Thursday, November 27, 2008


Came across this interesting idea:

Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend.
She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband,”
“Oh,” I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.”
The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,
“How’s your longtime companion, Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”
Fun. And instant, eyebrow-raising recognition. Suddenly the majority gets to feel what the minority feels. In a moment they feel what it’s like to have their relationship downgraded, and to have a much taken-for-granted right called into question because of another’s beliefs.
Recent Car Crash in LA:
"I know a lot of black churches take offense when gay activists say that the gay movement is somehow analogous to the black civil rights movement. And while there is some relationship between the persecution of gays and the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, I think the true analogy is to the women's movement. What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society. The possibility that we can form ourselves sexually -- even form our sense of what a sex is -- sets us apart from the traditional roles we were given by our fathers."

And finally, do yourself a favor and see Slumdog Millionaire. Easily my second favorite movie of the year (#1 being The Dark Knight, of course).

Monday, November 24, 2008

RIP Phantom Planet

Phantom Planet announced today that they will be going on "indefinite hiatus" after their show at the Troubadour December 12. I really want to go to this show, but that's the day I have to close out the building for winter break and pretty much the hardest day to get off of RA duty. I saw them play for free at Bruin Plaza last year and their last album was great. They will be missed. Do yourself a favor and stream their lastest album.

In happier news: A deal for an Arrested Development movie is almost done.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Updated Indie Playlist

One Song Per Indie Artist That I've Been Listening To. Enjoy.

Favorite Musicals

List of Musicals I've Seen Live In A General Order of Preference (Excluding high school performances):

1. Assassins - "Everybody's Got the Right to be Happy"
Ballad of Booth w/ Neil Patrick Harris:

2. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
3. Rent
4. Avenue Q
5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (with Sebastian Bach)
6. Urinetown
7. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (It's quite new)
8. Phantom of the Opera (several times)
9. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
10. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
11. 9 to 5
12. Side Show
13. La Boheme (Opera produced by Baz Luhrmann)
14. Cats
15. Spring Awakening
16. Movin' Out
17. Wicked
18. Jersey Boys

Favorite Musical Movie:
Fiddler on the Roof

Musical I Most Want to See:
Les Miserables

Worst Musical Movie:
High School Musical

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Afternoon at the Gym

I haven't been going to the gym as much lately as I would like. I need to go back to my schedule of going every other day. Usually when I go to the gym, I go straight to the weights. However, I look forward most to jumping on a treadmill, putting on my headphones (almost always with Set Your Goals playing), and just concentrating on the music and getting out of my own head. After 30 minutes or so, I start my walk back to the dorms and enjoy the runner's high.

Today, however, I couldn't get out of my own head on the treadmill. I couldn't help but focus on everything that's been on my mind the past few days whenever I got a few moments alone. I started walking up the hill to De Neve, enjoying the endorphins being released in my brain, and noticed the beautiful sky. I stopped by LATC to stare at the sunset, but it started going out of view so I continued my walk to De Neve.

I felt great from the run but still a little unsatisfied because my mind had been working too hard. I decided to walk into the De Neve quad to get a better view of the sunset. The buildings were obstructing my view a little, so I kept walking. I ended up walking all the way past Veteran, just trying to focus on the beautiful sky while still allowing myself to reflect a little. Aware of the combination of exhaustion and endorphins runnings its toll on my brain, I just kept walking in pursuit of the perfect view of the sunset. However, no matter how fast I walked, I couldn't keep up with the setting sun. I needed this time to myself, but I just wish I could experience this more often.

I didn't mean for this blog to always be about music, but it's hard when so much of how I deal with events, feelings, and thoughts are connected to music. Here is the Weatherbox song I listened to a couple times on my walk that helped bring me a short-lived sense of clarity.

The Clearing - Weatherbox

"10 picket fences for 10 perfect houses
with green little gardens lined up in a row
I walked past the gardens and into the trees
And I found myself rather lost
And I picked a nice clearing I dropped to my knees
I said I will get home at any cost

But they found me in the snow, Icicles on all my clothes
Surrounded in the splinters of 10 picket fences for 10 perfect houses
There shattered and scattered all across the road
I stand and I look at the wreckage around me, I whistle and turn
I start walking home

And it's back through the gardens and through the same trees
to the clearing I passed out in before
And I threw up my hands to admit my defeat
When the chemicals erupted once more
And the clearing grew and began to bend

And all the sun light started pouring in
And you walked up, all bathed in white
And you stripped me naked
You held me tight

But they found me in the snow
Icicles on all my clothes
Surrounded in the splinters"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tortures of the Damned

"I'm Burnt Out at 22"

"I've made mistakes, but I'll find my way. No explanation for the things I've failed at before. They can't hold my hand. It just hurts to be a man, through the tortures of the damned."

Tortures Of The Damned - Bayside

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Dreams

I put the Weatherbox record on today after Aaron J. mentioned it. Sometimes this record really takes me away to a different place, while other times it just helps me dwell on my day to day existence. One of my favorite lines on this record is from the song "The Dreams" (sidenote: I've also been having some really weird dreams lately).

"I can't abide by rules which are not my own"

The Dreams - Weatherbox

Lyrics | Weatherbox - The Dreams lyrics

Beautiful HDR Photography

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Say Anything Recording New Album

It should come as no surprise that Say Anything is still my favorite band. I have so much respect for lead singer Max Bemis. He wrote quite possibly my favorite record of all time (listen to the whole thing here by clicking on the album cover) and he is also a song-writing machine. He wrote 120 personalized songs recently for fans who sent in a couple of paragraphs about what they wanted Max to sing about. He charged $150 for each song. He also wrote a record with his musical hero Chris Conley of Saves the Day. The project is called Two Tongues and the recently-announced release date is February 3rd. Max announced moments ago that he is about to go into the studio to release a new album next year. Below is his announcement and is just another reason why I love him:

Say anything WILL be putting out a new album next year. we'll be recording it in L.A this winter and the record will be called "Say Anything." yes, self titled. the nature of the record has changed since we intended on calling it "this is forever", also these two dj guys put out a record called that and would probably sue us.

if any person has followed our band, they understand our albums tell the story of a simple dude (me) and his evolution in life. this is the part where, having gone through his "idealistic--yet-furious-virgin" phase (baseball), young "drunk-angry-pukey-sex" phase (is a real boy), his "reaping - the - benefits - of - years - of - self - abuse - by - being - stuck - in - a - terrible -relationship" phase (in defense of the genre), he is finally confronted with the question of what the point of all of it was. what is the moral of the story? why be in a band? why try to "get" the girl? you spend years bitching or hurting yourself and others until you realize there is really something to fight for and something to fight against and being a man means drawing the line. that, my friends, is where the real adventure begins.

this album is self titled for a reason; it will take all the musical and lyrical themes of every say anything song, and attempt to resolve them and infuse them with something pure and direct. i am not going to " brandon flowers it" and say this is going to be the record that saves rock n' roll, or makes finally admit we had it all along. those things are not only pre-packaged indie rock nay nay but are also pointless and fleeting. i don't know how far our album will get us commercially or even if all of you amazing friends will show up the day it comes out, say it blows, and change your " fatty max bemis with a cigarette" icon to a "hot picture of first-button-undone anthony green" icon. however, if my opinion matters to you, i promise that i love these songs to death. I REALLY hope you do too and that's all i can pray for. For those who thought in defense, while cool, was too long and serious; i see this next outing as more darkly humorous and concise. for those of you who dug is a real boy but appreciate our later maturity, such as the addition of real singing to the drunken sailor routine; this record looks like it will be even more of a step forward, without giving away too much.

We are so thankful for your love. I am constantly humbled before your appreciation and I never thought we'd get this far, so we NEED to pay you back with a cool album or we'll be doing carnival-cruise-line-emo-nostaglia tours with jefree starr by the time you guys are forty. We will work it to the bone to not let you down. Recording begins ths winter in Los Angeles, California.

Thank you.


Max Bemis Playing a New Song "Ahh Men" for the First Time Live at a Chain Reaction Show I Attended. It Should Be on the New Record.

"C'est La Vie"

This songs been on repeat for me today. I decided that I need to make a post (or a series of posts, I haven't decided) in the future about my favorite albums of all time, and The Format's Dog Problems definitely makes the list.

Dog Problems - The Format

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Random Stuff

Strange Buildings of the World
UCSD's Geisel Library made the list. There are some really cool buildings on there (I can only count a handful of them that I have been to. Kind of bummed that I didn't make it to the Kunst Modern in Vienna over the summer. Just made it to the original Kunsthistorisches Museum there).

The United Nations (the world organization) has found out about United Nations (the grindcore supergroup featuring members of Thursday and Glassjaw/Head Automatica) and had facebook remove their page. Favorite comment so far on "It's about time! The actual UN has officially spent more time on this band then on the genocide in Africa."

2012 Election Comic

Interesting NY Times Article on Stretching

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quick Brag

I walked into my Charles E. Young class on Monday and was shocked to see Sidney Poitier and Walter Mirisch sitting there. They just listened to Professor Young's three-hour lecture and then took off, but not before I had the chance to talk to Sidney Poitier and shake his hand.

I love UCLA.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2008 Election: My Thoughts As Said by the Economist

This Economist article pretty much says everything I have thought about this election. I highly recommend reading the whole article.

A few passages:

At the beginning of this election year, there were strong arguments against putting another Republican in the White House. A spell in opposition seemed apt punishment for the incompetence, cronyism and extremism of the Bush presidency. Conservative America also needs to recover its vim. Somehow Ronald Reagan’s party of western individualism and limited government has ended up not just increasing the size of the state but turning it into a tool of southern-fried moralism.

The selection of Mr McCain as the Republicans’ candidate was a powerful reason to reconsider. Mr McCain has his faults: he is an instinctive politician, quick to judge and with a sharp temper. And his age has long been a concern (how many global companies in distress would bring in a new 72-year-old boss?). Yet he has bravely taken unpopular positions—for free trade, immigration reform, the surge in Iraq, tackling climate change and campaign-finance reform. A western Republican in the Reagan mould, he has a long record of working with both Democrats and America’s allies.

...Ironically, given that he first won over so many independents by speaking his mind, the case for Mr McCain comes down to a piece of artifice: vote for him on the assumption that he does not believe a word of what he has been saying. Once he reaches the White House, runs this argument, he will put Mrs Palin back in her box, throw away his unrealistic tax plan and begin negotiations with the Democratic Congress. That is plausible; but it is a long way from the convincing case that Mr McCain could have made

Our main doubts about Mr Obama have to do with the damage a muddle-headed Democratic Congress might try to do to the economy. Despite the protectionist rhetoric that still sometimes seeps into his speeches, Mr Obama would not sponsor a China-bashing bill. But what happens if one appears out of Congress? Worryingly, he has a poor record of defying his party’s baronies, especially the unions. His advisers insist that Mr Obama is too clever to usher in a new age of over-regulation, that he will stop such nonsense getting out of Congress, that he is a political chameleon who would move to the centre in Washington. But the risk remains that on economic matters the centre that Mr Obama moves to would be that of his party, not that of the country as a whole.

I am very happy with the Obama victory (I'm currently sitting in one of my two Obama shirts as I type this). I supported him in the primaries and my support never wavered in the general election even though I used to be a big fan of McCain's. However, I can't help but be reserved about my optimism and reign in my excitement. I think our country needs to make some difficult decisions in the coming years. We can not continue to run such steep deficits. At the current tax base, we cannot afford to continue to fully-fund Social Security, and Medicare, let alone continue our high defense spending and take on the costs of universal health care.

We need to cut down on spending or raise taxes. Neither decision will be pain-free. It's time that our nation begins a serious discourse about who we are as a nation and who we want to be in the future. The label "socialism" has been thrown around cavalierly in the past couple weeks. It has been dismissed as a cheap attack and not given much thought. I believe what many Americans want in this country is the safety-net and services of a socialist nation, but do not want to pay the necessary taxes for that to be sustainable. Interesting and troubling times are ahead, but at least for the rest of the night, I'm going to sit back, finish my beer, and enjoy Obama's victory.

Jack's Mannequin @ The Troubadour

Last week, I went to the Troubadour to see Jack's Mannequin again. This was the first LA date of his small club tour and it had the emotional impact on me that I thought the previous Jack's Mannequin show would have. I guess the show was special to me because I feel like I have a long history with the lead singer Andrew McMahon. Although I've never met him, I feel like I've grown up with him in a way.

My freshman year of high school, way back in 2000, Something Corporate played at my high school's Battle of the Bands. They were unsigned and unknown. I didn't go to the talent show because I wasn't a huge fan of Aliso Niguel high school and didn't know that such a talented band would be performing. The next morning my school played a clip of Something Corporate on the video announcements. I really enjoyed the clips so I went to the basic and plain SoCo web site that just had some contact info and links to download MP3s of their music for free. I downloaded the music, really enjoyed the songs "Babies of the 80s" and "Mulligan Goes to War."

Soon after, the band announced that they signed to Drive Thru Records. When it came time for them to release their first EP on Drive Thru, I e-mailed the band with questions about the CD release show. I heard back from them and sent a few volleys of e-mails back and forth. I couldn't make it to the show (no ride), but followed the band closely and picked up Audioboxer and later Leaving through the Window. I still remember quite vividly seeing SoCo play with Yellowcard and Rufio. SoCo became one of my absolute favorite bands.

When I started at UCLA, I saw on the Troubadour web site that "Jack's Mannequin (Andrew from Something Corporate)" was playing. I hadn't heard anything about JM (no one really had, I bought tickets before they played their first show) but I got tickets and got excited. The show at the Troubadour was among their first ever shows and it was their first sold-out show. At the concert last week, Andrew even mentioned that first show at the Troubadour and it really brought me back to where I was just a few years ago and how things have changed. When Everything in Transit came out months after that show, the themes really resonated with me. In addition to being about his break-up, Andrew said it was about "coming home, and having home be way different than I had remembered it [...], abandoning a lot of people, and things, that I had normally been so attached to [...], exploring and being okay with myself, and not having to make excuses for who I am, and accepting who I am."

Andrew grew up not too far from me in Orange County but decided to get away and move temporarily to Los Angeles. He went through a bad break-up and had to find himself. I knew how he felt. When I found out that he was diagnosed with Leukemia the day he finished recording his album, I was devastated. I found out the day before it was publicly announced during an interview. It took a lot of self-restraint not to tear up during the interview.

To end my rambling, I feel a close connection with Andrew and at the show I really had a chance to reflect on how things have changed for me in the past 8 years. It was great going with Aaron J. (as usual when it comes to concerts) and then seeing Aaron Israel, Danielle, Isidro, J.D. and Tracey all there. In addition to really enjoying opener Eric Hutchinson (I got him to sign a CD for me after the show), I just loved every second of Jack's Mannequins performance. There was a good mix of old and new songs and a great crowd (including Andrew's parents). This is a show I really needed and I'm just sad that I don't have any concerts coming up that I plan on going to. It's time for Manchester Orchestra, Brand New, Moneen, Anathallo, or any number of bands to roll through LA.

Here's a video from the show of quite possibly my favorite song from the new record:

"Hammers and Strings" at the Troubadour

These hammers and strings
Been following me around
From a box-filled garage
To the dark punk rock clubs
Of one thousand American towns

And my friend calls me up
She says, "How have you been?"
I say, "Dear I've been well
Yeah the money's come in
But I miss you like hell
I still hear you in this old piano"

She says, "Andy, I know That we don't talk as much
But I still hear your ghost
In these old punk rock clubs
Come on, write me a song
Give me something to trust
Just promise you won't let it be
Just the keys that you touch"

"Give me something to believe in
A breath from the breathing
So write it down
I don't think that I'll close my eyes
'Cause lately I'm not dreaming
So what's the point in sleeping?
It's just that at night,
I've got nowhere to hide"
So I write you a lullaby

These hammers and strings
Been following me around
Behind passenger vans
Through the snow, dirt, and sands
Of one thousand American towns
And my friend calls me up
With her heart heavy still
She says, "Andy, the doctors Prescribed me the pills.
But I know I'm not crazy
I just lost my will.
So why am I, why am I
Taking them still?"

To the sleepless, this is my reply:
I will write you a lullaby

Also in the crowd was industry insider turned blogger Bob Lefsetz.
Excerpt from Bob Lefsetz Review:

From an empty room on the first floor
As the cars pass by the liquor store
I deconstruct my thoughts at this piano

That’s what Andrew did. He sat at the lip of the Troubadour’s tiny stage and banged the keys like he truly meant it. He even stood atop the piano, not in a fuck you Billy Joel way, but in an expression of sheer exuberance. He’d written songs in his basement at sixteen, he was now thankful to be able to play rock music for a living. HE SAID SO!

From the corner by the studio
The gold-soaked afternoon comes slow
I deconstruct my thoughts and I am walking by
On Third Street, the freak show thrives
Santa Monica’s alive, but
Something’s not so right inside
Living with the news

These are not lyrics written by committee. So bland they can work in countries where English is not just the second language, but oftentimes the third or fourth, or completely unknown. This is directly from Andrew’s heart to you, you feel like he’s speaking to you. Yes, he’s cut all his records in that studio in Santa Monica, by the Third Street Promenade. It’s where he goes to be inspired, it’s where he concocts these numbers that mean so much to you.

The other classic track from "Everything In Transit" is "The Mixed Tape".

Where are you now?
As I’m swimming through the stereo
I’m writing you a symphony of sound
Where are you now?
As I rearrange the songs again
This mix could burn a hole in anyone
But it was you I was thinking of
It was you I was thinking of
It was you I was thinking of

Heartbreak isn’t about buying a new pair of shoes and sleeping with someone else. It’s about waking up with them still on your mind, just like when you went to bed. It’s wanting to close the curtain, shutting out the light.

Where do they go after you’ve broken up?
They should be dead, they can’t be continuing their lives. They can’t be talking to anybody else, they can’t be laughing, they can’t be going forward. Because you’re stuck. And the only thing that says exactly how you feel is music. The lyrics jump out of the stereo, from your earbuds, the singer knows you, exactly how you feel. If only you could send her this song, maybe she’d understand, maybe she’d come back, maybe everything would be all right.

And this is my mixed tape for her
It’s like I wrote every note
With my own fingers

That’s the power of music. And last night at the Troubadour the music was quite powerful, enough to sustain a life, keep a person going. It wasn’t for you, but for those in attendance, it was…everything.