Monday, November 17, 2008

In Case You Missed It

I may or may not post a larger rant later tonight but in case I don't I wanted to put this song up for several reasons:

1) Wilco is a great band
2) It's only performance was on the brilliant COLBERT REPORT right before the election. (something I will attempt to comment on later)
3) It is a nice return to the old blues/country roots of the band (with shades of Uncle Tupelo) and away from the more experimental stuff they have been putting out.

So here it is:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Catching up with...

So, I have been away (I know, nothing new there) so I have some not necessarily thematic thoughts to get everyone caught up:

1) Hands down my new favorite TV Show of the moment is Chuck. Not only is it funny and full of action, it has great music. Case in point was the superb use of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" to illustrate the climactic battle Chuck has to go through against the old game Missile Command. It was a brilliant use of the song and made me jump on the net and grab it for the ole' iPod.

(mp3) Rush -- Tom Sawyer

2) I have, for the most part, ignored the new OASIS record. For someone who is card carrying member of the Britpop fan club to write these words might constitute blasphemy, but I just haven't been able to get excited. The two exceptions to my blah attitude are the singles "Falling Down" (both the original and the Chemical Brothers remix) and "Shock of the Lightning". Both of these songs could very easily have fit onto the first two records so this is most likely why I enjoy them. The rest feels like filler to me.

(mp3) Oasis - Shock of the Lightning

3) Has a band coming off a huge commercial album ever had a quieter follow up release than SNOW PATROL? I would have expected their new stuff to be plastered all over the radio and TV but I have heard nary a peep from their new album. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

4) This past week was homecoming week on my campus. This is one of my favorite times of the year and makes me a bit sad I chose to go to a college with no football team and very little school spirit. Perhaps that is why every year I lose my voice screaming at the top of my lungs to get a bunch of teenagers excited about a game. (BTW, our team lost again this year, making it 13 straight loses to the cross town rival). In honor of that here are some of the best collegiate fight songs around.

(mp3) USC Fight Song
(mp3) Notre Dame Victory March
(mp3) Michigan Hail To The Victors
(mp3) Florida State War Chant
(mp3) University of Tennessee Rocky Top

Hopefully it won't be as long till my next post.


Monday, November 03, 2008

I Love Democracy

I love the process of voting. I am one of those old fashioned types who believes that one should actually go to the polls, stand in that little plastic booth and punch the card with your choices. I have yet to give in to the absentee process mostly because I think it robs us of the joy of electing people and making choices on those propositions interest us the most. I admit that often I approach voting with less than a full plate of understanding of the intricacies of the different measures and some of the lesser known judges that are running. But I still like the pageantry of election night. I will be glued to the TV as the results come in and states are lite up either red or blue. (by the way, how cool are the sets for election night. Seriously who wouldn't want to play with a huge electoral map).

So I will wait till tomorrow night after work to go to cast my vote. I will be tired and hungry (and given my new house payment poor) but I will be right there to punch my card and get my sticker. I owe the democratic process that much..

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lost Bands of Britpop (Part Six)

One of the odd things about the Britpop of the 90's is that it was divided into several camps. You had those bands that came from Manchester and had a decidedly dancy style to their music. You had the bands that were still recovering from the shoegazer movement. Then you had those bands that were climbing the pop charts by channeling the Beatles and the Stones (*cough* Oasis). Every once and awhile one of these bands would dabble with their musical formula and would be met with either derision by the mainstream press or adoration for stretching their musical legs. Herein lies the problem with a band like KULA SHAKER. These lads had several strikes against them when they first came to prominence:

1) Lead singer Crispin Mills was more famous for his mother (Disney staple Actress Hayley Mills) then for his music.

2) They utter pretentious nature of their musical influences. (think Pink Floyd mixed with The Stones and Ravi Shankar)

3) Mills gigantic mouth.

Obviously, the combination of these elements meant that they were slated for a meteoric rise and fall (isn't that always the case with these bands) and true to form their first record, "K", was a huge hit in the UK and made quite a bit of noise in the States. With it's mix of mystical lyrics, dancy drums and layered guitar work, Kula Shaker's debut was unique and I have to admit, very addictive. "Hey Dude" hits you from the moment it comes from the speakers with all the bravado of Trex. "Govinda" uses guitars to transport the listener to the hills of India, while "Tattva" is a perfect pop song about love and peace that seems straight from the sixties. Really, that is the key to the album; it has a dated and yet modern feel to it. Listening to it today it does not feel out of place or wain in it's potency to excite.

The rest of the Kula Shaker story is the typical downfall of a popular band. The band broke up after their second record with Mills going on to various other bands and solo projects before reforming the band in 2004 and releasing some new material. I get the impression that Mills is cut from the same cloth as other musical savants who feel that their music is never quite right and that must have driven his band mates insane. You can hear a lot of studio trickery on his later work that was not present on the debut. But for sheer joy and musical pleasure, their first album still delights.