Thursday, November 27, 2008

T-Day Funk

Granted, KrissyGo! posted this track (though a different performance, mind you!) last year, but it's funky and apropros to the day. And the other two songs I had planned don't have legitimate videos available. Alas. This will also likely stand in for this week's Friday Funk, as I have a day of record shopping, reconnecting and soul dancing to tend to tomorrow.


Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Friday, November 21, 2008

review- Guns N' Roses: Chinese Democracy

I guess it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

But one might say the same thing after eating deep fried shit on a stick.

Let me just reiterate that it is *not* Guns n' Roses. But there's no need in belaboring that point.

I don't even know where to start with this. When the title track was released a few weeks ago, it was about what I expected. Likewise with the single "Better." They sound like fairly standard rock tracks, featuring Axl Rose.

In effect, that's what the whole album sounds like. Musically competent, but could be any number of acts, were it not for Axl Rose's vocals.

More than anything though, my complaint is that it sounds horribly dated. Axl started working on this roughly fourteen years ago. And the final product sounds very 1994. As The Washington Post put it:

In both sound and sentiment it feels hermetically sealed, like it was made by someone who doesn't get out much [...] on "Democracy" [Rose is] a magpie rooting around in the Museum Of Nineties Rock Sounds, picking at shiny bits from Soundgarden, Korn and (especially) Nine Inch Nails.

Which leads me to believe that maybe this would have been a decent album were it released in 1994 or 1995. There's actually a way in which the album sounds like a reinterpretation of the greatest moments of the Use Your Illusion albums ("Estranged," "Yesterdays," "November Rain," even the Cool Hand Luke sample from "Civil War" is here). But ultimately, it sounds as if the songs on Chinese Democracy were written in 1994, but never updated to match the world that continued to change around Axl Rose. That said, people that stopped listening to new music after 1995 will probably enjoy this album thoroughly.

And that is perhaps why it's such a disappointment. Although the album is OK, in theory one would expect a project belabored over for a decade and a half would be a pretty amazing piece of work. But we all know better, and figured that wouldn't be the case.

Chinese Democracy. Like a train wreck that's been pending for 14 years, you feel obliged to listen out of a sort of morbid curiosity. There's no doubt that the album isn't a masterpiece, but I feel fairly certain that in the grand scheme of popular music, Chinese Democracy will be as remembered as the Izzy Stradlin solo album. Despite the hype from Axl's camp to the contrary, this is not Smile, this is not The Black Album. Hell, it isn't even The Spaghetti Incident?.

History will remember Guns N' Roses. The hard rock band that sliced through the hair metal bullshit of the late 1980s, having the audacity to simultaneously release two albums (a year before The Boss), who on record and on stage had a totally uncompromising attitude, and the rock band that for a brief moment, seemingly ruled the world.

The world will forget the music on Chinese Democracy however, because it is ultimately forgettable.

At least I know the Dr. Pepper will be good.

Friday Funk

I've been feeling pretty funky, but not in the good way. The first cold of the season is taking me for a ride. But let that not stop us from grooving to some Friday Funk.

A friend of mine just hipped me to Kano. I've taken a listen to some of their other tracks, and they're generally pretty hot. I'm also told that their stuff is pretty hard to come by, so now I have some new holy grail discs to dig for.

Enjoy, and have a good weekend. Stay healthy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cadillac Records

This actually looks pretty good.

Soundtrack clips etc. at the official site. Mos Def makes a pretty good Chuck Berry, I have to say.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How to get your free Dr. Pepper via Axl Rose

Guns N’ Roses Bring A Free Dr Pepper To All Americans: Here’s How To Get Yours! Published by Chris Harris on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 6:00 pm.
Now that the November 23 release date for Guns N’ Roses’ oft-delayed, more-than-a-decade-in-the-making album, Chinese Democracy, seems to be a reality, Dr Pepper owes every American a can of soda.

Back in March, the beverage company said that it would give every man, woman, and a child in the U.S. a free can of Dr. Pepper should Guns N’ Roses release Chinese Democracy before the close of 2008. And now, the event no one — certainly not the folks at Dr Pepper — thought would happen is rapidly approaching.

“We never thought this day would come,” Tony Jacobs, vice president of marketing for Dr Pepper, said in a statement issued Wednesday. “But now that it’s here, all we can say is: The Dr Pepper’s on us.”

So, how does Dr Pepper plan on dispensing the free sodas? Well, on November 23 — and only on November 23 — thirsty Americans can log on to the official Dr Pepper Web site and register all of their vitals, so that the company can mail them a coupon for a free 20-ounce can of the drink. Once that coupon arrives in the mail, redeem it wherever Dr Pepper is sold. The last step in the process, according to the press release: “Drink your Dr Pepper slowly to experience all 23 flavors. Dr’s orders.”

As we said, registration for the free Dr Pepper coupons is available only for 24 hours, beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET on November 23, and the coupons will have an expiration date of February 28, 2009. Obviously, there is a coupon limit — one per person.

So get out your straws and chill those glasses, kids — the Dr will be in your fridge soon, all thanks to Mr. Axl Rose.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Funk

Hell yes. A long one, but oh so worth it.

Have a funky good weekend, all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jucifer @ Sonar - Baltimore, 11/1

A week overdue, but alas.

Last saturday we went to see Jucifer. I was hipped to this band around 2000. At that point, they had only one album to their credit, Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip. I took to them immediately, mostly because of the contrast of very dense, heavy music and alternately abrasive/delicate vocals.

I also have a troubled history with the band.

In the summer of 2002, I drove to Cleveland to see them at the Grog Shop. I'd wanted to see them live for some time, and felt it worth the trip from Pittsburgh. I don't remember much about the opening bands then, but I do remember being blown away by Jucifer. Records are one thing, but the sheer density and power of their music impressed me, especially for having only two members. I should also mention that Jucifer is among the loudest bands I've ever seen. So loud in fact, that a mere 12 minutes into their set, they blew the power out in the building. After waiting a bit, we were told that the problem was not a simple fuse replacement, but something "in the walls" and the show was over.

Later that year, they were to play a Pittsburgh venue (the 31st Pub, I believe). Weeks earlier, I'd been in contact with one of their promotion people to set up an in studio interview at the station. They were way down with the idea - I was amped. The band and I kept in touch all that day, and then their van broke down. The chances of the interview narrowed and then disappeared. But at least I'd get to see them live. That didn't happen either, though. They never made it to Pittsburgh.

A few months later, they did end up playing at Laga. However, they were opening for Local H, a curious match given the latter's pop-punk sensibilities. Jucifer played well, but it felt as though they were very much out of their element, and I'm pretty sure only myself and a friend actually had interest in them.

A few years ago I debated about driving from Iowa City to Cedar Falls to catch them, but decided against it given my track record with Jucifer.

So I had to see them upon learning they were to play Baltimore. There were three openers.

First up were locals Isthmus. Not bad. Sort of a mathy approach to metal. Their drummer was pretty impressive, seemlessly flowing between awkward time signatures. Also, Kate and I agreed that Jucifer aside, their bassist won the award for "most rocking out." Good local band, was pleased.

Isthmus on Myspace

Up next were Salome. They were doing soundchecks and I heard this intense scream over the PA, just a quick "yeah!" but very intense in its timbre. I assumed this was on the PA music, because I didn't see anybody on the mic. Then I realized that the screams were coming from a rather petite female, Salome's lead singer. These guys were fucking great. They played maybe a 40 minute set of three epic EPIC songs. Had I an extra five spot, I would have bought their LP. Alas, I spent my cash on the new Jucifer cd.

Salome on Myspace

Lastly, there was Internet. There wasn't much to them musically. In that aspect I was not very impressed. However, they had a great sense of humor, which made their set a worthwhile spectacle. Also, they covered Beck's "Fume," which was unexpected but welcome.

(can't find their myspace page)

And finally, it was time for Jucifer. I don't know if it was the band's choice, or the soundman's, but I was pleased that Wu-Tang's "Bring da Ruckus" played over the PA before the band took the stage.

As expected, they were incredibly intense. It could perhaps be described as an assault on the senses. Although I've (sort of) seen them live before, I was taken aback at how dense and loud they are, given that there are only two members. Guitarist/vocalist Amber Valentine rocked the fuck out, showcasing both her gritty growl/scream and her softer, delicate melodic vocals (both were basically impossible to hear, however). Drummer Edgar Livengood remains one of my favorite drummers currently playing. He not only has speed, but power. I also love that he uses a bass drum turned on its side as a floor tom. He's fascinating to watch - particularly in strobe lights. The lights! In addition to strobes, they also had fucking high calibre blinding lights atop their wall of amps. This combined with the music just felt like being repeatedly sucker punched in the best way possible.

They played mostly newer material. Admittedly, I'm not as into their more recent records as Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip and The Lambs EP (the latter being my top pick from their catalog). Not that their recent material isn't good. It fucking rocks. Especially live. I just have an affinity for the music that hipped to them in the first place.

All in all, a great show. They played for under an hour, with no encore. However, they never stopped playing, and they probably can't go longer than that given the physical exertion each of them puts into playing. And I'm being completely serious.

I recommend checking them out if they come through your town. Brace yourself.

Check them out on myspace.

And though it isn't indicative of most of their material, here's an old favorite from their debut LP:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Funk

You know you can't dance with them tight jeans on!

Happy friday y'all.