along in the back of a van telling you a story. The disc doesn't always stay this light, and at times Sprout's lines veer a little too close to granola territory for my tastes, but Northern State seems to have found the happy balance of goofiness, ambition, social conscience, and skill that eluded them on their last album. They combine humor and vitriol expertly on "Sucka Muthafucka" as they call out the poseurs and Johnny-come-latelies that pervade their scene. It contains what might be my favorite diss on the album, "Sucka put down that 40-ounce beer, you were shopping at Abercrombie just this year." Purr-fect.

Later on the disc grows a tad too self-important, and veers further into the hip-pop lite hinted at on "Away Away," but I'm more than willing to forgive a few minor missteps in a field as satisfyingly populated by sure-footed musical decisions. The Beastie Boys would do well to grab their own copy of Can I Keep This Pen? in hopes it'll remind them of what they should be doing. I'm not saying the new Northern State is the best hip-hop album of the year, but I am willing to wager it's the most entertaining thus far.

I offer "Oooh Girl" for your listening pleasure since I think it's a particularly good example of how the ladies of Northern State deftly move between humor, politics, camaraderie built upon a pleasantly rubbery track of staccato guitar, burbling bass, and various samples and synths.

MP3: Northern State "Oooh Girl"

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Injustice.

Injustice.

Whilst I am obviously, and most vocally, pleased that Paris Hilton is currently serving time, I am still incensed that R. Kelly is not. If a spoiled rich girl can get sent to prison for driving on a suspended license, will someone tell me what's keeping a golden-showering pedophile from getting thrown behind bars?

A two-second question with the four-hour answer.

A two-second question with the four-hour answer.

I have a really hard time thinking that great numbers of people are just evil. I tend to think people are driven by strong convictions, see what they want to see, and act accordingly. Folks don't do damaging things just to do them, they do terrible things because they really think that those things are the best option. So here is my poll.

Do you think that the people currently running the United States (or we could just say "in power," but I want to keep the question focused on a single country at the moment) are evil, or are just incredibly (and in my opinion, stupefyingly and dangerously) misguided by the power of their own beliefs?

Monday, June 04, 2007

My Monday just got even better or Why I Love Sarah Silverman.

My Monday just got even better.
or
Why I Love Sarah Silverman.


Kisses all the way, Ms. Silverman.

Inspirational news to blow away those Monday blues.

Inspirational news to blow away those Monday blues.

I almost forgot, Paris Hilton goes to jail today ... yay! And if that wasn't good news enough, she just got dropped by her record label too! I hope whoever thought to spend $250,000 on her ProTooled within an inch of its life album gets dropped by her label too!*

The only downside to the story? Hilton will be mostly sequestered in jail. Boo! Less chance of her getting a shiv in the ass! (Don't worry, it wouldn't really hurt her since the blade would bounce of the protective layer of bone half a millimeter under her butt cheek.)

Am I coming off as catty here? Probably. But she just makes me SO ANGRY that she's famous for any reason at all!

And now, for something completely different, an anthem to kick off your Monday properly. A bit quirky, but I think it's just the sort of thing to move you into the new week with an energetic grin.

MP3: Adi Zehnpfennig "Geisterreiter"

*No, I haven't forgotten I once noted that the album didn't sound 100% terrible. But I meant that it was perfectly assembled, and that the sheen of the album had zero to do with Hilton of any "talent" she might possess and should instead be attributed to the wonders of modern studio technology and talented engineers.

Drained.

Drained.

It was a long weekend filled with storms, power outages, lots of painting, romps with the dogs, killer ice cream sundaes, tutoring a coffee shop staff on the use of their new public WiFi, steak eating, abrupt shower interruptions, and walks along the lake.

It was a lovely weekend, and a great deal was accomplished on the farmhouse, but I feel like I've been running non-stop since I left work Friday, so it also doesn't really feel like I had a weekend break at all, so I'm kind of running on empty. When I refill the tank I'll give a more detailed update and delve into some music stuffs.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Communing with nature ... and paint fumes.

Communing with nature ... and paint fumes.

We're spending our first full weekend at the farmhouse, and while the ride outside was a bit harrowing at times as wave after wave of thunderstorm attacked us (and leaked water on my head through the hole in the Jeep's canopy), I'm glad we're here. The pups are going nuts smelling all the new smells, and after we get a bit of painting done, maybe we'll take them over to the neighbors' to meet their first horses guinea hens, and chickens!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Bulby!

Bulby!

The news that Ryan Adams has nowhere to play in Chicago bummed me out this afternoon. But luckily it was followed by this piece of Photoshop fun from the Queens Of The Stone Age camp.


I'm so looking forward to this one ...

Also, feel free to look for DrInsideIM on Instant Messenger, since he seems to have all sorts of inside info on the new album.

Please God, don't let them break up before they get to Chicago.

Please God, don't let them break up before they get to Chicago.

July 5 seems awfully far away right now.

Tune into tankPOD (or diPOD ... whichever one's playing most recently).

Tune into tankPOD (or diPOD ... whichever one's playing most recently).

I've had a Last.fm profile for a long time now, but never really used it because I couldn't use their software to track my listening habits at work. Well, now I can, so that means I've joined the legions who have added my a little playlist thingie to my sidebar (down to the right, there) and have a page that's finally up to date.

The only thing I can't decide is if I should keep the podcasts I listen to in the "Recently Played" list. What do you think? I doubt you care about that sort of thing, huh?

Anyway, for folks that are interested, it should be a fun way of keeping up with what I'm really listening to ... even if the one caveat is that you're only getting the lists from what's playing while I'm sitting at my desk. Obviously that's much different than what's playing while I'm driving, or walking, or running, or riding the bus / train, or DJing, or taking over other people's DJ sets, or ... you get the idea.

My only gripe is that I wish they had a sidebar playlist that scrolled or something, so you could see the whole title of the song. I suppose you can just click though to my profile, though, if you really want to know.