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  • Harry and the Potters

    17 Ago 2006, 14:08

    So, I went to see Harry and the Potters yesterday in Lakewood Park [suburb of Cleveland]. Draco and the Malfoys opened; I'd heard of them once or twice. They were very funny. I liked their banter. And they did "99 Death Eaters" which is naturally a takeoff on "99 Red Balloons," and they did it well.

    The Potters themselves were sweet. I took mad pictures, and if I knew where my scanner had got to in the move, I'd put them up, but alas.
  • I Did a Survey!

    5 Ago 2006, 14:47

    Without looking at the questions below, list your top 10 favorite artists according to Last.fm

    1. Pinback
    2. Harry and the Potters
    3. Pretty Balanced
    4. Black Cat Revival
    5. Dr. Dog
    6. Joanna Newsom
    7. Andrew Bird
    8. The Beatles
    9. Alanis Morissette
    10. Rasputina

    ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS

    Q: What was the first song you ever heard by #2?
    A: "Stick it to Dolores," on their MySpace.

    Q: What is your favorite album of #6?
    A: I don’t have any of her albums, just bits and pieces from all of them, ‘cause I’m a pirate.

    Q: What is your favorite Lyric of #7?
    A: “And the kittens lick our hair and drink our chalky lemonade”

    Q: What is your favorite song by #9?
    A: "Forgiven"]

    Q: Is there a song of #1 that makes you sad?
    A: "June"

    Q: What is your favorite song by #8?
    A: Currently, "Lovely Rita"

    Q: What is your favorite song by #10?
    A: "Remnants of Percy Bass"

    Q: What is your favorite album by #8?
    A: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band dear god!

    Q: How did you get into #5?
    A: A few of my friends had been to see them; my ex had them on his iPod, and I listened to them a lot in his car.

    Q: What is your favourite song by #4?
    "I’m Your Voodoo"

    Q: Who is your favorite band member of #1?
    A: Rob Crow, of course!

    Q: What is a good memory concerning #4?
    A: When we opened for their CD release show at the Basement.

    Q: What does #9 remind you of?
    A: Being an angst-ridden teenager.

    Q: Is there a song by #3 that makes you sad?
    A: Well, that’s us, and I did just write a really sad song. It’s called “Safe.”

    Q: What is your favorite song of #1?
    A: "June"

    Q: How did you become a fan of #7?
    A: Forest’s violin crush in Oberlin is in love with him, and he was coming to the Wexner center, so I saw him with Noah and his lady love from camp, and instantly decided that I needed to have his babies.

    Q: What do you like to do while listening to #6?
    A: Sing along in a little kid voice.

    Q: Which of the 10 has influenced you the most?
    A: Probably a combination of Rasputina and Alanis Morissette.

    Q: Which artist makes you the most happy?
    A: They all make me a little sad, but I think The Beatles probably make me the happiest, because they just rock so much, and I have no emotional baggage connected to them.

    Q: Which artist makes you the most sad?
    A: Pinback

    Q: Which artist makes the best dance music?
    A: Well, I rock out the best to Black Cat Revival, but they’re one of the few of these bands I’ve actually seen live.

    Q: Which artist have you liked the longest?
    A: Alanis Morissette was my first big music crush that wasn’t, like, music or Mozart.

    Q: Which artist have you liked the shortest?
    A: The Beatles, oddly enough. I only discovered Sgt Pepper a few weeks ago. Where the hell have I been?

    Q: Are there any artists you will still be listening to in 20 years?
    A: The Beatles are immortal.
  • Dr. Dog Is My Hero

    21 Jul 2006, 13:52

    New Favorite Band:

    Dr. Dog, most weirdly talented band ever. I got their album Toothbrush in the mail about a week ago, and I ordered Easy Beat but haven't gotten it yet.

    I was more familiar with Easy Beat and the sound in Toothbrush is stylistically different, more with almost a feel in a couple of songs, like County Line and How Dare.

    Easy Beat to me is more reminiscent of mid-to-late Beatles, full of harmonies and circus sounds. Other than that, I couldn't really make a band comparison.

    All of their recordings that I've heard are in an endearing way, for instance by musicians who are either not string players by trade, or just aren't very good, but I have a picky ear and I still like the sound.

    Don't get me wrong though, the songwriting isn't simple at all, and usually pretty sophisticated, which is what hooked me. You are certainly not hearing the same pop chord progressions over and over again. The musicality takes you by surprise.

    Engaging lyrics, too.




    Furthermore, I'm seeing them in Boston at the Orpheum Theatre on September 29th, which will be my first time seeing them live. I hear you can't see them live without getting hooked. I'm hooked already, of course, but that's exciting news.

    Favorite Tracks:

    The ABC's
    Adeline
  • Black Cat Revival

    28 Jun 2006, 16:26

    Black Cat Revival, formerly Wigglepussy, Indiana, from my hometown of C-bus, Ohio--pretty locally famous, with a decent-sized Midwest following; they've done a few small tours. I think they deserve to get the fuck out of this city and go somewhere big. Oh, and get signed.

    Their setup:

    Piano and synth, heavy bass, drums, harmonic vocals.

    Their sound:

    Most easily described as gothic, but that doesn't cut it. They're much more unique than goth music. I'd say dark, melodic, sophisticated musicality, while still loud and good for rocking out. Pretty cool lyrics, surreal and full of ghosts and clowns and voodoo.

    Similar artists:

    This is hard. I honestly haven't heard anyone like them. I could tentatively say Reverend Glasseye but BCR is a lot louder and weirder than them. If you know us [Pretty Balanced], think Simon's Sleeping, but more rhythmic.

    We played at their CD release on April 1st, and I just got a copy of their new album, which is phenomenal. Check out their MySpace for streaming songs. I suggest I'm Your Voodoo. If you have a musical ear, you'll like this band, because their songs are so musically uncharacteristic.

    Their website is here.
  • Nellie McKay

    4 Jun 2006, 4:28

    So Liana introduced me to Nellie McKay, and I've heard about her several times, including in an Entertainment Weekly article that I'd totally forgotten about.

    I downloaded her demo, a sampler, the demo/single/whatever Columbia Is Bleeding, and a live show, and have made my way through most of it all.

    I can't decide whether or not I like her. I don't not like her but it might be one of those things where she grows on me, or one of those things where I get more and more "eh" 'til I just stop listening. For one thing, she's kind of torch-songy a fair amount of the time, and I don't as a rule like torch songs. But she also gets beat-poety, and I like beat poetry.

    A couple of songs definitely appeal to me, namely Sari and Work Song. Her voice is good, nice and plain in a way I can like but which doesn't really strike me.

    Her pianoing is GOOD, though. Stylistically choppy, and she sure knows what she's doing. It's reassuring. I love good pianists. It's going to take me a good long time to learn some of these.
  • Good Songs for Covering

    27 May 2006, 5:35

    I got the idea reading Doro's post about Such Great Heights.

    Songs I Like to Cover/Like to Hear Covered

    Such Great Heights because I don't like the original. I've always thought it worked better as a slow song. For an example, check out this cover: Such Great Heights

    White Rabbit because it's about DRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGZ. Well, no, more because it's fucken sweet, loud and short enough that I don't get tired with all that bangin.

    Talk Show Host even though, or actually BECAUSE, it is a B-side and therefore less-known than most. And I think it's beautiful. It's on the Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet soundtrack.

    Bridges and Balloons, which the Decemberists apparently covered, and since I love them as well as Joanna that's just like PFUH, only the link I found didn't work for me, somehow. Damnit!! Oh well, yeah, I've covered it, too.

    Midway, which my lesbian parents taught me on the guitar, initially, because they're lesbians and therefore evidently play folk guitar. I can play it on both guitar and piano but have only covered it on piano. One of these days I should lug along an acoustic guitar, and eat granola.

    Origin of Love. Did I mention I met John Cameron Mitchell when he gave a talk after a showing at this independent movie theater in Clintonville? I was crying, and he gave me a hug and told me it was okay, and then he signed my stoner kit.

    The Nurse Who Loved Me which was most notably covered here, The Nurse Who Loved Me and it was a total cop-out 'cause I thought they wrote it and it made me like them, and then I found out they didn't, and then I didn't like them anymore. But I liked Failure. It's a shame they broke up in the mid-'90s.


    I don't get much of an opportunity to cover songs, since we don't do that at shows, as a rule, and I do like that system. Well, next weekend I'm doing something solo with Ft. Hayes at Fat Eddie's Bar so I can do however many covers I want, haha.
  • My Band, Pretty Balanced

    24 May 2006, 23:56

    I'm going to do a little pimping; hope nobody minds.

    Pretty Balanced is my band; I'm the singer, pianist, cellist and accordionist. We call ourselves "piano chamber rock" which means, as far as I can define it, that we are classically trained on classical instruments, but play rock. We incorporate sometimes more and sometimes less of the classical element but in general that's what we are. Often we make it quirky and increasingly, we've tried to make it scary.

    Our new album is Icicle Bicycle.

    We Have Been Compared To:

    Rasputina because of the string element, and in my younger days I used to do that hovery vibrato-like vocal effect a bit.

    Yann Tiersen for blend of instruments; there's a bit of accordion if you look hard for it, and we frequently busk as violin and accordion.

    The Dresden Dolls for our most common format of just the piano and drums.

    Béla Bartok, the early modern composer; my writing is extremely influenced by him. He was famous for using strange, beautiful modes and I played a lot of his pieces for piano when I was littler. Given, the only person who's openly compared us to Bartok is my theory teacher, but I think it's worth noting.

    Regina Spektor because she plays the piano, and I feel very influenced by her voice.

    Tori Amos for obvious superficial reasons.

    Kate Bush, although I think I've heard her once, but yeah, we've been compared to her.
  • Current Favorite Bands and Artists

    20 May 2006, 20:53

    Andrew Bird--I just learned Opposite Day on the piano, and I think I'm going to cover it on June 2nd at Fat Eddie's. This man is insanely talented and HOT. Oh my god.

    Joanna Newsom--as previously mentioned. Current favorite is Peach, Plum, Pear.

    Pinback--yeah, aje poisoned me. Been listening to Rousseau and June obsessively in the past week.

    Tenacious D--you're wrong, it is funny. Especially Fuck Her Gently, which gets stuck in my head at inopportune moments.
  • Personal Review of Begin To Hope

    20 May 2006, 4:17

    Regina Spektor, Begin to Hope:

    I don't have the same bone to pick with it as everyone else, although I can't say I'm totally satisfied. Where everyone else seems to think the production ruins her beautiful songs, I like the production and I think the songs ruin it.

    They are musically unimaginative, too heavy on C major and 4 5 1 chord progressions. Maybe I'm just spoiled by 11:11, which is imaginative to the point of avant garde, at times, but I think Regina's songwriting is going downhill. I still love her lyrics, although they definitely don't strike me as much as they do in Songs.

    Tracks I Like:

    "Fidelity," because it almost breaks away from the pop-punk progression of doom, and I like the pizzicato.

    "On the Radio," for purely guilty-pleasure reasons, because it fails the imaginative-musicality test, but the instrumentation is catchy and I can rock out to it.

    "20 Years of Snow," the only TRULY unique song on the album, I loved it before and I love it even more with the new arrangement.

    "That Time," despite a particularly simple chord progression, because it makes me dance and I really like the lyrics.

    "Lady," because it's good, and it gets that Billie Holiday feel, which I like.

    Tracks I Don't Like:

    "Better," unimaginative.

    "Field Below," not entirely sure, it's something personal regarding references to farms and the country, which I don't like.

    "Hotel Song," the electronic drums bother me.

    "Edit," because I didn't like it before the album came out.

    Tracks About Which I Have Mixed Feelings:

    "Samson," which I loved on Songs because its simplicity stuck out from all those quirky think-y songs, and I do think the strings make it even better, but not the increased speed; also, it doesn't stick out on this album, it blends in with the rest of 4 5 1 songs.

    "Apres Moi," which I think is a good song and it has a nice strong likeable start, but the synth-sounding strings and church bell kind of ruin it for me.

    The End.
  • Joanna Newsom and Regina Spektor

    19 May 2006, 0:09

    Joanna Newsom is my new influence/obsession/crush. I don't think I've had one this big since Regina Spektor, and maybe it's because they're slightly similar, in a kind of superficial way--solo females with strong, harsh voices, and rich lyrics--but their sound is extremely different. Where Regina mixes the simple instrumentals with flowery vocals [not in a pop way, but in a genuinely talented way], Joanna does these elaborate [but not at all schmaltzy] harp arrangements and her voice, although I love it, isn't traditionally beautiful.

    Her lyrics are mind-blowing. Every word seems to add on to create this thick imagery; you can almost taste it. It's the same thing Regina's older lyrics--mostly the ones from Songs--do to me, in a different way; there, she can pick the simplest combination to form the most vivid picture.

    Joanna's lyrics inspire me to write more poetry, and spend more time on my lyrics instead of writing them as fast as I can, sometimes only in my head, without writing them down at all, or resorting to keeping my placeholder lyrics without writing new, better ones.