so I got a new CD awhile ago and I finally got to listen to it. It's "I Can't Go On, I'll Go On" by The Broken West, a power pop band from Los Angeles. I actually bought the CD at their pretty ho-hum show June 1 at the Black Cat, but the CD is much better than my show experience.

For some reason, they were opening, even though I'd never heard of the other two bands, Nethers and The Comas, so I missed part of the set. I've since heard of Nethers and they're from DC, which I guess is why they were the headliners.

The main reason the show was lame is that the crowd was small, maybe 20-30 people who were all pretty far from the stage, and there were about 10 girls who seemed to know the band. Unfortunately these girls were going apeshit the entire show, dancing wildly to songs that really aren't be songs you dance wildly to, and yelling "WOOO!!! I LOVE YOU [insert band member's name here]!!!" after every song. It was pretty annoying. And The Comas were pretty blah, so we left and missed Nethers.

But anyway, show aside, The Broken West the band play power pop with more emphasis on the pop than the power. They're sometimes almost saccharine with their harmonies and instrumentation, like on "So It Goes," which sounds like The La's and Fountains of Wayne. The songs are generally sunny and uptempo, with the exception of "Hale Sunrise" a great track that's a little more relaxed and bass driven, and the last few tracks on the album which blend together a bit.

"On The Bubble" is a good album starter with a bit more a 1960s vibe, but "Down in the Valley" is my favorite, a very catchy little power pop ditty that sounds like an amped up cover of some old folk song. "Brass Ring" is another piano-led power pop number with lots of "ahh-ahhhh" harmonizing and "ooh ooh ooh"s that gets close to being too saccharine but doesn't quite make it. "You Can Build an Island" sounds like it could be a Teenage Fanclub cover.

If you like power pop with a fair dose of sugar, check them out. If not, they might give you a cavity.


Art on 14th Street NW

Photo Wall at 14th and T
Originally uploaded by Joe in DC
so it seems like 14th St NW in DC is becoming an art hub of sorts. I've stumbled onto a lot of art things there recently. On Saturday I went to the opening party for Artcade magazine, a new magazine by some Corcoran people. There were some artists showing things on the walls, free beer and there were some bands there, Deleted Scenes and a couple others, but it was packed and hot so we left.

Also, about a month or two ago there was a similar event in another new building on the other side of 14th, closer to P. I don't think it was for a magazine or anything though, just paintings and some videos and free beer. My friend who invited me didn't know if it was a recurring event or not.

And today I was walking down and noticed a guy taking pictures of a bamboo sculpture on top of Muleh. It was the artist, Piero Passacantando, and he said it was part of the WPA/Corcoran's SiteProjects DC, a project with a bunch of artists putting up works around the street. He said he was taking it down today because he was moving to California, and it'd been up about a week. I have also noticed two other things in that area that I learned were part of the same project, all the photos on the wall across the street (pictured), and an installation on S Street right off 14th called the Bureau of Misdirected Destiny. DCist wrote about Siteprojects too.

And there's been other art in the area too. The graffiti artist/painter Decoy has had a few things up at and around Sparky's, a coffee shop, and there's also the cool sidewalk at 13th and S.

I like what's happening on 14th, and I hope there continue to be more installations and shows in the buildings along there. It's pretty neat to be surprised by some art while walking around.


so in browsing Wikipedia, I discovered that a lot of people have too much time on their hands.

Then again, considering I somehow found and read these articles (by reading about the Scottish Highlands and then this article), I guess I do too.


So here's a new song I like. It's "Thou Shalt Always Kill" by Englishmen Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. Scroobius Pip is the MC and angrily speaks an anti-mass culture screed over a hard, propulsive, bloopy beat by Dan le Sac. It's a bit of a hipster version of "Wear Sunscreen," but still a good track. The duo are from the town of Stanford-le-Hope, Essex and now based in London. I first heard it on a mix by DJ Never Forget. I'm not sure why I got the mix, but it was good.

I also like that you can't add the song to your Myspace page, kind of goes along with the song's general idea. The one reference I don't get is spelling "Phoenix" as "Pheonix."

Here's the official site (with lyrics)
And Wikipedia


so my friend sent this to me the other day, it's a new version of that game where you put the states on the map. It's got satellite imagery instead of just a blank map, but I have a bone to pick with it - it's got a really fucked up projection. By that I mean it distorts a lot of the states, making it a lot harder to place them.

For example, on the map Oregon (pictured above) is squished east to west, as are California and Washington. The map makes California look pretty small and weirdly curvy. Compare that to this map from the University of Texas, where all the states have their same shape and size. Oregon looks twice as long east-west as on the game.

It looks like on the game they're centered somewhere in the eastern part of the country, maybe over Kentucky or something. I can't even figure out what it is, it's so messed up. So the moral of the story - don't feel bad if you mess up this game.


so I was browsing around on Wikipedia and discovered this: it's Rivers Cuomo from Weezer's first band. He's in the back middle. Nice hair.

Apparently it was a "progressive metal" band called Avant Garde, complete with stupid 80s metal logo. Rivers went by Peter Kitts, which Wikipedia says was his dad's last name, and also sounds like Peter Criss from Kiss.


so this is awesome. I saw it on stereogum


Originally uploaded by squidpants
so I had a pretty interesting experience the other day. I got this email for something called the BritBus, it's a tour of English bands who ride around on a double decker bus, and apparently there was going to be free Bass (beer, not fish), so I was interested. I was covering it for DCist (a local DC news blog). It was the 6th week of an 8 week tour, and I hadn't heard of the bands, Jyrojets, The Crave, and Julia Jones (who also founded the tour) but whatever. So I went to the press event at the National Press Club building on 14th street (which was on the 13th floor). It seemed like I was the only "press" person there, and I use that term lightly. Everybody else seemed like post frat and sorority folks who just wanted free beer. And I can't blame them for that, but it was sort of odd.

They had a pretty good spread of English food, like these fried flat potato things, stilton and cheshire cheese, and so on, which was cool. The place was just your average meeting room with some stuff set up, and it was a weird venue for a concert - it was bright, for one thing, and there was carpet and all (see photo at left). The bands played acoustic, and unfortunately I got there late for Jyrojets, who I liked the most based on their myspace page - apparently "Favourite Thing about Jane" is going up the English charts, and they had a lot of positive press after SXSW. There was also a Scottish vicar who had a drawing for a tweed jacket.

We all got goodie bags, which were pretty sweet - a six pack of Bass, scones, jam (or maybe preserves, I dunno) and clotted cream, which is kind of like butter but creamier and tastier, and a few other things. The scones, jam and cream made a good breakfast the next day. The odd thing about the scones was that they were "sultana" scones, which I looked up, and apparently that's the name of that type of scones - strawberries and black pepper. I didn't notice the pepper, but they were tasty. I'd never liked scones before, they were too dry, but I guess I hadn't had the right kind.

So then the idea was that all of us press people (i.e. me and some of the randoms) would get on the bus with the bands, check it out, and ride to Fado, where the bands would play again for anybody who happened to be there. This would be about a 7 block bus ride.

We got on the bus, which was pretty nice. I talked to some of the guys from The Crave, who were friendly, cool guys, and they seemed to like the bus. There wasn't any air conditioning, which the guys from Jyrojets bemoaned in the brief time I talked to them. The bus had some nice benches and stuff on it and tons of flat screen TVs all playing the various bands' music, which must get old for them. Tom, the bassist from The Crave, said the bus was comfortable to sleep on, but they also had Range Rovers for when it took too long - apparently the bus took 4 days to get from Denver to St. Louis.

So it was me, the vicar, a girl from Where magazine and a couple of her friends, and the bands, and away we went. The bus was very bouncy on the ride, and it felt kind of odd to be riding in an obvious doubledecker bus in downtown D.C. We talked some more and then got to Fado. It was The Crave's first U.S. tour and I talked a bit with their drummer Dave about D.C., which was smaller than he expected.

It seemed like most customers at the bar didn't expect a concert, but they got more into it as the show went on. This one was all acoustic too. People seemed to really enjoy Jyrojets' set and were crowding around, and I heard some people asking the various sponsors and tour staff people about them. I ran into a girl I knew with her friend and they told me they came just to see Jyrojets, so that was cool - before I was basically talking to the girl from Where and her pals and being a little bored.

The press lady bought me a beer, which I guess is technically bad ethics for press type folks, but oh well. She also made the point that the bands look like they were straight out of central casting, which was true - it was very easy to pick out band members from non-band members.

I talked with the vicar a bit, who was a really cool guy. He was there as a representative from a Scotland tourism promotion type place, and said he and the bands would go out and drink after the sets and stuff. He was based in Edinburgh and was happy when I told him a lot of my family is Scottish, and he thought Andrew was a good Scottish name, which I guess I never realized before. He gave me a couple books about Scottish geneaology.

He also told me that they stopped at a Fado in almost every city, which was pretty funny - these English bands coming over to the U.S. (and for The Crave, their first U.S. tour) only to play in a chain of fake Irish bars. Luckily they were going to Madam's Organ two days later, so they might get a better idea.

So the show ended and I hung out a bit with the girl I knew and her pal, then took my goodies and went home. Pretty random and fun night. I wrote a less detailed version for DCist too.


so yesterday I saw this movie "Dead Alive." It was amazing. It's ridiculous, hilarious, clever, and extremely gory. I recommend it highly. The movie (which is called "Braindead" in New Zealand, hence the IMDB page) was one of Peter Jackson's early movies and doesn't involve hobbits or rings. Instead it's about zombies and monsters and stuff. My roommate and I were dying the whole time with laughter, it's amazing. The other roommate came downstairs to see what we were hollering about. I don't want to ruin any of the good parts, so I won't say more about it.


so this is the best sports name ever: Boof Bonser. Awesome.