The Music Biz: Where Waving Around Your Private Parts Is Not Grounds for Getting You Fired

The music industry is such a weird place. Why is it that it’s perfectly legitimate to use your naughty bits to sell records? For most people posing in compromising positions is a way to get yourself fired, not a raise. This totally came to mind when I was reading this New York Times article today.

To quote the Times, “college students often post risqué or teasing photographs and provocative comments about drinking, recreational drug use and sexual exploits in what some mistakenly believe is relative privacy.” The article goes on to say how people’s edgy online personas can get in the way of them getting hired for a job.

Then I also read this great post Brandon wrote pondering the merits of releasing nude photos of himself in order to sell albums. For anyone who think that all these “hacks” and “invasions of privacy” are all random acts of embarrassment, well…maye you’re right–but maybe you’re wrong.

I feel like I can’t even turn on my computer anymore without getting an email or reading a blog post about another eyeliner-wearing Warped Tourer self-releasing a photos where he’s flatteringly caught with his trousers down in front of a camera. I know “sex sells” but really, do we have to go down this road?

When will the insanity stop? Seriously, let’s hope this trend is a show-er, not a grower.

Friday Night @ East Houston and Essex: The Crossroads of Hipsterdom?

I went to Loaded at Element on Friday night to see my friends Melody Nelson, The Husky Gentleman, Ciao Bella, and Michael Stellastarr* DJ.

Like many people, this was the first time I’d ever been too Element–also known as “the place I always ignore when standing outside the Mercury Lounge”, so you might have been just as surprised as I was with the level of security at the venue. I witnessed the door security staff force people to check their coats (3 dollars), and then watched with confusion as the checkpoint dude spent about 2 minutes going through all 3 items I had in my bag. My friend Ginny told me that the guy actually stuck his finger in her mint box, prodding around until she said, “Um, I have to put those in my MOUTH!”

With a door policy like that, you can imagine what it was like inside: a multi-level club with a weird, sorta eurotrashy feel…and a smoke machine. Yes, a functioning smoke machine which caused me to wonder if I’d been transported to one of the mitzvahs I attended in the ’90s.

The music and the majority of the people were great of course, but someone needs to “accidentally” break the smoke machine ASAP.

According to the Element website, it’s at the “crossroads of the East Village and the Lower East Side” which I guess is technically true, but I found on Friday that the combo of the Loaded party plus Land of Talk playing at Mercury resulted in the Crossroads of Hipsterdom. I think I managed to see everyone I know in a 10 minute time period, just standing in-between both venues.

My friend Ari and I also managed to witness some guy being dragged out of Mercury by his two friends. He was on SOMETHING because I don’t even think he was concious, judging by the way that he was completely unable to stand up and the fact that his head was hanging low and heavy. His buddies were trying to sober him up, but after like 20 minutes of pouring water into his mouth, I don’t think they were really being all that successful. I hope that guy ended up getting some professional medical attention, because that sure did look rough.

Thoughts On MySpace

The free MySpace Franz show had me thinking…

I’ve developed this theory that anything you write on MySpace instantly becomes 150% more idiotic just by the mere fact that you are writing it on MySpace. Example? When you type “E = MC2” into your profile it is automatically is converted into “1 + 2 = 3” by a backend computer program, I swear!

You ever look at the profile of someone you don’t know and just go, “Holy crap, this person is an IDIOT!” Then have you gone and looked at your own profile and read it as if you didn’t know yourself and realize, “Oh my lord, I sound like a dipsh-t!”

Is there a way of creating a MySpace profile that doesn’t make you look pathetic to a stranger? I think it’s humanly impossible. Maybe if you didn’t write anything…but then it would just look like you don’t have any interests or worse, someone would base their opinion on you by the inside joke comments your friends left–which are usually 10x worse than anything you could write about yourself.

Basically reading a stranger’s MySpace profile is like watching a WB teen drama, you’re almost immediately disgusted, but you cannot look away. You start learning things about these tiny little icon people…where they grew up, where they went to school, where they work, what they watch on TV, etc.

Then you end up clicking on their friend’s pages and so on and so on in the pursuit of finding some substance in the midst of a never-ending catalogue of vanity until you end up staring at A) a picture of an unidentifiable body part or B) a grainy, greenish self-portrait of a 14-year-old emo kid looking at his/herself on the computer screen. It is at that point that you get so sick to your stomach that you close the browser, run to the bathroom, dry heave and wash your eyes out with soap.

Then you log on the next day and do the same exact thing all over again.

DAAAMMMNNN YOUUUUU MYYYSSPPAACCCCCE!

April Fools

Is it just me or is April 2006 kinda not awesome so far? I’ve officially given up on this month. The weirdest stuff has been going on like every day for the last few weeks and I seriously am making like a Kit-Kat commercial and saying “Gimmie a break!”

When a lot of wrong things pile up together, sometimes I think that there is no right. That is because I am sometimes a pessimist. Luckily for you I mainly stick to music/entertainment when I write on this site, and not the personal stuff (I save that torture for my friends…sorry guys!), otherwise I think we all might need Xanax. I want to keep it that way, but what I do want to say is that contrary to popular belief on the internet and beyond, I’m a living breathing human.

I don’t have the answers to everything and I’m not always right (although sometimes I pretend that I am), I make mistakes and sometimes I leave dirty dishes in the sink (like right now). So to anyone reading this, I’m sure you too have had those months where you’re just like “Dude, what the..?” and although you’re not standing on a ledge somewhere (Stephen Jenkins talked me out of it. Thanks, bro.), you sure as heck are not at your best.

So what does one do in times such as these? I guess muddle on through and hope next month is best-tastic.

I don’t want to start a pitty party or anything, but if you see me out, I gotta tell you, a hug wouldn’t hurt anyone.

PS- Does this in any way shape or form explain why I actually liked what I saw of “Love Monkey”?

The Raconteurs and Muldoons Bring It On Home at Irving Plaza

So last night (April 7) was The Raconteurs’ first live American show open to the public. I didn’t know where I stood in terms of the excitement level before going it…although after eating that hamburger from the pizza place on 14th Street I did think there was the chance of me throwing up over myself, but luckily that didn’t happen.

But back to the excitement level–yeah kinda weird because here is this band I haven’t seen live yet, but I’m excited because I love the White Stripes, but…this band isn’t the White Stripes, they are The Raconteurs, which is a totally different ball of wax. So excited, but wary, I would say. After all, how am I supposed to know how well the band performs live without actually having seen them?

Another thing that had me on edge was something that I saw online before I went to the show. I read this post that said the following:

Tonight, I actually had the chance to see The Raconteurs at Irving Plaza. Yesterday, I was offered up a pair of tickets at face value but I turned them down. Yes, you heard me.

Since Jack White accepted money from Coca-cola in exchange for money, I feel that monetarily I cannot support Jack White. If I was on the list for the show, it would have been a different story as I would have only been an observer instead of a full out participant.

For space-saving purposes I’ve moved my debate of the above post to its new location after the jump.

BACK TO THE SHOW REVIEW

When the doors opened, the guards said no cameras allowed and that they would have to be coat checked. Oh well…twas sad because they had some great lighting at the show.

The friends I was with settled right up front by the barricades of the stage, and as I went over to the merchandise booth to over 20 bucks for a limited edition Raconteurs poster (I have no problem monetarily supporting a band that has a member who wrote a jingle for Coca-Cola–btw I also wear clothing from the GAP, I eat babies, and I work for Halliburton), someone bought me a rum and coke for good humor. With each swill I reveled in the controversy. (I think Chris Martin just banned me from all Coldplay shows for writing that.)

the raconteurs muldoons irving
Around 9pm the lights dimmed and The Muldoons took the stage. Lead guitarist and composer Hunter is the ripe old age of eleven and singer/lyricist Shane is eight years old. They were both decked out in black button-down shirts (Hunter in short sleeves, Shane in long sleeves) and jeans. Hunter added some flare to his look by wearing white snakeskin-style boots and Shane donned a striped tie. Dad Brian Muldoon sat on drums and wore a red and black striped sweater and black beret.

They blew through what seemed to be a dozen 2-3 minute songs, none of which I caught the words to. Shane was an impressive front man, taking cues from Ann Arbor legend Iggy Pop in his wild stage mannerisms. Lots of wild jumping, lots of microphone stand grabbing, and lots of dropping to his knees, raising his guitar in the air and just letting loose. His little round cherubic face scrunched up has he shouted lyrics like “yeah yeah! always red and bllaaaaaaaccck!”.

His guitar skills seemed to be limited to minimal finger work and running his guitar pick up and down strings while relying heavily on the distortion pedal, but he’s eight years old, so I can’t find any fault with that because that sure is hell of a lot better than I could do.

Hunter was more restrained, content with the occasional move away from his mic stand, and a flamboyant guitar strum here and there. Dad Brian kept a careful eye on his two young sons as they wailed out there punk inspired rock ‘n’ roll.

During one song Shane made the ultimate rock star move of the night by ripping off his clip-on tie and throwing it to the floor. CLIP-ON TIE. How adorable is that?

It will be very interesting to see how this band progresses musically and lyrically as the kids get older. Let’s hope they still keep making music and don’t pull a Jordy on us.

After the show I got a chance to snap a photo of the family band. Shane ( age 8 ) and Hunter (age 11) just love their rock ‘n’ roll Doritos. Ad campaign, anyone?

the muldoons at irving plaza

Around 10 o’clock The Raconteurs came onto the stage which was set up with a light chocolate brown Raconteurs’ “R” logo backdrop covered by a sheer shimery overlay. Multi-tiered lanterns hung on either side of the stage. The band came out one by one, Dean Fertita on keyboards, then Patrick Keeler came on first and sat down at his drums, then Little Jack on bass, then Brendan Benson, then Jack White.

Unlike Jack White’s other band, The White Stripes, The Raconteurs have no dress code, each member sported his very own look. Dean wore a black (leather?) jacket, Patrick chose to sport a button down plaid shirt with a black vest and jeans, Little Jack looked like Crispin Glover’s lil’ bro in the dark-rimmed glasses, black parted-down-the-middle hair, jacket, plaid shirt, and pants, Brendan wore a mismatched flower print shirt with a v-neck sweater vest and jeans, Jack wore a black tshirt and red and tan plaid pants with a tan suede jacket with embroidered embelishments by the upper chest/shoulder area. His hair looked like a crazy mess, cut long in the front, shorter in the back, and tossed around in a wild, chaotic manner (below, photo by Martin Glenn).

the raconteurs irving

They started out with one of my favorite songs off the album, called “Level”. I really think this song works well live, it sounds grittier and more full-bodied. Right from the start, the vibe was quite different than that of a White Stripes show. I felt it was energetic, but more staid, perhaps because the album isn’t out yet so not everyone knew the songs. But this band has a completely different dynamic–you’ve got four (five including Dean on keys) established musicians coming from all different backgrounds melding together to form one unit. No one is the clear “leader” of the band–therefore the concentration of the audience is spread out in different directions.

The camaraderie between band members was blatant, especially between Brendan Benson and Jack White as they kept looking over at one another and grinning. During the “Yellow Sun” duet parts they glanced over at each other and eventually Jack came over to Brendan’s microphone stand and they locked eyes and nodded heads in time as they sang (below, photo by Martin Glenn).

the raconteurs irving

But out of all the guys in the band Jack White was definitely the most adventurous in terms of using the whole of the stage to his advantage. Like a child who couldn’t keep still, he moved around the stage in every which way: bumping into Little Jack as he played guitar solos, turning his back to the audience and playing to Patrick, throwing down his malfunctioning guitar and crossing the stage to bang out his solo on Dean’s keyboard for “Blue Veins”, and the aforementioned mic sharing with Brendan.

In fact, you could tell he was working so hard that he had started to bleed duing “It Ain’t Easy” as finger-wide red lines of blood could be seen on the white parts of the guitar body. Shane Muldoon could be seen in the stage wings the entire set, sitting on a set of steps, wearing a black and white Raconteurs shirt and sipping Coca-Cola (really he was) as he watched the elder rockmen burned through their 15-song set.

One of my favorite songs of the set (besides “Level”) was “Broken Boy Soldiers”–its clangy cymbals, twangy guitar riffs and a hypnotic galloping beat in combination with Jack’s piercing, electro-shock voice made for a captivating performance. Toward the end of the song every band seemed to go into a trance, intensely concentrating on their piece of the song.

When the band came back for their encore, Patrick picked Shane up and pulled him onstage, setting him down on the ground and letting him run back to the wings while Brendan announced that The Muldoons were the cutest rock band ever.

Jack ended the show by thanking everyone for coming to see “The Raconteurs, from Nashville, Tennessee.” (Photo below by Martin Glenn).

the raconteurs irving

All in all I enjoyed the show the music was solid and it was exciting to see how the band interacted with each other. As I mentioned before, the energy during this show was much different than that of a White Stripes show–and I thought that was a good thing.

This show more than most WS shows I’ve been to had a more “community” feel, probably because when Jack and Meg are on the stage, it’s all about them generating a vibe between the two of them and trying to make an explosive sound with just two people. During a Raconteurs show, it’s not as intense, it is more about 4/5 guys jamming together, blending their sounds, and letting things flow organically–not about trying to create spontaneous combustion by the sheer intensity of Jack White’s gaze (which is how WS shows sometime feel).

And of course the music is much more folky and subtle than the White Stripes hard rock ‘n’ roll sound, so there was no slam dancing or writhing bodies being thrown around in mosh pits (ahem, Roseland) at the show. Instead there was cheering, and hand over heads clapping, maybe the occasional foot stomp (below, photo by Martin Glenn).

the raconteurs irving

The vibe was upbeat, but not frantic. After having a frenzied and head-smacking experience at the Arctic Monkeys show at Webster Hall two weeks ago it was nice to be at a concert where I wasn’t in fear of death by stampede. The crowd was nice (however, the security people seemed a bit cranky at the rate they were flashing lights into the crowd and yelling at folks taking pictures) and I had a good time. I fully recommend checking the band out if they come to your town.

I know I usually post photos of the shows I go to but no cameras were allowed, so instead I had to do artist’s renderings during the show (below).

the raconteurs muldoons irving

The top sketch is of The Muldoons. The bottom sketch is a stick figure drawing of Brendan Benson which I labeled as being “drawn to scale.” Some folks have argued that I’ve made his legs waaaay too fat.

However, some folks were lucky enough to sneak in cameras. Check out the above/below photos that Martin Glenn was able to snap during the set, as well as a video of Brendan and Jack singing a portion of “Store Bought Bones” (NOTE: Please do not use Martin’s photos/video without permission. Thanks!):

the raconteurs irving

WATCH: “Store Bought Bones” by The Raconteurs, live at Irving Plaza

Here’s a link to a video that Favian posted on the Little Room BB:

WATCH: “Blue Veins” by The Raconteurs, live at Irving Plaza

Check out even more photos like the one above over at Amauriaguiar’s Flickr.

RACONTEURS SET LIST: Level/ Intimate Secretary/ Hands/ Steady as She Goes/ Together/ A House Is Not a Motel (Love cover) / Store Bought Bones/ Call It a Day/ Yellow Sun/ Broken Boy Soldier/ 5 on the 5. ENCORE: It Ain’t Easy (Ron Davies cover) / Blue Veins/ Headin’ for the Texas Border (Flamin’ Groovies cover)

The printed set list is inaccurate. It turns out the songs they really played is the same exact set list they did at the London show on March 23.

the raconteurs irving

For those of you who were not able to attend the show, the band will appear on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on May 19th.

Oh and some dude is looking for a tall, dark-haired girl who was dancing in the back on Craigslist.

On the way out, I spotted this lively rock ‘n’ roll pole debate on 15th street…It reads, “Green Day Rocks!” –> “Spsha” –> “Wrong F*ck head, they eat c*ck” –> “But OK Go is better!“. Hahaha.

After the jump, the NSFW/Not safe for children photo and my rant on Coca-Cola/ boycotts/ ethics/ Jack White.
Continue reading “The Raconteurs and Muldoons Bring It On Home at Irving Plaza”

Is This God’s Way of Telling Me Not to Listen to Fall Out Boy?

So on my way to the Gorillaz show (more on that later), I headed out of my apartment listening to The Streets‘ heart-breaking song about his late father, “Never Went to Church.” I walked about a block and a half when all of sudden the music stopped. A little like freeze dance, I stopped too, but when I reached inside my pocket, my 4-month-old Nano was gone-o.

I retraced my footsteps about 10 times, but I wasn’t able to find it. Someone walking behind me must have strolled off with it, or someone snatched it when I wasn’t looking. I usually have my hand on it at all times, but since it was raining like a mother, I was holding my umbrella.

I guess now it’s 1,000 of my songs in someone else’s pocket.

They are now the proud owners of a Nano filled with: The Raconteurs, The Strokes, White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys, Fall Out Boy, South, Ryan Adams, Beastie Boys, Sondre Lerche, We Are Scientists, Jenny Lewis, Maximo Park, The Cinematics, Madonna, Morningwood, etc.

Do you think this is punishment for listening to “Dance, Dance” all day long? Or mentioning the word podcast?

So if you happen to have a hookup with Apple or are looking to unload your new working iPod for some reason, please drop a line to me at: ipodsadness @ themodernage.org. Of if you happen to have semi-amusing/sad stories of iPod loss (like the story Mark told me about someone he knew flushing his Nano down the toilet) leave ’em in the comments. We can wallow in sorrow together.

ipod

Xmas Ipod 2005-April 2006. MIA.

Best/ Worst IM Conversation Ever

In which my friend Alyse and I discuss what Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz is up to…

miss modernage: fall out boy lyrics don’t make any sense
alyse:: um
alyse:: do they have to make sense?
miss modernage: ” she says she’s no good with words but i’m worse barely stuttered out “a joke of a romantic” or stuck to my tongue weighed down with words too over-dramatic tonight it’s “it can’t get much worse” vs. “no one should ever feel like..” ”
miss modernage: wHAt?
alyse:: what’s next? are you going to watch pete’s guest star run on one tree hill?
miss modernage: ohmigod he’s going to be on one tree hill??
alyse:: yep
miss modernage: i <3 peengate
alyse:: he’s in like 3 episodies
miss modernage: i’ll catch it on you tube hopefully
alyse:: yah
miss modernage: i don’t think i can stand watching that show
alyse:: they put it up there
alyse:: which is where i’ll recap it
miss modernage: i HATE chad michael murry or whatever his name is
alyse:: heh
alyse:: i hate sophia bush
miss modernage: dude i read that he’s dating some 17 year old
miss modernage: that played a cheerleader on the show
miss modernage: wtf
alyse:: so pete is going to be back on the show
miss modernage: i don’t know anything about these ppl

Continue reading “Best/ Worst IM Conversation Ever”

Things I’m Loving Right Now

With so little time in the day, I don’t always get to write about things that I’ve been listening to on my iPod, videos and TV I’ve been watching, and stuff I’ve gone to see that doesn’t involve music. This post is dedicated to such things.

The Zutons’ “Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?”

My friend Tim sent me this Zutons single a month or two ago and even though I play it on repeat like 10 times a day I do not get sick of it. And after you watch the West Side Story inspired video shot in Cuba, you will hopefully adore this song as much as I do. It’s an impossibly catchy uber pop song, complete with hand claps, and wicked guitar riffs. They even have their own pinball game which plays the song.

WATCH: “Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?” by The Zutons (Real Player)

The Cinematics

Yes, I still cannot get enough of The Cinematics, a band I think that have the strong potential to be the next hot British band. When I’m not listening to “Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?” I’m listening to their song “Chase”. You can download the song off of Water Cooler Gossip or check out their MySpace profile for a handful of other fantastic songs.

Demetri Martin

You may know Demetri Martin from his hilarious Comedy Central special or his alterna-cute “Trendspotting” reports on The Daily Show. Tonight I just saw his latest show, entitled “Dr. Earnest Parrot presents…“, at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Chelsea.

It’s still a work in progress, but it seems promising. There were a number of technical difficulties during the show, but still everyone had a great time. He’s trying out the new material on the hometown crowd before heading over to Australia and Scotland. It is less “jokey” than his previous show…er…”These Are Jokes”, and rather more of a think piece.

It centers around the idea that Demetri is going to a psychologist to work out why he is unhappy and feels isolated from humanity, and the performance is a way for him to make a social breakthrough and connect with other people. It also features a hilarious cameo from his burning apartment building. Surprising, because burning buildings are not usually known for their comedic value.

Also notable, the “Beat It” jacket, childhood heartbreak complete with play-by-play diagrams, the return of the Double Hawk, refractory light and gays, wanting to be warm instead of hot, and road rage on a longboard.

Check out his MySpace profile for more tour dates and the comedy song “I’ve Got 9000 Friends”.

Weird Stuff Goes Down at Roll n Roaster

So after the Arctic Monkeys show, I found myself outside of Roll n Roaster talking to some folks, which is right on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 11th. Then I found myself inside Roll n Roaster when my crew rolled into the joint to get some cheap snacks and beer. (A combo of a pizza, roast beef sandwich, and a pitcher of Bud all cost a total of 11 bucks!!!)

We snagged a table, and then weird crap started happening. I was with a couple of people from high school, and then all of a sudden Betty pointed outside the window behind me and was like, “Oh my god, didn’t we go to high school with that kid?

It’s so weird when I see people from high school randomly in the city. I grew up about 45 minutes away from NYC, so it’s not totally unlikely that people who I went to grade school with would be in Manhattan, but it’s still funny to see folks you haven’t thought about in 6 years (am I showing my age?) walking around. My school was so large (graduating class had about 500 kids) that I didn’t really know everyone, so sometimes I’ll see people and not be entirely sure if I know them from school, or I’ve just decided he/she is someone who I *maybe* went to school with.

I turned around and saw some dude that looked sorta familiar. “Yeah, maybe. What’s his name? Brian or something?,” I inquired. We had a brief conversation trying to figure out what the kid’s name was, and then I decided to try to talk to him through the glass window. He wasn’t looking my way, so it was kinda a lost cause, but then he eventually did try saying something to us through the window but I couldn’t make it out. It was probably like, “Stop making the ‘loser’ sign at me on your forehead, you jerk!” Oh well.

Then later on I saw someone get punched in the face at Roll n Roaster. I’m not entirely sure what the deal was, but there were about 3 guys who came into the restaurant wanting to use the bathroom, but not buy anything. There’s a lock on the bathroom so they were trying to get the staff to open the door and they were like “it’s customers only.”

Well the one guy decided that he absolutely wanted to pee in Roll n Roaster’s bathroom but didn’t want to spring for the buck 40 soda, so instead he and his boys got into a multi-visit fight with the staff of R n R that lasted probably a total of 45 minutes. He started yelling at the staff and then they came out behind the counter and things started heating up.

The guy who had to pee started shouting, “I’m going to just get something from the car! I’m going to get something from the car!” and then his friend started yelling at him in some kind of Eastern European language. It got really quiet in R n R as everyone just sat at their tables sipping on beer and watching the real life drama unfold.

During one point of the scuffle, 3 girls who looked like they were coming from a Webster Hall dance night came into R n R and wanted to use the bathroom without paying. Someone quickly told them that they had to get out. At the climax of the argument, someone punched a guy in a white shirt and his nose started bleeding, then out of nowhere 4 bouncers flew into Roll n Roaster and threw all the guys out.

Later the guys came back and then there was a total of about 7 bouncers and police officers involved with kicking the guys out again. After it was all over, some kid from the Bronx yelled to one of the Roll n Roaster guys, “Hey man, I totally had your back! I was ready to throw down,” his mouth half-full with roastbeef sandwich.

I know this post probably seems really boring, but I love the fact that the guy who started the fight didn’t seem to have a problem yelling about wanting to go to the bathroom for almost an hour–something tells me he really didn’t have to go.