Snaxxx on snacks

It seems as though I left the medium of blogging conveniently around the same time I left Facebook. Perhaps, this blog was an extension of my Facebook personality? Anyway, I’m alive and well. I have found myself busier than ever now without my daily multi-hour requirement of Facebook usage. Grad school is as tough as ever. It will only get more intense as my degree program winds down and find what I am writing my thesis on. Will it be about rap? soccer? sport? motorcycle gangs? Who knows? The sky’s the limit… actually, my degree isn’t in aeronautical science or astronomy. The sky is probably an acceptable limit.

Recent thought (coincidentally the name of a band we played with in high school). What do the CDs in your car that you play regularly (on the reg) say about you? I don’t want to deconstruct my own habits, mind you. It would be all too boring and probably depressing. What do you think yours say about you? You’re not outwardly projecting these moments in your car, well unless you’ve got a sick system. So, what does it say about the time you have to yourself on those treks from home to work (“singing songs about you and feeling like a jerk”)?

My List:

  • Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza – Danza III: A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Andrés Segovia – The Art of Segovia
  • Cursive – Domestica
  • The Ergs! – Dorkrockcorkrod
  • Make Believe – Shock of Being
  • Third Eye Blind – S/T
  • This Town Needs Guns – Animals
  • Coheed and Cambria – Year of the Black Rainbow
  • Colossal – Welcome the Problems
  • Pack of Wolves – Betrayer
  • Pattern is Movement – All Together
  • Café Tacuba – Unplugged
  • Between the Buried and Me – Colors
  • The Number Twelve Looks Like You – Here at the End of All Things
  • Grown Ups – More Songs

Pretty intense/depressing list, I say. Probably going to add a Hush Sound album for good measure… maybe Red House Painters. :D

Share, for me, please.

Until the next time. I’ll keep teetering on the verge of insanity, and you’ll do what you do–much of the same.

-dago

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#MM

La Dispute killing it at SXSW (Emo's Annex)

Instead of going on twitter and finding bands’ twitter accounts and letting y’all know that this is what I’ve been listening to, and that you should check it out, I’m going to do it here. :) If you guys need any direction on how to get any of this stuff, let me know. Yeah! Oh, and I’m not claiming that I “found” these bands or that they’re somehow new.  Some of these have been around for a while.

Since January, I’ve been listening to Snowing… a lot.  They’ve been described to me as derivative of indie bands of the late-90s and early 2000s.  I’m okay with that.  In fact, I’m very okay with that.

The next band is Grown Ups.  (I discovered both of these bands on http://www.ifyoumakeit.com. That place is pretty great.  Bands upload their EPs for free download.)  Now, Grown Ups does a wonderful job of mixing the energy of punk rock with some wonderfully catchy guitar lines and melodies.  It can seem a bit emotional to some, but the gang vocals and attack of the band give it an oomph that doesn’t make you feel like you’re being whined to .

Very recently, I’ve been listening to an English group named Itch.  They’re kinda wonky at times.  They change tempo and time signatures often, but again, like Grown Ups and Snowing, consistently provide anthemic lines to bring you back from a bit of musical exploration.  The changes are not as dramatic as say my favorite band Between the Buried and Me.  Actually, they’re not even on the same planet musically, but the frequency of Between the Buried and Me’s musical romps turns many away… ok enough about them.

Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) is a band that I regretted missing during SXSW.  It was a shame.  I reallyyyy wanted to see them, but who can pass up pizza and hardcore? C’mon.  Anyway, these guys are wonderful. They sort of float through the air with their beautifully woven guitar-play and skillfully written songs.  It’s a wonderful CD to write to.  I was tired of writing with Jim Hall doodling away.

Alright, new stuff from some established dudes.  I really liked the new Circa Survive album.  I was really disappointed by On Letting Go when that mofo hit da streets.  But this one seems like they’re back to their old tricks.  Anthony Green sounds too legit on this album.  And the band are on point.  I had the privilege of seeing them with Coheed a couple of weeks back.  They killed it. Coheed‘s new album is fantastic as well.  It’s much better than I believed it would be.  Lots of proggy exploration, saga-themed choruses and schmetal to make yo’ momma scream.  Sidenote: Was anyone else disappointed by the new Ted Leo? I expected more.

Two midwestern bands Native and La Dispute, that seem attached at the hip, are both fucking amazing.  Native’s new album is 2L2Q.  But, the detriment of being a small band is that BN.com won’t even carry your album.  The only place to really get their stuff in Texas is to order through an indie store or get it online.  Wrestling Moves has got to be one of my favorite albums of the past 6 months.  When I try to describe Native I just say they’re Minus the Bear with balls.  Ballsy the Bear.

I am pretty sure La Dispute are dropping something this summer?  At least I hope they are.  Their 7″ wasn’t enough. (That’s what she said).  I need something more substantial (again).  Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair has become one of my favorite albums of all time.  They mix the emotion and power of mewithoutYou with the heavy attack of an early-Poison the Well.  They’re amazing.  I missed them when they were here with Alexisonfire last week.  Mea culpa.  Anyway, these guys do everything right.  They have great material, and it doesn’t seem like they’re performing to accomplish some sort of rock ‘n’ roll mission of grandeur, posturing and excess.  They’re there for the people that are there to see them perform their great music.  They create a wonderful atmosphere.  Muchos props, La Dispute.

Anyway, grad school has killed my ability to get into new music, but I need to get my hands on the new Murder By Death for sure.  Also, I can’t wait for the new Against Me! EP to get here.  I’ve also been cranking some good old Promise Ring lately.  TOO GOOD! :D  I’m really anticipating the new Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza album as well.

Finally, Tom Fun Orchestra is really interesting.  In my head, they sound like what Tom Waits should sound like–good.  They really are a sort of orchestra.  I can’t even count the number of random instruments you can catch in one track.  They’re great.

Anyway, this is my failed attempt at being a music critic.  I really suck at it, but this is all stuff I recommend you all check out.  You actually might like it.

For those of you with last.fm accounts, let’s be friends: http://www.last.fm/user/tehdago

-dago

Shifting Allegiances

Thug Move: Dropping Jessica Simpson like a bad habit. That's how we go out Billy.

2010 marked the beginning of a new period for me.  Whenever someone asks me what my favorite band is I have begun saying Between the Buried and Me instead of The Smashing Pumpkins.  I don’t know how this happened.  It was as surprising to me as it was to my friends.  For the longest time you could set your watch to my response to that question.

No more.

It’s not like The Smashing Pumpkins fell out of favor with me.  I will forever be grateful for their catalogue between Gish and Machina.  I don’t think I could even fathom another squad of musicians I would rather pick to have been my first concert ever.  Imagine 2000.  Now imagine the bands playing then… ok, you see my point.  The Smashing Pumpkins were/are the shit, but I’ve gotten over them.  Maybe it’s the hours I spent perfecting the solo on “Hummer”.  Perhaps it was the need to listen to Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness on repeat as I slept as a kid.  Whatever the reason, I’m over a lot of their stuff.  I used to be able to listen to them non-stop since I was about 12.  No more.

Now, it’s Between the Buried and Me’s turn.  I’ve begun learning some of their songs.  Their technique is amazing.  I’ve seen them three times (the same number of times I’ve seen the Pumpkins), and loved every minute of it.  In my eyes, they are perfect.

What do I even need a favorite band for anyway?  It really means nothing.  Between the Buried and Me doesn’t encompass everything I listen to in the slightest.  From Jim Hall to Public Enemy to Knapsack, I listen to some of the most random music, but why do I insist on cornering myself?  It seems like such an adolescent, closed-minded thing to do.  Until I can fully break this habit, Between the Buried and Me are my favorite band.

It seems in adolescence, you treat your cultural items, commodities, as trinkets that identify you. I listen to X so I am Y, and by virtue of that I am fucking legit.  As quickly as trends change, society tends to mandate that your tastes should as well.  You accumulate more and more trinkets and forget the old.  You never look back, and when many people do it’s for irony’s sake.  The older you become the more you buy into this system or the more you grow wary of identifying yourself thematically for other people.  I run into a lot of people that have achieved the former.  There are others that have not.  I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between. Until then:

-Dago

PS: The band I’ve seen the most is Coheed and Cambria. Me thinks it’s at about 5 times, 6 in April.

Solo

If you replace the scenic meadow landscape on this photo with mewithoutYou on stage at Emo's Outside, you'll get the picture I'm trying to paint.

Ever go to a concert and notice that guy that’s just there by himself?  Every show I’ve been to has that guy.  What a LOSER! Oh my god!  I mean, he couldn’t even wrangle together a couple of friends to go to this show?  Has he no life?  I bet he plays hours of video games a day, and “reads” a lot.  At least, he could have brought his girlfriend. With a mug like that I’m sure he doesn’t even have a girlfriend. What an asshole.

Well, I was that asshole last night.  I liked it.  I haven’t been to a concert by myself in a while, not since mewithoutYou and The Dear Hunter in June.  THAT show was my first solo flight.  I didn’t really feel that weird about it because it was mewithoutYou, and their Christian post-hXc followers can be pretty nice.  I expect most Christians to be convivial unless I bring up gay marriage or how Jesus probably rode a Velociraptor around.  That show was really nice, despite the hands being held high and the smell of cologne.  However, I kind of told myself I would never do it again.  I was alone.  I was out in the open.  I could have been pamphleteer-ed or EVEN WORSE converted.  You always need a wingman or best case scenario, a squadron.

In high school and college, I usually went to concerts at least rolling three deep, maybe even with a lady to score us the “approachable” points with da ladeez.  I never really thought about it, but the shows we went to kind of required that we keep together closely and watch each others’ backs.  I sometimes imagine what would have happened if that guy from The Mars Volta concert with the word “FUCK” tattooed across his chest wanted to start a fight with me, instead of the other shirtless bro.  I would have been publicly humiliated by this guy who, obviously, had a hormone problem.  What if that cat fight I broke up at the Between the Buried and Me show got out of hand and the two chicks decided to break me off?  I would have had my head on a swivel, but I’m pretty sure I would have gotten jacked the fuck up.  The only thing worse than fighting one out of control chick is fighting two.

With all of this running through my mind before the La Dispute show last night at Emo’s, I decided to go for it. I love them so much, it didn’t matter where they played.  I would have to see them.

I braved the chances of me bumping into the wrong person and getting gang tackled by a squad of hipsters.  Alas, it did not happen.  Actually, I convinced myself that if things got rough I would just start kicking people in the skinny jeans.  I mean, it’s low, but effective, and I’m not really a person with many principles/morals/regrets.

But, the experience taught me one thing.  I’ve always been kind of alone.  I was an only child growing up.  I did shit alone all the time.  I’ve been doing my own laundry since I was 8.  [I know, legit, right?]  I mean, shit, I’ve become so fucking needy of other people in the past few years.  I’m realizing every day how stupid it’s become.  I need contact, but not as much as I think I do.  I’m finally becoming aware of how little I need people in my day-to-day life.  I really like my friends, but I’m becoming more independent, as I once was, as I always should have been.  I believe it’s made me weak.  I’m too conscious of the outside. I’m too focused on what people have thought about me and the way that people will see me if I treat people a certain way.  Anyway.

My New Year Resolution is to do as such:

  • Become more independent emotionally
  • Get all of the needy, narcissistic and manipulative people out of my life

Oddly enough, those two are directly related.  My personality for some reason focuses on helping people that are in trouble.  I want to fix things, inanimate or animate, but I can’t do that anymore. Time to go back to lone wolf mode.  Because the more time you spend with yourself, the more you realize that you’re pretty fucking crummy, too.  The only person left to fix is you.

It’s tool time,

dago

PS: THEY WERE FUCKING AWESOME

PPS:  I love you, Houston Texans (9 – 7).  Good season. Let’s build on that.

My Albums of the Decade

A lot of people are compiling their lists of favorite albums, bands, movies, television shows or whatever of the decade.  I decided it would be fun to try to get a list together for my favorite albums of the decade.  I was initially optimistic about the list, but I quickly realized how lame the past decade has been.  Anyway, these are my personal albums of the decade.  I’m sure most of you will either hate the bands or albums.   A lot of these are sort of sentimental picks.  Many these albums got me through some tough times.  Others were my introduction into whole new genres.  Some are bands that grew on me and have left a huge impression.  I encourage you all to make your own lists.  I would love to read them. :D

The List

  1. Between the Buried and MeColors (2007) link
  2. At the Drive-InRelationship of Command (2000) link
  3. The Mars VoltaDe-Loused in the Comatorium (2003) link
  4. Coheed and CambriaIn Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: III (2003) link
  5. Circle Takes the SquareAs the Roots Undo (2004) link
  6. MuseAbsolution (2003) link
  7. Jimmy Eat WorldBleed American (2001) link
  8. La DisputeSomewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair (2008) link
  9. ThursdayFull Collapse (2001) link
  10. The Mountain GoatsAll Hail West Texas (2002) link
  11. The Number Twelve Looks Like YouMongrel (2007) link
  12. The Fall of TroyManipulator (2007) link
  13. Café Tacvba – Cuatro Caminos (2003) link
  14. The Postal ServiceGive Up (2003) link
  15. Three 6 MafiaThe Most Known Unknowns (2005) link
  16. Queens of the Stone Age Songs for the Deaf (2002) link
  17. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists Hearts of Oak (2003) link
  18. The Blood BrothersYoung Machetes (2006) link
  19. Rodrigo y GabrielaRodrigo y Gabriela (2006) link
  20. mewithoutYou[A–>B] Life (2002) link
  21. Tenacious D Tenacious D (2001) link
  22. ParamoreRiot (2007) link
  23. Taking Back SundayTell All Your Friends (2002) link
  24. The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel TowerDissertation, Honey (2003) link
  25. System of a DownToxicity (2001) link

Honorable Mention

  • Alkaline TrioFrom Here to Infirmary (2001) link
  • Strike AnywhereChange is a Sound (2001) link
  • Blink-182Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001) link
  • NOFXWar on Errorism (2004) link
  • Job For a CowboyDoom EP (2005) link
  • At All CostIt’s Time to Decide (2006) link
  • The Smashing PumpkinsMachina and the Machines of God (2000) link
  • Bloc PartySilent Alarm (2005) link
  • Cursive Mama, I’m Swollen (2009) link
  • See You Next TuesdayParasite (2007) link
  • Protest the HeroKezia (2005) link
  • The DarknessPermission to Land (2003) link

Thank you, Between the Buried and Me.

Friends

Not the buddies I'm talking about, but I'm glad Disney allowed one female in the crew. It seems so balanced now. Still adorable, despite the sexism.
Not the buddies I'm talking about, but I'm glad Disney allowed one female in the crew. It seems so balanced now. Still adorable, despite the sexism.

Friendships are fucking weird. I’m not saying they’re weird in a bad way. In fact, it might be the only thing that keeps us sane. Think about it. Where would you be without your friends?

More importantly, who would we be without our friends? If it weren’t for my friends Jason and Tim, whom I’ve known since 7th grade, I wouldn’t be the same today. Together we formed our senses of humor, our tastes and our overall demeanor. We always bounced ideas off of each other in regards to music (we were in bands together), relationships, the appropriate time to make AIDS jokes, etc. I will be forever indebted to them for everything they ever did for me. Although, I don’t talk to them as much as I wish, they are still always there in my mind. Friends do that to you. No matter what stupid, sweet things you ever do with your partner it’ll never surpass that prank you pulled during the Ravens-Giants Super Bowl. I always laugh at the IDEA of predictive text. I still sometimes refer to Jason as “jarmo”. The experiences that you share will never go away. That’s how it is with childhood friends, I guess. I know I’ll never have that again. I’m not at all sad about that.

We spent hours and hours together every day for years, and it was hard going to college and having to find new friends. It honestly took me until senior year of college and after graduation to find people I was comfortable enough to be really friends with. I’m blessed to have really great friends in Austin. Truth be told, they’re probably the biggest reason I don’t leave. I’m afraid that lightening can’t strike twice and it’ll take me another 4 years to find people I can confide in and who will call me “gay” on the reg (If you click that link, read definition 3. Will changed that).

With this influx of outsiders trying to burrow their little lives into South Austin you find a lot people having trouble making friends. I feel bad for them. Outside of school and work, it’s hard to find people to befriend. In a world full of douchebags, myself included, you’re always rolling the dice when meeting someone new. Running the risk of sounding like Forrest Gump, you never know what you’re going to get. You might meet some D’n’Der who loves to talk about their favorite Viking Metal band. You might need some dude-brah with a new fucking haircut. You might find someone with the answers to why we all must cry.

Some of my all-time partnerships:

  • PB&J – I don’t like Peanut Butter, but I won’t deny its contribution to society or all-together catchiness.
  • Paul McCartney and Wings – Let’s not kid ourselves. When the Wings Remasters come out it’ll be a bigger deal than this trend the world is following called The Beatles. I refer to The Beatles as the Jackson 5 of Paul McCartney’s career, except The Beatles didn’t make Paul a sexual deviant… Or maybe it did. Who knows? “Maybe, I’m amazed at how OVERRATED MY OLD BAND WAS!”
  • Tango & Cash – Grew up knowing that a true friend was one that went into a compound with you and blew up a warehouse full of baddies.
  • Bert & Ernie – We know they were more than friends, but we look past that.
  • Arthur & Buster – Ultimate ace-wingman situation.
  • Guns & Alcohol – This is purely for the selfish reason of natural selection. All hail West Virginia!
  • Rick James & Eddie Murphy – They only knew girls who liked to party all the time.

I feel like I should branch out more. I should meet more people. On the other hand, I’m really lazy and I love my friends already.

Does anyone have an awesome duo they’d like to share?

———————

Anyway, I’m really excited about a few new albums, and you should be too. Next week it’s Paramore! I know what you’re going to say, “Dago, u r a t0tallie br00t4l d3wd! wut r u doin listenen 2 PARAMORZ?!” Those of you who really know me know I love pop punk with all mi corazon. That album comes out next week and I’m getting psyched. Here’s their new video.

The Fall of Troy’s new album (October 6) is getting me so hyped. I fell in love with these guys in ’07 when seeing Coheed at Waterloo Park. Coheed was awesome, but these guys totally stole the show for me. A lot of people might know them from playing their song “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.” on Guitar Hero III. :) Anyway, this is one of their new songs.

Finally, Between the Buried and Me is following up their masterpiece Colors with The Great Misdirect (Oct. 27). It’s a tie between these guys and The Mars Volta for my favorite band. These guys tear faces off and feast on the young of the vanquished. SO AWESOME.

This is going to be a great month. Thursday is coming with The Fall of Troy and The Dear Hunter in October.

Anyone wanna go?!

DAGO

PS: Chelsea laid into Tottenham and have secured first. The Texans went to work on Tennessee and ensured that I can hold my head up high for at least a week. Life is really good. :D