Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Ten Albums of 2008

The end of another year.  What do we have to show for it?  Nothing.  Well, not really.  We’re about to have a new president (who according to some people, may or may not be the savior of all things horrible), an economy in dire straights, and Chinese Democracy.  Is it a bad thing that the only thing in that list that blows my mind is Axl’s doomed-from-the-beginning opus?  No?  I haven’t even heard it yet, but what I have heard are reviews ranging from rave-party glowing to dark-as-a-Goth-shindig.  I mean, if that album was anything less than perfect, it was a failure.  So…it failed.  But you can’t blame Axl for trying.  At least we all get to experience the sweet nectar that is Dr. Pepper.  I still don’t know the details behind that but just the idea was sweet enough. 

The real question you're asking is: “What is he doing back, poisoning the web with his writing that he thinks is so clever?”  First, thanks for the compliment.  Second, I’m not impervious to year-end lists.  I’ve got my Top Ten Albums of 2008 right here in front of me.  Let me preface with how it’s not going to blow anyone’s mind.  In fact, most of my friends might laugh me out the door.  My list is devoid of the TV On The Radio’s or the Animal Collective’s or Fleet Fox’s or even the Hold Steady’s (sorry, Corey).  After that whole mainstream rant I went on in the last post a few months ago, I’d say that’s exactly where I’m sitting.  But I think it’s cool that if I’d looked at a release schedule back in January, I could have almost picked out this list that I’m about to…uh…list.  Actually, that’s pretty cool.  As someone on the AV Club said the other day in reference to things like Wall-E and The Dark Knight being some of the best movies of the year, why do we live in a world where living up to the hype is such a bad thing?  And that is what the albums that I have listed here have done.

Again, these are opinion.  You can try to sway me, ridicule me, or agree.  That’s why music just plain sucks.  You can’t prove anything.  You hear that, Mike?  Take your fourth diminished, tres octave D-sus chord and shove it.  Throwing theory in my face isn’t gonna change my mind.  So here we go.  Oh yeah, they’re in alphabetical order by artist. 

1.  Coldplay, Viva La Vida

As you’ll see further down, this was a year of experimenting from some of the larger acts.  Nobody progressed further than Coldplay.  While the album didn’t grab me at first, it’s definitely a grower, with deeper instrumentation and melodies.  There are no “Clocks” here, just solid songwriting.  And they’re not Radiohead so can it with the comparisons.  Just let them write what they want. 

Favorite Track: “Lovers in Japan”


2.  Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs

Plans was merely alright, only helped in my mind by the Direction DVD.  But Narrow Stairs brought Ben Gibbard and company back in the limelight.  Rocking harder than ever, the opener “Bixby Canyon Bridge” showed that you’re in for a ride of ups and downs like any great Death Cab record.

Favorite Track: “Long Division”


3.  Fall Out Boy, Folie A Deux

Get off your indie high horse and just let go.  FOB is making the best pop-punk music in the absence of Blink-182 (which might not be for long).  And as their first single says, they don’t care what you think.  Love him or hate him, Pete Wentz writes some very vulnerable stuff.  And these guys don’t rest on their laurels, but they grab those laurels and bring them with them on the quest to make perfect pop records.  They’re on the way…

Favorite Tracks: “The (Shipped) Gold Standard”, “What A Catch, Donnie”, and the Neptunes-produced “w.a.m.s.”


4.  Frightened Rabbit, The Midnight Organ Fight

This is one I wouldn’t have called.  The other great album from an animal moniker, FR writes jaunty tunes with a little anger behind them.  I will say the album could have been about two songs leaner, but it’s still more solid than any other indie band championed this year.  Pitchfork readers agree in that it was underrated.  So give it a shot. 

Favorite Tracks: “The Modern Leper”, “Keep Yourself Warm”


5.  Hot Chip,  Made In The Dark

I think any album with “Shake a Fist” on it would make it to the top ten.  What…a…song.  But the rest of the album has shining moments of electronic and acoustic instrumentation.  Some songs can drag, but isn’t that the beauty of the genre?  I look forward to more.

Favorite Track: “Shake a Fist” (duh)


6.  Kanye West, 808’s & Heartbreaks

Is there anybody more interesting that Kanye West right now?  Oh, I’m sorry.  I meant annoying.  Either way, you can’t deny that this guy tries to be the greatest, even while he still thinks he is the greatest.  Get past what you’ve heard about his fourth disc, cause there's some great stuff here.  I like the sparse instrumentation and the auto-tune really isn’t near as annoying as his personality.  I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you like on this disc.  If not, then read Pitchfork’s review and maybe you’ll listen differently.  I hate those guys but they can really nail it sometimes.

Favorite Track:  “Paranoid”

7.  The Killers, Day & Age

No surprise here.  After hearing “Human” for the first time though, there might have been.  Now I love that song.  The rest of album isn’t too shabby either.  The Killers aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves (the Boss and Bowie), but they take those fractions and make them add up their own way.  They’re only three true albums in and have tried more than most bands do in fifteen years.  Needless to say, The Killers are going to be tons of fun to watch over the next decade.   

Favorite Tracks: “I Can’t Stay”, “Neon Tiger”


8.  Kings of Leon, Only By The Night

You wanna talk about no surprise.  I’ve already said all I can say about this album.  I love it and if you don’t, tough.  I can’t make you change your mind.  Just…I don’t know…try again. 

Favorite Tracks: “Manhattan”, “Be Somebody”


9.  The Raconteurs, Consolers Of The Lonely

I liked Broken Boy Soldiers enough but this one took me by storm.  There is no doubt that Jack White is better with a rhythm section not anchored by a three-year-old’s skills (Sorry, Meg.  You suck).  But it’s not just White that makes these guys what they are.  Brendan Benson certainly adds a great dynamic.  I love when the two trade off.  But this album is a rocker through and through. 

Favorite Tracks: “Salute Your Solution”, “Five on the Five”


10.  Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

This stuff is just too much fun.  It’s so simple, yet so replayable.  It’s nice to see that they haven’t been thrown to the dogs yet like others before them (Cold War Kids, Tapes N Tapes, Clap Your Hands…)  I hope they stick around but I’m afraid maybe their schtick will wear off on the second go round.  Let’s hope we get our blood sucked out again soon.  Bad metaphor?  Yeah, it was. 


So there you have it.  Geez, looking at it now, it bores even me.  But who cares?  I like them all.  Some runners up: Ra Ra Riot’s The Rhumb Line, Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals, and the Hold Steady’s Stay Positive.  Seriously, there are more too.  It’s been a good year for sure.  2009 is looking up in my book: new Trail of Dead, Franz, possibly Muse, and…wait for it…Third Eye Blind.  Yeah, that thing is on the way.  Too much excitement.

Well, I’m starting this thing back up again cause of my California escapades coming up in a few weeks.  Should be fun.  I go from coast to coast to give you the most…crap.  See you soon.  Til next time, baby birds.  

- Chase

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Returnings of Leon

So it's been a little too long.  Maybe a month and a half.  I should have given you a recap of New York.  I mean, I'd planned on it.  But now, I think both you and I feel it's a little fleeting.  So, I'm not going to do it.  Ok.  One word: freaking the best.  So I cheated a little a bit.  

Instead of me rambling about some topic, which I hope to do with some regularity even though I am a busy, busy dude, I offer you a review to one of my favorite band's new album.  Kings of Leon are back with Only By The Night but you know this cause I've only been talking about it all summer and it's finally out on Tuesday.  

So without further ado, here it is.


Let me begin by making this distinction: "mainstream" is not a genre, but merely the location of where the music is being typically heard.  I'll use this example: you all know that I've listened to crappy music, and I still do, nothing wrong with that.  I used to really like Trust Company.  Go ahead, laugh.  I had never heard them on the radio around me at all but apparently they tore the radio up in other parts of the country.  Trust Company was only "mainstream" in certain locations but one would use the word to describe their music as such.  See how "mainstream" refers to the location not a genre?  Take Muse for the counter: their music is hideously "mainstream" over in the U.K.  Muse's music is hardly what one would label "mainstream" with the expert instrumentation and classical influence.  "Mainstream" is a location, not a genre.  Repeat it with me kids: a location.
You might be asking yourself: what in the world does all this have to do with the new Kings of Leon record?  Well, I'll tell you.  Too many people are decrying the band as mainstream now, thus these idiots who judge music on social standards are forgoing what I believe to be a fantastic record.  KOL is still a band about big hooks and intense lyrics, but now the outward southern exterior has faded.  This does not make them mainstream, if they blow up because of these incredibly catchy songs, then I guess they will be.  Here's the bigger question though: who the heck cares?  Don't we want more thoughful music such as this instead of souless, mid-twentysomethings singing about lesbian kissing?  If your answer is anything but, "Absolutely we do!" then stop listening to music and go read books because Lord knows you could use the smarts.  The point of this sermon/review is like what you like, ok?  Don't worry about who else does.  Judge a band on the songs, not about where the songs are being heard.
With all that ridiculousness out of the way, let's talk about Only By The Night, the Kings' fourth effort.  There's no doubt that last year's Because of the Times marked a new direction for those hairy, hairy boys' youth and manhood of the young variety years ago.  Too bad people are afraid of change and whined about the lack of southerniness on BotT.  These are the same yuppies who love change when it comes from a specific full-of-hot-air Democratic nominee.  The brothers Followill and cousin Matthew said it themselves: making the same record over and over again would get very boring.  I'm pretty sure the southern thing was still there, what, with songs about Camaros and the great state of Arizona.  Think of some of your favortie bands.  What if U2 had stuck with the good thing they had going with Boy almost thirty years ago?  No Joshua Tree for you.  And Radiohead?  There's not a single Radiohead fan who's favorite album is PabloHoney, at least not any Radiohead fan I've met.  Sure, there are some duds, Pop and Amnesiac,I'm looking at you (I'm gonna get some hatemail on that latter one).  But the point is, bands evolve their sound and make the music they want to make.  And so that is exactly what Kings have done.
It's true, the southern flair is more subtle but it is not gone.  Maybe the music has lost that intitial comfort but the lyrics are still in that mindset.  Singing about girls that are seventeen?  That's trailer park, just ask Winger.  I don't know about you but the word and song title "Revelry" screams "confederacy" to me which in turn screams "south."  Don't worry, it's still here.  What isnew and keeping with the flow established on BotT are the giant, expansive soundscapes.  Remember that first time you spun "Knocked Up" off BotT and were bombarded  Then that chorus came and punched you in the gut telling you, "Uh-huh, it is gonna be that way."  My favortie track off OBtN, "Be Somebody", has that same feel but reverersed: the verse is the violent one while the chorus let's you jump off a cliff.  When the chorus opens up and the guitar is washed in reverb and the kick is firing on all fours with not a snare in sight...well...there's few other songs that have gripped me like that in a long while.
The album opens up with "Closer", a dark sequel to BotT's ender, "Arizona."  That latter track was akin to driving towards mountains, feeling optimistic about what's on the other side.  Imagine then that you round that pass and there's dark clouds on the horizon and a sense of uneasiness.  That's how I feel when listening to "Closer."  I liken it to The Return of the King (book, not movie) when the hobbits return home all relieved only to find the shire scourged.  They just destroyed the freaking ring and now they have to fight for their homeland?  C'mon!  Fortunately, Kings don't want to fight.  They just want you to come along.  This lead's into "Crawl" which seems to be a little political.  That thumping bassline kills me everytime.  Time out to say Jared Followill is one incredible bassist.  They're all good at what they do: Caleb writes well, Nathan pounds tastefully and intricately, and Matt never once indulges in guitar wankery.  But to me, Jared really elevates a song.  Alright, time in.  Third is "Sex On Fire" which I have nothing to say about except what a driving pop song.  The closer "Cold Desert" will be one of the biggest songs you'll ever hear.  Just listen and try not to be swept away, especially by that gimmicky fade out/fade in trick near the end. 
Granted, not everyone is going to feel the same way about this album.  Not every track is a surefire winner.  Actually, only "I Want You" comes to mind, with it's never-really-going anywhere, laidback vibe.  But for all you southerners, that song sounds great to throw on while sipping some lemonade on the porch.  It's all going to come down to what you like to listen to, as all music does.  One thing I'm disappointed by is that when I was listening to the album this summer at my internship, there was another song called "New Frontier" that was included.  From what I've read, this track is now called "Frontier City" and available with the deluxe version.  Track it down cause it's a nice little gem with some fun group falsetto. 
In conclusion, love the music you love.  But you need to love Only By The Night.  If you don't, I'll grab a chorus and punch you in the gut.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If Wishes Were Horses We'd All Be Eatin' Steak

[Heavy, distorted bass intro]

Oh, hi.  I didn’t see you standing there. 

Sorry.  The bass intro is in reference to “Crawl” by Kings of Leon of their new album.  They released it for free download of their site.  Let me get you the link.  Here…it…is!  What a small word to put a clickable link on.  Man, I’m obnoxious.  Also, check out that video right beside it.  The song playing is "Use Somebody" and it's one of the new album's best tracks.

So what’s on the docket today besides my own sin?  Yea-ea-ah.  What?  Creed, anyone?  Anybody?  I know you knew…

Forget it.  I am [enter] happy today.  Watch this:








I’m down here.  Ridiculous.

Since I can’t remember what I wanted to touch on, I’ll start with this.  My homeboy, Joseph Howard aka T.H.O.M.A.S., has put out a “Soundtrack To Your Hipster Life” as he puts it.  This kid knows flow.  If I wasn’t paying attention, I wouldn’t even realize there were thirteen individual tracks he blends them so well.  You’ve got Fleet Foxes, Black Kids, Lil’ Wayne (dang you, Joseph), and CSS.  It’s a spanner, that’s for sure.  Please check it out or Joseph will kick me out of the Star Wars Club.

Next, we have Step Brothers.  Your enjoyment of this movie depends on your tolerance for grown men acting like children while yelling curses at each other.  Basically, if you were a fan of any recent Will Ferrell vehicles such as Anchorman, Talledega Nights, or Semi-Pro, you’ll find something to like here.  Most of you would be upset that I’d compare it to Anchorman but it is not even close to that level.  The two just share a sort of silliness.  You can tell that writers Ferrell and Adam McKay (who also directs) wrote a script full of “insert riffage here”’s.  If you take away the obvious set-ups for said riffage, you’d have a movie who’s running time wouldn’t be out of place on a Super-Sized edition of Must-See-TV Thursday on NBC.  But I say again, if you like Ferrell or John C. Reilly (who is a mighty fine actor in both comedic and dramatic roles) you’ll like this movie.  Plus, those who skipped the hilarious Walk Hard , which according to the gross is most of you, owe it to Reilly to see this film.  ‘Nuff said.

Ahh, yes.  Now I remember the whole reason of this post.  It is to revile you in my hypocrisy.  What hypocrisy is that?  Oh, nothing much.  Just a little Today Show visit I made last Friday.  Who was there?  Miley Cyrus.  Who?  Miley Cyrus..  I can’t hear you.  MILEY CYRUS!!!  GEEZ!  YOU HAPPY NOW?!!!  I went to see Miley Cyrus.

Hold on, hold on.  Sit back down.  I didn’t go for the tuneage.  I went for the babeage.  Just kidding, just kidding!  Jeff, I’m looking at you.  But in all serious, it was a complete voyeuristic experience (in respect to the crowds.  I'm digging a hole here...).  I had to see the madness of the crowds (Yeah, Ace Troubleshooter reference for you right there).  And for that reason it was worth it. 

Eight thousand people showed up.  For the first time in history, 48th street was shut down.  See that?  First time.  It didn’t happen for Hanson, or N*SYNC, or the Backstreet Boys.  It happened for Miley Cyrus and I was there.  (Wow, I just noticed there’s no colored, wavy line under N*SYNC.  Spell checker is a boy band fan.)  Anyway, it’s the closest to Beatle-mania I’ll ever get.  It’s totally a 21st century thing though in that the female audience is going Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (I am just full of musical references today) over, that’s right, a female.  Bizarre.  It used to be prepubescent girls crushed on the cute boys.  Now I know it’s not the same thing and that’s good.  Maybe it’s actually about the music to this generation.  Cyrus is no impeccable songstress, not in the least bit, but she can sing.  And the tunes have a different spunky feel versus the “I’ll love you baby, baby, baby”crud of that boy band trash.  Girls just want to have fun, right?  What is that?  Number four?

I don’t’ want to go into too much detail about how it all went down.  I got up at 3am to get there and lines were already everywhere with no particular order.  Since I was a vet after seeing Coldplay there, I knew somewhat how it worked.  So I met my friend Allison who used the “I was a nanny last summer so that’s why I want to see this” junk and her friend Ted.  Ted, by the way, is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.  He schmoozed the cops and security guards to where they didn’t see us as a threat.  We basically just walked anywhere we wanted but the trick was to act like you knew what you were doing.  We did just that and actually made it in the official area.  Here’s what makes that feat more impressive:  GE & NBC employees reserved about 800 VIP’s for the area leaving only about 300 or so spots for us common folk.  Remember how many people I said showed up?  Needless to say, it was chaos.  But an experience I won’t soon forget. 

What else is up?  On the music front, Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame has his self-titled record coming out.  I’ve never been much of a fan, for one because he hates Texas, and for two he’s pretentious and pompous.  I guess that's three.  But I’m gonna give the indie king his due, he’s made a great record.  Check it out when it hits stores August 5th. 

Another band that hasn’t quite won me over but is definitely worthy of a mention just because I like metaphors is The War On Drugs.  Imagine if you were riding through the Wild West in a stagecoach and the radio was tuned to an indie station.  You like that?  How about maybe what the crew of Firefly would be listening to?

Speaking of Firefly, if you’ve never seen this show, you’ve just plain got to.  Created by Joss Whedon, it’s a sci-fi western that follows a group of smugglers as they travel the galaxy,  a galaxy FOX killed before it got a chance to catch on.  Doesn’t that network have that reputation?  The show is funny, heartfelt, and overtly creative while paradoxically resting on western clichĂ©s.  The episode that stands out to me is “Out Of Gas.”  It’s the eighth one in the set of fourteen and has all the good stuff.  Flashbacks, flashforwards, drama, suspense, and humor.  That might seem overwhelming or intimidating but any LOST fan worth their salt gets it immediately.  It is one of my most favorite hours of television period.  Stick it in your cue, ladies & gentlemen.  (We are tonight’s entertainment.  Haha.  Couldn’t help myself.  It’s still going strong, that Dark Knight).

I think that’s about it.  I’ve written far too much for someone who planned a quick check-in.  I hope you have a good week and be sure to keep your iTunes music folders organized and in one place before it’s too late.  You’ll be glad you heeded that advice.

Til next time, baby birds. 

- Chase


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hate This And I'll Love You (Not Really, I'll Just Think You're A Hater)

Three weeks to go and then home.  Again, here is a time where I write with no direction.  Obviously, we’re gonna have to touch on The Dark Knight, so we might as well start with that.

What an incredible movie.  If you don’t think so, you’re too much of a hater.  More on that in a second because first I want to brag.  I was in the exact theater they had the premiere at last week.   It was bonkers at that theater.  I love and loathe midnight showings for big movie like this.  What is cool is that you are there with the fans.  This is why I can’t wait for Arrested Development and Watchmen.  Speaking of, that trailer gave me goosebumps.  I think Snyder is going to nail it.  But back to midnighters, those in attendance are those diehards who only want to love the film projected on the screen.  And that is exactly why I loathe them too.  They’re gonna make their voice heard be it talking, practicing their stand-up routine, or other inappropriate sounds escaping their lips.  Luckily, this crowd had respect and it was a great time.

Ok, it’s been a second.  Why are so many people with a needle trying to pop this balloon?  I know that nothing in the world is unanimously loved.  Some things should be but never will.  But when someone is complaining that, “There is no way, NO WAY a gun would ever be snuck into a courtroom!” I can’t help but find this foo’ be hatin’.  What about my good friend Corey who basically said, “Well it wasn’t good enough to warrant twelve midnight screenings at Green Hills.”  Really now?  I think the box office numbers beg to differ.  I hear you already, “The revenue doesn’t mean it’s a good movie!”  Yes, it does.  With the way we can transmit info so quickly nowadays, you bet if all those diehards who did go to the midnight screenings had cried foul, there is no way the film would have grossed as much as it did over the weekend.  C’mon people, let’s try to find some constructive criticism versus all-caps rants (I’m looking at you Kanye) flung from a pubescent kid on the computer in his parent’s bedroom. 

There were flaws.  Honestly, the only thing that bothered me was the guy riding shotgun in the armored car.  No third-rate character in any movie has made me want to spit nails more than that guy.  He had to have been Christopher Nolan’s cousin or something. Well, maybe the fact that one of the best characters created in the past 10 years on film can’t return due to Mr. Ledger’s death bothered me.  I don’t want to be all gushy cause the man is dead, but seriously, he was phenomenal.  Scary, funny, engaging, intense.  Each scene with him made me want more and I only felt the first pangs of sadness at his death once the credits rolled.  What a shame.  Oh well, I guess as they say, “Go out on top.”

Back to the complaints, they all seem to stem from trying to hate “the game” of “don’t’ hate the player, hate the game” fame.  People want to detract from a movie that did so well.  They want to be that guy that ten years from now can say I told you so.  The Pitchforks out there are so annoying.  You’re living in the now, buddy.  Did you get a haircut in high school and immediately distance yourself by calling it stupid so ten years when you’re flipping through the yearbook with your fiancĂ© you can claim superiority?  No, you didn’t.  Who cares?  It was in the past.  So I beg you to see what a crowning achievement this film is in this day and time where everyone is divided into factions, where no one can agree.  Here is something we can agree on:  The Dark Knight is one of the best films of the past decade.  I mean, you can’t even logically hate the game this time.  I don’t think anybody wants to admit that “the game” (Hollywood) finally hit a homerun.  This is it!  This is the film we always ask for when they screw with our beloved childhood heroes!  Especially after the modicum that was Indiana Jones this summer, more people should embrace what a treasure The Dark Knight really is.  Go see it again.  It’ll hold up.

Wow, I got worked up.  What else is going on?  I went to a Yankees’ game last night.  If ten years ago you told me I was going to be cheering the Yankees in any way, I would have kicked you in the nuts.  That was the epitome of hilarity ten years ago to my ten-year-old self.  Our seats were great, the game was great, and the atmosphere was great.  The nachos were not so great.  I just had to go and get chicken on them and that ruined it.  But what a fun time.  People bleed that stuff here.  It’s nuts.  Yes, the kind I’d kick.

Ooh, it’s bragging time again.  Bank Robber shares space with a music business related company (I’m going to be vague so as to protect anybody even though it would be easy to figure out who I’m talking about and I’m only giving a rave review so it doesn’t even matter.  Still…) who works with Kings of Leon.  Their new album Only By The Night doesn’t come out til September 23rd, but guess who’s been spinning it?  Yep, this kid.  I have to say, first listen was not enthralling.  It was good, but not great.  I remember them saying that they were headed in the direction of more rockers akin to “Black Thumbnail” and “McFearless”.  I didn’t hear that the first time, but I do now.  The songs are HUGE.  Think the chorus of “McFearless” or the feel of “Arizona” on almost every song.  I will say that it is going to be divisive.  Once again, they’ve kind of skipped out on the southern-fried rock of their first two albums.  That’s fine by me.  That was a long time ago and they’ve grown up.  There’s still a realness to it that screams southern, but the music is more of a quiet declaration in that regard.  Needless to say, I can’t wait for everyone else to hear it.  It’s gonna be a great fall/winter CD with the landscapes the music paints.  The first single “Sex On Fire” is out on August 11th and it is a scorcher (pun entirely intended).  This has been a favorite from the get go, really the only one to be.  You’ll love it.  I also do think that the version I’ve been listening to is not the final mix.  There are some weird levels, especially in that song.  It makes sense it is the single because they would still be tweaking that perfect radio-ready mix.  I hope you get to hear it all soon.

So, I’m kind of done.  The Who is here and I gotta board the Magic Bus.  Not the one with Ms. Frizzle.  That would be cool though. 

Til next time, baby birds.

- Chase

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Pennsylvania: land of the free and home of the brave.  Or more so, the home of the Amish.  Or is it?  I think I learned in Speech this past semester that accolade actually belongs to Ohio.  Oh well.  Are you gonna call me on that?  Good.  Let us move along then.

I’m in this second-place Amish land visiting the Jacster.  It’s definitely nice to get out of New York for a few days.  Hilariously, I stepped off the bus in Philly, as the natives call it, and exhaled, “Ahh…fresh air.” I guess it's not that hilarious.  Hey, I don’t know any better at this point.  In the words of NBC, it’s new to you.  Not to sound like a poser, but downtown Philly looked so…puny.  I mean, I felt like I could’ve walked that downtown in no time flat.  That is if I hadn’t worn my crapped-out Vans with no socks.  Man, I do sound like a poser.

So what do I want to talk about today?  Heck, I don’t know.  Let’s just Zeppelin this baby up and ramble on.  See?  We got all sorts of surprises cause I’m not even a Zeppelin fan.  But I guess you don’t have to be a fan to reference something.  I’m not too fond of NBC for canceling the excellent Freaks & Geeks.  Granted that was eight years ago and I just only watched the series very recently, but still I am bitter.  We’re all still bitter at Hitler, right?  Should be.  What a great segue. 

If you have never seen Freaks & Geeks, what are you waiting for?  The series is on DVD and it’s easy to consume; only 18 episodes of pure nostalgia.  What works for the show is that the setting merely complements the show.  The show is set in 1980, but the storylines are timeless:  growing up confused, trying to fit in, and learning life the hard way through bad experiences.  And it helps that the soundtrack is absolutely killer with heavy hitters such as Rush, Van Halen, & The Who.  Actually, an entire episode is based around our heroine, Lindsay Weir, and her gang trying to get to a Who concert unscathed by parents.  One aspect of the show I love is the two main characters, Lindsey and her brother Sam, are the same age difference as my sister and I.  I get ever so nostalgic when I see them two interact the same way my sister and I did when we still lived at home.  You can’t help but watch the show and smile.

The people involved with the show are like a who’s who of stars making it big presently.  There’s Executive Producer Judd Apatow, comedy’s go-to guy right now; creator Paul Feig who tangled himself in Arrested Development & The Office; plus producer Victor Hsu who also got his development arrested also.  Jake Kasdan, Walk Hard & Orange County, directed several episodes too.  Check out in front of the camera too.  James Franco plays the cool slacker but he’s also a nice guy and smart but just not at schoolwork.  Jason Siegel of Sarah Marshall fame is Lindsay’s love interest.  Comedy wunderkind Seth Rogen plays a cronie in the “freaks” crowd.  Finally, Linda Cardellini, who is now on ER and *cough* played Velma in the Scooby Doo franchise *cough*, is an incredible actress and knocks Lindsay out of the park.  The real gem of the series is Martin Starr who plays “geek” Bill Haverchuck.  I guarantee that you’ll laugh everytime the kid opens his mouth.  Again, this is way too long of a plug, but you will love this show.

Enough T.V.  Let’s move on to music.

You like 70s stoner rock?  Of course you do.  Why else did you get excited at the Zeppelin reference back there?  Black Mountain is the band for you.  They’ve got soaring vocals, chugging fuzzed-out riffs, and enough organs to make Chris Martin uneasy.  Their 17-minute “Bright Lights” off the sophomore effort In The Future will knock your socks off.  I’m talking minutes long chill-out followed by a bust out that makes “Won’t Get Fooled Again” cry to its momma.  C’mon, Keith Moon gives that one away.  I dare you to not like Black Mountain.  If you like any shred of 70s classic rock, you’ll back away from that dare. 

Next up, we have The [Freak]ing Champs”.  Yeah, I have to censor that one.  Here’s what’s bizarre and a nice life lesson: what kind of music do you think a band with a name as crude as that makes?  Pop-punk?  Thrash?  Nope.  Try intrumental indie...wait for it...prog.  Can you believe it?  See kids, you can’t cast one-off judgments.  The name might be intimidating, but the music is even more so.  By intimidating, I mean stellar.  Check out the album VI. 

Finally, Takka Takka’s Migration isn’t out until July 29th but you can track down some...uh…tracks on blogs.  I highly recommend you do that.  Their music is like the music you dream about.  Let me explain that despite what it obviously seems to mean:  When you have dream with a song in it, you never remember quite what it’s like except that it was awesome.  Well, Migration kind of feels like that on first listen.  It takes more than one go-round for sure but go-rounds you will wish to make. 

And so with that, get on to migrating, baby birds.  Ahh…another great segue.  Except that I’m done. 


- Chase

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Hey Hermano!" & Other Spanish Tales From The Conquistador

Geez freakin’ Louise.  It’s already July?  Well knock me sideways and call me annoying southern idiom.  Where does the time go?  Is it where the cowboys went?  Sorry, AV Club has been doing some 90’s nostalgia and I couldn’t help but indulge.  It’s so amazing how defensive people get over music.  The article was “A Tribute To Terrible Late ‘90s Hits” and it was popular.  Excuse me, is popular.  That baby is almost up to 1000 comments.  That’s just nuts.  Music is such an opinion-based medium, more so than books or television or movies.  You can point to a bad plot or terrible dialogue all you want but you still can’t argue against the use of a well-placed G chord.  Music attaches itself to your consciousness, capturing whatever emotion you were feel when the song invades your space.  That’s the exact reason I’m getting into this business.

Since it’s been over a week since my last post, I thought it was about time.  I still haven’t recapped my Coldplay/Today Show experience yet.  If you are reading this, chances are I’ve already told you about it anyway.  I got up at 4am to arrive to Rockefeller Plaza at 5am to a line literally already around the block.  People camped out.  Regardless, I made it into the official area and waited.  They actually came out around 7am to start soundchecking.  They did that off and on with all the songs they would later play.  I heard “Clocks” about four times too many, meaning they played it four times.  Would anyone really be upset never to hear that song again?  “Viva La Vida” was splashed through three times, same as “Lost!”  “In My Place” reared its head twice.  And the best was “42” which they played once at the end of the broadcast.  That song is the piece.  I love it.  Oh, and they also did an acoustic, stripped-down “Yellow” solely for us poor losers who got up too early.  Chris Martin is a fun guy and he never appeared sluggish, joking with the crowd and everyone’s favorite demons on earth, the paparazzi.  Did anyone even know that word existed before Princess Di’s death?  I sure didn’t.  Of course, I wasn’t too keen on things since we were watching Dante’s Peak at the time.  Ugh, watch those movies today and try not to cringe.  Volcano, Armageddon, Independence Day, and Twister.  They’re all awful.  Anyway, Coldplay was a fun time.

Now, the crowd was not a fun time.  I haven’t been surrounded by this many obnoxious people since high school.  Groups of 16-year-old girls (and by 16-year-old girls I mean polo-popping 19-year-old guys) going, “Ok on the count of three...1…2…3!  Play 'The Scientist'!"  Oh, right.  I forget.  They’re going to take requests on live TV.  In that case, “Play 'Spies'!"  Yeah, you wouldn’t dare.  That song didn’t make you what you are today.  Trash it.  Man, am I cynical or what?  I’m just getting started.  I love the Youtube Generation, I really do, but put your dang cameras down!!!  As soon as a guitar was plugged in, BAM!, everybody and their crummy camera phone was hoisted high in the air like some weird ritual sacrifice to the Can-You-Hear-Me-Now? Guy.  That takes away anybody’s chance of seeing what is going on. I don’t want to watch it later in a four inch box, I want to see it now!  

I was up right against the barricaded aisle and Chris Martin came running that gauntlet.  Everybody pushed like there was no tomorrow and I was fine, but the girl behind me wasn’t.  She was getting her toenail bent back and letting everyone kindly know that it would be mighty fine of them to back up slowly.  No, that wasn’t the case.  The sad part was when she was free from the lethal pain she started crying not from said lethal pain, but because in her dire situation she managed to touch Martin.  Disgusting. 

To cleanse the palate, I decided to shun humanity and catch WALL-E by myself since ‘ol Kevin stood me up.  That’s right, I’m typing at you, kid.  What a brilliant film.  This one is worth thirty bucks.  Is Pixar ever going to phone it in and make a sucky movie?  Cars was the worst but it was still better than seventy-five percent of the dreck that was released that year.  WALL-E is gorgeously plotted, animated, and brazen.  You think you were just going to watch a robot clean up earth for two hours?  That’s equivalent to tuning in to LOST prepared for an hour of gathering firewood.  No, with WALL-E you get a heart-wrenching love story with an in-your-face message to boot.  But, it doesn’t shove that message down your throat a la Al Gore.  I don’t care what you think of animated films, if you don’t adore this movie you have no soul.  I’m serious.  Jessika, now I’m typing at you.

So what else is going on?  Not too much.  Fourth of July coming up. USA! USA! USA! 

On the music front, I’ve gotten overloaded at Bank Robber.  I took home seventeen CDs the other day.  In the minimal time I’ve spent with them so far, one really stands out: Frightened Rabbit.  They’ve been a critical darling the past few months and I knew about them but never desired to check them out.  It’s amazing what free does for you.  It’s their sophomore release, The Midnight Organ Fight, that is sending me in flips.  It’s just great indie-rock with tinges of folk and country.  I like it because it’s not afraid to drive it a little.  I love some swells and speed-ups and guitar swirls.  They do it, and they do it well.  Check it out. 

That concludes our broadcast day.  I’ll be back sooner before longer. 

Til next time, baby birds.

- Chase


Sunday, June 22, 2008

No Denyin' O'Brien

I guess it’s finally time I chronicle my past Friday.  Two words with a weird letter prefix: Conan O’Brien. Yes, we made it in.  Well some of us did.  Let me explain.

I got up at 5:30am and got to 30 Rock (absolutely hilarious show, by the way) at about 6:30am. I was 11th in line so I was pretty sure we were golden. Kevin arrived only about 10 minutes later. It was then that Jessika sent me a message saying her and Ashley’s alarm failed to awake them. While me and Kevin waited for the absentees, we took turns watching Rihanna sound check over at The Today Show. I got to see her do “Umbrella.” It was magical. Finally, at around 8:45am, Jessika and Ashley made it. Needless to say, the people behind us were not very happy and made it clear with stupid, under their breath stabs at us. By that time we were 14th anyway, so we weren’t the only ones who were placeholding. It wouldn’t matter in the end.

We headed back to Brooklyn Heights to kill the time. A little before we trudged back up to Manhattan, Ashley was scurrying around the room. Her ticket was M.I.A. Not the Sri Lanka kind of M.I.A. but the John McCain kind of M.I.A. She decided to not even try to get in. With sadness, Jessika, Kevin, and I made our way. Once we got to the final line, they cut it off at the first 23. That made us nervous but we were still positive. They took the first 12 for definite then took us to another line in case more seats were available. Fortunately, there were more. The problem that presented itself was that three seats were open. Well, there were three of us but in addition was one other guy in front of us whose friend already made it. Happy day for him. Realizing we were only where we were due to our early morning vigilance, Jessika let me and Kevin go. We proceeded to the studio.

It’s definitely not what it looks like on TV. Not smaller, but lower. The ceiling played head bump. The warm-up guy, the one who does the “Fun Hole”-storm-out-of-the-audience bit, talked to the audience and got us laughing. Conan then came out and prepped us and instigated a hugfest. The band came out, sans Wienberg cause the man has to pay the bills with Bruce, and played some sweet tuneage. It think I heard The Clash in there.

Finally the show started and rolled along very quickly What’s weird is when Conan is doing the monologue, there are close to 20 people right off-screen doing their various television-y jobs. First guest, Jason Bateman. He was great and a good looking man, I might add very heterosexually. While they were playing the clip from Hancock, I watched him mouth his lines. He wasn’t doing it to be funny but just out of instinct. Second guest, Masi Oka. You know, Hiro, the Asian guy from Heroes.  He was funny.  The musical guest was Alejandro Escavedo, a fun 7-piece Latino rock band.  After the show ended, Conan came out and sang “The End of Show Song” which obviously never airs.  What an experience it was.  And that was my Friday.

Nothing else has been much exciting. I’m well under way at H&M and it’s fun stuff. As mentioned above, if you’ve never seen 30 Rock, you have to check it out.  It’s so smart and full of NBC meta-references that poke fun at the network.  I’m in love with Tina Fey too.

Mash-up extraordinaire Girl Talk’s new album hit the Internet this week for free in Radiohead fashion. If you choose to pay nothing, it asks you why. This is the logical next step in the free albums popping up from every artist.  Girl Talk’s albums are like a fun game show, a Name That Tune for the ADD, Myspace Generation.  In other words, they’re loads of entertaining. How can one deny Jay-Z spitting over “Paranoid Android”?  Who would have thought Karen Carpenter would be trailed by Metallica?  This kid didn’t.

That’s it from the homefront. I hope you’ve had a wonderful week and this upcoming one is fun as well. What a hokey wishing. 

Til next time, baby birds.

- Chase

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Viva Las Vegas...Or La Vida.

Today is the big day.  Rihanna’s Reloaded is out.  Just kidding.  We all know what today is.  Viva la Vida Day.  It’s a holiday already in Cambodia.  No?  Well it should be.  Here’s what’s going to happen: in real time I’m gonna review this album song by song.  Thoughts, comments, musings are all in the question and I’m ready to go. 


In honor of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, I just pushed play.


Life in Technicolor – Already sounds like it’s gonna be epic.  An electronic “Where the Streets Have No Name”.  What sounds to be a stringed instrument of foreign origin carries the line.  And enter the drums.  I think I read this one is an instrumental.  Yep, 45 seconds left and no vocals.  Sweet.  Oh wait, some “Oh Oh Ohhsss”.  And then into…


Cemeteries of London – Creepy.  Sounds akin to an X&Y b-side.  A little ¾ shuffle-like beat.  Kind of a dark sing-a-long.  This is gonna be a grower…


Lost! – I already like this one cause of the title.  Let’s see if it has any references.  Oh, I just saw some tool on Facebook with these lyrics as his status.  Blech.  I’ve heard good things about this track though.  “You might be a big fish in a little pond” is what most Belmont students were before they came to school.  I’m hearing a lot of The Verve in this song.  Nice guitar bridge.  Coldplay has gotten better with those.  Again, has a very epic feel to it.  Organ outro.  Typical.  Haha.  Next song…


42 – More LOST references?!  The first line is also about those that are dead are not dead but living in his head?!  Wow, these guys love the show.  I can dream that, can’t I?  Whoa.  Change of pace.  Previous track fours gave us goldies such as “Fix You”, “Sparks”, and “The Scientist.”  I’m really digging this one.  Worthy spot to bat clean-up.  Oh yeah.  Kind of a Who melody in the final section.  Interesting mood change in this song. 


Lovers in Japan/Reign of Love – Oh baby I love this intro.  Sounds like Arcade Fire channeling Peter Gabriel.  So far, the most instantly likeable track.  I’ve noticed there hasn’t been a real straightforward drum pattern yet.  Lots of pushes and pulls with ghost notes.  I am really, really enjoying this song.  It’s going to transition though because of that slash in the title.  Great chord progression even though it’s been done before.  Yeah, turn up that guitar.  Here’s the change.  Now why in the world would they not just divide these up?  Just cause they both have love in their titles?  Sounds like Regina Spektor.  The piano is gorgeous.  It’s a pretty song but I might be dividing it up in Garageband.   Maybe I’ll see the connection on another listen.  One of the other million listens this thing is gonna get. 


Yes – Bizarre strings intro.  How are they gonna do these things live?  Very low for Chris Martin.  That might be the lowest I’ve heard him.  Majorly Middle Eastern stings.  I like it.  Now this chorus sounds very Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, or BRMC as tools like to call them.  Probably the same ones with the “Lost!” lyrics in their status.  I think it’s funny he sings about being lonely when we all know he’s married to Gwyneth.  That’s when I detach myself from a song cause I know he’s making it up.  Ok weird, it goes out then comes back.  Sounds like a completely different song.  What is up with this album?  Let’s listen…This sounds like M83 or Asobi Seksu.  And do I ever like it.  Again, I might divide it up.  Weird guitar solo.  Nice.


Viva La Vida – And here’s the star.  Can it be possible to not want to be able to fly when you hear this song?  No.  It’s like a peppy, “Bittersweet Symphony” if that song hadn’t been stolen from the Stones.  It’s got that same, I-want-to-conquer-the-world feel to it.  Again, the only word to describe it is epic.  The same word long-haired teenagers use to describe Metalocalypse with Dethklok.  Haha.  That hardly seems like it should apply for both of those things.  I will say this doesn’t sound as huge as I remember it being from the single I bought on iTunes.  Maybe the single version has more strings.  I’ll Holmes it later.  For the record, I just love this song. 


Violet Hill – I don’t think these songs work well back-to-back.  It’s a good song to have been in the number two spot.  I think it could have switched with “Cemeteries of London” but that would be a huge tonal shift too after “Viva.”  Hmm…I don’t have much to say about this one.  It’s been out awhile.  “If you love me why’d you let me go?”  Doesn’t Chris know if you truly love something, you gotta let it go?  Is that the saying?  Whatever, I don’t remember.


Strawberry Swing – This is a Beatles wannabe.  I say that like it’s a bad thing.  Now it’s “With or Without You.”  The whole U2 thing is definitely here.  I’ll get to that at the end.  This is a sweet song, so the title couldn’t fit more perfectly.  You’re gonna be finding this one on junior high mix CD’s for years to come.  At least until the next Plain White T’s disaster.  Onward to the end…


Death And All His Friends – We’ve reached the end and I have to say I still haven’t heard a “Fix You” or “Amsterdam” or “Trouble.”  I’m sure they’re here.  I have a good feeling about this one.  Very Parachute-sy in the beginning.  Oh yeah, here we go.  Yes, yes, yes!  Four-on-the-floor beat!  And sixteenth notes on the shaker!  Have they been reading my diary?  Here it is.  This is the “Fix You” for me.  Chorus vocals and harmonies.  Not as huge but it gets the point.  It’s a quieter anthem song.  And there it goes.  Wait, here it comes back.  Does this count as a separate song?  Goodness, this is the third track with this two-song-on-one tomfoolery.  What a perfect way to end an album.  Something that will stick in your head like a coda at the end of a hymn.  A spacey background and hums take it out with grace almost like a rainshower fading away into the distance.  Man, that was emo-y.  And man, that was a fantastic album.


What did you think?  I hope you played along but I doubt you did.  Final thoughts:  For years we’ve heard the whole Coldplay is the next U2 business.  I’ve always seen it as true from a popularity perspective but never a musical one.  Now I do.  It helps that Brian Eno co-crafted this album but I think the songwriting and instrumentation is finally at that hugeness that U2 can invoke.  While it’s a brilliant piece of work, I don’t know where it will stand in my Coldplay hierarchy because it’s definitely too soon to tell.  Way too soon.  But I do know as far as musical depth goes, this one is their Mariana’s Trench.  At least in comparison to their previous work.  As Rush of Blood to the Head utilized more piano and X&Y discovered electronica, I think Viva la Vida finds world influences.  And I also think Viva la Vida shows us Coldplay has found the world to be a dark place, but if you know where to look, indefinite beauty can be found.  “Long live life” it postulates, and I think it looks for what that life is to be lived for as said in its so many songs: love.


It’s cheesy but it works.  Til next time, baby birds.


- Chase


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Crappening

Look at me, two days later and here we are again.  I just wanted to put up a smidge of a post cause I’m bored.  First off, we didn’t make it into Conan.  Yeah, that sucked but we’ll try again another time.  Jessika,  Ashley, and their friend Kevin made it there at 8am and we were still numbers 48-51.  Only 33 and up were considered.  We decided we’ll actually reserve some tickets for July.  Our shutout yesterday did cause me to dream last night that we got to watch.  So weird.  Max Weinberg wasn’t even there in my dream.  But I did win a t-shirt.

Since that fell through, we sucked it up and, well, sucked it up.  It’s not that The Happening is a bad movie, per se, just a stupid one.  If you’ve enjoyed any one of Shyamalan’s films, I’d say go see this one.  But if you don’t like the guy’s work, stay away.  I will say that there is no real “twist” at the end so me saying I was spoiled in my last post doesn’t matter.  If you know what the title was of the first draft of the script Shyamalan submitted, you can pretty much deduce what causes “the happening.”  The man sure does have a visual style and knack for staging some scary scenes, but the story is just asinine.  Plus, I don’t think Mark Wahlberg knew what movie he was in.  Definitely not a memorable role.  Zooey, on the other hand, is good but the real draw is her eyes.  To quote Mike Birbiglia, they’re like space crystals.  Bottom line: proceed with caution.  It sucks because his next movie is based on the cartoon series Avatar so I can say with conviction he’s not going to redeem himself with me anytime soon.

We decided to cleanse the palate with another movie, one which I had seen,  The Fountain.  Directed by Darren Aronofsky of Requiem For A Dream fame, this movie was criminally overlooked.  I agree with one reviewer who said it is ahead of its time.  You might remember the trailer.  Check it out here.  It a gorgeous, well-acted tale that you can take away your own meaning.  The sad story is the horrid road to production.  It originally had Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett but got canceled and the budget was cut in half when the project was resurrected.  Check out the Wiki page for more info on this travesty.

Last day at Levi’s tonight.  Should be awkward since I already quit.  Oh well.  Onwards to H&M on Tuesday.  I’m really excited about it. 

Don’t forget Father’s Day.  Til next time, baby birds.

- Chase

Friday, June 13, 2008

All Dressed Up And Possibly Everywhere To Go

Oh no. I’m doing exactly what I hoped I would not be doing. Opening up a post to write with nothing specific to write about. I have no plans, no intentions. Where is this thing gonna lead? I don’t know and you don’t know. As much as I dreaded this moment’s inevitable entrance, it is kind of exciting to not know what lies ahead. I am quite the planner. I’m the guy that organizes and gets it all together then Corey calls and says, “Hey, I think we’re gonna go to Great Escape first then meet you there.” WHAT?! No! A wrench…thrown…in my plans. Now I have to get there early with Jeff. Dang it. Haha. I totally kid. At least with the names. I love both those guys. But I do like plans and I like them the way I plan them. If plans don’t stay the same, then they cannot be plans. They become suggestions.

I’m reminded of “Plans” by Bloc Party. “Stop being so laissez-faire, we’re all scared of the future.” Are we though? I mean, I fear for where my typing fingers are leading, but in the big picture are we really dreading where the world is headed? Global warming, escalating violence, The Love Guru. That last one scares me most. But seriously, since the beginning of time things have always gotten worse. It’s called entropy. Not a big deal, kids. “Oh no, but the Mayans say 2012 is the end!” Yeah, but the Rapture happened in ’88. Way to go, Whisenant.

Whoa, regroup. I don’t know where that whole paragraph was going. Let’s talk something more tangible. I found out Kings of Leon have a new album coming out in September. Man, that was quick. Because of the Times was only April ’07. They said they were itching to get back in the studio but I guess I didn’t believe them. It’s perfect timing too cause I’ve been spinning all I have by them on random. I love those guys. They remain one of those rare acts where each member really excels at what they do. Jared, the bassist, is less than a year older than me and look at what he’s done. What a groover, too. All I can say is I am in severe anticipation territory.

Speaking of anticipation, a weekend is all that stands between us and one of the biggest albums of the year. Yes, yes, yes. Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. What a title. More like Viva La Vida or Death to Our Status As the Usurping U2 If We Blow This Album.  The former rolls off the tongue with greater facility. I really see Coldplay as doing no wrong. Think about it, even if you don’t like an album by them, you still love a few songs. That is success. With how easy it is to reach the masses, now more than ever you’re not going to be pleasing everybody. Having a few songs that the majority loves is great victory. I know it’s already leaked but I sit and wait like the good boy I am. I think that made Narrow Stairs that much better. I wonder when they announce the winners of the Madison Square Garden Show? Hmm… I know they’re on the Today Show the 27th and I’m gonna see if I can be there. Yeah, right. Now that’s a plan that can change.

Finally, the last thing on my mind is M. Night Shyamalan’s latest twist…er, I mean movie. Seriously though, this guy was once my favorite director. I want to see The Happening but after Lady In The Water, Lucy has got some serious ‘splainin’ to do. I was on the A.V. Club today, which if you don’t know is a website for pop-culture snobbery (I love it), and people were all up in Mr. M.’s business. No one could come up with anything better than “what a one-trick pony” and various unhumorous riffs on the guy’s last name. Wow, that’s not racist. I like his movies. Unbreakable is my favorite. I think time will be more kind to Shyamalan once our kids find his movies. He does do the twist thing. But look at Lady In The Water. It had no twist, just plot. Granted, there were about one million other things swimming afoul in that water, but it did deviate from his staple. That’s the problem. Everybody likes the first album better. Ask any of his detractors back in 1999 and they’d say he was genius. Those same people bash The Sixth Sense (did you know that’s Mischa Barton throwing up in that movie? So that’s where the bulimia started…) because they look at it through the lenses of his other work. Cut him some slack. If he drops the twist, you don’t like it. Regardless, I’ll see the new one even though I’m pretty sure I had the twist ruined for me today. Oh well. I’ll see it for Zooey Deschanel. What a cutie.

We made it through. I’m trying to standby for Conan tomorrow, so if my plans stick, I’ll have another post soon to recap the experience.

Don’t be scared of the future. Til next time, baby birds.

- Chase

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"I Just Gotta Be Me!" Said the Yellow Penguin

I’ve never really had the aspiration of celebrity.  It’s not something that I have looked forward to as a child, putting on shows with my sister singing the theme song to “Duck Tales” and “Chip ‘N Dale.”  Alright, that was too specific so you know it’s true.  But I could honestly care less if by the time of my death those that know me are only my friends and family.  That’s it.  I don’t need anymore.  The only reason I would want to be famous is to be associated with a body of work that I am proud of, that I could share with people.  Of course, like LOST.  Or also something music related.  Something that could bring people together, not just to have my name out there.  Ok, before I get all end-of-the-movie-introspective-wrap-up-with-a-grandiose-moral-outlook on you, let me get to the point:  New York City makes me wish I were a celebrity.


I look at Mike Myers staring at me in Times Square and I think, “Man, I wish that was me.”  Well, not in his present state because he’s staring at me from the Love Guru ads, smiling as if he knows what a heaping, money-growing turd he’s about to drop into pop-culture.  What a train wreck that’s going to be.  Or should be.  I’ve seen people laughing at the previews.  The dang thing should be called Austin Powers: The Curry Scurry. 


Now, I wish that was me only because I think of all the hassle that gets taken away of living in a huge city such as this when one is a celebrity.  You take taxis, you eat where you want, you can afford a $10.99/lb. bag of M&Ms at the M&Ms World store.  Do you have to struggle to find a job?  Only if you’re Scott Baio.  All I’m saying is, even being Bob Loblaw would have it’s benefits.  That’s the reason they all love this place is because they can feel an elitism and enjoy every, little thing the city has to offer without so much as batting an .223…eyelash.  That makes no sense, even to baseball fans.  I don’t know.  It’s just a fun thought.  Well, being Scott Baio isn’t a fun thought, but the whole celebrity…thing…I was…Moving on.


I started work at Levi’s in Time Square.  Yeah, it is nuts.  I can’t give you numbers, but this store is going to be the #1 Levi’s store on all of planet Earth.  It will sell exponentially more than any other top store.  And I work there.  Funny where you end up in life.  I spoke to people who in turn spoke to me in at least five different languages today.  How many celebrities can hold that record?  Not many.  And that is why I’m glad to be plain.  Like those $10.99/lb. bag of milk chocolate, plain M&Ms.  Did I bring it home for you folks?  I hope so.


Anyway, that’s it for today.  I wanna say boo to Gabe for being unoriginal.  Click his name to see why I boo.  On the new music front (at least new to me), check out Lackthereof,  it’s a side project of Menomena’s Danny Seim.  Also, if you’re into the whole revolution of female singer-songwriters (Feist, Spektor, Ingrid, Yael, etc.) check out Dawn Landes, Angela Desveaux, or Jennifer O’Connor.  They’ll for sure get you listening to them 1, 2, 3, 4 times as you begin to hope.  Too much?  Alright then.


Til next time baby birds.


- Chase