From the MoSS? Pit: Pygmalion Music Festival 2012

In an odd twist of fate, your favorite MoSS? scribes bought tickets to different concerts for the same weekend. Since Chris was already booked up, I needed to quickly drum up a support crew for my trip to the Pygmalion Music Festival 2012 in exotic Champaign-Urbana, Ill. I put an ad in the local hipster paper hoping for a quick response.

Wanted: Concert support crew for middle aged pop culture blogger. Applicants must love music, fear no danger and have access to gas money. Nunchaku skills a plus but not required. Safety NOT guaranteed.

Unfortunately, response was less than enthusiastic. As a backup plan, I recruited my wife and another couple to come with us. We all piled in the MoSS? Mobile and took the long drive to Illinois. The trip to Champaign was uneventful. Directions were good and we made it to all destinations without incident. The return trip is another story. We may have taken a wrong turn and ended up 45 minutes out of our way. Now, as our group leader/driver, I take full responsibility but I do blame the Pygmalion Fest schedule. The headliner Best Coast didn’t go on until almost 1AM. I’m old. With only 3-4 hours of sleep, its a wonder we didn’t end up in Lake Michigan. Luckily, one of the top notch support crew members caught my mistake and we all remained dry.

Back to the festival. We started the night at very cool bar in downtown Urbana called Crane Alley. I can’t recommend this place enough for people visiting the area. They have like 42 billion beer varieties, B+ jambalaya and a drink called The Sex Panther. I didn’t have The Sex Panther that night. In a town full of college girls I didn’t think it appropriate since my wife was with me. The last thing I needed was excessive amounts of senior pictures being thrust my direction since apparently I am like catnip to underage coeds.

After dinner and drinks, we left Crane Alley to head over to the show at The Canopy Club. As we walked out of the bar, I heard the familiar sounds of the band Tennis. They were playing an outdoor venue as the opening act for shit-rock band, Dirty Projectors. (I swear I could burp the alphabet to bagpipes and it would sound better than Dirty Projectors). The music was coming from a parking lot about a block away so we walked over to take a look/listen. I love Tennis’ record, Young and Old, but was still pissed at them. Tennis was supposed to do a show in good old Iowa City back in July. As a matter of fact, I bought tickets to that concert the same day I bought the Pygmalion tickets. If only I had known the evil red-headed monster, Conan O’ Brien, was lurking behind the scenes to ruin everything. He booked Tennis to play on his “show watched by dozens” which forced them to cancel the show in Iowa City. No more Team Coco for me. Team Fallon all the way now baby. I was able to get a little video of them singing my favorite song from Young and Old, “Petition”.

[Disclaimer: Chris is usually the mastermind behind these MoSS? Pit posts. He takes video with his highly superior iPhone. I’ve a got a crap Android and concert video generally sounds like a rhino farting into a bass drum. Yes, my video from the evening is less than good]

We watched Tennis until it was time for us to head to our show at the world famous Canopy Club, deep in the heart of the U of I campus. Doors opened at 8PM. They scheduled 6 opening acts and headliner Best Coast was to go on at 12:45AM. This was going to be a marathon not a sprint.

As we walked in the main stage area the group Withershins was playing. They are a self described shoegaze band from right there in Champaign. We only caught about a song and a half but I really liked what I heard. They have a ’90s distortion rock sound to them. I was reminded of Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins or Sonic Youth. Here is a link to their Bandcamp page. The new record isn’t a bad listen.

http://withershins.bandcamp.com/album/silver-cities

Zeus

The next band up was Zeus. A classic rock influenced outfit from Toronto. That’s in Canada. These guys look and sound like they were transported here from 1971. I downloaded their new album Busting Visions to listen to during the trip and really enjoyed most of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly think they were that great live. Don’t get me wrong. They were fine. I just wasn’t feeling it at that point I guess. They did play a fun cover version of the Genesis song “That’s All” but other than that I didn’t find them too memorable. Take a look/listen for yourself with the shitty video I took of them doing their song “Are You Gonna’ Waste My Time?”.

Hospitality

After Zeus was Hospitality, an indie pop group from Brooklyn. That’s in New York. I was pumped to see them but nearly missed the show. The support crew and I were having drinks and gabbing in the upper level seats at the Canopy Club when I heard some music coming from the lobby. Apparently, they decided to alternate acts from the main big stage to the small intimate stage in the front. I quickly got down there and was able to shoot this short shitty video of “Friends of Friends” until the rest of the horde arrived and got in my way. Enjoy!

They did put on a great show though. I enjoyed their self-titled record but the live show sounded even better. They even played a few new songs. Judging by the crowd reaction during those songs, the follow up LP is going to be good.

Once again, this was all happening at times that I am normally in bed. So, I needed a pick me up. Luckily, my top notch support crew smuggled in some mini vodka bottles and we knocked back a Red Bull and vodka.

1st Red Bull and Hawkeye “Hot Guy” Vodka time

Lord Huron

Next up on the main stage was Lord Huron from Los Angeles. That’s in California. This was a band I was on the fence about. I have their EP Mighty and listen to it on occasion but they are not a go to band in my iPod playlists. Lord Huron’s music is full of vocal harmonies and amazing percussion and they definitely showcased that during the live show. Here is my shitty video of “The Stranger”.

2nd Red Bull and “Hot Guy” Vodka time

Best Coast

After Lord Huron was Laetitia Sadier. She was playing in the front lobby area. I familiarized myself with her music before the show and was not a fan. So the crew and I stayed in our upper deck seats and knocked back yet another Red Bull and vodka while the roadies set up the Best Coast stage. Reports from the hipsters that sat behind us were positive about the Sadier show. Again, I was less than interested.

1AM. Finally Best Coast time. After a long night of music and drinks we were all ready for the show to start. Apparently, Bethany from Best Coast had a similar evening because one of the first things she mentioned in between songs was the lateness of the showtime. She also admitted that she may have had a few too many libations and was struggling not to get sick on stage. Now that’s the Rock and Roll lifestyle baby! You couldn’t tell based on her performance though. They played a mixture of old and new songs and they all sounded great. Here is my shitty video of the “The Only Place”.

Later on, the booze may have started kicking in because she started forgetting song titles. I did get shitty video of her arguing with a kid in the front row about a song title. I believe her exact words were, “Fuck that. I said it wrong! I’m sleepy!”

Hey kid! Don’t fuck with my girl Beth!

After that she started forgetting song lyrics. They actually started the song “Bratty B” over because she screwed up the words. I caught some shitty video of the 2nd attempt at “Bratty B” and subsequent apology before the next song, “When I’m With You”.

She ended the show with “Boyfriend” and hurried off the stage with her hand over her forehead. I was certain there would be no encore. Most of the crowd filed out of the main stage area. I was in the front lobby waiting for the female support crew members to use the bathrooms when I heard the much smaller crowd in the main room cheer. Best Coast was back on stage. Boot and rally! They played a one song encore. A cover of the Nirvana classic “About a Girl”. I didn’t take any shitty video of the encore as I just wanted to enjoy the final song.

It was a long night but well worth the it. You can’t beat fun with great music and great friends.

Much too late. Can’t wait until next year.

Road Trip Revelations

If you’ve read any of my previous “Road Trip” posts, you may have noticed a certain pattern to them. I usually start with some thoughts on whatever new music I’m listening to. Then, I share a few observations about the road or driving in general. Finally, I close it out with some comments on a long forgotten hair metal song. If you were hoping for a change in format this time… too bad. Take heart people. Routine is good. You always know what to expect. No shocks. No surprises. Life may pimp-slap you at every turn but you can always rely on “Road Trip Revelations” for some stability. Doesn’t that make you feel all safe and secure? And away we go…

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. On these trips I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After many hours alone in the car though, I tend to have quite a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road.

Most of my Favorite Bands Have Stupid Names

Here’s a list of a few bands I’ve enjoyed this year: Japandroids, Tennis, Youth Lagoon, Pop Etc, Bear in Heaven. All pretty dumb sounding names. Even when a group has a decent name, they have to go and spell it weird like Diiv (pronounced Dive) one of my current favorites. I don’t know why this trend is happening but my theory is that all of the good band names where used up by 1978. Post 1978 we had band names like this:

One of my favorite things in the world is when I’m listening to a new band and my wife asks me their name. I’ll answer her with the stupid band name already knowing that her response will be a sarcastic “Well of course it is”. She has a hard time getting past the stupid band name. My favorite response to her is “Aerosmith was already taken.” This usually pisses her off and we go back and forth about band names and how Aerosmith sucks. Well, new Aerosmith sucks. Hey, that’s not bad! Why couldn’t you start a band and call it The New Aerosmith? Didn’t that happen all the time back in the day? When the Yardbirds broke up wasn’t there a New Yardbirds about two minutes later? After The Animals disbanded, The New Animals came stampeding out of the rubble to help heal the world’s broken heart. Just a thought.

What’s with the Biker Wave?

Did you ever see the biker wave while driving down the road? I just recently noticed it. When two motorcyclists get close to each other while driving in opposite directions they lower their left hand down and sort of point to the ground. What’s that all about? Where did they learn that? Is it part of the motorcycle safety course? Are they pointing down to remind the other biker to watch out for the ground? “Hey man, we are rocketing across the earth at breakneck speeds on a high-powered two-wheeled vehicle. Don’t fall off. It hurts.”

1st biker waves: “Remember, the ground hurts us.”

2nd biker waves: “Yes, I understand. The pavement is our enemy.”

It is pretty cool to witness. I want a secret wave for us music-loving mid 30’s dads driving around in SUVs. Maybe we could just stick our thumbs up and then point them to the back seat. This could signify that “I would like to turn up my music louder but I got these damn kids in the back seat watching a Spongebob DVD and I can only play my music at barely audible levels.” Let’s work on that one guys.

I Don’t Care About Your Stick Figure Family

Over the last year or so you may have noticed a new trend amongst mini-van drivers. “The Stick Figure Family”. Little decals of stick figure people to represent everyone in the mini-van driver’s family. I must ask why? Why do you want the world to know that you have 3 kids? Going by the stickers, one boy and 2 girls. The boy is the oldest and based upon the baseball bat over his stick figure shoulder he must like baseball. The oldest girl must love soccer based upon the soccer ball in her stick figure arms. The youngest girl is in a stroller so no one really knows what she likes yet. In time we will know because mini-van driver idiot will update the stick figure as soon as stick figure baby slips on her first ballet shoes. One day I saw a van with two adult stick figures and 10, yes 10, variations of the stick figure kid. A standard mini-van has a seating capacity of 7. How are you getting 10 kids plus 2 parents into that Dodge Grand Caravan? The answer is you’re not. You’re taking 2 cars to the “I Have 10 Kids and Hate Myself Convention”. Your stick figure family is a fraud and I hate you too.

Europe isn’t “Superstitious”

As always, after a few hours on the road I was in need of a hair metal fix. So I flipped the station over to Hair Nation . Today I was greeted with the sweet sounds of Europe’s “Superstitious”. It had everything I wanted in a hair band break. High pitched vocals and those keyboards you’ve come to expect from Europe in other songs like “The Final Countdown” and “Carrie”. The special treat comes at the 3:20 mark when after the last scathing guitar solo, the boys slow it down a bit with a funky bass driven pre-chorus bridge. Break it down for me fellas.

Keep on walkin’ that road and I’ll follow
Keep on callin’ my name I’ll be there
And if a mirror should break it’s easy to take
Cause deep down I know that you care
I´m not superstitious

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes. So many stick figures. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and throw me a “Dad Wave”. I might just “Dad Wave” back.

Even More Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. On these trips I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After many hours alone in the car though, I tend to have a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road.

I Totally Missed the Boat on Beach House

Back in 2010, the dream pop duo Beach House was all over indie radio with their 3rd LP Teen Dream. Several songs from that release were in crazy heavy rotation and “10 Mile Stereo” was picked as “Song of the Year” on my favorite station Sirius XM U. To be honest, I just didn’t get it. Maybe it was the constant air play. Maybe I didn’t really try that hard to like it. Maybe it was just bad timing, but I basically hated Beach House.

That was until I heard the new Beach House song “Lazuli” on the radio. For some reason the music filled me with emotions (other than annoyance) and left me thinking “Has Beach House always been this good?”. When I got home, I logged onto iTunes to get the new Best Coast record that happened to have come out that day (Holy shit is that good. Seriously, check it out) and on a whim I started listening to clips from the new Beach House record, Bloom. I was kind of blown away. By the 3rd song clip I had to download the entire thing and listen to it. Since then, Bloom has skyrocketed to the upper echelon of my uber-prestigious  “Best of 2012” list. I am ready to admit that I was wrong…. Beach House is awesome….I suck. Man, I’m slipping.

Here is my favorite track “New Year”. It’s got a bit of a My Bloody Valentine feel and scratches all my shoegaze itches.

 

Most Men Would Want to Move Here

Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they name a road or housing development. I recently ran across this sign in my travels. What’s the story with this road’s name? Is it short for Bluejaysville? Is there a prominent family in the area with the surname B’jay? Do I just have a filthy mind? The world may never know. It does seem like a happy little lane. It’s nestled nicely between Fellatio Road and Cunilingus Court. The guys from the area seem to always be smiling … weird.

It’s a Miracle I Have Avoided Being Arrested in some Homicide Road Rage Related Incident

I must have incredible patience because it seems like I’m constantly being bombarded by jackasses like:

  1. Tailgaters
  2. People driving in my blind-spot
  3. Some asshole driving slow in the fast lane that refuses to get over

Most days, depending on my mood, I can handle this just fine. But other days I feel like strapping a railroad tie to my bumper and crashing my way down the interstate with no repercussions like in some Grand Theft Auto style video game.  So if you see me looking extra agitated on the road some day, clear some space. That might be the day I finally lose it.

Tesla’s “Love Song” Will Find a Way Back to You…Yeah

During most road trips, at some point the radio channel gets switched over to Hair Nation. Well this trip was no different. What bad-ass late 80’s gem was playing this time? Why Tesla’s “Love Song” that’s what. The perfect combination of soft acoustic guitar work and in your face ROCK!  This power ballad takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotion. If I had had a lighter I would have sparked it up as I was singing along with the “doot doot doot n’ doots” at the end of the song. Revisit all the hair bandy goodness below. There are a lot of sweet mullets in this video. Careful ladies, don’t fall in love.

Unfortunately, the official video from back then excluded the killer guitar solo at the beginning. If you want to hear the entire song as God and Tesla intended, check out this link.

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of road rage. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop the “doot doot doot n’ doots” and wave back.

Still More Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with quite a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. So, on days like today I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After many hours alone in the car though, I tend to have a few random and moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road today.

Even My Beloved Sirius XMU is Guilty of Massive Repetition

One of the reasons I bought satellite radio, besides the variety, was because I was sick of the repetitive crap on regular radio. I’ve noticed that over the last few road trips my favorite station, Sirius XMU, is terribly repetitive at times. There must be a quota on certain songs because they get played a lot. Ever since Wild Belle took SXSW by storm, their track “Keep You” has been played almost hourly. It’s a great song but come on, let’s not ruin it.

Another song on ridiculous rotation is Tanlines “All of Me”. Over a 10 hour period, I ran a test to see how long it took to them to play “All of Me” after I tuned into the station. Here are the results in the S.H.I.T. scale “Songs Heard In-lieu of Tanlines”.

At no time did they NOT play “All of Me” before I turned the station. So I make a plea to the Sirius XMU DJ’s, “Please, take it easy on the repetition. You’re killing songs for me before they’ve had a chance to live their natural life span…….Fuckers”.

Nothing Oozes Class Like a Set of Fake Testicles on the Back of Your Truck

We’ve all had this experience. You know you’re super cool. Your friends know you’re extra classy. How can you let strangers know this same information while driving your truck around town? Why, trailer hitch testicles, that’s how!

It seems like I’ve seen a million pairs of these truck nut sacks hanging low lately. Here is one I saw on my trip today.

Is this meant to be cool? Is this meant to be funny? Does this guy know he just upped the Hillbilly Coefficient on his truck by an exponential rate? Was the Calvin & Hobbs sticker with Calvin peeing on a Ford logo too highbrow? It just seems spectacularly dumb to me. Maybe I am missing something…nope it’s dumb.

2012 Has Been the “Year of the Women” in Indie Rock

Last year, almost all of my favorite albums were made by male artists. Class Actress’ Rapprocher was the only album by a female artist to make my Top 10 and Cults barely squeaked into the Top 20. This year is totally different. The women are stepping up their game. Frankie Rose, Tennis, Grimes, Mr. Little Jeans (odd name for a solo female), Sleigh Bells, Memoryhouse, Blouse, Field Mouse, 2:54 and Wild Belle have completely taken over my playlists. Granted, some of these are male/female duos, but the dudes are hiding in the background while the chicks are up front kicking ass.

There have been a few dude rockers that have fought there way into my iPod. Bear in Heaven, Tanlines and the aptly named The Men have had short stints in my ever-changing “Love That New Song Smell” playlist. Very few have stuck as long as the women. Congrats ladies. Keep it coming. Hey guys! Wake up! You’re looking bad in 2012.

Van Halen’s “Eruption” is Still Bad-Ass

I flipped to the classic rock channel today and was greeted with the opening guitar lick of Van Halen’s “Eruption”. I turned my car stereo up as loud and these 37 year old ears could take and air guitared along with Eddie just like the old days. It was exhausting, but Eddie and I can still pull off one of the best guitar solos in rock history. Revisit all the Van Haleny goodness below.

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of low hanging trailer hitch testes. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop my Eddie Van Halen air guitar and wave back.

More Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly listen to great music. So, on days like today I sit back, relax and turn up the tunes. After four hours alone in the car though, I tend to have a few random and mostly moronic thoughts. These are just a few of the revelations I came away with on the road today.

Bon Iver is Pretty Awesome

I have never been a big fan of the 2011 darlings of indie rock. I always found the high register singing of the lead man Justin annoying and indecipherable. Why do you sing so high that no one understands you? The music was always pretty good but I couldn’t get over the vocals. Bon Iver’s song “Towers” played several times on my favorite SiriusXM channel today and I fought the urge to skip it.

I asked myself: “Hey Todd. Wasn’t your #4 Album of 2011 Future Islands, On the Water?”

My answer back: “Well, actually it was my #5 Album of 2011. Why do you ask?”

My response to me: “Doesn’t that have some pretty shitty and distracting vocals?”

My response back to me responding: “Touché. By the way, you smell terrific today my handsome friend”

So I realized that I need to get past the vocals and just enjoy the music. Who cares about lyrics anyways? Kurt Cobain is considered a genius and no one new what the fuck he was singing either. Here’s the video for Bon Iver’s “Towers”.

Catherine Wheel Should Have Been Way Bigger

I had a couple of Catherine Wheel CD’s in the early 90’s but didn’t give them much airplay. There were a few go-to tracks that I would play on occasion but that was really the extent of my listening. After flipping to the classic alt-rock channel I heard Catherine Wheel’s “Black Metallic”. Holy balls, that song is good. With oozing soft vocals and washed out guitars, it’s a 7 minute long shoegazer’s wet dream. I don’t know what I was thinking back then. I totally missed the boat on these guys. Check it out for yourselves.


Women Text While Driving

I’m not trying to be sexist here. I’m just going by scientific data gathered firsthand with my genetically superior man-brain. Several times today, I noticed that if you roll up to a car driving slowly in the fast lane, it is usually some ditzy dame texting. She’s probably texting her friends about getting her period, not getting her period, the perfect lipstick or that bitch Kathy from accounting that she knows ate her yogurt from the office refrigerator.

OMG! THE YOGURT HAD MY NAME ON IT! THAT BITCH IS TOTES CRAY! 😡

So quit the texting while driving all you batty broads out there! 10 and 2 baby doll. 10 and 2.

I Am Very Self-Conscious When I Rage Against the Machine

That’s right. I only rock out with no inhibition until another car drives up along side me. Then I react as if it’s a police car and I have a warrant out for my arrest. (Just act natural and no one will know you were Steve Perry’ing your way through the na na na’s at the end of  “Lovin’,Touchin’,Squeezin’”).

This is actually contrary to most opinions of what you should do if you are cruising around town with a warrant and you see the police. Most people will tell you to turn up your radio and belt it out like you haven’t a care in the world. Then the police will think, “There’s no way that could be the serial killer we’re looking for. He’s much too carefree. Carry on sir. Godspeed.”

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of dangerous texting. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime, go ahead and wave. I might just stop my Steve Perry impersonation and wave back.

Nada Surf: Hey Everyone! We Put Out A Record Too!

With all the buzz of new releases by indie rock heavy weights like Sleigh Bells, Lana Del Rey and Frankie Rose, one release was a bit overlooked. Nada Surf quietly put out a new album in late January called The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy.  If you paid attention to alternative music in the mid 90’s then you are probably familiar with their most famous song “Popular”. Refresh your memory below.

After “Popular” the band struggled for a few years and were on the verge of becoming another one hit wonder. They had a resurgence in the early 2000’s after the release of Let Go and built themselves a loyal fan base myself included. Since then they have released several very solid albums. In fact, one of my favorite records of the last 10 years is Nada Surf’s The Weight is a Gift. The song “The Blankest Year” from that record was my anthem of ’05. Give it a listen. It’s only 2 minutes long. You can squeeze it in.

Yesterday I realized the new album was out(I can’t believe it’s been out 4 weeks already. I’m slipping) and quickly downloaded it. The first listen was pretty much what I expected. They have had one of the most consistent sounds over the years. After subsequent listens I found myself really enjoying it.  It’s not going to knock Sleigh Bells or Frankie Rose from my “Top 10 Albums of 2012 So Far” list, but it is pretty damn good. The band made a conscious effort to have more guitars and drums for a louder in-your-face feel. I think it works.  Their last record Lucky suffered from too many slower songs in my opinion. I was disappointed to see that Pitchfork gave them a pretty bad review. They basically called the new record “Dad Rock”. Here’s the quote I disliked the most.

“At a moment when indie rock could probably use a little kick in the ass, Nada Surf seem to have the right instincts, just maybe not the spleen to pull them off. Harder and faster isn’t necessarily a young man’s game, but it isn’t really Nada Surf’s either.”

I think that maybe they are catching shit for being too consistent. So if you are bored during this cold February weekend, give Nada Surf’s The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy a spin. Let me know if Pitchfork is right and I am turning into a Dad Rocker. Or if your are too busy to listen to the whole thing, you can check out their new single “Waiting for Something” below.


Surviving the New Music Wasteland 3: A New Hope

For a few glorious years in the mid 90’s, the music I liked was considered popular music. I had no trouble finding out about new bands because they were actually being played on the radio. It was a golden age, but as Ponyboy once said, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”. (Man, those Greasers sure knew their Frost poems).

Slowly things began to change. I didn’t notice at first but there were warning signs. Eventually in the late ’90s and early 2000s radio stations were only playing carbon copied pop stars and awful post grunge rock bands. So I turned off the radio and wandered aimlessly through a period I called “The New Music Wasteland”. Good new music was so hard to find that I just gave up.

I spent my time rediscovering music that I already loved or did my homework on bands that I had always wanted to listen to. This would usually send me into 3-4 month obsessive periods where I would listen only to one artist or band. That meant all works by the band, including all side projects and solo recordings. It was a grueling effort and people within earshot of me tended to get a bit irritated. (By month 2 of my obsession with The Clash, my wife answered their question of ”Should I Stay or Should I Go?” with a resounding “Get the hell out and take Big Audio Dynamite I and II with you”.)

Of course, this cycle can only go on for so long. I was deep into a Pixies overdose and about to cook up a gigantic Frank Black speedball when I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “There’s got to be a better way!” So I went cold turkey. There just had to be some decent new music out there and I would have to force myself to find it.

After a few days of Pixies detox, I went to my upstairs office PC. We’d had the computer for a year or more but it had mostly been used for email and checking porn scores…I mean sports porn…I mean…well, you know what I mean. So I sat down at the computer and brought up Windows Media Player. It instantly brought up the last thing I had listened to which just happened to be a Pixies/Frank Black/Breeders playlist. Not wanting to fall back into old habits I quickly deleted the playlist. Easy, Todd! One step at time.

Next I tried to find some completely innocuous music to play. Something entertaining but something that wouldn’t send me into another 3 month tailspin of research and investigation. That’s when I saw the Media Guide tab on the Windows player. I’d never noticed the tab before so I clicked on it. One of the options in the media guide was “Internet Radio”. Interesting. Radio on the Internet? How futuristic. There was a list of stations with any genre of music you could think of from Adult Contemporary to Urban/R&B and stuck in the middle was Indie Rock.

I clicked on one of the channels and was blown away. The artist and song title were listed on the screen. You didn’t have sit around and wait for a DJ to come on and recap the playlist. The first song I heard was by a band unknown to me at the time The Shins. The song was “Girl on the Wing”.

Needless to say I was hooked in right there. I spent the next few hours bouncing between radio stations and Napster (FYI, I only used Napster to preview music. I totally went out and bought the material later. Seriously, I’m not lying. What? OK, fine. SOMETIMES I just downloaded the music for free and didn’t go out and buy it. Sue me. Oh shit! No. Please don’t sue me)

I found plenty of other great songs like The Flaming Lips “Race for the Prize”. I was aware of The Flaming Lips mainly from their odd little song “She Don’t Use Jelly” from the early 90’s. Check out their bizarre appearance on 90210. They sing “She Don’t Use Jelly” at the world famous Beverly Hills hot spot The Peach Pit After Dark. Make sure you hang in until the 50 second mark so you can see Steve Sanders awkwardly rocking out. Cracks me up every time.

The Lips completely changed their musical direction with the album The Soft Bulletin featuring “Race for the Prize”  and I loved it.

The album I ran across that got the most air time afterwards was probably Ben Folds’ 1st solo album Rockin’ the Suburbs. Like the Flaming Lips I was familiar with his previous work. The Ben Folds 5 (The name gets extra cool points since there was only 3 of them) had a few records out in the 90’s but I was never a big fan. I kind of got burned out on their song “Brick”. The new solo record was different. It was one of those rare albums that I could just play the whole way through and never have to skip over any sucky songs. Rockin’ the Suburbs didn’t have a single stinker on it.

I liked it so much that I dragged my wife with me to Kansas City where we stood outside in the rain for hours to watch him perform. We came home with walking pneumonia and a sweet Rockin’ the Suburbs concert T-Shirt.

So I must give thanks to Bill Gates and technology in general for giving me new hope and showing me the path to escape  “The New Music Wasteland”.  Since then I’ve discovered many other new music sources and haven’t had any major Pixies or Clash related music relapses. That’s right. Clash free. I just got my 10 year chip. One day at a time.

Road Trip Revelations

My job sometimes requires me to spend a lot of my day in the car. Today was one of those days with quite a few hours of windshield time. I don’t mind too much. It gives me valuable time to think, reflect on my life and most importantly rock out! So on days like today I sit back, relax and turn on my Sirius Stiletto. (Special thanks to my brother who so foolishly gave up this beautiful piece of technology. I love it. Endless commercial free channels of fantastic music) After four hours alone with my thoughts and the radio, I came away with a few revelations.

Lana Del Rey is over-hyped but talented

Yes, she’s been over-played. Yes, she tanked on SNL. Yes, she talks like Betty Boop. I don’t care. She’s great.  I listened to her song “Radio” around four times today and defy you not to sing along by the 2nd chorus.

Now my life is sweet like cinnamon
Like a fucking dream i’m living in
Baby love me cause i’m playing on the radio
(how do you like me now?)


Too much coffee makes you piss a lot

Side note: If your trip is over 2 hours long, cap the coffee at 12 oz.  Today I had roughly 24 oz and found myself with that uncomfortable feeling. Not to worry. I have the entire eastern half of the state mapped out by establishments with suitable bathrooms. I try to avoid the rest stops. I’m tired of the long looks from bi-sexual truckers named Carl. I’ve found that the best location for an emergency pit stop is McDonalds. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a McDonalds in this part of the state and you usually don’t run into some hobo washing his testicles in the sink…usually.

Anyone can cover Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and it will be awesome

Today I heard versions of “Running Up that Hill” by Placebo and The Chromatics. Surprisingly enough they are both pretty damn good. I guess this Kate Bush gem is the perfect song to try and make your own.  You can’t get much better that the original though.  Check it out below.

Jack White is in a lot of bands. Also, there are a lot of bands with “Bear” in their name

The White Stripes, Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and now Jack White solo stuff. I listened to it all on the road today. Good god man. Take a break. We get it. You can write a lot of songs. 15% of them are good. Slow down a bit and maybe you could get that number up to 75%. Please just think about it Jack.

Today I also heard songs by: Bear in Heaven, Grizzly Bear, Bear Hands, Panda Bear and Minus the Bear.  I will pose to myself the same question once asked of Dwight Schrute from The Office . Which Bear is Best? I’m glad you asked. That’s a toughy. While all have their merits, today(based solely on car stereo volume levels) Bear in Heaven is the best bear.

I will skip any song by Wilco, Neutral Milk Hotel, or Animal Collective

I’ve tried to like these bands. I just can’t do it. I even change songs if I’m on the phone and one of these bands come on. Nice try Sirius but you cant sneak one by me while my celly’s blowin’ up.

I will not skip any song by Modest Mouse, Pixies, or Whitesnake

Yeah that’s right, Whitesnake. Sometimes you just have to tune in to Hair Nation and bang your head. Still of the Night! Still of the Night! Still of the Night! Rawk!

All in all it was a pretty good day.  Plenty of tunes. Plenty of pit stops. If you see me cruising down the interstate sometime in the future go ahead and wave. Just please don’t laugh while I’m doing my David Coverdale impression.

I’ve Finally Found the Love of a Lifetime…Until the Next Time

Seems like love is in the air around Music or Space Shuttle? these days.  Quite a few of our posts lately have been about love, crushes and the art of “hunkering down”.  Perhaps it is just anticipation leading up to the most important of all holidays, Valentine’s Day. Or maybe we are just a couple of pervs.  Regardless, I couldn’t help but be inspired by Chris’ recent declaration of love for one Alexis Kraus, the super hot and bad ass singer of Sleigh Bells. Congrats Chris and Alexis. I wish you two the very best. May your love affair last months. I was so inspired in fact that I am now ready to make an announcement of my own. While Chris was falling head over heels for Alexis in the “Comeback Kid” video, I was slowly becoming enchanted with impossibly cute brunette singer Rachel Browne from Field Mouse.(Yes I am already married. It’s ok, my wife has similar feelings for all 4 members of Kings of Leon)

A few weeks back Field Mouse released a video for their song “Glass”. The song itself is an epically dreamy shoegazing classic…well, it’s good. I’m just talking it up a bit for my girl Rachel.  The video is where she won me over though. It has a very simple concept.

Slo-mo camera on her very attractive face… Cue the wind machine…and cue the streamers…bubbles! we need more bubbles!…

Nothing too amazing there right? Well skip to the 3 minute mark. Her long stare into the camera breaks into an irresistible smile / laugh. Careful guys. If you can’t handle the temptation stop watching at 2:59. Checkout the video below.

Desert Island Music Poll: Bon Iver Vs. Arcade Fire

Here at Music or Space Shuttle? we feel like we should be asking the tough, hard-hitting questions. This week we continue our series of polls where we force you, the thoughtful reader, to choose between two random artists. You may not always like either selection but you have to pick one. (None of that “I’d rather stuff my head in the sand until I suffocate and die” third option crap.)

With the 2012 Grammys coming up, it seems like the perfect time to put  Bon Iver up against Arcade Fire.  In 2011 indie rock band Arcade Fire shocked the world when their record The Suburbs won the Grammy for Album of the Year.  Their win was so surprising that award presenter Babs Streisand didn’t  know if the band’s name was The Suburbs or Arcade Fire. This year, indie rock darlings Bon Iver have been nominated for both Record and Song of the Year Grammys.

It has been said (by me) that a win in a MoSS? poll can often prove to be a very good Grammy predictor. Could a win for Bon Iver in the prestigious MoSS? Desert Island Music Poll  be a precursor to winning a Grammy?  Only you the voters can decide.

So what will you decide? Listen to Arcade Fire’s Funeral and Neon Bible or Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever ago  and Bon Iver  for the rest of your days?  Vote below and please feel free to justify your selection in the comments section.