Tag Archives: music

Top o’ 2009

I’m putting together a “best albums of the year list” like last year. However, I’m splitting it between this blog and the one I run over at True/Slant. That one should be up in the next day or two. This list is a collection, a round-up of runners-up, great albums I missed from last year and more. Enjoy:

Best Albums of 2009 Runners Up:

UUVVWWZUUVVWWZ

DDMMYYYYBlack Square

BalmorheaAll is Wild, All is Silent

Ear PwrSuper Animal Brothers III

Volcano ChoirUnmap

Andrew BirdNoble Beast

PterodactylWorldwide

Akron/FamilySet ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free

Cymbals Eat GuitarsWhy There Are Mountains

Antony & The JohnsonsThe Crying Light

DodosTime to Die

Mi AmiWatersports

fun.Arm & Ignite

BLK JKSAfter Robots

Matt & KimGrand

PomegranatesEverybody, Come Outside!

Albums I Wish I Had More Time With, As They Probably Would’ve Ended Up On The List:

Brother AliUs

Mos DefThe Ecstatic

These Are PowersAll Aboard Future

Screaming FemalesPower Move

Best Album From Last Year I Finally Got To This Year:

The Gaslight AnthemThe ’59 Sound

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An Awkward Conversation With Mike Kinsella About Cap’n Jazz Rumors

Setting: Lincoln Hall, Chicago. About 10:30ish, 15 minutes or so into Headlights‘ set, about a half hour after Maritime‘s performance.

Mike Kinsella and his friend (who I unfortunately did not get the name of) sitting at the southern end of the bar. I pop up before I leave the show…

Me: Hey, it was really nice meeting you.

Mike Kinsella: Yeah man, you too. [shakes hand]

Me: Hey, I know this is a little odd, but I have to ask. I heard rumors Cap’n Jazz are getting back together… Is that true?

MK: I don’t know, are they getting back together?

MK’s friend: Well, what do you think? Do you think Cap’n Jazz should get back together, or should they leave it behind, keep it in the ground? What do you want Cap’n Jazz to do?

Me: [clearly flustered] I… umm… I think they should do whatever makes them happy.

MK: So, what makes me happy?

Me: Umm….

MK: You wrote the paper, so what makes me happy?

Me: I… um…

MK: So what was your conclusion?

Me: Well, I said the conclusion was… unknown.

And so it went… The rest was a bit of a jumble, and that beginning of me embarrassing myself in front of Kinsella and his friend isn’t word-for-word because its been a few hours and I clearly could have forgotten a word/sentence.

But, Kinsella’s a good sport for even dealing with my “hey, I’m some random fan, answer my every question!” trope I busted out. Kinsella and his friend were certainly very nice to me, and I wish I could have stayed and chatted longer.

But, whatever happens with the reunion rumors, I just hope the Cap’n Jazz guys actually make whatever decisions because they want to. But, considering the amassed discography that makes up the Cap’n Jazz family tree, it’s clear they’ve all been doing things the way they want to for some time. And that’s what makes them all continue to create strong, vital music today, with or without a Cap’n Jazz reunion.

College Student Needs To Pay Attention In History Class

The Indiana Daily Student‘s Cory Barker recently put out his “Best of the Decade” list on emo.

Fine enough.

Except that he begins with this little quote:

Before 2000, we’re pretty sure that the word emo didn’t even exist.

What?

No need to really delve into this, but shouldn’t Barker have, I don’t know, say, done some research before writing such a statement? I’m sure if Cory had taken the time to even type “emo” into Wikipedia, he would have figured out the word existed for a solid 15 years before the turn of the millennium.

People have been riding the Washington Post for an error about a Public Enemy song, one which most folks would have never dug up had the Post not made the correction. But type “emo” into Goggle news in the next 24 hours and Barker’s quote will come up as clear as day and as misinformed as all those TV news stations that have “uncovered” emo the past few years.

Another big screw up on the list? Not mentioning Say Anything’s …Is a Real Boy, which is far superior to the fairly bloated In Defense of the Genre. But, that’s just my opinion.

The more and more I agree with Christopher R. Weingarten

Eye Weekly has a pretty great interview with Christopher R. Weingarten, formerly of good ole’ Parts & Labor, now known most prominently for his Twitter account, 1000TimesYes.

Anyway, Weingarten has some pretty stellar things to say about the omnipresence of emo and indie in the early part of the decade, the impact of crowdsourcing on music journalism, and many more. Just take a look at what he has to say about brokeNCYDE:

What the worst records you’ve had to endure?
Well, obviously the Brokencyde record… I hate to dog on those guys because it’s kind of an internet meme to make fun of Brokencyde. And if someone pitched the idea of southern bounce beats plus screamo, I would totally say that sounds like a great idea. The only record I’ve heard that’s worse than Brokencyde is the Johnny Cash Remixed record.

Nuff said.

Kuma’s Secretly Hearts Emo

I’d heard of Kuma’s Corner for months and have craved their metal-themed hamburgers and pretzel buns for many a month I’ve lived in Chicago. Tonight, I set out for the famous metal bar and was able to snatch a spot before the looming crowd grew larger than the small room had space for. And I noticed something so curious that the New York Times picked up on before I was able to get to my WordPress:

I DON’T know what I was expecting — guns? outlaw bikers? — but the restaurant, with its high ceilings and a pleasing corner location, didn’t end up all that threatening. Sure, there were drawings of half-naked female vampires on the walls, a scrawl reading “Die Emo Die” above the bar, and the incessant and propulsive fluttering of double-kick bass drums chugging under growled vocals on the sound system all night, but my girlfriend’s parents — not the target demographic, one assumes — described it afterward as “a hoot.”

Yep. “Die Emo Die.” The Times piece actually makes it a bit more prevalent than the three words actually are. They’re scrawled in chalk, are a bit small and sit atop a gigantic picture of a bear. And with all the other chalk descriptions (what charity they’re giving money to this month, the burger of the month), t-shirts and random ephemera on the wall, it isn’t terribly noticeable. I guess that is unless you’re me and it sticks out almost immediately. It also helps that I sat at that part of the bar directly facing those three words.

And yet, just after sitting down something curious blasted through the bar’s speakers. At The Drive In’s “One Armed Scissor.” At The Drive In, a band that is by any other means, emo. Sure, it’s hard as hell, but it’s emo nonetheless. So, I smiled to myself, made note to my roommate who joined me in the metal meal quest and awaited the arrival of my burger (the “Melvins” burger.)

And man was it delicious. The atmosphere there was great, and is certainly another fond reminder of some great metal acts that exist. It’s just another great place that only seems to exist so perfectly in a place like Chicago.

Is Jawbox Reuniting or What?

Ok, here’s the breakdown:

Today, Billboard had a little write up on Jawbox, which featured an interesting quote from bassist Kim Coletta on a potential Jawbox reunion:

“I’d love to,” Coletta tells Billboard. “It would be the coolest thing in the world.”

What’s this? Do explain!

Coletta says the Jawbox’s “Jimmy Fallon” performance will be “a safe way of seeing if it’s still fun to play together, or get back together. It’s an easy way to test the waters. I can’t say whether it’s going to lead to a full-length show or any touring, but we’ll see. We’re taking it one step at a time.”

Interesting… especially considering just a short while ago, J. Robbins told Buzzgrinder something completely different:

There were good and bad things about Jawbox, but we always held ourselves to a pretty high standard as far as playing shows. We would want to make sure we did it right, and we felt like we couldn’t take the time to do that. So that was pretty much the beginning and the end of the reunion discussion.

Odd… perhaps Robbins was just pulling our collective chain… or Coletta for that matter.

That’s the tough thing with all of these bands-getting-back-together-matters, and another reason why I really appreciate Fugazi’s extended hiatus: it’s a bit abrupt to just toss everything away and call it a day when who knows what the future may bring.

So, perhaps the band has been practicing together more since Robbins’ interview and they’ve collectively found their mojo, something to really work with, do a full show or a tour beyond Fallon. Perhaps. Let’s just say never say never.

Jawbox – “Savory”:

(Saudi) Arabian Nights

The Saudi Gazette‘s Khadija Mesh’al As-Sulaimi did a little write up on the “emo” culture that’s sprung up in the country:

Unlike the youthful rebellion of yesteryear, “Emo people” are much more difficult to define. Emo refers to a way of life which represents isolation and depression; Emo teenagers express their emotions through unusual – and in extreme cases, disturbing – means via the slogan: “Emotion is power, so do not be ashamed of it.”

True, the folks in Saudi Arabia appears to not go as bonkers over emo as the people in Egypt did a while back. Still, it’s a rather cut-and-paste piece, with snippets of paranoia of a youth-bred culture that “parents just don’t understand.”

Aside from the Rites of Spring reference (kuddos for putting that in the piece!), what is probably most alarming is the title of the article:

The Emo subculture invades Saudi society

What I’m harping on here is the word “invasion.” It promotes a certain fear-of-the-other, and isn’t that the kind of polarizing attitude that could potentially do more harm to kids with real depression versus those who dabble in the fashion of the day that’s merely perceived to be that of an individual who is depressed.

The rest is more of the usual… Still, it’s interesting to track the “spreading of emo” throughout the world. Or at least in the guise of the worldwide media.