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Busdriver – Knoxville, TN – 9.22.2009

by on Sep.23, 2009, under Good Music, mp3, Video

busdriverHip hop shows, perhaps more so than other music performances, are very hit or miss. A group can either dress it up, like Outkast, or dumb it down, like Grand Buffet. The best of these offer something more than a dude and his homeys rattling off karaoke. Live instruments are always a plus. A good DJ who knows what he’s doing can win me over. Sometimes all you need are twenty or more people on stage, falling over each other or humping or whatever. There are a million ways to go on the stage. Prior to his performance, I was hoping hard that Busdriver (real name Regan John Farquhar) would not be lazily rhyming over an iPod hooked into a d/i box.

And thankfully, he didn’t.

What he did do, was take the stage at the Pilot Light rather unexpectedly, during the time that most of us thought was going to be an intermission between Abstract Rude and himself. There was hardly anyone in the room. I even thought to myself from outside, “Why the hell would the DJ be playing Busdriver if the guy’s taking the stage in a few minutes?” Ah, but there he was, crowned with Christmas lights and doing what he does. As the people outside slowly realized the show was moving on without them, they gathered round and the intensity of it all increased.

Verbally, he is pretty amazing. Far beyond all the autotuned garbage on the radio, Busdriver’s voice is distinct and his skill is often quick and always precise. Backing up that voice was a thunderous onslaught of beats and samples, which he controlled, in part, by himself. He also had a guy, apparently named Matt, at the back of the stage, working what looked like an MPC and occasional guitar. Matt seemed uncomfortable, at first, but eventually was right there with it. I can’t say he seemed to miss a beat, regardless.

One of the beautiful aspects of this set was the truly punk rock ethic to it. As Matt beat his pads, Busdriver pressed buttons and twisted knobs, throwing the whole thing into a frequent and intentional disarray. The cacophony of noise never failed to segue nicely into bouncy and epic beats, evening everything out and working the room into a frenzy.

My only complaint of the evening was the song, “Avantcore,” which I had no idea was so popular around here. It began with some strange disjunctive omission of notes here and there, which seemed interesting at first. The problem is that it never really got going. It seemed to drag on much slower than I’ve ever heard on disc. I’m not sure if this was an intentional choice by the artist, but it was iffy on the stage. Thankfully, the energy of all else made well up for this single snafu of the evening.

This tour is to promote Busdriver’s new record, Jhelli Beam. Hopefully I’ll get a review of it in soon enough.

Here is the video for “Me Time,” the first single from Jhelli Beam:

Here are the rest of his tourdates, in case you want to catch him near you (and you should):

SEP 23 – BIRMINGHAM, AL @ BOTTLETREE
SEP 24 – BATON ROUGE, LA @ CHELSEAS
SEP 25 – DALLAS, TX @ THE CAVERN
SEP 26 – AUSTIN, TX @ RED 7
SEP 27 – HOUSTON, TX @ WALTERS ON WASHINGTON
SEP 28 – SAN ANTONIO, TX @ ROCK BOTTOM
SEP 30 – EL PASO, TX @ BLACK MARKET
OCT 01 – TEMPE, AZ @ CLUB RED

Lastly, here are some MP3’s:

MP3: “Avantcore” by Busdriver
MP3: “Buy 1 Style Get the 2nd Free” by Busdriver

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Rockafire Explosion – “Love in This Club”

by on Sep.22, 2009, under Good Music, Video

This has been around for a while, but it popped back into my head recently. If you’ve seen it before, the reminder will probably be refreshing. If you have never seen it, you are in for a treat. I’m particularly fond of the rapper.

Ladies and gentlemen…the Chuck E. Cheese house band…Rockafire Explosion!

And don’t forget to pick up one of their vintage hits…

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Kanye West, How Could You be so Heartless?

by on Sep.15, 2009, under Bad Music, mp3, Video

Everybody knows about it, and here is the closest thing to it still available on youtube:

First of all, I don’t generally give a shit about any aspect of MTV, let alone their overtly metrosexual, excessive and excessively lipsynched, shitfest Video Music Awards. Their idea of good music was sold to a conglomeration of coked out CEOs a long, long time ago. So let’s be clear that the forum is insignificant. Kanye West is full of shit in any setting this could have possibly taken place in.

Taylor Swift. I have not seen her winning video and I don’t care what happens in it. I do know for a fact that she started out her career as a professional song writer with Sony AND she can actually play an instrument. Credibilitywise, this already puts her leaps and bounds above almost every other pretty face on eMpTy-V. However, even if she was as crappy as, say, Lady Caca, it’s still her damned award that she earned fair and square through backroom corporate deals. Kanye had no right…

…unless, of course his actions are a result of other backroom corporate deals. And would this surprise anyone? Look at how much attention it’s drawn to the Video Music Awards. I even heard Sean Hannity’s stupid ass talking about it. And who was on the debut episode of the Jay Leno Show the next night? Kanye! Of course! What convenient timing! It’s almost as convenient as the close-up reaction shot of Beyonce immediately after Kanye said her video was one of the best ever! (Remember…that Sacha Baron Cohen and Eminim thing was totally fixed.)

And what about Beyonce’s video for “Single Ladies?” One of the best videos ever, Kanye? I think he should of said, “one of the most underproduced and overrated videos ever.” Sure, it’s gimmick exploded all over the face of American culture, but come on. One of the best videos ever? Not even close. It’s just three girls dancing in front of a white screen. I would like to believe that one of the “best videos ever” actually took some time, perseverance and innovative cinematic artistry to conceptualize and produce. I guess it’s just one more symptom of America’s descent into mass mental retardation.

What the hell happened to this guy?

Of course, he was kind of wrong then. George Bush actually didn’t care about poor people. (He did do a few really good things for Africa during his presidency.) Regardless, at least Kanye’s opposition made sense then. How do you go from taking out your aggression on old white men who won political races under circumstances that were questionable at best, to taking out your aggression on cute, self-made, nineteen year old girls?

You know what my favorite Kanye West song is? This one.

Fuck you, gay fish.

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Exotic Birds & Nine Inch Nails shreds

by on Sep.10, 2009, under Bad Music, Video

I sincerely love everything I have ever encountered by Nine Inch Nails.  I sincerely believe that Trent Reznor is genius in the studio.  However, there are two Reznor centered clips floating around the internet that keep returning to my head for some reason.

First is this Cleveland local news interview with Trent before his discovery of fishnet arm thingies.

Okay. Maybe Exotic Birds was totally fucking awesome back in the day. According to my vantage point, however, I’m feeling a bit disturbed by the new waviness of the whole thing. Thank God for godlessness. I couldn’t imagine Trent continuing on any other way. And thank God (or some derivative thereof) for shattering his dream that was Exotic Birds.

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Also check out the Nine Inch Nails video from the “shreds” series. Anyone not familiar with “March of the Pigs” needs to know this is NOT the original audio track from this video.

nine inch nails shreds

You’ll have to click that link to watch since the guy who made it has selfishly disabled the ability to embed it from YouTube.

I’m not sure what the traditionally serious Reznor thinks of that clip, but I think it’s a hilarious antithesis of what Nine Inch Nails actually is.  Well worth a watch or two.

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Chore Boys – The Pilot Light, Knoxville, TN – 9.5.2009

by on Sep.07, 2009, under Good Music, Video

So the other night I decided to hit up a benefit show at The Pilot Light in Knoxville’s Old City. It was to support the Knox Girls Rock Camp, which I think teaches young ladies to play instruments and be happy or something. There were about ten or so bands playing, including Milo, Flak Jaket and others. It was all mostly attention holding, if not pretty damn good at times. Then, around 11:30 maybe, it became transcendental.

It was at this time that the local five piece, Chore Boys, took the stage.  I had heard about them for a little while now, but never got the blessed opportunity to witness it in person until the night in question. My expectations were superseded.

Chore Boys maintain a chaotic flamboyance, similar to of Montreal, alongside a brash, old school punk rock ethic somewhere in the area of Dead Kennedys. It’s was difficult to pin down who the hell is doing what as they all moved aimlessly about each other like larger than life cartoons. Primary vocalist, Jared Stoneberg, alternating between a bullhorn and the microphone, flailed around between the audience and the stage, appearing incoherently determined amidst strobe lights and flying beer cans.

Everything about Chore Boys is raucous, down and dirty. Oddly, however, only the most prudent prude would be put off by them. It’s something akin to watching bloody, newborn rats blindly scramble over each other in a nest…with music.

Though it does them no justice, whatsoever, check out a video from one of their past performances below.

Chore Boys at the Long Branch

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Chris Brown – Douchebag Extraordinaire

by on Sep.05, 2009, under Bad Music, Video

A few nights ago, Chris Brown appeared on Larry King Live with his lawyer and his mommy.  If you can bring yourself to do it, you can watch his stupid ass here…

Okay.  Let’s discuss.

Music reviewer, Bill Lamb, hailed Brown‘s album, Exclusive, as “an admirably clean record that is unlikely to raise any fears from parents concerned about content.”

Now let’s be clear.  Chris Brown is dancing for the white man.  As a result, he’s very wealthy and also very young.  New money breeds arrogance.  And now it’s sitting in front of Larry King wearing a dumb ass baby blue bow-tie.

So he comes on the show to clear the air for beating up his pop star girlfriend, Rihanna.  Fine.  But as soon as Larry King asks him what happened that night, Brown says that he doesn’t want to talk about it…over and over again.  So why is he on the show?  (Maybe he should be doing Zack and Cody again, instead.)

We learn that this is not Brown’s first time roughing up Rihanna.  There are, in fact, two other documented situations.  The lawyer answers for those and, not surprisingly, Larry King lets him dance around it.  Ultimately, he allows Brown to dance around the entire interview.  Normally, I would think dancing is what Chris Brown does best (?) but here, it’s pathetic.

What’s his excuse?  What are his feelings on what happened with Rihanna?  Something like, “Shit was crazy!  I don’t even know!”

When King shows a video apology that Brown recorded, Brown mentions this:

“I had some help with the wording, but it was from my heart.”

Gee.  I wonder who helped him with the wording?  His publicist, perhaps?  Isn’t all of this just a thinly veiled attempt to save his career by displaying to America that he is a nonthreatening, aw-shucks, all singing, all dancing black guy – perfectly safe for the children of the white guys that he’s making all that money for? A BABY BLUE BOW-TIE.

Playing the victim, Brown and his lawyer have plenty of blame to pass around for the media, “haters/bloggers” and, in the recent issue of People magazine, Oprah Winfrey.  Yes.  Oprah Winfrey. Oprah apparently did an episode of her show about domestic violence and she dedicated it to Rihanna.  About that, Brown said this to People:

“I commend Oprah on being like, ‘This is a problem,’ but it was a slap in my face. I did a lot of stuff for her, like going to Africa and performing for her school. She could have been more helpful, like, ‘Okay, I’m going to help both of these people out.”

Wow.  He went to Africa, sang and danced, and believes that to be a burdensome favor?  What an ass…especially for someone who calls music his passion.  Most people would be grateful for such an opportunity – even as tourists, let alone performers.   Then again, most people are not Chris Brown. He’s young, wealthy and spoiled – very, very spoiled.

Now this being a music review site, I better mention something about Chris Brown’s music, which I used to have to give constant airtime to when I DJed briefly at a coked out, miserable, republican sports bar. I know it well enough to say that, just like that coked out, miserable, republican sports bar, Brown’s music can be described in the following terms:  trite, white, and culturally regressive.

Fuck you, Chris Brown.

 

Don’t give your money to Chris Brown.  Instead give it to someone who is actually saying something:

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