Thursday, April 17, 2014

Downtown/4th Ave Open Mic Night Roundup

For a change of pace this week, I have decided to write about open mic nights in the Old Pueblo. This will not be a comprehensive review of Tucson open mic nights, but a brief look at three open mic night opportunities in and near downtown.  Please read on to learn more about Sunday Acoustic Open Mic at The Hut, the new(ish) Tuesday Open Mic Night at Maker House and the long-enduring Wednesday Night Open Mic Night at Sky Bar.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Light That Never Goes Out: Morrissey's Autobiography

I have always been a huge fan of Morrissey. The king of intellectual alternative rock.  I did prefer his work with The Smiths as opposed to his solo work. Because Morrissey is the enigmatic character that he has always been, I was eager to learn everything I could about him and analyze every lyric that he had ever written. He has always been notoriously strange, private, asexual, and sarcastic, while blessed with a razor sharp intellect that I believe could only be rivaled by Sting. Finally there is an official autobiography on the life of one music's most interesting artists. Please read on to learn more...

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Review of Bullet For My Valentine's Temper Temper

Temper Temper, the 2013 release from metalcore/hard rock band Bullet For My Valentine, is the perfect example of what happens when a previously innovative band proceeds to sell out.

What’s wrong with that? What exactly is "selling out"?

I don’t have a perfect definition, but from what I understand, after seeing bands who have avoided it and bands who have succumbed to it, selling out is what happens when a band creates "mainstream" (I hate to use that term, but it’s most accurate) music for the sake of popularity, selling albums, selling tickets, or all of the above. Creativity is lost in exchange for new fans. Staleness, simplicity, and "catchiness" are thrown out there in an attempt to catch the attention of the majority of listeners who will skip a song if it doesn't appeal to them the first time. The end result is subpar music.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chris Isaak: In Love Again

I still remember the first time I heard Chris Isaak, way back in 1990. I was working in the back room at
Main and the radio was turned on at low volume. I heard this haunting melody, this voice, and wondered, "Wow, what is that?" It was "Wicked Game", a song I'm sure most of you have heard. The video is also pretty famous (or infamous; I always like to say every American male of a certain age is familiar with the video!) I remember going to Zip's to pick up the cd that Wicked Game was on (Heart Shaped World), but they didn't have it. They did have the album that was released previous to Heart Shaped World, the self-titled Chris Isaak (1986). There are some great tracks on that one, including "Blue Hotel", "You Owe Me Some Kind of Love" (awesome video), "Lover's Game", and "Lie To Me". In some ways I think this album has held up better over the years than Heart Shaped World.

Here's my "I met Chris Isaak" story. "Wicked Game" was quickly becoming a huge single...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pharrell's GIRL: A Recap of 2013

Pharrell's new album, GIRL, is nothing but a highly polished recap of the great year he had in 2013. And why not? The longtime musician and producer (of acts like the Neptunes and N.E.R.D.) was constantly in the spotlight with a string of smash hits and television appearances. Pharrell spent the better part of the year dominating the radio waves with the two biggest songs of the summer, Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." He continued his airwave domination the fall with his contribution to Despicable Me 2, the top-tapping hit, "Happy." This sugary sleeper hit is on constant radio rotation to this day. After listening to GIRL twice through, my simple review of the album: if you loved (or can still tolerate) the above songs, GIRL deserves your weekly Freegal downloads and a spot on your playlist. But if the thought of blurred lines and lucky robots makes you nauseous, stay far, far away from this one. Read below for some critiques of the individual tracks!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alio Die: Italian Ambient Music

Last time 'round I was touting Freegal as a good source of dance music singles, but there's another side to my love of this service: ambient music.  I've barely begun to dig through the virtual crates of ambient electronic music Freegal offers, but I've already found a good deal of stuff released by one of my most recent musical loves, Alio Die.