Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Missed the Good Part, Then I Realized

I'm here to add even more evidence to the heaping pile of reasons why I'm not a hipster. I'm not even hip. Stop reading if you're anyone whose image of me as cool will forever be tarnished by even more proof that I couldn't get into a club if I founded it. Who's ready for a hot plate o' nerd?

I like Coldplay.

Scratch that, I LOVE Coldplay. In honor of the band's newest single, "Violet Hill," which drops today and is available as a free download (taking yet another page from Radiohead's book?), I'm going to share my fixation with the band.

I think Chris Martin is hot, his high falsetto is mesmerizing, his piano parts breathtaking, and the band's soft-piano-rock is deep. Is it wimp-rock, like so many have said? Maybe. But is it substantial? Definitely. Coldplay is the future of pop music. The group is holding the pop-rock banner higher than anyone, and doing it with more talent, better songwriting, and more appeal than any of its peers. I also can't hate any band that is socially active and politically aware (I'll save that diatribe for a U2- or R.E.M.- related post, though).

Not only do I have two Coldplay posters in my room, I have seen the band live. I spent my sophomore year of high school drowning in the sorrow and exquisite pain of A Rush of Blood to the Head, the British quartet's second album. Who knew tragedy could be made more personal through Martin's honey-drenched voice?

It is simply too difficult to name my favorite Coldplay songs because the group's sound is so versatile. Instead of having a distinct sound and only working within that parameter (Dave Matthews, I'm looking at you), or experimenting with everything and not excelling at anything, Coldplay merges its signature stylings with creative musical leaps.

While Coldplay can do it all, the ballads are what make the band. There, the musical talent crosses with Martin's uncanny ability to marry emotion with pitch-perfect diction, and leaves fans' psyches leveled after a listen. Listening to Coldplay is like an enema for the soul.

Everyone who has seen Wedding Crashers knows about the whispering romance of "Sparks," which is one of the best non-overt love songs of this decade, but heartbreak, regret, and repentance are where the band hits its heights. No Coldplay song has been more therapeutic for this listener than "Warning Sign," which also serves as the score for a crucial plot point in a forgettable film called The Last Kiss. There's nothing better than Martin's high-pitched voice, like a canary's song. He pulls every ounce of sadness into this song and out of the listener, and while I don't know exactly what he's singing about, I know I've been there. From the first time I heard this song, I connected with it more deeply than any Coldplay song before or since. I never used to believe in regret, but "Warning Sign" showed me I was full of it. This is one song everyone should hear.

I love The O.C. but its use of "Fix You" during Caleb Nichol's death definitely diminishes the song in my book. "Swallowed In the Sea" is a much more suitable sad song. It is sad and alternately triumphant, celebratory and painful, and it's Coldplay's mastery of paradoxes that sets it apart from its artificially deep peers, putting it into a class with legends like U2 and yes, R.E.M. Coldplay is all about a different kind of love, an unconventional, darker yet more resonant love, which makes it all the more engaging, and this song is a great example of that idea.

There's nothing sadder than an accident, and Coldplay taps into this with "Trouble," a song which serves as the score for episodes of MTV's "True Life." This song will break your soul as you sympathize (or maybe even empathize) with Martin's plight. It's martyrdom at its most modest, complete with piano accompaniment.

As far as the rockier songs go, Coldplay peaked early with secret-love anthem "Shiver." The second track on the band's debut, Parachutes, the tune captures that Cady Heron-esque feeling of being in love with someone you just can't have, or just can't muster the words to tell. Many great songs have been written about long lost loves, forbidden love, and love from afar, but very few truly great songs encapsulate all three, exemplifying that feeling of loving someone completely while they have no clue how you feel. From that moment on, Martin established himself as a magnetic personality, so sensitive and such a chameleon. He is able to inhabit an emotion and convey it expertly, genuinely, and then launch into another mood. Like the great lyricists before him, he gives names to feelings listeners don't yet know they feel.

I'll be the first to admit, the near-identical chord progressions in louder Coldplay singles "Clocks" and "Speed Of Sound" are less than imaginative when juxtaposed, but both are still great songs. I prefer "Speed of Sound," even though "Clocks" is the song that made me fall in love with the band. "Speed of Sound" is more driving, more forceful, and more energetic. It is the sound of a confident band, something listeners weren't used to when the single was released off of the band's most recent album, 2005's X&Y. Yet "Clocks" has one of my favorite lyrics of the last ten years: "Am I part of the cure, or am I part of the disease?" Martin scores again. Decide for yourself.


"Speed of Sound"

"In My Place" wins as Coldplay's most emotional song of the drum-heavy set. Not since the Police's "Message in a Bottle" has a song of such isolation felt so inclusive. The longing and loneliness in Martin's voice could draw tears from the driest ducts. Only Coldplay could make something so depressing into a hit single. Plus, Will Champion's drumming is the caramel center in this chocolate truffle of a song. The song would be fine without it, but the unexpected strength of the drumming takes it from (to quote Spinal Tap) 10 to 11. Martin's lyrics are vague and highly relatable, as it seems only British songwriters like Morrissey and Thom Yorke can do(though Michael Stipe is the exception to the rule).

Every great band is capable of at least one great unabashed Beatles' reference. Coldplay's comes in the form of "Everything's Not Lost." With its singalong vibe and happy-go-lucky lyrics, Coldplay tries optimism on for size and finds it fits well, if only on this occasion. Even Coldplay, as solemn and over-thought as much of its music is, can still tilt a chin-up and turn a frown upside down. This song is a sweet attempt at finding a softer side of life, bathed in yellow light and butterflies (or maybe just not covered in complete gray). This is Coldplay's "Everybody Hurts," and Michael Stipe must be proud.

Never ones to shy away from politics, Coldplay confronted the issues of the day in an obvious way on "A Rush of Blood to the Head." The result is a stark look at human nature and power-grabbing, serving as almost a warning against senseless violence. Maybe the most disturbing Coldplay track, it is one that stays with listeners for a long time, tonally creating a post-apocalyptic setting. The song was so dark it was used as the theme for the third season of "Six Feet Under."

Coldplay's new album is said to be a departure from the band's earlier work. Let's hope the new single and new album live up to the great legacy the band has already built. Three albums deep and the band has already placed itself in the upper-echelons of the music world. Not so bad for a group nagged by its detractors for being a U2 rip-off.

-Meryn, who wants to be Gwyneth Paltrow every day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

i'll trade my left foot for the flying car

Let's talk about Kevin Smith.

When I was in high school, I, like many people, considered myself very cutting-edge and cool to be able to quote the New Jersey trilogy (Clerks., Mallrats, Chasing Amy) at the drop of a hat. So much profanity! So many gratuitous sexual references!

These days, I consider myself a bit more on the objective side, but I'll be the first to admit that I'll always be a bit biased on the pro-View Askew productions side. I still love Clerks. as much as I did, though I no longer dream of being able to drop a ridic amount of money to order and ship this shirt to me.

In recent years, it's become harder and harder to justify my generally positive sentiments toward Mr. Smith. Beginning with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, his career decisions have been...questionable, to put it politely. When a Smith-phile such as myself momentarily forgets that she even saw Clerks II (hey, in my defense, Smith's own website seems to want to pretend like it, along with 2004's syrupy Jersey Girl, never even happened), you know that something has gone awry. Not only this, but he's somehow veered into "supporting comic relief" roles, acting in movie that he himself didn't even pen. I mean, not that I begrudge a comic geek as vocal as Smith the chance to act in the Daredevil movie, but his acting skills have always been touch-and-go, and reading lines that he didn't write has just never worked well for him.


All that being said, am I wrong for getting a little bit excited at the prospect of Silent Bob getting back on track?

Meet the newest View Askew production, titled, as you may have guessed, Zack and Miri Make A Porno.

The plot follows two friends who, nearly broke, decide to turn to the adult film industry as a way to make money fast. As one could guess, the uber-romantic vibes of shooting porn lead them to realize they might actually be harboring feelings for each other.

No disrespect meant to Seth Rogan, but as you can see, the casting follows the Smith tradition of having gorgeous leading ladies ultimately hooking up with...less than stellar-looking leading men. (Ben Affleck aside, I suppose.) Fingers crossed that this doesn't end up mirroring the uptight-girl/childlike-man dynamic of Rogan's last starring outing, Knocked Up.

Call me a hopeless optimist, but I'm getting good feelings from this one. As we've got several months until it's release, God knows when we'll get a trailer released, but the talent pool is good, and Smith has had a good two years to recharge the creative batteries. Along with this, Smith's following project is, believe it or not, a horror movie called...wait for it...Red State. I can get on board with that.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

so much fun I might puke!

well hello again everyone!!!!!!!!!!!! Ann here!!! legitimately the only Arts staff member still blogging.

I am just going to interject (interrupting myself...HAHA! I'm sooooooo kooky and funny.) and say that April has been probably one of the best months all year. For several reasons:
#1 WEATHER. I am so excited to wear fashionable clothing again. not to mention how pumped I am to start using fake tanner again. my legs just scream orange.
#2 WORKLOAD. Nothing like seeing people actually do their homework on the weekends. All of us nerds are having a good chuckle over this one...suckers.
#3 BLOGS. So many awesome lolcats lately.
#4 SPRING METABOLISM. Is there no greater gift? Nothing like having the metabolism of a middle school boy! whew I tell ya. I ate a whole pan of brownies to myself, hopped on a scale, and what do you know. I LOST weight. Loving it.
#5 MUSIC. I have stumbled across so much good tunage lately that I just can't help but share it with all our friendly readers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!! "taco", if you're out there, this list is for you and your unruly disposition and your cheerful comments on the DI website! :):):):):):) loves it!!!!!!!! cheer up friend! you're about to peep my iTunes!!!

note: If I see one more person pepper a facebook wall post with too many smiley faces, I will barf.

1. "I Am The Walrus"- Bono and the Secret Machines (blasting it just for you, Jon Gold.)
2. "Blazing Arrow"- Blackalicious
3. "Hard Sun"- Eddie Vedder
4. "My Friend the Sleepwalker (The Cowbell Song)- Am Syndicate
5. "Black Thumbnail"- Kings of Leon
6. "Glass Danse"- The Faint
7. "Electric Feel"- Mgmt
8. "Retreat! Retreat!"- 65daysofstatic
9. "The Equaliser"- Clinic
10. "Ready for the Floor"- Hot Chip
11. "When the Lights Go Out"- The Black Keys
12. "Situations"- Del tha Funky Homosapien
13. "New York State of Mind"- Nas
14. "I Go Blind"- Hootie and the Blowfish (Go ahead, judge me. It's times like this I can justify how much I'm not a hipster, even though I do have exquisite musical taste.)
15. "Turn Into"- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
16. "Black Cat"- Ladytron
17. "Alice"- Moby (O.M.G. I haven't heard Moby kick this much musical tush since "Play". I want to rave naked. Moby has really pulled out all the guns for his latest release. He's baaaack.)
18. "Somewhere a Clock is Ticking"- Snow Patrol
19. "Within You Without You"- Sonic Youth (I'm also compiling a mind-blowing covers playlist. check back soon.)
20. "Make Love F*ck War"- Moby feat. Public Enemy (how have I not found this gem yet? how? how? power to the people because the people want peace.)
There you have it ladies and lads. A glimpse into my mind, and the only thing I have cultivated all month. actually that is an exaggeration but this April playlist owns. It's the best one I've ever made.
Sidenote: I finally saw Juno. I don't know how I feel about it. I liked it I guess. I guess. I'm sort of on the fence about it. Some of her lines were so fakely delivered. Whatevsies. Pregnancy sounds awful. shudder.

welp folks there you have it! so much springtime fun I might get sick! summer is going to rulezsies! btw that polygamy thing down in Texas makes me queasy. And that fact that ol' Hil just won Pennsylvania produces a similar gag reflex. not to toot my own horn, but I'm going go jump on my bed and listen to my playlist again and try to restore my pure glee/euphoria.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


well shalom, friendly Arts Blog world!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!1!!!
As anyone who knows me will attest, I am an avid LOLcats aficionado. My profile picture on facebook is an LOLSquirrel, I email the best LOLcats to my grandmother/sister/dad/friends/editors at all hours of the day, and I check the website hourly (with more frequency/seriousness than I check gmail) for updates.

Point in case. Alright, well as more of the world adopts LOLcats, my pretentiousness is starting to flair up and feel a bit uptight. Since I assume that frat-tastic Chads and their bros just can't appreciate squirrel humor the same way a Gets-It can, and since everyone knows about LOLcats now, I needed to find something else. No worries, I don't believe in "discovering" new things, so you can put your Hipster Nation red flags away and get ready for a new obsession. I am all about the love and sharing here. Thus my search began and ended rather quickly. I tried LOLjocks, but I don't get enough sports references for it to click (sorry, Hothan). I was stumbling aimlessly and deliriously around the internet (probably hopped up on DayQuil) for more laughable fun when I hit the goldmine:
The FailBlog.
OMG we have a winner.
This, friendly arts blog world, this is the reason we have the internet. Excuse me while I try to keep my pubescent snickering to myself. So legit. Go check it out, http://failblog.wordpress.com/ .

-Ann, who now walks around consistently chuckling to herself and muttering "fail"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pre-Party for THE OFFICE!

I don't know about everyone else, but I CANNOT wait for the return of The Office tomorrow night ("Dinner Party", 8 p.m. on NBC).

So, here are a couple videos to get the celebration started.


Monday, April 7, 2008

Mariah: Touching Bodies...and Souls

Mariah Carey is back three years after the release of her last studio album "The Emmancipation of Mimi." Oh, she certainly is.

I caught her "Touch My Body" video on youtube.com yesterday because I heard Kenneth, from TV's 30 Rock, stole the show — hard to do when Mariah, obviously wearing nearly nothing for most of the video, actually has a great voice. Yeah, I said it.

The music video is nothing short of ridiculous, but I love it. And I am 100% surprised that Mariah would invite Kenneth into her bedroom and completely understand why she included a unicorn. The single has already hit #1 in the U.S.

For someone who just passed Elvis' ranking in number ones, and now only waits to surpass The Beatles, you think there'd be some better lyrics than these:

If there's a camera up in here
Then it's gonna leave with me
When I do (I do)
If there's a camera up in here
Then I'd best not catch this flick
On YouTube (YouTube)
'Cause if you run your mouth and brag
About this secret rendezvous
I will hunt you down
'Cause they be all up in my business
Like a Wendy interview
But this is private
Between you and I


Grant it, no one has ever been this blunt, and probably brilliant because of it. Clearly this is true as I just listened to the song (from the anticipated "E=MC² ") twice in a row. I can't stop the Mariah Madness. The rest of the album arrives April 15.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

I hate the Walkmen (but give much non-hate to the rest)

Like they say (somebody, somewhere): Two outta three ain’t bad.

(Photo credit: Susan Z. Elgin)

In the context of the Mission Creek satellite show last Thursday in Davenport, two outta three were frikin’ fantasmo. It’s just too bad that the third (the crap in the middle) sucked so so so so so hard.

White Rabbits, which our other fine DI spies were unfortunate to miss, were an energetic group — somewhat of dark yet spry insano pop complete with two drummers, two singers, and a hotly tickled piano. In short, these are things I like. Despite only having one album to extract from — the wonderful debut, Fort Nightly – White Rabbits pulled off a one band hat trick (white rabbit out of a hat?!?!?! Get it?!?!!?! It doesn’t even make sense in this context and whoa!!!!!) with the likes of “The Plot,” “While We Go Dancing,” and “Kid On My Shoulders.” Seriously: when a band can revive itself after an amp decided to inconveniently die, and play perhaps its best song (“Kid”), that’s saying something. In inspired me to get up from my padded chair and join the maybe 15 others dancing. And subsequently made fun of by a friend in Dbag mode (thanks, John C. S.). But it was worth it, and let’s hope these fine men go far.

In other news, The Walkmen blow. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been standing up, excited to hear a reputable band, and feel after half a set that I really just wanted to go to sleep. I think they were drunk, I think the lead singer (I don’t even care to Wiki his name) was a third rate Julian Casablancas wannabe, and the songs almost always dragged when they should have done something, anything at all!, but suck. I hate them, and my iPod is happy to get rid of them.

Spoon? Well, they’re Spoon. Perhaps you’ve heard from other folk that they didn’t play “The Way We Get By,” “Small Stakes,” or a number of Gimme Fiction singles. Consider this: with the show they gave, this seems exciting in retrospect. If they pull a decades-old song from nowhere, a killer Clash cover, and my favorite Kill the Moonlight song, “Stay Don’t Go,” onto the stage, stop whining. Simply the one-two punch of “The Ghost of You Lingers” (miraculous live) and “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” was worth the night. Yes, the two encores could have been enhanced by one mega-encore, and maybe they could have played just half of “The Way We Get By.” It’s pretty repetitive anyway (but in a good way… I guess).

Keep the peace, as I hope ya’ll already do.


Spoon me

I'll go ahead and say it. Spoon was delicious.

Not only did we manage to reconfigure the palatable band name into a whole spoonful of wacky puns, but we simultaneously had our faces rocked off. Unfortunately, we missed the first opening act White Rabbits, which we heard had brought down The Capitol Theatre. The Walkmen (of O.C. soundtrack infamy) actually disappointed me a little. The sound technician must have had his hearing aid on distortion because it was really hard to hear the vocals. Lead singer Hamilton Leithauser literally screeched and flailed his way (almost) silently across the stage, and felt the need to introduce every. song. they. played.

"Here's one you guys might have heard. It's one of our lesser known songs." And that was for "Little House of Savages." Oh, haha, good one, guys! lolz!

Enough of the hors devours (which nearly everyone sat through), and onto SPOON. The crowd loved it the whole thing (especially the saucy 35-year-old in front of me, whose Naturalizers and cardigan nearly melted from all the grooving and dancing she did)(but not the washed up late 20-somethings who couldn't stop sipping their PBR and staring at the too-thin hipster chicks to actually pay attention to the band). Spoon's live version of "I Turn My Camera On," normally overused on TV shows and movies, actually was the freshest sped-up version I've ever heard. Spoon played almost all of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga flawlessly. The cover of The Clash's "Hateful" knocked every hipster present out of his/her respective nappy hair and Chucks. I was pretty bummed the band didn't play "My Mathematical Mind" or "The Way We Get By" or a plethora of other songs I loved when they were released, but I understand those songs are probably a stale bunch to play. But really, fellas, they're the singles for a reason. It probably wasn't the greatest show I've ever been to — nothing really fancy with lights or stage presence — but it was still pretty sweet, and Spoon's live performance was much better than I expected. Hipster nation showed up in full force, making it all the more enjoyable and conducive to pretentious judgment. Oh wait, Spoon also came back onstage for 2 encores — mildly forced encores. But they knew that they would come back for them. The audience didn't really need or want that second encore. PS.

creeksy 4 lyfe

-Ann, who realizes that she just copied Jarrett's sign off, but that's okay because he once labeled a blog post with a slaughtered and very mature version of my last name.

Back-to-back Weeknight Dancefests

With a flash of my handy pink Mission Creek wristband I was able to go to pretty much all of the shows over the past week, and I did my best to adequately fulfill this task. Though typically I'm not one to go out on a Wednesday or even Thursday night, Mission Creek swayed me from my responsible ways with promises of great live shows.

I headed to The Picador on Wednesday night to see my friend's band, Birth Rites, which drew a reasonably large crowd of friends and fans for a week night show. Though I've seen them play countless times, they really amped it up for their Mission Creek debut and even added a flute to the rock mix.

After Birth Rites' show, the pressures of midterms and homework lured away many of the showgoers but I stuck it out to the end to see the headlining band, So Many Dynamos. I've obsessed over the St. Louis group's song "Search Party" for the past week, playing it on solid repeat multiple times a day. Even though I knew little of So Many Dynamos' music before they hit the stage sometime after midnight, the group's meticulously delivered, hilariously nerdy performance won me over immediately and left my face with a permanent smile for the rest of the night.

Decked out with skinny jeans, shaggy haircuts and black plastic specs, the quartet bounced around like preteens on a sugar high. Despite the waning crowd, the boys' energy could have a filled a venue ten times the size of The Picador. The group rocked with synthesizers, guitars and drums to many songs from their sophomore record Flashlights and their most recent album release, which was recorded with Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie. By the end of the show, all the frantic dancing and laughing left me on a buzz that would prevent sleep for several more hours to come.

As if Wednesday's exertions weren't energetic enough, I hit up The Yacht Club on Thursday for an electronic showdown. The School of Flyentology got the crowd on the dance floor and was followed up by MC/VL, a rap duo who originally performed Wednesday but were asked to stay for a followup on Thursday. Growing tired from the previous night's activities, I anxiously awaited headliner The Hood Internet to go on, which didn't happen until 1 a.m. or later. But the wait was worth it just to hear the DJ's mash up of R. Kelly's "I'm A Flirt" with Broken Social Scene's "Shoreline", which was, in short, an AMAZING dancefest. To hear this song and put The Hood Internet on the playlist for your next party, you can go to http://www.thehoodinternet.com/, where the group offers free downloads of two volumes of mixtapes.

To wrap it up, I'd say my somewhat out of character weeknight diversions were definitely worth the sacrificed sleep and homework.




Mission Creek Week has finally drawn to a close, and memories memories memories. Remember when I chatted with the guitarist of So Many Dynamos about how The Picador's Ms. Pac Man machine is programmed to be slower than the average? Yes. Remember how we saw the "7/4 Shoreline" v. "I'm A Flirt" mash-up be performed live at The Hood Internet? Of course.

FRIDAY though was probably one of the best nights of my life. CURSIVE at THE MILL??? When i heard about that months ago, I was so dumbstruck. You're gonna fit one of the festival's biggest names into Iowa City's most cozy venue? This could either be magic or a disaster. Disregarding the destruction of one poor table, i'd say it was an incredible success.

Or the fact that me and the crew hung with Tim Kasher for around 54 minutes after the show

The set was incredible first and foremost. I'll throw out cliche terms like "career-spanning" and won't feel guilty. cuz im on a blog and i can do that. Cursive ran the gamut from Domestica-era rockers "The Casualty" and "The Martyr"(perhaps my favorite songs) to quintessential Ugly Organ "Art is Hard", "A Gentleman Caller", while also splicing in new songs off Happy Hallow and their yet-to-be-recorded-or-named future release (recording is set for june, according to Kasher) As usual, the crowd hung on Kasher's every word or idiosyncratic movement, the singer playing the role of the soft victim one minute and strutting out onto tables the next. AWESOME. In fact during the encore, I held Tim's mic stand up for him as he stood on the side of the stage. evidenced by this picture:

(photo credit: claire lekwa)

Here's where the fun began though. After the show, for some bizzare reason the entire crowd pretty much cleared out. SUCKERS. this is like the most unprecedented access you'll ever get for a band you like. Needless to say me and our friends were intent on getting KASHER'D with Tim Kasher. "Jameson shots?" I offered, and he followed the crew and I to the bar. The conversation meandered through topics like how his ultimate aspiration is to become an English professor at a University, but not high school, and how he originally contemplated coming to Iowa to become involved with the writer's workshop out of high school. We discussed favorite authors, favorite directors, Jurassic Park, and otherwise standard shooting of the breeze fare. Our gratuitous shot buying seemed to be finally getting to him, and he stumbled away into the darkness. It was a real fabulous moment though, and I think a somewhat feeling that sums up Mission Creek. The feeling between the bands and fans is just a mutual idea.

creek u laterz


i told you to be balanced, i told you to be kind

His real name is Justin Vernon, but doesn't "Bon Iver" just sound so much cooler?

Bon Iver @ the IMU Black Box Theater, Saturday, April 5

Susan and I have been listening to the sounds of Bon Iver for about the last three weeks or so, not necessarily by our own volition. (This is what comes from living with the director of SCOPE, I guess?) So, nothing against the man, but the initial thought that we had before heading down to the IMU yesterday night was "Thank god we'll finally get a rest from this for a while!"

I confess to not being too familiar with Bon Iver, but to me the band sounds like distant cousins of Joshua Radin, one of my favorite "rainy day" artists. I know that their one album was recorded while in seclusion up in the mountains, a process that has proven both successful (Walden) and not-so (the first, unheard draft of the second Panic At The Disco album). In general, For Emma, Forever Ago sounds like music for being alone on a mountaintop with, and that's a compliment, believe it or not.

I missed the three openers, but I can't say that I feel like I would have gotten a fuller concert experience than the one the headliners gave me all on their own. Bon Iver's performance, despite the whispery, falsettoed tone of his vocals, was muscled and impressive. Ironically enough, I went down to the show looking forward to not having to listen to Justin Vernon's voice again for a while, and came home needing Susan to transfer all of her music to my iTunes.


Thrashing at the Mill

Overflowing with scenesters and a slew of fans with semi-angry childhoods eager to see Cursive, Poison Control Center took the stage early and eager. The meshing personalities flew through their sets, screaming occasionally, soloing in edgy keys and grooving off of steady drum beats. With the sunny singer (Patrick Fleming), the seemingly-nerdy bassist (Joey Terry), the darker guitarist (Devin Frank) and the ever solid drummer (Donald Curtis), the Ames band proved that the typical 4-man set is far from worn-out.
At the pinnacle of their set, the band's Beatles-esque "Magic Circle Sympony" anthem blared not only from their amps, but from the vocals of the crowd. Behind nothing but a thumping bass drum, the band sang:

Love is the answer.
Until you get cancer.
Then you're lying,

(I said...)

Sounds odd, discomforting. But as a slightly weirded out audience crouched down to the bands cue and started belting out the lyrics, the energy began to collect. Louder, the sound swarmed. Until, then standing once again with the crowd moshing, the band played at full volume and blew away with the audience. In the vain of Iggy Pop, Poison Control Center shows that even the bi-product of Ames knows how to form an anthem.

Listen Here

Dead Venue By the Time the Last Band Began

I was at The Mill for five hours straight Thursday night. But I was casually late — or just 45 minutes late, which apparently in show time is early — and had hoped to enter the smokey venue as the second band finished.

First local Iowa City rockers Great Lakes Music hit the stage playing breakup ballads and other tunes reminiscent of Songs Ohia or Murder By Death. Frontman, Eric Langley tapped his legs wildly, guitar hanging over his shoulders, as he wailed State Road 63. The band finished just in time for the unmemorable someone's took to the floor.

Two-and-a-half hours in a lanky Bob Dylan-inspired Cory Chisel grabbed the microphone thanking the crowd for the time. Slurping a glass of red wine over the typical shots downed by most musicians, Chisel oozed a sense of class easily forgotten once entering any musicians lair. Chisel's backup group, known as The Wandering Sons (complete with one female pianist) were just that for most of the set, simply watching and waiting to be called upon since the frontman played around three songs solo during the group's time. Boasting the fact that the band wasn't selling merch, Chisel did plug the group's first EP dropping May 30.

The seven-person band stole the peak performances even before locally grown Deathships had a chance at the amp. With songs like "These Four Walls" the group's folksy, rocksy, bluesy sound echoed with bar patrons well into the Deathships' set.

At 1 a.m. the headliners finally arrived asking for shots and claps — but most of the audience was subdued or had left. And before they finished, I did too. 2 a.m. is my closing time on a school night. While as much music as possible is a good thing, it's just not possible to keep listeners for more than five hours.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

America's Next Top [Cookie-Cutter] Model

So after wasting yet ANOTHER hour of my life watching America's Next Top Model tonight, I have to ask myself: why on earth do you keep watching this crap?

Really, I don't know how to explain my love/hate for this show. I do know Trya Banks gets more annoying with each episode to the point where it's hard to watch. Today she actually said, "This photo made me say H2-Oh-no-you-didnint" which makes me embarassed to speak the same language as her, let alone be in the same race. And this is just one example of the ridiculous things that come out of her mouth.

Also, I can't stand how judges are always critiquing girls for their "personality." They ridicule Lauren for being "awkward" and "Frankenstein" and for not having a personality when in reality she just has a different personality from cookie-cutter girls with big cheesey smiles and commercial looks. Also, the "plus-sized" Whitney gets shit for being a size 10 instead of a 2 and one judge told another girl that her haircut got rid of that "weird-Eastern-European" thing she had going on. Since when is it ok for people to talk to young girls like this? Who signs up to be criticized about the things that make you uncomfortable about who you are? And who watches it....?

....Every Wednesday I tune in again and again. And I really don't know why.


PS: The commercials between ANTM for the CW's "Girlicious" included a bunch of girls competing (for who-knows-what) by dancing on stripper poles (cringe).