Monday, June 27, 2011

Sweet Victory

It's really too bad we haven't invented a 'scratch and sniff' internet, yet.*

For if there was, this entry would smell like VICTORY! 

Remember that little rant a few weeks back about the one way street?  As of Friday that sign was down and things are back to normal.  Gone are the 150 cars cutting through my street every morning, my reasonable concern that my boys were going to get pancaked riding their bikes, and my - until recently - untapped rage. 

Thanks to every resident on our street, the street opposite ours and 100 strangers who stopped to ask, in essence, 'what the fuck?', the city decided 'screw it, let's just take it down and get on with our lives.'

I celebrated with a twelve pack and nice, fat cigar.  Or, as I call it, Friday night. 

Since I'm in a good mood, here are some other thoughts to pass the time. 

-  My whirlwind U.S. tour continues.  Tomorrow I head to Jacksonville for the rest of the week.  This trip was unplanned and last minute as another worker bailed on the project.  On the bright side I get more Marriott reward points and it will be 100 degrees and humid.  Can't wait!  You'll notice I don't get these trips in December.  Only in late June will they send me down there.  Bastards!

-  On the other hand, I'll bet there will be some cute girls wearing skimpy summer can see that here now.  I can't think of one positive thing regarding this trip.  I keep trying, too.  Anyone been to Jacksonville?  Do I have anything to look forward to?  Besides daily thunderstorms?

-  Interesting take on sequels with 'Predators' which I watched over the weekend.  If you liked the first one, you'll enjoy this.  Paced like a bullet train (it opens with a character in free fall) and has one of the more enjoyable and unexpected cameos in recent memory.  What's interesting is this is the movie that seems like it's a direct sequel to the Schwarzenegger original.  While 'Predator 2' wasn't terrible, it really had nothing to do with the first (other than the alien).  I'm pretending the 'Alien vs Predator' movies don't exist, if you're wondering.  This is the role, Adrian Brody was meant for, by the way. Ruthlessly efficient, intelligent, and devoid of human emotion.  Could be a great bad guy if he wanted. 

-  11 year old had his 'moving on' ceremony from grammar school last week.  He's heading to middle school in September which makes me feel decrepit.  He was one of the handful of students who has perfect attendance.  Part of me was a bit disappointed since I offered to have him play hooky with me a couple of days this year and he declined.  That's right, a kid of mine refused to take a day off from school to do nothing.  WTF???

-  I think part of the reason he enjoys school so much is he has an adorable, blond teacher.  So his priorities are in the right place, at least. 

-  Meanwhile, 6 year old is ready to start first grade.  He was actually upset when I told him he would have to wait until September.  I don't know who's kids these are. 

-  The entire 'globalization' of our company has hit a snag.  Seems one part of outsourcing our support system was over looked.  To make a long story short, I don't think anybody considered the possibility that the people we outsource to are complete and total idiots.  I asked a friend in HQ what the contingency plan was if the first step of this new model fails and his response was 'I really don't think there is one'.  Fucking great!  Needless to say, stage two has been put on hold indefinitely.

Some musical thoughts:

Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See:  After the neutering they apparently went through while recording 'Humbug' it's nice to see they get back to the basics.  There is more than a hint of old fashioned, 60's rock and roll here but it's got 21st century lyrical sensibilities.  That would include lines like 'Topless models - doing semaphore - waves their flags as she walks by - and get ignored'. 

Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair.  Really?  'Go into business with a grizzly bear' is one of the lines in this song. 

Guano Apes - Bel Air:  Remember when No Doubt was hardcore and unapologetic about it?  That's where the Guano Apes are now.  Jagged, experimental, and melodic with a Stefani like lead singer.  I've heard that these guys joined forces after being kicked off Germany's version of 'X Factor'.  No idea if it's true, but it makes a good story. 

Check out Sunday Lover for a sample. 

Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two:  I don't care what comes out the rest of 2011, there will not be a funkier, more entertaining release than this one.  Astounding that nearly 30 years after they barged onto the scene with 'one hit wonder' written all over them, the Boys put out the best album of their career. 

What could be my favorite song of the year

Cave In - White Silence:  Cave In has always been uncompromising in their music.  They make it for themselves and if you like it, great.  If not, move along and find something else.  This release is no different; splitting time between some of the hardest, most ear splitting music so far this year and attempts at finding mainstream, pop acceptance.  Which begs the question, if you make music for nobody and everybody, who is going to buy it?  Other than freaks like me, that is. 

White Silence - listen at  your own risk.  Seriously. 

Elbow - Build a Rocket Boys:  Nowhere near as good as their last release and they move closer to some sort of cabaret-ish, adult alternative, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.  Not a ringing endorsement, I know, but still better than a lot of the rubbish out there. 

Live version of 'Lippy Kids'  I think it's live, anyway.  Sounds suspiciously like the version on the album. 

Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Belong:  Glossier, poppier and not nearly as good as their debut.  Still some great songs on here, but a bit of a disappointment. 

Here's a live version of Belong.  See what I mean?  This version sounds better than the album version because it's raw and unpolished. 

Parts and Labor - Constant Future:  Industrial, quirky, and hugely enjoyable.  I've heard of these guys for years, but never HEARD them until recently. 

Rest, will ya?  This should put you in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Rival Sons - Pressure & Time:  Gritty, shit kicking, southern rock makes a comeback.  I should give credit to Kid Rock, I suppose, for proving Lynyrd Skynyrd and Thin Lizzie are timeless and still marketable.  Besides, I'm a sucker for a good band name. 

Check out the throw back Zepplin

TV On The Radio - Nine Types of Light:  Brilliant, sporadic band pulls everything together for their third - and best - release.  Pity that this marks the swan song of their bassist who died of lung cancer last month.

Enjoy their Second Song.  Let this one percolate for a few minutes before making a decision. 

We're Not Afraid - Adventures in Poverty:  Punk band who is trying to bring the art of guitar solos back to the mainstream.  The guitar work provides for the song, though, not the other way around. 

Take a listen to Back to Life to get a taste.

Ok, back to work.  Enjoy the tunes and I'll pass along my thoughts on Jacksonville as soon as I can.  I'm guessing the term 'Hellishly Hot' will be involved. 

Today's distraction:  For those of you in other parts of the country that haven't been living the Whitey Bulger saga for the past 25 years, here is a quick run down of the people involved.  Say what you will about Whitey, but he played both sides of this debacle perfectly and managed to escape capture despite living in the same apartment for the past 15 years.  He could be a criminal genius. 

* This was a joke.  The thought of a scratch and sniff internet repulses me to the fiber of my being.  Things are disgusting enough online without having scents to go with it. 


c. said...

Thanks for the new music to listen to this afternoon. I have the unhappy job of moving offices and am packing and in desperate need of distraction...

Rob said...

Congratulations on the civic win.

Thanks for the music. Some thoughts:

*Artic Monkeys -- good aggressive stuff.
*Guano Apes -- she's got a killer voice and killer bod, but she's a butter face.
*Beasties -- good, innovative sounds in that song. A bit repetitive though to listen to a bunch.
*Cave In -- how the fuck does that guy keep his voice?
*Elbow - Wow! Peter Gabriel incarnation. His voice is wonderful. I'm going to have to check this band out. I love the disparity here: Cave In and then Elbow.
*Pains... too generic. Reminds me of Silver Sun Pickups. Wispy lead vocals, jangly guitars.
*Parts and Labor - I could get into these guys. The chorus on Resy Will'Ya is so late 80s goodness.
*Rival Sons - great stuff! Zepplin yes, but also Black Keys.
*TV - meh. I've never fully enjoyed their sound.
*We're Not Afraid - I can't get past that emo haircut. Emo haircut and punk? Uh uh.

BeachBum said...

C, glad to be of service. Hope you find something you enjoy.

Rob, you'll notice they advertise her bod and hide her face on the album cover of Guano Apes.

Agree about the haircut, too. I usually enjoy bands before I see what they look like. What I don't get is the hair looks like it bugs him while he's performing. So cut that shit off.

Rob said...

Yeah, the album cover had me searching for a live shot of her. They showed just enough of that trampy Avril Levigne type raccoon eye to get me hopeful.

Jum said...

That Beasties song you linked to is also my favorite off the Hot Sauce Committee. Such an unreal album.

Clayton Bigsby said...

The new Beastie is pretty good. Isn't Jacksonville a terrible city? Always on cops and animal cops or something?

kos said...

Cave In is great, I have found that everything from Hydra Head Records is awesome. I'm pretty obsessed with Isis lately and pretty much anything else Aaron Turner is involved in. You should also check out Boris, Big Business, Pelican and Tusk.

BeachBum said...

Kos, if you recommend it you can be sure I'll be checking it out. Already heard some of Boris' stuff and was intrigued.

kos said...

Good to hear...A Storm of Light are also fantastic, they just played a small show in Chicago and it was awesome. Their new album, "As the Valley of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade" features Kim Thayil from Soundgarden on a few tracks and he shreds.