Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Surfer Blood at the Santa Monica Pier, 7/11/13

Coming of age musically in the 90’s inevitably makes me extra nostalgic for the sounds of that decade, and I’m hardly alone. There’s something about remembering the days when “popular music” and “good music” were the same thing that warms our generation. And if you were to write some sort of mathematical equation to represent that feeling, the solution would absolutely be Surfer Blood.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Handsome Furs at the Belly Up Tavern, 1/15/12

I am not, by nature, a dancer. That must come as a great shock to anyone who actually knows me, I'm sure, but it's true. But every so often I stumble upon a band that brings it out of me, and Handsome Furs is the latest version of that band. Of course, I got extremely sick and lacked the energy to do much more than shake back and forth in place like someone having a fit while standing in wet cement, thereby undercutting the entire premise of this review, but that's hardly the band's fault.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Best Music of 2009: Perspective in Retrospect

Just when you thought you'd had enough of my endless lists...surprise!  I know 2009 has been over for, like, a whole week now(*), but why the hell would you do a best of the year while the year in question was still going on, anyway?  And when I made 2009 ineligible on the "Best of the 2000's" list, it really made this one a foregone conclusion.  That, and I wanted an excuse to try my hand at making a collage.  (Verdict: I can do better.)  Here we go, and I promise to be much less wordy this time.

(*) Or a week and two years, whatever.  I began this on January 7 of 2010, abandoned it (and the blog in general) when things got a bit wonky for me, and honestly forgot it even existed until a couple months ago.  It was roughly one third done at the time, and I've tried to complete it the way I would have then, but at the end I'll have some things to say about how two years have affected it. Also, I completely lied about the "less wordy" thing. Honestly, I am encouraging mass skimming of this article, as it's way too long and indulgent. So, do what you always do, but enjoy it less (more?) because of my consent.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Outside Lands 2011, Day 1: The Commute Formidable; or Anger, MGMT

I may have broken my Coachella streak earlier this year due to a startlingly quick sell-out, but I have another festival streak to nourish, and this year marked my third straight at San Francisco's awesome Outside Lands. Last year I failed to review it, but two years ago I did a sort of running diary of Day 1, so I thought I'd give that another go. If no one seems to care, or if writing it just proves too big a pain, expect one large post for Days 2 & 3. But for now, let's dive right into the hills and fog of the Bay Area!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Concert Catch-Up

As it seems I tend to do, I've fallen behind on my blogging again. As always, my response to any complaints (of which I have heard none, naturally): somebody please, please, please give me a writing job! Anyway, I've been to some awesome shows, and I shall now talk about them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Morning Jacket at the Pantages, 6/22/11

Fantastic. Amazing. Mind-blowing. Heart-stopping. Earth-moving. Really not too bad at all. The superlatives seem kind of redundant after a while when trying to describe a band like My Morning Jacket's live show. That's not to say that the impact is less than before (well, maybe just a little, but there can only be one first time), just that talking about it eventually and necessarily devolves from coherent statements into enthusiastic but formless vocalizations, or even just a widening of the eyes. Naturally, that's not gonna stop me from trying.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

TV on the Radio at the Music Box, 5/11/11

It's not exactly remarkable or controversial to lay claim to TV on the Radio as one of your favorite bands these days, but sometimes obvious is obvious for a reason. They're really, really good, and their newest release, Nine Types of Light, certainly hasn't done anything to dampen my feelings about them. However, their live shows can be a bit more hit and miss. With five permanent members and a touring horn section, it's a lot of moving parts for the soundboard and acoustics to deal with--sometimes too much. At the Music Box though, they went back to basics and played probably the best set I've ever seen from them.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Potpourri: Holy Sh!t!

The last couple weeks have been loaded with exciting music news, and I thought I'd gather a bunch of it into one place for all you lovely people. I know, I truly am benevolent and wonderful. So, in roughly chronological order:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Smith Westerns at Detroit Bar, 2/12/11

Maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention before, but Detroit Bar has really been bringing in some good shows the past year. They've always been an excellent local showcase, but since 2010 I've seen Surfer Blood, The Hold Steady, The Besnard Lakes and now Smith Westerns there, to say nothing of bands like Sleigh Bells, Autolux and Yo La Tengo that I missed. It has occasional sound problems, but it's small, it's loud, it's cheap and it's close. On Saturday, it lived up to every bit of that description.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Against Me! at the Music Box, 1/30/11

As I get older, my concert experience changes.  A lot of that is just me being older and fatter (well, definitely older), but some of it is just the types of bands I'm into now as compared to back in my early concert-going days.  Back then, the idea of a mosh pit seemed, if not appealing, then certainly comforting.  I figured out early on that it distracted too much from my enjoyment of the show, but it was still fairly awesome to have one nearby.  Getting knocked over repeatedly by a skinhead during the Offspring, slipping on the beer-soaked Palladium floor during the mad rush to the stage when the Sex Pistols came out; even standing between the pit and my more timid friends at a Queens of the Stone Age set at Detour--these are some of my fondest concert memories. So it was nice to be back in that punk rock type of environment when Against Me! took the stage at this show.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coachella 2011: Yeah, great, but where the hell is Kyuss??

It's that time of year again.  Hipsters all across Southern California start getting antsy with antici..........pation, wondering just who will be playing at their favorite desert hangout, at least when they're not focused on getting as pampered and drugged up as possible.  Ok, perhaps that's a bit cynical; they also care about getting into the parties.  But what does the Coachella 2011 lineup mean for all the people who go exclusively for the music?  Very good things, in this humble blogger's opinion.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Give Me Back My Keys!

I've just spent the last couple days grousing and griping about bands I used to love changing for the worse, usually for apparently commercial reasons.  Of course, sometimes it's not about that at all; sometimes bands just evolve from something we care deeply about into something we don't, and vice versa.  As it turns out, there were two releases this year that fit this description pretty well, one vice and one versa.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Kings of Leon Problem

Kings of Leon, why won't you just let me go?  In the past two years you've done everything you possibly can to alienate me, a former huge fan who wants so desperately to believe that you can be better than your current musical aspirations.  Still I cling to the memories of what you once were, despite your repeated demonstrations of mediocrity.  Well, this time we're really finished, and I'm going to share with everyone else how I managed to finally break away from your emotional abuse.

The Black Crowes at the Palladium, 12/11/10

There aren't many bands I've loved since the beginning that I've yet to see, but the Black Crowes fit that bill.  Sure, I saw them at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas back in 1994 (and let's all take a moment to marvel at a time when a band like them would ever be played on KROQ), but that was something like five songs, and I barely remember it.  Now, just before they go on "indefinite hiatus," a term that their age suggests is a euphemism for retirement, I finally got to cross them off my ever-shortening list.  However, as great as they were, I couldn't enjoy it as much as I should have.  An open letter:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weezer play Pinkerton at the Gibson Amphitheatre, 11/27/10

The next sentence would have shocked and horrified the fifteen year old me, and not just because he wouldn't have understood the concept of 'blogging' or even the Internet.  I've come to really hate Weezer.  I look back on the last ten years or so of their music, and I find it hard to remember what ever drew me to them in the first place.  Luckily, there was a reason I cared enough to hate them so much, and I can still go back and enjoy the good ol' days.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Black Angels and Black Mountain at the El Rey, 11/24/2010

If not for that Deftones/Mastodon show, this would have been easily the heaviest pairing I saw all year, and certainly the most throwback.  Both bands are firmly entrenched in the late 60's to early 70's, though they take different approaches.  The Black Angels go for the psychedelic, while Black Mountain can be the best Black Sabbath emulators around.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Deerhunter at the Music Box, 11/1/10

I'm always excited to hear new material from a band I love, especially if I've recently become obsessed with an album.  Sometimes, though, that newness can overwhelm a band to a degree, messing with the flow of their show.  That definitely happened to Deerhunter at the former Fonda.

Built to Spill at the El Rey, 10/28/10

Though I caught them at Outside Lands, I never got to see a proper Built to Spill show on their tour for There is No Enemy, their excellent album from last year.  Luckily, Doug Martsch brought his group of dad-looking indie gods back to LA in October, and it was a typically great set.

Mastodon and Deftones at Gibson Amphitheatre, 10/12/10

We all make mistakes.  I look back at some of the music I used to listen to, hell, love, and I can't help but cringe.  KoЯn in particular seems an example of bad judgment, not least of all due to the opening salvo of "Justin:" "Fuck all that bullshit!"  But if there's one band from that time period that I'll still defend and happily listen to, it's Deftones, and seeing them paired with the best metal band alive at the moment, Mastodon, was like going into my own personal Mosh Pit Time Machine(™, © and all that).

The Besnard Lakes at Detroit Bar, 10/9/10

Not a ton to say about this one, except that they were really good (if not quite as good as they were in May), cut back on the silly Canadian banter, and "Albatross" in particular blew my head off.  Literally.  You can click through for the set list, or you can go about your business.