Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Weekly Awesome! #4

Music Notes

This is all over the internet by now, and it's not so much about music as it is about an older Asian woman making an ass out of herself, but... eh. There's not that much going on right now, news-wise, and I don't want to do yet another report on Britney Spear's continually retarded behavior or about how Paris Hilton is attempting to run over all of the citizens of Los Angeles one by one with her SUV. So here you go... Connie Chung singing "Thanks for the Memories" on top of a piano:

Yeah, I don't know why either. I assume there's a reason she's doing this, but I can't actually get all the way through this clip without my vision swimming and the room starting to spin. Then I black out and wake up in a puddle of my own sick in an alley downtown.

Okay, maybe it's not that bad, but it is hard to watch. You how when you see a really unfunny comedian who keeps plugging away with his "jokes," even though the audiance has grown hostile and the word "Awkward" is just hanging there over his head and it makes your stomach hurt a little because you can tell that he's dying inside but can't stop his mouth from spewing out these horrible things? This video is like that, but with less dignity.


Songs of our Week

1. "Carmelita" by Warren Zevon or Counting Crows

It's about a junkie pining away for his lover while in the throes of withdrawl. A great tune for those of you that consider Leaving Las Vegas to be deeply romantic (it kinda is, for reals). Warren Zevon sang it originally, but Counting Crows do a suprisingly good cover of it, if that's your particular brand of alt-rock crooning. Personally, I prefer Zevon's rough, craggy voice because he actually sounds like he just got finished spiking a vein and is about to pass out, but my girlfriend prefers the Crows version because Adam Duritz has a better voice and does that thing that he does where he sounds all emotional when he sings. Tomato, To-mah-to. (How weird is it that just as I was about to move on to the next one, the Zevon version of this came on my radio. Ooooo... spookalicious!)

2. "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Because of my general obliviousness and deep distaste for change, I tend to be squarely five years behind what's currently popular in modern music. I'm still really digging on "Oh! Inverted World," if that tells you anything. Occasionally, though, I'll look up from my own self-involvement and catch sight of a band that's currently popular and find myself humming a long. These guys are that band and they are fucking sweet. If you put Talking Heads and The Cure into Seth Brundle's transporter pods and they came out the other side all smushed and melded together, they'd sound like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Well, they'd probably be dead like that baboon that got turned inside out, but you get my meaning.

3. "I Don't Like Mondays" by The Boomtown Rats

This is a song about how Mondays suck ass which is, I'll admit, fairly trite subject matter even by pop music standards. It's ridiculously catchy though, and because it's sung by an 80's band that hail from Ireland, we're going to assume that it's a thickly disguised commentary on The Troubles. Maybe it's a Sinn Fein rallying cry. Potato famine allegory, perhaps? Look, it's totally deep. Just go with it.

4. "Return of the Grievous Angel" by Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons was a rich kid from Florida who reinvented himself as an alt-country pioneer, worked with The Byrds, and had a massive heroin problem that quickly killed him at the age of 26, securing his place as a rock legend. He was, by most accounts, a total douchebag with an "I'm here to bring country music to the masses" Messiah complex and his singing voice was at times very questionable. However, when he was working relatively smack-free and was on his game, he was fantastic. This would be one of the songs that make him tolerable because it hits the perfect balance of country swing and pop accessability. If you're a Ryan Adams fan, you'd probably dig Parsons, if for no other reason than Ryan Adams would be currently waiting tables in Jacksonville were it not for him.

5. "Banned in D.C." by Bad Brains

Occasionally you need to step outside of the comfortable indie rock bubble that you live in and get your pampered feet wet in some rougher, choppier waters. Punk, obviously, is the best way to go because the line from it to Rock and Roll is fairly straight. Just crank up the guitar distortion, play less chords and scream your lyrics and, presto, you're a punk superstar. Also, sneer some. Avoid Metal and Rap like you owe them money; their subcultures are pains in the ass and you really have to dig to find listenable music. Trust me, go punk. You want to avoid the well-trod paths that lead to The Sex Pistols (who actually suck) and The Ramones (who were good, but not that punk), because they're way overdone and you've already heard the good stuff they have to offer. Really, if you're going to branch out, you should branch the fuck out with gusto. Aim for really violent, noisy stuff like Crass, Anti-Nowhere Leauge or Bad Brains, who hold the distinction of being one of the only all-black hardcore bands out there, not to mention one of the first American punk bands ever. Their stuff is like sonic razor blades and sledgehammers and it's perfect for pissed-off days where you're seriously considering buying a gun. Don't go that route; listen to Bad Brains instead.


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