Best Kitty Ever

16 Jun

Hey gang, here’s something that’s been putting a smile on my face this week. Enjoy.


MMJ & Erykah Badu Live

1 Jun

Holy shit. My Morning Jacket and Erykah Badu performing together? And Badu’s incredible “Tyrone,” of all songs? Holy shit. This is unstoppable. – Dominick


A Brief Thought on Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”

29 May

Not a few times I’ve been in the presence of someone who pointed out how ironic it was that Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” was used by the right wing in the eighties as a sort of nationalist anthem; after all, the song is about protest, blue-collar suffering, and the dangers of unbridled national pride. The people that point out this irony seem to think that the joke is on conservatives, on Reagan and Mondale; how naive of them to use “Born in the U.S.A.” when a great deal of its lyrics directly oppose their own ideologies! But the more I think about it, the more I think that the joke is, in fact, on Springsteen. He wrote a song whose central message could be easily ignored, with a nationalist chorus the right could easily co-opt. He (heroically, some claim) juxtaposed America’s working class struggles (i.e. the verses) with America’s relentless spirit (i.e. the chorus) but ignored the fact that the choruses were catchier and more memorable than the verses and that this would upset the balance of this juxtaposition. Reagan and his campaign managers weren’t stupid; they knew what the song was about. They knew well enough that using the parts of the song that were in harmony with right-wing ideology was a more effective way of diffusing its power than simply ignoring it. So: is a protest song still great if everyone can easily ignore the fact that it’s a protest song? I mean, do you think Alabama’s gubernatorial candidates were using Neil Young’s “Southern Man” at campaign rallies? No, but I’m willing to bet good money they were using “Sweet Home Alabama” and waving to the crowd as Ronnie Van Zant told Young to go fuck himself. – Dominick

R.I.P. Gil Scott-Heron

28 May

Gil Scott-Heron, 1949-2011

“So if you see the vulture coming, / flying circles in your mind, / remember there is no escaping / for he will follow close behind. / Only promise me a battle: / a battle for your soul and mine.”

Gil Scott-Heron – Home is Where the Hatred Is [mp3]
Gil Scott-Heron – New York Is Killing Me [mp3]

Monotonix Farewell Tour Video

24 May

A couple months ago I was lucky enough to be at the Echoplex for what would be one of Monotonix‘s final shows. They announced toward the end of their set that this would be their final tour, that they had newborn babies and wives and could no longer spend so much time on the road. Though they didn’t say it, I also had the feeling that, physically, they could not keep it up much longer; these guys are in their thirties and forties and were punishing their bodies night after night with some of the most intense shows I’ve ever seen. While the audience was disappointed at the announcement, it was profoundly touching to see how supportive they were, how close they felt to the band not as musicians but as people. After the show their was a long line to hug the sweat-soaked drummer and congratulate him on having just had a son. Thankfully, a camera crew was present that night to film a little bit of the chaos that is a Monotonix show and I feel very grateful to have some sort of record that I was there and part of it. A couple weeks ago, they released the live video for one of the songs, which I’ve posted below. What you see in the video is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of energy and live antics, but it’s probably the best tribute we’ll have to the best live band I’ve ever seen. – Dominick

Kurt Vile’s “Puppet To The Man”

23 May

So of course the new tUnE-yArDs and Panda Bear albums are pretty great and everything, but the album that’s really held my attention for the past couple months is Kurt Vile‘s Smoke Ring for My Halo. There’s something really enchanting about the album’s almost paradoxical aesthetic: it’s beautiful and richly detailed but at the same time it comes off as so effortless it’s almost lazy. Think old REM meets the Modern Lovers. My favorite track off the album, “Puppet To The Man,” is posted below; I hope you enjoy the slacker groove and Vile’s wry sense of humor as much as I do. He’ll be at the Troubadour with Thurston Moore on July 28 and 29 if you’re interested. – Dominick

Kurt Vile – Puppet To The Man [mp3]

The Dismemberment Plan’s “The Other Side”

10 May

I know that I’m… let’s see… about ten years too late to be gushing about The Dismemberment Plan, but I don’t really care. I’ve listened to 2001’s Change more than any other album in the last six months and this song has, without exception, been its highlight. It’s absolutely relentless. Travis Morrison’s dystopic vocals ride Joe Easley’s incredible drum beat with a dangerous, manic intensity. Eric Axelson’s pulsing, descending bass line is the feeling of free fall stuck on loop. Jason Caddell’s guitar seems always on the verge of feedback, always threatening to push the song into the chaos it pleads for. Conceptually, it’s tight as a song can be; it’s a thrilling, almost terrifying experience. And one that I now consider essential listening. – Dominick