Sep 29, 2006

The Rawking Refuses to Stop!

Recently I interviewed Dave from Cokemachineglow and The Rawking Refuses to Stop, one of my favorite music related blogs. What follows is an uncensored transcript of the emailed interview:

Stoplight Sleep: Since you already write for UCLA’s Daily Bruin and Cokemachineglow, why a music blog?

The Rawking Refuses to Stop: Well, initially I started the blog before I was writing for Cokemachineglow. I was looking for another outlet for my writing that could be more creative than the stuff I was doing for the Bruin, and blogging seemed like the way to go. Of course, the reason I want to write about music in the first place is because I’m the kind of guy who listens to an album and immediately wants to shout about it from the rooftops, so MP3 blogging gives me an excuse to talk about any song or band I want, whenever I want.

SS: You’ve been doing the blog for about a year and a half. In that time, how do you think blogging has changed? Do you think blogging has changed the music scene?

RRS: I can’t speak for blogging as a whole (which has obviously exploded – everybody and, literally, their mother has a blog), but I don’t think music blogging has changed that much. It’s more well known, which makes it more commercial – I’m not sure if people were really selling ads like they are now a couple years ago – but at the same time, the overall readership seems to have leveled off. You don’t see bigger publications talking so much about blogs anymore unless it’s an article about Tapes ‘N Tapes. I think the main effect of blogging on the music scene is two-fold – it allows tiny bands to get this great snowballing exposure if a bunch of people post on it, and I’m not talking about bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! who had a lot of other factors working for them, but a group like Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin or Division Day. A band that hasn’t really broken through yet. The other thing is that I think it’s given the record labels a better idea of how they can use digital media to promote themselves and that file-sharing isn’t necessarily evil, but we’ll see if I’m right about that.

SS: Hype Machine lists almost 700 music-related blogs. lists around 1500. Do you think the music blogosphere is oversaturated? If so, what sets apart a good blog other than numbers?

RRS: Considering I don’t have time to read all the blogs in my own site’s blogroll, sure, the blogosphere is oversaturated. But at the same time, so is indie rock, so it works out. It’s like anything – you figure out what kinds of blogs you like and you support those people. The blogs I read consistently are the ones with taste that I know I can trust or that post really interesting stuff – Aquarium Drunkard and Rbally are two blogs that always have great bootleg concerts and unreleased material. The personality and the writing are important, too: A great music blog should be like hanging out with your awesome friend who knows way more about records than you do.

SS: Why do you like Ryan Adams so much!?

RRS: He’s my hero. Here’s a guy who could easily be a professional songwriter – just look at Tim McGraw’s version of “When The Stars Go Blue.” Almost any song on “Cold Roses” could be a great country song. But the thing that separates Ryan is that he’s an incredible, versatile singer and performer and nobody’s going to do a better version of his songs than him. He reminds me a lot of Neil Young in that he’s also completely in control of the vision for his records. He knows exactly what he wants to do and what the record is going to sound like from the music to the production, and for me, he pulls it off 9 times out of 10. I don’t think he needs an editor. If anything, he needs to put out more records.

SS: Seriously, what inspires you about music to want to write about it on a regular basis? What makes you decide to post on a specific song/artist/album/etc.?

RRS: The music inspires me. Sure, it’s a cliché, but music has a profound emotional affect on me and when I hear a great song, even if I’m listening to it for the 100th time, I still want to talk about it. I’m obsessed. Luckily, my girlfriend doesn’t really listen to indie rock so that forces me to figure out other things to talk about.

SS:. I happen to know you’re a comic fan as well, what books/writers/characters are you into?

RRS: Right now, my favorite books are Y: The Last Man and the two Superman titles. Kurt Busiek is doing a great job with Supes. I’ve been picking up the trades for “The Walking Dead” and that’s pretty solid as well, but I’ll read anything with zombies. I’ve been reading comics since I was a little kid and I have a nearly-complete seven-year run of all the Spider-Man comics from about 1992 to 1999, so he’ll always be my favorite hero and Mark Bagley will always be my favorite comic artist. I should mention I have complete runs of “Darkhawk” and “The New Warriors” from the ‘90s and I always felt those characters got a raw deal, especially now with Civil War, but it’s nice to see Darkhawk showing up in the Marvel universe again. Even though I’m reading a lot of DC and Vertigo now, I’ll always be a Marvel guy.

SS: If you could make one last post on TRRtS, what would it be about and why?

RRS: Elliott Smith’s song “Condor Ave.,” because it’s my favorite song ever and I don’t think I’ve written anything on it anywhere. It’s from his first album, Roman Candle, which isn’t something a lot of people have heard, so turning people on to that would be a great way to go out.

Elliott Smith - "Condor Ave."

Sep 24, 2006

Video Mix 0.1

I thought I'd do something a little different and give you guys a ton of videos from the wonderful YouTube. I'm not going to embed them because that would take up a ton of space.

All videos are the official video release unless noted.

Tahiti 80 - "Heartbeat"
This is not the actual video, if there even is one. This is a fan vid of clips from some show on Noggin' called South of Nowhere. Apparently it's about to teenage lesbians.

Interpol - "Slow Hands"

I know you've heard this song and probably seen the video, but it's been on my mind a lot lately. It's rather gimmicky, but I love it regardless (kind of like the band itself).

Joanna Newsom - "Yarn & Glue" (Live)
Can't wait for the new album . . .

You Say Party! We Say Die! - "Cold Hands, Hot Bodies" (Live outside the Seattle Center)
I'm not really sure what's going on with this outdoor show and small crowd, but I love this song. They're like Pretty Girls Make Graves, only more influenced by Television, et al.

Rah Bras - "No Furture" [sic]
These pseudo-goth synthcore trio blasts out some big beats on this track. And the video is crazy. This is how good Mindless Self Indulgence could be if they didn't try so hard to suck.

TV on the Radio - "Wolf Like Me" (Live on Letterman)
If you don't have this album, go get it now. Thanks to Silver's Boogaloo for the post.

Final Fantasy - "Fantasy" (Mariah Carey cover live)
Owen Pallett's (of Arcade Fire) Final Fantasy makes some great music, but his most amazing work can be found on YouTube in the form of live covers. Look for "Peach, Plumb, Pear" (Joanna Newsom) and "Modern Love" (Bloc Party).

The Knife - "We Share Our Mother's Health"
A beautiful video.

Margot & the Nuclear So & So's - "Quiet as a Mouse"
Another artistically animated video. Is this the trend now? I'm seeing a lot of them them. Fine by me. This band makes me think Pedro the Lion meets Arcade Fire.

Cansei de ser Sexy - CSSTV "CSS is looking for Cat Power"
Another hot new band that you've probably heard already. They have a bunch of funny videos they made posted on YouTube. This is the funniest.

Cat Power - "Maybe Not" (Live on Letterman)
Here she is.

Let me know what you think about the video mix. I may do more of these in the future.

Sep 19, 2006

Mitch Clem: Punk Comix Guy

Several months ago I wrote about one of my favorite online comics, Nothing Nice to Say. It was dead for awhile, but recently artist/writer Mitch Clem has revived the series, along with continuing his newer comic, San Antonio Rock City. New editions of NNtS are posted every Monday.

Mitch Clem's workblog
Nothing Nice to Say
Rock City Comics

Mitch Clem's homesite

Today's track is from the Ssion, whom I've posted about before. It's another from opportunity, Bless My Soul.
The Ssion - "I Think I Got Something to Prove"

Sep 14, 2006

Rasputina, you inbreeds!

Rasputina, that group of corsetted cellists and their native-American drum banger, are one of my favorite bands and one of the best live acts I've ever seen. You can just get over your little "but they're goth" deal. What's with that anyway. Don't you like Bauhaus? And I know you love the Cure. Everyone does. Even your mom.

Anywho. It's easier to point out acts they've inspired (Scarling, Bonfire Madigans) than name any pop music that's directly influenced them (other than the usual suspects). Like Dresden Dolls and Decemberists, a lot of their influences are from the early twentieth century.

Over at their homepage they have a huge list of all the catty comments and Howard Hughes jokes lead-singer Melora Creager has used to introduce songs. She's also obsessed with rollerblades (Satan shoes), urine drinking, dairy products, enemas, and Murphy Brown.

Screech on you demons of the . . . thing.

Here's the link radiofans.

Hell, I'll even give you an song. I know that's why you're here for.
Rasputina - Deep in the Sweet Water (Joseph Bishara Remix)
It's a remix of "SweetWater Kill" from Cabin Fever.

Go buy some of their albums on insound. I recommend starting with Cabin Fever. That way if you don't like it, you can at least hear them make fun of PJ Harvey, Bjork, and Matthew Barney. I love them all. But they really should be made fun of more often.

disclaimer: I realize their drummer is not really Native American. You think I'm stupid? You're the one who likes _________. (May I suggest filling in this blank with some crap band you like, such as Hellogoodbye, GG Allin, Bowling for Soup, or Jack Johnson.)

Sep 10, 2006

Phonogram 2

The next issue of Phonogram (Trust me, I read other comics, but right now . . . who cares?) is out Wednesday. You can catch a preview of the first five pages here. This page features some other Image previews, so you have to scroll down a bit to get to Phonogram. While you're at it, check out Girls. I haven't read anything for 10 issues or so, but the Luna Brother's artwork is always amazing.

Sep 5, 2006


A few weeks ago, Baltimore post-rock band Oxes filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Old Navy, who is accused of stealing the band's flier design for one of their T-shirts. This is old news, but I saw several of the T-shirts at the store yesterday. The suit was filed because Old Navy refused to pull the shirts, but I was surprised to see them still in stores.

Oxes have to been known to pull some crazy stunts, such as a staged protest and "split" with Arab on Radar on which they merely impersonated the noise-punk band. Oxes claim that this is not a publicity stunt (although it would be a rather effective one), and I hope they're being honest.

The size of Oxes discography doesn't match the band's talent, but 2002 LP, Oxxxes, is one of the best of the genre. The instrumental band sounds like Pelican meets Shellac, but more on the mathy, indie-rock side.

Here's a track from their [real] split with Big'n on Box Factory records. Sorry, I can't find a link to purchase this EP.

Oxes - "Undefeated"

Oxes on myspace

Sep 3, 2006

Here's what I say

I've got something nice in the works, I promise. I've just temporarily misplaced it.

In the meantime, I'm listening to MSTRKRFT's The Looks, and you should be, too.
It's like a lyric-sample-happy Daft Punk, only more house, then more big beat, and then . . .

MSTRKRFT - "She's Good for Business"

And here's a bonus remix: a Panthers track for all you Death from Above 1979 fans.

Panthers - "Take Me With Your Hands (MSTRKRFT Remix)"

MSTRKRFT - The Looks on insound