Song of the Day: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Bomb.Repeat.Bomb


Artist: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
Album: Living With the Living
Song: Bomb.Repeat.Bomb

I’m kind of ashamed of myself for not thinking to recommend Ted Leo the first week. It seems impossible to find someone who actively dislikes his music. Maybe it’s because his has one of the more engaging voices in music today. Maybe it’s because he dressed in drag for the cinematic masterpiece that was the music video for New Pornographers – Moves. Maybe it’s because of great songs like this one.

Generally, I’m not one to gravitate towards overly political songs, even when I agree with them. The exception is when they rock as hard as BOMB REPEAT BOMB does. The points made are all great ones, regardless of format. I’m just more willing to listen when the chorus makes me punch the air while driving.

Also, one time I had all 15,000+ songs from my ipod on shuffle and suddenly really wanted to hear this track. I pressed the next song and IT WAS THIS ONE. I’m married and that’s still one of the top ten highlights of my life.

Song of the Day: Hunx & His Punx – Mud In Your Eyes

Artist: Hunx & His Punx
Album: Street Punk
Song: Mud In Your Eyes

This band’s name is so great, I’d be tempted to recommend them based on that alone. It just so happens that they are really good too. Garage rock is fun in general because it usually sounds like The Beach Boys singing about blood and curse words through a tin can. Add to it the showmanship and character of Hunx (and his punx!) and you’ve got that extra pizzazz that lands a song on this prestigious blog.

This is another band I only recently discovered, and this track was an instant stand-out for me. What sealed the deal was the vocals. As stated many times, the more unconventional a voice is, the more I like it. Seth Bogart’s delivery on this particular song is barking and almost strangled-sounding. I’m maybe in the minority on this one, but it adds so much to the presentation. When you’re singing about someone’s less-than-perfect physical appearance, your voice should be less-than-perfect, damn it!

It’s hard for me to focus on one song from a a garage rock-type album, because it’s really an all-encompassing listening experience. It’s the kind of thing I’ll put on when I want to break stuff, but melodically. This just happens to be the one moment in time on this gem of a record that stuck with me the most.

Song of the Day: Modest Mouse – Tundra/Desert

Artist: Modest Mouse
Album: This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About
Song: Tundra/Desert

It’s fitting that this was the Modest Mouse song to come up on today’s shuffle. It’s from the first MM album I listened to, which in turn is what led me down the path of my current musical tastes. I was a mere child of 17, ignorant to all of the wonders indie rock held. A fool!

Long-time readers (LOL!) of this site should know how much I love this band. It was their concert that forced me to go against every nervous bone in my body, which is all of them, and buy a ticket. I wrote a lot of words about it, which you can read here:

Anxiety, Modest Mouse and Second-Hand Pot Smoke

Basically, I got a contact high, saw a girl get dumped on her head, and had a blast.

This may be the best song of all time to play in the car, because that moment at 1:35 of “aahhhhhhhhhhh SHIT” is the most fun to yell, and the only places that’s socially acceptable are in your car or at a Modest Mouse show.

17 year old Dan and 28 year old Dan can’t both be wrong. It’s a musical treat.

Song of the Day: Run the Jewels – Ddfh

Artist: Run the Jewels
Album: Run the Jewels
Song: Ddfh

I was pretty excited to see a new El-P project spring up a few years ago. His work as a rapper is great, but I’ve always been even more impressed with his production. He’s the master of beats, both catchy and fist-pumping. So from the get-go, it was a given that his teaming with Killer Mike would produce some top-notch stuff. Then they exploded and became the new biggest thing in hip-hop.

I’d hope you’d have heard of Run the Jewels by now, but if not- well that’s what I’m here for. Ddfh is a great starting place to see exactly what I’m talking about with El-P’s beats. If you’re not nodding your head along with it, I can only assume you are deaf or recovering from a car accident and therefore have to keep your neck perfectly still. Add in Killer Mike’s great voice and rhymes and boy howdy, you have a kick-butt mix.

This is just one of many great tunes on their debut album. You know it’s good, because bad albums don’t get remixed with cat sound effects. Well, I guess they might, but only RTJ could get away with making me listen to something called Meow the Jewels.

Song of the Day: Gogol Bordello – Lost Innocent World

Artist: Gogol Bordello
Album: Pura Vida Conspiracy
Song: Lost Innocent World

Let’s start off our second week with the weirdest song yet. I actually just started listening to this band a few days ago. Full disclosure, I gave them a shot despite being put off by the “gypsy punk” label. It sounded like it would have a lot of horns and be super irritating. I don’t like music that seems gimmicky, for the mot part. Nevertheless, I gave it a spin. And you know what? I didn’t like it.

Luckily, I don’t give up that easily and can admit when I’m biased. As I got farther into the record, I found myself digging it more. It was way more than the term “gypsy punk” would suggest and to narrow it to that would be a disservice. By the time it got to Lost Innocent World the hook was set. If there’s one way for a band to win me over, it’s with unconventional Ukrainian accents. Plus, this song in particular is just so darn catchy.

I’ll admit that I can see why some people would brush Gogol Bordello off as hipster nonsense. Those people are missing out. For me, it came down to measuring how fun the music was against how annoying stereotypical fans might be. In the end, it’s dumb to let outside factors affect your enjoyment of an art-form. I’m dumb sometimes. Judging purely on the music, it has my full endorsement. Just pretend you’re punching a musical elitist in the face during each beat of the chorus. I think that might help.

Three cheers for gypsy punk!

Song of the Day: Owen Pallett – The Riverbed

Artist: Owen Pallett
Album: In Conflict
Song: The Riverbed

For today’s song, the video is just as important as the song. A good music video either tells a story or just has the band members singing in the rain with exploding pianos and fish, like Faith No More’s “Epic.” This is one of the former. Owen Pallett is a guy who used to record under the name Final Fantasy, and this was one of my favorite tracks of 2014, by far.

The Riverbed is a bit harder than some of the earlier Pallett stuff I’d heard. The end result is super intense and super catchy. His uncle Jim Pallett was cast in this music video, as was Owen himself as a PUNKER. The crescendo is timed perfectly with the story in the coolest way possible. It never fails to make me want to punch people in the face. That’s the best compliment I can give to a song, honestly.

I encourage you to explore more of his back catalog for a slightly different vibe. It’s oftentimes mellower, but no less amazing. Anyone who can fill me with a desire to dance and fight at the same time gets my endorsement.

Song of the Day: Astronautalis – Oceanwalk

Artist: Astronautalis
Album: You And Yer Good Ideas
Song: Oceanwalk

I’m going to switch it up today after three bangers in a row. Not that this man doesn’t have some A+ bangers in his own right. Trust that he does, and that you’ll be hearing them here eventually. This just happens to be a more low-key offering. Feel free to play it and nod your head as you read.

Astronautalis is the first rap artist I had a chance to see live. It was shortly after I started on my antidepressant/anti-anxiety medicine. That definitely is what made me face my fear of small spaces with far too many people. The several beers I had beforehand helped a little too. But I wouldn’t have done it for anything less than a rapper that I love.

It was an amazing show, stacked with both old and new classics. Plus, he busted out his trademark trick of asking people in the crowd for topics and free-styling on them. The guy seamlessly blended together rhymes about a soda I’ve never heard of and unwanted U2 albums appearing on Apple products.

It got even better when Oceanwalk ended the set. This was one of the first tracks of his that I got hooked on. It’s an insight into his experiences growing up in Florida. This is definitely the sort of song you can put on a nice pair of headphones and feel a part of, even if you were raised thousands of miles away from the nearest beach. It sounds cliche, but not a lot of people, in my experience, nail it quite this perfectly.

Like yesterday’s post, my wife Caitlin had heard the song even before I did. Her friend put it on a mix CD he gave her before moving away, and I think she was even more stoked to hear it than I was. She told Astronautalis as much after the show, when he graciously talked with concert-goers and took a picture with one exhilarated, nervous fan who had a pretty hard buzz going on.

(it was me)

This track means a lot, is what I’m saying.

Song of the Day: Bright Eyes – Lover I Don’t Have to Love

Artist: Bright Eyes
Album: Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground
Song: Lover I Don’t Have to Love

I love Conor Oberst so much. I probably heard Bright Eyes for the first time when I was around 20. From that day through present, Oberst has been my favorite singer-songwriter. The English major in me has always appreciated lyricism, and he’s among the very best. This is not really related, but that’s also why I love rap. Words are cool.

This is one of the few songs that both my now-wife and I liked before we started dating. So listening to it now takes me back to those early days. I can only imagine the kind of nostalgia overload I’d get from it if I’d been listening to Bright Eyes in high school. I would have had much cooler hair and probably fashion sense, if I had been.

Try and appreciate his semi-imperfect voice because, like anything in life, things are better when they’re weird. And I think it is the sound of goddamn angels. Swoon.

Marry me, Conor?

Shredder: Snowboarding PSA/Horror Movie

There is a formula to slasher movies, and it’s a simple one. A killer, annoying people for him or her to kill, some sort of setting. That’s all. So why not a murderous skier slaying suckas on a mountainside? I sadly may have the answer. Its name: Shredder.

shreddertitle

I forgot to get a screenshot of the title screen when I had the DVD in and didn’t feel like loading it back up, so I decided to make one. It took an hour longer than getting the stupid disc would have.

I decided to focus on my favorite aspect of Shredder, which without question was the killer’s continued ineptitude. No opportunity to fall down or get outsmarted was squandered. You’ll be rooting for the guy out of sheer pity.

It doesn’t help that he is literally just dressed like a guy who got a ski suit and goggles from KMart. They have to make some sort of ski mask with a demon or skull motif, no?

That said, I hope you’ll forgive me for the half-hearted summary of the plot. It’s not anything too special. Here, I’ll give you the characters:

Cole– wimpy main hero guy
Kimberly– Cole’s prissy girlfriend who openly gropes other men in front of him
Pike– only okay character besides the killer I think she’s Kimberly’s cousin
Skyler– shithead “comic relief”
Robyn– boobs
Christophe– European hitchhiker/red herring killer/guy Kimberly openly gropes in front of Cole
Kirk– stoner who is really good at snowboarding and wears a cowboy hat during one scene for some reason

The basic premise is, the above dorks sneak into an abandoned ski resort that Kimberly’s father is in the process of buying. They are explicitly told that there was a horrific murder that took place years before. Snowboarders (just like our heroes!) murdered a young girl. Oh. That seems like a pretty decent reason to close the place, but they don’t care. They need to SHRED.

The start is pretty typical horror movie. A few people get stabbed with icicles, because the writers took the path of least resistance in every possible way. The movie only hits its stride when our villain zooms up and joins Robyn on the ski lift. In case you forgot, she is a female with bosoms.

He’s willing to give her a chance.

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So far I don’t really see the problem. It’s lame, but it’s also sound advice. The kids have made it abundantly clear that they care more for alcohol and parties with stilted, unnatural dialogue than they do for mountain safety.

He thrusts a rulebook in her face, but Robyn offers her rebuttal in the only language punks know.

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See this is exactly why someone needed to step in and try and teach them how to snowboard responsibly. You are definitely not supposed to shoves strangers off a ski lift from 40 feet in the air.

We have reached the first Moment of Shame for the killer. While he’s free-falling through the frozen air, Robyn somehow manages to wrap her scarf around the ski lift. Obviously, what happens next is that she hangs her own goddamn self.

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I really want to give the poor masked skier the kill, but I can’t on this one. He had zero to do with it. One of the more memorable deaths in the movie, and the murderer was “carelessness with loose clothing.”

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Robyn cruises by a few times throughout the next few scenes, as if taunting the killer for his failures.

A while later, Pike and Skyler have found the cabin where Kirk was stabbed (one of the aforementioned icicle incidents.) Internally, the viewer is cheering as the skier appears. The comic relief always gets the most brutal treatment, and rightfully so. However, Pike foils our villain with the calculated tactic of closing the door.

Doing so causes the lone symbol of the killer’s success, Kirk’s dead body, to fall unceremoniously to the floor. Of course, the killer bursts through the door and promptly trips over said body. This allows Pike to roundhouse kick him in the face.

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The killer catches a rare break and manages to snag Skyler’s leg with a hatchet. I swear, it comes off as an underdog defying the odds. Plus, Skyler is the worst. The only unfortunate part about it is that he missed a major artery.

Sadly, our luck runs out. Pike and stupid Skyler manage to escape after the killer AGAIN trips and pratfalls out the open door, earning a snowboard to the face for his clumsiness.

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Jesus. The killer finally decides to start acting like he even WANTS to murder people towards the end. He goes with the classic “appear outside the car door while the person inside forgets how to turn a key” bit. Regrettably for him, Pike is driving. As the last remaining female character, she is contractually obligated to peel out before he can get to her. Once more, the fearsome, faceless entity lurking in the shadows of the mountain is knocked on his butt. They might as well have just had him slip on a banana peel.

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*slide whistle noise*

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The above could have been the DVD cover. It sums up everything that happens.

There is one moment of redemption. After the killer stabs Skyler through the eye with a ski pole YES he goes after Kimberly. It’s at this point I have realized I forgot to tell you about another character. His name is Chad, he was murdered in literally the first scene, and his body was being stored in the same cabinet Kimberly hides in.

Cue the awesome sequence where the skier stabs at Kimberly with a poker, which snags Chad’s head and repeatedly pushes it towards her.

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I’m going to pretend that he did this on purpose. It’s very clear he didn’t but he needs a victory. Any victory.

There actually is another few scenes, including a big swerve as to who the perpetrator is! Big may be stretching it. I’ll leave it at that on the off chance that any of you ever buy this movie for $3.99 at Game XChange like we did. In case I haven’t been clear, it comes highly recommended.

I’m ending it here, on a high note. It’s the least I could do.

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Song of the Day: Sleater-Kinney – Jumpers

Artist: Sleater-Kinney
Album: The Woods
Song: Jumpers

Lucky me, and by extension all of you! Two days in a row my playlist has bestowed on us party songs. If the Gaslight Anthem song from yesterday is a beach party, today’s is a series of flying air guitar kicks at a bar. Both tracks are sung very loudly by me in the car, if it’s at night when no one can see.

Some of you may know Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia. Here is your chance to also know her from playing the shit out a guitar. On vocals, Corin Tucker is one of the greatest voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of blasting my eardrums with. Add in the always awesome and precise percussion from Janet Weiss and you have the perfect candidate for a warm weather driving mix. Your summer playlist has two songs on it now. I am slowly making your year so much better.

Give it a try, and turn it up for goodness sake.