Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Boredom

Now that everyone is over the Supreme Court ruling, it's time to go back to being bored and writing about randomness in hopes of putting together a significant entry.

Most importantly, I do have to say a few things about the rumoured upcoming Of Montreal show. I've been getting rather antsy that nothing has been said about it yet, and going to the Kork Agency website only to see two other potential venues listed on the same date got me incredibly worried. I went ahead and emailed Erik to get the low-down on the situation. Basically Little Brothers is being flaky. First an indie promoter wanted to do it. Then Little Brothers said they would do it themselves. Now it's back in the hands of the indie promoter. Erik says, in short, that it won't happen in Columbus.

It's things like this that make me absolutely hate the scene here. It's bad enough we can't get good shows here. It's worse to find out that one of the reasons is the fact that one of our best venues can't get its act together in time to secure a show. So here I sit, feeling completely helpless. I guess we'll just have to see Of Montreal (and probably a lot of other incredibly good bands) another time.

In other news...

The secret is out, and the name of the new Franz Ferdinand album is... nothing! The band has decided not to name any of their albums. They will all have the same Franz Ferdinand logo but with different colour schemes to separate the albums from each other. If I'm not mistaken, this isn't the first band to do this. I have been buying records for a long time, and I'm pretty sure that the band Chicago did something very similar. I think they named every album Chicago and numbered them. I could be wrong though. Anyway, it's an interesting concept. I'm sure they'll get scrutinized for it, but then, that's generally what happens when someone decides to be different.

A new album is also in the works for Belle and Sebastian. Pay no attention to the rather ridiculous story Tiny Mixtapes has to go through just to say that they're making a new album.

Maybe the Smashing Pumpkins reunion will come to fruition after all. Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain has announced that he's in on it, and encourages other former members to do the same.

The success of Crazy Frog, the first ringtone to ever make it to number one on the UK charts, has caused even more controversy. Apparently people have been buying the ringtone without realizing that it's part of a subscription plan which texts them every week to offer a new ringtone and charges them for the text. The lawsuits being filed against Jamster, the company who provides the ringtone, suggest that calling the service a "club" was misleading and that customers thought they were buying just one ringtone. I still think the fact that a cell phone ringtone has become so popular is ridiculous. Isn't the ability to have different ringtones supposed to help you discern your phone from others? Now everyone in the UK has the same ringtone and no one can tell whose phone is whose. Stupid.

Wired Magazine has a very interesting interview with Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, creators of the pseudo-band Gorillaz.

Oh my gosh! Say it ain't so. Avril Lavigne is engaged to Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley. A match made in pop-punk heaven. I hope Whibley knows that Lavigne really wanted to be a country singer...

I love it went pretentious jerks get their egos bruised. Did you know that Noel Gallagher thought Spinal Tap was a real band? He even went to see them and got mad and left when he found out they were fake. Harry Shearer, a former member of Spinal Tap is surprised, and who wouldn't be? I mean, after all, this is Noel Gallagher, the man who knows all and isn't afraid to admit it.

Fluxblog says that Sleater-Kinney's recent live show was a disaster. I'm glad someone understands.

One man is dead and three are injured following a stabbing in a mosh pit at a Corrosion of Conformity show. Reason number 3526 why moshing is absolutely stupid.

Well, Columbus kids, while we're mourning the loss of the Of Montreal show, we can at least get a taste of some live music by watching this video of an acoustic performance, courtesy of You Ain't No Picasso. By the way, happy belated birthday, Matt.

Upcoming Columbus Shows

7.07 - Reel Big Fish - Newport Music Hall
7.14 - Blowfly - Little Brothers
7.16 - Pete Yorn - Newport Music Hall
7.19 - Dressy Bessy - Little Brothers
7.20 - Howie Day - Promowest Pavilion
7.20 - Luna Halo w/ Modena Vox - Skully's Music Diner
7.22 - Tegan and Sara - Newport Music Hall
8.11 - Ben Folds w/ Ben Lee and Rufus Wainwright - Promowest Pavilion
8.20 - Pretty Girls Make Graves - Little Brothers
8.23 - Thunderbirds Are Now! - Little Brothers
8.30 - Xiu Xiu w/ Das Yellow Swans and Nedelle - Little Brothers
8.31 - Coldplay w/ Rilo Kiley - Germain Ampitheater
9.06 - Of Montreal w/ The Management - TBA
9.10 - The White Stripes w/ The Greenhornes - Ohio State Theater
9.14 - Sufjan Stevens - Southgate House (Newport, KY)
9.24 - The Rolling Stones w/ Beck - Germain Ampitheater

Daily Downloads
from the regnyouth archives

Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
Moby - Hotel
Spoon - Gimme Fiction

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The RIAA Wins the Battle but Not the War

Here's one story that you can't escape. The Supreme Court finally ruled on MGM v. Grokster, and if you didn't already know, they decided unanimously that file-sharing services can be held liable if they are created with the intent of sharing illegal media files. The 55-page ruling goes into great detail about what file-sharing services can and cannot do in the future. As one might expect, the ruling has caused all sorts of predictions and opinions for what will happen to music and technology.

Of course there are the doomsayers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation focuses heavily on the idea that this is just the beginning of the expensive lawsuits and that all this time spent in court will negatively affect the growth of new technology. While this is obviously not the last lawsuit to come out of this, as we all know, the RIAA just loves to sue people, it should be noted that this may not necessarily be accurate. This opinion is merely speculation. Tom's Hardware Guide and BBC News have a similar outlook.

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, personal spokesman for pretty much everything involving internet file-sharing, said,
It is sad that conservatives and liberals in the Supreme Court can hold hands and agree unanimously on a decision so squarely on the side of big business and so damaging to the side of culture." Singer-songwriter Janis Ian also makes a very interesting observation: "I don't understand how they can hold a software company responsible for the misuses of their software and not hold gunmakers responsible for the misuses of their products."

As you might expect, a lot of people are thrilled by the decision. Rapper Jay-Z said,
"This is a great victory for artists, songwriters and all of those who make their living through the creative process." I imagine the same response came from the higher-ups in the RIAA and the members of Metallica, who helped start this whole thing with Napster God knows how long ago.

Of course, as in any other case, there are winners and losers. CNet lists Napster, RealNetworks, and Apple, who have all created subscription services for downloading music, as winners while MP3-only players are losers. You might as well just add the RIAA to that list of winners.

But if I were the RIAA, I wouldn't start popping the cork just yet. On the surface, the decision appears to have crushed internet file-sharing, but reading the ruling with that in mind could be potentially misleading. According to eWeek, while Grokster was pretty much demolished by the decision, the consequential ruling gives a detailed framework for legal peer-to-peer networks -- a framework which, if followed to the letter, could potentially keep file-sharing software creators out of hot water.

Tiny Mix Tapes goes further, reminding us that, as always, file-sharing programs "will always reinvent themselves." Besides that, although the legal battle is certainly favoring those looking to end illegal music downloading, this ruling will likely have no impact on the number of people who practice piracy. It may be a win for the RIAA in the books, but it certainly hasn't won over anyone. If anything, it's probably only hurt the RIAA's appearance. If I were on its PR team, I think I'd be quitting by now. By getting all the artists on its side, it's pretty much forgetting all of the music fans. In fact, I would go as far as to say that all of the artists who were part of this have also forgotten their fans. You can't expect people to like you when you throw lawsuits in their faces.

So here's where I throw in my own opinion, since you know I love to voice it. The fact of the matter is the same it has always been. There are no winners. File-sharing will have a lot more difficulty functioning in the future, especially the free ones, where pretty much all of the illegal downloading occurs. If they don't promote illegal downloading, that's only half of the battle, because it will be hard to prove that they don't know people are using their service illegally. But like I said, this is only a logistic win for the RIAA. It hasn't won over the public and it certainly hasn't won over even all the musicians out there.

Yes, things will change, and yes technology will suffer somewhat, but I think the RIAA has totally missed the point. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. There will be other Groksters. There will be other people to sue, and by the time they've been sued, technology will have long since advanced, a whole new generation of programs and servers and networks to investigate and sue. This is no win for the RIAA. This is another useless effort in a battle it has been losing since way before Napster. I would like to know how the RIAA thinks it's getting anywhere, because I can't honestly see what good this is doing. It's making so many "strides" toward the end of illegal downloading, but none of these have produced results. Its valiant crusade to get rid of peer-to-peer networks has failed miserably.

What should the RIAA do? Gosh, it's so easy. Fighting new technology will get it nowhere. If it continue at this pace, it will be suing out-dated programs while piracy continues to flourish. Rather than fighting the change, it should embrace it. It should find a common ground. iTunes isn't enough. Neither is the new Napster or RealNetworks. Who would spend a dollar a song to fill his or her iPod that holds 10,000 songs? You can't tell me that these bigger iPods are being used legally. The RIAA needs to work with people from the various services to create a cheap, legal service that people will actually use. The days of the $20 CD are over now. Wouldn't it be beneficial for the RIAA to come up with something cheap enough that people will actually abandon piracy? I envision a service charging minimal prices with the widest selection of music found anywhere. If that could be put together, and if the RIAA were to be a part of it, it would cut its losses and gain a lot more respect from people. Instead of fighting the change, it needs to be the change.

Is it ever going to happen? I doubt it. The RIAA is by far too focused on destroying file-sharing programs to actually consider starting one itself. It would also take a lot of work to create something so vast, and the money to fund that takes away from the budget needed to fund all the lawsuits. It's impossible to stop the freight train the RIAA has started. It's going to keep fighting a losing battle because it can't see clearly to change its strategy. It's sad, really, because a lot of good could come out of the situation if people would just take a look at the big picture and realize that this isn't about stopping something as much as it is changing the way you do things to include it.

But whatever.

In other news...

At least someone out there has had the bright idea of embracing new technology. The latest version of iTunes includes new features for podcasting.

Has Liam Gallagher set the record for the most f-bombs in one minute yet? If not, I really think he should. Apparently he thinks Oasis should have the record for being the loudest band, as well, but they can't beat out Manowar. The exchange between Gallagher and bassist Andy Bell is classic:

"Who are they anyway?" Bell asks. "Heavy metal?"

"F*** Manowar," interjects Gallagher decisively.

There's a pause as Liam's insult sinks in. Then Bell replies dryly, "That was a good point anyway. A bit blunt of you, but well made."

Anyway, the news is that Gallagher admits that he would have liked to do Live 8, which he unfortunately can't do due to scheduling conflicts, but he would have loved to annoy his foe Robbie Williams. Also, the members of Oasis consider Rivers Cuomo the musical epidomy of Yoda. If that's the case, he's totally lost the force.

Didn't Kings of Leon just come out with an album? Yes, I believe they did, but they are indeed very hard at work at their next album. The band also speculates it will tour through college towns in the fall.

A beautiful interview with the Williams brothers Jez and Andy from Doves over at Pitchfork.

Tinnitus is the ringing you hear in your ears after a loud concert. I had no idea. Thanks to the Rock Snob's dictionary, Snobsite.

The new Daft Punk video freaks me out.

With Independence Day weekend coming up, you might be in the market for some new music to listen to on your road trips to grandma's house. Here are a few selections that were released today:
Fountains of Wayne - Out-of-State Plates
Starflyer 59 - Gold
Starflyer 59 - Silver

Let me just urge you to please consider purchasing the new compilation from Solid PR. The double-disc set includes songs from The Unicorns, I Am The World Trade Center, and some 32 other artists. Why should you buy it? The purpose is the raise awareness and money for Multiple Sclerosis. You probably don't know this, but my mom has MS and she's nearly incapacitated by it. My mom used to be an incredibly active woman, but now she has extremely limited mobility due to this awful disorder. Money needs to be spent to find a cure. It's out there, and every year we get closer to it. Please contribute just a little to this cause. The album comes out on July 12.

Upcoming Columbus Shows

7.07 - Reel Big Fish - Newport Music Hall
7.14 - Blowfly - Little Brothers
7.16 - Pete Yorn - Newport Music Hall
7.19 - Dressy Bessy - Little Brothers
7.20 - Howie Day - Promowest Pavilion
7.20 - Luna Halo w/ Modena Vox - Skully's Music Diner
7.22 - Tegan and Sara - Newport Music Hall
8.11 - Ben Folds w/ Ben Lee and Rufus Wainwright - Promowest Pavilion
8.20 - Pretty Girls Make Graves - Little Brothers
8.23 - Thunderbirds Are Now! - Little Brothers
8.30 - Xiu Xiu w/ Das Yellow Swans and Nedelle - Little Brothers
8.31 - Coldplay w/ Rilo Kiley - Germain Ampitheater
9.06 - Of Montreal w/ The Management - TBA
9.10 - The White Stripes w/ The Greenhornes - Ohio State Theater
9.14 - Sufjan Stevens - Southgate House (Newport, KY)
9.24 - The Rolling Stones w/ Beck - Germain Ampitheater

Daily Downloads
from the regnyouth archives
Today, I'm going with a "the" theme...

The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night
The Beatles - Introducing The Beatles
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
The Cure - Boys Don't Cry

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Hits and Misses of 2005

Everyone is doing this, so I guess it's time I latched onto the trend and did the same. I don't have a top ten, and I don't have a bottom five. I can't even remember all the albums that came out this year. I've been a little behind, I'll admit. What I can tell you though is that there are albums I've liked and albums I haven't. So instead of doing the whole list them thing, I'm going to do hit and miss, starting with hit.

Hit: Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
I've read a lot of people's lists and they call this a disappointment. All I have to say to that is you've got to be kidding me. I can't find anything disappointing about Illinois. I have listened to Michigan, and yes, they're very similar in mood, but what do you honestly expect from two albums that are supposed to be part of a series? Like it or not, they have a connection, a similar purpose. You can't tell me that Illinois is a bad album just because it's reminiscent of Michigan. I don't think that's a good enough reason. I love Illinois because it is big. It's not just big; it's huge. There's so many layers, so much to listen to. The lyrics are incredible, sometimes haunting, occasionally challenging to hear, but always insightful. I've listened to it a hundred times by now and I can't find anything wrong with it. It's pretty much my favorite album so far.

Miss: Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
You know I hate this album so I won't talk much about it. It's not that it's completely awful. The instrumentals are incredible. They're very talented musicians. I simply cannot stand that girl's voice. It irritates me, and I don't find it the least bit enjoyable to listen to. I don't know how anyone can handle listening to the entire album. I would go nuts.

Hit: Beck - Guero
I have to say that this album surprised me. I haven't listened to Beck regularly in a very long time. In fact, I don't think I ever listened to an entire album before Guero. I simply love this album. I'd throw it in the CD player and walk to class listening to it on sunny days, and it put a bounce in my step. It's the kind of album that makes me enjoy myself.

Miss: Weezer - Make Believe
This album is actually not a disappointment at all. I never really had high hopes to begin with. The days of "Say it Ain't So" and "Buddy Holly" have long gone. There's nothing left of what Weezer used to be, and what remains is a man simply making money by putting out catchy tunes. There's no substance to the album at all. I have no desire to listen to it ever again. Let's face it, guys. Weezer isn't really Weezer anymore.

Hit: Gorillaz - Demon Days
I didn't listen to the self-titled album. My only knowledge of Gorillaz up until Demon Days was that song about sunshine in a bag. I think it was called "Clint Eastwood" or something. Maybe I'm totally making that up. Anyway, my boyfriend made me listen to the album. I was expecting that same kind of hip-hop sound that was catchy but not enough that I'd listen to the entire album. I was very surprised to find out that Gorillaz isn't just hip-hop. They're actually a band, and they actually sing and make beautiful music. When I first heard the single "Feel Good Inc.," I didn't realize it was them. In fact, neither did Claude. We were like, "What's this?" and then it was like a light bulb turned on in our brains and we looked at each other with wide eyes and open mouths. What a difference. Totally blew me away, and I'm glad.

Miss: The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
Without sounding like a broken record, I'll just say that this album sounds like a bad White Stripes cover band. I think Jack White was too consumed doing side projects to put any real effort into this album. That's too bad, because before this I actually liked them.

Hit: Doves - Some Cities
It seems like it's been a year since it was released in February, but don't forget about Some Cities. It's a considerable departure from The Last Broadcast, and that has led to a certain amount of scrutiny, but in my opinion I think the new direction was necessary. There's no way to improve on The Last Broadcast. They took that road about as far as they could, but it was time to change things up a bit. And really, why not spice it up? Some Cities is a successful change of pace. It lacks the epic feel of The Last Broadcast, but makes up for that in creativity and innovation. It's probably the best follow-up they could have released.

I really can't think of any other albums that struck me. Coldplay's X&Y is good, but I'm finding that the more I listen to it the more I can't really stand listening to the entire album at once. Oasis' Don't Believe the Truth I haven't actually had the time to listen to. I'm listening to Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah! for the first time, so I can't tell you how I feel about them yet. I haven't heard the new album from Hot Hot Heat, and I haven't given The Sunlandic Twins by Of Montreal a good enought listen. I guess that about covers it. If you want me to give my opinion on any other albums, feel free to comment.

In other news...

The MGM v. Grokster case has certainly grabbed a lot of attention in the last few weeks, especially now that the ruling has been postponed until Monday. But don't let the case fool you. Forbes.com has a very interesting article about what the case may or may not hold in store for the future of digital music. One of the points it makes is that downloading is already illegal, and this isn't going to change that. The question is whether or not the makers of the programs used by people to illegally transfer digital media are at fault.

But there's something else going on in Congress right now that may have more of an impact on piracy than the Grokster case: copyright law reform. What's going down, I honestly can't explain to you. I have no working knowledge of the laws or what has been introduced into Congress. I've skimmed and read through a couple articles, but I still can't understand it. Here's the actual transcript of the testimony of the Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters, and if you can figure it out, please let me know.

Please accept the sincerest apologies of the boys of Explosions in the Sky. Yes, they've been out of touch and the website is not finished, but do bear with them as they work on their new music. In the meantime, you can look forward to the re-release of How Strange, Innocence on October 11th.

The currently untitled new album from Sigur Ros is nearing completion. In addition to not having a title, it also doesn't have a release date. So really, who knows what might happen.

In totally unrelated news, Tom Cruise is a creepy creepy dude. Check out his tense Q&A with Matt Lauer on The Today Show, which includes many words of wisdom from the Scientologist guru:

Tom on War of the Worlds: "I think it's Spielbergian scary."

Tom on talking and writing: "But they're still writing it. You got to understand. All that stuff, they'd still write it. They'd still talk about it. And the thing is, I still feel I will talk about what I feel, what I want to talk about."

Tom on life: "I'm just living my life, Matt. It's something that — I mean, I'm living my life. And I'm doing the best that I can, and doing it in a way that I feel is right. I like hearing good news, you know. I like hearing, you know, if something good happens to you, it's nice. I like sitting here talking to you." (Tom Cruise, the hippie.)

Tom on love: "Because, you know, it — but what it is, it's that thing where you just — in life, when it just happens, Matt. You know? It just — you meet someone. And it's — I can't even describe it."

Tom on mental illness: "There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance."

Tom on multiple personalities: "I think that there's a higher and better quality of life. And I think that, promoting — for me personally, see, you're saying what, I can't discuss what I wanna discuss?" (That was from wayyyyy left field.)

Tom on Matt Lauer: "Matt, you don't even — you're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is." (Say what?!)

And Matt Lauer's zing back at him: "You're now telling me that your experiences with the people I know, which are zero, are more important than my experiences."

Dang, guys! Isn't that a little heated for a morning show?! Save it for Jerry Springer. Go watch the video and read the whole transcript. It ranks up there with Noel Gallagher.

Upcoming Columbus Shows

7.07 - Reel Big Fish - Newport Music Hall
7.14 - Blowfly - Little Brothers
7.16 - Pete Yorn - Newport Music Hall
7.19 - Dressy Bessy - Little Brothers
7.20 - Howie Day - Promowest Pavilion
7.20 - Luna Halo w/ Modena Vox - Skully's Music Diner
7.22 - Tegan and Sara - Newport Music Hall
8.11 - Ben Folds w/ Ben Lee and Rufus Wainwright - Promowest Pavilion
8.20 - Pretty Girls Make Graves - Little Brothers
8.23 - Thunderbirds Are Now! - Little Brothers
8.30 - Xiu Xiu w/ Das Yellow Swans and Nedelle - Little Brothers
8.31 - Coldplay w/ Rilo Kiley - Germain Ampitheater
9.06 - Of Montreal w/ The Management - TBA
9.10 - The White Stripes w/ The Greenhornes - Ohio State Theater
9.14 - Sufjan Stevens - Southgate House (Newport, KY)
9.24 - The Rolling Stones w/ Beck - Germain Ampitheater

Daily Downloads
from the regnyouth archives

Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism (link, mp3)
The Arcade Fire - Us Kids Know EP (link, zip, I think this may be the self-titled, just under the wrong name)
Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah! - Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah! (link, rar)
Hot Hot Heat - Elevator (rar)

Last night, I went to the Ohio Theater downtown with Claude and our friends Tercio and Giselle to see a showing of the 1927 silent film Metropolis. The theater is a really old restored theater, with high ceilings and an incredibly ornate decor. I'm sure not everyone has seen the movie, so just to give you some background, the movie was originally 210 minutes but was cut to 90 for American theaters. Much of the cut footage has been lost, but what has been found was restored and included in the version of the film we saw last night. This version also included synopses where scenes are missing to explain what those missing scenes should have had. Where possible, stills of missing scenes were shown to give us an idea of what was happening. The original film score was written for a 60-piece orchestra, which is clearly impossible for a small-scale showing of the movie. Instead, the house organist played the entire score by himself. It was so well done, though. He is such a talented man. He received a standing ovation at the end of the film. I highly recommend seeing the film in its restored version. I know the idea of seeing a silent film might be strange to some people, but when you take into consideration the time period during which Fritz Lang produced it, you'll realize that it's a very powerful film. It was amazing. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Christian Music is... Good?

I know, it's a shocker. I've been about as fed up as I could possibly be at the Christian music industry in the last year or two. All I ever seem to hear on Radio U, the single largest Christian rock radio station in the world, is the same old crappity crap. Every band these days is either attempting to sound like a crappy rip-off of already crappy emo... crap, or they're all hardcore thrashing and screaming and punching each other in the face. Then, of course, there's the ullllltra cheesy contemporary Christian music that my dad listens to and it makes me want to puke. Besides that, there's really nothing else out there.

And let me not forget to mention the new wave of "positive message" bands like Switchfoot, who was originally one of the more outspoken Christian bands back in about 2000. It seems, at least to me, that a lot of Christian bands are sacrificing the name of God in order to get more secular appeal, and it's really working. I remember the days back in high school when I would listen to bands like Five Iron Frenzy, The Supertones, and Bleach, and none of them hesitated at all to mention God on their records. Somehow the motives of the Christian music industry changed, and now it's all about making it in the secular industry rather than ministry. It's something I've seen coming for a long time.

Amongst all of this trash, how can one possibly say that Christian music is any good? The Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages asked itself the very same question. It's hard to imagine that there could be anything all that great out there when there's so much crap to wade through. The revelation is, however, that there are fantastic Christian bands out there, and they're not creeping up in the Christian music industry at all. They're found in the indie rock scene.

City Pages focuses on Starflyer 59, who have, for the last 12 years now, been ministering to a very underground scene, releasing 10 albums including their most recent, Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice. While I'll admit they don't sing outspokenly about Jesus Christ, they are Christians to the core and you can ask them about it. Compare that to the "that's nice" response I got from Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman when I told him I was praying for him. Maybe my experience is different from most, but I was incredibly disappointed. Starflyer 59 is not hardly the only Christian band sliding into the indie rock music scene. Ester Drang, The Danielson Famile, and Pedro the Lion are also mentioned by City Pages.

Which brings me to the highly popular Sufjan Stevens. When I first heard Stevens' music, I didn't think much of him except that he was your typical indie folk rocker. It wasn't until a friend told me that I should listen carefully to Seven Swans that I realized that he was more than average. The song "He Woke Me Up Again" is a perfect example, with its chorus of "Halle, halle, halleluia. Holy, holy is the sound." Listening to that makes me smile because I'm getting the best of both worlds. I'm getting the best of indie folk, which I love very much, and the best of new Christian music, which I love even more.

His upcoming album, Illinois, delves even further into the Christian life. In "John Wayne Gacy, Jr.," Stevens makes a very surprising, very humble observation:
And in my best behaviour
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floor boards
For the secrets I have hid
The tear-jerker "Casimir Pulaski Day" discusses the death of a beloved girl and how hard it is to deal with it as a Christian:
All the glory that the Lord has made
And the complications when I see His face
In the morning in the window
All the glory when He took our place
But He took my shoulders and He shook my face
And He takes, and He takes, and He takes
These are really just the tips of the iceberg. The album is acclaimed by indie rock critics, but it's full of Christian themes, and outspokenly at that. Stevens shares the intimate details of his Christian life in every song, and yet hundreds, or even thousands, of non-Christians in the indie rock music industry will hear this. Out of the entire Christian music industry, I think there's not a more successful Christian artist than Sufjan Stevens, and funny how he's not even in the Christian music industry at all.

The trend is going to continue, whether you know it or not. I would pay close attention to Anathallo. I saw them at Cornerstone Music Festival and they've also been featured on Music For Robots.

That is all I have to say about that.

In other news...

So much for that Blur reunion. Bassist Alex James announced that they are all suing each other. "It's a shame really," said James. I thought we might all get together again for Live 8 and try and save the world but no." James also says that this isn't the end of the story, and I hope he's right. Ever since this latest Gorillaz album, I've really been craving a Blur reunion.

A reunion is in store for The Cure, however. Porl Thompson has returned to the lineup for their summer tour. Thompson replaces Perry Bamonte, who was ousted from the band last month along with keyboardist Roger O'Donnell.

Tim Buckley died some 30 years ago and his son Jeff Buckley died in 1997, but their music continues to inspire new generations of listeners. Soon the two will hopefully get the recognition they both deserve. The rights to David Browne's book Dream Brother: The Lives & Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley were bought by Train Houston, and now a script for the screen adaptation of it is floating around Hollywood. No takers yet, but I would be surprised if it didn't get bought up soon.

It must be nice to be a magazine. The Strokes gave NME a sneak peak at their third album, letting them hear the 14 currently unmixed tracks. NME reports that the album is more experimental than the previous one, which I hope is good news since Room on Fire was pretty lack-luster. Fab Moretti explains that the whole band felt rushed when recording Room on Fire and that they're more confident in their new album.

Upcoming Columbus Shows

6.23 - Aqualung - Little Brothers
7.07 - Reel Big Fish - Newport Music Hall
7.14 - Blowfly - Little Brothers
7.16 - Pete Yorn - Newport Music Hall
7.19 - Dressy Bessy - Little Brothers
7.20 - Howie Day - Promowest Pavilion
7.20 - Luna Halo w/ Modena Vox - Skully's Music Diner
7.22 - Tegan and Sara - Newport Music Hall
8.11 - Ben Folds w/ Ben Lee and Rufus Wainwright - Promowest Pavilion
8.20 - Pretty Girls Make Graves - Little Brothers
8.23 - Thunderbirds Are Now! - Little Brothers
8.30 - Xiu Xiu w/ Das Yellow Swans and Nedelle - Little Brothers
8.31 - Coldplay w/ Rilo Kiley - Germain Ampitheater
9.06 - Of Montreal w/ The Management - TBA
9.10 - The White Stripes w/ The Greenhornes - Ohio State Theater
9.14 - Sufjan Stevens - Southgate House (Newport, KY)
9.24 - The Rolling Stones w/ Beck - Germain Ampitheater

Daily Downloads
from the regnyouth archives

Coldplay - X&Y (link, zip)
Eisley - Room Noises (link, mp3)
Of Montreal - Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies (link, mp3)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Supreme Court Stalls Grokster Case

It's time I addressed a topic that I have been neglecting in my blog: the MGM v. Grokster case. If you aren't paying attention to it in the news, then you may not know what's going on. MGM filed suit against Grokster and StreamCast for allowing their customers to illegally download and share entertainment media including movies and music. In the Ninth Circuit courts, the ruling came down in favor of the file sharing services, saying that the providers of these services aren't in control of what their customers do with the service and therefore are not liable if any illegal activity occurs using the service. MGM obviously appealed and lost there as well. It has appealed to the Supreme Court, where it has been for months now. A ruling was supposed to be handed down yesterday, but it never came. There's speculation that it might come Thursday or next Monday, but if it doesn't, it is likely that the ruling will not be handed down before the end of the current court session in two weeks. If that happens, it will have to wait until the next session starts.

There's a lot to think about when you consider the case as a whole. A lot of people have expressed their opinions on the internet, and The New York Times compiled a list of some of these opinions. Most of them suspect that the Supreme Court will reverse the ruling. Still, there is at least some hope for the matter, and it comes in the form of a ruling that is now 21 years old.

In 1984, a very similar case came to the Supreme Court in Sony v. Betamax. Sony filed the lawsuit against Betamax, the maker of VCRs and VHS tapes, alleging that it could potentially be used to copy movies. The ruling was in favour of Betamax, with the Supreme Court concluding that Betamax could not be held liable for the actions of its customers.

That's a pretty substantial precedent. We'll just have to wait and see whether that is enough to sway the Court to rule the same way.

In other news...

Let's just get Noel Gallagher out of the way right now. He is fine with skipping Live 8 and finds it worthless, has at least some respect for Coldplay, and discusses everything from childrens books to his obsession with Doves' The Last Broadcast.

Now onto more important things, like the reunion of the Smashing Pumpkins. Yeah, you heard me right; they're coming back. Frontman Billy Corgan is certainly not afraid of word getting out. He put a full page ad in the Chicago Tribune.

The new Supergrass album is apparently going to be a departure from their previous ones. Road to Rouen, set to be released on August 15th, is reported by Billboard to be recorded in a new studio built in France. NME explains that the studio is a converted barn. The album is said to have a more "relaxed feel" to it, which I hope means even more harmony, because they're good at that. Instruments to be used on the album include ukelele, strings, and brass. Sound anything like Sufjan Stevens?

And speaking of Sufjan Stevens, Dusted has a fantastic interview with the man, the myth, and the legend. Among many other things, he says that he wanted Illinois to be like a movie soundtrack without the movie. He's so spot on. Ugh, I love it. I need to buy my copy of it on CD and then buy it on vinyl too. Then I need to see him in Kentucky. Then I will be very happy.

Is the new Strokes album reminiscent of... seedlesss watermelons? That's apparently what Julian Casablancas thinks. If that's the case, it will be sweet and juicy, minus the inconvenient black seeds.

Melody Nelson confirms that Stellastarr*'s hiatus is due to the recording of their new album, Harmonies for the Haunted.

Mel B, the artist formerly known as Scary Spice, may not be so hot on the idea of reuniting the Spice Girls for Live 8. That's okay, I'm sure no one will miss her.

Today is tuesday, and if you have more money than I do, you may want to buy any or all of the following albums:
Bo Bice - Inside Your Heaven/Vehicle (single)
Billy Corgan - The Future Embrace
Telepopmusik - Angel Milk

Upcoming Columbus Shows

6.23 - Aqualung - Little Brothers
7.07 - Reel Big Fish - Newport Music Hall
7.14 - Blowfly - Little Brothers
7.16 - Pete Yorn - Newport Music Hall
7.19 - Dressy Bessy - Little Brothers
7.20 - Howie Day - Promowest Pavilion
7.20 - Luna Halo w/ Modena Vox - Skully's Music Diner
7.22 - Tegan and Sara - Newport Music Hall
8.11 - Ben Folds w/ Ben Lee and Rufus Wainwright - Promowest Pavilion
8.20 - Pretty Girls Make Graves - Little Brothers
8.23 - Thunderbirds Are Now! - Little Brothers
8.30 - Xiu Xiu w/ Das Yellow Swans and Nedelle - Little Brothers
8.31 - Coldplay w/ Rilo Kiley - Germain Ampitheater
9.06 - Of Montreal w/ The Management - TBA
9.10 - The White Stripes w/ The Greenhornes - Ohio State Theater
9.14 - Sufjan Stevens - Southgate House (Newport, KY)
9.24 - The Rolling Stones w/ Beck - Germain Ampitheater

Daily Downloads
Yay, we're back in business. Thanks to Benny at Regnyouth for returning to his rightful position as Duke of Downloads.
Coldplay - Blue Room EP
Beck - Guero
The Shins - Austin City Limits Festival
Sigur Ros - Live somewhere in 2002
The Tears - Here Come the Tears
Tegan and Sara - The Business of Art
Caribou - The Milk of Human Kindness
Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
Coldplay - X&Y
Bjork - Medulla

Thursday, June 16, 2005

No News is Good News

At least today you won't be hearing much of the same-old-same-old. I honestly tried to find something worth talking about today, but there really isn't much. There are a few odds and ends, but nothing I felt like talking about. So here are the few things I came up with.

I find this kind of funny. We all know that Liam Gallagher tried to insult Pete Doherty sometime last week (I can't remember when). The funny part to this story is that Doherty in turn made Gallagher read the dictionary to explain to him what "libertine" means and how he misused it. Correcting someone else's grammar is sometimes the most condescending thing you can do to someone, and in this case, it's justified.

At last, M83's self-titled debut EP will be released in the US.

Of Montreal has apparently filmed a video for "Wraith Punned to the Mist and Other Games" off their latest album The Sunlandic Twins. Too bad the only copy I've found has to be bought.

And finally, The Arcade Fire will release their new song "Cold Wind" as an EP on clear vinyl with the song "Brazil" as the B-side. Also to be released is a remastered version of their first EP. When will they release these things in the US?!

Upcoming Columbus Shows

6.15 - Travis Morrison - Supraphonic Studios (Where the heck is that?!)
6.23 - Aqualung - Little Brothers
7.07 - Reel Big Fish - Newport Music Hall
7.19 - Dressy Bessy - Little Brothers
7.20 - Howie Day - Promowest Pavilion
7.20 - Luna Halo w/ Modena Vox - Skully's Music Diner
7.22 - Tegan and Sara - Newport Music Hall
8.11 - Ben Folds w/ Ben Lee and Rufus Wainwright - Promowest Pavilion
8.20 - Pretty Girls Make Graves - Little Brothers
8.30 - Xiu Xiu w/ Das Yellow Swans and Nedelle? - Little Brothers
8.31 - Coldplay w/ Rilo Kiley - Germain Ampitheater
9.06 - Of Montreal - TBA
9.14 - Sufjan Stevens - Southgate House (Newport, KY)
9.24 - The Rolling Stones w/ Beck - Germain Ampitheater

Yesterday was my first day of work, and today I finish training on the registers, so if you live in Columbus and know where the Sun Center shopping mall is, come visit me at Filene's Basement.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Had enough of Coldplay yet?

Oh my gosh! I haven't posted a real post in weeks, I think. I'm so sorry. Moving was crazy, and now I have a job that will probably take up a lot of my time, and I'm also being a lot more social than usual since I have tons of free time, but that does not give me any excuse to neglect my blog like I have been. With that, I bring you... Coldplay, again.

I swear, the only news I can ever find is about how awesome Coldplay is. I know you're sick of hearing about the album, but it's seriously about the only big news out there besides Michael Jackson. On a sidenote, his album sales are increasing now. Funny stuff, but I digress. Claude says X&Y is great. I've not actually listened to the whole thing, but I trust Claude's instincts, and what I've heard leads me to believe that he's right. I have, however, listened to The White Stripes' album and concur with his review. Anyway, onto more Coldplay news.

Coldplay has been the flavor of the last two weeks. You pretty much can't escape the internet buzz about them, and it's for pretty obvious reasons, the most significant reason being the fact that X&Y hit the number one spot in 22 countries. With 737,000 sales in its first week, the album beat out both The Black Eyed Peas and The White Stripes (who literally sold less than 1/6th the number of CDs that Coldplay did), earning them the first number one spot they've ever had on the US charts. In the UK, the album had the second-highest first week sales in history. That's certainly saying something.

I know everyone from Pitchfork to your mom is talking about the album, but I don't think that's any reason to downgrade it. Certainly a band as well-known as Coldplay is going to get talked about, and even more so if the album is incredibly good. I suspect this is the situation, but you're welcome to disagree. You wouldn't be the first. It is true that the success of X&Y has spawned quite the debate. Coldplay is really the kind of band that you either like or hate, and right now everyone is feeling the urge to voice his or her opinion, myself included. This is where internet debates break out between one blogger and another. In the end, I just want to say that it's all a matter of opinion, and I believe everyone has a valid opinion. I do want to stress, though, that it's no excuse to downgrade anyone else's opinion. You have just as much right to say you hate it as much as I have a right to say I like it.

That's just my two cents.

The record speaks for itself. Coldplay's X&Y is the most successful and most popular album released this year thus far.

In other news...

Jack White is not at all happy about two new White Stripes books.

Also in a bad mood is, as usual, Liam Gallagher, who walked off the stage during the song "Champagne Supernova" at a show in Italy.

The Sufjan Stevens tour has been expanded and is coming to Southgate House in Newport, KY. Would anyone like to go see him on September 14th? Please? I got jealous after seeing this and so I've decided that my next paycheck will help finance, in part, my copy of Illinois, which you can purchase from Asthmatic Kitty for only $10 and get weeks before it comes out on July 5th, which happens to be my 21st birthday (hint hint). Chris also says this is the album of the year, and he is absolutely correct.

I skipped the Iron and Wine show, and after reading this, I don't feel so bad about it.

I'm so behind that I haven't even done this week's album releases, so here you go.
Aesop Rock - Fast Car, Danger, Fire and Knives
Bear vs. Shark - Terrorhawk
Dressy Bessy - Electrified
Foo Fighters - In Your Honor
and more

Upcoming Columbus Shows

6.15 - Travis Morrison - Supraphonic Studios (Where the heck is that?!)
6.23 - Aqualung - Little Brothers
7.07 - Reel Big Fish - Newport Music Hall
7.19 - Dressy Bessy - Little Brothers
7.20 - Howie Day - Promowest Pavilion
7.20 - Luna Halo w/ Modena Vox - Skully's Music Diner
7.22 - Tegan and Sara - Newport Music Hall
8.11 - Ben Folds w/ Ben Lee and Rufus Wainwright - Promowest Pavilion
8.20 - Pretty Girls Make Graves - Little Brothers
8.30 - Xiu Xiu w/ Das Yellow Swans and Nedelle? - Little Brothers
8.31 - Coldplay w/ Rilo Kiley - Germain Ampitheater
9.06 - Of Montreal - TBA
9.14 - Sufjan Stevens - Southgate House (Newport, KY)
9.24 - The Rolling Stones w/ Beck - Germain Ampitheater

Daily Downloads
R.I.P. Regnyouth. Due to Benny's discontinuation, I have decided that I will also stop simply because I don't have the time to look for links myself. I'll post some when I find some, but it won't be a regular feature. Sorry, folks.

Monday, June 13, 2005

X&Y vs Get Behind Me Satan

Alright people, here you have it. The grand-spanking new column you have been waiting for is here. Today, I bring you Good Album/Bad Album. I plan on starting off posting once a week and then, once I finish my portfolio for CCAD, I will post more.

Ok, this is how GA/BA is going to work. I will cast my ears, like a net, through the vast sea of music in the world today. When doing this, I will sort the good from the bad in a justly manner. What this means is, even if you are a band I love, I am not afraid to say “your new album sucks.” I do not believe in giving a good album review for a band just because they are, for example, the White Stripes. Ok, lets get started, shall we?

Bad Album

In the beginning, God created the Earth. After that, the Earth grew and blossomed into what was known as 1999AD, when The White Stripes birthed their self-titled first album. Their sound was raw, it was original, and most importantly it didn’t suck! The Stripes have come along way from Detroit, and had done a lot of genius in the world of minimalist rock.

And then came Get Behind Me Satan…

Starting off like a toilet flush, "Blue Orchid" is the first of thirteen tracks that make a fan want to cry. It lacks in so many departments that it is too hard to begin. When I first heard it, I thought to myself, “Gee, this band sounds like The White Stripes, but sounds like they are trying way too hard.” Sadly, it really was them after all. The rest of the album I found was one disappointment to the next. Songs like "Doorbell" and "Little Ghost" sound like poor Jack White wrote them while he was hung over. Something else I noticed, the album cover of Get Behind me Satan has a very close resemblance to Elephant. Have they run out of ideas? Meg White says in this NME interview that the album was “cursed” to begin with. On the other hand, maybe they just had to make a bad album now to get it over with. Byroncrawford.com has a very good track-by-track review if you need further proof.

Good Album

I know many of you have heard about the new Coldplay album X&Y and don’t know whether to hate it or love it. Well, I just listened to it the other day and was pleasantly surprised.

The whole album sounds like you are going through space with an English accent while your guitar is your navigational instrument and the drums as the engine. Stereoboard.com calls it “Coldplay’s next big leap.” Never the less, the new single "Speed of Sound" does slightly resemble "Clocks," which is an issue of mine and hasn’t gone unnoted. In this case, X&Y will still be rated as a good album because, if you are a fan of or not, this album is truly solid and complete. Pitchfork reports that Coldplay could be the next U2. If they keep it up, I may have to agree. See Indielondon.co.uk for a second opinion.

This is how I feel, so what do you think?

Where have I been?

I apologize, friends, but I just moved into my new apartment and I'm still a little busy doing all those new apartment things (like remembering to go there instead of to my old place when I'm coming home from church... good one, Rebecca). At any rate, I assure you, I have not forgotten about any of you and I'm really hoping tomorrow will be a free enough day that I'll be able to provide you with the same world-class coverage you've been used to seeing from me. I will also kick Claude in the face for not having posted his first review yet. It's long overdue. Alright, folks. I'm totally beat and it's hot in here and I am too tired to do a full post, but expect one hopefully tomorrow but if not then sometime this week. That's all!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

And They're Off! The Race to the Top of the Charts Has Begun!

Yesterday was a huge day in the world of album releases, featuring new ones from and ColdplayThe White Stripes. While both are supposed to be huge releases, it appears that Coldplay will be top dog, which is perfectly logical considering The White Stripes' new album Get Behind Me Satan is a piece of crap. I'll let Claude give you the low down on that when he gets his post up.

Let me first go on a tangent here. This is something I've been thinking about a lot recently. Sleater-Kinney's album The Woods and The White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan are both absolutely terrible albums, yet both have gotten so much acclaim. I don't know about anyone else, but it certainly makes me wonder what the criteria for "good" and "bad" are in the industry these days. In the case of The White Stripes, it's likely the fact that they're so well known and have previously come out with decent albums. It's highly possible that, because everyone expected this album to be as good as its predecessors, people just assumed the album was good. But then how do you explain The Woods? I have no idea. It all just makes me a little suspicious.

Back to what I was trying to say. The UK charts have been particularly interesting in the last week or so. When Oasis' new album, Don't Believe the Truth, was released last week, its first week sales were around the 250,000 mark, the second highest of the year, of course making them number one. In just the first day of sales, however, the new Coldplay album, X&Y, sold 150,000 copies. At that rate, they're liable to sell 400,000 copies by next week. Incredible? I thought so.

What's even more incredible is how poorly the US received the new Oasis album. Though it hit number one in the UK, it didn't even grace the Billboard top ten; it came in at number twelve, selling only 65,000 albums in its first week. Even more astounding is the fact that it didn't even beat out Mariah Carey's Anticipation of Mimi (what kind of name is that?!), which is still at number one. Okay, so... yeah, who went out and bought a bunch of Mariah Carey CD's, because you need a swift kick to the head.

If the US charts are anything like the UK charts, which this Mariah Carey crap makes me wonder about, Coldplay should soon be in total domination.

In other news...

A couple related stories. First of all, my boyfriend asked me yesterday what the artwork on the cover of the X&Y album represented. I know I posted on this before, but I found another article about it so I thought I'd re-explain it. The blocks of color are designed in the Baudot Code, a 19th century telegraph code. It was quickly replaced by the Morse Code, which we're all familiar with. The cover of the album says "X&Y" and the back says "Make trade fair." The middle pages show the entire alphabet. Case closed.

The topic of our second related story is, of course, Liam Gallagher, and his latest victim is U2. Once again he says they suck and he's better than them and blah blah blah. Seriously, does he ever get tired of being a prick?

Lastly, more news from Jack White. No, he's not divorced yet. Instead he's got a side project and they're called the Raconteurs. They're readying up an album with no release date as of yet.

A few other things to note before I sign off. Frankie Poullain, the now former bassist for The Darkness, is suddenly saying that he didn't leave the band at all, but was rather forced out over time. I just wonder why it took him so long to break his silence.

The RIAA now has competition: The American Association of Independent Music. The trade group is composed of 125 indie labels and will focus on the digital and online aspects of music.

Upcoming Columbus Shows

6.08 - Modest Mouse - Promowest Pavilion
6.13 - Iron and Wine w/ Band of Horses - The Newport
6.15 - Travis Morrison - Supraphonic Studios (Where the heck is that?!)
6.23 - Aqualung - Little Brothers
7.07 - Reel Big Fish - Newport Music Hall
7.19 - Dressy Bessy - Little Brothers
7.20 - Howie Day - Promowest Pavilion
7.20 - Luna Halo w/ Modena Vox - Skully's Music Diner
7.22 - Tegan and Sara - Newport Music Hall
8.11 - Ben Folds w/ Ben Lee and Rufus Wainwright - Promowest Pavilion
8.20 - Pretty Girls Make Graves - Little Brothers
8.30 - Xiu Xiu w/ Das Yellow Swans and Nedelle? - Little Brothers
8.31 - Coldplay w/ Rilo Kiley - Germain Ampitheater

9.06 - Of Montreal - TBA
9.24 - The Rolling Stones w/ Beck - Germain Ampitheater

Daily Downloads

The Arcade Fire - Cold Wind (link, mp3)

My finals are over and now I'm getting ready to move! So good!