Thursday, September 2, 2010

Young Widows Saturday September 4 at 31st Street Pub!

Young Widows are playing here in Pittsburgh this Saturday with Helms Alee and local openers Girlfight. The shit is going to hit the fan at 31st Street Pub. To say I'm excited wouldn't do my feelings justice. Watch this video, get stoked for the show, and come to the show Saturday.

We Have Signal: Young Widows from We Have Signal on Vimeo.

Monday, August 30, 2010

15 Albums In 15 Minutes Or Less

I stole this from my Facebook. It was fun to do and think about. I thought that I would post it on here just incase I have people that read my blog who aren't my friends on Facebook.

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what albums my friends choose. To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note.

Check out my pics and a brief explanation after the jump...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Under The Covers Volume 1

"Under The Covers" is a recurring series comparing, contrasting, and talking about cover songs and the originals of these cover songs.

I can't recall the very first time I ever heard "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", but I know it was somewhere around 1991 or 1992. I was in second or third grade and had excitedly rented the movie "Cool As Ice" which starred the one and only Vanilla Ice. The version of the song that was featured in the film was Saint Etienne's. I immediately fell in love with it. To me, even though it sounds incredibly early 90s, it also has a very timeless feel to it. Maybe that is just because of how much I like the song, I'm not too sure. Soon after hearing the song in this flick, my favorite radio station at the time (Power 106 in Southern California) started playing the song. As history would have it, I was practicing to be a back up dancer for my elementary school hip hop group and recording songs off of Power 106 onto a memorex cassette. I was lucky enough to catch "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and commit it to magnetic tape. To this day, that tape of recorded radio is in somewhat regular rotation, thanks in large part to me craving this Saint Etienne track.

That brings us to the original version of this song which was written and recorded by Neil Young. Somewhere between 1991 and now, I came to realize that the song was a cover. And somewhere between finding that out and now, I learned that Neil Young was the writer and original performer of the song. And up until a few months ago, I never listened to the original. I think part of me was afraid that if I heard the original and didn't like it, that it would forever change my opinion of Saint Etienne's version. Thankfully, I love the original too. The best part about it is that the two versions of the song are about as different as they can be while still being the same song.

I'll leave my words at that and let you listen to the two versions and form your own opinions. Does anyone remember that movie "Cool As Ice"? Which version of the song do you like better and why?

Do you play baseball?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Books: Check Em Out

You may have heard of Neil Strauss before. He has helped write the biographies of such icons as Marilyn Manson, Jenna Jameson, Motley Crue, and Dave Navarro. Previous to this book, I had never read anything he has written. Admittedly, I was skeptical. I was going into this book thinking it was a comical look at the dangerous situations life throws at you and how to survive them.  I was only partially right.

Neil Strauss has written a memoir about his descent into the sometimes frightening world of survivalism. Spurred by the eye opening events of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina, Strauss decided he needed a plan for "when the shit hit the fan (WTSHTF)". Having been raised in a high rise building in Chicago, his survival skills were lacking to say the least. This wasn't going to stop Strauss. What begins as a conquest for a second citizenship and some nature survival training turns into a life changing journey. 

Initially, I was drawn to this book because I thought it would be a fun and easy read. The whole book definitely has a comedic feel to it. But somewhere along the line, the journey becomes less about making a joke out of the whole thing and more about the self fulfillment that comes along with being able to not only survive the most dangerous and dire of situations, but to also be able to help others WTSHTF. I found this book to be extremely inspiring. When I wasn't reading, I was usually daydreaming about how I would react to the scenarios posed within the pages. This book makes me want to push myself to the limits and know that I'm prepared. Which, I'm sure I'm not. Are you ready for WTSHTF?

Purchase "Emergency" Here 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Coliseum-Blind In One Eye Video!!

Hey all! Sorry I've been missing for a while. I guess I just haven't felt too inspired. I've got some good stuff in the works though. And this video is one of the coolest things I've run across lately. Coliseum's new record, House With A Curse, is out June 22. I'm sure I'll be posting more about that later. In the meantime, enjoy this great video from these great guys!

BrooklynVegan Presents: Coliseum - "Blind In One Eye" from BVBBG on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Where Are They Now?: Nevermind Baby Edition

Have you ever wondered what happened to this baby?
Well, here he is now, all grown up. No more baby wiener. 

Nirvana Baby, Spencer Elden from Barry O Donnell on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind

What happens when you mix a MicroKorg synthesizer and "a 1980s futuristic sci fi vision of the United States under communist rule"? Chances are, you'll end up with some cold war influenced, dance floor packing songs by young Pittsburgh band Comrade Kangaroo. Comrade Kangaroo is composed of C.A.P.A. classmates George Cessna and Hunter Blackwell. As far as who does what in the band, George had this to say when I recently spoke to him: "When we play live we just blast the backing tracks while I sing and Hunter plays synth."

The band recently self released their five song self titled demo on March 5. The songs on the demo show similarities to bands like The Postal Service, Junior Boys, and O.M.D. There is a harmonious marriage between predominantly synthetic sounds and subtle doses of analog instrumentation, all the while, having a sense of humor and not being too serious. "Even though Comrade Kangaroo is all about the science fiction and communism thing, it's safe to say that most of the songs are pretty goofy and suffer from some major teenage drama. If it's not about girls, it's about robots." Regardless of any teenage drama, George has pretty grown up tastes, claiming that the main inspirations on Comrade Kangaroo are Kraftwerk, New Order, Julian Casablancas, and David Bowie. You'd be hard pressed to find many 18 year olds who have even heard of Kraftwerk. 

Following graduation from C.A.P.A., George will be heading to MICA Art School in Baltimore in the fall. He didn't comment on the impact this may or may not have on Comrade Kangaroo. But it is safe to say that people should go see the band while they can. After playing to nearly 200 people at a C.A.P.A. battle of the bands, Comrade knows how to rock a crowd. This Friday, May 7, Comrade Kangaroo will be playing a show at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. See the flyer after the jump. While you wait in anticipation of the show, go check out Comrade Kangaroo's Myspace and listen to some songs. And remember..." if it's not about robots, it's not Comrade Kangaroo."

Visit Comrade Kangaroo's Myspace HERE 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Who wore/wears it better: The Pompadour?

Brian Setzer

Tom Waits

Johnny Cash

Quiff, Quaff, D.A., bad ass bitchin pompadour. The hair style has many names and many variations, but it's up to you to decide who wore it best. These are just a few examples. Please leave your choice in the comments section. If you feel that the best pomp isn't represented here, let me know who I'm missing out on. 

As of right now, I think my money is on Tom Waits.
One more very special pompadour after the jump...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Books: Check 'Em Out!

As a 26 year old, I can still remember April 20, 1999, very clearly. This is the day that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered their Colorado high school and killed 13 people before finally killing themselves. Immediately rumors spread about the "trench coat mafia" and how the killings were inspired by video games and Marilyn Manson. Everybody needed an answer as to why these seemingly troubled young boys would commit such a heinous act. 

In Dave Cullen's simply but chillingly titled "Columbine", we get an exhaustive look into the lives of these young killers as well as those involved in and affected by the Columbine shootings. Cullen was a young reporter covering the Columbine shootings in 1999 and has extensively researched these events over the past ten years. This story is told from a gripping third person point of view. The actual events of April 20, 1999, are replayed minute by minute very early on in the book. This retelling is horrific, graphic, and hard to get through at times. Initially, it leaves you thinking what monsters these two teenagers must have been to mindlessly kill so many innocent people. But after Cullen shocks you with the actual account of events, he begins to attempt to answer the questions as to why. The result is a harrowing read that anybody who has ever been a teenager should be able to relate to. It will rehash what it feels like to be young and confused and naive. However, by the end of the book, Cullen is able to make some sense of the senseless. 

If you go into this book with hopes of reading about how horrible these two individuals were, you may want to skip this one. But if you want a true, accurate, and sympathetic look into this sad downward spiral, this book is not to be missed. 

To understand a monster, you must first be able to sympathize with it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Don't Call It A Comeback...

For those of you that are still with me, I'm still around. I'll be back with a vengeance. Some of the best stuff yet. Just be patient. As Ferris Bueler says, life moves pretty fast. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


As of right now, "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" is one of my top five favorite songs ever. And Ted Leo's version below isn't so bad either. 

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists cover Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

MP3: Harry Belafonte-Jump In The Line
Thank you Murray's Pomade for making it possible for me to slick my hair back and have it not just be all poofy. Now I just need to figure out a way to get it out of my hair without 7-8 washes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I apologize for the lack of posting lately. Much like this photograph, things have been intense, chaotic, confusing, sad, hilarious, exhilarating, silly, stupid, and (Insert adjective here). After the jump is a song with the lyrics included that somewhat describe all of these feelings. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Upcoming Pittsburgh Events

Tuesday February 23, 2010
New Wave 80s with DJ Ez Lou @ Jekyl & Hyde (140 S. 18th St.)
Open Mic Comedy @ Smiling Moose (1306 East Carson)
Thursday February 25, 2010
I <3 Techno with Shawn Rudiman & Jwan Allen @ Brillobox(4104 Penn Ave.)
Friday February 26, 2010
Voice In The Wire w/ None More Black, American Armada, & Allies @ Garfield Artworks(4931 Penn Ave.)
Saturday February 27, 2010
Blacklist Royals w/ German Shepherd and Red Team Blue Team @ Smiling Moose(1306 East Carson)
Thursday March 4, 2010
Lazercrunk w/ Lazersword(NYC) @ Brillobox(4104 Penn Ave.)
Gabriel Iglesias @ Byham Theatre(101 6th St.)
Friday March 5, 2010
Restless! Soul Night-6 Year Anniversary@ Smiling Moose (1306 East Carson)
Saturday March 6, 2010
Slim & George Cessna w/ The Inseams and The Whips @ Brillobox(4104 Penn Ave.)
The Tossers w/ Outernational @ Club Cafe(56 S. 12th St.)
Just a reminder. This show happens Friday. I'll be there and you should be there too. Be a part of Pittsburgh history.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Blacklist Royals

(L to R: Jamie/guitar&vocals, Nat/vocals&guitar, Rob/drums&vocals, Eric/bass&vocals, Alex/keys&vocals)Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins

With so much nostalgia for the past these days, it's hard to separate the people who are doing things for the right reasons and the people who are just faking it. I can whole heartedly say that The Blacklist Royals are some of the realest dudes out there. They are a "punk 'n roll"  band from Nashville, TN who plays their own unique style of blue collar, southern tinged punk rock. This spring, the band will be releasing their debut long player for Paper  & Plastick Records entitled "Semper Liberi". 

On Saturday February 27, The Blacklist Royals will be playing The Smiling Moose(1306 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203) here in Pittsburgh. If you're in town, check out this show. With hundreds of shows under their belts, these guys will not disappoint. 
And since they are coming to Pittsburgh, I sent Rob Rufus(drums) some Pittsburgh trivia so that he could seem like a real Burgher once they get here. See what he had to say, check out the correct answers and a couple videos after the jump. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Cheer? Brigade

This morning I had a newsletter in my inbox from the Anchor Brain website. Among other things, the newsletter was announcing the signing of a Providence, Rhode Island band named "What Cheer? Brigade". Here is Anchor Brain's description of the band. "The WHAT CHEER? BRIGADE is a rowdy 19-piece brass band that combines punk rock ethos with the mobility of a marching band. They play loud, fast music that reclaims public space and requires no electricity. Their sound incorporates elements of musical traditions found in Bollywood, Balkan, New Orleans Jazz, Samba, and Punk music; and that’s just the short list. " Does that peak your curiosity? It certainly peaked mine as it appeals to my love of brass marching bands and loud, fast music. Check out the videos below and decide if you are as excited as I am to have been introduced to this band.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My undying love for cassettes

A couple of days ago, I posted a link on facebook to an article in the Pittsburgh City Paper which discussed the emergence of two new exclusively cassette labels in the Burgh. It got a lot of response. Some people are pro-tapes and some people are against them. I think any die hard music fan born between 1975 and 1985 probably gets that warm feeling when they reminisce about their cassette listening days. I certainly do. And my cassette listening days still aren't fully over. I still prefer making a mixtape over making a mix cd. Back in April of 2008, Aquarium Drunkard writer J. Neas wrote an excellent article in two parts entitled "A Cassette Valediction". Anyone who loves tapes should check it out to reaffirm why we love them. And anyone who thinks tapes are dumb or impractical or just a hipster thing, should read the article to find out why we love our tapes so much. Follow the links below to the article.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fist Fight In The Parking Lot!!

This is probably one of the funniest things I've seen in quite some time. I'll leave it at that. Just watch the video.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cold Cave show is cancelled. Boo.

Monday February 22, 2010 at Garfield Artworks(4931 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224):
Cold Cave
Dark New Wave/ish Post Punk from Philadelphia, PA on Matador Records
Hair Police
Expirimental/Noise from Ypsilanti, MI/Lexington, KY
Indie Electronic Pop from Minneapolis, MN

I'm pretty stoked for this show. It should be a good one. If you're in the Pittsburgh area, treat your ears and come out.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Speaking of U2

Speaking of U2...Follow this link to the NPR All Songs Considered Blog. It is a really cool recurring series...

From the NPR blog:
"Note: This is a recurring series in which we ask our unimaginably young interns to review classic albums they've never heard before. Our current intern at All Songs Considered is Will Butler."

NPR intern Will Butler gives his take on U2's "The Joshua Tree" which he claims to have never heard before.

Read the article HERE.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

An excerpt from "Eating The Dinosaur"

Here is another excerpt from Chuck Klosterman's "Eating The Dinosaur"...

"Sometimes it's hard to tell if things that happened in your life only happened to you or if they happened to everyone. Every formative incident feels normal to the child who expiriences it, so sometimes it takes twenty five or thirty years to realize a particular event was singularly bizzare. For example, it took me a long time recognize that being institutionally taught to dislike disco in my second grade social studies class was deeply weird-unless, of course, this was a totally normal thing that happened to everybody in America who was born in 1972 and attended a public elementary school. I still can't tell."

What is everyone's moment like this? I'm still thinking about what mine may be. I'll post it when I think of it. In the meantime, post yours in the comments section. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Matt Skiba stops a fight.

And to make up for my previous long, rambling, boring post, here is a really cool video.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Indie Dead?

Paste Magazine has a MUST READ article on the state of "indie" in 2010. Whatever "indie" may be now. Thanks to Rawkblog for the heads up on the article.

Read the article HERE. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Radiohead song!!

Here is a video from Radiohead's recent Haiti benefit performance at The Henry Fonda theatre in L.A. The song is titled "Lotus Flowers". I think Radiohead may be one of the only bands who says that they're about to play a new song and the crowd erupts in cheers.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Love Is A Mixtape

This is a book review I wrote for The Allegheny View (CCAC School paper) in September 2007. I still feel the same about the book as I did then. I've actually been thinking about rereading it soon. If you haven't read it, give it a shot.

I’m not really an expert of anything. Unlike myself, Rob Sheffield is an expert writer. He is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine and has been a rock critic and pop culture journalist for fifteen years. With the 2007 publication of Rob Sheffield’s first book, “Love Is A Mixtape,” I feel like almost every emotional connection I’ve ever felt between love and music was put into words. Sheffield shows a mixtape track listing at the beginning of each chapter. The track lists are from different mixtapes he has either made himself or acquired over the years. He uses the songs listed to tell the story of his own life. Sheffield’s story isn’t one of amazing stardom or wild uniqueness, but this is where the real greatness of the book lies. It’s the story of a lanky music nerd falling in love, losing his wife, and dealing with this “life and loss one song at a time”. This book is part love story, part pop culture commentary, and part eulogy. At any given moment in the book I could see myself in Rob’s shoes dealing with these real life dilemmas. This book might not be for everybody. Although, if you’ve ever fallen in love, with another person or a mixtape, I think it’s for you. I think Rob Sheffield sums it up pretty well when he says, “Every mixtape tells a story. Put them together, and they add up to the story of a life.”