Sunday, December 06, 2009

Read-a-Thon Status: 17 hours in

Girl in Development by Jordan Roter: 230
Secrets of My Hollywood Life On Location by Jen Calonita: 228 pages

In Progress:
Jim Henson, The Works by Christopher Finch: 140 pages (starting at 56)
Let's Talk About Pep by Sandy "Pepa" Denton: 73 pages

Total pages read: 671

Nap number 2 to commence immediately. Let's hope I wake up before this read-a-thon is over!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Read-A-Thon Update: 12 & 1/2 hours in.

Books Finished: Still only one.

Reading: A Lion Among Men, by Gregory Maguire, which is turning out not to be half as exciting as Son of a Witch, which I'd intended to review for the blog but don't think I ever did. Anyway, I actually don't care about the Brr the Cowardly Lion, I want to hear more about Liir, and Candle, and Trism bon Cavalish. THANKS.

Ways Found Of Procrastinating: 7
  • Cleaning Out Google Reader (watching videos of baby goats, baby kittens, etc. and the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer)
  • Shrieking at my mother via Facebook RE: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer.
  • Roleplaying (THIS IS BAD, BAD, OH SO BAD I AM SUCH A FUCKING PROCRASTINATOR). Incidentally, number of actual replies written: 1. Number of discussions had about baby cannibalism, however, is up to 3.
  • Pestering the cat
  • Napping.
  • Cooking.
  • Eating.
Read-A-Thon progress: FAIL.

Read-a-Thon Status: 9 hours in

Girl in Development by Jordan Roter: 230

In Progress:
Secrets of My Hollywood Life On Location: 82 pages
Jim Henson, The Works by Christopher Finch: 26 pages (starting at 56)

Total pages read: 338

Naps taken:
1, excellent quality, puppy cuddles included.

Read-A-Thon Update

Six and a half hours in: still kicking Lanie's ass in the book reading department.

number of bagels consumed: 2
number of cheese sticks consumed: 3

currently reading: a lion among men by gregory maguire.

up next: mirror, mirror by gregory maguire.
finished: will the vampire people please leave the lobby: true adventures in cult fandom by allyson beatrice.

Read-a-Thon Status: 6 hours in

Lanie: After nearly running us off the road in a snow storm in this morning's quest for more books and food, here's where I am:

Girl in Development by Jordan Roter: 109 pages (started at 61)
Secrets of My Hollywood Life On Location: 26 pages

Books on Deck:
Breathers by S.G. Browne
Let's Talk about PEP by Sandy "Pepa" Denton
Jim Henson, The Works by Christopher Finch (starting at 56)

Will the Vampire People Please Leave the Lobby: True Adventures in Cult Fandom by Allyson Beatrice: 175 pages

Back to reading!

Friday, December 04, 2009


So! We (read: I, Lanie) haven't been the best with posting lately but we're (I'm) getting back into the swing of things with tomorrow's read-a-thon hosted over at If it's not too late to join in, by the time you're reading this, I suggest doing so!

Some people are doing this with a charity in mind but for me, I am looking to knock my last 4 books of the year (of the 50 book challenge) out of the park before the holidays take up too much of my attention.

For the read-a-thon, tou're responsible not only for your own good time, but encouraging and commenting the bloggers both before and after you. Sound like fun? You can look forward to a bunch of posts from both of us for the 24 hours that the read-a-thon runs (beginning 6 am PST) and then more regular posting after that.

Hope you enjoy!

- Lanie

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Taking Back Sunday & All-American Rejects with Special Guests Anberlin

Taking Back Sunday & All-American Rejects
with Special Guests Anberlin

November 16, 2009
Patriot Center, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

This was a strange show - it's hard to figure out who is going to headline when the All-American Rejects are hypothetically the bigger band. (Why, I'll never know.) Once inside, Anberlin's banner hangs as the stage backdrop. Fine, we knew Anberlin would be first. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), we can see the blue-and-red backdrop that Taking Back Sunday are using on this tour hanging behind it.

We're barricade - we're not worried about whether we're going to have to fight our way up before TBS, or wait until after the kidlets there to see AAR leave and make a break for the gate. Whatever.

Anberlin! Man, I kind of love Anberlin. Please note that their drummer has total Flock of Seagulls hair and that is kind of excellent. Their singer, Stephen Christian, is the silly kind of boy who comes out on stage in a coat. A cute coat, though, I kind of wanted it for myself. (This says nothing for Christian's style, I suppose.)

Last time I saw Anberlin, it was at The Worst Venue Ever, and the sound was shitty. They were good that night, but hearing them with decent sound was even better. I wish more people had been into them, because they're a great band and they deserve to have people into them. Also, they're wholesome. According to M, who was my partner-in-crime that evening, they were like fluffy bunnies. Why is this important?

Because the All-American Rejects are exactly the opposite.

They have stuff. All of us were laboring under the delusion that TBS would be playing second, and that we wouldn't have to stick it out in the pit for AAR. Then they started scattering these light rigs all over the stage. Don't get me wrong, the light rigs were cool, but TBS are an awesome band, and I knew then that they were NOT to be the next band on stage because they don't need light rigs to be awesome.

The All-American Rejects need the light rigs to make their glitter sparkle. Oh yes. Tyson Ritter, bassist and mouthpiece, comes out on stage, shirtless, tiny jeans, his upper body and face covered in silver glitter. He is a horrifying crotch grabbing, foul-mouthed heathen. I swear to everything that AAR were not like this when I saw them before (nearly four years ago).

It was not pleasant. I enjoy their music in a vague way where I don't change the station if I hear it, and where I bought Move Along when it first came out... whenever that was, back in 2005, perhaps (I saw them in March 06, and I feel like I had the album then, and I am too lazy to actually research that because it's a complete digression and I don't care).

So there were two great things about AAR, in all the yelling about sausage parties and the parts between ones legs and the cursing and generally being an egotistical dickbag (wow, I'm not angry about it at all).

I had already figured out that TBS were not about to play when they started lowering the Anberlin-and-TBS banners to reveal the little AAR light thing. The group of TBS-Bros behind me (you know, TBS-Bros - the bros that show up in their popped collar shirts and are gay for Taking Back Sunday - you will see them at every single TBS show you ever go to, and they're kind of great) catch sight of this and yell a chorus of "NOOO!" and "SHIT!" They are as unenthusiastic about AAR as I was. (At one point, there was a crotch-grab-pelvic-thrust combination from Mr. Ritter, inducing the one directly behind me to yell 'OH GOD I'M GAY NOW' - they were hilarious.)

The other thing was Tyson Ritter invading the seats. He tried valiantly to get the mom section to stand up. The moms were not having it. Ritter proceeded to take matters into his own hands, making his way over and taking a seat, sending hoardes of little girls scrambling to be close to him.

(He came back, walked the barricade, and the girl behind me was trying to touch him. She couldn't. I could. I stuck two fingers out, swiped, and rubbed FILTHY DISGUSTING GLITTER ALL OVER EVERYONE AROUND ME. Then I went for an STD panel in the morning.)

A similar situation occurred once Taking Back Sunday finally took the stage, with Preacher Adam (TM - SHAI) threatening to invade the same section of bleachers. The difference is that they took Preacher Adam more seriously than they did Ritter. Maybe it's because he doesn't look like Skeletor? Wasn't covered in glitter? Stomped his foot as he said it?

Anyway, Taking Back Sunday were in fine form when they finally took the stage. Or at least, Preacher Adam was, because poor Matt Fazzi is still in a walking boot and Eddie Reyes had Twittered (@EddieBackSunday) about a chest cold. But Preacher Adam? Swinging his microphone like his life depended on it. Maybe not his best plan ever, since he dropped it (!) and maybe, possibly, hit himself in the face with it (maybe twice - according to M).

If you've never seen Taking Back Sunday, it's hard to explain the experience. Because no, maybe Preacher Adam doesn't sound that great in person (he's like an acquired taste, seriously), but he struts around like he owns the place, slings his microphone everywhere, and is generally pretty fucking awesome to watch.

Now, can anyone explain to me why Anberlin and TBS have lowered themselves to tour with AAR? It was like a poop sandwich - really awesome bread, but crap in the middle.

Yeah, I said it. Anberlin were awesome. TBS were awesome. I'm almost glad I'm not going to the two Oklahoma shows because I doubt that I could handle two doses of Tyson Ritter back to back.

The only complaint I have that isn't regarding AAR? TBS played a fairly short set. For them, I mean. It was more like the set you can hear on the Bamboozle 2009 CD rather than a real TBS headlining set. Memorably, they started with "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)," and didn't play "Catholic Knees" or "New Again." Sadly, they also didn't play "Everything Must Go," but they switched it up and played "My Blue Heaven" instead - which was funny, because Preacher Adam said they didn't play the song - I've seen them play it before. You're not fooling me, Preacher Adam. It was nice, though.

So, could've been longer, could've not had AAR, or TBS could've played second so I wouldn't've had to have been made so uncomfortable by Tyson Ritter... But a good show.

A word of advice, though: watch Nick Wheeler or Mike Kennerty (both on guitar) during AAR's if you're going to any of these shows. They're inoffensive and you won't see their buttcracks.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chuck Klosterman - Sex, Drugs, & Cocoa Puffs

This book is a collection of essays written by Klosterman, covering everything from The Real World and reality TV to Saved By The Bell to serial killers.

I don't think I know how to do this book justice in a review. Klosterman is irreverant, funny, and a great read, from diatribes against Coldplay to having met a serial killer and knowing people who have met or known others in the past.

I definitely think, however, that someone not entirely enmeshed in pop culture wouldn't enjoy this book. It is one pop culture reference after another, and even for me, some of it was hard to follow. (I am just not a person who knows anything about Saved by the Bell, okay? I'm just now learning about Friends - okay, I never want to be a person who knows anything about Saved by the Bell.)

But it's interesting. Whether you're a fan of all these things or not, Klosterman certainly makes an interesting read out of talking shit about the way he lived, the way other people live, and the effect mass media seems to have on our culture.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Philippa Gregory : The Wise Woman

I've read several of Gregory's books, but this is the first that I've come across that's been more like actual fantasy than simply historical fiction.

The Wise Woman centers on a girl named Alys, a supposed orphan raised by a Wise Woman. Alys enters a convent, becoming Sister Ann. Unfortunately, it's not to last, and the convent is burned by the son of the Lord over the land they're on, sacked for the King (Henry VIII), and the nuns murdered. Alys, of course, escapes because if she didn't, there'd be no story.

The back of the book paints the story as a love triangle gone wrong by the use of magic, but that's not the heart of the story. Alys is a woman trying to rise beyond her life's station (cue gratuitous comparisons to Anne Boleyn, also a woman rising above her station, also accused of witchcraft).

Alys uses magic to ensnare the man she wants, after she decides to give up her life of piety and her chances of returning to a nunnery.

It's all very dramatic and it's definitely one of the better reads I've gotten from Gregory in a while (I've been struggling with reading The Other Queen for nearly a year now, and I just can't get into it). I'd recommend it if you want to read a good story along with your batshit crazy. Because it's definitely crazy and bizarre.

I liked it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Ryan Mecum: Zombie Haiku

"Brains, brains, brains, brains, brains,
Brains, brains, brains, brains, brains, brains, brains.
Artificial hip?"

Lanie and I went with her brother and his friend and saw Zombieland this past weekend. That review will come soon, but afterward, after a delightful dinner at a Lebanese restaurant, we were killing time between that and our viewing of Whip It! (Review also forthcoming) and Lanie and I found this book in a display in Borders.

Now, the premise sounds dumb. It's haiku about zombies! Well, it's really not. It's haiku written by a zombie, with little extras thrown into the pages, like it's a journal-slash-scrapbook. And it's kind of great.

Now, it's not high literature, and it's not going to take you ages to read it (all told, I think it took me maybe half an hour to read the entire book from cover to cover). But the thing is: it's fun. It's a lot of fun.

If you get the chance to check it out, please do so. It will please your little zombie-loving heart.

- Julieann

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Taking Back Sunday: Live At Bamboozle '09

me: last night i didn't go to sleep productively
me: because i forgot about adam's amusement over rubano saying seaboard
me: so i laid there and rewound it and snickered for a good twenty minutes
me: i think i have an illness, frankly.
lanie: lmao I think you do too
me: i wonder if they have AA for this?
me: i need a support group, and possibly bi-weekly meetings

Three Reasons I Am Sad That Taking Back Sunday: Live At Bamboozle '09 Is Audio Only:
1) Mic swinging.
2) Climbing scaffolding.
3) Matt Fazzi is scorching hot - IDK if this is a thing you were aware of. No stop looking at Matt Rubano. I said Matt Fazzi. He's the dude on the left. Who plays the guitar. No, not bass. That's just bass. Fazzi.

The Only Reason I Am Glad That Taking Back Sunday: Live At Bamboozle '09 Is Audio Only:
1) The more filming there is, the higher the potential that Lanie and I would actually BE ON IT. We were on the barricade at this particular show and probably only lucked out that we weren't in the live video for "New Again" by virtue of a) it being pretty dark by this point and b) us being tucked in a corner.

Also, thanks Demi Lovato for pretty much clearing that crowd after your set and allowing us free reign to get to the barricade. I love you just for that. Also you're super pretty in person.

I digress.

So, Taking Back Sunday, Live At Bamboozle '09. It was raining. It was cold. Adam Lazzara thinks that he is an old-school (possibly Southern Baptist - I know these things, they were my brethren before I was old enough to be agnostic/athiest) preacher. Some of the banter is still there! (Actually, most of the banter may be in there - Bamboozle was a long time ago, then we saw No Doubt and drove back to D.C. from Jersey all in the same night THEN got up and went to work the next day. Yeah. Suck on that.)

No, Taking Back Sunday aren't as good live as they are on the album. Believe it or not - most bands are like this. Just be glad that Lazzara isn't doing his weird "HEY! PUBERTY!" thing that he was doing the last time I saw them live (and doing it on purpose, no less), all right? I mean, it's not that bad, and I've definitely heard live recordings of bands that aren't even this good, but it's. It's Taking Back Sunday. If you're going to see them to get what the album sounds like, then, I don't know.

Maybe you're doing it wrong.

Anyway, it's not a full set, and the bit where Lazzara threw part of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" into the breakdown of one of the songs (I think it may have been "You're So Last Summer," but don't hold me to that - I've seen him do that three times and I still can't remember what song he did it during, just that he used to throw the Killers' "When You Were Young" into "Divine Intervention" - which there's video of on my youtube account - I'm digressing again) is gone entirely. I'm sure that's something to do with rights, so whatever. It's not that great. It just is what it is.

Anyway, if you don't like Taking Back Sunday, this won't be the album that converts you. If you like them, you'll probably enjoy it. It's nothing new, but it's fun!

Highlights: "Seaboard," talking about how much it was raining and cold, and "cursing." I think Taking Back Sunday have a swear-jar or something. It's weird.

Lowlights: "Carpathia" sounds like crap. I'm sorry, it just does. Also, short festival set = no "Everything Must Go." Boo. :(

- Julieann

Thursday, October 01, 2009

ed. Rich Balling - Revolution On Canvas, Volume 2: Poetry from the Indie Music Scene

In some ways, this book was better than the first volume. In other ways, it fell short.

There's a lot more prose work in this volume, which is a huge plus. There are some truly great stories in here, like Justin Pierre's (Motion City Soundtrack) "Annelise." Unfortunately, some of the poetry falls disappointingly short of the mark, especially since this book actually does rely more heavily on lyrics than the previous one.

As you may remember from my review of Revolution on Canvas: Volume 1, I was told that a lot of the poetry contained in it was actually song lyrics from the bands. I couldn't tell - I didn't recognize any of them. Unfortunately for the second installment, it wasn't the same. Gabe Saporta (of Midtown in the first book, Cobra Starship in this second) graces us with the lyrics of "It's Warmer In The Basement" and "Success," both of which are on While the City Sleeps, We Rule The Streets. The same goes for The Hush Sound's Greta Salpeter, but, fortunately, not for her bandmate Bob Morris (listed here as Rob Morris).

Surprisingly enough, Pete Wentz's (Fall Out Boy) contribution is not lyrics.

I'll be honest and say that I'm torn between disappointment and pleasure at the inclusion of Armor For Sleep frontman Ben Jorgensen. I love that kid. However, what his contribution is... I'm not sure. It's not actually song lyrics (fortunately), but it's the idea and the basis of what would become the song "Smile For The Camera."

I know I'm talking a lot of shit, but this book is actually a much better read than the first one. Maybe the poetry is a lot of lyrics I already know because I actually listen to some of these bands, but there's a lot of really excellent prose in it, as well. If you liked the first volume, you'll like this one even more.

If you didn't read the first one, maybe give this one a try. It's poetry, after all. Nobody will hold it against you if you don't like it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trailer: A Nightmare On Elm Street (Teaser)

Dear Michael Bay,
Let's talk about how you're destroying my childhood, shall we?

Now, maybe I'm not your average girl, but I grew up watching the A Nightmare On Elm Street movies. Wes Craven is my horror God. And no, Mr. Bay, I wasn't happy when I found out they'd even be making another movie, let alone an actual remake. I thought, well, maybe they'll get Robert Englund anyway. I knew that he was really too old to play Freddy - he was nearly too old when Freddy V. Jason came out back in 2003.

I was upset by the change in Freddy. But I came around, when I found out that this all had Wes Craven's blessing. I thought, well, maybe it'll be okay after all.

I got cranky when I found out that Freddy wouldn't be a child molester. That's, you know, kind of why they burned the Son of a Hundred Maniacs alive in the first place.

I've got to hand it to you, Mr. Bay, you almost had me. You see, I watched the teaser trailer, and it almost, almost sucked me in. The shoutouts to the old flicks (the girls jumping rope, the "1, 2..." rhyme, the glove in the bathtub) made me happy.

Then I saw your interpretation of Fred Kruger, my psycho serial killer homicidal maniac Dream Master idol.

I am not amused, Mr. Bay. I entered into this believing that Freddy Kruger would actually look like Freddy Kruger. Not like a burn victim who got treatment and survived. Sorry, Mr. Bay, but your Freddy Kruger is not juicy enough to make me happy.

And that voice, Mr. Bay! What were you thinking when you decided that would be a good way for Freddy Kruger to sound? He's not menacing! He wouldn't scare me! He sounds like a pathetic little old man!

Mr. Bay, if you were trying to do good by the legacy that was created for Fred Kruger long before anyone knew who you were, you have failed.


PS: I'm going to go watch Johnny Depp get eaten by a bed now.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Leslie Simon & Trevor Kelley - "Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture"

Please don't think I'm taking anything in this book seriously.

I've read one of Trevor Kelley's books before, and I enjoyed it. It's all very tongue in cheek, jokey kind of stuff. Or maybe I'm just not as emo as I've been led to believe.

Anyway, so basically, this is a whole book dedicated to teaching you how to be emo, and simultaneously making fun of emo kids.

If you don't know what an emo kid is... why are you on the internet? Seriously, Google it. Something will come up. I promise. Also, before I get into this, I'm what's considered an emo kid. Um, or I thought I was until I read this book!

So it breaks down the beginnings of emo, starting with the founding way back in the day in DC. Fuck yeah, I moved to the birthplace of emo! Wait, I can't legitimately be excited about that. It profiles what kind of emo kid you are (for the record, I'm "frat emo" which is kind of like not even being emo at all except for I listen to a lot of Taking Back Sunday and get the snot beaten out of me at shows by the Bros Who Are Gay For Taking Back Sunday), what kind of relationships you're going to have if you like a certain kind of emo dude (if you're into the Chris Carrabba type, if you're into the Adam Lazzara type, etc - it's all going to end badly but who's counting).

There's actually a pretty interesting list of venues (Emo's in Austin, DC's own Black Cat), vegan restaurants, and albums that are essential to any emo kid (The Promise Ring, etc). Basically, it teaches you how to be an Emo Kid if that's what you want to be.

One of my favorite things about this book comes from it having been published in 2006 - it mentions Pete Wentz's supposed fling with Ashlee Simpson and makes a joke about how ridiculous that is. And look what happened!

Maybe it's a little outdated, but it's not that big of a deal. It's still an interesting read, and if you're emo or know someone who is... give it a shot.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jennifer's Body

Here's my whole review: Megan Fox closed her mouth. HONEST TO GOD. It may have been for .5 seconds, but she did it.

I mean, okay, that's not my whole review. But seriously. Megan Fox closed her mouth. I know you're shocked.

So okay. I don't know about all these Diablo Cody-isms that all the reviews I've read about online are talking about because I'm the only under-30 female in the entire world that hasn't seen Juno. So whatever. I'm also really into shitty horror movies and this fit my criteria. Man, was it cheesy. And great. And cheesy. And I made myself sick on popcorn.

So, there's Jennifer, who is played by Megan Fox, who is That Girl Everyone Wants To Be Friends With/Loves To Hate/Inexplicably Wants To Fuck Whether You're Male or Female. Or maybe that's just me. I have a girlcrush on Megan Fox now. Fucking thighs. I mean, wait, what?
Anyway, basically the whole movie is lain out so that you get to find out why Amanda Seyfried's character, Anita AKA Needy (that's the WORST NICKNAME EVER and she should cut some bitches over that), is in a mental asylum/women's prison.

But you know what the best part is? The reason WHY Jennifer is a psycho killer demon. No, I'm not going to tell you what that is, because it's seriously the greatest idea in the history of, oh, I don't know, existence. And I'm jealous I didn't think of it. One of my coworkers, when I told her about it, said she just wanted to ask Cody how she even came up with this sort of thing.

Also recommended for: people who love to hate Brandon Flowers. Because that's who Adam Brody is playing. He's the ultra sleazy version of B-Flow fronting a kind-of-terrible band called Low Shoulder. Okay, I'm lying, they're not kind-of-terrible. I liked them. I'm that kind of girl.
So anyway, everything goes to hell when Jennifer decides that she wants to eat Needy's boyfriend Chip. I'm not sure why either of them are with Chip. He flexes in his underwear in a mirror to Panic! At The Disco. Neither girl has what he needs. (Which is a penis. In his anus. I'm just saying.)

Anyway, the following people should see this movie: people who like cheesy horror flicks. People who love/hate B-Flow. People who enjoy ridiculousness. Girls or boys who want to bang Megan Fox.

I'm gonna buy it on DVD when it comes out. - Julieann

Jennifer's Body has quite an awesome beginning. I'm a big fan of Amanda Seyfried and I was so excited to see her in a role different from anything I've ever seen her do before. I don't know how she finds all of these parts that are crazy-different from each other but she is amazing in all of them. If you're not a long time fan, get on it. She's been in Veronica Mars, Big Love, Mamma Mia and now this. There's a little something for everybody

I'm not sure I've ever seen a movie like this. Say what you want about Diablo Cody but her plots are original and her characters are funny. I wasn't bothered by the language either, so I'm also unsure what the criticism was about. I did see Juno and was a bit distracted by all the slang, which didn't seem to be a problem this time. Whether it was there or not, maybe we missed it, or maybe it just fit the tone of the movie. When people said ridiculous things, we laughed. Isn't that what you're supposed to do?

What was the tone anyway? Was it supposed to be comedy? Horror? Adventure? I have no clue but I had a good time. It's one of those movies that we tend to keep seeking out, the ones that are supposed to be scary or dramatic but end up hilarious. It's just a question of why you're at the movies. Do you like to have fun? Do you want to laugh? Do you think that a movie can be both disgusting and witty? Horrifying and hilarious? Jennifer's Body was. Maybe it helps to have someone beside you trading snarky comments of your own. You have to make your own good time!

The only thing I have to complain about is that this movie is horribly misrepresented and that most people who don't read blogs all day long haven't even heard of it. Look, you do not need to give one shit about Megan Fox. You do not need to find her attractive or smart or enjoyable in any way. It's probably better if you don't, because she is utterly disgusting in parts of this movie and it's kind of awesome. The trailer wants you to believe that this movie pits boy-eating monster girl Jennifer against bookish nerd Needy in a battle for Needy's boyfriend. not nearly the beginning of it. To me, it was Needy's story, hands down. The movie begins and ends with her. She has an amazing arc and if you've liked Seyfried in anything else, ever, you're probably going to love her in this too. - Lanie

Thursday, September 24, 2009

First Listen: The Used - "Blood on My Hands"

I'm not really that into The Used. I like some of their songs, but I don't think I could ever see them live, since singer Bert McCracken grosses me out pretty seriously. I feel like it would be like the time I saw From First To Last and Sonny Moore actually made me gag. Yes, I am for real. Unfortunately for this song, it sounds like Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls." Or not unfortunately, since that's from Back When Metallica Was Good. I'll headbang to it in the car sometime in the future. - Julieann

I'm surprised to say that I kind of enjoyed this. Despite owning two of their albums, I wouldn't call myself the hugest fan of The Used. There was crowd singing, there was screaming but there was still melody. All in all, it was kind of epic. I'm excited to hear the new album if the rest of it is like this. - Lanie

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First Listen: We The Kings - "Heaven Can Wait"

There's a lot more piano than you normally hear in a We The Kings song (with the exception of, I think, "This Is Our Town"), which I'm into. We The Kings are entirely my vapid pop-punk cotton candy of choice (which you know if you've read our review of All Time Low's Nothing Personal). Also, they seem like nice dudes and I am amused by their singer on Twitter. I like this song, and I'm actually kind of excited that they're currently recording a new album. - Julieann

I'm not a huge We The Kings fan. In fact, this may be the first time I've listened to them while being aware who was playing. I wasn't too impressed. It is pretty generic as far as pop-punk goes. Anyone could be singing this. The only thing that caught my attention was that the chorus kind of reminded me of Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You." I'd rather be listening to that. - Lanie

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak

I picked up this book for four bucks at Books A Million a few months ago, thinking that it was more like something in the vein of Patricia McCormick's Cut, which I read in Spring 2008 for a young adult lit class I was taking in school.

I was surprised to find out that it wasn't like that at all.

It's the story of a girl named Melinda who's a social pariah for calling the cops to a end-of-summer party. Her friends hate her - people she doesn't know hate her. She sinks into a depression that robs her of her ability to speak - hence the title of the book. Every time she's pressured to say something, she finds her throat closing up, and she stays silent. Her physical inability to talk to people mirrors her inability to talk about what happened to her at that end-of summer party, an incident that is danced around before she finally finds the ability to tell someone.

I was surprised how good the book was. It's got a very strange set-up. There aren't real chapters, a lot of the dialogue is presented as

Mom: saying something

with Melinda's silences as blank spaces on the page. The book is divided into sections by the school year, each quarter ending with a rundown of Melinda's grades as she skips school and doesn't turn in homework.

It's a very fast read, and kind of heart wrenching if you've ever been through depression. Melinda just wants everything to go away, just wants to run away and hide, and no one will allow her to do that.

In the end, though, maybe things aren't perfect, but Melinda regains the ability to talk about what happened to her and to deal with the past that is haunting her.

I knocked this book out in a couple of hours, so if you've got some time, give it a go. It's worth it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saosin - "In Search of Solid Ground"

I like that the second this CD starts, you know that it’s Saosin. I like that they have a recognizable sound – I don’t like it when you hear something and you’re like, wtf is this? Then you realize that it’s a band that you really like… except it doesn’t sound like them at all.

Anyway, one thing I have to say about Saosin is that I know a lot of people who think they’re great dudes. I don’t know, because the time I saw them I didn’t stick around to meet any of them. Whatevs. Armor For Sleep was their opener, my bad. But they do put on a pretty enjoyable show, I’m not gonna lie.

I also appreciate that they’re fronted by Cove Reber now instead of Anthony Green (of Circa Survive) because I definitely prefer Reber’s voice to Green’s.

One thing that I don’t like about this CD is that sometimes the lyrics don’t really make that much sense. That’s the only real nitpick that I have with this CD. Other than the really long ending at the end of the track “On My Own,” that is. I hate that, and it’s one thing that I really wish wasn’t on the CD.

Saosin does a really killer ballad-type song. What got me into them was hearing “You’re Not Alone” from their first CD when I’d listen to Sirius Radio (Alt Nation FTW!) at work on Saturdays. So naturally, I gravitate toward tracks like “The Alarming Sound of a Still Small Voice” and “Fireflies (Light Messengers)” on this album. Actually, “Fireflies (Light Messengers)” is my favorite track on the disc, hands down. I love this vibe from Saosin.

I wish I’d been able to do a track-by-track first listen of this, and to give a better feel, but I bought it pretty late at night (at Target, which was almost a tragedy because we couldn’t FIND the damn thing and I was getting frustrated), ripped it to my computer, then took it in my car to listen to on the way to/from work the next morning.

On the whole, I can see how a lot of people wouldn’t like it, because there’s not much of a progression from the first CD, other than there’s more solidity to the sound. They haven’t changed a lot, and I’m pretty sure that I’m fine with that. I’m getting what I go to Saosin for.

It’s a good thing.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Curtis Sittenfeld: American Wife


American Wife is one hell of a book. First of all, it's a commitment. It's almost 600 pages. Considering that it's decent quality writing, that's quite a substantial chunk of text. The book is split up into four sections, which are then split up into main story lines and current events interspersed with smaller vignettes relating to the matter at hand. If you're familiar with Sittenfeld's other work; Prep and The Man of My Dreams, it seems to be her standard format.

The protagonist in American Wife, Alice Blackwell, is loosely based on Laura Bush, but is also not unlike the main characters in her previous novels. I've read both of her previous books this year, so it's impossible for me to take this one completely at face value. All that considered, I thought this was a great book, much better than her last two. Prep was a bit of a struggle to get through, but her style was a bit unlike anything else I'd ever read. Once I knew what I was getting into, I liked each book after that even more. American Wife could be taken alone, I'm sure, but for full enjoyment, I'd recommend reading the other two first.

What was great about American Wife was that I didn't expect to buy into the story the way I did. How does one find oneself married to a man like George W. Bush and still remain a sympathetic character?

The book begins with that question in a way. Alice is in bed with her husband in the White House, wondering how her life has become what it is. The book travels into the past where a traumatic incident changes Alice's life and completely shapes what it will become. Even knowing the inevitable, I found it impossible not to wonder how it would all play out. It was all more interesting that I expected.

I'm not doing this book justice. It's hard to cover that much story without revealing anything that would ruin Alice revealing it for you. It's worth it to leave that up to her.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Laurell K Hamilton: Skin Trade (Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series)

So let's talk about Laurell K. Hamilton!

Skin Trade is the latest novel in her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, aka the Power of the Month Club, aka the Biggest Mary Sue Known To Man. And... it's good? Like... seriously.

It's a thick damn book. I bought it in hardcover, because all of my ABVH books since I bought my first way back when I was a senior in high school (which was, you know, only like seven years ago) have been hardcover. I have to have them right when they come out. It's a thing. It's like I hate myself.

Now, what you need to know is that when the series started, they were supernatural murder mysteries, and the heroine, Anita Blake, was only an animator (as in, she raises the dead for a living). She wasn't a necromancer, vampire's human servant, werewolf pack's queen, wereleopard pack's queen, succubus, or anything else. And this shit was good. Then she started having sex, became a succubus, and the books were mostly really terribly written erotica. (No, seriously. Anne Rice's erotica is better. And I hate Anne Rice.)

This happened around book ten, Narcissus in Chains. And then it went on terribly for about five books (including a book about My Most Disliked Character, Micah, that I didn't even bother reading), before finally going back to being more like a murder mystery in The Harlequin. (And then backsliding a little with a pity sex opener in Blood Noir that sent me howling into class the next morning to bitch to my one and only ABVH reading friend.)

This all has a point, I promise.

And that point is that there was absolutely zero sex in Skin Trade until chapter 60. Yeah dude. And it was GREAT because Anita was in Las Vegas, solving crime away from the five billion dudes she's banging with Edward (everyone's favorite sociopath!), Olaf (everyone's favorite sociopathic serial killer), and Bernardo (meh).

It is with great pride that I can say this is the best cotton candy I have read from Hamilton in several years. I love her stuff, I honestly do, but J. Christ, it has been crap for a good long while. And Skin Trade was actually, you know, pretty awesome. I should've known, because the last couple of Merry Gentry (Hamilton's other series) books I've read have been really good, as well.

If you're a fan of Hamilton, you've probably already read Skin Trade. If you're not a fan of Hamilton, you probably need to start at the beginning of the series and slog through like all the rest of us have. If you're a former fan of Hamilton, then you might want to pick the series up again, because it's... actually kind of good again. (Although I really, really recommend picking up The Harlequin first, or you're going to be confused as hell. I mean, I've read The Harlequin, and I was, because it was long enough ago that I couldn't remember what happened.)

So, Ms. Hamilton:
I can't take back all those not-so-nice things I wrote about Anita-as-a-Mary-Sue in my essay last fall (on the bright side - I still hate Stephenie Meyer more and could never consume her as my personal printed cotton candy like I can you), but I'm glad you've finally taken a turn for the better.

My favorite thing about this book was Olaf. Can we see him and Edward more? Thanks. :)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

First Listen: Brand New - "Daisy"

Track One: Vices
This album did not get off to a good start for me. Any time the album opener makes you go "what the fuck?" and say something along the lines of "this band has never made me want to kill myself before but I think I'll make an exception today" is not a good sign. In fact, I kind of feel like it set the tone for how I felt about most of the rest of the album. This song went from the terrible choir solo to unrepentant screaming, and the guitar riff sounded like he lifted it straight from Taking Back Sunday's "Bike Scene," which he very well may have done, because that's how we roll in the Long Island scene. I'm not digging the full-on hardcore feel of this song. Too much screaming, can't understand the lyrics. - Julieann

I want to ditto the above. I'm not sure how you review what you completely don't understand. I don't think this would get better with time. - Lanie

Track Two: Bed
I spent most of this track actually watching my cat be very confused by the steam coming from a pot on the stove. Like, seriously. But at least this was the Brand New we all know and love. Except for they're apparently taking their lyrical cues from The Spill Canvas, because these lyrics are some weird shit. This song sounds pretty much like the latter half of The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, which is where the stuff I skip lives. - Julieann

This track is vastly better than the one before it, not that it would take much. - Lanie

lanie: I don't hate this. I mean, as far as repetition goes, this is how you do it. We've listened to a lot of bands do it worse lately, I feel like.
julieann: brand new are really good at the repetition thing. see example: limousine
lanie: mmm yes
lanie: I wish the drums were a little heavier
lanie: It's the kind of thing I could lose my shit to, live.
julieann: i feel like they're putting enough words into it to make the repetition worthwhile. it's not like at the end of the young veins' "change" where they're just yelling a word over and over.
julieann: yeah, i could dig this live. in fact, that track that's more hardcore would probably be good live, but only by virtue of getting to watch jesse lacey be crazy

Track Three: At The Bottom
This is the lead single for this album, so I've already heard it a couple of times and it's had a little bit of time to grow on me. And admittedly, it has done so, but it wasn't an off-the-bat "holy shit I love this song," like I felt about (still feel about!) "Sowing Season (Yeah)" from The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. Alternative Press's review of Daisy mentions that this song is like "Jesus Christ"'s (from TDAG) evil twin. They're not wrong. - Julieann

There is something about Jesse Lacey's voice or tone in this song that's vaguely reminiscent of Michael Stipe. It was seriously weird but that didn't make for a bad song, altogether. Other than that, it's typical Brand New. - Lanie

Track Four: Gasoline
I hated everything about this track right from the start. Like, seriously, there was nothing good about the strangely off-beat percussion, because the bass was not landing at the same time as the kick, and so it was just murdering my soul. Once there was some guitar to cover that up, it got a little better. Then there were 45 seconds of what kind of sounded like EVP. It sucked. - Julieann

There is so much religious imagery in all of these lyrics, I don't even know what to do with it. - Lanie

Track Five: You Stole
I kind of like this song in the way where I appreciate Brand New for being as boring as they are sometimes. But I listened to this song on my headphones after the initial listen for this review, and I actually like it less now. This was actually my favorite part of doing the review, because at some point it devolved into Lanie serenading me with Glassjaw, and then the both of us making crass jokes about Brand New and Taking Back Sunday. Whatever, we make our own fun, because clearly Brand New are not going to make it for us. - Julieann

The title is kind of apropos, considering that the chord progression was really close to that of Ape Dos Mil by Glassjaw. I would rather be listening to that than Brand New but I'll come back to that later. - Lanie

Track Six: Be Gone

The first thing I said about this track was literally "OH MY GOD THEY'RE BON JOVI." Lawlz. I think that's all I really have to say about that. This track was absolute shit. I honestly reached a point where I probably would bottle Jesse Lacey if I was ever subjected to this bullshit in person. Sing or get out of the studio, asshole, this shit isn't cute. - Julieann

You know how when you're little and you realize that speaking into a fan will produce a mechanical wah-wah sound to everything that you say? Would you like to hear this sound musically rendered by Brand New? Well do I have the track for you! - Lanie

Track Seven: Sink
This track starts out with screaming! YAY! Except not, and the startle I received from this nearly made me wet myself. I hate you right now, Jesse Lacey. I can't understand a single lyric in this song, and that is the reason I do not like hardcore. I also realized at this point that I'd unchecked (in iTunes) all but two songs on this album so far. Not a good sign. - Julieann

This is honestly where I gave up on my First Listen experience for this album. It was so chaotic, I wondered if I was going deaf or had suddenly turned 90 years old or something. It was all just a bunch of noise, children. I am over here, still shaking my cane, just in case you were curious. - Lanie

Track Eight: Bought A Bride
Before we even started reviewing this song, we had to take a moment to make some jokes at the Dupree sisters' expense. That usually happens anytime women are mentioned in conjunction with Brand New/Taking Back Sunday/Say Anything/New Found Glory. You see where this is going, I'm sure. Crass jokes aside, I could actually see rocking out to this song in a live way. I actualfax like this track. Genuinely! (Shocking, I know, considering my feelings toward the rest of the album.) However, I won't be rocking out to it live, at least on this next tour, because they're playing Sonar, AKA the Worst Venue In Baltimore*. - Julieann
* I don't know that it's actually the worst venue in Baltimore. It is, however, the worst venue I've been to anywhere ever, and that encompasses a lot of venues and some pretty bad experiences.

lanie: I can see enjoying several of these songs later, probably more live than any other way but on first listen, it's so...cacophonous.
julieann: i feel like brand new has always been a little cacophonous, but this is just... taking it to a level where it becomes less enjoyable.
julieann: but i definitely like this track best of what we've heard so far.
julieann: and i will admit that at the bottom did grow on me, so maybe i do just need to give the rest of this time. but i don't want to, is the problem
lanie: which makes me feel really old to say but at first, it's all just noise until you work for the melody. why should I have to work for it? why's there so much craziness, guys? we've heard feedback before, we've heard loud guitars before. it's not new and it's not exciting.
julieann: it's like going to a show at sonar, and we all know that's no fun.
julieann: i'm pretty seriously into pop punk, man. i'm not working to make your music good. you're supposed to do that for me.

Track Nine: Daisy
Woo, hymnal references! I know I needed to be taken back to my childhood days in the country Baptist church in which I was raised/most of my dead family has had their funerals. Awesomesauce. I am unimpressed, Jesse Lacey. I got really into this, and all of a sudden there were bird noises. I hate bird noises. And then there were little kids singing! It was like a sudden mashup of HORRIBLE THINGS. They do, however, do the one thing that I really enjoy from Brand New: plopping the melody over some really killer percussion. I like this song. Well, most of it. But I feel like I like it in the way where I like 3OH!3's "Don't Trust Me," where it'd be a great song if only it didn't have that stupid Hellen Keller part. - Julieann

Track Ten: In A Jar
I hate it. I hate the lyrics. Lanie mentions she feels like we're in the 90s, and I realize that listening to this song is a little bit like listening to Live's "Lightning Crashes," where it'd be a good song if only it made sense. Only less pleasant and with more screaming - Julieann

Track Eleven: Noro
The beginning of this track reminds me of Final Fantasy. Which is cool, I guess, because I really dig Final Fantasy. One thing I hate about Jesse Lacey is that sometimes he does this thing where he sounds like he's about to burst into tears. And man, I'm pretty emo, but you need to find your balls, Mr. Lacey. I enjoyed the percussion in this track, though. But just when I thought it was over and there'd just be an outro of static... the woman from the first track started to sing again. I howled with pain as she went sharp. - Julieann

Four keepers out of 11 (and only 3 after I gave "You Stole" another listen). Poor showing, Brand New. Considering how much I loved The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, this is disappointing indeed. - Julieann

Brand New is not an easy band to love, but they grow on you, not unlike mildew in your shower. And you hate cleaning. You want to keep them in your arsenal, you know? Bands you loved that refuse to pump out pop-punk song one after another. You admire them for that. What you have to grapple with is that evolution. Just like Lacey ENDLESSLY grapples with the concepts of marriage and religion, maybe you're dealing with different things. Maybe you don't want to hear children mid-song (Daisy) or endless distortion (see...most of the above). The thing is, they've been growing all along, and you were stuck with whatever they put out last. Live, it's so much less disturbing. I'd even venture to say that they're a great live band. Something gets lost under so many musical layers and the production. Lyrically, I'm not sure. It was hard to make out a lot of the lyrics because there was so much else going on. This album might be a grower but on first listen, it's just overwhelming...and not in a good way. - Lanie

julieann: and now we listen to sic transit gloria because it's the next song in the listing and... have a moment of silence for how great brand new used to be?

Monday, August 31, 2009

ed. Rich Balling, "Revolution on Canvas, Volume 1: Poetry from the Indie Music Scene"

No, this is seriously a book. Yes, it opens with some prose by William Beckett of The Academy Is..., and yes, you can imagine about how well this is going to go after that.

Well, sort of.

I don't know how long Lanie has owned this book, but I definitely chose to read it, thinking I could strap on my lollerskates and get a good laugh out of "what the hell, someone let Matt Rubano write something and then published it?"

(Sidenote: Anyone who knows me knows that at this time in my life, I am particularly obsessed with Taking Back Sunday. In which case you should also know that I get a lot of laughs out of making fun of Matt Rubano and how sexy he thinks he is. Ahh, Rubano. You are not even making the list of sexiness being in the same band with Matt Fazzi and Adam Lazzara, I hope you know. Just play bass, k? Just bass. But I digress.)

So I read the damn thing, even though it opens with William Beckett and I am an avid giggler at his prose, since I follow on the internet and I really just want to edit him, oh God.

Full Disclosure: I do not know half the bands in this book. Well, that's not entirely true. I know the names from being half-hipster, half-scenester, and from knowing all the lyrics to Gym Class Heroes's "Taxi Driver." I spend half my time gleefully horrified by Gabe Saporta from Cobra Starship, and Midtown are too depressing for my soul. My biggest fantasy in life is to see Something Corporate in concert. (Can you hear me, Josh Partington and Andrew McMahon? GET ON THIS.) So...

I was pleasantly surprised. I had previously been told that most of the pieces were actually lyrics, but most of the pieces being by gents I don't listen to effectively rendered that piece of information useless. (Most of the names I did recognize were prose, rather than poetry - Beckett, Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack, Rubano. If Partington's were lyrics, I couldn't tell, because I don't actively listen to Firescape. I don't know enough Midtown to suss out Saporta. Tim McIlrath of Rise Against could've been lyrics, but not from any RA song I knew. And so on.)

It's not going to take you a lot of time to read this book. It might increase your indie cred if you read it. (And if you think so, allow me to laugh at you and say "ha ha, you're a giant loser worrying about your indie cred!")

I liked it enough to look up volume 2 on Amazon and buy it. Of course, it probably didn't hurt Volume 2's case that it's got Armor For Sleep listed for contribution.

But again, I digress.

It's a nifty book. Some of the things in it are genuinely interesting. Some of the things in it are pretentious crap, but that's how the scene rolls. Some of the things in it are "Death of a Male Hooker," and I don't even know sometimes.

Try it. You might like it. I was surprised that I did.

Lavinia Greenlaw - The Importance of Music to Girls

This was an impulse purchase that I made when Lanie and I were at an Urban Outfitters in Baltimore a few weeks back, the weekend before my birthday, I think. I picked it up because I liked the title, and because I liked what the back presented to me.

The book is Greenlaw's memoir, but it's so much more than that, as well, to someone who can define their life by music trends. Greenlaw grows from disco to being a hippie, to being a punk, and by way of these things discovers who she is as a person.

The book is easy to relate to, even though Greenlaw grew up in an entirely different era than I did. She has disco vinyl that she doesn't want to part with but is embarrassed to own. I have mp3s I try not to let get scrobbled to because they're a guilty pleasure.

(I'm not, however, fighting it quite as hard as Greenlaw. But then again, I'm much older than she was at this time - the book spans from when she is a child to seventeen or eighteen, then skips ahead to a quite poigniant chapter about the birth of her first child, the first boy she loved, and music.)

As I said, I can relate to this book. Music defines my world, much as it did Greenlaw's as she was growing up. I think anyone who is defined by music can enjoy the book, though it might be harder for a boy to understand than a girl. A lot of the book is about trying to fit in and find your place as a girl, changing yourself to be things you aren't because there's something or someone you want, or want to like you.

Impulse book buying can be hit or miss, but I feel like this one was definitely a hit, at least for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Schism! at the Disco

I feel like I need to admit up front that I do not possess the ability to be anything but entirely, horribly biased about anything involving Panic! At The Disco or The Young Veins. I am firmly Team Exclamation Point, so take anything I say with a grain of salt.

That said, this was my first time listening to the track "Change" by The Young Veins. I had previously tried to listen to it a couple of times, but ended up turning it off. While it is still lurking on my computer, I don't plan on giving it much more listening, or much more thought. Harsh? Maybe.

I don't enjoy Ryan Ross's voice in large doses. When I initially got into the band, I was all for what he did as a vocalist - covering the lyrics that were overlaid with others, where Brendon Urie didn't have the physical ability to sing both parts. I was not impressed with his singing on Panic At The Disco's Pretty. Odd. In fact, I find that I am not fully enchanted by that sound, or the fact that it makes me feel like I'm trapped in the van with my dad and he's forcing me to listen to the oldies station. I just don't enjoy the sixties throwback sound.

I think what bothers me the most about this track is Ryan's singing. I actually enjoyed the guitar in some parts, despite my dislike for the general sound. Ryan Ross's voice is just so devoid of any kind of personality. I feel like his singing voice is just as boring and monotone as his speaking voice. This is a kid that has zero charisma with which to work the frontman angle. But by God! He's going to try!

Also, yelling "change" over and over at the end? GTFO with that, it's not even cute.

I'm not saying that Panic! At The Disco's "New Perspective" is a work of art or anything like that by any means. But I am going to say that I enjoy Brendon Urie's voice vastly more than I ever will Ryan Ross's. He's what brought me to the band, and he's what's keeping me with them. Part of it is that I enjoy being able to sing along with songs. I can't imagine ever singing along with "Change," because being monotone isn't fun. It's kind of why you listen to and enjoy Oasis, but you don't really sing along. "New Perspective," however, I'll gladly sing along with. I'll probably even shout the lyric "can we fast forward til you go down on me" or whatever it is. It makes me giggle, and it's great. I'm trashy, what can I say?

Another difference I'd like to point out is that I could only understand about every other word Ryan Ross was singing, anyway. I have no idea what "Change" is about, because I couldn't understand most of the words. And I grew up listening to Hanson, and I do love Fall Out Boy, so I am well-trained in understanding slurs of speech and mushmouth. But I appreciate Brendon's ability to, you know, enunciate so that I can understand him. YAY!

A compliment I can give: Ryan's voice has improved from what it was when they started. I'll give him that much. It's just, there wasn't a lot of room for improvement, because he's just not that good. Brendon, too, has improved. He's gotten smoother, and he sounds less like Patrick Stump and more like his own person. Which is cool.

In conclusion, I have no use for bands who are stuck in the sixties. I'm not down with that. If you wanna do a throwback, give me at least some hair metal and glam rock. At least Brendon Urie's obliging my horrible taste by covering Journey on the Blink-182 tour.

Although I'm sure Ryan Ross couldn't give a rat's ass for anything I say. He'll just snort some more coke and go on about his day like he thinks he's awesome. And that's cool, too.

- Julie

Coming from a more emotionally unattached place than Julie up there, I have significantly less to say about the Schism! at the Disco.

My first listen to The Young Veins' single "Change" didn't impress me much at all. I was tired of The Beatles' references by the time I finished my first listen of Pretty. Odd. and for a song called "Change," I found it sort of ironic that Ross hadn' all. Fine, he found a niche. He latched on. All well and good for him. However, he may have been one of the last people on the planet to go "OMG The Beatles are awesome!" If Walker was any bit wiser, he didn't bother reigning his partner in crime in at all. There's a difference between inspiration, looking up to a band and completely ganking their style...and then adding an organ. What? Churchy Beatles? What are they going for here? I cannot tell at all. I'm interested to see where they go with this but in a completely rubbernecking kind of way, not in a way where I'm actually excited to hear the music. It's not violently bad, which is more than you can say for a lot of other bands out there, cloning their influences.

The remaining members of Panic! seemed to have failed to grow as well. I'm going to say this is not a bad thing, since it looks like they've turned themselves around to the weird, vaudevillian, pop-hook-laden sound that made them distinctive in the first place. Panic! were weird. They were strange and charming and radio friendly but not annoyingly so. There is nothing wrong in the world with a good pop song and a few dirty references thrown in because 90% of the world is secretly 12 inside and we enjoy a good giggle. "New Perspective" is a fun tune with a great pop sound. That's all I really have to say. It's just that simple.

- Lanie

Monday, August 17, 2009


This movie was everything I didn't know I wanted it to be.

I have been excited about this movie for months. I was convinced that the ribbon on her neck was alluding to a folk legend, where a woman wears a ribbon around her neck her whole life, then either a prankster unties it or she allows her husband to remove it at the end of her life and her head falls off. It's totally ridiculous and totally great. This movie is not about that at all. I couldn't really see how you could get a whole movie out of such a silly legend but movies have been made about more ridiculous things and I was determined to hold out hope.

I was disappointed about 20 minutes in when I saw that she also wore ribbons around her wrists. My theory was totally busted and I came up with a new one, which ended up being right and this is why you go see movies with friends; so you can whisper your theories in their ear and totally ruin the ending. Also, you can talk smack about what everyone's wearing. At least, this is what we do in movies, I don't know about the rest of you people.

Spoilers are lame so I'm trying to figure out what else to say about this movie without either totally recapping it because I was so juiced about it (I promise never to say that again) or giving away vital pieces. I think it's safe to say that she is just not. right. Given that one of the taglines for Orphan was "there's something's wrong with Esther" other than her wardrobe, obviously...I don't feel like I'm giving anything away.

I will say that I am really enjoying this whole horror movie-as-comedy thing that seems to be becoming more and more popular. I'd place this one in the "so fucked up it's funny" category, as opposed to the "so lame it's funny" or "parody comedy" categories. It's not Scary Movie: Creepy Kid Style (please, no one make that movie) but there are genuine comedic moments, alternating with ones that are so screwed up and those that keep you on the edge of your seat. It blended true gross-out moments where I honestly had to look away, with profanity (which I love!), with just a little dash of mind-fuck.

If you like to have a good time, go see Orphan. If you consider yourself a horror movie connoisseur and are tired of the conventional horror flicks, you should probably sit this one out. It's not going to change your world, but I had a damn good time anyway.

- Lanie

Ignore what Lanie said about sitting this one out if you're a horror movie connoisseur. I am, and I loved this. Sure, it wasn't strictly my type of horror flick (I'm more of a Kruger, blood-guts-and-gore girl myself, but hey), but it was good.

Full disclosure: I knew the plot twist when we went into it. A couple of weeks ago, I read the synopsis on, I think, Jezebel. So it was with a lot of trepidation that I went into the movie, thinking that it was going to be entirely ridiculous. Like Lanie, without knowing about Esther's wrist-ribbons, I had thought of a "folk tale" -- more like a scary story -- that I'd read in the past. (I actually looked this up, and it's from the The Scariest Stories You've Ever Heard series, and involves a family meeting a father wearing a necktie and a daughter wearing a ribbon... then later the mother who admits she accidentally ran them over with her car and severed both their heads...)

Now, I enjoy Dark Castle's flicks. My personal favorite is Ghost Ship, and no, I don't say that just because I like to make heart eyes at Karl Urban (although it doesn't hurt...). In fact, we'd watched Thirteen Ghosts the night before (it was my birthday, I got to pick the movie - Lanie was very confused, but I think it was because she wasn't really paying attention). So when I saw the Dark Castle logo come up, I was like, ooh, they do good stuff.

I also don't go into a horror movie expecting to be scared. I feel like, the worse the movie, the cheesier it is, the more I'm going to enjoy it. (I love the A Nightmare On Elm Street series, for Christ's sake!)

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Yes, it was batshit crazy. Yes, the twist was fucking ridiculous, but oh. my. God, they pulled it off with flying colors. We were in a full theatre, which in the past would have been a dismay, because I always associate full theatres with people who won't stop talking and little kids kicking the back of my chair, but this one involved people cheering, yelling, and clapping, and it was excellent.

If you enjoy a good, entirely implausible, ridiculous horror flick, I recommend it. It's not in the vein of so-bad-it's-good, but it's actually good. You should go see it.

- Julie

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Cab @ 9:30 Club, Washington, DC 7/28/09

Support: Eye Alaska, The Summer Set, Rocket to the Moon, My Favorite Highway

First of all, let me just say: WHEW. Four opening bands is not my cup of tea, I'd just like to add that disclaimer now. That, coupled with my annoyance at an episode of The Real World: DC being filmed sometimes just feet from our heads as we watched the show, cast a negative light over the whole concert for me. You can take my complaints with a grain of salt.

First off, Eye Alaska took the stage. Should we forget the name or misunderstand it, the singer helpfully pointed to his eye each and every sing time he said the name of his band during their all-too-long set. Normally, I like to pretend that the outside world doesn't exist while I'm watching a concert. For better or for worse, I want to experience the glory or the suck. This time, I couldn't do it. About five minutes in, I whipped out my phone and wrote (nearly all of) the following: "Greenwheel + Beastie Boy wannabe band that doesn't have enough practice being on the stage. The singer is back and forth enough on the stage to make you think you came to watch ping pong instead of to rock out. He came onstage eating an apple and wearing a backpack. Fitting. He should, perhaps, go back to school. This may be highly offensive to Greenwheel, who I loved and are/were much more talented than this bunch, but there was something about the phrasing of Eye Alaska's songs that reminded me of them. It's not my style and maybe they do have some potential but they didn't make me interested enough to follow them and find out.

The Summer Set had a girl drummer. We found this totally and completely endearing (and not in a condescending way, please don't think that). On a night full of dudes everywhere, it was just a nice change. They had a fun, upbeat sound. I'll keep an ear out for more of their stuff. Because I was imagining a bunch of Rock Band drumming fantasies coming true as the drummer head banged her way through their set, I'm not sure I paid attention to too much else. Two weeks later and this is the only thing that stands out in my memory.

What can I say about Rocket to the Moon except that they seemed to take themselves very seriously? Oh, nothing. I did note that their sound reminded me of the pseudo-rap phrasing of Third Eye Blind but I would not remember this band at all if you asked me about them.

My Favorite Highway is a local band I'd never heard before and if this concert was anything to judge by, I may have been the only one. Out of Fairfax, Virginia, they stepped out on stage, greeted the Virginians, then remembered that they were in DC and threw shout-outs to DC and Maryland as well. They were decent. That's not meant as an insult. They were solid, not too much rock or too much pop...great blend of both. They seemed like a less boring Lifehouse but maybe Lifehouse is less coma-inducing live. I wouldn't know. Their debut album came out this past May and I'm interested to see where they go from here. I'll definitely be checking them out. Half the crowd from the floor left when they finished their set, though most seemed to come back by the next time the lights dimmed.

Finally, we got to The Cab. If you enjoy them, you'd enjoy the show. They had great energy and I do enjoy the vocal acrobatics of Alex DeLeon. This performance would have been perfect pop music joyfulness if not for the interruption of one of the Real World roommates halfway through their set. Introduced as Alex's friend (he came out to meet the cast members before anyone took the stage that evening, in the balcony by the lead-act dressing/green room, a small bit of chaos and autographs ensued), she took the stage, sang an annoying, really repetitive song about a guy. We waited through four acts to have the short headlining set interrupted by some Real World chick? That killed the mood for me. I also have to mention the sound troubles, which I have to say are not that uncommon at 9:30 Club. Whenever there is jewelry, a lot of acts or a lot of microphones involved, there tends to be a lot of high-pitched interference, more and more as the night goes on. This night was typical for that. Maybe The Cab are too young or too nice to say anything (I have witnessed a Butch Walker stop-the-show diva move to fix the sound before) but I wish they had. Nothing is a mood killer like mic feedback during your zestiest pop hit. Yes, I think I just made up a word.

To sum up: The Real World ruins everything

- Lanie

I just want to start this by saying that my experience with the Cab prior to this show is seeing them play a Queen cover set at Hoodwink and a teeny set from way-far-back at The Bamboozle this past May. Prior to that, I had a hard time even listening to them because of the Justin Timberlake/JC Chasez mashup sound of Singer's (Alex Deleon) voice.

Secondly, I'd like to state that I took a face full of spotlight thanks to the Real World's cameras. Fuck you very much, Real World D.C.

Okay, so, I hoofed it over from the metro after work, and got in the line, which we never thought we were going to get in. We proceeded up to the balcony and I proceeded to get a drink. I don't know if it's a testament to how much I didn't enjoy Eye Alaska (where DID that apple go, anyway?) that I was actually willing to go and get a second drink mid-set, but I sure did. They were easily the worst band of the night. And the kid's backpack drove me fucking crazy. Seriously. Get some stage presence and ditch your backpack, doofus. The best part was the drummer for The Cab coming out and playing with them, and me getting to watch two drummers move in unison. Now that was fun. Woo.

The Summer Set and their cute girl drummer were the second best opener of the night, after My Favorite Highway (who I'll talk about shortly). They were the kind of nondescript pop that I enjoy in the background of my metro ride when I can manage to listen to something besides Taking Back Sunday oh, ever. (FML.) I didn't hate them and my friend Crystal (via Twitter) suggested that we go meet them after the show, being as they were stand up folks when she met them. Lanie and I did not do this, because we're old ladies and it was time to go home and go to bed after the show.

I knew exactly one Rocket To The Moon song when I went into this show. I have their little "Greetings from..." postcard because it sneaked into one of my packages from Fueled by Ramen at some point in my life. (I think it was when I got Forgive Durden's Razia's Shadow, but search me, if anyone cares.) Anyway, I know one song because "Dakota" was on the CFOB Mixtape and... they played it, like, two songs into their set. So after that I kind of got bored because I seriously only have room for one shitty pop-punk band in my life, and that is We The Kings, so step, motherfuckers!

I enjoyed My Favorite Highway in the way where they look/sound like Hanson from really far away without actually having the embarrassment of being Hanson. Also I've been listening to them since that show and I quite like them. Their singer was the first kid to go on that stage that had any kind of stage presence at all, except for Alex Deleon coming out to sing with I think A Rocket To The Moon. I can't remember, I'm old and I've had a lot of drinks since then. (It was my birthday weekend!)

So, I need to get this off my chest. I think Alex Deleon is adorable and I want to fold him up and keep him in my pocket. I follow him on Twitter, we squee at him on pretty much a daily basis in a motherly type of manner. (Old, did I mention I'm old?) Anyway, I tried to mooch cake from him while we were there and got ignored, presumably because he has approximately 5 million people on his Twitter, but whatever I made the mistake of not offering to buy him a drink in exchange. (Not that I am pro-contributing-to-the-delinquency-of-minors, or anything.)

Anyway, they were enjoyable. I enjoyed them. There were feedback problems but it was so much better than the show we saw at Sonar that now I just think "well, at least it was better than Sonar" and leave it at that. Uh. Oh, he said he'd play two more songs if we broke it down during "Disturbia" but apparently we weren't into it enough for him so we only got one more song, 'cause Singer's a liar.

And dude. Dude. Fuck the Real World. Why the hell is that girl getting in on this shit? I can almost guarantee that she didn't know Singer before that night but she was trying to make nice.

RW hasn't been good since the Hawaii season anyway, MTV, just give it up.

- Julie

Friday, August 14, 2009

Head Automatica @ The Black Cat, Washington D.C. 7/24/09

So, this was my first time seeing Head Automatica, and their opener, Cubic Zirconia (or Zerconia, I am not sure). I started the evening by getting REALLY DRUNK at the bar downstairs at the Black Cat, but was unfortunately too sober to handle Head Automatica and Daryl Palumbo's over-enthusiastic crotch grabbing. Not to mention we were WAY too close to the stage. As in, between sets I was sitting on the edge of it. Which meant that a) Daryl's crotch grabbing was less than a foot from my face and every time he leaned down I had to lean back and b) Lanie almost took the neck of the bass guitar to her head.

Cubic Zirconia are fronted by an entirely adorable black girl who was jiggling around barefoot and having to hoist herself back into her dress between every song and I wanted to take her home and make out with her. I'm shallow, what can I say. Todd Weinstock, formerly of GlassJaw, is in this band. He has ugly hair and makes weird faces. Their single is called "Fuck Work" and Lanie says it's really terrible on their Myspace but it was kind of a blast live. Or I was drunk. One or the other or maybe both.

Head Automatica were.... not what I was expecting. First of all, Daryl comes out in a plaid shirt and loafers and an old man cardigan and a fucking ... fucking... I don't know, some really bad hair, and he's drunker than I am. And he grabs his crotch. LIKE A LOT. An Unbelievable Amount. I've seen crotch grabbing before. I enjoy Cobra Starship. I was not ready for this. Not to mention I've seen his n00dz and I knew exactly what what he was grabbing looked like and oh God.

They played a bunch of new songs, which is a blower because nobody knows them because the album isn't out yet and it's kind of a fun suck at a show to just hear a bunch of songs you don't even know. They only played half of Young Hollywood, which was weird. Their encore was Solid Gold Telephone, and by that time I was too sober to handle what was going on anymore and I just wanted to get as far away from Daryl as the room could let me.

In conclusion: if I see Head Automatica again, it will be from farther away and I will spend the whole time drunk, not just part of it.

- Julie

Having previously experienced the crotch-grabbing of Head Automatica and Cubic Zirconia's music through their myspace (cubiczirconiamusic), I went in with a lot of expectations. Cubic Zirconia was going to be painful and Head Automatica was going to incite riots and, yes, a grabbed crotch would be in my face the whole night. However, I had no idea that Glassjaw's former guitarist, Todd Weinstock, was going to be playing with CZ. I can't say for sure whether he made their music more entertaining (he pulls a lot of faces when he plays) or they are victims of overproduction but I will say that they did not suck live at all. "Fuck Work" was a lot longer than the version posted online and it was a hell of a lot better. Tiombe Lockhart, the lead singer, was every bit as adorable as Julie said.

When Head Automatica took the stage, I was a bit floored. It was evident between their first and second albums that their sound had softened, taking on a more conventional pop sound, rather than the aggressive dance pop that they had when they started. Also, the last time I saw Head Automatica, the band was brand new and faithful Palumbo fans were still fresh off the breakup of Glassjaw and the release of HA's Decadence, ready to rock out, thrash around and mosh along with the music. I went home with bruised lungs that took a couple days to recover. At this show, there wasn't even a barracade. Things would be more subdued, that was obvious. If it wasn't clear to everyone, it would be by the time that the band took the stage. Daryl was dressed in something that a respectable grandfather might wear. I had no idea what we'd gotten ourselves into.

In concert, Head Automatica is a little more improvisational than you might think, given the sharp rhythm that most of their songs have. Daryl does not stick strictly to the melody or cadence of the songs which, depending on your desire to sing along, either offers a fresh sound or ruins a nice night of group karaoke. Between the style the music took on and the fact that they played so many new songs that meant the audience could only shut up and listen, it was obvious why this concert took on a much more subdued quality than previous shows may have had. The band was energetic, but not aggressive. I was sort of amazed that any amount of rocking-out could happen but "The Razor" was just as great as the first time I heard it, as was "Beating Heart Baby" which got a great crowd reaction. The rest of the audience (that I could see on the other end of the stage, while rocking-out plenty myself) seemed to share my enthusiasm.

The single-song encore of "Solid Gold Telephone" was...fucking weird, I can't lie. It was a strange mid-tempo choice for an encore but given the tone of the rest of the show, I can understand the choice. I left the show satisfied but not sweaty, extremely happy but not blown away. Maybe I had the wrong expectations, or maybe I just wish I knew more of the songs that they played so I could appreciate them properly.

- Lanie

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

As Lanie said, this movie is great if you're a fan of the movies and you've never read the books. If you have read the books, well...

Look, it's not the most faithful adaptation in the series, but it's a damn sight better than Order of the Phoenix was. It did not have the big "what the HELL?" moment like Order did, so that's A+.

As far as the movie itself is concerned, yes, it is somewhat of a romcom in the way past Harry Potter movies haven't been. However, in its defense, the source material is much more romcom than previous books, too.

Now, what do I have issues with, as a fan of the books? Well, the Kreacher/Dobby fistfight is missing. In fact, these two characters have been so downplayed by the movies (they've been left out of HBP entirely now) that I'm not sure how well Deathly Hallows is going to work out at this point, and since that is by far my favorite book in the series, I'm nervous. But I digress.

My main beef with the movie: Why is the death/funeral of [Spoiler] so damn rushed? What's up with that, you guys? It's like, romcomromcomromcom for two and a half hours, then CONFLICT! then DEAD! then END. There's not even the first battle of Hogwarts, which, um, hello! The ending of this was weak.

If you can ignore all of the flaws of being a book-turned-movie, it's good. I didn't need a second viewing to not hate it this time, so points for it!

- Julie

(PS: But what the fuck is up with Narcissa Malfoy's hair in this? BLONDE, SHE IS POINTY AND BLONDE. Why is her hair two-tone? This bugged me for that whole scene.)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Harry Potter and the whatever it is this time...

(A very un-scientific Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince review.)

If you like Harry Potter MOVIES, you will like this. It doesn't really stand out from the crowd except for a few incidences where their hormones seem to be catching up with them a bit, but Harry Potter movies are generally good so if you like them, you'll have a good time. That is, unless, you have ADD or a short attention span. This one is long.


Friday, July 17, 2009

First Listen: All Time Low - "Nothing Personal"

A First Listen review of All Time Low’s new album, Nothing Personal, released July 7, 2009.

Lanie: Having never listened to ATL makes me a blank slate yay
Julieann: Yeah, well, I hate Alex Gaskarth! Let me get that off my chest.

Track One: Weightless

All Time Low played this song on the Believers Never Die, Part Deux, tour when they were opening for Fall Out Boy. When I heard it initially, I thought it wasn’t a bad song. Unfortunately, since it was at the show and I’d never heard it before, I couldn’t understand the words. I don’t like it better now that I can. With this listen, I can say that I enjoyed the chuggy guitar bits that were between the choruses and the verses and at the end of the song, but I wish there was more of that part in the song. It kind of sounds like they stole it from Fall Out Boy, though. – JulieAnn

My first impression was that this band really admires Simple Plan which would be all well and good except that Simple Plan is some of the most generic pop-"punk" out there. I noticed a good drum bit in the middle and only focused on the drums from there out. I couldn't pick out anything noteworthy about this song in any way. – Lanie

After this point, there was a break of approximately ten minutes where we replayed the end of “Weightless” over and over while we tried to ascertain which Fall Out Boy song it was that it sounded exactly like. The conclusion? The end of “Weightless” is the exact same as the ending as Fall Out Boy’s “Thriller.” Only without Jay-Z. So it’s obviously a step down.

Track Two: Break Your Little Heart

Julieann: I wish I were listening to We The Kings.
Lanie: Sk8er Boi!

I liked the chorus of this song through until the point where he said the words “break your little heart” with no backing music. I’m not into the clichĂ© lyrics with no support. I think the problem with All Time Low is that they’re nothing special. Like, if I heard this on the radio, I’d probably stop and listen, but I wouldn’t otherwise seek it out. Also, I feel like it ended rather abruptly. – JulieAnn

Remember the first time you ever heard Sk8er Boi? This was exactly like that. That's all I've got. Except for the part where I was sad that I actually found myself reminiscing about Sk8er Boi. And then the part just now where I had to type it. – Lanie

Track Three: Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)

I have to admit that I listened to this song through the first chorus when the single first dropped. But I couldn’t manage to make myself go any farther than that. Parts of the track sounds like Butch Walker, and other parts of the track sound like Bowling For Soup. Also, for some reason, Gaskarth gets a country twang in some parts. I don’t understand why – They’re from Baltimore. Baltimore’s the ghetto, not the country. (Err, sorry if you dig Baltimore, but I was there a couple weeks ago – it was seedy. Deal.) Actually, I was kind of into the track until they said the actual title in the chorus. That was a turn off for me, but I feel like the track could actually grow on me if I gave it a few listens. – JulieAnn

This was the first track that actually sounded like something and showed a little character. It had a build to it. It started somewhere, it grew bigger, it had some levels to it. I'd give this track another couple of listens. I wouldn't be surprised if Butch Walker had a hand in writing this one, as well as producing the track. – Lanie

Track Four: Lost In Stereo

The beginning of this song sounded so much like “Everything is Alright” by Motion City Soundtrack that I actually started singing it. Does this band have their own sound at all? I think I could be more into them if more of their stuff sounded like this track, though. I think this one’s a keeper. – JulieAnn

Not knowing the Motion City Soundtrack song (or band) at all, I thought this was the first track that had an original sound to it. Like "oh, this is what this band's about" but having never heard any of their other stuff apart from the three previous songs, I guess I shouldn't say that. It had a cool sound to it. I'd definitely give this one another listen. – Lanie

Track Five: Stella

I yelled “STELLAAAAAAAAA” and then we had a debate over whether or not that was from A Streetcar Named Desire. (It is, and Brando rips his shirt. There’s a Simpsons version too, with Marge as Stella.) Then I heard the chorus, about how he only loves her when he’s drunk or something like that, and I thought, damn, is this supposed to be a shout-out to Streetcar? Anyway, the entire sentiment of this song is so typical for this band. They put off this sleazeball persona, including telling (mostly teenage) girls to take off their tops/show their genitals. They’re everything Saint Gerard Way hates in a band. – JulieAnn

This song made me roll my eyes. – Lanie

Track Six: Sick Little Games

The beginning line reminded me of the beginning line of Jack’s Mannequin’s “Kill The Messenger,” which is fine, because that’s what I wake up to every morning. I like the chorus, but the weird bridge thing needs to go. I also really hate the “wooOOOooOOO” thing in the background. – JulieAnn

Lanie: you know that's going to be the one stuck in your head though
Lanie: it's already repeating in mine

That's really all I have to say about that. No, that's not true. I just wish I had understood this song at all. When people whine about celebrity, it's hard to sympathize but there is a way to do it. You can satirize it, turn it up and laugh about it...there are just so many other ways to make the topic relevant to people who will never experience that. "Wah wah wah, I'm going to run away from my terrible problems of everyone loving me and having too much money! Don't look at me! But don't stop giving me your money..." – Lanie

Track Seven: Hello Brooklyn

I actually really liked this song. I mean, it’s not going to take over from the “get drunk let’s get fucked up” song [“California” by Hollywood Undead] as my party song, but it could hang around on my iPod and I’d probably listen if it came up in the shuffle. You know, in the afternoon, on a Friday. It kind of gives me the same vibe as The Ataris’ So Long Astoria (err, while being a much inferior song/album), where I want to drive around in late September and October with my windows down. I really didn’t like the city name-drop thing. I mean, I don’t mind a little city drop, but this was just way too much. Too much travel! Also he said “’Frisco”, so major point deduction on that one. – JulieAnn

Obvious city pandering! Other than that and the cheesy "party at the end of the world" line, there's not a lot to dislike about this track. It's just there in the way that a lot of the other tracks were just there, but it's not obnoxious about it. I could definitely stand listening to this another couple of times. – Lanie

Track Eight: Walls

Why do all of All Time Low’s songs sound like something else? I didn’t like the verse to this, and I liked the chorus right until I figured out that it kind of sounded like “Check Yes Juliet” by We The Kings, which I’ve already stated I’d rather be listening to. – JulieAnn

JulieAnn: i told you i'd rather be listening to... he just said "i was young and horny"
Lanie: NO WAY.
JulieAnn: he did. did you hear it?
JulieAnn: you know what the problem is? we're too old for bands that need to use the lyric "i was young and horny"

Everything I like about this band seems to come from outside influences, I swear. I did enjoy the chorus but the above exchange just made me laugh. – Lanie

Track Nine: Too Much

It was just Too Much to hope that this would be a Spice Girls cover. Unfortunately, it’s not the Spice Girls, and it sounds like they wish they were The Secret Handshake, who do this sort of electronic dance-pop, and do it much better. The song suffers from a serious lack of lyrics. I know it’s called “Too Much” but repeating “Too Much” too much makes me want to stab you in the face (too much). – JulieAnn

Lanie: this is sad that I wish I was listening to the spice girls.
JulieAnn: i wish i was listening to the secret handshake. ilu, luis dubuc

I spent half this song playing bits of the Spice Girl's song of the same name in little blurbs at Julie. Therefore, I feel like it would be unfair to try to pretend I have any kind of opinion about this song. – Lanie

Lanie: I'm so glad that's over so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much
JulieAnn: fuck you.
JulieAnn: i almost spit out my ice cream

Track Ten: Keep The Change, You Filthy Animal

Lanie: is the next song "angels with dirty faces?"
JulieAnn: you're laughing, but that's really the title of this song

I told Lanie that the only thing I could think of after seeing the title of this song was Macaulay Culkin. Also, like my friend Rat said he was once, they are just one long pop culture reference. Also I’m not sure what the song has to do with the title. That’s disappointing. At least with Schism! At the Disco use lines from movies as song titles, they make them relate. I could only understand every other word, and after Lanie gave me the lyrics, I was like ugh, now I wish I couldn’t. I am too far removed from high school to relate to this song at all. I was unamused. – JulieAnn

We spent half this song trying to figure out what this guy was talking about. Who was talking about him behind his back? And to whom? It was all some twisted tale that I'm not sure made sense. I can't remember liking it or hating it, so I'm going to assume that it was generic. – Lanie

Track Eleven: A Party Song (The Walk of Shame)

The very beginning of this song sounds like the one Movielife song that I like, but only the opening guitar riff. [Note: that particular song is “Jamestown,” which I only remembered after a lot of thought.] I feel like they’ve already done the “ohOH” thing once on this CD, but maybe I’m mistaken. Also he uses the line “dark side of the dance floor” which makes me laugh and I can’t take them any kind of seriously as musicians at all. Although, I am a little impressed that he’s actually the one who seems to be taking the walk of shame. I think the little girls that love this band can’t see past how cute Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat are to how completely crap these lyrics are. – JulieAnn

I was over this album at this point, looking up the lyrics online and reading them. The music was similar to everything else we'd already heard. – Lanie

Track Twelve: Therapy

One of the first lines in this song said something about “tongue like a nightmare” and I was done. The entire song sounds kind of reminiscent of Green Day’s slower stuff, say from American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown. The very sort of monotone verses with the great big high notes in the chorus which, incidentally, Alex Gaskarth can’t actually hit. Tough for him, really. – JulieAnn

Yeah, this reminded me of a lot of when punk musicians try to play slow songs. I didn't love it. – Lanie

[Phantom Planet’s “California” starts playing.]
JulieAnn: lmfao THAT WAS NOT A COVER i went out of the "nothing personal" search [on iTunes]

Final Thoughts

I could probably enjoy a couple of tracks off this album, but on the whole I like this CD a lot less than the first one, because there wasn’t a single track on this disc that I absolutely loved. Musically, it’s probably a better album than So Wrong, It’s Right, but there’s nothing that really captures me. Although, I can say I’ll probably give it another listen, most likely in the car, which So Wrong, It’s Right didn’t get. (Except for “Remembering Sunday,” which I listen to a lot.) I feel like it will be better in the car than in my living room while I’m sitting at the computer. On the whole, though, it’s forgettable, and suffers from a lack of Juliet Simms. But, uh, Nothing Personal. – JulieAnn

I've never listened to these guys before so I wasn't sure what I'd be in for. It turns out, I wasn't in for a whole lot. Before abandoning the album, I'd listen to it another couple of times to see if anything caught hold but I can only call it decent. Hopefully, these guys can blame it on the sophmore slump, when they look back. It doesn't make me want to immediately go out and buy their first to see if it was better but it wouldn't make me run screaming if they put out a third. – Lanie

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

First Listen: Paramore’s new single, “Ignorance.”

The first thing I wanted to know when I found out they had a new single coming out was whether or not it would be in the vein of Riot! or the song “Decode” from the Twilight soundtrack. I liked it right up until the point that the word “rapture” entered into the lyrics, and my inner atheist recoiled in disgust. Oh why, Paramore, why? It also had the same “guitar solo” that every other Paramore song ever has had, so that’s also a downfall. Regardless, it’s probably going to get major airplay, because it sounds very radio-friendly. And I’m probably going to get really sick of it. It’s not as good as anything on Riot! was. Better luck next time, Hayley & Co. – JulieAnn

Having grown to love Paramore as a pleasure I can't even make myself feel guilty about, I was kind of nervous that their new single would take an even more pop-y approach than Riot and then I would be forced to resent liking them so much. Luckily, this song caught me right in the beginning. The build of the intro reminded me a bit of Incubus' "Megalomaniac" and a bit of the first verse made me think of No Doubt, whose influence isn't all that surprising. I wasn't as offended by the "rapture" as Julie was, but I didn't like the use of it. It didn't fit the meaning I thought they were going for. Not too long after that, it all went downhill as the song got more and more repetitive. It's ok to end the song after two and a half minutes if that's all you've got! I promise! Oh well. It's still a decent song and it'll be a couple weeks of incessant airplay before I get sick of it. – Lanie