Friday, October 29, 2010

Kids Are Obese, But It's Their Own Fault

It's almost time for trick-or-treating, and a few tight-ass adults are going to get the horrible idea to give out apples instead of Reese's. They will say, "oh kids are obese these days. They don't eat right, and they don't get any exercise." These grown-ups seem to think ruining kids' fun will impart some sort of lesson. But it's actually counter-intuitive. Kids don't go trick-or-treating because they have some sick desire to be unhealthy, but simply because it is fun.

We hear about fat kids all the time nowadays. They sit around inside and don't get enough exercise. They eat too much sugar and drink too much pop. And it's true, kids are fatter than ever and they are putting themselves at greater overall health risks at an alarmingly early age. But we can only blame the parents for giving their kids too few options for fun. After that though, it's in the kids' court, and they have to change their habits if they want to turn the obesity trend around.

How can I say such a thing? Well, first of all, think back to when you were a kid. Even back then, you maintained a certain lifestyle. A childish lifestyle. What were your interests? What were your social habits like? Did you have a strong desire to do exactly what your parents told you to do? When they said, "eat your cauliflower," did you happily oblige them? Of course you didn't. Kids always rebel against their parents, and refuse to eat their cauliflower.

But why weren't we as fat? Even though we were just as stubborn about eating vegetables, we were skinnier back then. Are kids just lazier nowadays, or what?

The difference back then wasn't less TV. We sat in front of the boob tube for entire Saturday mornings. It wasn't eating less candy. We pigged out every Halloween, and it was great. The difference was just a different lifestyle, which was determined (as it still is today) by the type of media we took in. And the key factor for our lack of obesity is that back then we still had something called Bugs Bunny.

This wise-ass rabbit outsmarted Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck with smarm and cool, always with a Freudian power bar in his mouth. The carrot. With no inhibitions, he would calmly stroll up to an antagonist while munching away, asking that same question every time, "What's up, Doc?"

Subconsciously, we saw this as the ultimate act of confidence. We loved it. And every damn one of us at some point in our childhood lives took a carrot in his or her fingers, twiddled it, and mimicked Bugs with our own attempt at "Ehhhhh... What's up Doc?"

And then, we ate the carrot.

It wasn't because we enjoyed the taste either, we just wanted to act like Bugs Bunny. Carrots are actually a very bland food, certainly not something a child would want to eat for any other reason except to portray a cartoon character.

These days, Bugs Bunny isn't even on TV anymore. The most popular cartoon is Sponge Bob Square Pants, and he works at a fast food restaurant called Krabby Patties. Their first role models are eating the junkiest of junk foods, and we're surprised that kids are fat?

Look at their media to see what they mimic. Kids are dumb, not yet capable of making decisions for themselves regarding the healthiest way to live. All they know is what's fun. They aspire towards fun. If parents would only remember this, they'd have a much easier time keeping their kids' weight down.

I had the pleasure of watching a few Popeye cartoons when I was a kid. When I saw that his ingestion of spinach brought forth an explosion of strength and action, what do you suppose I did? I ate some spinach. It didn't make me stronger, but I pretended that it did anyway. I picked up a wicker chair above my head and yelled "spinaaaaach!"

This is a child's logic. They do not care if they're healthy or unhealthy. They'll eat carrots and spinach if the food is associated with one of their favorite cartoons though. Kids like to pretend. Reality is a fairly new concept to them, something they don't entirely understand. They believe in monsters under their beds and Santa Claus. They're inclined to act imaginatively. And they'll go outside if they know they'll have fun out there, even if it's make-believe fun.

The best example of how a kid can learn how to play outside is found in a comic strip. Calvin and Hobbes should really be required reading for all kindergartners, because the hero of the strip goes through a true to life experience of no-fun parents bent on "building character" for reasons incomparable to a six-year-old.

Calvin sits in front of the TV a lot, watching cartoons while eating sugary cereal. But he actually goes outside much more often. And it's when he's outside that the most exciting adventures take place. Kids can relate to this. They have imaginations just like Calvin's. They can go outside, pick up a stick, and become a stealth ninja master.

So here are the two keys to lowering the childhood obesity rate: diet and exercise. But remember, kids think in fun logic. So their diet has to be fun, as does their exercise. "Fun" itself is determined by what the media tells them. If Bugs Bunny ate cauliflower instead of carrots, we all would've been eating that weird white broccoli while yelling "duck season!"

Expose kids to Bugs Bunny cartoons. Let them decide for themselves whether or not they like the cartoon (they will), and then try serving carrots for lunch. You already know what will happen. They'll play with their food, talk like Bugs Bunny, and you'll laugh at them because you'll know that you tricked their feeble minds into eating something they really shouldn't want to eat.

Along with superhero comics, dinosaur picture books and Dr. Seuss, stick some Calvin and Hobbes collections on their bookshelf. Before you know it, they'll be running around outside with one of their favorite toys, pretending to play their own version of Calvinball.

And for God's sake, don't take away candy. Don't force them to turn off the TV. Maintain the fun, but give them options. Sometimes they will want to sit in front of the TV for hours, but other days they'll be outside for hours. Of course they want to drink pop, but if you find the right cartoon character drinking some orange juice, your sucker of a kid won't be able to resist that pulpy goop.

Keep it fun, adults. Just because it sucks to be a grown-up, that doesn't give you the right to ruin childhood for somebody. It's all about Bugs Bunny and Calvin. If you don't want a fat kid, just get those two cartoons in your house.

Now kids, it's up to you. If you want to have fun, you can do so by going outside. You can also have fun while still eating vegetables like a wise-ass rabbit. Of course if your parents are patronizing and saying things like, "eat your carrots, like Bugs Bunny! You like Bugs Bunny!" then feel free to spit them out. Have your own fun. Not your parents fun.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (10/27/10)

Happy Halloween to music fans. We celebrated on CHIRP for an hour last night, check the playlist, complete with 2010 witch house. But then a beautiful mess of new music took over the latter two hours. I kinda loved this night. If I could go back and do it again I wouldn't change anything. Halloween is always the most fun.

12:00AM Salem King Night from King Night (IAMSOUND)

12:03AM The War On Drugs Baby Missiles from Future Weather EP (Secretly Canadian)

12:05AM The Zombies Time of the Season from Odyssey and Oracle (Repertoire)

12:11AM Dead Man's Bones In the Room Where You Sleep from Dead Man's Bones (Anti)

12:15AM Jonathan Richman Vampire Girl from You Must Ask the Heart (Rounder)

12:19AM The Boy Least Likely To Monsters from The Best Party Ever (Rough Trade)

12:24AM oOoOO Burnout Eyess from oOoOO EP (Tri Angle)

12:28AM Demon's Claws Last Time At the Pool from The Defrosting Of... (In The Red)

12:31AM The Misfits Night of the Living Dead from Walk Among Us (WEA)

12:32AM Barn Owl Twilight from Ancestral Star (Thrill Jockey)

12:38AM Sufjan Stevens They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh! from Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty)

12:43AM Frank Zappa Hungry Freaks, Daddy* from Freak Out! (MGM)

12:46AM Curtis Mayfield Sweet Exorcist from Sweet Exorcist (Tartare)

12:52AM Bad Brains FVK from Banned In D.C.: Bad Brains Greatest Riffs (Caroline)

12:53AM Vampire Weekend M79 from Vampire Weekend (XL)

12:57AM Mark Ronson & the Business Intl Lose It (In the End) (featuring Ghostface Killah) from Record Collection (Sony)

1:02AM Freddie Gibbs Oil Money from Str8 Killa EP (Decon)

1:07AM Lymbyc Systym ...So We Can Sleep (Daedelus Remix) from Love Your Abuser Remixed (Mush)

1:12AM Horse Feathers Belly of June from Thistled Spring (Kill Rock Stars)

1:17AM Wooden Wand The Mountain from Death Seat (Young God)

1:21AM The Books Enjoy Your Worries, You May Never Have Them Again from Thought For Food (Tomlab)

1:25AM Gold Panda Vanilla Minus from Lucky Shiner (Ghostly International)

1:29AM xx, The VCR (Four Tet Remix) from VCR Remixed EP (XL)

1:40AM Sun City Girls Come Maddalena from Funeral Mariachi (Abduction)

1:43AM Helado Negro Jurame from Pasajero (Asthmatic Kitty)

1:48AM Saxon Shore Thanks For Being Away from It Doesn't Matter (Broken Factory)

1:54AM Jason Adasiewicz Stake from Sun Rooms (Delmark)

2:00AM Tobacco Side 8 (Big Gums Version) from Fucked Up Friends (Anticon)

2:03AM Floored by Four Yuka from Floored by Four (Chimera)

2:14AM TV On the Radio Halfway Home from Dear Science (Interscope)

2:20AM Of Montreal An Eluardian Instance from Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)

2:26AM Chaperone Thomas! from Cripple King EP (self-released)

2:28AM The Black Twig Pickers Walls of Jericho from Ironto Special (Thrill Jockey)

2:31AM Phosphorescent Wolves from Pride (Dead Oceans)

2:40AM How to Dress Well Lover's Start from Love Remains (Lefse)

2:42AM Brian Eno Invisible from Small Craft On A Milk Sea (Warp)

2:49AM Fleetwood Mac The Chain from Rumours (Warner Bros.)

2:53AM Women Venice Lockjaw from Public Strain (Jagjaguwar)

2:56AM Voxtrot Introduction from Voxtrot (Play Louder)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Shadow for October

A little boy woke up from a nightmare. He was sweating and shaking under his bedsheets, looking around the walls of his room. He saw the posters of athletes and movie stars, the video game controller on the ground and the dinosaur toys on his dresser. In the most comfortable place in his house, he suddenly felt an intense fear for his life. Where he should feel protected and safe, nothing felt right. His own home had become dangerous.

His door was open a few inches, and a light had been left on somewhere else in the house. A shadow moved over the light on the wall outside his room. It wasn't his mother, but an intruder. An unknown person had come in. He saw the shadow but it wasn't as dark as any other he had seen before. But he saw it there for a moment, until he turned his head away.

Now the boy could hear him too. Not footsteps, but the sound of strangling hands. The boy tucked his head under the covers, pretending to sleep.

What would the intruder want? Why was he here? Would he rob the house while the boy lay silent? The boy kept his eyes closed and remained as still as possible, until he heard a deep hum outside and inside of his ears. The cold grip of the intruder's hands latched to the boy's neck.

He opened his eyes to see a desolately blank face. A blur of shadowless blackness. He saw his strangler's arms, body and legs, all black and without texture or color. But the face was even less. Simply looking into its fuzzy darkness evoked a tingling sensation through the boys limbs. But now he couldn't breathe either.

Death was a serious reminder. No longer was it a distant possibility, but a forceful intrusion. The boy was not too young to die. Not any more. He saw that his moment was now.

Attempts to scream where useless. Still he wheezed, "gee-zuhs. gee-zuhhhs." Nothing loosened the grip. Death was here. The blackness had come to take him, never to see light again. Unless casting a shadow.

Suddenly his mother called his name. The strangler's head turned to look. He left, and the boy's head fell back onto his pillow with a gulping breath of air. Looking up at his ceiling, he closed his mouth. Then he looked to his door again.

Still those same few inches open. Still that light from another part of the house. And then another shadow. But this was a familiar form.

His mother came into his room, again questionably saying his name. "Are you okay?" she asked.

The question horrified the boy, for he now wondered if she heard the intruder. He wanted to tell her that he had a bad dream, but realized that it had been something more.

"I think so." he whimpered.

"I felt like I should come see how you were doing... I don't know why. Did you have a bad dream? You look kinda sick."

"Oh... yeah. Yeah, I had a bad dream."

"Ohhh, I'm sorry honey. Yeah, you're all sweaty aren't you? Oh baby do you want to tell me about it?"

The boy spoke slowly, fully appreciating every breath he took in. Sighing with every exhale.

"Yeah. I... There was this man... He had a red face. And paint under his eyes. I think he was an Indian. He was standing behind me while I was petting a dog..."

She waited for him to go on. "Yeah?"

"He wouldn't touch me. But I knew he was there. I didn't want him to be there though. I didn't like him. He scared me."

She put her hand on his shoulder as he went on. "I looked at the dog and it was really old and slimy. And I really wanted to go home. Even though I was just outside our house, I could see it... I wasn't going inside for some reason... I don't know if I could... I was scared."

"Was it our dog?" she asked.

"No, some other dog. Some old, tall dog... But that's not what scared me. The Indian guy wouldn't go away, and he was the only other person around... I just wanted to see someone else... But I didn't go into the house."

"Why didn't you go in? Was something else scary in there?"

"No. Nothing."

The boy started to cry. He thought about Jesus and Heaven, and how badly he didn't want to be there. He felt the embrace of his mother, and the comfort seemed to cover only parts of his body. His legs and neck shivered, and he feared bringing up the dark figure who strangled him. He wanted to just forget about it, as one eventually forgets a bad dream. Even though it was not a dream, he decided that it would be from this point forward.

A dream he never discussed with anyone ever again. Something that would take him decades to forget about if necessary. He decided he would never hold on to this experience. He would not believe it anymore. It was all in his head, nothing more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (10/20/10)

I receive pre-releases all the time, and I play my favorite new music on CHIRP. So I promise, if you want to stay up to date on new music, I won't let you down. If you listen to my show, you will hear the best new music that hasn't officially come out yet. Just sayin', it's only more incentive to listen each week.

12:03AM Avey Tare Heather In the Hospital from Down There (Paw Tracks)

12:06AM The Replacements Androgynous from Let It Be (Sire)

12:11AM Sun Airway Oh, Naoko from Nocture of Exploded Crystal Chandelier (Dead Oceans)

12:15AM Belle & Sebastian I Want the World to Stop from Write About Love (Matador)

12:19AM DJ Shadow Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt from Endtroducing... (Mowax)

12:28AM Yann Tiersen Ashes from Dust Lane (Anti)

12:34AM The Chapin Sisters Left All Alone from Two (All Alone)

12:37AM Bright Eyes Land Locked Blues from I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (Saddle Creek)

12:43AM Antony & the Johnsons The Spirit Was Gone from Swanlights (Secretly Canadian)

12:46AM Denison Witmer I'll Keep It With Mine from Subterranean Homesick Blues: A Tribute to Bob Dylan's 'Bringing It All Back Home' (Reimagine)

12:53AM J + J + J Anonymous Party Starters from High Voltage Feast is Almost Here (Ghost Arcade Ltd.)

12:58AM Pit Er Pat Seasick (Hang Ten) from Pyramids (Thrill Jockey)

1:02AM Stevie Wonder Happier Than the Morning Sun from Music of My Mind (Motown)

1:07AM John Legend & The Roots Little Ghetto Boy from Wake Up! (Columbia)

1:15AM Real Estate Out of Tune from Out of Tune (True Panther)

1:19AM Tim Kasher Strays from The Game of Monogamy (Saddle Creek)

1:24AM Radiohead The National Anthem from Kid A (Capitol)

1:30AM Three Mile Pilot The Premonition from The Inevitable Past is the Future Forgotten (Temporary Residence Ltd.)

1:34AM Sambassadeur Stranded from European (Labrador)

1:40AM Young Man Playtime from Boy (Frenchkiss)

1:45AM Nymph Snow Song from Nymph (Frenchkiss)

1:52AM CFCF Frozen Forest from The River EP (RVNG)

1:57AM Map Killing People On the Television from Speechless (Velvet Blue)

2:02AM Out Hud Dad, There's A Little Phrase Called Too Much Information from S.T.R.E.E.T.D.A.D. (kranky)

2:11AM Blackalicious Clockwork from A2G EP (Quannum Projects)

2:16AM Suicide I Remember from Suicide (Red Star)

2:18AM Highlife Warfair from Best Bless EP (The Social Registry)

2:26AM Compay Quinto El Diablo from The Roots of Chicha 2: Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru (Barbes)

2:30AM Zumbi & The ARE We Were Kings from The Burnerz (JahWorks)

2:33AM John Coltrane Giant Steps from Giant Steps (Atlantic)

2:40AM Project Film Motionless from Chicago (Tandem Shop)

2:44AM The 1900s Lay A Ghost from Return of the Century (Parasol)

2:46AM The Extra Lens Cruiserweights from Undercard (Merge)

2:52AM Badly Drawn Boy Silent Sigh from About A Boy OST (Artist Director)

2:56AM The Lesser Birds of Paradise Paint Your Fingernails from Space Between (Contraphonic)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Best Director: David Cronenberg

A bug's asshole is talking. A sharp, fleshy shaft is jutting out of a girl's armpit. Blondie is naked. Jeff Goldblum's ear fell off. The bald guy's head exploding. The bone gun. These famous images, and many more like them, were hatched in the brain of David Cronenberg. Well, maybe not the naked Blondie one. But if it weren't for Cronenberg, we never would have cared.

[This is a blog post, and as such it contains nothing except for one writer's opinion. So when I say that Cronenberg is the "best director," remember that it's okay to comment and discuss. He's not even my favorite actually, that honor is easily bestowed on the Coen brothers. But you can't call two people a singular "best." So I digress.]

Now that that's clear, let's have a look at David Cronenberg, the best living film director in the world.

Why is he more interesting than Scorsese, Lynch, and Malick? Not to take anything away from those masters, Cronenberg infuses psychology into his motion pictures better than any of other director. Since Hitchcock, there hasn't been a director who can better help his audience relate to subconscious struggles through visual storytelling (except perhaps Kubrick).

But perhaps his greatest strength, Cronenberg is watchable. His films are strange, often violent, and occasionally frightening, but none of them are an impenetrable art-house. He isn't making movies for film snobs, but for a mass audience. Anybody who enjoys movies can enjoy a Cronenberg film. He's never going to make an Inland Empire.

The first few Cronenberg films were classified as horror films. But, unlike most horror films, Cronenberg doesn't waste the many metaphors that can be utilized by the genre. He correctly sees fear as one of humankind's most interesting and psychologically potent qualities. After all, fear is that thing which helped humans evolve. Being scared made us stronger. So instead of simply slashing for the biggest blood-spill possible, the violence in his films comes directly from a deeper psychological place. A primal place, even.

For example, take his most popular film, The Fly. On the surface, it's a terrifying tale of a half man, half monster and the endangerment he brings upon Geena Davis. But when the movie gets really fascinating is when you relate the Brundlefly's condition to our own. Humans live healthy and normal lives, until something goes wrong. As simple as that sounds, just ask any person with cancer or a life threatening disease how it felt when they got the news. It comes seemingly out of nowhere, and the result can mean decrepitude, pain, ugliness, sorrow, and death. But that's just an extreme. The true reality of The Fly is that every human goes through what the Brundlefly experienced. We age. We fall apart. We die. And yes, the response to this reality should indeed go something like "be afraid. Be very afraid."

[Try interpreting The Fly as an attack on spiritual life. It's a fun way to analyze those metaphors.]

Though impossible events take place on the screen, they always symbolize real-life possibilities or ideas. By the time Cronenberg ventured into science fiction, his ideas were more visually stimulating than ever. Videodrome, Dead Ringers and Naked Lunch were mind-flustering. Yet, all of these movies retained a high level of entertainment value.

Some artists just drivel in disguise. But Cronenberg creates images that impact the psyche. Themes of abuse and dysfunction lay under his films visible layer of flesh and guts. Beneath the carnage is the soul, for Cronenberg tells stories about the human condition. And those deeper truths are much more terrifying than the fictional gore.

Sex and violence. Fear and biology. The films of Cronenberg strike deep into the human mind. Crudities have a place in his films, because real life is full of crudities. But perhaps my favorite thing about Cronenberg is that in spite of the heavy intellectual weight in his films, they are excruciatingly fun to watch. You can be a professor of psychology or a horror film nerd and you'll take away the same amount of pleasure from his movies. He's working for the human. The universal, not the selective.

Now let's all get excited for A Dangerous Method.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (10/13/10)

Weird show last night. Eskmo was good though. Thanks for listening. I gain nothing from your support, but it's nice to know people listen to music with me.

12:00AM The Clientele Strange Town from Minotaur EP (Merge)

12:02AM Suckers You Can Keep Me Runnin' Around from Wild Smile (Frenchkiss)

12:06AM The Sea and Cake Crossing Line from Everybody (Thrill Jockey)

12:11AM The Unicorns Tuff Ghost from Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? (Alien8)

12:13AM Tu Fawning Sad Story from Hearts on Hold (Provenance)

12:19AM Decibully I'm Gonna Tell You from Sing Out America (Polyvinyl)

12:25AM Benoit Pioulard RTO from Lasted (Kranky)

12:28AM Wilco Either Way from Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch)

12:31AM Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks Pencil Rot from Face the Truth (Matador)

12:37AM Washed Out You'll See It from Life of Leisure EP (Mexican Summer)

12:39AM Stars Soft Revolution from Set Yourself On Fire (Arts and Crafts)

12:42AM Hauschka Children from Foreign Landscapes (FatCat)

12:50AM Boards of Canada Eagle In Your Mind from Music Has The Right To Children (Matador)

12:56AM Devo Working In The Coalmine from Hot Potatoes: the Best of Devo (Virgin)

12:59AM Cloud Cult Journey to the Light from Light Chasers (Earthology)

1:03AM Sun Kil Moon Glenn Tipton from Ghosts of the Great Highway (Jet Set)

1:06AM Will Oldham Every Mother's Son from Guarapero: Lost Blues 2 (Drag City)

1:13AM Bodies of Water I Guess I'll Forget the Sound, I Guess, I Guess from Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink (Secretly Canadian)

1:19AM Sharon Van Etten A Crime from Epic (Ba Da Bing)

1:23AM The Blind Boys of Alabama This May Be The Last Time from Spirit of the Country (self-released)

1:26AM This Will Destroy You The World Is Our __ from Young Mountain (Magic Bullet)

1:33AM Phantom Payn Days Girl Alone from Phantom Payn Daze (De Stijl)

1:37AM Fight Like Apes Indie Monster from The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner (Model Citizen)

1:40AM The Brothers Martin Communication from The Brothers Martin (Tooth & Nail)

1:42AM Robyn In My Eyes from Body Talk Pt. 2 (Konichiwa)

1:48AM Sybris Breathe Like You're Dancing from Sybris (Flameshovel)

1:52AM The Lonely Forest Turn This Song Off And Go Outside (Acoustic) from The Lonely Forest EP (TransAtlantic)

1:55AM Yo La Tengo I Feel Like Going Home from I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador)

2:05AM Mogwai Like Herod from Young Team (Imperial)

2:14AM Black Moth Super Rainbow Melt Me* from Dandelion Gum (Graveface)

2:16AM Shad Listen from TSOL (Black Box)

2:19AM Eskmo Siblings from Eskmo (Ninja Tune)

2:25AM Deerhoof Believe ESP from Friend Opportunity (Kill Rock Stars)

2:28AM Envy Pieces of the Moon I Weaved from Recitation (Temporary Residence Ltd.)

2:33AM Terrible Twos, The Jerzy the Giant from Jerzy the Giant (Vagrant)

2:36AM Toubab Krewe Sirens from TK2 (NatGeo)

2:42AM Panda Bear Alsatian Darn from You Can Count On Me 7" (Domino)

2:46AM The Jesus and Mary Chain My Little Underground from Psychocandy (Blanco y Negro)

2:52AM Moondoggies Uncertain from Tidelands (Hardly Art)

2:57AM Panthers It's Not the Heat It's the Humility from Let's Get Serious EP (Dim Mak)

Monday, October 11, 2010

You Missed Out: Dan Deacon and Lightning Bolt

(click to see larger image)

Instead of having to endure another echoey show at the Logan Square Auditorium, the increasingly intelligent folks at Empty Bottle took the class outside for yesterday's Dan Deacon/Lightning Bolt show. Set up in front of the monument, the square itself became a fenced-in concert venue for all-ages. Goose Island was set up in one corner for the adults, girls had plenty of room to hula-hoop in another corner, and smokers were able to watch a show while getting high. For $5-$7, here's hoping for more of this in 2011. It's too bad they didn't figure all of this out earlier in the year.

Dan Deacon's ensemble played as the sun set, brightening the amber leaves around the square. Twelve dudes rocked out a set of old classics, mostly from Bromst, and a few new jams that sound like a natural progression from Deacon's last album. Three drummers barely mimicked the loops on Bromst, along with three additional percussionists and a few synth players. The frantic beats got the kids crowd-surfing and dancing around, at times in a large pit.

The last time I saw large pits like this was at Five Iron Frenzy shows. But these kids weren't skanking, just bouncing around like monkeys at the zoo. And when I say kids, I do mean teenagers. The neon synth pop is what they're into nowadays apparently. And it's great, because kids need fun music that they can dance around too. In my day it was ska, but my day is gone. The kids today have Dan Deacon, the Spiderman of the Rings.

The young'ns got plenty sweaty and left before Lightning Bolt came on, which is apparently a band for guys who are getting old but don't want to stop moshing. But Lightning Bolt is absolutely intense. The music is brutal enough on record, but actually seeing Brian Chippendale lose his mind on the drums is a workout even for observers. It was night by the time they started, and security doubled at the front of the stage. No injuries or property damage ensued, so it's likely we'll be able to see more concerts at the square next year. If sanity and safety was maintained during a Lightning Bolt show, they can bring in anybody now.

I left the show a few songs early, but the noise rock permeated the neighborhood as I walked a few blocks to my bike. It was a perfect soundtrack to Logan Boulevard in the autumn. After enduring hours of horror films at the Musicbox Massacre the "day" prior, I feel like I've adequately celebrated the season already. Now it's time for the temperatures to drop below 80. Then we're talking the best time of the year in Chicago.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

CHIRP Playlist (10/6/10)

The best/worst set between 12:55 and 1:12. Oof. That was fun. Also, new music for you and I to check out: Darren Hanlon. I know I usually post the cover art from the first song I play each night, but Tricky disappointed me. Besides, Nightlands' might be the best cover art of 2010.

12:02AM Tricky Every Day from Mixed Race (Domino)

12:04AM Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Carbon Prevails from The Social Network OST (Null)

12:08AM Bonobo Kiara from Black Sands (Ninja Tune)

12:13AM Nightlands God What Have I from Forget the Mantra (Secretly Canadian)

12:17AM Swans No Words/No Thoughts from My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (Young God)

12:28AM Lee Dorsey Yes We Can Pt. 1 from Yes We Can (Raven)

12:31AM Boscoe He Keeps You from Boscoe (Asterisk)

12:36AM Broken Spindles Induction from Fulfilled/Complete (Saddle Creek)

12:40AM Neil Young Sign of Love from Le Noise (Reprise)

12:44AM Do Make Say Think In Mind from You, You're A History In Rust (Constellation)

12:50AM The Thermals Your Love Is So Strong from Personal Life (Kill Rock Stars)

12:53AM Brain Idea The Heat from The Survival Scrolls (Permanent)

12:55AM The Moody Blues Veteran Cosmic Rocker from Long Distance Voyager (Polydor)

1:02AM Graham Gouldman Go For It from Animalympics (A&M)

1:05AM Gayngs The Last Prom On Earth from Relayted (Jagjaguwar)

1:12AM Was (Not Was) Walk the Dinosaur from What Up, Dog? (Chrysalis)

1:18AM The Knife We Share Our Mother's Health from Silent Shout (Mute)

1:22AM Oval Sky from O (Thrill Jockey)

1:25AM Bloc Party So Here We Are from Silent Alarm (Vice)

1:29AM Laetitia Sadier Natural Child from The Trip (Drag City)

1:35AM Cap D King of the Mountain from PolyMath (All Natural Inc.)

1:40AM Lil B Everything from Rain in England (Weird Forest)

1:45AM Kasper Bjørke Thunderstorm from In Gumbo (Defend)

1:53AM Exploding Star Orchestra Impression #1 from Stars Have Shapes (Delmark)

2:02AM Death Vessel Bruno's Torso from Nothing Is Precious Enough for Us (Sub Pop)

2:04AM Darren Hanlon Modern History from I Will Love You At All (Yep Roc)

2:09AM Loney Dear I Am John from Loney Noir (Sub Pop)

2:14AM Helen Money In Tune from In Tune (Table of the Elements)

2:19AM Paul Motian Trio Ten from Lost In A Dream (ECM)

2:25AM Aloe Blacc Hey Brother from Good Things (Stones Throw)

2:27AM Al Green I'm Glad You're Mine from I'm Still In Love With You (Hi)

2:30AM Junior Wells & The Aces Worried Life Blues from Live in Boston 1966 (Delmark)

2:37AM Kemialliset Ystavat Ystävälliset Miekat from Ullakkopalo (Fonal)

2:40AM Avey Tare Lucky 1 from Down There (Paw Tracks)

2:43AM Super Wild Horses Lock and Key from Fifteen (HoZac)

2:46AM Bill Monroe New Mule Skinner Blues from My All Time Country Favorites (Decca)

2:50AM Viva Voce Alive With Pleasure from The Heat Can Melt Your Brain (Minty Fresh)

2:54AM Electric Light Orchestra Mr. Blue Sky from Out Of The Blue (Jet)

Friday, October 01, 2010

One Week at the Metro

I set a personal record this past week: three shows at the same venue in less than seven days. The lucky venue was The Metro. I'm celebrating by posting photos.

9/25 - Menomena and Suckers

I already reviewed this show. Read about it here.

9/26 - Caribou and Emeralds

A lot of apprehension was in the air at the Caribou show. A few months ago at Millennium Park, Caribou played a free all-ages show at the Pritzker Pavilion. A spontaneous dance party erupted at the front of the lawn about halfway through that show, making it one of the more memorable Monday night shows of the year. But to all of the paying concert-goers at the Metro, it seemed like the pressure was on to mimic at least part of that summer evening excitement. Half an hour into the show, people were bobbing their heads but keeping their feet planted on the floor. Eventually, somebody cried out "everybody daaaaance!" between songs, to which the crowd applauded and Dan Snaith pointed approvingly. Even after that though, there wasn't much more movement. But it was a Sunday night. The visual show up on stage was captivating. Dancing wasn't imperative this time around. A few kids loosened up by the end of the night, but the most impressive part of the show was Caribou's tight playing. Bowls was the highlight, and convinced me that Caribou's next album really should be instrumental.

9/30 - Gayngs and Glasser

Glasser trip-hopped a small group of early comers, all of us wondering to ourselves, "so, what the hell are we doing here?" Nobody was there for the opening act, so were we all here to see Gayngs? Do we like that music? What is this all about? I swear, this was one of the dorkiest shows I've ever seen. Gayngs' music is embarrassing on purpose, combing the worst elements of smooth jazz and soft rock with trying-too-hard outfits and an utter abuse of autotune. But Justin Vernon looked like he was just having to much damn fun up there in his coonskin cap and bowtie. He's had a good week too, what with his song sampled on the latest Kanye leak. This was a night to show off his auto-tune skills. Hopefully next time I see him using them will be on stage at a Kanye West show.

It's bizarre seeing so many talented artists making such awful music. But I guess that's the point. Why so many people paid $21 to see that though, I'm not sure what to make of that. I mean, I'd much rather see Bon Iver, Megafaun, The Rosebuds and Dosh each play on their own. Mixing a lot of colors together is a good idea at first, but, perhaps Gayngs is just out to prove that too much of a good thing turns all to brown. Still, I couldn't help but smile at these 11 dudes hamming it up. I don't think it was a mistake that they were all wearing white either. Dorks.