It’s Good To Have A Break

3 06 2008

So, I’ve been on a little break from my usual heavy-duty music digestion and blogging.  For once, I managed to look outside and take in the beauty that is SUMMER.  I’ve worked outside on my lawn, hung out with some friends, helped my girlfriend with the painting of her bedroom (a glorious Smurf blue, by the way), and even began the long process of reconfiguring my own bedroom, with a lovely corner dedicated solely to guitar amplifiers (The Rock Side of the World, I’ve named it).

Don’t worry, I’ll have something major and productive here in a bit.  But, in the meantime, I’m giving TP Duderman a quick breather.

-TP Duderman
Turbonegro – Monkey On Your Back *Apocalypse Dudes has been the album of the moment for me lately*





I Might As Well…Again: TP Duderman Finally Finishes His Thoughts on Weezer’s Red Album

30 05 2008

Weezer

Finally, the last two songs (as well as a bonus track) from Weezer’s upcoming self-titled album (or, you know, The Red Album) were leaked, allowing me to fully gather my thoughts on this strange, strange effort from Rivers Cuomo and the gang.

9. Automatic – The big Pat Wilson song of the bunch, where he contributes on drums (obviously), guitars, and lead vocals. Despite the track not appearing in the first leak, the remix appears on the soundtrack of the videogame Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. At first, I feared the worst (Pat Wilson and dance beats just doesn’t mesh well), but hearing it in its original form was a relief, since it really is a decent rock song. “Automatic” would belong perfectly on a Special Goodness release, to tell you the truth. Within this Weezer album, though? Considering how odd it is, The Red Album is just as good a home, even though I think it would’ve fit more towards the beginning in the track sequencing. It just sounds awkward towards the end.

10. The Angel and the One – A slow-building love song, with gradually intensifying guitars, a little organ flourish here and there, and Rivers singing his little moustache’d heart out. The lyrics this song possesses easily recalls his earnest work on The Blue Album and Pinkerton, which is a huge compliment. Personally, “Only In Dreams” is my favorite Weezer ender, but this is tough competition. A really GOOD finish.

11. The Weight (The Band cover) – Along with the last two songs, this UK-only bonus track came with my copy of the album. It’s a fun, laid back cover, with acoustic guitars and great harmonies all throughout. Not Weezer-fied at all, as it remains mostly a homage to the original off The Band’s classic Music From Big Pink.

So, in conclusion? Weezer’s third self-titled effort (and sixth album altogether) is an interesting album. To me, it’s kinda like getting on a new red bicycle; it may seem familiar (hey, it’s ONLY a bicycle, right?), but you need some time with it to truly understand its quirks (ugh, not one solo in sight) and how it works. Once you do, it’s an absolute pleasure.

Weezer – The Weight (The Band cover)





Duderman Discovers No. 3 – The Out Circuit

30 05 2008

The Out Circuit

Ambient, experimental music is never really my bag.  There’s a fine line between music that emphasizes texture over melody and, you know, music for yoga sessions.  On a side note, my heart will be crushed the day I see “Holistic Stretching To Brian Eno’s Music For Airports” offered in those community college fliers I occasionally get in the mail.

However, I’m a big fan of artists that blend electronic atmosphere with organic, heavier elements such as forceful vocals, the occasional big guitar, and a good rhythmic backbone.  One such band that goes for this fusion is Seattle, Washington’s The Out Circuit.  It is, essentially, a one man project totally helmed by former Frodus bassist Nathan Burke (the band name is derived from the Frodus track “Out-Circuit The Ending”).  In 2004, the project released its debut album Burn Your Scripts Boys, which is a largely ambient work that can fill lofty halls with its atmosphere.  However, it is their latest album Pierce The Empire With a Sound that strives to find a balance between Nathan Burke the Experimentalist and Nathan Burke the Post-Hardcore Reckoner.

Pierce The Empire… has its share of ambient simplicity (“Across The Light”) and intensity (“The Fall of Las Vegas” which features Sean Ingram of Coalesce on vocals).  The key highlight of balance, though, is right in the middle of the album; “The Contender,” a soft/loud/soft track which features guest vocals by Thrice’s Dustin Kensrue, is where the fusion between ambiance and vehemence works perfectly.  As a whole, The Out Circuit is still inches away from finding THE sound Nathan Burke he desires.  But, at the moment, what he has produced so far (especially with this album) is truly meant to be heard.

Don’t expect this album to be played while soccer moms try to find nirvana.

The Out Circuit Myspace
The Out Circuit – The Contender





The hanging wall is moving, proving me wrong: The No Knife Post

29 05 2008

No Knife

When I talked with Thrice bassist Eddie Breckenridge this past December, one of the biggest things I got out of our brief, yet filling conversation was the recommendation of two bands: Frodus and No Knife.  One of these acts, the Washington, D.C. based “spazcore” Frodus (whom Thrice covered on the “Earth” disc of The Alchemy Index), was already a favorite band of mine; their swan song And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea is a stellar album that has yet to leave the confines of my car’s cd collection.  Definitely check it out, kids.

But, I had never heard of San Diego’s No Knife; I was not familiar with the name of the band or the names of songs such as “Secret Handshake” and “The Red Bedroom.”  So, out of morbid curiosity, I threw myself at the material eager to see why Eddie was so enamored with them.

With buzzing guitars, a VERY neat rhythm section, and lyrics that are as vague as vague gets, I was immediately hooked.  Even if I wasn’t recommended by the member of one of my favorite bands, I would have eventually discovered this band thanks to their unique sound, which reminds me of a bigger-sounding Mission of Burma with better sound quality and far more approachable singing.  

Unfortunately, the band would split in 2003, dividing into bands such as Moonlife (too synthy for my taste), Get Your Death On! (too noisy for my taste), and singer/guitarist Ryan Ferguson’s solo career (the simplistic, pop side of No Knife).  It appeared as if the band and its sound had separated completely.  But, in a recent post on their official website (www.noknife.net), the band announced plans to play their first show in 5 years in the latter part of 2008.  Very very cool news in these times of band reunions of significance (The Verve) and insignificance (Simple Minds).

So, thank you Eddie Breckenridge for introducing me to this great band.  Hopefully, you readers out there will enjoy this stuff too.

No Knife – Secret Handshake 





Sigur Rós Gets All Naked and Freaky (A Blessing and a Curse)

27 05 2008

Sigur Ros - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust

Sigur Rós has returned, kids, and they have decided to break TP Duderman’s strict “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” rule with news about their latest album, Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust (translated as “With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly”), which is due to come out June 24th.

I didn’t even attempt to pronounce the title since I have a tendency to completely butcher foreign languages, but I did take advantage of Sigur Rós making the first single “Gobbledigook” available as a free, high quality (320k) download off their website.  Instead of a reverberated, atmospheric track that I was expecting (hey, it’s a trademark of their’s), the song is a remarkably stripped down affair, with the typical big drums in place, the not-so-typical acoustic guitars smattered about, nifty handclaps, and some lovely la la la’s within the chorus.  It’s a neat addition to the ever-growing, hard-to-sing-along-with-thanks-to-lyrics- created-with-a-made-up-language Sigur Rós catalog, and it definitely has me stoked for what other neat surprises lie within Meo Sew Eye…um, their new album with the naked cover.

That’s right; just like the song, even the album cover (pictured above) and the music video for “Gobbledigook” (NSFW, fyi) is a stripped-down affair.  Sure, I could care less about nudity…but god, those are some bony asses.

May this new song keep your clothes on.

Sigur Rós’ Official Website (“Gobbledigook” MP3 download and music video available here)





I Salute You, Pete Townshend

26 05 2008

If someone asked me who I considered a hero that was not a related family member, nine times out of ten I would say Pete Townshend. Ever since my highly impressionable middle-school years, this guitar god and solid songwriter (both solo and with The Who) has been one of many important figures in my life. On the musician end of things, he has inspired me to play certain model guitars (I’ve gone through my Telecaster phase and now I’m in my SG phase), to attempt the windmill playing technique (VERY tough, by the way), and even contemplate smashing unruly musical instruments (I have yet to do this…I can’t afford to just SMASH instruments all the time, you know!). On a personal level, his songs and approach towards life (“Be kind, be real, or get out of my face” is one such quote from PT) has helped me in the very best of times and the very worst of times. He never pushed me to the extreme of worshiping his idol, spiritual leader Meher Baba, but Townshend has played a big role in shaping my views on life.

To me, he’s such an interesting figure; this tall, lanky London punk with the noisy guitar and a singing voice that sounds almost as fragile as glass. It’s his voice, especially, that draws me to the Roger Daltry-less tracks within The Who’s massive catalog, like “However Much I Booze” and “A Legal Matter.” It almost acts as a nervous counterpoint to the mayhem that he, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon often create. In addition, while The Beatles dabbled in psychedelic imagery in their later years and The Rolling Stones flirted with Satan for a bit, The Who and Townshend’s songwriting seemed relatively down to earth (Tommy wasn’t THAT crazy), focusing on quirky songs like “Happy Jack” and “Dreaming From The Waist” which always attracted me since over-the-top bombastic numbers can be tiresome after a while. And his solo stuff? It’s just as great! You cannot deny the lyrical and musical power behind “Rough Boys” and “The Sea Refuses No River,” two songs that are among my personal Top Twenty Best Songs (that’s a WHOLE other blog entry, folks). Overall, his songwriting and approach towards crafting sound is just untouchable, in my opinion.

It’s impressive how someone that I don’t even know can be so revered in my life. It goes to show the power that music, as well as the arts as a whole, can have over the mainstream.

I salute you, Pete Townshend.

Pete Townshend – Rough Boys





Evolve Or Die: Why Vampire Weekend Will Have More Meaning Than Be Your Own Pet

24 05 2008

Evolution

Progression. I feel that this is something that is necessary in all of our lives. It can be as simple as shifting from Pepsi to Coca Cola (or vice versa) or as complex as moving to a new country and starting all over. Whatever the case, it is important that we keep moving forward.

The arts especially should continue to strive towards progression and evolution.

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed that this post is going to be more than just a music based write-up and a download link available at the bottom. However, I was compelled to write on this topic after listening to two young musical acts that are rising in popularity and acclaim: New York City’s Vampire Weekend and Nashville’s Be Your Own Pet.

Vampire Weekend


Yes, I know. They are two completely different acts; Vampire Weekend is comprised of four clean-cut, Afro-pop boys that went to Columbia University and Be Your Own Pet is comprised of three hairy boys and one rambunctious Jemina Pearl that probably started a Johnny Thunders-inspired food fight at your local music venue. However, both of their success stories are almost on the same page, as these two bands (among many MANY others) have gained notoriety from fellow music blogs and impressive live shows. In addition, both of their latest albums, Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut and BYOP’s sophomore effort Get Awkward (both on XL Recordings, fyi), have received solid reviews from esteemed music critics, further heightening their profile.

Be Your Own Pet

By chance, I listened to both albums back-to-back today on a lovely drive in the countryside and my mind started buzzing with those neat thoughts that can fuel revolutions or blog entries. With Vampire Weekend, whose first album immediately recalls the sound Paul Simon utilized on his timeless Graceland, there is great potential in their ability to grow and develop as artists. What they bring to the table is, at the moment, simplistic pop music. But, I can only wonder what these Columbia scholars will be up to in the coming years due to the great potential that these boys have. Yet, with Be Your Own Pet, whose sophomore album is filled with great fun and intensity, I feel that they have hit the plateau. Where do you creatively go after writing songs about Valley of the Dolls and food fights? It’s a serious question to consider.

Now, certainly, you can compare this group to The Replacements and their ability to develop as songwriters (listening to “God Damn Job” and “Alex Chilton” back-to-back is astonishing). But, in my honest opinion, I don’t see frontwoman Jemina Pearl to be a modern day Paul Westerberg. Whereas Vampire Weekend have the potential to grow, I can foresee BYOP to become a mere footnote of the era of music where the background of your Myspace Music page matters.

But hey, who knows? Maybe Be Your Own Pet will become U2 and Vampire Weekend will end up like The Fixx? The beauty about life and art is that it is very unpredictable.