Don't let the barriers you have built to define who you are blind you from appreciating the unfamiliar.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

St. Vincent - Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood

St Vincent is Annie Clark, a veteran of two multi-member multi-instrumental bands: the creepy, religious cult-looking band Polyphonic Spree and also the band of 2005, Sufjan Stevens. Her first solo album earned here some indie acclaim. This song is from the second, more eclectic album called Actor.

The video is half comedy act half music video. It is silly to the point of almost being annoying but it has some endearing aspects. The video features the relatively new comedy team thunderant, which is comprised of Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live and Carrie Brownstein of the now defunct all-girl rip roaring rock band Sleater-Kinney. While Brownstein is an amazing guitarist and songwriter, I can't say much for the comedy team.

However, the music video has its shining moments. The video highlights some of the things a musician has to endure when playing small venues. Other than the terrible job of promotion some organizers do, Armisen and Brownstein act out some of the more annoying things people in small crowds do. Things like closely staring at the guitarists fingers, talking loudly over the songs, walking around the performer, lounging on amps behind the musicians. Some of these things aren't so bad when you are in a crowded club, but are really accentuated in a small venue.

Perhaps the only people that will get the humor in this video are musicians an I guess people that like blunt, repetitive SNL comedy. Either way, the song is good. Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Suckers - Easy Chairs

Suckers is a four-piece from NY with a guy named name Quinn Walker that has been releasing on his own for a while. Walker did release double album called "Lion Land/Laughter's an Asshole" on a small label started by Bianca from CocoRosie called Voodoo Eros. (The website flash intro currently promoting the album is pretty nifty.)

So, the Suckers is what Quinn Walker is doing now. It sounds like his solo stuff but bigger and more layered. They have hints of David Byrne and Akron/Family before this last jam band sounding album. Some people have said they sound like MGMT, but I think they are confusing "sounds like" with "dresses in weird clothes like."



The video is a computer animated psychedelic romp. Each band members body is a kaleidoscope of different elements, like a cactus cabbage fish or a horse hawk skull. Not groundbreaking, but it is has a attractive aesthetic. And the music is good. Share/Bookmark

Monday, March 29, 2010

Full Force - Love is for Suckers

YouTube version:

Today is my birthday and I am going to treat myself to my favorite video right now. I have been saving this one for a good day, like a fine bottle of fortified wine.

Full Force has some elements of the Boy Band model, but they are definitely not a Boy Band. Full Force is like a mixture between New Jack Swing and 80s hip hop. They had a short-lived record career, but their work behind scenes is extensive. They have been writing and producing music for three decades. The boys from Full Force have done work with Bob Dylan and Patti LaBelle in the 80s, Backstreet Boys and Selena in the 90s, Brittany Spears and the Black Eyed Peas in the 00s.

The video is ridiculous amazing. The stiff, tragically unhip white folks get a lesson from Shy Shy, Bowlegged Lou, Baby Gee and the rest of the gang. My fav is Curt-T-T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best part of the song is wild synth at the end.

This is a time capsule of 1987 New York fashion. The hot Jheri Curls, the long-tasseled leather jackets, and don't miss the rockin' keytar. And Nike shoes the band are sporting are all the rage right now. They could pass for a post-ironic hipster throwback band and fit right into Look at that Fucking Hipster Share/Bookmark

Sunday, March 28, 2010

LFO - Summer Girls

I had to close out the Boy Band series with a music video from the downfall of the Boy Band.

I thought about posting a video from O-Town. They were a band created on the reality television show Making the Band by the Boy Band godfather himself, Lou Pearlman. They are the ultimate, demographically tested, cookie cutter Boy Band. The problem isn't that their stuff is terrible, it is just painfully boring and uninteresting.

LFO is much more interesting. They make no pretensions about being good. The song is a completely failure. The video is a failure. The album is a failure. The band is a failure. The whole LFO concept is a failure. Even the band's name, Lyte Funky Ones, is a failure.

This song is Boy Band in its glorious down fall. The lyrics are terrible. They make no sense at all. They are just pop culture references intertwined with a girl and the summer. Also, this video is a commercial for Abercrombie and Fitch, which at that time was the symbol of vapid, douchieness. So enjoy the pinnacle of suck. Share/Bookmark

Friday, March 26, 2010

*NSYNC - Bye, Bye, Bye

*NSYNC is perhaps one of the greatest stories in Boy Band history, if not one of the greatest stories in pop music. I know what you are thinking, but hear me out. To understand *NSYNC, to understand Boy Bands, you have to know about Lou Pearlman.

There are two reasons why there was a Boy Band craze of the late 90s.  Two reasons why we as a society had to endure the nearly half a decade of sappy, overproduced music from the likes of Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, LFO, O-Town, and non-Pearlman spin-offs like 98 Degrees.

The Boy Band craze happened because of Ponzi schemes and pedophilia. Boy Bands were created to hide Lou Pearlman's 300 million dollar Ponzi scheme and to satisfy Lou Pearlman's desire for young boys.

Lou Pearlman is the father of Boy Bands.  The term Boy Band was coined to describe the band model that Lou Pearlman invented and perfected.

Meet Lou Pearlman.

This is the face of the Boy Band.  What a cutie.

Lou Pearlman is just as sleezy and creepy as he looks.  He is currently serving a 25 year sentence in prison for heading one of the longest-running Ponzi schemes in history.  (It was the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, but Bernie Madoff out did Pearlman 200 times over).  Pearlman has decades of scams that include insurance fraud, consumer fraud, investment fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and stock market scams.  Oh and Boy Bands.  Did I mention Boy Bands?

Aside from fraud, Lou Pearlman is also pedophile.  Vanity Fair ran story in 2007 about the sexual deviance of  the man all the boys called Big Poppa.  Here is a bit from the article:
Some, especially the teenagers, shrugged and giggled when he showed them pornographic movies or jumped naked onto their beds in the morning to wrestle and play. Others, it appears, didn't get off so easily. These were the young singers seen emerging from his bedroom late at night, buttoning their pants, sheepish looks on their faces. Some deny anything improper ever happened. But the parents of at least one, a member of the Backstreet Boys, complained. And for any number of young men who sought to join the world's greatest boy bands, Big Poppa's attentions were an open secret, the price some paid for fame.
"Some guys joked about it; I remember [one singer] asking me, 'Have you let Lou blow you yet?'" says Steve Mooney, an aspiring singer who served as Pearlman's assistant and lived in his home for two years. "I would absolutely say the guy was a sexual predator. All the talent knew what Lou's game was. If they say no, they're lying to you."
To a number of his former band members, Pearlman seemed so enamored of his male singers that it called into question his motivations for entering the music business in the first place. "Honestly, I don't think Lou ever thought we would become stars," says Rich Cronin, lead singer of the Pearlman boy band Lyte Funky Ones (LFO). "I just think he wanted cute guys around him; this was all an excuse. And then lightning crazily struck and an empire was created. It was all dumb luck. I think his motives for getting into music were very different."
In this article, the mother of Aaron Carter and Nick Carter, member of the Backstreet Boys, said about Pearlman, "Certain things happened and it almost destroyed our family. I tried to warn everyone. I tried to warn all the mothers." 

So what does all have to do with *NSYNC?  Well, we are almost there.

In the late 90s, Big Poppa Pearlman decided that the New Kids on the Block were great way to make money.  He decided that he wanted to recreate the success of NKOTB by building a similar band.  Lou did a nation wide talent search and assembled a band of five teenage boys that would be called Backstreet Boys.  They soon climbed the charts and made Lou tons of money.

What the members of the Backstreet Boys didn't know is that Pearlman was robbing them.  This story isn't new.  Band managers and producers have been ripping off the artists since the beginning of the music industry.  New artists sign themselves into musical indentured slavery get screwed.  They Suck Young Blood. 
After receiving only $300,000 of the hundreds of millions being made, the band sued Pearlman and won.

So we get to *NSYNC.  They were basically a carbon copy of the Backstreet Boys.  Five young men with dreams of stardom were assembled by Lou Pearlman, being ripped off, and who knows what else.  After their first album and with the success of the Backstreet Boys in the lawsuit, *NSYNC got smart.  They sued Pearlman and tried to get out of their contract before the release of the second album, and they won.

This was no small feat.  For years, artists have been getting screwed over by unscrupulous record companies  and producers.  Most of the time, these artists are unable to recover the any of the earnings made on their backs.  The Backstreet Boys may have won, but they were on the downslope.  Their popularity had already peaked.  *NSYNC, on the other hand, were just about to reach the peak of their career.  They won when it mattered the most.

Bye Bye Bye the first single off of the album No Strings Attached.  It was the fastest selling album ever (until knocked out by the Beatles One compilation).  The album cover was no normal Boy Band motif of young guys, looking hot and cool, it was making a statement.  It features all of the members of *NSYNC on a stage but being controlled by a marionette.  They are referencing the control that the commercial music industry has over musicians, and specifically the control that Lou Pearlman had over *NSYNC.  The album title No Strings Attached is speaking about the freedom from contractual bondage.  

Bye Bye Bye video was the embodiment of this struggle.  The song was a sarcastic farewell to Big Poppa. The music video is the album cover played out.  The band is being controlled by a puppet master.  She cuts the strings and the members of the band try to escape, but escape is futile. They think they have slipped away but in the end they are still dangling from strings.  They may have cut ties with Lou Pearlman and RCA, but they signed to Jive Records and new puppet master was holding the strings. Sure, there is the standard choreographed dancing and the song is treacle pop, but it also insightful and self-reflective. 

Bye Bye Bye is the pinnacle of the Boy Band.  It was all down hill after that.  This is song is perhaps the most well-known, the most important, the most loved, and the most hated Boy Band song.  Share/Bookmark

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Backstreet Boys - Everybody (Backstreet's Back)

Backstreet Boys - Everybody (Backstreet's Back) (Official Music Video) - Watch more top selected videos about: Backstreet_Boys


The Backstreet Boys were the quintessential Boy Band. They sparked the Boy Band craze and spawned dozens of terrible one-hit and no-hit Boy Bands (see 98 Degrees and 5ive).

Again, we see the five member Boy Band with the bad boy, the baby face, the pretty boy, the gay one, and the ugly one. See if you can guess who is who.

This video and song are an amalgam of different pop components from over the years. First this a return song. They announce over and over again that "Backstreet's Back (alright)." Just like we twist again (like we did last summer).

The video is a mixture of 90's goth and cheesy Halloween costumes. You have the werewolf, the mummy, the vampire, the Phantom of the Opera, and the Jekyll/Hyde. Oh yeah, and in case you didn't notice, Thriller.

This video is a sad rip off of Thriller. But it is fun and its a good pop dance song, the last good dance song from the Backstreet Boys. After this song, they only released, sappy ballads that fueled the loinfires of teenage girls (the word loinfires is copyright Ani Loizzo). Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Kids on the Block - Step by Step

YouTube Link:

While New Edition may be considered the first Boy Band, the template for the stereotypical Boy Bands to follow would be based on the New Kids on the Block. New Edition was sugary pop sweetness, but the New Kids on the Block were a young girl sensation.

They image was plastered all over teen magazines, Trapper Keepers, lunch boxes, T-Shirts, bed sheets, buttons, shoes, shoes laces, birthday cakes, tooth brushes, underwear, and just about anything you can put an image on. They were the band that every girl and some boys in second to seventh grade loved. You weren't cool if you didn't go to the NKOTB show when they came to your local civic center.

This video is from the height of their popularity as you can tell from all the screaming girls. They had already shot to the top with their first super single You Got It (The Right Stuff). Although it was just called The Right Stuff on the album, they changed the single because Vanessa Williams had a hit earlier that year with the same name.

The video and the song are emblematic of the cheesiness and narcissism of the Boy Band. Synchronized dance moves and thousands of girls screaming and begging just to closer to their favorite member. Donnie was the bad boy, Joey was the baby face, Jordan was the pretty boy, Danny was the ugly one, and Jonathan was the gay one.

Swoon. Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Edition - Candy Girl

After posting that Hot Chip homage/parody of boy bands, I have decided to make this week officially Boy Band Week.

The reign of the Boy Band craze of the 80s and 90s has its roots in bands in the throughout music history. The Jackson 5 for their synchronized dance and harmonies. The Monkees for their manufactured image and commercial sheen. Perhaps one of the first true Boy Bands was the Latino sensation Menudo, who famously dropped members when they got to old and replaced them with younger boys.

New Edition was perhaps one of the first American Boy Bands, even though the term Boy Band didn't exist until the 90s. They came to popularity with the song Candy Girl and released sugary pop hits for years. The band was led by Bobby Brown, who went on to a successful solo career.

When Bobby Brown left the band, New Edition went on to do less poppy music and were one of the progenitors of New Jack Swing. They recorded their most successful album Heart Break in 1987 and influenced the development of R&B styled Boy Band like Boys II Men and 4P.M. Some of the member later broke off to form the less successful Bel Biv DeVoe.

This song is bubblegum pop at its sweetest. It is fun and catchy. The influences of the Jackson 5, especially the song ABC are very apparent here. Share/Bookmark

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hot Chip - I Feel Better

Hot Chip - I Feel Better

Hot Chip | MySpace Music Videos

YouTube Link:

Hot Chip is one of the electronic rock bands that prominently features vocals. While the lines are blurry, they are also considered dance-punk or disco-punk or indie-dance or synth-pop or synth-rock or any number of mixtures of those words.

They have gone from a small English band self-releasing albums in 2000 to a major label grammy-nominated artists. EMI might have signed them, but they still release records in the US on DFA. In case you are wondering, DFA is the biggest indie label for this modern mix of rock/punk/synth/electro/ect. They were one of the first and they are still the most biggest in the genre. LCD Soundsystem is the other big name on the label, but there are reams of others.

So, about the video...its is amazing. I actually like the video more than the song. The video starts out as if it is a boy band video with primped and toned metrosexuals doing group dance to a crowd of screaming girls. Then a bald Christ figure shows up and havoc ensues. I don't want to ruin the rest of the video, just make sure you watch the whole thing. You don't want to miss the laser and the floating head. Share/Bookmark

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ratatat - Mirando

Ratatat will be releasing their fourth album LP4 in May and I am looking for to it. They play a mix of guitar and 8-nit sounding electronic/synth. They are one of biggest names in a burgeoning genre called Electronic rock. I say burgeoning, but there has been electronic rock since the 60s.

The genre has morph quite a bit throughout the years. From the early days when it was basically the rock with a moog to the growth of the synth in the 70s to the 80s. In the 90s it was more dark and brooding, ala Nine Inch Nails and Chemical Brothers.

Ratatat represents a new generation with Crystal Castles, HEALTH, and a bunch of 8-bit bands like Anamanaguchi. The focus is on using simpler, blockier electronic sounds reminiscent of MIDI music used on old gaming console (Nintendo, Sega, Atari). The music is primarily post-rock and usually lyric-less.

Ratatat does something cool with video in their live show. They project scenes from old movies and psychedelic images manipulated and spliced to go with the songs. I believe this music video is the same video they use when they play the song live. So this is really a little slice of their live show.

Its a throwback video to go with their throwback sounding song. Ratatat uses cheesy explosion scenes that move with the beat from the movie Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even cooler, it features Predator-vision! Share/Bookmark

Saturday, March 20, 2010

tUnE-yArDs - Real Live Flesh

I really dig this Merrill Garbus character. She is tUnE-yArDs. She got her start in a band called Sister Suvi, but this solo project with a ukulele slays me. The album has an amazing song that is partly in Swahili called Hatari, but unfortunately there is no music video.

This new song that isn't on the album is the first official music video released by Garbus. Merrill and two friends dress up and do some poses in front of a camera in someones apartment. It is quite simple but it is cute and the song is stellar. Share/Bookmark

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jacuzzi Boys - Island Avenue

Since South by Southwest is going on, I figured I should post a video from a band that is there.

Jacuzzi Boys, a terrible name for a great new band. They play a sort lofi psychedelic beach rock. They come from Miami, Florida, which may explain the name and the flavor. Their new album No Seasons is one of my favorite of the year so far. It made me feel like I was walking down a boardwalk in the unbearable heat, a feat not to be underestimated as I was battling the near zero temperatures of a Minnesota winter.

Their video of low-grain home video of the coast saturated with a bright sun complements the music perfectly. Its getting me excited for the summer. Share/Bookmark

Thursday, March 18, 2010

RIP Alex Chilton of The Box Tops and Big Star

Alex Chilton died today of a heart attack. You may not recognize his name, but you have heard his music. Throughout his nearly sixty year music career, he has not made a single music video, so his live performances will have to suffice.

Chilton started early. At 16 years old, he recorded international number one hit with his band the Box Tops. In a year that Beatles, The Doors, and Rolling Stones were dominating the charts, The Box Tops' first hit, The Letter, stayed number #1 for over a month, all while Chilton was still in high school. Here is a performance on an early music television show. Alex Chilton is the lead singer.

In the 70s, Chilton did some solo work and then joined a pop rock group called Big Star. They released two albums through an independent label called Stax. Unfortunately Stax had some distribution issues due to a failed contract signed with CBS and legal issues due to an owner being arrested for bank fraud charges. Eventually Stax went bankrupt and was bought out by another indie label called Fantasy records.

Unfortunately, Big Star was never really given a chance to become big stars (I am sure I am not the first to make that pun). Their first two albums were not widely promoted or distributed and their third album got shelved by the new label.

Four years later, the first two albums were re-released and the third album, called Third/Sister Lovers finally came out. Their popularity was ramping up and the third album got great reviews. But soon after the third album's release, unfortunate circumstances again set the band back. Founding member and long-time friend of Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, died in a freak car accident.

In 1993, the band reunited to play a set for spring music festival at the University of Missouri. The show was a success and the performance was released a live record. They toured for a year and disappeared once again.

Here is a song from that live show at the University of Missouri.

In 2005, Big Star released the final album. It was no record breaker, but it was good. In the recent years they stuck around. They had been playing more shows and festivals, releasing old albums and a box set. At least Big Star was beginning to get more widespread recognition for their contribution to music before Alex Chilton passed.

The music of Big Star has influenced several generations of music. REM claimed that Big Star was one of their biggest influences. Three decades of musicians from a range of genres have covered Big Star songs including Cheap Trick, The Bangles, This Mortal Coil, Garbage, Superdrag, Elliot Smith, and Wilco.

Big Star's most famous song is In the Street, even though most people have no idea that it is Big Star that wrote it. It was on their first album, but it didn't gain popularity until much later. Here is a clip of them singing it on The Tonight Show at the height of their stardom in 1993. You probably know the Cheap Trick cover version from the intro for That 70's Show.

I will leave you with a short piece from one of the most important music shows on MTV, 120 Minutes, back when MTV was relevant before it became a reality television network. Alex Chilton walks around a graveyard with an acoustic guitar, playing a bluesy song and two of his songs from The Box Tops.

RIP Alex Chilton.

ZWNN9G7742SJ Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meatloaf - I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)

Jim Steinman is the king of the overly dramatic, epic ballad. He outdoes "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in length and campyness. This album version of the song is actually 12 minutes long.

The video version is cut down to less than 8 minutes, but its jammed pack with ridiculous costumes and nonsensical symbolism. The video is a mix between Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, and a romance novel. Meatloaf plays the Beast/Phantom, pining after the Beauty/Christine, who apparently is having an elicit affair with herself. Then for some unknown reason, the police break in. The couple sort of hug and Meatloaf turns in a man. Just about when the evil detective swoops in with his coppers, the couple escapes on a motorcycle.

The best part, the music video is directed by Michael Bay. Yes Michael Bay of Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and Transformers: travesty 1, 2 and soon to be 3. The man who told his script writers not to write action scenes, but instead just write "Blow Stuff Up" and he would fill in the blanks. Michael Bay's schlocky, incoherent, style has dominated action films for the past decade. Using choppy clips and close-ups of fast action, the audience is fooled into believing something substantial is going on. There is no need for detail or continuity because it is all just a blurry mess of pixels. However, with Avatars intricately crafted world and meticulously constructed action scenes, Michael Bay's style of action is hopefully on its way out.

Thankfully, there is none of that in this video. Instead the schlock is endearing and you can't help but yell out the lyrics in an operatic voice.


On yet another side note, this song is famously misunderstood. The grand question: What is the thing that Meatloaf won't do? This song has puzzled listeners and inspired millions to speculate what weird sex act Meatloaf wouldn't perform for love.

The answer is actually in the lyrics. He says the things we won't do in the line before he says "And I would do anything for love." So, for the record, here are all the things that Meatloaf won't do (for love)

1. He'll never forget the way you feel right now
2. He'll never forgive himself if you and him don't go all the way tonight
3. He'll never do it better than he does it with you
4. He'll never stop dreaming of you every night of his life
5. He'll never see that it's time to move on
6. He'll never, sooner or later, be screwing around

I guess instead of avoiding some weird sex act, he is going to develop a creepy obsession with you and never leave you alone. Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart

Ninjas are always a great addition to a music video.

"Total Eclipse of the Heart" is a staple of 1980's music and high school anti-drug lock-ins. This is Bonnie Tylers only real hit. She some success with a couple of song on film soundtracks, but nothing matched the epic power of this song or the epic volume of her hair.

The song was written by Jim Steinmann, the genius songwriter behind Meatloaf's Bat out of Hell 1 & 2 including the twelve minute version of "I'd Do Anything for Love (but I won't do that)". Yes Meatloaf. Jim Steinmann has a habit of writing long epic hits.

Along with ballerina ninjas, this video features food fights and flying choir boys with glowing eyes. Its perfect. If this video doesn't make you happy, nothing will. (Witticism credit to Ani Loizzo) Share/Bookmark

Monday, March 15, 2010

Die Antwoord - Enter the Ninja

Alright, new week, time to get out of the 90's

"Enter the Ninja" just came out a month ago and it already has over two million views on YouTube. Because of the popularity of the video, they just signed with Interscope and they are releasing a full length album. Also, Neil Blomkamp, the director of last year's South African action film hit "District 9," will be directing their new video. That is a pretty impressive feat for a rap group that no one has ever heard of. This video has turned some working class Afrikaners with prison tattoos and bad haircuts into stars.

The initial feeling I got from the video is that this is a joke, but a joke it is not. The head of rap ensemble, Ninja, is serious about his music. Ninja lives in a poor neighborhood in South Africa with his mom, next door to the "butterfly" in the video, Yo-Landi Vi$$er (she lives with her grandmother). They may have some odd, comical moments in the video and the song, but they are serious about their music.

A couple factors go into making this video successful. Ninja is a really skilled rapper. Not only is he quick and smooth, there are hints of brilliance in his lyrics. Although there is a bit of glitz and production, there is also a raw, unpretentious, unashamed layer that is really endearing. It straddles the area between off-putting and appealing.

Some of the strangeness comes in part from director David Lynch, the king of weird. Ninja says in an interview with that Twin Peaks changed his life:

I used to smoke a lot of weed," Ninja says. "Then I got my hands on a David Lynch Twin Peaks box set, and I watched the whole thing in one sitting, and it blew my mind. Special Agent Dale Cooper said something about pot being bad for you, and that convinced me that maybe I shouldn't smoke pot anymore. All of this now might be a little harder to take if I were.

In the interview, Ninja also indicates that he had meeting with David Lynch after the interview. Hopefully he wants to direct a video. Share/Bookmark

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins - The End of the Beginning of the End

Speaking of the bad movie soundtrack music video, this one wins wins an award.

The Smashing Pumpkins were at the height of their popularity, between the release of "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" and "Adore."  They released a handful of synth-driven electronic/industrial pop songs on soundtracks and compilations.  The songs were a departure from their more eclectic rock style and everyone thought the next album would sound the same.

"The End is the Beginning is the End" is one of these singles, released for the epically terrible "Batman and Robin" movie.  The song is pretty good for 90's rock and it actually won a Grammy in 1998.  But as the with movie, the music video is epically terrible.

The band plays over sized gothic instruments in a giant computer generated Batman cowl.  Hilarious scenes of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze pop up behind Billy Corgan's head as he is trying scream out his angst y lyrics.  It is a travesty.

Billy Corgan was at his peak when this song was released and it marked the beginning of the beginning of the end. Share/Bookmark

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Marcy Playground - Comin' Up From Behind

Ahh, the movie soundtrack music video.  Half music video, half movie trailer.  For the most part, these songs and music videos disappear into the commercial music graveyard.  Sometimes with good reason.

This video is no different.  It is confused.  The music video has the surreal symbolism that is present in many 90's music videos.  The scene with John Wozniak painting random sketched on a wall with a Chinese calligraphy brush feels like a 80's goth band video using black and white and shadows, but then cut to Reese Witherspoon in sunglasses?

"Comin Up From Behind" was originally released on their second album, but then released as a single the the cultish teen thiriller "Cruel Intentions."  The movie starred Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillipe as rich social lights having sex and then stabbing each other in the back.  It was The Hills of the late 90's, except it didn't pretend to be reality.  The video is trying to good and mesh with the movie, but as it usually goes, it fails on both ends.


Like Weezer, Marcy Playground's second album was a more grown-up, more personal album that never matched up the success of the first.  Their song/video "Sex and Candy" etched their name into 90's music history, but the rest of their music was a little too weird and off the cuff to really remain music stars.

The second album was called "Shapeshiter" and was much more diverse and experimental than their self-titled album.  The first single off of the album called "Its Saturday" had a yodeling chorus, and it wasn't the best pick for a single.  The album has the feel of a mid 2000 indie release.  Perhaps it was just a little ahead of its time.

"Comin' Up From Behind" is also on "Shapeshifter."  It has a feel that connects back to a style of music from the past that I just can't grasp.  The odd, dissonant bass that drives the song reminds me of a couple Tom Waits songs, but there is something else there.  Does anyone else here it? Share/Bookmark

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weezer - El Scorcho

Anamanguchi and Ok Go are just two of the many bands that 90's Weezer helped inspire.

El Scorcho is the only single off of the album Pinkerton, and the follow up to the wildly successful "Buddy Holly" video, but I doubt you have ever seen it.

Their video for "Buddy Holly" turned them from stars into superstars.  It is one of the most well-known music videos.  It was even on the Windows 95 installation CD.

While "Buddy Holly" was a popular song, the music video stole much of the spotlight.  For "El Scorcho," Rivers Cuomo wanted to make a video that didn't distract from the music.  Instead, this video is created to complement the music, primarily with  lights.

I remember not liking it much the first time I saw it, but have a new appreciation for it.  Either way, El Scorcho is one of the best Weezer songs. Share/Bookmark

Friday, March 5, 2010

Anamanaguchi - Blackout City

I am a little obsessed with 8-bit chiptune music and Anamanaguchi is my favorite. They use a hacked Nintendo (NES) and a Gameboy as synths, but unlike most chiptune, they also they use guitar, bass and drums. Swoon.

Ok Go - This Too Shall Pass

Damian Kulash, the lead singer from Ok Go wrote up on oped piece in the NY Times last week about corporate record labels, music videos, and YouTube. Their music video "Here It Goes Again" was a viral video for a while, but their label EMI has prohibited its distribution and the ability to embed because they get a fraction of a fraction of a cent for each view at YouTube.

Kulash feels the popularity of their treadmill video was due in part because people posted links and embedded the video on their blogs and Facebook. He recognizes the importance of record companies in funding music, but their short-sighted squabbles over pennies is a sign of their growing obsolescence.

Well, as you can tell, they made an impact. The record company has allowed them to embed their new video: an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine. You remember these from such great classics as the opening scene of "Back to the Future" and the board game "Mouse Trap." Go OK Go.