Spoonboy – The Papas & The Papas Acoustic

The Papas and The Papas Acoustic

I wonder about how we come to love the things that we love. Music is a thing, isn’t it? It’s this semi tactile, but mostly intangible aspect of my life that I consume rapaciously, often without thought and with so much of myself. Since being laid off and not having to go to some bullshit office so much more of my time is utilized interacting with music. For the last two days all I did was play songs on my acoustic guitar, listening to Lifetime to an almost nauseating degree and think about music.

I was having this conversation with my friend Nolan today about music. We found ourselves in one of those Dungeons and Dragons/Magic the Gathering type stores. I’m not a big fan of these games personally. I tried playing once or twice when I was younger, but they weren’t something I found all that captivating. Nolan and I compared music to this kind of devotion. I’ve met enough music geeks who are also into the D&D, but it’s hard for us to equate the two together. But then we started talking about sports fans. They have this devotion, this outlet that requires absolutely no creative imput. It’s passive, totally passive. I guess it’s possible to make that argument about music, but I am not sure that’s the case. As such, maybe there is some aspect of being a sports fan I don’t understand.

I was lamenting, publicly on a social networking site how I am broke and wished someone would buy me the new albums by Spoonboy and Streeteaters on Plan-It-X. I’m basically broke. Or at least I just can’t buy vinyl anymore. So all my music has to be free, either stolen or through the benevolence of artists. So, firstly, David, thanks so much for putting this up for free. Maybe someone will buy me some records, or maybe I’ll get a job, or maybe I’ll sell a manuscript and get paid and be famous like Bret Easton Elision. Until then, thanks friend.

Instantly, listening to this for the first time today and again, tonight, on a Friday while drinking whiskey and feeling self conscious and a bit depressed, I miss Spoonboy. In a city filled with guarded egos and crossed arms where kids were too cool, David, Spoonboy was a friendly light. I’m not saying people in DC weren’t nice, but they were often times too serious to have fun. But I think David was fun about being serious and serious about fun. He always made me feel included when I was around, and I think he did that for lots of people.

As such, I feel disconnected from this album. I think it’s me because it makes me sad. Spoonboy writes the gut punchers, the hard hitters, the types of songs I want to hear, but are hard to listen to. And so, on his second solo album, there’s a lot of electricity in the way. It’s a big sounding record, one of the biggest I’ve heard coming from David’s musical output, but I feel like I want it even bigger, louder with masses of vocals from all the kids in DC that love Spoonboy.

But for my disconnection, hearing “Sexy Dreams” come crashing down with gritty guitars, popping and pumping and thundering on, the anthem of the song comes out. The anger and frustration really comes alive. Sometimes it just feels like a Max Levine Ensemble song and maybe that’s what I want here. I’m getting confused, that separation isn’t as clear. But this song makes me so sad and so happy at the same time. No one’s gonna write songs about gender identity like David Combs and I wish that wasn’t the case on this earth. But I am so glad that David does. This song is necessary, so many of his songs are necessary that the aesthetic choices he makes and the similarities to The Max Levine Ensemble do seem more like my own subjective problem.

So perhaps it is with all this in mind that David included a set of acoustic versions of all the songs on The Papas. These intimate versions, stripped away of all the circuitry and drums and horn hits are the songs the way that I grew accustomed to watching David play, often kneeling on his knees in someone’s house. I get homesick listening to these versions. No longer are we raging out, but instead David is breaking hearts, one by one. “Gerald Lee Palmer” strikes my soul, the story of fathers and daughters unable to get along. Or when he sings about his broken, fucked up relationship with his biological father on “Stab Yer Dad” I just want to drive across this country, find him and give him a hug. I want to call up my dad and thank him for not doing all the things that David’s dad did to him and making me believe that you can be a good person and a man, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

I don’t know, I shouldn’t feel this way. Maybe it’s the whiskey talking, or the mixed emotions, the frustration. I shouldn’t lean on these things that are external to my life, that bear less importance in my survival than I give them credit. Living so far away, I don’t know if I’ll ever even see David play music or just hang with him after a show at Ben’s Chili Bowl. This music brings up so many memories for me, all the good things I miss about being in DC and all the one’s I am trying to have in Albuquerque. I don’t know where this fits in my life anymore, but it’s so beautiful. This is my active involvement in music. Me, forcing myself into it further then the average person I know and taking more out of it then should be expected. But whatever, Jameson is really cheap and it goes down so easily.


Mix Tape Volume #1 – Oh yea, it’s punk

So, I know this means very, very little to you, dear sweet reader, but I am changing the organization a bit here on the audio offerings of KYS. So, we don’t do podcasts anymore. These are mix tapes. I’m gonna try to make this whole thing a bit more robust too with more information on some of the bands etc. So welcome to Mix Tape Volume #1. It’s 26:50. Download it here.

1. Lions and Tigers and Whales – “Victories at Large” from their debut 7″. You can get this from Bandcamp or from the new label Cricket Cemetery . This band owns your life and I want to break the entire world when I hear this. Even though I am a much more pleasant, easy-going human being these days.

2. Weekend Nachos – “Old Friends Don’t Mean Shit” from their new Worthless  LP that is on Relapse. I’ve totally been psyched on this band a lot lately. Power violence madness. You can’t get better than this band.

3. Career Suicide – “Double Life” from their Cherry Beach 7″ reissue. I think a dude from Fucked Up is in this band and all the OG punks are into this band. It’s pretty awesome.

4. Word Salad – “Sex=Death” from their Death March LP that’s on Prank. Albuquerque Tattoo Artist Leo Gonzales was in this awesome crusty-grindy band from Albuquerque a few years ago. He sings, very passionately, while giving tattoos. It’s a little scary and a lot awesome.

5. No Age – “Boy Void” from Weirdo Rippers. If you don’t know, then never mind.

6. Iron Lung – “Unattended Funeral” from Sexless/No Sex. I like this stuff.

7. Marion Barry – “Krunk Muffins” from Black Power Violence. This band is funny. Their guitar player looks like he should be in Mars Volta. He also looks like he smokes more weed than the Mars Volta. This band is funny. They play pseudo grind core.

8. Gay Kiss – “Rant” from Dumpster Rules. Phoenix is a fucked up city, but they have some awesome punk kids and this band totally owned. I want more from this awesome and amazing band. Seriously. Like right now.

9. Light the Fuse and Run – “I Think They Try” from All Your Base Are Belong to Us. Old Richmond hardcore that never really got their due.

10. Libyans – “Empire” from A Common Place. Girls to the front of the band! Awesome stuff. I just like it. Go find it.

11. Fell Types –  “Gutted” from their demo. This is a low-fi recording of this 90’s indie pop influenced band. My man Carni is in this band. Carni is awesome. I love that dude.

12. Ruined Tongue – “Summer Gorillas” from All of My Bad Habits. Try to keep up with me here, okay. The opening for this track is sick. This song owns.

13. Cut the Shit – “Crooked Teeth” from Bored to Death. This band basically makes fast, dirty punk rock. Also, they are called CUT THE SHIT.

14. Leather – “Novitiate” from the Sterile 7″. This is on Jade Tree, which is really weird. It’s like if Joy Division stayed a hardcore band. It’s also kinda low-fi for Jade Tree, who aren’t really putting out that many records these days. Which is sad.

15. Extortion – “Vomit” from Sick. Nolan told me to get this. So I did. It’s all good.

16. Wymyns Prison – “Mom’s on Myspace” from Tres Hombres. Once again you can blame Nolan. He gave me a copy of this. It’s dirty garage influenced punk that’s recorded all loud and shit.

17. Wymyns Prison – “Mom’s on Facebook” from Tres Hombres. Part two. Shut up and like it.

18. Moutheater – “Swallowed Whole” from Ornament. If you like Jesus Lizard, Karp, or other sludgey, loudy, punky, angry music, then good for you. You will also like Moutheater.

Lonely Island – Turtleneck and Sweater

The Lonely Island
Turtleneck and Sweater
Universal Republic Records

Comedy and music have never had a good marriage. I remember taping Andrew Dice Clay and Sam Kinison albums from my Cousin Mike back when I was 12 and both albums had these comedians doing some sort of jingle on their album. Maybe it’s because record labels that sold music didn’t think albums would sell without a single that would fail to chart. Granted, Comedy albums are a hard sale, but Dennis Leary had a few songs on his album that were passable. Even indie comic and metal head Brian Posehn included “Metal By Numbers” on his debut album Live In Nerd Rage and it sucked.

I’m a man who likes a good comedy album. Of all the so-called “creative” outlets I indulge in, comedy is one that I won’t venture into. Seriously, comedy is not something you can bullshit your way through. Being funny is an art form that only few are gifted with. Because of that, funny music rarely works. But of course, finally, western culture broke that restraint and recently we’ve gotten a pair of funny musics in the way of Flight of the Concords and The Lonely Island. Both of these comedy/acting groups have been able to combine music, comedy and film to create some great, gut busting moments.

Incredibad was awesome. Turtleneck and Sweater sadly, is not. Now, don’t get me wrong, it has its moments. The leading singles and videos shown on SNL were pretty awesome. The reuse of Justin Timberlake in “Motherlover” is pretty damn funny in it’s totally idiotic premise of douche bags “fucking each others moms”. They play the joke of the characters out to success. Further, Akon mocking himself in “I Just Had Sex” was pretty awesome. You could tell dude was laughing at himself the whole time he shot that video. Also, they made fun of that twit Katy Perry with their exploding crotches shooting fireworks. I can get behind that. Plus, to the chagrin of the next woman I have sex with, I will sing this song once done embarrassing myself.

However, a lot of the humor of Lonely Island is visual. Some of the songs that work, work best with the accompanying videos. The over the top ridiculous character of “Shy Ronnie” as Rihanna’s robbery sidekick is pretty hysterical, but the joke of his shyness falls flat on the track. It’s great to hear Rihanna poke fun at herself a bit and actually makes me able to stomach the continual repetition of lyrics she’s known for. But at its core it’s not that strong of a song, with fairly sophomoric lyrics and a weak ending. It’s a joke without a resolution or punch line.

Further, “The Creep” is full of chuckles when the trio dorks it up hardcore in suits and exaggerated eye glasses. But the song is just okay. The addition of John Waters should be awesome, but he is so under utilized. Nicki Manaj gives a solid if pedestrian performance, but I’d rather have more John quite frankly. The guy basically invented The Creep dance Lonely Island is talking about here.

After that, most of the album is filler, with concepts that just don’t take off. “Jack Sparrow” which includes a ridiculous hook sung by Michael Bolton about the plot of Pirates of the Caribbean is growing on me a bit, but only conceptually. The song itself doesn’t really stand up itself. It’s more of a skit over music, rather than just being a funny song. The album ends on an uncomfortable note called “No Homo” which I think they’re trying to make fun of homophobic, closeted jock machismo, but the song is just awkward.

The final result is I find myself skipping all about the album, over far too many tracks. The video’s that accompany the album are a decent collection, but as most of the tracks are already covered on the album, it actually makes the album mostly useless. The song writing has improved in places, capturing the more over the top aspects of mainstream hip-hop/R&B radio, but the ideas and jokes are a little thin, either not fully developed or lacking any strong resolution. Kind of like this review. How’s this? I’d rather just watch the video’s on their website.

Tenderizor – Touch the Sword

Touch the Sword
Sicksicksick Distro/Band Camp

Albuquerque is a weird town. I mean, it’s this small city of like 500,000 people, in the middle of a desert, at the base of a mountain. When the wind blows, you can’t see shit because of the dirt, and everyone is totally laid back or totally crazy (I haven’t decided which yet). Still, it’s pretty much like most cities I’ve been in over the course of my life, except, smaller. There’s no train system, only one indie movie theater (that I know of) and all the clubs that book national touring acts of the punk/metal/post-whatever persuasion are owned and operated by one dude who I suspect knows very little about music. Albuquerque is not unlike other scenes though, because it does have a very rich and awesome DIY scene going on. It’s a city of very excited people not content to let other scenes and hipster shit tell them what to do. Instead, the people do it themselves, in a true, unencumbered way. It’s totally beautiful.

I threw out a plea to musician friends to send me records on the Facebook place and Raven Chacon came through. Dude knows I am broke and unemployed but that music is central to my being. And so he provided me a complementary listen to his latest band Tenderizor’s project. And this shit smokes. Touch the Sword is just evil, thrash filled, guitar shredding madness. If you grew up on heavy doses of Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Metallica and Megadeath and don’t think that listening to that stuff is “cool” in some New York hipster ironic way, but actually enjoy some thrash metal, Touch the Sword will slay your face.

Vocalist Steve Hammond must first and foremost be praises for his amazing, classic wail. He’s got the whole King Diamond thing down, but isn’t afraid to get a little grit and growl going. Which comes in handy during the speed thrash/breakdown run of “Rockweiler”, a song I assume is about a mythical rock music listening dog. Metal is not known for the greatest pronunciation in the vocal/poetry department, but that matters very little because Hammond delivers the demon howls in the amazing upper register.

The guitar play on this album is awesome too. With three different guys handing off or handling the guitar parts, we get a great deal of technical shredding. And though clearly these guys have studied all the various scales necessary to play metal, it sounds totally dirty and classic. The trudge riff opener of “The Falconor” gets the foot stomping, hand planting, agro, steady mosh quivering in my bones. We’re talking some total rock god worship type offerings being laid down. The song slows slightly for a Metallica inspired, extended guitar solo that my 12 year old self would have gotten lost in on repeat. But where the metal lords of old would wallow, endlessly in their own ego, Tenderizor understands the power of song and that a sonic punch can come in confined packages. The song riffages and solos speed back up and the steady beat continues as the great bird soars above, looking for it’s next kill.

Metal is such an odd genre. It’s one that truly has grown leaps and bounds over the forty plus years it has spread evil and despair upon the earth. The shredders shred harder, the songs get faster, the guitar sounds get more crisp and slick, you can actually hear bass parts, such as here on the instrumental “Bitch Corrector” (a possible instrumental ode to dog breeding if “Rockweiler and “Pitbull” are any indication). And yet, the genre continues to be looked down upon by the masses. Oh sure, USBM bands are getting a bit of press in lofty, lefty, sweater wearing NPR, but that’s only bands from Brooklyn, who are masters of guitar and art, but seem to forget how to rock. Metal music, even though it takes steady, dedicated practice and finesse to pull off is still, at the core, about rocking THE FUCK out. And yes, the inherent geekdom and fantasy aspects may make grown men look like total dorks, incapable of adult conversations, but Metal is smart, imaginative music, even in it’s darker elements.

Tenderizor have not forgotten this. They aren’t necessarily blazing new trails, but paying homage to their roots. They do all of this with excellent results and never get too full of themselves. Touch the Sword is awesome in it’s metal powers. No doubt, Albuquerque has a killer metal scene, in no small part do to this band.

(Tenderizor plays Kosmos in Albuquerque with Acid Mothers Temple (Japan) on Monday, May 23rd. Guitarist/Bassist Raven Chacon tells me they will be performing their entire set on Casio SK1’s!)

Why I’m Here: On music discovery and age

So, yea, I read the Onion AV Club a lot. Unlike other media outlets I think they do, mostly, a good job on writing about music. I’d actually like a little more depth on the record reviews, but otherwise, I think they hit on a lot of great topics. Recently Steve Hayden and Noel Murray posted a conversational article on people and music discovery. This article was specifically about how Mr. Hayden often finds himself in the über terrible conversation with his peers (only in their 30’s, my age group) who aren’t going out and discovering new music. They use the typical excuse one always hear, “Music today just isn’t as good as it was when I was younger”. This is total bullshit. Music today is so much better than it was when I was growing up. It’s also so much easier to find and acquire. The real reason people stop searching out music as they get older is they often allow themselves to get boring. I’ll give you an example of the opposite.

I used to work in an office. I had a cubicle and responsibilities and a job to do for a shitty corporation. I used to work with this guy named  Mike. Mike was a pretty average guy over all. Nothing too spectacularly out of the ordinary about his life. He got married, traveled a bit, then, eventually ended up working alongside me. Over the course of time that I knew him, about four years, he and his wife had their first child and then, right before I left, they had their second. Pretty typical, American dream style household, no? The reason I never wanted to strangle new father Mike and one of the reasons I liked him was that he remained a multidimensional human being. Oh sure, he extolled upon me stories of his kids and his families new interactions. He usually reserved for me the stories in which he was the victim of some bodily function or flailing limb from his child to his family jewels, which I appreciated. But Mike, he kept true to himself, always talking about new bands he was hearing. We shared CD’s with each other and he turned me on to some great bands. I think this was all both beneficial to his sanity and to his kids. Those boys are going to grow up with a father that is more in touch with a greater, more creative world and thus their analytical skills and appreciation for the world will increase.

Most people, they have kids and they resign themselves, whether they know it or not, to full service of these kids. They forget though, that their personality and identity can be so important and often that sacrifice in full breeds really dumb, boring, shitty children who grow up voting Democrat and living a middle of the road life. Either that or people just get old and stuck in shitty jobs and fall into the routine and stop fighting for the self. That shit is actually less excusable to me (shocking for me to say I know). Yes, life in the capitalist system is a series of unending mazes where we are constantly grasping at that large junk of cheese swinging above us, our reach only long enough to get a small piece. And that’s my point. We give up so much of what we love the minute we step outside of our educational stranglehold already, why give up everything we love?

Me, I love new music as I hope this blog indicates. Frankly, I don’t listen to much music made before I was born, and I don’t listen to a lot of music that’s more than 15 years old at this point. Even to that end, while I still love Unrest and Lifetime and Fugazi, I am much more interested in Fucked Up, The Red Dons or Young Widows, because that shit is happening now, while I live and breathe. My past musical life is awesome, no doubt, I’ve seen some great bands and heard some great records and these serve as a litmus to everything that comes after it. But even my top ten records of all time list has an entry from 2007. That means, to me anyway, I still think there’s a shot for some newbie to come along and fuck up everything I think I know. I want my top ten to constantly evolve and in a few years I will once again reconsider this list.

Music is awesome. It’s always awesome. Technology has made it so that bands can make clearer, more cutting, beautiful albums. Also, artists have so much inspiration to draw from. Making music is now like time travel, you can see so much of the past, the present and the future in the artists today. I’m just as excited about the crazy visuals in Die Antwoord video’s as I am in the awesome concepts of Fucked Up and the amazing music of Pygmy Lush and Des Ark. All of this shit gives me heart palpitations, makes me quest out into the world and want to fuck shit up in my own right. Music drives me to learn new things, explore new cultures and constantly re-evaluate what I think, what I know and who I am. Without this constant evolution, I would die, turn into another member of the walking dead that feasts upon youth with fear and turns it’s back on its neighbors. I’ve seen the sick shell humanity can turn into. It lines the vein like Highways that shoot out from Washington DC into spy centers manned by my fellow brothers and sisters who die slowly in cookie cutter houses that line suburban streets. No thanks, I’ll take the party music of Too Many Daves, I’ll wait impatiently until Diane and Katy make a new Trophy Wife album, I keep going to see local bands in Albuquerque that are so unusual and amazing to my ears. You can keep your music of old if that’s all your going to listen to. If you don’t have an ongoing narrative with music and sound and art, then I hardly suspect you really want anything more than dull entertainment.

Rihanna – S and M Lyrics and Video – YouClubVideo

Rihanna – S and M Lyrics and Video found on Pop

via Rihanna – S and M Lyrics and Video – YouClubVideo.

I know I am late to the party on this one, but why are dudes consistently writing songs for women that totally sexualizes them? This takes any empowerment out of this video and song. Also, how did two Norwegians from the middle of nowhere become the most successful songwriting team in the modern pop music. This world is crazy.

4:05 is all it took for me.

Dear Mr. Tyler the Creator,

Please, stop your rap career. Look, part of me is glad you came along. Because you are one more brick in a shit road full of misogynistic, violent, homophobic rappers. And while you may have some talent as a producer and MC, the fact that so much media, run by hip assholes in hip asshole cities like Chicago and New York are falling all over you and not taking you to task for this fucking nonsense, just makes me hate them even more. It drives me to be a pebble in opposition to so much acceptance of harmful “art”.

I am tired of listening to the hip hop nation, filled with young men like yourself, white, black, brown, or whatever “color” were putting on skin pigment, repeatedly talk about women as objects of violence and using the word “faggot” as a term of defamation. Why these same young, mostly white, hipster dick fucks continue to fall over the likes of you and Kid Cudi and Kanye and Jay Z and whatever other awful shit they call rap and hip hop today while not being horrified that this continual violence occurs is beyond me. Maybe they are afraid of being called racists. Maybe they are racists and have guilt and want to give a pass to people they think will give them shit. Fuck that. The color of my skin, your skin or anyone else fucking skin does not excuse this oppression. It perpetuates and encourages and promotes a hatred against other human beings. And I am firmly against violence and hate. But that’s just me. I guess I am an asshole that way.

So yea, yr in the hot seat now. People want a piece of you, to prop you up and tell you what a genius you are. I made it 4:05 into your official, mainstream, debut album (that I STOLE OFF THE INTERNET) and frankly, the word faggot made me realize, you are not worth the zeros and ones being given to you on the world-wide web.

Stop, now, please. I am literally begging you. Because if I have to hear one more song about a woman being violated or sexualized or disregarded as something less than, or read a title of a song like “Bitch Suck Dick”, or hear someone call someone else a faggot with malice, spite and hatred one more time, I’m gonna start voting Republican. And I don’t want to vote. The Democrats already do enough evil shit against the poor and women and minorities in this country, but you kids are gonna drive me to it. Because fuck, if this is all you can do with your freedom of expression, with your outlets to creativity that you are privileged to have (and you are privileged, don’t be mistaken) then quite frankly, I’m against you.

Thank You for your time and consideration and ultimate decision to not be a hateful, vile piece of shit.

Signed by the Korrupt Yr Self Office for the Eradication of Horrible Shit like Homophobia, Sexism, Misogynistic Bullshit, Racism and Bigotry.