Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do as I say...and as I do. Ok?

I'll be making an actual post about a band later, but for now I just want to update you all on the best shows happening in Chicago in the coming month or so. Also, all shows I will be at--in case you want to stalk me, I make it easy for you! You're welcome.

8:00 PM

The legendary Slits playing in Chicago! I've always wanted to see them live, and I sincerely will feel bad for you if you are not at this show. Because you are missing out on one of the most influential and incredible bands in my book. My Book of Universal Truths. Yeah, that one.

The Slits' Myspace
April 18
8:00 PM

Saul Williams is ridiculous. Completely. A couple of my close friends have loved him for quite awhile, and they're the reason a started listening (thanks Jaci/Katie/Jess!)....and now I'm jealous that I haven't been listening since forever. His newest album, "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust," is available as a download for FIVE BUCKS via his website. It's produced by Trent Reznor (if you know me at all, you know my deep, ridiculous, slightly unhealthy love for NIN) and the title alludes to my favorite person in history, so I mean, come on now. I am genuinely obsessed with this album at present--come up to me at any given moment during the day, and chances are it's playing in my headphones. I kind of want to talk about every song right now, but I'm going to restrict myself and just make a whole post about it later.

Saul's Myspace

April 22
6:30 PM

I know it's a Tuesday and we're all super-adults with super-adult jobs and all but I promise it'll be a good time, so shut up and go. PLUS Reggie's is home to Recordbreakers, a fantastic "Oh Dear God Goodbye Paycheck I Barely Knew Ye" kind of record store. You'll love it. Fall of Troy reminds me of Mars Volta but with more screaming--and I do love a good scream. And HEY DORKS! They have a song on Guitar Hero III. But please listen to more of their music than just that, ok? The Dear Hunter is a band I've just been introduced to, but it's always fun seeing a band live that you don't know much about.

The Fall of Troy's Myspace
The Dear Hunter's Myspace

Remember, THE BEST PART about living in a big city like Chicago is all the incredible live music, so come to these shows with me and SUPPORT THE ARTISTS! And, me a favor and don't judge me for dancing like an idiot. I tend to lose my mind at concerts...what are you gonna do? You're gonna dance with me, jerks.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cool as Frost*

What do you get when you keep a rocker cooped up in the studio producing pop hits for too long? "Milliontown" by Frost*!

Jem Godfrey, leader and mastermind behind the project, found success co-writing and producing hits in the UK for artists like Atomic Kitten and Shane Ward. Wanting to break free from the straight-forward, hit-driven mentality of pop music, Godfrey decided to put together a progressive rock supergroup consisting of guitarist John Mitchell (Arena, Kino), drummer Andy Edwards (of IQ), and bassist John Jowitt (also of IQ). The debut album is Godfrey's musical outlet and showcase for his talents outside production. "Milliontown" kicks off with the track "Hyperventilate," a melodic trip that features Godfrey's beautifully intricate keyboard playing. "No Me No You" is one of the two "poppier" tracks, but it only gets better as Godfrey's grand vocal harmonies lead to eerie twist, turns, and changes in pace. But it all makes sense, as the song is wrapped up essentially the way it started. "Snowman," the softest track, is somewhat reminiscent of "Strawberry Fields Forever" by the Beatles, despite its contemporary, "synthy" sound. "The Other Me," though catchy, is probably my least favorite track-- the second of the two poppier songs on the album.

Much more interesting in my opinion is "Black Light Machine," a hybrid track that combines ambiance with moderately fast rock. The synths combined with delayed finger-tapping guitar rhythms set the overall tone of the song, which features powerful guitar solos and rich vocal harmonies. About seven minutes into this ten-minute beast, a slower ambient section suddenly turns into a funky jam session. Even more beastly is the album's title track, a twenty six and a half minute epic. Words can't even express the awesomeness of "Milliontown"-- it's melodic, catchy, coherent, and the instrumentation is great (and even sounds a little "Dave Matthews" at times). And I stress coherent, because many songs of this length tend to shift directions and lose sense of the original theme (or they contain movements that are comparable to tracks on a full concept album.) Nonetheless, the title track remains interesting (and awesome) throughout, and definitely makes the album for me.

Here's a stunning "unplugged" (but not really... hence the quotes) studio rendition of the opening instrument track "Hyperventilate" ...

Make sure to look out for Frost*'s sophomore album, which should be finished up in May!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

An All In One Nation

Hey, I know this is a music blog, but working in the digital department I figured I would talk a bit about technology.

“All in one, Nation.” We are a nation obsessed with having everything in one place--all of which is supposed to make life more productive and easier to manage. But I say it’s all a disguise. Amazon is now adding web hosting services to it’s line up of products to compete with Google and Microsoft.

Amazon goes on to explain how they will undercut the pricing on hosting and services for internet-based companies. This is very typical of Amazon, saying they are competing with everyone by cutting prices. Their most recent achievement was going for the Itunes market by offering a better quality download for ten cents cheaper. Now, they are going for the business market. My problem isn’t so much with Amazon, but they prove that our nation is obsessed with getting all of their needs fulfilled in one spot.

In the beginning, this always seems like a good idea--prices go down, quality goes up. It’s great for consumers. But then, eventually, the competitors consolidate, prices go up, and quality goes down. It’s happening with cell phones, it’s happened with cars, it’s going on every where. And what was all in one place actually hurt us more. Think of Wal-Mart. Everything you could possible need in one location. Food, clothes, doctors, dentists, cars, plants, home improvement everything except a church service. So what ended up happening is they now have suppliers backed in a corner. Wal-Mart has controlled their profits because they have to have low prices. Now manufacturers have to cut corners so they can keep up with the low prices. Not to mention the loss of community and local business. So did this make things easier? Not really. The economy is down, jobs are lost and people need cheep prices because they are in poverty now.
Another example is email.

Let’s examine the email chain. Where I work I have three emails, plus the two for my own company, and then of course my two personal emails (because Google is just too cool to pass up). Then they all go to my Microsoft Outlook which shoots them all to my blackberry--for a grand total of seven emails. Having this all go to one spot--my phone--seems cool.

Let’s for one second forget the social distress this creates for always being connected to work and think about how this was supposed to make my life easier. Well, any given day I receive about ten to fifteen junk emails per account, maybe one that is relevant and one that is really important. So that’s 119 emails a day that I have to filter through just in case a clients request got filtered in my junk mail. By the time I get to the really important email that was time sensitive, I’ve lost my window and now have to back track even more. This has not made my life easier at all.

So what can someone do in my position? Well, I have come up with some solutions: tell everyone if it’s really important, send a carrier pigeon, send a letter or give me a call. That way I’m not so stressed about the time I have to spend filtering through junk. As for the seven different emails, that’s an issue of being an entrepreneur. I have different clients with different needs, and I need different emails for them to contact me at. Plus, it’s not fun if my family and friends have to keep losing my email address because I switched jobs again.

So, my next move is to step away from the addiction to email and get back to talking to people like a regular human being. This won’t stop the junk mail; this won’t prevent the need of having many different emails. This will take the stress and dependency off of using email as my main tool of communication. This way my life won’t be all in one spot (like Wal-Mart). Not to mention, if the black berries go out again, I won’t commit suicide.