25 October 2006

A Year Old, But No Less Amazing

Last year around this time, VICE records released what may be the craziest, creepiest, coolest song and video that Halloween has ever witnessed. This sprawling, collaborative, nearly-six-minute beauty features a laundry list of indie superstars including Win and Regine (Arcade Fire), David Cross (aka Tobias Funke), Beck, Feist, Jimmy Tamborello (DNTEL, Postal Service) and members of Rilo Kiley and Wolf Parade.

The whole group mascarades as the North American Hallowe'en Prevention Initiative (NAHPI) and proceeds from the sale of the single (also available with three remixes as an EP via iTunes) benefit UNICEF. Anyway, it's about time to rustle up a costume and get all kinds of spooky, so enjoy. Watch the (mediocre) YouTube version here or download the (much nicer) iPod-formatted version below.

Do They Know It's Halloween - NAHPI - m4v

23 October 2006

Short Question. Long Answer.

Nine days ago, after seeing the Killers at the Great Saltair (otherwise known as the dump of a venue on the shores of the stinking Great Salt Lake), Kyle asked me a question. I told him I'd have to think about it. I'm sure he thought I was either avoiding an argument or avoiding the question completely. He should know me better than that. I have considered the question. And I am prepared to answer. I'll do my best to keep the response concise... but there are no guarantees. My head's a bit scrambled tonight and the monster pork chop (plus calamari plus banana cream pie in a coconut pastry shell) I consumed at dinner with some fine Londoners isn't doing anything to straighten me out. Anyway, on to the question:

"Would you call the Killers a postmodern band?"

At first I wasn't sure. I was skeptical. Postmodern seems so important. So intellectual. So intentional. It sounds like Warhol and the Velvet Underground. And I'm pretty certain that the Killers are nowhere near that level. But I let the thought sink in. I hit the wikipedia entry on postmodernism for a refresher (it's been more than a couple years since my pre-requisite Literary Theory course). And then I heard the words of one fine Modern American Lit professor ringing in my ears—and, yes, the words were ringing just a bit louder (and probably at a much different frequency) than the common, everyday, nonsensical ringing in my ears. You know, the same ringing that makes it impossible for me to hear and understand conversations in a crowded restaurant. Where was I? Modern American Lit. Ed Cutler. His remark: "Las Vegas is the ultimate postmodern city."

"The answer. To the question. In my mind."

In case you've been living under a rock (or by the strange chance that you have a life that extends beyond the shallow reaches of pop music), the Killers hail from Las Vegas, NV. And the new album is all the proof you need of their Las Vegas-ness. Each song travels from decade to decade, swirling between 80s electronica and 70s bombast, 90s irony and 00s dance-rock. So many things have been written about Sam's Town. It's been ripped as a Springsteen rip-off. It's been derided as a lackluster follow-up. But the only thought I have as I spin through the album again and again is this... this is a Las Vegas album. Not a hanging-out-in-Las-Vegas album, not a bachelor-party-in-Vegas album, and certainly not a honeymoon-in-Vegas album. This is a living-in-Vegas-for-an-extended-period-of-time album. A surrounded-by-facades-of-greatness album. I want to believe that Sam's Town is intentionally shallow. That its lack of concrete lyricism and fascinating musicianship is consistent with the postmodern (there it is!) wonderland of false New York skylines and Eiffel Towers.

I'm probably too lazy to dig into a real piece of musical criticism and comparative theory here. In fact, I know I am. But, yes, Kyle. The Killers are a postmodern band. For good and for bad. But they put on a devil of a show nine days ago. And Brandon Flowers' mustache should serve as a year-round reminder of the beauty of Cinco de Mustache (it's only six months away...).

A three-minute, thirty-three-second sample of postmodernism:

For Reasons Unknown - The Killers - Sam's Town - m4a

My mustache is more postmodern than your mustache...

21 October 2006


Hopefully I'll be able to follow through... but the new header should be the first of a few changes around these parts. Stay tuned for more. Or leave a suggestion. Or tell me to actually post something worth reading (tomorrow, hopefully...).

17 October 2006

Missing: Milk Carton

The free world is experiencing EZ Archive technical difficulties as the file hosting service transitions to version 3.0 — but, after some finger crossing, I uploaded my first video and it's here for your downloading enjoyment.

To celebrate my first official video post, I picked one of the all-time greats. Seriously. You can watch the (suprising high-quality) YouTube version here. Or click the link below to download the video in all of its iPod-format glory.

Coffee & TV - Blur - mp4

To satisfy all your music video cravings, be sure to visit the fantastic SHOTS RING OUT.

16 October 2006

Re-Thinking the Sing-Along

A long, long time ago, I attended a Shins concert and wrote a review of sorts that was wandering and harsh (and probably a few hundred words too long). The main point of contention: the sing-along trend that seems to have taken flight somewhere in the early 00s. I can get behind singing along to a favorite song or something... but singing along to every single song (and at top volume, no less) just seems to get under my skin.

After seeing the Envy Corps open for the Killers on Saturday night (at the Great Saltair just outside SLC), I think I've found my happy medium. I think I've found the solution to the sing/don't sing dilemma. I'm about to make a sweeping judgment. Brace yourselves (all three of you).

If the band invites you to sing along... sing like you've never sung before. Otherwise, keep it to a minimum.

The Envy Corps are nothing if not ambitious. During their final song, they split the capacity crowd down the middle and encouraged a somewhat complicated two-part "da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da" / "oooow-oow-ooow-oow-ooww-oooow-ooow-oow-ooow" (I'm even butchering it now as I try and figure out how to type it) harmony. I was stunned. What high expectations. I mean, really? All these kids are supposed to stop text-messaging long enough to sing along to an opening act? I was impressed. So much so that I bought the Envy Corps' limited edition EP, "I Will Write You Love Letters If You Tell Me To" (currently unavailable for purchase — unless you can scoop up a copy at a show).The EP is solid. Great at times. Pretty decent at others. The Envy Corps deliver catchy, dance-able rock. The band should have hipsters shaking their limbs at venues across the country over the next couple weeks. And while the influences (Radiohead among other Brit rockers) are still a bit close to the surface, there's nothing wrong with the groove the boys from Des Moines, Iowa are laying down.

Here's the standout sing-along track (get that!):

Story Problem - The Envy Corps - m4a

11 October 2006

Whitney. Meet Barry.

Aside from being the two creepiest looking people I could find on Google Images tonight, Whitney Houston and Barry Manilow had a strange collision in my psyche this afternoon.

I had to buy a Barry Manilow song on iTunes. Had to. No free will involved. It was required. Without spilling too many incriminating details I'll just say that I had to rough out a slideshow. And the song was already chosen. Without my input. I swear it. Barry Manilow. Seriously. Barry. Manilow.

This is where Whitney comes into the picture. She sang it so long ago I had nearly forgotten the line: "They can't take away my dignity." Well, she was wrong. Dead wrong. They can take it away. They can reimburse me the 99¢ subtracted from my iTunes account. But they can never give back my dignity. They just can't.

09 October 2006

One of the Best Ideas I've Ever Had

I'm proud to say that getting Creent to swim through a construction puddle was my idea. Dainon says it's the best idea I've probably ever had. Considering my recent state of idea-less-ness, I might have to agree.
At any rate, he had to be bribed (final tally included $50, a lunch IOU, a big bag of Peanut M&Ms and the promise of a personal check to be delivered "later"), but Creent came through in the clutch. See for yourself.

Farr made the edits and chose the music. Brilliant work, Fahh.

I Can Do This

I can fight through the blog-apathy.
I can stop thinking.
I can focus for longer than three minutes.
I can pull the rabbit out of the hat.
I can be "cool" with short hair even if Amy says long hair is cooler.
I can learn the difference between Hodgkins lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
I can remember that my mom is tougher than either.
I can promise to not post about this again.
I can break that promise.
I can write.
I can get back to caring about things that don't matter.
I can handle this.
I can handle this.
I can not handle this.
I can handle this.