Archive for August, 2008


The Offspring and The Damned

August 31, 2008

The Offspring are back with a new album, and they are playing Bumbershoot on Monday. I know they get a lot of flak, but I have a real soft spot for their early ’90s songs. While they can fairly be described as having brought punk to the masses, whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you. Despite the fact that Smash was the best-selling indie album ever (it came out on Epitaph, and is at 16 million and counting), I have to respect their DIY ethic of taking the profits and starting their own record label. Similarly, I have to respect a band who responded to their record label refusing to allow them to have free downloads by selling t-shirts with the Napster logo on them and donating a portion of the profits to founder Shawn Fanning (note to younger readers: this was when Napster was still a pirate, and not a privateer). While I could live without “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy),” I do generally appreciate The Offspring’s self-deprecating humour (check out the video for “Da Hui”). And, finally, they do have excellent taste in influences, and they get accolades from me for covering The Damned‘s “Smash It Up” for the otherwise forgettable Batman Forever (now happily replaced by The Dark Knight, of course).

More Offspring: website

More Damned: website

MP3: The Offspring – Hammerhead

MP3: The Damned – Smash It Up


Coverage: The Mekons, “Folsom Prison Blues”

August 30, 2008

The Mekons were one of the early British punk bands (along with the Damned and the Buzzcocks), but their music evolved into post-punk and then began to incorporate country influences like Hank Williams. This song pulls those disparate styles together in one terrific Johnny Cash cover.

More Mekons: myspace website

MP3: The Mekons – Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash cover)

Image: Mural: Johnny Cash stencil graffiti by Flickr user Franco Folini, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.


Upcoming: Bumbershoot 2008

August 29, 2008

Labor Day weekend is upon us, and that means it’s time for the annual party under the Space Needle. The lineup for Bumbershoot 2008 features a number of zed equals zee faves, including The Weakerthans, !!!, Battles, Dan Deacon, Tapes ‘n Tapes, Band of Horses, and Death Cab for Cutie. After a few years of the Pitchfork Music Festival, it’s nice to only have to worry about getting rained on, and not also about getting sunstroke (sadly, the forecast looks a little mixed as of this moment).

MP3: !!! – Take Ecstasy With Me (Magnetic Fields cover)


Listen local: New Faces

August 28, 2008

Even before z=z relocated to Seattle, I heard that New Faces were an up-and-coming local band. I haven’t seen them live yet, but by all accounts they complement their catchy Britpop-meets-garage sound with a dynamic stage presence that belies their youth. Local label Loveless Records signed them, and their first full-length, Two Years, just came out. They’ll be at Bumbershoot on Saturday, and they are scheduled to open for Ra Ra Riot and Walter Meego at King Cobra on September 20th.

The New Faces: myspace website

MP3: New Faces – Cracks


I sing the body parts electric

August 27, 2008

It turns out that my perception of hip-hop lyrics—that they are all about butts and masculine self-aggrandizement—may not be entirely incorrect. Artists Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg analysed 10 000 songs, in a range of genres, and extracted all references to body parts. They then produced a nifty interactive graphic, “Fleshmap: Listen,” that lets you explore body-part mentions by genre [links are NSFWish]. In most genres, including alternative and electronic, the top five were ‘eyes,’ ‘head,’ ‘face,’ ‘arms’ and ‘hands.’ In hip-hop, though, not only are body parts are mentioned far more frequently than in other genres, but ‘ass’ leads the pack (it would have an even greater lead if ‘booty’ and ‘butt’ weren’t broken out separately). And ‘cock’ displaces ‘arms’ to take position #6.

I can’t help but notice the absence of ‘heart’ in the graphics, but I guess internal organs don’t count.

Personally, I’m interested in knowing more about the 0.05% of alternative songs that mention shins.

[via the Wired Music Blog]

MP3: Freezepop – Do You Like My Wang?


The music nerd’s burden

August 26, 2008

(click to see full comic on Dustinland)

Ah, the music nerd’s burden. Dustinland has an excellent Kipling-level apologia for all of us.

(thanks, Keith!)


Neophile: Blue Mary Jane

August 25, 2008

Blue Mary Jane

Speaking of growing up in a pre-Internet world…I still find it kind of amazing that I can hear about a band like Blue Mary Jane. As far as I can tell, they don’t have a record deal, and they probably still live with their families in Spalding, Lincolnshire. I’m not actually sure how I came across them, in fact. But I’m going to happily share this song – sometimes I just want the sharp, palate-cleansing sting of punk, and these gentlemen oblige. They cite influences along the lines of the Rolling Stones and the Stone Roses, but this song reminds me most of the Buzzcocks.

Blue Mary Jane: myspace

MP3: Everyone’s in Love Fuck ‘Em