November 20, 2008

Myspacecore: An Introduction

This video, for "FreaXXX" by Brokencyde, has been all over the internet today. First, like everyone else, I thought it was ridiculous and terrible. But then I realized that it's really the best video, the video we deserve. This is what suburban housing developments and American Apparel and Web 2.0 hath wrought. THIS IS WHAT YOUR KIDS/YOUNGER SIBLINGS ARE LISTENING TO. It's also what they look like.

This type of music (by which I mean music created by this these kinds of kids) is part of the first wide-ranging musical/subcultural style born and bred on the Web 2.0 internet. It may not all sound alike, or even belong to the same genre (see: the "hip-hop" of 3oh!3, the Xtian screamo of The Devil Wears Prada, and Brokencyde's cross-genre clusterfuck) but the uniting factors are image and background, not genre. These kids all look the same, have the same post-post-ironic sense of humor (which strangely revolves around ghetto tropes), come from the same kinds of boring suburban towns, and have access to the means to create and promote their music (affluent parents and Myspace, respectively). This is music in the post-genre future. This is Myspacecore.

November 18, 2008


Deastro - "The Shaded Forest"

The Killers wish they could write a song like this.

Deastro is the musical project of Detroit-based artist Randolph Chabot. "The Shaded Forest" was first released in 2007 on the album Young Planets, which was named Real Detroit's top local album for that year. In their review, Real Detroit compares Deastro to NES and The Postal Service, but I think those comparisons sell the band a bit short. While the electronic sounds and frenetic tempos of NES music are there, it lacks the annoying (my opinion) lo-fi electronic quality of true 8-bit composition. And as far as I can tell, the only similarity to The Postal Service is that both are synth-pop with male vocals. Where The Postal Service sees Ben Gibbard taking his typical maudlin, meaningful-core manner and applying it to the synth-pop format, Deastro opts for big, uptempo, arena-ready sounds that will please listeners long after the Indie-saddoe genre has withered away (hence the Killers reference above). Deastro appears ready to break out of the local Detroit scene, as the band has recently signed to Ghostly International, a label also home to Matthew Dear, School of Seven Bells, and Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities. "The Shaded Forest" will reappear on their debut full-length for Ghostly, Keepers, out today in digital format only.

November 16, 2008


Thursday night I went to my first ever METAL SHOW, at the Ravari Room in Columbus, OH. I've never felt so tall in my life. (A lot of short guys at the metal show.)

The headliner was Baroness, whose 2007 release The Red Album fits into the sub-sub-genre of doom metal that I can actually stand. I like a lot of the musical aspects of doom, but I just can't get beyond bands who insist on growling, guttural vocals. The guys in Baroness yell, but it's just yelling; they don't feel the need to sound like Tuvan throat singers. However, this being my FIRST EVER METAL SHOW, I didn't realize how much the excessive volume would destroy the songs, robbing them of whatever musical variation exists on the studio recordings. I definitely expected it to be obscenely loud, but once live music reaches a certain volume in a small enough venue (maybe even in larger ones), the sound all bleeds together and everything sounds basically the same. In the case of Baroness, it was all chugging chords and anthemic vocals, the choruses being the only way I could even tell one song from the next. For the first song, I was about 3 people back from the stage, and luckily it turned out to be "The Birthing" (video below), my favorite of theirs. "Luckily," because after that assault on my ear-holes I had to move to the back of the club. After hearing a few of their other standouts, including the single, Wanderlust, I left before they had even finished playing. I'm already a bit hard of hearing, and I wasn't willing to sacrifice even more of that sense for 20 more minutes of indistinguishable guitar sounds.

Baroness, "The Birthing" (Live from DC9 in Washington, DC 12/2/07.)

November 13, 2008


One of my favorite tracks over the past few months has been BLK JKS' "Mzabalazo." According to the band, the song is an "update of a classic apartheid era toyi toyi fight song when folks got it crackin in the streets." This recording, from a special Fader magazine 7", keeps those protest origins intact, as a squall of guitar noise and a brief instrumental intro soon give way to shouted call & response vocals. You can grab the track in mp3 form at the band's blog(or this direct download link).

If you're the type who likes to check things out before going all the way with a dl, watch this YouTube video to not only HEAR the song (in lo-fi YouTube sound), but also (sort of) see it spinning on a turntable.

In the video below, recorded April 2008 at Harriet's Alter Ego in Brooklyn, you can hear a version of the song more characteristic of the band's recent live performances, with the structure a bit more loose and open to variation than the studio version.

Check out BLK JKS' website,, for more videos and mp3s.

November 12, 2008

Benauwd from Jasper van Es on Vimeo.

World record for most bags on head. I can't wait to see this recreated in a music video for my favorite band.

(via today and tomorrow)

Learn to blog!

This book reminds me of the time a few weeks ago when Colleen and I were at Barnes & Noble, and I saw a display of those binder inserts that are about things like the periodic table or grammar and editing tips, but there was also one about blogging. I bought it and put it in my blogging binder, where I like to collect interesting newspaper and magazine clippings. Sometimes I'll write a little something about one of them on some loose-leaf paper, and then make a "link" by stapling it to the clipping.

November 7, 2008

Blog Post - Worst Show

Think I might start blogging again. Probably with less of a focus on music. Not sure yet. If you've been a subscriber for this long (Google Reader says I have 10!), please bear with me! If December comes and there have only been like 2 new posts, then I suppose you can delete away.

Last night I went to my first show in about 3 months. There hasn't been very much going on since I've moved to Columbus, very few recognizable bands outside of the lo-fi wave that's found some sort of a base here. So yesterday, when I saw that Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson and Castanets would be playing the Summit, I figured I'd go check it out, even though Robinson's debut was a little too Bright Eyes-y for me, and, aside from name-recognition, I'm not very familiar with Castanets. As things turned out, the performances I saw left a lot to be desired.

MBAR's rhythm section couldn't make it, so he attempted to play his set with himself on acoustic, plus a keyboardist and an electric guitarist. They were clearly lost without the bass & drums, and ended up fumbling their way through 4 songs. It seems to me that, rather than trying to play the normal arrangements without the rhythm section (which I believe is what they did), or trying to rearrange around the missing parts on the fly, Miles should have just let the 2 present members chill while he played a solo acoustic set, which - if you've heard the songs - is almost definitely how they were initally composed. Instead, he chose to play an abbreviated set of poorly performed songs. Why?

By the time Castanets finally came on, the preceding scene had left me pretty deflated, so I probably wasn't in the best mindset to really pay attention to a group I wasn't very familiar with. They ended up sounding pretty good, but also played maybe 6 or 7 songs, and their songs aren't terribly long, so it was maybe a half hour set.

I don't mean my first blog post in forever to be a whine-fest, but I really really have never seen such a half-assed show. I'm sure these people are having a hard time financially, like the rest of us, I'm sure it's not too thrilling to be playing for a crowd of about 25 in Columbus, Ohio, but the lack of effort and professionalism displayed by both bands was pretty shocking. I've seen bands in crappier venues, more informal settings, but the apathy last night just blew me away.

I write all this to ultimately pose this question: Is this a trend? Have any of my 9ish readers been to a show lately where it seemed like the performers just did. not. care?

The more I think about it, the more I think it may just be a problem with Columbus itself. Fewer bands are coming here these days than when I last lived here 2 years ago, and the turnout last night supported those who make the decision to skip this town altogether. Any thoughts?

(I'm not even going to get into the gross midwestern college student brand of alt/hipster/scenester types that made up about 95% of those in attendance, but they didn't do much to improve my view of the situation. I will just say: there were AT LEAST five moustaches in the room; that means probably a quarter of the males in the paying audience were wearing ironic moustaches. Please.)