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