Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First Track, First Time - The Black Keys - "Attack & Release"



Artist: The Black keys
Album: Attack & Release
Track: All you ever wanted
Venue: Work computer, crippling self-doubt

"Ain't it just like dying, except you can still feel the same"

It opens quietly to a plodding, easy rhythm...blues-y of course. Danger Mouse seems to really understand pop music, so the Keys' sound here has the really airy sound of a late-afternoon FM blues power ballad. Its great and feels like the feeling you get after walking out of low light into the sun on a long day.

"I'll be a black bird darling,
Hanging on your telephone wire
Flap my wings over you
And set your heart on fire"

And then there's a minor explosion of loud drums and organ...this is a Black Keys album after all.

They don't get enough love these days...maybe this little blast of street cred (thanks to Danger Mouse) will set them apart from that other little two piece with the matching clothes...

PS: Uh, there's also a little laser tag game to accompany this one...cute.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Heavy - That Kind of Man



The Heavy...
Came across these guys via The Current and fell in love. Not bad for a few kids from a small town in England. They even have a guy who sings like Curtis Mayfield.

This song is what I hope the apocalypse sounds like...



http://www.myspace.com/theheavy73

The Miles Birthday Extravaganza - Day2 - Knicks Vs. Grizzlies and beyond

Well hey there, how the heck is everyone?

I know I am a day late on this update, but I only recently figured out my ass from my elbow. Miles is still probably locating both...

Friday night was genius...You want a guaranteed great time? Gather 20 of your closest friends and buy out a section at a sporting event of your choice. Doesn't matter what sport, just as long as there is beer and a few players to yell at. It was great, and what started out as a fairly innocent trip to a basketball game ended with a contest to see who could yell the most obscure things about basketball. My "Big Country" references only got me so far until a friend of Miles' who owns a jazz club took the loud, drunken cake with references to Knicks benchwarmers from 1986. The Knicks lost, but everyone else won.

We wrapped the night up in the seaport at a very quiet, low key, low-lit little bar called Fresh Salt. It was a perfect counterpoint to the game as the people who started off their night using a foam finger to drink smuggled Jim Beam were now discussing quietly the subtext in a film like "No Country for Old Men".

Things got fuzzy for me as everyone was leaving and we were doing our best to recreate the cover of "Critical Beatdown" with our digital cameras.


We failed, obviously, but ended up with some ridiculous pictures. The night closed as the birds started chirping, sending everyone out to track down their respective asses, elbows...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jamie Liddell's New Video - "Little Bit of Feelgood"



Ah, Jim. I love you man.

First single, "Liitle Bit of Feel Good" from his upcoming album "Jim".

The Miles Birthday Extravaganza - Day 1 - The Cribs

Man...

I've been laying low lately...extremely low. Strikes and gutters, ups and downs, this would be a "down" period. "Up" is inevitable, so for now I have been content to lie down and paint the walls of my rut. I work, go to the gym, go home, eat, and play Super Smash Brothers with my roommates (IKE!) and that's OK. If I drink or party, its in my own house, with an occasional excursion to the city to sell CDs and grab a beer. I think this rush of self-control is a necessary counterpoint to all the times when I had none...check the old, old posts in this blog for an idea of what that was like.

Then there was last night...

Its my good friend Miles' birthday today. Being a smart, straight-laced adult, he has stretched his birthday into a three day bender celebration with all of his friends. All of which I will be documenting here...fuck liveblogging South By Southwest...this is the new South By Southwest.

27 years on this earth should start with whiskey, naturally...and for some god-forsaken, horrible reason there is an establishment in Brooklyn that sells dollar shots of rail whiskey as part of their happy hour. Dollar shots of rail whiskey. DOLLAR SHOTS OF RAIL WHISKEY.

It was me, Miles, and his good friend/musician guy who is in a band with Mocean Worker, and has played horns onstage with El-P, good dude. We started off innocently enough, drinking whiskey, eating tater tots and waxing about the state of the music business. Pretty standard fare as we stayed ignorant of the harsh truths about to hit us.

Now, there's a tiny creature inside each bottle of whiskey. He lives there, and he is a boorish, loudmouth bastard who farts anger and pisses arrogance. So when you drink whiskey, it is laced with this little guy's juices, and you become infected with his attitude.

That is my theory...my friend Jargy calls it gorilla blood, which is apt and hilarious, but I think its a stretch to think Gorillas are really all powered by rail whiskey. That is just crazy. I'm sticking with my theory.

Anyway, before the light had even left the sky we were well (or rail! ba-dum-ching) on our way. Telling jokes, yelling at each other, laughing our balls off. The whiskey had us by the nuts as we rolled into the street and down the block to the Bowery Ballroom...I mean, the Music Hall of Williamsburg....fuck I hate saying that whole thing, can someone come up with an acronym already? The MUH? "Hey guys, I'm just on my way down to the MUH to catch a noise band from Portland, you guys wanna come?" I never was very good at coining phrases.

So we get into the MUH and hang out in the bar while some guy played acoustic versions of Crass songs upstairs. I've never really heard Crass...I know they have a sweet logo and they are British, but I was more content to hang out in the bar and talk too loud. By the time we made it upstairs, Jeffrey Lewis was playing.
[EDIT - Turns out Jeff Lewis and the Crass guy are the same person, I don't know who was playing when we got there]

Watching Jeffrey Lewis do a set involves cartoons, slide shows, really long spoken word pieces that are actually quite funny, and some music. He started with a slideshow/cartoon he drew that told the story of a dentist who gave a gift of wisdom teeth to a female thief he was in love with. The teeth were smart teeth and didn't mind when they were rejected as a gift...wisdom...get it?

Throughout his set, I alternated between wanting to high five him and wanting to punch him right in his face. His rants go on so long that they start funny, get annoying, and then keep going so long that they become funny again....like those jokes on Family Guy where Peter is all, "Ahhhhhhh, Sssssss, ahhhhhh" for ten minutes.

If you get to his myspace, check out the song about Will Oldham and you will agree. He closed the set with a 9 minute "History of Punk Rock on the Lower East Side from 1950-1975" or something...it was an exhaustive medley that went through every inch of punk's development from beat poetry and the Fugs to Lou Reed and Iggy Pop until the UK stole it. It was so meticulously intelligent that I wanted to smack him for having the drive and creativity and Wikipedia bookmarks to pull such a thing off.

After the set I slapped Miles in the face...twice I think. At the time, it seemed completely logical. But it actually went down like this:

Me: Ok, birthday guy, its shot time
Miles: Ok, what are we doing
Me: Whiskey!
Bartender: What would you like?
Me: Two Kamikazes, please
Miles: God damnit.
Me: Here, I will make it easier on you
*Smacks Miles right upside the head*
Miles: DUDE, what the fuck?
Me: Take your shot!
*Miles takes his shot, I slap him in the head again*
Miles: Dude!!!! WHY ARE YOU SLAPPING ME??!!!
*Slaps me as hard as he can*
Me: Mumbles unintelligible nothing, drools
*Miles slaps me again*
Me: I was trying to make it easier for you! Happy birthday!!!

Yeah...or something like that. I promise, that at the time, my logic was sterling. I thought Miles was hesitant, so i figured I would give him a little incentive. This doesn't make any damn sense, especially considering that a Kamikaze is basically a shot of kisses and sunshine, a baby could take that shot.

So yeah, the whiskey had us slapping the piss out of each other between sets at the MUH...jeez.

With our faces red and stinging, The Cribs took the stage. Man, people love these guys! I didn't know many of their songs, but the massive love for the band was as infectious as the gorilla blood, so I ended up pogo-ing around like a complete fool for their entire set. They killed it, they all have the same haircut, and I'm convinced that every one of their songs are equally catchy.


It was sort of like that...but better...and drunk-er.

They closed their set by bringing out Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth (who?) to do a spoken word bit on their track "Be Safe". I think its the best song on the album, because it stands out...a slightly noisy, stark bit of ranting in the midst of an album thats all catchy and jumpy, all the time. This was the first, and possibly only time they would do this live, so it was cool to see.

After the show was over, somehow, self control took over again and I left a little after midnight. I came to in a cab with no stupid phone calls made, no stupid phone calls received, no drunken texts to my parents, with both of my kidneys. I was impressed. I ran home to eat bagel bites and whoop my roommates in Smash Brothers.

Tonight we bought out a whole section at the Knicks game. Tomorrow is the Digitalism show at Webster Hall. Stay tuned.

Thanks, whiskey.

Sorry I slapped you dude.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Importance of Being...Nightmares on Wax




Just push play here and start reading. Don't worry, there's no video, its just a track, so you won't miss any visuals. Just enjoy the music.

A lot of groups have included rolling papers with their albums, but when Nightmares On Wax did it with their most recent album, it made perfect sense.

The pairing of weed and this music was perfect...its like if Sunn0))) included bumps of Special K with their albums (all of which should be called 'Theme from the K Hole').

Their second album "Smoker's Delight" made it clear they were after the red-eyed set, but even stone sober, at work, or driving in the rain, NOW have put together some of the best instrumental music this side of your own brain. They started off buried in the Warp Records catalog, staying obscure early until they put out 'Aftermath', a track that still rocked a familiar, early 90's "Cornwall is awesome!!!" English thump, but the vocal SAMPLES, and the LOW END of the track gave a pretty good idea of where they were headed.

"Fire in the Middle" from their first album, Carboot Soul

Now, on Carboot Soul, their first proper album, they are only a few steps away from hip-hop. In fact they could easily lend their beats to an MC to tear up. They probably have, but as someone who has dug deep into their collection, I cant remember anything with a rapper that stands out. Maybe NOW decided the framework of the hip hop instrumental provided a lot of room for creativity...or maybe we aren't supposed to worry about it...I mean, have you been listening? Are you worried? About anything?

Then there was Smoker's Delight, I'm not posting anything from it, because you need to have the entire thing, 3 blunts (approximately) and an entire Saturday. It's called "Smoker's Delight", not "Guy at Work Ordering a Turkey Wrap's Delight"...show some respect...jeez.

Ok, then came the rolling papers and the soundsystem from up there in 2006. In a Space Outta Sound is a monster. After following their fairly-singular dream in a fairly-singular format, NOW put together the end all be all. Its not the endgame for instrumental music as a whole...ah fuck it, yes it is. I've never gotten more satisfaction out of instrumental music like I do on this record.

"Flip Ya Lid" from In a Space Outta Sound

Are you listening to this? That's right its fuckin' Saturday now. Don't stop to ask how this time-warp happened man, just go buy 3 Dutches and get to work.

Love,
Don Dokken

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This is Huge

Alright, so I just found the most bizarre, ridiculous piece of anything, ever...

If you like anything...Daft Punk, Drugs, Beautiful Women, Drugs, South Park, Absinthe, Malt Liquor, Anything...then you will love this.

ENJOY.

I had to, it might be a little played out, but I don't give a rat's ass.

Monday, March 17, 2008

God....flesh

Full disclosure, I stole this from Vice, but its far too cool to not post here...hoping for some coolness by osmosis on this one.

Apparently the opening scene of Jesus Christ Superstar syncs up with the Godflesh track "Anthems"...which means someone got really stoned and tried to see what music lined up with THAT movie. Awesome. I'd love to see the outtakes on that one.


Furthermore, where is Godflesh? Well I know they aren't around anymore, but I know you all have at least one Godflesh album buried somewhere in your collection. Is it good? Who knows, they were hit and miss, but I would take a Godflesh revival over basically any Jesu song right now. Remember when they were in that movie Hideaway with Alicia Silverstone?...that was awesome.

Also, this...

Thanks Drew.

Thats really all I got. I will hopefully be posting an exclusive Q&A with Cool Kids in the next couple weeks or so, provided my editor at metropop says its cool. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Things Can Only Get Better

There's a homeless guy who hangs out in the warm spot by the subway. I see him every day as I leave work. He's extremely shady, and he always looks like he is waiting for his opportunity to break out and do something crazy...

Yesterday I was walking out of work, and I saw something...off the sidewalk in the street...I stared for awhile, thinking about this story my friend Casey told me about why hunters in Wisconsin need to wear all blaze orange so they dont get mistaken for a deer...a friend of his was wearing blaze orange everything, with brown pants...he bent over for a second and immediately got shot in the ass.

So I'm thinking about Casey's story, staring at this thing in the street like its a magic eye and I see, Is that balls? What the fuck? Then I realize what I'm looking at.

Ol' boy from the subway station must have finally found his opening...way to go man.

He's bent over in the street, and have you ever seen someone's anus open up? Its horrifying...He's bent over in the middle of street, and he is shitting. Right here in midtown. Picture this man shitting, and you have to pretend this song is playing. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Del the Funky Homosapien - The 11th Hour

So here is a review of the new Del album that I never got around to posting. It's short and appears in this month's issue of MetroPop Magazine, which you should go out and pick up.


Del the Funky Homosapien - The 11th Hour
Def Jux


Del the Funky Homosapien? Isn't he that guy who did a track with Dinosaur Jr. on the Judgement Night Soundtrack? I love that guy. Del is on Def Jux now, and he's chosen to keep things simple for his new employers. The beats on this record (which he produced almost all of) are solid, adequate blasts of funk and soul that sound amazing loud. His voice is still addicting as hell, but his flow on this is refreshingly straightforward and uncomplicated. Simplicity is underrated. Go, Del.


Thats all I really got for now. I'm still recovering from Justice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Justice played Madison Square Garden Last Night

Give me the THORAZINE

--You don't need the thorazine

The THORAZINE!

--RELAX!



YES, Justice came out last night to do the whole "Justice" thing...and thank fuck, they combined "We Are Your Friends" and Ministry's "Just One Fix", just like they did at Terminal 5. Ministry riffs are cause for celebration, so I smacked Miles in the belly repeatedly (never failed to bring me luck) as he danced his "drunk aunt at the Christmas party" dance. I'm no better... I can't get the "rave" out of my "two step"....damnit. The point is, we danced like idiots and thats awesome.

The show was great, Chromeo opened and they were as brilliant as you could ever want them to be. Their music is a fucking joke, but its one of those jokes that is hilarious and never ever gets old, like Bobby Brown.



Basically, the opener restored my faith in humanity, which means Justice made me believe in God (Al Jourgensen). They smacked together all the best shit they could come up with, threw in a little Metallica, did like 3 encores, and left everyone sore and sweaty. Thanks, dudes.

Truth be told, I'm glad its all over. Justice has been in everyone's ears/faces for quite some time now, and they have had a good run. After last night, I'm ready to let them go for a year or so, so they can hole up in a bunker in France and make some more new shit. Begone, Justice, and leave me alone with my hangover.

We closed the night off in a bar where they let underage kids drink, screaming the words to Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945"...which I just found out was awesome....jeez.....I've never seen the Godfather either.

Have a great day kids, I just (with a raging hangover) interviewed Mikey from Cool Kids, so I've peaked.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

edIT


Queens Plaza is nasty...especially this time of year. Its a sad place, especially the train station itself. Its a cavern and its obvious they were planning on the area holding down some kind of "hub" for the whole borough of queens, which it is...

But not in any kind of "bustling city center" kind of way - a mess of train tracks and colliding people climbs the stairs to an even bigger mess of on ramps, off ramps, freeway overpasses, train yards tangled above ground level...the 7 train screams overhead...the LIRR whips by on the oil-stained ground. The place is a barely-beautiful mass of twisted metal, filth, and traffic of all kinds.

I'm walking off the train and I'm so tired I can barely see. Not any kind of actual fatigue, just the kind that rushes up and knocks me on my ass as I ride the train home. I end up in a weird trance with my headphones on. I drift into this place between sleep and awake, where I start to disconnect, but not fully. In that disconnection, there are new colors to the music, new associations I couldn't make in my waking state. I love listening to music in that state.

We've all achieved similar things with all kinds of substances, and I am definitely one to really fall in love with a piece of music after hearing it in an altered state. Pot was the reason I thought track 4 off of Intestine Baalism's album "An Anatomy of the Beast" was the most genius thing I had ever heard. Ecstasy was the reason I thought "Hard House" was a good idea. Mushrooms were the reason I ripped off the headphones and swore off the Matrix soundtrack forever.

Music is definitely experiential (is that a word?) and you listen to music on drugs for the same reason you do anything on drugs - to experience it from an alternate perspective. Altered states give you alternate takes, the drums are louder, context is clearer, you are now in a singular state of mind separate from your 9-5 and thus have more attention to give.

I'm the same way with movies...I once sat, blazed out of my mind, all the way through "21 grams", the most depressing, terrifying, heart wrenching movie I have ever seen. It didn't make me feel good, but for some reason my altered state had me more easily aligned with the director's vision. Wanky as that may sound, it makes sense. Films are an alternate reality, and it follows that warping your own personal reality prepares you to understand a new one.

In my state, I was able to shed a lot of distracting notions about how weird I thought Sean Penn was, how obnoxious Naomi Watts' overacting can be, and follow the point. At the end of the film they ask a question about the weight, 21 grams....supposedly everyone loses 21 grams at the exact second they die. "How much does 21 grams weigh?" The answer came out of me without even trying, I actually said this out loud to myself and my confused dog (he's not a Benicio Del Toro fan). I said, "Too much". Its about balance, the world balances itself out same as us. When the weight becomes too much, the world sheds it, one living person at a time, 21 grams at a time....thanks, marijuana. <\Tangent>

So, the drugs are great for these kind of halfway valuable insights, but my recent episodes on the train have made me realize that I can fuck myself up a lot worse without any kind of substance. All drugs do anyway is direct the traffic of existing chemicals in your brain...drugs divert, close off, rip open synapses and cause chaos within you and without you. You can get this same effect without drugs. I'll still do them, but I've recently become interested in the kind of madness that can be created inside without them.

Sleep deprivation, deep breathing, chanting, meditation, dreams. Some of these things sound a little ridiculous, but surely they cant be any more ridiculous than gravity bongs, naming your pipes, glow sticks, or deliberately repeating the phrase "Alaskan Thunderfuck" to your friends.

I once went to an Alex Grey ceremony at his chapel/art gallery in Chelsea. After what seemed like hours of lame spoken-word nonsense, and rambling stories about the concept of "home", we chanted. I'm a skeptic as hell, but only until someone presents a compelling argument. The woman leading the chant promised altered states of consciousness, and she delivered.

After 10 minutes of deeply chanting phrases in Indian I was seeing things, white auras around basically everything. I was detached, watching my thoughts and emotions wander by without trying to understand them. Was there mysticism there? No. I was just depriving my brain of oxygen, or giving it way too much of it. The effect was like standing up too fast and almost passing out, or the ridiculous "lets make each other pass out by breathing real hard" situation that bored kids across the country were into a few years ago.

Regardless, it was an altered state, and I'll take it. Lets call a spade a spade. I'll take it because music sounds better in these places...ok, maybe not "better", but "different", and different is good.

I was still cruising out of one of these episodes as I walked off the V train and up the stairs. edIT's album "Certified Air Raid Material" was playing in my headphones. It was my third time with it, and I was floored. My right ear begged for the bassline from the title track to come back as it panned from ear to ear. The vibration was so satisfying that, were it possible, I would have rammed it into my veins. Over and over again.

I came close to the turnstyle, into it, then out of it. There was money, right there on the ground. In one motion over the kickdrum I snagged it. A small pile of bills wrapped in a one dollar bill. An instant after that an extremely stressed looking string of a person walked up and asked me for 50 cents (he probably saw me grab the money) so i handed him the stack, smiled and kept on my affected way. I hope there was a fifty in there.

It was like it never happened, I never once considered the money mine. The music was winning, not my ego. If it weren't for being half-asleep, if it weren't for that bassline, I don't think it would have happened like that. "This is New York, and you have to work to get what you want... damnit...whats mine is mine"... (Echoes from my nine to five state of mind).

Monday, March 10, 2008

I got your seasonal depression right here, sucka.

I've been incapable of the "long post" since that sprawling music business list...jesus. It actually does take some skill to make these "list" things that the whole internet seems to be so fond of. So, being that I am drained for now, its all bite sized posts and obnoxious "what is the deal with that?" type of nonsense.


I'm convinced this song was sponsored by these guys. You hear what you want to hear, but I think this is about letting shit go, forcibly purging the dead weight and stagnant skin cells you have been shackled with as a human. "I just wanna, get it off, get it off my brain". This might be about meditation and deep breathing, or it might be about the other end of the spectrum, thrashing about, sweating, driving fast, and knocking into your friends. Either way its fucking beautiful and powerful, and if you don't find yourself throwing out ridiculous looking fist pumps then you are not alive.

They are playing the Knitting Factory in April, see you there.

Disfear, by the way, is a beast. The lead singer from At The Gates and some members from Entombed (too lazy to look this up)...its like the Swedish Death Metal A-Team. Enjoy, and if you've never heard At The Gates, fuuuuuuuuuuuck you:


Other than that, I've been working on a pretty huge piece for Vice. We've been going round and round with revisions, but I hope to have it out soon. I will keep you posted.

And, JUSTICE, tomorrow at MSG. Yup, I'll be in there with the tight jeans set, praying they put Ministry and "We are your friends" together again.

Have a great week.

Friday, March 07, 2008

All My Friends - Pt. 2 - Ogre




Ogre is an evil bastard.

When I met Ogre he was running around this party talking about how "hamboned" he was. He was making everyone do shots of 99 bananas until he took out the CD that was playing to show everyone his favorite Third Eye Blind songs. He would demand that everyone in the room listen while he skipped from track to track, never playing a whole song , "no, no dude, you have to hear the words on this. this is epic!" So he made everyone be all quiet and it totally got so awkward that everyone started leaving.

Another time he visited me in New York. We were on the subway and he started talking in this really loud voice. The train was packed and he was talking and laughing about how cool it was that New York was so diverse, he was like, "Man, there's not this many Mexicans in Wisconsin, do you think they are all here illegally? Do you think they know my roofer? Miguel and I were friends because one time I was all, 'me gusta la chicas', and then he was all, 'si!' It was fun talking Spanish with him I only took one semester but yeah, basically, I'm friends with Mexicans."

He also once gave me the worst birthday present ever He was all giggling and happy giving me this envelope, so I thought it would be something cool, like tickets to a Chicago cover band called "Gary", or a gift certificate to Chili's or something else sweet like that, but it was actually tickets to go to this thing called "Living and Loving the Light with Jesus". He was all psyched because it was this like 3 day seminar with a shitload of christian rap-metal bands and guest speakers and a ceremony where you bring your girlfriend and they bless you and make you be celibate for the rest of your life. I tried to be gracious and accept the gift as he was all, "I'm so stoked that you are finally ready to accept Jesus with me, brosef!"

Then he bought a visor, turned it around, put it on upside down, and high-fived me.

All My Friends - Pt. 1 - Jess


Alright, so my friends are a bunch of Scheister scumbags, thats right. I love you guys but none of you are blameless - all flawed and terrible people just like me, so I will be airing your dirty laundry all over this thing. BOO-YAH!

My first subject is Jess, this whole thing was her idea.

I once saw Jess decline a phone call from her grandmother because she was drunk and playing skee-ball in a bar. She never called her back.

I also heard that one time, Jess' mom gave her a really expensive jacket from Chanel one winter and she sold it at a vintage clothes store for 1/3 the price because it "wasn't her style".

Another time, a friend of a friend gave her a demo CD from her new band. This friend of a friend worked for 2 years and spent all the money from her mom's accidental death malpractice suit to record the demo. She could only afford one copy, so she gave it to Jess, thinking that it would be in good hands. Jess told her she would "check it out and pass it along". She listened to it once, called it "stupid hippie jam-band bullshit" and took it out to listen to Creed instead. She now avoids the friend of a friend's phone calls.

She also runs toddler fights in the back of a van in Long Island City. The toddlers are all also disabled and punch drunk from all the fighting. Her main fighter, a 3 year old monster who goes by the handle "BrickDick" just had to retire so she has been prowling daycares "looking for new talent".



Jess is a nefarious individual, stay away at all costs.

You're next. Yes, you.

Monday, March 03, 2008

9 Bizarre/Awesome Portrayals of Music Industry People in Modern Film.

As an "insider" (read: one of the people crazy enough to still work in the music industry), I tend to notice the bizarre portrayals of "our kind" in the movies. There are some weird ones and I know I am leaving a LOT out, but a few have come to mind recently that are either funny, stupid, or wholly inaccurate. Enjoy my first foray into list making. There's no real order here, all I did was save the best for last. Whoo-yeah.



Character: Raji
Title:
"Artist Management", Carousel Records
Film:
Be Cool

"Be Cool" might be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Not because its about the music business and its wrong, but because it is so, so aggressively unfunny. I could go on forever about what a piece of shite this movie is.

Vince Vaughn plays Raji, a flossy, loudmouth manager (manging the buttery Christina Milian) who thinks he is black. This is obviously a cartoon portrayal of a scurvy scheister music biz dickhead, so its a little unfair to nitpick about this being "unrealistic", but the only people I have seen wear silk pants, fur coats with matching hats, and gay bodyguards are the artists themselves. Management people are usually pretty cool, if not stressed as hell because they have to maintain things like "standards" and "integrity", while Raji is a complete boner who gets physically and metaphorically bitch slapped every step of the way.

I hate this movie.

Quote: That ridiculous friggin' laugh.



Character: "The Man Who Pays People to Sing Into His Can" (played by Steven Root)
Title:
Label/Studio/Radio Station Owner (???)
Film:
O, Brother Where Art Thou?

This guy is definitely a music businessman. He knows what people like ("I'm lookin for some old timey material, you see people can't get enough of it!") so he finds talent and pays them ("ten dolla a piece!) to play their music while he records. He then plays their music all over the radio. Pretty decent business model, and Steven Root is the (weird, old, blind )MAN. (Parenthesis).

Bonus: The fact that no one in this scene can pronounce the word "Accompaniment".



Character: "Pete" (Played by Paul Rudd)
Title:
Random A&R Guy
Film:
Knocked Up

This is probably the most accurate portrayal of a modern-day music business professional I've seen. Pete wears Tom Waits t-Shirts and goes out all of the time to check out new bands, which makes him an A&R guy (the 'holy grail' of Music Industry jobs). Its accurate because the fact that Pete works in the music business is understated, and the character seems to realize that yeah, the job might have some sweet perks (mushroom hookups from the Black Crowes, anyone?), but its still a damn job, and we all need those to feed the kids.

The only discrepancy I can see is that Pete doesn't have a drinking problem, which I would if I had to go out to shows every night.

Quote: Gah, I couldn't find one, all I found was Paul Rudd talking about the "Steely Dan" exchange in the movie.

I play a guy in the music business, and we had no idea where everything went, and I was saying that a band like Steely Dan could never get signed today and they'd never get any radio play - and he says, 'That's because Steely Dan sucks.' And we get into this whole thing like 'no, Steely Dan is amazing, the early Steely Dan,' and you [Seth Rogen] said something like 'I don't think you'd get into a Steely Dan concert without wine and cheese. If you ever catch me listening to Steely Dan, you could cut my head off with a Spiro Gyra record.'



Character: “Burt”
Title:
Studio Owner
Film:
Boogie Nights

This is just awesome…Dirk Diggler and Reed Rothchild (perfectly played by John C. Reilly) are strung out of their minds, trying to get the master tapes to the horseshit they just recorded so they can get a record deal, get more money, and buy more drugs. Burt’s only role here is to tell them to fuck off, but Rothchild’s confusion over Burt’s “industry jargon” (YP’s and MP’s) is absolutely hilarious.

Quote: “That’s not an MP, that’s a YP”





Character:
Dennis Hope (Played by Jimmy Fallon)
Title:
Big Time Tour Manager, Parade Pisser.
Film:
Almost Famous

This dude comes in and starts shitting all over the bands “business as usual” attitude. He represents the new thinking in the music business – he knows everything that can possibly done to save/make them money, and he is unapologetic about doing it...he's basically Guy Hands. Plus he keeps saying, “respectfully”.

Hope represents the voice of the music business folks who talk about "new directions" (there's a lot of those in these tough times). He’s nerdy, slightly un-hip, he’s smart as hell, and he can talk a blue streak. He has great ideas that will bring about success but he’s seen as a pushy threat to the band’s inefficient “status quo”. Thus, he gets no love…that, and Jimmy Fallon is just hard to watch.

Quote: “I didn’t invent the rainy day, man. I just own the best umbrella”




Character:
Chris Brander (Played by Ryan Reynolds)
Title:
SVP, RedBulb Records
Film:
Just Friends

He was a fat guy with self-esteem issues. Then he ran screaming from Jersey to LA, lost a shitload of weight, and ended up as the SVP for the non-existent ‘Red Bulb Records’. He wears a suit to work, he’s pretty well put together and he does nothing but bang models.

This portrayal of the ‘music industry guy’ (or ‘MIG’, as my good friend Fubz calls it) is very idealistic and a little off… for a lot of reasons.

First, record labels aren’t staffed by nothing but knockout models…its not an episode of ‘Entourage’ every day all day. Most of the girls who work for labels are very pretty, but not pretty in the “Dress/High Heels” way, but pretty in the “Can talk for hours about the influence of Bomb Squad productions while drinking whiskey like a Wisconsin bowhunter” way. Which makes them very attractive.

Second, all the SVP’s I know are pretty laid back older guys who have been in the business for a long time. They all have cool clothes (bordering on obnoxious ‘skater dad’ styles), great stories, pictures of them in multiple ‘heydays’, wife, kids, and nice places to live on Long Island. Don’t get me wrong though, these guys were not always tame, in fact they most definitely spent those ‘hey’ days stumbling around, fried out of their minds, slip-n-sliding across oily naked interns.

However, Brander seems to be a huge mix of all of these things...the title of a big boss with the mating habits of a low-level scrub....so maybe I was wrong calling this inaccurate, or maybe I am just a wholesale hater of this (fictional) man's success. Yup, that's it.

Quote: “Well then you call Arista and you have them move the release date to coincide with the MTV launch. Alright I know you can do this for me baby.” This makes no fucking sense whatsoever…that’s another trend among these portrayals…to make these guys spit out weird nonsensical jargon about “release dates”, “contracts”, and “percentages”.

Bonus: His boss is played by the amazing Steven Root, second time as a MIG on this list.



Character: Ahmet Ertegun (Played by Curtis Armstrong)
Title:
Founder, Atlantic Records
Film:
Ray

One of only two "actual people" on this list, Ahmet Ertegun, from what I can tell, personified all that was classy and great about the music business. Which is why its amazing that the guy who played “Booger” from Revenge of the Nerds was tapped to play him. However, Curtis Armstrong’s portrayal of Ahmet seems to be an accurate “old-school” representation of a music business legend. Ahmet ran Atlantic Records in the days where the industry was unchallenged in its business practices. Very clear lines were drawn – you sign artists, have them record records, sell the records, turn a profit or lose out. This was long before any kind of bootlegging existed, this is the “golden age” that every old head in the music business is currently stuck in. That, and 1993.

Quote:
Ray: What if I want to go to another company? There's a guy out there right now that's willing to pay me seven cents a record. Can you do that?
Ahmet: Man, I could promise you fifteen cents a record but you won't get it. Anymore than he'll pay you seven. What I will do is promise you five cents a record and pay you five cents a record. You think pennies, Mr. Charles, you get pennies. You think dollars, you get dollars.
Ray: I like the way you put things together. Omelet, you're alright with me.
Ahmet: Ahmet.


Bonus: Ray calls him Omelet!!! BAHAHAHA!



Character: Artie Fufkin (Played by Paul Shaffer)
Title:
Midwest Promotions Rep, Polymer Records
Film:
This is Spinal Tap

In This is Spinal Tap, Artie Fufkin was the Midwest promotions rep for Polymer Records, (‘Polymer’ essentially means ‘plastic’) assigned to promote Spinal Tap’s music in the Chicago and Cleveland area. Fufkin is a crowd pleasing moron with an awesome combover/mustache combo who takes the time to introduce himself to every last person in the band’s hotel room, including the random groupies and camera crew.

After he fucks up an in-store autograph signing, “I fucked up the timing”, he bends over and begs the band to kick him straight in the ass, “kick this ass, for a man!” Fufkin was later fired for sexual harassment, and while Spinal Tap never held a grudge against him, Artie must have been left with a bad taste in his mouth, “"The kids really - Spinal Tap - were a bunch of cocksuckers, between you and me, because they would not enable a guy like me to do my job - to do what I had to do to get a record played in a town like Chicago."

The best part about this portrayal is the overly friendly networking attitude that sometimes has to come out. Hobnobbin', rubbing elbows, and schmoozing are all necessary, but they are no replacement for substance, Artie.

Quote: “Hi, Artie Fufkin, Polymer Records.”



Character: Tony Wilson (Played by Steve Coogan)
Title:
Founder, Factory Records
Film:
24 Hour Party People

This is it. The Daniel Friggin’ Plainview of music business guys. Steve Coogan plays Tony Wilson, Manchester TV presenter turned label founder. Through his label, Factory Records, Wilson launched the careers of huge bands like Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays. The sounds they created as a label may have also spawned what became ‘Rave’ culture.

Wilson here is portrayed as a smart-ass prick who is hilariously aware of his own greatness. The real Tony Wilson (R.I.P.) didn’t quite agree with Coogan’s portrayal of him, he said that Coogan played him too funny, where the real Wilson was more of an unmitigated asshole who frequently treated people like shit.

That’s the beauty of this portrayal, that the film chose to “print the legend” and not “print the truth”. Music, the music business and the culture around gets wrapped up in so much wonderful lore and mythology. So the film’s director included everything, the facts and the great rumours that made the facts so much more interesting. Coogan portrays Tony Wilson the legend, a status he deserved whether he liked it or not. He’s Bill Brasky, in an industry that already has so many.

Quotes (there are way too many good ones so I put way too many up):
Tony Wilson (Referencing his ‘contract’ with Joy Division, written in his own blood): Factory Records are not actually a company. We are an experiment in human nature. You're labouring under the misapprehension that we actually have a deal with, er, with our, our bands. That we have any kind of a contract, er, at all, and I'm afraid we, er, we don't because that's, er, that's the sum total of the paperwork to do with Factory Records, deal with, er, their various bands.

Tony Wilson: And tonight something equally epoch-making is taking place. See? They're applauding the DJ. Not the music, not the musician, not the creator, but the medium. This is it. The birth of rave culture. The beatification of the beat. The dance age. This is the moment when even the white man starts dancing. Welcome to Manchester.

Tony Wilson: Most of all, I love Manchester. The crumbling warehouses, the railway arches, the cheap abundant drugs. That's what did it in the end. Not the money, not the music, not even the guns. That is my heroic flaw: my excess of civic pride.

Tony Wilson (As Martin Hannett tries to light him on fire): I am not a lump of hash. I'm in charge of Factory Records. I think.

God (As Tony Wilson): It's a pity you didn't sign the Smiths, but you were right about Mick Hucknell. His music's rubbish, and he's a ginger.

Tony Wilson: Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented. Jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does.

BONUS - The Best of Tony Wilson in 24 Hour Party People (A little long and NSFW, but awesome)


DOUBLE BONUS: I met this man, and I blew it so thoroughly that I now consider myself a legend by proxy.


TRIPLE BONUS ROUND:
"The Great World of Sound"
I've never seen this movie, but the music business as pyramid scheme-y scam??? Awesome. This could be a scathing indictment of the business as a whole, but I bet its tackling something a little bigger. Anyway, its about the music business and it looks awesome, so I'm including it here despite the fact that I have never seen it.



Thats it for now. Check back for a possible sequel. Back to work!

First Track, First Time - Nine Inch Nails - "Ghosts"



Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Ghosts
Track: 1 Ghosts I
Venue: Work computer, eating pizza, bad gas.

Mmmmmm slightly distorted pianos. Is this Reznor's own "Selected Ambient Works"? It definitely works. Its moody and it sounds like the outros to a thousand Nine Inch Nails songs, before bleeding seamlessly into the next track, a wash of feedback and wind to match the huge dunes on the "album" cover.

Its cool to see Trent going for this kind of atmosphere in the kind of "pay what you will, pay a lot and get some awesome shit" arena that is (happily) destroying the music business.

The album is two hours long though, so its anyone's guess as to how listenable the whole experience will be.

GET NINE INCH NAILS' 'GHOSTS I' HERE FOR FREE