Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Quote of the week

I'm interviewing Nick Cave tomorrow, and during my preparation research for the interview, I stumbled across this quote from Rolling Stone.

"I loved the penguins. Still do. They're my favorite animal. I can sit and watch the penguins for hours."

Monday, January 16, 2006


This morning, I needed something mindless to take my mind off my commute. So when I got to work, I flipped on my computer, pulled up the files I needed, and popped on Simple Plan's Still Not Getting Any. When all else fails, pop-punk makes perfect background music.

As I left the house this morning, I was in a cheery mood. My lovely fiance had popped out of bed (he doesn't have to go to work today) just to put my coat on me and tell me to have a nice day. It was a sweet gesture, and it really put me in a fabulous mood...until I reached the subway station. In New York, since July 22nd (post the London bombings), police have been "randomly" searching commuters as they approach the subway's turnstiles. I had managed to avoid this until this morning, so I suppose I'm somewhat lucky. My fiance has been searched six times, and asked to be searched a 7th time when he didn't even have a bag. Ridiculous. I put my bags up on the table, and I suppose that my thai food in a Barnes and Noble bag must have looked suspicious...or maybe it was the James Frey book that set them off? Sigh. They swiped my bags down - god knows what they were doing - and ran the paper they used to do it through a computer. The whole time I was fuming, as I was late for work, and was missing my train. The cops just kept telling me to back up from my bags. By the time I got downstairs, my train closed its doors and was about to pull away. Errrr.

Now, I understand what they're trying to do. The theory is by searching commuters they could prevent an episode like what happened in London. Now, that's great, but the way they do it is absurd. If they want to actually stop anything, randomly searching, what every 1 in 200 commuters? If I had refused to let them search my bags I would have had to leave the station. That means I would have just gone in the other entrance. I mean, if they really want to do something productive, get bomb sniffing dogs, have officers set up at every entrance, 24 hours a day, and search everyone that comes through. Make it standard procedure like the airports. Sure, it would be a big hassle, but I'd rather plan for that, then this useless, haphazard system that's in place now. It's a waste of everyone's time.

...Has anyone else noticed that the opening guitar section on "Crazy" sounds remarkably like the Smashing Pumpkins? Once I figure out what SP song it is that I'm thinking of, I'll let you know.

Friday, January 06, 2006


When you're a music editor, one of the hardest things to do is to try to listen to everything that comes across your desk. In the past year, I've heard a ton of great music but I found as I slowly sift through the dusty piles of records on my desk, I've missed a lot too. One of the resolutions I have for this year is to listen to all the music that I get. Whether it's just a few songs, or the whole album, everything is going to at least get a spin.

Now, to be honest, even if I had heard some of these great artists, I probably still wouldn't have been able to cover them, mainly because of lack of space in the magazine. My section is four pages, and because of the way it has to be designed, that doesn't give me as much space as I'd like, which is partially why I've started this blog. So every week, expect to find out about a new cool band in addition to my usual musings.

Josh Ritter
The Animal Years
V2 Records

Though I seem to have a penchant for writing "John" instead of "Josh" Ritter, this Idahoan is a great new songwriter. As I've written in my column, we're finally getting past the emo revolution and back to traditional songwriting. It seemed that for a few years there, melodies and layered instrumentals were put on the shelf, while we listened to musicians whine along about their miserable lives. I've never been a big fan of the Smiths or the Cure, so this movement was like death to my ears. Also, I found it unbelievably lazy. Plenty of talented musicians (Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, etc.) haven't had smooth lives but they've managed to turn their sorrow into poetry, instead of throw-away lyrics and uninspired guitar riffs.

But Ritter isn't an emo artist. And while he may not be Johnny Cash, either, he's planned this album with great strategy, weaving in country on songs like "Idaho" and politics on "Girl in the War." This is Ritter's third record, and I'm so impressed with it, I plan on picking up the previous 2, The Golden Age of Radio and Hello Starling.

Other songwriters who I love: Jesse Malin, Ryan Adams, Iron & Wine, The Honorary Title

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


This is absurd. I'm sitting here at work, chilling, except that everyone by me and our rockin' Managing Editor left hours ago. She's stuck because there is a two-hour wait downstairs to get onto the LIRR because of the transit strike.

This morning, around 3am, the TWU called a strike across all the MTA subways and buses. My fiance woke me up at about 7 and I layered up so I'd be able to walk the four miles, across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Path train at Ground Zero. Now, in all honesty, the walk wasn't that bad. It was a little cold, but it was a nice bonding experience and I got some interesting photos. I'll post them later when I load them onto my home computer, since the USB cord isn't here. It took about an hour to get to the station, including a short stop to get chai at Starbucks to wake us up and warm us up for the walk. Then I hopped on the Path train and despite some delays, I made it to work only 15 minutes late, which is actually better than usual. So, nothing really to complain about there.

But now, Sean is driving in, and he's been in just Brooklyn for an hour and a half now. He left the house around six, and originally we were going to see Handel's "Messiah" at Carnegie Hall tonight (I had run out to buy an outfit because there was no way I could get home in time with the way the trains are downstairs) but I don't think we're going to make that as it starts in just a half hour and I think he's still stuck in BK.

In the meantime, Kanye West is keeping me company and taking me back to just a few months ago when I was in the Bahamas for the Power Summit. That was a fabulous time - totally crazy of course - but considering I got to see quite a few of my favorite hip-hop stars (Common, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Black Sheep) perform in intimate venues (and by intimate I mean hotel suites with maybe 50 other people) it was all worth it. I worked out in the same room as Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls and hung out with Alicia Keys' boyfriend. Good times.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Don't Feed After Midnight

The first time I heard Mogwai, I was in the dorm room of a guy I was dating. He had two cratefuls of great, strange vinyl records: the Swans, Lungfish, Arab Strap, Oval...essentially he was a fan of Discord and Matador's catalog. By the time I heard this Scottish band, we had spent weeks sitting on his bed listening to everything from deep Carpenters cuts to Aphex Twin. As a side note, "Come to Daddy" is not good make out music. From his collection he pulled out a green record with a cover that looked like a flower, or some part of the female anatomy, depending on your state of mind.

Mogwai are certainly a strange band - but not strange bad like some might say bands like, oh...U.S. Maple are - but by juxtaposing their deafening (they were rumored to have ruptured a girl's eardrum at a concert once) rising cresendos with music that is nearly impossible to hear, you're bound to get a unique sound. And perhaps, because there have been a handful of bands to copy their trademark sound, Mogwai have abandoned it. Just wait until you hear the new record that's coming out this March. It's fabulous, but I went in expecting to hear that blend of loud/soft/loud and it wasn't there. In its place is a layered, lush record ideal for hanging out in your college dorm with your significant other when the last thing you want to do is study for another god-awful final.