Wasted Words 20

Recommended download: Smoking PopesI Need You Around

Hello everyone. As you can see, I’m back to writing my column. I took a few weeks away from it to chill for a bit, get my head right. But it’s all good now. Be sure to check out the recommended download for this week. They’re not a new band by any means, but they are new to me. I recently heard the song I Need You Around on the radio while driving home from my Mothers house. This song in particular reminds me a bit of Alkaline Trio, so I’m sure Alk3 fans would enjoy this track and probably more of their material. As for the column this week, I’ve got a couple quick album reviews as well as a couple news pieces. Enjoy.

Kanye WestThe College Dropout It would’ve been all too easy for Kanye to follow the proven formula that most mainstream hip hop artists swear by…guns, drugs, and money. Fortunately, he strays from the norm and releases a breath of fresh air into mainstream hip hop. Kanye touches on many different subjects on the album, such as family(Family Business), work(Spaceship), and religion(Jesus Walks). There’s definitely something here that everyone can relate to. There are some great guest spots on the album including verses from Talib Kweli(Get ‘Em High), Common(Get ‘Em High), and Twista(Slow Jams) just to name a few. Overall, this is a solid debut from the producer turned rapper. Nice lyrics, great use of samples, and definitely some tight beats. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Recommended tracksGet ‘Em High, Family Business, and Jesus Walks

BlindsideAbout A Burning Fire This is the fourth album from these guys, and they’ve changed quite a bit since their self-titled debut in 1997. No necessarily a bad thing, but not necessarily a good thing either. I was a big fan of their previous album, Silence. Naturally, when I saw their new album on the shelf I was excited and picked it up right away. The album starts off pretty strong with Eye Of The Storm, and keeps up with the pace set by the opener with the next couple of songs. From here on out, what had the opportunity to be a great album falls in line somewhere between good and mediocre. It’s not a horrible album by any means, and in no way do I regret buying it. It’s just not what I expected from these guys. Maybe my expectations were too high after their previous effort, but they certainly weren’t met by this album.
Recommended tracksEye Of The Storm, Follow You Down, and About A Burning Fire.

Here is the track listing for the Rock Against Bush album that is due out on Fat Wreck Chords April 26. The album will also include a bonus DVD with videos from Bad Religion, Anti-Flag, and NOFX among other things.
01. None More Black  “Nothing To Do When You’re Locked In A Vacancy” (unreleased)
02. Sum 41  “Moron” (unreleased)
03. Alkaline Trio  “Warbrain” (unreleased)
04. Epoxies  “Need More Time”
05. Anti-Flag  “Rights Back” (unreleased)
06. Against Me!  “Sink, Florida, Sink” (Electric) (unreleased)
07. The Offspring  “Baghdad” (rare)
08. The Get Up Kids  “Lion And The Lamb” (unreleased)
09. Rise Against  “Give It All” (unreleased)
10. Ministry  “No-W” (unreleased)
11. Descendents  “Sad State Of Affairs” (unreleased)
12. Authority Zero  “Revolution” (unreleased)
13. The Soviettes  “Paranoia Cha-Cha-Cha” (unreleased)
14. Jello Biafra & D.O.A.  “That’s Progress”
15. RX Bandits  “Overcome (The Recapitulation)”
16. Strung Out  “No Voice Of Mine” (unreleased)
17. Strike Anywhere  “To The World”
18. The Ataris  “Heaven Is Falling” (unreleased)
19. Pennywise  “God Save The USA”
20. Denali  “Normal Days”
21. World/Inferno Friendship Society  “The Expatriate Act”
22. New Found Glory  “No News Is Good News” (unreleased)
23. The Frisk  “Basket Of Snakes” (unreleased)
24. NOFX  “Jaw, Knee, Music” (unreleased)
25. Social Distortion  “It’s The Law”
26. Less Than Jake featuring Billy Bragg  “The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out” (rare)

I had the unfortunate luck of catching the new Cypress Hill video last night. It’s for their new song, called What’s Your Number. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t cared much for these guys since Black Sunday, but this song is not typical Cypress Hill and I personally don’t care too much for it. Of course, it could be that I’m just too fond of their debut album, which featured How I Could Just Kill a Man, and nothing since then has lived up to it(in my opinion). Their new track samples The Clash’s Guns Of Brixton and also features Rancid’s Tim Armstrong on guitar. The video features quite a few cameos, including Travis Barker(Blink 182, Boxcar Racer, Transplants), Everlast, Skinhead Rob(Transplants), and Slash just to name a few. In related news, Cypress Hill will be touring with Blink 182 and Taking Back Sunday this spring before Blink embarks on their tour with No Doubt.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m out.

For Whom the Bell Tolls: VI

I have decided to leave my feature article piece for another day as it might insight a bit of controversy, as well as the fact that I am having a rough time formulating a final draft. Some things just aren’t meant to be I guess. Luckily for me I am an entertainment whore and I have a stock pile of things to review! So here is another mini.

Literature: M. Butterfly, a play by David Hwang. Most of America is familiar with the acclaimed opera Madame Butterfly, the story of a U.S. soldier, Pinkerton, and his love interest in China, Cio Cio San. It is considered one of the corner stones of fine Western Opera. In Hwang’s spin-off of the opera he explores the story of a French diplomat, Gallimard, in communist China and his affair with Song Liling, a Chinese diva. The story uses the basis of Madame Butterfly, a western man infatuated with an exotic Eastern beauty and that which she represents. It is a wonderfully written play that explores the dualities of gender, sexuality, race, culture and imperialism. It spent a good deal of time on Broadway and is critically acclaimed for its originality and candor. The play explores the meaning of sexuality, love, and stereotypes when, after a 20 year affair, Gallimard finds out that his lover is both a Chinese spy and a man. It is extraordinarily composed in both dialogue and staging; its motives are relevant to modern society and revealing of the way in which global politics affect our perceptions of the world and the roles designated to each person by society. Star Rating: 5

Movies: Twisted, with Ashley Judd and Samuel L. Jackson. Judd plays a homicide detective, neo-feminist-tough and troubled by a dark past. Her father went on a killing spree which ended with his wife and himself, leaving Judd’s character orphaned, to be raised by her father’s partner in the force, played by Jackson. The plot is set up from the start Judd has anger-management problems and an appetite for alcohol and anonymous sex. After she is promoted to homicide a string of murders occur. In the hunt for the killer, Judd finds that all of the men are previous lovers of her, all signs point the blaming finger at her. The plot reveals that she has a stalker and several possible suspects emerge: her new partner, an obsessive ex, a former lover and lawyer of a convicted murderer, among others. The movie had great potential to be an “edge-of-your-seat thriller” and a smart movie with great plot twists. Unfortunately all the twists were formula and the ending predictable. For the average American viewer, the movie was decent and moderately surprising, but for a person accustomed to thriller movies, it was a let down. Not only did I correctly guess the identity of the stalker within the first half hour (granted I did doubt my suspicions at points), but there were many loose ends and unexplained variables. In addition, the accuracy of the directors and writers research was obviously poor. The ballistics were not in keeping with reality and the twists fell short of my expectations. It was a decent movie for the twenty-first century viewer who wants to sit and be entertained without thinking, but for the more intelligent and movie-savvy, it was yet another trite cop-flick with an empowered chick and a crazed man whose obsession turns foul. Star Rating: 2

In closing I would like to ask all of you who have read this to please post a comment. The staff and writers of BP love to hear feed-back, we all work very hard in our free time to bring you the wonderful articles you read here. I do my best to comment on everyone’s articles and I would greatly appreciate it if you all commented on mine, even if it is one word, even if you didn’t like it. Thanks so much for reading!!

Tangled Up in Bleu

I suffer from chronic foot in mouth syndrome when it comes to music. More than often I will judge music before I even listen to it because..well..i’m an idiot and a snob when it comes to music. It is very rare that I admit my problem, so what you are about to read is a very rare treat.
I had gotten my tickets for Phantom Planet a month before the actual concert. The day I found out they were playing at my school I almost cooed out loud with delight. I have been a fan of Phantom Planet since senior year in high school, and was in ecstasy that they chose my school to play at while on tour to promote their new album.
The night of the concert I bounded into the auditorium dragging my buddy Erin with me. I could hardly contain my excitement. On the ticket there was no mention of an opening band, just Phantom Planet. I was so excited for them that I was shocked AND dismayed to see that there were two sets of drums on stage. Fuck, I thought, an opening band. I heard murmurs about someone named Blue..or something to that effect. I turned to Erin, and in my snide Nina way said, “Fucking opening band. This is going to fucking suck. I fucking hate stupid opening bands taking me away from my phantom planet.” And Erin just laughs…not sure if it was with me or at me, but she laughs. As the lights dim and the audience clap some jackass sitting behind me yells “You’re my boy Blue!” Great, I think, not only am I going to have to sit through some shitty opening band but there’s a loudmouthed asshole behind me.
The band took the stage, looking like a usual band these days. Bleu (not Blue) McCauley, the main dude on the stage of dudes, is exactly what you’d imagine him to be; Tall, skinny, wild curly hair, huge sideburns taking up almost all his face, sporting an old man cardigan. The other guys in the band fit every stereotype in the indie rock scene. The bassist with the buddy holly glasses, the dreadlocked keyboardist, the other guitarist with shaggy black hair wearing a size-too-small thrift store t-shirt, and the drummer with a big white ‘fro. Before they played even one note I was ready for suckyness to begin. Bleu first chatted with the audience a bit. He was kinda funny, seemingly friendly, and he seemed very excited to be there. I was impressed by his repartee with the audience, but could they play? Probably not, I thought.
They started playing, and at first I didn’t want to really hear them. I had this preconceived notion that I would hate them and that nothing they play would be good. After song two it hit me…Shit…this guy can sing…and the songs are catchy…I LOVE IT! I put aside the embarrassment that I talked all this shit about how I liked it, and I just got into it. The performance was just incredible. Every song was amazing, and Bleu really proved himself, at least to me, that he is an extremely talented musician and songwriter.
During the break between bands I went outside to the merch table to get the c.d. Standing at the table was Bleu himself, signing posters and other various things. I waited in line, bought my c.d. and then had a chance to get a poster signed by him, and he was really nice and funny and warm. I was so excited to be able to go home and listen to the c.d. and see if he’s just as good on the c.d. as he was live. (Phantom Planet was incredible by the way, but that’s not what this article is about.)
Bleu’s c.d., “Redhead” is a high energy, fun, and enjoyable album. Bleu has had a few of his songs appear in movies, and these songs appear on the c.d. “Somebody Else” is on the Spiderman soundtrack, “Trust Me” is featured in Against the Ropes and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. There are many catchy rock-out anthems (“Get up”, “Could Be Worse”) as well as some sweet slow songs (“Searching For Satellites”, “Watching You Sleep”.)
I couldn’t really tell you who he sounds like, but if you like Pete Yorn, Rufus Wainwright, The Counting Crows, or The Gin Blossoms, you’d really enjoy Bleu. Even if you don’t like those bands, I’d suggest check him out, you may like him.
Don’t be like me, give him a chance!
Suggested Listening:
“Trust Me” “That’s when I Crash” “I Wont Go Hollywood” “Get Up”
Web Site:
http://www.bleutopia.com
Rating
4.5 stars out of 5