Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Best fifteen minutes out there?

So it's Christmas Eve and I can't sleep. It must be something. Probably because I haven't been to bed before midnight since Christmas, er Winter (PC), Break began. So it's 11:53 PM and I'm looking through the albums on my computer and I notice something: Group Sex by Circle Jerks is only fifteen minutes long. I've listened to the album before and I knew it had fourteen tracks on it, but I did not have a clue that it was only fifteen minutes long. This has to be genius or something, doesn't it? Let's take a look…

Group Sex was the debut album of Circle Jerks, released in 1980. Circle Jerks were an American hardcore band from southern California.

Now into the album. Group Sex is 933 seconds long. That amounts to fifteen minutes and thirty-three seconds. That is just over one-quarter of an hour.

The longest song on the album is 1:34. The average length of each song on the album is 1:06. The shortest track is twenty-four seconds long.

(Clock reads 12:00 AM. Merry Christmas! Church in twelve hours.)

Now, those of you not familiar with American hardcore must be thinking, "These guys are total slackers, this isn't music." But to me, and hopefully many others out there, this stuff is pure genius. The music is characterized by continuously pounding bass lines and very fast ride cymbal. The lyrics often resemble shouting while the guitar part is just a few power chords put together in a riff and repeated with the occasional solo.

The points of the songs are clear, such as "I Just Want Some Skank" and "Don't Care." Others like "World Up My Ass" are just creative.

In my opinion, the American hardcore and punk scenes from the early 1980's are vastly underrated. When punk is brought up, people usually immediately think of Johnny Rotten and the British punk from the 1970's or Blink-182 and today's "punk." (Sorry to break this to you. It's not punk. None of it is. Punk is dead. If punk was still alive, these guys would be in the back of their vans making album inserts and packaging their albums. But they aren't. They have people to do that for them. People will always have people to do that for them. No more punks, in the music sense of the word. End rant. Sorry about that.) Revolutionary bands such as Black Flag, Bad Brains, and Minor Threat aren't thought of. In reality, these are the unruly youths who cleared the way for Green Day, Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, and all the other crap out there. Little rant there, but ok.

And now, a review.

Track Listing
1. "Deny Everything" (0:24)
2. "I Just Want Some Skank" (1:09)
3. "Beverly Hills" (1:03)
4. "Operation" (1:29)
5. "Back Against the Wall" (1:34)
6. "Wasted" (0:42)
7. "Behind the Door" (1:25)
8. "World Up My Ass" (1:16)
9. "Paid Vacation" (1:28)
10. "Don't Care" (0:34)
11. "Live Fast Die Young" (1:33)
12. "What's Your Problem" (0:56)
13. "Group Sex" (1:03)
14. "Red Tape" (0:56)

Group Sex fits the American hardcore band stereotype perfectly. Short, fast, to the point cuts that come and go quickly. The album starts out with "Deny Everything," which focuses on being framed and the right of being innocent until proven guilty. The song's twenty-four seconds long. Not that much they can cram in there. "I Just Want Some Skank" is about the speaker of the song who, coincidentally, wants some skank. Can't go wrong there.

"Beverly Hills" focuses on the upper class residents that punks hated so much. The song refers to the residents of Beverly Hills as being "lame" while taking shots at the upper class. The song "Operation" is a little weird. I don't really want to get into it, it's just weird. Really weird, actually. "Back Against the Wall" describes the situation every punk felt they were in. They each felt they were being persecuted for their ideas and lack of conformity. Their backs were against the wall, in essence, and they felt the need to fight back.

"Wasted" is a short little ditty about, you guessed it, being wasted. "Behind the Door" is a bit harder to decipher, but hey, no one really wants to know what goes on behind closed doors. "World Up My Ass" is another song similar to "Back Against the Wall" about punks being told how to act and how they are sick of it. The theme of the album seems to be quite repetitive, but "World Up My Ass" has a cool guitar solo not found anywhere else on the album.

I've never really paid that much attention to "Paid Vacation." I can't find the point to the song. Cool riff and beat to it though. "Don't Care" is pretty simple to figure out however. Can you guess what it's about? "Live Fast Die Young" is not the advice you want to give to young people it seems, but it is the exact mindset of punks in the 1980's. The opening line reads "I don't want to live till I'm 34 / I don't want to die in a nuclear war." The lyrics sing of hopelessness in the era and the seeming doom of the Reagan era.

"What's Your Problem" sings mockingly, "Tell me what's your problem / What you gonna do." Mocks everyone. Ah, the title track, "Group Sex." What's this song about? I think you can guess. The appealing part of this song is the female voices of the chorus shouting "Group sex!" with a spoken word song overtop of it. Probably the best song of the album. "Red Tape" is about red tape and being kept out of certain areas by red tape. The goal of the song seems to be to break down the red tape separating the different social classes.

Well it's late and someone wants to get up and open some presents, so I hope you enjoyed this quick review of a quick album.

Merry Christmas and give it a listen.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Action-Reaction: December 23, 2007

Happy holidays all! Hope you enjoy this week's edition of Action-Reaction. For a little twist, I'll post what song I'm listening to while I write each little thing. Yes, innovative, I know.

Action: Reds trade Hamilton to Rangers for two prospects
Reaction: Josh Hamilton was one of the best stories of 2007 so this move has raised some eyebrows. In 2007, Hamilton batted .292 with 19 home runs and 47 RBIs. The Reds received two top pitching prospects from the Rangers. Moving Hamilton leaves Cincinnati with a hole in centerfield that will either be filled by Ryan Freel or a minor leaguer. Cincinnati filled in the back half of their pitching rotation in acquiring Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera. I think this move definitely helps Cincinnati as pitching is what the Rangers need more than hitting. I would still expect a big year from Hamilton in the hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field.
Song: Smashing Pumpkins – "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"

Action: Barry Bonds voted Story of the Year by the Associated Press
Reaction: Barry is still getting all the attention he wants. He beat out Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy, the Florida Gators, and SpyGate and received 100 out of 146 first place votes. Ah, yes, feed the monster what it wants: attention.
Song: Thurston Moore – "Hang Out"

Action: TO catches 15th touchdown pass
Reaction: Does Andy Reid still have to break out the spandex?
Song: We Are Scientists – "Callbacks"

Action: Schottenheimer in no hurry to make NFL return
Reaction: I don't blame him. After what he went through in San Diego, I'd give him all the time in the world.
Song: Silversun Pickups – "Lazy Eye"

Action: Ledger reveals Marion Jones' doping regiment
Reaction: I found this very interesting, as the saga continues. This totally verifies any doubt that Jones was using during her great Olympic performance. As a runner myself, I felt very letdown by her admission as watching her performance at Sydney 2000 was very inspirational.
Song: Sugarcult – "Riot"

Action: FSU will be short 36 players for Music City Bowl
Reaction: That really has to hurt. If you're betting on Florida St. in this one, I might be inclined to switch wagers over to Kentucky. I say 300+ yards and 3 TDs for Andre Woodson.
Song: Pixies – "Debaser"

Action: Marbury files grievance
Reaction: More in the Knicks saga…
Song: Shellac – "Prayer to God"

Action: Peppers inactive vs. Cowboys
Reaction: This is the first game Peppers has missed since 2002. I really have to hand it to this guy. He is a warrior. His production has fallen off recently, but he is still one the best athletes in the game. He is probably the fastest defensive end I have seen. This was a big impact for the Panthers defense.
Song: "A New England" – Billy Brag

Action: Jets place Coles on IR
Reaction: This seems to cap off the Jets season appropriately. There so many great expectations surrounding this team and they flopped. I was expecting a lot out of Coles for my fantasy team, but the lack of consistency at the quarterback position coupled with nagging injuries held Coles to 55 catches for 646 yards and six touchdowns.
Song: Sonic Youth – "(I Got A) Catholic Block)

Action: Tommy Byrne dies at 87
Reaction: Just take a moment out of your holiday shopping and say a quick prayer for the Byrne family.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Festivus to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Open Letter to the Moderators

Dear Moderators,

I am really pleased with all the positive changes you have made over the past few months, really I am. However, I feel there are two changes I would like to see and that I feel are needed.

First, I propose extending the throwdown deadline to 48 or 72 hours. I classify myself as being notorious for not finishing arguments in allotted time (sorry Cassidy). Having the deadline there gives you the urge to finish it, but 24 hours is unreasonable in my mind. I've already had to forfeit a turn because I missed the deadline of 9:02 PM. I got home from school, changed to go to band practice, got home from band practice for a minute and then went right back out to a wrestling match at my school. I got home at 9:15 PM. I'm not going to let FanNation get in the way of my social life which is what is being done by this 24 hour deadline. I'd like 48 or 72 hours, but not 24. It's too hard when you have a social life.

Second, I would like to see in-group throwdowns added. The perfect guinea pig would be SIFS. The group is large enough (throwdowns barely even get 32 votes anymore either) to have a sufficient voting base and the members are knowledgeable enough to vote on the cases presented, not on the topic. This would be great for tournaments and for the overall morale of participants in throwdowns who feel that people with no knowledge of the subject are affecting the outcome.

Ah, and I have thought of a third: a shared page thing for throwdowns like there is for blogs. Just a few clicks and its sent to a group instead of tedious copying and pasting. This wouldn't really help the spam problem, but it would help prevent our favorite users such as djroxalot from continually FanMailing us individually to look at his arguments (I never do, btw. Nothing against you though).

So yeah, there's a few possible changes you should look at FanNation. Glad I could be of some help. Don't worry, I won't appoint myself to be an official of anything.

Yours truly,

Dr. Cool

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Action-Reaction Lite: December 16, 2007

So I don't have that much time this week for Action-Reaction due to a research paper on the relationship between team payroll and team performance due tomorrow and I still have a substantial amount of work left on it. So I'm bringing everyone Action-Reaction Lite.

Action: The winless Dolphins go for their first win today against the Ravens in Miami.
Reaction: This game seems dead even. Both teams have been playing horribly this year, which gives both a chance to win. I would definitely love to see los Dolfines pull out the victory, but it will be really hard for them. I predict that Willis McGahee will have a big day and that Kyle Boller snaps a seven-game road losing streak in Miami.

Action: The New England Patriots host (I think) the New York Jets today in a rematch of the infamous Week 1 game that led to SpyGate.
Reaction: And to think, I picked the Jets to win that Week 1 game 16-13. This game is going to give new meaning to the phrase "playing until the whistle blows." This is going to be ugly. Jets fans, prepare to see some carnage. I'm going to say the Patriots will break 60 or at least 50 today.

Action: Andy Pettitte admits using hGH to help recover from an injury in 2002. Pettitte says the hGH did not help him.
Reaction: This is where it is going to get tough. We are going to have a bunch of players using this explanation. How is baseball going to determine who is lying and who is not? Even more questions…

Action: Padres trade prospects for Jim Edmonds.
Reaction: Hopefully Edmonds has a clean bill of health and can really produce for the Padres. That's speaking as a Padres fan…

Action: 49ers third-stringer Shaun Hill led the Niners to a 20-13 victory over the Bengals.
Reaction: Glad to see a Maryland alum doing well. Has San Francisco found their quarterback?

So yeah, this is pretty lackluster. Deal with it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Book You Have to Read

I'm taking a break this week of Album of the Week and Band of the Week, so I thought I'd write a little bit about a book I read.

It is generally regarded by music fans and critics that certain albums are untouchable to criticism. Led Zeppelin IV, Tommy, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band are generally put in this category. Well, I have found the book that challenges these sentiments.

Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics asks the burning question: Are these albums as good as advertised? I had always asked myself that question when listening to albums that were regarded as classics that I didn't really dig. I agreed with sentiments posed in this book, but also disagreed with many.

The critics can be a bit critical however. On some occasions, the music is regarded by them as total crap, which is most likely not true.

Kill Your Idols covers the following albums:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys
Smile – The Beach Boys
Tommy – The Who
Kick Out the Jams – The MC5
Sweetheart of the Rodeo – The Byrds
Trout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – Derek and the Dominoes
Untitled ("IV") – Led Zeppelin
Harvest – Neil Young
Exile on Main St. – The Rolling Stones
Desperado – The Eagles
Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd – Lynyrd Skynyrd
GP / Grievous Angel – Gram Parsons
The Best of the Doors – The Doors
The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan
Horses – Patti Smith
Exodus – Bob Marley & the Wailers
Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Ram – Paul & Linda McCartney
Double Fantasy – John Lennon / Yoko Ono
Never Mind the Bollocks . . . Here's the Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols
Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables – Dead Kennedys
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
My Greatest Exes – Various Artists
Imperial Bedroom – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
The Joshua Tree – U2
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back – Public Enemy
Nevermind – Nirvana
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – The Smashing Pumpkins
OK Computer – Radiohead
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Wilco

If you read this book, you have to be tolerant. Some of you diehards out there might get a bit offended by the flaws in the albums being pointed out. I have only heard a few of the albums on the list, and I'm sure some of you have heard most of them. But reading this totally makes you re-examine your opinions on the music. You probably aren't going to like the book, but it is an entertaining and humorous read. Not to mention informative.

Give it a chance. You might like it.

This will never end…

This might be a little premature, but I would have to say the Mitchell Report will be somewhat of a lost cause. I mean, it's great we're getting all this info on steroids and who allegedly did them, but the conspiracy theories are already coming out.

I walked into my first class of the day, religion, and simply said, "Pettite and Clemens" to my religion teacher, who is a diehard Yankees fan. He just shook his head before telling me that Mitchell allegedly has ties to the Red Sox organization and there were no Red Sox implicated in his report. He then said, "Coincidence?" You can't tell me that no member of the Red Sox used steroids.

The steroid scandal will never be over. As much as it pains me to say this, baseball is tainted, probably irreparably. This whole era is dirty. People's stats are inflated because they used steroids. People's stats are deflated because they played against people using steroids. It's a no-win cause for baseball.

We all know what was going on. Guys we liked were juicing. Guys were hated were juicing. Guys we thought were juicing were juicing. Guys we didn't think were juicing were juicing. Guys with big stats were juicing. Guys with no stats were juicing.

I haven't had a chance to read any of the report, and I probably won't read a lot of it, but baseball is shaken to its core. Everyone's reputation is tarnished. The guys whose names were named will start naming more names. This firestorm will take years to quell. It is going to be virtually impossible for anyone to get by without being questioned. Baseball has put itself under a very intense microscope, not even mentioning the dilemma the league is now in.

Do they suspend all named in the report? Do they deny them interest to the Hall of Fame? Do they remove people from the Hall of Fame?

This is a bit of a rant, but the Mitchell Report bogs baseball down even more. The scrutiny is unbearable. This is a crisis. Baseball is in a state of emergency. They need FEMA. I don't think they will be able to really recovery that fully from this. Everyone's feats will always be under scrutiny in this era and in the near future. It's almost like we are going to have to expect that someone will test positive for steroids.

Expect the worst. Hope for the best. That's all we can do now.

Anyway, I hope this made sense to all of you. It doesn't even make that much sense to me right now, but whatever.

What's your take? Do you have any conspiracy theories?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Action-Reaction: 12/9/07

Ah, some good ol Action-Reaction for your Sunday. This week's edition of Action-Reaction is a Baltimore edition, as I am getting all of the stories out of The Baltimore Sun, so I'm sorry for no hyperlinks.

Action: Ravens tackle Jonathon Ogden is leaning towards and will "most likely" retire at the end of the season.
Reaction: It's a shame, since I had warmer feelings towards Ogden than most other Ravens players, but he's a good guy and great player, so it's hard to argue with that. Ogden has been slowed by a toe injury all year, so it appears that age is catching up to him. The Ravens have also lost all seven games Ogden has played in this year.

Action: Tim Tebow wins Heisman Trophy.
Reaction: Meh. I'm not the biggest Tebow fan, but he has been truly great this year, and is not a product of a system (Colt Brennan and June Jones, I'm looking at you). Tebow became the first sophomore to win the award while Darren McFadden finished second (again). This year was probably the hardest one to pick a winner from. All four of them deserved it in some capacity, and all four of them didn't deserve it some way. Still, Tebow was the best choice. If McFadden didn't stumble at the beginning of the season, he would have run away with it. Congrats, Tebow.

Action: Delaware will face Appalachian State in the Division I-AA, I mean FCS Championship Game Friday.
Reaction: Who you got? I think I'll take Appalachian State in this one. I know nothing about FCS teams, but the Mountaineers seem like the safe choice. A-State beat Michigan this year while Delaware beat Navy. I think Appalachian State will take this one, 41-34. Your thoughts?

Action: Marvin Harrison will miss tonight's game against the Ravens.
Reaction: It's a shame that Harrison has been banged up this year. I hope this isn't the beginning of the end for him and that age has not caught up with him.

Action: Reggie Bush will miss Monday night's game at Atlanta due to a partially torn knee ligament.
Reaction: The Saints season just keeps getting worse. The sexy pick for the NFC's representative in the Super Bowl had to recover from a slow start and losing Deuce McAllister for the season. If I were the Saints, as long as I had Bush I would have another good, "real" running back on the roster.

Action: The Denver Broncos have rewarded wide receiver Brandon Stokley with a three-year contract extension.
Reaction: Ok, so he's done something in Denver. He's still not the damn good wide receiver you say he is, CURTIS4BRONCOS. What.

Action: Navy promotes Ken Niumatalolo to head coach.
Reaction: Losing Paul Johnson to Georgia Tech really hurts Navy, but I think Niumatalolo can step in and keep it up. As long as Navy keeps running that triple option, there will be teams that cannot stop them. The only question I have is whether or not Johnson is taking to option to Tech. Anyone know that answer?

Action: Donovan McNabb will start today when the Eagles play host to the Giants.
Reaction: He better not get sacked 12 times again. If he does, well, that's just bad. The Eagles can still take second-place in the division if they win out while the Giants lose their last four. There's still hope!

Action: Rick Pitino still stuck on 499 wins after Louisville loses to Dayton.
Reaction: Well that just sucks for you, Rick Pitino.

So thus ends the December 9, 2007 edition of Action-Reaction. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

DJ’s Band of the Week: 12/2/07-12/8/07

This week's segment focuses on the alternative band Say Anything.

When I first prepared to listen to Say Anything, I automatically expected, in my musical pretentiousness that would not like them at all. I was proven wrong after the first few songs. I'll admit, I am not a big fan of front man Max Bemis' voice, but I warmed to it after a while. I classify Say Anything as the band that I like that I am technically not supposed to like. Granted, the only album I have listened to by them is …Is a Real Boy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the album.

The best part of Say Anything, in my opinion, is the lyrics. At first glance, I got the impression of a band trying too hard and being pretentious, but after a while, I gradually warmed to them. I really like the delivery of all the lyrics. It makes me feel like I am watching the scenes being illustrated in the song, which adds a whole other element to the music. My favorite song would have to be "Admit It!!!" possibly followed by "The Futile."

Say Anything was founded while all the members were in high school. In 2000 they self-released an EP entitled Junior Varsity before also self-releasing their first album, Baseball in 2002. The next year, 2002, they again self-released an EP, this time entitled Menorah\Mejora. Both Baseball and Junior Varsity are out of print.

In 2004, the band was signed to Doghouse Records where they released their third EP, For Sale…. In August 2004, …Is a Real Boy was released. After Say Anything signed with J Records, a division of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, …Is a Real Boy was reissued with a bonus disk entitled …Was a Real Boy in 2006. …Was a Real Boy contains seven of eight songs leaked onto the internet as set under the title of Vs. AIDS Demos. Bemis originally said that the demos were bad music.

In October of 2007, Say Anything released In Defense of the Genre.

So yeah, great band. I put this together pretty quickly, but whatever. Enjoy.

DJ’s Album of the Week 12/2/07-12/8/07

This week's Album of the Week is Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division. I have rated Unknown Pleasures as the second best album I have ever heard.

Album Name: Unknown Pleasures
Album Artist: Joy Division
Release Date: June 15, 1979
Recorded: April 1-17, 1979
Genre: Post-punk
Length: 39:24
Label: Factory
Producer: Martin Hannett, Joy Division

Track Listing
1. "Disorder" (3:31)
2. "Day of the Lords" (4:47)
3. "Candidate" (3:02)
4. "Insight" (4:29)
5. "New Dawn Fades" (4:48)
6. "She's Lost Control" (3:57)
7. "Shadowplay" (3:53)
8. "Wilderness" (2:38)
9. "Interzone" (2:16)
10. "I Remember Nothing" (5:52)

Album Charts
UK Charts - #71 in August 1980
Q magazine, 100 Greatest British Albums Ever - #19
Pitchfork Media, 100 Greatest Albums of the 1970s - #9

All Music Guide – 5/5 stars
Pitchfork – 10/10
Rolling Stone – 4/5 stars
NME – 10/10
Scene Point Blank – 10/10
Robert Christgau – A-

As I said before, I think Unknown Pleasures is the second-best work I have ever heard. The synth-like drums really fit the post-punk era, but compared to other contemporary music, it is quite Spartan, with just drums, guitar, bass, and vocals on most songs. According to legend, producer Martin Hannett recorded this album on the roof of the Stockport studio they were recording at. Hannett, a bit of an eccentric, also dubbed each drum track individually. For those of you who do not understand one bit of the last sentence, Hannett recorded a drum track of just the bass drum. Then another of just snare drum. Then another of just hi-hat. Then another of just cymbals. And so on. It really adds to the experience of listening to the album when you are associated with the legendary aspects of it. The cover art is exactly 100 pulses from the first pulsar ever discovered. I don't know what that means. Care to help me out? Anyway, on to the album…

1. "Disorder" (3:31)
This song starts off with an insane bass riff that is repeated throughout the entire song before being joined by the simple, yet complicated (it's nearly impossible to play) guitar riff. As with most songs, lead singer Ian Curtis sounds distance and almost bored. Near the climax of the song, the guitar switched to chords and there are "whooshing" effects on the bass, adding an almost eerie mood to the song. When I listen to this song in headphones it is almost as if the bass is turned up as high it can go. It feels like a very relaxed song, but once the listener really gets into it can be very, very intense. Unofficial music video here.
My rating: 4.5/5

2. "Day of the Lords" (4:47)
"The Day of the Lords" starts out with an appregiated guitar and an ascending bass line backed by steady drums before Curtis' voice cuts in. This theme continues throughout the entire song. Curtis' vocals become so impassioned in the middle and near the end, they sound like the shouts of a tortured man (which he was), before the guitar finishes with a fitting solo. Live performance here.
My rating: 4/5

3. "Candidate" (3:02)
This song is pretty nondescript in the overall scheme of the album. To me, it sounds basically like Curtis singing a conversation with the guitar distant in the background. Still a good song, but it does not stand at all in the mind.
My rating: 3/5

4. "Insight" (4:29)
"Insight" is one of the more fast-paced songs on the album after a slow start. Actually, the song doesn't really start until about forty seconds in. The sound of an opening door also greets the real beginning of the song, while Curtis sings nostalgically about how he remembers "when we were young." After the chorus is repeated, a sequence of Star Wars-like sounds come in almost as a solo. Curtis' nostalgic tone continues throughout the song, with the song ending with another solo of Star Wars sounds. Great acoustic cover here.
My rating: 3.5/5

5. "New Dawn Fades" (4:48)
This is probably the second or third-best song on the album. The guitar creates a sense of anticipation at the beginning of the song with its riff being played down on the lower strings. The anticipation keeps building until Curtis starts singing, at which point the music becomes dominated by the bass. There's just something about this song that really gets me. The tone and calmness it just brings is amazing. This sounds lame in a way, but I have not realized how great of a song this is until right now as I am listening to it and typing this. The passion exhibited by Curtis is just so overwhelming. This is also the only song where there is a real guitar solo. The guitar solo was featured in a chase scene of the movie Heat, by the way. The song ends with the drums exiting alone off into the distance. Unofficial music video for "New Dawn Fades" featuring scenes from Heat
My rating: 5/5

6. "She's Lost Control" (4:46)
This is the most widely known song off the album, probably because of the constant drums and repeating bass line. The bass line sounds more like it is being played by a guitar. Joy Division was widely regarded as one of the first bands to start playing the bass like a guitar. The guitar enters on the chorus and backs Curtis' lyrics. The constant guitar chords fit the bass line and project very well. Not much else can be said about this song, except it is one of Curtis' best vocal performances, in my opinion. Live television performance here.
My rating: 5/5

7. "Shadowplay" (3:53)
"Shadowplay" is another gem off the album, so much that it has also been covered by The Killers and Silversun Pickups. The guitar creates an uneasy atmosphere while the bass provides undertones. Curtis sounds frantic in his vocals, as though he is looking for someone. The guitar solos seem to contrast against the earlier mood, but they transition, with help from the bass back into the verse quite well. Curtis seems to come to a sense of closure of acceptance at the end of the song, creating a resolution. Live performance here.
My rating: 4.5/5

8. "Wilderness" (2:38)
Another lesser known song, "Wilderness" is more upbeat with a sliding bass riff coupled with the guitar. Basically a story of traveling through the wilderness. This song is still good, but there really isn't anything that sets it apart from other Joy Division songs, making it sadly nondescript. Live performance here.
My rating: 3/5

9. "Interzone" (2:16)
The shortest song on the album, "Interzone" is one of my personal favorites. The guitar is the most present out of all the songs and it is the fastest song on the album by far. The drums push the tempo. "Interzone" is the only song on the album that uses two vocalists, as bassist Peter Hook joins Curtis on the vocal tracks. Hook as a more raw voice than Curtis' deep monotone which creates almost a conflict between the voices which fits together very well. "Interzone" is probably the hidden gem of the album. Tribute video here.
My rating: 4/5

10. "I Remember Nothing" (5:52)
I really need to finish this, so this is basically a slow, somber ballad to close out the album. I can't really find anything exciting about the song, except for the sound of breaking glass and that Curtis' voice has a tone heard nowhere else on the album, making the listener feel very uneasy. It is a fantastic song, despite being nondescript. It is a great way to cap off a great album. Live performance here.
My rating: 4.5/5

Total rating: 5/5

A must listen album.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Action-Reaction: December 2, 2007

This will be my SIFS blog, along with the idea BSchwartz and I are hammering out, but I got this idea from my local newspaper. I'll present a news item (the "Action") and then put my take (the "Reaction") after it. The "Reaction" could be humorous, serious, or I could not have a take on it at all. Enjoy.

Action: Wannstedt gets 3-year extension
Reaction: This seems a little contradictory of Pitt. Wannstedt has had three losing seasons after five straight winning seasons by Pitt. I think this contract is mostly based on the fact that Pitt just upset No. 2 West Virginia 13-9 last night. As with all things, time will tell.

Action: Miles staying at LSU
Reaction: I think it's great to see someone with loyalty to his school, but I am still a little suspicious, as Miles has not yet signed it. If he really wanted to send a message to his players, he would have signed it right then and there.

Action: Beckham carries Galaxy to win
Reaction: At least he did something in the U.S. Oh wait, it was an exhibition. The last exhibition game, no less. Beckham flopped. That's all I have to say. Maybe he'll come back stronger next year. At least he better or there will be some angry soccer fans at his door. Wait, who in the U.S. cares about soccer? Oh wait, Keeper will be at Beckham's door if he flops.

Action: U.S. clinches first Davis Cup since '95
Reaction: This is farther out of America's conscious than David Beckham and soccer…

Action: LSU regent: Pelini going to Nebraska
Reaction: That's a good move for Nebraska. Pelini could bring back the vaunted the Blackshirts D. I don't how this could affect LSU though. They have had the rep for being a great defensive program for a while, but I think their talent could overcome the problem of losing their coordinator.

Action: Twins, Yanks haggle over Santana
Reaction: I personally do not want to see Santana on either the Red Sox or the Yankees, but anyway, this has turned into a drama in itself. I honestly do not know what I would do if I was in either team's shoes. I mean, you really want Santana. Putting him on either staff puts that team over the top, but losing all that talent must be excruciating. It really sucks to be Coco Crisp. I hope the Sox can keep Ellsbury. I really like watching him play.

Action: Chaos Reigns
Reaction: All I really have to say is WHOA. This is beyond chaos. It is quite obvious that Ohio State is in the National Championship again, but after that I have no clue. I really wanted to see Missouri have a chance, but they just could not get it done last night. All I have to say is that someone is not going home happy after the selection show tonight.

So there, I hope you enjoyed the first edition of Action-Reaction. It'll get spiced up a bit in future editions I'd have to think.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

DJ’s Band of the Week 11/25/07-12/1/07

My Band of the Week this week is Washington, D.C.'s own The Evens.

The Evens are an indie rock band featuring guitarist and vocalist Ian MacKaye and drummer and vocalist Amy Farina. The Evens were formed in the fall of 2001 before MacKaye's band, Fugazi, went on hiatus. Farina is formerly of The Warmers while MacKaye is formerly of Minor Threat. The Evens began practicing extensively after Fugazi went on hiatus and eventually released a self-titled album in on MacKaye's Dischord Records.

The Evens gained acclaim in 2003 for creating a music video for an original song called "Vowel Movement." The children's song was made for Washington, D.C. based Pancake Mountain, an internet-based children's program. The video was Sesame Street-like and has become a fan favorite, even though it has never been played live. The band then released The Evens in March 2005. Diehard MacKaye fans were greatly anticipating the release because it was his first non-Fugazi LP release since 1987's Embrace, while The Evens are his first side project since Pailhead in 1988.

On November 6, 2006, The Evens released Get Evens.

I myself have only heard The Evens, but The Evens have thrust themselves into the upper echelon of my favorite bands. MacKaye's voice is just great all around, but Farina's voice is what really gets me. Her voice reminds me of a sunny winter's day with snow on the ground. That's hard to understand, but just listen to them and you will hear what I mean. My favorite song by them is "Around the Corner." Other great songs include "All These Governors," "If It's Water," and "You Won't Feel a Thing." I would recommend The Evens to anyone that enjoys some great indie rock.