Monday, September 29, 2008

Which Is Gayer? Resolves It All

Republicans or Democrats?

Coke or Pepsi?

Boxers or Briefs?

These are the debates that have kept proletariats busy infighting while The Man snuck off and fucked up our financial institutions (only to walk away with a million-dollar bonus). Luckily, I've discovered a Web site that seems to handle all of these trivial arguments for us, so we can all quickly get past our differences and go back to watching Dancing With The Stars.

Behold: Which Is Gayer? This little pink engine that could quickly evaluates two opposing items, and based on some kind of Google-fueled algorithm, let's you know, well... which is gayer. That said, let's put this little baby to use:

Death Angel or Dark Angel?

Hmm... well, that was kind of a gimme... let's see how this works with...

Dragonforce or Liberace?

Well, duh! We might need one more tricky warm-up before I bust out the important questions.

How about... Metallica's Load vs. their Death Magnetic?

OK, enough foreplay: Christianity vs. Judaism?

I guess I did suspect that...

Now, the big question: The Left Wing or the Right?

Cool. Now that that's all settled, how about we work on this damn economy? Will Work For Food.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blower :: San Marcos, TX :: Tonight

I don't care who you are or where you live exactly, but if you are in the sovereign republic of Texas—or any of its neighboring states—you best get your ass to Lucy's in San Marcos to see a band that can only be described as the second coming of KISS—after they've been sodomized by Turbonegro. Who am I speaking of? The one and fucking only, BLOWER!!!

One more reason to love them... Their motto is: "Hot Wheels, Cold Beer and Big Titties!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

At Least This One Is Taking Pre-Orders...

According to Blabbermouth (my favorite source for minor power-metal band info), seminal New York rehashers Warrior Soul are calling their forthcoming album Chinese Democracy. Yeah, like the Guns N Roses record that'll allegedly come out sometime in the near future.

And, much like the GNR version, rerecording was apparently a must. "We came to the conclusion that our new album didn't sound 100% like we wanted it to," said vocalist Kory Clarke of the process. "It sounded too much like an ass-licking whore... It was too polished, too 'produced.'" Luckily, this process hasn't stopped the group from making Chinese Democracy available for pre-order. Just hit their MySpace page, yo.

From what I understand, this current incarnation of Warrior Soul is basically "legendary" singer Clarke plus a bunch of dudes from Belgium who were once a WS cover band. (Also of note: Clarke is also singing for Trouble—yes, the same Trouble we all promptly forgot about sometime around 1993).

While you have to give it up for Kory and co. for the Gene Simmons-like shrewdness, you gotta admit he's pretty lucky he'll probably *only* catch the wrath of a lawyered-up Axl Rose rather than volatile rock star we came to know early '90s. Just ask Vince Neil.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Where Are All The Protest Songs?

Here we are in the homestretch of one of the most important presidential elections in American history and one thing I find very odd is the lack of any meaningful protest songs. I remember seeing an interview with Lamb of God's Randy Blythe in which he predicted this year would be akin to the late Reagan era—a time when punk rock bands flourished with displeasure at the direction the country was going in. Remember Black Flag? The Dead Kennedys?

And what have we had the last couple of years? Green Day? The much-maligned Dixie Chicks? Old standbys like Steve Earle and Neil Young? Good thing they're still willing to express themselves, but I must say I'm very disappointed in the majority of this nation's troubadours and rabble-rousers. Sure there are other exceptions, like Against Me! and Anti-Flag, but why aren't this nation's more well-known artists getting in on the act? Yes, there are plenty of celebs running around in Obama T-shirts, but does that seep into our consciousness in the same way? You definitely can't dance to it.

Ironically enough, I blame blogging for all this. Maybe in this day and age, it's simply easier to sign into one's Blogger account and type away, or record an "Obama Girl" response video for YouTube. And then there's my Rock Band theory: no one is learning to play real music anymore because they're too busy figuring out how to play Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" on those dumb-ass color-coded Fisher-Price-looking Les Pauls.

Whatever the reason, the result is the same. Our country is in crisis, and no one wants to sing about it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Undercover Brothers?

[Spoiler Alert]

Last night, Blayne and Terri both got bounced off of Project Runway. I will forever love Blayne for teaching Tim Gunn the expression "Holla Atcha Boy," about three years after everyone stopped using it (and therefore not violating Kanye West's terms of service when it comes to white people using urban terminology).

However, there has always been something oddly familiar about Blayne that I just couldn't put my finger on. That's when I realized it, he IS the living incarnation of Cracked mascot Sylvester E. Smythe!

Impressive Photoshopping, eh? At least we know Blayne can always find a job pushing a broom.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Fuck live blogging. The only real way to get through things like MTV's Video Music Awards is with the assistance of a DVR, when one has the ability to fast-forward through anything The Hills or dance-off related. Such was the case with this year's anemic VMA telecast from Paramount Studios in Los Angeles—I made it through in just about 48 minutes! Below are some "highlights" and random musings.

Tonight's recommended drinking game: Take a shot every time Taylor Swift says "amazing."

The VMA Opening Act:
How is it that John Norris is still gainfully employed at MTV, tonight working the limo arrivals? Don't they fade you out when you get to a certain age, Menudo-style? And did he just say that all of the artists' rides were being tracked with GPS? Creepy!! It seems they've also equipped stars with cameras to broadcast their limo rides to the festivities. Too much content! Make it stop! Sway is still looking dapper while reporting it all from a helicopter above the scene. But do we need this much information? It's like when Paris had to go back to jail.

Tokio Hotel's monster truck = Very butch.

"The Ringmaster" T- Pain arrives on a bejeweled elephant, flanked by midget clowns, stilt walkers and corpse-painted krump dancers to tie in with his forthcoming Thr33 Ringz record. Impressive. We always did have a soft spot for his butternut reduction.

Did Miley Cyrus just call out Taylor Swift? Meow! What is in those Jonas Jew-fros that makes chicks go nuts?

"Pow!" says Miley, as she lazily throws a loose fist at Taylor, after some banter about how the two, plus Katy Perry are up for Best New Artist. "We're gonna fight afterwards, don't worry," she sneers.

Taylor insists that the three girls "still love each other."

"I'm still gonna fight you no matter what."

Was Miley a little drunk? And no, I cannot believe I've just spent 79 words on that, either.

Holy crap, is that Christina Aguilera?? Seriously, Xtina, you know I love you long time, but the boobs + the severe bangs + the new-mom weight = '80s porn star Savannah, after she died. I'm still giving my drrty girl a free pass tonight.

The Show:
Britney gets a standing O, Lord Satan bless America! And she almost got through the two-minute intro ok!

Thankfully, Rihanna takes the stage and quickly shows B how it's really done with a zombified Mad Max version of "Disturbia." Looking like a live-action version of one of Jem's Misfits, RiRi finishes with a closing musical homage to White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army." Mmm, and those juicy thighs.

Russell Brand is a decent host and nailed it with the "Use a condom or become Republican" bit. It is the greatest safe-sex message of all time. As for the whole promise ring non-controversy: when even a recovering sex addict tells you there's nothing wrong with a little bit of sex—listen to him.

Has anyone noted that the art direction this year—supposedly the big 25th Anniversary—looks like outtakes from the Urban Outfitters catalog? C-. Nice wood paneling and hipsters in wigs.

What's up with MTV giving is the exact minute the artist will appear? Is that to give us ample time to vote/blog/visit all the sponsoring Web sites for exclusive content?

How the hell did Pink waste that opportunity to recreate Pat Benatar's famous "Love Is A Battlefield" girl gang booby jiggle? It was prime! She really should stop singing and impersonating a safer Wendy O. Williams and just become a stunt woman. She kicked ass all over that lot.

On Lil' Wayne:
I seriously cannot believe Lil' Wayne is as good as hip-hop can get in 2008. No wonder the early '80s revival is in effect. Having said that, I also cannot believe this wheezing fuck delivered the best performance of the entire lackluster, star-deficient VMAs. Kicking off the three-part performance with Leona Lewis and a live orchestra (the W hotel chain is gonna sue!), it was on "A Milli" where he really kicked into overdrive. Too bad I'm 99% sure that was either lip-synched or at least heavily treated with an effect. Ooh, look at Dr. Drew feeling it in the audience. Closing with T-Pain was actually anticlimactic. Still, this is as electric as it gets tonight.

Haha, Paramore has been banished to the Whiskey for their performance, and Pete Wentz was relegated to nagging us into voting for Viewer's Choice all night. A subtle hint as to how MTV's feeling about emo/indie these days? And how pathetic is it that the category they lost in (Best Rock) was a mishmash that also featured Slipknot, Linkin Park, The Foo Fighters and Fallout Boy covering Michael Jackson?

Oh, Pete Wentz: "That's my wife. That's my baby." Did you see the look on his face? His whole life just passed before him.

Ooh, Xtina as Black Cat. Rather Xtina as Black Cat, played by an '80s porn star. I bet Britney is talking a ton of shit right about now. The black catsuit is not a good look in HD. But on the bright side, at least she doesn't have to find a new costume for Halloween.

Tokio Hotel seem really stoked about winning an award that basically assures we will never hear from them again. I guess Miley will have to kick their asses after school.

About Kid Rock's performance: How is it that no one's brought up that "All Summer Long" is less homage and more plaguerism of "Sweet Home Alabama." Ha! Lil' Wayne is guest-rapping. Wonder what the Nascar masses will think of Weezy dropping a verse (while dressed like a ska kid) over the Van Zandts. Also, a belt buckle with a track suit, Kid? Hmm...

It's funny, this week I finished reading Lonn Friend's Life On Planet Rock, whose reoccurring theme is his love of real music and how it pulled him through his best and worst times. Juxtapose that passion against this year's choices for Video of the Year and it's easy to see why the music industry is in the sad state it's in. Who is more to blame: MTV or the labels? It's like debating which came first: the chicken or the egg.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Metallica's Death Magnetic: A Somewhat Unbiased Review

"Only remember Metallica as they once were..."
—Angel Juarbe

"Listen without prejudice."
—George Michael

There's no doubt about it, along with any new Metallica recording, there will always be the baggage they bring. Like so many '70s and '80s babies, I too fondly remember the glory of Metallica's first three records and their vital importance in turning me into the giant metal nerd I became. But it's a double-edged sword. Sure, they fucked up their own legacy with a streak of crap records (not to mention the vile hypocrisy of suing Napster after spending years publicly crediting their early success to tape trading—which, of course, was the Napster of its time), but its also become an albatross around their neck—albeit a multi-platinum, million-dollar making one.

As a music scribe, I'd like to think I can get past all that and listen to their latest, Death Magnetic, with an open mind (if not extremely lowered expectations), so having put that disclaimer down, here is my song-by-song gut-reaction review of their latest 10-track opus. If you care to play along at home, the boys have also posted more than half of it here.

That Was Just Your Life: Good hook/riff, and it sounds catchy with a vocal inflection that's reminiscent of Justice's "Blackened" days. The drums still sound like crap; at this point in my life, I've come to believe that Lars Ulrich is the Rob Leifeld of drummers. There's also something about James Hetfield's voice that's a little off. Is it the mix? Is it the singing? "I open up just in time to say goodbye" is probably not the best bridge for an opening track.

The End Of The Line: OK, here we go, this song actually evokes the Metallica I grew up listening to. James voice sounds gritty, and there aren't a million intro parts before he kicks in. Still, it's crazy to me that the definition of "heavy" has evolved so much that this track, which could even be a Master outtake (yes, I typed that) has more in common these days with the likes of Disturbed than it does with the elite four thrash acts they were clearly the kings of back in the day. Wait, a slow "singing" part just came in at 6:10, scratch that Master of Puppets comparison, we're back to The Black Album.

Broken, Beat & Scarred: This song is by far my favorite on Death Magnetic. Heavy, with a killer guitar riff that builds up like a tidal wave. Overall, this bitch is a driving force of guitars, half-murky drums and aggressive vocals. Classic Metallica... almost. "We die hard," barks Jaymz. Yeah, no shit. The guitar solo is pretty damn awesome, bass is still absent and pushed totally into the background, but this is definitely the most aggro track.

The Day That Never Comes: This one should've been called "The Hook That Never Comes." I can't believe this is their lead single and video. And chances are, if you're still reading this, then you've probably heard the song already. Next.

All Nightmare Long: Of all the songs, this is the one that's been stuck in my head the most. A pretty good rawk song, with an almost "Enter Sandman"-like intro before it gets heavy—or as heavy as Metallica gets these days—and uses more riffs than needed. Great chorus, "'Cause we'll hunt you down without mercy..." Too bad Hetfield's voice doesn't have the bite to sell it anymore.

Cyanide: Starts off really heavy with Kirk Hammett's signature guitar sound, and shockingly, you can hear bass on it. (Ironically, in my eyes, their newest member, bassist Robert Trujillo is undoubtedly the coolest guy in the band these days and the only one I would love to see play live.) Overall, this one chugs along, but doesn't kill it. At about 4:56, I swear the solo work turns into "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," but not in a bad way.

The Unforgiven III: Hold up, there was a "The Unforgiven II"? Guess that's what I get for protesting everything after The Black Album. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. This iteration starts off with some strings and piano, very somber for a token ballad but quickly goes downhill. Hetfield's vocals are fucking painful to listen to. Rick Rubin, did you convince him to sing that way? (I'm sorry, Rick. I didn't mean it. You've done more good for my ears than I could ever thank you for properly. Please let me interview you—or even clean your house—one day.) I am tempted to skip ahead to the next track (which I did).

The Judas Kiss: From the opening chords, this has the classic Metallica sound we all fell in love with at one point in our lives, but that love fades fast. I absolutely hate the ill-fitting chorus, and at eight minutes plus, this is also one of the longest songs on here, so it takes its time delving into mediocrity. Oh shit, a hot solo breakdown at the 4:28 mark that continues for over a minute. When it ends, James reminds us, "Judas lives, recite this vow/I've become your new god now." Meh, maybe 20 years ago.

Suicide & Redemption: This is a pretty decent instrumental that doesn't sound all too contrived, but also doesn't showcase a lot of Kirk's signature "wah-wah" sound; in fact I could only identify this as Metallica about six minutes in (it comes in at 9:57). Very meat and potatoes and chunky, but nothing that blows my mind nor makes me want to learn to play guitar just so I can rock out to it properly. I bet that gay-ass ballet troupe would use this in one of their recitals (sorry folks, but ballet is just NOT—nor will it ever be—metal).

My Apocalypse: What starts off kind of average quickly turns into a driving, speedy track where Hetfield delivers one of his better rapid-fire performances. And the drums don't sound like shit... good to close on that note, at least. This song really should've been further up in the sequence. But at least it leaves a pleasant, blood-metallic taste in your mouth.

Closing thoughts: What started out as a fun listen slowly turned into a monotonous exercise, considering more than half of Death Magnetic's songs are longer than seven minutes. At the end of the day, it doesn't restore my faith in the Metal Militia, but it will not go down in history as a St. Anger-type misfire.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dating Don'ts: Half-Ass vs. Dumb-Ass

I am about as far away from a "Rules" girl as you can get, but I'm still a believer that men should be the ones to approach us and initiate courtship. Not too hard, because desperate guys never have a chance with me. But c'mon, show me something that'll convince me to date and/or go home with you. Recently, I've come across two VERY different approaches dudes used. Both failed. Behold the scenarios:

CASE 1: Not Aggressive Enough

DUDE BREAKDOWN: I'd definitely date him under the right circumstances, but I never quite got any signals he was into me, until...

[Reminiscing about the last time we met socially]

"So, umm, last time we hung out, did I hit on you?"


"Good, because when I hit on you, I definitely want to be sober."

That was it. Did dude proceed to take the initiative and hit on me at that point? No. WTF? Maybe he'd prefer that my assistant call his astrologer to figure out the perfect time when Capricorn was crossing Uranus for this cosmic event to occur.

He did, however, ask me to marry him the next (drunken) time I saw him.

RESULT: Bummer for him, because there's something about him I like. I guess I'll just have to console myself with these nude pix my model ex-boyfriend keeps sending me. Eleven hundred miles and lots of memories of getting it good from me still has him craving more. Not braggin', just sayin'.

CASE 2: Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

DUDE BREAKDOWN: Like En Vogue, he's never gonna get it.

Around the same time, I bumped into an acquaintance of an acquaintance who started hitting on me hardcore, obnoxiously and unabashedly. And in shitty, Game-like manipulative ways. First, he tried to get me to open up about Erlene's passing. Cheap way to get a girl to lean on your shoulder, eh? When that didn't work, he tried to get me drunk, encouraging me to drink whiskey from a bottle. Shit, I'm surprised dude didn't "neg" me. He might've, but I probably blocked it out because his obnoxiousness only encouraged me to get closer to my real boo, Jack Daniel.

Finally, he got down to the point:

"You're coming home with me."


"C'mon, I live on the Upper West Side. Let's go."

Was he kidding me? Did he REALLY think I'd drop everything and go make sexy time with him? With no work put forth? Funny, he didn't look like he had a million bucks in a bank, nor were his pants bulging enough to reveal a trouser monster—if I get my choice at Subway, it's always going to be the foot-long. I've had Horsecock, and you, sir, are no horsecock.

RESULT: I ditched the party like I was Keyser Soze. After describing the night to a mutual friend, I was told Bachelor #2 had once also told a woman that he wanted to "penetrate" her to her face after just meeting her. If drinks weren't so damn expensive, I wouldn't have blamed her for throwing one in his face. Hope he's happy on the UWS with his hand. What Would Mystery Do?

So what's my point in all this? Not sure. Maybe I'm still reeling from these two polar extremes. Maybe I'm like Goldilocks, who needs to get hit on just right. Or maybe I'm just like my mother, she's never satisfied. Why do we scream at each other? Probably because we're too dysfunctional to get laid.