September 27, 2010

RoBeast Review: Jimmy Eat World - Invented

I found out two things today:
  1. Jimmy Eat World's album Invented is currently streaming on Myspace
  2. A View To A Kill is considered the worst James Bond film
This means I'm going to take a quick break from listening to Sir Roger Moore's audio commentary for A View To A Kill so that I may put together another first impression-type music review of a mainstream rock album before it's released! The bubbles tickle my Tchaikovsky!!

"Heart is Hard to Find" - Simple acoustic guitar, steady beat. The overall composition seems a little underdeveloped which is probably why the strings and chimes were employed.  Their lyrics can often be a bit mushy, but this was the first time I've heard them say "fuck" in a song. I think that means they're maturing. Subtle, quick album opener, though it probably could've been even shorter. It seems like a good concert-opener-that-members-can-join-in-on-one-at-a-time-before-the-huge-second-song-explodes song.

Well, "My Best Theory" doesn't really explode like I imagined it would. The last three Jimmy Eat World albums all started with exploders ("Bleed American," "Futures," and "Big Casino"), but this song is pretty comfortable in the middle lane, not breaking any real new ground. I like the windy, ugly guitar in the brief solo.

"Evidence" (not to be confused with the third song on Faith No More's King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime) starts out steady and simple, but unlike the last two actually does explode into a chorus. The guitars at least sound like they're blowing up. The drums could stand to blow up a bit. There are some good crazy background sounds and feedback in this one too.

"Higher Devotion" starts with some crazy sounds and feedback too before moving into another steady rhythm track. The band has had a tendency over the past few albums to sometimes slip into a robotic trance, with bass and drums and rhythm guitar playing repetitive 4:4 riffs. When there's energy behind it, I can accept the big barre chords and simple progressions when there's some energy behind it ("The Middle"), but other times it just sounds like they are just being lazy and trying to cover it up with other weird sounds. Also, it seems that they've finally got a guy singing falsetto in the chorus instead of hiring a chick to do it. Unfortunately, it's not enough for me to make this track interesting.

"Movielike" begins with a drum machine beat that reminds me immediately of No Doubt's "New." The track ends up being much less energetic that that song. There is a big chorus of backup vocals that joins in towards the end of the song, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet. I need something faster or heavier first.

"Coffee and Cigarettes" - Faster, and heavier. And simple and repetitive. And the chimes again. And there's the chick singing vocals. This reminds me of a song they've already done, but I can't recall which one just yet. Maybe it reminds me of all of them rolled into one. Too by-the-numbers for me.

It may be hard to believe, but I am a Jimmy Eat World fan. I like the chances they took on slower, longer songs from Clarity and I also appreciate the shorter, poppier Bleed American. And I like Futures because it sort of combined the two. Invented seems to sound fairly similar to Chase the Light but I don't exactly know how to describe it. Maybe these two albums just sound more calculated than the others. "Stop" is all right because it sounds like it's got a little bit more space to it, but it's another mid tempo tune. Is it me? Am I just in a fast mood today?

I'm just not going to get a faster song, am I? "Littlething" has more strings and stuff. It will probably be in a movie or a tv show that I won't watch.

"Cut" is sparse, long, and slow. It's ok though. I might have liked drums to pick up somewhere in there. 

"Action Needs an Audience" is a quick one, and starts with a guitar riff in the vein of "My Best Theory" and sounds very similar to a riff in the bridge of "Get It Faster." This is track that that other guy (Tom) sings. He hasn't sung lead on the album in a long time, so I guess they figured they'd hide it towards the end of the album. It's really not so bad. It's a bit more aggressive, but still fairly formulaic. I think they might need more of this aggression sprinkled around the album next time.

The shortest song on the album is followed by the longest. "Invented" is a nice tune. The first five minutes are acoustic and pretty, and then it briefly gets heavy and uglied up. This is good. I like when they take their formula and intentionally fuck it up. 

By the title alone, it's pretty obvious that "Mixtape" is aiming for the corny nostalgic teen love song. And it does, but it's not as bad as I anticipated. It might have benefited from a little distance from the previous slow, long song. "Invented" was a more superior album closer.

Overall, the album was ok. The slow reflective songs were good, but the mid tempo rock songs were not very interesting. I feel like Jimmy Eat World is at their best when they have more harmonies, more varied instrumentation, and more dynamics from track to track. That rhythm section needs to step up their game too. And more explosions. I will probably wait until I see this one used before picking it up.

As for this new music review feature of mine (if I do in fact, keep finding enough freely streaming Myspace albums to keep it going), I'm not sure how its shaping up yet. Unlike the Weezer Hurley review last time, this wasn't born on Twitter, so I could ramble a bit more about each track. Please keep in mind that I only listened to each of these songs once. It can often take me a while to get into a tune, but I can only capture my first impressions once. Once.

September 22, 2010

My Favorite Commercial

This is probably my favorite commercial of all time. I haven't seen it in a decade, but today I finally found the clip on Clipland. It's called "Love Mix" and it was made for Philips.

September 21, 2010

Dancing with the Stars (Around Planet Arus) Week 1

September 10, 2010

Quran Quran

I had been cooking up a blog entry in my mind about the Quran burning thing that the dude in Florida had planned for tomorrow, but since it's been canceled, I'll give the text a rest and let another stupid MS Painting speak for me.

RoBeast Review: Weezer - Hurley

Spoilers, I guess?

Make Believe was the last Weezer album I bought. It pissed me off a lot. I think most people were pissed off way before that, but I stuck it out for a bit. I like a couple songs from that album, but because that album came during a year of disappointing purchases, I swore I wouldn't buy another from them sight unseen/sound unheard.

Since then, I haven't heard much of their output except for the radio singles.That semi-acoustic song with the long title from the last album was catchy, but nothing else moved me enough to throw my money at them again. Fortunately, their new album Hurley happens to be streaming freely on Myspace, so I figured there would be no harm in listening. Here is a quick rundown of my crude impressions in 140 characters or less. (Apologies to my Twitter pals who've sat through this already for the last half hour).

First song "Memories" is terrible.

"Ruling Me" - nice bright chords, terribly pedestrian rhymes 

"Trainwrecks" 80s power ballad bad on purpose? wouldn't listen again. the guitar leads all sound recorded direct in so far.

"Unspoken" starts plain. gets schmaltzy. then gets heavy. best dynamics so far, but still shitty, shitty chorus lyrics.

"Where's my sex" has got me infuriated. It's a nice tune, but I wrote the lyrics "Where's my sextant" 3 years ago. I'm more clever.

One more for "Where's My Sex?" It has an awesome completely misplaced bridge. #hurley should have started on track 4.

"Run Away" short and sweet. more recycled rhymes (i'm actually plotting a blog around this).

"Hang On" Ok. By the numbers. Nothing special.

Back to all-out garbage with "Smart Girls." (though I do really dig the barbershop background vox in the chorus)       

I almost like "Brave New World." But I don't. I enjoy the riffs/progressions and background vox but lyrics are blah again. 

"Time Flies" lo-fi demo quality of this tune is a welcome change. would make for a good hidden track. The End.  

Had this been an 5-song EP, I might consider owning it, but there's just too many things that make me roll my eyes. The bad songs are either incredibly generic or outright annoying. The tedium quickly steamrolls whatever positive momentum they gathered in the middle. When "Smart Girls" came on, all hope was instantly deflated. I don't know if The Weezer Problem is that they're too prolific and don't know how to toss their shitty songs back into the lake, or if they have just sunk to a point where shitty is their new standard. Putting out an album every single year is an admirable goal for a mainstream band these days, and I applaud them for achieving that in the past three years, but the creative experiment is not amounting to anything. The songs aren't getting more complex, more interesting, or better. It's going to take a lot more hard work to get that killer Weezer's Greatest Hits in 2018. 

If they do ever put out a greatest hits compilation, I suggest they call it Phone because Rivers seems to have some obsession with the word. It's on this album twice. In "Run Away," we have:
And now you're all alone
You're sitting by the telephone
 And in "Ruling Me" it's:
Ring ring goes your telephone
You act like you ain't at home
 Anybody remember the B-Side "Suzanne" from Mallrats?

When I met you I was all alone
Cold and hungry cryin' on the phone
 From "Jamie" around the same time:
Jamie, who's faxin' you now?
Who's dialin' your car phone?
"Knock Down Drag Out" on The Green Album has:
Any day now you'll call me up on the phone
Say you love me more than you ever did before
"Slob" on Maladroit:
Leave me alone
I won't pick up the phone
It shows up twice in the Rivers Cuomo side project Homie, and I don't have the patience to sift through his two solo home recording compilations called Alone and Alone II. Yeah, "alone" is another word that someone should take away from him.

That's all I've got for now. I hope this entry gets this blog some god damned hits. I've got nothing to offer the centaur porn crowd.

Indeed I did.

When the United States decided to become politically correct, office furniture companies started calling that piece of furniture under your desk where you keep your pencils and files a "storage pedestal" instead of the more popular term, "drawers." This is why:

September 3, 2010

Freddie Prinze, Kr.

Midway through making the Aardvarkalypse Now picture, I came up with this:

Anyone want to pay me for this? I'm going to be unemployed soon.

Aardvarkalypse Now

My bandmate Kirk convinced me to hang out with him at a Karaoke thing last night at the Alligator Lounge in Brooklyn (and yes, I did wear my escargots--didn't get any comments, but I did note one funny look). I don't really care for karaoke, but I was definitely attracted to the free 12" pizza with every drink.

Before karaoke began, there was a mad rush for the books for people to find songs to sing. Kirk got hold of one and started flipping through for ideas. I told him he should just sing whatever is first in the book, then I thought about the advantages that a band would have being first in alphabetical order. Sure, your band may look like a jerky company from the yellow pages (Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa American Asshole, Inc.), but at least you're in first place before the race even starts!

I suggested that if we ever change our band name, Plowing Mud Forever, it should be to something that starts with Aardvark, but more metal sounding. I said Aardvarkadon or Aardvarkanoid or something, but neither compared to the grenade Kirk lobbed at me--Aardvarkalypse. So awesome.

I made this to go along with it:

September 2, 2010

Pantalones Cortos

I went to a party in Brooklyn last week. The conversation inevitably turned to hipster things, for Brooklyn is a hipsterable place. Somebody brought up Jorts, the modern name for Jean Shorts. If I understand correctly, jorts really only refer to shorts that have genuinely been cut off from longer pairs of denim. It's really not an important issue in my life, but I'll play devil's advocate for the Jort Purist. (Jurist?)

The term has been in the lexicon for a while, so there was really nothing new to say about them. Someone then mentioned Corts, a term with which I was unfamiliar. Corts are Corduroy Shorts. Corts seem to be less ubiquitous than jorts, and even though they have earned their own portmanteau, I imagine they are way less hip.

Now I don't wear jeans, so jorts are really out of the question. I also think they look pretty stupid unless you're a lumberjack dressing down for a professional wrestling match (see also: sleeveless flannel). Corts, I'm not so sure about either. I haven't worn corduroy in quite a long time, even though two pairs of cords keep following me every time I've moved in the last 7 years. Still, I can't imagine wearing corduroy in the summer, even if it is in short form.

If you've done the math, you've probably deduced that I only wear regular or cargo pants, and predictably, all my shorts are store-bought short pants or cargo shorts. Martha, the party's hostess and longtime-reader-never-commenter, asked me why I don't rock cargo cutoffs in the summer. Well, it's mainly because there is no snazzy name assigned with cut-off cargo shorts.


Corts is obviously already taken, so I had to brainstorm a bit. I think a good name might be Escargots.  "Es," short for "S," short for "Short" + "cargot," long for "cargo." I realize that escargot is already pluralized, so let's just pretend you're adding the extra "s" for "Shut up, Smartypants." S-Cargo would be more fun and less French, but as I've discovered, Nissan beat me to it 20 years ago. I guess great minds think alike. I just made that quote up too. 

So I grabbed an old pair of my cargo pants with holes in the knees and chopped them up while being careful to preserve their most important feature with utmost absurdity. I glued on a beard and found a six-pack of PBR to highlight the deep, efficient pockets. Sorry, all my V-necks were in the laundry.