Thursday, May 29, 2003

Yesterday was my Birthday. I scored mostly music related gifts.

I got a gig bag for my electric.
T-shirt that reads: "quit work make music."
A book I've wanted for a while. "Hank Williams Snapshots from the Lost Highway" by Colin Escott & Kira Florita.
The second season of the Simpsons on DVD.

and, I finally have (legally wink, wink) "De Stijl" by the White Stripes.

Thanks Everyone!!


Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Keeping on the White Stripes theme I’ve had going since I started this site, I thought I would take a stab at my first formal record review. I’m quite good at being opinionated. At least I think I am.

The White Stripes newest album, Elephant, is a force to be reckoned with! The Future of Rock! This boy/girl combo delivers raw, bluesy, garage, pop, rock, grunge from beginning to end. This reviewer has thrown out every cd he owns, and replaced them all with Elephant. I can see now that music did not exist until Jack and Meg.

OK, OK, OK, enough bull-shoot. Let’s get serious. This is not the end all be all of music. It is a very strong album.

Track one: Seven Nation Army. It is a made for radio romp. Groovy bass sounds (actually its Jack’s guitar with an octave pedal) and pop-y drum riffs from Meg. It is super catchy and a great song. This song is the first single, and everyone loves it. The Octave pedal idea is a good one. It creates a unique “sonic landscape” to use a pretentious term. It’s not only a catchy riff; it’s got that extra “something” to the sound. Instead of a normal bass sounding: bom, bom, bom, bom, baa, baa. It has that, Sly Stone, Thank You (Fallettinme Be Mice Elf): Byyom, Doyyom, Byyom, Byyoom, Byyaam, Byyoooooo.

Track two: Black Math. Nothing special. A song for the White stripes purist. It sounds like a Stripes song. It feels like it’s about to break out into “Fell In Love with a Girl.” But then that Bridge kicks in!! I’m won over now! Then a guitar Solo!! Not something you usually hear on a White Stripes album. But wait, who is playing the rhythm guitar part when Jack is soloing?

Track three: There’s No Hope for You Here. Another strong song. Soft verses, loud chorus. There are MANY Jack Whites singing backup to Jack White.

Track four: I Just Don’t Know What to do With Myself. Wow! Catchy! A cover song with that White Stripes stink all over it.

Track five: In the Cold Cold Night. Yes!! Meg sings!! I love when Meg sings!! She sang “Rated X” when I saw her live at Radio City Music Hall.

Track six: I Want to Be the Boy. Pretty song. This Album is settled down a bit.

Track seven: You’ve Got Her In Your Pocket. Very pretty song. Soft and low. A Ballad-esqe tune with just Jack and his Acoustic.

Track eight: Ball and Biscuit. Whoa. Things shift here. After three slower tunes comes this long, grinding blues. One of the best on this album full of good ones.

Track nine: The Hardest Button to Button. Not a horrible song, but not a very great one.

Track ten: Little Acorns. What the?? “Be like the Squirrel” Did I hear that right. Again, not a horrible song, but one of the weaker ones. This is what happens when Jack tries emo. “Hey, don't write yourself off yet, It's only in your head, You feel left out or looked down….” Wait, that’s a different song, but the same idea. The more I think about this, the more I think this song sucks huge. The riffs are good. I like the little sermon before the song. According to Jack, in MOJO magazine, this is a Detroit TV reporter, and his little story was on a tape that he got for free. Jack sticks it in his four track and records a piano riff on one of the tracks. When he listens back to his piano, this reporter is telling the squirrel story on the other track. Cool story. Weak song (Unless you like “jimmy eats world).

Track 11: Hypnotize. Sucky song. Weak song. I don’t care for this one at all. I’m a fan of the White Stripes. This song is not very good, but at least it’s short.

Track 12: The Air Near My Fingers. According to that MOJO article, this is Jack’s least favorite song. I like it. It’s one of my favorites. Things were getting crazy there with the last few songs, but this one reminds me of why I like these guys.

Track 13: Girl You Have no Faith in Medicine. This is good songwriting. Very clever metaphor. Catchy. Sounds like the White Stripes are supposed to.

Track 14: It’s True That We Love One Another. Fun. Nice ending to the album. All the chicks dig this tune.

See. A Great album. First few songs hook you in. They sound different enough to show they’ve been growing as musicians, but they also sound like the White Stripes we expect. Then a few slower numbers to mix it up. Then a seven minute blues jam to keep us interested.

Then Three kinda crappy songs that we put up with, but they work here because we need to recover from “Ball and Biscuit.”

Then they finish up with a few more, solid White Stripes songs, and a cute little ditty to show us that they are a fun gang.


Thursday, May 22, 2003

Oh my, I wasted so much of my morning when I stumbled onto this wicked cool site with pictures of all my favorite bands. If you click "Parent Directory" you can navigate other months, and even years of rocknroll bands. Pretty cool!!


Wednesday, May 21, 2003

There I went, ragging on big city hipsters when my brother (who lives just up the Palisades from NYC) emails me this great article. What a fun coincidence. It fits the hipster theme I was on earlier, and the article finishes with a great quote from Nick Zinner (Guitarist from the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs!! Here's some links in praise of his skills. Chicago Sun-Times music critic's cool site, and today's Villagevoice.com "Fly Life").

Good News!! My paranoia about a sellout for White Stripes tickets in Chicago turned out to be baseless. Quality paranoia wasted heh?

In fact, according to the evil Ticketmaster.com, tickets are still on sale three days later. I actually thought this show might sell out in two minutes!! Seeing dozens of Jack and Meg’s eyes staring at me from the cover of every music magazine at the newsstand has given me a false sense of how popular this band is in the big city. I mean, sure, in Newport News or Raleigh, they aren’t that big. But I thought different in the Big City.

Perhaps this shows how hopeless un-cool we Virginians are. That I actually admit I like the White Stripes, when a Wicker Park or Williamsburg hipster knows that it’s The Kills who are deck now, and that all this media exposure the Stripes are getting is fin.

Oh well, trying to please a hipster is a hopeless task.


Saturday, May 17, 2003

I actually saw Dylan last week in Portsmouth, VA. His first show after a day off, and the first show of what is a scheduled four in a row for him. Portsmouth has a beautiful new concert hall. Outdoors, on the harbor, amidst the Cranes of the shipyards, and the sailboats with owners names painted on the back, the Harbor Center Pavilion’s peaked tents shine a bright white. This is all important info, because it is my belief that it directly contributes to the most wonderful mood he was in. Smiling, laughing, thumbs up, and Thank You's were clearly noticeable from seat J-29.

Four days later, in Maryland, the boards had posts like:
"It was sad. The last night of four in a row is always bound to be bad but I just felt like I was at a bedside vigil more than a concert. The band rocked as always but Bob felt like he was mailing it in the way he did during the Dead/Petty days."

This phenomenon is an important one that I am adding to my show selection criteria. You see, this very morning at 10am, tickets for the White Stripes show in Raleigh, NC went on sale. It’s a four hour ‘93 Mustang ride from the yellow house on North Ave but Raleigh is the closest they are coming to the Peninsula I call home. It is also the first show they are doing in America this tour.

I am sick of paying good money to be horribly disappointed at rock-n-roll shows! Bob Dylan at MCI Center in 2000, Pink opening for Kravitz, The Donnas at Alley Katz in Richmond (although discovering Longwave was good), etc. Living in a shipyard town, down the road from the James River, I have to make some serious treks to see good rock-n-roll. That means giving Clear Channel lots of money, and supporting terror by burning gallons of gas to travel three or more hours to see my favorite rock-n-rollers.

Now, I’m not averse to spending hard earned bread as long as I get value for my dollar. I spent 100 dollars a ticket and traveled 8 hours to see the Strokes and the White Stripes at Radio City Music hall. Worth it.

So I have decided to see the White Stripes again this tour. I know I'll get good value for my money you see. Issue: I’m planning to visit Chicago for the Taste. India.Arie is playing, plus my girl has family in Elmhurst to visit. Sheryl Crow is playing too, and the girls will dig that. Guess what though? Tickets go on sale tomorrow for the two ‘Stripes shows in Chicago...during the taste!! Dilemma, Dilemma.

So now the plan is to wait till tomorrow and try to score 4 tickets to the July 2nd show in Chicago. Will the big city show sell out too quickly for me get the tickets? If I get the Chicago tickets do I still go see the Raleigh show? Will tickets be available for the Raleigh show if I wait? Is it worth the cash for the Raleigh show if I'm going to see them in Chicago? Dilemma indeed!

Guesstimations for why Raleigh would be an extra special show, and worth the money:

First show in America this tour = Well rested, ready to rock attitude from band.
Smaller city, intimate venue = ready to rock attitude from crowd.
New album is AWESOME = I really want to see them live twice.

I’m already going to be riding my chopper down past Raleigh for the SMSO motorcycle rally later that same week. So maybe I should go down a day early, see the Stripes show, and then keep heading to the rally.

Of course, if I do this, it will cost me. So the questions begs: What Value can I expect for my money?

Sitting in a yellow house on North Avenue, with Saturday morning clicking over to Saturday afternoon, I couldn't help but think about this soft playing Mp3 competing with the sounds of the maintenance man beating my yellow aluminum siding with his power washer. Bob Dylan is being asked by Peter Yarrow to come back onto the stage of the Newport Folk Festival. "He's going to get an acoustic guitar." What a Jerk this Peter is, heh?

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