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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Here is a list of live music to take note of within the city of Philadelphia. It may get updated regularly.

-The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: 11/6 – Irvine Auditorium @ UPENN
-The Swell Season: 11/8 – Merriam
-Raekwon: 11/10 – First Unitarian Church ($15)
-Art Brut: 11/12 – First Unitarian Church
(w/ Surfer Blood)
-White Denim: 11/13 – Kungfu Necktie
(w/ Brazos)
-The xx: 11/13 – Making Time @ Pure
-Max Tundra: 11/14 – Kungfu Necktie ($10)
(w/ Deastro)
-Nosaj Thing: 11/14 – Theatre of Living Arts
-Times New Viking: 11/15 – Kungfu Necktie ($10)
(w/ Axemen, Mad Scene, U.S. Girls)
-Jesus Lizard: 11/18 – Starlight Ballroom ($20)
-Bishop Allen: 11/18 – Johnny Brenda’s ($12)
(w/ Throw Me The Statue, Darwin Deez)
-Baroness: 11/19 – First Unitarian Church ($12)
(w/ Earthless, U.S. Christmas, Darwin Deez)
-Lights: 11/20 – North Star
-Tim Hecker: 11/21 – Kungfu Necktie ($12)
(w/ Adrian Baker (Nadja))
-MC Chris: 11/24 – First Unitarian Church ($12)
-Devendra Banhart: 11/24 – Electric Factory
-Julian Plenti: 11/27 – First Unitarian Church
(w/ I’m In You)
-Free Energy: 11/27 – Kungfu Necktie
(w/ Tough Shits, Post Post)
-Jay Reatard: 11/28 – Johnny Brenda’s
-Meat Puppets: 11/28 – World Cafe
-Pelican: 12/1 – First Unitarian Church
(w/ Black Cobra, Dissapearer)
-Ted Leo & the Pharmacists: 12/2 – First Unitarian Church
(w/ So So Glo)
-Elvis Perkins: 12/3 – First Unitarian Church
(w/ Bowerbirds)
-Jaguar Love: 12/3 – Kungfu Necktie ($10)
-Russian Circles: 12/4 – First Unitarian Church
(w/ Young Widows, Phantom Family Halo)
-Land of Talk: 12/4 – Kungfu Necktie
-The Big Pink: 12/6 – Johnny Brenda’s
(w/ Crystal Antlers)
-Tickley Feather: 12/11 – Kungfu Necktie
-Molina & Johnson: 2/2 – Johnny Brenda’s
-La Roux: 2/9 – Voyeurs

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Tarot Sport Album Cover Fuck Buttons’ sophomore album, Tarot Sport, finds the band creating their first true electronic post-rock epic. A lot of the sonically testing sections from their first album are gone. While becoming more accessible, Fuck Buttons retain the rough-hewn strength they so successfully flexed on their first album, Street Horrrsing. Reminiscent of M83’s 2003 album, Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts, Fuck Buttons utilize post-rock archetypes and infuse them with layers upon layers of noise. Whereas Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts comforted the listener, Fuck Buttons forcefully seize the listener’s grasp on reality and transport them to a dystopian universe (especially on tracks like “Surf Solar” and “Phantom Limb”). When their first album left the listener to find their own way back to sanity, Tarot Sport offers ways to bring their audience back, on tracks like “The Lisbon Maru,” “Olympians,” and “Phantom Limb.” This is especially noted on “The Lisbon Maru” with its ever-present horse-like drum pattern trot.

Much of the transcendental notion that comes from this album is because of the absence of vocals on this record. The vocal sections of Street Horrrsing added a human element to the entire feel of the album, giving a sense that the sound coming from the record was from somewhere terrestrial. Meanwhile Tarot Sport is transcendental, almost metaphysical, providing a unique element for the listener.

This album is also much more “dancier” this time around. “Surf Solar” could easily be dropped onto a turntable at a rave, while it wouldn’t be unbelievable to see people dancing to “Rough Steez” or “Phantom Limb” either. All around, Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power do a fantastic job in wielding shoegaze to dancier-noise through electronic music. Especially on repeat listens, it is amazing to hear the detail in the depth that the music has, each track providing a load of sound. It will be interesting to see if Fuck Buttons will be able to develop their now identifiable sound with upcoming releases, while still retaining the raw power and emotion they force upon their listeners.

(Reviewer’s Score: 4.0/5)

Rossi's 9th World Title
He’s a freak.

Rossi appeared on the world championship circuit for motorcycles (MotoGP) in 1996 at 17 years old. The Italian has since won nine World Championships: one world championship on 125cc’s, another on 250cc’s, and then seven at the MotoGP level (the pinnacle for motorcycle riders). He has raced a mere 226 races, in those races he has finished on the podium 163 times, 103 of those times on the top step. He, in 2002 alone finished on the podium in every race, including 11 race victories.

He’s only 30 years old now, how many World Championships can this guy get?

This past weekend saw the crowning of a new Formula 1 World Driver’s Champion. Briton Jenson Button clinched the world title at the Grand Prix of Brazil at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo. Challenging for the world championship was Button’s teammate at Brawn GP, Rubens Barrichello. Barrichello grabbed the pole position for the grand prix in an often-interrupted (for on-track incidents and inclement weather), wet, qualifying session.
At the beginning of Sunday’s grand prix, it appeared as if Barrichello would keep the title fight going on into the final round of the championship which takes place in two-weeks time in the United Arab Emirates. Barrichello was off like a scolded cat at the start of the race, tallying up five consecutive fastest laps during the first stint of the race. Chasing him hard though was Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who was driving nearly on par with Barrichello in a heavier-fueled car. Webber, looking to end his strongest championship campaign to date with an exclamation point, had to minimize Barrichello’s lead if he wanted to overtake the leader (Barrichello) during the first set of pit-stops (which he would, going on to win his second grand prix of the season).
Disappointingly for the home-race hero, Barrichello, during the final stint of the race suffered a slow-puncture on one of his tires (due to contact with 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton) and had no choice but to take an extra pit-stop, thus ending his chances to grab a podium finish and bringing the championship battle to an extra round at Abu Dhabi.
Barrichello is F1’s eldest current driver, seeing him and NASCAR’s eldest driver Mark Martin both challenge for championships late in their careers has been an interesting and ironic element to the 2009 motorsport season. The trend as of late has seen successful drivers becoming younger and younger.
Martin was recently the number one seed heading into the Sprint Cup chase, and his performances ahead of the chase gave many the right to believe that he would be a favorite for the championship. But, having watched last weekend’s Sprint Cup race, it looks as if he will likely fail to take the championship, not unlike F1’s Barrichello. At this most recent Sprint Cup race, Martin’s teammate Jimmie Johnson tightened his stranglehold on NASCAR’s playoff format. His performance this past weekend at Charlotte (pole position, most laps led, and race win), combined with his back-to-back-to-back Sprint Cup championships, makes it look like NASCAR should just hand him his trophy now.
A recent yahoo.com article raised questions regarding NASCAR’s faltering television ratings (also, having watched the Charlotte race, tickets sales may be down as well since the turn 3-4 grandstands were drearily empty). A major factor to this current rating drop is no doubt Johnson’s current reign. Formula 1, during the 2000s witnessed something much similar. Michael Schumacher, Formula 1’s most successful driver of all-time grabbed five world titles in as many years and an additional 56 grand prix victories in seven years. His time on top of the sport gave him an amazing 46% winning average. To curb Schumacher’s record breaking onslaught, F1 officials tossed several rule changes into Schumacher’s foray… They changed the way that points were distributed to the finishing drivers, handed-out draconic penalties to petty sporting crimes, and one year they even banned the changing of tires during races (the worst rule change modern F1 racing has seen, watching drivers skate around the course on burnt tires near the end of the race was, simply put, laughable).
Suggesting that NASCAR should implement rule changes to curb Johnson’s winning ways would most likely be a quick and undesirable decision. One must remember that NASCAR only recently introduced the “Car of Tomorrow,” which are the loose-handling, boxy, ugly bastard sons of General Motors, Ford, Dodge, and Toyota. A simpler way to increase the competition, suggested by NASCAR.com contributor Dave Caraviello, would be to “Jimmie-proof” the chase. He suggests that the chiefs at NASCAR should introduce tracks to the chase that aren’t traditionally dominated by Hendrick cars. Martinsville, Phoenix, California, Texas, Charlotte, and Dover are all present on the chase schedule and they are all tracks Johnson is incredibly successful at. What if NASCAR exchanged the race at Martinsville for a race at Bristol? Bristol is already one of NASCAR’s most well-attended venues, and although similar in length, it is about as different-as-you-can-get in terms of driving. Texas for Watkins Glen? Both are high-speed tracks, but Watkins Glen would throw a literal right-hand turn at Johnson’s campaign for a fourth consecutive Sprint Cup Championship (topping the record Cale Yarborough set, Winston Cup champion in ’76, ’77, and ’78). And lastly, what if NASCAR decided to end the championship at Darlington rather than Homestead-Miami? Sure, Homestead-Miami has three-tier banking on its corners which allow for exciting three-wide racing… But wouldn’t it be more exciting and gratifying if we could watch NASCAR’s contemporary greats let it all hang-out at the track “too tough to tame” for the championship at NASCAR’s oldest speedway? Expect some changes if NASCAR wants to continue challenging the NFL as America’s most-watched sport…

The Blueprint 3 Album Cover At the start of 2009, I honestly felt that it could be the year where hip-hop stole the limelight from other music scenes. Jay-Z’s latest studio album was heavily promoted, rumors ran around Dr. Dre dropping a new album, and Kanye West was potentially going to release a proper rap album during the summer. Something unlike his pop album from last year, 808s & Heartbreak. I’m also awaiting Rich Boy’s sophomore album that features his promising single “Drop.” However, the year has been rather disappointing for hip-hop (save Raekwon’s long awaited Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II). Dr. Dre’s album never dropped and Jay-Z’s BillBoard Top 200 topper is undoubtedly his worst studio album to date. Even more disconcerting is that his latest album shares the moniker of his classic Blueprint. I really don’t want to associate this album with that, nor do I want this to be known as a blueprint for future rap albums.

The album begins with the first of seven Kanye West produced tracks. Five of his beats have co-producers, which gives a “too many cooks” feeling that arises time and again throughout the duration of the album. Kanye’s traditional brass and futuristic sounds are there, but often sound muddled by other instruments, typically guitar. Even without the additional producers, none of the beats are anywhere near the quality one would expect from Kanye.

As for Jay, as it is his album, some of his verses do sound promising. This is really unfortunate because the chorus sections plague the album on nearly every track. They come off as simply annoying, most notably on the album’s two lowest points; “Thank You” and “Young Forever.” The only track that deserves a listen is the New York City anthem “Empire State of Mind,” featuring Alicia Keys who does a great job on this track. Considering it neo-Nancy Sinatra may be a stretch…but it still did come to mind. “Run This Town” may be worth a listen too, but only for pop culture purposes. Young Jeezy features on “Real As It Gets,” which has the only non-annoying chorus, he also steals the spotlight from Jay-Z on this one.

Now to say that I expected a great album would be completely false. I almost figured it wouldn’t be hot when I saw the track list for the first time. The original Blueprint was a Jay-Z album. Blueprint 3 has a featured artist on 11 of its 15 tracks, a medley of top 40 artists, which is simply just too many egos to deal with. The album’s cover almost foreshadows what to expect…a mess that’s painted the same color. Here, it is a mess that sounds the same throughout. Dismal choruses, poor production efforts, and intriguing-at-best verses. Sorry Jay, perhaps the game really has changed.

(Reviewer’s Score: 1.5/5)