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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Full Albums:

  • The Afghan Whigs, 1965
  • Buddy Guy, Sweet Tea
  • Frank Ocean, Nostalgia/Ultra1
  • The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America and Stay Positive
  • Kanye West, Graduation
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
  • Ladyhawke, Ladyhawke
  • Led Zeppelin, IV
  • Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • The Roots, Game Theory
  • Santogold, Santogold
  • The Strokes, Is this It?2
  • Taking Back Sunday, Where You Want To Be
  • Tame Impala, Innerspeaker3
  • Thin Lizzy, Dedication3
  • Titus Andronicus, The Monitor4
  • Tyler, The Creator, Bastard1
  • Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
  • Wu-Tang vs. Beatles, Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers

Random Excellence:

  • Rage Against The Machine, “Take The Power Back”
  • Big K.R.I.T., “Hometown Hero (Feat. Yelawolf)”
  • OutKast, “Skew it on the Bar-B”
  • Mos Def, “Supermagic”
  • Jay-Z, “Hello Brooklyn 2.0”

Songs of the Week:

  • Spoon, “Don’t You Evah”
  • Ladyhawke, “Manipulating Woman”
  • Lykke Li, “Breaking it Up”
  • The Roots, “Don’t Feel Right”
  • The Afghan Whigs, “Crazy”

Reviews:

1. On the first song on Tyler’s album, he voices his frustration with getting pushed to the side despite the fact that he’s doing everything on his own: videos, tracks, rapping, whatever. To that I say, just because you’re doing it all yourself doesn’t mean it’s good. For example, consider this cover I recorded entirely on my own; no one says it’s any good. In fact I can hear every single mistake I made when I recorded it. I actually avoid listening to it because I can hear every single mistake. In that same vein, these albums aren’t good because they’re jarring or different. Tyler’s concept is definitely above par though Frank’s is borderline terrible. You can’t be a professional singer these days who loves AutoTune unless you’re T-Pain–and even then you’ll be relegated to singing hooks. And Tyler is almost just too offensive for my liking. It’s as if he’s trying to be offensive for the sake of being offensive–which isn’t art.

2. CEO of this once place I work has Spotify–despite how it’s not supposed to be in America yet–and we listened to the whole new album before it was out in the office. My response was obviously to revisit the first album because it’s awesome.

3. Why don’t more people make music like this anymore. Tame Impala is a rare bird these days and Thin Lizzy is fucking awesome.

4. Never would I have thought folk music and punk rock and terrible singing voices would have gone so well together so well. Though I have such a hard time listening to the vocalist, the call backs to a bygone era and the writing ability have granted me the power to look beyond how much I despise folk music.

Comments:

You see the theme happening in the “Songs of the Week” and “Random Excellence” sections, right? Back on Wednesday I got hired to copywrite for this place I interned at over the summer and they’re paying enough–despite me only working there Monday Wednesday and Friday–for me to be able to quit retail out in Brooklyn. I QUIT BACK ON FRIDAY. I’M ALL GROWED UP, I’M FREELANCING BUT I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. THE RETAIL NIGHTMARE I WOULD WISH UPON NO ONE IS FINALLY OVER.

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Yesterday was Saturday, I’d recently received all kinds of awesome news and been asked out by a girl with a boyfriend (What the hell? How am I supposed to date her…she’ll be my Not Girlfriend? Weird). I’ve had eye sex with at least two girls on the way to my Saturday night event. By “eye sex,” I mean those moments when you make eye contact with a sexy person and just keep looking back because every time you lock eyes it feels like someone reached into your chest and shoved your heart into your throat; slapped you in the face while yelling, “Hey dumbass. You like this one. You should talk to her.”

I ignore that voice and those hands and just keep listening to my music because I’m on the subway, just standing around waiting and I’ve always felt weird about talking to people–particularly people I don’t know–on the subway. Whenever I commute, I usually have my iPod in and my mouth shut.

At any rate, my attractive tally is like one and two–though I seem to be having a problem talking to women unless they’re dating someone, I am obviously a little attractive to a select group of females I’m also attracted to. So I get to the studio where my friends are DJing and meet up with some more of my friends. Just as I expected, I didn’t really know many people there and wasn’t really trying to meet anyone else. But lo and behold, I’m kind of on the right end of another game of ocular fornication with some girl with awesome dance moves.

I try to play it cool, to keep hanging out with my friends, keep trying to tell stories though I can barely hear anyone over the music. I try to keep this girl out of my mind because I’m worried I’ll mumble, that I’ll sink deeper into a no-hitter I can’t escape from. Yet I keep track of where she’s dancing. It’s like a high school dance and I keep worrying she’s going to leave before I get to talk to her. I try to quell that “Oh shit she’s not dancing in the same place, I should have talked to her ten minutes ago–back before she left” feeling.

At one point one of my friends’ girlfriend shows up and tells me I smell nice. It’s not quite enough, but it definitely tips the scales in my favor. I mean, I was not entirely aware of it at the time, but it sort of feels like it all evens out: I might be a criminal ogler but I have my attractive features and this super sexy dancing lady and I are probably making eye contact because of more than just my ridiculous dance moves (described by some as “like a chicken dying”). Yet there’s still that nagging “I need social proof I know how to talk to girls” feeling which prompts me to ask my (female) friend to help me talk to this girl before my friend leaves.

But I’ve lost her and my friend leaves. I’m kicking myself, but I go back to dancing and cavorting. Some of my friends go on smoke break and I decide to go to, just because my ears are killing me. On the way out, I finally run into little-miss-dance-and-stare. And the great news is that stupid “If you don’t talk to her now you never will” feeling isn’t there, it’s just “Oh, this would be a good time to introduce yourself.” It probably went something like this, though I can verify none of the actual dialogue since I was partially deaf and full of social sauce:

“I like everything you’re doing.”

“You like everything I’m doing?”

“Yes, I find everything you’re wearing attractive.”

“Like sometime tomorrow.”

“My name is Chris. What’s yours?”

“Tomorrow.”

“All right, well…”

I had mixed feelings about this exchange, but I definitely decided we were having different conversations and walked outside, confused and perhaps dismayed. I might have felt like an idiot for building this girl up to be more in my head than she really was. I do that all the time, but what with my ogling record, I was also glad to finally have mustered the courage to talk without looking like too much of an idiot.

But then again, my ears were barely functioning. She could have said her name was Tamaera or Tarra or, even crazier, her name could have really been Tomorrow. I have no idea. Looking back though, I don’t think that was my worst mistake.

When I came back in from another cigarette break I had to wipe my glasses off because the cold was fogging them up. I could tell she was staring at me off to my right (despite being mostly blind). I finished wiping, put on my glasses, looked over and pointed at her, looking up and down, and walked off. Perhaps that was my attempt to reinforce what I’d said earlier, my way saying, “I see you looking at me and I still like how you look.” And that was my only high school move of the night. That was when I disappointed myself most–easily because I didn’t see her the rest of the night.

What kind of idiot walks away from a woman who, despite giving an odd first impression, is obviously interested? Why not ask for a dance or a phone number to talk to when the music isn’t so loud? Why not ask about her name again? Why not share some of the awesome news, ask if she’s received any awesome news recently? I’m a little pissed that I shut down so quickly and so completely over something so nonsensical. That is, though we didn’t quite seem to connect on a verbal level, I feel like an idiot for dismissing her because we had obviously connected on a visual level.

Sure, it’s not the end of the world, but I feel like I’ve let myself down, like I let her down; like the onus was on me to start and maintain a conversation and all I could do was wag my finger like a significantly less cool Fonzie. If hindsight is 20/20, then my hope is that writing about how I fucked up last night will help both you and me become farsighted and make the right decisions before they happen instead of afterward.

Make good decisions out there, kids.

Full Albums:

  • The Afghan Whigs, 1965
  • The Beastie Boys, License to Ill and Paul’s Boutique1
  • Buddy Guy, Sweet Tea
  • Lupe Fiasco, Lasers
  • Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes
  • Miike Snow, Miike Snow
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang2

Random Excellence:

  • Eyrkah Badu, “Back in the Day (Puff)”
  • Saves the Day, “Bones”
  • Rage Against the Machine, “Down Rodeo”
  • The Cure, “Friday I’m in Love”
  • Jay-Z, “Sweet”

Songs of the Week:

  • Robyn, “Stars 4-Ever”
  • Buddy Guy, “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me”
  • The Afghan Whigs, “Somethin’ Hot”

Reviews:

1. Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 coming up, son. Gitchu some excitement.

2. Chef. Chef. Chef. Chef. Also, needs more GZA. Jim Jones and Rick Ross? C’mon, son. Jones’ career is probably about as dead as armadillos on Texas highways.

Comment:

I don’t really have any stories this week. I guess I could share the one about the time when I realized I might need to give up on my dream of copyediting. I was sitting at my desk, typing up the daily email and thinking about an upcoming “trial copywriting day” at an awesome place I interned over the summer when I realized: If people are going to keep paying me to write, then I guess I’ll keep doing it. For the love of all things awesome, I work at a place partially named “Recognition”; they’re in the business of recognizing people who do great work. Unlike retail.

Hoods on the right, wild for the night.

Full Albums:

  • The Clash, London Calling
  • Eagles of Death Metal, Heart On and Peace Love Death Metal
  • GZA, Liquid Swords and Pro Tools
  • Nice and Smooth, Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed1
  • The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die
  • Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient
  • Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf
  • The Raconteurs, Consoler of the Lonely
  • Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
  • Robyn, Body Talk
  • Royksopp, Junior
  • The-Dream, Love Hate and Love King (Deluxe Edition)
  • Usher, Confessions
  • Warren Zevon, Genius

Random Excellence:

  • U2, “Surrender”
  • The Strokes, “Last Night”
  • Rihanna, “What’s My Name”
  • Outkast, “Skew it on the Bar-B”
  • Earth, Wind and Fire, “Let’s Groove”

Songs of the Week:

  • Warren Zevon, “Looking for the Next Best Thing”2
  • UGK, “Int’l Players Anthem”
  • The-Dream, “Fast Car” and “Mr. Yeah”
  • Rad Omen, “Rad Anthem”
  • Prince, “Starfish and Coffee”
  • Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, “All the Places”
  • M83, “We Own the Sky”
  • LCD Soundsystem, “Dance Yrself Clean”

Reviews:

1. I was hugely disappointed. Nice’s raps on some song, probably “One Two And One More Makes Three,” were straight up terrible. The beats are pretty sick, but this was not fun for me.

2. I was listening to this song while the subway to my interview stopped working. Not only was my iPod spot on, but, to quote a man much smarter than me, “nature sympathized” that day.

Comment:

The hardest thing about making a resolution to get more sleep and drink less coffee seems to be the appeal of just getting less sleep and drinking more coffee. Someone should try to make that stuff less delicious. Or maybe I should stop putting in sugar so I stop liking how it tastes…

My sister’s pretty brilliant although she seems to express herself best via excellent grades and artwork or exorbitant melodrama. She’s been a theater kid for at least a decade, so her life has to be excessively dramatic or something. When I last saw her in person, she was between flights and nervous breakdowns. Hyperbole aside, she gave me this little gem: “You can always tell who’s American in Europe because they have labels all over them.” Perhaps her insight might come as no surprise considering that she’s not only a theater kid, but the costume kid within the theater department.

But for me, that was a hell of an insight. I thought about it and I realized that not only was she right, but I’ve recently been trying to wear stuff that doesn’t even have a label on it. It’s not just a style decision for the sake of not wearing labels, but it’s kind of because I can’t afford it on my own and because I don’t really give a shit.

Sure, brands like Ralph Lauren, Hermes or Brooks Brothers make some excellent products that will withstand the tests of time, but it doesn’t make any sense for me to buy their stuff right now–particularly while I’m still employed by a company that covers my clothes in dust, sweat, lotions, creams and glitter.  So I might have a cool label on that I can’t afford, but I wouldn’t really be proving anything to anyone besides the fact that my choice in clothes would indicate taste but not practicality. I would feel like a walking example of an idiot.

I see high school kids come into the store with Gucci bags, shoes and glasses–I’ve seen all of those things get ruined in the store, too. Besides the obvious, what status do high school kids really have to prove? The JanSport won’t hold books like a Gucci bag will?

I think it’s why boots are in right now: most boots don’t have labels on them, get the job done and can have literally any shape and accentuate the goods. Perhaps the only exception is Uggs, but those are named for the sound of disgust, so they don’t really count. The point is that I see boots in New York all the time and the women wearing them look great even though I can’t tell where they’re buying their boots. All I see is a woman who looks prepared for the weather and in control–sexy.

Consider this: most of my clothes are Old Navy. Their stuff is always on sale. My pea coat was $30 there. That thing has probably saved my life a couple of times and it cost $30. It doesn’t have a single visible label on it. And my jeans are like prostitutes: I don’t think a pair costing anything more than $35 has ever even touched my ass.1 The beanie I wear all the time in winter was $3 at Target. I’m not sure there’s a dress shirt in my wardrobe that wasn’t bought on sale. T-shirts never more than $20: I have a tee that cost the price of a box of Oreo Double Stuff plus Shipping and Handling.

And I look fucking great. I mean, I might be a little overweight but my clothes make me look good. Winter is far and away my favorite season because I get to layer everything from cardigans to jackets to sweater vests. I would be lying if I told you they were all non-brand name, but they are rarely bought without a sale tag on them. If I buy something, I buy it because I like how it looks, not because it has a label covering my chest.

For Thanksgiving 2009, my sister and I were in Amsterdam. We were walking around, trying to get out of the drizzle and heading toward better dinner and nightlife options. We were stopped by a couple walking the opposite direction. They asked us directions and, since we were traveling via map ourselves, we showed them where we were and how they should get to where they wanted to be. The woman looked at me and said, “You mean you’re not from here?” I laughed, explained we were simply tourists and let them go on their way. Without effort or brand names, I got mistaken for a European and I would much rather be associated with European fashion than some of the bullshit I see every day.

One of the problems with being a visual learner, when it comes to fashion, is being able to recognize the majority of the labels and patterns. I get it, you have a lot of money–but I’m not impressed. I frequently assume people who have to show of their labels are generally douche bags. Sometimes, though, there is the rare man who can pull of having a million obnoxious labels on–and that man is usually gay.

On everyone else, it looks like just another stupid fucking American who doesn’t know how to do anything but throw money away on flashy shit they doesn’t need.

1. Of course this is an exaggeration: I never let prostitutes touch my ass.

Full Albums:

  • The Afghan Whigs, 1965
  • Daft Punk, Discovery
  • Duffy, Endlessly1
  • Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
  • Gorillaz, Demon Days and Plastic Beach
  • GZA, Pro Tools
  • The Hold Steady, Heaven is Whenever
  • Interpol, Our Love to Admire
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trouble Is…
  • Kings of Leon, Come Around Sundown
  • The Kooks, Konk
  • Miike Snow, Miike Snow
  • Money Making Jam Boys, The Prestige
  • Passion Pit, Manners
  • Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, The Main Ingredient and Mecca and the Soul Brother2
  • Prince, Sign O’ the Times3
  • The Raconteurs, Consoler of the Lonely
  • The Roots, Rising Down
  • The-Dream, Love King (Deluxe Edition) and Love vs. Money

Random Excellence:

  • The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Phenomena”
  • Wolfmother, “Colossal”
  • Peter Bjorn and John, “Amsterdam”
  • Led Zeppelin, “Hey Hey What Can I Do”
  • Grand Funk Railroad, “Closer to Home/I’m Your Captain”

Songs of the Week:

  • Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, “All the Places”
  • Miike Snow, “Black and Blue”
  • Mark Ronson and The Business Intl, “Bang Bang Bang”
  • LCD Soundsystem, “Dance Yrself Clean”
  • The Hold Steady, “Southtown Girls”

Reviews:

1. I don’t think this is as good as her first album. It feels like a huge shift away from that “My heart’s in a million pieces right now” vibe that dominated her last album. I kind of get the impression she and Adele are like the soul Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears: one’s getting more attention because she’s hotter even though the other’s the better singer. Which is kind of a ridiculous similie because they’re both incredible singers. Uncommonly good.

The point remains, though: this album, though it’s good, wasn’t as good as I was expecting and hoping for.

2. PETE ROCK, STOP WINNING AT EVERYTHING. GO RECORD WITH SOME GUY NO ONE’S NEVER HEARD OF NAMED KAYNE OR SOMETHING.

3. I have five bucks that says this album is the reason The-Dream’s a recording artist. The lyrics for “U Got the Look” include: “Ladies and gentlemen/The dream we all dream of/Boy versus girl in the world series of love.” Come on. In once sentence you have and introduction to “The Dream” and an idea that kind of sounds like Love vs. Money. Consider that and how a lot of Love King is just Purple Rain with modern lyrics and you’ve got a cash cow on your hands.

Comment:

Sorry for the delay, I went to Staten Island’s St. Patrick’s Day parade yesterday so by the time I got home I was neither awake nor sober enough to write a post about anything. Toward the end of the night, my friend had somehow gotten someone’s fleece–it was pouring the whole afternoon–and our friend who’d invited us out called a cab. The car never came, so we walked down the main avenue asking people how to get to the ferry. My friend even tried to bribe a couple of cops to take us to the ferry.

Conversations literally went like this: “Hey brother, can you tell us how to get to the ferry from here?” “Nah, I’m not from here. Catch a cab, I guess.” “We already called like fifteen minutes ago. Is there any chance I could give you $40 to take us there?” “We’re cops, not a cab.” “Right, but there’s no way you’re going to be going to the ferry? We already called a cab.” “Catch the bus?” “It’s not running right now, that’s why we’re looking for a cab.” Definitely happened twice.

We finally ended up getting some guy with his daughter’s birthday cake in the front seat to take us there. Quite possibly the easiest $40 dollars that man has ever made–he was already on the way and his passengers were well paying gentlemen with a whole bunch of social sauce in ’em? Cash money.

So everyone got home safe and I slept like a rock, but woke up feeling like I’d been hit with one. I hope you had a good weekend, too.

I wish tall girls would lower their standards.

I once read something that claimed tall people are promoted more often than short people because everyone spends so much time looking up to them literally that they start looking up to them metaphorically. And that’s always the greatest irony: these women are always powerful, amazonian, and impressive though they seem to think they can’t date anyone unless they’re as tall as or taller than they are.

I will admit I’ve had crushes on tall women quite a few times. Once when I was young and dumb (like two years ago), I realized a tall woman had a crush on me far too late; and it kills me to this day. Hanging out with tall single women has, on occasion, been the best way to have a depressing night. It’s difficult to watch them turn down so much love, whether they’re foiling seduction attempts or simply not talking to anyone because no one else is tall.

Nine times put of ten, these women are six foot three and taller, although that never appears to be an issue for potential suitors. I hope I’m not exalting these women too much or raising their status from Beautiful Amazon to Living God unnecessarily, but the times I’ve not been attracted to a tall woman have been rare. Reciprocation feels like it’s been even rarer because I’m like five foot nine or seven or five. The specifics don’t seem to matter because I’m not taller than six foot two.

Which is to say, it feels strange to be deemed less interested or less capable strictly because I’m short or, in some statistics’ opinions, average height. Shouldn’t the courage and the wherewithal to engage be enough to express interest against all odds? It hurts to see these women set up this ridiculous barrier for themselves, like latina women who won’t date chinese men or black men who only date black women. The Capulets and Montagues are long dead and Obama is not longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Who cares who you date?

If you make each other happy, should you not be friends or date or elope or follow each other on Tumblr whatever it is you kids are doing these days? Not talking in bars or not dating because of height seems plain old ludicrous.

It’s 2011, which, in my opinion means it is high time for people to date whoever the fuck they want without absurd restrictions.