Little Clouds


Conor Oberst at the Ogden 4.10.2009
April 12, 2009, 10:20 pm
Filed under: review | Tags: , , , ,
condor got me again. its like im 14

condor got me again. it's like i'm 14

I was going to wait to get my pictures developed to review this show, but unfortunately I’m too lazy to turn in my disposable camera to walgreens. that’s right, we are 21st century enough to have a blog but not a digital camera.

To put it simply the show was good. I knew it would be decent, but to be honest with you, it was one of the better conor shows I’ve been to (and I’ve been to too many, trust me). Mr. Oberst was quite the show man, funny and drunk, and singing and strumming along with pure conviction. It was heart warming to see conor so delighted to play the other band members songs. It made me feel guilty about my scathing review. He seemed truly comfortable on stage, playing with his mystic valley band, I side of him the audience rarely saw with Bright Eyes. The trembling, shaky voiced Conor that was clearly full of nerves at Coachella 2004 was long gone and replaced with a confident front man.

The show began with the album’s opener “Slowly”, which started the show with the high level of energy that continued through all 19 songs. Conor’s “Eagle on a Pole” was definitely an early high light in the set, and was followed by Jason Boesel’s “Eagle on a Pole”, which the band seemed to have a great time playing. During Boesel’s song Oberst danced around the stage, singing each lyric. The set continued, and while Conor songs were the bulk of the show, each band member sang one of their tracks from the record, the best being Frietas’ “Big Black Nothing”. It was nice to see a frontman so willing to share the limelight with his fellow band members.

“White Shoes” was the best song during the two hour set. Oberst asked for a dark stage, and he alone strummed his guitar and sang so fragilely that you could hear each crack in his voice. The audience, which was at times rowdy and obnoxious, remained so silent you could hear a pin drop. It was the kind of performance of a song that will live in my memory for a very long time.
“NYC- GONE GONE” was a high light as well as “Roosevelt Room”. “Ten Women” was stripped down with the mystic valley band acting as a back up choir to oberst. “Milk Thistle” ended the set, and once again the audience was left with a nearly empty stage as Oberst and Macey Taylor went through a quiet, beautiful rendition of one of Oberst’s best songs to date.

The set was pretty heavy on songs from the first album, which was surprising to me. The show made it hard to hate outer south as much as I did. It was hard to be cyincal because it was clear that Oberst was having a really good time and was at ease with each song. His stage bantor was funny and his dance moves even funnier. The funniest part of the show was when a really annoying drunk girl kept screaming at him “Conor give me your beer”. After a little bit of back and forth about whether she was 21 (he looked at her I.D.), he obliged. But before he handed the beer to her he tried to chug it all so she would just get an empty can. He couldn’t do it and spit it all over the security and the people front row center, which happened to include johnny, our two friends, and me. I think it was pretty hilarious that he tried to trick the stupid scene girl.

I guess I am biased reviewer because the 15 year old fan girl in me that saw Conor at the fox six years ago still comes out sometimes. It reminded me of shows past, but it shouldn’t of, really everything about it was different other than the most basic elements, nate walcott, lots of drinking and a passionate performance.

in case you haven’t heard any of outer south here is my favorite from the album, and if you get a chance to Conor take it.

Conor Oberst-White Shoes

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band have a load of tour dates, I’m too lazy to type them all out, so just click here.

and for a little sneak peak of the documentary about him, and a really good song that should’ve been on outer south
click here.

-marissa



Fuck You Bro! (3)
April 8, 2009, 7:09 pm
Filed under: listy-poo | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m going to be an oddball here, I am only posting a top seven, HA!


07. Mad World: You’re too short! Fuck you man.


06. M Night Shyamalan: What the hell dood (yes I write dude, dood) your movies are just all awful, yeah, I spent money on The Happening, I also walked out of that theatre very upset fifteen minutes into the movie. Why are you so bad?! I don’t get it. How can you still have a job? Fuck you.


05. Wall-E: ….Just kidding I love you Marissa butt
happy school year anniversary!!!


04. Clowns: You scare me, Fuck you.


03. Extenze: God, I always see these commercials and the same thing always gets me, the main guy. The way he says “male enhancement” and then does a weird mouth slap…What the fuck? That’s just weird.. Fuck you.


02. New Found Glory: Are you kidding me? You’re still around!? What the hell I mean really it’s not like you have the same fan base at all like all those weirdo’s that used to like you still do I mean that’d be ridikulus!(yes harry potter ridik) Fuck you New Found Glory for being so shitty


01. Cat Poop: You stink! Cats seem to poop when it’d be the worst possible time- right when you into walk in a room where there is a litter box. they also seem to like to tip over those litter boxes which is another big problem because then you’re stuck cleaning cat poop and pee off the floor! What the hell!! Fuck you!

-Johnny Ketchum



Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band Outer South Review
April 7, 2009, 8:18 pm
Filed under: review | Tags: ,
Outer South

Outer South

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band- Outer South
My grade: D+

I don’t like giving Conor Oberst bad reviews. I have been a fan of Oberst’s bands for 7 years. I have everything the guy has ever done, and by everything I mean everything, my itunes is loaded with over 700 songs by Conor in all of his bands and incarnations. I’ve seen him nearly twenty times and met him plenty of times too. I don’t want to give his new album “Outer South” a bad review, but it warrants it.

When Cassadega came out I was a little disappointed. After “I’m wide awake..” and “digital ash..” it was a let down. However, looking back, it was really solid, the worst song on it being “Classic Cars” which was boring at best and shitty alt-country at worst. It should’ve been a sign that Conor was headed in a mediocore alt-country direction. His self-titled debut with the Mystic Valley band was heavily disappointing for me. I had listened to bootlegs of most of the songs on the record and they were great. But the album was terrible, it was overproduced and songs that were once pretty stripped down songs were turned into country jams. I don’t hate country, I love gram parsons, johnny cash and the like. I even like some Bright Eyes songs that lend themselves to country, like “Make War” or “Another Travellin’ Song”. But the country music Conor makes now is nothing short of cheesy, pop country with mediocore lyrics.

With “Outer South” I am not disappointed, because I didn’t expect much. From the second I heard the intro to “Slowly (oh so slowly)” a few weeks ago, I knew this album was going to be just as bad, if not worse, then the last album. And it is worse, much, much worse.

Outer South begins with “Slowly (oh so slowly)”, a song I am clearly not very fond of. This is a terrible way to start an album. It makes me long for the soothing intro to “Cape Canaveral”. The next song, “To all the lights in the windows” is pretty good actually, Conor finally made the 70s folk song he had been trying to make since “I’m wide awake”. I mean, by pretty good, it’s not that bad. Nic Frietas’ “Big Black Nothing” is decent, not too bad, but not great either. By this point in the record I had hope. But then I heard “Air Mattress”, the single worst song on this record. It’s trying to be everything at once, and failing miserably. It has a fast synth line, goes into a little bit of surf rock (wtf right?) yet is still country. Taylor Hollingsworth’s vocals are less than appealing and border on just down right annoying. The lyrics may be the most atrocious part of this song, “can I sleep on this air mattress with you?” is the chorus. We get it, you guys like to travel, but making a love song about sleeping on an air mattress isn’t cute it’s just stupid.

Other songs on this record teeter on being the worst song too. In fact, “Air Mattress” is kind of the turning point for this record, the rest of the songs are pretty much all alt-country jams that sound like each other. “Spoiled” is absolutely awful. It’s like “Arc of Time” (From digital ash) meets margaritaville meets pop country. It has the same point as a lot of older bright eyes songs. “You’ve got everything you want but you’re still down” is the kind of lyric that could’ve fit on “Fever and Mirrors”, however it’s ruined by the tropical beat and cheesy guitar. “Nikorette” is another cheesy country song, the only thing that makes it decent is when Nic Frietas sings in the chorus for a few seconds. “Eagle on Pole”, not to be confused with the much better “Eagle on a Pole” on the last album, seems like it’s trying to be fleetwood mac or something. I like fleetwood mac- but I don’t like this song. It’s chorus is “Never trust an eagle on a pole”. Need I say more? The most angering song to me on this record is “I Got The Reason”, I’ve heard this song live and it was really beautiful. This song begins pretty enough, but then there is an ultra-dramatic breakdown and it turns into a alt-country jam session.

“Ten Women” is a lovely song, the reason why it’s so good is because it’s stripped down. There is no overproducing, no dramatic bridges, no breakdowns and no organ solos. The lyrics are a little weak, but then again that’s true for the rest of the album. “Roosevelt Room” is another high point, with politically charged lyrics. Oberst screams “And the working poor you’ve been shitting on are doing shifts tonight!” like he really means it. It has the kind of passion that a previous Bright Eyes record would be chalk full of and that this album is missing entirely. “White Shoes” is the best of album, another song I heard live, the only thing that deters from the stripped down bare prettiness of this song is the vocal distortion.

There is no relevance to this record. Each song seems randomly placed in a string of random songs. The lyrical themes of conor past are gone. The symbolism of conor past is gone. The meaning behind each lyric of conor past is gone. This album feels like a collection songs they recorded too quickly and with no clear direction.

My advice for Oberst is to not let his other band members write or sing songs on his records. Other than the first Frietas songs his comrades don’t serve as much of a utility. He also needs to stop overproducing and overdoing songs that are much better stripped down. They need to try less to be a “rocking” country band and keep the songs simple. Oberst has made a career of not keeping things simple, and for the most part, succeeded, take “Lifted..” for example. But having a full orchestra is a lot different then forcing a breakdown and silly guitar solos on every song.

Ofcourse artists change, no one is expecting Oberst to be singing lovesick songs anymore, he’s nearly 30 years old. However, nothing has really changed since his last album, expect that he is getting more and more into generic alt-country that is now bleeding into straight up pop-country. While the beginning of “Laura Laurent” can recall the beginning of a Gram Parson’s song, the beginning of this record sounds like the beginning of a Keith Urban record, something I never thought I’d say 7 years ago.

Outer South will be out on Merge Records on May 5th, 2009. You can stream it now at mergerecords.com

-marissa malouff

p.s. for a more detailed, sillier, worse written review of the album look at my track by track review below!



it’s been a school year…a love note
April 7, 2009, 1:36 am
Filed under: love, music attahced

don't be alarmed my sweet love! i love you!

don't be alarmed my sweet love! i love you!

i love you, johnny. we’ve together for 9 months! as we know from being babies that’s a pretty long time! I love you more and more each day. I don’t know what i would do with out you.

-marissa

in honor of all this love here is one of my favorite love songs!

the love song!



bonnie “prince” billy :(
oh prince of all this shit.

oh prince of all this shit.

I forgot da prince was last night. how dumb can you be? I realized when it was too late. ah well. I’m not going act like i’m will oldham’s biggest fan, I have friends who like him much more. but I enjoy him and am sorry i missed it.

here are my favies:
Bonnie “Prince” Billy-Hard Life
Bonnie “Prince” Billy-Wolf Among Woves
Bonnie “Prince” Billy-For Every Field There’s A Mole
Bonnie “Prince” Billy-Grand Dark Feeling of Emptiness
Bonnie “Prince” Billy-You Remind Me of Somethine(The Glory Goes)

my favie song about da prince:
jack Lewis/Jeffrey Lewis-Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror

-marissa malouff



local music and technology: what is the future?

I filled out a resume for the Daily Camera today. In the process of filling out the resume I looked through some old articles.

This is an article I wrote for class in December of 2007.

Colorado’s Place in the Changing Music Scene

Indian Jewelry at Rhinoceropolis l photo by Sarah Slater

Indian Jewelry at Rhinoceropolis l photo by Sarah Slater

The living room at Rhinoceropolis would be pitch black if it weren’t for the Christmas lights strung from the rafters. The venue, which acts as a home in north Denver by day, could seem baron if it weren’t for the paintings hung on the wall. The building will get drafts of cold air, however, it’s hard to notice with each room filled with art, records, instruments and ashtrays. The body heat of dozens of young people crammed in the small living room acts as a barrier to the cold ridden outside. The audience sits still, watching in awe as a young man and woman sit on stools in front of them stroking acoustic guitars.

If music is dying, like many record industry officials have said, no one informed the crowd that braved the winter air to see the show. If music is dying, then local shows are making its last grasps powerful ones. Record industry officials say that the sky is falling, however, for local musicians and fans the sky is the limit.

According to USA Today, CD sales dropped 8% from 2004 to 2006, as downloaded tracks raised by 150%. In the first quarter of 2007 CD sales plunged by 20% compared to the first quarter of 2006. The sales drops have left record industry executives shaking in their boots.

RIAA president Gary Sherman told the San Francisco Gate, “”It’s obvious we have a very serious problem. Those are the revenue streams that have financed this industry, and they are shrinking.”

The record industry has done little to embrace the digitalization of music, in fact, record executives have fought to suppress it. Co-founder of What Are Records? and Vice President of Business Development for iggli.com, a music streaming website in the works, Ted Guggenhiem, , believes that the industry’s stubbornness put major labels in the boat they are in.

“They said, ‘here’s how you listen to music’, and they spent years trying to get peer to peer shut down. They lost control.” Guggenhiem said, “They fundamentally tried to force people to listen to albums, and they lost it.”

According to Guggenhiem, record labels sinking sales aren’t the only thing record labels need to worry about. They need to worry about their role in general. Since Radiohead self released their album in a digital format, the function of record labels has been in question.

“The record industry is dead,” Guggenhiem said, “Major Labels will be gone and indies will be in a similar boat.”

Players in the local music scene have been faced with drastic changes in the industry that pays their bills. Local record labels, musicians and innovators are coming up with ways to weather the changing tide in music, to keep their businesses alive and to embrace the digital revolution.

THE INTERNET AND THE EXPLODING LOCAL MUSIC SCENE.

Inaiah Lujan has been a local musician in Pueblo, CO for years. He has traveled across the country to play music multiple times, and played everywhere from bars in Athens, GA to sidewalks in Minnesota. Lujan has a long list of musical endeavors that include his solo work , his folk band with his girlfriend Desirae Garcia and sister Chela Lujan called the Haunted Windchimes, A Poor Substitute- his punk band and an electronic project called DJ Flow Nase.

Lujan, like many other local musicians, has used the Internet to benefit his musical projects. He said that his music has reached people beyond Colorado, in part because of touring but also because of myspace.

“There are people who contact me on daily basis that I don’t know and aren’t from here,” Lujan said, “I’ll ask them how they found me, and a lot of the time it’s through myspace, because they saw me on the friends list of a band they liked or something.”

Lujan recently played a house show with A Poor Substitute that brought 100 fans out to support his music. Lujan didn’t make a physical flier for the show, he just posted a bulletin on Myspace.

Lujan does see a downside to the exposure local shows are getting via Myspace. In his eyes, it has brought a lot of people into the scene that are not in it for the right reasons.

“There are two types of people at local shows. The type that are accustomed to word of mouth and go to see good bands and the type that sit on the internet all day and read bulletins. People are there these days that do not care about the music. It’s become bubblegum in a way,” Lujan said, “But it’s helped the scene by getting more heads in the show.”

Lujan continues to get bigger audiences and at the same time get more Myspace friends.

“There are things I am weary of with the Internet.” Lujan said, “Like where my music is going to and who’s in control of it. But I know that my music will always be in the good hands of people that appreciate it.”

the haunted windchimes

the haunted windchimes

COLORADO’S RECORD LABELS VS. THE INTERNET?

Suburban Home
Local record label, Suburban Home Records is home to a multitude of local and non-regional bands. Avail front man Tim Barry, The Laymen Terms, Drag the River and Love Me Destroyer are just a few acts signed to the indie label. Suburban Home began in 1995 and acted as an outlet for Virgil Dickerson to put out ‘7 records for bands he liked. The first ‘7 inch he put out was for the Fairlanes, who are now signed to Suburban Home. Dickerson opened Bakamono, an indie record store, in the late 1990’s. At that point in time the label was mainly a hobby. However, the label was bringing in as much money as his business, so he closed Bakamono and focused solely on Suburban Home Records.

The headquarters of Suburban Home records is also the Edgewater, CO home of Dickerson, his wife and his toddler. His home has a backroom with a stock of all of the albums the label has released. Also in the backroom is a press to make t-shirts for Suburban Home’s t-shirt company, Super Fantastic Clothing. There is a bookshelf in the living room that covers an entire wall, filled with records that Suburban Home is carrying on their online vinyl store, vinylcollective.com. Dickerson said that this is the busiest he’s ever been. According to Dickerson, at Suburban Home they are always trying to rethink their business model to answer to the changing industry.

“The industry is on a downward slope,” Dickerson said, “so we’ve been doing other things. Vinyl Collective is a big part of what we do.”

Vinyl Collective is an online store that carries vinyl records from a number of different artists including My Morning Jacket, Belle and Sebastian, Bright Eyes and the Shins.

“Digital is such a soul less format,” Dickerson said, “Music is just one part of the art of the album. We live in a fucked up, fast paced world and there is something therapeutic about sitting down and putting a needle on a record.”

Vinyl is the only physical music form, Dickerson said, that has increased since peer-to-peer sharing shaped the market at the beginning of the decade. Dickerson said that their digital sales on websites like iTunes, eMusic and Rhapsody have increased as well, however, digital sales have not yet made up for the revenue lost in sinking cd sales.

Next year Suburban Home plans to release all of their albums in a digital format. A few of their releases will be released on-line only.

“Peer to Peer greatly affects how music is purchased I’m all for it as a way for people to sample music. People listen to music now more than ever. People are excited about music now more than ever,” Dickerson said.

Despite the loss of cd revenue, in some ways the Internet has helped Dickerson’s label. The Internet has made it easier for Suburban Home to do press releases and send newsletters to fans. It also has leveled the playing field for indie labels and acts to compete with major labels.

“Digital Distribution has leveled the playing field. Majors always had the upperhand when it came to distribution, but now it’s all even,” Dickerson said.

The cheapness of recording technology and the exposure that the internet brings has leveled the playing field for bands with out a label. Increasingly, the necessity of a record label is being questioned.

“There are a lot of people saying that record labels are obsolete. I think about my future and it is possible that our bands could do their own thing,” Dickerson said, “However, we have a core audience, where a lot of fans check out a band because they’re on the label. There are things we can offer to a band that they can’t do on their own.”

Despite the changing industry Dickerson stays optimistic about his future in music. Suburban Home’s side companies act as a safety net to dropping sales and concerns about the role of the record label.

“It’s a scary time,” Dickerson said, “but I’m having more fun now than ever. I’m putting out records I love. In our own little way, we’re doing alright.”

What Are Records?
Boulder’s What Are Records was started by Rob Gordon 17 years ago. What Are Records was home to popular bands such as Big Head Todd and the Monsters and The Samples. W.A.R. now includes a number of musical acts and comedians. Artsits such as The Swayback, Zepperella and David Wilcox are signed to W.A.R.

W.A.R. has seen a shift in the industry and has heard the questions about the necessity of a record label in a digital world. In order to maintain an important role, W.A.R. is turning more to career development, something they’ve always dabbled in, signing 360 deals with bands. Many major record labels have been signing 360 deals, which give the label the responsibility of promotion, marketing and booking. In turn, the label gets a percentage of the bands profits outside of record sales. According to Jeff Palmer, W.A.R.’s media official, because of career development W.A.R. is more than a record label, and that’s how it will survive in the changing industry.

Palmer said that while physical copies of their albums make up for 70% of their sales, the ratio between c.d sales and downloads has decreased. To embrace the Internet, W.A.R. reaches out to blogs and online retailers that carry W.A.R. artists. In Palmer’s opinion, the Internet has not terribly hurt the label.

“CD sales are falling across the board,” Palmer said, “Majors are depending on one or two artists to sell millions of records that doesn’t happen anymore. The sky is falling, but it is falling a lot more for them.”

Palmer said that the internet has actually helped W.A.R. is some ways because it has helped expose the artists and given everyone access to a variety of music.

“The days of the superstar are over,” Jeff said, “Everyone has access to music and not everyone is looking at tastemakers like the radio and MTV. A band can come along that’s so great it becomes popular based on the strength of the music.”

THE FUTURE?
According to Guggenhiem, who is working on a free music streaming website in Boulder, people ages 13-24 have a made a decision- and that decision is that music should be free. Guggenhiem’s website, iggli.com, will have a huge library of music that people to stream for free on demand. Listeners will not be able to save the music to their hard-drives or iPods. Iggli will also act as social networking website for people to post record reviews and show reviews. The ad revenue of the website will support it and the artists and labels that are being listened to. Money will be distributed to bands based on how many times there song is streamed.

“Music has to feel like free,” Guggenhiem said.

According to Guggenhiem record labels have jumped on board with Iggli. Unsigned bands will be able to upload material onto the site, as well.

“Nobody knows how this will turn out. I think it remains to be seen,” Guggenhiem said, “Our company can play a role in the future of music, that’s what we’re hoping for.”

No one knows if websites like Iggli are the future of music, no one knows if the sky is actually falling for record labels and no one knows if the internet has helped or hurt music. Technology, is a double edged sword swinging away at the structures we once held as certain.

Thousands of miles away from the booming entertainment industry in New York and Los Angeles, Colorado has been affected greatly by the digital music revolution. Whether the local innovators like Ted Guggenhiem, the record labels like Suburban Home and W.A.R., and musicians like Inaiah Lujan will rise from the wreckage of an industry that is potentially headed toward disaster is yet to be seen.

“Maybe our idea of what the music industry is needs to die,” Lujan said, “If so, rest in peace.”

-marissa malouff



Mad World: A Video Game Review
April 3, 2009, 2:05 pm
Filed under: review | Tags: , , , ,


Johnny Ketchum here with a game review of Mad World by Platinum Games and Sega for the Nintendo Wii.

I’m going to split this into a few categories, first will be Gameplay, then Sound, then Graphics, and an overall view of the game. So lets get down to brass tax.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is solid. It’s a fun game filled with great violence and awkwardly funny dialogue. It’s really a fun game. I’d probably give the gameplay a 3/5.

Sound:
The songs are repetitive and get kinda old after a while. It’s kind of annoying because the songs just kind of explain the story,the lyrics are just like almost exactly what you’re doing or what has to be done. The announcers are really annoying and aren’t funny, they just keep repeating theirselves which gets on your nerves, especially in tense situations. 2/5

Graphics:
This is probably the best thing about the game. The graphics are awesome and sometimes leave you in a weird state where when you see the color red and you’re kind of blinded by the onslaught of color. The black and white scheme is beautiful and it looks different from any other game out there. This game amounts to other clover studio, or rather platinum studio, games. 5/5

Overall Game:
I have many complaints about it being too short, I beat the game in three hours and seventeen minutes. I was expecting a lot more out of this game but it turns out to be a God Hand type game with an ending that leaves a sour taste in your mouth. It was $50 for a game you can beat in a day, when you could get a better game like Okami and have days of gameplay for $30. My final verdict on this game is, rent it. There have been better games released by this company. It’s a real disappointment because I had so much hope for this game.. Overall, I’d give this game a 3/5