Monday, July 7, 2014

My (Old) CDs - Strung Out - Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues

Talk about one of those types of punk rock albums that captures a feeling, an essence of angst masked in wacky tight melodies, breakneck pacing, and straight and true lyrics. This album is full of tracks that really pump you up - the adrenaline levels are a product of literally how quick the band pulls off guitar riff after riff, how each song seems to want to break some sort of speed record. What makes it tick is you can clearly hear how tight the drumming is, every fourth taps and you think, 'this drummer must be on an insane caffeine regimen'.

Strung Out is one of those bands that goes beyond even what you would imagine a fast tempo would be, they sort of blast through your notion of cut-time and fill it with musical vocals and what I can only describe as wacky hooks that always seem to land at the right moment and never go off the rails surprisingly. You should be bouncing around the room with every song on this or any of their albums, some tracks feeling like the equivalent of flailing nonsensically with a giant smile on your face.

I'm not as much of a fan of their metal-tinged leanings but that is just a personal preference - not to say that a track like "Bring Out Your Dead" is not a good song, just not my favorite style from them.

This album has one of my all time songs - "Wrong Side of the Tracks". There's so much I can say - listening to the song now for the first time in a while, I reminisce of when I was 15 and thought I could conquer anything by being smart, a smart-ass, and wearing tall socks and long shorts. Reckless abandon with just enough responsible thought to always produce one of two outcomes (a big win or a small embarrassing loss) - that is how to live in suburbia right? What else are you going to do, a strip mall tour for the umpteenth time?

Listen to this song, sing it in the mirror, and point at yourself, singing the lyrics indicatively, leaning into your image as if you had a mic stand.....

Saturday, May 31, 2014

My (Old) CDs - Dillinger Four - Situationist Comedy

File:Situationist Comedy.jpg

I still really love this album. I still listen to it on the subway going to work sometimes (which is a very general statement, because one of course could listen to a lot of shit on their way to work "sometimes"). I like to describe albums like this as hurling - not the vomiting reference, and not quite the Gaelic sport, more like the strong velocity definition of throwing something with a ton of force. 

Each song on this album has a little twist in the hook or riff that makes it incredibly listenable - the layers of distorted guitar all moving to constantly shifting tempos that hit at just the right moments, the back and forth between the two distinct voices (one raspy, one more guttural) - all kind of combines into a very swarthy sound with a lot of gusto. 

Of course a bonus are the amusing song titles and the lyrics have a bit of variety - a mix of truly irreverent spazz with the former and Midwest, earnest self-awareness and cut through the bullshit, heightened-by-a-couple-of-beers-to-keep-things-honest sound offs with the latter. It's a hell of a lot of fun.

This band should also NOT be confused with that band called D4 from Down Under.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My (Old) CDs - New Found Glory S/T

Winter cleaning happened several months ago, and I had decided to get all of my CDs (compact discs) up into the fancy desktop computer finally after having them sit there, relics of not too long ago, for a couple of years. I'm wondering if it was because when I would go to refresh my iPod Nano (another victim of tech progressing so quickly - remember that Feist commercial?), I would only have a couple of albums to work from just because I purchased them from iTunes and they happened to be sitting there, staring at me track by track. I found it funny that there was album artwork to even bother with because it wasn't a printed thing that I could hold in my hand, I'm just looking at a 200x200 pixel box.

Last one I bought was realistically 7 years ago.
I suddenly missed the music I had hard copies of, simply because I have not been able to keep up with newer music as much anymore and my tastes have probably set in stone for the rest of my days. Anywho, it's fun to dig through my scattershot collection of tasty cuts.

Wait...who am I kidding - "winter cleaning"? More like it's-time-to-have-a-baby cleaning! This kid is 3 months old and screams better than most of the hardcore albums I profess to have.

I'm going middle of the road with my first attempt at this non-newsworthy endeavor. 

New Found Glory - Self Titled Album. Released in 2000. How I came to buying it was simply back in junior year in high school when my buddy Lasky told me to check it out during homeroom. It was in the German classroom - we had four foreign languages - German, Spanish, Russian (which I took simply because you could elect to go to Russia for 2 weeks which I did and it was awesome), and French. We had Latin but only a handful of folks took it.

I was drawn to the colorful album art - realizing it was precious and emo and poppy. The album has a bright sound to it - an upgrade in sheen, if you will, from Nothing Gold Can Stay, which was their previous full length album. Everything is pretty tight and I always thought Jordan's vocals (lead singer) were clean and nice but very high - it took a lot to sing along at his register so often times I was just way off. There are traces of harder sounds - the first track "Better Off Dead" is probably my favorite because the echoing hook at the beginning gives me the sense that I'm listening to a song that is already ahead of me, and then of course the beat breaks down and you sort of have to jump wherever you are.

I listened to this album for the first time in years on the subway the other day and it still sort of holds up just as a fun listen - however, outside of "Vegas" I think it starts to lag in the second half. Knowing their later albums they were heading in a broader, slower sort of sound which I feel like all of those bands that came up in the pop-punk-5-years-into-Warped-Tour era gravitated toward with their 3rd and 4th albums. 

I also never knew why they needed a rhythm guitar and lead guitar other than extra crunch. I guess I should list that as a positive because there's a very prevalent spicy tuna crunch on this album - it's as if the treble was turned up and bass turned down on your stereo but they just decided to record it like that beforehand. The lyrics are a lot of yearning - I loved that shit man, especially coming from all Nirvana all the time, I sort of needed a breather (also coupled with the fact that when I started to play songs with folks in high school and eventually be in a high school band, I sort of needed slightly easier songs to play).

Their music video for "Dressed To Kill", which features Rachel Leigh Cook (that should instantly put you in the year 2000 for sure) I thought I could relate to until I realized I was such a nerd creeper in high school and this music video epitomizes emo stalkerdom. 

Now that I remember - I listened to this album so much that one of my NYFA summer camp projects was my own music video to "Hit Or Miss" which was their most well-known hit from this record (and re-recorded from Nothing Gold Can Stay). It was pretty terrible, the premise was boy meets girl in an ice cream shop (there was this ice cream shop off the Princeton campus with the cutest girl who actually laughed at a stupid joke of mine and therefore I was probably like 'marry me please'). Turns out, the boy is an idiot and has awful timing because he spends the next day trying to find her before she leaves on a random train (she wasn't at the coffee shop, she wasn't at the park, etc.). The issue with this premise is that she's probably just going to come back to work the next day so he didn't really need to be all that urgent with the silly love letter he handed to her at the last minute. Unless it was a metaphorical train representing her interest leaving the station, which is probably more artistic. All of this is happening while your ears are being massacred by the song for 3 minutes. 

How this video, which I included in my portfolio, helped get me into NYU Film I'll never understand but never question either....

Maybe I'll transfer it from my old VHS copies (which I hope I still have) and get it up on the YouTubes so you can see why I didn't get along with too many of my film school colleagues. 

Thanks New Found Glory, for making me think I could use new school pop-punk love songs to get anywhere in life when I was 15. 

- Later Gators (NFG is from Florida so I guess I can sign off with this)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Question: Which Stroller Mafia Reigns Supreme

As I was combing the building's group board - and of course, if I wasn't such a lazy bastard and got out of the building I'll notice the insane amount of young children. It's entirely possible that due to the handing over of wardrobes in this building, a shirt could have passed through several children's closets before getting thrown up on or dirty beyond repair. Word.

Which brings me to a really pertinent question: when it comes to the Stroller Mafia, does Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens best out Park Slope? To consider, there are lots of strollers per square block however, Park Slope as you move up the hill has larger sidewalks which may diminish the actual inconvenience.

I guess it's not really a burning question - I just wonder if in any sort of arbitrary ranking, does Cobble Hill or even Boerum Hill have what it takes (what it lacks in size) to compete, cliche to cliche, to the Slope. It's like asking who is nicer in showbiz, Henry Winkler or Brendan Fraser.

Ah one of Sandler's better efforts is on FX, Zohan. It's surprisingly enjoyable.

Time to hit Brooklyn Fare to avoid the crowd - but who am I kidding, it's holiday weekend. I was surprisingly surprised to see a lot of local businesses closed for the weekend. I should know better.

if you look up "stroller mafia" on Youtube this is the second video that pops up so obviously you should keep it top of mind when you see a stroller in the next day or so:

Dekalb Market - As If There's Not Enough Going On

Good golly miss Molly there's been a drought of posts here. Sorry you 30 readers of this miniscule blog!

Dekalb Market, somehow sandwiched along Flatbush between Willoughby and Fulton, will be opening July 23rd. What is it you ask? Shipping containers. It's full-sized Legos. With stuff inside.

As City Point is starting to finally move along and Willoughby Park at Albee Square shows signs of life with blinding colors and labor protests that have died down since a few weeks ago - Dekalb Market is looking to bring a stable of food, retail, and more to the area. Just in a really odd way. From the minds of Urban Space - it's another market that Brooklyn seems to be really enamored with these days. At least they'll have pickles right?

In other news, Brownstoner reports that a Gap....outlet will be coming to the Fulton Mall. The only Gap I like is a Gap outlet. You know why? Wanna guess? The gap in prices that's what. I wonder if the Gap was like, "Fulton Mall, let's go there and start small...with an outlet".

Shake Shack is finally getting started - the gut renovation of the pizza joint on the corner visibly began this week - and if it's anything like the Times Square one - this thing is going to be nasty flashy. I wonder if Wendy's and Burger King are going to fall on tough times. Not that I think Shake Shack is that great....

All the ellipses are due to it being the morning...random thoughts float by...

Speaking of Gaps:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Where's the Beef? Burger Joints Running Wild in Downtown Brooklyn/Cobble Hill

Today was the 5th Ave Park Slope street fare filled with the typical attitudes including beer, sterling silver jewelry, calzones, crepes, and stroller mania. Blue Ribbon was doing sushi outdoors which was uber tempting.

I had a wonderful smoked brisket sandwich with some chipotle cream sauce, greasy good. As we ended our loopy walk, we passed by the new Five Guys location right in the Metrotech. It seems like they've realized that this is becoming a residential area as it's open on the weekend and doing good business it seems. To me it's really exciting to have food options north of the Fulton Mall; not that there aren't any (fried fish and souvlaki are available on Saturday) but especially on lazy Sundays it's a welcome change for me (I can still do without the Aeropostale and the idea of redoing the mall, but the Arby's was a good try, everybody loves food).

Of course, with the new Five Guys in Cobble Hill, it's like a Five Guys party since there's one on Montague. I have a feeling this is overload, but Metrotech could use an established franchise that's good.

However, it's not just Five Guys. We have the new Shake Shack coming to Fulton Mall. Moo Burger opened up on Court. There's another burger joint on Atlantic by the Brazen Head that's getting going. Heading into Carroll Gardens you have Dubuque and I'm pretty sure there's even another new restaurant specializing in bun/patty/bun on Court or Smith. I can smell it. Atlantic's also got Jake's Way Back burgers and I just really can't wrap my head around it right now. Oh and all this about Smash Burger opening up multiple locations in Brooklyn. When has Denver been highly anticipated in Brooklyn?

Checkers across the street from the Court Street United Artists. JB Burger I think opened up not that long ago right on Smith. Am I saying this is the pinnacle of burger heaven such as the highly respected 67 Burger in Fort Greene? No, but the choices of stuffing your face with ground meat is getting beyond tempting.

Maybe this summer we'll have to see who has the best fries in the neighborhood as well; if there was only a place that did Belgian-style fries on the regular...


Photo from the Brooklyn Paper...Five Guys has a littany of toppings, unlike Shake Shack. And they overload on the fries. It's too good.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brooklyn Flea Coming To Williamsburg, Hipster Orgy Will Ensue

I wonder how this would work; with the Brooklyn Brownstoner Flea coming to Williamsburg AND staying in Fort Greene, does that mean that the hipsters will stay in the burg and strollers will continue to crowd the FT?

I did purchase some cool cuff links made from typewriter keys from a wonderful father/daughter (or what appeared to be that) team. I also purchase a woodprint from a dude who is always there at the flea but I never managed to get around to really examining his stuff.

My better half was pushed around by a red-headed lady, a la the Red-Headed League, one of the wonderful stories from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his eccentric hero Sherlock Holmes. The flea needs more agitation, a little fight here and there would liven things up. I just can't really stand the amount of earth tones and navy, so I am more resolute to do the flea once or twice a year, because you definitely can find some cool stuff. I'm more partial to the outdoors version probably.

So it's been a while since I've taken the time to post, as the new job has been both stimulating, busy, great, and the whatnot. I figure since winter is taking a while to just end, I'll take a while to post again. I did miss Irish Haven this year for St. Patrick's Day unfortunately due to great conversation at another bar but I'm sure the corned beef was scarfed just fine.

A new fast Chinese food hybrid opened up on Willoughby which I will soon be calling upon for some interesting combinations; according to the pictures posted to the window, they sell waffles in addition to the regular menu. It's called Chang Heng on 54 Willoughby, and I hope it stays around for a while like other businesses; we need consistency on Willoughby considering the lack of volume on the street until City Point opens up in a year or two. It's also one of those places where the kids of the people who run the place have to hang around and that moves me, the dedication to supervision even during work hours.

I also just noticed one of the current Willoughby Windows art pieces was a monkey-looking cartoon pooping a rainbow.

I ran outside with my girl this past week and it was hard; I've never actually gone for a long run, long walks every week but jogging felt good. Certainly tough and I commend anyone who can pace themselves without a treadmill doing it for them and actually push to go as far as they need to.

The be @ Schermerhorn has a sick atrium and really nice lounge. If there's any way to transport the Belltel's lounge up somehow from the basement, in whatever alternate reality that could happen, that would be amazing. New posters went up regarding the retail space (or were they old and I just never really looked at them), not sure how they are carved out considering there's only one real additional entrance.

I now have plenty to work with from my old job in terms of choice of alcoholic beverages and maybe I'll put the old Waverly @ IFC Center cocktail menu to the test again to see if I can make it as good as I used to.

At our house growing up we used to have either swinging doorway garbage cans (or whatever you call them, similar to ones at McDonald's or other fast food chains or cafeterias) and one larger step-to-open-hatch one. Now we have 3 step-to-open-hatch ones, and it certainly contains any smells but you lose the fun or tossing stuff into the garbage quickly. I was never good at basketball but one can dream.

Does the aroma of coffee beans ever go stale?

Recent Netflixing: deep-sea documentaries are so awesome because the creatures are just straight up nightmares. Other than that, I tried to start a number of teen TV series to recreate more angst-riddled days when emo wasn't really classified as such, like Roswell. I'll try and stick it out but I was teetering on boredom. MI-5 has really picked up and it's a pretty solid show, lacking a bit of depth of character but it moves at a fast clip. Cyborg 2 so far with Angelina Jolie when she was like 19 is also surprisingly fast but really doesn't make any sense, although the first one is a complete masterpiece of tomfoolery and terrible BeBop/Rocksteady fashion (by the way, shame on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for making villains out of two storied music genres, although I'll of course take rocksteady ten out of ten just because of my aversion to certain types of jazz).

The Netflix recommendations for "Brooklyn, NY" are very intellectual and probably out of my league in terms of fun Friday night viewing. I can only imagine the Fleasters who hone in every weekend to Fort Greene or 1 Hanson Place are cramping Brooklyn's style of what really would be most appealing to Brooklynites.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Coffee & Sympathy

The Victory on State and Hoyt is closed. I'm wondering if the block is cursed since Kili shut down recently too. Sarcastic signs on the door window is trying to drive traffic to Building on Bond, that is taking on the V staff.

You can still get coffee at the Little Sweet Cafe on the block (truly miniature), but V was pretty fun and I'll be sure to have a coffee for the ra...the Little Sweet.

Elsewhere, I got to stop by the Best Buy in the Atlantic Center and it feels sort of damp in a way. It has pretty hilarious reading reviews on ("they should call this 'worst buy') but it's not quite as heinous as the slander. However, the selection isn't quite as expansive.

Brooklyn Fare is finally finishing up their expansion; yesterday I was full-on glory walking around the now double-the-size market: more meat, more brands, more selection, this is a serious supermarket now and ready to be the shit in an area that competes with the generic (Pathmark, which is awesome no digs at that, then Key Foods, Gristedes, Concord), the chic (Trader Joe's), and the upscale (Garden of Eden). Very stoked about this, all around amazing.


Photo courtesy of the NY Times, continuing their run of sympathy for the Brooklyn.

In honor, and become I'm lazy, here's The Living End:

The Living End - Prisoner of Society
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