Friday, June 27, 2008

I've Seen Rivers

I just wanted to do a quick post about an indie hip-hop duo I've been listening to a lot of this year. Nicolay & Kay are a rapper from Houston (Kay) and a producer from the Netherlands (Nicolay) who put out a concept album this year called Time:Line, which over the course of 13 songs loosely follows a character from his birth, to coming of age, to being killed by gunfire, to hanging out in the afterlife. Kay has great song ideas and knows how to tell a good story (which make up for him not necessarily being the most versatile MC in the world), and is very well supported by Nicolay's beats, which owe something to hip hop producers like J Dilla, but also have the echoes of Boards of Canada style electronic music around the fringes. I'm surprised by how little attention this album has gotten, I think it's a really beautiful collection of songs. Below is one of my favorites:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

First Half of 08

I’ve been thinking about posting this for a bit and now’s a good time I guess. Year is just about half over, so I am intrigued – what albums have been your favorites of the year so far? Nothing official here, just curious how the year end lists are looking at this point.

For me, there are 4 things I’ve been seriously digging so far:

-Real Emotional Trash – Totally great and rocking. Love the jams, and reminds me why I loved Pavement so much.

-Vampire Weekend – Didn’t like these guys at all when I first heard them, but this album really snuck up on me. I can tell that it doesn’t have huge replay value, but for now, I’m enjoying it tremendously.

-Lie Down in the Light – My first serious exposure to Mr. Oldham, and it’s a beautiful thing.

-Soldier On EP – I think Tex sold this a bit short in his initial post about it. This is GREAT stuff I think. Certainly Trees is the highlight, but it’s all really fantastic beautiful stuff. Really the pointless Plasticities remix is the only thing I don’t love.

Before the year is out I know I need to hear the new Nick Cave and that recent Dennis Wilson re-issue (Kittybrains – your thoughts on that one?)

So, that’s where I’m at so far this year. You?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Filled With Dread

Above is the cover art that iTunes assigned to my copies of Led Zeppelin I and How The West Was Won.
Add this to the list of things I think are funny at 12:20am.
Also, add Dread Zeppelin's relative success to that list.

Quiz Time:
What other bands besides Led Zeppelin has had more than one nationally or internationally prominent cover/parody bands?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lil Wayne Lives Up to the Hype

After a few listens, I'm ready to say that Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne's newest album, is better than my wildest expectations, and is a huge step forward for him as an artist, miles beyond any album he's released before. He's done exactly what I'd always hoped, but didn't dare to believe he'd do: he's largely stepped out of the gangster, crack dealer posturing that has always made it impossible for me to make it through an entire Lil Wayne album in one sitting, and has created a complicated, inventive, nuanced pop masterpiece.

For longtime fans of his misogyny and mindnumbing violence, he throws a few bones here and there, and there is of course the incredibly irritating "Lollipop" song, but most of the album goes places Wayne has never gone before: a vulnerable and heartfelt ode to his hometown of New Orleans, a couple of shockingly inoffensive and entertaining love songs, inventive concept songs about such things as being a hip-hop doctor, a space alien, and lusting after a lady cop, all backed by awesome, r&b based beats from Kanye West and others.

Wayne is "Lil" for a reason: he's been recording since he was a kid, and is still a very young artist, only 25 years old now. I hope that this album bodes well for a long, fascinating career from an artist who looks as though he's no longer content to throw away his immense talents on the same tired nihilistic themes gangsta rappers have been beating into the ground for years.


Let's turn the clock back all the way to 2001 and revisit a band that I liked at the time, forgot about, and recently rediscovered: Owls. This is a band that features the Kinsella brothers from Illinois. Tim is best known as the singer of Joan of Arc and Mike records under the moniker Owen (and before that, American Football.) They also played together in Cap'n Jazz, a short-lived band that indie critics absolutely love to namedrop.

Anyway, Tim is notoriously erratic and inconsistent in his output. He performed one of the worst shows I've ever seen in my life at the Empty Bottle in the spring of Senior Year. TexPlush knows this-- he was there. Kinsella arrived drunk and spent most of his time playing with a volume pedal and cussing out fans who started heckling him after he'd gone 10 minutes without playing an actual song. Ringing endorsement, right?

But that side of Tim doesn't get out on the Owls record because everything his kid bro Mike touches turns to gold. So this album, which features Tim on vocals and Mike on drums, is really solid and brings out my favorite aspects of the brothers' music. Also recommended is anything Mike records as Owen or American Football.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


I just got an update from the Waylon Jennings website newsletter, and I thought it was worth posting.
A couple years back I ordered multiple Waylon Jennings bumper stickers, for a reason that I will not bother to recount at this time, and since then I have received a few of these newsletters. Until tonight I have never given them any attention, but something about this one caught my eye and I have now reread it several times, each time with much enjoyment.
Enjoy -

HooooAhhhhh Waylon Army!
At long last we will be launching the redesigned website late Sunday night. The new will feature music to listen to, videos to watch, and the center of it all will be the waylonpedia section. This section will be enhanced and improved by each and every one of you. I'm going to enlist few experts to really get this thing going.... like Jeff, Howard and Jim to name a few. If you 3 guys would phone me on the waylon phone that would be awesome. Anyway, we'll have a brand new blog/forum and hopefully and place that will grow in space and grow into the world's foremost knowledge base of all things waylon. That means the center of the stinkin musical universe. I'm hoping it will include how he changed the music industry, stories of his incredible personal and musical integrity and some dang good music. The polos and the denim shirts and a brand new 'prison tattoo' t-shirt will be available. I'll be able to offer all kinds of special sales, lower shipping, tracking info emails etc. etc. I hope it works.

In the meantime, if things go to hell in a hand basket, I have parked the current design of onto That site will be there for a short time with everything except e-commerce. The current forum will still be there just in case. I don't totally trust technology quite yet. Look for a sister site at based on the greatest friendship in musical history. I'm looking to launch that one in September -- but I am an optimist.

Anyway, please be patient and check out on Monday morning bright and early to see if I look like a fool. We will be keeping the same phone number for now...240-285-2700 but our new email contact will

Thanks for your patience... I think it's going to be really cool as this thing progresses.


cya Monday


ps -- type in WGJ to save %20 for the next 18 hours or so on the old site!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Pitchfork vs. Obama

So thanks largely to Q I've become sucked in to reading Pitchfork reviews and sometimes gettuing angry about them. I contemplated posting about yesterday's Radiohead review, which was yet anolther in the LONG line of "rock is dead" stupid reviews (seriously, how long has that been going on? Drop it already), but decided against it. But now, here's something that really got my goat. From today's review of the new Erykah Badu:

"The American media and public have spent a fair bit of the past months being fascinated and appalled by various remarks from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, of Chicago. Those months have also seen a fairly warm critical reception for Erykah Badu's terrific new album-- one whose notions and ideologies sometimes come from the same nexus as Wright's. Badu's theology is different, of course: more personal, more scattered, less Christian, laced with Five-Percenter notions. And Badu salutes Farrakhan explicitly, rather than just nodding politely across the South Side. But there's an odd echo in her wording on that one: "I salute you, Farrakhan/ Because you are me." Less than a month after this record's release, Wright's most notable acquaintance was describing the reverend as someone who "contains within him the contradictions-- the good and the bad-- of the community.... I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." He is me? Until he hits the press club, anyway."

OK, so what the hell is going on here? It seems that what they are saying is that Badu is embracing the anger and tricky politics of men like Wright and Farrakhan, while Obama disowns them. That last line in particular (Until he hits the press club) really paints Obama as truly disowning these ideas. And yet, Obama's main speech about this issue - the speech that this review quotes directly from - refutes that point. They REPRINT the quote where Obama says that he can NOT disown Wright and disown his ideas, then they condemn Obama for doing just that? I mean, serioulsy, are they stupid? Can they not read? It seems crystal clear that Obama could have completely thrown Wright under the bus and saved himself a lot of headache, but he chose to talk about the feelings in the black community and to won those feelings. He chose to say, essentially, he is me. Just as Badu says. And yet, for some unknown reason, Pitchfork decides to skewer him.

And why? To what aim? Is it jsut that they think it's kewl to insult politicians? This whole thing leaves me baffled and angry.

And this doesn't even get into the final paragraph of their review where they rally against reviewers who say all black music must be about gund, violence, etc. Which is a good idea, but you know... Pot. Kettle. Black.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Radiohead Teen Idols!

I was just reminded of this song, which is one of the more enjoyably catchy Cure/U2-esque albums from-- the, I would submit, almost underrated-- Pablo Honey:

But check out that video! Look at all of them being all skinny and floppy haired (and in some cases, not bald!). Colin Greenwood, especially, had perfected that disaffected gothy stare while he played bass. And look how much happier Ed O'Brien must have been to be striking guitar hero poses with an open button-down shirt than he must be now, playing sundry percussion instruments during Thom and Johnny's electro-experiments. The less said about Thom Yorke's Kurt Cobain bleached blonde long hair, the better. Johnny Greenwood, of course, looks and plays exactly the same. Nice to know some things aren't as susceptible to change.