End of the World Playlists From The Inlander

2012Hopefully the Mayan’s were wrong, but just in case I contributed an end of the world playlist to The Inlander. Have a look.

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I Liked It Better When… 

The Hold Steady’s new album cover…

I liked it better when it was Set Yourself On Fire by Stars…

Going Solo For Art’s Sake

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Art impacts each one of us in a different way. No two people see a painting, hear a song or watch a movie and get the exact same thing from it. Which raises the question: Why are people so hesitant to experience a concert alone?

Recently one of my friends had one of her all-time favorite bands come through town but didn’t attend the show. It wasn’t because she couldn’t get a ticket. It wasn’t because she had to work that night. It was because she had no one to go with.

She was even considering just hanging outside the venue (not a smart idea in Spokane) during the concert because she cared so much for the band, yet going alone was unthinkable.

The situation may seem rather extreme, but this type of thing occurs quite often. Probably the most common situation for this refusal to digest art alone is movie-going. No matter how much they have been anticipating a film, people are reluctant to go solo.

Individuals will convince themselves that waiting to see it later with friends is the best option. It’s odd because watching a movie with others does not change the product in the least. If you watch the film alone or with a slew of friends, every frame is still the same. Every joke, scare or tear is still shows up the same way on that projector screen. So, what is it that drives this tendency in people? What we really desire is not the companionship; what we crave is social discussion of art.
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The Death of Les Paul

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Musical legend and pioneer Les Paul died on Thursday. Few people outside of the hardcore music community understand how monumental a life he lead. His innovations ARE popular music. Without them we’d be living in a world that sounds much different.

When people hear the name Les Paul odds are the word association that comes to mind is “guitar.” In 1939 he created one of the first solid-body electric guitars ever known as “the log” (pictured here). However, it did not initially take off. It took til 1950 before Gibson released the first Les Paul model guitar (after Rickenbacher and Fender had already released solid-body electrics). It may come as a suprise, but Paul himself did not have a great deal to do with designing the guitar that bares his name, he was more of the pitchman/face of the brand. The model went on to become one of the most iconic instruments in rock ‘n roll.

The advances he made to recording are actually more significant than his signature guitar. He was the first person to multitrack record music. During the recordings he also developed the process of overdubbing. It’s astounding to think of what music would be like without these innovations. As if that wasn’t enough, he is also credited as the first person to use phase and delay effects by manipulating the recordings. All these are techniques are used on every recording you’ve probably ever heard. They’re such commonplace that it’s hard to imagine music before them.
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Why So Many Pretentious Band Photos?

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So I recently agreed to review some of the albums that AbsolutePunk has mailed to their office, but don’t merit immediate staff attention. I was sent a long list of artists with links to their MySpace pages so that I could preview said artists and see if I’d want them to bother shipping any of these albums to my abode.

However, the thing that stood out while looking at all these pages was not the music (most of it being fairly mediocre), but the photos of the bands. It was a myriad of over-stylized, hyper-image conscious, horribly pretentious snapshots. I feel this is an unsettling trend. Now I know every group has an image that they’re going for, but it seems all subtly has been lost.

These photos come in all different varieties. There are the solo acts that does a little something odd to seem “eccentric,” such as wearing a single brightly color kids glove. There are the metal bands who are “badass” because they’re all in black t-shirts, look angry, and haven’t bathed in a couple day (featuring at least one guy with grossly long hair!). There are the “intelligent” indie bands with their corduroy vests, throwback hats, and glasses (perhaps sporting a pipe). There are the pop punkers in their hoodies with painstakingly styled hair and makeup. There are the electronic artists with dark sunglasses and neon backlighting. And of course, there’s lots of really, really bad “ironic” facial hair.

Is this really effective at all? Are there people who get into bands because of a picture they see (other than the moronic people who somehow like female pop singers’ music because they are hot)? I don’t get it.

I can count the bands I love that have a distinctly unique image on one hand (and The Hives are the only one that immediately come to mind). Many bands I like I can hardly even picture in my head.

I dunno…it’s upsetting me…

How To Attend A Concert

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*The following is was my English 101 final from a few years back which was an expository how-to essay, which took about 45 minutes to write up. It should also be noted that one of the comments my professor wrote on the paper was “ROFL,” which is painful modern irony at it’s finest.*

The lights go out. The crowd roars with tense anticipation. The first chord is struck. It rings clear at a dangerously high decibel level.

A good rock concert is a thing of beauty, but through my travels to shows, from Seattle to Chicago and almost everywhere in between, I’ve noticed a growing problem. People do not know how to “properly” attend a rock concert. It is an incredibly depressing revelation.

But fear not (!), for I am fully prepared to lay down guidelines that will allow you and your fellow concert goers to make the most of every concert you attend.

The first thing that comes to many minds when they think of a rock concert is the mosh pit. Many critics claim that it is violent and unnecessary, but in reality, when done right, it is no more dangerous than its forefather – pogoing. (For the unfamiliar, pogoing was basically just jumping done be fans at early punk shows. It eventually progressed into jumping into each other and then became moshing.) The first rule of the mosh pit is that it isn’t a fight. If one is looking for a place to beat people up, go elsewhere. The mosh pit is intended to be more like human bumper cars. People release energy by bounding off one another. If someone falls down, the pit stops until the person is on their feet again. No one wants to get hurt. It’s a concert for goodness sake – it’s about fun.
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Read This

John from Portugal. The Man wrote a fantastic blog on the case for paying for your music

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