Category Archives: Music

All music-related posts.

90s Off – Catchup

Yay, more 90s off. Not only have I missed posting here recently, but I’ve also missed my favorite method of time-waste. So, to recap:

Hoffie, with Everclear’s “Strawberry”

Hoffie again, with the Eels’ “Climbing to the Moon”

These happened over a month ago, but today the Bearded One chimed in with Dr. Dre’s (and covered by Ben Folds) “Bitches Ain’t Shit”

I was inspired, so I went for the Fugees’ “Mista Mista”

Fun round all in all. Me approves.

It’s a 90s Off Christmas

Hairy Christmas and a Happy New Beard to everyone. It’s been a good year.

New (Old) Video

My drummer just posted this the other day. This is us playing “From the Sands of a Concrete Shore.” I want to say this was from our first Cabin show, but it might have been our second.

I do remember, however, that this performance is significant for the fact that I do not use my slide, which I usually do. I had put the slide in my pocket so I wouldn’t lose it, but then when it came time to play the song I’d forgotten where I put it, so I just winged it.

What’s Up

So today my band Anyway, Soon was reviewed in What’s Up! Magazine, which you can read here. I just wanted to share the news. It’s so rare to actually here stranger say anything about my music that I tend to get all giddy when something like this happens.

I’ve been taking more steps to solidify this group lately, including a more active share in writing and (finally) helping to look for shows. I promised I would do this when I finished grad school, so I’m happy to be making good on that. More importantly tough, I’m having more fun with the group now than I ever have during our short one-and-a-half year history. In my opinion, our new songs are much stronger than our old ones, and I can’t wait to have recordings for all of you to hear.

If you haven’t noticed, you can listen to my band on the sidebar, or you can go here to buy a copy(yay for shameless self promotion). If you want to make me more giddy, you can tell me what your favorite song is in the comments thread.

Welcome to My Apartment – Weezathon Day 3

I probably won’t get through it all today, even though I’m nearing the finish line. However, my calendar today is full of buying things and drinking beers. A bro’s got to have his priorities, right?

(Side note: if you ever hear me say “bro priority,” it has nothing to do with the popular usage of bro, broing out, or bromance. At least not overtly. My little sister and I saw a dude holding up a name card at the Houston airport that said “Bro Priority,” and it’s kinda just become our thing. I’m waiting for it to become a meme, but apparently I am not cool enough to know how to start one.)

About 11:45 – Raditude, cont.: B-Sides

There really are two different Weezers, aren’t there? The B-Side Weezer is simply a different beast, and one I really like. “Get Me Some,” “Run Over By a Truck,” and their mashup of “Kids/Pokerface” are excellent. I have to admit that I’m apparently so out of touch that I did not realize that the aforementioned song was a splice of MGMT and Lady Gaga. I heard both of these songs for the first time through Weezer, and then I heard the originals. No matter what, they’re awesome though.

I remember having a similar experience when Local H covered Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” Ostrich that I am, I’d never heard Britney’s tune, even though it was already a few years old before the H got ahold of it. I was excited. The song rocked. It was a good lesson in songwriting vs. packaging, one that I won’t soon forget.

Ah, “Story of My Life.” It’s official: I’m a sucker for lo-fi Weezcoustics.

Okay, let’s all say it together: Dance remixes always suck. Maybe, maybe, if I was out dancing (because I do that so much) I could enjoy these things, but mostly they just grate on me. I would skip this shit if it didn’t break the integrity of the marathon.

Three. dance. remixes. in. a. row.

About 2:20 – Hurley

Ah, Hurley. I have now entered the this-is-so-new-my-opinion-is-still-forming portion of this marathon. So far, I really dig this record. A lot of people have said it, but this feels more like vintage Weezer than anything else post-Pinkerton, whatever that may mean.

Thank you to Epitaph Records, who provided me with both a free digital download and a CD of this album when I bought in on (clear green) vinyl.

A song like “Memories” I would usually dismiss as overly sentimental, but it sets the mood for this album so well, and includes piss, vomit, and sex. So how could I not like it?

Deli-fresh pastrami sandwiches go well with the Weez. My ocular nerve went pop zoom.

Going back to my B-side comments earlier, I feel like this is the album where they actually gave precedent to this sound. Maybe it was the move to an indie label, or maybe it was just time, but I’m happy they decided to put this sound front on center. I like the play in form with “Trainwrecks” and “Unspoken.”

I think “Where’s My Sex?” is what really holds the album together. Not because it’s the best track, because it’s probably the worst, but I think that’s my point. The worst song on here isn’t that bad, and it kind of breaks the stinker-an-album precedent that began with “We Are All on Drugs,” then continued with “Everybody Get Dangerous” and “In the Mall.” Here is works, and there was much rejoicing.

I also like the dance rock thing they have going in some of the later tracks like “Smart Girls” and “Brave New World.” It worked so well for them with their cover of “Kids/Pokerface” that I’m glad they decided to give it a stab. Plus, it’s nice to hear a song promoting intelligence in women.

Oh, and “Time Flies” is a fantastic song. Lyrically s’okay, but the recording is perfect.

About 4:50 – Death to False Metal

Well I’ll be. Looks like I’ll be getting through this today after all. I’m definitely at the burnout point here. It’s been a fun experience. I think, taken all at once, this band has a much sturdier body of work than I would have previously given them credit for. I remain fascinated at Weezer’s ability to polarize people. Something about them essentially challenges people’s ideas of what music like this “should” be. However, what kind of music is Weezer? Not pop. Not punk. Not emo. Not metal. Alternative, sure, but that’s a big umbrella.

I’ve often wondered if my interest in this band simply stems from my attraction to controversial items. I’m sure that contributed to my lasting interest in them, but that wasn’t the initial draw. The initial draw was that I was entering 7th grade when they came out and back then they were cool. Blue was probably the only universally adored Weezer record. As much as people view Pinkerton with rose-tinted glasses these days, they hated it when it was new. And so a precedent was born.

I’ve got no specific comments on Death to False Metal. It’s clearly a collection of almost-good-enoughs. Not bad, but not a real album.

Welcome to My Apartment – Weezathon, Day 2

I kept thinking that I didn’t get through very much Weez yesterday, then I remembered that it took me almost three hours to get through the deluxe Pinkerton. Anyway, let’s get going here.

About 10 a.m. – The Lion and the Witch

I remember this came out the same day as Beck’s Sea Change, and that I wanted both really badly. I actually had to drive down to Seattle from Bellingham to buy this at Easy Street Records because they were only selling it at independent record stores. Also, it had limited edition numbering on it, so I was powerless against its charms.

This little live EP is what it is. The sound quality isn’t fantastic, but it reminds me that I’d love a proper Weezer live album. Two things stand out on this recording. The first is the extended jam before “Death and Destruction.” As I said yesterday, I’m interested in hearing this version of Weezer. The second is Scott’s total fuck up during the vocal breakdown in “Holiday.” Everyone on stage laughs, and I laugh too.

I understand that during this tour Rivers had some elaborate system involving D&D dice and the setlist was selected by random throws. Scott was new to the band, and hadn’t learned “Holiday” yet. Good times.

Ah, listening to it now I totally forgot about the part where Rivers screws up the verses on “El Scorcho.” That’s what I like about this little EP. The blemishes are the best part.

Misc. recordings

During the Maladroit days the Weezer website often offered free downloads of demos and other random recordings. Some of these were purportedly going onto the next album (what became Make Believe), but I don’t think any of them did. I remember a Brian Bell song on here called “Yellow Camaro” that I really liked, but apparently I never downloaded it. Here I just have three tunes, comprising of two Christmas songs and the “Star Spangled Banner.” The Christmas songs are actually pretty good, and I guess it’s the right time of year to get into these.

Make Believe

Darn, we’re here. I don’t like this album. It just sounds so forced and lifeless. I was happy for the band that “Beverly Hills” was big hit for them, but really wasn’t that just Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll” slowed down a tad? If I remember correctly, this album sold really well for the band, and I told myself I liked it for a while, but every time I listen to it now I just get so… uncomfortable. This is not to say there aren’t good songs. I like “Perfect Situation,” “This is Such a Pity,” and “Haunt You Every Day.” “Freak Me Out” is interesting, but I don’t think it quite worked.

This album is all we got from Weezer during the entire middle part of the decade. The band has turned in the right direction since this, but I remember thinking I’d be okay if they broke up right around this time.

Listening to it right now, I’m reminded that this album is well-intentioned, and kind of an apology for Maladroit. It’s a very positive record lyrically, for the most part anyway. It’s like the band its sincerity back, but forgot how to write good songs in the process. “Hold Me” and “The Other Way” still sound lazy to me. For the most part Weezer has been cheesy-chic, but this album is cheesy-cringe.

But “Haunt You Every Day” is really good, in that Aerosmith “Dream On” sort of way. The album’s probably worth it for this song alone.

About 11:20 a.m.Alone: the Home Recordings, vol. 1

Sweet, well I’ve never heard these, but when I decided to do this project yesterday I figured it wouldn’t be complete without this album and (later) vol. 2. This is Rivers’ solo stuff, some of it made it in as Weezer songs, but much of it is unheard. I’ve wanted these records since they came out, but I just never scooped ’em.

My first impression so far is that Rivers has much more of an Elliot Smith sound in the recordings when he’s by himself. Weird. I never thought I’d make that comparison. I love listening to people’s unpolished demos.

This is actually the perfect set of recordings to clean the palate after Make Believe. This is wild and experimental. Not all of it’s necessarily good, but it’s fun to watch people try to push their boundaries. It would have been interesting to hear some of these songs fully Weezerized.

Yes! More barbershop stuff. I love it when that happens.

About 12:40 – The Red Album (Deluxe)

This album still makes me very happy. Something about it just sounds like the band got together and said, “Fuck it. Let’s have some fun again.” I love that Brian, Scott, and Pat all get their own songs on here. I love “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived,” and I love all the bonus tracks. Seriously, people who have not heard “Miss Sweeney,” “Pig,” “Spider,” and “King” are seriously missing out. I don’t care how hipster that makes me sound either.

Some of the songs on here aren’t that great. “Heart Songs” and “Get Dangerous” are both kind of meh for me. “Automatic” has some cringe-inducing vocals by Pat, but that awesome guitar riffs make up for it. I would bet my bottom dollar that the band had fun recording this.

To this day I can’t figure out if I like “Dreamin'” or not. It’s very Blue Album-y to me, which is a good thing, but it also kind of feels paint by numbers. Hm.

1:40 – Alone II

I like how both Alone albums start with little sound games. Already liking these first tracks.

This one seems more overtly poppy and upbeat than Alone I. One day I’ll have to check out the recording dates for these tracks.

Ah, so there’s at least two demoed tracks that found their way onto Raditude. I seem to remember some people complaining that the demos were way better than the album cuts. Ah, fickle Weezer fans.

Whoop, make that three. “Prettiest Girl in the World” was a bonus track. Also, the guitar intro to “I Can’t Stop Partying” made me think he was doing a cover of the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm,” which woulda been cool. Weird.

Another “Paper Face” demo. At this point in my marathon I’m starting to hear a lot of the same songs over and over. This song is pretty rad though, and actually it seems like this version is pretty different from the Blue Album’s bonus tracks.

About 2:30 – Christmas with Weezer – EP

Last I heard this I remember being disappointed at how straightforward these recordings were. No real quirk to them at all. I always feel like a jerk listening to Christmas music by myself, but at least it’s not summer.

If I have to pick a fave on here, it’s “O Holy Night.”

About 2:40 – Raditude (iTunes Pass Version)

Christmas EP was blissfully short. I don’t want to sound like a contrarian, but I don’t get why everyone hates this album so much. Sure, I’ll grant that it’s rather brainless in its content, but I’ll also argue that it was on purpose.

Yesterday I mentioned that Green felt like a dissection of a pop album, and I’ve always had the feeling that this was too. Raditude takes that dissection a bit further, I think. Where Green sounds almost resentful of the form it was following, this album revels in it.

Kind of like with Beck’s Midnight Vultures (strange how much I’ve referenced Beck in these posts), I just get the sense that the group consciously set out to craft a ridiculous party album. Maybe it’s because I was in grad school at the time, but I read it as social commentary. Call me crazy, but I actually consider this a strange sort of concept album.

Looking at it in those terms, I can’t get mad at it because it succeeds so well. The sound and thematic content are unified and the energy level is high. “The Girl Got Hot” is awesome, and so is Lil Wayne’s guest appearance on “Can’t Stop Partying.”

Considering that Weezer had three releases in the past couple months, it’s hard for me to believe that this only came out a year ago. I think this was the first album where Rivers started co-writing songs with musicians outside of the band. A lot of people were pissed about this too.

And off to work. Next (perhaps not tomorrow) I finish with Raditude, Hurley, and Death to False Metal.

Welcome to My Apartment – Weezer Marathon, Day 1

Weezer have entered a very interesting stage in their career. That band has released three albums of brand new material since 2008, not to mention an album of previously unreleased tracks, a Christmas EP, and an expanded version of their 1996 classic Pinkerton. With such an output, the band has forced fans like myself to keep up, which means a constant regimen Weez listening.

It’s made me stop and take stock of the near 20-year-old band. The history of Weezer fandom is long and complicated and ultimately boring. Weezer’s ability to polarize fans – you other love ’em or you hate ’em – is why I like them. The band’s got a narrative. They’ve had their lulls and down moments, but they compel me to listen further because I simply don’t know what is coming next.

So today I decided to listen to all of Weezer’s albums, stray recordings, and Rivers demos, and to approach it chronologically. I’ll just kind of make notes as I go.

About 11 a.m. – The Blue Album (Deluxe Edition)

Still just puts me in such a good mood. On the first sunny day of the year I always put this album on, especially if I’m making the 80-mile trek down to Seattle. One of my favorite things with grunge/post grunge music is that it sounded like it was having genuine fun sounding “slackery.” Whatever that might mean. Early Beck is also a good example of this.

Bonus tracks on this are great. I am still just blown away by how good “Suzanne,” “Mykel and Carli,” and “Jamie” are. I remember “Jamie” from the DGC Rarities, Vol. 1 cassette I bought and played into the ground in 6th and 7th grade. I remember stealing $5 from a friend in order to go buy the tape, but I like to think that I made a good investment with my dishonesty. I really liked that tape, and I still think “Einstein on the Beach” is the best song the Counting Crows ever recorded.

About noon – Pinkerton (Deluxe Edition)

I sharted when I found out about the 4LP release of this. Ever since I started my record collection about two years ago, I’ve dreamed of owning Pinkerton, an album that will always rank among my top five.

So much of me thinks it was Weezer’s dormant period after this both blessed and cursed the band. Yes, it gave Pinkerton a chance for its audience to develop, but that same audience put the record on an unrealistic pedestal, myself included. A lot of Tool fans did the same thing with Ænima. So in May 2001 when Green and Lateralus were released on the same day, it was just a little bit anticlimactic.

I was in 9th grade when this album came out, and I remember taping Weezer’s performance at Shorecrest High School, so it’s great to hear these songs again.

As I get to the bonus content, I realize that I’ve only had the chance to listen to some of these songs once or twice. It’s cool to hear old Weezer songs for the first time, and these are pretty good.

I remember thinking the first time through these four records that different versions of “The Good Life” showed up entirely too much. I love this song, but too much repetition of anything can wear on you.

Duet on “I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams.” I guess Rivers partnered with someone before Lil’ Wayne after all. Oh wait, didn’t Rivers guest on a Limp Bizkit song back in the day too?

Yep. Definitely too many versions of “The Good Life.”

Very happy that there’s an alternative version of “Butterfly” on here. The whole fourth record is pretty great, actually. “Getting Up and Leaving” and the track before hint at a larger Pinkerton project.

I wish the tracks were ordered better. Perhaps something like B-sides, unreleased, live, then remixes. Oh well.

About 2:30 – The Green Album

I remember sitting in the lecture hall during my Intro to Logic class one day when I noticed someone had scrawled some of the lyrics to “Knock Down Drag Out” on the desk. Underneath, I replied with some of the lyrics to “Butterfly.” When I sat at the same desk again a week later, the girl had replied that “Butterfly” was one of her favorite songs ever, and there was an e-mail address beneath it. To this day, I wonder why I never dropped her a line. In my mind she was a hot geeky chick, but that would be too predictable, wouldn’t it?

Besides this memory, I was pretty disappointed with this record. Nowadays I find the album interesting as a kind of dissection of the standard pop formula, but I always felt it was lacking any real enthusiasm. It wasn’t that they went back to a more produced sound. That was fine, but I was hoping this album would be more of a celebration.

Perhaps the off-putting thing about this album is that it sounds angry while trying to sound happy. It’s a very confusing mix of emotions for such simple songs.

I went through all of high school without a new Weezer album, and those are some pretty opinion-forming years. Couple that with the huge shift in popular music from the mid-90s to the early 00s and it’s really not the band’s fault that this didn’t impress me more. I was stoked they were back, but I was worried about their future.

About 3:15 – Maladroit

Whatever I may have felt about Green,I didn’t have much time to dwell on it, considering this album came out only about a year later. From the opening beat of “American Gigolo” the band essentially promises that this is something different than the last record. It breaks the ten-song-an-album rule, most songs come in at less than three minutes, and unconventional song structures are a little more common.

In a lot of ways, this is the antithesis to Green. It’s brash and full of swagger and directly confronts the band’s whiny fans with songs like “Slob.” I especially get a kick out of “Burnt Jamb,” and “Death and Destruction,” and still feel like I would have enjoyed more of that kind of Weezer.

A lot of people I know didn’t like this record, and in fact I a lot of my friends gave up on the band right around this time, but I remember feeling like my faith was restored with this one, and I still feel like it’s the best album of their middle period. It’s not perfect and feels half baked at times, but the energy is great.

Tomorrow, I begin with The Lion and the Witch.