I’m curious if the musician behind the Trash McSweeney alias dissociates from reality whenever he morphs into his idiosyncratic performer’s role.
Or, from a different point of view, whether or not the McSweeney persona is actually a commune of fragmented, detached personalities it has encountered over its lifespan and subsequently absorbed into some scattered, diffused on-stage character.
An argument could be made that the man behind the Trash figure has a roaring case of dissociative identity disorder to complement his synesthesia. When looking back at all the characters, elaborate stage settings, artistic canvases (human and non-human), and theatrical thematic material The Red Paintings have cultivated and performed with over the years, Trash might just very well be The Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (or some other vile character from the deepest, darkest recesses of Dr. Seuss’s mind). Oscillating to-and-fro from the aquatic to the extraterrestrial to a Japanese flair with the geisha costumes, and then incorporating elements of all three paradigms on the band’s current tour with Mindless Self Indulgence (later slated to be The Pineapple Thief when they arrive in the UK), there is a palpable bit of madness exhibited here. Look no further than the hundreds (okay, maybe “tens”) of separate Facebook pages the man’s currently operating devoted solely to this record (examples here, here, here, and here — in order, the band’s Facebook page, his personal artist page, the The Revolution is Never…
Right when I start to think the forthcoming album should be renamed to something along the lines of This Record is Never Coming, Trash McSweeney and his merry band continue to release teaser after teaser that The Revolution is Never Coming is actually going to see the light of day sometime in 2013 (as opposed to the heavily-rumored 2010, 2011, and/or 2012 release dates).
Trash may have tone-to-color synesthesia, but just imagine how much I’d have to curb my anticipation if he had triskaidekaphobia.
All kidding aside, I’m looking forward to seeing them on their Chinese Whispers tour in April (the band is currently touring the United States after spending the latter part of 2012 in Europe), and keep your fingers crossed that I’ll be able to have a chat with the band prior to the gig. Their live shows are one-of-a-kind, and while I can’t promise that I’ll be a human canvas (the dude version of Lane Bryant wouldn’t want me to model for them, no matter how much they airbrush the hell out of my pasty ass), I can guarantee you that I’ll be obscenely geeked to watch them perform.
“Rain” is today’s track of the day, but it is the re-recorded version found on the forthcoming The Revolution is Never Coming. Similar to how the band revamped the immensely popular “The Streets Fell Into My Window”, their new “Rain” arrangement is characterized…
Why is Santa’s sack so big? He only comes once a year.
(Much like my review publishing rate in 2012, evidently.)
I think it goes without saying that my musical authority on this site has the approximate utility value of a glass hammer or a chocolate teapot, but I digress. It’s a bit of fun creating these individual year-end lists and collaborating with the staffers on the site’s year-end Best of 2012 list (maybe I can give some prizes away for guessing the staffers’ Top 5 or Top 10 for those interested — let me know if there’s any interest).
2012 was a really strange year for yours truly, with a lot of good and a lot of not-so-good, but I’m thankful that the year happened and I’m looking forward to 2013.
Before diving into my Top 25 of 2012, I want to encourage you to stream the music enclosed with each release if you haven’t already heard the records here. If what’s here piques your interest, then I hope you seek out the albums and support the artists by purchasing their records via whatever method you choose.
I wish you all good luck and good health this holiday season heading into 2013, and I certainly hope that your College Bowl Pick’Em Confidence picks are faring better than mine are currently (thanks for nothing, Fresno State).
All the best, everybody! But first, five runners-up to precede my Top 25 of 2012 list.
In fighting for an open Internet (especially in the face of threats such as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, and so on), entrepreneurs such as Alexis Ohanian — who once upon a time co-founded reddit and created Breadpig in 2008, an organization he describes as “an uncorporation that deals in delightful geeky wares and helps people helping the world” — have decided to flex their proverbial muscle and do something about such injustices. Upon seeing Lester’s story, Ohanian asserts that individuals around the world have an incredible opportunity to help support artists in the digital realm.
The two men met in April 2012, with Lester participating in a reddit Ask Me Anything around this time to tell his story and shed light on the corruption and tyranny of the record industry as he understood it. Lester’s story served as a catalyst to get him back in the studio to record another album.
With Breadpig, profits are disseminated to individuals and corporations that “make the world less sucky”, and the “uncorporation” spends its time “discovering and promoting fascinating technology, hacks, and ideas from all over the world” that are inspirational and impressive. Lester is now writing a new record, entitled Lester’s Time Has Come in an effort to not only rekindle his faith and trust in others’ vested interest…
Suppose you were knocked unconscious on December 31st, 2011, knowing that this would be the last time you’d see Dick Clark ring in a New Year with you:
RIP, old friend.
… and you went through all of 2012 in a 320+ day Rip Van Winkle-like coma, missing out on all that 2012 would bring with pop music, for good and for ill:
But then you miraculously wake up just to spite the Mayans or something, and decide that you need an eight-minute crash-course on 2012 Pop Music (for whatever reason).
Vancouver-based artist Daniel Kim (Facebook) strives to create such mash-ups every year. The process is supremely labor-intensive, and he provides a brief, engaging overview of his process on his blog, The Gift of OCPD.
The mash-up is available below:
His alphabetical list of inclusions:
1. Adele – “Set Fire To The Rain”
2. Adele – “Skyfall”
3. Alex Clare – “Too Close”
4. Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo – “Let’s Go”
5. Carly Rae Jepson – “Call Me Maybe”
6. Cher Lloyd – “Want U Back”
7. Chris Brown – “Don’t Wake Me Up”
8. Chris Brown – “Turn Up The Music”
9. Christina Aguilera – “Your Body”
10. David Guetta feat. Chris Brown & Lil Wayne – “I Can Only Imagine”
11. David Guetta…
Ten quick things about Friday’s The Gaslight Anthem gig at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit, Michigan (if you clicked this just to see the setlist, feel free to skip to the bottom):
1. This was a Gaslight-only gig. The Detroit date was added after the tour kicked off, which saved me a trip to Grand Rapids (they will be playing there on Monday, future dates can be accessed [here]). Initially, it was a bummer that neither supporting act was present, but singer/guitarist Brian Fallon announced that Hot Water Music were playing a gig a few blocks away and that we could get half-off tickets into that venue if we furnished our Gaslight ticket at the door. Plus, as you’ll read later, the Detroit gig was, without question, a one-of-a-kind show, so I wasn’t too devastated that it was just them.
2. Since Handwritten’s release, especially when the band were hitting their TV gigs, I’ve read a lot of mostly-negative opinions about Ian Perkins playing live with the band. Questions like “Is that third guitar REALLY necessary?” and his uncredited addition to the band being deemed “excessive” and “superfluous” could be construed as plausible, but after seeing the band play as a quintet, I was thoroughly impressed by Perkins’ stage presence. Rocking his trademark black flat cap on his scruffy, chiseled-out-of-granite dome, Perkins appeared comfortable and confident, and even allowed himself to express some nervous laughter when Fallon poked fun at his Horrible Crowes counterpart and put the…
Just a few hours ago, Sesame Street’s official YouTube channel posted a video of Cookie Monster spoofing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.
Weeks ago, I couldn’t tell you a thing about her or that song other than that I’d hear it at least 42 times a night, no thanks to the TouchTunes machine that the bar I work at has.
I’ve heard various rumors about the track (e.g. “The guy she gives her number to is actually gay and she doesn’t realize it” has been my personal favorite so far), but there’s no denying that it has all the required pop sensibilities necessary to be a catchy summer pop hit.
However, what confused me at first is that it was Cookie Monster covering the song. Mercifully, I don’t have kids, so I’m a little out of the loop when it comes to all things en vogue with the kids these days (did Dora ever find Diego?), but didn’t Cookie Monster turn into a dieting aficionado and become the Veggie Monster?
I GOT 99 COOKIES 'CAUSE A BITCH ATE ONE
I never understood that image, anyway. If he became the Veggie Monster, why is there fruit on his table? I digress.
So, despite Jepsen being Canadian, Cookie Monster has, in true American tradition, kicked his diet, serving as the poster monster for embracing childhood obesity.
In New York City’s Grand Central Station, right outside the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, the underpass possesses a peculiar charm. At this particular location, four archways of resplendent Guastavino tile provide a unique listening opportunity, especially after midnight, when foot traffic is at its lowest. Stand at one corner of the underpass, and have someone in your traveling party stand at the opposite corner, which is about thirty feet or so away from you. Step so that your face is within inches of the walls and begin whispering. Whisper something, anything, and sit in silence for a few moments. If your compatriot plays along, you’ll hear him/her reply clear as day, as if he/she is standing right next to you.
The so-called whispering gallery (Grand Central Station isn’t unique to having one; it’s just my personal favorite since I don’t foresee me dropping in on St. Paul’s Cathedral in London anytime soon, and the effect at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry isn’t as impressive) is a delightful phenomenon. Hearing the whispers seemingly shoot off the walls and traverse the concave ceiling is a haunting, alluring effect, which brings us to our tracks of the day.
We last heard from Digital Daggers in 2010 with their debut EP, Human Emotion. It was an auspicious debut, with soothing, gorgeous instrumentation complemented by mollifying, radiant vocal melodies. Throughout the new record, entitled The Devil Within, multi-layered vocals and effect-laden guitars filter in and out of each channel,…
Can I just skip the token introduction about how we’ve made it another year?
I mean, shit, am I the only one who WASN’T in that fucking New Year’s Eve movie?
If I know our readership (and trust me, with all the reported posts I’ve had to moderate this year and spam I’ve had to clean up, I believe that I do in more ways than I’d care to mention), you couldn’t care less about [these awesome things that happened to me] and [these shitty things that happened to me] and you just want to get right to the list.
The fact that you’re reading this sentence implies that you might actually look at my list before scoffing at it, so it’s with the utmost sincerity that I say, “Thanks!”
Obviously, there’s going to be a lot of “Well, no shit, it’s a Jom list…” picks on here; however, if, by chance, you stumble across an artist you haven’t yet heard, I encourage you to read my ramblings and listen to the stream provided for each record. I’m not promising that you’ll love it, but my goal is for you to have an understanding as to why it made it onto my list.
To conclude, I wish you all the best, with good luck and good health in 2012; at least, until the zombie Mayans come back from the dead to fuck our shit up.
Pictured: what happens when you Superman the wrong ho.
In what’s arguably the most bizarre (and strangely adorable) collaborations of the summer, indie dance duo Matt and Kim, the swagalicious Soulja Boy, and the Godfather of Partying Andrew WK recently took part in Converse’s “Three Artists. One Song.” campaign, spawning the so-called ‘party anthem to kick off the end of summer’, entitled “I’m a Goner.”
Just scroll down to the song if you are not in a story-reading mood.
This is going to be kind of a sob story, so I’ll try to keep it brief in the interest of not turning this into a pathetic Xanga entry.
When I was in junior high, my parents thought it was a brilliant idea to move to a new city without bracing me for the move. For any twelve year-old, that can be pretty devastating, and sure, thanks to Facebook and things like that I keep in contact with my ‘old’ friends, but I had a bit of a tough time readjusting to my new surroundings because, as a socially-awkward adolescent at the time, I didn’t exactly have the gift of gab to make friends easily.
WHAT UP, BITCHES! You guys wanna play some POGS?
However, I did make one immediate friend right away — for the sake of this story, I’ll call her Beth. She was a grade higher than me, and while it’s seriously frowned upon to talk to kids in lower grades, she never treated me any differently. Unfortunately, she went off to high school while I wrapped up junior high, and her parents got into a colossally-shitty divorce. She wound up moving a couple counties away with her dad while her mom and brother continued to live next door. I had no idea where she went because it was that…
Greetings and salutations, friends and acquaintances.
Life’s been pretty hectic lately (attending your buddies’ bachelor parties kicks ass; I highly recommend it) and I know I haven’t written anything that doesn’t suck in awhile (if ever — HEY OHHHHH), so I’m not really gonna bore you to tears. Instead, I wanted to pass along something that’s caught my ear (and later, my eyes, which’ve recently been Lasik’d in all their glory).
Today’s catch o’ the day (or whatever you wish to call it — I wanted to incorporate Trap Door somehow but I like Berk too much as a friendly blue blob…) is by an Adelaide-based group known as the Funkoars; the song is called “Where I Am”. Unsurprisingly, they have a tight connection with Hilltop Hoods and are part of the Aussie hip-hop conglomerate known as the Certified Wise crew: sixteen South Aussie artists collaborating, producing, and appearing as guests on one another’s works. You may remember Trials’ guest verse on “The Light You Burned,” for instance, or his producing credits on Drapht’s Brothers Grimm record.
“Where I Am” will be featured on the group’s fourth LP, The Quickening, slated for a September 16th release through Golden Era Records. The…
For those of you already dreading that some random bloke named Kaz (operating under the moniker Redlight King, named after the so-called ‘tree’ that kicks off a drag race) is going to butcher a Neil Young classic, fear not, as it’s not a cover song.
Hell, it’s not even about a ranch hand who looked after some cows. It is a rather heartfelt tribute to his father, a schoolteacher by day and a stock car racer at night (“The life he demanded / Kept us all in a struggle / When he ruled with his fist / It kept us all out of trouble,” writes Kaz, before jokingly relaying that there are no father issues).
He has added in recent interviews that his songs on his forthcoming debut “are written about real issues, real experiences. I like to bring listeners in deep, and give them time to look around . . . . [w]riting songs when you’re in a dark place is dangerous. The songs I wrote for this album I won’t write again. I won’t have to. I hope people will be able to connect with it and take from it what they need. It’s about the human condition; in the end, we’re all the same.”
Kaz did ask Mr. Young, however, for rights to sample the song. Rarely one to entertain sample requests, Young (and/or his lawyers) refused multiple times before finally relenting.
See, I just wanted an excuse to post a South Park clip, although everybody knows that Randy Marsh has convincingly overtaken Cartman as being the funniest character on the show.
No, no, it wasn't me – it was a SPOOKY GHOST!
All tangents aside, the review covered Digital Daggers’ debut EP, entitled Human Emotion. Sonically, it sounds a bit like Frou Frou meets Boards of Canada. The group is comprised of Andrea Wasse (The Weekend, not to be confused with newcomer artist The Weeknd) and Space (he of many hats, including his solo effort, Memento, and Kevin Martin & The Hiwatts), the band has garnered a bit of buzz from their covers of “New York New York” (Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra) and “Head Over Heels” (Tears for Fears), not to mention their original tunes being spotted in various television shows (“Surrender” on ‘One Life to Live;’ “No Easy Way” on ‘Nikita’).
Today, I wanted to highlight the title track, which is my personal favorite from the EP.
Digital Daggers – “Human Emotion”
Never again with your human emotions
I won’t take the hate from your heart
I’ll take my chances outside of your kingdom
You know when I stop I won’t start
I long to be where the stars still shine brightly
You know they won’t breathe where…